Tips to Reduce Audio Noise

If you attempt for recording your own music of if you have audio recording which is full of distracting background noise, you need to reduce the unwanted noise by using recording software which is available on your computer. Whether you are going to work with a music recording, speech recording or the other type of recording, you should be able to remove the unwanted noise in a way to capture the cleanest audio recording possible. At this time, this article is going to give you several tips that will guide you to reduce audio noise.

Firstly, you should turn on your computer and then open the audio recording program which is capable of loading the software effects plug-ins. If you do not have the application of this type installed, you can search for it first. You can choose among popular programs that include GarageBand, ProTools, Logic, Cubase, Digital Performer, Nuendo, Sonar and Reason.

Secondly, you should load the audio file which contains the noise that you want to reduce. You can use the "Open" or the "Import" option from the recording program menu for locating and loading the audio file into your audio project. If there is no audio file in your computer, you can simply plug in musical instrument or microphone into your computer by using audio interface for reducing audio noise in the real time.

Thirdly, you need to apply noise gate effect and also a compressor effect to the audio track that containing the unwanted noise. The used noise gate plug-ins typically includes Floorish and GGate. The popular compressors are Waves SSl and Blockfish VST.

Fourthly, you need to adjust the level on the compressor and noise gate. The compressor can make the audio to sound more uniform and also will remove any "pops" or "cracks" that created by the volume peaks.

Lastly, you can replay the audio that you have applied noise reduction effects. You have to make sure that the audio does not sound chopped or overly effected in any way. You can try to make comparison of the new audio file to the original for ensuring that you have appropriately reduced the noise.

Can Rabbits Change Gender / Sex?

I have seen this question on many forums and over heard breeders discussing the fact that their rabbit changed gender. In fact rabbits that have won awards at ARBA conventions as a doe, have been shown later only to find out it was actually a buck. Does this mean that a rabbit has changed sex?

Amazingly in nature there are some instances where an animal can change its gender. Take for example a clown fish. Clown fish live in schools. Within that school is a leadership structure led be a female clown fish. When that clown fish dies, the highest male in leadership takes over for the female and changes gender including reproductive functions. This is however a rarity for this type of biological change to take place. In fact there are even more rare cases of humans that have changed gender as a result of either 5-alpha-reductase deficiency (5alpha-RD-2) or 17-beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase deficiency (17beta-HSD-3).

Rabbits do not fall into that strange and rare category of animals that change gender. A rabbit born a buck, will be a buck at 6 months, will be a buck at a year. A rabbit born as a doe will be a doe and 6 months, will be a doe at a year.

At young ages it can occasionally be difficult for experienced breeders, and even more difficult for inexperienced breeders to sex a rabbit. The majority of “sex changed” rabbits are actually the result of rabbits mis-sexed by the breeder. We have rarely made this mistake. You can usually trust a breeder who has been breeding for several years.

There are other factors that can contribute to a mis-sexed rabbit. A buck with a split penis will often be sexed as a doe. Using unreliable techniques to determine the gender of a rabbit will often result in mistakes. We will soon have an article on how to properly sex a rabbit.

The bottom line is that it is genetically impossible for a rabbit to change gender. Next time you hear that, remember, its a rabbit that was not properly sexed.

Rob Usakowski

Maid of Honor Speech – 3 Simple Tips to Make it Great

So, you've got the pleasure of being a maid of honor at a wedding. Let me be the first to say congratulations! It's always an honor to be a part of any wedding, let alone hold the title of one of the most important roles. With that important role also comes an important speech. Are you fully prepared to give yours? Are you confident in what you have prepared?

Do not worry if your speech is not in tip top shape. Here's 3 simple tips that will help you craft an excellent speech:

1) Use Speech Samples

Make sure you use pre-written wedding speeches to craft your speech around. These give you excellent ideas and will show you how other wedding speeches are usually done. Believe me when I say they work tremendously, because they do!

2) Create an Outline

Creating an outline will definitely help you figure out what you want to say and help you organize it in a way that your speech makes sense. It essentially takes all of the jumble and scattered ideas and helps mold them into a great story. Do not slack on the outline, as it is one of the most important parts to creating a speech.

3) Use Some Humor

Your speech can be sentimental, but it should have some laughs in it too. Try to use some humor in your speech to break up the emotion in the room. Plus, a little humor is always a good thing!

Beside an outline, like I said before, you definitely need to look into using a pre-written speech to follow. It will make a world of difference!

The Basic Requirements of Speech Therapy For Children

A vigilant parent would do well to monitor a child who experiences persistent stuttering in order to assess the child’s situation. An option that responsible parents should strongly consider is speech therapy for children if the child is above five years of age and still experiences persistent stuttering.

Even though it is not considered a core discipline in any medical practice, speech therapy for children is actually an especially beneficial area of treatment for improving the speech patterns of a stuttering child.

The aim of speech therapy is to treat and cure a stutter. The discipline falls under the broad umbrella of speech pathology. However, speech therapy is not merely aimed at teaching a child to speak properly, but to set right a number of speech defects and correct a child’s pattern of speech. Prior to therapy, a therapist first must identify if a child’s speech defect is due to external causes such as accidents, or whether it is a natural defect.

