Connect with us

burning_fake_money

Counterfeiting isn’t free money, it is theft. The money illicitly printed by counterfeiters doesn’t rest on any value produced, and will therefore deplete the value of dollars honestly earned by individuals and businesses. Counterfeiting therefore has a dual cost: a direct cost, with large R&D expenditures to protect the currency, and an indirect cost to the economy, by reducing the value of money.

With the economic interactions of mankind, money came around quickly – 2000 BC, per some historians. And with money, came theft. And with theft came violence, murder, property damage, evidence tampering, increased security costs and, most of all, fake money, which has taken every form, including electronic. It didn’t take long for nefarious individuals in every country to realize that it has more profitable to print fake bills than to earn money.

Every week, in Florida alone (1), approx. 70 000 counterfeit dollars are singled out and taken out of the market. And the number of arrests for banknote-forging has been on a steady rise since the year 2000. Fake money does have a cost, of course. But if it has a cost for central banks and secured printing firms who must always find more advanced ways to safeguard their paper from fraud, it has the same cost for counterfeiters – if not more, since they must operate in clandestine circumstances. It takes a large technical apparatus and top expertise to forge actual bills. It is in fact almost the name of the game to make money counterfeiting as least lucrative as possible, by adding security feature so complex they kill the profitability of the fraud.

Precisely, the first and main cost of fake bills lies in the amount of necessary technology to be injected into the notes. By working every aspect of the banknotes (ink, paper, design, security features), the cost of producing a reliable currency is greatly increased by the central banks who purchase the currency from printers. But there is an additional cost to the citizens who use the currency, and it is doubly insidious. First, their money will be worth less because of fraud. Second, they will be tempted to mover their operations towards electronic currency, which seems more secure but is in fact more liable to fraud. Third, whenever the bill is detected as forged – statistically more often when held by low-wage earners who resort more to cash and less to debit cards – the bill will be deemed worthless and refused. Malcolm Farr, analyzing money counterfeiting in Australia, says (2) “Fake currency is being found in restaurants and supermarkets and often it’s a low income earner — who is less likely to use a credit card — who is the loser.”

To tackle this economic disease, a retaliation triangle was set up: Prevention, detection and repression. Prevention is mostly the printer’s responsibility. Firms, such as Oberthur Fiduciaire (in charge of printing some of the euro banknotes (3)), oversee designing and producing banknotes. But they’re also responsible for creating a banknote nearly impossible to forge, by embedding as many security features within it. Many patents were registered by Oberthur Fiduciaire, for example, to uphold and protect banknote integrity in its finest details: Starsheen® (Security feature based on liquid crystal technology allowing brilliant and easily recognisable colorshifting effects), Labyrinth ® (Security background pattern against copying and scanning) or Diaphan® (New generation see-through public recognition security feature, combining iridescence and offset printing), and many others. Every time a new security feature is produced, money counterfeiters must reverse-engineer it before they can try to produce decent-quality forgeries. If the feature is solid, by the time the forgers crack it, a new feature will be produced. Thomas Savare, Oberthur Fiduciaire CEO, rightly considers that the fight against fake money is therefore an ongoing race.

Detection is made by banks (which scan the bills that come in) and retail (4) shop owners, who sometimes run a UV lamp over the notes they receive, so as to check their authenticity. If a concentration of forged banknotes is found in an area, it will trigger an investigation. Julie Zeveloff, executive editor of Business insider, gives a list of tips (5) to help counterfeit note detection : “Bills are printed with a security thread embedded in the bill rather than printed on it. The threads are clearly visible when the bill is held up to the light […] The threads also glow blue when held under a UV light.”

Finally, repression is made solely by government agencies. Since forging actual banknotes is considered a direct attack on the State, it is punished far more harshly than electronic fraud, which targets only private citizens and can be fragmented into small under-radar-cover misdemeanours, while yielding far more return in the end. Depending on the country and the magnitude of the fraud, sentences can be maximal: forged money can earn its creator 20 years of prison in the United States, a lifetime in Japan, and death in China.

This triple-set for fighting counterfeit money seems to work quite well, as counterfeit money circulating in the world is estimated to be under 0.1%, a rate far too low to incur economic danger for economies. But fraud has incurred defiance towards hard currency: “demand for banknotes is found to decline following a counterfeiting shock, consistent with a loss of confidence in the currency”, explains a study (6) from Reserve Bank of Australia, written by Nathan Viles, Alexandra Rush and Thomas Rohling, and entitled “The Social Costs of Currency Counterfeiting”. And vacuum was quickly filled by the emergence and generalization of electronic payment. The enormous surge in online fraud has now made electronic payments less safe than actual currency in bills or coins. It might seem at first glance it’s part of a general plan among thieves: to coax the public towards more electronic payments, where fraud is easier.

So, the expenses committed to protecting hard currency will make even more sense, if economies revert slowly back to hard cash, in the face of mounting online fraud. The securing of cash is therefore as vital as ever. Ewan Ogilvie, MD of Your Cash Europe Ltd, a European ATM provider, insists (7) upon it: “For small businesses, independent retailers and micro-businesses, cash is an absolute necessity for customer transactions, paying bills and employees”. It is vital for these companies that cash be protected, or the cost will be even higher than the price of protecting it today.

