Thursday, April 28, 2011

Corn that doesn't need so much nitrogen could cut America's $8-billion-a-year fertilizer bill, send less pollution into the water and less carbon into the air.

Major research is being done in Iowa and California to produce corn that can live and thrive without nitrogen fertilizer. In July of 2007 both research facilities produced such corn. Even with that, they are 5 to 10 years away from productivity. The U.S.’s corn crop is worth more than $66 billion. Rice and wheat growers around the world have reached a plateau. Corn is the only crop that continues to rise in production. We have been paying an incredible price. Not only the high cost of using nitrogen fertilizer, but the damage caused through rainwater runoff. More than half of the fertilizer is wasted by runoff. It finds its way into aquifers, flows into creeks, streams and rivers. The runoff that has reached the Mississippi travels to the Gulf of Mexico, where deadly algae blooms that deprives fish and plants of oxygen. The EPA has stated that the Gulf has the 2nd largest ocean dead zone. Scientists are still debating which has caused the most environmental damage- the BP oil spill last year or the ongoing nitrogen pollution from U.S. agriculture?

This has the potential to change not just one industry- Ag, but many-- seafood & maritime, tourism, etc. Every year the cost of environmental damage increases. This is a very hard value to put into an exact percentage or amount but we all know that it has to be one that the world focuses on

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Cities build airport cities — 'aerotropolises' — for growth

A way to compete in a globally connected economy—
For decades, Ford produced Taurus sedans at a plant next to the busiest airport in the world, Atlanta's Hartsfield. But the 130-acre lot has sat vacant since 2008 when the plant was shut down.

A local commercial real-estate developer bought the land and now envisions something completely different: a mixed-use project, with office parks for firms that need quick access to the airport.

Development projects next door to airports are sparking economic excitement throughout the U.S., as financially struggling cities look to attract export-oriented and high-tech businesses amid an uncertain economic recovery.
Atlanta is just one of several cities latching onto the trend of trying to build all the aspects of a city around an airport — an "aerotropolis" as it's called by planners. The push is for aviation authorities to partner with private companies to cohesively and systematically develop bountiful land near the airport to attract office space, warehouses, logistics centers, retail stores, recreational facilities and apartments.
By attracting businesses that need frequent and easy access to airports — delivery-fulfillment centers, exporters, Web commerce companies, biomedical manufacturers and other time-sensitive enterprises — other clusters of businesses that cater to existing companies will be formed. Projects, such as entertainment and residential complexes, will soon follow, forming a city whose core and economic engine is the airport.

Airports and airlines need to be treated as key infrastructure to compete in a global economy," says John Kasarda, a University of North Carolina professor who is largely credited with coining the term "aerotropolis".

DFW has done this to an extent and wants to push it farther.

“•Dallas/Fort Worth. Airport officials see a new aerotropolis around three new rail stations that will connect the airport to Dallas and Fort Worth when they open in the next three years. Owning a land mass larger than Manhattan, the airport has zoned about 6,000 acres for industrial parks, retail and restaurants, hotels and an entertainment venue that will be developed gradually in the next 20 years, says John Terrell, the airport's vice president of commercial development. About 1,000 acres already have been developed, consisting of a hotel, golf course, cargo and commerce park. Aviall, an aircraft parts distributor, has moved in, as have the Dallas Cowboys' merchandising headquarters and aircraft engine maker Pratt & Whitney.
With American and Southwest airlines headquartered in the region, aviation has always been a key economic driver in Dallas and Fort Worth, and the region has had some previous success in aerotropolis development. Nearby suburbs, such as Southlake and Grapevine, hosting Great Wolf Lodge and the Gaylord Texan have flourished. Las Colinas, a planned, upscale area nearby, has owed much of its development to the airport.”-- Usa Today Newspaper

Countries around the world have been aggressive in converting the aerotropolis idea into reality--Dubai, Hong Kong, Seoul and Shanghai. Even in an economic downturn they are a success.

These projects may take many years to fully complete, but the potential they have to sustain jobs and economic stability in an area is very high.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Another possible iOS device?

