Thursday, 31 August 2017

Is It Possible To Have Sustainable Transportation For All?

Man has lived as nomads in the beginning of time. Our ancestors lived from one place to another depending on where they can find food and shelter for a while. But as they became more adept at living in this world and more familiar with the different resources around them, they started building homes to be their permanent dwelling. They no longer needed to jump from one place to the other in search of food but only forage for the day and return home before the day ends.

That’s probably the earliest history of how transportation came to be. When man started living in permanent shelters, they only went out for a while and needed to come back home before night falls. That’s the life we live these days. We go from one place to the other in our pursuit of life but we can’t do it on foot like our ancestors did. We ride contraptions of sort albeit not always in style. But because of threats of climate change, we can no longer put off looking for ways to realize a sustainable means of transportation because our planet is hurting more than ever.

The significant barrier to sustainable transportation options is cost, particularly if your business operates a fleet of vehicles or relies on complex logistics.

One lesson we’ve learned is to avoid all-or-nothing propositions before taking action.

Even if your business isn’t addressing 100 per cent of your transportation emissions, it’s important to celebrate and communicate the action you are taking.

Why? Consumers want to know what companies are doing in a transparent manner. Consumers aren’t looking for perfection, but they do want to see progress. This can be achieved by:

Making incremental investments in sustainable transportation. For example, add an EV charging station at your property or consider a green fuel alternative for part of a fleet or a flagship vehicle.

Encouraging employees to take greener forms of transportation by providing cycling infrastructure, such as an in-office bike rack or subsidies for purchasing bicycles.

Sustainability is a journey. Communicating a narrative of incremental, measurable improvement is how to build a reputation for authentic, thoughtful action on sustainability.


The important thing here is that we start doing something to address many of the energy and pollution issues we face daily. Climate change is no joke and we are already suffering from its wrath every time a disaster strikes. We don’t want to suffer under the heat of the sun by covering the distance of our destinations on foot but there sure are other ways to reduce our energy usage and carbon footprint without going to these extremes.

Making changes to your daily habits can be difficult, and though the fair weather is calling you outside to walk or bike to your next class, shift, or appointment, there may be some obstacles you face in making it happen.

Community Shifting Gears, Peterborough’s month-long transportation challenge, hopes to help you overcome those obstacles by providing workshops, resources, and prizes this May. When you sign up, you will become part of the on-line Shifting Gears community, receiving tips and incentives that will support and motivate your shift to more active and sustainable transportation options.

Support from the community doesn’t solely come from the on-line challenge. Many workplaces, schools, and groups are finding creative new ways to support the shift with innovative programs, infrastructure, and policy.

Do your body and health some good while at the same time contributing for the betterment of society.

“There is evidence that active transportation increases physical activity, improves mental health, reduces vehicle-related injuries and deaths, reduces air pollution, and can reduce health inequity,” says Kate Dunford, Public Health Nurse at Peterborough Public Health, “Supporting the move towards active travel within our organization helps us reach these goals in our community.”


Nothing is impossible if you are passionate about something. While the odds may be big considering how dependent we are on fossil fuel in powering different industries and even the vehicles we ride each day, simple lifestyle changes can have a big impact on the environment. Carpooling is a favorite of many for years but using electric vehicles can also help reduce fuel consumption and the consequential carbon emission from their use. Employees and students who live near their workplaces or schools can walk, ride the bike or take public transport, so as not to exacerbate the situation. Sustainable transportation may even be possible in the next few years if the governments of all nations collaborate in coming up with various sustainable transportation solutions for everyone.

The following blog post Is It Possible To Have Sustainable Transportation For All? was initially published to


Friday, 25 August 2017

Russians Say No To WeChat

Humans are social animals. It’s common knowledge since the beginning of recorded history. You thrive in the company of individuals who share the same values and interests as you and encourage you to become a better person yourself. An open communication is crucial in developing such relationships to ensure that the connection and friendship are not lost despite the passing of time. It is easier to do so now in a modern world dominated by technology. With the help of smartphones, you can easily reach your family and friends no matter the distance.

Social media and the web made communication easier for everyone on the planet. Mobile messaging apps are crucial in your everyday life especially if you own a smartphone yourself – which happens to be a big majority of the population. As long as there is an Internet or WiFi connection, you can connect with all your friends through messaging apps that are often offered for free not to mention the cute and colorful stickers to make your conversations even livelier.

