PROFUNDA AMISTAD EN BLANCO Y NEGRO. En Colombia, la taquillera y polémica película sobre Philippe Pozzo di Borgo, el millonario convertido en ...
The Internet offers a plethora of advantages to users. When it comes to financial issues, the speed with which transactions are completed means loans are granted faster, money is transferred immediately and credit cards are approved more swiftly. But now, Chase credit cards can be approved even faster. In fact, instantly.
Chase bank (along with Bank of America) has introduced an instant approval program to help the growing number of borrowers with ailing finances to reclaim a stronger financial position. The move is also seen as an ideal way to revive the economy. Criteria has been cut, with applicants now only needing to prove an ability to repay.
Ignoring credit histories is part of the deal, with cardholders receiving these credit cards effectively getting another chance to properly manage their finances. In this way, their financial future is improved in the process.
Benefits For Applicants
Everyone expects credit cards to come with a range of incentives, and Chase credit cards are no different. But with some of the most generous incentives and rewards schemes around, their cards are less expensive than it first seems.
Still, there are benefits that should be expected as a matter of course, from 0% APR and no annual fees to 0% charges on purchases and balance transfers, usually for the first 6 months or so. With the instant approval program, qualifying cardholders benefit from these introductory offers too.
When the introductory offer ends, APR is charged at a slightly higher rate of as much a 14.99% to 19.99%, depending on the terms of the credit card offer. But the affordability of the cards lie in the fact that the cardholder applies better card management, thus avoiding the interest rates completely.
Advantages of Instant Approval
Chase credit cards offer a range of incentives that effectively lower the costs of the cards. But for many, it is the promise of instant access to a source of vital extra funds that is the key advantage. It means that financial emergencies can be cleared quickly, and unexpected expenses handled without delay.
Through an instant approval program, the application process is made simple, with the stress of waiting for news of approval or rejection removed. But clearly the biggest benefit of having such an accessible route to approval is the chance provided bad credit borrowers with a way to rebuild their credit reputation.
There is a certain irony to the fact that a credit card can rescue a credit reputation, since they are often held responsible for the demise of that reputation in the first place. But in truth, cardholders who have a mature attitude rarely get into trouble from using their card, and a chance to master this discipline is provided.
Good Card Management
As with all cards, managing your Chase credit card properly is the secret to maintaining a strong financial position. The fact is that financial problems suffered through these cards come down to the cardholders. So if the attitude of the cardholder is mature, there should be no problems.
With the instant approval program from Chase (and Bank of America), cardholders can now get a second chance to get it right. Often it comes down to applying some simple rules of usage. Perhaps the card is used only for specific purposes, like paying utility bills. Shopping trips can be kept to a minimum, or perhaps only be considered debit card events.
When discipline is adhered to, credit cards become beneficial rather than troublesome.
Banks then use this money to make loans available to household and corporate borrowers. They then earn their profits by lending at an interest rate higher than the rates they pay on their deposits.
The largest commercial banks in the US bank of America, Bankers Trust Corporate, Chemical Bank, Chase Manhattan Bank, Citibank, Morgan Guaranty Trust Corporation and Wells Fargo, and many others compete with each other to make loans available to large corporate clients. The interest rates they charge corporate clients for loans are the main form of competition, a price competition, in this case. When this competition becomes aggressive, the interest rates they charge have a tendency to fall, and so do their profits. To avoid this aggressive competition, a form of price leadership was put into place.
The interest rate charged by banks to large corporate clients is called the prime rate. This rate is well known and often quoted in newspapers. Most large banks charge the same or very close of the same price for it. Frequent changes in the rate are avoided in order to avoid destabilization and competitive warfare. When money market conditions changes enough and other interest rates have risen or fallen substantially, prime rate changes occurs.
Only then, one of the major banks announces a change in its prime rate, and the other banks quickly follow suit. Banks take turns as leaders from time to time, but when a changed is announced, the other banks will immediately follow within two or three days.
This article will tell you a little bit about The Vaughan Town Volunteer Program. You will discover answers to the following questions:
This is suitable for anyone who is thinking of doing volunteer work in Spain, for anyone who has a week to spare and for anyone who enjoys meeting new people and engaging in interesting conversations.
What is Vaughan Town?
