Having Your Employees Blog For The Company Could Help Its Brand...

Having an online presence is one of the most important parts of being a business in the modern day and age, with companies that blog 13 times more likely to see a return on investment. Getting a company’s name and brand out into the public eye, and in a positive way, can be difficult for many, especially small businesses. Most smaller companies don’t have the advertising power that a large corporation can throw around, and so they need to find a way to get their name in front of an audience. And that’s where the blog comes in. According to Founder and CEO of JotForm Aytekin Tank, one of the fastest ways to grow the company blog or website is to encourage not just the B2B or B2C content writers to write on it, but the employees, too. “B2B content normally sterilizes the human experience,” says Tank. “Companywide blogging restores it. When you liberate employees to write what they care about, the content can build your brand. Excited people tend to write exciting stuff.” The entrepreneur states that marketers struggle to capture the “passion, expertise, and experiences” of their organization. And that the alternative, mobilizing the entire team together, can be much more rewarding. And he means the entire team. Engineers, designers, HR, sales, and marketers. Any employee with interesting and exciting things to say can and should write for the company. According to the CEO, blogging builds the company brand by unveiling its human nature, instead of relying on products to do that. “Buyers,” he said, “can’t distinguish between products easily. They can, however, differentiate between the thoughts and personalities of sellers.” Tank believes this to be the way to earn not just a mindshare and portion of a customer’s money but build...

What Does HR Technology Mean For Recruitment?...

Technology is being introduced into a great many things, but should it be introduced into the HR departments of businesses? For many companies, using data and information sorting technology has become mainstream, but according to experts, they should not forget the human element. Alexandra Mizzi, senior associate at Howard Kennedy, believes that companies should use the technology, but be willing to account for biases in their systems. “There’s a reason it’s called human resources and not data resources,” she said. “Tech must not be allowed to run away with itself.” This comes from the idea that companies are becoming more and more reliant on using algorithms and data statistics to recruit, rather than meeting with potential applicants face to face. “HR must also take a proactive role in ensuring that recruitment technology does not promote bias against candidates with particular diversity characteristics,” she said. By this same logic, Andy Campbell, senior director of HCM strategy at Oracle, believes that instead of thinking of employees as “cogs in the wheel” of the company, businesses should think of them as customers. “HR also risks alienating employees through its use of data and technology if it does not consider the end user,” he said. Employers often overlook how smart use of HR tech can improve the employee experience. Many programs offer the ability to give performance reviews and evaluations based on how that individual did, but instead of giving that data immediately, HR waits until an annual or bi-annual review. “Millennials expect continuous feedback, but performance management systems make it annual or bi-annual,” he said. “The system is all wrong.” Recognizing and giving good feedback to employees can have a positive impact on businesses and increase employee retention. According to studies, 86% of companies with employee recognition...

Technology Helping Fight the Global Pollution Epidemic...

Pollution remains one of the most damaging and immediate concerns across the world. Scientists, researchers, and developers are constantly working to find innovative solutions to the world’s pollution issues, and drones might be the answer this generation was looking for. “Most of what we know about air pollution is based on ground-level date, but that’s not where many of the emissions are happening,” said Markus Hilpert, an Associate Professor of Environmental Health Sciences at the Mailman School. “Without a drone, it’s not safe or it can be difficult to take these kind of measurements.” Hilpert and his team recently became the first group of researchers to be approved by Columbia University to use drones for scientific researcher in the United States. The School of Engineering research team, along with the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, are building a multirotor drone helicopter to measure pollution coming from industrial smokestacks. The drone will be able to ascend up to 400 feet and collect otherwise impossible-to-get-to air samples for lab analysis. Although air pollution is a major problem, there are still plenty of pollution issues taking place on the ground level. Luckily, there are non-profit organizations, volunteer groups, and environmentally conscious companies that are doing all they can to help preserve the environment and combat pollution. Each week, for example, GreenDrop stops roughly 100 tons of used clothes, electronics, and other harmful items from being carelessly tossed into landfills. As reported by KRWG, drones are also being used to take aerial photos of landfills in order to provide a reliable, comprehensive look at the images and figure out potential solutions. “Every tiny black dot on the phone image is a location where the drone has taken a picture,” said Don Gray of Gordon Environment/PSC. “When the photos are processed,...

