In Deutsche Bank AG Chief Executive Officer Christian Sewing’s push to get back into growth mode, there’s one specific business in which there are pretty much no hiring limits.
The private bank in Asia is still recruiting, even after bringing on board about 100 relationship managers and support staff in the first half, Lok Yim, who runs the Asia-Pacific wealth business, said in an interview. “I don’t think there’s a limit apart from what we can digest,” he said.
Few businesses offers such eye-watering opportunities for global banks right now as catering to Asia’s swelling millionaire class. While Sewing has cut thousands of jobs elsewhere, in Asia he’s locked in a battle with banks from Credit Suisse Group AG to Morgan Stanley for the bankers who can bring in wealthy clients — and generate revenue from them.
“We’ve been having strategy papers with Christian Sewing,” Yim said. “The discussion is about ‘how much more would you like to grow?’" he added.
Since taking over in April, Sewing has announced plans to cut at least 7,000 jobs and retrench in investment-banking areas such as prime finance and U.S. rates. More recently, however, the CEO has talked about the need to expand some operations. Wealth management in Asia, the Americas and Europe has been identified as among the bank’s most important areas for growth, according to its second-quarter earnings statement.
The size of wealth assets under management in Asia is second only to Deutsche Bank’s home market in Germany, though overall growth has been subdued in recent years. Total AUM was 216 billion euros ($251 billion) at the end of June, little changed from a year earlier.
Yim said the bank had a strong first half in Asia with “a lot of client activity in the first quarter that carried momentum into the second quarter." AUM in the region edged up to 51 billion euros at the end of June, from 47 billion euros a year earlier, which Yim said was due to both new money inflows and movement in the value of financial assets.
Yim expressed optimism that the recent hiring of relationship managers will bring more rich clients to the bank. “With new colleagues coming on board we are hopeful that we will, over a reasonable period of time, bring new clients onto the Deutsche platform," Yim said.
Despite recent market volatility, Deutsche Bank is advising its wealthy clients in the region to maintain their investments rather than move into safe havens like cash, Yim said. “We do not feel that this is a time to stay in cash. If anything, we remain fully invested but in a hedged environment."
Yim said he is looking to technology and a focus on certain countries and markets in order to contain costs and “sustain profitability" at a time when he is adding new bankers. For example, the bank has exited the wealth business in Australia and Japan in recent years, and no longer serves European clients from Asia, Yim said.
“We want to grow, but sustainably and safely," Yim said. “But we are not going to hire people for the sake of hiring."
Movies have a weird double standard when it comes to character deaths. Some characters get swelling music and emotional final speeches; others get blown to bits in some background CGI effect intended to slightly increase the stakes of the second act. Strangely, this is even true in movies specifically about the sanctity of life, like The Shape of Water. Why is this? And is it getting worse?
Today Alex is joined by Cracked contributor Dan Hopper and writer/performer Kandice Martellaro to dissect a bunch of famous movies (even some good ones!) that are weirdly callous about people dying horrible, gruesome deaths.
To gain advantage in the intensifying trade war with the United States, China threatened on Tuesday to retaliate against Apple Inc with an incredible public statement.
China is by far the most important overseas market for the U.S.-based Apple, leaving it exposed if Chinese people make it a target of anger and nationalist sentiment, Peoples Dailystated in an article titled Strong Sales of U.S. Brands Including Apple Give China Bargaining Chips in Trade Row.
The article, reprinted from a sister newspaper, went on: China doesnt want to close its doors to Apple despite the trade conflict, but if the U.S. company wants to earn good money in China, it needs to share its development dividends with the Chinese people.
The article in the Communist Partysand therefore, Chinasmost authoritative publication added one more implied threat: It is impractical and unreasonable to kick the company out of China, but if Apple wants to continue raking in enormous profits from the Chinese markets amid trade tensions, the company needs to do more to share the economic cake with local Chinese people.
In a country filled with customers crazy for Apple products, the only way the American brand would become a target of ire is if the political leadership was determined to make it so, as Beijing has done with other foreign businesses. Chinese officials have organized protests against a host of Japanese companies and, more recently, Lotte Group, the South Korean retail and tourism conglomerate.
The Communist Party has also gone after Apple before. In March 2013, for instance, Chinese officials took a series of actions, suggesting they were seeking to undermine the brand.
