(NewsUSA) - It's scary to imagine a life without proper plumbing. In fact, most people seem to take modern-day plumbing for granted. But the plumbing industry has grown by leaps and bounds throughout the years.
Before the introduction of modern-day plumbing luxuries such as sewage drainage and disposal systems, flushing toilets and water treatment systems, diseases ran rampant due to the lack of clean water. Diseases such as polio, cholera, and even the black plague took the lives of far too many people before modern plumbing was introduced as we know it today.
There was a time when waste was dumped onto streets, or even into rivers, instead of being properly disposed. This unfortunately contaminated drinking water, which helped spread those killer diseases. However, that's a thing of the past. In today's world, clean water is easily accessible thanks to modern-day plumbing luxuries.
Although the plumbing industry has grown by leaps and bounds throughout the years, the industry continues to look for new ways to improve. The industry is now focusing on improving efficiency, conserving water and reducing costs for homeowners. And the way to accomplish those goals may involve a greater focus on "green" technology.
Mr. Rooter Plumbing is an example of a company dedicated to improving the plumbing industry.
"Mr. Rooter Plumbing is dedicated to protecting the health and safety of customers and the nation, through sanitation and continuously seeking ways to improve through industry innovation," says Mary Kennedy Thompson, president of Mr. Rooter Plumbing. "We are working to be recognized as the world's leading company in the plumbing and drainage service industry."
The future of plumbing will look to find new ways to reduce water usage without sacrificing performance or aesthetic appeal. With a great deal of home technologies turning to solar power, the plumbing industry may follow suit. For example, traditional water heaters may eventually be replaced by solar-powered water heaters, which would use free energy from the sun to heat water for showers, dishwashers and washing machines. In addition, other plumbing fixtures such as flush valves could also incorporate solar power technology someday.
Without the benefits of modern plumbing, the world would not be able to sustain life as it is today. Thankfully, the plumbing industry is continuing to find new ways to improve, and new ways to save homeowners money by conserving water.
For more information, visit MrRooter.com/45th-anniversary.
(NewsUSA) - Looking to spend more time out on your boat than stuck at the dock? Well, a new web app, which you can access from any mobile device and makes maintaining your boat a (summer's) breeze, may help you do just that.
The app, called MyTaskit, connects boat owners with service techs, offering a convenient way to communicate directly with boat yards about service appointments, repair jobs or routine maintenance -- all of which means more time on the water and less on dry land.
"There's transparency around which tasks have been assigned to which people," says Kevin Hutchinson, founder and CEO of MyTaskit. Whether the MyTaskit app is used on a mobile device or accessed via a desktop computer, "boaters can see the status of projects that are open, in progress, waiting authorization or estimate approval, or completed. The last thing you want to realize is that something needs fixing and you're five miles off shore."
When users post an online task on MyTaskit, they can explain any issue to a service pro; they can attach photos or videos to describe the problem, too.
"Boats are complex possessions, with multiple moving parts that need frequent service and attention," Hutchinson says.
And even if your boat just needs a little TLC or maintenance, the app can come to the rescue. It conveniently stores manuals for everything on a boat, from its icemakers to its engines. Once you enter the specific type of engine your boat has, for instance, MyTaskit will automatically send a service reminder at manufacturer-recommended intervals.
The app is free of charge to boat owners, captains and their crews, and includes up to 1GB of storage (owners can purchase more storage as needed).
What's more, the app is making waves in other ways. Got a problem with your plumbing or electricity at home? MyTaskit will soon be able to connect with those service providers for your home or even RV.
"Because it's highly task-oriented, MyTaskit can help people stay coordinated with all their service providers," Hutchinson says.
The ease-of-use extends beyond consumers to service professionals, who say the MyTaskit "Pro" side of the app helps them to coordinate business with their existing customers online in a manner that strengthens the bond and fosters greater customer loyalty.
For more information, visit www.mytaskit.com.
(NewsUSA) - Experts say communication is key when dealing with prescription medicine.
Research has shown that a gap in communication between health care providers (HCPs) and patients about the potential risks of prescription medicines can result in adverse drug events. Increasing communication about prescriptions can help ensure that patients avoid such events, improve adherence to their medicine regimen(s) and live healthier lives.
The National Council on Patient Information and Education (NCPIE) launched a campaign earlier this year called "Talk Before You Take," aiming to spark this necessary patient/HCP engagement and encourage more conversations between patients and HCPs.
"It's imperative that health care providers and patients keep the lines of communication flowing," says Ray Bullman, NCPIE executive vice president.