Flying Car Launches Out Of Silicon Valley...

If you have been waiting to own a flying car, your chance may come by the end of the year. Of course, people have been saying that about hoverboards for years. Silicon Valley’s flying car startup, Kitty Hawk, has taken to the sky, and their product may be available for purchase very soon. Business Insider reports that Kitty Hawk President Sebastian Thrun recently tweeted a video showing a prototype flying over a body of water. According to The New York Times, the project is backed by Alphabet CEO Larry Page (Alphabet is the parent company of Google), adding to the list of companies attempting to make vehicular flight a reality. Kitty Hawk has not yet revealed the final price of the vehicle, but they are offering a $2,000 discount for anyone who puts down a $100 early deposit. This may also include test flights. “Our mission is to make the dream of personal flight a reality,” Kitty Hawk says on their website. “We believe when everyone has access to personal flight, a new, limitless world of opportunity will open up to them. At Kitty Hawk, we engineer, design and build safe, fun, easy-to-fly aircraft.” While most mechanics recommend rotating your tires about every 7,500 miles, flying cars could let you remove that step from your maintenance list, seamlessly soaring on your morning commute. The first Kitty Hawk model is designed to fly over water, as it does not require the licensure of traditional aircraft operation, according to the company’s website. The New York Times reports that the company qualifies under a Federal Aviation Administration category for ultralight aircrafts. “The Kitty Hawk Flyer is a new, all-electric aircraft,” the website reads. “It is safe, tested and legal to operate in the United States in uncongested...

This Company Turns Old Shipping Containers Into Heated Swimming Pools...

In the era of ultimate mobility, innovative housing solutions are constantly evolving. Modular homes, for example, are becoming an increasingly viable option for people who want to customize both the design and location of their living space. And while modular homes are so durable that they can be built to withstand 175-mph winds, another ‘modular’ technology is rapidly making its way toward popularity as well. Meet Modpool, a relocatable, digitally controlled, above-ground mini-pool made out of a shipping container. Modpool technology is something straight out of the future. These unique pools can be installed within mere minutes, as opposed to traditional pools, which can take days to get up and running. Not only that, but they can be heated up to a balmy 84 degrees in just a few short minutes, even in freezing temperatures. And while these pools are certainly lacking in size compared to traditional pools, the sleek design and cost savings are well worth it. “What we mean when we say it can be set up in minutes, is that it delivers as fully functional, so all the plumbing, heater and electrical are all built into the pool,” Sammy Diab, Modpool general manager, tells New Atlas. “So once you lay it on the foundations, you make two service connections, which are really just your gas connection and an electrical plug. And once you fill it with water, it is ready to go.” In 2015, about 21.23 million people lived in a house that had a pool. And while the campground industry in America grossed about $5 billion in 2013, swimming is also consistently regarded as one of America’s most popular outdoor activities for both children and adults alike. It can burn 650 calories in just an hour, making it great exercise....

2017 Solar Eclipse to be Livestreamed by NASA...

As the 2017 solar eclipse approaches, many people have found they will not be able to make it out to see this wonderous event. Luckily, NASA has come up with a unique and ideal solution so that everyone can enjoy the incredible view. Whether it’s because hotels are filling up too quickly or they simply cannot find the time, many people will be stuck at home while the first eclipse visible to Americans on either coast in 99 years passes them by. It’s been reported that the best spots are already gone, booked out months in advanced. But, that doesn’t mean one has to miss out on it completely. While nothing can beat the wonder and awe of actually being there to witness the eclipse, NASA has come up with another solution for those unable to make it out to see it for themselves. Using 57 balloons flying roughly 100,000 feet in the air, they plan to livestream the event online. While not a lot of information has been given out yet, NASA has predicted that this livestream of the solar eclipse could surpass the 2012 Curiosity’s trek on Mars in the number of people watching. Creating these balloons with livestreaming cameras has been a long process. Des Jardins, director of the Montana Space Grant Consortium and leader of the project, said in a recent press release, “We have spent the last three years researching and building the camera payloads and ground stations in preparation for eclipse day. The live-video distribution was the last technical hurdle we needed to overcome, and the partnership with Stream allows us to focus on the payload technology while they handle the video.” For those lucky few who are able to view one of the grandest spectacles our world...

