E cards the x age medium to express your emotions

Gone are the old days of perspiring in a card gallery to choose the nearest appropriate message to convey to your dear one on the varied occasions of life. This is an era which Introduces E-Cards. This now makes it easy and fun to send a customized message and song — a great way to tell someone you care. E-Cards helps people connect and express themselves in a fun and easy way. Today E-Cards are highly popular in all the sectors of life. From businessman to students from lovers to a family man they all agree that E-Cards are the coolest way to convey their message. Ready-made E-Cards save you time and money while still offering all the benefits. E-Cards come to you for all possible occasion and expressing multiple emotions to suit your needs in your everyday life. • The Valentine Day: This auspicious day for lovers beckons you in the next turn ahead and it’s time to relive the ultimate pleasure of romance.

Take a break from the hectic rat race of life and set the sensual mood this Valentine's Day with romance-oriented thoughts and deeds. Life is all about love and togetherness and the Valentine Day is a perfect excuse to let your companion know how much you care. And on this special day choose a heart warming card with a special gift for your loved one to say how much this relationship means to you. This sensual day with all its magic is never complete without a special E-Card which conveys your true dedication and love along with all the loving words that you always wished to convey to your lover. • Birthday E-Cards: This is a big occasion and a birthday of a dear one hardly seems to be complete without a personalized greeting card.

• Anniversary E-Cards: Remind your spouse how much precious this companionship means to you or take this opportunity to wish your near ones on their anniversary. • Wedding E-Cards: The moment of wedlock is always so very memorable and what better way can it be than to wish someone with a card bearing your heartfelt message. • Love E-Cards: To say you love with a beautiful soul stirring message is a matchless gesture that touches your heart like nothing else. • New Year E-Cards: The beginning of a year can always start with an extra special note of good wishes and promises conveyed to you through an E-Card.

• Christmas E-Cards: When good rules over evil and when we are all excited in wishing the coming of Jesus to this world, we care to do it in a special way. Celebrating with an E-Card is always so warm in the winter festivities. • Diwali E-Cards: The celebration of “Lights”, with a touch of divinity and uniting in love and harmony always happens in Diwali. Celebrate it in style with the extra edge of an E-Card. Benefits of E-Cards: The popularity of E-Cards has surged sky-high. The masses prefer it over Paper Cards. The reasons behind it are multiple: • More cost-effective than paper cards Many companies spend thousands of dollars every year on paper Christmas cards and postage. Why not send an E-Card instead and put the money saved back into your business – or better still donate the rest to a worthy cause. • Increase your website traffic Using E-Cards that include your corporate logo and a link to your website also means that your logo is exposed to more people. If the E-Card is entertaining, your clients will forward it within their business increasing your name recognition with your customers. It's the ultimate in viral marketing. • Reach thousands of customers within a few minutes Sending an email to your contacts with a link to your E-Card is the quickest and most instantaneous method of broadcasting your logo and message. • Easily forwarded to friends and family Fun and interactive E-Cards are more likely to be forwarded, thereby spreading your logo and message – even beyond your existing customers. • Bypass the Post Office backlog at Christmas Encouraged by the Post Office as they ease the pressure during Christmas. By using E-Cards, you know your contacts will see your E-Card on time. • Eco-friendly E-Cards are encouraged by environmental groups, as they reduce the waste associated with huge volumes of printed greeting cards, not to mention saving paper, trees and fuel. There is undoubtedly no comparison to the beautiful animation, personalized statement and the color graphics of an E-Card. We can say without doubt that the X-Generation is rightly basking in this fever of E-Card age. It is unbeatable. Enjoy it.



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Cleopatra s beauty secrets

The Legendary Queen of Egypt was known for her exquisite complexion. One of her secret beauty treatments, the milk and honey bath are still being used today. One of the main ingredients, Milk, contains lactic acid, which helps to exfoliate your skin. The lactic acid in milk is an alpha hydroxy acid, which helps to cleanse the deepest layers of the skin. Honey has an abundance of health properties. First of all, it is composed of sugars like glucose and fructose so it is also a gentle alpha hydroxy acid. It’s made up of both minerals and vitamins to help nourish and heal the skin. Since it also contains phytochemicals that kill viruses, bacteria, and fungus, it’s has a natural anti-inflammatory effect which heals wounds quickly.

This makes honey a good substitute for wound dressings. Here are a couple of ways to enjoy these 2 main ingredients found in her ancient beauty secrets. Cleopatra Honey & Milk Bath Ingredients 1/2 Cup Powdered Milk 1/2 Cup Raw Honey 2 teaspoon Jojoba Oil (optional) Mix ingredients in a large bowl and pour your warm bath. Soak for up to 20 minutes to infuse these beneficial ingredients in your skin. This recipe makes enough for one bath. Milk & Honey Rinse for Wrinkled Skin Ingredients 1 oz raw honey 1 Cup skim milk 2 teaspoons aloe vera gel Combine Ingredients in a jar and shake well. Apply to your face morning and evening with a cotton ball. Store mixture in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Hundred’s of years ago, Cleopatra discovered that milk and honey can help keep the skin youthful, soft and beautiful. Incorporating these 2 beauty recipes in your daily regime will help you to also experience healthy, vibrant, and ageless skin. Milk and Honey is readily available at your local grocer and is an inexpensive way to improve your skin.



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Managing performance every day

The scenario… The company has decided it needs to eliminate costs. Hundreds of jobs are on the line. The executives of each division have been directed to cut costs by 35%. The tension throughout the company is so thick you can cut it with a knife. You know some departments will be totally eliminated because the work can be outsourced to save money. You are a manager with over 20 years of seniority and you know your department is NOT being eliminated. You breathe a sigh of relief; after all, you do have personal ties to the owners.

You show up for a weekly meeting with your boss, and he catches you off guard…your job has been eliminated. Your world changes in an instant! You don't understand! Your performance reviews have been good for 20+ years! You've done your job! Nobody has ever told you that you're NOT doing a good job! The shock consumes you in the months to come as you try to make sense of it all. (What you don't know is that you have long had a reputation of someone who is extremely difficult to work with. Your many internal customers have complained about you all along. You shrugged off the complaints, and your boss chose not to deal with it or reflect it in your performance reviews.) This scenario is in fact real! Unfortunately, corporations dealt with the same scenario (with a few details changed) over and over again. The lesson learned here…"Inadequate performance management systems" damage individuals and companies. For the past few years' companies have furiously worked to upgrade the effectiveness of their performance management systems. They are establishing core competencies, identifying performance objectives and measures, and even talking about ongoing coaching. A 2002 study by Mercer Human Resource Consulting reveals that ongoing coaching is still in short supply! The data indicates that 78% of employees surveyed said their managers routinely conduct annual performance reviews. It also indicated that 26% said managers routinely provide ongoing performance feedback and coaching. Reality Check Could you be blindsided by a scenario similar to the one mentioned earlier? My personal belief is that managers (at all levels) don't give feedback or coach on an ongoing basis because they don't know how. Today, there are a multitude of training programs and support systems for managers who really want to learn to coach on an ongoing basis. They can get their own coach or they can attend a workshop like "The Coaching Clinic ©". More info can be found at connectionscoach. com. In the meantime, here are three ways you can begin to manage performance every day through coaching: Acknowledgement Make time to acknowledge contributions. Give credit where credit is due. Challenge them to play a bigger game. Inspire them to give the performance of a lifetime. Development Partner with them on projects. Do more asking versus telling. Become genuinely curious in their ideas and concepts. Give them the lead role. Support them when they stumble. Encourage them to get up and try again. Provide Feedback Be specific about what exactly makes the difference. Teach them how they can make a difference (do more, do less, keep doing). Incorporate "lessons learned" discussions into every project. If your company is one that says, "Our employees are our greatest assets", now is the time to walk the talk. By providing ongoing coaching, you'll be managing performance every day. And most of all, your employees will feel like they are your greatest assets.



