Friday, May 23, 2008

How to stay afloat during the recession


Recession illustration

Stock prices and home values are down. Gas, food and health care costs are up. The economy is slowing and earnings are slumping.

Welcome to what feels like and what many economists predict is a recession.

What can you do about it?

You can worry and wring your hands. Or, you can focus on doing a few things that will buy yourself peace of mind.

Here are tips from financial planners for dealing with your investments and household finances.


Know your risk tolerance — you’ll sleep better. If the stock market’s volatility is keeping you up at night, your investment plan doesn’t jibe with your risk tolerance and you need to make adjustments, said Todd Calamita, certified financial planner at RBC Wealth Management in Charlotte.

That doesn’t mean you flat-out dump stock. If you sell off and buy back in after the market recovers, you’re doing exactly what you shouldn’t — buying high and selling low.

“If you sold at the low of 2002, you would have missed out on five years of unbelievable returns,” Calamita said.

If you want to ease up on investments, Calamita suggests gradually changing your allocation — out of stocks and into bonds or cash.

Set targets. For instance, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average recovers a certain amount of lost ground, shift 5 percent of your portfolio out of stocks.

When it hits another mark, take out another 5 percent. The idea is to gradually reduce your stock holdings to a level that makes you rest easier, while avoiding selling low.

Watch mutual fund fees. The more you pay for investments, the bigger the returns you need from the market.

Pay attention to mutual fund loads and expense ratios and consider lower-cost options, such as exchange traded funds (ETFs) and index mutual funds, “especially when we are in a market that is going to be sideways for a few years,” said Drew Waterbury, certified financial planner in Charlotte.

As for mutual funds, the average expense ratio is about 1.25 percent, Waterbury said. But index funds’ costs are much lower. The Vanguard 500 Index Fund’s expense ratio is 0.15 percent. A good place to check fund performance and expenses:

Buy more. If you don’t need the cash now, buy more stock. “A downturn is wonderful news for people who are buying the market,” said Cynthia Anderson, a certified financial planner in Charlotte. “It is your chance to buy things ‘on sale.’”


Jump-start your emergency fund. If you don’t have a home equity line of credit, get one, said Tom Pemberton, a certified financial planner in Charlotte. Consider it a cushion in case you get sick or lose your job. Just don’t tap it for vacation or shopping sprees or home renovations that can wait.

“If you can be disciplined enough not to use it, it’s a prudent addition to building up your emergency fund,” Pemberton said. “There’s no substitute for an emergency fund or for putting more in it now than you would have a year ago, because the economy ... certainly is slowing.”

Now, this next bit of advice is going to sound like a contradiction, but hold on.

If you have a home equity line already and think you might need the funds in the next year, you might consider pulling the money out now and putting it in the bank until you need it, Pemberton said. That’s because up until the past year or so, banks were being more generous with credit lines, lending 100 percent of the equity in homes.

Some homeowners — particularly in areas of declining home values — are getting letters from banks saying their credit cap has been lowered. But do this only if you think you will need the money soon and have no other funds.

You will pay more interest on a home equity line of credit — albeit tax deductible interest — than you will earn at the bank.

Save your tax rebate. The checks started hitting mailboxes last week.

“Every retailer is coming out with ads ... to entice you to spend the money,” Pemberton said. “Maybe from a macro (economic) perspective that is the thing to do, but from an individual perspective now is the time I would be augmenting my emergency fund or paying off credit card debt.”

Keep a credit card diary. “The one (thing) I have been telling people lately, as budgets are getting tighter: keep a check register of all credit card purchases,” Anderson said. “It is very eye opening.”

Anderson said one client told her that every time she went shopping at the mall she spent $250. She kept a record and saw it was really $1,000.

“You write it down, you start keeping better track of it ... you kind of second-guess that everything you are buying you need,” Anderson said.


Stock up on beef. Don’t go to the grocery store without a list and don’t go more than once a week at most.

You’ll waste money on impulse purchases and gas. One value at stores right now: beef, Pemberton said. Corn is so expensive because of global demand for ethanol that ranchers can’t afford to feed their cattle, so they are slaughtering them and flooding the market with beef.

Pemberton recently spotted angus beef steaks at the grocery for $5.99, the lowest price he’d seen in nine months. “I bought as much as I could fit in my freezer, because I like porterhouse steaks.”

