#WomenHistoryMonth: 11 Crucial Inventions You Can Thank Women For

#WomenHistoryMonth: 11 Crucial Inventions You Can Thank Women For

March is #WomenHistoryMonth

By Jessica Samakow | The Huffington Post

This Women’s History Month, let’s take a moment to think about where we’d be without the inventions of some brilliant female minds: Stuck in a burning building with no way out, and without a chocolate chip cookie or a beer to bring comfort in our final moments. That was morbid, but you get the point.

Here are just a few things you might not have known were invented by women: 

1. Beer, Thanks to lots of women!

We don’t actually know the individual who first created beer, but according to research conducted by historian Jane Peyton, for thousands of years brewing beer was a woman’s domain. According a 2010 Telegraph piece: “Nearly 7,000 years ago in Mesopotamia and Sumeria, so important were [women’s] skills that they were the only ones allowed to brew the drink or run any taverns.”

2. The Square-Bottomed Paper Bag, Margaret Knight

Margaret Knight realized that paper bags without square bottoms weren’t all that useful, so she invented a machine to cut and attach flat bottoms to bags. Before she could patent the iron version of her machine, a man named Charles Annan stole her design, claiming that no woman could think of something so complex. Knight filed a lawsuit against him and proved that the prototype was in fact hers. She gained the patent in 1871.

3. Dishwasher, Josephine Cochrane

In 1886, socialite Josephine Cochrane was annoyed that her servants kept breaking her china. So, she invented the first workable dishwasher.

4. The Fire Escape, Anna Connelly

The first outdoor fire escape with an external staircase was patented by Anna Connelly in 1897. In the 1900s, Connelly’s model would become part of manymandatory building safety codes across the United States.

5. Monopoly, Elizabeth Magie

Monopoly, originally called The Landlord’s Game, was invented by Elizabeth Magie in 1903. Magie was inspired to create The Landlord’s Game “to demonstrate the tragic effects of land-grabbing.”

6. Windshield Wiper, Mary Anderson

In 1903, Mary Anderson noticed drivers stopping to clear snow and ice off their windshields. She came up with the windshield wiper — an arm with a rubber blade that could be activated without getting out of your car. She applied for a patent in 1904, and it was issued in 1905.

7. Chocolate Chip Cookies, Ruth Wakefield

In 1930, Ruth Wakefield, who owned a lodge named the Toll House Inn, was making cookies for guests and realized that she was out of baker’s chocolate. She broke up pieces of a Nestle semi-sweet chocolate bar, thinking that the chocolate would mix in and melt during baking, but it didn’t.

8. The Solar Heated Home, Dr. Maria Telkes

Dr. Maria Telkes worked at MIT on the university’s Solar Energy Research Project. In the 1940s, she developed the first solar-heated home with architect Eleanor Raymond.

9. Computer Software, Grace Hopper

Dr Grace Murray Hopper, a computer scientist, invented COBOL, the first user-friendly business computer software program in the 1950s. In 1969, she was awarded the first ever Computer Science Man of the Year Award.

10. Kevlar, Stephanie Kwolek

Stephanie Kwolek’s research with chemical compounds for the DuPont Company led her to invent Kevlar — the material used in bulletproof vests — which was patented in 1966.

11. Stem Cell Isolation, Ann Tsukamoto

Ann Tsukamoto is one of two people who got a patent in 1991 for a process to isolate the human stem cell. Her work has led to advancements in comprehending the blood systems of cancer patients and could eventually lead to a cure.

Drones, dogs and DNA the latest weapons against invasive species

By Tamsyn Burgmann

THE CANADIAN PRESS

RICHMOND, B.C. _ Field technicians on the hunt for invasive species used to go on foot, by canoe or relied on satellite photographs taken from outer space.

But an ecologist who dispatched a drone to detect invaders in a British Columbia wildlife area is now recommending more remote-controlled robots do the difficult work.

“With a drone we’re looking at pixel sizes that are teeny tiny. The resolution is amazing. You can literally zoom in and see all the petals on that flower,” said Catherine Tarasoff, an adjunct professor at Thompson Rivers University.

“I’ve gotten past the steep learning curve and see the unlimited possibilities.”

Tarasoff trialled the unmanned aerial technology last June at the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area, an internationally protected wetland in south-central B.C.

