Thursday, April 28, 2011

Facebook Deals: Coming to a City Near You!

Facebook has jumped headfirst into the "local deals" game by launching Facebook Deals, a new competitor to Groupon and LivingSocial. Users in Austin, San Diego, San Francisco, Atlanta, and Dallas will be able to find discounts and coupons for local services and stores and the company plans to expand the service to many more cities within the next few months.

Facebook will tap into its more than 600 million users to establish itself in a business that has turned into a multi-billion dollar industry. Experts believe that more competition in the local deals business should lead to better and better offers to end-users.

Facebook can leverage its social networking strengths in a way that makes them the leader in "social deals" online. They say they will focus on local offers that involve social activities, such as those related to dining, fitness, and outdoor activities. So you'll be able to suggest cool deals and also invite friends and family to take part in a local offer.

According Emily White, Facebook Local Director:
"We're building a product that is social from the ground up... All of these deals are things you want to do with friends, so no teeth whitening, but yes to river rafting."
We say: this is great! The more local deals we can get our hands on here in Las Vegas the better (this is an expensive city!)...

Learn some mo': Facebook Launches Deals to Compete With Groupon

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Energy Stocks Are Hot

Want to make money from soaring oil prices? Good idea... in fact, lots of people are searching for ways to do exactly that! "Energy stocks" has become one of the biggest buzz searches online in recent days as people look for ways to profit from and/or offset the costs associated with skyrocketing gasoline prices.

Alternative-energy stocks are among the hottest topics in the investment world right now. That's because people assume that we'll soon have to begin relying much more on things like solar and wind power. These alternative power sources are much cleaner than oil, much safer than nuclear (as the Japan crisis has clearly shown), and -- especially in the case of solar -- expected to eventually be cheaper than oil-based energy production.

Spikes in oil and energy prices are painful but they usually lead to some good things, such as huge jumps in innovation, technology, and investments in alternative fuels and energy sources. Many investment experts feel that it's a great idea to put some of your money into alternative energy stocks. But you can also profit from "traditional" energy stocks. Oil and gas isn't going anywhere soon and there's lots of money to be made from both large and small petroleum-related companies!

So the bottom line is: both alternative and traditional energy stocks are a good investment now and in the future!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Dukan Diet: The Protein & Oat Bran Quick Weight Loss Diet

The Dukan Diet is the latest fad diet blowing up in popularity, especially in the United States. The high-protein diet has been developed by Dr Pierre Dukan, a French nutritionist, for over 30 years but has only caught on in Europe over the past decade. It doesn't hurt that soon-to-be-princess Kate Middleton and top model Gisele Bundchen have, apparently, both used the diet plan to slim down!

Now that the "American" Dukan Diet book has been released people in the US are going crazy online looking for recipes, menu plans, and information about the unique quick weight loss solution. The book is so hot that it's already overtaken ultra-popular The 17 Day Diet on Amazon's best-sellers list!

The "Princess Diet" is based around eating lean proteins and natural oat bran. The protein speeds up the metabolism while stabilizing energy levels and the bran fills you up and helps you crap out a few pounds of poo poo (we've been told).

There are lots of positive reviews and testimonials regarding the Dukan Diet. Women say they've lost several dress sizes in a matter of weeks and men claim to be able to lose 50+ pounds in under 6 months. Even actress Penelope Cruz has given her stamp of approval, saying she used the Dukan method to lose her post-pregnancy baby weight!

The diet is based around starting with the lean proteins and oat bran during an initial "attach phase" which allows you to lose 10 or more pounds in a matter of days. Then you move onto phases 2-4, where you slowly add in veggies... then fruit and whole grains... and so on.

We think: it sounds like a French version of the low-carb Atkins diet and it probably is a good way to lose fat and pounds quickly. Please leave your own Dukan Diet reviews and comments below!

Learn some mo': 'The Dukan Diet': Meat Lovers' Delight? Eat Meat, Don't Go Hungry and Lose Weight Fast, Plan Claims

Monday, April 18, 2011

Twitter Worth $10 Billion Dollars?

There are rumors floating around the online business world that Twitter is worth $10 billion dollars. That's because, apparently, Google may have offered that huge sum of money to buy the "microblogging" social media site. That's crazy, but here's what seems even crazy: the owners of Twitter turned the offer down!

If these huge valuation rumors are true, it comes as surprise to many, considering the fact that the vast majority of Internet users don't use Twitter and many don't even really know/understand what it is. In fact, it's estimated that Twitter really only has a relatively small number active users, probably less than 20 million worldwide.

