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Friday, May 27, 2011

Mesothelioma Stories!

Admiral Zumwalt was the youngest Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) in history when he took this post in 1970 at the age of 49. He was well known for his efforts to transform the Navy from an aristocratic organization to an egalitarian institution.
During Admiral Zumwalt's tenure as CNO, asbestos-related deaths of shipyard workers escalated dramatically. According to the Sinai School of Medicine in New York, asbestos related deaths, either from asbestos or mesothelioma, grew by 47%, from approximately 1,650 to 2,420 per year. From 1970 to 1979, it is estimated that more than 20,000 tradesmen died of asbestos exposure. And many more became debilitated and were forced to stop working and take disability or early retirement.
Zumwalt himself was exposed to asbestos on many different occasions. He had served on many vessels that contained asbestos insulation. Also, he had been stationed at the Pentagon during renovation that may have stirred up asbestos dust. This would ultimately lead to him contracting mesothelioma.
In an ironic twist, Admiral Zumwalt had campaigned within the Navy to ban the use of environmentally unfriendly chemical agents and became a staunch advocate of new measures to protect the environmental safety of Navy men and women. Much of his fervor derived from his son's untimely death, from cancer, at age 42. His son commanded a river boat in a part of Vietnam where Agent Orange had been used to defoliate vegetation. Admiral Zumalt had given the command to use the defoliant while he was commander of Navy operations in Vietnam. He was convinced that his son's cancer was a result of exposure to Agent Orange.
Admiral Zumwalt had watched a virtual epidemic of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases occur on his watch as CNO. He was taking steps to try to protect Navy personnel from future environmental hazards. His statements in the congressional record are paraphrased below.
At age 78, almost 30 years after Admiral Zumwalt had assumed the position of CNO, he was diagnosed with mesothelioma. After participating in a 5 kilometer run, he experienced a shortness of breath that was unusual for him. Two months later a chest x-ray showed a larger tumor in the lung and the diagnosis of mesothelioma was confirmed. At age 79, within 6 months of visiting the doctor due to shortness of breath, Admiral Zumwalt died of complications related to mesothelioma. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Before You Take Out a Student Loan!




Deciding whether or not to take out a student loan is a major step. You should be reasonably sure that a student loan will help you to increase your income in the long run. Unlike credit card debt, a student loan is considered good debt rather than bad. This is because of the potential earnings increase that a college education may offer.
Those with a college degree usually earn a higher salary than those without one. If getting a student loan is the only way you'd be able to earn a decent income then it is worth serious thought. 

If you default on your student loan payments, it may ruin your credit rating. You could have collectors calling and writing you constantly. The best idea is to do some good research that includes informational interviews. An informational interview is one in which you contact potential employers and ask them what qualifications and other requirements they're looking for in employees. You also need to find out how likely they'll be to be hiring at all after the time you complete your degree or studies.
Working part-time while going to school may sound like a good idea, but in reality may be impossible depending on the requirements of some study programs. A combination of working part-time and going on student loans works for many students. However, if you go on student loans there may be restrictions on how much you can spend on living expenses and other things so you need to consider this aspect of the loans as well. If you're required to pay some of the cost of your education from work you do while going to school, this may be good for reducing the amount of loans you'll need.

The benefits of a college education go beyond just the monetary ones. A college degree can give you a great sense of achievement and provide you with a good base of knowledge and experiences. However, the money aspect of taking out a student loan is one that may last a long time after the degree is earned, so the decision of whether to get a student loan should be one that is well thought out.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Health Insurance: What You Need to Know


