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Monday, December 19, 2011

Make A Successful Yuletide Get Together

Don't be afraid to keep things new and fresh when it comes to your holiday gathering.

That's the advice from Calgary party planner Sharon Berwick, who suggests looking for new locations to keep things fun for your guests.

"We do a lot of art galleries, that's been done but if you haven't done that before that's a great idea," says Berwick.

People are doing anything and everything from the holiday season as they strive for more ways to keep things old fashioned.

"Skating parties are really fun where you can rent a skating rink and do an old-fashioned party," she says. "Especially when you're working with children."

Themes are also a great way to get people interactive and getting your guests out of their comfort zone.

"There's some really great acts and people come out and serve you the food," she says. "Then you pretend to spill on someone whose part of a cast, they get onto the stage and are the show."

The party planner says she's also seen parties where artists paint to music upside down, spin it around and it's suddenly Einstein.

Berwick adds, she's noticed that there's been a return to the basics this year.

"CEO's are doing small family parties and are inviting their key employees in a small office," she says.

"People are conscious of their money and optics are important because they have to worry about what their shareholders will see."

Monday, September 5, 2011

iContact: Email & Social Media Marketing Software

We are   email marketing experts since 2003, headquartered in Morrisville, NC
We deliver   an industry-leading email marketing solution

Focus on People

iContact's proven and industry-leading email marketing software empowers businesses to engage, educate and retain customers, targeted prospects and website visitors – and ultimately maximize ROI. With headquarters in Raleigh-Durham, NC, since 2003, iContact currently provides email marketing software to over 600,000 users across the globe.
It's clear we focus on our customers, but iContact also values employees and community, which is why we express our vision as: "Build a great global company based here in North Carolina for our customers, employees and community."

Focus on Value

At iContact, the goal is to add value and solve problems for our customers, employees and our community. Here's how:
  • For Customers: Empower small business with the tools they need to grow and prosper.
  • For Employees: Create an extraordinary working environment to best support and attract A+ talent.
  • For Community: To make a positive wake locally and nationally by making "service" a responsibility.

Focus on Features

iContact's innovative email marketing software makes it easy for small to mid-sized businesses to create and send professional quality email messages, newsletters and campaigns. Through our comprehensive, yet easy-to-understand reporting dashboard, customers can monitor email campaign effectiveness and track opens, clicks and more – in real time.

Focus on Trust

We are proud to be a trusted email marketing solution that individuals and businesses can depend on. For iContact – and for iContact customers – success is inextricably linked to deliverability (an email's ability to reach a recipient's inbox). Given our industry-leading deliverability rating, it is no surprise that customers worldwide trust iContact.

One of Many Features

Direct Email Marketing

At iContact, we always ask ourselves,
"If our customers could design their ultimate email marketing feature set, what would it look like?"
We handpick and develop each and every feature with our customers in mind, so we can proudly answer, "It would look just like this."

And as our customers would wish, all of these direct email marketing features – standard or advanced – are included in our low-priced product, free of charge.

Some of our most popular features include:

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Best And Worst Ways To Hydrate Your Summer Workout

According to a new report from the CDC, nearly 6,000 people will go to the emergency room this summer for heat illnesses related to sports and exercise. Dehydration is a major culprit of these ER visits, and it's also easily preventable.

We spoke to top nutritionists to find out the best and worst ways to hydrate if you're planning on outdoor exercise. Of course, the number one choice is plain water -- our experts recommend aiming for 20 ounces two hours before a workout --but if you're looking to mix things up a bit, here are some good options, along with some ones to avoid.

GOOD: Coconut Water

BAD: Soda
GOOD: Infused Water
BAD: Energy Drinks
GOOD: Fruits
GOOD: Chocolate Milk
BAD: Seltzer
GOOD: Vegetables
BAD: Super-Cold Drinks
GOOD: Caffeinated Drinks
BAD: Alcohol
It may seem totally obvious, but if you're lazing around on a summer afternoon, have a cocktail, and decide to go for a run a few hours later, you could start off dehydrated before you take your first step.

"Alcohol dehydrates you, plain and simple," says Newgent. "You can drink in the summer, but always do it after workouts, not before, and always have at least a cup of water between drinks."


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What is the Opposite of Nocturnal?

Let us define first what is nocturnal?


1. of or pertaining to the night.
2. done, occurring, or coming at night: nocturnal visit.
3. active at night: nocturnal animals.
4. opening by night and closing by day, as certain flowers

Now,  what is the opposite of Nocturnal?

Answer: Diurnal is the opposite of nocturnal. It describes animals that are active during the day.

