Monday, December 10, 2012

New EU Law Promotes More Efficient Aircraft Emissions, Stirs Controversy

Read the full article on Inspired Economist 

Stricter regulations are being placed on plane emissions coming into the EU.

Airplane traffic has been predicted to increase by 50 percent over the next 20 years, however there have been little regulations enforced over the environmental damage being caused by airline emissions. For the most part, global warming and CO2 emissions has been centered around industrial production and automobiles, while very little focus has been placed on airlines. However, the European Union has taken a stance against airplane emissions and put into place a law requiring more in depth documentation of airplane emissions from every company landing within the EU. One problem; not every company is comfortable releasing this information. I wonder why...

"Despite good intentions about contributing to a healthier environment, the European Union recently enforced a law that heavily restricts airline emissions, and has subsequently been met with tremendous opposition. The law essentially requires all aircraft operators touching down or taking off in Europe to offer a permit that illustrates the craft's emissions levels throughout the entire flight.

Still, the step toward environmental friendliness and sustainability is one the United Nations is willing to work toward, but perhaps through a different approach. The U.N.'s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is currently working on a compromise to the law in an attempt to find a more practical and applicable solution to global temperature change."

Read the full article on Inspired Economist 
Thursday, December 6, 2012

Why Fragmentation Is Great For Android Developers And Users

Read the full article on Tech Republic

Think the fragmented Android platform is a hindrance? That is why you fail.

There have been plenty of complaints about how fragmented Android's platform and operating system is, which heavily depends on the hardware providers unveiling updates and software versions. However, looking at a problem and simply letting it get the best of you is how individuals fail in enterprise. I prefer to view challenges as major opportunities, turning shortcomings into major successes. The segmented Android system can stop you in your tracks, but only if you let it. 
"It would be bad form to delve into the world of Android fragmentation wearing a pair of rose-colored glasses, but also don’t overlook the upsides to the OS’s segmentation.

On some levels, the segmented nature of the Android OS is a pain for developers and smartphone users. But there are truly great aspects of segmentation that affect users in a positive way, and there are some upsides for Android developers too."

Read the full article on Tech Republic
Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Office Debate: Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?

Read the full article on Business2Community

What is kosher for your office?
This seems to be a point of contention these days, mostly by people who are tired of being so politically correct. True, everyone should respect the other religious freedoms and choices of fellow peers, but is simply having a, "Christmas Party," taking things too far? Some people are beginning to argue that since it is Christmas time that you should feel comfortable telling people Merry Christmas, while others still believe that to be discriminatory, opting for Happy Holidays. Religion in the workplace always needs to be handled with care, but what is right for you and your business?

"Merry Christmas! Or is it Happy Holidays? Which holidays are you allowed to call by name when offering someone your best wishes? More importantly, what is appropriate to talk about in the workplace? Just about every employer gives their employees time off for Christmas, but is it fair to only celebrate a Christian holiday? Sure, people of all faiths receive time off to celebrate their religious holidays, but are you being sensitive to them when the office is primarily decorated with Christmas trees and Santa Claus figures? It's unsafe to assume your employees practice Christianity or observe Christmas in some form, even if you work in a church environment. The holidays are a time of spirited music and togetherness. What can you do to help promote acceptance of diversity in your workplace?"

Read the full article on Business2Community
Thursday, November 29, 2012

Environmental Variables Leading to Children's Health Concerns

Close proximity to high pollution areas will have an effect on your health and a child's development, it's only a matter of time
We all understand that air pollution has a negative effect on our daily health and lives, but research conducted by USC has shown that environmental variables surrounding children might have more profound repercussions on infants and their development.

A study group of 279 children with autism, as well as 245 children without was conducted, taking into account the mother's home address at birth to estimate pollutant levels. Using the EPA's air quality system, they cross referenced exposure levels to NO2, PM2.5, and PM10 to determine the subsequent outcome. 

In a nutshell, the study shows that significant exposure to airborne pollution during pregnancy and the first year of a child's life can increase the chances of developing nearly 2 times.

"We've known for a long time that air pollution is bad for our lungs, and especially for children," states Heather Volk, Ph.D., assistant professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. "We're now beginning to understand how air pollution may affect the brain."

Autism was previously thought to be the result of genetics, but other prenatal variables such as advanced age in either parent, the use of drugs during pregnancy or diabetes have been theorized as the culprit. Whatever the cause may be, an unhealthy or over polluted environment while the child is in utero and at a young age can result in varying cases of Autism. This new USC study reaffirms the hypothesis. 

Though the study focused entirely on air pollution it is not the only environmental variable to worry about when bearing or raising a child. Mercury contaminated foods, such as fish, have been shown to have significant neurological effects on a child's development, and currently one million children have more iron in their blood than the currently accepted level for growth.

Regulations by the government have been put in place to protect individuals and their overall health, but pollution on a massive scale has become too prevalent to escape entirely. While we all cannot live in the mountains with the freshest air and cleanest water supply available, simply understanding the effects of pollution on childhood development can help parents better protect their children.
Monday, November 26, 2012

Rising Sea Levels A Major Result Of Climate Change
I had a fun argument with my mother over the holiday weekend about environmental policy and the path that we are currently on. I couldn't help but to laugh when she told me that there was no proof that the rising climate, extreme weather and other environmental effects weren't just the earth going through it's natural cycle. As an environmentalist myself, and a copywriter covering green issues, policy and business, I couldn't hold my emotions back. The most prolific example of how climate change can seriously affect life for humans as we know it comes in the form of the rising sea levels.

