Busking Goes High-Tech Across London; Performers Are Cashing In

A busker is a street performer who generally plays music and depends on donations from the public.

The city of London is rolling out a cashless system called “Tap-to-Pay” to help talented individuals earn more money in a culture where most folks don’t carry cash or even spare change on them anymore. The Verge reported that London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan developed the project in participation with PayPal’s new payment service iZettle and the “Busk in London” organization.

The concept will be spread out across London’s 32 boroughs and involves quite the high-tech ingenuity.

The idea works like this: Street performers are outfitted with card readers that allow passersby to make a pre-set donation. They do that by simply tapping their payment devices (mobile wallet, tablet, etc.).

Buskers are delighted with the concept and believe it creates a domino effect. One busker who joined the trial to test the system, Charlotte Campbell, noted that when one person taps, it encourages others to do so. She believes it’s a worthy project, especially since it was created by city officials.

Mayor Khan calls it a win-win for the U.K.’s capital because it lets tourists and residents alike to appreciate the many street performers who entertain thousands daily.

The world has become a cashless society, and if buskers don’t find a way to keep up with the changing times, their art could become distinct. Many believe that iZettle’s tech-upgrade is the wave of the future.

iZettle has announced that their Tap-to-Pay system will soon be used for more charities and also be made available to small businesses.

iZettle is a fin-tech startup company from Sweden; PayPal recently shelled out $2.2 billion to buy it. It’s the largest acquisition PayPal has ever made. PayPal operates in 200 countries; this gives iZettle global recognition.

Disposable Coffee Cups Banned in Scottish Government Buildings

Visitors to the Scottish government buildings will now be required to bring in their own reusable mugs if they wish to partake in a hot beverage away from a cafe location.

The new rule, which bans single-use coffee cups in many main buildings, will take effect on June 4 in an effort to reduce the astronomical amount of disposable cups used each year in the buildings. Officials estimate that over 450,000 cups are thrown away each year in government offices.

Affected locations include all of the cafes and restaurants in Saughton House, Victoria Quay, Marine Lab, St. Andrew’s House, Atlantic Quay, and Buchanan House. Visitors can still order warm beverages to be consumed onsite in ceramic mugs. Building staff are encouraged to bring in their own reusable containers for personal use. Workers in the buildings were told of the changes at the beginning of May to allow for ample preparation.

The new rule follows the lead of the Scottish Parliament, which banned the use of plastic drinking straws in its bars and cafes. By making this move, the Parliament building was able to eliminate the use of approximately 4,00 plastic straws every year.

The ban on single-use cups was encouraged by Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham. She asserts that Scotland is eager to lead by example and also followed the lead set by the European Union (EU). Last week, the EU proposed a ban on many disposable plastic items including plates, cutlery, and straws. The proposal by the European Commission is an effort to minimize the growing and concerning issue of ocean pollution.

Zipcar Expanding in London

Zipcar is an American company that allows members to pick up a car in one section of a city, drive it to their destination and leave the car at that place. There is no need to return a car to a rental agency.

Zipcar is now planning to expand into the London market with a fleet of all-electric vehicles. Zipcar has an agreement with Volkswagen to supply 300 Volskwagen e-Golfs to the city of London by the end of 2018. These vehicles will produce absolutely no greenhouse gas emissions.

This new expansion is viewed as having winners in multiple areas. Zipcar will be able to expand its business in one of the busiest cities in the world. There are currently 200,000 registered Zipcar members in the greater London area.

Those who don’t want to own a car will benefit from the service. Many only need a car occasionally, and this service will meet a growing need.

London is having air-quality issues, and the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has issued a transportation initiative that has called for more utilization of public transportation. He also wants car free days in some areas. However, zero emission cars such as this Volkswagen e-Golfs would help to alleviate some of the air quality problems within the city.

Another potential winner is Volkswagen. The scandal surrounding Volkswagen’s diesel cars has hurt the company. Good publicity from its association with Zipcar can only help to boost Volkswagen’s reputation.

If this initial roll out of e-vehicles is successful, Zipcar plans to add additional vehicles to its London fleet. By the end of the year, the number of Zipcar zero emission vehicles in London may be near 325.

Robert Ivy: Recognition for a Lifetime of Work in Architecture

On June 2nd Robert Ivy received the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Noel Polk Lifetime Achievement Award alongside fellow recipient and stain-glass artist Andrew Cary Young. Though far from his first recognition for his talent and enthusiasm for the art of architecture Ivy said at the ceremony that “…There is no greater honor than to be recognized by my home state…” He went on to say that sharing the award with so many of his childhood heroes from Mississippi was a part of that honor. He credited Mississippi with introducing him to art and architecture.

The first architect to receive the award in its history, Robert Ivy has been decorated for his work in architecture before. He was given the title of “Master Architect” by nation architectural fraternity Alpha Ro Chi. Ivy is the first and so far only architect to be given this award in the 21st century. He is also only of seven architects to ever receive this prestigious title alongside such architectural luminaries such as I.M. Pei and R Buckminster Fuller.Ivy received his education at Sewanee and then from Tulane University in Louisiana. Robert Ivy has also has a Fellowship from The American Institute of Architects of which he is also the Executive Vice President and the Chief Executive Officer.

