Alexa Has Become Music-Savvy

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Music has brought happiness and so much peace to a lot of people all over the world. Where spoken words have failed, music has enabled people to understand and bond with one another despite the language barrier. It has played a big role in the lives of many and became the soundtrack of their lives at some point in time. Technology may be the main dish in our life right now but music will never disappear in the background. The nice thing about this is the fact that modern life and music has fused together and we can enjoy the best of both worlds without having to give up the other. You probably do it yourself every day. You listen to music on your smart device with an earphone or headset in place. There’s an even better breakthrough with the way Alexa can now answer your questions pertaining to music.

The wonders of technology will continue to amaze you, for sure. Things just get better and better with the passing of time as the hardware needed to support deep learning is made more readily available to the public. I’m sure you’ve heard about apps like Shazam that tells you the title of a song you’re not familiar with but wouldn’t it be better for something like Alexa to have this same interactive feature but provide a more satisfying response to your musically-related questions and more. Aside from answering back to people, Alexa can take note of your music preferences so you don’t have to constantly repeat yourself or keep on searching for music you like or creating libraries when your digital personal assistant can do it for you.

Sometimes you want to listen to a certain song but you can’t quite remember what it’s called. Other times you might just want to listen to some of your favorites that you haven’t heard in a while. Now, Alexa can find those tunes for you. While listening to Amazon Music, you can now ask Alexa in very general terms to find music you listened to earlier or play something you haven’t heard recently. You can do so with specific artists by saying, for example, “Alexa, play that Kendrick Lamar song I was listening to yesterday,” or, “Alexa, play Rihanna songs I haven’t heard in a while.” You can also ask for genres, but you can get even more general than that by asking Alexa to just play something you haven’t heard lately.


Modern living is about living in utter convenience. With devices like Alexa at your beck and call, you no longer have to do things manually and you can save your time and effort for more worthwhile tasks. They may be simple tasks that an equally simple AI robot can do but they are the beginning of something even far greater that will definitely be our norm in the coming years. As of now, thousands, if not millions, are already using Alexa and as it continues to roll out more handy features that the public will like especially individuals who see music as life.

Amazon’s been rolling out a series of incremental but still useful Alexa features over the past several months, particularly around Amazon Music — the service Amazon would love for you to use as the default on your Echo devices. Today’s update includes a couple new features that let users request music using more natural or vague language.

People will now be able to ask Alexa for music tracks or playlists based on time passed, like “Play that playlist I played last Sunday,” or “Play that workout music I listened to three weeks ago,” or “Play something I haven’t heard in awhile.” The same applies to genres and artists; you can request a song by an artist that you listened to “recently,” or a music mood you’ve been into lately, even if you don’t know the specific titles.


Amazon has learned the ropes and realized that by integrating various aspects of human nature and on responding to what interests people the most then integrating it to current tech advancements launched and sold in the market today. We can’t let music disappear in our lives as it is responsible for keeping the balance, and in essentially keeping all of us sane when we are already facing too much in life. Groove to life’s music and take advantage of what Alexa has to offer so your life remains as vibrant as the beat of the music you like to listen to or as calm as the soothing notes you listen to once in a while.

Charity Is Not Yet Lost

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If you listen to your elders, they will likely tell you that the world is such a terrible place and for good measure. You can see it in the news. People are getting hurt or killed each day. War persists and there is almost always news of terrorism now and then. Everyone is at risk. When you look at it that way, it is easy to see that there is no more humanity left in this world and that we have come back to early biblical times where the mantra was “to each his own” and “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” was the prevailing motto of everyone. Such a sad picture this reality paints however it is not always true. There is still some goodness left in people and it is what enables our modern society to exist (while not always peacefully but) civilly with one another.

Charity is still at the core of society and there are still plenty of civic volunteers left to help fill the gap created by the gaping disparity between the rich and the poor. Not all the time you can rely on the government to help out and provide for the needs of the millions of citizens especially in third-world countries where basic needs are continually not met and the majority of the population lives in poverty all-year round. It is a good thing that there are generous countries, organizations, and individuals who continue to do charitable acts in an attempt to respond to problems faced by others who obviously have less in life. You don’t even have to go far to see the extent of societal problems prevalent in today’s society. Just step out of your home and go to a public place and you can see homeless people lying on the sidewalk or begging for alms everywhere.

The Swedish government will give 120 million kronor ($14.57 million) over three years to charities working with homeless refugee youths in the country, Dagens Nyheter (DN) reports.

Six different organizations including the Red Cross, Save the Children and Stadsmissionen will share the funds.

The donation is for people who have lost their right to a home in Sweden – for example because they have been given a deportation decision in an asylum application – or those who cannot be deported because it is not possible to execute the order.


However, you can do something on your own. Your contribution should not always be that big for it to make a difference in people’s lives. After all, it is all about sharing what you have so others can live better too. All these little efforts can go a long way when done altogether as it can pave the way to raising awareness to charitable causes since there are many who badly needs it in today’s world. The funny thing is that while many are dying of thirst in hunger, only a few answers this call as many only obsess over their material wants and all the other luxuries that dominate today’s world.

The Young Women’s Trust (YWT) supports and represents women aged 16-30 struggling to live on low or no pay in England and Wales and at risk of being trapped in poverty. YWT offers free coaching and personalised advice on job applications, conducts research, runs campaigns and works with young women to build their confidence.

“Donations are crucial,” explains Joe Levenson, from the charity. “They give lost young women confidence and direction through sessions with a trained coach.

“They help young women make top notch CVs that get them past the wall of automated rejection emails. And they get young women in the press and in front of politicians.” 


Poverty will persist to be a problem whichever part of the world you live in. Charity may act as a band-aid solution and keep everything together far longer but it does not solve the problem. Only when we teach the poor how to feed and support themselves will we be able to gradually wipe out poverty little by little. But that process is arduous and next to impossible as prices of commodities are always rising among others, so getting that little push is a welcome reprieve for everyone who has a hard time surviving in today’s world as they try to get back up on their feet. Learn to look past your own vested interests and be more considerate of others and you will you be able to realize that you have more than what you need and giving back to society will be much appreciated by those who need whatever is in excess in your life.

The Importance Of Medical Conferences

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Nothing stays the same. Change is the only thing that is constant in the world. From the environment to the people, everything changes, which is why we should all try our best to keep up with all those changes. Keeping yourself updated is especially crucial in the medical profession where people’s lives are at stake from one simple mistake. It is no wonder there are medical conferences on a regular basis as clinical and scientific studies and research are never-ending as well. Newer drugs are likewise developed that has a major impact to how medical management is carried out. Medical conferences allow medical professionals to mingle with their colleagues and listen to key speakers discuss important updates that will soon be put into practice apart from giving them a chance to discuss all these changes by themselves.

We have seen it time again where one practice is rendered obsolete because of scientific developments that show a different way of doing things. It’s the same with the things we do today, we aren’t 100% sure that they will still be the norm years from now. Medical conferences make way for people in the same circle become familiar with each other, which in turn can also help them collaborate with one another for a better understanding of a particular issue or case because when you look at it, the medical profession is one big community of medical professionals who are responsible in upholding the health and well-being of the general public at all times.

Speakers generally set a medical conference’s tone, and despite its humble beginning, CMSC has never needed to invite a speaker outside its membership, Halper said. Particularly in the study of MS, the average attendee considers the lecturers exceptional and therefore worth the admission.

That sort of esteem doesn’t make the job any easier. Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, knows what it feels like to be the focus of attention for thousands of the world’s leading doctors in a particular field. A self-described introvert, she has been a staple lecturer at the Infectious Diseases Society of America’s annual meeting (IDWeek) since its inception in 2012. Although the pressure is high, she said, the risk is worth the reward. “There’s no greater feeling than coming off the podium and having people say, ‘That was a great talk,” Walensky told MD Magazine®. “There’s a fulfilling component to that.”


It may sound like a lucrative profession for many but doctors, in particular, spend years studying about medicine including clinical internship so they are exposed to the patients first-hand and they get to apply what they learned in theory to actual patient management. We are well-aware about the importance of medical conferences but the speakers are also key on how these updates are effectively communicated to the recipients. A well-attended and well-received conference can help disseminate information faster rather than send out email or letters about these changes, which is really crucial if the information needed must be shared to a lot of people the soonest time possible.

The panel of experts and medical veterans will lead “dynamic tutorials, lectures, and workshops” and talks will start with the basic concept of AI and continue to advanced deep-learning technologies and trends in healthcare.

Organizers said the goal of the meeting is to engage busy healthcare professionals “in riding the gigantic waves of AI in healthcare to a brighter tomorrow.”

Organizers include the AHMC Health Systems (Alhambra Hospital Medical Center and its sister hospitals in Southern California), the National Health Research Institutes and Taipei Medical University in Taiwan, Allied Pacific IPA and Network Medical Management.


It is even more crucial for doctors and other allied professionals as technology is also a key factor in the delivery of healthcare services. It is a given that the medical world should embrace these tech changes as wherever you look in the hospital are machines and gadgets that aid in the delivery of medicines and treatments that are even able to save a dying person’s life. And with the rapid pace technology keeps on pushing forward, we’d like be seeing more medical conferences that don’t solely discuss medical issues but as well as how technology fits in the picture such as artificial intelligence that seems to be the direction we are heading at. Learning never ends and we’ll keep on adapting to these changes if it means our species can survive no matter what changes this planet goes through.

Along Comes Adulting Is Parenting

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Becoming a parent is not easy. There is no manual that teaches you how to be one. It is something you learn as you go. It is why many parents make mistakes. It is why some choose to stay single forever but still, the majority choose to get hitched for life and procreate once they reach adulthood. Adulting is hard it itself but having added responsibilities make the burden even heavier and more challenging to carry out as another human being relies entirely on you and your partner until they become adults themselves and are able to support themselves. The thing is while it is undeniably difficult, being a parent is also one of the most rewarding feelings in this world. Nothing compares to seeing the smile on your child’s face and being called a “mom” or a “dad”.

Unfortunately, modern life hasn’t made parenting any easier. In a sense, it is even worse now that there are plenty of tech-related distractions that captures your young one’s attention that it has significantly changed what parenting is all about today. You can see it all around you. Kids are hooked to gadgets. They are lazier now since they have devices that can do things for them and their attitude is so much different from those of the kids of yesteryears. And modern parents aren’t even any better as they are mostly distracted too and just shove these modern gadgets to their impatient kids.

KIDS’ screen time has skyrocketed, and is now a major battleground between parents and their children.

An exclusive Sunday Mail/Seven News parenting poll of almost 2000 Queensland mums and dads has found managing screen time is now the second highest parenting concern in the state.

Parents say they’re worried the trend is stopping them from communicating with their kids and it’s causing regular family fights.

The third annual parenting survey conducted by Triple P – Positive Parenting Program also found parents are concerned their kids are not eating well and being active.

Triple P founder Matt Sanders said the two concerns were linked and said it was crucial for parents to lead by example.


It has become a damaging cycle that hurts both the parents and the child because of the abuse of technology yet what can we do when the world we now live in is virtually an online community that is connected through the web. Some parents try their best to not join the bandwagon and put limitations on their kid’s access and use of these devices but it isn’t always that easy to keep it away from them when they can see other kids doing the same thing. Add to that the fact that parents don’t always practice what they preach. If their kids see them doing otherwise, will they also listen to what you tell them to do?

