Handi Cue Buddy allows people with disabilities to enjoy playing pool or billiards

Below is the link to a blog about a new device called the Handi Cue Buddy which helps people with disabilities play pool or billiards more easily, or to play for the first time.

The Handi Cue Buddy is a system of a couple of handcrafted parts, a base and a stand for aligning your cue stick, with the base available in different weights and sizes.

The blog page includes the link to a kickstarter campaign where the inventor is seeking the small sum of $7,000.

If you like the idea as much as I then please take a moment to mention the blog and the kickstarter campaign to your friends and let’s see if we can help other people enjoy playing pool and billiards. Thanks, Ted.

Handi Cue Buddy blog link. 

Handi Cue Buddy Kickstarter link.

STUDY: Watching Fox News Makes You Less Knowledgeable Than Watching No News At All.

Researchers have revealed that MSNBC and Fox News negatively impact a person’s knowledge of current events rather than expanding their awareness of them. Conversely, the majority of political talk shows airing on Sunday mornings and the regular programming on NPR prove to be the most informative news sources according to the findings of the newest PublicMind Survey being conducted by Fairleigh Dickinson University .

In this study, researchers questioned 1,185 persons at random across the nation. During questioning, respondents revealed the news sources that they regularly viewed over the past week while also answering questions regarding current events in the United States and around the globe. When it came to domestic events, people averaged correct responses to 1.6 of the 5 questions given.

Read the rest of the article at this link.

Dog killer teaching hat making to children in New Westminster

A dog killer is teaching children in New Westminster and surrounding municipalities/cities as recently as this month. Parents should be aware of who is teaching their children or coming in contact with their children. Few if any publicly funded art groups, art councils, festival organizations or civic groups take the time to vet those hired or volunteering to come in contact with children or the public.

While arts councils and the general public may not think there is anything wrong hiring a dog killer to teach children it is up to each parent to decide who teaches their children.

It only takes a few seconds to check the Internet for information on someone coming into contact with your child or children.

Liz Summerfield

Liz Summerfield

BCSPCA letter and other information on dog killer Liz Summerfield here, here, here, and here.

Special place in hell for those who harm children and animals



Report on Business magazine throws water on Harper’s economic performance and his government.

The Globe and Mail’s Report on Business magazine today published an article on Harper’s economic plan with the title ‘Harper’s economic plan: spin to win”.

The lengthy article delves in the the micromanagement by Harper of every political stance, event, or announcement by the Conservatives. The purpose? Promote Stephen Harper and his personal agenda. Harper is the first Prime Minister of Canada to be found in contempt of parliament.

Ralph Goodale, finance minister under Paul Martin, is quoted in the article as saying of the Conservatives “Spin is the number one priority, policy secondary. It’s been clear all along.”

Clear all along?

“Look at the record. Not since the 1930s have Canadian economic growth numbers been so bad as this last decade under Harper.” And no, Goodale argued, you couldn’t blame it on “global conditions,” as the Prime Minister liked to do. The downturn from the financial crisis ended several years ago.

Now, in 2015, as an election approached, there was a new downturn. The Tories’ economic narrative turned sour. Where once Canada was doing better than all the G7 countries, now it was the only country among them with an economy sputtering out recession-like numbers.

The bad news kept rolling in. Oil prices had plunged. Growth numbers fell. Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz called the country’s economic performance in the first quarter “atrocious.” Uncertainty prompted a delay in the budget delivery date. The country’s merchandise trade deficit reached an all-time high. A balanced budget, the much-ballyhooed promise of the government, looked less and less likely, given revenue shortfalls. Labour union economists Jim Stanford and Jordan Brennan did a statistical analysis in which they examined 16 indicators of economic progress for all Canadian governments since the Second World War. Their conclusion: The Harper Tories ranked last.

It wasn’t just labour economists who were doubting the Conservatives’ record, but the Harper team blew off such studies as being biased.

The dogs barked, the caravan moved on. Through the run of bad news, Finance Minister Joe Oliver showed little concern, maintaining a low profile. When the 75-year-old did appear for Question Period in the House of Commons, pitbull Pierre Poilievre, 36, often stood in his place. The young enforcer had been named the new employment minister.