This past summer, the US shattered record highs forcing the majority of the country into a depressive drought. However, the rise in temperature occurred over the globe, specifically around the poles of our planet. Satellite images of Greenland show that about 40% of Greenland's ice caps had melted. This is a microcosm for what was happening around the globe, melting previously solid water forms which then dump off into the ocean.

Currently about 40% of the world's population lives within 100 kilometers of the coast. Water levels are expected to rise nearly three feet by 2100. Three feet may not sound like much, but to apply that over the entire ocean over the entire planet is a massive increase. Not only would this affect oceanic ecosystems but weather as well, since the majority of weather patterns are created from the sun evaporating water off of the ocean. The polar ice caps are also a major source of fresh water on the planet and comprise about 70 percent of our fresh water source, of which will simply melt and run off into the ocean.

New York is a major point of concern since the the island is only 8 feet above sea level at its lowest points. Hurricane Sandy was able to force water over the breakers at the current imagine the ocean several feet higher. New Orleans would not be able to withstand another tropical storm...period.

Human involvement in climate change and global warming is definite. The consistent burning of fossil fuels and the fact that the average life expectancy of humans has doubled since 1900 points to ourselves as being the major cause of a shifting environment for the worse. The only course of action is similar to Alcoholics Anonymous and simply admit that we are the problem; not doing so could be catastrophic to our well being.

On our current course with environmental policy and leniency with burning fossil fuels, we might not be able to prevent the damage that has been done. In a few years, going to visit New York will be like visiting Venice; scenic and beautiful but all the more depressing. Rising sea levels are a profound concern and one that cannot be pawned off on the next generation.

New York To Benefit From Delhi Clean Water Project

Read the full article on Inspired Economist

A new project could drastically improve NYC's water supply.

New York is going to have a handful of serious problems in the near future. Due to the rising sea level, New York will be facing a major flood issue, not to mention serious overpopulation and pollution in the metropolitan area. However, being one of the world's premiere and largest cities, there are projects and individuals vying to make it more environmentally friendly and sustainable. One such project is being undertaken by the University of New York at Delhi, which intends to rework the current water system in order to conserve fresh water and manage waste water more efficiently, all while boosting the local economy.   
"As the world’s population grows, so does demand for resources – especially clean water, which is becoming increasingly scarce. But efforts are under way to find solutions to this growing problem.
One potentially revolutionary water recycling solution has been developed at the State University of New York at Delhi. The massive project will divert a daily total of 200,000 gallons of treated wastewater into an underground irrigation and storage system, greatly increasing local water-treatment capacities, benefiting New York City."
Monday, November 19, 2012

How To Write An Email: I Am Jack's Email Voice

Read the full article on Business 2 Community

I am Jack's unrelenting sense of audience awareness.
I am, without a doubt, a huge Fight Club fan. For those of you who haven't seen it, shame on you. (seriously [I'm not even going to bother with a brief summary]) The central message rings true even today as the Occupy Movement and 99% issues are being worked out within the United States; you cannot treat everyone like a schmuck who is just another dollar sign for an organization. Especially with the advent of the internet, transparency and genuine behavior is the only answer for companies to still operate. This must be applied in every aspect of business, online or off, and especially when trying to communicate with the individuals who care about your business and keep it moving forward. That is why you should consider reworking how you speak with them, through social or in this case email. 

Talking at a potential customer instead of with them is the wrong way to operate, one that might be responded with piss in the clam chowder and a rubber band in new places. And while Tyler Durden would hate the idea of his message being applied to business, it still resonates; humanize your business and understand who you are communicating with. How you write an email is more important than you might think. 

"Author Chuck Palahniuk's searing look at the corporate world in "Fight Club" was spot on: You want your brand to stand out and avoid being just another star in the Microsoft Galaxy, an IBM Stellar Sphere or replica Planet Starbucks. You may represent your company, but the best thing you can do is represent yourself professionally. Fashion designer Tory Burch leverages her online voice by utilizing her Twitter for sharing experiences, off-the-cuff commentary and in-the-moment thoughts. This candid nature has driven more business for her that traditional marketing posts. How do you identify your own personal brand and its voice? How does that translate into your e-mail and social media communications?"

Beijing Makes Changes To Fight Air Pollution

Read the full article on Green Building Elements

Currently, looking at the sun in Beijing is like looking at a flashlight through a piece of paper
Beijing is one of the most polluted cities in the world. I visited China several years ago and it truly is a daunting spectacle; high rise building everywhere, an astonishing seven ring roads encircling the city and outlying parts, and people literally everywhere. It's not wonder that the air quality here is so poor since there is just a baffling amount of activity. China hasn't been the most environmentally conscious country in the past, but now is looking to clean up it's air quality, specifically in their capital city.

"For decades, air pollution has threatened the health of people in Beijing. Brown smog hangs over the city. The sun, when you can see it, is tinged a rusty brown, like looking at a flashlight through a piece of paper. City-dwellers wear surgical masks to protect their lungs from the pollutants and other chemicals that float in the air they breathe every day.

