Archive for the ‘Society’ Category

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

Not A Good Time For LGBT Activists

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Times have changed a lot that gays and lesbians no longer have to hide in the dark (or in the closet) anymore. Most of them are now free to express their gender choices and even cross-dress if they are confident enough. Those who are in relationships with one another even get to get married for real because some US states and countries now allow that to happen. Best of all, it is legal too. Indeed, the LGBT community is doing better now than they did before but underneath, problems still exist.

Even though their lives are better now, there are still challenges that the LGBT community continues to face until now. LGBT activists speak up on behalf of the gay community to voice out their sentiments and ensure that the people in authority know about it and they can include such changes in the policies they make. While gays and lesbians live better now, some are still discriminated and had to endure some sort of violence (verbal or physical) now and then.

In the United States and many other parts of the world, this is a worrisome time for LGBT activists, as the pace of civil rights victories has grown uneven and reports of anti-LGBT violence and persecution surface relentlessly.

In the past two months, there have been large-scale detentions of gay men in Nigeria and Bangladesh, and chilling accounts of roundups and torture of scores of gays in Chechnya.

In Indonesia, a major police raid on a gay sauna was followed two days later by the public caning of two gay men.

More than 70 countries continue to criminalize gays’ sexual activity.


In some places in the US, serial killings of gays have flooded the news not long ago that it became a cause of alarm for the entire LGBT community. In far away places of Bangladesh and Nigeria, gay men are also being detained. Other similar cases are happening in various places all over the world that the LGBT community is calling for everyone to unite in the face of extreme and violent oppression and make their voices heard.

But this year, the meeting leading up to the parade was not to finalize organizational touches. Instead, many members of the LGBT community bombarded Capital Pride organizers with their concerns about corporate sponsorship, police participation, the lack of diverse leadership, and fundamental questions of whether this year’s Pride should be a celebration or a demonstration. For more than two hours, attendees pushed for significant changes, outnumbering those who wanted Pride to remain the same celebration it’s been in recent years.

In various ways, the meeting in DC was a microcosm of concerns that have become more prominent in planning Pride celebrations in the era of President Donald Trump, from New York to Los Angeles. Cities all over the country began having June parades in 1970, on the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall riots, in which patrons of a gay bar called the Stonewall Inn spontaneously rose up against police harassment in an event generally considered to be the beginning of the LGBT liberation movement. Over the years, the events became lively festivals and parades celebrating LGBT identity, with increasing corporate sponsorship and police participation.


Gay pride is no longer just a celebration but more of an opportunity to protest. It’s more than just being out and proud but fighting for their inherent human rights that the rest of humanity enjoys. However, like everything else, this is easier said than done especially if you live in America. With a president like Donald Trump, you can’t expect to live a normal life as a member of the LGBT community. He isn’t the type of person to support such causes and it is easy to see how disconnected he is from the gay community as a whole.

In reality, these issues fail in comparison to the threats of war and terrorism that we all now face. However, it does not mean that they don’t have any bearing at all because we are still talking about people’s lives even if many people consider them queer. Nobody should be above anyone for we are all created equal. Of we only keep this in mind, there won’t be any problem achieving world peace at all for everyone regardless of their gender identity.

Blogging In The New Millenium

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The new millennium opened up a plethora of opportunities to everyone who is gutsy and talented enough to get out of their comfort zones and embrace all the changes in this world. You are no longer restricted to having traditional 9-5 jobs. Now, the possibility of working from home is normal and you can earn as much as those with managerial positions in traditional businesses. What’s more, some of these home-based jobs can be done whenever you want as long as you get the job done.

Aside from more technical positions that are very much in demand on the web, blogging has also evolved from being a past time to a real paying job. Social media and WordPress are platforms that enabled ordinary people to share their story to the world and earn money from it. Those who are gifted with words can turn this into a profitable hobby. Your new mantra in life now is “do something you love and you won’t work a single day in your life”.

When Erin Schrader first launched her blog in 2011, she only meant to share it with a few close friends and family members.     

Six years later, that blog has more than 150,000 fans on Facebook and strangers have even recognized Schrader in hotel lobbies when she travels to conferences.

Schrader, who lives in east Elkhart, Indiana, along the Upper St. Joseph River with her husband of more than 10 years, never would have imagined that what started as a part-time hobby would turn into a full-time career. But last month — almost exactly six years after her first blog post — she took a leap of faith and quit her office job.

Now Schrader is pouring all of her energy — or what is left after spending time with her husband and her friends — into her blog, Living in Yellow. The name was inspired by two of Schrader’s favorite things: sunshine and macaroni and cheese.