Apples long-term future in the Peoples Republic was in grave doubt long before President Trump challenged the U.S.-China trade status quo, Alan Tonelson, a Washington, D.C.-based trade expert, told The Daily Beast. Beijings economic game plan has always called for kicking out or marginalizing foreign companies as soon as Chinese entities could adequately create their own products and services. With several Chinese smartphone producers nearing full global competitiveness, Beijing had already been undermining the company.
But while official campaigning against Apple by Chinese ruler Xi Jinping had worked in the past, there has been a remarkable lack of patriotic sentiment this time expressed against either the United States or Apple.
If Xi is in fact diminished, Apple, among other companies, will be safer. Xi is thought to be behind the plan to launch precision strikes on U.S. businesses, in other words, holding them as hostages.
Why? For one thing, there is a sizable group of elite Chinese who happen to agree with Trump or at least with the actions of his administration. People I have spoken with in China universally acknowledge the U.S. is justified in launching the trade war, Charles Burton of Brock University told me Thursday. On just-completed travel from one end of China to the otherShanghai, Kunming, and Linyithe noted Canadian China-watcher heard people say that American charges of unfair trade practices and coercive or illegal acquisition of U.S. technology are fully valid.
Burton noticed something else, also suggested by others in recent days. There is, he told me, a general consensus that Mr. Xi has brought shame on China by his dishonorable trade policies, which violate the core teachings of Confucian tradition upholding honesty and openness in all dealings as the mark of the cultured and upright government official.
Not all observers have put this observation in the context of ancient philosophical thought, but there is, around China, an evident unease at flagrant intellectual property theft, especially now that Trump has made what looks like an uncompromising stand on the issue.
At the beginning of this year, there was a general consensus in Beijing that Xi could manage Trump, that the Americans China, China, China rhetoric was merely campaign-trail blather. This view at first looked to be correct, given Trumps effusive words for Xi at and following the Mar-a-Lago summit last April.
Until recently, it looked like Trump was following in the footsteps of Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama, who all talked tough on China as they sought office and then defaulted to decades-old engagement policy once entering the White House.
Thats changed. Academic Yang Qijing of Beijings Renmin University has since become a star in the Chinese capital because he did not dismiss Trumps trade rhetoric, and Xi Jinping is now under relentless attack for provoking the once-sleeping Americans.
Communist Party bigwigs are at this moment thought to be at their semi-secret annual retreat at Beidaihe, where the new conventional wisdom is that Party elders will chop Chinas once-absolute supremo down to size.
If Xi is in fact diminished, Apple, among other companies, will be safer. Xi is thought to be behind the plan to launch precision strikes on U.S. businesses, in other words, holding them as hostages.
And that brings us back to Apple. CNBCs Jim Cramer thinks Beijing will leave the company alone because attacking it would be playing with fire. Cramer, therefore, predicts Chinese officials will target some other companies first.
But if Beijing goes after any American companies, it would more likely be an historic mistake that would warn others to stay away from China. As The New York Timesreported Wednesday, trade friction is already forcing multinationals to think of moving supply chains away from China. Xis retaliation could get them to do more than think about it.
Thats what many in Beijing have been worried about. After especially pugnacious comments from Xi late last June, the South China Morning Postquoted officials saying that targeting U.S. firms in China has never been on the cards.
Therefore, Tuesdays extortionist demand by Peoples Daily looks like it will wound Xi Jinping and his China more than the United States and its iconic company.
In the two years since Indian social networks app ShareChat raised $4 million in financing from Lightspeed Ventures the converging trends of increasing smartphone usage, cordless web connection, and cashless banking have actually combined to produce a brand-new social networks juggernaut.Now Lightspeed has confirmed that the business has actually raised an additional $100 million in financing at approximately a half billion dollar evaluation together with financial investment partners including India Quotient, Jesmond Holdings, Morningside,SAIF Partners, Shunwei Ventures, Venture Highway and Xiaomi. In the years because that first Lightspeed investment,
ShareChat has actually gone from a company with 1 million month-to-month active users to 25 million monthly active users– and while the company drags the messaging giant WhatsApp( whose app is used by more than 200 million people in India )its development in India is impressive.”ShareChat is really looking to take advantage of the next billion users in India,”states Ravi Mhatre, a partner at Lightspeed, whose financial investment dollars assisted architect the ShareChat rise.What’s providing this startup the ability to link to those next billion users is one strategy of a 9-year-old plan to establish exactly what’s been called the “India Stack”– a completely new digital facilities for a country with a population of 1.32 billion spread across an area of nearly 1.3 million square miles.The push began in 2009 with the launch of Aadhaar, India’s( just recently changed)nationwide biometric recording plan. 7 years later it took a huge leap forward with the application of the nation’s massive demonetization strategy and the near-simultaneous rollout of a 4G high speed mobile network across the country.While the demonetization method ate into growth rates across the nation, and most likely didn’t lower the amount of loan in blood circulation, according to Indian financial publication LiveMint, the 4G rollout was a substantial success.Since Jio, the telecoms arm of the huge industrialconglomerate Dependence Group, introduced
its 4G service in September 2016, adoption rates across the country have actually increased.
