Beverages can be sneaky sources of high calories, but that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with plain water. Try these deliciously smart smoothies, cocktails, iced coffees, and fruity refreshers.
Summer’s warmer weather calls for cooling off with plenty of icy cold beverages. But thanks in part to all the sodas, blended coffee drinks, and presweetened bottles of juice, tea, and flavored water available these days, most Americans are consuming way too many calories in the form of sugar—which puts them at greater risk for weight gain and heart disease. Why not make your own summer refreshers at home instead? That way, you can control the amount of sweetener you add, and save calories and cash in the process. Try some of these delicious drink ideas from Sarah Krieger, a registered dietitian based in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Mint-infused water. Bored with plain old H2O? Try adding a few sprigs of fresh mint to a pitcher of water and storing it in the fridge for an instant pick-me-up. “It’s so refreshing and easy,” says Krieger. “And with no calories, it’s a healthy way to stay hydrated in the heat.” Not a fan of mint? Do as spas do and add slices of cucumber for flavor.
Green iced tea. Simply brew four bags of your favorite green tea (for a fruity version, try blueberry or pomegranate green tea) in 4 cups of nearly boiling water, letting it steep for 3 to 5 minutes. After the tea has cooled, add 4 to 8 cups of water, depending on how strong you prefer your tea. Pour over ice and enjoy. Green tea’s antioxidants help protect against cancer, says Krieger.
Fruit and yogurt smoothie. For a luscious, low-fat smoothie, blend 1 cup of frozen berries (½ cup of blueberries mixed with ½ cup of cherries or strawberries is a good combo), ½ cup of nonfat vanilla yogurt, 1 small banana, and ½ cup of orange juice or nonfat milk. “This drink gives you antioxidants, healthy fiber from the whole fruit, and just enough carbohydrates to fuel a morning walk or your afternoon fitness routine,” says Krieger. Optional: Add 2 tablespoons of flax meal or wheat germ for extra omega-3s, fiber, and protein.
White wine spritzer. Summer cocktails don’t have to weigh you down. For an easy, effervescent aperitif, make a spritzer by mixing one part club soda (no calories) with one part white wine. Serve over ice if desired, and garnish with a wedge of lime. This trick saves calories, says Krieger, but still gives you a great-tasting, festive-looking drink to enjoy at cocktail hour.
Lemonade with lavender or rosemary. Make a picnic or brunch extra-special with a pitcher of herb-infused lemonade. Mix 1 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice with 1 cup of simple syrup (1 cup of sugar simmered until dissolved in 1 cup of water). Add 4 to 6 cups of cold water and a few sprigs of lavender or rosemary and serve chilled. Variation: Instead of making simple syrup, try sweetening your lemonade with agave nectar. It blends instantly with cold liquids, and since it’s sweeter than sugar, you can use less of it.
Sangria. Add more or less of what you like when making this easygoing drink, says Krieger, but here’s the basic recipe. In a large pitcher, mix 1 bottle of red wine, ¼ cup of orange liqueur (or ½ cup orange juice), a liter of club soda, and sliced fresh fruit (try oranges, apples, peaches, grapes, and/or berries). Sweeten to taste with agave nectar or sugar. You’ll get health-boosting polyphenols from the red wine.
Creamy iced coffee. Specialty drinks from coffee shops are tempting, but you can make your own cold and creamy concoction at home with Krieger’s recipe. You’ll not only save sugar calories, but you’ll lower the drink’s saturated fat content as well. For one serving, mix 1 cup of strongly brewed coffee, ½ cup of nonfat milk, and 2 tablespoons of nonfat half and half (the secret to the drink’s creamy quality). Lightly sweeten to taste with agave nectar or sugar, and serve over ice.
(Source: Aviva 2012 Newsletter)
Some vehicles can survive car crashes and protect the occupants much better than others. To find out which motor vehicles perform best and which the worst, nonprofit group Insurance Institute for Highway Safety performed crash tests. IIHS, which is “dedicated to reducing the frequency and consequences of crashes on U.S. roads,” rated the cars in four separate categories. 24/7 Wall St. examined the ratings and identified the seven current-generation models that received a “marginal” or “poor” rating in two of the four categories.
The four rating categories of the IIHS tests are: (1) a frontal offset crash test in which the vehicle travels at 40 miles per hour and hits a barrier head-on; (2) a side-impact crash test in which a 3,300 lb. “SUV-like” object strikes the driver side at 31 mph; (3) rollover ratings in which a metal plate hits the corner of a vehicle to determine how much force it can take before rolling over; and (4) a rear-impact protection rating, which focuses on the ability of seats and seat belts to protect against whiplash.
The cars with the worst scores most commonly received poor grades in the rollover and rear impact tests. In both of these tests, six of the seven models received a score of “marginal,” the second-worst grade. The next most common issue was side impact, in which one model received a “marginal” score and two received a “poor” score, the worst grade given in these tests.