Once the surplus is depleted — in a month or two, Pemberton predicts — prices will rise. Experts say you can keep beef in your freezer for at least a year, so long as it is wrapped well and doesn’t partially thaw and refreeze.

Save on insurance. Consider raising the deductibles on your insurance policies, which can significantly reduce your premiums, suggested Linda Schoenfeld, a certified financial planner in Charlotte.

Drive less. “Most people underestimate how much it really costs to operate an automobile,” Schoenfeld said.

AAA’s cost per mile this year in South Carolina is expected to reach 58 cents for each mile driven, up 11 cents from last year.

With this year’s higher prices at the pump, Schoenfeld said, “think car pools, public transportation, consolidating errands, and walking and biking for close-by errands.”

Baldwin is a writer for The Charlotte Observer, a McClatchy newspaper

Original here

8 Different Types Of Headlines Which Sell

Following on from the 12 rules to create kick ass headlines which sell, below are the 8 different types of headlines you can model from with examples.When you follow the 12 rules, find your hook and then model the headlines below, you will create sizzling headlines which compel your prospects into reading your persuasive copy.

1. The News Headline:
If your product or service offers something newsworthy, announce it in your headline. You would normally use this to introduce a new product or the improvement of an existing product.Here are some words you can use in your News Headlines.New, Announcing, Introducing, Finally, Just released, Now, At last.Examples:

“At last! A Tooth Paste Kids Will Love”

“New Diet Burns Off More Fat Than If You Ran 98 Miles a Week”

“Announcing . . . The New Bald Cure Guaranteed To Make Even Trevor Crook Look Like He’s Got A Full Crop Of Hair!”

2. The Guarantee Headline:

These state a desirable benefit and guarantee results or other benefits. If you offer a powerful guarantee . . . let your prospects know by stating it in the headline.


“Makes Money In 90 days Or It’s FREE Under my 100%, Unconditional Money Back Guarantee”

“Hands Which Feel As Smooth As Silk In 24 Hours . . . Or Double Your Money Back!”

3. The How To Headline:

With over 7,000 book titles starting with ‘How To’ you can’t go wrong with this one. If you ever get stuck, try adding ‘how to’ in front of your headline as these type of headlines promise your prospect a source of information, advice and solutions to their problems.


“How To Win Friends And Influence People”

“How To Avoid Snake-Oil Selling Scumbags On The Internet”

4. The Benefit Headline:

Benefits sell . . . features DO NOT! To write a successful benefit Headline, you must know your market so well, you can offer them a powerful, compelling benefit driven headline which they can’t easily get somewhere else. You must do your homework though in order to know what benefit will motivate your prospect/s to take action.


“Dries Up Your Hay Fever In 15 Minutes”

“Stops Diahorrea in 30 Minutes”

“It Cleans Your Breath While It Cleans Your Teeth”

5. The Question Headline:

Be careful when using this one. You must know your market backwards otherwise you can blow your whole advertising campaign. The best types of questions to ask are questions which get your prospect involved.


“Do You Make These Mistakes In Marriage?”

“Do You Make These Mistakes In English?

“Can You Smash Through 6 Bricks Like Dr. Stan ‘Breakthrough’

6. The Reason Why Headline:

These give your prospect specific reasons why they should read your ad, sales letter or website. These are very effective because they contain facts and specific numbers.


“27 Reasons Why You Should Attend Trevor Crook’s Persuasive Writing Sells Online Course”

“37 Fun And Easy Ways To Earn $500 In Your Sleep”

7. The Testimonial Headline:

This is just what it says. It uses a customer testimonial for a headline. This gets your customers to sell for you by talking about the benefits they received.


“How I Make $557.63 Per Week In My Sleep”

“I Had Never Purchased A Share In My Life. I Opened A Share Account With $14,000.00 After Attending The Trading Edge Workshop . . . In Six Months My Account is OVER $21,000!”

8. The Command Headline:

This tells your customers what to do. Your command should encourage action by offering your prospect a benefit which will help them. The most effective command headlines start out with action verbs.


“Stop Baldness Today Before Your Head Looks Like A Bowling Ball”

“Stop Wasting Time On Advertising Guesswork”

“Stop Being An Advertising Victim”

The 3 Most Powerful Words To Use In Your Headlines:

FREE You Your

Dedicated to kicking your ass until you succeed!


