Best knоwn аs the “Windy Сity” beсаuse the роlitiсiаns blоw hоt аir, Сhiсаgо is оne оf my fаvоrite сities in...
In any and every election, it is essential that every...
This all started in Powell’s Bookstore in Portland, OR, last...
Rach, the “teen”
Sex education is a real issue in my mind. In four years of high school, I’ve never had a sex education class. This bothers me because I feel like it is irresponsible for the schools (and the government) not to teach kids and teens about sex.
But, I didn’t feel like I had to worry, because when I was hitting puberty my parents did more than just “the talk” – they bought us books about everything. We had growing bodies books, we had books about differing sexualities, and we had books about the science of sex and pregnancy. But we did much more than reading, we talked about what was ok in our family, and we discussed the issues relating to sex in the news. And this discussion never really ended, we still talk about these issued openly in my family.
I think what my parents did was great. Both my brother and I have grown up to be very responsible and safe about our sex lives. But I think teens that don’t get all the information from their parents are worse off, and this is where the schools should step in.
So, what do you think the school’s responsibility is for teaching sex education? And what information should be left to the parents to teach?
Mary, the “mom”
Rach, I agree, what your parents did was great! Parents need to talk to their children about sex and responsibility. Parents can offer so much more than a school sex education program because, while talking about sex and responsibility, parents can impart their values as well.
But I think these parental talks are most effective when supplemental to a formal sex education class. So, I do think schools have a responsibility to teach sex education and parents should be reinforcing those basic messages and adding their own perspectives and values. Like anything else we learn, repetition helps.
I know that the schools my children attend do teach sex education, but I’m not relying on that. For my older two, who already know the basics, I think these talks work best informally…maybe when prompted by something we watched together on TV or in response to the news my daughter heard about a 17-year-old “friend of a friend” who’s pregnant.
I try to use those opportunities to open the conversation and make my points. Like that 17-year-old “friend of a friend” – she says it happened the first time. There’s definitely a lesson there!
Brad, the “dad”
Ahh, the ‘sex’ thing. Or as my daughters would say, “Oh my GOD, not that AGAIN!”
We’re in a particularly odd position here. The California public schools do teach something like sex ed, though it’s very brief and rather…hesitant? But for our girls, the real sex ed came from our church. The Unitarian Universalist Association has a carefully constructed multi-week curriculum called “Our Whole Lives” that covers the biology, the biochemistry, the ethics, the variations, the social context, all of it. And just to make it worse for our girls, they not only had to take it, but they also had to sit there while their parents taught it.
I wouldn’t suggest every parent go out and get training as a sex educator, but running the OWL program for a few years has taught me a few surprising things: One: most parents still don’t talk to their kids about sex. It still embarrasses them, no matter how wild they were when they were growing up. Two: For all the access to information, most kids still have a ton of misconceptions about everything from the likelihood of pregnancy to STD’s, so getting – and repeating – accurate information is always, always a good idea, no matter how much they groan. And Three: once the basics are laid down and nailed in place, casual conversations about sex – as “Mom” said, prompted by TV shows or commercials or real-world events – can be incredibly helpful, making sex important but not a Huge Deal, and still mysterious but not Secret. (You should have seen what kind of conversation Juno triggered around our house, and who ended up on which side. Weird…)
So, talk about it enough, through school or church or home to make casual conversation and reinforcement easy and frequent. Then when it gets serious – and it will, one day – everybody’s much for ready for it.
Though I admit I still get all icky inside when my wife says “masturbation” in front of the girls. Eww.
The latest analysis of global gold mine output suggests that there will be 14 mining companies producing gold this year at an annual rate of 1 million ounces or above, and a 15th will be getting very close to that level. Interestingly the only one of these 15 producers to see a fall in gold output in the first half of the current year – and a significant fall at that – is the world’s largest producer, Barrick Gold. This almost across-the-board rise in gold output has been achieved despite the low gold prices prevailing for much of 2013 and 2014 to date, but largely relates to new mines and expansions already in progress and to acquisitions.
