Author Archives: Tara

Auto Manufacturer Price War Benefits Car Shopping Consumers

The biggest news at the 2011 Chicago Auto Show wasn’t the new products introduced or the raging blizzard gripping the Windy City. What created the largest buzz was the pronouncement by Hyundai Motors America chief John Krafcik that a price war has broken out between car manufacturers. Krafcik shared his thoughts informally with members of the press while at the auto show, sparking widespread interest as news filtered down to the masses.GM DiscountingKrafcik’s comments solidified what others have been recently been examining: unusually high incentives are being offered by some manufacturers in a bid to increase sales and grab additional market share. Notably, GM is leading the way, averaging $3,762 off of the price every vehicle sold in the United States in January 2011 according to Automotive News. What’s more, that amount is significantly higher with some brands including Cadillac, which is averaging just over $5,600 off of the price of its models.

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Although Krafcik noted that GM started the most recent round of price cutting and those cuts were matched by Toyota, Ford and Chrysler have discounted their cars significantly too. Honda and Nissan are playing the discount game too, which means that each of the Big Six manufacturers are working the incentives angle hard.Camry SavingsFor consumers, discounting is a boon, particularly for the car shopper who isn’t loyal to one brand. But, loyalty seems to present some advantages for new car buyers too as most manufacturers are luring customers back to the brand, by extending loyalty rebates on top of already generous offers. Toyota, for example, is offering Camry owners an extra $500 rebate for buying a new Camry reports Auto Trends Magazine. Customers can also get a rebate or choose low rate financing when they buy new.Some of current rebate offers aren’t much of a surprise including the $4,000 discount GM is giving for buyers of the 2011 Buick Lucerne. That model is aged, a slow seller and is likely a year or two away from being discontinued. Still. deep discounting so early in the year is unusual, suggesting that further price drops will be in the offing especially if competing brands fight back.

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Hyundai IncentivesHyundai offers some of the lowest discounting in the country, averaging just $1,200 per vehicle. The brand’s cars are usually priced five to 10 percent lower than competing models and are routinely better equipped. Thus, discounting after the fact hasn’t been a Hyundai staple because the Korean car company keeps its sticker prices low.If you are a car shopper, the a price war can save you hundreds perhaps thousands of dollars off the price of a new car. War also means that there are winners and losers, with the latter likely to be car manufacturers who can’t or won’t match today’s juicy incentives.

Trade The News – Profiting From Trading With Low Latency News Feeds

Experienced traders recognize the effects of global changes on Foreign Exchange (Forex/FX) markets, stock markets and futures markets. Factors such as interest rate decisions, inflation, retail sales, unemployment, industrial productions, consumer confidence surveys, business sentiment surveys, trade balance and manufacturing surveys affect currency movement. While traders could monitor this information manually using traditional news sources, profiting from automated or algorithmic trading utilizing low latency news feeds is an often more predictable and effective trading method that can increase profitability while reducing risk.The faster a trader can receive economic news, analyze the data, make decisions, apply risk management models and execute trades, the more profitable they can become. Automated traders are generally more successful than manual traders because the automation will use a tested rules-based trading strategy that employs money management and risk management techniques. The strategy will process trends, analyze data and execute trades faster than a human with no emotion. In order to take advantage of the low latency news feeds it is essential to have the right low latency news feed provider, have a proper trading strategy and the correct network infrastructure to ensure the fastest possible latency to the news source in order to beat the competition on order entries and fills or execution.How Do Low Latency News Feeds Work?Low latency news feeds provide key economic data to sophisticated market participants for whom speed is a top priority. While the rest of the world receives economic news through aggregated news feeds, bureau services or mass media such as news web sites, radio or television low latency news traders count on lightning fast delivery of key economic releases. These include jobs figures, inflation data, and manufacturing indexes, directly from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Commerce Department, and the Treasury Press Room in a machine-readable feed that is optimized for algorithmic traders.One method of controlling the release of news is an embargo. After the embargo is lifted for news event, reporters enter the release data into electronic format which is immediately distributed in a proprietary binary format. The data is sent over private networks to several distribution points near various large cities around the world. In order to receive the news data as quickly as possible, it is essential that a trader use a valid low latency news provider that has invested heavily in technology infrastructure. Embargoed data is requested by a source not to be published before a certain date and time or unless certain conditions have been met. The media is given advanced notice in order to prepare for the release.