The arguments against screens usually center on how they affect brain development and the ability to focus. Julie’s information about phones mostly comes from her husband, who read Sherry Turkle’s Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other before their son was born, which is about the decay of relationships in the digital age. He also tries to keep up with the articles that come out on the subject; he has been especially moved by Jean M. Twenge’s writing about the demise of the first generation raised on smartphones, and Andrew Sullivan’s piece in New York magazine on how he cured his internet addiction with a smartphone-free camp.

But much of the most alarming pieces about phones relies on anecdotes or surveys with unclear causation, like do depressed kids use social media, or does social media make kids depressed? Solid studies on smartphones are hard to find or yield contradictory results. Smartphones are pushing us to “the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades,” writes Twenge, a psychologist.


It has even created a rift between parents who are undecided regarding screen time for their children. It only goes to show that nothing is by the book until today. While parents are older and ought to be wiser, it does not mean they’ll always do the right thing and agree on a set way of raising their kids. Culture varies and technology continues to play a big role in shaping the world and society that we know of so only time can tell how children parented today turns out to be.

The early exposure to tech devices may work to their advantage since the world is becoming highly digital by the minute. However, there are drawbacks too and kids fail to acquire many life skills and important values that kids before know like the back of their hand but is lost in today’s youth. If you’re not a parent yet, you’d likely be a parent soon so it helps to have background knowledge on issues faced by parents right now so you can make better choices and raise brighter and well-grounded kids whose lives don’t revolve around the gadgets they (and their parents) are using.

Threats Of War Trigger Planning For Asian Disaster Recovery

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We safely and comfortably live in our own little bubble until disaster strikes. By then, all our daily routine is put to a halt. The thoughts of school, work, and other life pursuits become insignificant. Whether in your home life or in businesses, it is always imperative to set up a business disaster recovery plan of sorts. You can’t just afford to be careless especially that many nations are at war and even Asia is not spared. The threat of an impending nuclear war remains because North Korea continues to hold its ground and resists being intimidated by many Western nations. And that is not the only issue we have that involves war or conflicts between Asian nations.

Making such preparations is even more important if you own a business, big or small. Ensuring data is backed up, and servers can be recovered is key. There is a lot at stake and you can’t afford to lose a business you have grown from scratch. And considering that we use technology in almost all of the things we do, a disaster business plan similar to what many progressive Western countries have should also be considered by many Asian entrepreneurs because it is better to be safe than sorry, after all.

Megacities, defined as urban areas exceeding 10 million inhabitants, accumulate impressive physical, human and intellectual resources. Experts argue that over time megacities will contribute higher income and living standards for their citizens by increasing economies of scale and reducing production costs.

Independent studies document that today’s 29 megacities are the decisive factor in the world economy. In fact, global gross domestic product (GDP) is much more dependent on the largest megacities than it is on the world’s 200 sovereign nations. In addition to contributing to a significant chunk of their national GDPs, megacities also play important roles as global hubs for finance and commerce.

For Asia, the megacity phenomenon has special importance. This is underlined by a number of facts:

  • 16 of today’s 29 megacities are Asia-based
  • The world’s three most populous megacities are Tokyo (38 million), Delhi (26 million) and Shanghai (24 million)
  • Gigacities—those with more than 50 million people—are expected to emerge in the region in future

For now, megacities have become the cornerstone for development and prosperity. However, their rapid growth also brings a broad range of challenges, which need to be given special considerations.


Moreover, the threat of natural calamities continues to be a constant threat to both individuals and businesses each year aside from armed conflict and terrorist activities. Add to that the dangers of global warming and climate change that has made these natural disasters worse and leave irreparable damage at times aside from claiming countless lives can make you lose your business in a snap.

With cities and communities across the world facing bigger challenges than ever before, emerging digital services are giving governments the tools to address many common problems.

Delivering the keynote at the event today, John Giusti, chief regulatory officer at GSMA (pictured), said: “Rapid urbanisation is putting strain on cities’ infrastructure, pollution, natural disasters, and humanitarian crises need to be better monitored and managed, and a growing population will require access to essential services.”

The digitisation of services and the rise of the IoT – the creation of networks of intelligently connected devices and interoperable services – allows citizens to seamlessly interact with different aspects of their life all over digital channels, he explained.

For a glimpse the impact a digital future will have, he gave a number of examples in Asia Pacific. Local governments in China are using IoT to monitor public buses and use the data collected to deliver more effective and efficient transportation.


You wouldn’t want to start from scratch in the aftermath of a disaster or a nonsense war. Businesses need capital in order to work and you likely spent a great deal of your time, effort, and money in starting your business only to see it ravaged by calamities both natural and man-made because you didn’t have the foresight to prepare for it when you still had the time. While coming up with such a plan isn’t a walk in the park, it should not be ignored either or risk suffering big business losses you’ll be regretting for years.

Computers are now the lifeline of businesses because most transactions have gone digital. The first thing that often suffers when computers are damaged is the hard drive, which happens to be where all your precious data is stored. can help you come up with a disaster recovery plan, so you no longer have to go through the hassles of data recovery, which is the common issue faced by business owners in disaster-prone areas and war-torn nations. Always remember that disaster planning should be a part of your business’s operation procedures and not as a mere afterthought. That’s how you transform a small business into a mighty empire.

The Best Source of Snoring Information

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When buying something most people like to review the product. They speak with their friends and family to see who has used it and what their experience was like. Depending on the product a lot of people will also go online to find the answers they are looking for. Source-of-SnoringWhen it comes to snoring mouthpieces there is one place that many can go to find the reviews that they can trust, without a doubt.

If you or someone you know snores you know that it’s not something that’s easily surmountable. People snore for a variety of reasons, but the most common ones are:

  • Heavy alcohol or drug consumption before sleeping
  • Overweight
  • Stress
  • Excessive Smoking
  • Use of over the counter sleep medication

When you sleep, the muscles in your face and throat relax. For many people, the snoring sound that we are all familiar with is caused by the tongue relaxing and falling to the back of the throat, cutting off the air supply. There are several different ways to combat this issue by implementing a few lifestyle changes. If possible, cut back on the smoking and drinking before bed. If you are overweight, you may want to look at your diet and possibly implement an exercise plan. Those who are stressed should be creating self-care plans to help reduce the load. And those who are using medication just to even get a good sleep may benefit from any of the above changes as those may be the reasons you aren’t sleeping in the first place.

There are many different types of anti-snoring mouthpieces available on the market, according to the Snoring Mouthpiece Review (see their Good Morning Snore Solution review) There are those that go completely in your mouth, the most common ones, and work to either push your jaw forward to open the airway or hold your tongue in place to keep it from falling to the back of your throat. Some of them even do both.

If you’re looking for a single location to read reviews on the pieces that are available you should be sure to look at some decent websites out there. The author diligently reviews hundreds of different brands and styles of anti-snoring mouthpieces to give the reader honest reviews. They are not Read the rest of this entry

Protecting Your Intellectual Property

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Unlike most tangible consumer goods or products, protecting your intellectual property is rather challenging even with the modern advancements that we now have today. And now with the growing popularity of the web, you can easily copy other people’s work and pass it off as your own and nobody will find out. It is even trickier when it comes to arts and craft where a little edit or change of filter can completely alter the look of something. Of course, we are talking about digital arts. The computer and smart technology/ smart gadgets reign supreme and it does not come as a surprise if businesses also flock to the web because that where almost everyone is. The market has drastically changed and the players are all over the world the games has definitely gotten dirtier.

If you are an artist yourself, I am sure you have your fair share of struggles and challenges concerning your craft. Others may steal your work without you knowing and you end up uncompensated for your hard work and intellectual property. There are measures being implemented, though, to prevent this thing from happening such as copyright protection. Having a copyright on your work is actually a great way to ensure you retain ownership on your work even way after you die but some people manage to get their way around it for reasons that many of us can’t or fail to understand.

Copyright is a cornerstone of any democratic, progressive, free society that values and wishes to continue to enjoy the benefits of a knowledge-based economy.

“As the founders of this country were wise enough to see,” former register of copyrights Abraham Kaminstein told the United States Congress in the 1970s, “the most important elements of any civilization include its independent creators — its authors, composers and artists –who create as a matter of personal initiative and spontaneous expression rather than as a result of patronage or subsidy. A strong, practical copyright is the only assurance we have that this creative activity will continue.”

Most people agree that the world would be poorer without the works of Picasso, and in so far as his “creative activity” was supported by copyright, copyright must be a Good Thing.


Of course, for someone who came up with that idea or piece of work or art, it just makes sense that you have ownership over it and get remunerated as well. It is why having a copyright ensures you don’t get ripped off of the product of your imagination, hard work, and labor and these artists often receive some sort of payment or royalty over the course of their lifetime. In this day and age, it should be mandatory for all intellectual properties to be protected so that its rightful owners not only get the recognition they deserve but they also make money from it.

What Can Be Copyrighted?

The rule is that, for a work to be copyrightable, it must be original — even a “modicum of creativity” will be enough – and it must be fixed “in a tangible medium of expression.” This simply means that the work must be somewhat original – that is, an independently created work that is not a copy of something else – and be expressed on some form of media, whether it be canvas, paper, phonorecords (CDs, LPs, MP3s, etc.), or even digital coding that can only be read by a machine.

The law lists eight categories of works that are protectable by copyright: literary works; musical works; dramatic works; pantomimes and choreographed works; pictorial, graphic and sculptural works; motion pictures and other audiovisual works; sound recordings; and architectural works. (Video games can qualify for protection as both literary works and as audiovisual works. The computer code generally crosses the “literary” threshold as specific characters in a specific sequence to be read by a machine – but of course, games use audio and visuals as much as any television or movie, so they would be protected under the audiovisual category, even if the law did not protect computer code.)


Check the article above if you are unsure how to proceed regarding copyrights especially if you are someone whose work is subject to it. Ignorance is never an excuse and you will likely regret not orienting yourself to all these things when you still can rather than lose any right on your own work because you failed to protect yourself and your work of art when you still can. Also, it helps to know which types of work are copyrightable and which ones aren’t so you don’t waste your time and effort on something which won’t work at all. Try to research the Berne Convention too because it will shed more light about copyrights regardless of where you live in the 172 countries that signed it. So, take the time to know the law and protect your own intellectual properties without any more glitch.

What Sports Fans Should Know About Etiquette

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There will always be fans no matter what field or industry. Some are just casual onlookers but there will always be die-hard supporters who will go to extreme lengths to show their undying love, support, and admiration to their idols. The sporting world is no exception. In major sporting events the world over, you can see fans going all-out and making a fool of themselves to show the athletes and even the entire world how much they mean to them. Sometimes it is amusing but there are times many fans go overboard and borders to the annoying and disturbing. If you are a fan yourself, you probably are aware of these things too and are probably of doing something crazy now and then especially when it involves the team you are supporting.

While you are free to do as you please when it comes to supporting your team, there is a certain decorum expected from fans especially when in a public event alongside hundreds to thousands of other spectators. We get it, you love your team but please spare others from seeing you make a fool of yourself. You can fangirl or fanboy all you want and nobody is stopping you but please try to act more civil and not make it awkward for those around you. Heed the following tips to help you unleash the ultimate fan part of you without regretting the things you did after. And you don’t need to do much to stay in your line, just a little common sense will do. Actually, doing less is the key here. Remember, the more you talk, the more mistakes. It is within that line of reasoning.

Trash talk is an entrenched and acceptable part of the sports world. Franchise rivalries will always exist and add layers of competitive drama. Athletes and fans alike trash talk to show passion for their team and challenge their opposition to bring their best effort. It can motivate players and keeps fans on the edges of their seats.

