Explore further The TUAT demo was titled, “Smelling Screen: Presenting a Virtual Odor Source on a LCD Screen,” by Haruka Matsukura, Tatsuhiro Yoneda, and Hiroshi Ishida.”The smelling screen is a new olfactory display that can generate a localized odor distribution on a two-dimensional display screen,” they stated. While the user perceives the odor as coming from a specific region of the screen, the position of the virtual odor source can be shifted to an arbitrary position on the screen. In fact, they said, the viewer can freely move his or her head to sniff at various locations on the screen, and can experience “realistic changes in the odor intensity with respect to the sniffing location.”New Scientist’s explanation of how the technology works said that odors from vaporizing gel pellets were fed into four air streams, one in each corner of the screen. The streams are blown out by fans, and they can be varied in strength and direction.Matsukura said a next step in their research will be incorporating a cartridge where smells can be changed easily.In another undertaking, Hiroshi Ishida, Associate Professor, Division of Advanced Mechanical Systems Engineering, had discussed “Olfactory display that presents a virtual odor source by manipulating airflow,” in which he relayed practical applications of smelling-screen research.Although attempts have been made to promote sales in supermarkets by releasing appetizing smells, he wrote, in most cases the airflows and odors are simply blown from motorized fans. He said the attempt to lure customers toward foods through scent delivery could be more effective through another approach:”If we can provide users or customers with a sensation that the odor and airflow are coming from the image on the monitor or screen, we can draw their attention with some surprise.” Beyond food sales, he said he thought that this device could also be used in museums and art galleries to create unique exhibitions and artwork. A woman’s nose knows body odor (Phys.org) —”Scent-delivery” technologies continue to interest marketers, who are always looking for ideas on how to deliver an enhanced shopper experience. Scent stimulation related to targeted products is one way to go. Now, a “smelling screen” has been developed by researchers at Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology (TUAT) and it makes smells appear to come from the exact spot on any LCD screen that is displaying the image of a food item. A peach or a steaming cup of coffee, for example, would lend the illusion that their respective smells were coming from the images on the screen direct to the viewer. The smelling screen was shown at the IEEE Virtual Reality conference in Orlando, Florida, which ran from March 16 to March 23. Citation: Tokyo smelling-screen demo lets scents go virtual (2013, March 31) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-03-tokyo-smelling-screen-demo-scents-virtual.html 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. Smelling Screen: Presenting a Virtual Odor Source on a LCD Screen © 2013 Phys.org More information: ieeevr.org/2013/program/activities/researchdemoswww.computer.org/csdl/trans/tg … g2013040606-abs.htmlwww.tuat.ac.jp/~h-ishida/proje … lfactorydisplay.htmlvia Newscientist
A Thorne-Zytkow object, Kip Throne and Anna Zytkow theorized back in 1975, could come to exist when a dying red giant star swallows an orbiting neutron star. The result would be, the researchers suggested, a star with another smaller star embedded in its core and which would overall resemble other known types of stars but would emit a different and unique chemical signature. Since that time, many space scientists have scoured the heavens looking for such an object—many candidates have been found, but thus far none have been confirmed. In this latest effort, the found object appears to closely resemble what Thorne and Zytkow predicted.The object is was found in the Small Magellanic Cloud—Levesque reported that thus far, the research team has confirmed that it emits molybdenum, lithium and rubidium—all elements predicted by theory to exist in abundant amounts in the theoretical object. The original researchers suggested such elements would have to forge unusual pathways to burn their way through the dying stars outer parts due to an interruption of the fusion process in the red giant. The object was found, Levesque also reported, as part of a survey the team was conducting on 22 objects in the cloud using one of the Magellan telescopes (and its 21 foot diameter mirror) located in Chile’s Atacama Desert.Space scientists have speculated that if theory holds, there should be several Thorne-Zytkow objects in the Milky Way, though no one has found evidence yet. Commenting on the find, co-theorist Thorne suggested that the new discovery is the most promising yet found.More work will have to be done before it will become known if the newly discovered specimen is truly a Thorne-Zytkow object. Specifically, scientists will focus on the elements found in the object as thus far there appears to be a little less of it than theory suggests. A neutron star. Image: NASA © 2014 Phys.org More information: via Nature 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. (Phys.org) —Speaking at this year’s American Astronomical Society meeting, Hubble Fellow, Emily Levesque reported that she and her colleagues at the University of Colorado have discovered a star that just might qualify as a Thorne-Zytkow object. The object has not been named as yet, however, as the team has not yet published its results. Citation: New discovery could be a Thorne-Zytkow object (2014, January 8) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-01-discovery-thorne-zytkow.html Explore further Hubble sees a stellar “sneezing fit”
(Phys.org)—A team of researchers at Brandeis University in Massachusetts, has found that the CLIP-170 microtuble found in cells, which had been known to be important in cytoskeleton development, binds tightly to formins to accelerate actin filament elongation. In their paper published in the journal Science, the team describes their experiments with adding a fluorescent protein to the microtubule to better understand the roll CLIP-170 plays in actin flament assembly. In a Perspective piece on the work done by the team, Klemens Rottner with Universität Braunschweig in Germany also explains the role played by microtubules and actin filaments in the development of the eukaryotic cytoskeleton (the material that holds the shape of cells.) Explore further More information: J. L. Henty-Ridilla et al. Accelerated actin filament polymerization from microtubule plus ends, Science (2016). DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf1709AbstractMicrotubules (MTs) govern actin network remodeling in a wide range of biological processes, yet the mechanisms underlying this cytoskeletal cross-talk have remained obscure. We used single-molecule fluorescence microscopy to show that the MT plus-end–associated protein CLIP-170 binds tightly to formins to accelerate actin filament elongation. Furthermore, we observed mDia1 dimers and CLIP-170 dimers cotracking growing filament ends for several minutes. CLIP-170–mDia1 complexes promoted actin polymerization ~18 times faster than free–barbed-end growth while simultaneously enhancing protection from capping proteins. We used a MT-actin dynamics co-reconstitution system to observe CLIP-170–mDia1 complexes being recruited to growing MT ends by EB1. The complexes triggered rapid growth of actin filaments that remained attached to the MT surface. These activities of CLIP-170 were required in primary neurons for normal dendritic morphology. Thus, our results reveal a cellular mechanism whereby growing MT plus ends direct rapid actin assembly. 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. Scientists reveal mechanism for cellular remodeling Citation: CLIP-170 microtuble found to bind tightly to formins to accelerate actin filament elongation (2016, May 20) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2016-05-clip-microtuble-tightly-formins-actin.html Journal information: Science © 2016 Phys.org Components of the eukaryotic cytoskeleton. Actin filaments are shown in red, microtubules are in green, and the nuclei are in blue. Credit: NIH/Public Domain In order for a cell to hold its shape, filaments must grow to the size needed to provide support, similar in some respects to the cartilage found in the nose and other parts of the body. But, in order for the cell to grow to the proper size and shape it needs to be to hold all its components, some type of mechanism must be in place to regulate the growth. Prior research has shown that microtubules serve that purpose, but how the process works, has remained somewhat murky. In this new effort, the researchers found that the CLIP-170 microtuble actually binds very tightly to a protein known as formin, and in so doing is able to play a role in determining how long an actin filment will grow—or more specifically, to actually accelerate elongation.To learn more about the role that CLIP-170 plays in cytoskeleton development, the researchers applied a fluorescent protein to some of them in their lab, and then watched what happened using single cell microscopy during cell maturation. In addition to accelerating actin filament elongation, the team observed it along with mDia1 dimers, tracking filament ends and promoting polymerization (causing it to grow approximately 18 times faster than growth without it), which provided a protective cap. They also found that using another technique allowed them to watch as the mDia1/CLIP-10 complexes were coaxed into action by microtubule ends, which resulted in rapid filament growth. They note that such filament growth is most particularly necessary for dendrite growth in neurons.
