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3 Hidden Dangers of Fire Damage


The dangers don’t end when the flames are put out. Fire damage can linger for years, and if you try to DIY with a clean-up, you probably won’t get all of the soot and flourishing mold from the water that tamed the fire. “Soot” is the residue left over from the smoke, and what exactly makes up the smoke can depend on a lot of things—like what burned and whether or not it was toxic.

Both soot and mold are dangerous leftovers from a house fire and why homeowners deserve professional fire damage clean-up. Not all soot is necessarily dangerous, but do you want to take that risk? Likewise, not all water damage will lead to mold, black mold or mildew. But again, are you ready to take that gamble?

Not only are homeowners lacking the appropriate tools, knowledge and experience to (safely!) clean up after a fire, they might unintentionally expose themselves to dangerous particles in the process. Plus, remember that if guests are staying in the home and you don’t properly clean post-fire, you could be held liable in a personal injury claim or lawsuit.

Here are just a few of the things that can go wrong if you try to save a little cash by cleaning up yourself:

1. Soot gets into your bloodstream

The particulate matter in soot is so tiny that it can get into your bloodstream and lungs without you noticing. According to the American Lung Association, breathing soot pollution can cause “cancer and developmental and reproductive harm.” The Environmental Protection Agency has described soot as “Microscopic particles (which) can penetrate deep into the lungs and have been linked to a wide range of serious health effects including premature death, heart attacks and strokes, as well as acute bronchitis and aggravated asthma among children.”

2. Black mold can kill

From in-home sprinkler systems to firefighter’s hoses, there was likely a lot of water involved to save your humble abode. Water damage can destroy your home’s structure, and it can also lead to mildew, mold and deadly black mold. Mold has a penchant for thriving in dark areas, so it’s possible only a professional will spot it. Even when mold isn’t deadly, it can cause respiratory issues and exacerbate allergies.

3. It may have stirred up asbestos

Asbestos fibers are the primary cause of mesothelioma, a cancer of the lungs and abdomen linings which is almost always deadly. However, rarely ingesting or breathing in asbestos in small quantities is usually fine. It was widely used in home construction from the 1950s through the 1980s and is still legally used today. However, a fire might “stir up” those fibers, so cleaning up yourself without the proper safety gear is a huge risk.

Simply put, you don’t know what exactly burned, what particles may have been put into the air or what toxic materials you might be breathing in. This is no time to pinch pennies or cut corners. Rely on a professional crew to clean up after a fire so you can rest easy knowing not a nook or cranny was missed. Otherwise, the residual effects of the fire might be more heartbreaking and lethal than you ever imagined.


Why the Sony Hack is So Important to Terrorists

James Franco and Seth Rogen

America and pretty much every other developed country in the world is vulnerable to sophisticated cyber-attacks. That much is not in question and isn’t new. What’s new thanks to Sony is the fact that terrorists around the world now see this new form or terrorism as a potential weapon for changing policies.

To understand this, we must first look at America through the eyes of people around the world. In many countries, there is only a thin line between the media and government. They’ve grown up in worlds where the idea of “free press” is unthinkable. As a result, they also view a distinct connection between the US government and Hollywood.

Continue reading Why the Sony Hack is So Important to Terrorists

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last update: August 3, 2015


Improving HVAC Efficiency

Homeowners often fail to realize how their heating and cooling is affected by the cool air or increased heat entering or leaving through windows and doors. Efficient windows help put the HVAC system through less strain, so it is able to last much longer. As a result, energy bills are reduced.

Increase in Energy Bills with Poor HVAC Systems

A poorly-functioning HVAC system can cause an increase in energy bills. This is often due to lost cool or warm air from windows and doors. The cracks can let air from the system escape causing it to work harder to maintain ideal temperatures. Windows that are not designed to keep the system in its best condition also contribute to temperature fluctuations. In the summer, excess heat from the sunlight can enter the home through these windows. The extra heat makes the home harder to keep cool. In the winter, these windows may let out heat, taking away from the total insulation effects present in the building.

Windows Designed to Complement Your HVAC System

Efficient windows work to protect the radiant heat of the home in the winter and prevent the entrance of heat in the summer. These windows allow the HVAC system to work only as much as it needs to, and this saves homeowners on their energy bills. The peak load for heating or cooling is the maximum amount needed at one time. Reducing the peak load may even allow some homeowners to install new HVAC systems that are smaller and easier to maintain.

Making High-Performance Windows Appealing

High-performance windows may make a significant difference in the energy efficiency of a home, but they may not always be appealing to the interior esthetic quality. Many homeowners prefer technological components that do not compromise their décor, especially in rooms where visitors gather. There are various ways to make high-efficiency windows fit into the décor of a room. Curtains can conceal the window when light is not needed, and blinds offer increased control over the amount of light. Shutters can be added for a more durable alternative, and they also offer versatility.

