Michael Saunders & Company Announces Record Listing On Longboat Key

Listed by Michael Saunders & Company, a stunning Venetian-inspired classic estate – priced at $26.5 million – is the highest-priced single-family listing ever for Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties combined. The property is located inside the gates of the exclusive Longboat Key Club on the coveted south end of Longboat Key.

“This record listing is an indication of the growing popularity of luxury properties over the last several years, particularly in highly desirable areas such as Longboat Key,” said Michael Saunders, Founder & CEO of Michael Saunders & Company, who leads the region for top-producing company in luxury listings and sales. “The level of craftsmanship and detail in this home is breathtaking. This is a rare opportunity for the most discerning buyer, and we are very pleased that the sellers carefully selected Michael Saunders & Company to represent them.”

According to Trendgraphix, sales of luxury properties in Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties rose by 17 percent in the month of January. There are currently 20 active listings of properties priced at $8 million or higher in the three-county area. Michael Saunders & Company recently represented the seller and buyer of a condominium with a selling price of $5.25 million, the highest priced condominium on Longboat Key since 2013.

Listing agent Michael Moulton reported, “This new record-setting listing is one of only eight beachfront homes behind the gates of the Longboat Key Club. With nearly 20,000 square feet of living space, it is also in the top five largest homes in the tri-county area, according to tax records.”

The 19,300-square-foot home was completed in 2006. With more than 30,000 square feet of total living space, immense care was taken to blend the formal architecture and history of Renaissance Italy with Gulf-front living. Signature details in the home include a 10-car garage, hand-painted Venetian murals and ceilings, a three-story atrium with a domed skylight, a birdcage glass and bronze elevator, and a mahogany library. Each level of the home boasts spacious outside terraces for maximizing outdoor living. The living spaces are sun-drenched with decorative glasswork and custom windows – allowing exquisite views of the Gulf of Mexico to blend with the golden hues of the interior.

To learn more, contact Michael Saunders & Company at (888) 552-5228 or www.michaelsaunders.com.

This Drone Could Pollinate Your Entire Garden

When you hear ‘bees’ and ‘drone’ in the same sentence, you think of the low, continuous hum that the insects omit. What you don’t think is expensive gadget used to film smug family’s Jamaican getaway. Nonetheless, the scientific community’s concerns about the imminent demise of honeybees has instigated the development of drones – of the tangible persuasion – to carry out artificial pollination.

The development comes amidst ongoing concerns about the world’s bee population, and the ramifications if bees die out altogether. Extinction would have huge consequences for the global ecosystem: bee pollination is responsible, in varying capacities, for apples, cucumbers, cauliflower, carrots, celery, broccoli and onions. In turn, it is estimated that bees are responsible for approximately 1.4 billion jobs worldwide; they’re a critical component of human welfare. Pound for pound, they contribute more to the nation’s GDP than the royal family.

In a recent endeavor, scientists in Japan have come up with a backup plan should the world’s honeybee population collapse, in the form of mini hummingbird-sized drones. Protruding from the drone’s body are a cluster of horsehair paintbrush bristles coated in a sticky gel, which facilitates the pick-up and redistribution of pollen grains amongst flowers.

The researchers stressed that “The global pollination crisis is a critical issue for the natural environment and our lives. The need to develop an innovative pollination tool that does not require time and effort to achieve pollination with a high success rate is urgent.”

The drones signal a step forward, certainly, but they lack the honey-producing capacity of the bees themselves. Plus, there’s a long way to go before the drones can operate without human guidance, not to mention a huge financial barrier to overcome. Nonetheless, flawed though they may be, the drones are a necessary evil; it is estimated that about 9% of bees are classified as ‘threatened’, and bee colonies are in sharp decline.

This isn’t the first time that humans have intervened, laden with technology, in an attempt to save the bees; in 2015 Australian scientists installed micro tracking chips on bees in an endeavor to find out the causes of ‘colony collapse’, the phenomenon which depletes the honeybee population.

