Healthy Weight Loss – The Amazing Gift of Water

Changing the way you drink water is perhaps the single most important change you can make in a weight loss diet. And you can achieve it without expensive equipment, books, diet foods, etc. Here are lots of tips I’ve gathered over the years on how to lose weight and how to diet effectively using water to supplement your weight loss plan.

Drink Lots of Water. Good water levels support healthy biological functions, all of which can help you lose weight sooner rather than later–i.e., your endocrine system (hormone balance), your metabolic burn-fat-for-energy exchange, and your liver function. And drinking more water actually decreases your body’s fluid retention.

How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day? Some experts recommend a gallon a day. However, water intake should be regulated by the amount and type of exercise and body mass. To adequately hydrate your system for normal functionality, you need around 3 quarts each day–3 quarts is 6 pints, 12 cups, 96 oz., 8 soft-drink can’s worth. But for rapid weight loss, you need to add an extra 8 oz. per 25 pounds above your ideal weight.

Drinking Water Dramatically Reduces Your Appetite. It also leads to healthier natural thirst so that you can diet effectively.

Drink a Glass of Water About 30 Minutes Before Your Meals. This trick makes you feel full before you eat and cuts down on the amount you want to eat. Eating healthier portions is really often the best plan for weight loss.

Drink Water Instead of Diet Soft Drinks. A study by the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio discovered that the risk of being overweight increases 41% for each can of diet soda a person drinks. Experts believe that one’s appetite gets stimulated by consuming empty calories like those in diet soft drinks. Eliminating diet soft drinks has helped many people with surprisingly quick weight loss.

Drink Water to Avoid Extra Calories. Most of us lose track of the amount of calories we consume through all those popular high-calorie drinks. This includes soft drinks, energy drinks, alcohol, and all the specialty coffees now available. If water is just too bland for you, see comments below on using isotonic drinks in your weight loss and dieting plan.

Drink Water for Proper Hydration. Proper hydration is the balance between salt and water in your system. Less water increases salt in your tissues, which then dilute the salt by absorbing water from your blood. This causes water retention weight gain, which undermines many a weight loss program.

Drink Extra Water If You Are Walking to Lose Pounds. Add a cup (8 oz.) for each 20 minutes or each mile walked.

Be Careful About Drinking Lots of Water Just Before You Exercise. This is only a comfort tip: you don’t want to “really need to take a break” in the middle of a brisk walk around the neighborhood.

When Hydrating Your System Use Isotonic Fluids With Water. Isotonic drinks like Gatorade diluted with water have the same salt concentration as blood and cells, so they are tremendous hydration aids. Consuming isotonic drinks has no net effect on your salt/water balance while still delivering nutritional elements like minerals and electrolytes, and replacing fluids.

Drink Filtered Water. Drinking only filtered water can prevent the sometimes-negative aspects of much of the tap water available today, like high sodium content.

Vitamins, Minerals and Overall Health – Part 1

Everyone is well aware that a well balanced diet can provide them with they should be taking multivitamin / mineral supplement, but not many fully understand why. The minerals in your food are obtained from minerals in the soil, but if the soil is depleted there will be little to no minerals in the soil. Vitamins are formed naturally in plants, but no one food has all the vitamins you require on a daily basis. Everyone should take a supplement to fill in the gaps, and to promote health and vitality. However, not all supplements are created equal, and many forms of minerals and vitamins may not be absorbed. We will begin with the vitamins and their essential roles in human health.

Vitamins are classified into one of two groups, fat-soluble or water- soluble, and the group a vitamin belongs to is determined by how the vitamin is absorbed. How each vitamin is absorbed is complex, but can be simplified. If absorbed directly through the intestinal lumen into the blood stream, the vitamin is classified as water-soluble. If absorbed along with dietary fat, and transported to the liver before entering the bloodstream, the vitamin is considered fat-soluble. Fat-soluble vitamins can only enter the bloodstream via the lymphatic system. Vitamins are responsible for hormone production and regulation, cellular functions, and overall homoeostasis of the body. Each vitamin has a specific function in the body and if the vitamin is absent, an individual can become ill, and possibly even die.

Water soluble vitamins are more numerous than their fat-soluble counterparts and include vitamin C and the many different types of vitamin B. Many water-soluble vitamins are heat-sensitive, and can be destroyed by cooking or processing, so eating fortified or raw foods is important to getting enough of these vitamins.

Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is the most well known vitamin and obtained from many fruits and vegetables, such as berries, citrus fruit, and brassica vegetables. Ascorbic acid is easily absorbed into the bloodstream and utilized by the body, so is a highly bio-available vitamin. Vitamin C is important in collagen production and rejuvenation, keeping skin and tissues healthy, metabolism of proteins and fats, and is a potent anti-oxidant. An adult should get at least 60mg a day to prevent deficiency, which can lead to a disease known as scurvy.

Vitamin B has many different forms, each with a specific yet vital function in the human body. Vitamins B1, B2, and B3, also known as thiamin, riboflavin and niacin respectively, each play a specific but functionally different role in glucose metabolism and cellular energy production. Thiamin is found in low concentrations in many foods, and fortified in milk, milk alternatives and cereal grain products. Beri beri is the disease caused by thiamin deficiency, and can cause edema, and / or mental and cardiovascular problems. The average adult should consume 1.3mg of thiamin daily to prevent deficiency. Riboflavin has an additional function as B6 that can not be converted into a useable form without the presence of riboflavin. Riboflavin is present in milk and milk alternatives, liver and meat, and fortified grain flour. 1.6mg of riboflavin is required daily to prevent deficiency symptoms. Riboflavin deficiency is not fatal but can cause skin problems, such as lesions and dermatitis. Niacin is available as nicotinic acid or nicotinamide, the common supplement form being nicotinic acid. Aside from niacin's metabolic role, niacin can have a positive impact on overall cardiovascular disease and has been shown to lower blood pressure. Tryptophan, an amino acid, is converted to niacin, so the daily intake is expressed as niacin equivalents, or NE, and 1NE of niacin is roughly equivalent to 60mg of tryptophan. Tryptophan can be found in all protein sources. Taking a high dose of niacin can cause an event known as a niacin flush, a reddening of the skin caused by blood vessel dilation just below the skin. Niacin deficiency causes a condition called pellagra, the symptoms progressing from dermatitis, diarrhea, dementia and event death.

Vitamin B6 is a multifunctional vitamin, being utilized in many roles in the human body. The primary role of B6 is the breakdown of proteins into amino acids, which can affect niacin status as previously discussed. Vitamin B6 is essential to the human nervous system, as B6 is involved in the synthesis of neurotransmitters, chemical signal hormones, such as serotonin, dopamine and epinephrine. Vitamin B6 is also involved in the production and regulation of steroid hormones. The process to convert glycogen to glucose occurs during fasting and strenuous exercise. Another important function of B6 is red blood cell formation, particularly the formation of heme, the oxygen carrying component of haemoglobin. Finally, B6 also plays a small role in immune function regulation, a process which is still under investigation. Vitamin B6 is found in many meats, grains, nuts, vegetables, and bananas, and the average adult requires 1.8mg a day to prevent becoming deficient. As vitamin B6 has many functions, being deficient has many symptoms, such as sleeplessness, dermatitis, irritability, and depression.

