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Imagine combat vehicles, drones or robots able to regenerate armor or other materials after being hit by enemy fire. Now think about advanced high-performing protective equipment for soldiers that includes self-sustaining mobile electrical power. These are two amazing high-tech possibilities that could all be elements of future warfare technology — perhaps more than a decade from now.

The Army Research Office and Northwestern University are exploring basic research aimed at engineering synthetic materials which merge with or mirror actions of living biological organisms. Experts, scientists and researchers are involved in early experimental work to create high-performance materials by engineering “sequence-defined synthetic polymers with the precision of biology,” Dawanne Poree, program manager, polymer chemistry at the Army Research Office, explained to Warrior.


File photo - A United States M1A2 SEP fires its main gun during the shoot-off of Strong Europe Tank Challenge at Grafenwoehr Training Area, June 3 - 8, 2018.

File photo – A United States M1A2 SEP fires its main gun during the shoot-off of Strong Europe Tank Challenge at Grafenwoehr Training Area, June 3 – 8, 2018.
(U.S. Army Photo by Kevin S. Abel)

“The ability to harness and adapt cellular machinery to produce non-biological polymers would, in essence, bring synthetic materials into the realm of biological functions. This could render advanced, high-performance materials such as nanoelectronics, self-healing materials, and other materials of interest for the Army,” she said. This could lead to regenerating materials, advanced information storage and other key attributes. To accomplish this, the military is looking into re-engineering “biological machinery to allow it to work with non-biological building blocks that would offer a route to creating synthetic polymers with the precision of biology,” Poree explained.

There could be many additional applications for the process to include soldier-protective materials, fuel cells that generate power and various kinds of new electronics.

The ARO is exploring the project with Northwestern University which, scientifically, is looking at biological polymers, such as DNA, to generate synthetic materials able to replicate biological functions. “Ribosomes, a cell structure that makes protein, can incorporate new kinds of monomers (scientific term for molecules which bind to form polymer material) which can be bonded with identical molecules to form polymers,” Army officials said. Synthetic polymers are things like plastics, polyester and nylon. Biological polymers are collections of molecules.


Michael Jewett, the Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence, professor of chemical and biological engineering, and director of the Center for Synthetic Biology at Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering, explained that the emerging process could help “create classes of materials and medicines that haven’t been synthesized before.”


ARO is an element of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory.​​​​​​​

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Looking for a way to pump up your website’s search engine optimization (SEO), bring in more search traffic and increase your conversions? If so, you’ll want to learn more about long-tail keywords. 

These are longer phrases that people are searching for online, often when they’re ready to buy or are looking for precise information. The best part is, it’s usually pretty easy to rank for these keywords, so you’ll save yourself time and effort. 

Let’s take a closer look at long-tail keywords and how you can add them to your website to bring in more traffic and increase conversions.

What are long-tail keywords?

Long-tail keywords are low volume, hyper-focused keywords that people use when searching, especially when they’re ready to buy or want answers to concrete questions on a subject.

Today, the concept of the “long tail” refers to the length of the search query (three or more words), but that’s not where it originated. It originally described the part of the graph these types of searches occupy when SEO experts graph search queries out. Short-tail keywords are the higher volume search queries that spike at the head of the graph, while the long-tail ones stretch out longer on the graph because there are more of them. 

Why focus on long-tail keywords?

There are three reasons why you should focus on long-tail keywords in your SEO efforts.

1. They’re easier to rank for.

It’s easier to rank for long-tail keywords because fewer websites compete for them. For example, a keyword like “website builders” has nearly 390 million results in Google, meaning you’ll need to beat all of them to rank No. 1. 

The long-tail keyword “best website builders for ecommerce,” however, is a better option as you’d only need to outrank 8.1 million websites. 

2. They have high conversion rates.

People searching for long-tail keywords are, generally speaking, further into the buying cycle than someone searching about the topic more broadly. These people already know the basic info about the subject and want an answer to a specific question. They search with more focus and intention and look for retailers, reviews and more, making the long-tail keywords convert more often. 