The best place to get health insurance, of course, is from your employer. Group plans are typically cheaper, and your employer will probably cover much of the cost.
There are three main types of coverage you can choose from: H.M.O.s (health maintenance organizations), P.P.O.s (preferred provider organizations) and the newer option called an H.D.H.P. (high deductible health plan) paired with a savings account. A small number of companies still offer old-fashioned, fee-for-service plans, but their ranks are dwindling. Here’s what you need to know about the most common plans:
H.M.O.S provide comprehensive coverage at a low cost to the consumer. In general, you don’t pay any deductibles or co-payments for basic care (and if you do, they will be relatively low). But your choices will be limited. You can generally use only the doctors and hospitals within the H.M.O.’s network, though more plans are easing up on this restriction, and your designated primary-care physician will determine the level of care you require and when you need to see a specialist.
Pros: Low cost. Coordinated care.
Cons: A limited choice of providers. If you go out of network, for example to a specialist, you will probably not be reimbursed.
PREFERRED PROVIDER ORGANIZATION AND POINT OF SERVICE plans were created in response to consumer frustrations with the limitations of H.M.O.s. You can choose to go to network providers and pay a small co-payment, or go out of network and have only a portion — typically around 60 to 70 percent — of your costs reimbursed. The main difference between the two is that a point of service plan requires a referral from your primary care physician to see a specialist, while the preferred provider plan does not.
Pros: More flexibility than an H.M.O.; lower overall out-of-pocket costs than a fee for service plan.
Cons: It’s tricky to predict your costs unless you’re willing to stay within the network. Getting reimbursed for out-of-network claims can be a hassle.
HIGH-DEDUCTIBLE HEALTH PLAN Over the past few years, more employers have begun to offer the option to sign up for a high deductible health plan that is linked to a health savings account or health reimbursement account. Some employers may offer the high-deductible health plan on its own and allow the employees to set up a savings account with the bank of their choice.
The plans work like the preferred provider option, but the deductible is much higher — at least $1,150 for coverage of a single person and $2,300 for families. To compensate for the larger deductible, employers typically offer different two savings options:
A health savings account allows you to put away pretax dollars and then withdraw the money to pay your out-of-pocket costs. (Your employer may kick in some money, too.) In 2009, you and your employer can put up to a combined limit of $5,950 in a health savings account if you opt for family coverage ($3,000 for singles). The money rolls over from year to year, so you can basically store up a medical emergency fund. When you’re 65, you can take the remaining money out without paying a penalty, though you’ll pay taxes on the withdrawal if you’re not using it to pay for medical costs.
A health reimbursement account is financed solely by your employer. Typically, an employer will contribute an amount equal to about half the employee’s deductible The money rolls over from year to year, but you cannot take the money with you when you leave the company.
Pros: Low premiums. Tax-free savings (in the case of the health savings account).
Cons: Potentially high costs, especially if you or a family member becomes chronically ill. Don’t choose this option unless you have the money to pay the deductible.
INDEMNITY, OR FEE-FOR-SERVICE, PLANS are offered by fewer and fewer employers because of their expense. They allow you to go to any doctor, hospital or medical provider you choose. The plan typically reimburses 80 percent of your out-of-pocket costs after you fulfill an annual deductible.
Pros: Flexibility. You can go to any medical provider, anywhere, without seeking plan approval first.
Cons: Your total out-of-pocket costs will probably be higher than in a preferred provider plan or H.M.O. Most fee-for-service plans don’t cover preventive care like flu shots ormental health services.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Morality of Sex

One of the greatest issues that people struggle with is the morality of sex in different situations. Perhaps we worry about it so much because it is such an intimate and significant event. From a purely biological standpoint, sexual intercourse is the means for what might be considered the most important biological function of humans – reproduction, the continuation of our species. But, as beings concerned with not only the biological aspects of life but also with morality, we must ask the question: when is it morally appropriate to engage in sex? 
Let us throw religion to the wind, for the time being. Obviously, different religions (and even different sects of a single religion) have wildly varying opinions on when, where, and how sex is appropriate. However, if one simply looks at sex from the view of a general human being, who is not affiliated with any religion but strives to be moral, can one find a general rule for when sexual intercourse is suitable?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

14 things to do before your 30!

