Truck Games Are Fun and Provide Thrilling Experiences for the Player

There are many interesting truck games for people of all ages to enjoy. There are many different types of truck games online for people to play. Some of them are centered on monster trucks, while others include small passenger trucks or 18 wheelers. The playing experience varies for each game. Some of them will be about racing the trucks, while others will be more focused on completing various tasks by using driving skills.

When a person enters the truck driving games, there are numerous modes that they can choose from that range from beginner levels to advanced levels. They player can select the type of truck they want, the color of the vehicle, the course map that they want to start the game at, and in some cases a pit crew if the game involves racing the trucks. Monster trucks are a popular choice, because it is exciting for the players to see the gigantic trucks smash smaller vehicles. Children especially love these games, because they are the virtual drivers inside these huge vehicles, and it makes them feel grown up when they are driving. The games can also give them basic skills for when they are able to drive real vehicles, because many of the truck games simulate real driving.

The games can be played single player, or some of them allow multiple players depending on the game. Single players will play against computer generated players. Multiple players will either play with the two players using one console or by using a computer in a multiplayer mode. These games can also be played online, where each person simply logs into the game to compete against each other.

Not all of the games are racing games. Another version of truck games will have drivers making simulated deliveries to make the driver beat the clock to ensure deliveries are made on time. If the driver fails to make the deliveries, then he will lose the game. In some cases virtual money is used to play the games, so if the player loses the game then the virtual currency amount will be deducted from their player account.

Driving games are not only fun, they are also educational. Even though they are games, they teach people skills that they may be able to use in real life driving. Children who have played these games for years will be more likely to pass a driving test the first time over someone who has never played driving games.

Give Your Kids The Gift Of Pool

Pool/Billiards is a great game! It can be enjoyed at the highest skill levels right down to the first time player, and every skill level in between. It’s a game that can be played by mothers and fathers with sons and daughters for a lifetime.

The game will begin to get more enjoyable to play the more you improve. It’s really fun when you can run a few balls and be able to strategically move the cue ball around the table. Fortunately for the beginner, they’ll start to see dramatic improvement with a little practice.

But what about the younger kids? They want to play too. Shouldn’t they also be able enjoy the game?

Does this sound familiar:

You’re invited to a family gathering at a home that has a pool table. At some point the cover comes off and a game breaks out. Soon people are picking partners, playing pool and having a good time.

And then the kids want to get involved. They see you’re having fun, and they want to play too.

You don’t want to exclude them, but the fact is, as soon as young kids start trying to play on an adult size table with adults, it’s really not fun for the adults or the kids.

For the adults, any flow to any game goes out the window. And for the kids, they can’t hold the stick properly because they’re not tall enough and they’re probably not going to pocket any balls because of that.

Want to get a perspective for what it feels like for a kid to try to play pool on an adult table? Grab yourself a stick, and try playing a game on your knees. It’s almost impossible to play if your shoulders are barely taller than the table.

An adult size pool table stands about 32″ high. To comfortably make shots and pocket balls, your back elbow needs to be a minimum of 36″ off the ground when you set up to make a shot.

The best way to start teaching your kids the game of pool is to start them out with a mini pool table.

With a miniature pool table, your kids will be able to start to learn and enjoy the game at a younger age. The sticks will be shorter and lighter so they’ll have much more control with them.

You’ll be able to show them how to hold the stick properly, how to make a bridge, and how to stroke their shots and they’ll be able to learn correctly from the beginning.

Your kids will be able to see what it really feels like to play pool on a table that’s more suited to their height. They won’t be overwhelmed by the size of the table or the equipment.

Mini pool tables come in different sizes and many of them have received many favorable reviews. The great thing about some of the better ones is that you’ll also enjoy playing on it with your kids.

If you’re a pool player with kids and hope some day they’ll show some interest in learning and playing the game, don’t wait for them to grow into an adult size table.

Get them started early with a mini pool table. They’ll learn how to play at a young age, they’ll have much more fun on a table that’s more their size, and by the time they are old enough or tall enough to play on an adult table, they’ll already have a pretty good idea how to play.

Mini pool tables make a great gift for the kids. Surprise them this year with the gift of pool!

Now that you know how to get your kids playing at an early age, don’t forget about the big kids on your list that play. They have a wish list too.

Let It Be Fun

Children love to have fun. It’s why they love computer and video games. They’re fun. It’s why they like to watch television shows and movies.

If you mention the word “exercise” to them, all thoughts of fun disappear from their minds. Exercise is push ups and jumping jacks. Exercise is endlessly jogging around an oval track. In other words, it’s boring.

It doesn’t have to be. It wasn’t when we were kids. Of course we didn’t have all the cool gadgets kids have now so we had to find something to do that was fun. Most of our outdoor games were very vigorous in nature. They still are, they just aren’t played as often.

Making it fun: Take the bikes to the park and let the kids ride them on the paths. As long as they are polite to walkers those paths are just as useful and the kids are infinitely safer than riding on the streets.

