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5 Great Business Ideas for College Students

Many students think of starting a business while in college–and many actually do it! Some student entrepreneurs venture into business to finance their lifestyles, while others hope to create the next Facebook or Google.

There are lots of opportunities available to college students, you just need to know where to look. But before you start looking for opportunities to leverage, make sure you have a great business idea. Can’t think of something? Here are 5 great businesses you can start right away.

  1. Online Tutoring

Online tutoring is a cost-effective venture that doesn’t require any capital to start. You can make good money tutoring other students or young learners. Pick a subject you’re good at and won’t struggle to explain. Since you’ll be offering your services online, you can have individual or group sessions.  

Post your fliers in libraries or places where your fellow students or parents can see them. You can also advertise your services on social media platforms where students and parents hang out. Offer a small discount to those who bring you new tutees or market your services by word-of-mouth. This business won’t make you millions but will earn you some decent money. And the best part? Every coin you make is a profit.   

  1. Niche Blogging

Niche blogging is a lucrative venture that gives you a lot of freedom–because you don’t have to blog every day. You write about things you’re passionate about whenever you want. You’ll need a little money to pay for a domain, hosting, and a premium website theme. Good English and a flair for writing are also necessary.

Research profitable niches to ensure you choose the right one. But don’t just blog for the sake of making money, make sure the niche genuinely interests you. Write superb blog posts that draw traffic. Once you build a good readership, start monetizing your content.  

  1. Textbook Exchange Services

A textbook exchange service can help you make some good money in college. First, you’ll need to create a website or an app that allows students to upload books for others to rent or buy.

Your only challenge may be getting some in-demand textbooks. You may have to buy them. If you don’t have the money, you can apply for a small bank loan or get an online loan by typing “title loans near me.” Stock enough textbooks at the start of every semester when demand is high. You can also talk to your professors to find out which textbooks are in demand.  

  1. Photography

Love taking photographs? Turn your passion into profit by launching a photography business. Take amazing pictures of nature, people, or things and post them on social media sites like Instagram. You can also take pictures of your friends for free to market your services. 

As your following grows, let people know you’re available for hire. To improve your photography skills, you can take a short course. Talk to event and wedding planners and show them your portfolio. You’ll start getting work and will become an acclaimed photographer.

  1. Transportation and Delivery Services

If you own a vehicle or a bike, you can make good money delivering food and other small items to your professors and fellow students. You can also become an Uber driver or start your own outfit offering delivery services to local businesses and colleges.

As your clientele grows, add more services. Start picking and dropping people at the airport or help other students move apartments or dorms at a fee. The fee you charge should cater for business-related expenses and also allow you to make a small profit.

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NHL DFS Prop Picks

Hello everyone and welcome! we tend to bring you a Stanley final contest edition of NHL DFS on PrizePicks which suggests that our friends over at PrizePicks have a large amount of nice props we will look to require advantage of. PrizePicks could be a nice DFS props web site wherever you’ll value more highly to choose plays in terms of fantasy points or single stats. The goal is to create a 2-player, 3-player, 4-player, or 5-player entry then choose whether or not or not you wish to play for the facility play or the flex play. On the facility play, you’ll have to be compelled to be correct on every of your choices to win, and on the flex play, you’ll have a touch additional flexibility for an opportunity to win some a reimbursement.

Our partners at PrizePicks supply a number of the most effective, and best to win, NHL DFS picks games within the business. There are not any large-field tournaments stuffed with sharks wherever you have got to induce lucky simply to position. At PrizePicks, you are not taking part in against people, you are simply taking part in against the projections, and therefore the guys at PrizePicks have worked laborious to present you actually enticing opportunities to form some cash. With promo code ‘BALLER’ you’ll get a 100% match on your deposit up to $100.

PrizePicks has 2 kinds of games. the primary sort of game is understood as Fantasy Score. This game consists of choosing numerous players and attempting to work out if they’ll re-evaluate or underneath their projected fantasy points in an exceedingly game. The second game is understood as Single Stat. For NHL, Single Stat consists of save and shooter shot props during which you establish if the goalie or shooter in question can re-evaluate or underneath their projected save and shot total severally. you’ll combine and match players from every sort of game in your entry or choose all of your plays from a similar sort of game. Once you have got selected your players and props, you’ll select the same flex play or endeavour possibility. For today’s article, we tend to square measure attending to attempt to target the most board’s Fantasy Score and see that players could re-evaluate or underneath their projected purpose totals. let’s have a look at what the board offers today!

against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, throwing for 289 yards and four TDs against simply one interception. once adding twenty yards and another TD on the bottom, Murray finished up leading all players in Week one DFS points and seems poised for a break campaign in only his third season. Murray ought to have his method with the opposing defense once the MN Vikings visit Arizona this Sunday. That being aforementioned, DFS fanduel picks managers ought to think about what role a reinforced Cardinal defense might play in limiting Murray’s pass tries within the regular season.

A healthy Patrick Mahomes will become one of the highest DFS superstars within the league once more this season, and then way the Kansas town QB has lived up to the ballyhoo as was common. Mahomes threw for 337 yards and three TDs within the Chiefs’ slender finish over Cleveland, and accessorial yet one more score along with his legs. Kansas City’s offense is just electrical with him at the helm, and he ought to have another shot to create it back to the Super Bowl this year. Mahomes can war another powerful defensive squad once the Chiefs visit Baltimore.

Tom Brady place up 379 yards and four TDs against two INTs last week, a performance that’s not too shabby for a 44-year-old NFL quarterback. It remains to be seen whether or not Brady will maintain that sort of volume against defenses with less vulnerabilities than the urban center Cowboys, however Tom Terrific’s top-tier outing remains promising.

Jared Goff’s DFS relevance took a success once he was listed to city, however he still managed to place up a stellar performance in Week one. The Lions lost an in depth one to the 49ers, however Goff threw for 338 yards and three TDs against simply one choose. His receiving choices ar definitely additional restricted than they were with the Rams, however the spectacular debut is also proof that he are often a starting-caliber DFS QB in 2021. Goff can have another probability to surprise Daily Fantasy players once city heads to metropolis for Monday Night soccer.

Panther fans will breathe simple currently that Christian McCaffrey is finally healthy. McCaffrey upraised geographic area to a win in Week one with a thumping 187 yards from scrimmage. McCaffery can face Associate in Nursing imposing front on Sunday once metropolis comes into city.

Only atiny low variety of DFS GMs might have guessed Joe Mixon would lead all rushers in Week one, however he did simply that. Mixon terrorized the Vikings in metropolis, speeding twenty nine times for one27 yards and 1 TD. Mixon struggled with inconsistency over the primary few years of his career, however it appears like he is also on the right track to supply price on a weekly basis.

Next week ought to be a way harder check once Mixon and also the Bengals head to Chicago to face the Bears on Sunday afternoon. Chicago’s debut loss to the la Rams had some bright spots, as well as David Montomgery speeding sixteen times for 108 yards and a touchdown. Montomgery ought to have an effort on Sunday to repeat his Daily Fantasy success once the defensively porous AFC club kicks off against the Bears.

Kansas town defeated Cleveland reception, and Hill place up a thumping 197 yards and a TD within the drama-filled finish. faithful his name as a field-stretcher, Hill averaged a ridiculous seventeen.9 yards per catch. Meanwhile, Amari Cooper struggled with inconsistency last season, however he’s off Associate in Nursing encouraging begin this year. In Dallas’s Week one loss to bay, Cooper went off for thirteen9 yards and a pair of scores on 13 receptions. dhak Prescott’s health bodes well for Cooper’s long-run outlook, and he might o.k. re-establish himself as a prime ten receiver this year. urban center can visit L.A. to face the Chargers this Sunday.

Most pundits expected Corey Davis’s production to fall off during a huge method once he joined the Jets, however he had what may well be one in every of his best showings ever in Week one. The ny Jets los to geographic area last week, however Davis had himself an evening, catching five passes for ninety seven yards and a pair of TDs. It remains to be seen whether or not he will maintain that sort of output with greenhorn Zach Wilson at the helm, however his performance was all the same promising. fanduel picks

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5 Far-Reaching Benefits Of Wearing Blue Light Glasses

Nowadays, people spend a considerable amount of time in front of digital screens like laptops, tablets, and mobiles. This has increased manifold during the lockdowns due to the pandemic. But this practice has also increased the exposure of blue light to a whole new level.

Blue light is a part of the spectrum, and the sun is its primary source. But this blue light has become a cause of worry and problem for the health of people these days. The solution to this problem of blue light is the use of blue-light-blocking glasses.

