Monthly Archives: June 2017

Flexible Financing For Veterans Interested In Vegas Luxury At The Ogden

the ogden web

Over 22 million veterans have achieved homownership through the VA Home Loan program, a special program run by the Department of Veteran Affairs for the United States armed forces. And quite a few of them seem to have taken up residence in Las Vegas.

More specifically, they’ve taken up residence in The Ogden, an iconic 21-story tall high-rise condominium tower, situated right in downtown Las Vegas. The building has sold over 65% of its properties so far, with more than 10% being owned by active or retired military personnel.

Thanks to the community’s flexible financing options, low maintenance requirements, great security, and spacious floor plans, it’s no wonder so many veterans flocked to the building.

Stephanie Reese, the Director of Sales for The Ogden, says that it’s thanks to their partnership with The Federal Savings Bank that they house so many former and current members of the armed forces.

“We partner with The Federal Savings Bank, one of the largest privately held, veteran-owned banks in the United States, to make home ownership a reality for many buyers who otherwise wouldn’t be in a position to finance a mortgage.”

Unlike a conventional loan in which buyers are required to provide anywhere from 3% to 5% on a down payment, a VA loan allows military personnel that are eligible to buy their homes with no down payment needed. And it offers a lower average interest rate than most other loans.

Marylou Soto, a retired the United States Air Force veteran, purchased her home at The Ogden because it offered a very short commute to her family-owned business. She’s had many positive things to say about her experience at the luxury tower.

“I now wonder what took me so long to convert to this lifestyle given how little maintenance is required to take care of my home. I was sold on The Ogden’s sense of security, its location in the heart of downtown Las Vegas where there is so much to do, see and experience, as well as the tower’s friendly staff and neighbors that truly make it feel like home.”

There are many other such stories from the residents at The Ogden, as veterans from all over the nation have made their way to the residence. Some have traveled even as far as from Wisconsin, leaving their previous suburban lives behind, to live closer to the downtown location.

The building is owned by DK Las Vegas, and since acquiring it in 2013, they have made a $2 million investment into renovating it — refreshing the lobby and adding new upgrades throughout all residences, including lighting, hardwood floors, granite countertops, and much more.

They’ve even added a rooftop pool.

The location itself serves as a prime spot for veterans young and old, with more than 150 restaurants right outside. These include some of Vegas’ most popular eateries, bars, and attractions, adding even more excitement to the ever-changing downtown Las Vegas.

For those interested, The Ogden offers flexible financing options, included VA and Fannie Mae-backed loans, making it easier for buyers to get their dream home. The homes in the tower range from a two-bedroom 1,180-square-foot residence at a mid $300,000 price, to a larger three-bedroom and den starting in the low $500,000.

The second option is around 2,044 square-foot per home.

The Ogden hopes to keep attracting veterans and other interested home buyers and to give a true downtown Las Vegas feel to everyone staying there.

Amazon’s New Patent Allows Retailers to Block Online Searches for Cheaper Products

amazon_logo_RGBAmazon has created a patent that isn’t going over well with their thousands of customers.

Recently, the massive e-retailer has been granted a patent that will stop a shopper from comparing prices of an item in-store to one online. Typically, when shopping online, 44% of consumers start their search with a search engine, which is a helpful way to read online reviews and comparison shop for cheaper items.

However, this patent won’t allow price comparisons with online retailers anymore. Instead, the patent will notice when online shoppers are in a store and look online for comparable, albeit cheaper, items and then intercept them as a way to entice the shopper to buy in person instead of online.

How it works is simple. The patent, known as Physical Store Online Shopping Control, is a mechanism where the retailer will intercept network requests that happen on its in-store Wi-Fi, and then each retailer will be able to handle these requests however they choose. For example, if someone is in an electronics store and searches online for a smartphone at a cheaper price, the electronic store’s Wi-Fi can intercept this request, then either offer the customer a coupon or block the search altogether in efforts to keep the customer in-store.

