If You’re Stuck at Sea, There’s An App for That

(NewsUSA) – No one out enjoying time on a boat wants to think about breaking down and needing a tow, but a little preparation can make a big difference.According to the Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS), the number-one reason for a slow or delayed towing company response is the considerable time it sometimes takes for the towboat captain to seek and find the disabled recreational boat on the water. Unlike drivers on a road or highway, many boaters are simply unsure of their exact location.However, the proliferation of cell phones and improvements in cell service over the last decade means that most anyone can use a phone to pinpoint their location and also reach a dispatch center.A phone app, such as the one developed by BoatUS, allows boat owners to pre-program information about their boat. When they use the app to call for help with a dead battery or a tow home, the call goes to the dispatch center and immediately provides the boat’s details along with the latitude, longitude, and boater’s emergency contact information to the dispatcher, speeding a response.The free app from BoatUS, available at BoatUS.com/app, also provides information about tides, weather, and wind. Boaters without the app can use their phones to call the BoatUS 24/7 Dispatch Center at 1-800-391-4869.Boat owners can also be proactive and save money by signing up for an on-water towing plan at the start of the season.For example, an annual Unlimited Towing Membership plan from BoatUS starts at $72/year for freshwater and $149 for saltwater.In addition to having a towing service, boaters should be prepared to keep themselves and any passengers safe if their boat is disabled.Key tips to keep in mind include:- Be safe. In life-threatening emergencies, call 911 immediately or use VHF radio channel 16. Know the location of your boat’s safety gear and first aid kit.- Be leak-savvy. If you run aground, immediately look for water intrusion and provide a life jacket for each passenger not already wearing one.- Be seen. For safety and visibility in the dark, be sure all of your boat’s navigation and anchor lights are working.For more tips and information about what to do if you need on- water assistance, visit BoatUS.com/Towing or call 800-283-2883.

How to Have the Smartest Home on the Block

(NewsUSA) – With all the talk about smart technology and connected homes, you may be wondering why you should take notice. After all, it is not that difficult or inconvenient to turn your lights on and off.According to the American Lighting Association (ALA), smart technology is not just about convenience. It is not even just about lighting. It is also about energy efficiency and safety. Efficiency Smart technology allows you to connect your home’s electronic devices to one device, such as a phone, tablet or computer. Having a connected home means you have the ability to adjust your thermostat, open and close window shades, and activate your security system remotely, or program those devices to operate automatically at pre-set times. Safety Efficiency is important, but safety is paramount. With the ability to connect to your home’s devices from anywhere in the world comes the peace of mind of not wondering if your security system is activated and knowing your outside and inside lights will be on before you arrive home after dark. Convenience Home automation apps make it a snap to change your room into the perfect setting for different activities. For example, for movie night, a system like Lutron’s Caseta Wireless can be pre-programmed to adjust all the lights in your family room to set the scene for a great movie-watching experience.If installing and operating smart technology equipment sounds complicated and expensive, it’s not. According to the ALA, there are some simple and surprisingly inexpensive options available on today’s market.A number of ALA-member manufacturers, including Legrand, Lutron Electronics, Philips and Acuity Brands Lighting offer reasonably priced, easy-to-install automation products designed to make your home more comfortable, convenient and safe. In many cases, it just takes simple retrofitting of an existing dimmer switch.Erik Anderson, national sales manager for Lutron Electronics, explains that the Caseta Wireless is very retrofittable into existing homes. "All you have to do is take your existing dimmer or switch out of the wall and replace it with a Caseta dimmer or switch, add a smart bridge and you have the ability to control it from an app, or from voice control with Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri," says Anderson.For added ease, Lutron’s Caseta Wireless system can be integrated with Apple, Amazon or Google platforms for use inside your home. And when you are outside, an app or geofencing allows you to adjust your inside and/or outside lights, even before you arrive home. That will make your home welcoming to you and your guests.To learn more about making your home smarter, stop by your local ALA-member lighting showroom to see the latest technology for home environment automation. Go online to DesignVideos.Lighting to view a video from Lutron as well as lighting-trends videos from other ALA-member lighting manufacturers. Find more about all things lighting at AmericanLightingAssoc.com