There are many benefits of using these glasses, plus designer blue light glasses can be an excellent addition to your fashion wardrobe.

Below are five critical benefits of wearing blue light glasses.

  1. Blue light glasses help in improving sleep. Let us consider the example of being out in the sun. Short wavelengths of light keep you alert, and you find it harder to sleep. It happens because exposure to short wavelengths delays the release of melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone. If you spend time on your digital screens within 1 to 2 hours before sleeping, using blue light glasses can reduce your exposure to it and promote sleep.
  2. Alleviate eye strain. Spending a considerable amount of time each day on digital screens can increase the amount of strain on your eyes. Blue light is known to produce difficulties in concentrating on your screen. It results in loss of focus due to eye strain. If you use a pair of blue-light-blocking glasses, the eye strain can reduce significantly. 
  3. Reduce migraine attacks. Researchers claim that blue light may be associated with more frequent migraine attacks. It is a trigger to bad headaches for sure. Blue light not just triggers the pain but can also increase it significantly. Thus the use of blue light glasses can reduce headaches. The degree of pain associated with headaches is also reduced to a large extent by using blue light glasses.
  4. Blue light is also known to increase eye dryness. Eyes need to stay lubricated to stay healthy. There is an automatic physiological system in place for us regarding this lubrication of our eyes. Exposure to blue light can alter the process and cause our eyes to produce fewer tears. The result is dry eyes that are prone to itching and discomfort. At times, this can even lead to allergic reactions and red eyes. Blue-light-blocking glasses can help keep our eyes lubricated, and there are fewer chances of such a problem.
  5. Our eye is a sensitive organ. There is much natural protection in place, but still, it is susceptible to blue light. The cornea and the eye lens can block out UV rays and keep them from reaching the retina, but they cannot block out blue light. Blue light can damage the retina and cause macular degeneration, which is a leading cause of blindness. If you wear blue light glasses, your chances of facing this problem reduce substantially.
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Implementing SAFe Course

The present article talks about the 4-day initiative course on Knowledge for Implementing SAFe Course 5.1 with SPC Certification. The SAFe Course intends to lead a change in a lean-agile transformation by making you a SAFe Program Consultant. So, enroll now and master the skills and expertise in agile principles and use it to successfully plan, coach SAFe® transformations and promote SAFe practices across the enterprise.

      I. Why go for SAFe Course on KnowledgeHut

These days the demand for a skilled SAFe Program Consultants is highly sought after. This is the reason KnowledgeHut has brought this great opportunity on its platform to provide SAFe Course.

The SAFe framework from Scaled Agile is the mode of choice for scaling Agile as currently used by at least 70% of Fortune 100 companies with more than 8,00,000 certified practitioners around the world.

Being a professionally skilled SAFe Program Consultant, one will not only be equipped to add value in a SAFe environment, but also distinguish themselves at the top companies, looking for such skilled candidates in SAFe who are competent to deliver high-value products to customers.

One will learn playing a crucial role in Agile teams as a product manager as they take the all the lead in driving design, strategy, and also product vision.

    II. What you will learn in Implementing a SAFe® with SPC Certification

This SAFe Program Consultant Training Certification course has been thoughtfully curated with the idea to help those who seek to prepare for the SAFe Program Consultant exam. Upon the completion of course and by the very end, you will find yourself completely equipped with all the principles and practices of a SAFe transformation. The course will help you learn in various ways. The essential facets of what this course offers to you are:

  1. Learn about way of coaching a SAFe Transformation and lead a Lean-Agile transformation in enterprise.
  • You will also learn about launching Agile Release trains and the different steps involved in its launching.
  • You develop idea to identify value streams, map and manage them so that the right values can be prioritized across organization.
  • Develop knowledge on how to build Agile product strategy and deliver the effective solution with product delivery.
  • You will learn how to develop roadmaps for value creating in the organization and managing them regularly to evolve tactfully.
  • You will get to understand each role and will learn how to identify and do justice to do the roles within a SAFe implementation.

 III. Significance of SAFe Program Consultant Certification

The SAFe Program Consultant Certification is specifically designed with an aim to instill in you all the required skills that is in demand in smooth delivery of SAFe coaching across your Enterprise.

Upon successful completion of this SAFe training course you will be fit to receive the professional SAFe Program Consultant certification and it will facilitate in making you all set and prepared to pass the exam in your the very first attempt.

As a professional SAFe Program Consultant, you will then be able to aid trainings across the enterprise to successfully implement SAFe practices and ensure that these practices are being followed in continuance over time. And not to mention, this certification shall set you stand out among your peers, delivering higher career growth in a role much in demand across the industry.

 IV. Final Remarks:

For this SAFe Program Consultant Training course, all the stakeholders of a Lean-Agile transformation are warmly welcomed to attend the course. Also, do note that there are certain set of pre-requisites that you need to met with in order to get certified.

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Why taking photos after a construction accident is important for winning a case

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A lawyer discussing about a construction accident in a courtroom is one thing. Seeing actual photos from the scene is a whole other ball game. At least when it comes to a jury sitting in court, that is. Most of the time, having photos related to a construction accident seems like just another piece of documentation on top of loads of other evidence. But it can’t be overlooked just how important photos can be to a worker’s labor law case. Whether the photos are taken by the injured worker themselves, by a co-worker, or by a private investigator, a photo can make all the difference in any case. 

During any inspection, the plaintiff has the right to perform many activities, including taking video, requesting property information, and talking to witnesses. Employers and property managers cannot refuse a labor inspector the right to prepare photographic documentation in relation to a construction accident. In addition, the plaintiff also has a right to the following:

  • Access to the area where the accident transpired.
  • Conducting visual inspections of facilities, rooms, workstations, machines, and devices.
  • Request the submission of personal files and any documents related to the performance of work.
  • Checking the identity of persons performing work or staying on the grounds of the workplace, questioning them, and requesting statements on the legality of employment 
  • Using the help of experts and specialists as well as accredited laboratories.

In addition to photographs, investigators include the markers or indicators posted by construction workers or the lack of them. They are also keen to include weather conditions and time of day. All of this can be important information that can help determine liability between various parties.

Most investigative work is taken care of by professionals, usually hired by your attorneys. Nonetheless, it cannot be underestimated how much footage and photographs from the day of the accident are important. Investigators come late to the scene. Much of the evidence that is crucial may already be gone. A photograph taken immediately after an accident can sometimes make or break a case. Experienced labor law attorneys will know how to manage whatever evidence comes their way, but it doesn’t hurt to offer yourself a helping hand. So, when taking a picture for yourself or a fellow injured worker, remember the following: 

  • Include the mechanism that caused your injury.
  • A panoramic view of the entire scene.
  • Poor lighting, lack of safety notices, or other items showing negligence.
  • Documentation of injuries.
  • Photos should be taken from various angles so that your legal team is fully aware of the situation that contributed to your losses.
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What Can the Digital Health Marketplace Offer for CoViD-19

Image Source: Patient Engagement

The COVID-19 pandemic has already resulted in millions of deaths and hospitalizations. It has brought socio-economic upheavals and other changes in the past year. And, the race is still on towards creating more effective vaccines. But, the best defense lies in basic public health measures. These include mass physical distancing and personal hygiene. 

Yet, these are not the only “old-fashioned” responses to the pandemic. Even before the outbreak, digital health technologies were already used to augment healthcare. These technologies were also employed to meet the pandemic’s most pressing needs. Countries and health commissions implemented and called for the use of digital solutions. Private companies were also involved to broaden service coverage as the outbreak continues.

Below are two of the most urgent needs addressed by these digital health solutions:

Impact Mitigation

Previous outbreaks have shown how people with treatable conditions suffered more. This was because the healthcare system’s capacity could not meet urgent healthcare demands. The same is true for the CoViD-19 pandemic.

Some healthcare services have closed due to capacity and safety concerns. Physical distancing is making hospital and pharmacy trips quite difficult. The worse thing is people with chronic diseases are at greater risk of infection. As such, patients are now terrified to have their routine checkups or to buy medicines.

Health authorities immediately saw these problems and responded to them. They started to promote online consultation services. They also helped refurbish privately-owned telemedicine platforms and prepared public hospitals for them. As a result, the barriers to getting medical prescriptions have become a thing of the past. The same goes for filling out these prescriptions. This was even made more convenient by such online tools as the USA Rx digital health marketplace. As they provide online access to cheaper medication, they also present more choices.

Teleconsultations also provided much-needed support for mental health. This, as online platforms rolled out comprehensive and accessible support for everyone. These included healthcare workers, who bore some of the brunts of the pandemic’s toll.

