RSS

Monthly Archives: September 2012

Profit Sharing

profit-sharing

An arrangement in which an employer shares some of its profits with its employees. The compensation can be stocksbonds, or cash, and can be immediate or deferred untilretirement. Profit-sharing allows for changing contributions each year. Contributions are determined by a formula to allocate the overall contribution and distribution of accumulatedfunds after the retirement age. Unless the plans are defined as an elective deferral plan, the contributions are not tax deductible. Contributions and earnings can grow tax-deferred untilwithdrawal.

technical analysis

A method of evaluating securities by relying on the assumption that market data, such ascharts of pricevolume, and open interest, can help predict future (usually short-termmarkettrends. Unlike fundamental analysis, the intrinsic value of the security is not considered.Technical analysts believe that they can accurately predict the future price of a stock by looking at its historical prices and other trading variables. Technical analysis assumes that market psychology influences trading in a way that enables predicting when a stock will rise orfall. For that reason, many technical analysts are also market timers, who believe that technical analysis can be applied just as easily to the market as a whole as to an individual stock.

total quality management (TQM)

holistic approach to long-term success that views continuous improvement in all aspects of an organization as aprocess and not as a short-term goal. It aims to radically transform the organization through progressive changes in theattitudespracticesstructures, and systems. Total quality management transcends the product quality approach, involves everyone in the organization, and encompasses its every functionadministrationcommunications,distributionmanufacturingmarketingplanningtraining, etc. Coined by the US Naval Air Systems Command in early 1980s, this term has now taken on several meanings and includes (1) commitment and direct involvement of highest-level executives in setting quality goals and policiesallocation of resources, and monitoring of results; (2) realizationthat transforming an organization means fundamental changes in basic beliefs and practices and that thistransformation is everyone’s job; (3) building quality into products and practices right from the beginning; (4) understanding of the changing needs of the internal and external customers, and stakeholders, and satisfying them in a cost effective manner; (5) instituting leadership in place of mere supervision so that every individual performs in the best possible manner to improve quality and productivity, thereby continually reducing total cost; (6) eliminating barriers between people and departments so that they work as teams to achieve common objectives; and (7) instituting flexibleprograms for training and education, and providing meaningful measures of performance that guide the self-improvement efforts of everyone involved

workers’ compensation

Financial support system established under law to provide income, medical care, and rehabilitation to employees for illness, injury, or death arising out of, and in the course of, their employment whether or not the employee was at fault. These benefits are claimed by the employees (or their dependents) as a matter of right and the employer cannot resort to any legal defenseAmount paid as compensation is based on the salary of the employee (also on the number of his or her dependents in some jurisdictions) and is usually subject to a specified maximum. In most countries, this systemis compulsory although agricultural and domestic workers are generally excluded. Also called workmen’s compensation.

overfunded pension plan

In which the value of projected benefits exceeds the value of projected obligations; thus, apension plan with a surplus. This situation usually occurs during a stock market boom aspension plans invest heavily in high quality stocks. Or it may occur when a defined benefit planis converted to a cash-balance plan. The surplus can legally be shown as the company’sincome but cannot be paid out to the stockholders because it belongs to the pension plan.

durable goods orders

government report which measures consumer spending on long-term purchasesproductsthat are expected to last more than three years. It is intended to offer a gauge of the future of the manufacturing industry. The report is made at 8:30 am EST around the 26th of each month and is thought to provide insight into the future for the manufacturing industry. The reports are broken down by industry, which helps to eliminate the effects of single volatile industries like defense spending.

dislocated worker

An individual who meets one of the following criteria: (1) has been laid off or terminated, or received notice of termination or lay off and is unlikely to return to previous industry of occupation, (2) has been terminated or laid off, or has received a notice of termination or lay off, as a result of permanent closure of, or substantial layoff at a plant orfacility, (3) was self-employed and now unemployed because of a natural disaster, (4) was self-employed (includingfarmer, rancher, or fisherman), but is unemployed as a result of general economic conditions in the community in which he or she resides or because of a natural disaster, or (5) is a displaced homemaker. See also displaced worker.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 30, 2012 in Study and Read

 

Exchange rate

exchange rate

Rate at which one currency may be converted into another. The exchange rate is used when simply converting one currency to another (such as for the purposes of travel to another country), or for engaging in speculation or trading in the foreign exchange market. There are a wide variety of factors which influence the exchange rate, such as interest ratesinflation, and the state of politics and the economy in each country.also called rate of exchange or foreign exchange rate or currency exchange rate.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

