What's The Diff?

The things Quicken Loans team members care about and want to share with the world

Rebecca Carter

Celebrate National Librarian Day

National Librarian Day

Celebrate National Librarian Day by honoring your favorite librarians!

“Libraries are the mind and soul of their communities, and librarians are the mind and soul of the library.” – American Library Association

April 16th is National Librarian Day, according to Holiday Insights. That means today is your chance to honor and celebrate the librarians who serve your community.

As Thomas Jefferson said, information is the currency of democracy. Librarians provide one of the most valuable services in a free society, protecting free access to information and knowledge, and intelligently using technology to enhance services. As the saying goes, librarians may not know everything, but they know where to find it.

In honor of Librarian Day, here are some facts* about libraries and librarians:
• Including academic, public, government, school and special libraries, the United States has a total of 122, 101 libraries, employing a total of 150,296 librarians.
• According to self reports by public libraries, library visitation has increased over the past ten years. In 2010, there were 5.1 visits per capita.
• In 2010, libraries circulated 2,277,549,000 materials, or 7.7 items per capita.
• In 2010, 34 percent of all circulated materials in public libraries were materials for children.
• The Harris Poll from Harris Interactive for 2008 found that 92 percent of Americans say they view their local library as an important education resource.
• Former First Lady Laura Bush, Beverly Clearly, Lewis Carroll, and Marcel Proust were all librarians at one time in their lives.

*from American Librarian Association Fact Sheet and Wikipedia.

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LiveWork Detroit Shows Students Advantages of City Living

LiveWork Detroit, an event sponsored by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, brought nearly 250 students from 20 universities to downtown Detroit last Friday to learn more about what’s to love about living in the Motor City.

The tour kicked off at the lovely Fillmore Theater, where young visitors were addressed by a variety of speakers – from Shannon Homes, Chief of Staff for Mayor Bing, to Jennifer Berkemeier, Special Events Director of the Fillmore. The overall theme was that young people who want to make their mark have a wide-open playing field and lots of community support in up-and-coming Detroit.

LiveWork Detroit Bus tour

Five buses toured just some of the highlights of Detroit.

In light of Detroit’s recent loss of population, Bryan Barnhill, a former DPS student and recent Harvard grad who now works as an aid to the mayor, brought up the historical Detroit fire of 1805.  He said the people of Detroit probably had a very low census that year, too. But residents rebuilt the city to one of the most important in the nation, which is a testament to the character of Detroiters and proof the city will rise again. Visitors were also enlightened to many unknowns about Detroit — for instance, Detroit is home to the second largest theater district in the nation, with over 13,000 theater seats in a 2-block radius. And downtown has over 130 bars and restaurants in its one square mile. And the incredible affordability of living right in the middle of it.

Students and visitors then boarded five buses for a whirlwind tour of the city, given by the knowledgeable guides at Inside Detroit.

Buses zipped around town, stopping at highlights like the gorgeous art deco Guardian Building, Belle Isle park, Eastern Market, Cork Town, The Heidelberg Project, and hot spots of Midtown, like the Avalon bakery.

Continue reading “LiveWork Detroit Shows Students Advantages of City Living” »

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Quicken Loans Matching Lemonade Detroit Donations Through Jan. 31

Quicken Loans is matching donations to “Lemonade Detroit.” What is “Lemonade Detroit,” you ask? From their site:

“‘Lemonade: Detroit’ is a film about the disarming resilience of a city that can no longer rely on a single industry for its livelihood, and the entrepreneurial strengths of those who are reinventing themselves and their communities.

“Instead of sensationalizing blight, ‘Lemonade, Detroit’ will sensationalize hope, told through the intensely personal stories of those who are turning the city into what it will become.”

Quicken Loans Lemonade DetroitVery appropriately, the film is being made by acclaimed producer Erik Proulx, who also produced the film “Lemonade,” another glass-half-full documentary about how creative professionals find success after being laid off buy the marketing industry.

Sounds pretty cool right? Since we at Quicken Loans are all about highlighting the positive aspects of our home city, supporting “Lemonade Detroit” is a no-brainer.

