Is Having A Green and Sustainable Culture Possible?

The planet is on the verge of a major transformation. We can see a lot of changes happening around us but it is not always to the best of our interests. Well, we can’t blame Mother Nature if it is making us suffer because of senseless and destructive human activities that wreak havoc on the environment and has even hastened the arrival of climate change. But it is not yet too late. We still have time to correct the error of our ways and salvage what little is left of the planet. It’s not rocket science and you’d be surprised that the solution has been staring you in the face for a long time now.

Many of the things we do today have a negative impact on the planet. Pollution is rampant and our endless need and use of fossil fuels destroy Mother Nature by the minute. The deadly world we now live in is the result of our years of abuse and misuse of resources for our personal gain and without regards to its environmental repercussions. For a positive change to transpire, we should accept it in our hearts that we need help and that we need to make changes big time. All changes aren’t easy but despite the challenges we face, we must unite and persevere because it is human survival on the line.

By eschewing air travel, the pair prevented carbon dioxide emissions of roughly one-half of a metric tonne, and received the Swarovski Optik Green Travel Award from the Society for Conservation Biology, which hosted the meeting. The European branch of the organization is encouraging scientists to shrink their carbon footprints, and Stephanie, now a postdoc studying freshwater conservation at Paul Sabatier University in Toulouse, France, took the challenge to heart. “I feel contradictory if I’m not making some effort in my own life,” she says.

She is not alone. Although most researchers say that tackling climate change will require large-scale action from nations and corporations, many individuals are trying to do their own parts. “I think it’s important for me as a global citizen,” says Erich Osterberg, a climatologist at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. He and his family have taken personal steps such as reducing meat consumption and upgrading to high-efficiency appliances at home. He notes that such actions also help climate scientists such as him to ward off accusations of hypocrisy — that researchers talk the talk but don’t walk the walk.


The carbon footprint of each nation continually makes the world a hotter place for everyone and it has been discussed in countless scientific meetings and conferences and an agreement has also been signed, acknowledged and observed by most nations in the world. With global warming, it means that the heat can’t escape the planet’s atmosphere and it is trapped here for good, thereby melting polar caps that cause the sea level to rise. Many island nations can possibly disappear from the face of the planet if we don’t try out best to slow down the progression of global warming and climate change today when we still have ample time to do so.

Sustainability is becoming increasingly important in almost every industry and chemistry is no different.

Green chemistry aims to minimise the environmental impact of the chemical industry. This includes shifting away from oil to renewable sources where possible.

Green chemistry also prioritises safety, improving energy efficiency and, most importantly, minimising (and ideally) eliminating toxic waste from the very beginning.

Important examples of green chemistry include: phasing out the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in refrigerants, which have played a role in creating the ozone hole; developing more efficient ways of making pharmaceuticals, including the well-known painkiller ibuprofen and chemotherapy drug Taxol; and developing cheaper, more efficient solar cells.


Climate change is also another issue we can’t just ignore forever. Weather systems have intensified over recent years and have claimed thousands of lives and wiped out many communities. Even though making these changes seem like an impossible task, promoting green and sustainable practices can help us get to where we want years from now and no longer endanger the planet and that of the billions of human lives living in it.

Manufacturing companies should be directed to change their processes and make it more environment-friendly because they produce the biggest chunk of the carbon emitted by most progressive nations. Not making that much of a profit is a small price to pay for saving our world from our ultimate doom.

Is Having A Green and Sustainable Culture Possible? was first seen on NC Blog

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Experience The High Life In New York

“All work and no play make a man dull.” How true indeed. While it is important to work hard for a living, it is also vital to take some leisurely time off work during your rest day to help you stay sane and happy in life. The daily grind can stress you out and eventually burn you out. It’s why you should never hesitate to chill and relax during the weekend, perhaps, or whenever you have some free time to give more meaning and excitement to your life.

