Ivanka Trump: Air-less heiress

I like people who break stereotypes.  ~ZoomZoom



Wal-Mart adds caskets to product line

Nicole Maestri, Reuters / National Post
Published: Thursday, October 29, 2009


The world’s largest retailer has introduced online sales of caskets, expanding a merchandise selection that spans engagement rings and baby gear to a new major milestone in its shoppers’ lives.


SAN FRANCISCO — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is now catering to its shoppers’ needs from cradle to grave.

The world’s largest retailer has introduced online sales of caskets, expanding a merchandise selection that spans engagement rings and baby gear to a new major milestone in its shoppers’ lives.

Shoppers can choose from the Lady de Guadalupe steel casket for US$895 or a sienna bronze casket for US$2,899.00.

Walmart.com spokesman Ravi Jariwala said it is selling the products as a “limited beta test” that launched within the last few weeks.

Wal-Mart has been revamping its merchandise selection in stores and online to expand into categories it believes have high potential for growth.

The funeral service industry generates US$11-billion in revenue a year, according to the National Funeral Directors Association. In 2007, the association said the U.S. death rate was 8.0 people per thousand, and that is expected to rise to 9.3 people per thousand by the year 2020.

The caskets do not qualify for Walmart.com’s free site-to-store shipping program, where shoppers can buy an item online and have it shipped to a local store for free.

Instead, the website says the caskets require freight delivery to the shopper’s preferred address. The estimated shipping cost for the sienna bronze casket is US$99.

Competitor Costco Wholesale Corp already sells caskets online.

When women rise in the work force, nations benefit

Source: Politico

California First Lady Maria Shriver addresses the audience at the first annual Night at the Village, presented by The Women's Conference, Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2008. Photo: AP

A new study released by the Center for American Progress reveals positive news regarding the role of women in the American workplace. Produced under the direction of Maria Shriver, a journalist, author and leader of The Women’s Conference, “The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Changes Everything” finds that for the first time, women make up half our nation’s labor force and are the primary or co-equal breadwinners in nearly two-thirds of American families.

According to the Shriver report, the rise of women in the workplace has been accompanied by a significant shift in social attitudes, including acceptance by men of women’s professional roles and support for the idea that women should be entitled to equal pay for equal work. Men are also more likely to agree that the challenge of meeting both economic needs and child-care responsibilities is a joint one, requiring the time and energy of both partners.

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Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg on how to build hacker culture inside a company

Mark Zuckerberg is the young lad who created Facebook and became a billionaire. Short bio at bottom of this article.  ~5700


October 24, 2009 | Kim-Mai Cutler | Digital Beat

Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg

(I’m live-blogging from Startup School, a daylong program from startup incubator YCombinator held at Berkeley today. Mark Zuckerberg is on-stage for a question-and-answer session and I’ve embedded a short clip from the talk below. This is paraphrased.)

Jessica Livingston: First I want to go way, way back. I know you built a few things in high school. What did you learn from those experiences?

Zuckerberg: I mostly built stuff I liked. I built games and I built AIs (artificial intelligence programs) to play the games against me. My friends would build AIs to play against my AIs. In college, I built a bunch of programs that required other people to use them. In the reading period before finals of my sophomore year, there was a lit and arts class I took. I didn’t go to class all semester. I was supposed to be studying. But instead, I was building Facebook. Before the exam, I was screwed. So I went to the course web site and downloaded all the images that we had to learn the significance of. I made a site that would randomly take you to the image, and then you could write a caption in a bubble. Then it would show you what other people did.

Later the professor told me that was the final where people had done the best ever.

It was my first social hack….

Livingston: Who were the first people using it?

Zuckerberg: At first it was very simple. Just 10,000 lines of code maybe. There were profiles. And you could poke people. That was important. The idea is launch early and iterate. Early on, I didn’t just start Facebook as a company. It was a project that I wanted to exist. It’s amazing how much stuff we messed up.

