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Archive for September, 2014

30 September
Comments Off on It’s Time You Get Up to Speed on Hydraulic Fracturing

It’s Time You Get Up to Speed on Hydraulic Fracturing

Have you heard about the energy transition underway in the United States? My guess is probably not.

More than half of Americans are unfamiliar with the words “hydraulic fracturing” or “fracking,” according to the most recent University of Texas at Austin Energy Poll. Among the 40 percent who recognize these terms, just 42 percent say they support the use of this technology to extract fossil fuels.

Yet despite being largely unaware of this technology, hydraulic fracturing has been reshaping the global energy landscape around us. In fact, just this July advances in horizontal drilling deep underground enabled the United States to become the world’s largest producer of natural gas (and oil), surpassing Saudi Arabia and Russia.

The surge in domestic production has helped the US finally achieve a bipartisan goal of the White House that has persisted for the past 40 years. Every one of the past eight presidents pledged to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Yet every administration departed with higher oil imports than when they began. Times have changed. When President Barack Obama leaves office in 2017, oil imports will finally be lower than when he arrived. It is not the result of his administration’s work alone, but rather the cumulative effect of decades of events that set the stage for our current natural gas boom — the same one that many Americans have not heard about.

Government policies that began in the 1970s funded technological advances in drilling technologies. At the same time, high gas prices provided market incentives to look for new wells on private lands. More recently, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 that set injection regulations did not include hydraulic fracturing. As energy expert Michael Webber explained, “It’s a rare instance in which markets, government and technology worked together with a common goal. And succeeded.”

And there’s good news. US dependency on foreign oil has been decreasing. And another thing that most Americans don’t realize is that much of what we do import comes from our closest neighbors, Canada and Mexico. This trend is projected to continue thanks to the rise in domestic natural gas production, improvements in energy efficient technologies and reduced demand due to high prices.

The US is looking more energy independent in the years to come, which raises a new question: If we have all of this natural gas available, should we export our now abundant natural gas? This possibility has turned more serious in recent months because of Russia’s intervention in Ukraine. Since then, the international news media have focused on the European Union’s energy insecurity. The EU is currently extremely vulnerable to Russia’s strategic interests. In recent years, Moscow has turned off the oil pipelines passing through Ukraine to the EU twice.

Just as hydraulic fracturing has enabled the United States to have the capacity to be a net exporter, Europe is looking to find the means to decrease its dependence on Russian energy.

An energy trade between the United States and the European Union seems like it would benefit both, but can it happen? That will be complicated. Current US law does not allow us to export our abundant energy supply to the EU, but negotiations are now underway to change the current agreement. Still, even if the US is able to benefit economically while helping the EU achieve a short-term energy security solution, that is not enough. We need to work together toward becoming less dependent on fossil fuels on both sides of the Atlantic.

Hydraulic fracturing is not a long-term energy solution, but rather a means to help us to transition away from carbon-based fuels toward alternatives. Improving efficiency while developing renewable energy technologies will ultimately improve global stability, reduce emissions and ensure a sustainable future.

Policy discussions regarding the export of natural gas and the construction of related new infrastructure are underway in Congress. Yet the public has been largely left out of the conversation. If we hope to advance our economic and foreign policy goals through the current US natural gas boom, it’s time to get the public up to speed on hydraulic fracturing.

Sheril Kirshenbaum is the director of The Energy Poll at The University of Texas at Austin.

30 September
Comments Off on Military Families Are Most Worried About Pay and Benefits

Military Families Are Most Worried About Pay and Benefits

Military families have a lot to worry about, and their biggest fears are over pay and benefits.

Concerns over changes to military pay and other compensation, as well as changes to the retirement system, were the top two issues cited by spouses, service members and veterans in a new survey from Blue Star Families, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization supporting the military community.Pay and benefits issues represented the No. 1 fear for 73 percent of military spouses and 75 percent of service members in the Blue Star Families 2014 military family lifestyle survey. Sixty-four percent of vets named compensation as their second biggest worry, followed by potential changes to the militarys pension system. The survey drew 6,270 responses.