Immediate Outbreak Response

Digital health continues to provide data-driven technologies to help with the pandemic. These allow for faster responses to contact tracing and testing.

In China, an application is being used for contact tracing. Evidence of its efficacy came after the collection of data from all sources. The app helped in more than 140 searches three weeks after the Wuhan lockdown. It has helped in the contact tracing of over 80,000 travelers.

Another digital health app is being used now to improve diagnostic accuracy. It is also helping with the availability and effectiveness of testing. AI-powered CT imaging interpretation tools are helping radiologists and patients with CT readings. This helps reduce the risk of transmission, especially in diagnostic areas.

Other places recommend an application to balance the re-opening of the economy. They recently launched a traffic-light-styled health code. A person gets an assigned color (red, amber, and green) based on their health status. It has become a health permit to screen migrants for inter-provincial/regional travels. With millions of registrations, it is helping authorities trace transmissions.

The digital health marketplace still has so much to offer for CoViD-19. Innovations to technologies remain crucial as the world continues to battle the virus. Plus, there is also the fact that CoViD’s mutations and changes in patterns continue. So, everyone remains on heightened alert until this outbreak ends.

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5 Tips to Create Great Readers

Children don’t come into the world knowing how to decode words or make inferences. They become great readers by learning great reading habits—acquiring different skills that give them the ability to read fluently. Some children acquire these habits when adults read to them, while others only become great at reading with targeted instruction in the classroom. 

There are currently 45 million Americans who are functionally illiterate and can’t read beyond fifth-grade level. Readers are leaders, so if you want your students to be the leaders of tomorrow, use these 5 awesome tips to make them great readers.

  1. Build Great Reading Habits at the Moment of Error

The best time to correct a student is when they get something wrong. If they continue making the same mistake, they will build weaker reading habits. Whenever a student makes a mistake, ask a tar­geted question, like “How does this section help you understand the story better?” They may have to reread the part again with your guidance to understand it better. When you do this, you transform their mistake into an opportunity for success. You prevent bad reading habits from taking root and replace them with great ones.

  1. Change How Your Students Talk About Reading

Most teachers think student-driven literary discussions are meant for high school and college students, but this isn’t the case. Student-driven literary discussions don’t take place in elementary classrooms because we don’t think younger readers are capable of participating in them. But just like great reading, great discussions help students build the right habits. 

If you intentionally train your ­students to participate in great discussions, they can have very rich conversations among themselves. And when they direct discussions, they learn quickly and are more capable of making their own conclusions about a text.

  1. Mix Great Reading with Great Writing 

Just like adults, young children use writing to gather their thoughts about a topic and to communicate their ideas to others. When your students use writing to their advantage, they will develop their writing and reading skills at the same time. Before your students have a discussion about what they read, let them answer a focus question in writing. You can write down these questions and have them write down the answers:

  • What is the most important lesson you’ve learnt from this story? 
  • What sections in the story helped you understand the plot better?
  • Which are your favorite characters in the story? Why?

After your students are done writing, review their written responses so you can understand what help they will need during the discussion. You can find a reading tutor for students who have difficulty understanding reading material by searching for “reading tutor near me.”

  1. Use Guided Reading Instructions 

Guided reading allows students to practice effective reading strategies.They develop greater control over the reading process by acquiring reading habits that help them decode text and make inferences.

For your students to reach the standards set by the Common Core, you have to increase the rate at which you teach them reading skills. Meet your students where they are through guided reading. Guided reading allows students to master reading skills and gives you a chance to address errors on time. By guiding students as they read, you help them understand complex text and also make sure they learn at the right pace.

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3 Startup Founders Share Their Best Tips for Success

Launching your own startup is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do, but all the hard work will pay off if you follow the right steps. You’ll need to work hard, have lots of patience, make many sacrifices, and be very dedicated. It’s no wonder some people equate starting a business to having a baby. But the good news is that others have gone ahead of you and freely share advice to help you succeed. Every successful entrepreneur has valuable insight that can educate aspiring entrepreneurs like yourself.

Starting a business and working on it till it succeeds is hard—the journey is fraught with obstacles and challenges. Many people look at some popular startups—like Instagram, Facebook, and PayPal—and assume that success was automatic. Today, some of the most successful startup founders share their best tips for success.

  1. Daymon John: Don’t Focus on the Money

If you’ve ever watched the popular TV series Shark Tank, you’ve seen Daymond John.  He’s one of the “sharks.” He’s also the founder of clothing brand FUBU, an author, a motivational speaker, and an investor.

Back when he started, his entrepreneurship goal was to make clothes for the top hip hop rappers. Little did he know that FUBU would become a huge company worth over $7 billion. And as his company’s net worth grew, so did his. He has a current net worth of over $300 million.

But he didn’t attain success instantly. When Daymon first went into business, his goal was to be super rich. His first few businesses failed, and he only succeeded when he started making clothes—something he was passionate about. Instead of focusing on money, focus on chasing your dream. If you’re only motivated about money, you won’t care about making a difference. You may take an instant online title loan every month to fund a business that’s not sustainable.

  1. Arianna Huffington: Failure is a Stepping Stone to Success

Arianna Huffington, an international media mogul and published author, is most famous for founding The Huffington Post. She built the award-winning online news platform  from scratch then later sold it to AOL. But success didn’t come overnight. When she was looking for a publisher for her first book, she was told no thirty six times! In 2003, before starting the Huffington Post, She also tried to become California’s governor but failed dismally (receiving only 1% of the votes).

But Ariana regarded her failures as stepping stones to success. This positive attitude helped her attain massive success. Failure is part of entrepreneurship; you will fail many times. Instead of giving up when you experience failure, use it to move closer to your goal.

  1. Brain Chesky: Focus on One Person Instead of a Crowd 

Brian Chesky is one of the co-founders of Airbnb. He’s also the company’s acting CEO. Airbnb was launched in 2008 and has experienced massive growth over the years. It’s worth at least $38 billion. Thanks to the company’s success, Chesky went from broke to billionaire status. 

In its infancy stages, Airbnb went through the Y Combinator program, a Silicon Valley program that guides startup founders on how to grow their new companies. That’s where Chesky learned the greatest lesson in business: it’s better to develop a product that gives one person an amazing experience than one that gives a million people an okay experience. 

Only people who truly love a product can make it go viral. Very often, entrepreneurs create products that target everyone. You can never please everyone. Focus on a niche and create a product that solves your clients’ biggest problems.

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Building a Strong Immune System

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The Covid-19 pandemic has put our physical and mental wellness on the agenda. While we may have been content to sacrifice our health for progress or productivity a few years ago, most people are now eager to ensure that they maintain a strong defense against sickness. The immune system is a network of organs, cells, and proteins that helps our bodies to fight harmful pathogens including bacteria, viruses, parasites, and cancer cells. When our bodies are infected by pathogens, the components of our immune system such as antibodies and white blood cells spring into action to try and eliminate the foreign invaders. Symptoms such as fever or rashes are visible results of the immune system’s battle against infection.

You Are What You Eat

Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Phytonutrients have valuable antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can help our body grow new cells and repair damaged cells, thus preventing severe disease and premature aging. More than 25,000 phytonutrients can be found in edible plants and various groups of phytonutrients are related to the color of the fruits of vegetables. Carotenoids from yellow, orange, and red foods are probably the best-known group of phytonutrients. These include beta-carotene which can be found in carrots and lycopene which can be found in tomatoes. Carotenoids can sometimes be converted into vitamin A, which is essential for eye health. Aside from carotenoids, plants can contain numerous other phytonutrient families: ellagic acid, flavonoids, resveratrol, phytoestrogens, and glucosinolates.

Glucosinolates are phytonutrient compounds found in cruciferous vegetables from the Brassica genus that include bok choy, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and kale. They are responsible for producing the unique smell and flavor of these vegetables. The consumption of glucosinolates has been associated with reducing inflammation, regulating metabolic function, and preventing cancer. The glucosinolate glucobrassicin converts into a compound called indole-3-carbinol (I3C) during the chopping and chewing process. This compound later becomes diindolylmethane (DIM) in the acidic environment of our stomachs. Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley have found that DIM supplements possess potent detoxification powers and can greatly enhance the immune system.

Because plants are low in calories, they represent a particularly nutrient-dense way for us to obtain the vital vitamins and minerals that we need. This is why nutrition experts have been nagging us since childhood to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. One cup of cooked broccoli contains all of our daily vitamin C needs and only 55 calories. In addition, it comes with many B vitamins, vitamins E and K, and crucial minerals like calcium, iron, potassium, and manganese. Plants are also extremely high in dietary fiber, which helps us to maintain gut health, control blood sugar levels, and sustain a healthy weight. Therefore, consuming a diet rich in a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables is the best way to support a healthy body and immune system.

