Posts by Nicole Goodkind

  • Central Russian Officials ban yoga for being too cult-like: Weird Business News

    Nicole Goodkind at Yahoo Finance 3 days ago

    This week in weird business news…

    Government officials in central Russia are shutting down yoga classes. The owners of two studios that rent space from the city of Nizhnevartovsk have received letters stating that they must stop teaching yoga "in order to prevent the spread of new religious cults and movements." The letters go on to say that the form of exercise is “inextricably linked to religious practices.”

    The owners of the yoga studios told British newspaper The Times that they’re both scared and amused and that they’re working on gathering evidence that yoga does not lead to cult activity.

    Russia has a strange history with yoga-- it was banned in the USSR because it was believed to be tied to mysticism. Some sects of the Russian Orthodox Church are also against the practice.

    Check back next week for more weird news

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  • A brief history of financial crises in Greece

    Nicole Goodkind at Yahoo Finance 5 days ago

    Greece has a long history of financial instability -- we're talking thousands of years long. Here's a brief look at the history of Greece's financial woes.

    6 th century B.C.E.:

    In 594 B.C.E. inequality in Athens was so extreme that poor farmers had to sell themselves into slavery to feed their families and revolution seemed unavoidable. Aristocratic philosopher and poet Solon worked to ease class tensions and prevent economic chaos. He lowered the value of the drachma by 25%, outlawed debt bondage, granted citizenship to skilled immigrants and restored political power to landowners.

    4th century B.C.E.:

    The first recorded default in Greece. Around 377 B.C.E. the 13 city-states that made up the Delian League borrowed funds from the Temple of Delos, only two borrowers paid the debts back in full and Delos ended up losing 80% of the original loan.

    The beginning of collateralized loans. Around 330 B.C.E. the city of Cyme pledged its public colonnades to secure a loan. When Cyme defaulted, its citizens were barred from using them for shelter from rain or sun.

    1821:

    2002:

    2004:

    2006:

    2009:

    2010:

    2011:

    2011:

    2012:

    2013:

    2014:

    June 2015:

  • Burning Man now attracts CEOs and billionaires and that's okay

    Nicole Goodkind at Yahoo Finance 5 days ago

    Burning Man is a festival that celebrates community, radical self-expression and self-reliance. In recent years, however, the annual event that takes place in the isolated Black Rock Desert of northern Nevada has begun to attract a wealthier clientele of C-suit executives, political elites and entrepreneurs. Amongst the noted “Burners” are Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon. Grover Norquist has said that attending Burning Man has long been on his bucket list.  He went last year.

    The elite come to Burning Man to hobnob, network and of course have fun. Eric Schmidt signed the deal to become CEO of Google at the festival. At the premiere of the TV show Silicon Valley, Elon Musk said that the shows creator didn’t understand the tech world because he hadn’t attended Burning Man. “I really feel like Mike Judge has never been to Burning Man, which is Silicon Valley,” he told a re/code reporter.

  • The housing market has an inequality problem

    Nicole Goodkind at Yahoo Finance 5 days ago

    Last week brought great news for the housing market—both existing and new home sales reached longtime highs. It appears that housing is on-track and healthily recovering from the 2008 crisis, according to Stan Humphries, chief economist with Zillow.

    “Housing is definitely on the road to recovery,” Humphries tells Yahoo Finance. “It’s been a little bit of a see-saw this spring with some months up and some months down but the long-term trend in both existing and new home sales [has] been positive.  Home sales are starting to moderate and we are starting to see normal buyers come back into the marketplace.” Normal buyers, Humphries says, means less all-cash purchases and an increase in first-time homebuyers.

    Given market conditions now and a lack of inventory for low-priced homes, it might seem like a bad time for first-time homebuyers. But Humphries says that homes are still broadly affordable because of low mortgage rates. “Conversely, if you look at renting we are having a real rental crisis in terms of rental affordability in this country. Renting has never looked so unaffordable,” he says.

  • Attention dog lovers: The Tinder for dogs is here!

    Nicole Goodkind at Yahoo Finance 8 days ago

    This week in weird business news…

    Tinder is great for finding human companionship (for life or you know… one night) but what about lonely little puppies? They just want someone to take walks and share bones with! Well now there’s Tindog! It’s just like Tinder but… for canines.

    The app allows owners to post a picture of their four-legged friend and to create a profile with some basic information. The owner can then swipe through other profiles - they swipe right if they like the dog and left if they’d rather pass. When two owners match up they can start chatting and set up a doggy play date.

    Owners are also encouraged to write a bit about themselves as well, in order to limit the creepiness of the app and to make sure that doggy chaperones will have something to talk about when their pets meet up. Just be sure to leave your cats at home.

    The app is available on Google Play and has a rating of 3.2 out of 5. One user reviewed the app and wrote (jokingly—I think), “Great! Thank you Tindog, my dogs were so annoying, but I finally managed to get them dates!”