3. They bring you more organic traffic.

People who use long-tail keywords are looking for particular information, so they’ll spend more time on a site they find in the search results. You’ll get more organic search traffic and decrease your bounce rates as they stick around longer. 

Now that you know what they are and how they affect your SEO, it’s time to learn how to find long-tail keywords for your website.

How to identify the best long-tail keywords

Use these tips to find the best long-tail keywords for your website. 

Use your analytics

Fire up your favorite tool and look at the long-tail keywords that are already bringing traffic to your website. Brainstorm related or similar long-tail keywords to the ones you already rank for. Stick to ones related to the top five that appear in this report, as people are already searching for them. 

Use Google autocomplete

Google’s autocomplete feature is a helpful way to find long-tail keywords since it uses actual words and phrases people are searching for. So, you type in “best website builders … ” and Google offers several suggestions like “for artists,” “for online stores,” “for hobbyists” and more. 

Use Google’s “Searches related to” list

At the bottom of every search results page, Google displays a “Searches related to” list. These are, you guessed it, other related search terms people have used. Each of them is a long-tail keyword you could use to drive traffic to your website. 

Ask Answerthepublic

Answerthepublic is a fantastic keyword research tool that generates question-focused keywords using the autocomplete data it mines from search engines. Enter your short-tail keyword on the site, and it’ll display a mindmap of all the questions people are asking with it. Here’s what it found for “website builders.”


Image Credit: via AnswerThePublic

Download your answers, and you’ve got a starting list of long-tail keywords to optimize your site for.

Use a trend tracker

Tools like Google Trends and Exploding Topics can help you identify new search trends that you can use to develop your long-tail keywords. Google Trends lets you search for your keywords while Exploding Topics has created visualizations for various categories of keywords and periods. The company’s weekly newsletter can help you identify the long-tail keywords before they blow up so you can optimize your site for it earlier. 

Once you’ve identified your long-tail keywords, it’s time to create content for them and optimize your existing website for them. Make sure you’ve picked the right keywords for your SEO strategy. Otherwise, you won’t enjoy the higher conversions and search results for them. Look for search terms that match your business goals and are relevant to your site visitors. The rest will take care of itself. 

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“Harry Potter” creator J.K. Rowling said she refuses to “bow down” to criticism about her recent comments on transgender people.

Rowling published a lengthy post on her blog website Wednesday in response to the backlash and her concerns over “new trans activism.” She has been under hefty scrutiny about her thoughts on transgender identity from the LGBTQ community along with Eddie Redmayne and Daniel Radcliffe, who starred in the Harry Potter film franchise.

“I refuse to bow down to a movement that I believe is doing demonstrable harm in seeking to erode ‘woman’ as a political and biological class and offering cover to predators like few before it,” she said.

Rowling drew outrage Saturday on Twitter when she criticized an opinion piece published by the website Devex, a media platform for the global development community, that used the phrase “people who menstruate.” Rowling implied it should have said “women.”

The famed author continued with another thread speaking about the concept of biological sex. She said she felt compelled to tweet her thoughts about her experience with domestic abuse and sexual assault.

“I stand alongside the brave women and men, gay, straight and trans, who’re standing up for freedom of speech and thought, and for the rights and safety of some of the most vulnerable in our society: young gay kids, fragile teenagers, and women who’re reliant on and wish to retain their single sex spaces,” she said in her post Wednesday.

Rowling’s tweets caused a firestorm of responses from the LGBTQ community and others who were upset with her words. A Harry Potter fan group tweeted its disapproval of Rowling’s post and encouraged followers to donate to a group that supports back transgender women.

Redmayne, who starred in two “Fantastic Beast” films of the “Harry Potter prequel series, disagreed with Rowling’s comments on Twitter. The Oscar-winning actor said that his transgender friends and colleagues are tired of the “constant questioning of their identities.”

“Trans women are women, trans men are men and non-binary identities are valid,” said Redmayne, who played a transgender woman in the 2015 film “The Danish Girl,” which earned him an Oscar nomination. He joined Radcliffe who also disapproved of Rowling’s thoughts on transgender identity.

