Thursday, December 17, 2015

Plunging Oil Prices and Mergers causing Shell Layoffs

Plunging oil prices and merger cause large Shell layoff

Oil prices have been dropping since early 2015 following a trend in supply and demand, there is a decrease in exploration investment by oil producing companies in the east and an increase in domestic production (nytimes). Aside from oil, natural gas has dropped $.63 per gallon from 2014. This benefits homeowners and motorists, yet as good as it sounds there are some severe downsides when you increase the scope of observation.


Shell recently completed a merger with the large gas distribution company BG Group, but in the wake of this Shell had to cut 2,800 in order to convince investors to go through with the 40 billion pound deal. This cut in staff was seen as an opportunity cost in order to make the deal go through. This compromise came about because of those record low oil prices, “below $35 a barrel in New York the accepted price for a deal this size would have been more like $60 - 70 a barrel.” Says David Cumming head of equities at the investment firm for BG Group.
The loss of jobs in Shell isn’t as bad as the external shocks that could be experienced by political groups in places such as Ecuador, Brazil, and Russia. It’s also possible that Persian Gulf states stop investing money to Egypt in exchange for oil exploration.

Brackett, Ed. "Shell Plans 2,800 Job Cuts as U.S. Oil around $35." USA Today. Gannett, 14 Dec. 2015. Web. 14 Dec. 2015.
"Shell to Cut 2,800 Jobs Once BG Group Merger Completes." The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. Web. 14 Dec. 2015.

Prosthetic Limbs

Samantha Douglas
Prosthetic Limbs
December 15, 2015
Mind Control
Every day it seems there are new technology’s made that help make certain aspects of people’s lives easier, but there has been a new kind of technology that will change many people's lives in every way. It is new prosthetics that are made to be controlled by the brain. This new product has been made for those with paralysis or missing limbs. They are able to move and control the prosthetic just by thinking about it. Many people are unable to utilize regular prosthetics because their remaining limb is too short to control the prosthetic. With the new technology, scientists have come up with a way to connect the brain signals to the prosthetic limb to make it move and feel the way they want.
Many of the consumers were previously in some type of armed forces, the military has invested over $100 million dollars in the research for these advanced prosthetics. While military spending usually goes towards weapons and wars, this spending is helping those who are recovering from their injuries that they have sustained while away at war. Many of the people in need of prosthetic limbs, often are unable to work because they are considered handicapped and have to live off the money the government gives them called disability grants, this is a small part of the government spending. A lot of the people are young and able, but they are unable to move around the way they may need to for certain jobs. As the success rates for this new prosthetic grow, the demand will increase.
When people get these prosthetic limbs, they have to go through many steps to get their mind exercised to be able to move the prosthetic where they want. Consumers that buy the bionic limb have to pay for the prosthetic limb along with the training it takes to get their brain to control the prosthetic. This money goes towards more research that will make the product even better for new consumers.
Once the people are able to control the prosthetic they can eventually go back to work and are qualified for more jobs. This means they will no longer have to live off the money they were receiving for their disability and can provide for themselves. If there is a high success rate with this new technology there would be a lot more people in the workforce that would decrease unemployment. With more people working there will be more money within the government that can be spread out to other government spending.
There is a lot of competition in the research for this new technology because it is a life changing project for the consumer and the producers because from the breakthroughs in this research could commence more projects like this one. As we continue to accomplish goals like this one, it will change more and more people's lives and inspire them to attain their goals that without these new findings, would not be able to accomplish or even attempt.
L. Davis, Josh. "Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Leg Unveiled." IFLScience. 20 May 2015. Web. 14 Dec. 2015.

Murphy, Mike. "This Mind-controlled Prosthetic Robot Arm Lets You Actually Feel What It Touches." Quartz. Web. 14 Dec. 2015.

Niiler, Eric. "Mind-Controlled Prostheses Let Hands Feel Again : DNews." DNews. Web. 14 Dec. 2015.

Printing vs. Internet

Adam Wiesman
Mr. Reuter
December 14, 2015
Printed vs Posted
I case you haven’t noticed buying the newspaper and magazines have decreased in popularity considerably in in the recent past. Internet sites instead of hardcopies that you must pay for have taken over the industry. As the newer generations age and grow up with internet availability and the older leave it can be expected that even less people will buy hard copies of things simply because you can view it on the internet for free.
However there is opportunity cost and tradeoffs involved in the huge media shift. The Bureau of Labor Statistics listed that in 2012 there was 276,000 with a job outlook ar -5% American employed in the printing industry. Not to mention the business manufacturing companies and electrically power companies would lose from building the machines and keeping them running. Also there would be an extremely large dip in the paper being produced and the even more people would lose jobs. With moving into internet media and news would be mostly free for consumers the opportunity cost for the US economy would be a substantial rise in the unemployment rate.  With less people working and making money there will be less money to buy products could slow the economy and move it in the direction of a recession.
Although the journalists who write the articles would keep their jobs, there just wouldn't be enough jobs created for people who run the websites that display local and national news. it takes a lot more people to run a printing plant rather than a website because a hard copy must be printed for every individual that wishes to view it.
Substituting hard copy news and media for internet posted articles could be a huge detriment to the US economy putting thousand out of jobs and affected tons of companies and all that goes into the printing industry.
Works Cited