Whatever the cause, a speech and language therapist must first and foremost determine the defect’s severity. Practically speaking, the severity of the defect directly affects the gravity of treatment rendered, i.e. there is a direct correlation. Treatment is usually moderate for something relatively simple like a stutter, and is more intensive for more severe speech problems.

Although the discipline requires time to master, there are specialists other than pathologists or therapists for speech and language (SLP) who are trained in speech therapy. Even a layperson can administer the relevant therapy as long as there is adequate guidance from an SLP. Therapy can be effected efficiently and smoothly as long as the person abides by the lessons and exercises that are drafted by an SLP for the child in question.

Based on this reasoning, a child’s parents are in a good position to administer speech therapy for children with an SLP’s guidance. However, parents have to be educated on the more commonly identified speech defects before they can determine the appropriate therapy.

There are three main speech defects in children, namely articulation defects, voice/resonance disorders and fluency disorders. Defects of the secondary physical features for speech (such as that of the lips, cheeks, jaw, teeth, tongue) characterize the first, while defects of the vocal cords and similar parts of the anatomy, i.e. primary physical speech features characterize the second. Stuttering is an example of a fluency disorder, which is not due to physical defects of primary or secondary speech features.

Differences Between Damask, Brocade, and Jacquard

Often times, uneducated individuals use the terms damask, brocade, and Jacquard interchangeably with one another. It can often confuse those who are unfamiliar with the world of fabrics. Jacquard is a decorative or woven pattern that is created by using a Jacquard attachment on a loom. The attachment resembles the punch card on a piano. It is purported to offer better versatility and fabric control for the operator of the loom. The Jacquard technique can be applied to a variety of fabrics, and it is commonly used on brocade and damask fabrics. It is commonly used in a variety of apparel and home goods, from tablecloths to bedding.

Brocade is defined as a lavishly decorated, shuttle woven fabric. It is primarily woven from silk; although, it is possible to find brocade constructed from a blend of silk and synthetic fibers. Often, it will be embroidered with gold or silver thread. Brocade can trace its origins back to India, where weaving is a traditional art form. It is typically woven on a loom, and it may or may not be woven using the Jacquard technique. It is also characterized by the manner in which the brocaded or broached parts of the fabric hang in loose groups or are clipped away. Although the scenes and patterns on brocade appear to have been embroidered, the scenes are actually woven into the fabric using advanced weaving techniques that involve manipulating the weft and weave of the fabric. The most common types of scenes depicted on brocade fabric are those of floral prints.

Damask, similarly to brocade, is a fabric that features woven scenes of floral patterns, intricate geometric designs, or simple scenes of domestic life. It may be woven of silk, wool, linen, cotton, or synthetic fibers. However, it is most commonly created from silk. It is primarily different from brocade in the fact that its woven fabric pattern is reversible, while that of brocade is not. Similarly, shorter weft patterns in damask allow for more subtle effects in the fabric to be created as it plays off of shadow and light. Damask weaves also contain a higher thread count than that of brocade. Double damask weaves are the highest quality of damask produced; however, it is also the most expensive.

How to Improve Physical Fitness

Everybody wants to be healthy and physically fit. Often times the dream to achieve this is overpowered by the lack of will and the failure to plan. There are times that you try to live a healthy lifestyle but fail. When things don’t work, try again. There are practical steps to get going with that healthy lifestyle.

1) Make a goal. This is easier said than done but goal setting should be the first step. It’s basically listing down realistic goals in terms of fitness. For instance, your general goal would be to improve physical fitness followed by the specifics which would include eating regularly and exercising three times a week. Under the main goals, you can put something concrete like eating only fresh, less sugary, and less fatty food, For the exercise tries to identify those that you can easily do like brisk walking. Try setting a time frame for a goal because without any parameters, you wouldn’t be able to move forward. For these two goals, you can put a time frame of one-month. After a month, you can evaluate your progress. Also ask somebody to keep you accountable. He or she could be a friend or a family member. Through this the plan won’t just slip away without being implemented.

2) Do the essentials. Sometimes basic nutrition is left-behind and we make things complicated. What about eating fruits and vegetables regularly instead of an all-meat meal or fast food? Another thing, don’t forget to drink water. This may be a no-brainer but many forget to keep themselves hydrated. Aside from drinking just plain water, sodas or other unhealthy drinks should be replaced.

3) Exercise Regularly. It’s ideal to do cardiovascular exercises daily and do stretches for other muscle groups in the body. Try doing it at a consistently at least three times as week. While working at the computer try walking every now and then so that the muscles can maintain activities and don’t get atrophied. To make exercising a habit, keep it going strong and steady. You can proceed to doing a daily a 30-minute day workout. Exercising along with proper diet can maintain physical fitness, build muscles, increase endurance and promote good health and well-being.

These are just some of great exercises you can do daily.

O Walking at a brisk pace

O Running

O Biking

O Swimming

O Weights

O Dancing

O Sports

It’s better to exercise late afternoon or at night because this will help you get a night’s good sleep. Doing it in the morning can tire you out easily during the day. However, if this is the only schedule available, you can do exercises that doesn’t wear you out fast such as push ups, sit ups, jumping jacks.