Motivation theory which suggests five interdependent levels of basic human needs (motivators) that must be satisfied in a strict sequence starting with the lowest level. Physiological needs for survival (to stay alive and reproduce) andsecurity (to feel safe) are the most fundamental and most pressing needs. They are followed by social needs (for love and belonging) and self-esteem needs (to feel worthy, respected, and have status). The final and highest level needs are self-actualization needs (self-fulfillment and achievement). Its underlying theme is that human beings are ‘wanting’ beings: as they satisfy one need the next emerges on its own and demands satisfaction … and so on until the need for self-actualization that, by its very nature, cannot be fully satisfied and thus does not generate more needs. This theorystates that once a need is satisfied, it stops being a motivator of human beings. In personnel management, it is used in design of incentive schemes. In marketing, it is used in design of promotional campaigns based on the perceived needs of a market segment a product satisfies. Named after its originator, the US psychologist Abraham Harold Maslow (1908-70) who proposed it in 1954.

performance analysis

Finance: Examination of various financial performance indicators (such as return on assets and return on equity) in comparison with the results achieved by the competing firms of about the same size. Human resource management:Examination of the performance of current employees to determine if training can help reduce performance problemssuch as low output, uneven quality, excessive waste. See also activity analysisjob analysis, and task analysis.

settlement options

The different methods for paying out a benefit available to beneficiaries when an individual covered by a life insurance policy dies. The simplest method is a lump sum payment of thevalue of the policy. It is also possible to leave the entire settlement with the insurance companyand collect interest, retaining the right to withdraw principal funds at any time. Paymentschedules are also available based on payment amount or duration. In either case, interest willaccrue on the money that remains with the insurance company. There are also a range ofoptions that pay benefits over the entire life of the beneficiary.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 30, 2012 in Study and Read

 

Human resource management HRM

human resource management (HRM)

The administrative discipline of hiring and developing employees so that they become more valuable to theorganization. Human Resource management includes (1) conducting job analyses, (2) planning personnel needs, andrecruitment, (3) selecting the right people for the job, (4) orienting and training, (5) determining and managing wagesand salaries, (6) providing benefits and incentives, (7) appraising performance, (8) resolving disputes, (9) communicating with all employees at all levels. Formerly called personnel management.

theory X and theory Y

Two distinct sets of assumptions that managers, in general, have about their employees and which often turn out to be self-fulfilling prophesies. Theory-X assumptions are: (1) most people dislike work and will avoid it to the extent possible, therefore (2) they must be continually coerced, controlled, and threatened with punishment to get the work done, and that (3) they have little or no ambition, prefer to avoid responsibility, and choose security above everything else. Theory-Y assumptions are: (1) physical and mental effort are natural and most people (depending on the work environment) find work to be a source of satisfaction, (2) they generally, on their own motivationexercise self-control, self-direction, creativity, and ingenuity in pursuit of individual and collective (companygoals, (3) they either seek responsibility or learn to accept it willingly, and that (4) their full potential is not tapped in most organizations. These assumptions serve as powerful behavioral models reflected in the way an organization is structuredManagement that believes in theory-X assumptions, creates stick-and-carrot approach based firms with restrictive discipline andpervasive controls. Theory-Y believers create trust based firms with empowered employees. These concepts were introduced by the US college-administrator and professor Douglas McGregor (1906-64) in his 1960 book ‘The Human Side Of Eenterprise.’ See also theory Z.

J-curve

The theory that the Internal Rate of Return of a fund will be low in its early stages, particularly due to costs incurred in starting the fund, but then as the firm becomes more stable andprofitable, that its internal rate of return will increase. The shape of this, if graphed over time, would look like a J.

The shape of a country’s trade balance after it devaluates its currency. The immediate effect of a devaluation is an increase in the trade deficit, though this will shift into an increasedinternational demand for the country’s exports due to a lowered exchange rate, as well as adecrease in the demand for more expensive imports. An appreciation in the value of a country’s currency can result in an inverted J-curve

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 30, 2012 in Study and Read

 

About Visa and all…

visa

Certificate issued or a stamp marked (on the applicant’s passport) by the immigration authorities of a country to indicate that the applicant‘s credentials have been verified and he or she has been granted permission to enter the country for a temporary stay within a specified period. This permission, however, is provisional and subject to theapproval of the immigration officer at the entry point. The common types of visas include: (1) Single entry visa: valid only for one visit. (2) Multiple entry visa: allows any number of visits within its validity period. (3) Business visa: for a short visit to conduct discussions, negotiations, and/or presentations, but not to take up employment. (4) Tourist visa: allowsfreedom to move around the country and briefly cross its frontiers to another country and return. (5) Residence visa: allows an extended stay but does not grant permission to take up employment. (6) Work visa: gives the permission to stay and take up employment, for a specific job and only for a limited period. Called also work permit. (7) Electronicvisa: permission recorded in a computer instead of being issued as a certificate or stamp.