Vaughan Town was an idea that came from a man who ran a language course. His name is Richard Vaughan. He wanted to find a way in which Spanish people could be fully immersed in learning the English language without having to leave their country.
His solution was to offer a group of students the opportunity to travel to a small town, where they would mix with a group of English speakers and basically converse all day everyday in English.
This one week course proved to be very popular and helped to improve the student"s language and listening skills.
There are courses available all year round and they usually consist of around 15 Spanish students and 15 English speakers. These English speakers come from a variety of countries including the UK, USA, Australia and Ireland.
People who were not born in an English speaking country but are fluent in the language have also been accepted on the course and English speaking volunteers.
Where is Vaughan Town?
The Vaughan Town Experience is currently available at 4 different locations in Spain. Each location has been chosen because they are in pretty picturesque towns or villages. Each place has a hotel that is big enough to house 30 individuals as well as the support staff for a period of 6 days.
The Vaughan Town locations that you can visit and take part in this whole experience are:
Valdelavilla - A rustic style villa which is about 4 hours away from Madrid. This is located in the mountains of the Soria province.
The Sheraton Santa Maria de El Paular hotel in Rascafria - The hotel location is about an hour away from Madrid. This little village is home to a 15th century monastery called Santa Maria de El Paular Monastery.
El Rancho de la Aldegüela in Torrecaballeros - This quaint little hotel is about 2 hours away from Madrid. It is in the province of Segovia. It used to be a 17th century farmland and has now been converted into a hotel complex with an extensive restaurant.
Gredos in Barco de Avila - This location is near the border of Salamanca and Extremadura. It is about 3 hours away from Madrid. Each hotel room boasts fantastic mountain views and the town, which is a 30 minute walk away, has great tourist attractions including a castle, an aqueduct and even a prison.
What is The Vaughan Town Volunteer Program?
In order for this language course to run efficiently, it needs a constant influx of English speaking volunteers. The English speakers are provided with free bed and board at these exclusive 4 star luxury hotels as well as free transportation to these locations.
In return, the volunteers are given a daily schedule which includes one to one sessions with a Spanish student. You are expected to converse with that student for about 50 minutes so that they can hear English spoken in a normal, natural conversational way, as opposed to listening and learning grammar points.
The benefits for the students include the opportunity to hear a variety of different accents, learn new colloquialisms and to make new friends.
If you are looking to do some volunteer work in Spain or you are looking for a way to add to your travels then you should definitely consider taking part in the Vaughan Town Experience.
The key question for investors going forward is will the current financial turmoil work itself out like the savings and loan problem of the 1990s or will it spread to the real economy. Another issue is whether the U.S. grown financial problems will spread to international markets or will they lead to ETF investors increasing their exposure to overseas markets.
There is little doubt that real estate markets are weaker than expected. The backlogs of existing unsold houses rose to 16-year high and average prices in America"s ten main cities fell by 4.1% this year to June. JPMorgan expects average house prices to fall between 7.5% and 15% by the end of 2008.
There are several ways that real estate problems could hurt the real economy. The first is consumer sales. Across the world, household spending has been supported by both property and equity prices. If the US housing slump deepens and markets continue to be weak, consumption growth will likely slow. Then there is the spillover effect whereby homeowners having mortgage payment problems, start having credit card payment problems and so on down the line.
In addition, there is the negative effect of rising borrowing costs on companies" capital spending and hiring. Global business spending has been supported by record cash flows, as well as by debt funded investment. While expenditures in these areas may slow gradually as companies adapt to the new environment, there is already some evidence that equipment spending is softening in the US.
Watch for signs that indicate what is happening to the real economy: jobs, spending and capital expenditures. But keep in mind that despite the steady drumbeat of negative stories on TV business channels, the record of the American and global economy in weathering challenges is actually quite extraordinary. Take a look at the "sunny side" before going to cash and hibernating for the winter.
Here is the big picture which you can find in the American Funds mountain chart. The S&P 500"s total return has exceeded the return on "risk-free" Treasury long-term bonds in all but four of the ten-year periods -- the ones ending in 1974, 1977, 1978, and 2002.
Despite wars, inflation, recessions, gasoline shortages and housing crashes in various parts of the nation, the S&P 500, with dividends reinvested, has yielded an average ten-year return of 243% vs. 86% for the highest-grade bonds. Since 1959, there has only been one year, 1980, when consumer spending fell.
