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Wayne Mackie

Wayne Mackie

Contributing Writer for The Rock Father. Pop Culture Fan. Music Fan. Dad. Hailing from the Los Angeles area, Mackie and his family recently relocated to the Midwest.

Spring is the perfect time for cleaning, but sometimes, your home might need a bit more than some scrubbing and de-cluttering. If you feel like your home needs a more significant refresh, a home improvement project might be in order. But where exactly should you start? Here are just a few springtime projects that can give your property a fresh new look.

One of the most important parts and appliances of any home continues to be the furnace, which is the primary heating source for households all over the country. While a normal furnace is designed to last between 15 and 20 years, it will eventually break down and could be far less effective. If your furnace is broken, it is important to have it repaired as soon as you can, as a broken furnace comes with a variety of different dangers.

Hopefully, life returns to normal soon, but no one really knows when that will be. It could be a few weeks, it could be a few months, and it could be much, much longer. It's important to focus on your health and your family's health throughout these wild times -- and technology is playing a major part.

Few people would argue that ride sharing platforms rely on drivers to operate. But Uber maintains that its drivers aren't a central part of its business operations -- and that the company won't need to start classifying its workers as employees, regardless of what a new bill passed in California might say.

The passage of bill AB5, which further clarifies a 2018 California Supreme Court ruling that outlines a test used for employee classification, should theoretically have companies like Uber shaking in their boots. But according to Uber's top lawyer, its drivers will remain independent contractors -- meaning that they won't be given benefits and that the company can continue to shirk liability in a number of situations.

According to the 2018 ruling, workers are considered employees if they perform duties that are under a company's control; if the work they do is essential to the company's business; and if they do not have independent enterprises within that given trade. Interestingly, the company maintains that the drivers who pick up customers for Uber are somehow not integral to the organization's operations. According to chief legal officer for the company, the "drivers' work is outside the usual course of Uber's business, which is serving as a technology platform for several different types of digital marketplaces."

Whether anyone will buy that argument is a different story. Previously, Uber has noted that classifying their drivers as actual employees would completely change ride sharing as a whole, eliminating the flexibility of their current business model. They'd supposedly have to force shifts on drivers and hire fewer of them, along with restricting them from working during certain hours or in specific areas. Those claims have been debunked by California Labor Federation spokesperson Steve Smith, who pointed out to a local ABC news affiliate that there's nothing in the labor code that would prohibit driver flexibility and added that this line of thinking is nothing more than a "corporate scare tactic."

Furthermore, the company seems to want to have it both ways. Uber may protest that its drivers aren't an essential part of its business model, but the company also recently argued that its driver roster should be regarded as a closely guarded trade secret. Although over 85% of misappropriation cases involve the business partner or employee of a trade secret owner, this scenario played out a bit differently. When the leader of an academic project requested the names of Uber drivers from Chicago officials in 2018, the Freedom of Information Act request was denied on the grounds that releasing this information “would cause competitive harm specifically by allowing their competitors to target and 'poach' their drivers." A Loyola University Chicago business school assistant professor requested the information again this year, maintaining that the information should be publicly accessible considering that drivers are licensed by the city. And while the average citizen can easily look up taxi vehicles and their license holders, that same access is not granted for cases involving holders of ride hailing licenses.

According to documents acquired by Bloomberg, ride hailing companies are worried about drivers abandoning one platform for another; the potential for poaching would increase if those names became public, according to Uber, along with other safety liabilities. But -- depending on the state -- ride hailing companies cannot demand exclusivity from their drivers, as this is yet another point that would likely force Uber to reclassify their independent contractors as employees. That would make drivers "under the company's control," which falls in line with the first point of the bill recently passed in California. But judging by how important the identities of Uber drivers seem to be, many are skeptical that the company will be able to convince anyone that their role in the business structure is anything but essential.

Still, West is confident that Uber will win out in the end. In a conference call with media, the chief legal officer explained that they'd have no problem complying with the necessary criteria: "Just because the test is hard does not mean we will not be able to pass it. We continue to believe that drivers are properly classified as independent... We expect we will continue to respond to claims of misclassification in arbitration and in court, as necessary, just as we do now."

Video games have gotten a bad rap when it comes to maintaining personal relationships. More often than not, the gamer in the relationship is considered lazy, emotionally stunted, and a bad force in society. Even though over 20% of marriages end within the first five years, couples have undoubtedly mentioned that video games impacted this final decision.

But like most good things, video games have gotten a bad reputation when people take this hobby too far. In fact, the World Health Organization has recently classified video game addiction as a type of medical issue, known as gaming disorder.

Unfortunately, hobbyist video gamers are still lumped into this category. There are plenty of people who manage to find a work-life-video game balance. It's the rotting few in a bunch of good apples that deleteriously affect society's views on gaming. Just like 59% of workers claim that communication is the biggest obstacle to success, gamers who don't communicate with their partner are apt to follow a similar path in their relationships.

