7 Simple Investing Rules You Learned From Your Mother

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Authored by Lance Roberts via RealInvestmentAdvice.com,

When I was growing up my mother had a saying, or an answer, for just about everything…as do most mothers. Every answer to the question “Why?” was immediately met with the most intellectual of answers:

“…because I said so”.

Seriously, my mother was a resource of knowledge that has served me well over the years and it wasn’t until late in life that I realized that she had taught me the basic principles to staying safe in the world of financial investments.

So, by imparting her secrets to you I may be violating some sacred circle of motherhood knowledge, but I felt it was worth the risk to share the knowledge which has stood well the test of time.

1) Don’t Run With Sharp Objects!

It wasn’t hard to understand why she didn’t want me to run with scissors through the house – I just think I did it early on just to watch her panic. However, later in life when I got my first apartment I ran through the entire place with a pair of scissors, left the front door open with the air conditioning on, and turned every light on in the house. That rebellion immediately stopped when I received my first electric bill.

Sometime in the early 90’s, the financial markets became a casino as the internet age ignited a whole generation of stock market gamblers who thought they were investors. There is a huge difference between investing and speculating, and knowing the difference is critical to overall success.

Investing is backed by a solid investment strategy with defined goals, an accumulation schedule, allocation analysis and, most importantly, a defined sell strategy and risk management plan.

Speculation is nothing more than gambling. If you are buying the latest hot stock, chasing stocks that have already moved 100% or more, or just putting money in the market because you think that you “have to”, you are gambling.

The most important thing to understand about gambling is that success is a function of the probabilities and possibilities of winning or losing on each bet made.

In the stock market, investors continue to play the possibilities instead of the probabilities. The trap comes with early success in speculative trading. Success breeds confidence, and confidence breeds ignorance.

Most speculative traders tend to “blow themselves up” because of early success in their speculative investing habits. The speculative trader generally fails to hedge against the random events that occur in the financial markets. This is turn results in the trader losing more money than they ever imagined possible.

When investing, remember that the odds of making a losing trade increase with the frequency of transactions being made. Just as running with a pair of scissors; do it often enough and eventually you could end up really hurting yourself. What separates a winning investor from a speculative gambler is the ability to admit and correct mistakes when they occur.

2) Look Both Ways Before You Cross The Street.

I grew up in a small town so crossing the street wasn’t as dangerous as it is in the city. Nonetheless, I was yanked by the collar more than once as I started to bolt across the street seemingly as anxious to get to the other side as the chicken that we have all heard so much about. It is important to understand that traffic does flow in two directions and if you only look in one direction – sooner or later you are going to get hit.

A lot of people want to classify themselves as a “Bull” or a “Bear”The smart investor doesn’t pick a side; he analyzes both sides to determine what the best course of action in the current market environment is most likely to be.

The problem with the proclamation of being a “bull” or a “bear” means that you are not analyzing the other side of the argument and that you become so confident in your position that you tend to forget that “the light at the end of the tunnel…just might be an oncoming train.”

It is an important part of your analysis, before you invest in the financial markets, to determine not only “where” but also “when” to invest your assets.

3) Always Wear Clean Underwear In Case You’re In An Accident

This was one of my favorite sayings from my mother because I always wondered about the rationality of it. I always figured that even if you were wearing clean underwear prior to an accident; you’re still likely left without clean underwear following it.

The first rule of investing is: “You are only wrong – if you stay wrong

However, being a smart investor means always being prepared in case of an accident. That means quite simply have a mechanism in place to protect you when you are wrong with an investment decision.

First of all, you will notice that I said “when you are wrong” in the previous paragraph. You will make wrong decisions, in fact, the majority of the decisions you will make in investing will most likely turn out wrong. However, it is cutting those wrong decisions short, and letting your right decisions continue to work, that will make you profitable over time.

Any person that tells you about all the winning trades he has made in the market – is either lying or he hasn’t blown up yet. One of the two will be true – 100% of the time.

Understanding the “risk versus reward” trade off of any investment is the beginning step to risk management in your portfolio. Knowing how to mitigate the risk of loss in your holdings is crucial to your long-term survivability in the financial markets.

4) If Everyone Jumped Off The Cliff – Would You Do It Too?

At one point or another, we have all tried with our Mom’s what every other kid has tried to since the beginning of time – the use of “peer pressure.” I figured if she wouldn’t let me do what I wanted, then surely she would bend to the will of the imaginary masses. She never did.

“Peer pressure” is one of the biggest mistakes investors repeatedly make when investing. Chasing the latest “hot stocks” or “investment fads” that are already overvalued and are running up on speculative fervor almost always end in disappointment.

In the financial markets, investors get sucked into buying stocks that have already moved significantly off their lows because they are afraid of “missing out.” This is speculating, gambling, guessing, hoping, praying – anything but investing. Generally, by the time the media begins featuring a particular investment, individuals have already missed the major part of the move. By that point, the probabilities of a decline began to outweigh the possibility of further rewards.

