For about 10 years I have suffered from Peripheral Arterial Disease. The claudication (pain in the calves, thighs, hips) got progressively worse. My own fault. I smoke. I love red meat, eggs – all the wrong things. The…

Human Immunodeficiency Virus [HIV] belongs to the family of retrovirus that causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome [AIDS] in humans which destroys the body’s ability to fight infections and certain cancers. The virus is present in the blood, saliva, breast…

How Google Affects Our Memory

When a brand becomes a verb you know it’s proverbial paydirt. Example: What do you do when you want find out about something? You Google it of course. But for all the benefits of having so much information…

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Arts and Entertainment

Christmas signifies harmony and affection. It’s an occasion for enjoyment, laughter and celebration around the world. The greatest part of Christmas practices and conventions, providing gifts to the one you love is presumed to be a perfect opportunity to give your love and gratitude. Christmas minus the gifts is not completed actually. You can impart your concern, appreciation and tons of warm wishes with Christmas gifts. A Christmas gift is extraordinary and remarkable to people who gives and receives them.

In the search for an extraordinary gift for your loved one is not an easy task at all. It can really be annoying when you are searching for the right gift. One of the useful and most cherished geschenkideen that sincerely are heart warming is an extraordinary handcrafted gift.

Quick handcrafted Christmas gifts

It’s not a secrecy that Christmas is in reality a time of the year that is full of glamour where a time of families team up, appreciate fine dining and open amazing Christmas presents. It’s weird as it may seem, our years are not important. Receiving gifts is really fun when we are young even though the Christmas gifts have been changed over the passing of time.

Here is a compilation of extraordinary handcrafted gifts for your next Christmas gift shopping:

  • Teacup Candlelight

Fascinating, fragile teacup candles will uncover the softer side in all of us. Search for antique teacups at your local thrift shop or reuse your own. A couple of teacup candles will show ravishing as a collection and makes a fine gift as well.

  • Garden Stone

Whether there is a family member that adores gardening, this garden stone is a fantastic token or memorabilia. Just personalize it with a name and wrap it in a joyous bow. It will make their garden appear bright and cheerful regardless what the climate is outside.

  • Lip Gloss

Lip gloss is an ideal gift to offer during the wintry season when several endure from cracked lips. The scent and color is up to you and you can find a huge choice of containers and label by searching the website.

  • Multi-purpose Spice Rub

An excellent gift for the ardent cooker or family chef, handcrafted multi-purpose spice rub is ideal in hand for benefit and assured delicious flavour. This recipe may be modified agreeing with the taste by increasing extra chilli pepper for a spicy thrill. Gift it in Mason jar with a fancy label.

  • Picture Frame Memory Ring

At any rate, it is a splendid way to allot family photos in an elegant way.

  • Gem Earrings

Style your own earrings out of gems and an ordinary jewelry chain. Create a large batch to present to all the remarkable women in your life like moms, officemates and girlfriends.

  • Transparent Make-up Bag

Increase a common make-up bag by attaching lasting waterproof stickers. Personalize bags for your family and friends so they can save their make-up and travel sized items like shampoo and lotion.

Conclusion

Buying extraordinary handcrafted gifts has many advantages – makes gift giving more meaningful and endorses local craftsmen. However, shopping for these presents in a tremendous Christmas shopping crowd can be very disturbing. As a result, internet is the most effective way to shop from the amenity of your home or office. Despite that, you should buy them from an honest online shop which has been assisting a lot of people to have good buy for their money.

Arts and Entertainment

Tim Bergling, fondly known as “Avicii”, broke the hearts of millions of EDM fans last year with the news of his tragic suicide at a tender age of 28. But despite such a brief career graph, the talented musician has had gifted the music world with many top EDM songs– that have even won him Grammy nominations. The post below offers a brief on some of the best astonishing facts about Avicii as a tribute to the promising musician we lost too soon.

Facts about Avicii every EDM fan should know:

  • Avicii bagged the honorable 3rd position on DJ Mag annual list of “Top 100 DJs” for two years straight (2012 & 2013).
  • The name “Avicii” holds a reference to the Buddhist religion. “Avici” refers to a level of hell in Buddhism. He learnt about it from a close friend and immediately wanted to have it for his name But “Avici’ was already taken by a Myspace account and thus he took to an extra “i”. It took him around 18 months to accommodate himself behind decks.
  • The Swedish musician received Grammy nomination twice in his brief career of 12 years. One was in 2012 for “Sunrise” that he composed with the great David Guetta. The other was the very next year, in 2013, for his most famous hit “Levels”. In 2013 Grammy, he was nominated alongside some of the most celebrated biggies of the music industry, including Skrillex, Calvin Harris & Ne-Yo, Al Walser, John Martin & Swedish House Mafia.
  • The gifted Swedish EDM artist is often hailed as one of the most pioneering DJs to get EDM into the prestigious list of “Top 40” radio since early 2010s.
  • “Levels”, the blockbuster single that claimed him fame for the first time, hit the prestigious top 10 charts internationally in multiple countries. These include the UK, Slovenia, the Netherlands, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Norway, Germany, Finland, Denmark, Croatia, Bosnia, Belgium and Austria. In Hungary, Sweden and Norway it shot to the #1 position.

  • “Levels” was released in 2011 and was both written & produced by him. The vocal reference of the internationally famous song is inspired by Etta James’ gospel-inspired 1962 release “Something’s Got a Hold on Me”.
  • Avicii’s another hit soundtrack “Fade Into Darkness” had been sampled by popular singer Leona Lewis. Leona used it for her famous single “Collide”. However, the incident sparked a controversy Since Lewis didn’t accredit Avicii in her single. Things took an ugly turn and Avicii even blocked the release of the single. However, both the singers took to an out-of-the-court settlement and Avicii also agreed to work with Lewis later.
  • “Seek Bromance”, one of Avicii’s major hits (2010), bagged a commanding position in top 20 list in multiple countries, including France, Belgium, the Netherlands, the UK and of course Sweden.
  • “Last Dance”, Avicii’s unreleased single, was previewed in March 2012 in the popular BBC Radio show of Pete Tong. However, the song was officially released later in August that year only.
  • The grand world premiere for another popular track “Wake Me Up” had a preview on BBC Radio by none other than the great Pete Tong in 2013 June. The track was released in the final quarter of the same month.
  • Avicii was the FIRST ever DJ to command headline on the internationally acclaimed Radio City Music Hall of NYC.
  • He performed with legendary singer Madonna in 2012 Ultra Music Festival on the track of “Girl Gone Wild”. At the same festival, he also performed with another great artist, Lenny Kravitz, on “Superlove”.
  • Avicii’s another popular number, “Silhouettes”, was launched on 27th April, 2012. The single featured soulful vocals by the great Salem Al Fakir. No wonder, this one bagged a respectable position on international top music charts. It came at #6 for UK Dance lists as well as #4 on Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs.
  • His sprawling 7,000 sq.ft abode in California’s Hollywood Hills is no less than a dream mansion which is worth a jaw-dropping $15,750,000. This plush residence mesmerizes with mindblowing views of the Los Angeles downtown up to the beautiful Santa Monica.
  • The talented EDM artist has worked with several international artists from all across the world. One of his recent works was with famous Pakistani-American artist Nadia Ali. Avicii composed a remix for her track “Rapture”.
  • Avicii loved his fans and appreciated their love towards him whole-heartedly. When his Facebook follower based hit 2 million, he celebrated it with a brand new track called “Two Million”. The song was even available for free download.
  • He did the same when his Facebook page reached 3 million followers. To celebrate the feat, once again, he came up with a new track aptly titled “Three Million”. Featuring the great Negin, the track was released on 30th January, 2013.

  • Avicii has had made significant contributions in the fight to eradicate global hunger crisis. In that light, he has even founded a charity in 2011 titled “House for Hunger” with his manager Ash Pournouri.
  • He was a huge fan of the American party culture. He had even mentioned about his love for the party trend in the US in his interviews. He also lamented about the fact that such electrifying party culture does not exist in his own country, Sweden.
  • The artist’s maiden show was before a mere 1,000 people. But shortly after, Avicii started commanding 6 figures at various clubs in the US. He had the most fitting comment for his rise- “It was plain perfect timing”, he had stated in one interview. “My rise to fame was just hand-in-hand with EDM.”
  • He was the co-producer of Coldplay’s famous “A Sky Full of Stars” along with none other than Chris Martin.

It’s the misfortune of all the EDM fans and music connoisseurs in general that this young star is not with us anymore But still, given his amazing breadth of work, his musical legacy will always find a special mention in the global EDM music scene.

Pets

While petting animals at home, it is really essential to take care of certain essential elements so that one is able to maintain the hygiene from all sides. Keeping a cat at home comes with a lot of responsibilities. From maintaining its fur to clearing the litter, it is really essential to keep things clean for a better home atmosphere. Therefore, certain pet friendly products have crept its way to the market and made the overall scenario much easier and less challenging for pet owners. Therefore, one can use products like the cat litter mat that essentially helps to clean the litter of the cats and maintain a hygienic atmosphere throughout.

What are the features of the cat litter mats?

Ways to clean the mats as well-

A cat litter mat helps to clean the litter and opt to keep the place clean. Most of these mats are designed specifically keeping in mind the target and the uses. The mats are pet friendly and help to keep the cat safe as well. Owners should teach the cats where to do the litter and therefore, the cat litter mat can help to change the situations completely. These mats can be easily purchased in the market and even online as well. The quality of the product is maintained from the very start of its manufacturing so that the cats do not find any problem while doing the litter. The mats can be cleaned easily as well and one can see this technique of washing the mats from the internet too. Specific detergent options are available for cleaning the mats and one can suitably choose the products to maintain complete hygiene. Therefore, the cat litter mat helps to keep the environment very much pet friendly.

Home Improvement

If you automate your HVAC systems then you do not have to worry about getting repairs. You can also save a lot of money and time spent on getting the repairs. That is why most of the professional will advise you to automate your HVAC systems. These are some of the ways by which you can automate your HVAC systems.

  • Replace your thermostat 

You can replace your thermostat with new ones which can provide you more feature. This way it will be more energy efficient and you can save a lot of money spent on electric bills.

