TIME Innovation

Google Launching New Test Flight for Balloon-Based Internet

Australia is the site of the project's latest test trials

Google’s plan for “balloon-powered Internet for everyone” will expand its pilot test to Australia next month, The Guardian reported Monday.

During the trial, the company will fly 20 test balloons over Western Queensland in partnership with Australia’s largest telecom company, Telstra. Telstra will supply base stations to communicate with the balloons, and the test balloons will beam down 4G-style Internet from over 60,000 ft. in the air.

The ultimate goal for Google’s balloon-based Internet initiative, known as Project Loon, is to use high-altitude balloons to provide Internet access in rural or remote areas or during times of disaster, according to Google.

The Australia test flights are the latest step forward for Project Loon, which began in June 2013 with a test flight of 30 balloons over New Zealand. Other trials have since taken place over California’s Central Valley and Northeast Brazil.

Google said it aims to expand the pilot through 2014 with the goal of establishing a ring of uninterrupted connectivity around the 40th southern parallel, a circle of latitude that includes parts of Australia, New Zealand, Chile and Argentina.

[The Guardian]

 

TIME Autos

Toyota’s ‘Mirai’ Fuel-Cell Car Gets 300 Miles to a Tank

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A customer admires Japanese auto giant Toyota Motor's fuel cell vehicle which will go on sale end of this year at Toyota's showroom in Tokyo on November 5, 2014. Yoshikazu Tsuno—AFP/Getty Images

Toyota disclosed the vehicle's name, 'Mirai,' hours before a Honda news conference

Toyota unveiled its hydrogen-powered concept vehicle ‘Mirai’ on Monday, stealing thunder from a scheduled press conference on a hydrogen-powered vehicle from rival automaker Honda.

“The future has arrived, and it’s called, ‘Mirai,’” said Toyota chief executive Akio Toyoda in a video announcement posted to YouTube (the word ‘mirai’ actually means ‘future’ in Japanese). Toyoda said the vehicle could travel 300 miles on a single tank of hydrogen.

The announcement went live several hours before Honda was scheduled to disclose new details of its own fuel cell vehicle, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The Mirai is expected to go on sale by the end of the year, once again getting the jump on Honda’s hydrogen-powered vehicle, which is expected to go on sale by spring of 2016 at the latest.

TIME Careers & Workplace

11 Perfect Vacation Ideas That Won’t Disappoint

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Working all year round can actually hurt your productivity. Take a break and have a look at these vacation options

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This story was originally published on StartupCollective.

Question: Describe your idea of the perfect entrepreneurial vacation.

Surfing in the Middle of Nowhere

“Part of being an entrepreneur is exploring new industires or shaking up current ones. I like to take a trip to a off the beaten getaway where I can surf or just relax where there aren’t that many tourists and there is an opportunity for me to focus, meditate and enjoy the simple life. This type of vacation gets me to recharge my batteries and look at my life and business in a different way.” — Derek Capo, Next Step China

Gathering With Geniuses

“Being an entrepreneur is about the love for learning and the love for sharing. My dream vacation is spending a few nights in a new city drinking and partying with a bunch of geniuses. Business talk is allowed, but far from serious. South by Southwest Music and Media Conference is a perfect example, and Geeks on a Plane is a dream vacation.” — Brian Curliss, MailLift

Touring Artisan Lands

“In fashion, everyone talks about using artisans from South Asia in their lines, but young designers have no way of accessing those artisans. I would love to be able to go to villages in the North-West Frontier Province or to the Rajasthan desert to develop personal relationships that can lead to a wider, more fair distribution of these dying professions.” — Benish Shah, Before the Label

Engaging With New Communities

“Vacations are not merely about relaxing. They’re about exploration, engaging with new communities and cultures and challenging and inspiring yourself. My perfect vacation would be climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, soaking in the beauty of the continent and its people and touring local entrepreneurial ecosystems. I’d also like to go to AfrikaBurn or Burning Man and participate in the giving economy.” — Christopher Pruijsen, Sterio.me

Traveling Without Interruptions

“I’d love to vacation with the smartphone turned off and a qualified individual left in charge at the business. I would take no business phone calls — just a few quick and simple check-ins. I’d spend time at a favorite destination with enough money saved on airfare, food and lodging so that the vacation can be enjoyable and interesting each and every day.” — Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

Finding Inspiration While Relaxing

“I go on what I call innovation vacations. The purpose is to pull myself out of the day-to-day routine and think big. I pick a place of relaxation, unplug and get inspired by a wide range of books. I then plan, think and write.” — Brent Beshore, adventur.es

