Costa Rica to Ban Single-Use Plastics by 2021

September 28, 2017 / in Costa Rica, / by Number8

[caption id="attachment_4094" align="alignright" width="300"] Pollution in the seabed because of humans[/caption]

Single-use plastics pose a serious threat to our planet.

These petroleum based, disposable products take up about 10% of the discarded waste in landfills and the majority of waste that washes up on shorelines. Plastics are durable; they are so durable they do not decompose over time. Instead, they break down into smaller and smaller pieces called microplastics which stick around for 400 years. They contain carcinogenic, neurotoxic, and hormone-disruptive chemicals that pollute our oceans, which we rely on as a species.
  • 70% of the oxygen we breathe is produced by marine plants.
  • 97% of our water supply is contained in oceans.
  • 85% of fish caught is for human consumption.
That means we consume those harmful chemicals in the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat. It also has a significant impact on wildlife as well as the earth’s climate. Researchers estimate at least 100,000 marine animals die each year from plastic consumption. 30% of the CO2 emissions we produce get absorbed in the oceans, but when they are clogged with plastics that number decreases.

Costa Rica is setting an example as environmentalists.

To fight this worldwide epidemic, the Republic of Costa Rica is working towards eliminating single-use plastic products by the year 2021. People from both the public and private sectors are working together to eliminate plastic store bags, straws, coffee stirrers, containers, plastic cutlery, and other such products from the country entirely. Costa Rica is a world leader for environmental matters. In 2007, the Costa Rican government announced plans to become carbon neutral by 2021. They also rely on renewable energy, frequently going 2 months at a time without the use of fossil fuels. The government is also active in restoring forests and protecting wildlife while the private sector in the country has become the world leader in eco-tourism. In a joint statement made by Environment and Energy minister Edgar Gutiérrez, Health minister María Esther Anchía, and resident representative for UNDP Costa Rica Alice Shackelford, they ask everyone-- “women, men, boys and girls”-- to participate in their efforts to reduce plastic consumption and preserve the environment. Even if you don’t live in Costa Rica, it’s easy to do your part.

How you can reduce plastic waste:

  • Bring reusable bags to the grocery store and stop using plastic ones altogether.
  • Stop buying bottled water. Use a water filter and reusable bottle instead.
  • Buy refillable containers for soap used around the house: hand soap, dish soap, laundry detergent, etc.
  • Stop using straws
  • Avoid #3(pvc), #4(ldpe), #5(pp), #6(ps), and #7 plastics, which are not readily recyclable.
  • Bring your own to-go mug or cup to coffee shops.
  • Don’t buy disposable dishes or cutlery.
  • Ditch disposable razors in favor of a safety razor.
  • Start using reusable glassware instead of plastic food containers.
  • Buy in bulk.
  • Opt for matches over plastic butane lighters.
  • Return plastic containers for things like berries and tomatoes to your local farmer’s market for sellers to reuse.
  • Invest in reusable snack bags instead of ordinary zip-top plastic ones.
At Number8, our team is made up of employees in Louisville, Kentucky as well as Costa Rica. Our team travels to Costa Rica both for business, and for pleasure. We appreciate Costa Rica's environmental efforts and try to do our part here in the States as well. If you are looking to learn more about our company, and the work we do in Costa Rica, and in America, give us a call today at (502) 890-7665!

The Art of Coding: 6 Practices the Best Software Developers Use

software developersProgramming languages have been around for quite some time. When the first recognizable computer was created in the 1940s, programmers wrote hand tuned language programs; however, it was quickly realized that this approach to programming took quite a bit of effort and intellect. The 1950s saw the design of the first programming languages. Over the next 40 years, many languages were developed for software developers including: FORTRAN, COBOL, SQL, Ada, Eiffel, Wolfram Language, and C++. The Internet Age of the 1990s brought the next historic period of history in regards to programming languages. During this era, programmers saw a rapid spread of functional languages, “rapid application development” languages, and scripting languages. After years of optimization and implementation, scripting languages grew to be the most prominent languages used on the World Wide Web. During this time, and over the last 20 years, Haskell, Java, Ruby Rails, and PHP grew in popularity and laid the foundation for the coding languages software developers use today. In this day and age, programming languages are continuing the evolve and the most notable languages of the 21st century include C#, Java, CSS, and Swift. Software developers are working to make all development languages open source and increase functional programming support in mainstream coding languages. Every software developer has a preference when it comes to the programming language they use. Regardless of if a developer is using CSS, C#, Java, Ruby Rails, or PHP - coding is an art. Like other arts, coding requires certain practices to ensure that the finished product is as perfect as possible. There are certain practices the best software developers use when coding. We’ve outlined six practices to follow and ensure coding is the best it can be in both form and function.

6 Practices the Best Software Developers Use

1. Keep Indentation Consistent

It is very important to pick an indentation style and stick with it throughout programming. There are multiple established approaches to indentation style, but the style a software developer chooses is not what matters. What truly matters is that the indentation style chosen is consistent. Consistent indentation practices produce coding that is easier to navigate through and allows developers to quickly address issues. If a software developer contributes to a project that has already established an indentation style, the best practice is to continue following that style.

