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Sun, 29 Apr 2007 15:04:36 GMT

At What Point Do Gas Prices Make You Change Your Behavior?

At What Point Do Gas Prices Make You Change Your Behavior?
I saw this Bloomberg article yesterday talking about the possibility of us seeing $4 per gallon gas in the near future: Gasoline inventories, measured by the days of demand they will cover, are at the lowest level in two decades for this time of year because of refinery fires, power failures and maintenance work oil companies failed to complete in 2006. No new U.S. refinery has been built in three decades, increasing the strain on existing plants. But the article goes on to explain that when gas prices went over $3 and everyone was griping about it, the demand for gas still was up over previous years.

So what's the breaking point? Is there a magic per-gallon cost or per-fillup cost that would make the average American stop and say, "What are my other options?"

I remember last year there were articles talking about $6 gas in the UK and articles that showed people pay $16 per gallon for bottled water if the cost of smaller bottles is totaled up---basically a way to say that we all get overheated about gas prices but can't seem to put them in perspective.

However, it's easy to cut back on bottled water if you decide it's too expensive, but not necessarily as easy to cut back on gas if your boss expects you at work in the morning. In major cities with easy public transportation, this isn't much of an issue. If you live a five minute walk from work (or, better yet, work at home), this isn't much of an issue. But in the sprawling, exurb America that has come to represent the last 10-20 years (or maybe in reality the past 60 years, post WWII), the price of gas can be a major factor if you have a 45-minute or hour drive each way, every day.

Would $7 per gallon gas make people move closer to jobs, utilize public transport more often, reverse the urban sprawl trend? Or is the magic number even higher? And how long will it be before we find out what that magic number is?

Posted by: Justin McHenry      Read more     Source

Sun, 29 Apr 2007 14:56:18 GMT

50 Ways to Save $50

50 Ways to Save $50
Kara McGrecent post about financial author/speaker Kevin McKinley's 50 ways to save $50, a list that apparently changes a bit depending on his audience. Using McGuire's list, I'll give you a few that I think are good and a few I think are questionable from McKinley's list.

The Good:

Cancel your gym membership.---Nothing is as much of a waste of money as a gym membersip, unless you are truly hardcore. Most are bought and then not used, and then the person doesn't want to cancel the membership because seeing the charge on the credit card gives short-lived motivation to maybe one day work out again.

Say "no" to life insurance on your children.---Life insurance is meant to protect people financially in case you as the family breadwinner die. Most children are not shouldering the burden of a mortgage and car payments, thus they do not need life insurance. Not sure how anyone ever sold this to begin with.

Make "pizza night" early in the week, when deals are better than weekends.---This is absolutely true. All the coupons are for Mondays & Tuesdays when the pizza joints are desperate. Take advantage of their desperation.

The Questionable:

Transfer your credit card balances to a home equity loan. --- On its face, this is smart, as home equity loans have lower interest rates. On the down side, home equity loans are secured loans, meaning failure to pay can put your house in jeopardy, while failing to pay unsecured credit cards can not. Further, if your credit card debt has gotten so bad that your balance is even making you consider this, then what makes you think you have the self control to pay off that home equity loan AND not charge even more to your now no-balance credit cards?

Keep your soda in your car; don't buy it at the gas station. --- I prefer mine cold, which, unless I'm supposed to have a cooler in my car also, means this will not work for me.

Don't buy Girl Scout cookies. Find out how much profit they keep and give that amount of cash instead.---Pigheaded advice. Girl Scout cookies are good. What better excuse is there to get your hands on some Thin Mints?

One of my beefs with lists such as these is that inevitably many of the things that will save you $50 will actually save you $50 over a four-year period and will cost you $50 to implement in the first place, all while taking up valuable hours of your life. Sure, I know VOIP will cut down my phone call costs, but until someone makes it a little simpler to do, I don't feel like dealing with it.