Study Finds Practicing Yoga Regularly May Help Ease Depression...

A small study from Boston University has revealed that twice weekly yoga sessions may play a part in easing depression, thanks in large part to the deep breathing involved with each session. The study was published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine and included 30 participants from ages 18 to 64, all of whom were diagnosed with clinical depression. The participants were either not taking any antidepressants or had been prescribed a steady dosage for a minimum period of three months. Half of the study participants were instructed to take Iyengar yoga sessions three times weekly, as well as four 30-minute home sessions on their own each week. Iyengar yoga is an important style for beginners because it focuses on finding modifications to avoid injury. The other half of participants were instructed to take two in-class sessions and three home sessions every week. One of the major benefits of Iyengar yoga, aside from its emphasis on alignment and modification, is the deep breathing exercises that are performed in 20-minute intervals. After approximately three months of attending these sessions, the majority of participants in both groups lowered their scores on depression-screening tests by almost 50%. The group that took additional classes exhibited better results, but they reported that the large time commitment was a challenge that made the assignment more difficult for them. Regardless, even those participants who took fewer classes reported significant results. Dr. Chris Streeter, associate professor of psychiatry and neurology at Boston University School of Medicine, is the lead author of this study. He explained that while yoga isn’t a traditional treatment method for depression, it still has “far fewer side effects” than anti-depressants and other mood-altering medications. In fact, the only major complaint from study participants was temporary muscle...

Fire Resistant Mattress Stopped Blaze in Washington Warehouse...

A fire-barrier on a Jones Nonwovens mattress is credited with preventing a warehouse from being burned to the ground. After several days of employees complaining of a burning smell, a sales associate discovered one of the warehouse’s heaters had been causing a mattress to smolder for nearly two days. Loepp Furniture stores their mattresses in an old downtown warehouse with heaters that are built directly into the walls. A burned plastic smell began to flood through the warehouse, initially being blamed on either a wiring or lighting problem. However, when a sales associate removed a bed to check the label, he was met with melted plastic cover and singed mattress. It was only thanks to the mattress’ fire-resistant thermally bonded barriers that the whole warehouse did not end up getting burned to the ground. This would’ve cost owner Kevin Portch a large sum of money, not only from the warehouse being lost but the inventory inside the warehouse falling to the fire as well. A typical mattress can last around seven years, but if the fire had spread, all of those mattresses would have been destroyed. Many mattresses in the modern age are investing in fire-resistant technology. Even memory foam mattress toppers are made with material that makes them resistant to fire. This is not only safe for families in the event of a house fire, but, as clearly shown, it is a benefit to employees and owners of furniture businesses as well. The use of this technology continues to prove itself the more it’s being used. And people like Kevin Portch can rest easy, knowing the mattresses they wish to sell are kept safe thanks to fire-resistant...

Swedish Singer Pays Musical Homage to 3D Printed Tumor Models...

The benefits of modeling tumors in 3D are numerous and rarely questioned. With these innovative models, cancer researchers are better able to observe cell-to-cell interactions, growth rates, and gene expressions in 3D than they ever were in a 2D culture. Along with 3D tumor models that use live cells, the popularity of 3D printing has allowed surgeons to better plan out complicated procedures or provide superior education for medical students. But, apparently, 3D tumor models have musical benefits as well. This incredible technology has been memorialized as part of the musical landscape by one Swedish singer-songwriter who knows the importance of such advancements. The tune, written by Jens Lekman, serves as tribute to a personal friend who developed a tumor. He eventually had the tumor removed, but he still owns a 3D printed model of the cancerous growth. The song “Evening Prayer” is surprisingly upbeat, given its subject matter, and is in the style of 70s disco. That contrast is intentional, though. While another artist might have turned the material into a predictably mournful ballad, Lekman wanted the song to have a pop feel, full of vibrancy and life. Lekman says of the song’s conception to NPR: The idea of printing out something that’s as scary as a tumor into its concrete form was something that spoke to me — there is something very liberating about that idea. I think a lot of my anxieties and fears are things that are very abstract. Of the times that I’ve been able to overcome a fear, it’s been by making it something that I can understand, that I can hold on to — just something that’s more tangible. While other musical artists have featured 3D printing in various forms — Björk’s latest world tour included 3D...

