Posts by Lauren Lyster
On December 14, 2007, New Yorker Robert Woo's life changed forever. He was working as an architect for the Goldman Sachs (GS) world headquarters in lower Manhattan when seven tons of steel fell from dozens of floors above him onto his trailer, crushing him. The accident left him paralyzed from the chest down. But Woo has been able to stand up, take a first step and even walk. He does it with a robotic exoskeleton from the company ReWalk (RWLK). (Check out the video above to see him in action.)
The technology is "science fiction becoming reality -- it's man and machine combined" -- at least, that's how ReWalk CEO Larry Jasinski describes it. He says the machine can walk but only with Robert directing it, giving him full independence. Robert can put it on by himself, and the suit has a small tilt sensing device to allow him to take a step. When he wants to stop, he straightens up. And he has crutches for balance and confidence.
ReWalk anticipates the delivery of the latest version of the suit will begin this summer.
Laundry, dry cleaning, shoe repair. Those are typical errands on a working professional’s to-do list, or at least they are on mine. Only for one week this month, I didn’t have to do them. I had my very own butler for that.
New York actor Tyler Gardella tackled my usual chores and tidied up my apartment on a couple of set "service" days. He works for the New York startup Hello Alfred(that’s Alfred as in Batman’s butler). The company currently offers its service in New York City and Boston for $25 a week.
“Imagine coming home and everything is done for you; we’re just taking all the cognitive load off of your plate," describes co-founder and CEO Marcela Sapone. Sapone and co-founder Jessica Beck hatched the idea while they were students at Harvard Business School in 2013. “We were taking a break from very hectic careers in finance and consulting and we were laughing about the fact we used to buy new shirts every week because we never had time to go to the dry cleaners. It was always closed when we got off work."
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For a city that never sleeps, home buyers are willing to fork over a lot of money for a place to rest their heads. In Manhattan, the average sales price for apartments set a new record of $1.87 million in the second quarter this year, according to the Elliman Report from real estate firms Douglas Elliman and Miller Samuel. (On an inflation-adjusted basis, it's still down slightly from a 2008 record of $1.93 million, according to Miller Samuel.)
But looking at the video above, you might be surprised what 'average' gets you. Try 1,275 square feet for a $2.25 million condo in a neighborhood where brokers tell us a buyer can still find a good value (the financial district).
And average is really nothing when you look at the ultra-luxury real estate market in the city, as New York appraiser and consultant Jonathan Miller, President and CEO of Miller Samuel, does. More and more over the last few years, super tall condo buildings with properties north of $10 million dollars have been springing up.
New York real estate attorney Shari Olefson agrees.
For one, "nostalgic value always wins at retail," Steph Wissink, senior research analyst at Piper Jaffray, tells us in the video above. "Anytime you can create an emotional connection with a consumer, it draws them in and likely draws them to purchase."
And the emotional connection of course, is because these are the brands parents grew up with and are now buying for their kids.
Take My Little Pony. First popular in the 80s, Hasbro says it re-launched the brand in 2003, but it was the 2010 reboot with a new look and an animated series now in its fifth season that helped catapult My Little Pony to a billion dollars in sales last year -- it's best year ever. A My Little Pony movie is in the works, due out in 2017.
“Brands like Care Bears and Cabbage Patch Kids that have resurfaced and then gone away again -- those didn’t have that stickiness or that value proposition economically or for the consumer,” Wissink tells us.
In the debate over the high cost of college and the burden of student loan debt, you don't often see loan default presented as a viable solution to the problem.
But in a Sunday New York Times op-ed -- Why I Defaulted on my Student Loans-- writer Lee Siegel explains why he did just that, and seems to encourage others to do the same.
"As difficult as it has been, I’ve never looked back," he writes. "The millions of young people today, who collectively owe over $1 trillion in loans, may want to consider my example."
He explains in the piece that, years after taking out his student loans to pay for college:
In the video above, he calls it a "suggestion, not an exhortation," because the "situation has to change."
