All About Images Blog


periodic-talesAccording to Periodic Tales by Hugh Aldersey-Williams, every element has a use, or at least most of them do. The rare earth element, europium is used in European banknotes for security, along with TVs and  fluorescent light bulbs. It is responsible for the unique red and blue fluorescence seen when the 5 euro note is illuminated with UV light.

Europium is one of the rarest elements in the universe. It makes up only about 5×10−8 % of all matter in the universe.

Is the use europium in the euro fortuitous, or does it have a purpose? It is probably a little of both. The chemist who added europium to the euro clearly enjoyed the accomplishment, but it also adds a unique security feature to Europe’s banknote.

By the way, if you live in Europe, don’t study the banknotes carefully, since it is apparently against the law to investigate the fluorescence of banknotes. See Suyver, Europium Secures the Euro, 2002 for more information on the fluorescence of the euro.

December 2, 2016: The real reason that Europe decided to use europium may be that they could not find sufficient supplies of unicornium.


Eat your meat takes on new significance with Britain’s movement to a new £5  banknote that contains traces of tallow. Tallow, which is made from beef or mutton fat, is also commonly used in candles and soap. Apparently, some  vegetarians are objecting to this use of animal fat; consequently, I would like to volunteer my services to take these tainted banknotes off their hands. Please send them to me in stacks of 100!

For more details on this new banknote, see The New £5 Note Contains Animal Fat – And Vegetarians Are Furious and Vegans Are Pissed That Britain’s New Money Contains Meat.

November 30, 2016: Good news! Canadians can eat their money too. See Canada’s Money Is Made of Meat Too.

November 30, 2016: Here’s a more complete list of countries with meat in their money:

  • Australia – First issued 1988
  • Brunei – First issued 1996
  • Canada – First issued 2011
  • Chile – First issued 2004
  • Costa Rica – First issued 2011
  • Dominican Republic – First issued 2010
  • Guatemala – First issued 2007
  • Honduras – First issued 2010
  • Hong Kong – First issued 2007
  • Malaysia – First issued 1998
  • Mauritania – First issued 2014
  • Mauritius – First issued 2013
  • Mexico – First issued 2002
  • Mozambique – First issued 2011
  • New Zealand – First issued 1999
  • Nicaragua – First issued 2009
  • Nigeria – First issued 2007
  • Papua New Guinea – First issued 1991
  • Paraguay – First issued 2009
  • Romania – First issued 1999
  • Singapore – First issued 1991
  • United Kingdom – First issued 2016
  • Vanuatu – First issued 2010
  • Vietnam – First issued 2001

Source: 24 Countries Where the Money Contains Meat


A bit harsh, but John Oliver raises some interesting points in his video on Multilevel Marketing. He point out correctly that if a company relies on recruiting and sales to distributors for the majority of its income, rather than sales to end customers, it is a pyramid scheme. The video talks specifically about Herbal Life, Youngevity (the parent company of Heritage Makers), and some other companies. Note: the language is relatively frank so do not watch this if you are easily offended.


Fortunately, I live in Minnesota and ballot selfies are legal here. I voted this morning, wanted a record of my participation in the election, and now I have it. I just have to wait until this evening to find out the results.

Note: The states where ballot selfies are illegal are Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee,Texas, West Virginia, and Wisconsin


edit_img_8309Forever is using a new printer
to produce photo books and other products. I wanted to learn more about their new supplier. For my sample photo books, I used Artisan 5 to create a photo book for my trip last year to Disney World. I wanted to evaluate the new printing service just as any other customer would, although perhaps with somewhat of a technical slant. My photo book had 44 pages. Forever supplied soft cover, hard cover, and layflat samples.

edit_img_8307Pages – Indigo printers produce the pages. In my experience, Indigo printers produce higher quality photos than the Xerox printer that were previously used. I was not surprised that printing in the samples I received was high quality and accurately reflected the books as I designed them. I did not find that any of my photos were unacceptably dark. I did, however, carefully auto fix all photos that were remotely dark with Perfectly Clear in Artisan 5 .

Paper – Paper for all pages is acid-free, lignin-free, and buffered. These are the ISO requirements to ensure that paper will not yellow or become brittle.

Covers – Covers are printed on a Xeikon printer. Using the Xeikon printer for the cover ensures that the protective laminate will not bubble or become separated from the from the printing over time. Laminates do not, in general, adhere well to Indigo prints. It is always challenging to match color output from two different printers and I did notice some color variation between the cover and the inside pages. For my sample book, the difference was not significant enough to be objectionable.

Binding – Forever uses side-stitching for hard cover books and PUR adhesives for soft cover photo books. Both of these methods ensure that pages will not become separated over time. Binding in my samples was tight and uniform.I choose black end sheets and was pleased with my choice.

edit_img_8301Layflat Books – Forever uses hinged pages for their layflat books. These pages have a black hinge. that helps the pages lay flat. I did not find that the black hinges interfered with my page designs, although they might be distracting with light colored pages. The heavy weight, satin pages used for layflat books is very nice.

