Archive for the ‘Knowledge’ Category

There are now 35 volcanoes erupting around the world as shared in this story from theInternational Business Times and the graphic below which shows the majority of the volcanic eruptions occurring within the ‘Ring of Fire’. Does the approaching Comet ISON have anything to do with all of these earth changes? From raining stones in Sicily to new islands forming in Japan, our Earth’s going through incredible changes. Videos below.

The volcano at Mount Sinabung at Jakarta, Indonesia, erupted six times early Monday, shooting volcanic ash 2,000 meters into the sky.

Thousands have been evacuated from the region since the Sinabung volcano began erupting sporadically in September. 5,000 people were evacuated from the area the day before the eruption on Monday, bringing the total number of evacuees to 11,000. There have been no casualties so far.

The Sinabung is just one of 35 active, erupting volcanoes in the world, according to a categorized list on Volcano Discovery. Of the 35 currently erupting volcanoes in the world, seven are in Indonesia.

 

Source: http://beforeitsnews.com

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FILE: Undated: State Sen. Neil Riser, left, and Vance McAllister in photos provided by their campaigns, in Louisiana.

Vance McAllister, a political newcomer with the backing of the popular “Duck Dynasty” TV family, was elected as Louisiana’s newest member of Congress Saturday night.

According to the Louisiana Secretary of State’s website, McAllister led establishment candidate Neil Riser 59.7 percent to 40.3 percent — a difference of over 17,500 votes — with 976 of a possible 981 precincts reporting.

McAllister advanced to this weekend’s election to face off against Riser after an October contest with more than a dozen other candidates from both political parties — in what is known as a “jungle primary.”

The seat in Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District was left open when GOP Rep. Rodney Alexander resigned this summer to take a Cabinet post in GOP Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration.

The largely rural district along the Mississippi River delta is dotted with farmland and plagued by poverty. The 5th District covers all or part of 24 parishes, from northeast and central Louisiana into southeastern parishes bordering Mississippi.

In last month’s election, Riser finished ahead of McAllister, taking 33 percent of the vote compared to 18 percent. But neither got the 50 percent needed to be declared the outright winner.

Many GOP races since 2010 have in some form been a Tea Party-vs.-establishment candidate showdown.

However, Riser doubled as both the establishment candidate and Tea Party favorite, promoting his experience but promising strident opposition to President Obama.

McAllister, meanwhile, embraced his outsider status, complete with an endorsement from his close friend Phil Robertson, the patriarch of television’s hit series “Duck Dynasty.” McAllister ran as the more measured pragmatist, criticizing Washington gridlock and hyper-partisanship, particularly on Obama’s health care law.

“Plain and simple, this was Riser’s election to lose. Riser was the favorite going into the evening. He had the dollars. He had the endorsement of the Republican establishment. He had a strong showing in the primary. Yet, he lost it,” Joshua Stockley, a political science professor at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, told the Associated Press.

An ally of Jindal, Riser had his campaign up and running almost immediately after Alexander announced his resignation in September. The timing prompted cries of favoritism, though Jindal, Alexander and Riser deny any collusion.

Riser touted his decades-long experience as a businessman in the funeral industry while arguing his insider experience has led to significant legislative accomplishments such as helping get a state constitutional amendment passed that strengthened gun rights.

“I see a very clear distinction in the fact that I’ve made the votes,” Riser said. “These aren’t just talking points for me.”

He was endorsed by the Tea Party of Louisiana and FreedomWorks, a Tea Party-aligned national political action group.

Conservative activists said it’s McAllister, who’s never held public office and noted during the campaign that he’d never even visited Washington, that they worry would be the go-along-to-get-along congressman who isn’t conservative enough.

McAllister, who spent at least $800,000 of his own money on his campaign, according to the Federal Election Comission, countered eagerly with his newcomer status.

“I am not part of the establishment; I’m just part of the district,” he said.

When Robertson endorsed his friend, he explained that McAllister has “the least political experience.”

