Wikimania 2012 tackles diversity issues

This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Community leaders at the Wikimania 2012 conference, which is largely attended by Wikipedians and volunteers from other Wikimedia Foundation projects, focused attention on diversity within the projects and specifically on the inclusion of women, people who come from developing countries, and those people who, while not tech geeks, are potential contributors.

Wikipedia is the fifth top web site visited on the internet, according to Wales.

Mary Gardiner, co-founder of the Ada Initiative, delivered the opening address, where she encouraged conference participants to think about how they could be more inclusive, especially toward women, in their work. She is the first woman ever to give an opening address at a Wikimania conference. The conferences have been held annually since 2005.

Jimmy Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia, echoed the theme of diversity in his remarks during his annual State of the Wiki address and expanded on Africa and including more people who are not technically savvy.

Participants from 87 countries gathered in Lisner Auditorium on the campus of George Washington University, Washington, D.C. for the opening session on Thursday morning.

Mary Gardiner focused on the lack of gender diversity within the Wikipedia community. She said reader and editor surveys have shown that while over one third of the readers of Wikipedia are women, the number of women who are editors is around 10 to 15 percent in the English Wikipedia and as low as 8.5 percent for all Wikipedias. “As a project of social change, even if it’s not an activist project, the Wikipedia community has a responsibility both to its mission and to the people out there in the world to always be on a journey toward diversity — to increase the size of the umbrella of the world”, Gardiner said.

The Ada Initiative, co-founded by Gardiner, encourages women’s involvement in open source projects like Wikipedia, open-source software, and open government. Prior to the conference, the Ada Initiative sponsored an AdaCamp where women shared their experiences across these projects. Gardiner, who is a graduate student in Computational Linguistics, delivered the keynote, entitled “Fostering diversity: not a boring chore, a critical opportunity.”

Gardiner said Wikipedia should not only increase diversity because it would be good for the community to have more voices, but also the community should reach out with sincerity and both engage and hear women’s voices and be open to change from their contributions.

Jimmy Wales recommended Wikipedians “reexamine [their] premises.” As an example, he asked them to consider article topics that other audiences who are not currently being served well could find meaningful. He became involved in a deletion debate about whether Kate Middleton’s wedding dress was worthy of an article. He contrasted this topic choice with the large number of obscure pages about Linux and asked the audience to consider why important fashion events could be of interest to a different audience with other interests. He said if Wikipedia is not providing content for this audience, they will go elsewhere to create and read that content.

Gardiner also said when women or another subculture focus on their identity it can actually create a stronger Wikipedian identity. “The more you encourage people retain parts of their identity that are important to them, in my case as a woman, the more you enhance their other identity as a Wikipedian… You can encourage both identities by allowing minorities to acknowledge and embrace that they are a member of a minority.” Wikipedia has encouraged the development of subcultures through the creation of chapters, portals, and even individualized user boxes.

Jimmy Wales, on a personal note, announced that he and his partner had named their daughter Ada after Ada Lovelace, who Gardiner had explained to the audience is considered the first software programmer and was an inspiration for the Ada Initiative. Gardiner credits her fellow Ada Initiative co-founder Valerie Aurora, executive director, for naming the organization after Lovelace.

Wales devoted a large portion of his speech to Wikipedia’s footprint in Africa. Wikipedia is currently offered in 285 languages and of African languages, Yorùbá, Swahili, and Afrikaans are the largest. Wales described how in a one month period in 2011 Yorùbá jumped to first in the number of articles. Yorùbá Wikipedia User:Demmy created a bot that added 15,000 articles to the language in one month and his activity doubled the number of active editors to about four. Wales presented the second annual “Jimbo Award” to User:Demmy for his contribution to the Yorùbá language version of Wikipedia.

Wales said the Wikimedia Foundation’s mobile initiative would be an important part of bringing people from developing countries to Wikipedia and would even offer new editing tools for the community worldwide.

New software is in development that could also expand the number of editors of Wikipedia. Sue Gardner, executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation, announced that Wikimedia Foundation is currently testing its Visual Editor Software that she says will make it as easy to edit Wikipedia as it is to update the status on a person’s Facebook account. “Editing is unnecessarily difficult,” Gardner said. “We’re using an older technology. And it’s an open-source environment and developers of that kind of software are not typically dedicated to design and usability issues” but to solving technical problems.