Bullman and his colleagues' research for the campaign was developed by Johns Hopkins University and Ipsos Healthcare, with support from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, nearly half of Americans take prescription medicines, and over 20 percent of Americans take at least three. However, the research found that approximately 62 percent of patients were not aware of any safety warnings about their medicines. Ten percent of patients unaware of the possibility of a severe side effect actually experience a serious reaction.
"It is important for patients to understand how to take their medicines safely so they experience all the benefits and minimize the potential risks," said Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "Talk Before You Take encourages more discussion about medications between patients and their health care providers and pharmacists, which can improve the health of patients and our health care system."
In addition, the campaign offers four tips for patients and caregivers to guide conversations with HCPs:
* Talk to your health care provider and ask questions about the benefits and potential risks of prescription medicines you take.
* Tell your health care provider about all of the medicines you are taking -- including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins and dietary supplements.
* Tell your health care provider about any allergies or sensitivities that you may have.
* Read and follow the medicine label and directions.
For more information, visit www.talkbeforeyoutake.org. This work is supported by FDA grant number 5U18FD004653-03.
(NewsUSA) - What is it about Father's Day that can hang up the savviest gift giver? For Mother's Day, the presents are easy and unfailing: perfume, Godiva chocolate, dinner, flowers or a gift certificate for a massage. Dads, however, seem to always end up with the short end of the stick.
"This is the time you can indulge Dad and get him those things he's ogled, but hasn't gone to buy on his own," says Byon Penn, a manager at Jerry's Home Improvement Center in Eugene, Ore. "But the ole, traditional necktie doesn't quite cut it these days."
Eric Garland, a father of two, agrees.
"There's less of an emotional hoopla around Father's Day traditionally, because men were considered more self-reliant," Garland told USA Today in an interview. "We don't expect a lot, frankly. We don't ask for it ? that goes to the image of men as the strong, silent provider who don't need the open emotional support and affirmation of even those who are closest to them, which are their families. But I think that's changing."
To help you find the perfect gift for the perfect man, the following tips might help:
* The Stylish Dad. A bottle of his favorite Scotch, some cufflinks made from the wood of his favorite baseball park, or if you must get a tie, perhaps a silk tie from Brioni or Turn-bull & Asser will be sure to please.
* The Tobacco-Loving Dad. Cigars or pipes, will do for the gentleman who appreciates a good smoke now and again.
And for those dads who would rather indulge in smokeless tobacco, consider accoutrements like a portable spittoon. FLASR (www.flasr.com), an Atlanta-based tobacco accessory producer, has created a one-of-a-kind, pocket-sized spittoon that allows dads to take snuff, dip or chew anywhere they are. It's perfect for everyday use or while hunting, fishing or any other outdoor sporting or leisure event. FLASR reusable spittoons feature the exclusive Thumb-Lok Twist Cap for one-handed ease of use. This innovative closing mechanism ensures that it stays securely closed when not in use, eliminating the risk of spill and leaks often seen with cups and bottles.
* The Outdoor Dad. Barbecues are a classic gift for those who fashion themselves Master of the Grill. Anything hobby- and leisure-related, such as a tackle box or digital fishing scale for the fisherman, or a 10-in-one tool that will saw tree limbs or open a bottle of wine for the rugged outdoorsman are also great ideas.
(NewsUSA) - Running a community association can be a rewarding but difficult task -- a minefield for even the most savvy, seasoned and well-intentioned arbiter.
Federal, state and local laws are changed, passed, or modified; buildings age; interest rates are as solid as a two-celebrity marriage; budgets, insurance companies and community elections present their own challenges.
If you are one of the more than 66 million Americans who live in a homeowners association or condominium, you might be thinking of becoming a board member, or perhaps you already serve on an association board. Either way, educating yourself is of paramount importance to you, your neighbors and community.
Which is why Community Associations Institute (CAI), a national education and advocacy group, is offering a new, comprehensive education course that will help community association board members better understand association operations, management and governance.
"We know from national surveys that association board members are dedicated volunteers doing their very best to serve their communities and neighbors," says CAI Chief Executive Officer Thomas Skiba, CAE. "But that doesn't mean they know everything they need to know. Many boards get in trouble because they don't know what they don't know. That's why this course can be helpful."
A Big Commitment
Although board members certainly go in with eyes wide open about the amount of time they will be volunteering and devoting to the association, Skiba points out that the role also requires a commitment to understand the legal, leadership and operational obligations of the position.
"The information and insights conveyed in the workshop can save association leaders time, money and unnecessary headaches, perhaps even help them avoid costly, divisive lawsuits," says Skiba. "Even with a skilled community manager or attorney, board members can find themselves facing the unanticipated surprises and traps that association boards inevitably encounter."
