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Electric cars could suddenly get a lot more expensive
The $7,500 tax credit for electric car buyers in the US faces an unexpected premature death, with a new Republican tax plan cutting the credit immediately. The credit gives EV buyers a sizable cut on their tax bill when they purchase a new car, and has been instrumental in driving the adoption of electric vehicles across the country. Now, Republicans are proposing doing away with it altogether.
It’s difficult to understate how much of an impact that could have. Currently, when federal and state tax benefits and credits are combined, potentially as much as $10,000 can be offset from the cost of a new electric car. Manufacturers like Tesla and Chevrolet often quote the post-credit figure as the bottom line drivers face for their car, in the process bringing what are often expensive vehicles more in line with their gas-powered counterparts.
Of those credits, though, it’s the federal contribution that is the most sizable. The plan, created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), was never intended to last forever. Indeed, manufacturers’ cars were only to be eligible for the full, $7,500 credit until the automaker produced 200,000 qualifying vehicles in the US.
After that point, the credit would enter a so-called phase-out period. That would cut the credit by 50-percent for the first six months – bringing it down to $3,750 – and then down to just 25-percent of the original amount for a further six months. After that, it would end altogether.
Now, though, it faces a much sooner end, Bloomberg reports. The proposed tax plan would axe the federal EV credit altogether, and immediately, in the name of streamlining the number of tax brackets and reducing the rate of tax that corporations pay.
It could bring chaos to the electric vehicle market. Automakers are already seeing EVs as not just offering slim margins but potentially costing them on every car sold. Tesla announced its worst financial quarter in the company’s history earlier this week, with significantly lower Model 3 production than expected. Elon Musk’s company has spent more than $2.5bn in cash in Q2 and Q3 this year already.
The fear is that, if it is removed, the loss of the credit could have a significant impact on sales of Tesla’s most affordable car, the Model 3, and indeed similar vehicles like the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Nissan Leaf. Tesla already faced running out of full-value credits anyway: the $7,500 it counts on to help bring the well-publicized $35k price tag for its newest car is set to run out sometime in 2023 if Musk’s predictions on production pan out.
For the moment, the tax plan is far from decided upon, never mind law. As we’ve seen from the government in recent months, negative feedback from the public and industry around proposed legislation can lead to lawmakers backtracking, anxious to avoid embarrassing defeat. Nonetheless, if you were saving up for a Model 3 and, like many, have estimated delivery dates at the end of 2023 or into 2023, your future purchase might get unexpectedly more expensive.
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Octopus tentacles could teach more flexible robots
Octopus arms are laced with a special chemical that stops their hundreds of suckers sticking to themselves, researchers have found, allowing their flexible limbs to act semi-autonomously in ways that could have implications for tomorrow’s robotics. The average octopus has nearly 2,000 suckers across its eight arms, but despite the potential for tying itself up in sticky knots, it never actually does. Now, we know why that’s the case.
The research, carried out by Nir Nesher, Guy Levy, Frank W. Grasso, and Binyamin Hochner, describes a chemical-based self-recognition system the octopuses use to autonomously identify which are their own limbs.
By putting samples of octopus skin on other objects, the team was able to show that the animal would not grab them. When objects were partially covered, the octopus would grab the uncovered parts but avoid the skin.
However, while the proclivity toward avoidance of skin from its own species seems autonomic – i.e. the octopus brain does not need to actively differentiate between materials – it can also be overruled if it’s in the animal’s best interest. Faced with a tasty torn-off tentacle from another octopus, and the test subjects ignored the chemical marker and snatched up the tidbit to eat.
However, they continued to ignore their own detached limbs, refusing to consume them.
It’s not the only biological shortcut that octopuses rely upon to make moving more straightforward, the researchers point out. For instance, while the potential for movement and positions of an octopus limb is effectively infinite, in actual fact the animals only follow around three.
Those “stereotypical motion patterns” can be coded into the motor programs within the arms, and merely triggered rather than fully instructed each time by the brain, reducing cognitive load.
As both the study’s authors and National Geographic’s Ed Yong points out, the research may be focused on the animal world, but it could have implications for smarter robotics.