The successful experiment was one of several cutting-edge advancements showcased in Richmond, B.C., on Tuesday in the ongoing battle against invasive species. More than 150 specialists from across the province are gathered for three days to discuss emerging issues and learn about the latest techniques to apply in their own regions.

“There’s way more technology involved than there used to be,” said Gail Wallin, executive director of the Invasive Species Council of B.C., which is hosting the forum. “We’re in a whole new world now.”

Wallin said technology has not only empowered the experts, but is making a dent by enlisting the public. For example, there are now smartphone apps that help identify and report what’s in your backyard.

The council hopes to persuade people to take preventative actions against spreading invasives as a new social norm, just like recycling, she said.

“Now I can give you tools, and without being an invasive species specialist, you can go and find out what is invasive and what to do,” she said, noting the strategies are also being disseminated over social media.

“You don’t need to know about mussels or spartina or milfoil, or anything like that.”

Prof. Tarasoff, who also runs her own consulting firm, ran the drone pilot project after she was approached by the wildlife area’s manager, who suggested she try the increasingly popular technology.

So she sent two students and the drone out for two days to map a vast region being consumed by the yellow flag iris, a plant considered one of the province’s worst invasives. The species with garden-flower appeal was used by landscapers all along the coast before ecologists realized it was swallowing aquatic environments and decimating habitats.

Tarasoff said the camera-mounted drone soared about 50 metres above to snap thousands of photos, which were stitched together into a massive final image. When viewed on a computer, she could move her mouse cursor over any spot to find out its GPS location. The data was handed over to experts tasked with weeding out the invader.

Drones could save money over the long-term and provide an alternative to dangerous, labour-intensive foraging, she said. Her next goal is to train a “smart drone” that can determine on its own which species must be photographed.

Other novel techniques gaining traction and reducing human error include sniffer dogs and DNA analysis, the forum heard.

Cindy Sawchuk, with Alberta’s environment and parks ministry, described using canines’ ultra-sensitive nose as a “game changer” for blocking the entry of zebra and quagga mussels on boats returning to the province after visiting foreign waters.

A double-blind trial that compared dogs to trained watercraft inspectors found the animals outperformed humans in every category, she said. Dogs detected mussel-fouled boats 100 per cent of the time, while the people only caught hitchhikers 75 per cent accurately.

Canada’s federal fisheries department is also getting on board with more sophisticated detection methods, said Davon Callander, who works at its Pacific Biological Station in Nanaimo, B.C.

She said that invasive species can now be detected in environmental DNA, which is found abundantly in any ecosystem.

“It really is as easy as going out and getting a litre of water,” she said, explaining how the samples are filtered for the “eDNA,” which is then amplified, sequenced and matched to species’ barcodes.

“Times are changing.”

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Technology In The Workplace: Top 9 Issues For Employers

Technology In The Workplace: Top 9 Issues For Employers

Technology enters the workplace in many ways and there are a number of risks and issues that employers need to consider.

  1. Cybersecurity and Data ProtectionA number of data breaches have been making headline news. These threats do not only come from criminal hackers or other external sources. Much of the risk around data security comes from the way employees manage company data. Instituting policies, practices and training around acceptable use, storage and retention of employer data, systems and property is key.
  2. Employee Misuse of Social MediaWhere there is a nexus between an employer and inappropriate content posted online by an employee, such conduct may provide a basis for employee discipline up to and including termination of employment. A number of recent cases demonstrate that terminating with just cause is possible, particularly when the post is harmful or potentially harmful to the employer.
  3. When Not to Discipline For Misuse of Social MediaWhile disciplining employees for misuse of social media is quite appropriate in many circumstances, on the other hand, we may find that Canada follows the U.S. trend in which some employees argue that social media posts are protected or that discipline is an unlawful reprisal under employment standards and other legislation.
  4. Privacy on Workplace ComputersEmployees will likely have some expectation of privacy on workplace computers where personal use is permitted. This expectation of privacy can be limited by way of computer use policies that provide for employer monitoring of workplace computers, where the employer has a legitimate need to conduct monitoring and where such monitoring is reasonable in scope. Such policies should be clearly communicated to employees.
  5. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) ProgramsIn August 2015, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, the Alberta Information and Privacy Commissioner and the B.C. Information & Privacy Commissioner issued joint guidance for organizations considering the implementation of BYOD programs, where employees are permitted to use personal mobile devices for both business and personal purposes. BYOD programs give rise to privacy and security risks that warrant careful consideration prior to rollout.
  6. Social Media Background ChecksPre-hire social media background checks may give rise to privacy concerns, including in respect of issues of consent, accuracy, over-collection of information, collection of irrelevant information and collection of the personal information of third parties. Such background checks must be reasonable in the circumstances of the employer’s operations and should be carried out in accordance with guidance from Canadian privacy commissioners.
  7. Educating Employees on E-DiscoveryGiven the growth of electronically stored information and a growing tendency for employees to email or text rather than use the telephone, it is important that employees understand that what they write may be produced in subsequent litigation.
  8. Protecting Your Client List from Employees’ Online PresenceWho owns the social media account? In this era of online networking, employees may leave their employment with a social media account that functions as a client list or company contact point. This may undermine contractual non-competition and non-solicitation covenants. To help manage risk in this respect, employers should establish corporate ownership of social media accounts that are used for business purposes, including by way of the employer’s social media policy.
  9. Updating PoliciesPolicies dealing with email, Internet, acceptable use, social media, electronic devices or BYOD, travel and passwords should regularly be reviewed and updated given the changing digital landscape. Education around phishing emails and other nefarious communications is also important.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

