Monthly Archives: January 2015

Svarlbard Global Seed Vault Recieves 100,000 More Seeds

The Svarlbard Global Seed Vault has added 100,000 new seeds to its stores. It had received four deliveries of seeds from 100 countries, thereby adding to a collection of 800,000 seeds.

The Svarlbard Global Seed Vault was established in 2008. Svarlbard itself is a Norwegian island group in the Arctic Ocean between the North Pole and continental Norway. Dave and Brit Morin have read that the vault was cut into rock and the seeds in it are refrigerated to keep them from rotting. On paper, the vault can hold 2.5 billion seeds. It is managed by the Global Crop Diversity Trust, which uses the vault to collect seeds used in agriculture and inventory them. The vault’s main purpose is to prevent the extinction of species that could be harmed by climate change. It is also a back-up for similar and smaller seed banks scattered around the world.

The newly collected and stored seeds come from a multitude of plants including several types of barley, corn, chickpea, groundnut and wheat. The shipment also included seeds from vegetables native to Africa including amaranth, okra and jute mallow.

Jared Haftel Has Big Financial App Plans

Jared Haftel received his undergraduate degree at Duke University, and he is enrolled in the MBA program at Stanford University. Jared has always been interested in math and finance, and that is why he took a job with Bank of America shortly after graduating from Duke. He has been working at Bank of America while pursuing his Master’s Degree, and he is planning on changing the way that people handle their money.

The goals that Jared has for his career reach far beyond what most people would do behind the desk at a bank. Jared wants to change the ways in which people manage their money. Jared knows that most people do not have all the information they need to take care of their money, and he has plans to help people get all that information when they need it the most.

The Apps

Jared wants to work in the world of mobile apps so that he can reach people who may be in the most need. These mobile apps are going to be places where people can search for information they need without going into a bank or making a phone call. Many people are intimidated by a trip into the bank, and they do not want to sit across from a bank manager and learn all that they do not know about finances.

Jared’s mobile apps are meant to give people the information they need in plain English. The majority of people that use these apps will be able to enter their personal information to get customized responses. This also means that people can ask for differing advice based on their personal situation. Some people will find that they can make better decisions when they are reading the responses on the app, and they will never have to worry about the fear of going into the bank personally.

Jared’s goals are noble, and he hopes to help change the way banks interact with customers. He knows some people are not reached yet, and he knows that these apps can help bring them into the fold.

Is There a New World’s Busiest Airport?


Atlanta has long held the title of “World’s Busiest Airport.” Now, there are naturally a few different reasons why this is. One, there really is not another major city near Atlanta, and it only has a single airport, while the other large cities in the US tend to have two or more. However, despite this the Chicago O’Hare airport is staging claim to the “World’s Busiest Airport”, but is it really? It all comes down to who is asked.

First, when it comes down to the total number of flights per year, then it is true, Chicago is now the busiest airport in the country. According to, Chicago had nearly 882,000 flights last year, while Atlanta had just over 863,000. All of this and O’Hare is not included the number of flights taking pace in neighboring Midway airport.  Slow Ventures and other corporate companies need information about busy airports to be exact in order to make sure business operations run smoothly.

Of course, while O’Hare does have more flights coming in and out throughout the course of the year, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson has more passengers by a considerable amount. Atlanta saw around 96 million it says in 2014. O’Hare has not released a passenger number yet, but in 2013 it saw 66.7 million. Naturally, this number is going to be larger as it is a year removed, but most likely it is not going to top 96 million passengers.

In all, it really depends on the number most important for determining what makes an airport the busiest: total flights or total passengers.

Christopher Cowdray is the Hotelier to the World’s Elite

Christopher Cowdray has been the chief executive officer of the Dorchester Collection since 2007. This company currently manages luxury hotels across Europe and the United States. After graduating from the Columbia Business School in New York City, he managed individual hotels on five continents at various points in his career. This enabled him to bring hotel management experience from around the globe to his current position as CEO of The Dorchester Collection. Mr. Cowdray started with this company by managing The Dorchester Hotel located in London, which is one of the world-wide luxury hotels run by this business.

