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Hilcorp Energy Co. is famous for keeping its employees motivated with big Christmas bonuses

(Mirror Daily, United States) – Despite of the oil industry not going so well recently, this holiday season an oil company gives employees $100,000 bonuses.

Many of us receive holiday bonuses, but employees of Hilcorp Energy Co. are particularly lucky this year as each of them was awarded a bonus up to $100,000 depending on how long they have been working for this company.

Hilcorp Energy Co. is one of the biggest private oil and natural gas exploration companies in the country and their Christmas bonuses were one of the main reasons they entered the list of 100 Best Companies to Work For, for the third year in a row.

The company has a history of over 10 of being very generous with its employees around Christmas and giving them impressive bonuses. These are given based on time of service, but nevertheless, everyone receives a lot of money, from the board executives to secretaries and receptionists.

For example, in 2010, employees were given the option to choose between two types of bonuses – either a $50,000 vehicle voucher or a bonus of $35,000 in cash. Either way, the offers were both tempting. The bonuses were awarded for the employee’s hard work, which lead to the doubling in size of the company.

This year, the reason for the big bonus is the same. Employees are rewarded for reaching the company’s five-year goal, which was doubling the oil production rate as well as gas reserves, plus, again, doubling the size of the company.

Being a privately owned company, its goals and quarterly financials are not being made public and it doesn’t have any stocks traded on public stock exchanges.

Anyway, with such a bonus policy, employees are sure to give their best at work, which obviously makes their bosses happy and brings them huge holiday rewards. The internal system implemented by the company seems to work quite well as they manage to keep employees motivated to work hard to meet the challenges executives have in mind. Not all companies manage to double their size in five years’ time and it is only natural that everyone working towards the same goal should receive the same reward.

Maybe Hilcorp Energy Co. will serve as a model for other companies that want to keep their workers happy and motivated.

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You can create your own Halloween costumes using your own clothes and accessories.

Halloween, like any other holiday can be incredibly expensive if you don’t consider the cheaper alternatives. These simple tips to save money this Halloween can help you spend less than $100 and keep all family members happy, nonetheless – after all, this is what Halloween is all about.

Halloween is always about who’s got the best and scariest costume. Most Americans spend hundreds of dollars on costumes just to take them trick or treating only once. If you’re one of these Americans, you have probably gathered a consistent collection of Halloween costumes by now, so why not use them to make your own hair-raising character. You can mix garment pieces and accessories together and give birth to a whole new collection of characters. Who said Halloween costumes have to be copycats?

It may seem just one of the myriad of the simple tips to save money, but this trick really works. Ask any child and he will immediately tell you Halloween masks are so last century. The good thing about face paintings is that you can do them yourself using just your makeup kit and you can attract your children by letting them play with your makeup utensils. Face paintings don’t have to be perfect. Remember, Frankenstein was not perfect, either.

The costume is ready and you already know some simple tips to save money on Halloween masks. Yet, you feel there is something missing. You can’t expect your guests to get into the Halloween mood without properly greeting them. Just like you, your home needs to put on the best Halloween decorations to stand out from the rest of the homes on your street.

Think of the right color combination

You probably think home decorations have to cost a fortune to be impressive, but you are wrong. The number one rule when planning the Halloween set for your home is to choose a scary color combination. Halloween is all about black, red and orange shades, so you should definitely add such accessories in your home. A simple black ribbon can do wonders if you get enough inspiration on how and where to use it. Red paint is a cheap alternative for commercial blood-like materials and it can, therefore, help you save a lot of money with this year’s Halloween preparations.

Use hay for Halloween porch decorations

Americans spend a lot of time creating unique Halloween decorations to turn their porches into vampire caves and horrifying dens. These decorations are, indeed, impressive, but if you are looking for simple saving tips this year, you can always turn to the traditional hay-based home decorations. Hay is a cheap material that you can buy from local home improvement suppliers and simply spread it on your porch. Add red paint and a gardening tool here and there and the picture is complete.

Carve Your Own Halloween pumpkins

DIY pumpkin carvings have almost fallen into oblivion considering that the majority of us prefer to purchase them from local stores. If you are trying to save money this year, you can always switch back to home-made pumpkin carving – an effective, yet simple trick to save money this Halloween.