Florida Continues High-Tech Boom with Biotech Business

(NewsUSA) – The aerospace industry is getting a boost in manufacturing its parts, making them safer and stronger, through a revolutionary new approach called 3D printing or "additive" manufacturing – a process which was invented at MIT in the late 1980s.In the traditional method, companies start with a hunk of metal (or other material). Using milling machines and other tools, they cut or drill away material in order to create the desired part.In contrast, 3D printing builds parts layer by layer, adding material in just the right places to create the precise shapes needed.For aerospace companies, this 3D printing or "additive" manufacturing offers the promise of making parts that are better and stronger, enabling them to build airplanes and rockets that are safer, more reliable, and better performing. GE uses 3D printing to build jet engine fuel nozzles, for instance, instead of welding together 20 small pieces. Technology Review recently named additive manufacturing one of its 10 "Breakthrough Technologies."But this new industrial revolution is being held back by a thorny problem. Tiny variations in parameters like temperature or raw material composition can subtly alter how each layer of material is laid down. As a result, it is extraordinarily difficult to build identical top-quality parts every single time.The industry has recognized this problem, and is working hard to solve it. The most promising approach is meticulously monitoring all the relevant parameters as a part is being built, then processing the information to determine if the part meets all standards. That will ensure repeatability, consistency, and reliability.Several companies are working on this idea, but one leader is Santa Fe, NM-based Sigma Labs, Inc (NASDAQ:SGLB). Sigma has developed sophisticated software that monitors the 3D process as a part is being built, and determines whether the product meets quality standards. Its Process Quality Assurance™ software is now being used in pilot projects at major aerospace manufacturers.

Futures for All – Online Resource Makes Financial Markets 101 Fun

Futures Fundamentals helps educators and students tackle complex economic topics(NewsUSA) – Did you think about futures markets when you ate your breakfast this morning? How about when you filled up your car with gas? Or paid your mortgage?You might not even know what derivatives are, but the fact is that the economy wouldn’t work without them.When banks need to determine how many loans they can offer at a particular interest rate, they use futures markets. When airlines need to guard against surges in fuel costs or cereal producers look to protect themselves from shocks to the supply of corn or grains, they turn to futures as well. Futures allow institutions to mitigate the potential damage caused by unexpected events or fundamental shifts in supply and demand.And because these financial tools are so critical, the derivatives industry recently joined forces to broaden the scope and reach of Futures Fundamentals. This new free resource, which can be found at www.FuturesFundamentals.org is helping learners of all levels understand how these markets work and why they matter."With futuresfundamentals.org we now have a resource for market users, policy makers, educators and students, as well as the general public around the world, to better understand how risk management markets work and why they matter to all of us, every day," says Walt Lukken, President and CEO of FIA, the leading global trade organization for the futures, options and centrally cleared derivatives markets worldwide"Futures Fundamentals is the perfect gateway to our markets – one which makes the learning process fun and helps prepare the next generation of market users."Futures Fundamentals breaks down the who, why and what of futures markets in an accessible and fun way. The site is divided into three sections, each featuring the role of derivatives as told through stories, interactive infographics, videos and quizzes.Activities first break down key financial concepts, including microeconomics and supply and demand. Visitors then learn how familiar tasks, such as buying a home or car, are affected by futures markets. In addition, after those initial lessons, visitors can try their hand at a trading simulator. Even more importantly, the site also provides teachers with modules to teach these economics lessons in their classrooms, all online and at no cost.Check out Futures Fundamentals for your classroom or business at  www.futuresfundamentals.org and follow the site on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram to stay up to date on new content as it is added. 

