Brian Banmiller's blog

Street for Sale

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San Francisco might have some of the highest real estate prices in the country, but you can still buy an entire street for less than a hundred grand.

Presidio Terrace is a well-kept street sealed off by a gate in San Francisco’s Presidio Heights neighborhood. With palm trees and multi-million dollar mansions, homeowners over the years have included Senator Dianne Feinstein and Nancy Pelosi. Unfortunately for the high end residents their homeowners association has been failing to pay the $14 a year tax for the private street because the check had been going to the wrong address.  read more »

Driverless Cars and Graffiti

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As the quest for driverless cars continues, there could be a new obstacle in the road.

While carmakers have been working on what to do if a driverless car is hacked, it seems there they're also facing a less high tech threat, graffiti. Researchers at the University of Washington have discovered that vandalism of a street sign can confuse driverless cars and cause a potentially dangerous situation.

In one example graffiti stickers were added to a stop sign so it read love, stop, hate. But the car misread this as a 45 mile per hour speed limit sign. In another example researchers printed a right turn sign with minor color changes and the car read it as a stop sign.  read more »

Knowing When to Quit

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Want to know the secret to success? Become a quitter.

According to Entrepreneur Magazine there are two types of people those who know when to quit and those who have a hard time moving on. But experts say knowing when to quit something is an important skill, and not being able to recognize when to do it could be holding you back. So to help get you started on clearing out the clutter, Entrepreneur Magazine has identified six things you need to quit in order to become more successful.

First on the list is to quit doubting yourself. Confidence plays a huge role in success. If you want to reach the next level in your company you have to believe that you deserve it.  read more »

The Swastika

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A t-shirt company tried to rewrite history to make a little money but customers weren’t buying.

Recently the online clothing retailer Teespring pulled shirts made by KA Design that feature swastikas. For centuries the swastika was a positive icon in the Buddhist and Hindu religions. Then during WWII it became the symbol of the Nazi party. Today the swastika is banned in Germany and considered a symbol of hate in America.

KA Design said it wanted to detach the hatred associated with it with designs showing a swastika on a rainbow background with the word peace below it. Another spells out the word love with a rainbow background and the “o” has been replaced with a swastika.  read more »

Artificial Intelligence

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Right now humans are a step ahead because we can think for ourselves, but machines might not be far behind.

“Artificial intelligence is exactly what the name implies. Developing computer systems that exhibit behaviors that we would call cognition if exhibited by human beings. In other words building machines that think.”

Paul Saffo is a technology forecaster and adjunct professor at Stanford University. He says there are two types of artificial intelligence; artificial general intelligence which might not even be possible and narrow intelligence.  read more »

Saudi Arabia

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Saudi Arabia is working to bring in tourists and their vacation money by relaxing some rules.

The country of Saudi Arabia is planning to open a visa free travel destination along its northwestern red sea coast. Officials say to help people unfamiliar with the country's customs feel more comfortable it will waive conservative ideas such as the women's dress code and gender segregation.

Plans for the red sea project will include diving attractions, a nature reserve, luxury hotels, islands and lagoons. The country's public investment fund is providing the majority of the funds to develop the area with officials hoping to attract some big names in the hotel industry.  read more »

Evading Capture

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Trying to avoid paying back your debt? Become a different person.

Last month representatives from more than 300 Chinese cities promised to make more credit available to consumers. This is part of the country's effort to find more sources of economic growth and reduce dependence on industry and infrastructure heavy investments. Unfortunately the idea comes with a few setbacks.  read more »

The American Dream

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Here at home health care, retirement and vacation time are offered up as perks to lure in qualified people; but in other parts of the world they're a guaranteed benefit.

In the U.S. our typical work week is 40 hours Monday through Friday. In the Netherlands its four days and around 29 hours and in Denmark employees are clocking in about 33 hours a week. When it comes to starting a family America is one of just nine countries in the world that require no paid maternity leave.  read more »

Personal Cell Phone Use

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Can't seem to put down your smartphone? You might be wasting more than just time.

According to the staffing company OfficeTeam, the average employee spends about five hours a week on their phone doing non-work related things. This includes checking your personal email, online shopping and social media. For the study about 600 employees and senior office managers were questioned at companies with 20 or more employees.

Besides using their phones for email or social media employees say they spend about 42 minutes a day on other personal tasks. The study's authors say if these numbers were true for every full-time worker in the U.S. that would add up to more than $15 billion in lost productivity every week.  read more »

A Boost From Twitter

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Twitter is trying to boost its business, by boosting yours.

For Twitter users who were invited and who pay $99 a month, Twitter will automatically promote your tweets to the top of people's timelines that do not already follow you. The company says this will boost business for small companies and help them tap into a larger pool of potential advertisers. Right now it's being aimed at people and companies that may not have a strong advertising base or campaign and would prefer a service that does it automatically. Here's how it works.  read more »