What You Might Not Know About the Stars Above Us

On April 18th, SACC-SFL arranged a happy hour with the theme “Stargazing”. Astronomy Professor Niel Mulchan was invited to talk about what stars really are and to give us an introduction to astrology. Niel was kind enough to share a summary and some additional fun facts with us to enjoy. Read it below. 


The ink is still wet as the story of the Universe is being written in the search for answers, some of which we may never find. But these just may be the unsolved mysteries mankind needs to escape the burdens of life, even for just a minute to look to the heavens and wonder why. Looking up into the seemingly infinite Cosmos, we may find some solace knowing that we are all eternally chemically bonded not just to each other, but to everything that ever was, still is, and ever will be. We are all quite truly one with the Universe. But no species lasts forever. And the end will come for the run of the human race as the relentless work of evolution continues to adapt all life to an ever-changing planet. But until that time comes in the not-so-distant-future, take heed in exactly how special you are, for the very material that gives you life is born from the death of stars billions and billions of years ago in the far reaches of the Universe, trillions of trillions of kilometers away. Each of us is made of the scattered remains of the birth of the Universe and the death of stars, most of which turn into Black Holes.

A moonlit walk on the beach is more special than you may realize. Our closest celestial neighbor in all the Universe, is our very own Moon, “Theia,” named after the Greek goodness of Divinity. Just 384,000 km away from us, one quarter the size of the Earth and born out a cataclysmic collision of two planets 4 billion years ago, the Universe is slowly reclaiming our Moon. Enjoy the beauty of the full Moon before it’s too late, for each year the Moon drifts off into the darkness of space by a few centimeters, and eventually we will lose our Moon. What happens then? Well, nothing good. You’ll have to come find me for the answers you may not like!

Finally, maybe the most meaningful word we have ever learnt, is the word “perspective.” What you see simply depends on how you see it. Anyone can tell you where to look, but no one can tell you what to see. From here on our home, the Earth, it’s the only home we’ve ever known, and may ever know. It is home to everyone we hold dear to our lives, and all of the material possessions that we believe we cannot live without. And as we spend our relatively short time as a species on Earth thinking about how to keep all of our material possessions, and how to get more of it, give a passing thought to your perspective. You see, on one hand, the Earth is truly special. It is the only place in the entire known Universe where life has ever been found, and may ever be found. It is the only place where liquid water is known to exist. It is the only place where rainbows and sunsets have ever existed. But for all of this unique beauty, think about on the other hand. Being far into the depths of space and looking back at the Earth and everyone and everything on it. It is only then, with that perspective, that one would realize that in the grandest of schemes, how absolutely insignificant the Earth, and everything and everyone one on it, really is. For the speck of dust that the Earth would look like from the depths of space would render it completely meaningless, and it would have made no difference to the Universe had the Earth never existed in the first place. Whether you see the Earth in all its uniqueness, or as an irrelevant speck of dust in the vast Universe, simply depends on your perspective: are you inside the box looking out, or are you outside the box looking in.

The rise of fall of empires and civilizations around the world that all looked to the stars for guidance should teach us not to worry about trying to save the Planet, the Earth is a great survivor. It’s been here for billions of years long before we ever existed, and will be here for billions long after we’re gone. It’s saving mankind that we should be worried about.

 

Text by: Niel Mulchan, Professor at Broward University. 

Do I, as a US-Business Owner, Need to Worry About GDPR?

For a while now, people have been talking about ”GDPR”. But what does this security reform really mean for US-companies? The usual answer you hear is “Nothing right? – That’s just for European companies!” Wrong. Any company that has a web presence and market their services/products over the internet have got some work to do before May 25th.

 

On May 25th, 2018, EU (the European Union) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), will take effect after years of discussions. GDPR has been described as the most significant change to data privacy and security in modern years, the last 20 years to be exact. It’s a brand new legal framework for how organizations can use personal data – and it applies well beyond the borders of Europe as well. If you haven’t started to prepare for May 25th, it’s time to start. There are several things that need to be effective before the approaching the May deadline. Any organization that processes, hold or owns European data, or is based in the EU, needs to follow the regulation – or prepare for heavy penaltiesThe law imposes fines from 2-4% of the global annual revenue of the prior financial year – a heavy burden to carry for most companies.

 

The short story – GDPR was introduced to protect EU citizens and their personal data, including the data that has already been collected, stored, processed or destroyed. Personal data is the data that is relatable to an identified or identifiable natural person; meaning a person that can be identified through name, ID number, location data, or other factors specific to the physical, physiological, economic, cultural or social identity of that person. This even includes IP addresses, cookies, social media posts, online contacts and mobile device IDs.