Golfing With My Inspirations

“Golf is a distant memory at best, but my entrepreneurial dream vacation would be hitting a post-Master’s round with Pete Carroll, Jim Collins and Warren Buffett. Nothing beats passion chatter with your biggest inspirations on a beautiful green.” — Matt Erlichman, Porch

Pushing Your Limits

“Some of my favorite vacations are on dirt bike trails at campgrounds. It’s not always relaxing and fun, but it makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something big after coming back from a tough trail ride. Going on a vacation that pushes your limits and lets you accomplish something outside of business is a great ego boost.” — Jennifer Donogh, Ovaleye, LLC

Making Time for Luxury Activities

“The key to a great vacation is doing luxurious activities — things that make you happy but you don’t create time for weekly. I enjoy staying in shape and sleeping, and both suffer during the work week! I also love my job and my team. The vacation part is about not opening a laptop and not creating new work, but I always want to be responsive to help my teammates and our partners.” — Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches

Reading and Enjoying the Quiet

“I always feel like I don’t have enough time to read all the books and other materials that are recommended to me as an entrepreneur. I’d love the opportunity to go away for a while and just consume some of those important ideas without an obligation to try to squeeze the effort in between my work.” — Thursday Bram, Hyper Modern Consulting

Keeping in Touch No Matter Where

“I always have my phone, iPad and computer with me, so I never really take a vacation from work. Why? Because I love what I do, get bored easily and always feel that I must reply to someone within 48 hours (otherwise, it’s rude).” — Trace Cohen, Launch.it

TIME Careers & Workplace

5 Best Morning Rituals for a Super Productive Day

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Here's how to make the most of your morning, and set the tone for a great day

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This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at Inc.com.

Whether or not you’re a morning person, morning rituals set the tone for the rest of the day. You can either stumble out of bed and rush at the Keurig like your life depends on it, or you can take this time to prepare for a productive, less stressful day. “Sleep hygiene” doesn’t end when you doze off–how you start your mornings restarts the cycle and gives you a genuine opportunity to begin fresh.

As an entrepreneur, you need to be a master at prioritizing. You have to revere drive over multitasking. The pressure of making money from scratch day after day is a lot of responsibility to shoulder. Try out these morning tips to optimize your productivity–and help keep you sane when the pressure starts to mount.

1. Skip the coffee (for now)

Before you go on that tangent about how you can’t possibly live without your coffee, hear me out. You don’t have to give up coffee for good, but try reaching for something else first. A cup of lukewarm water with freshly squeezed lemon gives you a more natural “kick” in the morning. Plus, it has many health benefits such as shifting your metabolism into higher gear, clearing your skin, providing a nonaddictive form of energy, and keeping your mouth healthy. To optimize the benefits, wait at least an hour before eating or drinking anything else.

2. Don’t reach for your phone

Many Americans report that they grab their phone as soon as they wake up. They browse through Facebook feeds (which studies show just make you feel worse about yourself). They groan at the influx of client requests already piling up. They scan through their favorite news app and see heartbreaking coverage of diseases and breaking wars, photos of celebrities in feuds, and other stressful scenarios. Instead, adopt a healthier “first thing in the morning” habit such as light stretching, dancing in front of a mirror, or making the bed (you’ll feel better for it).

3. Adopt a good hygiene ritual

Whether you like to shower first thing or wait until after your morning workout session, a good hygiene ritual is crucial–even if it’s just for your face. This is pampering time, and an easy way to continue looking your best while running a successful business. Entrepreneurs who work from home are especially vulnerable to getting into slob mode. At the very least, care for your face, which isn’t just a beautifying move but also refreshing.

4. Create a triage to-do list

Most entrepreneurs have a smorgasbord of requests to fulfill every day. This can easily be overwhelming, but don’t delve into multitasking. Research shows that nobody is good at it, and when you’re not giving 100 percent to any project, it’ll come back to bite you. Have an evolving task list each day that you check off. It’ll help keep you on track and ensure none of the minor details are missed. Start the business portion of each day updating your list and gauging where you stand.

5. Claim your space

A productive workspace is critical whether you call your home an office or you have to commute. Ideally you neaten up your work area each evening–but if that didn’t happen, do it in the morning. A sharp, clear mind demands a clear space. If you’re into feng shui (or are willing to give it a shot), find out how to better organize your office area. You might be surprised by the results.

Your mornings set the stage for the entire day. Choose wisely, take your time, and don’t forget to prioritize yourself along with your business.