As unsettling as all this bee-interventionism may be – you may remember a similar scenario going horribly wrong in the final episode of Black Mirror – it’s a solution to a potentially devastating problem. Suffice it to say, there’s plenty of ‘buzz’ (I’m sorry) surrounding the issue…

You Can Now Shop With Google Home

In an effort to compete even more closely with the likes of Amazon’s Alexa-assisted Echo, Google Home owners can now shop on their devices via the Google Assistant. Whereas Amazon’s devices shop, obviously, via the e-commerce giant, Google Home instead works with participating Google Express retailers, including the likes of Costco, Whole Foods, Walgreens, PetSmart, and Bed Bath & Beyond. Once set up via the Google Home app, ordering is easy — users simply say something like “Okay Google, order paper towels” and the Home will do exactly that.

The new shopping feature is available now and, to encourage owners to use it, Google is waiving any additional service and membership fees on orders placed through April 30. And, according to Google, the new feature “is just the beginning of what’s possible for shopping with the Google Assistant” — the tech giant is promising to add even more features and enable purchases for other apps and services in the months ahead.

PSA: Keep Your Kids Away From Laundry Detergent Pods

For families with young children, the convenience of laundry detergent pods is probably not worth the risk. Between 2012 and 2015, the number of chemical burns associated with laundry pods rose more than 30 percent among three and four-year-olds.

Since these single-dose detergent packs hit the market, there are have been over 1,200 reported pod-related injuries including eye burns, choking and poisoning. A study, published in JAMA Ophthalmology, found that pre-school age children could easily be injured when handling the colorful pods, possibly mistaken as a toy or candy. Injuries occurred most often when the contents were squirted into their eyes or rubbed into their eyes after handling a leaking pod.

Unlike regular liquid detergent, the pods have a higher concentration of surfactants, a chemical compound used to remove stains—causing the ordinarily safe ingredient to irritate sensitive areas such as the eyes. Some children who experience pod-related eye injuries could suffer long-term vision impairment due to the caustic properties in the detergent.

In response to the study’s results, the American Cleaning Institute (ACI) has launched a campaign to spread awareness of possible pod-related injuries. Procter & Gamble, the parent company of Gain and Tide brand laundry pods, also put out an ad campaign to educate parents on pod safety.

If a child does get detergent in their eye, doctors suggest immediately rinsing the eye with cool water for 20 minutes. Lead researcher Dr. R. Sterling Haring says, “Don’t stop and take them to the hospital. Don’t call and wait for an ambulance to show up. Flush the eye with cool water before you do anything else. That’s going to be the deciding factor about long-term outcome for this injury.”

Monopoly Fans Vote The Thimble Off The Game Board

Although it was once a common sight around many American homes, odds are, unless you’re an avid sewer, the only thimble you’ve come into contact with recently is the Monopoly game piece. Perhaps it was that lack of relevancy that led to the silver token’s demise: Hasbro announced today that the thimble will no longer pass “Go” in the next generation of Monopoly.

More than four million votes were cast in Hasbro’s “Monopoly Token Madness” contest and the thimble — which has been part of the game’s token lineup since its debut in 1935 — wasn’t popular enough to stay.

“The lucky Thimble has lost its ‘shine’ with today’s fans and will be retired from the game,” Hasbro said.

The company hasn’t yet announced which game piece will replace it among contenders like sunglasses, a typewriter, a hashtag, computer, rubber ducky, and an array of other random (and modern) household items. That result will be announced on March 19, and the newly-updated game will be sold in stores starting this August.

The current lineup now includes the Scottie dog, top hat, car, boot, wheelbarrow, battleship, and newcomer, the cat, which was voted in as replacement for the iron token in 2013.

‘Smart’ Baby Monitors Are Making Parents Needlessly Paranoid

The smart technology found in our phones and other wearables may be great at finding us a nearby Thai restaurant, but not so much at accurately keeping watch over our infant children, say a group of pediatricians in this month’s Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Their editorial, published online Tuesday, argues that the recent trend of baby monitors that come with newfangled bells and whistles — smartphone integration, sensors built into baby clothing, and an advertised ability to detect complex measurements like a baby’s blood oxygen level — may sound impressive, but they actually provide little practical benefit. In many cases, they cause parents unneeded stress. And at worst, they may be falsely marketing their potential to prevent cases of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), the leading cause of death among infants less than a year old.

According to the authors, there are a few major problems with these smart baby monitors.