One of the best places to go to is the city that never sleeps – New York. New York has transformed the East Coast into a top travel and shopping destination. But if you are a local, you can easily feel tired from the endless demands of work and the big crowds you meet. To keep yourself grounded, indulge in some me-time or hang out with friends in the newest and largest rooftop bar in the city. It’s not necessarily quiet time, I suppose, but it can give you a fresh perspective on having fun in the city and a great way to wine and dine. Just brace for it, though, because you have to wait a few more months before you can set foot in this cool hotspot.

When the Moxy Times Square opens in September 2017, it will boast the largest all-season rooftop bar in New York City, becoming the crown jewel in a city known for its sky-high watering holes with stunning views.

The as-yet-unnamed 10,000-square-foot rooftop bar and lounge will be open every night and will start taking reservations later this summer. Guests of the hotel will get priority access.

A spokesperson for the Moxy said that the bar and lounge will have an “urban amusement park” concept, a DJ, and epic views of the Empire State Building.

The rooftop will have carousel seating, an oversized topiary garden, and a miniature putt-putt golf course. The lounge will have multiple bar and seating areas and a light food menu that will include sausage and peppers, Maine lobster roll, duck carnitas tacos, and hamburgers.


Talking about socializing in one of the most famous cities in America and even in the whole world, you should not miss out on this latest New York attraction because it got everything covered. Just a stone throw away from Times Square, Moxy offers you a place to dine and wine that features a garden, mini golf course, bingo, artists and DJ appearances, yoga, and guest rooms among others. The only thing that is lacking is conventional cable or satellite TV because that’s so in the past now and online streaming is what’s in these days.

A Manhattan rooftop bar is offering guests the chance to drink outdoors in the middle of New York City winter—no heavy overcoats necessary.

Visitors to 230 Fifth can already start experiencing the 360° views of New York City’s skyline from the comfort of their very own igloo.

The pop-up structures host up to 11 people at a time, according to Time Out New York, and it’s not possible to make reservations. “People generally share them and chat with strangers,” a spokesperson for 230-Fifth told Travel + Leisure.


It’s such a liberating feeling being at the top of these cool places in New York where you get to admire the bustling city life at an angle you have never seen before without missing out on all the fun.

There’s something about being far above the hubbub of the Big Apple’s streets, especially in the summertime, when humidity levels soar and the concrete feels like it’s emanating heat waves.

“Being on a New York City rooftop gives you this special pleasure of feeling part of the city, inside it, but at a distance,” says Ray Chung, director of design at The Johnson Studio, the firm behind the rooftop lounge at The Wit Hotel in Chicago, among other projects.

“Walking down the streets is one thing, but being able to let your guard down and see the city reduced in size — all the while still breathing the same air and still hearing the buzz of the city — it can be intoxicating,” says Chung.

Drinks just taste better 10 stories up, especially when a cool night breeze is blowing.


Many people have New York on their travel bucket list for a lot of reasons. What it lacks in space (aside from that of Central Park), it makes up in vertical attractions like penthouse bars and hangouts. Rooftop bars are all the rage in the Big Apple. The view in many of these rooftop bars are to-die-for and really make for a picturesque setting for Instagrammable photos.

You can head to these popular spots by yourself to meet new friends or go out with existing ones to experience what it is like living the high life (literally many stories high) in the Big Apple. If you are a tourist who wants to immerse in the big city life, the best thing to do is to go up in these nice hangouts or simply chill out if you are a true blue New Yorker yourself.

Experience The High Life In New York is courtesy of Naked Conversations

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The Need For More Female Computer Programmers

We are living in a highly digital world where computers run almost every system. Whatever your industry is, you can’t avoid using a computer yourself because that’s how most businesses and organizations work these days. You can’t definitely go wrong if you go after a computer-related career because the demand for it will always be high. In the past, it was actually women who pioneered computer programming because men likened coding to clerical tasks. Coding was generally thought of as a job for women while the men busied themselves in creating the hardware itself. However, men eventually took over and pursued careers in computer perhaps because of their natural preoccupation with gadgets and anything that is digital but mainly because the pay significantly increased. The demand for coders grew and it captured the men’s interest who eventually took the job away from women.