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News agencies also have reporters in sealed Government press rooms during a defined lock-up period. Lock-up data periods simply regulate the release of all news data so that every news outlet releases it simultaneously. This can be done in two ways: “Finger push” and “Switch Release” are used to regulate the release.News feeds feature economic and corporate news that influence trading activity worldwide. Economic indicators are used to facilitate trading decisions. The news is fed into an algorithm that parses, consolidates, analyzes and makes trading recommendations based upon the news. The algorithms can filter the news, produce indicators and help traders make split-second decisions to avoid substantial losses.Automated software trading programs enable faster trading decisions. Decisions made in microseconds may equate to a significant edge in the market.News is a good indicator of the volatility of a market and if you trade the news, opportunities will present themselves. Traders tend to overreact when a news report is released, and under-react when there is very little news. Machine readable news provides historical data through archives that enable traders to back test price movements against specific economic indicators.Each country releases important economic news during certain times of the day. Advanced traders analyze and execute trades almost instantaneously when the announcement is made. Instantaneous analysis is made possible through automated trading with low latency news feed. Automated trading can play a part of a trader’s risk management and loss avoidance strategy. With automated trading, historical back tests and algorithms are utilized to select optimal entry and exit points.Traders must know when the data will be released to know when to monitor the market. For instance, important economic data in the United States is released between 8:30 AM and 10:00 AM EST. Canada releases information between 7:00 AM and 8:30 AM. Since currencies span the globe, traders may always find a market that is open and ready for trading.A SAMPLE of Major Economic Indicators
Consumer Price Index
Employment Cost Index
Employment Situation
Producer Price Index
Productivity and Costs
Real Earnings
U.S. Import and Export Prices
Employment & UnemploymentWhere Do You Put Your Servers? Important Geographic Locations for algorithmic trading StrategiesThe majority of investors that trade the news seek to have their algorithmic trading platforms hosted as close as possible to news source and the execution venue as possible. General distribution locations for low latency news feed providers include globally: New York, Washington DC, Chicago and London.The ideal locations to place your servers are in well-connected datacenters that allow you to directly connect your network or servers to the actually news feed source and execution venue. There must be a balance of distance and latency between both. You need to be close enough to the news in order to act upon the releases however, close enough to the broker or exchange to get your order in ahead of the masses looking for the best fill.Low Latency News Feed ProvidersThomson Reuters uses proprietary, state of the art technology to produce a low latency news feed. The news feed is designed specifically for applications and is machine readable. Streaming XML broadcast is used to produce full text and metadata to ensure that investors never miss an event.Another Thomson Reuters news feed features macro-economic events, natural disasters and violence in the country. An analysis of the news is released. When the category reaches a threshold, the investor’s trading and risk management system is notified to trigger an entry or exit point from the market. Thomson Reuters has a unique edge on global news compared to other providers being one of the most respected business news agencies in the world if not the most respected outside of the United States. They have the advantage of including global Reuters News to their feed in addition to third-party newswires and Economic data for both the United States and Europe. The University of Michigan Survey of Consumers report is also another major news event and releases data twice monthly. Thomson Reuters has exclusive media rights to The University of Michigan data.Other low latency news providers include: Need to Know News, Dow Jones News and Rapidata which we will discuss further when they make information regarding their services more available.Examples of News Affecting the Markets

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A news feed may indicate a change in the unemployment rate. For the sake of the scenario, unemployment rates will show a positive change. Historical analysis may show that the change is not due to seasonal effects. News feeds show that buyer confidence is increasing due the decrease in unemployment rates. Reports provide a strong indication that the unemployment rate will remain low.With this information, analysis may indicate that traders should short the USD. The algorithm may determine that the USD/JPY pair would yield the most profits. An automatic trade would be executed when the target is reached, and the trade will be on auto-pilot until completion.The dollar could continue to fall despite reports of unemployment improvement provided from the news feed. Investors must keep in mind that multiple factors affect the movement of the United States Dollar. The unemployment rate may drop, but the overall economy may not improve. If larger investors do not change their perception of the dollar, then the dollar may continue to fall.The big players will typically make their decisions prior to most of the retail or smaller traders. Big player decisions may affect the market in an unexpected way. If the decision is made on only information from the unemployment, the assumption will be incorrect. Non-directional bias assumes that any major news about a country will create a trading opportunity. Directional-bias trading accounts for all possible economic indicators including responses from major market players.Trading The News – The Bottom LineNews moves the markets and if you trade the news, you can capitalize. There are very few of us that can argue against that fact. There is no doubt that the trader receiving news data ahead of the curve has the edge on getting a solid short-term trade on momentum trade in various markets whether FX, Equities or Futures. The cost of low latency infrastructure has dropped over the past few years making it possible to subscribe to a low latency news feed and receive the data from the source giving a tremendous edge over traders watching television, the Internet, radio or standard news feeds. In a market driven by large banks and hedge funds, low latency news feeds certainly give the big company edge to even individual traders.

Enhancing Sustainability in Manufacturing in America

The Sustainable Manufacturing Summit provides the opportunity to find out how top manufacturers and their customers are lowering their carbon emissions and…Fifty Sustainability Experts To Speak At Sustainable Manufacturing…
Jan 21, 2008… Sustainability experts are looking forward to sharing their carbon reduction strategies on April 8th and 9th at the upcoming Corporate…Green Manufacturing Expo 2009
Sustainable manufacturing, defined as the “creation of manufactured products that use processes that are non-polluting, conserve energy and natural…Information and ProgressThe existence of information, conferences, books, tips, be it from the U.S. or Australia in the examples is an excellent first step in promoting the improvement of manufacturing based on sustainability principles. However, information alone is not sufficient to propel manufacturing concerns throughout the U.S. to begin adopting on a large scale more sustainability oriented manufacturing practices.One challenge to securing broader and more rapid adoption of sustainability oriented manufacturing processes is that there is no universal agreement as to what “sustainability” really means. Tremendous work has been done on creating very useful sustainability “scorecards” and measures, and this is very helpful. In an effort to give a simple, yet direct definition of sustainability in manufacturing, we offer the following definition.”Sustainable manufacturing processes deploy the optimal use of material and human resources for the long term to produce the desired product.”That is the official definition adopted by the Sustainable Business Group concerning manufacturing and sustainability. It is simple and direct and focuses on one key term: Optimal.When a manufacturing concern can shave one kilowatt or one cubic foot of natural gas use through energy conservation, without creating an inferior product or inferior work conditions, then it is not operating in a sustainable manner because it is not operating in an optimal manner. Even when it can use less energy in peak times, it becomes a more sustainable manufacturing enterprise since peak energy use is by far the most costly (in dollar and environmental terms) type of energy use that exists.If the employees of a manufacturing concern are not properly trained and educated by the company regarding how to conserve energy and materials use on their jobs, in their homes, their churches, and in their life-style choices, then these employees are not engaging in the highest level of sustainable activities since their actions are not optimal.These are easy words to write, but brutally hard to implement at the manufacturing plant level or across an entire globalized manufacturing concern. Where does a manufacturing concern start on the path or expand its already existing efforts toward becoming a more sustainable enterprise? This article begins in a very small way to address this question.10 Recommendations to Promote Sustainability by Manufacturing Concerns1. Make the optimal use of human and material resources in the production process, a key performance objective goal of the company with metrics to measure performance along this dimension. These metrics can be produced hourly, daily, or weekly and shared with employees, stockholders and customers. They should become a true source of pride in the company.
2. Create real incentives and rewards for everyone in the company to be more energy efficient, deploy human talent more effectively, reduce materials waste, reduce pollution and green house gas emissions, and promote the design and manufacture of the next generation of products that are more sustainable in the long run. Share in the savings being generated by implementation of a “gain sharing” type program to reward the employees and encourage creativity and savings.