Additionally, Amazon’s patent will be able to locate exactly where the customer is in the store using a triangulated system based off of wireless access points. This is then helpful for the store clerks so they can go and speak to the customer in person in hopes of securing a sale.

According to Business Insider, Amazon believes that even though this patent can potentially take business away from their company, it’s an important way for retailers to stay afloat in a world that is becoming ever-reliant on online shopping.

Amazon’s patent explains:

“[A] negative scenario may exist for a physical store retailer when a consumer evaluates items at the physical store, leverages physical store sales representatives, and then reviews pricing information online in order to purchase the same item from an online retailer.The physical store retailer pays for floor space, sales representative time, product inventory management, and other costs while not being able to complete a sales transaction.”

While the patent was filed in 2012, it was only recently approved. However, there is no word on when the patent will go live and be used nationwide.

How HR Technology Could Save Indian Corporations Millions

customer service woman smiling

Being a manager at a large company can be an exhausting experience, especially if one has to deal with employee and customer issues daily. The average workplace manager spends up to 40% of their time dealing with conflicts, whether that’s with customers or employees.

Handling these issues alone can create a frustrating work environment and even cost companies money in the long term as productivity is reduced.

According to studies done with corporations in India, it is estimated that Indian companies spend nearly $500 million towards managing full-time employees. These costs do not include the managing of part-time employees or any other open talent worker management.

These costs are projected to grow, said PeopleStrong, an HR outsourcing company, to journalist organization LiveMint. But they also believe that the influence of HR technologies to handle both employees and customers could be incredibly beneficial to the industry. PeopleStrong stated:

“With the movement of more people from unorganized to organized segment, the number of employees working in organized setup would double by 2021 and the cost of managing employees would rise to about $2 billion. By 2021, HR Technology can help companies save at least 30% of $2 billion annually, which would amount to $600 million approximately.”

Many industry veterans are in agreement that HR technologies could help companies cut management costs in the coming years, and IT industry veteran T.V. Mohandas Pai believes the annual cost reduction could be as much as 25% to 30%.

“Clearly there is a movement amongst startups,” he says. “Big enterprises are slower but there is movement. Startups have a clean slate…with no legacy, and look for the latest and cheapest technology on subscription basis.”

However, one of the biggest hurdles about HR technology has always been its adoption. HR technology is not new to the area, having been around as early as 1990.

At the moment, functions like talent acquisition, learning and development, and performance measurements are being done using HR technology. Research done by PeopleStrong shows that many traditional jobs in HR that focus around data collation, approvals, and other similar work have been replaced by technology.

It is believed that new HR jobs which focus on analytics, program management, vendor and productivity management, as well as employee experience, will replace existing roles.

VR Water Slides And Movie Star Pool Expansions – A Wild Start To The Summer

Boy at aqua park

This summer is turning out to be a waterslide heaven for the world, with many locations either opening up new water parks, creating new water slides, or celebrating the smoothest water slide exit some individuals have ever seen.

All across both the United States and some parts of Europe, there has been a rising prominence of both physical water slides and even virtual ones.

That’s right, a virtual water slide has been opened up in the United Kingdom, London specifically, and inside of a clothing store no less.

The slide works by having the customer hop into an inflatable of their choice and put on a virtual-reality headset. They then go down a real slide inside the store, albeit a much smaller one, but thanks to the headset they are simultaneously transported to a massive and more intense computer program.

“The slide begins with you teetering over the top of the Topshop Oxford Street building before looping across the iconic Oxford Street in a white knuckle ride that feels very real,” InStyle UK reported.

But outside of the virtual world and overseas news, there was also an opening of a new water slide for thrill seekers back here at home — the new Universal Orlando Resort Krakatau Aqua Coaster.