However, trash talk sours when a specific person or demographic is targeted. Most fans are likely familiar with phrases like ‘Pittsburgh Penguins fans are arrogant’ or ‘Golden State Warriors fans are all bandwagoners.’ Heated arguments often arise about team allegiances between fan bases and involve cheap insults about a stranger’s character. This is especially damaging when socioethnic status, gender, age or sexuality are attacked.

Generalizing and aggravating remarks are a waste of time and limit the enjoyment of sports to a specific crowd. Petty bullying is unnecessary and trash talk should be balanced with sportsmanship that keeping intense rivalries grounded and respectful. A truly meaningful rivalry is distinguished by players and fans who can put aside tense emotions to say, “Good game.”


Since sports events are often held in large stadiums or arenas, you’ll definitely find yourself in a big crowd especially if the team playing is rather popular. As much as possible, avoid alcohol intake prior or during the event. Alcohol can mess with your brain. Everybody knows that. And when you are drunk or under the influence of liquor, you do all sorts of crazy things and that may lead you into trouble. You’re not thinking clearly and you can easily get into arguments and get into a fight without you really knowing what is happening. Cheer on for your team and go home happy win or lose not broken and beat.

Highlight Your Manners

Be aware of your surroundings. If everyone is sitting, refrain from standing up in front of them. Keep in mind, however, most people stand up during a nail-biting game and you may want to do the same. You are not at a theatre performance.

Be a Gracious Loser

People may travel to the game to root for the opposing team. Your conduct is a reflection of those you support. You can tell a lot about a person by the way they handle defeat. It may be all in good fun to tease and cajole but it’s easy to step over the line. Win with humility and lose with class.


These tips apply whatever sports it is you are a fan of especially if you are attending live games. Just remember the very reason why you are there, to watch your favorite team play. And if fate and luck is in your favor, they may even win. As long as you are on your best behavior, attending a live sport event may be one of the best experiences you can ever have. It can also keep you out of trouble especially now that most public places exercise more stringent security measures because of the continued threat of terrorism. When you think about it, watching a game live is just like watching a movie, only in broad daylight and the action is unscripted. The way you watch your manners inside the cinema is something you can also do when you support your favorite sports team although with a little bit spice and flair.

The Wow Factor Of The iPhone X

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We have long associated an iPhone to affluence and sophistication. Only the rich can afford Apple products in the past. Today, more people can afford an iPhone but still its image of being a classy gadget remains and for a lot of reasons. For starters, its graphics and user-friendly interface still reigns supreme above other brands (Android ones, definitely). If we talk about the x-factor of the iPhone, there are too many to mention. While it has its limitations, its sleek and sophisticated look among others is enough to sway people to spend almost always a fortune to afford this gem of a smart device.

Now that it’s already 2017, the smartphone industry has more than just blown up. Almost everyone owns a smartphone these days. Even a young child knows how to navigate the screen of any smart device and they often also have iPads or tablets of their own. It’s a quantum leap as compared to the lives led by most three and four year olds a decade or two back when they used to play out in the dirt and under the sun almost all day long. Today, kids are comfortable in using these tech devices as if it is second nature to them to navigate its many tech intricacies that still baffles some older adults today. The most recent addition to the Apple smartphone lineup is the iPhone X, an extraordinarily luxurious phone and just as expensive as well but does it really deserve all the hype it is now getting?

Every new iPhone comes with new hardware and software innovations that power signature features which aren’t available on other iOS or macOS devices. In time, these features will be available on all iPhones and iPads of the future. Older models will not get them because they often lack the hardware to support those features, and that’s understandable. But other times, Apple may just choose not to make a software feature backward compatible.

The iPhone X comes with a sophisticated front-facing TrueDepth camera that includes a bunch of sensors and cameras to make facial recognition identification possible. Apple also developed a cute software trick to demo its facial recognition advancements, the Animoji app that quickly went viral once the iPhone X launched. It turns out the Animoji app doesn’t need all the sensors in the notch to work. But the app is not available on any other iPhone except the X.


Until today, the appeal of the Apple iPhone line has never diminished. Even if there are loads and loads of Android competitions now in the market, many still prefer to buy the innovator brand because of its classic and timeless appeal that is also leading to tech advancements and innovations. It’s no wonder why people don’t hesitate in spending hundreds to thousands of bucks a piece because of its gorgeous aesthetics and mind-blowing specs and features. Right now, the iPhone X is the apple of everyone’s eye and considering the price tag, it seriously should have otherworldly capabilities for people not to do a double take on the price tag.

The iPhone X introduces a new form factor complete with a gorgeous edge-to-edge display. Apple stretched the display out to the very edges of the phone, leaving no room for bezels, giving the phone an immediate “wow” factor.

This bold design choice makes the iPhone X very comfortable to hold. At 5.65 inches, its height sits nicely between the small iPhone 8 (5.45 inches) and compact Samsung Galaxy S8 (5.68 inches). The iPhone X is significantly smaller than the beefy iPhone 8 Plus (6.24 inches), and you can slip it in your pockets without any problems. That said, it is a bit thicker and heftier than any iPhone I’ve held in recent years. In fact, the X, rather fittingly, feels a lot like the original 2007 iPhone.

Aside from the display, the only major aesthetic difference from the iPhone 8 is the vertically oriented dual-lens camera on the back.


And for good measure, the iPhone X also gets all the hype because it truly is a standout. Even non-iOS users must admit how phenomenal the new handset that is a stark contrast to the previous iPhone models released in recent years. In the past, Apple often just tweaked a few features to set their new phones apart from the previous models and didn’t really offered something entirely different than what’s already on the table. This time, they have overcame conventions and delivered what the people want and to hopefully help the company boost sales as well as last year’s performance was definitely far from stellar. New features adorn the iPhone X that no longer bears the home button, Touch ID and display bezels.

With the arrival of this new Super Retina Display screen comes the removal of the Home button and Touch ID sensor; now replaced by a completely new security system: Face ID.

Face ID uses a series of sensors to map and scan the user’s face, and is used to unlock the handset, authorise Apple Pay payments and authenticate access to various apps. You simply look at iPhone X and VOILA.

In practice, Face ID works effectively around 85 per cent of the time. To use it you really need to be looking at the screen – an ‘attentive’ feature that also prevents unauthorised parties from unlocking your handset by shoving it in front of your face – not just glancing at it as it sits on the desk in front of you.


It is no wonder why many experts call it the face of the future because of its surreal futuristic appearance and of course, features that we should start to get used to now that Apple started others will soon follow suit and join in on the bandwagon. After all, Apple is the smartphone innovator. Don’t ever forget that. The iPhone X is like what you pictured out in the movies especially spy ones that lets you do a lot of crazy cool things. You have to get used to swiping more and more with the disappearance of the iconic home button that adorned all past and present iPhones prior the iPhone X. Taking pictures has changed as well and let’s not forget the much-talked about animojis that will liven up each and every conversation. Now, it is up to you to decide whether it’s fine with you to splurge on such a device.

Focus On The Youth’s Mental Health

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Even if mental health isn’t something tangible to the naked eye or easily observable nor measurable, it does not mean it is not important. Whether you are young or old, it is important to not only be physical healthy but to be mentally healthy as well. Many of our internal struggles can significantly weigh you down and prevent you from realizing your fullest potentials because others are oblivious to the fact that you are silently fighting your inner demons. Despite the continued advances in technology, some things still remain the same or perhaps even get worse with the passing of time. The more we get hooked to technology we are, the more isolated we become from the real world. Many people spend hours glued to their smartphones and no longer lead an active social life unlike people in the past who actually had to go out and meet and talk to people if they wanted to connect at all.

The most vulnerable to the cons of technology are today’s youth. They are basically just learning how the world works but they are already exposed to a lot of things that they are not yet ready for because of their overexposure to social media. While there are many things you can do online, it has its perils too and they easily fall prey because they have access to the web even without their parent’s supervision. After all, most kids today have their own smart gadgets that they are free to use at will and a WiFi connection is almost part of every household’s utility today. Since most of these young children and teens are active on social media, they are vulnerable to cyber bullying and face the backlash of a violent and oppressive online community where they have no power over.

Beginning next year, elementary, middle and high schools in New York state will be required to include mental health education in the health curriculum.

“New York State is the first state in the country to do this and I think that’s phenomenal. We are taking the lead and setting an example on what to do and how to help these young people,” said Karl Shallowhorn, director of community advocacy for the Mental Health Association of Erie County and Compeer Buffalo.

Shallowhorn also serves on the board of the Mental Health Association of New York State, which pushed for legislation to require mental health education, and is now working with the NY State Department of Education to develop the curriculum.


Many adults are starting to realize the impact of technology most especially social media to the youth. Depression is a mental condition from which most youth suffers from without their parents or guardians knowing because they keep it to themselves. They either stay cooped up inside their rooms and foregoing any social interaction with others, so they intentionally alienate themselves from people who can possibly help them in their attempt to protect themselves from more harm. Aside from their tech use, schools today are also stressors for most students as they have to deal with all sorts of peer pressure, expectations, and bullying among others although this is no longer new as it is the reality for everyone who were once students themselves in their youth.

Experts say parents play a pivotal role in changing the conversation when it comes to their kids’ psychological well-being. Here are a few ways to spot if your kid is dealing with a mental health issue and how to realistically help them through it:

Look out for striking changes in behavior.

Nguyen says that drastic changes in mood ― especially in a month or a shorter period of time ― could be a sign that something bigger is at play. This can include withdrawing from social activities kids once loved, or displaying anger or sadness more than usual. Teens who might be engaging in self-harm may wear longer sleeves, even in warm weather, Nguyen added.

“That’s a huge red flag,” she said. “It’s kind of hard because these things correlate with puberty and sometimes adults are like, ‘Oh, my kid is just going through those shifts.’ It gets hard for parents because this period of time is so muddy.”


Again, it boils down to having an open relationship between parents and their kids. Younger and older children are all at risk even if they face different challenges according to their ages. Parents should be sensitive and observant of any changes to their children’s behavior because there will definitely be red flags that will tell you something is definitely wrong even if they are not speaking up about it. Let us never overlook our mental health no matter your age because our sanity is the only thing that keeps us going in this crazy world we live in. It’s essentially what gives you the will to move forward no matter how difficult life gets. But of course, we are only human. Our mental health will deteriorate at certain points in our lives but it does not mean it is the end of the world for you. You can rise above the anxiety, depression, or whatever it is that is mentally weighing you down and live a happy life that does not rely on other people’s approval.

Is The US Sabotaging The Environment?

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Most of us can’t get enough of all the perks offered by our modern life. Boredom is virtually nonexistent as there are a number of things you can do on your own that will definitely put a smile on your face. You don’t even have to go far since you can do all those things in the palm of your hand. Yes, smart technology transformed ordinary cellular phones into handy multi-functional devices that can connect us to the web and do all sorts of crazy things we never thought were possible a little over a decade back. It’s been 10 years now since the first iPhone was released and I’m sure many of you can no longer remember what it was like living in a low-tech world. The US is almost always at the frontier of tech innovations as most of these tech wonders were born in American soil.

Now, fast-forward to 2017 and a new president, America seems to be going backward in terms of the measures it takes to protect the environment. It is most crucial now more than ever with global warming and climate change making living and simply surviving difficult for many of us. These are just some of the downsides of our modern life and if we can’t give up all the comforts of modern living, then we should at least double our efforts in reducing its dangers to the environment before it is too late for us to do damage control at all. Aside from signing out of the Paris climate agreement, the current US administration continues on dismantling federal environmental regulations that supposedly should protect the planet from the amount of stress and abuse it is receiving from us.