But the people of Beijing have had enough. Under pressure from the public and the United States embassy, the city has been forced to acknowledge the problem and provide accurate information about air quality."
Thursday, November 15, 2012

Scientists Discover Efficient Way To Absorb Oil Spills

Read the full article on Green Building Elements

A new material could expedite the clean up of oil spills, while saving the crude material.
The BP oil spill was one of the worst environmental disasters in the past decade, not to mention one of the worst all time in the Gulf Coast. Just today BP agreed publicly to plead guilty in causing damage to the region and paying heavy fines to groups in the area. Luckily though, scientists have just generated a new material that is capable of not only absorbing  oil from the water in mass quantities, but then can be sent to refineries to have the oil itself salvaged. This helps businesses maintain their profit, but vastly more importantly it expedites the cleanup process for oil spills.

"Two years after the Deepwater Horizon oil platform exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, restoration efforts are still under way. At the time of the accident, scientists struggled with how to contain oil in the gulf, which killed animal and plant life and took a terrible toll on many industries. Now, we may be better prepared to respond to such a disaster, thanks to a groundbreaking new material.

Scientist have invented a new super-absorbent material that can soak-up 40 times its weight in oil and contain it. This allows for the clean-up of water, but also preserves the oil for harvesting. The absorbent material can be sent to an oil refinery, where the oil is extracted."
Thursday, October 18, 2012

Taking The Complications Out Of Automating Social Media

Read the full article on Business Computing World

Social media automation is not a complicated process and can help you cover all your bases.
Social media is powerful, no surprise there. Only problem is that it is all encompassing and requires attention at all points in time in order to be effective. If you have a person dedicated specifically to social media marketing, then great that makes things easier, but the vast majority of businesses and individuals are trying to tackle it on top of other duties. Needless to say, things can get complicated, busy and frustrating. Automation is the answer, and there are helpful and effective tools out there that can link social profiles together and remove some stress. 

"This might be news to no one, but if a business isn’t using social media to reach customers and clients, it's missing out on a prime opportunity to create sales. "Great," you might be thinking. “Something else I have to do to keep my business running?” The last thing you want to do is pile on yet another task that has to be consistently monitored throughout the day.

There’s one thing that most business owners can all rally around: they're always looking for a new way to get small tasks done automatically, rather than taking precious time out of a day to do it. On a large scale, we’re talking about robots building cars. On a small scale, this might mean an online form that automatically sends an email to someone after it’s filled out. It’s quick, it’s easy and it requires little to no effort on the part of anyone after it’s set up. Believe it or not, there are ways to automate your social media, as well. Automating social media can free up your time to focus on the other important aspects of running a business. Of course, as with most things, there are wrong and right ways to put social media on cruise control."

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Mobile Business: Pay Through Your Phone

Read the full article on Business 2 Community 

Mobile business goes smart with multiple companies creating technology to charge through your smartphone.
The development turning cell phones into portable banks and cash registers has altered the small business landscape forever. The perfect example is the recent food truck boom in the United States. Having a mobile business (literally) complicates things on multiple levels, but simply being able to shoot your payments into the cloud via a handheld device allows the focus to remain on customer service. As a result, food trucks have exploded everywhere, even in third tier markets like Indianapolis. Think of all the possibilities this can mean for your business, whether it's in the back of a truck, someone's front yard, or a market? 

"Smartphones have already eased many burdens and helped make life easier for connected users on the go. However, smartphones aren’t done transforming our lives just yet. Mobile application development is constantly pushing the limits of what smartphones are capable of and what they are used for. Smartphones are replacing all sorts of other devices, such as cameras, calculators and compasses, and are now set to fill new roles as cash registers, making it easier than ever before for businesses to collect payment for products and services.

For many small businesses, the cost of using card swipe machines and traditional cash registers can be expensive and isn’t always the greenest way to run a business. With advances in smartphone technologies, however, businesses can use phones as if they were cash registers with card swipe devices that attach to phones and simple applications that are easy to use."

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Your Company Is Still Using All That Paper? C’mon Man.

Read the full article on Business 2 Community

Not only is using mass amounts of paper not environmentally sustainable, it's just plain expensive. C'mon man.
Some people will honestly look at this post and think to themselves the same thing; c'mon man, are we really writing / reading about this? And, sadly yes we are. Companies, especially larger ones, can be incredibly slow to adapt and adopt new policy. After working in a law firm I saw this first hand as all the lawyers were still surprisingly doing research in books from the 70's. Um, hello, you have a computer right at your desk right? This sort of thing happens everywhere in companies of all shapes and sizes; memos, flyers, calendars, TPS reports. Don't be a Lumbergh, ditch the old model and go paperless. It's easier than you think.

"Running a business requires an endless stream of internal communication.  Access to copies of reports, memos and other major documents are important for employees, but offices waste countless reams of paper printing off documents. These practices can drive up operating costs for businesses, reduce raises for employees and contribute to deforestation and worldwide environmental damage. Luckily, there are many ways for business owners and office managers like you to reduce paper waste in your office."

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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Nasty Competition: iPhone vs. Android

Read the full article on Bill Mullins Tech Thoughts 
iPhone (i.e. Apple) and Android (i.e. Google), aren't fighting fair anymore in the smartphone arena.