At first, Living in Yellow was an extension of the gratitude journal that Schrader wrote in every day. It was a way to be more mindful about the simple joys in the everyday and to remind herself of the multiple blessings in her life.

“It was initially going to be my private space to transition my gratitude journal to the internet, but then it wasn’t this secret anymore,” Schrader said. “I started to realize that there’s a community here, that I can connect with people online and talk with them.”


There is a lot of potential on the web especially if you are among the first to discover it. Even now when there are far too many online bloggers you can barely remember their names, there is still a chance for you to make money from the stories you write. You’re not just limited to traditional pen and paper format but photos and videos make your blog more appealing and increase your followers over time.

When blogging started, the first blogs were really glorified online journals, and in all likelihood, becoming a professional blogger and making money online wasn’t the goal. Since then, the blogosphere has evolved, and now people blog for many different reasons. There are even distinctions among types of blogs – business, lifestyle, fashion, food, and entertainment blogs, among others.

Among the benefits of blogging include:

Share Your Knowledge

If you’re someone who loves to teach, starting a blog can provide the opportunity to educate others interested in your field of expertise. The best part is that, as you build resources on your blog to teach others, you may realize there is a chance to monetize your blog by creating educational products or services online.

Refine Your Writing Skills

The more you write, the better you become at it. Most professional bloggers write on a regular basis and therefore analyze and proofread their writing constantly. You may even get feedback from readers to help you become a better writer.

Learn How To Make Money Online

Most people start out with one blog, but along the way, they gain experience and eventually generate ideas for blogs in other niches. What you learn from your initial blog – the dos and don’ts, marketing strategies that are effective, how to make money blogging, etc. – will help you accelerate the growth of future ventures.


Not only do blogs benefit the blogger themselves but even businesses that these blogs promote. Blogging is a great way to build your audience and followers, and of course, there is money where there are people, right? This is the new age version of advertising straight to the right market – the people who follow those blogs because the stories interest them.

Startups prefer online promotion over offline promotion because the former is cost-effective and yet often has shown definite results. Because blogging is the default window leading to online promotion, more and more brands are getting into it these days.

For a small business on a shoestring budget, investing time and resources in blogging is a better option tha other marketing alternatives. Blogging can aid in getting a high ranking on search engines and in gaining social media visibility?

At a fraction of the price, businesses can enjoy the same benefits of traditional advertising. Most people go online daily now, so you know you are doing the right thing when people start noticing your blog.

Blogging is an excellent way to get noticed by big players. There’s no dearth of platforms if drawing the attention of the big players is on your mind. Admins of third-party B2B blogs will be delighted to publish your posts, provided these posts are useful and offer new information. Then there are publishing platforms like Pulse. LinkedIn is where most of the VC guys are. And they hover over Pulse articles for new insights.


This is the new age. Conventional wisdom does not usually apply because innovation is the name of the game. Blogging is just like that. This former hobby is now racking up mileage for businesses and money for entrepreneurs. Bloggers, too, don’t go home empty-handed. Aside from monetizing the blog, you can also enjoy a steady stream of freebies from businesses who wants you to feature their products on your next blog. So, it’s a win-win situation for any blogger after all.

Do Black Lives Still Matter?

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It is a difficult time in the United States nowadays. The nation has never been as divided regardless of the absence of civil unrest. While terrorist threats abound and are just disasters waiting to happen, tension among Americans themselves is at a boiling point because of political disagreements. It is not uncommon for family or friends to unfriend and block each other on social media because of their disagreements when it comes to politics and current events.

Among the most prominent critics of the new admiration is the Black Lives Matter movement. Society claims that racism is already a thing of the past but the truth is that it’s actually far from over. If you just scour social media, you can see why the black lives matter came to be and how they’ve been protesting all over the country until now. But the question is, do they really still matter today?

Even in the splintered and often fractious world of social justice movements, Black Lives Matter doesn’t fit easily into existing categories. Few grassroots uprisings have done as much, in such a short period of time, to focus attention on long-neglected issues of racial justice, gender, and economic inequality. Yet so far, BLM has not followed up on its initial victories by building the kind of lasting, hierarchical organizations that grew out of the civil rights movement; nor has it dedicated itself to a single, easily identifiable goal, like enacting the Voting Rights Act. How are we to make sense of organizers who themselves remain so loosely organized? And if Black Lives Matter isn’t devoting itself primarily to bringing about substantive legal and legislative change, then how can it hope to transform its resistance into lasting and meaningful gains in human rights?

