What Is Tinnitus? Causes And Symptoms

What Is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a medical condition typified by a hissing, buzzing or ringing sound produced inside the inner ear. The noises vary in pitch from person to person; they can be low or high frequency, intermittent or constant and can happen unilaterally (in one ear) and bilaterally (in two ears). Tinnitus can affect both sleep and concentration and it is estimated that approximately 15 % of the population have experienced it on some level.

Most of us have experienced 'phase change' which is a temporary buzzing in the ear after going to a concert with loud music or working in a noisy industrial environment. The ear ringing disappears after a few hours and most of us usually think nothing of it. However, those exposed to perpetual noise on a recurring basis are at risk of developing more long-term effects.

Tinnitus sufferers begin to notice they are missing obvious sounds like speech, doorbells or having to turn up the radio. Shortly after, they may begin to detect ringing or humming sounds at irregular intervals and initially in quieter settings, this later becomes a more constant sound.

What Causes Tinnitus?

Problems with tinnitus occur when the delicate hairs inside the inner ear become damaged and auditory cells send random electrical impulses to the brain which are translated into noise. This damage can occur as a result of age-related hearing loss (presbycusis) or through being exposed to loud and continuous noises, often in a workplace environment. This is commonly referred to as noise-induced deafness.

Where It Can Occur

Noise-induced deafness can be triggered in environments where some of the following equipment is used (amongst others):

  • Welding tools
  • Pneumatic drills
  • Jackhammers
  • Vacuum cleaners
  • Lawn mowers

A report by Deafness Research UK has found that in 20 % of cases, tinnitus sufferers believe that working in a noisy workplace has given them the medical condition.

Treating tinnitus

In most cases of tinnitus there is no known cure. If you have the condition as a result of the build-up of ear wax then ear drops or ear irrigation are usually recommended. You should always seek medical attention if you have any symptoms as straining your hearing can exacerbate tinnitus.

Common treatments aim to handle the symptoms of tinnitus on a day-to-day basis and include the following:

Sound therapy

This involves filling quiet environments with indistinct repetitive sounds to detract attention away from the sound of tinnitus. Popular themes are natural sounds like rain drops or waves. Sound generators are electrical devices often placed on the bedside to aid tinnitus sufferers to sleep better.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

A popular treatment used for many conditions such as anxiety and depression. The notion of this therapy is based on the idea that people can change the focus of their behaviour through their thoughts.

Tinnitus counselling

A talking therapy usually administered by audiologists, it is designed to help suffers understand the condition and learn how to cope with the impact of tinnitus.

What you should do if you have any of the symptoms of tinnitus:

Contact a personal injury solicitor who will be able to assist you with a claim.

Contact your GP who will refer you to an Ear Noise and Throat Specialist for an audiogram to establish any damage. You will need a diagnosis in order to make a claim.

Begin a diary of when you are experiencing any of the symptoms as this will help you if you decide to make a claim against your employer.

Bear in mind that you will have 3 years from the date of discovery in which to make your claim for tinnitus.

'The Perks of Being a Wallflower' Movie Review

Generally I'm not an advocate of reading a book before seeing the movie - I find that if I enjoy the book, the movie rarely lives up to what I imagined in my head. There is, however, something to be said about being PREPARED for what you are going to see, and in this case, about halfway through this little number, I was wishing I had been given a little bit more information. Don't let the trailers fool you - this is a little darker than advertised.

THE GOOD: Charlie (Logan Lerman) is an incredibly bright but troubled high school Freshman, who doesn't seem to fit in anywhere. He struggles to get through each school day, and impressively continues to attend events like football games and dances all by himself, when most kids his age would probably sit it out at home, not wanting to deal with the inevitable judgement from peers that you are, in fact, a giant loser. It's when forcing himself to attend these functions that he meets Patrick (Ezra Miller) and his step-sister Sam (Emma Watson), who are both equally likeable and dysfunctional in their own ways, and much to Charlie's surprise and excitement, he is welcomed with open arms into their circle of misfit friends. Along the way, Charlie learns that he is not the only one with problems as he watches Patrick who is without question out-of-the-closet gay struggle with an imperfect relationship; and Sam, who is trying desperately to reform her reputation. As Patrick and Sam learn more about Charlie, they help him feel the sense of belonging he's been waiting for.

There's no real reference point of what year this movie is set in, but the lack of cell phones, Internet usage, and exchanging of "mixed cassette tapes", along with music by The Smiths and New Order, conjures up the time being somewhere in the early 90′s, not terribly far from my own high school years. It was nostalgic for me to watch teenagers spend real time together with other 3 dimensional people, unlike the teenagers that currently reside in my house who spend more time Face-booking and texting their friends than actually seeing them. I could also certainly relate with the feeling of being the awkward loner. Believe it - I was NOT one of the popular kids in my high school and spent many a moment counting how many days till this "best times of my life" period would be over. I might actually be one of the few people in the world who wouldn't go back to my high school years even if there were large sums of money involved.

THE BAD: As previously noted, I went to this movie because, based on the previews, it reminded me of a modern day "Breakfast Club" - a classic from my youth that gave a somewhat accurate and hilarious account of high school misfits who found common ground. I went into the theater thinking this would be very similar, and to some degree it was. But I have to admit I was not prepared for the darker side of things that would be revealed as the cause of Charlie's dysfunction, and that's why I think perhaps reading the book might have been advisable in this case. The movie is much more edgy than I expected, and, although I don't consider myself one of those "out of touch" adults, it was not particularly comforting to me to see kids who were considered by their peers as outsiders, getting together and using drugs as they celebrated their "uniqueness". I felt very touched by the fact that Charlie was being welcomed into a group that didn't care if he was "different", but it would have sat with me a little better to see these kids relying more on EACH OTHER to get through their struggles, and less on the drug and alcohol scene. Yup, I'm one of those people. I really believe teenagers are capable of getting through their emotional upheavals without getting stoned.

THE UGLY: I realize I may be one of only a handful of people who has NEVER seen 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show' but I make no apologies when I say "I don't ever plan to". In addition to how weird I found this part of the movie (Charlie and his friends attend and/or participate in a showing of TRHPS), it was another moment where I found myself realizing that my view of things are definitely shaped by the fact that I am a mom, and I thought it was basically horrifying to see teenagers dressed in drag and simulating sex onstage. If that makes me "out of touch", I will wear it like a badge.

To be clear, I'm certainly not saying this movie was BAD. The acting by all the cast -particularly Lerman and Miller - was fantastic, and the overall story was sweet and heartbreaking. I take some issues with the darker aspects of the film because I AM a mother and as unrealistic as it may seem, I would love to believe that kids should just be kids and not have to deal with grown up issues and activities until absolutely necessary.

The Trophy Wife gives this movie 3 trophies.

'The Perks of Being a Wallflower' has a running time of 1 hr 43 min, and is rated PG-13 for mature thematic material,drug and alcohol use, sexual content including references, fighting, and language (F word used once)

Building a Business? 10 Ways To Brand Yourself Online

Have you ever heard the saying "people buy you, before they buy your product"?

Isn't it so true? You will very rarely, if ever, make a purchasing decision from someone that you do not like or trust. If given the choice of learning how to drive from a teenager just learning to drive or a 30 year career driving instructor, who'd you go with? You chose the instructor, of course, because they've got the credibility and trust.

The same rules apply to business, where people tend to go with the proven entity. Your goal is to lose the "learner tag" as quickly as possible. You do this, by positioning yourself as an expert in your field, as per the tips below.

Creating and maintain a strong personal brand is key to helping to facilitate the "subconscious transaction", where the person you're dealing with transitions from considering you, to BUYING you. Here we go:

You need to Face(book) the facts: If you're not on Facebook yet, do it now! It won't be long until a billion people are on Facebook. In Australia alone, more than 50% of the adult population is on Facebook. 2 in every 3 individuals between the ages of 18-64 are on Facebook. How do you expect to build your brand when you're not participating in the main forum where most people you know hang out?!

Promote your achievements: Highlight your successes - It's not like you've got a PR firm to do it for you! Use social media for this. A simple Facebook post along the lines of: "I'm so proud. I just achieved my biggest month of sales. Thanks to everyone for supporting my business". You'll see a flood of Facebook 'Likes' in the short term, but just watch the credibility and trust factor gradually build over time as you repeatedly highlight your wins. And a simple post like this goes a long way to helping you drop that "learner tag"!

It's all good (even when it's not): Trawl through a day of Facebook posts and I bet there will be a healthy (well, unhealthy) dose of negativity and sarcasm. I mean, if you and I had a dollar for every time we read a post about a headache, the flu, or how crazy the kids are driving someone, we'd be retired by now wouldn't we? Your mission is to censor yourself. Nothing negative goes out. It's all positive. This is not to say that you fake positivity or lie, you just don't promote negativity. There's a distinct difference. This will go a long way to branding YOU. To the contrary, like I said earlier, every time you share negativity online, you erode your personal brand.

Be helpful, provide value: Share links and resources from within your business niche that you know people will enjoy. Don't spam people, but regularly posting industry-related information to Facebook goes a long way to building your credibility in your field. The general rule here is to run it through a basic filter so that you aren't being seen as a 'spammer': Simply ask yourself - is it valuable information, or merely promotional? It's OK to promote your service or product every so often, but providing regular, interesting and useful information is a great way to promote YOU (as an expert).

