Wednesday, May 11, 2011

FEMA Issues

FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is responsible for giving aid to Americans who are left with practically nothing after a natural disaster. In 2005, a busy year for FEMA, several thousand grants were given out to those who qualified for the money- and also to those who weren't. FEMA has issued a statement to about 5,500 people that they need to repay the money sent to them by FEMA. Victims of floods, and possibly victims of hurricane Katrina, will be asked to repay what was given to them. Now, nearly all of these people have already spent the money in efforts to restart their lives, like for a new house. These people don't have that kind of money anymore- in some cases up to $27,000 is being requested. Also, these people were given 30 days to pay it off. Obviously this is very unreasonable, so FEMA is attempting to come to an agreement with them and try and find some sort of payment method. FEMA is requesting this money back because of financial, and employee errors. In times like this, it's almost impossible to expect from these people what FEMA is asking. In hard economic times, these people, who are just not getting their lives back together, can't afford to lose it all. My question to the readers, is do you or do you not think the people should be required to repay what they were given? Remember the money given to them in the first place was not a loan, and is typically not required to be re-payed. However, the agency is still obligated to try and reclaim misplaced funds. So please comment with you're answer, as well as an explanation why you feel that way. I personally believe that these people should not have to repay what was given to them years ago because the money has already been used to jump-start these people lives after a devastating natural disaster such as Katrina. There is no way these people can afford to pay $20,000, especially in a recession like this. Making these people repay this money will just complicate their lives even more, and make things much harder. Maybe a payment plan is more reasonable though, as I do understand that the agency is required to reclaim these funds. Let me know what you think!

-Matt Willis

LBJ Construction Faces Difficulties

LBJ, one of the most congested highways in the nation, has recently begun a 5-year construction project to reduce the terrible 5 o'clock traffic. According to an article about the construction, over 500,000 vehicles each day travel this highway. The project, $2 billion dollars in itself, includes the addition of 13 miles with new lanes for LBJ and 4 miles south on 35E. The construction will also include some underground toll lanes for those who are willing to pay for the project. But obviously, there are bad things that come with the reconstruction too.

During the FIVE year period in which this will take place, consumers can expect even more traffic from the construction. Certain lanes will be blocked off, access roads will be shut, and exits will be changed. Combining this post with another article, I read earlier that many businesses located along the highway are worried they will loose business from the folks that are not willing to exit the traffic. Due to this fear, organizers say that most of the project will be worked on during the evenings and nights to eliminate the possibility of economic downfall for businesses.

Since I live right next to LBJ, I see just how crowded the highway can get. But hopefully, after the construction is finished, the additional lanes will be worth the time and money. LBJ is expected to be able to hold up to half a million consumers at one time.

-Amber Stephens

Google Chrome PCs

According to a recent article, the new Google Chrome PCs will go on sale in June to compete with Apple and Microsoft as the world's best search engine. These PCs are part of Googles attempt to create an easier and more convenient computer for consumers. According to the Chrome website, this software is faster, simpler, and safer. In many ways, it seems as if this product is replicating the Apple software (only in a different way). Since so many people are already satisfied with the simple and clean Apple products, what makes Google think they will switch to Chrome? Google says that the software is "essentially a web browser that steers users to use applications like email and spreadsheets directly on the web". This would not only boost the number of consumers willing to try Chrome, but could possibly reduce the number of consumers using Outlook or Word. Chrome and Windows (a program that has been used and trusted for years by almost 90% of the world) are huge rivals since they are compliments to one other. Google is trying to satisfy their customers by removing the burden of time consuming tasks like installing updates, backing up files, and running anti-virus checks. Using the internet reduces the need to do these things. Additionally, since Chrome requires consumers to use the internet more, many will choose to use the Google search engine, "boosting Google's Internet ads business".

But what about those people without internet? It would be hard to create or access an important document if internet service is unavailable for your new laptop. Google needs to come up with some sort of solution to this.

Let's not forget that the demand for Apple products continues to increase and the software is only becoming more popular with time. Google will need to find more ways to attract the attention away from Apple and more to itself. Lowering the prices in June is one way that could create more demand since it will be more affordable.

-Amber Stephens

Toyota quarterly profits drop but recovery expected

According to a BBC article, “Toyota Motors' profits plummeted by 77% in the last quarter because of disruption caused by March's earthquake. “ Reports say that profits fell to $315.5 million USD between January and March. The drop is caused due to a shortage of parts caused by the earthquake. They claim that by July production will start increasing but that it will not recover until the end of the year. Toyota Motors is currently having a shortage. Thought eh demand remains the same or probably even higher, the company is unable to supply the quantity demanded causing disequilibrium. During this time of the shortage Toyota will losing customers to competitors creating a substantial loss of profit for the company. But as well over the time of their shortage, demand will build up, as more and more consumer want to purchase a car from Toyota. This build up of demand will eventually benefit the company in the future when they are able to supply the quantity demanded. Over the next few months their production will pick up and the factory will start being able to supply more cars, witch eventually will put their market back in equilibrium and some of their profit will be made up by the excess demand during the shortage.
Santiago Z

Gaga for Lady Gaga!!!

Many people know about Lady Gaga due to her catchy songs and her eye-catching outfits. Her audience is very diverse because of her songs and her speeches of one being who they truly are. She has been able to sell out every concert of her Monster Ball tour at an age of 25 years. Tickets averaged of a cost of $112 making a fortune. The demand to see Lady Gaga is very high but not everyone can afford a ticket and going to a concert of hers can be seen as a luxury that not everyone can enjoy so the supply is very limited. Some fans will save their money so they will be able to buy a ticket so they can do the trade-off they desire. Due to her big audience companies such as Virgin Mobile want to use her image and be promoted in her concerts to obtain consumers. Virgin Mobile even donated $20,000 as stated in the article to secure the liability of Lady Gaga to advertise Virgin Mobile in her concerts. These is a strategy of Virgin Mobile to obtain a variety of clients on behalf of Lady Gaga, who many fans perceive her as an icon, since many fans want what their idol have in a lower scale. Will other companies call Lady Gaga to promote their goods? Will Lady Gaga be one of the richest singers in the future as her concert prices go higher and demand increases?

