Best and Worst cities to drive in

The spare car parts and accessories retailer examined various factors that affect motorists on the roads, including infrastructure and congestion and driver behavior.

The most dangerous roads were measured by road rage score

The best cities for driving.

1-Calgary ,Canada

2-Dubai,UAE

3-Ottawa,Canada

4-Bern, Switzerland

Worst cities for driving.

1-Mumbai,Indian

2-Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

3-Kolkata,India

4-Lagos,Nigeria

5-Karachi, Pakistan

Better with bakuchiol

When I hear about any new “wonder ingredient”, I regard it with a healthy amount of scepticism. For me, the best beauty ingredients are those that have stood the test of time — fruit acids, vitamin C, niacinamide. But what really piqued my curiosity about bakuchiol was that it was touted to be a retinol replacement.

Among all cult skincare additives, retinol is the one I don’t really enjoy. I’m not sure it works very well for Indian women, because our primary concern is pigmentation and not wrinkles. I use a very mild retinol product, Zelens Power A, which contains three different types in an oil base, but even this I use no more than once or twice a week. So when I heard about bakuchiol I was more than interested, because it gives the same effects without the irritation.

The India connection

For the uninitiated, bakuchiol comes from the babchi plant, which is native to India. In fact, the seeds are often used in Ayurveda as a cure for vitiligo. Dr Abhijeet Jinde, the Pune-based Ayurevdic physician who has been practising and teaching for more than 15 years, says, “The melanocytes become dormant because of excess kapha, and babchi makes these functional again.” He adds that it reduces inflammation and is an effective wormicidal. Ancient texts suggest that it is also a rasayana or an anti-ageing ingredient. If you think about it, all these qualities are essential for a good skincare ingredient. Care must be taken, however, that it isn’t put directly on the skin, as the seeds are extremely potent and can cause blisters. “We use it in three forms — orally, to remove blood impurities; as an oil or paste or traditionally with gau mutra (cow urine) for skin problems; and for weight loss, because it reduces water retention and fat.

Modern usage

“Bakuchiol is effective for many different aspects of skincare,” says Dr Kiran Kaur Sethi, Delhi-based, Columbia-educated, integrative skin, aesthetic and wellness expert. She explains that not only does it boost collagen, it reduces the enzymes that break down collagen and elastin. “It also reduces inflammation and DHT receptor activity,” she says. DHT is an androgen which causes acne and balding, so Sethi thinks that it may even have applications on the scalp. “It has application in both acne and psoriasis as the irritation potential is significantly less — in fact, I read a study where bakuchiol 1% and salicylic acid 2% reduces acne by 67% in six weeks,” she says.

As far as its effects on vitiligo are concerned, she explains that there is a compound called psoralen in these seeds. “It makes you super sensitive to the sun, you tan and the colour patches on the skin become normal.” She also talks about a psolaren-induced therapy where this ingredient is applied on the skin, and then exposed for 20 minutes in UVA light. “It helps with psoriasis, some types of cancers and eczema.” Even though there are many studies done on this wonder ingredient, all of them are in-vitro. “Only when we see large-scale studies on humans can we actually confirm it is it indeed as wonderful as it seems.”

Tried and tested

After looking at the reviews of various products, I settled on the Herbivore Bakuchiol Retinol Alternative Serum. The first few ingredients (or the only ones that matter) include aloe, glycerin, bakuchiol 4%, with 1% PHA (poly-hydroxy acids). I have been trying the serum for a month without my usual exfoliants. The first week, I didn’t see any difference, but after two weeks, my skin felt butter-smooth, without using a potent exfoliant like Biologique Recherche’s Lotion P50. The best part was that it did it without any irritation. In addition, I noticed that even when I used the product without adding moisturiser on top, my skin felt hydrated in the morning. However, I don’t know if these effects are because of the bakuchiol or PHAs, which are very sophisticated and effective exfoliants.

If you want to layer your bakuchiol product, the options are aplenty. “It is safe to be mixed with other ingredients except something which has a metallic ion like a copper isolate,” says Sethi. I have combined it with vitamin C, a niacinamide cream, and hyaluronic acid, and it has worked well every time. But even though it makes my skin look good with short use, the jury is still out on the long-term effects. Sure it makes the skin smooth and glowing, but can it erase long-standing signs of sun damage? Or soften acne scarring? Or reduce deep-seated frown lines? Only time will tell.

January 2019 Horoscope

1ARIES (MARCH 21–APRIL 19)

Work is huge for you this month, Aries—especially during the first three weeks, thanks to a solar eclipse going down in your career sector. You’ve got serious go-getter energy, making this the time to really dive into work.

That project you’ve been pushing off? Do it already. It’s not all work and no play, though. You’ll develop a better understanding of how to carve out your work and play time. And, once the workday is done, you’re ready to peace out and have some fun.

2TAURUS (APRIL 20–MAY 20)

You’re all about learning new things and focusing on your career this month, Taurus. Take a beat to think about where you want to head with work, and what you need to get there.

Maybe there’s a class or new certification that could finally score you that promotion you’ve been lusting over. Just know that it may not happen overnight. A little patience can go a long way toward helping you reach your goals.

3GEMINI (MAY 21–JUNE 20)

Collaboration is key this month, Gemini. You’ll be all about connecting with other people and being able to bounce ideas off of them. Maybe it’s a new partnership or team project at work, or maybe you’re joining forces with a friend to tackle a new exercise class you’ve been meaning to try.

Whatever it is, having a partner in crime will help you go even further than you thought. You’ll also find some opportunities to travel and meet new people—don’t say no to any interesting offers. They could open your eyes in more ways than you’d think.

4CANCER (JUNE 21–JULY 22)

Don’t be too cautious or reluctant to speak up for yourself at work, Cancer. Your energy is pushing you to move forward by being more assertive than usual and taking a leadership role. All you have to do is act on your instincts.

BTW, a friend might not respect your boundaries this month. If you just can’t with them anymore, don’t be afraid to cut them loose. You’ll be surprised—a truer friend will come to take their place before you realize.

5LEO (JULY 23–AUGUST 22)

You’re all about being healthy this month, Leo. And, oh hey, there’s a solar eclipse going down in a sector of your chart about health and well-being, making it the perfect time for you to get in amazing shape.

Keep in mind that healthy extends to your mental well-being, too. Maybe now is the time to start up that daily meditation you’ve been mulling over. You’ll also find the freedom to just be yourself this month. So, don’t be afraid to do you. It’ll take you much further than you realize.

6VIRGO (AUGUST 23–SEPTEMBER 22)

Here’s the deal, Virgo: You’re going to spend a lot of time on your daily routine and work this month. You’ll be all about finding a balance between high-energy things in your life and finding time for yourself, but it’s not all intense.

The lunar eclipse energy toward the end of the month will make you ready for some serious QT. Don’t be afraid to take a step back from your hectic day-to-day life and just breathe. If a weekend trip happens to come up during this time, jump at the chance to get away.

7LIBRA (SEPTEMBER 23–OCTOBER 22)

It’s a new year, Libra, and you really feel it deep down thanks to the solar eclipse going down in a sector of your chart that represents new beginnings. Last year was last year, and now it’s time for something new and fresh. So take that yoga teacher training class you’ve been thinking about since forever, or finally start doing pottery lessons. As long as it’s new to you, you’ll thrive.

You’ll also feel an internal struggle between wanting to go out a lot and just wanting to chill in your sweats at home. Try to find a balance between your inner couch potato and your social butterfly. And hey, there’s nothing wrong with having friends over for movie night.

8SCORPIO (OCTOBER 23–NOVEMBER 21)

You have gifts to give to the world, Scorpio—don’t write them off. Value your talents and actually do something about them. Take your gorgeous photos and put them in an exhibit, or start doing an open mic night to showcase your guitar skills. Whatever it is, don’t be afraid to show it off.

When Venus moves into a sector of your chart about finances, you’ll find a ton of great bargains. Don’t be afraid to indulge—Santa can’t bring you everything you want.

9SAGITTARIUS (NOVEMBER 22–DECEMBER 21)

You’re all about money this month, Sag, and there’s no shame in that game. The solar eclipse on the 5th is happening in your money house, making you ready to set some financial goals for the year that may or may not include asking for a raise at work.

You’ll also dream up some new and awesome ideas for expanding your finances this year—go get ‘em. Keep in mind that you might have to rethink the way you communicate to other people. Not everyone can catch your drift on the first take—sometimes you’ve just got to say things in a slightly different way to make people understand you.

10CAPRICORN (DECEMBER 22–JANUARY 19)

The solar eclipse on the 5th is hitting you deep, Capricorn. You’ll have a strong sense that it’s going to be your year—and you’re just going to go for what you want as a result. You’ll push past your typical insecurities to ask for what you want in life. You’ll be surprised at how often you get it when you speak up.

Try making a personal vow to do things you’re a little scared of, like talking to a stranger at a party or dancing like no one’s watching, and see how amazing that feels. You’re not about to live with regrets—not this year, at least.

11AQUARIUS (JANUARY 20–FEBRUARY 18)

The holidays are intense, and no one is blaming you for needing a little time to recoup from all that. Take some time for yourself to relax and reflect—when you can get it, at least.

Your schedule is going to be packed with parties, making downtime especially important. Don’t be afraid to branch out and meet new people while you’re out socializing. Some new friends you meet will open your eyes to seeing the world in a new way.

12PISCES (FEBRUARY 19–MARCH 20)

Work is huge for you this month, Pisces, so don’t be afraid to go all in. When an opportunity comes up for you, jump on it—now is your time. A big life-changing event is coming up for a friend. Just a heads up now that they may need extra support around this time.

When the lunar eclipse goes down on the 21st, you’ll get a reminder that you still need to find a balance between things that need to get done and taking care of yourself. Don’t be afraid to throw more than a little “me time” into the mix. You deserve it.

Probiotics Should Be a Regular Part of Your Diet

Probiotics. Everyone is saying you need them, and guess what? They’re right. But before you can figure out what works best for your body, you have to know what exactly probiotics are and the role they play in your health.

Simply put, probiotics are live microorganisms that live in your gut, reports the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health(NCCIH). And while a lot of people think that microorganisms — especially the bacteria variety — are harmful to your health, probiotics are actually there to provide health benefits.

But sometimes you need a little help from outside sources in order to secure those benefits, which is why a lot of experts recommend getting an extra hit of probiotics through food. Fermented options — think keffir, sauerkraut, and kimchi — are a great place to start, says the International Scientific Association of Probiotics and Prebiotics, as are these other surprising foods with probiotics.

If that’s not enough, your doctor may also suggest a probiotic supplement. But don’t go and grab just anything off the pharmacy shelf. Probiotic supplements are not all the same, and they often contain different strains to serve different needs.

probiotics can help maintain good health in a variety of ways.

1.THEY RESTORE GOOD BACTERIA.

2.THEY PREVENT URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS.

3.THEY BOLSTER IMMUNITY.

4.THEY IMPROVE FERTILITY.

5.THEY PREVENT TRAVELER’S DIARRHEA.

6.THEY TREAT VAGINAL INFECTIONS.

Home Jobs That Bring in the Cash

The Job: Virtual Travel Agent

What It Pays: $12.50 to $50 an hour, according to Indeed listings.

Perfect For: Those looking to travel as much as the clients they’ll be making travel plans for.

What It Is: What better way to alleviate your travel bug than to work as a remote travel agent or consultant? Whether part- or full-time, spend your working hours dreaming up itineraries, flight plans, hotels, and activities for clients looking to travel far and wide. Then, take advantage of your discounts (hey, perks of the job) and go wherever your heart desires, whenever your heart desires.

The Job: Remote Social Media Manager

What It Pays: $48,964 on average per year for a full-time position, according to Indeed. Contract and part-time make about $13 to $14 an hour.

Perfect For: The Instagram influencer with a creative eye for curating content to increase brand awareness and social growth.

What It Is: Social media managers create, manage, and grow brands through content creation and advertising campaigns on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and more. Skills such as photography, writing and editing, research, marketing, and data collection are key.

The Job: Online Writer or Editor

What It Pays: Though it’s completely subjective to the company, you’ll likely be paid per post or hourly. Factors that could increase or decrease the pay scale include word count, research, interviewing an expert, and more. Many freelancers are full-time, but if you’re looking for a side-hustle to make some weekend money, this is a great option too. According to Pay Scale, the average salary for a freelance writer is about $24/hr.

Perfect For: A person who’s creative with their words and has a passion for content.

The Job: Virtual Graphic Designer

What It Pays: $18.20 an hour, according to Indeed.

Perfect For: Designers in the graphics arts industry who produce their most creative work in the comfort of their homes.

What It Is: Create virtual displays of art and graphics by assembling images, typographies, and motion graphics for published, printed, or digital media. This may include drafting logos, packaging, labels, and advertisements for brands. Top candidates will have skills in creativity, typography, software, web design, Adobe Photoshop, technology, and more.

The Job: Virtual Assistant

What It Pays: Around $15 an hour, according to Pay Scale.

Perfect for: Someone who is very organized with the ability to multitask.

What It Is: Many companies hire self-employed virtual assistants to save employment costs. You will perform typical office duties from home such as replying to emails, managing calendars, entering data, and assisting with social media.

The Job: Transcriptionist

What It Pays: $59,243 a year on average, according to ZipRecruiter.

Perfect For: Someone looking for a flexible job that requires little to no prior experience.

What It Is: Transcription essentially involves you listening to audio files and typing out what you hear. Easy enough, right? Companies usually hire transcriptionists without much experience, so some job postings might only require you to have a computer and keyboard to get started. Transcription jobs can vary from transcribing a college lecture to a doctor’s medical dictation, while most companies allow you to make your own schedule.

The Job: Survey Taker

What It Pays: $1 to $50 per survey, depending on how much time is required to complete the survey.

Perfect For: The person who always has an opinion.

What It Is: You might take an opinion poll, answer questions about shopping habits or review a product. You’re generally paid in cash (PayPal or mailed check) or with points that can be redeemed for gift cards.

The Job: Website Tester

What It Pays: Starting at $10 per test, according to UserTesting.com.

Perfect For: The detail-oriented web-surfer.

What It Is: Many companies pay online testers to make sure websites are intuitive and easy to navigate. “You basically follow the instructions you’re given to check out the website,” says Anna Thurman, founder of RealWaysToEarnMoneyOnline.com, a site that has reviewed more than 500 online work opportunities. “It usually only takes about 15 minutes per test.” Thurman recommends registering with 10 to 12 different companies since the opportunities to test these sites are doled out first come, first served. “There are people who make $100 to $200 a month by staying on top of those tests,” Thurman says.

The Job: Vlogger (Film and Post How-To Videos)

What It Pays: Payment depends on how many people click on your video and how many subscribers. Views on popular YouTube tutorials range from 20,000 to 300,000 and higher. You can also earn money from sponsorships, ranging from $500 to hundred of thousands, according to Slate. In 2017, Daily Star reported that UK vlogger Zoella made £50,000 a month from her videos showing her shopping hauls, though, with over 16 million subscribers, her estimated net worth is £4m net worth.

Perfect For: The self-taught creative genius.

What It Is: Do people ask you your secret to perfect pie crust or how you made that wreath? “Everyone knows how to do something, or has a hobby they enjoy”. “These can easily be turned into profits.” Simply sign up for a free YouTube account. Then use a smartphone or digital camera to record yourself explaining and demonstrating how you work your magic. (If you’re more tech-savvy or have a burgeoning teenage filmmaker in your house, you can use desktop software, such as Windows Movie Maker, to create a slicker video.) “Once you upload the video to YouTube, enroll in its partner program,” YouTube will then place ads inside or near your video, and you will earn money from the ads themselves, video views and click-throughs. “The key is to put a unique spin on your video,” especially if there are lots of others on the same subject.

The Job: Corporate English Trainer

What It Pays: Around $15 to $20 an hour, according to Zip Recruiter.

Perfect For: Native English speakers with basic computer skills and an interest in other cultures who love chatting online or over the phone. Office experience is very helpful, since most students work in a corporate environment.You also need your own computer and a high-speed Internet connection. If you’re bilingual, that’s definitely a plus.

What It Is: Students in countries including Japan, Korea, France and Germany are looking for English speakers to practice with. Sessions focus on things like making professional small talk or running a meeting (trainers are provided with specifics on how to teach each topic, and are also trained themselves for two days before starting the job). Lessons take place either over the phone or on a live Internet video service like Skype — sometimes at night, because you’re working with students in different time zones. You need to commit to a minimum of 20 hours a week at consistent times, and can work as many as 35 hours.

