What are two things that go together? If you said Oreo cookies and chicken tenders, most people would call you insane. Roy Choi, however, would prove otherwise. Check out his wild hack for Oreos and chicken for a fantastic midnight snack. Get more hacks at oreo.tumblr.com.
After years of research and evaluation of proposed rules, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced this month that it would requiring rear-view cameras to be installed in cars, trucks, SUVs, and other vehicles manufactured on or after May 1, 2018.
The federal agency said the requirement for “rear visibility technology” would apply to all vehicles that weigh less than 10,000 pounds. According to U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, the new requirement primarily aims to address back-over accidents. The NHTSA believes the mandate “will serve as a significant step toward reducing these tragic accidents.”
The rules will require that the affected vehicles feature a camera system that displays a 10-foot by 20-foot zone of visibility behind the auto when it is shifted into reverse. Because this arrangement will enable drivers to see a considerable array of space behind the vehicle without straining to turn around, the theory is that the requirement will reduce the number of accidents in which people, animals, and vehicles are struck by a car or small truck when it backs up.
Statistics for reverse-driving accidents
According to government statistics, this rule could have a significant effect in reducing the 15,000 injuries and 210 deaths that occur annually as a result of this kind of accident. The injuries and deaths are of particular concern because of the fact that most of the victims fall into two distinct categories: the elderly and the very young.
The NHTSA reports that people aged 70 years or older are victims in 26 percent of the total fatal back-over incidents, and children aged less than 5 years are killed in 31 percent of these incidents. According to the calculations of the NHTSA, the new rule is expected to save up to 69 lives annually.
To ensure reliability, effectiveness, and consistency, the NHTSA has regulations regarding the size of display, deactivation, response time, unit durability, and other issues.
Other effects of the rear-view camera mandate
The new rules will not just help to reduce the risk of accidents and injuries through the use of new — though for some drivers, already familiar — technology. In addition to the safety of consumers, the mandate will also affect auto manufacturers as well as the makers of rear-view camera components.
A surge in the demand will be beneficial for component manufacturers, obviously, while the required inclusion will slightly increase costs for vehicle manufacturers. However, in an attempt to offset the increase in expense, some vehicle manufacturers may decide it’s worth it simply to make the cameras and their components in-house.
This would not be beneficial for the companies who solely manufacture the rear-view cameras, but it’s too early to tell what will happen at this point.
In addition, the new cameras will likely affect insurance rates as well as the field of personal injury law. Issues ranging from the degree of negligence of a driver to the appropriate level of compensation for auto accident injuries, pain, and suffering will likely be addressed differently. Video footage from rear-view cameras will likely appear as evidence in an increasing number of trials.
We’ve all heard the catchwords like “carbon footprint” and “going …
Whether you remember her as the interviewing goddess before Katie Couric, or simply know her as the “mature” voice on The View, Barbara Walters has been a media leader for decades. Described as a “pioneering American TV journalist,” she’s just announced her retirement with her final hurrah (at least so far) scheduled to take place on The View in May 2014, according to ABC. She was the first female co-anchor on an evening news program and has famously hosted the annual most fascinating people list.
Walters created The View in 1997, and at the time it was an innovative approach to talk television. A two-hour evening special is scheduled for May 16, 2014 which will highlight her life and career. Walt Disney Co. oversees the ABC network, and according to the Chairman and Chief Executive of The Walt Disney Company, Bob Iger, “In this business there are legends, there are icons, and then there is Barbara Walters. She broke barriers, defied convention, made history and set the standard for journalistic excellence for more than 50 years.”
Farewell to a legend
“It’s hard to imagine television without her,” Iger muses. However, Walters will of course go out with a bang. ABC News headquarters located in New York is hosting a dedication ceremony for her this spring, and The View will feature a full week celebrating her career. President of Disney/ABC Television Group Anne Sweeney says, “Her influence on television, and American culture, will resonate for decades to come.” Walters announced her retirement plans one year ago, saying that even though she was healthy at 84, it was simply time to transition.
