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Category Archives: Economy

How much blood is there on your ring finger?

Blood Diamond Infographic
Reasons to Care Where Your Diamond Comes From provided by Brilliant Earth.

 

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Boston Marathon bombing suspect arrested

A street is closed near the scene of twin bombings at the Boston Marathon on April 17, 2013 in Boston.(AFP Photo / Spencer Platt)

A street is closed near the scene of twin bombings at the Boston Marathon on April 17, 2013 in Boston.(AFP Photo / Spencer Platt)

Law enforcement officials in Boston tell reporters that they have arrested a suspect thought responsible for Monday’s deadly bombing.

CNN confirmed the news at 1:45 p.m. local time when journalist John King said both a federal source and a Boston law enforcement source confirmed the news. Reporter Fran Townsend then added over the phone that “there is an arrest that has been made in the Boston bombing case based off of two independent videos.”

The suspect is now expected to arrive at a federal courthouse in Boston.

Earlier in the day, CNN reported shortly after 1 p.m. that a suspect has apparently been identified. The suspect’s name has not been made public as of this time, but he is reportedly a dark-skinned male, according to police.

According to CNN’s sources, surveillance video from a Lord and Taylor department store and a local television station are believed to have helped authorities identify the person sought responsible for Monday’s incident, which US President Barack Obama said on Tuesday is being investigated as an act of terror.

 

New Lord and Tayloк shop in Boston.(Image from Google.com)

New Lord and Tayloк shop in Boston.(Image from Google.com)

 

CNN’s King reports from Boston that the video footage helped police narrow in on a person being considered a suspect in the attack “to such detail, I’m told, that they believe they have a clear identification, including a facial image of a suspect.”

The footage, sources say, show the suspect carrying and perhaps placing down a black bag that is thought to have contained a bomb that was detonated at the second of two crime scenes near the finish line of the annual Boston Marathon just before 3 p.m. on Monday.

The mayor of Boston, Massachusetts has confirmed that a suspect was ID’d, and officials are expected to speak to the press at 5 p.m. Wednesday afternoon. According to sources speaking to the Boston Globe, authorities may publicize their findings at that briefing.

 

 

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Congressional Reform Act of 2012

Warren Buffett, in a recent interview with CNBC, offers one of the best quotes about the debt ceiling:”I could end the deficit in 5 minutes,” he told CNBC. “You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congressare ineligible for re-election.

The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds)
took only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple!
The people demanded it. That was in 1971 – before computers, e-mail, cell phones, etc.

Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took one (1) year
or less to become the law of the land – all because of public pressure.

Warren Buffet is asking each addressee to forward this email to
a minimum of twenty people on their address list; in turn ask
each of those to do likewise.

In three days, most people in The United States of America will
have the message. This is one idea that really should be passed
around.

Congressional Reform Act of 2012

1. No Tenure / No Pension.

A Congressman/woman collects a salary while in office and receives no
pay when they’re out of office.

2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social
Security.

All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the
Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into
the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the
American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.

3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all
Americans do.

4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise.
Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

5. Congress loses their current health care system and
participates in the same health care system as the American people.

6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the
American people.

7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen/women are void
effective 12/1/12. The American people did not make this
contract with Congressmen/women.

Congress made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in
Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers
envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their
term(s), then go home and back to work.

 

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Small Portions of Hope for the Construction Industry

For building firms and their suppliers this week’s “Government Construction Summit” has offered some mixed messages for the future.  The summit focussed closely on government procurement policies and efficiency savings; but amidst a rash of cuts in government spending, what do these efficiencies amount to?  Both the cabinet office minister Francis Maude and his chief construction advisor Paul Morrell outlined the current position for the construction industry and their own thinking on government building contracts, strategy and procurement.  The summit had a keen focus on both saving money, with some suggestions of possible opportunities for the building industry.

Government Streamlining

Building firms, however, may be less interested in how the government proposes to streamline its processes and more on the availability of construction contracts.  The summit showed that last year the number of contracts for new schools fell by thirty per cent while for roads the figure was nearly fifty per cent.  For many this is no surprise as the government’s austerity measures begin to bite and the effect on the construction industry has been clear with big names such as John Doyle going into administration last month and the subsequent loss of 290 jobs.  Like many other suppliers to the construction industry Doyle’s disappearance from the industry is a significant indicator of the effect that the lack of large scale projects is having on the industry.

Future PFI Contracts?