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Are you ready to break out of your entrepreneurial rut

When you first leave the corporate world to start a home-based business, you're pumped, assured and passionate about making your dream come true and that excitement and desire can fuel your progress for a good long while. Eventually, like all things that go up, a plateau is inevitable and it's at this stage that you as an entrepreneur may start to feel frustrated, lost or even as though you've reached the limit of your capabilities. You become stuck and don't know what to do about it. You fall into an "entrepreneurial rut". It's at this time you need to acknowledge your accomplishments! You've mastered a significant level of growth are now ready to move forward to a higher plane of functioning and thinking. The number one characteristic of highly successful people is they are "pro-active" and in order to take charge of your life and business and move to the next stage in your evolution, it's important to understand that you are fully equipped to create your ideal future. Time in itself changes nothing, so if you continue to run your business with the same thinking that brought you to where you are today, time will only give you more of what you already have. If you've fallen into an entrepreneurial rut, this is an indication that it's time to take in new information, learn new skills, open your mind to new ideas, and develop new relationships. These are a few conscious activities that can move you forward. You can also enlist the power of your subconscious mind if you want to make exponential leaps forward. Your mind is like a computer and can be programmed to believe certain truths. It doesn't judge and accepts any thought you put into it as reality. If you repeat a desirable message to yourself on a daily basis and start thinking and acting from that moment forward that it's already true, your subconscious mind will believe it to be true and will start creating results for you that will make it real. A powerful strategy to increase your success and get you out of any rut is to put new programming into your mind. By tapping into higher intelligence through meditation and visualization, you can increase your intuitive skills, and remove fears and self-sabotaging beliefs that may be holding you back. Albert Einstein once said, "You cannot solve a problem with the same level of thinking that created it." Likewise, you cannot grow your business with the same level of mind that brought you to your plateau. To help break out of a rut, practice meditation and ask the universe, "What would be the best choice for me right now?" Listen to intuitive messages and open your mind to higher intelligence. Without expectation, you may be invited to a function that will allow you to connect with people who can help you to your next stage of growth. While reading the paper one day, you may notice an announcement about an expert in your field giving a workshop in your city. You may cross paths with a stranger on the street who has a message you most need to hear at a particular point in time. Your mind is one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal. Take time to program it for success and tap into higher intelligence. Combine this with proactive daily activities and the sky will be the limit! 2006 © Laurie Hayes - The HBB Source



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Why car rental companies insist on credit card for obtaining reservation

Why Car Rental Companies Insist On Credit Card For Obtaining Reservation All the major car rental companies insist on payments by credit card. This is a standard practice because credit cards are fast, secure and reliable. Almost every company in the field of car renting demands a credit card while renting the car. Apart from seeking credit card, an authorization is also obtained. This is basically done to cover any expenses related to potential damages that may be caused due to a number of factors. In short, the credit card is a kind of security deposit against damage or loss that may be caused. In case the car is returned in perfect condition, no charge is levied by the car rental company. In such a case, the only fee charged is the rental fee. If there is any damage to the car, the car rental company will instantly charge the damage cover. This is done as per the terms and conditions of the agreement. The car rental company does not add up to the credit immediately after renting the car. The only amount that is charged is an advanced charge approval. This means that some amount is reserved by the car rental company from the credit card. This amount is reserved as an amount that you may have to pay in case of damage to the car. The car rental companies do not accept debit cards or a check card. The main reason is because it is not possible for the car rental companies to process advance charge approval for the car damage.



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Keywords are for humans not search engines

It seems keywords are making the top of SEO list time and time again. The problem is that some optimizers do not understand the rightful purpose of keywords. Keywords should not be solely embedded for the purpose of reaching the top of search engines. Search Engine Optimization should not be the primary focus of any website. The primary and number 1 focus should always be the visitors. If you create a website for your audience and for your visitors then you should rank fairly.

I can't see why any legitimate website can not rank properly within search engines, after time and dedication. Search Engine Optimization main purpose is ranking faster within search engines. Instead of gaining a good balance of traffic within 1 or more years, it is possible to gain a good balance of traffic within 6-9 months with SEO. Keywords play a major factor in SEO and search engines in general, but the question is are keywords for the search engines or the visitors? The visitors are the ones who are trying to find your site by typing in a keyword, but the search engine is the one locating your site and delivering your site to the visitor based on the searched keywords. Therefore I would have to say, keywords, visitors, and search engines all work hand in hand, but if you focus on the visitor and not the search engine, then you will reap greater rewards. A webmaster should have a plentiful of quality and researched keywords, which becomes the sites core. To receive a good balance of keywords you need to think like your visitors or know how your visitors think. It boils down to research and tracking your visitors. Tracking visitors on your site is business-wise and is not an unethical practice, it’s your website (business). In an offline business you are well aware when a visitor opens the door to your business and comes in the store, the same applies online. It becomes unethical when you continue to track visitors when they exit your site, when you invade visitors’ privacy, or when you intentionally collect personal information about a visitor without their consent or knowledge. Tracking a visitor within your site does not need to be intense, the common web log files are helpful enough. With the web log files you should be able to track the keyword used to find your website, track where a visitor came from to find your site (the referrer), track the total number of unique visitors, track the total number of all visitors, track how many pages were viewed, track the path visitors take within your site, and much more information is available through the web logs. There are many tools that can translate your raw web log files into graphical and legible text, such as: Nihuo or Web Log Expert which both offers a free log analyzer download as well as an inexpensive analyzer for more detailed stats and more features. There are other upscale web log analyzers which are mostly for enterprises or larger sites but are extremely detailed and rewarding, such as: Web Trends, Deep Matrix, or Urchin (which has recently been acquired by the search engine giant 'Google'). Knowing your visitors can only benefit your site. If you have a new website without any visits then you will not have the benefit of knowing your visitors and you will have to create your visitors habits, by using good judgment and research to determine which keywords best suits your site. Your best effort should provide you with at least 250 keywords and keyword phrases, depending on your site category. Once you have tracked your visitors and/or have completed researching keywords, you are ready to make informed decisions and begin the process of elimination. Many argue to stay away from popular or general keywords because the market for popular and general keywords is flooded and over-crowded, you will never be able to compete. My sentiments exactly, but remember keywords are for visitors, not search engines...so yes, I recommend including popular and general keywords as long as the keyword(s) show room for opportunity. Meaning, it has been used by your visitors...as a solitaire keyword or within a keyword phrase. Creating keyword phrases is important because at least 95% of internet users search using keyword phrases, not many use one word. With that said, you should still include a few solitaire keywords. Use singular and plural expressions for keywords. Once you have gathered all your keywords make two lists, one list can be titled active keywords...keywords which you are currently using or plan to use in the near future. The second list can be titled inactive keywords...keywords which have been eliminated and may never be used. Eliminate keywords based on your research, visitor data, and site category. Regardless how general your site is try to have only one focus audience, this zooms in on your target, makes marketing the site easier, and more successful. When done eliminating you should have a plentiful of keywords and keyword phrases. Generally, the goal should be to have at least a combination of 100 keywords and keyword phrases. This number may be greater or lesser depending on your site category/niche market. Keyword research can be accomplished a number of ways. I would recommend using best judgment and sticking to your site topic. If your site is about “the rules of playing baseball” then anything pertaining to the rules of baseball should be included as keywords. Remember think like your visitors, if you were a visitor looking for 'the rules of baseball' how would you search...your search words would probably be something like "rules of playing baseball"...."baseball playing rules"...."playing baseball rules"....rules of baseball"...."baseball rules"...."how to play baseball"...."baseball and the rules"...if your site contains the 'rules of baseball' then each of those keyword phrases will be sufficient for inclusion into your active keyword list. A few links that can help with keyword research are: NicheBot, Wordtracker, Google Keyword Tool, Digital Point Keyword Tool. Some of the main attributes which you want to research is how often the keyword/keyword phrase is searched for within search engines, how much competition there is for the keyword/keyword phrase, and if you are considering pay-per-click then you would probably like to know the average cost per click for each keyword/keyword phrase. You should not rely 100% on any of these reports or other reports from any third-party because there are many deterrence which may offset the reports, you should collect data from each of them and derive a census report which will allow you to make an informed decision. Think about your visitors each step of the way when using keywords. Which keywords will catch their attention, directly or indirectly? Meaning, if a user searches for 'baseball rules' then when the search engine searches through billions of web pages...it should pull your web page into the results because you have a entire website dedicated to baseball rules and the entire site is centered around keywording. When the search engine crawls through the billions of web pages it should see that your web page title has "baseball rules" within the title, your meta-tag description has “baseball rules” within the description, your meta-tag keywords have “baseball rules” within the keywords, the link to the page is titled “baseball_rules. htm”, and the content on the web page itself has a proper amount of keyword density, basically, the keyword phrase "baseball rules" is plastered throughout the web page mostly leading towards the top of the page. I know most of what I have just mentioned is Search Engine Optimization practices and techniques, yes, that is true, but in actuality the entire process is for the visitors not the search engine. If you create your site easier for the search engine to find then the visitor will also find it easier and faster, but at all times it is important to keep the visitor in mind. Many SEO practitioners would include any keyword about baseball such as: "baseball"..."major leagues"...."major league baseball"...."minor leagues"...."minor league baseball"...."atlanta braves"...."new york yankees"...."baseball players"….etc. Those keywords are for the search engines not the visitors. If a visitors enters "atlanta braves" as a search keyword and your link is displayed as an result the visitor will be disappointed when he clicks on your link and does not find any solid information pertaining to the "atlanta braves"...instead he/she is greeted with "baseball rules". The visitor will immediately back out without referencing your site or indexing it for later retrieval because it does not pertain to their search quest. Once in a while you may become lucky and get someone who stays because it does mention baseball, but if you tracked conversions, it would surely sink, using this method. The better you target your visitors the more success you will have on the web. Properly using keywords to target your visitors and not the search engines will aid in more ways than one. It will create a healthy online circuit and greater chance for success. Imagine if each time you search the web...you had a perfect search! You only needed to search once, because exactly what you were looking for was found in the first results.