 

  • Get it installed by professionals 

It is always advised that you use the services of professionals in order to get desirable results. This way you do not face any problems with your new automated HVAC systems. You can contact the professional by visiting the official website and hiring their services.

  • Use your automated thermostat regularly 

Most of the people do not use their thermostat on a regular basis which is very important. In order to increase the durability of your systems, you need to use them daily so that it does not cause any inconvenience for you.

  • Program it according to your suitability

If you are using the services of the latest thermostat then you can program it according to your suitability. This way you can truly enjoy using the services of automating HVAC systems. That is why it is always advised that you use the help of the latest tools in your house for more convenience.

You can get the help from AC Repair services for the installation of HVAC Systems. So these are some of the ways by which you can easily get the HVAC systems automated. You should always make sure that all the safety precautions are taken while getting any of these services.

Internet and Businesses Online

With time passing by the internet has been universally acknowledged. Amount of people who use the internet is inflating almost every day. People take the help of internet for making money and also for gaining knowledge. Digital marketing is one such trending aspect of the internet. Digital marketing means using the digital form for running a business, it can be defined as connecting with the customers through digital means. One can use Top digital agency for marketing in NJ in order to interact with the consumers and as a result, a business can be established.

In the modern world, various online retailers are providing people with digital shopping experience.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO):

SEO is the most important part of digital marketing. It helps in optimizing the website to higher ranks, so when one searches on the search engines, their website shows the highest rank in the results. It assists in improving the traffic of the website.

Social media marketing:

Social media marketing is responsible for promoting the brands and products on various social media websites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. This aspect makes sure that the general public is well aware of the product’s description and qualities. As a result, traffic is increased.

Email marketing:

This is another practice of increasing brand awareness and traffic on one’s business website. It is often used to promote contents through emails which may include blogs and articles. Such blogs and articles have a fair description of the company’s brands and products.

Paid advertising:

The biggest aim of online marketing companies is to advertise their products. To achieve this end, they usually apply paid advertising tactics and increase the traffic on their websites. The company pays a publisher some amount so he can advertise the company. For example, paid Facebook ads, promoted tweets and sponsored LinkedIn messages.

Advantages of Top digital agency for marketing in NJ:

  • It is time-efficient. This form of marketing helps to save a lot of time. The customer and the manager can easily interact through the internet. People can order goods on the internet so they don’t need to visit a particular store or shop.
  • It covers a wide range of audience.  Products provided by digital marketers are easily accessible, so anyone who has an internet connection can access them. Once circulated on the internet, the product reaches to a large amount of audience thereby increasing the profit and selling of the company’s products.
  • The promotion used in digital marketing usually involves circulation of short videos, blog posts, short messages, attractive posters etc. The blog posts should contain proper SEO keywords in order to be effective.
  • This kind of marketing lets the user see the results in a short period of time. Unlike offline marketing, the results are viewed quickly, if the marketer has made proper strategies and applied and promoted the product effectively then he might be able to see the results almost in 6 months.

The best part of digital marketing is that it doesn’t require much amount of money. Using blog posts, email marketing, social media marketing, and paid advertising is quite cheap and that makes digital marketing even merrier.

Uncategorized

The trend of Mortgage is on the rise and it has become one of the most common loans in the USA. The houses, no doubt, are a basic necessity of life and owning a house becomes difficult unless you get the support of some leasing company. Numerous companies offer mortgage and miscellaneous loans on varying rates of interest and a client can choose any one as per his preference.

A time may come when a person can not make timely payments of his mortgage and faces the risk of repossession by the finance company. Community Mortgage Group is a highly trusted and credible company that helps its clients in facing such issues.

Community Mortgage Group

It is a Virginia based company with the business spread all across the USA. The company is a specialist in mortgage and they deal with all kinds of loans. The company was established in 1997 and it has links with the legal offices all over the USA. This cooperation helps them to solve the financial problems of their clients.

Advantages Of Dealing With Community Mortgage Group

The Community Mortgage Group is a trustworthy and reliable company that holds very good standing in the financial market. The company has an outstanding customer support system and it is a great experience to do business with this company. The company helps its clients in getting rid of the following loans:-

1. Refinance

Refinancing of loans is an attractive package offered by Community Mortgage Group. There is no issue of any minimum credit limit to qualify for this offer.

Anybody can join it at any time. The company also tries to negotiate with the lending companies to get the terms of the lease relaxed. This causes great help in payments by the client.

2. Debt Consolidation

The Community Mortgage Group deals with matters of debt consolidation. It enjoys good relations with all the credit companies in the states. This helps the company in securing the best rates of interest for their clients. They also try to lower the otherwise high processing fees for debt consolidation and try to support the client in every possible manner.

3. Mortgage

The mortgages are a type of high-interest loan and they may become difficult to pay back in case of job loss or change of income. Community Mortgage Group provides assistance in such situations and tries to avoid the event of repossession of the property. It negotiates with your investors to get you flexibility in mortgage terms.

4. Customized Services

The company is staffed by highly educated and skilled agents. They offer you customized services for their clients. Each plan is carefully thought out and prepared to keep in view the peculiar needs of the clients. This ensures maximum benefit for the client.

Company Contact
The Community Mortgage Group can be contacted on following address:-

234 Expert Circle Suite 200
Princeton, WV 24740

Phone: 304-425-8960

Parenting

New Mexico Public Education Department Secretary-designate Hanna Skandera wants to see as many of the state’s schools in person as possible, and on Wednesday she paid a visit to Raton.

“I’ve never been to Raton,” Skandera said. “I’m a big fan of seeing schools, visiting folks and getting outside of the Albuquerque-Santa Fe circle, seeing the rest of our kids.”

Skandera briefly toured some of the Raton schools and visited with Raton schools Superintendent Dave Willden about some of the district’s programs. Skandera said her visit wasn’t about discussing state policies but rather about learning what is happening in school districts, what their needs are and what the state can do to help.

“It was nice and appreciated,” Willden said regarding the visit. “I’m glad she was here and saw some good things happening here. Hopefully, she can help us move things forward.”

While visiting students at Kearny and Longfellow elementary schools, Skandera — who described visiting schools as “my favorite part of the job” — said she could tell that the teachers were focused on the students and have them “headed in the right direction.”

“It was all (about) the kids,” she said. “Each one of those kids was proud and willing to learn, and that’s a sign of a good teacher.”

The Raton visit not only allowed Skandera to talk to students, teachers, and staff, but to learn about the district’s desire to build a consolidated elementary school. While touring the schools, Willden filled Skandera in on some of the building issues with Kearny and Longfellow, at which district maintenance staff have implemented some short-term measures in hopes a new school building will eventually be achieved.

The district put a bond issue before voters in 2008 but it failed to pass. Willden has since steered the district’s efforts toward a lease-purchase arrangement, in which the district would use its operational savings — from the closure of the existing three elementary schools — to pay for its share of a new consolidated elementary school, but the district has been unable to get backing from the Public Schools Facilities Authority.

During Skandera’s visit, Willden explained that the district could save about $500,000 per year by consolidating the schools. Skandera told The Range that seeing the schools firsthand helped her understand the situation and that “anyway I can, I’d like to help” the district, particularly when the administration is trying to be “fiscally smart because it means more dollars for our kids. I want to support that any way we can.”

Willden also discussed the district’s partnership with Virgin Galactic, the focus of which is a plan to implement an aerospace career pathways program. Willden heads up the New Mexico Aviation Aerospace Educational Alliance.

“This is awesome,” Skandera remarked after hearing from Willden about the aerospace-related initiatives. She suggested the district might be able to receive career technical education funding through the state to help the effort.

“This is something I want to see (happen),” she told Willden.

Skandera said many officials at the state level have discussed the importance of schools partnering with businesses and the Raton school district’s work with Virgin Galactic is a good example.

“The schools are the suppliers of employees,” she said, adding that the aerospace career pathways program is one example of how schools can respond to the needs of businesses and get students prepared to enter the workforce.

“It helps the students to see what is possible (for their future) and how to be prepared for a career,” Skandera said.

Tech & Gadgets
  • Things that happened in 1972:
  • The Watergate break-in.
  • M*A*S*H premiers on CBS.
  • Atari is founded.
  • The G.711 standard is released by the international telecommunications union.

So maybe that last point is lost on a lot of you, but for those of us in the telecom and technology game, it’s a pretty big deal. The G.711 — the most common codec (a device or program that decodes a digital stream or signal) used for VoIP communications — is 42 years old. That’s like, 200 years old in tech life.

In those 42 years, we’ve seen an explosion in the tech industry. Companies like Google, Facebook and Skype are bringing new disruptive products to the marketplace revolutionizing the way the world communicates (the founders of these companies are all younger than G.711, by the way). Amazing leaps in technology have been made since the standard was released, yet most of the VoIP world plods along with G.711 or, worse yet, uses compression.

So what’s come along that should be replacing this already-aged technology? Successful voice products for the next 42 years will embrace codecs with a couple capabilities:

First is a high-definition voice. Several different codecs can do HD voice, with the most widely supported being G.722. The picture quality on your television has improved greatly since 1972, it’s time your voice calls took the same jump.

Second is adaptive bit rates. This takes HD voice a little bit further. Codecs such as SILK can change their bit rate in real time from as high as 40 kbit/s (5 times higher than g.711) to as low as 6 kbit/s (lower than g.711). Voice is shifting from phone-centric to application-centric. This means more and more calls are being made from PCs, tablets, and other smart devices. These devices are going to be expected to work anytime, anywhere and over any network. Being able to change the bitrate on the fly gives the codec the ability to automatically react to changing and poor network conditions while maintaining an acceptable quality of service.

Its time for the VoIP world to embrace the newer better options available. The G.711 is reliable, but technology has caught up and passed it by. It’s up to service providers to show clients there are alternatives out there, and more being added every day. If we all make the leap forward, it will ultimately lead to a better user experience all around.

Health

For about 10 years I have suffered from Peripheral Arterial Disease. The claudication (pain in the calves, thighs, hips) got progressively worse.