By Abby Garcia

McDonald's Vs. Subway

Food is inelastic because people have to consume food regardless of the price. However, the people have the right to choose what they want to consume. Logically they will target the cheaper food products. Recently, the Subway food chain will soon surpass the McDonald’s food chain of restaurants. Even though the McDonald’s budget passes Subway’s budget by billions of dollars, Subway is determine to open more locations. A strategy that McDonald’s utilizes is it has many locations internationally while Subway tries to open locations in places such as malls, stores, and gas stations to provide the option of food without crossing the street. McDonald reassures that in the long term of business it will still surpass Subway. On the hand, the popularity of Subway is growing we can start to see that consumer sovereignty is going towards healthier food options with lower prices, which represents competition for McDonald’s. Consumers are starting make better trade-offs such as buying a Subway sandwich over a 2,000 calorie meal at McDonald. Consumers will always look for their options to pursue their self-interest. McDonald and Subway must keep present that some consumers can make a decision due to the income effect and McDonald’s has a dollar menu, which is a disadvantage for Subway. Will Subway surpass McDonald’s profit in the future? Will Subway suffer economically and shut down locations giving McDonald’s the win?
By Abby Garcia

Microsoft Expansion

All businesses go through an expansion period, and recently, technology giant Microsoft has begun to expand again. On May 10, 2011, Microsoft bought Skype for $8.5 billion. This expansion allows for many more consumers to get the benefits that Microsoft has to offer. Skype had over 170 million users at the time of the purchase. This influx of consumers for Microsoft will surely increase demand for other Microsoft items. For example, Microsoft is thinking about offering Skype on the Xbox Live Marketplace. While it’s a stretch, this may provoke people to buy the Xbox game system if they were originally a PS3 person. However, many of the other gaming systems don’t offer this level of social networking, which is a major factor these days in purchasing game systems. This will create an increase in demand, which in turn will drive prices to equilibrium. Since an increase in demand is an outward shift of the demand curve, equilibrium would drive prices higher for Microsoft products, thus providing the opportunity to gain more profit, which is the goal of all businesses and firms. Skype is also going to be offered on Windows phones. So not only is Microsoft’s purchase going to show up in the gaming community, but it’s also going to show up in the general community. This is going to increase demand for Windows phones. And if equilibrium is reached, then prices for Windows phones will go up, maximizing Microsoft’s profit.
-Mark E.

PSN to Be Running Again by May 31

Many PSN users will be happy to hear that their beloved gaming network will be up and running again by May 31. For almost three weeks, the massive networks of gamers that use the PSN haven’t been able to access online gameplay due to the hackers that attacked it. This caused Sony to shut down the network until the problem is fixed in order to prevent further damage by the hackers. Everyone’s suffering from the outage of the network. There’s bound to be a decrease of demand this month due to the outage, which screws over Sony in this month’s profits. Fortunately though, this decrease in demand should drive prices for the PS3, or anything else that has the PSN, lower. However, I think it would take a much longer time for this decrease in demand to deal any major damage. On the other hand though, producers and developers of the major games that use the PSN are also getting screwed over. People aren’t going to go out and buy a game if they can’t even access the online portion of the game. This really hurts Sony because everyone who would have bought a PS3 this month during the outage, and the games that go along with the system, have most likely turned to Microsoft and bought an Xbox, which is a substitute for the PS3. For the most part though, we won’t see the extent of the damage until it releases its sales report sometime this year.
-Mark E.

Baskin Robins making a deal with 31 Cent Scoop Night

Baskin Robins 31 Cent Scoop Night was a huge success for all of the neighbors surrounding nearby locations on April 27. This event was inspired by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. For the fifth year in a row Baskin Robbins has had more success than imagined, raising $100,000 all for charity. The event raises interest and demand for customers and for some is a very sweet treat with the price and the ice cream. We all know that with summer coming around this spiked the demand for many ice cream lovers and got them re-interested in their favorite sweet treat. This was a very smart move on Baskin Robins part because, by lowering the price, consumers are more inclined to buy more than one scoop, then spending more money, and also more likely to come with their families and friends to have a cheap night out. With the price lowered, consumers feel more at ease with their purchase, and will not have buyer’s remorse when it comes to overpriced ice cream. This will then make the consumer think back to the good times they had at Baskin Robins and come back there, thus increasing the flow of the economy.

--Sarah Allegro

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Seeing a fight is a form of entertainment, which boxers inside the ring gain millions of dollars. For example, the fight between Mosley and Pacquiao should have had a better outcome. Viewers were disappointed at the performance of these well-known boxers. As a result, viewers suspected the fight was just fixed for profit. The representatives knew that by fixing this fight would result in high profit because peoples’ demand was high and the prices of tickets were ridiculously high because they knew that people were willing to pay a high cost for this boxing match. The ticket prices for famous boxers such as Manny Pacquiao seem to be inelastic to his fans; therefore, the representatives take advantage of this fact to organize a fight that will produce millions of dollars. The income effect will come into play as the fans will start to save money and cut themselves from other trade-offs in order to be faithful to their idol Pacquiao. The organizers have already starting to plan a match between Pacquiao and Mayweather that is surely to generate more millions than this past match. However the question still remains if famous boxers keep organizing matches that will produce millions will the demand go down if the performances keep being unsatisfactory to the public like this past performance?

By Abby Garcia

AT&T Starts Capping Broadband

This week, AT&T began capping Internet delivery to DSL and broadband customers. Economically, I can see how AT&T would feel the need to start this cap. AT&T analysts strategized this move, like many other broadband providers, such as Comcast. This move was set in place, in order that customers will not completely drop cable or satellite. Many customers have found that video on demand, like Netflix and Blockbuster, instead of television on demand works out perfectly for their situations. AT&T economists do not want Netflix to become a monopoly, and lose money on the cable companies. This cap was also set, because the highest-traffic users download as much as 19 typical households, on average, which slows speeds for other users, AT&T said. Personally, as soon as my family and I, AT&T U-Verse, and cellular users, heard of this news we quickly started looking into other cable, Internet, and cellular options for us. Even though in the big picture for AT&T this is a smart move, because eventually all cable providers will begin enforcing caps, in the short run, I think that AT&T will begin to start loosing many of their valued customers. Looking at the comments at the bottom of the article attached, you can see that many are very upset about this and the AT&T users will begin to decline significantly.

Sarah Allegro

Groupon, Live Nation partner on concert discounts

Groupon and Live Nation have decided to join together in selling discounted tickets for concerts around the country. Both of these discounted ticket sites are both successful individually. By combing both of these major companies, each company will lose money. Joining these two companies will cause the demand to go higher but the price of the tickets will remain the same, causing each site to lose money. Although each site will be loosing money, people in general will be more pleased. Combing these two sites will allow people to pay less for a better concert. Live nation and Groupon used to be compliments of each other, but now that they have combined, it will make the site more pleasing to others, not including themselves. Buyers, like me will be spending less time working on finding the best discounted concert ticket price, because there will be one less site to check on.  Which is another reason why combing these two major companies will be easier and more useful to the people. Although the companies may lose money, each company has had their own strengths, which, in the end will help the combining of the two companies more than the others. Live Nation and Groupon both, together will have to compete against the most widely known discounted ticket seller, Ticketmaster. Also, by combing these two companies it will cause a greater competition between all of the discounted concert ticket companies.

