Protecting Your Intellectual Property

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Unlike most tangible consumer goods or products, protecting your intellectual property is rather challenging even with the modern advancements that we now have today. And now with the growing popularity of the web, you can easily copy other people’s work and pass it off as your own and nobody will find out. It is even trickier when it comes to arts and craft where a little edit or change of filter can completely alter the look of something. Of course, we are talking about digital arts. The computer and smart technology/ smart gadgets reign supreme and it does not come as a surprise if businesses also flock to the web because that where almost everyone is. The market has drastically changed and the players are all over the world the games has definitely gotten dirtier.

If you are an artist yourself, I am sure you have your fair share of struggles and challenges concerning your craft. Others may steal your work without you knowing and you end up uncompensated for your hard work and intellectual property. There are measures being implemented, though, to prevent this thing from happening such as copyright protection. Having a copyright on your work is actually a great way to ensure you retain ownership on your work even way after you die but some people manage to get their way around it for reasons that many of us can’t or fail to understand.

Copyright is a cornerstone of any democratic, progressive, free society that values and wishes to continue to enjoy the benefits of a knowledge-based economy.

“As the founders of this country were wise enough to see,” former register of copyrights Abraham Kaminstein told the United States Congress in the 1970s, “the most important elements of any civilization include its independent creators — its authors, composers and artists –who create as a matter of personal initiative and spontaneous expression rather than as a result of patronage or subsidy. A strong, practical copyright is the only assurance we have that this creative activity will continue.”

Most people agree that the world would be poorer without the works of Picasso, and in so far as his “creative activity” was supported by copyright, copyright must be a Good Thing.

(Via: http://edition.cnn.com/style/article/art-copyright-beg-steal-borrow/index.html)

Of course, for someone who came up with that idea or piece of work or art, it just makes sense that you have ownership over it and get remunerated as well. It is why having a copyright ensures you don’t get ripped off of the product of your imagination, hard work, and labor and these artists often receive some sort of payment or royalty over the course of their lifetime. In this day and age, it should be mandatory for all intellectual properties to be protected so that its rightful owners not only get the recognition they deserve but they also make money from it.

What Can Be Copyrighted?

The rule is that, for a work to be copyrightable, it must be original — even a “modicum of creativity” will be enough – and it must be fixed “in a tangible medium of expression.” This simply means that the work must be somewhat original – that is, an independently created work that is not a copy of something else – and be expressed on some form of media, whether it be canvas, paper, phonorecords (CDs, LPs, MP3s, etc.), or even digital coding that can only be read by a machine.

The law lists eight categories of works that are protectable by copyright: literary works; musical works; dramatic works; pantomimes and choreographed works; pictorial, graphic and sculptural works; motion pictures and other audiovisual works; sound recordings; and architectural works. (Video games can qualify for protection as both literary works and as audiovisual works. The computer code generally crosses the “literary” threshold as specific characters in a specific sequence to be read by a machine – but of course, games use audio and visuals as much as any television or movie, so they would be protected under the audiovisual category, even if the law did not protect computer code.)

(Via: http://www.cartoonbrew.com/law/beginners-guide-copyright-law-artists-153115.html)

Check the article above if you are unsure how to proceed regarding copyrights especially if you are someone whose work is subject to it. Ignorance is never an excuse and you will likely regret not orienting yourself to all these things when you still can rather than lose any right on your own work because you failed to protect yourself and your work of art when you still can. Also, it helps to know which types of work are copyrightable and which ones aren’t so you don’t waste your time and effort on something which won’t work at all. Try to research the Berne Convention too because it will shed more light about copyrights regardless of where you live in the 172 countries that signed it. So, take the time to know the law and protect your own intellectual properties without any more glitch.

The blog post Protecting Your Intellectual Property Read more on: https://www.keatingeconomics.com

From https://www.keatingeconomics.com/protecting-your-intellectual-property/

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What Sports Fans Should Know About Etiquette

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There will always be fans no matter what field or industry. Some are just casual onlookers but there will always be die-hard supporters who will go to extreme lengths to show their undying love, support, and admiration to their idols. The sporting world is no exception. In major sporting events the world over, you can see fans going all-out and making a fool of themselves to show the athletes and even the entire world how much they mean to them. Sometimes it is amusing but there are times many fans go overboard and borders to the annoying and disturbing. If you are a fan yourself, you probably are aware of these things too and are probably of doing something crazy now and then especially when it involves the team you are supporting.