Explore further Red Fox. Credit: Jonn Leffmann/Wikipedia/CC BY 3.0 Foxes cannot be tamed, the conventional thinking goes—you can raise them in your house, feed them like babies and try to cuddle with them, but their wild nature will eventually win out—they will become unruly and eventually unwelcome pets. But what if the wildness was bred out of them? That is what Belyaev wondered, so he set to work on a very long term project—one that was very simple. He and his intern, Lyudmila Trut, wandered around Russia searching for foxes to start their experiment. Foxes were chosen based on their behavior in the presence of humans. Those that showed slightly more tolerance of humans were brought back to their Novosibirsk lab to serve as the start group. From there, the foxes were mated, and once again, those cubs that showed the most tolerance for humans were kept as part of the experiment while the others went on to become fur coats. This process was repeated for a half-century—the research pair found that within just a few generations, the foxes had begun to lose their wildness and mistrust of humans. The fourth generation, they reported, showed traits that we see in modern dogs, such as tail wagging, seeking human contact and licking people. Over the course of 50 years, the foxes became friendly, their behavior nearly indistinguishable from domestic dogs. They changed physically, too; their ears drooped and their legs and snouts became shorter and their heads got wider. And it was not all on the outside—their adrenal glands became more active, resulting in higher levels of serotonin in their brains, which is known to mute aggressive behavior.Today, the foxes are still being bred, but they are also being sold as pets to help pay for the cost of the research center. Belyaev died back in 1985, but the program is still overseen by Trut, and by most standards, the long-term experiment has been a resounding success—most researchers who visit the lab have found that theories regarding how dog domestication came about were consistent with what has been observed in the novel experiment in Russia. Comfort dogs bring healing in times of tragedy Citation: Russian geneticist repeats dog domestication with foxes in just fifty years (2016, September 16) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2016-09-russian-geneticist-dog-domestication-foxes.html (Phys.org)—A Russian geneticist, the BBC is reporting, replicated the process that led to the domestication of the dog, with foxes, over the course of just fifty years. Curious about the means by which dogs became domesticated, Dmitry Belyaev began a breeding program in the late 1950’s aimed at replicating the process using foxes. © 2016 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.
Diwali comes in happy boxes and baskets at Hyatt Regency Delhi’s Sidewalk. This year Sidewalk has taken a selection of traditional Indian sweets, homemade chocolates, nuts and more to create a celebratory gift hamper! Go ahead and make this festival of lights truly a festival of delights! Sidewalk has made the decision to choose a hamper for your loved ones easy. The flavour of this Diwali season is a blend of traditional and contemporary; the brightly coloured and beautifully packaged hampers will leave a lasting impression. They come in three different sizes in both contemporary and traditional designs. You can also create your own hamper. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Where: Sidewalk, Hyatt Regency Price: Rs 1750 – 4550 Spread happiness this Diwali with specially crafted gift hampers from Jaypee Greens Golf and Spa Resort. Cherish relationships and create new bonds on this auspicious occasion with an array of bespoke treats. From chocolates to contemporary-style diyas, to an assortment of finely crafted gourmet delicacies, guests can also tailor their own gift basket as per their need.Where: The Old Baker @Jaypee Greens Golf and Spa Resort Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixPrice: Rs 3500 – 4500 + taxesShangri-La’s – Eros Hotel, celebrates the festival of joy with an array of Diwali hampers from UNO2GO, the hotel’s patisserie. Gift your loved ones the bespoke Diwali Hampers, available in an exclusive assortment or tailor made to their very own special composition of delectable joys. It has created an elegant, sophisticated and contemporary four choices of hampers called – Jade Hamper, Diamond Hamper, Macaroon trinket box and Gold Hamper. Exclusive bespoke Hampers are available and can be personalised based on one’s requirements. Where: UNO2GO, Shangri-La’s – Eros Hotel Price: Rs. 2500 plus taxes onwardsFilled with tons of treats and gifts as The Imperial gives you a choice to select yours hamper with or without wine! From chocolates, signature souvenirs to gourmet favourites, there is a range of carefully selected eats and memorabilia, handpicked to create lasting pleasures. Pick up yours for your loved ones.Where: The Imperial Price: Rs 6000 – 8000 + taxes Living up to the vibrancy of the festive season, Eros Hotel, Nehru Place, presents an array of breathtaking Diwali Gift Hampers with an exquisite assortment. So create your very special composition of delectable joys and surprise your loved ones with a unique hamper that has been crafted especially for them! The gift hampers have been customised according to the needs and exude impeccable style and innovations. They offer hampers in various range and sizes – Superior Box, Traditional Indian Box, Tea Box, and Premium Wine Box.Where: Eros Hotel, Nehru PlacePrice: Rs 1,999 – 3,499Gift your near and dear ones , the finest expression of love this festive season with the Diwali hampers brought by Mithai Shop, Sheraton New Delhi. It includes – delicious nut and raisin, farmlite oat and almond, Kitchens of India – mango saffron, Dark Fantasy vanilla biscuit, KOI strawberry and mint, Dark Fantasy choco biscuit, moong dal halwa, KOI dal bukhara, matar paneer, paneer darbari and a lot more. Where: Mithai Shop, SheratonPrice: Rs. 5000 – 7500
The findings suggest that people who have had a stroke or a mini-stroke, called a transient ischemic attack, be screened for sleep disorders. “Although sleep disorders are common after a stroke, very few stroke patients are tested for them,” said study author Dirk Hermann from University Hospital Essen in Germany. “The results of our review show that should change, as people with sleep disorders may be more likely to have another stroke or other negative outcomes than people without sleep problems, such as having to go to a nursing home after leaving the hospital,” Hermann noted. The findings, published online in the journal Neurology, are based on a literature review. For the literature review, the researchers examined dozens of studies that looked at the link between sleep disturbances and stroke. Sleep disorders generally fall into two categories – sleep breathing problems and sleep-wake disorders. Sleep breathing problems like sleep apnea disrupt breathing while asleep. Sleep-wake disorders like insomnia and restless leg syndrome affect the amount of time spent asleep.The review found evidence linking sleep breathing problems with stroke risk and recovery. Sleep-wake disorders may also increase stroke risk and harm recovery, although there is less evidence to prove so, the researchers said.
