Friday, September 23, 2016

10 Essential Internet Resources For Students Of All Ages

This list is based upon one premise: You are a student who needs specific information now–without wading through a plethora of web pages, links that lead to more links and other such time wasters.

For those with a slower internet connection such as dial-up, keep in mind that most of these internet sites contain a link to a fast-loading text version of the site.

1. The Free Dictionary by Farlex
An online dictionary and thesaurus also including some specialized dictionaries (medical, legal, etc.), an acronym and idiom finder, an encyclopedia, several foreign language dictionaries and a nifty feature that lets you type in a series of letters to come up with a list of all words that begin or end with those letters.

2. Merriam-Webster Visual Dictionary
For those who are not familiar with visual dictionaries, you are going to wonder how you ever got by without one. This is basically a picture book arranged by topic. You find the picture of what you are looking for and it gives you the name. For example, you are researching architectural styles for a term paper you are working on in art class. You know what the style looks like, but you don’t know the name of it. Begin with the broad theme of “Arts & Architecture” and keep narrowing your search through a series of subtopics until you reach “Elements of Architecture” and find a picture of the style you were looking for. If you can find a picture of it, you will then know the name of it.

3. WebMATH
“Quick, I need the formula for converting Celsius to Fahrenheit.” “I never thought I would need to know the quadratic formula again…until now.” Yes, and even “How do I add six plus two?” If you are stumped by a mathematics problem, don’t panic. WebMATH is a lifesaver. What I find so useful about this site is that the authors had the forethought to break down the mathematics assistance by age groups and subject: K-8 Math, Algebra, General Math, Plots & Geometry, Trigonometry & Calculus and so on.

4. The Basic Elements of English (
Published by the English Department of the University of Calgary, this online style and grammar guide is broken down into five categories: parts of speech, sentence elements, punctuation, word use and marking guide. Let’s say you are writing an essay and you just finished a sentence; but you cannot remember whether those pesky double quotes go on the inside of the punctuation mark or the outside. Visit this web site and click on the “Punctuation” button, now click on the link that says “Quotation Marks,” then scroll down to where it says “Punctuation and Quotation Marks.” There you have it–those double quotes belong on the outside of your punctuation mark, except in the case of two rare exceptions.

Bartleby bills itself as “The preeminent internet publisher of literature, reference and verse providing students, researchers and the intellectually curious with unlimited access to books and information on the web, free of charge.” That’s quite a mouthful, but let me see if I can simplify it a bit. This site is broken down into four drop-down menus: reference, verse, fiction and nonfiction. Click on one of the drop-down menus and choose the book you are looking for. All of the tried and true classics are here–Strunk’s Elements of Style, Gray’s Anatomy, Oxford Shakespeare, Bullfinch’s Mythology, Cambridge History, Yale American Verse, Byron, Tolstoy, Woolf, Emerson, Voltaire, Whitman-yes, even Emily Post on etiquette and Fannie Farmer on cooking. As for me, I could pour through Bartlett’s and Simpson’s Quotations for hours. Do not end up like me; go right to the book you need and stay on topic.

6. The World Factbook
The World Factbook is published annually by the Central Intelligence Agency. I call it a cross between a gazetteer and an atlas because it has elements of both. Here you will find online maps for practically every country and location in the world as well as flags of the world. Statistical data on each country is presented in a visually appealing and simple layout arranged under eight major headings: geography, people, government, economy, communications, transportation, military and transnational issues. Under these major headings, you will find information as diverse as climate, terrain, geographic coordinates, demographics, ethnic groups, religions, life expectancy and legal system.

7. The Internet Public Library
Maintained by a consortium of colleges and universities across the United States, the Internet Public Library is just what it says it is. Most anything you would find at your local library, you will find here. For the younger crowd-students anywhere from the first through the twelfth grades, be sure to check out KidSpace and TeenSpace located toward the bottom of the menu on the left-hand side of the page. There you will find library resources especially tailored for your age groups. I was pleasantly surprised to find the “Ask an IPL Librarian” feature on this site which allows anyone to ask a question and receive a reply from an actual human being. Bear in mind, though, that it takes about three days before you receive a reply.

8. ARTCYCLOPEDIA by John Malyon
Artcyclopedia bills itself as “The Guide to Great Art on the Internet.” Browse well-known artists by name, medium, subject or nationality. Explore art movements from Baroque to Neoclassicism to Tonalism and everything in between. Find artworks by title. Find art museums by name or location. Access a glossary of fine art terms and much more.

This site will translate a word, a phrase or a web page from a foreign language into English. Conversely, it will translate words, phrases or web pages from English into any widely spoken language and many lesser-spoken languages. This site also features several language identifiers. Many different translation engines are used so that if you are not satisfied with the translation results you are getting from one of them, just try another.

10. RhymeZone by Datamuse
( This tool is especially useful when you are composing anything from poetry to lyrics. Type in part or all of a word and RhymeZone will show you what words rhyme with it, sorted by syllables or letters. You have the option to include or exclude phrases that rhyme with your keyword. RhymeZone will also find synonyms, antonyms, homophones, definitions, related words and similar-sounding words to your keyword. Hey, I just found out that Kalamazoo rhymes with Timbuktu. Woo hoo!

Tags:10 Essential Internet Resources For Students Of All Ages

10 Easy Ways to Save Money While Studying Abroad

Studying abroad is very exciting but can be costly if you are not careful. It is important to save money where you can so that you will have more money for the fun stuff, such as shopping and sightseeing. There are several ways that you will be able to save money very easily. The following will provide you will ten ways to do so:

1. One of the best things to do is to set a weekly budget. Learn what the country’s currency is and know what the exchange rate will be. Will your money be worth more or less when you arrive? Research their cost of living as well so that you will be able to estimate how much money you will be spending each week.

2. Since you are a student, it is important that you purchase an International Student ID Card. It costs $22.00 and it is well worth the investment. It will save you money on everything from sightseeing to eating out at restaurants. It will also save you money at which ever airport you are at when exchanging currency. Without this card, you will have to pay a commission fee when exchanging currency.

3. Learn bus and train routes. Hiring cabs will get expensive. If you plan on using public transportation, investing in a monthly bus or train pass will save you money, rather than paying a fee every day.

4. When you arrive, talk to the locals. Ask them where you can get great deals on dining, grocery shopping, and buying your everyday necessities. They are usually happy to tell you which places are over priced and which places will get you the most for your money.

5. Get to know your local shopkeepers. If you are a repeat customer, shopkeepers are usually willing to make negotiations on merchandise prices. It is their goal to keep you coming back to buy more merchandise. If you see something that you like, ask the price and if you feel that it is too much money, let them know. A lot of the time, shopkeepers will give you a bargain.

6. When making calls to your family and friends back home, make sure that you are not paying high prices on calls. Buy calling cards with the best rate possible. Also see what the local phone company offers. Sometimes you can pay a low monthly rate to call home or a very reasonable price. If you are not having any luck finding good calling cards or phone plans, consider installing Skype onto your computer. Skype offers low rates on International calls.

7. Since you will be staying in another country for an extended period of time, it is important to study up on the local banks, just like you would at home. Find out what their fees are like. Are they reasonable? Fees will include surcharges, depositing fees, and interest rates.

8. Find out if there are any part-time jobs on campus. Before you start working in another country, be sure to know what their policy is on working. There are countries that require a permit in order for you to work.

9. Look into what the rent prices are like if you were to stay on campus vs. renting an apartment in town. Sometimes it is cheaper to stay on campus, as the rent will often cover all utilities. However, that is not always the case. If you want to save even more on rent, network with other students to see if you can find a roommate.

10. One of the easiest ways of saving money while studying abroad is walking rather than using motor transportation. If your campus is in a city, it is very easy to walk to the places that you need to go, rather than spending money on buses, trains, or cabs.

While there are many ways to save money while studying abroad, these are ten of the easiest ways. Some may vary depending on which country that you will be traveling to but no matter where you travel, it is always good to plan ahead so that your wallet is left with no surprises.

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10 Edge of Your Seat Thrillers, at the Movies

There ain’t nothin’ like watching a gripping thriller on the big screen. It’s even pretty thrilling on the little screen in your living room too. If you are in the mood to get your heart pumping and adrenalin jiving

then take a look at American Film Institute’s Top 10 most thrilling movies of all time…so far. Some folks may disagree with these choices as the most thrilling of all time, but I found myself gripping my seat and holding my breath when I watched these for the first and second time and third time and….