While you are free to do as you please when it comes to supporting your team, there is a certain decorum expected from fans especially when in a public event alongside hundreds to thousands of other spectators. We get it, you love your team but please spare others from seeing you make a fool of yourself. You can fangirl or fanboy all you want and nobody is stopping you but please try to act more civil and not make it awkward for those around you. Heed the following tips to help you unleash the ultimate fan part of you without regretting the things you did after. And you don’t need to do much to stay in your line, just a little common sense will do. Actually, doing less is the key here. Remember, the more you talk, the more mistakes. It is within that line of reasoning.

Trash talk is an entrenched and acceptable part of the sports world. Franchise rivalries will always exist and add layers of competitive drama. Athletes and fans alike trash talk to show passion for their team and challenge their opposition to bring their best effort. It can motivate players and keeps fans on the edges of their seats.

However, trash talk sours when a specific person or demographic is targeted. Most fans are likely familiar with phrases like ‘Pittsburgh Penguins fans are arrogant’ or ‘Golden State Warriors fans are all bandwagoners.’ Heated arguments often arise about team allegiances between fan bases and involve cheap insults about a stranger’s character. This is especially damaging when socioethnic status, gender, age or sexuality are attacked.

Generalizing and aggravating remarks are a waste of time and limit the enjoyment of sports to a specific crowd. Petty bullying is unnecessary and trash talk should be balanced with sportsmanship that keeping intense rivalries grounded and respectful. A truly meaningful rivalry is distinguished by players and fans who can put aside tense emotions to say, “Good game.”

(Via: http://www.thegauntlet.ca/fan-etiquette-to-keep-in-mind-at-sporting-events/)

Since sports events are often held in large stadiums or arenas, you’ll definitely find yourself in a big crowd especially if the team playing is rather popular. As much as possible, avoid alcohol intake prior or during the event. Alcohol can mess with your brain. Everybody knows that. And when you are drunk or under the influence of liquor, you do all sorts of crazy things and that may lead you into trouble. You’re not thinking clearly and you can easily get into arguments and get into a fight without you really knowing what is happening. Cheer on for your team and go home happy win or lose not broken and beat.

Highlight Your Manners

Be aware of your surroundings. If everyone is sitting, refrain from standing up in front of them. Keep in mind, however, most people stand up during a nail-biting game and you may want to do the same. You are not at a theatre performance.

Be a Gracious Loser

People may travel to the game to root for the opposing team. Your conduct is a reflection of those you support. You can tell a lot about a person by the way they handle defeat. It may be all in good fun to tease and cajole but it’s easy to step over the line. Win with humility and lose with class.

(Via: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/football-etiquette-how-to-be-the-ultimate-fan_us_59b7fa2be4b0883782dec328)

These tips apply whatever sports it is you are a fan of especially if you are attending live games. Just remember the very reason why you are there, to watch your favorite team play. And if fate and luck is in your favor, they may even win. As long as you are on your best behavior, attending a live sport event may be one of the best experiences you can ever have. It can also keep you out of trouble especially now that most public places exercise more stringent security measures because of the continued threat of terrorism. When you think about it, watching a game live is just like watching a movie, only in broad daylight and the action is unscripted. The way you watch your manners inside the cinema is something you can also do when you support your favorite sports team although with a little bit spice and flair.

What Sports Fans Should Know About Etiquette is courtesy of https://www.keatingeconomics.com

From https://www.keatingeconomics.com/what-sports-fans-should-know-about-etiquette/

The Wow Factor Of The iPhone X

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We have long associated an iPhone to affluence and sophistication. Only the rich can afford Apple products in the past. Today, more people can afford an iPhone but still its image of being a classy gadget remains and for a lot of reasons. For starters, its graphics and user-friendly interface still reigns supreme above other brands (Android ones, definitely). If we talk about the x-factor of the iPhone, there are too many to mention. While it has its limitations, its sleek and sophisticated look among others is enough to sway people to spend almost always a fortune to afford this gem of a smart device.

Now that it’s already 2017, the smartphone industry has more than just blown up. Almost everyone owns a smartphone these days. Even a young child knows how to navigate the screen of any smart device and they often also have iPads or tablets of their own. It’s a quantum leap as compared to the lives led by most three and four year olds a decade or two back when they used to play out in the dirt and under the sun almost all day long. Today, kids are comfortable in using these tech devices as if it is second nature to them to navigate its many tech intricacies that still baffles some older adults today. The most recent addition to the Apple smartphone lineup is the iPhone X, an extraordinarily luxurious phone and just as expensive as well but does it really deserve all the hype it is now getting?