Article by Andrea York and Brian Thiessen

Price break for city Uber riders

Price break for city Uber riders

BY , OTTAWA SUN

Uber customers in Ottawa will get a break this winter as the ride service adjusts its pricing to reflect the seasonal slowdown that occurs nearly every January.

It’s reducing rates in 100 North American cities, including Canada’s capital, the company announced in a statement posted on its website.

“Seasonality affects every business and Uber is no exception because when people hunker down at home, demand for rides drops,” Uber’s website states.

Over the five years Uber has operated, the company discovered cutting prices is the most effective way to boost demand during the winter slump.

Stimulating demand is Uber’s way of helping out drivers because it will mean more business for them and the service is guaranteeing their earnings.

Because Uber is not regulated by municipalities the way taxi companies are, it can easily change its pricing according to supply of drivers and demand for rides.

A winter rate reduction is the flip side of the hikes it imposed on New Year’s Eve.

Over New Year’s, some Uber customers complained of higher-than-expected fares that resulted from Uber’s “surge pricing” policy, which raises rates during busy periods.

Because Uber is based on part-time drivers, it raised rates on New Year’s to encourage more of its drivers to hit the road and start picking up fares.

In addition to Ottawa, rates are being reduced in Hamilton, London, Kitchener-Waterloo and Quebec.

Toronto was not among the Canadian cities listed to get a winter break from Uber.

How investments helped protect David Bowie’s legacy

How investments helped protect David Bowie’s legacy

David Bowie’s Business & Marketing Brilliance

David Bowie has died, aged 69. Known as an innovator and musical pioneer, his creativity and innovations extend even into finance

He will be remembered as one of the world’s most well known musical and cultural innovators, leaving a tremendous legacy of work behind. His contributions even extend into the financial world as the creator of the ‘Bowie Bond’.

In a 1997 partnership with David Pullman, Bowie struck upon the idea of issuing bonds for his future royalties. The deal would see Bowie sell the rights to his back catalogue to investors, while forgoing the next decade of royalties he would be due to receive. The deal included his most popular works, such as Ziggy Stardust and Let’s Dance, plus numerous live and unreleased recordings made between 1969 and 1990.

The so-called ‘Bowie Bonds’ raised £35m. Investors were set to receive the 25 percent of US wholesales Bowie was guaranteed from record sales for the 10 year life of the bonds. Bowie, who owned his back catalogue, had licensed the albums to EMI for reissue. Investors were offered impressive returns of 7.9 percent, with the bonds awarded an investment grade credit rating by Moody’s.

It kicked off the brief trend of celebrities issuing bonds for their future earnings, with James Brown, Ashford & Simpson and the Isley Brothers making similar sales.

For Bowie, the deal was made at the perfect time. A few years later the internet and file sharing services began to have a serious impact on the music industry’s business model. By 2003, debt issued by EMI had been downgraded to junk status by Moody’s. The Bowie Bonds were put under immense pressure until they eventually liquidated in 2007.

