Friday, July 11, 2014


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Head of Human Microbiome Program addresses detrimental effects of modern medical practices

Posted by Elena del Valle on July 11, 2014

Missing Microbes

Missing Microbes

Photo: Henry Holt and Company, Troi Santos NYULMC

The health of our body depends in part on the balance the exists between bacterial and human cells. Experts estimate that for hundreds of thousands of years bacterial and human cells have coexiste­d in a peaceful symbiosis that resulted in the relative health of our bodies, and that we acquire microbes by the time we are three years old. They thrive in our gut, noses, mouth, and skin, and they play an essential role in keeping us healthy. The excessive dependence of modern medicine on antibiotics and Cesarian sections is threatening the equilibrium that allows us to combat diseases by destroying important microbes and making us sick, according to Martin Blaser, M.D., director of the Human Microbiome Project at New York University.

Martin Blaser, M.D., author, Missing Microbes

Martin Blaser, M.D., author, Missing Microbes

In Missing Microbes How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues (Henry Holt, $28), Blaser examines how drugs considered at one point the solution to many health problems may be playing a role in the rise of obesity, asthma, allergies, diabetes, and certain forms of cancer. He believes exposure to antibiotics in early life is among the greatest dangers to our health, pointing out that American children receive on average seventeen courses of antibiotics before the age of twenty. He is concerned that many children are growing without all the microbes they would have had but for the antibiotics they receive.

While he doesn't propose the elimination of antibiotics or C-sections from the practice of medicine, in the 273-page hardcover book he suggests we examine their use closely. At the same time, he suggests that we search for ways to replace the missing microbes. Blaser, who has studied the role of bacteria in human disease for over 30 years, founded the Bellevue Literary Review.

Missing Microbes

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Business professor edits Carlos Slim book of quotes

Posted by Elena del Valle on June 27, 2014

The World's Richest Man

The World’s Richest Man

 Photos: Agate Publishing, Inc.

Do rich and powerful businessmen share life lessons when they speak? Publishing company Agate executives think so. They launched In Their Own Words, a series featuring quotes from Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson and most recently Carlos Slim, one of the wealthiest businessmen in the world. The World’s Richest Man: Carlos Slim in His Own Words (Agate Publishing, $10.95) edited by Tanni Haas, Ph.D. was published this year.

In addition to his wealth, Slim is also known because of he is part owner of the famous New York Times Company. The Mexico born businessman has a fortune estimated at $72 billion; lives in relatively modest home in Mexico City; and has transferred day to day management of his empire to his three sons, according to the Introduction.

A sample quote from the 148-page softcover book, from the Academy of Achievement, December 2, 2007, is: “I think that work is not only a social responsibility, but it is an emotional need. You need to work. You need to do things. You need to be active. You cannot be lazy.”

Tanni Haas, Ph.D., editor, The World's Richest Man

Tanni Haas, Ph.D., editor, The World’s Richest Man

The book is organized by topic to facilitate browsing, including Business and Investment, Leadership, Personal, Philanthropy and Education, and Politics and Economics. Agate B2′s In Their Own Words series titles are I, Steve: Steve Jobs In His Own Words, edited by George Beahm, a New York Times bestseller; Impatient Optimist: Bill Gates In His Own Words, edited by Lisa Rogak; The Oracle Speaks: Warren Buffett In His Own Words, edited by David Andrews, and Boy Billionaire: Mark Zuckerberg In His Own Words, edited by George Beahm. Haas, professor, City University of New York Brooklyn College, is author of Making It in the Political Blogosphere and The Pursuit of Public Journalism.

The World's Richest Man

Click to buy The World’s Richest Man

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Fewer babies means non Hispanic whites majority of births

Posted by Elena del Valle on June 19, 2014


U.S. Births in 2013 by Ethnicity - click to enlarge

What's the opposite of a baby boom (as in the Baby Boomer Generation)? A baby bust. Last year, 281,000 fewer babies were born than the United States Census Bureau had projected. Instead of 4,238,995 births there were only 3,957,577.

As a result of the bust, non Hispanic whites, with 54 percent of new babies, represent the majority of births. The Census Bureau anticipated only 49 percent of babies would be non Hispanic white.

In 2013, more non Hispanic white babies were born than the Census Bureau had projected. That is 2,140,272 rather than the projected 2,077,212 babies were born. On the other hand, 19 percent fewer Hispanic women gave birth than the Census Bureau had projected. Less than one million (907,859) babies were born to Hispanic mothers instead of the projected 1,122,069.  

Following are the 2013 births and percent distribution by race and ethnicity: Asian 268,559 (6.8 percent), Black 587,612 (14.8 percent), Hispanic 907,859 (22.9 percent), and Non Hispanic white 2,140,272 (54.1 percent), according to American Consumers Newsletter June 2014.

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Consultant discusses benefits of executive level niceness

Posted by Elena del Valle on June 13, 2014

Nice Companies Finish First

Nice Companies Finish First


The era of self centered authoritarian leaders is dead. Long live the new era of nice leaders who care about more than the bottom line. So say Peter Shankman and Karen Kelly in Nice Companies Finish First Why Cutthroat Management Is Over and Collaboration Is In (Palgrave Macmilan, $26).

