Tag Archives: rate

StumbleUpon gets new design for website and iOS devices…do you Stumble?

StumbleUpon was once just a browser add-on in Firefox. Then it became internet famous and was bought by eBay – only to be sold back the founders two years later. And today it is humming along with 25 million users and two bold new designs for its website and iOS – iPhone, iPad.

 

The new design for iPhone, iPad (source: TheNextWeb)

 

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Californians create record-low trash in 2011 – still more than national average

From a high of 6.3 pounds of trash per day in 2005, Californians have lowered their output in 2011 to a record-low of 4.4 pounds/day. Good news for the state with the highest population, and yet compared to the national average – 4.4 pounds – that’s not much of a drop, more like stopping the excess.

But don’t count out Californians yet – the numbers show strong a downward trend that may leave the rest of the country behind. The state diversion rate (recycling, compost) is 65% – among the highest in the country – with plans for 75% by 2020. In comparison, the country is only at 34% – meaning some states must have horribly low rates.

There is also a strong downward trend among Californians and their trash. The drop was 30% – 1.9 pounds – in the last 5 years, while the rest of the country dropped 0.24 pounds in that same time. And the government is hoping to continue this decline – as the economy bounces back – by signing into law AB 341.

Which among many new rules, forces businesses to start recycling – the only sore spot in this story. At work Californians produce 11.3 pounds of trash – much more than at home. This is largely due to workplace practices that don’t promote recycling and state laws that let office buildings avoid recycling. This new law should remedy that.

 

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Buy in bulk and save – AT&T and Verizon offer big savings through family plans

It finally happened, the telecom’s have given up their silly (and greedy) attempts to charge us through the roof for voice and text messages. All you have to do is switch over to their new family plans. It’s the new buy in bulk Costco business model.

A few weeks ago, Verizon released their Share Everything Plan, and now AT&T has answered back with the Mobile Share Plan (T-Mobile too).

Both marginalize making phone calls and sending text messages. Allowing you to send unlimited of both while switching the focus to data plans, where they have established tiers to charge you per gigabyte.

On a side note, it appears that both companies want to put the screws on individual plans. Most of which are still at $100/person while the family plan rate is $50-70/person. Even more so now that they removed the 5 device limit on the plans; now with a 10 device limit allowing even greater bulk savings.

One reason for this big family-push is possibly a strategy to prevent defections, after all it is much harder to move to another company when that also means leaving your family.

But does the new plan save any money?

For my family, no, unless we can pull in more family members.

 

The Breakdown

My family is on AT&T and currently has four out of six family members on one plan. The current cost for the four of us is $240.00/mo. We have one extra feature, unlimited messaging, for $30/mo. This ends up costing each of us $60/mo.

The break down:

Phone #1 (primary line)

  • Family Talk, 700 minutes – $60
  • Text messaging unlimited – $30
  • Unlimited data – $30
  • Total = $120

Phones #2, #3, #4

  • Family Talk, 700 minutes – $10
  • Unlimited data – $30
  • Total = $40 (x3)

 

Under AT&T’s new plan, our total cost would be – $260 and that breaks down to $65/mo per person.

  • 6GB – $90
  • Smartphone – $35 x 4 = $140
  • Unlimited talk/text – $30

 

Which means we won’t be making the change…unless we add another phone to our plan. With five phones our total cost would be $295 and that would cost $59/mo per person.

  • 6GB – $90
  • Smartphone – $35 x 5 = $175
  • Unlimited talk/text – $30

 

And, in case you’re wondering if we add that sixth line the cost person would go down to $55/mo.

Maybe it’s time to wrangle together the whole family under one plan.

 

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Unemployment is not as important as we think, when it comes to predicting the next President

Make no mistake: the higher the unemployment rate in November 2012, the less likely President Obama is to win a second term.

But we should be careful about asserting that there is any particular threshold at which Mr. Obama would go from favorite to underdog, or any magic number at which his re-election would either become impossible or a fait accompli. Historically, the relationship between the unemployment rate and a president’s performance on Election Day is complicated and tenuous.

…historically, the correlation between the unemployment rate and a president’s electoral performance has been essentially zero.

Unemployment increased by 1.9 percentage points over the course of Richard M. Nixon’s first term, but he won re-election easily. It also increased in George W. Bush’s and Dwight D. Eisenhower’s first terms, and their re-election bids were also successful. The unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent from 5.3 percent, meanwhile, in Bill Clinton’s second term — but his vice president, Al Gore, could not beat Mr. Bush in the Electoral College.

There are also cases in which the data behaved more intuitively: Jimmy Carter and the elder George Bush all faced high unemployment rates when they lost their re-election bids, as did Gerald R. Ford in 1976, and that was surely a factor in their defeats.

 

Keep reading: On the Maddeningly Inexact Relationship Between Unemployment and Re-Election

 

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United Kingdom unemployment matches ours – and they use funny terms to describe it

Read this for news on the world economy, or just enjoy the interesting words the Brits use to describe their unemployment: Jobseekers Allowance (unemployment benefits), shadow work (?)…

 

UK unemployment total falls to 2.58m

The unemployment rate fell to 8.1% in the period, down from 8.3% in the previous quarter.

The ONS figures showed that the number of people in employment rose by 181,000 to 29.35 million.

However, the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance rose by 6,100 to 1.6 million in June.

