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Murphy Letter - robots coming to a bank near you

By Tim Muprhy 1 years ago No comments

The Unique, The Interesting and The Productive.

***Robots Coming to a Bank Near You?***

Sterling Bank & Trust has "hired" two robots as greeters at the bank's new locations opening in Cupertino and Alhambra, in the Los Angeles area.

Bank owner, Scott Seligman, hopes that in addition to the welcome services the robots provide, that they will also draw in prospective customers as well.

So far, they've proven to be especially popular with customers' children and grandchildren as they strutt their stuff to Psy's song "Gangnam Style."

Here's a clip -- what do you think?


**3-D Printing Changing the Space Game***

Dragon 2 is the second version of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft which will be a human-rated vehicle capable of making a terrestrial soft landing.

It includes a set of eight much-larger side-mounted thruster pods which can serve as a Launch Abort System (LAS) or be used for propulsive landings, as well as much larger windows, landing legs which extend from the bottom of the spacecraft, new computers and avionics, and redesigned solar arrays, all packaged in a spacecraft with a changed outer mold line from the initial cargo Dragon that has been flying for several years.

The Dragon 2 will be able to dock with the ISS and other space habitats automatically without needing the intervention of a robotic arm. It will run on a SuperDraco engine— a thruster made by SpaceX and the first engine ever built completely by a 3-D printer to go into space. This means that a machine guided by a computer formed the engine out of single piece of metal— in this case the high-strength alloy Inconel— so that its strength and performance should exceed anything built by humans by welding various parts together.

Spacex Founder, Elon Musk revealed that the Dragon 2 will be able to land anywhere on Earth that SpaceX wants by using the SuperDraco engines and thrusters to come to a gentle stop on the ground. No more landings at sea. No more throwing spaceships away. “That is how a twenty-first-century spaceship should land,” Musk said.

“You can just reload propellant and fly again. So long as we continue to throw away rockets and spacecraft, we will never have true access to space.”

Take a look at the Dragon 2 in action here.

-Vance, Ashlee (2015-05-19). Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future (Kindle Locations 3804-3811). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition


***Huge Reservoirs of Fresh Water Found Under Ocean Floor***

Reservoirs of fresh water found under the ocean floor have 100 times more water than the world has used in the last century. This freshwater could help stave off a global water crisis and sustain future generations.

Researchers claim to have found an estimated half a million cubic kilometers of low-salinity water buried beneath the seabed on continental shelves off Australia, China, North America and South Africa.

The study was conducted by the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training (NCGRT) and the School of the Environment at Flinders University. According to the lead author of the study, Vincent Post, “The volume of this water resource is a hundred times greater than the amount we’ve extracted from the Earth’s sub-surface in the past century since 1900.”

Scientists believe that these huge water reservoirs can be used to provide freshwater to people in need in the future. But the real challenge would be in getting to the water. Drilling is not only expensive, it can also contaminate these fresh water reserves with saltwater.


***China's Stock Boom?***

As China's boom surpasses the headiest days of the U.S. Internet bubble, signs of excess are cropping up everywhere. Mainland speculators have borrowed a record $348B to bet on further gains, price-to-earnings ratios have climbed to the highest levels in five years, while Chinese exchanges have created $6.5T in just 12 months of trading.

The economy, meanwhile, is mired in its weakest expansion since 1990. Chinese shares face their next big test later today, when index provider MSCI decides whether mainland securities are eligible for indexes used by $9.5T of funds worldwide.

- Seeking Alpha 6/9/15


***Talk About Heavy Lifting***

The Blue Marlin semi-submersible heavy lift vessel is owned by Dockwise Shipping of the Netherlands. Blue Marlin is designed to move large drilling rigs, up to 73,000 tons, on its ship deck. Blue Marlin has a sister ship, MV Black Marlin.

A new larger version, the Vanguard was launched two years ago, with a total lifting capacity of 117,000 tons and a 70% greater deck area. Currently, even larger heavy lift vessel designs are on the drawing board.

The Blue Marlin is considered one of the strongest lift ships in the world and lifts floating vessels out of the water, transporting them to new locations. The US Navy’s Military Sealift Command regularly employs Dockwise as they did when the Navy destroyer USS Cole was damaged by a terrorist attack.


***The Self Driving Car and Revolutionized Auto Insurance***

Google ’s new foray into the American auto-insurance market will likely bring in a good chunk of revenue, but what’s really valuable to the Silicon Valley giant is the mass of data it will be able to collect.

In March the company launched a U.S. version of its Google Compare auto-insurance site, which has been up and running in the United Kingdom since 2012. The U.S. site allows consumers to get quotes from a dozen auto-insurance companies, including MetLife and Mercury Insurance. The rollout is starting with California, but Google says the site will be open to residents in other states soon.

There’s a reason that Google Compare went live in the United Kingdom, where it now presents quotes from 124 companies, before it was introduced here. The U.K has already approved testing of driverless cars on public roads. U.S. regulators are being more conservative, taking time to think through the implications of the new technology.