Fast-forward to today, women are increasingly gaining interest as computers become cooler and fun to use. They are no longer the boring boxes that nerdy guys were all over with back in the days. Today, cool people use computers heavily in their lives. And even if just for leisure, just the sheer thought of social media can excite anyone. Computing technology is no longer limited to just computers since there is also smart technology that is just as exciting.

Close your eyes and picture a computer science college student. In all likelihood, you imagined a male. Sadly, statistics about who decides to major in computer science in college back you up. In 2015, women earned only 18% of all computer science degrees in the nation; that percentage dips even lower for women of color, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

And while identifying the root cause for this gap is difficult, researchers are finding that what happens in a CS college classroom can greatly influence women’s decision to enter or stay out of the programming field. While there is increased interest in addressing gender disparity in Silicon Valley as well as a push to expose young girls to coding, more research is needed to understand the role that colleges can play in the diversity process.


The public assumes that most women are inherently not interested in computers given the statistics. Even today where female professional coders are widely accepted globally, not that many women still take up computer courses in college. Computer professionals need to have the knowledge and skills about computing that you can mostly learn during college. If women lack those two, they’ll have a hard time landing any computer-related job after graduating.

Even at home, parents are likewise more inclined to purchase computers or video games for their son and not their daughter. In the process, women lose exposure to tech devices where they can decide for themselves whether they like using it or not.

A new course at town public high schools would look to attract women into computer science, a male-dominated field whose broader make-up is often reflected in high school classrooms.

The class, Computer Science Principles (CSP), is based on a new Advanced Placement course and requires only Algebra 1, a course typically taken in eighth or ninth grade, as its precursor. It was presented to the Board of Education last week and would launch its first class at Fairfield Warde High School this fall, pending board approval.

As the district has grown its computer science and programming offerings in recent years, CSP would aim to be a more accessible course that would help bring diversity to a field with few women and minorities.

“I really hope that it draws students into the computer sciences,” said Margaret Boice, Director of Secondary Education.


Men are more adept at handling computers in the same way that they are better with numbers whereas women mostly excel in language. Having these computer and coding courses during high school gives female students a chance to really choose the career path they want to take in college, whether it is computer-related or not, and be exposed to what computing is all about. Making it big as a female coder is not an easy task in an industry dominated by men, so it helps if the female population also get to enjoy the same computing perks that men enjoy at a young age. Maybe it will increase the chances of young girls pursuing computer-related courses on their own and establish careers alongside geeky males who excel in the field.

The Need For More Female Computer Programmers is republished from

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Rescuing The EPA

Many changes are happening to the planet and it is not always for our best interests. For starters, the world is heating up way faster because more heat is trapped within the atmosphere because of global warming. Sea level is rising and becoming more acidic. Natural catastrophes are worsening each year and the worst is yet to come. Despite all these changes, the US government is turning a blind eye to the importance of environmental protection in the face of climate change threats. The US Environmental Protection Agency may even cease to exist as the federal government continues to reduce its funding to almost nonexistent.

And just like with President Trump’s decision to sign out of the Paris Climate Agreement where local government units and even the private sector joined hand in hand in making positive changes for the betterment of the planet at a municipal level, environment groups are also making more noise than ever in an attempt to protect the US EPA from the budget cuts as proposed by the new administration. The activists point out how helpful the EPA is in not only preserving the environment but in protecting the health and well-being of the millions of Americans through the various environment-friendly programs they implement.

 “The EPA is the only reason we’re not still drinking cancer water today,” said Michele Baker, a mother from Hoosick Falls. “President Trump and the people he has running the EPA should be looking for ways to strengthen our laws, to keep what happened here from happening anywhere else. It is beyond immoral that they’re pushing cuts instead. If Congress does not stop the President, people will get sick and die.”

Representatives from environmental advocacy groups Environmental Advocates of New York (EANY), Sierra Club, Food and Water Watch and Citizens Campaign for the Environment spoke of the importance of funding the endangered EPA programs at a press conference at the Legislative Offices Building in Albany on Wednesday, June 28.

