Month: August 2019
Explore further © 2013 Phys.org This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Journal information: Proceedings of the Royal Society B Do bats know voices of friends they hang out with? (w/ video) Citation: Researchers find bats use curled leaves for sound amplification (2013, October 16) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-10-amplification.html Spix’s Disk-winged Bat (Thyroptera tricolor). Credit: antonsrkn/Flickr (Phys.org) —A pair of researchers, one from Universidad de Costa Rica, the other North Dakota State University has found that a type of bat that hides from predators inside a curled leaf plants, gains acoustic advantages from doing so. In their paper published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Gloriana Chaverri and Erin Gillam describe recording experiments they conducted with the types of plants the bats hide in and found that the plant served as both megaphone and ear horn. Prior experiments by researchers studying Spix’s disc-winged bats (Thyroptera tricolor) have found that the tiny creatures oftentimes have difficulty differentiating calls from family members and others in their group. This is important because the bats are social—they form clans that stay together for years. Intrigued, Chaverri and Gillam wondered if the sound problems might be due to the environment in which the bats live when they are not flying—in the curled leaves of Calathea and Heliconia type plants that grow outside their caves (in South America). To find out, they collected several plant specimens and brought them into their lab. There they affixed tiny microphones and speakers that played bat calls in and around the plants to study their acoustic properties. In doing so, they discovered that the curled plants caused several changes to the sound around them.Most impressively, they found that sound emitted outside of the plant becomes condensed as it makes its way inside the funnel shaped leaves—by the time it reaches the bottom the sound on average was increased by ten decibels. This means that those hiding inside the leaves can hear calls from their family members who are much farther away than if they were not in the leaf. The researchers found that the leaves also worked as a megaphone, increasing the volume of sounds emitted from inside the leaves by 1 to 2 decibels (by focusing the sound as it leaves). They also found that because different sound frequencies were impacted in different ways by the shape of the leaves, bat calls heard inside would be nearly impossible for the hiding bats to distinguish between family, friend or stranger. More information: Sound amplification by means of a horn-like roosting structure in Spix’s disc-winged bat, Proc. R. Soc. B. Published 16 October 2013 DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2013.2362AbstractWhile sound is a signal modality widely used by many animals, it is very susceptible to attenuation, hampering effective long-distance communication. A strategy to minimize sound attenuation that has been historically used by humans is to use acoustic horns; to date, no other animal is known to use a similar structure to increase sound intensity. Here, we describe how the use of a roosting structure that resembles an acoustic horn (the tapered tubes that form when new leaves of plants such as Heliconia or Calathea species start to unfurl) increases sound amplification of the incoming and outgoing social calls used by Spix’s disc-winged bat (Thyroptera tricolor) to locate roosts and group members. Our results indicate that incoming calls are significantly amplified as a result of sound waves being increasingly compressed as they move into the narrow end of the leaf. Outgoing calls were faintly amplified, probably as a result of increased sound directionality. Both types of call, however, experienced significant sound distortion, which might explain the patterns of signal recognition previously observed in behavioural experiments. Our study provides the first evidence of the potential role that a roost can play in facilitating acoustic communication in bats.
Scientists believe canines first became domesticated approximately 15,000 years ago due to wolves co-mingling with human populations. Many in the field have suspected that not all of the genetic changes that came about due to the domestication that occurred were positive, but until now, no one had done the work to prove it. In this new effort, the researchers obtained sequenced data from samples of the genomes of 25 semi-feral dogs located within ten different countries along with data from 19 gray wolves and 45 breed dogs which represented dozens of domesticated dog breeds. They then conducted an analyses that revealed genetic variations with the different groups, looking specifically for alleles deemed deleterious, which in the natural world, would have been seen as a mistake—one that likely would not have been carried into future generations. The researchers found that the dogs had approximately 115 more such alleles than wolves, which translated to a 2.6 percent difference. The increase, the researchers suggest was likely due to bottlenecks associated with domestication, and then again to the aggressive breeding programs humans have applied to domestic dogs. Bottlenecks lead to less diversity, which can lead to negative value mutations that persist over generations.The result, the researchers claim, are dogs that are less able to reproduce than wolves, and dogs that are more prone to certain ailments, such as asthma, some cancers, eye diseases or arthritis. The researchers note that dogs are not the only animals humans have domesticated and it is likely that the others also have the same sorts of harmful genetic changes. They note also that virtually all modern crops are domesticated plants, which likely also suffer from the same sorts of harmful genetic changes. The researchers suggest that increasing diversity in populations would allow the negative traits to disappear on their own, whereas maintaining programs such as selective breeding of dogs belonging to small populations will likely to lead to even more problems for the animals in the future. Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Credit: Noël Zia Lee, Wikimedia Commons Citation: Study shows domestication of dogs led to an increase in harmful genetic changes (2015, December 22) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-12-domestication-dogs-genetic.html New twist in tale of dogs’ origins More information: Bottlenecks and selective sweeps during domestication have increased deleterious genetic variation in dogs, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1512501113 Explore further (Phys.org)—A team of researchers from the U.S. and Spain has found that domestication of canines appears to have led to an increase in harmful genetic changes in dogs. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team describes their study that included genome analysis of wolves, wild dogs and domesticated dogs and why they believe notice should be taken of such genetic changes in domesticated animals moving forward. © 2015 Phys.org This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
The police said Pallavi Grover was depressed as she had failed in one of her practical examinations recently.“She was also depressed over her relations with the hostel superintendent and other staff,” police said.Grover, a third year student of B.Sc. Nursing, had returned from her home in Mayapuri in Delhi on Sunday night. “Her body was found around 10 p.m. Sunday…A suicide note has also been found, which is with the police for analysis,” said a senior official at AIIMS, which is a premier hospital of the country. Also Read – Company director arrested for swindling Rs 345 croreAccording to the police, Grover’s friend went to check on her after receiving a call from her mother, who said she was unable to reach her daughter on phone despite repeated attempts.The body has been taken by the police for post mortem examination. AIIMS Director MC Misra said that the entire incident was being analysed.“However, it is not possible to remove the superintendent. Until the hostel warden’s version is known, no action can be initiated,” Misra said. A group of Grover’s friends staged a protest outside the director’s bungalow on Monday morning.