It’s not difficult to imagine how driverless cars will change consumer habits and choices. Fewer people will buy cars, as ordering a vehicle from an unmanned car service will be cheap and convenient. In some ways, this will bring the luxury of a chauffeur to middle-class families and convert drive time into bonus time.

Also, because fault will no longer be a major issue when it comes to accidents, auto insurance could come to resemble general product liability insurance. Hence the opportunity for Google, armed with mountains of data on the evolving market, to confidently bundle insurance into the price of its driverless vehicles.

In the short term, insurance carriers participating in Google Compare might draw consumers away from the big-name players. In the long term, not only could personal auto insurers struggle to stay afloat, but commercial insurers could be muscled out of the market as well if Google—tomorrow’s auto maker—gets into the business of managing what happens when cars collide.

-Wall St. Journal. 6/8/15


***Are You Repelling Customers?***

Jay Geier of the Scheduling Institute published the following findings from 31,191 expert test calls made to Dental Offices. Great information on what NOT to do!

  • Only 60% answered live during normal business hours
  • 4 out of 10 calls went to voicemail or rang more than 30 times
  • 20% of prospective patients will NOT leave a message OR call back
  • Only 3% of staffs could answer simply, commonly-asked questions
  • Only 4% asked for the callers name
  • Only 2% made ANY attempt to close the caller on to an appointment
  • Only 1% made ANY attempt to capture caller's contact information for follow up.


***Remember that Time Your Office Chair Collapsed? Yeah, So Does Office Depot***

Office Depot has agreed to pay $3.4 million to settle charges from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The CPSC charged the Boca Raton-based retailer with "knowingly" failing to report defects in two models of its office chairs. Federal law requires that Office Depot and companies like it report defects in consumer products that could cause injuries within 24 hours.

The agency said Office Depot received "dozens" of reports that the seatbacks of its Quantum and Gibson chairs were failing and allegedly causing injuries. The CPSC said the retailer never reported defects in its Quantum chair, but did report issues with the Gibson chair after an inquiry from the agency.

Both chairs were recalled, the CPSC said, after Office Depot received 33 reports about the seatback detaching from the Quantum chair and 153 similar reports regarding the Gibson chair. There were 14 related reports of injuries about the Quantum chair and 25 reports about the Gibson chair, the CPSC said

Office Depot sold about 150,000 Quantum chairs across the U.S. between may 2006 and August 2009 for about $350 each and also sold about 1.4 million Gibson chairs across the U.S. between 2003 and 2013 for about $40 each, the agency said.


***Amazon Updates***

Amazon’s New Delivery Service - You!

In its ceaseless quest to speed delivery, Inc. wants to turn the U.S. into a nation of couriers. The Seattle retailer is developing a mobile application that would, in some cases, pay ordinary people, rather than carriers such as United Parcel Service Inc., to drop off packages en route to other destinations.

As envisioned, Amazon would enlist brick-and-mortar retailers in urban areas to store the packages, likely renting space from them or paying a per-package fee.


Amazon Boxes Become Ad Real Estate

In a deal with Comcast Corp.'s Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment, Amazon is packing shipments in bright yellow boxes decorated with characters from the coming movie cartoon “Minions” until the film’s release on July 10.

Customers have started posting photos of themselves with the colorful boxes on social media, part of a hashtag sweepstakes from the companies to win a $1,000 Amazon gift card.

This is the first time the company, which handles millions of parcels a day, has offered its boxes as advertising real estate.

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Amazon Offering their own Generic Brands

Amazon is planning to broadly expand its fledgling lineup of private-label brands to include an array of grocery items such as milk, cereal, and baby food as well as household cleaners.

Amazon has approached several private-label foodmakers about partnerships, and has sought trademark protection for various products under its Elements brand. Amazon also reported that Prime subscribers in 14 metro areas will get free same-day delivery on orders of $35 or more.


***Starbucks and Spotify***

Starbucks and Spotify have struck a music partnership that will give the coffee chain's loyalty members access to exclusive content and input on in-store playlists.

"This will be the first of many that we believe will create a significant new revenue source for the company," said Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. "Over the course of months there will be a series of verticals that will extend beyond Spotify." The collaboration will start this fall in the U.S., followed by Canada and the U.K.

- Seeking Alpha 5/19/15


***Larry Page - What People Should Study to Make Progress***

Google Co-founder, Larry Page states "You should have a pretty broad engineering and scientific background. You should have some leadership training and a bit of MBA training or knowledge of how to run things, organize stuff, and raise money. I don’t think most people are doing that, and it’s a big problem. Engineers are usually trained in a very fixed area. When you’re able to think about all of these disciplines together, you kind of think differently and can dream of much crazier things and how they might work. I think that’s really an important thing for the world. That’s how we make progress.”

-Vance, Ashlee (2015-05-19). Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future (Kindle Locations 5126-5129). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

Keep watch for more unique, interesting and productive news next month!

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