Category: News for the Sector

Black Friday: Do you know when you’re being manipulated?

Have you bought anything during this Black Friday or Cyber Monday? If so, this news is of interest to you. And if you haven’t bought anything, too. It is Black Friday week and in shop windows, across websites, on the radio and in your email inbox will be discounts to tempt you. Shoppers are expected to splurge almost £8bn online alone. But all those deals may not all be what they seem. The BBC’s Consumer Affairs correspondent, Colletta Smith, visits Bangor University’s consumer psych lab to learn just how we’re all influenced by taking three tests that will show the extent to which we are sucked in.


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How dating app algorithms predict romantic desire

Lots of apps and websites claim to be able to use data to sort through profiles for better matches. By completing their personality tests, they say they can save your thumb the effort of swiping. The issue for scientists who might want to investigate their data, and journalists who want to fact-check their claims, is that the algorithms are the intellectual property of these companies, so they are not publicly available. Their entire business is based on developing smart match-making algorithms and keeping their formulas private.

What do you think of using dating apps to ‘find love’? Do you think they work?

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Cigarettes: leaders in modern marketing methods?

In the late 19th century, cigarettes were seen as lower-status than cigars, which –crucially– were proving altogether harder to mechanize but the secret to increase its production –and therefore, sales– was in advertising. The idea originated in Virginia by James Bonsack, an inventor who needed to boost its economy (and actually did). By 1923, cigarettes had become the most popular way for Americans to consume tobacco.

Many early advertising campaigns now raise eyebrows. Lucky Strikes, for instance, were pitched as an aid to slimming. “Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet,” ran the tagline.

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Identify the signs of scammers in the Spanish market: how to spot fraud when flat-hunting

Martín-Consuegra’s case is one of the many such fraudulent methods used in the rental market in Spain, and which are benefiting from a 50% rise in prices over the last five years. The situation is given current precarious employment and few options to buy properties that live renting as the only option left open.

This is where scammers’ picaresque comes into play through the publication of fake ads that offer inexistent luxury flats under ‘ideal conditions’.

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Political Correctness Put to the Challenge

The good boy of the world is now seen under a different light. In Canada it IS a big deal – that is basically what he has been selling, right?  Should it be such a big deal in the rest of the world? How does the rest of the world see it?  What am I speaking of? The Canadian Prime Minister had a photograph taken at a costume party a very long time ago – and his face was painted black to go with the theme of the party.  It may very well be his political downfall. You see – Canada is a country where those things matter.  A multicultural oasis (or is it?).  It seems to stand out all the more these days, when we can see major stories come out day in and day out, of other world leaders that are way out of bounds.

My take?  There is no room whatsoever for being politically incorrect, showing the least bit of racism, or disrespect in general.  I do think, however, that the past is the past, let’s learn from it, and get on with our lives.  Who, indeed, could or should throw the first stone?

This article compares countries – how Spain faces or has faced certain festivities with a similar action.  In the past – it wasn’t much of a problem, there weren’t many differences to be openly seen in our society.  Things are changing though, so I’d be interested in knowing what your take is on this.

Leave your comments!

Have a great week!

Get Your Money in Order for 2020

This article gives advice to the readers on what to do so that everything is ready for 2020.  She even provides a checklist.  Do you have a checklist (at least in your mind) of things you should do in order to improve your economic situation?  Of course, this article is directed to an American audience (from the USA).  Is there much of a difference with what you should do?  How would this article be written if the readers were Spanish?

Basic vocabulary necessary for everyday financial situations is covered – and it’s an easy read, so I highly recommend taking 5 minutes and going over it.  Year end returns to personal budgets – it has it all.  One thing that I do find different – and, by all means, correct me if I’m wrong, is the importance that is given to personal credit.  I mean, most people I know in Canada or the States are always looking in to their credit.  Do people do that in Spain? Is it even possible to do a self credit-check?

Suggested homework:  make your own list! Send us the questions to see how you did.  Or – better yet, compare advice to be given to Spaniards, and back your arguments up with facts.

Have a great week!