Get Out and Get Moving

Outside of what we put inside our bodies, the activities we undertake are important as well. It is no secret that our modern lives can be stressful. However, many people are not aware that severe stress can reduce the number of lymphocytes in the body, negatively affecting our ability to fight viruses. Chronic stress can further cause the immune system to mount a prolonged inflammatory response that can lead to cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Hence, we should take action to manage and reduce our stress levels. Physical activity is a wonderful way to do this. Whether you take the stairs or walk the dog, a change in scenery and body activity can help to relieve stress, interrupt repetitive negative thoughts in the brain, and foster creativity. Going outside in the fresh air can also increase the flow of oxygen to your body and brain, releasing toxins from your lungs and rejuvenating your cells.

If you feel up to it, exercise brings with it a multitude of benefits for our immune systems. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people undertake at least 5 hours of moderate exercise like yoga or jogging every week. During moderate aerobic exercise, our muscles contract, which quickens the circulation of blood and defensive immune cells. Immune cells such as neutrophils and macrophages are mobilized by the activity and enter the bloodstream ready to fight off any infections. The keyword here, however, is moderate. Experts warn that while regular moderate exercise is the key to strengthening the immune system over time, excessive and intense exercise could actually raise the risk of infection by putting too much stress on our bodies.

The immune system is our first line of defense against harmful pathogens that could cause serious illness and disease. We can boost our immune function through consuming a nutritious diet and supplements, managing our stress, and staying active. In taking care of our immune system, we can help it to take better care of our bodies.

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Protecting Seniors from their Homes: Tips to Senior-Proof the House 

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The home is where we spend most of our time. It’s the place where we can relax and feel safe. But for seniors, the home can pose some serious danger. Especially if they live alone. 

As you get older, it’s commonplace that your eyesight dims, bones get weaker, and reflexes get slower. On top of this, old age also comes with the added risk of memory loss, hearing impairment, and other illnesses such as arthritis. It’s important to protect seniors from injuries caused by these problems by senior-proofing the house.  

Senior-proofing the house can involve changing out old appliances, injury-proofing the furniture, and some home renovation work. Of course, this can be expensive, and you or your family may not have enough spare money lying about to finance this renovation. 

But the cost of not senior-proofing the house is quite high as well. However, thankfully, you don’t have to choose. There is help out there for those who want to ensure the safety of their elderly loved ones. For example, one option is to take out a reverse mortgage loan and use it to finance home renovations. 

A reverse mortgage loan allows you to borrow against the equity of your house. Of course, there’s more to it than just that, and you should check out a reverse mortgage FAQ page to see if that’s the right path for you and your family. There are other options out there too—the bottom line is that you should not compromise safety to save money.

If you’ve decided to go ahead with the renovation, then here’s what you need to know about injury-proofing your seniors’ homes. 

Safeguarding Seniors at Home 

The first rule of injury-proofing seniors’ homes is to provide handrails for ease of navigation at all staircases. It’s usually difficult for the elderly to go up and down the stairs, and if they absolutely must do so then handrails are a saving grace. Make sure these handrails can support the weight of the elderly and provide a good grip. You can also help them navigate staircases better by carpeting the stairs to provide ample friction and prevent slipping accidents. 

Another way to make homes senior-friendly is to widen doors. The standard door is often too small to accommodate seniors’ walkers or wheelchairs. So if your loved one uses one of these apparatus’ to get around, then it’s probably a good idea to make the doors wide enough to accommodate them.   

The Kitchen

The kitchen is also a high-risk zone. One of the top injuries sustained by the elderly is burns obtained while cooking. This is especially pertinent for those elderly who have memory problems, and who may forget to turn off the stove. You can protect them from these kinds of accidents by purchasing kitchen appliances that will switch themselves off automatically after use, or switching out gas stoves for the safer electric induction stoves. 

The Bathroom

Burns can also be sustained during showers because of the high automatic water heating setting. You can prevent the risk of seniors burning their fingers or skin while bathing by lowering the water heater temperature setting to about 110 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Other important bathroom safety features include handrails and an elevated toilet seat. Handrails in the shower and next to the toilet are very important as the slippery, wet floors make the chances of falling very high. An elevated toilet seat, on the other hand, will allow the senior to comfortably use the toilet without having to bend too much and tax their knees.  

Preventing Tripping Hazards 

Another way to protect your elderly relative is to install motion-sensitive lighting. A lot of the time, it’s a lack of vision that causes elders to trip and fall. Coupled with their declining vision, installing proper lighting is very important to prevent such mishaps from happening. Motion-sensitive lighting has the added bonus of switching on automatically when the elder steps into a room so that they don’t have to struggle to search for the light switch.  

But even with good lighting, elders can still trip over furniture or decorative pieces. Rugs are one of the more dangerous tripping hazards, especially for elders who may not be able to see the curled edges of the rug clearly. If you don’t want to leave the floor bare, you can substitute rugs with carpets which provide more friction and which reduce the risk of falling. 

Also make sure to cover the sharp edges of any furniture, so that in the event of a fall, there is minimal chance of the senior sustaining serious head traumas or injuries. This can be done using soft materials such as foam, or by using rubber corner guards which should be available at your local hypermarket. 

It’s not easy to pre-empt all sorts of trouble and to safeguard against these. But some misfortunes can be avoided with proper care and forethought, and elder care happens to be one of these. Of course, this list isn’t the end all be all. There are many more elder home-proofing tips out there that can help you protect your beloved elderly relatives as best as possible. But these tips can give you a good idea of where to start, and by speaking to your parents or grandparents you can figure out their unique needs and cater to these. 

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How Stress Impacts Academic Performance

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The stress and demands of daily life — both in and out of campus — can make it hard for students to take time away even to enjoy playing trivia games with friends or some other form of relaxation. And that by itself is not a bad thing. After all, anything worthwhile is worth sacrificing for, and trading some leisure time in exchange for a degree and a potential career is not a bad trade. The issue emerges when students push themselves so hard that their stress levels start to impact their health and their academic careers.

Discussing the impact of stress on academic performance is important for a variety of reasons. This discussion is important for students, of course, who need to keep in mind that managing their own mental health is also a crucial step if they want to achieve academic and professional success. But the discussion is also important for educators and university administrators, who will be wise to balance stress-inducing activities with more laid-back educational approaches to stop students from burning out within a semester.

The impact of stress

There has been an abundance of studies looking into the impact of stress on students at various levels of education, and the results weren’t good. Human stress response evolved as a mechanism to deal with immediate threats; it puts the body on edge, making it ready to react. These effects can be very useful when you are a hunter-gatherer trying to avoid being mauled by a bear, but it provides little benefit in an academic setting.

After all, stress is all about keeping the body alive in the immediate present. While academic studies are almost always future-oriented; students put in the effort today so they’ll be able to reap the benefits of having that knowledge in the future. Given that contrast, it’s somewhat predictable that stress would harm academic performance.

Notably, stress tends to make it harder for students to focus, and it can make them more irritable, which gets in the way of critical thinking and impacts academic performance. Finally, stress can also affect sleep patterns and cause insomnia, which can have a massive impact on a student’s routine and study habits.

Dealing with stress

Professors and administrators can help students deal with stress by encouraging students to exercise, offering reasonable schedules and deadlines, and just generally working hard to be helpful and communicative with students who are struggling. But at the end of the day, stress is a deeply subjective emotional response; an event that has no impact on one student may cause a panic attack in another.

Given the subjective nature of stress, it is also helpful to make sure students know how to keep track of their stress levels. It’s easy to chase so hard after a goal that you fail to pay attention to just how stressed and anxious you are. Students who can identify their own stress levels are much more likely to be able to do something about it. Whether it be slowing down or simply changing how they have been spending their downtime.

Anxiety, depression, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, chest pain, digestive problems, constant feeling of exhaustion, and various other symptoms can be caused by high levels of stress. A vague feeling of “brain fog” is also commonly reported, and it’s a good sign to keep an eye out for. Students can help themselves stave off stress by looking into stress symptoms and stress management tools on their own time, and educators can help students by reminding them to take care of their mental health from time to time.

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New town, new reputation

When you move out of home for the first time into your college dorm, it’s a time of enormous change. As a young person, all of your familiar environments are gone, and new ones appear to take their place. All of your old good habits have a chance to fail, and you have an opportunity to kick some or all of your bad habits. You’re suddenly surrounded by strangers who don’t know anything about your high school days. It’s a huge opportunity, so here are my tips for making the most of the big move as a freshman.

