Thursday, November 30, 2006


Like Father, Like Husband?

If it's true that girls are inclined to marry men like their fathers, it is understandable why so many mothers cry so much at weddings.

A man is almost about to die

As he lay on his deathbed, the man confided to his wife, "I cannot die without telling you the truth. I cheated on you throughout our whole marriage. All those nights when I told you I was working late, I was with other women. And not just one woman either, but I've slept with dozens of them."

His wife looked at him calmly and said, "Why do you think I gave you the poison?"

My daughter is your reward

Once there was a millionaire, who collected live alligators. He kept them in the pool in back of his mansion. The millionaire also had a beautiful daughter who was single. One day he decides to throw a huge party, and during the party he announces, "My dear guests . . . I have a proposition to every man here. I will give one million dollars or my daughter to the man who can swim across this pool full of alligators and emerge alive!"

As soon as he finished his last word, there was the sound of a large splash!! There was one guy in the pool swimming with all he could and screaming out of fear. The crowd cheered him on as he kept stroking as though he was running for his life. Finally, he made it to the other side with only a torn shirt and some minor injuries. The millionaire was impressed.

He said, "My boy that was incredible! Fantastic! I didn't think it could be done! Well I must keep my end of the bargain. Do you want my daughter or the one million dollars?"

The guy says, "Listen, I don't want your money, nor do I want your daughter! I want the person who pushed me in that water!"


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

How To Minimize Stress During World Travel And Tours

With world travel the very first thing you can do to reduce your stress levels is to have a travel agent you can trust. This is because you have no idea of all the rules and regulations that are going to come up during your world tours. Having an agent that you trust is a great source of stress reduction. This is because you do not have to worry about all the little details and the infinite amount of paperwork and changes that come up. A good travel agent can advise of things like your passports, visas, shots and immunizations, as well as providing tips on local customs and culture so that you can fit in more easily when you arrive.

There are a number of travel sites out there and the most popular ones deal with getting you the cheapest flights and hotels. This is great and wonderful for what they do and they are good at it. They however will not make sure that all the little details are taken care of or provide the personal touch that other sites and agencies can. I have found that is one of those sites that does a good job of keeping their eye on all the small details.

World travel these days can be a very scary thing filled with all kinds of stress because of the events in the news. A good agent is aware of all those things and will do everything to make sure that you are safe. Your world tour will be enjoyable and relaxing when you have the assistance of a knowledgeable agent. Here are some other things to consider while on your world tour.

Make sure you have your schedule set and that you did allow yourself some "me time" in all the hustle and bustle of the trip that is something that can be easily forgotten. Keep your schedule realistic, these tour spots have been there for thousands of years and they will be there when you get to come back. Make sure you have a list of your medications and doctors so that if something should happen you can get proper treatment.

Bring a good book to read since the flights are long and you will have plenty of time to read and sleep. Make sure you get a good night's sleep before you head out on your flight. Even if your world travel is for business, schedule yourself some time for yourself to enjoy the new location you are in, instead of just trying to cram in back to back meetings and appointments. You will be able to enjoy being in the place you're at for the meeting and be well rested and be able to work better in the end.

Relax and enjoy your world tour and find all the secrets the world has to offer. If you go to it will be a good start to finding what the secrets are. The secret after all is that this world travel stuff really does not have to be filled with stress and doubt. If you want that, then go to work, world travel is about stress free time for you.


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Plane Truth About Your Health

Air travel is clearly the safest means of travel. More people travel safely on these big birds than in cars, trucks, SUVs, motorcycles and trains. That should tell the whole truth, but it doesn't. Where else in your life are you seated within spitting distance of 180 other people who may, or may not, be ill?

You can probably concede that there's nothing you could do in the case of engine failure or some sort of hostile takeover of an airplane in flight. That's okay because these incidents are so very, very rare. What you can do is help prevent getting sick or infecting others by following these simple steps and tips.

Understanding the Air Up ThereYou shouldn't be surprised that the air at 35,000 feet is much different than on the ground, even if you live in the Mile High City at 5000+ feet above sea level. To start with, you will likely feel thirstier than you would on the ground. That's because the filtration of the air, in an attempt to keep it clean, removes all particles, including moisture from the air in the cabin.

The pressure, even in a pressurized cabin, will feel heavier to some than to others. It is important to yawn often or plug your nose and mouth and GENTLY blow out. This will help "pop" your ears, allowing them to adjust to the pressure in the plane.