  • 1. Psycho (1960). I really don’t think anyone has come close to Hitchcock’s masterpiece. The whole aspect of this film was brilliant including the marketing. When Psycho was completed, Hitchcock placed a warning that pregnant women and people faint of heart should not watch this movie. He also killed off the star (Janet Leigh) early in the movie. This shocked the audience and kept them off balance. The shower scene has been hard to top. It’s rare if ever that we see a motion picture where the audience never sees the victim murdered but is horrified by the blood draining slowly in the shower. I was most horrified to see Anthony Perkin’s mama (Bates Motel) mummified and sitting in her rocking chair. That movie had very little gore, but it gave me nightmares.
  • 2. Jaws: (1975) One of the most memorable scenes in this movie was the first scene, as the young victim bobbed in the water like a cork. You didn’t know what was going on, all you could feel was her terror as she was getting eaten up and going under! And the music? Who could forget that music that fit perfectly with the sound of your own confused, beating heart. I would say this movie gripped me with terror. And when that big shark came up on the deck and ate up the captain…well it was more gory that Moby Dick, but unforgettable as it broke new ground in the horror movie genre.
  • 3. The Exorcist (1973) This movie tackles the devil in the most intriguing way. First you get the devil from a Oujia board, spit out pea soup and scare the hell out of your mother. Sales of Oujia boards plummeted and people who owned Oujia boards threw them out after watching this film. A teenager gets possessed by the devil, through a Ouija board (of course). Enter the Catholic Church and a couple of priests who fight the devil like a couple of super heroes. They rescue the girl (Linda Blair, who never got a decent role since) and absorb the devil. I suppose the most horrific scenes is Linda Blair’s face as it gets cut from the inside out, and the way her head turns all the way around. Memorable scenes that kept millions from sleeping at night.
  • 4. North by Northwest (1959) Here is another Hitchcock thriller I never get tired of. A poor schmuck, who is in advertising, gets mistaken for being some sort of agent or spy and is chased by some unknown organization. Cary Grant plays an innocent “Everyman” role to perfection as the guy who is confused and running for his life. The film is fast past and doesn’t fail to surprise you at every turn. Who can forget the crop duster sequence, when the plane flies low enough to cut Mr. Thronhill’s (Grant) head off. The scene on Mt. Rushmore is memorable as Eva Marie Saint and Cary Grant scramble to save themselves. This film as good today as it was in 1959 and worth watching again.
  • 5. The Silence of the Lambs (1991) Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins). Brilliant. Cunning. Psychotic. In his mind lies the clue to a ruthless killer. – Clarice Starling, (Jodie Foster) FBI. Brilliant. Vulnerable. Alone. She must trust him to stop the killer. This film keeps you riveted because of the dialogue. Sure there are some freaky gory scenes, like when Hannibal dines on the flesh of the guard with a bottle of Chianti. OR when the serial killer has sewn pieces of flesh together to make himself a mask of his victims. All that gross stuff is there to freak a person out. But the real gripper is the psychological chats between FBI’s Clarice Starling and Hannibal Lector.
  • 6. Alien (1979) Back in the 70s, it was rarely to see a female in an action packed heroic role as we do in this gory and scary movie. A mining ship, investigating a suspected SOS, lands on a distant planet. The crew discovers some strange creatures and investigates. The first unsettling scene is when one of the crew members comes back from the investigation, sits down to dinner, and an alien bursts out of his chest and escapes within the spaceship. Everyone of course is killed except for Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) who manages to save herself and a cat while she blows the creature into outer space.
  • 7. The Birds (1963) I was a kid when this Hitchcock thriller came out and I was scared to walk home from school after watching the scene when all the kids are running from the bird attack that swoops on an innocent village by the sea. The Birds is one of those grippers that stays with you long after you’ve watched it. This man versus nature film was probably ahead of it’s time because Hitchcock saw nature rebelling against man’s meddling with natural resources.
  • 8. The French Connection (1971) This drug smuggling, police drama earned five academy award nominations. New York City police detectives (Gene Hackman) and (Roy Scheider) on narcotics detail, try to track down the source of heroin from Europe into the United States. Suave Alain Charnier (Fernando Rey) is the French drug kingpin who provides a large percentage of New York City’s dope. This movie is perhaps the precursor to all drug trafficking-related shows on television today.
  • 9. Rosemary’s baby (1968) This film was Roman Polanski’s first American movie, is probably the precursor or signature piece to all “devil possession” movies. Rosemary becomes pregnant after a dark, nocturnal rape by a beast. Next you get your swarm of devil worshippers. What’s good about this movie is that it combine’s Hitchcock’s propensity for finding normality horrific. Ruth Gordon is appropriately diabolical in her elderly role as the well-meaning neighbor.
  • 10. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) Steven Spielberg brings back the old depression days, cliff hanger with two hours of action packed adventure. The serial like escapes by archeologist Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) had audiences in the theater laughing, and screaming at our hero as he races to save his life while he claims artifacts for museums and universities to study. Heart stopping races, fights and ghostly hauntings, makes this film one of my favorite seat grippers.

Tags:10 Edge of Your Seat Thrillers, at the Movies

10 Engagement Rings Without a Diamond

Though the diamond is still the most popular stone among couples getting engaged, it is not the only choice.

There are many reasons someone may choose a stone other than a diamond. Diamonds aren’t every girl’s “best friend”. Surprising I know, but not every female on the planet loves diamonds.

Price may be another reason to go with a gem aside from diamond. Diamonds can be very expensive.

The ring can be a simple band, if that is what pleases you. The engagement ring is very personal. As long as you love it, any ring can symbolize your engagement.

A family heirloom ring; either on the side of the bride to be or the groom to be can be used. Many families have rings that are passed down. I know of one family that had a gorgeous cameo that is over a hundred years old, it has been passed down as an engagement ring quite a few times now.

If money is an issue, sometimes a couple will choose cubic zirconias. Cubic zirconium resembles a diamond and is much less expensive.

This stone is easily found in almost any jewelry store. They can be set in both simple and elaborate settings.

Moissanite, a mineral also known as silicon carbide has become very popular in jewelry stores in recent years. Though it was first found in a metorite; Moissanite that you will get in a ring setting will be man-made in a lab. Moissanite can sometimes be pretty pricey because of the process it takes to create it, though the price is still less than a diamond of the same size and clarity. JC Penney stores even have a section in their jewelry department devoted to Moissanite. The popularity of this mineral make it easy to find a nice variety of rings.

The Sapphire gemstone comes in many colors. The couple that prefers color in a ring but doesn’t want to or can’t afford the price of a colored diamond has sapphire as a nice option. Sapphires can be pink, dark blue, purple, orange and green. Cut, clarity, color and carat are all factors in price just like a diamond.

Local jewelry stores will carry sapphire rings and other jewelry. Knox Jewelers in Minnesota have a website with many beautiful color photos of custom design work. Take a look at their website to get your own quote or to have your engagement ring custom made.

Canary yellow sapphires are beautiful if you like the look of the yellow diamond.

Pale pink sapphires are a much much less expensive alternative to the pink diamond.

Aquamarine is a beautiful light blue that can be cut into many different shapes. Because of the color this gem looks particularly nice in silver, white gold or platinum settings.

Pearl is another option to look into if you want something different yet goes with everything. Pearls can be white, pink, champagne or even black in color.

Most, if not all of these engagement ring options can be found in your local jewelry store or on jewelry websites. is one of many online jewelry stores.

It matters not if your engagement ring is diamond, from a bubble gum machine or a lifesaver. All that matters is that you love it and it came from the heart.

Tags:10 Engagement Rings Without a Diamond

10 ESL Idioms About Animals

ESL idioms were mentioned in another fun story by me previously. Today we focus on expressions involving animals. Our friend Eric takes the place of Cheating Johnnie. You will enjoy Eric’s antics of eating too much, and getting in trouble with his parents while we learn.

1.Horse around- We say this when two people play very rough

Example: Eric’s dad was so mad at him yesterday. Eric almost broke his dad’s favorite tool. His dad yelled, “Don’t Horse Around!”

2. Nest egg- This means to have money saved for the future.

Example: Eric’s dad told him that the family has a nice nest egg. They don’t worry too much about money.

3. Pig out- This is to eat way too much of something.

Example: Eric weighs 200 pounds and he is only five foot tall. He loves to pig out!

4. Until the cows come home- Cows are very slow. It takes them a very long time to come home. This means you will be doing something for a very long time.

Example: Eric loves to play video games until the cows come home.

5. In the dog house- Some dogs only sleep outside in their dog house. We say this if somebody is in trouble with a loved one.

Example: Eric got all D’s on his report card. He is in the dog house.

6. Kill two birds with one stone- This is to get two things done at once.

Example: Eric’s mom needed to buy him shoes, and socks. They got the socks at the same store they bought the new shoes.

7.Get the lion’s share- Lions normally get the biggest percentage of things.

Example: Eric is so greedy with food. He always goes for the lion’s share at dinner.

8. Make a beeline- Go straight for something.

Example: Eric always makes a beeline for the dinner table when his mom says it is ready.

9. Let the cat out of the bag- This is to let go of a secret.

Example: Eric was upset when his mom let the cat out of the bag that Santa Clause is fake.

10. Raining cats and dogs- It means the weather is raining very heavily.

Example: Eric didn’t go anywhere yesterday. It was raining cats and dogs.


What is your favorite idiom about animals? What idiom is the hardest to understand? Send me a message if you need further clarification.

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10 Essentials in Dating: Be Proud, Not Cocky

To get better dating results, you should be proud, not cocky. At certain times our solemn desire to impress could end up getting overboard and insulting our dates making them become distant or totally break off from us. In some situations, we exaggerate and become obnoxious to our partners.

It is reasonable that you would want to come notable and alluring to your dates. You would want to be a very likeable and interesting person into their eyes. You would find ways to make an impact on them and would want your dates to feel your genuine effort in making such an occasion pleasing for her as possible. Yet, in doing such, you should not be cocky but be proud in the way you try earnestly at impressing your dates.

Here are some of the important tips to help you steer away from becoming cocky and staying proud during your dates.

