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Pros and Cons of Space Exploration

Space exploration allows us to see what the universe has to offer beyond our planet. Space exploration is life-altering and makes people have a different view of life and cosmos; you never know what to expect there.

Exploring the space comes with a lot of health risk due to high radiation exposure. The longer you stay there, the higher the risk. The article highlights the pros and cons of space exploration.

1 . Increase our knowledge: Exploring the space enable us to understand more about the universe, how it was created, and the reasons why it exists. It gives more insights about the world we live in.

2 . Provides hope for future: We humans have been confined to what happens within our planet and if something happens that changes the environment of our plat it will wipe out all human species. Space exploration can give us hope that human species can survive.

3 . Offer a solution to problems: The programs designed to collect space information can be used in solving modern problems like programs to learn more about the earth’s atmosphere can predict weather patterns.

4 . Learn how long the planet will sustain life: Satellites enable scientists to know how long the earth can sustain life, learn where about where organic materials come from and others.

5 . Pave the way to advanced technology: New technologies are being developed for space programs. They will not only be used in space programs but also in other industries.

6 . Look for alternative energy resources: Exploring space can help scientist learn about other energy sources for producing electricity. They also learn more about the sun and the earth.

7 . Job creation: Space exploration programs lead to the creation of jobs for skilled professionals, technicians, research assistants, and engineers among others.

8 . Monitor asteroids and meteors movement: Collecting information about asteroids entering the earth surface, scientists can find ways to divert them before they cause imminent danger.

9 . Inspire mankind to take care of mother earth: Knowing what’s happening in the universe and the earth’s surface gives us a clear picture of how to take care of the mother earth and be sustainable.

10 . Improves lives on earth: Meteorologists can suspend satellites in the universe and record the atmosphere as well as weather patterns: This information is essential to warn people about any possible disasters.

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1 . Put astronauts life in danger: Astronauts missions can lead to numerous injuries and to some extent cause death.

2 . Pollution in space: There is always some “leave behinds” after any space mission. Debris like rocket launch boosters, satellites and other equipment left behind can pollute the space environment.

3 . Space motion sickness: Trips to outer space even for a few minutes causes some space motion sickness like nonstop vomiting or queasiness.

4 . Risks of cardiovascular disease: Astronauts exposed to space radiation and other solar particles are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease, and acute radiation syndrome.

5 . Damage genes: Exposure to those high radiations can damage individual genetics exposing him to cancer risks and other health risks.

6 . Expensive: It is very expensive to explore the space. You need to build space shuttles and rockets, train, build new technology for space missions, and all these are very costly.

7 . Conflicts between nations: The satellites used to monitor space activities or outer space exploration can bring conflicts between two nations instead of building a friendship.

8 . Bring harmful elements to earth surface: After exploring space, harmful elements and organisms can be brought back to earth and they may be hazardous to people and the environment.

9 . Nations rely on space exploration to exploit other nations: Satellites used for space communication can be used by a nation to spy on another nation by monitoring their communication.

10 . Not like what you find there: Not everything found in space will be beneficial to our planet, some microorganisms can bring serious health risk to our planet.

Pros and Cons of Moving to a New Country

This is a guest post from the Bangalore based expat, Tishana Ince.

Moving abroad to start a new life is a massive decision, one that requires a lot of thought, planning and budgeting. You could be moving for work, a new adventure or for love. Be sure to do your homework on the place you are moving to. So let us look at the the pros and cons of embarking on your journey in a new country.

Completely New Experience

Life in a new country can be a real adventure. Eating food that you have never tasted before, getting to see places you have only ever seen on television up until then, soaking in sights, sounds and smells you have never experienced before, culture and customs that are completely different from your own. The list is endless!

Learning a new language and experiencing a new culture will make you appreciate the history, values and customs of that country. Meeting and befriending different kinds of people will broaden your horizons and change your life forever.