High Prices Becoming Issue for Fitness Wearables and Smartwatches...

Usually, after a house and a vehicle, furniture is the third-most expensive item a person will buy during their lifetime. Of course, that’s starting to change in the digital era, now that smartphones and laptops have become so essential. And while furniture items like sofas can typically last up to 15 years, the latest tablet or smartphone will be obsolete in two to three years. Technological advancements are leading to an increase in consumer spending across virtually all industries, but these smart devices come with significant high costs. In particular, the high price tag that comes with fitness trackers and smartwatches is starting to turn off many consumers. Across the board, wearable technology devices are being developed, marketed, and distributed at prices higher than ever before. In general, smartwatches and Fitbit-style fitness trackers are now much too expensive for the majority of people. According to The Motley Fool, the most expensive wearable device in 2016 was the Apple Watch Series 2 Edition, retailing for $1,299. “Dropout from device usage is a serious problem for the industry,” said Angela McIntyre, research director for Gartner. “The abandonment rate is quite high relative to the usage rate.” Readwrite reports that Gartner’s survey shows that nearly one-third of smartwatch or fitness tracker owners end up abandoning the technology after a brief flirtation with wearables. So what’s the solution? McIntyre’s idea is for these companies to improve their marketing approach, the products themselves, and make the prices much more affordable. “To offer a compelling enough value proposition, the uses for wearable devices need to be distinct from what smartphones typically provide,” McIntyre added. “Wearables makers need to engage users with incentives and gamification.” Many of these wearable items would be great gift ideas, but are just too expensive for...

A Peek into the Future of Shopping: How Retailers Are Responding to E-Commerce...

As Americans continue shying away from brick and mortar stores and more towards the online shopping market, retailers have had to revamp their business models to keep up with consumer needs. When it comes to clothes shopping, one of the biggest reasons people still visit these brick and mortar storefronts it to try things on. Since sizes can vary between brands, collections, and cuts, many people still choose to try on their clothes with unfamiliar brands. In general, people also like seeing what the clothes look like on their bodies before they make the commitment to buy. But the future of shopping may be well under way. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich has announced that his company has developed a 3D in-store knitting machine that creates custom fitting garments on-demand, instead of displaying handmade garments knit from one of three different needle sizes. The machine was unveiled in mid-January at the National Retail Federation’s annual convention in New York City and has a lot of potential to eliminate unnecessary costs and bring in more profits. “If you end up selling a model of sweater that goes really [fast], you can keep making it here,” said Joe Jensen, general manager of Intel’s retail solutions division. The machine takes about 45 minutes to create a garment, while it can take a human hours to knit or weave a fabric before even creating the garment. Virtual and augmented reality were also highly showcased at the NRF convention. Gap is currently working with Google and San Francisco-based app developer Avametric to continue the development of its app that shows exactly how each piece of clothing in their collection would look on a specific person’s frame, eliminating the stressful need to try clothing on in the dressing room. Not only...

3 Years After Elk River Spill, Advocates Continue Work to Protect Drinking Water...

The third anniversary of the Elk River chemical spill came and went at the beginning of January. Though the chemical spill occurred over three years ago, advocates remember clearly how more than 300,000 West Virginia citizens were left without usable drinking water for over a week. The chemical leak started at Freedom Industries, located just beyond Charleston. The spill created a serious need for new legislation, which is exactly what the West Virginia Legislature did. The legislature passed a bill that required 125 public water facilities across the state to create new water source protection procedures. The new plans included updated lists of potential sources of contamination, as well as new procedures for responding to imminent spills. In addition, public water systems were required to identify alternative water intakes so that in the event of contamination from one source, another could be used. These preventative measures will ensure that customers will still be getting clean water in the event of a spill. Approximately 16,000 chemical spills occur every year when materials are being transferred to trains, trucks, and storage tanks. Evan Hansen, an advisor to the WV Rivers Water Policy Workgroup, explained that the biggest challenge now is implementing the new laws that have been written. Hansen said that some of the newly written laws will “require changes to the state code or the state rules,” which is placing some strain on getting the job done. This is one of the major issues behind advocates’ work. Citizen organizations and environmental advocates gathered on the spill’s anniversary and explained that while the state has made progress, it needs to maintain its keen focus on providing clean, safe water to its citizens. Angie Rosser, executive director of the Rivers Coalition, said that the groups wanted “to...