Burdwan: A local court on Thursday sentenced East Burdwan district magistrate to one month’s civil imprisonment for non-payment of revised price to owners of land acquisitioned for a satellite township. Additional District Judge Mohammad Reza directed District Magistrate Anurag Srivastava to personally appear before the court on September 17 when he would be sent to a civil prison. The court had directed the district administration in 2012 to pay Rs 1.35 crore, the revised amount, for 1.73 acres of land to the three people who owned it, but it was not paid, the petitioners’ counsel Rajkumar Gupta said. With interest, the amount now stands at Rs 1.92 crore. Srivastava said he would move the high court after getting a copy of the order. The land was acquisitioned in 2005-06 and at that time, the price paid was Rs 5,886 per decimal, Gupta said. Seeking a price of Rs 35,000 per decimal, the three owners – Abdul Aziz, Abdul Rahim and Abdul Alim – moved court, which ordered the district administration to pay the revised amount. As it was not paid, the three moved court again, he said.
Kolkata: Huge traffic congestion occurred at Ultadanga, following a road blockade against the tyranny of auto drivers of the Ultadanga-Salt Lake route. According to the police, passengers became furious as auto drivers have been demanding excessive fare for any destination within the route.The situation worsened after some auto drivers demanded Rs 50 instead of the usual fare of Rs 10. When some passengers protested and tried to board a bus, the auto drivers allegedly prevented them from doing so. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeAccording to some passengers, auto drivers were using filthy language. “Auto drivers were demanding excessive fare for Viswakarma Puja. But it is unfair to increase fares in such a manner. When we protested and tried to get a bus, auto drivers forced us against doing the same. This tyranny must come to an end,” said a passenger.Police sources informed that there are two kind of autos which run between Ultandanga and Salt Lake. Autos which operate using a queue do not take random passengers while taking a U-turn near the Ultadanga bus terminus. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedThe other autos start taking passengers immediately after taking the U-turn. They often charge more than the normal fare.On Tuesday, some autos demanded up to Rs 200 for several destinations, citing Viswakarma Puja. This sparked the ire of the passengers. Almost after an hour, the road blockade was removed. Three protesters were detained and later released.Directions have been given to lodge an FIR against those who were involved in the incident. At the same time, additional buses are also being plied at Ultadanga.
Kolkata: Senior officials of the Building department of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) will visit the Traders Assembly building on Monday to assess the quantum of damage of the structure.Mayor Firhad Hakim who visited the spot on Sunday morning said the debris will be cleared once the forensic experts collect the samples from the site. The preliminary investigation by the civic officials show that cracks have appeared in different parts of the building. The officials will see whether the adjoining building has also been affected or not. Also Read – 3 injured, flight, train services hit as rains lash BengalThe officials said the maintenance of the building is poor. It has not be painted for several years and the cracks that had already appeared on the structure have not been repaired. The fire has widened the cracks. Also, the structural stability of the building will be tested. It may be recalled that the civic authorities had urged the owners of the buildings that are more than 50-years-old to examine the health of the houses by empanelled structural engineers. But few owners have obeyed the KMC’s request. “Once the heat is controlled, we will examine the structure and then take decision whether the burnt out portions will be pulled down or not,” said a senior civic official. They felt that the health audit of all the private markets that are more than 30-years-old should be conducted and necessary steps should be taken.
