Singapore Reported by Elite Traveler the private

first_imgSingapore- Reported by Elite Traveler, the private jet lifestyle magazineShangri-La Hotel, Singapore recently opened the new Waterfall Café, a restaurant offering healthy and creative dishes inspired by fresh Mediterranean flavors. The hotel is constantly searching for groundbreaking dining concepts and lifestyle trends, recognizing their clientele’s desire for healthy dining options. Chef Stephanie’s simple menu embraces the quality of eating well with fresh, seasonal ingredients and dishes that are sure to please any palette.Chef Stephan, an advocate of healthy dining, was inspired by the Mediterranean culinary philosophy. He combines fresh, seasonal produce and herbs, smoked salts, vinegars and exotic spices to create light and refreshing dishes. Diners are sure to enjoy socca, a crispy pancake made from chickpea flour, topped with spicy tomato coulis, roasted veggies, fresh herb salad and pesto, and his Atlantic Cod served with barley risotto, pequillo peppers and vadouvan emulsion. All products are sourced from sustainable origins and free from hormones, pesticides and antibiotics.“After observing and listening to our distinguished clientele’s preferences, we recognized that the expectations of our well-traveled guests have evolved. Eating well and personal well-being have become an integral part of their dining experience. The hunger for social responsibility is inseparable from the physical demands of a hearty and delicious meal. At Waterfall Café, we offer a tasty solution to this need,” said Manfred Weber, general manager of Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore.In addition to the healthy cuisine, the Waterfall Café boasts a rare and focused wine selection from the Mediterranean. Diners can choose wines from22 wines served by the glass from boutique wineries across the globe. The restaurant also has an impressive collection of aperitifs, sherries and grappa and also serve the organic Phoenix brand of sodas from New Zealand.The interior consists of natural beige tones and dark woods, resulting in a relaxing environment for diners to enjoy the delectable menu. The restaurant also has a private dining room with a fully functional show kitchen is ideal for cooking workshops, small gatherings and corporate retreats. The Waterfall Café serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and is open 6:30 a.m. until 10:30 p.m. daily except on Sundays.www.shangri-la.comlast_img read more

In This Issue Durable goods disappoint Mar

first_imgIn This Issue.. * Durable goods disappoint * Market on hold for Fed * QE3 still an option * Quiet day for currencies And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts! FOMC held the cards… Good day…and welcome to the last Thursday in April. As Chuck mentioned, I’ll be steering the ship today while he travels to Florida for some conferences, so the call to the bullpen has been made. All in all, it was a fairly quiet day and if I had to make a call one way or the other, I would have to say Wednesday turned out to be a risk on type of day. While the US earnings season has definitely fueled the risk on campers, it was touch and go for a while. We started the day pretty flat as the euro traded at 1.32 and gold was in a holding pattern at $1,643, neither of which showed any direction. All of the other currencies were either trading at breakeven or very close, so the markets were obviously waiting for something. The first bit of market moving material was staring us down right out of the gate yesterday morning, which was the durable goods figure from March, and it wasn’t pretty. The headline durable goods number decreased 4.2%, which is the most since January 2009, as demand for transportation equipment, namely aircraft, fell quite a bit from February’s robust numbers. Orders for aircraft, which can be volatile from month to month, does act as a gauge for the broad domestic and global economy, but I think the auto portion of transportation is more telling of the domestic and local economies. Bookings for cars and associated parts only increased 0.1%, which was quite lower than last month’s 2% rise, but they at least held steady. Still, it was a mixed bag at best. The durable goods minus transportation fell 1.1% from the revised 1.9% gain in February. The piece of the puzzle and the spin that had economists talking was the goods shipped portion, which is one of the components in calculating GDP. The gauge of shipped goods actually increased 2.6% and has some calling for a higher than expected first quarter GDP reading. We won’t have to wait long as the initial reading is due tomorrow morning. The markets all but overlooked the fall in durable goods as nothing really moved and the currencies were still sitting in the same place before the report was released. While it was a light day in the data department as far as the number of reports, the focus of the day fell squarely on the shoulders of the Fed. That’s right, the Fed rate meeting was yesterday so everyone was sitting on seat’s edge just waiting to see what would happen. Of course, it wasn’t the rate decision itself that held the market hostage, but instead, the sound bites that would follow garnered all of the attention. The rate decision was announced at 11:30 central time, so I looked up at the currency screens shortly thereafter and saw that gold was down about $15 and that silver was trying to stay above $30. I wasn’t expecting any earth changing developments, so it took me for surprise. I saw rates remained on hold so it wasn’t that. As it turned out, there was a knee jerk reaction immediately following the meeting to the fact that unemployment forecasts were reduced and no additional stimulus measures were announced or planned. In fact, the unemployment rate estimate was reduced down to a range of 7.8%-8.0% by year end from January’s projection of 8.2%-8.5%. Oddly enough, the currency market didn’t have much of a reaction and seemed unfazed by the initial release. About an hour later, it was Bernanke’s turn on stage as he spoke at the proceeding press conference and reversed previous thoughts that QE3 was all but out of the picture. I think the big headline from Bernanke was his announcement that the Fed is prepared to do more, if needed, to make sure the recovery continues and that inflation stays close to target. In other words, additional stimulus is still on the table and the recent strides forward aren’t enough to rule out future action. For the most part, everything he explained yesterday didn’t change much from the past several meetings as the European crisis remains a concern, economic growth is expected to moderately continue in the coming quarters, and unemployment isn’t falling as fast as they would like. As quickly as gold lost ground prior to the press conference, it quickly climbed back to where it began the day since QE3 wasn’t totally removed as an option after all. The last notable news bits from the meeting were a couple more revisions to growth and inflation. We did see an upward revision to GDP this year from a range of 2.2%-2.7% to 2.4%-2.9% so it looks like the Fed is hopeful jobs growth will continue moving in the right direction. They also increased the inflation outlook to 1.9%-2.0% and acknowledged it has picked up due to higher oil and gas prices. They still maintain gas prices will only affect inflation temporarily, but I’m not sure how that would be the case if they expect continued expansion in the US economy. Speaking of oil, we did see it rise back above $104 after the higher growth outlook, so US demand still remains in the driver’s seat when it comes to price action. I think I’ve gone on long enough with the Fed meeting, so let’s take a look and see what reports are due today. We’ll see the usual Thursday reports on weekly initial jobless claims and the continuing claims number, both of which are supposed to show slight improvement from last week. The initial claims are expected to come in at 375k, but with the constant revisions, it’s tough to maintain a firm comparison point. With that said, we’re still far from a range needed to firmly put a dent in what I would consider the most telling and important economic figure. The March jobs numbers of 120k sure doesn’t go far in my book to justify the Fed’s rosier employment outlook. We will also see the results of pending home sales from March, another area of concern by the Fed. Housing has been flailing around with no sense of direction as prices continue falling, albeit at a much slower pace than in the past, but purchases have been slow to rise as buyers try to guess the market bottom. The estimates I’ve seen aren’t much to write about, but maybe that summer like weather in March coaxed more buyers into signing contracts. Other than that, we get a gauge of consumer confidence and a regional manufacturing report, so it looks like today will be a balancing act between that ever present lake of lava, which is employment and housing. Depending how those reports turn out, we could see the market remain in a holding pattern until tomorrow since we get some big reports. We’ll see the initial printing of first quarter GDP, personal consumption, and inflation so this trio certainly has enough clout to hold the market captive until then. As I mentioned earlier, the currencies remained in a very tight range so there isn’t much to talk about on the currency front today. In fact, yesterday turned out to be one of the narrower trading days that we’ve seen lately as the euro floated within a 0.5% window between the high and low of the day. Usually, we’ll see at least a full cent deviation throughout the course of a given day, but that wasn’t the case. Since the Fed left the door open for QE3 if needed, the dollar did finish down on the day but only by a small margin. The top currencies were all commodity based as the rand broke away from the pack with a 0.7% gain. The rest of the currencies ranged from breakeven to slight gains as the Aussie and Canadian dollar took the silver and bronze medals respectively. The only sizable moves came from gold and silver, when they fell 0.7% and 2.25% immediately following the rate announcement, but they did regain all lost ground by the time I left the office last night. The rise in equities kept most currencies in positive territories to finish the day. I did see where S&P lowered India’s sovereign credit outlook to negative from stable, citing slower economic and investment growth along with a wider current account deficit as the rationale. While the actual rating was not downgraded, they did say if steps to reduce structural fiscal deficits and improvement in the investment climate are taken, they will reevaluate. The Indian finance minister quickly stepped in to say that reforms are on track and economic growth should remain intact, but only time will tell. Surprisingly enough, the rupee actually finished slightly higher on the day. Other than that, the only other development I saw before I called it a day was in New Zealand. The central bank met late in the afternoon, our time, and kept rates on hold as expected. The statement released after the meeting said the economy is still growing at a slower pace and inflation isn’t presenting any problems, so rates will probably be on hold for quite a while. The central bank governor, who is known for talking the currency down, went on the say that if the exchange rate remains strong and isn’t justified by stronger data, they might reassess the rate outlook. In other words, nothing new here since he frequently expresses concern of a strong currency. As I came in this morning, everything is trading in yesterday’s clothes and there is an ever so slight bias to sell the dollar so far. There aren’t many headlines to speak of, but we did see a report on European economic confidence fall more than expected as more austerity and economic uncertainty loom on the horizon. Even though the UK economy slipped back into recession following yesterday’s negative GDP print, we saw a report of investor sentiment rise this morning. Then there was this… If Congress and President Barack Obama can’t agree on extending some of the tax breaks set to expire at year-end, the U.S. economy will be harmed so greatly that there is nothing the Federal Reserve can do to compensate for it, Chairman Ben Bernanke said. “If no action were to be taken by the fiscal authorities, the size of the fiscal cliff is such that there’s absolutely no chance that the Federal Reserve could or would have any ability to offset that effect on the economy,” I saw this article in Bloomberg this morning, so hopefully this is yet another wake up call to get things under control. To recap…We started the day with the worst durable goods print since January 2009 but the markets were focused on the Fed rate meeting. They did keep rates on hold, as we expected, but an increased economic growth forecast initially sent some investors calling for no more QE3. Once Bernanke held the press conference, he said additional stimulus is an option if the economy stumbles. Gold and silver went for a ride around the block but the currencies stayed home. S&P lowered India’s outlook and New Zealand kept rates on hold. Currencies today 4/26/12… American Style: A$ $1.070, kiwi .8165, C$ $1.0173, euro 1.3215, sterling 1.6188, Swiss $1.0996… European Style: rand 7.7547, krone 5.7216, SEK 6.7166, forint 217.53, zloty 3.1673, koruna 18.7394, RUB 29.2812, yen 80.83, sing 1.2416, HKD 7.7591, INR 52.5375, China 6.3057, pesos 13.1581, BRL 1.88, Dollar Index 79.02, Oil $103.92, 10-year 1.96%, Silver $30.70, and Gold… $1,646.75 That’s it for today… Even though it was a quiet day in the currency market, it was a busy day at the office yesterday as it felt like I needed a couple extra hours in the day to get everything done. We found out the first game of the next playoff series for our St. Louis Blues starts Saturday against the LA Kings, so let’s go Blues!! Tonight marks a big night for football fans as the draft kicks off with the first round in primetime. The first two picks are basically made, but I’m hoping the Rams finally put together a solid and lasting draft class. With that said, I’ll you get the day started. Until next time, Have a Great Day!! Mike Meyer Assistant Vice President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 1-314-647-3837 www.everbank.comlast_img read more