As the industry takes stock of the weak gold price, and assuming no sharp increase ahead, gold output growth is likely to falter a little in the year ahead, although these mega-producers are probably best placed to ride the storm. It is the junior and mid-tier miners with more marginal operations which are likely to be the principal casualties of any significant continuation of the low price levels currently prevailing. They can only hang on so long in hoping for a significant price upturn.
But the big miners too may well see downturns in 2015 and beyond. Poor financial results since the peak in the gold price back in 2011 have seen substantial cost cutting. While in some cases this will have resulted in increased mine production as higher grades are mined to mitigate falls in unit costs, this tends to be a limited option applying only to those with ore deposit flexibility, and will ultimately adversely affect longer term life. Meanwhile the principal cost reductions have come by way of cutting back on exploration, deferring or cancelling new capital projects and closing down, or selling off, more marginal operations. Again, all these will negatively impact longer term production.
Looking at some of the individual companies detailed in the table above, Barrick obviously stands out with its 15% gold production downturn. Much of this is due to a sharp fall in grades at the company’s Cortez flagship U.S. gold mining complex in Nevada which accounted for around half of the group’s fall-off in output while asset disposals, notably in Australia, and a reduction of the company’s holding in African Barrick during the half year will have been the other major contributors. Cortez output is expected to improve in H2 as a higher grade area is mined.
Of the gainers, AngloGold saw a significant rise in output resulting from the Tropicana mine in Western Australia which came on stream in September 2013 and ramped up to full production during the first half of this year. It also benefited strongly from the initial output from Kibali in the DRC where it owns 45% and which also poured its first gold in September last year. Its main partner in Kibali, Randgold Resources, saw its gold output impacted strongly upwards through what is one of Africa’s biggest gold mines.
Agnico Eagle saw the biggest output jump in H1 in percentage terms, primarily due to better grades at its Meadowbank operation and production from La India and Goldex. Full year output will be boosted again substantially due to the acquisition of Osisko and its big Canadian Malartic operation in partnership with Yamana, which will also benefit accordingly. Agnico Eagle is guiding full year 2014 output at 1.36 million ounces.
Meanwhile, at No. 15, Russian–owned, London quoted international miner, Nord Gold which has been taking a low key approach to its expansion through acquisition and new mine development, came in at a little under the half million ounce mark. While it is not guiding as much as 1 million ounces this year, it does tend to be conservative in its forecasts so it wouldn’t be too surprising if it did manage to come up with 1 million ounces of production this year.
Analysts Metals Focus, who produced the above company production table in their latest Gold and Silver Mining Focus 2104 Update report – further details available from www.metalsfocus.com – have also made an interesting analysis of the global gold mining costs structure. In some cases weak domestic currencies, as in South Africa and Russia, but also in Australia and Canada have helped keep costs down vis-a-vis the US dollar in which gold is priced, although currency deterioration tends to build inflationary pressures in the medium to long term.
Overall Metals Focus notes that the CIS nowadays has the lowest all in sustaining costs at around $922/ounce and cash costs of $637 an ounce. But costs have tended to fall in several regions as companies have had to deal with lower gold prices. In North America good cost falls in Canada and Mexico almost made up for a 16% all in sustaining costs increase for the U.S. which significantly bucked the trend, largely due to declining gold output.
In other regions, South America also saw a significant jump in overall costs, but much of this was due to cost rises in secondary gold production (byproduct gold) coupled with overall base metals price declines reducing byproduct credits.
Australasia saw a good fall in overall costs. Here total cash costs fell by 13% to $772/ounce and all-in costs by an impressive 16% to $971/ounce, although much of the fall was due to currency depreciation. The Metals Focus report notes that although the continent saw a substantial reduction in all in and cash costs, Africa remains the highest cost gold mining region with All in sustaining costs averaging $1039/ounce and $827/ounce respectively – much of this being due to both currency depreciations in key gold producing countries and to the mining of higher ore grades.