Get a blog (even if you don't know what blog means): Blogs can be free, and they're simple to setup. WordPress.com is my suggestion. I find WordPress to be the best all-round blog platform. I was able to learn WordPress with essentially zero website/blog management knowledge.

What to blog about? That's simple - YOU! Your friends and family will love to keep connected with you. If it's for your business, then you could start by covering your products or services and then providing valuable information related to your niche. Blogs are just a way to share your thoughts. There are plenty of free "how to" guides for setting up a blog or Facebook for business page online - Google it!

Register YOU: Even if you aren't planning on starting a blog or website yet, you want to register your domain name/ s before someone else gets in first! You may wish to register both your business or home business and your personal name to be sure.

Actively be YOU: Huh? I hear you say? What I'm saying here is that you should read a lot and write even more (that's the beauty of a blog). Then, if there is one individual that you follow frequently, you will inevitably tend to imitate them whilst you truly develop your sense of who you are. Catch yourself. Challenge the ideas presented by those that you respect most. Be you, and eventually you'll build YOU.

Keep your brand fresh: Luckily for my blog, home business is super-diverse and there are plenty of topics for me to sink my teeth into. Be it your blog or your everyday life, keep it fresh. Keep trying new things and interacting with people around new topics. Whether it's online, or offline, people tend to gravitate towards those others that are "always going things". Be a "doer". Be exciting. This will build your brand, and will probably result in a heck of a lot of fun too!

Start branding you from a niche: There is no such thing as an overnight success. Start small, build your following in that area and then branch out. Even though a niche business might be a small market, successfully becoming an expert in that field will allow you the credibility required to expand and dominate another field.

Over-deliver: If you've been counting, you'll know that we've passed 10 tips and we're now on 11! And here's the tip: ALWAYS over-deliver. Have you ever been to a great live music performance and left it saying "I knew it was going to be good, but that was way better than I ever imagined". Next thing, you referred that singer to friends, you downloaded the next song on iTunes and booked your tickets early for the next live show. Give a little bit more than expected.

So there you have it, 10 (+1) tips little-known tips to build your Personal Brand online! Perhaps more importantly, 11 often-not-done-by-your-competitors tips. Let's get you branded in advance of your competition, so you can own your field.

Conservatory Blinds Are The Answer To Low Lying Winter Sun

Conservatory blinds may have been the last thing on your mind. Your conservatory is finally finished and you've been aching to use it! An extra room where you can relax away from the daily grind. It's your personal retreat where you don't have to watch children's programs, or even your partner's programs! No more sport or mindless programs! Reading, listening to music, sitting with the laptop, or just wondering if your eldest son will cut the grass before the weekend! Life is good, even if it is too hot to sit in the your new sun room!

Oh! No-one told you about all that glass sending temperatures to over 40 degrees centigrade?! What about the glare?! Have you got your sunglasses on?! Are your plants already dying from the heat?! You would never expect it in the UK! Joking aside, you only have two choices. Install conservatory blinds or suffer the heat and glare. I'll assume that after having spent a small fortune on the addition to your home, you'll want to be comfortable in it!

There are three important questions to consider.

1. Will I need to do the sides and the roof?

You only need to do the roof if the heat generated by it is excessive. This is usually the case if your roof is a glass one,... unless it is made with UV reflective glass or your conservatory faces north (in the Northern hemisphere). The polycarbonate roofs are not so bad, especially if has been treated with a tint. You will find that installing window blinds on your side windows is inevitable, if only from the point of view of privacy, and this may also be an adequate solution to keeping the conservatory cooler and much more usable.

2. What type of blinds are available?

They can be divided into three groups, namely, made to measure traditional ones, specialised ones and those made for roofs. Traditional ones would consist of roller, venetian, roman, and vertical. Wooden, blackout and pleated, along with a new type where no drilling is required would fall into the second group. Electric or motorised as well as pole-operated types fall into the third group - those for your conservatory roof. Choosing any from each group can be used for shading, but it should be noted that the traditional ones can have their drawbacks. Those that are made with sun rooms specifically in mind, for example, are fitted close to the glass leaving your window sills available for plants, ornaments or lighting. Because these shading systems tend to be fixed at the bottom as well as the top, you don't have the problem of your blinds flapping about in the breeze when you decide to open the doors and windows.

3. Can I do it myself?

Yes and no! Yes as regards side ones. A definite 'no' when it comes to roof shading!

There are several companies to be found who can provide you with comprehensive instructions on how to measure your side windows and also how to install them. These systems are made specifically for conservatories and do not involve any drilling. There are no holes to be drilled. Brackets simply fit between the glass and the glazing gasket When it comes to the roof, the correct measuring of obtuse and acute angles for intricate shapes and large three or four-sided blinds is crucial to the end result. It really is not a job for anyone other than a professional and that is what you will be paying for - a bespoke, error free installation. Mistakes are very costly since each roof blind is made specifically for the new addition to your home. All in all, the addition of conservatory blinds is an undertaking of considerable magnitude. However, no-one can deny that installing them creates a sense of warmth whilst adding your personal touch.

CBSE Schools Make Learning More Enjoyable

Hyderabad is the capital city of Andhra Pradesh. It is also known as Cyberabad due to the numerous IT companies mushroomed in the city. Due to these companies, people from almost all the states have migrated to Hyderabad in lieu of jobs. This has made Hyderabad a multicultural city, which makes the city a mini India. Due to the high flow of migration of people from other states of India to Hyderabad, the need of educational institutes has aroused. This led to the increase in the establishment of educational institutes in Hyderabad. Most of the educational institutes are of International standard. CBSE schools in Hyderabad are established in every nook and corner of the city.

These schools impart quality education by maintaining all the norms of the CBSE board. The curriculum of CBSE is somewhat easier for the students. It is on par with the entrance examinations for higher education. The CBSE schools in Hyderabad offer a perfect and effortless learning for the students to make the learning process more enjoyable. They offer good facilities to the students to make the learning process more comfortable and focused. The modern technology is very much used in the classrooms to make the students to learn the lessons in a proper way through participation in creative ways.

They offer the best coaching on a priority of individual attention as required by the student. In addition to those mentioned above, CBSE schools in Hyderabad are focused on bringing the creativity of the students and encourage them to take part in extra curricular activities like music, dance, sports etc. They also encourage students to inculcate healthy habits and boost them to participate in yoga classes. Yoga and meditation is good for health and increases concentration. So, these schools encourage their students to do yoga and meditation so as to increase their concentration and to keep the students physically and mentally healthy. They believe that only a healthy body can have an active and intelligent mind. This in turn helps the student to perform well in his / her studies. The schools offer a student friendly atmosphere which enables the student to have self-confidence in his / her abilities.

The faculty is highly qualified and has the ability to identify each student's potential and take necessary action to impart training as per their capability. They also guide and make them compatible for higher studies with all the knowledge required to face the examinations. The CBSE schools in Hyderabad are highly popular among the migrants to the city in lieu of jobs in the Information Technology industry. It is said the migrants were able to impart quality education to their children only because of the availability of the CBSE schools in Hyderabad. These schools guide the students towards a bright future with quality education and state-of-the-art facilities to its students. So, if you are planning to join your children in school, make sure that the school strives for the overall growth of your children, but not just for the ranks.

How to Pursue a Woman - Top 5 Tips

Pursuing a woman you like takes patience and diligence. Getting the end result you are looking for is not going to happen overnight. Whether you are shy or whether you have all the confidence in the world does not make a hoot of difference in this case. The steps you must take to get the girl of your dreams are all the same. If you want to pursue her, then you want something more, something deeper. This requires a whole different mindset.

1. Find Out What She Likes

The easiest way to do this in the beginning is to talk to some of her friends and get your ideas from them. You want to know what her favorite flowers are, or what music she listens to. What does she like to do for fun? Does she like teddy bears, or is she more of a sports fan? You definitely want to tell them that you are interested in her but do not want to let her know yet. This assures them that you are not a psycho maniac out to stalk or attack their friend. It also tells them you are not yet ready to release your secret to her, and hopefully they have the ability to keep it to themselves.

2. Pique Her Interest

Send her small gifts to her apartment every now and then. If she likes carnations, send her a bouquet with a note that reads, "Hope these brighten your day." Another gift can be a balloon bouquet with a card that says, "You lift my spirits whenever I see you." Doing small things like this in the beginning piques her interest and gets her excited about the secret admirer she has out there in the world. The more gifts you send, the more she will focus on you. This makes the unveiling even more exciting for you both.

3. Make an Appearance

The last gift at her door should be you. When you know she is home, dress nice but casual, throw on some great cologne and appear with a box of the finest chocolates in town. Swallow your nerves as you knock on her door. When she appears, smile widely and use the line from your first card so she will know instantly it was you. We are going to go with the best case scenario here: she invites you in. During the time you spend with her, get to know her better. Be honest with her about how you feel and ask her out to dinner. Chances are she will say yes. If by chance she does not, or if you do not get invited in, do not give up. Pursuing a woman is not always easy and you must be consistent.

4. Be Yourself

While at dinner that evening it is imperative that you be yourself. It does no good to take the time to pursue this woman and then be a yes man. If you are lucky enough to still be dating two months down the road, you will only be the man who went out of his way to impress her. This is not healthy. Now is the time to let the very best of who you are shine through. Yes, spend a good bit of time hanging on her every word, but let her see inside you, too.