" future Printers of America." Quad Graphics. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Dec. 2015.
"Printing Workers." U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, n.d. Web. 14 Dec. 2015.  

What's that Chip?

Alex Hultine
Mr. Rueter
Economics A3
14 Dec. 2015
What’s That Chip?
We either have or will have very soon a credit or debit card. It’s something that comes natural with age these days. But how much longer will it be before they are a little safer? Well the answer is, right now. The little micro chip that is in one of the corners on the card? That is what just might save you from losing some Money. There is only a few problems to this, however to every issue, there will be answers.
First off, as of October or 2015, all companies were to start using a chip reader machine. But according to NBC News, one consumer, “Edgar Dworsky, founder of the website, wondered why he's rarely asked to dip his smart cards, despite an Oct. 1 "deadline" for retailers to adopt the new standard”. But later on, NBC went on to say that “a lot of companies will tell you that they aren’t ready for the chips, but that should eventually change”. And that is true, as America has a demand for the safety of their citizens, everything is working out.
But some companies that have no control, however, are the ones that are getting is the worst. Netflix, the popular app for your phone, tablet or laptop for watching TV shows and movies, got it worse than most companies. “Netflix chief Reed Hastings blamed changes at credit card companies for subscribers leaving the service as the company reported disappointing growth figures on Wednesday”. Netflix has no say with which way of payment they charge their customers. The only option they have is the “manual” way using the numbers and security code. But, with these new chips, Netflix “had predicted US subscriber growth of 1.15 million users; in fact it had added only 880,000 in the third quarter of 2015, down not only from its prediction but from its third-quarter 2014 increase of 980,000. The company’s stock price plummeted nearly 12% on the news and then bounced back somewhat”(the guardian). Though, with more chips in more cards, the supply of customers that Netflix lost, will be replaced soon.
But the question to answer is to what good does this do for the economy? "These new and improved cards are being deployed to improve payment security, making it more difficult for fraudsters to successfully counterfeit cards,"     says Julie Conroy, research director for retail banking at Aite Group, a financial industry research company. "It's an important step forward"
(credit card). So all-in-all, the credit card chips are there to protect our identities but for the most part, will not change the economy. Companies like Netflix will go up and down so long as they are around. Once people know how to use the chip cards, everything will be fine.

Work Cited
"8 FAQs about EMV Credit Cards." CreditCardscom News. Web. 15 Dec. 2015

"Few Retailers Using 'Chip' Credit Card Security Feature for Holidays." NBC News. Web. 15 Dec. 2015.

Theilman, Sam. "Netflix CEO Blames Credit Card Changes for Subscribers Leaving Service." The Guardian. Web. 15 Dec. 2015.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Four Day School Week?

Written by: Hannah Breese

A Four Day School Week?
Wouldn’t you love to have a three day weekend every week? I know I would! It’s that time of the year, where people lose all motivation to wake up for school. Although the 8:17 start time is relatively generous compared to other schools, it’s still not enough sleep for most of us. By the time Friday rolls around students are hitting the snooze button three or four times instead of just one.
According to the Education Commision of the States, about 100 of the country's approximately 15,000 school districts, in 17 states use four-day school weeks. The state that has the most school districts participating in four-day school weeks is Colorado. In Colorado, over a third of the schools there have adapted to this schedule based on this video. Switching to a four-day school week has forced longer school days in order to ensure the same amount of “contact time” as required by law (Lefly). So with the change, students are not losing out on any academic instruction time because it’s all being covered with the longer days.  See how some Oregon parents are reacting to the news of their children’s schools switch to a four day school week here.

From an economic standpoint there are many benefits. Cutting school to four “student” days allows for a decrease in cost in numerous areas. Transportation, maintenance, and food service are just a few of the many. By cutting just one day of school, with all of the cuts calculated it was estimated that the savings added up only to be somewhere in between 0.4%-2.5% per year, bringing in just a little extra revenue for school districts (“Why”).This is clearly not much of an economic benefit but important otherwise.