The Hotels his company manages cater to the elite world traveler. They may be the finest collection of hotels in the world. His 30 years of service in this industry have provided Mr. Cowdray with an unmatchable resume in the field of managing such businesses. It is no coincidence that the hotels his company runs are considered five-star establishments. They are sought after by the elite from around the world when they seek out the most prestigious place to stay in a popular destination city. Mr. Cowdray was recognized for his superb management of this company by winning the Lifetime Achievement Award at the European Hospitality Awards in 2013.

Christopher Cowdray has come a long way from his birthplace of Zimbabwe. Earning a degree in hotel management in his home country followed by completing the Executive Program at Columbia Business School gave him the knowledge and training to enable him to rise in the hotel industry. The company started with five luxury hotels and currently has ten. Mr. Cowdray plans to continue to expand The Dorchester Collections brand as well as its collection of hotels. With some of the finest hotels in Europe and the United States, he also plans to carry the company’s brand and impeccable reputation to key destination cities in the Middle East and Asia. This will be in addition to keeping an eye on future expansion opportunities in the two continents already being served. He plans this to be a slow and deliberate expansion only into cities that can support the infrastructure, services and destinations expected of elite clientele. With Christopher Cowdray at the helm, the Dorchester collection should have smooth sailing through the next decade.


Winter X Games


The highly anticipated 2015 Winter X games are finally here, as the games are set to take off on Thursday evening and run through Sunday. The winter X games feature the best extreme athletes from around the world who descend on Aspen, Colorado every year in January in hopes of taking home X games gold. The event has taken place in Aspen since 2002 and looks to be the place X calls home for a long time to come. There are a lot of storylines in these games, as old and new athletes prepare to pull off their best tricks and try to get the best scores possible out of the panel of judges that will be scoring the events. Superstar snowboarder Shaun White will be back and competing in the Super pipe event after a hiatus, although he has been hands down the best Super pipe rider in history. He has completely dominated the X games since he came into prominence as a younger kid, but since then he has kind of dropped off the map a bit. Other riders have stepped up their game by a great amount and he no longer stands alone as the best snowboarder in the world. He will have to dig deep into his bag of tricks if he wants to take home some gold medals in these games, but if anyone can do it is surely is Shaun White. Anyone travelling to Aspen this week has to check out the games as Sergio Andrade Gutierrez says, “get out there and shred.”

Discussions Ongoing Concerning a Huge Ski Resort in Utah

Recently, media reports surfaced concerning a proposal to create the largest ski resort in North America in the Wasatch Mountains outside Salt Lake City, Utah. These discussions occur at a time when two resorts in the area owned by Vail Resorts have already announced plans to link their ski trails through the construction of a new ski lift.

Reportedly, the new ski lift would involve the construction of a line capable of transporting gondolas carrying eight passengers at a time from the foot of Park City at Sliverlodge Lift and extending to the Flatiron Lift at Canyons. Additionally, the developer plans to augment the seating capacity of resort dining facilities to accommodate the anticipated increasing number of patrons.

The New York Times reported late last week that at least seven ski resorts on the outskirts of Salt Lake City hope to combine their services to offer the largest single ski resort in North America. Currently, Canada’s Whistler-Blackcomb Resort holds that honor. Several of the ski slopes in Utah border one another at various locations, so the effort to develop a single, unified system of ski lifts and ski trails might not involve extensive property acquisitions. Some experts estimate the total cost at around $30 million.

If it comes into existence, “OneWasatch” would likely attract attention from people taking annual ski vacations, like Christopher Cowdray. The new resort would be roughly double the size of the Canadian resort.

Travel Anywhere, Anytime with Skout’s New App

A little over a year ago, Skout launched the Skout Travel app. The app is geared towards the tech savvy and social media connected Millennial. Yesterday, the news release was reported at PR Newswire. According to Skout’s CEO, Christian Wiklund, the app is to not only help exclusively for the traveler but also to help people connect in different cities and countries. And apparently, the app has been eagerly accepted. In the last 15 months, the app has been used more than 10 million times.

