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Charged $20 To Breathe: Venezuela Implements ‘Breathing’ Tax Charged $20 To Breathe: Venezuela Implements ‘Breathing’ Tax Venezuela’s largest airport said it’s now charging passengers $20 to breathe clean air, to cover the cost of a newly-installed system to purify air conditioning system. Twitter Rolls Out Photo Tags, Collages Functions The photo-tagging service would make it easier for people to mention different people in the photo without consuming the precious 140 characters of a tweet. Tagged images will appear under the Notifications tab, like regular tweet mentions and favorites. Images would have a “who’s in this photo?” option in which users can mention other Twitter users. Twitter Rolls Out Photo Tags, Collages FunctionsShares Decline As Fed Policy Review Nears Shares Decline As Fed Policy Review Nears On Wednesday, March 19, Asian shares decline, as investors continue to observe the Crimea-Ukraine crisis and wait for the review of the Federal Reserve policy. McDonald’s Faces Lawsuit Over Wage Theft McDonald’s workers in California, Michigan, and New York filed lawsuits against the company, claiming it was “stealing” salaries. McDonald’s Faces Lawsuit Over Wage TheftMobile App Lets Lord & Taylor Customers Pay Using Bitcoin Mobile App Lets Lord & Taylor Customers Pay Using Bitcoin Lord & Taylor department stores now accept Bitcoin payments through ‘Pounce’— a mobile shopping application made by an Israeli startup. Kim Kardashian, Kanye West To Tie The Knot In May Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are just a few months away from getting married, as they have finally chosen a date for their pending nuptials. Kim Kardashian, Kanye West To Tie The Knot In MayWi-Fi On Airplanes Ready For Takeoff Wi-Fi On Airplanes Ready For Takeoff Wi-Fi technology inside aircrafts, which was a big security concern in the past, could soon take off as new technology now allows passengers to surf the web as if they were in a local coffee shop on the ground. Police Arrest 2 Teens After Viral Dog Abuse Video A viral video showing the beating a dog led to the arrest of two teenagers in St. Louis. Police Arrest 2 Teens After Viral Dog Abuse VideoDelta Announces Big Change To Frequent Flier Program Delta Announces Big Change To Frequent Flier Program Delta Air Lines is changing its frequent-flier program to lure higher-spending customers, including business travelers who often book flights on short notice and pay more than bargain-hunting leisure travels. Taco Bell To Serve Waffle Taco, New Breakfast Menu In March Egg McMuffin, meet the Waffle Taco. Taco Bell To Serve Waffle Taco, New Breakfast Menu In MarchLakers Trade Steve Blake To The Warriors Lakers Trade Steve Blake To The Warriors The Warriors have their back-up point guard, and the Swag time Lakers got even swaggier as Steve Blake trades places with Kent Bazemore. Deng To Be Traded A Second Time Just over a month after the Cleveland Cavaliers acquired Luol Deng from the Chicago Bulls, they seem to be putting the All-Star forward on the trading block again as the deadline draws closer. Deng To Be Traded A Second TimeAmerican Wins Gold... For Russia American Wins Gold... For Russia American-born Vic Wild won the gold medal in slalom snowboarding as a Russian. Wild left the country in 2011 after he felt that parallel slalom snowboarding wasn’t a priority for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association.

camera focusYou’re on a vacation and you’ve decided to take a photo. You point your camera at something stunning, and then you shoot. You checked the LCD, but shocked to see an unsightly, out of focus photo. Have no worry, as many people have been there.

Taking sharp images and getting the right focus are the most common problems of amateurs. Though you cannot always stop it from happening, you can avoid making the same mistake again. As focus on the subject is one of the first rules of photography, you need to know the right techniques and the best camera settings to use.

Understand Your Viewfinder

This is the first step you should take, especially if you want to take photos of landscapes, nature or the environment around you. There are two types of focus points: cross point and single plane. The focus points of single plane are rectangles; some are oriented horizontal, while others are vertical. Use viewfinder to your advantage, as it can make a difference to determine which area of the image has the sharpest focus.

