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Uber rolls into South Bend

first_imgSince its founding in 2009, Uber has spread to more than 100 cities – and since it added South Bend to that list a week ago, it has already won the support of many students who see it as a streamlined way to find a ride.Mary McGraw | The Observer Uber offers an alternative to traditional cab companies by integrating technology in the process of finding transportation. The system is simple: users download a mobile app, check for a driver in their area, wait to be picked up and pay with a credit card. Registered drivers get online any time they’re available, locate anyone who requests their services by their GPS coordinates and pick passengers up using their own vehicles.The term “sharing economy” is tossed around to describe this untraditional system, and Kristen Collett-Schmitt, associate teaching professor in the Finance department, said the concept appears to have evolved in the last 10 to 15 years alongside emerging new technologies that allow people to collaborate and allocate scarce resources. The rising popularity of Uber and other similar businesses such as Airbnb reflects a cultural shift in the past decade, she said.“Social networking has increased the willingness of individuals to actually share with each other, encouraging this type of economy,” Collett-Schmitt said. “One might argue that the ‘sharing economy’ is not just a function of changing technology, but also the financial crisis of 2008 and the uncertainty that still exists regarding the stability of the economy.“Economic uncertainty reminds us that resources are scarce, and increasingly-present environmental concerns encourage us to use resources more wisely. I think the ‘sharing economy’ supports this idea completely.”Junior Rachel Broghammer took advantage of an Uber promotion offering free rides during Labor Day weekend. As a native of San Francisco, where Uber started, she had used it in the past and said she was “really kind of shocked” to hear it would come to South Bend.“It’s really, really popular in San Francisco, partly because taxis there are so pricey,” she said. “And you don’t have to wait as long if you can find a driver that’s closer to me.”Her first South Bend experience with Uber went well, she said, but she expects it will improve as it becomes more widely-used – some students were unable to get rides because no local drivers were available at certain times.“Our driver came right up in the car we expected, and he was really incredibly nice, a South Bend resident who said he does this on his days off,” Broghammer said. “Everything was really nice and clean; they really research their drivers.”She said she’s comfortable with Uber because of the comprehensive review system available, where riders can give feedback about particular drivers that’s available for other riders to view. As it takes off in South Bend, though, it will likely take time before there are enough reviews to be helpful, she said.“With the reviews, you know ahead of time what you’re getting,” she said. “You don’t necessarily know that about a taxi. … For me, I think I would be very comfortable with using it anytime if I’d looked at the reviews of the driver.”For Broghammer, there are still situations in which she’d still stick to a traditional cab instead, though.“The only time I would prefer a traditional cab would be going from something off campus late at night, because at least then you can pack a lot of people into the cab,” she said. “And even if I don’t know the driver, I can trust the cab company.”Senior Quinn O’Heeney used the free ride promotion last week with a group of seven people and said it went well. The driver arrived at library circle when he said he would and was polite and funny, O’Heeney said. He said regular cabs would be more affordable in some situations, but the Uber payment system is more appealing overall. “I would rather use a flag drop cab if it was just me or maybe one other person since $3 each would probably be less expensive,” he said. “In any other situation, I would prefer Uber because of the cashless aspect of it. I have been in many cab rides where one person pays way too much because people don’t have small bills and the driver doesn’t have correct change.”There are limitations to Uber’s availability — South Bend International Airport officials issued a statement Aug. 28 to inform travelers that Uber drivers would not be allowed to pick up passengers at the airport, according to a report in the South Bend Tribune.The “sharing economy” has run into legal issues in some cities, especially with regard to licensing and taxing, and Collett-Schmitt said this is because laws are not yet written to handle this new type of consumption.“I believe these concerns are legitimate,” she said. “The goods in this type of economy might also not be subject to the same laws that protect consumers. With car-sharing services, it’s not always clear who would be liable in the case of an accident. “Taxis bring up the larger issues involving regulation. Many large cities require drivers of taxis to purchase ‘medallions’ or licenses, which are very expensive. . . . This regulation might also stabilize prices and require drivers to meet certain quality standards, thus protecting consumers.”Collett-Schmitt said she sees services like Uber as solving market failure by generating transactions that would not otherwise take place if new technology had not lowered transaction costs. In this way, the additional transactions benefit society, she said.“Services like Uber will also create competition for taxi drivers who had not previously been innovative because of the lack of competition,” she said. “One hopes this will encourage producers that offer substitute or complementary goods to be more innovative.“Or, as the ‘sharing economy’ becomes more popular, larger, more well-known companies that already offer complementary or substitute goods may invest in goods that are part of the ‘sharing economy,’ like a car manufacturer teaming up with Uber.”Tags: Ride sharing, sharing economy, South Bend, taxi, Uberlast_img read more