Wikimania is an international event and past conferences have been held in Frankfurt, Germany; Boston, USA; Taipei, Taiwan; Alexandria, Egypt; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Gda?sk, Poland; and Haifa, Israel. Next year’s Wikimania is to be held in Hong Kong, China.

The main conference has attracted over 1,000 participants and will be open through July 14.

7 Industry Best Practices, Web Design Start Ups Should Consider}

Submitted by: Nikhil Carmatec

In the advanced age, a business is nothing without its own website. A decent website can not only be utilized to interact with the existing client-base but it can also help pull in future clients by showing products or services, your business brings to the table. This is where an extraordinary online strategy can prove to be useful.

Here are 7 tips you can consider as a website design start-up, in order to consistently come up with appalling website solutions for your clients.

Keep things straightforward

Your website will be the initial introduction of your clients business that their audience will have – the reason why you should have a smooth, straightforward and contemporary web presence plan. Utilize an ordinary layout and the website youll design will be plain with no striking features. So, a one-off layout can help you showcase your skill and innovation and help your clients site truly emerge. Use striking hues that supplement each other to make the landing page look lively, however don’t run over the edge with gaudy hues or glimmer liveliness as they may look overpowering to clients. Ensure your whole website has a solitary shading plan as this looks more cleaned. You ought to likewise think about getting as an innovative and meaningful logo for your website. A one of a kind logo will make your clients business seem more believable to future clients, while ones made from a template will look plain and can even raise legal issues due to trademark or copyright laws. More or less, keep your layout basic, yet, one-of-a-kind with a point of convergence, a couple of vivacious hues and an awesome logo.

Substance is everything

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The substance showed can represent the moment of truth for a site. Web crawlers rank websites taking into account the nature of their substance. The more substance your website has, higher it positions on web crawlers. In any case, this doesn’t mean you ought to pack your website with superfluous substance. Poor substance can make potential clients leave your site. The substance of your website ought to be significant and fascinating, with appealing and drawing in features. You ought to likewise ensure the substance is frequently upgraded as obsolete substance will make guests leave your site instant. Great websites additionally utilize representations, design, lively hues and substantial text styles to keep guests inspired by their substance.

Showcase your products & services

The website exists to showcase your clients offerings to the target audiences. The most straightforward approach to do this is by showcasing the offerings on the landing page. This is your opportunity to make an incredible initial introduction, so utilize it completely. Use fresh and proficient photographs with clear subtitle and clarification when offering an item on the web. All the more critically, make a point to have your website versatile amicable. This can help clients comprehend what’s in store from your administrations, notwithstanding when they are review your item or administration from cell phones.

Keep things well-sorted

A well-sorted design will make it simpler for the visitors to navigate through your website. So design your website and compose things in a way that is straightforward and alluring. A menu that connects every single primary page of the website will demonstrate a visitor precisely where they need to go. All data shown, ought to be strong and clear. Keep away from huge pieces of content as the visitors seldom read those. Rather, utilize square letters, visual cues and huge text styles to display the critical data.

Availability is vital

Your website ought to be simple for everybody to discover and explore through. Individuals with specific inabilities should utilize your offerings to meet their needs, should also be considered during the design. Once more, a mobile-friendly website will be useful for people with special needs, especially those with mobile only access (the huge mobile-only audience). An easy to understand site will charm its visitors as well as add to their engagement to the website.

Website plan & Development arent always the same

A website needs both design and development. The abilities for the two vary enormously, so you might need to employ diverse individuals to perform each function. An accomplished independent web developer will be talented in various zones, for example, web-plan, data-design, web-content service frameworks and site improvement.

Buffer time

Regardless of whether you’re putting forth modest website outlines or costly ones, you should contribute your time on enhancing the download speed of your website. Your website visitors can get irritated if the page takes too long to download. If your site has a lot of visual content, ensure you have the transmission capacity and foundation to backing such a layout. This is particularly imperative in the event that you have a lot of clients and lots of activity on your website. You can enhance load time by picking a decent host. A modest host may spare you cash, however it will make your website moderate and temperamental. This thus will make potential clients leave your website in dissatisfaction.

An extraordinary web layout can make a lot of difference to the reputation of your web design start-up. It will draw in new clients and hugely enhance your business. To sum it all up, an appealing, quick and easy to understand web design will do wonders for your business. Roll out a couple of improvements and watch your web design business extend!

