Anyone that has studied hard for their exams will almost certainly at one time or another utilised the services of a strong coffee.
Whilst desperately trying to cram that last bit of knowledge into your brain before the exams there is often a temptation to grab a strong coffee late in the night to keep your mind awake.
For years students around the world have been utilising the caffeine in coffee to help get that extra mark or two.
Coffee is said to originate from East Africa where legend has it that a 9th century Ethiopian goat herder by the name of Starbucks Kaldi noticed that after his goats had ate some coffee beans they started bouncing around like teenagers at the local disco.
This started the journey of coffee and associated caffeine hits so loved by students around the world.
Over in Thailand though a new type of coffee has just been put on sale which has, how can I put it, but a pretty unusual processing method.
The key staff involved in the processing function are also unusual as they have massive heads and bodies, weigh on average 4,000 kg and are grey in colour.
Yes, that’s right. The key team members involved in processing coffee are 20 Thai elephants.
The new brew of coffee is “processed” by getting the elephants to eat some coffee beans and then stepping back (in fact stepping way back) and letting the natural digestive juices in their stomachs do the job of “processing” the beans before they are deposited naturally on the ground a day later.
The beans are then handpicked out of the elephant dung by people who probably don’t bite their nails before being dried and then ground into coffee.
The finished coffee is said to have a slight pooey taste smooth flavour without the bitterness of normal coffee and is some of the most expensive coffee in the world selling for nearly £150 per kilo.
It’s certainly an unusual production technique but it’s also for a good cause as 8% of the sales revenue goes towards the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation, a refuge for rescued elephants in Thailand.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/ExP_coffee.jpg453806Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2019-05-24 14:15:202019-05-25 20:51:46Would you drink this coffee?
Well, if you are male and your boss is also male there could be some disappointing career news for you if you think you are better looking than your boss.
A study has suggested that male bosses are less likely to promote good-looking men who work for them.
The study by University College London’s School of Management concluded that good-looking men were considered competent by their male bosses but as a result were also seen as a threat to them and their own personal career aspirations.
This raises an interesting point. Organisations no doubt want to employ the most competent people but if a male boss is reluctant to recruit or promote good-looking men because they take the view they are a threat to them personally then it means that good-looking men could be discriminated against whether or not they are competent.
Dr Sun Young Lee, the lead researcher on the study was quoted as saying “organisations want to hire competent candidates but individuals have their own agenda. When employing someone, they do not want the newcomer to do better than them and show them up”.
“What about good-looking females” I hear you say?
The study concluded that the same prejudice did not apply to women. Being a good looking lady was not associated with competence according to the study.
The study was published in the Organisational Behaviour and Human Decision Processes journal and Dr Lee felt her results suggested that organisations should consider appointing external recruitment consultants to avoid personal preferences impacting on recruitment decisions.
One additional point though is that if you yourself are male and have recently been overlooked for a promotion by your male boss then surely the only reason you didn’t get the promotion was because you are better looking than him…
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/ExP-Blog.jpg9441678Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2019-05-17 19:38:022019-05-17 21:33:28Are you better looking than your boss?
It wasn’t long ago that you only saw almonds in health food shops but things are changing quickly.
The health benefits of almonds are extensive. They are a rich source of vitamin E, calcium, iron and zinc to name just a few items. They can be eaten raw, made into almond oil or almond milk. They are one of nature’s super foods.
If almonds have been around for a long time, why is there suddenly such an interest in them?
If you link it to the environmental analysis model PESTEL you could argue that one of the areas within the “Social” element of PESTEL that has changed recently is that people are more health aware (if you are tucking into your burger and chips whilst reading this I should stress that health awareness doesn’t necessarily mean everyone undertakes healthy eating!)
However, it does seem that people around the world are eating significantly more almonds. So much so that there is a rush to plant almond trees.
The world’s almond crop is estimated to be worth nearly $5 billion per year and the centre of almond production is California where 80% of the world’s almond crop is produced. During the last three years alone 150,000 acres of almond trees have been planted in California.
Whilst the ever increasing number of almond eaters around the world are no doubt happy about this, there are a number of people who are far from happy.
California farmers have been removing tomato, melons and other crops to replace them with almond crops. There is a problem though as the almond tree require significantly more water than the other crops.
To produce a single almond requires about 4.5 litres of water. Multiply that by the millions of almonds that will be produced on the land and you can see what an impact it will have on the local water supply.
California has been suffering droughts for a number of years and in the past there have been certain water restrictions in place for individuals. So far, the almond growers have escaped these water restrictions but a number of activist groups have been set up and this situation could soon change.
Will we see a lot of thirsty almond trees in California in the near future….
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/almond-nuts.png9441678Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2019-05-10 09:34:022019-05-16 14:03:30What's the link between almonds, PESTEL and water?
It’s a sign of the times that hackers are constantly on the
lookout for weaknesses in people’s computer security systems.
Individuals can go a long way to making things more
difficult for the hackers by ensuring they have up to date anti-virus software in
place and that their passwords are good passwords.
But what is a good password?
Before answering that, let’s look at some bad passwords.
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has just released
a report on some of the most hacked passwords. They analysed hacked accounts
where details were being sold by hackers.
