Emerging Technology

Men = Mars, Women = Venus: myth… Paid link Pagerank punishment?… A rival for YouTube… Bank for streetkids… China-factor in petrol prices

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Men are from Mars, women from Venus: myth

New research shows gender is over-rated when predicting behaviour in the workplace, with the performance of both sexes defying stereotypes.

An analysis of 38,000 personality tests, conducted by global human capital firm SHL, shows the way people prefer to behave at work comes down to individual personality.

For example, some men tested said they disliked leading and preferred others to be in control, while some women preferred to direct and manage people.

The findings, from questionnaires completed by Australian men and women in 2001-05, highlight the importance of making no assumptions when recruiting and promoting staff, and turning a blind eye to gender, particularly in a tight job market.

SHLs research suggests employers should define objective measures to judge employee performance, to ensure they don’t overlook the right employee for the role.

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Is Google punishing with Pagerank?

Rumours are circulating that Google has caused the Pagerank score of a number of major websites to drop dramatically in an attempt to crack down on paid links, iTNews reports.

Pagerank is the formula Google uses to determine the order in which search results appear, based mainly on the number of sites that link to the site searched for. And because a link from a site that attracts a lot of traffic is rated highly by Pagerank, some popular sites and blogs have made something of a side-business out of selling links to sites seeking to improve their ranking.

According to iTNews, websites that have seen a drop in their ranking include The Washington Post, Forbes, The San Francisco Chronicle and Engadget, Joystiq, and The Unofficial Apple Weblog blogs.

Google has yet to confirm that the presence of paid links has any affect on Pagerank rankings, but a spokesperson did tell vnunet.com that “our opinion of the forward links for a site” can be one of the factors in a site’s Pagerank, iTNews reports.

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YouTube rival launches

A joint venture of NBC Universal and News Corp has launched a video website that it hopes will be a competitor to YouTube, VentureBeat reports.

The Hulu site has just launched with a whole list of video clips from high profile sitcoms such as Family Guy and My Name Is Earl – a very different approach to the homemade focus of YouTube.

According to VentureBeat, Hulu will be the exclusive online provider of videos from NBC and News Corp, and it will then syndicate the material to other sites such as AOL, MSN, MySpace, and Yahoo.

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Banking for streetkids

It’s a sad fact that in some places around the world kids have to work and live in often unhealthy or unsafe environments. It’s a reality, however, so efforts to help working streetkids get ahead have got to be a good thing.

That’s where the Butterflies aid group comes in. According to Springwise, the group has set up a Children’s Development Bank to help kids in New Delhi who have to work to hang on to the money they earn. The kids can deposit their earnings with the bank, however small the amount. Not only does this mean they can earn some interest, it also diminishes the chance it will be stolen, a constant threat for kids living on the street.

And the bank doesn’t just take deposits – it also makes micro-loans to kids over the age of 15 to help them expand the little business operations they live by.

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Why is the price of oil rising?

Salon.com reports that overseas, Shanghai oil company PetroChina recently passed General Electric to become the second largest company in the world by market value, thanks to overseas investment.

And the huge firm’s corporate owner, China National Petroleum, has a sizeable stake in Sudanese oil, which is in a bind after rebel forces attacked the Defra oil field last week.

PetroChina was firmly in the line of fire, with rebel leaders saying the attack was a message to China to stop its companies investing in Sudan. They accused China of giving the Sudanese Government money, which it in turn uses to buy weapons.

So as the price of oil rockets, a Chinese oil firm may become the largest company in the world and Chinese oil companies in Africa are under attack.

If that’s not enough to keep you away from the fuel bowser, according to US economist James Hamilton in his Econbrowser blog, China’s demand for oil has almost doubled from 1990 levels, to represent 8.6% of global consumption in 2006, but global production has stagnated.

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