28 Feb

As consumers grow more comfortable with conducting personal business on the internet, online insurance options are enticing even for those who wouldn’t have considered it before. But there are several types of online insurance available, from traditional companies that provide online account management to web insurers that provide a full virtual experience.

One of the best things the internet has brought insurance consumers is the ability to easily compare the rates of multiple companies at once. Instead of spending days shopping around, a site like Progressive or Esurance will show you premiums for a variety of insurance companies to help you save money.

Easier access to online quotes is only one of the ways the internet has changed consumer and business insurance. New services like reputation insurance illustrate how quickly insurance needs of consumers are changing. Even longtime companies now provide online services, with some allowing policyholders with the ability to snap photos of automobile accidents, for instance, and create a new claim directly on a smartphone.

Increasingly, however, insurance companies are fully automating the insurance process, conducting everything from policy creation to payments online to make things more convenient for customers. Companies like Esurance, powered by Allstate, handles everything online. While some may long for the days of having a local insurance agent in a bricks-and-mortar location, many others are happy to be able to manage insurance policies from the comfort of their sofa.

26 Feb

Correction: Maria Dvorozniak, the Project Coordinator at the Bergen County Technical Schools District in New Jersey, USA, advises that Provita Phamaceuticals is a virtual company, formed as part of a school project, and not a formal business entity. No contacts have been made with research facilities concerning genetic modification, and no partnerships with research facilities are planned for that purpose. Only students currently enrolled in the Bergen County Academies are working on the Provita project. The labs are not at Joshua Meier’s disposal, or reserved in any way for the students working on the Provita project. Errors were also noted in the original article.

The lowly mosquito hasn't gotten much credit for contributing anything positive to human existence. In fact, some mosquito-borne diseases bear scary-sounding -- and sometimes deadly -- names such as Dengue Fever, Encephalitis and West Nile Virus.

Now, thanks to some innovative research from a tiny start-up, the mosquito's reputation might be poised for a makeover.

Last month, a 15-person team of high school students, doing business as Provita Phamaceuticals, delivered a talk to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about its hottest project, the "flying syringe". The device makes use of mosquitoes to deliver vaccines. According to published reports, the students aspire to create genetically modified versions of the insects that, by way of their saliva, will then be able to transmit a vaccine for West Nile.

25 Feb

Los Angeles -- Hollywood in particular - has for decades been known as Tinseltown, where "plastic people" lead superficial lives devoid of any real meaning or depth. A few show business types sometimes seem to behave no better than robots, both on and off the screen.

Thanks to a Japanese start-up called Different Dimension Inc., Hollywood's robotic players could be about to get some competition. From something known as a "virtual humanoid".

23 Feb

It was, like so many other technological advances, only a matter of time. But the recent debut of a new, females-only dating app could have waited for at least a millennium or eight.

Described by Cosmopolitan Magazine as "Sex and the City marries Facebook," Lulu recently made its U.S. launch after some 60,000 Florida college students downloaded the app during a one-month trial period.

Lulu allows women to compose and share dating reviews of various men. It seems appropriate, given that a similar, informal system has been in place among men for several decades, that the women can assign Olympic-style scores to a man's prowess at humor, sex, ambition, kissing (especially the first one), appearance and commitment. The reviews can also include a photo as well as hashtags, so that any girl on the network can take a quick look at what's hot about a guy and, just as obviously, what's not.

21 Feb

Who among us has not wished our friends didn't tag us in some awkward photosof us that they posted on FB? And how we wish we could take back that comment we posted on a political website. Can we really get rid of our footprints on the Internet? Can we scrub or completely delete our digital identity? Call it digital nirvana or virtual rebirth, deleting or altering your own digital identity, is hard work and you'll have to pursue it with dedication.

Our casual status updates, our likes and comments somehow add up together to form a virtual person for companies who would love to have all those data to market themselves to you. The bits of personal information that we willingly give away to “free” social media sites is valuable to the market and there are teams of experts and analysts working somewhere right now trying to figure out how to mine those data effectively to ultimately sell to companies.

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