Here are some more reasons to be optimistic that the U.S. and global markets will again be resilient.
First, consumer spending will likely stay strong because the top 20% of income earners account for a higher percentage of total consumer spending than the lower 60%.
Second, share buybacks from a broad range of firms may help soften the blow of weaker share prices. Some of the companies with sizable pending buyback programs are P&G, Home Depot, Nestle, Wal-Mart, ConocoPhillips, UBS, Bank of America Johnson & Johnson, JP Morgan and Walt Disney.
Third, corporate earnings seem to be rather firm. According to data from Thomson Financial, earnings per share for S&P 500 companies in aggregate are expected to rise 8.1% in 2007 and 11.5% in 2008. For the MSCI World index companies, the number is 13.2% for 2007 and MSCI Asia is even stronger at just over 18%.
Fourth, corporate balance sheets in aggregate have improved. The net debt of S&P 500 companies has fallen 11% since 2001.
Fifth, there is now a wide expectation that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates next month and central banks around the world have demonstrated their willingness to take actions to inject liquidity and calm markets.
Sixth, valuations in the U.S. and around the world do not seem overdone to me. The S&P 500 is trading at 16 times earnings and international markets, with the exception of Indonesia and India, appear undervalued. Ireland, Germany and the UK are trading at 11 times, the Netherlands at 10 times, Sweden and Singapore at 12 times and Mexico is trading at 13 times earnings.
Lastly, many global companies are increasing the proportion of their total sales to emerging market countries and economic growth in these fast-growing markets seems to be alive and kicking. The major themes driving this growth which has averaged well over 7% in annual terms over the past five years seem clear.
Economic market reforms, openness to foreign capital, better balance sheets and fiscal discipline leading to higher credit ratings and bulging FX reserves, urbanization leading to higher productivity, and the ability to catch up more rapidly due to breakthroughs in technology and communications have all helped emerging market countries catch up fast. The world is truly filling in leading to tens of millions moving from poverty to the middle class.
Indeed it appears that sophisticated global ETF investors are not backing away from international and emerging markets.
While the S&P 500 Index is up 11% this year, Chartwell ETF Advisor picks have done much better. Brazil (EWZ) is up 62%, South Korea (EWY) is up 36%, Germany, up 32, and Singapore (EWS) is up 35%.
Bottom line: Keep healthy cash positions for flexibility and use dips in markets to accumulate shares in high quality U.S. and global ETFs that have strong currencies and that have demonstrated fiscal discipline and a commitment to market reforms.
The economy is getting more complicated every single day and we all need money. But how urgent do you need money to pay for your immediate spending needs? The next payday are still weeks away and you needing the money right at this very moment is making it hard on you. The answer is simple: payday loans online. Just fill up the short application form online and there goes your cash advance before you even know it.
Payday loans online offer short-term unsecured cash loans to assist you with your immediate cash needs while waiting for your next payday. Simply apply online, provide the necessary details, have it approved and then the cash you borrowed will be electronically sent to your account. Normally you are allowed to borrow between $100 and $1,000. To finalize the transaction, it will still have to undergo a screening process by the lender. You will be able to repay your loan through the bank account that you have stated and automatically withdrawn along with the agreed fees to be paid. The repayment terms could vary from one lender to another, therefore you have to review the terms and conditions very carefully. No collaterals necessary. Once your application is approved, you will be provided with a wide-range of reputable lenders for you to choose from. Each lender has different terms and conditions that you may need to read thoroughly before selecting. They are trustworthy and there will be no hidden charges. Every single fee shall be transparently showed to you before completing the transaction. No processing fee will be charged during application.
If you have a bad credit, the company will look for lenders who are willing to lend you money provided that you have a stable income and you pass their necessary requirements. Unlike other lending options where in you have to fill-up tons of complicated application forms and wait for two to three weeks without assurance of approval, you only need twenty-four hours or less with online payday loans for the processing. If you are worried about the protection and privacy of your personal information, fear not because they are very much secured. Sometimes they give refunds of fees when you pay back earlier than the due date agreed upon. This will make transactions smoother in the future because you will have a better credit history. If you fail to pay back, the penalties will depend on your agreement with your chosen lender. However, it could be as huge as facing criminal charges or as small as paying extra fees. You are also not allowed to apply for new payday loan without settling first the previous loan, but you may renew your payday loan for the next payday.