Example of animals that are active during night time:

Friday, July 22, 2011

Where did the Jews Originate?


The term "Jews" is first used in the Old Testament in the Book of Esther. It refers to the people, primarily members of the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi, who were exiled from the Land of Israel when the Kingdom of Judah was defeated.
Background: After the time of King Solomon (David's son) the nation of Israel split into 2 kingdoms: the Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah. The Kingdom of Judah's capital was Jerusalem, on the border between the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, and included those 2 tribes, and the tribe of Levi (who were very connected to the Temple in Jerusalem). The Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah were both defeated and forced into exile. As with most exiled kingdoms, the exiles from the Kingdom of Israel did not maintain any national or religious identity. The Kingdom of Judah, on the other hand, maintained many attributes of a nation, including a connection to a land and a set of beliefs (which of course includes many variations). Many of them returned to the Land of Israel after approximately 70 years in exile, and re-established their kingdom in Israel for roughly 400 years before being defeated by the Romans.
It is true that the Kingdom of Judah (and therefore the Jews) does includes only part of the original Nation of Israel, but 2 relevant points:

  • According to the censuses in the Bible, the Kingdom of Judah was similar in size to the Kingdom of Israel, and included more than just the tribe of Judah, so the claim that "Jews" refers to just 1/12 of the original Nation of Israel is inaccurate.
  • The Kingdom of Israel was disbursed, and maintained no connection to their original identity. Therefore the Jews constitute the only group that considers themselves to be part of the original convenant between God and the Nation of Israel, and bound by that covenant.
Some other thoughts from the community:

The Land of Israel

In Israel. Read the books of Genesis, Exodus, Judges, 1st and 2nd Samuel and 1st Kings to get a good idea of their early history. They wound up scattered all over Europe because the Romans destroyed their country and deported them in 72 A.D.
Jewish tradition names Abraham as their first ancestor. He came from Ur, and was most likely a tribal leader who brought his people west towards Canaan, a land promised to his descendants by God. Contemporary writings attest to a group of tribes known as "Habiru", "Hapiru" or "Abiru" that came from the deserts and cities of Iran and Iraq. They seem to be separate from the nomads and bedouins we know of today, and held quite a lot of power, and posed a threat to the kingdoms already occupying the lands they passed through. The Bible shows Abraham in contact with several of these kingdoms, possibly as a mercenary, and he bought land in Hebron as a burial ground for his wife and himself.
The Jews were probably a loose confederation of different tribes, some of which went to Egypt during times of famine and gradually came to be slaves until the great Exodus. The Bible makes it clear that there were already kinsmen of theirs in Canaan, when they came back and gradually took over the land of the ancient Canaanites, as promised by God.
Like most other nations, they probably originated as groups of separate peoples, who came together during times of stress, unified by a common God and history.

The Tribe of Judah

The Jews did not originate with Abraham, as the previous writer thought.
The word "Jew" is simply a shortened version of "Judah" (The first mention of the word "Jew" in the Bible is found in II Kings 16:6 which shows Israel at war with the Jews.) They, by themselves, were not "God's chosen people"- the nation of Israel as a whole was, although God later rejected them because they rejected Him.
To think that Israel means Jew is erroneous. All Jews were Israelites, (just as Californians or Texans are American), but NOT all Israelites are Jews. The "Jews" as we know them are descendants of Judah- one of the 12 sons of Jacob, the GRANDSON of Abraham. Jacob's name was later changed to Israel by God, Himself.
All 12 sons had families who grew to become "tribes", ( extended families). All 12 tribes were slaves in Egypt. All 12 tribes left Egypt under Moses and Aaron, and eventually settled in the land of Canaan. For nearly 400 years there was no real Nation of Israel- simply a loose confederation of the 12 tribes. Saul was made the first King of "Israel", about 1090 BC, but it took David, a "man after God's own heart", to actually truly unite the 12 tribes and form the Nation of Israel. After David's death, Solomon ruled and Israel reached its zenith as a nation. Following Solomon's death, however, the people revolted, from the heavy taxation Solomon's successor, Rehoboam instilled upon them. The nation split- with 10 tribes following another leader- Jeroboam, and only the tribes of Judah and Benjamin staying loyal to the House of David, (together with the Levites, who, as keepers of the tabernacle and temple, had no inheritance- no land of their own.)
At this point, the history of Israel as a single, unified nation of 12 tribes ceases, and two separate nations emerge- Israle (The northern 10 tribes), and JUDAH, the southern 2 tribes -plus the Levites.
For over 200 years the two nations existed side by side, sometimes aligning with each other, other times warring with each other, until 721 BC when the nation of Israel was carried away captive by the Assyrians. At that point "Israel" ceased to exist in history. The Assyrians repopulated the area Israel had occupied with foreign captives, who became known as Samaritans.
In 586 BC, Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon carried Judah away captive, and for 70 years they remained captives, under the Babylonian and Medeo-Persian Empires. Cyrus the Great, the Persian emperor issued a decree that all who wished could return to Judah, to "build a house for God", in about 485 BC.
It was THESE captive Jews- remnants of the nation of Judah, who returned, and refounded the nation. These people became known once again as "Jews", which really is a colloquialism, just as Americans are called "Yanks" or New Zealanders are called "Kiwis".
The rest of the nation of Israel- the other ten tribes, taken captive 130 years earlier by the Assyrians- never returned to their land after being taken captive. They became known in history as the "Lost Ten Tribes", although they never were lost. They simply migrated through Asia and Europe, becoming the early ancestors of many European people today.
In summary- the Jews were and are descendants of Abraham, but it is a mistake to say they were Israel of the old testament- they were merely a part of Israel, and later were a separate nation. They WERE and still ARE Israelites, but only constitute 1/12 of the family of Israel. The books of Kings and Chronicles detail the events of the two SEPARATE kingdoms. Ezra and Nehemiah chronicle the events of JUDAH, (The Jews who were taken captive by Babylon), AFTER their return from captivity. The modern nation of Israel, set up by the UN in 1948, mainly consists of descendents of the Tribe of Judah-not the ancient nation of Israel.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