Not just your typical protest group, they have tapped into all corners of the country, fighting for causes that are more defined. Black Lives Matter conquered social media and took advantage of this powerful tool to spread their message and what they are fighting for. While the nation remains divided, they aim to unite the nation by fighting for better reforms, equality and social justice.

But BLM has moved beyond many of the blind spots and shortcomings of its predecessors, embracing the full complexity of black identity and forging a movement that is far more inclusive and democratic than either the Panthers or civil rights activists ever envisioned. Many of its most active leaders are queer women and feminists. Its decentralized structure fosters participation and power sharing. It makes direct links between the struggles of black Americans and the marginalization and oppression of women, those in LGBTQ communities, and other people of color. It has made full use of the power and potential of social media, but it has also organized local chapters and articulated a broader political agenda.

Last summer, following critiques that they had failed to put forth specific demands, BLM activists and affiliated organizations published “The Movement for Black Lives,” a detailed and ambitious agenda. Divided into six parts, it includes a host of interconnected demands: a shift of public resources away from policing and prisons and into jobs and health care, a progressive overhaul of the tax code to “ensure a radical and sustainable redistribution of wealth,” expanded rights to clean air and fair housing and union organizing, and greater community control over police and schools. More detailed than the ten-point program issued by the Black Panthers, the BLM policy agenda offers a remarkably pragmatic yet potentially revolutionary blueprint—one that it aims to implement through the concerted use of both protest and politics.


While we all advocate for equal opportunities and treatment to everyone whether you are an American citizen or an immigrant, there would always be some form of racism that is ingrained in every society.

Black Lives Matter says recent incidents involving police and Syracuse residents show there is still progress to be made with equality in the justice system. The group protested alleged police brutality today outside the city’s federal building. They’re calling for justice for last year’s Father’s Day shooting and an alleged rape by a police officer.


We can only dream of a time when world peace can be achieved for real. It is unfortunate for us to still witness cases of discrimination and racism still being prevalent in our modern times when technology even allowed mankind to conquer space and the depths of the ocean. Why is it so hard for us to accept one another without prejudice and learn to live in harmony for all the days of our lives?

As long as there is inequality in society, activists like the Black Lives Movement will continue to fight for their rights and initiate protests so their voices can be heard by those in power. While it is hard to tell which side is right or wrong, what we need to remember is that we should still see the good and others and help those in need that regardless of the political climate, our personal opinions, and any issues we may face in society. Only in complete acceptance can we achieve the peace that remains to be out of our reach.

What To Do With The Homeless

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No matter where you go, you are sure to come across homeless people littering the streets. Men or women, the young or the old, homelessness does not discriminate. The last recession and the difficulties of most industries to bounce back after the crisis led to massive layoffs and a rise in the country’s unemployment rate. People were asked to leave their homes because they can no longer pay their mortgage.

So, in a way, these people actually had no choice but to live on the streets since shelters can’t always accommodate them. Even now that the economy is gradually improving and business is starting to pick up, other industries are still closing down. Employees will lose their jobs and can no longer afford to pay their rent or their mortgage.

For instance, malls are closing down as people prefer to shop online. So, it is not surprising to see more homeless people in the community than before. The U.S. should follow Canada’s lead in their efforts to take care of the homeless, so they become productive members of society once more.

A task force of Metro Vancouver mayors and business leaders released 12 recommendations to combat homelessness in the region on Monday, again calling on the provincial and federal governments to create and fund a provincial poverty reduction plan.

The report focused on three goals: preventing people from becoming homeless, serving them if they become homeless, and helping them into housing.

“The research unequivocally demonstrates a complete system-wide failure in the social services network designed to assist the most vulnerable in the region,” said Maple Ridge Mayor Nicole Read, who helped lead the effort with Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson.

The report recommended expanding home care for people with chronic health issues and addictions, and adding social housing units – key factors of homelessness, it said, that are outside local government jurisdiction.

Just how will they do that?

Coleman pointed to 1,900 units of affordable rental housing, including about 300 units for homeless people, that are in the works in the region.

Two shelter proposals were once on the table for Maple Ridge, Read noted, and both were later rescinded by the province, leading to some people staying in the local shelter for 18 months as they waited to move into transitional housing.


The Canadians clearly know what they are doing.

The Minister also participated in the official opening of a three-story building at 220 Terminal Avenue, hosted by the Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency. The new building is the first project in Canada to be approved by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation under the Affordable Rental Innovation Fund, and features 40 single occupancy suites for people at risk of homelessness, students and seniors. The project also includes moveable modular units, which are set up on undeveloped, city-owned land to provide temporary housing when needed.