During his time there he has increased the organizations public profile and it has attained its highest membership since its founding 160 years ago in 1857.Before he joined The American Institute of Architect Robert Ivy worked for McGraw-Hill Publishing. He served as Editor In Chief of “Architectural Record” which became the most widely circulated architectural magazine on the globe. He also helped McGraw-hill expand into markets in the Middle East and China. He also founded the mandarin language edition of “Architectural Record.”Robert Ivy is also well known for his biography of Frank Lloyd Wright devotee Fay Jones. Published in 2001 and titled “Fay Jones” Architect” the book is currently on its third printing. He was also honored with the Dean’s Medal from the University of Arkansas Fay Jones School of Architecture in 2017.

Meet The Three Principals Who Have Made Fortress Investment Group What It Is Today

When Fortress Investment Group was starting 20 years ago, it would be hard to fathom what it would turn to be today. Although some people can say that a keen eye would tell someone looking at the firm what would come of it, nobody can be certain. At least, what many know is what happened some 11 years ago when Fortress Group made the announcement about its bid to appear in the New York Stock Exchange. This IPO will never be deleted from the memory of members of the public. Since appearing for the first time in the NYSE as a private firm, things have been getting bigger and better for Fortress Group. Because you this, the number of investors has been increasing steadily. Today, 20 years after FIG was founded, there are more than 1, 750 investors who accumulatively have an investment that is valued at $43 billion.

During a recent press conference, Fortress Investment Group CEO and Founder Randal Nardone said that he attributes the progress to the strategies the principals have put in place. All the three principals namely Randal Nardone, Wes Edens, and Peter Briger have different skills. When these three guys bring together their many years of expertise, you can expect that FIG won’t sink. Instead, as Wes puts it, the firm will turn out to have thousands of people investing. For now, this private equity firm has narrowed down its scope to cover five broad areas of investments. The five facets of investment schemes are asset-based investing, corporate mergers as well as acquisitions, and capital markets. The other two guys, Peter Briger and Wes Edens have also injected enormous efforts to ensure FIG does not remain where it was several years ago.

Using their many years of experience in the field of business and management, they have proven to the world that three people with different social backgrounds can come together to form a stable business empire.  Prior to his joining Fortress Investment Group, Edens had owned and managed several high-end businesses. These must have given him a solid foundation on how to run and manage a bigger business. The three are in charge of different oversight roles, which enable then to guide and take forward Fortress Group. The CEO says that their focus for now is to ensure FIG has an even bigger number of investors. This is something they are sure to achieve as a private equity firm. “The future of Fortress Investment Group is bright. We are ready to take our chances,” Randal said in a recent press statement.

OSI Industries Becomes the Premier Global Food Provider thanks to Technological Advancement

Currently, OSI Group is a leading food provider in the world. It has about 20,000 employees inclusive of 65 facilities spread across 17 countries. Its development from the humble start of the 20th-century American immigrant history is pretty impressive. Today, the company has developed into an international food supplier.

The Beginning of OSI Group

The history of OSI Group dates to the era of the American immigrant experience when Otto Kolschowsky and his sons arrived in the United States of America as German immigrants. Settling in Chicago, he first opened a boutique firm that sold meat and other animal products to the community. The retail market needed his services. Therefore, he was joined by his sons in the service delivery process. With time, the company received more local purchase orders thereby attracting more clients to the database. That was a reflection of Otto’s ability to grow his firm by implementing excellent business strategies. He also realized that with more clients, the company needed additional professional help.


When the First World War ended, Otto realized that there was the need to expand his business further. At that moment, OSI Industries expanded the firm into a wholesale supplier. The business covered Maywood, an additional suburb in Chicago. Within a decade, OSI Industries added an additional stable footing in the city. The American community began to notice a huge difference in the quality of food they bought. During the Second World War, OSI Industries had started adapting to the advanced technology that helped it with the development process.

The Transition

Over the next two decades after World War One, OSI Group underwent tremendous transitions that have majorly contributed to the brand it is as of today. One core transition is the Kroc’s franchising model that provided a consistent product for every restaurant. At the same time, OSI Industries was hired to cater to different clients including McDonald’s. Over time, McDonald’s presence in the country grew because of OSI  Industries’s contribution.

The Observation

OSI Group is now a force to reckon with in the industry of food supply. The company has vastly acquired different food suppliers including Baho Food, Tyson Food, and the Toledo Firm.

Learn More: www.indeed.com/cmp/Osi-Group

Report Issued on Grenfell Fire

Last year, a horrific fire ripped through the Grenfell apartment unit in London. Many were killed and injured in the fire, and hundreds of people were left without homes. In the aftermath of the Grenfell tragedy, the local and national government were criticized as to their response to the tragedy.