Helium Shortage – Rising Welding and Manufacturing Costs?

— A summary insight, the U.S. current supply, and some effects for manufacturers.During the “world wars” era, the “Federal Helium Reserve” began to stockpile helium for warfare flight applications. However, due to the “Helium Privatization Act of 1996”, they stopped refining. The capacity had reached 1 billion cubic meters, and now is slated for depletion in 2015.The reserve was originally intended for balloons and airships. Now, cryogenics currently consumes at least 25% for medicinal purposes primarily for the cooling of superconducting magnets which is used specifically for MRI (magnetic resonance image) scanners. Doctors use them to see very detailed images of the human body. The magnets in the MRI machines require helium to keep them cool. Currently, there are no other options to replace helium for the function it provides to MRI scanners.Other minor uses include space travel, thermo graphic cameras, gas leak detection, laser eye and heart surgery, missile guidance, scuba diving, and wind tunnels. For manufacturers, it is used as a shielding, pressurizing and purge gas for arc welding, specifically GTAW (gas tungsten arc welding.)Industries such as aerospace and oil & gas find that using GTAW, with helium, offers a more durable and higher quality weld. The down side, as compared with using argon gas, is that it’s slow, more complex, and tough to strike an arc, which makes it difficult for operators to master. This additional time may likely increase the welding costs for manufacturers using helium. Estimators may want to soon consider the rising costs to be included when estimating their quotes and proposals. On the other hand, for the highly skilled “weld” operators, they can usually weld in half the time compared to when argon is used.

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“When helium is used, it welds at lower temperature. This enables our welders to complete jobs more quickly – almost twice as fast. Without the ability to use helium, specifically on thick aluminum parts, we would have to turn-away some aerospace work.Examples of aerospace parts we make:
A bracket for the Navy, where other manufacturers failed using a casting process –the part cracked. Next, when welded using argon the weld was too big resulting in distortion (meaning the part lost its alignment), when we used helium in the welding process it was successful.
A hand rail, for a commercial airline, when 3 other manufacturers attempted to make a structurally sound part they failed – the rail broke after implementation. AAR Precisions Systems made it successfully — welding the part using helium in the manufacturing process.”
–Tony Carlisle, Welder, AAR Precisions SystemsSelecting a shielding gas for welding primarily depends on the type of material to be welded, joint design, and final weld result. Argon is most commonly used for GTAW, and results in a high weld quality and good appearance. In contrast to argon, helium is used for welding “heavy” sections specifically when a greater penetration is required. It’s also used to weld thin sections of stainless steel and non-ferrous metals such as aluminum, magnesium, and copper alloys. Frequently, mixtures of argon-helium help welders reap their combined benefits.According to Wikipedia and Robert C. Richardson, a helium conservationist, the free market price of helium contributed to a “wasteful” usage (e.g. for helium balloons). Prices in the 2000s were lowered by the U.S. Congress’ decision to sell off the helium stockpile by 2015. Robert also suggests, “… the current price needs to be multiplied “by 20” to eliminate excessive wasting.”Today in many areas of the country it’s no longer available. This may likely force the price to skyrocket.
If the U.S. private sector doesn’t adequately resupply our reserve, will our country be forced to rely on foreign sources?
How will this affect U.S. manufacturers and their costs?
What impact would the lack of helium and its associated rising cost have for your company?
Does your estimating team apply more or less time when helium is used by your welders?

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Please share your thoughts an answers to these questions in the “comments” section listed below the article?Other interesting tidbits: NASA, as reported in this article, Helium Shortage Leaves Scientists in no mood to celebrate ( http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/1112497113/helium-shortage-leaves-scientists-in-no-mood-to-celebrate/ ), uses 75 million cubic feet annually with no recycle processing currently in place. Helium is a byproduct of natural gas. Is caused from radioactive decay. It is the second lightest element in the universe, and it’s named for the Greek God of the Sun, Helios. Also, the speed of sound in helium is nearly 3x the speed of sound in air.ALERT: Some good news may be on the horizon according to a New York Times article: “legistration proposed to estend texas helium sales deadline”,( http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/18/us/legislation-proposed-to-extend-texas-helium-sales-deadline.html.) It reports that the depletion date may change.