The way women are often portrayed on television helps accentuate the traditional roles at the expense of their sexual satisfaction, says a study.Media portrayals teach women to be passive participants in their relationships and prioritise the desires of others – particularly men – instead of prioritising their own desires, said Rita Seabrook from the University of Michigan in the US.The study, published in the journal Psychology of Women Quarterly, showed that college women who frequently watch television tend to endorse the gender roles that are portrayed often on TV. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfEndorsement of these roles – which are called gendered sexual scripts – results in some women having less confidence about using condoms and more shameful feelings about their sexual experience.Being confident and proud of one’s sexual experiences “conflicts with gendered expectations that women should abstain from sex except in limited circumstances,” she said.The study sampled 415 undergraduate women who described themselves as sexually active heterosexuals. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveThey indicated the number of hours of TV (live or online) and reality TV watched weekly, and disclosed if they believed the programming reflected daily life.Questions also focused on relationships, attitudes towards women, sexual beliefs, gender roles and how participants rated their emotions.”Women who reject traditional gender norms face backlash for failing to adhere to the culture’s expectations for them,” Seabrook said. “Thus, adhering to gendered sexual scripts may protect women from perceived and actual judgment at the expense of their sexual satisfaction and sexual well-being,” Seabrook said.
Trying to shed those extra kilos? Chewing slowly and refraining from eating for two hours before bedtime may help, scientists say. Changes in eating habits were strongly associated with lower obesity and weight (BMI), and smaller waist circumference, according to researchers from Kyushu University in Japan.The findings are based on health insurance data for nearly 60,000 people with diabetes in Japan who submitted claims and had regular health check-ups between 2008 and 2013. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThe data included information on the dates of consultations and treatments, while the check-ups included measurements of weight (BMI) and waist circumference, and the results of tests for blood chemistry, urine, and liver function.During the check-ups, participants were quizzed about their lifestyle, including their eating and sleep habits as well as alcohol and tobacco use.They were specifically asked about their eating speed, which was categorised as fast, normal, or slow. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveThey were asked whether they did any of the following three or more times a week: eat dinner within 2 hours of going to sleep; snack after dinner; and skip breakfast.More than a third (36.5 per cent) of participants had one check-up over the six years, while just under a third (29.5 per cent) had two. One in five (20 per cent) had three.At the start of the study, some 22,070 people routinely wolfed down their food; 33,455 ate at a normal speed; and 4,192 lingered over every mouthful. The slow eaters tended to be healthier and to have a healthier lifestyle than either the fast or normal speed eaters.Around half of the total sample changed their eating speed over the course of the six years.All the aspects of eating and sleeping habits studied, as well as alcohol consumption and previous obesity – defined as a BMI of 25 kilogrammes per square metres were significantly associated with obesity.After taking account of potentially influential factors, the results showed that compared with those who tended to gobble up their food, those who ate at a normal speed were 29 percent less likely to be obese, rising to 42 percent for those who ate slowly.Although absolute reductions in waist circumference – an indicator of a potentially harmful midriff bulge – were small, they were greater among the slow and normal speed eaters.Snacking after dinner and eating within two hours of going to sleep three or more times a week were also strongly linked to changes in BMI. However, skipping breakfast was not.
Wine and food pairing is not that difficult as it sounds. One just needs to keep in mind that the selection of wine must compliment the taste of food ordered, say experts. Experts share tips on most suitable options to pair with your wine. -One can pair their favourite wine with other delicious food too. The most common food items that you can pair your wine with is pizzas, pastas, salads, burgers, pies, seafoods to name a few. These are some of the food items that we eat on any normal day, so we should also be thinking of pairing our wines with them. Also Read – Add new books to your shelf-One must remember the thumb rule for wine and food pairing; white wine compliments white meat and red wine is great with red meat. -Cabernet Sauvignon is indeed the undisputed King of red wines. France, Italy and Napa Valley are the best producers. You can pair your spicy meat pizza with a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Pinotage and is also best paired with red meats like black peppered tenderloin and lamb chops in five spices. -Veg pizza would brilliantly go with Merlot. The idea is to not overpower the wine but to blend in. One can also try pork loin, slow cooked lamb stew and shepherd’s pie with a good Merlot. Merlots are normally light to medium bodied and often are blended with other grapes. France and Italy are top producers. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsive-Pinot Noir, one of the most versatile red grapes, best produced in France, United States and Germany. It is generally paired with food having strong earthy flavours. Try it with mushroom and greens with tofu in soya sauce, spaghetti bolognaise or a grilled salmon. -Similarly, you could have your red sauce pasta with a Shiraz, medium bodied grape with a hint of tannin is best produced in France, Australia and Spain. This can also be paired with roast lamb, grilled beef and lamb chops. -Sauvignon Blanc or Rose would go well with salads and also with mussels, char grilled lobsters, tajine and creamy tuscan chicken. -If seafood is your soul food, then the go to wine is Chardonnay, one of the most popular white grapes, or a riesling or a sparkling. -Another favourite food and wine pairing is the Indian street food. Try a pani puri with a Chenin Blanc or a samosa with Riesling. Try the quintessential tikki chat with a Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir.-Chenin Blanc has floral aromas, mostly young wines are produced in Loire Valley. Have it with shish taouk or risotto with chicken and scallions.
Ranked as the fourth most common cause of human illness, skin diseases increasing with age are more frequent in elderly men than in women, say researchers. The study, published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, showed that skin diseases are more prevalent than thought earlier, but many affected people do not consult a physician. Over 70 per cent elderly men were found suffering from skin diseases, which is more than women (58 per cent). Also Read – Add new books to your shelf”Skin diseases might be even more prevalent than previously thought. Considering their significant impact on individual, family and social life, as well as their heavy economic burden caused by inadequate self- or non-physician treatment, the public health importance of skin diseases is underappreciated,” said Alexander Zink, of the Technical University of Munich. For the study, the team included 2,701 individuals. Of these, at least one skin abnormality was observed in 1,662 of the participants (64.5 per cent). The most common diagnoses were actinic keratosis (26.6 per cent), rosacea (25.5 per cent), and eczema (11.7 per cent). But nearly two-thirds of the affected participants were unaware of their abnormal skin findings. “Information and awareness campaigns are needed to better address this neglected issue and to reduce the global burden of skin diseases,” Zink added.
