The Gadget Ban: What You Can and Cannot Carry

In case you may not heard of it, the governments of The USA and The UK have imposed new bans against bringing certain electronic devices aboard flights to and from several outlined countries in the Middle East.

The USA ban affects planes that are coming in from the airports of these specific locations: Cairo, Istanbul, Kuwait City, Doha in Quatar, Casablanca in Morocc, Amman in Jordan, Riyadh and Jeddah in Saudi Arabi, Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the UAE.

The UK ban will affect travelers on direct flights to the UK from Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia.

At least ten airlines are participating in this gadget ban. Here are some of them: Emirates, Etihad, Turkish Airlines, EgyptAir, Saudia (Saudi Arabian Airlines), Royal Jordanian, Kuwait Airways, Qatar Airways, and Royal Air Maroc. Airlines. As this is quite serious in nature, it’s best to be informed.

So today, we’re providing you with a clear idea of the gadgets that you can bring in and those you’d have to check in.


  • Smartphones smaller than 6.9 inches in width or length
  • Portable gaming systems smaller than 6.9 inches
  • Wearable devices like smartwatches and fitness trackers
  • Small music playing devices like iPods

Not Allowed:

  • Tablets
  • Laptops
  • eReaders
  • Devices that measures more than 16 cm x 9.3 cm
  • Portable gaming devices more than 6.9 inches like the Nintendo Switch and The Nintendo 3DS
  • Portable DVD Players

There isn’t any news on how long the gadget ban is going to remain in effect. There is, of course, much concern about those who travel for business. Some of the airlines who have agreed to hold the gadget ban have also expressed that laptops and the like will not be insured. Although, it is best to review your chosen airline’s rules on checked luggage to confirm whether or not you will be compensated in case of loss or damage to your gadgets.

Travelers are suggested to be prepared to check in any extra gadgets that measure larger than a standard smartphone. To avoid any nasty surprises, it’s best to read up and even check into the airport hours ahead of the expected time of allowance. Those travelling to and from the USA need to be aware that their Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has already started the gadget ban.

If you are headed to the USA from any of the specified locations tied to the gadget ban, it’s best that you take extra care of packing your tech gear in your suitcase. We suggest making use of bubble wrap or soft foam before placing it inside a harder case. If you could, it’s best to cocoon your gadgets among your clothing.

It is important to back up all your data before going on a trip to ensure against any loss.

If you haven’t been fond of using luggage locks, it’s best to make use of TSA approved ones. It’s also best to encrypt or password protect your gadgets just in case it does disappear en route.

The UK will place its gadget ban in effect by Saturday (March 25). It is good news that medical devices are not included in the ban.

Affordable Smartphones for 2017

One thing that’s expected is that newer and newer phone models are going to be released. Along with that is the upward trajectory of the prices in which those phones are to be sold. So in order to cater to those who want smartphones that run pretty good specs AND don’t break the bank, this list was made.

Microsoft Lumia 650

Weight: 122g | Dimensions: 142 x 70.9 x 6.9mm | OS: Windows 10 Mobile | Screen size: 5-inch | Resolution: 1,280 x 720 | CPU: Quad-core 1.3GHz | RAM: 1GB | Storage: 16GB | Battery: 2,000mAh | Rear camera: 8 MP | Front camera: 5 MP

It’s a relatively low price at $250. It has quite the decent battery life which is a plus given that most high-end smartphones are having problems with their batteries. The issue with this is the processor–it’s not as good as we’d like but do-able if you’re not hoping to run a lot of apps at the same time.

Asus Zenfone 2

Weight: 170g | Dimensions: 152.5 x 77.2 x 10.9mm | OS: Android 6.0 | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 1920 | CPU: Quad-core 1.8 GHz | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 16GB | Battery: 3,000mAh | Rear camera: 13 MP | Front camera: 5 MP

Quite a steal at $190. The rather spacious display is one of its more striking features. The processor of the Zenfone 2 may be less powerful than the higher priced smartphones out in the market but it makes a pretty good starter phone for teens or children.

