Thursday, July 18, 2024

Podcast with Timothy Baker, CFA founder, Metric Financial about banking, trends in financial industry

Posted by Elena del Valle on April 3, 2023

Tim Baker, CFA founder, Metric Financial

Timothy Baker, CFA, founder, Metric Financial

Photo: Metric Financial

A podcast interview with Timothy Baker, C.F.A., founder, Metric Financial, is available in the Podcast Section of Hispanic Marketing and Public Relations, During the podcast, he discusses banking and trends in the financial industry with Elena del Valle, host of the podcast.

Tim is a chartered financial analyst and chief executive officer of Metric Financial. According to his bio he is a Registered Investment Advisor “dedicated to helping clients lower costs and improve results through factor investing.” Prior to starting Metric, he held product development and strategy roles at among others, BlackRock/iShares, where he was product strategist in the firm’s Smart Beta Exchange Traded Fund group.

To listen to the interview, scroll down and click on the play button below. It is also possible to listen by looking for “Podcast” then select “HMPR Tim Baker, CFA ” and download the MP3 file to your audio player. You can also find it on the RSS feed. To download it, click on the arrow of the recording you wish to copy and save it to disk. The podcast will remain listed in the April 2023 section of the podcast archive.

Podcast with Barbara Cruz, Jeff Houck, Andrew Huse, authors, The Cuban Sandwich

Posted by Elena del Valle on March 6, 2023

Bárbara C. Cruz, Jeff Houck and Andrew Huse, authors, The Cuban Sandwich

Photos: University Press of Florida, Andrew Huse photo by Rion Sabean

A podcast interview with Bárbara C. Cruz, Jeff Houck and Andrew Huse, authors of The Cuban Sandwich: A History in Layers (University Press of Florida, $24,95) (see Three unite to explore Cuban sandwich history in new title), is available in the Podcast Section of Hispanic Marketing and Public Relations, During the podcast, they discuss the Cuban sandwich and their book with Elena del Valle, host of the podcast.

Cruz is professor of Social Science Education at the University of South Florida (U.S.F.). She has been a faculty member since 1991, teaching undergraduate and graduate courses, conducting research on global and multicultural issues.

Houck is vice president of marketing for the 1905 Family of Restaurants in Tampa. He spent 25 years in newspaper and multimedia journalism, most recently as a features editor, food writer and podcaster at the Tampa Tribune. He has written for Thrillist,, The Palm Beach Post, The Miami Herald and The Anchorage Times.

Huse is curator of Florida Studies at the University of South Florida Libraries. His other books include The Columbia Restaurant (2009) and From Saloons to Steak Houses: A History of Tampa (2020).

To listen to the interview, scroll down and click on the play button below. It is also possible to listen by looking for “Podcast” then select “HMPR Barbara Jeff Andrew” and download the MP3 file to your audio player. You can also find it on the RSS feed. To download it, click on the arrow of the recording you wish to copy and save it to disk. The podcast will remain listed in the March 2023 section of the podcast archive.

Pew: survey respondents split on safety of online romance seekers

Posted by Elena del Valle on February 14, 2023


Many among approximately 6,000 people who responded to a self administered online survey (The American Trends Panel, ATP) in July of last year expressed concerns about the safety of online dating as a way to meet people, and “a majority support requiring background checks before someone can create a profile;” the survey was created by the Pew Research Center, according to the organization’s website.

While 42 percent of survey takers said they thought online dating had facilitated their search for a partner only 21 percent of survey respondents said they think that the types of computer programs and apps used by dating sites could “determine whether two people will eventually fall in love.” The rest of respondents didn’t think the software could accomplish the goal or were unsure.

The web survey was described as being taken among a nationally representative panel, managed by Ipsos, of randomly selected United States adults offered a financial incentive to participate. According to the Pew website incentive amounts ranged from $5 to $20. The survey takers provided a tablet with wireless internet connectivity to respondents with no access at home. Interviews were available in English and Spanish, according to the Pew website.

Arizona university seeks to recognize journalists in under served communities

Posted by Elena del Valle on October 5, 2022

Lindsay Walker, senior director of Development, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication

Lindsay Walker, senior director of Development, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication

Photo: Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University

The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University pursuing its mission of “supporting communities of color, immigrants and LGBTQ+ individuals” is administering the Shaufler Prize in Journalism for its second year. According to a spokesperson who responded to questions via a public relations person via email, the contest “is open to all professional and student journalists, working at outlets of any size. We encourage entries in all formats, including video, audio, web and traditional print.”

Winners receive $20,000 in cash awards in the professional and student journalist categories. The first-place winner in the professional media category will receive $10,000. Second and third place winners will receive $3,000 and $2,000, respectively. The winner in the student category will receive a $5,000 award, according to a press release. In 2021, Paul B. Anderson, principal, of Seattle-based Workhouse Media, established the Shaufler Prize in Journalism in honor of his late friend, Ed Shaufler, who cared about promoting the understanding of underrepresented people, according to a press release.

