Saturday, May 17, 2008

Weird Facts: Bentleys, Porsches And Other Top Line Cars Repo'd In Record Numbers

weird facts - In his 40-some-year career, recovery agent Hank Leleu has witnessed enough economic downturns to know how they'll play out. Once people start missing payments on their "toys," a storm starts brewing. He knows that just from experience.

The country has fallen on hard times once during each of the decades of Leleu's career, and he says it's always the same story.

When times are good, people buy, often beyond their means. When times are bad, as is now the case in the U.S., debt collectors and recovery agents come calling. In a sense, they're profiting from other people's misery, and there's usually plenty to go around.

There's something different about this one though, Leleu says, particularly about the people who are receiving these calls.

"It seems like no one is really exempt from this cycle," says Leleu, who operates ARB Las Vegas.

From November 2006 to March 2007, ARB was averaging a recovery of 43 high-line cars a month. For the same period a year later, ARB averaged 55 high-line cars a month. These figures include brand names such as Mercedes, Porsche and Bentley.

Leleu says that a year ago, approximately 75% of the cars recovered were C- and E-class Mercedes Benz, carrying sticker prices of $35,000 to $80,000. A year later, the numbers are up by 28% or so, but the true picture here is that now 75% of the high-line cars ARB is recovering are valued in the range of $100,000 to $500,000.

We're pulling cars from mortgage bankers, real-estate firms," Leleu says. "We're talking about upper-echelon people. It's like nobody seems to have that savings or extra borrowing ability to get them over the hump."

There has been no clear forecast on the size of this hump. Until we're on the other side, people who profit from others' financial losses, whether they operate pawnshops or run bankruptcy law firms, will thrive. It's nothing personal; it's just business, and a countercyclical one at that. These are industries that see a spike in demand during the economic downside.

[Via - Moneycentral]

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How To Create Your Own Blog

One thing about blogs that is so fascinating is the interlinking. There are millions of people keeping active blogs, and bloggers often tend to look at other people's blogs. When they see something they like in their favorite blogs, bloggers will often link to and comment on it.

All of this tight interlinking has created a phenomenon known as the blogosphere. The blogosphere consists of all the cross-linked blogs. Once you arrive at one blog in the blogosphere, it will often have links that connect you to many of the other sites in the blogosphere. You can bounce around in the blogosphere for years if you like that sort of thing.

Many blog readers enter the blogosphere and find one (or a few) bloggers they really like. For example, you might have a blog you use to keep up to date on the latest technology, and another to keep up to date on the latest news. The blogger is acting a lot like a DJ on a radio show, choosing stories, links and/or snippets just like the DJ chooses songs. People who like what the blogger focuses on each day come back and read that blogger every day or so. Celebrities have also gotten into the act, creating blogs as a way to interact with their fans.

Creating your own blog
Creating your own blog is now easy because there are Web-based toolsets that make the management of your blog incredibly simple -- and here is one of them, which I can personally recomend, try creating Free Blog at You can create basic blogs for free, and most of these toolsets have additional features available for a price. There is also software (such as Movable Type) to help you create and self-publish your blog with even more customization.

I created this blog using Blogger. Creating a simple blog is free and only takes about five minutes. You enter your name, e-mail address and a few other pieces of information. You select "the look" (template) for your blog from a set of standard templates. Click a few buttons and you're done.

Now you can add new entries to your blog. Basically, all you do is type in the entry and push the "post" button to post it. You can edit the entry as much as you like by clicking the "edit" button. When you are happy with the new entry, you push the "publish" button to make your new entry visible on your public blog.

That's it. A blog entry can be that simple. Or it can be an entire story. It's all up to you.

The incredible simplicity of blogging is one of the things that makes blogging so popular. But if text isn't enough for you, many blogging toolsets also allow you to post photos, video, and audio files. You can even post via your cell phone.

If you would like to learn more about blogs and blogging, take a look at the links below.
Free Blog


Friday, May 16, 2008

Woman Faked Cancer To Avoid Working | Weird Facts

weird facts
ARLINGTON, Wash. -- A former Washington state social worker has been accused of faking brain cancer to avoid work. Theft charges were filed Tuesday against Sandra Dee Martinez, 40, formerly of Mountlake Terrace, who was employed by the Department of Social and Health Services in Arlington.