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False failures worse than real failures

Better to fail for real than fail to really fail. Huh? We know you've experienced this. Let's say you just added some new functionality into your software, and you run a new build. And let's say that 50% of your test cases fail. What is the first thing you assume? We've asked this same question as our "teaser pitch" last winter to 100 developers and QA professionals who walked up to our booth at a recent conference, and 95 of them had the same answer! The tests must be broken! This creates a cascading set of bad assumptions that will make your manager recite the adage about "ASS out of U and ME" on the whiteboard at the next project meeting. Here's why. * You assume that the problem is not with your application, it is with the test cases themselves being broken or no longer valid. * So you spend time comparing the test cases with whatever changed in your new build. * Then you dig into the test scripts to try to figure out why the test case is no longer passing, and rework them until they pass. * Or you just give up and try validating by clicking through your old Word document test cases. Fun busy work. How can you possibly call this testing? Rather than using the test to validate the application, you are using the application to test the test case - which is a program you coded! Yes, unit tests are important for finding structural bugs in your code. But once a unit test tries to get beyond that granular level of testing, it becomes another fragile program in your development environment. It is outrageous to assume that relying on coded unit test cases alone offers you any value in functional testing. In fact, the whole process is so manual and highly inefficient, that you wonder if you are doing anything more than making busy work for your own team. Unit testing has its limits. There are methods people have tried to get beyond these limits, but it is like challenging the theory of gravity. * Attempting to code for reuse - may seem possible but can only get you to the edge of Unit testing's limits. * Attempting to test the UI with your QA group, doesn't really work if you can't see those middle and back-end layers. What makes false failures so dangerous? Besides the fact that they are a morale vampire that will make the team give up on testing, false failures impact the overall effectiveness of testing. If you don't know if a failing test case is even valid, what do you really learn from testing? It is like a detective that never gathers evidence. Time to declare war on false failures.



Online False failures worse than real failures

Covered bridges basics

Covered Bridges Basics A lot of people might wonder what covered bridges are and what makes them different from ordinary bridges. Pictures might say it all but to put it plainly; a covered bridge is a bridge that has enclosures on the sides and has a roof. They are usually single-lane and can only accommodate a light load. Far from being prominent landmarks and architectural candies, they were originally made for a more practical reason - to connect a town that is developing on two sides of a river. Early nineteenth century America saw the first covered bridges and they were very useful in connecting communities together. Towns and villages that sprung up in the interior parts of the countries where rivers, streams and creeks were a plenty, needed bridges to prevent the division of the towns people and helped them get connected to basic infrastructures and services. These unique bridges have since grown into prominence as bigger cities rose in coastal areas, and towns where they can be found became suburbs and country estates. Recently, covered bridges are catching the attention of historic preservationists who are taking on the cause of maintaining covered bridges for their historical value. The Technical Aspect of Covered Bridges Early covered bridges were usually made of wood since there was a surplus of lumber at the time they were first made. Modern covered bridges though are commonly made of steel or glass and have become more intricate and flamboyant in its design. Earlier bridges were made to look more like a barn so it can blend in with the background of the country while modern ones are usually made to stand out. Ordinary bridges made of wood are always exposed to the elements, so covering them was a very ingenious way to extend its lifespan, save more tax money in maintenance, and in the old days, as a shelter for travelers during storms and unfriendly weather. A majority of covered bridges use trusses as a key structural element in its design. The most popular was the Brown truss used for its simplicity and practicality but other trusses were also used. In the modern times, steel and concrete has become more available and structurally speaking, safer. These days, covered bridges are used either used for convenience rather than protection, or as means to make a design statement. Whether for style or convenience, covered bridges have become part of the history of American towns that grew and prospered with them. These days a lot of historical conservationists are fighting for the preservation of old covered bridges as part of American heritage. Most of the bridges are found in rural America and thus more susceptible to the threats of arsonist, vandals, and flooding. Over two hundred (200) covered bridges have been identified all over America and the towns where they can be found are initiating the fight to preserve them. Covered bridges have played an important part of America’s history and growth. Most historians agree that they are significant historical pieces that should be protected and maintained in order to preserve the history of old towns where they have become landmarks. Though modern bridges have become the ideal, wooden covered bridges are still able to maintain its rustic charm - something that most people are looking for when they go to the country side to enjoy the scenery. Towns are even renovating dilapidated covered bridges for the same reason, and hopefully, America’s great grandchildren can still enjoy these historical pieces of American engineering for many years to come.