The Trump administration’s dismantling of environmental regulations has intensified a growing civil rights battle over the deadly burden of pollution on minorities and low-income people.

Black, Latino, and disadvantaged people have long been disproportionately afflicted by toxins from industrial plants, cars, hazardous housing conditions and other sources.

But political leaders, academics and activists spoke of a growing urgency around the struggle for environmental justice as the Trump administration peels away rules designed to protect clean air and water.

“What we are seeing is the institutionalization of discrimination again, the thing we’ve fought for 40 years,” said Robert Bullard, an academic widely considered the father of the environmental justice movement.


Many citizens have expressed outrage over the blatant neglect of the environment these days. It’s because President Trump thinks climate change is a hoax and is perhaps the reason why he does not give any importance to major environmental issues the world is facing. Worst is he appears to be sabotaging it on purpose. And as a highly progressive country, America contributes greatly to the abuse and misuse of the world’s resources. Meanwhile, struggling and impoverished nation suffer from the wrath of Mother Nature while bigger and more powerful nations like ours have total disregard of the sensitive state of the environment.

But amidst the cacophony, Donald Trump has had quieter personal successes, particularly with his international and environmental agendas.

On the environment, he has paved the way for climate deniers and science skeptics to hijack the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, and use bureaucracy as a political tool for censorship and deregulation. (The climate change EPA web page is still unavailable.) He has led millions of Americans to doubt the basic concepts of truth, facts, evidence and science. He has dismantled America’s global climate change agenda by taking steps to formally withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. National Geographic keeps a running list of environmental assaults committed by the Trump administration as a way of monitoring the national government’s anti-science crusade.


Many may actually persecute President Trump and laugh at his apparent failure in revamping the federal healthcare system by abolishing Obamacare but it seems he has his little successes that he is silently celebrating for and clearly the environment is one of the major victims here. The sad truth here is that we will eventually suffer from all these neglect because this is the only planet we live in and whatever the state of the planet will become is because of our actions today. Considering how big of a country the US is, it is easy to visualize its impact to the planet at large if it continues to violate nature and continue to ignore the relationship between irresponsible human actions to the pathetic state of the planet right now. Knowing the environmental policies being pushed for by the US right now, it is up to you to decide whether or not it is pro or anti-environment after all.

In The Midst Of An Environmental Crisis

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The planet is changing at a rapid level. Many changes are taking places that are not always good for everyone on land or even those in water. You may not be able to see all these changes by simply looking outside your window, numerous things are happening on a global scale that has a big impact on virtually everyone on the planet. Climate change, for instance, is no longer just a threat but a reality we are all facing every single day. The ocean is rising and so is the planet heating up. They may all seem irrelevant to the ordinary man but they play a big role to how the world works as a whole. And when you hear someone saying we are now in the midst of an environmental crisis, it can’t be any truer.

Everything we do, big or small, has an impact on the world. If we want to protect the planet and make sure we don’t suffer that often in the hands of Mother Nature, let us also reduce our carbon footprint and we should practice more environment-friendly ways in everything we do. Even the little things we do count a lot in saving the world and somehow making it a better place for each and every one of us. Nobody will help us except ourselves. In the end, it is us who will also suffer if we don’t step up and do something about all the environmental issues we are facing because after all, we only have one planet to live in. Let’s stop making it unlivable by cleaning up our acts and considering how the environment will be affected in all of our actions.

The proposal to have environmental education as a subject in schools has been finalised.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar today said he was ready to discuss the proposal with the Education Minister.

He said top officials from his ministry and the Education Ministry have been discussing the proposal for months and those in the discussions were receptive to the idea of having such a subject.

“Once I get the report from the deputy secretary-general, who headed the ministry in the talks with the Education Ministry, discussions between the Education Minister and I can start.


And since the youth is the future of any nation, it is only logical to start educating the youth about the importance of the environment and what measures can be done to safeguard it from further harm. Human activities are the number one reason why the planet is what it is today. Our abuse and misuse of natural resources have led to widespread natural disasters that took human lives aside from destroying properties and ravaging communities. Looking at the state of the environment right now, it is inevitable for stronger and more destructive natural calamities to come and wreak havoc on human lives at the rate things are going now. Only through education can we do something big that can have a lasting impression to everyone as to why the environment needs protection.

Tens of millions of people will be forced from their homes by climate change in the next decade, creating the biggest refugee crisis the world has ever seen, according to a new report.

Senior US military and security experts have told the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) study that the number of climate refugees will dwarf those that have fled the Syrian conflict, bringing huge challenges to Europe.

“If Europe thinks they have a problem with migration today … wait 20 years,” said retired US military corps brigadier general Stephen Cheney. “See what happens when climate change drives people out of Africa – the Sahel [sub-Saharan area] especially – and we’re talking now not just one or two million, but 10 or 20 [million]. They are not going to south Africa, they are going across the Mediterranean.”


You can probably see it in the news right now. Every now and then there is this awful disaster that destroys towns and cities and leaves people displaced for weeks, even months on end. Recovery is often a slow and painful process and it can break you in ways that you’ve never imagined before. If you don’t want to suffer and turn your life upside down especially if you live in a high-risk area, do your part in saving the planet today, not tomorrow. Try to influence and educate others as to why we need to pitch in and do our part in environmental conservation efforts rather than just rely on the government and big organizations to initiate and work on conserving the planet and its vast resources before the time comes when we are too late for saving.

Problems With Chinese Medicine

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For centuries, Chinese medicine has reigned supreme when it comes to promoting and supporting man’s good health. It has almost never failed everyone who tried it and until today, many people still put their faith in age-old Chinese recipes that has cured diseases in the past in the absence of modern medicine. The problem is that many claims it is not as effective as it once was as there has been one casualty after the other – all of which took a Chinese medicine of sort to relieve them of a medical condition they have. The likely reason why this happened is that as recipes are passed down from generation to generation, some may tweak it a bit that results in a change in efficacy or may even trigger some adverse reactions in this case.

Other factors we need to consider is that what’s in Chinese medicines with herbs aren’t as well documented as any medicine you can buy from the pharmacy. You can’t really tell how its ingredients react to one another. And then there is the possibility that an individual is also taking other supplements or drugs that can react to the Chinese herb. Sometimes, side effects are minor and can be tolerated, other times it can cost you your life. It’s probably what happened to these poor people who unknowingly got treated with Chinese medicine and they happen to be allergic to some components of the medicine.

Early on a snowy, winter morning in January 2012, Wu Xiaoliang, a 37-year-old farmer, stopped by his local doctor to remedy a headache. At a small clinic near his village he received two injections made from traditional Chinese herbs. Hours later, villagers saw him struggling to prop himself up on his moped as he drove home. By noon, he was dead.

What killed Wu was later described in an autopsy report as a “drug allergy.” But doctors couldn’t pinpoint what he was allergic to because the shots he was given contained dozens, if not hundreds, of different compounds extracted from two herbs.

For centuries, Chinese have bought plant and animal parts from traditional clinics, and boiled them into bitter soups to treat colds, strokes and even cancer. But the Chinese medicine sector has modernized along with the rest of the country, with local manufacturers turning age-old recipes into fast-acting injectable drugs.


Another major difference to how Chinese medicine is delivered in the past is that before, ancient Chinese had to drink soups or teas with these medicinal herbs. But today, Chinese drug makers have leveled up their game and they likewise upgraded these traditional medicines by giving them a modern feel – in injection form. Let’s not forget the fact how fast the effect of intravenous drugs are since they are directly injected into the bloodstream. For an ancient medicine with insufficient (if none at all) clinical trials to prove its safety and efficacy, the results can be disastrous.

The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) is warning the public not to buy or consume two products promoted in Malaysia as traditional Chinese medicine, after two elderly women fell ill after taking them.

The two products – Wan Ling Ren Sem Chin Kuo Pill and Chong Cao Dan – contain undeclared Western medicinal ingredients, including a potent steroid called dexamethasone, HSA said in a press release on Thursday (Nov 2).

A woman in her 70s who had taken Wan Ling Ren Sem Chin Kuo Pill daily for four to five years for rheumatism and pain was hospitalised in the intensive care unit after experiencing severe breathing difficulty.


While we have nothing against traditional medicine, just keep in mind that it has its risks too. Its ingredients are often undeclared. Most people who take Chinese medicine do not consult with a real doctor to get them assessed properly and determine if the products they are taking is not doing them more harm than good. Most of the danger comes from the continued modernization of this ancient practice. What those people who dabble with alternative medicine do not realize is that you don’t just develop a drug and formulate it into a preparation that is highly untested such as Chinese medicine shots because the dangers are fatal and can kill a person like what we are already witnessing now.

How Climate Change Is Shaping The World Today

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You don’t have to look far to see the changes in the world right now. Just step out of your home and you can see how polluted and hot the world has become. Weather systems have intensified as well as natural calamities that hit us with such force each year. There are actually certain parts of the planet that are more prone to experience these disasters than other places. Typhoons, hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, etc., they have all posed a threat to our lives because we can’t really tell when some of them will happen but we can’t avoid it either.

Climate change is especially evident in the ocean. Just head out to sea or just even on beaches and you can see for yourself how global warming has changed people’s lives. Not only certain animal and plant species become extinct as the days go by, island nations are at risk of disappearing off the face of the planet because the sea level is rising as more heat is trapped inside the atmosphere. Consequently, it melts down polar glaciers that make the sea level rise and is now a major global concern because it has become a reality that puts people’s lives at risk.

Climate change means the sea level is rising, storms are intensifying and seasons are becoming unpredictable. Coral is increasingly torn away from the islands and returned to the lagoon floor. These days, repairing them does little more than delay the inevitable.
Solomon Islands has a population of 560,000 people and a growing number of them are being forced to leave their homes – not just in Lau Lagoon, but also low-lying coastal areas on Malaita, and across the entire atoll, one of the world’s largest. 

It has been more than a decade since the island of Tauba in Lau Lagoon was first submerged completely during a high tide.


While most people only think about beaches and paradise islands as dream getaway destinations for a well-deserved vacation, people actually live in many of these places 365 days a year. And as such, they have to brace for everything Mother Nature has in store for them all year round that many tourists rarely get to see because these things mostly happen during off-peak seasons. These locals have survived island life for generations but the complexities and unpredictability of the environment right now are forcing many of them to relocate because living became more of a drag and the risks are greater too.

Temperature records are being broken frequently in Australia, with hot records 12 times more likely to be set than cold ones since 2000, Drs Lewis and King reported in a 2015 paper.

A heatwave last month smashed many records across eastern Australia with more than half the NSW stations with more than 20 years of data registering their hottest September day, the Bureau of Meteorology said.

Under a high carbon emissions scenario, 50-degree days could arrive “as early as the 2040s”, Dr Lewis said, adding that even with a concerted reduction in pollution, those temperatures could be reached by about 2060.

Dr King said hospitals, electricity systems and infrastructure would all struggle during such heat spikes.


This problem is no laughing matter as it can spell life or death for many people living in high-risk areas. Imagine living on an island all your life and it suddenly is at risk of submerging in the ocean as the sea level continues to rise. Now, where do you go? Everyone should work hand in hand and change our ways because we only have one planet to live. If we don’t act now and save whatever is left saving, we might have the same ending as previous generations that have long since disappeared because they weren’t a match to the wrath of Mother Nature when it went amock and we only know about them in history books.

Is Microfinance About To Go Down Or Not?

