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The Day Has come: 2014 World Cup

Today is match day. All eyes are on Brazil today. As well as one of the most talented players today Neymar, who happens to one of Brazil’s star player. Brazil and Neymar have a chance to start the tournament with a bang because they will be one of the two teams playing the first match of the 2014 World Cup. I am pretty sure that you can watch the match at on the television at 1:00 pm PT or 3:00 pm EDT. Otherwise you can watch it for free and online here. Which is very convinient. I remember growing up we had to go to sleep early and wake up at 4:00 am PT. In order to watch The World Cup live on television. This was before internet was before live streaming and virtually, what we call the internet today.

Brazil plays Croatia today. I predict 3-1 to Brazil.

 

 

Below is a video by Beats by Dre featuring Neymar.

 

 

 

 

Peace

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So it is February 1st, now what do I do to get on the right foot regarding my New Year Resolutions?

Top 10 Strategies for Making Your New Year's Resolution Stick

Hello!

Below I have pasted an article by Thorin Klosowski, titled,”A Three-Step Approach to Ensuring Resolution Success.” The idea for this post is to give you tips on how to convert your New Year Resolutions from an idea to a habit. I would say the main idea is to Focus, Plan, Track, and Reflect.

The article is pasted below.

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Resolutions are a yearly tradition; unfortunately, so is failing to keep them. In fact, 81 percent of resolution’s fail within two years. In this post, we’re going to walk through the basics of how to make a resolution that sticks, then apply those ideas, one by one, to five of the most common types of resolutions.

The top New Year’s resolutions rarely change year to year. The most popular typically revolve around losing weight, managing stress, getting out of debt, quitting smoking, and learning a new skill. We’ll tackle each of those individually, but before we start, let’s take a look at the basic you can use to form, schedule, and track your personal resolution.

Image remixed from original by abdulsatarid/Shutterstock.

Part 1: Focus, Plan, and Track Your

Resolution to Make it Stick

Three main factors stop you from keeping your resolution: unclear goals, poor self-control, and failure to gauge your progress. Each of these can be managed independently by following a three-step process.

Step 1: Form Your Resolution in a Way You Can Keep It

Focus is important no matter what type of resolution you have in mind. Make your resolution as specific as you can. For instance, “getting healthy” is a great idea, but it also means a lot of different things. Instead, figure out what you need to do to get healthy. This might mean losing weight, working out, or changing your diet. If you’re struggling to focus your resolution, ask yourself a few questions:

  • Why do I want to do this?
  • What do I do everyday that needs to be altered?
  • Will this make me happier?
  • Can I start small?
  • What steps can I take to build this resolution throughout the year?

The goal is to come up with a concrete idea in one or two sentences. For health, look at what you can change. If taking a 30-minute walk three times a week will suffice, make your resolution “Take a 30-minute walk around the neighborhood ever Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.”

Step 2: Schedule Your Goals and Plan for the Year

Once you have a concrete resolution, you can plan the ways you’re going to achieve it. For the aforementioned walking example, it’s as simple as picking the three days and times you’re going to walk and entering those in a calendar.

The idea is that you integrate this schedule in with your regular calendar so you can make sure you have time to work on your resolution. You want your resolution to challenge you, but not be too time-consuming to accomplish. Creating a schedule helps you zero in on whether or not your resolution is feasible. You should consider this a self-imposed inflexible time and you have to stick with it no matter what. Consider your resolution’s schedule the same as your work schedule and integrate the two into one calendar.

If you’re wary about making your goals, schedule in half-year assessment so you can review and retool the idea if needed.

Step 3: Track Your Accomplishments and Failures Throughout the Year

A lack of self-control is one of the major causes for failing to keep your resolution, but self-tracking is a great tool for keeping them. When you’re tracking your resolution, you can also keep an eye on your failures, so even if you end up bailing out of your resolution, you will still have the data to point you in the right direction. It’s also a great means to judge your progress and according to Psychology Today you should reward yourself for doing well with short-term reinforcement. For instance, if you met your weight goal for the month, treat yourself to a nice dinner.

Thanks to technology, tracking everything you do with nearly any type of resolution is easy. You can use the calendar and schedule you already created to track your goals, or you can seek out specialized apps and webapps to help you along the way. You can track nearly any type of data with webapps like Daytum or Quantter for general goals, or you can also seek out more specialized tracking tools for your specific resolution.

By the end of this process, you should have a full-fledged resolution and plan you can convey to anyone. For example:

My goal is to learn programming by reading and doing the examples in one chapter a week of The Best Programming Guide Ever and I’m tracking my progress on my calendar. By the end, I hope to release a game made in HTML5 on my website.

Part 2: Apply Successful Resolution

Strategies to the Big Five

General advice is one thing, but how does it actually apply to your specific resolution? Below, I’ve applied these ideas to the five most common types of resolutions—diet and exercise, stress management, personal finance, quitting smoking, and education—to illustrate how to make your all-too-common resolution stick.

Eat Healthy, Get Fit, and Lose Weight

A Three-Step Approach to Ensuring Resolution SuccessExpand

Around 33 percent of Americans are obese, and another 34 percent are overweight. With statistics like that, it’s not too surprising the most popular resolutions revolve around losing weight and eating healthy.

Step 1 – Form your resolution: Decide what you can and need to do in order to meet your goal, and boil it down from there. A few good, concrete examples would include:

  • Work vegetables into my diet four times a week.
  • Go on a one-mile jog every Wednesday and Sunday.
  • Lose 20 pounds by December 1 by cutting trans fats and walking a half hour a day.

Step 2 – Schedule: A good place to start scheduling a diet is the USDA’s SuperTracker site where you can input your diet and get an idea where you’re going wrong. Now that you know what you need, it’s time to plan. You probably don’t want to make a grocery list for an entire year, so start with one for the month. Instead of filling in foods you want to eat, start with the foods that can help you meet your resolution. If it’s vegetables, write down some vegetables on each day of your calendar, and then structure the meals around the vegetables.