New Form of Farming Revolutionizes the Way We Eat

(NewsUSA) – By 2050, the world population will reach almost 10 billion people, at least 66 percent of whom will live in urban areas.Water-scarcity issues are rampant and will only increase, and the ability to feed humanity is a vital issue that must be tackled now.Thankfully, technological innovations are giving hope to addressing this catastrophic problem.Texas-based Mouser Electronics created a program this year called Shaping Smarter Cities that features engineering marvels throughout the world that are helping solve humanity’s most pressing problems.The company makes electronic components that engineers of any level can purchase online to make the projects of their dreams.In this video, (http://bit.ly/2grhOWD) their celebrity spokesperson, Grant Imahara, visits Tokyo, Japan, where more people live than in the entire state of Illinois — too many mouths to feed for traditional farming to take on alone. The city presents an ideal testing ground for vertical/urban farming.Mouser shows how a vertical farming facility can efficiently provide fresh food for the densely populated city.The food produced there yields 50-100 times more per square meter than traditional farming. And the indoor setting allows for almost complete control of weather conditions and temperature. Even the water gets recycled to reduce the drain on resources. The end result? Up to 99 percent in water savings.This video is one of many in Mouser’s Empowering Innovation Together initiative.Since its creation last year, incredible engineering feats have been spearheaded through their electronic components partners — with projects ranging from bringing superhero technology to life to 3D printing a semi-autonomous car with drone technology.The focus of this year’s program is about solving tough problems that impact humanity as a whole.To watch more awe-inspiring videos, visit http://www.mouser.com/empowering-innovation

Four Tech Tools That Can Help Your Small Business Grow

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Fifty-four years ago, President John F. Kennedy signed into effect a proclamation that established a week to celebrate the contributions of small U.S. businesses. Every president since then has continued the tradition.
Next month kicks off National Small Business Week, which recognizes America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. This year it runs from April 30 to May 6. More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year.
To help celebrate the week, Marc Saltzman, business technology expert, has partnered with KillerApps.tv (Click here to view video.) and four brands that have the tech tools and services to help small businesses grow by boosting productivity in the office or on the go.
First up, mobility. BlackBerry is back with the BlackBerry KEYone, an award-winning smartphone that fuses the functionality and security you’d expect from a BlackBerry with the familiarity and versatility of Android 7.1 Nougat. This BlackBerry KEYone is made for the modern smartphone user, offering a reimagined Smart Keyboard with built-in fingerprint sensor, up to 26 hours of mixed-use battery life, and unique convenience and privacy features in what is being billed as the world’s most secure Android smartphone.
It also has 4.5-inch touch display to tap and swipe through more than a million apps at the Google Play store.
It goes on sale in May.
To help keep your data secure on the go, Kingston has a pair of encrypted USB flash-drive solutions. With the DataTraveler 2000, no one can see what’s stored on the drive without knowing the PIN that you type on the alphanumeric keypad. The hardware-based encryption resides on the USB 3.0 drive itself — not on the host computer. It’s water- and dust-proof and available in 16, 32 and 64 gigabytes. And then there’s the DataTraveler Vault Privacy drive, which you access via password instead of keypad. Get the password wrong ten times and it’ll reformat and wipe it clean, just in case you lose it. It’s available from 4GB and up.
Next up, regardless of the industry you’re in, you need a reliable multifunction printer to work faster, smarter, and more cost effectively. The Canon MAXIFY MB5420 Wireless All-In-One Printer empowers small businesses with a high-speed, high-quality, and cost-effective printer, scanner and copier. You’ll see crisp prints, such as client invoices and legal- size documents, along with features such as duplex scanning, built-in WiFi, support for a Canon app, and more. And the Canon MAXIFY MB5420 is backed by a U.S.-based customer service and support center.
Finally, in celebration of National Small Business Week, The UPS Store is saluting small business owners with its first national “Pitch Off” contest. Small business owners and startups can compete for a chance to win $10,000 by submitting a business pitch to theupsstore.com/pitchoff.
Capture a 90-second video describing your business or idea. Be sure to submit soon, as people will be able to view and vote for their favorite videos throughout the month of May. The grand prize winner will be announced June 6. Throughout the year, visit one of more than 4,500 locally owned and operated UPS Store locations, to find tools and resources to support your growing business.
For more information, visit www.KillerApps.tv.