Poilievre, with scant life experience outside politics, had frequently been the subject of unflattering press reports. But he was regarded as one of the party’s best pitchmen by the Prime Minister. Poilievre was not in the job long before it was revealed that he had used a team of public servants, who weren’t supposed to engage in partisan activity, for overtime work on a Sunday. They were called in to film Poilievre glad-handing constituents and promoting the government’s Universal Child Care Benefit plan. Not one to brook criticism, Poilievre then took things a step further, wearing a shirt with a Conservative logo on another round of promotion. His government, a Globe and Mail analysis found, funnelled 83% of the projects under its signature infrastructure fund to Conservative-held ridings.

While one wag suggested the Tories should be hit with a “crass-action” suit, they plunged ahead, eyes firmly fixed on the Oct. 19 rendezvous with voters. Their opponents could gripe all they wanted. They weren’t going to change their ways. They would pound the airwaves with the message that they were doing great things for Canadians. If the experts were saying their balanced budget was not achievable, it didn’t matter; they clung to the boast.

Economic performance, as Goodale noted, was highly susceptible to spin. Harper may never have worked as an economist, but his two degrees in the field taught him an important political truth: Statistics could be found to prove or disprove most any theory one wanted. It was all about who had the biggest megaphones.

Read the whole Report on Business magazine article from the Globe and Mail at this link.

Where the Digital Economy Is Moving the Fastest

Harvard Business Review recently published an article titled ‘Where the Digital Economy is Moving the Fastest’. The following is from the article. Link to article at bottom of post.

The transition to a global digital economy in 2014 was sporadic – brisk in some countries, choppy in others. By year’s end, the seven biggest emerging markets were larger than the G7, in purchasing power parity terms. Plus, consumers in the Asia-Pacific region were expected to spend more online last year than consumers in North America. The opportunities to serve the e-consumer were growing – if you knew where to look.

These changing rhythms in digital commerce are more than a China, or even an Asia, story. Far from Silicon Valley, Shanghai, or Singapore, a German company, Rocket Internet, has been busy launching e-commerce start-ups across a wide range of emerging and frontier markets. Their stated mission: To become the world’s largest internet platform outside the U.S. and China. Many such “Rocket” companies are poised to become the Alibabas and Amazons for the rest of the world: Jumia, which operates in nine countries across Africa; Namshi in the Middle East; Lazada and Zalora in ASEAN; Jabong in India; and Kaymu in 33 markets across Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

Private equity and venture capital money have been concentrating in certain markets in ways that mimic the electronic gold rush in Silicon Valley. During the summer of 2014 alone $3 billion poured into India’s e-commerce sector, where, in addition to local innovators like Flipkart and Snapdeal, there are nearly 200 digital commerce startups flush with private investment and venture capital funds. This is happening in a country where online vendors largely operate on a cash-on-delivery (COD) basis. Credit cards or PayPal are rarely used; according to the Reserve Bank of India, 90% of all monetary transactions in India are in cash. Even Amazon localized its approach in India to offer COD as a service. India and other middle-income countries such as Indonesia and Colombia all have high cash dependence. But even where cash is still king, digital marketplaces are innovating at a remarkable pace. Nimble e-commerce players are simply working with and around the persistence of cash.

To understand more about these types of changes around the world, we developed an “index” to identify how a group of countries stack up against each other in terms of readiness for a digital economy. Our Digital Evolution Index (DEI), created by the Fletcher School at Tufts University (with support from Mastercard and DataCash), is derived from four broad drivers: supply-side factors (including access, fulfillment, and transactions infrastructure); demand-side factors (including consumer behaviors and trends, financial and Internet and social media savviness); innovations (including the entrepreneurial, technological and funding ecosystems, presence and extent of disruptive forces and the presence of a start-up culture and mindset); and institutions (including government effectiveness and its role in business, laws and regulations and promoting the digital ecosystem). The resulting index includes a ranking of 50 countries, which were chosen because they are either home to most of the current 3 billion internet users or they are where the next billion users are likely to come from.

The image below is self-explanatory.

HarvardBusinessReview_Digital commerce

Link to Harvard Business Review article.

Another paypal email scam making the rounds

Another fake PayPal email scam is making its way around the Internet, as today I received yet another scam email seeking PayPal user response. The subject heading in my phony email is: Important: We noticed unusual activity in your PayPal account (Ref #PP-765-263-398-495)

Your email subject may be different.

There is a web site page with information on PayPal scams; https://computersavvy.wordpress.com/2008/06/14/scam-watch-paypal-scam-explained-example/