It is a well-known fact that the market works in what is called a “herd mentality.” Historically, investors all tend to run in one direction at one time until that direction falters, the “herd” then turns and runs in the opposite direction. This continues to the detriment of investor’s returns over long periods as shown by Dalbar investor studies.

This is also generally why investors wind up buying high and selling low. In order to be a long-term successful investor, you have to understand the “herd mentality” and use it to your benefit – which means getting out from in front of the herd before you are trampled.

So, before you chase a stock that has already moved 100% or more – try and figure out where the herd may move to next and “place your bets there.” This takes discipline, patience and a lot of homework – but you will be well rewarded for your efforts in the end.

5) Don’t Talk To Strangers

This is just good solid advice all the way around. Turn on the television, any time of the day or night, and it is the “Stranger’s Parade of Malicious Intent”. I don’t know if it is just me, or the fact the media only broadcast news that reveals the very depths of human sickness and depravity, but sometimes I have to wonder if we are not due for a planetary cleansing through divine intervention.

Back to investing – getting your stock tips from strangers is a sure way to lose money in the stock market. Your investing homework should NOT consist of a daily regimen of CNBC, followed by a dose of Grocer tips, capped off with a financial advisor’s sales pitch.

In order to be successful in the long-run, you must understand the principals of investing and the catalysts which will make that investment profitable in the future. Remember, when you invest into a company you are buying a piece of that company and its business plan. You are placing your hard earned dollars into the belief the individuals managing the company have your best interests at heart. The hope is they will operate in such a manner as to make your investment more valuable so that it may be sold to someone else for a profit.

This is also the very embodiment of the “Greater Fool Theory,” which states that there will always be someone willing to buy an investment at an ever higher price. However, in the end, there is always someone left “holding the bag,” the trick is making sure that it isn’t you.

Also, you need to be aware that when getting advice from the “One Minute Money Manager” crew on television – when an “expert” tells you about a company that you should buy – he already owns it – and most likely he will be the one selling his shares to you.

6) You Either Need To “Do It” (polite version) Or Get Off The Pot!

When I was growing up I hated to do my homework, which is ironic, since I now do more homework now than I ever dreamed of in my younger days. Since I did not like doing homework – school projects were almost never started until the night before they were due. I was the king of procrastination.

My Mom was always there to help, giving me a hand and an ear full of motherly advice, usually consisting of a lot of “because I told you so…”

I find it interesting that many investors tend to watch stocks for a very long period of time, never acting on their analysis, buy rather idly watching as their instinct proves correct and the stock rises in price.

The investor then feels that he missed his entry point and decides to wait, hoping the stock will go back down one more time so that he can get in. The stock continues to rise, the investor continues to watch becoming more and more frustrated until he finally capitulates on his emotion and buys the investment near the top.

Procrastination, on the way up and on the way down, are harbingers of emotional duress derived from the loss of opportunity or the destruction of capital.

However, if you do your homework and can build a case for the purchase, don’t procrastinate. If you miss your opportunity for the right entry into the position – don’t chase it. Leave it alone and come back another day when ole’ Bob Barker is telling you – “The Price Is Right.”

7) Don’t Play With It – You’ll Go Blind

Well…do I really need to go into this one? All I know for sure is that I am not blind today. What I will never know for sure is whether she believed it, or if it was just meant to scare the hell out of me.

When you invest in the financial markets it is very easy to lose sight of what your intentions were in the first place. Getting caught up in the hype, getting sucked in by the emotions of fear and greed, and generally being confused by the multitude of options available, causes you to lose your focus on the very basic principle that you started with – growing your small pile of money into a much larger one.

Putting It All Together

My Dad once taught me a very basic principle: KISSKeep It Simple Stupid

This is one of the best investment lessons you will ever receive. Too many people try to outsmart the market to gain a very small, fractional, increase in return. Unfortunately, they wind up taking on a disproportionate amount of risk which, more often than not, leads to negative results. The simpler the strategy is, the better the returns tend to be. Why? There is better control over the portfolio.

Designing a KISS portfolio strategy will help ensure that you don’t get blinded by continually playing with your portfolio and losing sight of what your original goals were in the first place.

  1. Decide what your objective is: Retirement, College, House, etc.
  2. Define a time frame to achieve your goal.
  3. Determine how much money you can “realistically” put toward your goal each month.
  4. Calculate the amount of return needed to reach your goal based on your starting principal, the number of years to your goal and your monthly contributions.
  5. Break down your goal into milestones that are achievable. These milestones could be quarterly, semi-annual or annual and will help make sure that you are on track to meet your objective.
  6. Select the appropriate asset mix that achieves your required results without taking on excess risk that could lead to greater losses than planned for.
  7. Develop and implement a specific strategy to sell positions in the event of random market events or unexpected market downturns.
  8. If this is more than you know how to do – hire a professional who understands basic portfolio and risk management.