In the 245-page hardcover book Shankman argues that people work together in an “atmosphere that is conducive to civility and good cheer” at many successful companies. The positive attitude comes from the top and trickles down through the ranks, according to the author. A similar situation is present when the atmosphere is negative, he says. He points to research that indicates productivity is low where the work environment is unpleasant.

As examples of nice executives he mentions Richard Brandson at Virgin, Shantaul Narayen at Adobe, Dave Needleman of Jet Blue, Tony Hsieh of Zappos, Steve Jobs of Apple, and Kenneth Chenault at American Express. After speaking with dozens of leaders he considers nice he identified nine characteristics he shares in the book and hopes future leaders will embrace.

They are: enlightened self interest, making themselves accessible, the ability to listen well, being responsible and ethical managers, having loyalty to the whole company, maintaining an optimistic attitude, being customer oriented, competing based on merit, and caring.

Shankman is a principal at Shankman|Honig, a customer support and marketing consultancy. His two other books are Can We Do That?! Outrageous PR Stunts That Work--And Why Your Company Needs Them and Customer Service: New Rules for a Social Media World.

Nice Companies Finish First

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Social marketing executive publishes immigrant themed short stories book

Posted by Elena del Valle on June 5, 2014

7 for the Revolution

Seven for the Revolution

Photos: Bohlsen Group

Hoping to share his views on Latino immigrants and their desire to find opportunity and the American Dream Rudy Ruiz, the son of immigrants himself, shares seven fictional stories in Seven for the Revolution A Collection of Short Stories (Milagro Press, $15). The 189-page softcover book was published in 2013. The stories are titled: The Colonel and His Bridge, Fighting Words, Bending the Laws of Motion, It's My Wall Now, Pierce the Sky, Liberty Lost, and Inverted.

Rudy Ruiz, author, 7 for the Revolution

Rudy Ruiz, author, Seven for the Revolution

Born and raised along the United States Mexico border Ruiz is president and chief creative officer of Interlex Communications, a cause-related social marketing agency. His previous works include ¡Adelante! and Going Hungry.

7 for the Revolution

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California professor of economics examines social mobility and heritage

Posted by Elena del Valle on May 29, 2014

The Son Also Rises

The Son Also Rises

Photos: Princeton University Press

Is there a relationship between the social status of parents and that of their children or grandchildren and so forth? Does someone's path to success depend on the status of their parents? Is nature stronger than nature when it comes to finding success? While no one has all the answers a recent book addresses the complex and controversial subject with academic aplomb and thoroughness.

Despite common perceptions about rapid and pervasive social mobility, close scrutiny of historic data by surnames (passed down through fathers) in various countries indicates there are much lower rates of social mobility when surname data is used to calculate social mobility rates than when conventional measures are applied, according to Gregory Clark, author, The Son Also Rises: Surnames and the History of Social Mobility (The Princeton Economic History of the Western World) (Princeton, $29.95), a book on the subject published this year. Social mobility, he goes on to say, may take place at a similar rate for several measures of status such as education, wealth, belonging to the politically elite and work or employment status. The rate of persistence, his analysis indicates, is constant across starkly varying social systems. The results, he finds, are widely varying between surname groups and individual families.

In the United States, he says in the Introduction, members of poor minority groups appear at first glance to be facing a tougher path to mobility than the mainstream. Blacks, Native Americans, Latinos and Jewish Americans experience a slower movement toward the mean than may be expected. However, because they have high visibility and many believe the majority has rapid mobility they may erroneously appear exceptional when they're not.

Gregory Clark, author, The Son Also Rises

Gregory Clark, author, The Son Also Rises

In the book, he examines data from England, United States, Sweden, India, Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan and Chile and concludes that surnames are a useful tool to measure social mobility. They reveal a much slower rate of intergenerational mobility than commonly believed by some sociologists and economists. Social status, he concludes, is an inherited trait like height. Although it may take many generations, social mobility, he estimates will eventually level out, erasing advantages or disadvantages. The variation in social status, he says, may be predicted based on family background, who might be driven to succeed and have the ability to do so, between 50 and 70 percent of the time.

The 364-page hardcover book is written in language likely to appeal to academics and peppered liberally with graphs and analysis. It is divided into sixteen chapters and three main sections, Social Mobility by Time and Place, Testing the Laws of Mobility, and The Good Society.

Clark, professor, economics at the University of California, Davis, is also author of A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World.

The Son Also Rises

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With video documentary examines break dancing culture in Central America

Posted by Elena del Valle on May 20, 2014

B-boy in the air

B-boy in the air

Video, photos: Nadus Films

Inspired by concerns about guns, gangs and the uncertainty of a few b-boys survival in the ghettos they live in, and armed with the desire is “to impact the communities that helped make our films possible, while also impacting culture globally,” in mid 2010 Coury Deeb, founder and director, Nadus Films, and a small film crew went to Guatemala City, Guatemala. They spent 25 days filming Bboy for Life, a 78-minute documentary about break dancing youth in the city. The film was released last week. Scroll down to watch a video clip in Spanish with English subtitles.

