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Killexams : Trend ServerProtect learner - BingNews Search results Killexams : Trend ServerProtect learner - BingNews Killexams : Best HR Management Software 2023

To choose the best HR software, it’s important to first understand the different types of HR software and essential features to look out for. Then, consider the size of your company and whether the HR software integrates into your tech stack.

Types of HR Software

There are three main types of HR software:

  • Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS): At its core, an HRIS is a database that stores employee information and runs automated reports. It’s for HR teams and employees to manage and update employee information and typically, but not always, includes basic HR functions, such as payroll, benefits administration and time-tracking features.
  • Human Resource Management Systems (HRMS): An HRMS layers additional functionality on top of the HRIS, drawing from a wider set of data to support not only employees and HR staff but also managers. To that end, an HRMS typically includes recruiting features, an applicant tracking system as well as performance management and employee engagement tools.
  • Human Capital Management (HCM) software: An HCM solution stores the most data of the three types and thus offers even more sophisticated functionality to support HR at a strategic level, such as predictive analytics and workforce planning, to ensure that people management aligns with overarching business goals. An HCM system often syncs with other parts of a business through a customer relationship management (CRM) or enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform.

These terms are often mistakenly used interchangeably, and some providers refer to their product using a label that doesn’t match the breadth or depth of its features. So, it’s crucial to look past the provider’s marketing language and check out the extent of its product’s functionality to assess what type of HR software it is.

Essential HR Software Features

Core features of HR software include payroll, benefits administration, automatic alerts and reminders, e-signatures and mobile access.

  • Payroll: Payroll software helps HR staff or payroll administrators run payroll more efficiently and error-free through automatic payroll runs, compliance checks, tax filing and other helpful features. Payroll is essential because paying your employees correctly and on time should be a key priority.
  • Benefits administration: For employers offering benefits to their employees, benefits administration tools help them select the right benefits package. They also help companies administer benefits in a manner that’s compliant with federal regulations such as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) and Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).
  • Automatic alerts and reminders: HR teams typically juggle several different tasks, so HR software’s automatic alerts remind them to complete tasks, such as running payroll and collecting new hire benefits elections, in a timely and compliant way.
  • E-signatures: The ability to electronically send, sign and submit documents streamlines and accelerates workflows such as the onboarding process, as opposed to printing out, scanning and sending emails back and forth.
  • Mobile access: Mobile app availability is an essential feature, especially for primarily remote workforces. Mobile app versions of HR software enable on-the-go access to functions your employees might need to check on anywhere at any time, such as a candidate messaging tool for recruiters to stay connected with job candidates.

Company Size Considerations

An HRIS, HRMS and HCM broadly serve the needs of small, midsized and enterprise businesses, respectively. However, to arrive at the HR software solution that’s best for your company, take current size and needs into account while also considering anticipated workforce and business growth that will require more data and more sophisticated features.

ADP, Rippling, Sage and UKG are all vendors that provide a range of products to different market segments, so they’re worth checking out if you anticipate a lot of future growth in headcount. That way, you can add on features as needed or upgrade to a new price tier or product from that vendor.

BambooHR targets small to midsized business needs. So, if you anticipate remaining relatively small (at around 1,000 employees or fewer) and serving a niche market, BambooHR is an excellent choice.

Paycor and UKG Pro are designed for enterprise businesses because they include advanced tools such as predictive analytics and competitive benchmarking data. Generally speaking, enterprise businesses employ more than 1,000 employees, thus having enough head count volume and budget to invest in an HCM system.

Software Integrations

If you’re looking for modular, à la carte-style solutions such as ADP or a less comprehensive HR software system, such as BambooHR or Rippling Unity, you’ll need to ensure that those systems will communicate with other applications your company currently uses. For instance, if you opt for your current payroll software over BambooHR’s payroll add-on, you’ll need to make sure your payroll software will communicate with BambooHR.

Moreover, the HR software solution might integrate with your other software applications, but the ease of implementation will depend on whether your IT team or the vendor’s support team will need to manually build APIs to get the two (or more) systems to communicate with one another. Some HR systems have built-in integrations to work with other software, while others require manual API connection or don’t work at all with a particular solution.

Sat, 19 Aug 2023 08:12:00 -0500 Kristy Snyder en-US text/html
Killexams : Trends in Global Engagement for Chinese Language Learners

In this article, Heidi Steele, Chinese teacher at Gig Harbor and Peninsula High Schools in the Peninsula School District of Washington State, reflects on sessions she attended at the 2015 National Chinese Language Conference (NCLC) in the partnerships and community engagement strand. She identified and explored the common strengths and challenges of establishing and maintaining meaningful and purposeful school-to-school partnerships, and is excited to see the developments of partnership building in the field.

The theme of this year’s National Chinese Language Conference in Atlanta was “Pathways to Global Engagement.” This phrase can be interpreted in many ways, but certainly one of the most essential aspects of engagement for Chinese language learners is communication with native speakers in the Chinese-speaking world.

The partnerships and community strand provided a quick snapshot of current trends in this area. What was striking about the sessions I attended is that all of the programs featured in the presentations had moved away from practices that were considered standard procedure not long ago. None of them featured “standalone” tourist trips that were not tied into the curriculum and didn’t benefit any students but the few who participated directly. None of them focused solely on seeing the sites. None of them ran trips during which the American students rarely interacted with native speakers. In contrast, all of the sessions highlighted best practices for engaging with students in the target language country in meaningful and enduring ways.

Common Strengths

While the programs I explored are all progressive, they vary widely in their specific focus. Some of them involve travel or study in China, others do not. Some are based in the U.S., and others in China. Some are oriented toward language learning, while others emphasize other areas, such as leadership training and cultural exploration. Regardless of the specific nature of the programs, however, they all share a set of common qualities.