There is obviously a lot more to managing your own portfolio than just the principles that we learned from our Mothers. However, this is a start in the right direction, and if you don’t believe me – just ask your Mother.

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Robot from Boston Dynamics totally eats it during demo

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A robot fail usually sends shockwaves throughout the internet, but a Boston Dynamics demo that went awry last month is just now getting a reaction. 

At the annual Congress of Future Science and Technology Leaders at UMass Lowell, Boston Dynamics presented its humanoid robot, Atlas, performing cool tricks on stage. The video is above.

All went fairly smoothly at the demo with Atlas picking up a box and dealing with the taunts from SpotMini, a four-legged robot, introduced later in the demo. 

It wasn’t until the final bow that Atlas stumbled — literally. While walking off stage, the robot tripped over a light projector and fell behind the curtain. It was definitely not a planned fall. In the ultimate upstaging, SpotMini gracefully sauntered off after the tumble.

The fail happened more than a month ago with the YouTube video posted July 2, but it spread after Reddit and The Next Web got wind of it. Somehow Boston Dynamics was spared the immediate online ridicule that comes with this type of thing—especially impressive considering it was in front of a huge group of high school students with their phones out.

The robotics company was sold from Google to the Japanese company Softbank earlier this year, just before the robot fall.

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People Over 30 Share Advice On All The Things You Need To Do In Your 20’s

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It’s amazing how quickly time flies. One day you’re hitting up Thursday night penny pitchers in college and then the next day that dirty 30 number is staring you right in the face. By no stretch of the imagination is 30 years old considered ‘old’, but when you’re in your 30’s you have a lot of perspective on your 20’s. Likewise, when you’re in your 20’s you have perspective on your teens and so on and so forth. A bunch of 30+ Redditors shared their pearls of wisdom on all the most important things that people in their 20’s should be doing. Some of this very practical, like financial advice, others is advice on living a little. I don’t want to sit here and lecture you bros with advice today because, frankly, after drinking for the past two weeks at Phish concerts here in NYC I’m in no position to advise anyone on anything, so let’s just jump right into all of the things you need to do in your 20’s (via AskReddit):


rdt156:
** Do whatever you can to build and maintain good credit. Save money for emergencies. Don’t overextend yourself with credit cards.
** Save for retirement (adding this because so many people mentioned it).
** Exercise regularly. Eat healthier.
** Cut out the negative people in your life.
** Don’t talk shit behind your friends’ backs. If you don’t like someone, that’s fine. Be the bigger person.
** If you can’t forgive or forget, at least move on. Holding onto shit just bogs you down. Is it really worth the energy?
** Get your oil changed regularly. Check your tires. Keep your car clean. Make sure you have windshield washer fluid.
** Keep your apartment/home/living space clean enough so that if someone texts that they’re swinging by, you can give it a quick 10-minute once over and have it not look like a shithole.
** If you like someone, like, like them like them, just ask them out. Don’t pine. If they have a SO, move on. If they say no, move on. Grand romantic gestures are only effective with someone who is already into you.
** Don’t beat yourself up too much for your mistakes (everyone fucks up), but learn from them.
Tell the people that you care about that you care about them.


Choosecharmander:
dont freak out about getting older, freak out about stagnation.


spinsterlibrarian:
Be social, make friends, find a life partner if that’s your thing. It only gets harder the longer you wait.


cream-of-cow:
Be a good person, you’ll be remembered for it. Many of your friends are on equal employment levels now, but it won’t be long before some rise and be in positions to level you up. Don’t go in debt, being frugal will be more beneficial to you in the long run than short term splurging.


thesunscreen:
Lift with your legs, not with your back. You’ll miss that when it’s gone.
Make more friends than you think you’ll ever need while you have steady access to them. Its hard when you get older and you never know when the ones you have will flake.
Take care of your teeth.
Do what’s right for you, even if it’s the hard choice. Yes you need to help who you can, but not if it costs you more than you can spare.
Remember you can sheer a sheep many times, but you can only skin it once.
*Cont.
Ask those older than you for their stories, some are amazing, some are bullshit, but knowing the difference will serve you better in life than you could ever know.
Write, even if you’re a terrible writer, use it as a means to flush the cache from your head.


easelknievel:
Exercise and take care of your body. Seriously.
I’ve gained and lost weight over the years and was kinda cavalier about it, because the weight always used to fly off me when I would start working out and eating right again. Now I’m 37 and it’s much harder. Make exercise a habit, and you WILL be glad you did later.


rdrake05:
Save your money. I look back now at 30 and wish I hadn’t blown so much on stupid stuff


MikeKM:
Avoid rushing into marriage and having kids. Establish yourself, have some fun and get it out of your system. 20 year old me had my share of fun, 30 year old me is focused on my wife and kids now. 50 year old me is planning on being that weird eccentric guy that wears Hawaiian shirts and socks with sandals because my kids are grown and my wife has already invested so much of her life in being with me that she just has to accept my quirks. I’ll have what looks like a cocktail in my hand, but it’s really just an Arnie Palmer since I nearly killed my kidneys in my 20’s.