1. Don’t ever bother your date with past-long-term relationships. Generally, people hate nothing more than to hear, either good or bad, past relationships of others. They are inured to enjoy the special occasions and naturally they would want the evening to revolve around the two of you.

2. Don’t come on too strong, especially on your first date because this is a major turn-off! You must go forward and start the talk about things related to marriage and the like.

3. To be proud and not cocky does mean that you should not talk about other people whom you’re presently dating. This will give a bad signal to your date.

4. Avoid remarking on the beauty of other people during your dates. Direct your attention and time on your date.

5. Do not dwell on your share of past and traumatic experiences. You should wait until your partner becomes comfortable with your relationship after a sequence of dates before you talk of more personal things.

6. Don’t crave for compliments pointlessly since you might end up being too desperate for attention.

7. You must give your date compliments since this will break the ice, especially during your first date. Compliments that are meant for you do not count!

8. Avoid using your cell phone because it will be rude to your date. You should give undivided attention to her and the last thing she would like is getting you distracted by a call.

9. Avoid drinking too much because it can lead to a disastrous date! It will ruin a good first impression about you.Last and most important of all, don’t be late! Don’t make your date wait for you.

Tags:10 Essentials in Dating: Be Proud, Not Cocky

10 Easy Ways to Maximize Kitchen Cabinet Space Without Remodeling

Unless you intend on remodeling or replacing your existing kitchen cabinets, you need to work with what you have. Use these easy steps to help maximize your existing cabinet space, without remodeling the kitchen, and stop wrestling with rolling Tupperware covers and unruly cooking pan covers.

Easy Ways to Maximize Kitchen Cabinet Space without Remodeling

1. Take Inventory

Remove all cooking items including pots, pans, baking pans, measuring cups and storage containers from their crammed spaces in the kitchen cabinets. If you have items that are so unfamiliar to you because they never get used, donate them to someone who can use them.

Other items to discard include stray storage container covers without bottoms. Reuse them as paint trays, in arts and crafts, or recycle them.

2. Sort: Daily, Entertaining/Weekend, Seasonal

Sort the items into different boxes, bins or their own designated spaces on the kitchen cabinet, at least temporarily. Cookware that is used almost daily, or every time you cook should be in one pile.

Kitchen items you use purely for entertaining including large pitchers or serving platters should go in another pile. Appliances or items you use only on the weekend, which could be grilling utensils, a pasta maker, blender or waffle iron also receive their own pile

3. Find a Countertop Home

The appliances which you use every day need to be left on the counter top. It may seem like a good idea to tuck them away in the cabinets to give you counter space, but this will become tiresome when you need the item every morning or at dinner time.

4. Uncommon Housewares

Restock your cabinets by placing uncommon housewares in the far corners of the cabinets, if you do not have pantry storage.

5. Hooks and Doors

Depending on the depth of your cabinets, you may be able to successfully hang small frying pans on the inner doors of cabinets. Use sturdy screw in hooks. Check that the hook size is large enough for the frying pan handle hole. Also be sure you can screw the hook into the door without it coming through the front.

Hooks may also be used to hang lightweight items including long spoons, pot holders, towels or measuring spoons.

6. Pull-Out Cabinet Racks

Install sets of pull-out cabinet racks to corral you pots and pans. These are less expensive than you might think.

7. Butcher Block on Wheels

If adding a stationary butcher block is not the budget, purchase a small butcher block on wheels. It’s an easy and inexpensive way to add countertop space and storage to the kitchen.

8. Clean Out Drawers

Use stackable storage bins to organize utensils in drawers. Remove any lightweight items including aprons which could hang on hooks behind doors. An instant way to maximize your kitchen storage is to lose the junk drawer. Buy appropriately-sized storage containers for batteries, stationary, office supplies, tools and any other items that have been taking up valuable space in a kitchen drawer.

9. Baking

Also make a separate pile for kitchen gadgets and appliances which have seasonal uses, including crock pots or holiday baking accessories. Baking accessories including rolling pins, cookie cutters and cookie presses may be organized into their own drawer, or in a storage container with drawers that fits into your cabinet space.

10. Add Corner Shelves

Take a hard look at your existing cabinets. Is there a place on the outside where you could add open corner shelves or short shelves for small items? The cabinet near the stove, around a window, or above a refrigerator could all be places where you can expand your kitchen shelving space.


Personal Experience

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10 Factors to Consider when Moving Abroad

Deciding where you will live and work abroad is a major decision no matter what stage of life you’re in. Going over these factors will help guide you in making the decision that’s right for you.

1) Language

What is the local language used outside of the workplace for daily transactions? Chances are that you’ve been offered a job where you’ll primarily be speaking a language you are comfortable in, but what about when you’re doing your banking or grocery shopping? You may it frustrating to use hand motions to make yourself understood, or on the other hand you may be moving to a foreign country in order to learn the local language. If you want to immerse yourself for language learning, it would be advantageous if less people spoke English so that you’d have adequate opportunity to speak the target language. If you aren’t interested to learn the language, but you want to be able to do your errands without much confusion, it would be better for you if a higher percentage of people spoke a language that you can also understand.

2) Transportation

Is your company providing a car or a driver? Is the public transportation good, and is it safe for foreigners to travel by? In suburban areas of major cities worldwide it is generally an advantage to have a car. How do the people drive? It is too chaotic and crazy for you to drive safely? Do they drive on the same side of the road as you? Would you be able to afford buying and maintaining a car on your proposed salary? These are important questions to ask if you want to be able to get around in your new hometown.

3) Community Life

When you move abroad, do you plan on spending the majority of your free time with other expatriates, or with locals? Either way, you should look into how large the expat community is in your city. You may not be able to have a very good social life with merely three other foreigners, and you may be overwhelmed if foreigners outnumber the locals. Is it easy to interact with and socialize with locals? How different is the surrounding culture? In some places, like Saudi Arabia, it can be difficult for foreigners form intimate friendships with locals. Foreign workers may also be restricted to life on a secure compound.

4) Living Arrangements

Make sure your company gives you detailed information about your proposed living arrangements. Are your utilities paid? Is your rent paid? Is your place completely furnished or partially furnished? Is there a settling in allowance, and how much is it? Is there a shipping allowance so you can ship your personal effects abroad? Does the school provide housing, or are you expected to find it on your own? How many bedrooms will you have? How many bathrooms will you have? What exactly does the kitchen look like, and do all the appliances work? If you’re a single, will you be expected to share with other singles or will you have an independent flat? What does security look like?

5) Leisure Activities

You should also find out what types of leisure activities are available. Is there a gym, a pool, or a riding club nearby? Are there any people interested in playing soccer? The job may be the most important thing, but leisure activities should also play into your life overseas. If you love ballroom dancing, but dancing is considered taboo in your overseas home, you may feel like you’re missing out on one of your favorite hobbies.

6) Freedom for Women

Even if you’re a single male, this is a question you’ll want to consider. How easy is it for women to travel independently in the country? Can women drive and take public transportation easily? Are there any restrictions on dress? Can single women and met meet up casually in public or in private? In some countries, a man could be jailed or even killed for meeting up with a woman in public! If the meeting takes places in private, the consequences could be even more dire. Local women in some regions have been killed by their own family members for so much as a sideways glance at a man who was not her husband. Men as well as women need to be aware of any cultural or legal restrictions on women that you are not used to abiding by.

7) Weather

This may seem like a silly question, but can your body handle the 50 degree C (122 F) temperatures of much of Asia and Africa? How about the extreme cold of Siberia? Will you get monsoon rains, and does the city flood? Are roads blocked in winters? Do weather conditions create breeding grounds for malaria bearing mosquitoes? Think long and hard about a city’s of region’s weather before you decide if it’s the right place for you. Don’t assume you’ll always have electricity or power to keep you in your comfort zone!

8) Shopping

Are you a name brand type of guy or gal who never goes generic? Well, know now that your favorite brands and products may not be available everywhere in the world. If you’re planning to move to Europe, Australia or major cities in South America and Asia, you can be pretty sure that most products will be available at the local supermarket or a specialized import store. Outside of main cities, you may not be so fortunate. Some products, like tampons, are unavailable in the entire Middle East region, save major cities and places where there are large expatriate communities. If you absolutely must have your special hair gel or your favorite cereal, it may be better to bring it with you.

9) Cost of Living

What is the average cost of living in the city you plan to move to? What is not covered by your salary package that you will need to pay for out of pocket? Is your goal saving or just making ends meet? If your goal is to save, you may surprisingly be able to save more in Asia or the Middle East than in a European country where the cost of living is considerably higher. Do a little research to see average prices are and subtract that from your budget to see how much, if any, you’ll be able to save while overseas.

10) Salary Package

For most applications, this is probably the most important point. There are many expenses incurred when settling and living abroad that you may not be counting on. Ask potential employers if the following aspects are covered, and if yes, how much cash value they have.

  • Housing (Rent & Utilities)
  • Settling in Allowance
  • Shipping Allowance
  • Medical & Dental Insurance
  • Life Insurance (Does it apply to you only, or your whole family?)
  • Return Airfare or Travel Reimbursement
  • Paid Vacations
  • Professional Development
  • Local Transportation – Work Related and Non Work Related
  • Visa Fees
  • Annual Salary (How is it paid and in what currency? Is it tax free?)
  • Education for Children

By discussing these questions with your family and researching the different factors, you should be able to make an informed decision is living abroad is the right choice for you. You should also be able to compare two or more options in order to see which is the best choice according to your lifestyle. If you’re not quite sure why you want to live overseas, it’s a good idea to have a clear answer to that question before looking at the above factors.