Ahead of the festive season in India, consumers have a bounty awaiting them in the form of huge discounts being offered on diamond jewellery. With British lender Standard Chartered Bank slashing its exposure to the business, coupled with the Antwerp Diamond Bank going in for liquidation, a massive correction in prices of rough and polished diamonds is forecast by traders.
The end result – consumers could end up getting huge discounts, with diamond wholesalers attempting to offload their inventory.
While the Standard Chartered Bank is recalling its loans, aiming to reduce its exposure to the trade in India, it has also lowered its exposure to gold and bullion trade in India after a default by jewellery chain Winsome.
Vipul Shah, chairman of the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council, said that the prices of both rough and polished diamonds would soften by around 10% to 20%, as demand was low and with the imminent changes, supply would increase further.
Manikbhai Dharmesh Sodia, another diamond trader said the liquidity crunch by the `biggies’ would force the sector to do away with their stock at a huge discount. “Though this might seem detrimental to Indian diamantaires in the short term, it might actually turn out to be rather beneficial in the long term, since it would filter out fly-by-night operators,” Sodia said.
Traders said that ADB’s total global operations were worth around $1.6 billion, and roughly $1.2 billion worth were from Antwerp. The rest were spread across branches in other parts of the world, including Hong Kong and India. Of its total operations, about 60% was being serviced to diamond traders of Indian origin.
In India, ADB is learnt to have had direct financing worth $200 million to $230 million through its Indian branch. With the possibility of ADB demanding a short window for repayments, an immediate liquidity crunch among diamond traders, especially those based out of Mumbai and Surat, was being feared.
US market trend
In the midst of all this, there is another problem confronting diamond exporters in India. Retailers said that unlike the past years, global buyers were now opting for ornaments in the mid lower end of the spectrum, preferring lower purity gold and small diamonds, especially coloured gems.
Though signs of an economic recovery in the US had led to hopes of a rebound in India’s gems and jewellery sales in the coming season, exporters have been very cautious. However, the liquidy crunch has now got them entangled in its tentacles. The demand for smaller diamonds was only adding to their woes.
“This year, we are receiving bulk orders from the US in the lower to mid-end category, against higher-end in the previous years. While the actual growth in orders will be known only after a few weeks, we are hopeful this season will be better than last year,” said the Council’s Shah on an optimistic note.
The global festive season, stretching till the second week of February, accounts for about 40% of global jewellery sales. As the US is the world’s largest gems and jewellery consumer (accounting for 38% of global annual demand), it is the most important market for global diamond ornament manufacturers and retailers.
While the US is on a recovery path, the European Union is showing signs of a slump. The US Federal Reserve has decided to phase out its quantitative programme by this year end, raising the prospects of a rise in interest rates.
De Beers, the world’s largest rough diamond miner, has said that it expects global jewellery demand to rise in the long term. In 2013, global demand for diamond jewellery stood at a record $79 billion, according to the inaugural Diamond Insight Report, published by the De Beers Group.
The following is an excerpt from our upcoming white paper on using smart Wi-Fi to enhance business communications, coming out soon on the Industry Insights page.
With Wi-Fi becoming more of a “must” for any business, our upcoming white paper examines the value in smart Wi-Fi for business and what it takes to build a network that works for you. But before we get to all of that, there are two big reasons why Wi-Fi has become so essential to running an efficient workplace. Workers On-The-Go
Everyone wants to be mobile. Consumers, employees, managers, executives, teens, kids, all have either a need or a very strong want to have access to everyone and everything everywhere they go. And technology developers are doing their best to provide options to satisfy the market. The cell phone, laptop and tablet are replacing the desktop phone and desktop PC, and that means a big shift for the way companies go about their business.
When it comes to communication specifically, the push for mobility has affected two elements of workplace technology: devices on which people communicate and the software/programs that people communicate on. These two components are, of course, intrinsically linked to one another. The smartphone has enabled software development that renders certain “desktop technology” (for lack of a better term) obsolete. “Voice” as it applies to telecommunication doesn’t just mean a phone call anymore. People can “call” one another from their tablet or video chat from their laptop, for example.