Vikram Bachawat of the Aakriti Gallery, Kolkata does things differently. “With The festive season setting in, Aakriti Art Gallery is hosting the 5th edition of the ‘Affordable September Art Mela’ in Kolkata,” says Bachawat. “After completing four successful editions of the fair at the Kolkata gallery, we look forward to offering this special opportunity to our patrons,” he adds. “We at Aakriti Art Gallery constantly strive to make art more accessible to all.” Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThe ‘Affordable Art Mela’ hopes to bring art into the lives of people who harbour a passion and love for it. The gallery will be showcasing the works of over a hundred artists with more than a thousand art works within the range of 1000 to 1, 00,000 INR. According to Bachawat, this is a one-of–a–kind occasion for art enthusiasts to collect original pieces of art at the best prices. He believes the pursuit of owning great works of art should not be limited to a few. The pleasure of living with and savouring great works of art is incomparable to merely looking at them in galleries. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveCould you imagine buying a Jogen Chowdhury drawing for Rs 1 lakh? The fair would also feature paintings, sculptures and art prints by renowned artists as well as fresh talents in the industry. Among the greatest names, the gallery is putting together works by Achuthan Kudallur, Aditya Basak, Akbar Padamsee, Amal Ghosh, Amitabha Banerjee, Amitava Dhar, Amlan Dutta, Anindya Roy, ArvindKolapkar, Ashok Bhowmick, AsitMondal, Babu Xavier and many others. Bachawat has always had a penchant for collecting sculptures and this show too has a delectable collection of works by artists like AsimBasu and Akhil Chandra Das, Atin Basak and Bimal Kundu.The wide collection of works will showcase multiple art techniques like gouache, tempera, acrylic on canvas, charcoal drawings, etching, and drawing on digital prints, bronze, ceramic across various styles and genres. To get a Ram Kumar drawing for Rs 1 lakh is like grasping a bit of art history in one’s hand. The Untitled 1991 ink on paper is a reflection of the sparse lithe sensibility of this fine landscape artist who revels in moods and tones of abstraction. This show is a dead ringer for new collectors of all ages; it is an epic beginning for someone who wants to grab 10 works with a small sum of Rs 10 lakhs. It certainly can’t get better than this. All great collections began small and Vikram Bachawat of Aakriti Gallery echoes this age old premise.
Overeating, over drinking or going completely sleepless creates toxicity for your mind and body, and hence the need to fall back upon a ‘detox diet post Diwali. Staying in balance during the festivities will ensure you don’t end up needing a post Diwali detox, say experts. Start your day with a teaspoon of gulkand (or a teaspoonful of gulkand mixed in milk). Rich in probiotic bacteria, gulkand works at enhancing your gut flora and thereby curb acidity, constipation, bloating and make your belly look flatter and thinner.In the middle of all the preparations, cooking, shopping and socialising, make time to eat. Starving during the day and binging at dinner represents the classical fasting and feasting behaviour. Eating every 2-3 hours will make sure you don’t end up feeling bloated, acidic, dull or tired. In short, you don’t end up needing a post-Diwali detox. SweetsStick to the traditional homemade sweets, laddoos, halwas, barfis etc. Made at home the traditional way, they are nutrient dense and regulate our blood sugars. Result of which is that you don’t crave and reach out for a bar of chocolate loaded with harmful preservatives and commercial sugars.Anything in excess is a bad idea. Distribute the sweets among your domestic help, watchman, driver and other people around you. This will reduce your chances of over indulging in them.Fried FoodSince the homemade namkeens like mathris, wadas, chaklis etc are deep fried in ghee or filtered oils like groundnut, sesame etc., they provide for essential fatty acids which work at lowering the overall GI of the food item. Their blood sugar regulating effect will keep you satiated so that you do not end up binge eating later.Avoid the packaged/processed ones since they are loaded with trans fats and high GI carbs.If drinking till the crack of dawn makes your Diwali night come alive, ensure you sip on it slow. Also ensure that you are not on an empty stomach. Eat a good wholesome meal before leaving home like poha, upma, cheese toast, khakra ghee etc.Do not mix your drinks.Eat deep fried snacks/starters or good fats like cheese along with your drinks as it will help to form a thin lining in the stomach to digest the alcohol easily and prevent you from having a bad hangover the next day.Drink enough water throughout the day and between your drinks.
Researchers have found the strongest evidence yet of a causal relationship between obesity and a wide range of serious conditions, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and neurological, musculoskeletal and respiratory afflictions. The study, published in the journal Lancet Digital Health draws data from the UK Biobank to analyse associations between body mass index (BMI) and a range of disease outcomes in 337,536 people. “In this study we used a genetic approach to seek evidence for true health effects associated with higher body mass index, which assesses our weight against our height and is commonly used to measure obesity,” said Professor Elina Hypponen from the University of South Australia. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfPrevious research has suggested that high BMI is associated with increased risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer, but due to the difficulty of conducting clinical trials related to obesity, it has been hard to prove causation. Hypponen and her team developed a multi-dimensional analysis in which genetic data was subjected to a suite of stringent examinations in order to deliver high confidence of causality. “We compared evidence from five different statistical approaches to establish how strong the evidence for causal effect actually is,” she said. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsive”Fully consistent evidence across all approaches was seen for 14 different diseases, and for 26 different diseases evidence was obtained by at least for four of the five methods used,” Hypponen said. “What increases the confidence that these associations are largely reflective of real effects is the fact that those effects which came across with consistent evidence are also ones for which we have previous clinical evidence,” he said. One key finding from the study was the extent to which it confirms existing concerns over the link between obesity and diabetes, with many of the diseases identified as related to high BMI known to be commonly associated with poorly controlled diabetes.”For example, we saw evidence for effects on peripheral nerve disorders, chronic leg and foot ulcers, and even gangrene and kidney failure, which are all known to be diabetic complications. “This suggests a key aspect to reduce comorbidity risk in obesity is careful monitoring of blood sugar and effective control of diabetes and its complications,” Hypponen said. The study also highlights importance of genetic research to further our understanding of the role genes play in obesity, and the insights it can provide for the future management and treatment of obesity. “There is an urgent need to find new approaches to manage and prevent obesity,” Hypponen said. “We know that obesity has a strong genetic basis, which can make weight management very difficult to some of us and the same strategies for prevention may also not work for all. “Genetic studies are giving us deeper insights into the biological pathways which drive obesity, and hopefully these types of studies will also provide us with new strategies for prevention,” she said.
