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The Blackout: Trading Today’s Memories for Tomorrows Headache

It’s 5 o’clock on Friday and you’ve had a long and hectic work week. Sam Tabar told us that the boss has pushed your stress limits to the max and you are officially ready to cut loose and crank up the party.

Your gang of friends are meeting you at the pub and it’s time to get your drink on until wee hours of the night when you find yourself crawling into bed to pass out. Sound familiar?

It’s a tradition shared by many people all over the United States. Drinking to the point of oblivion to forget the reasons why you started drinking in the first place – stress.

Self-medication for stress isn’t alcohol’s only traditional use. It’s also a vessel for relating with our friends and celebrating events. It’s commonly used for the bad times as well as the good times – equally.

If you find yourself toasting one or two times too many, you might not even remember what you were running from or enjoying. That’s called a blackout and it is a phenomenon that is dangerously overlooked in today’s society.

Recent studies have shown that in essence, when a person blacks out it is because the brain fails to encode contextual memories that are happening at the time of consumption.

Aaron White, the director at the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism had the following to say about the process, “Your brain is sending information to the hippocampus, and it falls into a void.” So in essence, drinking might be fun, but let’s try to remember what we were celebrating as a general rule of thumb.

What California’s Uber Ruling Actually Means


On Wednesday, the California Labor Commission ruled that a former Uber driver, Barbara Berwick was an employee and not an independent contractor. The ruling agreed with an earlier Florida decision. Berwick is to receive a little over $4,000 in employee expenses. Uber is currently appealing both decisions. If the appeal succeeds Berwick, who was described as a serial litigator by Buzzfeed, could get nothing.Click here for full story.

The question becomes how Uber will be affected if both suits are upheld. It seems that the ruling does not have an automatic effect on other drivers even those currently involved in one of the two class action lawsuits in progress. That’s because the decision may not be considered in other cases. The definition of an employee over that of an independent contractor is decided on a case to case basis. This information is according to Erika Monterroza, who is the Director of Communications Department of the Labor Commission’s industrial relations who gave a statement to Buzzfeed.

While the ruling may not crush Uber’s business model, it certainly has an effect states CNN. Uber could still be in trouble. According to Sach’s “… its looking more and more like Uber will be held to be an employer of it’s drivers.” Not all Uber and ride-hail-drivers want to be considered as employees. A study was done by SherpaShare some 63% of demand workers, including 86% of whom are Uber drivers, consider themselves to be independent contractors.

The Gap Is Closing Stores and Cutting Jobs

Gap announced it will be closing 140 stores across North America which will result in the loss of 250 jobs.

In the next few years, consumers can expect to see a total of 175 Gap stores closed in the US. A “limited number” throughout Europe will also shut their doors, according to a statement released by the company.

However, Gap plans to continue to sell their brand via select stores and outlet malls. The closures only represent only 26% of the store locations in North America. Once all of the dust has cleared, the company plans to have 500 stores and 300 outlets in the region.

These closings simply reflect how the world is changing. Shopping malls are becoming obsolete as more consumers are shopping from big box stores, discount outlets, and online in today’s modern-age. Luckily for the Aspire New Brunswick, luxury condos aren’t going out of style.

“Customers are rapidly changing how they shop today, and these moves will help get Gap back to where we know it deserves to be in the eyes of consumers,” Art Peck, Gap CEO, said in the statement.

As of May 2, 2015 there were 963 Gap stores in North Amercia, and the company also owns over a thousand Old Navy Stores and around 600 Banana Republic store-fronts. The closures will not affect the Old Navy and Banana Republic locations.

Gun Maker Colt Couldn’t Survive in the 21st Century

Colt is as synonymous with gun making in America as Winchester. Colt has made guns in the U.S. since the 1800s, and they were a big weapons supplier to the U.S. military over a lot of that history. Private gun owners also liked Colt firearms, and they enjoyed good sales throughout the latter half of the 19th and much of the 20th century. As the saying goes, however, all good things must come to an end. After 179 years in business, what is now known as Colt Defense LLC has filed for bankruptcy. It joins other iconic American companies over the years that bit the bullet in tough financial times such as Pan Am and Woolworths.