Trevor ‘ToeCracker‘ Crook
PS. Next article - see the 3 headline test which 1 advert pulled a whopping 1700% increase in response and the adverts cost exactly the same to run.

Original here

Food prices forecast to stay high for 10 years

Food prices have undergone a paradigm shift and will not drop back to pre-crisis levels for at least the next 10 years, putting long-term pressure on governments facing the food crisis, according to a forthcoming report.

The report, by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, will say food prices have moved to a “higher plateau” because of rising demand from the biofuels industry and developing countries such as China.

But the Agricultural Outlook 2008-2017, due to be published next week, does offer a respite in the short term, forecasting prices will ease from this year’s record levels, according to a summary seen by the Financial Times.

“Food prices would be considerably higher in nominal terms than in the past but below the current records,” said an official familiar with the report. Compared with average prices for 2005-07, the report forecasts that in 2017 the price of wheat, adjusted for inflation, will be 2 per cent higher, rice 1 per cent higher and corn 15 per cent higher. Oilseed prices are expected to be up 33 per cent.

The price projections imply falls from the current records but suggest that food inflation will continue to be a long-term problem, particularly for poor countries.

“Without exception, average real prices are likely to remain above those observed during 1985-2007,” said the report summary. The OECD said the projections were preliminary numbers.

Alexander Müller, an assistant director-general at the FAO in Rome, said the world needed to get used to higher food prices. “In the near future, we will have to live with higher prices for agricultural commodities.”

In a separate report on Thursday, the FAO said in its “Food Outlook” that even if some agricultural commodities prices have started to fall and early indications do not preclude further declines, “prices are unlikely to return to the low levels of previous years.”

“Moreover, a number of demand factors such as the need to replenish stocks and expected increases in utilisation are keeping prices high despite a favourable global production outlook,” it added.

The FAO said that the world’s food importing bill will surge this year above $1,000bn for the first time, up about 20 per cent from 2007 level. “Food is no longer the cheap commodity that it once was,” it said.

As the global food import bill has entered the trillion dollar territory, the food import bill of the poorest countries which faces a food-deficit, is likely to climb to $169bn, 40 percent more than in 2007.

The new estimates of elevated prices in the long term come as the cost of food shows the first tentative signs of stabilising after surging more than 50 per cent in the past 12 months. In April the FAO’s food index registered its first drop in 15 months and officials said prices appeared to be “reaching a peak”.

Wheat prices have fallen by 40 per cent since their February record, soyabean prices have also dropped, and corn and rice prices have stabilised at around their recent record levels.

However, the report summary dashed hopes for a rapid and sustained fall, saying: “As opposed to other instances of sharp increases in agricultural commodity prices that have rapidly dissipated, we could be facing higher prices for some time.”

In previous spikes, such as the food crisis of the 1970s or the corn crisis of 1996, prices have returned to their previous level quickly.

The report will warn that with many agricultural commodity supplies continuing to be tight, low stock levels are not likely to be replenished quickly, so “the possibility of further sharp prices hikes . . . seems to be likely for the next few seasons”.

The OECD/FAO report is based on the assumption that conditions remain fav-ourable for further growth in biofuels production.

Original here

Woman Loses Home Over $68 Dental Bill

Maybe there are no more debtors' prisons, but that doesn't mean your life can't be screwed up by unscrupulous collection agencies.

Sonya Capri Ramos says her Salt Lake City home was sold out from under her in 1996 to pay a collections agency seeking payment for dental work performed on one of Ramos's daughters. And despite the fact that she had made three years of payments on a $51,000 mortgage, the title changed hands for just $1,550 at a sheriff's auction.

The bill blew up to $950 from legal and collection fees, and in 1996 she was sued by a collection agency named North American Recovery. She didn't contest the lawsuit—she claims she was never notified—and the judge ordered that some of her non-exempt real property should be sold to pay off the debt. "But because the real estate at stake was Ramos's home, which by law is considered 'indivisible,' the title to the entire property was sold at auction," to a company called Jarmaccc Properties—which has refused to give her back the title, even after she paid them the $1,550 through a bankruptcy restructuring in 1998.

"Woman Loses Home Over $68 Dental Bill" [ABC News]
(Photo: Getty Images)

Original here

Grease sizzles as fuel source

Restaurants provide new takeout as rising energy prices send the demand for biodiesel soaring

In the era of alternative fuels, grease is turning into a pretty slick investment.