Folate, also called folacin and folic acid, is another vitamin with many functions throughout the body. Folate is critical to DNA and RNA synthesis and repair, required processes in every cell that actively divides, such as skin, blood cells, intestinal lumen, and sex cells, such as sperm. Folate is especially important to children and women attempting to get pregnant or are pregnant, as there are many repidly dividing cells in need of DNA and RNA. Deficiency during pregnancy leads to neural tube defect and can cause loss of life. Folic acid is the best absorbed and adults should get at least 220 mcg a day, more if trying to conceive. Symptoms of deficiency in adults include anemia, weakness and depression. A cobalamin deficiency may be masked by a folate deficiency because the same type of anemia is cause and separate testing must be used to determine the cause. Folate can be found in fruits, veggies, seeds, and legumes

The largest and most structurally complex B-vitamin is B12, or cobalamin. Cobalamin is the only vitamins to require a receptor, or 'helper', to be absorbed into the body. Due to the need for a receptor to be absorbed, cobalamin absorption can be inhibited by gastric disorders, such as pernicious anemia, colitis or atrophic gastritis. Cobalamin plays a role in metabolism, and neurological function, but the largest role fulfilled by cobalamin is the formation of red blood cells. The average adult requires 2mcg a day to avoid deficiency, and sources include meats, including fish and eggs, and some forms of algae. Cobalamin deficiency is characterized by memory loss, tiredness, weakness and dementia and can take up to 7 years to occur. A cobalamin deficiency can also be masked by a folate deficiency.

Biotin is a B-vitamin important to cellular growth and renewal, and cellular processes. Many enzymes are biotin-dependent and without biotin, cellular growth and renewal, and cellular functions would not occur. Biotin is found in many food sources, but is bound to a protein that inhibits its absorption. Pancreatic enzymes can remove the protein and allow biotin to be absorbed. Symptoms of biotin deficiency include hair loss, dermatitis, depression, lethargy and even hallucinations. To avoid deficiency, the average adult requirement for biotin is 30mcg a day.

Our final water-soluble vitamin is pantothenic acid, also called vitamin B5. Pantothenic acid is very important in metabolism of carbohydrates and fatty acids, and is also very important to cellular energy production and the synthesis of cholesterol in the body. Pantothenic acid has been shown to aid in accelerated wound healing and even lowing cholesterol. Similar to biotin, pantothenic acid must be freed from a protein before it can be absorbed and used in the body. Pantothenic acid is widespread and found in meats, dairy, whole grains, and legumes, allowing the average adult to easily acquire 7mg a day. Deficiency is rare but presents as burning sensation in the extremities, known as Burning Feet Syndrome.

There are four vitamins considered fat-soluble; vitamins A, D, E, and K. Vitamin A has several different forms and the compounds are known as retinoids. Retinyl ester is the form that is found in food and also stored in the liver. Foods rich in retinyl ester include fish, meat, dairy, and egg yolks. In plant food sources, compounds known as carotenoids supply retinyl ester. Carotenoids can be found in orange and yellow fruits and vegetables, dark green vegetables and tomatoes. Once absorbed into the body, vitamin A is used for several functions. Retinal is the form of vitamin A responsible for vision and the ability to adjust to changes in brightness. Retinoic Acid is the form of vitamin A responsible for reproduction, growth, immune system function and cellular health. Vitamin A deficiency can lead to a condition called Night Blindness, where vision recovers slowly after a bright flash of light. Night blindness is an early indicator of developing deficiency and continuing deprivation can lead to complete loss of vision. Deficiency also causes retarded growth, failure to reproduce and reduced immunity. As vitamin A is stored long-term in the body, toxicity can be caused by consuming too much of this vitamin. Excess can cause headache, vomiting, liver damage, hemorrhage, and even coma. Vitamin A is also a teratogenic, causing birth defect if too high in pregnant mothers. The recommended daily take for vitamin A is 600mcg a day for adults, 700 for pregnant mothers.

Vitamin D is synthesized in the presence of sunlight but is also available in fish and fortified milk and milk alternatives. As a multifunctional vitamin, an individual should make sure to consume the recommended 5mcg a day to maintain good health. Vitamin D has not toxicity linked to higher dosages and many now take up to five times the recommended take daily. Vitamin D is critical to calcium and phosphorus homoeostasis in the body by assisting the kidneys in recovering calcium and phosphorus if needed. Vitamin D aids in bone growth and maintenance, and ensured healthy bone density. Vitamin D is also shown to help regulate immune function and aid in disease prevention. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to improper bone formation in children, a condition known as Rickets, or loss of bone density in adulthood, a condition called osteoporosis. Both conditions are link to low dietary calcium and lack of physical activity.

Vitamin E, also known as tocopherol, contributes in many roles in the body, the best known function being its potent anti-oxidant ability. This vitamin protects cells and molecules from oxidant damage that may cause harm to the body or inhibit the functions of cells. Vitamin E also contributes to gene expression and immune function, but most commonly scavenges for anything that may cause oxidative damage. Vitamin E can be found in seed oils, and some fruits, such as avocado and pumpkin and the average adult should consume 10mg a day.

Vitamin K is available in three forms for absorption; phylloquinone, menaquinone and menadione. Phylloquinone is the form found in plants, menadione is the synthetic form found in supplements, and menaquinone is the form made by intestinal bacteria, which is also the form used in the body. The first function of vitamin K is blood clotting. Vitamin K, along with calcium, is responsible for initiating the cascade to form a blood clot. Without vitamin K, an individual would not be able to stop blood flow if injured or if a blood vessel ruptures. Secondly, vitamin K is used to synthesize bone proteins and thus supports the growth and maintenance of bones. There are no toxic effects associated with vitamin K, but deficiency can cause hemorrhages. Infants are the most intolerable to deficiency as breast milk is low in vitamin K and intestinal bacterium are not yet established to make menaquinone. The daily take recommended for adults id 80mcg.

Many vitamins are essential to several functions in the human body. Minerals too have many functions and many vitamins reliably on minerals to carry out cellular functions. Part two will explore the use of minerals in the human body and identify the best sources of food.

Great Health Benefits Of Seafood

Seafood contains essential oils that are an important part of your diet. Oils provide the source of energy we need and they are also great flavor enhancers. More importantly, they are a source of significant fatty acids.

Seafood oils are unique and have great nutritional benefits to our body. This oil contains the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, specifically the eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

Our body only produces small amounts of these important fatty acids; therefore we need to rely on other sources for this essential nourishment. Seafood is one of the best sources of these nutrients. In fact, oils are the second biggest components in most seafood.

Eating seafood just once or twice a week can provide good health benefits. Eating fresh seafood is a great way to obtain your required dose of these essential oils. Oils extracted from seafood are also available as nutritional supplements.

Oils derived from seafood help prevent some of the most deadly diseases today, including Alzheimer’s disease, asthma, arteriosclerosis, bipolar disorder, bronchitis, cancer, heart diseases and more.

The omega-3 oils decrease the risk of heart diseases, high blood pressure and rheumatoid arthritis. They are also beneficial to infants’ brain and eye development.

The oils in seafood can also prevent osteoporosis. This is because the oils improve calcium absorption in our bones and can prevent the bones from becoming brittle.

According to recent findings, Omega-3 also helps improve people’s immune functions, thereby reducing infections.

Seafood oils are known to have properties that lower blood pressure, benefiting especially those suffering from hypertension.

Another kind of oil found in seafood is the omega-6 fatty acid. This is important for growth and plays an important role in people’s health and well-being.

Eating a seafood diet can also help you reduce weight. For years, seafood has been part of many weight loss programs. This is because, unlike diet pills, seafood is natural and has beneficial properties to people.

However, fish can rot quickly. Therefore, you should cook it the day you buy it. Here are some tips for preparing seafood:

* If you do not plan to cook the fresh seafood the day you buy it, you should store it for no longer than two days at very cold temperatures.

* If you are going to thaw the fish, keep it in the refrigerator or thaw it under cold water. Do not leave it to thaw on your kitchen counter. This is because the nutritional value of the seafood may diminish.

* You can prepare many delicious seafood dishes from great seafood recipes. You can fry or grill seafood. You can combine it with fruits and vegetables to make it even more delicious. You can marinate it and further enhance its flavor and get rid of its unique smell.

* Some people do not want to eat seafood for fear of choking on the tiny bones. In this case you can request the fish store to help you remove these fish bones.

Remember that seafood is not only delicious; it can also provide wonderful benefits to your health.

