The desire to accumulate physical objects seems to be inherent, present in the little girl who collects Barbie dolls or the late-night TV host who keeps 126 classic cars and motorcycles in a specially built garage. For some, the motive to search for and acquire a specific item is the sheer fun of the activity. Others seek mementos that stir memories of the past. Fewer still acquire rarities for investment, hoping for enormous profits over time.
Some collectibles are only available to the super-rich due to the cost of acquiring and keeping their purchases safe and secure. What was once available only to kings and queens is now owned by captains of industry, successful financiers, and entertainment moguls. Though individual collections can be worth millions of dollars, well beyond the financial capability of 99% of humanity, they remain fascinating to the majority. Exhibitions of a rare collection draw thousands of visitors, each eager to view the individual pieces up close and personal.
For a look at 10 of the most noteworthy types of collections in the world, check out the following list:
Taking an annual vacation is important. Excessive work hours and days lead to burnout, reduced employee engagement, higher absenteeism, lower production, and higher costs. A 2016 Harvard Business Review article notes that employees who took more than 10 vacation days per year were almost twice as likely to receive a raise or bonus within three years.
Yet despite the benefits, nearly one-half of Americans did not take a vacation in 2017, often citing the high cost of travel as the primary reason. Recognizing the need for an affordable vacation, managers of many destination resorts have added an “all-inclusive” option to their offerings, allowing visitors to pay a single price for a room, meals, and other amenities while at the resort.
Are these packages really a good deal? Here’s a closer look.
The Rise of the All-Inclusive Resort
Cruise ships have long offered all-inclusive options. Cruise travelers can choose the size and location of their cabin and meal options to fit their budgets and pay a single fare for accommodations, meals, and access to the ship’s physical, cultural, and entertainment offerings. It’s no doubt one of the reasons cruise ship vacations are“the fastest growing part of the vacation industry,” according to PR Newswire. Resorts are following suit, increasingly using an all-inclusive price strategy, hoping that its simplicity and convenience will boost their sales.
For years, resorts predominately offered a-la-carte pricing — what many call a “European Plan” — in which rooms, meals, and recreation activities were separately available at the option of the guests. The first step to a single basic rate for everything was the introduction of the “American Plan,” which combined room and meals but did not include recreational activities or entertainment.
Club Med pioneered one flat price for everything in 1950 with the opening of its first resort at Palinuro, Salerno Italy. Designed to appeal to young people, guests stayed in straw huts on the beach, sharing communal meals and showers. In the 1990s, the company upgraded their offerings in meals and recreational activities, especially for families. For example, children could attend a circus school run by Cirque de Soleil or take snow skiing lessons from a professional ski instructor while their parents relaxed in a luxurious spa. The company continues to offer all-inclusive prices, albeit at significantly higher rates.
The success of Club Med and similar resorts encouraged the use of all-inclusive pricing by other vacation properties. By the mid-2000s, most luxury resorts had embraced a single-price option for guests. For one price, guests could stay in high-end facilities that included state-of-the-art spas, award-winning food, alcohol, and luxurious rooms with ocean views. At the end of 2016, U.S. News & World Reports estimates, there were at least 300 all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico with facilities ranging from modest to high-end. Some (such as Sandals) cater to an adult crowd, while others (such as Viva Wyndham) focus on families.
Immigration has long been a controversial subject for Americans, despite the country’s reputation as the world’s melting pot. In times of economic uncertainty, emotions run especially high, and partisans on both sides of the political divide use immigration controversy for their own gain.
Knowing what’s fact and what’s fiction is particularly tricky in the unregulated, anonymous world of social media. In order to separate the truth from our fears, it’s important to know the facts behind the issues. Here’s how immigration affects several aspects of the U.S. economy.
According to the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), there are approximately 45 million immigrants in the United States today, making up about 13.5% of the population. Immigrant children born in the country almost double the figures to 87 million and 27%, respectively. Over 80% of immigrants have lived in the country for more than five years, and almost one in three owns a home.
Yet while immigrants are a part of our neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces, misconceptions about them abound. Here are some of the most common.
Myth #1: Most Immigrants Come From Latin America
Many Americans believe that immigrants predominately come from Latin America by sneaking over the border. While Latin Americans accounted for 37.2% of immigrants in 2016, the composition of immigrants has changed significantly in the past half-century. In 1960, the largest immigrant groups were from Italy, Germany, the U.K., and Canada, according to the MPI. European countries accounted for almost one-half (48.5%) of the total, and the Soviet Union (7.1%) had a higher share than Mexico (5.9%).