Don’t Use the AFP Mode

Many professional photographers do not use the “All Focus Point” mode. Without this built-in feature, you are probably wondering how you can focus on a subject. What if your subject is in the middle of the crowd? You cannot just set your focus distance and shoot.

On most Panasonic DSLRs, there is an option of selecting what point it uses to focus. According to the go-to source for filmmaking and photography, Dslrpros.com, the Panasonic Lumix GH4 camera for sale allows you to adjust which target focus zone the camera uses to focus. This lets you choose the appropriate area for your subject or the right spot for the scene.

Set Your Shutter Speed

If your photos are in focus, the viewer’s eye is drawn to important elements. This includes large blocks of colors and rule of thirds intersection points. Set your shutter speed depending on the lens you will use to get rid of blur caused by camera shake. Look for a camera that offers exceptional shutter life and meets the demands of professional use.

Keep in mind that getting great, sharp images involve a combination of different techniques. When put them altogether, you have a high chance of producing amazing photos.

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4 Big Reasons the Workplace Needs to Rethink Hygiene

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hand sanitiserNot everyone regards hygiene in the same manner. In the workplace where productivity is based on performance, it is a minute detail that is often understated. Unfortunately, the most overlooked of all office values can hit work performance and even cripple operations.

Many surveys done in the past years regarding personal hygiene show that cleanliness is subjective. Factors, like culture, gender and religion may affect one’s perception of what is clean. A video of the survey results on hygiene conducted in 2014 by SCA, a global hygiene and forest products company, gives a glimpse of hygiene practices in the different countries.

Occupational health and safety consultant Strategic Safety Australia says that poor working conditions can have a significant impact on businesses. Sanitation in the workplace is directly proportional to performance. These prove why:

1. Poor office hygiene may spread colds, flu and other communicable diseases. People tend to disregard sanitary precautions, like washing the hands regularly and using sanitary tissues to cover the nose and mouth when sneezing. Germs and viruses can easily be transferred via frequently used surfaces in the office like the telephone, door knob and elevator buttons.

2. Unhygienic environment affects concentration. Olfactory receptors detects bad odour more easily than pleasant ones, according to Neil Gussman of Chemical Heritage Magazine. The typical open office is the melting pot of odours ranging from that dude who goes to gym, to that lady who breathes garlic pizza. It’s not hard science when they say unpleasant odour is bothersome and can prevent productivity.

3. Social perception can be affected by a person’s hygiene. Poor hygiene affects impression and it does really well in altering good image. Steve Jobs had to do night shift because of his bad smell during his Atari days. Good thing, that didn’t stop him from changing the world with his Apple products. Unfortunately, not everyone can be the genius others tolerate.

4. Cleanliness has psychological effects to both workers and the customers alike. A clean office is more likely to get a visiting client to come back than an office comparable to a pigsty. The reason goes like this – if the company can’t keep the place clean, then how can it take care of its clients?

Hygiene can predict the success of a business. In a world where everything counts, this is one thing that shouldn’t be forgotten.

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The Science behind Creating the Perfect Workspace

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workplaceOur workspace affects how we work and behave in the office. The physical environment has tremendous consequences to our productivity, psychological well-being, and creative performance. Given that many of us work in the same office space for years, it makes a lot of sense to organise, optimise, and personalise that space in ways that will bring the most benefit to you and the people you work with.

When it comes to designing workspaces, people usually seek the advice of interior designers or design magazines, but, as it turns out, scientists also have something to say when it comes to decorating.

Make It Your Own

Working in the same office, on the same desk, in the same setting everyday can become stressful, especially if all you see are filing cabinets, grey walls, and computers. Your office is like your second home that is why it is important that you add your own touch to your work environment. A study conducted a couple of years back revealed that the simple act of organising your workspace according to your own preference has an empowering effect and boosts productivity by as much as 32 percent.

Make It Visually Enticing

Experts from thecaretakers.com.au believe that colour has a profound influence on mood and morale. When used strategically, it can help people channel their creativity and inspire new ideas. For instance, workers exposed to the colours blue and green have shown enhanced performance on tasks that require formulating new ideas, while people who were exposed to the colour red showed increased attention to details. Colour also has an effect on spatial perception. Ceilings painted white or with light colours give rooms a more spacious feel and promotes a feeling of freedom.