Five Common Ways People Lose Their Retirement Savings

Here are some ways you could run into retirement trouble:

1. Ignoring Your Long-Term Strategy

Have you ever taken the time to create an investment philosophy based on your goals, personality, and risk level? If you have, do you stay true to your strategy or do you let your emotions take over when the markets go wild? The reality is that markets fluctuate every day. If you try to beat the market and get swayed by the headlines, not only will you cause yourself unnecessary stress, but acting on your emotions could cause damage to your savings.

A 2015 Dalbar study shows how playing the market leads to underperformance. Buying high and selling low due to panic lowers your overall return and may jeopardize your retirement. What should you focus on instead? Maintaining a long-term perspective and a disciplined approach and refusing to ride the market roller coaster.

2. Misjudging Your Retirement Needs

You may be pretty proud of yourself for amassing a nest egg. But even if you have a million dollars saved, it may not be enough. If you plan to retire at 62, your retirement savings will need to carry you through 30 years or more. Not to mention, you will encounter additional expenses such as healthcare costs, home maintenance, and taxes. The best way to avoid financial stress in retirement is to set up contingency funds to cover the unexpected, and work with your financial advisor to map out various retirement scenarios to see what your savings can handle. Then, find ways to maximize your savings to give yourself a cushion.

3. Failing to Take Required Minimum Distributions

If you are 70½, you must begin taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) from your traditional IRA and employer-sponsored retirement accounts. It doesn’t matter if you need the money when you reach this age, you must still adhere to the RMD rules. What happens if you don’t follow through? The IRS will charge you an excess accumulation penalty of 50%! That can significantly harm your retirement savings amount. As an example, if you are required to withdraw $5,000 and don’t, you will owe a whopping $2,500. That’s an unnecessary and avoidable loss. Depending on how much you have in an emergency fund, you may even be forced to use your retirement savings to pay the penalty, further damaging your future financials.

4. Engaging In Risky Behavior

When you started saving for retirement, you were probably in a much different stage of life. As the years have gone by, have you taken the time to reevaluate what level of market risk you are comfortable with? While you can’t eliminate risk from your portfolio entirely, you can ensure that your investments are in line with your risk tolerance.

At this point in your life, you need to focus on finding balance between the appropriate mix of exposure to market volatility and the security of knowing your money will be waiting for you when you retire. This balance is unique to each individual, so don’t copy the strategy those around you have taken. If your portfolio leans too far to either side, it could mean the difference between a successful retirement and running out of money.

5. Taking Advice From The Wrong Sources

When you don’t partner with a trusted financial professional, you put your money in a dangerous spot. At this point in your life, you need to work with an advisor who will help you create a written income plan and work through various retirement scenarios, not just help your money grow.

All Inclusive Resorts Tips – Important Things to Consider When Looking Over All Inclusive Vacations

What, exactly, can you get at all inclusive resorts? The package variants from one resort to the next, but for the most part, you get everything you need, including food, entertainment, activities. In some packages, taxes and tips are included.

It's important to carefully look over every all inclusive package so that you'll know exactly what you will be getting. If you already plan on doing everything it lists anyway, it's probably cheaper to go ahead and buy the package as opposed to paying for everything separately. Many resorts offer huge discounts to tourists who book all-inclusive with them.

These resorts can be found all over the world – not just in popular tourist areas. Of course, if you do want to go to a popular tourist spot, you will likely find more packages to choose from. Many of these deals are offered by hotel chains and are not limited to just one location.

Some packages are only for two nights, while others are for seven or eight. There are all inclusive resorts that are family-oriented while others are intended for couples or singles. The higher-end resorts offer spa services, golfing, water sports, and a variety of other activities in their packages. If you want to go to a ski resort, compare all of the perks offered by various resorts to determine which one is offering the most excitement and fun at an affordable price.

Make sure you know in advance when and if you should ever tip. As mentioned above, not all travel packages include gratuities. Even if tips are already covered at the hotel itself, they might not be with the taxi ride between the hotel and airport, or at any off-site restaurants.

Where to Find All Inclusive Resorts

Whether you want a relaxing vacation or an exciting one, you should be able to find a resort that offers everything you need in a single, all inclusive package. If you want an exotic beach vacation, be sure to choose a resort that has its own private beach that you can simply walk out onto anytime you wish. Another thing to consider is dining. Be absolutely sure that the resort you are considering has a variety of restaurants. What's the use in paying for an all inclusive vacation with dining if none of the restaurants and meals appeal to you?

There are all inclusive resorts everywhere: the Caribbean Islands, Bahamas, Mexico, Thailand, Switzerland, Hawaii, Alaska, Orlando, New York, and several other places across the globe. It's easy to find your ideal vacation itinerary.

Begin your search for the best all inclusive resorts online. You can easily shop and compare multiple itineraries from destinations around the world. You can also count on getting a good deal with the use of online promo codes.

World In Tune – The Power of Music in the Ancient World

Music has power. The power to move us to the heroic as in battle, to comfort in grief, to communicate with children too young for words, and to reach out in almost every religion to that which is sacred in us. This power was once in our history recognized and explored. In the ancient worlds of China, India, Egypt, Sumer and Greece before the Common Era, it was called Music which governed the heavenly bodies, it was called Music which brought creation into being, it was called Music which healed, it was called Music which formed the character. Ancient Man lived in a Musical Garden of Eden.

History was chanted in myth and poetry. We can translate most ancient languages but much of the feeling and meaning of what the chants conveyed are hidden from us. The emotional impact of hearing Gilgamesh sung could help reveal the mythological mind set behind it. Possibly it takes a Jung in the field of psychology or Joseph Campbell talking about myth to begin to open our minds to the questions of meaning. Or could we simply, like the imaginative enthusiast Schliemann, read Homer as fact and actually discover Troy?

Music was related to government and society. One of the first duties of a new emperor in ancient China was to discover the sound which permeated the world. This pitch became the fundamental to which all other notes were tuned. Even the weights and measurements of his reign were adjusted to correspond to the appropriate musical sounds. On this depended the prosperity of his reign and the contentment of his people. Music was viewed as the regulating factor between heaven and earth.

Music was intrinsic to religious belief, in ancient India it was said to be of divine origin. Before the creation of the world an all-pervading sound rang through space. For the ancient Chinese, the laws of music were part of the cosmic order and so affected the universe. And Plato states that “… In Egypt they have a tradition that their ancient chants which have been preserved for so many ages are the composition of the goddess Isis… ” (Laws). Many of the gods and goddesses of antiquity played musical instruments. Hermes was credited with inventing the lyre, the instrument Apollo played.

Music relates to education “… Enough has been said to show that music has a power of forming the character, and should therefore be introduced into the education of the young… ” from Aristotle, Politics.

Music relates to mathematics and the cosmic order of the universe. In China, India, Egypt, Sumer/Babylon and Greece, the exact tuning of musical intervals was of prime importance. The proportions for finding these intervals are well documented

The mathematical correspondence of musical proportions to the cosmos has intrigued great thinkers throughout the centuries. Johannes Kepler in his Harmonies of the World presents melodies representing the Earth, Moon, Mars, Saturn, Jupiter Venus and Mercury. More recently Einstein, in this same tradition, claimed that his discoveries came through music.

We could go on and on with other aspects of ancient life directly related to music but this paper is too short and history too long to do so. How far we’ve come from those values that placed the department of music in the royal palace in China.

But there is a wakeup call to a different evaluation of music today. Amazing scientific research is demonstrating how sound actually affects different states of consciousness. Many organizations sponsor studies on music’s effects on the brain. This research has certainly come to the aid of music educators in the past decade. We see Music Therapy as a profession of growing importance. People who suffer from many ailments including dementia are being helped through music. Patients who have lost all memory can sing songs with lyrics intact. I am reminded of the place of the bard in antiquity, existing in parts of Asia and Africa to the present day. These incredible raconteurs memorized, with the aid of song and chant, stories and legends that fill our library shelves. Thanks to these story tellers we have the Vedas, the Mahabharata, the Epic of Gilgamesh, the Iliad and the Odyssey. We have no names for these bards except one: Homer.