The Private Finance Initiative (PFI) sector has provided a good market for construction firms in the past, however, at the summit the Treasury’s Infrastructure Unit could only announce that plans for the successor to the initiative will be made clear well before the autumn, and could be available in the next few weeks.  If this raised hopes for construction firms the statement was qualified by the statement that ‘we have had the largest successful investment in s social infrastructure since the Second World War already.  That “already” may be one that suggests there may not be much more on the PFI front planned for the near future.

It’s taking part that matters (if you’ve paid your entry fee)

Despite a cast of thousands in construction terms, the Olympian task of constructing the facilities for the Games Atkins remains the only construction company permitted to use its involvement in the project for marketing purposes.  This was confirmed at the summit, although smaller contractors were advised they could always tell prospective clients that they had been involved.  Sort of along the lines of “It was this big. Honest”.  Having paid for the privilege, it seems that Atkins intend to hold onto their exclusivity, while the smaller firms who have helped to make the Games possible will receive marginally less recognition than your average torch bearer.

Good Tsunamis

Tsunamis are not normally considered a great idea, but Terry Fuller the Homes and Communities Executive director promised one is on its way for construction firms, as housing finances are handed back to local councils.  This particular mega-wave is expected to come in the form of a flood of building contracts, according to Fuller, as councils rush to spend their new found rental income.  On the same theme Fuller disclosed that social housing landlords who fail to meet construction targets may have their funding removed and passed onto others, to ensure enough homes are built on time.

Mixed Messages

Overall the summit provided a glum picture of the construction industry at present, despite the major construction projects promised in the form of nuclear power plants and at least one high speed rail link in coming years.  While the government’s plans to rationalise its spending may not be of much interest to building firms, the changes to funding for housing could offer some hope, as could changes in the way grants are administered to social housing.  For construction firms, large or small, finding their own efficiency savings seems to be the order of the day.

For all sectors in the construction industry, from concrete batch plants suppliers to scaffolding firms, the governments summit this week has provide small portions of hope and some very mixed messages.

 

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The toys we have on our iPhones

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Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. I have always enjoyed technology but find something new every day. In writing my grocery list I noticed that my notepad on my iPhone has speech recognition software. Thinking myself very clever I composed a short note on my notepad and cut it and pasted it into a text message to send to my wife. Having thought this absolutely wonderful are you then cut a note and started to pasted into my WordPress blog. Much to my surprise I found that the blog site also house Word recognition software. Our iPhones grand.

You have to go through and edit some of the translations but generally this saves an immense amount of time. Especially if you are trying to type on an iPhone, I am no where as good as my kids are at that.

I always enjoyed writing blogs, but sometimes the act of typing takes longer than it takes for a thought to get out of my mouth.

With my new discovery I can speak as quickly as the thoughts enter my head and record them at the same time. People sitting next to me on the train might think I am talking into a robotic device but then after all I guess I am. This entire blog was my first attempt and written entirely on speech recognition software from an iPhone 4 ain’t excuse me. There have been no editing at all so excuse some of the grammar and misspellings but all in all I think this is a very valuable tool.

 

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VIDEO: Best marriage proposal ever

Isaac Lamb proposed to his girlfriend, Amy, in a very innovative way, and the video has gone viral.
Check out Isaac’s incredible proposal – set to Bruno Mars‘ “Marry You.”

CLICK ON THE PHOTO

 

When Isaac Lamb decided to propose to his girlfriend, Amy, he knew he wanted to do something over-the-top. but not even Amy was prepared for the elaborate proposal he staged with 60 of their closet friends and family members. The video went viral – and has already amassed almost 6 million views on YouTube at last count.

The video even got Bruno Mars’ stamp of approval!

Congrats to Isaac Lamb and the future Mrs.. I don’t think I could’ve made a better music video for this song. Thank youvimeo.com/42828824

 

It’s All Geek to Me

Many people earn degrees based on their interests, it only makes sense, right? However, let’s face it, not everyone has same interest and maybe your run slightly (or highly) more to the nerd side. Sure you would love to be musician or draw concept art for car makers, but that just isn’t your thing. You are far more into Dungeons and Dragons than designing buildings. If so, here are some degrees you might like.

Astronomy – If you wish you could boldly go where no man has gone before, well now you can, at least in your mind. If long night and large telescopes intrigue you then why not study astronomy?  Granted, this can be pretty intense and mind boggling at times but deep down inside, you know you would love every minute of it. You might even get lucky and discover a planet or an asteroid about to hit the earth.