According to a report from the telecom analysis firm, OpenSignal, Jio’s contribution to networking India has been massive.During the quarter ending June 2017
, overall data usage stood at over 4.2 million terabytes, out of which 4G data represented 3.9 million TBs, according to TRAI. The growth is most noticeable when examiningthe numbers from a year ago, when 4G information use stood at a simple 8,050 TBs; that’s a 500-fold boost … [And] LTE availability in India is impressive: users had the ability to link to an LTE signal over 84 %of the time, an increase of over 10 portion points from a year previously. This puts India ahead of more recognized countries in the 4G landscape such as Sweden, Taiwan, Switzerland or the U.K. Disrupt telco Dependence Jio laid the foundation for India’s phone owners to change to utilizing mobile information bundles(Image by Arun Sharma/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)For a start-up like ShareChat that means 10s of countless everyday active users, according to Mhatre.Those users are drawn to ShareChat
‘s broadcast chat function, which permits users on cellphones to relay discussions and commentary
about any subject they wish.” It’s a platform where content that pertains to you is emerged to you and you engage with it, “Mhatre says.The company wased established by three Bangalore-based designers. Farid Ahsan, 26, Ankush Sachdeva, 25, and Bhanu Pratap Singh, also 26– all graduates from India’s popular IIT Kanpur University– had developed 17 different prototypes for a product before they finally settled on the version that would end up being ShareChat.The business’s founders are also taking a page from the popular Chinese app WeChat and want to turn their broadcast chat service into a platform for micropayments, education, and other kinds of entertainment.What began as a specific niche website for individuals to interact in their regional dialects could now end up being the first true domestic social media giant in India.There are other Chinese corollaries to ShareChat’s company that may be informative. Toutiao, the news aggregation service owned by Bytedance, is possibly the closest in kind to ShareChat at the moment, however even that is only precise to a point.China’s facilities is still rather based on desktop computers and landlines, whereas India’s is completely mobile-first. For Mhatre, it’s the very first nation to make the leap to a digital economy based completely on mobile computing.At Lightspeed 77 nations we took a look at, with typical
download speeds of 6.1 Mbps, over 10 Mbps lower than the worldwide average.ShareChat’s concentrate on messaging and sharing information light images is a platform that’s matched to the current strengths and restrictions of India’s facilities.”Y ou have half a billion people with a high speed web terminal in their hand and they desire to do things with it
,”Mhatre said. And ShareChat isn’t just localized in its tech stack. The business also is localized by language. As the investors at Lightspeed kept in mind in their thoughts onthe deal.The “next billion “users in India speak 22 various languages and are spread out over an area the size of Europe. ShareChat’s founders Ankush,
Per her website, Valentina was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, and emigrated to Spain and then to the United States when she was a teen. She attended Southern Connecticut State University, Paier College of Art, and the Fashion Institute of Technology.
Carter previously dated Madison Parker until August 2017. That month, Aaron came out as bisexual.
Air traffic control? Super stressful job. Brain surgeon? Not for the faint of heart. But parents take on the most relentless and challenging work on Earth every single day. Here’s what makes raising humans the toughest job:
1. The responsibility is immense, and the stakes are incredibly high — yet there is no manual.
The first time you hold your baby — the weight of their entire life in your hands — it’s nearly impossible not to be overwhelmed. You question whether you’re adequate for the task, and the fact that you have no real idea what you’re doing hits you. This is a person’s life we’re talking about. How did you get put in charge of a life?
And no matter how many experts you talk to or parenting books you read, you discover that children always find a way to thwart their wisdom and keep you on your toes. What works with one child is totally ineffectual with another. Your job is to nurture these tiny humans physically, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually — and you basically have to figure it out as you go along.
