January 2015 Posts

Oil Drilling in the United States

We know that the earth is rich with water, rocks, minerals, gases and oil among other things. And throughout much of the 19th and 20th centuries the United States was the world’s leading producer of crude oil. And so we built our communities around using this natural resource of crude oil in a refined state as gasoline, kerosene, heating oil, and other products that make our lives more convenient. While our modern day society is trying to cut back on the use of refined oil, we can’t deny how it has made us a more mobile society. At will, we are able to get into a motor vehicle and ride to another designated location within minutes or hours. Prior to the automobile, that same trip would have taken hours or even days of travel time by foot or horseback.

Oil drilling has become a specialized field because of the complexities involved with searching for potential oil wells and the process of extracting it. Companies like Cunningham Energy that produce gas and oil in the Appalachian, Illinois, and Williston Basins and are staffed with a team of environmental professionals, are constantly looking for ways to lessen the impact of oil drilling on our modern day society. Their company is located in Charleston, West Virginia and use techniques like horizontal drilling so that there is less impact to the land’s surface topography during the process of extracting the oil or gas. This process also allows more access to the natural product in sensitive areas like busy commercial busy commercial venues.

Other companies like Mason Directional Drilling in Illinois and Horizontal Well Drillers of Oklahoma are also taking an active role in trying to preserve the landscape around drilling sites and capitalize on more efficient ways of extracting natural resources from the earth. Although horizontal drilling is a more costly technique for companies to use than the traditional vertical drilling, it is the most efficient way of being versatile during the oil extracting process. As more extension pieces are used in the process of drilling the more flexible the drill becomes. It is able to bend at a 90 degree angle and drill straight across, thus exposing pockets of natural product without having to dig another vertical hole at a different location. As professionals in the natural resource industries improve their techniques and technology, the oil extraction and production industry has become increasingly efficient.

Consumer Cash on the Rise

A strengthening labor market and lower gasoline prices mean more money in the pockets of Americans, a trend that is expecting to continue into the New Year. According to economists such as Mark Zandi, the economy is expected to grow at close to 3 percent, a number in line with the successful expansion from 2001 to 2007 and might reach a 4 percent surge not seen since 2001.

Rising employment and low inflation are a boon to not just the wealthy but a wide swath of Americans. In fact, increased purchases of furniture, clothing and restaurant meals are expected to propel the economy to even higher levels in 2015.

This is all positive http://www.jeffsoffer.net/turnberry-associates/ Jeffrey Soffer’s Turnberry Associates, which includes an array of retail and hospitality properties in its portfolio. Soffer’s Aventura Mall, Town Center Aventura and Destin Commons should significantly benefit from the improved economy.

“We’ve seen the pace of spending among middle- and lower-income households start to pick up, and that’s in reaction to a better labor market,” Ellen Zentner, a senior economist at Morgan Stanley told Bloomberg News.

Banks Must Prepare for State-Sponsored Cyber Crime

In a survey of 36 financial firms in the UK, the Bank of England revealed it found no immediate gaps in their IT defenses but warned against complacency.

A senior Bank of England executive said the regulator will be going back to banks again to check that improvements are made in certain areas.

In a security conference speech, Bank of England director Andrew Gracie said banks should be prepared for the highest level security attacks, including state-sponsored intrusions. “Given the importance of these firms to the stability of the financial system, this implies a level of resilience that goes beyond basic cyber hygiene but aims instead to ensure that firms are in a position to manage advanced persistent threats that are the hallmark of some state-sponsored attackers,” he said.

He warned that cyber security should not be the responsibility of junior IT staff and company boards need to get involved.

Gracie also encouraged financial firms to get involved with ethical hacks that enable companies to test each other’s security defenses.

Read the full article here.

Source: computerweekly.com

The Next Silicon Valley

In a room packed with state dignitaries, reporters and political leaders, Gov. Brian Sandoval delivered a surprise in his State of the State address: a bold statement about the future of technology in Nevada.

Las Vegas data company Switch, he said, will dole out $2 billion to build 4.5 million square feet of additional warehouse space in Las Vegas and Reno, bringing an estimated 5,000 new jobs to the economy.