Within this plan though, teachers would have to spend the day off in school, so their opportunity cost is not having an extra day to sleep in and spend with family. The extra day could be used for curriculum planning, grading, and staff meetings. Allotting for this time for teachers to collaborate and plan ahead could contribute to more innovative and creative lessons planned for students.
In the schools that have tested this schedule, they’ve found that students and teachers have better morale (“The”). Having less school days has also decreased the amount of discipline referrals for students (“The”). Along with that, attendance has improved and test scores have improved (“The”).
Of course there are people highly opposed to making this switch. They may argue that having longer school days forces students to make a trade off between extracurriculars and spending longer days in school. Parents have concerns over what they will do for childcare on the day off, possibly increasing day care costs (“What”). Educators argue that the three days in a row off could allow students to forget material learned more easily, which therefore would create more “struggling students” (“What”).
With all of this being said, school districts are still actively considering making the switch to a four day school week. Should Pewaukee make the switch?

"Does a Four-day School Week Help or Harm?" Web. 7 Dec. 2015.
Lefly, Dianne L. "A Comparison of Colorado School Districts Operating on Four-Day and Five-Day Calendars 2011." A COMPARISON OF COLORADO SCHOOL DISTRICTS OPERATING ON FOUR‐DAY AND FIVE‐DAY CALENDARS 2011 (n.d.): n. pag. CDE Research, 2011. Web. 7 Dec. 2015.
"The Advantages of a Four Day School Week." Education. Web. 7 Dec. 2015.
"What Is the Effect a Four-Day School Week Has on Teachers and Students?" The University of Scranton. Web. 7 Dec. 2015.
"Why School Should Only Be 4 Days A Week." YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 07 Dec. 2015.

The race between Coca-cola and Pepsi

Ayah Abdelsalam
AP Economics
Mrs. Straub

The race between Coca-cola and Pepsi

The competition between Coke and Pepsi has been an ongoing battle for years. Both are very popular brands of soda, and perhaps the most recognizable brand of soda as well. Many people have their own preferences based on the flavor of the soda, each brand’s political standings on certain subjects, etcetera. However, many opinions may also be greatly influenced by each brand’s personal advertisements.
Often in an Oligopoly, similar to the one between Coca-cola and Pepsi, Advertisements are a great influence on consumers used by these companies. Pepsi and Coca-cola are great examples of this. The coca-cola brand uses it’s recognizable polar bear to distinguish it’s product. Pepsi’s logo can be easily recognized. Another one of Coca-cola’s major advertising techniques is the “share a coke” campaign. With the “share a coke” campaign, Coca-cola has taken a lead in the advertising section of their competition.

Market shares of Coca-cola and Pepsi

Often times when one of the brands releases a new advertisement, the other releases one to combat the growth of the first brand. Either way, considering the fact that successful advertising benefits both companies, regardless of the opposing competition’s actions, it can be inferred that a dominant strategy for both companies is to advertise.
With two recognizable companies battling for dominance, there is bound to be some competition. In order to attempt this, both Coca-cola and Pepsi use advertising to their advantage to win over customers. However, with the development of the recent “Share a Coke” campaign, Coca-cola has seemed to pull through, and obtain a larger market share.

Works Cited

"Battle of the Brands: Pepsi vs Coke Advertisements." Hongkiatcom. Web. 15 Dec. 2015.

“Coca-cola vs. Pepsi: The Economics behind Coke's Dominance." Economics Student Society of Australia ESSA Cocacola vs Pepsi The Economics behind Cokes Dominance Comments. 17 Oct. 2012. Web. 16 Dec. 2015.

"Flat or Fizzy?" The Economist. The Economist Newspaper, 12 Feb. 2015. Web. 16 Dec. 2015.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Increasing Popularity of YouTube

Annie Collins
Mrs. Straub
AP Economics
13 December 2015
Increasing Popularity of YouTube

Almost everyone is aware of the website YouTube.  YouTube is a website or app that allows people to upload and watch others videos.  These videos can range from music videos, informative videos, comedy videos to chatty style videos.  Depending on the age of the viewer will depend on the likely style of videos they are interested in.  Also, the majority of viewers are female.  The table below more specifically breaks up the types of videos that interest different age groups.  A trend that can be seen is the younger aged groups tend to watch more, entertainment and trending videos while the older age groups tend to watch more informative videos (Fitzgerald).  With technology advancing the older generation desire and demand the education to be able to keep up and YouTube videos supply the videos that help.  
YouTube was founded by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim.  The founders previously worked at PayPal and in February 2005 activated the domain YouTube.  The intent for this website was for people to share and upload videos for the world to see; which is still the use of YouTube today.  The website was then bought by google in November 2006 by Google for $1.65 billion (YouTube).  