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Sex for Christian Borle!

first_img Masters of Sex tells the story of two researchers of human sexuality in St. Louis, Missouri. The period drama series features many faces familiar to Broadway fans, including Tony nominees Annaleigh Ashford and Allison Janney, as well as Beau Bridges and Bullets Over Broadway’s Helene Yorke. Star Files Tony winner and Smash star Christian Borle has a new TV role lined up. No, not Captain Hook in NBC’s Peter Pan (we’re still waiting for that announcement). The Broadway favorite will appear in a recurring guest star role in the second season of Showtime’s Masters of Sex. According to Variety, Borle will play Frank (Francis) Masters, the brother of Michael Sheen’s doctor character, William Masters. View Commentscenter_img Borle’s previous screen appearances include Smash and the highly-rated The Sound of Music Live!. He won a Tony for Peter and the Starcatcher and was nominated for his performance in Legally Blonde. Additional Broadway credits include Mary Poppins, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Spamalot and Footloose. He recently starred in the New York Philharmonic’s concert presentation of Sweeney Todd. Christian Borlelast_img read more

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PREMIUMHouse questions govt plan to sign free trade deals with Japan, EU

first_imgTopics : Facebook Indonesia international-trade ASEAN Japan European House hearing trade-minister Forgot Password ? Members of the House of Representatives have questioned a government plan to sign free trade deals with a number of countries this year, saying that such initiatives could further increase imports.During a hearing between the House Commission VI overseeing industrial, investment and business competition and Trade Minister Agus Suparmanto in Jakarta on Jan. 30, commission member Evita Nursanty questioned the urgency of the agreements.“The government has so far signed 14 international agreements, but our trade volume and exports continued to decline somehow,” she added.The government plans to sign protocol agreements that will pave the way for the amendment of the ASEAN-Japan comprehensive economic partnership (AJCEP), the Indonesia-European Free Trade Association (EFTA) comprehensive economic partnership agreements (IE-CEPA) and ASEAN agreement on electronic c… LOG INDon’t have an account? Register here Log in with your social account Linkedin Googlelast_img read more

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Electric or diesel: tilting may tip the balance

first_imgEconomic, technical, environmental and ergonomic factors must be addressed when selecting traction power. However, parameters shift if tilt is to be used. Felix Schmid* examines the issues which engineers must assessTravel time is a key element in the attractiveness of an inter-city or inter-regional rail service. Increasing maximum speed over part or all of the distance is not necessarily the best way to reduce journey times, which is what matters to the customer. In most situations it is more effective to narrow the spectrum of speeds; that is, to eliminate as many low speed stretches as possible.Any reduction in the number of speed restrictions is perceived very positively by the customer. In the past, infrastructure improvement has been the orthodox way of achieving better performance, but this is not always possible or cost-effective. In many cases it is more appropriate to adapt the rolling stock to new needs, by using tilting trains for example. Selection of the right traction package for a tilting train depends on many factors ranging from availability of electric power to passenger comfort.It might be argued that the decision to incorporate tilt technology has no bearing on the choice of diesel or electric power for a train. This is not so. Any route-specific comparison of diesel and electric options should embrace a host of economic, technical, environmental and ergonomic issues; tilt can affect the outcome significantly.With tilt, a number of subsidiary technical questions must be answered. Should concentrated or distributed power be used? Will the tilt be passive or active, with hydraulic, electric or pneumatic actuation? Reliability and availability must be taken into account when making systems engineering decisions.Diesel or electric?On-train conversion of diesel fuel into mechanical power, followed in many cases by mechanical-electrical-mechanical conversion, offers substantial autonomy and reduces infrastructure cost. However, tractive effort at a given speed is restricted by the inefficiency of thermal power generation on a locomotive, typically around 30%. The overload capability of diesel engines is very limited because the heat resulting from this inefficiency must be dissipated.Whilst these inadequacies can be partly overcome by good design, diesel power is still viewed with some apprehension in Europe because of past poor performance in three areas: power-to-weight ratio, reliability, and environmental impact. In fact, improvements in all these areas have been dramatic over the last few years.With electric traction, there is no need to compromise between the weight and bulk of fuel carried and the operating range of the motive power unit. The overload capability of traction motors (the one-hour rating) is very high, especially for AC drives, and on-board computers will manage load optimisation even more effectively in future. Diesel traction is unable to exploit this capability fully.Traditionally, the choice of electric power for new passenger services has been automatic where overhead electrification already existed, or a small amount of infill made a fully electric service feasible. So far, no tilting trains have been designed for third-rail operation, although this is clearly possible.More recently, thanks to the development of quiet and reliable underfloor engines for DMUs like the Danish IC3, the economic and environmental benefits not only of new electrification, but also of replacing life-expired power supplies, have been questioned. This debate is now moving from the policy and strategy level to service-by-service decisions.One example of such a debate was provided by Britain’s West Coast main line1. Although there has as yet been no case of a major established electrification being abandoned in favour of diesel traction in Europe, as has happened in America, the use of diesel power for services running mostly or wholly on electrified lines is no longer viewed as heresy.High acceleration versus tiltKey reasons for electrifying a main line in difficult terrain have been the high continuous power rating, excellent acceleration and good controllability afforded by electric traction. Other factors determine the choice on suburban and urban railways.Electric traction permits regeneration of power when braking or on long gradients. Typical situations include the Schwarzwaldbahn in Southern Germany and the Llast_img read more