“The concept of embodied organization, proposed as a tool for designing autonomous robots, is that adaptive behavior emerges from the reciprocal and dynamic interactions of sensory and physical information among body, controller, and environment. In this form of organization, in contrast to hierarchical organization, the system functions as a whole, as it allows self-organizational processes to set the relevant dynamic properties of the elements building up the system – the embodiment. In robotics, this approach has led to the emergence of adaptive behavior by a robot in a specific environment” N. Nesher, G. Levy, F, W. Grasso, and B. Hochner
In short, by spreading the robot’s intelligence throughout its construction, rather than relying on a single, centralized processing hub that keeps overarching control of the entire system, robots could be more efficient and more flexible.
Researchers are already experimenting with robotic octopuses, but the tech needn’t be tentacle-based.
Rather, any robot with multiple components – whether it be bipedal or otherwise – could allow each subsystem to react to its environment of its own accord, with the “brain” more of a manager-of-divisions than attempting to micromanage the whole process.
VIA National Geographic
SOURCE Current Biology
Maybe it is just me, but I find that getting a notification that someone has retweeted my content is really exciting. It could just be that I am glad that my contribution is being appreciated and has provided something to the user. But more likely, it is a slightly childish ego that makes me happy to get praise, like being patted on the head and given a lollipop for drawing a pretty picture of a dog.
Whatever the case, I am positive this is a common feeling. Otherwise, you wouldn’t see so many people asking about how to increase their number of retweets.
Yes, yes … I know a lot of these people are professionals looking for social media-promotion opportunities. I am also aware of the fact that Twitter retweets are one of the most effective ways of increasing visibility and gaining a wider number of loyal followers. But, I bet there is a little of that grinning six-year-old in us all.
Here are six tips to get your content retweeted more often, no matter what your reasons are:1. Download an eBook
This one is a must-read, and it is the number one step if you are working on getting retweeted. Download Dan Zarrella’s “Science of ReTweets” (view this presentation to get a better idea).2. Learn The Right Times For Tweeting
Everyone has a main demographic, and a big part of aiming for that target audience is by knowing the time zone they are located in and when they are more likely to be on. There are plenty of tools out there that work by analyzing your followers and finding out the perfect time for you to tweet, which makes it easier to schedule updates accordingly. Two of the most popular services for this are SocialBro and Tweriod.3. Viral Content Bee “Retweet me” Option
Viral Content Bee is the free social media platform that lets you get retweeted by retweeting other users’ articles. To get retweets, check “Retweet” option:
This option is meant to let you track your projects being retweeted:
Get the stream of your retweets in your Tweetdeck column.
Get more followers.
Increase your influence.4. Participate in Twitter Chats
Twitter chats are a great way to get people listen to you on Twitter because you are contributing to a shared Twitter stream. If you are unsure of how Twitter chats work, please check this article.
Here’s also a schedule of Twitter chats in the Internet Marketing niche (it misses one newer chat #seopub):5. Look For Breaking News
Look for big news stories or even just something interesting. Make sure you are subscribed to some of feeds known for having news up when it first breaks, and then be quick to repeat it.6. Mention Your More Influential Followers
You probably have a handful of people on your follower list that are better known than most or have a high number of followers. Giving them an @mention is an easy way to get a potential retweet back. As long as the post is relevant, they will probably want to share it with their own followers. Since they have a large list, more people will see it in their feed, which means more potential retweets.BONUS – Don’t Be Afraid To Repeat Yourself
Sometimes, you say something that was really good or well received. Just like other content, it doesn’t just go into obscurity as time goes by. You should bring it back to people’s attention by tweeting it a second time, to show new followers what they might have missed. If it was popular once, it will probably be popular again, as long as some time has passed and allowed you a new wave of followers.
Image Credits: 1; 2
Even if you do have private land to ride them on, the issue is that they can be expensive if you don’t know where to look, with some boasting hefty price tags. But, like most products on the market, there are deals to be had if you know where to look, and you could potentially save a bundle.