The Department of Basic Science and Humanities of Institute of Engineering and Management, a private engineering college in Kolkata recently organised the second International Conference on English Learning and Teaching Skills in collaboration with ELT@I Kolkata chapter, IEM Toastmaster Club and Smart Society.The inauguration ceremony was held successfully in the presence of over 135 participants and the organising committee. The event began with felicitation and welcome address by eminent speakers like Scott Granville, Director, Chasing Time English, Hamilton, New Zealand, Corey Woodard, University of Arkansas: Fort Smith, USA, Professor Angeline Abad, Banguet State University, Philippines, Dr Saikat Maitra, Vice-Chancellor, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad University of Technology, West Bengal, India, Dr Sampa Chatterjee Ex-Director & Associate Professor, Institute of English Calcutta, Freelance teacher Trainer and Consultant in ELT, India, to name a few. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThe motto of this conference is to enhance and develop new paradigms in language studies and to open discussions on the pedagogical methods in ELT. It aspires to put forward the current trends in ELT and language studies. After the inauguration, Plenary lecture by Scott Granville, Chasing Time English, New Zealand was held, where he spoke about the importance and function of integrating film and language learning. Followed by a workshop on ‘Communication in the Workplace: Creating an Atmosphere for Success’ by Corey Woodard, University of Arkansas: Fort Smith, Brittany Woodard, University of Arkansas: Fort Smith, and Tasha Caruthers, University of Tennessee was organised. Besides, the Plenary talk of Professor Angeline Abad Banguet State University, Philippines; three parallel oral presentation sessions on different themes; a social awareness program on Autism ‘I am special’ , and finally ELT project exhibition was held on the first day. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveSecond day of the event started with three parallel presentation sessions, followed by a Plenary Talk by Dr Anitha Devi Pillai, Lecturer, National Institute of education, Singapore, a workshop on Call to Mall by Dr Shravan Kumar, National Vice-president ELT@I, the webinar of Dr Stephen DeGiulio, Professor, School Of Business, Professional Studies and Education, Santa Fe Community college, New Mexico, USA. On the last day, three different parallel oral presentation sessions on the themes, ‘Literary content/content integrated language studies’, ‘Application of English learning, and ‘Language studies and communication models’ kept the visitors engaged. Thereafter, Plenary Lecture by Dr Sarani Ghosal, Associate Professor, National Institute of Technology, Goa, India was delivered. Then, a workshop on ‘Call to Mall’ by Dr Anjana Maitra, ELT Specialist and De Bono Certified Trainer on the topic ‘Communication Essentials: Presentation, Personality, and Speaking Skills’ took place, followed by a Plenary Lecture by Dr Sampa Chatterjee, Former Director of Institute of English Kolkata. The event concluded with a valedictory session in the presence of Scott Granville, Shayak Chandra, Dr Sarani Ghosal among others.
Advertisement Gisele Bundchen sat down for an interview with Charlie Rose and discussed the topic of her husband’s desire to keep playing in the NFL into his 40’s. Gisele is pro-retirement and made a shocking revelation during an answer as to one of the reasons why.Of Brady, she said:“He had concussions last year, he has concussions, and we don’t talk about.”The obvious problem here is that the Patriots never disclosed that Brady sustained a concussion lat year, and was never placed in the concussion protocol, which could have caused him to miss games. Did Gisele misspeak? Or are Bill Belichick and the Patriots just up to their old tricks?Cue Roger Goodell. This won’t be the last you hear of this story.#NEW: @giseleofficial told @CharlieRose on @CBSThisMorning that Tom Brady had a concussion last year. “He does have concussions.” pic.twitter.com/K4B8ixDN9X— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) May 17, 2017
It’s never been clear why fans run onto the field during sporting events. The best case scenario is a night in jail. The worst case scenario happened to an invading idiot fan during last night’s B.C. Lions/ Montreal Alouettes game.After interrupting the action, the – probably drunk – intruder ran untouched around the field until Lions defensive back Marcell Young got sick of watching the show and knocked the moron into next week like a defenseless receiver going across the middle on a crossing route.Maybe they have a concussion protocol in the lock up.Hit of the night and reason not to streak or possibly drink at a BC Lions game! pic.twitter.com/vtnNx8sGWm— Jaden S (@Jadenfootball21) June 17, 2018 Advertisement
Braves rookie slugger Ronald Acuña was on an epic tear with 8 home runs in his last 8 games, and 3 leadoff home runs in his last 3, so last night Marlins pitcher Jose Ureña decided to kill all the fun by drilling Acuña to leadoff the game with a 97 MPH fastball because of baseball’s unwritten rule against cool stuff. Both benches subsequently cleared after the plunking, and Acuña eventually left the game with an elbow injury.Benches clear in Marlins-Braves after José Ureña hits Ronald Acuña Jr. in 1st inning.Acuña Jr. (5 straight games with HR, 3 straight with leadoff HR) exits in 2nd inning. pic.twitter.com/V2aSu97YEX— MLB (@MLB) August 16, 2018 Advertisement The move to hit Acuña was mostly ripped by baseball fans and MLB players as a punk move, but former Mets first baseman, current Mets analyst, and “old school baseball guy” Keith Hernandez wasn’t among them. During the Mets’ broadcast, Hernandez weighed in, saying he agreed with nailing Acuña because, well, he was just hitting too many home runs.Hernandez knew the take would be unpopular, and did clarify he wasn’t advocating to throw at Acuña’s head, but this kind of attitude and dedication to baseball’s unwritten rules is a perfect example of why “baseball guy” is holding baseball back as a sport. Sports fans in 2018 want to see greatness and stars, not non-existent scores being settled.This is what Keith Hernandez had to say about Urena hitting Acuna. 🤔🤔🤔 pic.twitter.com/xeLszYDpic— Kris Venezia (@KVenezia1) August 16, 2018
On one end of the coaching press conference spectrum is Bill Belichick, who treats the events like a hostage situation. On the other end is Mike Leach, for whom no tangent is off limits.As he is known to do, Leach happily picked up a random line of thought and ran with it when the topic of which current Pac-12 coach would come out on top if all of them went at it in an all-out brawl. Leach handicapped the imaginary throwdown by naming Utah’s Kyle Whittingham and Arizona State’s Herm Edwards as the favorites because they’re in the best shape and defensive guys. Leach also said Oregon’s Mario Cristobal would be formidable, but said he wouldn’t count himself out either.When asked which coach he feared the least, Leach didn’t bite. That was apparently a bridge too far. When it comes to which Pac-12 coach provides the best blog content, it’s safe to say Leach wins by a mile.I know we’ve all wondered it, but if there was an all out brawl among the Pac-12 football head coaches, who would be the last coach standing? Here’s Mike Leach’s take: pic.twitter.com/CBguAAbn8r— Femi Abebefe (@SWXFemi) November 13, 2018 Advertisement
The thought of being trapped under the ice on a frozen lake would give most people nightmares, but for Czech freediver Petr Kapoun it’s actually a hobby.The questionably sane swimmer went for a lap underneath the ice using a yellow guide rope and completed the lap without dying, which is really the only measure of success in this sport. He also set the world record for shrinkage, besting one George Costanza.Keep a paper bag close by in case this makes you have a panic attack.