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Three largest Austrian Pensionskassen increase hold on market

first_imgThe three largest Austrian Pensionskassen are increasing their dominance of Austria’s Pensionskassen market, holding 73% of the €17.4bn managed by the 16 funds, according to the Austrian financial supervisor (FMA).In 2012, VBV, Valida and APK, accounted for just over 71% of the assets in the sector, but consolidation such as APK takeover the company pension fund of the Austrian Economic Chamber WKÖ increased the share.Adding roughly another €700m from the Valida Industrie Pensionskasse – the former company pension fund for Siemens – to the assets held by Valida, the market share of the three largest funds increases to almost 77%.Additionally, on average multi-employer pension funds, including the three largest Austrian funds, achieved a better return in 2013 at 5.3% than company pension funds which only managed 3.9%. It was the first time in three years that the multi-employer funds outperformed the company Pensionskassen. The performance of the smaller funds in the post-crisis year of 2009 was already significantly better, at 12.6% annual return, compared to a negative performance of -8.45% for the larger funds.However, performance figures in Austria should only ever be viewed as a very rough average, as multi-employer funds have to offer different portfolios for larger clients while company pension funds only put in place one or two portfolios.Under the most recent amendment to the law governing Austrian Pensionskassen, some pension funds used the opportunity to reduce the number of portfolios, which lead to an overall decrease from 140 to 124 year-on-year across all pension funds. However, some schemes created sub-portfolios instead.Overall, the FMA confirmed a 5.1% average return for all Austrian Pensionskassen for 2013, with returns ranging from 0.4% to 5.8% depending on the risk-return profile of a portfolio.For the Betriebliche Kollektivversicherung (BVK), an insurance-based occupational pension solution, the FMA reported a 20% increase in assets over the last year to €643.4m.last_img read more

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Struggling Queenslander wins entire luxury unit block

first_img Draw 361 Winners: Just in time for Christmas, a man from Boronia in Brisbane’s south has won an entire apartment block. What a view for Xmas dinner.He was “repairing the banged up bumper on his ’94 Corolla” when he was told that he had also won two luxury Audi vehicles as part of the first prize.According to an RSL Art Union statement, “this prize could not have come at a better time, after going through a rough patch, (the man) has been living with his wife, two girls, and extended family all in one property. Now they have an entire luxury apartment complex to choose from.” He also takes home $50,000 in Gold Bullion. 1st Prize: $5.005m property Boronia Heights, QLD2nd Prize: $10,000 Athelstone, SA3rd Prize: $5,000 Narangba, QLDLoyal Supporter Draw: $11,000 North Curl Curl, NSWLoyal Supporter Draw: $11,000 Wynnum West, QLDVIP Only Bonus Draw: $10,000 Wurtulla, QLDVIP Only Bonus Draw: $10,000 Roseworthy, SAVIP Update Your Details: $500 Mountain Top, NSW (Source: RSL Art Union) The man thought the call was a hoax. The property is in Palm Beach. All the units are fully furnished.The draw involved a $5 million entire apartment complex on the Gold Coast, with six units — one of which was a four-bedroom penthouse and the other five two-bedroom apartments.The rental income potential from the five apartments was $171,080 a year, according to an RSL Art Union statement — with that jumping to estimated annual rental income of $238,680 if the penthouse was let out too.“The whole complex has been styled with $377,112 worth of furniture and electrical appliances. Secure garage with 12 car spaces, plus two public visitor spaces.” He also won two luxury Audis.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus15 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market15 hours ago The $5 million Gold Coast apartment block has six fully furnished units.‘Are you serious’ was the response from a struggling Queenslander who became an instant millionaire landlord this morning after winning an entire apartment block.The man from Boronia Heights in Logan, half an hour south of the Brisbane CBD, did not want to be named and was understood to be overwhelmed since being told he had won the latest RSL Art Union prize draw.“This prize will change our lives forever,” said the man, “There’s not much to say but thank you”.last_img read more

