Look closely, these aren’t you’re average landscape photos. These are aquascapes. Did you notice the fish swimming past? Aquascaping is the craft of arranging aquatic plants as well as rocks, stones, driftwood and other hardscape elements in an aquarium. It’s gardening under water, often with fish who reside in the beautiful underwater landscape.
It’s a challenging hobby and, like many other hobbies, for those interested in such things there’s also a competitive element:
"The world of competitive aquarium design, or aquascaping, is just as difficult, expensive, and cutthroat as any other sport but requires expertise in many different fields to guarantee success. Aquarium designers possess large amounts of expertise in biology, design, photography, and excel in the art of patience, as individual aquascapes can take months if not years to fully mature into a completed landscape.”
These flowers are South African daisies, belonging to genus Osteospermum. Osteospermum (“bony seed”) is a collection of about 50 plant species from family Asteraceae, native to South Africa.
The attractive spoon or pinwheel forms seen here seem to be hybrids or cultivars (please correct me if I’m wrong), or derivatives of Osteospermum fruticosum. Most species appear to possess fairly ordinary, plain ray-flowers.
First-to-market biometric payment system scans your hand of it’s vein layout to identify the customer and their account.
To those unfamiliar with vein biometrics, the way your veins are structured around your body are more unique than a fingerprint, therefore considered a far more accurate form of personal identification - video from the University of Lund, Sweden below:
Paying for a coffee or lunch by simply scanning your palm still sounds like science fiction to most of us. However, an engineering student at Lund University in Sweden has made it happen - making his the first known company in the world to install the vein scanning technique in stores and coffee shops.
Google X Lab Files Patent for Contact Lens With Built-In Camera
Google has invented a new smart contact lens with an integrated camera. The camera would be very small and sit near the edge of the contact lens so that it doesn’t obscure your vision. By virtue of being part of the contact lens, the camera would naturally follow your gaze, allowing for a huge range of awesome applications, from the basis of a bionic eye system for blind and visually impaired people, through to early warning systems (the camera spots a hazard before your brain does), facial recognition, and superhuman powers (telescopic and infrared/night vision).
HAPPY TAX DAY, AND WHY THE TOP 1% PAY A MUCH LOWER TAX RATE THAN YOU
It’s tax time again, April 15, when our minds turn toward paying the taxes we owe or possibly getting a tax refund.But what we don’t think about enough is whether our tax system is fair.The richest 1 percent of Americans are now getting the largest percent of total national income in almost a century. So you might think they’d pay a much higher tax rate than everyone else.
But you’d be wrong. Many millionaires pay a lower federal tax rate than many middle-class Americans.
Some don’t pay any federal taxes at all.That’s because they‘re allowed to deduct from their taxable income such things as large interest payments on mortgages for huge homes, also the costs of business entertainment and conferences (aka vacations at golf resorts), and gold plated health care plans.
Some also take advantage of tax loopholes that let them park some of their earnings in offshore tax havens like the Bahamas or the Netherlands Antilles.
And other loopholes that allow them to treat some income as capital gains – subject to a much lower tax rate than ordinary income. If you happen to be a hedge-fund or private-equity manager, there’s a capital gains loophole designed especially for you.
Consider the Social Security payroll tax and the situation is even more lopsided. That tax applies to every dollar of income up to a cap — which this year is $117,000. Anything earned above the cap is not subject to Social Security taxes at all – meaning anyone with a high income pays a much smaller percentage of it in Social Security taxes than most people do.
Put these all together and you see why Warren Buffet, the second richest person in America, pays a lower tax rate than his secretary, as he readily admits.
State and local taxes are even more regressive. The poorest fifth of Americans pay an average state and local tax rate of over 11 percent, while the richest fifth pay only 5.6 percent.This isn’t small change. State and local taxes account for about 40 percent of all government revenues.
Believe it or not, Republicans want to make all this worse by cutting taxes on the wealthy even more. Paul Ryan’s new budget doesn’t just slice Medicare, education, and food stamps. It also lowers the top federal tax rate to 25 percent.
When the rich are let off the hook in all these ways, the rest of America has to pay more in taxes to make up the difference – or have services cut because government doesn’t have the funds.