Chinese internet giant Tencent said Saturday its messaging app WeChat had been blocked in Russia, adding it was in touch with authorities to resolve the issue.

WeChat, known as Weixin in China, is the world’s most popular messaging service, with 889 million global users by the end of 2016.

As well as messaging, it also offers payment, ride-hailing and other services, and Tencent has ambitions to spread the app beyond China.

It is unclear how many users WeChat has in Russia.

“We’re experiencing a block and we’re deeply sorry,” a Tencent official said on a company microblog.

“Russian regulations say online service providers have to register with the government but WeChat doesn’t have the same understanding (of the rules),” the official added.

A spokesman for Russia’s telecoms watchdog Roskomnadzor said the messaging service “did not provide its contact information for the register of information distribution organisations.”


Hey, this is no personal attack on China if that is what you are thinking. These two countries may not always be on the same side but this move is purely business. According to Russia, China failed to provide their contact details to be included in the country’s register of information. Russia passed a law in 2014 requiring search engines, SNS, and messaging services from abroad that storage of Russian user’s info to be restricted within Russia only.

In Russia, WeChat is just the latest casualty in Moscow's clampdown on international social media platforms. Last week, the communications regulator blocked Line (LN), Blackberry (BBRY, Tech30) and Imo messengers, according to Russian news outlet RT. In November, it banned LinkedIn, the social network for professionals that's owned by Microsoft (MSFT, Tech30).


Bigger tech companies like Facebook and Google don’t always comply with Russian rules but they still continue to operate in the country simply because they are mammoth forces to reckon with. Meanwhile, smaller companies have no excuse and will be blocked or banned at the slightest mistake.

The reason behind the ban is that WeChat, owned by Tencent, allegedly did not turn over to Russian authorities the data. Tencent said that as an organization engaged in the distribution of online information, it was required to turn over data when requested by Russian officials. Quartz reports that the possible real reason behind the ban is a law passed in 2014 that mandates all foreign Internet companies to store the data of Russian users on servers in the country and not overseas.

Because Google and Facebook are global giants, these companies, even if it were covered by Roskomnadzor’s regulations, could still operate normally in the socialist European nation even if these companies do not comply with the agency’s laws. However, smaller portals such as LinkedIn was no match to the agency which banned the website when it told the regulatory agency it would not comply.

WeChat, or Weixin in China, has 889 million users around the world, making the app the most popular messaging service in the world. Vadim Ampelonsky, from the regulator, disclosed that it sent letters to Google Play and iTunes to block the app in Russia. Roskomnadzor had also blocked in Russia BlackBerry Messenger and Line, CTV News reported.


It’s ironic actually that Russia just mirrored the extreme censorship regulations imposed by China when it came to technology use and mobile communication but it seems that China is getting a taste of its own medicine right now. If it makes the Chinese feel a little better, though, is that they aren’t the first to be blocked by the Russians. LINE by Japan, Blackberry Messenger, and LinkedIn have all been previously blocked for the same reasons too. Unfortunately, nobody can tell how many Russian WeChat users will be affected by this move as of date.

The blog article Russians Say No To WeChat Read more on: Blog


Sunday, 20 August 2017

Blogging Mistakes To Avoid

Much has changed in the world these days. While conventional careers are still a great way to make a living, there are newer opportunities now for those who aren’t afraid of pursuing new paths especially if you are tech-savvy and know your way in the crazy thing we call the web. And I’m not just talking about technical jobs that only a handful knows of. If you’ve been browsing the web, you’d notice that it is populated with content – written content to be exact.

Aside from old-school content writing, blogging is fast becoming a lucrative career in the World Wide Web. From social media influencers to vloggers, blogging has evolved to become a multi-faceted career where you don’t just get paid by advertisers but even receive lots of freebies or sponsored trips to events by sponsors with all expenses paid. And best of all, you don’t need to be a degree holder to be successful as a blogger just as long as you have a knack for writing and can write really engaging content that will get the readers hooked.

Singh has a few words of advice for other bloggers. "Don't give up your full time job before you start making money as a blogger or an influencer," she says, adding, "Stick to your niche. You won't become successful overnight but if you keep working at it and stay authentic- success will come. Also, remember to post only good quality content. It is okay if you can't post everyday as long as your content game is strong."