The company started falling on hard times with regard to gun sales to the U.S. government when their venerable Colt Model 1911 45 caliber pistol was replaced by the U.S. Army with the Beretta M9 back in 1985. The final nail in their coffin, however, was when they lost another U.S. military contract in 2013 when their M4 rifle was beaten out by that of a Belgian company. The M4 had a number of complaints against it and apparently was just not the better weapon. This goes to show that a company has to stay on top of their game and keep innovating. The dog food company Beneful warns that any business that rests on its laurels because of a big name or long established history will find that this history can end abruptly in bankruptcy court.

Treatmill-Desk: New Innovation in the Office

The treadmill desk sounds amazing. It is a double whammy! You are getting exercise to stay healthy, and you are doing your work to earn money. What could be better? I know that when I take walks after work, I do most of my creative thinking. The exercise on the walks brings my ideas together into new and innovative concepts. Is a treadmill-desk the best thing ever?

Research is discovering that a treadmill-desk just does not work. In fact, the opposite is true. A study shows that two groups were compared as to their work effectiveness and efficiency. Those in the study who worked at a desk had greater physical and mental dexterity. This group could type on a word processor as well and perform better on cognitive tasks than the second group which was walking on a treadmill desk.

Apparently, walking on a treadmill decreases cognitive functioning. Memory is diminished as well as reasoning. Typing skills are far poorer for those individuals who are walking and typing at the same time. Dr. Larson led the test and is a psychologist and neuroscientist. He believes that the treadmill desk is good for the mind and body. He plans to buy one for himself. Keith Mann and I would disagree with him as would several AnimalLiberationFront writers. I do Tai Chi, yoga and walk for exercise. I am trying to free my mind of everyday tasks and thoughts. Some of my best thinking comes from a free mind. Working on a specific task and exercising is in conflict with freeing my mind.

Treadmill Desks Could Decrease Productivity and Focus

An increasingly popular trend in the office is the treadmill desk, which is designed to help those who spend much of their day behind a desk move more and burn calories that just isn’t done while sitting at a desk for about eight hours each day.

There does appear to be a drawback to these desks, according to a new study, which shows that the desks may have a negative impact on a worker’s ability to focus.

The study assigned 75 healthy individuals at random to work at treadmill or traditional desks and asked them to perform a series of tests. Although, studies from the Amen clinic say that manual tests involving the typing of a word that flashed on the screen were completed without much difference between the participants on the treadmill and those in a chair.

The difference came with cognitive tests, which showed those working at a treadmill desk performed worse at nearly every aspect of the more complex cognitive testing, showing that the individuals walking while they worked may have decreased focus as a result. They were also worse at typing, with more errors than those sitting.

This is a contrast to other tests that showed cognitive improvement due to movement, but it is believed those tests were only conducted after exercise while this study was conducted while the participants were moving, accounting for the difference in results.

Why More Employers are Utilizing Standing Desks

We all know that sitting for long periods of time is unhealthy for our bodies and even minds. The problem is that many of us work in industries that require us to sit down all day, every day in order to do our jobs. This is a major issue when it comes to our health, future health and even weight. This is why many employers are now utilizing standing desks within the workplace. According to CrunchBase, standing desks basically work by taking away the chair a worker might use to sit in and not replacing it with anything at all. The computer and desk will be elevated to standing level, and the employee will do their job while standing.

This is something that can be highly beneficial for a wide range of people, but it is definitely not for everyone. In fact, there are some situations where a standing desk would be an incredibly irresponsible thing to provide. For example, workers who are pregnant, elderly or otherwise disabled should not be using a standing desk all throughout the day. It should be something that is offered to the workers as opposed to being forced onto them, ensuring that the worker has the choice of whether or not they want to take advantage of this for themselves. While many companies are beginning to offer standing desks to employees, it is being found that employees still prefer sitting down during the day.