Some experts believe that Google's interest in acquiring Twitter has to do with wanting to improve it's own "crowdsourcing" capabilities. Google has not yet had much luck with its own social networking initiatives and needs to figure out how to compete with Facebook on that front. Buying Twitter would be a very good start.

Many experts believe that much of online search is headed in the direction of social recommendation functionality. In the future, many people may tap into their social connections on sites like Facebook and Twitter for product recommendations before they even begin searching on computer algorithm-driven engines like Google. Buying Twitter may be a defensive move on Google's part, keeping it out of the hands of competitors like Microsoft and allowing Google to instantly tap into the huge spike in social networking growth.

We think: Twitter is a cool little messaging service that is kind of useful and can be fun to use for about 20 minutes a day. But unless it becomes a major communication/marketing platform we doubt it's worth $10 billion!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Internet Ad Spends Hit Record High

Internet advertising levels jumped 15% in 2010 and hit an all-time record, according to a new report. Companies spent a whopping $26 billion in 2010 to try to market their wares online. Interactive Advertising Bureau and PwC report that, in the 4th quarter of 2010 alone, advertisers spent 7 and a half million dollars on web ads.

According to Sherrill Mane of IAB:
"We now have had five consecutive quarters of growth since the great recession impacted interactive advertising in 2009."

That's great news for online business (our favorite kind!).

According to the report, the most popular form of web advertising currently is "search" advertising, which represents nearly half of all online ad revenue. The fastest growing type of online advertising in 2010 was "sponsorships" which jumped nearly 90% in 2010 to a total of $718 million.

According to David Silverman of PwC, people are spending more time online due to things like social media sites (like Facebook) and digital video sites (like YouTube). More "eyeballs" online means more online ad revenue spending, which is good news for web publishers!

Learn some mo': Internet advertising revenue hits record high in 2010

Friday, April 15, 2011

US Meat Contains LOTS of Bad Bacteria

A study has shown that meat found in grocery stores all over the United States is contaminated with high levels of bacteria, including several types of dangerous antibiotic-resistant strains. The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) found high levels of Staph bacteria in meat samples from California to Washington D.C.

Since staph infections have become a major health concern in recent years, that's not good news.

The US Food and Drug Administration says that they are aware of the bacteria problem and are working with the US Agriculture Department and the CDC on solutions. They also say that it's not clear yet what, exactly, the results of the TGen study mean in terms of public health.

Experts say that the most important thing the study shows is that MANY types of bacteria are becoming very resistant to the antibiotics used on farms to keep animals healthy. They say that meat will always contain some bacteria but the increasing levels of highly resistant bacteria is a major public health threat. 52% of the samples they tested were resistant to 3 or more types of antibiotics!

According to the researchers, the type of meat with the most resistant bacteria is turkey, followed by pork, beef, and lastly chicken. They say that most meat found in supermarkets is still safe to eat, but you must take precautions when handling and cooking all types of meat.

We say: Think about buying meat from antibiotic-free farms. Also, this could be an interesting application for MMS/sodium chlorite, in terms of disinfecting meats and your kitchen!

Learn some mo': High bacteria levels in meat at U.S. stores

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Google Will Invest Millions in New Solar Energy Project

Search engine company Google will invest nearly $170 million in a huge new solar energy plant in the Mojave Desert, according to a new statement. The money will go to BrightSource Energy and its "Ivanpah" solar electric generating system, which will use solar thermal power to create cheap, clean, and reliable electricity.

The new project will use technology based around "power towers," which involve aiming sunlight at receivers on the tops of large towers using special heliostat mirrors. The receivers heat water to produce steam, which turns turbines and generates the electricity. So basically it will direct huge amounts of focused solar energy onto very small areas, which will produce electricity very efficiently.

The Ivanpah project the will be the largest solar energy project of its kind in the world and should be completed by 2013. It represents a major increase in Google "green energy" investment profile, which has been growing since the company was granted status as a public utility last year.

Google got into the cheap, environmentally-friendly energy game in order to power its own humongous dater centers. But now it appears that the tech giant has much bigger plans and may one day become a major player in the clean energy industry.

We say: This is GREAT! Solar energy is undoubtedly part of the overall solution for weaning ourselves off of dirty oil, gas, and coal energy and we hope more companies take similar steps (especially here in Las Vegas!).

Learn some mo': Google Invests in World’s Largest Solar Power Tower Plant

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Cisco to Kill Flip Video Cameras

Tech giant Cisco says that it will stop producing its popular Flip video cameras in order to focus on its core strengths (mainly high-end networking devices). Seeing as how they just bought the company from Pure Digital for almost $600 billion 2 years ago, this comes as a surprise... especially to the thousands of current Flip cam owners/fans!