PMmeyourlifeworries:
Honestly, I wish I hadn’t taken so much advice from older people and I just went ahead and made all my own mistakes. The older you get the more people expect you not to make mistakes, so enjoy the freedom and stop trying to be 100% prepared for everything.


tahlyn:
Work on your health. Start going to the gym now and get in shape now while you’re still young and healthy. Lose weight now.
Save. If this means having roommates to make your rent less burdensome, then do it. Savings and retirement can grow exponentially if you invest/get high interest rates.
Make an effort to stay in touch with your friends. Arrange a bi-weekly game night or movie night or anything. Otherwise two years will go by since you last saw that guy and hey why haven’t you gotten together sooner? you used to be besties.


spaghatta111:
Don’t listen to people who tell you what you should do because of your age.
Let me eat my Dino nuggets in peace.


oldncrazy:
Call your mom!


mrs_thatgirl:
Live alone. Learn to be alone. Find enjoyment in being alone.


modestalchemist:
Travel! Go places. Meet people. Push the boundaries of your own knowledge. Everything you think you know is a lie.


favourthebold:
Well this seems like a good opportunity to post a few of the lessons I learned in my 20s.
To my former self:
If you’re depressed, here’s how to turn it around
Stop drinking, this is the main cause.
Lift weights. This alone could also stop depression. It’s likely related to low testosterone levels
Fapping too much makes the depression worse
Fap less, and never to porn
Ejaculating too often removed your motivation to take actions and start tasks. You can consider porn like a poison for the mind. Pleasurable but it desensitizes you to all other pleasures, making life seem bland and boring. Until the only thing you want is porn. It perpetuates itself.
Gratitude
Whatever you are grateful for will grow
Gratitude is the only way to be happy. If you think about what happiness is, it’s appreciating what you have. When you think of something that would make you happy, you are imagining yourself appreciating it when you get it.
Wealth
You can have anything you want, as long as you create enough value for others first.
To be wealthy, don’t try and do tomorrow’s work today, just have a successful day each day. If you have more successful days than unsuccessful days, your wealth will grow. As you have successful and productive days, opportunities will be attracted to you.
Theories
The key to success in any area is having the right theory. A small amount of work, or a massive amount of work, with the wrong theory, won’t lead to success.
With the right theory, success will be relatively straight forward. When you do the thing, it will basically work every time. Anything that has been done many times before, can be done yourself with the correct theory
When most people speak of the ‘years of hard work’ they put in before they ‘cracked the game’, usually means they were laboring under the wrong theory, and then one day they found the correct theory, and when they applied it, it worked. (excluding world class athletes, talking about common things like starting a business or growing muscles)
Theories can be gathered by spending tens of thousands of dollars on seminars or tens of dollars on books. Both can contain theories that work and theories that don’t work. Higher cost definitely does not mean they have the right theory
Some theories can seem like they are guaranteed to work, but on testing, actually don’t. When someone says they have the right theory, it will seem worth any price. Often they actually don’t. Beware. If possible buy their book and test it for yourself, it’s just as good in book form.
This whole list is a list of theories, as you can see, they are usually quite simple and easy to understand. Complexity is usually a sign the person doesn’t really know how things work
Girls
You cannot make a girl like you, you can however find a girl who likes you
They key to getting girls is to get in excellent shape (lift weights), dress well, and talk to girls until you find one that likes you
If a girl is unsure if she you likes you, won’t go on a date with you, or doesn’t let you touch her in anyway. She doesn’t like you. Find one that wants all those things. Don’t be fooled by girls who seem to REALLY like you but doesn’t have time to meet, or won’t let you touch her. They do not like you like that.
Hot girls are just as likely to like you as not hot girls
If you like a girl more than she likes you, and she doesn’t want to meet up/hang out/have sex. Let her go and move on
Career
It’s very easy to get ahead if you just try, most people don’t
You career will naturally progress just through normal learning, don’t worry about it
Flow
If you want things to happen without effort and struggle, live a life with gratitude and presence. Things will seem to happen easily and naturally.
Meditation
Mediation gives you the ability to be your best. Very handy for improving at anything, particularly gaming, as you see more and learn more. It gives you access to creativity in solving problems and improving your performance
Mediation allows you to ‘stop the mind’. Do this if you’re stuck in over-analysis
To meditate, set a time on your phone for 20 minutes, sit still and don’t move a muscle, and focus on your breath as often as you can. Your mind will try to stray, just focus on your breath as much as able. This is how you quiet the mind