due diligence

GeneralMeasure of prudenceresponsibility, and diligence that is expected from, and ordinarily exercised by, areasonable and prudent person under the circumstances. BusinessDuty of a firm’s directors and officers to actprudently in evaluating associated risks in all transactionsInvestingDuty of the investor to gather necessaryinformation on actual or potential risks involved in an investment. Negotiating: Duty of each party to confirm each other’sexpectations and understandings, and to independently verify the abilities of the other to fulfill the conditions andrequirements of the agreement. Also called reasonable diligence.

continuous inventory

Keeping book inventory continuously in agreement with stock on hand within specified timeperiods. In some cases, book inventory and stock on hand may be reconciled as often as after each transaction, while in some systems these two numbers may be reconciled less often. This process is useful in keeping track of actual availability of goods and determining what the correct time to reorder from suppliers might be. Sometimes also called perpetual inventory.

closed-end fund

fund with a fixed number of shares outstanding, and one which does not redeem shares the way a typical mutual fund does. Closed-end funds behave more like stock than open-end funds: closed-end funds issue a fixed number of shares to the public in an initial public offering, after which time shares in the fund are bought and sold on a stock exchange, and they are not obligated to issue new shares or redeem outstanding shares as open-end funds are. The priceof a share in a closed-end fund is determined entirely by market demand, so shares can eithertrade below their net asset value (“at a discount”) or above it (“at a premium”). also calledclosed-end investment company or publicly-traded fund.

going-concern principle

A basic principle in accounting that assumes a company will continue to operate in the foreseeable future. The significance of this principle becomes apparent when the value of a running business is compared with the value of one being liquidated. The moment a business is declared liquidated, all debts become immediately due in full,tangible assets are worth only what they will be sold for in an auction or fire-sale, and the intangible assets (such asgoodwill) become worthless. A going concern is the only type of business banks lend money to, and suppliers extendcredit to. Directors of publicly traded companies must explicitly state in their financial statements (verified through anindependent audit) that they have taken all reasonable steps to ensure the continuing viability of the company as a going concern. Also called continuity of business unit principle.

International Standards Organization (ISO)

Popular name for International Organization For Standardization (IOS), a voluntary, non-treaty federation of standards setting bodies of some 130 countriesFounded in 1946-47 in Geneva as a UN agency, it promotes development ofstandardization and related activities to facilitate international trade in goods and services, and cooperation on economic, intellectual, scientific, and technological aspects. ISO covers standardization in all fields includingcomputers and data communications, but excluding electrical and electronic engineering (governed by the International Electrotechnical Commission or IEC) and telecommunications (governed by International Telecommunications Union’sTelecommunications Standards Sector or ITU-TSS). See also ISO 9000 Series and ISO 14000 Series.


leading indicator

An economic indicator that changes before the economy has changed. Examples of leadingindicators include production workweek, building permitsunemployment insurance claims,money supplyinventory changes, and stock prices. The Fed watches many of these indicators as it decides what to do about interest rates. There are also coincident indicators, whichchange about the same time as the overall economy, and lagging indicators, which change after the overall economy, but these are of minimal use as predictive tools.


barriers to entry

Economic, procedural, regulatory, or technological factors that obstruct or restrict entry of new firms into an industry ormarket. Such barriers may take the form of (1) clear product differentiation, necessitating heavy advertising expenditureto introduce new products, (2) economies of scale, necessitating heavy investment in large plants to achievecompetitive pricing, (3) restricted access to distribution channels, (4) collusion on pricing and other restrictive trade practices (such as full-line forcing) by the producers or suppliers, (5) well established brands, or (6) fierce competition.Barriers to exit, paradoxically, also serve as barriers to entry because they make it difficult to cut one’s losses and run. Also called barriers to competition, entry barriers, or market entry barriers.


nonprofit organization (NPO)

Associations, charities, cooperatives, and other voluntary organizations formed to further cultural, educational, religious,professional, or public service objectives. Their startup funding is provided by their memberstrustees, or others who do not expect repayment, and who do not share in the organization’s profits or losses which are retained or absorbed. Approved, incorporated, or registered NPOs are usually granted tax exemptions, and contributions to them are often tax deductible. Most non governmental organizations (NGOs) are NPOs. Also called not for profit organization.


straddle

The purchase or sale of an equal number of puts and calls, with the same strike price andexpiration dates. A straddle provides the opportunity to profit from a prediction about the future volatility of the marketLong straddles are used to profit from high volatility. Long straddles can be effective when an investor is confident that a stock price will change dramatically, but cannot predict the direction of the moveShort straddles represent the opposite prediction, that astock price will not change.


line and staff management

A military-type organizational structure, commonly employed in large, centralized corporations. Line and staffmanagement has two separate hierarchies: (1) the line hierarchy in which the departments are revenue generators(manufacturingselling), and their managers are responsible for achieving the organization’s main objectives byexecuting the key functions (such as policy making, target setting, decision making); (2) the staff hierarchy, in which the departments are revenue consumers, and their managers are responsible for activities that support line functions(such as accountingmaintenancepersonnel management). While both hierarchies have their own chains of command, a line manager may have direct control over staff employees but a staff manager may have no such powerover the line employees. In modern practice, however, the difference in the two hierarchies is not so clear-cut and jobsoften have elements of the both types of functions.