2. It’s physically and emotionally exhausting — and there are no real breaks.
Unless you’re lucky, you start off parenting with months of sleep deprivation that you never seem to catch up from. Even after kids figure out how to sleep, they wake you up because they’re scared, they wet the bed, their pajamas are “scratchy,” they’re dying of thirst, or 5 a.m. on Saturday seems like a good time to party. Later, they choose your bedtime to have their most profound, hours-long heart-to-heart talks with you.
And in this constantly tired state, you are expected to be “on” 24/7. You must feed these people several times a day, every day, or they’ll die. Dealing with their bodily functions feels like a full-time job in certain stages. And those are just the bare basic physical needs.
Until you’re in it, it’s impossible to understand the mental and emotional work that goes into parenting. You field 583,417 questions — half of which are unanswerable — in a kid’s fourth year of life alone. You have to teach kids to navigate social and emotional landscapes that you yourself are still figuring out, and inevitably, at least one child will exhibit a behavior that you never even knew existed and have no idea how to handle.
Who knew Guns n’ Roses had such a bead on parenting?
Parenting taxes the body, brain, and heart — and it’s nonstop. Even if you get a physical break, you’re always thinking about their wellbeing.
3. If the exhaustion doesn’t get you, the worry might.
When my first child was a baby, I watched an “Oprah” episode about child abduction, and I’ve pretty much been terrified ever since. Like exhaustion, the worry waxes and wanes but never really stops.
Before kids, my definition of “overprotective” was something totally different than it is now. And thanks to the internet, parents have a whole host of concerns that generations past didn’t have. Technology can open awesome new worlds of learning and exploration for our kids, but literally one click can lead them into a world of sick and twisted depravity.
You don’t want to be neurotic, but you need a healthy amount of concern in order to make wise choices. Discerning what’s worth worrying about and what’s not is a constant — and exhausting — balancing act.
4. You don’t get a paycheck — and in fact, this job costs you money.
Parenting comes with more responsibility and stress than any occupation, but there’s no paycheck, no seasonal bonuses, no monetary compensation of any kind.
In fact, generally speaking, the more time you spend parenting, the less money you make. There’s also no paid leave. You usually have to pay someone else to watch your kids so you can have “time off.”
Your superhuman ability to multi-task, keen attention to detail, and devotion to the job will not be noticed by the boss and rewarded with a promotion or a raise. In fact, you’ll be lucky if these skills and qualities are noticed by anyone.
5. Yet we do our best anyway because our love for our kids is unparalleled — and the rewards are priceless.
Honestly, if we didn’t love our children, they’d be a lot easier to raise. We wouldn’t worry about them or bother figuring out what’s best for them. We’d sleep through the night and let them cry until they turn blue. We’d plop them in front of the TV with Cheetos and root beer to keep them quiet and go about our days in peace.
But we do love them. The heart-swelling, Earth-shattering, all-consuming love we have for our kids is what makes us get up at 3 a.m. to chase away bad dreams, dutifully wipe a butt for the 2054th time, and agonize over meal-planning and screen-time limits.
And that love is also the reward we get for a job well done.
Love creates the challenge of parenting yet makes it all worthwhile. It’s the cause of our parenting woes yet also the cure. My kid could be driving me up the wall one minute, but when he lays his head on my shoulder and says, “I love you, Mommy,” I fall head-first into that gushy cloud of kid-love that has propelled the human race forward for millennia. Those moments always remind me that the joy ultimately outweighs the hard.
As much as I don’t like the occasional kick when BoyWonder climbs into bed with us in the wee hours, I do love waking up…
need to totally begin to consider it. Rotational 3D printing
is in fact reproducing the very same impressive mechanical properties and intricate microstructures discovered in nature. This procedure is called biomimicry. The advantages and applications of biomimicry in the 3D printing industry are many and nature have much to teach us! Some systems of nature can be used to our manufacturing tasks, copying structures and homes from nature composites.It is clearly optimizing the homes of the product that we already utilize for additive production. Advantages of this brand-new printing strategy Using less material to get resistant parts Controlling the fiber orientation is enabling to pattern the material, and develop parts with a higher strength and tightness. This procedure is a way to modify the microstructure and develop new performances with the exact same material. It is an option
to increase the damage tolerance on some specific locations.If the resistance of a product can be optimized utilizing rotational 3D printing, it is making it absolutely possible to utilize less 3D printing product. It might end up being a money-saving printing strategy, guaranteeing the quality and the resistance of the parts.