How loud noises can affect your heart

We know that high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol and smoking aren’t good for the heart. Well, it turns out loud noise is another risk factor your doctor may not want to keep quiet about.

That noisy little headline comes from researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital. They studied 499 people with an average age of 56.

At the beginning of the study period, all of them were free of cardiovascular disease. Over time, they tracked how many of the test subjects got heart attacks and strokes. The researchers used the home addresses of study participants to estimate the level of ambient noise where they resided.

Compared to people who lived with lower levels of noise, those with the highest levels of chronic noise exposure were three times more likely to have a heart attack, a stroke or other major cardiovascular event.

The study’s authors said typical sources of heavy chronic noise exposure include close proximity to a highway, a major airport or a busy traffic zone.

Commercial aircraft on takeoff produce noise levels above 120 decibels. A telephone ring produces about 80 decibels and a jackhammer about 100. Highway traffic noise ranges from 70 to 80 decibels at a distance of 15 metres from the highway.

The researchers found that people with the highest levels of noise exposure had higher levels of brain activity inside the amygdala.

The test subjects with higher activity inside the amygdala also had greater amounts of inflammation in their arteries inside the heart and the brain. Doctors know from other studies that inflammation of the arteries is necessary for the development of heart disease and strokes.

In the current study, the researchers found that high levels of activity inside the amygdala actually increased the level of inflammation inside the coronary arteries.

Air pollution, smoking and diabetes are other known factors that cause inflammation of the arteries.

In this study, when the researchers took those factors into account, noise still turned out to be a major contributor to inflammation and therefore to the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Rising rates of noise are happening everywhere. Anyone who lives in a city anywhere on the planet should be concerned about the health impact of exposure to excessive noise.

Until now, we’ve chalked up rising levels of noise from busy highways, traffic zones and airports to progress and prosperity. Now, we see that there’s a hidden danger to our health.

And it’s something your body won’t let you escape. You may be able to tune the noise out of your conscious mind, but your brain and your heart do not develop tolerance to noise. If anything, your arteries may become even more prone over time to damage caused by noise.

Does obesity increase risk of childhood asthma?

Rates of asthma are on the rise in children, and doctors have struggled to figure out why.

The researchers found that the chance that a child was diagnosed with asthma was significantly greater if the child was obese. They found that 23 to 27 per cent of new cases of asthma in the children were directly attributable to obesity.

They also found a link between being overweight and having asthma. However, the link between overweight and asthma was not as strong as was the link to asthma in kids with obesity.

The connection is not well understood, but there are some theories. One is that carrying extra weight around the chest might predispose children to asthma by narrowing the airways or restricting the chest to shallow breaths. Studies have shown that obesity reduces the volume of air that can be inspired into the lungs.

Another hypothesis is that adipose or fatty tissue releases chemicals called adipokines that increase inflammation inside the body. The “excess” inflammation caused by adipokines makes the airways more sensitive to environmental triggers like cat and dog dander that can set off asthma attacks.

Another theory is that obesity triggers a third condition such as acid reflux and obstructive sleep apnea that in turn trigger asthma. None of these have been proven.

Some researchers believe the connection between obesity and asthma is just a coincidence of two common conditions. Some believe asthma is the result of obesity rather than the cause.

Currently, there are few known prevention factors that can be used to reduce childhood asthma. Reducing obesity would be good for children. It would also reduce significantly the burden of asthma and obesity on the health-care system.

The obvious recommendation is weight loss. Studies have shown that overweight and obese adults with asthma who lose weight have significant improvements in asthma control.

Best Fat-Burning Foods Of All Time

Nuts and nut butters

“Nuts have healthy fat, fiber, and protein, which is a great combo to keep you energized and satisfied.”

Eggs

Another great source of protein (six grams) and healthy fats (five grams), Cording says eggs help keep you satisfied and energized so you can maintain muscle while you’re burning fat.

Milk

Milk offers tons of bone-building calcium (300 mg in one cup) and animal protein (eight grams)–and you don’t have to choose the low-fat varieties to enjoy those benefits.

Yogurt

The probiotics in yogurt can support a healthy gut and your overall wellness. “When your immune system is working well, your gut and brain talk to each other. If you struggle a lot with stress eating, maintaining good digestive health helps nourish a healthy gut so you feel calmer and avoid stress eating.”

Berries

Because they’re loaded with fiber, these sweet treats help improve satiety and reduce cravings as you’re burning fat. In one cup of blueberries, for example, you get fewer calories (about 84) and more grams of filling fiber (3.6) than in one large banana.

“Berries take up lots of space on a plate, so they’re visually satisfying.”

Olive oil

All cooking oils (with the exception of coconut oil) are chock full of monounsaturated fats, at about 14 grams per tablespoon, to promote fullness and keep you from mindlessly snacking. But olive oil is Cording’s all-around favorite option.

Avocados

“Avocados are a really great combination of monounsaturated fats plus tons of fiber, which helps you to stay satisfied.” They’re also an excellent source of potassium, which helps reduce water retention and bloat—always a welcome effect when you’re trying to burn fat.

Grapefruit

“Grapefruit is a very low-calorie density food, so people feel they can fill up on one as an appropriate snack” . It’s also high in antioxidants including vitamin C and beta-carotene to support healthy immune system function. Plus, it has a ton of fiber at three grams per fruit.

Green tea

While you can’t simply sip on green tea and expect the pounds to fall off, there is actually quite a bit of research showing that this elixir can help fire up your body’s fat-burning capabilities.

Chili peppers and cayenne

Capsaicin, the compound that makes chili peppers hot may mildly increase metabolic rate, research shows, which is of course welcome when you’re trying to burn fat.

Beans and legumes

Beans and legumes are a great source of protein (seven grams in half a cup of black beans) to help build muscle, burn fat, and keep you satisfied. A massive dose of both soluble and insoluble fiber (seven grams total) also helps prevent blood sugar spikes for a slower, steadier energy burn.

Whey protein

“Whey protein has been shown to support muscle repair, building, and retention,” And since muscle burns more calories than fat, it helps support an efficient metabolism.

Turmeric

Another fat-fighting hero: “Turmeric, which helps to lower inflammation and may prevent growth of fat tissue.”

Sprinkle a little bit of the spice on your dinner to help give it a major flavor boost.

How to tackle dry skin in winter

Wrap up against the cold

Colder, drier air during the winter months means the water in your skin evaporates faster. Scientists have estimated that your skin loses more than 25% of its ability to hold moisture in winter, making it feel drier and tighter. You can reduce this by shielding your skin with protective clothing such as gloves and scarves while outdoors.

Use a humidifier

Spending more time indoors with the heating on also dries out your skin. Running a humidifier in the most commonly used living areas in your home can help replenish moisture in the air that has been sucked out by the dry indoor heat. Setting a humidifier to around 60% is thought to be sufficient to help replenish the skin’s oily surface layers.

Avoid overly hot showers

Piping hot showers may be tempting, but the higher temperatures dry out skin by stripping away its surface oils: keeping the water lukewarm is actually much healthier. Try to limit showers to no more than 10 minutes and avoid using bath sponges or scrubbing brushes that can damage and irritate the skin. When towelling dry, pat the skin rather than rubbing vigorously.

Moisturise

Regular moisturising is the most effective way of tackling dry skin, but some products are better than others. Look for moisturising creams containing lactic acid or ammonium lactate as these ingredients help seal moisture within your skin. The best moment to apply moisturiser is within three to five minutes of showering, while your skin is still damp.

Swap your soap

One of the most common causes of dry skin is harsh soaps, particularly those that promise lots of exfoliation. Soap is an emulsifier, meaning it strips away the moisture within your skin. Definitely avoid deodorant or perfumed soaps or soaps that contain alcohol – instead, try soap-free cleansing products such as Cetaphil or Aquanil, which contain added moisturiser.

Avoid woollen clothing

Scratchy fibres such as wool can aggravate dry, sensitive skin, causing it to become itchy. If you are prone to dry skin, you may be better off sticking to softer, smoother fabrics that allow your skin to breathe, such as cotton.

Stay hydrated

We tend not to be as thirsty during the winter, compared with the hot summer months, but your body actually loses water through the skin all year round, especially when you spend most of the day in a warm indoor environment. This makes it easy to become dehydrated without realising, which can contribute to dry skin. Drink regularly even if you don’t feel thirsty, and avoid caffeinated drinks, which will dehydrate you even more.

Side effect-free ways to reduce depression

Depression is a debilitating mental condition of overwhelming sadness and disinterest in activity. The victim may feel hopeless, tearfulness, lack of energy to engage in even the smallest tasks, worthlessness, anxiety, anger, restlessness, and have trouble focusing and may even have frequent thoughts of suicide.

If one has been in a traumatic event, depression often accompanies Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It can also be understood as one of the symptoms of PTSD.

Without support, each episode of depression may be a painful, prolonged and possibly life-threatening time.

For Michael Phelps, depression is both a problem that many athletes face and also a personal challenge. Despite being the world’s most decorated swimmer and the Olympian with the most medals of all time, with 28 Olympic medals (23 gold), he has faced depression over and over.

In 2004 Phelps got his first DUI (arrest for Driving Under the Influence); in 2008 Phelps is photographed taking a bong hit; and in 2014 Phelps received a second DUI. The days following his second DUI were the lowest point in his life. Phelps explained that he was on the brink of ending his life in those days between his arrest and court date. “I’m somebody who’s gone through at least three or four major depression spells after [Olympic] Games that, you know, I’ve put my life in danger,” .

Psychopharmacology is commonly used, but may produce unwanted side effects. It is often ineffective in not only solving one’s original depression or in preventing the next depression. And with extended long-term use, the side effects may have devastating health effects.

Complementary medicine may make mental health care more accessible, without risk of severe side effects. It includes such approaches as taking herbs (e.g. St. John’sWort, Valerian, or S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine (SAMe)), improving sleep, diet, exercise and adding yogic postures, as well as effective, evidence-based meditation, among many possibilities.

One highly effective, evidence-based meditation is Transcendental Meditation (TM). Ten scientific studies show that TM produces systematic reduction in depression and even PTSD-related depression. ( TM.org section on depression relief)

With TM, practiced twice a day every day, the brain chemistry improves and EEG shows a regular rise in brain coherence. In addition, TM helps improve sleep. With improved rest from sleep, people tend to feel less impulsive and eat in a more balanced way. Because they feel more settled, they can plan for their future and implement daily exercise regimes. So TM acts as a basis for a life shift towards more inner balance and stability, away from causes of depression.

TM can be used along with the standard treatments to accelerate the return to happy life, or may be used on its own.

If you or loved ones are suffering from depression or PTSD-based depression, you may wish to consider adopting an integrated, complementary approach to reduce both short and long-term depression with the support of a clinician. By making lifestyle changes such as these and by regularly practicing Transcendental Meditation you may begin to live life with fewer or no bouts of debilitating depression. Michael Phelps, Dwayne Johnson, and many other famous people, have called out for help. Here is an effective strategy to help them and millions of other people around the world, to enjoy happiness, success and progress.

Benefits And Uses For Aloe Vera

Before there were bath bombs and contouring palettes, there was aloe vera (rumor has it Cleopatra even used aloe as a skin treatment). There’s a reason it’s stood the test of time as a beauty ingredient—it works.

“Whether it was your parents telling you to rub some on a cut or you’ve noticed it used as an ingredient in your favorite skincare products, aloe vera is one of the more well-known ingredients because it has several beneficial purposes”.

Try aloe as an aftershave.

Do razors leave your skin red and sensitive? “The enzymes in aloe vera provide anti-inflammatory properties that can help prevent razor burn and address small cuts or nicks,” says Bhanusali.

Or use it as a makeup remover.

Just apply pure aloe vera to a cotton ball, and gently swipe off your makeup. “It can be used to calm skin after a long day and sometimes in combination with other products,” Bhanusali says. “My favorite makeup remover with it is the Acure Seriously Soothing Micellar Water Towelettes. Aloe calms, and the micellar water acts as a magnet to remove debris, makeup, and pollutants from the skin.”

It’s an awesome moisturizer.

“Aloe penetrates the skin four times faster than water, making it a great hydrator,” says Bhanusali.

Aloe vera helps heal burns and chafing-related irritation.

If your flatiron got a little too close to your forehead or you had an incident in the kitchen, aloe vera is your friend. “It creates an environment that supports healing, and the anti-inflammatory mediators released promote resolution” .

You can a hair mask out it.

“Your hair contains amino acids and enzymes, as does aloe,” says Chelsea Scott, founder of the haircare brand TRUHAIR. “So using it on hair allows you to put those nutrients back in that washing, styling, and the environment take out.”

Pick up an aloe vera leaf in the tropical fruits section of your local nursery (you can slice the leaf open and scoop out the gel inside), or buy aloe vera oil. Either way, use the liquid as a serum two to three times per week: Gently massage the gel directly into the scalp to boost circulation and stimulate hair follicles for better absorption. Let sit for an hour, then use a mild shampoo to wash out.

3 Ways to Lower Your Odds of Diabetes

The nutritionist says … eat one plant protein and one serving of veggies at every meal.

As often as possible, get your protein from low-carb plant foodslike soy and nuts. Beans are also good protein sources, but they’re high in carbs, so be cautious if that’s something you’re monitoring. Studies show that filling your plate with veggies and nuts helps improve chronic inflammation and insulin sensitivity.

And a plant-based diet can also help you lose weight, lower your blood glucose and blood pressure, and ward off heart disease — because you’re getting more fiber, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and healthy fats, and less saturated fat and cholesterol.

The researcher says … sign up for a prevention program.

Most doctors will tell you to eat better and move more, but how exactly do you start putting the advice into practice? That’s why it’s crucial to find a group that helps inspire you to create healthy, lasting habits. Research shows that when you engage in a yearlong lifestyle change program that includes diet, exercise, and support, you’ll cut your risk of diabetes by over half, and by 70% if you’re over 60, you’ll also help prevent heart attacks and strokes.

The doctor says … pop a Vitamin D pill.

While other supplements may claim to help manage or prevent diabetes, vitamin D is the only one with actual evidence to support it. In fact, one study of over 2,000 people with prediabetes found that the higher the level of vitamin D in the subject’s blood, the lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Your body makes vitamin D when your skin is exposed to the sun, but because people aren’t going outdoors as much, it’s very common to be deficient in this vitamin. And it’s hard to reach the right levels just by eating.

Preventing infant deaths: The ABCs of safe baby sleep

A – Alone. This does not mean that babies should be put to bed in a room separate from parents. It does, however, mean that infants should not sleep in the same bed. The reason for this is that parents may move during sleep in ways that interfere with babies’ breathing or even crush them. Inadvertently dozing off while breastfeeding or cuddling an infant is just as hazardous as intentionally co-sleeping

B – Back. Babies should always be put to sleep on their backs. There is nothing wrong with placing healthy babies on their tummies to play, but on the back appears to be the safest position for sleeping. One possible explanation is the fact that babies lying on their bellies are more likely to rebreathe the air they exhale, causing blood levels of carbon dioxide to rise as oxygen falls. This recommendation applies throughout the first year, but it is especially important in the first six months after birth.

The American Academy of Pediatrics policy on safe sleep explicitly contradicts the outdated view that back-sleeping increases the risk of choking. While it is true that many infants experience gastroesophageal reflux, familiar to parents as “spitting up,” healthy babies protect themselves against aspiration. Parents should also avoid raising the head of the crib. It doesn’t reduce the risk of reflux and can cause babies to slide into a dangerous position.

C – Crib. Cribs and bassinets that meet current safety standards are the safest places for babies to sleep, while chairs and sofas should be avoided. A firm surface prevents the baby’s face from becoming caught in a fold or indentation. Likewise, the crib should be empty of loose bedding, pillows, bumpers and toys, any one of which could cause entrapment and suffocation. Too many coverings can also increase the risk that a baby will overheat, an important consideration because temperature regulation is not fully developed in infants.

Of course, there are other steps parents can take to ensure that their babies sleep safely. One is to prevent exposure to cigarette smoke, which appears to increase the risk of sudden infant death. Unsurprisingly, parental intoxication and illicit drug use also appear to place babies at greater risk. Another key factor is making sure that others who care for the baby, such as family members and daycare workers, understand the importance of adhering to the ABCs of safe sleep.