The Defense Departments planned force reduction after 13 years of war and sequestration is driving the anxiety many military families feel over their short- and long-term financial future, the survey found. These issues are not lost on individuals serving in the military, veterans or their families, the report said. National decisions also trickle down to the dinner table at home, increasing concern among military families on how they will be personally impacted by each decision. Military families also listed pay and benefits issues as their top concern in 2013.

A commission studying military compensation and retirement will submit recommendations to President Obama and Congress in February 2015, and the proposed changes could affect a range of third-rail military compensation issues, including commissary benefits, housing allowances and the pension system. With these forecasts and discussions as the backdrop, concerns about uncertainty and financial stability were of top importance to military members, families and veteran survey respondents in this survey, the report stated.

Seventy percent of the survey respondents were military spouses, followed by 21 percent who were either service members or veterans. The remaining participants included other family members of active-duty military members or vets. Military spouses and active-duty members also cited spouse employment, the uncertainty of the military lifestyle and the impact of deployment on children among their top five lifestyle concerns. Vets reported the greatest anxiety, after pay and benefits worries, over the disability claims backlog, the perceived disconnect between the military and civilian communities, and post-traumatic and combat stress.

Military spouses often encounter difficulty finding jobs, which contributed to respondents general sense of financial uncertainty, according to the survey. The challenges vary, but typically include a lack of child care, frequent moves or employer bias. Within open-ended responses, many spouses described encounters with potential employers who reportedly held preconceived notions that military spouse job seekers lacked adequate education, skills or experience, or who were concerned that frequent moves would ultimately mean short periods of employment, the survey said. Employers may be unaware that many military tours are about the same length of time as the average workers tenure with one company–around four years. In fact, the 2014 surveys military spouse respondents were better educated than the general public, with 33 percent having a bachelors degree and 20 percent holding an advanced professional degree.

Some spouses who do work are feeling another kind of pressure. One Navy spouse told Blue Star Families: I am so broken as a mother because I work, then I come home and run around to take them both to their activities. We have less than two hours each night to be in our home and I am dying inside! I am away from my other family because the military required us to move and then deployed my husband. I have no outlet but am expected to maintain normalcy for my children, continue working, and take on the EVERYDAY role of two parents for two children for over a year with absolutely NO break!

The survey also touched on a range of other issues important to military families including, military kids education and emotional well-being, transitioning to civilian life, ability to cope with stress, healthiness of respondents marriages and the quality of Defense Department services. The top services used by respondents were the commissary and exchange network; health care system; morale, recreation and welfare; base housing; and child development centers. The survey found that most services were underutilized, but for those respondents who did take advantage of the programs, a majority reported they were satisfied with them. Along those lines, 71 percent of respondents said they felt prepared to transition to civilian life, compared to 29 percent who said they did not.

One of the most interesting findings from the survey: Despite the pride and commitment most respondents reported feeling about their own or their loved ones military service, nearly half (48 percent) said they werent likely to recommend the path to a young person.


30 September
Comments Off on What causes breast cancer? Sorting fact from fiction.

What causes breast cancer? Sorting fact from fiction.



By Allyson Thomson, Research Associate, School of Occupational Therapy and Social Work at Curtin University

Breast cancer accounts for one in four female cancers diagnosed in Australia each year. It is estimated that by the age of 85, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and one in 39 will die from the disease.

The diagnosis of breast cancer can be mentally distressing. And these psychosocial effects can be confounded by feelings of guilt and self-blame if the woman thinks she could have changed or avoided the factors that she believes caused her cancer.

There is considerable confusion surrounding the causes of cancer – and no wonder, given different types of cancer often have different causal agents. This confusion often deepens when you encounter the plethora of theories and unsubstantiated claims circulating on the internet.

So, what do women believe causes breast cancer? And what scientific support is there for these beliefs?

Causes and risk factors

To the scientist, “cause” and “risk” have precise, scientific meanings. A cause is an agent that leads to a disease or condition, either directly or indirectly. A risk is the probability that the disease or condition will arise in an individual. And a risk factor is something that increases the possibility.

But for most people, the terms “cause” and “risk” are less definite. Generally, they both signify a condition or conditions to be met before a disease develops, similar to needing to have HIV before AIDS develops.