About the Author: Nikhil

carmatec.com

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isnare.com

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isnare.com/?aid=1957867&ca=Internet }

Plane crashes into office block in Austin, Texas/suicide note

This is the online suicide letter authored by Andrew Stack, the man believed to be responsible for flying a light aircraft into a building in Austin, Texas. It was originally posted at Stack’s site, http://embeddedart.com/. The hosting company, T35, took the site offline per an FBI request. The note is reproduced here in its entirety.

If you’re reading this, you’re no doubt asking yourself, “Why did this have to happen?” The simple truth is that it is complicated and has been coming for a long time. The writing process, started many months ago, was intended to be therapy in the face of the looming realization that there isn’t enough therapy in the world that can fix what is really broken. Needless to say, this rant could fill volumes with example after example if I would let it. I find the process of writing it frustrating, tedious, and probably pointless… especially given my gross inability to gracefully articulate my thoughts in light of the storm raging in my head. Exactly what is therapeutic about that I’m not sure, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

We are all taught as children that without laws there would be no society, only anarchy. Sadly, starting at early ages we in this country have been brainwashed to believe that, in return for our dedication and service, our government stands for justice for all. We are further brainwashed to believe that there is freedom in this place, and that we should be ready to lay our lives down for the noble principals represented by its founding fathers. Remember? One of these was “no taxation without representation”. I have spent the total years of my adulthood unlearning that crap from only a few years of my childhood. These days anyone who really stands up for that principal is promptly labeled a “crackpot”, traitor and worse.

While very few working people would say they haven’t had their fair share of taxes (as can I), in my lifetime I can say with a great degree of certainty that there has never been a politician cast a vote on any matter with the likes of me or my interests in mind. Nor, for that matter, are they the least bit interested in me or anything I have to say.

Why is it that a handful of thugs and plunderers can commit unthinkable atrocities (and in the case of the GM executives, for scores of years) and when it’s time for their gravy train to crash under the weight of their gluttony and overwhelming stupidity, the force of the full federal government has no difficulty coming to their aid within days if not hours? Yet at the same time, the joke we call the American medical system, including the drug and insurance companies, are murdering tens of thousands of people a year and stealing from the corpses and victims they cripple, and this country’s leaders don’t see this as important as bailing out a few of their vile, rich cronies. Yet, the political “representatives” (thieves, liars, and self-serving scumbags is far more accurate) have endless time to sit around for year after year and debate the state of the “terrible health care problem”. It’s clear they see no crisis as long as the dead people don’t get in the way of their corporate profits rolling in.

And justice? You’ve got to be kidding!

How can any rational individual explain that white elephant conundrum in the middle of our tax system and, indeed, our entire legal system? Here we have a system that is, by far, too complicated for the brightest of the master scholars to understand. Yet, it mercilessly “holds accountable” its victims, claiming that they’re responsible for fully complying with laws not even the experts understand. The law “requires” a signature on the bottom of a tax filing; yet no one can say truthfully that they understand what they are signing; if that’s not “duress” than [sic] what is. If this is not the measure of a totalitarian regime, nothing is.

How did I get here?

My introduction to the real American nightmare starts back in the early ‘80s. Unfortunately after more than 16 years of school, somewhere along the line I picked up the absurd, pompous notion that I could read and understand plain English. Some friends introduced me to a group of people who were having ‘tax code’ readings and discussions. In particular, zeroed in on a section relating to the wonderful “exemptions” that make institutions like the vulgar, corrupt Catholic Church so incredibly wealthy. We carefully studied the law (with the help of some of the “best”, high-paid, experienced tax lawyers in the business), and then began to do exactly what the “big boys” were doing (except that we weren’t steeling [sic] from our congregation or lying to the government about our massive profits in the name of God). We took a great deal of care to make it all visible, following all of the rules, exactly the way the law said it was to be done.

The intent of this exercise and our efforts was to bring about a much-needed re-evaluation of the laws that allow the monsters of organized religion to make such a mockery of people who earn an honest living. However, this is where I learned that there are two “interpretations” for every law; one for the very rich, and one for the rest of us… Oh, and the monsters are the very ones making and enforcing the laws; the inquisition is still alive and well today in this country.

That little lesson in patriotism cost me $40,000+, 10 years of my life, and set my retirement plans back to 0. It made me realize for the first time that I live in a country with an ideology that is based on a total and complete lie. It also made me realize, not only how naive I had been, but also the incredible stupidity of the American public; that they buy, hook, line, and sinker, the crap about their “freedom”… and that they continue to do so with eyes closed in the face of overwhelming evidence and all that keeps happening in front of them.

