• shutterstock_59478175-ice-cream 600

    A Sweet History of an Icy Treat

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

    Every American person should know the old rhyme “You scream! I scream! We all scream for ice cream!”  In any country in the world, the word Ice Cream…

    Read More

  • Vatican city

    The Vatican City – History in the Making

    Tuesday, February 25, 2014

    Sited on the banks of the Tiber River, on a hill sits the Vatican City. It is a place that has one of the richest histories in the…

    Read More

  • shutterstock_webdesign-605x350

    Web Design Through the Years

    Thursday, January 23, 2014

    The internet is a relatively new invention but boy have things changed in its short life! The internet has changed the way we live and it has been…

    Read More

  • iphone-apple-reinvents-the-phone-1

    The iPhone – 7 Years and Counting

    Wednesday, January 15, 2014

    The iPhone is one of the world’s most iconic devices and, in the grand scheme of things, it isn’t very old. But when did it begin? Where did…

    Read More

  • shutterstock_wall street

    30 Years of Financial Crisis

    Sunday, January 5, 2014

    The world’s financial markets are destined to be stuck in a loop, forever repeating history, as overspending and bad business decisions result in financial crisis for everyone. This…

    Read More

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Seduction Community in the Spotlight

history of mens dating advice

In the beginning, there was Dear Abby – an American institution since the 1950s. Write in, and get nice, sensible advice on your dating dilemma. But the catch was that it was PG-rated, written by a woman and generally for them. Young men continued to get a lot of their dating advice from their peers in the locker room, and if they were lucky, an older male mentor who knew the ropes.

Away from the safe, clean-cut mainstream arena, there were always the racy magazines like Playboy which gave a totally different view. After finishing the articles, the attentive reader could go to the back and find books advertised with titles like “How to Pick Up Girls”. This classic by Eric Weber appeared in 1970, and included advice such as wearing bell-bottoms and marching in peace marches to pick up the hot hippies. The 1950s were gone, and men’s dating advice had moved on from how long you should wait to kiss a girl on the cheek at her doorstep. This was red-blooded and unashamed pick-up artistry! The term itself became part of the language, and the 1970s was a time when pick-up artistry flourished, albeit still underground.

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The iPhone – 7 Years and Counting

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The iPhone is one of the world’s most iconic devices and, in the grand scheme of things, it isn’t very old. But when did it begin? Where did the idea come from?

The very first iPhone was unveiled in January 2007 at the MacWorld convention. Steve Jobs revealed what Apple had been developing for nearly 3 years and, for its time, it represented the cutting edge of technology.

The device was introduced as an iPod with a wider screen, controlled by touch instead of physical buttons. In short, it was a mobile phone and a device to communicate with the internet. At the time, Jobs told the audience that this device would “reinvent the phone”.

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A Sweet History of an Icy Treat

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Every American person should know the old rhyme “You scream! I scream! We all scream for ice cream!”  In any country in the world, the word Ice Cream brings to mind memories of summer. Hot hazy days lounging in the shade with a dripping cone of the icy treat.

Ice cream is the ultimate treat but where does it come from?  The history if ice cream stretches right across the world.  In Italy, it’s called gelato, in India, Kulfi and in Japan its Mochi. Everywhere enjoys ice cream so let’s delve a little deeper into its history.

The Origins of Ice Cream

There are some who say that ice cream came from the Far East, with Marco Polo. Yet others say it was Catherine De Medici who took it to France when she moved there to marry King Henry II.

It’s unlikely that either of these stories is the truth because ice cream goes back much further than that.  What we eat now bears almost no resemblance to what ice cream used to be. Passages in the bible refer to King Solomon partaking of cool ice drinks throughout the harvest season.

Alexander the Great from Ancient Greece drank iced drinks that were flavored with wine or honey. Between 54 and 68 BC, while Nero reigned Rome, there were ice harvest from the mountains. The ice was kept in ice houses, which were deep straw covered pits and used to make icy drinks.

The First Frozen Ice Cream

The first instance of anyone eating frozen sweet treats is believed to go back to the Tang Dynasty, between 618 and 907 AD.  The emperors were thought to have eaten frozen milk confections, made with milk from cows, buffalo or goats and heated with flour.