To Fly or Not to Fly
Those suffering with a cold, flu or other airborne virus or bacteria are urged not to fly if at all possible. Not only are you putting 180 of your fellow passengers at risk, you are likely to feel worse during the flight than at home, resting. If you absolutely must fly sick, consider wearing a hospital mask to keep your germs to yourself. For comfort, take a decongestant soon before boarding and rub the inside of your nose with petroleum jelly to avoid the lining of your nose from drying out in the dehydrated air. Also, keep your medicines with you in your travel bag – do not check them – if at all possible.

If you've been under the knife recently and still have stitches or sutures that have not healed completely, flying could set back your recovery considerably. The pressure may cause unnecessary stress on your wounds and cause them to reopen. Always contact your doctor before flying post-operatively.

Should you foresee the possibility of being under the weather or post-operative before making your flight reservations, consider purchasing travel insurance. It is almost always more expensive to buy new tickets or change your old ones if you do not have travel insurance in place.

Cocktails, Anyone?
For some, the experience of flying includes a cocktail or two. Understand that your blood oxygen level decreases in flight, so the concentration of one glass worth of wine is heavier than on the ground. While a gin and tonic may not make you loopy at home, it will likely have the effect of one and a half or even two cocktails in the air.

Another effect of alcohol is its natural tendency to act as a diuretic while on the ground or in the air. Diuretics will increase blood flow through the kidney causing more water to filter out. Your urine production goes up, your water volume goes down. Avoid alcohol and caffeine to keep your kidney in check.

Exercise? In These Small Seats?
Don't start your Tae Bo workout or work on your yoga inversions in your 2 cubic feet of personal space, but do practice some simple stretches and exercises to keep yourself from feeling run down.

Start with neck and shoulder stretches. Practice putting your chin to your chest, then looking up to those reading lights. Tip your head from side to side and do a few slow, controlled circles in both directions. Next, shrug your shoulders a few times the press your chest out while pushing your shoulder blades together.

Move onto your arms by bringing your elbows to shoulder level with your fist pointing straight up at a 90 degree angle from your elbow. Flex your bicep slowly until the muscle begins to hurt a little. Repeat with the other side.

For forearms, pack along a tennis ball and squeeze with your hand facing down and your forearm out in front of you. Once you're done with your forearms, put the tennis ball between your knees and SQUEEZE those inner thighs for 5 seconds, then release. Repeat.

Fight the urge to let your abdominals turn to flubber in the plane and work them, as well. Don't do sit-ups in the aisle, instead try this breathing suction motion. Exhale all the air in your lungs. Before inhaling, suck your stomach in as high into your ribcage as you can. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds, then inhale and relax. Repeat as many times as you can. Note: don't do this right after eating.

When you get up to take a walk to the front or the back of the plane, stop for a minute or two and do calf raises. Stand flat-footed then raise up to your toes. Repeat until your calves are on fire or the seat belt sign illuminates and the Captain asks you back to your seat.

Shifting Weight
Not in the bulkhead compartment, though those suitcases have been known to shift during flight, but your weight. Avoid sugary or heavy meals or snacks on your journey. Bring along an apple, banana, a cheese stick or a sandwich wrap to munch on. Choose a diet soda, club soda or plain old sky-juice (water, that is) instead of a calorie-laden cola.


Monday, November 27, 2006

Planning To Travel Abroad? Leave These Items At Home!

Anyone who travels regularly is aware of luggage and carry-on restrictions post 9-11. However, if you travel abroad, there are other considerations to keep in mind. No foreign country wants undesirable insects, rodents, or diseases to infiltrate their population via border crossings.

Before reading further, remember that if you have outstanding police warrants or a criminal record, you should probably forget about foreign travel. Period.

* What NOT to Take With You *

Regulations vary by country. The snacks you pack for a domestic flight may not pass customs inspection for an overseas destination. Start with a good dose of 'common sense' and you will quickly realize why most of the items on the following list are not permitted:

- Beer, wine, or other alcoholic beverages that have been opened

- Pets without appropriate vaccination certificates

- Native wildlife

- Weapons - or toys and other items that look like weapons

- Big game bagged while on your safari or hunting trip

- Prescription drugs without an accompanying doctor's prescription

- Drugs, vitamins, or nutritional supplements with unreadable labels

- Illegal drugs or paraphernalia - *DEATH PENALTY* in some countries

- Potted houseplants, seeds, soil, pebbles, or sand

- Natural products like seashells, pieces of coral reef, whalebone

- Uncooked pork, poultry, beef, and other meat or animal products

- Unprocessed or uncooked vegetables, fruits, tubers, roots, etc.