On Monday, Radcliffe published a lengthy essay about Rowling’s tweets on a website for a nonprofit organization dedicated to crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ people. He said “transgender women are women.”

“Any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either Jo or I,” the actor said.

More must-read entertainment coverage from Fortune:

  • How Alexis Ohanian justified his departure from the Reddit board
  • It’s no fluke how BTS fans raised $1 million in 24 hours
  • 8 athletes who own stakes in MLS teams
  • Just Mercy is available to rent for free through the month of June
  • WATCH: One on one with Grace Potter

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IBM has quit the facial recognition technology business, citing concerns that it can be used for mass surveillance and racial profiling.

The move comes amid ongoing protests following the death of George Floyd on May 25–while in police custody in Minneapolis–that have thrust racial injustice and police monitoring technology into the spotlight.

The tech giant’s CEO Arvind Krishna explained IBM’s decision in a letter sent to U.S. lawmakers Monday.

“IBM no longer offers general purpose IBM facial recognition or analysis software,” he wrote. “IBM firmly opposes and will not condone uses of any technology, including facial recognition technology offered by other vendors, for mass surveillance, racial profiling, violations of basic human rights and freedoms, or any purpose which is not consistent with our values and Principles of Trust and Transparency.”


In this April 26, 2017, file photo, the IBM logo is displayed on the IBM building in Midtown Manhattan, in New York - file photo.

In this April 26, 2017, file photo, the IBM logo is displayed on the IBM building in Midtown Manhattan, in New York – file photo.
(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

IBM’s decision to stop building and selling facial recognition software is unlikely to affect its bottom line, since the tech giant is increasingly focused on cloud computing while an array of lesser-known firms have cornered the market for government facial recognition contracts.

The Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM is one of several big tech firms that had earlier sought to improve the accuracy of their face-scanning software after research found racial and gender disparities. But Krishna, the company’s new CEO, is now questioning whether it should be used by police at all.

“We believe now is the time to begin a national dialogue on whether and how facial recognition technology should be employed by domestic law enforcement agencies,” he wrote. “Artificial Intelligence is a powerful tool that can help law enforcement keep citizens safe. But vendors and users of AI systems have a shared responsibility to ensure that AI is tested for bias, particularity when used in law enforcement, and that such bias testing is audited and reported.”

IBM had previously tested its facial recognition software with the New York Police Department, although the department has more recently used other vendors. It’s not clear if IBM has existing contracts with other government agencies.


Many U.S. law enforcement agencies rely on facial recognition software built by companies less well known to the public, such as Tokyo-based NEC or the European companies Idemia and Cognitec, according to Clare Garvie, a researcher at Georgetown University’s Center on Privacy and Technology.

A smaller number have partnered with Amazon, which has attracted the most opposition from privacy advocates since it introduced its Rekognition software in 2016.

IBM’s decision was welcomed by California Democratic Rep. Jimmy Gomez.

“Smart move by @IBM as we KNOW #FacialRecognition tech as a law enforcement tool is NOT ready for primetime. Back in ‘18, @amazon’s software misidentified me & other Members of Congress — mostly people of color — during an @ACLU test,” he tweeted Monday .”This tech needs legislative guardrails NOW.”


The ACLU test found Amazon’s facial recognition software falsely matched 26 California state lawmakers, or more than 1 in 5, to images from a set of 25,000 public arrest photographs. The ACLU said that over half of the false positives were people of color.

In a blog post on Wednesday, Mike Leone, a senior analyst at ESG Market Research, said that IBM’s move will not stop facial recognition being used by law enforcement and government.

“Facial recognition will continue on its gray area trajectory with or without IBM,” he explained. “But what IBM has done, specifically Arvind Krishna, is bring attention to a growing concern that needs far more national and global attention.


“The use of facial recognition needs to be scrutinized for bias and privacy concerns. It needs oversight,” he added. “It needs guardrails. Usage, especially from law enforcement and governing entities, needs to be transparent.”