According to investigators, Martinez presented fake letters that appeared to be from doctors saying she had malignant brain tumors. Prosecutors wrote that she received $21,000 worth of paid leave and took advantage of sick days donated by co-workers last year.

Prosecutors wrote that Martinez came under scrutiny after using a neighbor's computer and leaving one of the letters on the printer.

Arlington Police Chief John Gray says Martinez has moved to another state and won't speak with investigators.

[Via - SeattlePI.Com]

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

How to Create a Brand Positioning for a Small Business

While big corporations spend millions of dollars promoting their brands, few small businesses and startup companies have taken the time to rigorously determine their brand positioning. Dedicate several hours of time and you can develop a company positioning to differentiate your brand and speak with a unified voice to the market.

Below you will find some useful tips to get started. Don't forget to visit this website containing really useful info: Marketing Company

1. Block out three hours for the meeting and gather your key employees in a conference room.
2. Hire an outside consultant or nominate one employee to serve as the moderator and note taker to capture all the ideas the team develops.
3. Brainstorm, brainstorm, brainstorm. Make separate lists of the way you want to be perceived by customers, investors, employees, and shareholders.
4. Create an honest assessment of your company's unique value proposition. Think about how your competitors would attack this value proposition, if they were talking to your customers.
5. List positionings you wish to avoid. Do you not want your cookie store to be seen as the local bakery? Or vice versa?
6. Analyze how your competitors are positioning themselves. Is your business differentiated from them in a way your customers care about?
7. Synthesize the results of your brainstorming session a few days after the initial meeting. Use the results to develop your positioning statement and the associated corporate messaging it implies.
8. Test the new positioning statement on customers, employees, and investors to confirm you created a good positioning.
9. Create action items in establishing your brand in the market place for your team to accomplish. Start small with yellow page ad placement/copy, work your towards a goal of propagating your brand's position in anything that relates to your company, including collateral, invoices, etc.

* Most of the world's best businesses have strong brands positioned against competitors. Even the smallest business can enjoy the benefits of brand positioning by devoting several hours to the process.
* Brand positioning consultants who have experience conducting this process with multiple companies can help a business develop the best possible positioning. Prices for the service can range from a few hundred dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars for the large consulting firms or PR and advertising agencies.
* Brand positioning impacts everything, including the corporate culture of your small business. Make sure that the culture that you have within your organization is in line with your proposed brand identity.


Monday, May 12, 2008

Ancient humans started down the path of evolving into two separate species before merging back into a single population | Weird Facts

The genetic split in Africa resulted in distinct populations that lived in isolation for as much as 100,000 years, the scientists say.

This could have been caused by arid conditions driving a wedge between humans in eastern and southern Africa.

Details have been published in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

It would be the longest period for which modern human populations have been isolated from one another.

But other scientists said it was still too early to reconstruct a meaningful picture of humankind's early history in Africa. They argue that other scenarios could also account for the data.

At the time of the split - some 150,000 years ago - our species, Homo sapiens, was still confined to the African continent.

The results have come from the Genographic Project, a major effort to track human migrations through DNA.

The latest conclusions are based on analysis of mitochondrial DNA in present-day African populations. This type of DNA is the genetic material stored in mitochondria - the "powerhouses" of cells.

It is passed down from a mother to her offspring, providing a unique record of maternal inheritance.

"We don't know how long it takes for hominids to fission off into separate species, but clearly they were separated for a very long time," said Dr Spencer Wells, director of the Genographic Project.

"They came back together again during the Late Stone Age - driven by population expansion."

Although present-day people carry a signature of the ancient split in their DNA, today's Africans are part of a single population.

The researchers compiled a "family tree" of different mitochondrial DNA groupings found in Africa.

A major split occurred near the root of the tree as early as 150,000 years ago.

On one side of this divide are the mitochondrial lineages now found predominantly in East and West Africa, and all maternal lineages found outside Africa.

On the other side of the divide are lineages predominantly found in the Khoi and San (Khoisan) hunter-gatherer people of southern Africa.