Cat Eye Health Issues and Treatment Options

As a cat owner, it is important for you to promote good cat eye health by knowing what a healthy eye looks like as opposed to an eye with a defect. The eye should be clear and bright with the area around the eyeball showing white. If you see red inner lids, discharge, cloudiness, dullness, tear-stained fur around the eye or the "third lid" coming over the eye, you are seeing symptoms of illness in the eye. You need to have your vet examine your cat's eye to determine the cause.

One of the most common issues with cat eye health is conjunctivitis. This is an inflammation of the membranes that cover the inner lining of the lid and the white of the eye. Conjunctivitis can be a result of allergies or infections by viruses, bacteria, or fungus. One of the viral infections that will cause chronic recurrences is herpes. If the condition is caused by infection, it can be spread to other cats, so you should keep your cat away from others until you know what the cause is and can clear up infection. Infection can also occur if the cat has been in a fight or accident that caused an ulceration of the cornea. Most likely the vet will prescribe an ophthalmic ointment to treat infection.

Overly watery eyes is another common eye problem for cats. Typically, this is an inherited defect in which the tear duct is blocked causing over teething.

Much like humans, cats can also develop cataracts and glaucoma. Cloudiness of the lens, or cataracts, usually starts in older cats just like in older humans. Occasionally, you may have to ask your vet to surgically remove the cataract to help your act remain active and able to see. If fluid is not draining from the eye properly, the cat can also develop the serious eye condition called glaucoma. This disease involves too much pressure on the inside of the eye.

If the vet prescribes eye drops, you will need to know how to manage them properly. First, clean the eye of any discharge. You may need someone to help hold your cat on its side. Use one hand to hold the eye open has you use the other to squeeze the drops into the eye. Make sure the tip of the bottle does NOT touch the eye or surrounding surfaces since it will contaminate the bottle with the infection. Once you have the drops in, allow the cat to blink so that it spreads the medicine over the entire surface of the eye.

Ointment may be a little more difficult to apply. Again, start by using a moist cotton ball or cloth to clean the eye and surrounding area. With the help of an assistant, restrain your cat on its side. While holding the eye open, you will need to keep the tube parallel to the lower lid squeezing the ointment along the edge of the eye. Usually, it needs to be a line about the length of a grain of rice. This can be a challenge if the cat is moving a lot because you have to be close enough to the eye to allow the ointment to rest on the edge of the lid without touching the infecting area with the tip to prevent contamination of the medicine. Once you have the ointment in place, the cat's naturally blinking reflex will spread it over the eye. To get your cat's eye health back in balance, use the medicine for the full term the doctor recommends.

Lasik Surgery Procedure – Before The Decision

The Lasik surgery procedure doesn’t take much time, just a few minutes in fact, and it can be used to help people who suffer from nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism.

A traditional instrument used in Lasik is called a “microkeratome”, and what is does is create a very thin circular flap in the cornea. Nowadays, this step is performed by using a laser instead (thus the term laser surgery). In the next stage of the procedure, the surgeon will fold the flap back and remove some tissues of the cornea underneath this flap using an excimer laser. The excimer laser removes a very thin layer of the corneal tissue to reshape the cornea, by producing a cool ultraviolet light beam.

A computer will already have determined the amount of layers to be removed from the cornea, and this level is calculated from the required focus of the light through the eye and onto the retina, to achieve the required vision. The operation is concluded by the surgeon flipping the flap backwards in its previous place, covering the area of the layers of corneal tissue now removed. The changes made to the cornea will depend on the problem being addressed. For nearsighted people the target is to flatten the too-steep cornea, while for the farsighted people the target is logically the exact opposite – to steeper the cornea. When correcting astigmatism the surgeon will smoothen the irregular cornea into a normal shape.

As there are some cases where it might be risky or even impossible to undergo the Lasik surgery procedure, the patient will have an examination for the eyes before the surgery – in order to determine their health and the possibility of moving on to the surgery. Part of the examination have the ophthalmologist using a slit lamp (or refractor) to examine the retinal problems. He also uses a tonometer in to determine the intraocular pressure. Too high pressure for example, may be indicative of glaucoma (damage to the optic nerve).

Another part of the pre-surgery examination is the hydration of the eye, to rule out any dry eye disease. Because this type of disease needs to be solved before the Lasik can be performed. A corneal topographer is then used to photograph the eye, creating kind of a map of the cornea. Nobody has a perfectly rounded cornea – the task of the topographer is to reveal the corneal irregularities, such as steepness or flatness, which the surgeon will rectify during the surgery. As the technology has evolved, there are a new technique for this stage as well. These are referred to as “wave front devices”, and they work by sending waves through the eye to in order to give a more precise map of the corneal irregularities that affect your vision.

Before the procedure, the surgeon should also ask questions about your general health, as specific health problems or taking certain medications may affect the surgery, or result in other dangers to your overall health. If you are aware of any special health condition, you should inform your doctor about it openly, and he can then determine whether it is safe to undergo this operation, or if it would be better to wait or call the whole thing off.

By reading basic information on the Lasik surgery procedure, you can get a pretty good picture if you an go through with the surgery. However, the decision will always be approved and finalized by a doctor.

Why Is My Boiler Boiler Pressure Relief Valve Leaking?