Fox News’ Christopher Carbone and the Associated Press contributed to this article. Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

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Influencers drive engagement and are cost effective.

Free Book Preview No BS Guide to Direct Response Social Media Marketing

The ultimate guide to – producing measurable, monetizable results with social media marketing.

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Coronavirus has thrown the ad industry in disarray. Offices are closed and staff are working from home. Productions have been postponed or canceled. Marketing budgets have been slashed. The traditional way of doing things is over, which means that this is the perfect time invest in influencer marketing, which is effective, efficient, nimble and drives results. 

In terms of measurable ROI, influencer engagement scores much higher than most brand content. Brand videos on Facebook have an average watch time of 4.57 seconds, while influencers get tens of minutes. According to recent studies, influencers are more trusted (not to mention far cheaper) than celebrities or athletes among Gen Z and Millennials. Under normal circumstances, these are great reasons to work with influencers. Given today’s landscape, here are a few more reasons.

Related: How to Make Instagram Your Not-So-Secret Sales Weapon

Influencers are still producing

Given bans on large congregations, few productions are happening. However, clients still have needs. Influencers make for a one-stop shop solution since they are the talent/director/producer/editor/DP/media distributor rolled into one. They’re set up better than anyone to create content with limited resources — they’ve been doing it for years.

Influencers are inexpensive 

Brands and agencies are tightening their belts in preparation for a recession. Influencers are feeling the impact as well. Campaigns are being delayed or canceled. A recent report shows that influencer prices are likely to fall by 25 percent. As a result, you can work with influencers more cheaply than ever.

Influencer engagement is skyrocketing

At the same time influencer pricing is going down, their audience is growing. With much of the world forced indoors, social media usage is skyrocketing. Facebook and Instagram saw a 50% percent increases in livestreams. Twitch’s viewership shot up 31 percent in two weeks. YouTube’s U.S. viewership has increased 63%. Influencers are benefitting from this, with some reportedly seeing as much as a 76% increase in “likes” on Instagram sponsored posts. 

Related: The What, Why and How of Programmatic Advertising (and 5 Tips on Using It)

Influencer marketing works

With everyone forced to shop online, influencers are driving more purchases than usual. Data from affiliate marketers showed upticks in sales via influencers. SmartCommerce reported a 30 percent increase in orders, and competitor RewardStyle has seen a similar spike. 

But agencies should tread carefully

While the benefits are clear, I do have a word of caution. Given today’s landscape, agencies need to tread carefully. Not all influencer marketing is the same, and the best programs are collaborations with trusted partners. Influencers are people, and some people can act irresponsibly (and very publicly) while others are using their platforms for good. Choose wisely.

In a “shelter at home” world, advertisers and agencies are scrambling to create things fast, cheap and with few promotional dollars — just the things influencers have been doing for years. More than ever, this is the time to invest in the experts.

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The Federal Reserve says it will keep buying bonds to maintain low borrowing rates and support the U.S. economy in the midst of a recession. And it says nearly all the Fed’s policymakers foresee no rate hike through 2022.

The Fed has cut its benchmark short-term rate to near zero. Keeping its rate ultra-low for more than two more years could make it easier for consumers and businesses to borrow and spend enough to sustain an economy depressed by business shutdowns and high unemployment.

The central bank noted in a statement after its policy meeting ended Wednesday that the viral outbreak has caused a sharp fall in economic activity and surge in job losses.

Fed officials estimate that the economy will shrink 6.5% this year, in line with other forecasts, before expanding 5% in 2021. It foresees sees the unemployment rate at 9.3%, near the peak of the last recession, by the end of this year. The rate is now 13.3%.

At a virtual news conference Wednesday afternoon, Chairman Jerome Powell is expected to drive home the message that the economy remains in need of extraordinary help despite recent despite glimmers of a possible recovery, including a government report Friday that employers surprisingly added jobs in May.

