Posted on 31 October 2013
After admitting to smoking crack, Toronto mayor Rob Ford has steadfastly resolved to remain in office, and even wants to run for a second term next year. The crack allegations against Ford have been gathering in force over the last six months, eventually leading to his emotional admission at a press conference. While admitting to […] Continue Reading...
Posted on 22 September 2013
Over the last 15-years, Canadian mining company Gabriel Resources has received another setback in its endeavour to develop Europe’s biggest goldmine. The project was set to generate billions of dollars in revenue for the company, in exchange for a $1 billion construction fee. The construction plan was set to take place in Romania, where the […] Continue Reading...
As more and more people are going through with cosmetic surgery in the United States, many more plastic surgery practices are opening. Now, at the end of 2013 and moving into 2014, can we say that the market for plastic surgery is increasing over has become over saturated? For many young and aspiring surgeons, plastic surgery seems like a fun practice to learn and get into with a lot less stress than brain surgery for example. But if the market for plastic surgery is getting saturated, would these young surgeons be spending years and paying thousands for a space that the supply of surgeons is too high?
We asked Hall Plastic Surgery, a plastic surgery Austin practice, if the need for plastic surgeons is still thriving. They said that while it has increased over the years, it is beginning to plateau. At least for Austin, doctors at Hall Plastic Surgery say that the competition between the few main practices downtown is getting fierce with less customer coming through the doors. While this does seem like a scary realization for young surgeons, is it true for other parts of the country as well?
According to Dr. Leslie Stevens, a plastic surgery Beverly Hills surgeon, the need for plastic surgeons is increasing rapidly. “As a surgeon, it is not easy to scale my practice, because I can only handle so many patients. Often times, I have to turn down patients because my schedule is too full. This leads me to believe that more and more people want to get cosmetic surgery and I would recommend that more surgeons look at this field as their choice for their practice.” According to Dr. Stevens, plastic surgery is thriving in Beverly Hills. this makes it clear that the location of your practice can make or break the bank. Before you decide to open up your practice in your hometown, research the demographics to get an idea if your city can support another plastic surgeon.
Another tip for aspiring plastic surgeons is to visit at least three local plastic surgeon offices and try to take out the head surgeon for lunch. It would be a great time to interview the surgeon and ask him or her their thoughts about opening a practice. Some good questions to ask these established surgeons is if they had to do it all over again, would they choose the city they are located in today? If not, what city would they choose and why? Do they regret going into plastic surgery in the first place? If so, why and what else would they choose? What have been the best methods to get new patients? Is it worth it to hire a sales team? How much do they spend on marketing their plastic surgery services?
Taking out a surgeon for lunch is one of the best ways to get more information about the area and their demographic. You should definitely do research online and see if you can find statistics about which city spends the most money on cosmetic surgery and forecast their growth in the next 5, 10, or 15 years. What other tips do you have to see if an industry is over saturated?
The name on everyone’s lips following the European Music Awards was, of course, Miley Cyrus. Not content with gyrating against Beetlejuice/Robin Thicke at the VMAs in the states, the teen superstar turned pseudo-controversial singer decided to light up on stage.
Miley’s performance of “We Can’t Stop” entailed gyrating with a little person, as opposed to Robin Thicke. Donned head-to-toe in rubber, said woman joined Miley during the performance of her hit single, which in itself hints at drug use. The pair oscillated between spanking each other and twerking—a bizarre performance by anybody’s standards.
Following her performance, Miley was announced as the winner of “Best Music Video”. As her name was called out Cyrus walked on stage sporting towering heels, a crotch skimming leotard, faux-fur jacket, and Chanel handbag. After briefly attempting to fit her award in her bag, she then pulled out a suspicious looking cigarette and lit up.
Miley Cyrus’ Joint Antics: Controversial or Not?
Undoubtedly Miley wanted to spark controversy by smoking marijuana on stage. Unfortunately, the 20-year-old singer as so far only managed to attract a series of eye rolls. By all means, she may revel in the fact that her antics were edited out of the U.S. airing of the EMAs. After all, that is virtually the accolade of rock stars.