Find an organized sports team that the children are interested in. Our area offers baseball, softball and water polo. The schools add volleyball, basketball and football. This will do more than provide exercise, it will teach team spirit and fair play.

The memories I enjoy the most when it comes to this topic is when adult family members joined in the games. My parents would sometimes play and older cousins as well. I can still hear my mother yelling “Don’t you ring my tomatoes!” when we’d get into a horseshoe match. (The pit was right next to that part of the garden.)

Getting involved helps bring the family closer together. It teaches that adults like to have fun and that this sort of thing is life long. It’s well worth the time.

Open Water Swimming – For Beginners

I learned to swim in a lake where my family lived, in northern Wisconsin. My siblings and I trained summer workouts in open water since the nearest pool was a thirty minute drive and our back yard was more convenient. Due to this immersion, it did not seem strange when I competed in my first open water race in Seal Beach, California, in my late twenties. Open water swimming has been a never ending adventure. Some of my favorite memories are from swims; leaving from Catalina Island for the California mainland at 1 am on a windless moonlight night, watching the phosphorescence glow as my arm pulled through the water and fish darted below; swimming in tandem with my husband, Dave, silhouetted against the beautiful blue Caribbean water off the coast of St. Lucia. Other memories include the sense of fear before beginning a 42 kilometer race in Newport Vermont, which heads north up Lake Memphremagog towards Canada and a ‘foggy’ memory (due to mild hypothermia) of finishing in Calais, France after crossing the English Channel. There was also the exhilaration of conquering tough cold conditions or large waves and chop, swimming and finishing races despite mother natures’ indifference to my plight.

There is a freedom and challenge swimming in open water which just can’t be experienced in the pool. Are you ready?

How to begin?

OK, swimming in open water is your goal, where do you start? I will assume that you already know how to swim. If not, take some lessons, join a YMCA or a masters swimming team and learn the crawlstroke/freestyle.

There are a few things that you can do in the pool to prepare for swimming in open water; bilateral breathing, head lifting and stroke rate training.

First of all, breathing on both sides, or bilateral breathing, is a must. (I can hear the groans!!!) Let’s see if you are physically capable. Stand up and twist the upper half of your body to the right and then to the left. Then turn your head to the right and left. SCHEZAM!!! You can learn to breathe to both sides. Why is this necessary? Imagine or perform the following experiment. Find an open space about 400 yards long. Select a target and try to walk straight towards it EXCEPT close your eyes and turn your head, looking to the right every 2 steps. Sneak a look forward every 10 steps. Vision in the water will be even more restricted than this because you may or may not be able to see forward depending upon wave conditions, fog in your goggles or glare from the sun reflecting off of the water. This is also assuming strict concentration upon straight line swimming – not imagining that shadows are sharks and weeds are snakes- which will improve with practice.

Breathing on both sides accomplishes two main goals. It tends to “even out” your stroke so that you will naturally swim straighter. Ha, ha, you already KNOW how to swim straight, right? But that is in the pool. Think of the available cues, lane lines on the side and a black line on the bottom to guide your progress. Open water is much different. In addition to the lack of visual cues available in the pool, the water is colder, there might be some waves and the ‘pool length’ can be as long as a mile!

The second advantage to bilateral breathing is that it will allow you to see to the right and left. When swimming in the ocean, the usual course traverses down and back along the beach. If you only breathe to one side, half of your race will have NO visible cues toward the shore. Watching the shoreline is extremely helpful for straight swimming in the ocean.

Other advantages include being able to breath away from oncoming waves or fumes from boats during escorted swims.

Another skill to practice in the pool is lifting your head to see forward while swimming. The easiest way is to lift your head forward just before taking a breath to the side. I use the forward motion to look and then breathe to the side. Breathing head forward is not suggested since it requires too much energy to lift the head high enough for a breath and will cause slower swimming. Swim head up freestyle in the pool and see how difficult it is compared with head down swimming.

Try to get comfortable with this peek forward in the pool where it is relatively calm. It will be more difficult in open water, especially in the ocean.

How often is it necessary to look forward? That depends upon your straight line swimming ability coupled with and course conditions. Ideally, the less head lifting, the better, but swimming off course is also not advantageous. Initially, try only looking forward every 10 strokes (each arm counts as one).

Temperatures in open water are usually colder and may require a quicker stroke rate, -how much time it takes to complete your arm pull-. In open water, stroke rate is determined by counting once for each arm as it starts pulling through the water.

The rate is determined by counting each arm stroke for one minute (or counting for 30 seconds and multiplying by 2, or counting for 15 seconds and multiplying by 4). The best open water swimmers in the world have stroke rates between 70 and 90 strokes per minute, with women generally on the higher end of that scale. A faster stroke rate will assist in keeping a swimmer warmer in cold water. Have a friend time your rate in the pool. If it is under 60, you may want to work on increasing it to better handle colder temperatures.