As for getting yourself in shape, you can be overweight or thin as a flagpole and make this resolution, so scheduling yourself out is going to depend on what your goals for it are. Regardless of your current circumference, a good place to start is by taking a look at our Lifehacker Workout to get an idea of what you can do for a simple, well-rounded workout. We also provide a schedule for your workout to make things easier and you can tweak that as you see fit as the year progresses. If our workout schedule isn’t your thing. If you’d prefer to make your own plan, our gymless workout will get you fit without spending a dime.

Losing weight may very well be one of the most difficult resolutions on the list and scheduling plays an important role in your success. First, you need to set a realistic weight loss goal. A realistic goal should be as small as losing one or two pounds a week. Medically speaking, it’s best to seek to lose five to 10 percent of your starting weight on your first attempt. To calculate that, multiply your current weight by 0.1 or 0.05. This will give you the weight you can realistically lose. Next, head over to a weight loss calculator and enter in your information. You can chose a target date for the weight loss as well as enter you current activities and you’ll get a number of different options for a date to reach your goal by. You’ll also get a target calorie count, which you can integrate in the aforementioned SuperTracker so you can modify your diet accordingly. Enter your weight loss goals, broken down by the month on you calendar, combine it with a new diet and maybe bits and pieces of a workout throughout the week and you now have a full schedule for keeping yourself in shape.

Step 3 – Track: Eating healthy, exercising, and losing weight are all easy to track. You can keep an eye on your fitness, weight, and diet on you computer or smartphone. For iOS, we like a few different tools. Notably, Lose It is a great calorie tracker, and RunKeeper is one of our favorite fitness trackers. For Android, we have some favorites as well, including the FastSecret Calorie Counter and CardioTrainer for tracking. For web and mobile purposes, Fitocracy and Fleetly are both excellent tools to tracking your workout. All of these tools combined allow you to track your workouts, your current weight, and what you’re eating on a weekly basis. They’ll show you when you’re losing weight and how much so you can see if certain plans or diets are working better than others.

Photo by Konstantin Zamkov.

Manage Stress

A Three-Step Approach to Ensuring Resolution SuccessExpand

Somewhere around 54 percent of Americans are concerned about their stress level and often equate decreasing stress to happiness. What’s more, stress has a direct relation to nearly everything else on this list, including smoking, alcohol consumption, money issues, and health.

Step 1 – Form your resolution: Identify your stress and come up with a plan. These might include ideas like:

  • Take one personal day every two months to watch movies all day long.
  • Do yoga every Monday and Wednesday for one hour starting at 6 pm.
  • Set aside two hours every Sunday for researching and making important decisions.

Step 2 – Schedule: Unfortunately, stress management is a hard beast to schedule around, but you can fill you calendar with days dedicated to curbing stress. As we outlined in a previous post, one way to deal with stress is to pick up a hobby. We’ll get to outlining ways for you to learn something new in a second, but hobbies can also include things like watching movies or playing video games. To this end, you can populate your calendar with scheduled “play days,” where you relax. If you have vacation time, dedicate a day every couple months to a personal day. This is also a good time to plan out a yearly vacation. Even if you can’t afford a vacation at the moment, pick a date, put it on your calendar and work out the details later. Another possible method is to schedule in your worry time each week on your calendar so you can dedicate time to deal with your stress or schedule out renewal times for daily debriefings.

Step 3 – Track: No magical recipe for stress management exists, but you can track your progress of dealing with stress throughout the year. You can use the same calendar you already made as a tracking tool. First off, check off the days you scheduled off to make sure you’re taking those mini-vacation days. Second, make a short note on the calendar when you experience stressful days and why they happen. You might start noticing a trend. For instance, maybe on Monday’s you always work late and eat lunch at your desk. If this is happening every week, you can reclaim this time for yourself or plan around it to make it more manageable.

Photo by Robert Banh.

Manage Debt and Save Money

A Three-Step Approach to Ensuring Resolution SuccessExpand

The average American’s credit card debt is around $10,000 and the average overall debt is around $117,000. The idea that people might want to start cutting their debt down makes a lot of sense.

Step 1 – Form your resolution: Getting out of debt and saving money happen to be the two easiest resolutions to lay out in a concrete way. For instance:

  • Pay 20 percent more than my minimum payment on my credit card debt every month by cutting out Starbucks.
  • Take my lunch to work on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and transfer the $120 saved each month to a savings account.
  • Pay my credit card bill in full by August by adjusting my payments to $150 a month by working an extra day every other week.

Step 2 – Schedule: Managing debt and saving money are easy to schedule in advance. With your goals in hand, look at what you need to do each month and write it out. If you’re paying off a debt, figure out how much you want to pay and adjust the rest of your budget accordingly. If you’re saving money, do the same thing and set up an automatic withdrawal from you checking account. If you need a little help, you can check out our guide to teaching friends to budget to pull a few tips for yourself. In order to manage your debt or save money, you need to recalibrate your budget and then work you goals and payments into your calendar.

Step 3 – Track: We’ve seen a lot of options for budgeting, but on iOS, we like Jumsoft Money. On Android and desktops, we like Mint. If you decide to go with Mint, we’ve made a simple guide to creating and sticking to your budget that should make your resolutions a little easier to keep. Regardless of which ones you choose, the purpose is to track your spending and ensure you’re meeting your target savings and debt reduction goals.

Quit Smoking and Drink Less Alcohol

A Three-Step Approach to Ensuring Resolution SuccessExpand

Over 50 percent of Americans are considered regular drinkers and an estimated 20 percent of Americans smoke, so we’ll do our best to outline good practices for keeping your resolution for both.

Step 1 – Form your resolution: Set your quit date for smoking on a specific day. For drinking, consider curbing your intake by regulating days. Your resolution might be as simple as:

  • Quit smoking February 3.
  • Relegate drinking to Friday and Saturday evening, after 8 pm.