In 2016, most immigrants came from Mexico (26.5%), India (5.6%), and China (4.9%). Mexico and Central American countries, including Cuba, accounted for the largest proportion of legal and illegal immigrants, but not the majority. Asia represented slightly more than 20%, with the rest of the world comprising 42.5%.
Myth #2: Most Immigrants Are Illegal
Some Americans believe most foreigners are in the United States illegally. That is not true. Illegal immigrants account for about 24.5% of the immigrant population but a meager 3.4% of the U.S. population in total, according to Pew Research.
Myth #3: Immigrants Are Unskilled & Uneducated
Some Americans assume immigrants are uneducated, unskilled, low-wage workers. However, the MPI found that one-half of immigrants have a high school diploma or higher education. Two-thirds of immigrants over the age of 16 are employed, with almost a third (31.6%) in management, business, science, and the arts, compared to 38.8% of native-born citizens.
It’s true that a higher proportion of immigrants (24.1%) are engaged in low-wage service jobs than native-born citizens (16.8%). However, the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute, citing statistics from the U.S. Office of Homeland Security and others, states that immigrants are “generally much better educated than U.S.-born Americans are … [and] 62 percent more likely than U.S.-born natives to have graduated college.”
Foreigners who work in the United States with H-1B visas have bachelor’s degrees or higher and work in specialized fields such as IT, engineering, mathematics, and science. President Trump and others have complained that H-1B visa holders compete with Americans for high-paying jobs. However, the visa program was created to allow companies to hire foreign workers to work for three years or more in specialty occupations for which there are not enough skilled Americans to fill the positions.
The growth of automobile ownership in America has provided a mix of blessings and harm to the country and the world. Cars have spurred economic growth, population mobility, and geographic freedom. However, fossil-fueled automobiles are the leading causes of pollution, urban sprawl, and massive traffic delays — in addition to deaths, injuries, and property damage due to accidents.
One solution to these problems is the development of electric, self-driving cars. Some analysts project that these vehicles will eliminate traffic accidents, reduce pollution, and decrease the number of vehicles on the road.
Is an electric or self-driving car in your future? Here’s a look at what they are, what they offer, and how to determine whether one is right for you.
What Is an Electric or Self-Driving Vehicle?
Technology is on track to transform the relationship between humans, their vehicles, and the environment over the next two decades. Peter O’Connor of the Union of Concerned Scientists predicts that electric vehicles (or EVs) could constitute 20% of U.S. automobile sales by 2025. As sales increase, the cost of EVs will go down. At the same time, the cost of internal combustion engine vehicles will rise as manufacturers face stringent, costly emission regulations.
Not all electric cars are self-driving, and not all self-driving cars are electric. While electric vehicles are on the road today, self-driving cars are only in the testing phase, and no one can say for certain when consumers can expect to see them. Here’s a look at the differences between the two.
Electric vehicles are powered by electricity from batteries or fuel cells located within the body of the vehicle. The first EV was introduced in Scotland and enjoyed a brief popularity as a taxi in the late 19th century. The introduction of the internal combustion engine, coupled with the low cost of gasoline, led to EVs’ replacement by the 1920s.
Electric cars are extremely efficient — 95% compared to a traditional combustion engine’s 30% — since they deliver power directly to the wheels, eliminating the need for a clutch or gears. Manufacturers are currently exploring the possibility of an electric engine that would reside entirely within the wheel rim.
Concerns about the environment — electric engines produce 0% tailpipe emissions — and the volatility of fuel prices have also stimulated the development of modern electric vehicles. In 1997, Toyota produced the first mass-produced hybrid car, the Prius, which had a small gasoline engine to drive the electric motor between charges. Nissan, Honda, Ford, and Chevrolet followed with their own models within a few years.
GM produced the first all-electric vehicle, the EV1, in 1996, but it was never commercially viable. In 2008, Tesla Motors produced its electric Roadster, followed by the launch of the Nissan Leaf. According to EVRater, 65 all-electric vehicles and 63 hybrid vehicles from 27 manufacturers are available now or upcoming. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, almost 725,000 electric or hybrid vehicles were on the road in America in 2017, amounting to about 3% of total U.S. new car sales, according to Quartz.