Breast cancer is associated with a variety of factors rather than a single causal agent. These risk factors include:

  • being female (breast cancer is 100 times more common in women than men)
  • advancing age
  • genetics and family history
  • early menstruation (before the age of 12)
  • later menopause (after the age of 55)
  • hormonal status, including the use of some oral contraceptives (though this risk returns to normal over time after they’re stopped) and long-term use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
  • denser breast tissue
  • being overweight or obese after menopause
  • alcohol consumption (the risk rises with increased consumption)
  • ionising radiation and
  • previous cancer.

Some protective factors may decrease the risk of breast cancer:

  • childbirth
  • having four or more children
  • younger age at first birth
  • breastfeeding
  • being overweight before menopause and
  • physical activity.

Most risk factors cannot be modified to reduce the chance of developing breast cancer; many of these appear to be connected to oestrogen and androgen production and circulation.

The genetic/family history link is well-documented, although heredity is associated with only 9% of breast cancers, and having the gene mutations does not mean breast cancer is inevitable.

Breastfeeding may help protect against breast cancer. Jeff Snodgrass/Flickr, CC BY-NC

The use of oral contraceptives and HRT, childbirth issues, breastfeeding, body weight, physical activity, and alcohol consumption can all be modified, to some extent, to reduce breast cancer risk. But some modifications may involve unacceptable changes to quality of life or peace of mind.

Beliefs and perceptions

The Breast Cancer, Environment and Employment Study (BCEES), led by Professor Lin Fritschi and co-authored by me, set out to investigate Western Australian women’s beliefs about the causes of breast cancer in 2009 and 2011.

One section of the survey involved an open-ended question about the participant’s beliefs of what caused their own cancer (in 1,100 women with breast cancer) or breast cancer in general (1,600 women without the disease).

We found that women with breast cancer tended to attribute their own disease more to stress and reproductive factors than to modifiable factors, such as alcohol and body weight. Almost one-third of women with breast cancer said their disease was caused by genetics or family history.

It seems that by emphasising factors outside their personal control, women can avoid feelings of self-blame for not changing their lifestyle to reduce their risk of developing breast cancer.

There is no evidence, however, that stress increases the risk of developing breast cancer.

Women without breast cancer commonly attributed the disease to lifestyle and environmental factors. They were less likely to cite stress as a cause, but also less likely to refer to reproductive and hormonal factors than women with breast cancer.

BCEES participants with and without breast cancer cited a wide range of other factors, such as smoking, mobile phones and food additives, as causes of breast cancer, although there is no reliable evidence linking any of these to breast cancer.

Getting the facts

It’s important that women understand what the scientific evidence says about the risks factors for breast cancer, so they can make informed choices about their lifestyle and potentially reduce their chance of developing the disease.

But we need to avoid conflating risk factors with causation and making women who develop cancer feel like they didn’t do enough to protect themselves. After all, “healthiness” alone cannot prevent breast cancer.

Allyson Thomson does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

30 September
Comments Off on British Shoppers told not to buy wild-caught salmon

British Shoppers told not to buy wild-caught salmon

A marine charity has urged British consumers not to buy and consume wild-caught salmon as overfishing is depleting their population. The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) gives ratings to each fish by assessing the relative healthiness of each stock and the sustainability of various fishing methods used.

In the MCSs update of its sustainable seafood guide, wild-caught Atlantic salmon remains on the danger list. Also, in the assessment of the UKs fisheries and stocks, it was found that in Scotland, lack of appropriate

management measures to prevent overfishing of salmon from rivers where stocks are low, and the absence of internationally recognized conservation limits, had resulted in the species slipping into the Fish to Avoid list.
Bernadette Clarke, MCS fisheries officer, said, Unlike most other members of the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation (Nasco), Scotland has not yet set conservation limits for its salmon rivers.

MCS also warned that the number of English and Welsh rivers meeting conservation targets had dropped last year to just 30%, from 53% the previous year. However, other favorites continue to have mixed fortunes, according to the MCS Fish to Eat and Fish to Avoid lists.

The MCS seafood guide has put mackerel from the European Union and Norway on its Fish to Eat list along with Northeast Arctic haddock.