It is important to avoid stigmatizing parents who have lost an infant. In many cases, like the baby whose X-rays I read, we never know for sure what caused the death. Yet there are simple steps every parent can take to enhance the safety of sleeping infants, and it all begins with education. My colleagues and I hope that by educating parents about the ABCs of safe sleep, we may be able to prevent hundreds – perhaps even thousands – of infant deaths every year.

10 Signs Your Headache Is Actually a Migraine

If you think your “really bad headaches” aren’t migraines, you may want to take a closer look at your symptoms—especially if you’re a woman.

More than half of all migraine sufferers are never diagnosed, according to the Migraine Research Foundation. And according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, migraines are three times more common in women than in men. Crazy, right?

By taking a few minutes to learn about migraines, you can get an idea if you’re dealing with the condition and get treatment that will actually give you relief. Read on for all the signs and symptoms you may be overlooking, plus background on why migraines happen in the first place.

Migraine headaches can cause various symptoms before, during, and after the attack. Not all people experience all symptoms, and your migraine may be entirely different than a friend’s.

Symptoms can come on gradually or suddenly. Sometimes they start overnight, causing people to wake up with a migraine, but not always, the Mayo Clinic notes. Basically, every migraine headache is slightly different, and there’s no cut and dry list of symptoms that pertain to everyone. (Annoying, we know!)

All that said, there are a number of ways migraines differ from regular headaches. If you experience any of these symptoms, you’re likely suffering from a migraine and not something that’ll go away by popping some Advil.

Common migraine symptoms you should definitely know about

1. Debilitating throbbing

    “Patients will tell me, ‘I can feel my heartbeat in my head,’ or talk about touching their temple and feeling the vein throbbing, or feeling like their head will explode,” Ailani says. A run-of-the-mill headache, however, causes a dull, aching pain that’s more of an annoyance versus something that throws a wrench in your daily life.

    2. Pain on only one side of your head

    While migraines can be experienced on both sides of the head, the pain is typically only on one side. A tension headache, however, typically presents as pain all over, and a sinus headache presents as pressure around the cheeks, eyes, and forehead.

    It’s still unclear why migraines may present as one-sided. One theory has to do with the trigeminal nerves. (There’s one on each side of the brain.) However, only one may be activated when a migraine begins, and as this continues to happen with repeated migraines over time, that one nerve becomes the “quickest, easiest path for the brain,” Ailani explains.

    3. Seeing sparking lights or flashes

    “When a migraine happens, there’s a slow wave of electrical activity from the back to the front of the brain,” explains Adelene Jann, M.D., a neurologist at NYU Langone Health. “When that happens, there’s also decreased blood flow to the brain, and everything slows down.” In turn, about 25 percent of suffers experience an aura either before or during their migraines, according to the Migraine Research Foundation.

    A visual aura causes various forms of distorted vision, including sparkling lights, different colors, pixelated vision, flashes on one side of the visual field, or colorful zigzag lines. These types of vision changes don’t usually happen with a tension or sinus headache.

    4. Weakness and tingling

    Vision isn’t the only thing impacted by the decreased brain speed. Migraines can also present with a sensory aura, which causes numbness, tingling, or even weakness on one side of the body. Some people may have a speech aura and have trouble finding their words, which is eerily similar to what happens during a stroke, the Mayo Clinic notes. (But to be clear, is totally unrelated.)

    5. Next level nausea

    Many people who experience migraines feel nausea, dizziness, or even vomit. “Our gut has a nervous system,” Ailani explains. “When you activate the brain nerves, it’ll activate the gut as well.” Experts believe that the gut slows down during a migraine headache, which can lead to nausea. Studies have also found an association between migraines and gastrointestinal disorders, but the connection remains unclear.

    6. A heightened sense of smell

    When you get a migraine, the brain is hyperexcited, Jann says. “Everything is ramped up, so people notice noises, lights, and smells more.” That’s why you may be able to smell your coworker’s lunch all the way down the hall or hear your roommate’s music through multiple closed doors, according to a Therapeutic Advances in Chronic Diseasestudy. It’s also why many migraine sufferers seek refuge in a dark, quiet, cool room when the pain is at its worst.

    7. You’re totally out of it—even after the pain is gone

    Everything from depression to irritability to euphoria has been reported before, during, and after migraine headaches, and some people have reported difficulty concentrating, notes a Journal of Neuroscience study. “Before a migraine, you may notice you’re struggling to get through the document you’are reading, and even during and after, you can feel out of it for a little bit,” Jann says. “It has to do with the slowing of the brain.”

    8. The throbbing derails your entire life

    A migraine is not just a headache. “A migraine is disabling; it interferes with your life,” Jann says. The severity is too intense that you cannot go about your normal day, and you may miss work or social obligations. “You’re trying to do other things, but your brain is like, ‘Sorry, I won’t let you,’” Ailani says. A typical headache, on the other hand, doesn’t usually leave you down for the count.

    9. You get crazy fatigued

    During all phases of a migraine, “your brain is busy having a party, and that party can be exhausting,” Ailani says. The feeling that no amount of coffee could help perk you up can last a day or two after a migraine passes. “Your brain is trying to clean up the mess, and it takes energy to do that,” Ailani explains.

    10. Your neck is stiff

    The trigeminal nerve is thought to play a role in migraines, the Mayo Clinicnotes. When it’s activated, it communicates with a major pain pathway in the upper region of the spinal cord, Ailani explains. “When that center gets activated, it sends signals upward to the brain, and possibly sends signals into the upper neck, causing pain.”

    Structured financial products not for everyone

    A leading financial planner says she has never had reason to use a structured product in a financial plan, while another says he uses them but they make up less than 2% of the investments he recommends.

    “I’ve never seen an investor who has been happy with a structured product as few of them are profitable,” says 2018 Financial Planner of the Year Janet Hugo of Sterling Wealth.

    She says she has not had to recommend a product with a guarantee for anyone because she matches cash-flow needs to the investment strategy and because offshore investments, with both market and rand exchange rate risks, are usually in the seven-to-10-year strategy, giving these investments long enough to work through expected market cycles. Therefore paying insurance for something like that makes no sense, she says.

    The complexity of these products makes them difficult to fit into any plan, and if you need insurance for a specific concern such as US dollar or US market weakness, it would be better to hedge that concern, she says.

    Good hedging

    The Financial Planner of the Year for 2017, Mark MacSymon of Private Client Holdings, says he does recommend structured products at times as they are an alternative asset class with good hedging. But he will recommend these investments only to investors who will not need access to their capital.

    And he concedes that understanding the cost structures is challenging and each product has to be evaluated for the payoff and guarantee it offers at the time it is offered.

    They can be useful when an investor is concerned about the risks of investing in the market, although most of time it is possible to find comfort for investors with an appropriate mix of asset classes for the investor’s investment time horizon, he says.

    Lance Solms, director of iTransact, says the structured products are designed to lower investment risks but their performance will not “shoot out the lights”.

    He says they are suitable for any investor with a shorter-term horizon, but iTransact will sell them to you only if you have a financial adviser helping you to ensure the investment is appropriate.

    Henk Appelo, Liberty’s product development actuary, says the products are intended for a small portion of your investments – not your entire portfolio – and only for those with at least R150,000 to invest.

    10 High-Fat Keto-Friendly Foods to Add to Your Diet

    1 Extra Virgin Olive Oil

    Aside from being a heart-healthy fat, olive oil is loaded with polyphenols, according to Liz Weinandy, R.D. at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Ok, so what are they and why do we want them? Polyphenols are chemicals found in plants that have been shown to reduce the risk of cancer, other chronic diseases and help with digestion.

    2 Brazil Nuts
    Generally, nuts have larger amounts of minerals than other foods, says Weinandy. Brazil nuts are particularly high in selenium, which is important for our immune systems and thyroid function, she says. Add two brazil nuts to snack time for your daily selenium needs.

    3 Pumpkin

    “Pumpkin seeds are one of the best sources of magnesium that most Americans fall short of getting enough,” says Weinandy. Without magnesium, our blood sugar levels, muscles and blood pressure would suffer.

    Male adults should get roughly 400 milligrams of magnesium daily. An ounce of pumpkin seeds delivers about 168 mg.

    4 Safflower Oil

    Plant oils contain linoleic acid, which is not found in high quantities in extra virgin olive oil. Our bodies rely on this polyunsaturated fat, which can only be found in foods and not made in our bodies, to function normally. Try going half and half using EVOO and safflower or grape seed oil for cooking and other oil needs,” says Weinandy.

    5 Avocados

    Avocados are high in monounsaturated fat, which raises good cholesterol and lowers bad. Plus, they’re a great source of fiber and potassium, says Lauren Popeck, R.D. at Orlando Health.

    6 Flaxseed
    Typically, you think of getting omega 3-fatty acids from fish, but flax is a great plant-based source of the nutrient, explains Popeck. Micronutrients found in flax, lignans, help reduce inflammation in your body, too.

    7 Sardines

    A single four-ounce can delivers 1,363mg Omega−3 fatty acids and nearly 400 IU of Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium for healthy bones and teeth plus it supports the immune system, says Popeck.

    8.Olives

    Olives contain monounsaturated fat and fiber, both of which protect the heart. Popeck recommends chopping and adding to salads, sauces and dressing.

    9 Walnuts

    Another great plant-based source of Omega-3 fatty acids, walnuts also contain fiber and protein. The combo will fill you up and prevent blood sugar spikes, says Popeck.

    10 Almond Butter

    Almonds are a good source of Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that protects cells from damage, says Popeck. Add almond butter to smoothies, oatmeal or fruit bowls to add flavor and get your nutrients.

    The ABCs of E-Cigarettes

    The term “electronic cigarette” refers to a battery-powered device that heats a tank or cartridge of liquid usually containing nicotine, flavorings and other chemicals, but not the cancer-causing tar found in tobacco cigarettes. Users inhale and exhale the vapor. The devices come in numerous shapes, including ones that look like pens, flash drives and hookahs. Many consumers are confused about the health implications of e-cigarettes. This is a primer about what research so far shows about these devices.

    E-cigarettes contain far fewer dangerous chemicals than those released in burning tobacco. Tobacco cigarettes typically contain 7,000 chemicals, including nearly 70 known to be carcinogenic. E-cigarettes also don’t release tar, the tobacco residue that damages lungs but also contributes to the flavor of tobacco products. In major countries , cigarettes are associated with more than 10% deaths a year from coronary heart disease, stroke and numerous cancers, among other illnesses.

    The research on e-cigarettes is young because the products have only been around for a little over a decade. Exacerbated by the voltage of a given device, certain e-cigarette flavors can irritate the airways, researchers say: benzaldehyde (added to cherry flavored liquids), cinnamaldehyde (gives cinnamon flavor), and diacetyl (a buttery flavor that can cause lung tissue damage called “popcorn lung.”) Some flavors become irritants when added to vaping liquids. The process of turning liquid chemicals into vapor releases harmful particulates deep into the lungs and atmosphere, including heavy metals.

    What Are Adaptogens, and Are They Really the Secret to Stress Relief

    Seventy nine percent of people say they’re stressed-out—thanks, work, screaming kids, social media, and deciding what to have for dinner tonight—which explains the rise of the multibillion-dollar anti-stress marketplace.

    With a bevy of attractive, shiny options, you can choose between established practices—therapists and an array of prescription pills—and more esoteric stuff like meditation, tapping, and yoga. The newest in the latter category: adaptogens, a group of (supposedly) stress-fighting plants that are showing up in today’s trendiest teas, coffees, and snack foods.

    What are adaptogens?

    Adaptogens (a hard-to-pin-down category that even the dictionary defines only as “plant extracts that increase the body’s ability to resist stress”) come from obscure and god-awful-tasting plants, roots, fruits, and fungi that survive in harsh conditions, making scientists believe they help humans do the same. They’re sold for a too-high price with too-gorgeous packaging in too-precious web stores like Moon Juice and Goop. They have exotic, spelling-bee-finals names—including ashwagandha, rhodiola, reishi, Panax ginseng, and Cordyceps—and promise to take you back to your center and make you feel normal again, no matter what’s going on.

    Such vague and sweeping declarations typically send our BS detectors into threat level midnight. But some nonquacky experts are finding glimpses of truth in the far-out claims.

    Brenda Powell, M.D., director of the Center for Integrative Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, for example, often recommends adaptogens when people with anxiety and depression aren’t sure they want to take pharmaceuticals. “Adaptogens can help lessen the physical reaction you have from stress,” she says.

    It works like this: When stress strikes, your hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, a complex system that controls your stress response, fires a surge of the fight-or-flight hormone cortisol. In the long term, this can cause chronic inflammation, the problem that’s now linked to so many of the top-killing diseases of our time, says Roy Chengappa, M.D., a professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh .

    A daily dose of adaptogens, the theory goes, may help your cells turn on their stress-protecting mechanisms. That increases your HPA axis’s stress threshold, meaning you may be able to take on more stress, or that the same level of stress will have less of an impact, says Dr. Powell. Think of it as tuning the engine of a car: If the car used to overheat around 70 mph, you can make it so that 90 is the new overheating point and 70 is an easy drive.

    A review in Pharmaceuticals suggests there’s merit to the thinking, and studies in humans give it support. Among them is the Creighton University research that found drops in C-reactive protein—a marker of inflammation linked to stress—in people who took a supplement that included Siberian ginseng and rhodiola for four weeks. Another looked at ashwagandha—a shrub whose Sanskrit name translates to “smell of horse,” because it has the funk of a damp filly—and saw that subjects who received it along with counseling had a 57 percent drop in anxiety, while counseling-only people experienced just a 31 percent dip.

    Promising results, indeed, but medical authorities aren’t proposing you trade in your Zoloft for rhodiola yet. Studies have been small, so there are still big question marks. Plus, adaptogens can interfere with prescription drugs (including some immunosuppressant, sleep, and antianxiety meds) and can upset your stomach unless you take them with food.

    Where that leaves you: Stress is a problem. And in America, we sell solutions, including stress-busting powders, pills, and chocolate bars. We get the appeal. But there’s probably a better way to manage what gets thrown at you. “If someone wants to use adaptogens, I get them to figure out what’s causing their stress, which is usually some questionable behavior pattern,” says Trevor Kashey, Ph.D., a biochemist and nutrition consultant in Columbus, Ohio. “Then I ask if they think a magic mushroom or root powder will fix that pattern and, well, you can guess what they say.” Still, if you want to sip an adaptogen-spiked chai while you’re sorting your stuff out, it may make you feel better, if only because you’re making a move to shake off stress.

    Seven ways to manage a panic attack

    Learn what’s happening to your body

    When it comes to panic attacks, knowledge is power. Although it won’t stop them from occurring, being aware of exactly what is happening to you physiologically and why can prevent your panic from escalating – plus it means you will be less likely to mistake it for a more serious health problem, such as a heart attack or a stroke.

    Breathe

    Like much advice given to people with anxiety, this may sound irritatingly obvious – but learning an effective breathing technique can be a gamechanger if you tend to experience attacks in public. During an attack you will often automatically take shallow, rapid breaths. Simple breathing exercises can help you to be conscious of filling your lungs, slowing your heart rate. The NHS outlines calming techniques on its website – practice at home in calmer times so that you will feel empowered to try it during an attack.

    Focus on relaxing your muscles

    Telling someone who suffers panic attacks to relax can suggest you need a week by the beach. But Progressive muscle relaxation is a practical method that teaches you to connect to sources of acute physical tension, so that when you are mid-attack you will be conscious of where you need to focus on relaxing.

    Limit stimuli

    When you feel an attack coming on, it is a good idea to limit the stimuli you are experiencing as much as you can. Try to find a dark, quiet space where you can practise your breathing and relaxation techniques. It may be harder to find a peaceful space in an office but try outside, or in the loos. When it is not possible – for example, when you are out – a good way to achieve the effect is to focus on a single thing or thought, such as a tangible object, like a ring, or a mantra you repeat to yourself while you ride out the attack.

    Keep a notebook

    A notebook can be a valuable tool for dealing with the onset of a panic attack. Research has shown that treating intrusive thoughts as material objects that you can get rid of is an effective coping mechanism. When you begin catastrophising in the lead-up to an attack, write down the thoughts that are worrying you, then throw the page away.

    Avoid caffeine at danger times, such as before a commute

    Nobody likes to be told to give up their morning coffee, but caffeine can be a major trigger for anxiety. If crowds and tight spaces are a trigger for you, it’s a good idea to try cutting out coffee, or at least waiting until you are in the office to have your first of the day. Drink water on your trip instead, which will prevent dehydration – another possible trigger.

