Journey To Weight Loss

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Losing weight is easier said than done. Many people can agree to this cliché. You’d only realize how hard it is to lose weight when all your weight loss efforts are to no avail considering you’ve tried it all. Obesity is a global problem nowadays. It’s easy to find the culprit when you look around you. Fast foods are the staple when it comes to eating. After all, who has the time to prepare home-cooked meals these days when we are too busy juggling multiple tasks during the day. We end up going home exhausted and the last thing we want to do is to get our hands dirty and exert more energy into preparing and cooking our food.

Processed and artificial foods are everywhere. If you take a trip to the supermarket, you’ll see that the aisles are mostly stacked with cans of processed and preserved foods. There’s only a small section that carries fresh produce like fruits and veggies and most of the time they are also loaded with chemical fertilizers. No wonder people get sick often and die early now. We live in a world that is increasingly becoming artificial and it is obvious on our weight what the world has become. It is the reason people resort to different types of diet to lose weight to regain their figure back.

It doesn’t have a sexy name, nor does it promise to score you a revenge body. But that hasn’t kept the TLC diet from trending big and getting a nutritional thumbs-up from experts. It even came in fourth on US News and World Report’s best diet rankings for 2017, scoring the fourth slot for best diets overall and 18th for best weight-loss diets.

Short for Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes, the TLC diet aims to boost heart health by optimizing your cholesterol levels—and might also result in weight loss, says Maggie Moon, R.D.N., author of The MIND Diet.

Though the plan focuses on food, physical activity, and weight management, the biggest emphasis is on making smart menu choices. 

(Via: http://www.womenshealthmag.com/weight-loss/tlc-diet)

Many would argue that the issue of obesity depends on the person but we can’t deny that access and the price of food are big factors too. You end up spending more by buying healthy and organic food than a popular fast food combo. It’s just one of those hurdles that prevent many of us from leading a healthy life that may be the key to our weight loss.

People want a magic diet, but those don’t change behavior, Ott says. Instead of fixating on carbs, as with the currently popular Paleo diet, fixate on behaviors. Think of how you can manage stress without food. Examine the messages you send yourself.

“Our thoughts define our reality,” Ott says. “Telling yourself that you’ve failed before, and therefore will never succeed, is not reality. Instead, try: Yes, I’ve failed in the past, but I’m approaching it in a new way, with a new mindset, so it’s likely I’ll succeed.”

(Via: http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/health/sc-weight-loss-tips-health-0503-20170502-story.html)

If you are struggling with your weight, you need to remember that no amount of dieting can give you the results you want. You’ll only plunge deeper and deeper into despair if you keep on setting yourself with unrealistic goals. Weight loss shouldn’t be your main goal. Your focus should be about healthy living because you’ll be able to drop all those excess pounds if your body is in a better state of health.

Experts say that while people can lose weight on a vegan diet, it’s not a guarantee. (Also, not that gaining weight is inherently a bad thing, but eating all you want—even if it’s healthy—can still affect how much you weigh).

If your goal is to lose weight, the process involves many more aspects than just what you eat and whether you follow a plant-based diet. Sure, exercise is a factor, too, but so many other things come into play. Components like stress and sleep, along with things you can’t fully control, like health conditions and hormonal fluctuations, can play a big role in your weight as well.

(Via: http://www.self.com/story/vegan-diet-weight-loss)

While it is healthy to eat lots of fruits and vegetables, adopting a vegan diet isn’t the answer to your weight woes. What you need is a balanced diet with all the right portions of fiber, meat, grains, carbs etc. for a healthy and fit body. Totally excluding a food group like fats aren’t the answer because our body needs them too, only in smaller amounts. That is the biggest misconception most people have about weight loss these days. If you start adopting a healthy and balanced diet, you’ll soon see a new and healthier you transform right before your eyes without going through drastic diets that take its toll on your health and your psyche.

The following article Journey To Weight Loss was originally published to https://maczealots.com

From https://maczealots.com/journey-to-weight-loss/

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The Future Has Gone Virtual

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Virtual reality is no longer a dream but a reality of our times. What started as a gaming technology is finding itself more useful in different aspects of life too. The most popular way of enjoying virtual reality is through virtual-reality headsets that let you enjoy a 3D experience as if you were there too yourself. Now, who says these tech advancements can’t make our lives more exciting?

Just what is virtual reality? It actually is just a combination of the definition of both words, virtual and reality. Virtual simply means near whereas reality is our personal experience as human beings. In short, a virtual reality experience is a digital experience that is almost near reality.

Throngs of people flapped imaginary wings, paddled invisible canoes and took aim at shapeless digital foes, all courtesy of this year’s Consumer Virtual Reality (CVR) conference.