Your reputational baggage

If you’ve come from a small town, where everyone knows you, and if you’re like most people, you did some silly thing as a teenager that “everyone” remembers. The truth is that few of them probably remember at all, but still, you carry this baggage around with you, and it weighs down your identity. You’re becoming a new person in college, so give that baggage a spring cleaning! 

It’s certainly true that a few friends may come with you from your hometown, but mostly, you’re around completely new people. And your friends will want to meet new people too. So let them. Try a new circle of friends and see what happens. If you have always been the “class clown”, it’s time to give up the role and find another one.

You’ll find that you will expand your circle of friends by meeting new people in classes. You’ll find that you will be invited to more parties. You’ll find that people will find you more interesting than they did when you were a hometown kid.

Your hometown social circle will always be there for you, but it’s time to move on!

Your bedroom and your body

Some people can’t wait to move out of home and get their own room. Others hate the idea of being away from home. Whichever you are, moving into your college dorm is an opportunity to kick some old habits and start some new ones.

If you’re in a shared room, you need to get to know your roommate. Don’t just sit in your room and expect that he or she will come to you. It’s not likely to happen. You need to be sociable and friendly. You have to get to know each other, and you have to like each other. In most cases, the early days are the hardest, so get through them.

If you are in a single room, make sure it’s a place where you can spread out. You need a lot of space for your stuff. Don’t let your room be a dumping ground for all the junk you no longer want at home. Get rid of it or find a place for it by donating it.

You need to have a place for studying. Even if you study in the library, you need a quiet place to get away from the noise of the dorm. If you can afford it, a good pair of noise cancelling headphones can make a huge difference.

Your body is your most important possession, and you need to look after it. At risk of sounding like you mum: Don’t get into the habit of eating junk food and drinking soft drinks. These are the foods that will make you fat, and there will be plenty of them around you in the college dining hall. Drink plenty of water. Eat fruits and vegetables. Sleep well and get sufficient exercise. Make sure you go to the gym at least once a week.

You’ll find that you have a lot more free time in college, but also a lot more things to do, so start a habit of exercising regularly. Make a plan and go for a walk, go to the gym, or find some other way to get some exercise.

A lot of guys have a hard time with this one, but you really need to use deodorant. It’s not a sign of weakness to be clean and fresh. Most girls love a man who smells good. If you were “that stinky guy” in high-school, poof, you are now a blank slate, able to wear deodorant, and no-one will judge your stinky past!

Habits

If you used to hang out at the mall, maybe it’s time to hang out in bookstores or cafes. If you used to kick around with a bad crowd who smoked cigarettes or weed, maybe it’s time to meet some alternative hippie kids who care about their health, and experiment with newer things. If you were a straight-A student, maybe it’s time to let your hair down for a bit. 

The big thing to remember with this new opportunity to experiment and explore, is that you will build habits whether you mean to or not. The first place you go for dinner will most likely be a frequent haunt of yours, so make sure it isn’t fast food! If your normal bedtime in the first week is super late, then you can bet it’ll stay that way by default, unless you make an effort to establish a new habit. Think carefully about what your ideal 3-5 years (or more!) of college life should look like, and keep reassessing, as you go through your first few weeks of college.

One last tip: make sure you reach out to get the support you need from family, good friends, and the college support services. They’re there to help, so make use of them.

It’s an exciting, scary and fun time, so enjoy it!

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Four Ways to Stay Safe While Boating This Summer


When you head out to the lake this summer, make sure that you are keeping safe. Boating is a fantastic way to spend your day, but boaters and their guests need to make precautions before they head out. Most accidents that happen on the water, happen because there was a safety measure that was skipped. Don’t let your summer plans end with an accident that could have been avoided. 

Check-In with Yourself and Friends Often

This is one of the best things that you can do for yourself and your company. We all know that when boating you should be checking in with the mechanics of the boat consistently. Checking fuel, sensors, directions, and whatever other aspects of your boat play a factor in your navigation and running of the boat. But checking in with yourself and your friends, tends to not come to the forefront of everyone’s mind. 

Regardless of where you have taken out the boat, you will want to keep plenty of water and sunscreen on hand and where everyone can reach it. If your friends are drinking on the boat, make sure to consistently sip water between drinks and often enough that you aren’t becoming dehydrated. Remember that alcohol is a dehydrator, so after you have a drink, have at least 16oz. of water to make that deficit back. Also make sure that you are reapplying sunscreen to all of your body every few hours, or more depending on the strength and type of your SPF. Some SPFs are water resistant, so they will stay even if you go swimming—but that doesn’t mean they won’t wear off after two hours. You need to make sure that you are protecting your skin. Even if you are sitting in shade while on the boat, UV rays can still reach you and give you a bad time. Check-in with everyone (and yourself) often. 

Protect Everyone Aboard

Everyone likes to bring their friends on the water. But a lot of people will also bring living creatures that cannot protect or take care of themselves. Kids are a consistent thing on boats, even though many of them cannot swim. Dogs are also a normalized thing now, and they are in need of their own types of protection. It’s not enough to have these creatures around you and within eyesight, because you can easily become distracted. Instead, make sure that you have everything prepared for them just in case something happens. 

For kids, ensure that they are always wearing their life vests—especially if they are not an experienced swimmer or are under 14. If you suspect that they would freeze up should they fall off the boat, make sure they are aware of how to use the vests and the protocol for what they should do if that happens. Also make sure that they are continuously drinking water and are reapplying their sunscreen, since skin cancer can come later on in life. For dogs, you’ll want to take more precautions, since they can’t tell you when something is wrong. Make sure that they have access to water that is in shade or that has ice in it, as the sun on the water will heat up the boat significantly and they need to cool off their bodies quickly. Further, make sure that there is a shaded spot of them to lay down if they need to, and put shoes on them to protect their feet from the hot boat. If your dog is not an experienced swimmer, put an animal life vest on them as well—just in case they want to chase a dolphin. 

Make and Stick to Your Checklist

Before you go, make a checklist and don’t leave until everything on it is done. Some of the most important things that you will want to include is a list of all of your needed safety equipment, a boat examination, check the weather conditions, check your levels and electronics on the boat (don’t leave with low battery phones), create and stick to a float plan (give it to people who will not be on the boat), and consider taking a boat safety course. By checking everything off this list (and whatever else you have added), you’ll be better prepared for anything that can happen on the water. 

Don’t Get into the Water

Okay, yes, that sounds ominous, but you are not going to want to get into the water unless you know what is in it with you. If this is your first-time boating in an unfamiliar lake or body, you should consider getting some advice on the water itself. If there is a bacterium that was recently found in the water, you may still want to boat, but choosing to get into the water may be a bad choice. Get local knowledge about the water before you go, so that you can be prepared for any hazards that the locals tend to run into while boating. 

Boating is a fun and social activity for many people. But making sure that you are as safe as possible will ensure that you are having the most amount of fun possible. Organize yourself before you leave, and you’ll be better prepared for anything that happens. According to Florida drowning accident lawyer Taryn Stein, of Stein Law, “learning to swim is only one way to stay safe when it comes to being on the water. Knowing when the water is safe, never going alone, and avoiding anything that could slow your reaction speed also play a role.” If you or someone on your boat is not a great swimmer, consider taking swimming lessons at a local aquatic center. It will help you become a confident swimmer and avoid those in-water accidents. 

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Our Cars Are Over-Sized

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Currently, many people drive to work in what is considered a “normal sedan”, like a Toyota Camry. The reality is that the “normal sedan” is actually huge, compared to what it needs to be. The vast majority of those commutes are just them, on their own, doing a short drive from their home to their work, and then back again. Every day. In this article, I talk about how this is excessive and wasteful, not only of our resources, but wasteful of our money, our great nation’s GDP, and of our precious lives. If you don’t believe in climate change, turn back now.

Size

In the 1950’s and 1960’s, oil was plentiful and huge cars were the norm, with big, wide bonnets, huge V8 engines, stylish curves and chrome everywhere. When the oil crisis of the 70’s hit, people started to get more fuel-efficient cars. At least until we invaded some people who had oil. Then the price of oil was reduced in the 80’s, so of course big American cars came back into fashion. However, now, it is the 21st century, and cars are even bigger than in the 80’s. The average sedan is now the size of a small boat, with huge engines, and lots of space for people who are rarely in the car.

Not only are these cars wasteful in that they use a lot of resources, but they are also wasteful in that they are unusable most of the time. The average person does not need a car so large, and does not even use the space in the car when they do drive.