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Increasing your conversion rates 50 tips for ecommerce sites

You can convert more of your traffic into sales without having to spend a lot of money. There are hundreds of ways to improve your conversion rate and the persuasiveness/stickiness of your website, many of which can be done very quickly and most will cost you close to nothing to implement. 1. Use real customer testimonials with authentic customer photos...no stock photography. Shoppers can quickly tell the difference. 2. Make sure your marketing effort attracts qualified traffic. Example, if you sell Digital cameras, don’t advertise that you sell macro lens just to get more traffic to your site. This may drive more visitors, but they are visitors with no intent to purchase, thus decreasing your conversion rate. 3. Get a toll-free number and make sure the placement of that number on your site is prominent and consistent. 4. Include “points of reassurance” at every “point of action”. Example – if you are requesting that a viewer provide you with their e-mail address, clearly state that privacy is very important to you and that you will not share that information with any other party. 5. Use SSL (secure server certificates from a well known SSL authority) and make sure that the user knows you are using it. Display a prominent "Secure server" note at the top of the page. 6. Build trust, subscribe to a service like VeriSign, Thawte or ScanAlert and Prominently place these logos to reassure your customer that you care about the security of their information. 7. Have a clearly defined privacy policy and link to it from all pages. 8. Include a physical address on your site. 9. Don’t always concentrate on just making the “buy now” buttons the most prominent on every page, but rather concentrate on styling the “primary action” buttons the most prominently on every page. Example – you sell books, and you provide the customers with the ability to select a few related books and compare them before they can buy now. Make that “compare button/link the same style as you would the “buy now” button/link on a page in which the “buy now” button exists. This will help herd customers through your sales funnel. 10. Clearly Define your return policy. 11. Make sure to include an “About Us” section on your site. The majority of my customers will visit or look for that section before making a purchase. 12. Make your site load fast, easy to navigate and user friendly. No need for horizontal scrolling, excessive vertical scrolling, large animation files or intrusive pop-up windows. 13. Keep your “buy now” button consistently and prominently placed on all product pages. The closer to the top of the page...the better. ”Above the fold if you want it sold” & 2. “Eye level is buy level”. 14. Provide clear good quality images of your products with an "enlarge image" option. 15. Make your checkout process as usable, intuitive, reassuring and simple as possible. Losing a shopper during your checkout process is a CRITICAL loss. 16. Don’t make people type their e-mail address twice. Get the site to remember and do it automatically. 17. Don’t force people to install crazy plug-ins just to make a purchase from your site. Stick with JavaScript, Flash and the other breads & butters. 18. Read your copy, make sure its compelling, yet not exaggerated and too loud. 19. Identify your unique selling proposition and exploit it. If you are the only seller of medium-sized green widgets in the UK, clearly state that and be proud of it. 20. Implement a “site search” box and make sure it is accurate. Not only it will allow users to find what they want quick, it will give you an insight as to what they are shopping for and what terminology(keywords/key phrases) they are using so you can tailor your copy (and ad campaigns) accordingly. 21. Don’t just focus on the many features of your product, but rather on the benefits those features will provide you customers with. Don’t just say “folding ladders”, say “Our folding ladders will save you valuable garage space”. 22. Display your prices, shipping charges and tax clearly BEFORE the checkout process is completed. 23. Don’t use a drop-down for the "country" or “state” list over your order form. Many people are using scrolling mice these days, many are sure to accidentally scroll off of their correct state. 24. Let customers copy their shipping info to their billing info if they are identical, with one click. 25. Remove distractions as much as possible from the final checkout process such as the main navigation that existed during the shopping portion of your site. 26. Clearly provide a checkout process indicator. If your checkout process has 3 steps, clearly indicate at the top of the page what step they are on and how many steps there are to complete the order. 27. Clearly identify what info you really require during your checkout process. Eliminate unnecessary text fields/questions. 28. Use easy to understand, friendly error messages. No “INCORRECT USER INPUT IN STATE FIELD!” messages. 29. If your checkout error messages occur on a page other than the page with the errors, preserve the information that the user has already input and get the site to input it automatically. 30. Double check the spelling on your site. And the spelling on your error messages. "Ers in input filed" would look very unprofessional. 31. Try and get good reviews from shopping authority sites (shopping. com, epinions. com, bizrate. com, etc) and from previous shoppers. 32. Don’t use complex formulas for shipping price calculations, Example - 'if you buy 13.5 kilograms worth of x", then multiply that weight by y shipping rate. Get the site to do the calculations and show the shopper the price. 33. Consider shipping the product free. This is often a very good selling point with online shoppers. 34. Display the stock status of the selected item and do so BEFORE the user puts the item in their cart. 35. If you don’t sell or run out/discontinued an item, remove it from the site. 36. If you are offering a lot of products, users should be able to sort them by important criteria...price, size, color, etc. 37. Provide an easy way for shoppers to compare details of similar products. 38. Use a custom 404 not found page to link people back to the important areas of your site 39. Give a clear estimate of the delivery time. 40. Accept a wide variety of payment options and clearly display those options. 41. Important information should not look like ad banners. There really is such a thing as “ad blindness” and people will automatically skip over this important information. 42. Make sure you have a “first-time visitor” page. This is where you are going to explain why and how you are different from your competitors. 43. Update your copyright statements on page footers. Make sure that the current year is displayed....fix that 2003 copyright statement. 44. Let customer make a purchase without having to register with your site. 45. Consider making every link the last part of the statement “I want to...”. Don’t just have a link that says “the privacy policy”, but rather “read the privacy policy”. Do you get it... the shopper wants to “Read the Privacy Policy”. 46. Don’t use too clever names for your shopping cart like “widget basket” or “widget box”. Call it "My shopping cart" or "My shopping basket". 47. Don’t make the shopper specify select an option when there is only 1 “option”. If the product only comes in red, don’t make the shopper select the “red” radio button or choose “red” from the drop down. Get the site to do it automatically. 48. Provide clear shopping instructions in an empty shopping cart. Don’t just say “your shopping cart is empty”. 49. Provide a "special sale” or "special clearance” section. This will attract the budget-conscious shoppers. 50. The most important golden rule...you must portray a lot of trust and credibility to instil shopper confidence and get them to make a purchase. Make sure you do.



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Who is the tv guardian in your house

If you're a parent, chances are you're concerned about the content your kids are being exposed to on television. According to a March 2005 poll by Time Magazine, 66 percent of respondents said there is too much violence on TV, 58 percent said there is too much cursing, and 50 percent said there is too much sexual content. Although that's the perception of adults, it's based in fact. According to the Parents Television Council, profanity is used once every six minutes on network TV shows, once every two minutes on premium cable shows, and once every three minutes in major motion pictures. Alarmingly, according to January 2005 Nielsen statistics, Desperate Housewives is the most popular network television show among children aged 9 to 12. Unless you're willing to be the TV guardian in your house, how can you be the TV filter that ensures your home remains curse free? Fortunately, new technology gives you the power to remove the cursing and offensive language that is coming into your home through television and video.

There are devices available that can ensure your home has a curse free TV, and that when they watch TV, kids won't be exposed to the profanity that flies in the face of everything you believe in. Typically, these TVguardians connect between your TV and VCR, cable, satellite receiver, or DVD. After an easy installation that takes about five minutes, the device automatically detects and filters out about 95 percent of all offensive words and phrases on TV programs and videos, giving you "cursefreeTV." With these devices, you no longer have to be the TV guardian in your house. Instead, the device reads the hidden TV signals for closed captions, detects offensive language, momentarily mutes the sound, and displays acceptable words and phrases. In other words, you don't have to turn off the TV or video so won't miss a thing. Some of these models include a feature that allows you to block out offenses to the name of God and Jesus Christ on one setting, while leaving in the name of God when you are watching religious programming. With a device like this, a generation of TVkids can be protected from foul language, and you can watch a larger selection of programs, without being concerned that profanity will interrupt your enjoyment.