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Job Interviews: New Trends in Interviewing

by Joyce Lain Kennedy
Source: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Cut out the loyalty oath

Excerpts taken from Job Interview for Dummies

Excerpts taken from Job Interview for Dummies

Answers to certain questions are pretty much the same year after year, but watch out for one humdinger requiring a new response: Why do you want to work here? The old “I’m looking for a home and I’ll be loyal to you forever” statements don’t play as well as they once did.

Companies typically no longer expect that you will stay with them forever — nor do they want you to. They may not even want to see your face a year from now. Doing the math, managements don’t want to have to deal with high health insurance and pension costs. Many employers now solicit contract employees — no muss, no fuss in getting them out the door when a project’s finished, or when a decision is made to outsource the work.

Rather than pledge eternal fidelity, talk about your desire to do the work. Talk about how you are driven to funnel substantial amounts of productivity into the job quickly. Talk about wanting to use your superior technology skills. Talk about your interest in work that excites you, work that matters. Talk about work that — with its combination of work-life balance and stimulating tasks — is too tempting to pass by.

But fidelity? Pass on that as a theme song; it won’t make the charts.

Revisit the dramatic pause

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Five Technologies That Could Change Everything

I remember the day not so long ago when the Fax was the new-fangled gadget that could receive a written message in Tuskaloosa and send it printed out to Honolulu in ten seconds. Since then, technology has grown so much and so fast that I no longer am surprised by the progress that man’s inventive mind has made. ~5700


By MICHAEL TOTTY / Wall St. Journal: Business

OCTOBER 19, 2009

(See Corrections & Amplification below.)

It’s a tall order: Over the next few decades, the world will need to wean itself from dependence on fossil fuels and drastically reduce greenhouse gases. Current technology will take us only so far; major breakthroughs are required.

What might those breakthroughs be? Here’s a look at five technologies that, if successful, could radically change the world energy picture.

They present enormous opportunities. The ability to tap power from space, for instance, could jump-start whole new industries. Technology that can trap and store carbon dioxide from coal-fired plants would rejuvenate older ones.

The Journal Report

See the complete Energy report.

Success isn’t assured, of course. The technologies present difficult engineering challenges, and some require big scientific leaps in lab-created materials or genetically modified plants. And innovations have to be delivered at a cost that doesn’t make energy much more expensive. If all of that can be done, any one of these technologies could be a game-changer.


For more than three decades, visionaries have imagined tapping solar power where the sun always shines—in space. If we could place giant solar panels in orbit around the Earth, and beam even a fraction of the available energy back to Earth, they could deliver nonstop electricity to any place on the planet.

[ey_solar] Source: New ScientistSunlight is reflected off giant orbiting mirrors to an array of photovoltaic cells; the light is converted to electricity and then changed into microwaves, which are beamed to earth. Ground-based antennas capture the microwave energy and convert it back to electricity, which is sent to the grid.

The technology may sound like science fiction, but it’s simple: Solar panels in orbit about 22,000 miles up beam energy in the form of microwaves to earth, where it’s turned into electricity and plugged into the grid. (The low-powered beams are considered safe.) A ground receiving station a mile in diameter could deliver about 1,000 megawatts—enough to power on average about 1,000 U.S. homes.

The cost of sending solar collectors into space is the biggest obstacle, so it’s necessary to design a system lightweight enough to require only a few launches. A handful of countries and companies aim to deliver space-based power as early as a decade from now.


Electrifying vehicles could slash petroleum use and help clean the air (if electric power shifts to low-carbon fuels like wind or nuclear). But it’s going to take better batteries.

[ey_battery] Source: EDSRCIn a lithium-air battery, oxygen flows through a porous carbon cathode and combines with lithium ions from a lithium-metal anode in the presence of an electrolyte, producing an electric charge. The reaction is aided by a catalyst, such as manganese oxide, to improve capacity.

Lithium-ion batteries, common in laptops, are favored for next-generation plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles. They’re more powerful than other auto batteries, but they’re expensive and still don’t go far on a charge; the Chevy Volt, a plug-in hybrid coming next year, can run about 40 miles on batteries alone. Ideally, electric cars will get closer to 400 miles on a charge. While improvements are possible, lithium-ion’s potential is limited.