To pass the initial application process, you must have the following requirements:
Currently employed or having a regular income (sometimes indicating a minimum number of days employed)
Monthly income of at least $1,000/month after-tax
You must be at least eighteen years old
A US Citizen or a permanent resident of the US
A valid checking or savings account under your name
Contact details - a valid e-mail address, home and work numbers, mobile numbers, home address
Although it is easier to apply for a short-term cash loan with payday loans online, you must be responsible enough with your finances. If you have budgeting issues, it is best to seek the help of a financial advisor for better financial management. Your monthly income should be able to cover up for your debts and other expenses. You can also notify your creditors on your willingness to pay but have budgeting problems. They can help you out and offer budgeting plans. Online payday loans only solve your short-term and urgent financial needs while you wait for the next payday. You also have to be responsible for the repayment of your loans or you could be facing a bigger trouble. If you cannot pay your loan in full on the agreed due date, you may apply for a loan extension. There will be a customer service representative to answer every question so make use of this before you make a decision. An e-mail will be sent to you once your application is approved.
The iPhone 4S boasts of multiple features which are sure to provoke gasps more than once. Here are some of the salient features of having an iPhone 4S:
You know, where you can bring in your former tax returns and they"ll give them a "second look"?
The commercials give examples of folks who "thought they could do it themselves" or who got help from the wrong people (their brother, the "professional" who focuses on everything and therefore specializes in nothing, etc.) - and it ultimately ended up with them losing out on THOUSANDS of dollars. Essentially they ended up paying the government more in taxes than was absolutely necessary.
Now, the good news when it comes to taxes, there is a possibility of a "do-over". AND, college scholarships and financial aid are a lot like taxes in the following ways:
- there"s a form to file (just like taxes)
- you have to file the form every year your student is in college (just like you file your tax return, every year)
- there is a formula based on income and assets for calculating how much you"re expected to pay towards college (just like a formula is applied to your income to determine your tax bill)
- there are rules and loopholes that govern that formula (just like on your taxes there"s deductions and exemptions)
- there are strategies that can use the rules and loopholes available to families that can lower what they are expected to pay if they are implemented. (just like a good tax accountant or tax attorney can develop a plan for you to lower your tax bill)
But here is where taxes and financial aid differ: if you make a mistake, there"s NO Do-Over!
Every year thousands of families make mistakes that end up with them losing out on THOUSANDS of dollars in scholarships and financial aid. They are paying more for college than is absolutely necessary.
Most never realize it- what they don"t know is hurting their wallets and their budget. They"re borrowing more money than they have to, they"re doing without a vacation or that new car they really need.
Or their student is wracking up so much debt they"ll likely never pay it off and they"ll never get out from under it (student loan debt cannot be discharged in a bankruptcy). It"s not a pretty picture.
But, let"s say, you make a huge mistake the first year and you find that mistake the second year. You can"t get a "do over" for the first year. Unlike taxes where you can file a corrected tax return and get money back, with college financial aid, you can"t file an amended form and say "Hey, Cost-a-lotta U., we made a mistake. We paid $7,000 more than we should have, can we get it back?" (well you could file the amended form but the college won"t give you money back).
Now you"re thinking - "Well at least if I find it the second year, then I can save that $7,000 for the second year, right."
Maybe. But I wouldn"t count on it. You see, there is no requirement for the college give you financial aid. And, once you"re committed to the college, they have even less motivation to help you (because you"re a "done deal" - you"re coming).
You see, all too often, the college is willing to bet you"ll be coming back no matter what - after all, where would you go? You already have one year invested, you don"t yet have a degree so they"re willing to take the risk that you might leave because the odds are better that you"ll stay.
The trick is not making the mistakes in the first place. After you commit to a college, you lose any leverage, negotiating-power - whatever you want to call it. Before you commit to one particular school is when you have the greatest leverage with a college (unless you make other mistakes but that"s for another time). You must be proactive if you want the best results possible.
You cannot wait until the last minute or try to get help AFTER you"ve made mistakes. There"s little that can be done at that point.
Jack* and his family learned this first hand. When Jack was a junior, they thought about getting help with the college selection, application and financing process. They knew there were things about it they didn"t know. But, they decided they could figure it out on their own since getting help would"ve cost them some money up front.