Almost all of these applications require high-speed Internet access to function, therefore all of these devices need to be online just about all the time. Yet you will be hard-pressed to find a smartphone with an ether-net port. Ethernet ports are even disappearing from laptops as they become slimmer and lighter. All of these factors combine to highlight the importance of a strong Wi-Fi network.
Embracing a Unified Communications Future
No application or technology typifies the mobilization revolution more than unified communications. UC is the integration of all devices, functionality, software and media into one communications platform. It means employees can communicate from their smartphone with all the functionality of their typical office desktop phone, for example.
UC represents a push for efficiency, but that efficiency relies heavily on the network the UC platform and connected device are running on. A bad network will create bad user experiences, which reduces adoption. No adoption means you are minimizing, if not eliminating, any and all value this technology has to offer. And it has a lot of value to offer. This makes it absolutely critical to have a reliable Wi-Fi network as the backbone of your communication platform. Your devices need it and the systems they integrate with need it.
Heading to the Bahamas for your first vacation? There are more than 700 tropical islands in this paradise and each one can offer a slightly different mix of activities.
Islands of a Different Color
Grand Bahama is probably the most visited island in the Bahamas. It has clear turquoise waters lapping white sand and a dynamic metro area. Bring a snorkel, bathing suit and clothes to go out at night. For a twist, visit Andros Island, it is the largest island but most infrequently visited. This island is spectacular for snorkeling and diving. It is home to the biggest barrier reef on the planet.
The Eleuthera and Harbour Island Getaways
These are two quiet islands in the Bahamas and they are ideal for romantic escapes. These two islands feature some historic sites as well. There are colonial villages and pineapple plantations on Eleuthera Island which are worth a visit. Enjoy the fabulous buildings and sites, then relax on the warm, sunny beaches. On Harbour Island is the Pink Sands resort which has a number of cottages that are perfect for couples. Another option is Rock House, which has modern conveniences.
Atlantis Resorts and Casino
The Atlantis offers entertainment for every taste. At this resort you can scuba dive for free, snorkel along the beach or just enjoy the sun. It also features golf on a course with views of the Caribbean Ocean. For entertainment there are amusement rides, dancing and dining. The best feature is the lagoon filled with tropical fish. You can also experience ocean life in the large, open air aquarium.
Last week, before the Super Bowl, we took a look at what search terms were trending leading up to the game. But even if it’s not something as widely watched and discussed as the Super Bowl, outside events can have an impact on search terms for top brands.
Last week, before Super Bowl XLVI even happened, we took a look at what search terms were trending leading up to the game, and also made a bold prediction:
Now, as we just witnessed the biggest television spectacle of the year, the talk around the office was not surprisingly similar to what people were searching for on Google.
The pre-game trends were focused on the players and teams…with much more attention on the Patriots and their star players than on the Giants. But the post-game focus shifted dramatically to the halftime show and the commercials. The only exception was searches for the Super Bowl MVP, Eli Manning, who came in at the #10 spot.
The two trends that were on both lists? Tom Brady and Giselle Bundchen. Apparently Giselle did not want to be overshadowed by her husband and decided to throw his teammates under the bus after the game. Go figure…
Google also tells us that the most-searched for commercials were for the Acura NSX, featuring Jerry Seinfeld and the Chrysler halftime ad, featuring Clint Eastwood. I don’t know about your office, but these were definitely topics of conversations around my water cooler, and apparently those around the country as well.
Even if it’s not the Super Bowl, here at Star Group we understand that outside events can have an impact on search terms for top brands. When it comes to marketing strategies that include Search Engine Optimization, we know that tracking keywords and making adjustments to content can help keep brands relevant and up to date.
It takes quick thinking and execution to win…Are you setting your strategy and then letting it run down the field, or are you adapting to changes on the fly?
