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Friday, May 22, 2015

How to keep your home cool without AC

Hot summers have arrived. With rampant power outages many Pakistanis are suffering from severe wrath of sun. Air conditioning can help but it costs a lot in terms of electricity bills and installation expenditure. Furthermore when summers are its peak air conditioning efficiency falls to its lowest.

So you should find some other means to remain cool in face of severe electricity crisis. One of the best ways is to avoid your home and offices from heating up. Rather than consuming electricity for cooling the building after it gets warmed up by sun, you should be proactive and take some steps which can help you keeping your residence cool.  This can be done in many ways.

 Roof shading

About a third of the unwanted heat that builds up in your home comes in through the roof. By shading the roof you can save a lot on energy bills along with reduced emission of green house gases.
Shading your home can reduce indoor temperatures by as much as 20°F (11°C). Effective Shading can be done by growing trees strategically around your home or office.

Window coverage

Roughly 40% of the unwanted heat that builds up in your home comes in through windows. You can close windows in the day time in order to avoid heat gain. Alternatively you can use window awning for shading windows.
Window blinds, as well, horizontal or vertical, can help reduce heat gain in summer and heat loss in winter.
An awning is a secondary covering attached to the exterior wall of a building

Roof garden

Roof garden also helps you in keeping the building cool and is legally compulsory for all new buildings in many countries.
Roof garden also helps you keeping your roof cool. Photosynthesis, evaporation and shading are the ways in which plants keep your roof cool.

Roof gardens help reduce heat gain in buildings

Research published by the National Research Council of Canada found that an extensive green roof reduced the daily energy demand for air conditioning in the summer by over 75% (Liu 2003).
Other benefits of green roofs does include Increase in building’s marketability.

Moreover, roof with more trees can help reduce the temperature of your house, to protect your home against fire and noise reduction effectively.

Ground covering

A grass-covered lawn is usually 10°F (6°C) cooler than bare ground in the summer. So you can grow grass on ground rather than keeping it bare.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The enormous wealth of presidential contestants

Hillary Clinton and her husband have earned 30 million dollars during previous 16 months, according to ‘financial disclosure forms’ filed with federal elections officials on Friday.

Bill Clinton, husband of Hillary Clinton

In the 2016 presidential elections many of the possible contenders are much wealthier than average American citizen.

Jeb bush, for example, is a member of wealthy families that own Oceanside compound in Kennebunkport, Maine. Democrat’s possible contender Hillary Clinton, wife of former President Bill Clinton, has earned 200,000 dollars as speaking fees over the past year. The one hour speech can earn Mrs. Clinton what average American make in four years.

 In addition to speaking fees she was known to have received a $14 million advance for the book she released last year.

Other contestants include Ted Cruz having worth of $3.2 million, Rand Paul having $1.3 million.

Businesswoman Carly Fiorina is one of the wealthiest potential White house contenders. She is worth an estimated $ 71 million.

But these contestants are nowhere near to the former contestant, private equity mogul, Mitt Romney. At the time of contest he had had somewhere between $190 million to $250 million.

The tendency of power to concentrate in the hands of rich and those having strong family connection is seen in the World’s sole super power.

Past presidents did include millionaires. The richest president till now is J. F. Kennedy who is estimated to be a billionaire in 2010 dollar terms. Other rich presidents in 2010 dollars terms were George Washington 525 million dollars, Thomas Jefferson 212 million dollars, Theodore Roosevelt 125 million dollars, Andrew Jackson 119 million dollars, James Madison 101 million dollars, Lyndon Johnson 98 million dollars, Herbert Hoover 75 million dollars, Franklin Roosevelt 60 million dollars, bill Clinton 55 million dollars, George H W Bush 23 million dollars, George W Bush 20 million dollars.

Although J. F. Kennedy is considered to be billionaire but conservative estimates suggest much less figure hence George Washington can be considered to be the richest president of all. President Washington owned nearly 60,000 acres and more than 300 slaves.

George Washington was in the business of flour milling, fishing, horse breeding, spinning, weaving and (in the 1790s) whiskey production.

Wealth of congressman, senators and presidential contestants has brought severe criticism from general public. The criticism is not entirely unwarranted.

 The general trend of American society from meritocracy to aristocracy has been noticed.  

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Slow steaming saves fuel

Slowing down may not seem to be a good advice for many businesses but many shipping lines are saving hefty amounts in fuel by just reducing their speed a little bit.
Marine engine manufacturer Wärtsilä estimates that fuel consumption can be reduced by 59% by reducing cargo ship speed from 27 knots to 18 knots, at the cost of an additional week's sailing time on Asia-Europe routes.
The speed less than 18 knots is called super slow steaming.

 This practice of slow steaming in maritime industry emerged during the financial crisis of 2008-2009. During the crisis international trade and demand for containerized shipping plummeted at the same time as new capacity in pipeline came online. As a response, maritime shipping companies adopted slow steaming and even extra slow steaming services on several of their routes. This response helped these companies to accommodate additional ships with similar demand. As an increase of just one knot would free up enough vessels to grow global capacity by 6.2 percent and one further knot would add another 5.9 percent of global capacity.
Slow steaming does involves adjusting the ship engines.

The additional benefit of high fuel efficiency is reduced emission of green house gases. Ships are most efficient mode of transport as far as green house emission is concerned.