-Meggan S.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Payrolls Show Strong Growth but Jobless Rate Rises

Unemployment ratescontinue to rise while the pay rate and number of jobs available increase. This is showing signs of a lagging indicator; people are seeing older unemployment rates and are figuring there is no chance to find a job, while indeed there are plenty of new jobs available everyday. Motoko Rich, the writer of the article stated that they major worry for the Labor Department is that unemployment insurance claims are still rising. Leaving economists to question what the problem is have unemployed Americans just given up? Or are the available jobs not what they are looking for. A big factor coming into play is the rising gas prices; it is difficult to drive around looking for a job when they know that gas is at about $4.00 a gallon. The job market right now is a huge lagging indicator though, economists make note that the job market right now might be seen as bad, but it isn’t as bad as it seems. Along with the number of jobs available, they pay rate has increase by three cents, but the hours worked is still a little flat at about 35 hours per week on average. It doesn’t mean we are out of the woods completely but it is an “out of the woods report.” So there is a light at the end of this tunnel of the great recession in the job market.

-Haley M

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A 50-Book List in This Economy

Well here's a little nugget from the UK. The Independent online newspaper just released an 'official' 50-book list, deemed the fifty books that every child, eleven years old, should read. Talk about advertising; The Independent, being on par with the Huffington Post in America, is one of the most read online magazines in Britain, and has an enormous fan base, which, statistically, must have a good handful of parents of younger-aged children. While many of the books on the list could be considered classical works, many are contemporary works by authors still avidly working their craft.

Regardless of whether the literacy rate rises, or the average books-read-per-year increases due to this list being published is insignificant. What this list will surely do, is increase both the supply and demand of all the books given on the list. As parents flock to bookstores to buy the 'books all their kids should be reading,' the price for each book will naturally increase to eliminate the excess demand that could spring up from this list. Going past the books though, what does this mean for bookstores? It's safe to assume that, because many of the books are classics that the parents have read themselves, some parents will succumb to reacquiring the old editions of the books that they read as children, meaning small business bookstores could see a small surge in customers due to this list as well, as the large, chain book retailers tend to stock only the most modern versions of the books on their shelves.

-Zander Mapes

The Death of the Playstation?

In case you missed it, the online system of the Playstation --Playstation Network, or PSN-- was hacked in the last week of April. It was a big fiasco, as thousands of credit card numbers and various other forms of user information was stolen, and Sony had to shut down the PSN entirely, leaving many people without a way to watch movies or play video games. However, what's worse, recent reports indicate that much of the information has been released by the hackers online, and Sony announced that they would not be able to re-initiate their online system until a later, undefined date. How does this relate to economics? It's a prime example of a situation that would cause people to substitute products. Commonly, the theory states that a person will replace a product they are purchasing for something less expensive, and sometimes inferior, especially if their income changes suddenly, but what happens in a situation like this? Surely, some people will temporarily, if not permanently, move to another medium of entertainment, inferior or not. Surely, Microsoft will see an increase in users of the Xbox and their online system, or Nintendo, with their Wii and online system. Basically, the sudden lack of demand for the Playstation is leaving a vacuum that will naturally be filled with the supplies of the video game alternatives available. A similar situation seen in the past would be the situation that Peter Pan Peanut Butter found themselves in a while back. Reports of Salmonella kept popping up due to consumption of that Peter Pan brand. Naturally, people replaced the Peter Pan Peanut Butter they usually purchased with another brand of peanut butter, at least until the Salmonella scare had passed, but I'm sure some people ended up finding themselves fancying their new peanut butter from then on, whether because of continued fears of illness, or because they preferred the taste. So, too, will some people permanently drift away from their Playstations.

-Zander Mapes

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Fish Soup

Would you break the law if it were lucrative enough? How lucrative you say?
How about $40 per unit. No its not meth, its something much more dangerous you'd
be smuggling…something that could take a chunk out of you. Recently a fishmonger
weighed the pros and cons of smuggling the illegal snakehead fish in New York. Sadly it
didn't work out for him since he got caught and now must face the consequences. The
economics behind this escapade though are pretty interesting. Mr. Wu (the fish monger)
would sell snakehead soup for close to forty dollars a bowl. The demand for this bizarre
delicacy was obviously very high since he could charge an arm and a leg just for a bowl
of the stuff. Not to mention there was enough demand that he would risk getting some
major consequences for breaking the law if caught. One must deduce then that the reason
price is so high is because the supply doesn’ t meet demand causing a flux in price by
creating a second market. The invisible hand of the market place will always move the
price of an item to equilibrium…even illegal ones. As long as snakehead fish are still
in high demand, the supply will continue to rise-no matter the cost of life or limb. Feel
free to read up here.

-Henri Levy

The (Anti)Hipster Movement

An infestation has been sweeping across America recently. I have been an actual witness to this. We have been over run by hipsters. Being humane though we don’t want to kill the hipsters we just want to put them in a place where we can't see them. Here's the skinny jeans on the situation. There is a HUGE supply of hipsters right now. Now our demand of hipsters cannot keep up with the amount of hipsters there are. Their pretentiousness is only tolerable in 2s or maybe 3s but any more is too many. Since are demand for hipsters is dwindling, the supply should start dropping soon…one can only hope. With this surplus of hipsters we must decide what we want to do with them. We have two options 1) take care of them 2) put them somewhere and let the government take care of it for us. The best decision is to put the hipsters somewhere and just pay the spillover cost of doing so (spillover cost being the price we pay when government picks up and deals with trash and waste). The benefits are many by doing so. The most notable being reduced time around them. Help fix the problem by reading the article here

-Henri Levy

Going green, or going down?

The posting of First Solar’s first quarter earnings were shocking compared to Wall Street’s estimates on Tuesday May 3, 2011. First Solar is one of the world’s largest solar energy companies which received an estimated net income of $116 million for the first quarter this year, 2011: this number represents a 33% drop from the first quarter of 2010 which would have brought in about $154 million. Net sales, however came in at $567 mil this quarter which was very similar to last year’s net sales and was greater than estimates of about $544 mil. First Solar mentioned that lower sales this year led to lower selling prices which inevitably lowered their net income this quarter. This statement very well explains the law of supply in their situation of decreased sales. With these number not even in favor of the company, CEO Rob Gillette of First Solar felt there was good hope for rising demand in the rest of 2011. With this positive attitude, it is estimated that net sales by the end of 2011 will approximately hit $3.7 to $3.8 billion. Hoping that net sales will rise to these numbers by the end of this year’s fourth quarter, First Solar will have to find the key to greater demand. In this economy though, with its high gas prices and go green attitude, this should hopefully prove easy to accomplish.
Written by: Holly Williams

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Is Odd Future Taking Over the Music Scene?