Step 2 – Schedule: Theories exist that long term treatment might be the best way to quit smoking. In this case, it’s an eight week program followed by an additional 48 weeks of counseling when needed. A good place to find this support is SmokeFree, which will provide you with a few tricks to quitting smoking as well as call center backup and discussion forums. One of these is “smoke free Monday’s,” where you dedicate one day a week to not smoking. Put that on your calendar and then start adding more days as the year goes on, with a big star next to your final quit day. To curb your alcohol consumption, consider picking one or two days a week where you can drink, then cut it every other day. Schedule these out on your calendar in a way you’re comfortable with.

Step 3 – Track: Two popular ways to quit smoking are by pacing and motivating. For pacing, iQuit for iOS is a free tool that uses a scheduled reduction method to cut back on your smoking. It shows you exactly how much you smoke and tells you when you can again. For Android, Smoker Reducer does the same thing. If you’re looking to cater your own plan and get some motivation, LiveStrong’s MyQuit Coach for iOS is a great place to start. You can set reduction methods, track your progress and get counseling when needed. For Android, you can track all the same numbers with QuitNow!. Both of these will show off the health benefits and also work in the money you’ve saved over time.

For alcohol, you can use the NHS Drinks Tracker for iOS or AlcoDroid for Android to track your drinking over the weeks and see an estimated blood alcohol content for each day. It might also be a good idea to utilize one of the budgeting apps listed above so you can get an overview of how much money you’re saving by not hitting up the bar or liquor store every day.

Learn a New Skill

A Three-Step Approach to Ensuring Resolution SuccessExpand

Learning a new skill, trade, or hobby is enjoyable on a lot of levels. Not only can it help increase your marketability as a worker, it also means you can tackle DIY projects on your own throughout the year, which will inevitably save you money.

Step 1 – Form your resolution: You need to start by deciding what skill you want to learn, but a good way to form your plan is to include your final goal. For instance:

  • Learn Kung Fu by taking a class once a week so by December I can audition as an extra in a Jackie Chan movie.

Step 2 – Schedule: Learning something new is an easy idea in theory, but it’s often difficult to find a good starting point. If you’re learning a new skill, finding a good book is a great place to start and makes it easy to plan your progress. You can treat this like a syllabus in a college class. When you’re scheduling out your year, tackle one chapter of the book every one or two weeks. If you’re learning a skill like programming or Photoshop, you can dedicate one day a week to reading and another to practicing. You can also add in your own goals throughout the year. For instance, if you’re learning Photoshop, one early goal might be, “crop and remove redeye from all the family photos by June 2,” while a later goal might be, “use the picture of Billy on Santa’s lap to create a photo of him on a dragon with a sword in his hand.” You can also use our Lifehacker Night School guides if you’re interested in topics like building computers, making a website, or learning to code.

Step 3 – Track: Tracking learning a new skill or hobby is easy enough that it doesn’t require any additional apps. Instead, you can refer back to your schedule when you need to and make sure you’re following it. If you get behind, take on an additional chapter one week, or shift everything back. If you’re learning a construction or artistic skill, consider sharing your final project with the rest of the world. Once you’ve finished your first DIY project, share it on a site like Instructables or WonderHowTo so we can all see how you did it. If you’ve dedicated the year to learning a kind of art, Deviant Art is great for getting feedback on art, and Soundcloud is a great place to showcase your songs for free. If you plan on sharing some of your projects, you’ll be documenting and tracking the process by default. It makes it easy to see exactly how much you’ve progressed and learned over the year.


The most important thing to remember with New Year’s resolutions, or any life altering decisions you make, is that they’re not easy and you will occasionally fail. Hopefully, if you’ve planned it out well and you picked a realistic goal, your failure rate will be less. Even if you don’t make your target each month, stick with your plans, outlines, and track everything you’re accomplishing. You’ll likely feel as good as if you had met those goals.

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Peace!

Tips to help you achieve your New Year Resolutions

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Yes, the Holidays, means  family, the flu season and New years resolution. This post will focus on New Year’s Resolution and how you can make 2014 the year that you etch them in stone forever. fulfill

You will notice that I highlighted year and this is because I feel that a lot of people fail to see their commitments as a year long obstacles. Because the fact is change is not easy. I believe that few people can consciously change their habits, ideals, outlook, et cetre. This was made evident to me last year. Of course I knew change was hard, even ‘good’ change but it definitely was set in stone for me last year. In fact last year was the first time I ran across the term passive-aggressive. And boy is it a cruel thing. You never know what people are really thinking. The worst part is that I believe that it is contagious. Anyways back to the subject at hand.

I copied and pasted an article by Jessica Stillman, called,”Why January 1st is the Worst Day to Make Resolutions.”

Basically what Ms, Stillman is suggesting is to breakdown your commitments and designate a commitment to each month of the year. Which is a good idea overall because it forces you to organize but it is also helpful because the commitments do not seem so overwhelming. This would definitely benefit you if you have exactly 12 commitments or should  I say 11 commitments. So what you do is adopt one of your resolutions on the 1st of February and make sure that by the end of February it is not a resolution but a habit, imbedded in your daily routine. And then on March 1st you adopt another resolution and so on. This also works if you have less resolutions for example three. You can dedicate four months of the year to one resolution. If this is the case I believe you will have a better chance of committing. I do recommend that you keep record of your progress as well.

You will find the article below:

Why January 1st Is the Worst Day to Make

Resolutions

Looking for a simple trick to make your New Year’s commitment more sticky? Here’s an easy adjustment endorsed by psychologists.

If you’re looking for excuses not to bother with a New Year’s Resolution this year, the internet has you covered. A quick google search will give you post after post after post explaining why most resolutions are doomed from the start due to various quirks of human nature. Depending on which study you reference, nearly nine-out-of-ten resolutions end up quickly falling by the wayside, according to this pessimistic pile up of articles.