Communicating and networking are also important in her book. "Try and see how people respond when you share your story with the world. Interact with other bloggers from different walks - even in the virtual space, networking is extremely important to make friends and be inspired by different accounts. Every once in a while, scroll through your feed and comment on accounts that inspire you and tell them why. Pay them a compliment but really mean it and follow up with a message to meet or chat. This goes a long way in establishing relationships, even in the online space."


Many popular bloggers nowadays with high site traffic really earn more than enough from their blogs but many will also agree that it isn’t always easy starting out. If you have plans to become a professional blogger yourself, it would help to know which blogging mistakes to avoid and not just solely focus on what to do to get your name and blog out there.

Many bloggers want to get their website at the top of search results right away. Some may want to build their subscriber list as fast as possible. Others may not know why or how to organize and measure their efforts. These are just a few of the common issues bloggers can have when they’re just starting out. It’s how mistakes can happen.
1) Wrong Priorities

Business bloggers are often guilty of choosing the wrong goals and techniques when creating content. These are two of the most problematic priority mistakes I see…

Mistake One: Prioritizing the Sale

A business thrives off of sales, so you may think your blog needs to push for that. Bloggers with the wrong priorities may create content that’s pushing self-promotion with the single goal of making an immediate sale.

That’s not how blogs are meant to be used, and it’s not how you’ll bring in business.

Writing blog articles that are sales-y and overly self-promotional will be a waste of your time and effort. Instead, take advantage of this better way to get sales from your blog…


Of course, most bloggers want to make money from their blogs but it isn’t always that easy. First of all, make sure you target the right audience if you want to monetize your blog by gaining qualified leads.

When you start blogging, writing post after post without getting a response or “like” can be quite discouraging. But remember that it can take a while for your target market to find you and spread the word. Don’t give up! There will come a point when your devotion and determination pay off. Your email list grows and your income rises with each passing month.

Make it a habit of posting on a schedule at least 2-3 times a week. Track the stats for when your people read the content. Schedule posts for those days and times. Train your audience to visit your blog on “new post” days to get the latest scoop.

Until your readership picks up, you can keep yourself busy by posting evergreen content that educates, engages, and informs your audience. These types of posts will still work hard for you years after you post them. Also, remember to share your posts on Facebook and other social media outlets to drive traffic to your blog.


Nobody is perfect. Making these blogging mistakes is common especially when you’re just starting out whether you are a novice or a pro in the field. In order to drive traffic to your site, you have to make an effort in creating quality and engaging content that will captivate your readers and keep them coming back for more.

Having your own blog is also a great way to let people know that you are experienced enough in the industry and they can count on your expert words of advice on relevant questions and issues they may have about a related issue. Still, the road to success is a bumpy one, so try to avoid these mistakes as much as you can or overcome one after the other to deliver a blog that will not only generate money but the people’s thumb’s up as well.

The blog article Blogging Mistakes To Avoid was originally published on


Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Meet And Greet With Some Of The Brightest Minds In Science

The world is full of all sorts of people. From the smartest and the not so gifted, you’ll interact with these people as you journey in life. If you have an interest in the sciences and want to rub elbows with the nation’s brightest, joining a science fair or conference is the best thing to do. It provides you an avenue to meet like-minded individuals and be updated on the latest developments of various science programs or projects.

Even students can also benefit from these science conferences since it provides them with education opportunities they don’t often have in the four corners of the classroom especially if you have a keen interest in science yourself. The world at large may think of people with scientific interests as nerds and dorks but the truth is their profession is highly collaborative and they get to share ideas and communicate with other scientists like themselves and not just have their heads buried in books or busy with complex science experiments.

First of all, why do you go to conferences? 

I find conferences rejuvenating. They are inspirational and energizing opportunities to connect with the greater scientific community, think about new strategies to approach my research, contemplate the bigger picture, and establish collaborations. A good conference has the capacity to bring a scientist, no matter their career stage, out of a slump.
- Tenaya Vallery, doctoral candidate in molecular biophysics and biochemistry at
Yale University

For me, the main benefits are meeting people, honing my communication skills, discussing ideas, and getting input about my work. Often, the inquiries I receive about collaborations and job openings are from people I met at conferences.
- Nonne Prisle, associate professor in atmospheric science at the
University of Oulu in Finland

Papers usually make it seem like the experimental results discovered themselves, and going to conferences allows me to find out about the human motivation and broader context. I also like getting new perspectives on science, making new friends (as life as a graduate student can be a little insular), and the chance to discover a new city.
- Julian West, doctoral candidate in chemistry at
Princeton University


Any scientist knows that attending these conferences not only builds up their resumes but gives them a chance to learn more about new and upcoming innovative technologies you don’t just hear in the daily news.