Before even having to make a shaky recovery from the sting of the first lesson on what justice really means in this country (around 1984 after making my way through engineering school and still another five years of “paying my dues”), I felt I finally had to take a chance of launching my dream of becoming an independent engineer.

On the subjects of engineers and dreams of independence, I should digress somewhat to say that I’m sure that I inherited the fascination for creative problem solving from my father. I realized this at a very young age.

The significance of independence, however, came much later during my early years of college; at the age of 18 or 19 when I was living on my own as student in an apartment in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. My neighbor was an elderly retired woman (80+ seemed ancient to me at that age) who was the widowed wife of a retired steel worker. Her husband had worked all his life in the steel mills of central Pennsylvania with promises from big business and the union that, for his 30 years of service, he would have a pension and medical care to look forward to in his retirement. Instead he was one of the thousands who got nothing because the incompetent mill management and corrupt union (not to mention the government) raided their pension funds and stole their retirement. All she had was social security to live on.

In retrospect, the situation was laughable because here I was living on peanut butter and bread (or Ritz crackers when I could afford to splurge) for months at a time. When I got to know this poor figure and heard her story I felt worse for her plight than for my own (I, after all, I thought I had everything to in front of me). I was genuinely appalled at one point, as we exchanged stories and commiserated with each other over our situations, when she in her grandmotherly fashion tried to convince me that I would be “healthier” eating cat food (like her) rather than trying to get all my substance from peanut butter and bread. I couldn’t quite go there, but the impression was made. I decided that I didn’t trust big business to take care of me, and that I would take responsibility for my own future and myself.

Return to the early ‘80s, and here I was off to a terrifying start as a ‘wet-behind-the-ears’ contract software engineer… and two years later, thanks to the fine backroom, midnight effort by the sleazy executives of Arthur Andersen (the very same folks who later brought us Enron and other such calamities) and an equally sleazy New York Senator (Patrick Moynihan), we saw the passage of 1986 tax reform act with its section 1706.

For you who are unfamiliar, here is the core text of the IRS Section 1706, defining the treatment of workers (such as contract engineers) for tax purposes. Visit this link for a conference committee report (http://www.synergistech.com/1706.shtml#ConferenceCommitteeReport) regarding the intended interpretation of Section 1706 and the relevant parts of Section 530, as amended. For information on how these laws affect technical services workers and their clients, read our discussion here (http://www.synergistech.com/ic-taxlaw.shtml).

SEC. 1706. TREATMENT OF CERTAIN TECHNICAL PERSONNEL.

(a) IN GENERAL – Section 530 of the Revenue Act of 1978 is amended by adding at the end thereof the following new subsection:

(d) EXCEPTION. – This section shall not apply in the case of an individual who pursuant to an arrangement between the taxpayer and another person, provides services for such other person as an engineer, designer, drafter, computer programmer, systems analyst, or other similarly skilled worker engaged in a similar line of work.

(b) EFFECTIVE DATE. – The amendment made by this section shall apply to remuneration paid and services rendered after December 31, 1986.

Note:

· “another person” is the client in the traditional job-shop relationship.

· “taxpayer” is the recruiter, broker, agency, or job shop.

· “individual”, “employee”, or “worker” is you.

Admittedly, you need to read the treatment to understand what it is saying but it’s not very complicated. The bottom line is that they may as well have put my name right in the text of section (d). Moreover, they could only have been more blunt if they would have came out and directly declared me a criminal and non-citizen slave. Twenty years later, I still can’t believe my eyes.

During 1987, I spent close to $5000 of my ‘pocket change’, and at least 1000 hours of my time writing, printing, and mailing to any senator, congressman, governor, or slug that might listen; none did, and they universally treated me as if I was wasting their time. I spent countless hours on the L.A. freeways driving to meetings and any and all of the disorganized professional groups who were attempting to mount a campaign against this atrocity. This, only to discover that our efforts were being easily derailed by a few moles from the brokers who were just beginning to enjoy the windfall from the new declaration of their “freedom”. Oh, and don’t forget, for all of the time I was spending on this, I was loosing income that I couldn’t bill clients.

After months of struggling it had clearly gotten to be a futile exercise. The best we could get for all of our trouble is a pronouncement from an IRS mouthpiece that they weren’t going to enforce that provision (read harass engineers and scientists). This immediately proved to be a lie, and the mere existence of the regulation began to have its impact on my bottom line; this, of course, was the intended effect.