Physics – Physics and any other type of physics have a lot of overlap. If you like colliding invisible particles in multi-billion dollar pieces of equipment then you should love this field.  If you know what a mass spectrometer is, or how to use one then you definitely need to major in this.  Once again, this is no casual stroll through academic America, it is pretty tough stuff to wrap your head around, but you can do it. Just don’t look too closely too quantum physics, that stuffs insane.

Math – If you are math addict then you have little choice but to major in math. For some reason, geeks everywhere seem to love this subject and somehow they actually understand it.  Teaching would be your most likely option, but if you learn your advanced stuff you could get into programming, code breaking or the exciting world of accounting. If this isn’t for you, do what I did and go for…

History – On the entirely different end of the nerd mass spectrometer you can delve into the depths of history and the liberal arts. Learn about the battles epic battles with knights and maybe reenact some of them yourself.  Antiquities, artifacts and folklore are yours to master. You can even specialize in a military masters degree. If worst-comes-to-worst, you could at least get a job at Medieval Times.

Which bring us to literature, the cute, shy sister of history. Everyone has seen a bookworm or two in their lives. You know, they are always reading. They read in the car, they read while working out, they read while they eat and they fall asleep while reading. Are all books nerdy? No, but most are. For those who love to explore the vast plains of the unbridled imagination then literature is for you.

Which leaves us to the more important and eternal question, what will you do with these degrees? Well, it is true that many people end up doing something not related to their degree at all, teaching is the most obvious choice. You can go and be an inspiring influence and younger nerds who were once just like yours and let them see just where they will end up.

Jeff Jordan lives, breathes and writes in sunny Southern California. He mainly writes about education. automobiles, navy education, real estate and pop culture.  He would write about romance and dating but sadly knows nothing about it.

 

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What Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Google) Can Teach You About a Successful Partnership

 

 

The partnership of Larry Page and Sergey Brin revolutionized the way we access information on the web. Google is one of the most important companies of the 21st Century. Page and Brin took a college project and made it into an incredibly successful business. Along the way, they did it all together and remained equal partners in the development and management of Google. Their ability to work well together is what ultimately made Google great, and their example can teach us a thing or two about what makes a partnership successful.

Good Friends Make Good Partners

Sometimes people advise that you shouldn’t do business with your family or close friends. Page and Brin prove that business and personal don’t have to be so strictly divided. Page and Brin are not only great partners; they’re also very close friends. In their case, their business relationship and friendship began at just about the same time. As their business grew, so did their friendship. They show that a close personal relationship makes for a well-rounded and successful business partnership.
There are No Limits to What You Can Do Together

Page and Brin developed Google together, but their ambitions didn’t stop there. As they became so successful, they branched out and began working on lots of other projects together, too. For example, they’re working on ways to solve the energy crisis with alternative and renewable energy. When you have a good working partnership, it can be expanded to other pursuits. You aren’t limited to working together in your primary business, because the success you find together there can be found anywhere.
Take Full Advantage of Having Two Heads

They say “two heads are better than one,” and it’s true. Page was working on developing the Google search engine before ever meeting Brin, and it’s possible he could have done it alone. But having a partner made things easier, faster, and stronger. They both worked on the engine together equally, and they had better results because of it. Successful partners truly work together on projects. Rather than dividing the labor down the middle, they collaborate on all aspects in order to bring the strength of numbers to every product and part of the business.
Benefits of a Larger Support Network

When Page and Brin were first starting Google and working out of their dorm rooms, as college students they certainly lacked the capital to fully realize their business goals. They looked to their friends and family members to invest money in them. Successful partners realize the benefits of having twice the outside support and connections. Successful partners utilize all the resources of both partners.
Challenge Each Other

Perhaps one of the best aspects of a successful partnership is that each partner can challenge the other. Page and Brin actually disagree quite a lot, and their disagreements challenge them to come up with new solutions and really refine their products. Rather than letting their differing styles ruin their partnership, they appreciate their differences and use them to benefit their company.

Charlie Adams is a tech guru and internet expert who loves to blog about his interests. To ensure all his writing is professional and adheres to the strictest grammar rules he always proofs it with a grammar checker prior to letting anyone read it.

 

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3 Simple Marketing Ideas You Need to Start Doing For Your Business

One thing I’ve never heard anyone complain about is having too many sales. Now, your business can certainly grow more quickly than you expected, and you may have to find ways to scale it and keep up, but in all actuality, who isn’t looking to boost sales a bit?

There are some things that you can do right this very moment that can help increase your brand awareness, and pull customers in from sources that you otherwise may not have.

