Author: KVT (page 1 of 334)

Amazon Now Delivering Tiny Homes For $36K

Amazon is now adding houses to the items they will be shipping to their customers. Wisconsin-based MODs International is selling their 320-square-foot “tiny homes” through Amazon for $36,000 plus around $4,500 for shipping. These miniature abodes are no longer used only by those trying to hide-a-way in the woods. It seems communities are springing up across the country that are embracing the lifestyle that caters to meeting the simple needs of shelter at an extremely affordable price. Though MODs is using brand new sea containers as the structural shell, tiny homes are also built using traditional materials. I found it a little surprising how nice such a small space can look on the inside. Even with limited space, each home is furnished with a bedroom, bathroom including a shower, kitchenette, appliances and living area with heating and cooling. Entry into the home is accessed through large double doors and the unit is equipped with extra windows to increase lighting. Interestingly, by most accounts, tiny homes run up to 400 square feet, then you move into the “small” category up to 1,000 square feet. As I understand it, people are joining this movement for many reasons, but the most popular ones include environmental and financial concerns as well as the desire for more time and freedom. Not suprisingly, for most Americans one-third to one-half of their income is dedicated to the roof over their heads, this translates to 15 years of working over your lifetime just to pay for it. And because of that, 76% of them are living paycheck to paycheck. Confirming the trend of the tiny home movement are shows like the upcoming series “Container Homes”, which will air on the DIY/HGTV network this fall or early next year. It isn’t the first to promote the lifestyle change as “Tiny House, Big Living” has been airing since 2014. Those that are choosing the space are seeking either their primary home, a guest house in the backyard or a shelter on a secondary property. As financial situations tighten for many, the homes are being used for “granny pods” to house aging parents while allowing them some independence as well as the newest trend towards “millennial quarters”. We’ve all read the stats of millennials coming back to the nest, it seems some parents are moving the nest to the backyard. For younger couples looking to start out life together on the cheap, keep in mind your plans for starting a family will be one of the biggest obstacles to overcome. For those wanting to stay within city boundaries, be sure to check with local zoning boards before you purchase. Though the communities are springing up around the country, some folks aren’t happy with including the tiny neighborhoods in their area for fear of lowering property values. Take a look at some of the communities embracing tiny homes HERE. If you like the thought of downsizing but 320 square feet simply won’t cut it or you don’t want to limit yourself to a container home, you can see more options for small houses HERE . (Source: simplemost.com, silive.com, housebeautiful.com)

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Remembering The Kansas Comet

It was on this day back in 1965 an NFL rookie by the name of Gale Sayers of the Chicago Bears scored six touchdowns in one game. As time passes, it seems like a lot of folks forget just how great of an athlete and man Gale Sayers was. He was born in Wichita, Kansas, and raised in Omaha, Nebraska. He is the son of Roger and Bernice Sayers. His father was a farmer and mechanic for Goodyear. During his high school playing days he set many records and was recruited by most all of the major colleges. Sayers has told reporters he had originally intended to go to the University of Iowa, it was one of his dreams. But he decided against it after the Iowa head coach, Jerry Burns, did not have time to meet Sayers during his only campus visit. He then decided to attend the University of Kansas, where he rushed for 2,675 yards and gained a Big Eight Conference-record 4,020 all-purpose yards. He entered the NFL draft following his senior season and was selected in the first round by both the Chicago Bears and the Kansas City Chiefs. Remember, both leagues at that time had they own drafts. He decided that all things being equal, he would rather play in Chicago, and so after consulting his wife he chose to sign with George Halas’s Bears. During Sayers rookie season, Bears coach Halas said, “I don’t ever remember seeing a rookie back who was ever as good.” In just his second season, Sayers led the entire league in rushing with 1,231 yards. He also led the Bears in receiving. He also surpassed his rookie season’s kick-return numbers, averaging a whopping 31.2 yards per return. During the 1968 season, while again leading the league in rushing for the third straight year, he tore the ligaments in his right knee. After surgery, Sayers went through a physical rehabilitation program with the help of Brian Piccolo, who had replaced him in the starting lineup. It was Sayers and Piccolo who became the first interracial roommates in the NFL. Sayers’ ensuing friendship with Piccolo and Piccolo’s struggle with cancer, became the subject of the made-for-TV movie Brian’s Song. The movie, was adapted from Sayers’ account of this story in his 1970 autobiography, “I Am Third”. In the 1969 season, after a slow start and despite diminished speed and acceleration, Sayers still led the league in rushing once again running for over 1,000 yards. Sayers was recognized as the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year. Keep in mind this happened while the Bears were the worst team in football at 1-13. In his fourth and final Pro Bowl appearance, Sayers was the West’s leading rusher and its leading receiver. In the 1970 pre-season, Sayers suffered a second career ending knee injury, this time to the bone in his left knee. Mike Ditka, a teammate of Sayers’ for two seasons, called him “the greatest player I’ve ever seen. That’s right—the greatest!” After being forced into retirement at a very early age, Sayers took classes to become a stockbroker and became the first black stockbroker in Paine Webber’s history. He then went on and founded Crest Computer Supply Company in the Chicago area. Under Sayers’ leadership, this company experienced consistent growth and was renamed “Sayers 40”, a technology consulting and implementation firm serving Fortune 1000 companies nationally with offices across the country. Sayers and his wife Ardythe are also active philanthropists in the Chicago area. They support the Cradle Foundation—an adoption organization in Evanston, Illinois, and they founded the Gale Sayers Center in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago. The Gale Sayers Center is an after-school program for children ages 8–12 from Chicago’s west side and focuses on leadership development, tutoring, and mentoring. It sadden me to read earlier this year, Sayers’ wife, Ardythe, revealed that Gale had been diagnosed with dementia four years prior. She stated that a Mayo Clinic doctor confirmed it was likely caused by his football career. “It wasn’t so much getting hit in the head,” she said.” It’s just the shaking of the brain when they took him down with the force they play the game in.” While he remains physically healthy, the disease has had an adverse effect on his mental health and memory in particular, making simple tasks such as signing his own name difficult. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1977. His number 48 jersey is one of only three retired by the Kansas Jayhawks football team. Later in 1977, Sayers was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and is still the youngest inductee in its NFL history. To this day, Sayers is considered one the greatest football players to ever play the game!