CAI has tapped experts in the community association business to develop a workshop that is available both as an online course and a classroom workshop by CAI chapters. The curriculum, Skiba says, is for both self-managed communities and those association boards that rely on a professional community manager or an association management company.
Highlights of the Workshop
The Board Leadership Development Workshop provides association board members with information and perspective on the critical elements of community association operations. So whether you're a first-time board member or a tenured officer, there's something for everyone. Here is just a sampling of what the program includes:
* The functions of president, secretary and treasurer.
* Governing documents.
* Finances and reserve funding.
* Board and annual meetings.
* Rules compliance and enforcement.
Visit www.caionline.org or call 888-224-4321 to learn more.
(NewsUSA) - Biotech companies are making a big splash in 2015, offering potential investors a compelling roster of options. Among those to watch: Propanc Health Group Corporation (PPCH). Propanc is a developmental-stage health care company that is currently focusing its efforts in the field of new treatments for chronic diseases, particularly solid tumor cancers. The company was established in 2007 and is headquartered in Melbourne, Australia.
Propanc recently announced early data from animal studies using its patented formulas. Propanc's in-development proteolytic proenzyme products (described by the company as inactive precursors of enzymes) were not associated with any adverse events in the early studies, and the company is prepared to take the next steps in research. According to the company's website, Propanc "intends to undertake Phase I, II and III clinical trials to assess the safety and efficacy of our product in specific patient populations."
Propanc's proenzyme products, known as PRP and PRP-DCM, have the potential to be game-changers for cancer care by offering an effective option for long-term therapy without the excessive toxicity associated with many current cancer treatments. The research is preliminary, and the findings must be confirmed in clinical trials. However the company's stated development goals focus on the targeting of solid tumors, conditions for which most currently available treatments are limited to stabilizing the tumors or extending patients' lives for only a few months. Solid tumor cancer types include lung cancer, colorectal cancer, ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer and liver cancer.
As the company states, "In each of these indications, there is a large market opportunity to capitalize on the limitations of current therapies."
Scientists don't yet fully understand how proenzyme products can fight cancer, but early research results suggest that they may contribute to an inhibition of growth factors that cause cancer. In addition, Propanc is exploring a method to shrink tumor masses by targeting the tumor directly with an injectable form of PRP.
Propanc also is working with research collaborators to explore how Propanc's proenzyme products impact cancer cells. The goal of this research is to provide an opportunity for new, patentable drug development by the company.
For more information on PPCH, visit www.propanc.com.
(NewsUSA) - Maybe you're finally updating your 1970s kitchen to one that's more sleek and modern. Perhaps it's as simple as remodeling a bathroom. Whatever the room, home renovations can be pretty hectic and messy.
To get through your renovation, home organization is the key. The following tips should help you stay on top of the chaos.
* Have files for everything. Paperwork should be kept in one place. Inexpensive file folders that are portable can help you stay structured. Create a file for all receipts, and as you post them to a budget, move them to another file labeled "posted." Permits and papers from the city should be kept together. Just for fun, create a folder of design ideas and pictures from magazines to keep you inspired.
* Cover it up. One word: plastic. No, not credit cards. Use it to cover all heavy furniture that can't be moved from the room. This will prevent dust and debris from getting into the cracks and crevices and keep the finish on the furniture looking shiny.
* Keep a list. No matter how good your memory, things are going to fall through the cracks. Hanging a clipboard on a nail in the area you are working in will help you to stay on task about people you need to contact, or things you need to do or buy for the next day.
* Have a place for everything. If you're doing the remodel yourself, there is going to be a certain amount of chaos and upheaval. One thing that will help reduce your stress level is keeping your tools in one place. Create a space, such as a table, where all small tools are kept. The larger tools can sit on the floor under the table. Every time you're finished with a tool, put it back.
* Contain your stress. If you're a person who turns to cigarettes or smokeless tobacco in times of stress, try your best to keep things clean by going outside to smoke or by carrying a portable spittoon. After all, you don't want a fresh burn mark or stain from a spill to end up on your brand new floors. FLASR has created a one-of-a-kind pocket-sized spittoon that allows users to open and shut it with just one hand, making it an ideal solution for taking your snuff, dip or chew into any room that's being renovated. In addition, the Atlanta-based company's spittoon, has an advanced closing mechanism, ensuring that it stays securely closed when not in use, eliminating the risk of spill and leaks often seen with cups and bottles. For more information, visit www.flasr.com. Market listing: FLASR (OTCQB: FLSR).
(NewsUSA) - Imagine going into cataract surgery with poor vision and coming out with outstanding vision. Well, thanks to breakthrough intraocular lenses (IOLs), this may not be so far-fetched. [An IOL is an artificial lens placed in a person's eye to restore vision after cataract surgery.]