We’ve used our expertise to scour the web and find the best electric scooter deals available right now – not just those that look good on the surface.What are the best electric scooters available right now?
One of the most popular electric scooters around is the Xiaomi Mi Electric Scooter Pro 2. It’s much cheaper than many of its overseas rivals and offers a great blend of reliability and value for money with top speeds of 15mph and a range of 18.6 miles. There is a newer third-gen Xiaomi scooter, but the Scooter Pro 2 still offers a tempting setup at an even cheaper price than before.Xiaomi Mi Electric Scooter Pro 2 – best prices right now
While the Xiaomi Mi Electric Scooter Pro 2 is a great all-rounder (as well as a mouthful to say!) there are electric scooters designed for longer trips.
The Ninebot Max G30 is a great example of this, with the same 350W motor, but with larger air-filled tyres and an impressive 40-mile range. There’s also the added bonus of a built-in charging unit, meaning you need only plug a kettle cable in to charge it up – much more convenient than the large, heavy brick chargers bundled with most alternatives.Ninebot Max G30 – best prices right now
We’ve got more information on UK law in our guide to electric scooter law in the UK, and we’d recommend taking a read before taking the plunge.Where to buy an electric scooter in the UK
If you’re still on the hunt for an electric scooter bargain in the UK, we’d keep an eye on the following retailers. As well as stocking eScooters all year round, the retailers regularly offer discounts and deals for savvy bargain hunters.
We’d recommend keeping an eye on Amazon for great electric scooter deals, and if you don’t mind importing from overseas, Gearbest is another great option – although beware of potential importing fees, especially post-Brexit. Other retailers that offer deals on electric scooters include:
The restrictions on UK usage mean that many of the big retailers simply don’t stock them, although the tide is slowly changing. In situations like this, the easiest way is to head to a dedicated outdoor specialist like those mentioned above, or import one from China via sites like GearBest – albeit with increased fees.
Just be warned that buying from China will make it very difficult to return if you need any repairs, and you may have to pay import fees too.Best electric scooter deals right now
If you’ve got your heart set on an electric scooter and want to save a bit of money, these are the best deals we’ve found online.Xiaomi Mi 3 Electric Scooter
Now: £399.99 (£40 off)
View DealRazor E-Prime Air
Now: £499.99 (£100 off)
What are the Most Expensive Metals on Earth?
Despite being among the most costly metals in the world, gold and silver are not the only ones to have a high value.
Continue reading to find out more. Of course, this article also makes mention of gold and silver.Costliest metals
As of February 2023, these are the six most expensive metals:
Rhodium (Rh) – $12,000/troy ounce.
Iridium (Ir) – $4,600/troy ounce.
Gold (Au) – $1,929/troy ounce.
Palladium (Pd) – $1626/troy ounce.
Platinum (Pt) – $1009/troy ounce.
Ruthenium (Ru) – $465/troy ounce.Rhodium (Rh)
This metal is silver-colored, rare, and expensive. Radium is the most expensive metal in the world. We must point you that just 0.001 grams of radium are found in each tonne of the earth’s crust to offer you a clearer image. High melting points and excellent corrosion resistance are two characteristics of radium. Due to its reflected qualities, this metal is often used in items like mirrors, spotlights, and jewelry. It is also valuable in the automotive industry and some industrial fields. South Africa, Russia, and Canada are the top radium producers.Iridium (Ir)
In the platinum group, iridium is the strongest and dense metal. It is the most corrosion-resistant and has one of the highest melting points. The metal is obtained from platinum ore as a byproduct of nickel mining. The majority of iridium is made in South Africa. It is used to manufacture pen tips, watches, jewelry, compasses, electrical equipment, pharmaceuticals, and the automotive industry.Gold (Au)
Due to its distinct hue, gold is the most easily recognizable precious metal. Due to its color, flexibility, and conductivity, this tough substance is one of the most popular metals and investment choices. It is the world’s most well-known metal for thermal insulation, electronics, radiation protection, and jewelry. The major countries where gold is mined are South Africa, the US, China, Australia, and Russia.Palladium (Pd)
Palladium, the smaller sibling of rhodium, also profited from the Dieselgate controversy. Platinum, primarily used in diesel car catalytic converters, fell as after-sales of diesel vehicles fell, and petrol alternatives re-entered the market. At the same time, palladium, which is more compatible with gasoline, surged.