Enjoying a laugh is thought to be as good as any tonic. Many’s the time a joke has saved someone from a bad day, or worse. Yet the expression “too much of a good thing” applies to laughter as with anything else. The Ancient Greek philosopher Chrysippus is a case in point. A towering figure in the field of Stoicism, he lived from c. 280 – 207 BC. Stoicism came from the teachings of Socrates and Heraclitus.It was described in the Encyclopaedia Britannica as, “one of the loftiest and most sublime philosophies in the record of Western civilization. In urging participation in human affairs, Stoics have always believed that the goal of all inquiry is to provide a mode of conduct characterized by tranquillity of mind and certainty of moral worth.”Roman copy of a Hellenistic bust of Chrysippus.In other words, Chrysippus valued the pure qualities of the mind over base pleasures, believing Man should instead use his brain in tandem with nature. How ironic then that his demise involved alcohol beverages and an innocent donkey.The death took place at the 143rd Olympiad where the drink was flowing and surely even the most stoic thinker was kicking off their sandals and having a good time. Two accounts exist of what transpired, with the first depicting Chrysippus as overcome by strong wine.“Now give the donkey a drink of pure wine to wash down the figs” cried Chrysippus and died in a fit of laughter.The second version is more colorful. Having watched a donkey chomping on figs, an idea occurred to Chrysippus that was far from philosophical. He boisterously suggested giving the creature some wine with its meal. It wasn’t comedy of the highest order but it worked for him. He laughed so much he expired.So a life distinguished by concepts such as propositional logic had ended in a decidedly un-Stoic fashion. Despite this, the death may have made sense to Chrysippus. He was a great believer in fate and the role it played in someone’s destiny.“The Death of Pietro Aretino,” by Anselm Feuerbach. Aretino was an Italian poet who reportedly died from laughter.A quote from De Fato by Cicero, meaning “On Fate,” sums up his thinking: “(But) every proposition is either true or false. Therefore, there is no motion without a cause. And if this is so, then all effects owe their existence to prior causes. And if this is so, all things happen by fate. It follows therefore that whatever happens, happens by fate.”Perhaps the wine and the donkey were there for a reason. Certainly, an unusual philosophical idea but the Ancient Greeks didn’t shy away from difficult questions.The myth of Pandora’s BoxAnother question that would occur to Chrysippus is ‘Can someone die laughing?’ While he died in the midst of mirth, was an underlying condition the real culprit? There are examples throughout history, both ancient and modern, of people keeling over during a fit of laughter.The answer could lie in the death of someone who was watching one of the world’s best-loved comedies. Gizmodo reports, “The most direct death by laughter reported is supposedly audiologist Ole Bentzen who, while watching A Fish Called Wanda, laughed uncontrollably. His heartbeat rose to ‘between 250-500 times per minute’ until he died.”“Gelastic syncope” (or laughter-induced fainting) is a rare but medically recognized condition.John Cleese’s expertly-crafted script aside, the experience put pressure on Ole Bentzen’s heart in the same way a long run or stressful situation might. The list of factors that contribute to heart failure are wide-ranging.An NBC news article from 2011 interviewed Professor of Neurology Dr. Martin Samuels, who provided some insight into possible death by laughter.A partial marble bust of Chrysippus – Roman copy of a Hellenistic original (Louvre Museum). Photo by Sting CC By SA 2.5“Extreme excitement, whether that be sadness or happiness activates the part of the brain that’s responsible for the flight or fight response to threats in the wild… This releases a natural chemical — adrenaline — which in large animals can be toxic to various organs, in particular, the heart.”The article goes on to say, “As a result, extremely strong emotional states — whether positive or negative — can be harmful to the heart, on rare occasions causing an abnormal rhythm which can be lethal.”Read another story from us: Only the Strong Survive: Did Vikings Abandon their Sick Children?So it seems the gift of laughter is actually not such a gift after all. It’s a puzzler that philosophers and comedians will no doubt be thinking about for years to come.Steve Palace is a writer, journalist and comedian from the UK. Sites he contributes to include The Vintage News, Art Knews Magazine and The Hollywood News. His short fiction has been published as part of the Iris Wildthyme range from Obverse Books.
Ole Miss was highly visible on NFL draft night for all the wrong reasons. Offensive Tackle Laremy Tunsil’s viral gas mask bong surfaced from his hacked Twitter account minutes before the start of the draft.Tunsil’s Instagram account was also hacked on draft night. Screenshots of a text message conversation between Tunsil and an Ole Miss assistant coach discussing payments of improper benefits to Tunsil were posted on the account, and later removed.Tunsil admitted in a press conference that he received improper benefits from coaches. Although several of the current NCAA allegations include Tunsil, the university said it is still investigating Tunsil’s draft night revelations. Advertisement One day after Baylor Coach Art Briles was fired in a highly visible college football scandal, it was Ole Miss’ turn. The allegations facing Ole Miss are decidedly less serious, but will likely land the program in hot water with the NCAA.Today, Ole Miss responded to an NCAA Notice of Allegations that players received improper benefits. They have self imposed a scholarship ban (11 scholarships) from 2015 – 2018. The NCAA has the power to levy additional punishments beyond those that the university has imposed.Yesterday in The Herd, Colin alluded to an unnamed SEC program that his sources told him had committed significant NCAA Violations. Today he confirmed that program was Ole Miss.“I said on yesterday’s show. I knew of an SEC school that was cheating like crazy. And what do ya know. Late yesterday afternoon, Ole Miss came out, self imposed scholarship reduction in football. That’s the school I was talking about.”