Many African populations today harbour a mixture of both.

The scientists say the most likely scenario is that two populations went their separate ways early in our evolutionary history.

This gave rise to separate human communities localised to eastern and southern Africa that evolved in isolation for between 50,000 and 100,000 years.

This divergence could have been related to climate change: recent studies of ancient climate data suggest that eastern Africa went through a series of massive droughts between 135,000-90,000 years ago.

Lead author Doron Behar, from the Rambam Medical Center in Israel commented: "It is possible the harsh environment and changing climate made populations migrate to other places in order to have a better chance of survival.

"Some of them found places where they could and - perhaps - some didn't. More than that we cannot say."

Dr Wells told BBC News: "Once this population reached southern Africa, it was cut off from the eastern African population by these drought events which were on the route between them."

Modern humans are often presumed to have originated in East Africa and then spread out to populate other areas. But the data could equally support an origin in southern Africa followed by a migration to East and West Africa.

The genetic data show that populations came back together as a single, pan-African population about 40,000 years ago.

This renewed contact appears to coincide with the development of more advanced stone tool technology and may have been helped by more favourable environmental conditions.

"[The mixing] was two-way to a certain extent, but the majority of mitochondrial lineages seem to have come from north-eastern Africa down to the south," said Spencer Wells.

But other scientists said different scenarios could explain the data.

Dr Sarah Tishkoff, an expert on African population genetics from the University of Pennsylvania, said the Khoisan might once have carried many more of the presumed "East African" lineages but that these could have been lost over time.

"Although there is very deep divergence in the mitochondrial lineages, that can be different from inferring when the populations diverged from one another and there can be many demographic scenarios to account for it," she told BBC News.

She added: "As a general rule of thumb, when mitochondrial genetic lineages split, it will usually precede the population split. It can often be difficult to infer from one to the other."

The University of Pennsylvania researcher stressed it was not possible to pinpoint where in Africa the populations had once lived - complicating the process of reconstructing scenarios from genetic data.

The Genographic Project's findings are also consistent with the idea - held for some years now - that modern humans had a close brush with extinction in the evolutionary past.

The number of early humans may have shrunk as low as 2,000 before numbers began to expand again in the Late Stone Age.

[Via - BBC]

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Online Dating Tips | Women Only

When it’s time to find that special someone, an increasing number of women turn to online dating each year. Maybe you just broke up with your boyfriend; maybe it’s been a while since you’ve been “on the market.” You’ve tried bars and parties, and your friends just haven’t succeeded in referring you to the man of your dreams. Why not go online?

How to avoid an online dating con man ?
1. Consider if it moves too fast, too soon, it's a con. Emotions run high and our inhibitions are lower when meeting people online, so it's not unusual for daters to begin to feel strong emotions very soon into the relationship, sometimes even before you meet. If there is talk of marriage or combining homes, you may be dealing with someone who is getting ready to steal not just your heart, but your bank account as well.

2. Know that if you can't get a straight answer to questions about their past, you may be dealing with an online dating con man. Vague personal history usually means that the person is hiding something from you. Do a background check by going online and inserting your date's name and birth date into a criminal background checking website or a state's court website. Really suspicious? Spend a little money and pay for an online background check. Remember, this only works if your date has given you his correct name and birth date.

3. Be aware that if she brags about her finances but needs to borrow money, you are dealing with a con man. Excuses about unexpected expenses or losses won't explain a vast difference in income and you should never loan money to a virtual stranger, no matter how strong your feelings for them. This is a big red flag.

4. Consider that if the age they say they are doesn't seem right to you, check it out further. Try to get a look at his driver's license and do an online search for his name and birth date to see if it's a match. A little white lie about age doesn't mean much, but a lie about a birth date may mean he has a criminal past or outstanding warrants.

5. Look at multiple social security numbers. He may explain it away as due to being a victim of identity theft, but ask a few more questions. If he is a victim, he will have documentation to prove that, otherwise, he is a criminal.

Don't forget about those basic rules and you might wanna check out this great website: dating expert. For today it's the World's Largest Database Rating Men targeting abusive and cheating men.

Research and rate before you date to promote safer dating worldwide!