So the breakdown here is that this picture was taken from the App store of Apple. This hints at a new iOS device, but possibly could be just a coding error. This happened two months ahead of time of Apple's conference where "they will the company has said it is showing off "the future of iOS and Mac OS X". " As far as I can tell it is a possibility. Another new device or revealing of product specific apps will cause a great stir in the market place. If there are new apps for such as Apple TV, this just means that other companies will have competition. I'm really hoping for another iOS device or new product. Apple seems to do a good job of making people want to put money back into the circular flow of the economy. Hopefully the company will grow large enough to hire an insane amount of people to create more jobs. As of right now they are feeling backlash because of Japan and their lack of exports so jobs creating part will definitely be a big one.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Wells Fargo plans to embed credit cards with an EMV microchip for about 15,000 of its customers that travel abroad. America is one of the last developed nations that rely on magnetic stripes for credit card transactions. “Almost 10 million U.S. consumers experienced credit-card acceptance problems abroad in 2008, costing about $4 billion in lost transactions for merchants and $447 million in revenue for card issuers, according to a 2009 study by Aite Group. A common problem facing U.S. consumers is that some merchants abroad are unfamiliar with magnetic-stripe cards and may refuse to accept them.” JP Morgan plans to race against Wells Fargo to bring EMV to its wealthiest consumers by June. Although they are focusing on their highest spenders they will follow with standard card holders shortly after .It seems that credit card companies have a race to see who can micro chip us first. In Canada all ATM’s must be compatible with EVM technology by the end of 2012. It seems we are far behind the times. I’m curious as to why it has taken this long if Europe has been using EMV for years?? With so many credit card companies needing help it seems this investment would have come long before now.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Southwest Airlines decision to cancel about 300 flights and then ultimately grounding 79 planes (about 1/7 of its fleet) will inconvenience passengers and will cost the airline several million dollars. The damage to Southwest's earnings will be reduced if stranded passengers rebook on other Southwest flights. But other airlines such as United offered standby seating for the stranded passengers.

The grounded planes are 137-seat Boeing 737-300s. Using the airline's most recent available figures for average occupancy, it's possible to estimate that more than 31,000 paying passengers were stranded Saturday. Southwest says on its website, updated this week, that its average one-way fare is $130.27, which would produce a $4.1 million loss in revenue. Southwest might provide an estimate on the cost of grounding this month, when it releases its first-quarter earnings report.

The airfare isn’t the only loss that Southwest will have, the added expense of accessing the true damage of each aircraft and then making the FAA and NTSB mandated repairs to get their fleet back in the air must be considered. (JetBlue stated that it lost $30 million due to late-December storms that caused it to cancel 1,400 flights.)

Taking it a step further there are 931, 737-300 such models in service worldwide, 288 of which are in the U.S. fleet. Boeing said its service bulletin will also require checks on larger 737 models too. So this will stretch much farther than Southwest.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

iPad Tramples over Competition, for now.

Okay so here's the breakdown, with Apple's groundbreaking tablet, competitors are left in the dust as retailers such as Motorola are all falling into the same category of just "tablets." The picture above clearly states this. The competitor that was quickly fading is the Xoom tablet from Motorola. They sold 100,000 units compared to Apple's 500,000 in the first weekend. Now why you ask did I put the "for now" portion into the title. Here's why, the only good outcome to getting a Xoom as of right now is due to the fact that it will be using the Android 3.0 software compared to getting the iPad and their iOS. As far as I can tell this is Mac vs. PC all over again. It will be all about operating systems and supporting apps. For now Apple will lead the market in sales but as one can tell during the smart phones war, Android is catching up in sales.
Overall what I'm trying to get at here is that Apple will have some healthy competition. This in turn will end up being a competition of "who can make people spend more money." Apple usually does do a good job at that, but Android owned by Google can do the same. If people do end up spending money its because of this competition. Consumers will put more money into the economy and the circle continues to flow.
This story can be found on CNET.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Mobile Phones are Vulnerable

Recently Epsilon got hacked causing a ton of fake emails to be sent out to people all over the place. The problem is that people are giving away personal information because they have been fooled into doing so by emails that say something like "Your account has been compromised please enter your password to verify your account." This is a technique called phishing and can cause all sorts of problems for anyone who falls victim.