My own fault. I smoke. I love red meat, eggs – all the wrong things. The payoff — elevated cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, clogged arteries.

Bear with me a while — it gets a lot better.

I had about 5 stents put in my right leg, and 2 or 3 in the left. Finally, they said my left leg artery was completely blocked, and could not be stented again. My doctor talked about a bypass, but the description of this didn’t appeal to me – it would last about 10 years at most and couldn’t be repeated, so then I’d probably lose the leg.

Then I had a heart attack. Actually a bunch of heart attacks. I had blocked coronary arteries — 2 more stents. That worked for about 5 years.

So these were my symptoms:

Numbness in toe 2 and 3 on the left foot. Extreme pain in toe 3 on the right foot for several months – constant. Thick hard skin under all toes. Ugly toenails. Left foot always cold and grey. Bruises and marks on shins that wouldn’t clear up (8 or 10 years). Fungus or something on forearms for many years that must be related to circulatory problems, because seems to clear a little when I quit smoking. Walk 1 flight of stairs and need to sit down – some pain. 2 flights, lots of pain. Walk treadmill – 100 ft. and pain starts. Can force me to walk .1 miles (500 ft.), but the pain is excruciating, and need to stagger to a nearby chair and sit for 10 minutes. For the past several months, have been getting pain in left arm after exertion, just like with my heart attacks – mini-heart attacks are back. Also if I lay on it. Cramps in toes and legs at night (2 or 3 times, but not every night). Constant feeling of fatigue in lower back and hips – sometimes pain. Already had several stents in legs and coronary arteries. Can’t quit smoking (did once about 2 yrs ago for 6 months). Can’t put any more stents in left leg — the main artery is completely blocked. The normal progression of problems probably means eventual amputation of toes, then feet, then legs. If I don’t die of a heart attack first.

I was very worried about a major heart attack and toe and foot amputation, so I began to research the web. I found quite a few references to EDTA chelation, with some amazing claims. People who were candidates for imminent amputations were able to avoid this with chelation. I have a friend who told me about this several years ago. He said there was an older man whose toes were black, and he was going to lose them. Several weeks of IV chelation and the toes were normal. Well — that was hard to believe. At that time I put chelation in the very doubtful bag. But all this anecdotal evidence was hard to ignore.

So I looked for treatments. Found that chelation had normally been administered at a doctor’s office intravenously (IV). Then I began to read about oral chelation. Not as immediately effective as IV, but over time accomplished the same thing. I looked for products and found a wide range of prices. Some at about $150 for a month or so of pills. Then I found one for under $15 for about 2 months of capsules.

I also investigated side effects and interactions. Found some references to depletion of zinc, and a recommendation that you supplement that. And a possibility of headaches. That was it. No interactions with other medication (as you can imagine, I’m taking a few). So I thought I had nothing to lose, and I ordered it.

I was nothing short of amazed. Not a miracle like the gall stone flush. Didn’t completely solve the problem. But what an improvement. Stopped having mini-heart attacks. Increased my walking distance before pain from 100 to 500 ft. in about 2 months. And a whole lot more.

I am sure oral chelation would have been much more effective for me if I could just give up smoking. One case mentioned in the literature said that 87% of the people who tried it was helped. Of the rest, most were smokers.

There has been one drawback. I get a lot more mosquito bites. They didn’t use to bother me much. I can only guess that that is because there is more blood near the skin, and those little buggers know it. (See the “Mosquito bites” section.)

About 25 years ago my Dad had a heart attack and subsequently died of pneumonia. No one told him about EDTA chelation. I can’t help but think he could have lived more years had he known, and it makes me angry.

But about my progress, I am ecstatic — no more mini-heart attacks, and I keep wiggling my toes in disbelief – no more numbness, no more pain. And my toes look good – no hard thick skin under the nails, no fungus. My left foot is pink and warm. I can still walk 5 times as far before the pain starts. I look younger and healthier, especially with smaller bags under my eyes. And I feel good.

If you want or need quick results, the IV treatment is best. But it costs $200 to $300 per session, and they typically recommend 30 sessions – about 3 hours per day over 6 to 8 weeks. If you aren’t in a hurry, oral chelation is certainly more convenient, and much, much less expensive.

My sister took EDTA. After 2 months, she ran up a flight of stairs without thinking. At the top, she realized what she had done. She hadn’t been able to run upstairs for many years. And she wasn’t even out of breath.

My barber began taking EDTA. In one week the pains he had had in his legs for over 10 years disappeared.

I have read that chelation works by removing calcium from the blood. Strangely enough, this supposedly does not contribute to osteoporosis. Calcium attaches to the walls of the blood vessels and provides a way for cholesterol to build into plaque. There are other explanations, but this is the most common one given. Calcium is one of the contributors to arthritis. So EDTA chelation is supposed to help with arthritis also. My question is: Does anyone have experience with EDTA chelation as an aid in reducing arthritis symptoms? If you do, please go to the “Discussion” section and tell us about how it has helped you (or not helped you).

Note:
Is there a link between ear lobe creases and coronary heart disease?

Since 1973, several studies have demonstrated a link between a specific form of ear lobe crease on both ears and an increased incidence of coronary heart disease.
It is thought that if an individual has diagonal creases on both earlobes, there may be some benefit in undergoing screening to exclude the possibility of coronary heart disease. Similar links with coronary heart disease have been found with other physical characteristics such as short rather than tall people or women with ‘apple’ shaped bodies.

It is important to remember, however, that not every individual with these characteristic ear lobe creases is likely to have coronary heart disease.
While this and other similar associations are interesting, they may not be such an important predictor of coronary heart disease as other controllable risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol levels, physical inactivity, being overweight or obese and diabetes.
British Heart Foundation

Controversy exists as to whether the presence of a diagonal crease on the earlobe is associated with an increased risk of coronary artery disease. To evaluate this possibility, Elliott and Harrison performed a prospective observational study.

A total of 108 hospitalized patient were included in the study. Each patient was assigned to one of four groups according to the presence or absence of coronary artery disease and the presence or absence of a diagonal crease on the earlobe. The demographic characteristics of each of the cohorts were similar. Each group consisted of 14 men and 13 women. Mean age at entry into the study was 63 years. Eight to 10 years to follow-up information was subsequently obtained regarding the dates and causes of death.

Fifty-eight of the 108 patients died during the follow-up period. The patients with earlobe creases had a significantly poorer survival rate than those without earlobe creases, whether or not they had documented coronary artery disease at enrollment in the study. Patients with earlobe creases also had a significantly higher cardiac mortality rate and a higher number of cardiac events, including nonfatal myocardial infarction and coronary artery bypass graft.

The study findings suggest that persons with a diagonal crease on the earlobe may be at increased risk of cardiac mortality. The authors recommended that these persons be cautioned to control or to eliminate risk factors, such as smoking, hypertension, and obesity. (American Journal of Medicine, September 1991, vol. 91, p. 247.)

Found this note from “Ask Dr. Stoll”:
Fingernail ridges Across the nail
If this is only on some nails, and they are not at the same level as each nail, then this is most commonly caused by a relative deficiency of circulation to the extremities. Do you suffer from cold hands or feet? If this is your situation, you need to become a student of Skilled Relaxation and to practice it correctly. Within 3-6 months, the circulation to your extremities will improve enough that these ridges will no longer form. Of course, depending on how fast your nails grow out, it could take 6 more months for you to have all normal nails.

Health

Human Immunodeficiency Virus [HIV] belongs to the family of retrovirus that causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome [AIDS] in humans which destroys the body’s ability to fight infections and certain cancers. The virus is present in the blood, saliva, breast milk and genital secretions of all the infected individuals irrespective of presence or absence of symptoms. HIV infection occurs when these secretions come in contact with tissues like vaginal mucosa, oral mucosa, anal mucosa, or if the secretions come in contact with blood through a break in the skin, blood transfusion, and injection needles. The most common routes of transmission include having sex with an infected partner, blood transfusion, contaminated needles and transmission of infection from infected mothers to their newborns.

Once the viruses enter the body, they multiply and produce billions of HIV viruses and circulate in the blood. These viruses attack and destroy vital cells of the immune system such as CD4 [helper T cells] cells, macrophages, and dendritic cells. The HIV infection leads to a decrease in CD4 cells when the CD4 cell count is below a critical level, the body loses cell-mediated immunity and progressively body becomes more susceptible to opportunistic infections. When the CD4 count reaches below a critical level, the infected person said to have AIDS. AIDS is the later stage of HIV infection and the infections occur in this stage are called opportunistic infections. Many people with HIV infection do not develop symptoms, within weeks of infection, some people experience influenza-like illness. Early symptoms of HIV infection include fever, aching muscles and joints, tiredness, headache, sore throat and enlarged lymph nodes in the neck. These symptoms disappear on their own within a few weeks, the person becomes free form symptoms and this asymptomatic phase often lasts for years. This phase of early symptoms is known as primary infection.

HIV symptoms in men include flu-like illness, significant weight loss, night sweats, fatigue, persistent diarrhea, mouth ulcers, and white spots in the mouth, constant headaches and constant swelling of lymph nodes. In the first week of infection, the person develops low-grade fever [100.4 F] associated with a headache, malaise, sore throat, and pain in joints and muscles. In the second week of infection, the person develops enlargement of lymph nodes in the neck and armpits. Some men develop moderate enlargement of spleen, the condition is known as splenomegaly. The spleen is the largest lymph gland in the body located in the left upper quadrant of the abdomen just below the ribs. Other symptoms of HIV in men include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and persistent dry cough. Men in AIDS stage can develop opportunities infections such as pneumonia, brain infection with toxoplasmosis and yeast infections. The weak immune system in AIDS stage can also lead to other unusual conditions such as Lymphoma [cancer of lymphnodes], Kaposi’s sarcoma [cancer of soft tissues].

HIV Symptoms in Women
Specific HIV symptoms in women are different from symptoms of HIV infection in men, except early symptoms. Within a couple of weeks after the HIV infection, many women experience influenza-like symptoms and some women may not develop any symptoms for many years after the infection. As the infection progresses, HIV symptoms in women include swelling of lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, and groins, frequent fevers with night sweats, rapid weight loss, constant fatigue, loss of appetite, diarrhea and white spots in the mouth.