Stories from Iamblichus, Cicero, Plutarch, Quintilian and others relate how Pythagoras cured mind and body through music. Luckily for us, there are people willing to investigate how this could be possible. The late Dr. Alfred Tomatis helped open the way to healing with the power of sound. In his book The Conscious Ear, he tells of how he helped to cure the monks in a Benedictine monastery. The order had decided to revamp their entire daily routine to make it more in tune with the modern world. One of the things they discarded was daily chanting. Soon the monks became ill, some very seriously so. Dr. Tomatis was asked to come to the monastery to find out what was wrong. After studying the situation he reinstated the practice of chanting, and the monks regained their health.

One of the more wonderful phenomena popping up today is drumming circles. People from all walks of our high tech life are coming together to drum. There is an amusing side to this based on the common misconception about music in the timeframe of the history we are discussing ‒ that ancients stood around in circles banging on drums, sticks and rocks to make music.

We’ve been speaking about new ideas and professions. But these views are very close to really ancient concepts. In some respects we are closer to ancient world views than we are to many ideas of a more recent past. I believe that kids should be told that many of their ancestors were knowledgeable about the how and why’s of music and that their discoveries are part of a rich musical past. It’s important that children feel that they are the heirs to a great treasure of knowledge and that this treasure is waiting for them to discover it.

Historically music had a vital part to play in education. Education could take a giant leap forward if the first concern was a balanced curriculum rather than a balanced budget.

Whether music is the art of sounding mathematics, whose laws on a grand scale mirror the harmony of the cosmos; or in a microcosmic view, reflect and influence the laws of society and the individual, is up for investigation. However, that music has the power to touch us is real and that reality was known a long time ago.

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Things to Consider in Getting Compost Bins

Compost bins are one of the basic tools that every person engaged in composting should have. It is basically a tool that is used to discard organic household wastes and other organic trashes. It is a container that aides in the decomposition of organic waste that transforms organic substances to a more useful products that fertilizes the garden.

There are different kinds of composters that you can choose from. It is very essential for you to get the perfect bins that will suit your needs so that you can have a successful composting activity. There are different aspects that need to be considered in looking for the best bins.

One of the first thing that you should take account for in looking for the best compost containers is the type of bin that you need. There are different kinds of compost containers that are available in the market, although they do basically the same thing, the manner of decomposing and some of the features different. You should determine the needs of the garden and of course, your budget to be able to select the perfect type of compost bins for you.

You must be sure that the compost barrel that you are going to buy can provide the adequate heat in the compost and at the same time, maintain the ideal moisture of the compost. Remember that to be able to produce high quality compost, the compost should never be too wet or too dry.

The place where the authors will be placed is also another important factor that needs to be considered. If you are located in a neighborhood, you should get a covered container because apparently, composting produces unwanted smells that may bother your neighbors. But if you are located in an area where there are no neighbors that will complain of the smell that the compost will exude, you are free to get an open compost container.

The size of the compost bin that you need is also an important factor. If you have a large area in the garden, you are free to get a large compiler. However, remember to get only the size of the compost that will accommodate the amount of organic matters that your home produces.

Getting the best compost bins is an important factor that is very essential to ensuring the success of your composting activity. That is why you should be very careful in selecting the compost container that you are going to use.

The Diaper Genie

I have always disliked the way a house smells after you toss diapers in the trash. then you have to take out the trash before company comes over, that is all you can smell for hours. Well I have found the best thing since zip lock bags. The diaper genie is smaller than most kitchen trash cans taking up the least amount of space possible. The best part is my house doesn’t stink. The diaper genie is a great gift for both first time moms or even the seasoned veterans. The kids or animals cant get into the container at all. As for guests coming to my home they don’t even notice the genie. My son loves to watch me put the diapers in because when you push them down they disappear. less contact with the soiled diaper is fine with me.

Refills for the genie are very inexpensive and they last longer than your average trash bag. fitting up to and even sometimes more than 20 diapers, you can decide how long or short your bag will be. there are covered blades inside the container so you can cut your bag and not your hand. the diaper genie really has made my life a little easier. the full bags are very easy to dispose of you just toss it into your outside trash can. You don’t have to worry because you just tie the end off and filler up again.

So overall the diaper genie is a great investment for moms, dads, grandparents and even daycare centers nationwide. we all want our homes to smell refreshing not like the local dump. in these times of economic crisis its nice to know I can control one thing, the smell of my home.

Marble Supplies

What does it take for a house to be transformed into an elegant home? Is it the gate? The garden? Sometimes it's the little things and details that count. It's what the windows, doors, walls, and floors are made of. Three types of stones stand out as the favorite of every builder: they are marble, travertine and granite.

One of the favorite materials to use for building or renovating houses and buildings is marble. A rock typically formed through crystallization and change of natural stone to carbonate rocks, marble is a staple in almost every household. It's usually utilized in sculpture, buildings and houses. Marble is also commonly used for the floor, tables and others. It's firm and waxy-like characteristics are two of the best features why people choose marble. It comes in different colors and designs that are perfect for houses with general motifs. Famous sculptures found all over the world are also made in marble.

Another favorite construction material is travertine. Just like marble, travertine is also a rock, particularly, a limestone usually found under and around hot springs. Travertine tiles are frequently used as building materials specifically for patios and garden stairs or paths. Its roughness and holes give this rock its distinct feature to stand out in a household or garden.

Last but not the least in the bunch is granite. Like travertine, granite is also made from a fire, usually from a cooled magma from volcano lava. Granite has been a favorite for centuries now and it does not seem like it's stopping very soon. Granite is known for its grainy texture that is perfect for tables, floors and worktops. It is also available in different colors and designs that are up for grabs.

A notable marble and travertine supplier in Ireland is Efesus Marble. The company is very well known for its customer service and quality marble and travertine that they offer. Efesus Marble has a wide array of choice marble fitted for every customer's need for their homes. Timeless, unique, elegant, classical and natural- these are just five words that describe the high quality rocks that are available in Efesus Marble. Whether it's for your home or business, this company has everything you need to suit your building needs. After the installation of the marble and travertine, maintenance is a big key, and Murray Marble Maintenance and Restoration is perfect for that. They specialize in marble restoration, maintenance and polishing marble so customers are assured that their homes stay elegant and pleasant.

Making a house a home is simply not about family now. It's also about how the house was built and its foundation. Rocks have always been equated as a strong foundation. Knowing these 3 stones and the best resources where you can get them is good information to have. Building a house is an investment and choosing these three rock types, as your materials will definitely be worth the money. They are simply there to put a strong foundation for your elegant house.

Creative Cooking

At times when conventional cooking is not an option, there are many ways of being able to cook food, depending on what's for dinner, can foods come pre-cooked and can be eaten straight from the can, in a time of crisis. Depending on the area in which you live and the season it is, canned foods can be placed outside in the sun for a few hours, so you can be able to enjoy a warm meal. Certain foods such as legumes and grains need to be cooked in order to make indigestible components digestible.

Cooking Utensils

It would be great if you had a two-four quart pot with lid, but if not then you can make a pot by using a number 10 can, usually from stored food or coffee. Many cans have a plastic coating on the inside that must be burned of completely before it can be used for cooking. Make a fire outside, in a woodstove or fireplace. Place the can open side down on the flame. It will take about 5-10 mins for the plastic coating to be burned off. Once the flame subsides and the can cools, wash the can thoroughly with soap and water. Now the can could be used to cook with. You can also poke two holes in the opening of the can, one on each side of the can and a salvage wire can be doubled up and anchored to the can through the holes. It can be used as a handle to suspend the can over heat source and also as a way to carry the can when hot.

When making cooking utensils, make sure they are made of metal, because glass and ceramic cookware can be easily broken.