5. Be Consistent

This is for the fellows who weren't let in at the door, or who were turned down for the date. You cannot give up. If you are going to start something, then finish it. This doesn't mean you send her a gift the next day. Wait a bit. You must think, though, you may have caught her by surprise and perhaps she just wasn't ready. There are a million reasons she did what she did, but you cannot stop. Just do not get to the point of creepy. Put in some more time, talk to her a little bit longer. You will know when to call it quits.

Anything worth having is worth fighting for, or so they say. This is true for many, and I am sure it fits your situation perfectly. You must prepare yourself for every possible scenario when you pursue a woman, though. If you are prepared mentally and emotionally everything will work out just fine.

Amazing Guitar Related Gift Ideas

For a guitarist, there is nothing more special than having a guitar or guitar-related items as gifts. With that in mind, let us help you to surprise them with so many guitar related gifts to put them on a festive mood. Though these items may vary in price or quality, what is important is the effort and time you invested finding-and wrapping-these gifts.

Guitar Packages
This is so perfect for kids and beginners. Why settle for a single item when you can have not just the guitar but the amplifier, guitar strap, a gig bag, DVD instructional tools and cables all in one box? Isn't it super convenient? There are so many guitar starter packs out there which only costs $200 and below. With that amount, you already have a quality guitar and a dependable amplifier- a great deal for your money. Choose whether it is an acoustic or an electric guitar-this is the most important information you need to know!

Guitar Supplies
Choose from a wide variety of picks, strings, amplifier, tuner or metronomes with different features. A metronome is ideal for those who are just starting out, practicing their rhythm skills. You can never go wrong on strings, because all guitarists always need a nice set of those. Guitar effects are great gift ideas too! Guitar effects like: overdrive, wah, distortions and compressors are a staple in every guitar player's repertoire. There are different types, shapes and sizes of picks. The materials range from wood to metal. An ideal pick size for acoustic guitar is from thin to medium.As for electric guitar player- well, it depends on their favorite musical genre. Thrash metal players tend to lean on thicker picks while medium and light picks are for beginners.

Guitar Straps
This is a must for musicians and gig players. You can choose from different materials available on the market today-leather is the best! When choosing an ideal design, make sure that it is compatible to your friend or loved ones' personality. A skull-themed strap design is not right for a jazz guitarist; and how about the reaction of a 50 year-old guitar player if he received a "Hello Kitty" themed strap-disaster!

Guitar Vouchers
Do you have no idea what kind of guitar related gift to bring? What will you give to a young kid who wants a guitar lesson for next summer? You should never worry because gift vouchers are your answer. Gift vouchers are ideal for those who are not yet decided when to start their formal lessons.

Holiday season is the most exciting and the craziest time of the year-it is also the most enjoyable! With this guitar gift ideas, Christmas rush will be a thing of the past.

Tips to Cut Stomach Fat and Flatten Abdominals

Following simple exercise and nutrition tips can help you cut stomach fat and achieve flat abs.

Although it's tempting to do a thousand crunches a day in an effort to cut stomach fat and get flat abs, don't focus exclusively on your abs when working out.

Pilates offers great exercise for flat abs because it works core muscles (abs, arms, back, and glutes.) You'll achieve better results engaging in a full body workout than with isolating abs alone.

Practice good posture and breathing. Walking upright and in proper alignment will keep your abs from bulging out. Physical appearance is leaner when shoulders are held square and back, not rounded forward. Good posture also has the added benefit of improving lung capacity.

Stress matters! Fat storage is increased by a stress hormone called cortisol. Take a few minutes each day to de-stress. Soothing music, meditation or simple stretches are some options to relieve stress and reduce cortisol.

Try the following great exercises for flat abs:

Sitting Rotations: Sitting up, bend knees and legs together, cross arms across your chest or extend in front of you. Tuck the tailbone and roll back slightly as you alternate slowly rotating the spine right and left.

Cat Kick: Stand with feet together, arms extended straight out like wings. Exhale, and lift the left leg in front of you and up. At the same time, sweep the arms forward at shoulder level and round the spine, like a cat. The navel will press toward the spine. Inhale, return to the starting position opening arms back up. Repeat with the right leg, alternate and do 20 repetitions.

Leg Lowers: Lay flat, face up, curl your body up, hands behind your head. Align chest over ribs. Lift the legs up with knees bent at 90 degrees, knees over hips, ankles are level with knees. Keeping the hips down, slowly lower the legs toward the floor without changing the bend in the knees, then lift them back up.

Plank Position: Start on your hands and knees, raise body to a push-up plank position, balancing on hands and toes. Align wrists under shoulders; keep your back straight and the abs and glutes tight. Hold position, breathe out for 10 seconds, exhale while tightening abs and draw the navel to the spine. Do not allow the back to sag.

Diet is as important as exercise in the pursuit of flat abs.

Any diet for flat stomachs should include fiber and exclude foods that make you bloat. For breakfast, try oatmeal with berries. Fiber in oatmeal aids digestion while berries provide antioxidants. Lean meats like fish and chicken breast paired with vegetables make a healthy dinner. Note that vegetables like cabbage and broccoli can promote bloating.

Be realistic about your results. Some people are genetically wired to have more fat around their midsection. Don't get discouraged. This simply means that your specific results may vary from someone with a different genetic profile.

As with any fitness pursuit, maintaining a diet for flat abs and consistent exercise is the key to achieving your goals. Using these tips daily will help you on the path to getting flat abs and keeping them for good.

Studying the Effects of How the Mind Reacts to Stories - A Viable Pursuit Indeed

There was an interesting article recently in Live Science Online News on October 11, 2011 titled, "Military Seeks Sensor to Gauge Brain's Reaction to Stories," by Stuart Fox, InnovationNewsDaily Assistant Editor. The article stated that,

"DARPA plans to not only figure out why hearing or reading a particular story may change someone's life, but also plans on developing sensors that can scan people's brains to identify those changes. Narratives exert a powerful influence on human thoughts and behavior. They consolidate memory, shape emotions, cue heuristics, and biases in judgment, influence in-group/out-group distinctions, and may affect the fundamental contents of personal identity."

Think about this for a moment, it's true that humans take stories seriously, and it is amazing how tales foretold tend to stick in the memory. It's also interesting how stories over the generations evolve and meld with the culture, shaping it, and holding it together. Nations, religions, cultures, all held together by what - stories, tales, and narratives. Amazing isn't it? So, it makes a lot of sense that we ought to study this.

For instance consider the challenges we have in education, corporate training, or even keeping people working together for the common cause of our society or civilization? Stories help, they help break the ice, they help for comic relief, they help say things that are often difficult, but telling something through a story - well it works doesn't it? Thus, we ought to use stories as much as possible.

The piece went on to add; "they change the course of insurgencies, frame negotiations, play a role in political radicalization, influence the methods and goals of violent social movements, and likely play a role in clinical conditions important to the military such as post-traumatic stress disorder."

Wow, see those points? Now then, let's switch gears here and let me tell you a though I had for this rather intriguing DARPA project about storytelling. I have some thoughts I'd like to share with you, okay so, here is the idea; The human voice box rattles or gives off a change in vibrational frequency when someone is of a very strong belief on the topic they are discussing.

This happens in business with branding, with devoted religious folks, or with anyone telling a story they truly believe in. It also has a way of coming out in writing, where folks can feel the emotional content. Perhaps someone like Steve Jobs or a fast mover in the political scene can do the same, perhaps a reverend or religious leader, and I bet this can be simulated by laying multiple tracks over speeches or instructional videos too.

I am somewhat sensitive to these vibrations, and I note my mind taking interest when these 'rattling vibrations' occur in other's voices, in fact, I am of no-religion, but when a devout person starts their spiel about their "religious wakening" or born-again moment, I find my mind shifting gears as if operating on a secondary brain wave.

Interestingly enough, I also note my own voice rattles, as I am very solid in my beliefs of such things as free-market capitalism, country, winning, and my company. When I am, I see people stop and take notice, as if I've captured them for a moment to insert my view points and vision. So, I think there is something to it, and it would stand to reason based on such historical things like "pipe-organ music" in churches and their vibrational frequency and the large number of enthralled followers.

Although, I've never read anything explaining all this, I feel there is something more here, something that could explain why stories "capture our imagination" and perhaps why we even use the word "capture" in the first place, see that point.


1.) Have some humans, through gene expression, evolved to have stronger voice box vibrational ability?
2.) Can humans through practice hone this vibrational ability in their voices.
3.) Would practiced singers be able to do this? Is that why church's get large numbers to join their choirs?
4.) Does bowing and praying in the Muslim world cause shock waves to move forward and back during the rocking motion of praying, as savants often rock back and forth, thus triggering memory inducing brain waves?
5.) Does human passion cause certain chemicals in the body to react in engaging vocal cords? It would stand to reason.
6.) Did this ability help in the coming together of human troops, tribes, groups, communities, nationalities, cultures, religions, countries, movements?

Yes, well, as you can see, I have so many questions on all this and speculations, and theories, if you are also intrigued by this, maybe we should talk? You see, I am a writer (hobby writer), and have this storytelling ability apparently, which served me well in business, sales, marketing, and branding. It's also been good to me as a writer. So, maybe we can help reform education, train folks better, allow for better memory uptake, and then, move the ball forward by doing what comes natural for human learning, and socialization.

In fact, I think this could be tested, simulated, and we could even use what we learn to mellow out problematic societies and rogue regimes that threaten the life-experience of human populations. Interesting isn't it? Yes, all of it is, so please consider this and think on it.