Latest in the Automotive Industry News

The latest in automotive industry news is that Nissan has big plans. Just when the Indian car market is sparked to heat up, one of the major car manufacturers in the world, Nissan, has made some big plans. Nissan Motor India Pvt. Lts. has opened a new corporate office. The location is T. Nagar, Chennal. The person at the helm of leadership will be Kiminobu Tokuyama. Also present at the inaugural were representatives of the Nissan partnership, Renault Nissan Automotive India Private.Nissan has big plans. One of these is the fact that they will cover 85 per cent of the Indian market by the year 2012. This will evolve as a result of the proposed 11 operating dealerships being in place by the end of this year. This number is expected to increase to 55 dealers in two years.

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Another lofty goal Nissan hopes to attain is in exportation. Next year the car manufacturer plans to outsource $20 million in components and double this amount within two years. Along with this goal Nissan plans to export cars. They plan to export to countries until they reach 100 worldwide.According to automotive industry news, Nissan will begin producing the Global Compact car in their Indian facility next year. Nissan has made it clear that they plan to be a major player in the Indian market just as they have been in the United States and other countries. The production of the compact car will happen in their new corporate facility in India. The 10,000 square feet building will offer employment to 56 people. Another goal is to nearly double this number by the next year. The new facility offers state-of-the-art everything. This, along with artsy interiors and open work-stations will contribute to the culture promoting an open feeling and spreading friendship.Nissan is proud to be offering nine new models in India. The fact they will open with this large number of models points out that they are entering this new market where they know they will be successful.Nissan presently has 5.5 per cent of the auto market. Their plans are to increase this number with the opening of additional Indian dealerships along with a lineup of new models. A hatchback, which is built on the V platform, will be the entry car in the Indian market. Nissan will also offer two other autos one of which is a utility vehicle and the other being a sedan. They point out that there are no plans to offer the A segment initially.

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Perhaps the competition will be offered mostly with the low cost manufacturing of the compact model while there will also be luxury cars. These will be supplemented by commercial vehicles that will be of the lighter manufacturing. Just six months back it was not certain how the manufacturer would attack the changing market. They have cleared any doubts among other manufacturers after announcing their future plans.

A New WPA For Rejuvenating American Manufacturing

The news is depressing. It is not so much the news that is depressing but the various cable shows and the assorted politicians and pundits who populate these shows, filling the air with platitudes of every shape and variety. As the economy had declined and times have gotten tougher, there is a lot more hemming and hawing among the so-called experts. It appears increasingly, to quote the noted screening writer, William Goldman, that “nobody knows nothing.”Sure, they get paid for voicing answers, so there will always be answers. The answers may be irrelevant and my not even address the questions, but they are answers nevertheless. Everybody needs a payday. As for the politicians who appear in the news, we would sometimes feel a whole lot better if they would merely admit they really don’t have an answer for all the challenges facing us and they are only doing the best they can. Most of which is out of desperation.There are general threads the pundits allow. The first is the more intelligent, where people with certain expertise project what actions they would take and what actions they believe should be taken. The second group discusses other people and comments on their actions and whether or not these are positive acts that will rescue the economy. The third group mainly inveighs some jingoistic nonsense along partisan lines and repeats tiresome mantras that are supposed to win points for their party or cause.Of course there are a number of themes interlaced among these general threads. How is the new President Obama doing? Is the country going Socialist? Is there an end in sight to this Recession? And, of course, the omnipresent chestnut, comparing the travails of Wall Street to Main Street.In translation, this invites a discussion of whether the increasingly expensive bailouts are worth it and really helping the average American. It is also code for those thieving rogues in the banking and financial industries, versus the poor but honest working Joe and the small business guy in need of a loan to keep his business afloat. Factor in the housing meltdown, the mortgage crisis, and you pretty much have the picture.There is also the talk about the breathtaking increase of government expenditure and the run up on our national debt. Those in favor see it as a necessary evil and contend that there will be long run benefits. Those opposed see national ruin and gather on Tax Day to make speeches and toss teabags into the river. Of course they wish their fellow Americans will compare this tepid symbolism to the Boston Tea Party that helped kick off the Revolution. Comparing the two is like comparing nose picking to a Menage a’Trois.But none of this is really the issue here. Simply put, America has stopped making things. Sure we do some manufacturing, but not enough. We let others do it for us, and then we wonder how and why we end up poorer and facing second tier status as a nation. Some of what we still do manage to manufacture is first rate, while other products are sub-par in this competitive environment. Or too expensive, so the products are not cost competitive with the products of other nations.Largely, compared to how we once were, we do not make much. Instead, we call ourselves a service industry. Or we shuffle papers around in various financial transactions that generate outrageous salaries and illusory profit. Couple the fact that two thirds of this economy is dependent on consumerism. Consumerism brought on by money advanced often through false financial statements, commercial and private. Money that was meted out against overvalued property and goods.Nevertheless, for the past number of decades we have declared this a viable economy; it is the new America. We have milked every which way possible. We have borrowed money from other countries to fortify our spending. And now we realize we have milked it for as long as we could. As with most occasions, everybody loves the party, but no one likes to pay the tab and the end of the night.Our economy has become a charade. A game of smoke and mirrors. The overheated real estate market was a charade. An illusion. Common sense should dictate when houses rise in price to where people can no afford them without the assistance of some trick loan, then we are heading for disaster.But common sense just ain’t so common. In fact, it is often difficult to come by when everyone is busy buying stuff and shuffling papers around. Instead of common sense, we had a… business model. Not just any business model, but the kind that didn’t take into account failure to pay debt as a hurdle that couldn’t be surmounted. Despite Newton’s law that everything that goes up must come down, this business model speculated to the contrary. It was the business model that defied history.