Since the latest legal battle between Apple and Samsung, the American tech giant has placed a firm grasp on its future dominance of the industry. That's not to say though that Google is willing to give up. With the backing of the web giant's online platform, Android is still staying in the fight for worldwide smartphone relevance. However, both parties have begun to isolate their own unique attributes and cut off the competitors options on their platforms. Youtube will shortly be removed from Apple, as well as Google maps, among a long list of recent attacks. While on the outside both companies appear to be keeping it above the belt, Apple and Google are starting to fight dirty over smartphone control. 
"iPhone versus Android. The choice between the two smartphone platforms is as contentious as the battle between being a Mac or PC person. However, thanks to the war emerging between Apple and Google, the battle is not just heated — it’s just plain nasty.
It’s no secret Apple was displeased when Google entered the smartphone arena with army of Android phones and an app market, recently rebranded as Google Play. However, it shouldn’t have been a shock either."
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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Cooling Coal Emissions Has Massive Potential For Clean Air

Read the full article on Green Building Elements

Cooling coal emissions at the top of smoke stacks could provide serious environmental benefits.
Totally renewable energy sources are out there, unfortunately for us they just aren't a viable option yet to meet the global, let alone national need for power. We can whine and complain all we want, which will have an effect ultimately, but when it comes down to it we still need our current "dirty" forms of energy. This doesn't mean though that these forms have to stay where they are and not evolve. Natural gas and clean coal are options in the immediate future, and a current study shows that cooling coal emissions will increase productivity and cleanliness of emissions. 

"One of the biggest threats to the environment in the United States unfortunately stems from one of the most integral parts of its economy: coal. Used to power businesses and homes alike, coal has been a major force behind America's rise to superpower status. But the byproduct of coal is pollution that could be contributing to a dangerous shift in the climate

The good news is that scientists are hard at work finding solutions to today's big environmental quandaries. A recent study conducted by the University of Oregon suggests that cooling coal emissions could have a positive impact on both air quality and emission levels. Published in the American Physical Society's journal Physical Review E the study's results show that cooled coal emissions would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 90 percent."

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Design Tips and Practice for Non-Smartphone Mobile Hardware (which still exist)

Read the full article on Bill Mullins' Tech Thoughts

Feature phones still take up a major portion of global cell markets, you'd be foolish to overlook them.

Feature phones kind of get swept under the rug due to the hype and complexity of up and coming smartphones. Compute hardware, power, and speed in a cell phone simply overshadows outdated technology. However, that's not to say that feature phones don't deserve to have a place in tech relevance today; in fact they hold a major portion of the global market and most definitely do. Cheaper, simpler, and more importantly cheaper means a lot to people, which is why developers are still working with feature phones to connect with millions of users.

"Breaking news: there’s an alternative to smartphones. It’s called a feature phone. You may remember them. They existed long before Android, iOS, Windows Phones and even BlackBerry. If you’ve been paying attention, which most people haven’t, you’ll notice they make up a huge portion of the global market. In fact, they’re very much alive and well.
Most developers completely overlook the feature phone market entirely, ignoring a massive market segment. In other words, there’s plenty of money to make with mass-market phones."
Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Power of the Pitcher: A Smart Choice for Clean Water, Green Living

Read the full article on Green Building Elements

Having a pitcher of water in your fridge will have positive health and environmental effects.
It's no surprise that water has health benefits (it is the  source of life after all), but it is very easy to neglect in today's culture. Alcohol, soft drinks and other, sweeter options are almost always available on every corner, so we have become accustomed to purchasing them for our home as well. However, simply having a supply of filtered water in your fridge can have some surprising effects, on your health as well as your carbon footprint.

The Power of the Pitcher: A Smart Choice for Clean Water, Green Living (via

"There are many places where a healthy lifestyle and an eco-friendly lifestyle intersect, but who knew one of them was at a pitcher of tap water in your fridge? Though many health enthusiasts are rarely without their favorite bottled water, a 4-year study by the Natural Resources Defense Council concluded…"

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Body Weight Exercises to Keep you Trimmed and Toned

Read the full article on Organic Soul

You don't need a gym or a set of weights to stay fit and healthy.
Gyms scare a lot of people, mostly due to the juiced up meat heads cruising the floor and maxing out their weight on every machine. It's hard for the average Joe to go in there and do more reps, less weight with a former football player working two or three times as much. If you're one of these people then it's very easy to get down into a routine of avoiding exercise which is simply inexcusable. In order to maintain a healthy lifestyle people need to balance proper diet and exercise. The organic food craze has people making the right food choices, but you still cannot neglect the other half of the equation. Building muscle and getting a cardio workout can be done easily with the right attitude, and doesn't necessarily need to be done in the gym. Here are some exercises that utilize the weight of your own body to push yourself physically and burn some calories. 

"We’re careful to eat locally grown, organic foods. We recycle and try to live by sustainable practices, leaving as small a carbon footprint as possible. Then, why are we content to become out-of-shape and overweight? Isn’t it just as green as all the other aspects of your lifestyle to maintain your body in the optimal degree of health, strength, and flexibility for which you were designed?"

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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Global Warming Contributes to the Adaptation and Spread of Deadly Fungus

Read the full article on Inhabitat

The residual effects of global warming are occurring on a much much much smaller scale
When people think of global warming, their minds immediately jump to a picture of the ozone disintegrating and the polar bears slowly dying off. Those these effects are certainly caused by global warming, they're a mere fraction of all the residual effects that the phenomenon is having on our planet. Life as we know it is slowly being molded and adapted to the new weather patterns, some of which are more frightening than others.

"Up-and-coming scientists, particularly those holding an environmental biology degree, are becoming increasingly familiar with the workings of Earth’s complex atmosphere. And they’re discovering mounting evidence that the life forms on the planet are symbiotically related to the environmental safety net that surrounds it. What is also becoming apparent is that smaller life forms have a biological advantage when it comes to adapting to climate and temperature changes. An alarming new study found that fungus adjusted to the sudden change in temperature nearly ten times faster than frogs, possibly spelling danger for frogs and other creatures as the planet continues to warm."

