In the money
The increasing demand for rubber and rubber-based products is providing lucrative jobs for unemployed graduates in Malaysia.
While no statistics are available, industry sources confirmed the growing number of graduates and teachers tapping rubber. Some teachers apparently have moved into the plantation to earn extra money, the ``New Straits Times'' reported.
The Malaysian Minister of Plantation Enterprise and Commodity said the tappers could earn more than $500 a month working for smallholders.
A prime example is Mohamad Hatta Abd Halim. The university graduate tried to get a white-collar job with his computer science degree for three years before he decided to chuck it all and tap rubber on his family's smallholding and raise and sell freshwater fish, the paper said.
The 26-year-old makes about $526 a month tapping rubber. Hatta said he grew up on the smallholding and is used to the early hours and smell of dried latex. Getting his hands dirty isn't a problem for Hatta, unlike some of his counterparts who he claims balk at the idea of being a rubber tapper.
Attendees of NAHAD's recent convention in Miami Beach, Fla., got to hear from a CEO who isn't afraid to get his hands dirty.
Jonathan Tisch, as chairman and CEO of Loews Corp.'s Loews Hotels unit was both keynote speaker for the meeting and host-with the event at his firm's Miami Beach property. During his talk, he told of a segment he did for a show on The Learning Channel where CEOs performed entry-level jobs.
Tisch served about a half-day each on such duties as front-desk clerk, breakfast cook, bellboy and maid. While he may receive high marks as chairman of Loews Hotels, he was given a ``C'' for his work as a maid. The head of housekeeping, who probably was kind in her grading, helped Tisch make up the first room. He then proceeded to take three hours to do one room on his own, about six times the 30 minutes the regular maids take.
Up in the air
The U.S. military is known for its cutting-edge weapons, planes, communications systems and so on. Its next piece of technology may not be so 21st or 22nd century as it is 19th century.
The military is studying Space Data Corp.'s balloon-borne wireless communications network for ground troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Chandler, Ariz., company maintains such a network stretching from Arizona to Arkansas. It regularly releases 6-foot wide balloons equipped with payloads into ``near space,'' about 100,000 feet above sea level, to support two-way data communication in rural and remote areas, the ``Arizona Republic'' reported.
The military believes such a system could improve the current two-way radio system that reaches 12 miles on flat terrain. A $20,000 balloon could expand that range to 400 miles, the paper said. The balloon can support communications for about 12 hours before its batteries wear out and the payload drifts to the ground where Space Data retrieves it. The military said it likely would not retrieve its balloons.
An El Paso, Texas, firm has found a way to slow traffic temporarily with portable rubber speed bumps.
Each 3-foot speed bump weighs 48 pounds, and they can be linked together to create a custom length for highways, school and work zones, military and police checkpoints, and any other places where vehicle speed poses a danger, manufacturer TAG International Inc. said.
The 4-inch tall Mooring Line Speed Bump is virtually unmoved by passing vehicles, including multiton trucks, at speeds up to 50 mph and stays in place without any hardware. A reflective stripe provides additional visibility during evening hours. The solid vulcanized rubber units last 10-20 years and perform in almost any weather condition. For more information, visit www.tagmlsb.com.
Falsifying documents will get you nothing but trouble.
David Robson, a former director of RF Rubber Products Ltd. in Morpeth, England, has agreed to not take part in company management for 14 years after allegedly falsifying financial documents.
The United Kingdom's Insolvency Service claims Robson issued a false invoice for leasing two machines from Barclays Mercantile. The machinery maker said it never supplied the units to RF. In addition, Robson issued false sales invoices to GMAC Commercial Credit, which advanced the firm $125,192, a local news report said.
RF Rubber went bankrupt in 2002 with debts estimated at $2.23 million.
Compiled and edited by Pam Coleman. Send items to [email protected]