Iris

Bing Explores the 2016 National Conventions

Next week the National Conventions commence which means we ve officially hit the home stretch of this year s unforgettable election season. The Conventions lend themselves to a series of information needs: Who will be speaking, why the conventions are so important to the fate of the election, who will the VPs be and what is the climate in the conventions arenas themselves. To ensure we deliver the best experience for our users, we spoke to potential voters and asked them what their biggest information needs are during this stage in the election process. All of the feedback received centered on aggregating relevant news in relation to the key moments of the election. With Bing s convention experience1, we provide real-time news from leading news sources along with categorized tweets from different convention attendees so you can get a strong grasp of all the key updates and conversations.

You can also live stream the conventions directly from Bing. And for the basic questions, our conventions FAQ has you covered. Click here2 to check it out! This is a new iteration of Bing s commitment to providing relevant and insightful Elections related experiences to help you stay empowered and informed this election season. And there will be more where this came from.

– The Bing team

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References

  1. ^ Bing s convention experience (www.bing.com)
  2. ^ here (www.bing.com)

Dr Hutch: Remember marginal gains?

They used to be big

Marginal gains: put simply it s the ruthless pursuit of the fairly obvious says Dr Hutch

Sir Dave Brailsford1. Marginal gains was how the GB cycling team moved from also-rans to world beaters over the course of just a couple of Olympics: they built up a big gain by looking for lots and lots of small gains. Sir Dave was in the details.

(The details are also, of course, where you already find both God and the Devil, and quite what that pair made of Sir Dave when he turned up I don t know.)

>>> Dr Hutch: The sensitive subject of saddle sores2

At a more practical level, here are some marginal gains you could try before your next big event: lose 2kg, do some training, stop eating custard creams, buy a tighter jersey, shave your legs, lube your chain and try to get to the start line on time. Disappointing? Of course it is. It s the downside to marginal gains. When you spell them out one by one most of them are rather obvious, and none of them are exciting.

All that calling them marginal gains brings to the table is the idea that doing lots of them at once is somehow different. When it comes down to it there s about as much actual science in marginal gains as there is in an average copy of the Daily Mail. It was never much more than the ruthless pursuit of the moderately obvious. But as a bit of coaching politics, giving it a sciency name was genius.

Empty justification
It was a very specific formulation of a very familiar concept, so it was almost impossible to criticise it. If you complained that the whole thing contained nothing new, someone would produce 20 pages of wind-tunnel data about Laura Trott3 s pigtails. If you felt that there was more to life than wind tunnels, someone would ask you if trying to make sure everyone got a good night s sleep was really such a stupid idea.

>>> Dr Hutch: Summer cycling is not all it s cracked up to be4

It meant everything and nothing. It was a catch-all phrase that could justify anything. And because of this emptiness, perhaps a bit like the concept of political correctness , it has come to tell you more about the person talking about it than about anything else. If you re a fan of marginal gains, there s a good chance you also like Strava5, this magazine s product pages, F1, carbon-fibre shoes, track cycling and Chris Boardman6. If you loathe the very words, you re probably a fan of Cateye computers with proper buttons, steel bikes, barbecues, getting-the-miles-in, tubular tyres, Paris-Roubaix and Sean Kelly.

Putting marginal before gains had exactly the same effect that one of my neighbours was looking for when he added solutions after central heating and plumbing on the side of his van. Same basic service, same grouchy attitude, but now all modern and 21st century. I liked the marginal gains idea all the same. I liked the way it emphasised detail. It made it alright to tell strangers you owed everything to organic cherry juice.

It meant leaders in industry, engineering or politics looked at the simple activity of riding a bike, and thought we were all up to something terribly clever. It meant I could build my own wind tunnel from cardboard, a household fan and a set of scales, and Mrs Doc couldn t laugh at me. Still. There is hope. Team Sky7 has a Head of Winning Behaviours .

I m hoping it s going to be the next small thing.

References

  1. ^ Sir Dave Brailsford (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  2. ^ >>> Dr Hutch: The sensitive subject of saddle sores (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  3. ^ Laura Trott (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  4. ^ >>> Dr Hutch: Summer cycling is not all it s cracked up to be (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  5. ^ Strava (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  6. ^ Chris Boardman (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  7. ^ Team Sky (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)

Are YOU taking your children out of school for a holiday?