Certainly not the least intriguing aspect of the film is the unique buy-a-frame funding structure. Contributors don’t just donate, they actually buy frames of the film – $1 per frame – and become IMDB-credited producers through their donation!

We can’t wait to see “Lemonade Detroit,” and are honored to be a part of this endeavor. Be part of it too, and help the film in a big way by giving double through our matching contribution!

But don’t miss your chance. Quicken Loans is only matching between now and January 31, 2011.

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Foodsurge: Healthy Fast Food, From Detroit with Love!

FoodsurgeThe challenge – come up with a concept that can change the way we eat.

We still live in the same fast-paced society, we still have things to do that prevent us from taking the time to cook like we should, but how can we incentivize the system to bring healthier choices to the fast food space? How can we have REAL food, fast? Not just crappy fast food?

Enter the Beet Squad, one of several teams from accross the country with a dream to and a plan to do just that. The Beet Squad came up with a concept called Foodsurge that uses online crowdsourcing (similar to Groupon) to hook up the people who desire healthy food fast with the producers who desire to bring it to them. Using online connections, would-be eaters vote to signify their willingness to buy, and preparers  prepare the fast, to-go, healthy items, based on a tipping point of minimum votes.

Great idea! But this will take money and support.

Enter Yoxi.tv. Yoxi will give marketing support and money to the winner of the competition.

Right now, Beet Squad/Foodsurge is one of two final contestants. And today is the last day to vote.

Beet Squad is an amazing example of Detroit ingenuity and the pioneering spirit that is infusing the city, especially around the foodie community with cool ideas like urban-garden supplied restaurants and travelling produce vending trucks. Help provide healthy options by helping the Beet Squad and Foodsurge win this thing!

Go here to register with yoxi.tv

And go here to vote for Beet Squad/Foodsurge.

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Firefox Cubs – Mozilla Streams Cuteness

Two baby firefox cubs – also known as red pandas – have been adopted by Mozilla, the non-profit creator of one of the world’s most populat Internet browsers announced Friday. The effort is meant to raise awarenss for this endangered species.

Born at the Knoxville Zoo in Tennessee, the cubs have yet to be named. That’s because Mozilla hopes to further engage their fans in a naming contest!

Theses crazy cute critters can also be seen frolicking LIVE on their Cub Cam. Check them out! Submit a name! Revel in cute overload!

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2010 Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency Improvements – It’s Not Too Late!

As of today, you have exactly 25 shopping days until Christmas – and 33 days to take advantage of the Residential Energy Credit! The credit expires at the end of the year, and has two parts:

Part 1 – Nonbusiness Energy Property Credit

This credit gives homeowners back 30% of the cost of eligible energy-efficient home improvements (up to $1500). Qualifying expenses include high-efficiency heat pumps and heating systems, air conditioning systems, and water heaters, including the labor and installation costs.

Energy-efficient windows and doors, as well as some qualifying insulation materials and roofs, are also included in the credit, though labor for installing them is not.

Items must:

  1. Meet or exceed the 2000 International Energy Conservation code criteria.
  2. Be installed in your primary home.
  3. Be paid for or incurred during 2009 or 2010 ($1,500 total is for combined tax years).

Continue reading “2010 Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency Improvements – It’s Not Too Late!” »

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One Dexterous Doggy – The Parkour Pitbull

The intriguing sport of Parkour (also known as "free walking") has crossed over into the canine world!

Parkour is a sport and philosophy built on the motto: "be strong to be useful." Practitioners of Parkour perform spider-man like feats, skittering up walls and leaping across rooftops, usually in urban environments – sort of like skateboarding without a skateboard. From it's infancy as a method of physical education devised by Geroges Hébert in the 19th century, the skill was further cultivated by the French military as a training method. Parkour has at it's core the purpose of helping others, non rivalry, and "reclaiming humanity."

It's fascinating to watch Parkour enthusiasts in action, as millions of youtube hits on parkour and free walking videos can attest. And even more captivating to watch this dog - Tret from Ukraine – navigate impressive obstacles. 

Anyone who knows me well, knows I am an advocate for the misunderstood pitbull. I have a loving and sweet pitbull mix, and every pitbull I have ever known has been a fantastic family dog. So naturally I am especially pleased that this talented pooch is of this intelligent and highly trainable breed.

