Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Ask whether pearls are natural, cultured, or imitation. Both natural and cultured pearls are made by oysters or other mollusks; imitation pearls are man-made. Naturally-occurring pearls are fairly rare and expensive, so most pearls you’ll see are cultured pearls — pearls made by mollusks with human intervention. An irritant introduced into the shell of the mollusk causes a pearl to grow. A pearl’s cost depends on the size, usually stated in millimeters, and the coating or "nacre", which gives natural and cultured pearls their luster. Imitation pearls are man-made with glass, plastic, or organic materials.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Dasyueshan National Forest Recreation Area

Dasyueshan National Forest Recreation Area is situated on the backside of the southwest-facing main ridge of the Syueshan Range, its greater part rising over 2,000 meters above sea level. Long an important logging area in central Taiwan, the area retains few virgin stands and the current forest ecology is composed mainly of second-growth temperate and warm zone species, forming a typical mixed coniferous-broadleaf forest.The upper level of the forest is dominated by Taiwan cryptomeria, red cypress, Taiwan yellow cypress, Taiwan spruce, hemlock and Taiwan red pine.

The local hemlocks are huge and have broad-reaching boughs. The forest is also the most abundant mid-elevation bird habitat in all of Taiwan.Dasyueshan maintains an average year-round temperature of 12 degrees centigrade, making it a popular summer destination. The spring blooms, autumn maples and winter frosts complete the area's seasonally changing scenic attraction. The view of the evening sky and cloud formations set against the mountain ranges is a sight that is hard to surpass anywhere on the island.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Treasury Securities

Treasury securities include Treasury bills (T-bills), notes and bonds. T-bills are commonly purchased through a financial institution.Customers who purchase T-bills at banks that later fail become concerned because they think their actual Treasury securities were kept at the failed bank. In fact, in most cases banks purchase T-bills via book entry, meaning that there is an accounting entry maintained electronically on the records of the Treasury Department; no engraved certificates are issued. Treasury securities belong to the customer; the bank is merely acting as custodian.

Customers who hold Treasury securities purchased through a bank that later fails can request a document from the acquiring bank (or from the FDIC if there is no acquirer) showing proof of ownership and redeem the security at the nearest Federal Reserve Bank. Or, customers can wait for the security to reach its maturity date and receive a check from the acquiring institution, which may automatically become the new custodian of the failed bank's T-bill customer list (or from the FDIC acting as receiver for the failed bank when there is no acquirer).

Even though Treasury securities are not covered by federal deposit insurance, payments of interest and principal (including redemption proceeds) on those securities that are deposited to an investor's deposit account at an insured depository institution ARE covered by FDIC insurance up to the $250,000 limit. And even though there is no federal insurance on Treasury securities, they are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States Government - the strongest guarantee you can get.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Labor contracts of enterprises to be inspected

On 13 June, the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs requested that provinces and cities organize the inspection of implementation of labor laws by enterprises.Of which, the attention should be paid to the signing of labor contracts between enterprises and employees; working time, rest time; salary, wages; working conditions, etc. The Ministry also required provinces and cities to publicize hot-line numbers so that the enterprises can contact easily in case of labor disputes.In the past time, many strikes occurred as a result of such violation of labor laws by enterprises as forcing employees working overtime, providing poor working condition, etc.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Caulerpa Marine Algae

Caulerpa seaweed occurs naturally in tropical waters worldwide. Prized for their beauty and ability to uptake excess nutrients, many species of Caulerpa are now widely used in saltwater aquarium systems. In the 1980’s, a cold-tolerant and fast-growing strain of the species, Caulerpa taxifolia,was cultivated in Germany and was eventually distributed to aquarists worldwide.

This cold-tolerant strain was inadvertently introduced into the Mediterranean Sea in wastewater from the Oceanographic Museum at Monaco. The species was first reported in the Mediterranean in 1984. At that time, the algae covered a square yard and it continued to spread rapidly after it was discovered. Even small fragments can start new colonies, and soon other patches began to appear. Caulerpa has now spread over more than 13,000 hectares (32,500 acres) of seabed, and the liklihood of eradication is highly questionable.

This fast-growing "Killer algae" forms dense carpet of algae that covers the bottom in a monoculture, preventing the establishment of native seaweeds and ultimately excluding almost all marine life. Even sea urchins have no interest in eating it. It will colonize any substrate and has been found from the shoreline to depths of up to 250 feet.

In June of 2000, the highly invasive Mediterranean strain of Caulerpa taxifolia was discovered in California's Agua Hedionda Lagoon in Carlsbad, and again 75 miles north in Huntington Harbor. Genetic studies determined that these two infestations were the same strain of C. taxifolia as that in the Mediterranean Sea. The discoveries marked the first known occurrence of this strain within the Western Hemisphere, and are believed to pose a major threat to coastal ecosystems and recreational and commercial activities dependent upon coastal resources. The infested areas are covered with tarp and treated with herbicide. After a multi-million dollar eradication effort, monitoring is still needed for several years to insure no re-growth. Vigilence is also needed to insure any future infestations are identified and eradicated rapidly.