Unmanned Submarines Bring Scientists One Step Closer to Understanding the Deep Seas...

It’s hard to believe that there could be life in the deep recesses of Earth’s ocean, but over 13,000 feet below the surface, small shrimp, crabs, and other creatures flourish near hydrothermal vents. An unmanned submarine named SuBastion recently ventured down into the deep to join them. Scientists located a previously undiscovered group of hydrothermal vents in a region titled the Mariana Back-Arc — located near the Mariana Trench — in 2015. They returned to the marked location with SuBastion, a remotely-operated submersible developed by the Schmidt Ocean Institute. SuBastion was launched from their ship, Falkor, which gathered information and broadcasted Subastion’s video via livestream. Video footage revealed chimneys up to 100 feet tall in the Back-Arc region, as well as vast numbers of sea creatures around them. The chimneys teemed with life, which included shrimp, lobsters, and crabs. National Geographic explained that the hard rock around the chimneys provides a better setting for these sea creatures to live on, when compared to the soft mud on the sea floor. But SuBastion isn’t the only submersible setting out to explore the depths. Students at the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay have been working hard to develop Matsya, an autonomous submersible that is capable of controlling its own movements and tasks without the need for human guidance. Right now, the only unmanned submersibles operated by India’s naval forces are remotely operated. Matsya’s technology could actually “train” the equipment currently being used to act independently. Unlike military forces in the U.S. and in China, which have been using unmanned submersibles for some time, India’s entry into the world of unmanned equipment is fairly new. The IIT project’s 21-year-old team leader, Varun Mittal, said that while space exploration has forced the need for unmanned machines, “development of underwater...

Norway Accuses Group with Links to Russia of Executing Cyber Attack...

A recent survey revealed that approximately 87% of small businesses experienced a cyber security breach in 2012 alone, and the number of attempted attacks is increasing. But one group of cyber criminals with alleged links to Russia had a much bigger target in mind. Norway’s foreign ministry, army, and a number of the nation’s other institutions were targeted in a serious cyber attack at the beginning of February. According to Norwegian intelligence reports, a group with suspected links to Russia was allegedly responsible for carrying out the attack. The group, known as APT 29, was called out by Oslo and has already faced accusations of interfering with the U.S. Presidential election. Arne Christian Haugstoyl, an official with Norway’s intelligence service, told television channel TV2 that as many as nine e-mail accounts were singled out “in an attempt at what is called spear phishing, in other words, malicious emails.” Haugstoyl explained that it’s difficult to ascertain the end goal of the attack, but APT 29 has consistently been described as a group “with links to the Russian authorities.” He added that Norway was notified of the attack not from an internal source, but from an allied country. The attack came at a point when Donald Trump had just eased a set of sanctions against Russia implemented by the Obama administration. Earlier in the month, the U.S. Treasury Department allowed some cyber-security sales to go to the Russian Federal Security Service. This is the same organization that was accused by U.S. Intelligence of interfering with the electoral process. While Trump has suggested that all Russian sanctions should be lifted if America sees “some really great things” from the country, Norway is still viewing Russia as a serious security threat. In addition to the PST and the...

Extreme Cold Settles in on Chicago Area Following Dangerous Winter Conditions...