Specific HIV symptoms in women are subtle and they may not be perceived as warning signs of infection. Often, these symptoms are mistaken for other conditions. Most commonly experienced HIV symptoms in women include recurrent severe vaginal infections, pelvic infections such as Pelvic Inflammatory Disease [PID] which does not respond to the treatment, and abnormal pap smears. Other HIV symptoms in women include genital ulcers, genital warts, recurrent vaginal yeast infections, and severe mucosal herpes infections. Pap smear shows dysplasia, the cervical smear indicates abnormal changes in the cervical cells. Vaginal infections are common HIV symptoms in women which include bacterial vaginosis, and common Sexually Transmitted Diseases [STDs] such as Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and Trichomoniasis. Due to a weak immune system, women develop genital warts which are caused by another type of virus called human papillomavirus. Genital ulcers caused by severe infection of herpes simplex virus can affect a woman’s quality of life. Frequent vaginal yeast infections indicate low body immunity, which are predominant HIV symptoms in women. Vaginal yeast infections are common and easily treated in normal women, but in women, with HIV infection they are persistent and difficult to treat because of low body immunity.

Business

First, A Little Background

I read a lot of information online. I don’t get a paper edition of any newspaper, and I even rarely watch the news on TV because I get all I need online. I enjoy the ability to pick out the articles I want to read when I want to read them and to be able to consume information from sites I enjoy. This means I read a lot of blogs these days as well. Say what you will about the reputability of blogs in general, I find many of the postings on blogs much more than I do many news sites.

Anyway, in my perusing, I have read many a rant about terrible experiences with customer service. These range from not being able to close down your AOL or cell phone account, to a complete inability to get a service agent that has a clue about the service you are needing help with. I feel for these people, and the situations they are often describing sound horrific. I have had my own customer service woes and even one shocker that made me want to reach through the phone and strangle the rep on the other end of the line.

A Personal Example

In my extreme situation, I was trying to cancel a credit card that had gone past its promotional period and had lost its usefulness for my situation. I had other cards and this one had been for a business startup that I didn’t need to carry the card for any longer. So, like the average consumer, I looked up my statement and called the number provided. After wading through the menu options, I finally arrived at a live person and made my request to cancel the account. I expected a few “save sale” attempts, and my expectations were met. I politely declined and waited for the rep to get the job done. Instead, the rep took it upon himself to ridicule me saying things such as “So, are you just a freeloader then? You just got our card for the zero interest period and then you’re off to get another card?” I was floored. The comments continued for a bit until my blood pressure rose and I had a few choices yet calmly worded things to say back to the rep. I had never been so insulted in a customer situation before and I really was at a loss as to what to do. I requested his name, agent number and to speak to a supervisor at which time he hung up on me. I’m not sure if this was a prank or if he had not taken his medication that day, but he was way off base and out of line. I called back, got a supervisor, but there was no record of the call (of course) and I had no identifying information to help track down this imbecile.

The Customer Is Not Always Right

Throughout my life, I’ve always heard the phrase “the customer is always right” as a mantra to how service should be given by “good” companies. Though this may have worked in some previous generation, I am here to tell you that the customer most definitely is not always right; in fact, in my industry, the customer is often wrong, and not all that intelligent either. I know, that sounds pretty harsh, and I’ll give a few details to soften that statement a bit.

I work for a company that sells informational products online, most of what include a monthly membership that customers can keep for as little or long as they want. We offer a free 14-day trial on most of our offer pages that allow the customer to check out what we have and decide to keep it or not. We make this very clear in the process that if the customer doesn’t want to keep the product, cancel (by phone, email or online) and they are charged nothing more. If they want the product, they get charged automatically each month until they cancel. Think of Columbia House Records, BMG, a monthly gym membership, etc. Not that hard to understand, right? Apparently not.

We get the craziest people calling, irate that they have been charged for a membership, and they have the widest variety of excuses, claims and outright lies they give to try and get their money back. We have come to know that these customers usually fall in one or more of the following categories:

  • Forgetful – they don’t remember what they sign up for online
  • Fraud – the favorite among most is to claim that they never signed up for this and someone has stolen their identity (even though we have all their info correct, even the IP address of their ISP that points right to them has actually done this)
  • Scammers – those that are trying to get something for nothing with online offers, or even worse, try to trick you into giving a refund when they have also charged back the transaction to try and double dip against the company to get some “free money”
  • Angry people – will try to bully or scare you into refunding everything ever charged because of how angry they are
    Bluffers – threaten legal action of every possible kind to get their $1.87 shipping fee back
  • Selectively illiterate – they can’t read the important facts of what they are signing up for, but they sure can pull out that credit card and enter the number into the right boxes
  • Imposters – will act like they are someone else, such as a bank manager, police officer, etc. to try and sound official to get you to refund fees for the “victim” they are helping
  • Victims of a disaster – some major catastrophe in their lives has happened, so you must feel obligated to give them a refund on anything you ever charged them.
  • Liars – fall into any of the above categories, but they can get even more creative when pressed for details.
    The list can go on, and on, and on, and you get the idea.

The Vocal Minority, Again

To temper the above description, I happen to know we hear from the lively, noisy with apparently the time on their hands to check their bank statement daily go to battle with customer service over a few bucks, but not enough sense to use that time to actually track the obligations they signed up for. We have thousands of clients, and the majority of them either a) cancel using one of our easy options, typically online or by email, during the trial period if they don’t want the product or b) use the product for as long as they want and then cancel when they are done. Who we hear from are those that simply do not want to take responsibility for their actions and want you to “make it right” by giving back the money rightfully charged to them because of their choice to buy something.

These people drive me, and our entire customer service department crazy, but they are 99% of the people they get to deal with. You may wonder why it bothers me because I don’t work in customer service; my office is right next to them though, and I often overhear the conversations or the summary they share with each other on the particularly ridiculous gems.

More to Share

So, one series of posts I’d like to start sharing are some of these “gems” as I call them. Where possible, I might even share some recordings of the really good ones, but we’ll see on that. Just the summary alone should be comical enough that you’ll enjoy reading them. Either that, or you’ll simply shake your head at the type of people we get to hear from.

How these people are ever given the ability to make financial transactions is beyond me.

Inspirational

Mary, the “mom”

While driving yesterday, I heard a news report about teens and their reactions to their families cutting back spending, including allowances, in the face of the economic crisis. The report indicated that in recent months teens are spending less, presumably because of cutbacks in allowances, although I’m sure loss or unavailability of part-time jobs plays a role as well. Apparently many teens’ reactions to such a situation are to be upset or angry, according to the report. This really caught my attention. My own kids have been remarkably supportive about cutbacks we’ve implemented. In fairness, we’ve been able to avoid cutting the things we know are most important to them, but still, many smaller things have been cut that do affect them. Just as I was getting worked up that it wasn’t fair to generalize in such a way, the report continued that such a reaction from teens was often a sign of fear for their families, as opposed to selfishness. Phew!

But, this raises a point. We need to talk to our kids about money in general and this economic crisis in particular. Even if your family isn’t feeling the pinch, if you’re not talking, your kids may be imagining the worst. I definitely need to sit down with my kids and be more specific than “we can’t afford that right now” or “money is tight”, because who knows what they’re worried about. Apparently, they might be more worried about their parents or their college fund than that new pair of brand name jeans.

If you’re looking for ideas on how to communicate with your kids about economic issues, ParentingTeensOnline has an article, The Money Talk, about just that, and a very helpful article with suggestions for conversation starters. There was also a post on a Business Week blog, Talking to Your Teen About the Financial Crisis.

So, “Dad”, what’s your approach to discussing the financial issue with your teens? Rach, what about you? Do your parents talk to you about money? How do you think parents should talk to their kids about financial stress?

Rach, the “teen”

Most of the teens I know whose parents are struggling with the economy (so, all the teens I know), are reacting really well. Some of our parents have talked to us, and some of them haven’t. Only recently did my parents start including me and my brother in talks about money. That is, we know how lucky we are that our family saved up and planned early for college and other long-term expenses like that.

For most of the teens I know, this means that they need to get more financial aid from colleges, or that they have to give up driving their own car around. It’s also been tough for us in the job market. Most of my friends are unemployed, not because they want to be, but because it’s freaking hard to get a job.

So, I think it’s really important for parents and kids to talk about money issues in the family. Money affects way more than just the parents, and “mom” is totally right – kids imagine the worst. So, be honest with them.

Lauren, guest teen blogger

Many teens are worried about their family and the situations they’re in. The teens that are only thinking about designer jeans probably have enough money that they’re not feeling the crisis going on. So most teens aren’t thinking about it in a selfish way, but teens are feeling it and worrying. Parents who aren’t letting their kids know are certainly upsetting their teens. As a teenager, I know that a lot of the time we pick up on our parents’ and other people’s emotions when they think they’re hiding them well. Parents think that kids not knowing they’re stressed about things will keep their teens less stressed, but really it’s exactly the opposite. So parent’s make sure your teens understand your current situation with money.

Personally, I’m hearing that money is tight on daily basis. We don’t need to be reminded when it’s not at that moment relevant. It can be upsetting to hear so often how stressed parents are. Also, the stress for parents seems to carry over to more than just money. It makes parents stressed about work and life in general. It can make them stressed about things that have never been a big deal before. So you have to find a happy medium. You need to let your teens know about your current situation but don’t make your money situation a huge part of your teen’s life.

Brad, the “dad”

Talking about money has always been a balancing act around our house. My wife comes from a well-off household where she never really wanted for anything, including a college education, and they never talked about money. I came from a small-biz lower-middle-class household where there was virtually no extra cash ever, at all, especially for college…and we never talked about money, either. So we decided from the beginning that we would be open about our finances, whether the news was good or bad.

Easier said than done. The hard part is keeping them apprised in an age-appropriate way without scaring the heck out of them when you have to say, “We can’t afford that,” or “we really can’t pay all the bills this month.” The trick is keeping them in the loop, but going light on the details…and always giving them a sense of hope for the future, even when you’re not necessarily feeling that way.