The Fish to Eat list includes Cod from the north-east Arctic, east Baltic Sea and Iceland, Haddock from the North Sea, Iceland, Seabass amp; Turbot – only farmed, Whiting from the Celtic Sea and Mackerel only from south-west England.

The Fish to Avoid list includes North Sea cod, Halibut and Salmon thats wild-caught in the Atlantic and Dover from west of Ireland and Irish Sea.

Also, the MCS has insisted the shoppers to stick to cod from Marine Stewardship Council-certified fisheries in the north-east Arctic, Iceland or eastern Baltic.

30 September
Comments Off on Galapagos increases share capital through warrant exercises

Galapagos increases share capital through warrant exercises

Mechelen, Belgium, Sept. 25, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Galapagos NV (Euronext:GLPG) announced today a share capital increase arising from warrant exercises.

Since its inception in 1999, Galapagos has used warrant plans to incentivize personnel and management and have them share in the success of the company.  Following warrant exercises during the exercise period from 3 September 2014 through 16 September 2014, Galapagos issued 12,260 new ordinary shares for a total capital increase (including issuance premium) of EUR130,003.92.  No members of the Board of Directors or Executive Committee exercised warrants.

To date, Galapagos total share capital amounts to EUR163,868,834.64; the total number of securities conferring voting rights is 30,292,604, which is also the total number of voting rights (the denominator), and all securities conferring voting rights and all voting rights are of the same category.  The total number of rights (warrants) to subscribe to not yet issued securities conferring voting rights is 2,899,718, which equals the total number of voting rights that may result from the exercise of these warrants (but excludes the 666,760 warrants of Warrant Plan 2014 which were created on 25 July 2014 subject to acceptances).  Galapagos does not have any convertible bonds or shares without voting rights outstanding.

About Galapagos

Galapagos (Euronext: GLPG; OTC:GLPYY) is specialized in novel modes-of-action, with a large pipeline comprising three Phase 2 studies, two Phase 1 studies, five pre-clinical, and 20 discovery small-molecule and antibody programs in cystic fibrosis, inflammation, antibiotics, metabolic disease, and other indications.  In the field of inflammation, AbbVie and Galapagos signed an agreement for the development and commercialization of GLPG0634.  GLPG0634 is an orally-available, selective inhibitor of JAK1 for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and potentially other inflammatory diseases, currently in Phase 2B studies in RA and in Phase 2 in Crohns disease.  Galapagos has another selective JAK1 inhibitor, GSK2586184 (formerly GLPG0778, in-licensed by GlaxoSmithKline in 2012).  GLPG0974 is the first inhibitor of FFA2 to be evaluated clinically for the treatment of IBD; this program has completed a Proof-of-Concept Phase 2 study.  GLPG1205 is a first-in-class molecule that targets inflammatory disorders and has completed Phase 1.  GLPG1690 is a first-in-class compound that targets pulmonary diseases and is currently in a Phase 1 study.  AbbVie and Galapagos signed an agreement in cystic fibrosis to develop and commercialize molecules that address mutations in the CFTR gene.  Potentiator GLPG1837 is at the pre-clinical candidate stage.  The Galapagos Group, including fee-for-service subsidiary Fidelta, has around 400 employees, operating from its Mechelen, Belgium headquarters and facilities in The Netherlands, France, and Croatia.  Further information at:


Galapagos NV

Elizabeth Goodwin, Head of Corporate Communications amp; IR

Tel: +31 6 2291 6240

Galapagos forward-looking statements

This release may contain forward-looking statements, including, without limitation, statements containing the words believes, anticipates, expects, intends, plans, seeks, estimates, may, will, could, stands to, and continues, as well as similar expressions.  Such forward-looking statements may involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which might cause the actual results, financial condition, performance or achievements of Galapagos, or industry results, to be materially different from any historic or future results, financial conditions, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements.  Given these uncertainties, the reader is advised not to place any undue reliance on such forward-looking statements.  These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of publication of this document.  Galapagos expressly disclaims any obligation to update any such forward-looking statements in this document to reflect any change in its expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based, unless required by law or regulation.