The poor ratings of these models does not appear to have affected their sales. In fact, sales of all models are up from last year. In all but one case, according to data provided by Edmunds.com, sales grew at least 19% last year. And while most of these models’ sales are still below 2007 levels, sales the Jeep Wrangler not only increased the most but also jumped 50% since then.
In addition to IIHS ratings, 24/7 Wall St. also looked at several other measures of overall safety and quality for these vehicles. Included in this analysis are Consumer Reports’ ratings, crash safety ratings performed by the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration, and JD Power’s overall Initial Quality report. Based on our analysis, it appears that these models persistently have quality issues as several received similarly poor reviews from government test ratings. In the JD Power’s study, five of the seven models scored a three or less out of five, and none scored higher than a four.
Several of the models listed in this study had a two-door and four-door version, which were tested separately and each received poor IIHS scores. 24/7 Wall St. referred to the model only once, but mentioned the scores of each version. In addition, one of the vehicles, the Chevrolet Colorado, is essentially identical to another vehicle, the GMC Canyon. General Motors, which makes both vehicles, uses the same frame for both. In this case, 24/7 Wall St. listed only the Canyon, which is the more popular vehicle.
These are the most dangerous cars in America.
1. Ram 1500
> Make: Dodge
> Bad ratings: side-marginal; rollover-marginal
> 2011 sales: 156,983
> Price: $22,120
> JD Power Initial Quality: 2/5
Though Dodge has been offering the half-ton Ram 1500 since 1981, its safety track record has long been unimpressive. From 1998 through 2001, the truck received failing marks from IIHS in frontal offset tests, and was rated “poor” in protecting heads and left legs, as well as in restraining the crash test dummy. Though frontal offset ratings have since received “good” ratings from the IIHS, the vehicle’s side-impact and rollover ratings remain substandard. Curiously, it was the opposite in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tests. The agency found fault with the Ram’s performance on frontal impact tests but not with side impact tests. Despite safety concerns, the model has been selling well, and from 2007 to 2011 Dodge sold more than 100,000 trucks each year.
2. Colorado Crew Cab
> Make: Chevrolet
> Bad ratings: side-poor; rollover-marginal; rear-marginal
> 2011 sales: 31,026
> Price: $17,475
> JD Power Initial Quality: 3/5
The Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon crew cab are fundamentally the same light truck made by General Motors (NYSE: GM) with differing cosmetic features. The small pickup performed quite poorly in the IIHS tests, earning a “poor” side-impact grade and “marginal” grades for rollover and rear safety. Sales of the Colorado have been especially poor in recent years; GM sold 75,716 such cars in 2007 and only 31,026 in 2011. Making matters worse, a November, 2011, recall of 5,220 Colorados and Canyons due to seat belt safety concerns did not help either the brand’s sales or its safety record.
> Make: Mazda
> Bad ratings: rollover-marginal; rear-marginal
> 2011 sales: 35,641
> Price: $22,190
> JD Power Initial Quality: 4/5
Although it will be replaced by the newer CX-5 model next year, the CX-7’s safety record certainly will not be remembered fondly. Despite “good” scores in front and side impact ratings, low grades in rollover and rear-impact measures go against perceptions that the CX-7 is a safe car to drive. Sales rose from about 20,000 in 2009 to 35,641 in 2011. Still, this is down from 2007 when 42,199 CX-7 cars were sold.
> Make: Mazda
> Bad ratings: rollover-marginal; rear-marginal
> 2011 sales: 34,421
> Price: $29,725
> JD Power Initial Quality: 4/5
Assembled in Hiroshima, Japan, the Mazda CX-9 received “marginal” scores in both rollover and rear safety ratings. The CX-9 also had the lowest strength-to-weight ratio of all midsize SUVs tested by the IIHS. This ratio measures how much force a car’s roof can handle before it crushes five inches, and then it is divided by the weight of the car. Despite these poor ratings, the number of CX-9s sold increased from 25,484 in 2007 to 34,421 in 2011.
> Make: Nissan
> Bad ratings: rollover-marginal; rear-marginal
> 2011 sales: 25,935
> Price: $29,290
> JD Power Initial Quality: 3/5
The Nissan Pathfinder earned “marginal” ratings in rollover and rear-impact testing from the IIHS. The Pathfinder’s performance in government rollover tests is likewise troubling, as it registered an estimated 20% to 30% risk of rolling over during testing. At a price of $29,290, the cost of a Pathfinder is similar to that of the Mazda CX-9 or the 4-door Jeep Wrangler. According to Edmunds sales figures, both these models have outsold the Pathfinder in the past three years.