- Hay, straw, oats, and similar items

- Any other natural products that may harbor diseases or pests

- Fireworks and incendiary devices

- Clothing and souvenirs manufactured with any of the above products

Some prohibited articles may be allowed with appropriate permits or certification. If you don't know for sure - don't pack them or bring them back home with you.

* What you MUST Take With You *

Imagine your chagrin should you go through customs on your return trip and discover that you must pay duty on your laptop computer, digital camera, and jewelry - even though you purchased them in your own country prior to your trip. Yes, it can - and does - happen. Protect yourself!

Pack copies of documents such as sales receipts, credit card statements, insurance policies, and appraisals for all valuable items to prove ownership and purchase date - especially for anything that looks like new.

No receipts or paperwork? Take a picture of each item next to a newspaper that plainly displays a readable date. Note the serial number(s) with each photo. Keep all photos and paperwork in a safe place along with your passport and other important documents. They will be invaluable when you fill in customs declarations - both leaving and returning.

* Do Your Homework *

Spend some time doing research on the internet before you travel. You should be able to find a government or embassy website that provides the regulations online. Do searches such as:

- customs regulations France

- customs regulations Spain

- customs regulations Brazil

- customs regulations USA

Advance investigation may save you considerable time, money, and effort as you pass through each border crossing.

Be aware! The resulting peace of mind will make your holiday much more enjoyable.


Friday, November 24, 2006

Pay Your Mortgage On Time

All of us have trouble getting along financially from time to time. There may be a reason behind it that is simple to identify such as losing your job or having a lot of hospital bills come up unexpectedly, but no matter how much trouble that you are having there are certain things that you should never do if it is at all possible, and one of those things is paying your mortgage on time. Here is why you should worry about your mortgage before you worry about any other bill.

Having a mortgage late on your credit report is one of the worst things that you can have happen. It sticks with your credit report for a long time and if you ever need to refinance your home or get another mortgage this will be something that will make it much more difficult. Of course you never want to have any late payments show up on your credit report but having a late mortgage payment is by far the worst that you can do.

So protect your credit and make sure that you are paying your mortgage on time. Take a good look at your mortgage bill see if they have a grace period where you may be able to buy a little extra time before you are actually late. That might help you to make your payment on time as well even though it may not be on the actual due date. Keeping a clean credit report is very important for many reasons. If you are having problems, figure out how to start keeping it clean from this point on, and if your credit report is clean already make sure that you keep it that way. A clean credit report will follow you through your life and help you to get more of what you need.


Computers Are No Match For Human Passion

Much coverage has been given in the past about how computer programs can challenge some of the best chess players in the world. From playing to a draw, these computers have progressed to such a stage where they handily defeat these great human players. In the final analysis though, it is still the human behind the programming who should be given credit for being able to harness the computer's power by mixing in artificial intelligence and thus making these machines almost think like humans.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been around for some time now. One of the areas that computer programmers have been applying AI is in the field of writing. Imagine the joy of the average high school student if they could get their computers to write their essays for them. Imagine too just how intellectually deprived these students eventually will become but that will be a topic for another time.

One way of teaching the computer to write is to feed it prior written material, maybe a news column or article. What the computer will do is to rewrite or paraphrase the entire article--move some paragraphs or sentences around, change certains words but always trying to maintain the essence of the article. Most of the time, the computers fail miserably especially with lengthy articles. The output is mostly gibberish and the thoughts are out of synch.

If you need proof of how devoid of sense the computer generated articles are, you need only look in your emails. Every now and then you might receive a spam email where the body of the emails consists of about three or four paragraphs of mumbo jumbo. Each sentence probably makes sense individually. Put them all together and try to make sense of it though will only give you a headache. These are examples of computer generated writings.

There are nefarious forces around who are trying very hard to improve the abilities of these kinds of programs in order for them to come up with more sensible content. Their intention is to be able to profit off the hard work of others by using their article generating software to basically copy previously written materials and then present the altered finished product as their own. There are some websites that are already touting the advancements of their software. As everyone knows by now, writing articles on the internet translates to more targetted traffic to one's website and that means more exposure for your product. So a software that can churn out an article in less than five minutes could mean a windfall in the long run for these lazy mules.