Again, rewind my retirement plans back to 0 and shift them into idle. If I had any sense, I clearly should have left abandoned engineering and never looked back.

Instead I got busy working 100-hour workweeks. Then came the L.A. depression of the early 1990s. Our leaders decided that they didn’t need the all of those extra Air Force bases they had in Southern California, so they were closed; just like that. The result was economic devastation in the region that rivaled the widely publicized Texas S&L fiasco. However, because the government caused it, no one gave a shit about all of the young families who lost their homes or street after street of boarded up houses abandoned to the wealthy loan companies who received government funds to “shore up” their windfall. Again, I lost my retirement.

Years later, after weathering a divorce and the constant struggle trying to build some momentum with my business, I find myself once again beginning to finally pick up some speed. Then came the .COM bust and the 911 nightmare. Our leaders decided that all aircraft were grounded for what seemed like an eternity; and long after that, ‘special’ facilities like San Francisco were on security alert for months. This made access to my customers prohibitively expensive. Ironically, after what they had done the Government came to the aid of the airlines with billions of our tax dollars … as usual they left me to rot and die while they bailed out their rich, incompetent cronies WITH MY MONEY! After these events, there went my business but not quite yet all of my retirement and savings.

By this time, I’m thinking that it might be good for a change. Bye to California, I’ll try Austin for a while. So I moved, only to find out that this is a place with a highly inflated sense of self-importance and where damn little real engineering work is done. I’ve never experienced such a hard time finding work. The rates are 1/3 of what I was earning before the crash, because pay rates here are fixed by the three or four large companies in the area who are in collusion to drive down prices and wages… and this happens because the justice department is all on the take and doesn’t give a fuck about serving anyone or anything but themselves and their rich buddies.

To survive, I was forced to cannibalize my savings and retirement, the last of which was a small IRA. This came in a year with mammoth expenses and not a single dollar of income. I filed no return that year thinking that because I didn’t have any income there was no need. The sleazy government decided that they disagreed. But they didn’t notify me in time for me to launch a legal objection so when I attempted to get a protest filed with the court I was told I was no longer entitled to due process because the time to file ran out. Bend over for another $10,000 helping of justice.

So now we come to the present. After my experience with the CPA world, following the business crash I swore that I’d never enter another accountant’s office again. But here I am with a new marriage and a boatload of undocumented income, not to mention an expensive new business asset, a piano, which I had no idea how to handle. After considerable thought I decided that it would be irresponsible NOT to get professional help; a very big mistake.

When we received the forms back I was very optimistic that they were in order. I had taken all of the years information to Bill Ross, and he came back with results very similar to what I was expecting. Except that he had neglected to include the contents of Sheryl’s unreported income; $12,700 worth of it. To make matters worse, Ross knew all along this was missing and I didn’t have a clue until he pointed it out in the middle of the audit. By that time it had become brutally evident that he was representing himself and not me.

This left me stuck in the middle of this disaster trying to defend transactions that have no relationship to anything tax-related (at least the tax-related transactions were poorly documented). Things I never knew anything about and things my wife had no clue would ever matter to anyone. The end result is… well, just look around.

I remember reading about the stock market crash before the “great” depression and how there were wealthy bankers and businessmen jumping out of windows when they realized they screwed up and lost everything. Isn’t it ironic how far we’ve come in 60 years in this country that they now know how to fix that little economic problem; they just steal from the middle class (who doesn’t have any say in it, elections are a joke) to cover their asses and it’s “business-as-usual”. Now when the wealthy fuck up, the poor get to die for the mistakes… isn’t that a clever, tidy solution.

As government agencies go, the FAA is often justifiably referred to as a tombstone agency, though they are hardly alone. The recent presidential puppet GW Bush and his cronies in their eight years certainly reinforced for all of us that this criticism rings equally true for all of the government. Nothing changes unless there is a body count (unless it is in the interest of the wealthy sows at the government trough). In a government full of hypocrites from top to bottom, life is as cheap as their lies and their self-serving laws.

I know I’m hardly the first one to decide I have had all I can stand. It has always been a myth that people have stopped dying for their freedom in this country, and it isn’t limited to the blacks, and poor immigrants. I know there have been countless before me and there are sure to be as many after. But I also know that by not adding my body to the count, I insure nothing will change. I choose to not keep looking over my shoulder at “big brother” while he strips my carcass, I choose not to ignore what is going on all around me, I choose not to pretend that business as usual won’t continue; I have just had enough.