MUST READ: Flip A “Crypto-Kitty” And Make $60,000!!!

“Think breedable Beanie Babies.” That is how their website describes this new game for collecting, breeding and selling digital cats that is quickly becoming the new online craze. The game is built upon the digital currency platform called ethereum and works on a blockchain. I know this is bizarre, but I want to explain to you how it works. CryptoKitty players buy and sell unique digital or virtual kittens, that are both breedable and carry a distinct genome. Each one has a unique DNA and comes with different attributes. Since each kitten has a genome of 256-bits, this means there are 4 billion possible variations of cats that can be bred. They’re all kind of cool and can pass on traits such as having striped fur, spots or a certain eye color. The players purchase the kitties using the digital currency ethereum, for a certain amount of Ether or “Eth’s”. With two kittens, players can then breed their own digital kittens and sell them on the marketplace. The starting price is set by the user, the price goes down until the end of the auction or the kitten is sold. Players have spent millions buying CryptoKitties. Normal kitties can sell for just a few dollars, but breed the right mix and it could bring you a fortune. I’ve heard some CryptoKitties are selling for over $20,000. The first cat ever created — known as the Genesis cat — sold for $114,481.59. I heard one CryptoKitty was flipped in four days netting the owner +$60,000. The craze was created by Vancouver-based Axiom Zen, which “CryptoKitties” to 200 users on Thanksgiving and was opened to the public last Tuesday. Supposedly, More than 50,000 unique kittens have been sold and thousands are chasing to breed to the right combo. An important factor is your kitties “cooldown time,” or the time it takes your kitty to recover after breeding. Some kitties are quick to recover and can breed again after 1 minute, others are slow to recover, taking 1 week and even longer. Basically, kitties are ranked from “fast” to “catatonic”, telling the owner how much time a kitty needs before it can breed after it last gave birth. Obviously, kitties that can breed faster are more desirable, but perhaps the slower breeding contain the better genetics. The trick, however, is that every time a kitty breeds, its “cooldown” gets a little bit worse and takes longer. There’s also the generation number. The generation number tells you how many generations a kitty is removed from the Gen 0 kitties, which are introduced into the game every 15 minutes. If a Gen 0 kitty breeds with another Gen 0 kitty, the offspring will be Gen 1. If a Gen 1 breeds with a Gen 5 kitty, the offspring will be Gen 6. Supposedly, the higher the generation number, the worse the kitty will perform, long-term, and the lower its value. Bottom-line, there’s just a ton of moving parts that can make or break your breeding stock. I also heard the site recently added the ability to track the historical price of any kitten, which reveals the inner workings of the virtual cat trade. For example: “Kitten number 23” was first traded or sold to someone from its original breeder for just over $4,000 on Dec. 2. Two days later, it was sold again for over $32,000. Then just a couple of days later, to a user named “It’s All About The Money” paid about $63,000 for it, and it’s now one of the the most expensive cats for sale in that user’s stable. That breeder now has it listed for sale for 240.12 ether, which is somewhere between $100,000 and $120,000 depending on today’s valuations of ethereum. I heard some talk that a few “Gen 0” kitty owners where purchased by investors, who have kept them from breeding, supposedly think there will be a major premium paid for virginity from the original generation once the game has played itself out. You can check out the CryptoKitties website HERE . In my opinion, it would be cooler if they were dogs, so perhaps “digital doggies” will be next:) Below are a few picks and screenshots that might help bring it all together… Good luck!