Fast forward to the end of Jack"s freshman year, they were looking for help with a "do-over". Jack had just completed his freshman year and his parents now had $26,000 in loans that made it happen. And they were looking for help because they couldn"t do it again for his sophomore year. Jack and his family had made a lot of mistakes in their self-created college plan - he didn"t make the strongest case for himself, his parents let him accept an offer from a college that was lousy with financial aid and they got even less financial aid than they should have (from a school that was already not the best when it came to financial aid) because they had made at least 7 mistakes in completing their financial aid paperwork.
They corrected those mistakes on the 2nd year paperwork: What they were expected to pay sophomore year came out to $8,500 LESS than what they had been told they should pay for freshman year.
They had made an $8,500 mistake freshman year.
Guess how much more in financial aid they were offered for Jack"s sophomore year. Zip. Nada. Nothing. They got the same amount of financial aid sophomore year as freshman year. The college was willing to bet he wouldn"t leave (and he wasn"t a strong enough student to motivate them to want to help him to stay).
Now, what if they had invested in that money up front? Well, the $8,500 mistake they had made freshman year would not have been made. Additional colleges that would"ve offered more financial aid would"ve been recommended. Jack would"ve made a greater impression in the admissions office so the college was motivated to give him the best offer possible in order to entice him to come to their campus. It might have been possible to negotiate with the colleges to get a better deal.
Sure it would"ve cost them some money up front. But let"s just look at the $8,500 (never mind the additional monies in scholarship, etc.). After deducting what it cost to get the help to avoid that mistake in the first place, they still would"ve had AT LEAST $26,800 more in their pocket at the end of four years. That would"ve been $26,800 that would not have been borrowed; or could"ve been invested in their retirement fund; or been invested in Jake"s brother"s college fund. There was a lot of ways they could"ve used that money.
They were penny-wise and dollar foolish.
Unfortunately, there"s no do-over.
As we move even further into the information age with technology advancing every year, an interesting truth about business emerges - increased dependence on people.
While computing power can move information and data across the world faster than a click on a keyboard, only people can turn that information into a tangible asset. Only people can take raw data, organize it, and combine it with intelligence and experience, creating real value.
Employees possess an important means of production - their knowledge. There have been many attempts to create knowledge through artificial intelligence and expert systems but they have not succeeded because computers cannot have hunches or instincts and they cannot learn from good and bad decisions.
Those who actually do a job know more about it than anyone else. Employees who actually interact with customers know them better than anyone else. This includes the CEO, upper executives, managers. Customer facing employees (CFE"s) know what customers want and what they do not want because they work with them everyday.
Management must use the knowledge from employees and be constantly asking, "What can we learn from you?" What can you tell us about customers and what tools do you need to serve them better? Many good customer service employees become less motivated when they feel managers do not want their input or do not put any value on it. Big mistake!
While many facts about a firm may be documented, much of its experiences reside in its employees" heads. Very often, a company"s competitive edge resides with its knowledge workers. When the person having a critical piece of knowledge quits, joining a competitor, that knowledge walks out the door. It has been well documented that the loss of a key employee can result in the departure of key clients and a significant loss of income.
Workers, who accumulate specialized knowledge, will not be easily bound to one company. They will ultimately go where they can achieve the greatest satisfaction.
Employees" in depth skills, reputation, and experience often represent an edge that competitors will find hard to substitute.
Companies that will truly thrive are those that can leverage employee knowledge through information technology in ways that are immediately applicable. This could include satisfying the right customers in the right way at the right time.
Unlike the assets of labor, capital, and land, knowledge is an infinite resource that can generate increasing returns through systematic use and application.
Through the sharing of knowledge a company can help its employees do their job better, faster, and more effectively. Knowledge can provide the perfect link between business strategy and technology investment.
In many service industries, the ability to identify best practices and spread them across a dispersed network of operations or locations is a key driver of added value.
As business visionary Peter Drucker said
"The ability to survive and thrive comes only from a firm"s ability to create, acquire, process, maintain, and retain old and new knowledge in the face of complexity, uncertainty, and rapid change."