Siegel asserts student loans are the only debt that's not dischargeable in bankruptcy. According the office of the Department of Education, that's not the case:
The high cost of cancer drugs recently prompted top oncologist Dr. Leonard Saltz to publicly call for limits. "These drugs cost too much," he told thousands of his colleagues at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting. Many cancer drugs debut with a price tag of $10,000 a month according to an analysis from staff at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
The country’s largest pharmacy benefits manager, Express Scripts,estimates 576,000 Americans had prescription drug costs above $50,000 last year, up 63% from the year before. The number of patients with costs of $100,000 or more nearly tripled.
Express Scripts put the impact of these costs on payers in the U.S. at $52 billion a year, a number they call unsustainable. They find insurers foot most of the bill but say the costs pressure health insurance premiums and taxpayer-funded government healthcare programs like Medicaid.
Therapy is known as the talking cure. But if the New York-based tech startup Talkspacehas its way, therapy will also become known as the texting cure. The company scored a round of $9.5 million in funding earlier this month from investors who have backed companies like Twitter (TWTR) and Tumblr (YHOO).
“Our mission is to make therapy affordable and accessible for all,” co-founder and head of clinical services Roni Frank tells us in the video above.
Frank describes Talkspace as a platform that connects people with licensed therapists, giving them unlimited access for $25 a week (with the most popular pricing plan).
That’s the pitch. This isn’t traditional therapy though. Sessions are conducted entirely through online messaging-- a technique other psychologists we spoke to had some concerns about.
Does the research back it up?
Retired four-star general Stanley McChrystal led U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan and is known for developing and implementing the counter-insurgency strategy there. It’s just the set of knowledge and skills you might imagine are sought these days by...corporate executives? Well, that’s the theory behind McChrystal’s new book, Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World , which is aimed at applying the challenges of war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan to business.
“I think companies need [help from] anyone who has experienced working in a fast-moving, complex environment, which most of them are experiencing right now,” McChrystal tells Yahoo Finance in the accompanying video interview. “I have found that the environment we faced in Iraq and Afghanistan is actually startlingly similar to what companies face -- it’s very much appropriate.”
From the fighting in Yemen to the threat of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, battlefields across the globe make daily headlines in the U.S. But how concerned should average Americans be about these global flashpoints? Very concerned, says retired four-star general Stanley McChrystal, who was commander of U.S. and the international security forces in Afghanistan, in a video interview with Yahoo Finance.
“Even if those near-term problems went away tomorrow, the region would still be in absolute disarray,” he tells us, citing Syria’s ongoing civil war and Yemen as a country “essentially without governance,” to back his view. And in McChrystal’s opinion, the issues don’t have a near-term fix that can be solved in a year or with a single military operation, but will take long-term engagement by countries around the world, including the U.S.
McChrystal's new book Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World hits shelves Tuesday.
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Lauren Lyster at Yahoo Finance 11 mths ago
In North Dakota, technology has unlocked the oil and gas of the U.S. shale revolution, but it’s not without growing pains. In the Bakken region near Williston, North Dakota, we found farmers who can’t get their product to market while more than one quarter of the natural gas being produced is going, not to gas plants, but to waste. Also, oil shipped out to refineries on trains has been involved in a string of fiery accidents.
Why is so much oil traveling this way?
Kathleen Neset of Neset Consulting advises the oil and gas industry. She says the problem is a lack of pipeline infrastructure: “The safest most secure way is to get the pipelines in place. That takes time. In the meantime the rail facility is here - the rails are already here.”
She says more oil rail cars, though, mean more chances for accidents. “We still have to up our game when it comes to safety,” she adds.
Also needing to travel by rail? The state’s other big commodities: The ones cultivated on farms.
‘‘Because the oil has to move, and there aren’t enough engines between all the different facilities to get all the rail cars moved that they want,” Eckert believes.