Just think of all the bloody carnages humans have witnessed by candle light and you will agree with me that no lightning system can produce the same effect. Candles are not only spookier, they are also cheaper and they can become true money savers during the Halloween season.

Preparing food for your Halloween party is most of the times incredibly expensive, if you prefer to remain in your comfort zone and purchase whatever products you can find at your local store. If you want to create your own Halloween dishes and set the trends this year, you can consider the option of switching regular food into spooky Halloween treats. The cheap hot dogs look very much like cut fingers if you top them with a little bit of ketchup sauce. Eggs, too, can be easily turned into popping eyes with a little bit of imagination.

Halloween is all about being creative, so don’t be afraid of stepping out of the box. These simple tips to save money this Halloween will not only make your wallet heavier, but it will also help you turn this holiday into a truly unique moment for you and your family.

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Google has put a new driver behind the wheel of its self-driving car experiment, as announced on Sunday. The company has welcomed John Krafcik, a Stanford-educated engineer who’s been holding various management and engineering positions in the auto industry, as the next chief executive of Google’s autonomous vehicle initiative.

Working with major carmakers – such as Ford and Hyundai – Mr. Krafcik has acquired plenty of experience that made him the perfect candidate for Google’s current needs. He is a valuable addition to the team inside “Google X” research division, helping them graduate the expensive engineering project to a game-changer for how people commute.

Mr. Krafcik called his new job at Google a “great opportunity,” hoping to capitalize the company’s p enormous potential of developing self-driving cars. In an email interview, he expressed faith in the technology that has the potential to cut off a lot of the frustrating things that come with driving today.

More than anything, Mr. Krafcik said self-driving cars could make the roads a safer place, saving thousands of human lives while also giving them a greater travelling mobility. “I can’t wait to get started,” he added enthusiastically.

Google’s project is rather advanced, as its self-driving cars have already passed the milestone of one-million miles travelled on the road with supervising operators behind the wheel. A new bubble-shaped prototype has been seen cruising down the streets of Google’s hometown, Mountain View, California. Sightings of another car version, a modified Lexus, were also spotted in Austin, Texas.

A Google spokesperson wrote a statement saying that the company is still testing out to see what people think about the self-driving vehicles, whether they would want to incorporate this technology into their lives.

That’s why the tech firm intends on running pilot programs with the prototypes sometime in the future; until that, the vehicles are roving in Mountain View and Austin, 10,000 miles each week.

Even though Mr. Krafcik’s hiring has come right in the middle of Google’s revamping under the Alphabet logo, the self-driving car project will be mostly unaffected. The reorganization will see most of Google’s core businesses turning into standalones, but a recent press release mentioned that the Google X lab won’t let go of the project – at least, not just yet.

The release mentioned, however, the possibility that the technology will eventually become an Alphabet company, but it needs to “reach its full potential first.”
Image Source: New York Times

Things are not going too well for Seattle it seems as the warm ocean blob moves to Puget Sound. You may remember that back in 2013, scientists had found a warm blob on the Pacific Ocean that heated the waters in an around it by up to seven degrees.

This giant blob (dubbed so due to its red color that can be easily observed on weather maps) has been moving for two straight years between Alaska and Mexico, unnaturally warming the waters and causing huge amounts of environmental damage.

Prior to the announcing that the blob would enter Puget Sound waters, the authorities in the area had expected that this summer would reach unusually high temperatures and an unprecedented level of dryness which they attributed to the worsening effects of global warming. However, with the coming of the blob, water temperatures in the area raised by a whole four degrees in some areas.

But hold on, it might get even worse.

There’s something that will soon heat the waters in the sound of Washington even worse. The developing El Niño which will soon hit the area is said to be unusually strong. So, this is really dire situation for the canal complex as well as for the whole ecosystem of Washington, and could develop strange weather systems over its capital, Seattle.