Her antics were, however, mild enough to spread across Twitter like wildfire. Soon enough, publications everywhere began to analyse her behavior. Unfortunately for the attention seeking Miley, this hasn’t quite gone to plan. From trashy celebrity columns to the likes of Vanity Fair, all appear to have sniffed out her intentions.
Smoking marijuana in the Netherlands is far from illegal. In fact, the police wouldn’t even arrest Miley for carrying it in small amounts. Even her home country, the U.S., appears to be taking a softer approach to marijuana in some states. If Miley was controversial, the controversy was mild.
Reactions from Other Celebrities
Since Miley’s performance, the tabloids have been going wild for celebrities who appear to directly and indirectly discuss her antics. She is hot property right now, which means everyone wants to get in on the Cyrus discussion.
The ever-humble Cliff Richard has expressed concern that Miley may be “damaged” by her behavior at a later date. He claims that the industry does not provide enough support for young singers, leading them down a dangerous path.
Some tabloids have over analyzed the words of Jennifer Lawrence, claiming the revulsion she has expressed at how “Young sex sells”. Although Lawrence did not name Miley explicitly, there is speculation that the young singer’s antics fuelled her fire.
The Mastermind Behind Miley
The same man who stripped away Britney Spears’ sweet girl image is also orchestrating the Miley show. Larry Rudolph has also received his fair share of attention in recent weeks, primarily because he is the one accused of stripping her bare.
While Rudolph claims that Miley is ditching the Disney image “Organically,” her antics appear to grow increasingly desperate. Reassuringly, this seems to be more of a parade than a genuine descent into lewd behavior.
Still, let’s remember the class of the CMA awards with Carrie Underwood rather than the antics of Miley.
After Facebook’s disastrous IPO which has only just seen a recovery, Twitter’s bosses were naturally cagey over their opening price. After months of speculation and a $26 opening price underwritten by Goldman Sachs, Twitter’s share prices rocketed.
The journey to Twitter’s share prices almost doubling was long and arduous. After making the announcement to go public around six-months ago, they underwent the same evaluation process that all companies must face. Early last week, Twitter’s share price estimation was announced at $17 to $20. As the eleventh hour approached, this rose to $20 to $23. Finally, on the eve of going public, it was announced at $26.
A Launch Without Incident
When Twitter’s share prices initially rose, fell, and then settled on a 73% increase, the company’s first day of public trading was seen as a day without incidents. In response to this, Goldman Sachs’ Anthony Noto tweeted “Phew,” demonstrating his relief at the success in just five short characters.
On a positive note, Twitter is starting on a high. Facebook found itself under scrutiny for six-months after overestimating the value of its shares. This relief was undoubtedly shared by those who begun building portfolios on Twitter. San Francisco based firm Berwyn Pa. raised approximately $2.1 billion, ending with a market capitalization of $25 billion.
While there is excitement for Goldman Sachs and the likes of Perwyn Pa., there are still questions as to who is really gaining from these transactions, and how long their glee will last.
Twitter’s New Billionaires
After the technology bubble burst in the early 2000s, Twitter’s IPO successes have caused quite a furor. Original shareholders of Twitter welcomed in billions of dollars, but may have missed out when the company was priced too low. This, according to experts writing for Forbes magazine, may rocket them into a billionaire bubble which could soon burst.
One example of similar incident is VA Linux, who hold the record for a 700% increase on their original share value on the first day of trading. This was in 1999, after which Linux saw a significant dip in prices. Today, giants like Microsoft and Apple, demonstrating that the initial excitement surrounding a significant increase in share prices is not a sign to rub hands with glee, overshadow the operating system and computer manufacturer. In short, first day sales are not a sign of long-term success.