Advertisement Tom Brady cut his weekly Monday radio hit on WEEI’s Kirk and Callahan short this morning because of comments another station host made about his 5-year-old daughter, Vivian. WEEI host Alex Reimer probably ended his Boston radio career when he said Brady’s daughter was acting like “an annoying little pissant” in a scene from the Facebook documentary Tom vs. Time, while spouting hot takes on WEEI’s Mut at Night on Thursday.Per NESN’s transcript of the brief interview, Brady was not pleased:“Well, I think that — I’ve tried to come on this show for many years and have showed you guys a lot of respect. I’ve always tried to come on and do a good job for you guys, so it’s very disappointing when you hear that, certainly. But my daughter or any child, they certainly don’t deserve that.”Co-host Kirk Minihane apologized to Brady and said he understood the QB’s disappointment. The groveling to get Brady back on the show is going to be epic. Quite a start to the AM on the first day of Super Bowl week. Here was Brady’s response: “I’ll obviously evaluate whether I want to come on this show again, so I really don’t have much to say this morning. So, maybe I’ll speak with you guys some other time.”Here’s the full clip:Brady then ended the interview.Here’s the audio of Reimer’s comments from Mut at Night:
June 4, 2009 Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. 1 min read By Zack SternIn lean times–or anytime–I like to save money in any way possible. Even small amounts add up. With that in mind, if you keep a good, current audit of business hardware, you can save in ongoing taxes and insurance.You might already reap the benefits from this simple tip if you have a tight grip on accounting. But if not, you could be paying extra for hardware you no longer use.For best results, keep a current list of in-use hardware in a spreadsheet, database or accounting program. Instead of making only annual revisions at tax time, you’ll instantly see if major changes can impact your insurance costs. For example, if you get rid of workstations after employees leave, you could immediately reduce coverage and premiums.And at tax season, you won’t have to pay costs for hardware that you no longer have. Both savings might be modest, but you’ll be conserving money you would have needlessly spent.Zack Stern is a freelance writer and editor based in San Francisco. Register Now »
These days, just about anything can be leased — from computers and heavy machinery to complete offices.The kind of business you’re in and the type of equipment you’re considering are major factors in determining whether to lease or buy.If you’re starting a one-person business and need just one computer, for instance, it probably makes more sense to buy. On the other hand, if you’re opening an office that will have several employees, and you require a dozen computers, you may want to look into leasing.According to the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association(ELFA), approximately 80 percent of U.S. companies lease some or all of their equipment, and there are thousands of equipment-leasing firms nationwide catering to that demand.”[Leasing is] an excellent hedge against obsolescence,” explains a spokesperson at the ELFA, “especially if you’re leasing something like computer equipment and want to update it constantly.”Other leasing advantages include: making lower monthly payments than you would have with a loan, getting a fixed financing rate instead of a floating one, benefiting from tax advantages, conserving working capital and avoiding cash-devouring down payments, and gaining immediate access to the most up-to-date business tools.Leasing also has its downside, however: You’ll pay a higher price over the long term. Another drawback is that leasing commits you to retaining a piece of equipment for a certain time period, which can be problematic if your business is in flux.As you put together an equipment leasing package, consider these issues:What equipment do you need and for how long?Do you want to bundle service, supplies, training and the equipment lease itself into one contract?Have you anticipated your company’s future needs so you can acquire adequate equipment?What is the total payment cost?Also ask the following questions about each leasing source you investigate:Who will you be dealing with? Is there a separate company financing the lease? (This may not be desirable.)How long has the company been in business? As a general rule, deal only with financing sources that have been operating at least as many years as the term of your proposed lease.Do you understand the terms and conditions during and at the end of the lease?Is casualty insurance (required to cover damage to the equipment) included?Who pays the personal property tax?What are the options regarding upgrading and trading in equipment before the lease period expired?Who is responsible for repairs?Every lease decision is unique, so it’s important to study the lease agreement carefully. Compare the costs of leasing to the current interest rate, examining the terms to see if they’re favorable. What’s the lease costing you? What are your immediate and long-term savings?Compare those numbers to the cost of purchasing the same piece of equipment, and you’ll quickly see which is the more profitable route.Because startups tend to have little or no credit history, leasing equipment is often difficult or even impossible. However, some companies will consider your person, rather than business, credit history during the approval process.Corrections & Amplifications: An earlier version of this article referred to the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association by its previous name, the Equipment Leasing Association of America. The name had changed in 2006. Register Now » Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global March 3, 2013 3 min read Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box.