But what if this year you’re determined to beat those odds and make permanent positive changes to your life or business? Tips abound, but some like going into psychoanalysis, make the medicine seem worse than the condition, while others, like choosing happy resolutions, defeat the purpose if your true desire is to break a bad habit.

Are there no simple, actionable tricks you can use to make your commitment more sticky? Yup, one is easy as pie and recommended by the experts. What is it? Wisebread recently explained:

Instead of starting resolutions on January 1st — after a hectic month when most people have been knocked off of their usual routines because of the holidays — start on February 1st, and shoot for a date every month to check progress, [clinical psychologist Ramani] Durvasula says.

“I think January 1st is the worst possible day to make New Year’s resolutions because everybody is doing it and out of their routine,” she adds.

Trying to add something to your daily routine, such as exercising, can be difficult on January 1st because for the previous two weeks or so, most people are out of their normal routine anyway, and adding something else to it can lead to quick failure, Durvasula notes.

OK, we admit this technique may defeat the purpose if you’re trying to beat procrastination in 2014, but for everyone else moving the start date of your new habit forward a month could be worth a try. Most of us let ourselves go a bit in December, so trying to get strict with ourselves immediately afterwards can cause a backlash, other psychologists agree.

“Because we place so few demands on ourselves to be disciplined during December, there is no immediate threat of deprivation,” explains Pauline W. Wallin, Ph.D. “When New Year’s Day arrives, we tend to expect that self-discipline will magically take over, and it does, sometimes for several days; but then, more often than not, we are soon overcome by a feeling of being deprived. We begin to resent the rules we imposed upon ourselves, and start to rebel in small ways. Pretty soon, the rationalization takes over completely.”

“January 1 is not necessarily the best time to commit to lifestyle changes,” she concludes.

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Hope that this was helpful.

Peace.

Reference:

Stillman, Jessica. (2013, Dec 30).Why January 1st is the Worst Day to Make Resolutions . http://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/do-not-start-your-new-years-resolution-on-january-1st.html

During the flu season you have to be on the defense

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It’s that time again. When everyone around seems to be getting sick. Which means that it is flu season. Which can be a good thing because you can choose to take up habits during the flu season that can benefit you for the rest of the year. Such as washing your hands regularly or abstinence from smoking. Below are some simple tips or suggestions that I have found helpful.

I believe that it is important to recognize, difference between the common cold and the flu. For example the type of viruses that get you sick are different for the flu versus the common cold. The flu is caused by either Influenza A or B,  in comparison to the common cold which can be caused by over 200 different varieties of the rhinovirus. They also differ in the symptoms, the WebMD website, found here does a good job of going more into detail. Nonetheless, the symptoms can be be found below.

Common Cold:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Children can get a fever
  • Lasts about one week

Flu:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Congestion
  • Muscle aches
  • Fever in children and adults
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • How long symptoms lasts vary

It is also important to add that people who have cold like symptoms that do not go away within a week,  should check with their doctor to see if the have an allergy or sinusitis. On that note I would like to make it clear that I am not a registered physician or nurse and that the information given here should be used under your own judgment.

Before we get into what you can do as a preventative measure and or if  you do get sick. I would like to point out a couple of bad habits that should not be done while one is sick:

  • You should not smoke, if you are a smoker.
  • You should not exercise, this is because exercise puts stress(usually a good thing) on the body and your body needs all the energy it can get when you are sick.
  • You should not consume a lot of alcohol(if any at all).
  • According to certified nutritional consultant, Phyllis Balch, (2012), “do not give aspirin to a child who shows symptoms of a viral  infection.” This because giving aspirin can result in the child developing Reye’s syndrome, which could be serious.
  • Phyllis Balch, (2012), also recommends not to take antibiotics since they are useless against viruses. This is because antibiotics fight bacteria and not viruses. So be careful if you doctor prescribes antibiotics.

With that said, I would like to focus on what one can do if they get the common cold or the flu.  These habits and remedies are ones that focus on the bodies own ability to fight the virus in the body. So they can be used while you are sick as well as prevent you from getting sick.

One of the most important things that you can do is wash your hands regularly and try to avoid touching your mouth, eyes, and nose. This does not mean using hand sanitizers, which is becoming very common. There is controversy around the use of hand sanitizers, for various reasons, such as how it can lead to skin problems,  Lisa A. Garner, MD, stated:

“Everyone’s afraid of germs, but our skin can’t tolerate [hand sanitizer] as much as some people are using it,”

What Dr. Garner is saying is that the over use of hand sanitizers is causing an increase in skin problems. Dr. garner is a dermatologist(doctor who specializes in skin and its diseases), who has seen a rapid increase in skin problems due to use of hand sanitizers among other things. The complete article can be found here.

This is not to say that you should not use hand sanitizers when convenient or appropriate. I believe that hand sanitizers do have a place in our lives. For example in the work place, if you are someone who works in a hospital, school, or any job that requires you to use tools that other people use, then hand sanitizers come in handy. This is because you can wipe down the equipment, table, whatever it may be with the hand sanitizer. I would also recommend carrying a small bottle of lotion in your bag or purse.

Now to the good stuff! We cannot talk about natural remedies without talking about teas. Teas are very beneficial in reducing the length of a cold or preventing you from getting the flu.  Phyllis Balch (2012), states,” that drinking 2-5 cups of green tea a day during the flu season can prevent you from getting the flu.” I personally recommend two things, the first: get your hands on white tea, if you can find it. This is because it has more antioxidants then green tea. The second: no disrespect to Dr. Balch but drink as much tea as you can (2-5 cups? you can do better). Another important tea to drink is enchinacea(highly recommended). To increase the effects of the teas, I would recommend adding cayenne pepper to the tea, as well as slices of fresh ginger(powder if it is all that you have), as well as boiling the water with lemon peels in the water(my Aunt’s recommendation). Regarding the Green and white tea, it is important to buy Fairtrade tea, and anything you can for that matter. You can purchase Fairtrade tea in you local organic store or online here and here.