Holiday Hurdles 15+ min read What Not To Sell There is more to making the most of the holidays than having the products everybody wants. Shipping policies and procedures, timing, site design, payment options, sourcing and more all play roles in getting the most from the year-end opportunity. Of them all, timing may be the most vital. Experts and experienced sellers all sing the same tune: Start early.”You have to start very, very early,” stresses Hess. “Online, people tend to shop early, so we start about October 15.” Why so soon? Hess explains that his listings generally run 10 days. “If we start October 15, those seemingly early auctions will end October 25, the following ones will end November 3 and so on,” he says. “We’ll have only six to eight cycles to take full advantage of the Christmas holiday [season].”Others say October is late. “Theoretically, it starts on Thanksgiving, but there’s a lot of planning that starts before then,” says Joseph T. Sinclair, author of eBay Business the Smart Way. “If you don’t plan, you’re going to get caught short. You won’t know whether to promote something because you won’t know whether you’re going to get it in stock. September should be the target [planning] date for the [holiday shopping] season, so everybody’s ready to go in November.”Early is the time to line up a trusted source of supply, especially for items you think will be your best movers. “Make sure you have reliable suppliers who are going to deliver when they say they will,” stresses Schepp. “What could be worse than trying to put your listings up on December 15 because the product you were promised by November didn’t show up [on time]?”Another key early task is staffing. “This is not a time to scrimp,” says Schepp. “You might have to hire people to get your shipments out, and those are things you don’t want to be putting in place the first week of December. You want to make sure you have everything ready to go.”You may also want to change your look and feel. “Have your webmaster dress up your pages with a Christmas theme instead of using your normal template for your [item listings],” suggests Sinclair. One specific suggestion is to take advantage of the eBay gift icon. The wrapped-gift logo tells shoppers you can help them check an item off their to-do list by gift-wrapping their purchases and mailing them directly to gift recipients.Shipshape ShippingOffering gift-wrapping and delivery to a gift recipient can be a powerful word-of-mouth tool for expanding your marketing, says Barbara Weltman, a small-business consultant and author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Starting an eBay Business. When the wrapped gifts arrive, recipients will be exposed to your business, Weltman says. “This is an opportunity to reach people who aren’t your customers, and perhaps gain new customers.”You may want to offer free shipping on Buy It Now items, says Schepp. “If you offer it strictly for Buy It Now customers, you’re giving them a little bonus, and you’re also encouraging people who want to get their shopping done and don’t want to wait five or six days for your [listing] to end.”Whether you decide to offer free shipping or not, make sure you ship sold items quickly, says Kitchener. “The main thing we do is ship fast, especially at Christmastime,” he says. “You get all kinds of people with deadlines.” Dangerous Threads ships via the U.S. Postal Service and FedEx Ground, and usually ships items within 24 to 48 hours, which gives most shoppers enough cushion to make sure their items arrive in time for the holidays.Because of those deadlines, take extra care to clearly explain shipping policies in your listings. Consider how you could simplify your shipping policies to make everything as fast and easy as possible for the hurried gift-purchaser. Says Hassler, “We include a standard shipping rate to the U.S., Canada and other international locations so people aren’t slowed down by having to write to us and ask for [the shipping costs].”When designing holiday listings, make sure your terms include accepting payment through PayPal. Faster payment means faster shipping, which makes it easier for shoppers to make their deadlines.To make it even more likely that gift-buyers will make their deadlines, you can and should consider refusing to guarantee holiday arrival after a certain date. “People will buy things on the 23rd of December, expecting to have them before Christmas,” explains Hassler. “That’s been a problem, so we’ll quit having [listings] a few days before.”Kitchener stops selling some products much earlier, particularly custom items. “We make some beautiful custom guitar straps,” he says, “and we’ll cut off the orders for those about three weeks before Christmas because of the shop time required to make the items.” Be sure not to promise buyers items you can’t deliver.Hess employs a more complex solution. As the number of days before Christmas shrinks, Hess Fine Art reduces the lengths of its listings. From the usual 10 days, Hess goes to seven-, five-, three- and even one-day listings. The formula is simple: “Count the days to Christmas, subtract the days for shipping, and figure when those auctions will end.”Selling PoliciesYou should also consider your terms of sale. Start by thinking about adding more Buy It Now items. “Impulse buys are better that way,” says Hassler, who does primarily Buy It Now sales during the holidays instead of the auction-style listings that are her usual method. “People don’t want to wait a week to get a book that someone else may have on Buy It Now.” To increase the speed of the sale, use Buy It Now with immediate payments through PayPal. The transaction is instantaneous and saves you critical time spent waiting for payment.During the holidays, it may be more important for you to offer PayPal Buyer Credit, which allows your buyers to finance their purchases through GE Money Bank, the financial entity behind PayPal Buyer Credit. “During the rest of the year, it might not be worthwhile for some sellers,” says Sinclair. “But during Christmas, when everyone is scrambling for money to buy gifts, they might [offer] it for one month.”When everyone is scrambling, they’re more likely to buy the wrong item, one that doesn’t fit, or one that just isn’t what the recipient had in mind. For that reason, returns tend to go up during and shortly after the holidays. So it’s important to keep a relaxed attitude toward customers who, after being relatively easy to please all year, have suddenly turned uncertain, demanding and difficult during the holidays.”You have to be a little more liberal and a little more giving and caring,” as Hess puts it. “You have to be more friendly and more forgiving, because clients are more emotional then in their buying habits.” Experienced eBay sellers say there’s not always an obvious reason why some items move better during nonholiday periods, but it does happen. Jeff Hess, owner of Hess Fine Art in St. Petersburg, Florida, says, “It’s difficult to sell large diamonds on eBay [during the holiday season]. Not expensive diamond jewelry–[that’s] easy to sell. But large solitaires, one carat and up, are difficult.”Likewise, holiday shoppers at Dangerous Threads, based in Nashville, Tennessee, snub the leather-craft supplies that are mainstays the rest of the year. Owner Bob Kitchener thinks he knows why. “It stands to reason,” he says. “You don’t want to hand somebody a gift of a pile of rivets.” Generally, experts say, holiday-unfriendly items can be anything not usually regarded as a gift.Celebrate All Year LongDon’t assume you’ve got it made because you nailed Christmas. The final quarter is the biggest for most eBay sellers, but it’s not the only important holiday season. For some on eBay, it’s not even the most important. “Halloween is a real good one,” says online sales expert Debra Schepp. Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day herald sales surges for flowers, perfume, candy and jewelry; themed decorations can be hot for Easter and the Fourth of July.Make a List, Check it Twice…You’ll be in great shape to take advantage of the busy holiday season if you prepare in advance for the rush. This handy checklist will help you prioritize what needs to be done:Get started early, as many consumers start their holiday shopping as early as October.Sign up for PayPal, and offer it on all your listings.Check your eBay preferences, and update your listing and shipping policies if necessary. You can also change your default template to give your pages a “holiday” theme.Find reliable supply sources. Make sure they’ll be able to deliver when they say they can.If you sell custom-made items, stock up on bestsellers, and start your listings early.Gather marketplace data via a Completed Listings search or other method.Sell in-demand products to boost sales this holiday season. Check Seller Central for hot items.For a useful merchandising and promotion calendar of important dates, visit http://pages.ebay.com/sellercentral/calendar.html.Check third-party sources for the scoop on what’s hot. Terapeak Marketing Research offers its own “Hot List” reports, based on eBay data going back as far as a year. The buzz on upcoming movies can be found at ComingSoon.net and Internet Movie Database. And check out “Hot Stuff” on page 48 for our preview of 2005’s top sellers.Assess staffing requirements, and hire temps if necessary.Order ebay/usps co-branded shipping boxes from the U.S. Postal Service.Order wrapping paper and gift enclosure cards. The eBay Shop sells eBay wrapping paper; type “paper” into the search box to find it.Reconfigure your shipping assembly line to accommodate special requests, such as wrapping gifts and shipping directly to gift recipients.Explain shipping prices and policies clearly to buyers. Consider offering free shipping on Buy It Now items.Save the DatesYour customers expect their purchases to arrive on time for the holidays, so it’s critical you ensure every item ships when you say it will. These guidelines on shipping basics can help you stay on top of deadlines–and keep your customers happy:Make sure last-minute shoppers know your terms and policies. Tell them clearly and in advance if what they’re buying won’t arrive in time, or if getting it there requires extra shipping fees.Keep in mind that neither FedEx nor UPS delivers on Christmas Day; however, both offer one-day shipping services. An item shipped on December 23 will arrive the next day. The U.S. Postal Service does not deliver normal mail on Christmas Day. However, if an order is shipped using Express Mail, the USPS will attempt delivery on December 25, unless it’s a Sunday.Priority Mail from USPS, which usually takes two to three days to deliver, can take up to two weeks in the busy month of December, so plan accordingly. Guaranteed service by your carrier of choice is the best way to go.Different deadlines apply when you’re shipping internationally, so check with your carrier in advance for details.Hot StuffBefore making your list of products to stock this holiday season, make sure you check out the latest “Hot Categories Report”. As you approach the high tide of holiday sales, the reports available here will tell you where both demand and bids for items are growing.But why stop there? There’s a lot more you can do to find out what is likely to sell well for the holidays. For instance, some categories are always in demand. Perennial holiday winners include cameras, cell phones, clothing, collectibles, dolls and bears, electronics, jewelry and watches, sporting goods and, of course, toy and hobby items.Want to know which items will be especially hot this year? Check the roster of Hollywood films slated for holiday release, suggests Jim Migdal, senior category manager for eBay Toys & Hobbies. “Those always drive sales,” he explains.With that in mind, this December 9, Walt Disney Co. will release The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, based on the perpetually popular children’s books by C.S. Lewis. You can find more info on upcoming movies at ComingSoon.net and Internet Movie Database.You can also find information about the categories you specialize in. The scoop on hot toys, for instance, can be found in forecasts by Toy Wishes. In the spring and fall, this journal’s editors list toys they think will be most in demand during the summer and holiday seasons. Another way to find forecasts for what will be hot this holiday season: Type “holiday watch 2005” into an internet search engine, and check out the results.Sellers of dolls and collectibles can reliably predict increased demand for certain items during the holidays. Prewar Lionel trains, Hot Wheels cars from the 1960s, and bisque dolls from France and Germany are always scarce and in demand at the holidays, explains Migdal.Climate also plays a role with holiday hot-sellers such as sporting goods and clothing. That’s why ski jackets will tend to outsell bathing suits. And when it comes to popular categories such as electronics and jewelry, consider offering more expensive items than you might at other times of the year–shoppers’ wallets are open, and they are, after all, in a giving mood.Finally, keep an eye on current events, and stay alert for one-of-a-kind opportunities. One of these occurred when a manufacturer mistakenly made just 6,000 Polar Express trains. Says Migdal, “They sold out very quickly, and we saw them on eBay for two or three times the list price.” For the latest hot sellers by category, go to Seller Central. Click on “Category Tips,” then click on “In Demand” under the appropriate category.Mark Henricks writes on business and technology for leading publications and is author of Not Just a Living. Everyone else may be getting out their sweaters, but on eBay, holiday time is the hottest season. For many brick-and-mortar retailers, November and December are the make-it-or-break-it months, when the offline world racks up as much as 50 percent of annual sales and an even larger percentage of profits. So it’s not surprising that eBay sellers report that the holidays are important to them as well. “We probably do a little more than a third of our business in that period of time,” says Jenanne Hassler (eBay User ID: jenanne), who, along with her husband, sells an average of $3,000 worth of video games and video-game books each month on eBay from Waynesville, North Carolina.Many larger eBay sellers have similar experiences. Jeff Hess, 54, owner of Hess Fine Art in St. Petersburg, Florida, does close to $5 million annually on eBay, selling vintage watches, jewelry, art and antiques. About 25 percent are holiday sales, says Hess (eBay User ID: hessfine), who adds that since he began emphasizing eBay over his brick-and-mortar store several years ago, the holidays have become even more important. “In the past, like most vintage retailers, we didn’t have a very active Christmas season,” Hess says. “Our season was essentially over by November 15. With the advent of eBay, we found we were more like the standard Christmas holiday retailers, [which see an increase during the holiday season].”There are a couple of reasons why the holidays are critical for eBay sellers. One is that eBay increases its advertising budget during the holidays, executing a wide array of marketing, advertising and promotional tactics to encourage buying holiday gifts on eBay. Every retailer should take advantage of the significant effort eBay makes to drive traffic to its site during this crucial time of year.Another reason is that eBay is so mainstream, it can’t help but be affected by society as a whole, says Debra Schepp, a writer in Middletown, Maryland, who co-authored eBay PowerSeller Secrets: Insider Tips From eBay’s Most Successful Sellers. “It’s becoming more and more true as people are more comfortable with shopping on eBay–and devoted to shopping on