Author Archives: knjohn

Dutch students ‘grow’ a biodegradable car made of beet sugar and flax | Inhabitat

Are biodegradable cars the next step in environmentally-friendly motoring? A team of students at the Eindhoven University of Technology just unveiled a biodegradable car made out of beet sugar and flax. Weighing just 684 pounds, the lightweight, eco-friendly vehicle can travel up to 50 miles per hour.

Read More

Love to Text and Walk Cluelessly? Prepare to Pay a Fine for That | Bloomberg

This really shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who’s done it: You are just no good at texting and walking.

While you might do OK at the reading and typing part, your preoccupied brain isn’t paying enough attention to what’s going on with your feet. It’s such a hazard that Honolulu last month adopted an ordinance to outlaw smartphone use by pedestrians crossing streets. Now Stamford, Connecticut, may become the second U.S. city this year to combat the problem with fines.

Read More

These platforms want to help you discover (and afford) craft wine | CNN Money

It’s hard to imagine a world before craft beer. Could we one day feel the same about craft wine?

Boutique wineries across the country are producing small batches of everything from pinot noir to chardonnay, but it can be difficult for us twenty-somethings to find — let alone afford — those wines.

Your go-to vino is likely made by one of three major producers that account for over half of the U.S. wine market, according to a 2016 Michigan State University study. Plus, many boutique wineries make less than 1,000 cases per year and sell mainly through pricey wine clubs, making them hard to access.

Online platforms like Winestyr and Glassful are trying to change that.

Read More

Goldman Sachs may have lost $100 million on bad natural gas bet | Business Insider

A sour bet on the direction of natural gas prices contributed to Goldman Sachs’ weak performance in commodities trading during the second quarter.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the bank had wrongly bet on an increase in gas prices in the Marcellus shale in Ohio and Pennsylvania, as a major pipeline was being constructed to export from the region.

Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners is spearheading the $4.2 billion Rover natural-gas line in question, which would move gas from the Marcellus shale to the Midwest.

Read More

Why Automation Matters to Entrepreneurs and Small Business | Getentrepreneurial.com

You may think that a small business is fundamentally different than a large one, but this isn’t entirely true. Small businesses have to do many of the same things that larger businesses do, only with fewer employees. Obviously, this means an entrepreneur has a number of problems to overcome that a larger business might handle with ease because of its much bigger staff. This is particularly the case when it comes to scheduling, achieving scalability and having the necessary skill sets to do all of similar processes. One solution many businesses turn to is automation.

Read More

Can Ice Cream Vans Stage a Comeback? | BBC News

For many of us, the distinctive chimes of an ice cream van conjure up happy childhood memories of British summers and dripping ice lollies.

But the number of ice cream vans has been falling for years, leading some to believe that those bells may mean nothing to future generations of children.

A crop of small, family-run businesses is determined to keep the industry alive however.

Read More

Amazon opens up access to developer tools for adding Alexa to commercial products | TechCrunch

Amazon wants to make its virtual assistant Alexa available on more devices, instead of just its own hardware. To that end, the company today is broadly opening up access to developer tools that will allow commercial device makers to build products powered by Alexa. With the launch of the Alexa Voice Service Device SDK toolset, companies can add a fully functional version of Alexa to their devices that’s able to handle speech recognition, as well as other Alexa functionality, like streaming media, using timers and alarms, notifications, weather reports, and accessing the thousands of voice apps, known as Alexa skills.

Read More

Go ahead and include smiley emoji in your work emails if you want to look incompetent | Mashable

Emoji have invaded our texts, Slacks, and even our business emails. But, a new study suggests that including emoji in your work emails may be making you look incompetent. Not ideal, TBH.

Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel found that professional emails which feature “smiley” emoji  actually “decrease perceptions of competence” and don’t convey genuine “warmth.”

Read More

The Favorite Word of Average People: “Okay” | Life Hack

I remember learning the word, “okay,” as a child and marveling at its versatility. It has such a broad meaning that you can use it in many contexts, and as a kid working to communicate with a limited vocabulary, being able to say “okay” carried me through all sorts of scenarios.

As I’ve gotten older, my feelings about the word have changed. Where saying “okay” used to give me freedom, now it holds me back. I’ve learned that in most cases, it’s not okay to say, “OK.”

Read More

You Have 3 Goals the First Time You Meet a Potential Client. Popularity Is Not One of Them | Entrepreneur

Have you ever tried to make someone like you? Turns out, relationships evolve over time. Seller attempts to accelerate the process can be awkward because sales is a profession buyers generally don’t hold in high esteem. When calling at executive levels, sellers may feel a buyer’s time is worth more than theirs. Taking Al Franken’s approach can be deadly — “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.”

Given the long-standing stereotype of buyer-seller relationships, many salespeople hope buyers will like them. This contributes to sellers failing to view themselves as equals because buyers aren’t making any efforts to get sellers to like them.

Read More