Since YouTube is a free website and app, the way that google gets revenue is through different ads.  These ads can range from trailers to new movies, commercials that could be seen on tv or famous YouTubers that have many subscribers showing tutorials or reviews about different products or services.  Also, although being a YouTuber is not really considered being a real job because it is a newer idea, there are many ways to earn money on YouTube.  First, the channel needs at least 1,000 views and or subscribers.  The YouTuber will receive $1.50 for every 1,000 views and subscribers (MAYA KACHROO-LEVINE).  Although, this does not seem like much money, there are many people that have several million subscribers and view.  One can imagine how that $1.50 per 1,000 subscribers can add up quickly.  
YouTube is a one stop app, where there is news, information, relaxing and comedy videos.  There are not really any close substitutes that have all of these videos in one place and are easy to navigate.  YouTube is a website and app that has lots to offer and helps supply jobs that were never thought to have previously.

Fitzgerald, Toni. "Who’s Watching What on YouTube." Media Life. Media Life Magazine, 17 Mar. 2015. Web. 14 Dec. 2015.

LEVINE, MAYA KACHROO. "How Do YouTubers Make Money? A Pro YouTuber Explains Just How The Whole System Works." Bustle. Np, 10 Aug. 2015. Web. 14 Dec. 2015.

"YouTube." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 12 Dec. 2015. Web. 14 Dec. 2015.

Economics and a Cup of Coffee

Madeline Arzbecker
Mrs. Straub
AP Economics A3
15 December 2015
Economics and a Cup of Coffee
Coffee’s addictive nature has ensnared thousands of consumers to commit a good portion of their income to the purchase of coffee beverages. Many individuals rely on coffee to get them through their busiest days, while others view coffee as a delicious beverage to sip while conversing with friends. Although it may seem like coffee is a continually growing industry, coffee prices fluctuate rather often due to changes supply and demand.
Coffee is the second most traded product -- right behind oil -- and therefore creates 100 millions jobs worldwide. These jobs rely on the coffee bean which is supplied by many countries along the equator. About 20 million farmers make a living off of growing coffee beans. If the world were to experience a decrease demand in coffee, unemployment would greatly increase because of the vastness of the coffee market. However, the coffee industry is growing, therefore more jobs are continually being created (Economics).
The coffee industry works in the monopolistic competition structure. There are many companies that sell coffee drinks, however, each firm slightly differentiates their product. Nonprice competition drives the demand for coffee. Advertisements such as commercials and billboards try to promote one brand of coffee over another to increase their consumers and thus their revenue. Here is an example of nonprice competition in the coffee industry (Starbucks). These advertisements increase individual demand, which increases the individual firm’s price, however, it has no impact on the industry price. The industry price is derived from the market demand and supply.
Weather is one of the main factors that influences the coffee industry’s demand. During the winter, demand for coffee soars as the cold weather drives people into crowded coffee shops to purchase a drink that will warm them up. However, when summer arrives, consumers will substitute warm coffee drinks with cool beverages like soda or lemonade and demand for coffee will fall. Some coffee firms have tried to address this issue by promoting iced coffee -- like in the Starbucks advertisement -- yet, coffee’s demand still fluctuates throughout the seasons. These fluctuations cause coffee prices to rise in the winter and fall in the summer (Brewed).
Like weather influences demand, tax influences the supply of coffee. Next to cigarettes and alcohol, coffee is one of the highest taxed products in the United States. Recently, the tax on coffee went up 10% which caused the supply of coffee to decrease, thus increasing the market price of coffee (Laporte). However, consumers are still purchasing coffee most likely because the caffeine in coffee works like any addictive drug -- the more you have, the more you’ll want -- and consumers are willing to pay higher prices because they see coffee as a necessity. In fact, the daily average consumption of coffee has just increased from 3 cups to 3.5 cups (Coffee Supply).
Despite the fact that coffee prices fluctuate due to supply and demand, one thing is for sure: the coffee industry is predicted to remain one of the world’s top industries. Therefore, jobs will continue to be created and consumers will receive their beloved coffee.

Works Cited
"Brewed Awakening." The Economist. The Economist Newspaper, 13 July 2013. Web. 14 Dec. 2015.
"Coffee Supply And Demand :: Economics Economy." Coffee Supply And Demand :: Economics Economy. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Dec. 2015.
"Economics of Coffee | Black Gold Movie." Economics of Coffee | Black Gold Movie. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Dec. 2015.
Laporte, Nicole. "Coffee’s Economics, Rewritten by Farmers." The New York Times. The New York Times, 16 Mar. 2013. Web. 14 Dec. 2015.
"Starbucks Cold Brew Tv Commercial Ad 2015 HD รข€¢ Advert." YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 14 Dec. 2015.
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