Twitter’s employees will also find themselves revelling—at least temporarily—in new found financial gains. Around 86 million stocks were restricted to 2,300 Twitter employees. Based on Thursday’s closing price, each employee now holds stock worth $1.68 million each. However, as the stocks are not divided equally, this will vary between employees. Further to this, they must wait at least 12-months before selling, and even then they can only sell a quarter each. Whether they are financially savvy or not, this is likely to be nerve wracking but is another win for the U.S. economy.
In the weeks, months, and years ahead, Twitter’s initial gains can fluctuate. As they do, original shareholders, new investors, staff, and Goldman Sachs alike will all be waiting anxiously. Hopefully none of the aforementioned will see a repeat of Facebook.
With a four song performance from host Carrie Underwood and a litany of jokes, the 2013 Country Music Awards were certainly spectacular. Country music stars from years gone by and modern crossover genres received an abundance of praise during what was one of the CMA’s most energetic evenings in years.
Praise for Country Stars Old and New
Taylor Swift became the first country singer to win the much-coveted ‘Pinacle Award’ since 2005. This award is only granted to those who have taken country music to a worldwide audience, which Swift has certainly achieved.
Waiting to congratulate Swift in person were George Strait, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Rascal Flatts, and Brad Paisley, all of whom allowed her to support them on tour during her earlier years. Video messages from Justin Timberlake, Julia Roberts, and other stars were played to an emotional swift who delivered a powerful acceptance speech on stage.
Old time country star Kenny Rogers was granted the ‘Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award’ for his on-going contribution to the country music scene. Upon accepting his award, he told fans “It’s been a hell of a month.”
The Surprises of the 2013 CMA
The most talked about award on social media sites was ‘Entertainer of the Year’, which was given to George Strait. In reaction to his accolade, George Strait said “What?”, demonstrating his surprise clearly. As a veteran of the country music scene, George Strait took the award for the third time since 1990, beating Taylor Swift in the process.
The ‘New Artist of the Year Award’ went to Kacey Musgraves, who received a staggering six nominations for the awards. Musgrave is well known for singing “Arrow”, which builds on a continuing trend of replacing moonshine with weed in country songs. Drawing inspiration from the likes of Dolly Parton, she is a rising star in the country scene.
Other Winners of the CMAs
Taylor Swift won a scattering of other awards, for her efforts alongside other artists. This included ‘Musical Event of the Year’ with Tim McGraw and Keith Urban, as well as ‘Music Video of the Year’ with the same two men.
Winning ‘Vocal Duo of the Year’ was Florida Georgia Line. The melodic country duo also grabbed ‘Single of the Year’ for “Cruise”, a hit that has resonated worldwide. Speaking about their award after the show, Hubbard stated he wants to “Just breathe” and take everything in.
The award for ‘Vocal Group of the Year’ went to Little Big Town. Excited by their win, the group stated that it will fire them up for their next album. Equally excited was Lee Brice, who won ‘Song of the Year’ for “I Drive Your Truck”. Brice was pictured after the event lovingly embracing his pregnant wife’s bump, in a photo that shows country love at its cutest.
Blake Shelton managed to grab male vocalist of the year, while Miranda Lambert snagged female vocalist of the year. Miranda’s astounding weight loss sparked excited discussions across social media outlets, with many commentators paying homage to her fresh image.
Finally, ‘Musician of the Year’ went to Mac McAnally, who has deservedly won the award on multiple occasions. This was McAnally’s fifth subsequent year as ‘Musician of the Year’, testifying to his talent and dedication to the country music scene.
With the rest of the evening seeing well-staged jokes about twerking and healthcare reform, the night’s festivities were light-hearted, emotional, and exciting in equal measures.
Despite ongoing scarring from the October government shutdown, the U.S. economy has experienced measurable and significant growth. With employment rates rising and GDP increasing, there are now talks of tapering the Federal Reserve’s $85 bn. a month stimulus package.
Despite worries that growth would dip it actually rose over 2.5%. This increase is much stronger than anticipated, especially when the economic impact of the shutdown is considered.
