Albania Focusing On Alternative High-End Eco-Tourism

Albania is becoming one of the go-to European travel destinations. Last year the country experienced 7.5 million tourists, more than half of its population. Now, officials are working to rebrand the nation as a “high end quality” destination to cater to a wider range of tourist markets.

The White House Podium

How Trump Plans To Hand Off The ‘Nuclear Football’ To Biden 

President Donald Trump will not be in attendance for President-Elect Joe Biden’s inauguration this Wednesday, which has many Americans wondering how certain transitional proceedings that traditionally occur on inauguration day will move forward; the handing off of the “nuclear football” being the most discussed proceeding that needs to occur. 

The “football” is obviously not a real ball, and contains the equipment that Trump would use to authenticate his orders to launch a nuclear strike. This “football” is carried by a military aide who accompanies the president at all times up until his term officially ends on January 20th. Traditionally, the aide would hand off the football to another military aide as the next president-elect takes his oath of office. 

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Trump is currently projected to head to Florida before inauguration day even begins, which means the nuclear football will likely travel with him, presenting some difficulty in transferring that authority smoothly. While that process may have to look a little different this year, there are a multitude of constitutional safeguards put in place to ensure a seamless transition of nuclear control from one president to the next, regardless of the circumstance; which includes the double-impeached president heading to Florida to play some golf. 

Stephen Schwartz, a senior fellow at the Bulletin of the Atomic scientists, recently discussed how regardless of where Trump is on inauguration day, the nuclear football will be passed off to Biden and Trump’s reign as president will come to an official close. 

“There are at least three to four identical ‘footballs’: one follows the president, one follows the vice president, and one traditionally is set aside for the designated survivor at events like inaugurations and State of the Union addresses.”

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“On January 20, the extra footballs will be out of town somewhere with their designees, leaving just Vice President Mike Pence’s briefcase unless the White House Military Office has prepared (or already has on hand) another backup for Biden,” he told the press, adding that the president is required to carry a plastic card on them at all times known as the “biscuit,” which contains codes used to positively identify the president. 

“Under the 20th Amendment — and absent any invocation of the 25th Amendment that would make Mike Pence the acting president — Donald Trump is president through 11:59:59 am on January 20. Up to that point in time, he has the sole, legal authority to authorize the use of any or all of the US nuclear arsenal,” Schwartz explained, adding that “if an aide with the football accompanies Trump on Air Force One to Florida, that aide will remove himself or herself from Trump’s presence at noon and return to Washington, DC, with the briefcase.”

After that point Trump will no longer have the authority to launch a nuclear strike and all nuclear codes that he carries will be deactivated permanently. Biden will automatically inherit the power to launch a nuclear strike at that same moment of deactivation; as in that moment his personal codes will be officially activated.

Post Pandemic Office

Creating A Positive Work Culture For Employees Going Back To The Office

As states throughout the US begin to reopen and employees return to their office jobs, employers are faced with the task of transitioning their staff back into office life while also keeping general morale up amid a worldwide pandemic. Work environments in general are not going to look the same for a while, but companies shouldn’t be aiming to return to complete normalcy until the rest of the world does the same anyway. It’s important to be lenient with your employees and allow them to have a solid adjustment period. 

Before returning to the office, it’s imperative to create a plan of action on how to handle the coming months and what needs to get done in person, and what can maybe continue to be done remotely. This is where the adjustment period comes into play. Give your employees who have job titles that really don’t require any sort of in-person interaction the option to continue working from home for now if they feel more comfortable with that. Or, suggest having certain employees come into the office one or two days a week as opposed to all five. Things like that will not only make your employees feel more comfortable, but will also strengthen the workplace bond between you and your staff, as they know that you really do have everyone’s health and safety as the top priority; which should be everyone’s top priority. 

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Bringing your staff back to work is obviously going to be a step-by-step process, hence the importance of writing out a literal step-by-step guide for returning to the office. Some ideas for specific topics you should cover in your new guidelines should include information on clocking in and out, break room/cafeteria activity, office layout, hand washing/sanitizer stations, any hygienic precautions your office will be taking, and information regarding scheduling; as previously mentioned. 

“Instead of forcing everyone back into the office at once, [I] recommend a partial return where individual departments come in one or two at a time. Another option would be having employees or departments alternating days between working from home and being in the office. Despite what many employers previously believed, remote work has been proven it can be done. Therefore, employers shouldn’t feel rushed to bring their employees back into the office. It’s best to err on the side of caution and phase employees back in until the CDC informs businesses otherwise,” said Monica Eaton-Cardone, co-founder and COO of Chargebacks911.

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Communication is already one of the most essential elements to a healthy and happy workplace, but especially now when everything in the world is so uncertain, it’s important to be as clear and communicative with your employees as possible. Give them updates as you receive them so they feel involved, informed, and like an important member of the team. 