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10 Factors That Decide Human Poisoning Fatalities

Like it or not, the poisoning of human beings is a very serious, constantly-worsening problem in the US. Although the numbers that delineate how many people are deliberately poisoned are a bit hazy (either through homicide or because of suicide), detailed data on unintentional poisoning incidents does exist. According to the CDC, in 2006 approximately 75 persons were unintentionally poisoned per day; in fact, 27,531 persons died from this problem in that same year. The rates in this category, furthermore, went up by 63% from 1999 to 2004. Of all those incidents, 96% were drug related.

As for the number of persons who are being systematically poisoned by environmental and food-related toxic materials, there are no specific, reliable sets of data, although many experts agree that, not only is this taking place, but that many people are not only getting sick but actually dying because of these circumstances. These “circumstances” include exposure to poisons like hydrogenated oils, artificial sweeteners, sodium nitrites, etc., being deliberately injected into processed foods, the toxic substances being released into our atmosphere, into our land and into our air, and such supposedly-beneficial things as amalgam (mercury fillings) and fluoride. These are just a few of the many dangerous things that most people are daily being exposed to, ostensibly without their being told about their short and, more importantly, long-term toxicity.

Regardless of the source of the poisons, it behooves all of us to not only be aware of all the dangers of the toxins all around us, but to understand what circumstances decide how dangerous these things are and what controls how they ultimately affect us. In general, the following circumstances dictate what a poison will do to us and to what extent:

1. Dose levels. Naturally, the higher the dose of the poison in question, the more danger we are being exposed to. As it turns out, our bodies can withstand some amounts of most poisons, but there is usually a tolerance level beyond which we dare not be exposed to. Additionally, some poisons that we absorb or are exposed to pass through our bodies and are, hopefully, ejected; others, on the other hand, like mercury and chromium, can accumulate in our bodies-for these types of poisons, even small, supposedly-harmless amounts can be harmful, in the long run.

2. Methods of administration. How a poison is given to us matters a great deal. While our skins can indeed absorb many things, exposure to the skin is generally not as dangerous as ingesting, imbibing or injecting the poison. Of all the methods of exposure, injecting the poison directly into our bloodstream or into organs is, of course, the most dangerous-probably because it has the quickest and the most lethal effects.

3. Tolerance and habit. As it turns out, we do develop some tolerance or, as it were, immunity from some poisons over a period of time. People who drink a lot, for example, are less likely to succumb to alcohol poisoning from just one overdose incident, their bodies having developed some resistance to alcohol’s effects-the only exception being if the person’s kidneys and liver have already been abused beyond repair or resistance. The same principle applies to those who have been using small amounts of illegal drugs; they may not succumb to, say, an overdose of cocaine or heroin or meth that someone else (who has never used these things) might easily die from.

4. Genetic and physiologic idiosyncrasies. Every human has a unique biochemical structure with its own unique hypersensitivity to the action and effects of a particular drug or poison. An individual with a pre-ordained genetic sensitivity to one particular drug may die from an exposure that most other people might easily live through.

5. Age factor. Naturally, children are a lot more sensitive to the effects of poisons, both on a short and on a long-term basis. For one thing, children are still developing and poisons, even in small amounts, can stunt or interfere with that development, as has been seen with exposure to lead. Children may also be more sensitive to smaller dosages of a poison or may die more quickly due to their biochemical effects.

6. General health of the subject-level of disease, if any. If the subject is already sick, a poison can have a quicker and a stronger effect than it would have on a healthy individual.

7. Toxicity level or intensity. As it turns out, every poison has a toxicity level. That level can depend on a number of factors, most notably on how much of the poison people are exposed to, how pure the substance is, in what form the poison is given (since some poisons are more dangerous as a gas than a solid, or vice versa), and for how the subject is exposed to the poison. Fortunately, this is one of the things that poison control centers specialize in answering questions about.

8. Availability of properly-trained medical personnel and good medical care facilities. After someone has been poisoned, their lives will often depend not only on how fast one can get them to a medical facility, but also on whether the medical personnel on duty are qualified to deal with the emergency and whether they have the appropriate equipment or medicine with which to deal with the poisoning incident. For snake venoms, for example, specific types of antidotes have to be readily available. In general, even the best-trained personnel and best equipped facilities may not be able to help a subject if no one knows what type of poison they ingested or were exposed to!

9. When treatment is given or made available. Without doubt, one of the most crucial factors that determine whether people survive a poisoning is whether they get treatment within a prescribed time. For some poisons, the window of opportunity within which treatment must be given is very small; if missed, the person will either die or undergo permanent harm. As a general rule, people who may have been poisoned need to seek or be given medical care as soon as humanly possible.

10. Ability to quickly identify the specific poison and access to a competent, accessible poison control center. Unfortunately, people who are exposed to a poison are often unable to say what they were subjected to and the people who find them may be as unable to tell medical personnel what they are dealing with. At this point, good detective and research skills may be the only thing that will save the poisoned victim. Through urinary and blood work, a careful visual inspection of the place where the victim was found, the symptoms displayed by the patient, any markings present on the person’s clothing, body and possessions, and detailed interviews of the person(s) who brought the person in and who maybe know personal information about the person, medical personnel can sometimes deduce what poison is involved and can, therefore, plot a course in how to save the person’s life, if possible. Although they cannot be of much help unless one knows the poison in question, poison control centers usually have life-saving information available 24/7 to healthcare professionals. Having access to one of these facilities can, therefore, be indispensable.


1. Soderman, Harry, & O’Connell, John J. (1962). Modern Criminal Investigation. New York: Funk & Wagnalls.

2. Adams, Mike. (2005). “The Mass Poisoning of Humanity: An Exploration of Human Stupidity.”

3. “Chronic Methanol/Formaldehyde Poisoning from Aspartame.” (2000):

4. Westveer, Arthur, Jarvis, John, & Jensen, Carl. (2004). “Homicidal Poisoning: the Silent Offence.”

5. CDC. (2010). “Stay Safe During Poison Prevention Week.”

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10 Facts About Olive Oil You've Never Heard

Olive oil has become an essential kitchen ingredient around the world. Olive oil is not only good for you, but it also tastes great and can be used in almost any recipe, dish or presentation. Here are ten facts about olive oil you may not have heard before.

1. Christopher Columbus introduced olive oil to America. Olive oil was one of many ingredients Columbus insisted on carrying on all of his ships. In 1492, Columbus brought olive oil to the Americas, though it was not widely accepted. It was later reintroduced successfully by Italian and Greek immigrants.

2. Olive oil is produced today the same way it was thousands of years ago. Olives today are still harvested by hand, collected in nets and placed at the foot of an olive tree. Several days later, olives are taken to the closest mill where stones weighing several tons crush the olives and pits into mash. Olive mash is then spread on to thin mats and pressed, separating the oil from the mash. This cold pressed method of extraction is the same way olive oil was first produced thousands of years ago. By contrast, olive oil that is mechanically separated is known as “virgin” olive oil.

3. Olive oil is a stretch mark prevention treatment. Beginning in ancient Rome, women began applying olive oil to their midsection when pregnant. The olive oil was said to reduce the appearance and formation of stretch marks. Today, many cultures still swear by this practice.

4. Olive oil is a fruit juice. Technically speaking, the olive is a fruit and the oil produced is a fruit juice. Olives are pressed to release their juices in similar fashion to oranges and lemons.

5. Greece is the world’s largest producer of olive oil. Greece produces the most olive oil per capita in the world, followed by Spain, Tunisia, Italy and Portugal. Italy exports most of its olive oil to the United States, where it remains the most popular oil.

6. Olive oil was anointed to dead bodies to mask the smell of death. Contrary to popular belief, olive oil has never been used as part of a religious ritual in death. Olive oil in ancient times was applied to the skin of the newly deceased, but only to cover up the smell of death.

7. Olive oil contains no cholesterol. One tablespoon of olive oil has 120 calories and 14 grams of fat, but no cholesterol. Seventy seven percent of the fat in olive oil is monounsaturated, 9 percent is polyunsaturated and the remainder is vegetable derived saturated fat. Virgin olive oils also contain antioxidants beta-carotene and Vitamin E.

8. Eye shadow was once made with olive oil. Women in ancient Greece created the first ever eye shadow by mixing olive oil with ground charcoal. Today, olive oil is a common ingredient in many makeup removal creams and oils.

9. Castile soap is made primarily of olive oil. Originating from Castile, Spain, the popular soap is made from pure olive oil, lye and water. Many well known skin care soaps today contain large amounts of olive oil.

10. Extra Virgin olive oil comes from the first pressing of the olives. The highest quality of olive oil is extra virgin. It is removed during the first pressing of the olive oil mash extraction. As a result, it is the least acidic and has the fruitiest flavor.

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10 Facts About Rice

Many people eat rice but give little thought how it got to their pantry. Rice is often seen as a cheap ingredient that is brown or white and is a mainstay of some ethnic dishes. This not only sells rice short but means that you are missing much when it comes to making the most of this versatile grain!