Today, medicine is moving beyond a one-size-fits-all model and is entering an age of more personalized treatment. An example of this growing trend is that doctors can now offer customized lens treatment options to improve people's vision after cataract surgery. Even those who have worn glasses their entire lives -- or are just starting to use readers -- have the potential to be free of glasses post cataract surgery.
Developed by Abbott and recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the Tecnis Multifocal 1-Piece IOLs (+2.75D and +3.25D) provide individualized options to the more than 20 million people estimated to undergo cataract surgery. These lenses allow people to have a full range of outstanding near, intermediate and far vision that can be customized based on a person's own vision needs and lifestyle.
"Many of my cataract patients are of working age and have very active lifestyles," said Tal Raviv, MD, FACS, Medical Director of the Eye Center of New York in Manhattan. "The ability to see all distances -- from looking at a smartphone to watching a movie on the big screen -- without the need for corrective wear is not only a benefit but a necessity." Overall, people may not need to wear their glasses for daily tasks.
Cataracts cloud the natural crystalline lens in the eye, and typically progress slowly causing vision loss, and can be potentially blinding if left untreated. Cataract surgery is one of the most common and safest procedures in the U.S. with more than 3 million surgeries expected to be done each year from 2014 to 2016 -- and that number is expected to grow as the population ages. In fact, as new technologies become available that can significantly improve vision, today's boomers are even opting to have the procedure done earlier in life (40's, 50's and 60's) so they can maintain their healthy, active lifestyles.
"I am constantly on my phone or computer and my vision was definitely becoming blurry," said Vivian Gemelos, Dr. Raviv's patient. "When I was told I had the option to have my vision corrected at all distances without glasses when my cataract was removed and replaced with this new lens, I jumped at the opportunity. I had one eye done and immediately saw the difference. Even colors are brighter. Now, I can't wait to have my other eye done."
For more information, visit www.abbott.com.
INDICATIONS: The TECNIS® Multifocal 1-Piece intraocular lenses are indicated for primary implantation for the visual correction of aphakia in adult patients with and without presbyopia in whom a cataractous lens has been removed by phacoemulsification and who desire near, intermediate, and distance vision with increased spectacle independence. The intraocular lenses are intended to be placed in the capsular bag. IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION: No matter what lens you choose, there are risks or problems that can happen with cataract surgery. The problems could be minor, temporary, or affect your vision permanently. Whereas your use of glasses may decrease, it may come at the cost of some sharpness of your vision. Even with glasses, this loss of sharpness may become worse under poor visibility conditions such as dim light or fog. If your eye is not healthy (including glaucoma), your vision may not be good even after your cataract is removed. In this case, you may not get the full benefit of the multifocal IOL. . There is a chance that your vision with a multifocal IOL may not be good enough to perform very near or detailed "up-close" work without glasses. Multifocal IOL implants may be inadvisable in patients with conditions such macular degeneration, retinal pigment epithelium changes, and glaucoma. CAUTION: Federal law restricts this device to sale by or on the order of a physician.
(NewsUSA) - Much has been made about using pepper spray for personal protection -- everything from whether it should be legal to carry while traveling by air, to determining its value in self defense. In honor of June's National Safety Month, let's separate fact from fiction, and bring a little clarity to this effective tool:
Myth: Some wasp sprays can be substituted for pepper spray.
While potent on nasty insects, they simply do not have the stopping power to work on humans.
Myth: Some people are immune to pepper spray.
Untrue, says SABRE, a manufacturer of security products for law enforcement and the general public. According to a 2001 University of Utah study, some pepper sprays fail because they do not include the necessary measures to guarantee strength consistency. To ensure heat consistency, SABRE operates a high-performance liquid chromatography lab that tests the strength of every pepper spray batch. SABRE eliminates pepper spray failures due to bad batches.
"That's a fancy way of saying that scientists are now able to determine how many parts per million of heat-causing alkaloids are present in a given chili pepper," wrote Dr. Paul Bosland, a genetics research scientist from the University of New Mexico, in Smithsonian Magazine.
Myth: Scoville Heat Units (SHU) can be used to determine strength.
Actually, major capsaicinoids are the only way to determine the heat strength of pepper spray. A Scoville Heat Units listing on pepper spray is subjective and can be inaccurate.
Myth: There is a no-fly rule with pepper spray.
According to the FAA, "one 4-ounce container of pepper spray" is permitted in checked baggage provided it is equipped with a safety mechanism to prevent accidental discharge. While legal to carry in all 50 states, certain restrictions apply so be sure to check your state's website for regulations.
Myth: There is a chance that you could spray yourself.