Here are 3 simple ideas that you can implement into your marketing plan immediately:

1. Start using coupon sites. This is a strategy that I started awhile back, after I started inserting coupon codes on some of the standard business promotion sites, like Manta and Merchant Circle, offering discounts on orders at my website. When I saw the codes being used by my customers quite frequently, I decided to see where else I could place coupons for my company.

Do a search for coupon sites in your favorite search engine, and start visiting these pages. Some of them have quirky hoops that you need to jump through in order to get a coupon listed, but many of them allow just about anyone to add a coupon for any store, both online and offline. Some of my favorites that I have seen some good return on, and were easy to submit my coupon codes to, are 247coupon.com, hotfrog, retailmenot.com, and coupon chief.

2. Start Pinning on Pinterest. Ok, so this is a simple marketing strategy that you should be using if your particular niche is catered to women. Pinterest is an image-sharing platform that has taken social media by storm. 90% of its users are female.

Create a pin board, using product images and other interesting content, in hopes that it will go viral. Infographics, which are a hot marketing tool, are great for pushing out on Pinterest.

3. Start “thanking” your customers. Well, you should be doing this literally all the time. However, do you ever make that extra effort to wow your customers?

Show them how much you appreciate their business, and surprise them with complimentary items when they place a big order with you. Also be sure to take care of the customers that have been loyal to you for a long time. They may place smaller orders, but the fact that they have consistently done so for a few years, certainly deserves recognition with a small token of your appreciation. Sending a “thank you” note, along with a gift card for gas, movies, coffee or books, in their order or out-of-the-blue, will go a long way with a customer.

Gestures like this will be remembered by them when it comes time to reorder, and one of your competitors is offering a better price. Many consumers will go with a business they feel comfortable with, and who they know will treat them well, even if it means paying a few dollars more. It can also help to smooth things over a bit if/when there may be a customer service problem in the future.

I know there are many other things that go into a marketing plan, but start implementing these tactics, and I guarantee you’ll start attracting more buyers.

John Ehlenbeck is a small business owner, and contributing writer for Aprimo Marketing Automation Software.

 

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PayPal’s Worst PR Decisions

 

 

PayPal is almost synonymous with online buying and selling, being used to pay for everything from online subscriptions to artwork to Ford Mustang parts, including classic Mustang parts. Of course, being a market leader means that you are under somewhat of a microscope, and PayPal certainly doesn’t always make the best PR decisions. Check out these biggest PR disasters that PayPal has had to live with.

Ordering an Antique Violin to Be Smashed to Pieces

One of the conditions of using PayPal is that you cannot use it to receive payment for counterfeit goods and if you do, the payment will be refunded once the buyer destroys the counterfeit item. Unfortunately for one seller, this simple-seeming condition gets a little more complicated when it comes to musical instruments.

Verifying the authenticity of musical instruments is quite complicated, and the buyer filed a dispute with PayPal. Instead of giving the seller a chance to take back her antique violin, they ordered the buyer to smash it to pieces, and reversed the payment.

In the world of music, instruments, especially older instruments, are almost sacred, and the treatment of this seller and her instrument caused a real storm. It’s likely that much fewer musicians will be using PayPal for such sales in the future!

Stopping Regretsy from Raising Money for Sick Kids

With Paypal accounts so ubiquitous and an easy-to integrate ‘Donate’ button available, it’s only natural to consider using PayPal to raise money for worthy causes. In fact ‘worthy causes’ are precisely what this button is for.

So, the Regretsy website community used the button to raise money to buy Christmas 2011 presents for sick children. Imagine the surprise when Regretsy’s fundraising account was frozen, along with the site-runners own personal account.

While essentially stealing toys from sick kids is bad enough, this is not the end of the PR disaster. After all, some publicity nous could have had it resolved quite quickly. Sadly, this is not what happened. Emails flew back and forth between Regretsy and PayPal, and the site owner was informed that while using the button would be okay if she had a sick cat, helping poor people was not allowed. PR disaster!

The issue was finally solved, but PayPal still has yet to apologize, simply hiding behind their privacy policy to avoid discussing it.

The PR problems that PayPal has are quite obviously due to the difficulty of coming up with one-size-fits-all policies. However, this shouldn’t be an excuse and should serve as an important lesson for anyone who runs an online business. The online world allows one complaint to snowball into a cavalcade of bad publicity, so make sure to start off on the right foot!

Post by guest blogger James, a writer who enjoys blogging about technology from online payment systems to CJ Pony Ford Mustang parts.

 

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