Despite that profile, McAllister didn’t push the “blow the whole place up” mantra that some GOP primary candidates have offered in similar conservative enclaves around the country.

While he is critical of the atmosphere in Washington, he doesn’t blame it exclusively on Obama. He also points a finger at House Republicans’ 40-plus votes to repeal Obama’s health insurance overhaul.

“I will vote to repeal it if there’s a vote right now today,” he said in a recent debate.

“But the truth of the matter is you stand on a platform and pander for votes on something that can’t be repealed,” he told Riser.

McAllister says Republicans should show the president respect and that the best course on health care is to work on improving Obama’s signature law since he was re-elected and Democrats still control the Senate.

Both candidates described themselves as conservatives – opposing abortion, favoring strong gun rights and criticizing Obama’s policies generally. Both criticize the levels of federal spending and debt.

“I don’t think there’s a lot of difference in the policy, per se, because we’re both true conservatives both fiscally and socially,” McAllister said.

McAllister will take office in time to vote on the next round of budget resolutions in January and, almost certainly, a vote soon after on whether to raise the nation’s borrowing limit. Those votes were set up by an October deal to end a partial government shutdown driven by GOP opposition to the health care law.

Riser said he opposes efforts to raise the debt ceiling, saying spending should be cut instead. McAllister wasn’t so absolute. He conceded he’d be willing to raise the debt ceiling if the increase was coupled with federal spending cuts and a long-term deficit reduction plan.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/11/17/louisiana-voters-pick-between-two-republicans-to-fill-open-congressional-seat/


Fewer than 50,000 Americans have thus far bought a health-care plan on the problem-plagued ObamaCare website according to an insurance industry report, representing only a fraction of the half-million enrollees the administration apparently wanted the first month.

The number was reported first Monday by The Wall Street and confirmed by Fox News, which was told the final reporting day was Nov. 3.

The Department of Health and Human Services issued a prompt response, saying officials could not confirm the numbers.

“We have always anticipated that initial enrollment numbers would be low and increase over time,” said agency spokeswoman Joanne Peters. “And, as we have said, the problems with the website will cause the numbers to be lower than initially anticipated.”

Healthcare.gov went live Oct. 1 and was immediately plagued with such problems as slow response time, volume-induced crashes and supplying incorrect information.

Official have since called in private technical experts and have taken the site off line in non-peak hours to perform maintenance and improve the situation.

The federal site handles insurance enrollment for 36 states without their own sites.

The administration has set a goal of signing up seven million Americans for insurance by next March, when open enrollment ends.

The Journal reported the number of enrollees thus far could be as low as 40,000 and  that the administration’s goal of 500,000 enrollees in October is based on an internal memo cited last week by Michigan Republican Rep. Dave Camp.

The top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch said in a statement the low numbers are not surprising because of the website’s problems.

“Whether it’s higher costs, fewer choices or simply website glitches, it’s becoming more clear with each passing day that this law isn’t ready for prime time and should be delayed,” Hatch said.

End of last month the head of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO),Graziano da Silvatold participants at the Global Green Growth Forum (3GF) in Copenhagen that every year an estimated one-third of all food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted – around 1.3 billion tons. This costs around $750 billion per annum.

According to da Silva this would equal additional food to feed 2 billion people! This is unbelievable, isn´t it?

Reality, however, is that per capita food waste is around 100 kilograms in Europe and North America per year. At the same time FAO estimates that nearly 870 million people of the 7.1 billion people in the world, or one in eight, were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2010-2012. Almost all the hungry people, 852 million, live in developing countries, representing 15 percent of the population of developing counties. There are 16 million people undernourished in developed countries. In general children are the most visible victims of undernutrition. Poor nutrition plays a role in at least half of the 10.9 million child deaths each year-five million deaths! Undernutrition magnifies the effect of every disease, including measles and malaria.

Conclusion: The world produces enough food to feed everyone. At least in theory!