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The fact remains, as history has dictated time and again, an economy built on fluff and illusion is doomed to failure. A civilization too self-absorbed to pay attention to its competition will end up in the second tier or even as a civilization in past tense. Instead of a bonafide business model, so many financial people love to model, we had instead a game of musical chairs. When the music stopped, the fun really started. People found themselves without a chair.We called this debacle an economy for as long as we could. We called it the rule and beauty of the free market. It was never really a free market; it was just a market devoid of regulation. It was a license to steal. As history again dictates, you give people a license to steal and they will take it down with a shovel and a rake.That is exactly what they did. Of course when things turned sour, as most proponents of the quasi-free market are wont to do they demanded government assistance. Had they been real free marketers they would have acknowledged they screwed it up big time and would have suffered the consequences. They would have gone out of business or struggled to survive. Because in the real free market system you are accountable for your actions. So instead, they have a more socialistic platform where government helps determine the actions of business. It’s Karma, I guess, the Yin and Yang. Some think of it as poetic justice.So to quote Oliver Hardy of the seminal comedy team, Laurel and Hardy, “what a fine fix you got us in, Stanley.” Indeed. Here we are, out or work, broke, killing time with futile networking or watching pundits on television telling us the things we know or ready. It’s amazing to see what some of the pundits will say with a straight face just so they can pose as experts, collecting a pay check and hate mail while swapping dignity for cash. whether or not they have a clue to what they are talking about. Perhaps as a formula, the average viewer should calculate the more big words the talking heads like to bandy about, the less they know about the subject.However, there are some salient points that do come up on these news show discussions. It is not all for naught. Fortunately, there are some intelligent souls whose knowledge and insight can supersede the commercial break. And among the talking points most discussed is comparing this economic downturn to the Great Depression. There is a debate about how the Roosevelt Administration took it on and whether the methods were successful or a failure.There is talk about the Works Progress Administration, better known as the WPA. In short, under the Roosevelt’s New Deal, the WPA with government funding put millions of people to work. Many of our greatest public projects were built through the WPA. The Hoover Dam is but one that comes to mind.Not everybody was thrilled about the WPA. As with some of Obama’s bankrolling, Roosevelt’s programs looked like an advocate of folly. Some of its detractors labeled it as Socialist. They assigned various acronyms to the initials, including “We Poke Along, We Putter Around,” and my favorite, “Whistle, Piss, and Argue.” But in touch economic times, you have to do something. And Roosevelt did something. He also told his friends, the scions of American Industry, you either kick in your share or I will tax it out of you. Some became more generous in response to that threat.Today we need a new WPA. We need to adapt Roosevelt’s old Great Depression program and develop one that will meet our times. We need a WPA program that is as sensible as it is proactive. We as a nation have to go back into production. It is not enough to devote funding to rebuilding our infrastructure. We have to develop and produce the new technologies for alternate energy and environmental recover. We also have to manufacture some of the more basic goods that we can purchase. You know, the essential stuff, like clothing, shoes, and about half the junk we buy from China that are often inferior and toxic.It is not easy creating a new WPA. Or, rather, it is not easy creating a new WPA that actually creates a meaningful legacy by putting us back on track as an economic power and not a diminished civilization on the slippery slide to second tier status. This does not mean we end globalization but develop the principles in which we have always prided ourselves. That key principle is self reliance.Yes, it’s a matter of pride. We pride ourselves on self-reliance as individuals and as a nation. At least we did. Now is the time to separate the practical realities from the lip service. To be self-reliant means we do not have to run up a steep debt buying energy from other countries or articles based on planned obsolescence. We can make quality goods that last. As we had learned in years past, quantity does not surpass quality. We buy quantity because we have been trained to shop until we drop. We buy ten cheap articles instead of one good one. Without branding, a label, most people can’t tell the difference between good quality and poor quality. And quite often the label is just another lie.So what do we do? Well for one thing we take stock of all the factories out there that are lying in ruin. We look at the rest belt and the more blighted areas where workers haven’t had decent jobs since the manufacturing left the country. We form teams that rejuvenate and reinvigorate these old factories. We determine what goods could be manufactured and then we make them. We make them not the old fashioned way but in modern plants with contemporary technology and business acumen. It worked for the steel industry. Why not others?We combine teams so that they are represented by older workers and executives who are used to economic downturns. The WPA will need the senior employee who has experience coping with disaster. Senior workers bring experience to the projects and not just theory. They can assess what works and what will not, and they may have better management skills in forming the work force.As the same time you need younger workers who can contribute skills in the newer technologies. Younger people understand the more modern business practices and how to apply them. Merely having an MBA is not enough. We will need well rounded younger people who on the job can develop better interpersonal skills if by no other manner than proximity to the work force. The younger executive’s experience with the newer technologies would coalesce with some of the older and often stronger business practices that can develop industry for the common good.And what is the common good? Essentially, it is moving America forward by putting millions of people back to work. On one hand it is retraining workers, but on the other it is providing work with which they are at least somewhat familiar. In the common good, these rejuvenated industries are developed as profitable institutions but not with the absolute emphasis on the bottom line. Too much emphasis on the bottom line has proven too often to diminish the quality of the work force and the products they make. Those who invoke only the concept of the bottom line tend to cut corners. They tend to outsource jobs and industries to foreign countries in order to enforce the code of the bottom line. In the end, by enhancing the bottom line for a multi-corporations it has also ruined much of American industry. So make money, but without idol worship of the bottom line.As for the work force itself, there are enough out of work construction works who would welcome gainful employment by rehabilitating factories and rejuvenating industries. Surely some will be needed to rebuild the national infrastructure but with the construction industry among the hardest hit, there are skilled craftsman in every region of this country who would like nothing more than to put American back on track. Especially when a paycheck is involved.Workers could be paid a salary, but a significant portion of their incomes should come from profit sharing. Employee co-ops make sense. It is a self-policing system, fortified with the oversight of both private management and Uncle Sam. Simply put, if you don’t produce you don’t make money. If you can manufacture quality goods at competitive price points, then everyone benefits. Some may declare this Socialism, but then some thought of the original WPA as Socialist.We are not a Socialist society. We prospered as small business owners at first, and then as the nation grew so did its companies. We can base this on the perception it is an amplified form of a smaller business. Additionally, we are a pragmatic nation. We have always prided ourselves in all things practical. We are a nation that likes to do what works. It doesn’t really matter what you call it. If it works, do it. If it doesn’t, then come up with something else. Clearly, it is time to come up with something else.

