Archive for October, 2012

Issues With Michael Jackson’s Estate

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

A lawsuit is currently underway on rights to Michael Jackson’s estate.  Lawsuits were filed last Friday on behalf of the estate as well as Michael Jackson’s former manager.  Former manager Tohme Tohme began working for Jackson in 2008 and, according to lawyers for the estate, had mostly selfish intentions.  Jackson entered into a “Services Agreement” with Tohme that laid out certain responsibilities for Tohme, such as maintaining music license contracts, event management, and the like.  This agreement was signed without outside legal counsel, and Jackson even signed over power of attorney to Tohme.

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With those powers, Tohme was able to sign over the rights to some of Jackson’s copyrights to charities and take over some of his real estate investments.  The estate’s lawyers argue that this was not Jackson’s intention when he signed the documents.  Jackson fired Tohme after less than a year of service, and now the estate lawyers are trying to “unwind” the legal aftermath of the situation.

News About Semi Permanent Make Up in the United States and the UK

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

Mainstream media reports have been giving lots of attention to the latest advances in high-tech digital micropigmentation equipment and recent innovative techniques in cosmetic tattooing, which is also known as intradermal cosmetics, micropigmentation, permanent makeup and also semi permanent make up. Since reports of techniques, new machines, and breakthroughs in shading, layering, hairstroke methods, SofTap manual procedures, as well as advances in lash enhancements that provide natural-looking eyeliners, are broadcast internationally and/or made available online, the terms used to describe these unique beauty procedures on two different continents has given rise to some unfortunate confusion amongst women interested in the procedures.


The confusion has to do with the terms “permanent makeup” versus “semi permanent make up”, with one giving the impression of being akin to lasting forever and the other suggesting it may be less than “permanent”. Women who may have been leery of getting an eyebrow tattoo, eyeliner or lip color, are now hunting for semi permanent make up clinics that may offer procedures not quite so permanent as a tattoo. But the confusion has arisen only due to a linguistic difference between terms in the US and the UK – not a difference in the actual procedures. Quite simply, both phrases refer to the same procedures, the same techniques, the same high tech equipment and pigments, just that in the United States the phrase “permanent” denotes the fact that the makeup cannot be eliminated easily, whereas in the UK, the term “semi permanent” emphasizes that the procedures will provide good color for between 1 – 3 years, but may require retouching. In the UK, the cosmetic tattooing industry recognizes that pigments gradually fade if they are not refreshed, whereas in the United States any process that deposits pigment into the dermis is called “permanent”. Nevertheless, both are “permanent”. There is no semi permanent make up alternative to a cosmetic tattoo.

TripAdvisor In Trouble Again

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

The popular review site – TripAdvisor is in the news again in the UK.  Only recently it was told that it could no longer claim that ’all it’s reviews are real’ and that they only have ’reviews that you can trust’.  The ruling came in reponse to an investigation into the UK version of the site by the Advertising Standards Authority.  Their investigation concluded that there was no way that the site could guarantee that it’s reviews were all genuine.  

The site has always struggled with fake reviews, partly because the site has no verification of individual members identity.  Anyone who wishes to post fake reviews can do so easily, they can easily create multiple false account names.

A writer on the popular security blog – commented.

’The site has no way of ensuring the reviews are genuine or even written by real people.  Already several legal cases have taken place after investigations of false reviews placed by people with ulterior motives.  There are many anonymity tools which people could use to prevent even these investigations, a secure VPN run over the anonymity network Tor would evade all the web sites verification systems.

Wine and Charity

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

We came across a bit of information from the wine industry the other day that made us stop and think.

Regulators in California have begun to crack down on how charities can work with wineries and wine retailers to fundraise.  No longer can someone hold a tasting event where every bottle, or wine gift since these are typically held in December, creates some revenue for the charity.

Personally I realize that there are some real regulatory requirements in play for selling wine, but isn’t this at all short sighted?

Given the current economic situation both in terms of wine but the wider economy as well, why can’t we let these two struggling industries work together to try and weather this storm?

Skyhigh Refrigerator Prices

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

Prices for qualtiy refrigerators have been climbing in recent times due to a combination of factors impacting the major manufacturers in China.  As China develops, their labor costs have started to rise as they are fnally running short on additional people who can easily be added to the cheap labor pool.

Also, commodity prices have climbed recently.  This makes the raw materials needed for the manufacture of appliances like refrigerators and increases the price of producing them on the factory floor.

Even some US manufacturers have had to raise prices recently.  Whilst labor costs in the USA have started declining, due to competition from a globalized work force, America suffers the same problems as China does when it comes to commodity prices.

Subzero refrigerator prices – while never cheap – have steadily increased in cost over recent years.  Made in the US, Sub-Zero products are very well regarded by well-heeled consumers.  Luckily for the firm their clientele is largely price insensitive, or else they would be purchasing cheaper LG or Frigidaire refrigerator freezers as a cheaper alternative.


Energy Consumption in the USA

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

Over the last 50 years energy consumption has grown faster than energy generation in the USA. This has lead to a reliance on foreign oil imports to make up the growing short fall in energy creation. In 2009, the EIA (Energy Information Administration) data showed 37% of America’s energy came from petroleum, 21% from coal, and 25% from natural gas. Nuclear power supplied 9% and renewable energy supplied 8%, which was mainly from hydroelectric dams although other renewable are included such as wind power, geothermal and solar energy.

It is pitiful to note that despite the last administration’s and this one’s keeness to promote renewable energy sources, nothing has really changed. America is hooked on petroleum. It is this addiction that has lead many to think that American foreign policy rather than being about fighting terror or bringing democracy and human rights to the world is simply about securing oil rights and oil pipe line access.

Another telling figure is that the third biggest consumer sector for energy in the USA is residential. People spend 90% of their lives indoors and this is being reflected in the high cost of lighting, heating, water heating etc. In the residential sector it is space heating which takes up the largest portion of the energy (32%). it is thus very clear that people should improve the energy efficiency of their homes.

This can be achieved by improving the insulation of a home by installing vinyl windows and putting insulation in the roof space. Another tactic is to design houses that trap heat more effectively. Solar panels are also a good idea to reduce the demand on the national grid.

Another important thing to do is to use programmable thermostats. A good thermostat can be programmed to match the heating requirements of a house with the schedules of people in a house. That way the set point can be lowered for the times when people are out or in bed. It is estimated by Energy Star that the correct use of a programmable thermostat can reduce heating bills by as much as 30% in a year.

If we all did more to improve the energy efficiency of our homes we could save the US enough energy to perhaps make the country less dependent on foreign oil. That would have a huge impact on not just American lives but on the lives of people all over the world.