Source: Galapagos NV

29 September
Comments Off on What History Can Teach Us About Investing in America’s Energy Boom

What History Can Teach Us About Investing in America’s Energy Boom

Summerland Oil fields circa 1915 (Photo Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration via

If you do a basic search for the term US oil production, chances are that you will come across a slew of articles singing the praises of the oil and gas industry. Adjectives like flooding and overwhelming are used to describe the amount of production coming online, and Americans are having a serious conversation about the possibility of overturning decades-old laws that restrict the export of oil. Heres the funny thing, though: This isnt the first time that America has experienced a near euphoric mindset surrounding a surge in a high value commodity.

Everyone knows the investing mantra that past performance does not guarantee future results, but knowing the history behind these previous booms can teach us some very valuable lessons about how to approach this one. So lets take a stroll down memory lane and see what we can learn from three previous booms: The California Gold Rush of 1849, the Spindletop discovery of 1901, and the Texas Oil Boom of the 1980s

Eureka, I found it! (but went broke in the process)

In 1848, gold was discovered along the banks of the American river in what is known today as Coloma, California. While the first discoverers tried to keep it a secret, it all broke loose when one man who had stumbled upon the discovery ran around the streets of San Francisco with a glass jar full of gold screaming, Gold! Gold on the American River!.

Just about everyone has heard this storybook version of the California Gold Rush, and many of the statistics show the impact of this transformative event. Between the 1840 and 1850 census, Californias non-Indian population went from a paltry 8,000 residents to over 120,000, and the total gold extracted during the boom years was worth more than $14 billion (Note: all prices and costs in this article are adjusted for inflation and expressed in 2014 dollars unless otherwise noted). The rapid expansion in population, largely due to the gold rush, helped push through California statehood in 1850, just two years after the US had acquired the territory from Mexico.

The thing that seems to be overlooked when we tell this story, though, is the thousands of people that went broke in the process. Its not that many of these people couldnt find gold. For the most part you could pretty much kick the ground and stub your toe on a gold nugget back then. The actual reason that so many people walked away from the rush penniless is that they couldnt find enough gold to stay ahead of their costs. Because of the high demand–and as a result exorbitant costs–of mining equipment and sometimes just basic goods, the average prospector needed to find at least 1 ounce of gold–$1,200 based on todays benchmarks–just to break even. 

The lesson here is that even the most lucrative ventures–whether gold, oil, or even precious minerals–can be a poor investment if the costs are simply too high. This is a message that certainly isnt lost on todays energy boom, either. Some may recall that just a couple years ago, Chesapeake Energy was in a situation where despite the promise it held with vast acreage positions in several prospective shale formations, the costs of holding those leases as well as the debt load to cover their purchase became extremely cumbersome and impeded its ability to spend on the actual development of those fields. This forced Chesapeake to sell off huge swaths of land to lower lease expenses and trim its debt profile, leaving it with a much smaller portfolio, but a much more profitable one today.

Also, remember that man who went around San Francisco crying Gold in the streets? His name was Sam Brannan, and he also was the first millionaire in the state of California. He didnt reach that status because he had found loads of gold. Instead, he made his fortune because before that trip into San Francisco he bought the only supply store between it and the gold fields, stocked it with every piece of mining equipment he could get his hands on, and sold it to star-struck miners for an incredibly hefty profit. Keep that in mind when looking for energy investments, sometimes the most profitable ventures arent the ones doing the dirty work. 

Todays gusher could end up being tomorrows bottomless money pit

One of the most iconic pictures of the oil industry is from the Spindletop dome formation in Beaumont, Texas back in 1901. The Lucas gusher well that discovered this field shot more than 100 feet into the sky and took 9 days to get under control.

29 September
Comments Off on Large-scale Vostok exercises enter active phase in Russia

Large-scale Vostok exercises enter active phase in Russia

MOSCOW, September 22. /ITAR-TASS/. Russias large-scale strategic military exercises Vostok-2014, which are unfolding with the participation of the Pacific Fleet, aviation of the Eastern and Central Military Districts, have entered an active phase.

An official at the press-service and information department of the Russian Defence Ministry told ITAR-TASS on Monday that the exercises have unfolded on Sakhalin Island and in Primorsky and Kamchatka Territories and in the polar region. Aviation went on operational duty in the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation. The troops drill anti-landing and engineer defence in Primorsky and Kamchatka Territories.