On the one hand, the girls have responded with wonderful strength and resilience throughout our years of economic roller-coaster, and I think it’s made them far more realistic about the world, and far more appreciative of every dollar we have, without being fearful. On the other hand, I feel constantly guilty – truly, deeply guilty – that we haven’t been able to give them whatever they wanted without worrying about the cost. ‘Cause part of me says that’s what Dads are supposed to do (even if it’s not all that healthy for the kids).

My advice: be honest, but tread lightly. And don’t underestimate your kids: they understand a lot more than you realize they do, and they can handle a lot more than you imagine. And yes, absolutely: if you don’t let them know what’s going on, they will almost certainly assume the worst. So talk, already. And teach them how to balance a checkbook!

Entertainment

Competition often goes hand in hand with anger. I have experienced the rage of people in pick up games or all types when they simply lose it. Often this is because trying to prove they used to have some talent at some time and cannot admit that even if they did at one point, they don’t have it now. Their old, flabby never exercised body just can’t perform like their brain thinks it can. Speaking in the arena where I have the most experience, basketball, this is such a common occurrence that I guarantee if you bring up the subject among a group of guys that do or have played, there will be an endless stream of stories.

Let me paint the picture. Mr “I think I’m a basketball star” tries to impress everyone on the court with his aerial acrobatics flying haphazardly through a crowd of people towards the basket. When he misses, which is far more frequent than he makes, he shouts out foul to cover his complete lack of control and ability. Everyone on the opposing team looks at each other wondering who could have touched this loudmouth, and then of course knowing that they did not, start shooting off derogatory (yet fitting) comments about said court maniac. His response is to get in the face of anyone opposing him in an obvious attempt to establish dominance as any bully does, even when they know they are wrong. Tempers flare, at times shoving and even fists fly. This seems to happen almost as often as the injuries that old guys like me get when trying to play at levels no longer sustainable.

There are perhaps many reasons why this happens with the old guys, but you see it as well in the younger crowds. Egos ride as high as most can jump, and perhaps higher. Whatever happened to showing a little class on the field/court/whatever? Sportsmanship – that’s for wimps, at least that seems to be the message most people are getting from professional sports. This is what I think is the root of the problem. Case in point, the recent Nuggets/Knicks brawl near the end of the game. What a bunch of thugs these players showed themselves to be. I could really care less what these overpaid egos are capable of doing on the court, but for some reason, our youth hold them up as role models, so whatever they do gets viewed as the “thing” to do on the local hardtop as well. I loathe these players that have such terrible persona’s, both on and off the court. Kids look up to them no matter what we do, and they emulate everything they do.

I could create a long list of players, almost all of them quite popular to many people, that I just can’t stand to watch. I will often turn off a game if that player is featured. I’ll skip the list though, you know who they are, and I would hate to leave one out. There are a lot of things wrong with modern professional sports, but this is one that I just can’t stand. I think most people are getting tired of it too as commentators, league officials and most sports sites are decrying the actions when they happen. It makes news though, so secretly I think the media side of it can’t get enough.

I’ve had enough though. I’ll still watch an occasional pro football game, but I have all but given up watching pro basketball. I stick primarily to college games. They aren’t missing my dollars because I have rarely actually gone to a game – usually, I just catch what’s on TV. I’m just tired of it and would rather turn off the boob tube that catches a game full of these types. Maybe it’s a good thing (shudder) that I have a bum knee and can’t play basketball anymore; maybe I would just be one of these over competitive guys that make life miserable. Actually, I know better, I’m a good sport when I play. Competitive, but I grew out of my tantrum stage back as a kid. Apparently, that stage lasts much longer for the good athletes, so I just don’t know.

Tech & Gadgets

If you have a mail address and have at least one friend in the world, you likely have had some email joke/story/whatever forwarded to you. We all have done it, and we are all more than likely guilty of at some point having forwarded something that ended up not being true. Yep, Urban Legends, fake virus warnings, etc. were all the rage for some time and somehow continue to linger even today.

Because I have been on the receiving end of many very public email addresses, I somehow end up on the mailing list of everyone that still believes these things and forwards them right on through to their entire address book. Adding insult to injury, I get the same message more than once as everyone wants to be the first to let you know that [insert name here] virus is running rampant and you better protect yourself! Thanks, twenty other people have already given me fair warning.
Some of my favorites? Making money from Microsoft/Disney/Oracle if you simply forward this message on to 10 other people. Why is it the email newbie’s believe there is some magic way of tracking the forwards first off, and that these big companies have the power much less the interest in following a chain letter to pay you for doing it?

How about the Nigerian offshore money scam? That one still runs rampant because there are people that fall for it and really they have been selected for the chance of a lifetime to scam some government out of millions. They never stop to ask themselves why would their email be found or if this sounds fishy? No, it must be true, and I’m getting my piece of it, how about you?

One of the very earliest versions of the email forwarding spoof made popular in the media was a warning about gangs driving around with their headlights off waiting for someone to do the common courtesy of flashing their lights to let them know. The email warned you not do this because if you did they would force you off the road and attack you. I remember specifically receiving this email dozens of times from different sources within one week. Unfortunately, because of the media attention the “joke” received, some wannabe gangs started acting out on it.

Seen the tallest woman in the world? Lead in your lipstick? Shark jumping out of the water to attack a helicopter? The list goes on, and on, and on and….on. About.com lists the top 25 urban legends if you care to see how many you have received in the past. I was actually surprised there were a number of them I haven’t seen.

I actually don’t mind receiving some of the better jokes or feel-good stories out there, but please, if you are going to forward on an email, follow a few basic rules of courtesy. Basic net etiquette, or Netiquette as it has become know. Summarizing a bit of what you can read over at Wikipedia from that link, and adding a few thoughts of my own:

Urban Legends: Please Don’t Send Me Email Hoaxes

Think before passing something along. Is it old news that has been forwarded to death? Ask yourself if it sounds plausible. If something sounds too incredible to be true, there is a good chance it might be.

Do a little research. If you are going to take time to fill up your email recipients on that email, take a few extra moments to check out the credibility of the story. There are many sites providing a great service of pointing out hoaxes, but two of my favorites are
About.com – urbanlegends.about.com
Snopes – snopes.com

Trim the fat. Nothing is more annoying than receiving a forwarded email that has the words “FWD” in the subject a dozen times, all the email addresses and headers of the previous forwarding along with forwarding angle brackets (>) galore. If I see a message with all this detritus, honestly I just delete it. It isn’t worth my time to search through the message to find the meat of it all. Along with my laziness, I figure I’ll get it again sometime soon from someone else.

Don’t make my email public. Worse than actually receiving the message is seeing my email publicized in all its glory along with a hundred others for the world (and viruses ridden computers) to see. I have actually seen some emails of some pretty prominent people this way. Learn the power of the blind carbon copy (Bcc) function. You have to enable this field on some email programs, but please do. By entering emails where you don’t show everyone else who you have emailed to. Simple common courtesy.

Turn off your footer. Along with cleaning out the automatic footers and salutations of previous posters, turn yours off. Nothing is more of a turn off to reading a good story or joke than seeing your company advertisement at the end of it. Is that why you sent it to me, to get me in your downline of whatever you are a part of?

Actually, include a message from you. Yes, I may know you well or perhaps not-so-well, but please write even a short note about why you are forwarding this on. If I just receive the message along with the rest of your oh so lucky recipients with no note from you, I am likely going to figure it is spam and toss it. If you tell me why you sent it along, I may actually give it a read.

Only the good stuff. This is completely subjective of course, but use a little discretion and be selective on what you forward on. Don’t forward on everything that you happen to get. Yes, I realize you may be excited to receive email at all (”They like me, they really do”), I am not that way. I happen to receive hundreds of emails a day, so I prefer not to wade through too many extras. I love a good joke or feel-good story, as long as it is really good. I hope that my friends and family value the fact that if a story is sent to them by me, it really must be worth reading because of I very selective on what makes it pass my filtering. Only the good stuff.

Never use the reply to all button. Just like forwarding on, you may feel inclined to write back on a good email to say thanks for sending it and throw in a ROFL or LOL. Good for you, but please, please only reply to the person that sent it to you. It kills me to not only receive the original email but also a half dozen replies from recipients that feel the need to tell the entire group how hilarious they found the joke. Of course, if the original sender had used the Bcc, this would never happen.

For several years now whenever I get an email that is badly formed or has a hoax that has tricked the sender into forwarding it on, I take a moment to politely teach them these principles. For hoaxes, I include a link to the relevant entry at About.com and ask that they check this site in the future before forwarding things to me in the future. Usually, people are not offending and actually grateful to have been educated. Repeat offenders get a reminder with a little less subtlety 🙂 and continued abuse makes gets them elected to my spam-blocking list. These days I actually get very little forwarded on, and I enjoy the times I get something good sent my way.

I’ll stop there. I could, of course, think of many more bits of advice to give, but I figure you get the point. Sadly I expect that most of the people receiving this don’t need the advice. You’ve likely learned your lesson in the past. I don’t fault anyone for having gone through a stage of bad habits if you have nicked them and participate like a good netizen these days. We all have to learn someday. Now you have a job, teach the newbies.

Wheels

Back in 1998, very soon after I was offered the job (on a temporary basis, hah) as host of a struggling new NPR quiz show, I had a conversation with Doug Berman, the creator of both our show and Car Talk.

I said, “I want to be clever, smart, edgy, just like [name of well known political commentator/comedian.]

There was a pause. And then Doug said…

“Well, sure. He’s very funny. But he’s also an asshole.”

I remember that conversation because it was the first time I confronted a lesson that I had to learn as I became the host of Wait, Wait… and am probably still working on 14 years later. I had always assumed the most important thing when talking on the radio was, well, what you said. Were you funny? Were you interesting, new, provocative, different from what you or anyone else had done before? That had been my goal during my prior career as a playwright, and I assumed it would carry over into radio.