One remedy that I highly recommend is the consumption of raw garlic cloves. This is one that some people shy from because of the stigma around the way garlic can make you smell, but in comparison to the health benefits I believe it is worth it. Dr Andrew Weil, (2005), recommends to finely chop the garlic cloves and eat them raw. This is because when they are cooked the beneficial qualities of the garlic are reduced. Garlic has very strong anti-bacterial and ant-viral properties. One thing that has to be said, is if you do decide to consume garlic in the raw or cooked form, I recommend that you let the garlic sit for at least fifteen minutes, before eating or cooking it. This is has to do with what happens to the garlic when it is exposed to the air. If you want more information on this click here.

For relief from congestion, allergic symptoms, and the cold,  it might be beneficial to use a neti pot. A neti pot is a device that allows you to rinse your nasal passage ways with luke warm water and a non-iodized salt. You can purchase a neti pot or make one yourself. I have provided links to two videos on Youtube here and here(make sure the water is not hot!!! When you use it).

I hope that you find this information useful. Please let me know if you have questions, concerns, and or ideas.

Peace.

References:

Balch, Phyllis A. Prescription for Herbal Healing. 2nd ed. revised. Stacy Bell. New York. Avery. 2012. print.

Kam Katherine. “Surprising Household Irritants.” WebMD. WebMD, LLC, 13 Sept. 2011.

Weil, Andrew. Natural Health, Natural Medicine: The Complete Guide to Wellness and Self-Care for Optimal Health. 1995. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2005.print.

Happy New Year! 2014 is already looking up for some

Happy New Year. Hope that the holidays were kind to you.

I briefly went on the National Geographic website not really looking for anything when I came across an article about Intel’s “promise” to ban “conflict minerals.” This is a HUGE first step to improving the lives of thousands of people, maybe millions. Because this can set the example for other companies that profit from  violence and instability. This announcement came from Intel’s CEO, Brian Krzanich, who has only been on the job for six months. Is well informed about the supply chain from the mining field to the production factories, since he was in charge of all of Intel’s supply chain.

This announcement made by Mr. Krzanich represents a step in the right direction following SEC’s adoption of a rule mandated by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which now requires U.S. companies to disclose the use of conflict minerals sourced from the Democratic Republic of Congo and surrounding countries.

I was glad to see that Mr. Krzanich’s initial reaction was to completely stop using minerals from the DRC and other surrounding areas. Which would have resulted in Intel only using minerals from conflict-free areas. But this idea was immediately disregarded by the supply chain team, do to the notion that this decision would eliminate a key source of income for local residents. So in 2012 Intel decided to only use minerals taken conflict-free areas by 2013.

The minerals that are required for the microprocessors include tantalum, tungsten, gold, and tin. Tantalum being the most important in this situation. Intel is the worlds number one commercial consumer of tantalum, so it is no surprise that it has the most power to change the market.

It took two years for Intel to follow the supply chain, from an actual electronic product to the smelters. And it can now proudly say that all the minerals in their microprocessors are conflict-free.

When writing this post I ran across Enough Project, which is an organization dedicated in fighting genocide and crimes against humanity. The have a list that was finalized in 2012 that lists all the major companies that provide us with electronics and how they rank against each other, regarding the use of conflict minerals. Intel takes the top spot on their list; you can find the list here.

Intel claims that all the conflict-free areas have been looked over by a third party. “You’re really going like a plumber into the depths of these smelters,” explains Sasha Lezhnev, policy director at the Enough Project, which works with Intel on its conflict-free sourcing. “These are highly secretive industries. They’re just not used to public scrutiny. This is just an organizational and cultural change that they in some senses have to react to.”

And just in case you were worried about the price electric gadgets increasing due to this great new step; that will not happen. Mr. Krzanich confirmed that the company decision will not affect prices of gadgets, the only results are pricey airfare and more manpower. So why did this take so long?

Below is a video put together by Intel about the Democratic Republic of Congo, the people there, minerals and much more relating to the matter.  It is a good starting point.

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Below you will find a copy of the article from the National Geographic.

Photo of miners eating lunch from a communal bowl in the mining town of Pluto in Ituri Province, Congo.

Miners eating lunch from a communal bowl in the mining town of Pluto in Ituri Province.

Photograph by Marcus Bleasdale, National Geographic

Tom O’Neill

National Geographic

Published January 9, 2014

Intel’s announcement that every microprocessor that it ships will be made without conflict minerals from Africa hit both a personal and professional nerve for photographer Marcus Bleasdale.

Bleasdale has spent the past decade photographing in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to bring the issue to the world’s eyes: workers, including children, toiling in brutal conditions in mines overseen by militias in eastern Congo. In October National Geographic magazine published “The Price of Precious,” which featured Bleasdale’s powerful photos dramatizing the suffering of people caught in the middle of the violent, illegal grab for minerals like tin, tungsten, and gold. They’re referred to as “conflict minerals” because of the ongoing strife between army commanders and militia chiefs over control of the mines.

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said the company’s action is the culmination of years of effort to track down the smelters, more than 60 in all, that provide the company with minerals such as tantalum, tungsten, gold, and tin and then auditing them for where the minerals came from. The result is that, now, all the smelters that Intel contracts with use minerals from mines not involved in the DRC conflict.

National Geographic spoke with Bleasdale in Washington, D.C.

What was your reaction to the Intel announcement?

It was: “Wow!” I have been working closely with the Enough Project to find ways to engage companies on the issue of using conflict minerals, but I didn’t expect such a significant action. Intel is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of microprocessors. What they did is huge. It gives the effort momentum. Almost one-fourth of the smelters used by electronic companies have been audited as conflict-free. Plus, more and bigger mines in the DRC are coming on tap as certified conflict-free.

There are so many players in this; it is so complex. Conflict minerals are not like diamonds that are relatively easy to source. We need a tracking system.