Let’s take another look at rice for 10 things you may not know about it. Rice is the most important food in the world for volume and the second most widely grown cereal, surpassed only by wheat.

1.In Asia rice is in some ways another word for food. It is a widespread food that is important to culture as a food item for the volume of people the country needs to feed.

2.There are two basic types of rice. The Japonica rice is a temperate climate rice that has hard grains that are sticky and moist when cooked. This is the most commonly used rice in Japanese cooking. Indica rice is a hot weather rice with long grains that break easily. This rice is fluffy and doesn’t stick together when cooked, most common in india as well as Tai and Chinese rice dishes.

3.Both types of rice have glutinous and non-glutinous varieties with individual characteristics. Non-glutinous is a general cooking rice that is somewhat transparent and less sticky, usually served as just rice. Glutinous rice is sticky which is used to make rice cakes, desserts and other snacks.

4.Rice is for much of the world a local food product with half of the world production consumed within ten miles of where it is grown, largely in Asia where there is a per capita consumption as high as 500 pounds per year. Thailand exports 5 million tons per year, the USA 3 million tons and Vietnam 2 million tons, making the top 3 shippers of rice worldwide

5.Beans and rice is a popular dish to add protein along with the health benefits of rice which is no cholesterol low fat and 160 calories per cooked cup. Rice takes on flavors very well, making it ideal for a variety of dishes.

6.Rice is best cooked at the time of serving but can be refrigerated for up to five days. Leftover rice is good in stir fry or can be rehydrated with a little water. It is also easily used for homemade chicken and rice or turkey and rice soup, in stews or even added to chili for a more filling meal.

7.White rice is 98% digestible due to removing the husk and bran, with less vitamins than brown rice which has more vitamins but is less digestible. In the US over a dozen varieties of rice are now available. Brown rice takes longer to cook and has a shorter shelf life although it can be packaged and frozen. Brown rice can take 40 minutes to cook while the white rice takes about 15. Both are a nutritious part of the diet.

8.Not just the grains are used. Rice sticks are twisted into fuel, fodder for animials, braided for rope, making paper and crafts as well as bricks and ‘rice dragon’ that is provided for silk worms to build cocoons. Hulls are used for packing items for shipment and bran is rendered for oil used in soap, cosmetics and health foods.

9.Wild rice isn’t a true rice but rather a grain from a North American grass.

10.In the US long grain rice has a grain that is 3-4 times longer than the width, and when cooked do not clump together. This is the rice often used in southern cooking. The medium and short grains stick together and are better for risotto, puddings, sushi and Asian dishes. Most rice eaten in the US is grown here by farmers in Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Texas, Missouri and Mississippi lead the production of 19 billion pounds per year, 85% of the US production.

Rice is a tasty, versatile grain for many uses that also stretches the budget. It’s a healthy way to cut the food budget.

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10 Fabulous Fun Games for Game Night

With all the techy gadgets around it still doesn’t replace good old fashion game night with family and friends. This article will give you 10 great games you can play on any occasion.

Twister. Now this game has been around for awhile and is still a favorite of many. Nothing like getting twisted with all your friends! Of course the older we get the more difficult it will be to play this game. We might actually injure ourselves or get into a position we can’t get out of! None of the less, still a great game to have around for game night.

Pictionary is another fun game for a game night. You don’t have to be an artist to play either. In fact, the worse you can draw the better! This is really fun when you get several couples together. You find out just how well your friends cannot draw! It can get quite comical.

If you have a lot of time then Monopoly would be a great game for the whole family. Even the young ones can get in on the action. This game can actually be a great learning tool. It teaches counting money and buying property. It is an added bonus when the kids can learn something and have fun!

If you have never played Phase 10 then I highly recommend this game. It is a fun game the whole family can play. It is also great because several players can play at the same time.

What would game night be without Charades? One great thing about Charades is all you need to play are people. Charades is a fun game for couples and for the whole family.

Some games now days are played using a dvd. Deal or No Deal is one of those games. You can experience the feeling of winning big money and taking chances, which is all Deal or No Deal is. Only draw back is you don’t actually win the cash.

Some good old fashioned games that have been around for ages and that are still fun to play are Checkers and Dominoes. They are simple games that anyone can play yet they are still challenging.

Card games. If you have a deck of cards then your game night is set. There are so many card games that are fun. I like Canasta and Spades. Do a google search for card games and I am sure you will find new games and how to play them.

Another great game to play is Scrabble. Now that game can get challenging! You may need to have a Webster’s dictionary handy though in case any word comes into question.

Now that you are loaded with game night ideas start planning your next family game night and have fun!

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10 Fabulous Home Improvement Ideas that Anyone Can Do

Home improvement is a fabulous way to exercise your artistic side. What can be more rewarding than fixing a home improvement problem yourself? You improve the quality of life in your home while saving money. An eyesore suddenly becomes a home improvement challenge. And beautiful ideas you see in magazines become your inspiration. Here are 10 fabulous home improvement ideas that anyone can do. They are easy to follow and cheap to make, and these home improvement ideas will solve very big problems indeed.

10 Fabulous Home Improvement Ideas:#1, HIGH & LOW CEILING MAKEOVER

A low ceiling will cut down on your heating bill by preventing hot air from rising too high. But a low ceiling can also make a room feel dark and claustrophobic. This is why many modern homes have high tray ceilings. But wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could have that high tray ceiling too, without tearing off your roof or paying more in heating costs?

All you have to do is create a visual illusion. It’s a fabulous home improvement trick to mislead the eye into thinking that your ceiling is higher than it is and architecturally concave. Anyone can do it with a piece of cardboard, a pencil and three shades of paint. Here are the easy home improvement steps for changing your flat tray ceiling into an elegant tray ceiling.

And if you have a high ceiling that dwarfs the room, making it feel big and empty, use an opposite illusion to trick the eye into thinking that the ceiling is lower than it really is. It’s a fabulous home improvement trick that anyone can do by following these easy home improvement steps to changing a high ceiling.

10 Fabulous Home Improvement Ideas:#2, REMOVE POPCORN CEILINGS

Removing a popcorn ceiling is a dirty job. But there is away to cut the dust by 90% and make removing a popcorn ceiling as easy as peeling a banana. The traditional method of spraying water is messy and time consuming, not to mention very dusty. But this fabulous home improvement idea solves all these problems. Simply use paint instead of water to moisten the popcorn ceiling, and suddenly removing it becomes easy. Follow these easy home improvement steps for removing your popcorn ceilings with paint instead of water.

10 Fabulous Home Improvement Ideas:#3, UGLY OLD DOORS MAKEOVER

Old doors usually look like flat, rectangular planks. They work perfectly well but are ugly to look at. Replacing them is costly and difficult. You have to measure every opening in your house and determine the precise location of every hinge, handle and lock. Get one measurement wrong, and the new door will not fit. But wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could keep your perfectly functional old doors and just give them a modern makeover? This fabulous home improvement idea is simple. Create panels for your old doors, glue them, paint, and you’re done. Here are the easy home improvement steps for making old doors look modern too.

10 Fabulous Home Improvement Ideas:#4, PLAIN BATHROOM MIRROR MAKEOVER

A bathroom mirror is usually very large. If it is just a plain bathroom mirror it can make the whole bathroom look plain. And if the mirror happens to be old, it might even have ugly rust stains along its edges. And yet, if the bathroom mirror isn’t broken, it would be a waste of money to throw it away. So what if you could make that old bathroom mirror look like one of those gorgeous showroom mirrors that you see in home improvement magazines? This fabulous home improvement idea is so easy anyone can do it by creating an elegant frame for the old mirror. Just follow these easy home improvement steps for turning your plain bathroom mirror into an elegant modern mirror.

10 Fabulous Home Improvement Ideas:#5, CREATE A FRENCH WINDOW

French windows look modern and elegant. Their panels slice the view outside into picturesque triangles, as if the French window were a frame on a painting. Old patio doors and large windows, in particular, can look so much better if they had a French window design. With this fabulous home improvement idea you can add a frosted illusion to your glass pane to create a faux French window for the cost of a can of paint. It’s a home improvement project anyone can do in less than one hour. Just follow these easy home improvement steps for creating your own French window.

10 Fabulous Home Improvement Ideas: #6, OLD FIREPLACE MAKEOVER

There’s nothing like a fireplace to add elegance to a room. But if the fireplace is old or soot-covered, the whole room will look old and dingy. There is a way to give your old fireplace a makeover. It’s a simple illusion created by color and texture, to give your old fireplace a modern, elegant feel. This fabulous home improvement idea requires only three shades of paint and a sea-sponge. With them you can create a faux brick pattern, for a modern surround to your old fireplace. Then refurbish your old mantel following a few easy home improvement ideas, and your old fireplace will look stunning. Here are the easy home improvement steps for giving your old fireplace a modern look on a budget.

10 Fabulous Home Improvement Ideas: #7, KITCHEN CABINETS MAKEOVER

The idea of painting your old kitchen cabinets instead of replacing them is well-known. But there are tricks to making this fabulous home improvement idea more beautiful and easy. For one, there is no need to sand your cabinets and inhale all that dust. Instead prime your kitchen cabinets in preparation for painting. Second, don’t just paint your kitchen cabinets. Create an antique, country pattern on them that will look like a custom paint job commissioned from an artist. Anyone can do it with three shades of paint and three paint brushes. Just follow these easy home improvement steps for painting an antique pattern on your old kitchen cabinets.