 

It is all about the territorial scope! This means, if your US-company processes personal data of an individual living in the EU when the data is accessed – your company is subject to the new law. Article 3 in GDPR says that this applies even if no financial transaction occurs – Another example: if your company is offering a marketing service globally or offering shipping worldwide, you must follow the new law. Same goes if your company is monitoring the behavior of EU residents, tracking their online behavior. Clarification: the law only applies if the consumers are in the EU when the data is collected – for collection of data from EU residents outside of the EU, the law would not apply.

 

SACC-SFL Advice of the day! All US-bases companies, especially the ones with strong presence on the internet, should check if their activity falls within the scope of GDPR. Did we stress you? No worries – The new law is just plain good business practice and will enhance trust from customers, which can be a competitive advantage!

Three steps:
  1. Track your data! It might take time (read: a lot of time), but it gives you multiple benefits. Make sure you are aware of which data you possess, where you have it, for how long you’ve had it and why you have it. Have someone in your organization in charge for data protection and make sure that the person has the necessary expertise and the abilities to structure your organizations’ data.
  2. Take a look at your consent and disclosure documents for your customers. The customers should be able to agree to or decline what kind of data you save. Agreements is the key.
  3. Re-evaluate your service agreements. If a third-party is not able to prove that they are compliant with the new EU-law, they are working illegal – which will most likely give you a bad reputation.

 

Text by: Emelie Malmquist

References (click on the links to read more):

Costigan, M & Lazzarotti J. Lexology, 2o18. 

GDPR EU.org 

Faitelson, Y. Forbes, 2017. 

Article from SACC-USA: The Wonders of the Sunshine State

The article below is written by Maja Frendin at SACC-USA about our organisation here in Fort Lauderdale / Palm Beach. 


We recently spoke to our President of SACC Fort Lauderdale/Palm Beach (SACC-SFL), Felizia Mulchan, about her work at SACC-SFL and their upcoming events.

The chamber recently held its hugely successful annual event at the DaVinci Inflight Training Institute, a private aviation training facility. Members and guests joined in on the festivities with hors d’oeuvres and open bar, after a presentation of the new Board of Directors. DaVinci Inflight Training Institute is a private aviation training facility. The event also showcased the artworks of up-and-coming artist Tatiana Malinine, who has also helped SACC-SFL with much of it’s media branding.

Mulchan described their events as a way of cross-promoting their different member companies, and to show the value of the SACC network. Later this spring, SACC-SFL will host a marketing series, with workshops and seminars focusing on online marketing.

“The first seminar will focus on social media marketing and boosting your online image. During the second workshop, the guests will be able to have makeup done by a professional artist and their pictures and headshots taken by a photographer. The idea is to be able to cross promote and provide offers for several members, and not just have social events.”

One of SACC-SFL’s most popular events is their annual Sommarfest, held every year in June at the Scandinavian Center together with The Swedish Consulate in Fort Lauderdale, Svenska Skolan i Fort Lauderdale, Svenska Kyrkan in Florida and SWEA South Florida. Around 350 guests are expected. The summer celebration is a fantastic opportunity for members to extend their networks through all the Swedish organizations in South Florida.

When talking specifically about the SACC-SFL network, Mulchan recognizes a few top priorities for the chamber. Firstly, the ability to cross promote and expand the network, as well as offering services to the smaller businesses in the network is high on the agenda. Secondly, the chamber is a strong promoter of the J1-visa program and is focusing on helping businesses secure top talent.

According to Mulchan, Florida is a diverse state with a multitude of industries, something that reflects on the SACC-SFL members. One of the predominant industries in the state is the marine industry, which has always had a high concentration of Scandinavians. Sweden also has a prominent role within the hospitality industry in Florida, with several Swedish owned hotels and vacation properties. Moreover, there are growing equestrian and golfing communities in Florida, where Swedish businesses and products continue to be strong brands.

Looking forward, Mulchan recognizes that there are incredible business opportunities in Florida for the chamber to capitalize on. The challenge lies in deploying and utilizing the chamber’s resources to reach its full potential. Mulchan believes that recent tax reforms will have a positive impact on Swedish companies looking to establish themselves in the US, and that the lower tax rates have been very well received across the board.

We here at SACC-USA are very proud to have Felizia Mulchan and her team of dedicated professionals promoting the SACC values and we are excited to follow SACC-SFL’s continued expansion.