Odd Future has been making headlines recently with their charged and sometimes racy lyrics. Rolling Stone recently reported that the group, comprising of multiple solo rappers, has decided to team up with Red Distribution and Sony to create their own record label: Odd Future Records. For months they have been using the internet to hype up their music, all while having some animosity. The hype they have created has generated an increase in demand for their music, which Odd Future puts online for free download. The free downloads (supply) from the group helps satisfy the demand for their music, but people are craving for more. Their music has also stirred up controversy for their very racy lyrics. This decreases the demand of some people who do not want to listen to such vulgar and demoralizing music. But there is still enough of a demand for Odd Future to make new music. By opening their own record label, they are giving themselves artistic domain over themselves, creating an environment for them to create whatever music they want without having to censor it. They can also distribute and produce albums at whatever price they want (as to satisfy the label to keep it afloat). This can help satisfy the demand of some who want hard copies of their music, but how long can they keep making racy music without talking about the same things over and over again? They have created the hype and demand of their music, but if they do not try to vary their music in some aspect, then they can personally decrease the demand of their music, which would lead to excess supply in the fact that they have all of these physical albums and t-shirts and whatnot, but no one to sell them too. Only time will tell to see if they can remain a hot commodity in the music business, or if they will forever be just a flash in the pan.

Caitlin Harrington

The Politics and Economics of a Falling Dollar

According to a recent article in the Washington post author Steve Pearlstein argues that national problems in the United States are really global finical crises in disguise. Pearlstein’s bold claim goes back to the restructuring of the world economy in the 1940’s, as Pearlstein notes after World War II and the collapse of previously dominate nations the United States and other nations were forced to restructure the world economy based upon the dollar. However the transferring of the dollar to foreign nations has allowed clever individuals to manipulate the value of the dollar and allows the United States to borrow beyond its means. The article also discusses the macroeconomic imbalance and disequilibrium created by Asian nations such as China, and Taiwan using the dollar as much of their currency. Furthermore Pearlstein argues that the dollar being the main base of currencies around the world is rooted in an old mindset beginning in World War I and ending after the Cold War. However as time passed European nations and Asian nations alike have been allowed to grow their economies creating disequilibrium in the international arena, and shifting the tide away from the United States previous influence. Pearlstein concludes noting that the dollar will decline the question is merely how fast and when. He notes that the United States national problems are actually related to growing influence internationally, other nations currencies have grown and some people are getting more creative on how they use a dollar.( unlike the United States). Feel free to post comments related to macroeconomics and the dollar.
Blake A.

The Tragedy of the Commons and Overfishing

According to a recent article in the Huffington post the World Trade Organization or WTO is currently working on fishing subsidies that would attempt to eliminate unfair and destructive fishing policies while allowing for fishers to have continued access to abundant resources. The WTO says that if the negations fail to make headway in the international arena it would not only affect global health and economic policies but would also undermine the policies that the WTO is working on in other areas. The WTO hopes to pass the regulations in 2011 as part of the Doha trade round, while the United States already supports some measures of reducing overfishing the WTO calls for more cooperation from U.S. ambassadors and political figureheads. The article sums up noting that the 153 countries that are part of the WTO need to be held responsible for their fishing policies and that the implications in such countries as China and Brazil could effectively help mitigate the environmental problems currently associated with overfishing. Feel free to discuss the implications of international cooperation in overfishing, is it possible? Also does the Tragedy of the Commons prevent any real change from occurring? Finally how do countries make decisions on a macroeconomic level with regards to international agreements?
Blake Andrews

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

America’s Comeback Cities

America’s economy was set back by the economic recession, but some cities took harder blows than others. However, some economists expect things to turn around as early as this year. Five cities, 4 of which are located in Tennessee and Florida, are projected to have the largest turnaround in 2011. The average unemployment rate of these cities is roughly around 10%, but that number is expected to drop throughout this year. Florida is relying on tourists to begin returning to the coast to increase profits in the hotel and restaurant industries. In return, these two industries should increase their work forces and lower unemployment rates. Tennessee is relying on two of their main auto plants, VW and Nissan, to hire more workers and increase production. These giant automobile factories employ a large labor force, which is very good for the economy. If more people have jobs, then more people will have money to spend, thus increasing revenue for corporations. Hopefully this sort of mindset will ripple out and other companies will begin hiring again. People are all expecting this year to be the turning point; let’s hope their right.

Matt Willis

Rebecca Black's "Friday"

It is hard to write about this topic without including phrases such as “worst singer ever” and “what did I just listen to?”, as well as taking a bitterly sarcastic tone throughout the entire blog post. However, based solely on facts alone, Rebecca Black’s song “Friday” has reached an insane amount of 120,000,000 views on Youtube, more than pop stars such as Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber. What this says about our country and internet fads…well…I don’t know. But I do know that this girl has attracted more attention in just a couple months than some artists have spent years building up to or have never achieved. The video was posted on Youtube roughly two months ago by Rebecca’s production company called “Ark Music Factory”, where it quickly gained attention as “the worst song ever.” While the attention it received was predominately negative, it was enough to spark attention from big time artists, as well as interviewers and talk show hosts wanting to sit down with Rebecca and discuss the reaction to her song. As media attention grew, so did the number of viewers not only for Rebecca’s video, but for all other artists associated with Ark Music Factory. How is this affecting the economy you might ask? With all of these views, Black is having a serious affect on the music industry. Stars such as Lady Gaga and Katy Perry have given her attention, and famous bands have even taken to covering her song. There are also rumors that the show “Glee” will be covering her song on an upcoming episode. All this attention means big bucks for Ark Music Factory. The more attention Rebecca receives, the greater the demand becomes for her song. Sales of her song and covers of her song have shot up on Itunes, earning the production company an amount of money well in the millions…and the number is only climbing. With the continuous attention, demand will always be increasing. Rebecca also plans to release an EP, which, I’m sure, will earn big bucks from virtually everyone whom curiosity will get the better of.

Allie Armstrong

The Royal Wedding

With the Royal Wedding just around the corner (April 29th to be exact), everything from doughnuts to garden gnomes have been made in support of the marriage of William and Kate, attracting an abundance of media attention to the event that seemingly everyone will be watching. If you haven't heard about the Royal Wedding by now, it is safe to say that you must be living under a rock. An estimated 2 billion viewers worldwide are planning to watch the ceremony and festivities on Friday, serving as a cultural phenomenon that will bring together an abundance of nations. With the immense amount of media attractions comes business opportunities, of course! Businesses across the world have taken advantage of the excitement and created products such as Royal Wedding garden gnomes, Royal Wedding inspired cakes, Royal Wedding Ring Pops, Royal Wedding doughnuts, Royal Wedding pizza...even Royal Wedding beer. With all of these business opportunities, entrepreneurs are able to take advantage of the high demand for such goods and monopolize the amount they produce and the price they sell these goods for. These entrepreneurs are aided by the media, who have been successful in creating the frenzy that prompts people to shell out their money for all of the latest Royal Wedding gear. The demand for these goods will increase as the wedding approaches, allowing the producers to up the prices in the days prior to the wedding. However, much like World Series tickets that drop in face value after the first pitch is thrown, the demand for Royal Wedding gear will drop an exceeding amount after the wedding has taken place. Knowing this, producers should evaluate the amount supplied and plan accordingly.