Camphor was harvested from evergreen trees and added to give it a flavor and a better texture. The entire mix was then put in metal tubes and stored in ice pools until it was thoroughly frozen.

In the Medieval era, it’s thought that Arabs would drink icy concoctions called sherbet (sharabt in Arabic). This would be flavored with quince, pomegranate or cherry.  As time went by, this type of dink would become a favorite of the European aristocracy with the Italians being the first to master it followed by the French.

From Sorbet to Ice Cream

In the 17th century, ice drinks would be made into desserts. Sugar was added and thus we saw Sorbet.  The man responsible for writing the first ever recipe for sorbet and also for creating one made with a milk base, was Antonio Latini, a man who worked in Naples, for a Spanish Viceroy.  This milk sorbet is commonly considered as the first proper ice cream.

The first Café in Paris, called Il Procope, was opened in 1686 by a Sicilian man called Franceso Procopio dei Coltelli.  It because a popular place for intellectuals, such as Benjamin Franklin, Napoleon and Victor Hugo to meet up.  It was here that gelato was first served.  Gelato is an Italian version of sorbet and was served in tiny eggcup size bowls.

At about the same time, the French were beginning to experiment with something called Fromage.  Nicolas Audiger, a French confectioner, wrote a book called La Maison Reglee in which he noted down several different Fromage recipes.

These were made from fruit flavored ice and one that he noted included cream, orange flower water and sugar.  He also suggested that if the ice were stirred while it was freezing, air would be introduced and the result would be fluffier.

You could be mistaken for thinking that Fromage was cheese but it wasn’t and it is not clear why they chose this name. One thought is that cheese molds were used to freeze the desserts or it could just refer to the French for any edible substance that had been compressed or molded.

When Ice Cream Arrived in America

We cannot really pinpoint the exact time when ice cream arrived in America. It is widely belied though that is arrived in the early 1700’s, with European settlers.  By now there had been a few books published on confectionary, containing recipes for ice creams and ice drinks.

Housewives served these desserts to houseguests, molded in the shape of animal, vegetables and fruits, thanks to special molds that had been developed for the purpose. In 179, New York opened the first ever Ice Cream parlor and in the summer of that year, President George Washington is thought to have spent around $200 (a lot of money back then) satisfying his craving for the sweet icy treat.

Records from his home in Mt Vernon indicate the Washington also owned a few ice cream pots, fashioned from pewter and tin. It’s also recorded that Thomas Jefferson had a few ice houses, capable of being able to hold around 62 wagonloads of ice as well as untold amounts of ice cream.

The Lincolns also gained a taste for ice cream. Before Abraham Lincoln became President and even during his presidential term, his wife, Mary Todd, would hold strawberry parties for friends to celebrate the Berry season. Fresh strawberries would be served with cake and ice cream.

A popular Treat in America

The history of ice cream is firmly embedded in countries across the whole globe and is now very comfortably at home in the States.  It is now, quite possibly, the most popular of all desserts and around 9% of all the cow’s milk produced in the country is made into ice cream.

Apple pie may still be considered as popular but it is generally served with a scoop of ice cream on the side. It looks as though, no matter where it started life, ice cream is now planted firmly in the States, and is also a popular treat in many other countries.

The Right to Speak Freely

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In 1783, George Washington spoke to a group of Military officers, telling them “If freedom of speech is taken away, them dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” Unlike today’s modern world, freedom of speech has not always been a right and, particularly in America, the government has not always preserved it. The tradition of freedom of speech has been challenged by several hundred years of war, of changes in culture and of legal challenges.

1790

After listening to a suggestion made by Thomas Jefferson, James Madison secured the Bill of Rights, of which the First Amendment is a part of, ensuring it was included in the US Constitution. The theory of the First Amendment is that it is there to protect people’s rights to free speech. In practice, it is more of a symbolic gesture.

1798

President John Adams took umbrage when his administration was criticized and made a successful push for the Alien and Sedition Acts. The Sedition Act was aimed at those people who supported Thomas Jefferson and it was passed to restrict people from criticizing any President. In 1800, Thomas Jefferson took over the presidency and the law expired. John Adams party would never again be in a position of power.

1873

In 1873 the Federal Comstock Act was passed, granting the US Postal Service the authority to be able to censor mail. In particular, it was aimed at letters containing material that could be classed as “obscene, lewd and /or lascivious”.