Every new iPhone comes with new hardware and software innovations that power signature features which aren’t available on other iOS or macOS devices. In time, these features will be available on all iPhones and iPads of the future. Older models will not get them because they often lack the hardware to support those features, and that’s understandable. But other times, Apple may just choose not to make a software feature backward compatible.

The iPhone X comes with a sophisticated front-facing TrueDepth camera that includes a bunch of sensors and cameras to make facial recognition identification possible. Apple also developed a cute software trick to demo its facial recognition advancements, the Animoji app that quickly went viral once the iPhone X launched. It turns out the Animoji app doesn’t need all the sensors in the notch to work. But the app is not available on any other iPhone except the X.

(Via: http://bgr.com/2017/11/15/iphone-x-review-animoji-iphone-8/)

Until today, the appeal of the Apple iPhone line has never diminished. Even if there are loads and loads of Android competitions now in the market, many still prefer to buy the innovator brand because of its classic and timeless appeal that is also leading to tech advancements and innovations. It’s no wonder why people don’t hesitate in spending hundreds to thousands of bucks a piece because of its gorgeous aesthetics and mind-blowing specs and features. Right now, the iPhone X is the apple of everyone’s eye and considering the price tag, it seriously should have otherworldly capabilities for people not to do a double take on the price tag.

The iPhone X introduces a new form factor complete with a gorgeous edge-to-edge display. Apple stretched the display out to the very edges of the phone, leaving no room for bezels, giving the phone an immediate “wow” factor.

This bold design choice makes the iPhone X very comfortable to hold. At 5.65 inches, its height sits nicely between the small iPhone 8 (5.45 inches) and compact Samsung Galaxy S8 (5.68 inches). The iPhone X is significantly smaller than the beefy iPhone 8 Plus (6.24 inches), and you can slip it in your pockets without any problems. That said, it is a bit thicker and heftier than any iPhone I’ve held in recent years. In fact, the X, rather fittingly, feels a lot like the original 2007 iPhone.

Aside from the display, the only major aesthetic difference from the iPhone 8 is the vertically oriented dual-lens camera on the back.

(Via: https://www.dailydot.com/debug/iphone-x-review/)

And for good measure, the iPhone X also gets all the hype because it truly is a standout. Even non-iOS users must admit how phenomenal the new handset that is a stark contrast to the previous iPhone models released in recent years. In the past, Apple often just tweaked a few features to set their new phones apart from the previous models and didn’t really offered something entirely different than what’s already on the table. This time, they have overcame conventions and delivered what the people want and to hopefully help the company boost sales as well as last year’s performance was definitely far from stellar. New features adorn the iPhone X that no longer bears the home button, Touch ID and display bezels.

With the arrival of this new Super Retina Display screen comes the removal of the Home button and Touch ID sensor; now replaced by a completely new security system: Face ID.

Face ID uses a series of sensors to map and scan the user’s face, and is used to unlock the handset, authorise Apple Pay payments and authenticate access to various apps. You simply look at iPhone X and VOILA.

In practice, Face ID works effectively around 85 per cent of the time. To use it you really need to be looking at the screen – an ‘attentive’ feature that also prevents unauthorised parties from unlocking your handset by shoving it in front of your face – not just glancing at it as it sits on the desk in front of you.

(Via: http://thenewdaily.com.au/life/tech/2017/11/07/iphone-x-review/)

It is no wonder why many experts call it the face of the future because of its surreal futuristic appearance and of course, features that we should start to get used to now that Apple started others will soon follow suit and join in on the bandwagon. After all, Apple is the smartphone innovator. Don’t ever forget that. The iPhone X is like what you pictured out in the movies especially spy ones that lets you do a lot of crazy cool things. You have to get used to swiping more and more with the disappearance of the iconic home button that adorned all past and present iPhones prior the iPhone X. Taking pictures has changed as well and let’s not forget the much-talked about animojis that will liven up each and every conversation. Now, it is up to you to decide whether it’s fine with you to splurge on such a device.

The following post The Wow Factor Of The iPhone X was first published to The Keating Economics Website

From https://www.keatingeconomics.com/the-wow-factor-of-the-iphone-x/

Focus On The Youth’s Mental Health

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Even if mental health isn’t something tangible to the naked eye or easily observable nor measurable, it does not mean it is not important. Whether you are young or old, it is important to not only be physical healthy but to be mentally healthy as well. Many of our internal struggles can significantly weigh you down and prevent you from realizing your fullest potentials because others are oblivious to the fact that you are silently fighting your inner demons. Despite the continued advances in technology, some things still remain the same or perhaps even get worse with the passing of time. The more we get hooked to technology we are, the more isolated we become from the real world. Many people spend hours glued to their smartphones and no longer lead an active social life unlike people in the past who actually had to go out and meet and talk to people if they wanted to connect at all.

