Archive for August, 2017

What Is It Like To Be A Member Of The LGBT Community In America?

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Our society is becoming more diverse than ever as people feel more relaxed and open to showing their true colors and no longer hiding their sexuality in the closet. Despite still being frowned upon in some societies, you can hear more gay and lesbian relationships out in the open now than it was a decade ago. Some are into cross-dressing while others prefer to be more discreet.

Gays also give life to parties and conversation with their lively personalities. But what is it really like to live in one of the most progressive countries in the world? Gay pride is popular in America but there are still many incidences of gay abuse and crimes where the LGBT community are picked on, ridiculed, or even killed because they are considered as sexual deviants by many conservative citizens in the country.

A local chapter of a national LGBTQ support organization will be hosting a screening of the National Geographic documentary “Gender Revolution: A Journey with Katie Couric” at 6 p.m., Tuesday, March 21, in an effort to help educate the local community about issues related to gender identity and the LGBTQ community.

The documentary, which was made in conjunction with an entire issue of National Geographic magazine dedicated to LGBTQ and gender issues, examines the “rapidly evolving complexities of gender identity,” said Chad Farner, an Oskaloosa Middle School teacher and a president and co-founder of the PFLAG Oskaloosa chapter.

Raising awareness can make a big difference on how the population at large understands the life of the LGBT community and be more tolerant of them as members of the community.

“There is certainly a need to advocate and educate about LGBTQ issues,” Farner said of the film showing and discussion. “[Gender identity] is not as black and white as people may think. The idea is to educate the public on gender identity and the different facets.”

Farner said PFLAG has a goal of advocating for equal rights for all Iowans, especially those who identify as LGBTQ. The local Oskaloosa chapter has a mailing list with more than 50 people, and meets monthly. Farner said there are several students in the Oskaloosa Community School District that are “exploring their gender” and the organization strives to help them in any way possible.

“We’ve had a least one transgender student reach out at the high school, and there are several at the middle school.” Farner said. “There is support among the other students and the district seems to be handling [the issue] well. It feels good.”


All over the country, LGBT support groups take initiatives to fight for their rights and make their voices be heard in the nation’s capital.

Brinton started #50Bills50States, a campaign to eliminate conversion therapy in all 50 states. Brinton went through conversion therapy, later graduated MIT and went on to become a nuclear physicist. Brinton also is on the board for the Born Perfect campaign as a part of the National Coalition for Lesbian Rights. So far, five states have banned conversion therapy for those who are under 18, and another 22 have submitted legislation this year. The ban means that licensed therapists would have their licenses removed for performing conversion therapy.

Brinton said the suicide rate for LGBT people, already higher when compared to the straight and cisgender population, is astronomically high for those who have survived conversion therapy. Brinton said survivors may need mental health support but don’t seek it because conversion therapy caused the mental health crisis in the first place.


It seems as if that despite the openness towards gays/ lesbians we see in the mainstream media, it does not really or rarely happens in real life all the time and many members of the LGBT community still struggle to be accepted by the people around them. They even struggle to get fair and just treatment from leaders of the country who tramples on their rights and even manage to get away with it.

The US Senate should “interrogate” President Donald Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court, several of the country’s top LGBT groups said on Thursday, warning that Judge Neil Gorsuch’s track record raises concerns he opposes same-sex marriage and transgender rights.

In a letter to leading members of the Senate Judiciary Committee obtained by BuzzFeed News, 19 organizations worried Gorsuch may stymie attempts to expand legal protections, saying, “We have concluded that his views on civil rights issues are fundamentally at odds with the notion that LGBT people are entitled to equality, liberty, justice and dignity under the law.”

Gorsuch would serve on the Supreme Court as several LGBT cases percolate in the federal judiciary, including those asking whether transgender students and workers are protected under existing law, and if corporations are free to act based on their opposition to same-sex marriage.


There is a lot of work involved before the LGBT community can finally be viewed as normal members of society where people will no longer judge them because of their gender identity or sexual preference. It is not a lost cause for them, though, as the public gradually becomes less condescending to them and start to see them as human beings too. It is a different case, though, when it comes to biased government officials whose policies are affected by their own personal biases.

Hacking It Up In The Clouds

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Technology is not 100% safe from hackers. It is common knowledge. If they can hack the most complex of systems of the government and big companies, it is effortless to do that to ordinary citizens like the rest of us mere mortals. The problem now is that we use too much technology in our lives. From the moment we wake up until we close our eyes, we live and breathe technology.

And it is not just about our obsession with technology. Technology makes our world go round as most processes and business relies heavily on it to function. Just imagine its impact on our lives. But there is an accompanying risk we can’t always ignore: hackers. A hacking attack experienced in the last quarter of last year only revealed the severity and gravity of such a situation not to mention how vulnerable we all are.

Major websites were inaccessible to people across wide swaths of the United States on Friday after a company that manages crucial parts of the internet’s infrastructure said it was under attack.