1897

The desecration of the US Flag was officially banned in South Dakota and Illinois, Pennsylvania in this year. This ban was to last almost 100 years before the Supreme Court declared the ban as unconstitutional and lifted it.

1918

In this year, the Sedition Act was passed to target socialists, anarchists and any other left-wing activists that were against the participation of the US in World War 1. This marks the nearest point to which the US Government came to adopting a model of government that could be classed as Fascist and nationalist.

1940

The Smith Act, or The Alien Registration Act as it was officially known, was aimed at any person who recommended the replacement of the government, i.e. who wanted the current government overthrown. It also made it a requirement that all adults who were not US citizens were to register for monitoring purposes with government agencies. In 1957, the Act was weakened by the Supreme Court.

1942

The Fighting Words Doctrine was established by the Supreme Court, with a definition stating that laws that restricted the use of insulting or hateful language were not necessarily a violation of the First Amendment.

1969

Students, who were punished because they donned black armbands to demonstrate their opposition to the Vietnam War, went to the Supreme Court where it was ruled that they are covered in the Free Speech Protection mentioned in the First Amendment.

1971

The Washington Post started a series of publications on the Pentagon papers. This was a copy of a US Defense Department report which had been leaked and concerned the relations between the US and Vietnam between 1945 and 1967. The papers revealed that there were a number of embarrassing and highly dishonest foreign policy messes made by the US Government. The government made several futile attempts to stop the publication but were never successful.

1978

The Supreme Court granted power to the Federal Communications Commission to levy fines against any network that broadcast content that was considered to be indecent.

1996

Congress passed the Communications Decency Act. This was a federal law, aimed at applying indecency restrictions, classed as criminal law restrictions, to the internet. Just one year later, the Supreme Court, struck the law to its knees.

These are just some of the notable points in history pertaining to the freedom of speech and the long battle to gain it. Many governments, not just in the US but everywhere, have attempted to bring about laws that would effectively silence people and ensure that they controlled what could and could not be spoken, published or broadcast.

Many governments have tried and many governments have failed but there is no doubt that this is a battle that will continue to the end of time.

The Vatican City – History in the Making

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Sited on the banks of the Tiber River, on a hill sits the Vatican City. It is a place that has one of the richest histories in the world and is one of the most influential. The religious history that surrounds the Vatican City crosses centuries and is now the embodiment of many of the most important parts of the cultural history of Rome.

The Vatican City is home to the Roman Catholic Church headquarters. There you will find the central government for the Church, the Bishop of Rome, otherwise known as the Pope and the College of Cardinals.

Every year millions upon millions of people travel to the Vatican City, primarily to see the Pope but also to worship in St Peter’s basilica and to view the wonders that are stored in the Vatican Museums.

The Beginning of the Vatican City

Technically speaking, the Vatican City is a country, an independent city-state and is the smallest in the whole world. The Vatican City’s political body is governed by the Pope but, and not everyone knows this, it is many, many years younger than the Church.

As a political body, the Vatican City has been classed as a Sovereign State since 1929, when a treaty was signed between the Kingdom of Italy and the Catholic Church. That treaty was the end result of more than 3 years of negotiations on how certain relations should be handled between them, namely political, financial and religious.

Although the negotiations took 3 years, the dispute actually began back in 1870 and neither the Pope nor his cabinet would agree to leave the Vatican City until the dispute was resolved. That happened in 1929 with the Lateran Treaty.

This was the defining point for the Vatican as it was this treaty that determined the City as a completely new entity. It was this treaty that split the Vatican City from the rest of the Papal States that were, in essence, most of the Kingdom of Italy from 765 through to 1870. Much of the territory was brought into The Kingdom of Italy in 1860 with Rome and Lazio not capitulating until 1870.

The roots of the Vatican City go back much further though. Indeed, we can trace them back as far as the 1st Centruy AD when the Catholic Church was first established. Between the 9th and 10th Centuries right on through to the Renaissance period, the Catholic Church was at the top of its power, politically speaking. The Popes gradually took on more and more governing power eventually heading up all of the regions that surrounded Rome.