The most vulnerable to the cons of technology are today’s youth. They are basically just learning how the world works but they are already exposed to a lot of things that they are not yet ready for because of their overexposure to social media. While there are many things you can do online, it has its perils too and they easily fall prey because they have access to the web even without their parent’s supervision. After all, most kids today have their own smart gadgets that they are free to use at will and a WiFi connection is almost part of every household’s utility today. Since most of these young children and teens are active on social media, they are vulnerable to cyber bullying and face the backlash of a violent and oppressive online community where they have no power over.

Beginning next year, elementary, middle and high schools in New York state will be required to include mental health education in the health curriculum.

“New York State is the first state in the country to do this and I think that’s phenomenal. We are taking the lead and setting an example on what to do and how to help these young people,” said Karl Shallowhorn, director of community advocacy for the Mental Health Association of Erie County and Compeer Buffalo.

Shallowhorn also serves on the board of the Mental Health Association of New York State, which pushed for legislation to require mental health education, and is now working with the NY State Department of Education to develop the curriculum.

(Via: http://www.9news.com/news/education/mental-health-education-required-for-ny-students/489238713)

Many adults are starting to realize the impact of technology most especially social media to the youth. Depression is a mental condition from which most youth suffers from without their parents or guardians knowing because they keep it to themselves. They either stay cooped up inside their rooms and foregoing any social interaction with others, so they intentionally alienate themselves from people who can possibly help them in their attempt to protect themselves from more harm. Aside from their tech use, schools today are also stressors for most students as they have to deal with all sorts of peer pressure, expectations, and bullying among others although this is no longer new as it is the reality for everyone who were once students themselves in their youth.

Experts say parents play a pivotal role in changing the conversation when it comes to their kids’ psychological well-being. Here are a few ways to spot if your kid is dealing with a mental health issue and how to realistically help them through it:

Look out for striking changes in behavior.

Nguyen says that drastic changes in mood ― especially in a month or a shorter period of time ― could be a sign that something bigger is at play. This can include withdrawing from social activities kids once loved, or displaying anger or sadness more than usual. Teens who might be engaging in self-harm may wear longer sleeves, even in warm weather, Nguyen added.

“That’s a huge red flag,” she said. “It’s kind of hard because these things correlate with puberty and sometimes adults are like, ‘Oh, my kid is just going through those shifts.’ It gets hard for parents because this period of time is so muddy.”

(Via: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/youth-mental-health-report_us_5a0d02c4e4b0b17e5e13f4f4)

Again, it boils down to having an open relationship between parents and their kids. Younger and older children are all at risk even if they face different challenges according to their ages. Parents should be sensitive and observant of any changes to their children’s behavior because there will definitely be red flags that will tell you something is definitely wrong even if they are not speaking up about it. Let us never overlook our mental health no matter your age because our sanity is the only thing that keeps us going in this crazy world we live in. It’s essentially what gives you the will to move forward no matter how difficult life gets. But of course, we are only human. Our mental health will deteriorate at certain points in our lives but it does not mean it is the end of the world for you. You can rise above the anxiety, depression, or whatever it is that is mentally weighing you down and live a happy life that does not rely on other people’s approval.

The following post Focus On The Youth’s Mental Health Read more on: Keating Economics Blog

From https://www.keatingeconomics.com/focus-on-the-youths-mental-health/

Is The US Sabotaging The Environment?

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Most of us can’t get enough of all the perks offered by our modern life. Boredom is virtually nonexistent as there are a number of things you can do on your own that will definitely put a smile on your face. You don’t even have to go far since you can do all those things in the palm of your hand. Yes, smart technology transformed ordinary cellular phones into handy multi-functional devices that can connect us to the web and do all sorts of crazy things we never thought were possible a little over a decade back. It’s been 10 years now since the first iPhone was released and I’m sure many of you can no longer remember what it was like living in a low-tech world. The US is almost always at the frontier of tech innovations as most of these tech wonders were born in American soil.

Now, fast-forward to 2017 and a new president, America seems to be going backward in terms of the measures it takes to protect the environment. It is most crucial now more than ever with global warming and climate change making living and simply surviving difficult for many of us. These are just some of the downsides of our modern life and if we can’t give up all the comforts of modern living, then we should at least double our efforts in reducing its dangers to the environment before it is too late for us to do damage control at all. Aside from signing out of the Paris climate agreement, the current US administration continues on dismantling federal environmental regulations that supposedly should protect the planet from the amount of stress and abuse it is receiving from us.