Posted by: Justin McHenry      Read more     Source

Sun, 29 Apr 2007 14:42:06 GMT



Rosie O'Donnell has announced that she will be leaving "The View" in June.

This really doesn't come as any great surprise to me; she has too strong a personality to be part of a show with more than one "host."

Rosie said that she will be back on the show as a guest from time to time and you can readhere.

Despite rumors that Rosie was "put off" the show, it is a fact that she signed on for one year, and that year is up. Since joining "The View" the show has enjoyed renewed interest and improved ratings. It's doubtful that ABC wanted her off; and more likely that it was her decision.

Posted by: jim      Read more     Source

April 24, 2007, 10:54 PM CT

Ceiling Height Can Affect How A Person Thinks

Ceiling Height Can Affect How A Person Thinks
For years contractors, real estate agents and event planners have said that whether building, buying or planning an event, a higher or vaulted ceiling is always better. Are they right? Until now there has been no real evidence that ceiling height has any influence or advantage with consumers. But recent research by Joan Meyers-Levy, a professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management, suggests that the way people think and act is affected by ceiling height.

Meyers-Levy and co-author Rui (Juliet) Zhu, assistant professor of marketing at the Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia and a Carlson doctoral alum, observed that, depending on the situation, ceiling height will benefit or impair consumer responses. The paper "The Influence of Ceiling Height: The Effect of Priming on the Type of Processing People Use," would be reported in the recent issue of the Journal of Consumer Research.

"When a person is in a space with a 10-foot ceiling, they will tend to think more freely, more abstractly," said Meyers-Levy. "They might process more abstract connections between objects in a room, whereas a person in a room with an 8-foot ceiling will be more likely to focus on specifics".

The research demonstrates that variations in ceiling height can evoke concepts that, in turn, affect how consumers process information. The authors theorized that when reasonably salient, a higher versus a lower ceiling can stimulate the concepts of freedom versus confinement, respectively. This causes people to engage in either more free-form, abstract thinking or more detail-specific thought. Thus, depending on what the task at hand requires, the consequences of the ceiling could be positive or negative.........

Posted by: Edwin      Read more         Source

Tue, 24 Apr 2007 05:18:48 GMT

Who's The Greenest Of Them All?

Who's The Greenest Of Them All?
[Image Source: Disney]

Not you, Toyota. T'is Honda that's the greenest.

Or so says the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). For the fourth time in a row, the group has named Honda Motors the "Greenest Automaker" in the North American market.

"Honda remains the greenest U.S. automaker. The company installs clean technology across its entire fleet of cars and trucks and that consistency makes it a top environmental performer," said UCS.

Their decision was based on Honda's fleet averaging the lowest carbon emissions of any car company in the U.S. market.

The praise seemed to make the folks in Honda's PR Dept. collectively blush. To a mass-market car company, being called the "greenest" is like being called the "sexiest" - it does wonders for the ego.

"We are proud to be recognized as a leader, and will continue to challenge ourselves to improve the environmental performance of our company and our products," said (American) Honda's VP John Mendel.

Proud, indeed. Now, this leaves the question: what would it take for Toyota to steal Honda's title?

[Source: Honda]

Posted by: Gunnar Heinrich      Read more     Source

Tue, 24 Apr 2007 05:16:20 GMT

Lindsay Wants to Play the Role of Princess Diana

Lindsay Wants to Play the Role of Princess Diana
Sexy Lindsay Lohan has revealed that she wants to play Princess Diana in a movie which is about the late princesss life.

Lindsay told Touch Weekly magazine:

It would be fantastic to play her. She gave back a lot and was such an amazing woman.

Lindsay wants to change her party image to a charity person, as she says the media that she wants to follow the footsteps of late princess by doing some charity work.

She even claims:

I’m going to Japan soon with my friend Charlotte Ronson, who’s a designer, and I’m researching some charity work that I can do and visit some orphanages.

