Plants need phosphorus to grow. However, new research shows that the use of inorganic phosphate fertilizers may harm crop yields in the long run. Here’s why.
Too much of a good thing
Researchers from Penn State University found that over four generations, plants treated with high levels of phosphate fertilizer performed worse than plants treated with low amounts of fertilizer or none at all. The cause appears to be related to changes in soil microorganisms brought about by repeated fertilizer treatments.
Over time, inorganic phosphate fertilizers alter the microorganisms in the soil. This means that even if the use of fertilizers is discontinued, changes to the soil may harm crop yield, which in turn could motivate farmers to use more fertilizer, making the problem worse in the long term.
Are there alternatives?
Organic fertilizers such as manure, compost and bone meal are widely available and don’t tend to have a lasting effect on soil fertility. Reducing the quantity of artificial fertilizer used may also help prevent lasting damage.
The brief history of the telephone conversation
Odds are pretty good that when you answer the phone, “hello” is the first thing out of your mouth. But have you considered taking “ahoy” for a spin instead?
When Alexander Graham Bell received the patent for the telephone in 1876, “hello” hadn’t been in our vocabulary for very long. According to National Public Radio, the first published use of “hello” was in 1827 — just shy of 50 years before Bell’s patent. And instead of using it to greet others, people employed it as a way to catch someone’s attention or communicate surprise, not unlike the way we use “hey” today.
So when Bell thought about the appropriate way to answer a telephone call, he landed on “ahoy,” a word with a much longer history. According to the Somerville Public Library, the idea gained some traction when the first telephone operators were trained to answer the phone with “Ahoy! Ahoy!”
Bell’s arch-rival Thomas Edison, who invented a transmitter that improved upon Bell’s original invention, encouraged users to answer the phone with a crisp “hello” instead. When the first telephone directories advised “hello” over “ahoy,” the issue was largely settled, though according to the Somerville Public Library, Bell insisted on using “ahoy” or “ahoy-hoy” for the rest of his life.
How to ask a family member for a loan
Do you need to borrow money? Do you want to ask a family member for help but don’t know how to go about it? If so, here are some tips on how to ask.
Go to someone you trust
Before asking a distant cousin for a loan, try asking a family member who’s close to you like a parent or sibling. Someone who knows you well will likely be more inclined to help.
Arrange an in-person meeting
It’s best to ask for a loan in person. This way you can discuss the amount you need and why you need it. Remember to be specific and, if possible, bring documentation to show how the money will be used.
Put together a proposal
Be prepared to let your family member know how you plan to pay them back and when. You may also want to talk about why loaning you the money is a safe investment. For example, you could highlight:
• Your reliability
• The profitability of your endeavor
• The profitability of your past endeavors
• Your experience
• The interest you’ll pay
In addition, share your plan for what you’ll do if you have trouble paying back the loan. By doing so, you’ll reassure your loved ones that their money is safe and you’ve considered their interests.
To make the transaction official, it’s a good idea to sign an amicable or notarized agreement. A lawyer or notary can help you create this type of document.
4 tips to get your finances in order for 2022
The first month of the year is the perfect time to get your finances in order. Kick-off 2022 by checking the following four tasks off your to-do list.
1. Organize your documents
Sort your bills, statements, and other financial documents. Only keep what you need and shred any unnecessary or outdated papers to create space for new ones.
2. Balance your budget
Revisit your budget and make any necessary adjustments to help you stay on track and reach your goals.
3. Check your credit
Review your credit report to determine how well you’re doing. If necessary, implement changes that’ll improve your credit score.
4. Update your insurance policies
Look over your car, life, and home insurance policies and update information as needed. You may be able to make modifications to receive additional benefits or reduce your premiums.
For help getting your finances in order, consult a financial adviser.
Shoplifting goes online
Google shoplifting, then read past the first page of results.
You’ll see stories about shoplifting gangs targeting stores all over the country, and nobody is really sure why. One author says it’s a ‘howl of grief.’ A Texas lawman says it is big business. Others say it just offers a big thrill.
But when dozens of people clad in ski masks looted a Nordstrom last November, was it just for the thrill?
According to the National Retail Federation, shoplifting caused $50 billion in losses to storefront retailers in 2020.
In San Francisco, Walgreens said shoplifting was the primary reason it closed five of its 53 stores. Bloomberg reported that the actual cause may have been slower pandemic traffic (or looting) and they said the stores didn’t report such incidents to police.
San Francisco famously passed a law in 2014 that reduced shoplifting to a misdemeanor crime if the stolen items totaled $950 or less, but recently Gov. Gavin Newsom recently signed a bill that allows prosecutors to press felony charges against participants in shoplifting gangs if the theft totals more than $500, according to the New York Times.
But is there something different going on today than in the past?
Organized gangs have always had to become retailers themselves. It was a lot of work, but the work is easier now.
These days, some thieves have elevated their game — literally. In Katy, Texas, police raided a home with a freight elevator that moved 55 pallets of stolen Home Depot goods worth $5 million. The goods were sold on Amazon, according to The Wall Street Journal.
In fact, online retailing, especially on Amazon, makes it a lot easier for thieves to steal and sell their goods. Police in San Francisco found a couple who actually acted as a wholesaler, moving $8 million in stolen goods to sketchy Amazon sellers. According to MarketWatch, the average shoplifting incident nets $750 at small stores and $300 at large ones. To accumulate $8 million in goods would mean thousands of hits to stores — and a lot of dedication from more than one person.
Putting words to racial justice
Like no other leader, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. demanded a better nation, one committed to eliminating the scourge of racism through nonviolent resistance.
During his years of activism in the 1950s and 1960s, his genius was to adapt the lessons of civil disobedience to America’s core values of justice and fairness. His eloquence, combined with his unbreakable dedication to a righteous cause, helped harness peoples’ fury and turn it into action.
King did not invent nonviolent protest. He studied India’s famed nonviolent protester Mahatma Gandhi’s methods and borrowed from the teachings of Jesus. What made King a miraculous leader was that he not only understood the morality of nonviolent social change, he translated ideals into action.
He was a patriot. The Black freedom struggle, he argued while referencing the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, was a way to a stronger republic. It became hard to disagree with his message.
King kept the economic basis for the cause front and center and urged Black Americans to use their dollars to push for change. Businesses were forced to recognize the purchasing power of Black customers when they boycotted public buses and refused to buy cars or groceries or clothing from hostile retailers.
By the time King was assassinated in 1968, Wall Street was hiring its first Black bankers and President Lyndon B. Johnson had signed the Civil Rights Act. The changes King helped to set in motion are still at work and progressing today.
How to determine if you need a new credit card
Are you wondering if switching to a different credit card might be worthwhile? If so, here are a few things to do before you decide.
Evaluate your needs
Over time, your needs can change. For example, if you presently have financial difficulties, it might be a good idea to replace your current credit card with one that has a lower interest rate. Additionally, you may want to get a new credit card if you’re currently sharing one with someone else. If you have your own, it’ll help you build your credit rating.
Compare the rewards
Many credit cards offer rewards. Depending on your spending habits, you may prefer a card that offers travel rewards or cashback. Make sure you understand how the point redemption system works and what categories of purchases allow you to earn the most points.
Consider the added benefits
Banks are always on the lookout for new customers. Therefore, they regularly offer promotions and incentives to people who sign on to use their products. These deals might include travel insurance, concierge service, cashback, a free flight, or a hotel stay.
If you decide to get a new credit card, it’s a good idea to make a list of your priorities and monthly expenses before you choose one. This way you’ll be able to identify the card that best meets your needs.