“The Shaufler Prize, now in its second year, recognizes the best journalism in the country that advances the understanding of issues related to underserved people in society,” said Lindsay Walker, senior director of Development, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, when asked about the goal of the contest. “This prize seeks to recognize journalism that offers in-depth coverage of the issues affecting communities of color, immigrants and the LGBTQ+ population; tell stories that capture human experiences and build understanding among diverse people and communities; and explore and illuminate key public policy, legal, social, cultural or political issues regarding the treatment of marginalized communities and individuals.”

When asked how the organizers define “color” and underrepresented communities for purposes of submissions, she replied, “While we provide examples of such communities, we seek to allow journalists and their stories to illuminate the subjects and issues they are covering. In other words, the work can speak for itself, and we seek to be more inclusive — not less.”
The selection criteria? She said, “Judges evaluate the work based on four criteria: reporting quality, reporting depth, storytelling/narrative and impact potential.”

When asked how, if at all, the organizers distinguish between individual journalists and those working for large organizations and corporations she replied, “At this time, the contest does not make that distinction. Our aim is to let the work speak for itself.” When asked for the names, titles and affiliations of the judges who determine the winners and their photos she replied, “The judging panel for the 2022 contest is still being formed. The finalist judges in the professional category for 2021 included: Sharif Durhams Managing Editor of Raleigh News and Observer and Charlotte, Observer. (now with the Washington Post); Lee Edwards, digital based journalist with the Real Chi experimental newsroom in Chicago; Nora Lopez, managing editor of San Antonio Express, president of National Association of Hispanic Journalists   in the country. She became a U.S citizen in 2008; and Asha Saluja, formerly audio producer and manager of Slate podcasts; former host on Radio Free Brooklyn.”

According to the press release, in its inaugural year, the 2021 first place prize was awarded to Toluse Olorunnipa and Griff Witte, and the staff of The Washington Post, for their story, Born with Two Strikes: How systemic racism shaped Floyd’s life and hobbled his ambition, part of the series, George Floyd’s America. Lizzie Presser of ProPublica took second place with Tethered to the Machine about JaMarcus Crews, who tried to get a new kidney. Maria Perez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel received third place for The Long Way Home about migrant workers at a Wisconsin green bean plant dying of COVID-19. In the student category, the Cronkite School’s Howard Center for Investigative Journalism took the top prize for Little Victims Everywhere, a series examining child sexual abuse in Indian Country.

USPS releases new stamp

Posted by Elena del Valle on July 20, 2022

New USPS mariachi stamps

New U.S.P.S. mariachi stamps

Photos: United States Postal Service

The United States Postal Service (U.S.P.S.) released a new stamp design of mariachis last week. It printed 18 million stamps, the usual average number for a stamp printing, according to a U.S.P.S. spokesperson. Rafael López, a Mexican illustrator who created official posters for the Obama campaign to target Latino voters, was contracted to do the artwork for the stamps.

When asked who selected the theme for the stamps Bill Gicker, director, Stamp Services, U.S.P.S. replied via an intermediary by email, “Subject matter for stamps is evaluated and selected by the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee. The final decision for issuing a stamp resides with the Postmaster General of the United States.”

“Numbers are determined by like sales of past issuances,” he said. “Commemorative stamps are intended to be available for about a year.”

Rafael Lopez
Rafael López designed the new stamps.

When asked what criteria was used to select the artist he replied, “The USPS works with contract art directors who determine the best way to portray particular subjects. They are always on the search new artists, designers and photographers. We have worked with Raphael in the past and the art directed felt his style and experience would be a good selection for this project.”

Regarding the budget for the project overall he said, “There are no specific budgets for stamp projects, but artists receive a standard $5,000 per design for each stamp design.”

“The USPS receives about 30,000 subject submissions per year, but does not accept art submissions,” he said when asked how many art submissions they receive a year.

According to his biography López was commissioned to create twelve United States Postal Stamps including the series of five Mariachi stamps featuring musicians dressed in the traje de charro, playing guitar, guitarrón, vihuela, violin and trumpet. According to his website the illustrator lives and works in San Diego and at his home studio in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. The U.S.P.S. had worked with him in the past.

Indian wholesaler of Chinese lab grown diamonds making initial inroads in US

Posted by Elena del Valle on September 1, 2021

A lab grown 1.21 carat D color, VVS2

A lab grown 1.21 carat, D color, VVS2 Keystar Gems manufactured diamond


Photos: Keystar Gems

There may be good news for anyone in the market for discount lab grown diamonds. Wholesaler Keystar Gems has begun selling their products in the United States. The company buys lab diamond rough grown in China has it cut in Surat, India and sells it for one quarter less than the wholesale price of natural diamonds of similar cut, clarity and color, according to a company spokesperson. The company plans to attend a trade only wholesale event in Las Vegas, Nevada for the first time this year.