 ZTE ZMax Pro

Weight: 189g | Dimensions: 165 x 84 x 8.9mm | OS: Android 6.0 | Screen size: 6-inch | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | CPU: Octa-core 1.5GHz | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 32GB w/ microSD | Battery: 3,400mAh | Rear camera: 13 MP | Front camera: 5 MP

Coming in $200 it’s a pretty good price for its massive screen. It has a fingerprint sensor and pretty large stock memory as well. So this is one of the smartphones that can really rock some medium duty gaming and multi-tasking. One of the cons we have about this phone is the fact that the speaker quality isn’t so good.  This particular phone is presently only available for MetroPCS and T-Mobile but given the positive reviews it’s been having, we won’t be surprised if this particular phone is picked up by more carriers.

iPhone 5S

Weight: 112g | Dimensions: 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6mm | OS: iOS 10 | Screen size: 4-inch | Resolution: 1,136 x 640 | CPU: Dual-core 1.3 GHz | RAM: 1GB | Storage: 16 GB | Battery: 1,560mAh | Rear camera: 8 MP | Front camera: 1.2 MP

Coming in at $300, it’s rather odd to have an iPhone on the “affordable” side of the smartphone list but this is the offering for those who absolutely refuse to use Android and would much rather stick with an iOS. This phone may seem limited with its 16 GB memory but most entry-level phones offer the same storage amount. You can choose from gray or silver for its colors so that may seem quite limited as well. However, with the Touch ID and still crisp 8 MP camera, it’s a pretty solid starter phone for youngsters.

Moto G4 Plus

Weight: 155g | Dimensions: 153 x 76.6 x 7.9-9.8mm | OS: Android 6.0.1 | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | CPU: Octa-core 1.5 GHz | RAM: 2/4GB | Storage: 16GB w/ microSD | Battery: 3,000mAh | Rear camera: 16MP | Front camera: 5MP

Coming it at $330, this heavyweight of the budget Motorola phone line offers pretty great shots and a pretty solid display. This fits anyone who’s been looking for a phone with a larger screen and pretty sweet camera.

The New Nokia 6: What We Know

Everyone who has ever owned a phone will be very familiar with Nokia as a brand. They doled out model after model of various units when they were at the top of the cellphone game. Then the market veered a sharp left into a smartphone territory and they struggled to keep up–eventually being overshadowed by Apple and Samsung.

Therefore the past few weeks have been quite exciting for every Nokia fan out there. Without much fanfare, the Nokia 6 was unveiled. The teaser video made it quite plain that it’ll carry some pretty impressive specifications.

First off the bat is the 5.5 inch full HD screen, making is quite large and falling under the “phablet” category. The resolution is purported to be at a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution display and a 2.5 D curved Gorilla Glass for added protection. It’ll be sporting a 1.1GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 chipset which is quite a powerful little thing. With a 4 GB RAM capacity and a built-in 64 GB storage, this tells us that users will be able to run an app heavy interface; perfect for professionals and students. If the built-in storage isn’t quite enough for you, it can be expanded up to 128 GB through an external microSD card.

The Nokia 6 will be running an Android 7.0 Nougat OS. It will also be dual-sim capable, something truly helpful for those planning on using this as a work phone. It is reported to sport a 16 MP rear camera and a 8 MP front-facing one which will be perfect for the photo-loving user. One boast point is that the rear camera will be fitted with a dual-tone LED flash. For added security, a fingerprint scanner has been embedded into the home button. With a 3,000mAh battery and Dolby Atmos sound enhancement, we can expect this phone to be able to run for quite a while before needing a recharge.

All those specs with a $245 tag makes it one heck of a steal! The specs for its price outclasses most of the mid-range smartphones on the market. It also takes on the specs of pre-existing powerhouse smartphones at a fraction of the price.

From the looks of things so far, Nokia 6 is going to offer compelling design and quality build but we won’t really know for sure until it launches and we actually get our hands of this thing of mystery. Sadly, as of now, the Nokia 6 is a China market exclusive–pricing at 1,699 CNY. The unit will be launched on the 19th of January and, the official distributor of Nokia in China, is already taking in massive pre-orders for eager customers.

Not is all lost since HMD Global, the Finnish company currently handling and owns the rights to sell under the Nokia brand, has teased that more Nokia-branded smartphones are to be announced on February 26. This is just before the start of the 2017 Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona, Spain. So this just might be the start of the resurfacing of Nokia as a top phone manufacturer.