Eating Utensils

Many foods can be ate with your hands, even though by doing so can result in gastrointestinal problems, when you are put in a situation where you will also have to use emergency sanitation techniques. Forks, spoons and knives are not a necessity. A Spork will suffice and can be easily carved out of a piece of wood. Chop sticks can be made even easier, out of two twigs. After use it can be added to the fire or thrown away, which saves on cleaning time and wash water. Bowls and spoons are not required, because you can "slurp-drink" your soap right from the cook pot. Spoons are good for canned foods and survival fare, which at some point in time will manifest itself as soap or stew. A knife might be useful if your food gets tough or stringy. Even plastic silverware is suitable at first, but it is fragile and frequently breaks. So if you are only able to pack one eating utensil, make it the ever so useful spoon.

Cooking Alternatives

Charcoal and Barbeque Grills

Grills are a great tool to use for cooking during a crisis. Most BBQ grills are run on propane gas. Quite astonishingly the propane will last for quite some time, depending on what's being cooked. Some barbeque grills also have a side burner, which will allow you to cook food in pots. A down fall of you using a BBQ grill in the time of a crisis is that once your propane has run out, it wont be easy to get more. Also if you need to travel, a BBQ grill in not transportable. The spherical-shape of a charcoal grill will allow you to burn almost anything as a fuel source, due to the shape and volume of the grill. Carbon-Monoxide from the burning charcoal briquettes have killed people who have brought their grill in the house for warmth during power outages. So use caution, common sense and DO NOT bring your charcoal briquette fueled grill in or near the house

Mini Stove with Fuel Tablets

Most cooking stoves are no more than a collapsible metal grate in which hexamine tablets are placed underneath to heat whatever needs to be heated. They are pretty cool and will simmer a cup of water, but your family might bludgeon you to death as they go through the painful agony of waiting for their dinner one cup at a time

Candles

A candle can be used to heat up many things. It will be a very time-consuming and tedious process. Canned foods can be opened; their paper label removed and can be placed on a makeshift grate positioned over a candle flame.

Woodstoves

Woodstoves feature a flat surface that is ideal for cooking. The drawback to a woodstove is that it is located in your home, so if an emergency happens in the middle of July, it is very illegally that you will want to fire it up when it is 95 degrees outside.

Campfires

There are many different campfire lays, depending on how you would like to set things up when you are cooking with fire. A radiant flame produced more heat and smoldering coals produce more even heat without scorching. Until you get a good cooking system going, your pot will drive you crazy, because either it will be to far from the heat source, so it will take too long to heat the food or it will smother the flame by preventing the oxygen from getting to the flame, by being it to close. So if you are put into a position where you need to use a campfire, go slow, use caution, common sense and patience. You will eventually get the hang of campfire cooking.

Kickstarter Vs Indiegogo: Which One to Choose?

Kickstarter

So the chances are you've heard about Kickstarter. You probably have a pretty good handle on the basic pros and cons of this platform as well, but in the interests of being thorough, let's cover our bases and start at the beginning.

Today, crowdfunding is mostly synonymous with Kickstarter. It's the largest crowdfunding platform there is. It's also got a bunch of metrics that are happy to sing its praises: Kickstarter campaigns have already raised over US $ 2bln. It's hosted 95,000 successful projects, has a total of 9.7million backers – of which one-third support multiple campaigns. Over 100 (132 actually) have broken the US $ 1 million mark. A further 2355 campaigns have raised over US $ 100k. Need I go on?

This crowdfunding Goliath boasts 15 campaign categories. The film and video, music and publishing categories are the most popular (you'll find the majority of campaigns registered in one of these), but it's the games, technology and design categories that really excite backers. These last three are the most funded groups on the site (as a side note, Wednesday afternoon is the time when most backers put their hands in their pockets).

Impressed yet? Well, you might be a little less so when you learn that all those impressive stats only account for 36.69% of Kickstarter campaigners. The rest (over 60%) fail to achieve their goals.

But do not get disheartened, Kickstarter still has aces up its sleeve. With a reputation for launching whacky, innovative and down right wonderful ideas, Kickstarter gets a fair bit of coverage from the media and bloggers. One well placed article could win you a place in that top 37%.

Indiegogo

Initially focused exclusively on independent films (since the name) Indiegogo started accepting projects from any category a year after its launch. Established to provide more opportunities to backers than Kickstarter, Indiegogo is typically perceived as a less strict platform. It is available in over 200 countries and provides more categories (24 vs Kickstarter's 15). It also gives backers control over whether they want fixed (all or nothing) or flexible (creator gets whatever amount they collect) models.

It might not be winning in the PR stakes, but Indiegogo certainly has more campaigns than Kickstarter. At any given point it has around 10,000 live campaigns (Kickstarter has 6,000) and hosts an average of 260 new campaigns every day. It also is not all that fussed with metrics (you'll struggle to find the kind of statistical data Kickstarter is happy to publish), but you will come across the odd estimate or three.

If Kickstarter reckons around 37% of its campaigners are successful, then the digital world puts Indiegogo's success rate somewhere between 8-9%. It sounds terrible, but it does have a few other things going for it. Its flexible funding scheme allows you to get the funding without necessarily reaching your goals, plus our successful Indiegogo campaigners also tell us that the customer support is second to none (not something Kickstarter campaigners tend to agree with). Add to that the fact that pledges are non-refundable, so the creator knows exactly how much they've raised (Kickstarter campaigns tend to drop 5-7% of backers – more on this later), and Indiegogo starts to look like a very attractive option.

It's also worth knowing that the culture of the different crowdfunding platforms varies somewhat, so it's important to clearly understand your audience. If they're more likely to opt for one platform over another, then you need to take that into consideration. Familiarity breeds confidence, and makes visitors more open to pledging.

So how do you know which platform is likely to be a better match for your audience? Generally speaking, you'll tend to find more artists, musicians, filmmakers, geeks and techy gadget makers on Kickstarter. You'll see more small businesses, controversial ideas, NGOs and mass manufacturing at Indiegogo.

The demographics between the platforms also vary. Indiegogo has a more female friendly audience and gets more traffic from Facebook than Kickstarter.

So, before your decision which platform to choose, carefully examine you project's category, marketing strategy, costs, appropriate funding schemes and goals.

Important to know

Remember that the platform will not do the job alone and you have to put the work in if you want to be successful. Explore our Blog to find out how.

Some Common Mortgage Loan and Finance Terms Explained

The common terms used to describe a mortgage involve the "creditor", the "debtor" and "mortgage broker." It may be self-explanatory as to what those terms mean, but there are other terms involved with a mortgage as well that a homeowner may not be completely familiar with. Let's cover some of them here:

Creditor

The creditor is the financial institution, typically a bank, who provides the money in the form of a loan for the mortgage amount. The creditor is sometimes referred to as the mortgagee or lender.

Debtor

The debtor is the person or party who owes the mortgage or the loan. They may be referred to as the mortgagor.

Many homes are owned by more than one person, such as a husband and wife, or sometimes two close friends will purchase a home together, or a child with their parent, and so on. If this is the case, both persons become debtors for that loan, and not just owners of the property.

In other words, be careful of having your name put on the deed or title to any house, as this makes you legally responsible for the mortgage or loan attached to that house as well.

Mortgage broker, financial advisor

Mortgages are not always easy to come by, however, because of the demand for homes in most countries, there are many financial institutions that offer them. Banks, credit unions, Savings & Loan, and other types of institutions may offer mortgages. A mortgage broker can be used by the prospective debtor to find the best mortgage at the lowest interest rate for them; the mortgage broker also acts as an agent of the lender to find persons willing to take on these mortgages, to handle the paperwork, etc.

There are typically other parties involved in closing or obtaining a mortgage, from lawyers to financial advisors. Because a mortgage for a private home is typically the largest debt that any one person will have over the course of his or her life, they often seek out whatever legal and financial advice is available to them in order to make the right decision. A financial advisor is someone who can become very familiar with your own special needs, income, long-term goals, etc., and then give you the best advice on what your loan needs may be.