TIME Companies

Halliburton Buys Rival as Big Oil Mergers Return

A Halliburton Co. worker walks through an Anadarko Petroleum Corp. hydraulic fracturing (fracking) site north of Dacono, Colo. on Aug. 12, 2014.
A Halliburton Co. worker walks through an Anadarko Petroleum Corp. hydraulic fracturing (fracking) site north of Dacono, Colo. on Aug. 12, 2014. Jamie Schwaberow—Bloomberg/Getty Images

Deal could create $2 billion in synergies after divestitures

Halliburton, the world’s second-biggest oilfield services provider, said Monday it will acquire its smaller rival Baker Hughes in a deal worth $34.6 billion in cash and stock.

Halliburton said the deal is worth $78.62 for each Baker Hughes share, based on the closing price of Halliburton’s shares on Nov. 12. The deal offer is a 31 percent premium over Baker Hughes’ closing stock price on Friday.

Last week, Halliburton was reportedly seeking to replace the Baker Hughes board as merger talks between the two companies stalled. Baker Hughes said Friday it had rejected Halliburton’s initial takeover proposal, which was made more than a month ago. The deal was expected to create $2 billion in synergies after divestitures.

On a pro-forma basis, the combined company had 2013 revenues of $51.8 billion, more than 136,000 employees and operations in more than 80 countries around the world, Halliburton said in a statement.

“The transaction will combine the companies’ product and service capabilities to deliver an unsurpassed depth and breadth of solutions to our customers, creating a Houston-based global oilfield services champion, manufacturing and exporting technologies, and creating jobs and serving customers around the globe,” Dave Lesar, chairman and CEO of Halliburton, said in a statement.

—Reuters contributed to this report.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME poverty

Study: 1 in 30 U.S. Kids Were Homeless During 2013

Study authors say nearly 2.5 million American children experienced homelessness last year

The number of homeless children in the United States surged by 8% in 2013 to nearly 2.5 million, according to a new study that attributes the record-breaking figure to a shortage of affordable housing and the lingering effects of a jobless economic recovery.

The report published Monday by the National Center on Family Homelessness combined the U.S. Department of Education’s existing estimate of homelessness among school-age children, 1.5 million, with independent tallies for younger children not yet at school. The revised total suggests that one in every 30 children in the U.S. experienced homelessness in 2013.

The study authors attribute the elevated rates of homelessness to a sluggish economic recovery, compounded by a housing market that has priced out unemployed and low income families. California, in particular, was hard hit with 527,000 homeless children, accounting for one-fifth of the national total.

TIME Careers & Workplace

The One Word You Should Basically Never, Ever Say

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Anyone aiming for great success should quit using it immediately

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This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at Inc.com.

Language is powerful. Using the right words can signal you’re part of the group, convey difficult decisions without ruffling feathers, and demonstrate power. Meanwhile, sloppy word choices are often a red flag for sloppy thinking or a company culture with something to hide.

That’s true of firms with impenetrable or pretentious job ads and mission statements, and it’s also true of individuals. How we speak says a lot about our values. That being true, there’s one word you really, really should stay away from if you want to be successful in business, according to Aha! co-founder Brian de Haaff on LinkedIn recently.

What word does he think ambitious entrepreneurs should ban from their vocabulary? The innocuous sounding adverb “honestly.”

What about the rest of the time?

What’s wrong with signaling your intention to be entirely straightforward? That’s a quality that you shouldn’t need to signal, de Haaff insists, because it should be fundamental to your communication style all the time. If you have to highlight that you’re speaking honestly by saying “honestly,” you need to take a hard look at why you’re being less than forthcoming or authentic the rest of the time. Other people are already wondering, he warns.

“A VP of sales who I worked closely with before I co-founded Aha! always said ‘honestly’ when he really wanted something. He thought that it was a way to make a hard point, but we all questioned whether he was lying to us at all other times,” de Haaff writes.

But calling your credibility into question isn’t the only problem with using “honestly” for emphasis, according to de Haaff. In the full post, he also explains how the expression can highlight your frustration in an unhelpful, passive-aggressive way, and push people away in conversation.

He’s not the only one out there with a very strong and specific verbal pet peeve. Here on Inc.com, we recently rounded up expressions that even well-educated folks use without thinking that make them sound dumb or inconsiderate, for example. Business jargon and inflated diction are another continuous source of complaint as well. No doubt there are lots of other verbal pitfalls out there.

TIME Saving & Spending

The Problem With Millennials, In One Staggering Statistic

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KC Photography—Getty Images/Flickr RF

It's almost unbelievably bad

New data about how much debt today’s students are graduating college with just came out. The results are ugly, but that’s not the worst of it.

The Project on Student Debt conducted by The Institute for College Access & Success says the average debt load carried by last year’s crop of four-year nonprofit college grads is $28,400. That number is several hundred dollars higher than last year and roughly ten grand more than the average a decade ago. Roughly seven in 10 students today graduate with debt, a figure that has ticked up in that time period, as well.

