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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

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Students' Column

Learn to Speak Spanish fluently step by step

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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.


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Students' Column

Why do people think that higher education is important?

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Why should you be well-educated to gain success nowadays?

It is probably not a secret that many people nowadays decide that they should not get a higher education. Are you one of these people? You probably think that studying in the university is useless and you can become a well-educated person without this institution. You can read specialized books and articles, watch special videos and get the same level of qualification at home. Well, we are going to dispel this myth. Continue reading if you are ready to change your mind forever. So, let’s start.

Bullying and free online services – the main reasons for this situation in the educational market

Fortunately, people in the US usually do not declare that there is no need to study. They understand that we live in the 21st century and only our intelligence can help us to gain success. It is a very sad but true rule: only smart people can overcome problems, find a good job and earn a lot of money. However, some people also think that there is no need to visit special institutions to become a smarter person and improve some skills.

Of course, we are not going to refuse the fact that you can become a well-educated person without visiting a special building five times a week. And it is really cool! We have an opportunity to study at home without any problems. There is no need to spend thousands of dollars to figure out something new. Just open the appropriate webpage and that’s all – you get unlimited access to useful information and knowledge. It is really impressive!

For example, if you do not want to waste your free time in the university, you can visit coursera.com and study the same subjects and courses online. And there is no need to pay for these courses. This possibility is extremely profitable.

Moreover, many students do not want to study in the university because of bullying. This problem is very serious and it causes obvious consequences – children do not want to visit schools, universities and colleges. Our government and educational system do not implement new rules and approaches to solving this problem and the level of our education decreases. To solve this problem, we should understand the reason for this situation. What forces people to do that? If you want to figure out more about bullying and the most popular causes of bullying, you should visit this website – https://scoobydomyessay.com/blog/causes-of-bullying-at-school/.

So, we have already understood why do people do not want to study in universities and discovered the most frequent aspects which cause bullying. Now, let’s consider 3 reasons which can convince you that high-quality education and studying in university is really important.

3 benefits of studying in the university or college

So, why should you study in the university?

  • Networking

It is probably not a secret that universities and colleges are something like big communities of smart people, who are united by one purpose – figure out something new and useful. These people are well educated and motivated. They understand what they want to get from their lives and what they should do if they really want to turn their dreams into reality. Students are smart and interesting people, that’s why we really think that it is one of the best platforms for networkers. If you want to find new friends or even business partners, you should enter the university right now. Networking is extremely useful because it can help you to overcome problems in the future and solve day-to-day questions. For example, you can find a good job or even your future wife. So, do not lose this chance!

  • Unlimited access to knowledge

Even despite the fact that you can study at home with the help of the Internet, we cannot declare that it is an equal alternative. There are many limitations if you choose online studying. In addition, universities give you an opportunity to communicate with wise teachers who are ready to help at any time of a day. This individual approach changes the whole situation. Finally, the fact is that students can use universities’ equipment and books.

  • Diploma

If you study at home, you will not get a special diploma. You cannot prove your knowledge and employers will not be interested in you at all. However, if you have a diploma, you can find a high-paid job without big problems.

Conclusion

Therefore, consider all pros and cons and choose your own way. Keep in mind that everything depends on your specialization. If you can become a real specialist without studying in the university, you should develop yourself at home. However, if the situation differs, choose another way. Do not hesitate anymore and create your own history!

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Culture and Lifestyle

Are You One Of The Many Millennials That Are Prone To Burnout?

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Burnout is real. It’s something that so many millennials are currently facing without really realizing it. Burnout is simply where your body (and mind) just cannot cope with the activity that you’re throwing at it any longer. When you’re working hard and a lot of hours, when you’re trying to lead a hectic social life, take care of your health, look after your home, and spend time with your family, something’s got to give. Of course, we don’t tend to slow down on work or social or home or family stuff, because it’s what we know we need to prioritize. So, our bodies tend to show signs of stress. And then burnout can set in.

Sometimes, you’ll just stop. You won’t physically be able to work any longer. Sometimes, you’ll start to feel a sense of depression that you just can’t shake. Sometimes, you’ll just realize that things aren’t worth harming your body over anymore, so you slow down and drastically change your lifestyle. Hopefully, you’ll be able to avoid the first two and land at the latter – for your own sake. But, if you do realize that you are probably on thin ice with your lifestyle and you’re worried about burnout setting in, you can stop it in its tracks without having to end up with any of those three outcomes. But how can you do it?

Well, let’s take a look at some of the signs of burnout and what you can do to make sure that you’re not one of the millennial victims.

Signs Of Burnout

Overworking

The very first sign that you’re on a downward slope to burnout is overworking. Even when you love your job, and you’re really happy to put in all of the hours possible to carve your career, you probably don’t even see this as an issue. But, it’s usually the effects of overworking and always being ‘on’ that are going to bring on burnout. We’re addicted to social media and being connected to the world, and this is also a huge influencer for bringing on burnout.

Raising Stress Levels

As both a by-product of overworking and just always being on, you will find that your stress levels are high. You may not feel stressed and angry as such, but your body will be stressed. The excess activity and overworking will always mean that your body will be suffering from stress, even if you feel mentally content. Your mind may be clouded, even though you’re happy too. But let’s also take a look at the physical symptoms.

Poor Health

Stress is such a huge killer. And you might not like to admit that you’re stressed, but your body will be showing the signs. Not only will you be suffering from sleep deprivation (even if you’re sleeping solidly, you might not be sleeping enough), susceptible to colds and other illnesses, not eating well (or enough, due to picking at food on the go), using up too much energy without replacing it. And all of this is then going to lead your body to break down.

No Free Time

The final indicator is that you have no free time. Maybe you think that you’re just an expert planner and that you’ve organized your life successfully. But, that’s not true. Everyone needs a release. If you schedule in free-time and restful moments, catch ups with friends, and just time for you, then great. But if not, this is the biggest warning sign yet!

Combating Burnout

Looking At Your Lifestyle

After reading through the signs, you may start to worry that you’re doomed, or that you are one of the many prone to burnout. But don’t panic. Because you can save yourself. You just need to know what to do to sort of reverse the effects and get yourself back into a healthy rhythm. And the best way to do that is to look at your lifestyle objectively and see if you do show any of the signs of burnout. If you do, now we know what you need to work on to change.

Slowing Down

From here, you’re going to want to slow down and enjoy life. It’s really that simple. You may have to break habits and change your attitude, but you really do have to just start taking it easy. When you do, you should find that you instantly feel like a weight has been lifted off of your shoulders. You can enjoy the smaller things in life, sleep well, and generally feel much healthier in yourself.

Taking Action

But next, you need to take action. It’s important that you prioritize your health and start putting things back together. So do the things you’ve been meaning to for a while. Book in with your doctor, call that personal injury attorney to seek advice, think about exercises classes. Whatever you feel is a health issue, you need to take charge and finally put it right.

Committing To Working Hours

A small step but a big one for you will be then to commit to your working hours. Work 40 or 20, not 60 or more. You need to be able to pull back if you’re going to get through this burnout-free.

Making Time For Relaxation

But it’s not enough to just slow down and cut back on your overworking, you also have to make time to rest and relax. When you’re not used to doing this, or you find it hard to switch off, these simple ways to relax are really going to help you to do that. But the important thing is, that you’re actually making time for it now.

Finding Your Ideal Balance

Finally, you need to make sure that you’re finding your ideal balance. Creating a balance in your life can be hard, but if you want to be healthy and happy, then you will do it. You’ll find the perfect balance between home and work and social and ‘me time’ so that you can avoid burnout for good and never become a statistic.

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