During a recent inspection water was dripping from the extension pipe on the side of the boiler onto the floor. This piping was connected to a leaking Pressure Relief or Safety Valve. This fairly common problem is actually a relatively good thing and keeps you and your family safe from potential failure of your boiler. Before the installation of these devices it was not uncommon to hear about boiler explosions injuring home occupants.

But why is it leaking now? To answer this question, it is important to understand how your heating system works. Your heating system distributes hot water throughout your house. As the water is heated and cooled by the boiler that water expands and increases in pressure. In order to limit the pressure of the heating system the hot water heating system includes various safety devices to ensure your home is safe.

The first and most important device on your boiler is the Pressure Relief or Safety Valve. The standard operating pressure of a home boiler system is 12 psi. If for any reason the pressure of the boiler increases beyond the safe operating pressure (the setpoint of the Pressure Relief Valve) the valve will open. This over pressurizing condition is likely caused by a failing expansion tank. When a boiler system does not allow for sufficient thermal expansion of the water in the system, the pressure of the system increases beyond the Pressure Relief Valve setpoint. Leaking of the Pressure Relief Valve due to this condition is normally cyclical as the boiler temperature heats and cools. There are two potential causes for this circumstance.

A typical cause is the cold pressure of the boiler water system is higher than the setpoint of the expansion tank which are typically designed with a 12psi setpoint. However, when the feed valve to the boiler system is higher than this setpoint the expansion tank bladder is compressed before the boiler begins operation. Once the boiler is turned on and the water is heated, subsequent thermal expansion cannot be accommodated by the already compressed bladder. Modification to the internal pressure of the expansion tank and/or reduction of the pressure reducing valve setpoint may be required.

A second potential cause is an actual leak or failure of the expansion tank bladder. In this scenario the expansion tank no longer provides for thermal expansion of the water in the system as the entire tank is filled with water.

Other causes of leaking Pressure Relief Valve can be due to the age and deterioration of the valve itself. In that case replacement of the valve is recommended. Work should always be performed by a qualified plumbing contractor.

Criminal Justice Courses – Studying to Achieve Your Goals!

Do you wish to pursue a thrilling career within the field of Criminal Justice? If yes, then you have to first go through different Courses.

Here’s a glimpse of the various Criminal Justice Courses you will be required to study in your degree program. Although studying about it may not be as exciting as you hoped it would be, but once you are done with the studying part, you will finally get the action you’ve always dreamed of!

Foundation Courses

Some of the basic Courses you will have to study include:

1. Introduction to Criminal Justice

This course provides a broad overview of the criminal justice system of the United States. The basic aim of the course is to introduce students to different areas of study involved in a criminal justice degree, such as the law and the legal theories, the administrative challenges, the various issues regarding regulations, the processes of arrest through conviction, imprisonment and re-entering the society.

2. Criminal Procedures and Evidence

The Criminal Procedure and Evidence course includes a detailed analysis of the various rules of evidence as well as the criminal procedural law in the United States. This is perhaps one the few courses whose main emphasis is on:

  • Searching
  • Seizing
  • Arresting
  • Confessions
  • Privilege against self-incrimination
  • The exclusionary rule and its exceptions

3. Introduction to Law Enforcement

This is one of the few basic courses. It encompasses the history

and functions of modern law enforcement agencies as well as the people behind them.

4. Family Law

This investigates the relationship between family, judicial and social services systems in the United States. Some of the main topics covered in this course include family, marriage, divorce, parent-child relationships, child custody and property.

Core Courses

Once you are done with the mundane foundation course, you will discover a new set of courses that is bound to excite you. Now you can focus on the core courses that usually revolve around real life case studies and practical experiences. Some of the popular core Criminal Justice Courses include:

1. Criminal Law

This is simply an introduction to the study of Criminal Law as well as the various legal principles included in it. Not only does it encompass the concept of crime, but also the development of criminal law as well the various defenses against it.

2. Correctional Treatment Strategies

This is one of the most important Criminal Justice Courses. It addresses the various issues and treatment strategies that can be used with criminal offenders. It also explains the differences between various types of offenders and indicates the different treatment programs against each type.

3. Victimology

Victimology is the scientific study of criminal victimization, i.e. explaining the crime from the viewpoint of the victims. It not only includes the research and theories on victimization but also the consequences and practical responses to victimization.

4. Organized Crimes

Organized Crime is one of the courses that uncovers the origins and development of organized crimes in the United States. Not only does it examine the various structures of organized criminal enterprises, but it also elaborates on the different models used in them.

This was just a short overview of the Criminal Justice Courses you will be studying during your degree program.

HSP – What a Therapist Needs to Know About High Sensitivity

High Sensitivity (HS) and Highly Sensitive People (HSP) are concepts elaborated by Dr. Elaine Aron beginning with her original publication in 1997 and popularized in her book “The Highly Sensitive person: How to thrive when the world overwhelms you (1996). Dr. Aron is a psychological researcher and a practicing Jungian analyst. Much of her research has been done in tandem with her social psychologist husband Dr. Arthur Aron, who is well known for his academic research into love and close relationships.

HSP is not a DSM-IV diagnosis.