I can only hope that the numbers quickly get too big to be white washed and ignored that the American zombies wake up and revolt; it will take nothing less. I would only hope that by striking a nerve that stimulates the inevitable double standard, knee-jerk government reaction that results in more stupid draconian restrictions people wake up and begin to see the pompous political thugs and their mindless minions for what they are. Sadly, though I spent my entire life trying to believe it wasn’t so, but violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer. The cruel joke is that the really big chunks of shit at the top have known this all along and have been laughing, at and using this awareness against, fools like me all along.

I saw it written once that the definition of insanity is repeating the same process over and over and expecting the outcome to suddenly be different. I am finally ready to stop this insanity. Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let’s try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well.

The communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.

Joe Stack (1956-2010)

02/18/2010

Tutoring Benefits Students Outside Of The Classroom}

Tutoring Benefits Students Outside of the Classroom

by

Dennis McLynn

The classroom setting is often not enough for students to learn all of the subject material they need to know in order to pass tests and advance to harder classes. Tutoring is when students receive professional academic guidance or instruction, and it is a way for students to improve knowledge or skills far more rapidly than in a classroom setting. Tutoring is often beneficial to homeschooled students, as well. Students have several options to supplement their education outside the classroom, including in-home tutoring, academic coaching, and online tutoring. Solution assistance is another option in the field of math tutoring. This method of checking the accuracy of answers is particularly beneficial to students who live in remote areas, as is online tutoring.

Many students improve their test scores and grades by using online tutoring. Online tutoring companies use state of the art technology to provide parents and students with the ability to work with trained academic instructors from the convenience of home. Tutors can help students work through problems, or they can let students work on their own and then review their answers and provide assistance when students have questions. Online tutors, like other academics assistance providers, often focus on a specific educational subject or skill, such as math or science.

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Online tutors are often privately hired and paid by the student or the student’s family. There are also government programs, such as Supplemental Educational Services, which provide free academic tutoring to qualifying students. As part of the No Child Left Behind Act, low income families can enroll their children in Supplemental Educational Services if their school has been designated by the state to be in need of improvement for at least three years. Organizations that provide Supplemental Educational Services to students are identified and approved by each states Department of Education.

Most often, tutoring relates to an academic subject or test preparation when students need assistance in a specific course or subject that they are taking. Tutoring may be used for remedial students or others requiring special attention. In many cases, tutoring is also used to provide more advanced material to especially capable and highly motivated students. Whatever the students needs may be, tutoring and parental involvement can supplement classroom learning and help any student achieve academic success and reach their potential in life.

Dennis McLynn is the Vice President of Strategic Marketing & Business Development for High Points Learning. HighPoints Learning (HPL) is a leader in Web-based math education and instruction. HPL offers an

online math tutoring

program that helps raise participants’ math scores an average of 15 points in pre and post testing. HighPoints Learning services the 3-12 grade market.For more information visit: http://www.ehighpoints.com

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Tutoring Benefits Students Outside of the Classroom }

BMW announces 7.6% sales rise as US, China demand grows

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Automobile manufacturing company BMW has announced that its sales increased by 7.6 per cent during the month of July. BMW reported that 129,094 units were sold during the month, consisting of the motor vehicle brands of BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.

In a statement, Ian Robertson, member of the Board of Management of BMW, told of the company reporting “the most successful July sales ever”, claiming that it is “well on [the] way to achieving our recently announced target of over 1.6 million vehicles in 2011, the best ever sales result for the BMW group”.

Demand increases were notable in the United States and China in particular. 21,409 vehicles were delivered by BMW in the United States in July, an increase of 11.7 per cent from July 2010. In China, 18,858 units were sold in the month, meaning a sales rise of 36.1 per cent on the same month last year, with the increased popularity being attributed to “substantial gains in many markets”, BMW said. Sales increases were also reported in South Korea, Russia, India and Brazil. BMW did admit to a decrease of sales by 0.8% in Germany, the country in which the company is based.

[BMW has had] the most successful July sales ever

As a brand, BMW sales stood at 108,721 for July, 7.1% more than July 2010. In the year to date, BMW delivered 962,468 vehicles, a 17.9 per cent rise. According to Agence France-Presse (AFP), developing markets have become the cause of the substantial popularity of high quality automobile manufacturers. However, growth in this area may decline later on in the year, due to the difficulties facing the global economy, AFP claims.