Most fundamentally, all of them are designed to foster communication in authentic contexts. If learning Chinese is the focus, they emphasize acquiring language as a natural outgrowth of interacting with Chinese people in addition to traditional classroom learning. For example, the Chinese Language Institute in Guilin set up their language school to provide ample amounts of time for language learners to simply relax with local college students, playing games, chatting, and exploring the community, all the while speaking in the target language. In fact, in terms of actual time spent, the Chinese Language Institute strives for an equal balance between formal and informal learning environments. And during the capstone China trip for Chinese Immersion students at Hosford Middle School in Portland, OR, students are challenged to use their language skills to accomplish real tasks out in the community, whether it is buying produce in the market or navigating through the city. In programs such as these, the lines between the classroom and the outside world are deliberately blurred to the point that the two learning environments come very close to merging.

When language learning is not the specific purpose of the program, American and Chinese students collaborate around a shared passion or area of study. For example, the New York / Beijing Dance Program of the Americans Promoting Study Abroad (APSA) brings public high school students from New York together with students from the Beijing Dance Academy for an intensive week of study, culminating in a shared performance. In another program, this one developed jointly by the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics and the Hangzhou Foreign Languages School, students from both schools learn together in a real-time video based class. They share the goals of exploring one another’s cultural practices and pursuing intellectual challenges together, and in this purposeful learning environment they are able to learn about one another in much deeper ways than would be possible otherwise.

All of the programs I learned about at 2015 NCLC pair language and/or cultural exploration with broader goals that serve the needs of young people. APSA designs its programs for public high school students in the U.S. to stress leadership development and exposure to international careers. The Hosford Middle School program is carefully crafted to guide students toward greater independence and resourcefulness at this critical juncture in their emotional and social development. Just as from a linguistic perspective Chinese is a “context based language,” first informing the reader when and where something takes place before describing the event itself, the best partnerships are also carefully crafted to situate language and cultural learning in a broader context, whether it be academic, character, leadership, or career development.

Common Challenges

Even as programs such as these are putting into practice the best ideas in the field of global education, they also face common challenges.

For those institutions seeking to collaborate with partners in China on a year-round basis instead of limiting opportunities for engagement to one-off trips, technology is an on-going issue.

Using real-time video interaction as an example, equipping facilities in partner schools to enable communication between entire classes is a substantial hurdle even if the intent is to communicate in English. Both schools must have both adequate and sustainable funding, as well as trained staff who have the time to research, install, and maintain the proper equipment.

If the intent is to create video-conferencing environments in which the audio is clear enough that our Chinese language students can actually use Chinese to communicate with their peers at their partner school, the bar is even higher. When technological conditions are ideal, a video session can work marvelously well. However, fuzzy audio quality, audio that cuts in and out, and/or a noisy classroom can grind target-language communication to a halt because beginning language learners don’t have the ability to use context to “fill in” the missing words in an audio stream (as they would if they were listening to their native language). In these less-than-ideal situations, the language naturally defaults to English, the stronger of the two non-native languages in most Chinese-American student-to-student interactions. Hopefully the non-native language proficiency will even out over time as Americans place greater emphasis on bilingual education and as world languages are introduced at younger ages in U.S. schools.

Another unavoidable challenge for programs seeking to communicate in real time is the time difference between the U.S. and China. Simply finding a time that fits students’ schedules on both sides, especially for ongoing collaboration, can be very difficult. In my program, we have defaulted to using a blog format as an solution around the time difference issue. The major disadvantage of this approach, however, is that we don’t have the ability to meet “face-to-face” and communicate verbally with one another. Given the advantages of real-time interaction, I expect educators to come up with creative ways of handing the time difference issue that we have not though of yet.

Future Expansion

As more of our students have access to opportunities for genuine global engagement, we can expect their language proficiency to Excellerate as a direct result. When students use their language skills in purposeful ways with native speakers at every stage of their learning process, they develop strong language skills that are embedded in a broad and nuanced understanding of our diverse world. Sessions at 2015 NCLC showcased a number of mature partnerships that are already firmly grounded in these principles. And as the successes of partnerships based on authentic and meaningful communication become more widely known, these types of initiatives are bound to increase in number across the U.S. and China. I look forward to seeing what new partnerships appear on the horizon at next year’s conference.

Fri, 04 Mar 2022 02:45:00 -0600 en text/html
Killexams : 6 things you didn’t know Apple Homekit could do

“Hey, Siri” is a phrase we have all come to know, whether from using it in our daily lives or via a parody of voice assistants. Siri has some great features that we may not utilize daily, one of which is controlling our smart home via HomeKit.

HomeKit is Apple’s version of its underlying smart home tech, similar to Google’s Home and Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa. While HomeKit may not have as many features or accessories as Google Home or Amazon Alexa, there are some fantastic ways to use HomeKit that you may not be using now.

Before we get started, know that to use HomeKit, you will need a home hub, something that will stay in your home and connect to Wi-Fi to control your accessories. According to Apple, these can only be an Apple TV, a Homepod or Homepod Mini, or an always-on iPad.

Apple HomePod mini on table
John Velasco / Digital Trends

Set up scenes and automations

Scenes in HomeKit allow you to control multiple accessories at once, all with the press of one button or one phrase. For example, say you want all your living room lights to dim to a specific brightness and color when watching a movie. You can set a Movie Night scene that will do just that. Think of scenes as a shortcut, a quick way to change many accessories at once.

We talk about automation a lot here at Digital Trends, and that’s just because they’re so dang useful. Whether you need a sequence of events to happen every day at a particular time or when you do one action, you want several things to follow; automation is how that works. In the Home app, automation is a little more basic than in Alexa or Google Assistant, but it still has a variety of triggers and can alter nearly any accessories in your home.

Scenes have a dedicated section on your favorites page in the Home app, along with each rooms’ page. In addition, automation has its app category at the bottom of the Home app.