One alternative, lithium-air, promises 10 times the performance of lithium-ion batteries and could deliver about the same amount of energy, pound for pound, as gasoline. A lithium-air battery pulls oxygen from the air for its charge, so the device can be smaller and more lightweight. A handful of labs are working on the technology, but scientists think that without a breakthrough they could be a decade away from commercialization.


Everybody’s rooting for wind and solar power. How could you not? But wind and solar are use-it-or-lose-it resources. To make any kind of difference, they need better storage.

[ey_store] Source: AEPBattery packs located close to customers can store electricity from renewable wind or solar sources and supply power when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing. Energy is collected in the storage units and can be sent as needed directly to homes or businesses or out to the grid.

Scientists are attacking the problem from a host of angles—all of which are still problematic. One, for instance, uses power produced when the wind is blowing to compress air in underground chambers; the air is fed into gas-fired turbines to make them run more efficiently. One of the obstacles: finding big, usable, underground caverns.

Similarly, giant batteries can absorb wind energy for later use, but some existing technologies are expensive, and others aren’t very efficient. While researchers are looking at new materials to improve performance, giant technical leaps aren’t likely.

Lithium-ion technology may hold the greatest promise for grid storage, where it doesn’t have as many limitations as for autos. As performance improves and prices come down, utilities could distribute small, powerful lithium-ion batteries around the edge of the grid, closer to customers. There, they could store excess power from renewables and help smooth small fluctuations in power, making the grid more efficient and reducing the need for backup fossil-fuel plants. And utilities can piggy-back on research efforts for vehicle batteries.


Keeping coal as an abundant source of power means slashing the amount of carbon dioxide it produces. That could mean new, more efficient power plants. But trapping C02 from existing plants—about two billion tons a year—would be the real game-changer.

[ey_carbon] Source: VattenfallCarbon dioxide is removed from smokestack gases and compressed. It’s then pumped deep underground and stored in porous rock formations.

Techniques for modest-scale CO2 capture exist, but applying them to big power plants would reduce the plants’ output by a third and double the cost of producing power. So scientists are looking into experimental technologies that could cut emissions by 90% while limiting cost increases.

Nearly all are in the early stages, and it’s too early to tell which method will win out. One promising technique burns coal and purified oxygen in the form of a metal oxide, rather than air; this produces an easier-to-capture concentrated stream of CO2 with little loss of plant efficiency. The technology has been demonstrated in small-scale pilots, and will be tried in a one-megawatt test plant next year. But it might not be ready for commercial use until 2020.


One way to wean ourselves from oil is to come up with renewable sources of transportation fuel. That means a new generation of biofuels made from nonfood crops.

Researchers are devising ways to turn lumber and crop wastes, garbage and inedible perennials like switchgrass into competitively priced fuels. But the most promising next-generation biofuel comes from algae.

[ey_biofuel] Source: SaferenviromentAlgae grow by taking in CO2, solar energy and other nutrients. They produce an oil that can be extracted and added into existing refining plants to make diesel, gasoline substitutes and other products.

Algae grow fast, consume carbon dioxide and can generate more than 5,000 gallons a year per acre of biofuel, compared with 350 gallons a year for corn-based ethanol. Algae-based fuel can be added directly into existing refining and distribution systems; in theory, the U.S. could produce enough of it to meet all of the nation’s transportation needs.

But it’s early. Dozens of companies have begun pilot projects and small-scale production. But producing algae biofuels in quantity means finding reliable sources of inexpensive nutrients and water, managing pathogens that could reduce yield, and developing and cultivating the most productive algae strains.

Corrections & Amplifications

One thousand megawatts are enough to power on average about one million U.S. homes. This article on space-based solar power incorrectly said 1,000 megawatts could power about 1,000 homes.

— Mr. Totty is a news editor for The Journal Report in San Francisco. He can be reached at michael.totty@wsj.com .