Last year an astonishing 23 million people around the world
with the password “123456” were hacked.
You should really hang your head in shame if your password
is 123456 as it’s very easy to hack into.
OK, what about the name of your favourite football team as
your password. Would that provide you with more protection?
Alas not as football team names are very common passwords.
Roughly 280,000 accounts were breached last year with the
“Chelsea” and “Man-Utd” passwords were breached 216,000 and
59,000 times respectively.
Using the names of your favourite music artist also isn’t a
The most popular passwords using the names of music artists
are “blink182” and “50cent” (these are probably popular as they satisfy the
need to have letters and numbers in a password).
If you’re a fan of superheroes then avoid Superman, which
was the most common superhero inspired password.
So, onto good passwords.
According to Ian Levy, the Technical Director of NCSC,
“Using hard to guess passwords is a strong first step and we recommend
combining three random but memorable words. Be creative and use words memorable
to you, so people can’t guess your password.”
There you go.
As easy as 123 or should that be, as easy as “123456”…
If you’re gong to hide cash then I guess hiding it in the oven may not be a good idea.
Alberto Vazzoler used to be a dentist. He moved on from that but his new activities were allegedly far from legal as he’s currently on trial in Italy accused of money laundering.
Money Laundering is where “dirty” illegally obtained money is “washed” and then reintroduced into general circulation as clean money. In simple terms, criminals disguise the method of obtaining the money from criminal activities to make it look as though it was derived from legitimate sources.
Now although Mr Vazzoler was a dentist, he’s been accused of making serious amounts of money by way of laundering more than €46 million for criminals across Europe.
Together with his accomplices, he’s been accused of channelling funds through various off shore tax havens and amongst other things, “cleaning” some money by way of converting cash into gold.
His girlfriend, Silvia Moro, has also been charged with money laundering.
Details of some expensive cooking emerged during a court session last week when an investigator told the course that Ms Moro sent a WhatsApp message to her sister saying “I’ve done a stupid thing. I put a strudel in the oven to cook where €40,000 was hidden.”
Although a cost of €40,000 would probably make the strudel the most expensive pudding in the world I guess that the couple have more pressing things on their minds now they are in court charged with money laundering and tax evasion which could result in a lengthy prison sentence.
Do you work in an office? Do you sit down at your desk most of the working day?
If you do, then it may be a good idea to ensure you stand up and move around a bit during the day.
Recent research has estimated that 1 in 9 deaths can be blamed on sitting down for at least 6 hours a day.
Let’s pause for a moment as that’s a shocking figure!
In the UK alone that would equate to thousands of people dying every year due to lack of movement and the cost to the National Health Service is estimated at £700 million annually.
Research published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health estimated that 17% of diabetes, 5% of heart disease and 8% of lung cancer cases could be avoided with less sitting.
Leonie Heron from Queen’s University Belfast was the lead author of the study and said “You need to put your body under a little bit of stress to maintain a healthy heart and whole system”.
She went on to say that “It suggests that it is bad for our health how our working lives are structured for a lot of people. You can attenuate that risk by being more active in your leisure time, but it’s something employers can look at. Maybe they should be providing opportunities for employees to be active during the day, perhaps making sure people move every hour…or providing opportunities during lunch and coffee breaks.”
My guess is that a lot of you do sit down for at least 6 hours a day working at your computer. It’s probably a good idea therefore to remind yourself to get up and move a bit when you can as it will be good for your health.
Unless, that is of course, you’re getting up to walk out of the office to have a cigarette…
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/health-problems-at-office.png281500Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2019-04-17 10:46:062019-04-21 18:05:11Would you stand for this?
There’s no room in the modern workplace for bullying and intimidating work colleagues.
Companies should have anti bullying practices in place and in most countries around the world there are laws to protect people who are being bullied.
The Oxford dictionary defines bullying as seeking to “harm, intimidate, or coerce someone perceived as vulnerable” but in some situations it’s difficult to decide whether or not an activity is actually bullying.
Over in Australia a worker claimed that he was bullied by a colleague who repeatedly broke wind at him.
David Hingst claimed that his ex-colleague Greg Short would “lift his bum and fart” on him up to 6 times a day.
Mr Hingst didn’t take this well and sued his former employer for A$1.8m (nearly £1m).
Now, let’s pause here for a moment and hold our breath.
Bullying in the workplace is clearly wrong but claiming damages of nearly £1 million when somebody breaks wind in front of you does seem a bit steep.
Mr Hingst was adamant though and last year took his case to the Supreme Court of Victoria.
The Court found that there was no bullying.
Mr Hingst didn’t agree with the decision and appealed against it and last week the appeal was heard by the Court of Appeal.
Mr Hingst reportedly told the Australian Associated Press that “I would be sitting with my face to the wall and he would come into the room, which was small and had no windows. He would fart behind me and walk away. He would do this five or six times a day”.
Mr Short, the alleged perpetrator of this “crime” had said that he may “have done it once or twice” but denied doing it with the intention of distressing or harassing Mr Hingst.
Alas for Mr Hingst, the Court of Appeal rejected his appeal and found there was no bullying.