Slow steaming may has its own downside. For example Slow steaming' upsets some customers, who worry about delays in delivery. At the same time the risk of pirates attacking the ship increases as Pirates have never managed to board a vessel travelling at 18 knots or more and container ships and other faster vessels have traditionally crossed the high risk area up to 1,500 miles off Somalia’s coast at up to 24 knots.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

The nation of ship-owners

No nation has ever been so much successful in maritime industry as this nation. Today 95 % goods are carried through ships and shipping magnate from this nation owns 23% of the world bulk carriers.
95% of merchant goods are carried through ships

The fleet belonging to wealthy of this nation is valued at 105 billion dollars, according to vesselvalues.com. The combined value of global fleet of vessels is 680.4 billion dollars. Hence the maritime nation owns 15.43% worth of global fleet. 

The maritime nation is no other than Greek, who have been fighting severe debt crisis since 2009. Severe Government debt crisis has caused many Greeks to lose their jobs. The unemployment rate is as high as 25.40% for February 2015. But the families involved in shipping business are spending as if there were no crisis.

Ship owning business is part of Greek culture. Owing to mountainous landscape, limited availability of farming land and extended coastline, Greek, at an earlier stage, turned to maritime business. Furthermore Greece, being situated at crossroads of ancient sea lanes in eastern Mediterranean and proximity of other advanced civilizations helped Greek succeed in this business. New evidence suggest that since ancient times wine, oil and honey were traded, as well as fruit, fish, meat and resin by Greek ship owners.

The majority of these maritime companies are run by families with a long tradition in shipping.

There are 800-900 families involved in this business, leading among them are Onassis, Niarchos, Evgenidis, Latsis, Lemos, Laskaridis, Pateras, and Tsakos families.

Today constitutional protection related to taxation provided to ship owners and geographical factors led the ship-owning families to live like landed aristocrats of medieval times. Like aristocratic families ship-owning families have their own family culture, and a thrust to protect their status in Greek society. These families often inter-marry thus multiplying power and wealth of these families.

These 800-900 families, involved in Ship-owning business, own slightly more than 4000 vessels.  Hence per family average ownership comes to 4.7 vessels. Families in Greece along with Spain and Italy are more cohesive than many other European counterparts. Hence the help and support from family is also an important factor in the success of Greece's maritime business.

These rich families, although are accused of not doing enough for Greece; especially during the time of crisis, are also involved in philanthropy. Foundations bearing the names of the rich maritime families like Onassis foundation are highly involved in charity.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Indian Silicon Valley

San Jose; California, is nick named silicon valley, owing to presence of large number of technology companies in this city.

Now the term Silicon Valley has become so popular that any area having sizeable number of technology firms is known as Silicon Valley.  Bangalore, India is one of these cities famously dubbed as Indian Silicon Valley. It is home to as many as 900 IT firms.

The Indian Silicon Valley Bangalore has increased in size to more or less the same size as that of San Jose, The American Silicon Valley. The estimated GDP of the city during 2007 was 83 billion us dollars.

The rise of Bangalore as IT city is attributed to various factors.
First of all its location helped it to be the hub for defense technology and supply companies. As it was situated away from Pakistan and China, Indian planners considered it to be suitable for locating strategic industries. Hence they located important defense equipment manufacturing factories in Bangalore.  For example The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) headquarters is based in Bangalore, and is responsible for research and development activities needed to develop indigenous fighter aircraft for the Indian Air Force. Other such companies which were homed in Bangalore were HAL, DRDO, BHEL, and ISRO.

Owing to these strategic industries and defense manufacturers skilled engineers were in high demand in this city. Engineers from neighboring regions shifted to Bangalore. Later on these highly skilled engineers supported the growth of IT. In other words the growth in IT was a direct result of external economies of scale generated by the defense equipment manufacturers.

Another reason was boom in engineering colleges in Karnataka.

Boost came from the liberalization policies adopted by the Government is also one of these factors which established Bangalore as IT capital of India. In 1991, Government actively pursued the liberalization of the economy. This provided the best environment for start ups.

High speed internet was another reason as Bangalore was technology intensive city hence Bangalore was first city to be connected to internet. The Internet boom along with economic liberalization of 90’s provided double boom to IT industry of Bangalore.  

Special Economic Zone (SEZ)   Karnataka was among the first to setup tax free zones to support technology companies. This further encouraged ICT companies to set their businesses in Bangalore.

Low crime rate and great weather Compared to other metropolitan and bigger Indian cities, Bangalore has relatively low crime rate. Weather of the city is also pleasant almost throughout the year. This encouraged entrepreneurs to move to Bangalore.
The rise of Indian information technology has created many millionaires in this city. Now the city is the third largest hub for high-net-worth individuals. The city can boost over 10,000-dollar millionaires and about 60,000 super-rich people who have an investable surplus of US$714,299 and US$79,400 respectively.
These Information Technology firms located in the city contributed 33% of India’s 23 billion dollars IT exports in 2006-07.

The dark side of Bangalore growth

The growth of IT has presented the city with unique challenges. The encouragement of high-tech industry in Bangalore, for example, has not favored local employment development, rather it forced out small enterprise. The state Government has also resisted the massive investments, required by Cities’ IT moguls, to reverse the rapid decline in intra-city transport which has already begun to drive new and expanding businesses to other centers across India.