Indoor air health threat more acute and widespread than public is aware

Just found out something really scary. According to Blueair, the world’s leading maker of indoor air purifiers, that contrary to what many believe, indoor air is often far more polluted – and harmful to health – than the air outside.

Blueair responded to a study of pregnant mothers by Umea University in Sweden, which indicated high levels of traffic exhaust fumes and ozone could lead to a bigger risk of premature birth than the mother smoking. But solving the problem is not as easy as just staying inside. Apparently, the buildup of polluted air indoors poses a major threat to health and wellbeing that many people don’t know about, according to Jonas Holst, Blueair Global Head of Sales and Marketing.

Describing the new findings as very worrying, Holst said the Umeå University research reflects just the tip of an iceberg and to get rid of the problem people need to take measures to clean their indoor air far more than today.

“Our homes and offices are constantly being bombarded by high levels of airborne pollutants that most people are unaware about,” he said. The US Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, has stated indoor air levels of many pollutants may be more than 100 times higher than outdoor levels. Air pol- lutants in buildings are of particular concern because most people spend as much as 90% of their time indoors, according to the EPA.

Blueair is currently launching a campaign in Europe, Asia and the USA to help raise public awareness about the health dangers of indoor air pollution. The campaign is designed to also show how people can dramatically remove 99.97% of everything potentially harmful, including traffic exhaust particles and other allergens.

“It’s amazing that modern cars are fitted with air filters to protect drivers and passengers, but little is done to improve healthy air conditions inside our buildings where we live and work,” says Jonas Holst.

Four key trends shaping the future of social

Leading thinkers in marketing, social, digital, and future business gathered with over 500 industry peers at Social Commerce Summit Europe. Together with leaders from the world’s top brands, they shared ideas and trends that will shape the future of social as customer-centricity drives the next wave of organizational change. According to the thought leaders, the four trends below represent the themes driving social today.

Social is a paradigm shift. We’ve moved from channeled experiences and brand-controlled messages to empowered consumers in a channel-agnostic marketplace. Companies should recognise and accept the enormity of this change.

Social data reveals the why behind the buy. Customer conversations create an insight-rich gold mine for businesses. The awesome power of conversation will be felt in the insights gained and the actions inspired.

Becoming customer-centric demands organisational transformation. Capturing the full value of social data takes place across the entire organisation, often requiring cultural changes. Social data can drive change beyond marketing, impacting sales, customer service, and product development.

Context is king in social data. To be successful, internal and external social efforts must be designed and evaluated in relation to the larger context of business goals and historical shifts.

You can read a review of the conclusions here.

Let it snow!

From all of us at Wanobe to all of you, the very best wishes for you and your
family!

Have a really happy holiday. And for 2012, we wish you a brilliant
year full of fun, success, happiness, health, love, sunshine, deep snow and
all you wish for.

Thanks for all you have done for us this year as contributors and investors!

May your sledge runners glide perfectly!

European Professional Services hit hard by bad debt

Accountants, lawyers and recruiters are suffering most in the current economic downturn in Europe, writing off three times than companies in the utilities sector, for example.

A survey of almost 6,000 businesses across Europe by credit management services groupIntrum Justitia shows significant differences in how industry sectors are hit by bad debt and late payments. Businesses in professional services on average have to write off 4.5 percent of all transactions whilst businesses in utilities only write off 1.5 percent. Intrum Justitia believes the situation will worsen in 2012, but that there are protective measures to be made by businesses, measures essential to boosting Europe, according to Intrum’s EPI 2011 Industry White Paper.

Our survey indicates that things will start turning worse before they turn for the better. Professional Services are often first hit by client budget cuts, which means they serve as a warning of what may lie ahead. Unfortunately, history tells us that other Industries are to show significantly higher bad debt next year,” says Intrum Justitia CEO, Lars Wollung.

Professional Services also see the largest increase in write offs from the previous year, up 12.5 percent. Transportation write offs are also increasing fast, 9.5 percent up from previous year, although from a rather modest level. Real Estate see write offs decreasing significantly, with over 5 percent.

”Although the picture painted in our report may seem grim there are measures companies can take to protect themselves. There is a lot that can be done to help the businesses in boosting Europe. We see that businesses that know their customers and implement efficient credit policies get paid earlier and have to write off a smaller percentage off sales, comments Lars Wollung.”

Good news for older workers … and the economy

The government in the UK has finally called time on the Default Retirement Age saying workers nowadays are living healthier and longer lives. From October no firm will be able to retire employees compulsorily retire older employees. This decision has been long due. Few can disagree that older workers bring many positive experiences and benefits to any workforce, with lifeskills such as attitude, work ethic, teamwork ability, problem solving and commitment. Liz Field, CEO of the Financial Skills Partnership (FSP), says “the economy and society we live in are changing and demand greater flexibility. The skills, past experience, customer knowledge and soft skills provided by older workers are therefore essential in enhancing a changing market”.

Mind the age gap

Twice their age and far less attractive, older men like Ronnie Woods, John Cleese and Salman Rushdie continue to attract gorgeous young girlfriends. Wanobe’s reporter Sara O’Meara talked to author Judy Astley and others about the appeal of older men and why these relationships are usually doomed.

For many folks, relationships between older men and young woman seem crazy and unnatural. I mean why would a 19-year-old Russian waitress choose to date a man like 61-year-old Ronnie Wood?

But Ronnie’s nnot the only older man to bag a younger woman. At 61, Salman Rushdie’s latest squeeze is 27, John Cleese recently began dating an American woman aged 34, and 32-year-old DJ Mark Ronson is reportedly planning to marry 19-year-old model Daisy Lowe.