Use groups and zones

Similar to scenes, groups allow you to alter multiple accessories at once. Instead of individually selecting all of the lights in your bedroom and changing them to one color or brightness, put them in a Bedroom Lights group. Then you can tell Siri to turn the bedroom lights down to 50%, and all the lights will do that at once.

Zones are basically groups but for rooms, instead of accessories. For example, rather than grouping multiple lights or fans together, you can now group the living room and the kitchen as a Downstairs zone. “Turn off Downstairs lights” will turn off all lights in both rooms. As a tip, you can use zones to supply an alias to a room. For example, if you interchangeably use the terms Living Room and Family Room, set just the Living Room in a family room zone, Siri will recognize both terms.

MacBook showing a HomeKit Home sharing invitation.

Share your home with others

Many of us may have people we live with or just people who come over often. One of the great features of HomeKit is sharing your Home with others. Sharing allows family, friends, partners, etc., to easily change the state of smart accessories without having to bug you for a passcode or access. A one-time addition will add that user to your home and vice versa. A great addition to sharing HomeKit Homes is that the Home app can automatically change which Home is displayed based on geolocation.

Use third-party apps

A unique feature with HomeKit that I haven’t seen much with other smart home ecosystems is the rather robust ability to use third-party apps. Some apps completely overtake the Home app so that you don’t have to use it anymore, and some apps complement the HomeKit experience.

Apps like Home+ and Controller for HomeKit are total Home app replacements. They add either feature requests or simple UI changes to supply the most personal Home experience tailored to you. Like the essential Homepass app, other apps have unique features to help make the most from your Home. Homepages, for example, is a locker to store all the HomeKit QR codes so that you don’t have to physically hold on to the cards or boxes that your accessories come in.

A group of Apple device showcasing HOOBS.

Pair with third-party devices with HOOBS

We all know the “Apple tax” phenomenon — the additional price there seems to come with products made specifically for Apple devices. The fact is that there simply aren’t as many HomeKit specific accessories due to Apple’s rigid practices and security compared to other smart home ecosystems. That’s where HOOBS comes in.

HOOBS, or Homebridge Out of the Box, is a system that allows your HomeKit home to connect with products that weren’t specifically made for it, such as Nest Thermostat or Echo Show. You can build your own HOOBS system with a Raspberry Pi or buy a prebuilt kit online. Either way, pairing the hardware with your router and a web interface allows you to connect third-party devices with your HomeKit home. The process is relatively simple too, although I’d still trust it to your techy family member and friends rather than the general public.

Control the action with Apple Watch

Its screen might be a bit small, but the Apple Watch lets you access HomeKit directly from your wrist. From viewing video streams and sending Intercom messages to accessing your smart lights and smart locks, you can access almost all your smart home gadgets through the accompanying Home app for Apple Watch.

After loading the Home app on your watch for the first time, you’ll be walked through a brief setup process to get you synced with all your devices. Once that’s out of the way, you’ll be able to skim through all your accessories, scenes, and any related settings. Be sure to supply the wrist-based Home app a shot the next time you leave your smartphone in another room.

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Tue, 15 Aug 2023 16:54:00 -0500 Keyan Riddick en text/html
Killexams : The Facekini Is the New Fashion Trend to Protect You From the Sun No result found, try new keyword!The latest heatwave in China is sparking a new fashion trend with facekinis. The clothing item is a full face mask with openings for a person’s eyes and mouth. Think of it as a ski mask of ... Mon, 31 Jul 2023 07:23:00 -0500 en-us text/html Killexams : Learners can take driving tests again from 22 July

Learners will be allowed to take their driving tests again this week after four months of them being suspended.

Practical tests will restart in England from Wednesday 22 July, though only candidates who have had their already-booked exams put on hold will get the chance to sit their test this week.

As part of new measures, learners who commit a serious or dangerous fault will have their test terminated and failed immediately instead of being allowed to complete the examination in order to limit the time with a driver and invigilator being sat in close proximity.

Driving tests for non-critical workers have been cancelled since 20 March, meaning some half a million budding motorists have been chomping at the bit to get their hands on their full licences.

Back on the road: Driving tests will resume on Wednesday after a fourth-month lay-off as part of a suspension during the coronavirus pandemic

On average, some 4,000 learners were sitting driving tests every day in the UK before the nation went into lockdown, meaning a huge backlog of people waiting to get their hands on a licence.

With there being 124 days between practical tests being halted and them restarting, an estimated 496,000 learners are raring to sit their exams.

Driving theory tests in England were also suspended on 19 March as part of the wider efforts to restrain the spread of Covid-19, though restarted again on 4 July as part of the easing lockdown measures.

Theory tests will resume in Scotland from Wednesday, though the date for practical tests to restart north of the border won't be confirmed until an announcement on 30 July. 

In Wales, theory tests restart on 3 August and car driving tests will resume from 17 August. 

Across the country, tests have still be going ahead as scheduled for those deemed to be critical workers and have in accurate months become more reliant on using a car to commute with the public being urged to avoid public transport if at all possible. 

With all learners in England set to be allowed to sit their tests again from Wednesday, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency has urged them to speak to their instructor to make sure they are still well prepared and up to test standard before rebooking their driving test. 

Driving lessons in England were given the green light on 4 July, suggesting many learners have already taken refresher sessions ahead of the test restart on Wednesday. 

DVSA chief driving Examiner Mark Winn said: 'I know many learners are eager to take their driving test but it is vital they have the right skills and knowledge to help them through a lifetime of safe driving before attempting it.

'Anyone who is rebooking or taking a test should make sure they've had enough practice with a professional driving instructor and are ready.

'Learners should practice driving on a variety of roads and in different driving conditions so they are well prepared for driving independently.' 

Those learners whose tests were cancelled due to the pandemic are being invited to rebook a test first. 

Once this has been completed and we have tested critical workers DVSA will open the booking service to the general public.