Users reported sporadic problems reaching several websites, including Twitter, Netflix, Spotify, Airbnb, Reddit, Etsy, SoundCloud and The New York Times.

The company, Dyn, whose servers monitor and reroute internet traffic, said it began experiencing what security experts called a distributed denial-of-service attack just after 7 a.m. Reports that many sites were inaccessible started on the East Coast, but spread westward in three waves as the day wore on and into the evening.

And in a troubling development, the attack appears to have relied on hundreds of thousands of internet-connected devices like cameras, baby monitors and home routers that have been infected — without their owners’ knowledge — with software that allows hackers to command them to flood a target with overwhelming traffic.


Even techy everyday objects can be used against you. And this hacking incident made everyone realized just that.

In the aftermath of the attack, security experts reported finding that flaws in the Internet of Things had made the problem worse. The Internet of Things is the collection of everyday objects that can gather information then share it online. These objects use built-in sensors and other small devices to interact with the environment around them.

For example, “smart” basketballs or soccer balls can collect data on shooting skills to help a player improve. Smart dolls can recognize their owners and have friendly conversations. Smart cars can monitor the road for signs of danger. Even an ordinary house can become a smart home. A heater might shut itself off when it senses that the house is empty, for example. Or a lamp might turn itself off after a child falls asleep.

The possibilities are almost endless. But storing data about your life online — and all the time — brings hidden risks.


As technology advances; so does the capability of hackers. They also innovate and adapt to the safety and security measures implemented by most websites. Cloud computing is one example. The cloud is now a favorite and convenient data storage option for many but it is no longer safe from hackers. But what will happen to our data now that the hackers found a way to bypass cloud cyber security among others.

In recent years, computing has gone to the cloud. But this so-called “cloud computing” can pose new risks, a study finds. The reason: Computers that make up the cloud have become a hideout for malware, programs that can hijack or harm someone’s computer or files.

People use “cloud computing” to free up space on their own computers. They can store files containing anything from research data to vacation snapshots. Some people also run programs on devices connected through the cloud, rather than on their own, personal machines. This cloud computing, therefore, makes it possible for someone to share files quickly with a lot of other people.

But for all its benefits, the cloud can have a dark side. That’s a finding of the new study. Malware stored on devices that make up the cloud can turn on — and against you — when you click on certain fraudulent website links or when you download an attachment that masks its real intent. These links or attachments will trick the user, linking its computer to files in some cloud where malware lurks.


Hackers have stepped up their game. If there is one good thing that can ever come out of this issue is that perhaps it will keep everyone on their toes. Cliché as it may seem, prevention is always better than cure.

Take cybersecurity seriously. Install firewalls or anti-virus software to protect your gadget from modern hacking threats. Be wary of the sites you visit and limit online transactions whenever possible. Also, limit the amount of technology you use in your life. You don’t need all those smart gadgets to live in your day-to-day.

And most importantly, remember that data is such a precious commodity that is often underrated. Protect yours at all cost. Identity theft is possible, always keep that in mind. Hackers are just around to steal your information at a time when you are vulnerable the most.

Are These Yoga Trends Here To Stay?

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In a world full of junks and majority of the population are becoming overweight or obese, getting fit is not an easy thing to do or maintain. Eating right and living healthy are considered as novelties right now when almost everyone prefers to eat in fast-food and consume bags of chips along with bottles or cans of soda endlessly. Those who realize that they have a big problem in their midst make a conscious effort to take care of their body and live healthily despite the abundance of temptations in their surroundings.

There is more to yoga than meets the eye. You can do yoga by yourself or in groups and still enjoy the same benefits. However, like everything else, there are trends that pop up now and then that may or may not always last long. Among the most recent yoga trends involve drinking wine. It sounds too good to be true, right? But yes, it is a thing now in places like Italy, California, Hawaii, and Mexico. If you aren’t a fan of yoga, the thought of drinking wine may motivate you to start stretching those aching muscles and do your body some good after all the abuse it has to bear day in and day out.

Sixty minutes of yoga can be restorative, sure, but the practice of yoga itself can also be solitary, says Morgan Perry, founder of Yoga Unwined in New York City, who also has an advanced certificate through the Wine & Spirit Education Trust. Throughout her Vinyasa-style classes, she sprinkles in wine facts and ends with a meditative tasting. It’s a good plan: A tasting at the tail end of yoga class provides a built-in happy hour with people you already know you have a lot in common with, and these connections give you more than just a solid squad—research has proven tight social ties keep blood pressure and BMI in check, and even increase longevity.

You’ll get double the zen.

It’s no surprise that wine gives you that breezy, free feeling after a long week. This calming sensation is, in part, attributed to the lower alcohol content in wine compared to hard alcohol, says Victoria James, a sommelier and the author of Drink Pink: A Celebration of Rosé. “The alcohol content in wine is 12 to 14 percent on average, versus 30 to 40 percent for tequila. This allows your body to slowly relax and adjust to the alcohol levels at a better pace,” she explains. With a meditative focus on breath and movement, yoga also helps us release tension, decreasing levels of the stress hormone cortisol, studies have shown. Read: A double whammy of calm.