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  • 40-year old meat confiscated in China: Weird business news

    Nicole Goodkind at Yahoo Finance 8 days ago

    This week in weird business news…

    Who doesn’t love a well-aged Porterhouse steak or an 18-month aged slice of prosciutto? Perhaps that’s what Chinese smugglers who were caught selling 40-year old frozen meat were thinking. Chinese officials found and confiscated 800 tons of contraband meat this week, and some of it dated back to the 1970s. The frozen meat that had been around since the end of the Vietnam War was headed towards restaurants, supermarkets and retailers.

    According to Chinese state-run media, the meat was worth around $1.6 million. Food smuggling has long been a problem in China. This month alone, Chinese customs officials have confiscated $500 million in illegal frozen meat.

    A customs officer told Xinhua, a state-run Chinese newspaper, that they found the meat because, “It was too smelly - a truck full of it. I almost threw up when the door opened.” 20 suspected members of a gang were arrested for trying to ship the meat from Hong Kong to Vietnam. This is a popular route for smuggling and markets in China that border Vietnam have up to one-third of their meat illegally smuggled into the country.

    More weird business news:

  • Weird business news: How much would you pay for a clean public bathroom?

    Nicole Goodkind at Yahoo Finance 9 days ago

    This week in weird business news…

    We’ve all been in this situation… we’re miles away from our house and we need to find a bathroom ASAP. The available options are usually pretty lackluster - a Starbucks with a 10-person line or a public restroom with very questionable sanitation standards.

    Yezin Al-Qaysi has set out to solve this problem. He’s created “Looie”, an app that grants users access to clean, private bathrooms for $25 a month. The price tag may seem a bit hefty but the app guarantees bathrooms that are cleaned with natural products 7 to 10 times a day. Looie bathrooms will also be outfitted with changing stations and accoutrements like plants and candles.

    Looie plans to partner with restaurants and cafes throughout metro areas. When a business signs up, Looie takes over the responsibility of cleaning the bathroom. Subscribers to the app will receive a special key that gives them access to these special bathrooms.

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  • Is wholesale going away? The future of retail

    Nicole Goodkind at Yahoo Finance 10 days ago

    Retail is changing.

    Malls are closing, 300 are expected to shut their doors in the next decade. Online shopping is growing in popularity and efficiency—it increased by 23% in 2014. Customers can now order an item from Amazon Prime and have it arrive on their doorstep two hours later, all without changing out of their pajamas. It’s safe to say that ‘going shopping’ doesn’t mean the same thing it did in 2000 or even 2010.

    This is clearly bad news for malls and stores that don’t evolve, but what happens to the people who actually make the stuff that stock our malls and stores? Doug Stephens, founder of Retail Prophet, thinks that wholesale is also going extinct. This means designers and manufacturers will no longer sell their items to stores, they’ll have to market directly to the consumer.

    Brands can no longer just create a good product, says Stephens, they also need marketing expertise, investment and merchandizing skills – things that go beyond designing clothing.

    Stephens believes media and stores will become more integrated in the future. He believes that brands will even pay retailers to be represented by their brands—instead of the other way around.

     

     

  • 5 surprising facts about Facebook

    Nicole Goodkind at Yahoo Finance 10 days ago

    Few things in this world are bigger than Facebook (FB). Since its launch in 2004, the social-networking site has grown to epic proportions—it now has 936 million daily active users and over 10,000 employees. Mark Zuckerberg is on track to soon become one of the ten richest people in the world.

    While you’re likely very familiar with the site, we’ve compiled some interesting info that you might not know about Facebook and its founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Below are five facts about Facebook that might surprise you:

    Mark Zuckerberg, however, is now richer than the richest member of the Walton family.

    2. Facebook employs non-traditional recruiting methods. In 2005, Chris Putnam, a college student attacked Facebook with a virus that made its pages resemble MySpace. Instead of taking legal action, Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz began messaging with Putnam and eventually persuaded him to drop out of school and work at Facebook as an engineer.

    They also own FB.com and the domain names for common misspellings of Facebook.

  • Obamacare is just the beginning of healthcare reform: Holtz-Eakin

    Nicole Goodkind at Yahoo Finance 12 days ago

    The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, is back in the spotlight once again. This time it’s under dissection by both the Congressional Budget Office and the Supreme Court.

    The highest court in the U.S. will decide on King vs. Burwell before the end of June. The case could potentially end the subsidies of 6.4 million Americans who buy their health care through the Affordable Care Act. Meanwhile, the CBO has released an analysis on the costs of repealing Obamacare-- a repeal that it says could add $137 billion to the U.S. deficit over the next 10 years. The number comes from an estimated $353 billion in deficits and an economic boost from increased supply of labor that would remove $216 billion from the deficit.

    Holtz-Eakin believes that the CBO report is fuel for those calling to repeal Obamacare. “Many people have suspected for a long time that the combination of higher taxes, entitlement expansion, [and] a very large regulatory burden was harming the U.S. economy.”

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