    Use audio apps

    Studies show that commuters in general suffer heightened levels of anxiety, but rush-hour journeys can be especially difficult if you get panic attacks. Combat external stressors by making the most of audio apps. This might mean a guided meditation, if that’s your thing, or an audio book – anything to ground you mentally and hold your focus.

    From glowing skin to weight loss: Why your body needs a fibre-rich diet

    Do you find yourself often wondering about why you’re packing on the pounds even though you’re working out and eating healthy? It might be because you’re not having enough of what you really need. The simple secret to weight managementcan be increasing the amount of fibreconsumed. High fibre food fills you up with fewer calories because they are naturally bulky and cleanse the gut while they’re at it, but that’s not all they do. Here’s why you need to load up on them to reach your optimum fitness goal.

    How does fibre work?

    To know how fibre helps the body stay healthy, let’s first understand fibre. In simple terms, dietary fibre is a plant-based carbohydrate that the body can’t break down or absorb. So unlike sugars and starch, this component can be digested in the small intestine. Because this roughage can’t be digested, our bodies don’t use it as an energy source. Depending on whether the fibre dissolves during digestion, they are classified as soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibre, found in whole grains such as oats, ragi and barley, as well as in beans, apples, citrus fruits and seeds like flaxseeds, can dissolve in water to form a gel-like substance that slows down digestion. This can help stabilise blood sugar levels and curb hunger, which in turn helps to maintain healthy weight.

    “Soluble fibre contain b-glucan, which has [been] found to have an effect on blood cholesterol levels, thus reducing the LDL and triglycerides and increasing HDL,” explains Harpreet Pasricha, a nutritionist and diet consultant in Goa. “Soluble fibre also helps those with diabetes to manage their blood glucose levels, as ingestion of these foods have [been] found to slow down digestion and absorption and hence lead to slow rise in blood glucose levels.” Insoluble fibre, such as whole wheat, leafy vegetables and nuts, is the one that the body doesn’t break down at all. “Adding fibre to your diet, particularly insoluble fibre, can aid in normalising bowel movements by bulking up the stool, making it easier to pass through the digestive tract. In addition, the right amount of fibre in the diet can also help reduce risk of digestive health problems such as irritable bowel syndrome. So it moves through your digestive track, helping everything move along with it,” she explains. Through a high-fibre diet, you are ensuring that your body is naturally and regularly mopping up digestive and cellular debris, environmental toxins and surplus hormones, which reduces the load on the gut.

    What is fibre’s role in clear, glowing skin?

    “Fibre or roughage helps [the] body get rid of toxic substances and play a catalyst role in detoxifying the body. It protects the body from inflammation, acne, clogged pores and dull and dry skin,” states Dr Chiranjiv Chhabra, director and consultant dermatologist at Skin Alive. Fibre-rich foods have plentiful benefits like preventing constipation, heart diseases, diabetes and strengthening bones, but they also work to bring out an inner skin glow and improve skin clarity. “Fruits such as apple, avocado, papaya and guava are very rich in fibre and have antioxidant properties that protect the skin from sun damage, and restore collagen, which helps improve the texture of the skin. Walnut is another fibre-rich food that helps prevent skin inflammation, and gives a boost to the complexion. Vegetables like legumes, broccoli, and tomatoes increase skin’s hydration levels as well, leading to a glowing complexion.”

    The inside story: Gut feels

    The gut plays a major role in the in the health and well-being of the entire body. Dr Lisa Ganjhu, clinical assistant professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center, explains that she often refers to the brain as a part of the gastrointestinal system, because the brain and gut are in constant communication. Both these organs play key roles in managing our stress level, and our mood or state of mind. Our gut is filled with nerve cells that receive and provide information to the brain (the basis of mind-body alignment), and also produces more than 90 per cent of the serotonin produced by the body—a hormone that helps regulate our mood or emotions. So a clogged gut affects the way our body communicates with our brains, further clouding our judgments and decision-making skills. That queasy feeling in the tummy that comes with nervousness is due to an imbalance in the gut. A clear gut is like a passport to stress-free living as your mind and body are always in sync. On the external side, if your gut is clear, your body will feel lighter and your skin will glow; the genesis of what we call ‘beautiful inside out’.

    How should you load up on fibre?

    Adding bulk to your diet may seem challenging than it actually is. The USDA recommends that women under 50 get at least 25gms of fibre a day, whereas the figure for men rises up to 38. But the truth is, not all of us have the skill to measure fibre to the last gram. “If you are having 250-300 grams of veggies and fruits combined, that is about seven to eight cups, you are doing just fine,” says Dr Siddhant Bhargav, nutritionist and keto expert. Begin your day with a high-fibre cereal, often a great weight loss strategy. “Eat more greens, beans and legumes, and choose whole grains over refined as often as possible. The refining process removes the bran from the grain just as peeling fruits and vegetables sheds most fibre. Drink plenty of water, as fibre works best when it absorbs water.” For a savoury Indian flavour, trade the milk and oats porridge for a veggie loaded version, and find ways to include seeds like flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds and melon seeds in your diet. You can roast and keep a mix handy to snack on, or sprinkle some on salads or soups too.

    But as always, it is imperative to keep the regular functioning of your own body in mind before changing your diet. Pasricha cautions that “those who have a history of gut inflammation and acidity should only consume soluble fibre and be aware of the quantities of fibre [they’re ingesting], as excess can irritate the stomach lining.”

    Should You Work Out With a Cold?

    For the first time ever, you’ve been sticking to a consistent workout routine.

    You’re hitting the gym in the evenings, no matter what happy hour plans your coworkers goad you with. You’re even managing morning sessions — and, even more impressively, you’re staying true to the meal plan you committed to at the start of your program.

    With this momentum, nothing will stop you from achieving your goals — until you start feeling that tickle in your throat. Then comes the coughing, then sneezing, and then you can’t sleep. You’ve caught a cold, and now that it’s here, your gains are in jeopardy. Do you push through the discomfort, or shut down your progress to recover?

    Colds and other minor illnesses are bound to throw you off your game at one point or another, since the CDC estimates that US adults catch a cold two to three times a year. Since you’re going to have to deal with the symptoms either way, you should have a game plan to decide when it’s serious enough to pause your routine..

    If you’re sick but still want to work out, ask yourself one question: Are your symptoms above or below your neck?

    If Your Symptoms Are Above the Neck

    For symptoms isolated above the neck — think the congestion, sore throat, or sneezing of a common cold — you can continue light or moderate activity.

    Try taking a non-drowsy decongestant to help fight your symptoms. If your energy level feels good enough, you can head to the gym: just dial back the intensity of your workout.

    For instance, if you were set to do some sprints, try jogging instead. Or if you’re lifting that day, dial back your weight and up your reps—just make sure to take longer rest breaks than usual between your sets.

    Think of your fellow gym-goers, too: Make sure you wash your hands, wipe down your equipment after use, and cough or sneeze into your shoulder rather than your hand to reduce the risk of spreading your germs to others.

    If you start to feel worse, take down your intensity a notch or end your workout early, so you don’t make your sickness worse. And get back to your normal routine gradually: Diving back into intense exercise—especially when you’re not feeling 100 percent—can actually suppress your immune system, which can slow your recovery.

    If Your Symptoms Are Below the Neck

    If your symptoms are below the neck — coughing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea — or system-wide, like fever or joint aches — you should flat-out skip your workout.

    These symptoms can point to a more serious infection.

    Plus, not only will you likely not be able to tolerate your normal routine, but attempting it could also put you at risk for respiratory problems, dehydration, dizziness, or even passing out.

    How to Update your Android Operating System

    The uses of smartphones, smartwatches and other devices that use the Android operating system have rampantly increased. Many people have adopted the Android operating system because the system enables the user to operate the system in a user-friendly manner. It is less complicated.

    However, many online gambling users have found it difficult or some of them are ignorant of how they can update the Android Operating System. Failure to upgrade the system has resulted in them not enjoying more updated and latest versions of the system.

    The good part of the system is that it usually notifies you when a new update is available. The problem will arise when the user doesn’t have enough knowledge on how to upgrade to the new version of the system.

    Recently Google released their laest Android Operating System which is named Pie. Android Pie will be coming to your smartphones very soon and you must have the full knowledge on how you can update your smartphone to android 9.0 (Pie).

    Steps on How to Upgrade the Android Operating System

    When an Android Operating System update is available, a notification will pop up on your smartphone. Follow these steps to make sure you successfully install the Android system on your phone:

    1. Backup Data: Before you upgrade your phone with a new version of Android make sure all your files including pokies online files and other important stuff have been backed up. The process of upgrading the Android system can affect some of your important files. Therefore you have to make sure that the upgrade process will not affect any of the aforesaid.

    2. Enter Setting: Navigate to the setting bar on your smartphone and scroll down to the about phone option. Thereafter look for software updates option. This will give you options on either you want to update automatically or manually. You are allowed to opt for any form of an update that suits you and your time.

    3. Search for available updates: Your smartphone will search for the available updates; take note the system can only update via the use of WIFI or data from your service provider.

    There’s more to the Volvo XC40 D4 R-Design than just serious good looks

    Thomas Falkiner answers some FAQs about Volvo’s boutique SUV, the XC40 D4 R-Design

    Wow, that’s one fine-looking machine you got there!

    Isn’t it just? The Volvo design team dug deep on this one and in turn fashioned a boutique SUV to take on the likes of the Range Rover Evoque, Audi Q2, Mini Countryman and BMW X2. And I’ve got to say when it comes to exterior styling the XC40 has them all beat.

    It is a fine piece of automotive sculpture: a steely blend of aggression and sophistication that speaks to both sexes, which is quite a rare feat in the car world. I had mine for a week and the compliments didn’t stop flooding in.

    If you’re a dedicated follower of fashion, always hip to the next big thing, then the XC40 is the vehicle for you. Particularly this R-Design model that gives you chunky 19-inch alloys and (fake) dual exhaust pipes.

    Good to know. Let’s talk engines – what’s behind that handsome visage?

    In the XC40 D4 you get a 2.0-litre turbodiesel and it is, if I’m being honest, not one of the best motors I’ve ever experienced in my 10-year career. The problem is that it feels lazy – particularly at low revs where the turbocharger seems to take an unusually long time to come on song.

    Five ways mobile apps can help you build a brand

    Are you trying to construct a brand that consumers will come to know and trust? If you’re not using mobile software to get there, you should be. Americans check their phones over 80 times a day – even while on vacation.

    But tapping into that trend is about more than stepping out from behind the store counter and onto a customer’s home screen. Mobile apps have come a long way toward replacing traditional branding methods and logistical support. From auditing tools to inventory management, there are a million and one ways that mobile technology can help you get a better handle on branding without a dedicated team of marketers.

    Instead of downloading all the million-and-one apps that look promising on the App Store or Google Play, first think about what you’re trying to accomplish. Does your brand lack social media presence? Are you struggling to create interesting content that potential customers would stop to see?

    1. Develop your own mobile app

    According to a survey more than 70% of consumers expect a personalized experience from brands. Even if your business isn’t perfectly suited for a mobile app, a branded app can easily become a focal point for nurturing customer relationships.

    For example, L’Oreal’s Makeup Genius app, which lets users try on products in real-time, both offers users a useful tool for cosmetics shopping and cultivates brand loyalty. Or take Kraft’s iFood Assistant, which provides easy how-to videos and recipes. Even if you’re the owner-operator of a budding brand, creating an app that shows polish and adds value can capture a core audience.

    2. Make your audits paperless

    One sticking point both big and small businesses struggle with is how to go about the self-auditing process. Be it routine employee evaluations or supplier quality checks, inspections can take your attention away from seemingly more pressing tasks. Nevertheless, monitoring for weak points is critical to cultivating brand consistency – and, as your enterprise expands in the future, brand compliance.

    A good data collection platform gives you insight and oversight into your budding brand and ultimately replaces the bog-standard template forms you’re likely used to. The right enterprise-level form software will warrant your attention because it integrates well with your existing infrastructure, is inherently customizable, and provides access to business intelligence tools. The ability to monitor worker behaviour and audit brand consistency cannot be underestimated.

    3. Use push notifications… sparingly

    There are many reasons both business owners and their app users would prefer push notifications over mass texts. For one thing, it’s easier for customers to control notifications from their mobile device settings. Many folks will install your app for its functionality or out of curiosity, not because they want daily updates.

    On the other hand, you still want them to be interested in what you have to tell them. Before you send out a push notification, see if your app builder platform allows a feature like geofencing so you can be certain you hit the right market at the right time. Avoid sending out alerts overnight or early in the morning. And, of course, make sure what you’re saying has value for those who read it. If you’re pushy or ‘click-baity’, expect many of your users to uninstall– and probably leave you a scathing review.

    4. Integrate social media

    You probably already have some social media presence; if not for your business, then for your personal life. Staying social with your market isn’t much different from posting about your daily activities, either. Some businesses might have it easier than others when it comes to generating fun visual content for a format like Instagram, but even if what you sell is intangible and you have few employees, “personifying” your brand can make a strong emotional appeal

    Make use of a platform to distribute and manage all your social media accounts in one place, such as the ever-popular Hootsuite or the free SocialOomph. Be wary, though – social media has swiftly become the top choice for disgruntled users to voice their grievances. ‘Non-voice’ methods of providing service are becoming the customer’s method of choice when it comes to contacting a brand, according to the 2017 Aspect Customer Experience Index. When comes to entering the Twittersphere, be prepared to both to market to and assuage the frustrations of your clients.

    5. Optimize your brand for mobile

    One thing many do-it-yourselfers forget when they build their own site, app or assets is just how many people will access their content on a mobile device. If you have a mobile version of your site, you should add and verify it in Google Search Console. Test how mobile-friendly your pages are using an auditor like Link Assistant. If your user experience isn’t flexible or movable, your users are going to have a frustrating time chasing down the content they need on their smartphone.

    Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are a topic too big to fit in this space, but worth every bit of your attention. To put it simply, PWAs are hybridized programs. While they are indeed web pages, they can also appear as native apps. In 2017, they became popular due to the fact that they combine the lightning latency of mobile-focused pages with the robust features of an app. It’s definitely a development tool worth investing some energy into if you’ve yet to develop an app, want to optimize your site for mobile, or are considering an app overhaul.

    Last Words

    The mobile marketplace has indelibly altered the course of small and home business for the better. We can expect even more digital disruptions as time goes by, but when it comes to branding you can’t slack off on the mobile side of things. Your customers are already installing apps, interacting on social media, and browsing mobile sites – it’s time to join them.

    What type of investor are you?

    Risk and reward are opposite sides of the same coin, and it is almost certain there will be a trade-off between the two to achieve your long-term investment goals.

    Investment guru Warren Buffett is quoted as saying that “risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing”. Take this billionaire’s advice and understand the risk of the various types of investments before leaping in – and, importantly, know your own risk profile and whether you are risk friendly or risk averse regarding your investments.

    For the average person, risk means the temporary or permanent loss or decrease of your investment value. But without taking on calculated risks, your rewards from investing make be inadequate, so make risk your friend.

    A good financial adviser can help establish the optimal level of investment risk that will let you achieve your investment goals, taking into account your risk profile. Legislation requires that an adviser obtain all the necessary information to establish your needs and objectives and to recommend products in accordance with those needs and your risk profile.

    Determining your risk profile is usually done via a questionnaire. There is debate in the industry about the appropriateness of some of these questionnaires, but as long as your adviser assesses your risk profile holistically and takes into account your financial goals, investment time horizon, existing investments and other relevant factors – and you stick to the strategy designed for you – you should be able to meet your goals.

    Those goals can be as simple at buying a new car in four years’ time, paying for the education of a child in 18 years’ time, or being financially secure when you retire.

    There are three aspects to risk. All three should be taken into account when deciding how to allocate your investments between cash, bonds, property and shares, or to a combination of these.

    • The required risk is associated with the return you need to reach your investment goals.
    • Risk tolerance is your emotional capacity to withstand losses from your investment. It speaks to whether you stick to your strategy without panicking and ditching the plan.
    • Risk capacity is your ability to financially absorb any investment losses.

    Risk tolerance

    Advisers may assume you are comfortable with a high level of risk because you enjoy activities such as parachuting and bungee jumping, but that is not necessarily true for the way you feel about taking large bets with your investments.