After boarding Krakatau’s four-seat canoes, passengers experience the water slide’s 125-foot drop and zoom throughout the expansive volcano. This experience comes with pulsates of water by day and hosts colorful lava effects at night. Its plentiful drops give the passengers serious airtime but it mimics the motion of a roller coaster on land with the way it propels them back upwards.

It offers a really intense zero-gravity experience.

Bringing the water slide to the home has also become an apparent trend for those with the money and space to do so, with Angelina Jolie recently obtaining a 100-foot water slide for her pool to help her children have more fun in the summer sun. This may be out of the budget for most people, but bringing the water slide fun home doesn’t have to be limited to movie stars.

After all, the largest inflatable water slide in the world was a record 1,975 feet long. The ones rentable from a local store might not be that big, but they’ll surely provide a fun time for any home or party.

Hawaiian Bill Can Help Seniors Gracefully Age in Place

A first-of-its-kind health care bill has been passed in the state of Hawaii.

The bill, known as Kapuna Care, is meant to help fund in-home care for seniors and is just waiting for the Governor’s signature to go into effect.

Above anything else, the bill was inspired by the giving culture many Hawaiians follow. Kapuna, the Hawaiian word for seniors, is used like the word “grandparent” but also brings the meaning of wisdom, guidance, and experience. In naming the bill Kapuna Care, the Hawaiian government is sending a message that they are willing to help their senior residents gracefully age in place.

The inspiration behind the bill is that in Hawaiian culture, it is expected of the younger members of the family to take care of their grandparents. Most of the time, this places a burden on the children and grandchildren, who normally have to pay for the in-home care nurses out of their own pocket.

“If children already live in Hawaii, they often have to quit their jobs to stay at home to care for aging parents, which may result in financial disaster for the family and a loss of tax revenue of the state,” the House bill explains, as reported by Home Health Care News.

So to help, the bill would provide $70 daily to seniors who are not living in a care facility, as a means to offset their health care costs. This cost can be used to cover nurses, physical therapists, and even food care, along with home health care insurance. Considering that the injury rate for home health care workers is about 50% greater than that of hospital workers, there will be even more to worry about in terms of financial autonomy.

Considering that about one-third of all adults between ages 40 and 70 care for an aging relative, once signed, this bill will help out many families and perhaps cause a trickle-down effect for other states to follow.

Can of Hairspray Explodes in Vancouver Woman’s Car, Gets Lodged in Windshield

broken-glass-269716_960_720Most of the time, windshield damages are caused by pebbles, rocks, and other roadside debris. However, one unusual situation in Vancouver leaves experts warning drivers everywhere of an unexpected risk during the hot summer months — aerosol cans.

Late last month, Karmen Ayres returned to her car after work to find a can of hairspray lodged in her windshield.

“Saw my window and instantly thought something had fell from the sky,” Ayres told WTSP. “But sure enough, it was my hairspray that exploded, and it was in the back seat… it’s a far distance to travel and with a lot of force to break through the window.”

With temperatures in the low 90s for the day, Portland Fire Lt. Rich Chatman attributes the excessive heat as the cause of the explosion.

“They say at 90 degrees, the interior of a car can reach over 140 degrees in less than 30 minutes,” he said.

Most parents know they shouldn’t leave children (or pets) alone in a car, but even an empty car can be damaged in the hot sun. Almost 40 million used cars are sold by private sellers and dealerships every year, and Chatman wants to emphasize that aerosol cans simply cannot withstand temperatures exceeding 120 degrees.

“When things heat up, they expand. So when you have those pressurized containers … it’s going to want to release,” he said. “She had a missile in her car. You saw the damage it did to the window, that could do a lot of a damage if it were to strike somebody.”

When it comes to damaged windshields, stone-breaks up to two inches in diameter and single line cracks up to 14 inches are usually repairable, but it seems like Ayres may need a whole new windshield after the unexpected blast. Most modern windshields can withstand tension stress up to approximately 9,400 psi. However, even a small crack or chip can reduce the windshield strength to just 800 to 1,500 psi.