Allie Armstrong

Monday, April 25, 2011

Can the Heritage be Saved?

The tough economic times are even hitting the golf courses. One of the most popular small PGA golf tournaments might have had its last final day on April 27th. Verizon due to the tough times stepped down as the major sponsor almost a year ago, with them leaving The Heritage golf tournament has had limited funding, mainly from donations. It’s a victim of bad timing and the falling of the scale of the PGA tour’s economics.  With these golf tournaments, the whole point it to have it fully funded without any loans or having to pay more money after the tournament itself is finished. The viewers of this tournament has dropped, and without a lot of the big name players the interest for people to watch and sponsors to pay just isn’t there. This tournament use to be the huge tournament post-Easter right after the masters, but now without the demand from viewers is not even listed on the schedule online on the PGA’s website.  Even without the hype of this tournament there are still 37 players that were in the masters signed up to play in this event, five more than last year. They have had a few interests on sponsors but they aren’t willing to pay for a majority of it like Verizon was able to do, leaving loans as an option, but they do need money to pay those back. With no stability in the economic world big companies aren’t budging on who has to pay for what, they need their money because without it, they are barely surviving.

-Haley Mccrary

Saturday, April 23, 2011

What's Coming to the Holiday Table

The cost of food is rising and according to this article, global famine, disaster, and war are to blame. Holidays are becoming more expensive now, for example Hershey’s chocolate Easter bunnies; according to this New York Times article Hershey’s stated that they have increased the cost of their merchandise by about 10%. But, its not just chocolate’s prices that are rising. Coffee and even cereal are becoming more pricey for the normal consumer. The cost of coffee is going to dramatically increase because of drought (resulting from climate change), which in turn will limit the supply of coffee to consumers. The big problem that we are about to face is not just those small luxury goods, but the prices of staple goods are also becoming higher. According to this article, “wholesale food prices rose 3.9% in February, the largest increase on record for one month since 1974.” Not just consumers in the U.S. are being affected by this sudden change in price, but consumers around the world. “The cost of food worldwide rose 37% from February 2010 to this year,” according to the United Nations. Meat prices are especially being hit hard this year, experts say that this year brisket at Passover is costing 17% more than it did last year. Manufacturers and producers must now figure out how to break this news to consumers. They say that there are only two options: charge more or sell smaller packages at the same price.


Confusing Calculation of Home Vacancy Percentage

Due to the economic depression, a seemingly high percentage of homes across the U.S. are vacant.  The census bureau has announced that 11.4% of all homes in the United States are vacant, but the way they calculate these percentages may actually be increasing the numbers.  Vacation homes, or any properties that are not permanent residences, are considered to be vacant, so the 11.4% is not just foreclosures, but second or third residences as well.  The National Association of Realtors does not agree with the inclusion of vacation homes in the vacancy percentage, especially because they make up such a large percentage of vacancies in some states.  If the vacancy percentage was restricted solely to foreclosures, the percentage would drop significantly, for example, two-thirds of Maine’s vacancy rate lies in vacation homes alone.  The inclusion of these extra residences only does more harm to our nation as a whole than it does good.  Including these extra homes that increase the percentage of vacancies, only limits the value of homes within a particular area.  Having a large number of “vacancies” surrounding a home that is on the market lowers it’s value and the price a seller may be able to get for it.  Thus, this method of calculating vacancy percentage seems unfair to any seller because it limits their possible profits.  The way the percentage is calculated needs to be changed to assist in the depreciation of homes in the real estate market.  
Written by: Arin McGovern

Monday, April 18, 2011

Best Buy Falling Quickly

Best Buy is trying to win the market back from its rivals, especially Wal-Mart and Amazon.  Best Buy, the largest electronic retailer in the U.S., is planning to shrink the number of retail outlets by 10% in the coming several years, this they hope will save them $70 million annually.  They are also trying to expand their online presence, hoping to compete with Amazon.  Investors are concerned about Best Buy’s huge stores with its massive overhead costs when consumers are really only buying all of their electronics online.  Best Buy is extremely pricy and most consumers would rather pay online prices with shipping then pay drastic prices for electronics that are at their fingertips.  The demand for electronics is very high, but the demand for cheap electronics is higher.  Best Buy has announced store sale declines for 3 straight business quarters and are having the same decline in sales in the current business quarter.  Chief Executive, Brian Dunn, told investors and analysts that “the online channel is our greatest growth opportunity.”  Best Buy says that it is trying to avoid being put out of business like their rivals, Circuit City, who went out of business in 2009.  Best Buy is putting all of its faith in mobile stores.  They plan to have 200 mobile stores by July 4th and have up to 800 within the next 5 years.  In the next 3 to 5 years they are also planning on doubling its online business, which is currently a $2 billion online business.  Best Buy is also enlarging its video game and appliances in stores.  They are also selling and buying used games to make an extra profit.  Best Buy is planning to try different price strategies and Dunn said “The name of our enterprise is 'Best Buy' and we fully intend to live up to that name.”

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Angry Birds assists in Rio movie sales

With the new movie Rio coming out this month, it couldn’t have picked a better time to increase maximum revenues. The hit bird game of the decade, Angry Birds, stars birds that even look like characters of this exotic movie which is why producers of Rio are taking every chance they can to tie-in to the popular app by Rovio. This action serves as a perfect example of complements in the economic world, in fact Rovio has created a Rio version of the app to directly relate the two together. By creating this connection to allow the two to become complements, demand for both will increase greatly and show an outward shift in demand for these. It is already predicted that Rio will produce a profit of over $40 million beating its closest competitor Scream 4 expecting to earn $36 million. In addition to this increase in profit for the movie, the Rio version app of Angry Birds has already satisfied the demand for 10 million consumers selling for $0.99. This excess in demand is a great way to increase revenue and demand for both goods which the producers of Fox’s Blue Sky Studio could never have guessed would occur. Lucky for them however, the movie serves as a perfect complement to the hit app which both have increased in sales and will continue to increase in the near future.
Written by: Holly Williams

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Could New Smoking Stastics Reduce Cigarettes Bought?

According to a new poll, 500,000 deaths occur each year due to smoking. Could these new statistics cause people to buy less cigarettes? According to this poll, 7% of adults in America smoke 20 cigarettes a day, which has gone down from the 23% of adults that smoked in the 1970s. However, half a million deaths per year from smoking alone is alarming, and is good enough reason for a tax increase on cigarettes. While this idea is still up in the air, how would this affect cigarette consumers? Most people would think that this would make the demand for cigarettes elastic, with the demand changing based on the price and tax of cigarettes. However, seeing that most smokers are addicted to it, and they'll continue to buy cigarettes no matter the price or tax, the demand for cigarettes is seemingly inelastic. So the question becomes, who do we tax? Taxing the consumers won't change anything, but would taxing the producers have a change? Since the companies are all about profit, and putting a tax on the production of cigarettes would decrease profit, this would cause a decrease in production. The result of this decrease is a shortage in cigarettes, driving prices higher so they can be at equilibrium, which would hopefully weed out those who aren't committed enough to smoking to pay the higher prices. Comment below, and tell me what you guys think.