Restaurants increasingly are being paid for their used cooking oil, icky stuff that historically they've had to pay to have hauled away. And sales of kits that allow diesel-powered cars to run on used cooking oil are soaring.

With all the attention, rendering firms are reporting a surge in grease thefts.

Grease's rising star stems from rising energy prices. Demand for biodiesel is soaring, putting pressure on supplies of used vegetable oil, which can be used to make the alternative fuel.

"It all goes back to the high price of crude oil," said Bill Dieterichs, an analyst at The Jacobsen, a publication that follows grease and tallow markets. "That's what started the ball rolling."

The grease business—at least at street level—is not for the squeamish.

"By the time you're done [with it], it's pretty beat-up stuff," said Bob Goldin, a restaurant analyst at Technomic Inc. "It's dark in color. Food particles get in there. It's messy."

In more normal times, grease is treated as garbage, albeit useful garbage. Restaurants pay a rendering company to take it away, much as they would for carting away trash. Renderers refine the stuff into "yellow grease," as its called in the trade. Livestock feed is still by far its biggest end market.

The price of yellow grease originated in Illinois zoomed to 32 cents per pound in April and March, compared with 12 cents per pound during the same period two years ago, according to The Jacobsen.

As the price rose, producers of grease within the last year began sharing their bounty with restaurants. For example, Darling International and Restaurant Technologies Inc., two national grease processors, began a "profit-sharing" program of sorts with higher-volume accounts.

"If you charge them [when prices are low], you have to share the good times with them too," said Randy Stuewe, chief executive of Irving, Texas-based Darling. "If you aren't willing to share, somebody else will."

The grease market is competitive, with relatively low barriers; after all, it can be just a matter of sucking out gunk from a tank into a truck.

So, with prices soaring, "it's sort of a wild west setting for renderers right now," said Jon Getzinger, executive vice president for sales at Eagan, Minn.-based Restaurant Technologies, the biggest U.S. grease recycler for Oak Brook-based McDonald's Corp.

For restaurant companies, grease money isn't a big windfall, but it helps—particularly as their own costs are soaring. "You're not going to get rich on it, but it's definitely a source of revenue," said Sam Toia, owner of Leona's Restaurants, which has 15 outlets in the Chicago area.

Joliet-based Mahoney Environmental hauls Leona's grease, and Toia estimates each of his restaurants collects an average of $100 per month for the stuff—about $18,000 annually for all his outlets combined. Toia said he was getting paid 70 percent more for his grease in April than at the same time a year ago.

The run-up stems partly from the weak U.S. dollar, which has pumped up grease exports, and from other factors. But the biggest reason is the biodiesel boom, Dieterichs said.

"There's a new demand factor, and that is demand from the biodiesel industry," Dieterichs said.

The production of biodiesel, like that of ethanol, has soared as U.S. energy policymakers have focused on lessening demand for petroleum. Last year, the U.S. produced 450 million gallons of pure biodiesel, up from 250 million the year before and 75 million in 2005, according to the National Biodiesel Board.

Biodiesel is an alternative to diesel and when blended with diesel fuel can used to power vehicles such as buses.

While it has been primarily fashioned from soybean oil, biodiesel can be made from a bevy of fats, including used cooking oil. Soybean oil prices have been rising dramatically over the past year, giving biodiesel-makers a greater incentive to use alternatives, including restaurant grease, said Richard Nelson, a Kansas State University engineering professor.

Biofuel producers aren't the only ones hunting for grease.

Record petroleum prices are greasing the wheels at Greasecar Vegetable Fuel Systems, an Easthampton, Mass., company that sells kits that convert diesel vehicles to burn straight vegetable oil. They cost $995 to $2,900, and President Justin Carven expects sales to double to $3 million this year.

"We're having a hard time keeping up with [demand]," Carven said, adding most of his sales are for large pickups and small commercial vehicles, such as delivery vans. "Gas is still under $4 gallon most places, but diesel is just under $5 in some places."

Carven said it was difficult to estimate how many vehicles have been converted to burn grease, but his best guess was around 10,000. Most grease car drivers hit up local restaurants to get fuel for free.

Jonathan Erber of Harvard, who in August converted his 1993 Chevrolet diesel pickup to also run on vegetable oil, prefers Chinese restaurants. "I get higher performance from their peanut oil. I barely touch the pedal and it gets up to 60 [m.p.h.]," he said. "When I see a Chinese restaurant now, I go there."