Tapering of the Federal Reserve’s economic stimulus package was set to begin in September, but was later halted due to growth slowing. However, this new increase has prompted speculation that tapering could begin as early as December.
Others, however, believe that the government may choose to wait as late as March before choosing to taper. This will give financial analysts a chance to measure the growth of the first quarter of 2014 before rushing into any decisions.
When tapering does begin, it is likely that the Federal Reserve will recommend a gradual wind down. There are some concerns that quantitative easing is distorting financial markets worldwide, which means a gradual reduction can prevent shocks and losses.
While there has been an overall positive response to recent growth, others have been keen to highlight the reduction in consumer spending. Earlier in the year, consumer spending grew almost 2%. In contrast, recent data shows slower growth. This was due to a $2.8 billion tax increase at the end of the fiscal cliff, which has taken a chunk out of consumer spending power.
An increase in employment has triggered a fresh outburst of optimism amongst leading economists. Unemployment rates are still above 7% but this is in contrast to the 7.9% increase of the previous year. Still it is a positive change nonetheless. Such an increase has further strengthened the idea that the Federal Reserve can soon begin cutting back on QE.
Certain industries saw strong gains in the job sector. This includes the hospitality sector, which has gained over 50,000 additional employees. The retail sector has employed over 40,000 extra individuals, and a similar amount have entered business and professional services. Overall, construction and manufacturing has managed to contribute another 30,000 jobs.
While extra jobs allow economic experts to cheer, the government still believes that the shutdown in October caused unnecessary damage. This appears to be supported by a reduced job market participation rate, which has reached its lowest point since 1978.
Positive Effects on the Stock Market
A combination of economic growth and increased employment has had a positive effect on the stock market, which saw worrying dips during the government shutdown. The S&P 500 index rose by the end of the week’s closing. This is a clear mark of improvement on a domestic and global level.
Now the country is watching cautiously as the Federal Reserve determines how and when it will approach tapering economic stimulus. With a measured approach, there could be positive outcomes both for the U.S. and the rest of the world. Hopefully this is the case, as the government is still under fire for the disastrous launch of the Obamacare website.
After a nerve-wracking showdown between the Democrats and Republicans in October, Obamacare so far has made it without major legislative alterations. Despite this, the immediate launch has been shaky for the President and his supporters. Reports of voided insurance plans, poor website performance, and a lack of support from state governors have filled the media over the last two weeks.
Poor Access to Healthcare.gov
Resting at the heart of Obamacare is HealthCare.gov, a website designed to act as a gateway for 17-million uninsured individuals. Through this website, it is theoretically possible to access a marketplace of insurance plans made accessible under Obamacare.
Since the website’s launch October 1, glitches have made it difficult—if not impossible—for potential consumers to find the plans they looked forward to accessing. The next few weeks is set to see patches resolved and glitches abandoned, giving uninsured individuals access.
Those working in the insurance industry expect further organizational chaos, even after the website launches in working order. With many of those eligible for coverage not even having a checking account, the administrative challenges faced by those providing insurance are set to continue. Disorganized and late payments, in cash, may make accommodating millions of extra individuals challenging.
In 2009 and 2010, Obama’s primary defense for Obamacare was that it would in no way affect the existing policies of those with insurance. Yet, since its launch, many have logged into their email accounts to find notifications telling them they are no longer insured. For those who only supported the plan under the agreement that their policies would not be affected, this is a betrayal of confidence.
It is estimated that the number of people who hold plans that will be void under the Obamacare legislation is as high as 12 million. This has led the Republican Party to hint that it will propose fresh legislation to iron over such issues. It therefore seems that the debates over Obamacare are set to continue in congress.
Of those who now find themselves without coverage are individuals who may have to pay premiums they were once covered for. For those with chronic or terminal diseases, this can make care inaccessible—this essentially goes against the overall ethos of Obamacare.
As technical glitches and voided plans rock Obamacare at an individual level, further trials have been presented in the form of poor support from governors across the U.S. While some states have signed up to the plan, others have rejected it on the basis that it will erode state sovereignty.