It must be gratifying to know that your photography has played a role in creating public pressure for such an action.

Let me say that an individual photograph can have a powerful impact. But the real power is what you do with it and whom you partner with. By working with Human Rights Watch, beginning in 2004, my work hit a nerve and was instrumental, for instance, in making a Swiss company stop buying Congolese gold.

What has the response been to your photos in our October issue?

The response has been massive. I have been surprised by how many people were not aware of where the minerals in their cell phones and computers and other electronics came from. I know the article will also engage industries, and there are hundreds of them that use these minerals.

I have also been amazed by the reaction to “The Moment,” a page in the back of the magazine with a photograph of a child’s funeral at the St. Kizito orphanage in the Congo. As a result of that picture, tens of thousands of dollars in donations to the orphanage have come in, from donors ranging from a media company in L.A. to a law firm in Oslo where I recently spoke. Every cent donated has been spent by the orphanage for the children.

Why do photographs have this potency?

With every conflict it is very difficult to show the enormity of the suffering. You have all these statistics, 4.5 million people killed, 30,000 women raped. To get through to people you have to show individuals touched by the conflict. That’s how you engage people, how you shock them to maybe change their behavior. I want to repeat, though: It’s difficult for photographs to do this work on their own. You need an advocacy group to partner with who can knock on the doors of Congress and corporations. This advocacy work is as satisfying to me as taking a photograph. (Related: “Marcus Bleasedale on Shock and Change.”)

It sounds like a personal brand of photojournalism.

Objectivity is important to me. But when you face such horrific suffering and you know that it’s fueled in great part by [the] conflict minerals industry, you want it to stop; you are human and say it has to stop.

——————-

For those who hope for a better world. This should be a sort feel like a step in the right direction.

Again Happy New Year

Peace

Happy Birthday Bobby Seale

Hello!

Today is Bobby Seale’s 73rd birthday. Bobby Seale is one of the co-founders of the Black Panthers Party, (originally the Black Panther for Self Defense). Since the 1960’s Bobby Seale has shown commitment in serving the people of this planet. This is why I wanted to honor his birthday.

The video below features Mr. Seale talking about how he helped establish the Black Panther Party. The interview/speech was facilitated by Professor Harris via three focus topics. But you will notice that the event evolved to be spontaneous, free flowing and fun. Mr. Seale spent about an hour telling us about his early childhood, how he and Huey P. Newton started the Black Panther Party of Self Defense, and why today’s youth should get involved in social issues. The event was filmed at the University of San Francisco (I was there!) on February 24, 2011. You can read more about Bobby Seale here and more about the Black Panther Party here. You can also join the campaign against the Koch Brothers here.

You will notice towards the end of the event, Mr. Seale points out the Koch Brothers. And this was before (late 2011-early 2012) people in this country knew who the Koch Brothers were and how much influence they have in America. I was impressed how current and informed he was.

It is good to be back!

Peace

Jay-Z must have viewed one of my posts, have you?

In my previous post, “Dr. Cornel West’s response to  George Zimmerman’s acquittal and relative topics,” you will find a video, featuring Dr. West talking with Amy Goodman from Democracy Now. There are two things that Dr. West says in the video that have importance in this post. Just in case you missed it I posted the video below, for your convenience. The first thing that he said was that Stevie Wonder publicly stated that he will never perform in Florida as long as, ‘Stand Your Ground,’ law is active. The second thing that is relevant in this post is that Dr. West also said that Jay-Z has something to learn from Mos Def. Referring to the Yasiin Bey’s decision to under go force feeding as a sign of solidarity with the Guantanamo Bay prisoners; among other things. I wrote this post because I ran into an article posted by on slumz.bosxden.com???? Well, the article says that Jay-Z, Beyonce, Rihanna, The Rolling Stones, just to name a few. Have also decided to to follow Stevie Wonder’s foot steps and Boycott Florida. So I am being sarcastic when I say that Jay-Z read my blog and heard what Dr. West said. Causing him to boycott; I have copied and pasted the article below Dr. West’s video.

  Dr. West: Force-feeding, torture in its core—didn’t our dear brother Yasiin Bey point that out, the former Mos Def? God bless that brother. Jay Z got something to learn from Mos Def. Both of them lyrical geniuses, but Jay Z got a whole lot to learn from Mos Def.

to see how it felt, and broke down and started screaming “Stop! Stop!” in the middle of it, and it was a videotape that went viral.

The article below.

Rihanna, Jay Z, Kanye West Join Stevie Wonder’s Florida Boycott Following George Zimmerman Verdict

> Rihanna, Jay Z, Kanye West Join Stevie Wonder's Florida Boycott Following George Zimmerman Verdict - Photo posted in The Hip-Hop Spot | Sign in and leave a comment below!

Florida concert ticket sales may be plummeting soon.

Performers such as Rihanna, Jay-Z Jay Z, Kanye West, Justin Timberlake and Madonna have reportedly decided to follow Stevie Wonder’s footsteps in boycotting Florida in protest of the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law. April Ryan of American Urban Radio Network first broke the news, crediting “a source close to Wonder” for leaking a list of A-listers who’ve vowed to not perform at the Sunshine State in the wake of George Zimmerman’s acquittal for the 2012 k#lling of unarmed teen Trayvon Martin.

Wonder earlier announced his intention to boycott any state with “Stand Your Ground” laws after a jury found Zimmerman — who police did not arrest weeks after the k#lling due to the law — not guilty of second-degree murk. The “Stand Your Ground” defense also appeared in instructions to jurors during the trial.

“I decided today that until the Stand Your Ground law is abolished in Florida, I will never perform there again,” Wonder said during a concert in Canada earlier this month. “As a matter of fact, wherever I find that law exists, I will not perform in that state or in that part of the world.”

According to Ryan, other notable celebs on the boycott list include Usher, Alicia Keys, The Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart and will.i.am.