With there being 124 days between practical tests being halted and them restarting, an estimated 496,000 learners are raring to sit their exams

AA Driving school said it welcomed to return of tests but said that thousands of learner drivers are being treated unfairly over admininstration issues relating to Covid-19.

Whilst deadlines for MOTs were extended and photo licences due for new photo renewal automatically given a seven-month exemption, learner drivers whose theory test expired during lockdown will be expected to pay to take the test again.

Data shows more than 35,000 people looking to pass in a car have now lost their certificates because test centres and driving lessons were suspended during lockdown.

Sarah Rees, managing director of the AA Driving School, said: 'Whilst it is great that tests are re-starting, thousands of learner drivers have been unfairly penalised because theory test certificates have not been extended.

'Many learners will already have faced economic hardship during lockdown and to now have to pay £23 to re-take a test they have already passed is just rubbing salt into the wound.

'We have seen a huge increase in demand for lessons since lockdown, partly because of pent-up demand, but also because people are being encourage away from public transport.

'If MOTs and photo card renewals can be extended, then so should theory tests.'

Theory tests will resume in Scotland from Wednesday, though the date for practical tests to restart north of the border won't be confirmed until an announcement on July 30. In Wales, theory tests restart on 3 August and car driving tests will resume from 17 August

Safety measures have been put in place to protect learners and examiners from Covid-19 and DVSA has published information and guidelines so candidates know what to expect.

This includes the immediate termination and failure of tests if a serious or dangerous fault is performed by the driver. 

'In this new era of driving tests, the examination will be stopped immediately if the candidate commits a serious or dangerous fault,'  Ian McIntosh, ceo of RED Driving School explained to This is Money.

'Previously, the test would continue, which gave the candidate the benefit of a full test experience where they'd be informed at the end of the session that they hadn't passed. 

'This new measure has been introduced to limit contact time between the examiner and learner driver. While this make sense from a safety perspective, it does feel like the experience of being tested is a little diminished.'

Learners who arrive at a test centre for their test without a face mask can have their test cancelled, unless they have already declared they can't wear a covering for a physical or mental illness where it could cause distress.

Examiners can also ask learners to stop driving during the test to adjust their face masks if they have moved and are no longer covering their nose and mouth - and have discretion to end the driving test early if they feel a face covering has become a safety issue in any way - for instance, causing the glasses of the driver to fog up.

Learners who arrive at a test centre for their test without a face mask can have their test cancelled and examiners have discretion to end a driving test early if they feel a face covering has become a safety issue in any way - for instance, causing glasses to fog up

At the end of the practical test, driving examiners will ask students to get out of the vehicle before they offer any test result feedback rather than deliver the news inside the car. This is to extend social distancing when possible.

The DVSA also warns learners that they must cancel a test if they have any coronavirus symptoms, have been in contact with someone who has the coronavirus or have returned to the UK in the last 14 days.

Mr McIntosh added that the volume of new learners visiting RED Driving School's website is currently at an all-time high and is double what he would normally expect at this time of the year. 

'Nearly 2,000 people in the UK turn 17 each day, making them eligible to drive,' he explained to This is Money.

'Pre-lockdown, 4,000 driving tests were held per day. Nearly half a million tests have been cancelled since 20 March, and with hundreds of thousands of new seventeen year olds eager to get behind the wheel, there's a big back log.

Average crashes for motorists depending on how many attempts to pass a driving test 

Pass at first time: 1.6 accidents 

Pass at second attempt: 1.7 accidents

Pass at third attempt: 1.9 accidents

Pass at fourth attempt: 2.8 accidents

Pass at fifth attempt: 5.0 accidents

Pass at sixth attempt: 6.6 accidents

Source: MoneySuperMarket

'The Government is telling people to avoid public transport – in fact, the use of a private car is now being encouraged, so the news that driving tests can resume will be welcomed by thousands of learner drivers up and down the country.' 

'Covid-19 is likely to be with us for a long time. We all need to get used to new ways of working and travelling, and restarting driving tests is key to our new reality.'

Analysis of accident rates over a motorist's lifetime against the number of times a driving test has been taken suggests that those that pass with the fewer attempts have fewer crashes on average. 

The report found that drivers who pass their test on the first attempt, on average, have 1.6 prangs in their lifetime while those who take six attempts to get their licence average 6.6 shunts in their driving career.

Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money, and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.

Fri, 21 Jul 2023 12:01:00 -0500 text/html
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Tue, 06 Dec 2022 06:56:00 -0600 en-US text/html
Killexams : Influencers popularized the trash jar. Now they’ve moved on.

This story is part of the Grist arts and culture series Remember When, a weeklong exploration of what happened to the climate solutions that once clogged our social feeds.

Almost a decade ago, Kathryn Kellogg started storing all of her trash — every receipt, sticker, wrapper, and anything else she couldn’t recycle or compost — in a 16-ounce Mason jar. The idea was to save money and avoid generating garbage by adopting zero-waste practices: bringing canvas bags to the grocery store, for example, or making her own beauty products. All of this could be done without putting her infractions on display, of course, but the jar offered Kellogg an extra form of accountability — especially since she decided to share it with her numerous Instagram followers.

“I thought, let’s just try and reduce as much trash as possible and have fun making my own products,” said Kellogg, who runs the blog and Instagram account Going Zero Waste. “Can I make my own crackers? Yes, I can. Can I make my own burger buns? Yes, I can. Cleaning products? Sure can.”

The result was strangely beautiful. Photos of Kellogg’s jar (of which there are several) offered an archeological glimpse into the zero-waste lifestyle. In one image from a year into the experiment, a green twist tie peeks from behind an eco-thrift tag for a $0.25 miscellaneous item; from another view of the melange, a pop of primary color from a balloon fragment or wrapper.