Mr Hingst though isn’t taking this sitting down and reportedly has said that he plans to appeal to the High Court.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/bad-smell-in-the-office.png9441678Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2019-04-07 21:23:232019-04-07 21:43:31Causing a bit of a stink...
Most of you have probably bought something on the internet but how many of you have bought a car on the internet?
My guess is not many but things may be about to change.
The Tesla company is renowned for doing things differently. They have led the way in developing electric vehicles with their Models S and X being some of the best electric cars on the road at the moment.
Whilst the Models S and X are great cars, they are pretty expensive. The Model S starts at £72,000 and the Model X at £80,000.
As an alternative to their luxury models, Tesla announced its Model 3 car back in 2016. This was planned to be a more economical version and hoped to bring electric cars to the masses.
They were aiming for a price point of $35,000 but have been finding it difficult to reach that figure. Back in September last year the car was on sale for $50,000 but they have just announced that they have achieved their target and the car will now be sold in the US for $35,000.
They’ve got the price down and a key factor in getting the price down has been restructuring their distribution methods.
They’ve come up with what I think is a pretty innovative way of selling their cars. They are closing their physical showrooms and only selling their cars via the internet.
This is radically different from other car manufacturers.
There are clear advantages – the cost saving of not having physical showrooms and not having to employ staff to work in these showrooms is reported to allow the firm to cut costs by 5%.
What about the disadvantages? Well, an obvious one is whether customers will be willing to buy a car without looking at the car and having a test drive.
Tesla have come up with a nice solution to this problem.
Tesla announced that “We are also making it much easier to try out and return a Tesla, so that a test drive prior to purchase isn’t needed. You can now return a car within 7 days or 1,000 miles for a full refund. Quite literally, you could buy a Tesla, drive several hundred miles for a weekend road trip with friends and then return it for free.”
I personally think this is a pretty good idea but if you’re currently working for another car company in one of their showrooms, should you start to be worried?
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Tesla-distribution-channels.png9441678Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2019-03-27 09:39:442019-04-07 21:01:39Click to buy a Tesla...
Do you wish you had a better memory? Perhaps you do but you can’t remember whether or not you do.
If this is the case then help may be at hand.
University researchers have recently suggested a simple technique which could improve your memory.
Dr Mark Moss from Northumbria University led a research study which found that students studying in a room with the smell of the herb rosemary (in the form of essential oils) achieved 5% to 7% better memory results than students undertaking similar studying in a room without the smell of rosemary.
Dr Moss reported that the sense of smell in humans is highly sensitive and sends messages to the brain which can set off reactions and responses.
In the case of rosemary, the smell could well result in a better memory.
This view isn’t new though as ancient Greek students used to wear garlands of rosemary in their exams and Ophelia, the young noblewoman in Shakespeare’s play Hamlet said “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance.”
So, in conclusion, the next time you are studying hard for an exam it may be an idea to buy some rosemary essential oils to help your memory.
That is of course, if you can remember to buy some in the first place…
(Details of some of the work done by Northumbria University can be found here).
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/rosemary_memory.jpg32095705Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2019-01-07 22:27:222019-01-11 15:03:31Remind me - what was I going to buy?
It sounds like the start of a riddle but there’s an important underlying message. Namely, organisations should be monitoring the environment they are operating in to see if any changes could be impacting on their business.
A classic model for analysing the impact the external environment can have on an organisation is the PESTEL model. Those of you that are thinking of studying for your professional exams will possibly be thinking that it stands for Parties, Eating, Sleeping, Talking, Entertaining and Laughing but if you’ve passed your exams then you are probably more comfortable with the fact that it stands for Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental and Legal.
Whilst all the components of this model can be important, one area which is particularly topical is the “social” component.
Within the social component one change which a lot of countries are currently seeing is people’s increased health awareness and the increase in demand for vegetarian (no meat) and vegan (no meat or dairy) food.
Ben & Jerry’s is one of the world’s leading ice cream companies and they no doubt have a very sophisticated approach to monitoring the environment. One of the more impressive things they’ve done over the last couple of years is to launch some new products which will appeal to the vegan market.
If you are a vegan, then you don’t eat meat or dairy products and whilst you are unlikely to find an ice cream made out of chicken you are extremely likely to find an ice cream made out of milk.
Ben & Jerry’s though have nicely got around this problem by launching a number of flavours of vegan ice cream.
“How can they be vegan if they are ice cream?” I hear you say.
Well, the vegan ice creams are made with almond milk as opposed to dairy milk. Now technically that means they are frozen desserts and not ice cream but I can’t see any vegan being particularly upset about that.
The non dairy range has recently expanded in the UK and Ben & Jerry’s have just launched their first coconut flavoured vegan ice cream.
It’s called “Coconutterly Caramel’d” and blends coconut-flavoured ice cream with ribbons of caramel, Fair Trade chocolate, and cookies.
“Coconut ice cream, caramel, chocolate and cookies” – I don’t know about you but just reading that description makes me feel peckish.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/ben_and_jerrys.png9441678Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2018-12-23 15:19:102019-01-04 08:24:56When is an ice cream not an ice cream?
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