It is instead a description of the experience of the 15 to 20 % of the population who appear at the top end of the human continuum for physical and emotional responsiveness stimuli. Like left handers in a world geared to right handedness, they often struggle physically and psychologically in a cultural environment which is geared towards the 80% who are less easily stimulated.

High sensitivity is a double edged sword.

HSP’s are highly sensitive to both danger and reward in the environment.

  • They appreciate subtlety and nuance and are often creative and empathic
  • But…. They are often overwhelmed by situations which others can take in stride

With prevalence in the population of 15 to 20% that makes almost one in five of our friends and relatives or clients “highly sensitive.”

HSP research suggests that High Sensitivity arises out of three predisposing factors:

  • Introverted Temperament: (MBTI Introversion)
  • Extra cognitive processing : Lower Latent Inhibition… lower ability to screen out stimuli
  • High Arousability or “reactivity”: (High BIS – low BAS, Gray, 1997)

These three factors create a particular configuration of strong responses to stimuli …

…which lead to behaviors…

……………which lead to experiences…

………………………..which can often, but not always , lead to psycho-pathologies…

……………………………………….which then bring these individuals to therapy.

The most common problematic responses are related to stress and chronic over-arousal, such as anxiety, panic attacks and psycho-somatic responses. These individuals are also susceptible to depression, feelings of low self esteem and feelings of vulnerability created by a lifetime of being “out of step” with their peers or misunderstood by those around them.

If a therapist is not aware of the existence of this natural variation in sensitivity, it is very tempting to see the sensitive response as “neurotic” In fact the client themselves, may not debate or object to this because they do not have an alternative explanation either.

15% of the population but probably more than 15% of psychotherapy clients….

It is rare that a client will seek therapy knowing that they are HSP’s. Very often they have no understanding that their problems emerge from their sensitivity rather than the reverse.

When High Sensitivity has been mismanaged for a lifetime the cumulative effect often leads to anxiety, depression and low self esteem. It is these psychological disturbances which bring individuals to therapy.

Not “mentally ill”

Having the concept of High Sensitivity in your therapeutic repertoire takes many clients out of the category of the “mentally ill” and makes them interesting and struggling human beings like oneself. They become a person with a difference that needs to be managed and deserves to be respected.

Ordinary therapy….

Once the understanding of their sensitivity is arrived at by therapist and client the work that needs to be done is the every-day work of therapy…

  • Construction of appropriate boundaries,
  • Developing communication skills,
  • Re-building self esteem,
  • Integrating or “working through” past traumas
  • Overcoming learned fearful responses.

This work is appropriately done in any therapeutic modality but when they overcome their fears and feel safe in therapy, these individuals do very well in psychodynamic or psychoanalytic therapies because they often have an unusually strong ability:

  • to be self-reflective,
  • to think deeply,
  • to be aware of their physical responses to their thoughts and feelings
  • to be aware of and interested in unconscious products such as fantasies, dreams and active imagination.

HSP’s are an “education” for their therapist.

There is an enormous amount that a therapist can learn through working with these clients.

  • Acceptance, respect for, and interest in a client’s difference is not just healing for the client but expansive for the therapist.
  • HSP responsiveness means that they react in ways that are strong enough to be undeniable to experiences that might also bother others but which less sensitive individuals succeed at repressing … sometimes to their cost.
  • The combination of responsiveness and a willingness to be reflective means that these clients can often shed light on thoughts and feelings which emerge from others with much more difficulty. They can expose and illuminate interpersonal dynamics in a way that is generally informative.
  • They are often sensitive to the leading edge of disturbances in their group, their society or their age cohort.

Sensitive rather than neurotic.

To suggest that someone’s response is “neurotic” is to imply that it is exaggerated or inappropriate to the circumstance. It is another way of saying that their experience is “not real.” It also implies that once the psychological “fix” is made that the problem will go away and that the individual will be “just like everyone else” in their responses to stimuli. Given that a temperament is a basic, inborn and “given” attribute of the individual which is almost impossible to alter, this proposition can only lead to frustration and a continuing feeling of being different and wrong in their experience of the world.

By contrast, when we approach an individual respectfully and curiously with the belief that what they are experiencing is “real,” we come with a more empathic point of view. Empathy and openness to individual differences are ideally the therapist’s stock-in-trade…the greatest tools for healing that we can offer. Therapeutic empathy is a big part of what makes the therapeutic relationship safe, healing and growth producing.

If you do not treat Highly Sensitive individuals as neurotic you will be better able to appreciate them as the responsive, reflective people that they are… and they may well become your favorite kind of clients!

Recommended reading for the curious therapist:

E.N. Aron (1996). The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You, New York, Broadway Books.

E.N. Aron & Aron, A. (1997b) Sensory-Processing Sensitivity and Its Relation to Introversion and Emotionality, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,73, (2), pp. 345-368

E.N. Aron (2004). Revisiting Jung’s Concept of Innate Sensitiveness.Journal of Analytical Psychology, 49, pp.337-367.

Want to Live Longer? Drink Sour Milk (or Fermented Foods!)

That is a famous quote from the eastern European country of Georgia (formerly of the Soviet Union) relating to the long life of the people in that region. They have traditionally consumed large amounts of fermented foods, including yogurt, but this is not very realistic in many areas of the world today, including the United States. Many people are lactose intolerant, but you can still eat fermented foods!