While computer generated articles may not be in the mainstream yet, surely a discerning reader can tell. An author who writes from the heart will pack that extra punch in his/her article. The passion to write with the intent of informing, educating, entertaining, telling an exciting story, and tickling the mind will definitely stand head and shoulder above all else. If you just pick a name of a popular author, ask yourself what makes you buy that particular author's books. Without a doubt, time and effort and the proverbial blood, sweat and tears have been poured into the production of their wonderful stories.

The same can be said for internet articles. No computer generated, assembly-line article or story is going to be able to deliver the same product as one that is driven by passion. Webmasters always advise newcomers on the scene that "content is king." There are many who are of the mentality that in order to succeed on the internet, you have to "be there" first. And in their desperation to "be there" first, they would employ even underhanded measures to achieve their goals. When the motive for writing an article or producing a website is purely for monetary gains, the content is most likely very shallow as well. Authors who spend the time to think and research ahead of their articles are the ones who will eventually be rewarded not just in monterary terms, but also through respect. Such is the reward for passion.


Thursday, November 23, 2006

Clinical Trial FAQs

The following frequently asked questions are important in understanding the unique process of clinical trials.

An Introduction to Clinical Trials

Q: What are clinical trials?
Q:Why participate in clinical trials?
Q:Where do the ideas for trials come from?
Q:Who sponsors clinical trials?
Q:What is a protocol?
Q:What is a placebo?
Q:What is a control or control group?
Q:What are the different types of clinical trials?
Q:What are the phases of clinical trials?

Q: What are clinical trials?
A clinical trial is a research study to answer specific questions about vaccines, new therapies or new ways of using known treatments. Clinical trials (also called medical research and research studies) are used to determine whether new drugs or treatments are both safe and effective. Carefully conducted clinical trials are the fastest and safest way to find treatments that work in people.

Q: Why participate in a clinical trial?
Participants in clinical trials can play a more active role in their own health care, gain access to new research treatments before they are widely available, and help others by contributing to medical research.

Q: Where do the ideas for trials come from?
Ideas for clinical trials usually come from researchers. After researchers test new therapies or procedures in the laboratory and in animal studies, the treatments with the most promising laboratory results are moved into clinical trials. During a trial, more and more information is gained about a new treatment, its risks and how well it may or may not work.

Q: Who sponsors clinical trials?
Clinical trials are sponsored or funded by a variety of organizations or individuals such as physicians, medical institutions, foundations, voluntary groups, and pharmaceutical companies, in addition to federal agencies such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Department of Defense (DOD), and the Department of Veteran's Affairs (VA). Trials can take place in a variety of locations, such as hospitals, universities, doctors' offices, or community clinics.

Q: What is a protocol?
A protocol is a study plan on which all clinical trials are based. The plan is carefully designed to safeguard the health of the participants as well as answer specific research questions. A protocol describes what types of people may participate in the trial; the schedule of tests, procedures, medications, and dosages; and the length of the study. While in a clinical trial, participants following a protocol are seen regularly by the research staff to monitor their health and to determine the safety and effectiveness of their treatment.

Q: What is a placebo?
A placebo us an inactive pill, liquid, or powder that has no treatment value. In clinical trials, experimental treatments are often compared with placebos to assess the treatment's effectiveness. In some studies, the participants in the control group will receive a placebo instead of an active drug or treatment.

Q: What is a control or control group?
A control is the standard by which experimental observations are evaluated. In many clinical trials, one group of patients will be given an experimental drug or treatment, while the control group is given either a standard treatment for the illness or a placebo.

Q: What are the different types of clinical trials?
Treatment trials test new treatments, new combinations of drugs, or new approaches to surgery or radiation therapy.Prevention trials look for better ways to prevent disease in people who have never had the disease or to prevent a disease from returning. These approaches may include medicines, vitamins, vaccines, minerals, or lifestyle changes.Screening trials test the best way to detect certain diseases or health conditions. Quality of Life trials (or Supportive Care trials) explore ways to improve comfort and the quality of life for individuals with a chronic illness.