The application of such a technique could be limitless and enhance a lot of projects. “Rotational 3D printing can be used to accomplish optimum, or near optimum, fiber arrangements at every area in the printed part, resulting in higher strength and stiffness with less material,” discusses Brett Compton on of the scientists working on this study.”Rather than using magnetic or electric fields to orient fibers, we manage the flow of the viscous ink itself to impart the preferred fiber orientation.”In fact, when we wish to create really resistant parts, we need to use a growing number of material in order to enhance the part where it is required. Utilizing rotational 3D printing opens new possibilities, and will permit developing brand-new tasks and new remarkable structures. Will it be possible to use this strategy with any material?One of the scientists on this job, Brett Compton, mentions that this 3Dprinting approach might be on any material utilizing the extrusion method. From direct ink writing to large-scale thermoplastic printing, and so on. This additive manufacturing strategy is actually opening new possibilities and could cause extraordinary 3D printing applications and experiments. This approach could quickly be readily available on a great deal of different 3D printers. Scientists
are actually comprehending the big potential of additive production and searching for brand-new services to optimize its usage and all of its capacities. Turning 3D printing will absolutely assist to improve the development of additive production by creating projects constantly more excellent and qualitative, from mechanical engineering to architecture.
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On Tuesday, a trifecta of tech companies announced that they had thwarted what appear to be significant cyberattacks from Russia and Iran. First, Microsoft president Brad Smith announced that the company had caught another round of phishing attacks on political groups in the United States, which it attributed to the Russian hacking group Fancy Bear. Then it was Facebook's turn. On a call with reporters, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said his company had shut down 652 pages, accounts, and groups affiliated primarily with Iran, though some had ties to Russia. Twitter almost instantly followed suit, saying it too had taken 284 accounts offline, which appeared to have originated in Iran.
In Washington, the news was met with a mixture of gratitude and anxiety. Gratitude, because these companies are finally stepping up their efforts to stop attacks on democracy like the Russian government unleashed on the US during the 2016 election. Anxiety, because with 75 days left before the midterm elections, the announcements served as yet another reminder that these ad hoc efforts from the tech industry may be the country’s best hope at preventing another crisis.
“I’m glad that more and more people are engaged and want to help fix these things,” Raffi Krikorian, chief technology officer of the Democratic National Committee, said following Microsoft's announcement. “But it obviously freaks me out that they have to do this … Where is the government on this?” On Tuesday, a private security firm also alerted the DNC to an attempted attack on its voter database, which the DNC has since reported to the FBI.
When it comes to protecting democratic institutions, the tech industry is in a contradictory position. On one hand, it's been blamed for allowing trolls and cybercriminals to run amok on its platforms during the 2016 election. On the other, it's been quicker to respond to these threats than Washington has been. Companies like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are staffing up on human content reviewers, cracking down on bots and fake accounts, and developing new technology and methodologies to curb the spread of disinformation. Google, Microsoft, and Cloudflare, meanwhile, have launched free tools to protect US campaigns from cyberattacks.
But that blend of resourcing and concrete action has hardly been matched by the government, where several simultaneous attempts to address the issue have stalled. The Department of Justice has issued scathing indictments of Russian hackers and trolls this year, but without international jurisdiction they're largely symbolic. The White House axed its top cyber policy position following the departure of former cybersecurity czar Tom Bossert in April. The Global Engagement Center, a State Department initiative that was directed to counter Russian propaganda, has been starved for resources for much of the past year. And it's anyone's guess who, exactly, is responsible for making sure that information gets shared with the right people across the public and private sector.
"Every agency is off doing its own thing. No one is in charge," says Brett Bruen, former White House director of global engagement under President Obama. "We continue to have a very siloed process within the government, let alone bringing the private sector to the table to try to figure this out together."
"Even if you have a big shield like Microsoft does, there is a wide gap between them and the next tech company, and Russia's going to run right through that."
Brett Bruen, Global Situation Room
Nowhere was that more evident than on Capitol Hill Tuesday, where representatives from an alphabet soup of government agencies testified before a Senate subcommittee hearing about their respective departments' approaches to cyber threats. There was the deputy attorney general of the United States, who touted the DOJ's Cyber-Digital Task Force. There was the deputy director of the newly formed Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center, which is housed under the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. And finally, there was the director of the National Risk Management Center, run out of the Department of Homeland Security.
But several lawmakers pointed out the lack of a single point person, like a cybersecurity czar, to coordinate these parallel efforts. "Someone needs to be responsible," said Republican senator James Lankford, who also testified before the subcommittee. "A 'whole of government approach' often means no one is watching, because everyone’s supposed to be watching."