Now in its second year, the May 6-to-8 conference brought together tech enthusiasts of all kinds to embrace all things virtual.

With interest steadily growing, the CVR conference is poised to become one of the venue’s fastest-growing events as Vancouver takes centre stage in the virtual and augmented reality space.

“Last year, we were expecting about 1,200 to 1,400 people, and we ended up overselling and getting roughly 3,000,” said Dan Burgar, director of business development at Vancouver-based virtual reality (VR) company Archiact and president of the VR/AR Association.

(Via: https://www.biv.com/article/2017/5/virtual-reality-gets-comfortable-vancouver-venue/)

As the technology advances and becomes more accessible mainstream, more and more people become curious about it and are even willing to try it themselves. These gaming virtual-reality headsets are even selling like hot pancakes in kids and teens that are tech-savvy.

Virtual reality can be lonely.

For all of the overwrought promises about the futuristic technology connecting people, it’s a pretty isolating experience. The hardware shuts out any view or sound of people physically near you, not many people own headsets yet, and interactions inside virtual settings are still limited.

Google (GOOG) is working on new features that could fix some of that. Unfortunately, it might involve hanging out in the VR version of a YouTube comments section.

The company announced the next steps for its virtual and augmented reality technology on Thursday at its annual I/O developers conference in Mountain View, California.

Google is releasing a major update to its virtual reality platform, Daydream. It’s the software that will run on its own Daydream View goggles as well as the standalone headsets that third parties like Lenovo are creating later this year. Google also makes the Daydream View, a low-tech VR headset that uses a smartphone.

(Via: http://money.cnn.com/2017/05/18/technology/gadgets/google-vr-updates/)

The truth is that any obsession with technology tends to alienate the person from almost everyone and everything in his surroundings. They get lost in their virtual world and spend hours on end doing their thing on the computer and miss out on creating relationships and strengthening bonds between family and friends. It might be the same thing with virtual reality. Fortunately, Google got this covered as indicated in the article.

“I’m afraid [virtual reality] can be too good, in the sense of being an experience that people want to spend a huge amount of time in,” said Hanke at an industry conference last month, as reported by GamesIndustry. “I mean I already have concerns about my kids playing too much Minecraft, and that’s a wonderful game.”

Hanke continued: “We’re human beings and there’s a lot of research out there that shows we’re actually a lot happier when we get exercise, when we go outside – and outside in nature in particular. I think it’s a problem for us as a society if we forgo that and spend all of time in a Ready Player One-style VR universe.”

(Via: http://time.com/4780507/virtual-reality-vr-problems/)

This is one sad reality we have to acknowledge about virtual reality. Humans are social animals. It has been proven throughout history. We feel depressed and perform poorly in isolation. Unfortunately, the technology that we have now and are likely to dominate our future does just that. We get lost in our little virtual bubble that we become oblivious to what’s going on around us. We try to connect with people from our past and even to strangers but we miss out on living in the now with the people who means a lot to us because our times are consumed by our preoccupation with these tech gadgets and the Internet of Things.

Fortunately, they are still optional technologies right now. The thing with technology is that they only become bad depending on how you use it. Technology can either be your friend or foe, so make sure you use it right. Immerse yourself with the right technology and use it in moderation and you’ll be able to enjoy the best of both worlds without getting out of touch with reality.

The Future Has Gone Virtual Read more on: The Mac Zealots Blog

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Fitness Can Be Smart Too

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Health and fitness are all the rage now. Everything around us is increasingly becoming artificial (even the food we eat) and our health is greatly compromised as we imbibe this modern lifestyle. Obesity is rising faster than we can get rid of the extra fats and calories we put on from our last meal. Not only is obesity a health risk but it also messes up a person’s confidence and shatters their self-image. It’s not a good thing nowadays where people are often bullied for their physical appearance and cyber bullying does more than damage than we give it credit for.

Organic markets are becoming more popular again. People are trying to go back to the basics and to how life was lived back then in an attempt to protect our health and well-being. It all starts with what you eat. Movement or leading an active life also plays a big part in getting that fit and toned body you so desperately want. Unfortunately, living healthy is proving to be more expensive than thriving on junks and preserved foods all the days of your life. There is still something you can do, though – exercise. Fortunately, our modern technology introduced more than a handful of handy devices that can help us achieve and maintain our good health when being healthy is no longer the norm.

Smartfit Inc products combine brain fitness with body fitness, improving physical, sensory, and cognitive performance creating a fun, multi-sensory experience for all ages and abilities. 

Their SMARTfit exercise technology utilizes the latest in Brain Body Exercise Science to bring you a unique solution that improves mental and physical fitness.

SMARTfit found a way to capture the benefits of sports into a modern form that can engage everyone.