Surge in bookings after father won landmark ruling over term-time trip

  • Ruling favoured Jon Platt, who took his daughter out of school for a trip
  • Online travel agent reported 88% rise in term-time bookings after ruling
  • Study suggests most families will travel in early July or late September
  • Flight search website reported 50% increase in interest in Lanzarote

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There has been a surge in enquiries for term-time bookings after the High Court ruled in favour of a father who refused to pay a 120 fine for taking his daughter out of school for a family holiday, a new study claims. Two online travel firms said they had seen unprecedented interest in term-time family trips since Jon Platt’s landmark victory last Friday. One travel agency said there has also been a drop in bookings for trips during the summer break following the ruling, which looks set to force education chiefs to consider changing the law.

A study suggests travel searches and bookings have increased since a landmark High Court ruling

Sunshine.co.uk, based at Cramlington, Northumberland, said it noticed the trends after comparing travel search and booking data from Saturday and Sunday with figures from the previous weekend. It said there was an 88 per cent increase in family Discount Holidays © holiday bookings during school term time (classed as two adults and one or more child aged five to 16). For the summer Discount Holidays © holiday period, there was a 32 per cent fall in bookings from the previous weekend.

The same trends were revealed when the travel agency looked at week-on-week searches. Enquiries for term time family Discount Holidays © holiday soared by 92 per cent from the previous weekend, while searches for summer breaks fell by 45 per cent. The study suggests a majority of parents plan to take their children out of school and potentially face fines for unauthorised absences in the first week of July or the last week of September.

Jon Platt, 44, was fined 120 for taking his daughter on a family Discount Holidays © holiday without permission from her school

Chris Clarkson, managing director of Sunshine.co.uk, said: ‘When the news hit on Friday of Mr Platt’s success in court, we wanted to keep an eye on bookings and searches over the weekend to see what impact it had, especially since the government announced that it would consider making alterations to the law as a result.

‘This would have such a positive impact on parents, particularly in the financial sense, but it seems that many parents are already taking this court case as a sign that they too could get out of a fine if they take their children out of school for a holiday, especially those who’ve already booked.

‘They should be wary though until the law is changed, unless they are prepared to pay the fine.’

Platt, 44, was fined by Isle of Wight Council after he took his family to Walt Disney World in Florida without permission from his daughter’s school. The original 60 fine was doubled because he refused to pay. Platt won the case when the dispute went before Isle of Wight Magistrates’ Court in October. The local authority appealed against the decision at the High Court in London, leading to last week’s ruling.

Flight search website, cheapflights.co.uk found that last weekend there was a 50 per cent surge in searches for flights to Lanzarote during the spring term

Following the ruling, another British travel firm, Cheapflights.co.uk noted a similar spike in searches between Friday afternoon and midnight on Monday when compared with the same time period the previous weekend, reports The Guardian1. The flight search website found that last weekend there was a 50 per cent surge in searches for flights to Lanzarote during the spring term (departing between 4 June and 12 July) and a 21 per cent increase in searches for Malaga flights. While searches for flights during autumn term to each destination were up 32 per cent and 50 per cent respectively.

Cheapflights also found that searches for flights to both destinations during the school holidays had fallen. Andrew Shelton, MD of Cheapflights.co.uk said: ‘It’s unsurprising that families are flouting the rules when it comes to taking children out of school during term time as prices can rise significantly in line with demand during the holidays.

‘A quick search on our site today shows that families can save up to 45 per cent by travelling during term time; a flight to Lanzarote is just 204 in September, which represents a saving of 340 on the adult tickets alone against the August price of 374. Hopefully this ruling will lead to some relaxation of the rules to flatten out those peak demand periods, giving everyone the chance to enjoy the benefits of a family getaway.’

However for anyone who won’t be taking their children out of school for a holiday, Shelton offers money saving tips: ‘Tuesday’s are the cheapest days to book, and generally the best fares are advertised about 50 days ahead of departure with the most expensive being seen three days before travel.

‘The time of your flight departure can also impact flight costs; morning flights tend to be more expensive so those who have the flexibility to travel between 6pm and midnight can benefit from savings.

‘Further, Friday is consistently the most expensive day to fly because of the increased demand of those trying to get away for the weekend,’ he said.

References

  1. ^ The Guardian (www.theguardian.com)