Some beleive that the age gap relationship is a trade off. The younger lady is looking for someone to make her feel safe and the older man is looking for someone who doesn’t answer back and is a trophy.

Christine Northam, a counsellor for relationship service Relate, told our reporter that couples with a large age difference need to work harder than most. She says that a large age gap can create a minefield of potential problems.

“Practically and emotionally you’re always going to be at different stages of development in terms of your career, your social life and starting a family. Success would entirely depend on exploring these possible areas of conflict and facing them head on.”

However, fiction writer Judy Astley who explores the age gap idea in her new romantic novel, Other People’s Husbands., believes ‘a relationship with a big gap can have an added spark.’

“I know a couple, she’s in her 50s and he’s over 80. He’s kept her fairly balanced, and she’s kept him young. He still can dive in to the sea off a high rock.”

Now that is what I call cool and living life out loud regardless of age. Check out the full article under the Family category in our News, tips and reviews section. I think in my next blog I’ll look at older women with younger men.

Have fun, rock on, friends!

On being awesome

On being awesome … and the meaning of life

We don’t claim to know the meaning of life at Wanobe.com, but we do understand our user’s desire to have a lifestyle site that is superb, really useful and easy to use.

That’s why we are working hard to make this site an awesome tool when it comes to delivering more fun, more useful features and some outstanding interactivity.

If you fancy sharing or looking at some cool videos, take a look at our new video category. Or if you are worried about a health issue, visit our new ‘well-being and health’ category where we have partnered with Britain’s NHS national health service to provide useful information and advice on just about every health issue under the sun.

What is wanobe.com here for?

We want to help open the door to a unique world of encounters, pleasure, knowledge and experiences. We want to provide you as many possibilities to explore, whether its shopping around for a top brand product at a cheaper price, planning a wonderful holiday, finding a new partner or taking a punt at winning a small fortune.

We’re here for you, 100 percent of the time.

Live well, live happy, keep on rocking!

Silent killer

It was scary to learn the other day that high blood pressure may account for more than 13 percent of premature deaths around the world.

An article in the The Lancet medical journal wrote that researchers found that in 2001, the latest year for which complete global data were available, around 8 million early deaths could be attributed to high blood pressure.

Hypertension was also claimed to be responsible for 54 percent of strokes and 47 percent of heart disease worldwide.

I have always thought high blood pressure was principally a problem in high income western countries. But the latest findings show that 80 percent of deaths linked to high blood pressure now occur in the developing world, with half of the fatalities among people of working age.

According to The Lancet article writers little substantive or sustained effort has been made to address an issue that has probably killed over 50 million people in the past decade, disabled many more, and taken billions of dollars from already fragile economies.

However, there is hope on the horizon. Both the WHO and World Bank have now highlighted the importance of chronic disease as an obstacle to economic development. They recommend action to control the huge epidemics of cardiovascular diseases already affecting Asia and South America and threatening other regions, including Africa.

The Lancet writers noted global expenditure on antihypertensive treatment is around €50 billion each year, more than 90 percent of which is spent in high-income countries, where the main debate about access concerns the provision of care to very-low-risk individuals. Middle-income and low-income regions have a five times greater burden of disease than do high-income regions, with access to less than 10 percent of the global treatment resource.

Keep on rocking, Dave

Still rocking and rolling …

I remember first hearing the Rolling Stones perform life back in the early days of their career and being totally wowed by their energy. I am still amazed by their music making and ability to bounce around the stage performing at break-neck speed despite their ages.

I am also really looking forward to seeing the new film they have made with Martin Scorsese, Shine a Light. Judging by what Mick Jagger said in his interview with Wanobe.com, the film promises to be a scorcher.

I know that one of the reasons for Mick Jagger’s ability to shake those hips of his the way he does is because he works hard at staying in shape. That’s a life attitude we should all try to learn from.

I just read a recent study that shows how regularly doing gentle yoga exercises can help reduce the risk of older people falling painfully. The US study found that just eight weeks of classes to improve muscle strength, balance and flexibility makes falls and fractures less likely to happen.

An extra bonus is that people, and especially women, who practised yoga designed for the over 65s also felt more confident and upbeat. The study was carried out by researcher Dr Jinsup Song at Philadelphia’s Temple University.

So there you have it folks. If you want to stay in top performer shape like Mick, start some gentle yoga.

Rock on, yoga it up!

Have fun, travel safe, Dave

Determined to stay young…

Living life out loud for a great many mature people is all about doing their very best to stay ‘forever young’.

Eating healthy, staying fit are all the rage among folks approaching retirement, as is use of cosmetic surgery, botox and medical hair transplants for men and women alike.

For many of us born between 1946 and 1964 (so-called Baby Boomers), we expect scientific advancements and genetic research to help us out and maybe enable a great life past 100. We aren’t afraid to find a pill cure for every health and fitness issue that challenges our mobility and ability to live life to the fullest, from Viagra to vitamin pills.

Regular exercise apparently is highly valuable. Research by the University of Florida showed that a well-designed program combining aerobic, strength, balance and flexibility exercises could make a difference in maintaining mobility functions.

The study’s findings revealed a common concern. When asked what they were most afraid of, most of the respondents didn’t put cancer or other age-related diseases on their list – top was loss of independence.

Now, if all I have to do to stay out of the nursing home is to stay as fit as possible by walking, running, swimming, then I am totally hooked!

So here’s a business idea for all you fit folks over 40 looking for something new to do. Why not start offering fitness or wellness programs targeted at older adults? Today’s population of older adults is so large, I am sure anyone serving the health and well-being needs of the older adult will do extremely well.

So on with the trainers and out on that track, boys and girls. Shake that lethargy off and get with the action…

Rock on, Wanobians. Live long, live well, play a lot.

Dave