The event, which saw the organisation collaborate with the council, Fundacion Descubre and the company Fun Science, will take place on 2, 3 and 4 June, under the name “AteneoConCiencia.”

Fuensanta Lima, Councillor for Culture, commented, “once again the council is helping children learn about science through practical activities and conferences tailored for all.” She added the conference was the, “fruit of public initiatives and different organisations, and a great addition to the cultural programme already offered in the area.”

The event will include children exhibitions, workshops and informative conferences on science and health. In the Cortijo Don Elias, there will also be an exhibition entitled ‘Crystals of life’, which will explore the history of crystals and their influence on daily life.


If you think that science fairs and conferences are just for boring adults, then you are largely mistaken. It is even better to expose young kids to these fairs to open their minds to the scientific world even at a young age. Making science a fun concept to learn will help them embrace new scientific learning with ease and save them from the dread and challenges most kids feel about difficult science subjects at school. Not only that, the world of science becomes a more tangible thing for their young minds as they get to try interactive workshops during the fair that aren’t available in their schools just yet.

Meet And Greet With Some Of The Brightest Minds In Science is available on


Thursday, 10 August 2017

Recycling: Are You Doing It Right?

Our world often revolves around material stuff. Blame it on capitalism – the average person now owns a lot of things he does not need nor will ever use but felt compelled to buy. That’s the power of sales talk. Even the ads you see on TV, on billboards, and even those tiny pop-ups on your computer screen all deliver the same message – to buy more and more material things. It’s an endless cycle, an insatiable desire to accumulate objects that have made the world more stuffy than it already is aside from them being detrimental to your health at times.

Apart from the booming human population, material objects continue to clutter the world. It not only takes up a lot of space in your home and a big chunk of your paycheck but it has proven to be detrimental to the environment as many of these objects aren’t non-biodegradable and some can be toxic too. Attaching sentimental value to an object makes it also harder for people to throw it away and you might probably hold onto it for years.

The act of depositing an item into a recycling bin doesn't make it disappear -- nor guarantee that it won't end up in a landfill -- yet it's quite enough to influence our decisions. Sometimes for the worse.

In a study titled "Recycling gone bad," participants were split into two groups, given sheets of paper and asked to rate a new brand of scissors. One group only had a trash bin in the room, the other both a trash bin and a recycling bin. This group used far more paper to "test" the scissors.

A similar finding came from a follow-up study involving paper towels in a restroom. A bin marked with a recycling symbol created a significant uptick in consumption.

If the option to recycle is present, it seems, we use more resources: "We think this happens because people think about recycling in terms of its environmental benefits, with less awareness that there are also environmental costs," said Jesse R. Catlin of Sacramento State University, one of the authors of the study.

"This view may allow people to rationalize to themselves that consuming more is OK, as long as they recycle."


You can see it all around you. Landfills are as high as mountains. Trash is everywhere. The governments of most countries are now implementing stricter recycling policies to force the people to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Our lives may be fleeting but our trash stays behind and it gets really crowded over time.

The study shows that placing bins 1.5 metres away from suite doors drastically boosts recycling and composting rates by 141 per cent. The findings highlight how small changes in convenience can have a big impact on performance.

"We know people care about the environment but having the desire to recycle and compost doesn't always translate into behaviour changes," said Alessandra DiGiacomo, the study's lead author and a PhD student in the UBC department of psychology. "Perhaps unsurprisingly, we found that people composted and recycled much more when we made it more convenient."

Since convenience has been shown to change other types of behaviours, such as choosing healthier food options, the researchers predicted that convenience would also increase composting and recycling behaviours.


Research now shows that human psychology plays a big role in a person’s recycling efforts. These studies reveal that human behavior is largely influenced by any changes in their surroundings. For instance, we all know what recycling is all about and how it helps the environment yet only a handful does it. Even though education helps in informing people about the subject, convenience plays a big part to how well the majority will support the idea. Will you go out of your way and throw a piece of trash when no trash can is in sight? Or will you save up used plastic bottles for recycling and bring to the next town for recycling since your city does not have a recycling center of your own?

