For the past two weeks, the tissue behind my bottom right molar has been shredding and tearing and pulling away from the molar, leaving a little awkward space between the gum and that molar. Constant aches have also been a problem. It’s not painful at all, but it’s very uncomfortable and the tissue is so sensitive that I can’t even chew food on that side of my mouth.

I assumed that it was either my wisdoms coming in or some type of gum infection. After two weeks of having this constant aching and not being able to chew properly, I finally got in to see my dentist, who did a pano and told me that it is my wisdom teeth coming in and bothering me. And it’s impacted so it’s not coming in straight either, so that’s what is causing the pressure and ache because it’s been pushing on the…

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Sens. Schumer, Blumenthal Introduce Rail-crossing Improvement Act

U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) earlier this week introduced a bill aimed at improving safety at grade crossings.

Chuck Shumer, NY Senator
Chuck Shumer, NY Senator

The Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Safety Act of 2015 was introduced in reaction to the recent MTA Metro-North Railroad accident in which a train collided with a sport utility vehicle that stopped on a crossing in Valhalla, N.Y. The incident resulted in six fatalities. In 2013, 2,096 accidents occurred at crossings that killed more than 200 people nationwide, the senators said in a joint press release.

The bill would boost the amount of federal grants for safety upgrades at crossings, and more education and safety awareness campaigns. The legislation would focus on what the senators said experts have identified as the “three Es” of the most effective means of reducing crossing collisions: engineering, education and enforcement.

“While the precise cause of the Metro-North crash in Valhalla is still under investigation, it’s crystal clear that the existence of the grade crossing played at least some role in the fatal, tragic accident, and this new legislation will focus on providing new resources to the Federal Railroad Administration, states and localities to help make much-needed improvements at many crossings and help eliminate future collisions. Improved safety must rise from this dark tragedy,” Schumer said.

Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut Senator
Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut Senator

The senators call for additional resources for education was hailed by Operation Lifesaver inc. (OLI) President Joyce Rose.

“Education plays a crucial role in raising awareness among motorists and pedestrians about the potential dangers present at all highway-rail intersections and along train tracks,” she said.

A person or vehicle is hit by a train every three hours, according to OLI. Ninety-five percent of all fatalities on U.S. railroads are due to people trying to beat a train at a crossing or walking on railroad tracks. Schumer and Blumenthal said that many of those deaths are preventable.


Metro North Accident Valahalla
Metro North Accident Valahalla

Is Social Media Doing Anything For You?

Is Social Media all about true interaction between two parties or is it just “tapping keys”? Should the word “social” be changed in Social Media to either “Digital Media” or “Emedia.”? We have defined Social Media as “Digital communication between multiple individuals or organizations in an effort to further the personal and professional endeavors of each,”
I saw a great article on Social Media written by Al Maag, Chief Communications Officer, Avnet, Inc. In it, he talks about growing up and his belief that most of his friends who became successful achieved their success because of the social skills and the relationships they formed within their group. He and his friends are all convinced that they learned these social traits in their teens, and just by hanging out. He also says he was fortunate not having grown up with the electronic tools people have today. They had to interact with others and learn the value of street smarts. They had to use their relationships and interpersonal skills to help create their futures. They worked and played as a team, won and lost, and experienced life. They worked at being friendly and establishing friends. They learned how to socialize, negotiate, communicate, and read body language. Sizing someone up was an art as well.


UBER at Nice, France Airport

Airport upper left and hotel lower right
Airport upper left and hotel lower right
Taxi research – Research by some local journalists, prompted by the latest episode of violence against minicab drivers last Friday, has produced some interesting results. Research involved taking the same trip three times, from Terminal 1 of the airport to the Meridien Hotel on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice.
Taxi Ramp at Nice Airport
Taxi Ramp at Nice Airport
The first journey was taken in a cab waiting in the official rank outside, so no need to hail. € 35. The second identical journey was in a private hire minivan, known as VTCs in France, summoned by using the app Über, which arrived in 1 min. € 26. The third was a private car summoned by using Über Pop, driven by a Russian national who works as a delivery driver in the morning, and supplements his income by driving in the afternoons. A 15 minute wait and a cost of € 8.

ec-bp.com One Of The Top 100

This week we (ec-bp.com) were advised that our publication has been added to the “SCM Global 100: Best Supply Chain Blogs in the World” by SupplyChainOpz. It turns out that there are in the neighborhood of 1,500 blogs that focus on the supply chain (who knew?) so we’re honored to know that we are in the top 100 according to their criteria.

One of the writers for ec-bp.com is famous American writer Ken Kinlock. In addition, he is owner of Vacation French Riviera which publishes the blog you are looking at. It includes: Penney Vanderbilt, KC Jones, Ancien Hippie  and Crazy Pasta Child..