ABANA was born in 1973 when a Blacksmiths" Convention was held in Georgia which was attended by 47 delegates from all over the country. Late on the first night of the conference, after the day"s formal proceedings had ended, a group of blacksmith artists got together for an informal chat and the subject turned to the benefits of sharing knowledge and experiences between themselves. There were about eight people in the group and for each one who gave the others some useful hint or tip that helped the others improve their art, at least 7 useful bits of information were given in return. At the end of the discussion, one of the members returned to his room but could not get to sleep as the germ of an idea about forming a regular association of blacksmith artists was taking shape in his mind. Not wanting to let in go, he started writing down his ideas and before going to sleep in the early hours of the morning, had the basic outline of how the association would be structured and operate.
The next day, as the convention was breaking for lunch the proposal for starting an artist blacksmith"s association was conveyed to the participants. The words of Alex Bealer, who convened the 1973 convention and who became the first president of ABANA, as gave an extremely insipiring sppech, which can be found in the ABANA website.
This moving expression of the nature of the blacksmith art was enough to immediately prompt 20 of those present to become the founding members of the organization. 27 more joined soon after and within a year membership stood at over 100 and in ten years reached over 2000. At present the membership is increasing by over 300 a year which demonstrates both the growth of blacksmith art and the vital role that ABANA is playing in supporting and developing the artist blacksmith.
ABANA Chapters have mushroomed in various parts of the US and is only growing in popularity. Moreover its spreading to other countries as well. In fact the latest of ABANA"s affliliate group is an Australian counterpart. All informtation about the ABANA can also be found at their website online.
For over two hundred years the American education system has been based on the right of all its citizens to an education. Through this guiding principle America has led the world to expanded education opportunity for women, oppressed minorities, and populations generally. As the world has come to embrace the American philosophy, America is abandoning this core belief and dividing education into the wealthy, who can afford education, and the rest of the country that will not be able to afford it.
For several decades, American education was in retreat in the technical areas of science and engineering. To address these deficiencies, technical schools in secondary education and for profit colleges came into existence. They encouraged students not inclined to pursue additional education to enter technical fields and pursue higher education. Students that would not become engaged in a process of learning were suddenly involved. Students who could not make passing grades were suddenly making the A"s and B"s in vocational technical courses and for profit technical institutions.
Today, these two areas of education constitute a growing number of successful students actively involved in higher education. Vocational schools and for profit colleges are designed to encourage students to become involved in technical careers, and are often structured without much of the liberal arts training that accompany traditional degrees. There"s been a longstanding disagreement as to whether students should be funneled into specific and very narrow technical educational streams, or weather all students should be forced to obtain a more generalized education designed to move them toward undergraduate degrees and eventually to graduate degrees.
Although this disagreement has ragged for several generations, the effect of vocational training and for profit technical institutions cannot be denied. They have successfully moved a large segment of the population into technical careers very successfully. However, in recent months the department of education has begun to take issue with the success of the schools because they cannot guarantee that their graduates will be able to meet income guidelines created to show the success of American education of dollars that are being spent for these programs. Vocational schools and secondary education are being cut across the nation in response to the economic downturn our society is currently facing, and this policy of the department of education. Rather than address the more complex issue of how we can meld traditional, and technical areas of education into a single educational system, federal funding to provide vocational training and technical education is being slashed by the Federal government.
At a time when the administration and the business community l recognize the need for a stronger commitment to technical education throughout the country, we are reducing the ability of students to obtain the education loans necessary to pay for their education because we have a fundamental disagreement as to whether there should be more general education in English, literature and the arts, and less a single minded focus on a narrow technical field. This seems to be an argument without merit since both have the single purpose of trying to educate the American public to be competitive in the marketplace of tomorrow. This is occurring at the same time that a recent study has demonstrated that the effect of a college education benefits all students whether it is in their field, general education, or in a narrow technical area. Rather than building on that premise to encourage students across the country to pursue higher education, our focus has turned to the ability of students to repay the loans to banks as the single determining factor as to whether the education was useful. The standard being put forward by the department of education does just that.
It focuses their efforts on seeing that students can make enough money to repay the loans, rather than focusing on why education costs are rising so dramatically. Their focus is on making sure that students repay banks. With businesses making arguments that they need to import more foreign workers to meet the growing technical demand of high tech industry, we"re forcing American students out of the educational system as we argue their ability to pay back a bank is the single determining factor as to the quality of their education. This would not be so absurd if it were not for another of movement that is taking place in grade schools around the country today.