They started by looking at the key benefits of sports that were lacking in the average gym and came up with the most important finding: the Hebbian Theory, neurons that fire together, wire together. Neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to re-wire itself in response to sensory experiences, is now accepted science thanks to Eric Kandel, Nobel Prize winner in 2011.  

Added to this, they also discovered found that research confirms that exercise is good for the brain because BDNF, a hormone often described as ‘miracle grow for the brain’, is produced during exercise and is responsible for promoting the development of neurons. 

(Via: http://www.kristv.com/story/35494132/smartfit-improves-mental-and-physical-fitness)

Who says electronics can’t help you get fit. Many people are bothered by their weight and appearance that they turn to technology to help them start their weight loss journey when it was likely an obsession with gadgets as well and preference to eating fast food that made them obese in the first place. SMARTfit is just one of those emerging exercise technologies you never knew you needed until it came along.

Plenty of companies have come along with attempts to contest Fitbit’s thrown, but there’s only one company that can lay claim to the fitness tracker crown. Bottom line: if you want the comfort in knowing you’ve got the best fitness band in the business, you’re going to buy a Fitbit. No other company can match Fitbit’s blend of style, simplicity, and functionality, and right now is the perfect time to experience all that for yourself.

Amazon has a big limited-time sale going on the five best fitness bands Fitbit has ever made, including the best-selling Fitbit Blaze Smart Fitness Watch and the Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate + Fitness Wristband. 

(Via: https://bgr.com/2017/05/04/fitbit-blaze-sale-charge-2-amazon/)

Fitbit probably pioneered how smart gadgets are used as a fitness tool. There are various Fitbit devices you can now choose from for fitness such as this handy watch. The Fitbit Blaze Smart Fitness Watch boasts of various features that make it stand out from the crowd. First off, you can sync it with your smartphone or other smart gadgets via Bluetooth and many other features that help you stay fit. No need to worry about it not working once you get sweaty and all from working out hard because it is water resistant.

Just remember that these gadgets are just tools to help you become more aware of the state of your health. The will to make such a positive change in your life still starts from deep within you and nobody else can make you do something you don’t want to. Having a healthy body is more than you can ask for, so do your part in caring for your health and body before it succumbs to an illness that can no longer be cured as you age.

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The Youth Should Be More Involved In Environmental Protection

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The environment is suffering for the longest time and it needs all the help it can get. People are obsessed with so many nonsense issues these days that we fail to realize what should really matter most to all of us. The adults of today failed to maintain the lushness and richness of the environment for the future generation. It’s the reason we are now facing threats like climate change, global warming, and the rapid rising of the sea level, for instance.

The youth makes up a big chunk of today’s population. It is but wise and practical to get them involved in saving the environment because it is their future we are talking about. If they don’t act now and do their part in preserving what’s little left of the wild and basically the natural environment around us, the only place we all call home may eventually perish along with us. Of course, we don’t want that to happen. We want the human species to thrive and continue dominating the world. We can only do that if we’ll be able to pull off a miracle and stop the continued deterioration of the environment for the sake of everyone living on the planet, most especially the young ones who barely grasp the concept of living and surviving in an increasingly inhospitable planet.

Eighty per cent of Nigerian youths lack basic environmental education.  And 70 per cent of young people around the world do not care about the environment they live in.

The bitter truth won’t be found in data logged in some computers or books stacked in libraries.

The clear confirmation that we are far from nature stares us in the face: the gully erosion that swept a whole community recently, the daily depletion of the ozone layer and its cancerous effects

Then there is the air pollution that annually chokes millions of children to death around the world, the mindless exploitation of wildlife, and the list is endless. Indeed, we are disconnected from nature.

Today, how many parents will have their kids tend a garden, prune a flower, plant a tree, go  a-fishing in a local river, climb mountains, engage in environmental education or even at the least, take a long evening walk across the field? How many?

(Via: http://tribuneonlineng.com/role-youths-protecting-environment/)

As young as they may seem, the youth must learn the concept of environment protection and be made aware of the consequences of their actions like haphazardly throwing trash, abusing natural resources, harming the animals, etc. They should learn that some mistakes are irreversible and it’s the planet that consequently suffers and us eventually.

The Interface Development Interventions (IDIS) expressed alarm over the result of a survey conducted by the University of Mindanao’s Institute of Popular Opinion showing a low interest of the youth in Davao City in environment.

“Everyone should know the impacts of climate change and everyone should contribute in addressing it, especially students. They should contribute in mitigation and adaptation measures, in their own capacity,” IDIS acting executive director Chinkie Pelino-Golle told MindaNews on Monday.

The IPO survey called “Davao Youth Situationaer” surveyed 264 youth from May 24 to 30.