Under Trump’s proposed budget, Energy Star and WaterSense programs, which help consumers purchase energy- and water-efficient appliances, would be eliminated, as well as the Office of Environmental Justice, which protects lower-income communities disproportionately affected by pollution. It would also remove funding for: Great Lakes and Lake Champlain clean-up programs; lead remediation support; marine, beach and fish safety programs; climate change research; and research into the dangers of pesticides. In addition, the budget would cut diesel emissions reduction grant programs by 80 percent, air and energy research by more than 60 percent and reduce funding for the already-underfunded Superfund program.


These activists highlight the importance of the EPA and how much we will suffer if they can no longer do their job because of insufficient federal funding. If the government fails to realize how vital the EPA is to our lives, they will make it their responsibility to educate the people of its importance before it is too late. They are especially pressuring New York Republican congressmen from passing this 31% EPA budget cut, all the time stressing out how much the EPA protects every family in America by slowing down climate change.

Faso said he opposes the proposed EPA budget cuts. “While there is certainly room for improvement at the EPA, I understand the importance of the agency’s role in protecting our environment and ensuring that we all have access to clean air and water,” said Faso.

Cooke said the fate of the cuts rests with GOP lawmakers, adding, “They need to protect us, not industry.”

The effort sounds similar to the town hall events on health care held in Congressional districts earlier this year, where lawmakers supporting Trump’s proposals to weaken Obamacare were met by crowds of angry constituents.


These EPA budget cuts are a direct threat to American communities that are already struggling with the many changes brought about by climate change. Without enough funds, the EPA will lose several long-term programs that the US desperately needs in order to reduce its carbon footprint and encourage the use of renewable sources of energy.

Green activists already stopped the government from doing so just recently but they have to do everything all over again for the new 2018 budget. The changes would even be more severe as the cuts are bigger than previously. If these budget cuts push through, the federal government can increase the budget for defense while virtually crippling other government agencies like the EPA. But the problem is, is that really what the rest of America needs? What will be left worth defending if the nation is no longer a great place to live in?

Rescuing The EPA is republished from

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American Education Still In Trouble

Education can be your life’s greatest treasure. It’s something nobody can take away from you. For years, parents struggled to send their children off to school whether they have the support of the government or not. Education enabled their young minds to think out of the box and learn things they would never have known had they stayed at home and not frequent the four corners of the classroom. Educated people have a wider understanding of life as they learn what makes the world go round. However, getting an education remains to be a big hurdle that many families face until today.

You can change your life with a good quality education. Unfortunately, it may come at a high price tag. But as the world progresses and technology starts to take over the world, society needs more educated people to help run the affairs of the state and most businesses too. The government has been doing its part in subsidizing the children’s education for decades now, so Americans continue to be globally competitive someday. Then there is a growing middle-class that does not always rely on the government for help in putting their kids to school. Yet despite all these changes, many still struggle to get an education in America, more so in other parts of the world.

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus chastised the state Senate on Wednesday for fighting improvements to public education and called on this summer’s special session to include work fixing the state’s beleaguered school finance system.

Straus said he hopes school finance is added to Gov. Greg Abbott’s special session call, which currently includes 20 issues, including a committee to study school finance but not a demand the Legislature pass a series of fixes pushed by the House this session.

The San Antonio Republican told a ballroom full of school board members they should complain often and loudly to pressure state lawmakers to prioritize public education and branded the House as the chamber that “still believes in public education.”


The education system is in dire need of reforms to address the issue of underfunding in public schools. It also won’t help that the education sector is included in the list of President Trump’s budget cuts considering that many are already struggling to meet the growing education needs of today’s youth. If this goes on, more Americans will go into adulthood lacking the education they need to find better jobs for their families and struggle even more in their day-to-day lives.

In a stinging speech that slammed the Senate’s focus on school vouchers and bathroom bills, the San Antonio Republican told a hotel ballroom full of school board members that they should pressure state lawmakers, and run for election to the state’s upper chamber.

“In many ways, your hands are tied and state government is holding the rope,” he told more than 200 attendees at the Texas Association of School Boards during their opening dinner at a conference to review legislation from the 2017 legislative session.  “One of my biggest concerns coming out of this year’s session is that we are starting to send the wrong signal about who we are as a state.”