Don’t get frustrated if increasing your stroke rate is difficult. People usually do not have a daily activity where their arm muscles exercise ‘aerobically’. Swimmers develop “aerobic arms” through years of training. A runner’s aerobic capability may not automatically transfer to the pool where the arms are the primary motor instead of the legs. Likewise, I can swim comfortably at 80 strokes per minutes after years of training, but watch out if I’m out running; my labored breathing can be heard miles away.

I have one more suggestion with which some coaches may disagree; modifying the stroke recovery. The ‘recovery’ is how a swimmer brings the arm out of the water and back to the front after completing a stroke. Many times coaches teach swimmers to sharply bend their elbow during the recovery. This usually brings the hand close to the surface of the water. This type of recovery may not work as well in waves. A majority of open water marathon swimmers use a straight arm recovery as opposed to a bent elbow recovery. I believe a straight arm recovery works better in waves and also helps reduce strain on the shoulder. The pectoral muscles work more to recover the arm when it is straight while the shoulder and rotator cuff muscles work more to recover the arm when it is bent at the elbow. Experiment with your recovery and see what works best for you, bent, straight, or somewhere in between. All types have been used by fast swimmers and world record holders; Janet Evans being a prime example.

Equipment

The basics, cap suit and goggles are the same with some small variations. A thicker cap (made of silicon as opposed to latex) might be preferable to keep the head warmer. Sometimes a swimming cap does not stay on very well and continually slips. This can be extremely annoying during a race. Try wearing a new cap which isn’t stretched out. Another tip, avoid hair conditioner for several days before a race. Conditioner makes the hair slippery and helps the cap slide. If the water and air are hot, and your hair short, a cap may not be necessary. Tinted goggles which reflect the sun and reduce glare can also be helpful, but they are not a necessity.

A special swimming suit is not necessary although chaffing is a consideration when selecting your attire. Rub marks on the skin from the suit and body parts can occur and are likely in salt water. The more salt, the more rubs. When I swam the12 mile race around Key West, the water was so salty that all of the seams of my suit creates rub marks which was very unusual. Rub areas include the armpit, inner thighs, neck and bust line. Women have more trouble because of their suits at the neck and bust line near the armpit. Men can have trouble where their beard or whiskers rub against their neck and arms. Vasoline, lanolin, bag balm or other grease can be used to prevent chafe marks. For beginners, apply grease in the armpit, neck and inner thigh. If rubs are going to occur in other areas, you’ll find out ‘where’ after a few training swims. Some swimmers use gloves, a rag or even a stick off the beach to apply grease without getting it on their hands. Grease on the hands can easily get on the goggles and obscure your vision. If you are wearing a suit which zips up the back, the zipper at the top often rubs the skin. Sewing a small piece of felt or chamois cloth between the zipper closure and skin will prevent chaffing.

Also, don’t forget sunblock if you are out during peak sun hours. Experiment and find out what works best for your skin. Waterproof does not necessarily mean that the block will work for hours on end. If you are planning a long training swim, try to start early in the morning before the sun’s rays reach their peak.

First open water foray.

Now that you have practiced a couple of skills, you are ready for your first open water swim. Your location will dictate which sites are available. Be smart for your first start. If it is raining and cold with 20 mile per hour winds, put your swim off to another day.

Research the site where you plan to swim. Safety should always be your first priority. Are there lifeguards on duty? If yes, let them know your swim plans; direction, time and/or distance. If not, don’t swim alone. Have someone kayak, paddle, swim or walk the shore along your side. Try to stay close to shore in water depth where you can stand unless the ocean surf dictates otherwise. Find out the water temperature so you will have a better idea what to expect. Are there hazards such as rip currents in the area? What water creatures might be encountered? Talk to the lifeguards or other local swimmers in order to get information about the site.

Have an escape plan from your swim if the weather or your body takes a turn for the worse. This is easy during a shoreline beach swim, just get out and walk back to the start.

Getting In

Take a moment before getting in the water to look and see what’s available for landmarks to help gauge your location during your swim. The sun is the easiest landmark to use if it is low in the sky. If you are swimming a straight course and the sun is directly to your left while breathing, watching it will help gauge your position. If it suddenly appears in front, you’re off course and need to readjust.

The ocean or lake shoreline is another excellent landmark that can be seen on each breath (assuming bilateral breathing is part of your repertoire) and are easy to use when swimming an ‘out and back’ course along the shore.

In a lake, there may be a large tree sticking up above the horizon or a brightly colored house across the lake which can be used to keep aim; finally, a reason to be thankful for a homeowner’s bright pink paint selection. Try to use landmarks which are tall or high above the horizon as opposed to those close to the water level. If a landmark is low, it may be difficult to see if there are waves or swell. Look for tall buildings, water towers or church steeples. While swimming at open water camp in Mooselookmeguntic Lake in Maine -yes, that is the actual name of the lake- mountains in the area provided excellent landmarks.