Size and Cost

The size of the car is a big factor in the cost. The bigger the car, the more it costs. Not only are the costs of the car itself higher, but the cost of gas is also higher. The price of gas is much higher for larger cars, because they use more fuel, and because they are heavier, they use more gas to get up to speed.

Size and Pollution

The larger the car, the worse the impact on the environment. Not only are the cars themselves polluting, but the resources used to make the cars are polluting, and so are the transportation and assembly of the cars. The bigger the car, the more pollution it produces.

Size and Congestion

Large cars take up a huge amount of space on the road, just to carry one person. Because everyone travels at the same time (on the way to work, and on the way home again), congestion is a serious problem, even where the lawmakers live and drive. If you took all of those people sitting in their huge cars, and put some of them into a bus, some of them onto bikes, and some of them into some running shoes, you’d save almost all the traffic. But people don’t want to do that! They simply want the comfort of a big car, even when they’re doing small trips.

Small trips

Most people, most of the time, hardly ever go outside of a small circle around their home and work. So, why do we insist on having cars that have enough petrol to drive across the entire state and back? Why do we pull around thousands of pounds of metal that is of no use to us when we’re just going down the street for an ice cream? Some people would argue back and say “Well sometimes I need to drive a long way”. Maybe that’s true. Here’s little hypothetical story about that. Let’s suppose you live in Ohio. If you have an accident in your giant car (let’s get into the huge topic of dangerous big cars, another time) are you going to travel all the way to North Pole Motor Repairs? No, you’re simply going to drive to a nearby Columbus car body repair shop. Even in a rare circumstance such as this, people prefer to stay where they are familiar. Do I hear you say, “What if I have a medical problem?” Well, you’ll be going to the closest hospital, most likely, perhaps even in an ambulance, not your giant gas guzzler.

Solutions

There are a few solutions that have been proposed, but not many of them are wildly popular yet. One of them is that we should invest in public transport. This does help, but there is a stigma associated with public transport, so certain (i.e. middle-to-upper class) people will try to avoid it, even if it’s cheaper and easier for them. Also, some people just don’t like being around their fellow human beings. Well, you can’t please everyone. Another proposed solution is to build smaller, lighter, more efficient, cheaper cars. That sounds great in theory, but in practice, people don’t want to drive small cars when there are huge, tank-like vehicles speeding around. So, I believe that another solution will come about, whether it’s a decade-long trend towards smaller vehicles, or a sudden change based on a controversial law, I’m sure that if anyone can solve this problem, it will be a great American solution to a very pressing problem.

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Setting Trends with Technology

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From the ancient Chinese practice of playing the bamboo flute to using Artificial Intelligence to target the right audience to sell their wares, marketing has surely come a long way.

The practice of marketing is as old as civilization itself. Historically when monetary transactions were not so well known, we see the evidence of marketing that was based on the system of barter. Industries became saturated with competition and the need to attract customers grew substantially in the 20th century. As the needs of customers became more specific and substantial, the business procedures too saw a paradigm shift. What could be done through word of mouth earlier, now required specialists with knowledge in the areas of the various avenues of marketing. It moved away from a mere sales pitch to a chain of activities comprising advertisements, publicity, public relations, and at times even propaganda to become a scientifically backed process to disseminate products, services, and even ideologies. 

As the doyen of modern marketing, Philip Kotler said “Marketing’s job today is to sell materialism and consumption”, and that tomorrow’s marketing would be remarkably different from what it currently is.

Marketers have long sought to understand what goes on in the minds of their customers. We now have an infinite number of ways to learn thanks to technological advancements. We can contact our customers, talk to them, and engage them in more ways than ever before because of technology.

Marketing is all about communicating or reaching a maximum number of target audiences and it’s here that technology has come to play a pivotal role. Harnessing the far-reaching power of technology as a tool has revolutionized its entire concept. There are many ways how technology has changed the way consumers consume information and how informed the choices they make are. When it comes to marketing or advertising strategies, the importance of technology cannot be overstated. A simple search can result in not so discreet ‘you might be interested in’ advertisements that literally bombard a consumer till he or she makes the final decision

With the rapid strides it is making, it is becoming easier every day for people to promote their businesses more effectively. It has also transformed the way firms advertise their products, reaching a maximum number of people in the most cost-effective manner, which is why understanding the importance of technology in the marketing sector is critical. 

One of the brilliant ways tech is used in marketing can be seen in the growing popularity of Drupal—it is one of the leading content management systems for users that do not have the advanced technical know-how which many consider as a prerequisite skill for deploying websites. Drupal creates an ambitious digital experience for people who use it and lets users and companies deliver their content in a much efficient way and gives ample creative freedom by providing different teams for the organization for a product. It is also open-source, which means that there are no fees involved to be paid. There is a vibrant community that can be of great help by delivering top-of-the-line tech support along the way.

Many agencies now recommend Drupal for marketers, as it provides the ability to connect to the marketing platforms they use on a daily basis to improve content, generate leads, and attract new and potential customers. It allows marketers to easily integrate any and all of their favorite digital marketing platforms, which helps them to do work flawlessly with the content they develop. 

Over a million websites run Drupal and have been fully secure since the patches are regularly pushed and implemented by the community to ensure you have the latest security fixes installed. With the modularity of drupal, you can extend the security of your website by installing additional security modules.

The complexity of making visually appealing websites is taken care of by the modern website developer which can help you match your website aesthetic with your brand and push the content out the way you want it to be seen.

Being completely open-source and modular, Drupal lets you improve your project/website by adding modules that extend the functionality of your website. This is important, because it means the product will be around for a long time and isn’t dependent on the fortunes of a single company with a single point of failure. And even with the heaviest of traffic, your website will be able to handle it with no problems—Drupal has a track record of scalability.

Smart usage of technology is what gives the edge in the highly competitive marketing industry. Marketing is usually in a state of constant flux. It is meant to not only keep up with the changing social conditions but also predict and at times even set trends for the future. It is all about being proactive and reinventing to suit the ever-changing dynamics of the society in which we live.

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Audiobooks Are My Secret Weapon

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I love audiobooks. I am not a big reader outside of college, but I have way too much assigned reading for my classes to ever hope to do it all. Before I discovered audiobooks, I allocated specific days of the week as “reading days”, where I would basically sit down and try to digest as much material as possible. Ultimately, it was my eyes that gave way first – my optometrist told me that my rapidly increasing prescription strength was due in large part to my reading habits. I could do eye training exercises, he said, or perhaps read less.

Reading less wasn’t an option – but it turns out many people have had this problem and turned to audiobooks. I thought they were just for old people interested in fiction. Not true! There’s a range of textbooks and academic type content available, if you know where to look. I mostly listen to Audible audiobooks, but there are also some good ones on YouTube, which are freely available.

Benefits of audiobooks

I’ve heard of audiobooks used in a lot of ways – from people who don’t like to read, to people who are blind or vision-impaired. I’ve heard of them used in classrooms, and by people who travel a lot. I’m sure there are a lot more reasons to use them, but here are some:

  • You want to increase your productivity by multitasking with audiobooks.
  • You want to read more, but your eyes are hurting.
  • You enjoy listening to audiobooks in general, but you don’t have time to read.
  • You like listening to audiobooks in the car.
  • You’re a road warrior and you need some good books to keep you company.

Let’s look at a few reasons in more detail.

Multitasking

I know that “multitasking” has gotten a bad rap recently, with all this focus on mindfulness and doing one thing at a time. But I just don’t buy that, I love doing as many things at the same time as I possibly can. And besides, sometimes doing one thing is boing! Whether you’re doing dishes or folding laundry, you can listen to an audiobook while you’re doing other things. I have a friend who listens to audiobooks while she’s driving. This doesn’t work for me because I get distracted easily while driving, but if you’re more comfortable with that than I am, then it’s a good option. If you’re in the car for a long time, for example, if you take a long commute to work, you can listen to an audiobook during that time. In any case, multitasking is a huge productivity boost that you can unlock with audiobooks.

Portability

If you want to listen to an audiobook on your phone, you can. If you want to listen to an audiobook on your computer, you can. If you want to listen to an audiobook on your Kindle Fire, you can. With popular audiobooks, you can even listen to them on your television! And they weigh nothing – you can carry around the entire works of Shakespeare on your phone if you wish, and your bag won’t get any heavier. Speaking as someone who used to cart several thick textbooks to and from class every day, the portability is a huge win.