operating income before depreciation and amortization

OIBDA. A financial measure similar to EBITDAexcept that it uses Net Operating Income as opposed to net income. It is calculated by adding interesttaxesdepreciation and amortization(also known as ITDA) to the company’s operating income. OIBDA is used by companies more frequently, although it is still a non-GAAP measure. Some companies prefer to use OIBDA because it doesn’t consider non-operating income, and therefore tends to give a better indication of income from regular operations.


investment banker

An individual or institution which acts as an underwriter or agent for corporations and municipalities issuing securities. Most also maintain broker/dealer operations, maintain marketsfor previously issued securities, and offer advisory services to investorsinvestment banks also have a large role in facilitating mergers and acquisitionsprivate equity placements andcorporate restructuring. Unlike traditional banksinvestment banks do not accept deposits from and provide loans to individuals. also called investment banker.


asset turnover ratio

Indicates how successful a firm is in utilizing its assets in generation of sales revenue. A high ratio is considered desirable, but what is considered high in one industry may be low for another. Asset turnover ratios are computed for specific assets, such as ‘cash to sales‘ (cash / sales revenue), ‘inventory to sales’ (value of inventory / sales revenue), ‘fixed assets to sales’ (fixed assets / sales revenue). When computed as total ‘assets-to-sales’ ratio (total assets / sales revenue), it is called capital intensity.

sovereign risk

Probability that the government of a country (or an agency backed by the government) will refuse to comply with theterms of a loan agreement during economically difficult or politically volatile times. Although sovereign nations don’t “go broke,” they can assert their independence in any manner they choose, and cannot be sued without their assent. Sovereign risk was a significant factor during 1970s after the oil shock when Argentina and Mexico almost defaulted on their loans which had to be rescheduled.


store of value

commoditycurrency or other type of capital that is tradable and can be stored for future use. It is a fundamental component of the economic system because it allows trade to occur with items that have inherent value. An example of a store of value is currency, which can be exchanged for goods and services. If the value of currency becomes unpredictable, such as in times of hyperinflationinvestors and consumers will shift to alternative stores of value, such asgoldsilver, precious stones and real estate.

Heisenberg effect

Observation that the very act of becoming a player changes the game being played. It is reflected in interviewingprocess where the interviewees tend to give answers they think interviewer wants to hear. Named after German Noble-laureate physicist Werner Karl Heisenberg (1901-76) whose uncertainty principle states that (in particle physicsexperiments) the very act of observing alters the position of the particle being observed, and makes it impossible (even in theory) to accurately predict its behavior. See also observer inseparability.


internal audit

Frequent or ongoing audit conducted by a firm’s own (as opposed to independentaccountants to (1) monitor operatingresults, (2) verify financial records, (3) evaluate internal controls, (4) assist with increasing efficiency and effectivenessof operations and, (5) to detect fraud. Internal audit can identify control problems, and aims at correcting lapses before they are discovered during an external audit. Although the internal auditors are the firm’s employees, they normally do not audit themselves or their own departments, but entrust it usually to independent auditors.

equity

Fairness and impartiality towards all concerned, based on the principles of evenhanded dealing. Equity implies giving as much advantageconsideration, or latitude to one party as it is given to another. Along with economyeffectiveness, and efficiency, Equity is essential for ensuring that extent and costs of fundsgoods and services are fairly divided among their recipients. See also equitableAccounting: (1) Ownership interest or claim of a holder of common stock(ordinary shares) and some types of preferred stock (preference shares) of a company. On a balance sheet, equityrepresents funds contributed by the owners (stockholdersplus retained earnings or minus the accumulated losses. (2) Net worth of a person or company computed by subtracting total liabilities from the total assets. In case ofcooperatives, equity represents members‘ investment plus retained earnings or minus losses. Law: (1) The Englishsystem of justice that developed during 17th to 19th centuries, separate and distinct from the system of common law. Not bound by the precedents, it tempered the harshness and inflexibility of common law, especially in cases involvingfamilies and children. Although both systems of law merged by 1875, the rules of equity prevail in case of a conflict with the rules of common law. (2) Any right to an asset or propertyheld by a creditorproprietor, or stockholder(shareholder).

bid bond

A written guaranty from a third party guarantor (usually a bank or an insurance company) submitted to a principal (clientor customer) by a contractor (bidder) with a bid. A bid bond ensures that on acceptance of a bid by the customer the contractor will proceed with the contract and will replace the bid bond with a performance bond. Otherwise, the guarantor will pay the customer the difference between the contractor’s bid and the next highest bidder. This difference is called liquidated damages, which cannot exceed the amount of the bid bond. Unlike a fidelity bond, a bid bond is not an insurance policy, and (if cashed by the principal) the payment amount is recovered by the guarantor from the contractor. Also called bid guaranty or bid surety.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 20, 2012 in Study and Read

 

Three in four Americans feel little or no personal connection to Romney, Esquire/Yahoo poll finds

By  | Yahoo! News – 12 hrs ag

74 percent of Americans feel they have little or nothing in common with Romney.