Swimmers have a saying, “The worst part of workout is getting in the pool.” Getting into open water isn’t any easier. Is better to get in slowly and adjust to the temperature or get in quickly? Try both and see which is preferable, either is acceptable with one caveat. If the air temperature is cold, a lot of body heat can be lost while “getting in” if it takes several minutes. Better to get in quickly and lose less body heat than slowly and get chilled before starting. If the water is cold but the air is warm, and sun is shining, it’s OK to take longer getting in since your body’s not losing heat.

Many open water athletes swim for time rather than distance for their training. While watching your wristwatch, time might seem like it is DRAGGING! This is fairly common. Five minutes seems like twenty. Don’t worry; your ‘time sense’ will improve with more open water practice. Adjusting to swimming for long periods without turns, takes time.

Take it easy and try to enjoy your first open water experience. Check in after the first few minutes, and ask yourself, “Am I relaxed?” If the answer is ‘no’, concentrate on relaxing your muscles and see if that helps your comfort level improve. The mind is your company during open water swims, and its important to keep the “little voice” (sometimes it’s shouting) in your head echoing a positive message. Try to keep the ‘negative’ thoughts (this stinks!) to a minimum. Sometimes it’s helpful to yell out negative thoughts, “This water is FREEZING” or “These waves are horrible!”, and get them out of your system.

Don’t be concerned if your first experience isn’t nirvana. Remember back, learning to ride a bike or drive a car? Those skills weren’t second nature the first time either. The more experience gained in open water, the higher your comfort level.

Diana Nyad Prepares to Swim Among the Sharks

Xtreme Dream. The mission Diana Nyad has undertaken. At 61y/o she has a BIG challenge ahead of her. Nyad’s preparing to swim non-stop from Cuba to Key West. Her first attempt at this record breaking 103 mile swim through shark infested, treacherous water was in 1978, more that 30 years ago. This time she plans to do it without a shark cage.

So why now? Diana realized time was passing her by. It was now or never. So Diana stepped up to the challenge, beginning to train. Diana dove into her challenge feet first, committing to do whatever was necessary. In fact when she was prepared to do the swim in 2010 and the visas for Cuba did not arrive in time she committed to an additional year of training.

As a long distance endurance swimmer, Diana has carefully developed her game plan to take her the full distance. Although the swim will take longer, about 60 hours, she feels better prepared for the swim this time than at 29y/o.

Nyad claims the secret to successfully completing her swim is remaining in control, no matter what. Her strategy includes maintaining mental focus. Imagine swimming stroke after stroke with nothing on the horizon but more water. For long distance swimming Nyad does not look ahead. Never. Instead she looks at the safety boat alongside her to maintain her course.

Remaining time or distance is not a concern to Diana while swimming. Her team has strict orders not to tell her the time. While swimming she’ll visualize herself approaching the palm trees and sandy shores of Key West. Visualization has been a primary tool in her training regimen.

Delirium is a very real concern. To stay alert and focused Nyad will pick a song, singing to herself repeatedly. “I do sing all kinds of songs. Like I’ll take a Neil Young song and sing it two thousand times,” claims Nyad. Her strokes follow the cadence of the beat.

The mission to swim this course requires resiliency. Physically she is capable of doing the swim. There is no doubt in her mind. Being able to endure the physical challenges of being bitten by poisonous jellyfish, dehydration, starvation and sleep deprivation are understood. Her strong determination to reach the Florida shore provides momentum to override the physical discomforts.

Developing a game plan to overcome physical and mental exhaustion was crucial. Diana relies on her team of 22 members to watch out for sharks, keeping her on course and providing nourishment every 90 minutes while treading water. While swimming Diana continues to sing over and over to keep her mind focused, battling monotony and possibly hallucinations. Strong, powerful visualizations keep her focused on the goal. Regardless of the challenges she faces along the way, remaining calm is the key to success.

In spite of her age, Nyad believes she is better positioned for successfully completing her swim this time around. Aside from improved technology during the past three decades, her primary change is her mindset. Her first attempt at the swim in 1978 was driven by anger as a result of sexual abuse through her teenage years. Acceptance has transitioned her anger to love. Her love is a source of strength.During an interview with Marlo Thomas, Nyad states she “worked through a lot and found a lot of acceptance and are now just trying to appreciate life.”

Diana plans to walk away from swimming once she achieves this milestone. She takes away the satisfaction of throwing herself into something with passion. Personal challenges to reach new heights, stretching her comfort zone, is something she plans to continue doing for the rest of her life. It is the challenge which gives her life meaning.

Activity: Do you have a dream within you? Are you taking action? Do you know where you are stopping yourself? You’re not the only one. The difference between winners and all the rest is action. Successful athletes take decisive action although it is uncomfortable. Fear does not stop them from taking the next step. What is one action step you could begin now?