LED Christmas Lights: Power to The Season

If you are like most people you will want to celebrate this Christmas season in the usual way with a tree, decorations, music, etc., but much of the sparkle of the holidays is provided by the lights. If you are looking for a greener alternative to traditional incandescent lighting you might want to consider a sparkling new trend; LED Christmas lights.

They have been around for years but only in the last few years with the growing popularity of the so-called "green movement" have they become a huge deal. As a result, the question becomes, what is the difference between these and the traditional incandescent Christmas lights, and is converting to LED worth the trouble? Fortunately, the answer is an easy yes.

The plain truth is that there are several good reasons to convert to this type of lighting, and not many at all not to use them.

This form of lights is very efficient, much more so than traditional lights. In fact, they consume only about 10 percent of the power that is consumed by traditional incandescent lights. This is great news whether you are trying to be more environmentally responsible or just trying to save money from a previously high electricity bill. For both of these reasons, LED lighting in general has become enormously popular. It is also worth noting that largely due to this fact, they last longer than traditional lights. So for both reasons, LED is a bargain.

Now for the downside, what little there is of one: how they look. Many people don't like the way LED lights look, whether they are outside or inside. Many of these people believe that they are more intense than traditional incandescent lighting, although most agree that when they are used outside, the difference is negligible. Using them indoors is, at least to many people, a different story. They simply don't like them because of the brightness and harsh quality of the light. Traditional incandescent Christmas lights are softer in appearance. Fortunately, this is less of an issue with new lines of "warm" LED Christmas lights.

But even those who don't like them agree that the variety in the shapes, sizes, and colours of the emerging product lines deserve a serious look. After all, it's the creativity that lights allow that truly make them unique, and decorating with them can be just as rewarding as traditional incandescent ones when creativity is added in generous doses.

What it all comes down to is cost, as Scrooge-like as that might sound. LED Christmas lights don't cost, they pay, both in the short term and the long term. They are more environmentally friendly too, which makes them the one purchase that is a sure-fire winner.

Top Five Wedding Themes for 2012

What are the five top wedding themes for 2012? You may be somewhat surprised at what brides and grooms are choosing this year for backdrops, settings, decorations, and wedding favors. Traditional weddings are still in style, but more and more couples are looking for something different, going against the status quo to put on nuptial celebrations that dazzle the eye and give the guests something to talk about for years to come. If you're planning a wedding this year, you might want to consider one of these.

Fairy Tale themes: Be Snow White or Cinderella to his Prince Charming. The movie industry isn't the only business opening up Grimm's fables these days. Fairy tale themed weddings, complete with costumes, gingerbread men, and pumpkin coach wedding favors, are definitely more popular across the country this year, more so than any of the other themes on this list. Looks like fantasy trumps reality for 2012.

Beach themes: Who doesn't want to get married on a white sandy beach with the sun shining overhead and the waves crashing on the shore for background music? If you're like most folks, you'd prefer to do it in a tropical paradise, but getting guests there would be prohibitively expensive. How about doing a beach theme instead? It's the second most popular setting for a wedding this year.

Las Vegas themes: Gambling and show tunes are alive and well, not just in the City of Sin, but across the nation in wedding reception halls everywhere. Vegas wedding themes have always been popular and this year they seem to be on the rise. Are folks more likely to gamble with the Mayan calendar predicting an early exit? That's one theory. Here's another. Vegas themed weddings are just a lot of fun.

Asian themes: Resurgence in interest in Eastern culture has led to an increase in the number of Asian themed weddings in the United States and abroad. Marriage is a more solemn and celebrated affair in nations where history dates back several millennia. Even non-Asians seem to have taken an interest in these time-honored traditions. You won't be the first to choose an Asian wedding theme if you go this route.

Seasonal themes: Winter, spring, summer, or fall, all you have to do is call - any wedding planner, cake maker, or wedding favors supplier. They all have seasonal options, no doubt the reason why this category is on the list. You can never go wrong with matching the décor and setting with the season of the year. For that matter, if you're truly in love, you can never go wrong no matter what you do with your wedding theme. Congratulations and may you have a long and prosperous life together.

Do You Have A Book Inside You

Who takes the time to stare around a big, old library and really count the number of books piled up within? In a library you're bound to have more than 100,000 books stashed along the walls, and that's not even 1% of the total amount of books that exist in the world today.

Literature has been one of the world's most popular and lasting art for thousands of years, preceded only by music. Every book must have an author and there are billions of names out there attached to the literary masterpieces. Some of these names are fake, of course, and many names have long since passed away, but their works live on.

Now I know I often go on about how much I hate it when celebrities come out with this or that book... For God's sake, who wants to read Justin Bieber's autobiography? I mean he's eighteen. Nothing's happened in his life yet worth noting! However for the most part, intellectual celebrities like Stephen Fry and David Attenborough come out with very interesting and entertaining books. Therefore, I shouldn't generalize celebrities into such a large category as many are educated and intelligent individuals who have the potential to write a startling and intriguing book.

To be honest, anyone who has a story inside of them, who wants to write for the right reasons, who HAS to write for their own sanity should grab a laptop or a pad of paper and set to it. Everyone has two sides of the brain, the creative side and the logical side. Certainly there are people out there who neglect to use their logical side, but everyone has the means to produce a great art. Everyone has a book inside of them.

Candace Bushnell said that 'A writer must be fearless. A writer has to be like a clawed animal', and of course that is the same for anything you want to do in life. You have to fight for what you believe in, so you can't just sit back and imagine that if you dream about the possibility for long enough the story will write itself. You need to make your dream a reality.

I've heard a lot of people say that they'd love to write a book, that they have the idea for something big, and a lot of the time I agree with them. Therefore I don't understand why they don't just go for it. Maybe its just not the right time at the moment; they're trying to get a new job, they have young kids, they're moving house, going on holiday, snowed under with work... The list is endless. To that I say 'enough'. If you work really hard, you can get about 700 words in half an hour. That's all it takes! If you're really dedicated to your ideas and you feel the need to write, then set aside half an hour a day for that. By the time you reach your 100th day, your manuscript can be considered a novella, and after that you just keep on trucking until it's done.

One of my favorite quotes about writers is this:

I spoke fire, laughed smoke,and madness
spilled forth from my inspiration. Arthur Holitscher

Why Everyone Should Have a Hearing Test

Did you know you don't have to wait until you get old to lose some of your hearing? That's right. Loss of this wonderful and vital sense can happen at any stage of your life. Giving a hearing test to newborns is something that happens every day in hospitals as doctors are discovering even these little ones can be prone to suffer from this malady.

This is why I believe everyone, no matter what age or stage of life you are in, should have a hearing test. After all, this sense is vital if you want to enjoy life to the fullest. It can affect your career, your emotional and mental well being and your pocketbook. Statistically, it's been proven people who hear well make more money. That's a sad, but true scenario.

You need to stay on top of things and do all you can to help yourself to hear as well as possible for as long as possible.

If you require a bit more convincing as to whether you should have a hearing test, let me ask you a few questions:

1. Do people actually tell you they think something might be wrong?
2. Do you feel as if everyone around you mumbles or talks too low?
3. Do you have a ringing sensation in your ears?
4. Have you ever taken a large amount of drugs for medicinal purposes?
5. Have you had numerous ear infections?
6. Have you ever been exposed to loud music or industrial machinery for an extended period?
7. Do you find yourself hearing sounds that seem far away versus not closer up?
8. Have you ever had a head injury?
9. Do you struggle to keep up socially especially in a setting where there's a lot of background noise?
10. Finally, do voices and other noises sound muffled and unclear?

If you have said yes to ANY of these questions, it's probably a good idea to have a hearing test pronto!

Such things as allergens, dust, smoke, head trauma, sustained high-pitched noises or powerful drugs can all be tremendous factors in losing our valuable auditory skills. As you can see from this list, you don't have to be up in years to lose this sense.

But losing this sense is very prevalent among the aged. There are methods you can take to manage it such as getting a hearing aid or some other amplification device. There may not be anything that can be done surgically but these devices are often quite effective for most normal auditory loss.

Being able to hear well is part of what brings enjoyment to our lives. When it's gone or diminished, it can be very disconcerting. Don't be fearful of having a hearing test. There is no pain involved and having one just may shed some light on your problem, which may be easily fixed. Not having one can be painful in that you will spend the rest of your life asking people to repeat themselves over and over.

How to Make Your Own Puppet Theater for Sunday School

Most of us remember the beautiful and elaborate puppet theater used in The Sound of Music, where a dozen or more marionettes appeared on tri level stages. However, for most of us, such a magnificent piece will have to remain on our wish list. And that's okay! We're providing tips herein on various ways to make puppet theaters out of cardboard boxes and household items. They're easy to create, will fit any budget, and will further your journey to providing great puppet shows for your Sunday school classes. Below are three styles of puppet stages that can be done on a shoe string-well, maybe a piece of clothes line!

The Curtain Stage Puppet Theater

This stage is simple a piece of clothes line with a bed sheet draped over it. Puppeteers use the edge of the clothes line as the stage, and puppets appear immediately above it. Puppeteers sit or stand behind the sheet and play the puppets over their heads. You can do this by running a clothes line from one wall of your class room to another. The stage is the area covered by the sheet.