As the most expensive precious metal, palladium is more expensive than gold, silver, and platinum. It is utilized in more significant amounts for catalytic converters and is rarer than platinum. Because of rising vehicle sales in Asia, the demand for the metals used in catalytic converters is anticipated to remain stable in the foreseeable future. However, the growing popularity of battery-electric cars, which don’t have catalytic converters, might hurt demand for palladium.
The leading producer of palladium worldwide is the Russian mining firm Nornickel, which extracted 86 metric tonnes of the metal in 2023.Platinum (Pt)
The word “Platino,” which means “low silver” in Spanish, is where the name of this metal originates. It is a very passive, malleable, thick, and non-corrosive metal. Due to its brilliant look and outstanding resilience, platinum is often used in jewelry. Additionally, dentistry, weapons, and aircraft use this substance. Several of the world’s major producers of this valuable metal include South Africa, Russia, Canada, and other nations that process minerals.Ruthenium (Ru)
One of the metals of the platinum group is ruthenium. As a result of their shared characteristics and frequent occurrence in nature, all the metals in this family are regarded as valuable metal elements. Its traits include hardness, scarcity, and resistance to environmental factors. Ruthenium is widely used in electronics as a reliable way to create electrical connections. Russia, North America, and South America are the top producers.
Google My Business can be a powerful tool for certain types of companies to get in front of more customers, but most people aren’t tapping into its true potential.
In fact, most don’t even begin to scratch the surface.
When most people create a profile, they just fill out the basic contact info and leave it at that.
That’s a good start, but there are a number of other details you can optimize to improve where your listing ranks.
And the best part is that it’s not incredibly complicated. It just takes time and consistent effort.1. Contact Information
Obviously, you need to add your business contact information to your Google My Business profile, but that’s the bare minimum.
This includes your address, service areas, hours of operation, and your phone number.2. Description
Your description can help to improve your ranking, but also provides a great opportunity to give searchers a reason to do business with you.
A lot of people fail here by either writing a garbage description or simply not writing one at all.
Treat this like you would any other piece of content – focus on the problems you solve for your customers instead of rambling on about how long you’ve been in business, how large your company is, or any of the nonsense that people often use when they write about their company.
You need to make it about them and their needs, not about you and your ego.
As you might suspect, it’s important to include keywords that people might use when searching for the type of products or services you offer, but don’t go overboard.
Also, keep in mind that you have limited space here (750 characters) so make sure that the most important info is at the beginning or they may not see it.3. Reviews
Positive reviews can quickly transform your business from an unknown entity into a much more trusted one.
This is a concept called social proof, which is deeply rooted in human psychology.
Basically, it’s a shortcut to building trust because when people see that others have bought and have been happy with your products or services, many will assume that they’ll be likely to have a similar experience.
It takes a lot of work to get customers to leave reviews, but it’s definitely worth it because of the effect it has on building trust.
The key here is to ask when positive emotions are at a peak. This might be right after they’ve purchased, or it could be even earlier in the process.
It’s important to help your customers craft their review to ensure that it’s helpful to other potential customers.
You’ll want to give them guidance on key points to include which will help highlight the problems you solved and how that positively affected them. This makes the reviews much more effective.
Think about it like this…which of these reviews do you feel is more impactful:
“Richard is a great lawyer. I recommend his services.”
“When I was facing an IRS audit, Richard helped reduce the uncertainty and fear I felt by creating a solid strategy to defend me. He saved me thousands of dollars and made the entire process about as smooth and painless as I could hope for. That was really important because it let me focus on running my business while he fought for me. I was blown away by his expertise, attention to detail, and service. I highly recommend his services.”
The first one is positive, but empty, while the second one paints a clear picture of what a customer can expect if they work with Richard.
Make sure to respond to each review because it demonstrates that you care about your customers.