allluckd:
Travel. I met a lot of retired people while I traveled who all wish that had done it in their 20s. It’s possible to do it cheap and will be some of your best memories.
Embrace who you are. Most people I know in their 30’s say they wish they were honest with themselves about who they wanted to be.
Eliminate debt. If you can’t buy it with cash, don’t buy it. Pay off your debts as aggressively as you can. Being frugal isn’t that hard. Do a monthly budget and review your expenses. I found out I was spending $8k a year on restaurants and beer. Had no idea it was that high.
Spend money on experiences, not things.
Take Risks. You can bounce back. It’s easier to take risks before you own a home or have a child.
Stay in shape. My metabolism pretty much decided to stop working. Way harder to stay in shape now.
You can only control your own actions. This was a lesson I wish I internalized earlier, as it has made me much happier. I can’t control other peoples actions, so I don’t expect people will do what I want. Makes processing the world easier.
Keep learning. Art, science, business, psychology. Whatever floats your boat. It makes life full and opens up new and unexpected doors.
Develop a simple green thumb. I have so many plants in my house now and it makes the home so pleasant to be in. Hanging ivies are pretty solid.
Keep up with people that make you happy or better – even if you move. More than facebook. Take turn visiting each other once a year if you live far away.
Be honest about your relationships. You only get one life, so you might as well not lie to yourself. It’s usually one person in the pair, but their inaction draws out the pain for everyone involved.
Sex is important. For some. Figure out how to be confident and have fun with whoever you’re with. If it’s important to you.
Keep reading.
Learn to take a compliment. This is more personal. I always use to make excuses, and talk down compliments. It’s just a lame thing to do. Now I just genuinely say thank you.
Be present. It’s easy to get caught up on moving through life. I found someone who was great at truly being present, and learned from them what that meant. Even when doing the dishes, I try to think about the water hitting my hands, or the sounds of my neighbors outside.
Think about death. Don’t dwell on it, but I have found it’s helpful to think about life being finite. People will pass on and so will you. Ignoring it is pointless, and accepting it helps put things into perspective.
Enjoy life. No one can enjoy it for you.
Make other people happy. Even small gestures can go a long way – and it feels great.
Be ok with making mistakes.
Don’t over promise and under deliver.
Realize no one is out to get you – people are just out for themselves.
Learn to cook well and shop well.


Well, bros, that wraps up the coverage from my end but if you want to keep on reading these AskReddit stories you can CLICK HERE to see that thread in full!

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US Equities Are Now ‘Safer’ Than Foreign Exchange

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While Draghi shook things up in late June, it appears to be Janet Yellen’s flip-flop that has sparked the latest regime shift in global capital markets.

Since then, traders’ expectations for foreign exchange uncertainty has surged, while the outlook for equity, rate, and oil uncertainty has tumbled.

This has left the market now seeing equities as safer than currencies

When are equities safer than currencies? As Bloomberg notesalmost never, at least until now.

The one-month implied volatility of the S&P 500 Index is more than a full percentage point below Deutsche Bank’s measure of G-7 currency volatility over the same period, a rare event caused by the combination of a falling dollar and rising U.S. equities. It appears that investors have decided that low-yielding currency returns are riskier than equities, inverting the typical risk/reward relationship.

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Loneliness may be a greater public health hazard than obesity — and experts say it’s getting worse

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sad alone lonely woman work stress upset

As more people opt to live alone, delay or forego marriage, and recede into their smartphones, rates of loneliness are skyrocketing in the United States, according to new research.

Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a professor of psychology at Brigham Young University, presented the findings from two huge meta-analyses at this year’s Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association.

Holt-Lunstad’s research shows loneliness could pose an even greater threat to public health than obesity, and other research has found it even rivals the risks of smoking.

"Indeed, many nations around the world now suggest we are facing a ‘loneliness epidemic,’" Holt-Lunstad said in a statement. "The challenge we face now is what can be done about it."

The first of the two meta-analyses included 148 studies as well as data on more than 300,000 participants. It found a 50% reduction in the risk of early death among people with greater social interaction.

The second analysis included data on 3.4 million people from 70 studies and looked at the role social isolation, loneliness, and living alone had on mortality. All three seemed to increase individuals’ risk to similar or greater extents than obesity.

Researchers believe loneliness is so deadly because it can lead to a number of issues, including disrupted sleep patterns, high levels of stress hormones, increased inflammation, and worsening immune systems. Any one of those risk factors puts people at a greater risk for disease and life-threatening injury.

Based on the evidence, Holt-Lunstad doesn’t think the loneliness problem is going away anytime soon. The latest AARP Loneliness Study found 42.6 million adults over the age of 45 suffer from chronic loneliness. With an aging baby boomer population, that number is expected to rise in the coming decades.

People can stave off the risks of loneliness by taking a more proactive approach to socializing, Holt-Lunstad said. Instead of scrolling through Facebook, older Americans can make a point to join social clubs or plan get-togethers with neighbors. Doctors can also play a role in alerting older patients to the risks of loneliness, and offer ways to combat its effects.