The Trump administration’s dismantling of environmental regulations has intensified a growing civil rights battle over the deadly burden of pollution on minorities and low-income people.

Black, Latino, and disadvantaged people have long been disproportionately afflicted by toxins from industrial plants, cars, hazardous housing conditions and other sources.

But political leaders, academics and activists spoke of a growing urgency around the struggle for environmental justice as the Trump administration peels away rules designed to protect clean air and water.

“What we are seeing is the institutionalization of discrimination again, the thing we’ve fought for 40 years,” said Robert Bullard, an academic widely considered the father of the environmental justice movement.

(Via: http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2017/11/trumps-war-on-the-environment-is-a-civil-rights-emergency/)

Many citizens have expressed outrage over the blatant neglect of the environment these days. It’s because President Trump thinks climate change is a hoax and is perhaps the reason why he does not give any importance to major environmental issues the world is facing. Worst is he appears to be sabotaging it on purpose. And as a highly progressive country, America contributes greatly to the abuse and misuse of the world’s resources. Meanwhile, struggling and impoverished nation suffer from the wrath of Mother Nature while bigger and more powerful nations like ours have total disregard of the sensitive state of the environment.

But amidst the cacophony, Donald Trump has had quieter personal successes, particularly with his international and environmental agendas.

On the environment, he has paved the way for climate deniers and science skeptics to hijack the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, and use bureaucracy as a political tool for censorship and deregulation. (The climate change EPA web page is still unavailable.) He has led millions of Americans to doubt the basic concepts of truth, facts, evidence and science. He has dismantled America’s global climate change agenda by taking steps to formally withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. National Geographic keeps a running list of environmental assaults committed by the Trump administration as a way of monitoring the national government’s anti-science crusade.

(Via: http://www.dailycal.org/2017/11/05/environment-californians-fight-back-trump/)

Many may actually persecute President Trump and laugh at his apparent failure in revamping the federal healthcare system by abolishing Obamacare but it seems he has his little successes that he is silently celebrating for and clearly the environment is one of the major victims here. The sad truth here is that we will eventually suffer from all these neglect because this is the only planet we live in and whatever the state of the planet will become is because of our actions today. Considering how big of a country the US is, it is easy to visualize its impact to the planet at large if it continues to violate nature and continue to ignore the relationship between irresponsible human actions to the pathetic state of the planet right now. Knowing the environmental policies being pushed for by the US right now, it is up to you to decide whether or not it is pro or anti-environment after all.

The article Is The US Sabotaging The Environment? is courtesy of Keating Economics Blog

From https://www.keatingeconomics.com/is-the-us-sabotaging-the-environment/

In The Midst Of An Environmental Crisis

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The planet is changing at a rapid level. Many changes are taking places that are not always good for everyone on land or even those in water. You may not be able to see all these changes by simply looking outside your window, numerous things are happening on a global scale that has a big impact on virtually everyone on the planet. Climate change, for instance, is no longer just a threat but a reality we are all facing every single day. The ocean is rising and so is the planet heating up. They may all seem irrelevant to the ordinary man but they play a big role to how the world works as a whole. And when you hear someone saying we are now in the midst of an environmental crisis, it can’t be any truer.

Everything we do, big or small, has an impact on the world. If we want to protect the planet and make sure we don’t suffer that often in the hands of Mother Nature, let us also reduce our carbon footprint and we should practice more environment-friendly ways in everything we do. Even the little things we do count a lot in saving the world and somehow making it a better place for each and every one of us. Nobody will help us except ourselves. In the end, it is us who will also suffer if we don’t step up and do something about all the environmental issues we are facing because after all, we only have one planet to live in. Let’s stop making it unlivable by cleaning up our acts and considering how the environment will be affected in all of our actions.

The proposal to have environmental education as a subject in schools has been finalised.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar today said he was ready to discuss the proposal with the Education Minister.

He said top officials from his ministry and the Education Ministry have been discussing the proposal for months and those in the discussions were receptive to the idea of having such a subject.

“Once I get the report from the deputy secretary-general, who headed the ministry in the talks with the Education Ministry, discussions between the Education Minister and I can start.