It showed that only 1.1 percent of them are affiliated with environmental groups, the lowest among those engaged in sports and recreation (49%),  church and religious groups (29%), civic organizations (20%), and socio-political activities (1.2%).

Golle said she is disheartened to know only a few youth are engaged in environment organization or part of an environmental cause.

(Via: http://www.mindanews.com/environment/2017/06/youths-low-interest-in-environment-alarms-group/)

It is but morally right for the youth to take the initiative in caring for the environment but enforcing this responsibility should also be taught in schools where children spend most of their time. Teachers should continually remind these young minds that the planet is in a truly bad shape right now and it needs all the help it can get. If we don’t all unite, more species will continue to perish from the face of the planet and the time may even come that it will probably be our turn to disappear because of the havoc and destruction we have caused on our way to progress.

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Security Upgrade: A Must For All Computer Systems

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We all know that no computer system is invincible from outside threats, especially from that of cyber hackers. And nowadays, we have witnessed our fair share of cyber attacks. And here we are thinking that terror attacks are the only thing that’s threatening our existence but we are so badly mistaken. Since the advent of advanced technology and more people share important data and documents virtually, cyber security is an issue faced by many almost on a daily basis.

It is safe to say that a big majority of homes now own at least one computing device aside from the myriad of handy smart gadgets each family member own. Aside from sending emails and files to one another through this virtual network, online banking has also been growing in popularity. There are just far too many computing vulnerabilities that lure hackers with enough know-how to hack systems and disrupt the order in our modern world with the main goal of milking money from as many people as they can.

Amidst reports of 1.44 lakh cyber attacks in India in last three years, the government is mulling upgrading its security system by installing additional features in its computer systems.

The issue was discussed threadbare at a meeting convened by the home ministry and attended by representatives of security agencies and various ministries and departments.

Under the new system, the ministry or department concerned will be made responsible for the security of computer sys tem in the respective ministry and department, the home ministry may be made overall in-charge of the cyber security.

(Via: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/government-mulls-upgrading-security-of-its-computer-systems/articleshow/59130475.cms)

Cyber crimes like phishing, ransomware, website intrusion, etc. are indeed a growing pain to society. Computer systems aren’t secure enough to fend off cyber attackers who keep on intruding systems because they earn lots of money from these invasions. Just recently, the ransomware “Wannacry” caused mass hysteria as computers suddenly became inaccessible and a ludicrous amount of ransom in the form of bitcoins were asked from the unfortunate victims. Unfortunately, big corporations, government institutions, and individual consumers have all been affected.

North Korean hackers may have been behind the WannaCry ransomware attack that crippled the NHS last month, British security experts have said. 

The National Cyber Security Centre has led an international investigation into the attack, which is estimated to have affected more than 300,000 computers in over 150 countries worldwide. 

Security sources at the government body told the BBC that a North Korean outfit called the Lazarus Group may have been behind the attack, which knocked out computer systems at 47 NHS trusts across the country last month.

Computers at the trusts showed a message saying their data had been encrypted and it would only be unlocked when they paid a ransom in bitcoins – a digital currency – into a specific account.

(Via: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/north-korea-nhs-ransomware-hack-wannacry-cyber-attack-national-cyber-security-centre-a7792851.html)

As controversial as it may seem, nothing has been proven yet although others can’t help but raise their eyebrows once they piece together one bit of information with another. The point here is that no one is safe regardless of the antivirus or firewall you are using. Your best bet is to backup your files, so you save yourself from all the stress and anxiety an issue like data loss may trigger. Regular updates also help a lot since these updates often have the fix to many of the bugs that have been bugging you for a while.

Meanwhile, bigger organizations should boost their cyber security measures to protect their systems from these hacks especially that thousands, if not millions, rely on them to work efficiently all the time. A fine example is the UK’s NHS Trust program. Patient’s treatments and medications were put on hold when computers in many UK hospitals can’t be accessed for hours on end. Hence, the only way to fight these troublemakers is to be as good as them in this cyber game even if it means revamping current computer systems to make them 100% fool-proof against cyber attacks.

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What’s The CIA Got To Do With Apple’s MacBook?

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Apple is the undisputed leader in the iOS and MacOS technology that were later soon adapted by Google with their very own Android version. But Apple’s got a certain touch of class to it, far from the wide-range Android-based smartphones, computers, and laptops sold by different phone and PC manufacturers. Even with computers and laptops, many people covet those sleek and fancy MacBooks and iMacs.

However, some covert controversy surrounds Apple’s MacBooks and it involves the Central Intelligence Agency. Rumor has it that the agency infected fresh from the factory MacBook units for some major spying right under our noses.

The Central Intelligence Agency is able to permanently infect an Apple Mac computer so that even reinstalling the operating system will not erase the bug, according to documents published by WikiLeaks.