SABRE sprays have various safety mechanisms, making it virtually impossible to spray yourself accidentally.
Myth: If used, it could be taken away and used against me.
The whole purpose of pepper spray is to be able to stay at a distance, while incapacitating your attacker. In this way, you can stay up to 10 feet away for sprays and 12 feet away for gels. For added protection, SABRE has a stop strap that will stop the device from spraying if the pepper spray is pulled away from the strap worn around your wrist.
Myth: There is no guarantee it will affect an attacker.
Unless you've purchased a bad batch of pepper spray, some of the effects you can expect are: involuntary eye closure, imbalance, loss of breath and facial area burning -- all which give you time to escape.
For more information, visit www.sabrered.com.
(NewsUSA) - The days of using a stick, some string and a worm are as much a part of American culture as apple pie and baseball. Unlike that time, there are now many choices for anglers this spring, depending on where you'll be fishing.
In fact, selecting your gear is half the fun. But for starters, set aside the rods, reels, rigs, jigs and tackle, it's also just as important to remember these items that are often overlooked:
* Use sunscreen. You only have to suffer from sun poisoning one time to understand the relationship between sun and water. While the water may be cold and temperatures out-side chilly, sun reflecting off the water will still give you a burn. A sweat proof sunscreen that won't run and sting the eyes is ideal, as is one that won't leave a greasy residue that could adversely affect your grip.
* Wear a base layer. A thin T-shirt is a must as a base layer, better if it is made of fabric that wicks away moisture. There are even some that are made to be water repellent and stain resistant with anti-odor properties for those in warmer climes. Since this is the layer that is in direct contact with your skin, you want something that will allow moisture to escape as you sweat.
* Find the right pants. Spring days on the water are usually an all-day event, and call for versatility in your clothing. To that point, pants that convert to shorts are ideal. Like shirts, pants should be stain-resistant. Additionally, the pants should have plenty of pockets (with zippers) to carry anything extra. If you don't have access to a boat or dock, extend your fishing range with a good pair of fishing waders.
* Cover your head. Hats with a hard-hat liner will keep your neck, ears and head warm in cold weather. For warmer climates, a wide-brimmed hat will guard against sunburn, overheating and overexposure.
* Bring the extras. This could include a life vest, cooler or, if you happen to be a smokeless tobacco user, a portable spittoon like those offered by Flasr. The Atlanta-based company prides itself on creating the first-of-its-kind portable spittoon that is small enough to fit in your pocket and carry along wherever you go -- whether it's fishing on a lake or hunting in a blind. Its advanced closing mechanism ensures that it stays securely closed, eliminating the risk of spills and leaks.
For more information, visit www.flasr.com; Market listing: FLASR (OTCQB: FLSR).
(NewsUSA) - We all know they're coming . . . the dog days of summer. As parents, we love having the kiddos home and the absence of the daily grind of the bus, lunch-making and homework, but with every upside, there is a downside. And for kids in the summer, it's boredom!
For this reason, parents spend a good amount of time searching and registering their kids for activities to keep them engaged and out of trouble. With so many options available, where do you start? Where do you find activities that are of interest to your kids, while also being kind to your wallet?
A good place to start is online. There are some great parent resources available that provide parents the opportunity to search different activities -- all relevant to your child.
For instance, ACTIVEkids.com is an easy-to-use website for parents to discover and register kids for activities, classes and camps. ACTIVEkids enables parents to find a broad spectrum of activities from art seminars to dance classes to local summer camps -- search by gender, age and interests to find activities that are the most relevant to parent and child. It has a database of more than 120,000 activities nationwide and serves kids ages four to 18.
Another option is the local YMCA. If you're not familiar with the YMCA in your area, we suggest you check it out. It's a great family organization for kids and adults of all ages. Their programs focus on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Many local locations offer health and fitness programs that help children (and adults) to increase energy, decrease stress, prevent illness, maintain a healthy lifestyle and just enjoy quality time with family and friends.
The Y offers a number of different summer programs that promote positive self-esteem, good decision making and self-help and care. There are likely to be one or two great options for your child.
The recreation department in your town is another great place to look for activities -- and they are usually very affordable. Most towns offer programs from tennis and swim lessons to painting and music classes. The programs are usually run by local experts and are located right in town. Plus, if you coordinate with some friends, you might be able to catch a morning break that can be enjoyed and filled with some "you" time.
Wherever you go to find fun, engaging activities for your kids, just make sure you remember to carve out some simple, relaxing family time, too. The summers fly by much faster than the school year.
(NewsUSA) - Business travelers may feel like they live in the sky, but one airline is working to make sure they have their feet firmly -- yet comfortably -- planted on the ground.