Q: What are the phases of clinical trials?
Clinical trials are conducted in phases. The trials at each phase have a different purpose and help scientists answer different questions:In Phase I trials, researchers test a new drug or treatment in a small group of people (20-80) for the first time to evaluate its safety, determine a safe dosage range, and identify side effects. In Phase II trials, the study drug or treatment is given to a larger group of people (100-300) to see if it is effective and to further evaluate its safety. In Phase III trials, the study drug or treatment is given to large groups of people (1,000-3,000) to confirm its effectiveness, monitor side effects, compare it to commonly used treatments, and collect information that will allow the drug or treatment to be used safely. In Phase IV trials, post marketing studies delineate additional information including the drug's risks, benefits, and optimal use.


Stress and the Workplace

Stress at work is a relatively new phenomenon of modern lifestyles. The nature of work has gone through drastic changes over the last century and it is still changing at whirlwind speed. They have touched almost all professions, starting from an artist to a surgeon, or a commercial pilot to a sales executive. With change comes stress, inevitably. Professional stress or job stress poses a threat to physical health. Work related stress in the life of organized workers, consequently, affects the health of organizations.

What's It?
Job stress is a chronic disease caused by conditions in the workplace that negatively affect an individual's performance and/or overall well-being of his body and mind. One or more of a host of physical and mental illnesses manifests job stress. In some cases, job stress can be disabling. In chronic cases a psychiatric consultation is usually required to validate the reason and degree of work related stress.

Working on a project on stress at work, Andy Ellis, Ruskin College, Oxford, UK, has shown in a chart how stress can adversely affect an employee's performance. In the early stages job stress can 'rev up' the body and enhance performance in the workplace, thus the term 'I perform better under pressure'. However, if this condition is allowed to go unchecked and the body is revved up further, the performance ultimately declines and the person's health degenerates.

The signs of job stress vary from person to person, depending on the particular situation, how long the individual has been subjected to the stressors, and the intensity of the stress itself. Typical symptoms of job stress can be:
• Insomnia
• Loss of mental concentration,
• Anxiety, stress
• Absenteeism
• Depression,
• Substance abuse,
• Extreme anger and frustration,
• Family conflict
• Physical illnesses such as heart disease, migraine, headaches, stomach problems, and back problems.

Job stress may be caused by a complex set of reasons. Some of the most visible causes of workplace stress are:

Job Insecurity
Organized workplaces are going through metamorphic changes under intense economic transformations and consequent pressures. Reorganizations, takeovers, mergers, downsizing and other changes have become major stressors for employees, as companies try to live up to the competition to survive. These reformations have put demand on everyone, from a CEO to a mere executive.

High Demand for Performance
Unrealistic expectations, especially in the time of corporate reorganizations, which, sometimes, puts unhealthy and unreasonable pressures on the employee, can be a tremendous source of stress and suffering. Increased workload, extremely long work hours and intense pressure to perform at peak levels all the time for the same pay, can actually leave an employees physically and emotionally drained. Excessive travel and too much time away from family also contribute to an employee's stressors.

The expansion of technology—computers, pagers, cell phones, fax machines and the Internet—has resulted in heightened expectations for productivity, speed and efficiency, increasing pressure on the individual worker to constantly operate at peak performance levels. Workers working with heavy machinery are under constant stress to remain alert. In this case both the worker and their family members live under constant mental stress. There is also the constant pressure to keep up with technological breakthroughs and improvisations, forcing employees to learn new software all the times.

Workplace Culture
Adjusting to the workplace culture, whether in a new company or not, can be intensely stressful. Making oneself adapt to the various aspects of workplace culture such as communication patterns, hierarchy, dress code if any, workspace and most importantly working and behavioral patterns of the boss as well as the co-workers, can be a lesson of life. Maladjustment to workplace cultures may lead to subtle conflicts with colleagues or even with superiors. In many cases office politics or gossips can be major stress inducers.

Personal or Family Problems
Employees going through personal or family problems tend to carry their worries and anxieties to the workplace. When one is in a depressed mood, his unfocused attention or lack of motivation affects his ability to carry out job responsibilities.

Job Stress and Women
Women may suffer from mental and physical harassment at workplaces, apart from the common job stress. Sexual harassment in workplace has been a major source of worry for women, since long. Women may suffer from tremendous stress such as 'hostile work environment harassment', which is defined in legal terms as 'offensive or intimidating behavior in the workplace'. This can consist of unwelcome verbal or physical conduct. These can be a constant source of tension for women in job sectors. Also, subtle discriminations at workplaces, family pressure and societal demands add to these stress factors.