To be safe, Chatman recommends removing all aerosol cans and butane lighters from vehicles on particularly warm days, even if drivers won’t be away from their vehicle for long.

“I just never thought it would happen to me,” said Ayres.

Unfair Treatment In the Workplace Is Costing the Tech Industry Billions of Dollars

There is an abundance of money to be found inside the technology industry, but that money can be lost as quickly as it can be gained. Employee turnover can ruin a small-town business all the way up to a major corporation — and the tech industry is no exception.

A good strategy that successful businesses implement to cut down on high turnover rates is structured employee on-boarding programs for new hires. New hires that undergo quality on-boarding programs are actually 58% more likely to stay with that organization for more than three years.

It is much more cost effective to retain current employees rather than hiring new ones and beginning the on-boarding process all over again.

“If marking is the outward manifestation of your brand, then culture is its internal embodiment,” said Noah Brier, the co-founder of Perlocate. “That begins with on-boarding.”

As Talent Space reports, the costs of losing talented employees can range anywhere from 30% to 400% of the individual employee’s annual salary. The average cost is 150% of the employee’s yearly salary and carries based on position, experience level, schooling, skill set, and more.

Office cleanliness can even have an impact on employee turnover. Since employees in clean offices have an 80% reduced probability of catching the flu or common cold, employees much prefer clean environments. If an office is too dirty or covered in peoples’ germs, employees are going to get sick more often and have a much worse view of that organization.

Perhaps the biggest contributing factor in employee turnover, however, (especially in the technology industry) is unfair treatment.

According to e27, unfair treatment in the workplace is costing the entire tech industry $16 billion in losses.

A study performed by the Kapor Center for Social Impact and Harris Poll details what exactly contributes to quality talent leaving businesses and what organizations can do to prevent such high turnover. The study surveyed a nationally representative sample of American citizens who had left a technology-based job within the last three years.

The four main takeaways of the study were:

  • Workplace unfairness significantly drives employee turnover.
  • Experiences are drastically different across groups.
  • Unfairness turnover costs $16 billion annually.
  • Successful diversity and inclusion initiatives can reduce turnover and improve company culture.

The survey found that, although there are plenty of reasons for employee turnover across the country, unfair treatment was the single largest reason. This driver impacts underrepresented professionals significantly, as well.

Researchers Discover New Anti-Aging Antioxidant

Scientists may have discovered a new treatment for aging and thinning skin. An antioxidant known as methylene blue has now been identified by researchers as a link in the reduction of wrinkles due to its ability to thicken the skin.

A study of methylene blue’s effects was published by the University of Maryland in Scientific Reports. The research was conducted by Zheng Mei-Zhong, Mike O’Donovan, Linlin Sun, Ji Young Choi, and others who used a 3-D model of human skin formed by the cells of middle-aged subjects. After four weeks, the scientists were able to conclude that the treatment and application of methylene blue to the surface of the skin resulted in an improvement in “skin viability, promoted wound healing, and increased skin hydration and dermis thickness.”

The top layer of the skin, called the epidermis, has the thickness of a tenth of a millimeter. The major cause of aging is oxidative stress, which promotes cellular senescence, or deterioration, resulting in an “aging” appearance of the epidermis. By thickening the skin, methylene blue reduces wrinkling, weakened wound healing, and pigmentation such as dark spots.

According to Scientific Reports, methylene blue is “a traditional mitochondrial-targeting antioxidant” that is “effective in stimulating skin fibroblast proliferation and delaying cellular senescence.” That is to say, methylene blue is a more effective antioxidant than other widely used antioxidants that work to target the mitochondria within skin cells to fight off aging.

With its lack of skin irritability, methylene blue may be the future of skin care. Its anti-aging qualities may soon be added to natural anti-aging skin care products such as creams and lotions. Wrinkles, thanks to methylene blue and the researchers who’ve discovered its fountain of youth qualities, may soon be obsolete.