While your good judgment tells you to do the right thing, you can easily shrug off the idea and justify your actions using various excuses you can come up with. When it comes to waste management, the experts and government leaders should include human behavior in planning for systems to implement so their efforts do not go to waste and the waste management issue finally be solved.

Recycling: Are You Doing It Right? was originally published on


Friday, 4 August 2017

The French Way Of Life

Saying that the French are passionate people is an understatement. The French culture says it all. They often give their heart and soul in everything they do and they view their government with as much passion too. It’s like a couple madly in love but still adamant in encouraging (forcing) their partners to get rid of their annoying little quirks that drive them nuts.

Like the couple analogy, the French sees their government as an important aspect of their lives and cherish it despite the good and the bad. But the passion they have for their government isn’t just that of a silently observing constituent but more of an aggressive advocate whose patriotism can border to dissent anytime. Unfortunately, the parliament seldom intervenes to hopefully resolve some of these serious arguments between the people and the state.

The recent French presidential elections have captured the attention of the world’s media. Aside from last year’s US elections, few elections in recent memory have attracted so much attention, commentary and anticipation.

In France, the stakes were high. Marine Le Pen of the fascist National Front had, until recent months, been polling ahead of all other parties. The mainstream centre left party, the Socialist Party, had been polling abysmally and scored a catastrophic 6 percent in the first round.

The candidate of the traditional right, François Fillon, was embroiled in scandals and, along with his Socialist rival, Benoît Hamon, failed to make it to the second round, leaving the run-off to be contested by Le Pen and the centre right, neoliberal Emmanuel Macron.

The political landscape on which this historic and unprecedented election has taken place is vast, complex and shaped by decades of economic stagnation, high unemployment, a mainstream centre left that has consistently attacked and betrayed its working class base and the rise and mainstreaming of Islamophobia.


Despite winning the presidential election, protests greeted Macron short after his win as the French people’s way of warning him to stop attacking labor rights even further, which isn’t actually new considering how much the French workers love to protest over the past few decades. It seems as if that the controversial election did not succeed in demoralizing the French union movement after all.

Macron had another advantage: he put forth a seemingly reasonable program for curing France’s economic ills, which are critical: government spending at 57% of GDP, the highest in Europe; a retirement age of 62 and a 35-hour workweek; 3,500 pages of employment regulations; an unemployment rate of nearly 10% (double that for those under 25); a GDP growth rate barely over 1%; public debt at nearly 90% of GDP; an income tax rate topping out at 45%; nine million people living below the poverty line; and welfare spending at nearly 32% of GDP. Macron promises to tackle the job and growth-killing policies that have created these dismal numbers, but he’s unlikely to have a parliamentary coalition big enough to get such reforms through. Don’t forget, about a third of the French voters cast a “pox on both your houses” vote, either abstaining or casting a blank or spoiled “white ballot.” This suggests a fragile foundation for Macron’s future government.

And if he tries to follow through on his campaign promises, he will likely meet stiff resistance from critics of “neoliberalism,” the epithet in Europe for free-market capitalism. In March 2006, 2.7 million mostly young French people protested against a minor reform of employment law that would allow entry-level workers to be more easily let go. And that was when the president was Jacques Chirac, a socialist who decried “Anglo-Saxon ultraliberalism,” Euro-speak for laissez-faire capitalism. Ten years later, socialist prime minister Manuel Valls faced nationwide riots and protests, some broken up with tear gas, over other employment reforms, which he had to get passed by invoking special powers and bypassing parliament. President Macron and his “neoliberal” reforms are unlikely to be any more successful, given the strength of Mélanchon’s support, the disaffection with Macron of a third of French voters, and the French people’s enduring love for their short work-week and generous subsidies.


France’s young president has a huge obstacle to overcome in the form of massive unemployment and slow economic growth that has proven to be quite difficult to overcome for quite some time now. Moreover, he’ll likely face an ever-increasing national debt as France tries its best to provide the basic social benefits of its people. If he can’t do anything about these issues, the French would likely take to the streets once more to air their grievances in protest because it has worked for them in the past. We just don’t know, though, whether it will still be an effective tactic because its effects seem to have weakened over the past few years.

The French Way Of Life Find more on: Blog