World agriculture produces 17 percent more calories per person today than it did 30 years ago, despite a 70 percent population increase. This is enough to provide everyone in the world with at least 2,720 kilocalories (kcal) per person per day according to FAO. The principal problem is that many people in the world do not have sufficient land to grow, or income to purchase, enough food.

Possible Actions

1. Fighting Food Loss In A Holistic Manner

FAO noted that most food loss takes place in post-production, harvesting, transportation and storage. In developing countries, food waste is mainly related to inadequate infrastructure, while in more developed countries it is largely a problem in the marketing and consumption stages. Consequently investments in developing countries are needed in areas such as infrastructure, roads, and cold chains. Also improvement is needed in delivering more and better know-how to farmers on how to properly grow and market their products. In developed countries one priority should be to educate both companies and consumers to apply more responsible consumption patterns.

Fighting food loss and waste is clearly one area in which a strong partnership between governments and various organizations (companies, NGOs) is needed. Developing a global protocol can help provide clear measurements and indicators on which guidance on how to reduce food loss and waste can be based. FAO is working on such a protocal.

2. Stimulating Responsible Economic Growth

Besides climate change, political conflicts and certain political systems, poverty is the main cause of hunger. As a result economic growth plays a key role in reducing undernourishmnet. It is most effective in reducing poverty and hunger when it increases employment and income-earning opportunities that the poor can take advantage of. Sustainable agricultural growth is often effective in reaching the poor because most of the poor and hungry live in rural areas and depend on agriculture for a significant part of their livelihoods. However, growth will not necessarily result in better nutrition for all. Policies and programmes are required that will ensure “nutrition-sensitive” growth include supporting increased dietary diversity, improving access to safe drinking water, sanitation and health services and educating consumers regarding adequate nutrition and child care practices.

Economic growth takes time to reach the poor, and may not reach the poorest of the poor. Therefore, social protection is crucial for eliminating hunger as rapidly as possible. Furthermore, when properly structured, social protection also promotes economic growth by building human capital and helping farmers manage risk so that they can adopt improved technologies. Finally, rapid progress in reducing hunger requires government action to provide key public goods and services within a governance system based on transparency, participation, accountability, rule of law and human rights.

3. Behaving And Acting Responsible Ourselves

Firstly, and most importanly, all of us can and should adjust their consumption behavior, i.e. thinking at least twice when shopping (what is really needed, who will consume it, by when should it be consumed, etc.) and before throwing anything away. We should act as role models and should try to positively influence our environment, our families, friends, colleagues, and others we´re inter-acting with. No need to blame others, if we´re not doing what we should be doing.

Have you ever heard of The Food Recovery Network in the US? It´s an organization which unites students at colleges and universities across America to fight food waste and hunger by recovering surplus perishable food from their college campuses and surrounding communities that would otherwise go to waste and donating it to people in need. Founded in September of 2011, it has since expanded to reach 23 college campuses and recovered over 160,000 pounds (72.75 metric tons) of food that would otherwise have been wasted.

Very similar, and much more known, is the Food banking system which exist in many countries in the world. Food banks acquire donated food, much of which would otherwise be wasted, from farms, manufacturers, distributors, retail stores, consumers, and other sources, and make it available to those in need through a network of community agencies. These agencies include school feeding programs, food pantries, soup kitchens, AIDS and TB hospices, substance abuse clinics, after-school programs, and other nonprofit programs that provide food to the hungry.

Have you ever supported your local food bank or any similar institution?

Finally, and from a company perspective, the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility is not new. Still, there is significant room for many more organizations getting involved, donating money, providing know-how, and “ walking their talk“ in regards of being serious about helping our society and our planet. In other words: How many companies do you know which have teamed up with organizations such as the SAVE FOOD project, WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme), Think-Eat-Save, or with any other programe targeted to change wasteful practices, to fight hunger, and to promote responsible consumption habits?

What do you think? Looking forward to receiving your feedback. Join the discussion!