The exercises are to continue until September 25 with the participation of 100,000 soldiers, thousands of tanks and aircraft, and tens of ships. The drills are under way at 20 land, maritime, and aerial gunnery ranges from Anadyr to Vladivostok along a frontage of almost 4,000 km.

29 September
Comments Off on Weight Exercises to Reduce Diabetes Risk

Weight Exercises to Reduce Diabetes Risk

Few conditions change your life as much as diabetes, and even if your genes make you susceptible, it makes sense to hold it off for as long as possible.

Type 2 diabetes is a problem with your body that causes sugar levels to rise higher than normal.

Here in North Dakota, 88 percent of people either have diabetes, are pre-diabetic or have risk factors to become diabetic, says St. Alexius Medical Center Exercise Physiologist, Kimberly Hanson.

Pretty staggering number, right?

Well now, theres a new study that says working out with weights a few times a week and adding some strength training into your workout routine can greatly reduce your risk of developing the condition.

With just even an hour a week of strength training the risk was decreased by about 14 percent in this study, says Hanson.

So by getting rid of some of that extra fat through the strength training, which increases your metabolic rate overall, your cells become more pliable, more insulin-sensitive, says fitness trainer, Renita Brannan. And so, your body is better able to break through and lower your blood sugar.

And no, were not talking about adding 20 pound dumbbells to your workouts.

Im talking threes, fives, says Brannan. I mean, take soup cans out of the cupboard, take water bottles and start curling them.

And if your budget isnt home gym-friendly, dont worry. You can buy weights at a pretty affordable price.

Do bicep curls, do kick-backs, push them above your head, whatever, says Brannan. And worst-case-scenario, walk a block, drop on the ground and do some push-ups.

Bottom line: strength training gets that extra fat off of your body so your cells can manage sugars better.

Diabetes may be a common condition, but it doesnt have to be a condition that rules your life.

29 September
Comments Off on Healthy Baby Contest at Windward Mall on Saturday

Healthy Baby Contest at Windward Mall on Saturday

This free family event is coordinated by the Honolulu Chinese Jaycees and has been an island tradition since 1953.

Keiki between 12 to 30 months old (born between March 9, 2012 and September 13, 2013) are eligible to compete for the title of Hawaiis healthiest baby, based on three categories: physical appearance, healthiness, and personality.

Prizes for the first place winner of the Healthy Baby Contest include $250 for a stay at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, a photography session worth $275, a one?year free admission to the Pacific Aviation Museum for two adults and up to four children, as well as four guest passes and free admission to lecture series and many more prizes!

The top 50 contestants, chosen from both preliminary rounds, will compete in the final round on Sunday, Sept. 28.

To enter your keiki in the Healthy Baby Contest, visit one of the following preliminary round locations and enter as a walk-in contestant, starting from 9 am Online registration is now closed.

2014 Healthy Baby Contest dates and locations: Oahu
Preliminary Round 1st Location: Windward Mall
Date: Saturday, September 13, 2014
Time: 10 am – 12 pm

Preliminary Round 2nd Location: Kahala Mall
Date: Saturday, September 20, 2014
Time: 10 am – 12 pm

Final Round Location: Kahala Mall
Date: Sunday, September 28, 2014
Time: 10 am – 12 pm

For more information, visit or contact

29 September
Comments Off on Former CPP student now restaurant owner

Former CPP student now restaurant owner

Charles Vu recalls his Cal Poly Pomona days in the pool hall, hanging out with his fraternity brothers, and deciding whether or not to change his major. Not fully set on engineering, Vu switched his major midway through his Engineering degree .

Taking a risk and following his gut instinct, would become one of the co- founders and co-creators of the Japanese restaurant chain Yojie.

After switching from engineering to business marketing, Vu left the engineering world behind only to help jumpstart Yojie with partner Mendrick Leelin, also a CPP alumnus.

Yojie is a collaboration of both a managerial mindset and a visual aesthetic concept. Although Vu did not start out as a business major like his partner Leelin, who comes from a long lineage of restaurateurs, Vu followed his passion to a career path that he would enjoy.