Here are my last two plant photos  The first was

first_imgHere are my last two plant photos.  The first was taken at The Alamo.  It’s a papaya bush/tree—and this one was about a meter and half high—and that’s 4 feet and change in American!  When fully grown, they’re much taller than this, of course.  The second photo was taken on the resort hotel grounds—and it goes by the name American beautyberry.  You can eat them, but their astringency will pucker your mouth up real quick. For the Friday trading session, gold got smacked for 1.94%—silver for 1.40%—platinum was creamed for 3.24%—and palladium 1.57%.  Nothing free market about this, as da boyz pulled out all the stops.And, as always, not a word in protest from the precious metal miners or the two organizations that purport to represent their best interests—the World Gold Council and The Silver Institute.So—are JPMorgan et al done to the downside yet?It seems like I’ve asked that question every week for the last two or three weeks—and they keep surprising us to the downside.   Considering how ‘in your face’ and extreme these engineered price declines have been in all six key commodities this time around, it’s hard to accept the fact that the ensuing rallies may be cut off at the knees before they really get anywhere.  But I suppose one should be prepared for any eventuality.That’s all I have for today, but before heading out the door I want to remind you one last time about the 40th Annual New Orleans Investment Conference from October 22-25, 2014.  That’s less than three weeks away!  If you’re interested, you can find out everything you need to know by clicking here.That’s it for the day—and the week.I await the 6 p.m. open in New York on Sunday evening with great interest.Enjoy what’s left of your weekend—and I’ll see you here on Tuesday. So—are JPMorgan et al done to the downside yet?The gold price got sold down a few dollars as soon as trading began in the Far East on their Friday—and another five bucks or so got carved off the price shortly before the London open.  From there it traded unchanged until the release of the job numbers at 8:30 a.m. EDT in New York.  The HFT boyz used the opportunity to put the boots to gold once again—and the low tick came around 12:45 p.m. EDT.  After that, the price didn’t do a lot.The high and low ticks were reported by the CME Group as $1,215.70 and $1,190.30 in the December contract.Gold finished the Friday session at $11,90.70 spot, down $23.60 from Thursday’s close.  Net volume was 174,000 contracts.Here’s the 10-minute gold chart going all the way back before the Comex opened at 6 p.m. EDT in New York on Thursday evening—and you can see that the two small declines before the London open didn’t have much volume associated with them—and JPMorgan et al saved the heavy lumber for the Comex trading session, as volume exploded when their HFT boyz worked their magic starting at 8:30 a.m. EDT.  Don’t forget to add two hours to the Mountain Daylight Times shown on this chart.It was more or less the same price pattern in silver, except the low tick came at 10:30 a.m. in New York—and the subsequent rally got capped around noon, and then sold down a bit.  Silver traded flat from the 1:30 p.m. close of Comex trading into the 5:15 p.m. electronic close.The high and low prices were reported as $17.155 and $16.64 in the December contract.Silver finished the trading day yesterday at $16.855 spot, down 24 cents.  Net volume was 45,000 contracts.The pounding of platinum continued again yesterday, as the HFT boyz took two 20 buck slices out of the salami—once in early morning trading in the Far East—and again starting at, or just before, the London a.m. gold fix.  The beating stopped around 11 a.m. EDT—and the metal traded flat into the close, finishing down another 41 bucks.  Platinum has never been this oversold—ever.It was similar for palladium, as da boyz peeled another 12 bucks off the price—and it finished off its low by around five dollars.You’ll note that the HFT boyz only went after gold and silver at the 8:30 a.m. EDT job numbers report.  Neither platinum or palladium even twitched during that time.Of course it’s almost superfluous to point out that all four precious metals set new lows for this move down.The dollar index closed late on Thursday afternoon at 85.61—and rallied quietly starting almost immediately after the 6 p.m. EDT open—and was at the 86.00 level when the jobs numbers released.  The NASA space launch in the index that occurred at that point took the dollar to its 86.75 high shortly before 11 a.m. EDT—and it gave up 10 points of its gain by the close.  The index finished that up 103.4 basis points—and closed at 86.65.The gold stocks got pounded—gaping down at the open—and hitting their lows around 1 p.m. EDT—and never moved off the floor from there.  The HUI got smacked for a breathtaking 4.47%—closing at 189.77.And even though silver only closed down 24 cents, the shares got slammed even harder, as Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed down 5.36%.The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that zero gold and 13 silver contracts were posted for delivery within the Comex-approved depositories on Tuesday.The CME Preliminary Report for the Friday trading session showed that 327 contracts disappeared from the October delivery month, leaving 1,913 contracts still open.  The silver contracts still open in October rose by 78—and the contracts open now sits at 291.There were no reported changes in GLD yesterday—and as of 6:24 p.m. EDT, there were no reported changes in SLV.There was no sales report from the U.S. Mint.Over at the Comex-approved depositories on Thursday, they reported that 16,075 troy ounces of gold were received—and 22,364 troy ounces were shipped out.  The link to that activity is here.There was much more activity in silver, of course, as they received 899,995 troy ounces—and 371,102 ounces were shipped out the door.  Most of the activity was at Brink’s, Inc. and Canada’s Scotiabank.  The link to that action is here.The Commitment of Traders Report, for positions held at the close of Comex trading on Tuesday, was not quite what I was hoping to see—and I’m wondering out loud if all the data from the big down day on Tuesday made it into this report, which was something I mentioned as a possibility in my Wednesday column.  Anyway, the numbers are what they are.In silver, the Commercial net short position declined by only 1,306 contracts—and the new Commercial net short position now stands at 77.3 million troy ounces.Under the hood in the Disaggregated COT Report, the Managed Money category increased their short position by 3,924 contracts, which is understandable considering the price action during the reporting period.  But the non-technical traders on the long side of the Managed Money category actually increased their long position by an impressive 2,458 contracts.  Almost all the selling came out of the Nonreportable/small trader category.The Managed Money on the short side is now at a new record—and it’s a good bet that, as a group, they don’t hold a single solitary Comex long position in silver between them.  So the question begs to be asked—who are the non-technical fund traders in the Managed Money category that are quietly adding to their positions on the long side—and why are they doing it and what do they know that we don’t?Ted Butler said the it appears that JPMorgan decreased their short position by around 500 contracts during the reporting week—and that brings their short-side corner in the Comex silver market down to 11,000 contracts, or 55 million troy ounces.  That amount represents about 70 percent of the total Commercial net short position.In gold, the Commercial net short position only declined by 3,590 Comex contracts, or 359,000 troy ounces.  The Commercial net short position is now down to 6.07 million troy ounces.The shorts in the Managed Money category only added 43 contracts to their combined short positions—and the non-technical traders in that category added another 837 contracts to their huge long position.  As in silver, all the selling came from the Nonreportable/small trader category—and the Commercial traders were buying everything they were selling.Ted said that JPMorgan reduced their long-side corner in the Comex gold market by 2,000 contracts during the report week, and they’re now down to 23,000 contracts, or 2.3 million troy ounces.There was a big improvement in copper as well, as the Managed Money traders added another 9,324 Comex contracts to their collective short positions, while the non-technical traders in the Managed Money category added a small amount to their huge long position.Platinum and palladium improved as well, but we won’t see the full effect of what happened in those two precious metals until next Friday’s COT Report, as most of the engineered price decline this week didn’t start until Tuesday—and has continued for the last four trading days—and it’s a good bet [looking at yesterday’s COT Report] that not all the trading data from Tuesday for platinum and palladium made it into Friday’s report, either.The big revelation for me from this COT Report was the fact that monster long positions in all four precious metals, plus copper, are being held by these unblinking non-technical funds in the Managed Money category that have been increasing their long position regardless of whether prices are rising or falling.  Opposite them in the Manged Money category are short positions held by the technical funds, who will run for cover like scared rabbits on the next rally.If the Managed Money non-technical funds longs—and the traders that are massively long in the Commercial category decide to put their hands in their pockets on the next rally, how high will the Managed Money shorts have to bid the price in order to get the long holders to sell so they can cover their short positions?The last two times this year, the Commercial long holder have let the short-side holders in the Managed Money category off easily.  Will they do so this time???The answer to that question is all that matters—and how high we go in price and how fast we get there will be 100 percent determined by how the long holders react when the short holders rush to cover.  That applies to copper and crude oil as well—plus the opposite in the dollar index, where the technical funds are massively long.And, without doubt, the positions held by all parties, short or long, has become even more extreme since the cut-off on Tuesday.So we wait.Here’s a chart Nick Laird sent our way yesterday.  It’s the live spot gold price going back five years—and with the spot price close of $1,191.30 on Friday, JPMorgan et al have set a triple bottom.  But since they’re capable of printing any chart pattern they want, you have to ask yourself if this really means anything.I have a fair number of stories for you today—and I hope you can find enough time during what’s left of your weekend to read the ones you like.Of course, I must be open to the possibility (some would say probability) that this might not be the final sell-off because the commercials could once again sell aggressively on the next rally and let the technical funds off the hook with minimal damage.This year alone, in February and June, the commercials sold aggressively on sub-par silver rallies of around $3 when they could have extracted from the technical funds much, much more. Worse, I still don’t fully understand why the commercials let the technical funds off the hook so lightly on those two prior (and other) occasions. The best I can come up with is that the commercials knew they were in firm price control of the COMEX and knew that they could dictate what the technical funds would do in advance; that the commercials knew they could put the technical funds back on the short side whenever they wanted to. – Silver analyst Ted Butler: 01 October 2014Today’s pop ‘blast from the past’ is another iconic piece that needs no introduction—and neither does the American jazz rock band that performs it.  The link is here—and while I’m at it, here’s another one of their big hits.I’m going to watch/listen to the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra perform tonight—and today’s classical ‘blast from the past’ is one of the reasons I’ll be there.  It’s my 66th birthday present to myself.  It’s Edvard Grieg‘s Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16, which he composed in the summer of 1868—and is, without doubt, one of the most popular piano concertos ever written.  It’s for a very good reason that audiences all over the world just eat this thing up every time its scheduled to be performed—and I know that for a fact, as I was on the programming committee of the ESO for 11 years.Here’s the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra performing under the baton of Thomas Dausgaard—and world renowned pianist Alice Sara Ott does the honours.  The link is here.  Enjoy!You don’t need me to tell you what happened yesterday, as JPMorgan et al—along with their HFT buddies and their algorithms—used the jobs numbers and the dollar rally to do the dirty across the board.  They started quietly in Far East trading—and then really hammered gold and silver at the 8:30 a.m. EDT job numbers.  Then later they put the boots to platinum and palladium.  Much to my surprise, they didn’t set new lows in either copper or crude oil.Here’s the carnage in the four precious metals—and it’s ugly.last_img read more