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Choosing a high interest savings account

It's always prudent to save for a rainy day, and many people with spare cash available prefer the security of placing it in a savings account to the more risky but potentially more profitable choice of other investments such as the stockmarket. Choosing a savings account would at first glance seem to be as simple as going for the one with the highest interest rate, but there are several other factors to take into account too. The first choice to make is between opening an account with a high street bank, or going direct. High street banks give you the advantage of being able to manage your account with face to face contact with real people, and the ability to deposit cash and cheques easily. However, they have not historically offered the most competitive rates of interest, although this is changing slowly. Direct savings accounts are operated solely online, by telephone, and by post with no possibility of visiting a bank branch to conduct business. This means they are cheaper to run for the banks, with less admin and staff costs, and so in turn they are willing to offer more attractive interest rates. Indeed, when internet direct savings accounts first appeared, some of them offered ten times the interest of a typical branch-based account, although the gap has narrowed considerably over the years. The next choice to make is which type of savings account to go for. Amongst all the other options and features available, there are two basic kinds of account: regular savings, and deposit savings. With a regular saver account, you commit to depositing a fixed amount every month for a certain period, often a year. Most accounts will let you pay in more than this if you are able to, but if you fall below the minimum amount in a month you will likely forfeit interest payments for that month. With a deposit account there are no such restrictions - you can put in as much or as little as you want, whenever you want. On the whole, a regular saver account will offer better interest rates at the price of less flexibility. Another factor that will affect the rate of interest you can earn is the level of access to your money you need. Basically, you can either choose a fully flexible acount which lets you deposit and withdraw funds whenever you want with no charges or penalty, or a more restricted access account which might require 30, 60, or 90 days notice before withdrawals can be made without incurring an interest penalty. Some accounts go further, locking your money in for a period of years, but these accounts are more like bonds than savings accounts, and are outside the scope of this article. In general, you pay a price for flexibility, and so accounts with more access restrictions will pay a better rate, and so are perhaps more suited to long term investments than simply serving as a way of earning interest on spare cash that might still be needed at some point. The other main aspect to consider is how the interest is paid. Most accounts will pay your interest in one instalment, once each year. Some, however, will credit your interest on a monthly basis, opening up the possibility of earning compound interest (i. e. where you earn interest on your previously earned interest). Nothing in the financial world is free though, so once again the flexibility of more frequent interest payments will be paid for with a lower rate. As we have seen, there is more to choosing a savings account than simply comparing basic interest rates. Of course, you want to earn as much interest as possible, but locking yourself into an unsuitable account might not be the best use of your money.



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Golf etiquette

Golf Etiquette Golf is a dignified game of rules and manners, and it’s important to know the basics before you play for the first time. Whether you are playing alone, in a twosome or a foursome, you must wait your turn. You must keep aware of the group on the next hole and wait until they are well ahead of you before hitting your ball. It’s never cool to "push" the group in front of you. If you are playing with others, wait for your turn to hit the ball; never hit at the same time as another player. While you wait for your turn, go to your ball and determine what club you’ll need and how you are going to hit it. This is called "ready golf" and keeps the game moving. Don’t rush, just be ready. If your team is holding up the players behind you, let them play through. You would simply wave them through, or if they are close enough, ask them if they’d like to play through. You will never make an enemy in doing this! When someone is making a shot, you should be behind them and you shouldn’t make a sound! It is so distracting to be ready to tee off and just as you pull back, someone decides to jingle in coins in their pocket or noisily unwrap a piece of candy. Replace your divots. When, in the fairway, you hit the ball and a clod of dirt and grass goes flying, replace it. On some courses you just put the clod back and step on it to press it on; on most courses, there is a sand/seed mixture on your card to put into the divot. If your ball makes a deep impression when it lands on the green, use your divot tool to repair it. As soon as you have completed a hole, replace the flag and leave the green so that the next players can play. Count your score and write it on the scorecard when you’re back at your cart. Of course, there are many more rules of golf, but these simple ones will enable you to get through the course without coming to blows with anyone. We must all keep the game dignified, right?



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Speed kills your golf swing

Would you say you have a fast looking swing or a slow swing? (If you don’t have a fast swing show this article to a playing partner who does). You would think that a recreational golfer’s fast swing would hit a golf ball a long way wouldn’t you? After all, it looks fast! Yet the ball doesn’t go as far as a slow swinging pro’s ball. I wonder why... If you think about your body for a minute, you know that it moves much slower than your arms in real life. So if your body can’t turn all that fast, how do you get a fast looking golf swing? You get a fast looking golf swing when you try to hit the ball as hard as you can with just your arms. This means that your arms are moving independently from your body. This fast looking swing can be understood by imagining a clock. If you look at a clock, you will see that the little post in the middle tells the minute hand how fast to swing. If the little post moves slowly, the minute hand moves slowly. If the little post moves faster, the arms move faster. The center post and the minute hand are relative to one another. If you compare your golf swing to the movement of a clock you will see your body as the center post on the clock and your arms as the minute hand. Having a fast looking swing would be like the little center post of the clock turning slowly yet the minute hand is moving very fast. This, of course, would never happen because they are connected to one another. What happens to your shots when your arms outpace your body? First, won't make solid contact with the sweet spot on the clubface because swinging with your arms alone will cause you to manipulate the clubface as it swings through impact. Secondly, the harder you swing, the tighter your wrists and arms will be through impact. Tighter wrists release slower than looser wrists and looser arms extend more than tighter arms (which increase the width of your swing arc). To slow down a fast looking golf swing, we first have to think logically about it. Pros have a slow looking swing and they hit the ball a long way and you have a fast swing that hits the ball shorter. So why do you insist on hitting the ball harder than the pros do? Unfortunately, human nature usually takes control of us when we go to hit a golf ball. It says that the harder you swing the further the ball will go. This does not allow us to see the logic behind swinging slower. Swinging slower feels like you have less power so you cannot see how you can actually hit the ball better and farther by not using your arms. You must convince yourself that you must swing slower to hit the ball better. Once you slow down, you will make better contact in the middle of the clubface, widen your arc and release the club faster. All of these things add up to more distance with less effort. I like my students to try this drill in order to take the arms out of their swing. All you have to do is hold the club at about waist high and feel your body swing the clubhead. Remember the clock. If the post turns faster the arms swing faster. As you swing, listen to the swishing sound the clubhead is making as it swings through impact. Now, try to make the club swing faster by shifting your body weight from the right leg to the left leg allowing your body to turn at the same time. If you let your arms swing freely you will hear the club swish faster as you increase the speed of your body. As you go to hit the actual golf ball, you must relate the same new feeling of using your body to hit your shot. This means that you cannot think of hitting the ball. If you think about hitting the ball, it will speed up your arms up again. You have to now think about turning and shifting your body weight. This will turn your body and allow your arms to swing down because they are connected to one another. If you feel your swing getting fast again just step back, hold the club off the ground and do some more practice swings feeling your body making the club swing. It takes some practice and concentration but once you slow your swing down you will not only gain a feeling of effortless power but you will start to look like a pro when you swing. Until next time, Paul Wilson



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Mosquitoes are a hazard to your pet s health too