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So how to finance the new WPA. Funding is a mix and match between Uncle Sam and the private investor. Going back to Roosevelt’s threat to his giants of industry, if they don’t contribute he would tax it out of them. The energy companies, Wall Street, they can all pony up. Fund our industries here and not in China, India who wherever else we deem the flavor of the month. If you want national status and tax credits, then fund American industries. If not, then pay more taxes.As some have said from the time this nation was born, certain freedoms are not rights, they are privileges. We utter this absently and then forget its context. You want to do business here, you contribute to business here. This is not a charitable obligation to pass the time until things rewrite themselves and some can go back to making obscene salaries and profits. It is a time to be accountable. Kick in your share. We are either in this together, or we are not all in this together.There are many benefits to a working economy that starts from the bottom up. There are benefits to manufacturing in our own back yards. We can develop new technologies that will be needed throughout this century and into the next. We can develop alternate energy sources. We can rebuild the infrastructure to make this all possible.But we can also make things. We can make things and not just make things up. We can make things and stop pretending this will all go away and the good old days will come roaring back. We can forget the world where we can charge things to our hearts’ content, have boats, trinkets, and fourteen houses. Instead of buying things, we can make things and in doing so we can be assured that most of us can at least make a living.This is the perfect opportunity for turning our world around. By forming the teams of younger workers who bring their skills to the party and combining them with older workers who use experience and the wherewithal to survive the hard times, we can rehabilitate the rust belt and other regions where abandoned factories and warehouses dot the landscape like so many eyesores. We can provide jobs not only to the educated and the technologically advanced but also to the more fundamental working group who, let’s face it, are hard pressed to learn the skill sets we believe are in their capacity.We can use this time when people are no longer spending like drunken sailors to reassess our values and to determine what is need and what is excess. We can provide the insight to the underclass and in some cases our middle class that educating their children is far more important than buying a boat or cute little outfits for their pets. We can make the new WPA a meaningful experience and not just another government entitlement project that costs a lot of money and ends up going nowhere. It is time that the stimulus packages not only helped the economy get back on its feet but where it also made money for the taxpayers, the ultimate investors.Instead of importing so many goods to the point of a substantial annual deficit, we can make our own. Instead of going into debt with China and everyone else to pay for our energy and to pay for our more basic products, we can make our own. We can make stuff and no longer refer to ourselves as a service industry economy. Because as solely a service based economy, we risk reducing ourselves to a subordinate role in the global economy. But couple that with a manufacturing economy, and then we are the reality of the American ethos and not just that of bygone era.We would be better off for it. Even if our dogs had to wear their own fur coats.

An Upside for Industrial, Mechanical, and Manufacturing Sector

It seems there is a lot of talk in the United States about quality manufacturing jobs. But, to compete with other countries and their low cost of labor, many manufacturing companies are buying robotic systems, and putting forth robotic mechanized assembly lines. It’s a lot cheaper to invest in a robot, amortize the cost of that equipment over a period of time, rather than paying for union workers, their pensions, and health care benefits.Yes, I know that sounds like a mean-spirited thing to say in this day and age, but as a businessperson anyone that wishes to make a profit, maintain shareholders equity, and grow a business has to be thinking here. Luckily, there is some good news for industrial, mechanical, and manufacturing corporations right now the United States. Orders are up, and the global economy appears to be recovering. That means there are products to be made, and buyers waiting.

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The supply chain is coming back to life, and things are looking pretty good. But before you jump up for joy and assume that this means more people will go back to work. Perhaps you should consider what I have to say. Most of the manufacturing equipment being bought up right now is high-tech equipment, the kind that operates with fewer employees, not more. Indeed, there will be people who will have to run many of these machines, but they will not need the hundreds, or even thousands of people on the line to produce the same amount of goods as before.In fact, there was a great little article recently in Industry Week titled; “Manufacturing Technology Consumption Up 138.1% – February Consumption Totaled $329 Million” written by the IndustryWeek Staff and posted on April 11, 2011. The article stated in the teaser paragraph: “February U.S. manufacturing technology consumption totaled $329.43 million, according to AMT — The Association For Manufacturing Technology and AMTDA, the American Machine Tool Distributors’ Association. This total was down 10.9% from January but up 99.3% when compared with the total of $165.31 million reported for February 2010.”The labor costs in China are also creeping up, along with inflation there. No longer will people work for 18 to 20 hours a day, 6 to 7 days per week. That sort of slave labor isn’t going to happen anymore. Rather than one dollar a day, these folks wish to live in the middle class, and that means they need to make twelve hundred dollars per year (which will increase after China’s currency is properly reevaluated). Already, that is an increase from one dollar a day to nearly 3 dollars per day. Even China is buying more automation equipment for their factories to become more efficient. In many regards this will level the playing field for manufacturers worldwide, but it doesn’t do very much good for employment in any country.