Since March, the Fed has slashed its benchmark short-term rate, bought $2.1 trillion in Treasury and mortgage bonds to inject cash into markets and rolled out nine lending programs to try to keep credit flowing smoothly. Most analysts expect the Fed to pause and assess the economic landscape before embarking on any further actions, which could come at September’s meeting.

The Fed’s actions are credited with having helped fuel an extraordinary rally in the stock market, which has nearly regained its pre-pandemic high after a dizzying plunge in March.

And by committing to buy corporate bonds, thereby reinvigorating the market for such securities, the Fed has also ensured that corporations can continue to borrow. Its initiatives also include a first-ever program through which the Fed is buying state and local government debt to support the municipal bond market.

Many economists say those steps have prevented the downturn from worsening, by keeping credit flowing. This week, the National Bureau of Economic Research, the official arbiter of recessions, declared that the U.S. economy entered a recession in February.

One challenge for the Fed now is to shift its focus from the emergency actions it took in March and April to try to carry the economy through a shutdown, to what steps it will take to stimulate a recovery as businesses increasingly reopen.

In remarks last month, Fed Vice Chair Richard Clarida stressed that the viral outbreak remains a menace to the economy. But he also indicated that Fed officials want to see a few more months of data to gauge the economy’s health before determining their next steps.

For now, Fed officials likely feel little pressure to act further because few investors expect them to make any changes to their benchmark rate anytime soon. Though the Fed could technically cut rates into negative territory, Powell has largely rejected negative rates as an option.

Still, there are additional steps the Fed can take. The Fed could specify how long it’s prepared to keep short-term rates near zero and how much bond buying it will do to hold down longer-term rates. This guidance can help the economy by reducing the likelihood that investors will send longer-term rates up.

In 2011, as the economy struggled to recover from the 2008-2009 recession, the Fed for the first time set a specific date for any potential rate hikes, saying it would keep rates low “at least through mid-2013.” That date was then extended twice until mid-2015.

But the Fed in 2012 replaced its date-based guidance. Instead, it said it would keep rates at nearly zero “at least as long as the unemployment rate remains above 6.5%.” Most economists considered this approach more effective because it assured that economic progress would have to be made before the Fed would tighten credit.

The Fed has bought $2.2 trillion in bonds since March, when financial markets locked up as investors rushed to unload Treasurys and other securities in exchange for cash. The markets are now largely functioning. and the Fed’s purchases have slowed.

Yields on the 10-year Treasury note, which are near historic lows, could rise as the government issues trillions in Treasury securities to fund an annual deficit projected to reach $3.7 trillion this budget year.

More must-read finance coverage from Fortune:

  • 41 states are seeing a drop in unemployment. How does your state stack up?
  • Insurance redlining is real—and it will hurt neighborhoods hit by looting
  • Why are stock prices going up when the economy is in ruins? Here’s some helpful context
  • Morgan Stanley says these four factors could clip the wings on the S&P 500 rally
  • GoFundMe donations for elderly Buffalo man injured by police soar after baseless Trump tweet
  • WATCH: Why the banks were ready for the financial impact of the coronavirus

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5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Right now, you need to practice social — not emotional -— distancing. Amid the ever-changing chaos, your team deserves an empathetic leader who deeply understands what individual people are going through. Making the right managerial and executive decisions are challenging enough during good times — and even harder amid a global pandemic. 

Having lived and worked around the world, I cannot think of a more necessary time for empathy. The playing field has changed for the foreseeable future. Unless you adopt empathetic leadership principles quickly, you may find yourself the captain of a sinking ship filled with crew members suffering from analysis paralysis and traumatic shock.

Related: 3 Ways Increasing Your Empathy Makes You a More Effective Leader

The importance of empathy

You may already be familiar with the value of empathy in leadership, at least on a theoretical level. The Wall Street Journal notes that roughly one in five organizations provides soft-skill training opportunities for staff to learn the art of leading with empathy. If you’ve been through a similar workshop, you might not have realized how important that training was until now.