Because change is constant in life, stress is an integral part of it. Since we don't want to perish under it, we have to adhere to the bottom line for survival—adapt.

Following are some of the long-term tips to survive stress:
• Even if we feel secured in a habituated life, the truth remains that changing with the times makes one's position more secure. In today's business climate, you must continually be prepared for changes to avoid stress and survive in the competitive world
• Find and protect whatever time you get to refresh, re-energize and re-motivate yourself. Spend quality time with your family. This can be an excellent source of emotional and moral support.

• Avoid giving in to alcohol, smoking and other substance abuses while under constant stress.

• Develop positive attitudes towards stressful situations in life. Give up negative mental traits such as fear, anger and revengeful attitudes, which actually germinate stress. Try to revert to holistic relaxation and personal growth techniques such as meditation, breathing and exercises, to remodel your lifestyles.

• In case of chronic stress consult a health professional.

• Reduce workplace stress by celebrating your's or your colleagues' accomplishments.

• Adapting to demands of stress also means changing your personality. Improve your line of communication, efficiency and learn from other's experiences.

• Don't be complacent. Be prepared for any change physically, emotionally and financially.But, when you are under stress at work, some simple practices can help:

• Sit straight and comfortably on your seat, and try breathing exercises. It will relax your nerves and muscles.

• Relax and count backwards (20, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15….)

• Try creative visualization When under severe stress, an individual fails to take clear-cut decisions, reevaluate and reassess the priorities and lifestyles, and ultimately, tend to fall into unproductive distractions. This can be described as a classic case of 'burnout'. The 'burnouts' often engage in reckless or risk-taking behaviors. Starting from glamor and sport celebrities to common men, 'burnouts' are found everywhere.Chronic Responsibility Syndrome is a kind of burnout where people get mentally and physically exhausted from their workload. The symptom is often described as "there's simply too much work to do, and no one else can do it but me". Typically it will occur in hard working, hard driven people, who become emotionally, psychologically or physically exhausted. You are at risk of burnout where:

• you find it difficult to say 'no' to additional commitments or responsibilities

• you have been under intense and sustained pressure for some time

• your high standards make it difficult to delegate to assistants

• you have been trying to achieve too much for too long

• you have been giving too much emotional support for too long Often burnout will manifest itself in a reduction in motivation, volume and quality of performance, or in dissatisfaction with or departure from the activity altogether. Are You in Danger of Burning Out?If you feel that you are in danger of burning out, the suggestions below can help you correct the situation:

• Re-evaluate your goals and prioritize them

• Evaluate the demands placed on you and see how they fit in with your goals

• Identify your ability to comfortably meet these demands.

• If people demand too much emotional energy, become more unapproachable and less sympathetic. Involve other people in a supportive role. Acknowledge your own humanity: remember that you have a right to pleasure and a right to relaxation

• Learn stress management skills

• Identify stressors in your life, such as work, or family. Get the support of your friends, family and even counseling in reducing stress

Ensure that you are following a healthy lifestyle:

1. Get adequate sleep and rest to maintain your energy levels

2. Ensure that you are eating a healthy, balanced diet—bad diet can make you ill or feel bad. Limit your caffeine and alcohol intake

3. Try to recognize your spiritual needs that may have been buried under the mires of worldly pursuits

• Develop alternative activities such as a relaxing hobby to take your mind off problems Have You Burned Out?

• If you are so de-motivated that for a time you do not want to continue with what you do, then take some time off

• Alternatively, try to switch to another area of activity within your organization. If you come back later, you may find that you have started to enjoy the work again, and can take on only those commitments that you want. You may, however, find that you have absolutely no interest in continuing with what you are doing. In this case it may be best to drop it altogether

• Take support and counseling of near and dear ones to bring change to the current situation

• Enroll yourself with some meditation or yoga classes (to ensure group spiritual practice), gyms, aerobics or sports clubs to switch your focus, and to reorganize your priorities

• If you are in late stages of burnout, feeling deeply de-motivated and disenchanted with your job or life, get help from a good psychologist.


DWI Enforcement Team

Motorists who drink and drive are involved in approximately 50% of fatal collisions and an equal percentage of serious injury collisions. After 2 a.m., it is estimated that two of every four motorists on the road are driving under the influence of alcohol. These disturbing statistics reflect a dangerous trend on our roads that the Austin Police Department is determined to reverse.