    Your risk tolerance should be determined through the use of questions that are valid, relevant, reliable and not too technical. An example of a good indicator of your risk tolerance is whether you would accept a decline in your investment value of, say, 10% over any 12 months to achieve a return of inflation plus 3% a year over three to four years. That quantifies the risk objectively over a certain period, is not too technical and is relevant to the investment at hand.

    Furthermore, a financial adviser should work out the possibilities and probabilities of an investment and advise you on the potential for a decline in the value of an investment under consideration or one that is recommended for you.

    Having your risk tolerance assessed is important, otherwise you could be left unable to make informed decisions, or it could lead to inappropriate advice. You may, for instance, panic when the market drops sharply and then sell your investment, which could have a significant impact on your financial wellbeing in the long run.

    It is important to understand that risk tolerance is only one part of the assessment of your risk profile. You may well sleep soundly if your strategy relies on conservative investments, but it may be woefully inadequate to help you achieve your long-term financial goals. This is where the assessment of the next type of risk comes into the equation.

    Risk required to achieve your goals

    You need to differentiate between risk tolerance – how much risk you feel comfortable taking on – and the risk you need to take to achieve your long-term investment goals.

    This measure of risk will take into account the amount you need to save, your time horizon and the returns of the various asset classes such as cash, bonds, property and shares. Generally, shares are regarded as the most risky and cash (money in the bank) as the least risky.

    The higher percentage of shares of a fund or investment, the riskier the investment is likely to be over the short term.

    Understanding the difference between volatility and risk is important. If an investment is volatile, it’s not necessarily risky.

    Keeping your money in cash over the long term is considered risky because you will not be able to outperform inflation and your money will lose its real value over time.

    If you want your capital to beat inflation, you will have to embrace an investment that contains growth assets such as shares, irrespective of their volatility. Such an investment will give you the best chance of outperforming inflation over the long term, as long as you are patient.

    5 Thing’s top CEOs do daily

    With the same 24-hour days as everyone else, successful CEOs seem to have a universal ability to do it all.

    While they run the show at some of the biggest companies around the world, we can’t help but wonder how they would run their own day?

    In their work with high performing CEO’s of fast-growth companies, Edward Sullivan and John Baird of the Velocity Group noticed one thing: Building a highly-successful company is the result of some fairly predictable executive habits.

    Although there’s no one-size-fits-all routine for success, there’s a number of similarities in the habits of C-suites across the board.

    Here are 5 things top CEOs do daily:

    #1 They start their day right
    Whether it’s by exercising before work, meditating for a few minutes while their coffee is brewing or reading the headlines while chewing their toast, many go-getting CEO’s have a morning routine that sets them up for a good day.

    Bob Iger, the CEO of Disney, told The New York Times, “I get up at 4:30 every morning. I like the quiet time. It’s a time I can recharge my batteries a bit. I exercise and I clear my head and I catch up on the world.”

    Billionaire John Paul DeJoria, the co-founder of Patrón tequila and Paul Mitchell hair products, starts every morning with five minutes of quiet reflection. “The very second I wake up, I stay in bed for about five minutes and just be.”

    #2 They read…a lot!
    Warren Buffet, billionaire and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, spends 80% of his day reading. In his documentary, Becoming Warren Buffet, he recommends that people try to read at least 500 pages a day. “That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest,” the 88-year-old magnate says.

    Even the younger generation of CEOs, like Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook, have acknowledged the value of reading and even publicly taken up the challenge of making it a habit.

    #3 They work with plan
    One of the 7 habits of highly effective people, which author Stephen M.R. Covey identifies, is that they have the ability to put the first things first. There are often so many priorities in massive organisations that it is difficult for people to determine what the major focus should be. Which is why CEO’s should be able to prioritise and compartmentalise daily tasks.

    Danny Meyer, CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group, has a memo system for example that helps him keep up with all his responsibilities without getting sidetracked throughout the day.

    #4 They “keep thinking” and stay creative
    In a recent Fast Company poll, 60% of those surveyed said that creativity will be the most important leadership quality over the next five years. And perhaps no one exhibits the power of creativity better than the tech titans from Silicon Valley.

    Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, says that creativity is about people who “keep thinking” until they get it right. For Cook and other giants like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Oracle’s Larry Ellison, creativity is essential to lead their employees to innovate new products and come up with solutions to problems that may not even exist yet.

    Jeff Bezos says he tries to get all these high-IQ meetings in before lunch to make sure he’s fully present.

    #5 They end their days well
    “The best decision I ever made was committing to getting eight hours of sleep a night,” Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Huffington Post, said.

    In her book, The Sleep Revolution, Arianna writes that once she started giving sleep the respect it deserves, her life improved in pretty much every way. This came after she fainted from sleep deprivation and broke her cheekbone in 2007. “Now, instead of waking up to the sense that I have to trudge through activities, I wake up feeling joyful about the day’s possibilities.”

    10 Hacks that make travelling the globe easier

    Whether you’re an international globetrotter or a homebody braving a journey within South Africa for the first time, travelling can be an overwhelming experience. How many bags should you pack – and what should you pack in them?
    couring the internet for tips from experienced travellers is a great way to prepare for your journey, particularly if you’re looking for advice about new destinations. “However, there are loads of quick hacks that experienced travellers know that can help make the journey quicker, easier – and importantly, cheaper too.”

    1. Find free money
    Maybe calling it free money is a bit of a push, but make sure that you understand all the loyalty programmes you belong to, and play them to your advantage. Smart banking behaviour can earn you rewards ‘currency’ that can be used to purchase flights or pay for accommodation. Many banks also offer credit cards linked to airlines’ rewards schemes, earning you ‘miles’ towards the purchase of flights. Be aware of the trade-off on the potential cost of paying off your bill – and, if you can, settle at the end of the month so you don’t incur interest fees that might wipe out your loyalty saving.
    Maybe calling it free money is a bit of a push, but make sure that you understand all the loyalty programmes you belong to, and play them to your advantage. Smart banking behaviour can earn you rewards ‘currency’ that can be used to purchase flights or pay for accommodation. Many banks also offer credit cards linked to airlines’ rewards schemes, earning you ‘miles’ towards the purchase of flights. Be aware of the trade-off on the potential cost of paying off your bill – and, if you can, settle at the end of the month so you don’t incur interest fees that might wipe out your loyalty saving.

    3. Set up some snacks

    Most low-cost carriers charge extra for food and beverages inflight – and let’s be honest, sometimes you wish you could choose something other than the ‘chicken-or-beef’ that regular airlines offer. Ask your local butcher to vacuum pack some biltong to snack on (although remember it’s against the law to take meat products into many other countries – so eat it all before you disembark!). Another trick is to take an empty water bottle with you, and fill it once you’re on the other side of the security controls, where fluids are limited to 100ml per container. If you’ve got lots of small goodies to take with, you could always wear cargo pants and a jacket with lots of pockets too… just remember to leave your pen-knife behind!

    4. Pack properly

    The South African Civil Aviation Authority recently changed regulations to say that carry-on luggage may not exceed 7kg. Choose the contents of your inflight luggage carefully: travel with a tablet computer instead of a notebook if you’re travelling for work, and pack your Kindle instead of your epic book. Buy snacks and drinks (if you’re not hacking the water bottle trick) once you’ve gone through security. If you’re taking your toiletries on-board with you, pack the absolute minimum, and include miniatures of your favourite cosmetics – or decant into smaller bottles available from most supermarkets.

    If your day-tripping luggage is bigger or heavier than the 7kg allowed on South African flights, you could always pack your day pack into your main luggage. Look for a bag that is soft enough to do this, but that will still be strong enough for your daily needs.

    5. Do it digitally

    There’s not yet a digital substitute for the South African passport, but it’s worth scanning yours, along with your identity document and driver’s licence and emailing the images to an address you can access wherever you are. If you have an iPhone, save it and any other travel documents to PassBook, and you’ll be able to reference them should they get lost or stolen.

    Many airlines offer digital boarding passes, saving you the hassle of carrying around (or losing) a slip of paper. You can often get these by booking in online up to 24 hours before take-off.

    6. Dabbling with data

    Data roaming is expensive – and if you’re going somewhere particularly exciting, there may not be data at all! Download the Google Maps of your destinations to your phone before you leave. You may not be able to use geolocation, but you will be able to find your way – and the maps will be in the language of your choice. If you really need to access the web, look out for restaurants that offer free WiFi – if you’re travelling abroad, MacDonald’s and Burger King are the best bet for those (and for always-clean toilets).

    7. Talk to locals

    Whether you’re day-tripping in Davos or wandering around Woodstock, take the time to chat to the locals about the best spots to eat, the best attractions to visit, and for advice on getting around. There’s no point in travelling if you’re going to eat at the same fast food chains that you support at home – and you might as well not leave your own country if you’re not going to find out how people live elsewhere!

    8. Accommodation alternatives

    If it’s the cost of accommodation that’s putting you off travelling, remember that there is more to sleeping out than hotels. You could swop a home with someone in another country, giving you both the chance to experience day-to-day life in another land, while staying in owner-run bed-and-breakfast establishments will give you that home away from home feeling, along with some great advice on local attractions and restaurants. ‘Hostels’ might evoke images of drunken students (which if you’re a drunken student is great…) but there are many hostels that offer family rooms in good areas – and they’re a great place to meet travellers from all over the world too.

    9. Carrying cash (alternatives)

    If you’re travelling to any developed country, there’s no need to ‘buy’ lots of currency before you leave – you’ll just spend money on exchange commission, and you will be a target for theft. It’s a good idea to have a small amount of local currency on you for that all-important coffee when you land, or for your first taxi fare from the airport, but you can use your credit or debit card almost anywhere in the world. If you’re going to use these cards to pay, ask your bank what it charges for international transactions and withdrawals, and balance that against what it would cost to buy cash before you leave.

    If you’re worried about the security issues surrounding cash, rather, load your travel money into a travel wallet card, which allows you to purchase your FOREX before departure. The issuing bank loads your money onto an EMV-secure payment card at a fixed exchange rate, allowing you to manage your travel funds separately from your day to day expenses, with the convenience of a debit card.

    10. Research, research, research

    If you haven’t worked it out yet, the key to keeping travel costs under control is research: ask your friends, ask Twitter, ask anyone you know who has travelled for their advice – and then pick and choose which tips you use. There are many sites that give you the power to search for and compare flight costs, accommodation and car hire. It’s worth spending some time on these sites, well in advance of your trip, so that you’re sure to get the best deal when the time comes to pack your bags and head off into the wide, wide world.

    Also remember that different airlines have different pricing policies, with some offering last minute deals, while others offer cheaper prices for bookings made far in advance of flying.

    How to turn your photos into WhatsApp Stickers

    Make sure you have WhatsApp version 2.18 or above running on your smartphone.
    Click your photos with the expressions you want

    For this, open Google Play Store and download any background eraser app

    Select the photo you want to convert them into Stickers

    Erase the background using the Auto, Magic or Manual tool

    Crop the image to make it look like Stickers

    Save the image in PNG format (as WhatsApp only supports PNG format for Stickers)

    Once done, you will get your ‘personalised stickers’ as per your photo

    Create a minimum of three such ‘personalised stickers’. As WhatsApp does not allow users to add Sticker packs with less than three images in them

    Now, go to Google Play Store and download ‘Personal Stickers for WhatsApp’ app and open it

    The ‘Personal Stickers for WhatsApp’ app will automatically detect all the ‘personalised stickers’ that you have created

    Tap on the ‘Add’ button located next to these ‘personalised stickers’
    Again tap on ‘Add’ option when asked

    Once done, open the chat window on WhatsApp and click on the smiley icon
    Tap on the stickers icon, placed next to GIF icon

    Now, just tap on your ‘photo sticker’ and send

    Also remember that the ‘personalised stickers’ created will stay in your ‘sticker bank’. You need not repeat some steps when you create your new ‘personalised stickers’ next time.

    Bitcoin is 10 years old

    Bitcoin may have turned 10 years old but its continued drop in value is hardly cause for celebration.

    On Thursday, the price of one bitcoin was down to about $6,320.
    Its price has dropped dramatically since its all-time high of $20,000 in December 2017. The cryptocurrency started the year at just under $13,500 and has been down ever since.
    Although bitcoin’s infamous price rise launched it into the mainstream last year, it’s hardly a new concept. Wednesday marked the 10th anniversary of a white paper written by Satoshi Nakamoto that detailed for the first time how bitcoin could work.
    It was published on a cryptocurrency mailing list shortly after the start of the financial crisis in 2008. The concept, which is an alternative to fiat currencies such as the US dollar, served as a way for people to exchange money without a regulatory middle man.
    Nakamoto described how new bitcoins coins could be created through a process called mining, which requires powerful computers that solve complex math problems. Months after the white paper published, Nakamoto mined the first block of bitcoin, which generated 50 bitcoins.
    Little is known about the creator. Nakamoto is a pseudonym — and even a decade later, it’s still unclear who exactly that is.
    But the publication of the paper was a groundbreaking moment. According to Maya Kumar, an executive who oversees theUK and Ireland operations at Luno, an app that helps users buy bitcoin, it paved the way for the next phase in the evolution of money.
    “The invention of bitcoin and the underlying blockchain [that supports it] has allowed us all to reimagine money,” Kumar told CNN Business. “We are seeing a new parallel financial system being built in real time.”
    Bitcoin relies on cryptography, which uses hidden codes to communicate. Users can make transactions directly under pseudonyms, taking away power from banks and governments, and it is not controlled by a central authority.
    For bitcoin, each problem takes about 10 minutes to solve and creates a predetermined number of coins. The number that is awarded for solving each problem dwindles as time goes on.
    Nakamoto’s system only allows a fixed number of coins to be created — there’s a limit of 21 million bitcoins that can ever be generated.

    Eiland Glover, the CEO of coin company Kowala, said this fixed number will limit bitcoin’s future.
    “There can only ever be so many bitcoin supplied so if demand grows and you have a limited number, there’s deflation and volatility,” Glover said.
    His company and others are attempting to create more stable coins that are tied to the US dollar — a move he believes will make the value of the coins less volatile.
    Glover calls Nakamoto’s white paper “the most essential foundational paper” but he notes how people have been trying to improve it.
    Bitcoin’s early adopters sometimes tried to make clandestine and illegal transactions. Over time, it gained broader adoption.
    In 2014, Overstock became the first major US retailer to accept bitcoin. Companies such as Expedia and Microsoft followed, and now even Starbucks wants to find a way to let customers use bitcoin to pay for their caffeine fixes.
    Bitcoin is far from the only cryptocurrency available. From ether and litecoin to even cryptokitties, there are more than 1,500 options. But bitcoin is the oldest, biggest and most popular.
    Although supply and demand play a role in its volatility, so does hype from news coverage. For example, the news of a cryptocurrency exchange hack can cause prices to drop, while the potential of tighter regulation leads to a boost.
    But bitcoin’s growing popularity and entrance into the mainstream suggest the coin isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, according to multiple experts. Stability is needed for any digital currency to succeed.
    For now, we’ll see how bitcoin evolves as a teen.

    Twitter releases election meddling data

    Twitter is releasing all known accounts and posts related to “information operations” dating back to 2016, when it was first learned that foreign operators were using social media to meddle in US elections.

    Twitter has already disclosed the account numbers, but is now releasing the actual tweets, images, video and other information.

    The company said Wednesday that the data comprises more than 4,600 accounts and more than 10 million tweets, most affiliated with the Russia-linked Internet Research Agency and potentially linked to Iran.

    Twitter says the earliest activity it found on its service from these accounts dates back to 2009.

    Russia’s IRA has been indicted by US special counsel Robert Mueller for its actions during the US presidential election.

    The datasets are available for download on Twitter’s “elections integrity” page.

    The cost of convenience: Beware of online lending rip-offs

    Credit has dried up for both business and personal borrowers. As we forecast a few months ago, we’re in the midst of a good old fashioned credit squeeze, which is adding to the slowdown in property prices and causing headaches for small business wanting to expand.

    The big winners are the non-bank lenders that don’t face the same regulatory hurdles and can provide quick, almost-instant decisions and quick cash.

    But what cost is convenience? Some of these “sexy” new lenders are charging exorbitant interest rates of up to 38 per cent (yes, an annualised interest rate of a whopping 38 per cent) for that ease of access.

    Yes, they are an alternative to the banks but borrowers need to know what they’re getting themselves in for. To peel back the slick facade and understand the details. Most of these lenders will want access to your accounting programs to understand everything about your business.