Career and Professional Growth

On the career front, you gain a completely fresh perspective of how people deal with work situations and get accustomed to the business culture or professional ethics in that country. The experience gained in a new country will do wonders for your career.

Travel and Adventure

Moving to a new country means that you have the opportunity to travel to places that you might have only dreamt of. Being able to explore and experience destinations that are far away from your own is one of the great joys of life!

New Circle of Friends

Back in your hometown your social circle consisted of your friends from school or college, colleagues and people you have known for a long time. Living abroad gives you the chance to meet interesting people from a variety of backgrounds. Forming new and meaningful friendships becomes second nature when living in a new country.

Life in a new country comes with its own set of challenges. Apart from the initial culture shock, you will have to deal with realities like finding a job, looking for suitable housing and getting accustomed to the local culture. It may take time for you to settle in if one of these factors do not fall into place as expected.

Involves a certain amount of risk

Uprooting yourself from your current job or vocation in order to move abroad is a risky proposition, especially if you have not secured a job at your destination abroad. Other details like having to sell your belongings, your car or even your house is a huge undertaking.

Away from family and friends

Distance can take toll on relationships. Not being able to attend your best friend’s wedding or be with your family for Christmas can be particularly disappointing and disheartening. It is in times like these that homesickness can set it.

Moving to a new country can be an expensive affair. Once you reach your destination country, you will have to bear expenses like rent and monthly bills till you start earning income. The first few months can be particularly hard as you will have unexpected expenses to content with.

Tishana is a marketing professional at FeedbacQ, a service that connects expats and would-be expats to quality-verified international movers worldwide. A serial expat herself, she enjoys yoga, hiking, tennis and dancing.

What is Expatistan?

Expatistan.com is an international cost of living index.

We rely on visitors like you to share prices in their home cities with us. The result is a down-to-earth, realistic index that is free and easy to use.

You can compare the cost of living of any two cities in the world, and when you are done you can share prices of your city and improve the comparisons for everyone!

The Pros and Cons of Moving to a Cashless Society

A cashless society might sound like something out of science fiction, but we’re already on our way. Several powerful forces are behind the move to a cash-free world, including governments and large financial services companies. Even critics of the mainstream financial system and government-issued currencies favor doing away with cash.

But we’re not there yet. In addition to logistical challenges, we need to address several social issues before giving up on cash entirely. The benefits and disadvantages below can give you an idea of the myriad of effects going cashless can have on money and banking as you know it.

Benefits

Lower crime because there’s no tangible money to steal

Less money laundering because there’s always a paper trail

Less time and costs associated with handling paper money as well as storing and depositing it

Easier currency exchange while traveling internationally

Disadvantages

Exposes your personal information to a possible data breach

If hackers drain your bank account, you’ll have no alternative source of money

Technology problems can leave you with no access to your money

The poor and those without bank accounts will have difficulty paying and receiving payments

Some may find it harder to control spending when they don’t see physical cash leaving their hands

Banks may start charging fees to compensate for possible negative interest rates

Benefits of a Cashless Society

Less crime: With cash, it’s easy to steal money, whether the amount is large or small. Also, illegal transactions (drug trade, for example) typically take place with cash so that there’s no record of the transaction—and so that the seller can be certain about getting paid.

Paper trails: Financial crime should also dry up. It is harder to hide income and evade taxes when there’s a record of every payment you receive. Money laundering becomes much harder if the source of funds is always available.

No cash management: It costs money to print bills and coins. Businesses need to store the money, get more when they run out, and deposit cash when they have too much on hand. Moving money around and protecting large sums of cash could become a thing of the past.

International payments: When you visit a foreign country, you may need to buy local currency. But payments are easy if both nations can handle cashless transactions. Instead of figuring out another currency, your mobile device handles everything for you.

Disadvantages of a Cash-Free World

Depending on your perspective, going cashless might actually be problematic.