Traveling can be expensive with the added expense of attractions. However, London has implemented a pass program that gives you access to many attractions for one low price.
The London Pass is valid at 55 attractions in London. These include the Tower of London, the London Zoo, Kensington Palace and Kew Gardens.
If you need travel around London, you can add unlimited access to the tube and bus lines for an extra fee. One of the best ways to go sightseeing around London is by bus so this is a good feature to add on. When traveling on bus, you can see where everything is in relation to each other and see the city quicker than walking.
The London Pass can be purchased for one, two, three or six days. If you are planning a long trip, the six-days pass is one of the cheapest ways to go.
With the London Pass, you can save hundreds of dollars. Most attractions in London cost a decent amount of money per person when converted. However, with the pass, you spend a fraction of that for unlimited use. Another advantage is you do not have to stand in long lines at the ticket booth or to enter; you get to jump the line with your pass.
Some travel Websites have discounts on The London Pass for even more savings. Viator.com, for example, offers a six-day pass for 30 percent less.
Robots were and still are in my geek opinion, one of the coolest toys ever! With their sparkly metal and tin parts, flashing lights, and hand wound mechanisms, vintage robots make up a part of childhood once lost but never forgotten. Now these nostalgic toys from the past are turning up once again all over the place. Parents with fond memories of playing with these toys are in high hopes of enlightening their kids with real imagination and enthusiasm for something 3D rather than just blinking links on an iphone screen.
The first toy robots emerged after the war in the mid 1940′s. They were friction or clockwork powered and made of stamped steel or tin. The Japanese introduced the classic yellow, Lilliput Tin Robot preceding the Atomic Robot Man which made an appearance at the New York Sci-Fi convention in 1950. Quickly these toys became a big hit with both kids and adults.
Today, vintage robots have made a big comeback and are more popular now than ever with robot designed clothing, bedding, recyclables, and more. If you are still looking to find that perfect vintage robot you or your child can play with and evoke wonderful memories of a past time, than look no further than Amazon or your perhaps if you are lucky- a local toy store.
I am certain that you’ve heard of Feng Shui – an ancient Chinese system of aesthetics believed to use the laws of both Heaven (astronomy) and Earth (geography) to help one improve life by receiving positive Qi (chi)…..quite a mouthful….isn’t it?
I must admit….I always was somewhat intrigued by Feng Shui following,but never took the time to really learn about it.
Many books and articles have been written about Feng Shui. Feng Shui has many followers and practitioners who believe that certain objects and their placement can improve or change your life.
Here are few examples how simple changes following Feng Shui according to the experts can make your life better.
Hey, I’ll try everything…..ONCE….so it’s worth the try. Are you with me?
Feng Shui your way to SLIMMER you.
If everywhere you look you see knickknacks and you are still trying to lose last few pounds it’s time for clean up.
According to Feng Shui experts all you knickknacks are unconsciously keeping you from reaching your weight goal bye bye knickknacks – hello bikinis.
Feng Shui your way to ENERGETIC you.
Is your home cluttered and messy?
Everywhere you look there are toys lying around, kids games and books spread out? Are you tripping over exercise equipment in my case using it as a clothes hanger ?
This mess and chaos can be the reason why you feel tired and drained I thought it was the constant stepping over things and bending down picking them up that made me tired.
The Feng Shui experts tell us that keeping everything organized and put away in it’s spot will allow “QI” – the energizing life force to flow freely. As a result it will bring balance, promote harmony and unleash energy in my house cleaning after yourself = happy mom = harmony.
Feng Shui your way to BETTER MOOD.
If you are feeling blue and sad you can blame it on stuff piled up on the floor.
According to Feng Shui any items that don’t belong on the floor will bring low and sad energy. If you want to boost your mood even more Feng Shui can help. Just move your plants off the floor and raise them to table height.
Feng Shui your way to SERENITY and PEACE by putting up round mirrors.
Sharp edges and corners block Qi.
Feng Shui experts claim that round mirrors promote never ending flow of positive energy. The round shape helps energy to move freely and fills the room with a relaxing calm.