Congress, meanwhile, has introduced a litany of promising bipartisan bills aimed at addressing the problem. The Honest Ads Act, introduced by senators Mark Warner, Amy Klobuchar, and John McCain, would impose new ad disclosure requirements on digital political ads, similar to the standards that print and broadcast ads are already held to. The DETER Act, meanwhile, introduced by senators Marco Rubio and Chris Van Hollen, proposed giving the Director of National Intelligence the authority to immediately trigger harsh sanctions against Russia if it's found to have interfered with future elections. The Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act, introduced by senators Lindsey Graham and Bob Menendez, would introduce strict sanctions on the Russian energy industry, its banks, and its oligarchs. Senators Chris Coons and Cory Gardner have introduced legislation that would set up a separate committee in the Senate to handle cyber threats. And last month, Senator Warner circulated a white paper with 20 potential policy changes that could help mitigate threats to American tech companies.
None of the bills have moved forward, however. Progress on Capitol Hill has been stagnant.
As for the executive branch, President Trump has repeatedly downplayed the threat from Russia. "One of the reasons why this is harder than it should be is the absence of the White House," Warner told WIRED. "In a normal White House, you'd have someone on the National Security Council that would use the power of the White House, at least in terms of convening all the groups."
In the absence of that leadership, tech companies have carried out their own crackdowns. "They have to step up to fill this gap," Krikorian says. "If I were in their shoes, I would look at this like: We have a whole bunch of customers. No one else is taking care of them. We have to go do it."
And yet, Bruen, who is now president of the consulting firm Global Situation Room, says that the country loses when private businesses are tasked with protecting national security interests as they see fit. "This is like the Roman shields aligning on the battlefield," Bruen says. "Right now, even if you have a big shield like Microsoft does, there is a wide gap between them and the next tech company, and Russia's going to run right through that."
Warner agrees. "While I appreciate what the companies are doing, I'm not convinced the self-regulatory initiative alone will fix the problem," he says, noting that not all companies have been equally responsive to the threat. "We focus a lot on the big three platforms, but there’s Reddit and a host of other smaller platforms that are doing some, but could also still up their game."
Former National Security Agency director Keith Alexander used another analogy in recent a statement to the House Armed Services Committee. Entrusting tech companies to defend against state-sponsored cyber threats, he explained, would be akin to expecting Walmart or Target to have surface-to-air missiles on the roofs of their warehouses to defend against Russian bombers.
"This policy simply makes no sense; expecting individual companies, standing alone, to defend themselves against all comers, including nation-states—which, to be fair, is our current expectation—is a policy designed to fail," Alexander wrote.
There's plenty that tech companies need to do to make their platforms safer and more trustworthy for their users. But there is so much else that they don't have the authority to do. They can advocate, as Microsoft has, for a digital Geneva Convention that creates a set of international norms to protect cyberspace, but they can't make it happen. They can try to assign blame in these attacks, as Facebook and Twitter have done, but they don't have access to all of the intelligence community's insights about escalating threats. And of course, when they detect a threat, they can't retaliate. Only the government can make those calls, and yet, the US still has no single doctrine that signals to its adversaries what the consequences of such a cyberattack would be. That all but invites foreign attackers to give it a go, explained Senator Lankford in his testimony.
"If our enemies don’t know what we may do in response, they may try it," he said.
So while the progress made by tech companies may be both necessary and useful, it's hardly enough. As Republican senator Ben Sasse warned forebodingly at the end of Tuesday's hearing, "Both the executive branch and the legislative branch are just waiting for the catastrophe. It’s ridiculous, and everybody around here ought to be fired when that moment comes, and this institution did nothing to prepare for it."
Michaela Watkins and I are genuinely surprised to see each other.
She was doing press for Casual, but I was going to be in Norway. I was going to be in Los Angeles the next week, but she was going to be in…Norway. But shed FaceTime me, her publicist promised, giving me a phone number and time-zone-complex instructions about when to call.
So I do, smiling into my iPhone camera from my Beverly Hills hotel room. Oh! Were FaceTiming! Watkins says, not having gotten the memo and slightly startled when she answers from a park bench inMaine, where shed had to go unexpectedly. Shed forgotten to update her interview schedule from the European time zone.
Time, space, and technology had done their best to throw us off. And yet, somehow, Michaela Watkins and I make a connection.