Foreclosure

When the debtor can not or does not meet the financial obligations of the mortgage, the property can be foreclosed on, meaning that the creditor seizes the property to recoup the remaining cost of the loan.

Typically, a home that is foreclosed upon will be sold at auction and that sale price applied to the outstanding amount of the mortgage; the debtor may still be liable for the remaining amount if the property sold for less than the outstanding balance of the mortgage.

For example, suppose a person still owes $ 50,000 toward their mortgage, and their home is foreclosed. At auction, the home is sold for only $ 45,000. The debtor is still liable for that remaining $ 5,000 difference.

Most banks and financial institutions will try to avoid foreclosing on any of their debtor's property if at all possible. Not only do they run the risk of not being able to sell the home at auction for any price, but there are also additional costs and risks incurred when the home is vacated by the previous owners. This includes vandalism, squatters (persons who trespass onto vacant land or into vacant homes and stay there until forcibly removed), fines from cities for unkempt yards, and so on.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

The APR is not to be confused with a mortgage's interest rate.

The APR is a loan interest rate plus the added costs of obtaining the loan, such as points, origination fees, and mortgage insurance premiums (if applicable).

If there were no costs involved in obtaining a loan other than the interest rate, the APR would then equal the interest rate.

Breakeven Point

The breakeven point is the length of time it will take to recover the costs incurred to refinance a mortgage. It is calculated by dividing the amount of closing costs for refinancing by the difference between the old and new monthly payment.

For example, if it costs you $ 5,000 in fees, penalties, etc., to refinance your mortgage, but you save $ 300 per month on your payments with your new mortgage, the break-even point is after 17 months (17 months x $ 300 per month = $ 5,100).

ARM

This refers to an Adjustable Rate Mortgage; a mortgage that permits the lender to adjust its interest rate periodically.

Fixed-Rate Mortgage

A mortgage in which the interest rate does not change during the term of the loan.

Cap

ARMs have fluctuating interest rates, but those fluctuations are usually limited by law to a certain amount.

Those limits may apply to how much the loan may adjust over a six month period, an annual period, and over the life of the loan, and are referred to as "caps."

Index

A number used to compute the interest rate for an ARM. The index is generally a published number or percentage, such as the average interest rate or yield on US Treasury Bills. A margin is added to the index to determine the interest rate that will be charged on the ARM.

Since the index may vary with ARMs, many people considering refinancing do well to keep aware of the standard interest rate as set by the federal government, as this is typically used by lending institutions to calculate that index.

Prime Rate

The interest rate that banks charge to their preferred customers. Changes in the prime rate impact changes in other rates, including mortgage interest rates.

Equity

A homeowner's financial interest in or value of a property. Equity is the difference between the fair market value of the property and the amount still owed on its mortgage and other liens, if that value is higher.

In other words, if the fair market value of the home is $ 200,000, and your mortgage (and other liens, if applicable) is only $ 150,000, then the home has $ 50,000 in equity.

Home Equity Loan

Loans secured by a specific property that were made against the "equity" of the property after it was purchased.

Using the illustration above of a home that has $ 50,000 in equity, a homeowner may take out a loan up to that amount, using the home as collateral for that loan. A lending institution knows that if the homeowner defaults on the loan, they can seize the property and sell it for at least that much, getting back their loan amount.

Amortization

The gradual repayment of a mortgage loan, usually by monthly installments of principal and interest.

An amortization table shows the payment amount broken out by interest, principal, and unpaid balance for the entire term of the loan. These tables are useful because when a payment is made towards a mortgage, the same amount does not get applied to the principal and interest month after month, even when the payment amount is the same. This is often a difficult concept for those not in the real estate or banking business to understand, so an amortization table that spells out how each payment is applied to the debt over the life of the loan can be very helpful.

Cash-Out Refinance

When a borrower refinances his mortgage at a higher amount than the current loan balance with the intent of pulling out money for personal use, it is referred to as a "cash out refinance." In other words, the mortgage is not simply for the home itself but an additional amount of money is being financed as well.

Appraised Value

An opinion of a property's fair market value, based on an appraiser's knowledge, experience, and analysis of the property. The appraised value of the home is a key factor in how much the home can or will be mortgaged for.

Appreciation

The increase in the value of a property due to changes in market conditions, inflation, or other causes.

Depreciation

A decline in the value of property; the opposite of appreciation.

Appreciation and depreciation are important concepts to remember; as we've just mentioned, the appraised value of the home is a determining factor in the home's mortgage. When refinancing, it's important to understand that your home may have appreciated or depreciated in value since the original or first mortgage was obtained.

Lock-in

An agreement in which the lender guarantees a specified interest rate for a certain amount of time at a certain cost.

Lock-in Period

The time period during which the lender has guaranteed an interest rate to a borrower.

This is a different concept than a fixed rate mortgage, as the lock-in period for a mortgage may be temporary rather than over the life of the loan.

As we said previously, many of these terms you may already be familiar with, but it does not hurt to review them and see how they are all tied in together with your mortgage and the refinancing process.

So now that you have these basic terms in mind when it comes to a mortgage and the lending process, let's discuss the process of refinancing in greater detail.

Narcissism and Today’s Society

“It is not love that should be depicted as blind, but self – love.” – Voltaire

The subject of ‘Narcissism’ has intrigued us for many decades, but social scientists now claim that it has become a “modern epidemic”. The term ‘Narcissism’ originated more than 2000 years ago when Ovid wrote the ‘Legend of Narcissus’, which tells the story of a beautiful Greek hunter, Narcissus, who, one day, sees his reflection in a pool of water and falls in love with it. He becomes obsessed with his own beauty and is unable to leave his reflected image until he dies. The concept of Narcissism was first introduced by the famous psychoanalyst, Dr. Sigmund Freud’s essay ‘On Narcissism’. He popularized this new concept through his work on the ‘ego’ and its relation to the outside world. Narcissism can be defined as the pursuit of gratification from vanity or egotistic admiration of one’s own attributes. The ‘American Psychiatry Association’ has classified this as ‘Narcissistic Personality Disorder’ (NPD).

Narcissism lies on a continuum from healthy to pathological. Healthy narcissism is part of normal human functioning. It represents required self – love and confidence based on real achievements and the ability to overcome setbacks. But, narcissism becomes a problem when one becomes excessively preoccupied with the self and seeks complete admiration and attention, with complete disregard for others’ feelings. Lack of satisfaction of this need leads to substance abuse and major depressive disorders. In adolescents, this causes ‘Substance Dependency Disorder’ (SDD) – they display overt narcissistic and prosocial behaviours, which show a connection between self – centeredness and addiction. These substances include sedatives like alcohol, psychedelics and hallucinogens like marijuana and LSD, stimulants like cocaine, narcotics like opium, heroin, and morphine, and anti-anxiety drugs like Xanax.

“Narcissists unconsciously deny an unstated and intolerably poor self – image through inflation. They turn themselves into glittering figures of immense grandeur, surrounded by psychologically impenetrable walls. The goal of this self – deception is to be impervious to greatly feared external criticism, and to their own rolling sea of doubts.” This is how Elan Golomb describes NPD, in her book ‘Trapped in the Mirror’. The narcissists fail to achieve intimacy with anyone as they view other people like items in a vending machine, and uses them to serve their own needs, never being able to acknowledge that others might have their own feelings too.