In fact, it was only after playing video games with her partner that Eve Peyser's views changed.

"It took a couple of months to crack me, but my view began to change with the first game my boyfriend persuaded me to play," she explains in an interview with The New York Times. "My boyfriend's gaming never actually put a strain on our relationship, but when I started playing with him, it went from being one of his boy hobbies I could never possibly understand to an experience we could share, something that highlighted why we worked so well together."

Now, the duo is smiling more than ever. And since more than half of people agree that smiling is the most important feature as we age, finding ways to continue to smile is essential in a healthy relationship.

That being said, let's look at some of the best games to play with your partner before the cold months of winter strike.

Bomberman

Let's start with a classic: Bomberman is a co-operative game that came onto the scene over 30 years ago. It's a strategic, competitive option that relies on manipulation to trick your opponents into falling for your traps. Rounds often go quickly and there aren't too many mechanics involved, making this a fun game for just about anyone, gamer or not.

Portal 2

The first Portal game was -- quite literally -- a game-changer for puzzle games. But Portal 2 flipped the script and became the first game in the franchise to offer a two-player option. If you're a puzzle lover and want to work cooperatively with your partner to meet a common goal, this is the modern game for you.

Left 4 Dead

Everyone loves a good zombie game, right? If you're not in-tune with the online hijinks of today, this cooperative option enables players to kill zombies in campaign-mode. This allows users to save and pick up where they left off next time, a welcome change from the online games we know and love.

This popular shooter game relies on a heavy dose of cooperation in order to make it through each level. Even if you're scared of zombies, knowing your partner is at your side can make you brave enough to tackle anything -- including the witch.

Monster Prom

This lighthearted game is a welcome option after fighting zombies for a few hours. It doesn't take itself seriously, nor does it rely on serious competition to beat the game. All you need for this simulator is a good sense of humor as you navigate the ups and downs of monster dating.

Little Big Planet

This co-op game is another puzzle option. Only this time, it features cute stuffed toys that you can customize to your liking. Beat big bosses and try to make it to the end of each level without dying. Luckily, your partner can bring you back to life so you're never out of the game for too long.

Did you know that 52% of young couples claim that gaming has helped improve their relationship? Whether you want to introduce your loved one to a new hobby or find new ways to improve your teamwork, relying on video games might be the perfect option for you.

Refrigerated trailer gaskets are used inside trailers to prevent the leakage of cold air from the trailer. They are installed at the periphery of trailer body doors and vents. The global refrigerated trailer market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.8% from 2016 to 2022. Additionally, according to a new research report by Persistence Market Research, the entire industry is expected to reach a market value of over $30 million by the end of 2025. 

The research report explored every aspect of the global refrigerated trailer market and highlighted the fact that high demand for frozen foods and perishable goods is driving the growth of the market. When transporting perishable food, a combination of insulated packaging and dry ice will preserve food for 24 to 48 hours

Many of these trailers — and their towing trucks — are manufactured from recycled metal. Currently, about 40% of steel production across the globe is made with recycled metal. According to Truck News, truck and trailer orders could soon suffer, however, due to uncertainty stemming from the trade war with China and other political issues. 

"When you're a business decision-maker trying to decide, 'What should I be doing?' when that uncertainty enters, you say 'I'm not doing anything,'" said Eric Starks, CEO of FTR. "The market continues to be relatively healthy. We are seeing a normalization within the market." 

October will be a crucial month for the market as a whole since truck inventories are currently high, meaning retail sales all need to continue to gain steam in order to prevent unhealthy inventory for dealers. 

What's more, drivers need to focus more on safety and keeping their hauls securely inside their trailers and not all over the road. Each year, approximately 16,000 chemical spills occur from trucks, trains, and storage tanks, often when materials are being transferred. Here are some of the most notable trailer accidents that result in products dumping out of their trailers: 

  • Bell Peppers: Crates of bell peppers covered the Interstate 10 median near Milton, Florida, after a truck driver lost control of his vehicle. WKRG reports the driver said a steering malfunction caused him to veer into the median, overturn, and spill his cargo. 

  • Beer: A truck transporting Budweiser products completely overturned in Mariposa, California. 

  • Milk: Hundreds of gallons of milk mixed with about 100 gallons of diesel fuel spilled all over the New York State Thruway in Plattekill, New York, after a Mack truck swerved to avoid another vehicle and subsequently rolled down a center embankment before overturning. The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation responded to the scene to clean up all the fuel and milk spillage. 

  • Potatoes: "There are no injuries, but potatoes everywhere." -- That's what was tweeted by the Hillsboro Police Department after a truck carrying lots and lots of potatoes spilled its contents across the roadway. The potato roadway incident occurred on Highway 26 in Oregon. 

This industry might not seem like it affects everyone, but it truly does. From potatoes to medical equipment, all sorts of products are carried inside these trailers and the market needs to continue to do well.

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