West Coast Port Strike Could Damage US Economy

While the West Coast port strike may shave one percent off the fourth quarter’s GDP when numbers are revealed February 27, the short-term impacts of the work stoppage are easier to measure. Countless goods, such as fresh fruit ready for shipment to Asia and festive décor to celebrate the Chinese New Year, languished in warehouses, docks and cargo ships at 29 ports on the U.S. West Coast, including Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle. The reason? A nine-month contract dispute between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which represents 20,000 workers, and their employers, the Pacific Maritime Association.
With the help of Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez, who was dispatched to San Francisco by President Barack Obama last week to mediate an agreement, a breakthrough in negotiations ending the protracted labor dispute was reached Friday. Normal operations resumed Saturday evening, although the pace of loading and unloading cargo ships has been painstakingly slow.

Countless vessels overflowing with goods have been languishing offshore of the 29 ports while products waiting to be loaded on those ships clogged warehouses and docks up and down the West Coast. The deal awaits approval of the labor union.
Industry analysts have been quoted as saying the cargo ship congestion caused by the extended work stoppage will take months to clear. Businesses and industries have lost millions as the dispute continued.

Uber and the Future Of Business Travel

 The president of Nice’s taxi drivers, Alain Trapani, and one of his colleagues have been arrested following an assault at Nice airport. They have now been bailed to appear before judges in July after assaulting an Über minivan driver. According to airport police, the minivan driver was assaulted while picking up a customer at the airport, perfectly legally.
The sharing economy is going from boho to white collar, and elbowing its way into your expense reports. Here’s why that actually matters.

There are ways we work today that would have given a last-century HR manager a nervous twitch. There’s employee collaboration, file-sharing, and general chit-chat, over less-than secure cloud services. There’s employee adoption of new third-party services such as Expensify and Yammer that, once they’ve Trojan Horsed their way into a company’s workflow, are impossible to extract. There’s BYOD.

If you think this is a problem, I’m part of the problem.

In addition to, well, all of the above, I’ve repeatedly booked lodgings on Airbnb for business travel. Beyond basic math and logic, I didn’t really think about it: It was less costly than a nice–or even medium-nice–hotel, more central, and more comfortable for me as a working traveler (free WiFi; ample coffee). It just made sense. I’ve hailed for short work travel non-cab car services–Uber, Lyft, and the like–when it was logical to do so. My editors do the same. (Based on the responses we got to a Facebook post inquiring, many of you do the same as well.)

The sharing economy, with all its not-so-business-friendly regulatory hassles and insurance issues, is now just part of the way we travel–both for pleasure and for business. But beginning this week, it’s trying to look a little less bohemian, and a little more business-casual.

This week, both Airbnb and Uber set up booths at a conference at the Los Angeles Convention Center that’s hosted by a massive travel organization, the Global Business Travel Association. If there’s an activity diametrically opposed to the act of “disruptive innovation,” it might be staffing booths 1251 and 2725 for a week at a buttoned-up convention expected to draw 7,000 attendees.

Oddly, this highly corporate booth-sitting is not the most corporate thing both these startups have done this week. They’ve also both announced official partnerships with expense-management software company Concur (which, coincidentally, is right over at booth 1725, and which already has 20,000 corporate clients).

For Uber, it’s part of the Uber for Business campaign it kicked off July 29, which allows business travelers to directly submit Uber trips to a company account, rather than having to expense them. Airbnb did a similar press blitz Monday, launching Business Travel on Airbnb. From the company’s blog:

Nearly 10 percent of Airbnb’s customers travel for business already and we’ve heard from traveler feedback that a dedicated site that caters to business travelers’ needs has been high on their wishlist.

Another sharing-economy company, TaskRabbit, has also tried out the “for business” concept, helping pair temporary workers with companies in need of a quick labor boost.

It makes perfect sense for these super fast-growing companies: The corporate sector absolutely is crucial to the hospitality industry. Hotels in big cities rely on business travel for approximately two-thirds of their revenue. What’s more, business travelers tend to be creatures of habit, becoming repeat visitors to favored haunts. They also spend more than folks traveling on their own dime. All that business travel adds up to $1.21 trillion in annual revenue, according to the GBTA.

Cutting into hotels’ business-travel revenue could mean big profits for Airbnb and its ilk. Corporate travel was only 8 percent of Airbnb’s bookings last year, one of its managers told the Wall Street Journal.

There are obvious hurdles in convincing large corporate clients to bank on a startup that’s faced such regulatory hurdles in the largest city in the United States that it has purchased billboards in public transit brashly proclaiming “New Yorkers agree: Airbnb is great for New York City.” (Because New Yorkers just adore being told what to think.)

It’s smart for these companies to broaden their arsenal for getting into corporate travel. They’ve gone the Trojan Horse way already, sneaking into other startups’ and established companies’ expense reports, and now are entering through the gates, with partnerships with Concur and Salesforce.

Whether this new strategy will actually help these peer-to-peer marketplaces overcome their existing issues with regulators remains an open question. Certainly, they have lobbying strength already, but once their services become indispensible to large companies, they will have a whole host of new, strong-armed allies. (For starters, consider the fact that that more than two-thirds of the biggest companies in America use Concur.)

Corporate and boring? Not exactly. This next few months–in which we’ll learn which companies adopt the sharing economy’s proposition–could determine the future of the hospitality industry as we know it.

With help from Penney Vanderbilt