What Doug was pointing out then — and what became the most valuable and important lesson he ever taught me — was that all of that is far, far less important than simply being somebody an audience wanted to spend time with. Radio, as I learned, has an intimate, long term relationship with its audience. People don’t flick around the dial like they do with cable TV. They tune in to something — more importantly, someone — they like, and they stay with them because after a while it feels like a friendship. We in radio are in your homes, in your cars, in your kitchen, sometimes in your bathroom. Why would you invite someone to those places if you didn’t like them? And why would you listen to someone — no matter how funny, provocative, or clever somebody was — if he or she was a jerk?

I will confess, back then, I didn’t care much for Car Talk. I considered myself way too smart and sophisticated for Tom and Ray and their braying laughter and their silly jokes. But as I struggled with Wait Wait to become even a fraction as successful as they were, I learned to appreciate, and then admire, and then finally envy their ease, the way they were able to project the best part of their characters through the radio, every week, to an audience that loved them for doing just that.

It’s not as easy as it sounds.

Tom and Ray are exactly who they sound like on the radio, although of course, there’s more to them than their radio personas — Tom, in particular, has Very Strong Opinions, and a profane way of putting them — but getting to know them over the years made me realize that in radio, maybe in life, it’s much more important to be kind than it is to be clever. And that instead of being different every week, it’s more of a challenge, and more of a reward to your listeners, to find a way to be yourself.

Tom and Ray have announced their retirement, but Car Talk will continue with “new” episodes culled from 25 years of archives. And although the material will be familiar, that won’t be a problem for their fans — of whom I am now one, of course — because being familiar was always the point.

Education

Looking to boost your tech skills but hate paying money for things? Then you’re probably going to want to sit down for this. Modern Lessons is a free online learning platform I’m starting up in an effort to bring educators, parents, and school administrators around the world into the modern era of technology.

From learning the basics of Facebook to an advanced course on deploying iPads in the classroom, there’s a whole range of courses for every skill level. There’s a ton of stuff dedicated to beginners though at the start. I’m working on more advanced and intermediate courses though.

Modern Lessons brings free tech skills to teachers
So what are Modern Lessons? Here’s a bit from the site about why it got started and what to expect:

[Modern Lessons] is our solution to one of the biggest problems facing education: lack of technical know-how. The people running schools and teaching our children know less about technology and social media than most students. That makes for a difficult classroom for both student and teacher.

With Modern Lessons, teachers (and anyone else involved in education) has the chance to level the playing field. Think of Modern Lessons like it’s a cheat sheet that lets you quickly build your skillset in hours instead of months.

Let’s say you want to learn the basics of how to use an iPad, spiff up your resume, or launch a BYOD program in your school? You won’t find these courses available on any other site and you certainly wouldn’t find them for free. So Modern Lessons wants to fix that.

We think of our model as a ‘Khan Academy for educators’ and plan on helping as many people as possible. We’re not in this to make a billion dollars. We have much grander goals: to improve education from the inside out.

Modern Lessons brings free tech skills to teachers

So here’s the deal: Modern Lessons is a free tool for teachers, students, parents, school administrators, and everyone else looking to boost their skills. We’re currently specializing in offering mini-courses designed to help those relatively new to technology. We’re also building some premium and accredited courses that will go a bit more in-depth.

We figured it’d be helpful to make this online learning platform as simple as possible, as useful as possible, and as cost-effective as possible. That’s why there aren’t a ton of features (that’s a feature in itself!) and basically, all courses are free.

We hope you enjoy this resource and help yourself to our skill-building courses to improve your life!

So, get excited. The platform is just in its infancy and has already seen more than 5,000 teachers sign up and take courses. In fact, most of those teachers are taking more than one course. Don’t be surprised if you find a new skill that you’d like to learn.

There’s even a ‘request a course’ feature where you can ask, well, me to make a course for you. Doesn’t get much more personal than that!

Also be on the lookout for the accredited course in the near future. Those are going to be paid and very high quality. Just FYI.

US News

Just over two years ago, ASX-quoted Black Mountain Resources’ Chairman, Peter Landau, suggested to an interested lunchtime audience of potential investors and media, including Mineweb, here in London that the company’s New Departure high grade silver property in Montana, USA, would be the next U.S. silver mine and would be brought into production in a matter of weeks and its Conjecture property should be on stream perhaps a month later. It seems that he was being a little over-optimistic as two years later we are still waiting for either of these properties to mine any of their high grade silver!

In the latest Black Mountain announcement the company waxes lyrical about the latest sampling results from its New Departure property reporting that “extremely high grade sampling results surpass expectations with up to 422 oz/ton of silver returned over 1.9m from channel samples – grades never before seen even in the old high grade mine’s historical results” and that “25% of samples taken from the Blue Dot Level showed mineralisation of 3oz/ton silver or above.”

The company went on to note that overall 111 channel samples were taken in total from the Main Drive and Blue Dot Level in line with the company’s strategy to complete its 3-D mine model ahead of production upon securing financing.

Landau stated that “We are focused on delivering high grade silver ounces for production and these excellent results, including a significant number of samples that returned over 20 oz/ton silver, provide encouraging support for this model. With this in mind, as we finalise funding to enable us to meet our production goal at New Departure, we are strengthening our understanding of the historic mine and further sampling will be undertaken in the coming six weeks which will contribute to our 3-D mine model and ultimately the commencement of mining.”

See: Black Mountain – high grade silver production imminent

So two years and around a month after that presentation lunch in London a mine which was back then supposedly due to come into production in a matter of weeks still apparently has an undefined start date!

At the time, Mineweb noted that the geologist who oversaw the then most recent resource assessment on the Conjecture property and was a technical consultant to the Black Mountain board and a great believer in the mine, nonetheless told us that he remained sceptical regarding some of the potential mining problems likely to be faced, particularly regarding dilution, likely overall ore grades and the stated time to be taken to bring the mine into production. It looks like these same factors must have applied to New Departure too.

Landau is perhaps renowned as a perennial optimist – maybe to be in the mining sector one needs to be to stay sane – but nonetheless, if he is going to carry his investors with him he needs to be a bit more accurate in his predictions. Black Mountain’s properties undoubtedly do offer very high grade, but probably small tonnage, potential, but the company still has not been able to provide a market compliant resource statement which can be the kiss of death when trying to raise finance when markets are as depressed as they have been of late.

Resurrection of old high grade properties like New Departure and Conjecture can be a profitable business – as shown by a number of Mexican operators who have succeeded in doing this. But the old miners will indeed have taken out most of the initial high grade material and that remaining is likely to be patchy – and mining narrow channels, even of ultra high grades, is difficult to do without serious dilution thus reducing mill grades substantially. It is perhaps notable that many of the rebuilt operations in Mexico are working largish tonnages of lower grade material left behind by the old miners which have become economic through better mining and processing techniques. It is not certain from drilling and sampling to date how much of this, if any in significant quantities, remains at Black Mountain’s properties which still though have to remain interesting because of some of the very high grades being found to date and perhaps of other silver mineralisation surrounding them and/or at depth. It is presumably still uncertain whether there is enough of this yet to make for a profitable mining operation.

The Conjecture property in particular, though, does offer the interesting prospect of mining the unworked Revett formation – source of considerable amounts of silver in the prolific Idaho silver mines, but this is at depth at Conjecture and would thus require substantial amounts of capital to test out, develop a resource (if it is there) and then mine. It would make for an interesting exploration project for a miner with bigger pockets than Black Mountain presumably has.

The company is noticeably uncomitted nowadays in coming up with a production schedule. It still talks in non-definitive statements. For example from the latest half yearly report released in March: “Commencement of first silver production at New Departure is the Company’s predominant near term goal and in the coming weeks the Company will be focussed on implementing all the necessary corporate and operational requirements in order to reach this transformational goal. With the Conjecture Project due for development immediately following this, we are not far from having two productive high grade silver mines within our stable US portfolio. At this point we will be perfectly poised to undertake rigorous exploration programmes to uncover the proven high grade mineralisation spanning the surrounding patented and unpatented claims, which will be funded, at least in part, from internal revenues.” This looks like junior miner speak for ‘this year, next year, sometime..’ Black Mountain needs to come up with some kind of more definitive schedule to keep its shareholders on board.

US News

It’s estimated that by 2017, the number of SIP users will have grown from 7.2 million in 2010 to 59.1 million[1]. But why such a massive increase? To answer that question is to understand where the telecom industry is going in regards to voice technology, and that’s an important thing to know if you’re a business owner. After all, the telephone is often the front line between you and your customer. So, let’s take a look at the four factors driving SIP migration… SIP Migration

The death of POTS

Thanks to a strong push from providers, plain old traditional [phone] service (POTS) is disappearing. The reasons are numerous: decaying infrastructure, lack of new technicians trained on repairing/maintaining traditional phone technology and higher overhead costs associated with POTS technology, just to name a few.

While this may not have a huge impact on larger businesses with more complicated phone systems, small businesses will have to adapt. Many, if not most of them, will look toward a SIP solution to replace dying communication technology.

 SIP Migration

Short- and long-term cost savings

Because of the consolidation of communication infrastructure associated with SIP lines and SIP trunking, business save on overhead – there is less equipment for them to maintain and house, and the technology simply costs less to implement. When considering the long-term implications of SIP migration, one report estimates businesses will generally see a 60% reduction in telecommunications costs[2] after they migrate to SIP.

Enabling unified communications (UC)

Utilizing Internet Protocol for voice communication opens the door for integration of voice and other communication mediums on the same network. UC technology can provide access to voice, instant messaging and video conferencing from one interface on desktop computers or even mobile devices. When implemented properly, this can have a big impact on workplace efficiency.

 SIP Migration

Functionality and practicality

The bottom line is SIP technology just offers businesses more optimized communication capabilities. The ability to control and balance traffic, capacity and call routing; the ability to more easily scale the number of lines up or down to meet business demands, and greater internal control of every communication medium in use is simply more appealing from a usability perspective.

Travel and Leisure

Many people hope to take an exciting, memorable vacation, but are limited by a financial budget. However, abundant inexpensive vacation destinations are available for the savvy traveler. Planning ahead, shopping for discounted destination rentals and hunting for free activities can contribute to an unforgettable vacation that won’t break the bank.