Privacy: Electronic payments mean less privacy. You might trust the organizations that handle your data, and you might have nothing to hide, but your payment information could turn up in ways that are impossible to predict. Cash allows you to spend money and receive funds anonymously.

Hacking: Hackers are the bank robbers and muggers of the electronic world. In a cashless society, the consequences are higher if somebody drains your account because you don’t have any alternative ways to spend. Even if you’re protected under federal law, you face significant inconveniences and other consequences after a breach.

Technology problems: Glitches, outages, and innocent mistakes can also cause problems, leaving you without the ability to buy things when you need them. Likewise, merchants have no way to accept payments from customers when systems malfunction. Even something as simple as a dead phone battery could leave you “penniless.”

Inequality: The poor and unbanked will have an even harder time in a cashless society. They don’t have expensive devices for making payments, and those who operate in the informal economy would have no way to get paid or receive aid. The U.K. is experimenting with contactless ways to donate to charities and homeless individuals, but there’s still a long way to go. 

Fees, Fees, Fees: If we’re forced to choose from just a few payment methods, can we expect financial institutions to give us a fantastic deal? Payment processors may just cash in on the high volumes, eliminating the savings that should come from less cash handling.

Overspending: When you spend with cash, you feel the “pain” of every dollar you spend. But with electronic payments, it’s easy to swipe, tap, or click without noticing how much you spend. Consumers will need to renew their efforts to manage their spending.

Negative interest rates: When all money is electronic, if the government charges banks a negative interest rate, they can pass it on to customers (in the form of fees) who will no longer have any cash to pull out and stuff into a proverbial mattress to avoid the negative rates. Dropping the interest rate is typically a move to stimulate an economy, but the result is that money loses purchasing power. 

What Does a Zero-Cash World Look Like?

Without cash, payments happen electronically. Instead of using paper and coins to exchange value, you authorize a transfer of funds to another person or business. The logistics are still developing, but we have some hints on how a cashless society might evolve.

  • Credit cards and debit cards are among the most popular cash alternatives in use today. But cards alone aren’t enough. Mobile devices will most likely become a primary tool for payments.
  • Electronic payment apps, like Zelle, PayPal, and Venmo, are helpful for P2P payments. In addition, bill-splitting apps allow friends to split their bills easily and in a fair manner.
  • Mobile payment services and mobile wallets like Apple Pay provide secure, cash-free payments. In developing and developed nations that use cash sparingly, mobile devices are the most common tools for payments.
  • Cryptocurrencies are also part of the discussion: They’re already used for money transfers, and they introduce competition and innovation that may help keep costs low. But they currently have risks and regulatory hurdles that make them impractical for most consumers, so they might not be right for widespread use.

Examples of Cashless Societies

Several nations are already making moves to eliminate cash, with the push coming from both consumers and government bodies. Sweden and India are two notable examples.

Sweden: It’s not uncommon to see signs that say “No cash accepted” in Swedish shops, and some banks no longer handle cash. Cash payments are only 15 percent of retail sales in Sweden, and some point to Sweden as the model for a modern cashless society.   Consumers are mostly happy with this situation, but the poor and elderly still struggle with the electronic world.

India: The Indian government banned 500 and 1,000 rupee notes in November of 2020 in an effort to penalize criminals and those working in the informal economy. The implementation was rushed and controversial, and roughly 99 percent of those banknotes were deposited—meaning criminals didn’t lose much if any, money. Electronic transactions increased temporarily but fell to pre-demonetization levels in the next year. 

Those examples suggest that going cashless is possible with sufficient infrastructure and gradual progress. The remaining questions center on how the marginalized will fare when cash is history.

Fracking — the pros and cons

What’s really going on beneath our feet when we use fracking to extract natural gas from deep underground?

By Scott A. Elias, PhD Posted on 9 September 2020

The Author

Dr. Scott A. Elias is Professor of Quaternary Science in the Department of Geography of Royal Holloway, University of London, specializing in environmental biology. His chief research focus concerns the reconstruction of past environmental change and the response of animals and plants to those changes during the last million years.

