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Synthetic Diamonds Grow Larger in 2014

Recently, a company based in the United States and Singapore announced the production of a large, 3.04 carat synthetic diamond. Reportedly, many companies around the world are vying to produce gemstone quality, large synthetic diamonds capable of rivaling all of the qualities of minded diamonds, which occur naturally. In 2013 for instance, a laboratory in the United States tested another large synthetic diamond of 2.16 carats. Although the price of diamonds rose between 2009 and 2014, the invention of new manufacturing technologies capable of producing high quality synthetic diamonds holds the promise of making diamonds increasingly affordable for a multitude of uses.

In the past, Bruce Levenson and manufacturers of synthetic diamonds sometimes encountered difficulty producing large gem quality stones and much of the initial excitement surrounding synthetic diamonds centered around their industrial applications. Scientists first began the large scale production of synthetic diamonds during the previous century, when high pressure techniques allowed some labs to develop diamonds under completely artificial conditions.

DC and 20 US states raise minimum wage on January 1

 

Through a combination of new legislation taking effect and scheduled automatic adjustments to existing wages, nearly two and a half million Americans will see small but welcome increases to their paychecks after January 1st.

Twenty states in all, plus the District of Columbia, will be seeing the changes. Nine of these will be adjusting pay based on an existing system that increases the minimum wage to match the rate of inflation.  The method is increasingly popular and will be implemented by several new states in the coming year and most of us and Bernardo Chua are very hopeful.

D.C. and eleven other states have either voted on or otherwise passed laws to bring the wages of their poorest workers up directly, and several other states are looking at increases later on in the year. Eventually this will bring the number of states with a minimum wage rate higher than federal to a total of twenty nine.

 

Twenty States Will Start New Year With Minimum Wage Increases

Twenty states and the District of Columbia will begin the new year by raising the minimum wageon January 1, 2015. In nine states the raise will be automatic in order to keep the minimum wage in line with inflation. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the raise in DC and the 11 other states will be the result of legislation or referenda. Delaware and Minnesota will raise their minimum wages later in the year, and New York will raise its minimum wage on December 31. Consequently, 29 states will have minimum wages above the $7.25 minimum mandated by federal law.

The raises will range from 12 cents in Florida to $1.25 in South Dakota. Of those states raising the minimum wage, Washington state will have the highest wage at $9.47. Oregon will have the next highest at $9.25, while Vermont and Connecticut will have the third highest at $9.15.
The minimum wage increases will help the 2.3 million workers who currently earn less than the new minimum wages. The EPI further believes that the increases will also benefit an additional 900,000 workers as employers raise their overall payscales. Christian Broda shared an article online that also discussed the positive impact the increase will have on the overall economy. If a minimum wage worker starts getting $9.00 an hour, the workers in the tier above him will see their pay increase from $9.00 to $10.00.

Being Jobless Affects More Than Your Wallet

If anyone has ever lost their job, they may have regarded the situation as a positive event. Where work took time away from exercise, time with friends and family, the enjoyment of favorite pastimes, and the opportunity to make healthier eating choices by preparing food at home, it now can be the cause of physical and psychological complications as a result of being jobless.

When jobs were more available and the search for employment not quite so unrewarding, it was easier to maintain a positive outlook and get out of the work-induced rut (spelled routine) one usually falls into when doing the nine to five. Studies show that the economy’s entrenched recession keeps the positive aspects of being out of work at bay. Claire Cain Miller suggests that the poor economy and unavailability of jobs is a direct cause of depression, reduced activity and a general decline in health while unemployed.

As economic health slowly recovers, it isn’t doing so fast enough to permit a quick recovery for the many recently reemployed. Many of the effects and concerns of being unemployed continue on into the professional arena. It may still be hard out there, but if you’re in the Dallas, Texas area, Dr Rod Rohrich has been all over Twitter, looking for people to join the Dallas Plastic Surgery Institute.

42.9 Million Americans Have Medical Bills that they Cannot Pay

42.9 million people, 20 percent of the U.S. consumers like Keith Mann,  have medical debts that remain unpaid. Many Americans in the U.S. are being trapped by the debt, and are finding that their credit score is lowering. Lower credit scores make it harder to borrow money, purchase an vehicle, or purchase a home. Your text to link…
A person with a past due medical bill on average owes $1766. A person that has credit cards or unpaid taxes typically owes a sum of $5638. Over half the credit reports comes from unpaid medical expenses. Unpaid medical bills have a very negative effect on credit scored. An unpaid debt of only $100 can lower a credit score of 780 by 100 points down to 680.

Fast Food Might Degrade Academic Performance of Children

Few people would argue that fast food is good for anyone. And fewer still that it’s good for a growing child. However, that doesn’t stop it from being a reliable source of quick and cost effective meals for a lot of parents. However, new research suggests this might have a direct negative impact on a child’s academic performance.