As an extension of its new business class service, Aer Lingus has opened a lounge at JFK International Airport in Terminal 5, aiming to offer the warmth of Ireland to travelers even before they begin their journeys. From natural-stone wall accents to oak floors, raindrop-shaped light fixtures to pint glasses along the bar, the space inspires function and relaxation.
"You can see when you look through this lounge the Aer Lingus brand," says Jack Foley, vice president North America for Aer Lingus. "You can see the Irish roots in it, but you can also see the functionality of a business trip in this lounge."
All business class customers and Gold Circle members (plus a guest) can enjoy a wide range of amenities. They include a business center with complimentary Wi-Fi, separate quiet area stocked with chaise lounge-style chairs and revitalizing areas that feature everything from TVs to showers.
The facility also offers patrons the chance to dine pre-flight, where a hot buffet, soups and sandwiches, and wine and spirits are served.
Located across from Gate 26, the lounge is also well situated should travelers desire to take in the airfield or the historic TWA Flight Center. However, history buffs need not look any further than the lounge, which features a wall installation remembering prominent Irish Americans such as President John F. Kennedy and artist Georgia O'Keeffe.
Aer Lingus moved to Terminal 5 less than two years ago, Foley says, citing it one of the "top 10 terminals in the world."
"Now we have our own piece of Terminal 5, which really sets the brand apart," he says.
In Dublin, the airline's headquarters, travelers will also find enhanced features to that airport's business-class lounge. The Aer Lingus Gold Circle Lounge, located in Terminal 2, is a tranquil setting where guests can comfortably recharge. In addition, the lounge now has a shower area where guests can refresh pre-flight.
For more information, visit www.aerlingus.com.
(NewsUSA) - California has always been the "it" state. The go-to location for creativity and the birthplace of innovative ideas, and successful companies. While not always the case (think: more than a decade of economic and social troubles), it remains the eighth largest economy in the world.
Supporting the idea that the Golden State is still the place to see and be seen, is that high-tech companies employ approximately 1 million people with a payroll of about $100 billion, and that 66 percent of new jobs come from companies younger than five years old.
So, what does all this mean? For OCTANe, a startup accelerator, it's an opportunity to connect people and ideas with capital and resources to fuel technology and growth in Orange County. Through its LaunchPad SBDC program, the Orange County-based company has seen tremendous initial investment in affiliated startups. With follow-up funding and equity exit activity, total investment in OCTANe LaunchPad companies now approaches more than $780 million since 2004.
In the spirit of continuing its mission to help companies raise capital, OCTANe Launch Pad will be holding its Technology Investor Forum on May 5 in Irvine, Calif.
"The Technology Investor Forum presents a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs, investors, local universities' faculty and staff and corporate CEOs to come together in one place to build upon the strong foundation of resources in Orange County," said Bill Carpou, OCTANe CEO.
One award-winning technology company selected by OCTANe to be showcased at the event is MovoCash, Inc.
"We are excited to be a part of what OCTANe is doing to promote economic growth in Southern California, and it is an honor to present along side of the other terrific startup companies hand picked by OCTANe," said Eric Solis, president and CEO of MovoCash.
MovoCash will be presenting their groundbreaking payments technology in front of over 700 in attendance. The premise of MovoCash is to provide a secure app for consumers to take control of their finances by turning their smartphones into their very own digital banks, generating fraud-preventing one-time-use payment tokens on demand for shopping online or in store.
A total of 10 hand-picked companies will be showcased at the event. To date, past companies that have been selected to present have gone on to raise over $418 million.
"This event serves as a source for capital creation for emerging companies and businesses within the California region and gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to connect with investors from all over the country," said Carpou.
Attendees will have access to investment panel discussions, a "fast pitch" competition with prominent regional investors, and an innovation showcase demo.
(NewsUSA) - On April 13, 2015 Angola's Sovereign Wealth Fund announced the launch of five Investment Funds, targeting economic and social development in Sub-Saharan Africa. These will be accompanied by the establishment of a commercial vehicle to set up micro-business incubators for Angolan entrepreneurs.
The inspirations for these projects include the Brooklyn Navy Yard and Media Lab in the United States and African projects like Gearbox (Kenya) and AMP (Ghana). Three targeted platforms -- African Accelerator Markets, 'Sopa de Sab?o' Culture Hub and Cabinda Port Tech Hub & Prototyping Lab -- will deliver cultural, economic, social and technology goods and services that capitalize on human capacities and capacity building. The 'Sopa de Sab?o' Culture Hub will be supported by the Swiss-based African Innovation Foundation.
Project director and curator Emeka Okafor is enthusiastic about the possibilities this project can offer for economic development and peace in Angola.