Difficult situations reveal why empathy is important in leadership, and crises like COVID-19 drive the lesson home. Teams led by people who possess high emotional intelligence tend to work hard and persevere through rough patches. They also develop deeper bonds of trust, which are essential when employment statuses seem all too fragile.

Right now, plenty of workers are dealing with tremendous fear. Those guided by empathetic leaders will likely have an easier time working through their stresses, while others operating under a “business as usual” manager may become disengaged and resentful. Make no mistake: Leaders will be judged by how they react during this historic moment. Of course, leading with empathy is not an innate ability. Even if you have a high emotional intelligence quotient, you may need a refresher course in empathy and leadership. Here are a few strategies to practice:

1. Become more personable and accessible

To attune yourself to your team’s feelings, you must get in touch with your own emotions and understand how to express them. Marc Benioff, the head of Salesforce, showed signs of empathy when he tweeted his eight-point plan for dealing with the coronavirus. Point seven asked every CEO to wait 90 days before resorting to layoffs. If you have to furlough personnel, be graceful and compassionate about it. Don’t coldly layoff 95 percent of your employees via a video like Cirque du Soleil did at the start of the crisis, a decision that garnered negative attention.

Take time to recognize and express your emotions as well as help your team work through their fears. Add a daily reminder in your calendar or phone to stay grounded. That little “ping” will remind you to reflect every day on what you’re feeling and what’s going on. In time, you will be able to tune in emotionally without a physical reminder.

Related: Does Empathy Have a Place in Your Workplace?

2. Listen and respond honestly and optimistically (within reason)

The only way your team will be vulnerable with you during this difficult period is if you learn to listen without judgment. Leading with empathy often involves saying nothing at all and sometimes agreeing that you are sad, confused or angry, too. According to work published in The Journal of Behavioral Science70 percent of successful people say they feel like imposters from time to time. Imagine how refreshing it would be for your team members to hear that you also struggle and will not use their feelings against them.

One caveat: Don’t allow yourself or your team to wallow too long in sessions focused on negative emotions. Instead, enable honest discussions and then pivot the conversation toward positive solutions. However, be aware of the language you use when you want to refocus your team. For example, in English, we tend to use “I feel” when we really mean “I think.” If you say, “I feel like you all need to get back to work,” then you are telling your team what to do, not empathizing. Consider your words carefully after team members open up; you want them to feel heard, not ignored, when you gently move the conversation in an optimistic direction.

3. Become an emotion-seeking detective

Now is not the moment to assume you know everything bothering your team. Ask employees, “What keeps you up at night?” Their answers may surprise you. Seem a little touchy-feely? Maybe. But your team members will hear your words as an indicator of your interest. Salesforce’s report “The Impact of Equality and Values Driven Business” reveals that when leaders pay attention to their employees’ needs, the employees are 4.6 times more apt to produce stellar work.

Related: Successful Leadership Tactics in a Time of Crisis

You may discover that getting to know team members on a deeper level helps you notice when they’re not on their A-games. If you see someone struggling, intervene before their work completely falls apart. Part of the importance of empathy in leadership is being able to provide emotional guidance and encouragement that will help everyone develop personally and professionally.

Uncertain times call for unparalleled leaders. Show your humanity with a heavy dose of empathetic leadership. Empathy will not only motivate your team through crisis, but it will help you deal with your own conflicted feelings, too.

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Filmmaker Ava DuVernay has been elected to the film academy’s Board of Governors for the first time.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced its new members Wednesday, which include the “Selma” filmmaker, “A Star is Born” producer Lynette Howell Taylor and casting director Debra Zane. The academy has increased the number of women and people of color on the board.

Incumbent governors reelected include Whoopi Goldberg, “Dolemite Is My Name” screenwriter Larry Karaszewski and Participant Media CEO David Linde among others.

The organization that puts on the Oscars said that the number of women on the 54-person board has gone from 25 to 26 and people of color from 11 to 12.

The Board of Governors represent each of the academy’s 17 branches and work to set the organization’s strategy, finances and “fulfillment of its mission.”

