Rss

Archives for : General

How to Dispose of Your Old Medications

When we receive a prescription from a doctor, it is customary for us to continue taking the pills until they are gone, even if we start to feel better a few days in. However, many people do not follow that advice and they end up with half-finished bottles of pills. These then sit in their medicine cabinets sometimes for years on end. Some like to hold onto these pills so they can just use them the next time they get sick. However, medications do not last forever. Some of them lose their potency, and thus their use, over time. Some others become toxic and should not be used at all past a certain point.

OK, have we now convinced you that you should take all of your pills? That means it is now time to get rid of the old ones. However, do not flush them down the toilet or throw them in the garbage. Old drugs must be disposed of in a certain fashion for safety reasons.

Drugs flushed down the loo end up in rivers, with that water then sent to treatment plants. While the water coming into your house has been treated for your safety, these processes do not catch and remove pharmaceutical drugs. Thus, the medications you are flushing away will end up in someone’s water. Or fish and other animals that live in or near water. Even though diluted, they can still have a negative effect.

You are probably thinking, well, I’ll just throw them in the garbage then. Wrong — pills and capsules melt when exposed to moisture and that can end up as runoff that goes into rivers and you have the same problem again.

Fortunately, the answer is quite easy. Get all of your outdated and unused medications and bring them to your local pharmacy. They will dispose of them in a proper and safe manner at no cost to you.

Tired of Being Shy? Try These Tips!

Would you describe yourself as being a shy person? There are many introverts in the world and some find it challenging to be comfortable around certain individuals or groups. There is nothing necessarily wrong with that, though it can make life a bit more complicated and difficult.

Are you tired of being shy? Would you like to be a bit more outgoing and talkative with strangers? If so, try out the following suggestions:

Look people in the eye

In some cultures, eye contact is considered rude. However, in the West, it is a show of respect. Certain shy people have trouble maintaining eye contact with others, but it is a necessary skill when it comes to feeling comfortable in social and work situations.

Try maintaining eye contact with people you are already comfortable with. Watch the rhythms; staring at someone nonstop can be creepy and inappropriate. You will learn through doing to know when eye contact is appropriate and when it is fine to occasionally look away.

Test and experiment

If you find yourself feeling uncomfortable in groups, think of occasions where you can dip your toe into the water. These should be low stakes; in other words, if you feel uncomfortable, getting up and leaving does not matter. Try these a few times and you will gradually become more and more comfortable spending time with groups of people.

See a therapist

Being shy is not a psychiatric condition, though extreme versions of it (eg. being so intimidated that you do not ever leave your home) do exist. If you feel that your shyness is an extreme case, it is a good idea to talk about it with a therapist. They will have a number of ideas on how you can start to feel more comfortable and overcome this challenge once and for all.

How to Deal With Difficult Clients

Talk candidly with any business owner and they will likely have a view of clients somewhere along the lines of “cannot live with them, cannot live without them.” It is true that clients are the lifeblood of many businesses, but that does not mean that the relationship between each side is always a smooth one.

Are you struggling with a particularly difficult client? Here are some things you can try that might help:

Consider your approach

Sometimes what you say is not always as important as how you say it. When trying to smooth over any conflict, the remedy is always important, but how you present it can also make a major difference. Think about your past dealings with this client, what did and did not work, and go from there.

Think about your reputation

There are no doubt some clients who you would like to tear strip off of, but think about the possible repercussions of such a drastic action. If you go scorched-earth on someone, it can prompt them to badmouth you throughout your industry. That can lead to serious reputation problems and possible loss of business. Think seriously about whether it is worth it; chances are, it is not. Take it was a learning experience and move on.

Make sure you do the homework

When trying to work out a situation, make sure you take the time to have all of the details and know them inside and out. The fact that you are being this thorough demonstrates to the client that you care about their business and are sincere about fixing the situation.

Admit your mistakes

If the problem arose from a mistake on your end, it is important to own up to it. Trying to fob the blame off on the client will just make the situation even worse and possibly irreparable.

Warning Signs That You Might be Experiencing Depression

Depression can strike any of us. Regardless, there is still an unfortunate stigma attached to this condition which can prevent people from seeking help. While depression is an increasingly common diagnosis, many people still adhere to the old stereotype that depression is a form of insanity. This is not correct and not fair.

Do you think you might be suffering from depression? Here are some warning signs:

Compromised Brain Functions

Do you usually pride yourself on having an excellent memory? Depression can cause both long and short-term memory to be adversely affected.

Your concentration level may also not seem as good as usual. As a result, you might feel less sure of yourself and have trouble making decisions.

Low Energy

Are you usually the type of person who can’t wait to start the day, but you are now having trouble getting out of bed? Energy levels tend to drop due to depression.

Sleep Problems

People who normally get a sound sleep may find that they now have bouts of insomnia. Conversely, they may discover that they are sleeping longer, but not feeling any more rested.

Feeling Hopeless

Are you usually optimistic about life and your career, but now no longer see the bright side? Do you find there is nothing to look forward to in life?

Eating Problems

Are you now overeating, particularly “comfort foods,” in an attempt to make yourself feel better? Or are you no longer eating enough?

Physical Pain

In addition to mental anguish, depression can actually cause instances of physical pain, such as muscle aches and even headaches.

Thoughts of Suicide

Do you ever feel so despondent that you think about killing yourself? Is it just a passing thought or have you actually come up with a plan?

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please consider seeing a therapist to discuss your situation.