By Doug Casey Its an unfortunate historical ano

first_imgBy Doug Casey It’s an unfortunate historical anomaly that people think about the paper in their wallets as money. The dollar is, technically, a currency. A currency is a government substitute for money. But gold is money. Now, why do I say that? Historically, many things have been used as money. Cattle have been used as money in many societies, including Roman society. That’s where we get the word “pecuniary” from: the Latin word for a single head of cattle is pecus. Salt has been used as money, also in ancient Rome, and that’s where the word “salary” comes from; the Latin for salt is sal (or salis). The North American Indians used seashells. Cigarettes were used during WWII. So, money is simply a medium of exchange and a store of value. By that definition, almost anything could be used as money, but obviously, some things work better than others; it’s hard to exchange things people don’t want, and some things don’t store value well. Over thousands of years, the precious metals have emerged as the best form of money. Gold and silver both, though primarily gold. There’s nothing magical about gold. It’s just uniquely well-suited among the 98 naturally occurring elements for use as money…in the same way aluminum is good for airplanes or uranium is good for nuclear power. There are very good reasons for this, and they are not new reasons. Aristotle defined five reasons why gold is money in the 4th century BCE (which may only have been the first time it was put down on paper). Those five reasons are as valid today as they were then. When I give a speech, I often offer a prize to the audience member who can tell me the five classical reasons gold is the best money. Quickly now – what are they? Can’t recall them? Read on, and this time, burn them into your memory. – — The Secret to Investing in Gold Like Doug Casey After the longest bear market in gold stocks in 40 years…Doug Casey just revealed how he plans to make a killing on gold’s massive rebound…and why 99% of investors don’t have what it takes to try this gold strategy. See more here. Recommended Links Shocking Footage From Outside the Door of Our Affiliate’s Building You’ve got to see this… It’s footage from Baltimore, MD, right on the front doorstep of our affiliate’s headquarters. And you won’t believe what they caught this woman (named Charro) doing on camera… It’s really one of those things you HAVE to see with your OWN two eyes. Click here to see the UNCENSORED CAMERA FOOTAGE. Money If you can’t define a word precisely, clearly and quickly, that’s proof you don’t understand what you’re talking about as well as you might. The proper definition of money is as something that functions as a store of value and a medium of exchange. Government fiat currencies can, and currently do, function as money. But they are far from ideal. What, then, are the characteristics of a good money? Aristotle listed them in the 4th century BCE. A good money must be all of the following: • Durable: A good money shouldn’t fall apart in your pocket nor evaporate when you aren’t looking. It should be indestructible. This is why we don’t use fruit for money. It can rot, be eaten by insects, and so on. It doesn’t last. • Divisible: A good money needs to be convertible into larger and smaller pieces without losing its value, to fit a transaction of any size. This is why we don’t use things like porcelain for money – half a Ming vase isn’t worth much. • Consistent: A good money is something that always looks the same, so that it’s easy to recognize, each piece identical to the next. This is why we don’t use things like oil paintings for money; each painting, even by the same artist, of the same size and composed of the same materials is unique. It’s also why we don’t use real estate as money. One piece is always different from another piece. • Convenient: A good money packs a lot of value into a small package and is highly portable. This is why we don’t use water for money, as essential as it is – just imagine how much you’d have to deliver to pay for a new house, not to mention all the problems you’d have with the escrow. It’s also why we don’t use other metals like lead, or even copper. The coins would have to be too huge to handle easily to be of sufficient value. • Intrinsically valuable: A good money is something many people want or can use. This is critical to money functioning as a means of exchange; even if I’m not a jeweler, I know that someone, somewhere wants gold and will take it in exchange for something else of value to me. This is why we don’t – or shouldn’t – use things like scraps of paper for money, no matter how impressive the inscriptions upon them might be. Actually, there’s a sixth reason Aristotle should have mentioned, but it wasn’t relevant in his age, because nobody would have thought of it…it can’t be created out of thin air. Not even the kings and emperors who clipped and diluted coins would have dared imagine that they could get away with trying to use something essentially worthless as money. These are the reasons why gold is the best money. It’s not a gold bug religion, nor a barbaric superstition. It’s simply common sense. Gold is particularly good for use as money, just as aluminum is particularly good for making aircraft, steel is good for the structures of buildings, uranium is good for fueling nuclear power plants, and paper is good for making books. Not money. If you try to make airplanes out of lead, or money out of paper, you’re in for a crash. That gold is money is simply the result of the market process, seeking optimum means of storing value and making exchanges. Editor’s Note: We just alerted readers to an extremely rare opportunity to quickly make a lot of money in the gold market. In short, a unique type of gold investment is set up for 500% or 1,000% gains in the coming years. This setup has only occurred a handful of times in the last 20 years. But every time it occurs, some investors see gains as large as 1,700%, 4,300%, and 5,000%. If you’re interested in this idea, please act now. With gold prices up 19% this year, the window of opportunity is closing fast. And once it’s closed, we likely won’t get another chance like this for at least five years. Read more here.last_img read more