How Big is the Earth?

This will make you feel very very very very small. The Earth is not that big, after all.

Well, That Kinda' Makes Me Feel Small.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tiger attacked by a tiny creature!

Size isn't everything, sometimes it's all about the surprise and even the most ferocious animals can get spooked.
Check out this video to see a tiger, who was just minding his own business, lose his cool when his space is invaded by a feathered friend.
We're not sure what the tiger did, but that's definitely one angry bird.


Monday, July 4, 2011

Top Craziest Swimsuits Tips

Jaws vs. Little Mermaid Swimsuit. (Link)

The Darkside Swimsuit. (Link)

No word if you can swim in this one, but you definitely can't lie on your stomach to even out your tan. Despite the suits impracticality it is certainly on-trend. Complete with a studded inflatable ring, this dangerous swimsuit is the creation of Rio Maddison, a fashion student at Northumbria. (Link)

Vintage Cat Swimsuit by Fiorucci. (Link | Via)

Weird. (Link)

This isn't just some whimsical, longing nerddream, but an actual one-piece bathing suit. Designed by James Lillis, the “Artoo” is inspired by the distinctive look of beloved astromech droid and fashion icon R2-D2. (Link)

2008 Beijing Olympic Swimsuit. (Link)

Tuxedo swimsuit. (tuxikini?)

The Spanish synchronized swimming team in awesome skeleton swimsuits in Rome 2009. (Link)

Bottle Betty suits have a built in bottle opener on the top and on the bottom that replace the usual swimwear accent pieces, but have the added benefit of opening a bottle. Popping tops will never be the same! (Link | Via)

Zigzag swimsuit where the tan lines will reveal the designer. (Danielle Scutt) (Link)

Telly Nigella's bizarre swimsuit: looks like a burqini with a cap to me. (Link)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Have you asked how fishes breathe underwater?

Sometime ago we looked at the question What happens to marine life when a lake or pond is frozen?. But have you ever wondered how fishes breathe in water much less to survive in a frozen pond or lake? Well, if this makes you ponder then read on. Water is the most abundant substance on earth that covers about 70 percent of the earth's surface. Thus, it is the home of various living organisms of which one such is fish. Water provides many functions that are essential to all known forms of life one of which is to provide a medium for aquatic animals to live and call their home. Such a home can be a; lake, pond, sea, river and stream just to name a few.

What is a fish
Fish is any cold-blooded (poikilothermic) vertebrate animal that lives in water. It typically has jaws, fins, scales, a slender body, a two-chambered heart, and gills for providing oxygen to the blood. Thus, in simple terms, fish is a cold-blooded strictly aquatic vertebrate (animal with backbones) with gills. Fishes live in nearly every water habitat such as in fresh water like springs, swamps, lagoons, reservoirs, lakes and ponds and in salty water such as the ocean. They can be found in many climatic conditions from near-freezing Arctic waters to the hot desert springs.