For people who have money, there is a growing need for private preschools that are for profit in nature to prepare their children for the prestigious schools that select only a handful of American students each year. This for profit model for primary and secondary schools is becoming as popular in United States as it is abroad in countries such as Europe and Asia. Parents of wealth are quick to hand over as much as $40,000 a year to have their children placed in preparatory schools that will prepare them for prestigious colleges. Currently, a number of private investors are putting up as much as $200,000,000 to fund these types of for profit institutions. It is a growth industry that will find a burgeoning market place with in this country and abroad as the division between haves and have-nots in education continues to broaden.
These parents have little faith in the public education system in this country. They are putting their money, and their children in the hands of for profit institutions that they believe will make them better able to compete in the highly technical world of tomorrow. As Madison Avenue at the American banking system find a new profitable market, they will exploit it as fully and as completely as they have the traditional American education system, to the detriment of the larger society. Education in this country is becoming a tool of banks and the wealthy and not what was envisioned by the founding fathers or the many men and women who helped create this country over many generations. It is no longer serving the public need and only looks to the needs of the wealthy, and the financial institutions whose profit motive is the single driving force for their existence.
While the rest of the world is adopting the American model of an educational system that is the envy of the world, we are abandoning that system to move toward one that cannot serve the nation or the society. If we continue down this road our nation will be forever looking to the educational systems of other countries to provide the technological expertise, and the innovative thinking that will move the world and the society forward. In one breath the department of education for our nation is telling us that for profit institutions do not work and we must regarded with suspicion graduates at any college level from these institutions, while at the same time this same model is being instituted at grade schools and in elementary schools across the nation because there is a growing need for a better education system to meet the standards of tomorrow. However this growing need excludes much of American Society. If we follow this path it will only the wealthy will receive an education in this country.
This trilogy of articles looks at the development of bigger and better data centres across the world. It considers what is driving this construction boom, some of the challenges it faces and examples of how it is being implemented.
For a number of years the buzz word in the IT industry has been "cloud". The word represents a shift in way all of us access and carry out our computing needs with an increased reliance on the internet. The term has even crossed into mainstream parlance thanks to services such as Apple"s iCloud.
The idea behind cloud computing is that users can access computing resources, such as applications or storage space, on remote computers, via the internet rather than on local individual machines. The advantages are plentiful as consumers can access just the services they need as and when they need them (akin to traditional utilities) and from a multitude of devices and locations.
Many of us use explicitly labelled cloud services but the majority of those used, particularly in the private market, don"t necessarily prompt the same recognition. For example, the massively popular social media tools, Twitter and Facebook, allow us to share communications and media by storing it on remote servers where it can be accessed by anyone with whom we wish to share it via the internet, i.e., through the cloud.
In a sense, cloud computing is a natural evolution of the concept of the world wide web, which was intended to provide a network of shared documents, however with the wide availability of higher bandwidth internet connections and the adoption of Web 2.0, including the idea of user generated content, the old simple documents have evolved into complex web based applications and rich media.
The flexibility, scalability and cost effectiveness of cloud computing offers considerable benefits for both private and enterprise consumers compared to "traditional" one-off installations on individual devices and therefore adoption rates continue to rise. The concepts can appear fairly ephemeral to the consumer, as they access all of their computing resource via the internet but, ultimately, all of that digital information does need to be stored somewhere. As the services get more and more popular, so social network providers, cloud storage providers, cloud application providers and IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) providers need to find more and more physical capacity and recent years have therefore seen what has been described by some as a data centre arms race to build more and bigger data centre facilities.
The struggle therefore for data centre providers is to build bigger, to reach the capacity they need, but at the same time, minimise the power that they consume and the impact that they have on the surrounding environment. Power consumption is measured by a PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness) score which indicates the energy consumed by supporting infrastructure (mainly heat management) versus that required to power the core servers. The industry benchmark is a PUE score of 2.0 which represents one unit of power consumed on infrastructure for every one on servers, whilst the ultimate efficiency would be a PUE of 1. Not only does a more efficient facility prove greener and more sustainable but, for the provider, it minimises cost and increases the scope for raising capacity. Consequently data centre constructors are increasingly looking to new and innovative ways to bring this score below 2 and as close to 1 as possible.
The subsequent installments of this trilogy of articles looks at the scale of some of the biggest data centres in the world to illustrate how the need for digital data storage has changed the landscape of industrial complexes around the world.