In its second release allegedly from the CIA’s arsenal of hacking tools, WikiLeaks also said that it appears that since 2008 the US spy agency has been able to insert it bugs onto new and unused iPhones by intervening in Apple’s supply and distribution network.

The release follows the initial publication on 9 March by the anti-secrecy group of thousands of pages of instructions and code from what it called the entire CIA arsenal of hacking tools.

The documents are generally believed to be genuine, although the CIA has not acknowledged this.

(Via: https://www.rte.ie/news/2017/0323/862109-wikileaks/)

If this is true, this has clearly broken the trust placed by consumers on Apple and even on the government. Consumers are being spied upon without them knowing and it is a clear violation of their right to privacy, among others.

The CIA’s user guide for Screwdriver, released as part of WikiLeaks’ ‘Dark Matter’ drop, describes the tool as “a mechanism for executing code on peripheral devices while a Mac laptop or desktop is starting up.” Ordinarily, an Apple Firmware password would prevent any changes being made during the startup phase.

However, Screwdriver allows the CIA to infect the very core of the computer making it a stealthy tool undetectable by antivirus software.

The malicious code, implanted by the Screwdriver, attacks the computer’s Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI), the firmware that loads the computer’s operating system (OS). EFI resides outside of the hard disk space on the machine, making it much harder to detect.

The implant code is stored on the firmware of an Apple Thunderbolt-to-Ethernet adapter, a small compact device used for transmitting data (similar to a USB cable), and when it’s plugged into the Thunderbolt port on Macs, it infects them.

Once inserted into “any Mac laptop or desktop with a Thunderbolt port,” the implant code then scans all internal and external hard drives looking for a volume with a specific name – FILER. If this is found, the code will execute, allowing the CIA to take control of the computer, potentially monitoring and transmitting everything that occurs on the machine.

(Via: https://www.rt.com/viral/382093-wikileaks-cia-apple-sonic-screwdriver/)

How can the CIA get away with something like this? And how can Apple allow the CIA to do this to their customers – people who paid a dear price to own a shiny Apple MacBook? So, what does the company have to say about this matter?

On March 7, WikiLeaks released thousands of documents it said were from the CIA, revealing tools the agency used to infiltrate smartphones, computers, televisions and other electronic devices. After concerns that the document dump opened up the devices to additional security risks, WikiLeaks head Julian Assange said he would contact the makers of the affected devices to share information with them.

Apple said it has not received information from WikiLeaks “that isn’t in the public domain.” In the statement the company sent, it also said: “We have not negotiated with Wikileaks for any information. We have given them instructions to submit any information they wish through our normal process under our standard terms.”

The company added: “We are tireless defenders of our users’ security and privacy, but we do not condone theft or coordinate with those that threaten to harm our users.”

(Via: http://www.siliconbeat.com/2017/03/24/apple-latest-alleged-cia-hacks-iphones-macs-old-fixed/)

These are serious allegations hurled by Wikileaks to both Apple and the CIA. Wikileaks also caught the attention of everyone with all their exposés last election and more people now actually believe in them. If Apple’s new MacBooks indeed come with bugs, then they should do something about or take responsibility for such a crime together with the CIA.

The blog post What’s The CIA Got To Do With Apple’s MacBook? is republished from The Mac Zealots Blog

From https://maczealots.com/whats-the-cia-got-to-do-with-apples-macbook/

How Prepared Is America For Disasters During The Trump Era

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Over the years, we have witnessed out fair share of disasters – both natural and man-made. These disasters have taken lives and displaced many, even leaving them scarred for life. While the country tries its best to respond as efficiently and effectively possible when disaster strikes, other factors can get in the way of public service.

Although politics should be far from everyone’s mind when talking about disaster preparedness, we can’t ignore the fact that it plays a major role in the creation of helpful policies and in ensuring that these agencies and services get the funding they need.

The executive order on climate change President Donald Trump announced Tuesday afternoon is an explicit attack on President Barack Obama’s efforts to fight climate change.

But it also implicitly denies we’re at risk from climate change in the first place.

As Bloomberg reports, the order — which you can read here — rolls back Obama’s executive orders and guidances that the government consider the costs of climate change–related disasters in planning and policymaking.

This is backward. If climate change is real — regardless of the cause — why not prepare for the costs and damage of it? We can already see the impacts. In January, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration told Vox that abnormally high tides in parts of the country have turned “from a rare event into a recurrent and disruptive problem.” There’s a clear need, the agency wrote, “to support preparedness planning … about future changes in sea level and associated coastal risks.”

The Obama administration made supporting preparedness a priority. And Trump is doing away with that priority.