The Papal States were responsible of the government of Central Italy until the unification of Italy, almost a thousand years of rule. For a great deal of this time, following their return to the City in 1377 after an exile to France that lasted 58 years, the reigning Popes would reside in one of a number of palaces in Rome.   When the time cane for Italy to unify the popes refused to recognize that the Italian King had a right to rule and they refused to leave the Vatican. This ended in 1929.

Much of what people see in the Vatican City, the paintings, sculpture and architecture, was created during those Golden years. Now revered artists, people such as Raphael, Sandro Botticelli and Michelangelo made the journey to the Vatican City to pronounce their faith and their dedication to the Catholic Church. This faith can be seen in the Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s basilica.

The Vatican City Now

Today, the Vatican City remains a religious and historical landmark, as important now as it was then. It receives millions of visitors from all around the world, visitors who come to see the beauty of the City, to take in its history and the culture and to express their belief in the Catholic Church.

The influence and the power of the Vatican City were not left in the past though. It is the center, the heart of the Catholic Church and, as such, because Catholicism is still one of the single largest religions in the entire world, it remains as a highly influential and visible presence in the world today.

In between the priceless art houses in the Museums, the beautiful architecture that is St Peters Basilica and the religious significance of the Pope, the Vatican City has become one of the most popular destinations in the world for travelers. It is the embodiment of some of the more significant parts of both Western and Italian history, opening a window onto the past, a past that lives on today.

A Browse Through the History of the Internet

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Unlike many things we take for granted these days, like a light bulb or perhaps the telephone, the invention of the internet cannot be attributed to one single inventor. It is something that has evolved through the years and is now one our biggest recreational pastimes.

We can pinpoint the beginnings of the internet by going back to the Cold War when the Americans used it as a weapon. For many years, it was used as a method of communication between researchers and scientists, for them to share their data with one another. Today, it is used for just about anything and, for some, life without the internet would be unthinkable.

Enter the Sputnik

October 4th, 1957. The Russians, then known as the Soviet Union, launched Sputnik. This was the first man-made satellite, sent into orbit, to circle around the earth. It was a failure; all it dis was tumble around in outer space, with no real direction, sending back the odd bleep from the on-board radio transmitters.

Failure it may have been, the USA still saw it as a threat, a warning that they needed to take notice of. While some of the brightest minds in the USA had spent their time designing televisions and cars it would seem that the Soviets had been directing their energies elsewhere – on something that would help them win the Cold War.

It took the launch of this satellite to make America sit up and think. Subjects such as chemistry and physics began to appear on the school syllabus. Government grants were provided for corporations to invest in research and development.

The Federal government began to form new agencies and, so, NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) was born. Alongside NASA another Department of Defense Agency appeared. The Advanced Research Projects Agency, or ARPA for short, was set up for the development of space-age technology – rockets, computers and weapons.

ARPAnet is born

One of the main concerns with Sputnik from the point of view of the scientists and the military experts was the effect a Soviet attack could have on the telephone system. The biggest fear was that the whole system would be destroyed in one fell swoop, leaving the Americans without any form of communication.

In 1962, J C R Licklider, an MIT and ARPA scientist came up with a solution. He proposed a “galactic” network, a series of computers that could communicate with each other, which would allow government leaders to talk to each other even if the telephone system were destroyed.

In 1965, yet another MIT scientist came up with something called packet switching, a system of sending information from one computer straight to another.

The way that packet switching works is it breaks data into smaller blocks before sending it on its way. Each block, or packet, can then find its own route to its destination and, without this system, the entire network would still have been open to attack.

“Login”

In 1969, ARPAnet, as the system became known, sent its very first message. It was called a “node to node” communication and it went from one computer, housed at UCLA inside a research lab to another one in Stanford. At that time, each computer was about the size of a small house.

The message they sent was very short and very simple – LOGIN – but it still managed to bring down the ARPA network and the Stanford computer received only the first two letters of the message.

The Growth of the Network

By the time 1969 had ended there were 4 computers connected to ARPAnet but, throughout the seventies, the network began to grow, In 1971, the University of Hawaii’s ALOHAnet was added to the network followed a couple of years later by those from the London University College and Norway’s Royal Radar Establishment.

As these networks began to multiply it started to become difficult to integrate them all into one universal global network, called the “internet”. By the end of the seventies Vinton Cerf, a computer scientist, had found the solution to this by coming up with a way for all of the computers on these mini-networks to talk to each other. It was called “Transmission Control Protocol” or TCP for short.