    It’s up to you to understand as much as you can about them and the loan conditions they’re imposing.

    They should only ever be seen as a very short term, last resort option with a good plan to get of them as quickly as possible.

    If you Google business loans, the search results are dominated by non-bank lenders using slogans like “apply in minutes, approved in 24 hours”, “most loans approved” and “flexible, cash flow friendly repayments”.

    hese Fintech non-bank lenders are being applauded for providing more competition for the banks with the logic that increased competition will reduce the cost of borrowing for small business. That certainly isn’t happening.

    While they’re being painted as the white knights of small business lending, we’re wondering whether they are actually the wolf in sheep’s clothing.

    Business loan interest rates from traditional banks range from 5.13 per cent per annum secured against property through to 13 per cent per annum unsecured with monthly repayments. The new lending environment means it is increasingly difficult to qualify for an unsecured loan and that’s what is forcing small business to alternatives.

    For many small business owners with a dire cash flow problem, these online non-bank lenders are an easy fix. But, in consultation with your accountant or bookkeeper, there are other options which could be considered:

    • Invoice factoring is a great way to generate a quick hit of cash. A finance company basically buys all a business’s outstanding invoices. It will deduct a fee of 1.5-5 per cent and then pay 85 per cent of the invoices immediately. The remaining amount will be paid when the invoices are actually paid. Effectively you’re getting your invoices paid early, for a fee, which will hopefully ease short term cash flow issues.

    • Organise a personal loan. Not ideal, but for amounts up to $20,000-30,000 an option could be organising a personal loan and then lending it back to the business. Approach credit unions and some of the peer-to-peer lenders which offer small loans at interest rates of 9-13 per cent a year. A key part of applying for a loan is your credit rating. These organisations will check your credit history which, if good, will not only increase the chances of approval but also encourage them to charge an attractive interest rate.

    • Work with your bank Yes, getting access to credit from banks is tougher but, if you can’t get approval, work with them to see what they need to make it happen. Just don’t accept a knock back. It could be there is a mistake in the credit history you weren’t aware of and can be rectified.

    Most banks want to work with their business customers to grow their account. They tell us the more ongoing information they receive from a customer, the comfortable they are with helping the business and likely to extend credit.

    How to Deal With Workplace Burnout

    psychologists tell that goes like this: You’re on a riverbank. A drowning person comes drifting by, so you jump in and save him. Another comes flailing along. Same thing. Then five more. Ten more. You and dozens of other Good Samaritans are frantically rescuing them. They keep coming. You’re losing your ability and your motivation now. You’re burning out on saving people. Suddenly somebody starts running upstream. “Where are you going?” you yell. He replies, “To see why all these people are falling in!”

    That guy is not burning out.

    Unless you go upstream and change the cause of the problem, you’ll just keep doing more and more and seeing fewer and fewer results until you finally can’t take it anymore. That’s when you, a champion swimmer,

    Right next to millions of other Americans. Nearly half of us say we’re often or always exhausted due to work (up from nearly 39 percent in 2006), according to the General Social Survey, a health poll that’s been monitoring trends since 1972.

    “Burned-out people were 23 percent more likely to have visited the ER in the last year.”

    While there’s no tidy clinical definition for burnout, most researchers say you’re in that overcooked state when you’re living in the trifecta of constant exhaustion, cynicism, and reduced effectiveness. “A lot of people who think they’re burned out are really just completely physically exhausted—they still like their jobs and could do them well again if they could just recharge,” says Michael Leiter, Ph.D., a professor of organizational psychology at Australia’s Deakin University. Genuine burnout, however, can’t be rested away—as most fried workers learn when they’re wiped by 11:00 a.m. after their first vacation in a decade.

    While you probably won’t be able to fix every problem that’s leading to burnout, you can fix some of the root issues. Tackle these before you’re totally toast:

    Check for depression

    “Over the last decade, it has become increasingly clear that burnout is a euphemism for depression,” says Renzo Bianchi, Ph.D., a psychology researcher at the University of Neuchâtel in Switzerland who’s published reams on the burnout/depression entanglement. Many longtime burnout researchers hotly disagree with this (understandably). But whether burnout and depression are one condition or two, it’s smart to get screened. Depression has well-known, effective treatments (burnout doesn’t yet), and accessing those could give you a clear-cut framework to attack the problems that are making life gray and joyless—including what the hell to do about the work

    Stop using instagram as a window

    It’s infuriatingly easy to constantly check out what everyone else is doing (working on a deck in Bermuda, retiring at 35)—and subconsciously calculate how you stack up—given that your peers now include 700 people on Instagram and LinkedIn you’ve met once or haven’t seen since 1995. Add to that the bumper-sticker notions of “follow your passion” and the like that are far more present in our peripheral consciousness now than they were in your dad’s working prime, and it all takes the sheen off your particleboard desk, making your 24/7 toiling seem meaningless .

    The obvious but still helpful solution: Limit social-media dip-ins and create a mantra that gives you a psychic lift (e.g., At least I’m not a company drone/BS-talking consultant!).

    “Seeking emotional support from a buddy and bending a sympathetic ear will make you feel better.”

    Find a new ear

    Most burned-out people feel isolated and alienated, and they are—strong relationships are the greatest buffer against, and remedy for, burnout. Seeking emotional support from a buddy and bending a sympathetic ear will make you feel better—for a while. “You get some catharsis, but it doesn’t solve any of your problems,” says Irvin Schonfeld, Ph.D., professor of psychology at CUNY in New York.

    Of course, the ideal person to talk to is your manager. But assuming you’ve already tried working with them to set priorities (maybe something’s noturgent every once in a while?), and you’ve set limits on work (no checking emails on the weekends), find someone to talk to who can help. That’s no small feat, naturally, since you’re probably certain that every drop of help from every viable, non-shitty person has already been wrung. Possibly true, but prioritize spending precious social time with any breathing human who can help you fix a work problem to lasting effect. It’ll give you the double benefit of feeling less alone and less powerless.

    Don’t wait

    “There’s a point of no return in burnout,” says Leiter. When the negative associations tied to your work become too strong, he says, “people reach a point where they just have to get out.” Recovering from burnout can take a painfully long time. “Research shows it takes about two and a half years if a person doesn’t get any professional help,” says Wilmar Schaufeli, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. By then, of course, you’ll have likely kissed your paycheck and professional momentum goodbye. So stomping out a flame before it torches you can be one of the best career—and personal—moves you ever make.

    WhatsApp could soon have ads in your story updates

    Multiple reports have suggested that WhatsApp will soon be showing adverts in the app’s Status feature.

    WhatsApp Vice President Chris Daniels told journalist in India from the Economic Times that the ads would count towards the “primary monetisation mode for the company”.

    The company will offer an opportunity for businesses to reach people, but no rollout timeline was given, according to the reports.

    This decision to place ads comes after WhatsApp launched its Business API in the same month.

    Businesses are able to respond to clients through the API for free for up to 24 hours, after which WhatsApp will charge a fixed rate per message.

    Recently, WhatsApp launched sticker packs that both Android and iOS users can use when communicating through the app.

    The sticker packs will include stickers from WhatsApp designers as well as a selection of stickers from other artists. WhatsApp has also added support for third-party stickers that will allow designers and developers to create their own stickers too.

    Facebook is building glasses that could beam virtual friends into your home

    Facebook has confirmed it’s working on a pair of augmented reality glasses.
    The sci-fi goggles would let you see virtual objects in the real world – as if they were actually there.
    Augmented reality is a fast-growing type of technology that puts overlays 3D computer-generated graphics into the world around you.
    A very basic example of this is the hugely popular Pokémon Go mobile game, which lets you see virtual Pokémon using your smartphone’s camera.

    But proper AR tech in the future could revolutionize the world – letting people transport anywhere virtually, and simulate pets or even giant cinema screens.

    You could invite friends over to your house and have them appear in virtual AR form, or you could potentially use an app like Facebook on any surface or in mid-air – just like the Minority Report movie.

    This isn’t the first time Facebook has shown interest in augmented reality, of course.

    Speaking in April last year, billionaire Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg said he could foresee a future where AR specs existed.

    Taking your business international

    You might think it’s hard to become a global business, but companies from all over the world are managing to make it internationally.

    1.It takes the same effort to stand out a little, or a lot. To get the world to notice you, sometimes all you need is interesting online content that can span geographies. It takes thinking rather than big budgets. “Back when I started my company Vend, we had a skydiving school using our software, so we decided to go something a bit different: I was filmed being thrown out of a plane using our point-of-sale system to show that we accept payments anywhere (and it worked!) Watching someone try to sell their product 1000 metres in the air seemed to appeal to people.

    2.Act like the company you want to be tomorrow, today. Act like the bigger, more worldly company you want to become. “For example, set up a professional management board with international experience even if it seems excessive at the beginning. The advice and connections from your board will increase your chance of success and show you how to get there.”

    3.On the internet no one knows who you are. No one knows you’re a dog or someone pretending to be a little more global than they already are.

    Rbi allows fund transfer from wallet to wallet

    The Reserve Bank Tuesday issued final guidelines to enable interoperability for pre-paid payment instruments (PPIs) or mobile wallets, enabling seamless transfer of funds.

    Listing the requirements, the RBI said in the case of PPIs issued in the form of wallets, interoperability across PPIs should be enabled through Unified Payments Interface (UPI). For PPIs issued in the form of cards, the cards should be affiliated to the authorised card networks. “PPI issuers operating exclusively in specific segments like meal, gift and mass transport system (MTS) may also implement interoperability,” the RBI said in its final guidelines.

    However, the RBI didn’t impose any minimum net worth requirement on mobile wallets before permitting them to become interoperable. Interoperability will be enabled in phases for the PPIs. In the first phase, PPI issuers (both bank and non-bank entities) should make all KYC-compliant PPIs issued in the form of wallets interoperable among themselves via UPI. In subsequent phases, interoperability — or fund transfer — will be enabled between wallets and bank accounts via UPI.

    “Interoperability will allow customers to choose digital wallets they wish to transact with and move money from other digital wallets to their preferred wallet. Interoperability will give a great fillip to digital and cashless payments in India,” said an official of a mobile wallet firm.

    Card networks are allowed to onboard PPI issuers to join their network. “Non-bank PPI issuers are permitted to participate as members/ associate members of authorised card networks. For the purpose of settlement, a non-bank PPI issuer can participate directly or through a sponsor bank arrangement as the case may be. Non-bank PPI issuers should adhere to the requirements of respective card network’s settlement system,” the RBI said.

    Regarding the safety aspect, the RBI said as non-bank PPI issuers will issue interoperable cards in association with card networks for the first time, the cards issued by these entities should be EMV Chip and PIN compliant.

    “PPI issuers operating exclusively in meal segment should issue EMV Chip and PIN compliant cards, if they opt for interoperability. Gift cards and MTS, may however, be issued with or without EMV Chip and PIN enablement,” the RBI said.

    “PPI holders should be on-boarded for UPI by their own PPI issuer only. PPI issuers should only link their customer wallets to the handle issued to them. PPI issuers as PSP (payment system provider) should not on-board customers of any bank or any other PPI issuer,” it said. “Authentication will be completed by the PPI holder as per his/her existing wallet credentials. In other words, a transaction will be pre-approved before it reaches the UPI.”

    Similarly, interoperability for PPIs issued in the form of cards should also be enabled in due course. However, banks may continue to issue PPIs in association with authorised card networks, as hitherto. PPI issuers should ensure adherence to the technical and operational requirements for such interoperability, including those relating to safety and security, risk mitigation, etc.

    Interoperability allows PPI issuers, system providers and system participants in different systems to undertake, clear and settle transactions across systems without participating in multiple systems. Banks and non-bank entities have been issuing PPIs after obtaining necessary approval from the RBI under the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007 (PSS Act).

    Amazon Eco Plus(2018)

    Amazon recently updated its Alexa offerings with a plethora of new Echo devices. The Echo Dot, Echo and Echo Plus all got upgrades for 2018. We checked out the new Amazon Echo Plus (2018) to figure out what’s new and if it made sense for older users to upgrade.

    The new Amazon Echo Plus has certainly got a design upgrade and like most of the new speakers coming out these days, this one too favours fabric. We got the white version for review and within a few hours in the polluted Delhi air it was clear this was not a great idea. Even in a relatively clean room we could see it was gathering dust. Also, if there are kids around you will need to protect the Echo from stains.

    But the design, though it sticks to being cylindrical, is clearly better and more functional. It is shorter and thicker than the earlier version and panel on top gives volume, power and mute buttons. The LED ring around it gives you the status of Alexa and wakes up in blue whenever you have a query. Also, despite the threat of being soiled in Indian conditions, the Echo does look good in your living room.

    A lot of what a smart speaker does depends on two things — its speaker or audio output and its microphone or audio inputs. My seven-year-old, the only real smart speaker user in the house, prefers to command Alexa wherever he is. And with the new Echo Plus, his wish is Alexa’s command, wherever he is, as the microphones seem to have a ear on everything.

    Amazon has not really pushed any software updates for Echo devices yet. It does pretty much what it used to do earlier, but then new skills are being added on a daily basis. I strongly recommend setting up a routine that kicks off Alexa to do a set of things one after the other. I say Alexa start my day and it started from whether, goes into top news from The Indian Express and then ends with a playlist of my choice. Then you can use it for all sorts of queries, from asking for a joke to checking the weather before stepping out. My son even uses it to cheat on homework, asking her everything from spellings to addition and subtraction.

    Virtual reality can help make everyone more empathetic

    Virtual reality is an artificial environment that is created with software and presented to the user in such a way that the user suspends belief and accepts it as a real environment. On a computer, virtual reality is primarily experienced through two of the five senses: sight and sound.

    Virtual reality can make humans more understanding to realities different from their own, according to a new study.

    Research participants who tried out a VR experience about losing your job and becoming homeless showed stronger and longer-lasting empathic attitudes toward the homeless versus those who just read an article about homelessness.

    Virtual reality proponents have long advocated for the benefits VR can have on boosting someone’s empathy through the technology’s ability to literally place you in another person’s experience. But little research had been conducted and what did exist were small, sample-sized studies consisting of mostly college students. These studies also didn’t examine the long-term effects a VR experience can have on empathy.

    So for the latest study, researchers at Stanford University conducted two two-month-long studies with over 560 participants between the age of 15 and 88 who represented at least eight different ethnic backgrounds.

    The participants who experienced the “Becoming Homeless” VR showed enduring positive attitudes towards the homeless. These participants were more likely to agree with the statement “Our society does not do enough to help homeless people,” as well as saying they cared “very much” about the plight of homeless people.

    Additionally, VR participants in the first study were 82 percent more likely to sign a petition in support of affordable housing compared to 67 percent who read the article. In the second study, 85 percent of VR participants signed the petition while 63 percent of article readers signed and 66 percent of those who were given the 2D version signed.

    “Taking the perspective of others in VR produces more empathy and prosocial behaviors in people immediately after going through the experience and over time, in comparison to just imagining what it would be like to be in someone else’s shoes.” Fernanda Herrera, the lead author of the study, said. “And that is an exciting finding.”

    Nobel Prize for economics

    US economists William Nordhaus and Paul Romer on Monday shared the 2018 Nobel Economics Prize for constructing “green growth” models that show how innovation and climate policies can be integrated with economic growth.

    Working independently, they have addressed “some of our time’s most basic and pressing questions about how we create long-term sustained and sustainable growth,” the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said in a statement.

    Nordhaus is a professor at Yale University. Romer is a former World Bank chief economist now at New York University’s Stern School of Business.

    Nordhaus’s research shows that the most efficient remedy for problems caused by greenhouse gas emissions is a global scheme of carbon taxes uniformly imposed on all countries, the jury said.

    The 62-year-old Romer meanwhile won the prize for “integrating technological innovations into long-run macroeconomic analysis.”

    Romer laid the foundation for “endogenous growth theory”, which explains how ideas are different to other goods and require specific conditions to thrive.

    His research demonstrated how economic forces govern the willingness of companies to produce new ideas and innovations.

    cryptocurrency marks 10 years

    Bitcoin (₿) is a cryptocurrency, a form of electronic cash. It is a decentralized digital currency without a central bank or single administrator that can be sent from user-to-user on the peer-to-peer bitcoin network without the need for intermediaries.

    October 31, 2008 marked the birth of bitcoin. Ten years on, the world’s first cryptocurrency is at the forefront of a complex financial system viewed warily by markets and investors.