> Make: Jeep
> Bad ratings: side-marginal (2-door), side-poor (4-door); rear-marginal (both)
> 2011 sales: 122,460 (all Wranglers), 46,803 (2-door), 75,657 (4-door)
> Price: $22,970 (2-door), $30,745 (4-door)
> JD Power Initial Quality: 3/5
With “marginal” ratings in side and rear-impact protection, the two-door Wrangler joins other SUVs, such as the CX-7, CX-9 and Pathfinder, as a poor performer in IIHS tests. One of the few car models that actually underperforms the two-door Jeep Wrangler is the larger four-door version. This version of the Wrangler also received a “marginal” rear-impact rating, yet was also given a “poor” side-impact rating. During a recent IIHS side-impact test, a dummy was struck by the steel bars supporting the four-door Wrangler’s convertible roof. Both of the models’ overall poor performance stems in part from the fact they were unable to protect the driver’s or back-seat passengers’ heads and other bodily parts in simulated accidents. Despite earning the lowest score of any mid-size SUV from Consumer Reports, the Wrangler still sells especially well with more than 120,000 sold in the U.S. in 2011.
> Make: Suzuki
> Bad ratings: rollover-marginal, rear-marginal
> 2011 sales: 12,520
> Price: $13,849
> JD Power Initial Quality: 2/5
The least-expensive car on this list, the Suzuki SX4 performed poorly in rollover and rear-test ratings. Among the more than 30 small cars tested by the IIHS, the SX4 was the only small car to receive two scores of “marginal” or “poor” out of four ratings. Similarly, the SX4 also received a “fair” rating, the second-lowest possible, in government side-crash testing. The model’s U.S. sales also have languished, falling from 30,166 in 2008 to 12,520 last year.
(Source: 24/7 wallst.com)
NU Online News Service, May 03, 3:04 p.m. EDT
Led by severe weather, especially tornadoes, in the United States, global insured losses for the month of April are close to $1 billion, says Aon Benfield.
The reinsurance intermediary of Aon wraps up the month’s events in its Global Catastrophe Report, published by Impact Forecasting.
Leading the most significant events for the fourth month of 2012 was an outbreak of tornadoes in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area during the month’s first few days.
Aon Benfield says insurers have received more than 105,000 claims and paid more than $650 million.
Less than two weeks later, another severe weather outbreak spawned 94 tornadoes in the Central Plains, with Kansas, Iowa and Oklahoma getting the worst of it.
A twister outside Wichita, Kansas damaged or destroyed about 777 homes and 165 businesses, reports Aon Benfield. More than 25,000 insurance claims have already been filed and insured losses are expected to reach the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Also of note during April was a round of severe thunderstorms, which particularly hit the St. Louis, Mo. Insurers says as many as 50,000 vehicles were damaged by large hail, reports Aon Benfield. The lines of storms also affected Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky.
In California, agricultural losses were at $20.4 million from hail storms in the San Joaquin Valley.
April this year was not as bad as April 2011, when tornadoes—especially in Alabama—had Aon Benfield attaching a $4 billion tag on insurance claims. But Steve Jakubowski, president of Impact Forecasting, says residents should remain wary.
“Tornado frequency data dating to 1991 indicates that May is typically the most active tornado month of the year in the U.S., which is a warning to all residents and insurers to remain cognizant to potential storm threats,” he says.
Looking at the rest of the world, Argentina was victim to severe weather, and flooding was prevalent over much of South America during April. Tens of thousands of homes were destroyed.
Hail and high winds damaged affected half dozen provinces in China and four provinces in Vietnam during April. Total economic losses for these events are estimated at about $90 million, combined.
Have a safe boating season by following these tips:
- Take a boating safety course offered by your state DNR, Law Enforcement, or U.S. Coast Guard agencies.
- Make sure your boat is in top operating condition and that there are no tripping hazards.
- The boat should be free of fire hazards and have a clean bilge.
- Have safety equipment that is required by law on board at all times and maintained in good condition, also be sure to know how to use it.
- File a float plan with a relative or friend, or at the very least, let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return.
- Have complete knowledge of the operation and handling of your boat.
- Know your position and where you are heading.
- Maintain a safe speed at all times to avoid collision.
- Keep an eye out for changing weather conditions.
- Know and obey federal and state regulations and waterway markers.
- Maintain a clear, unobstructed view forward at all times. “Scan” the water back and forth; avoid “tunnel” vision. Most boating collisions are caused by inattention.
(Source: Secura Insurance Company)
Cruise operator Carnival Corp. says it has insurance coverage
for damage and could face losses of up to $95 million after the luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia ran aground off the coast of Italy on Jan. 13.
According to Carnival, it faces a $30 million deductible for damage to the vessel plus a $10 million deductible on its Third-Party Personal Injury Liability policy.
At least 11 people died among the more than 4,200 passengers and crew who were ordered to abandon ship as the vessel began taking on water after its hull was ripped open by rocks near the island of Giglio.