Jay Z and his wife, Beyonce, also showed their support for Martin, appearing at a recent rally in New York City to support the slain teenager’s family.

I like the article above, because it makes me think, ‘how far can this go?’ Will musicians also boycott states that have laws like, ‘Stop And Frisk,’ or states that have anti-immigration type laws? How many musicians will join?

In memory of Trayvon Martin.

While I was writing this post I found an interesting video on Youtube, posted by FPTV. The video is about FPTV’s coverage of people in River Oaks, protesting Trayvon Martin’s death, the ‘Stand Your Ground Law,’ etc. Watch this video it will make you HAPPY, sad, ffffffffrrrrrrrruuuuusssssstttrrrraaaaateed, ShOcKeD, DISAPOinted, and many other feeling. Some things that are said in this video are interesting, to say the least.

Reporter: Wouldn’t it be good, if we let all the black people and all the white people finish each other of?

Reporter: What is your motivation to come out today?

Protester A: Bull****

Reporter: What is your motivation to come out today?

Protester B: I am very upset about the, ‘Stand Your Ground Law!’

Protester C: Some of them, were either leaving! Or arming themselves.

Reporter: Can we ask you some questions?

River Oaks Resident: No!

Reporter: Do you think that Obama is a closet homosexual?

Protester D: I understand from his time in Chicago! That he is well known in the bath-house community!

Protester C: aaawww, it bit me!

Reporter: Can we come together in PEACE, LOVE and HARMONY?

With that said, I am so pumped about playing futball this morning. Then gardening after; have a wonderful day or night. Oh, I had some people from Sri Lanka visit this blog, a couple of days ago. I hope that you found something to take away from this blog. I am really have been working on improving what I do on this blog. As fellow bloggers know, running an active blog is a lot of work. Especially if you are writing about specialized fields, social issues, recent news, literature, politics, etc. In fact, I did not even expect to write this post, I am currently working on at least three other posts. I really do have a lot planned for this blog. Thank you to everyone that has shown support, commented (Charlster!) (Nancy!), liked (Mr. Nguyen), visited, helped (Amico!) etc. Thank so so Much.

Peace!

What do you think about lab-grown meat?

I recently stumbled upon a video about Google’s Sergey Brin and his support for the first lab-grown hamburger patty. I have mixed feelings about this because on one hand, I know what the environmental and social consequences are as a result of current and previous demands for meat consumption.  The current production of meat requires 70% of the earths air-able land, 70% of the antibiotics produced and not to forget that meat consumption is one of the leading producers of methane gas. The current global meat consumption is much higher than current meat supply. So at face value I see that lab-grown meat production could be a positive thing.

On the other hand, I have questions that cannot be answered today. For example, we have no idea what the long-term consequences are for consuming lab-grown meat; if there are any at all? Who will have rights, if there are rights, to produce meat? How will the meat reach the poorest? Will meat production be regulated, if so how do you regulate it? Will communities be responsible for producing meat based on their community needs? These are the types of questions I have.

Below is a video featuring Sergey Brin and others, in support of the lab-grown hamburger meat. This video(1) was posted on August 5, 2013.

The next video is on the same topic of course but the video makes me feel like, ‘the hamburger is now made.’ Even though the videos(2) were posted  on the same day, August 5, 2013.

The video below is Al Jazeera’s coverage on this topic. I added this video mostly because of environmentalist,  Kirtana Chandrasekaran’s comment towards the end of the video. Video was posted on August 5, 2013.

Last but not least we have a video which features the taste test of this new lab-grown hamburger. The female critic is Australian nutritionist, Hanni Rutzler and the other critic is a professional food critic named Josh Schonwald. The other man sitting there you might recognize from the other video, is Mark Post and he is a member of the team responsible for the production of this lab-grown hamburger. Video was posted on August 6, 2013.

Peace!

Dr. Cornel West’s reponse to George Zimmerman’s aqquital and relative topics

Hello!

This post will focus on the conversation between Dr. Cornel West and Amy Goodman. I always welcome the opportunity to listen to Dr. West, there are many scholars who are in the public’s eye but few match up to the  consistency and determination that Dr. West possess. I mean how many scholars do you know, publicly criticize society and how we can improve the state in the world. Dr. West talks about poverty; in the US and abroad, gay marriage, the environment, drones, wars, indigenous rights, etc. Such work and determination is tiring, that is one of the reasons why very few, take up the challenge.

The video is from Democracy Now it was posted on Monday July 22, 2013. Dr. West responds to Amy Goodman’s questions about Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman, Drones, President Obama, Anwar al-Awlaki, Ray Kelly Civil Rights, etc.

Give it your all Brazil

brazil-confed-cup-protests.jpeg3-1280x960

In the previous post, ‘Jumping over the Bandwagon, I had mentioned that it is really crucial that the people of Brazil rose up now because the world is watching the country in anticipation of the World Cup.  Besides hosting the World Cup there are several reasons why we should be watching Brazil: it is the largest economy in Latin America, it takes the seventh position when it’s economy is compared to the rest of the world and it has arguably the best international soccer team in the world. If you look at the growth of Brazil in the recent years you will see that it has been one of the fastest growing economies in the world, according to Trading Economics, this is due to it’s export potential. The country benefits from its diversity in agriculture as well as manufacturing production. Not to forget the country has an enormous supply of natural resources, all these factors helps the country lure in foreign investors. But all this growth is worth nothing if the country is plagued by a weak infrastructure, a failing education system, corruption, greed, and inequality.

940783-130622-brazil-protestsThe Brazilian people know that the country is growing and changing; they currently have in office the first female president, Dilma Rousseff leading the country.  So it is only natural that the people want their livelihood to grow with the country; this is one of the reasons why they are protesting.

The World Cup is going to attract the attention of the public and potential investors, which means growth for Brazil. But who is going to benefit from the growth? According to the article, ‘Grumbling in the Terraces,’ found at The Economist, one of the biggest demands made by the Brazilian people, is that schools, hospitals, and other public service facilities, reach the same building standards that stadiums currently in Brazil are reaching.