Stay Local

Inexpensive Vacation IdeasA popular budget vacation trend is the staycation, a new term that references staying local and exploring the area. Without the responsibilities of work and constraints of social engagements, vacationers can discover their own city and nearby towns in as if they, themselves, were tourists. Because staycations free up money generally geared for lodging, flights, gas or pet boarding, more money can be devoted towards bills (without skimping on entertainment and exciting local activities). Consider coordinating a staycation with popular local events, such as Savannah’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival or Washington D.C.’s Cherry Blossom Festival. Sift through online media and local newspapers for free activities held locally, including author readings, concert events or dance classes. Evaluate the top tourist destinations in your city–from aquariums to art museums to major sports teams–and schedule at least two experiences during your staycation. Splurge on a discounted hotel downtown to get away for a night and live it up like a city tourist. Plan a day trip to a nearby town for wine tasting, horseback riding or berry-picking. Additionally, discover the great outdoors in your region through a day hike or overnight camping trip. Learn about the nearby topography and native animals and plants through kayaking or bicycling adventures. Remember to catch up on sleep, finish at least one home project and put your vacation savings towards any outstanding debt to make a staycation a worthwhile experience.

Discounted Destination Rentals

Inexpensive Vacation IdeasDuring a struggling housing market, vacation homeowners often slash rental prices to solidify an occupant in a competitive market. Recently, the Columbia State Newspaper reported that South Carolina coastal homes had reduced rental rates from 10 to 25 percent (see Resources). For those traveling on a budget, look for last-minute destination rental deals. Additionally, shop around the market to achieve the best rate, vacation during an off-peak time and look for beach-access homes (versus waterfront) for deeper savings. For beach home rentals, consider spots less-plagued by tourists–such as Cape Hatteras, Biloxi or Tybee Island–to keep more money in your pocket. Additionally, mountain cabin rentals offer a unique vacation experience coupled with financial savings. Consider traveling to Dahlonega (Georgia), Durango (Colorado), Missoula (Montana), Chattanooga (Tennessee) or Asheville (North Carolina) during the off-peak months to discover charming cities, outdoor adventures and magnificent scenery. For travelers who appreciate extremely rustic conditions and hope to reduce any extra vacation costs should contemplate ChillBilly Acres in Canada. At $15/night, travelers can visit Ontario and Toronto (without the glitzy hotels and hefty price tags) and experience the natural wonders surrounding the cabin.

Discover Camping

Inexpensive Vacation IdeasOftentimes, the best vacations are ones that allow for personal discovery, an outdoor experience and financial savings. Plentiful camping opportunities abound throughout the country; Consider the season to help assist in choosing the best camping experience. Warm, summer weather allows for enjoyable camping in Montana, Washington, Oregon, Minnesota and Colorado. Cooler, winter months should warrant a visit to the Southern states, from Arizona to Florida. Evaluate your ownership of camping supplies to determine any vacation-related costs, and purchase any needed equipment at discounted rates. Discover America’s Parks for inexpensive camping and hiking opportunities that offer magnificent encounters with nature, such as Big Basin Redwoods State Park in California or Zion National Park in Utah (make sure you get a permit before camping, if required). Consider Manzanita Campground in Sedona, Arizona for easy access to downtown Sedona and multi-function trails that wind through the Red Rocks. At $18/night, campers can reserve a spot, pitch a tent, make s’mores and enjoy a relaxing evening. Don’t have outdoor supplies and not up for sleeping beneath the stars? Many state parks offer onsite lodging (sometimes as low as $35/night) that provide an inexpensive opportunity to discover America’s great outdoors.

Post of the Week

There are a number of people that are looking to book cars on a daily basis. The needs of each of these people vary. Some are for personal use while others are for family members and friends and there are others that book it for daily commute to and from work. If you have not yet jumped on the bandwagon and you are not sure how a car rental service will work for you then you need to make sure you take advantage of these services today. If you’re looking for the best car rental service and this is your first time using it then you need to go and check out limohire-sportcarhire.co.uk. One of the best things about this car rental service is you will be treated very nicely because customer service is their priority.

Most car rental services do not really take care of the customers and they end up treating customers badly. This could lead to you not using car rental services ever again in future and missing out on one of the best things in life. A car rental service is not necessarily just for commuting. You can just get away for a long drive to clear your head if you have a lot of stress at work and this is where a car rental service will help you. You do not need to worry about driving anywhere or parking anywhere. All you need to do is sit in the car and tell the driver wherever you want to go. You can just enjoy the view, clear your head and gather your thoughts and get back to your daily life once you are back.

Another advantage car rental services is you will be able to ensure that you get everywhere on time. People are usually late for work when they depend on public transport. This is due to the rush during peak hours as well as traffic. You may end up missing the train because there was a lot of crowd or get stuck in bumper to bumper traffic. With a car rental service you will not have to go to these problems because the rental service does not necessarily take the most common route. The drivers are given the liberty of taking routes that are slight detours and can avoid traffic as well. The drivers are well trained and they will ensure that you reach your destination on time and safely.

Another advantage of hiring cars from the reputed car rental services is you will be able to ensure that you get the best rates possible. Most people think that renting a car can be quite expensive especially if it is a high end car. However that is not the case and the best rental services usually make the services affordable because they want you to keep coming back again and again to avail their services. Once you get used to renting a car and travelling in comfort you will never want to go back to taking the public transport to work or anywhere else that you need to get to.

Travel and Leisure

After enduring weeks of strenuous tests, annoying assignments and 20-page midterm papers, spring break arrives in the nick of time to save you from the verge of a nervous breakdown. When that school-free week finally comes, it’s time for you to party and let loose. College students spend their spring break vacations in destinations across America, but a few places cater to the spring break crowd. Read on for tips on spring break vacation ideas.

Spring Break Vacation Ideas

Kick It in Cancun

College students and high school seniors alike head to the wild city of Cancun to party ’til dawn. This spring break mecca is popular among the 21-and-under crowd, since the legal drinking age in the city is 18. MTV has hosted numerous events in and around the city during spring break, including concerts stacked with popular music artists from that respective year. Students flock here for foam parties in Cancun’s hottest nightclubs, day parties on the beach and dance contests around the city. The city’s bars run rampant with spring breakers downing tequila shots and shaking their hips on makeshift dance floors.

Spring Break Vacation Ideas

Dance the Night Away in the Bahamas

The Bahamian city of Nassau is a prime destination for spring breakers from around the country. Students spend their days sipping fresh juice concoctions in coconut halves while lounging on gorgeous beaches, snorkeling and scuba diving in the island’s blue-green waters and shopping on Paradise Island. At night the city’s bars and clubs come to life with thousands of students partying underneath the stars at open-air clubs and dancing to reggae music at Nassau’s indoor hot spots. Spring breakers over 21 can also head to the city’s casinos.

Spring Break Vacation Ideas

Get Wet and Wild in Panama City, Florida

Panama City, Florida, is yet another town notorious for its spring break appeal. The city’s sunny, warm weather, white sandy beaches and massive clubs have made it a hit with the hundreds of thousands of spring breakers who flock to the city every year. While you have to be 21 to drink at the clubs and bars in the city, if you’re over 18 you can enter most of the clubs.

Party in Miami

Miami, Florida, is like a paradise if you’re looking for more of a chic, fashionista spring break vibe. Spring breakers pack the glitzy shores of South Beach, downing frozen drinks and dancing at beachside bars by day and hitting the city’s famed party scene at night. Students with big budgets shop ’til they drop in Miami’s high-end shopping malls, then don their duds among the masses mingling along Ocean Drive.

Tech & Gadgets

With the announcement of PlayStation 4’s social elements, companies, game developers and gamers are coming together in a more integrated social ecosystem.

After watching last night’s PlayStation 4 LiveStream I learned some interesting things about Sony’s next iteration of their upcoming system the “PS4”. I learned that Sony has been watching and listening by integrating social networks, integrating 4th screen technology and cloud technology.

PlayStation Goes Social - Video Game Engagement Trends 1

I assume Sony is planning on hitting these mediums as follows:

Social Networks:

Sony has partnered with Facebook and UStream to help gamers collect and share content instantly with a dedicated “Share” button on the back of the controller. This is HUGE news to any gamer who’s ever wasted their time saving, editing and uploading their pwnage (pure ownage) to YouTube. Now gamers will be able to share their pwnage instantly in game as well as to the world. Seems like a gaming marketer’s dream.

If you don’t believe that people are actively doing this as we speak, here’s a clip from my COD:MW3 (Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3) clan member Dan.

PlayStation Goes Social - Video Game Engagement Trends 1

YouTube: http://youtu.be/kge8esdag1I

4th Screen:

Sony is leveraging what it calls “Remote Play” so users can experience their game on multiple screens and keep users engaged in their game for longer periods of time while helping to boost their PS Vita handheld sales.

Game developers and Sony will also be working on separate apps to leverage smartphones and tablets to help bring gamers together and incorporate updates, news and invites to gamers on the go. Do you see the “social” theme coming through here?

PlayStation Goes Social - Video Game Engagement Trends 1

Cloud Technology:

To the Cloud! Everything has to be on the cloud these days, even our games! Sony seems to have the right idea of leveraging cloud services to give users instant gratification by allowing them to buy a game and play it instantly while the rest of the game downloads. On top of that, Sony will or should be leveraging some of the PS4’s new social technology to help target market specific games to users on their networks based on their “likes”.

Only time will tell how successful the PlayStation 4 will be when it’s finally released, but it’s a great idea to socialize their technology on a medium that’s already its own social channel.

Relationships

Planning a destination wedding is becoming more popular for couples. Considering the cost of traveling abroad, organizing a U.S. destination wedding can help couples stay within their budget but still have the wedding of their dreams. Think about visiting your selected destination around the same time you plan to get married. This provides couples with an idea of what the area will look like and what the temperatures will feel like on their wedding day. Use this information in the planning the attire, time and other elements for your destination wedding.

The Beach

Consider getting married in the sun and sand. Select a U.S. beach to say your vows. Popping to mind first is Hawaii, with year round beautiful weather, world-class beaches and romantic sunsets. Select an island that meets your style. Consider Oahu and Maui for lagoons, Kauai for tropical, untouched vegetation and the Big Island for black sand beaches and a volcanic landscape. Think about the Florida or California coast if Hawaii isn’t in your budget. Both are closer to home, more budget friendly for guests and offer beautiful settings. Choosing one of the coasts means you could enjoy nightlife with your wedding guests in cities like Miami or Los Angeles.

