Thursday, April 22

Month: July 2015

Jet.com, The Costco of Amazon Prime, Is Finally Open for Business
Business

Jet.com, The Costco of Amazon Prime, Is Finally Open for Business

Economists have been calling it the Costco version of Amazon, targeting the budget-conscious consumers who typically shop at discount stores without sacrificing the convenience that e-commerce businesses, like Amazon, provide. But will startup company Jet.com be able to live up to its hype and actually become viable competition for corporate giants like Wal-Mart, Target, and even Costco itself? Jet.com finally opened its virtual doors at the end of July after “months of testing and tweaking,” according to Newsday. It isn’t so much about the products that Jet is offering, nor is it about providing customers with simple browsing and fast shipping. Instead, Jet’s business model is what has industry experts talking; the e-commerce merchant has combined a subscription service similar to Amazo...
Extreme Weather May be the New Norm
Lifestyle

Extreme Weather May be the New Norm

A bridge located on Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Los Angeles has recently been washed out, becoming a huge traffic disruption. This comes as an addition to a break in highway 89 due to a landslide, and flooding throughout the southern states. Extreme weather is becoming more and more common, and to say that it’s disconcerting may be an understatement. The I-10 bridge has been partially reopened after a week, though drivers will still deal with half hour delays while crews begin rebuilding the bridge. It will be months before it’s fully reopened. The bridge’s demise came after the region was hit with six inches of heavy rain, which weakened the supporting pillars. Some of those affected say that highway engineers likely did not expect a storm surge of that magnitude, but others say t...
FedEx Doesn’t Want to Ship Bioterror Germs Anymore, and That’s Not Good
Business

FedEx Doesn’t Want to Ship Bioterror Germs Anymore, and That’s Not Good

According to a letter from FedEx to federal regulators, the shipping giant is no longer willing to transport packages containing research specimens of bioterror pathogens. FedEx communications director Melissa Charbonneau said in a recent statement that the decision came in response to concerns over the military's recent shipments of anthrax. Now, the company is no longer planning to resume shipments of "select agents," the federal government's term for 65 different types of viruses, bacteria, and toxins highly regulated because of their bioterror potential. In addition to anthrax, Ebola, and the pathogens causing plague and botulism are also considered special agents. FedEx's refusal to ship special agents concerns major laboratory officials, who say that they primarily used FedEx to sh...
Financial Aid Agency Secretly Took Money From the Accounts of Thousands of College Applicants
Business

Financial Aid Agency Secretly Took Money From the Accounts of Thousands of College Applicants

The student loan debt crisis has hit its peak, according to many economists and education officials, and it almost seems like the crisis can't get any worse. Except that a business called Student Financial Aid Services, which "helps" people apply for financial aid for higher education, has apparently been taking money out of the accounts of its clients without their consent. According to the Washington Post, the company has taken out at least $5.2 million from the accounts of 100,000 people. After the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) accused the company of this practice, it didn't take long for the Sacramento-based service to deny the allegations yet agree to refund the money to "settle the charges." According to the Huffington Post, the federal government is not afraid to shut ...
Banning Bottled Water Has Unintended Consequences, New Study Finds
Lifestyle

Banning Bottled Water Has Unintended Consequences, New Study Finds

It's common knowledge by now that bottled water is not good for the environment. Each year, only 23% of all plastic is recycled, which means that 38 billion water bottles -- more than $1 billion worth of plastic -- gets wasted. In one year, the bottled water industry uses up about 17 million barrels of oil, which is enough to fuel 1.3 million vehicles for a full year. In addition, the energy used to create bottled water could power 190,000 homes. In order to fight the unsustainable bottled water industry, many places have begun banning them. However, a new study has found that there are unintended consequences of banning bottled water, including an increase in the consumption of sugary beverages without a reduction in plastic waste. The University of Vermont study, which has been publish...
Body Positive YouTube Fashionista Busts Myths About Big Girls and Bikinis
Lifestyle

Body Positive YouTube Fashionista Busts Myths About Big Girls and Bikinis

Women, especially those who are overweight, are often told that they should dress for their body types. Sometimes larger girls are even publicly shamed for wearing revealing clothing. And YouTube vlogger Loey Lane thinks that's completely unfair. In her video "Why Fat Girls Shouldn't Wear Bikinis," the 22-year-old raises four arguments that she and other girls like her have been told about wearing skimpy beachwear -- and then smashes them all. To those who say that they don't like seeing a larger person in a bathing suit, Lane says, "Why is it that someone else can dictate that you are not allowed to put something on your body that makes them uncomfortable?" And Lane says that this kind of criticism extends to people of all sizes, and it needs to be shut down. "It is really scary ...
Olive Garden to Stop Cleaning Its Carpets as Much
Business

Olive Garden to Stop Cleaning Its Carpets as Much

Cleaning carpets isn't that hard when you consider the fact that 99% of all stains can be removed by one cleaning agent or another if they're taken care of in a few days. However, keeping carpets clean costs enough time and money for Olive Garden to scale back on its cleanliness. According to BloombergBusiness, Olive Garden's parent company, Darden Restaurants, has dispatched operations teams to the restaurants to pull "every single invoice" in an effort to find ways to trim about $100 million a year in expenses. Through this investigation, the teams have found that many locations are washing their carpets twice a month, which CEO Gene Lee thinks is far too often. The crazy part is, he's not entirely wrong. There are over 800 Olive Gardens. Paying a service to come in and wash each restaur...
Millennials Better At Saving For Retirement
Lifestyle

Millennials Better At Saving For Retirement

Though 81% of retirees credit good health as the key ingredient to a happy retirement, it's likely that 100% of retirees would agree that it doesn't hurt to have money, too. According to a recent TIME magazine report, millennials are even better prepared for retirement than the baby boomers were. A survey conducted by T. Rowe Price revealed that millennials are already saving 8% of their paychecks for retirement. Millennials would be saving even more if they had better paying jobs, and/or didn't have student loans to pay, according to Anne Coveney, T. Rowe Price's senior manager of retirement thought leadership. With a median personal income of $57,000, nearly 67% of millennials have a budget, and stick to it. (Compared to the 55% of baby boomers who do the same.) Millennials, as a whole...
Confidence High in Home Remodeling Industry
Business

Confidence High in Home Remodeling Industry

More than two-thirds of home renovation businesses are seeing revenues and profits equal or greater to pre-recessional levels, according to a new analysis, and about one-fifth of firms are reporting that their revenues and profits are significantly higher. Online home design platform Houzz released on July 22 its Q2 2015 Houzz Renovation Barometer, which measures how confident home renovation professionals are regarding the strength of the industry. “A large majority of home renovation firms on Houzz report a return to pre-recession revenues and profits, irrespective of industry segment or firm size,” said Nino Sitchinava, Houzz principal economist, in a news release. The latest edition of the study also found that there have been very slight year-over-year gains and quite strong quarte...
Family Support Could Be Key in Combating Childhood Obesity
Lifestyle

Family Support Could Be Key in Combating Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity is a more critical issue than many people realize, but a new study has found a possible way to help turn the tide and put kids on a healthier track. Right now, about one-third of children and adolescents between the ages of six and 19 are considered to be overweight or obese. According to the World Health Organization, the number of overweight or obese infants and young children increased from 1990's global count of 32 million to 2013's 42 million. If current trends persist, the WHO warns that the number of overweight or obese infants and young children globally will increase to 70 million by 2025. "Childhood obesity must be accepted as a significant and urgent threat to health that is relevant in all countries. Governments must take the lead," said WHO Director General...