The app has helped millions of people fulfill their desire for travel and adventure. A recent study found women are the more likely to virtually travel. Within the United States, people tend to gravitate to the coastal cities. Internationally, the number one destination is Hong Kong. Skout Travel allows the traveler at heart to choose a destination, anywhere in the world, and they can instantly be connected. Without leaving the comfort of your home, you can get to know new people in new cities. Your friends can now be your virtual tour guides to their native land. Or you can start planning the real trip, with the new friends you have found through Skout Travel.

This opens so many possibilities. The tech savvy individual can make connections in areas of the world they have always dreamed out. It has become a social network with a travel twist. Because of the great success of the app, Scout wants to celebrate. Normally they charge per trip. But through Jan 17,2015, they will be dropping their 25 cent travel fee. This gives the travel skeptic the ability to test the app. They can fulfill their travel dreams and see if the app is worth the hype.

World’s Largest Indoor Farm

In Japan, there is an indoor farm that is the world’s largest and is far more efficient than its outdoor counterpart. The indoor farm resulted from Japan’s need for immediate food produce from a tragedy that hit them causing their food storage to be greatly affected. The building where the indoor farm is located is an abandoned building because of the earthquake. The building has been renovated into a very efficient indoor farm.

The area of the building is 25,000 square feet. It can produce as much as 10,000 heads of lettuce each day. It uses less power, produces less food waste, and requires very little water compared to the outdoor fields. 

The production is accelerated by setting the right conditions inside the building and shortening the hours of day and night. The plants react positively to these conditions, allowing them to grow at a faster rate.

The final destination for the project is full-automation. The head of the project expresses his ideas of making indoor farming as a reliable source of food produce. He thinks that any plant can be produce inside a roof but what is more practical to explore are the crops that grow fast so that they can be delivered and distributed to the markets immediately. Flavio Maluf would like to see more countries try this type of farming and has gone on record of stating this on  his page.

The factory does not only produce lettuces and green vegetables, it also has the ability to produce medicinal plants and herbs.

Update: Elizabeth Gallagher and Jordan Axani Return Home From Their Three Week Trip

A few months ago there was a story in the news about a 28 year old Canadian man, Jordan Axani looking for any woman named Elizabeth Gallagher to travel with him over the Christmas holiday. Jordan and his ex-girlfriend, named Elizabeth Gallagher, had purchased the tickets together before their break-up. As just about everyone knows changing a name on an airline ticket is next to impossible so Jordan decided to find another Elizabeth Gallagher with a Canadian passport to take her place. Well, he did and the pair have returned from their three week adventure abroad.

According to the story on BBC news the pair have returned and now share a sibling like relationship after being virtually strangers at the start. And for those of you wondering they say nothing romantic blossomed between them. Maybe due in part to Elizabeth having a long term boyfriend at home. The pair visited, in order, New York to Milan, Venice, Vienna, Prague, Khao Lak, Thailand, and Hong Kong. They say that while they enjoyed their time touring together, they also enjoyed exploring on their own.

Not only did they get a fabulous trip, Jordan has also found a new vocation for himself. He has started a charity called A Ticket Forward which will allow those who have survived through incredible odds to take trips they never imagined possible.  Gianfrancesco Genoso thinks this is a great idea in his article on JusBrazil.

AirAsia: Search Continues For Black Boxes

The research teams of the aircraft AirAsia that was crashed in Indonesia have fished a part of the tail of the aircraft , on Saturday in a much worn state, but continue to look for the black box , according the authorities.

The Airbus A320-200 had disappeared from radar screens shortly after takeoff on December 28 from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore with 162 people on board. The tail of the plane was found ten days later at the bottom of the Java Sea, about thirty meters deep.

The research teams of the aircraft AirAsia that was crashed in Indonesia have fished a part of the tail of the aircraft , on Saturday in a much worn state, but continue to look for the black box , according the authorities.

About ten meters long worn piece of tail has been stored on a boat to be brought back to surface of the earth in a hope to get black boxes containing crucial information to establish the causes of the accident.

But as my friend Darius Fisher noted was worth mentioning, an acoustic signal apparently issued by the black boxes was detected about one km from the place where the tail of the aircraft was rescued, on last Friday. The acoustic signals from these boxes can only be heard when the sea is calm. Thus, the area near the boats will cut their engines from Sunday to facilitate the research.