The Biggest Trends in Business for 2013

first_imgEnergy-Drink Market Gets a Boost From Young ConsumersEnergy-enhancing products have grown into a multibillion-dollar industry fueled by young consumers. Goofing off: Designer Beau Bergeron at Ideo.Photo Courtesy of Ideo Whether it’s synthesized caffeine in a mass-produced beverage or a naturally occurring jolt in an organic snack, energy products are lifting off.Since flying in on Red Bull’s wings in the 1990s, energy-enhancing products have grown into a multibillion-dollar industry fueled by young consumers. Sales for the industry’s largest segment–drinks and shots–surpassed $8 billion last year, an increase of 124 percent since 2006, according to market research company Mintel.Tom Vierhile, innovation insights director for Datamonitor, a business information and market analysis firm, estimates that the energy drink category will grow 8.9 percent from 2010 to 2015, while the food and beverage industry overall will increase by just 2.9 percent. He notes a recent survey in which nearly 30 percent of U.S. consumers said they are highly influenced by energy-boosting benefits when choosing a soft drink.Supercharged food products are also on the rise. A PricewaterhouseCoopers market report on functional food divides the $20 billion-plus industry into categories according to health benefit, such as weight management, heart health and memory improvement, but the largest segment (29 percent) is made up of products claiming to boost energy.”Looking toward the future, you’re starting to see companies getting outside the beverage area and [talking] about energy as a viable benefit for food products,” Vierhile says. But he isn’t referring to novelty items like caffeinated waffles. “One of the trends we’re seeing in food these days is [that] consumers are seeking out products on the basis of what they naturally contain,” he says.YouBar, a Los Angeles-based manufacturer of customized energy bars, has been filling that need since its 2006 launch–and has grown every year since. At YouBars.com, users build bars from scratch by selecting from a variety of natural, healthful ingredients (including those with intrinsic energy enhancers); a nutritional label on the page automatically updates to reflect their choices. Owner Anthony Flynn says sales increased 100 percent in 2011, and he expects them to double again this year.Other companies are pursuing the all-natural energy path, too, even if it means diverging from their core business. Pyure Brands, a Naples, Fla.-based supplier of organic stevia products, branched out from the natural sweetener industry after founder Ben Fleischer saw an opportunity in energy shots. “We found a niche in the marketplace,” he says. “Our product is the first certified-organic, sugar-free [and calorie-free] energy shot.” Six months after introducing Pyure’s Organic Energy Optimization shot to distribution channels, Fleischer anticipates selling 250,000 to 500,000 units per month.Whatever the reason–staying awake to complete a business plan, cramming the night before a presentation or just remaining alert throughout the workday–clearly, says Datamonitor’s Vierhile, “there is an interest in energy.” Using Transparency to Build Consumer Trust Add to Queue Remember when virtual reality was all the rage? What about the daily-deal explosion?We love a good story and a quick cash infusion, but when it comes down to it, we’re far bigger fans of businesses built on a solid foundation — those that can weather the economy’s fits and starts; that can embrace what’s trendy but don’t crash when kids move on to the next big thing; that address the wants and needs of America’s increasingly diverse population.Our list of the trends we’ve got our eyes on will help anchor your business, present or future, in reality. From cooking up goodies that satisfy America’s growing taste for all things spicy — a sign of our shifting demographics — to helping workers who are locking the door on traditional office setups, these trends are built to last (at least for a while). Consider this a jumping-off point as you envision new products and services — and look at it as a heads-up on evolving ways to manage your current business. Now, to your future. Health Technology can’t cure all ills, but doctors (and entrepreneurs) are working on it.Market research firm Parks Associates reports that the digital health technology market will be worth $5.7 billion by 2015–up from $1.7 billion in 2010–with chronic care, wellness and medication management leading the charge. Meanwhile, consultancy ABI Research estimates that sales of wearable wireless health-monitoring devices will grow from less than 3 million units in 2011 to 36 million by 2017, pushed by rapid growth in the senior in-home care market.Early players in the mobile-health space include Happtique, an app-management company that helps healthcare professionals integrate digital technologies into their treatment programs, and Proteus Digital Health, inventors of a sand-grain-size ingestible sensor that monitors physiological and behavioral metrics from within a patient’s body.Startups, of course, want in. “Regulatory challenges still pose a problem, but the ability to scale healthcare absolutely has to happen,” says Leslie Ziegler, chief evangelist at San Francisco-based health-dedicated accelerator Rock Health, which is nurturing promising ideas like Cardiio, a $4.99 touchless biofeedback app that uses mobile-device cameras to measure pulse via light reflected off the face (changes correspond to the flow of blood underneath the skin), and Podimetrics, maker of Wi-Fi-connected mats that can detect burgeoning foot ulcers in diabetics.”Technology has finally caught up to the need, and the solution finally fits into people’s lifestyles,” Ziegler says.The money has caught up, too. According to Rock Health, nearly $1.1 billion has been invested in digital health startups this year, up from $626 million last year, marking an 84 percent increase in deals.In November 2011 Chris Hogg, co-founder and CEO of 100Plus, raised a $1.3 million seed round from big-name investors like Peter Thiel of Founders Fund and John Lilly, former CEO of Mozilla. Hogg’s company is developing an app that uses large data sets to assess behavior and spur healthier living habits–only now possible because of a sea change in the way people collect and share their own data.”People are hungry to learn more about themselves. They haven’t had this power and access to the tools and services to make it possible before,” he explains. So don’t be surprised if, in a few years, your (virtual) doctor’s visit ends with a prescription for both pills and apps. December 3, 2012 This story appears in the December 2012 issue of . Subscribe » Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand Beverage Next Article Manufacturing Magazine Contributor Using Transparency to Build Consumer TrustWeary consumers have had enough of false promises and conflicting marketing claims and are simply seeking brands they can trust. Beauty Seekers Favor ‘Cosmeceuticals’Consumers take a shine to advanced personal-care products. Photo Courtesy of hotsauce.com Energy-enhancing products have grown into a multibillion-dollar industry fueled by young consumers.By Katherine Duncan Illustration © Chris Philpot Customer Service Illustrations© Chris Philpot Domestic Production Makes a ComebackFactors like more affordable labor, higher shipping costs, a better financial climate and a surge of homegrown innovation mean the U.S. manufacturing startup universe is experiencing a renaissance. Consumers take a shine to advanced personal-care products.By Jennifer Wang By keeping production close to home, companies reap benefits on the connectivity front, translating into better products and systems. Case in point: San Francisco-based Everlane, which makes luxury apparel and sells it directly to consumers online, manufactures half its product line in the U.S. Founder Michael Preysman believed staying stateside would give him speed and more control over his inventory. He was right–over the summer, an endorsement on the popular lifestyle blog A Cup of Jo caused a flash sellout of 2,000 black V-neck T-shirts in a single day. If the tees had been sourced from overseas, rapid restocking would not have been possible.”It can take a minimum of 12 weeks to get something shipped from overseas, but we can do it in a month,” Preysman says. “It’s maybe a buck more for a T-shirt, but here you can sit and go over the design details and touch the product.” Unique Vending Machines Drive Stagnate Industry Forward Creative Financing Grows in Popularity Move over ketchup, hot sauce is now one of the 10 fastest-growing industries in the U.S.By Jason Daley Management Vending When high heels start to rub, consumers today can take the edge off with a visit to a vending machine–and not just for a soul-soothing candy bar. “Our customers love that they can walk right up, put money in and instantly get a pair of shoes,” says Ashley Ross, who sells ballet flats out of four Rollasole machines in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. “There’s no hassle or sales pitch. It’s simple, and they can go on their way.”Last year Ross and business partner Lindsay Klimitz bought the U.S. rights to Rollasole from its U.K. founder, Matt Horan. They plan to place seven additional machines in New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Chicago in the coming months.The size of the U.S. vending machine industry has stayed steady over the past few years, pulling in about $42 billion last year, according to the National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA). And while nearly 95 percent of that revenue came from traditional options such as beverages and snacks, NAMA president and CEO Carla Balakgie believes recent innovations like touchscreen technology, electronic payment options and unique products could drive the industry forward.Savvy entrepreneurs are engaging the always-open kiosks to offer everything from $5 works of art (artist Clark Whittington’s Art-o-mats, which utilize retired cigarette machines) to fresh-cut flowers (Raleigh, N.C.-based 24-Hour Flower).The U.S. is still a ways away from the vending machine dominance of Japan–where more than 5.2 million machines generated about $65 billion in 2009 from sales of everything from eggs to pet rhinoceros beetles. But new companies are bringing new products to stateside machines all the time. Enroll Now for $5 Health Care Goes Digital Healthcare Goes DigitalThe digital health-technology market will be worth $5.7 billion by 2015, with chronic care, wellness and medication management leading the charge. Technology Creative Financing Grows in PopularityTraditional business lending is still faltering, but more people are starting businesses, which means borrowers and lenders are getting creative. The Rise of Big Data The Workspace of the Future Traditional business lending is still faltering, but more people are starting businesses, which means borrowers and lenders are getting creative..By Michelle Goodman The Biggest Trends in Business for 2013 Assembled at home: The Tesla Motors factory in Fremont, Calif. Domestic Production Makes a Comeback Foodcenter_img Elon Musk of Tesla Motors Entrepreneur Staff Botox, schmotox. When it comes to anti-aging solutions, beauty seekers are starting to thumb their noses at injections in favor of “cosmeceuticals,” personal-care products with supposed skin-enhancing ingredients.Market research group IBISWorld estimates that cosmeceuticals accounted for 13.4 percent of the $54.9 billion wholesale cosmetics and beauty-products market in 2012–a whopping $7.4 billion. Another research firm, Freedonia Group, predicts that demand for cosmetic chemicals will jump 4.9 percent per year to reach $9.4 billion by 2016.This growth will be driven by products advertising “active and natural” ingredients like rice-enzyme powders and rainforest plant extracts, such as those from Lily Herbceuticals–which uses exotic ingredients like the Tibetan Snow Lotus, a flower that survives in the Himalayas at 21,000 feet above sea level and 70 degrees below zero–and Personal Cell Sciences’ U Autologous, a skincare line that incorporates customers’ own stem cells in the service of anti-aging.Lindsey Guest, founder and CEO of San Francisco-based BeautyArmy, a year-old tech company that uses algorithms to match individuals with personalized beauty samples, says the number of skincare lines on the market has quadrupled over the last five years. It’s an especially lucrative category because of an urban and affluent customer base willing to pay a premium for the latest innovations. “They don’t want to use what their mothers and grandmothers used, and a new algae or deep-sea ingredient really resonates,” she says.Dan Obegi, CEO of Los Angeles-based DermStore, the largest e-tailer of physician-strength skincare products, agrees. “There’s new demand as beauty influencers and tastemakers get older and become more interested in these types of products,” he says. DermStore has seen annual growth of 50 percent for the last three years. Its parent company, Intelligent Beauty, which expects 2012 revenue of $450 million, has introduced a cosmeceutical slant into other verticals, such as shampoos that treat split ends.Katia Beauchamp, co-founder and co-CEO of Birchbox, a New York City-based discovery shopping service for beauty, grooming and lifestyle products, says that no matter the age of the consumer, spending is trending toward higher-performance products. A recent company survey revealed that BB creams–all-in-one products that work as a serum, moisturizer, primer, foundation and sunblock and were originally developed to protect skin after cosmetic surgery–are now finding mainstream use as a daily skincare option and are most popular among the under-21 set. And let’s not forget the ever-growing opportunities in the ethnic and male-grooming markets, worth $3 billion and $2.6 billion, respectively, by some counts.Beauty may only be skin deep, but consumers’ desire to chase it offers endless potential for companies’ bottom lines. The digital health technology market will be worth $5.7 billion by 2015, with chronic care, wellness and medication management leading the charge.By Jennifer Wang It’s no surprise that creative financing is on the upswing. More people are starting businesses than before the economy tanked–but traditional business lending is still faltering.”The majority of small businesses don’t need to borrow $1 million. They need to borrow $25,000 to $50,000,” says Charles Green, executive director of the Small Business Finance Institute, a nonprofit that educates entrepreneurs about financing. Little wonder that alternative financing methods–crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending sites, online pawn shops, you name it–have become so popular.Take microlending. In 2011 Accion East, a leading U.S. provider of $500 to $50,000 microloans, granted 19 percent more loans and lent $2.2 million more than the previous year. According to Accion East CEO Paul Quintero, it’s the same story at the four sister organizations in Accion’s national network: more entrepreneurs applying for loans and more microloans disbursed.Also gaining in popularity is revenue-based financing (RBF), which is repaid based on the lendee’s monthly sales. Since forming in 2010, Seattle-based RBF lender Lighter Capital has gone from making three investments per year totaling $250,000 to 13 totaling $1.5 million, says CEO BJ Lackland. HireAHelper.com, a booking site for moving and day labor, got a $200,000 business-expansion loan from Lighter Capital a year ago. “It ended up being a pretty important catalyst for our growth,” says Mike Glanz, the site’s co-founder.Entrepreneurs are also flocking to collateral-free loans, particularly short-term ones. Consider merchant cash advances, in which restaurants, retailers and other businesses doing a high volume of card transactions receive a lump sum in exchange for a cut of future credit or debit card sales–often about 25 percent. This year these advances will total $1 billion, up from $800 million in 2011, says David Goldin, president of the North American Merchant Advance Association.All this is good news for entrepreneurs seeking capital. “Alternative lending is becoming more mainstream,” says Rohit Arora, co-founder and CEO of Biz2Credit, an online credit marketplace. “And as it becomes more mainstream, the cost of those products is going down.”  Image: Shutterstock Factors like more affordable labor, higher shipping costs, a better financial climate and a surge of homegrown innovation mean the U.S. manufacturing startup universe is experiencing a renaissance.By Jennifer Wang These days more CEOs are getting the memo on the value of fun in the workplace and its contribution to the bottom line. The prevailing wisdom is that a spirit of playfulness builds teamwork by bringing employees together in a collaborative setting. Just look at one of Zappos’ core values:”Create fun and a little weirdness.”Southwest Airlines has been the poster child for playfulness in the workplace since its founding in 1971 by fun-loving Herb Kelleher. More recently Cartoon Network CEO Stuart Snyder–named the “Most Playful CEO” of 2012 by Playworks, an Oakland, Calif.