For rooms with strong color coordination, curtains can make high-performance windows blend in with the remainder of the room’s furniture and fixtures, and they also add a more formal look to a room. Blinds offer quick and easy control over the amount of light entering the room, and they can easily cover windows that do not fit well with the room’s look. Shutters add to the décor and concealment of high-efficiency windows while also contributing to the temperature control. According to Bill and Sarah Burke, owners of Midwest Shutters, they have a high R-value, and this “provides protection from extreme temperature fluctuations” caused by the entrance or escape of heat.

Simple changes in the design of a home can have major impacts on how its HVAC unit functions. Controlling the natural flow of heat throughout the year is essential for getting the most value out of the heating and cooling system.


How Women Can Use Technology to Succeed in the Entrepreneur Marketplace

business tech

Women continue to be the minority in both technology and entrepreneurship, although the marketplace is quickly changing in their favor. There are many new opportunities for women related to the use of technology as it relates to building a new business. In order for women to succeed in the highly competitive global marketplace, they must find creative ways to make technology work for their new business. Many women have found unique solutions using technology to create a niche industry through entrepreneurship.

Connect With Other Female Innovators

Women who are entering the field of entrepreneurship should connect with other female innovators through social networking platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and others, explains this article on Business 2 Community. Connecting with other successful entrepreneurs allows women to explore the use of technology in a wide variety of roles, including marketing and finding initial investors. Online connections allow women entrepreneurs to connect professionally as well as personally.

Consider Alternative Uses for the Key Product or Service

As a woman goes out into the business community to introduce a new product or service, it pays to listen to the feedback, especially when it includes alternative uses for the product or service. This is especially true of technology-related entrepreneurs. Because a piece of website coding or a tool such as a digital iris scanner can work for a variety of industries, women entrepreneurs should not limit themselves or their product or service to a single role in the marketplace. Entrepreneurs should take the time to research the market and determine whether or not offering their product or service across a greater number of industries or applications would help increase their chances at success.

Deliver Products and Services Directly

Women entrepreneurs know their product or service like the backs of their own hands. Instead of marketing the product through a middleman, entrepreneurs would do well to use technology to market their product or service for them. The creation of a business website along with embedded videos to showcase and highlight the product or service provides a great way to engage customers and increase interest without having to pay a middleman to do so. The direct delivery of products or services by the product’s founder also allows for a stronger relationship between the entrepreneur and her clients. The creation of podcasts, online conferences and Skype communications also helps women entrepreneurs get the word out about their products.

Share Expertise With Other Women

Once a woman achieves success as an entrepreneur, sharing the experience with other women not only provides inspiration to the next generation but it also offers the opportunity to expand professional connections. Taking on a leadership role as an entrepreneur allows women to highlight their successes and build upon them. An entrepreneur can share her expertise through interactive technology as well as in-person demonstrations. From conducting workshops to giving seminars, women can use these tools to help others succeed and build their brands.


Gas Engine Improvements You Should Implement Now

The demands placed on automotive manufacturers to increase fuel efficiency and reduce carbon footprints led to the development of alternative fueled vehicles. Nevertheless, gas powered engines remain dominant in the automotive market. Gas engines are not likely to disappear in the near future. However, engineers are continually adopting new methods of function that enable increased performance while becoming more eco-friendly. Whether buying a new vehicle or merely overhauling an existing vehicle with a different engine, consumers benefit from the technology.

Variable Valve Timing and Lift

Conventional engines are equipped with valves that open and close at regulated increments, which provides an air/gas mixture as fuel. In the past, regardless of the work load that engines undergo, the rate at which valves perform their function remained unchanged. This means that engines receive the same amount of fuel regardless of work load. In effect, engines proved inefficient and permitted unnecessary fuel consumption and loss. By developing technology that times valve function to more closely accommodate the needs of an engine, the vehicle becomes more fuel efficient. Studies indicate that this newer design saves up to five percent in fuel consumption.

Deactivating Cylinders

Vehicles have four or more cylinders, which are all engaged as long as the vehicle remains running. Fuel saving ideology led engine engineers to reconsider the necessity of having all of the cylinders functional when not needed, which wastes fuel. Sports cars and heavy duty trucks, for example, feature V-8 engines. While a vehicle may require increased fuel consumption during times of extreme speeds or when hauling loads, at other times, decreased demands only waste fuel. By deactivating cylinders when they are not necessary, vehicles become more than seven percent fuel efficient. Though this technology is currently available on V-8 engines, manufacturers are considering adopting the change for V-6 model cars and trucks.