VIEW SLIDESHOWS

Three in four Americans feel they have little or nothing in common with Mitt Romney, while nearly 60 percent feel the same way aboutPresident Barack Obama, according to an Esquire/Yahoo! News poll.

In the wake of Romney’s remarks dismissing nearly half of Americans as self-identified victims who are dependent on government—videotaped at a donor event earlier this year andposted online this week by Mother Jones magazine—these new numbers are more bad news for a candidate struggling to connect with ordinary Americans. The margin of error for the survey, conducted shortly after the two national political conventions, is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Further complicating the Republican ticket’s image problem is that a Romney presidency is viewed as significantly more beneficial towealthy Americans than a second Obama term would be. Sixty-two percent of those surveyed said the wealthy would be better off under Romney than Obama. That split reverses when Americans were asked who would benefit the poor: 57 percent say Obama, 30 percent say Romney.

Obama is seen as better for poor Americans than Romney. The opposite is true for rich Americans.

Obama leads Romney by 10 points on the question of whose presidency would be more beneficial to the middle class, 48 percent to 38 percent.

To top things off, 44 percent think that taxes are too low on those earning over $250,000 a year—a core tenet of Obama’s campaign. Another 12 percent said taxes on high earners are too high, and 28 percent said the tax rate was about right.

44 percent of people think those making more than $250K should pay higher taxes.

Meanwhile, with chaos in the Middle East throwing attention back to foreign policy this election, it appears that Obama holds a slight edge over Romney on a crucial foreign policy issue: more Americans trust Obama to lead the armed forces in the event of a war (46 percent) than trust Romney to do so (37 percent), with 5 percent trusting neither man.

People trust Obama more than Romney in the event of war.

Yet, despite the administration’s frequent touting of the death of Osama bin Laden, when Americans were asked which candidate instills more fear in al Qaeda, the President emerged with no advantage over Romney.

Respondents were split on which candidate al Qaeda fears more.

“It seems that, as effective as Democrats have been in neutralizing the Republicans’ historic advantage in the matter of national security, there remains a core group of Americans who still believe the GOP is the party of big sticks,” writes Esquire in its analysis of the poll. Head over to Esquire’s The Politics Blog for their complete analysis.

The poll was conducted among a random national sample of 1,002 adults from Sept. 7 to Sept. 10. The respondents were contacted by landline and cellular telephone.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 20, 2012 in News in Yahoo

 

Protection sought for orange clownfish, of ‘Finding Nemo’ fame

By: Pete Thomas, GrindTV.com

Millions of people enjoyed “Finding Nemo,” the animated Disney film that premiered in 2003, and can still recall the plot: A timid clownfish embarks on an adventurous search for his son, Nemo, who was captured by scuba divers and taken to Australia’s Sydney Harbor. But what many may not be aware of is that the real-life Nemos of the world, along with other small fish that are equally dependent on healthy reef systems, are in serious trouble because of climate change.

The Center for Biological Diversity on Monday filed a petition with the National Marine Fisheries Service to place orange clownfish–more commonly known to children as Nemo fish–and seven other reef fish species under protection of the Endangered Species Act.

“We risk losing the striking fish that inspired ‘Finding Nemo’ forever if we don’t put the brakes on global warming and ocean acidification,” Shaye Wolf, the Center’s climate science director, stated in a news release. “Carbon pollution harms these fish and destroys their coral reef homes. If we want these beautiful animals to survive in the wild, not just in a movie, we have to protect them under the Endangered Species Act.”

In “Finding Nemo,” the over-protective father (Marlin) learned during his adventure to take risks and to be more trusting of his son.

There were many risks and struggles along the way.

So it is with orange clownfish trying to survive with coral reefs around the world–including the Great Barrier Reef, which was Nemo’s home–in a state of decline, and while ocean acidification is on the rise.

Warming seas and acidification, caused by the oceans’ absorption of carbon-dioxide poisoning, pose a threat to reefs and to clownfish and damselfish.

“Coral reefs are the rainforests of the ocean, but carbon pollution will bulldoze their biodiversity,” Wolf said. “The longer we wait to provide Endangered Species Act protection and reduce the greenhouse gases harming reef fish and destroying their homes, the harder it’s going to be to save these unique creatures.”