More than a dozen people remain missing. Among the 60 passengers reported hurt, two are seriously injured.
Carnival self-insures for the loss of use of the ship, it said in a statement.
“A damage-assessment review of the vessel is currently being undertaken to determine how long it will be out of service,” Carnival added. “The vessel is expected to be out of service for the remainder of our current fiscal year if not longer. In addition, the company anticipates other costs to the business that are not possible to determine at this time.”
According to a bulletin released by Guy Carpenter and several news sources, the Costa Concordia is insured for about $513 million, with XL Group leading the insurance coverage on the Aon-brokered program.
XL could not immediately be reached for comment.
Hannover Re says it expects a claim of at least $12.7 million from the incident, reports Guy Carpenter. RSA Insurance and Italy-based Generali Group also provided coverage, say reports.
The Standard Club confirms it is the lead Protection and Indemnity (P&I) insurer for the Costa Concordia. P&I is a specialist class of liability insurance protection for ship owners and charterers.
According to its Web site, Standard Club is a mutual-insurance association, owned by its ship-owner members and controlled by a board of directors drawn from the membership.
The captain of the ship has been detained on suspicion of manslaughter, since there is some question about judgments he made in the ship’s route and whether he properly followed emergency procedures. He denies any wrongdoing.
(Source: Chad Hemenway-National Underwriter)
•Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets.
•Keep hands clean so as not to further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork.
•Place clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas.
•If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator and prop doors open.
•Clean and protect chrome with light coating of petroleum jelly or oil.
•Wash houseplants on both sides of leaves.
•Change HVAC filter.
•Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers.
•Don't attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces or shampoo carpet or upholstery without contacting a professional restoration service..
•Don't attempt to clean any electrical appliances that may have been close to fire, heat or water without consulting an authorized repair service.
•Don't use any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored near the fire, heat or water.
•Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. The wiring may be damaged.
•Don't send garments to an ordinary dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke odor.
Securely sanitizing hard disk drives and other IT equipment is critical when retiring old and obsolete equipment to prevent leaking sensitive data.
A new computer, mobile device or other IT equipment generally requires some effort setting up and migrating data. Enterprises also need to spend the time making sure the data is completely removed from the equipment as it is replaced.
Organizations do not always stop to consider the security implications of leaving data on obsolete equipment before disposing of them, Jim Kegley, president and CEO of U.S. Micro, told eWEEK. With more and more sensitive data being stored on devices such as copy machines, computers, phones and tablets, organizations without secure IT asset disposal policies are at risk of costly data breaches and reputation damage, Kegley said.
The holiday season also means that many people received new mobile devices or computers. While synchronization and backup tools have made switching data to new devices a much easier process, users don't often take the extra step to remove data, including contacts and work emails, from the older device before throwing it away, increasing the organization's risk.
Companies spend millions of dollars securing new equipment, but neglect to make the appropriate investment to secure sensitive information when disposing of assets, according to Kegley. Approximately eight pounds per U.S. resident worth of IT equipment are discarded each year, according to U.S. Micro.
Earlier this year, New Jersey's comptroller's office discovered that 80 percent of the computers disposed by state agencies and flagged for public auction still contained personal identifying information such as Social Security numbers and confidential data such as tax returns, case reports and immunization records. Last year, a federal audit found that National Aeronautics and Space Administration personnel at four facilities neglected to ensure data was properly removed before selling or discarding computers.
In 2010, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee disclosed it had spent more than $7 million investigating the loss of 57 hard drives that had been stolen while sitting in storage waiting to be destroyed, according to Kegley.
Just moving the equipment off-site for long-term storage or relying on self-cleaning to remove data are "poor options," Kegley said. Deleting the hard drive or reinstalling the operating system is not always enough, especially if handled by personnel without the proper training. Experts recommend sanitizing drives by overwriting and degaussing the device so that it is impossible to recover the data. In highly sensitive environments, it is often recommended that the drives be physically destroyed to prevent any potential data leaks.
Just last week, Army investigators presented evidence against Pvt. Bradley Manning and the classified documents that he'd allegedly leaked to whistleblowing site WikiLeaks. Investigators said that someone had attempted to securely wipe the laptop by overwriting the data with zeros. The process is effective, but should be run several times. The operation was run only once on Manning's laptop, allowing investigators to retrieve some of the data that hadn't been destroyed to build their case.
Less than 25 percent of mobile devices, computers and electronics equipment are discarded properly, according to Sims Recycling Solutions, an electronics recycler that specializes in removing data from discarded equipment.
Earlier this year, the Obama administration unveiled the National Strategy for Electronics Stewardship, calling for federal agencies to buy, reuse and recycle electronics responsibly, and to use certified recyclers to dispose of electronics. The initiative requires agencies to establish and follow a comprehensive policy on how data stored on the used equipment is removed. Agencies will also have to improve their processes for tracking what happens to the electronics after they have been disposed.