Feng Shui away from JEALOUSY.
We all are guilty of getting the green-eyed monster the best of us once in awhile.
According to Feng Shui teaching placing one or two bamboo shoots in a vase will keep our jealousy at bay.
I know there is way more into Feng Shui that just a few tips and changes and I could spend hours learning about it and changing my life around it….for right now I will start with baby steps and see where it takes me.
I am ready to try some FENG SHUI to better my life…..How about you?
Have you ever wanted to travel in style? Everyone loves to go around looking stylish and not spending too much money at the same time. This is where the best limo hire prom comes into the picture. Not only will you make heads turn when you arrive at a party wear or a function but you will also not burn a hole in your pocket when you hire a Limo from the best Limo service. There are a number of people that often wonder how they can go about hiring a limo and why they should do so. First off you need to contact the best Limousine hiring service that you have in the city. The services have the best limos and they also provide the best customer service that you can ever imagine. There are also a number of benefits that you get when you hire a Limo from the best Limo service. Here is a look at some of the best services that are on offer.
When you hire a local Limousine service you will get a driver that is familiar with the area and will not waste your time driving around. The driver will also know where there are traffic spots and which are the best roads to take you to your destination. In this way you will not waste a lot of time travelling around in the limo and you will reach your destination on time.
When you hire a reliable Limo service you know that the Limo will come to pick you up at the time that you mentioned. You will not have to call up a number of times in order to check where the limo is and what time it will come to pick you up. All you need to do is get ready and the limo will arrive to take you to your destination.
With the best limo service you will be able to save on a lot of money. Imagine having to hire a number of vehicles just to get your destination. When you hire a car from other services, you will even have to drive there because not a lot of other car rental services provide you with a driver. With reliable Limo service you will get a driver and you will be able to save on a lot of money because these services are affordable. You will not even have to pay for being stuck in traffic because the driver will know which route to take you from and how to save on your money. You will also save on a lot of time when you hire the best limo service in town.
Create An Impression
When you arrive in a Limo you will create a massive impression on the people that are there. It is not every day that people arrive in a limo for a party or a function. Imagine getting out of a limo for your office party. That will be quite an impression that you would make on your office colleagues as well as your bosses. You can also imagine driving to a party with your family and arriving there in style. This is an experience that none of your family members will forget and none of the people at the party will also forget.
With the best Limo service you will be able to be the talk of the town all the time. You will also be able to save on a lot of time and money each and every time you travel by limo. You will not have to worry about how to get to your destination on time and what time the Limo is going to arrive. One of the best things is you will also be able to give your family a once in a lifetime experience. This is something that not everyone is able to do for the family members.
Another thing that you can do when you hire this service is take your wife or your girlfriend out in style. You will be able to make quite an impression on your loved one just by hiring a Limo service. You will get a personalized chauffer service as well as you will be able to drive around in style.
A number of people hesitate before hiring a Limo service because they think it is a waste of time. However when you create a positive impression on minds of people hiring the Limo service then it will be worth it. You will also be able to make sure that you get the right kind of service that you have paid for. If you do not contact the right Limo service you will not get the kind of experience that you are hoping for and you will end up not hiring a Limo again for the rest of your life. Always go online and check the services that are on offer. Read reviews from previous customers and see how they have benefited from the Limo service and what the kinds of services that they took are. Once you get the right services you know that you will get your money’s worth and you will not have to worry about how the Limo service is going to be.
You can also book a Limo service for your sons or your daughters 16th birthday. This is something they will never forget as a 16th birthday is an important milestone in their life. You will be able to make it a birthday that day will never forget and all this will be because of the Limo service that you hired. You will never have to even worry about how your family is going to be able to afford a Limo service. Just contact the best Limo service in town and you will get affordable Limo services at your doorstep. You will be able to live a dream and make sure that you get the right experience when you pick the right limo service. You will never have to rely on a normal car rental when you have a limo service at your disposal.