Chuck Solomonson of Libertyville frequents a local hot dog stand, Max's Dawg House, for fuel for his Mercedes-Benz 350SD.

"They had to pay someone to take it away, so I was doing them a favor," he said, adding that though the grease is free, he must run it through filters resembling "Mr. Ed's feed bag" to catch bits of french fries and other food particles that could clog fuel injectors.

Some in the grease business, including John Mahoney, chief executive of Mahoney Environmental, think grease car drivers occasionally resort to theft.

"There's a lot of cutesy articles about grease cars that go from coast to coast," he said. Meanwhile, he's dealing thievery that has him thinking of installing cameras near his grease bins.

Restaurant Technologies' Getzinger said he thinks most stealing is done by scofflaws capitalizing on grease's value. "They just try to grab it and resell it. It's like people stealing copper out of somebody's house," he referring to another hot commodity.

Original here

The Texas Polygamist Raid Was A Legal Lynch Mob.

The Texas Court of Appeals has finally restored order to one tiny corner of the universe. It has ordered the return of the Texas Polygamist Children to their parents holding that there was an almost complete failure of proof to justify such an action. You can read the opinion here.

The removal of the children at th Texas Polygamist Compound is the latest example of knee jerk panic leading to mass violations of human and constitutional rights.

I am braced for all the outrage comments but The Texas Court Of Appeal did the right thing in returning the Texas Polygamist Children to their parents. What happened here was nothing more than a an attempt to use court system to kidnap children because we panicked. This was a “legal lynch mob”. Not legal in the sense that what was done was legitimate, legal in the sense that it was a judicial lynching.

I am not saying there are children who were not in legitimate danger. What I am saying is this is not Communist China or North Korea. Those parents had and have rights. Panic and fear are not legal grounds to circumvent the law. Yes those children also have rights. How have the knee jerk panic decisions that ultimately wasted time and money with no real benefit to the children protected those rights? The children are going back. (an appeal if any will fail) and if anything was going on the parents and their lawyers are ready and loaded for bear.

Is the greater tragedy that the children must be returned or that it will now be more difficult then ever to help them even doing it the right way because the state tipped its hand with the panic move.

I have said it before and I will say it again. The greatest threat to mankind is knee jerk panic and knee jerk stupidity. The public sees something that so disgusts and shakes them to the very core of everything that we deem decent and the next thing you know all hell breaks lose.

It is like throwing a rock into the lake and the ripple effect. At the center where the rocks hits is the incident that disgusts us. What we don’t think about at the time is that those ripples moving outward begin to consume everything in their path that at the closest point may be similar but at the the furthest point from ground zero, we are burning books, arresting every kid who draws a disturbing picture in his notebook and calling the cops on our neighbor because he drives and ice cream truck and therefore must be abusing children.

At the time we are all consumed with our panic and making irrational decisions we completely forget about the fact that for every decision of flawed logic we make at the center of the ripples, cause and effect pushes outward with often tragic consequences that we have neither thought about nor care about in our all consuming fear and hate. Knee Jerk panic at its’ best.

For all us constructionists I am aware the Constitution of the United States certainly does not prohibit legal lynchings by specific words but I don’t have to go back and read it to know that the words “blessings of liberty” are in there. In order to lose the rights instilled by that blessing, we have something called Due Process. I don’t have to read the Constitution to know those words are in there as well. I did look for the words “legal lynch mob” but could not find them anywhere. If anyone reads the Constution and finds them please let me know.

You can read the Constitution Of The United States right here.

I say legal lynch mob… What do you think?

Original here

No charges over Scientology demo

Legal action has been dropped against a 15-year-old who faced prosecution for branding Scientology a "cult".

The teenager held up a sign which read, "Scientology is not a religion, it is a dangerous cult", in May outside its headquarters in the City of London.

City of London Police said it had received complaints and warned the teenager to get rid of the sign as it breached the Public Order Act.

Human rights campaigners vowed to take action against the police.

Lawyers for the human rights group Liberty represented the teenager in his legal battle.

James Welch from the organisation said: "The police may have ended their inquiries into this tawdry incident but rest assured that Liberty's inquiry will continue.

"Democracy is all about clashing ideas and the police should protect peaceful protest, not stifle it."

'No offence'

The teenager's mother said the move was "a victory for free speech".

