eRealAnalyzer: Online Tool To Analyze Your Investment Properties

eRealAnalyzer is a useful online tool that analyzes real estate to provide investors with useful data points on a given property. The data that eReal Analyzer provides is quite comprehensive, including data on projected cash flow, your equity in 10 years, comparable home prices in the area, estimated property taxes, Cap rate and other statistics from their extensive national database of 400,000 properties. You can search for properties in a location you are interested in, and then discover investment data that you normally wouldn't see in a typical property search site.

You can also add variables like down payment percentage and property management costs and eReal Analyzer will recalculate data points based on these variables. Additionally, you can compare different properties across the data to help determine how the different investment opportunities you are considering stack up against each other in terms of projected profit. Full access to all tools costs $17.95 for a monthly subscription or $99.95 for the annual plan. You can also analyze a single property for a one-time fee of 99 cents.

From the eRealAnalyzer site:

eRealAnalyzer™ is a patent-pending Web-based real estate search and analysis application. It is the real estate industry's first browser-based, integrated financial analysis solution. eRealAnalyzer enables prospective buyers of your listed properties to visualize and compare alternative property ownership financial metrics with a single click.

To learn more, you can visit their site at

Ethiopia Building Large Wind Farm

Ethiopia will soon be home to the largest wind farm in sub-Saharan Africa, thanks to its agreement with Vergnet, a French wind turbine manufacturer.

The Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPC) signed a deal with Vergnet earlier this month to install 120 one-megawatt wind turbines in the next three years. The first 30 of the turbines will be in place as early as next year. The 120 MW wind farm would represent 15 percent of Ethiopia's power generating capacity and bring Ethiopia's total capacity to 934 MW.

Ethiopia relies heavily on hydroelectric power, which has resulted in a track record of power shortages, especially because of droughts. Some of these, however, have come from the EEPC deliberately imposing power outages.

The wind farm will be located in Ethiopia's northeastern Tigray region.


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Abu Dhabi Launches International Media Center

The city of Abu Dhabi--capital city of the United Arab Emirates--is opening a 200,000 square-meter campus called the Abu Dhabi Media Zone, built by the government to house foreign media companies, local officials announced Sunday. CNN, HarperCollins, Random House, the British Broadcasting Corporation, The Financial Times and the Thomson Reuters Foundation--the charity arm of financial news corporation Thomson Retuers--will join the Abu Dhabi Media Zone, according to the New York Times.

CNN will move nearly 30 staff members to Abu Dhabi, and will begin broadcasting a prime-time news show from the city on CNN International. London, Hong Kong and Mexico City are the only three other international cities from which CNN has the capability to produce studio broadcasts.

The strong sales growth of English-language books in the Middle East attracted HarperCollins and Random House to the area. Abu Dhabi, which recently hosted the Middle East International Film Festival, is also known for its interest in films and in film education. Flush with wealth from oil money, Abu Dhabi has plenty of money to invest in the arts. The Abu Dhabi Media Company recently announced a plan to spend $1 billion to start a film financing branch to invest in Hollywood-style, English-language movies. Last year, the company agreed to a $1 billion deal with Warner Brothers to make video games and movies.

The creation of this campus puts Abu Dhabi one step closer to reaching its goal of becoming a cultural and media center for the Middle East. The Abu Dhabi Media Zone will offer training for the region's journalists and filmmakers as well as provide a base for Western companies to conduct business. The first ever U.A.E. Press Freedom Day was held in Abu Dhabi last month, with the goal of encouraging the government to be more open and to make information more accessible.

Source: New York Times

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Leno And Bush Invest In Wind Turbines

Jay Leno and George H. W. Bush are two individuals who have recently installed residential wind turbines on their property. A residential wind turbine can lower your electricity bill by 50 to 90 percent, and pay off the initial investment in six to 15 years, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) . Bush installed a 33-foot tall Skystream 3.7 at his at his Kennebunkport, Maine home. Jay Leno installed a Delta II by PacWind on his garage (link to video).