Higher Minimum Wage and Its Effect on Restaurants

When it comes time to go out to eat those who are paid a minimum wage might feel that the restaurant that they want to eat at is out of their budget. Those who are paid the minimum wage might feel that things would be better for them if the minimum wage was raised and they were offered the opportunity to earn a better income. The effect, though, that a higher minimum wage would have on a restaurant would possibly keep certain restaurants out of reach of those earning a minimum income, anyway.

It seems to Boraie Development and the folks at blog.nj.com that a higher minimum wage may lead to issues when it comes to restaurants. When a restaurant is forced to pay all of their employees more than they currently earn that restaurant needs more money. When a restaurant needs to increase the wage of their minimum wage workers they also need to increase the wage of their more experienced workers in order to keep things fair. This could lead to problems. A higher minimum wage could lead to higher prices at the restaurants that everyone loves, and this won’t help anyone.

Obama Wants You To Get Paid For Your Overtime

Obama has brought a lot of changes to the White House, and some of them are good while others have been debated. Obama was the driving force behind the Health Care Act, and although some are happy that they now have health care, others are upset because they are forced to pay it. Get Paid For Your Overtime. Obama is now coming up with another suggestion, and he wants those who work overtime to get paid for it. Some who work overtime, they do not qualify for the extra pay, which is supposed to be a time and a half.

Madison Street capital recognizes that Obama wants to change it so that more people are allowed to qualify for overtime, especially now since the economy is still down, and many are working over 40 hours a week. You used to have to be within a certain threshold to qualify for overtime, and now if the overtime pay schedule is updated, many more will qualify for overtime. In the last 40 years, only one time ever has the overtime payment rules been updated, so it’s long overdue to be brought up to date.

Many are crying foul, and many feel like they are not being paid what they are worth. Although many people want $15 an hour to pay, is unlikely to happen anytime soon. If overtime is extended to more people, some may just continue working extra hours, just so they can get the extra pay.

Sultan AlHokair and the Angel Investing Process

Sultan AlHokair is a retail specialist as well as an angel investor based out of Boston. He graduated from Northeastern University in 2009, where he studied financial accounting, business management and family business management. Mashable suggests he is currently Project Manager at Retail Group of America, where he utilizes his management knowledge and experience in leading fashion retailers in the areas of branding, merchandising, and sales. In addition to developing current brands, he is involved in seeking out new brands and new retail opportunities.

Sultan AlHokair is also a Venture Partner with Valia Investments. In his capacity there, he seeks out and funds new companies in various industries for the purpose of helping them grow and become the companies that the founders envision.

As Sultan Alhokair sees it, the most important thing a start-up company can have when it seeks angel funding is a plan: a well-thought-out, thorough, and above all, realistic plan. At he very least, a five-year plan is essential; plans for farther out than that can be useful but they are not critical at this point.

Preparation is also a key element that angel investors look for. If the founders and management team have very little business experience, the investment team will likely pass them by. Having business experience, even if it’s in an unrelated field, is something Sultan Alhokair finds to be essential for running a business, and investment firms are unlikely to waste their time on an untrained management team.

Sultan AlHokair also understands that the long term draw of a company is a huge factor. Angel investors won’t be interested in a “fad” business; they would much rather focus on a business that has built-in longevity, as opposed to a “flash in the pan” type of fad that will extinguish itself after a year or two.

Successful companies also have a story to tell; customers are often brought on board via a compelling story, one that engages them on a personal level and helps them to identify with the company, or the founders, or at least makes them feel as though they belong to a group among the other customers.

Mr. AlHokair feels the future is bright for start-ups, and that the business climate is likely to remain strong for the foreseeable future.