-based nonprofit–can be seen gliding about company headquarters in Atlanta on an oversize tricycle.”For me,” says Playworks founder and CEO Jill Vialet, “it’s a constant effort around getting the message out that work is not the antithesis of play–by no means at all. The opposite of play is depression.”Stuart Brown, founder of the National Institute for Play, says a positive spirit should start from the top. “The key to leadership is being flexible and open and playful … in a way that is really natural to your own personality,” Brown says. “When work and play can be joined in a way that works and is sensible, that, to me, is an ideal.”Each spring Brown teaches a course at Stanford University titled “From Play to Innovation” with Brendan Boyle, a partner at Ideo, the Palo Alto, Calif., design consultancy known for promoting play to inspire imagination. Boyle touched on this idea during a presentation at the 2011 Creative Innovation conference in Melbourne, Australia. “If you can incorporate [play] into your innovation process,” Boyle told the gathering, “you’re going to make it more enjoyable, and you’re going to be better at it.”These days playful leadership may be most famously reflected in the businesses of Silicon Valley–but not just in the grand, in-house gaming arcades and bowling alleys of the early internet days. Fun-based leadership has gone in a decidedly more grown-up and community-anchored direction. At Thumbtack, a San Francisco firm that helps consumers find and hire local service professionals online, employees sit down to lunches prepared by a professional chef. “Eating all our meals together is a great way to build camaraderie,” says co-founder and CEO Marco Zappacosta.The company culture grew organically from Thumbtack’s origins, Zappacosta notes, when most of the founders all lived–and worked–in his brother’s house. “We keep things casual,” he says. “We work hard and care about what we do. But at the end of the day we’re not so wrapped up in it that we can’t joke about it.”  Photo Courtesy of momentimages Managers Who Understand the Importance of Goofing Off Beauty Seekers Favor ‘Cosmeceuticals’ Managers Who Understand the Importance of Goofing OffCEOs get the message about the value of fun in the workplace and its contribution to the bottom line. Data Hot Sauce Goes MainstreamMove over ketchup. Hot sauce is now one of the 10 fastest-growing industries in the U.S. CEOs get the message about the value of fun in the workplace and its contribution to the bottom line.By Christopher Hann Beauty Machines in Las Vegas, New Jersey and New York peddle pieces of 24-karat gold under the name Gold to go. The Semi-Automatic machine at New York City’s Hudson Hotel is stocked with a rotating array of quirky items, such as copies of The Catcher in the Rye, designer threads and a rental agreement for a Ferrari 599 GTB. The Sandbox’s Beach Shop in a Box dispenses essentials like sunscreen, sunglasses, beach balls and towels. And Greenaid’s seedbomb vending machines–part of the company’s “guerrilla gardening efforts”–dispense balls of clay, compost and seeds that can be thrown into sidewalk cracks or barren parking lots to grow a little green.”Gen-Y, who has grown up with technology that allows them to define their own experiences, is driving much of the innovation in the industry,” Balakgie says. “They love the anonymity and to be able to get what they want, when they want it.” The office is getting a new look–or being phased out altogether.By Matt Villano Experts agree: Weary consumers have had enough of false promises and conflicting marketing claims and are simply seeking brands they can trust.”In most categories, products are essentially the same and offer the same rational benefits,” says Jim Joseph, branding expert and author of The Experience Effect for Small Business. “It’s the emotional benefits that make you a brand and get you into people’s lives so they come back time and time again.”Jim Gregory, CEO of New York- and Los Angeles-based CoreBrand, a full-service brand consultancy that works with corporations, says, “Trust is a critical component of overall brand reputation today. People are more likely to do business with a company they trust, which means [trust] generates revenue and increases the enterprise value of the company.”A survey conducted by Concerto Marketing Group found that when people trust a brand, 83 percent will recommend it to others; 82 percent will use its products and services frequently; 78 percent will look to it first for the things they want; and 78 percent will give its other products and services a chance.How do you earn that trust? Start with a brand story containing a human element to which consumers can relate, says Mark Lawrence, co-founder and CEO of SpotHero, a Chicago-based online parking reservation provider. “A lot of people associate negative feelings with parking, and we started this company because we’ve had those same feelings and wanted to make them positive,” he says. “We’re building a brand based on a personal problem of ours that others also identify with.”Once an emotional connection is made, it’s important to stay true to that brand promise to prolong the sense of trust. “Authenticity is coming back as an emotional connection that people want to make with their brands,” Joseph says. “It’s about speaking truthfully; doing what you say, saying what you do and not exaggerating who you are.”For Lawrence, a big part of that delivery comes in the form of 24/7 customer support–which has paid dividends for SpotHero. “We want our customers to feel comfortable, so if they have questions, if they’re lost or if they want to get a hold of an actual human being, they can call us,” he says. “We take that engagement very seriously, so parking is not scary or frustrating, and we’ve found that in doing so, our customers get so excited about their experience they tell their friends all about it.” The Rise of Big DataCutting-edge entrepreneurs are stepping up to crunch the vast (and ever-growing) stockpile of information too large for companies to store and analyze in-house. The Workspace of the FutureThe office is getting a new look — or being phased out altogether. 15+ min read Hot Sauce Goes Mainstream Grandpa can stop complaining: “Made in the USA” is making a comeback. Early this year a New York Times poll revealed that 52 percent of the public thinks it’s “very important” that products they buy are made in America. This past summer Starbucks generated all sorts of feel-good headlines for its Create Jobs for USA Fund. In one instance the corporation chose one of the last remaining U.S.-based pottery manufacturers, American Mug and Stein, to create merchandise for its new “Indivisible” brand, which donates a portion of sales back to the fund.Same deal on the mass-production side. In September a PricewaterhouseCoopers report alluded to a “renaissance” in U.S. manufacturing stemming from factors like more affordable labor, higher shipping costs and a better financial climate–and the fact that “re-shoring” (returning production stateside) could mitigate $2.2 billion in losses from supply-chain disruptions in 2011. Also helping the cause: a surge of homegrown innovation in the manufacturing startup universe, including Tesla Motors’ release of the world’s first all-electric luxury sedan from its Silicon Valley headquarters earlier this year. (Robots help keep operational costs down.)”One of the things we learned in the downturn is how to do things leaner and greener than we used to. We can get the same kind of revenue figure with less cost,” says Karen Burns, co-founder of Oakland, Calif.-based East Bay Manufacturing Group, an organization that counts startups and multifactory operations among its members. A recent group survey revealed that 69 percent of members were “very positive” about the current business outlook, with 38 percent expecting sales growth of more than 10 percent in 2013. –shares Weary consumers have had enough of false promises and conflicting marketing claims and are simply seeking brands they can trust.By Paula Andruss Sites like Etsy and Kickstarter also have made it easier to buy and promote local goods and services. For example, Susan Sarich, founder of SusieCakes, a self-professed “All-American Bakery” with eight locations in California, sourced hand-sewn holiday aprons from a Portland, Ore.-based Etsy artist. The relatively high price point for the aprons–$49 for a set of two–reflects the use of organic cottons, incorporation of thoughtful design elements and the labor of custom embroidery, done in San Francisco. “I could have gotten it done for 3 cents an apron,” she says. “But customers appreciate the quality.”Indeed, customers who appreciate “Made in the USA” tags are in good (and historic) company. In 1815 Thomas Jefferson announced, “I have come to a resolution myself as I hope every good citizen will, never again to purchase any article of foreign manufacture which can be had of American make, be the difference of price what it may.” Illustration © Chris Philpot Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. Recent innovations like touchscreen technology, electronic payment options and unique products could give the vending machines industry a boost.By Kara Ohngren Unique Vending Machines Drive Stagnant Industry ForwardRecent innovations like touchscreen technology, electronic-payment options and unique products could give the vending machines industry a boost. Cutting-edge entrepreneurs are stepping up to crunch the vast (and ever-growing) stockpile of information too large for companies to store and analyze in-house.By John Patrick Pullen Take it to go: Sprinkles Cupcakes in Beverly Hills, Calif.Sprinkles photo © Joy Cho of Oh Joy! Photo Courtesy of Veer/Corbis and Shutterstock Wondering about the office of the future? It might take more imagination than you think. “Who says there’ll be an office at all?” asks Tom Austin, vice president at Gartner, a Stamford, Conn.-based technology research firm. “Already we work from Starbucks, in the car and at our kids’ softball games.”Sure, experts like Austin have predicted the obsolescence of the workplace for years, but as technology empowers people to work from any place with an internet connection, it’s starting to look like more small- and medium-size businesses could very well decide to go without on the physical office front.Take, for instance, Floor64. The media and consulting company maintains a brick-and-mortar space in Sunnyvale, Calif., but also runs a bunch of Skype-powered chat rooms for remote workers–many of which are buzzing for most of the day.”These [chat rooms], more than anything else, represent our ‘office,'” says CEO Mike Masnick, “and they don’t exist in physical space.”Several developments have facilitated the rise of a virtual workplace. Nearly 6 million Americans work from home, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Cloud computing enables data backups and remote collaboration in real time. And group video chat–videoconferencing 2.0, if you will–has become dirt cheap (or, in the case of Google Hangouts, free).Even traditional back-office departments are moving toward virtualization. Recently a number of third-party companies have popped up to provide services such as human resources, payroll and benefits. Some of these providers, including Algentis and Insperity, offer customizable online portals for each employee.Of course many companies–big ones, especially–won’t give up on physical offices entirely. But experts say that in order to succeed, these firms should completely rethink their layouts, creating work environments that provide employees with a range of options.Gartner’s Austin predicts that rather than the cube farms and conference rooms of yore, workspaces will come to evoke areas of the typical home–open floor plans with couches and soft rugs; cozy, kitchen-like spaces with waist-high countertops; and covered outdoor patios with chaise longues.Or, says Kevin Kuske–chief brand advocate and general manager for Turnstone, an office-furniture company in Grand Rapids, Mich.–office planners will start to think more like city planners, clumping purpose-built spaces into distinct portions of a building. “Urban centers have entertainment zones, dining zones, even residential zones,” Kuske notes. “For an office to work it needs to take this approach, too.” Office Space Hot sauce has caught fire. In April research firm IBISWorld declared manufacturing of the spicy condiment to be one of the 10 fastest-growing industries in the U.S., with average company revenue jumping 9.3 percent per year over the last decade.Even though the segment is small–roughly 5,500 people employed by 218 sauce companies, an industry valued at $1 billion–it packs an entrepreneurial punch. Beyond established companies, thousands of kitchen and garage cooks have begun decocting their own spicy blends, with dozens of new sauces hitting local shelves and mail-order catalogs each year. A quick survey of recent entrepreneurial sauciers included a 13-year-old boy from North Carolina, a formerly homeless veteran who used sauce to rebuild his life and a Palo Alto, Calif., firefighter who grows his peppers behind the station. Even the industry’s largest player–Avery Island, La.-based Tabasco, which has an estimated 34 percent of the market–has been privately held by the McIlhenny family since 1868.Dave DeWitt, producer of the annual National Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show held in Albuquerque, N.M., and the authority on all things spicy, likens the hot-sauce explosion to that of craft beer. “It’s similar because it’s an industry in which people have a vision of a product that they want to create,” he says. “So just like in microbrewing, people are using innovation as much as they can.”So what has transformed Americans from ketchup slaves to salsa-swilling heat addicts? IBISWorld and DeWitt both point to the increasing popularity of and exposure to international foods. With that comes demand for zippy condiments like Vietnamese sriracha, Korean chili paste and more complex versions of Mexican salsas. Research firm Mintel reports that sales of sauces and marinades–including hot sauces–jumped 20 percent between 2005 and 2010 and are expected to increase another 19 percent by 2015, mainly because people are increasingly cooking at home to save money and want to re-create those international flavors they have come to enjoy while eating out.At the same time, DeWitt says, hot sauces are maturing. Instead of focusing on extreme heat or crude names like Slap Your Mama and Blow It Out Your Ass, companies are doubling down on flavor, experimenting with fruit-based sauces and toning down some of the heat to appeal to a wider consumer base. “The micro-hot-sauce industry and all the new brands are slowly eroding Tabasco’s market position,” DeWitt says. “These new chili-heads are trying to come up with a line of products that will appeal to people who like all kinds of cuisines.”Blair Lazar, who founded Highlands, N.J.-based Blair’s Sauces and Snacks 23 years ago (and holds the Guinness World Record for the hottest product on Earth), believes technology is a major driver of the sauce boomlet. “When I started it was hard to even find bottles. Now people can order bottles and get labels off the internet,” Lazar says. But the most important reason for the trend, he contends, is that Americans, like much of the rest of the world, have simply fallen in love with heat: “We’re not a bland society, that’s for sure, so why not turn it up a bit?” Step right up: Rollasole ballet flats.Photo courtesy of Rollasole Energy Drink Market Gets a Boost From Young Consumers A massive abstraction with a cute little name, Big Data is the vast (and ever-growing) stockpile of information too large for companies to store in-house–let alone analyze. All that info offers potential to cutting-edge entrepreneurs willing to step up and do the crunching.According to IBM, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are born every day (enough to fill more than 531 million DVDs), and 90 percent of the world’s digital information was produced over the last two years. “For so long, we’ve focused on human-powered businesses, and now we’re transforming into data-driven organizations that are bringing a level of customer centricity that we’ve never seen before,” says Graeme Noseworthy, marketing director for IBM’s Big Data Solutions Software Group.And this is just the Cro-Magnon stage of the info boom. By 2020, the annual data-generation rate will balloon 4,300 percent to 35 zettabytes of intelligence, according to Falls Church, Va.-based Computer Sciences Corporation. (That’s 7.35 trillion DVDs, in case you’re keeping track).From yesterday’s Dow Jones industrial average to a GPS tag on today’s Instagram image to tomorrow’s pollen count, every bit of information will be collected, cataloged, distributed, stored and analyzed by a rapidly evolving segment of companies. According to Reuters, venture capital firms invested $2.47 billion in fields around big data in 2011, nearly 10 percent of all money distributed. That’s up from $1.53 billion in 2010 and $1.1 billion in 2009.”Big Data represents a transformation of the entire IT industry and a $300 billion to $500 billion wealth-creation opportunity for entrepreneurs,” says Matt Ocko, co-managing partner at San Francisco-based investment fund Data Collective. “It’s as sound a bet for us today as investing in PC-related technologies in 1981 or in internet-enabling technologies in 1994.”Entire funds, like Data Collective, have popped up to support the category, using technology to inform investments in startups like Palo Alto, Calif.-based Continuuity, which helps developers make data-based cloud applications, and Portland, Ore.-based Cloudability, a cloud-computing dashboard that enables companies to monitor their online computing expenditures. And these investments appear to be solid bets. According to a report by the McKinsey Global Institute, the potential value of big data, if used creatively and effectively by the U.S. healthcare industry, would be worth more than $300 billion in that sector every year. Currently healthcare providers throw 90 percent of that information away.And that’s just one of many market segments Big Data will revolutionize. In June Ford Motor Company opened a Silicon Valley lab to process data from more than 4 million cars currently spitting out information. Twitter recently hooked 12 partners up to its massive fire hose of 340 million tweets per day, allowing fledgling firms like New York-based Dataminr to sell global event predictions and Boulder, Colo.-based Gnip to parse and resell post-related data.No matter how you look at it–as a consumer, marketer, investor, administrator or inventor–the numbers don’t lie. Big Data isn’t just changing business; it’s changing everything. Lendinglast_img read more