Meanwhile, General Motors stated on Friday that its China sales decreased by 1.8 per cent in July this year compared to the same month in 2010. This was due to a lowered demand for commercial vehicles, AFP reported.

California employees owe state US$13.3 million in unpaid loans

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The California Controller’s office reports that eleven state agencies have given US$13.3 million in pay and travel advances that have not been collected.

Governor Jerry Brown issued an executive order to recover uncollected loans by the agencies. A press release from the governor’s office states, “The Governor’s Executive Order seeks to recover taxpayer dollars by directing state agencies and departments to clear salary and travel advances within 30 days through an expense claim.” Any outstanding balance will be deducted from employees’ paychecks under the governor’s order after the 30 days.

Under California state law, state employees are permitted to receive advances for hardship, travel, and other circumstances. These advances cannot be collected by agencies after three years without the employee’s consent.

State Controller John Chiang said in a statement, “The state’s poor debt collection and accounting practices are fleecing public coffers at a time when vital public programs are being decimated by unprecedented budget cuts.” Chiang’s office expects there will be more money unaccounted for, including some from the California Highway Patrol (CHP). California state law mandates that anyone convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol is required to pay for the investigation. The CHP has not collected this money.

The California Department of Transportation, also called Caltrans, has the largest debt of the eleven agencies: $3.2 million. Cal Fire, or the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, “had an outstanding balance of $1.44 million as of June 30, 2008. An overwhelming portion of that balance was related to employee salary and travel advances,” according to a controller’s office audit.

Chiang’s office had informed former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger there were outstanding debts, but Schwarzenegger’s administration did not take action.

All eleven agencies have agreed to hand over any delinquent accounts to the controller’s office, who will collect these debts.

City of Calgary, Canada removes fluoride from drinking water

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Calgary city council voted 10 to 3 on Wednesday to stop fluoridating their water supply. This overturns a previous plebiscite from 1989 to add the fluoride in an attempt to reduce tooth decay.

Opponents of water fluoridation claim that there could be unknown health effects of fluoride, and question its effectiveness in preventing tooth decay. They also claim that individuals should be able to decide for themselves whether or not to use fluoride. However, Alberta Health Services maintains that current evidence shows that fluoride is both safe, and beneficial to dental health.

It is estimated that no longer fluoridating the water supply could save Calgary’s city council C$750 thousand (550 thousand) annually, as well as cutting a C$6 million (4.3 million) upgrade to the fluoridation system.

Basic Bearded Dragon Care Guidelines}

Basic Bearded Dragon Care Guidelines

by

Sarah Munn

Reptiles make great pets for those with the proper mindset, and Bearded Dragons are among the most popular of those reptile pets. They are sturdy, just small enough, and eat simple, variant diets. With a lifespan of up to fifteen years, they can be a good long term pet, but only with the proper care and attention to the lifestyle and necessities of their diets.

Because they are desert creatures, Bearded Dragons are used to a substantial influx of sunlight. Without the vitamins and calcium acquired from that absorption, Bearded Dragons can become ill quickly. For that reason, keeping a UVA or UVB light on them for the sunlight hours of their day is vital. Often, vitamin supplements mixed into their diets are good as well. Diseases related to the bones weakening through Vitamin D, Calcium and Phosphorous deficiencies can include Metallic Bone disease and various other painful issues in your bearded dragon.

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Keeping your bearded lizards enclosure clean is incredibly important. The possibility of parasites or diseases infiltrating their environment through food or enclosure additions is constant, and for that reason you should keep a close eye on your lizard for any signs of these diseases. Things like weight loss or unhealthy droppings can be directly attributed to a parasite introduced to their space. If you ignore the signs, the parasite could eventually cause the death of your bearded dragon, or at least extreme health problems. A veterinarian can offer quick and easy solutions for treating these issues.

The environment itself, while fairly stable most of the time can cause problem with your beard dragons respiratory system if not kept stable. As a cold blooded creature, low levels of heat and too much moisture can spell immediate health problems for your bearded dragon. These can include anything from clogged nostrils to raspy breathing. Immediate care with antibiotics and the adjustment of your tanks conditions will repair such issues usually without further harm.

If you decide to breed your bearded dragons, or if your female merely happens to get pregnant, it is important to give her a good, comfortable nesting place. Without the nesting place, she could suffer from egg binding, mostly common the first time a female breeds. Besides nesting areas, it is important to ensure your female dragon is mature enough for mating. Immediately see a vet in this case, as egg binding most often leads to death.