To increase enforcement of DWI laws and send a message to motorists who drink and drive, APD launched the DWI Enforcement Team in August 1998. The unit, which is under direction of the Traffic Administration Section, is comprised of eight patrol officers and one sergeant. As a dedicated DWI enforcement unit, the Enforcement Team is able to concentrate its patrol efforts on apprehending drunk drivers. Patrols focus on areas where DWI offenses are most likely to occur (entertainment areas featuring bars and nightclubs, for example) during times when most drunk drivers are on the roads (evenings, weekends and holidays). In addition, members of the Enforcement Team are able to provide support to regular patrol officers during peak offense times, relieving patrol officers by handling the lengthy processing of arrests.

The working relationship between regular patrol and the Enforcement Team increases the efficiency of the Department as a whole in removing drunk drivers from our roads. First, the Enforcement Team increases the number of patrol units on the streets, making apprehension of DWI offenders more likely. At the same time, regular patrol officers who make DWI arrests are able to turn suspects over to the Enforcement Team for processing through the system, allowing them to resume patrol duties and apprehend other DWI offenders. As a result, both the numbers of Enforcement Team and regular patrol DWI arrests have increased


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

How to Buy Life Insurance

Buying life insurance is an easy way to protect your family after you're gone. If you know what to look for, you can get great coverage at a price you can afford.

Why buy life insurance?
Topping the list of reasons to buy life insurance is the financial protection life insurance offers. If you're single and just starting out, you may not need life insurance. But as you take on more responsibilities and your family grows, your need for life insurance increases. The proceeds from a life insurance policy can replace the income lost to your family upon your death. You might also want to buy life insurance to pay off debts and expenses, leave money to charity, and cover final and estate expenses.

Choose term or cash value
There are two basic types of life insurance: term life insurance, which provides life insurance coverage for a specified period of time (the term), and cash value (permanent) life insurance, which combines a death benefit with a cash value component. Cash value insurance offers lifetime protection, while term insurance may be the most affordable option if you're buying life insurance mainly for the financial protection it offers, and your need for life insurance is temporary (until your children leave the nest, for instance). Some term policies (called "convertible") will permit you to exchange the term life insurance policy for a permanent one at some point.

Decide how much coverage you'll need
The amount of life insurance protection you should buy depends on how much income your survivors will need, how much you own and owe, and the amount of other life insurance available to you. If you're married, both you and your spouse should consider buying life insurance. One of the easiest ways to estimate how much life insurance protection you should buy is to use a life insurance needs calculator.

Pick a number between 1 and 30
Term life insurance is usually offered for periods ranging from 1 to 30 years. Consider choosing a term that matches your need for life insurance protection. For instance, if your main reason for buying life insurance is to protect your 7-year-old twins until they're out of college, you'll want to buy a policy with a term of at least 15 years.

How much will it cost?
How much you pay for life insurance will depend on a number of risk factors, including your age, your health, whether you use tobacco, your family health history, and the type and amount of life insurance you're buying. Keep in mind that the premium you're quoted initially will increase later. For instance, when you buy term life insurance, rates are guaranteed only until the end of the term (annually for annual renewable term or at the end of a specified number of years for level term). While most life insurance policies can be renewed at the end of the term, you'll pay a higher premium for coverage.

Shop around
When comparing quotes for life insurance, make sure that the insurance coverage you're comparing is similar. And remember, any policy that you buy is only as good as the company that issues it. Find out what rating the company has received from major ratings services, such as A. M. Best or Standard & Poor's. These companies evaluate an insurer's financial condition and claims-paying ability. The company giving you a quote should provide you with this information. You can also contact your state's department of insurance to find out more about an insurer's record.

Submit an application
Once you're ready to purchase a life insurance policy, you'll fill out a life insurance application that contains questions about your current and past health history and lifestyle. You'll generally be required to take a medical exam, arranged and paid for by the insurance company. The answers you give on your application, along with the results from the medical exam and your past health history, will help the insurance company determine whether to offer you a policy, and if so, at what price.

Learn the lingo
Maybe a life insurance contract isn't as exciting as a best-selling novel, but read it anyway. Policy provisions, the amount of benefits, the premium, and other charges you'll pay will be listed along with other important information such as the beneficiaries you've named and the premium guarantee period. Make sure you understand everything in the policy. Under the laws of your state, you may have a "free look" period (typically at least 10 days) during which time you can cancel the policy without penalty.