2. Clear Commenting & Documentation

Thankfully, in the last 5 years, Integrated Development Environments have improved greatly. IDEs make it extremely easy to comment in the coding a software developer is creating. Comments help other software developers clarify what functions are meant to do within the coding which is extremely helpful in open source coding efforts or group efforts to develop software. There are many IDE options out there for software developers to choose from and there are also many tools used for commenting. While commenting can be helpful in coding, it is important to avoid obvious comments that could risk unnecessarily cluttering the backend of hte software.

3. Avoid Deep Nesting Techniques

Nesting code through tabbing can help to organize lines of coding, but deep nesting often makes code harder to read instead of easier. Deep nesting is the practice of using multiple tabs to organize lines of coding, but is often more confusing than clarifying. By reducing the amount of tabs in coding, software developers improve readability. This, in turn, allows coders to easily access and navigate code in a situation where an error needs to be fixed or a change needs to be made.

4. Limit Line Length

Like consistent indentation and avoidance of deep nesting, limiting the line length of coding can greatly improve readability. A great example of properly execute line length limitations can be found in newspapers. The human eye can more easily read tall, narrow columns of text instead of long, horizontal lines. A good practice is to apply this same methodology to coding, so the programming language is easy to read.

5. Organize Folders & Files

If a software developer wanted to, they could write an entire program in one folder; however, it would be a nightmare to navigate and keep up. The best practice is to use a framework or create a system based off of an existing folder and file structure. With an organized set of folders and files, maintenance and management of a software developer’s program will be much easier. An organized folder and file system will also be beneficial to other software developers who may join the project.

6. Complete Code Refactoring

“Refactoring” is a technological term for “cleaning up” and every software developer should practice refactoring code. The main goal of refactoring is not to fix bugs or add functionality. Instead, refactoring improves the readability, cleanliness, and quality of the recently developed code. The best time to refactor code is the day after it's been written. This way the coding is still fresh and familiar to the software developer. After refactoring, it will be much more readable and reusable months later. A common saying in the world of software developers is “refactor early, refactor often”.

More often than not, software development is a group effort and it is important to implement the best coding practices for overall success. These six coding practices are a great place to start for software developers looking to improve their code quality. No matter what program language a software developer decides to use, these practices will improve the quality of the coding. By following the practices outlined above, the completed programming will be easy to navigate, change, and understand. This, in the end, will ensure success for the program functionalities and the team involved in maintaining and debugging the code days, weeks, months, and years into the future. At Number 8, we are an experienced team of nearshore software developers who exercise the best practices in regards to writing and maintaining code. If you are interested in learning more about what we do at Number 8 or are looking for a job as a software developer, contact us today! Call us at 502-890-7665 or visit our Contact Us page here.

Books to Inspire Successful Entrepreneurs

September 11, 2017 / in Entrepreneurship, / by Number8

“A mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone if it is to keep its edge. That is why I read so much.” - Tyrion Lannister

Yeah, we went there; we opened up this post with a Game of Thrones quote. There simply isn’t a better way to emphasize just how important books are. When you’re an entrepreneur, books are especially helpful. To stay on top of your market you must keep your mind nimble and there’s no better way to do so than exposing yourself to new ideas through books-- whether they are the latest fiction bestseller, a stirring biography, or something more technical and specific to your niche. Want to build a reading list of your own? Check out these books recommended for successful entrepreneurs and get inspired.

Welcome to the Universe: An Astrophysical Tour by Neil deGrasse Tyson, Michael A. Strauss and J. Richard Gott

You probably thought you were done with textbooks after graduation, but this one is worth picking up. Welcome to the Universe was developed as the basis for a Princeton physics course for non-science majors. Full of wit and charm, the material explains the cosmos thoroughly without patronizing the reader. It’s the perfect read for those times when you can’t quit obsessing over the little things and need to be reminded of the big picture.

String Theory by David Foster Wallace

This collection of essays on tennis is the perfect introduction to David Foster Wallace, as noted by Bill Gates himself. Even if you are not a fan of the sport, the gripping prose draws you in and doesn’t let go. Each essay was published separately by various magazines. But after the author’s 2008 suicide, the Library of America compiled them into a handy collection to further solidify his stance as the “greatest tennis writer ever.”

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by don Miguel Ruiz

This is a self-help book for people who hate self-help books. The Four Agreements are simple resolutions that can help a person navigate life in a more mindful, constructive way. The principles have been noted as a primer for cognitive-behavioral therapy. At a mere 168 pages, this is a perfect book to sit down with on those afternoons where your mind is going a million miles a minute and people are driving you crazy.

The Charisma Myth by Olivia Fox Cabane

Turns out, you don’t have to be born with charisma to have it. Author Olivia Fox Cabane uses her years of experience and scientific evidence to back up her claim that anyone can exude the kind of moxie that inspires people. If you want to be a leader, this is a good place to start.

The Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley

When it comes to your venture, what keeps you going? Is it your family? Your dreams? Is it the next cup of coffee you’ll have? How about the advancement of the human race and society as a whole? The Rational Optimist makes the argument that trade, market, and commerce are the catalysts behind all of the human prosperity. If that doesn’t appeal to you as an entrepreneur, we’re not sure what will. At Number 8, we are constantly reading from various sources to stay sharp and we encourage any and everyone to do the same. Interested in learning more about Number 8 and how we employ creativity and entrepreneurship? Contact us today. Call us at 502-890-7665 today or visit us online.

What to Expect at IdeaFestival 2017

ideafestival 2017Technology conferences occur all over the world every year from Mobile World Congress - the largest mobile industry gathering in the world - in Barcelona, Spain to Amazon re:Invent - a conference hosted by Amazon that educates the global cloud computing community. With so many technology conferences, it is easy for someone in tech to find a conference that piques their interests. IdeaFestival 2017, located in downtown Louisville, Kentucky, is the next technology conference on the calendar. The technology conference/festival pitches itself as “a celebration of the curious, with the goal of inspiring all people to embrace the excitement and danger of new ideas” and promotes thinking in different and innovative ways.  IdeaFestival will run from Tuesday, September 26th thru September 28th, 2017 starting with a full day event on the 26th - Thrivals 10.0. This year's conference is hosting plenty of events and attendees will see a plethora of presenters. Read in detail what to expect at IdeaFestival in Louisville, KY this year and how to get involved.

4 Things to Expect at IdeaFestival 2017

1. Opportunity to Expand Your Festival Experience

IdeaFestival itself is a two-day festival that runs the 27th and the 28th of September; however, there is an opportunity to add another day onto your festival experience with Thrivals 10.0. For an extra $49 become a part of the full-day conference on “finding your algorithm for the future”. This fall, the conversation is focused on living in a digital age that is constantly changing. It will also cover the combination of GRIt, humanity, and artificial intelligence. Thrivals 10.0 will feature 10 presenters including Janelle Monae - an American musician and one of the leading ladies in “Hidden Figures”.

2. A Packed, Fun-Filled Day-to-Day Schedule

IdeaFestival released the day-to-day agenda for the 2017 conference and each day is full of presentations and classes. The two-day festival starts at 8:00 a.m. each day and includes different presentations as well as several 10-minute classes. Class topics have not be announced yet, but you can stay tuned on the Agenda portion of the IdeaFestival website. The first day of the festival, after Thrivals 10.0, kicks off at 8:00 a.m. and ends at 5:30 p.m. or 8:00 p.m. depending on your festival access. If you have a festival pass, you’re invited to join sponsors and presenters for Taste: The Culinary Artists of the Region - a networking experience with food sponsored by Copper & Kings. The Thursday of the festival runs from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. with no additional presentations available afterwards.

3. Inspirational Speakers and Presenters

On top of the 10 presenters that will be at Thrivals 10.0, there will also be 25 presenters at IdeaFestival. 2017 presenters include: Ann Carlson - a performance artist and performance curator; Hannah Drake - lead artist for Louisville’s local Project HEAL; Tom Eblen - a Western Kentucky University alumni and columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader; Peter Gray - an American psychologist and research professor at Boston College; John King - CNN’s chief national correspondent and anchor of Inside Politics; and more.

4. Coverage Over a Variety of Topics

The presentations at IdeaFestival 2017 cover a wide variety of topics and, as a result, guarantee something for everyone. The first day of the festival opens with a presentation by Joe Geoghegan titled “Field Notes: The Untapped Power of Diversity in a Fractured World”.  His presentation will cover his experience traveling to over a dozen countries using only his wits and he’ll be sharing his notes on and impressions of his travels while taking a break from his adventuring. Throughout the first day, festival-goers will be able to listen to presentations on the future of our economy, the prevalence of cyberpunk, the relationship between humans and the planet, the science behind whiskey, and much more. The second day of IdeaFestival will get kicked off with a presentation by Emily Dreyfuss - senior writer at Wired - during which she will discuss some of the biggest pieces of technology emerging and disrupting business, design, science, and culture. Festival attendees can participate in presentation on polarization, the art of food as medicine, and the mind and music of Chopin before IdeaFestival concludes.

IdeaFestival is going to be an informative and inspirational technology conference this year as it has in the past.

Be sure to buy a ticket to the two or three-day event depending on your interest in Thrivals 10.0! The festival will be held at the Kentucky Center  at 501 W. Main Street, Louisville, Kentucky. IdeaFestival is an opportunity to collaborate with others interested in technology and get inspired to think outside the box. At Number 8, we embrace innovation and, furthermore, we pride ourselves on exercising formative thinking in every endeavor we chase. IdeaFestival 2017 has the same values, so we encourage any and everyone to attend the 2017 technology conference if possible. Interested in learning more about Number 8 and how we employ innovative technologies and schools of thought while living our day-to-day lives? Contact us today. Call us at 502-890-7665 today or visit us online.  


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