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Not everyone has a lot of money. Some people earn so little no matter how hard they work while a few lucky ones get to enjoy more money than they can ever spend in their lifetime. Even if the majority of us labor in companies or institutions, it still won’t make you rich. Most successful people in the world are entrepreneurs and it is also the reason why many also want to give business a try today and build their own start-ups. Who knows, it might get bigger someday and they may eventually fulfill all their life’s dreams.

And since not everyone qualifies for bank loans to fund their business projects, the next best thing for aspiring entrepreneurs to do is to secure loans or other related financial services to get started. The concept of microfinancing has been very popular for quite some time since loan applicants no longer have to secure collaterals in order to get the money they need. But because of the very nature of this small industry being highly vulnerable makes microfinancing more fragile these days. Any small changes in the market or the economy, in general, can have a major effect on microfinanciers, unlike banks that have various products to offer to the public.

The tiny size of these institutions makes them vulnerable to even a small adverse development as their finances remain fragile. Unlike banks, which have multi products and an assured deposit base, micro lenders are dependent on markets for funds, which turn hostile at the smallest of events that affect business.

“Today banks are equally in the microfinance space as much as we are,” says MR Rao, managing director with Bharat Financial Inclusion. “So, banks are looking to partner MFIs either as subsidiary or by way of strategic stakes. As MFIs grow, they too need capital badly to remain on the growth path. It will be difficult for pure-play MFIs to grow independently without support of an anchor investor.”


Otherwise known as microcredit, many low-income people benefited from microfinancing and have helped them overcome poverty at the very least but this industry is likewise struggling right now since banks have expanded what they offer when it comes to issuing loans and the global economy hasn’t really fully recovered yet. This is evident in countries like India where we all know has one of the world’s largest population and a big chunk of this is mostly below or on the poverty line.

Together, the MFPs have expanded microfinance coverage to 106 districts in Pakistan as of June end. The microfinance penetration rate is reported by PMN at roughly 25 percent, based on an estimated potential market size of 20.5 million.

The MFPs have doubled the number of active borrowers between 2011 and 2016 – and this year, too, the tally is getting bigger. There are plans to double the coverage by 2020. So there is work to be done. The addressable market is still very large, and apparently growing. A loan-book of over Rs400 billion is needed to serve 10 million micro borrowers. That means equity capital must reach at least Rs40 billion.


There are microfinance industries that are doing well and some that aren’t. It probably has to do with the location and the current status of the economy in that place. That of India may be suffering but not that of Pakistan. The market is growing and because of the technology that we have today, many (especially Millennials) are more interested in starting their own businesses rather than get stuck with a conventional 9-5 job that does not really bring home the bacon.

There is really no winning formula on a lot of things in life. Even established institutions like banks and even lenders go through so many changes as the world becomes increasingly digital and may struggle in the process. In a way, technology helped with efficiency. We’ll just have to wait whether the world of microfinancing will keep on forging forward or get swallowed whole by banks that are coming up with more clever ways to lure in more investors and borrowers.

Black Friday Today: A Shadow Of What It Once Was

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When it comes to shopping, people make a big fuss of Black Friday and highlighting how it happens to be the biggest sale of the year – a perfect excuse to go on an all-out shopping spree where you can find the best deals on great products and possibly even complete your Christmas list ahead of time. Well, it may be true in the past and people really fall in long lines just to get in a store and shop like there’s no tomorrow but it seems like it is no longer the case now. If you check out the following articles, you’d realize that yes, some people have a point in saying this because apparently, the hype over Black Friday makes not that much sense anymore.

So, is it still right to hype up Black Friday when you learn that you only get to enjoy a few buck’s savings or that bigger discounted items like home appliances can also be bought online? It is already the case with big retailers like Walmart and Target and many people head to these places for amazing deals. Why then spend hours in line when you can easily make your purchase through the web from the comfort of your own home and spare yourself from the inconvenience brought about by shopping with big crowds. Even small specialty online only retailers are getting in on the action. Yet if you are someone who is trying to complete her Christmas list, any deal will do especially that this is probably your last chance of buying something at a discount. Read the rest of this entry

Rainbow Health: What Is It?

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Health is wealth. It’s been reiterated millions of times and we all know it by now. After all, we’ve been told about it from a young age and I am sure we already grasped its value over the years. While we are all aware of the importance of being healthy, our lifestyle says differently. In our prime, we are often deluded that we can conquer it all and we won’t easily succumb to diseases and ailments most old people suffer from. However, the times have changed and our modern lifestyle has put us at higher risk of certain conditions that even cancer has become so common right now regardless of your age.

Not all ailments go away on their own like the common cold and flu. There are also some that no amount of medication can cure. Think of HIV and AIDS. You’re a goner once you are diagnosed with this condition because there is simply no cure. Medical management is palliative, meaning it just offers the symptomatic treatment of the disease but nothing can be done about it anymore. And if there is any demographic that is increasingly diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, it’s the LGBT community. Their active sexual relationships even with relative strangers have led to this rise in lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders afflicted with HIV/AIDS. Management has actually improved nowadays as patients diagnosed with it live longer lives but the fact remains you will eventually succumb to this condition sooner rather than later.

Two organizations that serve people with HIV and do public advocacy on health issues of gay, lesbian and other groups announced Tuesday that they will merge.

The move will combine the Minnesota AIDS Project, founded in 1983, and the Rainbow Health Initiative, a group started in 2001 that’s best known for conducting a health survey of the LGBT population.

The name of the new organization has yet to be determined, but the merger has been approved by the boards of both organizations and will take effect in early 2018. Leaders of the two organizations say they are not just joining forces but plan to expand their reach.


When you say rainbow health, it stands for the health of the LGBT people or the rainbow community. We all know how prevalent HIV/AIDS is in their population and as such it has stigmatized them and made them suffer even more aside from the burden of the health risks they are facing especially when sexually active. Most people who die of AIDS are from the LGBT community. The government recognizes this trend and tries to intervene or at least help affected individuals cope with such a diagnosis. Unfortunately, federal help may be cut short depending on who is sitting in power and how they see LGBT in general.

These fears are well-justified: Trump recently announced his intention to cut significantly the budget of the AIDS Emergency Plan, a project intended to help victims of the epidemic worldwide, especially in Africa. According to the proposed cuts, funding for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief is to be reduced from $6 billion to $5 billion starting next year. In June, six experts resigned from the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, claiming that “the President simply does not care” about the disease and its consequences.

While Trump remains a major target of the LGBT community, the core struggles of AIDS victims have shifted considerably since the disease changed from being an epidemic that cut down tens of thousands of young people in America with harrowing speed, into a chronic illness for which preventive treatment is available. Surprisingly, the historical narrative that the new exhibition presents emphasizes a series of positive AIDS-related developments, the most prominent of which was the expansion of the idea of domesticity to include political assemblies, communal centers and cultural hubs.


The odds may be high but the rainbow community is more united now than ever and they have been actively fighting for their rights in all corners of the globe. And if there is one right they are most concerned about, it has to do with their health. Like everyone else, the LGBT community deserves the right to basic healthcare services and they should not be alienated or ignored because of their sexual orientation and preferences. Politicians should put aside their biases and look after the needs of their constituents or extend help where help is needed as long as they can. It’s the reason why rainbow health persists to be an issue in the US because the leaders don’t always see everybody eye to eye and as a result, come up with legislations or policies that neglect the needs of some whether it is intentional or not.

Marijuana Breakthrough In Pennsylvania

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Marijuana has always been a sensitive issue in society. Even back to the hippie days, those who are pro-marijuana struggled in making others listen why weed is unlike other illegal drugs that are risky and dangerous to one’s health. Well, there is probably a reason why the authorities were doubtful of marijuana’s beneficial health effects especially if they can see hippies getting high and doing all sorts of crazy things because the weed made them do that. It’s because the weeds grown in the past were high on THC, the cannabinoid that gives you a natural high and is probably responsible for giving weed the stigma of it being a dangerous substance people should not mess around with.

However, there have been a lot of newer developments over the years. Weed growers are no longer just breeding THC-rich marijuana plants but ones rich in other cannabinoids as well such as CBD. By now, we all know that CBD is the important component of medical marijuana as it offers a lot of medicinal benefits minus the negative aspects of traditional marijuana that is related to getting high and addicted.

This development in the marijuana industry has prompted government officials and medical experts to give marijuana the time of day leading to where it is now – to be even prescribed by doctors in the treatment of various medical conditions because it has proven that it’s not a useless plant after all. Read the rest of this entry

When Events Go Haywire

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Events are a big thing nowadays. People spend a lot of money when throwing lavish parties/events that become the talk of the town now that social media is a big part of people’s lives. The aim here is to make your event go viral and trending so that people will notice you and you become popular. After all, people make lots of money when they have lots of followers on social media. So, they usually go all out when organizing events to ensure they stay relevant in a society that is run by technology.

We just all want to have a good time, which is the reason why we spend money to go to special events like concerts. It is our reward for working hard by pampering ourselves for a few hours of entertainment. Unfortunately, the world has become such a scary place right now that violence can erupt out of nowhere and leave behind a big casualty, mostly innocent concert-goers or bystanders that fall victims to psychopathic individuals who have lost sight of what living is all about.

In the immediate wake of the deadliest mass shooting in the U.S., some of Las Vegas‘ conference halls and resorts served as makeshift shelters, housing injured concertgoers and distraught residents.

But as the day progressed, streets and hotels were reopening, and so far, most events look to be proceeding as planned, but with added precautions.

InsureTech Connect, an insurance innovation conference, is still slated to begin on Tuesday.

“While the mood is somber and our hearts go out to the victims of this senseless tragedy, the people of Las Vegas are united in strength and resilience,” Jay Weintraub and Caribou Honig, the founders of the annual event, said in a statement.


Life goes on despite such a terrible tragedy. It may be hard for the families of the victims but you can’t tell when such a situation can happen and who would even think that someone will just shoot people out of nowhere during such a festive occasion. But unfortunately, it does. Events organizers usually ensure the security of everyone during big or small events but there are circumstances you can’t just foretell and it’s really such a shame people have to die or get hurt in the process.

The shooting attack at a Las Vegas concert on Sunday night that killed at least 58 people is the latest in a series of massacres reshaping the live-events industry.

The attack by a solo gunman at an outdoor country-music concert on the Las Vegas Strip was reminiscent of a bombing in May at an Ariana Grande show in Manchester, England, and another tragedy less than two years prior, when gunmen opened fire at a rock concert in Paris. At least 515 other people were injured in Nevada after the suspect perched in a high-rise room in the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino and unleashed a barrage of gunfire on the crowd below. He was later found dead.

Videos of the attack showed screaming concertgoers scrambling for cover as the clack-clack-clack of what sounded like an automatic weapon can be heard in the background. In the aftermath, events organizers will once again be forced to revisit a fundamental debate about how — or even if — they can keep concertgoers safe.


While unfortunate circumstances like this can’t be prevented, it only teaches events organizers to do more when it comes to enforcing security during big events especially those held in large concert grounds or enclosed auditoriums or concert halls. Scanning concert-goers for possible possession of deadly weapons isn’t enough especially that psychopaths take everyone by surprise using tactics that are beyond human comprehension.

We all want to unwind and have a good time during our free time. Tickets for these events do not also come cheap, so the people going there can only expect their safety and security to be upheld all throughout the program and not be subjected to such extreme violence. It is a lesson learned the hard way but a lesson still.

What’s With An iPhone?