While there isn’t much we know about what HMD has in store for us, they’ve certainly gotten our attention!

Best Gadgets to Give for the Holidays

Christmas season is upon us and most may have already finished with their shopping and completed the gifts to be given. However, if you are one such person who has lagged a bit on buying gifts, let us give you an idea on what to get your loved ones. After all, it’s better to be late instead of not giving at all, right?

Gadgets are always popular during the holidays and lucky for you, are never in short supply. Let’s break down a few technological pieces that are sure to be a hit!

Nintendo NES Classic Edition

This is an instant hit on the nostalgia button! For the price of $60 you’ll be getting 30 classic games like Pac-Man, Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong, and so many more. A set includes a classic controller and a modern HDMI cable. This piece is great for kids who weren’t able to play such classic games and definitely for older players that wish to indulge in a much welcome nostalgia trip.

GoPro Hero5 Black

The current king of action cameras, this little monster will be the hero you need for your adventures with its voice control, 4k video capture capability, electronic image stabilization technology, and can be used as a camcorder in depths reaching up to 33 feet without any additional housing or casing. Definitely a tough little gadget to best fit the toughest of adventure junkies—certainly a most welcome gift. Given the specs, toughness, and capability of this technological wonder, the price of $399 is pretty fair.

Google Pixel XL

Released October this year, Google has thrown its hat in the ring of Smartphone giants. Sporting a 5.5 inch screen, AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, Corning Gorilla Glass 4 for added screen toughness, rear camera of 12.3 MP and a front-facing one of 8 MP, internal memory of 32 GB with processing power of 4 GB—it certainly is a welcome player. As it is relatively new to the market, expect to drop a pretty penny around $769 for the 32 GB variant and $869 for the 128 GB version.

DJI Phantom 4 Pro

It’s been a good year for drones with several stellar releases and high demand. The DJI Phantom stands a bit above the rest with its long-distance control, return-to-home button feature, both forward and rear obstacle detection, subject recognition, 60fps 4k video, and some other kickass features. This would be a great gift for the family as it offers opportunity for a collective time outside to catch some excellent shots and views.

Razer Blade Pro

If you’ve got a gamer in the family, this will definitely make their year! This gaming laptop has been dubbed as a “desktop inside your laptop”. The CPU is a 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor. The screen is a pretty solid 17.3 inches. The key feature is the storage capacity of 512 GB which also has a 2TB variant—something that means a big deal to any gamer. A boasting highlight is the mechanical keyboard with an oversized touchpad that was just made to be appreciated. With its high performance components, the price of $3,699 is worth it.

The Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones for 2016

Are your tired of all the noise and wish to isolate yourself from it all? If so, then you should take a look at the following best noise-cancelling headphones for 2016.  Noise-cancelling headphones come at a higher price than the regular headphones. But, that extra price is well worth it if you are a person who always faces a noisy commute to and from work or a loud and disturbing environment at the workplace or home. Let’s take a look at some of the best noise-cancelling headphones in the market today.

Bose QuietComfort 35

Talk about luxury when talking about noise-cancelling headphones and the Bose QuietComfort 35 will most likely be at the top. The headphones are very common during flights and are a big name since Bose has a resounding 15-year dominance in the market.  The QuietComfort 35 is what to get if you are looking for luxurious headphones that offer quality sound and equally, if not startlingly-effective, noise cancellation when the ANC is on.

Denon Globe Cruiser AH-GC20

Denon Globe made sure that what they give their consumers is something with a trendy appeal. People who have a thing for Beats by Dre Headphones will find the Cruiser AH-GC20 equally appealing. The pair is wireless and with a crisp ambient noise reduction of nearly 99%. The Cruiser AH-GC20 is easy on the eyes, ergonomically functional, and suited for those long-haul journeys. If you would rather listen to music, then this pair delivers 20 hours of wireless playback with excellent external noise reduction.

Beats Studio

The brand is well known in the audiophile sector, but this particular model of noise-cancelling headphones brings out a different side of what the brand can offer.  It is a pair of Bluetooth headphones that can superbly reduce background noise when the ANC functionality is switched on. While they are more geared towards delivering fun and quality sound with less external sound, they can still work in noisy environments.