Albuquerque, New Mexico is among the first states in the country to initiate programs for the homeless population and has now been adopted by other U.S. states. It is not just a simple housing program but a more lasting solution by providing employment to the homeless so they can finally get themselves off the streets.

In 2015, Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry made national headlines when he debuted a no-frills effort to reduce panhandling and homelessness in the city. With one driver and one 10-seater van, the program, called There’s a Better Way, would transport the city’s jobless to six-hour gigs pulling weeds in parks, picking up trash or tidying up the grounds at the local dump.

What started off as a $50,000, six-month pilot is now an $181,000 annual program that has inspired spin-offs in Denver, Dallas and the state of Wisconsin. Anaheim, California, became the most recent municipality to get on the trend, with Mayor Tom Tait telling an audience of 800 at the State of the City address on Feb. 7 that jobs were the solution to homelessness.


These stories deserve to make the news. They not only uplift the lives of homeless people and boost their morale but also encourages other communities, non-profit organizations, and government agencies to take the lead and help solve the problem of homelessness in their area.

Helping one another is not just a moral obligation among the faithful but a responsibility each and every citizen must take to heart. Progress is achieved once we all learn to look after one another with the help of a government that takes an active approach to solving many of the issues plaguing the community.

Israel: A Nation Eluded By Peace

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Many countries in the Far East have been ravaged by war for centuries now. Peace seems to elude them. The people learned to live a life that is always on the edge. Attempts of powerful western nations to restore peace in these nations seem futile and to no avail.

Israel is one of these countries that are always in the path of war and destruction. It had always been in conflict with its neighbor, Palestine. But so far, nobody has ever come up with a more lasting and positive solution. People died in the process of restoring peace in these countries and it seems like wishful thinking now.

Israel has issued 35 administrative detention orders against Palestinian prisoners, including one woman, within the last two weeks.

The Palestinian Prisoner’s Club said in a press statement that the orders were served to prisoners from across the occupied West Bank cities, including 11 to Palestinians from Bethlehem, eight to those from Hebron, six in Jenin and five in Ramallah.

It added that the orders were issued against first-time detainees as well as those who have been previously detailed.


Many suggestions have been considered (with finger crossed – that is).

Israel has been a sovereign state, with all the trimmings, since 1948, including a government, an army, a seat in the UN and membership in the World Health Organization (WHO) and World Trade Organization (WTO), as well as many other international bodies. By now, 135 of the 193 member states of the UN have recognized “Palestine” as a sovereign state, plus the Holy See, which is not a full member state of the UN.

If all of these facts are taken into account, you would be forgiven for thinking that nothing could possibly stand in the way of the two-state-solution. But there are a few small matters that ought to be addressed before Jerusalem and Ramallah are to take up any diplomatic relationships. These are, namely, the issues of borders, the Jewish settlement in the West Bank, the “return policy,” which is non-negotiable for Palestinians, as well as the recognition of Israel as a “Jewish state,” a condition that Israel is not willing to forego.

And all of this is without mentioning the most important question of all: who will speak for the Palestinians? The local elections in the West Bank and Gaza, set for Oct. 8, 2016, had to be cancelled due to the fact that leaders of Fatah and Hamas could not reach an agreement.

The rules are basically the same: the first to move, loses.


Many people (Americans and non-Americans) may not like most of President Trump’s statement and policies so far but it appears that he is doing something right in this aspect after all.

To understand what President Trump has indeed achieved and undertaken – which although limited, does represent a strong foundation for a future Middle Eastern peace initiative – requires envisioning an alternate scenario. Envisage a Democratic American president who in his or her first two months of leadership has appointed two premier advisors to focus on the Israeli-Palestinian issue; called on the Israeli government to hold back on settlement construction; intimately engaged Palestinian and Arab leaders; and has avoided any notable scandals on this particular front.

The President helps negotiate peace among these troubled nations and extend a helping hand, so peace can finally be achieved if everything works in their favor.

Observers and commentators on the Israeli-Palestinian issue should do so by cautiously highlighting positive developments, which further incentivize a working, democratic relationship between the community and the White House. To continue on the current path would otherwise signal four complete years of partisanship and opposition that would dissuade progress on the Israeli-Palestinian front, which Israelis, Palestinians, and world interests simply cannot afford.


Life in a war-torn nation is something you would not wish on anybody. We all deserve to live in a society with established law and order, where the citizens are free to roam the streets and go after their pursuits in life. Children should enjoy a normal childhood that is not exposed to violence and various injustices.