(Via: http://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2017/3/28/15087568/trump-climate-executive-order-disaster-weather)

Threats of disaster will remain a constant reminder for all of us to be prepared all the time. From our own homes to the schools and offices, we should have a disaster preparedness plan in place. And we have no choice but to always remain on our toes as global warming and climate changes mess up with our weather systems and make natural disasters worse than they did in the past.

That proposal is “the cornerstone for adaptation planning throughout the government,” according to Christy Goldfuss, managing director for the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality under Obama and now a vice president at the Center for American Progress.

Its effects ranged from the mundane to the radical. For example, the order directed the General Services Administration, which manages federal buildings, to make sure the government wasn’t signing long-term leases in areas likely to get inundated with floods, Goldfuss said. It also allowed different federal agencies to coordinate more far-reaching programs, like the relocation of communities most threatened by climate change.

But there are also some who do not share the same sentiments as President Trump and acknowledges the threat of climate change as something that is real and even more dangerous than what the administration gives it credit for.

Senator Dick Durbin, the ranking Democrat on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, called Trump’s decision “a security disaster.”

“Climate change is doing more damage to American military assets than any bombing raid,” Durbin said in a telephone interview. “General Mattis is a realist when it comes to national threats. I hope that in a quiet moment he’ll pull the president aside and explain the reality of climate change and national security.”

Former officers echoed that criticism. David Titley, a retired rear admiral, said the national security risk was beyond doubt.

“The Department of Defense will be operating in an environment fundamentally changed by climate,” Titley, now a member of the advisory board at the Center for Climate and Security in Washington, said in an email. “Our bases and training ranges will be at increasing risk, and conflicts that may have remained as regional brush fires may burst into international crises.”

(Via: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-03-27/trump-said-to-toss-obama-s-orders-to-prepare-for-extreme-weather)

President Trump may not see the value and importance of addressing climate change issues but we are still hoping he will not compromise everyone’s safety by pulling out funding for these agencies that prepare for such eventualities. He may live in his high tower and feel comforted by his millions of properties, but in the end, they won’t be able to protect him in case Mother Nature gets fed up and unleash her fury to mankind.

Climate change may be a novel concept for him but as the highest elected official in the land, he must take all threats seriously and enforce security and protective measures to prepare for any possible disasters. By ensuring the safety and security of the public from all sorts of threats, that’s the best way for him to repay the trust entrusted to him by many – making his presidential win possible against all odds.

How Prepared Is America For Disasters During The Trump Era was first seen on The Mac Zealots Blog

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Less GPS Use: It’s Okay To Get Lost At Times Too

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We fear chaos and confusion in our lives. Whenever possible, we try to organize things and the things we have to do so we don’t get lost throughout the day. This is most especially helpful when traveling, especially during long travels. The GPS (Global Positioning System) comes in handy, so you can get to your destination the fastest way possible without any fears of ever getting lost.

Back in the days, getting lost is a common complaint among drivers since there was no GPS yet and the most you could do was to bring a map – which is only efficient if you have someone else with you to check it out while you are driving. But recent studies reveal that too much reliance on GPS may not be good for our health after all.

Using a GPS to reach your destination may be throwing your brain off track, new research has revealed.

A study published in Nature Communications found that frequent GPS use might actually be making you a worse natural navigator, as relying on technology to get from Point A to Point B doesn’t engage your brain the same way navigating on your own does.

In the study, 24 participants navigated a video simulation of London, England with and without a satellite navigation system. When participants didn’t rely on technology, their hippocampi (responsible for mental maps of our surroundings) and their prefrontal cortex (responsible for decision-making) became more active when choosing which streets to venture down. Their brains didn’t experience this same activation when they used the GPS, and actually looked identical whether they arrived at a fork in the road or were simply continuing along the same path.

(Via: https://www.civilized.life/articles/gps-navigational-skills-study/)

Our forefathers survived traveling thousands of miles on foot and never worried about getting lost. In case they did back then, then that means it is just but a new discovery. It is simply how the brain process and retain information.

“We show that, specifically when new streets are entered during navigation, right posterior hippocampal activity indexes the change in the number of local topological connections available for future travel and right anterior hippocampal activity reflects global properties of the street entered,” said the researchers.

“When forced detours require replanning of the route to the goal, bilateral inferior lateral prefrontal activity scales with the planning demands of a breadth-first search of future paths.”

These results will help shape models of how hippocampal and prefrontal regions support navigation, planning, and future simulation.

The hippocampus appears to produce two maps of the environment. One tracks the straight-line distance to the destination and is encoded by the frontal region of the hippocampus, the other model is in the rear of the hippocampus and tracks the “true path” to the goal.

While navigating, the hippocampus flips between these two maps depending on the information you need.