Measurements show that not only the surface of the water is affected by this continuous warming, but the deep sea temperatures are increasing. This automatically drains the waters of oxygen and causes unfathomable die-offs in sea-dwelling creatures. There are already shellfish closures confirmed which automatically increase the toxicity of the water, since shellfish are responsible for much of the natural filtering of the water. This has spurred the appearance of multiple types of toxic algae. There are also unconfirmed reports of huge amounts of fish dying probably due to intoxication.

The recent reports of salmon washing up on the shores in increasingly big numbers are worrying if not downright scary. The temperatures in the area where the El Niño is currently forming (East Pacific in the equatorial area) are at the highest point they’ve been for close to 17 years, when the devastating El Niño of `97-98 broke most of the records when it comes to this specific phenomenon.

Still, the clearest effects of the rise in temperatures are not the ones that are seen now in the northwestern state, but those that will come along in winter, when there will probably much less snow than people are used to.

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Being the most popular start-up that Facebook purchased, Instagram has a special ability of setting the tone for how other major acquisitions of Facebook choose to monetize.

A clear sign that the number one social media platform is still doing alright financially-wise is that the first analyst question debuting the company’s earnings call basically asked the CFO why isn’t he investing more money.

Just to be clear, Dave Wehner – Facebook’s CFO – said he was spending as fast as he could, as he will continue to do so throughout 2015, a year that sees Facebook focusing on investment.

His predictions for the rest of the year are in line with the second quarter of the company, which stayed on the safe side – not a great quarter by Facebook standards, but definitely not a bad quarter either.

According to company reports, revenue reached $4.2 billion last quarter, presenting an increase of 39 percent over the same quarter last year. Its profit was nicely rounded, too, boasting at $719 million; all in all, a good quarter.

In spite of the surprising habits that CEO Mark Zuckerberg might have when it comes to dropping mind-blowing amounts of cash on various start-ups, his company has favor in the eyes – and pockets – of investors. Zuckerberg has also started putting money into, a humanitarian project that aims on bringing internet to more people.

But even with the sheer amounts of cash that keep coming out of Facebook, its stock has remained unbeatable, due to steady growth in number of users, good profit margins and increasing revenue.

Former complaints of investors, saying that Facebook took too long to launch on mobile and that is gradually losing appeal with teenagers, are now erased forever. Up to 76 percent of the company’s revenue currently comes from mobile, and Instagram – boasting over 300 million users – has long passed the danger of becoming obsolete.

But analysts have a new concern to obsess over: can Instagram profit from being cool? Even though ads have been running on the platform for a year now, Facebook has yet to deliver any reports on the revenue Instagram brings in-house.

During the earnings call meeting, analysts wanted to know about Instagram’s opening to advertisers and how ads on the platform can target various consumers. They also inquired about how willing are Instagram users to interact with ads.

Facebook didn’t give much of an answer. According to Sandberg, Instagram is still very small relative to Facebook, and only time will tell if it can have significant impact on the company’s growth.
Image Source: Mashable

IBM was the first to introduce the 7nm chip.

As the famous computer company launched a new product, here are the most important things you need to know about IBM’s 7nm computer chips. The enterprise is now under the media’s attention because they were the first to introduce a tiny, yet functional and powerful silicon chip on the market.

The manufacturing of the silicon chip was made possible through a recent collaboration between IBM, Samsung, GobalFoundries and SUNY. The four companies have joined hands for one of the most daring initiative in the technological field.

Thanks to the new achievement that IBM has made, the standard size of the silicon chip has been significantly reduced. Silicon chips that were initially 10nm large could soon be reduced to just 7nm. The good news, however, is that the chips are functional and they could soon be used for the production of highly advanced technological devices.

In spite of the positive outcome that the chips have had during tests, IBM has further disclosed that the 7nm-wide chip will undergo a series of experiments and tests in the next two years. Scientists have praised IBM’s achievement because it is for the first time that such a tiny chip will be introduced on the market.

In addition, the chip is the first to be created out of silicon-germanium and the first to incorporate extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography in its production process. The silicon-germanium composition is much more powerful than the silicon material that was once used.

The incredibly small transistors could only be recreated with the help of the extreme lithography, which is why scientists have opted for this method, instead of others. IBM developers have also used a quadruple-patterning to properly arrange the transistors on the chip.