Use Plants and Windows

If company policy limits what you can do with your workspace, get a small green plant or two. According to a recent survey, 92 percent of Australian workers believe that it is important to be somehow connected to nature and the best way to do this is to bring nature indoors. Having plants in the office is an easy and cost-effective way to optimise space, reduce office pollution levels, and lower stress levels.

Creating the perfect workspace is not just about incorporating design elements and aesthetics, it is also about making your office feel like it is really your second home. By personalising your office or desk, using visually appealing colours, and adding a touch of nature, you can create that ideal workspace you have always dreamed of.

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The Essentials of Diamond Grading

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choosing diamond ringA diamond ring is a pricey and, given its likely purpose, a lifetime investment. That’s why it’s important to learn how to appropriately gauge the value of diamond rings.

Diamond Appraisal Pointers

Don’t worry, though –you don’t need to be an appraisal expert to know what to look for in a diamond. Here are a few useful pointers from some jewelry appraisal experts in Melbourne:

• Be wary of some “certificates” – They may not be following the same standards. When you buy a diamond, you would base your choice (meaning, the best option) from a grading report. While the report normally contains the usual categories – carat, clarity, color, and cut, the “4 Cs” of diamond appraisal – they may not be following the GIA and EGL US standards, which are the most widely-accepted grading systems among diamond appraisers.

• If it’s already set in a ring, you’ll probably have a hard time having it appraised. Sadly, a diamond has to be upside down to be graded because when it’s seen right side-up – like when it’s set in a ring, for example – it’s nearly impossible for even experts to accurately assess its clarity or color.

• Think you know diamond pricing? Think again. Sure, most people rightly assume that bigger diamond rings cost more per carat based on rarity. But, one more thing to remember is that diamond prices go up in steps, not in a typical “rational” curve. This means a 2.00 carat diamond costs tons more than a 2.63 carat diamond, since that’s the next “step” after 1.00.

• Does your diamond make the cut? That depends on how it’s cut. The cut of a diamond refers to its shape, angle, proportion, and finish, as well as how well it bounces light (think in terms of a prism). Interestingly, the cut – which essentially determines how aesthetically pleasing it is – doesn’t affect the price of a diamond that much.

Hopefully, these tips aren’t too hard to remember. Good luck with your diamond appraisal!

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Top 5 Medical Technology Innovations

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medical technologyInnovations in technology continue to influence lives across the globe and transform different industries. In the field of medicine, technology plays a crucial role in improving health care services and quality of life.It has allowed health care practitioners to streamline data monitoring, patient registration, lab tests, and other medical and logistical operations.

Here are some innovations that have made a huge impact in the medical landscape:

Robotic Check-Ups

Healthcare services are more efficient thanks to all kinds of technological innovations. Medical robots are constantly on-duty, helping doctors monitor patients and check health records and vital signs. The first robot used in hospitals was a mobile cart that had a two-way video screen and medical monitoring equipment.


According to experts from SpectraSymbol.com, distance measurement sensors and other modern measurement tools help make various medical processes more precise. These technologies also help in automating research and creating well-designed medical equipment. Capacitive sensors are widely used in surgical procedures, where an accurate and precise line of vision of the operating table is needed.

Real-Time Locating Tools

Technology enables hospitals to implement a more efficient monitoring system on devices and clinical staff. Because of real-time locating services, hospitals can ensure that equipment (especially those that are high-cost and limited in number) remain safe and secure within the building premises.

Electronic Health Record

Electronic health records allow hospitals to have a more systematic and structured platform that contains all important patient records. Because of this, health care practitioners are able to provide the health care services that patients need.

Portal Technology

With portal technology, patients and doctors can monitor medical records online. This enables patients to be more aware of their health and the treatments administered. Other than easy access to health information, experts say that portal technology motivates patients to become active participants in taking care of their health.

Technology will only continue to revolutionize the field of medicine. In the next years, more innovations will come into fruition, improving health care services and empowering people even further.

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The Two Types of Sleep Apnoea

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sleep apnoeaNo one likes the idea of disturbances when you’re in deep sleep. But apparently, disturbances do happen in the body even if you’re unconscious. This is what happens when you have sleep apnoea, where your breathing ceases involuntarily while you’re asleep.