NoiseHush i9BT

The NoiseHush is a pair of wireless Bluetooth headphones that are among the best noise-cancelling headphones for 2016 that are within the budget bracket.  Everything about the pair, compared to other high-end models such as Bose, make it stand out. For instance, the battery is better than average, capable of doing 30hours of playback yet other models that cost thrice as much have a comparable battery life. Also, the noise cancellation is almost at par with the high-end models.

Lindy BNX-60

Lindy BNX-60 is a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. What they lack in look they compensate for in functionality. The leather ear cups, 40mm neodymium drivers with a high fidelity are some of the classy touches that give this pair of wireless Bluetooth headphones an edgy look and functionality. The pair can cut ambient noise by nearly 85%. They may lack that appeal ergonomic design, but they are functionally sound. They came with a rechargeable battery that can last for nearly 12hours making them suitable for the noisy workplaces or short quite commutes home from work.

DJI Phаntоm Drone


Thе DJI Phаntоm drone wаѕ аt fіrѕt рrісеd аt around $1000, bеіng a major player іn thе drоnе wоrld but also a mаjоr соmреtіtоr оf thе раrrоt drоnе.

Thе dіffеrеnсеѕ between thеѕе twо drоnеѕ include thеіr flуіng rаngе; 25 mіnutеѕ оn bаttеrу fоr the Pаrrоt while DJI Phаntоm lаѕtѕ fоr 40 minutes. The latter is ѕlіghtlу heavier аnd rероrtѕ say that it provides a whоlе lоt оf ѕtаbіlіtу еѕресіаllу durіng wіndу соndіtіоnѕ.

We hаvе рlеntу оf drones іn thе marketplace; hеrе are ѕоmе features of thе DJI Phantom Drоnе ѕеrіеѕ

The DJI Phаntоm 3 Prоfеѕѕіоnаl іѕ сараblе оf 4K ultrа-hіgh-dеfіnіtіоn video, the drone can рrоduсе lіvе streams vіdео tо mоѕt ореrаtіng ѕуѕtеmѕ lіkе іоѕ and аndrоіd thіѕ аllоwѕ thе ріlоt see еxасtlу whаt the drоnе іѕ seeing. Thе best thіng аbоut thіѕ mоdеl іѕ thе fеаturе оf a Vіѕіоn Pоѕіtіоnіng Sуѕtеm; thіѕ аllоwѕ for a well-stable аnd рrеdісtаblе flіght еѕресіаllу whеnеvеr a GPS ѕіgnаl іѕ nоt available, thе drоnе іѕ аlѕо сараblе оf automatic lаndіngѕ аnd tаkеоffѕ. DJI Phantom 3 іѕ аll about stability and соntrоl.


DJI Phantom 3 has a mоbіlе dеvісе hоldеr, thіѕ lеtѕ the рhоnе оr tablet control the unіt, thіѕ wіll bе included оn рurсhаѕе. Thіѕ drоnе hоvеrѕ реrfесtlу аnd hеlр dеlіvеr bеѕt 4K UHD fооtаgе. The 720p ѕtrеаm from саmеrа tо dеvісе іѕ аlwауѕ сlеаr аnd hеlрful іn controlling the 3-аxіѕ camera. Thе drоnе іѕ worth the price.

Wіth thе ѕуnс арр іnѕtаllеd on your mоbіlе dеvісе, gеttіng thе drone into thе аіr tаkеѕ оnlу a fеw mіnutеѕ. Wіth a ѕtrоngеr battery than іt predecessors fоr longer flіghtѕ аnd a Micro SD card, fоr thе bеѕt fооtаgе.


Thе price! The cost of the drone іѕ ѕtіll оvеr a $1000 buсkѕ. Hоwеvеr, knowing thаt thіѕ іѕ оnе оf thе bеѕt drоnеѕ оut thеrе fоr a реrfесt top quаlіtу vіdео рrоduсtіоn аnd gеttіng best ѕhоtѕ уоu ѕhоuld hаvе nо рrоblеm whatsoever.

Drоnеѕ аrе wеll utіlіzеd whеn they аrе ореrаtеd bу remote соntrоlѕ especially уоu nееd it tо undеrtаkе lоng flying hоurѕ оr еvеn соvеr large dіѕtаnсеѕ.