So basically Cisco wants to focus on its big money products and will shut down its small consumer electronic product departments. Experts say that the new generation of smartphones and their built-in video camera features killed the Flip cam and will do the same to other small "pocket" vidcams like those made by Kodak and Toshiba.

Smartphones like the iPhone and Android/Google phones allow users to record a high-quality video and then send it immediately to a variety of websites, no computer required. Cisco was developing a WiFi-enabled Flip camera but apparently killed the project when it appeared that smartphones would dominate the handheld video market.

According to Cisco CEO John Chambers:
"We are making key, targeted moves as we align operations in support of our network-centric platform strategy... As we move forward, our consumer efforts will focus on how we help our enterprise and service provider customers optimize and expand their offerings for consumers, and help ensure the network’s ability to deliver on those offerings."

Here's what we think: LOTS of people don't have and don't want an expensive smartphone with built-in HD video cameras. Why doesn't Cisco just sell their Flip cam division to another company who can focus on creating new, more competitive models??

Learn some mo': Cisco To Shut Down Flip Video Camera Business

Monday, April 11, 2011

Gas Prices Near Record Highs!

Gas prices are getting close to all-time highs, according to a new survey. The average price of gasoline in the United States is currently around $3.75, about 20 cents higher than just 2 weeks ago, and just 35 cents under the all-time high of $4.11 set in July 2008!

That's bad news for places that depend on tourists, such as our hometown of Las Vegas!

Crude oil prices have jumped in recent weeks, mainly due to the problems in the Middle East but also because of a weak US dollar and greatly increasing demand in developing nations (we're looking at you China). Experts say that unless the crude prices drop soon we can definitely expect gasoline prices to jump significantly within the next month or so.

According to the new survey, the lowest average gas price in the US -- $3.41 -- is in Tucson, AZ and the highest -- $4.13 -- is in the San Francisco Bay area. We're hoping that things, especially crude oil prices, cool off soon!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Is Insanity Asylum the Next P90X? Any Reviews??

Update 4/11/11: OK so apparently we got some bad information... the new Insanity Asylum workout program has not been released yet. The official release date is April 18, 2011. So hang in there another week and come back here to see reviews, opinions, comments, etc!


The new Insanity Asylum workout has just been released by those crazy P90X/Beachbody people and already thousands of people are online looking for reviews. The original Insanity program was one of the best-selling home fitness products of 2010 and many experts expect "Asylum" to be just as popular. Some people are even calling it the "P90X of 2011!"

The Beachbody people and personal trainer Shaun T (Insanity's creator) definitely know how to market a product. The online buzz is exploding around this ultra-intense "extreme" workout that's designed to give you single-digit body fat and a fitness model's body. If you've done the original Insanity, P90x, Turbo Fire, or any of the other Beachbody workouts you know that they are no joke. We're definitely not talking about Jazzercise here!

The fact is that Insanity Asylum may be the toughest, most-intense home workout yet. That means it's probably not for couch potatoes who are totally out-of-shape. This program looks like it's really for relatively well-conditioned people who have reached a plateau in their current fitness or weight loss program and want to break through. It also appears to be for highly fit people who want to improve their athletic ability... for their weekend flag-football league we assume.

What's most interesting about Beachbody Asylum is that it's based around exercises that real athletes do. Apparently Shaun T was a track-and-field star at one time and he promises to have you training "like a pro" and "playing like a star" in just 30 days. The total-body Asylum workouts are designed to quickly improve your full body strength, power, speed, coordination, and agility while burning off fat and building lean muscle fast.

Sounds very interesting and we'd love to have some reviews to post. Please leave your own questions, comments, and reviews in the area below. Thanks!

Friday, April 8, 2011

17 Day Diet Plan: Even Hotter Than Before!

A few months ago we posted about a hot new diet called the 17 Day Diet. We figured it was just a New Year's weight loss fad that would quickly fade in popularity. Well, the exact opposite has happened: the online buzz around the 17 Day Diet has skyrocketed!

That's mainly because it's been talked about quite a bit on Dr. Phil, various news programs, and is being heavily promoted by its creator, Dr. Michael Moreno. Right now people are looking for fast, easy ways to get rid of their winter flab, so online searches related to the new diet are exploding.

Despite the name, this is not really a 17 day diet... it's a diet that's based around 17-day cycles that involve eating different types of food in varying amounts. Like nearly all half-decent "quick weight loss" diets it involves cutting out most carbs at first, especially the bad ones, and then re-incorporating good carbs later on after you've lost some pounds.