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

EPA moves forward with Renewable Fuel Standard Waiver Requests, BIO takes a stand

Read the full article on Green Building Elements 
Bio fuel regulations are put in place to force companies to adapt, which only works if they remain consistent.
The move towards renewable bio fuels like ethanol are essential to lowering emissions and the carbon footprint of big business within the United States. However, the recent drought has economists, biologists, and farmers worried about supplies and subsequent sales. As a result, certain regulations and policy regarding bio-fuels have been put on hold to meet the upcoming demand for crops, but not to the agreement of the Biotechnology Industry Organization. 
"The worst drought to hit parts of the U.S. in more than 50 years has some politicians and farmers scrambling to find ways of conserving food as crops shortages hit new highs. The U.S. Department of Agriculture projects a 17 percent reduction in corn crops this year, and the shortage has sent the price of corn bushels soaring. This has resulted in an increase in the cost of meat, as it is used to feed cattle and chicken.
Some members of Congress, state governors and meat producers have proposed that by temporarily waiving the Renewable Fuel Standard, more corn will be available for food in the short-term. The proposal has spurred arguments from both agriculturalists and biotechnology companies. For agriculturalists, waiving the Renewable Fuel Standard means lower prices and bigger supply. But to biofuel companies and those who represent them -- like the Biotechnology Industry Organization -- taking away the Renewable Fuel Standard means years of negative repercussions with very little benefit to meat producers."
Monday, August 27, 2012

Four Android development platforms that will change your life

Read the full article on Tech Republic 

4 development platforms for Android that are user friendly and allow for some unique features.

Flashy upgrades and constant hype seems to keep Apple at the center of the public's intrigue when it comes to mobile technology. Yet a very large portion of the technology and use of mobile phones today goes through the Android system. For those looking to access this market and dive into application development, I've found four platforms to help you through your transition and create a stellar application."
"Android attracts some of the most talented developers around, thanks to the continued growth of Google Play. In addition, the environment’s open nature makes it a welcome haven for developers seeking refuge from the Apple App Store’s strict guidelines, and a lack of any real approval process in Google Play makes investing time and money into developing an Android app a much less risky venture.
But with all the attractive qualities Google Play offers to anyone in the mobile development game, there are hurdles standing between developers and a smash-hit app. Android is notoriously fragmented when it comes to hardware, and many manufacturers have their own proprietary modifications of Android (HTC Sense comes to mind)."

New Law Demands Higher Standards For Drivers And Distributors

Read the full article on Industrial Distribution

The FMCSA is putting into place stricter regulations for distributors and their drivers.
The FMCSA has been slowly moving forward with new regulations requiring that fleet owners and drivers upgrade to stricter policy on electronic recording devices and hours of service, among other changes. Some businesses and owners within the industry have strongly opposed the new regulations, arguing that the costs will outweigh the benefits, while others still argue that increased safety regulations will only increase market stability and consistency. Either way, change seems imminent within the field of distribution, and it's only a matter of time until this issue is resolved, changing the landscape of the business indefinitely.

"Washington constantly moves forward with regulations and changes for the trucking industry. Mandates requiring on board electronic records (EOBR) were blocked in an amendment, however, a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) supported law will force truckers and distribution companies to assume more responsibility for their safety record on the nation’s highways. The bill was awaiting presidential signature as of July 6, 2012.

According to Blaze reporter Liz Klimas, the bill is controversial at best. Views about the benefits and necessity for the EOBR vary widely from the opinion that this is just another case of “Big Brother” to a genuine belief that the measures will provide safer roads and lower operating costs for the industry overall."
Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Benefits Of Making Direct Mail Marketing Personal

Read the full article on Blag-O-Vision

Treating your readers with a personal touch will get you much farther and build a stronger relationship.
When it comes right down to it content is king. Period. If you provide excellent material then your readers, fans, audience, whoever you are speaking to or are trying to connect with will actually relate and connect with you / your product. It proves that you are invested in what they are, and can speak with your audience on their level as equals, not just some brand on a pedestal shouting down commands to buyers. This is applicable to large corporations, distributors, websites, mom and pop stores, and even social media profiles. By being personal and catering to why people are paying attention you can maintain that relationship.

"There are a few disputes about marketing regarding what avenues a business needs to utilize and which are the most effective and profiting. But each time a new conclusion is drawn, something changes the game, a new social media outlet, a Google engine update, the next mobile device. The answer appears simple but daunting: Use them all. Email, postal mail, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc, can all help your marketing efforts. Just as each company is unique and feeds off the ingenuity of its various workers, the platform for reaching its audience is equally distinct. While it is essential for any business to use any many means of marketing as possible, spreading out too far can run the impact of its messages thin. A tighter focus on certain direct mail practices can produce personal messages that capture attention."

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Digital Sheep - Grazing On The Internet

Read the full article on Bill Mullins Tech Thoughts

Are you a digital leader, creating useful and engaging art and content, or simply a follower?
Personally, being called a sheep is a major insult. Essentially it means that one is a follower and incapable of making creative decisions, which really gets my goat (pun intended). It's so much easier to take information that is already provided to you than it is to create your own, and with the wave of information being thrown at internet users it's never been easier, or more difficult depending on your point of view, to simply accept the path one is on. For innovation in any realm to occur it is paramount to break through that barrier of complacence and push into unknown areas, even if that means taking the time to edit a photograph or comment on a blog post. 