None of us likes to be bitten by mosquitoes and sometimes it is easy to forget that our pets suffer from mosquito bites too. Mosquitoes feed on blood, and they will take it where they can find it. Only the female bites, the males feed on plant nectar. While the female may have preferred hosts, she must have protein from blood to produce eggs. And, one blood meal is often not enough to produce a clutch of eggs. Often the female will feed, rest to digest the meal and feed again up to three times before she can get enough protein to produce her eggs. So, each time your pet is outside in mosquito territory, it is a sitting target for a hungry female mosquito that is eager to reproduce. Many species of mosquitoes will choose birds over humans or pets, but they have even been known to feed on frogs and other reptiles, if that is what they can find for a blood meal. Most responsible pet owners know of the hazards from mosquito bites associated with heartworm disease in cats and dogs. Mosquitoes carry parasite larvae, which they transmit to your pet once they bite. The parasite larvae then migrate to the heart and major circulatory organs in your pet, where it develops into an adult worm that can reach ten inches in length. The problem with heartworms is that they can take many years to develop into an adult that can cause symptoms in your cat or dog. Dogs are usually more at risk than cats, simply because they are usually outdoors more often. By the time the symptoms develop, treatment is long and difficult. Sometimes the pet owner is unaware of the problem until the animal simply dies during exertion, a tragic ending that is very preventable. Protection against heartworms is as easy as a trip to your veterinarian. Many effective medicines, which are given orally, can prevent development of the larvae, if an infected mosquito bites your pet. The biggest failure of these medicines is pet owner default. They must be administered faithfully once per month with no lapse in treatment. And, just because it seems like mosquito season is at bay, don’t lapse and forget to give your pet its dose. Many mosquitoes over-winter in protected places and they arouse ready to bite long before you might expect them. Luckily, it is now possible to get a shot for your pet that will afford protection against heartworms for up to six months. Even diligent and caring pet owners can sometimes forget about the narrow window of opportunity for administering the oral medication. This new advancement spares you and your pet the risky aftermath of those lapses. Now, pet owners have an even greater concern about mosquito bites to their pets. While rare, West Nile virus has been reported in both dogs and cats. There are very few reported cases of pet fatalities in dogs and cats, but the risk still exists. Instead, most of the time, the animal may test positive for the virus, without having symptoms. If your pet has West Nile virus, it may have the following symptoms: fever, depression or lethargy, muscle weakness or spasms, impaired coordination, seizures or paralysis. If your pet has these symptoms, consult your veterinarian immediately. Bird and horse owners should be much more concerned. West Nile virus is primarily fatal to many bird species. Crows, for example, are very susceptible to fatal cases. Sparrows, on the other hand, easily contract it, but have no symptoms. And, migratory birds like sparrows help to continue the spread of the virus because they are highly mobile. Of those birds that are kept as pets, parrots, cockateels and parakeets are most at risk. The risk factor is lower because they are seldom outside. If your home is well sealed and has good screens, these pets should be easily protected, if kept indoors. Horse owners are now able to protect their horses with a very effective vaccine. Horses are particularly susceptible to mosquito borne viruses, and it is difficult to keep them away from outdoor exposure, even in barns and stalls. No such vaccine exists for smaller animals. The same thing that protects you against mosquito diseases also protect your pets. Prevention! Keep your home and yard mosquito free by being sure that mosquitoes don’t have places to breed. Avoid allowing any water to stand in containers, like buckets, birdbaths, pet bowls, gutters, storm drains, and plant saucers. Many mosquitoes need only ј cup of water to breed. The FDA has traditionally advised keeping your pet indoors around dawn and dusk, because that is when many mosquito species feed. That advice is no longer enough to protect your pet. The Asian tiger mosquito is an aggressive day biter. It was imported to the United States in 1985 and is now found in 30 states. It carries both West Nile virus and heartworm parasites. Instead, get rid of any possible breeding sites and also get a good pet insect repellant. Mosquito repellants made for humans are not to be used on pets. Never put any repellant on pets that is not DEET free. Instead get a repellant that is made for veterinary use and apply only according to directions. With your pets, you have to assume they may lick treated areas and you can’t afford to take a chance that the repellant may be toxic to them. For example, tea tree oil is a good natural mosquito repellent for humans, but it has proved fatal to some cats that have licked it off of their fur. And, consider getting a propane powered mosquito trap to reduce mosquito populations in your yard. They are very effective, although expensive, but actually kill hundreds of mosquitoes if used according to the manufacturers directions. Over time these devices can actually decrease mosquito populations. Mosquitoes are here to stay. Our best defense for our pets is to know how to avoid them, and how to keep our pets safe using the latest scientific advances. And, many of the things we do to protect our pets from mosquito borne diseases are good for us too.



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Metaphors of the mind part ii