In some cases, countries that face loneliness epidemics have taken steps broadly to make people feel less alone. In England, lonely seniors can call a hotline, known as the Silver Line, to speak with someone for however long they want, on any topic. The center receives about 10,000 calls a week.

SEE ALSO: This hotline gets 10,000 calls a week from lonely seniors starved for human contact

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: This vintage video shows what New York City’s subway was like in the 1940s

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Four Reasons Your Business Should Be on Instagram [Infographic]

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People remember 80% of what they see, 20% of what they read, and 10% of what they hear, according to an infographic by Instagram service provider Gramlike.

So it’s no wonder than Instagram is a popular social media platform, and not just for consumers but for brands as well.

With 90% of Interbrand’s “Top 100 Global Brands” on Instagram, and 53% of Instagram users following their favorite brands on the social network, according to the infographic, it’s clear that the platform can be valuable when it’s used well.

The infographic gives tips on how to accomplish exactly that, such as noting that posts with location tags drive higher engagement than those without, and images with faces receive 38% more likes than those without.

To see more about how brands are using Instagram and what they’re getting out of it, check out the infographic:

Laura Forer is the manager of MarketingProfs: Made to Order, Original Content Services, which helps clients generate leads, drive site traffic, and build their brands through useful, well-designed content.

LinkedIn: Laura Forer

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13 cities that are starting to ban cars

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oslo norway 2

In 2015, Oslo announced a plan to ban all cars from its city center by 2019. As the Guardian notes, the plan received some protest from businesses, so the city came up with a clever solution.

Instead of kicking out cars, Oslo’s council said in June 2017 that it will just make it harder for them to get there by ban parking spaces. A few months earlier, Norway also confirmed that it will phase out diesel and gas-powered cars nationwide by 2025.

But cities in Norway are not the only ones getting ready to take the car-free plunge. Urban planners and policy makers around the world have started to brainstorm ways that cities can create more space for pedestrians and lower CO2 emissions from diesel.

Here are 13 cities leading the car-free movement.

SEE ALSO: 12 of the most beautiful public spaces in the world, according to urban designers

Oslo, Norway will implement its car ban by 2019.

Oslo plans to permanently ban all cars from its city center by 2019 — six years before Norway’s country-wide ban would go into effect.

The Norwegian capital will invest heavily in public transportation and replace 35 miles of roads previously dominated by cars with bike lanes.

"The fact that Oslo is moving forward so rapidly is encouraging, and I think it will be inspiring if they are successful," said Paul Steely White, the executive director of Transportation Alternatives, an organization that supports bikers in New York City and advocates for car-free cities.

Madrid’s planned ban is even more extensive.

Madrid plans to ban cars from 500 acres of its city center by 2020, with urban planners redesigning 24 of the city’s busiest streets for walking rather than driving. 

The initiative is part of the city’s "sustainable mobility plan," which aims to reduce daily car usage from 29% to 23%. Drivers who ignore the new regulations will pay a fine of at least $100. And the most polluting cars will pay more to park.

"In neighborhoods, you can do a lot with small interventions," Mateus Porto and Verónica Martínez, who are both architects and urban planners from the local pedestrian advocacy group A PIE, told Fast Company. "We believe that regardless of what the General Plan says about the future of the city, many things can be done today, if there is political will."

People in Chengdu, China will be able to walk anywhere in 15 minutes or less.

Chicago-based architects Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill designed a new residential area for the Chinese city. The layout makes it easier to walk than drive, with streets designed so that people can walk anywhere in 15 minutes.

While Chengdu won’t completely ban cars, only half the roads in the 80,000-person city will allow vehicles. The firm originally planned to make this happen by 2020, but zoning issues are delaying the deadline.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Venezuela’s Demise Is A Geopolitical Litmus Test For The U.S.

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Authored by Grgeory  Copley via OilPrice.com,

Is Venezuela’s 2017 transformation symptomatic of the growing global polarization? And does it show how the collapse of globalism is resulting in the re-emergence of a range of governmental forms which no longer even need to acknowledge “Western-style” democracy? 

Are we seeing the revival of a bloc of pre-Westphalian nation-states with major power support? 

That is, societies which are not based on the balanced, nation-state concept which evolved from the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. Westphalian-style states have come to mean nation-states which married entire societies and leaderships to their geography and were imbued with legitimacy because of the relationships — tacit, historical, or electoral — between the societies and their governance. In shorthand terms: Westphalianism implies sovereignty underpinned by legitimacy. The term “pre-Westphalian”, used here for the first time, implies a form of despotism (control of a population without its consent); a lack of the rule of laws agreed by the society, and therefore a lack of structure (and therefore sovereignty) as recognized by its own population.

