ORGANIC … Lawns –P1

Drink the organic milk, have the organic salad, and now wear your organic T-shirt and mow your organic lawn…

For lawns, “going organic” means getting grass and soil healthy enough to crowd out weeds and pests without pesticides (A herbicide is a pesticide targeting plants; an insecticide kills insects). Organic movement advocates believe pesticides are brought into houses and left in carpets via shoe soles and pet feet. Last year, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health found that individuals reporting exposure to pesticides had a 70% higher incidence of Parkinson’s disease than those not reporting exposure. Similar conclusion can be found in a Mayo Clinic report last year.

Can’t wait for dumping the pesticides? Make sure you want to pay for the higher price. The organic solutions are typically twice as expensive as the traditional lawn cares. And what’s even worse, you have to live with a few weeds on your lawn. Chemical pesticide is still the best to get rid of weeds. Natural corn-gluten herbicide are not as effective.

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Hi, John, your tutor is calling from India — P1

Nike is making most of its shoes in China. Dell’s new customer service center is located in New Delhi. Offshore outsourcing in manufacturing, service, software and etc has lowered American business operation cost. You may also lower your financial burden by outsourcing your personal life offshore. Now with the easy access of the internet and growing proficiency of computer use, it’s possible for individuals to find an outsourcer online and get his work done cheaply.

A wide range of routine tasks can be done digitally, across time zones and without face time. Typical outsourcing projects include graphics design ( for example, sports team logo design, change-of-address card and book illustration), personal website design and coding, accounting, tutoring and etc. For example, an accounting firm in India can prepare your personal income tax return and charge you only one third of what an American tax preparer like H&R Block charges. The only drawback is that you still have to file as “self-prepared” because the return is not prepared by an U.S. certified accountant. But people experienced the service were happy with the work. The firm was able to get all the deductions an U.S. accountant used to find. Tutoring is also an popular outsourcing service. Compared to the $40-per-hour tutoring fee some U.S. company changes, $99 a month with unlimited access to the tutors seems a sweet bargain. Tutors from TutorVista, an online tutoring service basd in Banglore, India, hook up with the tutee via headset, a digital tablet and instant messaging.

Customers can locate outsourcers through online marketplaces like elance.com, guru.com and etc where you can post your project descriptions online. Freelance professionals registered on these websites can bid for your project. You can choose from these bidders based on the vendor rating and sample works listed on the website. Once you selected a vendor, you pay through the website. Thus you don’t have to give your credit card number to an unknown merchant thousands of miles away. The posting is free for customers but freelance professionals must pay to register on the websites.

Just like American industry did, U. S. freelancers begin to feel the pressure from offshore outsourcing. Vendors undercut each other to stay competitive on the auction websites. However, it’s pretty hard for U.S. vendors to compete with offshore companies where wages and other operation costs are significantly lower.

Wildly Green Vegas — Opinion

It’s hard to promote the environmentally friendly buildings, which usually requires extra design work and more importantly, expense to ensure energy conservation. Nevada officials thought the promotion is hard too. So tax breaks are used to encourage companies to develop “green” architectures. The state offers property taxes cut up to 50% and a 2% sales tax cut for the building supplies used in the “green” construction. This sounds like a win-win situation for both the for-profit developers and for-a-great-cause state government. However, the tax incentive the government offered was so alluring, many more commercial developers applied than anticipated. Now Nevada is out $974 million over the next ten years for the several already approved constructions, while the state previously only expected just a quarter million tax cut altogether. The state authority rushed to stop the program and amend its original tax reimbursement plans to cut the total tab by half.

Never underestimate the power of money.

Also noted: recently, former US president Bill Clinton proposed the Clinton Climate Initiative, which coalesces city mayors, large banks, landlords and building developers to promote the “green building” concept to fight the much talked global warming. His initiative focuses on financial incentives instead to policies to push environmentally friendly building upgrades. The five banks will provide up to $1 billion each in loans to the cities or private landlords to upgrade energy-hungry heating, cooling and lighting systems in older buildings. The saving from utilities bills, usually 20% to 50% of the original expenses, will be used to pay back the loans and interests. Sounds like a nice idea to me.