The company has stated that the size of the chip has been reduced by 50%, thus making commercial models a lot smaller. The regular size is of 14nm and scientists currently aspire to lower the size to 10nm.

A 7nm commercial model would definitely represent the beginning of a new era for silicon chips and for the additional products that may be created with their help.

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Virgin America is the first company to add faster Wi-Fi connection to its air planes.

Spokespersons have disclosed on early Wednesday morning that Virgin America will add faster Wi-Fi connection to airplanes next year. The company has promised users to deliver such a fast Wi-Fi connection that will enable them to watch Netflix during flights.

Wi-Fi connection is no longer an impossible goal, at least for American airplanes, which have long added this service on their air planes. However, the connection is rarely good enough to enable users to actually surf the Internet; therefore, American companies are making efforts to improve their offer.

Virgin America is the first company to offer incredibly fast Wi-Fi connection due to a recent deal that they have signed with ViaSat. The deal presupposes that air planes will be endowed with a much faster Wi-Fi connection thanks to the two new satellites.

Passengers will be able to connect wirelessly even when flying 30,000 feet above and this is possible thanks to the Ka and Ku satellites. The Ka satellite has already been featured in many American homes, ensuring a connectivity that is 30 times faster. Thanks to this new satellite the in-flight Wi-Fi connection will become ten times faster than it currently is.

The Ku satellite has been purposefully designed for flights. It connects mobile devices while the air plane crosses the Pacific Ocean. The switch between the two satellites is made with the help of a special antenna that opts between the two systems, depending on flight conditions.

The new Wi-Fi connection will not be available in the immediate period. Virgin America has announced that they will add the Ka satellite starting this September, whereas the Ku satellite will be inserted during the first months of the following year.

Airplanes featuring the new Wi-Fi connectivity will be tested at the beginning of 2016, when the company organizes flights towards Hawaii. The company has further disclosed that only 10 planes will benefit of the new technology at first. The service will be expanded if the feedback turns out positive.

Customers will not be able to surf the Internet for free. Virgin America will inform customers of the prices that they will have to pay in exchange of the wireless connection, once the trial period is over.

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As new fiscal years are starting, Sony has recently released the assessment of the previous fiscal year when it reportedly lost 1.06 billion dollars, translated in a net loss of 126 billion yen until March 2015. The trend is downward from a loss of 128.4 billion yen just one year ago.

The fiscal year that started with April 1, 2015 promises to hold increased success for the company, Sony expecting a net profit of 140 billion yen and an operating profit of 320 billion yen. The sales are estimated at a 7.9 trillion yen for this fiscal year.

Hideki Yasuda, Ace Research Institute Analyst, commented that:

“The target of operating profit is conservative. Investors expected too much so Sony is trying to lower their expectations.”

Kazuo Hirai, the Chief Executive Officer of Sony explained that this year the company will be focusing on cutting costs and further advancing in those businesses where Sony already has a clear head start, in a bid to regain shareholder confidence.

That is good news as the share stock has reached its highest point since 2008 this month, with the shares’ value increasing more than 30 percent.

Referring to the businesses where Sony displays a clear advantage, the gaming industry and the electronic devices hold a clear high place. Sony PlayStation4 game console reportedly sold twice as many units as Microsoft’s XboxOne, making the last generation console the undisputable leader in the market.

To take full advantage of the spoils offered by the console, Sony introduced it to China, the world’s biggest gaming market, thus surging the revenues. At the same time, Sony plans to strengthen its game streaming service. North America can enjoy PlayStationNow due to the purchase of patents of OnLive.

The electronic devices business is a game changer for Sony as well, the emphasis falling on image sensors. The picture division now boasts the upcoming release of the latest Bond movie – Spectre.

In total, a 17 percent increase in sales has been reported, and due to Mr. Hirai’s call to sell Sony’s PC business, halt smartphone development in China and putting the Xperia line on hold, as well as separating the TV manufacturing business.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Hirai summed up the philosophy of Sony:

„I think that whether we are talking about the Japanese market or markets overseas, whether it’s Sony or any other company, whether they are Japanese or not, so long as they are bringing out products that are innovative, that are differentiated, that stand above the competition in this world of commoditized products—if we are able to have products that tick all those boxes, then certainly, including Sony, we should definitely be in the consumer product space, and we should be able to do it in a very profitable manner”.