This is important for all reviews, but it’s especially important for negative reviews because it helps to offset the damage they do while also showing that you’re willing to address problems with customers.4. Posts
Posts on Google My Business can help to increase visibility at that critical moment when a searcher is looking for what you offer.
They can help to increase conversions because they provide the opportunity to display a headline, image, text post, and a call to action button.
Current CTAs include:
People who utilize posts often use them to publish promotional types of content, but they can also be used to publish purely informational types of content as well.
The key is to entice searchers with value, regardless of whether it’s a promotional or informational type of post.
A well-crafted post coupled with a call to action can be a powerful way to get searchers to engage with your brand and begin the sales cycle.
That engagement could be an immediate phone call, or it could be getting them over to your website where they can buy something, read an article, book an appointment, or engage in some other way.5. Questions & Answers
Considering that the entire foundation of SEO is based on answering questions for searchers, it should be no surprise that questions and answers can play a strong role in optimizing your Google My Business profile.
The beauty of this tactic is that you don’t need to rely on other people to find your profile and ask questions there. It doesn’t publicly show who asked the question, so you or employees can ask and answer these questions.
Q&A accomplishes two things:
It also helps to demonstrate your expertise to potential customers.
Your answers show them how much you know, giving them a better indication of whether you’re capable of solving their problem and whether they will enjoy buying from or working with you.
You can also use this to subtly bring up relevant issues they may not have considered, which can help to streamline the sales process later.
It’s critical to frame these questions from the perspective of the customers though. Don’t make the mistake of posting useless, self-promotional garbage.
Instead, answer the kinds of questions that you typically hear from customers and prospective customers.6. Photos
Most Google My Business profiles have few or even no photos uploaded, which is a huge missed opportunity.
In most cases, a business owner or marketer will upload a few pictures of their storefront and call it a day.
That’s enough for helping people to recognize your business when they’re trying to find it in person, but by adding more photos, you can improve the ranking for your listing as well as showcase your products or services.
It’s important to utilize a combination of photos of:
Your physical location.
If possible, your products and/or services in use.
It’s also important to consistently upload new photos.
If you haven’t uploaded any (or many) photos and you have a bunch ready to go, it’s fine to upload this batch all at once – as long as you continue to upload new photos.
Ideally, you should aim to upload at least one photo per week, but more is better.
As with most things in SEO, you should focus on quality over quantity.
We’re not uploading these photos just to improve our ranking, we’re also doing it to help potential customers get a better idea of how our products and services may help them.
So be sure to upload large, high-quality photos that represent your brand well.7. Products
You can also highlight the products you offer, giving searchers more insight into what you offer and increasing your likelihood of earning them as customers.
You even have the option of including a call to action linked directly to a page on your website. This part is pretty straightforward.8. Services
This tab is another way to highlight what you do for customers, but in my experience, your options are a little limited.
Google offers auto-suggested services based on your service category, and while there are a lot of logical choices that are simply missing, you do have the ability to add your own custom services.9. Veteran-Led Business
Google recently added the ability to denote Veteran-led status on your Google My Business profile.
In my highly biased opinion on this topic, this is an awesome feature because a lot of people specifically want to buy products or services from Veteran-owned businesses whenever possible.
Especially fellow Veterans.
This creates a powerful opportunity to quickly increase trust with searchers, which increases the likelihood that they contact you.
Fairly recently, this stopped showing up on desktop, but according to Google My Business product specialist, Ben Baker, I’m told this is a known glitch that will be fixed.
It does still show up properly on mobile.Dealing with Unwanted Changes
Occasionally, you’ll find changes suggested to your Google My Business listing that you didn’t make.
It could be from Google algorithmically suggesting changes, well-meaning searchers, or even from your competitors trying to hurt you.
But if you don’t regularly log in and decline these changes, Google will automatically apply them, which can hurt your visibility and the impression you make on potential customers.
I recommend logging in at least weekly to keep an eye out for these changes.
This shouldn’t be too difficult since you need to log in to create posts, upload photos, and respond to reviews anyway.
All screenshots taken by author, June 2023
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