6 Dating Apps That Are Putting a Fresh Spin on Finding Love

first_imgNews and Trends February 14, 2015 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. Next Article –shares Entrepreneur Staff Nina Zipkin Image credit: Wyldfire via Facebookcenter_img Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture. 6 Dating Apps That Are Putting a Fresh Spin on Finding Love Wyldfire app For something so abstract, love has a ton of industry around it – not so romantic, right? But it’s true. While February is bound to be a good month for florists, card companies, candy makers, and restaurants, it’s also bound to be a good month for dating apps.Everyone knows about Match.com, Tinder and OKCupid, but what else is out there? We’ve rounded up some of the latest and emerging apps on the market, many of which want to put the power in female user’s hands and make the dating experience a little more like it could be IRL.Related: 5 Things Entrepreneurs Can Learn from Online DatingThe League Image credit: The LeagueRecently launched in San Francisco, The League is positioning itself as the option for high-achieving folks who are looking for the other half of a potential power couple – the tag line is “Date intelligently.” The company was founded by a Stanford grad named Amanda Bradford who worked for Google, Sequoia Capital and Evernote before moving into the love game.Bradford thinks that what sets The League apart from others on the market is that it presents more information right up front. “The League combines data and social graphs from both Facebook and LinkedIn to offer separation between your work and personal life and much more context about a potential match…[which] allows young professionals to more easily connect on a less superficial level.”The app has roughly 80,000 registered users. 30 percent have advanced degrees, 18 percent are executives, VPs or founders and the user base is split 50/50 men and women. Even though the company is pulling info from Facebook and LinkedIn, it promises your profile will be hidden from your friends and colleagues, so no run-ins on the app will result in awkward in-person explanations later.Related: This Tinder-esque Dating App Allows Users to Swipe Right Based on a Potential Match’s LinkedIn BioTheCatchImage credit: TheCatch”We are different because we are gamifying the process,” says founder Shannon Ong, who describes TheCatch as a digital upgrade on a cross between The Bachelorette and The Dating Game. The app allows a female user to invite a group of men to answer a question about topics ranging from best Halloween costumes to the strangest place they’ve ever visited. The woman’s profile is invisible during the Q&A portion and narrows down a field of four to the one guy they want to chat with.TheCatch launches in beta on Feb. 14, with an iOS release expected in March, and plans to expand to other cities around the country. Ong says that ages of users range from 21 to 38, and so far the user base is slightly skewed towards women. “It’s not about what school you go to or what job you have… stop staring at just looks and start looking into other interesting things like chemistry.”Related: The Biggest Dating Problem Entrepreneurs HaveDapper Image credit: DapperThe free New York-based Dapper launched in November and co-founder Alexandra Partow says its user base is in the several thousands, the majority of whom are college educated professionals ranging from 25 to 40.Partow and co-founder Josh Wittman posit that a lot of online dating is something of a time suck – so in their app, you’re not allowed to talk with your matches before the first date. Instead you tell Dapper when you’re free and it figures out a time for you and your prospective date to meet. The Dapper team also chooses the location of the meeting — and your first drink is on them. The app also places a premium on old-school chivalry – the woman gets to choose the neighborhood where the first date takes place, and the guys have to take a Gentleman Pledge before joining the app.Given your interests and personality traits, Dapper assembles a small group of matches to choose from. “We are offering Dapper for free whereas a matchmaker charges hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. Dapper is unlike traditional dating sites and apps which mostly act as chat rooms for people based on mutual interest in profile pictures,” says Partow.Related: The Bizarre Ways Niche Dating Services Are Pairing People OffHappn Image credit: Happn via iTunesHappn first launched in Paris last February and in a year it gained 1.6 million users in cities all over the world – Barcelona, Berlin, Boston, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, Madrid and New York. Madrid. Ideally, the app is meant for the person who sees the same attractive guy or girl on their commute every day, but hasn’t worked up the courage to talk to them yet. Founder Didier Rappaport is the co-founder of video platform Dailymotion.Marie Cosnard, the app’s head of media relations says what sets Happn apart from other apps is that the experience begins offline. “Thanks to real-time geolocation, the app shows you a timeline of the people you have really crossed paths with. They are the people you have seen and that you would like to talk to and meet in real life once again.”Every time you run into someone, say on the street or at a coffee shop, their profile pops up. If you like them, you can hit a heart button, but they won’t have any idea unless they like you, too, at which point you can start talking. If you want to get their attention, you can send a “charm” notification.Related: New Dating App Startup Aims to Be the ‘Thinking Person’s Tinder’The Dating Lounge Image credit: The Dating Lounge via iTunesMatchmaker Samantha Daniels launched her iOS app The Dating Lounge at the end of January. She says her user base started with “several thousand invitations” to a list of “high-end affluent influencers” she had in her existing matchmaking database, and that there is a sizable waitlist. The Dating Lounge is invite-only – but new members can also join if they get approval from other users of the app. “I have recreated my high-end matchmaking service on the phone,” she says.Daniels says one of the things that she think sets her venture apart from the rest is that members can “play matchmaker” for one another. Users can refer one of their matches to friends if they feel there may be potential for a connection, and can ask mutual friends on the app for a reference on the man or woman they are talking with to take some of the guesswork out of the proceedings.Related: Hinge, the Less Random Tinder, Raises $12 MillionWyldfire Image credit: Wyldfire via FacebookWyldfire is all about decreasing the admittedly high creep factor for women in the online dating world, describing itself as “the dating network where ladies are the gatekeepers.” The women are the ones who vet and vote on the men that get to join the network through the app’s “Election” feature.Each profile includes info about the user’s job, education, height and their Instagram account. There is also a 20 message limit per person to start. The app launched in July 2013 and has had a predominantly West Coast focus, but co-founder and CEO Brian Freeman says a national campaign is in the works for 2015.The average age of women on the site is 23 and 28 for men, and Freeman says that daily active users have increased by 450 percent and monthly active users have tripled since last November. The site only allows users to sign up once as either male or female, and the profile is required to sync with Facebook (hence the Instagram) and have a “clear face photo.” Just no bathroom selfies, please.Related: So, You Want to Marry a Tech Mogul? Apply Now » 7 min read Add to Queuelast_img read more

Slack Raises 200 Million Boosting Valuation to 38 Billion

first_img Add to Queue Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Next Article Slack Reuters 2 min read Register Now » This story originally appeared on Reuterscenter_img Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Image credit: Slack | Enhanced by Entrepreneur Slack has raised $200 million in venture capital financing, boosting its valuation to $3.8 billion, the messaging software startup said on Friday.The latest funding round comes in spite of a contraction in venture capital investing for technology startups, amid widespread concern about high valuations. The market rout among tech stocks earlier this year caused some venture capitalists to further tighten their purse strings.Late-stage investments — series D or later — dropped 71 percent in February from a year earlier, according to venture capital database PitchBook.Slack’s $200 million round is its largest yet, the latest sign that some companies are still able to attract wary investors, many of which are flush with cash. In another instance, Snapchat, the ephemeral messaging app, raised $175 million last month.Investors boosted the Slack’s valuation by $1 billion, up from $2.8 billion a year ago.The latest funding, which brings Slack’s total venture financing to $540 million, was reported in recent weeks by multiple news outlets. Slack on Friday confirmed the round, which was led by Thrive Capital and included GGV Capital and Comcast Ventures, as well as existing investors.San Francisco-based Slack makes messaging software for businesses, designed to help teams collaborate and communicate more effectively. The company says it has 2.7 million daily active users, although many of them access the free version of the software. About 800,000 are paid users. Slack’s customers include media companies such as CBS and BuzzFeed, tech companies such as Samsung Electronics Co Ltd. and Salesforce Inc., retailers, universities and the U.S. government.(Reporting by Heather Somerville; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn) April 1, 2016 Slack Raises $200 Million, Boosting Valuation to $3.8 Billion –shareslast_img read more