She said: "We're all incredibly proud of him.

"We advised him to take the placard down when we realised what was happening but he said 'No, it's my opinion and I have a right to express it'."

A Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) spokesman said: "In consultation with the City of London Police, we were asked whether the sign was abusive or insulting.

"Our advice is that it is not abusive or insulting and there is no offensiveness (as opposed to criticism), neither in the idea expressed nor in the mode of expression."

A spokeswoman for the City of London Police said: "The CPS review of the case includes advice on what action or behaviour at a demonstration might be considered to be 'threatening, abusive or insulting'.

"The force's policing of future demonstrations will reflect this advice."

Original here

Giant 'telescope' links London, New York

LONDON, England (CNN) -- As the first splinters of sunlight spread their warmth on the south bank of the River Thames on Thursday, it became clear that after more than a century, the vision of Victorian engineer Alexander Stanhope St. George had finally been realized.

The Telectroscope lets Londoners and New Yorkers see each other in real time.

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In all its optical brilliance and brass and wood, there stood the Telectroscope: an 11.2-meter-(37 feet) long by 3.3-meter-(11 feet) tall dream of a device allowing people on one side of the Atlantic to look into its person-size lens and, in real time, see those on the other side via a recently completed tunnel running under the ocean. (Think 19th-century Webcam. Or maybe Victorian-age video phone.)

And all the credit goes to British artist Paul St. George. If he had not been rummaging through great-grandpa Alexander's personal effects a few years ago, the Telectroscope might still exist only on paper, hidden away deep inside some old box.

But fortunately, St. George could not bear that thought and thus decided he should be the one to finish what his great-grandfather had started. It was quite simply the right thing to do. Plus, it would make a pretty cool public art exhibit. Send us your videos, images or stories

During the twilight hours Tuesday, massive dirt-covered metal drill bits miraculously emerged -- one by the Thames near the Tower Bridge and the other on Fulton Ferry Landing by the Brooklyn Bridge in New York -- completing the final sections of great-grandfather Alexander's transatlantic tunnel.

The drills were removed Wednesday night and replaced with identical Telectroscopes at both ends, allowing Londoners and New Yorkers to wake up Thursday, look over to the far and distant shore and stare at each other for a while (the telescope-like contraption permits visual but not vocal communication).

Of course, only part of this story is true.

St. George is an artist in Britain who does have a grandfather -- minus the great prefix -- named Alexander.

And the trans-Atlantic tunnel is really a trans-Atlantic broadband network rounded off on each end with HD cameras, according to Tiscali, an Italian Internet provider handling the technical side of the project.

As for the Telectroscope, well, it was a fanciful idea that, according to St. George, came about from a typo made by a 19th-century reporter who misspelled Electroscope, a device used to measure electrostatic charges - as Telectroscope.

"The journalist also misunderstood what it was about and wrote in the article that it was a device for the suppression of absence," St. George said. "The accidental hope captured their imagination, and lots of people at the end of the 19th century thought it was a great idea."

The Telectroscope captured St. George's imagination five years ago, when he began pondering how to do a project on the childhood fantasy of digging a hole to the opposite side of the Earth. And because the artist also happens to have an expertise in Victorian chronophotography -- a precursor to cinematography -- he had a slight idea of where to look for the proper equipment.

"We all have that idea in our head if we could make a tunnel to the other side of the Earth," St. George said."But we are not all crazy enough to actually try and do it."

St. George was crazy enough to actually try and do it, but he realized he could not do the digging alone. So about two years ago, he pitched the idea to Artichoke, the British arts group responsible for taking the Sultan's Elephant -- a 42-ton mechanical creature -- for a stroll through central London in 2006. The company was immediately taken by St. George's idea.

"The whole thing is about seeing what is real and what isn't real and how the world is," said Nicki Webb, a co-founder of Artichoke. "Is it nighttime when we are in daytime, and does it look familiar to us or not?"

When the sun illuminated the lens of the Telectroscope next to the Thames, it was, of course, still nighttime in New York. So the screen inside the scope broadcast back only an empty sidewalk silently framed by the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline.

But then something miraculous occurred.

A police officer and a street cleaner walked into the frame. Stopped. And waved.

The Telectroscope will be on display and open to the public 24 hours a day in London and New York until June 15. Artichoke is arranging requests to synchronize special reunions between friends and family or, the company hopes, maybe even a marriage proposal.

Original here