It may not be the reality for countries like Palestine and Israel right now (and many other countries in the Middle East e.g. Syria and Iraq) but it is possible once the nations unite and look past each other’s difference. The bottom line is, the world will be a better place if everyone learns to love more and hate less.

Can Pot Stop The American Opioid Addiction?

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One of the issues that people are beginning to become weary of across the United States is addiction to painkillers. Whether you were in a car accident, are a veteran, or just simply have a rather grave injury, you may have already been in contact with them.

And yes, who can hate something that actually relieves pain for so many people? Don’t people deserve to not be in pain in the richest country in the world? Frankly, no one deserves to be in pain. But the real issue right now in America is that not only are opioids being prescribed in number, they are also being abused.

And what’s quite strange about this abuse is that it is rampant, and it’s affecting people who haven’t necessarily encountered these problems before – poor, white southerners, often farmers – something noted in this story from

Between 1999 and 2014, opioid fatalities in New Hanover County grew from one to 24. Then, in only a year, the rate ballooned, nearly doubling to 45. These overdoses did not result only heroin, they came increasingly from prescription opiates and synthetic painkillers. In fact, prescription medication killed more than twice as many people as heroin in 2015. In North Carolina, 738 were killed by prescription medication, some of it stolen.

Those are huge numbers and are beginning to serve as a shock to many. What’s more, it’s affecting the crime rates as well:

Statewide, the North Carolina Department of Justice notes that cocaine arrests are down and marijuana arrests have remained stable. Meanwhile, according to the DOJ’s State Bureau of Investigation, arrests for possession of synthetic opiates – one of the leading factors in spiking overdose rates – have risen 132 percent (more than doubled) between 2000 and 2011. Sale and manufacturing arrests have risen 251 percent (more than tripled).

Wilmington, NC is far from alone in terms of addictions, but it is emblematic of a problem that is spiraling out of control. The high cost of these Opioid medications mean that once you become addicted, you may find yourself broke as well. It’s a double edged sword that has brought crime, poverty and, yes, heroin (which is sometimes actually cheaper than the prescriptions) to many areas that simply never had those issues before.

Pain Relief Without Addiction?

Deep in the morass of the marijuana debate, there is hope. The fact that medical marijuana does indeed relieve pain in many Americans without any addiction at all is now become well known. What’s more, the use of medical marijuana to relieve pain has actually begun to save people’s lives:

A 2016 study by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that states with medical marijuana laws had 25 percent fewer opioid overdose deaths than states that do not have medical marijuana laws. And another study published in Health Affairs last year found that prescriptions for opioid painkillers such as OxyContin, Vicodin and Percocet paid for by Medicare dropped substantially in states that adopted medical marijuana laws.


No Study, No Fact?

A major and quite brutal issue in the medical marijuana debate is simply that because of its Federal classification of marijuana as a Schedule 1, it is nearly impossible to study it. A recent study has brought some interesting ideas, though:

In January, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released a review of 10,000 medical marijuana studies published since 1999, showing that substantial evidence supports the use of marijuana or its extracts for the treatment of chronic pain. Existing research also supports its effectiveness in treating multiple-sclerosis-related muscle spasms and chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, according to the literature review. But the study cautioned that both the positive and negative health effects of marijuana need to be studied further.

As a result of this study, doctors, like New York’s Dr. Howard Shapiro, are starting to scale through the regulations and actually prescribe marijuana to patients in chronic pain. While smoking is often not recommended, some devices do smooth out the smoke. He’s enthusiastic of the anecdotal results thus far:

“I really think medical marijuana is the drug of the future,” Shapiro said. “We’re going to find out that it does a lot of things we already think it can do, but don’t have scientific studies to prove it.”

“I urge my patients to purchase only a two-week supply at first, so they don’t waste money on a dose that may not be effective,” Shapiro said. Most patients start out with a 1-to-1 ratio of THC, the intoxicating component of marijuana, to CBD, the second major component, which has proven to be medically effective for a range of conditions.”

And while Shapiro’s bravery (New York is not a fully legal Marijuana-state), other doctors are starting to sign up and consider providing patients with the proper prescriptions.

The debate will continue, of course, but one of the unfortunate facts right now is that, as the study above notes, many of the states with the heaviest addiction problems are also the states least likely to legalize, either recreationally or for medical use.

But, as states continue to legalize fully, a group that at this point includes Oregon, Colorado, Washington, Nevada, Maine, Massachussetts and California, it will be harder and harder for the Federal Government to ignore patients.