“This is what I want to do. I’ve had an amazing career,” she said in a teary announcement last spring. Though she describes herself as healthy, she’s faced a number of health issues including a concussion from fainting and chickenpox (which can be deadly as an adult). Undergoing open heart surgery in 2010, these ailments must have taken a toll on Walters. However, her legend will surely persist for many more years.
The real most fascinating person
Whether Walters was covering a story on home buying tips for first-time buyers or interviewing the POTUS, she had a knack for connecting her viewers with the story. Last year, she hosted “20 Years of the 10 Most Fascinating People,” but of course the true most fascinating person may very well be Walters herself. She has interviews with Margaret Thatcher, Fidel Castro, every POTUS since Richard Nixon and Saddam Hussein under her belt.
Add in Tom Cruise, Elizabeth Taylor and a host of other celebrities, and it’s astonishing what this journalist has achieved since 1961 when she started her career on “Today” at NCB as a morning co-host.
On April 8, 2014, all Windows 8 users could officially upgrade to Windows 8.1, but are the changes enough to win over the critics? It’s designed to make Windows 8 more appealing to mouse and keyboard users as well as seriously increase security. It’s a crucial move for Microsoft, which is requiring all Windows 8.1 consumers to have the update installed if they want to keep downloading updates and security measures on the OS. According to Microsoft’s Premier Field Engineering blog, “Failure to install Windows 8.1. Update will prevent Windows Update from patching your system with any future updates starting with Updates released in May 2014 (get busy!).”
That little memo had a cold response from users who are tired of being shouldering the responsibility of dealing with bugs and subpar software. Windows 8 was received with very mixed reviews in 2013. Consumers either loved it or hated it with little room for middle ground. In fact, there were so many people desperate for older Windows versions that a number of hacks have been developed to make Windows 8 look like Windows 7 or another user-friendly interface.
However, if you haven’t upgraded to 8.1 (and are still using the original Windows 8), you’re not required to get the update. Mark Morowycynski of Microsoft has confirmed that Windows 8 will continue to be supported until at least January 2016. At that point, you’ll be required to upgrade to 8.1 or any other future Windows releases in order to keep receiving Microsoft support. The latest update includes every released update to date, and requires the running of Windows 8.1 (so if you want the upgrade and use Windows 8, you’ll need a two-part upgrade).
For some users who are also MSDN/TechNet subscribers, they got he update early on April 2, 2014. Early reports show that the updates help tremendously, especially for mouse users, and movement between desktops and “modern” is a lot smoother. However, you might still get a Desktop boot via default, but can change this in the start menu if you like.
Good to know
Whether you simply check your email on a tablet, do extensive research on how to get better sleep, or only use your computer for gaming, it’s crucial to know the benefits of the upgrade. The 8.1 Update is made up of many individual updates, and each are designed to slipstream into the upgrade “in the near term” according to Microsoft. If you’re not happy with your current OS, give the upgrade a try.
Adam Carolla is best known for his various talk shows. His current show focuses on punishing contractors who scam people out of their money. The series aims to resolve issues with these lazy contractors and gets them to finish the work they started on their customers’ homes.
The concept of the show
Adam combines his comedy experience with his construction experience to deliver a reality show that helps people avoid shady contractors. After a thorough investigation is completed at the work site, Adam lures the contractor to a sting house.
This house is set up for the contractor to land another job. When Adam and his crew pop up out of nowhere, the contractor is caught. Adam’s crew involves a MMA fighter to keep the contractor in line.
The contractor is offered three choices. He can finish the job under Adam’s supervision, give the customers their money back, or fight the case in court. Most contractors finish the job rather than risk blackening their name any further.
The main lesson taught here is to avoid giving money to a contractor before it does the work. Many of these contractors just run or do shoddy service after getting paid.
Lessons learned the hard way
In addition to avoiding payment up front, people who are searching for the right contractor should ask for references. Those are meant to ensure the contractor has done good work in the past. Homeowners should verify that the contractor is licensed and insured.
If the contractor asks you to pay for the parts up front, beware. No money should be paid in advance, before any work is done. Parts such as door closers are not expensive, but the money adds up if the contractor has a lot of people lined up.
A verbal agreement is another thing to watch out for. Always get a contract in writing for evidence if the matter ever ends up in court. A written contract will describe all the work that needs done and might even include an estimate of the time it will take.