While this is certainly the easiest stage to make, it is challenging to use for a couple of reasons:

First entrances and exits of puppets are awkward. Kids are distracted from the story when puppets merely drop out of site for an exit or pop up suddenly. It isn't realistic for them. We recommend that if you use this type of stage, have puppets act like they're going downstairs to exit and coming upstairs to enter.

Second, there is no shelf to put props, which means your puppets will have to hold any props. Having their little arms wrapped around something limits their movement and hence their responses. One solution to this is to line their hands with Velcro and also put Velcro on the prop. Have the puppet act using one hand with the prop secured in the other.

The Folding Stage Puppet Theater

This can be made from a large cardboard box. The front is the largest piece of cardboard, which should be five to six feet tall and at least four feet wide. The sides are equally tall but perhaps only two feet wide. They can be attached to the front piece with strips of gaffer's tape, so that they fold in after the production and fold out halfway for the production, to give the stage area the ability to stand.

A hole should be cut in the front pieces, which will be your stage. The hold should be at least four feet wide (remember, you may need three people backstage, and all should fit behind). You can use the gaffer's tape to hold a curtain in place or hang a curtain rod on stick-hooks such as those for a college dorm room. Puppets will appear in front of the curtain.

Most puppet theaters need a "shelf" or "flat" stage to hold props. This can be made by cutting a strip of cardboard that is three inches wide and six inches longer than the hole for your stage. In each end, cut one slit and fit the flat piece across the bottom of the hole with the slits holding it in place. You can secure it with triangular shelf supports from your local hardware store. They will stick to the cardboard if you use hot glue, gaffer's tape, or even nuts and bolts. The securing pieces will prevent the stage from tilting and dropping props onto the floor.

Puppeteers sit or stand behind the stage, depending on how tall they are and how tall the cardboard piece is.

A folding stage can be made from a box that contained a garden bench or other piece of furniture. Sometimes you can secure a box this size by calling a furniture store or a large-volume supplier such as Sam's Club. While harder to find, some Sunday school teachers opt for this stage because it folds up and can be stored easily.

The Table Stage Puppet Theater

This is a puppet theater made of a cardboard box that sits on top of a table. The box still needs to be sizeable-perhaps four feet tall and at least four feet wide, but Sunday school teachers often opt for this theater for several reasons:

First, this size box is easier to find; a large air conditioning unit might come in such a box or a large vacuum cleaner.

Second, the table means that there is a place to put a script and extra puppets and props. Puppeteers sit behind it, putting a table cloth over the table first so that their legs don't distract children.

Finally, it is smaller and therefore easier to decorate. While it can't be folded and stored as easily, you can leave it in the room and allow children to create their own Christian puppet shows during free time.

The table stage follows the instructions for the tri-fold puppet theater above in how you make the shelf and attach the curtain.

Foucauld's History of Sexuality, Volume 1

I always loved reading Foucault for the alternative slant he gives you on things: you don't necessarily always agree with him--but he is always intellectually stimulating. In particular, I admire him for his anti-statist points of view. Big brother is watching: but most of us are not fully aware of just how great the surveillance is-- and Foucault, in this respect, can be an eye-opener.

I wasn't sure what I'd get from this late work: but the themes are much the same as elsewhere in Foucault. He is concerned with the way the state uses sex--or sexuality as he prefers it--to control bodies. He begins, contradictorily, by negatively critiquing the most prominent discourse on sex in the twentieth (and twenty-first) century: the state does NOT want to repress sex to consolidate its own power so as to stop emotional libertinism from getting out of hand and causing a rebellion. Rather (according to Foucault), the power of the state wishes to direct the multiple discourses on sex in order to control its power. Repression would be too simplistic a tactic. Foucault moves into uncharted territory as he begins to make his essential argument that since the Enlightenment, the great confinement and emphasis on a sterile medicalization of discourse, the state has had to look at the big picture of what it wants when it comes to population, birth control, demographics, genetics, etc. Clearly, many of the most essential areas for state control are bound up with sexuality in one way or another.

In these circumstances the state has found it expedient to medicalize the ever increasing number of discourses on sex. Therefore sexuality has become, essentially, discourse-based at the present time: more so than at any other point in history--and the ones who can control the discursive debates on sexuality will have the real power. Often, there is a hegemonic and Gramscian aspect to Foucauld's ideas, where the superstructure of a society begins to work in an independent and subliminal manner, unconscious of its adherence to state power structures.

For example, though Foucauld doesn't say it directly, one conclusion to be drawn from the way the state may wish to regulate the sexual activities of its citizens could be to encourage gay people to "marry" within the existing structures as this is better than having them "infect" the demographic equation, having biological kids, mentoring them with advice based on tolerance, anti-state ideas etc., which would destabilize the rules-based heterosexual production of compliant children. Perhaps Foucault felt this quite deeply as a gay writer himself--or as a writer who happened to be gay. According to Foucault, the state surrounds us with so many discourses about sexuality because this is something hidden that must be made known for the state to manifest full control. Keeping an individual and silent space for sexuality would be to escape the power of the state as it would no longer know what its citizens were doing in this potentially explosive area.

Therefore, the state prefers to have all the fantasies and compulsions out in the open where the medical industry can classify it into "appropriate" and "abnormal" behavior. In a sense, secret discourses about sex is what the state fears most as its control would no longer be guaranteed over people as individual agents took responsibility for their own lives and went off in different moral directions. For the state, it is essential that "sexuality" remains monolithic even though the discourses about it must constantly multiply in order to keep things under control.

According to Foucault, one concomitant of this is that the state encourages us to define our essential nature in terms of our sexuality--a way of submitting one's essential bodily reality to the supervision of the state. In a society regulated by psychiatrists and psychotherapists who are (hegemonically) encouraged to convince us that all aspects of our lives and nature are founded on sexual impulses, there can be no escape for the tormented, individual psyche which, when it tries to revolt, is quickly brought back into the sheep pen by whichever discourse on sex can best indicate the subliminal sexual impotence of the subject.

Foucauld makes it clear that beyond the needs of this bio-power of sex, there is no independent logic or reason for people to define their essential natures in terms of sexuality; no more than there would be for them to define it in terms of musical taste or personal diet preferences. In a more neutral place, our sexuality would just be one aspect of who we are: but the modern "bio-state" wishes to convince us that everything we do, everything we are, can be traced back to our sexuality--as this is the most effective way of controlling large numbers of regulated bodies.

Volume 1 was an exciting trip. I fancy vols. 2 and 3 might be a little slower, with their emphasis on the uses of pleasure in classical antiquity.

GPS - A Complete Review

A Global Position System (GPS) device is one of the hottest selling gadgets in the world of technology. Originally developed for military purposes, the ultra advanced system determines your exact location, speed of travel, elevation and other data with the help of over two dozen satellites orbiting our planet.

If you are looking to buy one of these high-tech gadgets then it is likely that you will be spoiled for choice. With so many models available in the market today it is always hard to zero in on that particular device that makes your life a little simpler. So let us find out what you need to look for when you go out shopping for your GPS device.

Most of us use GPS to aid us in driving. These compact devices can be placed in your car and they will not only tell you where you are and need to go but will also give you turn-by-turn instructions. If you are looking for driving solutions as well, then you need to consider these three main types of GPS devices: Standalone, Software based and a Personal Navigation Device.

Standalone systems are considered as one of the most reliable GPS devices till date. These gadgets are fully equipped to navigate you from your point of departure to your destination. You can choose from a number of manufacturers who sell these systems in the market today. The best feature of a standalone system is that it is fully dedicated to one thing - Navigation. So unlike PDA's and smart phones, a standalone system's efficiency is not compromised due to the presence of other software.

Most GPS buyers opt for a software based system as it offers GPS functions at a budget friendly price. In case you are interested in this option then all you need is a PDA or a smart phone that supports the software. These devices must also have a GPS receiver. While this software may not offer all the functions of a standalone system they are still very handy since they double up as another device such as a phone.

A Personal Navigation Device (PND) is for the most part a standalone system with a few extra features thrown in. While the GPS function remains the unique selling point (USP) of this product, features like music playing, movies, games etc make it a popular choice. These gadgets are compact in size and are usually available at very attractive prices.

Another useful feature that is available in almost all GPS devices is what they call Points of Interest. This database enlists a number of services ranging from gas stations to cash points, restaurants, grocery stores etc that shows up on your map. So whenever you are in a hurry you can quickly find your way to the nearest service you need without wasting any time.

The technology in this field is being constantly upgraded and now GPS devices can navigate you even if you are just walking. These road maps are not only accurate but also suggest the shortest walking routes to your destination which are different from driving routes.

A GPS device is a wonderful piece of equipment that not only saves you a lot of time and money but also doubles up as your very own on-demand personal guide.

How To Get The Best Start With Your Yamaha Guitar

So you have purchased, or are at least you are thinking about purchasing, your first Yamaha guitar. Congratulations on your decision! But before you dive into your new endeavor there are some important things that you should know.

Most everybody who wants to learn to play the guitar begins with high expectations. I say, most everybody, because some are forced into the experience, which is usually a recipe for disaster. But if playing the guitar is your aspiration then one of two things will happen. Your experience will either be "wonderful" or "horribly frustrating." In most instances, "horribly frustrating" leads to abandoning the pursuit of playing altogether.

What you want to happen is a pleasant experience where you realize a modicum of success. For some people that only amounts to mastery of a few songs and for others it will mean the ability to play just about anything they want. How far you go with learning to play is obviously up to you...but all roads can be treacherous if you don't go about it in the right way.