Those types of images, blurring the line between ascetic and aesthetic in a Marie Kondo, minimalist kind of way, caught on, helping to catapult the “trash jar” into a symbol of the zero-waste movement of the 2010s. Trash jars inspired dozens of profiles in outlets like New York Magazine, the Washington Post, and CBS. Entire zero-waste brands sprang up around them, such as Package Free Shop.

But then came the backlash — or, rather, a gradual falling out of favor. A few years in, people who were inspired to adopt zero-waste practices because of the trash-jar trend began renouncing it as exclusionary and unrealistic. They argued that focusing on the jar sapped energy from more systemic actions they could take to address plastic pollution. Some likened it to extreme dieting, calling it the “skinny supermodel of zero waste.”

While the trash jar remains an emblem of the zero-waste movement, it’s lost much of its cultural cachet. Today, in 2023, many sustainability influencers are relieved to have entered into a softer, more forgiving era of the zero-waste movement — one that recognizes the impossibility of “zero” and welcomes a spectrum of waste-reduction efforts. Some have pioneered alternate slogans, like “low-impact,” “low-waste,” and #ZeroWasteIRL.

Sabs Katz, an influencer who runs the Instagram account Sustainable Sabs, identifies much more with those newer slogans. While the trash-jar trend helped introduce many people to the concepts behind zero-waste, she thinks of it as an evolutionary step in our understanding of greener living. Deemphasizing the trash jar feels “less elitist,” she said. “If we want to bring in as many people as possible, then why would we want to build a movement that you have to be perfect to be in?”

Trash jar or no, the zero-waste movement is a response to one of the United States’ signature problems: our reckless consumption of stuff. The average American generates nearly five pounds of waste per day — largely from food, but also from paper, plastics, glass, metal, clothes, and other materials. Only about 30 percent of this gets recycled or composted. Another 12 percent is burned to generate energy. Almost all the rest — about 50 percent of waste generation, or about 132 million metric tons per year — goes to landfills.

“You start to look at your trash and you’re like, ‘How do I have so much? Where’s the trash going?’” said Jhánneu Roberts, a sustainability influencer whose social media accounts use just her first name. 

That mindfulness plays prominently in the story of all the influencers Grist spoke with, although several also described financial reasons for cutting back on their consumption. (Zero-waste is a money-saver!) In general, they were fed up with throwaway culture: knickknacks flying off shelves wrapped in unnecessary packaging, plastic bags and cutlery designed to be used for mere seconds before being discarded. 

The origins of the trash jar are up for debate, but one of the early pioneers of the concept was Bea Johnson, an influencer based in Marin County, California, who’s been called the “mother of the zero-waste lifestyle” and the “priestess of waste-free living.” Under the username Zero Waste Home — also the title of her book — she’s been documenting her family’s trash jar since at least 2014. “Own less + waste less = live more,” read one of her posts from that year, just a few months before she shared a photo of her family’s annual collection of jar trash set against a fluffy white blanket. Her jar made several more appearances over the years, sandwiched between photos of upcycled jewelry, fresh fruits and vegetables, and lots of elegant interior design. 

Another influencer, Lauren Singer of the blog and Instagram account Trash Is for Tossers, went viral around the same time after she delivered a TED Talk featuring her trash jar. In 2016, she told CNN that her four-year experiment had helped her save over 6,000 pounds of trash compared to the average American.

“It wasn’t just this hippy-dippy community,” said Lily Cameron, an influencer and author who runs the Instagram account Wild Minimalist, commenting on the trash jar trend. It was decidedly chic. “You could still have this very beautiful, fulfilling, joyful lifestyle without constantly buying things and creating all this waste in the process.”

Zero Waste Home inspired Cameron to try out her own trash jar. She called it “thestatus symbol” of being in the zero-waste community. Others described it as “the gold star everyone was looking toward,” or the “absolute best, purest form” of zero-waste.

It probably wasn’t a coincidence that most jar influencers were women, who tend to handle more household tasks, like grocery shopping, than men. Women are also more likely to embrace environmental causes, while men tend to view habits like bringing a reusable bag to the grocery store as gay or emasculating.

Keeping a trash jar, like most domestic work, wasn’t as effortless as it looked. At one point, Kellogg got so caught up in trying to embody the Platonic ideal of zero-waste that she was schlepping heavy glass jars on epic, three-hour-long public transit journeys — involving a ferry, a train, and a subway — just to get to a co-op with a decent bulk section. She’d save those little stickers that you use to mark bulk items’ product codes so she could use them again next time. And she’d forgo foods that weren’t sold in a package-free format. 

“I didn’t eat blueberries for two years,” she said, even though they’re her favorite food. “It was definitely stressful.” In 2017, she finally called it quits. She now uses her old trash jar as a bookend.

Other jar keepers kept getting into situations where they couldn’t control their waste generation. What to do with broken glass, unwanted gifts wrapped in plastic, or trash left behind by visiting friends and family? What about a spouse’s trash? Some people would go for weeks without creating waste, only to find themselves with a single, very large or oddly shaped piece of trash that would certainly not fit into a Mason jar.

Sabs Katz, for example, was doing well with her trash jar until she ordered a new mattress and it arrived wrapped in plastic. (She didn’t feel comfortable buying one secondhand.) “So, that [plastic] was obviously not going to fit in my trash jar,” she said. It became just one of many exceptions that made the trash jar start to seem “really silly.”

“I was trying to do it where I could,” Katz said, “but it felt so unattainable.” Others feared that their trash jar missteps would undermine their credibility as influencers — but so would not keeping a trash jar at all, since they were such an emblem of the movement.

All that pressure occasionally led to irrational behavior. One influencer said she heard about people stocking up on “bulk” tortilla chips from the Whole Foods hot bar — as if they didn’t come out of a plastic bag just minutes before. Others reported widespread “wishcycling,” a practice where people cross their fingers and throw items that probably can’t be recycled into the blue bin — just in case. Cameron said she’s heard other social media personalities talk about burying banana peels in planters at the airport, rather than throw them in the garbage.