If the job isn’t completed within a reasonable time frame, you could take the contractor to court.
Public views of Catch a Contractor
Catch a Contractor is the name of Adam’s reality show. It takes a few ideas from the hit show Catch a Predator.
The first episode attracted 1.2 million viewers from around the world. It depicted a couple who had to live on the living room floor after a shoddy contractor destroyed part of their home. They were temporarily left without a bathroom.
Experts have said that the 1.2 million viewers broke a record for the largest audience in a series debut on the Spike cable channel since the premiere of Coal in 2011. One expert feels the show could do a little better job in some areas.
Brian Lowry, a TV columnist, described Adam’s show as watching a bazooka kill a cockroach for half an hour. This might be due to Spike TV’s reality formula, though.
The aim is to help people avoid bad contractors, but Brian believes that the show focuses too much on the punishment of the contractors. He might like it better if it actually described more ways that people can find good contractors, instead of punishing bad ones.
Adam’s show does provide some insight on avoiding bad contractors. Then it proceeds to punish the bad contractors for the public’s entertainment. This might be why it has captured an audience of more than 1 million viewers.
As the employment sector grows more competitive, employers are looking for innovative ways to entice the best candidates for their open positions. There may be 20 people applying for the new IT position, for example, but most of them are not qualified to do the work.
Several unusual perks might encourage the right candidates to apply and score that dream job.
Not just a walking lunch date
Corporations are looking to lower their health insurance costs by motivating employees to take care of themselves. Wellness programs are steadily becoming a norm in many companies.
But they’re taking on a new flair with gadgets given away for a discount or time off to go to the gym. Employees invigorated by exercise and good nutrition are happier with themselves and their health partner, the employer.
You can hire and maintain the best workers with a wellness plan that goes beyond just handing out healthy food flyers.
Bonuses are normal
Employers have recognized that it’s not just top management that makes a new client sign on or a hesitant customer purchase thousands of dollars of products. Every employee, down to the shipping department, plays a key role.
Bonuses need to be given out when employees meet their performance goals. Understanding that they are part of a unified team, employees feel more loyal and want to work harder for next season’s bonus.
Money is certainly motivation in itself, but it also signifies that the employer recognizes true contributions in the workplace.
Pets and children are welcome
Employees may feel compromised when they are at work, especially if they worry about pets or children. Some employers can set up an actual day care for pets, as well as a separate space for children.
Knowing that their loved ones are safe and enjoying themselves gives your employees the focus they require to finish a project. This perk also saves them substantial money for outside day care. Employers will find that workers have better concentration and less absenteeism.
Paid charitable work
There never seems to be enough time in the day to complete every chore or job. Reserving time for charitable work is almost impossible. Companies that offer paid time off for charity work are finding that quality people are vying for their jobs.
Employees want to help out, but they can’t afford to take a no-pay day off. Offered a paid salary, employees take several days a year to help others. As a result, the employer sees higher morale and loyalty from the employees, and it gives your company a good reputation in the community.
Negotiations aren’t unheard of
If the right person is interviewing for a position, don’t be afraid to negotiate. You could offer casual Fridays or an extra vacation day each year, if the person is valuable enough to hold onto.
The prospective employee may have a counteroffer during negotiation. For the right person, negotiations are normal and healthy. With a happy employer and employee, the business can only improve.
Health insurance and vacation days are no longer the only perks in the private sector. As an employer, take a look around the industry to find the right perks for the perfect employees. Your business will flourish.
Business owners often focus solely on their company and services when it comes to helping customers. One issue that many company owners face today is the fact that potential clients don’t know what they’re all about.
This is what happens when marketing and advertising have not been incorporated into the business. Marketing and advertising can be done both locally and on the Internet. These two approaches should be made to complement each other so that your company is able to promote itself to people everywhere.
From those who are using the Internet to learn more about the firm to those who live nearby, marketing can be the saving grace if you’re a new or struggling company.
Local marketing and direct mailing
Local marketing and advertising refers to the process of promoting your goods or services to people who are located near your business. This could include having professional business cards made up and handing them out to both customers and other business owners who might be interested in the services of your firm.