Alterations in Fuel Injection

In conventional gas engines, a spark ignites fuel and air in the combustion chamber. However, studies suggest that heating and pressurizing the fuel before it enters the chamber makes gas burn cleaner and more efficiently. The alteration also reduces the amount of fuel needed to power the engine. Under normal circumstances, gas engines might have a compression ratio of around 10 to 1. Newer technology increases this ratio to 14 to 1. The engine in a Mazda Demio, for example, has this innovative design and gets a reported 70 miles per gallon.


This invention involves fans that are powered by the gases that are en route to the exhaust system. This action creates a higher compression ratio by allowing more compressed air into the combustion chamber, which means more efficient combustion and better fuel economy. When smaller engines feature turbochargers, engine performance also improves while saving fuel.

Driver Retraining

How someone drives a vehicle additionally has an effect on gas consumption. The faster a vehicle goes, the more fuel the engine consumes. Newer technology provides drivers with visualization by adding dashboard mechanisms that display when vehicles are operating efficiently and when more conservative measures are necessary. Other innovations include eco-modes that regulate transmission shifting and encourages running at lower speeds.

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Wearable Tech Shirts Beyonce Would Want shows how Beyonce picks stylish accessories for Autumn. You can pick wearable tech clothes that have the style that Queen Bey would choose for herself.

Fuelware has created the Flame Base, a long sleeved, body-heating, body-conscious shirt with very cool styling. Its wearable technology lets you set the shirt to the toasty temperature of your choice, and it keeps your body warmed to that temperature. When the sensors in the base layer of the shirt sense that your body is at the desired temperature, they turn off the heating elements.

The heating elements are integrated into the washable bamboo fabric of the base layer, two in the front and one at the small of the back. Bamboo fabric is known for its comfortable softness, its durability, and its moisture-wicking ability, and the fabric is machine washable on cold with a gentle detergent. Four LEDs monitor battery and heat levels.

This shirt is so new that Beyonce herself may not yet know about it. In fact, it is so new that it’s still an Indiegogo crowdfunding project. Don’t let that stop you from pre-ordering, however. The campaign has surpassed its initial goal by 401 percent. That means that Fuelware will not only be able to produce the shirt with the original black base layer but also will be able to offer the shirt in blue and gray.

The campaign is less than $20,000 away from being able to reach its second stretch goal and add a USB port for charging cell phones to the battery pack. No need to return to shelter to seek a recharge, you can stay out and enjoy your activities in the cool air and recharge on the go. Sizes will be available for men and women from small to extra-large.

If you want wearable tech that will monitor your workout so that you can look like Beyonce, or the kind of guy who could be with Beyonce, you don’t have to wear a wrist band any longer. Ralph Lauren and Hexoskin have introduced shirts with microchips embedded in the fabric. Ralph Lauren’s Polo Tech shirt is a body-conscious polo shirt that monitors heart rate, breathing, movement, and more.

A small black-box at the chest houses the sensors that receive the data and transmit it instantly to a smartphone app. Ralph Lauren plans on continuing to shrink the size of the black box. Also, given the introduction of treadmill desks into the workplace, the company plans on introducing this technology into a line of tech dress shirts.

Hexoskin’s biometric shirt is even more extreme than the Lauren Polo Tech shirt. The tank top tracks 42,000 data points per minute providing statistics not only on your workout, but also on your daily activities, calorie intake, steps taken, and the quality of your nightly sleep. For those prone to sleep apnea and hyperventilation, it also measures lung capacity.

Beyonce may be jealous you’re wearing these cool wearable tech shirts.



Advancement Opportunities for Medical Assistants

The medical field has been quickly advancing for years, providing stable jobs and unlimited career growth for many. If you’ve been curious about the career potential with your medical assisting degree, you’d be surprised at what your degree can offer you and your future. Nurse2

Medical Office Manager

With some experience under your belt, you can easily advance to becoming a manager of a medical office. You’ll be responsible for the administrative part of the office, making sure everything is running efficiently. You’ll supervise the staff and be responsible for hiring and firing employees, as well as training new hires. You’ll also be responsible for the billing part of the office. This includes medical coding and collections for unpaid bills. You’ll pay the medical office’s bills and keep track of inventory and the costs associated with keeping the practice fully stocked with necessary supplies. You’ll also be in charge of supervising the support staff in the office. This includes the front desk staff, nurses, and the medical assistants. Depending on the size of your office, you might also have a role at the front desk where you’ll schedule appointments, submit billing statements to your patients, and submit any claims to various insurance companies.