Another danger, as Nemo came to know, is the aquarium trade. Orange clownfish and several species of damselfish are immensely popular aquarium pets, and the United States is the largest importer of ornamental marine fish.

Listed on the petition sent to NMFS include the orange clownfish, which spends nearly its entire life protected within anemones on coral reefs, and seven species of damselfish that occur in U.S. waters, and are dependent on corals vulnerable to climate change threats.

They are the yellowtail damselfish that inhabit waters in Florida, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean; the Hawaiian dascyllus and blue-eye damselfish, which inhabit Hawaiian waters; and the black-axil chromis, Dick’s damselfish, reticulated damselfish, and blue-green damselfish that live in the Indo-Pacific, including U.S. territorial waters in American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands.”

NMFS will consider the petition but it will require lots of time before any action is taken.

— Images are courtesy of the Center for Biological Diversity

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 20, 2012 in News in Yahoo

 

Homes with living roofs

Forbes.comBy Marcelle Sussman Fischler | Forbes.com – Mon, Sep 17, 2012 6:46 PM EDT
The Meera Sky Garden House in Singapore (Photo: Guz Architects)

Carpets of green have topped dwellings since ancient times. If you believe the legend, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon blanketed an entire palace in exotic greenery. And during the Viking days, sod roofs made of earth were all the rage.

Once a relic of earlier civilizations, living rooftops are blooming once more, albeit with modern technologies like irrigation and drainage systems — eco-friendly alternatives to materials like asphalt or tile.

“You have to have a bit of a green thumb,” said Katy Brahler, who along with husband, Gary, “wanted to go as green as we could,” when they hired Cleveland architect Robert Maschke to renovate their three-bedroom cottage near Lake Erie a little over two years ago.

The Brahlers aren’t alone. The green roof market alone grew by 115% last year, according to Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, a not-for-profit organization touting the benefits of turf roofing.

And there are many: according to the EPA, green roofs insulate, filter pollution, reduce storm water run-off, and naturally cool the air, reducing what’s known as the “heat island effect.”

[Find the right home contractor for you. Click to compare rates now.]

Here are four homes that put green roofs to spectacular use.

Meera Sky Garden House, Singapore

The top roof of this modern home on the island of Sentosa (adjacent to the main island Singapore) is slow growing and easy to maintain carpet grass but still keeps the residence cool, according to Guz Wilkinson of Guz Architects. Wilkinson designed the home in a new development where the plots are not large and homes are built close together.

A solid wall provides privacy to each side and the home’s layered effect makes each story feel like a single-story dwelling with a private outdoor garden.

(Photo: Robert Maschke)

Contemporary Cottage, Bay Village, Ohio

Situated steps from Lake Erie, the owners of this three-bedroom cottage wanted to include as many green elements as possible when they renovated three years ago. Cleveland architect Robert Maschke used a steel roof on the original portion but suggested a sloped green roof and vertical wall for the exterior of a new master bedroom suite.

(Photo: Jonathan Feldman)

Pacific Heights Townhouse, San Francisco

Some green roofs aren’t just for plants. In urban areas where outdoor space is limited and the views are best from the top, residents use them, too, says architect Jonathan Feldman. To get more greenery and less concrete in his clients’ lives, Feldman placed living areas on the top floor of this 1906 stucco-clad Victorian (he also added skylights). A large portion of the rear space was removed to make space for a roof garden and outdoor lounge space. “It’s not just the plants that get the view,” Feldman says.

(Photos: Natural Balance Homes)

Natural Balance, Vancouver, CanadaNick Kerchum, an owner of naturalbalancehomes.com, built himself a green home with a green roof in 2009. It has three living roofs blazing with pink and fuschia-toned plants, one on the garage, one on the top roof next to the roof next and one on the main level roof. The garden is completely self-sufficient. It doesn’t need to be watered or pruned.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 20, 2012 in News in Yahoo

 

ESPN aids authorities in arresting a man accused of making threats against children in a post about LeBron James

By  | Ball Don’t Lie – 12 hours ago

LeBron James’ new signature Nikes (Image via http://www.lebronjames.com)

Last month, when Ball Don’t Lie’s Dan Devine told you about LeBron James‘ new exorbitantly priced sneakers, quite a few of you took to our comment section to rail against James and Nike for selling shoes that started at $180, moving all the way up to $315 for pairs that were sure to sell out no matter the cost. On top of that, we’re sure, some of you possibly brought up the potential for children to be robbed and/or assaulted by thieves attempting to steal such “valuable” shoes. Few of you, we’re sure, thought that your comments would eventually lead to the attention of your local police department, and possible arrest.

Then again, none of you apparently made the boneheaded decision to muse on record about killing children, as 21-year old Eric Yee allegedly did, even referencing the tragic movie theater shootings in Aurora, Colo., along the way. Yee is being accused of making his comments underneath an ESPN article of a similar nature, detailing James’ new signature shoes, and authorities moved in on Monday to arrest the Yale dropout.