eBay,” Schepp says. “Plus, there are lots of things that make it convenient [for buyers] to shop on eBay, like the fact that you can offer [them] gift-wrapping and direct shipping to recipients. That makes eBay competitive with any online shopping [destination].” The proof, Schepp says, is the fact that the biggest shopping day of the year–the day after Thanksgiving–is the same for both offline retailers and eBay sellers.Best SellersSince making the most of the holiday season is a priority for most businesses on eBay, where do you start? First and foremost, sell what people want to buy. So what are the hottest holiday items on eBay? “It all depends on what you’re selling,” says Marsha Collier, author of eBay Business All-in-One Desk Reference for Dummies. “That’s the magic [of] eBay. People can come and buy just about anything, and people want just about anything.”The holiday hotties on eBay tend to mirror what’s hot elsewhere (and often what you can’t find elsewhere). As a marketplace of many small sellers rather than one dominated by a few mega-retailers, it’s truly a democratic free-for-all, with the decision about what sells ultimately resting in the hands of the buyers. “Since what’s for sale on eBay isn’t dependent on a big corporation or a bunch of executives deciding what to sell this season, it’s a reflection of what’s happening [all over] America,” Schepp says. “Anything that’s popular somewhere else is going to be turning up on eBay.”With that in mind, eBay sellers who want to make the most of the holidays should make it a point to know what’s selling well in society at large during the period. When an in-demand item is hard to find offline, buyers turn to eBay. For instance, notes Schepp, when the iPod was scarce in traditional brick-and-mortar channels last year, units were still available on eBay–and selling like hot cakes.A few recurring themes outline what makes a product hot during the holidays. For instance, Hassler, 37, says higher-end rare books sell better during the holidays than at other times of the year. In other words, if you’re selling products like watches during the holidays, think Rolex. Bundled products–items sold together at a special price–are also better sellers during that period, Hassler says: “It’s a focus on items that may not sell during the [rest of the] year because you’re not going to buy them for yourself, but you’re going to put them on your wish list.”One-of-a-kind custom orders also move better during the holidays for Bob Kitchener, owner of Dangerous Threads, a Nashville, Tennessee, eBay retailer of leather goods and craft items (eBay User ID: bobkitchener). “Custom stuff is really good at Christmastime, along with customized things like [guitar] straps and belts with names on them,” says Kitchener, 53.The price tag is likewise a key indicator of what will sell for Hess. “It seems like everything expensive sells better during the holidays,” he explains.To know everything about what sells, you’d have to survey all eBay sellers, or at least a large sample of them. Luckily, you can use a variety of tools that track, analyze and report on the bestselling items instead. The “Hot Categories Report” is an eBay tool for sellers that lists Hot, Very Hot and Super Hot categories each month based on factors including month-over-month bid growth, bids-per-item and conversion rate. To view the report, go to Seller Central, click on “What’s Hot,” then click “Hot Items by Category.” eBay Pulse gives you a sense in real time of what people are looking for. You can also find out what items are hot in a particular category by going to Seller Central, clicking on “Category Tips,” and clicking on “In Demand” under any category.There are also third-party sources for information on what’s hot for the holidays. Terapeak Marketing Research licenses eBay transaction data and goes back as far as a year to provide its own “Hot List” reports. Andale is a third-party subscription service that includes detailed research tools, including information on hot-selling products.Finally, don’t neglect to place at least some trust in your own well-honed instincts, advises Jim Migdal, senior category manager for eBay Toys & Hobbies. He’s been impressed and occasionally amazed at how eBay retailers seem to intuitively stay ahead of hot-item trends. “Our sellers just have a nose for that stuff,” he says. “And they find it and get it on the site.” It’s All in the Timing Holiday selling isn’t, in fact, all about having fun and making a bunch of money. The holidays present special challenges in addition to trickier sourcing and more frequent returns.For instance, if you gift-wrap and send items directly to the recipients, you won’t be protected by the PayPal Seller Protection Policy, because that applies only when items are sent to verified addresses. You’ll need to decide how much your customers will appreciate being able to ship wrapped gifts directly to recipients, and balance that against the value of PayPal coverage. “It is very convenient to have items shipped directly to the recipient,” says Collier, who adds that you don’t have to advertise your gift-wrap policy, but can apply it on a case-by-case basis. “If you get a special request and the person has a good feedback rating and you’re comfortable with the situation, you might want to do it,” she says. If you do choose to offer gift services, practice your due diligence. It’s a great strategy for the holidays that could lead to many more sales.Another issue: Since every other holiday-savvy eBay seller is going to be tuned in and looking for the next hot product, it’s going to be that much harder for you to be first. And if you do happen to find yourself with a garage full of hot-selling items, your holiday-happy rivals may realize it nearly as soon as you do and flood the market with their own similar items. “If you find something is selling really well, you can’t be complacent with it,” warns Schepp. “Ultimately, it’s going to show up on the hot list, and everybody’s going to see it. You can easily end up with an overstocked item when the bottom drops out.” Use eBay resources such as the “Hot Categories Report” and Completed Items searches to keep tabs on the competition and avoid having too much “me, too” product on hand.Remember, as eBay has grown into a global, multi-cultural phenomenon, the meaning of the holidays has gotten less clear in terms of the entire audience of buyers on eBay. So while you should certainly try to take advantage of the end-of-the-year gifting binge, it’s also important to do it in a way that recognizes cultural differences. Many eBay buyers don’t celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or other year-end holidays, or they celebrate differently.For instance, in Canada, the biggest shopping day of the year is traditionally not the day after Thanksgiving, but the day after Christmas, a holiday known as Boxing Day and celebrated in Australia, Canada, Great Britain and New Zealand. Keep such differences in mind. Advertising only a “holiday sale” instead of a “Christmas sale” will help you remain inclusive. “You need to be selling for everybody,” advises Collier, who suggests simply promoting a “sale” in your listing titles and saving the rest of the character count for important keywords.If there’s one overriding and enduring theme to the holidays, it may be that this is when you should keep an open mind, be creative and be willing to do things differently. While it’s certainly nice to get some extra sales at the holidays, it can be even better to learn something new that will help sustain your sales throughout the year. “The holidays are a great time to experiment because there’s a lot of traffic,” says Sinclair. “If you want to experiment with what sells and what doesn’t, what sells better on sale and off, you’ll get better feedback during the holidays than at other times of year.” Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. August 31, 2005