Lead Medical Assistant

When you’ve spent a few years working as a medical assistant in a medical office, you might have the opportunity to advance to a supervisory role while still maintaining your job as a medical assistant. With this position, you’ll be the go to person for anything regarding the running of the office. Your responsibilities will lie mostly with the operation and administration side of the practice, monitoring the quality of work of all of the staff and being in charge of the billing side of the office. You’ll take care of all of the office’s billing to patients, insurance companies, and the medical suppliers you work with. You’ll have to have knowledge of medical coding, so getting your medical coding certificate can be helpful in performing this job successful. You’ll need to have a working knowledge of collections, too, because you’ll be the one sending unpaid balances to collections and working with patients on paying off their collections. You will need to know the inventory side of the practice inside and out because you’ll be the only one who knows what needs to be ordered and in what quantities so you don’t waste money on unused inventory.

Medical Records Manager

If you want to work in a hospital setting, then a medical records manager could be just the career for you. This job often requires additional education in the form of a health information technology degree or certificate. You will process and maintain all of the patient records in that hospital, as well as keep patient information private on the hospital’s database. You’ll make sure the patient’s record is complete and accurate. You’ll have to know how to use software to store and code records in the hospital’s system, as well as know how to quickly pull these records for medical staff.

Many people think you’re stuck being a medical assistant forever, but the truth is you have an almost unlimited potential of careers when you get your degree in medical assisting. While some might require additional education, you’re only making an investment in your future.


Start a Blog Today in 10 Easy Steps

blog psychology

Blogging is something that absolutely anyone can do and most likely enjoy doing. You don’t need to be a great writer or have revolutionary ideas. There are dozens of ways for a blog to bring value to readers.

The process of starting a blog can seem complicated, however, and this prevents many people from jumping in. It’s not. In fact, we’ll break it down for you in 10 easy steps.

1. Choose your platform

For many this will be WordPress, but there are numerous other free blogging platforms available. Tumblr is a popular platform that’s very visual, as well as a cross between blogging and social media.

2. Choose your domain

If you’re serious about your blog, you’ll want to get your own domain name rather than use a link through your blogging platform. This will give your blog more credibility and allow you customization options and room for expansion later. Choose the shortest, most relevant name to your theme that you can. Then be prepared to keep thinking. It’s not true that all the good ones are taken, but a lot of them are so come up with a list of possibilities.

3. Choose a content theme

Speaking of themes, the major mistake most bloggers make is that they lack direction, or a main theme to attract and keep readers. You may think your life and your thoughts on random subjects would be interesting to others, but to the average person they are not. You need a main theme that your content will mostly adhere to. It doesn’t need to be an overly specialized niche. It could be something as broad as being a mother or living in New York, but it needs direction.

4. Choose a visual theme

With your content theme in hand, you can choose a visual theme for your blog that fits it well. You’ll probably want to keep the design simple and clean at the start. You don’t need to make your blog an eyesore just to try to be “unique”. Keep your design clean and make navigating your blog as intuitive as possible. When you get your feet under you and have a following, you could consider a more personalized, branded look.

5. Set up Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a great tool for showing you what’s popular on your blog, where people are coming from and for what purpose (or keywords). It also will show you how your blog is progressing in traffic over time.

6. Install helpful plugins

In addition to Google Analytics, there are other programs you can install that will give you a decided advantage in building your blog. One is SEO Friendly Images, a free WordPress plugin that automatically optimizes all of your images so that they’ll appear in Google Image Search. Very few bloggers do this manually, and you can draw a surprising amount of traffic to your site through image searches. Keep yourself updated on the latest plugins and what they could do for you and your blog.

7. Populate your blog with content

Now you need to actually get blogging. If your blog is related to your personal life, it should be easy enough to know what to write about each day. When your blog is related to a particular subject, you’ll need to know what’s happening in that area. If you’re interested in the law, for example, follow the news, other legal blogs and law firm sites to keep up to date.

8. Promote your content

Forums and other blogs relevant to your content are great places to link to your blog or to a specific post. Just be aware of the policies on linking so that you’re not stepping on anyone’s toes when you do so, as your post may then be removed. And try not to make it obvious that you’re promoting your own content or come across as desperate. Offer a tease to what your link will show and casually invite the reader to see more.

And of course, you should be running social media accounts for your blog to attract more fans and promote your content through those avenues as well.

9. ???

There’s a popular Internet meme whereby people make a list that ends with “???” and “Profit!”. Example:

  1. Start a Blog
  2. Write Posts
  3. ??? (This is ostensibly the key ingredient in each list)
  4. PROFIT!!

Knowing your memes and Internet trends can be an important aspect of appealing to readers. It offers them something familiar that they know and can relate to, or just find funny. Just don’t get too carried away with Internet pop culture, as that could alienate readers who find the references cryptic.

10. Profit!

There you have it. You’re now ready to conquer the Internet with your new blog and profit from it – assuming you can discover the pesky missing ingredient. Enjoy your new blog, and good luck.


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