Recently, he became Editor-in-Chief of the upcoming Elsevier Reference Module in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences, which will contain more than 3,800 peer-reviewed articles from Elsevier reference works, many on issues related to the state of the planet’s health. The module will be hosted on ScienceDirect, a scientific database containing more than 11 million full-text journal articles and book chapters. [divider]

Fracking: What is it?

Shale gas is methane trapped in tiny pockets in shale rock formations. In order to extract the gas, engineers drill shafts down into the shale, most often with many radiating horizontal shafts that feed into the vertical shaft. Engineers drill vertical shafts down to great depths, then they drill radiating horizontal shafts that feed it. Then they force hydraulic fluids into the rock to fracture the shale and open the pockets of gas, releasing it to flow to the surface.

The term “fracking” is short for “hydraulic fracturing.” Over the past 10 to 15 years, the number of fracking wells has expanded rapidly in the US, liberating increasing amounts of methane.

What are the benefits?

So much natural gas has been extracted through fracking in recent years that US carbon emissions are actually falling. This is partly due to the economic recession since 2008, but the US Energy Information Administration reckons that just less than half of the fall in emissions is due to the replacement of coal burning with shale gas for electrical energy production. It would seem that shale gas, which occurs in shale deposits around the world, is in a perfect position to replace coal in power stations. Already more than a third of natural gas burned in the US is coming from fracking wells, and shale gas is now cheaper than coal in the US.President Obama recently praised the US natural gas boom in a speech on climate change, crediting it with delivering cleaner energy. Many have described fracking as the bridge between the carbon-based energy systems of the past and a cleaner, greener future.

What are the risks?

If fracking was just a new-fangled way of tapping natural gas sources, it would be welcomed by most people as a cheaper, cleaner alternative to oil and coal. The problems lie in the method of extraction.In order to get the gas out, a witch’s brew of toxic chemicals has to be pumped into the shale at high pressure. More specifically, this is a mixture of water, sand, lubricants, poisons to keep bacteria and other microorganisms from clogging the pipes, and hydrochloric acid to dissolve the excess cement in the pipes (Brooks, 2020). If these fluids stayed far underground, they might not damage the human environment. The problem is that they find their way back to the surface through accidents at well heads, well blowouts, backflow of fluids to the surface, and leaks throughout the system. Altogether, more than 650 products containing chemicals with potential cancer-causing properties have been used in fracking (Balaba and Smart, 2020).

One would think that a country such as the US would have laws to protect the environment from toxic pollutants like these, but unfortunately the current laws are full of loopholes when it comes to fracking. For instance, an exception to the Safe Drinking Water Act is made for toxic chemicals injected into wells during hydraulic fracturing. An exception to the Clean Water Act permits temporarily stored waste water from fracking facilities to go untreated.

Other exemptions to US environmental safety regulations mean that fracking well operators are not obliged to report annual releases of toxic chemicals from their wells (Centner, 2020).Finally, the government does not require well operators to disclose the chemical contents of the fluids they use in the fracking process. These are considered trade secrets. It seems ironic that these companies do not have to disclose the contents of their fracking chemicals, when the manufacturers of household cleaning products must disclose every detail of their contents (Lauver, 2020).

The Obama administration is proposing a new set of fracking rules, and their initial proposal has received an enormous number of comments from the public (more than 175,000 responses). The new set of rules only cover fracking on public lands, but the administration hopes that these rules will be adopted by individual states for use on private lands as well.

The rules set standards of well integrity and management of polluted water that flows back to the surface. Groundwater pollution is another serious concern, but results of an EPA study on that threat are not expected before 2020. In the meantime, thousands of new fracking wells are springing up all over the country.

Related story

Read Dr. Elias’s previous Elsevier Connect article: “Climate change’s silver lining”[divider]

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