“Big data” generally refers to very large and complicated data sets that often require special analysis techniques and tools. In many industries, the advent of big data has been recent and dramatic; however, oil and gas companies have “dealt with large quantities of data to make technical decisions…for many years [by investing in] seismic software, visualization tools and other digital technologies.” Still, much has been said about the diminished shape of the oil and gas industry, currently in the “deepest downturn” since the 1990s, which has resulted in lost jobs for more than 200,000 workers and a decrease in the manufacture of drilling and production equipment. Where and how can oil and gas companies stem the outflow of profit?

After seven years of intensive negotiations, terms of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) were finally reached in early October. A trade agreement between twelve Pacific Rim countries, the TPP seeks to promote economic growth and covers all industries, including those dealing with the life sciences. While intended for collective gain, the deal has caused some consternation within the innovative field of biologics. In fact, it’s been speculated that reaching accord on the provisions governing the intellectual property protection of biopharmaceuticals contributed to delays in reaching a final agreement. But now that a compromise has been reached, what does this mean for the nations involved—and in particular, the United States?

For the first time since the financial crisis began in 2008, the U.S. Federal Reserve has increased short-term interest rates, citing job growth and a better economy as reasons for the change. But in terms of economic growth and employment opportunities, the good news has not lead to a mass exodus to buy luxury items. Indeed,consumers are still very much divided into two camps: survivalists and selectionists, where survivalists represent consumers who generally make less than $50,000 per year and look for cheap items. Selectionists are those who can afford to be more choosy and “select” for quality. For CPG companies, this often means that in terms of food items, beverages, household consumable products and personal care items, they must navigate two spheres of influence to maximize profits.

The current volatility in the oil and gas market has left companies scrambling for ways to maintain their annual earnings and profit margins. Unfortunately, the challenges they’re facing don’t appear to be leaving anytime soon. Thanks to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Companies (OPEC) maintaining record-high production to compete with the U.S. shale boom, the price of crude oil has hit corresponding record lows. Consumers may be rejoicing over having to pay less for gasoline, but petroleum firms must make some tough decisions to remain competitive.

The most innocuous of scrapes can become the ugliest of scars and the worst among them tend to be keloid scars, but why? And how can this occurrence be prevented? Scar formation is a natural part of the healing process in which fibrous tissue replaces normal skin after injury. Composed of the same protein found in tissue (collagen), the actual fiber composition (instead of random basketweave structures, the collagen in scars is aligned in one direction) is where the difference emerges.

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