Playing it safe is easy. It keeps you in your comfort zone, requiring minimal risk. To reach your goal, requires becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable. Growth occurs with risk taking. Some of the most important insights result from failure. It’s just a matter of perspective.

Swimming Across the Gulf of Mexico

Is it possible for a human being to swim across the Gulf of Mexico? I bet some day someone tries and succeeds. I had a dream about this, but then I woke up and remembered although I am a good swimmer, I am not that good!

In the Gulf of Mexico we all know that the water temperatures are warm enough not to worry about hypothermia and a person would be able to swim with those issues. Of course they would need some high-tech gear and here are some thoughts; when they’re ready to sleep after a days swim they would press a button on their swimsuit and it would make into a raft and set the GPS so they know how far they have gone.

When they are done sleeping they can press another button and the raft will collapse back into their swimming trunks. You are probably thinking this technology does not exist? But it does exist and it could easily be retrofitted so someone could swim across the Gulf of Mexico.

What about sharks you say? Well on your swim trunks could be a solar powered unit, which would sense for sharks and when necessary send out an electrical impulse to make them go away. This technology also exists too.

Who might try to swim across the Gulf of Mexico? Well, someone has already swam from Cuba to Key West Florida and that is nearly 90 miles. A Frenchman in a canoe rowed across the Pacific Ocean. There have been people who have jogged across Australia and people who have jogged across United States. Someday some superhuman Olympic caliber athlete with the stamina and ability will indeed try to swim across the Gulf of Mexico. It will most likely happen in our lifetime and we will witness this event.

Impact of Social Media on Society

“Do you have Facebook?”

“Yes, of course. But I don’t think you can find me, as there are too many people who have the same name as me. Try searching with my surname as well.”

“Hey, you celebrated your birthday in K-Box, right? I saw the photos in your Facebook.”

“Bro, I saw your comments about the YouTube video that I’ve posted in my blog. I’m happy that you are also deeply moved by the ‘Dancing Peacock Man’ as well.”

Social media or “social networking” has almost become part of our daily lives and being tossed around over the past few years. It is like any other media such as newspaper, radio and television but it is far more than just about sharing information and ideas. Social networking tools like Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and Blogs have facilitated creation and exchange of ideas so quickly and widely than the conventional media. The power of define and control a brand is shifting from corporations and institutions to individuals and communities. It is no longer on the 5Cs (e.g. condominium, credit cards and car) that Singaporeans once talked about. Today, it is about the brand new Cs: creativity, communication, connection, creation (of new ideas and products), community (of shared interests), collaboration and (changing the game of) competition.

In January 2010, InSites Consulting has conducted an online survey with 2,884 consumers from over 14 countries between the ages of 18 to 55 years old on social networking. More than 90% of participants know at least 1 social networking site and 72% of participants are members of at least 1 social networking site. On the average, people have about 195 friends and they log in twice a day to social networking sites. However, 55% of the users cannot access their social network websites at work. In the past, not many adults were able to make more than 500 friends, but with social media, even a child or teenager can get to know more than 500 people in a few days by just clicking the mouse. Social media has devalued the traditional definition of “friend” where it means trust, support, compatible values, etc. Although we get to know more people, we are not able to build strong bond with all the people whom we met as our available time is limited. Hence, there is an upcoming social trend of people with wider social circles, but weaker ties (people we don’t know very well but who provide us with useful information and ideas).

Social media also influences people’s buying behaviours. Digital Influence Group reported that 91% of the people say consumer reviews are the #1 aid to buying decisions and 87% trust a friend’s recommendation over critic’s review. It is thrice more likely to trust peer opinions over advertising for purchasing decisions. 1 word-of-mouth conversation has an impact of 200 TV ads. With the prevalence use of social media, there is numerous news related to it from the most viewed YouTube video on “Armless pianist wins ‘China’s Got Talent'” to Web-assisted suicide cases (e.g. New Jersey college student who killed himself after video of him in a sexual encounter with another man was posted online). Thus, does social networking make us better or worse off as a society?

Positive Effects of Social Media

Besides having opportunity to know a lot of people in a fast and easy way, social media also helped teenagers who have social or physical mobility restrictions to build and maintain relationships with their friends and families. Children who go overseas to study can still stay in meaningful contact with their parents. To a greater extend, there is anecdotal evidence of positive outcomes from these technologies.

In 2008, President-elected Obama won the election through the effective use of social media to reach millions of audience or voters. The Obama campaign had generated and distributed huge amount of contents and messages across email, SMS, social media platforms and their websites. Obama and his campaign team fully understood the fundamental social need that everyone shares – the need of being “who we are”. Therefore, the campaign sent the message as “Because It’s about YOU” and chose the right form of media to connect with individuals, call for actions and create community for a social movement. They encouraged citizens to share their voices, hold discussion parties in houses and run their own campaign meetings. It truly changed the delivery of political message.