"With the Internet and social media providing instant satisfaction and entertainment, it’s very easy to get caught up in consuming an absurd amount of information. Instead of being spoon fed commercials and media from a handful of television channels, now it is coming from everywhere and directly to your person at all times. Though people still have the freedom to comment and believe what they will, the vast majority of internet users have simply evolved into digital sheep devouring content constantly.
In the modern age, digital sheep are information technology users (more specifically, Internet users) who are happy and satisfied to “graze” off the vast information fields available on the web. In other words, they’re just consumers, not bothering to produce anything—but more importantly, are unaware of the potential consequences of their attitude and behavior."
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Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Paleo Diet: eating raw meat might be the healthy route

Read the full article on

Eat like a caveman would with the Paleo Diet, which is how the human body was designed to digest food.
So there have been some pretty crazy diets in the past: fruit only, carb only, small portions, larger portions, damn near everything imaginable. The Paleo Diet is taking things to next level though by insisting that people eat only the most natural food possible which includes fruits, vegetables, nuts, and yes that includes raw meat. Get ready to tear right into a big hunk of steak.

"The Paleolithic diet is a relatively new approach to weight loss that promotes reverting to the type of food our ancestors ate – vegetables, meats, fish, eggs, nuts, and fruits. Foods that came about during the Neolithic era – sugar, grains and cheese, for example – are not allowed with this diet."
Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Collaboration In The Cloud

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Use the cloud to your advantage.
Guess what? You don't even have to be on the same continent to speak with someone face to face. I can whip out my phone right now and talk to a friend in Canada or live chat with another on the east coast. Businesses large and small typically are intimidated by change, but with an innovation like cloud collaboration, not changing is detrimental to your productivity. You can save time, money, and headache by working with individuals all over the world, and now you can do so almost flawlessly.

"Collaboration and cloud computing are the wonder couple of the newest internet technologies and concepts. Even though collaboration has been around since the square wheel was invented, people have continued to work separately.

Now With technology advancing by leaps and bounds, business professionals are finding that by making collaboration easy with cloud computing, they have complete access to all of their information from almost any device imaginable, including their cell phones."

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Green Mountain State Just Got a Little Greener with Eagle Creek’s New Hydroelectric Facilities

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New hydroelectric facilities in Vermont will provide green energy for the state.
Green energy is the way of the future, though it will be a long time coming. Completely sustainable energy sources such as wind, solar, and hydro only accounts for roughly 14 percent of the United State's energy usage. While we will need to continue to use older and less environmentally friendly forms of energy generation, strides made towards renewable sources of power are crucial for the benefit of the planet. Eagle Creek Renewable Energy, LLC is doing just that, pushing forward with hydroelectric technology.

Putting the “green” back in the Green Mountain State, Vermont’s Eagle Creek Renewable Energy, LLC recently acquired the development rights for two hydroelectric facilities from Blue Heron Hydro, LLC. This acquisition marks the first pure development project for Eagle Creek, and is scheduled to be built on Army Corps of Engineers dams in southern Vermont. Although the project represents a major step for the company in terms of fostering growth and opportunity, it also indicates the advancement of environmentally friendly facilities and an increase in general public awareness of energy conservation on a large scale.

Design ideas for tossable items: Transforming your trash to treasures

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Artistic ideas for common disposable items.
As a sculptor myself, I am always on the look out for cheap materials that I can use for my next project. Tons of one item can be a gold mine for creativity, whether it's duct tape, pencils for my latest piece of work, twigs or rocks, or upcycled trash. By re-imagining the what an item can be used for or manipulated in to, you can turn anything into a piece of personal art. While one way to do this is purely for aesthetic purposes, by reusing materials that are to be thrown out you can help the environment and unleash your artistic side at the same time. 

"In our prepackaged society, where everything is individually wrapped for freshness, garbage is more than a given. Indeed, we produce an inordinate amount of trash every year, and a lot of that comes from discarding household items that could be transformed into something else with a little care and creativity.

Repurposed items not only help to reduce the mountains of waste that are carted off to the local dump, but they also help you save significant amounts of money. When you don't need to run to the nearest store every time you need a new accoutrement for your home, you may develop a deeper respect for the belongings that you already own. With a little inspiration and a lot of creativity, you can transform your trash to treasures."
Wednesday, August 8, 2012

13 Chicago Festivals that Celebrate Summer

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So living in the Midwest has been nothing but a treat for me; I actually moved out to New York after graduating from college and ended up coming back because I missed it so much. It does take a bad rap as fly over country, larger cities argue that there isn't much to do out here. I strongly disagree. No there may not be public transportation or huge Broadway productions but there is still a ton to do, you just have to know where to look for it. Midwestern Adventures is a great place to find out information like this, and right now is the back end of festival season. 

