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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Mathematical reasoning used in financial calculations is deeply rooted in human lineage

Financial reasoning and cognition
Mathematical reasoning is evident in hominid ancestry
Monkeys understand what numbers are and make use of their numerical knowledge in their decision making processes. They are also willing to both learn and use mathematical symbols when rewarded with incentives. This means the reasoning used in financial calculations are deeply rooted in human ancestry.

These notions have been reinforced by a study demonstrating a higher mathematical capacity in monkeys than previously thought. More specifically, the experiments indicate the ability of monkeys to memorize and implement knowledge of 26 distinct mathematical symbols per Tech Times.

The study

The animal research seeking to reveal data about primate math skills was led by a neuro-biologist at Harvard Medical School and involved training rhesus monkeys to learn a number system. Once the monkeys knew their math symbols, they were tested by having to make choices between symbols representing smaller numbers and larger numbers. Since there was a reward associated with the larger numbers, there was a motive to choose the bigger of the two and this is what happened over 70 percent of the time according to New Scientist.


The use of rhesus monkeys in the research is quite important because these monkeys developmentally diverged away from humans at a much earlier time in history according to Live Science. Moreover, rhesus monkeys are believed to have separated from the human lineage approximately 19 million years earlier than chimpanzees, which are already known to have math ability. Furthermore, if rhesus monkeys possess mathematical skills, then the ability to use math becomes a more fundamental or deep rooted ability in primate brains.

Additional research

Numerous animal psychology studies have been conducted to test the mathematical ability of monkeys. In addition to chimpanzees and rhesus monkeys, the subjects of choice have included macaques, which have also demonstrated numerical capacity per the American Psychological Association. What these additional studies do, is help validate other research and account for differences in individual monkey behavior. Furthermore, like humans, monkeys may have a range of abilities that make some of them more adept or able to learn some things than others, math being one such example.


Monkeys' ability to use math has implications in their natural environment. However, how much they use math is still being studied. Researchers seek to identify events or circumstances in which numerical perception takes precedence over other abilities such as auditory or spatial perception. In addition, if used in conjunction with other perceptions, scientists and others seek to understand how math influences monkeys' decisions in the wild. One such study is published in the International Journal of Zoology and reveals that another kind of monkey, specifically vervet monkeys, used "arithmetic-like reasoning" when making foraging decisions.

Primate brains are complex organs capable of amazing things. Continuing studies that test monkeys' mental ability and skills help reveal just what their brains are capable of. By being aware of what monkeys can do with numbers, their interaction with the world can be better understood. Monkeys' quantitative skills also reveal information and raise questions about the importance of math as a factor in human evolutionary development. For example, if monkeys and humans both use math, then this may support the idea that creativity plays a greater role in human development than quantitative ability.

Image: 3DWiki; "Hugo Rheinhold's Affe mit Sch├Ądel (von Darwin Monkey)"; CC BY-SA 3.0

Friday, October 24, 2014

Innovative hotel business ideas

By Milan Budimkic

If you are looking to open any sort of business, not just a hotel business, maybe a bed and breakfast, or anything similar, you have to do one thing to be successful. Well, you have to do many things, but this thing is of the greatest importance. Your business, no matter what it is, must be remarkable.

Maybe you are asking yourself what do we mean when we say remarkable. It means that your business must be worth making a remark about. And today, since the Internet is so widespread and social media are used so much, remarks or reviews can mean the difference between success and failure. It's a thin line, so be careful.

hospitality industry tips
Business differentiation helps build brand equity
Don't let yourself and your business fade in and blend with the masses. Make your business stand out. Make it so incredible and awesome that people won't be able to resist using your services. But, this can't be easy to achieve. Many guests will be very experienced travelers, and they are not that easy to impress if that's what you're thinking. Most importantly, be objective and don't make the mistake of setting the bar low, set it really, really high.

Although style, decoration and such things are important, service is the key. Without good service, everything else will look weak. With great service, and mediocre decorations, everything will look ten times more amazing. If you don't provide your guests with good, or even great service, they will find it somewhere else.

The next step you should be focusing on is problem solving. Every current market place has a row or problems, it's your job to find them and fix them. Find something other hotels are lacking that the guests would love, and implement it in your own business.

Down below you find examples of some really original hotel businesses with some really original services and offerings.

Townhouse hotel Maastricht

A very friendly hotel, you will be greeted with nothing but smiles at the front door. You'll even get a warm bowl of home made soup when you check in the hotel. And local freshly baked cakes when checking out. Who doesn't love freshly baked cakes?