Good for the environment

It’s better for the environment to listen to audiobooks than it is to read print books or magazines. Think about it – what happens to the book when you’re finished with it? There’s really no reason to use our limited forestry resources to re-print books that can be obtained electronically. This also holds true for e-books, of course. You might say “well they are going to print the book anyway” and you may be right today, but in 10 years from now when everyone is listening to audio books because they’ve read this awesome article of mine, then there will be a lot less demand for paper books, so they’ll print less of them, and it will have a positive and long term effect on the number of trees cut down to make paper for the books. So on the whole, I do think it’s good for the environment.

Affordable

I think audiobooks are one of the most affordable ways to read. You can get audiobooks from libraries for free, or you can buy them and they’re pretty cheap. Public libraries often have a bigger range than you might expect. Some services (i.e. Audible) have a fixed fee where you get books regularly for a fixed cost, which is great if you do a consistent amount of listening. But don’t just listen to bulk volume, you want really high quality, high value audio books.

The quality of the narration is important. Look for books voiced by professionals (the author might be a good writer, but isn’t always a good speaker). For fiction, a good production may have powerful male heroes, and villains voiced by men with snarky voices, for example, and similarly young and elderly characters will be appropriately voiced. For non-fiction, look for someone who’s voice you can stand to listen to for an extended period of time – trust me, it matters!

So keep reading, listening, and enjoying yourself at the same time. It’s one of my big secret weapons for college, and I truly recommend it to anyone studying a course where reading is a major component.

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The Emergence of Leisure

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In prehistoric times, only young humans are seen to be playing and frolicking. Much the same as any other animal. The older females were gathering, the older males roamed on their lonesome, or hunted on behalf of their tribe. Once the sun went down, the new young and old alike went to sleep. Although, some will argue that the aforementioned facts are a bit skewed from the truth, this assessment is correct in broad strokes, and allows us to make the point that even expending all of their time and energy on gathering food and caring for young, there were still hard times when a tribe of early humans would go hungry, die early, and generally not enjoying any free time. It was hand-to-mouth existence. Since then, it can be argued, things have improved. With agriculture and specialization having a powerful effect on society, more and more of our time is available for activities other than hunting, gathering and child rearing. What we have chosen to do with this time is a fascinating and broad topic that we will but scratch the surface of, and only in the North American context.

Play

Leisure, exploration and frolicking are the domain of children, and juvenile animals. As tribes banded together and became villages, undertaking civilization and changing from nomadic societies to agricultural societies, childhood extended and stretched out into the near reaches of adolescence. Going to parties, balls and dances are a form of play, a simulated social encounter with opponents from the opposite sex, with relatively low stakes (although the embarrassment of rejection certainly feels life or death, when you’re pubescent) and most importantly, featured the promise of fun, of play. These simple pleasures are the obvious analogues to the wild and real-life counterparts of meeting and courting a mate. Let us now look at more complicated forms of play.

Work

As soon as basic shelter and tools for agriculture have been manufactured, and basic needs have been met, human instinct immediately prompted our ancestors to improve upon the design of a field plow beyond it’s essential utility: for enjoyment, for art. Similarly, as soon as a roof over your head stops the rain, you begin to decorate it, personalize it, and embed your creative identity into it. Work became, in part, a kind of play. Where does exploration come in?

As soon as humans began to explore, we began to have the tools to explore (forms of transport) in order to travel. Perhaps at first this was in search of water, or a more abundant source of food. But before long, we were travelling for the joy of it; another form of play. And as soon as we began to travel, we began to explore beyond our surrounding area. In this way, work also evolved into play.

Leisure

Soon, our collective abilities far outstripped any basic need, and entire groups of the population (at least, in North America) are free to spend almost all of their time (by relative standards) doing as they please, pursuing work only when it’s play to them, exploring and travelling continuously (at least, before COVID-19 closed down international travel), and living a life of leisure. To a lesser extent, the majority of Americans have a taste of this life, as they’re able to eat foods purely for pleasure daily, they’d be able to exercise regularly not to produce work, but for the enjoyment and improvement of their bodies. They are able to partake in imaginary simulated warfare, whether playing sports, playing computer games, or entering chess competitions. Even further removed from work, we often sit one layer back in abstraction, content to remotely watch other tribes of humans competing with each other in a simulated warfare competition (otherwise known as streaming sports). Higher and higher levels of abstraction present, until our play is so complex, and so detailed that it would appear to be the most complicated work of an other-worldly being, to a prehistoric human.

The future

If this trend continues, will all of our society be devoted to leisure? And is it such a bad thing? If everyone is enjoying themselves, and not wasting their time, is it not a net benefit to society? Perhaps we could cut even more time from work, and spend even more time on leisure, today, without further technological advancement. But we have a hint of what this may lead to: obesity, laziness, and lack of initiative. These are the first signs of the upcoming crisis. The leisure crisis. Imagine a future where people have so much free time that they have outgrown the need for the structure, discipline, and motivation that work brings. Perhaps we’re already there, in some parts of the world.

But is life then only meaningful when you’re working? The authors claim that it is not. Leisure time is not an end in itself, leisure is to be spent on productive pursuits, and as such, these pursuits are to be done in a fulfilling, satisfying, life-improving manner, while at the same time, being enjoyable. In other words, productivity is not an inherent value in itself, productivity is an instrumental value. You don’t do something because it’s productive, you do it because it’s fun, and may bring you (or others) more enjoyment later.

Conclusion

The need for work and play will never go away. Humans, unlike any other known species, take pleasure in working. The production of utility, and the enjoyment of leisure are intertwined, and both are vital to the health of society and each individual. In a future where we spend less time working, we need not worry about the loss of purpose and meaning in life, as we will continue to find it in work, and in play.

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Satire: Joy and Meaning

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What is satire?

Satire is a literary genre that uses humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.

As a literary genre, satire dates back to ancient times and originated in a type of literature known as Old Comedy. Old Comedy incorporated satirical poems in the form of skits and plays. Medieval authors used satire in a more familiar literary form, the satirical essay, which became a popular form of political writing during the 16th and 17th centuries.

The word satire comes from the Latin word “satura,” meaning “satyr play” or “rough music.” Roman writers used the term to denote a play that was a hybrid of dramatic and comedic forms.

When did satire begin?

Satire emerged in ancient Greece, the birthplace of the Western literary tradition. The earliest example of a Greek satirical tradition is the work of the poet Hipponax, who composed biting, caustic iambic verse at around 600 BCE.

Silly but important

It’s an important high-level attribute of developed, prosperous countries: ability to laugh at oneself. At a personal level, at a political level, and at a country level. Advanced, western democracies like Canada and Sweden often make fun of their own idiosyncrasies. Making fun of Canadians feels like a good-natured joke between friends. Countries that do not allow satire (we won’t name them here) feel like the weird offended, insecure person at a teenage party. No-one wants to be that person. Freedom of speech is highly politicized topic, and is thrown around like a political football. But when one looks at the actual levels of freedom of speech, by real people and real journalists around the world, satire is the canary in the coal mine. Once it stops singing, you know things are serious, and you have to be careful not to cross the wrong people, in your creative medium.

Comedy

For purely visceral joy, there are a few things you can pursue, but comedy, raucous unrestrained laughter is right up there, somewhere after food and making love. There’s nothing quite like the warm, warm glow you feel when people are laughing at something you’ve said, or you’ve written, or you’ve done. It’s the same feeling as when you have just eaten a good meal, but it’s more intense. It’s the feeling you had as a kid when you did something you knew was funny. You knew it was funny, and you did it on purpose. And it worked.

Meaning

At many times, sharp criticism of a completely ridiculous situation is just not enough, it’s hard to restate how completely wrong and absurd some mistakes are. To really convey it, you need satire. Entire works of fiction have been written purely to hammer home a point about the mistakes or excesses of one political party or another, about committees, about witch hunts, about silly legislation, and so on.

The thing is, satire works best when it’s true. Satire is when you take an issue that is really true and you make it even more true, by exaggerating it or by taking it to the next logical step. Satire is when you take something that is already true and you make it even more true by adding detail.

In writing, satire is a tool, a weapon, a technique of wit. You use it to make sure the reader gets the point and comes away with the right impression. It isn’t always written form either. Sometimes there’s nothing more powerful than the calm, authoritative dry tone of a narration voice over, slowly pronouncing the words of a completely bonkers announcement by a hypothetical government official, deeply parodying a very real (and probably deserving) actual government official.

The best satire is done by people who are very good at what they do. You need to be a good writer, first of all, and you need to be a good writer of the particular genre you are writing in. Satire is like a special flavour of a certain type of fiction. You have to be a very good writer of that type of fiction in order to pull it off.