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People see iPhones differently. It’s like it is a class of its own – unparalleled and the one that started it all. When it comes to smart technology, the user-friendly interface that Apple developed was the perfect tool that enabled smart technology to take off in the market. And yes, their innovative efforts paid off as Apple is one of the biggest global brands there is today and still the leading smartphone manufacturer aside from the Android brands, of course.

There is something so special with iPhones that the public can’t resist upgrading to the newest version even if their old ones are working just fine and not in dire need of a replacement anytime soon. However, iPhone has a certain charm that is simply irresistible. Despite its high price tag, many do not hesitate in buying it because it is a status symbol and it really has some awesome features too that iOS users have learned to love and can’t live without.

Since its introduction 10 years ago, the iPhone customer base has grown dramatically, becoming increasingly more diverse both in benefits sought and in buying power. Consequently, Apple (AAPL, -1.21%) is not introducing just a new iPhone next week, but an iPhone product line anchored by the iPhone 8, its most advanced offering.

The iPhone 8 is expected to be a feat of technology, featuring a number of innovations that include facial recognition, edge-to-edge next generation display with punchier colors and deeper contrast levels, wireless charging with magnetic induction, and an improved dual-lens camera. These innovations, however, are likely to push the price of the phone beyond the $1,000 mark. The question, then, is how consumers will respond. 


Some features come and go. The rest will likely stay but definitely pimped up to perfection – enough for people to spend a few more dollars in their monthly subscription premiums. But if there is one thing that keeps iPhone’s customer base or even grows it, it is the brand itself – Apple. It exudes a certain enigma that showcases the company’s commitment to innovation, style, and creativity without compromising functionality and compatibility with other similar tech devices. Over the years, Apple has maintained its strong and positive image even if the Android market has been swamped by cheaper-priced smart handsets directed to the masses.

Nevertheless, there are a lot of reasons why people choose a phone from Apple over a device from one of the many manufacturers creating Android phones. Want to know the real reasons why some people buy iPhones instead of Android phones? Read on to check out some of the more popular reasons for going with a phone from Apple instead of one from a top Android manufacturer. You just might be surprised.

  1. They like iOS better than Android

Though certain diehard Android fans can’t imagine it, some people really like iOS. In fact, there are even some people who have tried both mobile operating systems and still like iOS better than Android. Maybe it’s Apple’s interface and design that draws them in. Perhaps they like how straightforward it is to get an iPhone working right out of the box, or that they don’t need to take the time to customize a new phone extensively. Maybe they like features like Siri or are fans of some of the apps that come preinstalled on a new iPhone. Some people think Android is a superior operating system, and others like iOS better.


And since the smart technology has been around for years now (a decade actually considering that the first iPhone is 10 years old now), most consumers have already owned either an iPhone, an Android phone, or both over this span of time. But if you have used an iPhone before, chances are you’ll stick to using iOS than making the switch to an Android device. And like the status symbol that it is, almost everybody on the planet recognizes the Apple logo and can tell it from a distance. The same can’t be said, though, with the many Android brands that populate the market these days.

Now once you get tired of your old device and want a new play thing (especially now that the recent Apple Event just launched the new line of iPhone handsets – iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and the limited-edition iPhone X), you can easily sell your iPhone at a more competitive price because Apple products hold their value pretty well over time. Despite most iPhones and Android units having basically the same specs (aside from a handful that really differentiates what an iOS phone is and what an Android one is), some people look past these specs and only see the allure that only an iPhone exudes.

The Air That Canadians Breathe

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Environmental issues have been around for ages. It’s not that the planet was any better centuries ago because our ancestors also faced countless natural disasters that threatened their survival and their very existence on the planet. Even during the time of the dinosaurs, the earth wasn’t always a safe haven for everyone. They’re extinct now, right?! And the same can be said about the problems we are facing today such as global warming and climate change. Not only have they worsened weather phenomenon and made natural disasters more intense than they ought to be but climate change, for instance, has a big impact our daily lives.

People who live in different places in the world do not necessarily experience the same thing all the time because of differing geographical location. They face risks that are not experienced by others. Canada today is battling air quality issues because of a massive wildfire that not only reduced entire forest ecosystems into ashes but filled the entire sky with smoke. People living nearby are already suffering from respiratory problems and travelers are likewise advised to prepare for visibility issues because of the excessive smoke and haze filling the neighboring areas and its skies.

Environment Canada has issued a special air quality alert as wildfire smoke is blanketing much of southern Manitoba, resulting in poor air quality and reduced visibility.

According to the alert, westerly winds are spreading significant amounts of wildfire smoke across the prairies and will continue to do so until a cold front pushes through the region. The cold front is expected to move through western Saskatchewan this morning, and then slump southeastwards, moving through eastern Saskatchewan by Tuesday evening, and then across southern Manitoba on Tuesday night. As the cold front passes, cleaner air will move in from the north.

For many areas, this event will be seen by very hazy skies with moderately elevated Air Quality Health Index values in the four to seven range. However, due to local effects, some areas will see significant reductions in air quality, with AQHI values exceeding seven (high) and potentially exceeding 10 (very high).


The wildfire in itself is already a safety and health risk as fire is not a friendly element at all. It will destroy everything in its path and we are not even talking yet about the many local wild animals that were killed or displaced by this horrific disaster that is also engulfing the air that many Canadians breathe in a thick blanket of smoke.

“The wildfires burning in Waterton Lakes National Park continue to produce widespread smoke and poor air quality over southwestern areas, especially near the park boundaries,” the weather agency said on its website. “Over the next few days, a persistent weather pattern will result in very little improvement in conditions.

“The poor air quality may even spread into adjacent regions by mid week.”

On Sunday, Alberta Health Services said it was asking people to “refrain from visiting at Cardston and Pincher Creek Health Centres until further notice.

“Air quality has improved slightly, but smoke is still entering the buildings when doors are opened,” AHS said. “We sincerely thank everyone for their patience, understanding and co-operation during this time. We understand these restrictions may pose an inconvenience.”


Let us not wait for the time to come when we even have to buy the air that we breathe. It has happened now with water and many other life essentials. Most of the things people in the past took for granted like water and free food in their surroundings and other natural resources are now being sold to us modern people at a high price. If we don’t get our act together and start protecting what’s left of the environment right now and do some major damage control by changing the way we live, it may very well be the reason of mankind’s undoing in the near future.

How To Go Solar

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We now live in a society consumed by technology and the unending demand for energy (mostly non-renewable as is the custom now in the world). And it makes sense considering the number of tech contrivances we use day in and day out. Energy is not just a precious commodity, it is already a staple in all aspects of human life. Yet we all know the many issues we face when it comes to energy use. Not only is there a big possibility of a non-renewable source like fossil fuel eventually running out but also the dangers its continued use poses to the environment.

Why then does the majority of the population patronize non-renewable energy? Perhaps it is because they are convenient to use. There are already big businesses that market these products to the people and some that consequently made other related products that make use of this energy resource for them to work like most vehicles, appliances, smart gadgets, etc. when in all honesty, renewable energy is just as easy to use yet often ignored by society.

Given the gains made in reducing costs and improving efficiency for photovoltaic cells, it’s time to turn the solar office’s attention to thermal solar with or without the grid study, said David M. Hart, professor of science and technology policy at George Mason University.

“So for me it makes sense to rotate funding to less mature technologies,” Hart said.

Concentrated solar power, which requires local workers to construct and operate plants, also fits snugly into another Trump goal of creating jobs.

“It generates local employment,” said Yogi Goswami, a solar energy expert and professor at the University of South Florida. Photovoltaic panels, Goswami noted, can be (and are) manufactured abroad more cheaply in China


Most progressive countries like the US and China are actually the biggest energy users and contributors to the release of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere (hence global warming and climate change) because these places have countless manufacturing plants and industries that make just about everything you can think of that can thrive in a highly capitalist world. While some have already shifted to the use of solar energy years ago, many still miss out on what the sun can still offer aside from natural daylight.

“We started thinking that seems strange because if you look around the world, if you look on the ground, there’s a lot of solar energy going in, so we went back to the forecast, we looked back over 15 years and looked at what people predicted, what happened to solar energy five years out, and it was consistently under-counting how much solar there actually was,” Nemet said.

As for why solar’s potential was underestimated, there are a number of reasons, but Nemet said the biggest driver is that solar is getting cheaper and faster than originally expected.

While technology is making solar increasingly more efficient and cost-effective, there are still challenges associated with the power source.


While it is perfectly understandable that most people are concerned about the many limitations of solar power, let us not overlook its many advantages as well aside from being 100% environment-friendly. The main issue here is that why the government is turning a blind eye to the harnessing of solar energy in fueling our energy needs and gradually make the shift from the use of fossil fuel to that of sunlight. The weather may change now and then and it is not always sunny all the time but those things can be resolved with proper strategic planning and federal government support and funding to make solar energy more accessible to the public and replace whatever we are using right now.

The Need For Green Spaces In The City

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The world’s natural space is fast disappearing what with rapid urbanization and all. Most green spaces are turned into agricultural, residential, and commercial spaces to meet the growing needs of the public for natural resources and living space. As a result, Mother Nature takes all the blow just so we can continue to live in utter comfort and safety. If you live in a big city like most people do these days, you likely won’t be seeing a lot of trees and green scenery because almost everywhere around you is full of towering skyscrapers that house businesses and residents alike.

To make urban living healthier and better for our mental health, most land developers and builders are now incorporating green spaces into the living spaces they build. You can see patches of green parks or gardens in an inconspicuous corner or city centers to give the people a feeling of living with nature. Green spaces in busy city streets offer a lot of health benefits. They filter dust and other harmful pollutants in the air that is common in city living. They also help in cooling down the temperature and providing shade that is a welcome relief in cities that are mostly devoid of big trees. It is even helpful in reducing the rate of erosion in waterways as well as protecting rivers and streams by filtering toxic runoff.

The World Health Organisation stipulates that all residents must live within 15 minutes of a green space. Western countries have tended to adopt a norm of 20 square metres of per capita green space. Many of them, however, overshoot this requirement. So, in Dutch cities, the per capita green space is 228 sq m, while in the Greater Paris region, it is 80 sq m. In India, according to the “Urban Greening Guidelines, 2014”, a report from the Ministry of Urban Development, the per capita green space in metropolitan cities is abysmal — 0.81 sq m in Chennai, 2 sq m in Bangalore and 1.24 sq m in Mumbai. Smaller cities like Varanasi (24.78 sq m), Bhopal (18.62 sq m) and Chandigarh (17.43 sq m) fare much better in this respect. Gandhinagar fares spectacularly with 162 sq m of green space per person.

The component of urban greens that is most conspicuous by its absence in Indian cities is neighbourhood parks. Even in small western towns, every neighbourhood has a park where children screech and run wildly around see-saws and slides while their mothers catch up with each other. It is a great stress-busting space that allows free play for children of all social strata.


We can’t just ignore it anymore. Urban living isn’t really the healthiest type of lifestyle for us but we find it hard to disconnect from our tech-crazed world. The tighter these cities become as more and more people converge in these crowded places. More land is then converted into homes and high-rising condominiums to accommodate the growing number of people requiring a place to live. As a result, more trees are cut down and land is cleared in preparation for building and constructing work. It is an endless and vicious cycle of abuse at a global scale that is happening more rapidly now than it did in the past.

While we cannot blame planners for causing all these issues, they do have the ability to intervene and thus a role to play in improving urban life. Design guidelines, for example, can help by ensuring people have more accidental social encounters in spaces like cafes, at mailboxes or in gardens.

So too can more strategic interventions such as community gardens – places where people grow not only food, but also friendships. More green space can also potentially buffer noise, heat and light, and provide respite from crowds.