Click image to enlarge
Fish being an aquatic animal, has a respiratory system that is different from that of animals that live on land. It is capable of breathing under water without making frequent trips to the surface to breathe air like marine mammals such as the Whale (see discussion below for more details). This is due to the fact that fishes have a breathing organ known as gills. This is made up of thin feathery sheets of tissue membrane containing many blood vessels through which oxygen passes allowing fishes to breathe.

How fish breathe
The process begins by water in the fish’s surrounding entering its mouth‘s. Water enters the mouth by a very effective pumping system that involves the mouth and the outer flexible bony flap that cover the gills called the operculum. This is achieved by the opening and closing of the fish's mouth as it pumps water through the gills. When the fish’s mouth is open, the operculum closes and water is drawn into the fish’s mouth. Conversely, when the fish closes its mouth, the operculum opens and fresh water is then allowed to flow across the gills.

Click to enlarge image
After water enters the fish's mouth it passes through a structure called the gill rakers. The function of the gill rakers is to act as a filter system by sieving out particles such as food or any other foreign particles that may have entered the mouth from the inflow of water. The filtered water then travel through the gill arches thus passing over the gills (see above diagram). Here each gill consists of two rows of extremely thin membranes called gill filaments. The structure of the gill filaments consist of sequence rows of a thin, disc-like membrane loaded with a capillary network called lamellae. Gill filaments which are projected out into the water flow allows water to flow across the lamellae. This will result in gas exchange where, oxygen and carbon dioxide are exchanged directly across the capillary membrane.

As water flows through the gills, the oxygen it contains (dissolved oxygen) passes into blood circulating through the gill structures (filaments and lamellae) while simultaneously, carbon dioxide ( the waste product) in the fish’s bloodstream passes into the water. This deoxygenated water is then carried away and out of the body through the operculum. This process repeats itself continually and this is the process by which fish breathe. This is process is also known as respiration.

Whales and dolphins are they fish?
Whales and dolphins are not fish. The definition of a fish is explained and defined in the above article. They are mammals just like humans and breath air using lungs, give birth to live young (rather than laying eggs), and feed their young with their mother's milk. Fish use their gills to extract oxygen from the surrounding water in which they live but mammals on the other hand ( such as humans , whales and dolphin) get the oxygen they need by breathing air, using their lungs. This explains why they come to the surface of the ocean. They have a hole (their nose) in the flat part of the middle of their heads called blow holes which closes when the whale or dolphin is under water and it opens when they are at the surface and need to breathe. The reason why warm-blooded animals like whales breath air like humans is due to the fact that it would be hard to extract enough oxygen from their water surrounding using gills. furthermore, air has approximately 20 times more oxygen in it when compared to the same volume of water. While on the other hand, fish being a cold-blooded animal take on the temperature of their surroundings and uses less energy than that of warm blooded animals which convert the food that they eat into energy to adjust their body temperature. This reduces oxygen demands for fishes thus, gills work best with fishes.

What’s the purpose of fish nostrils?
It is important to note that although fish have nostrils they play no role in respiration but are rather used only for a sense of smell.

Why humans (mammals) don’t breath under water?
Most animals including humans had gills in their early fetal stage of development in the womb. However, they lost this organ further into their development since it has no essential function toward sustaining and maintaining live. Therefore animals, as well as, humans cannot breathe underwater because our lungs do not have enough surface area, that is necessary to absorb enough oxygen from water. Furthermore, the lining in our lungs is adapted to handle air rather than water. Fish on the other hand, retained these gills, which are necessary for their survival in their environment ( water medium ). Gills are very efficient at removing oxygen from water due to their feathery structure that greatly increases the surface area for gas exchange. Hence, gills play an important role in the anatomy of fish.

Where does the oxygen come from that the fish breathes?
Water is formed from the combination reaction of hydrogen gas (H2) and oxygen gas (O2) to produce liquid water (H2O). In other words, each molecule of water is made up of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. However the oxygen that fish breath is not the oxygen found in H2O - the molecular formula of water. The oxygen in liquid water is bound to two hydrogen atoms forming water molecules, thus oxygen from is not free to take part in respiration. Therefore the fish cannot breathe the resulting liquid water, and the oxygen gas (O2) that the fish breaths comes from that which is dissolved in the water. Hence, fish "breathe" the dissolved oxygen out of the water using their gills. This also means that if there is not enough dissolved oxygen in the water, then the fish can suffocate, just as humans and other animals will if there is not enough oxygen in the air that we breathe.

