Other News

Furlough In Pentagon Varies Among Services

April 30, 2013 at 5:24 am Comments are Disabled

To cope with budget cuts, the Pentagon will furlough workers from its different military services. As the defense department approaches its planned date in early May for issuing notices for furloughs in June, it faces pressure to rethink its plans.

pentagonIt insisted that most of its 8,000 civilian employees will feel the same pain if the department decides to furlough its workers. The Navy has said it can make the cuts without furloughs. The Army, however, thinks the war in Afghanistan and other priorities make it nearly impossible to make the cuts without furloughs.

A bipartisan group of 126 House members wrote last week to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. They warned that the department’s personnel plans “are threatening to undermine mission performance and, as a result, mission readiness.”

The Pentagon already reduced the number of potential furlough days from 22 to 14. It is also reviewing whether it can reduce the number further or eliminate furloughs.

Washington Post’s Steve Vogei tells more of the story.

Unilever Incorporates Sustainability Into Staff Training

April 24, 2013 at 3:20 am Comments are Disabled

Consumer goods giant Unilever has included a sustainability marketing effort into its training plan for all new brand managers. This will be part of its initiatives to set in sustainability into its marketing of brands.

UnileverUnilever now asks the new brand executives to accomplish the week long challenge as part of their groundwork course. It has also incorporated the main theme into existing drill provided to the firm’s major workforce.

The update comes as the company discloses its progress two years from launching its 10-year Sustainable Living Plan. The company claims it is making progress in areas it can control, which includes alleviating green gas emissions and getting raw supplies from viable sources.

In spite of the company’s progress, Unilever still faces one of its toughest challenges: coaxing consumers into using its products in a more sustainable way.

Visit this link to read more about Unilever’s sustainability efforts.

US Retail Sales Decline 0.4 Percent

April 16, 2013 at 6:24 am Comments are Disabled

retail salesUS retail sales went down this March, which only means that higher taxes and weak hiring made consumers careful about spending.

According to the Commerce Department, retail sales fell 0.4 percent last month. It followed a 1 percent increase in February and a 0.1 percent decline in January.

There were also declines in different categories. Auto sales dropped 0.6 percent while gas station sales dropped 2.2 percent.

The decline in March indicates the higher Social Security taxes are affecting consumers and could lower growth in the spring.

Economist still predict economic growth accelerated to a roughly 3 percent in the January-March quarter. It would be a significant increase from the anemic growth rate of 0.4 percent in the October-December quarter.

Despite of declines in different retail categories, there were still positive reports in retail furniture sales. It reported a 0.9 percent increase, indicating that housing recovery is still encouraging more spending.

Christopher Rugaber of Associated Press gives a full report on the retail sales decline.

Climate Change To Affect Grape Growth

April 11, 2013 at 9:52 am Comments are Disabled

grapesA new study published in the journal proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says that climate change will affect the overall landscape of wine countries.

The researchers of the study collected data from 17 different climate models and looked at nine different wine-producing areas. Both future models, reported negative effects of the potential climate change.

The study found out that up to 2/3 of the winemaking landscape may change by 2050. Declines in wine production will occur in southern places like Chile. Northern California’s Napa Valley and Tuscany, Italy will also feel the decline. The change is expected to occur slowly, but in the coming years it will be harder to grow grapes without implementing costly irrigation efforts.

The researchers cleared though that even if wine production might end in some areas, wine production as a whole will not diminish. A possible solution is a change of location for some wineries.

Cinemablend’s Jessica Rawden tells the rest of the article.

Eye Drops Could Cure Macular Degeneration

April 5, 2013 at 2:33 am Comments are Disabled

Macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness among older Americans, could be cured by an eye drop developed by scientists. Researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine have discovered the decreasing cholesterol levels in the eye can stop the growth of blood vessel. This can cause age-related macular degeneration.

eye dropsIn the April Issue of Cell Metabolism, the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and in the US, report a key link between macular degeneration and cholesterol build up in white blood cells and cause inflammation.

Dr. Rajendra Apte, an ophthalmologist at Washington University School of Medicine who led the study said that the results have significant therapeutic implication. Dr. Apte added, “People with earlier stages of AMD could potentially be treated with the aim of delaying or preventing progression.”

It is with hope that this new health discovery would lead to AMD treatment. Learn more about this news though The Telegraph’s Richard Gray.

Study: States’ Support To Public Colleges Has Declined By 28% Since 2008

March 25, 2013 at 5:05 am Comments are Disabled

State administrations, which have been struggling with the sluggish economic growth, slash support to public colleges for five years. They presently spend 28 percent less for each student than they did five years ago. This is according to a study published Tuesday.

student in public collegePhil Oliff, the probe’s main proponent, noted that the cutdown in each state except North Dakota and Wyoming average $2,353 for the 75 percent of undergraduates who go to public tertiary educational institutions and indicate some signs of easing shortly. He also said that the decline rate has moderated somewhat, but there are no apparent signs that states are reinvesting in higher education systems.

According to the Rockefeller Institute of Government, The state governments’ revenues have increased for nearly three years. These, though, are not matching the rebound of previous recessions, with the increase rate sluggishly moving in the last year’s third quarter.

The reductions by the state administrations range from almost $4,800 yearly for every student in New Mexico to $561 in Alaska. These have also encouraged tuition increase at public colleges, larger classes, staff cuts and the elimination of departments and courses. Matriculation at four-year public colleges has increased on average by $1,850 per year, or 27 percent when it follows inflation.

Happy 7th Birthday To Twitter!

March 21, 2013 at 10:21 am Comments are Disabled
twitter_birthday

Twitter, a popular micro-blogging website with currently 200 million users, turns 7 years old on March 21, 2013 (Thursday). To celebrate this wonderful event, here are some interesting Twitter facts you might want to know:

1. Twitter almost never existed. Back in 2006, a company called Odeo helped people publish their audio files. The company, suffering from lack of growth and investors, decided to carry out a “hackathon” brainstorming competition one day. This led to the birth of Twitter.

2. Twitter was made on a playground. Dom Sagolla, the founding team member, said that the group went to a playground in South Park, a small area in San Francisco, and sat on top of a slide. Along with Jack Dorsey, they talked about an “idea so simple that you don’t even think about it—you just write.” This became the inspiration of the multibillion-dollar company.

3. According to Sagolla, when Twitter began, “everyone’s first tweet was automated.” Jack Dorsey published their first tweet on March 21, 2006, “Just setting up my twttr.” At present, it has more than 8,900 re-tweets.

4. At present, Justin Bieber, a pop musician, has 36 million followers, which makes him the user with the most number of followers. A social media management company, Hootsuite, is following more than 1.1 million accounts, which gives them the record of the user with the most number of “following” list. The user who has tweeted the most number of times is a girl from Japan, @Yougakduan_00. She had 36,402,262 tweets before Twitter suspended her account. YouTube is the most followed brand with almost 25 million followers.