This number would likely be even higher if for-profit colleges, which were included in previous tallies but left out this year because many failed to provide data, were included, since their students tend to leave school burdened with debt at a higher rate — 88% indebted with at average of nearly $40,000 in 2012.

That’s bad — but that’s not the problem. You might think these young adults would be worried about paying off a new car’s worth of debt they’d accrued before getting their first full-time job.

Nope.

A new study from Junior Achievement USA and PwC US conducted by Ypulse finds that 24% of millennials think their student loans will be forgiven.

“It’s a scary statistic,” Junior Achievement president Jack Kosakowski tells CNBC. The survey doesn’t explore why roughly a quarter of young people have such an optimistic — and for the majority, unrealistic — expectation.

In many cases, the payments they expect to be forgiven are significant. “Loan payments are also rising, taking a significant chunk out of Millennials’ pay checks when it comes time to pay up post-graduation,” the report accompanying the survey says. “One-third of those with student loans are shelling out over $300 per month and five percent are actually paying more than $1,000 per month.”

Although 60% of respondents to the PwC/JA survey say financial aid is a consideration in their school choice, the survey also finds that today’s high school seniors are relying on an average of just over $8,200 in contributions from their parents and more than $6,600 in student loans to help fund their first year’s tuition. Their average contribution from savings or earnings: less than $1,400. (These students also spent almost $200 of their own money, on average, on back-to-school shopping. School supplies, followed by clothes, were the most common purchases.)

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TIME Workplace & Careers

The Unlikely Secret to Succeeding at Your First Job

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How not to mess up your foundation to future success

40 under 40 Insider Network is one of several online communities where the most thoughtful and influential people in business under 40 answer timely career and leadership questions. This week, we ask: What are 3 must-have skills to land your first job? The following is an answer by Kevin Chou, CEO and co-founder of Kabam.

Your first ‘real’ job should give you the foundation needed for future success. This couldn’t have been more true in my case, but not in the ways you’d expect.

After graduating from the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business, I went to work as an analyst in the technology group of a bulge bracket investment bank. It paid very well and was in the tech field I wanted. This was it. I was on my way.

It was 2002, during the depths of the dot-com bust and when the tech sector was a wasteland. I was working with the only active client for the group, a private technology company that engaged our bank to sell itself. As this was the only business for the group at that time, this deal was under tremendous scrutiny on all levels.

I was working 100-plus hour weeks for three straight months, and I remember vividly one weekend when I had a horrible flu. I was at the office working on a Saturday when the VP managing this deal went out to dinner. As she left, she asked for “another rev” on the presentation. Translation: I had to put in another eight hours that night, with a fever, and the CEO wanted to review the presentation on a 7:00 AM call the next morning (Sunday).

I cant remember the exact mixture of caffeine and decongestants I took, but I somehow managed to get the presentation done, nab a couple hours of sleep and arrive back in the office for the call. I was drowsy, achy and coughing miserably during the call. At one point the VP muted the phone, looked at me and said, “I’m going to need you to perk up.

Perk up I did, but not in the way she was thinking. At that precise moment, I knew I was in the wrong job and more importantly, the wrong career path. In one life lesson she had unwittingly (and unrelentingly) taught me three key things:

  • Pursue great people and not the paycheck
  • Do work you love
  • Create a healthy work-life balance

Suddenly, the income was not as important as being able to work with great mentors and people I could learn from. I had hoped for this when accepting the investment-banking job and soon realized it didn’t exist. I remained blinded by the pay until that mute button was pressed. I left and ultimately took a job that paid much less but was far more rewarding in terms of the people and the work.

Having a clear understanding of what was important to me was critical not just when co-founding a company that I wanted to work at – but also to create a place that fosters satisfying careers for all those I work with as well.

TIME Food & Drink

The World Could Be Heading Toward a Global Shortage of Chocolate

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You might want to stockpile a few bars

People are consuming more cocoa than farmers are able to produce, according to two of the world’s largest chocolate makers, who say that a global shortage of chocolate might be on the cards.

Mars, Inc. and Swiss-based chocolate giant Barry Callebaut say demand is likely to outstrip production by one million metric tons by 2020, the Washington Post reports.

Seventy percent of the world’s cocoa is produced in the Ivory Cost and Ghana but growing conditions in West Africa have not been ideal.

Drought has ravaged many cocoa plantations and a fungal disease called frosty pod has wiped out between 30 to 40 percent of cocoa production. Farmers are looking to other cash-crops such as corn, to make their living.

At the same time, demand for the tasty treat keeps rising and this is likely to force the price of chocolate to rise.

[Washington Post]

Read next: The 13 Most Influential Candy Bars of All Time

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