(Via: https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2017/11/298392/proposal-have-environmental-education-subject-schools-finalised)

And since the youth is the future of any nation, it is only logical to start educating the youth about the importance of the environment and what measures can be done to safeguard it from further harm. Human activities are the number one reason why the planet is what it is today. Our abuse and misuse of natural resources have led to widespread natural disasters that took human lives aside from destroying properties and ravaging communities. Looking at the state of the environment right now, it is inevitable for stronger and more destructive natural calamities to come and wreak havoc on human lives at the rate things are going now. Only through education can we do something big that can have a lasting impression to everyone as to why the environment needs protection.

Tens of millions of people will be forced from their homes by climate change in the next decade, creating the biggest refugee crisis the world has ever seen, according to a new report.

Senior US military and security experts have told the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) study that the number of climate refugees will dwarf those that have fled the Syrian conflict, bringing huge challenges to Europe.

“If Europe thinks they have a problem with migration today … wait 20 years,” said retired US military corps brigadier general Stephen Cheney. “See what happens when climate change drives people out of Africa – the Sahel [sub-Saharan area] especially – and we’re talking now not just one or two million, but 10 or 20 [million]. They are not going to south Africa, they are going across the Mediterranean.”

(Via: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/nov/02/climate-change-will-create-worlds-biggest-refugee-crisis)

You can probably see it in the news right now. Every now and then there is this awful disaster that destroys towns and cities and leaves people displaced for weeks, even months on end. Recovery is often a slow and painful process and it can break you in ways that you’ve never imagined before. If you don’t want to suffer and turn your life upside down especially if you live in a high-risk area, do your part in saving the planet today, not tomorrow. Try to influence and educate others as to why we need to pitch in and do our part in environmental conservation efforts rather than just rely on the government and big organizations to initiate and work on conserving the planet and its vast resources before the time comes when we are too late for saving.

In The Midst Of An Environmental Crisis Find more on: https://www.keatingeconomics.com/

From https://www.keatingeconomics.com/in-the-midst-of-an-environmental-crisis/

Problems With Chinese Medicine

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For centuries, Chinese medicine has reigned supreme when it comes to promoting and supporting man’s good health. It has almost never failed everyone who tried it and until today, many people still put their faith in age-old Chinese recipes that has cured diseases in the past in the absence of modern medicine. The problem is that many claims it is not as effective as it once was as there has been one casualty after the other – all of which took a Chinese medicine of sort to relieve them of a medical condition they have. The likely reason why this happened is that as recipes are passed down from generation to generation, some may tweak it a bit that results in a change in efficacy or may even trigger some adverse reactions in this case.

Other factors we need to consider is that what’s in Chinese medicines with herbs aren’t as well documented as any medicine you can buy from the pharmacy. You can’t really tell how its ingredients react to one another. And then there is the possibility that an individual is also taking other supplements or drugs that can react to the Chinese herb. Sometimes, side effects are minor and can be tolerated, other times it can cost you your life. It’s probably what happened to these poor people who unknowingly got treated with Chinese medicine and they happen to be allergic to some components of the medicine.

Early on a snowy, winter morning in January 2012, Wu Xiaoliang, a 37-year-old farmer, stopped by his local doctor to remedy a headache. At a small clinic near his village he received two injections made from traditional Chinese herbs. Hours later, villagers saw him struggling to prop himself up on his moped as he drove home. By noon, he was dead.

What killed Wu was later described in an autopsy report as a “drug allergy.” But doctors couldn’t pinpoint what he was allergic to because the shots he was given contained dozens, if not hundreds, of different compounds extracted from two herbs.

For centuries, Chinese have bought plant and animal parts from traditional clinics, and boiled them into bitter soups to treat colds, strokes and even cancer. But the Chinese medicine sector has modernized along with the rest of the country, with local manufacturers turning age-old recipes into fast-acting injectable drugs.

(Via: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-02/patient-deaths-show-darker-side-of-modernized-chinese-medicine)

Another major difference to how Chinese medicine is delivered in the past is that before, ancient Chinese had to drink soups or teas with these medicinal herbs. But today, Chinese drug makers have leveled up their game and they likewise upgraded these traditional medicines by giving them a modern feel – in injection form. Let’s not forget the fact how fast the effect of intravenous drugs are since they are directly injected into the bloodstream. For an ancient medicine with insufficient (if none at all) clinical trials to prove its safety and efficacy, the results can be disastrous.

The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) is warning the public not to buy or consume two products promoted in Malaysia as traditional Chinese medicine, after two elderly women fell ill after taking them.