For one, there’s no scientific evidence that keeping tabs on a healthy baby’s vital signs through these health apps is useful in the first place. They can be notoriously inaccurate at detecting hypertension and other chronic health problems. And even famous wearables like the FitBit have gotten in legal hot water lately, with several class action lawsuits filed against the company last year by users who claim their watches couldn’t accurately track their heart rates or sleep patterns.

Secondly, even with 100 percent accuracy, they could still lead to false alarms. As one example, the authors point out that a perfectly fine baby’s blood oxygen level occasionally drops to levels below 80 percent of normal, without anything being wrong with them. If a smart baby monitor detected that drop though, that could lead to parents unnecessarily rushing their children to the hospital or otherwise drive them even crazier with worry.

You might think products like the Smart Sock monitor by Owlet Baby Care would be regulated by agencies like the Food and Drug Administration, but manufacturers have sidestepped this hurdle by saying their devices aren’t intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent disease. That hasn’t stopped companies from slyly implying they can in their direct advertisements to parents, however. And that side-shuffle has also allowed them to avoid proving their devices even work as intended.

While smart baby monitors shouldn’t be thrown out with the bathwater, particularly for children with chronic breathing problems, they need a lot more vetting and regulation before parents should give them a try, the authors concluded.

And maybe the times are changing sooner than expected — Owlet Baby Care announced earlier this week that they intend to seek FDA approval for a medical version of their Smart Sock.

The Most Expensive Home Ever Listed in America Has a Swim-Up Bar, Helicopter and a Car Collection

We don’t have $250 million. You don’t have $250 million. But maybe if we all come together and pool our money we might be able to afford the most expensive home ever listed in America because—shockingly—it may actually be worth it. Consider some of the things included with the 12-bedroom Bel Air mansion. A car collection that includes classics from the ’30s and modern-day supercars. A massage room. A helicopter and matching landing pad. A massage room. A bowling alley. A screening room with 40 Italian leather recliners. Some seriously awesome art. A freaking candy room. A swim up bar. And, honestly, that’s only scratching the surface. The home, which is currently owned by Bruce Makowsky, even comes with a staff that’s been paid for two years of work. Check your damn sofa cushions and get back to us.

The Food Gods Have Answered Our Prayers With A Toaster Just for Bacon

If you find your kitchen counters cluttered with food-specific gadgets and appliances, you finally have a good reason to get rid of them all. The culinary innovators at Nostalgia Electrics have created the only thing you’ll ever need: The Bacon Express, a toaster that cooks delicious slices of pork instead of bread.

Like your ice cream maker, waffle maker, and popcorn machine, the $40 Bacon Express is really only capable of one task in the kitchen: cooking bacon. But while you can live without ice cream, waffles, and popcorn, it’s hard to imagine a life without that crispy, salty staple.

The vertical heating element has enough capacity for six slices of bacon, and a pair of doors seal the heat, grease, and goodness inside. A dial on the side also lets you adjust cooking times, while a tray at the bottom collects grease drippings so they’re easy to dispose of, or use for other purposes. We’re not here to judge.

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There’s An “In-Home Booze Maker” on the Way From Keurig and Anheuser-Busch Inbev

Beverage brewing system experts Keurig have announced that they will be teaming up with Anheuser-Busch InBev, the brewers best known for Budweiser, Corona and Stella Artois, for an “in-home booze maker.” Neither company has confirmed in-depth details yet on the collaborative effort but they have disclosed that at least 50 employees will be needed to work on the invention, development and testing of an appliance that can make push-button “beer, spirits, cocktails and mixers.” Technology from the Keurig Kold, the now retired cold beverage maker, is rumored to be a starting point.

What do you guys think about this idea, is it a game changer?

Kuri, A Helpful and Interactive Home Robot That Plays, Entertains, and Performs Useful Tasks

Kuri is a helpful home robot designed to interact with humans to play, entertain, and perform useful tasks like setting reminders. In one promotional video, a young girl with diabetes uses the robot to remind her to check her blood sugar.

The robot has a camera behind one eye that can take still images and video, microphones it can use to locate the source of a sound, and speakers for playing media or making cute robot noises. Kuri also uses on-board sensors to map its surroundings to avoid obstacles and pitfalls as it moves.

The makers of Kuri are now accepting preorders their website and expect to begin shipping by the holiday season 2017.

Kuri also promises not to try to destroy civilization or rise up and enslave humankind.

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