News Site Rantt Takes The Time to Get It Right

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – In the age of nonstop news and often limited fact-checking, a new digital news publication, Rantt, is moving in the other direction, focusing on slowing the story down, and getting the facts right, even if it means not being the first to publish a seemingly hot story.
“We’re taking an episodic approach to covering stories, and pride ourselves on slowing down the news,” Rantt CEO and co-founder Zak Ali says in a feature in The Huffington Post on March 6, 2017.
“We want to be the opposite of everything we see wrong with the news media: sensationalism, misleading clickbait, false equivalency, etc.,” Ali says. “Also, we feel like we are a voice for the disenfranchised population who feel let down by the mainstream media. Rantt will be the first episodic news source that people turn towards to get the full truth the first time,” he emphasizes.
Rantt launched online in November 2016, in the wake of the controversial presidential election. The Washington, D.C.-based startup reports more than 100,000 unique visitors as of March 2017. Data from the company suggests that visitors to the site encompass a range of demographics, but most of its readers are millennials. Rantt’s growing popularity also supports the idea that there is still an audience for unrushed, well-documented news stories.
The company was initially funded by Tricent Capital, a Silicon Valley investment firm, but their success is prompting them to expand and raise additional funds. The site’s popularity reflects the public’s desire for and interest in accuracy in the news, according to Ali.
Public interest in politics and current events surged at the time of the election and remain high, opening the door for alternative media options to serve a news-hungry readership. The founders cite the Drudge Report, Politico, and Talking Points Memo as examples of independent online news organizations that are able to fill a niche and serve as an alternative to the traditional mainstream media sources.
Rantt.com, includes a news section, an opinion section (known as Rantts), a section devoted to news related to President Donald Trump (known as Unpresidented) and a section called Underreported that provides a weekly summary of top news stories.
Check out rantt.com to read the latest stories, explore contributors’ profiles, and follow stories on the company’s Twitter feed.

Tax Law Changes Mean Refund Delays Will Affect Millions of Holiday Shoppers

(NewsUSA) – For many gift buyers, the tax refund is that extra paycheck that arrives just in time to pay off holiday bills. However this year, new provisions under the PATH – Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes – Act will impact early tax season refund timing. For tax returns that include the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and/or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC), the IRS will issue your refund no earlier than February 15, 2017. Last year, over 26 million Americans received EITC, meaning this change could surprise many who typically plan to get their refund early in the year.Jackson Hewitt Tax Service is responding with a way to help hardworking Americans bridge the gap and get access to money. Taxpayers may prequalify for an Express Refund Advance, a no fee, 0 percent APR loan offered by Metabank available when clients file their taxes with Jackson Hewitt.Those interested should visit www.ExpressRefundAdvance.com, answer a few simple questions, and within minutes see if they prequalify for up to $1300. There’s no credit check, and visitors may prequalify with a refund as low as $500."We are committed to helping our clients get early access to money," said David Prokupek, Jackson Hewitt CEO. "With expected refund delays this year Express Refund Advance is important for millions of hard-working Americans."Starting December 15 when Jackson Hewitt offices begin to open, clients may get started using their last paystub, and receive between $200 and $400. The loan is automatically repaid when clients receive their tax refund from the IRS. Jackson Hewitt kiosks located inside of more than 3,000 Walmart stores will also offer Express Refund Advance, and will open beginning December 27.To learn more or to make an appointment with a tax pro, visit www.JacksonHewitt.com.The Express Refund Advance is a tax-related refund loan provided by MetaBank; it is not the actual tax refund. Available for a limited time and in participating locations. The amount of the advance will be deducted from tax refunds and reduce the amount that is paid directly to the taxpayer. Tax returns may be filed electronically without applying for this loan. Availability is subject to satisfaction of identity verification, eligibility criteria, application, approval, underwriting standards, and other terms and conditions. Only $200-$400 is available with a paystub (or other acceptable pre-year-end income verification), and remaining amounts are available with a W-2 and upon filing tax return with the IRS. IRS delays may affect the delivery timing of loan proceeds. Disbursement rules apply. Funds loaded onto a card within an hour and direct deposit the next business day. Ask tax pro for details. 