Perhaps Im being a bit precious reading this encounter as blessedly on-theme for the final season, and the series message, of Casual, Hulus Golden Globe-nominated series about the intersection of dating-hell and self-discovery.
The first season of the Jason Reitman-produced dramedy debuted at the dawn of swiping. Dating apps were all the rage, and no one really understood yet how theyd affect the human aspects of relationships, let alone romance. The fourth and final season, now available on Hulu, flashes forward to the future, imagining how VR and other technical advancements could further muck up the already muddy swamp world of dating.
The series centers on Watkins character, Valerie, a 40-something woman navigating life as a recent divorcee and single mom to a rebellious teenage daughter, Laura (Tara Lynne Barr). They move in with her bachelor brother, Alex (Tommy Dewey), mad in his own prison of arrested development. Over the course of four seasons, the trio does unspeakable things to each other, typically out of selfishness. But they also possess enough love for each other to reliably mend frayed bonds.
Their destructiveness. Their compassion. Their romance. Their cynicism. Their delusion. Their hopelessness. They were beautifully, horrifyingly relatable. And in the season four finale, they say goodbye to each other. Alex is moving to be with his child and baby mama. Laura is entering a serious relationship. And Valerie, for once, is aloneand happy about it.
I love that Valerie didnt have to end up with a man to show what happiness is, Watkins says. That television is finally at a place where a character who is in her forties can come to the end of her arc and feel that way marks major progress, too.
Watkins career, or life, for that matter, is hardly at the end of an arc. That aforementioned trip to Norway? It was for her and husbands biking trip through Bergen to celebrate their five-year wedding anniversary, and Watkins has five publicly announced projects coming out in the next two years. But it is the end of what she maintains has been the most monumental and also most unexpected stretch of her life.
Not only was Casual steady employment. It meant working with female directors. It meant a character she wonders and sometimes fears may be the best shell ever play. And she got to bring it all to a satisfying conclusion.
So how is Michaela Watkins now? Is she, like Valerie, happy? At peace?
Now that its over, I feel processed, she says. So Im not mourning the end of Casual because we did it in real time in the show. The show as written mourns the end of Casual. So now what I am is really excited.
Prior to Casual, Watkins was Hollywoods go-to comedy bandit, storming into supporting arcs with her repertoire of loopy and neurotic characters and running away with the spoils: gut-busting laughter.
Shows and movies her comedy looted include The Back-Up Plan, Wanderlust, Enlightened, New Girl, Trophy Wife, Wet Hot American Summer: First Day at Camp, Playing House, and one of the most remarkably productive first seasons of Saturday Night Live in recent memoryprobably rivaled only by Kate McKinnons freshman year, making it all the more shocking when she wasnt invited to return.
With Watkins, it was a case of what youre known for is what youre asked to do. A role like Valerie? I always knew that was in me as an actor, she says. I just didnt know how to break into that.
Watkins was actually the first person to ever audition for Casual.
After her first read, Reitman turned to Zander Lehmann, who created the show, and said, Yeah, with a surprised, satisfied look on his face. Lehmann reciprocated. It works! They had never heard their words read aloud before.
Watkins response: Cool! Congratulations! Have fun with Maggie Gyllenhaal, she said, assuming theyd go with someone more famous.
I love that Valerie didnt have to end up with a man to show what happiness is.
A few weeks later, she ran into Reitman. He told her he wasnt sure whether or not it was comforting to hear, but she was his choice for the role. The network, on the other hand, wantedand she finished the sentence for hima big movie star. They ended up working together again when Reitman invited Watkins to participate in a charity live reading of the Goodfellas screenplay in the Lorraine Bracco role.
There he kind of said to me, Have you heard from Hulu? she says. And I said no. He said, Cool. Then I got the job.
Valerie is a tapestry of contradictions stitched together into one of those prickly quilts we cant resist, for all their scratchiness, because of their comforting familiarity. Shes contemplative and polite, yet she learns to be outlandish and indulgent. Shes nervous, but competent. Sexual, but reserved. When her guard is threatened, her porcupine needles go up. But she never means to hurt anybody.
Shes a real, actual woman, who happens to be over the age of 40, given the spotlight and the agency in her story. Unlike many of the characters Watkins had played before, the most captivating thing about Valerie is her quietness, how thoughts are telegraphed through shifts in posture, glances to the side, sighs and breaths. Yet Watkins never felt like she had to stretch herself to play her.