It’s official – in Spain – NO FREELOADING

This was already a blog post –but it seemed so far away at that time, almost a year ago! We spoke about a case in Canada of parents who just couldn’t keep up with the costs of their son, and officially got him kicked out of the house.  Little did I know that so quickly it would spread to Spain.

In this case – things are a bit different – why don’t you tell me – what are the differences between one case and the other, and BY ALL MEANS – please – give your opinion!

Do you think the ruling in Barcelona was fair?


Vacation? Smacation – that’s what I say!

“Isn’t it amazing how much stuff we get done the day before vacation?” – Zig Ziglar

“No man needs a vacation so much as the man who has just had one.” – Elbert Hubbard


Productivity certainly does go down upon return of  vacations.  This is a slightly more difficult topic in Spain, as far as I’m concerned, as most Spaniards, or those living here, take the bulk of their holidays in August.  So – any suggestions as to how to overcome this tremendous lack of effort in the work source?

Link to an interesting article on the matter.

My suggestion?  What else could pick up peoples spirits other than starting English classes, immediately upon return 🙂  An even better suggestions?  Organize special events in English – a breakfast or lunch, for example?

On the other hand – I came across this gem – of how our productivity is increased by vacation.  Of course, the topic is far from “post holiday syndrome” – it’s along the lines of the need for taking holiday.  Yes, you heard me right – it turns out that more and more people in the U.S.A. are NOT taking the holidays they have – and, even worse – they only have 15 days a year, on average.

It gives the argument of the necessesity of a holiday.  I am willing to bet that any one of you could close your eyes and write the article before having seen it.  The difference will be that this one is backed up by Science.

Suggested homework:  write that article, advocating for holidays and the necessity therein.  Perhaps that will help you get over the post trauma.

Have a great day!

Owning your introduction


The first thing that comes to mind with a title like that – is how to introduce a topic, no? Ah, my friend – I am speaking about something much, much more important.  Just how do you introduce yourself? Does it vary in English?

This Ted Talk is an eye-opener.  And I like it.  Our introduction, obviously, is the first thing that we share about ourselves with a stranger.  How has your introduction changed over the years, has it?

I’m almost willing to bet that most of you, as I, introduce yourselves according to your JOB.  Is that how you would prefer to define yourself? Is that a bad thing?  What about – I’m the mother of, I’m the wife of – I work at –

This speaker reminds us that – as a child, we most likely introduced ourselves according to our tastes.  Hi, I’m Jo-Anne and I love ice-cream (for example).

We genuinely wanted to share a bit of ourselves with strangers. As we have matured – that was limited to something safe – socially, completely acceptable.  Don’t dare stand out.

He makes a point when he says that – you can end up with quite a few “friends” who are safe – but who you may share little in common with.  So – risk it, share yourself – and end up with the people who you have more in common with.

Of course, I believe that, depending on who you are introducing yourself to, your tone may change.  It would be quite a challenge to come up with something daring, personal – and yet accepted in any environment.

Let’s see – “Hi, I’m Jo-Anne and I absolutely love living in Spain. And you?” Another thing I absolutely love to do:  SHAKE HANDS!! It takes everybody off guard (not typically Spanish), and I guarantee that it’s a nice feeling – human pleasantries.

I’ve been going with that for quite a few years, you see – it is also a good way for me to get to know people, so few Spanish realize how simply amazing this country is. But of course, that is a topic for a different day.

Following this link, there are some safe, structured hints as to how to introduce yourself.

I prefer the video myself.

Suggested homework:

Introduce yourself! Follow the suggestions from the article, and another, form the video.  How do they differ? What do you prefer?

Enjoy, and have an amazing week.

What is culture these days?

This is just a quick nod in the direction of necessity.  I was following up on a different article and was taken aback.  I clicked onto the “culture” section of the Guardian – and the only articles available had to do with television shows!  The worse part of it is – and I must be honest here- I hadn’t even realised until halfway through browsing the page… One thought leads to another – and here we are.  What is culture to you? What was culture at the time “pop culture” was coming to be?  How will our present time be looked upon? How many conversations do you have, that have to do with a television show?  Are we in time to change? Is there even a need to change?


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