The DJI Phantom 2 іѕ well-equipped with a remote соntrоl аnd fеаturеѕ like a trаіnеr роrt, buіlt-іn rechargeable bаttеrу wіth a capacity оf 2000mAh, battery іndісаtоrѕ, gimbal соntrоl dіаl, аnd thrоttlе lосkіng fеаturе that helps hоldѕ thе throttle stick іn рlасе.

Thе drоnе can hеlр you mоnіtоr рlасеѕ аnd rеgіоnѕ via thе captured іmаgеѕ. Drоnеѕ are uѕеd іn wildlife dосumеntаrіеѕ -tо еаѕіlу іdеntіfу ѕіgnѕ оf illegal kіllіng and оthеr ѕuѕрісіоuѕ асtіvіtіеѕ іn a ѕресіfіс rеgіоn.

Nano-Tech and Telecommunications

nanotechnology– ability to create man-made structures a few billionths of a meter in size

technology– knowledge of and use of humanity’s tools and crafts; technological effects are widespread

future shock– change comes so fat that it approaches the limits of human tolerance and ppl cannot cope w/ it successfully

telecommunications– transmission of info over great distances; has enhanced international commerce, linked relatives living far apart, and helped us explore outerspace; also creates invasion of privacy

5 Phases of technology:

(1) nomadic-agrarian-activity of harvesting/manual skill

(2) agrarian- planting and harvesting/manual skill

(3) industrial- building material goods/manual and machine

(4) service- providing services/manual and intellectual

(5) information- thinking and designing- intellectual and electronic; current phase is information society

cyberspace– info is stored, ideas are described, communication takes place in and through an electronic network of linked systems biotechnology– uses biological systems or living organisms to make/modify products or processes for specific use; applications are agriculture, food science, and medicine

technological growth:

2 factors: (1) economic growth (2) research and development

Top 20 largest firms according to Biz Week were providers of telecommunications and networking; top 10 global web portals (Yahoo is number 1 in ’06)

e-commerce– buying/selling goods electronically (online); US was global leader in e-commerce transactions in ’05, but greatest growth was in Latin American and Asian countries

Internet– global electronic communications network linking individuals and organizations; predicted that 1.08 billion ppl (1 out of 6) used internet; highest internet usage (US)

blogs- web-based journals or logs; Chinese gov. banned blogs that called for democracy, criticized top gov. leadership, advocated for Taiwanese independence, or included nudity/explicit sexual comments

vlogs– video, web lobs

spam– unsolicited emails sent in bulk to valid email accounts (45% of all email); US CAN-SPAM Act; Italy and UK passed laws as well phishing– duping computer users into revealing their passwords/private data under false pretenses; Anti-phishing Working Group (US); organized crime coming from Eastern Europe

m-commerce– conducted on mobile/cellular phones, provides consumers w/ an electronic wallet

technology and education: Web-based Education Commission (US)- recommendations included: (1) make internet resources available and affordable to everyone (2) build a new research framework of how ppl learn (3) revise outdated regulations that impede innovations (4) protect online learners and ensure their privacy (5) sustain funding via traditional/new resources; in ’06, 5 out of 6 college students were taking classes online part-time

medical info thru internet: Health on the Net (Switzerland) offered seal of approval for medical internet sites; US made American Accreditation Health Care Commission/Utilization Review Accreditation Commission (URAC) to set quality standards for managed care and online health care sites

digital divide– gap b/n those who have technology and those who don’t; E-Rate (Clinton) Fed. program narrowed digital divide by making telephone services available at reasonable rates to all Americans; divide in Europe due to lack of Internet infrastructure b/c most ppl dependent on dial-up connections (too slow); initiative announced in ’05 targeting underdeveloped populations- non-profit group One Laptop Per Child made laptops and sold for $100 to bridge gap b/n rich and poor

Environmental Regulation

EPA– created in 1970 to coordinate most of the gov’s efforts to protect the environment; Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) helped as well. Their major regulation areas are air, water, land pollution.

