Materialism makes you a broke jerk, says science

Grist

Unless your friends and loved ones gave you backrub coupons for the holidays, you’ve probably found yourself wading through an apartment swamped with a tide of new things. These gadgets and whatsits may be reminders of the people who care about you, but an over-reliance on material goods can lead to very little fulfillment, if any at all.

Psychologist Tim Kasser, from Knox College, sat down with the American Psychological Association back in mid-December to talk about what consumerism does to the human mind. We missed the story back then, when we were distracted by selfie sticks and Celebrate Christmas™ Yankee Candles, but his findings still bear repeating: Leading a materialistic life can lead to depression, antisocial behavior, severe guilt, and other negative qualities.

It’s not possessing things that does the damage — rather, it’s that prioritizing money, possessions, and image (the three horsemen of the tried-and-true materialist) makes you a nastier human being.

According to Kasser, here…

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Android smart TV’S

Daily Knowledge

image

Google-backed Android software that leads the smartphone market is spreading to a new generation of smart televisions.

Along with unveilings of new ultra high-definition televisions at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week came word that Android will be the Internet-linked
brains of an array of models from major manufacturers.

“All of our 2015 televisions will run on the new Android TV platform,” Sony Electronics chief operating officer Mike Fasulo said while
showing off coming products at CES.

“Android is such a widely accepted operating system in the mobile space; you can enjoy content on your smartphone, tablet and TV
seamlessly.”

Android-powered Sony televisions will allow access to games, applications and other digital
content at the online Google Play shop, and viewers will be able to control TVs using the Japanese consumer electronic titan’s smartwatch, according to Fasulo.

Sony, Sharp, and Philips smart televisions powered by Android will…

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Will climate change burn up the internet?

Grist

Last Monday, thousands of Perth, Australia, residents discovered that the Internet had melted. Australia’s second-largest DSL Internet service provider, iiNet, had crumbled under soaring temperatures of up to 112 degrees — Perth’s third hottest January day on record.

A company statement blamed the outage of its Perth data center on the partial failure of both the main and backup air-conditioning systems. Exacerbating the problem was the heat, which caused iiNet to shut down some of its servers as a precautionary measure.

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Have people of color been locked out of the green economy?

Grist

One of my first stories of 2014 was an interview with Reginald Parker, an African-American entrepreneur with a chemical engineering Ph.D. from MIT who was preparing to build one of the largest solar farms in the country. He broke ground on the project in September, in North Carolina, near an area where his relatives once picked cotton. Upon completion next year, it will cover 100 acres, and will produce 20 megawatts of electricity. Best of all, much of the profits will go to African-American farmers and “socially disadvantaged rural businesses” in the area.

This is all good, but when Parker recently spoke with a reporter from GreenTechMedia about it, he couldn’t help but note the isolation he feels: “Women and minorities get locked out of [the solar industry] even before they know there’s a chance to get in,” he told GreenTechMedia’s Julia Pyper.

Parker is far from alone in believing this. Black politicians and…

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Do You Need to Migrate All that Data?

Inventory & Accounting ERP Software

Minimize amount of data migrationData migration is just one part of the entire ERP implementation process, but tends to represent the largest percentage of implementation costs aside from employee training.  Data migration involves mapping information from old software to new, according to labels, titles and structures, and includes additional “massaging” or “cleaning up” to ensure bad data is not brought into the new system. Common examples of data that gets transferred are vendor, customer, and product information, as well as historical sales data, A/P and A/R outstanding, open sales orders, GL account numbers and balances, inventory quantities – essentially any data that is necessary.

The high costs associated with data migration are easily understandable when dealing with older companies who may have 30 plus years’ of information to accurately move over – often from outdated systems.  However, even as a start-up or newer company, there is usually some amount of data migration in the form of…

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Plants clean this office building’s air in the world’s most polluted city

Grist

Since we’ve just closed out the jolliest year in recent memory, here’s a pick-me-up fact to kick off the new one: In India, toxic indoor air kills 1.3 million people per year and is the country’s second major cause of death behind high blood pressure. Typically, cleaning the air inside buildings means more ventilation. But in New Delhi, home to the world’s most polluted outdoor air (it’s nearly three times as dirty as Beijing’s infamous haze), ushering the outside smog indoors only makes things worse.