Apple Drops the Gun Emoji for a Friendlier Water Pistol

first_img Beyond Meat Earnings Are Beyond Analyst Expectations Southern Charm’ Star Talks New Season Swimwear Styles for All Shapes and Sizes Autoplay: On | Off Add to Queue Figure Out Your Family Tree Just in Time For Father’s Day Summer is here and there are some great looks this season for women of all shapes and sizes. Check out the hottest styles for hourglass, rectangle and pear shaped women. Up Next: Cannes: ticketless festival-goers seek seats for films Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand Economy adds 75K jobs in May –shares 2020 Toyota Camry Figure Out Your Family Tree Just in Time For Father’s Day Embed Economy adds 75K jobs in May Photo of solider placing flag at Tomb of Unknown Solider goes viral North Carolina superintendent says new app can help reduce violence in schools Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Guitarist Don ‘Fingers’ Felder Releases New Album Saint Laurent dazzles with men’s collection on Malibu beach US Navy: Russian destroyer almost collided with cruiser in the Philippine Sea A Petition Is Coming ? for a ‘Game of Thrones’ Final Season Do-Over Next Article Alex Gilyadov Airbnb Wants to Take You on an All-Inclusive Adventure Congress Is Back as President Trump Heads to the UK IHOP Sees Explosive Growth in To-Go Sales Figure Out Your Family Tree Just in Time For Father’s Day New York takes aim at skyscrapers’ sky-high energy usage DiCaprio, Pitt want to team up again after Tarantino hit A LifeMinute with John Lithgow: The Actor Discusses His Latest Projects Sophie Turner Talks Dark Phoenix, Co-Star Jessica Chastain and GoT Sophie Turner Talks Dark Phoenix, Co-Star Jessica Chastain and GoT Justin Bieber Launches Plant-Based Deodorant Summer Beauty Survival Must-Haves Delicious Summer Entertaining Ideas August 2, 2016 Turning Up the Heat in the Southeast for Holiday Weekend Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. IndyCar Beefing Up Business as Indy 500 Approaches Sunlight Shines on Grand Canyon The requested video is no longer available HBO’s ‘Chernobyl’ Phenomenon 2 min read 2020 Ballots May Have a New Box to Check ? Vice President Albany Steps Closer to Releasing Trump’s State Tax Returns After Assembly Vote How Human Behavior is Hurting Animals and What We Can Do to Protect Them 2 Musts for Tackling Allergy Season Privacy Policy   |   Terms of Use A Safe Way to Get Rid Of Bugs in Your Home Apple Drops the Gun Emoji for a Friendlier Water Pistol Former world paragliding champion Rémy soars over Pyrenees Cannes: ticketless festival-goers seek seats for films Summer Beauty Survival Must-Haves 2 Musts for Tackling Allergy Season A LifeMinute with Ryan Seacrest Contributor A Safe Way to Get Rid Of Bugs in Your Home Figure Out Your Family Tree Just in Time For Father’s Day BACK Airbnb Wants to Take You on an All-Inclusive Adventure 2 Delicious Summer Entertaining Ideas Memorial Day Weekend Heat Wave Could Smash May Records Figure Out Your Family Tree Just in Time For Father’s Day Father’s Day is such a special moment for the whole family to come together and spend quality time with one another – and those are moments dad will cherish. What better way for dad to connect with his loved ones than learning about his family’s stor Lifeminute tv Heat Snapshot Memorial Day Weekend Heat Wave Could Smash May Records This story originally appeared on Engadget The news is awash in the shootings of police officers and unarmed black men, and individuals opening fire in nightclubs and public party events. In an effort to stop promoting gun violence, Apple is replacing its gun emoji with a friendlier-looking water pistol. In place of the old black and silver revolver is a bright green and orange water gun that looks very distinctly like a harmless toy.Apple also led the decision to remove a rifle from a list of potential additions to the emoji library on all platforms, including Android. Unicode, the organization that handles the character standard, listened to the company’s request and Microsoft agreed with this decision as well.Apple has an additional one hundred new and redesigned emoji that will be available to iPhone and iPad users this Fall with iOS 10. These new emoji show women playing more sports and performing jobs that, before this update, only had male options. A few examples are a woman riding a mountain bike, lifting weights and playing basketball. There will also be redesigns of popular emoji, a new rainbow flag and more family options.This is in an effort to bring more gender and race options to existing characters, and Google’s leading the charge. Apple, Unicode, Google and other companies have the power to promote change, and making important tweaks to a popular way people communicate on their phones is one way to do it. A Petition Is Coming ? for a ‘Game of Thrones’ Final Season Do-Over Emoji Enroll Now for $5last_img read more

Issuu Launches Adobe InDesign Extension with New Issuu Story Cloud

first_imgIssuu Launches Adobe InDesign Extension with New Issuu Story Cloud Business WireJune 13, 2019, 2:33 pmJune 13, 2019 Adobe InDesignInDesign extensionIssuuIssuu Story CloudJoe HyrkinMarketing TechnologyNews Previous ArticleWibbitz Expands its Product Line to Include Fully Customizable Video Creation Interface for Web Products and Mobile ApplicationsNext ArticleIX Open Highlights: Index Exchange Drives New Programmatic Industry Leaps in Identity, Speed and Partner Value Integration Offers Creators and Marketers the Ability to Directly Share InDesign Content as Social Media Stories at ScaleIssuu, the world’s largest digital discovery and publishing platform, announced a new digital suite of solutions called the Issuu Story Cloud, which includes an integration with Adobe InDesign. The Issuu Story Cloud is an end-to-end suite of distribution, discovery and monetization solutions, and the InDesign extension allows creators to easily format brand-approved assets directly from InDesign into social media Stories that can be shared across any social platform to maximize reach and marketing capabilities.“The congruent rise in mobile consumption and Stories usage has caused brands to rethink the way they create their content – from marketing materials to catalogues to magazines – and the platforms to which they distribute it,” said Joe Hyrkin, CEO of Issuu. “Until now, taking a Stories idea from concept to publishing for multiple platforms has been time-intensive and often results in many rounds of revisions and approvals. We’re looking forward to seeing how Issuu and InDesign users maximize their new sharing capabilities and improve Story creation and distribution workflows.”Issuu’s Story Cloud extension for Adobe InDesign has made social Story sharing a quick and seamless process for all users, whether they be creatives, marketers, social media managers or designers at established companies or budding startups. InDesign and Issuu users can now upload their InDesign content directly to the Issuu Story Cloud, which automatically transforms the text and image assets into Story formats adaptable for all social platforms.Marketing Technology News: Esri Software Powers Location Intelligence in Microsoft’s Defense System Demonstration“Issuu has made creating and sharing beautiful content an easy process through its extension in Adobe InDesign. We’re excited to see Issuu empowering marketers and brands with the ability to publish on any social platform through InDesign,” said Anubhav Rohatgi, director of product, Adobe InDesign.Issuu’s Story Cloud is comprised of a suite of products that enable brands and creators to transform any type of content (images, animations, articles or ads) into a professional-quality social media Story, share on their favorite social channels and even monetize it. It delivers beautiful spreads and slick scrolls in a variety of formats including online articles, flipbook digital publications, website embeds, GIFS, Instagram Stories and downloadable video stories assets to share on Snapchat Stories, Facebook Stories, Google AMP Stories, Pinterest, Twitter, WhatsApp, Apple News and more.Marketing Technology News: IBM Infuses Db2 with AI to Bring Data Science and Database Management Under One Platform“Bang & Olufsen has been creating innovative and iconic audiovisual design experiences since 1925, and storytelling is key in connecting people to our brand – there are so many stories that we can tell, almost too many! Issuu helps us reach the people we want to engage with our brand content, presenting our editorial with integrity. The Issuu Story Cloud will help further rationalize the decisions we make about our content, enabling storytelling using our brand approved assets and content to a high visual standard without requiring entire production teams,” said Nathaniel Robert Budzinski, global editorial manager, Bang & Olufsen.“The Issuu Story Cloud offers us a seamless process to create and share The Red Bulletin magazine by using Issuu Stories on our site and social channels. This allows us to capture new audiences and increase distribution of our magazine in an exciting and interesting way,” said Andreas Kornhofer, general manager, Red Bull Media House Publishing.Marketing Technology News: Merkle Named 2019 Pegasystems’ Partner Excellence in Digital Transformation Recipientlast_img read more

Brexit could increase risk of cardiovascular disease

first_img Source:https://www.imperial.ac.uk/news/190038/brexit-could-lead-thousands-more-heart/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jan 29 2019Brexit could contribute to thousands more deaths from heart attacks and strokes by 2030, new research has found.In one of the first studies to date to look at the impact of Brexit on food imports and public health, researchers from Imperial College London and the University of Liverpool looked at how varying Brexit scenarios would lead to increasing costs for imported fruit and vegetables, resulting in people potentially eating less and increasing their risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).The findings, published today in the journal BMJ Open, reveal that all the trade scenarios they looked at would reduce fruit and veg intake in England, with a ‘no-deal’ Brexit being the most damaging to public health – lowering consumption and contributing to an estimated 12,400 additional deaths from CVD in England between 2021 and 2030.Professor Christopher Millett, from the School of Public Health at Imperial, who jointly led the research, said: “The UK’s exit from the European Union has long been framed in terms of its political and social importance. But this study shows that the impact of Brexit will reach far beyond the economy and may affect people’s risk of disease. The UK government must consider the public health implications of Brexit trade policy options, including changes to the price of key food groups.”Eating a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables is linked with a lower risk of serious health conditions, including heart disease, cancer and stroke – with the World Health Organization advising people eat an average of five portions per day.However, a large proportion of fruit and veg eaten in the UK is imported – with 84% of fruit and 43% of vegetables eaten in the UK in 2017 imported from the European Union (EU) and non-EU countries.In the latest study, researchers used publicly available data to model the potential impact of trade tariffs and other levies on the price of imported fruit and veg, the impact on how much consumers eat, and the associated increase in risk of CVD.The team used data from the World Trade Organization and HM Revenue and Customs to model the impact of different Brexit scenarios on the price of imported fruit and veg including: a free-trading agreement with the EU and third-party countries; a free-trading agreement with the EU; and a no-deal Brexit without a new trade agreement. Their scenarios assumed an increase in trade tariffs and transaction costs – additional costs attributed to increased border controls – which the UK will be required to pay on imported goods when it leaves the EU.Average intake of fruit and veg for adults (25 years and older) were taken from a national diet and nutrition survey, and the impact of fruit and veg intake on the risk of CVD were taken from published, peer-reviewed studies (meta-analyses of longitudinal studies).Related StoriesTeam approach to care increases likelihood of surviving refractory cardiogenic shockResearch opens possibility of developing single-dose gene therapy for inherited arrhythmiasCutting around 300 calories a day protects the heart even in svelte adultsWhile all modeled Brexit scenarios were associated with an increase in CVD deaths, a no-deal scenario had the largest negative impact on the public’s health.Under all scenarios, the price of fruit and veg imported would increase substantially due to additional import tariffs and trade costs. For example, under a no deal Brexit the cost of bananas would rise by approximately 17%, citrus fruits by 14%, and tomatoes by 15%.The team’s models suggest these price hikes would lead to the British public eating between 3% and 11% less fruit or vegetables, depending on the agreed deal.When these changes were translated to CVD risk, they found that a new trade agreement with the EU and third-party countries would contribute to approximately 1, 360 extra coronary heart disease deaths and 2,740 stroke deaths between 2021 and 2030. The no-deal Brexit had by far the biggest impact on health, with the drop in fruit and veg intake contributing to over an average of 4,110 additional deaths of coronary heart disease (causing heart attack and heart failure) and 8,290 stroke deaths between 2021-2030. The researchers add that while their study focused on England, similar impacts are likely in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.Paraskevi Seferidi, a PhD researcher at Imperial and first author of the study, said: “The UK is highly dependent on imports, especially for fresh fruits and vegetables. These have a strong protective effect on health. Our paper illustrates, for the first time, the potential negative impacts of Brexit on fruit and veg prices, intake, heart disease and stroke.”The researchers highlight a number of limitations to the study, including that the scenarios modeled are not exhaustive and do not reflect all Brexit scenarios currently being debated.However, they emphasize that the outcomes are consistent with previous research on Brexit which estimated the cost of eating five portions of fruit and vegetables per day is likely to increase for the average family in Britain – with estimates of an average of about £2.20 per week for a family of four.Professor Martin O’Flaherty, from the University of Liverpool, who jointly led the study, added: “Our findings are consistent with other research suggesting that Brexit would increase the price of fruit and vegetables. Unhealthy diets are a leading driver of ill health in the UK and a critical policy lever to tackle chronic diseases. Staying within the European Union appears the best option to protect public health.”last_img read more