In car-dependent outer suburbs and new housing estates, planners would do well to focus on first developing social facilities such as clubs, sporting facilities and parks. Public transport is another important intervention in such suburbs. Good access to public transport also reduces a household’s commuting expenses.

Our research suggests planners and built environment professionals have surprisingly low levels of knowledge about depressogenic environments.


Human health improves in the presence of a green environment. A person’s mood improves and brightens when they get to commune with nature. Even the sight of green plants and trees can do lots of wonder to a person’s overall health and well-being. People who are cooped up in physical structures tend to be less active. Experts even coined the term “depressogenic” to describe the poor mental health of individuals living in urban cities. We subconsciously get overwhelmed of the various distractions in our immediate environments such as bright lights, loud noise, and busy streets that it increases your cognitive load leaving you mentally stressed-out.

Better urban planning is needed to help counter the major flaws of urban living. Adding green touches like gardens, parks, trees, and other greenery is the first step to correcting this problem especially that we can’t just abandon our modern lifestyle that easily and decide to go off-grid in a heartbeat. There may be problems but there are also solutions if we just open up our minds to all the possibilities and perhaps declutter our lives a little for the sake of our health and sanity.

How Meat-Eaters Harm The Environment

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Humans are known omnivorous eaters. It means we eat both plant and meat-based food. While it is essential for human survival, animal farming is proving to be more detrimental to the environment than we’d like to acknowledge. It is even more harmful than traditional crop farming for a variety of reasons. The soil is lost, trees are cut down and water is consumed in raising these animals especially when it involves factory-farming where hundreds, if not thousands, of these animals, are raised for human consumption at a time.

Animal waste that gets washed down to rivers and streams pollute these water sources aside from increasing the carbon footprint due to untreated animal waste and is next to air pollution from vehicle combustion as the biggest threat to the environment. Marine life disappears (they either die or leave the place) as the nutrients coming from animal waste fosters the growth of algae that in turn reduces the amount of oxygen available in the water not to mention the accompanying stinky smell from excessive algae growth in the water. Aside from that, these harmful wastes pollute drinking water and can lead to a long list of health conditions that are completely avoidable if we just limit our consumption of animal meat. Animal agriculture contributes to 51% of the greenhouse gas emission all over the world. Moreover, these animals consume just as much food in order to grow in size and produce sufficient flesh to be later sold in most markets.

The global meat industry, already implicated in driving global warming and deforestation, has now been blamed for fueling what is expected to be the worst “dead zone” on record in the Gulf of Mexico.

Toxins from manure and fertiliser pouring into waterways are exacerbating huge, harmful algal blooms that create oxygen-deprived stretches of the gulf, the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay, according to a new report by Mighty, an environmental group chaired by former congressman Henry Waxman.

It is expected that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) will this week announce the largest ever recorded dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. It is expected to be larger than the nearly 8,200 square-mile area that was forecast for July – an expanse of water roughly the size of New Jersey.


The problem has grown considerably despite efforts to minimize its damage to the environment. It does not help that the demand for meat (of all types) continues to increase as the majority of the population are oblivious to the dangers posed by meat eating to the natural world. Environmental groups are raising awareness on the problems caused by meat farming in an effort to discourage the people from consuming more meat or reducing the demand for it at the very least.

With scientists tomorrow expected to confirm the largest dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico ever recorded, Environment America renewed its call for Tyson Foods, Inc. and other corporate agribusiness companies to curb the pollution flowing from their fields and factory farms.  The demand for Tyson to “clean it up” was today joined by Mighty Earth, which released a new research report on pollution from meat companies like Tyson.

“From the Chesapeake Bay to the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, giant meat companies like Tyson are now responsible for huge volumes of pollution pouring into America’s waterways,” said John Rumpler, clean water program director for Environment America.


Agri-business is a large and profitable industry in America alone. Hence, claiming that its harmful effects are also on a massive scale is but an understatement to the real danger it poses. Major US waterways are contaminated by these harmful pollutants that likewise make it impossible for marine life to thrive. However, this problem is not easily addressed as most people eat meat in their day-to-day life. While going vegan is not the absolute solution to the problem, understanding how it impacts our lives is the first step to addressing this issue for good.

The Role Of Mobile Apps In The Internet Of Things

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Technology is the biggest thing to hit the planet earth over the past few decades. Digitization is apparently the name of the game. It’s either you join the bandwagon or get left behind. Many of us have witnessed its birth, growth and its surprising exponential growth that gave us the amazing world of the Internet of Things and the smart technology we can’t live without right now. And one of the fastest growing industries related to their use is mobile apps that have virtually erased the word “boredom” in our vocabulary.

There are mobile apps for just about everything you’ll ever need in real life through the use of your smartphone. Most mobile apps, especially the ones that really have a practical use, have uplifted our lives and made certain tasks easier than they used to. From work-related to social networking and gaming apps, you can download and install free or premium apps that suit your taste and meet your tech demands.

Many industrial companies with extensive terrain or explosive areas today continue to use outdated technologies to plan, execute, manage and control their business processes. Employees are not well integrated in the flow of information and due to a lack of alternatives, certifications or purely out of habit (“we’ve always done it this way”), many tasks are still being performed with clipboard and paper. These archaic methods bring increased risk and inflexibility to the business, being error‐prone and inefficient. This also leads to mobile workers carrying more than they should when walking around the site, creating a potential safety issue and affecting the wellbeing of their workforce.


The tech shift we are experiencing right now is expected to go on and on until we reach the era of artificial intelligence (which has already started, by the way). The future may be uncertain for now but one thing is for sure, investing in a mobile app venture can likely bring in big profits especially if you offer something unique and helpful to the public. And with 4.8 billion of smartphone users globally, you won’t have a problem reaching a certain niche with your product especially once you look into the benefits of localization (in places that do not speak English, of course).

By making it easier for mobile phones to spread out and connect to one another, the IoT has created huge market-demand for and incentivized even greater investment in mobile phones and the development of apps for them. The same connectivity which drives the IoT has also enabled the world’s greatest developers to network and cooperate with one another more easily than ever before, meaning hubs of innovation are forming across the world’s digital environments.

Building a massive mobile network to generate demand for more mobile apps is only part of how the IoT has enabled greater mobile development, however. The entrepreneur-friendly IoT survives and thrives due to the innovations of the startups which occur within and because of it, and the greatest impact has perhaps been from some companies which understand how to harness the power of the IoT to better push their mobile apps.


Everything worked perfectly in the grand scheme of things. As the web and smart technology progressed and brought about the Internet of Things that we now know of today, it has also paved the way to the popularity and success of mobile apps that almost everyone with a smartphone right now makes use of every single day. It is actually synergy at work since both the IoT and mobile apps benefit from each other. Many global brands today started from these mobile apps like Uber and messaging apps that bring new life to conversations. And with the reception it is getting from everyone today, we can expect better things to come our way that can easily fit the palm of our hands.

Chipotle: Problems In The Food Industry

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Food is the most basic of human needs. We can’t survive for long without eating and drinking water. It is why investing in a food-related business is one of the most profitable investments you can ever make, as people eat three times daily at the very least. But despite food being a vital necessity in our lives, numerous issues affect it too, so it is not always an assurance your business will prosper. Various food franchises and businesses have since closed down over the years for various reasons.

Aside from economic factors that entrepreneurs have to consider when running their businesses, problems with health and the people’s changing lifestyle influence the type of businesses that succeed in the market. It’s mainly because a lot of the ailments that bother humans these days are because of our lifestyle. People are becoming more health-conscious and some won’t hesitate to spend a lot for an expensive organic salad than eat at their favorite burger joint or avoid indulging in junks and sweets like they used to. Then, there are other random incidents like food poisoning that can damage a fast food or restaurant’s reputation that may eventually lead to their closure.

Chipotle’s food safety woes are not over.

The chain confirmed Tuesday that several customers who ate at a Chipotle Mexican Grill in Sterling, Virginia, reported symptoms of norovirus after eating at the chain.

So far eight cases between July 14 and July 17 were reported to, a website that allows users to report when they get sick after eating at a restaurant. Business Insider was alerted to the issues at the restaurant by the site, and then published a story. Customers reported symptoms such as vomiting, severe stomach pains, diarrhea, dehydration and, in some cases, hospitalization.

Jim Marsden, Chipotle’s executive director of food safety, said that the company has notified local health department officials of the incident.

“Norovirus does not come from our food supply, and it is safe to eat at Chipotle. We plan to reopen the restaurant today,” he said in a statement Tuesday. “We take every report of illness seriously. In accordance with our established protocols, our team is working to ensure the safety of our customers and employees, including voluntarily closing the restaurant yesterday to conduct a complete sanitization.”


The reputation of a food-related business is on the line every time there are negative reports blaming them of customers getting sick from the food they serve. And it’s actually not the first time for Chipotle to get involved in such a controversy because they’ve suffered from a similar problem about two years ago and is actually just starting to make big bucks again. It’s a good thing they haven’t entirely closed down because of this because other smaller shops and restaurants have gone bankrupt because of similar incidents.

Two years after a string of food safety incidents battered sales and scared away diners, Chipotle Mexican Grill still isn’t on solid ground.

While the beleaguered burrito chain has returned to profitability and its same-store sales have begun trending in a positive direction, its successes have been overshadowed by a data breach, overtime pay lawsuits and drug charges being brought against a senior manager.

“While these things do not deter customers as much as a food poisoning outbreak, they do raise questions about how well the company is managed and suggest a lackadaisical approach,” Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData, told CNBC via email.

In the hope of luring back lapsed customers, Chipotle continues to invest heavily in marketing and promotions. In an SEC filing last month, the chain said that it would be increasing its spending in these areas, saying expenses would rise as much as 0.3 percent as a result.


The company has been doing damage control ever since but it is not always that easy to pull off especially that social media can quickly escalate things these days. The public is easily scared by issues like this and they tend to avoid that specific shop or store up until they forget about the issue and no similar incident happen soon after, which is the problem of Chipotle because it happened yet again. It’s no wonder they can’t win back many of their loyal customers after these outbreaks happened nor are they able to attract new customers to become their new patrons. It might be true then they weren’t able to fully recover from the E. coli incident back then and only time can tell how their business will fare amidst the tough competition in the food industry.

Is Democracy Still At Work?

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Citizens enjoy greater freedom in a democratic government. The people are free to choose and decide on a number of things like their religion, interests, studies, work, etc. while at the same time observing the rules and laws of the land. People can move freely without the state constantly telling them what else they can do and up to where they can go. The public also enjoys a set of innate human rights that the law upholds and protects. Discrimination is discouraged in society and those who are caught violating the rights of another person will be help accountable in court.

American constituents enjoy the benefits of democracy like many other nations in the world. There are times when it is abused but it is likewise put to good use to help maintain the delicate check and balance of the various branches of the government. A democratic system of government is founded on the principle of the rule of the majority, wherein the consensus of the majority wins. It is evident during elections where the people vote for their next leader regardless of their personal and professional qualifications.

Constituent power is a wondrous thing in a representative democracy. After the election in November, political prognosticators speculated that President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement, the Affordable Care Act, was probably as good as dead. Some thought President Trump might even sign a “Trumpcare” bill on his first day. But on Friday, more than six months into Trump’s presidency, Senate Republicans announced that their attempt to repeal Obamacare had collapsed.