This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now Enroll Now for Free March 5, 2013 No assembly required: Randy Adams’ CrowdCall streamlines group calling.Photo © David Fenton SocialDial was a simple idea: an app that would call contacts through their LinkedIn profiles, without users having to know the phone number. But a few months and 50,000 downloads after the app’s 2011 launch, SocialDial co-founder Randy Adams and his partners realized that a group-calling option that was “buried under two or three layers of menus” was being used far more than any other feature.The popularity of that feature led the team to ditch the original service and launch CrowdCall, a specialized conference-calling app available for iOS and Android smartphones and the web. Instead of scheduling a dial-in line, e-mailing all parties involved and then hoping everyone calls at the appointed time, CrowdCall’s interface lets users choose up to 20 participants from their contacts list and LinkedIn connections and dial them immediately (assuming the contacts have added their phone number to their LinkedIn profiles). When participants answer, they simply push “1” to enter the conference–they don’t even need to have the app to participate.The pivot worked. Approximately three months after the mobile launch last spring, roughly 100,000 people were using the app on a weekly basis. The majority of users were taking advantage of the free version (limited to 500 minutes per month). Revenue from sales of premium versions–priced at $9.99 for 1,000 minutes per month; $49.99 for 10,000 minutes; or $99.99 for unlimited calling–reached nearly $100,000 about four months after launch. Adams’ CrowdCall is now used for some 30,000 calls in the U.S. per month.The app has a mix of commercial and consumer users, but one feature in particular makes it attractive to small businesses. Because the call originator controls invitations, unauthorized participants can’t use dial-in information to access the call, providing a measure of security when discussing sensitive information.Word-of-mouth has been the app’s growth driver–each time someone receives a CrowdCall, that person become a potential customer. “We haven’t spent a dime trying to acquire users,” Adams says.So far the company has raised more than $1 million to launch the app and is working on acquiring $5 million in venture funding, which it hopes to close by the end of the year. That money will be used to build out infrastructure, including an investment in servers to better handle overwhelming demand.Sounds like a good call. 2 min read This story appears in the February 2013 issue of . Subscribe »
Problem Solvers with Jason Feifer Hear from business owners and CEOs who went through a crippling business problem and came out the other side bigger and stronger. February 6, 2014 Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. 3 min read Sony is shuttering its computer business, refocusing its TV division on high-end units and laying off 5,000 people. It is also predicting a massive loss of 110 billion yen, or $1.1 billion, for the fiscal year, a drastic change from its prediction three months ago of a 30-billion yen profit ($294 million).There was a time, long ago, when it looked as if Japanese electronics companies — and foremost among them Sony — would take over the world. But no longer. Apple and Samsung dominate the consumer market for tablets and smartphones, and Sony is now being forced to undergo costly restructuring to survive.Sony’s TV business has long been a loser. It has cost the electronics giant $7.8 billion over the past decade, according to Reuters. Sony plans to spin it off into a subsidiary company by July of this year, hoping to streamline processes and return it to profitability by the end of the fiscal year ending March 31, 2015.To some observers, this move could look like preparation for disposing of the TV division altogether. But Sony chief Kazuo Hirai told reporters in Tokyo that “we have absolutely no plan” to sell off the TV business, according to Reuters. The way forward, Hirai thinks, lies in high-end models, especially ultra-high-definition 4K TVs, which have yet to go mainstream.Related: 10 Thoughts on Tech, Trends and Innovation at CES 2014Sony will be posting a net loss for the fifth time in six years. As part of restructuring, the Japanese electronics maker will let go more than 3 percent of its global work force by March 2015. The company expects the layoffs to save 100 billion yen, or $1 billion, in annual costs. As of September 2013, Sony had 145,800 employees.Sony’s computer business is also a goner. After spring 2014, when its final lineup of personal computers will launch, Sony will stop manufacturing and selling computers. Its PC business will be sold to Japan Industrial Partners, an investment fund, and about 250 to 300 Sony employees will move to the new company which the fund will set up to manage the PC business.Even Sony’s successes are somewhat muted. Its Playstation 4 gaming console is on pace to beat sales expectations of 5 million units by the end of March. But this latest iteration of the popular Playstation was so expensive to develop that it will take two years to break even on the console, Sony said.One Sony division is performing admirably, however. The financial services unit did so well in the fiscal quarter from October to December 2013 that Sony managed to post an operating profit of more than 90 billion yen, nearly twice the previous year’s amount.Related: This New Startup Aims to Revolutionize Selling Your Old Electronics Listen Now
December 19, 2014 Imagine shooting like a bullet from San Francisco to Los Angeles in only 30 minutes, zipping at just below the speed of sound through a steel vacuum tube, strapped into a spacey aluminum pod. Buh-bye traffic. Hello, Hyperloop.Yes, that Hyperloop – the crazy one Elon Musk proposed as the “fifth mode of transport” back in August 2013 but had no time to realize. (The former PayPal Mafia member was too busy sweating artificial intelligence and making history at the helm of SpaceX and Tesla. Give the guy a break.)Related: Japan Proposes ‘Super-Maglev’ Train Connecting Baltimore to D.C. in 15 MinutesNow, thanks to 100 of some of the world’s smartest engineers and designers, Musk’s Jetson-esque Hyperloop vision isn’t forever on the backburner. The dream team is now officially clocking hours for Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, Inc. [HTT], a unique JumpStartFund collaborative that formed back in September. Its express mission is to rise to the challenge laid out in Musk’s 57-page Hyperloop whitepaper.The company yesterday released several documents detailing its ambitious plans moving forward. On top of needing to raise an estimated $16 billion to bring a commercially viable operation to fruition, the brains at HTT certainly have their work cut out for them. There are plenty of tricky physics, funding, construction and legal roadblocks assured ahead.Related: Here’s Elon Musk’s Plan to Deliver Internet Access to BillionsStill, HTT CEO Dirk Ahlborn says the high-speed, solar-powered transport could become a reality in the next decade or so. If you regularly brave the almost 400-mile drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles — and a lot of commuters do — that’s not soon enough. The Hyperloop could get you there at a brisk 760 mph, in the length of a typical yoga class, in theory at least. And it won’t be terribly expensive. It’s expected to cost around only $30 per quick trip.An L.A.-to-SanFran Hyperloop trip isn’t likely geographically and politically feasible, though, so HTT engineers are looking into alternate routes. Vegas, anyone? Los Angeles to Sin City might be a more attractive first route. Wherever the Hyperloop eventually debuts, yes, please, sign us up for a first ride.Related: Why California Can’t Be Home to the Hyperloop 2 min read