Walmarts robot zips along in tech revolution thats raising big questions for

first_img Walmart experiments with AI to monitor stores in real time ©2019 The Seattle Times Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. Nearby, a conveyor belt churns as it scans boxes of items coming off a truck. It spots the product codes and separates the items into piles for workers to quickly restock the shelves.According to a recent report by research firm CB Insights, “as the lines between physical and digital retail continue to blur,” retailers are increasingly experimenting with automated checkout technology, relying on AI to manage inventory and using brick-and-mortar stores as fulfillment centers for online orders. For workers, said labor law professor Charlotte Garden of Seattle University’s School of Law, the question is whether the expanded automation will mean they are redirected to other tasks or some of their hours are eventually cut.Klein said the innovation investments are making employees’ jobs easier and increasing store revenue. The FAST unloader has increased the availability of items on shelves by 2 percent, which he estimates has resulted in the store gaining an additional $1,000 to $2,000 a day in sales.Despite the new unloading technology, the Bonney Lake location has actually added 200 additional hours to the afternoon and evening stocking team shift since January as the company pivots toward constantly replenishing the shelves, Klein said. Previously, employees struggled to restock the depleted shelves during the day.But it actually takes employees longer to unpack the trucks with the automated machine than it did during the days of manual unloading, he admitted. “The goal of this is not to unload faster,” Klein said as a case of popcorn whirled past on the conveyor belt. “(It’s) to get product to the floor faster.”No employees have lost hours or changed positions in the past four months due to the rollout of new technology, Klein said. Other aspects of Walmart’s online push have meant hiring: Thirteen workers have been hired at the Bonney Lake location, and nationally, 40,000 online grocery personal shoppers have been added to stores since 2017. An hourly manager and assistant manager have also been hired to lead the Bonney Lake location’s e-commerce team, whose roles include fetching items for the pickup tower, personal shopping and curbside pickup.”We’ve always been a company that’s all about saving customers money,” said Walmart spokeswoman Tiffany Wilson. She said the technology initiatives are automating tasks workers don’t want to do, and the company is “then upleveling their jobs, upleveling their skills and empowering our associates with technology so that they can then, in turn, serve our customers a lot better.”Labor-law expert Garden isn’t surprised that employee hours are increasing during the initial deployment of technology, when they need additional training. “If I were to make a prediction about the medium term, I’d anticipate that the pickup towers could result for more work for employees,” because they have to load the machine, and also help customers use it. The unloader and floor scrubber devices “will result in either less or different work for employees,” she predicted. Employees who now do those jobs might be redirected to do different things, including running and troubleshooting the machines, “or they might see their hours cut.”Rapid deployment of new technology can be “slow and painful,” and because “new tasks require new skills … a mismatch between skills and technologies is bound to complicate the adjustment process,” wrote MIT professor of economics Daron Acemoglu and Boston University assistant professor of economics Pascual Restrepo in a paper last year on “Artificial Intelligence, Automation and Work.”Andrea Dehlendorf, co-executive director of Organization United for Respect, a nonunion group of Walmart employees, fears that Walmart’s innovations will disempower workers. She said technology could be introduced to help workers “really do the work, take care of the customers and do things better, but instead it is being introduced just to leverage cost savings instead of reinvesting that money in the workforce and paying the people who stay more.”The advocacy group did an online survey asking Walmart employees how they felt about the rollout of new technology and automation in their stores. “Not one person said that the technology is going to make my job easier,” Dehlendorf said. One worker even commented on the survey that “they’re just trying to replace us all and don’t care if we die.”Accomplishing economic stability when incorporating technology into the workforce is the major challenge of our time, said Dehlendorf. “We need to make sure that as technology is integrated into work that it’s doing it for the benefit of working people and that it’s doing it for the benefit of humans in our society, not just the … corporations or the shareholders.”Unionizing has historically provided the main avenue for employees to claim a stake in the transformation of their jobs, according to labor law professor Garden. Walmart, by contrast, has long drawn criticism from labor unions for shutting down stores where employees have attempted to unionize.”If Walmart was unionized, it would have to bargain with its employees’ union about these changes,” Garden said about the deployment of automated machines. “As it is, Walmart can implement them unilaterally, and employees’ main recourse if they don’t like what is happening is to quit.”Along with the deployment of artificial intelligence technology in Walmart stores have come privacy concerns. In an Intelligent Retail Lab it is testing in a Walmart on Long Island, thousands of high-resolution cameras monitor shelves so workers can restock items, reported The Associated Press.At the Bonney Lake store, the rollout of the automatic scrubber and unloader will be joined in the autumn by a robot that scans shelves to determine item availability and identify incorrect prices. The machine, called Auto-S and made by San Francisco-based robotics startup Bossa Nova, drives autonomously through aisles and uses a 3-D camera that gives it a computerized view of its surroundings.The shelf scanner only gathers information about products and the cameras are turned off once it encounters humans, said Bossa Nova co-founder and chief business officer Martin Hitch. “In order for our cameras to work we have to shine bright lights and those lights are dazzling, so when we see a human we turn everything off to ensure that we’re not shining lights on them,” Hitch said.The company plans on sticking to robots that identify inaccuracies, and not ones that replace humans by also restocking the shelves, he added. “We’re decades away from a robot being as fast and dexterous as a human. So ours becomes a symbiotic relationship—we find the problem, the human fixes the problem.”Kristi Branstetter, a Walmart employee in Blue Springs, Mo., said a sense of paranoia has permeated the store following the introduction of a FAST unloader, pickup tower and shelf scanner several months ago.”People are really worried about losing their jobs because we have this technology,” Branstetter said. But the limited capabilities of the automated machines have actually increased her workload, she said. Branstetter said she has not received additional hours of work, and yet she feels more pressure to pick up the slack.The Blue Springs employees’ concerns about looming job loss are symptomatic of national trends. According to U.S. Labor Department data released last month, 49,000 retail jobs have been lost in the past year.But Branstetter doesn’t share her co-workers’ concerns about imminent unemployment: “I don’t really see where the technology is really beneficial. I just think it kind of adds more work for everybody.” Citation: Walmart’s robot zips along in tech revolution that’s raising big questions for workers (2019, May 10) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-05-walmart-robot-tech-revolution-big.html When an autonomous floor scrubber was rolled out in Walmart’s Bonney Lake store last month, shoppers mistook the teal blue scrubber zipping down the aisles for a runaway machine, said manager David Klein. “Some customers are a little freaked out.”center_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Klein said the Auto-C robot has relieved his employees of several hours of cleaning every evening, and has allowed him to avoid hiring another maintenance worker on the previously understaffed team. The 4-foot-tall scrubber, which resembles a riding lawn mower but is considerably quieter, uses sensors to scan its environment and to avoid people or objects in its way.The San Diego-based tech company, called Brain Corp., that makes the Auto-C robot’s operating system, also provides the software that powers autonomous floor cleaners at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.At Walmart, the automated machines are just part of a push to bring this pioneer of big-box discounting into the future of brick-and-mortar retail, with implications for its workforce that are still unknown.Last month the retail giant said it plans to spend $36 million on the remodeling of seven Washington stores, as well as the deployment of autonomous floor scrubbers, dozens of FAST unloaders akin to smart conveyor belts, and 16-foot-tall vending machines called pickup towers that dispense products ordered online.Rivals such as Kroger and Seattle-based Amazon—which acquired Whole Foods in 2017 and launched a still-small chain of cashierless convenience stores called Amazon Go—have pushed Walmart to compete for customers by rolling out automated technology that offers convenience while keeping prices low. Meanwhile, the low unemployment rate and low corporate tax rate has spurred it to raise wages, increasing the allure of automation.Artificial intelligence technology also allows the machine to map the layout of the store during a training ride and to continuously adapt to its surroundings, according to Brain Corp. But the machine occasionally needs help from humans, so it has a seat that is cordoned off by yellow straps in case the robot runs into an obstacle it can’t outmaneuver and a Walmart worker needs to put it into manual mode.At rest in the back room of Walmart, the new autonomous floor scrubber stands near three manual ones that have been retired, their surfaces speckled with dirt and hoses haphazardly strewn about the handles. Klein said he plans to sell them. Explore furtherlast_img read more

Prison platter Kerala jail ties up with Swiggy to deliver food

first_img P S Gopikrishnan Unnithan ThrissurJuly 13, 2019UPDATED: July 13, 2019 09:24 IST Image for representation (Photo: Pinterest)HIGHLIGHTSInmates of Viyyur’s Central Prison will deliver a chicken combo meal by using SwiggyAt Rs 127, the combo includes chicken biryani, chicken curry, chapatis, pickle, salad and waterFor the past few years prison inmates have been running ‘Freedom Food Factory’, a canteenKerala’s cuisine is famous throughout the country. Be it the traditional tapioca-fish curry or idiyappam with curry or the iconic Thalaserry chicken biryani or the ishtu-appam combo. Now these delicious dishes are being cooked and delivered by some very unlikely cooks.In a first of its kind initiative, Central Prison, Viyyur in Thrissur district of Kerala is offering a chicken biryani combo, served in a banana leaf with a bottle of drinking water.If you are a little hesitant or embarrassed to step into a jail compound, don’t worry, you can just get it home-delivered. Viyyur jail authorities have tied up with food delivery app Swiggy to deliver food at customers’ doorsteps.For the past few years prison inmates have been running a canteen, ‘Freedom Food Factory’. Now the services will reach a wider consumer base.Right from preparation to packing, the whole process is carried out by the inmates of Central Prison. In a bid to spread the message of being eco friendly, the parcel is delivered in paper bags made by jail inmates.The combo includes 300 gm of biryani rice, a fried chicken leg piece, chicken curry, four chapatis, pickle, salad and a bottle of water. All this comes for Rs 127 only. Customers will also have the option of not buying the water, which would bring down the price of the combo to Rs 117.Initially, the delivery will be restricted to a 6-km radius of the jail in Thrissur city. The project was launched on Thursday in the presence of Superintendent NS Nirmalandan Nair and other officers.Officials from the food safety department were also present. The combo was an instant hit as prison authorities had to close the listing from Swiggy in 20 minutes due to over booking.Kerala jails have been in the food business for many years now. Under the brand name ‘Food for Freedom’ they have opened a restaurant near the central jail in Thiruvananthapuram, which has become a huge hit.The iconic jail chapati with veg or non-veg curry is available through mobile sales units which run across the state.For Central Prison, Viyyur, online food delivery is the latest offering alongside organic farming, a volleyball team and its own music band among others.Also read | Jailhouse Blues | KeralaAlso read | 4 places in Delhi that serve the best food from KeralaFor the latest World Cup news, live scores and fixtures for World Cup 2019, log on to indiatoday.in/sports. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for World Cup news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byAnumika Bahukhandi Prison platter: Kerala jail ties up with Swiggy to deliver foodInmates of Viyyur’s Central Prison will deliver a chicken combo meal by using Swiggy.advertisement Nextlast_img read more

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File image of Nira

” File image of Nirav Modi.

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