Yoga and wine are good for us even when done or taken separately as long as the latter is consumed in moderation. Also, wine is best tasted when you are focused in doing only one thing which is why it tastes so much better when you drink it during yoga sessions. Moreover, a vineyard setting is the perfect place to get lost and get into the yoga zen you so desperately want (need) and that glass of wine can help you burn fats faster than just doing yoga alone. So, try yoga instead if you need to lose weight if you aren’t such a fan of more rigorous exercise routines.

The strangest fitness trends are emerging. One of those strange fitness trends is called beer yoga, according to GQ Magazine. As seen in the below video, “beer yoga” features people sucking down sips of beer in the middle of performing yoga poses. Whereas some classes feature yoga participants drinking beer after the classes, other “beer yoga” classes show the yoga participants incorporating the beer bottles into their yoga poses.

According to Vice, beer yoga started out at Burning Man, and now it has caught on in Australia, Southeast Asia, and perhaps soon in the U.S. However, folks are warning about the dangers of holding glass beer bottles in your hand whilst trying to perform the tree pose in yoga classes. A slip or fall could result in injuries that likely wouldn’t have happened if the yoga participant didn’t have a glass beer bottle in their hands at the time.

The beer yoga trend joins the goat yoga fitness trend. As reported by WTOP, goat yoga began to trend about a year or more ago as the social media trend of performing yoga poses near goats took off.

Goat yoga, according to, involves yoga adherents visiting farms or other places with goats roaming nearby. 


You’ll be surprised at how creative some people who start these trends are. But more than that, these people are actually just concerned about their well-being that they are willing to try just about anything no matter how absurd they may seem at first. Yoga, in particular, may not look that beneficial but it actually is. Assuming and holding certain poses does wonder to the body and provide immediate relief to tired and aching muscles that many people miss out on but oh so desperately needs.

Female Entrepreneurs On The Rise

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Running a business isn’t an easy feat. From starting up to maintaining it and making sure it stays relevant and profitable, entrepreneurs juggle various tasks to keep the business afloat. The economy isn’t always stable and there are various factors that can shake your business up, so you always have to be on your toes. Countless businesses are still opening up despite that gloomy forecast. That’s the beauty of competition and a free and open market. While mostly dominated by men, there are also more female entrepreneurs now than it did before.

Women are now empowered to take bigger business risks because most are educated and hold degrees of their own. From small startups to family businesses and online ventures, you can see more women at the forefront of business ventures and actually succeed in it. It no longer comes as a surprise that many women hold important positions in various big and multinational brands not only because they are educated but more so because most women naturally have a knack for business themselves.

The economic recovery has been a long, slow slog. Without women starting businesses, we’d all be in much tougher shape. Here’s why: Women start businesses at a rate five times faster than men. In fact, women launch 1000 new businesses every day.

Women would do a whole lot more to save America if only America would return the favor and treat women small-business owners equally.

Since the recession, new businesses and jobs have grown slowly. Women-owned businesses have been a beacon of hope: they’ve grown five times faster than the national average, according to the sixth annual State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, commissioned by American Express.


Women own about 10 million businesses as of date and most are small businesses that contribute a lot for the betterment of society. Unlike in the past, women are more optimistic now to go out of their comfort zone and take calculated risks when it comes to business. Consequently, their businesses create jobs that help people earn money and provide for their families aside from the lives they touch with the products and services they offer whether it is in retail, food and beverage, spa, salon etc.

This fact forms part of a bigger picture of gender imbalance in the business world. Just a tenth of capital invested globally is in a business led by a woman. Only 18 percent of venture capital investors in the UK are female. In the US, a woman is twice as likely to start a business as a woman in the UK.

Clearly, this all needs to change, especially when you consider recent findings from Barclays Bank and the Entrepreneurs Network, which showed that female-led companies bring in 20 percent more revenue with 50 percent less money invested when compared to companies led by men. The same research found that 34 percent of male entrepreneurs have seen a business go under compared with 23 per cent of female founders.

There is much that can be done. A good place to start is to provide young women with successful business role models – 83 percent of women who have started their own business have known someone else who has done so.


Not only in the US but female entrepreneurs are likewise growing in the UK albeit at a much slower pace. It’s actually a good culture of women entrepreneurs helping other women make a living and even start small businesses of their own. You can’t always predict what will happen to the market, so saying that there are risks involved in business is an understatement.

Women see things differently, which is perhaps the reason why they also do things differently and come up with plans and ideas that are new to many people. They aren’t afraid to compromise too unlike men who have a more structured approach to business. And lastly, women are likewise often better than men when it comes to customer service since ethics and honesty are among the finest traits of women that are crucial to making a business succeed.