The first step is to purchase a decent instrument that is user friendly. That is not to say that you have to pay a lot of money but that you should put your money in the right place. I believe that the best choice for beginners is a Yamaha guitar. Beginner guitars from Yamaha have a reputation for affordability without sacrificing quality. That means "quality" of construction and "quality" of sound.

An excellent beginner model that comes highly rated is the Yamaha FG700S Acoustic guitar. You can pick one up for under $200. This guitar is easy to tune and is good about staying in tune. It has that "user friendly" quality that I mentioned earlier. If your beginner interest is in playing classical music then take a look at the Yamaha C 40. As is the case in most of their instruments the classical Yamaha guitar is both affordable and reliable.

Another way to save money on your guitar purchase is to buy a bundled kit. For example the Yamaha Gigmaker Deluxe Acoustic Guitar Package includes a gig bag, tuner, strap, strings, picks, and an instructional DVD in addition to the guitar. Best of all it sells for about the same price as the guitar by itself.

If you are buying a beginner guitar for a child, ages 7 - 11, then a good choice is the Yamaha FG JR1 ¾ Size Acoustic Guitar with Gig Bag. The smaller model guitar still maintains a rich sound while making it easier for young players to handle the instrument.

If you are serious about learning to play then there must be a commitment to practice. Practice should be consistent, purposeful, and regular. To get the most out of your practice it is best to build in accountability...and the best way to accomplish that is to work with an instructor. Learning on your own with a book or DVD is doable but nothing beats studying under a good teacher.

Most of us live around others which can mean that practice might produce friction in the household or neighborhood. If you don't have a place where you can comfortably rehearse consider a practice guitar. Yamaha also makes a superior line of practice instruments. An excellent choice is the Yamaha SLG110N Nylon String Silent Guitar Natural. With a silent Yamaha guitar you listen on headphones while you play which means you can practice in apartments, hotel rooms, or in your room late at night. The only problem is that the silent Yamaha guitar is pretty pricy...but well worth it if you are serious about growing as a musician.

For most of us mere mortals learning to play guitar is not easy. And despite those who promise that you can learn to play in just a week...forget it. You should aspire for something more than mastering "Mary Had a Little Lamb." Take your time... and put in the time. You will be rewarded with a skill that will produce much joy and satisfaction for a lifetime.

Good luck on learning to play your Yamaha guitar. And who knows? Maybe one day...that will be you up on that stage playing to a crowd of adoring fans.

Computer Experts Expose Security Flaws But Experience Backlash

Computer experts have long known that poor digital security can result in identity theft, credit card fraud, and a number of other crimes. The news that a person or organization needs to make changes to the way computer security is handled isn't always met with a good reception, however.

While these experts offer good quality advice, many people simply aren't interested in taking it. Here's a look at some of the things technology experts say that individuals and companies should do to protect their information, plus a little of the backlash they experience for giving that advice.

Protective Programs

Individual users who protect their computers with anti-malware programs are about 50 percent less likely to suffer from identity or credit card theft. The protective effect is greatest for people who are running anti-virus, anti-spyware and anti-malware programs on their PCs, with protection levels falling for people who ran only one or two of these programs, according to criminologists at Michigan State University.

About 15 percent of the people in this study had experienced identity theft related to computer security in the year before the survey. Protective programs aren't just for individual users, either. Small businesses and organizations put their information at risk if they don't bother to install protective software on every computer.

Safe Online Behavior

Downloading movies and music comes with a risk of being sued for copyright, but it could also expose a person's private information to unscrupulous users. In the MSU study, people who were more likely to download pornographic images or pirated material also had a much higher risk of identity theft. This is because the "deviant sites" that host this material are more likely to carry malicious software. By avoiding these practices, users can protect themselves.

Examining "Convenience" Measures

The same programs and features that make logging into websites and performing other simple actions much easier could also be dangerous to user identities. In 2010, for instance, a group of computer experts exposed a flaw in the AT&T website. Originally designed to make it easier to log into the site via the iPad, this problem also made it easy to get the email addresses of AT&T site users.

Both large companies and individual users should take a hard look at the convenience features they use to ensure that they're not risking valuable information. Individuals who are concerned about this problem can avoid using these convenience features or install script blockers and similar protective browser add-ons.


Computer professionals who point out these basic facts don't always get a warm reception. In the AT&T case, the independent expert group that pointed out the iPad login flaw were actually accused of criminal behavior. The Federal Bureau of Investigation even opened its own case on the incident, while AT&T accused the group of maliciously hacking and exploiting their site. While disclosing vulnerabilities is standard practice in the computer industry, the people responsible for the vulnerabilities don't always take it well.

This holds true for individuals, too. Private users who are told that they're putting their information at risk by refusing to run anti-malware programs are often resistant to the extra cost or inconvenience of this software. That's despite the strong evidence that loss of personal data could cost them a lot more. The embarrassment of having done something wrong is often strong enough that people, whether they're personal users or representatives of a corporation, blame the messenger.

Listening to technology experts on the subject of security is still a smart choice, however. By taking a few simple precautions, businesses, organizations and private citizens can all help protect personal information and reduce the risk of identity theft and financial loss.

Politics Is Boring, Trust Me On This

"I hate politics. I don't understand Congress. And I have no idea about who to vote for in the election." That's what I used to say until the political gene turned on in my late 30's.

For me, politics was boring and nobody cared. Congress was just a bunch of guys in Washington and they were going to do whatever they wanted to anyway. Besides it didn't affect me.

So my position was I'd just vote for the candidate who seemed like a rock star and had the best curb appeal. The media and the Party would make sure I picked the right one.

But in 1990 I started a new job working in Governmental Affairs at MCA/Universal and things changed. On a daily basis, we were dealing with public policy issues and I soon realized there were three words I had left out of my former simple political assessment; issues, resources and outcomes.

So if you plug these three words in, the formula suddenly changes.

Politics isn't boring. It's about issues.

Congress isn't a bunch of faceless people. It's a machine for allocating resources and setting the rules. And elections aren't about celebrity stardom. Elections have outcomes.

Once I understood that the election altered resource allocation and this affected the actual issues in my life, it became clear that Washington policy decisions transform the political arena from a boring collection of stuffy politicians into a rich landscape of diverse human opinions struggling with complex problems and many constituents.

Why did MCA think politics was important?

According to the L.A. Times, "It was (Lew) Wasserman's bitter experience with that deal (consent decree of 1959) that made him realize the importance of political clout, causing him to become a voracious fund-raiser and student of the political scene."[1]

I must have picked up on this in the time we were in his office talking about our PAC.

When I was at MCA I realized the company had issues but I did not. The company had resources while I had few. MCA/Universal desired legislative outcomes that would continue to protect and enhance their resources. Think copyright protection, anti-piracy for music and film, union issues etc. For the company, elections were about supporting the politicians aligned with their issues.

So we remained very close to world leaders, Congress and every administration since the Kennedy administration.

You might say that large corporations have political interests they want to protect. And that's exactly right. But so do small businesses and individuals. So why are we so much less involved?

For individuals, I think one key factor is a lack of resources. In a way this goes back to the same political gene I mentioned earlier. Until you have something at stake, you don't really care. When you get married or you have children or you start a small business or lose a division of your company, then you start paying attention.

Big companies are paying attention all the time. That's why they have a dominant influence in Congress and they hire lobbyists to represent them. They have the discretionary resources (time, money and staff) to allocate, focus their concerns and protect their interests.

We shouldn't blame them for that. Otherwise we might not have the rich diversity of products and services we use everyday at a price we are accustomed to.

Yet, as individuals we believe we do not have sufficient resources. Therefore we don't engage in politics. We also mistakenly think the system is so corrupt or ineffective there is nothing we can do.

So we resign ourselves to play a simple role. We vote in the general election because it requires the least effort on our part. Strange.

We do the least and expect the most, yet we condemn those who succeed. Still we won't take part in the political arena.

But if we could find a way to simplify politics, understand the issues that affect us and muster collective resources, we might want to claim a bigger part in the game. We would have some control, autonomy and capacity because that's what we need.

That's what grassroots politics is all about. But somehow even that sounds boring. Why? Because it doesn't deal with "My Issue". So what is my issue?

First, we need to ask how does this legislation affect me? And the answer is not "It doesn't."

The interesting thing is that while you may not care about politics, other people do. Your silence and non-participation mean that other people will decide how things go in your life. So if you like to be told what to do and how to live your life, then sit back and enjoy the bumpy, frustrating ride.

Ignore the issues, keep voting for the same incumbent politicians, never measure their performance, don't involve yourself in any issues you care about and do not connect the dots.

Apathy begets apathy.

Indolence begets indolence. And ignorance begets ignorance.

Stop paying attention for another few election cycles and in 10 years you won't recognize who you are or what country you are living in.

Then ask yourself again. Is politics still boring?

[1] Bates, J. (2002, June 04). The Hollywood Mogul and Kingmaker Dies at 89 LEW R. WASSERMAN: 1913 - 2002 Legacy: As MCA chief, his behind-the-scenes clout guided an industry and extended to politics. Retrieved from Los Angeles Times.

Homeschooling and Socialization

Homeschooling, in spite of its growing popularity and acceptance, is still facing some issues. Some of those issues are quite valid, while some are not, and there are also others that are quite debatable. One of those lingering issues is about the supposedly negative effects that homeschooling has on the social skills of children who are educated through this system.