[Jalen Rose admits trying to hurt Kobe during the 2000 NBA Finals]

We have no idea how serious Yee’s threats really were, but considering his proximity to a local elementary and middle school and the fact that several guns were found at his current residence, it’s clear that he could possibly be the LeBron James of poor judgment. From the Associated Press:

An employee at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn., notified local police the same day and they linked the posting to Yee’s home in Santa Clarita in northern Los Angeles County. Sheriff’s investigators said they were contacted Sunday and began surveillance on the home where Yee, 21, lives with his parents until a search warrant was obtained.

 

Experts said the bail amount was very high for a person suspected of making terrorist threats.

“To put it in perspective, $1 million is the presumptive bail for murder,” said Hanni Fakhoury, an attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation and a former federal public defender who is not involved in the case.

For over a decade it’s become apparent that an Internet connection and the seeming anonymity that goes with it tends to turn even the weakest of minds and muscles into a snorting web presence that boasts of the ability to take on all comers. Now, you might have to think twice before flexing that imaginary e-muscle.

[Metta World Peace has shocking goal for Lakers]

Again, we don’t know if Yee is an example of such — if this was an isolated incident, or the latest in a series of worrying posts that set ESPN off one too many times — but it’s worth repeating that the same common sense you might use when bagging your produce at the local supermarket amongst strangers might be also best utilized while pretending to be a tough dude in comment sections that can reach thousands.

Did ESPN overreact? Did the authorities, with that outrageous $1 million bail, overreact? Is this a concerted effort to send a message to comment section kids — be they chatting about sports, entertainers, politics, or Internet memes of all types — using Yee as a scapegoat? Or, as most comment section types write it, “escapegoat?”

Possibly, at least in the early going and before we’re privy to the evidence against Yee.

Any movement on this front, though, is a good thing. Violent threats against anyone should be taken seriously, because nearly two decades into this Internet fad (and it is a fad, kids, soon to be eclipsed by virtual reality or whatever the next cool CD-ROM will hold) a bit of responsibility has to be in order for those that get to duck down in front of that laptop and just spew away irrespective of any semblance of tact, poise, and reason.

It’s not Big Brother. It’s your big brother, slapping you on the back of your head and telling you to stop acting like such a damned punk.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 20, 2012 in News in Yahoo

 

Not Ready for iPhone 5? Upgrade Offers Some New Tricks

The Wall Street JournalBy Katherine Boehret | The Wall Street Journal – 11 hours agoThe iPhone 5 on display after its introduction during Apple Inc.'s iPhone media event in San Francisco, California September 12, 2012. REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach
  • Reuters – The iPhone 5 on display after its introduction during Apple Inc.’s iPhone media event in San Francisco, California September 12, 2012. REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach

RELATED CONTENT

The good news for plenty of current iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users pondering buying the new iPhone 5 is that they’ll get many of the 200 new features in Apple’s (AAPL) free update for mobile software, iOS 6, available on Wednesday.

I’ve compiled a handful of the most significant features you’ll get with the iOS software update, which I tested on the iPhone 5 and the newest iPad. Some older devices won’t be able to use all of these features and one feature will work only on the iPhone 5: taking a still photo while recording a video. Here are some highlights of the new features. There are many more features too numerous to mention.

[More from WSJ.com: The iPhone Takes to the Big Screen]

Do Not Disturb

Finally, the iPhone can let its owners sleep at night—with options. Until now, the iPhone’s silencing switch turned off all sounds with no alternatives. This meant that people who wanted to turn off alert sounds for Facebook (FB) notifications and incoming emails while they slept had to give up receiving phone calls in the middle of the night from, say, a relative having an emergency.

The Do Not Disturb feature (turned on in Settings and adjusted in Settings, Notifications) turns off all sounds but can make exceptions. If you want to be notified whenever one of your favorite contacts calls you, the phone will ring. Another optional feature of Do Not Disturb lets calls ring through if a person calls twice in a row within three minutes. Do Not Disturb can be set to work on a daily schedule, like from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., so you don’t have to remember to turn it on. People who are trying to maintain separate work and personal lives may even set this to work after they leave the office, only allowing calls from certain groups (like family and close friends) to ring between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m.

If your phone’s silent switch is on, the phone won’t make noise no matter how Do Not Disturb is set.

Panorama

In iOS 6, Apple (as it often does) took a feature that’s already available in many smartphones and made it a lot simpler to use: capturing panoramic photos. In Camera, select Options at the top center of the screen and choose Panorama. A small on-screen diagram will appear to guide you as you click the shutter button once and pan the phone from left to right, following an on-screen arrow along a center line. Panorama works on the iPhone 4S and 5, as well as the newest iPod touch.