The number 30, for people who are about to leave their 20s, is viewed with much pressure. The age of 30 is a sign of toning down the joys of early adulthood and focusing on the more serious aspects of life. Ideally, a 30-year-old should have a firm grasp on how to establish himself/herself career-wise and as an individual. The problem is, not many people can cope with the stress involved with such an important stage in life. What they can do is engage in activities or habits that can help them prepare for being 30 years old.
So how can a person exactly ease the pressure of being 30? Simple, he or she must break some of the old routines and insert new ones to foster a gradual transformation. The gradualness is important, so you can get used to the more serious activities easily. You can also use the remaining time, before reaching the age of 30, to engage things that you have been longing to do but couldn’t. Remember, your aim is to be mentally prepared for being 30 and leaving your twenties without any regrets. Here are 14 timely things you can do before reaching 30.
1. A Trip to the Zoo -The zoo is one of the main attractions for kids. Returning to that place can bring refreshing memories, including your childhood dreams. Silly as it may sound, the trip might help you determine your truest of passions, which is instrumental when choosing a career to establish. The zoo will also induce nostalgia, giving you a good tingly feeling right after the trip.
2. Join the Marathon - The marathon is a test of perseverance and the human will. Incidentally, both factors are needed for establishing goals and a lifelong career. Practice sprinting regularly, with a gradual increase in distance, so you’ll get accustomed to long-distance running. When you’re ready, register yourself in a 10K race. Pay the registration fee and you’re all set. After finishing the race, you will be a changed person, all for the better.
3. Budgeting Practice - Proper budgeting is the secret of some successful people. Through the proper allocation of funds and assets, cash is well-spent, if not stored in the savings bank. A good start for budgeting is to do it manually. At the start of each week, list down all the things that you need to buy, along with their corresponding prices. Set a price for emergencies and the amount you will save for the week. This practice will give you a clear view on your expenditures and weekly savings. You can then eliminate some of the unnecessary spendings, so you can save more.
4. Hire a Personal Accountant - If you think accounting is needed only for business, you’re sadly mistaken. An accountant can help increase your yearly earnings by deducting the excess taxes from your income and expenditures, even from simple purchases. At the end of the year, you can show the accounting statements to your office or the proper government office to receive your reimbursements. This tactic is perfectly legal so don’t worry.
5. Bungee Jumping and Skydiving - Most people find both sports hair-raising, just like the age of 30. With only a string or a parachute separating you from your demise, you will surely be bolder after going through one or both activities. Use bungee jumping and skydiving as symbols for conquering your fears and anxieties. After taking the plunge, you’ll feel that you can face anything, including life’s serious phases.
6. Learn the Game of Stocks - The stock market is like a more analytical version of the game monopoly, where you will buy, sell, or trade properties in the hope of getting a large sum of profits. You should learn how to interpret market trends, so you can acquire or sell the right shares. Getting an exceptional broker is also important, since he or she can help you make the right decisions. Once you master the game of stocks, getting rich will always be an option.
7. Special Treatment for Your Parents - Once you focus on your family and your career, your time for your parents will be greatly reduced. Use this period to maximize your time with your parents. Bring them out to dinner or join them for an unforgettable out-of-town trip. You, after all, owe it to them for raising you to be who you currently are.
8. Attend Career Seminars - Throughout high school and college, students are immersed in career development seminars, which help them choose careers. The concepts and strategies discussed in those conventions are pretty helpful, especially for those who want to start their own business. Important as those points are, they are eventually forgotten. Attending a career seminar will reacquaint you with those concepts and this time around, you will use of them to your full-advantage. (Why don’t you try getting an MBA, for more information, read The value of an MBA)
9. Read Business Books - Don’t believe the notion that business books are only for people who want to put up their own businesses. Those books teach you how to build contacts and how to strengthen your character as a professional. Sure, you will get a good dose of business concepts and strategies, which you will eventually need anyway, but the other things you will pickup are certainly essential, regardless of occupation.
10. Finish a Lengthy Novel - One of the common characteristics of successful professionals is they read a lot. From reports to industry-related publications, they absorb much information, which are essential for their occupations. Get accustomed to reading by finishing at least one lengthy novel. You will feel a sense of achievement after, especially if the novel you read is beyond 500 pages.
11. Health is Wealth - After the peak of your physical health, which is during your early to mid-twenties, you should apply a healthier lifestyle. Have a daily exercise like jogging or going to the gym, so you can avoid nasty age-related ailments. You’ll have more energy to balance your family and professional needs. Try to lessen, if not avoid, vices such as smoking and drinking, to have better health. By the age of 30, you will realize that you are not old, since you are still at the prime of your life.
12. Set the Right Priorities - Every successful person follows the right set of priorities. The key is being responsible and learning how to work with a lot of responsibilities. You should learn how to manage your time properly. Have a planner and make it a habit to set your daily schedule beforehand. Follow that schedule religiously then you will notice how easy life really is.
13. Father Knows Best, When It Comes to Doing Business - Most dads, being experts in their fields, have picked up a ton of strategies that they will eventually pass on to their children. Approach your dad and engage him in a professional conversation. He will be more than happy to discuss with you what he learned in his profession. You will discover the challenges he had to overcome and the solutions he formulated to get by them. Apply all of the necessary concepts and examples to your line of work.
14. Mother Knows Best, When Forming a Home - Moms, even the career-oriented ones, have a strong attachment to the house. In most cases, dads are the chief providers while moms govern the household, including family relations. You can discuss with your mom the “dos” and “don’ts” when raising a family. She will teach you her best strategies and the behavioral patterns of each family member, given a certain scenario. In the end, you’ll have a good idea on how to create the perfect family environment.
Being 30 is not the end of your happy life, but rather the beginning. You’ll achieve financial and personal success and in the process, have a family of your own. Through time management, you can even bring back some of your old habits for a much needed balance. By then, you will realize why some people actually say “life begins at 50,” but that’s an entirely different matter, at least for now. Before thinking of what you’ll do when you reach 30, its time to celebrate your birthday and here are the 30th Birthday Party Ideas.

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