Today the benefits of fermented foods are really catching on, but did you know that the fermentation process was originally used to improve the keeping and storing of foods? It’s thought that camel, buffalo, goat, sheep and cow milk were initially fermented naturally into yogurt. The hot temperatures (110 F) of the North African deserts were ideal for lactic acid-producing bacteria to ferment the milk carried by camels in goat bags. Almost every region in the world has developed fermented foods in their quest to acquire new tastes and improve shelf life. Farmers, rather than scientists, used their ingenuity and imagination. They were thinking in terms of how to best provide for their families, not realizing that thousands of years later, scientists would be examining the potential health benefits of fermented foods.

Elie Metchnikoff, a famous Russian Nobel prize-winning Bacteriologist looked into the possible health benefits of fermented foods in the early 1900’s. He noticed that Bulgarians had an average life span of 87 years-that was much longer than the 50 year life expectancy in the US at that time and almost 10 years longer than even today’s average life expectancy of 78 years! One of the most significant differences in their lifestyle was the consumption of fermented milks! Since Metchnikoff’s original study, researchers have found that many populations use fermented foods. Georgians, from what was formally known as the Soviet Union, live over 100 years and are playing polo and working in the farm fields! They attribute their long lives to fermented or “sour” milk, which is where the quote from the title of this blog came from! I’m not sure I would want to be working in the farm fields at 100, but I’d love to still be riding my horses at that age!

I know that my family has greatly benefited from fermented foods. My husband and I are in our 50’s, feeling and looking better than we did in our 30’s! CJ’s intestinal issues are healed, his mind is clear and his body is healthy. In fact, all our children are healthy. I KNOW that we would not be where we are health wise today without the benefits of raw organic fermented probiotic foods.

There are so many benefits of eating fermented foods and researchers just keep adding more things to the list. Here are some of the benefits of fermented foods:

  • Improves digestive function
  • Improves bowel function
  • Improves mood
  • Improves liver function
  • Decreases wrinkles
  • Improves circulatory function
  • Improves joint and muscle function
  • Improves sleep function
  • Improves resistance to allergies
  • Improves vitamin absorption
  • Improves lactose tolerance
  • Improves gluten tolerance
  • Improves appetite
  • Improves skin quality
  • Improves metabolism
  • Improves mental clarity (gut-brain connection)
  • Decreases your digestive ailments
  • Decreases your stomach ailments
  • Decreases incidence of heart burn
  • Decreases incidence of constipation
  • Decreases incidence of diarrhea
  • Decreases the presence of yeast infections
  • Decreases incidence of oral cavity infections
  • Decreases gas and bloating
  • Increases nutritional absorption
  • Increases energy
  • Increases hydration

Sometimes we are so overwhelmed with modern technology that we forget the benefits of simplicity. Today there are so many genetically modified refined and processed foods polluting our bodies. They were designed to make our lives easier, but that does NOT mean healthier! Our ancestors were onto something by fermenting their foods to keep them edible for longer periods of time. Our bodies cannot handle the chemicals it takes to keep foods stable/fresh on our shelves for years. I’d much rather have the “good” bacteria from my fermented foods in my gut, rather than subject my body to the harmful toxins in processed foods. It’s a “no brainer!” So if you haven’t tried Real Food Real Life’s raw, organic fermented probiotics yet, please do-you’re going to notice a healthier, happier you, not to mention looking physically better! Educate yourself on what cultured/fermented foods are available (such as miso, kimchi, sauerkraut and kefir, to name a few) and how you can add them into your daily diet. A fun family adventure would be to do a quick Internet search on what fermented foods YOUR ancestors ate! Mine made and ate fermented meats and cheese like salmon and parmesan.

Eat Fermented Foods!

Eat Well, Be Well, “Live Longer

Your Management Consultant Lifestyle and Diet Can Result in Healthy Weight Loss

Despite the diet and lifestyle challenges of being a busy and successful Management Consultant, you can still lose weight fast and permanently. Here is a series of simple tips and techniques I used to lose 50lbs while working as a Management Consultant in 2007.

OK, how on earth do I find the time to exercise in this job? If you're serious about losing weight, some sensible exercise is a must. There are plenty of other benefits too, such as better stress tolerance, improved sleep, enhanced love life and more energy through the day. Exercise gets rid of that mentally drained feeling for good.

I keep a folding cycle in the car, together with a high visibility jacket, cycle helmet, gloves and cycle lights. That way, whether at home or not, exercise needs are covered.

The best time to exercise is before breakfast. This energizes the body for the day ahead, so set the alarm 30 minutes earlier. This way, you're getting more out of the day and through exercise, quality of sleep will improve significantly. When you wake at 6.15am, instead of thinking "it's cold outside" and hitting the snooze button, visualise how great you're going to look and feel for the rest of the day after getting some gentle exercise.

Find a form of aerobic exercise that works for you and aim to work up a gentle sweat, rather than push yourself hard. Over-exercise can actually cause weight to be held around the middle through the release of cortisol, a stress hormone. Many people make the mistake of exercising hard once a week or so, rather then gently and sensibly, several times a week.