The number of long-term unemployed also increased, with those out of work for more than two years rising by 18,000 to a total of 441,000, the highest since 1997.

The shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne said: “You’ve seen another big rise in the number of long-term unemployed… nearly half the people on the dole have been out of work for more than six months.”

Average total earnings were 1.5% higher in the year to May, the ONS said. When bonuses are excluded, regular pay rose 1.8% from a year earlier.

On average, UK workers earned £442 per week excluding bonuses.

UK unemployment rates

  • North East England 10.9%
  • Yorkshire and the Humber 9.7%
  • North West England 9.5%
  • Wales 9.0%
  • London 8.9%
  • West Midlands 8.6%
  • East Midlands 8.3%
  • Scotland 8.0%
  • Northern Ireland 6.9%
  • East of England 6.6%
  • South East 6.3%
  • South West 5.9%

 

Source: BBC - UK unemployment total falls to 2.58m

 

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Forget the BRICs it’s the CIVETS now – the new developing world

The past decade was all about the BRICs, the massive economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China, which kicked off at the beginning of the new century, boomed and are now slowing like the rest of the developed world. Taking their place is a new group of fast-rising economies promising businesses outsized returns.

The next decade could belong to the CIVETS – Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa – whose rising middle class, young populations and rapid growth rates make the BRICs look dull in comparison.

Hardly emerging economies anymore – China is the world’s second largest economy and Brazil will take seventh place this year – that their pace would slow down was inevitable.

Now more connected by trade to the developed economies, the BRICs are feeling the same slowdown effects as the developed economies.  And, in the case of China and Brazil, they are also wrestling with the strains of their rapid ascensions. Real estate bubbles, currency control issues and hyper-wage inflation are sending global companies elsewhere for growth.

Brazil is forecast to grow a mere 3% this year. China, while still targeting a strong GDP growth rate of 7-8% in 2012, is well off its double-digit rates of the past decade. Russia, meanwhile, which can’t kick its dependency on oil exports and endured the retrograde re-election of Vladimir Putin, may grind out 3.2% growth this year. India is also slowing, with a GDP target of 6.9% growth in 2012, a sharp decline from its 2010 pace of 9.6%.

The CIVETS, meanwhile, are at the lift-off point…

 

Keep readingThe decade of the CIVETS

 

 

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Getting your home ready for an electric vehicle (EV)

 

Owning a plug-in electric car means a new way to fuel. The convenience of charging at home can reduce or even eliminate your trips to the gas station, but it also comes with choices.

Get a lower rate

We offer 2 rate plans specifically designed for people with electric cars. These plans provide lower rates when you charge at night and during off-peak hours. Your selected rate plan and charging level (or voltage) will determine whether you’ll need to upgrade your home’s electrical wiring.

Do you need a charging station?

If your electric car has a smaller battery, or if you simply drive less, you can charge your electric car within a few hours using a standard household 120-volt outlet. If your electric car has a larger battery or you drive more, you may want a home charging station or dock for faster charging.

Resources

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Africa is experiencing the biggest falls in child mortality ever seen

Child mortality in Africa has plummeted, belying the continent’s “hopeless” reputation.

The chart below shows the change over the most recent five years in the number of deaths of children under five per 1,000 live births.

Sixteen of the 20 have seen falls, but the more impressive finding is the size of the decline in 12: more than the 4.4% annual fall needed for the world to achieve its millennium development goal of cutting by two-thirds the child-mortality rate between 1990 and 2015.

The top performers, Senegal and Rwanda, now have rates the same as India. It took India 25 years to reduce its rate from around 120 child deaths per 1,000 births to 72 now. It took Rwanda and Senegal only about five years.

Michael Clemens of the Centre for Global Development, a think-tank in Washington, DC, calls this “the biggest, best story in development”.

 

via Economist Daily Chart

Unemployment rate at 8.1% – job growth seen in manufacturing, architecture, engineering, and computers

Hiring continued its slow pace in April as employers added a modest 115,000 jobs to their payrolls.

The jobless rate inched down to 8.1% last month, the Labor Department said Friday, but that wasn’t because more people were employed. Rather, the rate fell as more workers dropped out of the labor force (about 342,000 workers).

The April jobs report was highly anticipated because job growth slowed sharply in March after three strong winter months of payroll gains averaging 252,000.

Job growth last month was bolstered by continued strength in manufacturing, which added 16,000 jobs to payrolls, and professional services such as architecture, engineering and computer systems design also increased staffing.

Wages overall were subdued; average earnings for all private-sector employees went up by a mere penny from March, to $23.38 an hour.

via LA Times

We all pay taxes – Barack & Michelle made $800k, donated $170k, & paid $160k in taxes

As we all get finished with our taxes so do the President and First Lady. It turns out that the Obama’s came in with a 20.5% tax rate on income of $789,674 (married filing jointly), including donations worth $172,130.

The bulk of that income came from presidential salaries, $394,821, and book sales, $441,369.

In 2010, their income was $1.7 million with the increase due to book sales, and in 2009, it was more than $5.5 million from book sales and Barack’s Nobel Peace Prize award money.

In comparison, Mitt Romney pulled in an estimated $20.9 million in 2011, and is paying a %15.3 tax rate on that. It seems that both our politicians are paying lower rates than average Americans.

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