Monday morning brought near-record breaking low temperatures to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, with temperatures falling to minus 13 degrees at one point. Temperatures began to slowly rise after the sun rose, but frigid temperatures still plague the city. Chicago public schools remained open on Monday despite the freezing temperatures, but 270 other schools in the area closed, leaving children at home with parents. The closures prompted many parents to bundle up their children and set out for indoor fun at the city’s museums. The Lincoln Park Conservatory was filled with families seeking respite from the cold. People have speculated as to why Chicago-area schools closed on Monday, but most believe it was a matter of making children wait for the bus. “I think the main reason was the transportation department didn’t want to pick up the kids from the bus stop,” said Verity Cusik, a parent. Although temperatures climbed a little bit on Monday afternoon, the National Weather Service has continued to issue cold weather alerts in several states, Illinois included. After the intense storm that brought winter to the U.S. in full force last week, the nation is taking extra precautions to ensure the safety of its citizens. Nearly 40 million people visit Chicago every year, but the winter storm left many of those visitors stuck in airports and unable to leave over the weekend. Chicago’s heavy snowfall has forced airlines to cancel more than 1,300 flights out of O’Hare International Airport over the last two weeks. For commuters, the only option was to deal with the frigid temperatures and drive carefully. Those commuters who travel by train may have experienced more significant delays, as nearly every Metra line was running late as a result of the weather. In weather this cold, Metra...

Rubicon Announces Waste and Recycling Partnership With City of Atlanta...

Rubicon Global recently announced a public-private partnership with its host city, Atlanta, GA, that will assist the city in advancing its environmental leadership through recycling and waste technologies. The ultimate goal of this partnership is to use technology to help improve the city’s residential recycling and waste services. Rubicon’s proprietary cloud-based platform is being used as part of the initiative, which will run for six months. Michael Allegretti, Director of Public Policy for Rubicon, explained in a statement that the company is constructing a new ideal for the waste and recycling industries. He said one of their goals is to realign incentives in a manner that operates “away from landfills and in favor of more sustainable communities.” In addition to utilizing Rubicon’s technological services, the partnership will help gather and distribute valuable data to the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. One of the biggest benefits is that Rubicon’s technology will allow for real-time updates on topics such as landfill diversion and recycling rates. Approximately 69% of steel is recycled in the U.S. every year, but improvement is the key to the future. Not only does working with Rubicon provide the city with valuable data, it allows the city the possibility of cutting costs while helping climate change efforts and still supporting local growth. The partnership is also the first of its kind for Rubicon. The company hopes that it will open the gateway to work with more cities in the future for waste collection. Rubicon might have revenues stretching into the hundreds of thousands, but compared to industry giants like Waste Management, the company is still just getting started. Rubicon Global co-founder and CEO Nate Morris has expressed excitement about the partnership not only for the company’s growth, but for the positive impact it could...

Insurance Companies Launch Programs Rewarding Holders With ‘Smart Home’ Devices...

We truly are living in a golden age of technology. Although they used to seem like a sci-fi concept, so-called smart homes are quickly becoming commonplace, if not yet the norm. The Internet of Things allows us to be in control of just about every single appliance in our homes through a computerized device. Voice activated systems like Google Home and Amazon Echo allow us to unlock our doors, turn on some music, or dim our lights on command. Smartphone applications allow us to do the same thing, but they can also work remotely — just in case you forgot to close the garage door when you left the house, or want to turn on your slow-cooker while you’re in a meeting. While the commercials advertising these “smart” devices and the convenience factor are extremely compelling, an often overlooked component of the smart home movement is how this could affect insurance policies. There hasn’t been a lot of coverage on the topic, but many insurance agencies are testing pilot programs that offer incentives to those who have a connected home. Some companies are subsidizing the cost of smart devices or offering better terms and conditions in relation to their coverage. The number of these pilot policies increased from 9% to 22% from 2014 to 2015, and is only expected to grow as this calendar year comes to a close. In the U.S., there is no insurance policy that will cover all of your connected home devices across the board, but some companies will give you a more enticing regular policy if you have a home connected with smart devices. But in the U.K., an insurance company describes itself as the first connected home insurance provider in the kingdom. Neos is set to launch soon, and plans to expand...

The Next Big Thing in Buying and Selling: Virtual Reality...