Most notably, but not surprisingly, Governor Rick Perry of Texas has declared that his state needs to find a resolution for the largely uninsured portion of its population itself. According to Perry, a blanket solution from central government is not the way to resolve issues that may be unique at a state level.
While Obamacare is certainly off to a shaky start, it has not been without its successes. On the launch date, October 1st, six-million successfully enrolled. The number of uninsured persons in the U.S. is still forecast to reduce to 25-million in the next decade. Of those who have seen insurance cancellations, many will pay less under Obamacare.
As the hiccups continue to heavily overshadow successes, Obamacare remains a controversial topic on the streets and in the media. The bottom line, however, is that the program is supposed to improve health for adults, children, and newborns.
Apple has broken the mould in recent years by releasing two versions of its famous iPhone at once. Now it looks like the tech brand is set to take this a step further, by joining the likes of Samsung in the curved screen market according to a U.S. patent.
This move seems to have followed Samsung’s announcement that the company will be prototyping curved screens in Korea. Focusing on just the Korean market gives the company a chance to see if there is a market out there, before moving onto the wider market.
The idea behind the curved screens is simple: by using curves that mimic the natural shape of a human’s face, the phones will be easier to hold and interact with. While the media is assuming that Apple will base their phones’ designs on those released by Samsung, there has not been any confirmation yet. They will, however, be producing phones that are 4.5 and 5.5 inches in size, respectively. This makes both of the models larger than anything Apple has used before.
iPhones That Are Easier to Use
While the rest of the world has grown used to standard sized smartphones, it appears there is an ongoing trend for ‘phablets’, a form of phone that straddles the gap between being a phone and a tablet. In Southeast Asia, around 25.2 million of these phones have sold. Apple and its rivals hope to exploit the rest of the world’s market by garnering popularity elsewhere.
Recently, Apple has been hammered for not innovating enough. Bringing out its new curved phones appears to be an attempt to combat this. The phones’ screens will be large enough to accommodate the needs of those who have visual problems. With enhanced text size and clearer images, this can make smartphones more accessible.
One of the better innovations of these phones is the differences in touch sensitivity. Apple intends to vary the way the phone responds to light and heavy touch. Apple has not yet made why it is doing this clear, but this does appear to be an attempt to reduce sensitivity in some areas to prevent users making errors when using social networking sites, sending emails, and performing other similar activities. Limiting the sensitivity in games can also have benefits, by reducing the errors that can sometimes make playing games on a smartphone irritating.
The curvature of the phone is also expected to ensure users increase the distance between the phone and their mouths and ears. This should mean clearer sound transmission on the other end. It can also reduce the risk of inflicting damage on the ear through loud sounds.
Anticipating a Release Date
There is no clear release date for Apple’s new curved phones as of yet. However, the company is developing a screen for its iDevices, in Arizona. While Samsung is teaming up with British firm Peratech, the company has not confirmed whether it has received enquiries from Apple. As such, the world is watching and waiting for the moment when it can use an Apple iPhone with a curved screen.
A recent study carried out by Elise Labonte LeMoyne at the University of Montreal suggests that moms who exercise during pregnancy may be giving their fetuses extra brain power.
Using a Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT), the researchers investigated the brain activity of babies born to mothers who exercised at least three times a week, for 20-minutes in each session. As part of the research, women joined in the first trimester. At this stage, they were assigned to a group. One group included mothers who were sedentary and the other focused on those who exercised.
Of the women who were in the exercise group, several modes of working out were chosen. This included walking, running, and cycling, all of which are activities that pregnant women can safely engage in. This group consisted of 10 women, while the other featured eight who were told to remain sedentary.
The follow-up period began at eight to 12 days after the women had given birth. During this time, the brain activity patterns of the babies were measured. A hairnet of 124 electrodes was applied to each baby’s head, while they were asleep. As they slept, the babies were exposed to a variety of sounds. Those born to mothers who exercised demonstrated more advanced cerebral responses, supporting the idea that exercise can lead to better brain development in-utero.