Q: Mr. Okafor, why are you so enthusiastic about this project?
A: The intention is to create interlocking innovation hubs that will harness innovation, creativity and the existing entrepreneurial ability within Angola. We will bring in the best practices with high impact, adapt them to the local environment and create the basis for what will be the leading example for an African creative innovation hub. Our vision is to help unfold Africa's innovation potential and to contribute to peace and stability through prosperity and best business practices.
Q: What is the current status of the project?
A: We are in the process of launching a management company that will provide advice and support to all teams involved with the development of the three different incubators, which will be deeply engaged with their surrounding local communities. We are going to open up opportunities for people and accelerate the incubation of new ventures. Another objective is to diversify the economy in Angola by using non-conventional manners.
Q: What does that mean?
A: We will bring in experiences from outside Angola, look at what is on the ground already and then blend these approaches with what we think can work in Angola. It is going to be bottom-up. We are looking to build something that nobody ever before has built in Angola.
Q: Your plans sound very positive but are they also realistic?
A: Similar projects have been successful in the past, in the United States as well as in Africa. We studied the success stories of 'Maker' type projects of various scales internationally and across Africa to combine the best lessons of these projects as guidelines for this new venture.
Emeka Okafor is a Venture Catalyst and Entrepreneur whose past and current projects include Maker Faire Africa, Serengeti Tea, Africa Innovation Foundation, TED Fellows and the X Prize Foundation. His insights and initiatives are at the forefront of emergent systems, maker innovation incubation and the creative industries.
(NewsUSA) - With everything that goes into your wedding day, those once-in-a-lifetime moments will go by in a blur, which is why hiring a professional wedding photographer is a must. After all, the last thing you should be worrying about is whether your photographer will be able to capture your big day.
The key? Prepare yourself so that you can accurately evaluate the "right" photographer for you.
"The best photographer will take the time to build a rapport with you and use his or her experience and creativity to capture the mood, personality, ambiance and even the geography of your wedding," says PPA (Professional Photographers of America) photographer Berit Bizjak. "The finest wedding photography is more than a series of still pictures. It's physical poetry -- it tells the story of the day and portrays the essence of both people and place."
To this end, PPA, the largest international nonprofit association created by professional photographers, has taken the guesswork out of the process by offering six tips to help you plan your wedding photos like a pro:
1. Book far in advance. The best photographers get booked quickly -- sometimes as much as a year in advance -- so don't wait until the last minute to book your photographer.
2. Show them the money. Now is not the time to skimp on your photo budget. Call around and get a price range for services, and remember: after the cake is long gone, and the dress is stored away, your wedding photos will be the only things left to share and enjoy for years to come, so don't cut too many corners on your photography budget -- you'll end up regretting it.
3. Make sure your photographer is a real pro. Only hire someone who has liability insurance, experience taking the style of photos you want, backup equipment and a plan for when things go south. Ideally, he or she is a PPA photographer. PPA photographers do more than just snap pictures. They have the technical expertise and artistry to make you look your best and bring your vision to life. They also abide by a strict code of ethics that makes a real difference. Watch this (video) to see real married couples share their stories.
4. Request to see a full gallery of real weddings. Look at full wedding coverage (not just a small selection of each wedding's best moments) to see a photographer's true style and get a sense of how he or she might tell your "story." Do you prefer more artistic or traditional poses? Would you rather have a photojournalist approach or a mix of all styles?
5.Work with your photographer to create a detailed shot list. PPA wedding photographers can also help you create that shot list, as they know what key moments tell a wedding story and can prepare for those. But talk about your must-haves, and walk through the entire program with your photographer ahead of time. Share your expectations ahead of time to ensure that he or she captures the key shots, while remaining attentive and available to catch the best candid moments.
6. Plan your post-wedding photo strategyâ€˘ ahead of time! Almost as soon as the festivities are over, you'll be eager to look at the photos so you can relive your big day over and over again. Ask your photographer for teasers or a "sneak peek" and a timeline for when the rest of the pictures will be available. Will they give you an online gallery for family and friends to choose the images they want? Again, knowing these things ahead of time will make things easy on the back end, sparing you any heartache.
Get more tips like these, and prepare for the best wedding photos
(NewsUSA) - Many homeowners love carpeting. Its look and comfort, in addition to its insulating qualities, make it an essential home-decorating element. The fear, however, can be the stains left behind, such as the red wine that accidentally slipped from someone's hand one holiday party or a pet that didn't quite make it outside.
In the event mishaps like these occur, it pays to have carpeting that is made from material that you know is worry-free and easy-to-clean. Mohawk Flooring, for example, offers just such a product.