    From its first evocation amid a global financial crisis, in a white paper written by Satoshi Nakamoto, an unknown pseudonym, bitcoin conveyed a political vision.

    The “abstract” set out in the paper for bitcoin, currently worth about $6 400 per unit from a starting point of virtually zero, was for “a purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash (that) would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution.”

    A decade on, this continues to be carried out via a decentralised registry system known as a blockchain.

    Such ambition for a cryptocurrency was fuelled by the bankruptcy of US investment bank Lehman Brothers in September 2008, an event that discredited the traditional system of “a small elite of bankers… (that) establishes monetary rules imposed on everybody”, according to Pierre Noizat, founder of the first French bitcoin exchange in 2011.

    Following its creation, bitcoin evolved for several years away from the public eye, grabbing the attention for the most part of geeks and criminals – the latter seeing it as a way to launder money.

    After bitcoin surpassed $1 000 for the first time in 2013, it began to attract the attention of financial institutions.

    The European Central Bank compared it to a Ponzi scheme, but Ben Bernanke, then head of the US Federal Reserve, hailed its potential.

    Stephen Hawking: Humans need to leave Earth or risk being annihilated by nuclear war or climate change

    Stephen Hawking believed humans need to leave the Earth in order to avoid annihilation.

    In a collection of eassy published posthumously on Tuesday, Hawking wrote that climate change and the possibility of nuclear war are putting humans in grave danger, adding that the latter is likely the biggest threat to humanity. The scientist, who died in March, wrote in Brief Answers to the Big Questions that people treat the Earth with “reckless indifference,” which could result in our own extinction if we don’t find another home.

    “One way or another, I regard it as almost inevitable that either a nuclear confrontation or environmental catastrophe will cripple the Earth at some point in the next 1,000 years,” Hawking wrote.

    Hawking said it was hard for him to maintain his optimism in light of all the problems in the world, particularly political instability and global warming. The population is becoming too large for this planet, and physical resources are quickly running out, he pointed out. A number of issues – including deforestation, the extinction of animal species, rising temperatures, and lack of water – can be solved, though we are failing to take appropriate action, Hawking wrote.

    He said scientists have a duty to inform the public about the dangers we face, even as politicians who deny the existence of man-made climate change ignore these warnings. If it hasn’t already, global warming may become self-sustaining soon, Hawking wrote. For example, the melting of ice caps in the Arctic and Antarctic could lower the amount of solar energy that reflects back into space, which would then brings the global temperature up even more.

    The Earth could end up looking a lot like Venus, Hawking said, with sulphuric acid rains and a boiling temperature of 250 degrees Celsius.

    In addition, a catastrophic asteroid collision is inevitable, Hawking wrote. (The last big impact, believed to have wiped out dinosaurs, occurred 66 million years.) As a more immediate threat, Hawking said he is concerned about a possible nuclear war, saying there are enough nuclear weapons to destroy humans multiple times over.

    Even if we escape to another planet, it may not be possible to save millions of other species. Their extinction, Hawking said, “will be on our conscience as a race.”

    Though we have nowhere else to go right now, Hawking said humans are explorers and need to channel their curiosity to find new homes. Scientists have proven the Earth is not flat and brought people to the Moon; now, it is time to explore new solar systems, he wrote.

    “We need to rekindle the excitement of the early days of space travel in the 1960s,” Hawking wrote. “Spreading out may be the only thing that saves us from ourselves.”

    Elon Musk

    Elon Musk is working to revolutionize transportation both on Earth and in space.His automaker, Tesla Motors, which was founded in 2003, is bringing fully-electric vehicles to the mass market.He settled with the SEC in September 2018 for making alleged “false statements” about a plan to take Tesla private, and had to step down as chairman.SpaceX, Musk’s rocket company, is now valued at more than $20 billion.He grew up in South Africa, then immigrated to Canada at age 17. He landed in the US as a transfer student at the University of Pennsylvania.

    The CEO of Tesla, SpaceX, and The Boring Company sometimes appears to prefer speaking his mind and dealing with the consequences later, like when he mocks his critics or opens up about his personal life. Musk’s candor has endeared him to the fans and customers who find him more relatable than other famous executives, while also frustrating some analysts and investors who argue that he is temperamental and reckless.

    The intense devotion and criticism Musk has provoked with both public and private statements have contributed to his status as one of the most scrutinized figures in American culture. This year, Musk’s remarks have more often tended to get himself in trouble, hurting Tesla’s stock price, spurring investigations from theSecurities and Exchange Commission(SEC) and Department of Justice, andattracting lawsuits from investors. How Musk handles himself in the future will determine, in part, how effective of a leader he is as his companies move from upstarts to established players in highly competitive industries.

    Below some quotes spoken by musk that illustrate why Musk attracts so much attention.

    “Seems like an opportune moment to bring up the Fermi Paradox, aka ‘where are the aliens?’ Really odd that we see no sign of them.”

    “If there was a way that I could not eat, so I could work more, I would not eat. I wish there was a way to get nutrients without sitting down for a meal.”

    “Like why did you go steal Tesla’s E? Like you’re some sort of fascist army marching across the alphabet, some sort of Sesame Street robber?”

    “I would like to allocate more time to dating, though. I need to find a girlfriend. That’s why I need to carve out just a little more time. I think maybe even another five to 10 — how much time does a woman want a week? Maybe 10 hours? That’s kind of the minimum? I don’t know.”

    “Despite intense efforts to raise money, including a last-ditch mass sale of Easter Eggs, we are sad to report that Tesla has gone completely and totally bankrupt. So bankrupt, you can’t believe it.”

    “At least when there’s an evil dictator, that human is going to die. But for an AI, there will be no death — it would live forever. And then you would have an immortal dictator from which we could never escape.”

    “Going to create a site where the public can rate the core truth of any article & track the credibility score over time of each journalist, editor & publication. Thinking of calling it Pravda …”

    “Going to create a site where the public can rate the core truth of any article & track the credibility score over time of each journalist, editor & publication. Thinking of calling it Pravda …”

    “If the odds are probably in your favor, you should make as many decisions as possible within the bounds of what is executable.”

    “If you have anyone who can do a better job, please let me know. They can have the job. Is there someone who can do the job better? They can have the reins right now.”

    Cryptocurrency theft

    A cryptocurrency (or crypto currency) is a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange that uses strong cryptography to secure financial transactions, control the creation of additional units, and verify the transfer of assets.

    Theft of cryptocurrencies through hacking of exchanges and trading platforms soared to $927m in the first nine months of the year, up nearly 250% from 2017, according to a report from US-based cyber security firm CipherTrace released in New York on Wednesday.

    The report reflecting criminal activity and money laundering in the digital currency market also showed a steady rise in smaller thefts in the $20m-$60m range, totalling $173m in the third quarter.

    Digital currencies stolen from exchanges in 2017 totalled $266m, according to a previous report from CipherTrace. Bitcoin’s popularity and the emergence of more than 1,600 other digital coins or tokens have drawn more hackers into the cryptocurrency space, expanding opportunities for crime and fraud.

    Roughly $1.1 billion worth of cryptocurrency was stolen in the first half of 2018, and unfortunately for owners, it’s pretty easy to do, according to cybersecurity company Carbon Black.

    Criminals use what’s known as the dark web to facilitate large-scale cryptocurrency theft. There are now an estimated 12,000 marketplaces and 34,000 offerings related to cryptotheft for hackers to choose from, the company said in a study released Thursday.

    “It’s surprising just how easy it is without any tech skill to commit cybercrimes like ransomware,” Carbon Black Security strategist Rick McElroy told CNBC. “It’s not always these large nefarious groups, it’s in anybody’s hands.”

    The necessary malware, which McElroy said even occasionally comes with customer service, costs an average of $224 and can be priced as low as $1.04. That marketplace has emerged as a $6.7 million economy, according to the study.

    The dark web is a part of the World Wide Web accessible only through special software. It lets users remain anonymous and largely untraceable.

    Hackers often demand payment in cryptocurrency yet bitcoin does not seem to be the top choice. It accounted for only about 10 percent of the targeted cryptocurrencies, while ethereum made up 11 percent.
    Criminals appear to prefer monero. The lesser-known cryptocurrency was used in 44 percent of all attacks because of its privacy and its difficulty to trace compared with bitcoin, Carbon Black said. It also has relatively low transaction fees.

    Women entrepreneurs in india

    There has been a prevailing trend of male-dominating society in India. The men used to rule the women and dictate her in every phase of life. Now, the scenario is no more the same. The women are entering in every field. They are moving out of their homes to work and earn bread-butter for their family. In fact, the women are excelling and out-performing men. There are several women who are successfully running business in India.

    Only about 8% to 10% of Indian entrepreneurs are women, according to a senior executive at India’s main tech industry body Nasscom. That’s far lower than the United States, where 39% of privately-held firms are owned by women, according to a report last year by American Express.

    A survey commissioned by Facebook last year found that four out of five women in India wish to become entrepreneurs, and that the country is missing out on millions of potential new businesses and jobs by failing to empower them.

    The Indian government has also several programs aimed at helping women-led startups.

    India still has a long way to go, however. Facebook’s research showed that only 2% of funds raised by Indian startups in 2017 went to female founders.

    The country also has one of the lowest female employment participation rates in the world. Only about 27% of Indian women aged 15 or older were classified as working or actively looking for a job, according to recent data published by the World Bank.

    Drinking coffee might help with this skin condition

    Contrary to popular belief, new research suggests that drinking coffee might be a good prescription for avoiding the unsightly skin condition known as rosacea.

    The finding is based on an analysis o.f rosacea risk and dietary habits among nearly 83 000 women who were enrolled in a national nurses’ study between 1991 and 2005.

    And it appears to challenge longstanding wisdom that those who struggle with rosacea should avoid both caffeine and hot drinks of any kind.
    consuming caffeine from coffee may protect against the risk of developing rosacea”.But the study did not prove that coffee causes rosacea risk to drop.
    Rosacea is a common chronic inflammatory condition that affects the face in the form of flushing and blushing, and sometimes acne-like bumps.

    Those who consumed four or more servings of coffee a day saw a “significant” drop in rosacea risk when compared with those who consumed less than one cup a month, the researchers found.

    Fish key to healthy ageing

    Eating a diet rich in oily fish can reduce people’s chances of ill health in retirement by up to a quarter, researchers found.

    A study of more than 2,500 pensioners found those with higher blood levels of omega-3 fats were 24% less likely to develop age-related illnesses such as dementia, heart disease and cancer.

    The essential fatty acids – found in seafood such as salmon, mackerel and sardines – are known to boost the brain, heart and vision.

    Now scientists say they could hold help the population remain in good health for longer.

    They believe omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, known as *-3 PUFA, help regulate blood pressure, heart rate and inflammation.

    With a growing ageing population, the number of people living into old age is increasing but so is chronic disease.

    ‘‘Human trials show favourable effects,’ said Dr Heidi Lai, from Tufts University in Boston. ‘These findings support guidelines for increased dietary consumption in older adults.’

    Long-awaited BMW X7

    BMW’s long-awaited X7 three-row crossover is tiptoeing toward production. A pair of turbocharged engines—a 3.0-liter inline-six and a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8—will both be mated to an eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive; a four-corner air suspension is standard. Expect a plethora of tech features such as digital gauges, modern active-safety systems, and a smattering of connectivity gadgets. Bold styling and a sporting nature are all but certain. The X7 should hit dealers in early 2019.

    In design terms BMW wanted to give the X7 an “authoritative” aura, and by all counts it has achieved that with its comparatively square shape featuring large windows and a long roofline, and wheel sizes ranging from 20 to 22 inches. Oh, and it boasts BMW’s largest Kidney grille ever.

    Yet the big point of departure here is how it uses that space, with standard three-row seating said to offer comfortable space for seven occupants, those in the back row getting full-sized seats complete with armrests, cup holders and USB ports. All seats are electrically adjustable, and upholstered in Vernasca leather, and even with all of them in place there’s still 326 litres of luggage space behind – about the same as you get in a medium hatchback – swelling to as much as 2120 litres when you start folding seats.

    Ambient lighting is standard along with a three-section panoramic glass roof and four-zone automatic climate control (five-zone optional). BMW’s Live Cockpit Professional, using the company’s latest ‘7.0’ operating system is part of the deal too, comprising a fully digital instrument cluster, 31cm touchscreen and an ‘Intelligent Personal Assistant’ that seeks to make life easier when you shout “Hey BMW“.

    world’s best cities in 2018

    These are the top 10 big cities:

    1. Tokyo, Japan

    2. Kyoto, Japan

    3. Melbourne, Australia

    4. Vienna, Austria

    5. Hamburg, Germany

    6. Sydney, Australia

    7. Singapore

    8. Paris, France

    9. Barcelona, Spain

    10. Vancouver, British Columbia,

    Canada

    Here are the top 10 best small cities:

    1. San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

    2. Salzburg, Austria

    3. Lucerne, Switzerland

    4. Basel, Switzerland

    5. Cologne, Germany

    6. Florence, Italy

    7. Jerusalem, Israel

    8. Porto, Portugal

    9. Venice, Italy

    10. Edinburgh, Scotland

    Don’t toss your cash in the trash: how to cut down on food waste

    “Hunger kills more people every year than malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS combined,” says the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations.

    A fact made even more shocking when you learn that, according to the FAO, a third of the food produced worldwide is lost or wasted.

    So this World Food Day, October 16, make a resolution to stop being a part of the problem by cutting down on the amount of food you unnecessarily toss in the bin.

    Here’s how:

    AT THE SHOPS

    Loading your trolley with tasty impulse buys is likely to lead to waste, so make a shopping list before you head to the supermarket and stick to it.

    While writing up your list, check what leftovers are in your fridge and plan to incorporate them into your weekly meals. Over-ripe fruit, for instance, can be turned into a scrumptious crumble for dessert, while shrivelled carrots could be roasted or grated and added to a sauce or stew.

    Buying in bulk can be a great way to save cash, but it can lead to lots of waste unless you have a clear plan of what you’re going to do with all that extra food. This is where your freezer comes into play.

    Any vegetables with high water content (like onions and potatoes) go mushy so you can’t really freeze them. But many others — carrots, corn, beans, peas, cauliflower, baby marrows and cauliflower — can be frozen successfully. Just peel and blanch them first.

    IN THE KITCHEN

    A lot of vegetable off-cuts are not only edible, but delicious too.

    Rather than throwing butternut seeds, cauliflower leaves and potato peels away, she suggests roasting them with sea salt and herbs to make a tasty snack.

    “Carrot tops make a delicious pesto,”.. “Spinach stems are great pickled in a leftover jar.

    Each time you cook a meal you save chicken bones and vegetable tops by popping them in a plastic bag and stashing it in the freezer. “Fill the bag over time and when it’s full boil up these leftovers to make a tasty bone broth”.

    The benefits of opening an offshore company versus an onshore company

    An offshore banking is one which is located in a different jurisdiction from its investors or depositors reside.

    Onshore Banking is the banking activities which are undertaken within the jurisdiction and territories of a nation or a sovereign state

    When it comes to the industry and the country they will operate in, things are pretty clear and thorough research has already been concluded, but the type of structure to use can be a little bit difficult to decide upon.

    Most investors will usually choose between onshore and offshore companies, however, the differences between these two types of companies are usually unclear, which is why we will try to describe both of them below, in order to help enterprisers.

    One of the most common questions about onshore and offshore companies is what the main difference between them is. Many people believe that offshore companies are located in so-called tax havens and that they pose difficulties from a taxation point of view. However, that is not true as many countries in the world can host both onshore and offshore companies. The only difference between these specific types of companies will be the market for their products or services will address.

    To keep things simple: the offshore company (no matter the country it is registered in) can only sell goods or services outside the jurisdiction it is incorporated in, while the onshore company can also market its products and services in the country it is established in.

    Without a doubt, the offshore company established in a tax haven will have more benefits than an onshore company. Most of the times, people believe these advantages are related to taxes, however, this is only partially true: offshore companies have other benefits as well.

    Onshore companies will also benefit from several tax advantages, however, most of the time, the tax rates applied to these structures will not be as low as in the case of offshore companies.

    How to prevent your car insurance from being rejected

    Being involved in even a minor car accident is traumatic enough – the last thing you want is to have your insurance claim rejected on top of that, particularly if it’s due to something that could’ve easily been prevented by merely adhering to your policy’s requirements.