Enterprises should ensure that all the data has been wiped even before the equipment leaves the premises for sale or disposal, according to Kegley.
The strategy, intended to protect the environment and encourage the use of energy-efficient devices, does not go far enough regarding the data stored on those devices, according to Kegley. "The strategy falls flat on the important topic of data sanitization and higher standards that are currently available and could be easily implemented to ensure better protection of consumer data," he said, noting that it is also "fairly silent" on regulations already in place regarding data protection.
A national strategy, if properly developed, would be useful as it would give consumers and businesses information on how to properly recycle electronics to prevent data breaches, Kegley said.
(Source: Fahmida Y Rashid - eWeek)
There are several important reasons to consider purchasing life insurance for children. Affordable premium rates, protecting an individual’s insurability and accumulating cash value as a savings tool are a few of the most significant.
First, premium rates for children are typically low due to their age and good health. If you purchase life insurance for a child now, you can lock her into those low premium rates for an entire lifetime. So when that child is 80 years old, she can still be paying premiums established in youth.
Next, children are likely to be in good health and that means they are insurable. We all know life throws a lot of curve balls our way and sometimes those challenges come in the way of health. If an individual develops some challenging health condition like cancer or diabetes, she may become uninsurable. That means she might not qualify for insurance, or it could become so expensive it would be difficult to purchase. Buying life insurance for a child, when she is in good health, protects insurability. It guarantees coverage will be there regardless of future health challenges.
Finally, the cash value feature of permanent life insurance is a great reason to consider starting a policy for children. The accumulation of cash value in a permanent life insurance contract provides a source of savings that can be used by the child later in life. Some common examples include college education and first homes.
Purchasing life insurance for a child provides much more than a death benefit. It gives a child the gift of affordable insurance that will be there when she needs it, and even some funds for emergencies or new experiences in life. All this is available at an affordable cost and is the definition of value.
Please call us today to learn more about how to get your children protected
Catered holiday meals may not be as traditional as home-cooked dinners, but they may be much safer.
Cooking, the nation's leading cause of home fires, already has led to at least four such blazes in Green Bay since Thanksgiving, according to data from the Green Bay Fire Department.
"You have people cooking very large meals and a lot of people who don't normally cook are taking to the stove to cook that monster meal," said Lt. Nick Craig, adding many people leave food on the stove unattended. "And you just need to pay attention when you're cooking."
Lighted wreaths are on display outside each of the city's seven fire stations until Jan 1. A green light is changed to red after each home fire to remind residents of fire safety. As of Sunday, the number of red lights had jumped to seven.
Last year, 12 home fires were reported during the fire department campaign.
Each season, most fires are reported from December to February, Craig said. That's partly because more heating sources are used during the colder months. From December 2010 to February 2011, more than 30 home fires were reported in Green Bay, Craig said. A third of them were due to cooking mishaps, he added.
In 2009, heating equipment was involved in an estimated 58,900 home fires nationwide, which led to 480 deaths, according to a recent report from the National Fire Protection Association.
However, the number of such fires was down 11 percent from 2008 and dropped 75 percent from reports in 1980. The leading factor of heating fires was from equipment too close to items that can burn, such as bedding, clothing or furniture.
People should avoid overloading electrical circuits with appliances and holiday gadgets, Craig said. Keeping Christmas trees watered makes it tougher for them to catch fire.
"Dry Christmas trees placed too close to a heat source burn very quickly and can cause a rapid spreading fire," he said.
(Source: Green Bay Press Gazette 12-11-2011)
When decorating, be sure to use only lights rated for indoor use.
Replace any lights that have worn, frayed, or broken cords.
Always unplug Christmas tree lights before leaving the home or going to bed.
Keep live trees moist by watering daily. Do not purchase a tree that is dry.
Makue sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source.
Safely dispose of the tree when it beings dropping needles-dried out trees are highly flammable.
Make sure artificial trees are fire retardant.
Place the tree near an outlet to avoid running long extension cords.
Do not burn a Chrstimas tree in a fireplace. They are practically exposive.
(Source: PuroClean Newsletter)
- In Japan, they have live lobster vending machines.
- Wedding rings are placed on the third finger of the left hand because ancient Egyptians believed the vein located in that area ran directly to the heart.
- The brightest star in the sky is called Sirius.
- Upon exiting a cave, a bat will always turn left.
- There is a small town in Kentucky called Monkey's Eyebrow.
- Factoring in inflation, what was worth $1.00 in 1950 is worth $0.12 today.
- The sentence "Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo" is grammatically correct. It utilizes the three meanings of the word "buffalo" - the city, the animal and the verb "to bully". In the most simplified terms, the sentence means, "New York bison whom other New York bison bully, themselves bully New York bison."