Obama campaign had made 5 million “friends” on more than 15 social networking sites (3 million friends on Facebook itself) and posted nearly 2,000 YouTube videos which were watched over 80 million times. At its peak, their website, MyBarackObama.com, had 8.5 million monthly visitors and produced 400,000 blog posts. In order to ensure that their contents were found by people, the Obama campaign spent $3.5 million on Google search in October alone, $600,000 on Advertising.com, $467,000 on Facebook in 2008, etc. Currently, Obama’s Twitter account has close to 6 million followers.

In 2010, after the earthquake happened in Haiti, many of the official communication lines were down. The rest of the world was not able to grasp the full picture of the situation there. To facilitate the sharing of information and make up for the lack of information, social media came in very handy to report the news about the affected area on what happened and what help was needed. Tweets from many people provided an impressive overview of the ongoing events from the earthquake. BBC covered the event by combining tweets from the work of its reporter Matthew Price in Port-au-Prince at the ground. Guardian’s live blog also used social media together with the information from other news organisations to report about the rescue mission.

It has been two years since CNN officially launched iReport as a section of its website where people can upload video material, with contact information. During the Haiti crisis, CNN had published a range of social media material but not all the materials were verified. The editorial staff would vet the reports from the citizen journalists and labeled them differently compared to unverified contents. On Facebook, a group, named “Earthquake Haiti”, was formed to show support and share updates and news. It had more than 14,000 members and some users even pleaded for assistance to the injured Haitians in the group. Using email, Twitter and social networking sites like Facebook, thousands of volunteers as part of Project Ushahidi were able to map reports sent by people from Haiti.

The most impressive part of the social media’s impact on Haiti is the charity text-message donations that soared to over $10 million for the victims in Haiti. People interested in helping the victims are encouraged to text, tweet and publicize their support using various social networking sites. The Global Philanthropy Group had also started a campaign to ask wealthy people and celebrities, like Ben Stiller and John Legend to use Twitter and Facebook to encourage others to give to UNICEF. An aid worker, Saundra Schimmelpfennig, allowed the advice from other aid workers and donors to post on her blog regarding to choosing which charitable organisations to support. In the meantime, donors were asking questions in Twitter, Facebook and blogs about their donations and endorsements of their favourite charities. After every crisis, the social media for social cause becomes a more effective medium to spread the word.

Negative Effects of Social Media

There are always two sides of every coin. Social media is just a tool or mean for people to use. It is still up to the users on how to use this tool (just like a knife, can help you to cut food or hurt others). Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center conducted a study on “The Future of Online Socializing” from the highly engaged, diverse set of respondents to an online, opt-in survey consisted of 895 technology stakeholders and critics. The negative effects presented by the respondents included time spent online robs time from important face-to-face relationships; the internet fosters mostly shallow relationships; the act of leveraging the internet to engage in social connection exposes private information; the internet allows people to silo themselves, limiting their exposure to new ideas; and the internet is being used to engender intolerance.

Some respondents also highlighted that there will be development of some new psychological and medical syndromes that will be “variations of depression caused by the lack of meaningful quality relationships”, and a “new world society”. The term, “Social Networking”, has begun to deceive the users to believe they are social creatures. For instance, spending a couple of hours using Farmville and chatting with friends concurrently does not convert into social skills. People become dependent on the technology and forget how to socialise in face-to-face context. The online personality of a person might be totally different from his/her offline character, causing chaos when the two personalities meet. It is apparent in online dating when the couple gets together in face-to-face for the first time. Their written profiles do not clearly represent their real-life characters. It is more enticing for people to type something that others want to hear than saying the truth.

Besides the “friendship”, creators of social networking sites and users redefine the term, “privacy” in the Internet as well. The challenge in data privacy is to share data while protecting personally identifiable information. Almost any information posted on social networking sites is permanent. Whenever someone posts pictures or videos on the web, it becomes viral. When the user deletes a video from his/her social network, someone might have kept it and then posted it onto other sites like YouTube already. People post photographs and video files on social networking sites without thinking and the files can reappear at the worst possible time. In 2008, a video of a group of ACJC students hazing a female student in school on her birthday was circulated and another video of a SCDF recruit being “welcomed” (was hosed with water and tarred with shoe polish) to a local fire station made its way online.

Much news has been reported about online privacy breach in Facebook and Facebook is constantly revising their privacy policy and changing their privacy controls for the users. Interestingly, even when users delete their personal information and deactivate their Facebook account, Facebook will still keep that information and will continue to use it for data mining. A reporter asked whether the data will at least be anonymized. The Facebook representative declined to comment.

In the corporate world, human resource managers can access Facebook or MySpace to get to know about a candidate’s true colours, especially when job seekers do not set their profiles to private. Research has found that almost half of employers have rejected a potential worker after finding incriminating material on their Facebook pages. Some employers have also checked the candidates’ online details in Facebook pages to see if they are lying about their qualifications. Nowadays, younger generations have a complete disregard for their own privacy, opening doors to unwelcome predators or stalkers.