“I get that you want to create zero waste,” she said, “but does the airport know that? That’s a little too far for me.”

One criticism of the zero-waste movement in general is that it’s too individualistic: It has tended to hone in on lifestyle changes as opposed to challenging the systemic factors that keep single-use products in play. Bulk foods, for example, may still be shipped to supermarkets in disposable plastic containers, or on pallets wrapped in unnecessary plastic. And even the most diligent zero-wasters are unlikely to make a dent in petrochemical companies’ plans to nearly triple plastic production by 2060 — a scenario that would not only cause 44 million metric tons of aquatic pollution every year, but also exacerbate climate change, since plastic is made from fossil fuels.

A trash jar can amplify that personal focus, since keeping one requires such extreme attentiveness to one’s consumption patterns. 

Kellogg says it’s simply not worth putting all your energy into a trash jar if it leaves no bandwidth for chipping away at some of those bigger, system-level problems. Sure, shopping zero-waste might support a reuse-centric grocery store, but obsessing over the plastic zip ties used to cinch a bag of bulk kidney beans? Not so much.

When Kellogg quit her trash jar, she used her extra time and energy to serve on her city’s beautification commission, a group dedicated to reducing trash and litter generation. She generated a little more garbage herself, but she now had the capacity to help organize a citywide trash cleanup event and a dump day, a way for locals to responsibly dispose of bulky items.

“I also tried to work on a Styrofoam ban, but that got nixed,” she said, laughing. “Not everything you do is going to succeed.”

Kellogg is a bit of an outlier; serving in local government isn’t for everyone, and she said it’s certainly not a prerequisite to becoming a good zero-waster. But many share her view that waste reduction can feel empty — even consumeristic — unless it’s paired with something bigger. 

April Dickinson, a zero-waste influencer and longtime trash-jar skeptic, says she’s often been turned off by the array of products meant to facilitate a zero-waste lifestyle. “I engaged with the zero-waste community less when I saw that it was falling into the more capitalistic mindset,” she said. “There’s like 47 brands of bamboo toothbrushes now, and 11 billion metal straws, all different colors and sizes.” 

Instead, she tries to show how zero-waste practices can represent an alternative way of relating with the natural world and with other people. If we treat everyday objects as disposable, she said, by extension, we might also be more likely to treat people as disposable, with less empathy for those who are incarcerated or otherwise marginalized. She often highlights the human impact of waste, which can create air pollution and leach hazardous chemicals into the groundwater of low-income communities and communities of color.

Too few people within the zero-waste movement engage with these issues, she said — in particular some of the “trash-jar people,” who are “just hell-bent on not putting trash into their own jar.”

Over the past several years, a newfound appreciation for imperfection has opened up space for many who might otherwise have felt intimidated by the zero-waste movement. 

In 2018, sustainability influencer Immy Lucas of the blog and Instagram account Sustainably Vegan ditched the “zero-waste” label and instead began advocating for what she called the “low-impact movement” (which is not an exercise routine, although proponents of the phrase do have to vie for airspace with #LowImpact workout posts on Instagram). The philosophy emphasizes waste reduction rather than elimination, as well as sustainable lifestyle choices that go beyond waste — like diet and travel. Since then, a host of influencers have embraced the phrase, including Low-Waste Lucy, Taylor Pfromer, and Sarah Robertson Barnes. 

This trend accelerated during the pandemic, which marked a sort of turning point for many zero-waste influencers. The response to COVID-19 made going waste-free even more difficult: Although later research showed that the coronavirus isn’t transmitted through surface contact or food contamination, supermarkets across the country closed their bulk sections and delayed plastic bag bans. Restaurants stopped accepting reusable mugs and dishes. 

“It was really hard to avoid plastic, or try to be low-waste,” said Cindy Villaseñor, an influencer who runs the Instagram account and blog Cero Waste Cindy (using the Spanish word for “zero”). Villaseñor said she’s never aimed for zero-waste perfection — she never went through a trash-jar phase — but even her more relaxed standards had to be loosened during the COVID lockdowns. As it turns out, that laid-back attitude served her well and has stuck around. She now enjoys a broader selection of produce, for example, and is more forgiving of herself when she can’t get a particular item without packaging.

It’s about “trying the best you can with what you’ve got,” she said.

Dickinson takes a similar approach using the hashtag #ZeroWasteIRL, or zero-waste in real life. Her Instagram account, Zero Waste Dork, describes her as the “sole zero-waster in a family of four” and emphasizes the importance of compromise. One post shows a grocery haul with mostly bulk items like granola, Brussels sprouts, and clementines brought home in reusable cloth bags — but there’s also boxed fusilli pasta, a prepackaged bottle of lotion, and some cheddar wrapped in plastic.

“I offer this transparent view of our routine to show that each #ZeroWaste journey is unique and every experience belongs in the movement,” the caption reads.

For those who want to embark on a similar journey of their own, the consensus from zero-waste experts is to skip the trash jar, start with one low-waste practice, and take baby steps. Dickinson, who was inspired by the trash jar years ago but never adopted one herself, says that first step could be something as simple as getting a smaller trash can. A few years ago, she managed to transition her family to her city’s smallest municipal garbage bin, a big win in her book. 

“Sometimes we don’t even fill that up,” she said. “I think honoring and celebrating that is important for any family.”

Sun, 13 Aug 2023 19:32:00 -0500 en-us text/html
Killexams : Best dash cam deals: Protect your ride from just $32

Dash cam deals are a great way to protect yourself from insurance issues on the cheap. If you’re ever in an accident and need proof that it wasn’t your fault, insurance companies love dash cam footage. They’re also good for Uber drivers who want to keep their customers safe and protect themselves against any legal issues. There are several different kinds of dashboard camera. Some only record in front of you, some record behind your car, and some record inside the vehicle. The best dash cams do all three. We’ve rounded up the best dash cam deals from around the internet below.