So go on, take my challenge! Set the alarm half an hour earlier for 3 days this week, get into your favorite form of exercise and work up a gentle sweat, then see what an amazing difference it makes to the day and your productivity! If you've not exercised for some time, it makes sense to consult the Doctor before starting any new program of exercise.

How can I handle the challenge of a client lunch and all those nights in hotels?

Try ordering two starters and having one as the main course. The different starters will handle your need for variety and leave that satisfied feeling.

Avoid a full cooked breakfast and try poached eggs on brown toast instead. Go for cereals which have a high fiber content and add low fat or soya milk. The body needs 25g of fiber a day and this step alone would enable most people to lose 10lbs in weight during a year.

Make sure that you drink enough water – a minimum of 2 liters each and every day. It's water, not other drinks that your body needs at regular intervals. Do not mistake hunger for thirst; by the time the mouth is dry, your body is already dehydrated. Take it sensibly though, as excess water (more than 4 liters a day) can result in other health challenges. Alcohol and caffeine drinks are very dehydrating to the body, so for faster weight loss, reduce intake of these.

What about the finger buffet at lunch and all those morning / afternoon snacks?

Go for sandwiches with no mayo and salad items in your finger buffet diet. Look for, or request some simple salad items (small tomatoes, cucumber pieces and celery are easy to eat with one hand).

Eat a piece of fruit at morning or afternoon breaks, rather than biscuits and cakes. Take your own fruit or some chopped veggies like carrots and celery to work if necessary.

How do I best combat stress?

Acting on the above tips will increase your productivity as a Management Consultant by increasing energy and vitality. Eating a healthy diet is one of the best ways of handling stress at source, before it ever becomes a problem.

Alcohol and caffeine may seem like a short term fix for stress, but they contain toxins and minimizing consumption is a far better strategy for effective stress management and rapid weight loss. Reducing consumption of toxins means that the body does not have to work hard at eliminating them and can concentrate on the more important task of metabolising away fat instead.

After a busy lifestyle, you can do these simple things; so make a start today and make 2009 your best year ever!

So You Want to Join the Merchant Navy?

So you want to join the merchant navy as an officer? You've heard all those stories about being paid to visit foreign countries, have not you? What about the girl in every port stories? And you must have been told about the exciting life we ​​sailors lead, right? Are these stories true? Do you think you have it in you to sail the high seas? Well, I am here to tell you about the REAL merchant navy – some of the stories you've heard are true, some are not. I have been sailing for the past 30 years including 13 years as Captain so I am giving you an inside view.

Before we begin, let me first clarify something, the merchant navy is not the same as the Indian navy. Merchant ships carry cargo as the name suggests, we are not the fighting navy. The cargo could be containers, oil, passengers, animals, bulk ore etc.

So what is the big attraction of the merchant navy? Usually two things come to mind – money and foreign travel. There are other benefits like tax free income, quick promotions and an exciting life. But the good salary is the main temptation. You get fat pay checks and you do not pay tax (if you stay out of the country for more than 6 months in a financial year). You start earning a big salary at a very young age. To give you an example, the starting salary for a 22 year old 3rd officer or 4th engineer (junior most officers on board ships) on an oil tanker is more than $ 2000 per month (conservatively speaking). This amount depends on the type of ship and the company you join so do not quote me! Officers typically work on a contract basis. Junior officers do 4-6 month contracts, while senior officers do 3 to 4 months on board. Some companies pay salaries round the year while others pay you only while you sail. However, your annual salary will remain the same. Why do ship owners pay you such high wages (relatively speaking)? There has to be a catch, right? The catch is, you stay away from home for extended periods of time. In fact you spend most of your time at sea rather than on land. Sure you get to visit foreign countries but things have changed now. Its not as if you reach a port and everyone goes ashore.

Work continues with every officer / crew member working in shifts (watches as we call them). You are free to go ashore once you have completed your watch but do not forget that you have to come back from your shore leave and work again. So, you either sleep or you go ashore. Work on a ship, never stops. As long as the ship is doing something – sailing, loading / discharging cargo, it's making money for the ship owner. Port places have gone down considering so the ship is in port for a short time. Of course, this depends on the type of ship you are on. Container ships are in port for a few hours (YES few hours), oil tankers for 24 hrs, cargo ships and bulk carriers stay longer in port. Watches in port are usually on a 6 on 6 off basis, 6 hours on duty, 6 hours off duty, and then you are back to work. Here you can not go ashore in every port because you need to rest sometimes. The ship owner is paying you to stay on board, not to go ashore! Its not all bad news, you do get to go ashore and do some shopping and maybe sight seeing. Ports are normally far away from civilization. Traveling to and fro takes up time and is not cheap.

With visa restrictions post 9/11, many countries will not let you stay back for a holiday after you complete your tenure on your ship. So now you know why the ship owner pays you so much. You are being paid for staying away from family and home, you are being paid for long stints at sea and hardly any chance to go ashore. By the way, the girl in every port stories you have heard are pure myths !!! You will not get time to meet girls and if you do meet girls then they will be the wrong kind. On the positive side, some companies do allow officers (usually senior officers) to carry their family (wife / kids) with them but not girl friends!