Qbic hotels

Restoring old office blocks and turning them into hotels. Isn't that an original idea. It lowers the costs of construction hugely, and it reduces construction time too.

The student hotel

They offer low cost fully serviced rooms for students and travelers alike. It's a great place for students and young people to meet, stay, eat, drink, and live their lives. You can stay for as long as you like. It's really the perfect place for a travel weary tourist or student. The service is all inclusive. The hotel has libraries, loungers, a gym, cafe, restaurant, study rooms, bikes, WiFi and free cable TV.

So, after reading this, you can get an idea of how to be original and remarkable. Create a business and a hotel guests will remember many years after they have stayed there, and then you have truly reached success.

About the author: Milan Budimkic is a creative freelance writer for industries that include but are not limited to the travel, sport, entertainment, internet marketing, and much more. When not blogging, Milan likes to travel and read a lot.

Images: 1. contri, "DSCN5967", CC BY-SA 2.0   2. Author owned and licensed

Financial news: October 24, 2014

NYT: Multi-unit property construction on the rise to accommodate growing renter market
Zero Hedge: Corporate stock repurchases boost EPS by reducing shares outstanding
MW: Eurozone manufacturing rose slightly in Oct. per PMI rise of .2 to 52.2
RealtyTrac: Negative mortgage equity adds up to $1.4 trillion and 15% of homes
AOL: Small businesses can compete via customer service rather than price & brand
BBC: Lloyds Banking Group to cut 9,000 jobs or 10% of its workforce over 3 yrs
Bloomberg: Eurozone bank regulations risks accomplishing growth objectives
CNBC: Only two Eurozone countries retain AAA S&P credit ratings
AP: Chinese factory output rose slightly in Oct. per PMI rise of .2 to 50.4
Reuters: China's mid-size banks report shrinking profits amid tightening economy

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Top 4 free video conferencing programs

By Mark Stubbles

Video conferencing is becoming more and more popular among major businesses and corporations. Video conferencing helps to promote happy workers, it needs less travel and commuting time, creates better communication, it's Eco-friendly, and you can save money by using video conferencing within you're business. There are several platforms available to use for video conferencing. Below is a list of a few that have proven to offer more and are much more professional.


The first program is Google+ Hangouts. The service is very basic but offers what is required, a hangout space for those who are meeting to discuss what is important. The service is free and simply requires have an active Google account. The service runs with Gmail, YouTube, Google+, and other Google services. Google+ Hangouts is becoming more and more popular among companies.

A lot of people don't realise that Google Talk is still available, you can learn more about it here.


A second video conferencing program is TeamViewer. Like Google Hangouts, the service is free. It can be used on a computer, tablet, and even your mobile phone. The service is great because no matter where you are, you can answer the call and discuss what needs to be addressed.


The third service is WebEx Meetings Basic. The service allows chatting with three other people for free. But you're wanting to communicate with more people, which is likely the case with business, there is a small inexpensive fee to pay. WebEx is mainly for computers meaning that it requires that you are connected to a computer or laptop.


The final service, easily one of the most well known and most used is Skype. Skype is free but you can pay to have more calls available. Group calls are free which is truly beneficial. You can have massive group calls for free, there are no limits. Skype requires that you open an account. Skype can be used from a computer, tablet, and smartphone meaning it is accessible from everywhere. Skype is definitely more trusted with large companies looking to do video conferences with their employees.

Free video-conferencing helps control business operation costs
A product like BlueJeans can be used to integrate all the above and many other platforms bringing together users all over the globe, even if they use different platforms. Learn more about Blue Jeans here

Choosing which service is more suitable based on your business is a personal decision. Each service is suitable for every company. The most used are Google+ Hangouts and Skype. Each are trusted and very effective. They offer fantastic service and and much more well known. You will want to make sure that the video conference service you end up choosing should meet the needs of the business all together.

Video conferencing is a thing of the future. It offers companies a new more effective means of communication, it is cheaper and assures that everyone can attend conferences. It is a very reliable system of communication that can be used from anywhere in the world. It does not matter whether someone is on vacation in Europe, on a train, or even if it is during the holidays, there is no travel so the conference can be completed quickly and stress-free.  

About the author: This post was supplied by Mark Stubbles, Mark has used Skype, Google+ and BlueJeans to with friends, clients and suppliers all over the world. 

Image: Author owned and licensed