[More from WSJ.com: Green Shoots Sprout In Las Vegas Desert]

Better Sharing

IOS 6 has improved sharing in two significant ways: It’s now integrated with Facebook and enables sharing directly from the places where people think about sharing. You can share to Facebook using various tools such as the Notification Center screen (pull this down from the top of the screen and select Tap to Post in Facebook); using Siri (tap and hold the Home button before saying, “Post to Facebook”); or by clicking a share button (a square with an arrow) on nearly any screen—including photos.

Until now, iOS forced people to open Facebook, select Photo in the app and then choose an image to share. Now, people can tap the share button while looking at a specific photo and send that photo out to Facebook.

Likewise, you can now add photos or videos to emails as you’re composing them—not by starting with photos. This is something people naturally do on their desktops as they add photos or videos to emails. Do this by tapping anywhere on the screen in the body of the email to see the Select, Select All, Paste options appear. Then tap on the right arrow and select Insert Photo or Video.

App Store

While Apple’s App Store now holds 700,000 apps, the revamped App Store app for iOS doesn’t look overcrowded thanks to a more organized layout. Search results appear in card format, one per screen. By swiping one app to the left, another appears. Developer information, reviews from other users and screen shots of the app appear in a helpful, methodical format. While the old App Store forced people to scroll down a lot, this App Store makes better use of the horizontal plane. It does a better job of displaying Genius, a feature that suggests apps you might like according to those you’ve purchased.

Maps

Apple is now shipping its own Maps app, replacing Google’s (GOOG) Maps app on devices receiving the update. This app takes some getting used to, and its maps appear a bit more zoomed in, overall.

[More from WSJ.com: The Return of Facebook’s Winklevoss Twins]

But its turn-by-turn directions (available on the iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPad 2 or later) will be a big help for people who want a hands-free option for driving: Just plug in your destination address, pick a route and tap start to hear navigation instructions announced out loud as you drive. The text of the directions still appears on the device’s lock screen, in case you put it down and it locks and you need to quickly glance at the next step.

Siri

Apple’s voice assistant, Siri, has been updated to do more and now works on the latest-model iPad and iPod touch as well as the iPhone 4S and 5. Siri can now open apps and do more with them; I composed a Facebook message and never touched any keys. But it still has its inaccuracies: In a quiet office, I said, “Launch Google Plus,” which Siri interpreted as “Lunch Google Plus,” and then said, “I found 15 lunch restaurants, 11 are fairly close to you.” This is a failed experience that happens all too often.

Freedom from Wi-Fi

Now, the FaceTime video chats you make on iOS can be conducted over cellular, not just WiFi. This works on the iPhone 4S and 5, as well as the newest iPad, so long as it has cellular data capability.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 20, 2012 in News in Yahoo

 

Shakira reveals she’s pregnant with first child

Shakira and Gerard. (Steve Granitz/WireImage)Her hips don’t lie, and now, neither does Shakira. The Colombian pop star — who is set to temporarily replace Christina Aguilera on “The Voice” next season — finally confirmed the rumor that she and her soccer star beau, Gerard Pique, are expecting a baby. “As some of you may know, Gerard and I are very happy awaiting the arrival of our first baby!” the 35-year-old wrote on her website on Wednesday. “At this time we have decided to give priority to this unique moment in our lives and postpone all the promotional activities planned over the next few days,” including her performance at the iHeartRadio festival in Las Vegas this weekend. But, she adds, “I’m sure this weekend in Las Vegas will be spectacular and I will be closely following everything that happens there! … Big kiss!”

According to Colombian magazine Gente, Shakira and the Spanish-born Pique, 25, are expecting a baby boy, who is set to arrive in January. The report from last month adds that the couple has already nicknamed him Ulicito. Shakira’s pregnancy was first reported in July when she was spotted visiting an obstetrician in Miami.

[Related: Usher, Shakira to Replace Cee-Lo Green, Christina Aguilera on The Voice Season 4]

Shakira and Pique, who plays center back for FC Barcelona, have been dating since at least March 2011, just two months after she announced her split from her boyfriend of 11 years, Antonio de la Rua, the son of a former president of Argentina. Earlier that year, it had been rumored that she was already seeing Pique, although she denied it.

The two first met in the spring of 2010, about the same time he appeared in the music video for her World Cup anthem, “Waka Waka,” and the same year Spain took the title. Since then, Shakira has been spotted cheering on her man at FC Barcelona games all over the world, including a match in Dallas last year.

[Related: Melissa Joan Hart welcomes her third son — and tells us she’ll likely go for her fourth!]

But not all is so rosy for Shakira. Her ex, de la Rua, is suing her for $250 million because he claims he gave up his career as a publicist to solely focus on brokering deals for her, including one for $100 million with Live Nation.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 20, 2012 in News Star in the word