Please note that this description/explanation is intended only as a guideline.


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Monday, November 20, 2006


Cellphones, It Seems, Can't Be Too Thin Either
By JOHN BIGGSThe Samsung T509 could slip into the pocket of your tightest pair of jeans without leaving a bump.

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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Benefits of Loan Consolidation

As you probably know, credit scores play a major role in determining whether or not you get an apartment, house, car, cellular phone - the list goes on indefinitely. It's your way of showing companies that you are trustworthy and reliable enough to make consistent and timely payments on acquisitions that are more expensive. Having a bad credit score taints you, jeopardizing your chances of being approved by creditors.

Credit scores are negatively affected by late payments, incomplete or partial payments, defaults, and judgments and liens. The score can be broken down into several components: 35 percent of your score depends on your payment history; 30 percent, on your outstanding debt; 15 percent, the length of your credit history; 10 percent, recent inquiries on your credit report; and 10 percent, the types of credit your currently use.

Because a student loan is money owed, it adversely affects your payment history and your outstanding debt, which comprises 65 percent of your total credit score. This, of course, may be debilitating to your credit.

Stafford loans, which are the most common type of student loans, are often issued in subsidized and unsubsidized portions. An undergraduate student could graduate with as many as four subsidized Stafford loans and four unsubsidized Stafford Loans, totaling eight separate loans. Furthermore, most students don't make payments on their loans until after they graduate.

In summation, undergraduate students may have eight loans in four years without a single payment. Graduate students who use loans to finance their educations leave school with advanced degrees and even more unconsolidated debt.

Obviously, there are extenuating circumstances. How can you, as a student, be expected to pay off your debts? You've been concentrating on schoolwork. How can a full-time student work full-time? Lenders recognize this and often offer grace periods, which exempt students from repayment for a few months after graduation.

Unfortunately, computers are responsible for calculating credit reports. For calculating machines, numbers are numbers, regardless of how compelling your story may be. Eight loans, four years, and no payments make a horrible combination.

A lesser-known benefit of consolidation is the fact that it improves your credit score. When you consolidate, your new lender pays off all of your eight loans, and then opens up one new consolidation loan. When a computer calculates your credit score, it will see this: eight loans paid in full. You will look like a responsible and trustworthy borrower.

Consolidation increases your credit score because it pays off all your old loans and reduces your number of open accounts.


How to compare car insurance quote online

To get car insurance quote online from an insurance company, always keep in mind to compare it with quotes issued by other companies with the same car insurance policy features. However, since this is a challenging task, with results often being prone to mistakes and miscalculations, here are some tips that can help you simplify the process.

The first thing you need to do when you get car insurance quote online is to assess your current auto insurance policy, and consider every feature it incorporates, such as limits for property, bodily injury, uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist; what the deductibles are; if you’re willing to pay for towing and rental care reimbursement; and if you have comprehensive coverage or just collision.

Determine if you are still going to need those features in your car insurance, and make note of any changes. For example, there’s no point opting for comprehensive coverage on an old car that has severely decreased in value. Therefore, getting only collision coverage might be able to save you a few hundred dollars on your car insurance premium.

Your second, particularly important step when you get car insurance quote online is to gather specific information about your cars, and the people who drive them. Be prepared to list down information regarding:

1. Drivers license and Social Security Numbers for each driver
2. Year, make and model of each vehicle to be insured
3. Average mileage for each day, and whether it's used for business or pleasure
4. Safety features such as Anti-lock Brakes (ABS), alarms, air bags etc for each vehicle

Always make an effort to get at least three or more car insurance online quotes for your auto insurance from various sources, because rates are liable to differ between car insurance companies. Put down each online quote on the same sheet of paper, along with comments for each company you’ve listed.

When looking for a cheap car insurance quote online, you must also bear in mind the importance of good value, such as financial stability, fast claims service and good customer service.
When you’ve tracked down the car insurance quote online that meet your requirements, keep it under scrutiny for a couple of days in order to be certain that you’ve got the right insurance coverage for your car.

Don’t hesitate to ask a lot of questions if you’re doing business with an agent or representative, who could probably be able to help you save a decent amount on your insurance. It’s also always a good idea to check if there’s a customer service contact on the insurer’s website when you get car insurance quote online.