After comparing a soft cover book, a standard hard cover book, and a layflat hard cover book, I recommend either the soft cover book, if you are concerned about cost, or the layflat book if you want a quality hard cover book.

Note to self – I need to be more careful about left to right placement of my photos on the page. I did not realize that I had some of my photos closer to the outside edge or closer to the spine than they should have been. Part of the difficulty I had with photo positioning is that the computer display does not accurately reproduce the feel of a physical book. Other than the photo positioning, I wouldn’t change a thing with my photo books.


[This article was originally posted at]

Balancing between longevity and cost is at the heart of choosing a card material for your ID, badge or financial card printing solution. While design and technology are also concerns, the life expectancy of the card type you select for your next project plays a critical role in determining the long-term success of the project.

A card is only as effective as the material it is printed on. After all, if the plastic card cracks or its layers separate, it doesn’t matter what is actually printed on the card because it’s unusable. The plastic material must correspond to the intended usage and expected lifetime. Choosing the wrong material for a project can result in having to reissue cards leading to a loss in production time and costs.


The UltraCard is made from PVC, while the Ultracard Premium uses a composite of PVC and polyester to improve the card’s resistance to UV light, chemicals and physical abuse. The UltraCard Premium composite card better resists heat, cold and high humidity with an expected lifetime three to eight times longer than a standard PVC card. Both the UltraCard and the UltraCard Premium contain PVC to facilitate the dye sub printing process used with most card printers. HID Global® offers a variety of durable non-technology card materials to meet different card printing requirements, including its FARGO® UltraCard®, UltraCard Premium and UltraCard PC.

So, which card material is right for you? You’ll want to consider your card life requirements and printing technology. If you will be using direct-to-card (DTC®) printing, Ultracard cards are an excellent choice for short-term applications, such as gift and loyalty cards. For applications requiring longer lifetimes, the Ultracard Premium cards are the best option.

If you will be using retransfer printing technology, such as with HID Global’s FARGO HDP5000HDP5600HDPii or HDP8500 printers, the best card material options are UltraCard Premium or UltraCard PC. The right card materials will also allow retransfer printers to integrate a protective film for added security and allow for the ability for edge-to-edge printing. The PVC-only cards are not recommended for retransfer printers because the heat applied during the retransfer process may cause the card to warp.

The PVC in standard plastic cards is replaced with polycarbonate (PC) in HID’s UltraCard PC. Polycarbonate is a much tougher material for improved durability. UltraCard PC cards also support laser engraving which creates a permanent, unalterable card. If durability, longevity, and enhanced security are your top card requirements, retransfer printing on UltraCard PC cards is the leading option.

In addition to cards, HID Global also offers a PolyGuard® polyester overlaminate to further protect printed cards. It is available either as a 0.6 or 1.0 mil lamination patch or as a wasteless laminate integrated into the new HID FARGO DTC5500LMX ID card printer, encoder and laminator. Polyester laminates greatly improve the abrasion resistance of plastic cards often by a factor of ten or more. This lengthens the card life and ensures the image quality is maintained over the life of the card.

Learn more about printing to plastic cards and card printing in our webinar. 

For more information on HID’s high-quality UltraCard product line see UltraCard Non-technology Card Products and learn more about HID FARGO card printers.

capitol_building_full_viewDear Senator:

I am writing to you as a former employee of Creative Memories and as a former participant in Creative Memories ESOP retirement plan. Creative Memories was a scrapbooking company based out of St. Cloud, MN. Creative Memories went bankrupt in 2008 and again in 2013. As a result of theses bankruptcies, many employees lost all or part of their retirement savings.

The problem with the current system is that the people with the most information, including banks and corporate executives, are able to manipulate the bankruptcy laws to their benefit at the expense of everyone else. Banks loan companies money and corporate executives can take that money with banks knowing full well that even if everyone else, including suppliers and employees lose, they will still get repaid. This system encourages irresponsibility and in some cases, deception of employees.

In the case of Creative Memories, corporate executives provided incomplete and misleading information to employees in 2003 that led to the their approval of a restructuring plan that eventually led to the company’s demise. Employees were told they had no choice and that they couldn’t lose. Employees believed corporate executives. In reality, it was the banks that couldn’t lose.

In 2008, Creative Memories was unable to pay back the loans that were taken out. The banks then took over the company and proceeded to extract all value from the company, ensuring that they got their money back, at the expense of everyone else.

In spite of filing several lawsuits against the banks and corporate executives, former employees were unable to recover their loses. Apparently, everything that was done was “legal.”

I lost my entire retirement account, but I am young enough that I will recover. Not everyone who was affected is as fortunate.

As a result of my experience, I urge you to consider revising the bankruptcy laws to place retirement accounts ahead of banks, when it comes to determining the priority for repayment. It won’t get my money back, but it might help someone else in the future.


Mark Mizen

Note: If you were also adversely affected by the Creative Memories bankruptcy, feel free to use my letter as a starting point for your letter to your representative or senator.

November 10, 2016: I received a response from Senator Al Franken.




All opinions expressed in this blog are mine, not HID Global's.

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