No problem you say, I can handle everything, just as long as I get paid well. That's just fine, as long as you are aware of what you are getting into. Expect to work with a multinational crew. Expect multinational cuisine. Expect cultural differences, your Captain could be from UK while the other officers / crew could be from Philippines, India, Croatia, Bangladesh or some other country. This variety means that you may not have much in common with them. You may have to spend time alone in your cabin. Can you handle being by yourself? Of course, it might be possible that you are lucky and you get along with everyone, in which case you will enjoy yourself soaking in the various cultures. Or you could be luckier and get to sail with a major of your nationality. It all depends on the company you work for. During your leisure time you can watch movies, play indoor games (cards, carom etc), work out in the gym (most ships have one) or just relax in your cabin. Most companies allow officers to send emails home and receive them. Of course, there are restrictions on the number and size of emails after all, satellites are used for transmitting / receiving emails. You will get snail mail (conventional paper letters) when the ship touches port but usually not more than once a month. LaTely, bigger companies offer internet facilities on board so sailors are not as isolated as before. Mobile phone sims can be picked up locally as well so you can call home whenever you are in a port.

Now we come to work. Each type of ship requires specialized crew. Each department on board a ship has different duties – the deck department looks after the navigation and loading / discharging of cargo while the engine department looks after maintenance of various machines. Life on board every ship is not the same. Some ships are old so you need to work harder to keep them running. Some ships are newer and are easier to work on. Oil tankers, gas carriers need special training and experience. Container ships and bulk carriers have similarly experienced crew. While at sea, officers generally do 4 on 8 off – 4 hours duty and 8 hours off. This does not mean that after you finish your 4 hours of duty, you can go to sleep. No, you might have to work on other things like maintenance of machinery / equipment. Normally officers and crew work 10 hour days. This is a general statement and is not a hard and fast rule. Work loads increase considerably, when ships are in port. Officers and crew are on watches throughout the day and night. There is no weekend for them – there is no such thing as a public holiday. If one officer falls sick, then the other officers on board share his duties until he is fit again. Normally ships do not carry doctors on board unless you are on a passenger ship. Ships carry medicines and all officers are trained for first aid / medical emergencies. Whenever ships touch port, medical treatment can be provided ashore.

Another aspect to think about is the weather. Ships do run into bad weather (read storms). Even the largest ship is but a toy when up against the fury of the sea. Sea sickness is not something to be scoffed at. Before you take up a career at sea you had better make sure that you do not get sea sick. Take a trip on a boat to get the feel of things.

Right … now you are aware of various aspects of the merchant navy, money, foreign travel, life on board, work and rest hours, medical facilities, weather etc. What? You still want to join the merchant navy? Bravo !! We need guys just like you – guys who join with their eyes open, guys who do not have wrong ideas about a career at sea. So how do you go about joining the merchant navy? Information is available on the net. In addition, you can keep an eye out for advertisements in major newspapers.

A word of caution, do not be in a hurry to hand over money to some agent who assures you of a job at sea. Check his credentials; check the credentials of the company or training institution you intend to join. Preferably, find someone who is already at sea and who can guide you. This is one profession where a mentor is always a good idea.

I have been sailing for the past 30 years including 13 years as Captain. To me the merchant navy is wonderful. It has given me everything I dreamed of and wanted in life. Life on board ships is not easy but its not as bad as it is made out to be sometimes. As there seem to be a lot of extreme views on this career, I have tried to give you the real picture. This is a serious profession where you have to work hard and your hard work pays (quite literally)!

The Importance of Compliance in the Medical Field

Compliance is one thing that is needed to achieve safety in any type of field. It is equivalent to becoming obedient to the rules that are designed to protect your welfare and safety. The same is true in the medical field where hospitals have to comply with the regulations, policies, and standards of the medical field to promote safety and welfare not only of the patients but of the whole medical institution. It is everybody’s responsibility to ensure safety and as they say prevention is still better than any other solutions. In a certain hospital, not only medical risks are prevented but also legal and administrative risks. Complying with qualified record audits such as a DRG audit will allow a hospital achieve its goals of preventing such risks.

With the number of patients coming in everyday, imagine the volume of records that will be involved and physicians can’t possibly handle all of them without any form of mistake or error. In this case, there is a need for an effective system that will ensure accuracy and compliance. This is necessary to reduce any risks and liabilities that can be brought by improper coding. A single patient who is not satisfied with the quality of medical service provided can disrupt the normal operation of the hospital. Also, the credibility and reputation may be affected which in turn affects its overall revenue and stability. When it comes to the point of view of the lawmakers, you are very much qualified for an investigation about the possible anomalies or non compliance that your institution might have committed. To ensure safety from all of these, make sure that you know where you stand by benefitting from different medical record audits, DRG audits, and others.

While hospital say that the number of patients can increase the possibility of errors, it doesn’t change the fact that hospitals have the primary responsibility of ensuring that everything is in order or else it will reflect immediately to the reputation of the professionals involved. From aspects related to the medical procedures up to the final billing, insurance, and coverage, make sure that you’re in compliance with the rules. DRG audits are just among some of the things that you can consider to identify how safe your institution is from all types of risks. This is one thing that cannot be disregarded as it leads to more serious issues and stability problems.