Two months back the country hosted the Confederations Cup, during that time, FIFA, took over management of the stadiums. Bringing in money, volunteers and order, many would argue that this was a good thing. I would agree as well but the problem is that it does not last, when the show is over no one cares.  If you want to see how fast things change, here is a quotation from the same article mentioned above, found at The Economist:

The 52,825 people who watched Flamengo play Coritiba on July 6th were treated rather differently to the elites who paid top prices to attend the inaugural Confederations Cup match three weeks earlier. Gone were the neat concession stands, the hundreds of volunteers and the top-class facilities for media. Instead, fans and press had the kind of experience that is depressingly familiar at Brazil’s football grounds.

The internet didn’t work, the radio reporters were forced to narrate the game from the stands, and fans were tossed drinks from a big fridge rather than served from behind counters. Even getting to the stadium was difficult: whereas busy avenues were closed to traffic during the Confederations Cup to improve access to the venue, fans now have to run a gauntlet of cars in order to reach the turnstiles. The promised tramlines have yet to materialise.

Complaints are not aimed at FIFA, which during the Confederations Cup provided a level of service to match the ticket prices. Rather, it is aimed at the Brazilian stadium managers who seem to be incapable of providing the same treatment.

The quotation above shines light on one of the problems that surrounds competitions like the World Cup or the Olympics. These games/competitions bring money and build stadiums but they also have a dark side that negatively affects the poor people in the hosting country.

Housing-rights-workshop-300x275A Geneva-based advocate group, Center on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE), publicized in 2007 that it had an on-going three year study that covered seven past and at that time future events hosted by the Olympics. These events took place Beijing, Atlanta, Seoul, Sydney, Athens, London, and Barcelona; the topics covered included homelessness, crime, and cost of housing.

The study included very credible information which would be crucial in bringing justice to events like these:

For the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, 720,000 people were forcibly evicted from their homes and homeless people were rounded up and detained in facilities outside the city, the report said. Development and urbanization led to unaffordable housing.

Leading up to the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, more than 400 families were displaced to make room for the Olympic Village, 20 families were evicted from the site of the Olympic stadium and 200 other families were displaced for the construction of ring roads. Housing prices and rents increased 139 and 149 percent respectively during the six-year period before the games and the lack of affordable housing forced low-income earners out of the city.

For the 1996 Atlanta Games, some 30,000 poor residents were displaced due to gentrification. About 2,000 public housing units were demolished.

Legislation was introduced to criminalize homelessness, the report said.Legislative measures also were introduced ahead of the 2004 Athens Olympics to simplify the expropriation of private property. Hundreds of Roma were evicted from their settlements.

 Because the main sporting complex for the 2000 Sydney Games was built on surplus government wasteland, no one was directly evicted or displaced for those games. But the city’s gentrification caused housing prices to more than double between 1996 and 2003. Rents soared 40 percent, forcing many to move to the city’s fringe.

The quotation is from COHRE’s study. You can see that the in justice is something that is not new. Erica Brazil protest 1 RTBulman (2007) wrote in an article for USA Today, that COHRE’s same study had details about 1.5 million people being displaced in Beijing ahead of the 2008 Olympics. The media following this were few because we are talking about China (the countries censorship is ridiculous) this is why the upraising in Brazil is necessary; because the world is watching.

The world was watching South Africa but corruption being the blame for many problems in Africa discourages many from expecting any change in Africa. You know that excuse that some people use when the words change and Africa are put in the same sentence. But I will be the first to admit that corruption does run deep in the South African government but the same goes for the Olympics and World Cup organization.

In an article by Gary Anderson called, “South Africa to kick homeless off  streets before the World Cup (2010),” written for Global Research. Mr Anderson wrote this:

More than 800 tramps, beggars and street children have already been removed from Johannesburg and sent to remote settlements hundreds of miles away.

And in Cape Town, where England face Algeria on June 18, up to 300 have been moved to Blikkiesdorp camp where 1,450 families are crammed in a settlement of tin huts designed for just 650 people.

Johannesburg councillor Sipho Masigo was unrepentant. “Homelessness and begging are big problems in the city,” he said. “You have to clean your house before you have guests. There is nothing wrong with that.

You can see that the fault is on both sides, both are necessary for the system to continue. Some of these stadiums in South Africa, which cost at least 30 million US dollars, were only used four times throughout the whole competition. If Sipho Masigo was homeless he would have a problem with being relocated instead of being taken care of.

Mbombela-Stadium-006

Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit, is kept up by 18 orange iron, ‘giraffes.’

The article, “Human cost of the World Cup (2010),” posted by Al Jazeera, provided more proof of the collaboration of local officials and the representatives of the Olympics and the World Cup. The article showed corruption in England, “In Britain, 400 people were forced out of the Clays Lane estate, which was demolished to make way for the 2012 Olympic Park in East London.” So far it seems like it does not matter where they go these people continue to prey on the vulnerable.

There was some positive news in the article posted by Al Jazeera (2010), the news is that Chicago ahead of the 2016 Olympic bid pledged to be the first city to disallow evictions. The city lost the bid of course but what a moment.

Give it all you got Brazil;Peace!

Reference:

Anderson, Gary. (2010, March 28). South Africa to kick Homeless off streets before World Cup. Global Research. http://www.globalresearch.ca/south-africa-to-kick-homeless-off-streets-before-world-cup/18401

Bulman, Erica. (2007, June 5). Rights group: 1.5 million people displaced by preparations for 2008 Beijing Olympics. USA Today. http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/olympics/2007-06-05-3431055449_x.htm

Smith, David. (2010, June 2). Nelspruit’s brutal inequalities test World Cup’s legacy. The Guardian. http://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2010/jun/03/nelspruit-world-cup

http://www.aljazeera.com/sport/2010/03/20103816395976656.html

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