Filmed in Spanish with English subtitles the documentary focuses on the lives of a handful of youth and their loved ones, on the one hand, and incarcerated gang members on the other. The filmmaker set out to showcase a story of struggle, loss, hope and victory. Featured are Cheez and Gato, described as two of the best b-boys in Central America. They and their teammates, known collectively as Poker Crew, battle in the streets and on stage to compete against other dancers to be the best b-boys in the region.

According to the promotional materials, because of the gang violence being a b-boy or b-girl in Guatemala City is risky. Gato's brother was shot and killed by a gang for not giving the names of other b-boys in his neighborhood, including Gato's. Also interviewed in the film is Leidy, an active gang member and mother of two, who had only been out of prison for three days. Leidy spent over three years in prison for extortion.

Coury Deeb

Coury Deeb, director, Bboys for Life

“Ultimately, it’s a film about break-dancers, however, gangs are addressed in this film because it’s reality for anyone who struggles in the ghettos of Guatemala City,” said Deeb by email about the film which required 18 months of post production work and a $200,000 budget.

In response to a question about danger, he said: “We were careful, but at the same time, we’re story-tellers. We don’t sleep in the suburbs, instead, we buy crappy mattresses and sleep on the floor of a Guatemalans home in the ghetto. That’s where the story is. This is where the adventure is. The results are finding yourself in a small alley with stoned gangsters with guns and asking them why they murder people. Or, sitting w/ serial killers in maximum security prisons and asking them why they tortured people. Danger is unavoidable for those who properly tackle social justice issues inside documentary film-making.”

The film has attracted domestic and international distribution including attention as far as China. Funding was made possible by Blue Sky network, Aspiration Media, New World Distribution and a few smaller tiered associate producers.

“It’s a powerful story, that encompasses some of the most entertaining elements to film making. Hip hop is global. There are b-boys and b-girls in every country. Regardless if you’re in the ghetto or the suburbs, the story is highly entertaining and energetic, so it’s garnered the attention and support from every walk of life,” said Deeb, a filmmaker, storyteller, thrill-seeker, philanthropist, entrepreneur, husband and father of three. “Before the films release, we were able to get Leidy (central character) a year long scholarship. We also provided a scholarship for a few more b-boys in the Poker Crew.”

The opening markets are New York, Los Angeles, San Antonio, and El Paso. Wide distribution is expected including the following channels: iTunes, Amazon (DVDs for purchase), Walmart (DVDS), Google Play, YouTube Movie Rentals, Playstation, Hulu, X-Box, SnagFilms, Roku, MGO, Vimeo as well as Video On Demand: Comcast, Time Warner, Cox and Starz.

The film received Audience Choice Award at Cate Santa Barbara Film Festival, Official Selection at A3C Hip Hop Film Festival, Best Documentary Direction at Cincinnati Film Festival, Official Selection at Bronzeville Film Festival and NYC Independent Film Festival Honorable Mention.

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Challenges Facing Hispanic Entrepreneurs

Posted by Elena del Valle on May 14, 2014

*By Stephanie L. Black, MIM, MBA, doctoral candidate, University of Texas at San Antonio
Julio C. Canedo, Ph.D., assistant professor of Management, Northern Michigan University
Kimberly M. Lukaszewski, Ph.D., associate professor of Management, State University of New York at New Paltz
Dianna L. Stone, Ph.D., affiliate professor of Research, University at Albany, State University of New York

Stephanie Black

Stephanie L. Black, MIM, MBA, doctoral candidate, University of Texas at San Antonio

Julio Canedo

Julio C. Canedo, Ph.D., assistant professor of Management, Northern Michigan University

Kimberly Lukaszewsky

Kimberly M. Lukaszewski, Ph.D., associate professor of Management, State University of New York at New Paltz

Dianna Stone

Dianna L. Stone, Ph.D., affiliate professor of Research, University at Albany, State University of New York

Hispanic owned businesses have increased rapidly, and there are now more than two million in our nation (U.S. Bureau of Census, 2010). One reason for this is that entrepreneurship provides a springboard for economic advancement and social integration of minorities (Wang & Li, 2007). Also, Hispanic businesses are important contributors to our economy, and have a number of key strengths (Starr, 2012). For instance, many Hispanics have connections to Latin American markets, and meet the needs of the growing Spanish-speaking customer base (Starr, 2012). In addition, Hispanics are adaptable, resilient, and have revitalized the economy of inner cities (Dana & Morris, 2007).

Despite these strengths, Hispanics, not unlike other entrepreneurs, face many challenges. This article reviews existing research on the challenges faced by Hispanic entrepreneurs, and offers some evidence-based guidelines for enhancing their success.

Click to read the entire article Challenges Facing Hispanic Entrepreneurs

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