And if you have ugly old kitchen cabinet hardware, consider refinishing it instead of replacing it. You could have new kitchen cabinet hardware at the cost of two cans of paint. Its so easy anyone can do it. Just follow these easy home improvement steps to refinishing your old kitchen cabinet hardware.

10 Fabulous Home Improvement Ideas: #8, CREATE A FAUX WINDOW WITH SUNLIGHT

A faux window is the perfect solution for dark rooms, or rooms with no windows. Unlike a simple painting, the faux window will make the room feel more open. In addition, the faux window offers you the chance to have your dream view. And you can also add fake sunlight to brighten the room and complete the illusion. This fabulous home improvement idea is very easy and especially fun to make. Follow the guidelines for choosing the perfect view and finish for your faux window, and this home improvement project is sure to be a success. And add window treatments in the end for a foolproof illusion. Here are the easy home improvement steps to making the perfect faux window with fake sunlight.

10 Fabulous Home Improvement Ideas:#9, FANTASTIC CURB APPEAL MAKEOVER

Curb appeal will make your home look beautiful from the street. It will put a smile on your face when you come home and catch sight of your house, and it will give your neighbors something to smile about too. There are 12 fabulous home improvement ideas for making your curb appeal absolutely stunning. From a rock river to cheap metal wall ornaments, window boxes to the black-eye curse, these fabulous curb appeal tricks are so easy and fun, anyone can do them. So try all 12 fabulous curb appeal ideas, for an easy home improvement project that will add beauty and joy to your life.

And if you fall in love with the home improvement idea of having flower window boxes that bloom all year round, find out how to make them yourself. It’s very easy, especially if you start with plastic or wooden boxes that you can buy at home improvement stores. Don’t worry about the color of the cheap window boxes, since you can easily change it with custom finish paints. Just follow these easy home improvement steps to creating fabulous flower window boxes that bloom all the time.

10 Fabulous Home Improvement Ideas:#10, BACKYARD LANDSCAPING MAKEOVER

Backyard landscaping is good for us. It gives us a chance to be outside, relaxing in our garden with friends and family. The backyard garden is not for show. It’s a private getaway, and a fabulous home improvement opportunity. Create private seating areas, a colored hammock to match your flowers, a wheelbarrow garden and much more. Here’s a collection of fabulous backyard landscaping ideas, with easy to follow home improvement steps that anyone can do.


Modern wall decor is so beautiful but so expensive. And yet, with a little imagination you could create modern art yourself. The trick lies in texture and color, and the type of canvas you use. There are 5 modern wall decor ideas that anyone can do, but which will look as if they came out of a fine art gallery. The first is an abstract painting that plays with illusions of geometry and color. The second is a wood abstract painting that weaves waves together by simply using different colors of wood stain. The third is a cloth abstract artwork, which showcases a stunning fabric in a frame of rough cloth. The fourth is a closeup photograph, which shows reality from a fresh perspective. And the fifth is a 3-dimentional driftwood sculpture that is so easy to make, even children can help. In fact, all five modern art projects can be fun to create together with others. Simply follow the easy home improvement steps to creating your own modern art wall decor.

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10 Facts for Kids About Volcanoes

Searching for trivia about volcanoes? Are you a teacher preparing a lesson plan on volcanoes? Here are a few fun facts about volcanoes.

Everyday, somewhere on Earth, a volcano erupts.

Believe it or not, a volcano is probably erupting as you read this article. Fortunately, most of the volcanic eruptions are underwater. There are about 5,000 active underwater volcanoes, also known as seamounts. Sometimes the lava from seamounts will form into islands.

There are four types of land volcanoes.

Scientists have divided volcanoes into four different types. They are shield, cinder cone, composite and lava dome. Shield volcanoes have dull, broad slopes and are shaped like a shield. One example is Kilauea as seen here.

A cinder cone volcano is shaped like a mountain, with a wide hole at the top. The most active cinder cone volcano is Cerra Negro is Nicaragua. Click here to see it during an eruption.

Composite volcanoes are also called stratovolcanoes. They have a crater at the top which has a vent, or a cluster of vents. One well known composite volcano is Mt. St. Helens. Watch this video here of the eruption on May 18, 1980. Some other examples of composite volcanoes are Mt. Fuji in Japan, Mt. Hood in Oregon, and Mt. Rainer in Washington.

Lava domes are created after a volcanic eruption. The lava surrounds the vent of the volcano, forming a crater. They are commonly found on composite volcanoes. Mt. Pelee in the West Indies is one example. Watch a video about it here.

Even in frigid Antarctica, there is an active volcano.

Mount Erebus has been erupting for a very long time. It is surrounding by ice in Antarctica. It is the southernmost active volcano on Earth.

The land around a volcano after an eruption is usually very fertile.

Farmland that has been covered in volcanic ash is very fertile. The is one of the reasons why people will live next to a volcano, even though others see it as a time bomb. Crops usually do very well in the years following a volcanic eruption.

There are three types of volcanic eruptions.

Scientists have determined there are three types of volcanic eruptions: Hawaiian, Strombolian, and Plinian.

Hawaiian eruptions create runny, thin lava. They are beautiful and majestic. Watch this clip here to see it in action.

Strombolian eruptions produce heavy rocks, ask, smoke and lava. They are significantly mower powerful that Hawaiian eruptions and cause more damage.

Plinian eruptions are the most destructive. They usually do not produce lava, but emit deadly lava fragments, ash and gas. It destroys nearly everything in its path.

Some volcanic eruptions affect the entire world.

In 1991, Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines erupted, caused lots of death and destruction. Also, world temperatures dropped slightly. The pollution from the volcano caused the lowering of temperatures for a few years. Many harvests in the area failed because of the pollution and colder weather.

The most deadly volcanic eruption in American history happened on Mt. St. Helens in 1980.

Mt. St. Helens erupted on May 18, 1980. Sixty people were killed by the rocks, hot gases and ash. The ash covered an area of about 230 square miles. Hundreds of homes were destroyed. Miles of highways, roads, and railways were damaged. Even entire forests were knocked over like matchsticks.

Electricity can be made from the heat from volcanoes.

Heat from volcanoes is known as geothermal energy. It can be used to create electricity. Cold water is pumped down to the rocks. The rocks heat the water and it becomes steam. The steam is then piped to a power plant to make electricity.

Mudflows sometimes occur after an eruption.

Sometimes the mud on the sides of the volcano will slide downhill as a mudflow. This contains tons of mud and travels extremely fast. Mudflows often destroy everything in its path.

About 500 million people live on or close to volcanoes.

About half a billion people around the world live very close to volcanoes. Some of these are active, but many aren’t.

These are just ten quick facts about volcanoes. Volcanoes produce beautiful shows, but create much sadness and destruction as well. For more insight, please read “Ten of the Most Destructive Volcanoes on Earth.”

Volcanoes by Seymour Simon
Volcanoes by Daniel Rogers
Earth Erupts by Mary Colson
Volcanoes by Gregory Vogt

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10 Facts You May Not Know About Reds Second Basemen Brandon Phillips

In September 2011, a friend and I embarked on the opportunity of a lifetime when Cincinnati Reds second basemen Brandon Phillips treated us to a weekend in Denver to watch the Reds take on the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. It wound up being one of the most memorable trips in each of our lifetimes as Phillips not only supplied us with great tickets to a pair of weekend games, but he also paid for our flight, lodging, a couple of meals, and even treated us to some bowling. The whole experience was documented on the Reds fan blog known as Redlegs Review.

During the trip, my friend and I got the chance to become acclimated with one of Cincinnati’s most beloved sports figures. Phillips was very candid during his interactions with us and it led to the discovery of several things were not previously aware about the two-time All-Star. With this being said, here are 10 facts about the fan-friendly Phillips you may not know.

1) If he couldn’t play baseball for a living he said he would be a sports agent.
2) His favorite drink is milk.
3) His childhood nickname was “Spud”.
4) His favorite dessert is an original glazed doughnut from Krispy Kreme.
5) His favorite athlete growing up was former Reds shortstop Barry Larkin.
6) His signature fist-bump gesture after recording base hits is in tribute to his late grandparents.
7) He is an avid bowler who has at least three perfect games to his credit during his lifetime.
8) The Stone Mountain, Georgia native originally signed a letter of intent to play both baseball and football at the University of Georgia.
9) He is one of only three players in the history of MLB to have amassed 30 homers and 30 steals in a single-season as a second basemen.
10) He comes from a family full of professional athletes. He has a younger sister, Porsha, who spent the 2012 season playing for the San Antonio Silver Stars of the WNBA, and a younger brother, PJ, who is currently playing for the Long Island Ducks in the Atlantic League.

Jimmi Adair is the creator and publisher of Redlegs Review. The site is entirely dedicated to Reds baseball and has been an affiliate of the Fox Sports Yardbarker Network since June 2011.

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10 Family Favorites: Best Books to Read to Your Kids

“I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.”