-Mark E.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


A recent article in the Huffington post and referenced in Nbc’s meet the press questioned the U.S. costs of being involved in Libya. Such individuals as Richard Lugar a U.S. senator, Rep. Justin Amash, and. Rep. Bruce Braley have questioned the additional spending required to wage the war, noting that the national debt continues to rise. The individuals listed above along with many other representatives grow more concerned with a lack of accountability for the money spent. In particular Senator Lugar, notes the opportunity cost of the war with Libya noting that rising oil prices and a rising national debt may be prevented if the United States reallocated the nearly 1 billion dollars currently being spent on the war in Libya. Furthermore individuals such as Secretary Gates publicly stated that the war has no identifiable end point and has stepped around the question of U.S. objectives, this has continued to enrage many senators and representatives who believe the money should be spent elsewhere. However Senator Levin and Hillary Clinton have insisted that the U.N support of the war will lessen the finical burden on the United States. The article continues to asses the opportunity cost of the war in Libya questioning the objectives of the war and the lucrative alternatives of not fighting. However the U.N.’s support of peace keeping operations in Libya along with internal struggles in Libya especially human rights violations has spurred great support for the war. This issue doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon feel free to discuss the implications of fighting the war especially with regards to economics and opportunity cost.

-Blake Andrews

Nicki Minaj + Britney Spears=Higher Ticket Prices?

According to this article, the recent lineup change from Enrique Iglesias to Nicki Minaj has sent fans of Britney Spears into a tizzy. Nicki Minaj is a top 40 artist, but also she has a lot of fans who only listen to rap. With Minaj being added to the lineup, she brings in a whole new demand of people who don't really listen to Britney, but listen to Nicki. The demand for Britney Spears coming to a town near you is high, but with the addition of Nicki Minaj, the demand goes up even more. Britney and Nicki create a power team, bringing together the demands from two different genres. With the added demand, the original ticket prices will be below equilibrium; there will be a excess in demand. Everyone will jump on the chance to get to see two impressive acts for a low price. Once the tickets sell out in the snap of the fingers, there will be many people left who are without a ticket. Ticketmaster/Livenation, the company that sells the tickets, should look at the amount of excess demand they will have as a result of adding Nicki Minaj to the lineup. Then the company should raise ticket prices to try to reach equilibrium, meaning that there will not be any excess demand or excess supply. This might not be achieved, but it will help the ticket company make a bigger profit as well as help the artists make more money off the tour.

-Caitlin Harrington

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Texas Could Raise Speed Limits to 85

Since "Everything's bigger in Texas," Texas has decided that they should raise the speed limit to 85 miles per hour, which is higher than it is anywhere else in the country. By raising the speed limit it will allow cars to get to their destinations faster than before. Since the cars will be going faster, it will require them to use more gas than when they used going at a slower speed. Since they will be using more gas this means people will have to go get gas more often then they are used to and some willing. Since gas prices have been raised people are trying to use their gas tank to its fullest without refilling and raising the speed limit would cause those people to have to buy gas more often, which would not satisfy them. The demand for raising the speed limit is going to rise due to people wanting to get places faster with less traffic, but the gas prices are going to change periodically. Not only will people have to pay more there gas, tickets prices have a chance of rising. Although people will be allowed to go faster, more people are going to be driving faster than the new speed limit causing reckless driving which could potentially lead up to more deaths and accidents.

-Meggan Sher

Thursday, April 7, 2011

85 MPH Speed Limit?

According to a recently written article by CNN, legislators are working to pass a bill allowing Texas drivers to drive a speed limit of 85 on some highways. The change would only take place on streches of road or certain lanes and the highways that would be effected would have to be determined safe. Advantages would be that drivers could get to their destination faster and avoid slow drivers. For those who are worried about fuel consumption, this proposal could be a concern. The average vehicle reaches its optimal fuel effeciency at 60 miles per hour. This means that gas mileage decreases again once a car goes over 60 mph. According to the US Department of Energy, for every five miles above 60, drivers pay an additional 24 cents per gallon (based on a gallon costing $3.52). Whether or not the law will have a positive outcome is debatable. Consumers must decide which is better: spending money on gasoline or getting to their destination faster. If the bill is passed, it will come into effect immediately.

Amber Stephens

Panic in Hollywood

Hollywood is beginning to freak out because the box office revenue is down 20%.  Movie companies, directors, and producers, are beginning to get nervous about the drop in Hollywood revenue.  The first quarter of 2011 was not nearly as successful as the first quarter of 2010, but we have to remember that the demand for each movie varies based upon personal liking.  Movies such as Avatar and Alice in Wonderland that were released in the first quarter of last year, created a large viewing demand, but many of 2011s great hits haven’t hit the big screen yet.  Since we are still in the recession, it makes sense for people to cut down on extra expenses, such as movies that they really have no desire to see.  The income effect helps us understand that if a person’s income decreases, then they will cut down on extra expenses that will make them feel poorer, such as movies.  Another alternative to sitting through a movie in the theater is getting a movie through DirecTV.  DirecTV’s new option of purchasing a film two months after its release in theaters contains a series of possible trade-offs.  If you were to wait the two months to see the film on DirecTV, you would not be able to talk about it with friends or even understand what they’re talking about.  Another trade-off would be getting to see the movie in the comfort of your own home as opposed to the possibility of a noisy theater.  Also, if your family exceeds four members, then it may actually be cheaper to buy it on DirecTV. 
Written by: Arin McGovern

An increase and predicted decrease in global trade

Who knew 2010 was a good fiscal year? Well, it was, at least in terms of American exports. The official report from the World Trade Organization pertaining to exports of 2010 showed a 15.4 percent increase from 2009, the largest increase since 1950. What does this have to do with global economics? In the same year, general global exports were up 14.5 percent from the previous year. The article from the Huffington Post (seen here) however, says that these increases will not last. They say that the increase was just boom that will not continue into the coming years. They continue saying that the rising fuel costs resulting from the wars in the Middle East, the recent natural disasters in Japan and rising global food prices are the reason behind the predicted fall in global trade.

But what do you think? It’s true, Japan was a major supplier of electronics and certain foods, but shouldn’t that trade vacuum quickly be filled by any emerging economic superpower? Don’t the basic concepts of economics protect the institution from collapsing?