I almost had to exhale into the character, if that makes sense, she says. The character already felt there for me. As opposed to, Well, they didnt really flesh out the character so I have to make a few choices and hope it dazzles them like a lot of wife characters. A lot of mothers.
Its telling that since Casual, the work shes been asked to do has been deservedly more diverse. Visible through Watkins iPhone screen when we Facetime is the Transparent baseball cap she wore for her morning hike, procured during her time recurring in crucial flashbacks to 1933 Berlin in Jill Soloways series. She recently wrapped Sword of Trusts, directed by Lynn Shelton (Humpday, Your Sisters Sister), whom shes always wanted to work with. But that doesnt mean that Watkins is going, or even wants, to leave the kooks behind.
She shot two episodes of the upcoming season of the Amazon comedy Catastrophe, created by and starring Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan as a brutally honest married couple. Shell play Robs sister. (Their mother was played by Carrie Fisher in the last role she filmed.) Her boyfriend will be played by Nat Faxon. As she recalls it, the two old friends essentially terrorized the prim and proper British TV set with their brash American comedy. Because I do mostly comedy Im usually working with friends and its usually a ball.
Theres rarely a piece written about Watkins that doesnt mention Saturday Night Live. It makes sense. As a culture, were obsessed with the venerable sketch series. But on top of that, Watkins run on the program was so unusually strong, and the end to it so seemingly arbitrary and nonsensical. She played a series of returning characters, appeared in several sketches a night, and was a mainstay at the Weekend Update desk with characters like Arianna Huffington and her sardonic Bitch Pleeze movie blogger. Yet Lorne Michaels didnt invite her back, according to lore, because he thought she deserved her own show.
Since her departure from Studio 8H in 2009, weve taken it upon ourselves to obsess over the role the series played in her life and career. But how does she feel about it?
To answer that, she has to go back to the beginning.
I dont come from a Hollywood family, she starts. I dont have Hollywood friends. I didnt have any connections. So its really been a long sort of slog, hitting every sort of step. There wasnt a lot of missteps. It wasnt like I happened to get cast in the next Marvel film and went from obscurity.
By the time she was hired at SNL, she was, at age 37, the oldest woman the show had ever cast, until Leslie Jones became a featured player in 2014. She had been doing theater. She didnt move to Los Angeles until she was 30. She thought that ship had sailed.
The character already felt there for me. As opposed to, Well, they didnt really flesh out the character so I have to make a few choices and hope it dazzles them like a lot of wife characters. A lot of mothers.
Still, she had joined the improv group Groundlings and made it into the main company, so she sent in an audition tape to SNL. That was the first time: She auditioned, but didnt get the job. But they called her back the next year right before the season started, so she had to come up with all new characters, which she wrote on the airplane there.
It was so janky and last-minute, she says. But amazingly thats how I love to work. So SNL was a really good match for me in that way, I thought, so I was really sad when it didnt go beyond a season.
She remembers promising herself when she got there that she was going to give it her all, because by all odds, she shouldnt have been there. I got hired with a 21-year-old [Abby Elliott]. I was turning 37 at the time. It was literally her first job and it was my 100th. The first 99 involved waiting tables.
When she got back to Los Angeles, she wrote the pilot for Benched, which was eventually picked up by TBS as a series. She took an improv class at the Groundlings, which was humiliating for a performer who had just been on SNLthe endgame for improv studentsbut which actually helped her with humility.
Theres a story I could have told myself at that time that could have been a bummer, she says. Im happy because I was proud of what I did at SNL. Its the only time probably in my life that I didnt have any regrets. I worked really hard. I played really nice. I threw myself into it. I committed. Beyond that, what else could I have done?
She starts giggling before she can get this next, surprisingly profound bit out: So its like when my cat died: at least every day I told my cat I loved him.
Nothing in Watkins life happened as expected. Not performing for a living. Not making it to SNL. Not having the chance taken on her for Casual. Not meeting the man who would become her husband at age 39. And probably not whatever comes next, either.
In my best moment, I feel really optimistic about whats next, she says. In my worst moment, I worry that maybe I wont get to play characters as well drawn and real and sexy and sad and not just a mother or wife. In my darkest moments, what if thats it? What if thats the best character I ever get to play?
Right now, though, Watkins is having one of her best, brightest moments.
I did it, Im proud of it. Im excited to do something different. I dont know if anyone would cast me in it, but Id love to do a period biopic. Id love to do a Marvel movie. Im like, cool, now what are we going to make?