(1) http://www.businessinsider.com/the-real-price-of-counterfeit-money-infographic-2012-4?IR=T
(2) http://www.news.com.au/finance/money/budgeting/rba-report-highlights-the-cost-of-forged-currencies-to-low-income-earners-and-small-businesses/news-story/544f860913f284b0a52e28b85260ce0b
(3) http://www.moonproject.co.uk/beautiful-banknotes-oberthur-fiduciaire-takes-full-advantage-of-its-history-and-technological-change/
(4) http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/mcdonalds-test-the-key-to-uncovering-fake-50-notes-20161002-grthtz.html
(5) http://www.businessinsider.com/the-real-price-of-counterfeit-money-infographic-2012-4?IR=T
(6) http://www.rba.gov.au/publications/rdp/2015/pdf/rdp2015-05.pdf
(7) http://www.newbusiness.co.uk/articles/banking-finance/the-new-polymer-note-what-does-it-mean-future-cash

Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse

Continue Reading
Comments

Students' Column

All you need to know if you want to study architecture

Published

on

become an architect

If you are thinking about studying architecture, it is important that you take into account the sacrifice and the difficulty it entails, but at the same time the versatility it offers. It is a hard career, but the effort has its reward.

Multitude of options

Architecture is a multidisciplinary career, with very varied subjects, from artistic drawing to the most technical calculation of structures, through the classes of “projects” in which you learn to design buildings and spaces from scratch.

The good thing is that after that you have very diverse career opportunities; you can try your luck in a large international studio, you can focus on specific topics specialising with masters such as the MCH Master, or you can even work in construction on site, to give a few examples. The different subjects, which seemed to be unrelated to each other, are then connected, depending on the path you decide to choose.

Sailing nights

Choosing architecture means getting into one of the toughest careers, which will take a lot of effort to get through. No matter how difficult it may be, it’s hard to get used to the pressure. Even if you’ve organized yourself in advance, and you want to take everything to the day, in the end there are always times when you have to work all night to be able to get to the deliveries on time. Do not be discouraged by sleepless nights, you have to be mentalized from the beginning of the sacrifice to be made, but, if you share those moments with your peers, who will be in a similar situation, it becomes much more bearable, and even fun.

Learning to search for life

All the effort and dedication invested during the years of your career will not only help you obtain your degree, but you will also acquire work habits that will last a lifetime. There will be many occasions when you will have to manage to get what the teachers demand of you, but it is important to get used from the beginning to not always getting things done, and to be able to find solutions by yourself. Keep in mind that all these tools that you develop now you are going to be able to apply them later in many fields, not only professionals.

Another way of seeing the world

A very important part of the career takes place outside the university, and even outside the city where you study. It’s about travelling, because to be an architect it’s essential to visit other cities, other countries and see different things that make you think. It is necessary to see a lot, but also to analyze and ask questions, to realize when something is working and when it is not. You can only experience all this if you live it for yourself.

As you have been able to realize, architecture is a career of permanent learning; you will leave knowing a little of everything, but a lot of nothing. Whether you decide to specialize in a particular field studying a master, or if you choose another of the many options, the important thing is to always keep an awake mind, not lose the curiosity and desire to learn, and, above all, enjoy along the way.

Prev postNext post
Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse

Continue Reading

Business

The Importance and Usefulness of Medical Posters in Research

Published

on

medical-poster

The results of scientific work and research projects in the medical field can be disclosed in a variety of ways. Along with the scientific article and the oral presentation, medical poster presentations are one of the most important and most common communication formats among researchers in the medical field.  The medical poster is a graphic summary of a previous research whose composition consists of a short title; an introduction to the hypothesis: an overview of the experimental approach; the most interesting results, and a discussion about the results obtained. It is also important to include a list of the relevant articles used during  research. And, when there is still room available, it is worth to mention the persons or institutions that have contributed to the work by giving funding or technical assistance.  

Why are medical poster presentations relevant?

Medical posters are an alternative to oral presentations because they offer the opportunity to present research projects or papers that cannot be presented orally for various reasons – for example, if the author resides in a country other than that of the conference venue. Plus, they help to achieve the ultimate goal of all communication in a scientific congress: the transmission of a message by the author and its capture by the audience. This is possible because medical posters allow the attendees to analyze research results at a speed that matches their knowledge and skills, and also because it is easier to remember images – especially if you have time to look at them carefully – than to remember the content of an oral presentation.

In the medical field, posters are a form of communication with great potential because they enable the concise, clear and permanent transmission of their content, without the time restrictions imposed by oral conferences. Medical posters offer the possibility of establishing direct communication with the author(s) of the poster promotes the one-to-one exchange of opinions with a tranquillity that is difficult to achieve in the context of a large-scale conference. E- poster platforms such as https://www.postersessiononline.com/ have virtual galleries where the delegates have access to all the posters and they can interact in the same way they did during the congress, contacting the author, downloading the poster and even starting a discussion in the forum.