My baby boys are 14 and 11 now. But they’ll never forget this sentimental line from one of my favorite children’s books. When they were small, I used to softly sing it to them at bedtime, lulling them into sweet dreams. The book is one of my favorite memories of bedtime reading to my children; reading is of my favorite parts of being a parent. Reading to your kids provides bonding, a soothing routine for both of you, and a natural launch into reading that will encourage a lifetime passion for books. Here are ten of the favorite books my husband and I have shared with our sons. They still sit on our bookshelves and will remain there, I hope, for our children’s children.

Love You Forever
Written by Robert Munsch
Illustrated by Sheila McGraw (Ages 4-8)

This poignant classic for toddlers and children tells a tale of the enduring nature of a parent’s love. A young woman holds her newborn son and looks at him lovingly. Softly she sings to him, “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.” Through simple words and charming, detailed illustrations, the story tells of the little boy’s journey through the challenging stages of childhood to manhood. The relationship between the boy and his mother takes a natural turn as the mother ages and the circle of life unfolds. My boys are at the age now where they would understand why the book is so meaningful to me as their mother. Maybe I’ll take it out one of these nights and read it to them, for old time’s sake. This book is one of my favorite gifts to give an expectant mom, particularly if she knows she’s having a boy.

The Children’s Book of Virtues
Edited by William J. Bennett
Illustrated by Michael Hague (Ages 4-8)

Time and time again we pulled out this compilation of stories, verses and fables, a children’s version of former secretary of state William Bennett’s “Book of Virtues”.

The book is divided into four sections, each covering stories that represent ten virtues. Some of the stories are familiar, some are not, but all offer positive messages about hard work, loyalty and truth that parents can feel good about instilling in young children. Chapter one covers courage and perseverance, with selections including “The Tortoise and the Hare” and “The Little Hero of Holland.” Responsibility, work and self-discipline encompass chapter two, which features “The Little Red Hen.” You’ll find “George Washington and the Cherry Tree” and “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” in chapter four, which covers honesty, loyalty and friendship. Beautiful illustrations accompanying each of the stories captivate the reader.

Written and illustrated by Ludwig Bemelmans

“In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines, lived twelve little girls in two straight lines…the smallest one was Madeline.” You know a book has been well-loved when the pages are separated from the spine and it’s a mangled mess. That’s what our copy of “The Big Book of Madeline” looks like. The Big Book is no longer in print, but the original “Madeline” and its five sequels are all still alive and well, along with Madeline dolls and all of the merchandise that surrounds this classic series. The precocious little French girl’s sense of adventure appeals to girls and boys alike and stands the test of time. Though if you asked my boys today, I doubt they’d admit how much they enjoyed Madeline’s mischief.

Dinosaur Bob and his Adventures with The Family Lazardo
Written and illustrated by William Joyce (Ages 2-8)

My husband introduced my sons and me to the wonderful world of this children’s author and illustrator. The book is set apart by its rich, vibrant illustrations, which appear to be set in the 1930s and convey all of the promise of that time. Joyce’s illustrations have graced the cover of several New Yorker magazines and his paintings can be found in national museums and art galleries. Pet dinosaur Bob moves in with the whimsical Lazardo family and craziness ensues. Bob can’t help but get into trouble all around town, whether that means being arrested for disturbing the peace or doing the Hokey Pokey with the Lazardos. Try any of Joyce’s other books, including the magical Christmas gem, “Santa Calls.”

No David!
Written and illustrated by David Shannon (Ages 3-6)

I can hear my 14-year-old as a four-year-old enthusiastically chiming in with, “No, David!” as we repeatedly read this book. Kids will be captivated by the illustrations of David Shannon, who tells an autobiographical tale based on drawings he made as a kid coupled with his mother’s frequently frustrated exclamations of, “No, David!” Your mischievous little ones will relate to David as he precariously straddles a chair to reach a cookie jar, runs naked down the street and launches a baseball in the living room, breaking a vase. Each picture tells the story; the only words accompanying the pictures are David’s mom’s exclamations. But all is not lost in the end, as David’s mom reminds him that no amount of living room destruction can match a mother’s love.

Imogene’s Antlers
By David Small (Ages 3-8)

This is a funny little story about Imogene, a little girl who wakes up and finds she has gown antlers. There’s a subtly positive message in how she so creatively handles the situation, unlike her mother, who can’t stop fainting whenever she looks at Imogene. The charming illustrations bring to life all the humor inherent in the tale. You’ll laugh at the surprise ending.

The Stinky Cheese Man and other Fairly Stupid Tales
By Jon Scieska and Lane Smith (Ages 4-8)

Some famous fairy tales are raucously retold in this sassy storybook. Little kids will laugh and laugh again when they hear, “Run, run, run, as fast as you can. You can’t catch me. I’m the Stinky Cheese Man!” Much of the book’s rebellious spirit may go over youngster’s heads, but once they’ve got some of these wacky rhymes stuck in their minds, they won’t soon forget them. These recycled tales definitely provide a change of pace for little listeners and storytellers alike. Just make sure you’ve got a sense of humor before you try to read “Little Red Running Shorts” instead of “Little Red Riding Hood.”

Where’s Spot?
Written and illustrated by Eric Hill (Ages 0-2)

Long before video games and interactive this and that, there was Spot, the star of the first lift-the-flap series of books. This may seem like a mundane choice, but the Spot series was among my children’s first favorites. Our copies of Spot stories are dog-eared and wrinkled from chubby little hands turning the pages and lifting the flaps. For three decades, toddlers have been looking for Spot in this series that entertains for hours.

Good Night, Mr. Night
Written and illustrated by Dan Yaccarino (Ages 2-5)

“When the sun slowly falls just over the hill, Mr. Night wakes.” This is the simple beginning to “Good Night, Mr. Night”, a gentle, calming tale designed to ease the minds of toddlers before they fall off to sleep. Mr. Night puts the world at rest, closing the flowers, quieting the animals and calming the sea. The dreamlike illustrations match the tranquil tone of this bedtime beauty.

In the Night Kitchen
Written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak (Ages 4-8)

While not as well-known as Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are”, the strangely hypnotic prose of “In the Night Kitchen” makes it a book you won’t forget reading aloud. In his dream of a night journey to a spectacular kitchen, main character Mickey falls into some batter and risks being made into cake. The illustrations are rich and dream-like. If you’re your child wakes up in the middle of the night yelling, “Milk! Milk for the Morning Cake!,” you’ll know why.

Tags:10 Family Favorites: Best Books to Read to Your Kids

10 Excellent Garden Gift Ideas for the Avid Gardener on Your List

Need garden gift ideas for the gardener on your Christmas, Birthday, or other occasion list? Here are ten great garden gift ideas to help make your Christmas or birthday shopping easier.

Garden Gift Idea #1: A garden gift card:Ask your local garden center if they sell gift cards. Chances are that they do. You can also buy one from your local Home Depot or Lowe’s. A garden gift card is a great Christmas present because it can be saved until spring is approaching.

Garden Gift Idea #2: Gardening magazine subscription:A subscription to a gardening magazine is a present that will really please an avid gardener, especially in the winter. A magazine subscription ranges from $10 to $39, which isn’t too expensive. Magazine subscriptions make a great Christmas present as the subscription gives the gardener something to read in winter.

Garden Gift Idea #3: Catalog salad: Procure five or more catalogs from five different plant vendors. Catalogs can be selected in relation to the gardener’s interest. For one, it may be plants; another may love outdoor statuary, still another may be a huge fan of water plants. Or you can mix in different catalogs from different types of plant vendors. A nice card with either a gift card or some money is a nice addition to this. This garden gift idea is perfect for Christmas or for late fall to early spring.

Garden Gift Idea #4: Book about gardening and plants: Is your avid gardener a bookworm, or has he or she always wanted to learn more on a specific aspect of gardening? A book on gardening can be the perfect garden gift, especially for Christmas. The gardener will enjoy reading the book in the winter while the plants are dormant. Nonetheless, this garden gift idea is good year-round.

Garden Gift Idea #5: Gardening Gloves: Most gardeners cannot be without their gloves, and since I know how awful dry dirt feels, I don’t blame them one bit. Gloves wear out in time, so a gardener can always appreciate having an extra pair of gardening gloves on hand. This garden gift is great for Christmas or any time.

Garden Gift Idea #6: A division of a coveted plant: The best part about this present is that it is free! Do you have a nice perennial plant that needs division that the gardener on your list has openly coveted? The only problem is that gifting the perennial plant is contingent upon a specific season of the year. Most plants can be divided during different times of the growing season with varying results. It is recommended to research the requirements of the specific plant before dividing it. For example, Iris plants cannot be divided while in bloom but can be dug in early spring and from June to frost, with the best time being July-August. Should the perennial plant be inaccessible, e.g., Christmas, the promise to dig the plant in spring can be given as long as you remember to carry out that promise. Make sure the plant is not protected with a plant patent before propagating.

Garden Gift Idea #7: A potted plant: Annuals are a great present in spring, while Chrysanthemums are great in fall. Perennials and shrubs can be given as presents as long as the garden center is open for purchase of the plant. Unfortunately, this garden gift idea does not work for Christmas.

Garden Gift Idea #8: Planter pots:Garden Centers sell a variety of clay, plastic, fiberglass, or wood planter pots that vary in size from a six-inch pot to a whiskey barrel. Is your gardener in need of container plantings or a big fan of them? These containers can be purchased with annuals already planted in them, often for a price cheaper than if the materials had been purchased separately. Again, this garden gift may be hard to find at Christmas.