Shipping Container Uses Range From Mineral Transportation to a Portable Tiki Bar

There are currently 17 million shipping containers in the world, of all different shapes and sizes, but only 6 million are actually in use. That means 11 million shipping containers are just sitting there, unused.

These containers can obviously be used to ship various products across oceans, like companies purchasing tungsten, an element first discovered in 1781, so they can find more conflict-free minerals, but there are plenty of other uses that are a little more creative.

Entire communities can actually be built with these unused 11 million containers used as housing units.

According to The Hill, however, even areas that are trying to turn shipping containers into homes have to battle local governments and residents to do so.

“Not in my backyard,” is the sentiment that many people are sharing who don’t want new forms of housing to come into fruition, no matter how convenient. “At the end of the day, I certainly would not want a container home next to my house,” said a member of the Cape Girardeau Planning and Zoning Commission.

Despite the backlash, people are still trying to build these shipping container homes and live inside them, comfortably. Typically, a 20-foot container in good condition can cost between $1,400 and $2,800 and can result in nearly 500 square feet of livable space. Also, because these containers are air-tight, water-tight, and fire and wind resistant, they meet hurricane requirements, too, as they can sustain winds up to 175 miles per hour.

These homes can even last 100 years as long as the owner provides regular maintenance.

These shipping containers, however, can be used for more than just transporting or living inside. Over the last few years, workspaces have become smaller and smaller, and by choice. The average individual workstation has shrunk 80 square feet from 1992 to only 39 square feet thing year — that’s because individuals are looking to smaller offices like shipping containers to do their business.

According to Time Out, a portable shipping container, Marie’s Tek-Tec, will be delivering delicious drinks to the people of Long Beach, California this summer.

“It’s tiki with a Latin twist — so that means taking the Polynesian roots of the tiki cocktail and infusing as much as we can from Peru downward. We’re trying to blend the rich history of Mesoamerica — the myths, the deities, the art — into this bar,” said Robert Molina, owner of Marie’s Tek-Tec.

Scientists Create the World’s First Organic Circuit Board Using Human DNA and Yeast Cells

Until recently technology and biology were two separate entities. However, within the last few years, there has been more research than ever when it comes to technology and the human body working together. Electronic circuit network grunge background

In particular, the circuit board and living cells and how they are more similar than once thought.

Both are capable of holding and processing an incredible amount of information, and now biologists have come up with a way to incorporate them together. Researchers at the University of Washington have recently published a study where they have created a new technique to turn living cells into computers.

As explained in the journal Nature Communications, biologists installed the organic equivalent of the digital logic gates used in electronics as a way to manually code instructions to the cell. The goal is that a particular input would create a specific output.

While typical circuit boards are assembled by machines and have a standard turnaround time of five days or less, these organic processors are created by hand using DNA technology and yeast cells.

Within their experiment, the scientists build the largest organic circuit board in the world and created seven logic gates. These gates consisted of a gene with three programmable portions of DNA –two of the chunks acted as inputs, the third an output receiver. Researchers also created specialized programmable molecular gatekeepers whose job was to specifically determine if a particular gate will open to receptors or not.

When the gates are active and open, a signal is sent to deactivate another gate within the circuit, allowing scientists to wire together gates to create their own programs in the cell.

This discovery is a large step forward for the world of synthetic biology, as the opportunities are really endless in what scientists will be able to create with this impressive technology. Electrical engineering professor Eric Klavins explained to Seeker some different possibilities:

“Cells could be reprogrammed to undergo new developmental pathways, to regrow organs, or to develop entirely new ones. In such developing tissues, cells have to make complex digital decisions about what genes to express and when, and our technology could be used to control that process.”

Additionally, this technology could be used to make biofuels.

However, the world of organic circuit boards is slowly evolving, so the world will have to wait to see what else is to be discovered when it comes to this impressive technology!