2 min read Fans of Samsung’s flapship line of smartphones, the Galaxy S, can rejoice and celebrate. The latest iteration has been revealed.Samsung announced the Galaxy S5 today at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona, Spain. On the surface, the design looks much like the S4. It comes with the same Super AMOLED display, but the S5 measures in at 5.1 inches. Other than that, the back cover features a perforated pattern that Samsung says creates a “modern glam look” that comes in either charcoal black, shimmery white, electric blue or copper gold.It’s on the inside where most of the updates are. First, it runs the “Kitkat” version of Android. OK, but here’s something more interesting: similar to the iPhone, the S5 features a fingerprint sensor which can be used to lock and unlock the device, as well as to access secure payment tools.The S5 also comes with a built-in heart rate monitor which provides real time data before and after exercise by placing a finger on a sensor by the rear-facing camera. It works in conjunction with S Health 3.0, which can track and map workouts and suggest healthier meals.Related: PHOTOS: This Is Supposedly the iPhone 6Additionally, the S5 comes with a 16-MP rear-facing camera as well as a 2-MP front facing camera. It comes with advanced auto focus speeds for capturing a shots quickly, a “selective focus mode” for bluring images near or far in the frame for a more creative look, and a High Dynamic Range preview mode which Samsung says makes it easier to take high definition images and videos, like of a beautiful sunset for instance. The S5 comes with a 2.5-GHz quad core processor with 2-GB of RAM. You’ll have the option of 16-GB or 32-GB of internal storage. Pricing for the S5 hasn’t been released yet. The phone is expected to be available starting in April. Over the weekend, Samsung released details of its second generation Gear smartwatch — the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo. Instead of running Android, the devices will operate on Tizen, an open source, Linux-based operating system.Related: Samsung Unveils Next Generation Gear Smartwatches Ahead of Mobile Conference Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now Enroll Now for Free This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. February 24, 2014
Virtual reality goggles, drones and data centers are all driving a hiring spree at Facebook Inc that is set to swell its ranks as much as 14 percent in the near term, according to a review of job listings on the company’s website.The Internet social networking company aims to add nearly 1,200 new employees, the outgrowth of aggressive investments that executives have said will define the coming year.Oculus Rift, the maker of virtual reality headsets that Facebook acquired in a $2 billion deal last year, is among the key areas slated for growth, with 54 jobs listed on its website, according to a review by Reuters of listings.Among the roles that Facebook needs to fill for the Oculus business are managers to oversee logistics, procurement and global supply chain planning – a sign, some analysts say, that the product is nearing its commercial release.The market for virtual reality headsets is still nascent. But if virtual reality takes off for entertainment, gaming, communications or computing, Facebook could be at the center of the new platform with Oculus.Facebook’s ambitious effort to build its own satellites and drones capable of delivering Internet service to remote regions of the world is another important area for hiring: the program has Facebook searching for specialists in areas such as avionics, radio frequency communications and thermal engineering.“We are an ambitious company run by an ambitious CEO,” Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg told Reuters in an interview. “Our users are growing and our business is growing and we want to support that,” she said, noting that Facebook’s business is much more expansive today than a few years ago, with offices throughout the world.The jobs run a gamut from sales people to software engineers for Facebook’s 1.35-billion-member social network.Facebook’s growth spurt comes as the company expands into new markets and faces stiffening competition from Web rivals Google Inc, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and well-capitalized start-ups such as Snapchat.“There’s a fairly direct correlation between their investment in people and servers and infrastructure, and their ability to remain competitive,” said Robert Baird & Co analyst Colin Sebastian.Facebook had 8,348 full-time employees at the end of September, far fewer than Google’s roughly 55,000 employees or Microsoft Corp’s roughly 127,000 (Microsoft announced in the summer that it plans to cut 18,000 jobs).At the same time, Facebook gets more out of each employee, according to calculations using company revenue figures. Facebook’s revenue works out to roughly $384,000 per employee in the third quarter of 2014, versus $300,000 for Google and $183,000 for Microsoft.That efficiency has helped Facebook enjoy rich profit margins. And the company’s relatively small headcount provides an important talking point in the battle to attract the most talented computer programmers.Facebook has long touted to potential recruits their ability to work directly on products used by hundreds of millions of people, a marked contrast to some larger tech companies.”We’re growing as fast as we can, where the ‘can’ part is really a factor of how many people we can absorb while maintaining a strong culture,” Paul Carduner, an engineering manager who runs Facebook’s Seattle office, told Reuters at one of the company’s famed ‘Hackathon’ events last week.The hackathons feature Facebook programmers hunched over their computers and working through the night on personal projects that could eventually become Facebook products.Facebook is growing exponentially in Seattle, a tech hub with a rich, and relatively cheap, talent pool created by local tech companies Microsoft and Amazon.com Inc. Facebook currently has more than 400 employees in Seattle, and is looking for a larger site close to the center of the city that could hold as many as 2,000 people, according to a person familiar with the matter.At Facebook’s Menlo Park, California, headquarters, construction is expected to be completed this year on a new, roughly 500,000 square foot building designed by architect Frank Gehry that can accommodate 3,000 employees.Atlas, the online advertising technology that Facebook acquired in 2013, is another big area of hiring, with more than 20 open positions listed.The many opportunities Facebook is chasing could lift the company’s annual revenue to $30 billion within a few years, estimates Arvind Bhatia, an analyst with Sterne, Agee & Leach.“To get to that level, they’re going to have to get people now,” Bhatia said.(Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic in San Francisco and Bill Riby in Seattle; Editing by Peter Henderson and Ken Wills) Register Now » 4 min read Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals This story originally appeared on Reuters January 19, 2015 Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right.
Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. 4 min read April 7, 2015 Register Now » As people we are always on the lookout for a car that’s more fuel efficient, roads that are more durable, services that are more user friendly. ‘More’. That’s the theme of our lives in the new millennium.The quest to make everything ‘faster’, ‘larger’ or ‘stronger’ means that the focus is squarely on improving efficiencies and make the most of every bit of the resources available to us. A quick way to improve efficiencies and up our productivity is by employing the right tools at the right time.Here’s my pick of three interesting productivity tools that promise to offer your business that boost it truly deserves.NutcacheThey say “Time is money.” If time is as important as money, isn’t it time we spent some money on managing both better? Nutcache is a nifty little tool that helps you stay on top of all your invoicing and expense-related needs, simultaneously.With Nutcache, you can design, create and send out invoices to clients for no charge, at all. It also allows you to accept payments from customers online via a plethora of payment options. You can track all your expenses –like taking a client out for dinner or cab fare to your last meeting — in one place. Attach invoices or receipts as bills that can be claimed later from the client. But that was all about money. How about time?Nutcache’s time tracking feature helps businesses that get paid by the hour. Employees, or even individual freelancers, can log in the exact number of hours they devote to each project via Nutcache’s mobile app. Not only is this extremely useful from a human resources point of view, it also helps in offering clients proof of work done as a support for invoices in their name. Nutcache has a very able free version, while the pro-version offers a bunch of extras over and above these. Pro benefits include completely custom invoices without Nutcache branding on them, zero payment processing fees on transactions, no advertising and the like.Related: 10 Affordable Tools to Help Online Entrepreneurs SucceedDueAs an entrepreneur, you are most likely doing many things at once, which often can make it difficult to know if you are really being as productive and profitable as possible. That’s why it helps to have a tool that can track all your projects and deliver a report of where you might be able to improve how you spend every hour of your work day.WIth Due, you can not only track your time with their handy app, but you can also incorporate those findings directly into their customizable invoice templates and quotes for a more accurate record that benefits you and your clients. That means you can estimate projects more accurately while clients are assured that the invoices how much time you actually spent on their account.Due offers this time tracking tool with its free online invoicing and a low-cost payments platform, providing additional value for the small business owner. Related: 6 Things They Don’t Tell You When You Leave the Big Corporate World for Your Own BusinessAcuity SchedulingHow frustrating is it, after all the work you put into creating a great service and finding a willing client who wants your services, to have all those efforts come to naught thanks to holes in your calendar and appointment schedule?Enter Acuity Scheduling. With Acuity’s multi-platform scheduling system, you will never again miss an appointment with a client or forget to send out an invoice or collect payments for invoices already sent out. Acuity works well with your existing calendar tool – Outlook, Google, whatever your choice. Clients can directly see your live calendar, spot an opening and chalk themselves in instantly. When there is a new appointment created or a cancelation has been made, the tool automatically makes the relevant changes across all your calendars so there is no chance of a missed opportunity for your business.What’s more, you can even send out reminders automatically to clients about upcoming appointments via SMS or email, while you will yourself receive a reminder yourself about the same. You even have the ability to process payments via this app, right at the time of booking an appointment.The measure of a productive business is how much time it spends on activities that add direct value to the business. These are three tools that power my business and its productivity. What about yours?Related: This New App Wants to Optimize Your Schedule by Running It Through an Algorithm Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. Enroll Now for Free David Chang wants to do for food delivery what he has already done for ramen noodles.The celebrated chef and restaurateur, who amassed a cult-like following for his gourmet version of the cheap college snack, is officially launching Maple, a food-delivery startup that aims to uplevel the takeout process.The company claims it will get your carefully prepared food to you in under 30 minutes, hot, and looking just as it did in the photo on Maple’s app or website. A countdown clock starts ticking when you place your order; you will receive a push notification on your phone when your order is a few minutes away. Bike messengers are scattered throughout delivery zones, each with their own 5-minute radius territory.Image credit: MapleEfficiency and affordability are hallmarks of the service. Only three meal options are available daily for either lunch or dinner, all prepared in a local commissary kitchen. The cost is $12 for lunch and $15 for dinner, tax and tip included.Related: Pump Up Your Food Porn Game With This 3-D Photo AppThe startup, which has received $26 million in funding so far, is launching today in lower Manhattan but plans to expand within the city and its outer boroughs.Food delivery is not novel. Neither is food delivery via bike messenger ordered from your smartphone. What Maple has that other companies don’t have is the entire supply chain: kitchen to delivery. And it’s betting that owning every step of the process from chopping ingredients to delivering a meal to your desk at work, means that Maple will be able to control the outcomes in a way that say, Seamless, which facilitates online ordering from local takeout restaurants, or the local pizzeria that uses Seamless to take orders, can’t. Image credit: MapleRelated: Healthy Restaurant Chain Dig Inn