Too Much Stuff? Give Kids Experiential Gifts This Holiday Season

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – If, like many parents, you struggle with what to get your kids for the holidays, consider thinking outside the box and giving them gifts that will expand their horizons.
Underscoring the importance of combining adventure and education, experts say that school is much easier when kids can draw upon skills they’ve learned through outside experiences.
“Experiential gifts can teach a new, lifelong skill, provide a fun, new way to spend family time, and build memories together in a way that no toy or gadget could,” says Emily Levitt, vice president of Education for Sylvan Learning.
To this point, Levitt encourages parents to get creative this holiday season, and give the gift of learning.
“These kinds of gifts are special not just for your child, but for everyone who participates. And I can’t think of a better way to spend the holidays.”
To that end, here are a few holiday suggestions for parents that kids will not only love, but learn from as well:
* The Science of Cooking. Your little chef will not only get to make and eat delicious food that they’ll be able to recreate at home, but will learn how to incorporate math, since this intrinsic skill is necessary for making flavorful dishes. Following a recipe requires learning how to measure and getting familiar with fractions. If they want to double a recipe, they’ll have to use multiplication and addition skills.
* Getting an EDGE on the competition. For a gift that encompasses science, technology, engineering AND math, look no further than Sylvan Learning. A package of Sylvan EDGE classes will empower kids to lay the groundwork for future success and have fun while doing it. The combination of fun and academic mastery is unique. Whether it’s designing a video game from scratch after school, programming a LEGO robot on Saturdays, or engineering seriously cool super structures, your child will be learning something new every time and will be delighted to try the next series of courses as soon as they finish!
* Giving the gift of music. Music lessons are a great way to uncover a talent and passion that is both creative and math-based. From guitar to piano or maybe even the sax, you can give kids the option to choose which instrument to explore. Both music and math go hand-in-hand because they both involve patterns, ratios, fractions, proportions, and memorization.
* Getting moving. Kids with a ton of energy will enjoy classes such as gymnastics or rock climbing. These activities not only teach kids about the human body, but are developmental sports, which require a progression of steps. The skills needed in these activities can stimulate problem solving, math, and reading in school.
For more information, please visit www.getsylvanedge.com.

How to Build Better, Stronger Bones in Kids

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Sponsored News – It’s been ingrained in our heads since we were little: building strong bones is important. The problem is that these days many children aren’t getting the daily recommended diet and exercise needed to do so. And, with technology use at an all-time high, children are spending less time playing outdoors, which increases the risk of obesity.
Today, approximately 32 percent of American children and adolescents ages 2 to 19 are considered overweight or obese. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) wants to help empower families to get up, get out and get moving to ensure optimal bone growth and reduce the risk of osteoporosis and other diseases later in life.
“Building your child’s bone bank is like a college savings plan: the earlier you start investing, the better,” says AAOS spokesperson Dr. Jennifer Weiss, a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon at Kaiser Permanente in Los Angeles. “Parents should ensure that kids are getting adequate calcium to keep their bones strong as well as appropriate levels of vitamins D and C to allow the body to absorb the calcium.”
So what’s a parent to do? The following tips from the AAOS will help get your kids (and you) moving while building better, stronger bones:
* Move it. Make physical activity a part of a child’s schedule for at least 30 to 60 minutes per day. Make it fun. With fall weather coming in, walking around the block to see the colors, throwing a football in the yard, or riding a bike is a perfect way to engage with your kids and still get in some exercise. Bonus? Being outside gets you and the kids some much-needed vitamin D, which also helps build strong bones.
* Watch what you eat. Life is busy. Which makes on-the-run snacks and meals an easy fix for harried parents. Unfortunately, most of this kind of food does not have the nutrients to ensure good bone health. Adolescents should consume a healthy diet with calcium to maintain strong bones and lower the risk of excessive weight gain.
* Lift things up, and put them down. Studies show that strength training is key to healthy bones. During resistance training, muscles have to work harder and, over time, become stronger. Although resistance exercises focus on increasing muscle mass, they also put stress on bones and have bone-building capacity.
* Set limits. It’s understandable that kids’ whims change with the seasons, as do the number of teams they want to play on. However, try to limit the number of teams a child plays on in one season to avoid overuse injuries. In addition, if your child tells you that something hurts, discourage him or her from playing through the pain.
For more information, visit orthoinfo.org.