Also ensure trust and empathy in your employees, and make it clear that you understand these are some of the hardest times in all of our lives and that you’re all in this together. Don’t put all the pressure on yourself, as the leader, to be the main source of comfort for your employees, but instead create a sense of comradery that lets your workers know we can all help each other as we continue to navigate this pandemic. 

“This is an opportunity to embrace the blending of our already blended work-life balance and provide the worker with more control over their time-where trust is given and trust is returned. If an employee needs to work at home longer or a few days a week, employers should be understanding and willing to accommodate those needs,” said Troy McAlpin, CEO of xMatters

The main takeaway here is to be compassionate and communicative with your employees the same way you would want your employer to do so. We’re all struggling and scared of what’s going to happen next, but we’re also all strong-willed and hard-working individuals who will make it out on the other side of this much stronger individuals (feel free to use that on your employees).

Contact Lenses

Acuvue Releases Innovative New Transitions Contact Lenses

According to the Vision Council of America, a staggering 75% of Americans require some form of vision correction to see clearly. Fortunately, recent technology has been developed to give people with poor eyesight a number of options to improve their vision, including progressive glasses for people who need multiple types of vision correction but don’t want to wear bifocals, a variety of different types of contact lenses, and laser eye surgery. As vision correction technology continues to develop, features are being integrated into contact lenses that could give wearers benefits that extend beyond simple vision correction, such as Transitions lenses that automatically darken in bright sunlight to enable comfortable vision without sunglasses. While Transitions lenses have been available for standard glasses for several years, Acuvue is the first company to integrate the technology into contact lenses, and the recently-released Acuvue Oasys Transitions lenses are currently the only contact lenses with Transitions technology built in.

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Though Acuvue’s innovative form of contact lenses do not become as dark as traditional sunglasses can be, they are capable of blocking up to 70% of light, reducing squinting and improving color contrast in the vision of wearers when outdoors in bright sunlight. According to one of the doctors who helped develop the technology, roughly two-thirds of contact lens wearers report being bothered by harsh lighting conditions daily, suggesting the new technology offers a clear benefit to consumers. The technology has been under development for over a decade, and has only recently reached the point where it is viable to be used as a consumer product, as the lenses are safe and capable of adapting to different lighting conditions in less than a minute. 

Despite the lenses’ shortcomings, they represent a major advancement in the field of vision correction technology, as they are one of the first products to offer consumers vision improvement that goes beyond the capabilities of normal, healthy eyes.

If you’re a contact lens wearer who would like to try Acuvue’s newest product, you will likely have to pay a premium for the opportunity. While Acuvue’s website offers a trial set of the lenses for free, the lenses themselves are generally more expensive than Acuvue’s standard Oasys brand, depending on the retailer. On Lenscrafters’ website, a six-lens box of the new contacts costs at least $54.99, whereas a box of ordinary contact lenses from the same manufacturer costs $34.99. Generally, insurance plans don’t cover contact lenses, as they are considered a cosmetic alternative to glasses. As such, the cost of contact lenses can be prohibitive for some, as a year’s supply of lenses can cost several hundred dollars. That being said, many consumers, particularly those who spend a lot of time outdoors in direct sunlight, are likely to consider the vision-enhancing effects of Transitions lenses to be worth the price. Additionally, people with photophobia experience discomfort and pain when exposed to bright light, and Acuvue’s lenses have the potential to be extremely helpful in treating this condition.

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Though they’ve only been on the market for a few months, initial reviews of the lenses have been positive, with reviewers noting that they feel a need to wear sunglasses significantly less often and that their vision is improved in the sun. Writing for CNet, Sarah Mitroff described the lenses as “cool” and said that she “loved” them, but noted that the purple-brown hue of the lenses when exposed to sunlight made her eyes look unusual. The extent to which this matters to people will vary on an individual basis, of course, but Mitroff noted that nearly everybody she showed the lenses to was “freaked out” by how they made her eyes look. Another shortcoming of the product is the fact that, because they react to UV light, they won’t activate while the wearer is driving, as car windshields block UV light. For the same reason, the lenses won’t activate while wearing sunglasses.

Despite the lenses’ shortcomings, however, they represent a major advancement in the field of vision correction technology, as they are one of the first products to offer consumers vision improvement that goes beyond the capabilities of normal, healthy eyes. Other technologies of this sort are currently in development, but are not yet available to consumers; for instance, scientists have developed contact lenses that zoom in when you blink twice, and contact lenses that can release medicine directly into the eye are currently being researched. While the Acuvue Oasys Transitions certainly signify a step forward in the potential for vision-enhancing technology, their mass-market appeal is likely to be limited at the moment, as their price, odd appearance, and other shortcomings are bound to deter some consumers. Nevertheless, the future of vision correction technology looks bright, and people who elect to take advantage of such technology may soon boast eyesight that surpasses that of people with healthy eyes.