Storytelling has been with us since the days of campfire and besieging wild animals. It served a number of important functions: amelioration of fears, communication of vital information (regarding survival tactics and the characteristics of animals, for instance), the satisfaction of a sense of order (justice), the development of the ability to hypothesize, predict and introduce theories and so on. We are all endowed with a sense of wonder. The world around us in inexplicable, baffling in its diversity and myriad forms. We experience an urge to organize it, to "explain the wonder away", to order it in order to know what to expect next (predict). These are the essentials of survival. But while we have been successful at imposing our mind's structures on the outside world – we have been much less successful when we tried to cope with our internal universe. The relationship between the structure and functioning of our (ephemeral) mind, the structure and modes of operation of our (physical) brain and the structure and conduct of the outside world have been the matter of heated debate for millennia. Broadly speaking, there were (and still are) two ways of treating it: There were those who, for all practical purposes, identified the origin (brain) with its product (mind). Some of them postulated the existence of a lattice of preconceived, born categorical knowledge about the universe – the vessels into which we pour our experience and which mould it. Others have regarded the mind as a black box. While it was possible in principle to know its input and output, it was impossible, again in principle, to understand its internal functioning and management of information. Pavlov coined the word "conditioning", Watson adopted it and invented "behaviourism", Skinner came up with "reinforcement". The school of epiphenomenologists (emergent phenomena) regarded the mind as the by product of the brain's "hardware" and "wiring" complexity. But all ignored the psychophysical question: what IS the mind and HOW is it linked to the brain? The other camp was more "scientific" and "positivist". It speculated that the mind (whether a physical entity, an epiphenomenon, a non-physical principle of organization, or the result of introspection) – had a structure and a limited set of functions. They argued that a "user's manual" could be composed, replete with engineering and maintenance instructions. The most prominent of these "psychodynamists" was, of course, Freud. Though his disciples (Adler, Horney, the object-relations lot) diverged wildly from his initial theories – they all shared his belief in the need to "scientify" and objectify psychology. Freud – a medical doctor by profession (Neurologist) and Bleuler before him – came with a theory regarding the structure of the mind and its mechanics: (suppressed) energies and (reactive) forces. Flow charts were provided together with a method of analysis, a mathematical physics of the mind. But this was a mirage. An essential part was missing: the ability to test the hypotheses, which derived from these "theories". They were all very convincing, though, and, surprisingly, had great explanatory power. But - non-verifiable and non-falsifiable as they were – they could not be deemed to possess the redeeming features of a scientific theory. Deciding between the two camps was and is a crucial matter. Consider the clash - however repressed - between psychiatry and psychology. The former regards "mental disorders" as euphemisms - it acknowledges only the reality of brain dysfunctions (such as biochemical or electric imbalances) and of hereditary factors. The latter (psychology) implicitly assumes that something exists (the "mind", the "psyche") which cannot be reduced to hardware or to wiring diagrams. Talk therapy is aimed at that something and supposedly interacts with it. But perhaps the distinction is artificial. Perhaps the mind is simply the way we experience our brains. Endowed with the gift (or curse) of introspection, we experience a duality, a split, constantly being both observer and observed. Moreover, talk therapy involves TALKING - which is the transfer of energy from one brain to another through the air. This is directed, specifically formed energy, intended to trigger certain circuits in the recipient brain. It should come as no surprise if it were to be discovered that talk therapy has clear physiological effects upon the brain of the patient (blood volume, electrical activity, discharge and absorption of hormones, etc.). All this would be doubly true if the mind was, indeed, only an emergent phenomenon of the complex brain - two sides of the same coin. Psychological theories of the mind are metaphors of the mind. They are fables and myths, narratives, stories, hypotheses, conjunctures. They play (exceedingly) important roles in the psychotherapeutic setting – but not in the laboratory. Their form is artistic, not rigorous, not testable, less structured than theories in the natural sciences. The language used is polyvalent, rich, effusive, and fuzzy – in short, metaphorical. They are suffused with value judgements, preferences, fears, post facto and ad hoc constructions. None of this has methodological, systematic, analytic and predictive merits. Still, the theories in psychology are powerful instruments, admirable constructs of the mind. As such, they are bound to satisfy some needs. Their very existence proves it. The attainment of peace of mind is a need, which was neglected by Maslow in his famous rendition. People will sacrifice material wealth and welfare, will forgo temptations, will ignore opportunities, and will put their lives in danger – just to reach this bliss of wholeness and completeness. There is, in other words, a preference of inner equilibrium over homeostasis. It is the fulfilment of this overriding need that psychological theories set out to cater to. In this, they are no different than other collective narratives (myths, for instance). In some respects, though, there are striking differences: Psychology is desperately trying to link up to reality and to scientific discipline by employing observation and measurement and by organizing the results and presenting them using the language of mathematics. This does not atone for its primordial sin: that its subject matter is ethereal and inaccessible. Still, it lends an air of credibility and rigorousness to it. The second difference is that while historical narratives are "blanket" narratives – psychology is "tailored", "customized". A unique narrative is invented for every listener (patient, client) and he is incorporated in it as the main hero (or anti-hero). This flexible "production line" seems to be the result of an age of increasing individualism. True, the "language units" (large chunks of denotates and connotates) are one and the same for every "user". In psychoanalysis, the therapist is likely to always employ the tripartite structure (Id, Ego, Superego). But these are language elements and need not be confused with the plots. Each client, each person, and his own, unique, irreplicable, plot. To qualify as a "psychological" plot, it must be: All-inclusive (anamnetic) – It must encompass, integrate and incorporate all the facts known about the protagonist. Coherent – It must be chronological, structured and causal. Consistent – Self-consistent (its subplots cannot contradict one another or go against the grain of the main plot) and consistent with the observed phenomena (both those related to the protagonist and those pertaining to the rest of the universe). Logically compatible – It must not violate the laws of logic both internally (the plot must abide by some internally imposed logic) and externally (the Aristotelian logic which is applicable to the observable world). Insightful (diagnostic) – It must inspire in the client a sense of awe and astonishment which is the result of seeing something familiar in a new light or the result of seeing a pattern emerging out of a big body of data. The insights must be the logical conclusion of the logic, the language and of the development of the plot. Aesthetic – The plot must be both plausible and "right", beautiful, not cumbersome, not awkward, not discontinuous, smooth and so on. Parsimonious – The plot must employ the minimum numbers of assumptions and entities in order to satisfy all the above conditions. Explanatory – The plot must explain the behaviour of other characters in the plot, the hero's decisions and behaviour, why events developed the way that they did. Predictive (prognostic) – The plot must possess the ability to predict future events, the future behaviour of the hero and of other meaningful figures and the inner emotional and cognitive dynamics. Therapeutic – With the power to induce change (whether it is for the better, is a matter of contemporary value judgements and fashions). Imposing – The plot must be regarded by the client as the preferable organizing principle of his life's events and the torch to guide him in the darkness to come. Elastic – The plot must possess the intrinsic abilities to self organize, reorganize, give room to emerging order, accommodate new data comfortably, avoid rigidity in its modes of reaction to attacks from within and from without. In all these respects, a psychological plot is a theory in disguise. Scientific theories should satisfy most of the same conditions. But the equation is flawed. The important elements of testability, verifiability, refutability, falsifiability, and repeatability – are all missing. No experiment could be designed to test the statements within the plot, to establish their truth-value and, thus, to convert them to theorems. There are four reasons to account for this shortcoming: Ethical – Experiments would have to be conducted, involving the hero and other humans. To achieve the necessary result, the subjects will have to be ignorant of the reasons for the experiments and their aims. Sometimes even the very performance of an experiment will have to remain a secret (double blind experiments). Some experiments may involve unpleasant experiences. This is ethically unacceptable. The Psychological Uncertainty Principle – The current position of a human subject can be fully known. But both treatment and experimentation influence the subject and void this knowledge. The very processes of measurement and observation influence the subject and change him. Uniqueness – Psychological experiments are, therefore, bound to be unique, unrepeatable, cannot be replicated elsewhere and at other times even if they deal with the SAME subjects. The subjects are never the same due to the psychological uncertainty principle. Repeating the experiments with other subjects adversely affects the scientific value of the results. The undergeneration of testable hypotheses – Psychology does not generate a sufficient number of hypotheses, which can be subjected to scientific testing. This has to do with the fabulous (=storytelling) nature of psychology. In a way, psychology has affinity with some private languages. It is a form of art and, as such, is self-sufficient. If structural, internal constraints and requirements are met – a statement is deemed true even if it does not satisfy external scientific requirements. So, what are plots good for? They are the instruments used in the procedures, which induce peace of mind (even happiness) in the client. This is done with the help of a few embedded mechanisms: The Organizing Principle – Psychological plots offer the client an organizing principle, a sense of order and ensuing justice, of an inexorable drive toward well defined (though, perhaps, hidden) goals, the ubiquity of meaning, being part of a whole. It strives to answer the "why’s" and "how’s". It is dialogic. The client asks: "why am I (here follows a syndrome)". Then, the plot is spun: "you are like this not because the world is whimsically cruel but because your parents mistreated you when you were very young, or because a person important to you died, or was taken away from you when you were still impressionable, or because you were sexually abused and so on". The client is calmed by the very fact that there is an explanation to that which until now monstrously taunted and haunted him, that he is not the plaything of vicious Gods, that there is who to blame (focussing diffused anger is a very important result) and, that, therefore, his belief in order, justice and their administration by some supreme, transcendental principle is restored. This sense of "law and order" is further enhanced when the plot yields predictions which come true (either because they are self-fulfilling or because some real "law" has been discovered). The Integrative Principle – The client is offered, through the plot, access to the innermost, hitherto inaccessible, recesses of his mind. He feels that he is being reintegrated, that "things fall into place". In psychodynamic terms, the energy is released to do productive and positive work, rather than to induce distorted and destructive forces. The Purgatory Principle – In most cases, the client feels sinful, debased, inhuman, decrepit, corrupting, guilty, punishable, hateful, alienated, strange, mocked and so on. The plot offers him absolution. Like the highly symbolic figure of the Saviour before him – the client's sufferings expurgate, cleanse, absolve, and atone for his sins and handicaps. A feeling of hard won achievement accompanies a successful plot. The client sheds layers of functional, adaptive clothing. This is inordinately painful. The client feels dangerously naked, precariously exposed. He then assimilates the plot offered to him, thus enjoying the benefits emanating from the previous two principles and only then does he develop new mechanisms of coping. Therapy is a mental crucifixion and resurrection and atonement for the sins. It is highly religious with the plot in the role of the scriptures from which solace and consolation can be always gleaned.



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Half of our nation is over weight

Experts say obesity will overtake smoking as the biggest health problem of the decade. They are predicting a quarter of the population will be suffering from weight related diabetes by 2013. Doctors have coined the phrase “diabesity” to describe the condition, which is affecting a rising number of chronically overweight adults and children. In Australia researchers say 4 out of 10 children will be overweight within ten years. They said the proportion of children who are overweight is growing by at least one per cent a year. The average weight of Australian adults has increased five per cent in the past decade to 74.3kg according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics report. More than half (58%) of all men and 42% of women are overweight. It would seem that many adults underestimate the severity of their own weight problems. “They don’t recognize they’re in the obese level, so of course they don’t recognize they’re child is overweight”, one researcher said. “It’s very hard to educate people who maybe don’t see it or don’t want to change.