If you consider virtual reality options to be limited to gaming, you certainly aren’t alone. But the real reality is that this technology could soon help you to buy or sell your home. While 37% of adults have never left their hometowns, the majority of us have had to move to a new community at least once in our lives. If you’re moving to an entirely different state, the process of buying a home can be an expensive endeavor — and that’s before you even find one you like. The costs associated with traveling in and out of state to purchase a home can add up quickly. And if you’re in a whole new place, you’ll want to know what you’re getting into before you sign on the dotted line. That’s just one of the ways in which virtual reality technology can be helpful for homebuyers. Matterport, a San Francisco-based media technology company, provides real estate agents and brokers with 3-D cameras that will capture the entire interior of a home. Then, the company pieces the images together in order to create a complete walkthrough of the home. Matterport uploads this walkthrough to a cloud hosting service, allowing prospective buyers to view 3-D models of the property using a computer, tablet, smartphone, or virtual reality headset. Matterport is also experimenting with augmented reality elements in these walkthroughs. CEO Bill Brown says that “in addition to being able to walk through the space, people can mark in objects within the space, and they can annotate those objects.” That means that future buyers can make note of features they like, such as appliances with energy-efficient features or desirables like granite countertops. In highly competitive markets, having access to this technology can be a real asset. These...

New Drug Found to Slow Progression of Breast Cancer in Women...

Breast cancer is all too common in the United States, where about one in every eight women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. However, a recently approved drug has been found to potentially slow the progression of advanced breast cancer. The drug, palbociclib (Ibrance), was approved by the FDA last year for the treatment of ER-positive breast cancer, a specific strain of cancer fueled in part by estrogen. The approval for this drug came after a clinical trial that utilized two medications, a standard cancer treatment drug Femara, and Ibrance. Researchers found that patients who used both medicines in conjunction doubled the length of their remission, compared to only using Femara. In this latest trial, researchers randomly selected 666 women to receive the drug duo or just Femara. They found that in those who only took Ibrance or Femara , 44% and 62% had died or seen their cancer spread, respectively. However, the cancer of those who were prescribed both not only went into remission but didn’t spread to any other areas of the body. Among the postmenopausal women in the trial, the average length of remission was two years when taking Ibrance in addition to Femara. Ibrance is one of the first drugs that prevents two separate enzymes, CDK4 and CDK6, from spreading ER-positive breast tumors. The patient would take the tablet medication daily for three weeks, followed by one week off. Comparatively, Femara works by decreasing the estrogen levels in the body. Considering the fact that two-thirds of all breast cancer cases have receptors for estrogen and/or progesterone, the researchers on this trial are exceptionally happy with these results. “We found that the degree of clinical benefit was, again, remarkable,” said lead researcher Dr. Richard Finn, an...

Wal-Mart to Kick Off Cyber Monday on Black Friday This Year...

With Black Friday spilling over into Thanksgiving dinner, the “holiday creep” is already testing its limits this year. Wal-Mart, however, is taking it even one step further by starting Cyber Monday on Black Friday. The world’s largest retailer, eager to start making that holiday cash, won’t even wait for the weekend to pass before offering big online sales. In fact, they don’t even intend to wait until the turkey is cooked. Wal-Mart’s Cyber Monday will kick off at 12:01 a.m. EST on Friday morning; however, Walmart.com will start its online Black Friday sale at 12:01 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day. By offering their Black Friday sales online on Thanksgiving, Wal-Mart is blurring the lines between the two sale-snatching celebrations Americans typically indulge in after Thanksgiving. Not only are they starting their online sales earlier than usual, Wal-Mart will also beef up its product offering from 8 million items to more than 23 million. “By tripling our online product assortment, we’re able to offer a lot more new brands and choices to customers all season long,” said Steve Breen, senior vice president of merchandising for Walmart.com. Every holiday season, retailers try to one-up each other in order to grab a larger share of consumers’ wallets earlier and earlier. Offering online deals is, undoubtedly, a smart move as more and more shoppers are making their holiday purchases online. Back in 2011, $1.1 trillion in sales were web-influenced, and even more sales can be attributed to the Internet today. In fact, global e-commerce generates over $931,000 every 30 seconds. The National Retail Federation estimates that about 137.4 million people will shop either online or in stores this holiday weekend. According to Adobe Digital Insights, Cyber Monday is poised to be the largest sales day of 2016, generating roughly...