According to Dr Moreno, the 17 Day Diet is "probably the only diet that is for everybody." Um... yeah right. Many experts believe it's basically just a rehash of established dieting techniques and is, in reality, not all that unique at all. Nearly all modern quick fix diets involve cutting calories by cutting out processed sugars, flours, alcohol, etc. and focusing on protein, healthy fats, and good carbs like whole grains, sweet potatoes, etc.

And sorry if you're looking for an easy, "effortless" weight loss plan. This ain't it. Even the 17 Day Diet requires doing regular exercise. No amount of "metabolism confusion through dieting" is gonna burn off that stubborn belly fat by itself!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Hangover 2 Trailer Pulled From Theaters

The Hangover was one of the funniest movies ever made and definitely one of the best "Vegas movies" of all time. Now the trailer for the sequel, The Hangover 2, has run into some problems. In fact, the raunchy ad has been pulled from theaters because of problems with the Motion Picture Association of America and a few pissed-off parents.

Apparently the biggest problem involves a scene where a Bangkok monkey begins to perform an "adult act" on a water bottle. That's bad enough (and just hilarious!) but then Alan says:
"When a monkey nibbles on a weenus, it's funny in any language."
The trailer also involves large amounts of pig blood, bad words, and Mr. Chow. Awesome, but we can understand why some parents wouldn't want little Timmy to see it.

According to Warner Bros:
"In our haste to meet the placement schedule for this trailer, we failed to properly vet the final version with the MPAA... We acted immediately to correct the mistake and removed the trailer from screens."
Yeah right, we're sure it was a mistake. Because of this little "mistake" the interwebs are all abuzz about the new movie. It's called free publicity.... lots and LOTS of free publicity. Plus, we would be kind of disappointed if the first official trailer didn't have stuff that pissed off a large percentage of the audience...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Marijuana Chemical Will Be the Next Aspirin

A special form of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, could be the new "aspirin" according to new scientific research. This week scientists announced that they have found a way to take advantage of the amazing pain-killing effects of cannabis without causing the user to become "high" from it.

They say that a synthetic form of THC can be made that targets only the part of the human nervous system that deals with neuromotor activity, pain sensation, muscle relaxation and anxiety. They say that the new THC pills could be a safer alternative to aspirin and other pain killers, especially for those people who are highly sensitive to common drugs.

The "non-psychotropic cannabinoids" could also provide a safer, 100% legal pain-killing alternative to patients who use medical marijuana. Hopefully researchers will be able to begin testing the new drug soon.

Learn some mo': Cannabis-like drugs could kill pain without the high

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Google Releases "+1" Social Search

Google is taking another crack at becoming a major player in online social search with a new "+1" feature. The company's other attempts at harnessing social networking -- including Google Wave, Google Buzz, and Orkut -- were considered failures for the most part. Many experts say that Google is great at organizing information with computers and complex algorithms... not so much with social networking functions (and we tend to agree!).

The new "+1" button on Google search results is basically a social layer that allows you to give your stamp of approval for a web page. It's designed to show people in your online social network -- including friends and Gmail contacts -- what you consider to be the best stuff on the Web.

Google hopes that the +1 feature will allow them to harness human opinion to improve personalized search results. Also it may, if successful, allow them to compete more with Facebook in the social search arena. According to SEO/search engine expert Danny Sullivan:
"It's a killer combination if you put them both together, and I think that's where Google's big challenge will be in all of this... They don't still seem to get the whole social aspect of things. They don't have any expertise in building these hugely successful social products. Facebook does."

It'll be interesting to see how many people actually participate with the +1 system and give their opinions. We certainly hope it doesn't flop like Google Wave did!

Learn some mo': With +1, Google really, really wants to be your friend

Saturday, April 2, 2011

hCG Diet Dangers: Mad Cow Disease??

The popularity of the "HCG Diet" has exploded in the past couple of years, especially in the United States and parts of Europe. It basically involves injecting or consuming Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, a female pregnancy hormone, in order to lose weight with little to no effort (theoretically). But now a new study shows that there may be a pretty big risk to taking the stuff: you could get freaking MAD COW DISEASE!!

Researchers found that liquid hCG doses can contain prions, the strange, malformed proteins that cause mad cow disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the human form of the brain-destroying illness. That's because the hormone is extracted from the urine of pregnant women and, according to the research, some of them are infected with the prions.

Scary stuff.

hGC has been used as a weight loss aid since the 1950's. But it's really taken off in just the past few years, mainly due to the marketing efforts of various weight loss clinics. Unfortunately there's not a whole lot of scientific evidence that the stuff really works. No one has actually contracted "mad human" disease from hCG injections yet but here's how we look at it: why in the hell would you risk it??

Learn some mo': Popular Weight Loss Gimmick May Give You Mad Cow Disease