The defeat was months in the making. In December, we released a Google Doc titled “Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda.” As former congressional staffers, we witnessed the rise of the tea party and saw the power of local, defensive congressional advocacy. After Trump’s election, we recommended that progressives implement the same strategies and tactics — minus the racism and violence. To our surprise, the Google Doc went viral, and today there are locally led Indivisible groups in every single congressional district in the country, full of members applying their constituent power.


In this case, democracy saved Obamacare from getting abolished especially that President Trump makes it known to all Republican legislators to get it done by hook or by crook since assuming office. The people choose who to represent them in both the lower and upper house and these elected legislators create, pass, or turn down bills that may or may not benefit their constituents. And it is what had made the abolishment of Obamacare hard for Republicans that had their eye on passing the new health care law under Trump’s administration.

Appointing family members to powerful jobs they’re not qualified to hold. Firing officials investigating scandals. Musing about prosecuting a defeated rival. Entangling his business empire with the presidency to such a degree that he’ll literally profit from his time in the White House.

The early months of the Trump presidency don’t look like what you normally see in a democracy. But they’re everyday occurrences in corrupt, undemocratic countries like Azerbaijan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or even Vladimir Putin’s Russia. And academics who study such countries increasingly worry that President Donald Trump is governing like the leader of the kind of nation Washington has long condemned — not like a president of the United States.

“His refusal to fully divest himself from his business, the linkages between finances and the levers of power — those are the classic symptoms of kleptocracy,” Seva Gunitsky, a University of Toronto scholar who studies post-Soviet states, says. “It’s probably the greatest long-term threat — maybe even short-term threat — to American institutions.”


The problem with the new administration is that it fosters the growth of political leeches that is characteristic of the same issues that abound most struggling third-world countries today. And as such has been a cause of alarm among other politicians both far and wide. It seems that President Trump sees the presidency as an extension of his role as an entrepreneur and businessman and it is obvious in the polities he has passed and is pushing for so far.

Little by little, democracy is no longer practiced as a sort of authoritarian leadership emerges. But will we allow that to happen today that democracy is still pretty much alive? If we love this country and want a brighter future for the millions of young Americans in our midst, let us exercise all the democratic faculties we still have to prevent this from happening and reorient today’s leaders in what they should be doing instead in leading this country to greatness.

Facebook’s Disaster Maps To The Rescue

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The world experiences far more weather disturbances now than it did in the past. It can be anywhere from hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and even tsunamis that hit various parts of the world now and then. Irresponsible human activities hastened the arrival of global warming and climate change that in turn messed up natural weather systems and phenomena that steadily gets worse as the years go by. Only then do humans realize how insignificant we are in the face of these natural disasters that already claimed millions of lives since the 1970s.

These days, social media is instrumental in reaching out to people who live in areas struck by disasters, whether man-made or natural. You can mark yourself safe and connect with family, friends, and thoughtful strangers who want to extend help in times of need. And now, Facebook’s new feature aims to help rescuers and relief organizations (public or private) get to affected areas safely and fast. The tech giant compiles aggregate and anonymous data to paint a clearer and bigger picture about a certain disaster. For years, the social platform has served a crucial purpose of connecting people during catastrophes and the new disaster map can do so much more that in return can save countless lives (both the rescuers and the survivors).

In order to help communities during natural disasters, Facebook has launched disaster maps that use data to help organizations see where people are located and determine what they need.

After storms and other disasters hit an area, traditional methods of communication can be knocked offline and it can take longer for aid and resources to reach survivors. These newly launched maps can help response teams put together a more complete picture of where people are located, according to a release from Facebook.

“We saw people coming to Facebook during disasters to share with friends and family, and thought the trends and how people were sharing on the platform could actually help fill that critical information gap that humanitarian organizations were facing,” the social network’s public policy manager, Molly Jackman, told Mashable. “That way, they [could have] the information they need to respond more quickly and effectively to natural disasters.”


Maps are helpful in directing everyone on the right course of action when delivering much-needed relief and aid. We can’t stop natural disasters from happening but we can prepare for them although we can’t really tell the extent of the disaster once these disasters eventually strike. It is even more catastrophic in struggling developing nations in Asia and Africa that don’t have existing weather prediction systems in place to warn everyone of a disaster’s approach and what areas will likely be affected, so people can evacuate when necessary.

Maps based on the same concept have been produced from mobile phone company data by analyst FlowMinder. In Nepal, for example, the maps were able to provide clues as to where people dispersed after the 2015 earthquake. However, the sharing and processing of mobile phone data has not approached real time.

According to Molly Jackman, a public policy research manager with Facebook, the new maps have been in development for the past year and are the outcome of extensive discussions with humanitarian organisations. “They helped us identify the data that would be most helpful for them,” said Jackman, speaking to IRIN over the phone from Facebook’s Menlo Park headquarters. “A lot of the conversation started with Safety Check; at first they just asked us to aggregate that data. The challenge we quickly realised is that a lot of people may not be looking at their phones or checking in as safe. So we wanted to dig a layer deeper.”


The map will allow rescuers identify which areas are safe and which ones are not that can facilitate disaster recovery and in rescuing possible survivors trapped inside the danger zone. The map can also tell whether which direction survivors are evacuating to, to let rescuers know where to concentrate their relief efforts. Facebook has spent a great deal of time developing this disaster map to make sure that whatever data they get will prove useful in times of disasters without compromising the privacy of the people using these maps.

No More Targeted Ads From Gmail

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We like to think we are safe in the confines of our personal Gmail account but how mistaken are we. Not only is your browsing habit observed and recorded but Google also sneaks a peak at our emails just so they can show us targeted ads, all for the love of (sponsor’s) money. You really can’t remain anonymous on the web anymore because you leave digital footprints that a tech giant like Google can take advantage of. Sadly, though, you have no choice unless you totally give up modern email and switch back to snail mail that may still inadvertently get lost en route to your receiver and can take a lifetime to get there.

Modern technology has indeed made life easier but there are a lot of catch that not all the time we are aware of. And the fact that Google reads your emails in Gmail is not new anymore because it made the headlines years ago. Targeted-advertising generates the biggest cash inflow for Google even though we aren’t thrilled at the news of them spying in on us. Do you even feel comfortable knowing that other people can read the contents of your personal email account? But then, it’s an efficient and comprehensive free web email service, so can we really complain at all?

Google is making a change to its advertising practices that will affect millions of Gmail users around the globe. Starting later this year, the company will stop reading your emails to refine its ads.

If you’re just learning that Gmail scans your messages, this is an issue that dates back for years. Google’s automated systems routinely scanned Gmail users’ incoming and outgoing emails to help refine the company’s massive data-gathering operation, which in turn supported its enormous targeted-advertising business.

Google’s ad business is what keeps the entire company chugging along. Last year, 88 percent of all revenue at Alphabet, Google’s parent company, came from Google advertising, according to its annual report.


But all these things are about to change as Google announced they will cease to read emails anymore as they refine their controversial advertising practices. The new changes will give users more control as to what ads they want to see popping in and out of their browser (not email, please) although the company has not yet specified when these changes will actually take place.

Google said it does not scan the email of paying corporate customers of its G Suite of services, but it made the policy change — announced in a company blog post on Friday — on its free consumer version to eliminate confusion and create one uniform policy toward Gmail.

As it builds its Google Cloud business for selling internet infrastructure and services to corporate customers, Google is trying to ease concerns that it will use data from corporate customers to help its mainstay advertising business.

Google said it plans to carry out the changes to the Gmail ad policy “later this year.” It will continue to scan Gmail to screen for potential spam or phishing attacks as well as offering suggestions for automated replies to email.


Google snooping in on emails coming in and out of Gmail isn’t entirely a bad thing as it helps them filter out dangerous spam and malware that can harm your system but that does not erase the fact that they do so without the user’s consent. Meanwhile, they will now streamline ads depending on data you have set on your settings or on your search history on other Google-related services like Youtube. This move may eventually help Google win some of the lawsuits filed against them regarding wiretapping allegations and even win over corporate clients into using their web services and infrastructures.

On Fake News And The Freedom Of The Media

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The proliferation of fake news these days is quite disturbing. For the ordinary person, it is hard to discern which news they are reading is genuine and which one is fake because they are all over social media. It’s not common for this news to hit mainstream media but they are a growing pain to social media users especially the millennials who access the web on a daily basis. However, others are making a big issue on a bill that aims to prevent the proliferation of fake news because it might infringe on the right of the freedom of the press, or so they say.

Facebook is the most notorious platform where fake news abounds. It is distressing because of the number of people (several million) visiting this site daily and its impact on people’s behavior over time. It also affects the view of people of what journalism and ethics are all about. People can be misled to believe a certain issue or point of view because they have seen it posted on a popular site like Facebook and more so because it has been liked and shared by thousands of other Facebook users who are as naïve as you. While it is the media’s right to voice out their opinions, it is never right to tell people erroneous information. They should remain objective at all times and tell the news as it is and not makeup stories just to capture the people’s attention.

Fake news and light touch regulation of social media platforms are threats to democracy and press freedom in Ireland, the chair of the Press Council Sean Donlon has warned.

It comes as the Press Ombudsman Peter Feeney cautioned new media organisations that their credibility was being questioned because of the sharing of fake news online.

He said Facebook was aware of such threats to its credibility and warned the public would return to traditional news outlets in search of accurate and trusted information if online content was found to be untrustworthy.

“There are far more checks and balances, where traditional values of good journalism, accuracy, impartiality, depth and context are more likely to be found,” said Mr Feeney.

“If the public requires access to accurate information and informed analysis, then there may well be a return to print and broadcasting.


A major challenge these days is to educate the people how to spot fake news on social media. No matter how obvious it may be, many people seem to love the theatrics of fake news and can’t resist sharing it with others. Unfortunately, many update themselves on the latest news from social media – the platform where fakes news are plenty. They end up confused as to what is fact from fiction, making them an easy prey to fake news.

Why did the false tweet get so much more attention? A new study published June 26 in the journal Nature looks into why fake posts like Tucker’s can go so viral.

Economists concluded that it comes down to two factors. First, each of us has limited attention. Second, at any given moment, we have access to a lot of information — arguably more than at any previous time in history. Together, that creates a scenario in which facts compete with falsehoods for finite mental space. Often, falsehoods win out.

Diego F. M. Oliveira, the study’s lead author and a post-doctoral fellow at Indiana University and Northwestern University, tested this idea by creating a theoretical model for the spread of information. The model was loosely based on epidemiological models that public health researchers use to study the spread of disease. Oliviera’s team had bots or “agents” produce messages containing new memes — essentially fake news — on sites like Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook, and re-share messages created or forwarded by their neighboring bots in a network.

“Quality is not a necessary ingredient for explaining popularity patterns in online social networks,” Oliveira wrote in his paper, adding, “Paradoxically, our behavioral mechanisms to cope with information overload may … increas[e] the spread of misinformation and mak[e] us vulnerable to manipulation.”


People seem to love the overly dramatic posts. It tickles their fancy and they don’t hesitate to fire away on that like and share button making it viral in a few hours’ time. Most people no longer have the time of day to check facts and simply believe the first thing they read on their news feed. It’s a troubling phenomenon because people form opinions based on what they just read and it can even put people in harm’s way when worst comes to worst.

The people should be more vigilant today and choose the social media channels you follow. Avoid the ones that don’t sound legit to avoid exposure to fake news at all. It does not mean that a certain news item is true if it has been shared on social media countless times already enough to make it go viral. Keep that in mind and you’ll do well even if you are a regular social media user. Even media practitioners shouldn’t just pass the blame and take full accountability for their actions and accept the fact that the times are changing. If they don’t want anyone meddling with their business, don’t make up stories that have no substance at all.