The issue of socialization is a very serious one, considering the importance of proper development of social skills in any individual's life. And when a whole educational system is being questioned about its alleged or supposed negative effects about socializing, it has to be considered very seriously. It is also important to note that this belief has been made and supported by professional educators. However, if it is analyzed any further, it would be proven to be something that's entirely untrue.

What has served as the basis of the belief that homeschooling affects the development of social skills is that those who say so feel that school is the sole place where kids have any chance of learning and developing social skills. To a certain extent, school does help in the much needed development of social skills, but kids who are home-schooled also have opportunities that are not really available to kids who go to a regular school.

Since their time is, shall we way a little more "flexible", home-schooled kids have more opportunities to travel and visit places such as museums, parks, beaches, and even shows. And they are able to do this when it is not too crowded, with just the right chance to socialize and learn about the place and the other people visiting it as well. It has also been shown that home-schooled kids are also active in different sports, are seriously taking up art, acting, music, dance, and many other kinds of classes.

For the parents who are really concerned about socializing but would like their kids to go through a homeschooling program, there are some things that can be done. Some of these things that they or their home-schooled children could do are the following:

  • It would help to seek out others who are also into homeschooling and make friends with them. With the kind of technology we have today, this is pretty easy. Or, you could opt to go the old route and try to meet them in public places such as libraries.

  • There are also groups that you can join, groups such as 4 - H. It is a youth development organization that kids can join and then make choices about the clubs within the organization that specifically cater to his or her interests.

  • Joining and participating in local sports programs and tournaments in your community is an excellent way of being exposed to other people and also developing one's social skills. And of course, there are several other activities that allow kids to meet others who are like them - with their likes and interests - than sports.

Samsung i5230: The Latest Masterpiece in Mobile Communication

If you thought you had seen the last of great phones, then think again. Designers are just getting started and they have begun with the Samsung i5230. This is among the latest in the fabulous series of IP handsets. Its features will leave you feeling amazed at the sheer genius behind the design. This Samsung i5230 has among the most attractive keypads in the phone industry with its tricolored LED buttons. Some of the buttons that appear below the LCD screen are self-labeling for easy access to other functions depending on the context. For instance, you can turn them into navigational buttons when listening to music.

The Samsung i5230 is designed with intelligent usage in mind. In smt i5230, you have a phone that seems to know what you are thinking, and it can predict the next move you will make. The smt-i5230 displays your details, such as your name and number when it is in idle state. This might appear as though it is just for fun but it can be used to prove ownership if it comes to that. You can also brag to your friends about the phone that recognizes its owner.

Incredibly, the phone screens incoming calls and it can reveal the caller and predict the reason why he or she is calling. It looks as though the Samsung i5230 designers had the consumers in mind as they designed the phone. Everything is just what consumers want in a phone. This intelligent phone ensures that you never put it down. You will be blown away by the different functions meant to keep you entertained. If you are at work, you should be advised that you could easily be lost in the fun that the Samsung i5230 offers its users. Communication with smt-i5230, as with other IP phones is not limited to calls or text messaging. Internet connectivity is also available and the signal is impressive for such a stylish phone.

If all these features amaze you, wait until the price is quoted. You would expect such a masterpiece to cost the whole world. You will be delighted to learn how affordable the price is. Some dealers even extend discounts with the Samsung i5230. The feeling that you get from all these wonderful offers is that they want as many people as possible to own this phone and have a taste of ingenuity. Many of the dealers in smt-i5230 are heavyweights in their own right. They are accredited to the highest level of excellence.

The dealers in Samsung i5230 can also benefit from stocking a phone of such high caliber because they have the chance of winning awards. Such local or international awards come about if the dealer is always among the first to stock high quality phones like Samsung i5230.

It is important to purchase the Samsung i5230 from a recognized dealer because you can get various services related to the phone. Such dealers can extend lengthy warranties and provide telephone maintenance and support services in case of any malfunction.

How to Make Sure Your Drive to the Airport Goes Smoothly

Driving to the airport is one of your options when it comes to going on holiday and of course there are many others like getting a taxi, getting a limo or taking the bus/train. While there are other valid options however, it's no doubt driving yourself that is the most pleasant, most convenient and most reliable option. This way you will be able to leave in your own time and at your own convenience, you will be able to go right from door to door and you will be able to be comfortable and enjoy your own music and privacy all the way there.

But while driving is by far the best option, it's important to make sure that you take some considerations before you go to subvert catastrophe. Here we will look at some of those considerations and the measures you should take to enjoy the smoothest of journeys ready for your time in the sun.

Leave Early

It sounds obvious, but you wouldn't believe how many people decide to wait until the last minute before setting off. Of course this is only going to get you into trouble as it will mean that even the slightest thing going wrong can potentially make you late. If you leave at least an hour early then it will take more than just a traffic jam to make you miss your flight.

At the same time if you leave early that of course gives you more time at the airport which actually isn't all that bad - in most cases it means you can go shopping in the duty free section, that you can enjoy a nice pint and something to eat, or that you can grab a book to enjoy on the flight.

Organize Parking

If you are just going to try and find parking at the airport when you arrive then you may not be in luck. Of course there are a finite number of spaces for people hoping to stay in the designated parking, but at the same time you can this way risk paying well over the odds and not even ending up that near to where you need to be. Organize parking ahead of time with a separate company and you'll be guaranteed to make sure you have somewhere to leave your car where it will be safe and where it won't cost you the Earth.

As a separate note, make sure that you also look into the terminal you will be flying from/landing near. This way you can give yourself the minimum possible walk.

Plan Your Route - And Alternative Routes

Don't leave planning your route to the last minute either, and don't get too stubborn about it and let your pride get in the way. To make sure you don't land yourself in trouble just buy yourself a map, and make sure that you know precisely where you are going and how you can get there using an alternative route if you should come across building works or a big traffic jam (which is where Sat Navs aren't always so useful... ).

How to Stand Out in Your Neighborhood With Outdoor Christmas Inflatables

Christmas is fast approaching and Christmas lights and decorations are appearing everywhere. Are you wanting to 'stand out' this year by having a show case display? Here's some great ideas that will help you make the most of your yard and have people stopping and taking pictures of your décor.

Have you considered using one or more of those large Christmas blowups? They come in all shapes and sizes and are reasonably priced. You can find inflatables of Santa Claus, Reindeer, Christmas trees, Disney characters, Snowman, and even snow globes. Some of the blowups have special effects and have music or even animation. You will be amazed at all the choices you have. The cost can begin at $20 and go up to $200 and anywhere in between. Your choice, your budget, and your decision as to how many you want to display. Of course, the size of your yard makes a difference too.

Inflatables are easy to set-up and are quite durable so they will last you for many years. Plus they deflate and won't take up much storage space. You merely stake them to the ground following the instructions given, plug it in and it blows itself up. You won't have to get out a ladder or climb up on the roof to create your Christmas display. That makes it easier for those of us who are afraid of heights and don't like to climb ladders.

As you look around for choices, you will be amazed at all the possibilities. You will be able to find both secular and sacred decorations for your outdoor display. Usually people don't mix the two choices but you could have one section devoted to sacred and another area for the secular, which the kids will probably enjoy! My granddaughter loves to watch Santa pop out of the Christmas inflatable at the store. She thinks he's playing peek-a -boo with her.

The internet has become a great place to shop for these large decorations. You can discover many more choices there and the best part is the ease of shopping. Sitting at your desk, making the choice, finding free shipping and waiting for the mail to deliver them to your door. You can avoid the crowds, finding a parking space and waiting in line.

So, if you are looking to have a great Christmas display this year, one that the neighbors will be impressed with you might consider looking for Outdoor Christmas Inflatables to add to the festivities of the holiday season. Do it up BIG this year and enjoy the blowups for many years to come.

Make Money When You Buy An Internet Turnkey Website With Pre-Installed Affiliate Marketing Ads

There are always faster and efficient ways on how to make money online when you buy a turnkey niche website with pre-installed affiliate marketing ads starting with a small initial capital. In just a few seconds, you will own an online site that will earn for you regular streams of monthly passive income. Here are the typical steps that you have to follow:

First, search the Internet using the keywords: turnkey niche websites. Based on the search results, click your own preferred and credible seller site. Select from its variety of niches (e.g., CPA, Forex, real estate, healthy eating, magic tricks, fishing, online business and a lot more). From a reasonably competitive price, you can purchase and instantly own an Internet niche site (i.e., from premium to "Do-It-Yourself (DIY)" packages with free installation files and guides). However, you have to complete first the seller's online form, check which niche and package you like, and then pay using your PayPal or credit card.

Second, open your email where you can view your Admin username and password to log in to your turnkey niche site, which you have just purchased. Log in as the Administrator and change your password for security reason. You can now view the initial contents and ad optimization network programs of your site. However, make sure to read first the built-in support guides of your affiliate business site. As a reminder, you have to regularly update your website's contents by publishing articles related to your niche and see for yourself how contextual advertising will work to your advantage.

Note: Try other affiliate ad optimization techniques to really make money when you buy a turnkey niche website with pre-installed affiliate marketing ads. Examples of affiliate ad optimization programs are, viz.: cost per acquisition/action (cpa), cost per order/sale (cpo/cps), cost per visitor/view (cpv), cost or pay per click (cpc or ppc), click per impressions / mille / thousand (cpi / cpm / cpt), pay per performance (ppf), etc. Again, always remember to regularly publish informative, quality and keyword-rich contents for your affiliate products and services. Then, use the power of social media networks, too, to drive more traffic to your website. As the cliché goes, "Content is King."