(Via: https://mybroadband.co.za/news/science/203680-using-gps-switches-off-part-of-the-brain-needed-in-navigation.html)

So, what happens when you ignore your instincts and rely on technology to find the solutions for you?

A reliance on satnavs could make the brain disinterested in learning directions. When the brain has something telling us where to go, this kind of brain activity will switch off and the brain will be unresponsive to the street network. This can affect the brain in the future and make GPS users learn slower or follow and create routes unaided, the Reuters reported. The study hopes that satnav users will realize that the technology has its uses and limitations.

Using GPS devices while driving can even cause the brain to abandon common sense altogether. These might have actually happened to you when you followed Waze to a dead end instead of relying on your instincts to turn at a different corner to reach your destination. The findings of the study can shed light on accidents caused by GPS glitches where this reliance on technology make travelers insist on following the device rather than common sense.

(Via: http://www.counselheal.com/articles/36523/20170324/why-easier-lost-details-connection-satnav-use-brain-activity-video.htm)

The human body is equipped to overcome obstacles it may come its way in your day-to-day. From physical and manual labor to challenges that require you to think, your body will help you figure things out. But as we increase our reliance on technologies that aim to make our life easier, we may also be unconsciously changing the way our brain works and it might not be a good idea after all.

The following post Less GPS Use: It’s Okay To Get Lost At Times Too was first seen on The Mac Zealots Blog

From https://maczealots.com/less-gps-use-its-okay-to-get-lost-at-times-too/

Exploring The Great Outdoors

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The city is full of interesting things to see and do, you’ll never run out of things to do for days on end. There is always something up your alley if you just know where to look. And it makes working and living bearable for many. Despite the many preoccupations, though, we may feel suffocated at times and feel the need to get out and get a breather.

If you are not a fan of the great outdoors, now is the time to make an effort and start exploring the nearest one from where you are. With all the progress the world is making, a big chunk of these lands are now being converted into something else for a profit. So, get out of your comfort zone and see the world with a new set of eyes. Appreciate the beauty of nature and the great outdoors before there is nothing left for you to explore.

“In recent years, numerous experimental psychology studies have linked exposure to nature with increased energy and heightened sense of well-being,” reads an article from Rochester University. “Other studies suggest that the very presence of nature helps to ward off feelings of exhaustion and that 90 percent of people report increased energy when placed in outdoor activities.”

But what if not everyone likes hiking, camping or the beach? Are they just left to sit on the couch only to reach for their sunglasses when the glare through the window pane is too bright to see the computer screen?

Absolutely not. If hiking or camping isn’t your favorite pastime, fear not. For the people who prefer to avoid endangering their lives for fun, plenty of ways remain to enjoy the outdoors.

(Via: http://www.collegiatetimes.com/lifestyles/how-to-enjoy-the-great-outdoors-if-you-hate-hiking/article_76fd5cb4-0f4b-11e7-8871-efaaa268e383.html)

If you only open up your mind to all the possibilities, it is easy to understand why nothing beats communing with nature any time of the day. Outdoor exploration is also a big business where big companies can milk lots of money from.

“Outdoor recreation is a huge economic driver in Utah and Colorado, and we felt it wasn’t being respected,” said Sam Mix, outdoor marketing manager for Osprey Packs, which is headquartered in southwest Colorado. “Public lands are where our customers go to recreate. Without these big wide-open spaces, we’d have no business and no reason to exist.”

Made up of 1,200 companies, the Outdoor Industry Association is based in Boulder, Colorado, with an outreach office in Washington, D.C. The group estimates that consumers spend about $120 billion on outdoor recreation products each year, ranging from apparel to tents, bicycles and camping gear.

(Via: http://www.sacbee.com/news/nation-world/national/article141225133.html)

Since the weather and the season affect your chances of enjoying a day or two out in the outdoors, always take advantage of the good weather whenever you can. Nothing can rejuvenate the senses than getting away from the hustle and bustle of city life and enjoying the breeze and solitude that nature brings.

Those commercials and other anti-pollution efforts coincided with the beginning of the modern environmental movement. The “Crying Indian” public service announcement, in fact, premiered in April 1971, on the first Earth Day.

Passing environmental laws is one thing; changing cultural attitudes is something else again. Change can be a long process.

It’s encouraging to know that during the past 40 years, litter in the U.S. has declined more than 61 percent. Still, about 52 billion pieces of litter clutter the landscape of our beautiful country. Yours and mine. That’s a lot of bags to fill.

(Via: http://www.dailyjournal.net/2017/03/29/drinkers_contribute_most_to_littered_world/)

With threats of climate change and global warming just lurking on the horizon, we should all make an effort to clean up our act not just when visiting the outdoors but even in our daily city life. After all, it is still us who will suffer in the end and we might lose the chance to ever appreciate nature in the years to come.