Narcissism is filled with irony and paradox, whether as a character trait or as a clinical disease. Emily Levine says, “I thought Narcissism was about self – love till someone told me there is a flip – side to it… it is unrequited self – love.” It must be remembered that, Narcissus weeps to find out that his image does not return his love. This indicates that, a loving engagement with the self does not, and cannot, come from putting on lofty airs, acting with self – satisfied arrogance or being obsessed with assorted fantasies of ideal brilliance or beauty. Healthy, non – egotistical self – love arises from an unconditional acceptance of the self, without having to declare superiority over others. Deep down, the narcissists know, albeit unconsciously, that they are not really what they project. In fact, one of their central defenses is to endlessly project onto others the very flaws and fears that they are unable or unwilling, to allow into awareness. They are critical of others’ shortcomings, but completely blind to their own – their self – love must be seen as an illusion, a spectacular triumph of self – deception. They can only love their false, idealized self – a mirage that cannot possibly return the fantasy – laden love. Their flawed self, hidden beneath their outward bravado, remains locked up and placed in permanent exile. And, to continuously safeguard themselves from a reality that so frequently contradicts their grandiose assumptions and pretensions, they are forced to employ a massive defense stratagem, with extraordinary rigidity.

Although very few of us are actually diagnosed with NPD, almost all of us are guilty of sharing certain narcissistic tendencies. So, Todd Solondz says, “Narcissism and self – deception are survival mechanisms without which many of us might just jump off the bridge.” For true narcissists, the defenses are absolutely necessary to compensate their ego deficits and reduce feelings of shame. Without them, they might result in a state of suicidal depression; for, narcissists do not really like themselves – the more they boast and demean others, they are more likely to cover up for their deeper, largely hidden feelings of inferiority and lack of love. Blinded by their idealized self – image, they try to project themselves as gifted, exceptional and unique – that in turn makes them egotistical and arrogant. According to TS Eliot, “… half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don’t mean to do harm but the harm [that they cause] does not interest them. Or they do not see it or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.” This shows a distinction between narcissists who are malevolent, and those who simply lack concern of how their behaviour might adversely affect others. It is yet another way of gaining attention to their supreme self – absorption, which makes it impossible for them to identify with others’ feelings.

Kurt Cobain says, “I don’t care what you think, unless it is about me.” This shows the narcissist’s indifference to the outer world unless it specifically relates to them. They are completely incapable of a genuine interest in others’ matters unless they are needed for the former’s assertion of superiority. Narcissists are also great con – artists; after all, they always succeed in deceiving themselves. It becomes particularly painful when they suffer from memory loss, when, they lose out parts of the person they love the most. In general, a narcissist “devours people, consumes their output, and casts the empty, wreathing shells aside”, says Sam Vaknin. Hate is a complement of fear, and the narcissists like being feared – it provides them with an intoxicating sensation of omnipotence. The difference between Narcissism and self – love is a matter of depth. Narcissus falls in love not with the self, but with an image or reflection of the self, with the persona, the mask. Narcissists see themselves through the eyes of others, changes their lifestyle and behaviour and expression of feelings, according to others’ admiration. Narcissism is voluntary blindness, an agreement not to look beneath the surface. Yet, Oscar Wilde says, “To love oneself is the beginning of a life – long romance” – this notion of self – love leans towards the pathological and the auto – erotic as well.

Prof. Jean Twenge differentiates narcissism from the idea of self – esteem. One high in self – esteem, values individual achievements, but they also value their relationships and caring for others. Contrarily, narcissists miss out on valuing and caring their relationships, as they lack empathy. Prof. Twenge and Keith Campbell, a specialist on Narcissism, joined hands to investigate whether people born in more recent generations score higher against Narcissism measures, than in previous generations. The tool they used to assess their subjects is the ‘Narcissistic Personality Inventory’ (NPI), created in 1988. It is the most widely used measure of Narcissism in social – psychological research, where a 40 item forced – choice version is the one most commonly employed.I Following Freud’s and Kohurt’s theories, individuals would be diagnosed clinically as patients of NPD, if they fulfil the following criteria:

A. Grandiose sense of self – importance or uniqueness

B. Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love

C. Exhibitionism

D. Cold indifference of marked feelings of rage, inferiority, shame, humiliation or emptiness in response to criticism, indifference of others or defeat

E. At least, two of the following characteristic disturbances in inter – personal relationships:

I. Entitlement – expectation of special favour without assuming reciprocal responsibilities

II. Inter – personal exploits

III. Relationships that characteristically alternate between the two extremes of overidealisation and devaluation

IV. Lack of empathy

F. Vulnerability to shame, rather than guilt

G. Denial of remorse or gratitude

In this regard, reference can be made to Hotchkiss’s ‘Seven deadly Sins of Narcissism’, which include shamelessness, magical thinking, arrogance, envy, entitlement, exploitation, bad boundaries.

The ‘narcissistic dilemma’ is seen when, being criticized, the narcissists show themselves pitifully incapable of retaining any emotional poise or receptivity. But, these disturbed individuals also display an abnormally developed capacity to criticize others. Their dilemma is that the rigidity of their defenses, their inability ever to let their guard down, even among their closest people, guarantees that they will never get what they most need, which unfortunately, they are themselves oblivious to. People are never born narcissist, it is powerful environmental influences that make them so. Being neglected and ignored, or constantly disparaged or berated by parents in childhood, they form unrealistically high standards of behaviour. Unable to meet up to their parents’ unreasonable, perfectionist expectations, they create an imaginary “ideal self” that could receive the parental acceptance, even adulation, which they yearn for. The main elements of narcissism are narcissistic supply, narcissistic rage and narcissistic injury, and narcissistic abuse. Narcissism can be of various types, and its causes are not yet well – known. Inherited genetic defects are thought to be responsible in some cases, along with environmental factors –

1. Childhood abuse or neglect

2. Excessive parental pampering

3. Unrealistic expectation from parents

4. Sexual promiscuity

5. Cultural influences

A study shows the changes in levels of Narcissism over the past few decades, among the college – going students, i.e. the youth; it is seen rampant in the society of USA today, because these youths are the future leaders, and Narcissism is very harmful to the society as a whole and can cause failure in academic and other endeavours. Twenge and Campbell conducted a survey in American institutions from 1979 – 2006 and found an upward shift in scores on the NPI, meaning that, now the average college student embraces narcissistic tendencies more than their counterparts, two decades ago. The rise in Narcissism in the American population might be because now, from a young age, Americans are taught that they are very special and unique, that in turn increases their self – esteem. Extroversion and assertion are the key factors of Narcissism. It is also due to the large emphasis on materialism and wealth, with a focus on individual’s pleasure and success, in the current American society.

Today, Narcissism has gripped the entire world, as indicated by the rapid change in society that occurred during the industrial and post – industrial times. The past few decades have witnessed a societal shift from a commitment to the collective to a focus on the individual or self. Here comes in the ‘self – esteem movement’ which became the key to success in life. The parents tried to “confer” self – esteem upon their children rather than allowing them to achieve it through hard work. The rise of individualism and the decline in social norms that accompanied the modernization of society, led to a shift from the concept of what is best for the others and family to what is best for “me”. The commercial world with total focus on wealth and fame, created an “empty self, shorn of social meaning”. Today, the generation of young adults – the ‘Generation Y’ – also known as the ‘Millenials’ and ‘Generation Me’, comprising of individuals born between 1975 – 1995, are condemned for being narcissistic, selfish, self – entitled, and having unrealistic expectations from life.

The rise in technology and the advancement of immensely popular social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, MySpace, YouTube have changed the way we now spend our leisure time and communicate with others. Internet addiction is a new area of study in mental health and many researchers show that addiction to Facebook, Twitter is strongly linked to narcissistic behaviour and low self – esteem. The notion that the current generation is increasingly becoming narcissistic, as a product of the “like effect” (a theory where the number of ‘likes’ on social media produce greater self – esteem) has been widely debated. This effect creates negative self – esteem contrary to egotism due to modern youths constantly comparing the quantity of ‘likes’ or the quality of a picture to that of another. The ego can never be satisfied with increasing number of ‘likes’. Also, the total control over one’s perception of social media allows modern youth to see an unrealistic, distorted image that they will compare themselves to. Thus, regular posting of ‘selfies’ on social media promotes Narcissism, that is actually a cry of ego – satisfaction. Social networking sites are believed to be outlets for narcissistic expression, and Gen Y, aged between 17 – 21 years, are particularly vulnerable to its negative effects. Lucy Clyde says, “If you are a narcissist, you are looking for a positive reflection of yourself, the world is your mirror and you are constantly looking for affirmation. For this reason, you’re probably curating your own life very heavily on social media.”