Why Cats Make Great Pets

Dogs vs Cats seems to be the eternal argument. Both sides have their ardent defenders, but today we have come to celebrate the joys of having a feline in your life. Cats can be more challenging and less predictable than dogs, but for some, that is part of their appeal. Here are some reasons why you should consider adding a cat to your life:

Independence

We all like our pets to depend on us to a certain extent, but dogs require a considerable commitment that can be quite challenging, especially if you work outside of your home. Cats are much less work: no walks (unless you have one of those few cats that are into this), no bathing needed, and you can easily leave a cat alone for two or three days without worry. Just put out adequate food and water and you’re good!

Playful

Dogs are known for being playful, but cats can be wonderful in this area, too. Just try dangling a string over your kitty sometime. Cats can be hours of entertainment; they may not play fetch, but felines still find ways to become and stay engaged. Felines don’t require the same degree of engagement as dogs, but you should still spend regular time with them.

Purr and Cuddle

If you have an affectionate cat, they can be a great deal of fun to be around. Warm and fluffy, they also emit that wonderful purring noise that can be quite relaxing and delightful.

You Can Train Them

Cats have a reputation for being untrainable, but that’s not true. It is easy to get them to use a litter box (just try doing that with a dog), and you can also train them to not scratch your furniture or do other destructive things. However, this does require some patience.

 

The Internet’s Negative Effects on Education

 

The internet has changed the world in many ways. To site just one example, information has never been easier to access. However, this also means that it is now simpler than before to spread misinformation, which can have terrible results (e.g. fake news and Donald Trump’s election victory).

The accessibility of facts can certainly making learning easier and more efficiently delivered, but the internet has also had some very negative effects on education:

Corner Cutting

One of the main ways that essays and reports benefit students is that they help to stimulate creativity. You have to spend time and problem solve to come up with a topic or information that will allow you to fulfill the parameters of the assignment. With the internet, a pupil can just go online and instantly find examples to emulate. This hinders the development of the skills that they will need both in school and on the job.

Cheating

Another aspect of corner cutting is cheating. Previously a student would have to look for something or hire someone to write a paper for them. Now they can go online and cut and paste things in seconds. Not only does this hurt them, it is easily discerned as teachers can use the internet to check on sections of papers (or entire papers) that do not seem to be that student’s work.

There are also sites where students can buy pre-written essays or commission ones related to that particular assignment.

Time Wasting

There are so many ways to waste time on the internet that you could literally spend entire days doing just that. Students already find some classes difficult to care about; with their laptops and smartphones, they can instantly zone out. This can also tempt them to do the same even during subjects that would regularly engage them.

Does Turner Classic Movies Have a Future?

Established in the 1990s, Turner Classic Movies has been a godsend for fans of old movies. During a period when fewer and fewer stations are showing movies that date before the 1990s, TCM continues to embrace the format. On almost any given day, you can tune in to see a mystery from the 1930s, a western from the 1940s, a horror movie from the 1950s, or a romantic comedy from the 1960s.

Veteran TCM host Robert Osborne, who died earlier this year. By Peabody Awards (Turner Classic Movies) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

As you might expect, TCM’s regular audience skews older. Like cable news networks, this is a problem for the station as they will eventually lose them, not to other channels, but to death. Old movies are a wonderful way to learn about the past and appreciate the stars and cinematic techniques that led to the long-term development and popularity of the movies as an art form.

However, the key to ensuring continued viewership is through young people and that is increasingly a challenge for the network. When I was a child, there was not nearly as much to choose from entertainment-wise. I actually developed a fondness for old movies out of desperation; there was nothing else on, so I watched them. Nowadays, with hundreds of channels and so many other diversions available, getting young people interested in sitting down to a slow, possibly clunky, and (horrors!) maybe even black and white movie is a very tough sell. As the audience for such programming declines, the station is faced with some tough choices, including the possibility of adding commercials as a way of increasing revenue.

That would be a real shame as TCM feels increasingly like the last stop for old movie lovers. It’s a cultural source that needs to continue, not just for old fogies like me but for the knowledge and entertainment of generations to come.

Are the Cameras in Smartphones Good Enough for You?

It’s getting more and more difficult to remember the days when you had to load film into a camera, take it out, schlep it over to a place that develops film, wait a few days, and then have to pay for the prints. Hell, for some of us, it’s even getting hard to remember what it was like to own a camera. Thanks to smartphones, we have mini photographic and video studios with us at all times. But is the picture quality from a smartphone good enough for your purposes?

The short answer appears to be, yes, they are good enough for the average person. The convenience of smartphones has caused camera sales to plummet, though there are enough hardy hobbyists out there to make their continued manufacture more than worthwhile.

However, for the average person, the smartphone camera meets their needs and the overall quality of these cameras continues to improve. They also make it incredibly easy to instantly share those pictures.

Another huge plus is image editing features. While not offering you as many options as Photoshop, the image editing features in most phones will more than suffice for basic changes and fixes. Image come out too dark? The brightness and contrast features will likely give you something usable.

Smartphones are also incredibly easy to carry around with you, often even more so than a compact camera. Most people would prefer not to carry around two things when one is good enough.

One drawback with smartphones is the lack of lens selection. You can always “pinch” the image and make it larger, but that usually means a noticeable decrease in quality. A proper camera’s zoom lens will do a much better job of enlarging distant detail without reducing it in quality.

Regular cameras will also give you greater resolution, but cameraphones are getting better and better in that regard, too!