*****

Andreas von der Heydt is the Country Manager of Amazon BuyVIP in Germany. Before that he hold senior management positions at L’Oréal. He´s a leadership expert, management coach and NLP master. He also founded Consumer Goods Club. Andreas worked and lived in Europe, the U.S. and Asia.

Source:http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20131107110059-175081329-what-a-shame-one-third-of-food-is-wasted?trk=tod-posts-recentPosts-psum

You heard it here first: the billionaire behind Starbucks SBUX -1.2% is watching his caffeine intake. Howard Schultz, CEO of the java giant, won’t drink coffee after 5pm.

He’s more of a tea man these days, having taken a liking to the Maharaja Chai Oolong blend sold at Teavana, the mainly mall-based tea retailer Starbucks bought for $620 million last November.

On Wednesday, Schultz sipped a $4.95 cup of his new favorite at the first ever Teavana tea bar, which opens Thursday morning in New York City. Next up: a Seattle outpost, opening just before Thanksgiving.

Schultz says to expect 1,000 such tea bars — complete with zen decor, grey walls and dim lighting — in the next five years as Teavana aims to do for tea what its parent company has done for coffee.

The location of the first Teavana Fine Teas + Tea Bar couldn’t be more perfect: on Manhattan’s super-wealthy Upper East Side at 85th St and Madison Ave, steps from a branch of cult yoga outfitters Lululemon (“you’ve got to give us some credit,” Schultz said laughingly of the canny real estate grab) and blocks from Central Park.

Starbucks will slowly add tea bars to its 300 or so existing Teavana stores, which until now sold loose-leaf tea (two ounces of the Silver Needle blend goes for $17.98, for instance) plus gifts and accessories like ceramic teapots and stainless steel infusers. As well as drinks like Matcha Lattes, the new tea bars will sell food to appeal to a health-conscious customer (an egg-white frittata is $5.95).

Schultz is angling for a piece of a hot and iced tea market worth $90 billion worldwide, according to recent Euromonitor data, with Starbucks-saturated countries like Japan, China, Canada and the U.K. leading the trend. Globally, tea is the second-most consumed beverage besides water. While Americans still consume coffee at a far greater rate than tea, their taste for leaves versus beans is growing. Data from the Tea Association USA says America’s interest in tea has grown by 16% over the past five years.

Schultz isn’t concerned about cannibalizing his current business, however, noting that caffeine junkies who jones for a Starbucks to start their day are unlikely to be big tea drinkers. To that end, there’s no Starbucks branding in this first Teavana bar, nor will there be. There’s no coffee on offer, and the drinks are sold as either 12- or 16-ounce servings rather than “tall” or “grande”.

“Don’t you think that’s the right choice?” asks Schultz, gesturing around the chai-scented room, its back wall home to a stenciled quotation mentioning “alchemy”, “wisdom” and “a tea journey.” Teavana’s zen branding extends to its logo: a yogi, cross-legged, holding a mug of tea.

Analysts aren’t convinced Starbucks can do for tea what the company has done for coffee since its 1971 debut, but they’ll be watching closely. “This is Starbucks trying to make a boring category — tea — interesting,” said Brian Sozzi, CEO of Belus Capital Advisors.

“I don’t believe Teavana will ever grow into what the Starbucks brand has become for one simple reason: tea lacks the major caffeine count,” he added. “That sounds silly, but the bottom line is that in this day and age of frantic tech-driven lifestyles, people want to run on 100 mg of caffeine, and they will trade taste to make that happen.”

Wedbush Securities analyst Nick Setyan is slightly more bullish on Starbucks’ big move. “If anyone can create a demand for a product, it’s Starbucks,” he said, noting that tea has higher gross margins than coffee.

Schultz still has a way to go if he’s going to sell New Yorkers on tea, as he learned on Wednesday, when he was asked whether Teavana’s tea is kosher. “It will be. It hasn’t been certified,” he said. “No rabbi has come in to bless it yet!”