Another way that businesses implementing local market of their company name is by making use of direct mail advertising. Direct mail advertising refers to sending out pamphlets, brochures, and booklets via local mail to a variety of different clients.
Even individuals and companies that have not yet done business with the your company might be interested in what they can learn from direct mail.
The reason local marketing and advertising is so vital to the life of a business is because it lets people know that your firm exists and what it has to offer. For example, a brand-new company might not attract the customers it needs because it simply hasn’t notified enough locals about its presence and potential services.
By sending out direct mail advertising, putting up signs in the area, and giving out business cards, you get the name of your company out there for people think about and possibly investigate for themselves.
Online marketing and advertising
Just like local advertising, but possibly even more so in this day and age, online marketing is essential to the life of a new or struggling business. Many people nowadays do their initial research of a company on the Internet.
This means they might try to look up your business before they even contact you or visit your local office. Having an informative, professional, and easy-to-navigate website is vital because you offer a place where clients can easily go to learn more about the company.
Also, creating social media pages specifically for your business can help to get the name out there and cater to clients who might have questions or inquiries about whatever you do. Making use of online marketing with social media pages and a professional website can bring in a different audience than you’ll get through local marketing.
Since you’re bringing in a different crowd online, it’s a great way to develop more clients so that your company can truly do well for itself in the long run.
While computerized appliances have been available for kitchens, living rooms, and cars for years, they’ve lacked an important feature: the ability to communicate across proprietary platforms.
A new protocol in development plans to remove that shortcoming, so a slew of new tech inventions can bring smarter electronic devices not only to homes, but hospitals and the front lines of war zones.
In hospitals, doctors have been able to synthesize simple living tissue to use when treating burns or during organ transplants. Until today, however, complex organs were too great a challenge. New 3D printing technology may enable scientists to grow living organs with computers.
Soldiers fighting overseas have relied on bulky night-vision goggles to be able to see at in the dark, but the Pentagon has recently learned of high-tech night-vision contact lenses that could replace goggles within a few years.
A universal language for home appliances
Cars, toasters, thermostats, and toothbrushes that communicate with people over the Internet can potentially make life more convenient for many of us. Many brands already produce these devices and sync them together with a computer language that extends only to products of the same brand.
For example, the Nest thermostat tracks users’ energy usage and automatically adjusts the temperature, but it doesn’t communicate with other smart devices. As demand grows for a universal protocol for smart appliances, research and development firms are working on a solution.
Qualcomm, SmartThings, Lowe’s, and Revolv have all attempted to unite appliances with a single language. Past attempts have mostly relied on a central physical hub to join devices, but a new open-source language called AllJoyn could sync devices without a hub.
In order for AllJoyn to succeed, appliance makers would have to be willing to work with each other. IEEE Standards Association President Karen Bartleston thinks consumers will eventually convince manufacturers to make their devices more open to communication.
Devices in critical situations offer new advantages
Advances in medical 3D printers may empower doctors to regenerate complex organs for patients who desperately need a transplant. Current technology allows doctors to replicate thin layers of one type of cell, but 3D organ printers would be able to produce complex living tissue with many different types of cells and structures.
For example, current technology doesn’t allow doctors to grow new skin for patients because it includes many types of interdependent cells and veins. Herriott-Watt University researchers developed a 3-D printer that can grow embryonic cells.
Cornell University engineers and doctors have replicated a human ear using 3D printing technology. NASA paid $100,000 for innovations in 3D printing of biomaterials in 2013. Previous biomaterial printing has been restricted to bones, teeth, and other simple structures.
War zone app
University of Michigan researchers have developed infrared-sensing material that’s as thin as an atom. The microscopic film can be applied to contact lenses and used to replace night-vision goggles in war zones.
Officials at the Pentagon have shown interest in the technology and may partner with the researchers to continue development.
As previous generations did, adults of today look at the youth and shake their heads. With the explosion of technological gadgets and the Internet, some grownups fear that young people are caught up in a universe of electronics that stifles their imagination.
Fantasy is still alive and well, though, showing up in blogs and more unusual places. Kids still love to let their imaginations soar. It’s simply a matter of expressing themselves in different ways and exploring new alternatives.