Still though, people should expect a change in prices in the most common exports from Japan (cars, motorcycles, and computer supplies). The supply for these products is dropping, while the demand is nonmoving, meaning the price will increase until another country steps up and becomes a primary exporter of those same goods. How are you going to deal with the new, higher prices of Toyota cars?

-- Zander Mapes

Read This! No Poultry Excuses!

In today’s economy, everyone needs to save as much as one can. There truly is a scarcity of funds in the wallet. In the never ending quest of the individual to save money, people are always looking for shortcuts. For some the answer seems to be lying in chicken ranching. In San Fran, California, people have started to raise chickens in their back yards. The benefits greatly outweigh the costs when it comes to fancifully ferocious fowl farming. The benefits include: Eggs, minimal up-keep (food is cheap for chickens), an interesting pet, free yard fertilizing, and well, food, when they die. Nothing sticks it to the oppressive and chicken torturing restaurants like home grown free range chickens. In regard to cost benefit analysis, the costs are minimal: installment of a chicken coup and slight noise . With the price of food rising and demand not budging, when a popular commodity like eggs can be “home grown” everything seems to be in place. With chicken feed costing about $20 per 50 lb. bag, 3 chickens will produce 2 eggs a day. The Pollack’s say that their 4 chickens produce sixteen eggs a week! You will not be sucking eggs on this deal . If you are interested in raising chickens or just want to see what everyone’s clucking about, pop by and see the article here. So what are your thoughts? Feel free to leave a constructive comment about a personal experience or just your opinion.

-- Henri Levy

The Problem With Chickens

Mariana Greene, a columnist for the Dallas Morning News, regularly writes a charming article in the Guide section regarding her gardens, and, more specifically, her chickens! She owns an ample amount of chickens in which she refers to as “city chickens” due to the fact that they are raised in the midst of Dallas. She tells of the trials of each chicken, referring to them not as “the chickens” but by their cute little names and describing each one’s distinct personalities and interactions with one another. Her latest article revolves around a certain olive-green egg that she can’t seem to identify whom it belongs to, but what caught my eye was not the “case of the olive-green egg”, but a different point she brings up regarding her chickens. She mentions that her chickens are laying eggs faster than her family can consume them. They lay every single day, some of them even laying two eggs in one day! In terms of economics, at this rate, supply is exceeding demand. Not only does this represent the elasticity of supply, but it also deals with diminishing marginal returns. She mentions in the article that, while they have three nesting boxes for the hens, it can take a hen up to an hour to deposit an egg, and a line begins to build around the nest of “layers”. Diminishing marginal returns has a negative impact on labor. After a certain point where the benefits of specialization end, each worker hired (or hen) increases the output at a decreasing rate due to the fact that there is an excess amount of workers and not enough capital (or nests) to produce goods efficiently, thus, labor begins slowing. Of course, one can lay off a worker to solve this problem, or in other words…chicken for dinner!?

--Allie Armstrong

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Auto Supply Concerns After Japan Tsunami

Many companies are suffering from the tsunami in Japan and the effects of the tsunami are hitting hard and fast already to the U.S. just 11 days after the event.  Car manufacturing is one industry that many people are worried about.  Toyota, Nissan, and Mazda have been greatly affected by the tsunami because Japan is where their companies are based.  These three companies have had to cope with many major production challenges from the tsunami because many factories were destroyed, which ultimately is slowing production of their cars across the world.  Toyota said Tuesday that it has to extended vehicle production shutdowns through Saturday, and they have not yet decided when the normal operations of vehicle manufacturing will continue at a normal pace.  Honda is also extending their shutdowns through Sunday. The situation with General Motors shows how fast the production problems are hitting after the tsunami.  General Motors is temporarily stopping their plant in Louisiana because manufactures and suppliers in both Japan and America have slowed down their production, and therefore temporarily stopping production for Genral Motors.  In response, General Motors is laying of workers in it’s Buffalo, NY location because of such a shortage in supply and to compensate for the money they will loose in this time of slow, or no production.  According to one research firm the short supply concerns are leading to higher prices for imported cars, such as the Toyota Prius and at the same time the consumers are demanding more fuel-efficient cars because of the high gas prices.  This shortage could give way for other manufactures to take advantage in the small car market.  With many companies suffering from lack of production because of the tsunami, the other companies are being given the opportunity to get in the game.  The shortage in supplies will increase prices of the fuel-efficient cars but there is a quantity demand for fuel-efficient cars, due to gas prices. 
- Analisa

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Facebook Will Introduce New Service That Sells Discount Deals

According to Bloomberg News “Facebook is seeking to expand in the fast-growing U.S. market for daily online coupons made popular by sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial. That industry will grow to $3.93 billion”. Facebook the largest internet social network has started a new service in its website that will allow costumers to buy one time deals and discounts. This new service will create a new competitor to Groupon and Living Social. This will also allow many small businesses to boost sales by opening a hole new market and by allowing them to expand and sell to a larger number of people. As well , Facebook will allow “partner services, including ReachLocal, KGB Deals,, PopSugar City, Gilt City, Tippr, Plum District and Zozi”. Facebook’s competition will be hard on both of the other coupon companies since Facebook has a clientele of half a billion users and it will allow other coupon companies to work with them in their website. All the number of costumers and extra features that that the Facebook coupon store will have will seriously affect the other coupon companies. Facebook’s new service over the coupon market will benefit the consumer because it might cause the demand for Groupon and LivingSocial product to go down and therefore causing even grater discounts.

Food Demand Jumps Due To Population Increase

In the last year, corn and wheat prices have doubled, sugar has gone up 65%, and soybean prices have raised 40%.  While some of these cost increases have been caused by poor weather, a major influence is the rising demand for food due to the increasing population. So long as economies develop at increasing rates Joe Milano, portfolio manager of the T. Rowe Price New America Growth Fund, says people will tend to “[eat] more meat, which puts upward pressure on demand for feed grains.” With rising grain prices, the law of supply and Food and Agriculture Organization tells us that food production will have to increase by 70% by 2050 just to meet demands. Since fertile land is becoming scarcer with the development of cities, the only productive way for farmers to increase their revenue and supply is by investing in irrigation systems that conserve water and improve food production, such as Valmont Industries and Lindsay Corporation. Another idea would be to include genetically modified seeds that withstand droughts and insects better and that have nutrients that will benefit the soil and irrigate better. With a couple options available to farmers it’s easy to see how this rise in demand will affect the quantity supplied of such goods along with their price. The growing demand due to the increasing population is definitely an appeal to farmers and anyone looking to enter the industry, knowing their services will be long needed.

Written by: Holly Williams

Apple Making Verizon- Ready Iphone by Year End.