Its effect on your body is hardly noticeable. The people near you when you sleep feel it, though. Apnoea, after all, comes with loud snoring. It also increases the risk of certain diseases. According to Snore Australia, people who experience apnoea have a significantly greater risk of experiencing a heart attack.

As with any health condition, the first step in fighting it is being aware of its nature. Sparkle Dental Joondalup says sleep apnoea has two main types: obstructive and central.

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA)

OSA is the most common type of apnoea. What happens here is that your airway closes when your uvula and soft palate touch your throat’s back part. In effect, your breathing brings no air in the lungs. It’s not completely clear how this blockage occurs.

Studies, however, have found out the risk factors of obstructive sleep apnoea. This includes obesity, age, family history, facial abnormalities, vices, and medication. Do note, however, that the condition may still occur outside these risk factors.

Central Sleep Apnoea (CSA)

Central sleep apnoea is the other type of the condition. In this case, you become unable to inhale properly because of a collapsed airway. It’s either the breathing is too shallow to make it effective or there is no breathing at all. In effect, the condition wakes you up momentarily throughout the night. While OSA is more related to the mechanical makeup of your body, the CSA has a stronger link to the brain.

Now, there are cases when the two conditions appear simultaneously in one patient. Doctors call this the mixed type apnoea. It is not an entirely new type of the condition, but it could stem from untreated OSA.

The main key to stopping apnoea is to stay healthy. Given its lifestyle-related risk factors, it is possible to reduce the chance of this condition from occurring with proper diet, nutrition, and overall health.

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The Battle for the Brain

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Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia of the ElderlyGrowing old is a scary thought for some people. It is not so much the reminder of impending mortality, but the bumps they have to go through along the way.

The Phantom Menace

Dementia and Alzheimer’s are two of the most feared diseases among the elderly. Not only is there no cure for them, but the conditions have the power to take away everything they hold dear. Achievements, memories, identity, nothing’s safe from their grip. What good is doing anything with in life when the people who did them can’t remember a thing?

This is a fact many people see in rest homes, and the agencies providing home nursing services are doing everything they can to make the condition bearable. There is hope on the horizon, as doctors and scientists learn more about the human brain. Recently, researchers found the area in the brain that’s most vulnerable to Alzheimer’s. This may not seem like an earth shaking development, but it is a significant step forward.

A New Hope

If the suspicions of doctors are correct, and there is a specific area in the brain that’s susceptible to such conditions, it can serve as an early indicator for people who are vulnerable to the disease. Researchers believe that there are signs of susceptibility to Alzheimer’s and Dementia present in the brain as early as adolescence.

If doctors can better predict who are the most likely people to suffer these conditions in later life, they can place them under targeted treatments. The sooner such treatments are implemented may prove to be a deciding factor in the fight against these diseases. The more chances doctors get to observe the brain changes, the more accurate their predictions on the effectiveness of their treatments will become.

In time, it may even be possible to predict such changes before they occur, making the battle against brain conditions moot and academic. There’s always hope that the nightmares of the past turn into the nuisances of the future. With more research, that may well be fate of brain conditions.

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Do ACs Attract Insects?

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air conditionerAn air cooling system is a convenient way to control home temperature. Whenever the heat gets out of hand, AC units can always put those worries to rest with their cooling effect. Whilst there are many benefits air conditioners provide, these can cause an alarming problem: pests.

Creepy flying, crawling creatures are the uninvited guests that keep coming back to pay homeowners a surprise visit. Insects enjoy turning ACs into their homes, causing a range of problems with the unit. Whenever moisture is present, unwanted bugs will always have a home.

Ways to solve the problem

One way to ease this obstacle is to purchase a high quality but affordable home air conditioning system in Sydney. Be sure to ask for assistance from experts to install the AC properly. When units are installed incorrectly, it may cause leaking into walls and windowsills, which may attract insects.

As an added layer of protection, homeowners may spray bug killers around the unit. This procedure will keep pests away in the future, and ensure homeowners to breathe bug-free air in the comforts of their homes.

How to know if insects are present in ACs?