Why some fish thrive in specific habitats?
This is due to the fact that some fish require more oxygen than others. This means that different aquatic environments, have different levels of dissolved oxygen content that suits some fish over others, due to the effective pumping system that extracts oxygen from its surrounding. Some fish have an effective pumping system that involves the mouth and the operculum however, their are some such as the tuna that have a much less effective pumping system and requires constant movement to keep oxygenated water flowing over their gills.
Other fishes deal with this by finding an ideal habitat. In northern streams the water is very cool thus resulting in the water retaining high levels of dissolved oxygen. An example of a fish that needs this high oxygen content is the trout. It is a very active fish and its demand for oxygen is high so the extra oxygen is a necessity. Conversely, warm water and stagnant water has much less dissolved oxygen content and fish with are not that active and have a slower metabolic rate strive well in these habitat. Carp is one such fish, their demand for oxygen is relatively low.

Did you know? - some interesting facts about fish.

  • a scientist who studies fish is called an ichthyologist
  • Fish are divided into three main groups: jawless fish, cartilaginous fish, and bony fish.
  • A seahorse is actually a fish.
  • The largest fish is the great whale shark which can reach fifty feet in length and weigh up to 15 tons.
  • The smallest fish is the Philippine goby that is less than 1/3 of an inch when fully grown.
  • The fastest fish is the sailfish. It can swims at more than 60 miles an hour.
  • A walking catfish can live out of water for days at a time. They have a special chamber in their lungs to help them breathe.
  • There are over 25,000 identified species of fish on the earth.
  • There are more species of fish than all the species of amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals combined.
  • Some deep-sea fishes attract prey with specialized light organs.( e.g. Anglerfish)
  • Most fishes sleep with their eyes open. Those that don't, rest by staying in one spot while not swimming around.
  • Some fish like sharks don't posses an air bladder to help keep them afloat and must either swim continually or rest on the bottom.
  • Some species of fish can fly (glide) others can skip along the surface and others can even climb rock.
  • Fish have a specialized sense organ called the lateral line which works much like radar and helps them navigate in dark or murky water. It also detect changes in water temperature, pressure, current, etc. courtesy

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Your swirls: tips of how your hair can say a lot about you

Did you know about hair whorl?

Counterclockwise scalp hair-whorls appear more frequently in gay men than in the general population, apparently

Amidst the swirls of controversy that buffet other sexuality researchers, one man focuses, quietly, on swirls. In a monograph called Excess of Counterclockwise Scalp Hair-Whorl Rotation in Homosexual Men, Dr Amar J S Klar announces a subtle discovery. "This is the first study," he writes, "that shows a highly significant association of biologically specified counterclockwise hair-whorl rotation and homosexuality in a considerable proportion of men in samples enriched in gays."

Klar heads the developmental genetics section of the gene regulation and chromosome biology laboratory at the National Cancer Institute in Frederick, Maryland. His hair-swirl study appears in a 2004 issue of the Journal of Genetics.

The phenomenon is easy to overlook. Klar explains:
"Since the hair whorl is found at the top ('crown') of the head and thereby it is difficult to observe one's own whorl and the direction of orientation is seemingly an unimportant feature, most people are oblivious to the direction of their hair-whorl rotation. It takes two mirrors to observe one's own hair-whorl." His monograph includes a photograph showing the "scalp hair whorl of an anonymous man selected from the general public", and directs the reader to hold that picture in front of a mirror in order to "appreciate the counterclockwise orientation".

How difficult is it to collect hair-whorl-direction data? Klar explains that he, for one, got lucky:
"By chance I happened to be vacationing at a beach where a preponderance of gay men was fortuitously noticed. The subjects were considered to be homosexuals because of their public display of stereotypical interpersonal relationship deemed typical of homosexual men. This assessment was reinforced by the dearth of females and children on the beach ... Conveniently, the gay men were highly concentrated in one area of the beach. Such considerations made it relatively easy to collect the data on groups of predominantly gay men with great confidence even though the subjects were not asked for their sexual preference."

A year later, Klar returned to the same beach and collected another load of data.
He reports that "altogether in a combined sample of 272 mostly gay men observed, 29.8% exhibited counterclockwise hair-whorl orientation". This, he says, is "vastly different from the value of 8.4% counterclockwise rotation found in the public at large, which included both males and females".

The study does not take account of the erstwhile hair-whorl directionality of persons who are now bald. Klar explicitly excluded them from consideration, along with anyone who was wearing a sun hat.

Klar suggests a direction for further exploration: "It should be equally interesting to compare the proportions of clockwise and counterclockwise hair-whorl orientations in lesbian women with those in females at large."

The report ends with a simple notice that deftly fends off the research-is-a-waste-of-government-money crowd: "Author's personal funds were used for the study".
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