"Are you looking for a fun way to celebrate summer? Find what you’re looking for when you visit Chicago. The Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau works alongside local communities to provide a variety of great summer activities and festivals. Don’t stay home relaxing on the sofa. Find food, music, fun and entertainment at Chicago festivals and events."
Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Atlas Chugged: How GPS Tracking and Mapping Can Help You Save Tons of Money in Gas

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Let's face it, electric cars just have not caught on yet. The charging stations are easier to build on your own than to find just sitting in any random parking lot or gas station. It's reality that transportation options via burning fossil fuels are still here to stay, but that doesn't necessarily mean that all is lost in the way of benefiting the environment. Past walking everywhere or riding a bike, there are methods to maximize the efficiency of your car. Driving with the windows up can decrease drag and increase fuel efficiency, reaching an optimal speed will help as well, and you can actually use your GPS device to find eco-friendly routes. Find out more:

"The constant need to fuel your car and the emissions that doing so releases into the air can be incredibly frustrating for motorists, and more so, those that are eco-conscious. With the focus slowly shifting towards zero emission cars, there is hope on the horizon for those of us sinking significant portions of our paychecks and social conscience straight into the gas tank. The truth is, however, not every one can afford to buy a new fuel-efficient automobile, and if we can, the payout or reimbursement certainly isn't immediate. For the time being, there is one prime option that those of us looking to help our wallet and the environment can take. That option is a three-letter acronym that most of us use, not in terms of less fuel usage, but for getting somewhere on the fastest way possible. Although it might not be via the fastest route, as it turns out, your GPS may just help you use less gas in your travels."
Wednesday, August 1, 2012

5 Tips to Develop a Successful Email Marketing Campaign

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The main factor to take away from any form of social networking, especially email marketing, is that content is king. The constant barrage of information directly to the user is already a bold move, to do so with sup par information is simply unacceptable. The content begets trust and a rapport between the user and content provider to where they continually come back for more and identify you / your organization as a pillar in your field.

"The world of advertising used to revolve around print media and television commercials. The advancements made in computer technology and the Internet has given businesses a new, powerful tool to get the word out – emails. Creating a targeted email marketing campaign with ‘gotcha’ style takes practice and planning."
Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Science Behind The Paralympics

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So the Olympics are on and it has grabbed the attention of the entire world. However, equally as impressive and physically demanding, while entirely more awe inspiring are the Paralympics occurring at the same time. It admittedly gets less press and coverage than the original Olympics, but some of the feats individuals can complete over adversity is nothing short of astounding. 
"The Paralympic Games have a long and fascinating history. The second largest sporting event on Earth – the first being the Olympics – the Paralympics were originally created in 1948 to help British World War II veterans with spinal cord injuries regain confidence in themselves and their unique abilities. Today, the event accomplishes this same goal, but on a much larger scale. Paralympians come from all over the world and from all walks of life, but the one thing they have in common is physical disability. These disabilities, however, are not enough to stop participants from offering amazing performances in a wide array of athletic activities.
The Paralympics have changed in more ways than one. The event has expanded into a large-scale celebration that attracts millions of spectators. Technology has also played a huge role in changing the Paralympics into what they are today. In 1948, the technology available for disabled persons was fairly limited; wheelchairs were the primary option for mobility aids. Today, a whole line of advanced prosthetics makes it possible for Paralympians to compete at a more advanced level. In fact, some Paralympians have gone on to compete against non-disabled athletes in the Olympic Games."
Thursday, July 26, 2012

Living In The Future: How Far Have Cars Come?

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"The modern automobile is so packed with technology and engineering marvels that Henry T. Ford wouldn't recognize it anymore. Although the Model T had surprisingly good fuel efficiency, it lacked a GPS navigation system, touch screens and advanced safety features of today's cars. Vehicle designers aren't letting all of the innovation go to their head.

Engineers are continuing to create remarkable advancements that have the potential to revolutionize the personal transportation industry. Take a tour of some of the newest developments and learn how the humble family car is going to make a big splash in the not-so-distant-future."

Interview with Engadget Editor-In-Chief Tim Stevens

I was able to speak with tech giant Engadget's Editor-In-Chief Tim Stevens and ask him a few questions.
Personally when I think of Editor in Chief I picture an individual much like Jonah Jameson from the Daily Bugle; a fast talking, cigar smoking mustachioed man always concerned about the next story. Though some of these stereotypes might hold true in today’s internet based culture, the standards and work involved with the title of editor have changed dramatically, especially for those controlling content through digital forms. I was fortunate to be able to speak with Tim Stevens, editor-in-chief of AOL’s technology publication Engadget, to ask him about the specifics of his job and how he handles operating in the digital / social realm.

-As editor in chief of Engadget you have a lot of responsibilities. What all does your average day consist of?

My average day is a lot of email. The vast majority of coverage requests we receive and make come through my inbox, so there's a lot to wade through to put it mildly.

While that's going on, though, I'm working with the editorial team to decide what news is worthy of us writing about and what is not. It's a constant process of vetting stories and discussing potential angles. As we're a distributed team that happens in a chat room.

But, I'm also traveling quite frequently, so there's a good chance I'll be on a plane (as I am right now) or covering some product launch or media event.

-You're obviously invested in Engadget and the technology that is featured on the site. How often do you yourself contribute to the content of Engadget and what do you like to write about?

Not as often as I'd like, with so much else going on. But, I do cover major reviews of very important devices and chip in when I can. I tend to enjoy writing tablet reviews the most, but my favorite topic of coverage is the automotive space. I was formerly the Automotive Editor here at Engadget before becoming Editor-in-Chief.

I also write a weekly editorial in our tablet magazine, Distro, which gives a quick refresher on the week in news as well as my take on much of it.

-Has there ever been any high profile or controversial content that has gone through your website, and if so how did you handle the editing process and posting?