Kamal Meattle, CEO of Paharpur Business Center, came up with a green scheme to detoxify the noxious air before bringing it into his company’s office building: a rooftop greenhouse filled with 400 garden-variety plants. Additionally, the building houses 800 more plants spread throughout its bottom six floors, greening the interior and improving breathability. Meattle also retrofitted the building — the country’s first to earn the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Platinum certification for…

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Need to borrow a chainsaw? This app can help

Grist

Take a second and think about all the junk piled high in your broom closet, garage, or basement. I bet you can’t remember the last time you used that rusty, old chainsaw. What about that extra set of folding chairs, or that moldy suitcase, sitting sadly in the corner collecting dust and cobwebs?

There are some things you really just need to use once or a few times a year, at best. Enter sharing economy app Peerby. Borrowers in need simply enter what they’re hoping to borrow, and the app connects them to fellow Peerby users within their own neighborhoods who have what they’re looking for. According to Peerby’s website, we typically use about 80 percent of our possessions no more than once a month, so the app aims to cut down on the amount of useless crap we buy, all while fostering a greener, less cluttered sharing economy from neighborhood to neighborhood.

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Personal rapid transit: The future of public transportation, maybe

Grist

Since writing about Seattle’s infrastructure fustercluck, I’ve been thinking a lot about transportation. It’s really a b*tch of a problem.

The internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle had its disadvantages from the very beginning, not only relative to public transportation but relative to other types of car. (There’s a fantastic chapter in Alexis Madrigal’s Powering the Dream about this history.) But its advantages — power, personalization, and modularity — mattered more. It could go farther than other cars; you could drive it wherever you wanted to go, whenever; and it was small enough to be within the reach of average citizens, who had little control over larger transportation projects.

The ICE car has arguably passed the point when its drawbacks — particulate pollution, traffic, sprawl, climate change — exceed its advantages, at least from a social-welfare perspective. But it is still firmly rooted in human life, almost everywhere, despite much-hyped…

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Gas prices are way low, but U.S. oil production to grow in 2015. What gives?

Grist

Today, the price of oil fell under $53 a barrel, the cheapest crude since the 2009 recession. Petroleum’s price plummet over the last six months (explained by Vox) means cheaper gasoline prices, a short-term win for cash-strapped American drivers but a potential setback for the climate. Heck, inexpensive gas has even summoned the climate-wrecking SUV from its too-shallow grave.

On the bright green side, a glut of bargain-basement oil could potentially slow production, especially at super-dirty sources like the Bakken shale oil of North Dakota. Such “unconventional petroleum” is expensive to extract and then refine. The longer oil prices remain low the harder it is for the fossil fuel industry to turn a profit on shale oil.

So, will 2015 be the year the U.S. fossil fuel industry finally hits the breaks on the shale boom?

Unfortunately, the U.S. Energy Information Administration doesn’t think so. Data through September 2014 show that oil production in North Dakota continued…

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This new app takes a swipe at China’s worst polluters

Grist

When Chinese environmental advocate Ma Jun realized that no one was going to take responsibility for the crippling smog that plagues his country, he decided to take matters into his own hands. His idea: encourage citizens to start pointing their fingers at the problem. Literally.

Manufacturers have been reaping the rewards of China’s new industrial economy, while ducking the consequences of fouling up its air. So Ma and colleagues built a live-updating map that shows exactly where individual polluters are emitting the noxious stuff that threatens Chinese citizens’ health, to the tune of 670,000 premature deaths, and contributes to global climate change.

Using government-installed air monitoring systems, the app reports real-time emissions from sources all over the country, marking the culprits with guilty orange circles. Although China has strict anti-pollution laws — some violations are even punishable by death — the laws are typically poorly enforced. With few electoral routes to justice available, public opinion is often the best tool for…

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