DuVernay, who was nominated for her documentary “13th,” has been an active and vocal member of the film academy for years. She recently backed up David Oyelowo’s assertion that members of the academy threated to squash “Selma’s” awards chances after they wore T-shirts with the words “I Can’t Breathe” to the film’s New York premiere in 2014 in honor of Eric Garner.

The academy responded on Twitter condemning the threats, writing, “Ava & David, we hear you. Unacceptable. We’re committed to progress.”

The Oscars this year are facing unprecedented challenges as a result of the pandemic. In April, over a month after theaters closed and a number of film festivals were cancelled as a safety precaution, the Academy announced revised eligibility requirements for this year, allowing movies that debuted on a streaming service to be considered for an Oscar.

Academy president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson told the AP at the time that their response to COVID-19 will continue to be fluid. No decisions have been made yet as to plans for the annual Governors Awards, which are typically held in the fall in Los Angeles. And at the moment the 93rd Academy Awards are still a go, set for Feb. 28, 2021, in Los Angeles.

More must-read entertainment coverage from Fortune:

  • How Alexis Ohanian justified his departure from the Reddit board
  • It’s no fluke how BTS fans raised $1 million in 24 hours
  • 8 athletes who own stakes in MLS teams
  • Just Mercy is available to rent for free through the month of June
  • WATCH: One on one with Grace Potter

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3 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Market ups and downs, emotional ups and downs, working from home, and a recession has caused many companies and individuals to have feelings of uncertainty, fear, and doubt. This is a natural reaction. But how do we overcome these feelings and move forward?

Brigham Tomco is the CEO of Emmersion Learning. He shared with me some keen insights on how to overcome these recent challenges. 

Related: Prepare for the Worst, Hoping for the Best

“I learned many life lessons growing up as a competitive athlete,” Tomco said. “A recurring message from my coaches that I heard through the years when my teams were struggling, in a slump or overmatched was ‘stick to the fundamentals’ or ‘get back to the basics.’ Uncertainty and turmoil often cause us to forget or abandon what brought us success in the first place. At the time when we need stability the most, our inclination is to try something new instead of sticking to what we know works.”

Brigham played football college. On day one of his “two-a-days,” the defensive coordinator introduced him to EDDs — also known as Every Day Drills. He explained that after warmups each day, the team would divide into their position groups and work on the same set of drills every day so that they would master and maintain the fundamentals. And wouldn’t you know it? The team got really good at those fundamentals. They became part of each player’s subconscious and helped the entire team through adversity.

Related: How Your Small Business Can Survive the COVID-19 Pandemic

I think of the EDDs in my life that give me strength and stability.

  • Adequate sleep
  • Daily physical activity
  • Meditation/prayer
  • Serving To Others
  • Setting and achieving daily goals/priorities
  • Showing gratitude
  • Getting outside in nature

When life gets busy and stressful, I forget to do these things. In reality, our EDDs must be done every day and need to take priority.  

I believe that my EDDs for my personal life are also essential to my success as an entrepreneur and CEO.  If I don’t stick to my fundamentals in my personal life, it has a negative impact on my ability to thrive as a leader. In business, there is an additional set of EDDs that I think is important to success.

  • Have genuine interactions. Smile, ask people about their day, family, and activities.
  • Be present. Be focused on the person, meeting, task, or objective at hand.
  • Think about employees and customers, and reach out to those who you feel could benefit.
  • Review strategic objectives, and keep priorities streamlined on a daily basis.
  • Reserve time on calendars to fulfill prioritized tasks.
  • Make sure meetings start and end on time and fulfill their objectives.
  • Be flexible. Priorities can change throughout the day.

Related: 4 Surprising Silver Linings to COVID-19

I find that as the inevitable peaks and valleys of life come, I find strength, peace, and success by sticking to the fundamentals.

Brigham reminds us that in these challenging times, the basics of both our personal and business lives are essential to keeping us grounded and successful. Let’s not allow COVID-19 to break us down, but rather see it as an opportunity to recenter, refocus and recommit to the simple EDD’s that brought us to where we are today and can take us where we want to go.

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