The blog article Exploring The Great Outdoors was originally published to https://maczealots.com/

From https://maczealots.com/exploring-the-great-outdoors/

To Vape Or Not To Vape?

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There are so many vices nowadays that one can easily get lost trying to remember them all. From drinking to smoking, they have all leveled up and are far more classy and techy over the years. Teens and the youth these days have different preoccupations than what kids did 10 to 20 years ago. Well, they have technology to thank for that.

For instance, when you say smoking, you not always pertain to smoking cigarettes or a good old cigar. E-cigarettes like vapes are now trendy and with the numerous juice flavors to choose from, it can take your smoking experience to the next level. It also looks awesome to blow circles and show off your vaping skills to your friends to make you look cool but smoking vape has its health implications.

You’ve seen them on television, in celebrity photos and in magazine ads — cool superstars vaping on electronic cigarettes. Their high-tech gadgets seem to be available everywhere, from shopping malls to the 24-hour convenience mart. Is it any wonder that teens are being tempted to try out the vaping craze?

Yet scientists are disturbed by the fascination teens have with this nicotine-dispensing alternative to smoking. And with good reason. Data from a growing number of studies indicate that electronic cigarettes are not harmless.

Chemicals in e-cigarettes can damage lung tissue, provoking inflammation. That damage can reduce the ability of the lungs to keep out germs and other harmful substances, new studies show.

Yet teens seem largely unaware of — or unconcerned by — the emerging data on these risks. Their use of e-cigarettes has now surpassed that of conventional cigarettes. In the past year alone, e-cigarette use by U.S. middle-school and high-school teens has tripled. That’s the finding of a new government survey released last month.

(Via: https://www.sciencenewsforstudents.org/article/vaping-may-harm-lungs)

While some claim that smoking vape isn’t as dangerous or addictive as regular cigarettes, it appears that the majority are mistaken and it can be just as bad as good old smoking a pack of cigarettes daily. How safe it is to use remains to be a hot topic during debates and arguments.

For the past five years or so, though, a growing number have turned to an alternate – and apparently safer – form of smoking: the electronic cigarette, or e-cigarette.

It is an electronic device that vaporizes a fluid, usually flavored and often containing nicotine. E-cigarettes come in various types, some called vaporizers, some looking like a traditional cigarette. They serve the same purpose as smoking; users call it vaping.

The safety of e-cigarettes is a debatable issue. Proponents tout them as being free of tar and other chemicals that make true cigarettes dangerous. Medical professionals have no proof they are harmful. Public Health England determined in August 2015 that e-cigarettes were much safer and advised smokers to start vaping.

Although not all e-cigarettes include nicotine, opponents say it is an addictive drug and caution the long-term effects of this alternative product will not be known for a while. University of California researchers reported in December 2015 that they found vapor “damages DNA in ways that could lead to cancer.”

E-cigarettes appear to be popular among young people, who may be at risk, according to the surgeon general’s 2016 report. It said in part: “E-cigarette use among U.S. youth and young adults is now a major public health concern.

(Via: http://www.observer-reporter.com/20170309/clouds_still_hang_over_e-cigarettes)

While many are becoming more aware of the dangers of vaping, e-cigarette companies have now found a new ally in the person of President Trump.

That’s poised to change under President Trump. His campaign platform of slashing burdensome regulations and cultivating a friendlier business climate presents a major opportunity for vaping enthusiasts.  While Trump hasn’t mentioned  the FDA’s regulations specifically in any of his speeches, that isn’t stopping e-cig crusaders from making sure America has its first cloud-chasing president.

Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist is best known for his Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which challenges members of Congress to promise not to raise income or business taxes during their time in office.  He’s now taken on the role of a vaping folk hero.

Norquist is in early talks with Trump administration officials to make sure the FDA’s rules are delayed at least two years so Congress has time to pass bills nullifying the Obama-era regulations.  Trump’s nomination of Georgia Congressman Tom Price as Secretary of Health and Human Services was an early sign that the vaping community has an ally in the White House and might finally find some relief after years of continued assault.

(Via: https://heatst.com/life/why-president-trump-could-be-good-news-for-the-e-cig-community/)

Vaping is still bad no matter what your perspective is. Even though it is receiving support from the administration does not mean it is any better. The smoker’s health will still be compromised if they keep on puffing these fancy e-cigarettes.

The way President Trump is acting right now, it is confusing to determine whether he still sees himself as a businessman or the leader of this great nation. The policies he is pushing for in congress aren’t always for the best interest of the majority of the people of the land. And the sad part here is that most of the people who will be affected negatively by his administration’s policies are the very people who put him into power.

To Vape Or Not To Vape? was first published on https://maczealots.com/

From https://maczealots.com/to-vape-or-not-to-vape/