- Every one of the sweaters Mr. Rogers wore on Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood was hand knit by his mother.
- One of the ingredients of dynamite is peanuts.
- The most money ever paid for a cow at auction was $1.3 million.
- On average, the human head has 120,000 hairs; however, natural blondes can have as many as 140,000 while redheads often have as few as 90,000.
- In Italy, police drive Lamborghinis.
- Beetles taste like apples, wasps taste like pine nuts and worms taste like bacon.
- What English-speakers call a "French kiss," French-speakers call an "English kiss."
- On average, right-handed people live nine years longer than left-handed people.
- The skeleton of Jeremy Bentham, an English jurist, philosopher and social reformer, is present at all major meetings at the University of London.
- A little over a century ago, the majority of the Icelandic dog population was killed by an epidemic.
- Honey is the only food consumed by humans that has been found to not spoil. In fact, honey found in ancient Egyptian tombs was sampled by archaeologists and deemed edible.
- Dolphins sleep with one eye open.
- Queen Elizabeth I took great pride in her cleanliness, once declaring that she bathed once every three months, whether she needed it or not.
- Slugs have four noses.
- The number "57" on a Heinz ketchup bottle refers to the number of products the company sold. Even though they sold around 60 products at the time, Henry Heinz thought 57 was a lucky number.
- In the film E.T., the sound of the alien walking was produced by a sound engineer squishing her hand in jelly.
- Lucy and Linus from the Peanuts comic strip had a little brother named Rerun who sometimes played baseball with Charlie Brown.
- In China, the three most well known Western names are Jesus Christ, Richard Nixon and Elvis Presley.
- Due to time zone shifts, if you had flown from London to New York on the Concord, you would arrive two hours before you left.
- You burn more calories sleeping than you do watching TV.
- The largest number of children born of a single woman was 69. The woman, a Russian peasant, gave birth to 16 sets of twins, 7 sets of triplets and 4 sets of quadruplets from 1725 to 1765.
- The word "nerd" was first used in the Dr. Seuss book If I Ran the Zoo.
- In Paraguay, dueling is legal as long as both parties are registered blood donors.
- The United States has never lost a war - in which mules were used.
- Nobody knows who built the Taj Mahal.
- The Neanderthal's brain is believed to have been larger than the modern day human's brain.
- According to scientists, dolphins were once four-footed land dwellers.
- On average, people have four dreams per night. That's 1,460 dreams per year.
- The cost to run a 30-second commercial during the 2011 Super Bowl was $3 million.
- J.K. Rowling was the first person to earn $1 billion as an author.
- Fortune cookies are not Chinese; they were invented in San Francisco in 1920.
- According to Nielsen, Americans spend, on average, 53 billion minutes a month on Facebook. That averages out to 4 hours, 39 minutes and 33 seconds per person, per month.
- An octopus has three hearts.
- Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, but could never call his mother or his wife - they were both deaf.
- Every human was but a single cell for approximately one half hour.
- The number one employer in Brazil is Walmart.
- Shakespeare was 46 when the King James Bible was written. In Psalm 46 of that work, the 46th word from the first word is "shake" and the 46th word from the last word is "spear."
- You cannot taste salt until you are four months old.
- More than 37 percent of Americans begin their Christmas shopping before Halloween.
- An Iowa man named Charles Osborne had hiccups for over 68 years. Studies claimed he likely hiccupped 430 million times.
- In her lifetime, the average woman will do 215 miles worth of ironing.
- Percy Spencer was inspired to invent the microwave oven after the chocolate bar in his pocket was melted by a vacuum tube.
- Two-thirds of the world's eggplant is grown in New Jersey.
(Source: North Shore Bank Monthly Newsletter 11-01-2011)
MADISON, Wisconsin (October 27, 2011) – The new Wisconsin law that allows a person to carry a concealed hand gun if that person obtains a concealed carry weapons license, is forcing many businesses to make some important decisions.
Business and property owners may post signs that firearms (concealed or open) are not allowed on the premises. The signs must be at least 5-inches high x 7 inches wide and posted in conspicuous locations near all entrances to the building. The prohibition applies to customers, vendors, guests and employees. Violations are subject to a $1,000 forfeiture.
But the new law raises several questions about liabilities and insurance coverage if someone is injured by a concealed weapon brought onto the property. "Property owners or occupants who do not prohibit an individual from carrying a concealed weapon on their premises are immune from any liability arising from their decision," says Ron Von Haden, CIC, Executive Vice President of the Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin (PIAW). "Conversely, if a business prohibits concealed carry, it may be accepting some liability for the actions of customers and employees arising from the use of a concealed weapon."
If a business doesn’t prohibit concealed carry and an employee brings a weapon to work and that weapon falls on the floor, discharging and wounding a customer, the business owner is "immune from any liability arising out of its decision" under the law. However, if the business prohibits weapons, then it has no such immunity. So the customer could presumably sue the business for negligence in failing to enforce its no weapons policy.