“This will make Nevada the most digitally-connected state in the United States of America,” Sandoval said.

The announcement came just a few months after electric car giant Tesla Motors unveiled plans to build a $6 billion gigafactory near Reno and well into Zappos founder Tony Hsieh’s ongoing quest to revitalize downtown Las Vegas by attracting tech startups.

But is it enough to put Nevada on the map as a tech contender that one day might compete with hubs such as Silicon Valley and Boston?

Those who contend Las Vegas is poised for a tech revolution say the evolution has been a long time in the making and point to the failure of energy giant Enron as our very own tipping point moment.

The journey began in the late 1990s, when Enron planned to build a massive network of fiber optic cables in our desert to feed the country’s growing demand for access to the worldwide web. Investors were enthusiastic about the expansion into Las Vegas, where the dry weather, lack of rain and easy tax structure made the project a no-brainer.

After spending millions of dollars to connect fiber optics providers to a single center in the southwest valley and in the process making Las Vegas one of the most connected places in the country, Enron declared bankruptcy. Switch founder Rob Roy swooped in and bought the network.

Today, Switch headquarters is a hub attached to thousands of fiber optic cables that run under Las Vegas, connecting the city to telecommunications networks from more than 25 providers, such as Verizon Wireless and AT&T. It’s a place so connected, Fortune 500 companies including eBay and PayPal flock to an unassuming slice of suburbia in Southwest Las Vegas to process financial transactions. Over the past 15 years, Switch has grown ten-fold.

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Source: lasvegassun.com

New Home Choices in South Florida Expand in 2015

According to the Sun Sentinel, South Florida’s housing market settled back into more reliable investment options in 2014, and the trend should continue. Analysts expect the market to slowly strengthen during 2015 with the stable market giving a bit more home-buying power back to purchasers.

Meanwhile, South Florida’s real estate focus on upscale, luxury properties continues. One real estate agent told the newspaper that buyers can expect “a better crop” of new residential offerings this year.

Among the high-end residences will be Turnberry Associates’ new Turnberry Ocean Club in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla. The 52-story, ultra-luxury condominium tower, which will complement the nearby Turnberry Ocean Colony, is slated to launch sales early this year.

Turnberry Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Soffer says the 154-unit Turnberry Ocean Club will rise 649 feet above the Atlantic Ocean and redefine luxury living. Soffer adds prices will begin at more than $4 million and the tower will offer private club prestige along with stunning views of the Atlantic, Intracoastal Waterway and downtown Miami.

Coldwell Banker’s Terry Story said she expects higher home values will give owners back their equity, making them more likely to test the waters once again. Analyst Jack McCabe adds that mortgage money should also loosen in 2015, further fueling the growing interest in South Florida real estate.

Look for an interesting year ahead in the residential market.

Why Labor Force Participation Is Still so Low

The latest U.S. jobs report, released on Jan. 9, found that unemployment in the U.S. is nearly back to normal, at 5.6 percent. Still, a more telling statistic, the share of Americans in the labor force (people working or looking for work), barely budged at just 62.7 percent. That figure was significantly higher before the recession, at around 66 percent, but labor force participation started to fall in 2009 and has since been trending down.

This seems to confirm the worst fears of economists Larry Summers and Brad DeLong, who in a 2012 paper warned that unemployment could permanently damage the economy. Without government spending, that paper noted, unemployed people who couldn’t find work would get discouraged, lose their skills, and drop out of the labor force indefinitely.

New research questions whether that’s what has been happening in recent years. Data from the the Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Program Participation, asBloomberg Businessweek reported, shows that most people who left the labor force during the recession came from high-income households. That’s surprising because skilled people with college degrees (who tend to have relatively higher incomes) faced much lower rates of unemployment. So why aren’t these people in the labor force today? According to data from the Current Population Survey (from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau) there are three main reasons the labor force participation rate fell: retirement, disability, and more people in school—with a discouraged worker falling into any of those categories.

Continue here to read the full article.

Source: businessweek.com