Apart from noticing insects coming out of units when turned on, the best way to learn about this issue is to have it cleaned. Some insects may have been electrocuted inside, which causes your unit to malfunction or perform in a substandard manner. The electrocuted insects might be blocking air circulation. By cleaning your AC regularly, it will guarantee a withdrawal of all unwanted insects, whether dead or alive.

Breathing clean air is an essential aspect to have a better life. These problems may seem small, but can be very alarming when ignored. It is best to find a solution to the problem before things go uncontrollable. Prevent these pesky problems before these lead to unexpected repair costs.

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Pipeline Structural Integrity: Understanding and Mitigating Risks

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pipelinePipelines provide an efficient and reliable means of exporting large quantities of natural gas and crude oil from a production site to distant locations. They are considered the lifelines of the international oil and gas industry, contributing to the economies of many countries. Some pipelines operate above ground, while others are located underground or undersea.

According to Mears Corrosion, any breach in pipeline structural integrity can negatively affect the environment and the workflow in the industry. It can also cause serious consequences on business through financial losses. This is mainly because of the disturbances in delivery services and extra cost for clean-up.

Managing Pipeline Integrity

All pipelines should be designed in a way that can withstand both internal and external loads. It should also maintain its own weight, including all dynamic forces. This makes it even more important to manage the pipeline integrity through regular inspections, proper operation, and risk assessment. Improvements and modifications are also important to keep the pipeline in good condition.

Mitigating Risks

Common threats to pipeline integrity cannot be fully eliminated. This is why it is important to have a comprehensive program or plan that can evaluate or manage the condition of a pipeline. Engineers and corrosion-control experts should develop a program that can mitigate the risks in the pipeline industry. An understanding of pipeline engineering is essential in developing this plan.

Pipeline Engineering

Engineering expertise is important to detect, analyze, and reduce the risks of daily operation. The devised pipeline plan should follow defined standards, specifications, and requirements. This program, along with knowledgeable employees, can help achieve safe and efficient operation. Understanding pipeline engineering requires broad knowledge ranging from design and construction to maintenance and control.

Pipeline integrity management is a structured process that determines the threats to the integrity of a pipeline. This can help with the development of plans to address recognized threats and modification of risk management plans. This is a continuous improvement process that needs to be monitored all throughout the use and operation of the pipeline.

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The Heat is on: Urban Heat Island Effect and Your Home

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summer heatAt noon on a clear, summer day in Australia, a regular flat surface receives about a thousand watts of sunlight per square metre. That is similar to powering up a bright, 100-watt incandescent light bulb per square foot.

When it comes to your home, traditional dark roofs absorb this heat, which in turn passes it on to your house and the surrounding air. Add to that the expected record-breaking temperatures this coming summer, and you are in for one scorching hot season. This highlights another heat-related problem, the “Urban Heat Island” (UHI) effect.

Urban Heat=Hotter Cities

The Urban Heat Island effect is the phenomenon where a metro or urban area experiences warmer temperature than its surrounding areas. This localised warming is due to the large amounts of paved and dark-coloured surfaces such as roofs, roads, and car parks.

The heat from the sun is absorbed by these surfaces, causing ambient temperatures to rise. During the summer, cities can experience temperatures several degrees hotter than the suburbs. Perth, for example, had its second hottest summer on record in 2013-2014.

Cooling it Down

Higher albedo (or reflection coefficient) surfaces, higher albedo pavements, and increased greenery throughout an area are cited as the main opportunities to cool down this heat phenomenon. For homeowners, simple things such as a white or reflective roof can do a lot to help reduce the heat convection process. You will only need to work with your trusted local roofing contractors. Perth is one of the select cities leading this green building initiative.

In the local level, the city is planning to develop an urban forest plan to help deal with the UHI effect. This push to increase the metro’s tree canopy aims to “basically take the heat out of the environment,” said Curtin University’s Helen Brown, director of health, safety, and environment.

With global warming posing a huge problem in the years to come, everybody is expected to chip in to help slow it down as much as possible. Small things like choosing cool coloured roofs, pavements, and other surfaces, as well as planting more trees can make a big difference in this push to cool down the environment.

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