The most immediate threat is the possibility for people's identities to be stolen on a massive scale and have them all end up accumulating a lot of false charges. This means that there would have to be an investigation into each account that was tampered with and the person whose account it is would have no access to it for roughly a week. This would hurt the economy because people would all of a sudden have to be extremely careful with their money, especially if they have all of their money in one account. The other problem is going to be for any company that deals with online security because people will start to have their doubts about even the most secure companies after such a large breach. This corporations could end up using smaller security companies less, causing them to go bankrupt. This wouldn't be any good because it would mean that there was less competition. With less competition in the online security section of the market then prices could rise. This could end up causing a rise in prices on everything that the company sells because they would have to pay for a more expensive security system and that would be bad for the consumer. Overall this is just a bad situation that will probably have a large amount of consequences.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Business Booming in Silicon Valley

When Marty Hu graduates from Stanford University's computer science program in June, he'll enter the hottest Silicon Valley job market for software engineers since the crash a decade ago.

In fact, times are so good that Hu, 21, turned down interview requests from several blue-chip companies, including Google and Microsoft.

"At this point, I've sort of taken it [the interest from tech firms] for granted," Hu said.

Instead of joining an established company, Hu, who still gets weekly invitations for interviews from would-be employers, has opted to launch his own company.

According to an article on Silicon Valley is experiencing job growth at an alarming rate. With the national unemployment at 8.8%, Silicon Valley is adding jobs to many of its major company's. These company's include Google and social networking giant Facebook. The software programming sector is where the most growth can be seen as many of the nations brightest new programmers are being hired right out of college. So why is software programing getting so big? Is it because of the most recent expansions of company's like Facebook into the mobile market? I think that coupled with the fact that the gaming market is still one of the strongest in the country are the reasons. So will this trend continue or will we see it begin to decline gradually?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Tech Companies Undergo Rapid Expansion

Recently two major names in the tech industry have made massive acquisitions, both GameStop and Texas Instruments bought out competitors. TI purchased National Semiconductor for $6.5 billion in an all cash transaction. This purchase was made to increase the output of the analog products that TI produces, these sales are expected to be 50% of their overall income over the next year. This is because TI will now sell over 12,000 analog products ranging from calculators to microchips in cellphones. With this buyout TI will further cement its place as the leader in its current market.

 In the news for GameStop, is the acquisition of Spawn Labs and Impulse. Spawn labs, a streaming technology company, and Impulse, a digital distribution company/program (an alternative to Steam). These major additions to GameStop now mean that not only will GameStop be selling and shipping games, they will be hosting just as many digital downloads and even producing some games. This will drastically increase GameStop's total income for the rest of the companies existence. With the dawn of the digital age this is a great move, by putting the company not only in one market, but three simply overnight.

Over the weekend hackers gained access to email address information that a Dallas Based company called Epsilon had access to. They provide an email service for such companies as: Chase, Citi, Best Buy, Walgreens, Kroger and many others.

The email addresses will most likely be used to try and solicit personal information from the receiver. Information like login passwords so that the sender can gain access to the real account.

The economic ramifications from this could be tremendous. First the cost of internal investigations within each company, the investigations that will be done by law enforcement, then if people really give out their information and people gain access to bank accounts and social security numbers, the identity theft percentage will skyrocket.

According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the estimated losses for domestic companies affected by cyber crime is $67.2 billion annually. The targeted firms also suffer in the stock market days after an attack with shareholder losses of 1 percent to 5 percent. Percentages like these might seem small, but for the average company on the New York Stock Exchange, it can translate to $50 to $200 million in shareholder losses. This is where company losses begin to affect the consumer, causing a bleed-through effect to all levels of the economy.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

IBM Nanoparticle used for Medicine

According to CNET, technology has made advances to the point where nanotechnology or rather nanoparticles can be used to destroy bacterias that end up killing thousands of people each year. But the final product is not ready for real widespread application as of right now, but the ability to do so is definitely a possibility.
IBM is leading these kinds of studies on technology and the human body. There is a "superbug" called MRSA, a super infectious bacteria, that kills thousands each year. Modern medicine has had a hard time combating this bacteria. According to them their biodegradable nanoparticle can search out and destroy alien cells such as MRSA bacteria. For sure this will create more jobs for people if nanotechnology can truly take off like this. There is probably many ways to use nanotechnology through medicine. I'm not truly sure how nanotechnology is produced but I'm sure there is production and programming involved. Which will in turn create more jobs for people. That's one of the big things we need right now to help get this recovery going which is more jobs.