A recent problem to arise in bearded dragons is adenovirus. Preying on smaller animals, adenovirus is hard to catch because of its similarity to other health problems. If problems persist after careful treatment, quickly see a vet. As a fatal disease, adenovirus is often not caught until the lizard has already passed.

When purchasing a bearded dragon, keep in mind that these wonderful pets are no different than most other pets in that they require careful attention to keep from becoming ill. With proper attention and care, a bearded dragon can be expected to live a long and healthy life.

For more information on

bearded dragon care

, try visiting Bearded Dragon Center (beardeddragoncenter.com), a popular website that provides tips, advice and resources on caring for bearded dragons.

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Basic Bearded Dragon Care Guidelines
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Rafael Nadal withdraws from Wimbledon Championships

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Rafael Nadal, the 2008 Men’s Singles winner at the Wimbledon Championships, announced today his withdrawal from the 2009 Championships because of a knee injury caused by his tendinitis. The formal announcement came after he had played the second of his warm-up matches.

I am picking Andy Murray or Roger Federer

On Thursday, whilst playing Lleyton Hewitt, Nadal had experienced issues with moving about the court. Again, whilst playing Stanislas Wawrinka today, he had problems and lost the match.

He will be the first champion to not defend his Wimbledon championship since Goran Ivaniševi? pulled out in 2002.

As a result, fifth seed Juan Martín del Potro takes Nadal’s place in the first quarter of the draw, seventeenth seed James Blake takes del Potro’s place in the fifth quarter, Nicolas Kiefer becomes the thirty-third seed and takes Blake’s place in the fourth quarter, with his own previous spot now filled by lucky loser Thiago Alves.

Björn Borg was quoted on Tuesday (June 16) as saying “Nadal is always a dangerous player because he is the best in the world — but what happened in Paris and then the injury, I am picking Andy Murray or Roger Federer. […] For Nadal to win five in a row (at the French Open) was a big goal this year. I am sure he was very, very disappointed when he went home after Paris. That defeat took him many, many days to get over. Nadal is saying he has got an injury, but he has to be fit at Wimbledon if he wants to go all the way, and I do not think he will go all the way this year.”

Chelsea Clinton marries Marc Mezvinsky in Rhinebeck, New York

Monday, August 2, 2010

Chelsea Clinton, the only daughter of former US president William Jefferson “Bill” Clinton and current US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, wed long-time boyfriend and investment banker Marc Mezvinsky on Saturday evening. The ceremony occurred in Rhinebeck, New York amidst a flurry of secrecy and speculation surrounding the event.

Not much was known about the wedding, and those involved in the event did not say anything to the media. An estimated 500 guests were at the ceremony, which took place at Astor Courts, a large Beaux Arts estate built for John Jacob Astor IV over 100 years ago. The secluded mansion is situated on 50 acres (20.2 hectares) of land in the small town of Rhinebeck. A no-fly zone was established over the estate.

The guest list was the subject of much speculation, but notable figures Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, and John Major reportedly did not attend the festivities. Madeleine Albright, Steve Bing, Warren Buffet, and Kobe Bryant were rumored to have been seen at the wedding.

The marriage ceremony was led by Rabbi James Ponet and the Reverend William Shillady. Mezvinsky, who is Jewish, wore a tallit (prayer shawl) and a yarmulke. Clinton is a Methodist. A Clinton family friend read the poem “The Life That I Have”, by Leo Marks. Chelsea Clinton wore a strapless dress designed by Vera Wang. She had been spotted by Women’s Wear Daily at Wang’s New York showroom earlier last week, and Wang was reportedly seen in Rhinebeck as well.

The town of Rhinebeck was the subject of much public interest on Saturday. Photographers, journalists, and ordinary citizens lined the streets to get a peek at the celebrities attending the wedding. Many stores had signs saying something similar to “Congratulations Marc & Chelsea.” Residents temporarily displaced by the wedding were even given bottles of wine for the inconvenience.

30-year-old Chelsea Clinton and 32-year-old Marc Mezvinsky first met in Washington, D.C. while teenagers, and both later attended Stanford University. Now living in New York, Mezvinsky works at G3 Capital as an investment banker, while Clinton recently earned her master’s degree in public health at Columbia University. Mezvinsky is the son of the now-divorced Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky and Ed Mezvinsky, friends of the Clinton family.

Although thought to cost several million dollars, a Clinton family friend claimed that the event would carry a price tag of less than US$1 million.