"No one knows how the courts will ultimately interpret the liability standards," says Von Haden. "While it appears that the new law allows greater opportunity for businesses and owners to be negligent if they prohibit concealed carry handguns, I would have to believe that risk is very low.
"At the same time, employee handbooks, office policies and procedure documents may have to be revised to accommodate the new law," Von Haden adds. "And businesses should definitely check with their insurance agents to see if their policies have any limitations or restrictions on coverage relating to negligence claims arising out of the use or possession of weapons."
Every year in the U.S. approximately 1.5 million car-deer collisions kill about 150 people and cause about $1 billion in vehicle damage. In 2010, Wisconsin drivers reported 16,947 motor vehicle-deer collisions with 14 fatalities and numerous injuries. Approximately 70% of the fatalities involve deer-motorcycle crashes. During the same time period, the Department of Natural Resources removed 26,595 deer carcasses from Wisconsin’s roadway system, indicating that only about half of all deer encounters with motor vehicles are reported. October and November are typically peak months for deer crashes. The incidents are most likely to occur between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. and between 5 p.m. and midnight. "The number of persons injured or killed in deer crashes in our state has increased since the late 1970’s and drivers need to be especially alert now when deer are active and searching for mates," said Ron Von Haden, CIC, Executive Vice President of the Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin (PIAW). "In most cases it’s best not to veer out of your lane to avoid hitting a deer. Often hitting a deer does less damage to your car than might be caused by swerving into a lane of oncoming traffic or leaving the road and ending up in a ditch," Von Haden added.
Here are a few tips from the PIAW for drivers traveling the highways of Wisconsin this fall.
Deer move in groups. If you see one, there are probably more deer close by.
Be especially alert during the peak deer movement hours: twilight and early morning.
If you ride a motorcycle, consider driving only during daylight hours as deer-motorcycle crashes have a significantly higher rate of fatalities. If you must drive during twilight and early morning, slow down and be especially alert.
When you see a deer, slow down and blow your horn with one long blast. Brake firmly, but stay in your lane…on’t veer or swerve into another lane.
Do not rely on devices such as deer whistles, which have not been proven to reduce crashes.
If you hit a deer, pull well off the road and turn on your emergency flashers. Even if you are uninjured and your car is drivable, notify the police.
"If you’re involved in a crash with a deer, report the incident to your insurance agent," said Von Haden. "Damage to motor vehicles is typically covered by the comprehensive portion of your auto insurance policy."
(Source: PIAW -Madison, WI)
It’s impossible not to laugh when America’s Funniest Videos runs a montage of people falling down. But when someone is hurt in a slip-and-fall accident on your property, the humor fades quickly.
Nearly 9 million people seek emergency services from slips and falls each year, millions more see a doctor within a few days, and thousands more die.
Unfortunately, there’s also a pervasive belief that you’re automatically liable if someone slips on your property, which makes slip-and-fall scams the second most common type of insurance fraud.
Winter is slip-and-fall season:
Not all injuries are visible in a slip and fall. If someone reports an accident on your property, treat him or her with kindness, respect and empathy, and collect the following information for your incident report:
*Name, birth date, primary and secondary contact information
*Detailed description of the incident, including date and time
*Any physical or visual impairment
*What the person was carrying, if anything
*The type of shoes he or she was wearing
*List of witnesses
*If able, ask him or her to show you exactly where and how the accident happened
*Take pictures of the area and document the conditions:
Rain, snow, ice, tracks
Weather conditions for the current day and several days leading up to it
Any other observations
Contact your agent immediately. The information you collect will help the company understand the situation better and aid in the claims service and process.
(Source: Secura Prevention Connection Alert)
Emotional spending simply means you buy things when you feel a particular emotion very strongly. It could happen when you're stressed, happy, upset, hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. Usually when we try to avoid feeling something, we end up acting out in some way. Sometimes, that means spending money.
No one says to themselves, Gee, I'm feeling awfully upset right now. Now I feel the urge to buy a new pair of shoes in an effort to ignore my emotions! If it was that easy to recognize, none of us would do it. Ask yourself these questions to figure out if you are an emotional spender:
Do I reward myself with food, clothes, or other tangible items after a long day?
Do I spend time justifying purchases in my head?
Do I hide the evidence (remove tags, throw away receipts, etc.)?
Do I find things around the house that I forgot I even had?
Do I find myself wishing I hadn't bought a certain item because it keeps me from doing something else?
Is there something bothering me that I don't have time to deal with right now?
If you recognize yourself in some of those questions, you might be an emotional spender.
Recognizing and dealing with emotional spending isn't easy. Even the most self-aware people can fall back into bad habits at times. The best way to avoid this is dealing with emotions as they come.