There Are Differences Between an Adult Baseball Glove and a Youth Baseball Glove

The Youth Baseball Glove

There is a difference between a baseball glove and a baseball mitt. A glove has separate fingers while a mitt is like a huge mitten with all the fingers in one space. Catchers are generally the only players wearing mitts.

There are differences between an adult glove and a youth glove. Size and function are 2 of those differences. Fit is probably most important to getting the right glove. If it’s too big or too small it is very difficult to control the ball one is trying to catch with it. This can lead to frustration and disinterest for the youth baseball player. To fit the youth glove properly start with a measurement of the glove. This is done with a tailor’s tape. A hard ruler will not conform to the hand and will give an incorrect measurement. Measure the baseball glove from the tip of the middle finger (or tallest spot on the glove), down across the palm, to the wrist.

Children’s gloves (ages 5-6) range in size from 10-10 ½; youth gloves (ages 7-12) range in size from 10 ½ -11 ½ depending on the size and age of the child. High-schooler and adult gloves range in size from 11- 12 ½ depending on the position played. The glove gets larger the farther the position played is from the pitcher’s mound. So an outfielder’s glove will be larger then an infield glove.

The materials have changed in gloves as well. While the traditional glove, the one from out of the past, was hard cowhide, today’s baseball gloves are made from a number of different materials. This helps to make the baseball glove of just the right stiffness-not too hard and not too floppy. The youth baseball glove is designed for the child whose strength and dexterity are still developing, as well as eye to hand coordination. Hence, picking the right baseball glove is of great importance, something better accomplished in person than on the internet.

So now we’ve gotten just the right youth glove for our budding ball player. What next? Now, the baseball glove needs to be “broken in”. Most people like to rub something into the leather to break it in. There are numerous products to accomplish this: Vaseline, neat’s-foot oil, mink oil, saddle soap, even shaving cream. Many people tie a baseball into the center after applying the oil. The important thing when treating the it is to be careful not to apply too much of whichever product is used. Too much oil will soften the leather too much and cause it to disintegrate quickly. Of course, the best way to break in all new gloves is to use it. So the next step: play ball!

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What Is The Difference Between Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Currently both autism and autism spectrum disorder are under the same heading as autism. Yet, they are separate and the children have some very different characteristics. One of the standard landmarks for diagnosing someone with autism is speech and or communication. The child lack speech and does not hit the normal landmarks of speech. Along with the lack of speech, there are socialization problems with eye contact and general interaction. A child who has autism may not want to be held by his mother or father–rebelling and screaming when held, or when the parent tries to socially interact. Also, the child is obsessed with an object and may give these objects living qualities. Most of these children have sensory problems, which lead to behavior problems–protecting their own word. Due to the speech and language defects, the child has most of the process problems children with speech problems have: retreval memory (long and short term), and word organization.

So these are the characteristics of all children with autism–yet, the difference between autism and autism spectrum disorder are clearly separated by one thing: IQ. Most child who have been traditional said to have autism have an IQ of 36 to 50 (or lower), making them severely or moderately mentally impaired. Children, with ASD (autism spectrum disorder) have IQ above 70 (low average); consequently, the large majority of these children have average IQ (average Joe IQ–like many of us) and some have high average to genius IQ. Children with ASD are not mentally impaired. They are children with a normal IQ, who have the characteristics of autism.

This makes the difference between ASD and traditional autism, along with the ability to train the child with ASD opposed to the child with tradition autism: a person with an average IQ is able to reason and learn much better than someone who is mentally impaired. A child with ASD and a normal IQ may have a lack of speech; but a speech therapist will have an easier time teaching this child language than a child who is mentally impaired. A child with an average IQ, with sensory and speech problems will need the same intense occupational therapy as a child who is mentally impaired–but, the child who has an average IQ will do much better in therapy and be able to learn from therapy–than some one who is mentally impaired.

Therefore, the best therapies for children who are ASD are: speech, occupational therapy, social groups,and behavioral therapy. The speech therapy to help the child to learn to communicate and help with processing problems of retrieval and memory. Occupational therapy for the sensory problems, that cause much of the negative behavior. Along with behavior modification to work with the child’s behavior and show them why their “protective behavior” does not work. Also, social groups which many speech therapy program run along with a social worker to help children communicate. The primary two needed at the youngest age possible: speech and occupational therapy (sensory therapy)–which many early intervention programs do have occupational therapist who are certified in sensory integration therapy.

With the therapies done early in life and as the child with ASD goes through the various early programs offered by the school district and ones you will privately pay for (or you may be lucky enough to have an insurance company who will pay for some therapy)–you will see improvement in your child. As the speech and sensory problems get to a manageable level–with behavior modification and social groups being able to be placed in mix, you child with ASD will be able to be mainstreamed with some supports (speech and language along with social work (OT if necessary but in the school they are only concerned with activities of daily living not sensory problems) A child who is traditional autistic will not be able to be mainstreamed. He or she, since the child is mentally impaired, will not be able to function in a mainstreamed environment. A child with ADS with maturity will be able to understand what socially acceptable behavior is–a child with autism (due to being mentally impaired) will not mature and will not be able to understand socially acceptable behavior.