Beach

Winery or Vineyard

Plan a destination wedding at a winery or vineyard. Consider this idea if you’re a wine enthusiast or for a picture-perfect outdoor setting. Marrying at a winery does require serving the wine at the wedding. Check on policies regarding beer, liquor or other beverages before booking a location. Selecting a winery doesn’t just mean California wine country. Nearly every state produces wine and many offer facilities for weddings and parties. Select a destination that matches your style such as a spacious patio overlooking the vineyards or an intimate barrel room. Planning an outdoor vineyard wedding requires a backup plan in case of inclement weather. Consider renting a tent or preparing a room within the winery for the wedding.

lv

Las Vegas

Thought of as the place to elope, Las Vegas offers couples many options for tying the knot. Consider an elegant ballroom or the lush landscaped gardens of a resort for your wedding destination. Many hotels offer a variety of wedding packages to fit a couple’s budget. Choose one of the numerous chapels in the city to say your vows. Incorporate the Vegas theme into your rehearsal dinner with casino games or celebrity impersonators. Give Vegas-themed wedding favors such as dice or cards. Remember Vegas offers warm, sunny weather year round, but summer temperatures often reach the century mark. Consider the temperature when planning attire, wedding location and wedding time.

Health

When a brand becomes a verb you know it’s proverbial paydirt. Example: What do you do when you want find out about something? You Google it of course. But for all the benefits of having so much information at our fingertips, there may be a downside.

How Google Affects Our Memory There’s a fantastic infographic that was put out by onlinecolleges.net that I want to share with you. It speaks directly to the impact Google has had and continues to have on our everyday lives and more specifically, our collective memories. You’ll notice they do a great job of separating out what they call “The Google’s Brain” into four separate quadrants, touching on each of the four and including the benefits of each these quadrants provide all of us with… well all of us that use Google, anyway.

But be sure to look at the Section 2 – How is Google changing our memory? This is where it gets to be a little disconcerting, at least to me, especially when I factor in my 7 year old son and soon-to-be 12 year old daughter who will of course never know what it feels like to research something via an encyclopedia, either in your own home or in a library. As it reads below “[in the past]… we found ways to memorize what we needed to know; we were genuinely interested in the information which helped us remember it the next time we needed to know this same information.”

However with Google at the ready, we simply search, point, click, save. We don’t remember the information itself but rather where got it from in the first place. Not good…

How Google Affects Our Memory

Then we get to section 3, The Consequences… “We are becoming symbiotic with our computer tools. These tools have replaced our need to memorize many details… and without these tools we may be lost.” And “… the internet is filled with incorrect information.” Remember, back in the day, we looked up something in an encyclopedia and it was gospel; it was the truth and you never question the validity of it.

Obviously having a tool such as Google is a good thing… a VERY good thing. Technology being what it is – ever changing, ever adapting and so on, is a wondrous thing for sure. And I am surely not about to sit here and say we need to go back to the days of Funk & Wagnall’s (that’s an old encyclopedia reference for those under the age of 40). No, I am merely bringing up the point that while technology makes our lives easier the catch-22 in some instances we become too dependent on it.

Travel and Leisure

The dining experience awaiting you in New York has the capability to take you back to old New York, or propel you forward into the contemporary styling of the Upper East Side. Lamb, fish, wine, steaks, sushi, dessert, and even something from the kiddie menu is available in this is city. The city that never sleeps sports as much of a plethora of exotic cuisine as it does euphoric nightlife. In order to experience the city to its fullest, one must indulge in one of New York City’s most reputable assets, its restaurants.

Dining in New York City

French Cuisine, Dutch Price

Visit New York’s version of old Paris, as you sip the finest “vino” under rustic yellow lights and authentic wood ceilings. Caramelized onion tart and vegetable puree are menu favorites. Reservations aren’t necessary.

Be Caught. Hottest Sushi/Fish Bars in the City

The spices of Asia meet the freshness of the sea at Bongo, a contemporary sushi and oyster bar located on Tenth Ave. Fifties-inspired architecture suits this sushi-grade hot spot, with an open bar and great martinis.

Dining in New York City

Climb Aboard Le Bateaux

Meant to evoke the nostalgic bateau-mouche rides down the Seine, Bateaux New York takes dining recreation to the next level, much justifying a somewhat upscale cost. Tenderly glazed miso-Chilean sea bass and succulent filet mignon highlight the menu aboard Bateaux New York, yet tourists say the experience is as delicious as the meal. Reservations are required.

Reservation under “Healthy”

Brooklyn’s Imhotep Health and Vegan Restaurant welcomes faraway spices, organic greens and vegan delights in their menu. Reservations are not necessary, and Imhotep has a flaming hot take out service for those on the run.

Dining in New York City

Care to Dip?

Voted most romantic restaurant by a local NY restaurant review guide, Simply Fondue is ideal for an intimate night out. A fondue dinner for two is on the expensive side of moderate, and the martini lounge is always open. Reservations are suggested for this lovebird lagoon; places fill up fast!

Family in Funky Town

Moderately priced, there isn’t another restaurant in Midtown that shouts family as loud as Serendipity 3. From peppermint tea to foot long hot dogs, you’ll find a way to quench whatever you’re craving at Serendipity 3.

Travel and Leisure

When you watch television you get the idea that spring break is all about getting ridiculously drunk and dancing around half naked. In reality, spring break is a time to enjoy your friends and do things that you don’t get to do during your day-to-day life. While drinking can play a part in lowering your inhibitions, there are many other things to do while on your spring break vacation.

Hottest Spring Break ActivitiesBeach Fun  

Going to the beach seems to be a given for many spring breakers. Getting a head start on your summer tan, enjoying the warmth after a cold winter, hanging out with your friends, playing volleyball, dancing and having bonfires are all part of the hottest spring break activities.

Hottest Spring Break ActivitiesRoad Tripping

Piling into the car with your closest friends and good music. Setting out for “parts unknown” wandering as you choose, meeting people along the way and generally having a fun and relaxing time while seeing the sights along the way is also a very popular spring break activity.

Hottest Spring Break ActivitiesCruising

A group cruise is great fun. You and all of your friends take a trip on a luxurious ocean liner and head to a tropical climate for a few days. You will meet other groups of friends and enjoy shipboard activities as well as see new sights wherever you dock.

Whatever you decide to do for spring break, don’t overindulge, don’t drink and drive, and be safe. But most of all, enjoy this time with your friends and have fun.

Uncategorized

TV Everywhere could be a big moneymaker for advertisers and networks. Viewers now have the option of watching their favorite shows on TV at home, on their laptop or even on their mobile device at no additional cost, which will change the way TV is purchased from a media standpoint.

Television

Gone are the days when the family would gather in the family room to watch their favorite prime-time TV shows. The VCR dabbled in changing this habit, but the DVR completely mastered this concept. Now viewers have the option of watching their favorite shows on TV at home, on their laptop or even on their mobile device at no additional cost. This concept is known as TV Everywhere.

The growing demand for TV Everywhere has transitioned TV from a platform device to an experience, which is beneficial to both the viewers and advertisers. With TV Everywhere, cable operators are allowing mobile access to customers who pay for TV service, improving customer satisfaction and creating new revenue opportunities. And one of the main perks is that unlike DVR, consumers do not have to plan ahead to use it.

Television

TV Everywhere could be a big moneymaker in the future for advertisers and networks. According to Need-ham & Co’s Laura Martin, TV Everywhere could bring an additional $5.6 billion into the ad market each year. Since commercials will be the same as television, revenues will not be lost from ad skipping if the fast-forward button is disabled. This will also change the way TV is purchased from a media standpoint. Companies will be able to buy packages, which allow them to advertise across multiple platforms, and purchases will be focused more on impressions rather than ratings.

Television

David Verklin, one of the cable industry’s most influential executives, explains in this video why he’s bullish on the future of television, and why the reasons have as much to do with new media as old.

In a world where technology is rapidly advancing, service providers will need to produce a consistent viewing experience across multiple devices in order to keep up. How do you think TV Everywhere will influence a shifting approach to advertising?

Uncategorized

Chicago

Escape the hustle and bustle of life in the big city of Chicago with a few quick getaways. Getting out of the city for a few hours can rejuvenate a person’s mind, body, and spirit. Choosing an activity away from downtown Chicago provides visitors with the chance to explore new cities and other points of interest. Check if public transportation is an option, and avoid traffic. Pack a picnic lunch, or research restaurants in the area to grab a quick bite to eat. Create a relaxing activity near Chicago.

Chicago

Chicago-land Speedway
Visit the Chicago-land Speedway for the chance to feel some speed. Located in Joliet, Illinois, the speedway hosts both NASCAR and Indy car races during the year. Take a tour of Chicago-land Speedway to get a behind-the-scenes view of the track. Jump into the action at Chicago-land Speedway with the Richard Petty Driving Experience. Get behind the wheel of a stock car and see the track like the drivers do. Test your driving skills at the mile-and-a-half track with speeds of up to 160 miles per hour. Make arrangements through the Richard Petty Driving Experience.

Chicago

Indiana Dunes National Lake-shore
Escape the busyness of Chicago with a trip to Indiana Dunes National Lake-shore. Situated about an hour from downtown Chicago, the dunes offer the perfect afternoon escape. Access the dunes by public transportation using the Chicago South Shore line. Enjoy the beaches of Lake Michigan, bird watching, hiking, horseback riding, or swimming during the summer. Try hiking, cross-country skiing, or snowshoeing during the winter. Camping facilities are available for an overnight stay on a first-come-first-served basis.

Chicago

Springfield
Take a trip to the capital city, Springfield. Jump on the train or make the three-hour drive to Springfield, and enjoy a day full of history. Visit the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, the Lincoln tomb, the Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices, and the Lincoln home. Stop by the Illinois State Capitol or the Executive Mansion while in town. Stay for a summer evening in Springfield, and enjoy the drive-in movie theater or the Muni, an outdoor theater by the lake.