Releasing the Iphone 4 to Verizon was a competition for AT&T. Although AT&T was the first company to sell the Iphone, Verizon has picked up the product and is now using a different wireless technology. By Verizon using different technology than AT&T this has caused a great competition between the two companies. Since AT&T has gotten rid of there unlimited internet data plan, Verizon decided to step up its game by making there’s unlimited. This new competition is going to be a competition of which company can get closest to equilibrium and please the customers more. Apart from the competition, the demand for Iphones is only going to increase.  More and more customers are going to want to purchase this device, because each new model is going to be higher tech than the one before. This healthy competition between the two phone companies will greatly increase consumer’s choices. Each company is going to try and make the consumers happier, by changing there plans and prices. Although the prices won’t change, consumers will have the option to pay more for the newer version or pay less for last years phone. It is unclear which company will do better in the long run, but the demand for Iphones won’t change unless a completely new phone is created.

-Meggan S.

Gold Prices Keep Slowly Declining

It might be a sign that the economy is getting better, or it just might be showing that the popularity and rarity of gold is decreasing. However, gold prices did spike in February, some economists are saying the reason is Valentines Day. They have been slowly rising the last three quarters after prices fell 4% in June. On March 31st gold prices reached $1,430 an ounce for the first time in five sessions. A good sign for America’s economy, especially considering the unrest in Libya and happenings in Japan. The demand for gold is up; making countries that produce the gold, like Egypt raise the prices of gold. It is unclear if the quantity of gold is low and that is why the prices are spiking, but the demand will probably start dropping again due to the high prices.

 -Haley M.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"The Cloud"

According to this article on Rolling Stone's website, Amazon recently started a new project called “Cloud Player” and “Cloud Drive”, which allows music lovers to store their many files on Amazon’s servers and lets them play that music on their iPhones or iPods. This is a very ingenious idea created by Amazon, because it helps satisfy the demands of a music-lover by providing a service. The customers who load of music on a daily basis run the risk of their hard drive crashing or running out of room. So people have been demanding more computers with more hard drive storage. For Amazon, they made it possible so a person can store all of their music on the company’s servers, which helps decrease the plausibility of a hard drive crash and helps meet the demand of more space to store music. Music takes up a lot of storage on the hard drive, and by Amazon providing a very interesting type of storage as a service to help the demands of the people. Later in the article, it also states that this “Cloud Player” and “Cloud Drive” will be compatible with AAC files, which is a very specific type of media file that iTunes uses. For them to broaden the capabilities of the music-storage system to include all types of music files is a great way to help meet the demands of the people to store more music, because the demand for music is inelastic, meaning that no matter how much money a certain song costs, people will still shell out the bucks for that awesome song they heard on the radio. Amazon has a great idea going, but will it be able to survive in the ever-changing dynamics of the music business?

- Caitlin Harrington

Monday, March 28, 2011

Wi-Fi Cars

This truly is a digital era. One where everything is connected to something else, whether it is via the internet, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or phone networks. Now, our cars can be connected too. Apparently since last year, car manufacturers have been offering Wi-Fi in cars, turning them into mobile hotspots. Soon, several more manufacturers plan to jump on board. Companies such as General Motors, Honda, Toyota, and Volks-Wagon, are all interested in adding this new piece of technology to their cars. So what exactly does this mean for us? Well, Jeff Kagan, an independent telecoms analyst says that “initially, putting internet access in the car sounds like a distraction and frivolous, but as time passes it will become part of our lives and we will feel uncomfortable not having access.” This seems to be the case with everything. Companies such as apple are always shoving the latest and greatest technology inside their products, lots of stuff we know we don’t even need when we buy it. But over time we become so accustomed to having it there, that it’s simply unthinkable to make a product without it. Same with these cars, as Jeff says, we will soon be so used to always having access to the internet (like on our phones), that having a mobile hotspot for our laptops and other devices will become very popular amongst the public. It’s almost ridiculous how everything in today’s world has to be digital and internet friendly, but I guess it’s just another way to make life ‘easier.’
Matt Willis

Sunday, March 27, 2011

AT&T Buys T-Mobile

AT&T giant telecom company is planing to carry out a deal to buy T-Mobile for $39 Billion Dollars. The purchase in confronted by strong opposition from other telecom companies because of fear that AT&T might use its advantage to crush competition.T-Mobile is currently one of the telecom companies who offer the lowest prices. This purchase will give AT&T an advantage over the control of the prices of the communication prices. The merge of this two giant companies will benefit the consumers because according to the Business Insider, “A 2010 report from the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) states the overall average price (adjusted for inflation) for wireless services declined 50 percent from 1999 to 2009, during a period which saw five major wireless mergers”.  AT&T’s advantage with this merge will allow it to control and lower the prices, this will benefit the consumer since it will have to spend less money on communication services. AT&T and T-Mobile customers will see service improvements, including improved voice quality as a result of additional cell tower density and broader network infrastructure. This means that not only customers will be able to spend less in communication services but the will also get a more and better quality from the services.
-Santiago Z

Crisis in Libya

The current conflict between Libyan revolutionaries and Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s troops has caused a national rise in the price of gasoline.  Libya has typically been the producer of a “light, high-gravity crude oil” that is used by refineries all over the globe.  While Libya is in a current state of internal chaos, the crude oil it usually produces is not being distributed, and refineries are looking for substitutes with similar qualities and chemicals.  As usual, an increase in demand causes an increase in price.  Companies who produce these crude oil substitutes are raising their prices to make as large of a profit as possible while their product is greatly needed.  As the price of gasoline components rises, so does the price of each gallon at the pump for most Americans.  Gasoline has been a product that, according to Ms. Lundberg, “has been growing at a rate of 1%”.  Since there are ways to avoid excessive use of gasoline, the rising price can be expected to force citizens to find alternatives.  Carpooling, walking, and riding the bus are three simple alternatives to avoid the use of expensive gasoline.  While our economy is still attempting to recover from it’s current depressive state, this gasoline mishap could certainly prolong our suffering.  As people will most certainly look for alternatives, the demand for gasoline will drop, furthering our economic problems. 
Written by: Arin McGovern

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Libya Crisis sends Gas Prices Soaring in US

“U.S. gasoline prices have increased nearly 33 cents in two weeks, which is the second highest jump in such a short period of time of two weeks in the history of the gasoline market”, said CNN. The jump was the biggest since a 38-cent rise in 05’ driven by Hurricane Katrina. This recent jump is human forced rather than naturally forced. As the opposing forces begin to start what looks like a civil war, we can see that lower gas prices in America are not in our near future. While Libya only supplies the U.S. with 3% of their oil, you can still see how much this has affected the people in the United States. Although Libya’s oil is only in demand by small refineries, as this Libyan oil supply becomes unavailable to them, this will force those smaller companies to then substitute Libyan crude oil for oil from other companies, which will then increase the demand, which will then lead to higher gas prices in the United States. The latest Lundberg survey has found that gas prices have raised nearly 83 cents since this time last year. With the Libyan “civil war” in process this leads me to think that this event will lead to hurting the nation’s economic recovery, which the gas demands rising every day.

Written by Sarah Allegro