I coined a phrase to define this world we live in where everyone has an opinion and there are a multitude of ways to express that opinion. I call it, “The Feedback Society.”

Whether on a consumer review site like Yelp; in the ‘comments’ section of an online publication; or something as simple as calling your congressperson, it’s clear that everyone has an opinion and they are eager to share it with as many people as possible.

The vast majority of these are anonymous postings—or as I like to tell my celebrity clients, “Writing on a bathroom wall.” I actively discourage them from reading it knowing that they can be toxic, mean-spirited and just plain hurtful. As their representative I do take into account the whole of the feedback, so I have an idea of how a story is being received.

Certainly a public relations person is tasked with presenting a client to the public, but equally important is letting the client know what kind of environment they are stepping into and how their news is being received.

President Obama has access to some of the most sophisticated opinion analysts in the world. And while he can certainly take heart in the fact that his own approval rating held steady at about 44 percent during the government shutdown while Republicans were plummeting; it is equally clear that the rollout of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) has been a real shit show.

His problems didn’t begin with the rollout; they began with a lame effort at selling Obamacare to the American people. His lack of clear targeted messaging and inability to get people behind it at the grass roots level made it easy prey for his political opponents.

Even people who clearly stood to benefit from provisions in the act expressed their hatred for it. His own ham-handed PR rollout was further denigrated by the opposition who took, and still take, every opportunity to demonize the law and its provisions.

Despite losing the PR battle, POTUS won the war. The Affordable Care Act is the law of the land, passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the President. It has the added bonus of being vetted by the U.S. Supreme Court and found lawful.

The official rollout of the Affordable Care Act coincided with the shutdown of the U.S. government by Congress on October 1. Defunding Obamacare was the major incentive for shutting down the government and, ironically, opposition to the shutdown made the act more popular than it had been.

What was clear from the beginning of the rollout was that the online systems to handle a massive rollout of complicated and sophisticated data was just not in place and the system crashed.

Despite multiple news reports that 476,000 Americans have applied for the coverage, no one seems to have access to accurate information. Additionally, this bill was, in part, designed to simplify the health care coverage process.

The inability of the government to handle this system supported the opponents’ argument that it’s just too big and complicated for the government to handle and would be better dealt with by private industry.

On Monday, President Obama held a news conference, which some referred to as an ‘infomercial,’ to discuss the state of the law.

To his credit, he didn’t sugarcoat the problems and expressed his own believable and apparent frustration with the technical aspects of the rollout.

Not surprisingly, his political opponents are using the glitches to heir own advantage. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell tweeted that a visit to the Obamacare website made a trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles seem pleasant.

While millions stand to benefit from the provisions of Obamacare, the system is dependent on people, indeed millions of people, signing up for the system. When the system designed to manage that doesn’t work, the result is chaos, frustration and a huge political opportunity for opponents.

And if The Affordable Care Act cannot attract the critical mass it needs to make the numbers work, it could be a very costly program.

I’m glad the President owned the problem. But what’s more important is that he owns the solution. Because, unless he gets an effective and efficient system in place to access the new provisions, The Affordable Care Act and the benefits possible to tens of millions of uninsured Americans will go down as his greatest folly and a huge failure for any future government program that dares to think big.

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Gartner reported that PC shipments totaled 80.3 million units in Q3. Subtracting an estimated 4.4 million Macs yields an estimated 75.9 million Windows PCs. (The total will be less than this as some PCs will not ship with Windows).

This total is lower than the total shipped in the same period of 2008.

The graphs above show the Gartner data and the split between tablets and PCs. (Tablet and Mac data for Q3 is not yet available).

If we include all iOS and Android devices the “computing” market in Q3 2008 was 92 million units of which Windows (including Windows Mobile or Windows Phone) was 90% whereas in Q3 2013 it was 269 million units of which Windows was 32%.

Any guesses on what this market will look like in 2018?