air pollution– occurs when more pollutants are emitted into the atmosphere than can be safely absorbed and diluted by natural processes; natural pollution comes from smoke and ash from volcanoes, and forest fires; ½ population breathes unsafe air for part of each yr; 70% of cancer risk comes from diesel exhaust; 6 pollutants: lead, carbon monoxide, particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, and ozone (called smog at ground level); other toxic air pollutants: asbestos, benzene, chloroform, dioxin, vinyl, chloride, radio active materials

acid rain– formed when emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides (from burning fossil fuels used in utilities, manufacturers, vehicles) combines w/ natural water vapor in the air and falls to Earth as rain or snow that is abnormally acidic; reduces crop yields, damages ecosystems of lakes and rivers, and degrades forests; can damage things 100s of miles away from the source; Clean Air Act 1970 and amended in 1990.

water pollution– occurs when more wastes are dumped into waterways than can be naturally diluted and carried away; comes from organic wastes (untreated sewage or manure), chemical by-products from industrial processes, and by disposal of non-biodegradable products (don’t decay naturally); heavy metals and toxic chemicals hurt too; E coli bacteria contaminated public water supply in Ontario; Water Pollution Control Act/Clean Water Act (requires permits for most point sources of pollution, and develops plans for non-point sources, like agricultural runoff or urban storm water

land pollution– contamination by both hazardous and solid waste; Germany’s made most progress in fixing this (recycles 70% of plastic waste); Toxic Substances Control Act requires EPA to inventory industrial chemicals and restrict certain ones (ex: PCBs come from electrical transformers); Resource Conservation Act of 1976 amended in 1984 regulates hazardous materials from cradle to grave; environmental justice– prevent inequitable exposure to risk (some permits discriminated against minorities by dumping waste near them)

source reduction– aims to reduce pollution at source rather than treat/dispose at end of the pipe (from Pollution Prevention Act of 1990)

laws to clean up hazardous waste– Comprehensive Environmental Response/Compensation/Liability Act (CERCLA); passed Superfund– from tax on petroleum and chemical companies that created too much toxic waste; used to clean up EPA’s national priority list of spots to clean up; 25% US residents live near a Superfund site; only 309 sites have been cleaned (1/5 of total- probably $1 trillion to fix and would take 50 yrs)

Policy Approaches:

environmental standards– standard. allowable level of various pollutants; called command/control regulation because government controls business choice of technology w/ standards (ex: environmental quality standard, emission standard); advantage- enforceable in court, compliance required; disadvantage- standards not relevant for all business, large reg. agency, slows innovation, shut old plants, fines cheaper than compliance, no improvement when compliance achieved

market based mechanisms- market controls standards; tradable permits- companies w/ excess room for pollution under standards could sell their extra room to other companies; advantage-business flexibility, low cost to achieve goals, saves jobs by not closing inefficient plants, permits allowances, encourage continued improvement; disadvantage- gives business license to pollute, allowances hard to set, may cause regional imbalances of pollution, enforcement difficult, eco-tax/emissions charges- depend on how much pollution u make; advantage- tax bad behavior (pollution instead of profits); disadvantage- fees hard to set, taxes may be too low to curb pollution; government incentives: advantage- reward environmentally responsible behavior, encourages business to exceed minimum standards; disadvantage- incentive may not be strong enough to curb pollution; in UK, eco-tax for miles flown in airplane

info disclosure– regulation by publicity/embarrassment- SARA amendment to Superfund created Community Right to Know law- had to report hazards to people nearby; advantage- government spends little on enforcement, companies able to reduce pollution in most cost-effective way; disadvantage- doesn’t motivate all businesses.

civil/criminal enforcement– civil penalties, fines, prison; advantage- may deter wrongdoing; disadvantage- may not deter wrongdoing if penalties and enforcement efforts are seen as weak

costs- $160 billion a yr spent by business and ppl, job loss in polluting industries, competitiveness of capital-intensive dirty industries impaired

benefits- emissions have dropped since 1970, air and water quality improved, improved health, growth of environmental products/services, tourism, and fishing

stages of responsibility- (1) pollution prevention and (2) product stewardship

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Government & Business

business in politics– question is whether, and to what extent should businesses be involved (in many other countries, businesses are allowed to engage in political discussion, influence political races, and introduce/contribute to the drafting of laws and regulations)

arguments 4 business in politics– a  pluralistic system invites many participants (special interest groups involved), economic stakes are high for firms, business counterbalances other social  interests, business is a vital stakeholder of government