This week, Muslim Aid released a report on how the local council responded to the needs of Grenfell residents following the blaze. The report is highly critical of the response by the local council stating that the response was uncoordinated and lacked in meeting the residents’ needs.

The Muslim Aid report is very critical of the leadership of the local council. The report states that much of the emergency response was left to charities such as Muslim Aid to carry out. The local council did not provide information to the Grenfell residents as to where they could find help. Muslim Aid provided a specific example in their report. After the fire, the council did not set up a helpline for Grenfell victims to contact for assistance. In order to meet this need. A number of charitable organizations banded together to create a help line themselves.

This report by Muslim Aid is not the only report that has been critical of the government’s response in the aftermath of the blaze. There have also been criticism that safety measures were not in place to help mitigate damage from the fire in the first place.

In light of criticism leveled against it, the local council in the area where the Grenfell fire occurred is replacing all the doors in council housing. Just like in Grenfell, the doors were not fire rated.

The council stated that it would not respond to the report by Muslim Aid. The council said it would do all it could to make sure that a situation like Grenfell did not happen again.

South Carolinian Teachers Don’t Get Paid Peanuts

Teachers outside of colleges, universities, and other institutions of higher education throughout the United States typically bring home low salaries. Even though public education is unarguably vital to the virality, success, and sustenance of future generations all around the world, it seems as if administrators in education and politicians simply don’t value the roles of teachers as much as society feels they should.

Despite the average teacher’s salary being generally laughably low when considering how much work they pour into their professions and the average pay of people who work similarly hard and attend college for up to seven years, South Carolina offered the 47th-highest salary to beginning teachers in its public schools during the 2016-2017 school year.

South Carolina ranked in at just $33,057 in the most recent school year statistics are available for. Statistics for the most recent academic year, that of 2017-2018, should be available in the next calendar year, around one year from the time of this piece’s publication.

Although “money isn’t always everything,” according to Dr. George Metz, School of Education Dean of South Carolina’s own Charleston Southern University, “it’s nice not to go paycheck to paycheck or have two jobs.”

“Surely,” some readers might be thinking, “the average salary of a teacher in South Carolina upon hiring must be disproportionally weighted down by particularly low-income hires.” However, this reasoning couldn’t be more false.

The median starting salary of teachers across the United States, per the National Education Association, is roughly $38,617. Although some individuals were paid this much in their first years of teaching in the state of South Carolina in 2017, no county across the state paid more than the national average, even those with the highest budgets to work with or located in high-income areas.

South Carolina’s Cake Decorating Controversy

For most parents, a child’s graduation is a time to party. You and your child both survived high school! This means, after first releasing the obligatory sigh of relief, digging in to a sugary piece of the celebratory cake. At least, that was the plan for one proud South Carolina mom. There was just one small problem; her son, senior Jacob Koscinski, was graduating with his school’s highest honors. His grade-point average, a lofty 4.79, earned Jacob the Summa Cum Laude distinction.

Jacob’s mom, Cara Koscinski, didn’t think twice about ringing her local grocery store in Charleston, South Carolina and requesting a cake with the Latin title, a common distinction awarded to high-achieving graduates around the world. The store, a part of the Publix chain of grocers spread across the south eastern United States, had other ideas. The bakery department at Publix believed the usage of the term “cum” to be too offensive for a cake, replacing the Latin word with a series of dashes.

Cara Koscinksi was not informed of the change and, having sent someone else to retrieve the cake, wasn’t even aware her message had been censored until presenting the cake to her son. Jacob and his family, according to the surprised mom, eventually found the humor in the situation but not before a few awkward conversations with those family members who were not aware of the term’s lewd double-meaning.

Publix, a beloved grocery chain in South Carolina, was willing to admit its mistake after Cara filed a complaint. The store refunded the Koscinski family the full cost of the cake, and Jacob is certain not to forget how controversial his achievement was.

South Carolina Has New Emergency App

If you need to evacuate or you lose power, then you will be happy to know that there is an app for that. The name of the app is #SCEmergency. You will get alerts when there is an emergency. You will also be able to get emergency tips.

Additionally, the app can tell you what route to take if there is an emergency and what items you need. You can download the app for free on Google Play or Apple. You can install it on your smart phone. Derrec Becker is the spokesman for the SC Emergency Management Division. He stated that the app has been in the making for the past two years.

Not only has the SC Emergency Management Department created an app, but they have also revamped their website. It cost them $100,000 to revamp the website. They stated that this app allows people to take more responsibility when a disaster hits.

Kim Stenson is the division director. She stated that this is a life safety issue. Many people choose to stay when they are told to evacuate. When Hurricane Matthew hit in 2016, only 50 percent of people choose to evacuate. The same thing happened when Hurricane Irma hit back in 2017.

Kim stated that disaster preparedness is something that she is concerned about. She stated that it is important to be prepared because you do not know when you will be able to get help. Many people have to wait several hours or days before they get help.

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