Extra Tips:

1. Offer free e-books and music downloads - without intellectual property right / copyright infringements - using your opt-in or subscription page.

2. Send press releases to various distribution/submission channels to attract wider audience. Soon enough, you will begin to have more and more online visitors, loyal followers, and regular customers. As a result, you get your site ranked higher too in major search engines.

The good thing about purchasing your own niche business site - even when you don't have prior experience online as an Internet marketer or as a website owner - is when you already own one. With just a minimum of initial investment - and even if you are not an expert website developer - you can actually own an Internet turnkey money-making niche website instantly!

Now, what are you waiting for? Apply this simple and easy-to-follow make money when you buy a turnkey niche website with pre-installed affiliate marketing ads --- and begin earning regular streams of residual monthly income now!

Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM): Nontraditional Healing

Complementary and Alternative Medicine, or CAM, refers to nontraditional medical practices or products. This is a very broad definition that includes many different practices and products outside of western medicine. Traditional or standard medical services are based on scientific evidence for proven efficacy. Many forms of CAM, on the other hand, may lack research support. This doesn't mean they are not effective, just that there hasn't been enough research to date.

Complementary medicine refers practices that are used along with standard medical services while alternative medicine is used instead of standard medical services. Integrative medicine is a complete approach including the body, mind and spirit. It's a combination of standard care and CAM.

Different Types of Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Mind and Body: Many of us believe that there's a mind and body connection, so what's going on in the body affects the mind and vice versa. When faced with a major illness, there's a lot of jabbed thoughts and information going through one's mind. For this reason, it's important to clear the mind and achieve maximal relaxation on a regular basis. These practices include meditation, hypnosis, yoga, positive imagery, etc. Distraction through a hobby such as drawing or music may also be helpful. Having a creative outlet helps to shift the focus from the illness to the hobby, which is usually relaxing and pleasant. Heal the mind, heal the body!

Natural Products: Vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and herbs all belong in this category. The use of botanicals and plant extract for healing purposes can be traced back thousands of years. In the recent decades, the use of herbal medicine and dietary supplements has developed considerably due to advances in research, medicine, manufacturing, and marketing. It has been accepted by mainstream public as a way to promote wellness, maintain health, prevent illnesses, and even treat diseases.

Manipulative and Body-based Practice: these practices target the musculoskeletal, lymphatic, and circulatory systems in the body. Joint manipulations performed by chiropractors, physical therapists, and other healthcare professionals are designed to relieve pain and promote symmetry. Massage therapy also falls into this category and includes many techniques designed to reduce pain, relieve muscle tension and soreness, increase circulation, promote relaxation, reduce anxiety, and much more. Together, chiropractic manipulation and massage therapy are two of the most commonly utilized CAM practices in the U.S.

There are many other forms of complementary and alternative medicine. Examples include pilates, magnet therapy, Reiki, qi gong, etc. The ultimate goal is to promote optimal physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing.

There's no doubt that advances in traditional medicine has enabled us to live longer and healthier lives. However, there are still many areas of deficits in western medicine that lead people to seek alternative care, especially in the area of preventative medicine. Many people take dietary supplements, receive massage therapy, practice pilates or qi gong for an extended period of time for overall health instead of trying to cure an illness. Others use CAM in conjunction with traditional medicine, with permission for their healthcare professionals, to reap benefits of both worlds. Regardless of the intention, people are becoming more open minded about caring for their health. However, it is important to note that many CAM practices are loosely regulated; therefore, it's essential to research the particular product or practitioner before entrusting them with your health.

Wifi Internet Radios: Six Frequently Asked Questions Answered

If I buy a WiFi radio, can I only pick up internet stations? Will I have to give up my favourite FM stations?
This is the main concern of people thinking of buying a WiFi radio - That they'll have to make the switch from the FM stations they know and love, over to the online world of international stations and web shows. The good news, though, is that the majority of FM radio stations also broadcast online these days. In addition, most WiFi radios also include FM radio tuners, meaning you'll still be able to get the stations you can receive now - Plus the whole new world of internet stations.

How difficult are WiFi internet radios to set up?
Not at all! Set-up is made as straightforward as possible, with most models offering simple onscreen instructions which you simply need to follow through once, when you switch on for the first time. Most likely, all you'll need to do is select the WiFi hotspot you want to use, and enter the secure code needed to access it (if required). After that, the radio will connect automatically when you switch on.

If there are thousands of stations available, how do I find the ones I like?
WiFi internet radios are designed to cope with the masses of stations which are out there. Most models organise stations by easy-to-navigate categories, such as Location (where you select stations by country and region) and Genre (the general style of station, for example Pop, Talk Radio or World Music). You can also save your favourite stations as presets, so you won't need to go hunting for the same stations each time you switch on.

Does my PC need to be switched on for the WiFi internet radio to work?
No - Your WiFi internet radio works independently of your PC, and you can listen to stations whether the PC is on or not. In fact, believe it or not, you don't even need a PC to use a WiFi internet radio! The radio simply needs to connect to a convenient WiFi hotspot. If you have wireless internet access in your home, you'll probably use this same WiFi for an internet radio. Alternatively, the radio can connect to any available WiFi hotspot to which you have access. Some radios even have the option to add a rechargeable battery, meaning you can take it out and hook up to any WiFi hotspot on the move.

Will a WiFi radio use up my bandwidth allowance?
This is a common concern of many people whose broadband package includes a monthly usage limit. Whilst a WiFi internet radio will use a portion of this allowance, it shouldn't eat up too much bandwidth. Listening to a standard online radio station for one hour uses around 23Mb - About the same as if you were watching YouTube videos for the same period. Listening to two hours of internet radio per day would therefore mean a monthly bandwidth usage of 1.4Gb. As long as your broadband package includes at least 2Gb of bandwidth per month, internet radio won't drain your allowance.

I'd like a WiFi internet radio, but won't it be yet another gadget cluttering up my house?
It does seem that another must-have gadget comes out every year, and that as soon as you buy one, it gets overtaken by another even-more-essential gizmo. But one great thing about WiFi internet radios is that they often incorporate several gadgets in one. Find the right model and you can use it as an FM radio, DAB radio, MP3 player, iPod dock and even a sound system to remotely play out tracks from your PC and Last.fm account. That should save you a lot of valuable gadget space!

Making a Home Out of Your House - 15 Tips

A house is the physical structure you dwell in while a home is the internal environment in the building created by those who live in it. It is the nature of persons in a house that makes it a safe and desirable place to live in. H.L. Meckel described a home as "not being a mere transient shelter but its essence lies in the personalities of the people who live in it". Home is where your heart is; it is a cradle of comfort where you are accepted the way you are and not threatened. Many homes are theatres of conflict, violence and scheming because the occupants refuse to share love with each other or live in peace with one another. Every happy home is a composite of love, peace, validation of one another and protection of each member's interest.

Transforming a house in to a home demands the following:

1. Love which is measured by the goodwill of the family members towards one another. Love entails forgiving one another for wrongs committed, speaking the truth to each other, having empathy towards each other, being tolerant, using encouraging words while speaking and bearing each other's burden.

2. Respect for each other. There should be no name calling or pulling down of others in the family because it breeds violence. A home is where your self-esteem, self-worth and self-confidence are developed; biting criticism and derogatory remarks corrode the value a person puts on him/herself.

3. Words spoken in the home should be such that build or encourage one another. The atmosphere of homes where harsh words are always spoken are often charged with hostility and domestic violence is very common in such settings.

4. Limit the exposure of family members to violent movies or music that promote violence; this allows an atmosphere of peace to pervade the home.

5. Do not allow family members to watch sexually explicit films or engage in pornography. Such activities aside from being addictive debase the moral values of family members and open doors to every kind of filth to flood the home. They also increase the incidence of sexual experimentation and molestation in the home which could lead to incest and teenage pregnancy.

6. The family that prays together stays together. Family prayer releases power that makes family members stick to one another, love and care for each other.

7. A home where parents do not have favourites make the children feel loved equally and united. Joseph in the Book of Genesis was the subject of envy by his siblings because his father loved him specially and gave him a coat of many colours.

8. Share the word of God daily in the home. It brings the presence of God to the home and the joy that accompanies God's presence becomes the portion of every member of the family. The bible also provides moral instructions that keep the family on the path of righteousness.

9. Helping family members develop good interpersonal skills. This comes by talking respectfully to each other, being empathetic with each other and learning to see things from the other person's perspective. The family is where you learn to respect other people's views.

10. Spending good quality time together. This has a way of revealing the nature of each member of the family as they share on their likes and dislikes, their challenges and fears in life. It is also an important time for parents to teach valuable life lessons to their children telling them what values to imbibe if they are to succeed in life.

11. Safety. Children in the home must be protected from pedophiles that are always lurking in the background looking for who to prey upon.

12. Discipline must be part of life in the home. Where this is lacking, the home becomes ungovernable.

13. The home must be free from domestic violence of every sort. There should be no wife abuse, child abuse, verbal or emotional abuse in any home that aspires to be a cradle of comfort.

14. Efforts should be made to provide as much comfort as the family can afford for the children to love coming home. In this way, they would not be ashamed to invite their friends home.

15. The home is a good setting for children to discover their talents as well as learn skills such as playing the piano, cooking, drawing, and playing indoor games.