While Horrocks and I would love to see American Girl return to its roots, it is also true that the brand faces stark challenges in a toy market that’s increasingly driven by electronic toys and characters from movie franchises. Some of the top toys this Christmas include a Playmobil palace featuring Frozen 2 characters and a Monopoly set that allows kids to use voice commands to play. But some parents are pushing back against these high-tech toys in favor of old-school ones that encourage different kinds of learning. Melissa & Doug, which makes wooden toys for young children, has been thriving; a new company called Lovevery has received funding from top Silicon Valley investors to create analog toys for kids from the time they are born. When these children enter elementary school, their parents will be looking for developmentally appropriate and educational toys for them. If American Girl continues to invest in its historical storytelling, it could very well be what … [Read more...] about American Girl sales are plummeting. Can the iconic ’90s brand be saved?
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“Of course, nothing could exactly compare to the reality-bending, interdimensional journey that is Cats. This version of Dolittle (as in the doctor who talks to animals, here played by Robert Downey Jr.) is awfully tame in comparison. But there are still a few glimmers of madness to be found in this exorbitantly expensive January toss-off, which could prove satisfying for certain sickos and freaks out there who have, post-Cats, become hooked on cinematic car crashes involving digitized faunae.” —Vanity Fair … [Read more...] about Here are the most hilariously scathing reviews for Robert Downey Jr.’s ‘Doolittle’
Over the past five years, black consumers’ spending on chemical relaxers has plummeted by more than 30%, according to the analyst group Mintel, and more than 79% of those consumers report wearing a natural hairstyle–‘fro, braids, locs–within the past year. Having traditionally neglected the specific and varied hair needs of black consumers, multinational corporations such as Unilever are throwing more resources behind entries into the space (and occasionally stumbling badly over racial land mines, as Dove did with a controversial TV ad in October). Two years ago, PDC Brands, the maker of Calgon and Dr. Teal’s, acquired Cantu, a favorite brand of naturalistas. A year before that, Carol’s Daughter—founded by former Cosby Show writers’ assistant Lisa Price and boasting such celebrity investors as music mogul Jay-Z and Will and Jada Pinkett Smith–was scooped up by beauty giant L’Oréal. And earlier this year, Pantene, owned by … [Read more...] about SheaMoisture’s Tangled Future
One reason for all this dissonance around cars? Parking is pretty polarizing: “Parking is the third rail of local politics. Internally these mayors might be thinking of every public meeting they’ve ever been at and so they say, ‘No, no, no, parking is fine, don’t touch parking,'” she says. Another might have to do with federal funding. Implementing street safety initiatives is expensive, Einstein notes, and if we were to see big federal government programs set aside money for street safety, we might see some movement in this area. As she puts it, “We might see mayors say, ‘I’m willing to give up parking spaces now that the federal government is willing to give me hundreds of thousands of dollars to do it.'” … [Read more...] about U.S. mayors like the idea of being less car-focused but hate the policies that could make it happen
Gevers blames weak FR database security on a competitive marketplace, where a proof of concept is built and the product quickly marketed and sold. And though a government or company may learn from vulnerabilities, as time passes and people get promoted or leave their job, Gevers says the tendency is for organizations to forget what they learned about systems security. Which is why he would like to see cloud providers like AWS, Google, and Azure provide programmers with templates, such as are available from the Open Web Application Security Project, so that they can build safely and securely on those platforms. … [Read more...] about Due to weak oversight, we don’t really know how tech companies are using facial recognition data