The most controversial content we run on a regular basis tends to be our editorials, in which one editor puts his opinions out there for the world to see. These I tend to be closely involved in reviewing to ensure that the argument being made is well founded. It's important that these be individual opinions, so I try to not change anyone's take on the story, but I'm primarily making sure that they've made a bulletproof case.

Beyond that, we quite frequently get photos or information through privileged sources, information that isn't supposed to be publicly known yet. In these cases I try to work very closely with the editors assigned and reviewing the story to ensure that the information we've received is legitimate and, if so, that we're presenting it in such a way as to not expose or harm our source.

-Social media marketing has blown up within the past several years, how has Engadget answered to the need of constant interaction in the social realm? How does the role of Editor factor in to content of 140 characters or less?

We look at social networks as another way to connect to our fans. Our Twitter feed acts like an RSS feed did back in the day, serving up headlines and links as posts go live. But, recently we've been working harder to personalize that interaction more. We now have someone on staff whose focus is managing our social networks and interacting with the readers.

It's important to me that we're as accessible as possible, and Twitter, Google+ and Facebook are great ways of getting out there.

-Your website gets thousands of hits a week if not every day, is it ever difficult to handle the constant wave of comments and interactions with users who follow Engadget?

It is always a challenge but we have a team of moderators who ensure our comments and discussions are clean. Honestly, though, we could be doing better there, and I'm making some changes to improve that. But, I personally get hundreds of emails every day, and many of them are from readers with suggestions, questions or simply looking for jobs. It's difficult to respond to them all but I always try to.

And thousands of hits a day is a gross understatement :)

-What is the most exciting piece of technology that you are waiting for?

Right now it's the Galaxy S III. I'm waiting for the Developer Edition! Beyond that… 

-I have to ask, are you a Mac or a PC?

I'm both! I was exclusively PC for a long time, but since I started traveling a lot more with this job I needed a lightweight and powerful laptop. At the time the MacBook Air was the best so I went with that. It's still a great machine. So, at home I work from a PC I built years ago, but on the road I'm a Mac.

I use an Android smartphone.

Feel free to check out Tim’s work at for technology news, reviews, and updates.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

HOW TO: Turn Your Inefficient Household Items Into Green Machines

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"Inefficiency abounds in most homes, especially in older ones, but a few simple changes can make any abode more eco-friendly. While making your home more energy efficient may seem like an overwhelming undertaking, there's no need to tackle everything you're thinking about improving simultaneously. Getting to the big projects will have a large impact, but sometimes it's easier to get the ball rolling with the smaller ones and start racking up the savings to put toward more expensive projects. Simply setting the goal to work through your home one step at a time will eventually result in a complete living space that's gentler on the environment and has lower utility costs. We've rounded up 7 easy steps to help set you down the path towards greening your home -- jump ahead to learn more!"

Get Real, Get Big, Get Real Big With Chicago

"So you don’t know what to do in Chicago? Your scout troop canceled on you? The business convention got postponed? Your fiancĂ©e bolted and the tickets to Chicago were non-refundable? You’re luckier than you could have imagined. Most tour guide articles are either generically applicable to any of the above three situations or written for German men in their 20s with an interest in Klimt and microbrews specifically.
However, because Chicago offers world-class architecture, art, food and accommodations, you can explore more than a bit of a given subject while leaving your evenings free for explorations into the nightlife or restaurants that your daytime companions will undoubtedly recommend. Even more, being so earnestly a Midwestern city means Chicago’s residents actually act as though they have a responsibility to ensure that you have an enjoyable stay. Free tours and other social forays are all available to you with just a wee bit of pre-planning."

Outsource Your Company’s Internal Workload To The Internet

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"So where can you start in outsourcing various business tasks? There are different needs for different companies, but the most outsourced procedures can be split up into the following categories: payroll/HR solutions, calendars/scheduling, brainstorming/diagrams, collaboration and customer relations."

More Than Meets the Eye: Four Must-See Sites in Chicago to Make Your Next American Tour Unforgettable

"New York isn’t the only city for excitement and entertainment in the States. You can have a culture-and fun-filled experience a bit farther west by choosing the Windy City for your next vacation. Chicago is the third most populous city in the entire U.S., with 2.7 million residents calling the region home. The city is also home to several world-famous sites, including the famous Chicago Theatre, Navy Pier and Willis Tower—the latter of which formerly held the title of the world’s tallest building.
The list of awe-inspiring Chicago attractions is virtually limitless, but most vacationers don’t have the weeks or even months of time needed to experience all the city has to offer. To ensure you see the best of the best during your own trip, consider the following must-see sites in the Windy City."
Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Greener Environment: Top Three Most Innovative Eco-Friendly Structures Around The World

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“The world is becoming more environmentally conscious in multiple industries, but architecture in particular is one field that has made tremendous leaps and bounds when it comes to going green. Cities all across the U.S. and even all across the world are doing their part to revamp old structures and build new ones according to the rating system LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

This system was created by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) to properly evaluate the environmental efficiency of buildings while offering a reliable, universal standard to which architects can refer when creating a sustainable design. To discover a few of the most notable structures based on these federal standards, consider the following.”

Social Media Advancing Through Mobile Technology

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“Social media is pervasive online, but it’s also starting to get more and more popular in the mobile realm. As smartphones continue to increase their market penetration, it becomes easier for users to access their favorite social networks through their mobile devices. Social media goes hand in hand with the accessibility of mobile devices, and the biggest the influence that mobile has, the more it’s going to change the way the social media field is played.”