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So on one hand this is very good news for those in the manufacturing business, but for many of the union employees who have pushed very hard to increase their salaries year after year, this doesn’t mean that they will automatically be returning to work to those once previously high-paying jobs. Indeed I hope you’ll please consider all this and think on it. If you have any comments, questions, and/or concerns please shoot me an e-mail.

Manufacturing News – Wire EDM

Wire electrical discharge machining (EDM) is used to produce precision parts for many applications.Using CNC controlled wire EDMs, you are able to program complex geometries and repeatedly produce precision parts with a high level of accuracy. Wire EDM is a non-traditional method of removing material by a series of rapidly recurring electrical arcing discharges between an electrode (the wire) and the work piece. The machine’s DC-charged thin brass wire can slice through any electrically conductive material, including difficult-to-machine metals such as hardened tool steels.

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Electrical Discharge Machining will only work with materials that are electrically conductive and generally those materials are ferrous alloys. The wire-cut process uses water as its dielectric with the water’s resistivity and other electrical properties being carefully controlled by filters and deionizer units. The water also serves the critical function of flushing the cut debris away from the work piece.Wire EDM’d surfaces are smooth with a matte appearance. The edges of the finished work piece have virtually no burrs as compared to milled cuts. Surface finishes are typically between 16 and 64 micro inches as dictated by the feed rate and material type. The Fanuc Robocut ±-1ic is one of the models used in wire EDM. Benefits of wire EDM include:–The need for grinding or other finishing procedures is lessened.–Certain tightly tolerance features can be produced more economically than with conventional machining.–Wire EDM is a cost-effective replacement for “form grinding.”–Parts can often be “stacked” to machine multiple pieces with one setup.

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–Wire EDM offers complex geometrical capabilities.–Finished products have near or burr-free edges.–High Rockwell materials can be cut without pushing the material, minimizing work-hardening.Manufacturing NewsTo be competitive in today’s market and successful during this recession, it is important to take advantage of every possible cost-saving initiative. Wire EDM can reduce costs for manufacturing parts by alleviating the costly setups and tooling costs associated with certain complicated machining procedures.

How to Be a News or Paparazzi Photographer

I’d only been sat outside the church at Althorp House for about ten minutes when, out of nowhere, several big, serious men appeared, apparently talking to their lapels.One took-up station by the gate to the churchyard peering intently into middle-distance, another hung-back looking towards where they had come from and the last, biggest and most serious made a bee-line for me. What was going on?I got out of my car and started to walk towards the big one, then, behind him, I caught sight of three other people, two of whom were women. This church had suddenly become very busy I thought.Then it dawned on me – the men were police on royal protection duties, the three others were Earl Charles Spencer, Lady Sarah McCorquodale and their sister, Princess Diana. They were walking up the hill, Diana carrying her father’s ashes to place in the family vault at the church.This was inconvenient; my camera was in the boot of my car without film or lens. I ran back to the car, opened the boot and began to assemble my kit.The big, serious man was now moving more quickly towards me. I don’t know if these particular guys carried guns, but they certainly wanted to give me that impression. Hands shaking, I got the film wound onto the spool, closed the back and stepped-out from behind the car.As soon as the big men spotted my camera, I saw them relax. This is obviously what they were expecting, so much so that the gentleman who was about to jump on me had stepped back and cleared the way for me to take my pictures.I got about five frames off on a cheap and nasty Sigma lens on an ancient Canon A1 body. The pictures were in every UK national newspaper the next day, published around the world and still sell now, on occasion.For that one hours “work” I made £11000. I should have made more!Sounds like fun, and it is, but it’s only a tiny part of being a news or paparazzi photographer.As for equipment, it’s horses for courses and any professional photographer will have a number of cameras, lenses, flashguns and bits and bobs that will allow you to fulfill any likely brief.A good quality compact camera is always useful as a “walking-around” camera and to use on those occasions when a full-on, pro SLR would draw to much attention or too many questions.