70mai Smart Dash Cam 1S — $32, was $50

The 70mai Smart Dash Cam 1S and its mobile app.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The 70mai Smart Dash Cam 1S is the cheapest option in this list, but it doesn’t feel like it because it’s packed with features. The dash cam, which supports microSD memory cards of up to 64GB, records footage at 1080p Full HD resolution with night vision capabilities thanks to its Sony IMX307 image processor and f/2.2 aperture. With its built-in G sensor, the dash cam will detect an accident and lock footage to prevent overwrites. You can use voice commands to ask the dash cam to take photos or to start recording videos, and you can use its accompanying app to watch real-time footage and to obtain files to your phone.

Thinkware X700 Front and Rear Dash Cam — $150, was $200

Front and rear Thinkware X700 dash camera.

Thinkware is a fantastic dash cam company, as you’ll see later in our list. This is one of their more budget-minded options. It still has a front and rear camera, so you can record what you’re seeing and also grab video if you get rear ended at a stop light. It has a fantastic night vision mode. After all, it’s estimated that nearly a third of car accidents happen after dark. If your camera only grabs really grainy footage at night, or nothing at all, it’s practically useless. You can control the dash cam with a small LCD touch screen, so it’s easy to control in brief moments while you’re driving.

Thinkware F200 Pro Front and Rear Dash Cam — $170, was $230

Front and rear Thinkware dash cameras and a GPS connector.

This is another quality Thinkware product. What sets it apart is its ability to detect contact to your car while you’re parked. You need to attach the optional hardware (and they recommend you have a professional do it). If a bad parallel parker hits you, or something does a smash and grab on your window, the camera will immediately start recording with both the front and rear cameras. It also has a GPS feature that will record where you are and how fast you’re going, then integrate that into the camera footage.

Nexar Beam GPS Dash Cam — $170, was $190

The Nexar Beam GPS Dash Cam and its mobile app.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The Nexar Beam GPS Dash Cam is a compact device that can easily be hidden behind your vehicle’s rearview mirror, where it will record videos with a 135-degree angle and 1080p Full HD quality. When the dash cam detects a collision or a sudden brake, it saves the recorded footage on the Nexar app, with the clips automatically backed up on your free and unlimited Nexar cloud account. The dash cam can also sense impact when your car is parked, and will seamless stream live footage to the app whenever you drive. If you ever find yourself in an accident, the Nexar app can create a report that includes video footage, driving speed, and location, which you can use for insurance claims.

Rexing V5C 4K Dual Dash Cam — $180, was $230

Rexing front and rear dash cams with a smart phone in the background.

This device has a front camera and a cabin camera, which is great for people you do ride sharing driving. You can everything in your vehicle as well as everything outside. The front facing camera even records in 4K resolution, so there will be no doubt about what’s happening in your recordings. The interior camera records in 1080p, and has a built-in microphone. It night vision, an impact detector for parking, and a GPS that can record coordinates. All of this is controlled via a small LCD screen or voice commands.

Thinkware U1000 4K Dash Cam with Rear Camera Kit — $500, was $539

Thinkware U1000 4k dashcam and rear camera kit
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Even with the advent of 4K quality displays, content, and just a general push towards higher-resolution experiences, you don’t generally see ultra-HD dashcams, let alone systems that come with a rear camera solution too. But this Thinkware system does, plus it’s equipped with an 8.42-megapixel Sony Starvis image sensor and has a wide 150-degree viewing angle. It can also capture pre-event or pre-ride footage in parking surveillance mode, which is helpful if you have to leave your vehicle parked somewhere remote for an extended period. Built-in WiFi and GPS offer convenient connectivity and tracking options, with advanced driver assistance from lane departure and front collision warnings. It will help you stay safe on the road or parked, and that’s impressive enough.

How to Choose a Dash Cam

Which dash cam you choose depends on your needs. Every dash cam will obviously supply you a frontside view of what’s going on ahead of you — the cheapest offering only this view. More expensive cameras will either provide you with a view inside your car, or a secondary camera that you can place in your rear windshield to see behind your car.

While front view-only cameras are cheaper, we do recommend cameras that offer either interior or rearview cameras as well. Remember, accidents won’t always happen in front of you — sometimes you’ll be hit from behind. Rideshare drivers should choose a camera that offers an interior view as well because in the event of an incident, you’ll want evidence of what is going on inside the car as well.

We’d also recommend a camera with night vision capabilities both inside and out. At night, cheaper dash cams won’t provide the detail you need to make the footage useful. Again, for rideshare drivers night vision inside will be preferable — many of us drive at night, so being able to see what’s going on inside the car clearly in the dark is beneficial.

As far as resolution goes, look for a camera with a resolution of at least 1080p. You’ll also want to look at some trial footage first (many dash cams have reviews on YouTube that include this). Some cameras perform better than others. While there are 4K dash cams now available, in most cases, you’ll likely be able to settle for 1080p without losing much picture clarity.

Do dash cams lower insurance?

No. As far as we know at the moment, no insurance companies provide any discount for installing a dash cam inside your car. However, having a dash cam installed could keep your rates low in the long run. In many insurance claims for accidents, what happens can quickly become a case of “he said, she said.” Without video evidence, you could find yourself partially at fault for an accident that might not have been your fault at all. Dash cam video could help keep your rates lower since you’ll have a video of what happened in the accident.

Do dash cams have night vision?

A majority of midrange and higher-end dash cams will have night vision — and even some cheaper cams, too. What we will caution is not all night vision is created equal. We’ve seen considerable variability in the quality of night vision footage between dash cams — even ones of similar price. Take some time before you buy to look over trial night-vision footage, so you get the best bang for your buck.

Do dash cams record sound?