When asked about the company’s primary target audience Aagna S. Ajmera, chief marketing officer, Keystar Gems, said by email via a New York publicist, “Ultimately Keystar Gems would love for everyone to own lab-cultivated diamonds, but as far as the company’s direct clientele, Keystar Gems is B2B, selling within the trade to jewelry design ateliers, large retailers, distributors, dealers, and to other lab-grown manufacturers.”

Aagna S. Ajmera, chief marketing officer, Keystar Gems

Aagna S. Ajmera, chief marketing officer, Keystar Gems

“On average it takes about 7-10 business days to go from rough to polish during the manufacturing process, which is very fast within the gem trade, and differentiates Keystar Gems from other lab grown manufacturers,” Ajmera said when asked what differentiates Keystar Gems from other lab grown diamond sellers. “This is entirely due to the expertise of Maheshbhai Radadiya, the Founder of Keystar Gems, who still personally studies every new rough diamond, along with the handling team, which has been trained by him. Keystar Gems is also known for having exceptional cutting, polish and symmetry, another distinguishing factor.”

“The colored diamonds are all custom orders,” said Ajmera when asked about color diamonds. “For Keystar Gems, the majority of the demand is for white diamonds.

An additional color treatment is required for most desired colors. Blue diamonds, however, don’t require a treatment. Colored diamonds need to be processed, so it isn’t more difficult to make them per say, it just takes more time to make a colored diamond.”

According to promotional materials provided by the company’s public relations agency, Keystar Gems is producing over 10,000 carats of High-Pressure High-Temperature (HPHT) lab grown diamonds a month. The diamonds range from 0.03 to 10 carats in size and are available in a variety of shapes and clarities. The company manufactures white, pink, blue and yellow manmade diamonds.

Although natural diamonds can take millions to billions of years to form, an HPHT diamond can be grown in under a week, according to information the agency provided. A company representative explained that “this kind of quantity is seen with Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD) diamonds, but has not been seen before with HPHT.” The Surat-based company is owned by Radadiya, founder, and Shivang S. Rao, cofounder and director.

OECD: employment rose slightly in early 2021

Posted by Elena del Valle on July 27, 2021

OECD Employment figures
Latest OECD employment and unemployment numbers – click to enlarge

Graphic: OECD

According to an embargoed press release from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the OECD area employment rate rose to 66.8 percent in the first quarter of 2021 from 66.7 percent in the previous quarter; wide disparities across countries are visible. The organization defined OECD area employment rate as the share of the working-age population with jobs.

In the first quarter of this year in the United States employment was 68.4 percent compared to 66.9 percent in the euro area, and 77.6 percent in Japan. It is notable that the Netherlands had a 79.3 percent employment rate, the highest in the region, and Greece 59.9 percent, the region’s minimum.

The press release clarified the following: Methodological changes to the European Union (E.U.) Labour Force Survey blur the comparison between the fourth quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021 for EU countries. In addition, a large part of the increase in the third and, to a lesser extent, fourth quarter of 2020 reflects the return to work of furloughed workers in Canada and the United States, where they are recorded as unemployed, whereas in most other countries, they are recorded as employed.

Working with over 100 countries, the OECD is “a global policy forum that promotes policies to preserve individual liberty and improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.”

Thank you for your purchase

Posted by Elena del Valle on July 27, 2020

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Australian company introduces eco-friendly Chinese adhesive strips

Posted by Elena del Valle on March 11, 2020

Patch adhesive strips


Nutricare, an Australian company, released Patch, a line adhesive strips described as 100 percent compostable and hypoallergenic. Made somewhere in China (Guangzhou, China is listed on the package) from bamboo fiber the strips are free of plastics, latex, silicone, and harmful toxins, according to promotional materials. They are designed for easy pain-free removal with sensitive skin and aged skin in mind. Each package of 25 strips retails for just under $9 and has an expiration date. The sample packages we received expire June 2021.

“The bandages and all packaging breaks down into soil in just a matter of weeks,” according to a company press release. Four product lines are available Patch Natural, Patch Coconut Oil Kids for abrasions and grazes, Patch Aloe Vera for burns and blisters, and Patch Activated Charcoal for bites and splinters.

In the United States, the products are for sale on the company website, Amazon, Grove Collaborative, Anthropologie and CVS as well as select grocery stores and specialized retailers. The Patch website indicates the company uses a Lyocell production process (a cellulose fabric made by an organic solvent spinning process), “considered to be the most environmentally friendly method of manufacturing bamboo cloth fibre. This is because it is more sustainable than most common chemical processing methods.”

According to the product website, the brand uses “specially curated pressure sensitive adhesive (PSA) formulation, made from a combination of minerals and applied with nano technology process (think tiny suction cups)” to adhere to the skin. According to a press release Nutricare is an “environmentally conscious and solutions-focused brand” working to create natural solutions to common health care items.

Happy New Year!

Posted by Elena del Valle on January 2, 2020