While being tested, babies appeared to be able to discriminate between certain sounds. Most importantly, those babies exposed to exercise during pregnancy showed increased activity in the temporal region. This is the area of the brain that helps with memorizing and learning, giving rise to the idea that these babies may be more intelligent in future.
Preliminary Findings from Small Research
Across the pond, the media analysis group ‘NHS Choices’ has explained why it is necessary to take these results with a piece of salt. While neither the researchers nor the media are lying as such, journalists appear to have based their reports on a single abstract—this does not reveal everything the world needs to know about the results.
The evidence presented does give a positive case for believing that exercise can enhance infant brain activity, this cannot be interpreted as evidence that there are long-term neurological benefits. Fortunately, however, the world of medicine does know that there are many other benefits.
Women who exercise during pregnancy can boost their circulation. As clotting factors increase during pregnancy, getting your blood pumping is essential. In 2008, a study carried out by a Danish research group found that women who exercise during pregnancy are more likely to have a normal sized baby. This means that the baby would not be too small or too large.
Women who choose to exercise during pregnancy should remember a few simple rules to stay safe. The modes of exercise used in the study are great, as they are safe. Women shouldn’t engage in contact sports and they should not work out to the extent that they are too exhausted to hold a conversation. By taking a balanced approach, they can see the benefits of exercise while keeping themselves safe.
In an emotional speech delivered by UN delegate to the Philippines Yeb Sano, the link between the country’s recent environmental disaster and climate change was made. Typhoon Utor has clashed with a two-week gathering of delegates, who are set to discuss plans for reducing carbon emissions in developed countries from 2015 onwards.
According to Sano, now is not the time to be complacent. Utor and two other deadly typhoons in 2011 and 2012 have brought to light how the severity of tropical storms is increasing, leading to death and devastation. With over 10,000 homeless, upwards of 100,000 displaced, 11 missing and 2 dead from Utor, the count still looks as though it is set to rise. Plus the Philippines are forecast to be at the mercy of 20 typhoons just in 2013.
A Sobering Reality
Yeb Sano is a delegate with personal connections in Tacloban, an area of the Philippines torn apart by the typhoon. Speaking to his fellow delegates, he described how his brother-in-law had spent two days helping the devastated islanders, with no clear end in sight.
In a recent article, Sano has detailed how those who challenge the validity of climate change science need to get off their ‘ivory towers’ and face reality. Using the events in his own country as an example, he claims that the world has become complacent, and that waiting until 2015 is not enough.
Sano has cited science that claims the world’s continuing trends in terms of carbon emissions will only lead to more severe tropical storms. Tragically, many such storms have a profound effect on the developing world. Flash floods occur in the Himalayas, hurricanes devastate the Pacific, and melting polar ice caps cause swelling banks in the Ganges. Such events pose a significant threat to indigenous individuals, who often live in close proximity to water to sustain their livelihoods.
According to Sano, even reducing carbon emissions to 40-50% of 1990 levels will not have the effect needed to prevent future devastation. Considering what has just happened in the Philippines, this presents a worrying case for the world’s future.
The Plan for 2015
Sano’s speech left much of the audience with teary eyes. The discussions this year will set the groundwork for Paris in 2015. In many respects, scientific advances and an increase in knowledge means that the world is in a good position to tackle climate change. However, while experts and world leaders possess the right knowledge, there are challenges to be met.
Slowing down current emissions will be no easy feat, regardless of what consensus is met. Challenges come in the form of opposition to climate change science, which claims that the world’s current trends are part of a natural progression, not manmade impact. Further to this, changes are not just needed at a government level. In order for government recommendations to have an impact, corporations need to buy into the agreements. At an individual level, there are steps people must take to reduce their carbon emissions.
While ongoing tragedies in the Philippines continue to overshadow the meeting, there is hope that the participating countries can reach an agreement.
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