Some trends are emerging which show how different the 21st Century global strategic architecture will be from the 20th. The present Venezuelan Government has abandoned even a pretense of adherence to what the West calls democracy. For some states, a return to autocracy is seen as the only avenue to escape total loss of power by governing élites, even though history has demonstrated how fragile and vulnerable such power structures can quickly become. 

Venezuelan Pres. Nicolás Maduro’s stage-managed July 30, 2017, “election” of a new National Constituent Assembly may have set the paradigm for how governments in the emerging post-democratic world can sustain nation-states which owe nothing to the global order. It is not a new model, and it may not endure. But it is a model which has some chance of survival (with little economic success) in a world in which major powers find it inconvenient or difficult to intervene against such states. Or if there are no pressures to overturn major power disinterest. 

In this instance, the declining power of Venezuela’s petroleum exports not only damage the internal economy (given that 95 percent of the nation’s foreign exchange is earned from oil), it limits Venezuela’s importance as either partner or target for foreign powers. 

The Venezuelan election swept away any pretense that Mr. Maduro’s Government would now be recognized internationally on any other grounds than the fact that it physically controlled the territory of the Venezuelan State.

The July 30, 2017, “election” — the “near-final act” in dispensing with a National Assembly controlled by opponents of Pres. Maduro’s United Socialist Party (PSUV: Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela) — was contrived to return all power, but not necessarily legitimacy, to the PSUV. This was foreseeable when the Supreme Court announced on March 29, 2017, that it was assuming the functions of the National Assembly. The Court reversed that finding three days later, but the process of bypassing the Assembly had begun to take root in Mr Maduro’s mind. 

The imposition of top-down control – suppression – of a society is, however, expensive, and requires an effective system to remove weapons and opportunity for dissent from internal opponents.

Pres. Maduro is yet to demonstrate that he has achieved that level of control.

Arguably, in the United States of America, the attempts by the Administration of Pres. Barack Obama (2009-17) to remove weapons and ammunition from the general public actually stimulated the voter base to reject his ideals and those of his chosen successor in the 2016 Presidential election. 

It is probable that the Venezuelan opposition, already restive and growing in confidence before the July 30, 2017, “election”, would become further emboldened and could act with a greater sense of urgency than before. US Government-imposed sanctions on key PSUV leaders further strengthened opposition resolve. Opposition groups not only challenged the legitimacy of replacing the National Assembly without a mandate to do so, but became emboldened by plausible allegations that the voting was rigged on July 30, apart from the opposition boycott of the event. 

UK-based Smartmatic, a software company which had set up voting systems in Venezuela, said in a company statement on August 1, 2017, that “without any doubt” the voting results had been altered by “at least” a million votes. Moreover, voters were never given the option of rejecting the plan to replace the National Assembly with the Constituent Assembly. The new Assembly theoretically has the power to dismiss any branch of government, including the National Assembly. The National Electoral Council’s claim that almost 8.1-million people (more than 40 percent of the electorate) had voted was rejected not only by Smartmatic, but by Venezuelan opposition leaders. There was no international monitoring in place. 

Smartmatic was the voting machine company established by Venezuelans under the late Pres. Hugo Chávez to provide the Chávez Government with its own sense of confidence that it could control the outcome of elections. And now Smartmatic has turned on Pres. Chávez’ designated successor. Smartmatic will now need to distance itself from its Venezuelan roots. 

The voter count discrepancy may only be relevant to the degree that it fuels internal and external indignation and action.

At a broader level, several outcomes and indicators are significant:

Venezuela’s economy will continue its downward spiral, fueling population outflow and the ac-tivities of major armed insurrectionist factions internally, probably with external sponsors;

 

International recognition of and trade with Venezuela will contract, but some governments (People’s Republic of China, Iran, Cuba, Turkey, etc.) may take the opportunity to develop a separate trading framework to include Venezuela. This could include a number of Caribbean states which have been induced to work closely with the PRC and against the US. This will gal-vanize US attention to act against some of the smaller PRC allies in the area, particularly Domi-nica;

 

The creation of a “non-Western” trading system will be significantly influenced by the degree of success Venezuela has in surviving internal dissent and US-led Western sanctions.

Venezuela’s situation highlights the degree to which the US has lost influence in the Americas. So this is where it is being challenged, and why Venezuela is a significant test case.

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The Most Realistic Robo-Lincoln Yet Proves the Future Is Going to Be Weird as Hell

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Honest Abe is lying about being human. The people who handle Walt Disney World’s Animatronics have built an all new, slightly frightening Lincoln that makes the perfect facial expressions for reacting to the upcoming talking Trump in the Hall of Presidents.

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Garner Holt Productions [GHP] has built thousands of animatronic figures for theme parks over the course of its 35-year history. Most recently, the studio has taken charge of Disney’s audio-animatronics and its now showing off the most realistic Abraham Lincoln since Daniel Day-Lewis took home his third Oscar. With 40 unique motions and a new proprietary silicon skin that can replicate complex wrinkles, this is one of the finest examples of futuristic facial expressions we’ve seen.