The two products – Wan Ling Ren Sem Chin Kuo Pill and Chong Cao Dan – contain undeclared Western medicinal ingredients, including a potent steroid called dexamethasone, HSA said in a press release on Thursday (Nov 2).

A woman in her 70s who had taken Wan Ling Ren Sem Chin Kuo Pill daily for four to five years for rheumatism and pain was hospitalised in the intensive care unit after experiencing severe breathing difficulty.

(Via: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/2-elderly-women-fall-ill-after-taking-products-marketed-as-9368678?view=DEFAULT)

While we have nothing against traditional medicine, just keep in mind that it has its risks too. Its ingredients are often undeclared. Most people who take Chinese medicine do not consult with a real doctor to get them assessed properly and determine if the products they are taking is not doing them more harm than good. Most of the danger comes from the continued modernization of this ancient practice. What those people who dabble with alternative medicine do not realize is that you don’t just develop a drug and formulate it into a preparation that is highly untested such as Chinese medicine shots because the dangers are fatal and can kill a person like what we are already witnessing now.

Problems With Chinese Medicine See more on: The Keating Economics Website

From https://www.keatingeconomics.com/problems-with-chinese-medicine/

How Climate Change Is Shaping The World Today

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You don’t have to look far to see the changes in the world right now. Just step out of your home and you can see how polluted and hot the world has become. Weather systems have intensified as well as natural calamities that hit us with such force each year. There are actually certain parts of the planet that are more prone to experience these disasters than other places. Typhoons, hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, etc., they have all posed a threat to our lives because we can’t really tell when some of them will happen but we can’t avoid it either.

Climate change is especially evident in the ocean. Just head out to sea or just even on beaches and you can see for yourself how global warming has changed people’s lives. Not only certain animal and plant species become extinct as the days go by, island nations are at risk of disappearing off the face of the planet because the sea level is rising as more heat is trapped inside the atmosphere. Consequently, it melts down polar glaciers that make the sea level rise and is now a major global concern because it has become a reality that puts people’s lives at risk.

Climate change means the sea level is rising, storms are intensifying and seasons are becoming unpredictable. Coral is increasingly torn away from the islands and returned to the lagoon floor. These days, repairing them does little more than delay the inevitable.
Solomon Islands has a population of 560,000 people and a growing number of them are being forced to leave their homes – not just in Lau Lagoon, but also low-lying coastal areas on Malaita, and across the entire atoll, one of the world’s largest. 

It has been more than a decade since the island of Tauba in Lau Lagoon was first submerged completely during a high tide.

(Via: http://www.dw.com/en/climate-change-drives-solomon-islands-people-of-the-sea-ashore/a-40777201)

While most people only think about beaches and paradise islands as dream getaway destinations for a well-deserved vacation, people actually live in many of these places 365 days a year. And as such, they have to brace for everything Mother Nature has in store for them all year round that many tourists rarely get to see because these things mostly happen during off-peak seasons. These locals have survived island life for generations but the complexities and unpredictability of the environment right now are forcing many of them to relocate because living became more of a drag and the risks are greater too.

Temperature records are being broken frequently in Australia, with hot records 12 times more likely to be set than cold ones since 2000, Drs Lewis and King reported in a 2015 paper.

A heatwave last month smashed many records across eastern Australia with more than half the NSW stations with more than 20 years of data registering their hottest September day, the Bureau of Meteorology said.

Under a high carbon emissions scenario, 50-degree days could arrive “as early as the 2040s”, Dr Lewis said, adding that even with a concerted reduction in pollution, those temperatures could be reached by about 2060.

Dr King said hospitals, electricity systems and infrastructure would all struggle during such heat spikes.

(Via: http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/really-awful-50degree-days-possible-for-sydney-melbourne-as-warming-worsens-20171002-gyt512.html)

This problem is no laughing matter as it can spell life or death for many people living in high-risk areas. Imagine living on an island all your life and it suddenly is at risk of submerging in the ocean as the sea level continues to rise. Now, where do you go? Everyone should work hand in hand and change our ways because we only have one planet to live. If we don’t act now and save whatever is left saving, we might have the same ending as previous generations that have long since disappeared because they weren’t a match to the wrath of Mother Nature when it went amock and we only know about them in history books.

How Climate Change Is Shaping The World Today is republished from Keating Economics Blog

From https://www.keatingeconomics.com/how-climate-change-is-shaping-the-world-today/

Is Microfinance About To Go Down Or Not?