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Dick Costolo, the chief executive officer of Twitter Inc. is under fire for the leaked first financial quarter earnings statement which shows bleak results for the company. The previous time when the spotlight was on Twitter Inc. a management overhaul, the introduction of new services and features and a newly gained investor confidence pulled Twitter out of the murk.

And all these changes promised to move things forward. However, the leaked statement showed that Mr. Costolo failed to foresee a slowdown that caused the company to cut its 2015 sales, miss analysts’ Q1 revenue estimates and drop the stock by 18 percent.

The prestigious analysts in case are now raising questions as to whether the social media company is able to attract more users and advertisers, as well as to grasp its potential market.

The number of monthly active members decreased significantly as compared to the previous financial quarter (18 percent to 20 percent), albeit the introduction of new features and products. The stock too fell significantly, in New York and Frankfurt.

Amidst this realization, Dick Costolo responded that the number of active users falling is an overstatement as the 500 million people visiting Twitter each month without logging in should also be taken into account.

After dismissing the problems Twitter Inc. is facing, Mr. Costolo launched into a discussion on the commerce strategy of the company designed to monetize the service. The in-tweet purchase option signaled by the “BUY NOW” button on Twitter webpage is part of this strategy. It started with buying tickets to sport events, concerts or movies and it is sporting popularity. Yet it remains unclear if it will further develop to larger buys after small commerce.

However, Mr. Costolo pointed out that Twitter Inc. still has an ace up its sleeve as the acquisition of TellApart, a marketing technology company, will certainly prove an asset to Twitter.

“Consumers now move fluidly between apps, devices and platforms, and performance advertisers are in need of more effective targeting and measurement tools that work seamlessly if, say, someone browses for products on a mobile device but ultimately makes a purchase on a desktop device,” Kevin Weil, Senior Vice President of Product at Twitter, said in a company release. “By bringing Twitter and TellApart together, we’ll be able to help performance advertisers reach users wherever they are, whether on desktop or mobile.”

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Two populations of the humpback whale would still have the endangered species status, but most humpback whales may no longer be endangered.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on Monday proposed the removal from the endangered species list of more than two-thirds of the Earth’s humpback whales population.

Humpback whales were first considered as in need of protection from hunting under the Endangered Species Act back in 1970. The NOAA’s project would take out 10 of the 14 recognized whale populations away from the endangered species list, while two species would be still listed as endangered, while the remaining two would be labeled as threatened.

“The return of the iconic humpback whale is an ESA success story. As we learn more about the species—and realize the populations are largely independent of each other—managing them separately allows us to focus protection on the animals that need it the most,” Eileen Sobeck, assistant administrator for fisheries at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said in the NOAA statement.

The last time the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration removed a species from the endangered list after its population recovered was in 1994, when the ecologist body took out from the list a population of gray whales. Even if the whales are removed from the list, all the humpback species would still be protected under the Marine Mammals Protection Act.

There are only a few zones in the world that still permit hunting of humpback whales. Those places are meant for aboriginal subsistence only, said the International Whaling Commission. Three nations, Norway, Japan, and Iceland, still permit the killing of marine animals for scientific research.

Humans used to hunt the whales in large numbers before their labeling as endangered. Humpbacks were considered endangered in 1970, only four years after the International Whaling Commission prohibited commercial humpback whaling. The same commission stopped all forms commercial whaling in 1986.

Humpbacks are living all around the world, and scientists say restoration and protection efforts have greatly increased their numbers in many waters. Among those which are recommended for dropping from the list is the population that migrates each year from Alaska to Hawaii.

The ruling on which whale groups to propose for removal from the list were based on many factors, among them the risks they face, NOAA experts said. The largest threat to humpbacks is fishing that can result in the whales becoming trapped in fishing gear and then drown.

Image Source: One Green Planet

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