There’s also a certain amount of luck involved. If you do something so good that it goes viral, or gets picked up by mainstream media, you have to be lucky that it’s a good time for the media, or that they happen to be hell bent on targeting that particular topic. You know that every newspaper editor is just hoping and praying for one of the famous cartoonists to deliver a sharp and cutting piece of art at just the right time. A week later, and all the steam will have gone out. So satirists need to be not only sharp, but also fast. What a tall order that is! We’re lucky to have them among us.

Don’t ban satire

While it’s not as under-threat as it once was, please keep the importance of satire in mind, it may be encroached upon in future. And what a silly joke that would be.

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Why You Should Do Public Speaking During College

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I’m a college student and I often participate in Toastmasters, the debating club, and other public speaking activities. This is an article about why public speaking is for everyone. I also summarize the benefits and advantages of having public speaking experience.

Introduction and background on myself

As a senior college student, I have learned a lot about public speaking. I am in my last year of college, and I am currently a double major in Finance and Economics, including a minor in Computer Science. I have participated in the following activities over my years at college:

  • Toastmasters
  • College Honors Society, which is a club in which honors students can participate in social and academic activities.
  • Economics Honors Society, which is a club in which honors students can participate in simulated trading activities.

I love public speaking and find it to be energizing and uplifting. But first, what is public speaking?

Public Speaking

Public speaking is simply any event, activity, competition, formal social event, or even informal social event, where you are expected to deliver a speech, talk, seminar, lecture, comedy event, or even “a few words” off the cuff. Many people find this absolutely terrifying. Other people seem to be born standing up. However, it’s just like anything else. Practice makes perfect, and you just have to do it.

Benefits of Public Speaking

A lot has been written about the benefits of public speaking, but just in case you have missed the memo, here’s a list of some of the benefits. Note that you won’t notice many of these changes instantly, but they accumulate over time and you’ll be a better person at the end. You will definitely be able to look back and see the change after the fact.

Without further ado, the answers to “Why should I do public speaking?”

  • It makes you a better speaker overall, in everyday situations
  • It makes you a better business person, in that you are better able to pitch business ideas, convince crowds of employees, crowds of investors, and crowds of customers.
  • It makes you more prepared for any form of verbal job interview. Many candidates perform poorly purely because of nervousness, which can be solved easily by overcoming the fear of talking to crowds.
  • It makes you more prepared for any future job (there are in fact many careers and tasks that are directly dependent on being an excellent speaker, such recording a corporate voice over for your company)
  • It helps you to be more confident and charismatic. Everyone just likes you more when you can confidently and loudly command the attention of a room, with well articulated content and engaging topics.

 

What is Toastmasters?

Toastmasters is a program that focuses on making you a better speaker. It focuses on the core fundamentals of being a good speaker, such as speaking clearly, loudly, slowly, with emphasis, correct tone, humor, and emotion. And much more! Now, I am not trying to scare you. This is not as hard as it seems, and it’s definitely not that complicated. It just takes practice. You start with the basics, and learn from those other Toastmasters who have been learning for longer than you. It’s like anything.

How long does it take to learn?

Toastmasters is a long term activity, you generally attend weekly or monthly sessions, and take an exam every two months. It’s a great way to meet new people and make new friends, since you are all focusing on the same goal of becoming better speakers. When you visit an international Toastmasters event, you will be amazed at the wide range of people you see there. There are people of all ages, from all walks of life, with all sorts of occupations. It’s a great place to meet people, especially since you are all working towards the same goal.

If you are interested in finding a club, then know that Toastmasters is a global organization, and I assume that there is one in your area. You can find the closest club by going to the following link:

http://www.toastmasters.org/find-a-club

This link will take you to the official directory of Toastmasters clubs. If you are in the US, you can also search for clubs by state, city, and zip code. If you don’t know where to start, you can also search for clubs that are near your home, work, school, or anywhere else you might already be hanging out.

I hope this answers your question of “why should I do public speaking”. This is something that everyone should do. It’s a skill that you will gain, and use for the rest of your life. You will be able to stand up in front of a crowd, and be confident and charismatic. You will be able to speak your mind, and impress the people who are listening. You will be able to feel proud of yourself, since you have achieved a new skill. You will be able to make new friends, and meet new people. You will be able to practice and feel more confident in your everyday life, and you can use the skills you learn in Toastmasters in your everyday life.

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“Winning or Cheating”?

Winning or Cheating

Introduction

In this essay, I explore the relationship people have with their success in relation to the success of others, how emotions come into play, and a sense of right and wrong. We discover that justice is in the eye of the beholder, and that we aren’t as objective as we think we are. Let’s begin with a widely reviled example of winning framed as cheating.

Bodybuilding

Outside of the bodybuilding industry, there is a stigma about (illicit) steroid use. Inside of the bodybuilding industry, there is an even greater stigma, and simultaneously, a wide acceptance. Let’s take an example. Assuming that the reader is not already part of the professional bodybuilding community, imagine that you were spending time with your normal, not overly overweight, but not overly toned, friends. You notice one friend (let’s call him Arnold), has changed their appearance. You compliment him on the lost weight, and the slightly bulging muscles. He reveals that he has been using steroids. How do you react? Most people are surprised, and slightly repulsed. Some people even feel a sense of betrayal or injustice at learning this fact, whereas others don’t. What makes that difference? In a recent study, researchers found that those people who also exercised or also went to the gym, but who did not use steroids, were in the former (outraged) group. My interpretation of this finding is that we feel cheated: we worked hard, and this person has taken a shortcut, and has beaten us! It’s not that they’re winning, it’s that they’re cheating. However, if we aren’t in the “race” ourselves, we simply view them as someone who has taken a taboo risk, and has reaped the rewards. That is, we view them as a “winner”, not a “cheater”.

Turning the tables

Now let’s consider an alternative scenario. Suppose I asked you to meet me at a cafe a few city blocks away, at an indeterminate time later in the day. When I arrive, puffed and out of breath from walking, you sit calmly in the cafe, already sipping your latte, having used a car to drive there. I indignantly protest, that you cheated, that you took a shortcut, that you skipped the hard walk, and that you should have walked just as I had done. What would you think of that reaction? Bizarre, unfounded, and totally uncalled for? Yes, most likely. It seems totally reasonable that you would choose to take the faster, easier, less effortful option of driving, instead of walking. No normal rational person would complain about that choice. But how does this scenario differ from the earlier scenario? How is one person’s use of a lever (be it the car, or be it the steroids) to avoid effort, completely acceptable by the average person, whereas the other is an outrageous form of cheating? The answer is that the average person is conflicted, and probably behaving irrationally.

Surprise in the means

The surprised and outraged complainer is in fact not dissatisfied with the results of the other party, but their means of achieving it. To see this, observe that our friend Arnold instead quips “Only joking! I spent many hours at the gym every day since we last saw each other, and followed a grueling diet of steamed chicken, eggs and protein shakes.” Suddenly, your anger dissipates. You now feel that they deserve the muscles they’ve gained. This shows that you’re not angry about the results, but only the means to achieve the results. You’re not at all angry when the friend drives their car, as it’s a possibility that is not novel, it’s almost expected. So, the outrage and accusations of cheating only come to the surface when the means are a surprise to us. 

Revealing surprises

Let’s detail a number of other industries where the results are commonly known and accepted, but the means to achieve said results are known only to insiders, and are generally surprising to outsiders. The music industry is now well known for its use of voice modifying software, such as Autotune, to correct the pitch of imperfect singers. This was the case for some years, but did not reach the public consciousness, and remained an accidentally obscured fact, rather than a well-kept secret. As such, when it became public knowledge and was openly admitted that many popular recording artists in fact used Autotune, fans were outraged, felt duped, cheated, and journalists dove into interviewing those few artists who had refused to use Autotune, who promptly climbed onto their high horse and begrudged the riches of the beautiful but otherwise average singers.

Similarly, in the internet industry, most people believe that Google intelligently weaves it’s magic to give you exactly what you are looking for, when they type in a particular query or phrase. However this takes place under the hood is the domain of Google geniuses alone, we thought. However, the truth is that the top ranking websites are in fact able to bid for their position on the front page of Google, by buying backlinks, and by carefully crafting their website content to match the text of the most commonly searched phrases.

Concluding remarks

In short, there are many aspects of life where the means to achieve results are not known to you, or are not clear to you. In these cases, you should be especially aware of your own sense of outrage and anger, being careful to not mistake someone who is winning, for someone who is cheating. If they get the results, and they’re not hurting anyone, then remember, it’s the same as driving a car to get somewhere, instead of walking. Let winners win, and reserve the cry of “cheater!” to those deceptive individuals who deceive others, or who use a car in a competitive professional foot race.