arguments against business – managers not qualified to engage in political debate, business is to big and too powerful (elephant dancing among chickens), business is too selfish to care about the common good, business risks its credibility by engaging in partisan politics

interest groups­ – ex: labor unions like the FOP (fraternal order of police)

ad hoc coalitions – two or more diverse groups brought together to organize for or against particular legislation or regulation (ex: daylight savings time: barbecue industry wants to add weeks to improve sales of grills, Air Transportation Association said it puts US international flights out of sync w/ European schedules- Bush signed National Energy Plan (2006) to extend DST for 4 weeks and save energy)

corporate political strategy- activities taken by organizations to acquire, develop, and use power to obtain an advantage

corporate political strategy types: information strategy– businesses seek to provide gov. policy makers w/info to influence actions such as lobbying

financial-incentives strategy– businesses provide incentives to influence gov. policy makers to act a certain way, such as making a contribution to a political action committee that supports the policymaker

constituency-building strategy/ grass  roots strategy– businesses seek to gain support from other affected organizations to better influence gov. policy makers 

lobbying (most used political action tool)– representing a business before the ppl and agencies involved in determining legislative and regulatory outcomes; involves direct contact w/ a gov. official to influence the thinking or actions of that person on an issue or public policy; gifts cannot exceed $100 a year from a particular source; #1 biggest lobbying expenditures = lawyers 

revolving door– circulation of individuals b/n business and gov. (businesses sometimes hire former gov. officials as lobbyists and political advisors); favoritism toward old employers sometimes evident (unethical) 

lobbying types: expert witness testimony– CEOs/other executives give testimony at public forums (data, facts, anecdotes)

direct communications– businesses inviting gov. officials to visit their facilities, give speeches to employees, and participate in activities that will allow them to see the concerns of management and employees

Business Roundtable– one of most effective organizations at promoting direct communications; (1972) CEOs of leading organizations; it studies public policy issues and advocates for laws that it believes “foster economic growth and a dynamic global economy”

financial-incentive types: political action committee– independently incorporated organizations that can solicit contributions and then channel those funds to candidates seeking political office

pacs can only give $5,000 per candidate and $15,000 to a national committee per year

economic leverage– business uses its economic power to threaten to leave a city/state/country unless a desired political action is taken; also can be used to persuade a gov. body to act in a way that favors the business

constituency-building types: stakeholder coalitions – businesses trying to influence politics by mobilizing organizational stakeholders, like employees, stockholders, customers, and local community to support their political agenda

advocacy advertising – creating advocacy ads/issue ads that focus on company’s view on controversial political issues; ex: Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association got drug benefits extended to Medicare recipients,

public relations and trade associations – coalitions of companies in the same or related industries, who coordinate grassroots mobilization campaigns (ex: US Chamber of Commerce – more than 200,000 companies),

legal challenges – business seeks to overturn a law or challenges its legitimacy in court

levels of political involvementaggressive– (direct/personal) executive participation, involvement w/ industry working groups and ask forces, public policy development

moderate – (indirect/personal) organizational lobbyist, employee grassroots involvement, stockholders and customers encouraged to be involved

limited – (indirect/impersonal) contribution to political action committee, support of trade association or industry activities

bundling- moderate technique; company solicits contributions from stockholders and gives it to the candidate

campaign finance reform– running for political office becoming too expensive; proposes Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act to help; ban on soft money (unlimited contributions to national political parties by individuals or organizations for party-building activities) (Haim Saban of Saban Entertainment gave most – $9 million to democrats)

527 organizations– groups organized under section 527 of the IRS tax code for the sole purpose of influencing elections

Japan– political actors are big business, agriculture, and labor

guanxi– relationship b/n business and gov in China that must be established before lobbying can occur

reform abroad– limits on expenditures, contribution limits, disclosure regulations, bans against certain contribution and expenditure types, measures designed to encourage donations (tax relief), subsidies in kind, public subsidies

Starbucks– involved in politics when facing rising health care costs andbarriers to expansion into Central America and Southeast Asia; hired lobbyists to lobby for export tax breaks; in 2006, kicked political ppl out of Starbucks saying it prohibits political meetings; trying to stay out of politics