    “In the vast majority of cases, car insurance claims are rejected for perfectly valid reasons,” says Louis Hay, Head of Short-Term Insurance Propositions at Standard Insurance Limited. “If you adhere to some basic rules of thumb then there should be no reason for your insurance claim to not be successful.”

    1.Matain your vehicle

    one of the biggest reasons for vehicle insurance claims being rejected is that people don’t adhere to the proper maintenance of their vehicle by keeping it roadworthy. Tyres need to be kept in good working order and replaced when the minimum tread depth specified by your policy has been reached.

    2. Obey the law:

    If you’re involved in an accident whilst breaking the law you may not be covered. The prime cause of this is driving under the influence of alcohol or driving at excessive speeds, both of which may invalidate your claim.

    3. Make sure the regular driver is specified on the policy:

    Another problem that frequently results in rejected claims is where the regular driver is not the person specified on the policy. Hay points out that if a 45-year-old parent insures a car in his or her name, but the regular driver is that parent’s 18-year old son, an insurance claim would likely be rejected. This is because the risk profile of the parent is completely different to that of an 18-year old with far less driving experience, meaning the premium would have to be adjusted higher to reflect the higher risk associated with the younger driver.

    “You can’t try and get away with a low premium designed for a low-risk driver when the regular driver is actually a higher risk individual,” says Hay. “Provided they have a licence, it isn’t an issue if your 18-year old use your car to go to the shops but if they’re the regular driver of the vehicle then that needs to be specified. The main lesson is to be open and honest with your insurer.”

    If you are truly dissatisfied with the reasons for your claim being rejected, your first port of call should be your insurance provider. Try and lodge a complaint with the provider to see if the matter can be resolved. However, if you are still unsuccessful and your insurer has not been able to provide a reasonable or legally-sound reason for rejecting your claim then you can seek recourse by reporting the matter to the Ombudsman for Short-term Insurance (OSTI).
    “A lot of problems can usually be avoided by just being open and honest with your insurer from the beginning,” says Hay. “But consumers in South Africa are fortunate in that there are various institutions available such as OSTI which protects them against unfair treatment.”

    Electrical cars

    An electric vehicle is just what it sounds like: a vehicle that uses an electric motor as its sole means of propulsion. Distinct from hybrids or plug-in hybrids, electric vehicles (EVs) have no gas engine to fall back on and are thus limited in travel distance by the amount of electricity stored in their battery packs.

    There is a broad range of EVs suited to different driving styles and purposes, everything from compact cars such as the Mitsubishi i-MiEV or Fiat 500e that can travel around 80 miles on a full charge to full-size luxury sedans such as the Tesla Model S, capable of 315 miles. Most EVs deliver around 100 miles of range, although the new Chevrolet Bolt offers an impressive 238 miles.

    Electric vehicles offer many benefits, such as never needing to buy gasoline and having low maintenance costs. EVs tend to offer roomy cabins with plenty of storage space, delightfully quiet operation and giddy thrills from instant electric propulsion. Some states also allow solo EV drivers to use carpool lanes.

    Electric cars from popular automakers such as BMW and Tesla are being launched all over the world. These vehicles present buyers with an attractive alternative – besides being eco-friendly, they are cost effective and help save money that would otherwise be spent on increasingly expensive petrol/diesel.

    Many countries are waking up to the many benefits of such automobiles. For instance, Germany readily accepted electric cars and incentivised the technology by offering tax breaks to those opting to buy electric and hybrid cars.

    An increasing number of governments and individuals are recognising the merits of electric vehicles over traditional fuel ones. With steadily declining fossil fuel reserves and in an increasingly environmentally-conscious world, EVs are an attractive alternative to those looking to reduce their carbon footprint.

    A decade ago, the idea of driving an electric car seemed inconceivable to most humans, but these cars with plugs are definitely here to stay. Technological improvements, stricter emissions standards, and changes in consumer tastes are driving electric cars further into the mainstream, and while they still aren’t close to replacing their gas-powered cousins and fuel-powered cousions , their ever-increasing ranges and penchant for quick acceleration make them a far better option than they once were.

    Benefits of electric vehicles

    There are a number of great benefits to electric vehicles (EVs) over conventional petrol/diesel cars.

    Cheaper to run

    Owners of an EV have the advantage of much lower running costs. The electricity to charge an EV works out around a third as much per kilometre as buying petrol for the same vehicle1.

    There are a number of handy calculators you can use to see the savings. Check out the Fuel Cost Savings Calculator on the My Electric Car website.

    Cheaper to maintain

    A battery electric vehicle (BEV) has a lot less moving parts than a conventional petrol/diesel car. There is relatively little servicing and no expensive exhaust systems, starter motors, fuel injection systems, radiators and many other parts that aren’t needed in an EV.

    Batteries do wear out so replacement batteries will eventually be needed. Most car manufacturers warrant EV batteries for around 8 years.

    Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) have a petrol engine that needs regular servicing so cost more to maintain. However, because the electrical motor requires little maintenance due to far fewer moving parts, this leads to less wear and tear of the petrol engine components3.

    Other savings

    Some Australian states offer other savings for EV owners. EVs registered in the ACT are exempt from stamp-duty. EVs registered in Victoria receive a $100 reduction in registration fees each year4.

    Better for the environment

    Less pollution: By choosing to drive an EV you are helping to reduce harmful air pollution from exhaust emissions. An EV has zero exhaust emmissions5.

    Renewable energy: If you use renewable energy to recharge your EV, you can reduce your greenhouse gas emissions even further. You could recharge your EV from your solar PV system during the day instead of from the grid. Another idea is to purchase GreenPower from your electricity retailer. Then, even if you recharge your EV from the grid, your greenhouse gas emissions are reduced.

    Eco-friendly materials: There is also a trend towards more eco-friendly production and materials for EVs. The Ford Focus Electric is made up of recycled materials and the padding is made out of bio based materials. The Nissan Leaf’s interior and bodywork are partly made out of green materials such as recycled water bottles, plastic bags, old car parts and even second hand home appliances6.

    Anti Piracy Software.

    NEW anti-piracy software encourages people to snitch on media pirates and claim the bounty that the developers have hidden inside films, songs and books.

    “Since film and books have gone digital, it has become easier to pirate, and the internet, being without borders, makes it difficult to police and combat digital piracy,” says Safact managing director Jacques Allers.

    The organisation represents companies in the media and entertainment industry.

    For foreign and local media producers, this equates to billions of dollars in lost revenue. From 2008 to 2015, European creative industries lost about $240bn to piracy.

    Gert-Jan van Rooyen, formerly co-director of Stellenbosch University’s MIH media laboratory and now CEO of Custos Media Technology, is selling domestic and foreign companies a solution to this problem.

    About nine years ago, before the advent of Kindles and iPads, Van Rooyen bought a book online. He paid with his credit card and the book, in PDF format, was delivered to his computer.

    “When I opened the PDF, I saw that, as a footnote on every page, were my name; the number of the credit card I’d used to purchase it, its expiry date and the three-digit CVC security code,” he says.

    This changes the dynamic between buyers and the content — people will be reluctant to share media that has their credit-card information printed on it.

    “I thought it was a clever piece of social engineering because it wouldn’t affect the vast majority of honest users in any way, but it’s a very strong deterrent [against sharing or pirating].

    While media outlets cannot publish credit card details like that, the idea that media could make consumers vulnerable if they pirated it is “a very, very nice idea, a powerful idea”, he says.

    The idea behind his technology is inserting an immovable watermark — in the form of a BitCoin wallet — into the media so that it can be uniquely identified.

    “You can directly embed this BitCoin wallet as a type of fidelity guarantee that the recipient of the media is not going to redistribute it.

    The wallet is a large random number, and knowing the number gives a consumer access to the wallet.

    Custos’s technology hinges on storing a bounty or reward inside the BitCoin wallet. It is an incentive for people to become bounty hunters, and by collecting the money in the embedded wallet, they flag that a copy of a film, song or book has been pirated.

    A major area of weakness is when filmmakers send copies of their new work for review or to cinemas. This is where the effects of piracy can be directly measured.

    “A Hollywood blockbuster … could expect $25m on the opening weekend, but only takes in $15m when the movie is leaked online prior to the cinematic release — this is damage of $10m just in opening-weekend revenue due to piracy,” he adds.

    This is a good example of how Custos’s technology can stop piracy: each copy of a film that is sent out for review or to a cinema has a unique BitCoin wallet. If it is accessed by a bounty hunter, companies know where — and who — is the weak link in the distribution chain.

    While there are profit-seeking sites that host the content, “most of the uploaders do it out of a sense of community”, he says.

    “By using downloaders to rat on the uploaders really starts pulling at the threads keeping the piracy community together.

    “Because if you upload content out of a sense of community, and somebody in that community rats on you … you’ll be less inclined to upgrade in future.”

    Safact is in “close discussion with Custos and other similar programmes to keep on evolving our technological ability to identify, trace, profile and gather the information necessary for combating infringement .

    After hatching the idea at the university, Van Rooyen and Lutz approached its technology transfer office and had a provisional patent registered within “a week or two”.

    The project received seed funding of R500,000 from the Technology Innovation Agency in 2014.

    Custos used it to leverage funds from the New York-based Digital Currency Group and a angel investor, who Van Rooyen did not want to name.

    The agency announced in August it would be injecting another R5.9m into Custos over the next two years.

    How robust is your Finacial plan ??????

    You may feel that you are on top of your finances and are managing your day-to-day money, but how robust is your financial plan? Are you on track for retirement and what protection do you have if life turns upside down?

    At the age of 38, Sunny is determined to save and invest towards his future. Apart from having both a company provident fund and his own personal retirement annuity, Sunny has put away R123 000 in discretionary savings through various exchange-traded funds and a share portfolio.

    Liberty financial adviser Tony Buys’ concern, however, is that Sunny has not put any money away for emergencies or any protection if he is unable to work.

    “The younger a person is the more aggressive they can be with their financial investments. However, Sunny should not forget that there may be sudden emergencies that need immediate attention.”

    Sunny has no children, but he does have financial responsibilities to his parents and siblings. They would suffer a financial loss if he were no longer able to provide.

    “Moreover, even for someone who had no financial dependents, one has to consider what would happen if he lost his job or became incapacitated. For how long would Sunny be able to remain afloat?” asks Buys, who adds that the type of work environment you are in is an important factor that you should consider when planning your finances.

    “There are key questions you must always ask yourself regarding this. How viable and sustainable is the business you are in? What are the health risks you are exposed to on a day-to-day basis at work? When I looked at this with Sunny we found that being in the IT environment can be challenging as you are only as good as the last project that you completed. As such, he can never be too secure’, says Buys, who recommends that Sunny first look at the cover offered by his employer and then find where the gaps remain.

    “Rather than duplicating what his employer offers, Sunny should consider top-ups in areas already covered by the employer or other existing investments and policies. This would include a retrenchment protector, income protector and a policy waiver to cover his policies should he be retrenched.”

    As most employers do not offer dread disease/critical illness cover Sunny should consider this important cover, which would provide some financial relief if he were to be diagnosed with a dread disease. When reviewing his life cover, Buys says Sunny needs to ensure that there are sufficient funds to settle his debts, but also to provide for some financial support to his extended family. He could include family funeral cover as well as medical protection, which covers family medical aid contributions for 10 years should he pass away. This gives Sunny the ability to take care of his family’s health requirements even when he is no longer around.

    “Sunny should use the opportunity he has now before he starts his own family to get his finances in order. The more you have saved for emergencies and invested for retirement before starting a family, the easier it will be to navigate the financial commitments of raising children.”

    For Sunny, the financial needs analysis was useful in understanding where his gaps were.

    “I have realised that I could do more when it comes to investing. But what makes me happy is that most of the basic financial needs are already covered with the exception of the emergency fund, which I need to focus on [as soon as possible].”

    What is E-learning????

    A learning system based on formalised teaching but with the help of electronic resources is known as E-learning. While teaching can be based in or out of the classrooms, the use of computers and the Internet forms the major component of E-learning. E-learning can also be termed as a network enabled transfer of skills and knowledge, and the delivery of education is made to a large number of recipients at the same or different times. Earlier, it was not accepted wholeheartedly as it was assumed that this system lacked the human element required in learning.

    Some of the most important developments in education have happened since the launch of the internet. These days learners are well versed in the use of smartphones, text messaging and using the internet so participating in and running an online course has become a simple affair. Message boards, social media and various other means of online communication allow learners to keep in touch and discuss course-related matters, whilst providing for a sense of community.

    E-learning can simply be placed online and easily accessed by people around the world. There is no need for expensive travel or meetings across multiple time zones.

    Explore the latest trends in the world of eLearning course development so that organizations can improve their online training approach. Here are some ideas for your eLearning trends article:

    One way organizations measure the success of an e-learning project is by how much the learner’s knowledge and skills have improved after they’ve taken the course. To provide your learners with the best odds, you should have content that is designed in an instructionally sound manner. Instructional design is all about creating educational experiences that maximize learning and present content in the most effective way.

    E-learning course development is constantly evolving. Authoring apps will continue to improve; however, your focus should remain on using those apps to create the best e-learning possible.

    In its relatively short history, e-learning has come so far, and offers immeasurable opportunity to help people learn better. I hope this overview of e-learning was useful and inspires you to push yourself to create engaging courses that will delight your learners.

    Happy Navaratri

    Navaratri means nine nights according to Hindu tradition. It refers to a nine nights per year at a specific time of the year.

    The auspicious nine days starts from October 10.when it comes to the importantance of navaratri like other festival, the core message remain same “the victory of good over evil”.

    This year festival will begin on 10th October and end on 18th October. Throughout the nine nights, nine forms of the goddess are worshipped with much grandeur are worshipped.

    Navaratri is mainly observed in Northern parts of the country and each state celebrates the festival in it’s own specific way. The Navaratri also starts the preparation for one of the most important and widely celebrated holidays.

    Navaratri also celebrated at outside Indian contingent. Tamil Hindus in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, Navaratri has been one of their major traditional festivals.

    How to set up an Online business

    For new entrepreneurs, deciding to start an online business is an exciting journey, but it’s also new terrain that can be intimidating and difficult to navigate.

    For choosing a product, evaluating it, validating the market, sourcing inventory, building your online storefront, marketing and fulfilment, there is a lot to learn. But what are most important things to remember if you are planning to do

    Have a plan

    The most important step as with creating any new business is to have an idea and create a plan. Make sure you define who your target audience is and what objectives you need to achieve. To identify customer need is very important.

    The right domain name

    Once a domain has been selected changing it in the future can be costly and damaging to your brand.

    Website

    Make sure that your website is easy to use and attractive. Make sure it is easy for them to see what them to and then there is a simple process to make a purchase and find more information.

    Pay per click

    Running a competitive and campaign through PPC can make an Online business, it attracts traffic to your website immediately and enables you to try out different keywords and discover which ones work best for you.

    Hosting

    Don’t choose one because it’s the cheapest, as you will most likely get what you have paid for. It is very important to have a reliable web hosting service and have a least amount of disruption to your online business.

    Use social media

    This will help your business to dominate search results and stop any imposters running your brand name. Using the likes of Facebook and Twitter allow wider brand exposure, engagement with customer and ability to reach a wider audience.

    #Me Too Movement

    It is movement against sexual harassment and sexual assaults. #Me Too spread virally in October 2017 as a night at used on social media in attempt to demonstrate the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and harassment especially in work place.

    Mee Too was first tweeted by Milano.It become viral on Facebook, more than 4.7 million posts during 24 hours.

    Political leaders, sports persons, musicians, economists, even if in church also #Mee Too was started and began trending as a way to try to highlight and stop sexual abuse.

    The hashtag has trending in atleast 90+ countries including Indian,Britain,Israel,Canada,France, etc .

    Globalisation, connectivity and women’s rights movement have created the perfect storm. Women are able to share their experiences. Suddenly they are realise they are not alone. For first time, men are understanding what women have suffered for centuries.

    The #Mee Too movement has exposed an epidemic of sexual assault and harassment across every corner of world and unbotteled a collective fury which can no longer be contained.

    End of the era…Volkswagen announced, it would end production of iconic “Beetle” car…

    As Volkswagen emphasizes eletric cars and larger family-oriented cars ,it sidelined sedans which shook off Nazi origins to become a global auto phenomenon.

    Chief executive of Volkswagen ‘Hinrich Woebchken’ told the the loss of the Beetel after three generations, over nearly seven decades, will evoke a host emotions from Beetel’s many devoted fans.

    Volkswagen plans  to offer the two final edition models.

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