Children with ADS, aspergers, turrets, and sensory integration dysfunction disorder: all fall under the umbrella of Pervasive developmental disorder (which is a mental illness in the DRGS)–traditional autism is not under this umbrella. The difference between the Pervasive developmental disorder and traditional autism is not the behavior but the IQ. All the children with “autism” have: behavior, processing, speech and other problems–with the only difference being IQ. What the increase in autism has been in is (the 1 out of 100) is pervasive developmental disorder not traditional autism. The child with ADS with therapy and mainstreaming will be able to function in society at some point, if they mature and their talents are developed. There was a movie with Claire Danes about a woman with aspergers, who became very successful. People with aspergers are generally not mentally impaired but socially impaired (as most with PDD). Social behavior can be learned and though behavior modification therapy it can be taught. Also, due to the processing problems children with ASD may need additional help with school work, so they can live up to their true potential. An IEP with supports should be placed early in the child’s academic career, so they will get the basic skills of reading and writing needed to survive later years of education.

Children with ASD and other PDD can be taught through hard work and therapy to obtain successful behavior and to be mainstreamed into normal society. Therapy should be started eerily to help bring out the talents of the child with ASD, PDD, and autism–with no quick fixes of curing autism, just years of therapy (behavior, OT, speech, and social group) along with hours of tutoring to help your child reach their academic goals.

As for treatments that are not scientifically proven: chelation and hyperbaric chambers: for autism and autism spectrum disorder. A child who is mentally impaired will not become a genius due to adding oxygen to their brain or removing mercury from their system, autism is a congenital defect. These treatments have been compared with people with cerebral palsy, some children/adult with cerebral palsy function at an average IQ. Damage in the womb or a congenital defect will not be corrected with: taking the mercy that has already caused the damage or giving brain cells that already been damaged more oxygen. The research does not support this, nor does medical logic support this – it just makes no sense.

Therefore the best thing parents could do to defeat autism, is make sure your child is diagnosed early and be patient, it does get better with ASD and PDD as your child matures. Get the therapy you can afford, and do what the therapist tell you to do at home. Make sure you use as many school services as you can, and interact with other parents who have child with ASD and PDD –these would be perfect family to connect with in social groups. As for supplement. If you can get whole food supplements with a multivitamin and Calcium, so the child with ASD poor eating habits will not effect their nutrition (make sure they are soft gel so a small amount will easily go in your child’s drink).

Kids & Gratitude = Magic!

Have you ever lain in bed at night wondering what kind of future your kids will have with a world gone hay-wire? Will your kids be successful? Will they have enough money, clean air or clean water? Will they be able to afford housing, schooling and own their own car? Will they live their unique purpose? Will they be happy? No wonder you may have sleepless nights? Is your child being bullied, are they overweight, too skinny, too shy, too loud, overly quiet, can’t focus, focuses too much… or an untold number of countless things that cause you or they, to worry?

How may you shift your child’s focus from what is wrong, to what is right in their lives? How may you empower your child to attract all the good that he, or she deserves? What if you keep it so simple that it takes only three to four minutes a day for your child to do? Would that be worth something to you? Absolutely! Because the truth is, at the end of the day you want to know you have done a great job as a parent, teacher or caregiver! However, your time and energy aren’t bottomless. So, it makes sense for your child to develop a habit, a system that gives you both the best bang for your time. Do you have an idea of what this power is? I make reference to it in the title.

What I’m talking about is the power of gratitude. I wish my parents had taught me the power of gratitude when I was little! Have you already taught your child to get up in the morning, look at themselves in the mirror and state what they are grateful for? Yes, no, maybe? To start off with, you can make it into a game, until it becomes a habit. You can do it together! You can laugh out loud, dance around the room, play music as you and your child chant what you’re both grateful for. Live in the present moment!

If you don’t believe me that gratitude is powerful, let’s do this simple experiment. Put a post-it note or a smiley face on your bathroom mirror. This is a trigger to remind your child, or you to take three to four minutes each morning, to say what you’re grateful for! Have your kids practice this with you the first time. This is meant to benefit both of you. They will follow your lead. I have no doubt they will think you are silly, even as they smile. Remember, what you focus on you attract. Kids + gratitude = magic of attracting all the good they deserve.

Does it not make sense to empower your child with skills they may use for the rest of their life? Totally! Have fun with this! Know you are doing the best job you can as a parent, teacher or caregiver! Because, when your kids learn to be grateful for all that they are and have in the present moment… seemingly magical moments are attracted to them. With each new success, your child’s confidence grows and with it, the knowledge of how powerful gratitude really is!

Wishing you and your kids all the success you and they desire!