He later added another protocol into the mix called “internet protocol” and that is what we know today as TCP/IP.

The Beginning of the World Wide Web

This protocol turned the entire series of mini networks into one big worldwide network. During the eighties, scientists and researchers alike made use of this new network to send each other files and date, from one computer straight to another. However, in 1991, everything changed again.

Tim Berners-Lee, a computer programmer from Switzerland, gave us the World Wide Web. This was a system that could be used, not just to send data and files between computers but also as a place of information, a web if you like. This was somewhere where anyone could go to find information about things. This was the internet, as we know it today.

Since then, the internet has evolved beyond recognition. In 1992, at the University of Illinois, a group of researchers and students got together and produced Mosaic. This was the world’s very first internet browser, a very sophisticated one for its time, although later its name was changed to Netscape.  Mosaic made it easy to search the internet for information; it let users see pictures as well as words, both on the same page for the very first time.

Mosaic also allowed users to use things like scrollbars and links that you could click, to navigate their way around the web. In the same year, Congress allowed that the web could be used for commercial use of. Because of that, a number of companies began to set up websites, and e-commerce entrepreneurs started to sell goods and services on the internet and now, with social sites like Twitter and Facebook, it is a complete world of its own.

 

A Hallucinogenic History of Pyschoactive Drugs

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There is no doubt about it, drugs do have a long and lasting effect on society, perhaps none more so than those that come under the heading of psychoactive. What is a psychoactive drug though?

The medical definition states that a psychoactive drug is one that has an impact of sorts on the mood, the way of thinking and the behavior of the person taking it.  This is done by way of manipulation of the central nervous system.

Human beings have a long history of using these drugs, going back many millennia.  While it is not possible to list every single instance of a psychoactive drug being used, we can find some of them. The earliest instances of this type of drug come from plants and fruits that have the ability to alter mood.

The Ancient Civilizations

The Egyptian, the Chinese, the Indians, South Americans and Sumerians, to name but a few of the ancient cultures, used alcohol, opium, cannabis, psychedelic (magic) mushrooms, peyote and coca leaves.

The Middle-Ages

This was the year of psychoactive plants and much use was made of belladonna and psilocybin mushrooms, mostly by shamans for the purpose of healing. Also widely used were coffee and distilled alcohol.

Renaissance

The most used psychoactive ingredients in this period we tobacco, coffee, distilled alcohol, opium and tea. The tea would have been made from the leaves of certain plants, not tea as we know it today.

Early Industrial Revolution

This was the era when techniques were developed to refine the drugs.  They made morphine from opiates; they came up with hypodermic needles and rolling machines for tobacco. All of this served to increase the abuse and the chances of addiction to these drugs.

20th Century

The drug scene picked up speed, if you will pardon the pun, in this era.  We got better at distributing the drugs; we made newer drugs from synthetic ingredients and so began the era of drug regulation.  We got prohibition and the exclusion of marijuana and all this served to do increase the use.

Today

The drug business is huge these days, with vast amounts of cash. Believe it or not, terrorism has played its part in exacerbating the situation, opening up new markets and new channels for distribution.  Certain countries thrive on the growth of cocaine, cannabis and other such drugs.

When the 21st Centruy dawned, we saw a huge increase in so-called club drugs, such as Ecstasy and GHB although this increase was only for a short time. Instead, alcohol, marijuana and methamphetamines increase in use.

Prescription drugs became the drug of choice, mainly because they were so easy to get hold off.  Psychoactive drugs had found their home and they were to stay.  Despite early regulations that ruled marijuana illegal, many US states have now declared it a legal substance for medical purposes only.

Psychoactive Classification

Psychoactive drugs are generally known either by their trade or street name:

  • Uppers – Cocaine, Methamphetamine, caffeine, nicotine
  • Downers – Opioids, heroin, alcohol, sedative hypnotics
  • Psychedelics –  LSD, MDMA
  • Psychiatric medications – anti-biotic, mood stabilizers, anti-anxiety drugs

Hallucinogens

The history of hallucinogenic drugs goes back around 2000 years. The Native Indian used the Peyote cactus, psilocybin mushrooms were used by the Mayans while the use of Cannabis began in 3000BC in China.