"SmartStrand Forever Clean is the toughest, easiest to clean carpet on the planet," says David Duncan, Mohawk Flooring's senior vice president of marketing. "It really is the perfect carpet for families with kids and pets. Using the most advanced fiber innovation, it offers the highest level of beauty, comfort and performance available so you can live life worry-free."
Amazingly, SmartStrand is the first new fiber to be introduced in over 50 years, and is the only carpet that boasts durability and permanent, built-in stain resistance. As a result, it should be unsurprising that it is the highest-rated carpet for consumer satisfaction, cleanability and durability.
The difference, according to Duncan, is that it's the first carpet to combine built-in stain protection with a nanotechnology spill shield.
"Made out of triexta, a greener, more eco-friendly fiber, this fiber is the easiest to clean because it repels and prevents spills from absorbing into the carpet," says Duncan. "Thus, it cannot become a stain."
Mohawk says it has tried to minimize its usage of natural resources, which in turn has enabled the company to reduce its energy consumption of its carpets while creating a fiber that is long-lasting, and resistant to the toughest stains. Top that off with a carpet that can be easily cleaned with water and mild detergent -- no harsh chemicals or cleaners needed -- and you have a much more environmentally friendly flooring option.
For all the parents and pet lovers out there, know this: It's just a matter of time before gravity forces an unwanted mess onto one of your floors. And when it happens, you'll surely rest easier knowing that it'll be easy to clean.
For more information, visit mohawkflooring.com/foreverclean.
(NewsUSA) - Stinging insects such as bees and wasps play a vital role as pollinators that maintain the national food supply. However, a multitude of factors, including the lack of available natural habitats for foraging pollinators, diseases, harmful mites and improper pesticide usage, have threatened pollinator health in recent years.
As a result, many people have realized the importance of protecting pollinators and even developed gardens geared toward providing safe sources of nectar and pollen. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) wants to remind homeowners that while creating pollinator-friendly habitats is largely beneficial for both people and pollinators, it is important to keep in mind that some stinging insects can pose significant health and safety risks. In fact, stinging insects send an estimated 500,000 people to the hospital every year.
People with known allergies to insect stings or with asthma should be especially careful around pollinators, as stings could trigger a potentially life-threatening reaction. There is also a common myth that bees and wasps can only sting once before they die. This only holds true for some species of stinging insects, and people should always be cautious around hives and nests. If a person comes in close contact with a stinging insect, swatting at it will often provoke it to become more aggressive. The best course of action is to remain calm and slowly walk in one direction until the insect loses interest.
Maintaining a garden that serves as a welcome oasis for wild bees or community bees that are being raised by local professionals is a great way to protect pollinators. Without proper beekeeping training, however, homeowners should never allow stinging insects to take up residence on their property.
If a hive is spotted in or around the yard, a pest management professional or professional beekeeper should be contacted to safely remove it and, if possible, move it to a safe location where the bees can be allowed to thrive without posing any dangers to the public. If the hive is located in a building, utilizing a professional is also critically important to ensure every part of it is removed; any leftover combs could contain honey that can ferment and cause serious damage, as well as attract pests to the property.
For more information on stinging insects and the best ways to protect pollinators while keeping your family safe, visit www.pestworld.org.
(NewsUSA) - For years, the military has worried that an over-reliance on prescription painkillers was putting both veterans and active-duty troops at risk of addiction, serious adverse reactions to the drugs, and accidental death. The problem was found to be greatest among veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan -- particularly those with post-traumatic stress disorder -- who, according to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, may have been given "inappropriate prescriptions" for opioids in a misguided attempt to quickly relieve their suffering.
Finally, change appears to be coming as the military expands its use of alternative treatments like chiropractic care.
In fact, Dr. Robert D. Kerns, the national program director for pain management at the Department of Veterans Affairs, told the New York Times that the study "encourages" his department as well as the Pentagon's health system, "to build on our existing initiatives."
That would be welcome news to Congressional committees following up on last year's Veterans Health Administration scandal.
"We have said for a long time that sending a veteran out of the door with a bagful of pills is not a solution," Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., said in investigating allegations that a Tomah, Wisconsin, Veterans Affairs hospital was prescribing "excessive dosages of opiates."
As more research pours in, chiropractic care continues to gain supporters. A 2013 study published in the journal "Spine," for example, found that 73 percent of participating active-duty military patients with acute low back pain receiving a combination of chiropractic manipulative treatment and standard medical care rated their global improvement as "pain completely gone," "much better" or "moderately better."
Just 17 percent in the same study who received only standard care said likewise.
To learn more about chiropractic care or to find a chiropractor in your area, visit www.F4CP.org/findadoctor.