(Source: Stellar Risk Report & Journal)
Scientists believe there is evidence that great earthquakes occur in clusters over a period of years and that a significant event is on the horizon, according to a report from catastrophe modeler Eqecat.
The report, “Spatial and Temporal Earthquake Clustering: Part 1, Global Earthquake Clustering,” lays out evidence that giant earthquakes of magnitude 8 or higher may occur in clusters over a decade or more.
The authors of the report, Paul C. Thenhaus, Kenneth W. Campbell and Mahmoud M. Khater, say the occurrences of great and giant earthquakes “on a global scale cannot be attributed to chance.”
They say the giant Andaman-Nicobar (Sumatra, Indonesia) earthquake of 2004 of magnitude 9.1 began “a new cycle of global great earthquake activity.”
If this cycle follows the cycle of earthquakes in the 1950-1965 timeframe, “we may be only about halfway through the cycle, and the largest earthquake in the current cluster may not have yet occurred.
During that period starting 1950, there were three earthquakes of magnitude 9 or higher:
- Kamchatka, magnitude 9 that struck in 1952.
- Prince William Sound, Alaska, magnitude 9.2 that struck in 1964.
- Chile, magnitude 9.5 that struck in 1960.
Why this is happening is unknown, they say, but it may have something to do with “post-seismic relaxations and strain transfer mechanisms in the deep ductile layers of the Earth.”
If earthquakes follow the pattern of the 1900s then a third major earthquake is a very real possibility.
So far this century, there has been the Indonesia 9.1 earthquake that struck in 2004 and then the Tohoku-oki earthquake and tsunami in 2011 which was a magnitude 9 earthquake.
Regarding how destructive an earthquake is, whether it is devastating or not has less to do with magnitude than other factors such as proximity of “occurrence to population centers, construction vulnerability to shaking, soil stability, and local soil, basin and topographic amplification.
“This distinction between earthquake consequences and magnitude is important,” the report notes. ‘“Devastating earthquakes’ as a class have only an obscure relationship to magnitude.”
The report is the first in a series of three reports Eqecat plans to produce on this subject of global clusters of damaging earthquakes
The following are several tips that could potentially save your life or the life of a loved one should a fire break out in your home or business:
1.) Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home or business.
2.) Test smoke alarm batteries every month and change them at least once a year.
3.) Consider installing a 10-year lithium battery-powered smoke alarm.
4.) Practice finding your way out of the house with your eyes closed, crawling or staying low and feeling your way out of the house.
5.) Remember to escape first, then notify the fire department.
(Source: Servpro Newsline Issue 10)
Is your back trying to tell you something? Nearly all of us experience back pain-often as early as our 30s.
Lower back pain can be largely prevented through stretches, strengthening exercises and good posture. The core muscles-the back and abdominal muscles that support our bodies-are essential for good back health. Daily exercises like walking and stretching help build strength and tone, and reduce the chance of injury.
What if it already hurts? To relieve lower back pain, use ice to reduce the inflammation and take ibubrofen. Avoid putting heat on the pain. Also, using your muscles prevents stiffening, so continue your daily routine. Movement keeps your back flexible and your spine lubricated, helping you ease pain.
If you aren't improving with conservative treatment, see your doctor.
(Source: Theda Care-Autumn 2011 Issue)
Doctors recommend these common sense ideas for managing off-the-ground activities that can quickly become danerous:
*Cleaning out gutters: Many people reach without thinking-and then discover they should have repositioned the ladder instead. Keep your weight centered and use a good quality ladder with wide rungs. And find a friend to hold it while you work.
*Roof repairs: A fall from a roof can result in serious head injuries or internal bleeding. The single most common safety step you can take? Wear a safety harness.
*Hunting from a deer stand: Too many people fall while putting up a stand, or fall from a stand while hunting. Wear a harness all the time.
*Alcohol Use: Refrain from alcohol if you plan to do something up high.
*Lack of Sleep: The risk of falling increases if you are sleep deprived.
(Source: Theda Care Inc)
After consulting with the Environmental Protection Agency, DuPontTM voluntarily suspended the sale of its Imprelis® herbicide Aug. 15, 2011. This summer, Imprelis caused unintended damage primarily to Norway spruce and white pine trees. Most injured trees were in a concentrated region that includes Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
DuPont soon will conduct a product return and refund program, and made it clear that it intends to stand behind its products and is committed to being a good steward.
In addition, the company implemented a claims-resolution process for trees that may have been damaged by Imprelis. This process is outlined on DuPont’s website, www.imprelis-facts.com. The company also established a hotline (866-796-4783) to report damage to trees and start the claims process. The deadline to file a claim is Nov. 30, 2011.
If you used this product in the course of your operations, please contact DuPont immediately. If you know others who may have sustained damage to their trees, please share this information with them.
(Source: Secura Agent Newsflash)
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