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For the last few years I have been using an Olympus C7070 wide, although it’s probably time to buy something a little more modern now. I chose the Olympus because it has an excellent, fast lens, good low-light performance and a good imaging chip. It’s a little slow to process the images, the zoom range is minimal and the flash isn’t great, but it’s done a good job over the years and it appears to be indestructible.One, crucial thing to look for is a good shutter response. A camera that takes the picture half-a-second after you push the release is utterly useless.There is no compact with the capabilities of a good SLR so you will have to compromise. I was prepared to forego a little responsiveness to get the lens; you may feel differently so buy accordingly.As for SLR’s, pro shooters will have several, again for different occasions and also, crucially, as back-up cameras. Nikon and Canon undoubtedly make the best pro, small format SLR cameras, and no question. The top-end bodies from these manufacturers are fantastic, the quality is stunning, they are built like tanks and they are a joy to use. They are also very, very expensive, weigh a ton and, in some situations, they can be a liability.As for the pixel count, ask any photographer who sells his pictures and he will tell you that the megapixel count is not everything, indeed it’s not even the most important consideration.It was less than ten years ago, when digital first became a serious proposition for news photographers, that Nikon introduced their all-singing Nikon D1 pro-digital camera. This camera is still used today by some pros, and it has a measly 2 megapixel imaging chip, less than virtually all compact cameras today.But this was good enough, as a paparazzo, your images are going to be used in newspapers and magazines and a pixel count somewhere around the 12 million mark will be more than adequate.A higher pixel count will allow you to “pull” images further from within the frame, which can be useful but the low-light performance degrades as the pixel count rises, causing more problems, more often.Full-frame cameras have an imaging sensor that is, to all intents and purposes, the same size as a 35mm film frame. This means your expensive lenses will be able to work as they were designed to. Wide-angle lenses will be wide-angle lenses. This is a very, very good thing and, if you can afford it you should do it.Other considerations are build quality, frame rate, processing speeds and the like, although, to be honest, any higher-level, pro-sumer camera from Canon or Nikon will be more than a match for 95% of the situations you will encounter.You are going to need at least two bodies; most work is done with a 28-70mm on one body and the 70-200mm on the other.A quick word about face-recognition, anti-red eye, digital zoom, scene recognition and all the other “functions” that are actually gimmicks. You don’t need them or want them; no competent photographer would use them.Lenses – These is going to be expensive! Without question you need to be able to cover 28mm to 200mm with two fast zooms. By fast, I mean large aperture, f/2.8 lenses. They are called fast because they allow you to use a faster shutter-speed.A very fast prime-lens can be invaluable when the light goes or for portrait work, a macro lens is nice for close-up work or copying pictures and documents and a 300mm lens and doubler are just what you need for “secret-squirrel” jobs, but they can all wait as long as you have the 28mm to 200mm covered.Top-end lenses have very fast autofocus systems nowadays and are really indispensible. Others have Vibration Reduction or Image Stabilisation and it works. I have taken tack-sharp pictures at 15th second on a hand-held 300mm lens. If you can afford VR or IS lenses, get them.Third party lenses by manufacturers such as Sigma and Tamron are worth considering if your budget is tight. They are good, capable and usable lenses, but frankly nowhere near the quality of the pro lenses offered by the big two. It really is worth spending some money on your glass.You may want to put good quality, coated UV filters on your lenses to protect the front element, but otherwise filters are not necessary for this kind of work.You will need two, high-power flashguns, one for each body. Most snappers will use the flash units produced by their camera manufacturer although there are a few good, third-party manufacturers of flashguns. Nikon and Canon both make capable, powerful flash units that integrate easily with the camera system and offer many features you will never use. Metz is also a very highly regarded flash manufacturer. These German units are well made, high quality items that give Nikon and Canon a run for their money and are worth considering.

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How often have you heard “hold-on, I’m just waiting for the flash to charge-up”? Of course, Angelina and Brad aren’t going to wait for your flash, so what do you do?You use an external power pack. These are packs containing some electronics and a sealed battery. I use a Quantum Turbo because it will work with most flashguns, is very, very rugged and will keep my flash going for a whole, busy day. It will not keep up if you are shooting very fast, but for 99% of the time it will re-charge your flash virtually instantly. It will also pay for itself pretty quickly since you will have to buy far fewer expensive, alkaline batteries.The power pack supplies power to the flash through a cable and you should get a spare one of these because they do break. You will also need to buy an adapter which will allow you to power two flashes from one battery pack.You are going to need something to carry this lot around in, so a bag is essential. For news work, the most important aspect of a bag is how quickly you can get your gear in and out of it. Backpacks are a non-starter as are bags with thick, modular padding.I use Domke bags, others prefer Billingham or Lowepro. A tripod and monopod are always usefully kept in the boot of your car and some lens cleaning fluid and wipes should be in your bag along with spare batteries and memory cards, notebook and pen.All this shiny, expensive kit is very nice, but you have to know how to use it and what its idiosyncrasies are. You need to take the time to learn the equipment. A good way of doing this is to use it at a wedding or school sports day, any photography that requires you to think on your feet and adapt quickly to changes in light and composition will help you to understand your cameras with respect to news and paparazzi photography.So that covers the kit, next is the information, how do you find out where the news is happening? I’ll cover that in my next article.

The Latest Medical Device News Gives Hope for the Future of Healthcare

Technology has highly improved the medical sector as each year, new and more effective tools are being invented. This is evident from the medical device news as it clearly shows the most recent medical device manufactured in the world.Examples:1. A new tool invented to help detect prostate cancer using the Prostate Specific Antigen. This is highly helpful as it assists in early detection of prostate cancer hence saves lives.2. Mela, a new tool created for detecting Melanoma (a type of cancer that appears as dark spot on the skin).3. An intelligent T shirt for patient monitoring has also been invented.

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4. A new tool for brain research results for worm tracking challenge.5. A surgical robot.Manufactures of medical devices are in a very demanding business as people are looking for more new and innovative devices and diagnostics that can better their lives by improving medication all over the world. Luckily, there are industries and genius men working on this.It is so fortunate to have news inform us on all the new inventions and creation of powerful and innovative devices that better the medical sector. Through these news, we are well-informed that there is so much more in store for the improvement of medication in the world, for example: a smartphone that detects bad breath and radiation.Industries plan their field services by keenly looking at the customer relationship management because all the manufacturing of these devices is done to improve the lives of the customers. Without the customers, then there would be no need for the manufacturing. The latest medical device and diagnostics have their advantages and disadvantages too. As much as they assist in delivering better medication to patients, most of them are so much expensive making it hard for ordinary citizens to afford. For instance, how many people can afford to pay for a robot surgery?

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Doctors’ work has been made easier by this technology. For example, a surgeon in the United States of America can now perform a surgery in France without necessarily traveling to France. The surgeon can as well just direct a robot to perform the surgery. This is great and we all owe it to technology which include the medical device news.Medical device news can easily be accessed online making it easy for interested parties to get information on the latest medical devices manufactured and their uses.