Check out Tret's mad skillz:

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Eyewriter Art – Improving the lives of those living with ALS

Eyewriter Commonly referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, gradually inhibiting the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement. Patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed. An average of 15 people each day are diagnosed in the US, with 30,000 Americans having the disease at any given time.

 

Every year at Quicken Loans we have a fund raiser to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for the ALS Association. We are very proud to support their mission to lead the fight to treat and cure ALS, and help empower people with ALS to live fuller lives  by providing them with compassionate care and support.

 

Today my friend showed me one example of just how ALS patients' lives can be enhanced. Since ALS affects only motor neuronssight (as well as touch, hearing tast and smell) is not affected. Enter the Eyewriter. Check out this Eyewriter project developed in conjunction with Tony TEMPT1, an artist, publisher and social-activist based in Los Angeles who was diagnosed with ALS, which enables him to not only communicate with his eyes, but also to continue his artistic self-expression.

Tempt From the article in Laughing Squid:

"TEMPT1 teamed up with a group of artists and hackers from the Graffiti Research Lab, OpenFrameworks and Free Art and Technology communities to develop free and open source eye tracking and drawing software that has helped him make art again for the first time since being hospitalized."

 

Imagine if we could provide this technology to all those who are suffering with ALS, to enable them to continue to express themselves as their disease progresses.

Please consider helping the ALS association to use technology to not only enhance the lives of those with ALS, but to find the cure. We've made giving simple with our week-long fund drive, Tweet for ALS, enabling people to donate through Facebook and Twitter. From September 20 through September 26, we’re asking everyone we know to give what they can to help - even if it's just a dollar- and spread the word. Together, we can defeat ALS.

 

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Bloom Box – Alternative Energy Game Changer?

Bloombox Today I learned about something gives me more hope for the future of mankind than I've had in a very long time.

Having lived for many years in Louisiana, I was very affected by the this year's Gulf oil spill disaster. My obsession with news about the spill led to the discovery of a lot of disturbing revelations about the oil industry, which quite frankly disgusted and depressed me on a very deep level.  

Considering the tragedy of the spill, and now the explosion of another offshore rig in the Gulf today, I've been frustrated by a lack of clean energy alternatives available to average consumers. I know that if the option to purchase cleaner and safer energy were avaiable, millions of people like me would choose it. 

Continue reading “Bloom Box – Alternative Energy Game Changer?” »

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Michigan Humane Society’s Bow Wow Brunch – Raising Funds and Awareness

Bow Wow BrunchEvery year Quicken Loans sponsors a table at the annual Bow Wow Brunch- a charity event that benefits the Michigan Humane Society. This weekend was their 21st annual brunch - held at the Ritz Carleton in Dearborn – and I was honored to represent the company, along with several others, for a cause that is close to my heart. Several local personalities were on hand to lend their fund-raising celebrity to the function, while silent and live auctions also raised money for the nonprofit. Especially enticing for the pet lovers in attendance were the sweet kittens and pups that graced the foyer, auditioning for new homes.

The auctions featured items donated by local businesses, craftspeople, and artists, as well as some specialty experiences, such a private breakfast with the giraffes in the Detroit Zoo, and also a thrilling ride with GM's Vice Chairman Bob Lutz aboard his private J-39 Soviet jet.

Bow Wow Auction

I have a dog from MHS, who was surrendered to the Huron Valley branch at the age of 3 weeks, barely responsive and suffering from dehydration, malnutrition, and urine burns on his paws from unclean conditions. A foster care provider working with the shelter nursed him back to health with lots of care and attention from her family. When I took him home at 9 weeks, he was happy and healthy and loving, and instantly fit right in with my other pets. He's been a loved and valued member of my household ever since. Because of him - and because every animal in my home was once in the care of a Humane Society - I feel indebted to MHS. (See comment in epilogue for correction! MHS is NOT affiliated with HVHS.) I was very happy to be able to attend and contribute, and was very pleased with what I heard during presentations at the brunch.

Continue reading “Michigan Humane Society’s Bow Wow Brunch – Raising Funds and Awareness” »

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Thursday, November 23, 2017