Some do, and some don’t — although a vast majority will. Do remember that the sound recorded will be from inside your vehicle and not outside. As a result, anything happening outside the car that you might want to hear will not be as audible as what’s going inside the vehicle. If you’re a rideshare driver, we certainly recommend purchasing a dash cam that does, however.

Do dash cams need to be plugged in?

While some dash cams can be charged up and run without being always plugged in, our recommendation is to have your dash cam continuously plugged into a source of power. The last thing you’ll want during an incident is to find your dash cam’s battery ran out.

Editors' Recommendations

Fri, 18 Aug 2023 04:16:00 -0500 Bruce Brown en text/html
Killexams : A Former Weed Dealer Built the ‘Budega’ Brand. Then Copycats Moved In.

In the fall of 2021, an acquaintance of Alex Norman, the founder of a cannabis apparel and lifestyle brand called Budega NYC, reached out to congratulate him on making a deal to open several dispensaries in Southern California.

There was just one problem, Mr. Norman said: “It wasn’t me.”

Instead, an international conglomerate had claimed the Budega name, which Mr. Norman, 50, said was a nod to the longstanding role of New York’s neighborhood bodegas in supplying weed before legalization. It was the first of a series of copycats that have forced Mr. Norman, who lives in Brooklyn, to decide whether to wage costly legal battles to defend his brand, work out deals to coexist or start over with a new name.

Cases like his have played out across the country as states legalize cannabis and allow businesses to open stores and release products under similar-sounding names. What in another industry might be blatant trademark infringement is becoming more common in cannabis sales for a simple reason: dispensaries and greenhouses are excluded from federal protections because marijuana is still illegal under federal law.

Industry analysts say the state-federal divide on cannabis is fueling a rise in trademark disputes that is driving many small companies out of business, threatening efforts to draw consumers and entrepreneurs out of the illicit trade and into emerging legal markets like New York’s. Jessica Gonzalez, a cannabis and trademark attorney, said the trend will only accelerate if the federal government legalizes cannabis and companies begin competing for national dominance.

“It’s going to become a battle of the brands,” she said.

Legalization measures have fallen short in Congress, but the Biden administration has signaled that it plans to finalize a review by the end of 2023 that would include a recommendation on whether to loosen federal restrictions or fully decriminalize cannabis. Thirty-eight states have already legalized cannabis for medical use, and 23 have approved adult recreational programs.

Federal trademarks are awarded based on who is first to use a name, logo or other identifier in interstate commerce, such as a sale to a customer in another state. This favors companies with existing operations in multiple states because they already have the infrastructure to conduct sales across state lines that small businesses usually lack, Ms. Gonzalez said.

“Some will put up a good fight,” she said. “But in the end, they’ll have to weigh the cost between trademark litigation and rebranding.”

Both options are expensive and time-consuming. Most small businesses don’t have the money or manpower to wage legal battles that can drag on for years, with costs rising into the millions; rebranding involves finding new names and overhauling websites, social media and product packaging.

Catherine Franklin, a former chief executive of GG Strains, the maker of a popular marijuana variety formerly known as Gorilla Glue, said the company spent more than $300,000 to rebrand in 2017 as part of a trademark infringement settlement with The Gorilla Glue Company, an adhesive manufacturer. The impact of the lawsuit lingered long after the settlement, she added.

“A lot of people didn’t want to talk to us anymore because they didn’t want to incur the wrath of the adhesive company,” she said.

Intellectual property lawyers say they advise their cannabis clients early on to build portfolios for federal trademarks around ancillary products and services, like apparel and consulting, and to pursue state trademarks for plant-touching brands where it is legal. They also tell them to safeguard things like proprietary plant genetics, product recipes and preparation methods, which has helped some formerly illegal businesses transition to the regulated market through licensing deals that expand their reach and increase their revenue.

Mr. Norman had followed that advice when he started Budega in 2019, as New York moved closer to legalization. He applied to trademark the brand as an apparel company, but the federal Patent and Trademark Office rejected his registration after he failed to respond to an examiner’s notices that the name was too similar to another clothing company’s. He then retained a lawyer who helped him to trademark Budega NYC.

But that left the Budega name still available. And in 2021, ANM, Inc., a subsidiary of Halo Collective, a cannabis conglomerate founded in Oregon and publicly traded in Canada, applied to trademark the name for retail stores promoting and selling consumer goods. The application did not mention the stores would be cannabis dispensaries, which would have been disqualifying. The trademark was approved in May.

Mr. Norman has not decided whether to file a formal challenge. Having run a marijuana delivery service when it was illegal, he started the brand to build recognition for when he eventually opened a legal dispensary, or released a product line. He built a website, where he sells T-shirts and writes blog posts about the cannabis industry, and he has given several interviews about his past in the illicit market and his foray into the legal one.

In July, he received a retail license in New York on the basis of a prior conviction for marijuana possession and his subsequent ownership of profitable radio and consulting businesses.

Taking the initiative to build a following had seemed like a savvy business move for Mr. Norman, a Rutgers University graduate who once worked on Wall Street. But it has turned into a constant fight against copycats seeking to capitalize off Budega NYC’s name recognition, he said.

The owners of another similarly named business, Buddega NYC, received a retail license in April from cannabis regulators in New York, but changed the name after Mr. Norman complained to regulators that it was too similar to his trademark. Another called Budega Brand operates two unlicensed dispensaries in Manhattan and Queens.

Mr. Norman said the behavior would never be tolerated in the illicit market, where imitation might result in unwanted confrontation. But he said he was steadfast in his drive to go legal.

“No one’s going to out-New York me,” said Mr. Norman, the son of Cuban immigrants who abandoned a career on Wall Street and maintained his weed delivery service for 15 years, despite soaring arrest rates for marijuana that were concentrated in places like his Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. “That, at the end of the day, is what I have to lean on.”

Thu, 10 Aug 2023 19:00:00 -0500 en text/html
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