There’s something extra unnerving about the robo-Lincoln when you watch the video demonstration with the Ken Burns-style Civil War music. It really drives home the way in which we’re watching a very famous dead man come back to life in an age that he just wasn’t built for. The cutting edge of robotics and materials starkly contrast with the visage that is supposed to be forever frozen in copper.

First debuted at Disney’s D23 fan club extravaganza in July, the bust of Lincoln is just a demonstration for now, and is planned to be part of a series called “The Living Faces of History” that will be offered to theme park clients and museums. As with so much advanced technology, this one started with work for the military. Company founder Garner Holt explains in a blog post:

We first implemented this sort of work in our projects for the US Marines in the Infantry Immersion Trainer at Camp Pendleton. We created a series of animatronic townspeople to populate the immersive training environment—some of them were slated to be hostile combatants. An effective way to illustrate an animatronic character’s scripted intentions or whether they are friendly or hostile is through changing the figure’s facial expression—in this case, our figures could scowl or raise their eyebrows and smile or frown, all accomplished by mechanical means beneath the animatronics’ silicone face masks.

Currently, the Shaman character in Disney’s World of Avatar attraction is touted as the most advanced animatronic its team has ever made. The company has declined to outline the exact specifications of that model, but all one has to do is look at the video to see its facial expressions are nowhere close to as detailed as this Lincoln. Advancements in servo-motors have allowed for smaller, more subtle expressions to be achieved by GHP’s engineers and Holt claims that its latest creation can behave in unique and not essentially-linear ways. In other words, these facial movements can, to some degree, go off-script.

Holt says that most animatronics move at a rate of 32 frames per second. Lincoln can pull off a smooth 1,000 frames per second and that gives you an idea of just how much innovation will be required for robots to look like Haley Joel Osment in AI. There are times when Lincoln comes close to being convincing, but the speed of its movement seems to be the biggest giveaway. That said, the eyes have always been the hardest thing to accurately reproduce and Abe occasionally shows flashes of life in that department.

Based on this demo, we have to say that the future Hall of Presidents has the potential to be a can’t miss horror show.

[Garner Holt Productions via Boing Boing]

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How long you need to do cardio to reap the benefits for your body and brain

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woman running jogging exercise

Aerobic exercise, or "cardio," might be the closest thing to a miracle drug that we have.

A growing body of research suggests that when we commit to regular workouts that raise our heart rate and get us moving and sweating for a sustained period of time, magical things happen to our body and brain.

We think more clearly, feel better overall, and protect ourselves against some of the cognitive decline that occurs with age, studies suggest.

"Aerobic exercise … has a unique capacity to exhilarate and relax, to provide stimulation and calm, to counter depression and dissipate stress," the authors of an article in the Harvard Medical School blog "Mind and Mood" wrote.

But how long should you be cycling, swimming, walking, or running to reap these benefits?

Overall, research suggests that the magic happens somewhere in the window of about 30-45 minutes at minimum.

An elderly man swimsAa recent paper looked at the exercise habits of hundreds of breast cancer survivors who were experiencing symptoms like "chemo brain," which involves memory loss and trouble focusing. The researchers found that as little as 30 minutes of an aerobic exercise like walking was linked with significantly better performance on cognitive quizzes.

Another study published in May provided some additional support for that research — it found that in adults aged 60-88, walking for 30 minutes four days a week for 12 weeks appeared to strengthen connectivity in a region of the brain where weakened connections have been linked to memory loss.

Similarly, a pilot study in people with severe depression found that just 30 minutes of treadmill walking for 10 consecutive days appeared to be "sufficient to produce a clinically relevant and statistically significant reduction in depression."

Other research suggests it might be better to do cardio for longer. A study in the British Medical Journal found that in adults over 50, the best results for the brain appeared to come from a routine that combined aerobic exercises with resistance training (i.e. muscle-building exercises like planks and push-ups) and lasted at least 45 minutes.

Researchers still aren’t sure why this type of exercise appears to provide a boost to the brain, but some studies suggest it has to do with increased blood flow, which provides our minds with fresh energy and oxygen. One recent study in older women who displayed potential symptoms of dementia also found that aerobic exercise was linked with an increase in the size of the hippocampus, a brain area involved in learning and memory. Another reason might have to do with cardio’s ability to help reduce levels of the body’s natural stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, according to a recent study in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science.

Joe Northey, the lead author of the British study and an exercise scientist at the University of Canberra, said his research suggests that anyone in good health over age 50 should do 45 minutes to an hour of aerobic exercise "on as many days of the week as feasible."

SEE ALSO: Here are the ages your brain peaks at everything throughout life

DON’T MISS: Meditation has a powerful and surprising effect on your body and brain

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NOW WATCH: Scientists have a new way to measure health by determining your ‘fitness age’ — here’s how you can calculate it

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