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How Tech Companies May Disrupt Retail Banking

Bill Gates said it best when claiming that people don’t need banks, they need banking…and the tech industry seems poised to provide just that. According to a survey by consultant Bain & Co. nearly 60% of U.S. bank customers are willing to try a financial product from tech firms they already use. From what I understand, respondents are saying that if they can get the same ‘easy’ experience as they do shopping, they’re in. Bain reports that they are seeing this transition happen in China, where folks do many of their banking activities through WeChat and Alipay. I suspect it won’t be long and we are using our home assistants like Alexa to simply make our deposits and payments with a simple statement. For now, banks have yet to catch up with the digitization that other industries have but with 73% of people aged 18-34 saying they would try a tech firms credit card, deposit account, investment or mortgage, it won’t be long before we see innovations take hold and be accepted. Interestingly, while tech giants like Amazon, Google and Facebook already have expanded into such areas as payments or lending, they have yet to amass deposits. And that’s because federal laws prevent companies from combining commercial ventures with fully fledged banks. Gerard du Toit, a Bain partner and co-author of the report, predicts, banks will partner with Amazon and others, with lenders manufacturing financial products, and tech giants serving as a distribution and servicing channel. In other words, what Amazon already does with consumer goods. I imagine banks would prefer not to be mere factories for mortgages and credit cards but will take what they can get in that new environment. Millennials will continue to shape and direct the future development of all industries and companies who aren’t customer-centric and are deemed untrustworthy will get left behind. In the wake of recent banking events such as Wells Fargo sales tactics, phony account creations and pushy sales associates across financial industries, that practically amount to fraud, many Americans don’t trust banks like they once did. What helps companies like Amazon, is that they wouldn’t have to lure customers as they have millions already, most of whom would welcome a new approach to handling their money and future major purchases. As we move to a cashless society and a QR code world like China has embraced, the battle between traditional banks and tech firms will escalate as each seeks to control as much market as they can in retail banking. Though it could be an interesting battle, I’m probably leaning towards the tech giants who have the hearts and minds of the millennials and will probably benefit from that trust. (Bloomberg, Michael Spencer)

 

Researchers Find New Tool To Combat One Of Most Serious Plant Diseases

Researchers in the U.S. and Brazil have finally identifcied a molecule that could help in the battle against citrus greening disease. Citrus greening, considered one of the most serious plant diseases in the world, started showing up in Florida around 2005. It has since threatened the citrus industry across the entire U.S. It was identified in Brazil at about the same time and has since wiped out nearly half of the countries orange tree area. The disease is known as huánglóngbìng (HLB) in Chinese, which literally translates to “yellow dragon disease”. It is caused by a bacteria that is transmitted via a jumping plant louse called Diaphorina citri, aka the Asian citrus psyllid. A six-year study of these pests is what actually lead to the molecule discovery. Fundo de Defesa da Citricultura (Fundecitrus), a research center sponsored by farmers and orange juice producers in Brazil, in partnership the University of California, Davis and the University of Sao Paulo’s Agricultural College, known as Esalq, believe the breakthrough will effectively help farmers finally control the disease. Researchers now plan to synthesize a pheromone from the molecule and create a topical product that would work as a “trap” to attract and neutralize the insect. Understand, this is not a cure, but it is a way to curb transmission of the disease. It could also be available within as little as a year’s time. Researchers are working on a few different options to combat the disease directly, such as an outright cure or genetic modification to create resistance to it. However, these approaches will take years more of research and a multitude of regulatory hoops. At best, most feel these types of solutions are five years away. Citrus greening can render the fruit of a tree unusable in the course of just one season and most infected trees die within three years. Obviously, the industry is desperate for an effective near-term solution, even if it only tackles a portion of the problem. (Source: Reuters, NPR)

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