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Not everyone has a lot of money. Some people earn so little no matter how hard they work while a few lucky ones get to enjoy more money than they can ever spend in their lifetime. Even if the majority of us labor in companies or institutions, it still won’t make you rich. Most successful people in the world are entrepreneurs and it is also the reason why many also want to give business a try today and build their own start-ups. Who knows, it might get bigger someday and they may eventually fulfill all their life’s dreams.

And since not everyone qualifies for bank loans to fund their business projects, the next best thing for aspiring entrepreneurs to do is to secure loans or other related financial services to get started. The concept of microfinancing has been very popular for quite some time since loan applicants no longer have to secure collaterals in order to get the money they need. But because of the very nature of this small industry being highly vulnerable makes microfinancing more fragile these days. Any small changes in the market or the economy, in general, can have a major effect on microfinanciers, unlike banks that have various products to offer to the public.

The tiny size of these institutions makes them vulnerable to even a small adverse development as their finances remain fragile. Unlike banks, which have multi products and an assured deposit base, micro lenders are dependent on markets for funds, which turn hostile at the smallest of events that affect business.

“Today banks are equally in the microfinance space as much as we are,” says MR Rao, managing director with Bharat Financial Inclusion. “So, banks are looking to partner MFIs either as subsidiary or by way of strategic stakes. As MFIs grow, they too need capital badly to remain on the growth path. It will be difficult for pure-play MFIs to grow independently without support of an anchor investor.”

(Via: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/banking/finance/microfinance-institutions-are-struggling-for-survival-heres-why/articleshow/60931020.cms)

Otherwise known as microcredit, many low-income people benefited from microfinancing and have helped them overcome poverty at the very least but this industry is likewise struggling right now since banks have expanded what they offer when it comes to issuing loans and the global economy hasn’t really fully recovered yet. This is evident in countries like India where we all know has one of the world’s largest population and a big chunk of this is mostly below or on the poverty line.

Together, the MFPs have expanded microfinance coverage to 106 districts in Pakistan as of June end. The microfinance penetration rate is reported by PMN at roughly 25 percent, based on an estimated potential market size of 20.5 million.

The MFPs have doubled the number of active borrowers between 2011 and 2016 – and this year, too, the tally is getting bigger. There are plans to double the coverage by 2020. So there is work to be done. The addressable market is still very large, and apparently growing. A loan-book of over Rs400 billion is needed to serve 10 million micro borrowers. That means equity capital must reach at least Rs40 billion.

(Via: http://www.brecorder.com/2017/09/29/372124/growth-continues-for-microfinance/)

There are microfinance industries that are doing well and some that aren’t. It probably has to do with the location and the current status of the economy in that place. That of India may be suffering but not that of Pakistan. The market is growing and because of the technology that we have today, many (especially Millennials) are more interested in starting their own businesses rather than get stuck with a conventional 9-5 job that does not really bring home the bacon.

There is really no winning formula on a lot of things in life. Even established institutions like banks and even lenders go through so many changes as the world becomes increasingly digital and may struggle in the process. In a way, technology helped with efficiency. We’ll just have to wait whether the world of microfinancing will keep on forging forward or get swallowed whole by banks that are coming up with more clever ways to lure in more investors and borrowers.

Is Microfinance About To Go Down Or Not? Read more on: https://www.keatingeconomics.com/

From https://www.keatingeconomics.com/is-microfinance-about-to-go-down-or-not/

Black Friday Today: A Shadow Of What It Once Was

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When it comes to shopping, people make a big fuss of Black Friday and highlighting how it happens to be the biggest sale of the year – a perfect excuse to go on an all-out shopping spree where you can find the best deals on great products and possibly even complete your Christmas list ahead of time. Well, it may be true in the past and people really fall in long lines just to get in a store and shop like there’s no tomorrow but it seems like it is no longer the case now. If you check out the following articles, you’d realize that yes, some people have a point in saying this because apparently, the hype over Black Friday makes not that much sense anymore.

So, is it still right to hype up Black Friday when you learn that you only get to enjoy a few buck’s savings or that bigger discounted items like home appliances can also be bought online? It is already the case with big retailers like Walmart and Target and many people head to these places for amazing deals. Why then spend hours in line when you can easily make your purchase through the web from the comfort of your own home and spare yourself from the inconvenience brought about by shopping with big crowds. Even small specialty online only retailers are getting in on the action. Yet if you are someone who is trying to complete her Christmas list, any deal will do especially that this is probably your last chance of buying something at a discount. (more…)

The following post Black Friday Today: A Shadow Of What It Once Was was originally published to The Keating Economics Website

From https://www.keatingeconomics.com/black-friday-today-a-shadow-of-what-it-once-was/