In an interview with The New York Times in 2002, he predicted the challenges the music industry would face in the future. “Music itself is going to become like running water or electricity. So it’s like, just take advantage of these last few years because none of this is ever going to happen again.

“You’d better be prepared for doing a lot of touring because that’s really the only unique situation that’s going to be left. It’s terribly exciting. But on the other hand it doesn’t matter if you think it’s exciting or not; it’s what’s going to happen.”

 

Malicious acts surpassed accidents as the chief cause of airline deaths worldwide in 2015 for the second year in a row

By Joan Lowy

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON _ Malicious acts surpassed accidents as the chief cause of airline deaths worldwide in 2015 for the second year in a row, according to an industry tally.

There were only eight accidental airline crashes last year accounting for 161 passenger and crew deaths the fewest crashes and deaths since at least 1946, reflecting continued improvement in safety technology and aircraft design, according to Flightglobal, an aviation news and industry data company.

That tally of 161 accidental deaths is far outpaced by the 374 killed when a Germanwings airliner was deliberately flown into a mountainside in the French Alps last March, and a Russian airliner packed with tourists that exploded over Egypt in October.

In 2014, the toll from a Malaysia Airlines plane that disappeared and another that was shot down over Ukraine was 537 deaths compared to 436 accident deaths that year.

Those tallies are for all types of airline flights, including cargo, positioning, training, and maintenance flights. There were just 98 paying passengers killed last year. It’s a vast improvement from the 790 passengers killed in 2007, and the annual average of 1,289 passengers killed in accidental crashes in the 1970s.

“In recent years, airline safety has improved very considerably to the point where, typically, there are now very few fatal accidents and fatalities in a year,” said Paul Hayes, Flightglobal’s director of air safety and insurance. “However, flight security remains a concern.”

Although some years are better than others, the fatal accident rate has been improving for many years. The global fatal accident rate for all types of airline operations in 2015 was one per 5 million flights, the best year ever. The previous best year was 2014, with a fatal accident rate of 1 per 2.5 million flights. Airline operations are now about four or five times safer than they were 20 years ago.

A big reason for the improving record is better engineering: Today’s airliners and aircraft engines are far safer than earlier generations of planes. They are more highly automated, which has reduced many common pilot errors. They have better satellite-based navigation systems. They are made of stronger, lighter weight, less corrosive materials. And they’re equipped with safety systems introduced in recent decades, and repeatedly improved over time, that have nearly eliminated mid-air collisions between airliners and what the industry calls “controlled flight into terrain” pilots who lose situational awareness and fly their planes into a mountainside or into the ground.

The aircraft improvements are due primarily to lessons learned from crash investigations that are taken into account when new planes are designed, said John Goglia, a former National Transportation Safety Board member. As older planes are replaced with newer planes, aviation becomes safer, he said.

“We’re now up to about the 7th generation of jet airplanes,” he said. “We know the first generation DC-8s, 707s had a higher accident rate than the second or the third or the fourth generations, and it just moves on up.”

But more needs to be done to weed out disturbed pilots and guard against acts of terrorism, experts said.

The Germanwings case is especially perplexing, said John Cox, a former airline pilot and aviation safety consultant. Pilot Andreas Lubitz managed to conceal his problems even though airlines are continually evaluating pilots for signs of trouble. Pilots evaluate each other as well.

It’s not known what caused Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 to disappear while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, but many aviation safety experts theorize that it was mostly likely the result of deliberate acts, probably by one of the two pilots.

“Pilots from day one are so ingrained with protecting the passengers, with learning skills to deal with unanticipated events … and evaluated on how well you deal with stress,” Cox said. “Those who don’t do well with it don’t survive as professional pilots.”

The Islamic State has claimed credit for a bomb suspected of blowing apart a MetroJet A320 over Egypt. Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down by a Russian Buk surface-to-air missile fired from rebel-held territory in Eastern Ukraine, according to Dutch crash investigators.

Terrorists “have been probing nonstop since 9-11 and every once in a while they find a way to get through,” Goglia said.

The new frontier in airline safety is a managerial philosophy known as SMS, or safety management systems, he said. Airlines are systematically gathering data on safety trends, and encouraging pilots, dispatchers, mechanics and others to report problems by promising there will be no retaliation for mistakes. The information is then shared across the industry in an effort to spot problems before they lead to an accident.

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