Garden Gift Idea #9: Yard tools:Gardeners always can find a use for tools, but finding a tool that they are in need of can be a bit tricky. Should they be in need of a specific tool, then that tool makes the perfect garden gift. Tools are a great present at Christmas or any time of the year.

Garden Gift Idea #10: A can of gasoline: If the gardener on your list uses lawn mowers or other equipment, a small can filled with gasoline can be a nice present. A package of 2-cycle oil can also be included if the gas is to be used for backpack blowers or weed whackers. This garden gift is best during the season. Be sure to specify whether or not there is gas/oil mix or plain gas in the can. If used as a Christmas gift, the gas container can be left empty. Caution: Do not bring a can of gas inside a house. If wrapped, the can should be left empty.

So there they are, ten great garden gift ideas. I hope that this list makes your shopping easier this Christmas or occasion. Remember, all a great garden gift really needs to do is fill a need or want and put a smile on the recipient’s face.

Tags:10 Excellent Garden Gift Ideas for the Avid Gardener on Your List

10 Famous People From Oak Park, Illinois

The village of Oak Park, Illinois has been the home to some of America’s most successful people. Sharing a border with the city of Chicago, Oak Park was one of America’s first fully developed suburbs, and historically has been considered one of the most beautiful suburbs in America.

Ten of its most noteworthy citizens are described below.

Ernest Hemingway Born in a part of Oak Park, Illinois in what was a part of Cicero, Illinois at the time of his birth, Ernest Hemingway (July 21, 1899 – July 2, 1961) was raised in Oak Park and attended Oak Park River Forest High School. A world renown novelist, Hemingway won the Pulitzer Prize in 1953 and the Nobel Prize in 1954. Hemingway never showed much nostalgia about his hometown, and he once even described Oak Park as being a town with “wide lawns and narrow minds.”

Bob Newhart Born in Oak Park, Illinois on September 5, 1929, Bob Newhart attended St. Ignatius College Prep (the Jesuit school of choice for boys from Oak Park). After getting a business degree from Loyola University in Chicago and serving in the army, Newhart turned to comedy. His first album The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart won Newhart a Grammy Award. He would produce seven more successful comedy albums over the next twelve years. Newhart is probably best known for the highly successful sit-coms, The Bob Newhart Show, set in Chicago and co-starring Suzanne Pleshette and Newhart, set in Vermont and co-starring Mary Frann.

Dan Castellaneta Born in Chicago, Illinois on October 29, 1957, Dan Castellaneta was raised in Oak Park, Illinois and graduated from Oak Park River Forest High School. Castellaneta is a three time Emmy Award winner for his work on The Simpsons. He not only plays Homer Simpson, but more than a dozen of the other characters on the show. Castellaneta’s portrayal of Homer Simpson is the longest running portrayal of the same character on prime-time television in history. He just recently surpassed James Arness and Kelsey Grammer.

Ray Kroc Born and raised in Oak Park, Illinois (October 5, 1902 – January 14, 1984), Ray Kroc is best known for his creation of the McDonald’s chain of international restaurants. After purchasing the name McDonald’s from the McDonald brothers of California, Kroc brought the restaurant back to the Chicago area, opening his first McDonald’s restaurant in nearby Des Plaines, Illinois. In 1974, Ray Kroc purchased the San Diego Padres baseball franchise.

Frank Lloyd Wright Interestingly, the man that is today most closely associated with Oak Park, Illinois did not live there until he was adult. At the age of twenty-two, Frank Lloyd Wright purchased a plot of land in Oak Park and built his first home. He soon thereafter drew recognition for his unique style of architecture and started obtaining regular commissions, many of them from Oak Park residents. His “Prairie Style” of design was directly influenced by the challenges of having to design and build in Oak Park. A personal scandal involving the wife of one of his clients led to Wright’s leaving Oak Park in 1909.

Edgar Rice Burroughs Born in Chicago, Illinois, Burroughs (September 1, 1875 – March 19, 1950) was raised in Oak Park, Illinois. In 1912, he published a pulp fiction novel called Tarzan of the Apes, a book that would go on to make him famous as well as very wealthy. Burroughs would not only go on to write many sequels, he would break with traditional wisdom and aggressively attempt to cross market the Tarzan brand by creating Tarzan comics, movies, and merchandise. In 1919, Burroughs purchased a ranch in California and called it Tarzana. His ranch and the surrounding area would be incorporated as the city of Tarzana in 1928.

Betty White Though raised in Southern California, Betty White was born in Oak Park, Illinois on January 17, 1922 and is an Emmy Award winning actress. White began her television acting career in 1953 on a show called Life With Elizabeth. She has worked regularly over the past fifty-plus years; her two most note worthy roles are Sue Ann Nivens on the Mary Tyler Moore Show and Rose Nyland on The Golden Girls. Because of White’s quick wit, she has been a regular on such game shows as Password and What’s My Line?

Kathy Griffin Born in Oak Park, Illinois on November 4, 1960 and raised in neighboring Forest Park, Illinois, Kathy Griffin attended Oak Park River Forest High School and graduated in 1978. She is an Emmy nominated comedian and actress. She is best known for her portrayal of Vicki on the successful sit-com Suddenly Susan. She has also performed in two HBO Comedy specials.

Thomas Lennon Born in Chicago, Illinois on August 9, 1970, Thomas Lennon was raised in Oak Park, Illinois and graduated from Oak Park River Forest High School in 1988. He is an actor and writer and is today most well known for his portrayal of Lt. Jim Dangle on the highly successful Comedy Central show Reno 911! Lennon has also written the screenplays for the movies The Pacifier and Night at the Museum.

Judy Tenuta Born in Oak Park, Illinois on November 7, 1949, Judy Tenuta is a an accordion playing comedian who has starred in her own specials on HBO, Showtime, and Lifetime. She won Best Female Comedian at the American Comedy Awards, and her two comedy albums have both been nominated for Grammy Awards. She was the voice of Edna on Duckman, and makes regular appearances on television.

Tags:10 Famous People From Oak Park, Illinois

10 Fantastic Web Sites that Have Mother's Day e-Cards

When it comes to sending your mother a Mother’s Day card for Mother’s Day, the Internet has made it even easier with allowing you to send a simple e-card straight to your mother’s e-mail inbox. Sending an e-card can make things a little less complicated for you and bring a smile to your mother’s face when she opens up her e-mail to see that you cared enough about her to send her an e-card.

Now that you know that you want to send her an e-card, where do you begin shopping for one? Let me take the guest work out of your shopping by showing you the top ten best places to find Mother’s Day e-cards and most of these sites are free to use.

Mother’s Day e-cards: 123 Greetings

123 Greetings is one of my favorite places to find e-cards. They have a huge selection to choose from and I use them often for holidays. Their e-cards range in a variety from funny to sentimental. This site is free to use and well worth checking out.

Mother’s Day e-cards: Blue Mountain

Blue Mountain mainly carries e-cards that are sentimental and thoughtful. If you are looking for a sentimental or spiritual e-card to send to your mother this Mother’s Day then this is the site for you.

Mother’s Day e-cards: Greet2K

Greet2K has a wonderful selection on Mother’s Day e-cards for every mom. Their list includes general e-cards, for your wife, from the kids, funny e-cards, and many more.

Mother’s Day e-cards: Mother’s Day Greetings

Mother’s Day Greetings has a list that could go on for miles with their e-cards. On the main page is a selected group of e-cards that are the top e-cards used by people and to the left of the page is a list of different categories of e-cards. Their categories include e-cards for mothers first Mother’s Day, Mother’s Day hugs, belated Mother’s Day, and many more.

Mother’s Day e-cards: Hallmark

Hallmark has always been known for their cards and now they have e-cards that you can choose from. The reason I like Hallmark so much is because they allow you to personalize your e-cards just the way that you want it. Even if you choose to not personalize the e-card, you can still choose from their wide variety of e-cards.

Mother’s Day e-cards: Care2

Care2 carries a selected list of Mother’s Day e-cards for you to choose from. Their list includes e-cards that specializes in what is in a name, funny e-cards, e-cards for animal lovers, and many more.

Mother’s Day e-cards: egreetings

With their free Mother’s Day e-cards it is no wonder that many people choose to use them to let their mothers know that they are thinking of them this Mother’s Day. They have a very good selection on Mother’s Day e-cards and it is defiantly worth checking out.

Mother’s Day e-cards: 101Mother’s Day

This site has many e-cards to choose from and even has many different themes even for Mother’s Day. If you want to be funny or want a heart felt e-card to send, this site is for you.

Mother’s Day e-cards: American Greetings

American Greeting has a few free e-cards and then they also have a ton of e-cards that are for their members. If you would like to become a member or check out their current e-cards, you can do so by visiting their site. American Greetings is mostly known for their great e-cards and for allowing their members to personalize the cards before sending them.

Mother’s Day e-cards: All 4 Love

All 4 Love has some really cute Mother’s Day e-cards that you can send for free. After roaming around their site for a while I noticed that most of their e-cards are ones that are very heartfelt. I am sure that you will enjoy using this site.

Now that you know where to find an e-card for your special person, go ahead and go crazy by sending her one for each year that she has been your mother.

Tags:10 Fantastic Web Sites that Have Mother’s Day e-Cards

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