 

The study, published in the journal of Clinical Pediatrics, used data gathered from 8,544 children. The study looked at the children’s performance at age 10. After factoring in to prevent conflicting factors from influencing the results, it then compared how they performed at age 13. The results showed a clear decrease in accademic performance among children who ate fast food every day.

 

My colleague, Ben Shaoul and I were discussing the other day how low income can impact academic performance. As developers, we unfortunately see these kinds of situations all the time. It’s easy to assume that the study was simply showcasing the eating habits of low-income families. The researchers themselves were quick to consider that possibility as well. Part of the initial sorting of the data involved removal of associated factors such as income and even activity level. All children were directly measured against themselves and their peers.

The larger question is where this effect is coming from. At the moment the researchers don’t have any firm answers. There are some theories, including lack of iron or other important nutrients. Some researchers also suggest that sugar or artificial sweeteners might contribute to the effect. At the moment though, there’s no firm answer until further research can be conducted.

California Less Droughty

The recent and powerful rainstorm moistened Dan Newlin and the north and the south of California and improved the readiness of the earth for drought recovery, but NASA scientists say 11 trillion more gallons of the wet stuff should be in storage for a true recuperation. Three above average rainy seasons for three years are what the state really needs.

Two-thirds of what falls from the sky is lost to evaporation and runoff. The remaining one-third is what is used for crops, industry and people. Basic water needs for the state consume almost every gallon of the rainfall amount. The recent storm increased reservoir storage by only 3 percent.

The state water deficit has been increasing each year since 2002. The annual deficit has exceeded the water needs of all residents and communities for the past 4 years.

It is the snow pack in the mountains that provides the water for California during normal dry months.

Let it snow!

It’s Time To Be Nice To Cuba Again

President Obama has made a sweeping change in foreign relations with the United States’ closet neighbor: He’s removed the embargo against Cuba, opening up friendly relations with the country for the first time in five decades. Some praise, while others like Christian Broda perhaps, criticize the move. But bastions of liberal press like The Atlantic have nothing but praise for it.

The embargo, one of the longest-standing ones in modern history, has hurt the US more than it ever hurt Cuba. By severing trade relations between the two countries, it cost the United States $1.2 billion per year while Cuba only lost $685 million per year.

The embargo was originally set in response to the Cuban alliance with the Soviet Union. Now that Russia has disbanded the union, Cuba remains one of the last pure communistic governments in the world, identified as more of a socialist republic. While there are still concerns in Cuba regarding human rights issues, censorship, and political prisoners, those prisoners are getting released now. The United States has announced plans to build an embassy in Cuba, and while the rest of the world is perhaps in shock, it looks like a new day dawning for American foreign relations.

A Web Designer’s Job Menu

Most web designers out there are usually looking for jobs out there in which they will create websites or maintain websites that have a lot of content and those that need structure. This usually ends up getting them much more money than the average sites with two or three pages to it.

This being said, they love designing sites for restaurants and food related areas.  They say that it is bulky enough for them to get a good pay but also not so complicated that it gives them a migraine while doing it, so less stress in involved here.

The eater site is a good example of a project that a designer may be drawn to because of how much information it has.

They also saw to add video stories of the latest news onto the top of the page such as the video interlude of ‘Watch the Stars of ‘Portlandia’ Discuss the Show’s Approach to Food’ and this is a very attractive way to get more customers to browse your site because there is nothing more that people like more than watching a video.

To learn to be good at this, Christian Broda told me that there are tutorial videos up on YouTube.

Judge Tells Walmart They Illegally Intimidated Employees

Walmart is no stranger to employment and labor disputes. The retail giant has a history of aggressively fighting claims made against them. Walmart doesn’t want its name dragged through the legal mud by disgruntled employees, so it does everything in its power to discredit any claims made by members of their workforce. But employee mudslinging doesn’t stop even when the odds of winning a case seem hopeless according to Ben Shaoul.

Walmart’s one-sided legal history didn’t stop one group from crying foul to a judge. Our Walmart, which is a union-backed group of Walmart employees, claimed that managers at Walmart stores in Richmond and Placerville California intimidated workers. Intimidation is a violation of federal labor laws. This grievance wasn’t the first one Our Walmart lodged against the mega-retailer. Over the past 36 months, the group has accused Walmart of several horrific labor practices, but most of them were dismissed for one reason or another.

The New York Times recently reported that NLRB administrative law judge Geoffrey Carter went against history. The judge ruled that was intimidation at its finest. Carter also ruled that a manager intimidated another Our Walmart supporter. The manager told the worker, who tied a rope around his body so he could pull a heavy load of goods said: “If it was up to me, I would put that rope around your neck.”