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Al-Shabaab leader wanted by US dies in Somalia

first_imgA senior leader of al-Shabaab, who was hunted by the United States for years, is dead, the Islamist militant group said on Thursday. Hassan Abdullah Hersi Turki, 73, died of natural causes after years of illness, al-Shabaab spokesperson Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage, also known as Ali Dhere, told dpa. Turki was reportedly a close ally of former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.The US tried to kill Turki in 2008 in an airstrike on Somalia’s Lower Juba region and searched for him ever since. The death of Turki could be a blow to the militant group, which has in the last one year lost a number of senior leaders, including the former leader Ali Godane in a US airstrike in September last year.The U.N. Security Council said Turki played a role in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.last_img read more

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Tim Tebow

first_imgI recently came upon an article about Tim Tebow and why he thinks he needs to be a quarterback to play in the NFL.  After all, he is 6’3″ and weighs 235 pounds.  His best asset as a quarterback is running the football which he certainly could do with this size and weight.John Madden’s “16” video-game version evidently has Tebow as a running back.  Many players of his size have been quite successful as a pro fullback.  Their main duty is acting as a blocker for the speedy running backs.  Tebow’s running style would fit this perfectly.Just look at Tim Dudley who played for Franklin County in the early 2000’s.  He had a successful NFL career strictly as a blocking back.  Maybe Tebow needs to swallow his pride a little and see if he can be successful at this.  His career as a quarterback has not been a shining one.last_img read more

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Indiana Main Street council members appointed

first_imgIndianapolis, In. — Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch today announced nine appointments to the Indiana Main Street Council.The lieutenant governor made the following appointments:Valecia Crisafulli (Madison), Director of Madison Main Street;Maria Davis (Angola), Downtown Services Coordinator at the City of Angola;Marsh Davis (Indianapolis), Executive Director of Indiana Landmarks;Jay Ellis (Indianapolis), Executive Director of Jeffersonville Main Street;J.P. Hall III (Muncie), Assistant Professor of Historic Preservation at Ball State University;Danielle McGrath (Indianapolis), Senior Vice President for Corporate Strategy, Policy and Foundation at Indiana Economic Development Corporation;Mark Newman (Indianapolis), Executive Director of the Indiana Office of Tourism Development;Lewis Ricci (Indianapolis), Executive Director of the Indiana Arts Commission; andAshley Willis (Petersburg), Executive Director of the Pike County Economic Development Corporation.The Indiana Main Street Council will advise and assist the Indiana Main Street program, and term limits will expire on June 30, 2021.Administered by the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, the Main Street program is founded on a four point approach to downtown development: organization, design, promotion and economic vitality. The program encourages economic development, redevelopment and improvement to the downtown areas in Indiana cities and towns.last_img read more

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Xhaka: Arsenal selling Aubameyang would be ‘great loss’

first_imgGranit Xhaka has admitted that Arsenal selling Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would be a “great loss”. Aubameyang is approaching the final 12 months of his contract at the Emirates. Xhaka, who was replaced by Aubameyang as captain during the season, admits his exit would be a damaging blow to the club.Advertisement Promoted ContentBirds Enjoy Living In A Gallery Space Created For ThemWho Is The Most Powerful Woman On Earth?Ever Thought Of Sleeping Next To Celebs? This Guy Will Show You9 Facts You Should Know Before Getting A TattooThe Best Cars Of All TimeBest & Worst Celebrity Endorsed Games Ever Made7 Netflix Shows Cancelled Because They Don’t Get The Ratings8 Things That Will Happen If An Asteroid Hits Earth10 Risky Jobs Some Women DoWhat Is A Black Hole And Is It Dangerous For Us All?5 Of The World’s Most Unique Theme Parks5 Of The World’s Most Unique Theme Parks Loading… “If that were to happen, it would, of course, be a great loss for the team and the club,” he told SportBild. read also:Arsenal eye Real Madrid star as possible Aubameyang replacement “Auba is always dangerous and always good for a goal, and as a guy, he’s also really great. “He is always positive, optimistic, helpful and very professional.” FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 last_img read more

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