Raises $15 Million, Looks to Expand Beyond NYCChef Soa Davies, a veteran of elite eateries including Le Bernardin and Splendid at the Chateau, will oversee the food preparation at the first Maple kitchen. Then, from specially tailored delivery containers to tech-enabled, maximally efficient delivery routes, Maple will get your salad to you fresh and your salmon still hot.And while Maple has some heavyweight chops in the kitchen with Chang and Davies, the three co-founders — Caleb Merkl, Akshay Navle, and Will Gaybrick — all come from some pretty impressive ecommerce, tech and business backgrounds. That’s where the logistic prowess is coming from. Maple will track the success of every delivery and the algorithm will “learn” from it so that the process effectively “gets smarter” the more deliveries are made.No matter how talented your chefs and how savvy your technology, though, there are a lot of bits and pieces of chaos that are par for the course in the New York City lunchtime rush. Launching a business that tries to make organized, efficient grace in that kind of bumper-to-bumper, traffic, hungry, harried-worker mayhem certainly is no small order.Image credit: MapleRelated: Shyp Wants to Make Online Shopping Returns Easy PeasyRelated Book: Start Your Own Food Truck Business Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now April 28, 2015 3 min read
Somewhere out there in cyberspace there are tech gurus — a fancy word for nerds — working to make our lives easier. They’re devising new, unimaginably brilliant gadgets, gizmos and apps that do two things: Make our lives easier and make us wonder why we never thought of such a simple idea in the first place (remember the Chia Pet?).The truth is, self-improvement is a huge industry — $9.6 billion to be precise. With the digital disruption caused by technology today, there are more and more software solutions popping up to help us optimize our productivity, set and track goals and build healthier habits. If you look hard enough, there’s pretty much an app for every aspect of our lives.Want to maximize productivity? There’s an app for that. How about become more mindful, whatever that means? There’s an app for that, too. What did you say? You want to know exactly how many calories are in that foot-long hot dog? Too many. But, if you really want to know, there’s an app for that, too.Related: 5 Apps That Can Help Executives Strike Work-Life BalanceTo get your month off to a positive start, here are seven self-improvement apps to try out.1. DayOneAppImage credit: DayOneAppIf you’re a journaler, this is a simpler way to do it. Journaling has been shown to optimize both hemispheres of the brain since writing engages the left brain — known for analysis and reason — while the right brain is free to create. Journaling allows you to break through mental barriers to better understand yourself, others and the world around you. No big deal. What’s different about DayOneApp is that you can add pictures, local weather data and geo-location to your journal entry for whenever you want to revert back to your happy place.2. MyFitnessPalImage credit: MyFitnessPalCounting calories is about as fun as counting to 2,000 — every day. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Fortunately, Under Armour has made calorie-counting easy with myfitnesspal. What’s cool about this app is that it will not only subtract calories based on your exercise output for a given day but also scan in a food’s nutritional content based on its barcode and — magically — spit out the number of calories along with a caloric breakdown of fats, proteins and carbohydrates that get added to your daily intake.3. UnstuckImage credit: UnstuckThere comes a point in everyone’s life where they just feel stuck. Fortunately, there’s an app for that. Unstuck is there to help you resolve problems, find motivation or face other moments of paralyzing uncertainty. With a plethora of digital coaches, you receive tips and advice to help diagnose your actions and propose solutions. Boom.Related: 4 App-Assisted Methods to Get the Most Out of Your 24 Hours4. Happier Image credit: HappierThere are myriad positivity projects out there to boost happiness. With the happier app you collect — yup, you guessed it — happy moments throughout the day to add to your mental Rolodex. There are more than 11,000 studies that show how an attitude of gratitude helps improve sleep quality, increase optimism and creativity, enhance productivity and reduce stress. 5. BrightnestImage credit: BrightnestSelf-improvement always entails learning, which is where this handy app comes in. If the entrepreneur in you wants to play Mr. or Mrs. Fix-It to save startup funds, then Brightnest will get you in gear. With the mission of Brightnest being “to shape up your home and simplify your life,” this app is packed full of guidelines and tips on everything from cleaning and organization to do-it-yourself. It’s a helpful companion to removing the clutter from our lives, so we can focus on what’s really important.6. HeadoutImage credit: HeadoutAll work and no play doesn’t make anyone any better, which is exactly why headout is so important. Headout features “incredible experiences on demand,” which is a fancy way of saying it serves as a guide to finding “the best activities, events and tours happening in town.” You can find and book last-minute deals if you’re feeling spontaneous.7. Coach.meImage credit: Coach.meNever underestimate the impact of powerful questions. Powerful questions infuse a sense of possibility and cause the mind to consider new options, thus expanding the mental boundaries posed by previous paradigms. Asking powerful questions is exactly what coaches do (full disclosure: I’m a leadership coach) and that’s exactly what Coach.me offers. Want to build better habits? A coach can help. Looking to discover new career opportunities? A coach can help. Don’t know how to scale your startup? You get the picture.Technology — like society–is always changing and always improving, which makes staying relevant a constant uphill battle. Integrate tech with your self-improvement goals, and you kill two birds with one stone.Related: 6 Apps That Help You Stick to Your Goals Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global January 6, 2016 Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. 5 min read Register Now »