“When I went to Cal Poly, I was originally an engineer my first year and halfway through, I kind of realized that I’m terrible at math and this isn’t really what I want to be doing. So I thought to myself, what can I really do that I like and at the same time I can make a living out of,” said Vu.

Yojie, a Japanese shabu-shabu restaurant, first opened its doors in 2007 and is one of the pioneers of the shabu-shabu concept. As of today, there are a total of three Yojie locations: one in Los Angeles, one in Diamond Bar, and one in Artesia.

“We felt that we had a really creative team that could do things differently, defy the norms and really stick out of all the competition, so that’s how we entered shabu-shabu,” said Vu.

Joining the restaurant competition when less than 100 shabu-shabu restaurants were in business, Yojie serves authentic Japanese style fondue with an urban and artistic vibe.

Entering the Yojie Diamond Bar location, guests can see Sanrio skateboards on the walls, as well as the small graphic design details on the napkins and chopsticks.

“Most of the design work comes from me,” said Vu. “I love design; it’s my real passion in life. It’s something I’ve been doing since I was really young.”

The restaurant, however, has a limited menu, only having two choices of broth for customers, shabu-shabu style as well as the sukiyaki broth. Although there is a limited menu, Yojie stresses quality and healthiness, serving premium beef and a platter of fresh vegetables to guests.

“It’s really satisfying. I felt really full but I didn’t have a food coma like after you eat a greasy cheeseburger. I had a very happy stomach,” said third year hospitality management student Michaela Tee. “

The food was really good. The quality of the food is good like the meat and the vegetables. They weren’t frozen or old or refrigerated,” said Zughey Kumagai, CPP alumna.

Unlike most shabu- shabu restaurants, Yojie distinguishes itself from its competitors by being a living art gallery as well as platform for the community.

“We’re all about reaching out to community and making a difference,” said Vu.

The alumni duo support local DJs, artists, and students. Equipped with turntables in their Diamond Bar location, Yojie encourages up-and-coming DJs to play their mixes at their restaurant and opens their walls for aspiring artists to showcase their work.

Vu and Leelin not only assisted aspiring artists and entrepreneurs, they also help their alma mater.

Leelin and Vu donated $200 in gift cards to Cal Poly Pomona’s Lunar New Year celebration, and also provided chocolate fondue sampling.

“It’s nice to see Cal Poly alumni willing and open to give back,” said Thavery Lay-Bounpraseuth, Asian Pacific Islander Student

Center coordinator.

“I’m proud to see that our API alumni students are successful in their respected restaurant chain, and have not forgotten their home, Cal Poly Pomona.”

Knowing how it is to be a student, Vu reaches out to Cal Poly Pomona students looking to start their own business. Realizing the strict expectations in the Asian culture as well as the hardships of being a potential graduate, Vu extends a helping hand to students in reaching their aspirations while serving as an inspiration.

“It’s really hard for a college student to just graduate and really dive in to business, said Vu. “Being in the Asian culture, our parents are expecting us to join the work force right after we graduate [and] not really intern and learn what we really like to do, so we offer internships to a lot of students. Right now we have an intern team of eight to 10 college students.”

Grounded in his Zeta Phi Rho roots, a fraternity that is no longer affiliated with CPP, Vu transferred his skills from running the Sis- ter Program in Zeta to the Yojie business.

“Zeta has a lot to offer. Given the values and the norms that we instill in them, its very business ori- ented,” said Vu. “The way that we hold meetings is run very much like a business, so that’s where I got a lot of my organizational skills.”

Using a business strategy called spiking, Vu and Leelin hope to expand to major cities, starting in Southern California. Already locking down locations in Santa Ana and Las Vegas, the Yojie duo hope to open more Yojie restaurants in San Diego, Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Texas, and New York.

Media savvy and computer efficient, Yojie has an Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, as well as a Yelp page to help control and mange their business.

“One of the key social medias we have to take account for and really be aware of is Yelp,” said Vu. “That one is the one that really drives traffic.”

With Vu embracing his career path in business and restaurants, there are still hardships he and the Yojie team face with future customers.

“There’s always growing pains in business as far as being a start up and trying to change the status quo,” said Vu. “You’ll get pushed back from people who don’t understand what we’re trying to do. Sometimes the older generation sees what we’re doing and they don’t have an understanding of it.”