The Skystream 3.7 is produced by Southwest Wind Power, which has sold about 2,000 wind turbines nationwide. Prices start at about $12,000 for the device, which uses magnetic technology to produce energy even at low wind speeds. According to the Portland (Maine) Press Herald, it can produce 400 kilowatts per month with 12 mph winds. It was designed to work in residential neighborhoods and has noise isolators to minimize noise. You can also choose the remote monitoring option that allows you to monitor the output of your device from your home. As with solar energy, there is the potential to sell excess electricity back to the utility company during periods of good wind availability. Of course, location is an important factor when choosing wind, so if you live in high wind area--such as the Pacific Northwest--a wind turbine can be a solid investment. Even if you don’t live where there is a lot of wind, there are some turbines that can produce energy at winds as low as 3 miles per hour because of their high-powered magnets.

While the AWEA claims that a typical residential wind system makes less noise than an average washing machine, and even though they are only as tall as an average tree, one drawback is dealing with unhappy neighbors and homeowners' associations. Some cities have ordinances that ban residential turbines over a certain height. And while installation of a residential wind turbine can possibly increase the value of your home, it may hurt the value of the surrounding properties. Despite the pollution-free energy, there have been several situations where citizens have opposed commercial wind turbines because they don’t want to look at them. Despite the potential complaints, as technology improves to produce smaller and cheaper units and the energy situation worsens, it is likely that more and more individuals will follow the example set by Leno and Bush and look to buy their own backyard wind turbine.

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Attention, Angry Investors: Here’s A Simply Smashing Business Concept

There’s nothing quite like unbridled destruction to chase the blues away. That’s the philosophy behind Sarah’s Smash Shack, a business in San Diego which provides customers with breakables, such as dishware and glass frames, along with a safe environment to obliterate them. Owner Sarah Lavely first conceived the Smash Shack during her divorce, when she frequently felt compelled to smash things. As quoted in a recent CNN Money article, Lavely says:

"I broke a lot of stuff on my driveway...I wished there was someplace I could go and just [break things], just go nuts. I was sure other people felt like that at times, and I thought I should open a shop where you could do that."

Who knew that being psychotic could lead to pioneering a new service industry? Usually, it just leads to a career in politics.

People have more than marital woes to be angry about these days, and as gas prices rise and markets tumble, the shop has been seeing a steady increase in business. As a service, the Smash Shack seems superfluous—some might say ‘wasteful’, ‘decadent’ and ‘childish’—but maintaining one’s sanity is priceless. Some people are too timid to go to a firing range to blow off steam, but not too timid to lob a few saucers against a stainless steel wall. And besides, if groceries become much more expensive, people won’t need plates, so why not smash them?

Of course, you needn’t bring your own flatware; Lavely has selected only the finest cheap ceramics to deliver the most crack for your buck:

“Ceramic white dinner plates are Lavely's biggest seller, because they require a strong toss and break violently against the wall. Patrons order from a menu that includes items like The House Special (15 plates in 15 minutes for $45), the Six Shooter (six rapid-fire wine glasses for $12) or the Juggernaut (two large jugs for $12.) Value seekers can opt for the Mystery Box: 10 assorted smashables for $25. If you'd like to smash a person, Lavely allows the next best thing - a photo inserted into a very breakable glass frame.”

If they add a Precious Moments Hummel Pummel to their menu, I’m totally there.

Customers can even write messages on the plates before tossing them. This, however, is a tad unsettling because the shards are donated to local schools and art programs, and I dare say that some of those messages will not be appropriate for young eyes. Let’s hope that no more than three letters can fit on most of the remnants.

The Smash Shack is a novel idea, one that may in fact fill a much needed niche, and there is more innovation to be had. After all, maybe some people just want a safe environment to trash their own things (an ex’s record collection, for example, or a mother-in-law’s favorite teapot). Perhaps the management can offer to project the faces of one’s ex or a political figure on the wall. One might even be able to charge one’s HMO for the cost, categorizing it as a form of therapy.

There’s certainly room to expand, and though Lavely isn’t exactly shattering her business goals just yet, the catharsis industry may be a new territory suited for fed-up investors looking to break their own molds. I can’t wait for someone to open an Effigies R’ Us, where you can design your own burnt offerings in the shape of a nemesis and even choose the aromatic wood to be used, be it a Hickory Clinton, a Burning Bush, or even a Balsamic Bin Laden. You just know they’d do gangbusters during barbecue season. In short, when it comes to a new business in your town, rage could be all the rage.

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