Named ‘Word of the Year’ in 2013 by the Oxford English Dictionary, the term “selfie” has become very common among all teens and young adults, in today’s technological era. A “selfie” is defined as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken by a smartphone or a webcam, and shared via social media”. For Gen Y, taking selfies and posting them on social media has become inevitable parts of daily living, promoting Narcissism. Millenials, aged 18 – 33 years, are hyper – connected with little awareness or concern for the others. “Generation Me”, today, is a victim of the ‘Selfie Syndrome’ – they post, tag and comment on self – portraits, believing that others are interested in their daily activities, and they want to tell others what they are doing. Selfies symbolize that shamelessly flaunting your Narcissism is trendy; if you put an inspirational quote under your selfie, no one can see your Narcissism. A selfie a day keeps insecurities away – “constantly taking selfies will not make you prettier; may you someday find someone to love you as much as your selfies indicate you love yourself.” Today, the confidence level is measured by “a selfie with no filter”. Never before has a generation so diligently recorded themselves, accomplishing so little – “if you could take selfies of your souls, would you find it attractive enough to post?”

It seems, those people who constantly post selfies must not own mirrors like the rest of us; but again, mirrors should not be taken too seriously, as one’s true reflection is in his heart. Increase in Narcissism pose a threat to the emotional and psychological health of the youth – it results in self – enhancement and self – promotion, preventing them from establishing lasting intimate relationships. Also, they tend to be prone to respond with violent and aggressive behaviour after being criticized. Online relationships may appeal more to narcissists, who are otherwise unable to, or unwilling, to form meaningful relations that demand any time or emotional attachment. The increase of smartphones and many new sophisticated gadgets allow people to access social media very easily, contributing to widespread Narcissism. Managing and revising one’s online profile content is a vital aspect of the youth’s online identity and “e – personality”. Social networking sites give narcissistic individuals the chance to keep the focus of their profile’s content solely on themselves. By this, they post status updates, comments and photos that depict only themselves, and not others, perpetuating their selfish nature. The online profiles allow them to achieve a type of social identity that they wish to portray, through exaggeration of certain character traits, and present a persona that they believe is appealing to the world, at large.

Lack of empathy for others cause preoccupation with the Gen Y’s own frustrated selves and emotional distresses, while growing up – they go out of their houses, but focused on themselves only, taking selfies – and thus, can never completely come out of their own selves. They lose out on moral values, and find it difficult to come out of their own fears. The increasing demand for plastic surgeries, worldwide, to look better in the eyes of others, is also an unfortunate consequence of the rise of Narcissism. They always remain emotionally and spiritually unfulfilled, hungry for a nebulous something they cannot even conceive, and project a constant detachment in all relationships, even in the most intimate ones.

Treatment of ‘Narcissistic Personality Disorder’ (NPD) is possible through psychotherapy, or talk – therapy. But Narcissism has certain beneficial effects too. It has a fundamental connection with leadership, as both the notions have the common factors – dominance, extroversion, confidence and power. Because of these, narcissists become good and successful leaders, provoked by their desire for self – assertion, glory and power. But today, individualism is co – related to materialism and Narcissism. So, together, the world’s Narcissism is huge – the collective Narcissism results in the destruction of the planet. Together, we are wiping out one species after another from this world, fuelled by consumerism and our growing self – importance. Our Narcissism may eventually turn out to be our Nemesis, in the end.

Insulation Covers And Connectors – Important Electrical Accessories

Brief on Insulation Covers

Insulation covers or blankets help maintain process temperature, protect machine components from environmental stress and give highest level of insulation thus ensuring long product life. They not only protect the product but also the personnel working on the machines. Insulation covers reduce undue stress on the machinery and offer increased energy efficiency. These blankets also aid in effective process control by keeping checks on process temperatures, flow of the material, levels of ingredients in the process, etc. Overall they help in making the process cost effective.

An insulation cover is either tight fit or removable. Even the tight fit covers are removable and replaceable. They ensure a complete covering and are highly long lasting. Customized insulation blankets can be designed by studying the facility, evaluating the process parameters and ensuring they increase the efficiency.

Brief on Screened Separable Connectors

Functional Parameters

Connectors are an electro mechanical device for joining and making the electrical terminations touch proof. They consist of a male component viz. Plugs and the female component viz. Jacks. The screened separable connectors are made of silicone EPDM rubber. They connect cables to switch gears, transformers and other equipment. These connectors are protected by touch proof outer screen making them fully insulated, submersible. The fully screened connection makes mating with both A and C type bushings possible. Their design is compact, finish is smooth, current capacity is high to the tune of 250A, 630A to 1250A and performance is effective. Their voltage ratings are 11KV, 15KV, 24KV, etc. Using these connectors both ends of the cable are terminated sometimes using identical connectors or at times terminated differently.

Installation

The screened separable connectors are easy, safe and quick to install due to their optimized design and selection of material. They fit into smallest of installation spaces and even when the clearances for operation is insufficient.

Characteristics

Connectors are a physical interface and they should be of a proper size, offer good resistance, give proper insulation, show ruggedness, should be resistant to water, pressure and other factors. Their reliability, durability and ease of installation determine the area of usage.

Applications

These connectors find usage in a wide range of industries like electric substation, underground distribution, shipping, mining, oil and gas, railways, etc.

Summarizing

Screened separable connectors make the terminations touch proof and the insulation covers provide utmost electrical safety. The installation, operational and performance qualification of these accessories must be well documented to ensure compliance with regulations. Onsite training and documentation of the same is also a requirement for safety compliance.

The Hotter Lipstick Shades For Spring-Summer

With the new season around the corner all the fashion and beauty trends are starting to revile on the streets, Pinterest and Instagram.

If you have a fashionable friend or follow bloggers they’re probably already wearing upside-down eyeliner, white shoes and small sunglasses. Let’s don’t forget the different shades of red lipstick and the glossy lips.

Red Lips

Okay! Red hot lips are not a new trend because they are classic. But the way we are going to complement our red lipstick this spring-summer is the trend. No cat eye or heavy eyeshadow, go minimalist and give all the focus to your lips.

Lip Gloss

I don’t know about you but glossy lips are taking me back to my high school years. The 90’s juicy lips are back! Rock this trend with an under need vampire lip color like the models on Phillip Plein catwalk or go natural with a sheer finish color. I recommend you to just apply a lip gloss during the day with a colorful eyeshadow or go with a naked makeup. At night layer your lipstick with lip gloss.

Lip Balm

Who doesn’t like a fresh face during summer? I love to go natural and show off my tan skin.

Etro and Balmain are some of the designers that proposed a natural makeup for this spring-summer, mascara and lip balm.

Lip blams are perfect for summer because they hydrate your lips. Lancôme and Dior lip blams turn into a pretty and natural pink tone perfect for a pool side makeup look.

Fun Fuchsia

Dolce and Gabbana chose to change the traditional and sexy red for a passionate and fun metallic fuchsia. Wear this color lip with a double mascara eye look or with a light pink eye shadow.

Nude

Nude tones are elegant, minimalist and chic. I love wearing nude lipstick all day long. At night add a statement eye like Fendi’s spring-summer 2018 catwalk.

Orange lips

Orange is probably one of the hardest shades to pull off this year but it’s my favorite trendy color for summer. Orange lips go well with tanned skin just add a little bit of gold highlighter, mascara and you will be ready to party.

No matter the season, fall, winter, spring or summer this 2018 makeup trends are all about statement eye makeup, minimalist lips and vice versa. Say bye, bye to the monochromatic red makeup trend and say hello to fun eyeshadow colors with more natural lips.