” Children as young as six are being treated for mature-onset diabetes, a condition once confined to overweight adults in their 40’s. Fatty diets and lack of exercise have also seen 10 year olds treated with cardio-vascular disease. These children could have complications such as eye, kidney, circulation and heart problems by the time they’re 20. The message needs to be put across to parents to encourage more physical activity and not let their kids sit in front of the computer or TV. FAT FACTS Obesity costs countries billions of dollars a year. Obese people lose, on average, six or seven years of life. A cup of whole milk contains 8g of fat. Skim milk has 0.5grams. Obesity makes children so unhealthy and miserable that their quality of life is worse than children having chemotherapy to treat cancer. A meat pie contains the equivalent of 6 teaspoons of fat. A Big Mac gives you just under 25% of your daily intake of kilojoules in one snack. A can of soft drink contains 9-10 teaspoons of sugar. Obese children are 27 times more likely to get diabetes and their chances of heart disease are doubled. Check you BMI (Body Mass Index) today to see what category you fall into at: http://slim-n-trim. org/?refid=artcit-30495 -- You have permission to publish this article electronically or in print, free of charge, as long as the bylines are included. A courtesy copy of your publication would be appreciated.



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About carpal tunnel syndrome

Did you know that one in every one hundred people is affected by what is known as carpal tunnel syndrome at some point in their life? While commonly found in women in the thirty to fifty-year age range, carpal tunnel syndrome can affect nearly anyone, from assembly line workers, to surgeons and dentists, to secretaries and computer data entry personnel, to even those who play musical instruments or video games. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a very painful and progressive condition that occurs in the wrist, caused by compression to the median nerve. The median nerve runs into the hand starting from the forearm, and when it is squeezed or pressed at the wrist, the message carrying and receiving from the brain is inhibited. The name carpal tunnel syndrome, however, comes from the eight bones in our wrists that are known as carpals. They form a tunnel-like structure, hence the term "carpal tunnel syndrome.

" Compression of the tunnel walls is the most basic of causes of carpal tunnel syndrome. Other factors, such as congential predispostion and even trauma based injury can also be to blame. Carpal tunnel syndrome can develop quickly, especially if the wrist has been fractured or injured or rheumatoid arthritis has set in. In many cases, repetitve stress induced carpal tunnel strain can cause the syndrome, especially in those who spend a great deal of time typing. Symptoms of carpal tunnel can include tingling, numbness, and burning in the fingers, as well as the inability to make a fist or grip things. A person eventually loses the ability to squeeze things and may even find it hard to tie their shoes. In the most extreme cases of carpal tunnel syndrome, the patients are unable to determine hot or cold by touch. Treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome is available. Most physicians will advise against repetitive and exhaustive activities related to hand movement. Stretching exercises and medicines like corticosteroids can help in relieving the syndrome. However, if the condition worsens, surgery may be the only available course of treatment. If you feel as though you may be suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, you should consult your physician immediately to discuss symptoms and treatment options.



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Programming brief exercise order

One of the fundamental principles of exercise prescription, specifically resistance training, is the principle of exercise order. Which exercises do I do first? Which do I do last? Does exercise order really matter? From personal observations in the weight room, it would seem to many it doesn’t matter.

However, if you want an effective exercise program you must consider the order of the exercises. Multi-joint Exercises As a general rule you should perform complex multi-joint exercises first in your exercise routine while you are fresh. Typically, multi-joint movements require more skill and energy to perform. Such exercises include squats, deadlifts, bench presses, and pull-ups. Nothing annoys me more than seeing someone perform bicep curls until their head explodes, then go right into lat pulldowns (notice, lat pulldowns, not pull-ups…anyone who does pull-ups knows better than to work their biceps beforehand). Of course, there are exceptions to the rule. Such is the case when using the pre-exhaustion technique. For example, perform a set of dumbbell flys to exhaust the pectorals then going directly to a set of bench press. In this case, however, you are pre-exhausting the larger muscle group, not the smaller muscle group. Single-joint Exercises Since single-joint movements typically require less skill to perform and are not as taxing on the body, perform them after multi-joint exercises. Performing single-joint movements at the end of a workout session will ensure a more efficient and effective routine. Of course, there will be exceptions, which should be addressed on an individual basis. Note: Agility drills & Olympic lifts have been excluded from the discussion of exercise order. However, typically agility drills & Olympic lifts, respectively, should be performed before multi-joint exercises.



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Silhouettes creation using adobe photoshop

Do you want your image to have that commercial look? If you want to learn how to make a stunning background like what you always see on posters, follow these simple steps. When you read a magazine, try to focus on the ad pages. Can you see cigarette ad with valleys and lakes for a background? Or a waterfall that was set behind a bar of soap? These images are called silhouetted images.

When you say silhouette, it means that an image does not have a background of its own. It uses either text or other images as its environment. But before you can make this kind of image in Photoshop, you will have to create a Clipping Path first. The first step is to put your image before a white background. You can do this by cutting an image from one document and pasting it to another document with a white background and make the necessary modifications.

But, it is much better if you photograph your desired image and put a plain white paper or something for a background. Then, you can add text to serve as its background. That was easy. But what if you are required to use another image as a background? This can be solved by the Clipping Path. How do we use this? From the Selection icon located at the bottom of the Path palette, click the Make Work Path.

This converts any selected area in the image into a path. You can use the other selection tools to select an image. To select the white areas of the background, use the Magic Wand Tool. From the Select menu, choose Inverse to select the opposite areas.

When you click on the Selection icon at the bottom of the Path palette, the selected image will be made into a path. Use the Pen tool to adjust your image. Now, you will have to set your path to Clipping Path. To do so, from the path palette submenu, choose the Clipping Path.

A dialog box will open. This allows you to choose which path to use as a Clipping Path. Now you can save the file in EPS or TIFF file format. This will mask your bitmap image when placed into page layout drawing programs or drawing software. Through this, any bitmap image will have high quality and will be resolution-independent.



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An introduction to jewelry making

I think that one of my favorite crafts is jewelry making. Beads should be part of any well-equipped jewelry making kit. I love the choice of styles that jewelry making allows you to try. The range of materials that you can use for jewelry making also means that their possible uses are limited only by my imagination. Even though I was not a particularly experienced craftsperson I soon found that I enjoyed jewelry making and created wonderfully original jewelry. Of course, I now wish that I was capable of far more intricate jewelry making but at least I am always improving on the ones I made before! I enjoy jewelry making using a variety of different materials. It is fun to look at what I have handy that I can convert into pretty jewelry.

One of my favorites is using strips of colored paper for paper mache jewelry. My kids love tearing pictures out of glossy magazines and we try jewelry making together, well, almost! They prefer to move straight to the decorating stage and I have found that dried macaroni makes an ideal bead. The tubes of pasta have a ready made hole for threading and can be painted easily. We also use clay quite a lot when jewelry making, probably because kids enjoy molding the shapes. I have to take over the baking part but once that is done they can decorate and varnish their creations and continue with their jewelry making. Of course jewelry making is made more fun if you can give the jewelry to other people to wear. I like creating necklaces and earrings to give as gifts. People often appreciate handmade goods more than shop-bought ones, but more importantly I save a fortune with my crafty offerings! My kids like making friendship bracelets for their mates and have recently got into using lettered jewelry to make up people’s names on necklaces. A lot of kids wear them round here and also have become interested in jewelry making too! I use a lot of different materials as a base for my jewelry making. It would probably be impossible for me to remember all of them but I like using leather cord and jewelry metal the most. I have tried almost anything that I could thread a bead onto probably! Nowadays I do not have the time to dedicate to jewelry making that I once did, in fact I probably haven’t made anything for over a year due to our latest addition but when she is older I may well teach her the basics too.



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