On the other hand, an additional advantage of medical posters is that the author does not have to prove his erudition and the presentation does not become a difficult oral examination, which is especially important when research is presented in a language other than mother tongue. It also allows doctors who find it difficult to overcome the pressure of an oral presentation to expose the results of their work.

How is the ideal medical poster?

The design of the poster is important both to attract the interest of people who visit the room where the poster is displayed and to comprehend in a very short time the most relevant aspects of our work. The reading of the poster -and the subsequent understanding of the content should take less than 10 minutes. A poster must be visually attractive and that is why it is important not only to know how to combine colors, letters, images and graphics, but also that it does not contain too much written information: the maximum recommended is 800 words. Therefore, the information should be synthesized so that, in a few minutes, the attendees have a clear idea of the objective and result of the research that they are reading. In this regard, a well-designed medical poster must satisfy the following criteria: Visual appeal, personality, aesthetic balance, clarity in the explanation of ideas, quick understanding of the hierarchy and distribution of the parts, synthesis and rigor.

You also have to take into account the font and size that is used, as some are too complicated to read. Times New Roman, for example, is often used in written texts but is not suitable for a poster as it is difficult to see and read from a distance. The color chosen for our poster is also important. Do not use colours that are too light on a light background or dark colours on a dark background. It is also advisable to avoid loud colours. Another common mistake is to plague the poster with too much information. Don’t forget that the medical poster is not an article in large print. Try to reduce the text and use more graphic resources such as tables, figures or images.

Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse

Continue Reading

Students' Column

Learn to Speak Spanish fluently step by step

Published

on

Learn Spanish Street

With a large Latino population in the english speaking countries and the booming Latin economies, employers are desperate for people who speak Spanish. There is a huge demand of Spanish-speakers in nursing, construction management and media, among many other positions. So, either if you want to promote or get a better position, If you’d like to travel to a Spanish-speaking country or you have been there for a long time but you have,’t managed to master the language perfectly, you are probably asking yourself the following question: What can I do to speak Spanish fluently?

Well, first thing you can do is acknowledge that learning a language is not the same thing than speaking a language. You can study grammar and read books for years, but when you travel and try to communicate, you are unable to understand the natives. On the contrary, there are people who can barely read in a language but who can talk with other people just fine. Why is that? Because, as it happens in music, we can play an instrument by ear without knowing a single thing about music theory. If you want to be fluent in Spanish, there is only one thing you can do: speaking Spanish. Sure, learning the basic grammar and vocabulary will help, but you will only master the language if you practise your speaking –and make the subsequent mistakes often.

Step 1: Sign up for an online course

To learn how to be fluent in Spanish in less time, the ideal would be to go to Spain or a Latin country and dive into the language immersion. However, this option is not available for everyone, so the closest you can get to that is by using the best learning tool of all times: the Internet. You will find endless tools and resources that will help you and facilitate the process. There are several online courses based on developing your communication skills such as the one offered by http://www.hablarespanol.com where you will be able to learn the basic grammar and vocabulary and learn how to use them in context.

Step 2: Learn all the vocabulary you are capable of

A part of the essence of a language is found in its vocabulary. Words are like bricks that allow us to build our discourse and make communicative exchanges. No matter what level of Spanish you are currently in, there are always new words to learn. Opt for a thematic approach. There are many vocabulary manuals composed of thematic cards. Learning 30 words a day, you will be able to cover 70% of the Spanish vocabulary in a few months. The idea is not to memorize the entire dictionary, but to find the necessary resources to learn the vocabulary you need based on your goals. You can start learning how to introduce yourself in Spanish, talking about everyday objects or adressing your professional skills

Step 3: Study the grammar basics

Grammar is what allows you to build and structure sentences. Sometimes it is the most complicated part of learning a language, but the good news is that you can use it even without understanding the mechanics of it. If you listen enough native speakers, you will mimic their structures when you speak without thinking about it –just as little kids do.

It is best to learn about 1,000 words before beginning to study grammar. You will need several days to get used to the main grammatical structures in Spanish –you can find them in an online course, textbooks or just searching online. But as soon as you have learn the basics, move on to speaking practice.

Step 4: Speak. Practice pronunciation. Speak again.

The ideal is that you get to speak at least 2 – 3 hours of Spanish per week. Find a language Exchange tandem or a tutor online to practice conversation. . In each session, focus on keeping the conversation flowing each other rather than on not making mistakes. You can also try to translate your thoughts or say them out loud. In any day-to-day situation, get used to ask yourself: How would you say this in Spanish? To improve your pronunciation, listen to native speakers. You can do so by listening to music, radio and podcast in Spanish and watching movies and TV series in Spanish (first with subtitles, then without them).

Step 5: Keep improving by learning and writing in Spanish

Reading will allow you to learn new words or structures and will encourage your memorization. After a few weeks, once you have acquired a solid foundation, start reading in Spanish: press articles, book, magazines, online articles, and so on. Any resource is good to read and improve your vocabulary and expressions. In addition, since when we write we memorize everything much better, it is also a good idea to keeping a diary in Spanish. Try to write a few paragrahps about how your day was every nigh. The more you write, the better you will assimilate the language.


Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse

Continue Reading

Trending