As currently she has signed a new modeling contract for designer Jill Stuart’s latest collections. I am sure her new change will help her out from all the chaotic stuffs.

Via: Stuff

Posted by: Twinkle      Read more     Source

Tue, 24 Apr 2007 05:12:17 GMT



Many digital camera owners are content with taking pictures of their family and friends and documentary type photos of their vacation locations.

Eventually though, as their technique improves, and compliments start coming, such as the famous and flattering, "Ooh, that looks just like a postcard," many amateur photographers begin exploring the "artsy" side of picture taking.

Looking at the work of other photographers, both professionals and talented amateurs, can spark creative ideas, and the next time the family "snap shooter", is in a scenic location he or she suddenly starts to look at objects and scenes in a different way.

Now it's no longer enough to simply record the scene for the sake of reminiscence, the snap shooter now wants to create a work of art, and digital cameras make it easy to get started.

The camera itself will not turn Jay Maisel, or my persAnsel Adams, but it will allow you to become more of the artist inside yourself, through inexpensive trial and error.

In the 60's we called this "Discovering the inner you", and it's still viable.

I came across the first two parts of a photo essay put together by a highly talented amateur photographer, a medical doctor by profession, who has chronicled his own progression from snap shooter to serious photographer.

part one, apart two.

Part three should be published soon.

Check it out for stimulating thought and inspiration, and then get out and start viewing the world around you from different angles, and at different times of the day and year. See what a difference a change in lighting and perspective will show you in your viewfinder or on your LCD.

I took today's picture during September, 2006, at Mount Charleston, about 40 miles from the Las Vegas Strip, with my Kodak P880.

Posted by: jim      Read more     Source

Tue, 24 Apr 2007 05:09:57 GMT

The Future of Printing

The Future of Printing
I just came across an innovative new seCloth out of the UK. The service, based on cutting edge printing technologies allows any photograph, image, or design to be added to a wide range of furiniture.

Cloth says the system has almost no limitations, so that any image can be printed onto any surface, giving you the ability to create your own, custom furniture.

Expect to see this technology in the fashion world.

Posted by: John      Read more     Source

Tue, 24 Apr 2007 05:05:20 GMT

let the randomness commence

let the randomness commence
If you get the chance get yourselMonopoly Express. It's brilliant. It's not just truncated Monopoly. All it really retains of the original is the property/building/cash metaphor. They've transformed it into a 20 minute dice game which has lots of the odds-considering risk-balancing pleasures of poker. And it's a really nicely designed set. Compact and well made. If only they'd thought to include a little pen or pencil you could lose later.

Posted by: Russell      Read more     Source

April 23, 2007, 10:03 PM CT

SCHIP has been successful overall

SCHIP has been successful overall
As the debate over reauthorization of the State Childrens Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) heats up in Washington, a new survey of leaders in health policy and health care finds that large majorities feel the program has been successful in increasing access to health care for low income children (71%) and in reducing the rate of uninsured, low-income children (65%).

Across the board, leaders feel that coverage should be expanded. In fact, 91% of respondents think SCHIP should be made available to legal immigrant children whose families meet income requirements. Eighty-two percent favor allowing families with higher incomes to buy into SCHIP, and 80% think that states should be allowed to extend coverage to parents of children covered by SCHIP in states where there is no comprehensive coverage for the uninsured.

While health care opinion leaders favor expansion of the program, they also support new provisions to the programs structure that would help the U.S. provide high-quality health care for all children. Four of five survey respondents (81%) were in favor of establishing federal performance standards and outcome measures for all children in SCHIP, and 69 percent favored measuring and reporting on the frequency and quality of developmental screening. Health care opinion leaders also support innovative mechanisms to encourage insurance plans and health care providers serving SCHIP families to provide higher-quality care. Seventy-eight percent of respondents favored requiring states to reward managed care plans and providers that meet benchmark levels of performance on developmental screening, preventive care, and follow-up therapy.........

Posted by: Edwin      Read more         Source

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