The rich landscape of gaming
There’s no doubt about it: Video games are here to stay. While some may argue that the electronic age is detrimental to the health of the nation’s youth, others disagree.
Video games are seen as an outlet, or escape from reality. It’s possible to enter new worlds at the click of a button. Suddenly, children can navigate a completely different universe or at least get away from their normal lives while they play the game.
They can take control of their character, build the person they want to be, and see where their adventure will take them. Every time kids play a game, they are using their imaginations, pretending they are in a completely different place.
With the assistance of graphics and video game designers, kids can go places they never went before.
Fantasy and science fiction is big in literature
One need only look at the most popular books in recent years to see that kids love to visit new worlds through literature as well. From the Harry Potter series to Twilight and the Hunger Games, the most popular books in modern times have taken readers into the unknown.
When children dip into a book, they find themselves transported into new realms or discover that fantastic creatures and situations intrude on the everyday world. It’s a benefit for children as they learn how to look at the world through someone else’s eyes and broaden their horizons.
Art is another means of expression that expands a child’s mind
In addition to using books and games to travel into the unknown, children often use art to go on a journey into the mind. It’s a simple process.
When children have paper and a variety of art supplies, they can go anywhere they want to go, transferring their ideas to their canvas through the magic of their fingertips. It’s an excellent way to be expressive and creative at the same time.
The fact that for many children, a stylus and electronic tablet have replaced pencil and paper hasn’t altered the activity of creating something from nothing but one’s own mind.
Imagination is far from dead. Children of today still love to pretend and have flights of fancy. They’re simply using different methods to achieve the same goals that their parents did.
Grownups would be wise to embrace the many ways in which young people can explore their emotions and use their minds to pretend, dream, and create. When our youth are exposed to many different influences, they’re more likely to develop into critical thinkers who can look beyond four walls to see endless possibilities in their surroundings.
Homeowners enjoy several key tax benefits simply by owning their home. They may deduct the interest off their mortgage, points they paid as part of the loan process, interest on loans taken out for the purpose of home improvement, loans that are subsequently used for capital improvements, or ones that actually increase your home’s value.
The actual cost of an improvement is not allowed to be deducted from your taxes, although it may have a tax benefit. Here’s how.
Home improvement vs. home repair
There’s a big difference between home improvements and home repairs. Home improvements add value or prolong the home’s life. This is what the Internal Revenue Service considers a home improvement as opposed to a home repair.
A home repair is more along the lines of maintenance as opposed to improvement. So fixing a leaky roof or painting are both considered repairs, but installing a brand-new roof or adding on a room are actual improvements.
Other examples of home improvements include installing new wiring or plumbing, repaving your driveway, or finishing a basement.
The expense of implementing home improvements can add a great deal of value to your home. Usually, it’s the cost of an asset that’s the basis for taxation.
However, when you purchase a home, this also includes any improvements you incorporate along with the original price you paid. The actual amount of money you spent on the improvements, including hired labor and materials, is added to your tax basis.
Because you added value to the home, the improvements may reduce your taxes if you sell your home and make a profit, since they reduce the amount you made selling your home. It’s inaccurate just to subtract the original price you paid for your home from the amount you made selling it.
Instead, you add the home improvement costs to the original price you paid for your home, and then subtract this figure from the price you receive for selling your home.
The tax laws usually allow a profit by as much as $250,000 for a single person when he or she sells the main residence without counting it as income. If you’re married and also file jointly, the amount goes up to $500,000.
If you use a part of your home for any reason other than your personal abode, you might also depreciate home improvement expenses or deduct them over the course of several years. An example would be if you work from a home office or rent out a room.
The IRS has certain criteria for what qualifies as a home office. The person must have a legitimate business and regularly use that specific part of the home just for doing business. The taxpayer must also prove that the home serves as a headquarters for the business. Obviously, this mostly applies to those people who are self-employed.
An exception to the rule
There are certain circumstances when a home improvement may indeed qualify for an instant tax benefit. If the home improvements were geared toward energy efficiency, they can count as a tax credit. A tax credit, as distinguished from a deduction, is directly subtracted from how much you owe the Internal Revenue Service.