It is widely believed that psychoactive and hallucinogenic drugs were largely responsible for the creation of some cultures.  They were a major influence of art and religion for the Mayans. Peyote is thought to have been the influence of religion of the Huichol Indians in Mexico.  The list could go on because, somewhere though history, psychoactive drugs have had a major influence on society in one way or another.

The foods you eat

What may be worrying is that many of the common psychoactive ingredients can be found in the food you consume on a daily basis. Coffee, tea and chocolate, not to mention anything with alcohol or tobacco in it. Many prescription drugs, though they may seem to be relatively harmless, also contain psychoactive ingredients.  So, the next time you feel higher than normal or inexplicably down, take a look at what you are consuming for the answer first.

Web Design Through the Years

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The internet is a relatively new invention but boy have things changed in its short life! The internet has changed the way we live and it has been responsible for the creation of thousands upon thousands of jobs that simply would not exist without it.

One of those categories of job is web design, something that we would sorely miss now if it disappeared.  What would we do without the animations? The colorful backgrounds, the fancy writing and the music playing in the background?

When did it Begin?

In 1990, Tim Berners-Lee developed the very first web browser, and it was called WorldWdeWeb, although it was later renamed as Nexus. At that time, only text could be displayed on a web page. No fancy fonts, no pretty pictures or videos, just simple plain text, with links underlined in blue.

In 1993 Mosaic was released, the first ever web browser that allowed developers to add images to their web pages.  It was able to support .gif images and web forms, a massive leap forward for the time.

Design was not brilliant because of the constraint of the browser and to a limit in bandwidth programmers rather than designers designed most websites.

Mid 1990’s to 2000

By the mid-nineties, Netscape was the top web browser but it was soon knocked off its pedestal by internet Explorer and so began the war of the browsers.  Around this time, web design began to get a little more complex, using frames and tables as well as images.

Animated .gif images could be used to create buttons on sites and JavaScript began to appear on some websites.

From 1998, we began to see the introduction of web development tool kits. Remember DreamWeaver? GoLive?  These began to be more popular as they gave a larger number of users access to web page creation.

Jobs in web design began to grow as more designers were offered jobs to build sites.  Flash technology also made its appearance during this era of web site design although it was not all that popular to start off with.

2000 -2004

In the year 2000, the bubble burst and hundreds of thousands of web businesses crashed. However, while this may have put the clamps on things for a while, it was not for long.  Web design standards began to pick up again.

Now we started to see a better class of design. We got designs that were not based on tables, we got transparency with .png images and CMS began to grow in popularity.  Content management System was a program that allowed designers to publish content on the web. They could go back in and edit what they had published and modify it as they saw fit.

2004 – 2007

Web 2.0 was born in 2004. This was the era of bold websites, sites that were aimed at communities. There was bold typography and shiny gradients. Corners became rounded, edges softened and web design, once again, took off at the speed of light.

Websites began to be more functional and needed more in the way of an interface to work properly. Widgets were introduced all over the place to help integrate one site with another. This was more often, where a social network site was involved, lining outside feeds to the site, or lining from the site to a blog.

2008 to the Present

Web site design has evolved incredibly over the last few years and one thing that has given it a push, unbelievably, was the iPhone. Mobile website design was introduced, allowing people to view sites properly on their phones.

Many of the bigger websites created mobile versions of their sites specifically for the smartphone and the tablets that were fast becoming popular devices.  On the internet itself, the large and fast growing social network sites created more widgets for user to put on their blogs and other websites created widgets designed to go on social network sites.

In design, typography increased tremendously and grid-based designs are fast becoming the norm.

Today, website design is a huge business. Designs are more complex yet less cluttered. Early websites were difficult to navigate; today, a well-designed website is enough to ensure your business will succeed.

In terms of design, where the internet goes from now is anyone’s guess. We have color, we have fonts and we have images. We can even embed videos into websites now so who knows where the next trend will take us.

 

 

30 Years of Financial Crisis

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The world’s financial markets are destined to be stuck in a loop, forever repeating history, as overspending and bad business decisions result in financial crisis for everyone. This has been the pattern in the world since the financial industry began.

A look back over the last 30 years or so sees the same pattern repeating itself – excessive and unrestrained exuberance, poor regulations, poor accounting and a sense that “it won’t happen to me”.

This is a look at some of worst crises to hit the world markets since 1980 and how, it would seem, lessons are never learned.

1982 – Latin American Sovereign Debt

This crisis occurred when a number of  Latin American countries, who had been irrationally spending and running up deb for years, suddenly took stock and realized they had no hope of paying it back.

Mexico, Argentina and Brazil were the biggest culprits, using borrowed money for infrastructure and development. Their economies were in a boom period and banks were happy to loan money. In just 7 years, the debt in Latin America quadrupled.

The crunch cane when the world went into recession in the late seventies – interest rose, currencies fell and, in August 1982, the then Mexican Finance minister, Jesus Silva-Herzog, declared that Mexico could not pay.

1980’s Savings and Loans Crisis

While the problem in Latin America was being resolved another one was taking place in America.  The Savings and Loans crisis lasted for more than a decade following the breakdown of more than 700 different savings and loans associations in America.

It happened because each of these associations was lending money long term at fixed rates but was using short-term cash.  Interest rates went up, many companies were insolvent but, because of a stream of deregulation that happened when Ronald Reagan was the president, many managed to appear as if they were actually still solvent.

1987 – Stock Market Crash

Despite what happened in the eighties, lessons were not learned and another two crises happened before 1989. The biggest one was the stock market crash of 1987, now commonly known as Black Monday.

Stock markets around the world fell fast, including the US where the Dow Jones lost 23% of its value in hit. There is still, to this day, much debate about the cause of the crash but the consensus seems to be program trading and its growth.

It lasted only a very short time and. By December of the same year, the markets were on the up again and everything was back to normal, as if it had never happened.

1989 – Junk Bond Crash

This one resulted in a rather significant recession in the US and there is still disagreement about the cause. Most people point the finger at the buyout of UAL, costing $6.75 billion, while other says it was the Ohio Mattress Fiasco.

Whatever the reason, the result was one of the most expensive to ever hit the US and it resulted in the closure of one of the largest investment banks in the US, Drexel Burnham Lambert, who dealt heavily in Junk Bonds.

1994 – Tequila crisis

This one was kicked off by the sudden devaluation of the Peso in Mexico and it resulted in an interest rate crisis of massive proportions.  The cause of it was the new President abolishing tight currency controls that were put in place by his predecessor.  His reasoning was that, although they stabilized the market, the controls also place a huge strain on the country’s finances.

Before he took power, banks were lending at low rates and with Chiapas, one of the poorer southern states, rebelling, the peso fell in value by almost 50% in the space of a week.  The US bailed Mexico out to the tune of a $50 billion loan and the economy picked up almost immediately.

1997 – 1998 – Asia Crisis

Over 15 years after the LatAm crisis in 1982, history repeated itself in Asia.  The Thailand currency, the baht, collapsed in July 1997 after the government was forced it float it on the market.

Thailand was in debt in a big way, money it could pay back even before their currency broke down and the financial crisis quickly spread across Asia. Once again, the IMF came to rescue with a bailout to the tune of $40 million but the exact same thing happened in Russia just one year later.

1999 – 2000 – Dotcom Bubble

Once again, the financial markets forget everything that had happened in the past and the result was the burst of the Dotcom bubble in 2000.  Preceding the crash, stocks in technology and internet pushed the stock format into a bull market, crating millionaires overnight.

The fact that so few people actually made any money was largely ignored and hysteria continued to build until the inevitable burst in 2000. The economy put the brakes on and interest rates went up, resulting in companies going bust everywhere.

2007 – Date – Global Financial Crisis

A mere few years after that crash, the world went into its nastiest meltdown yet, resulting in the European Sovereign debt crisis.  Many major financial institutions collapsed and this is considered to be the worst crisis to hit since the Great Depression.

There are many causes to this crisis but the main starting point was when the US housing market crashed.  That crisis is ongoing to this day and, although many countries are now struggling out of the depths, it is expected to be several years before full recovery is experienced.

Have we learned our lessons?

Probably not. It seems that the world’s financial markets are stuck in an endless loop of repeating themselves. Markets boom, prices and interest rise. It reaches a point where it can’t be sustained and everything crashes to the floor.

Every time there is a crisis, new regulations are brought out to prevent a recurrence. It doesn’t work and there are those that believe we need the crashes to make the world a stronger place

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