Branding the House as the chamber that “still believes in public education,” Straus said he had looked forward to speaking at the Wednesday night conference so he could be around elected officials who are “sincere, hard-working and committed to education. It’s quite a change for me,” he said to laughs in the Marriott Rivercenter in downtown San Antonio.


Legislation is needed in order to realize these reforms not only when it comes to funding but even when it comes to the hiring and firing of teachers too. Meanwhile, the controversial bathroom bill is likewise taking up too much time of the legislators that it shadows other more important issues faced by educators and the school system in general. Even issues on property reform taxes should also be addressed as many schools get funding from them rather than from the federal government itself.

The government should no longer turn a blind eye to the myriad of problems faced by schools nowadays. The president may not value the importance of supporting the education of the youth but it does not mean that his opinions speak for the reality we all face. After all, he is a billionaire who has probably been out of touch of reality for the longest time as he looks down on the masses from his high-rise Trump Towers. Meanwhile, many kids will lose the opportunity to advance in life because one person in power thinks otherwise.

The following blog article American Education Still In Trouble was initially published on

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Maximizing Technology In Building Your Business

Technology is a major force in our ever changing world. It defines the era we are living in and provided the tools mankind needs for further progress. If you just look around you, you can see different types of technology dominating the market. Smart technology, for instance, is the hottest tech these days and a favorite of many because of the endless opportunities it offers to just about everyone who owns a smartphone or smartgadget and has Internet access. Technology is rapidly advancing. If you are a business owner, make an effort to keep abreast with all these advancements to fuel your brand’s growth and reach a wider audience. Remember that the competition is doing it too, so you better get on it now than be left behind by everyone else.

With the population explosion, many entrepreneurs have also opened up more innovative businesses to meet the growing needs of the public. But since you’ll have a hard time dominating the market through conventional means, most business owners tap technology to give them an edge over others. For instance, make use of social media to get in touch with people and communicate the essence of your brand. You also have to distinguish which platform is best for your business because different channels work differently too. You can reach out to more artsy minded people for your arts and craft business on Pinterest while most generic businesses can do well on Facebook.

Many small businesses owners find that the fast-paced growth of the technology industry can make it difficult to know the right time to adopt new tools. But few understand that waiting too long, or lagging too far behind the curve, can have a real negative impact on business. According to recent report from Boston Consulting Group, Lessons on Technology and Growth from Small-Business Leaders, “…research shows technology leaders far outperform their peers in the marketplace,” and, “created jobs almost twice as fast as other small businesses. Technology leaders also increased their annual revenues 15 percentage points faster than companies with lower levels of technology adoption.”

In order to stay competitive, create jobs and increase revenue, small businesses need to seriously consider technology trends and how to leverage them. In addition to growing the bottom line, here are five ways small and mid-sized companies can use technology to grow their businesses.

Reach customers

There are numerous cloud-based technologies that can help a small business grow by more efficiently reaching customers and creating leads. Low-cost applications exist to help manage contacts, accounts, pipeline and opportunities. More robust software may include marketing applications to create more revenue generating email campaigns and providing analytics to help get the right message to target audiences. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube can also be used to promote products and services. Many of these technologies are often low cost or even free.


Over two billion people use social media daily. That’s a lot of people you can easily tap if you just maximize what these social channels can offer. It might seem like a piece of cake but it is challenging to break the Internet if you don’t have any idea on what you are doing, what your company has to offer, and what direction you plan on taking your business. Build your social media presence and target the right traffic for your brand. You can even make use of technology to raise capital for your start-up venture. Crowdfunding does that for you. There are a lot of business opportunities but there are many things to consider as well, so don’t rush in and plan how you wish to maximize technology to make it work for your brand and not the other way around.

Business users were once the first to experience technology. PCs were the norm in the office and on the factory floor long before computers were in use at home. The business user accepted technology at the pace that the business doled it out. That was then. Over the last decade the consumer technology market leapfrogged the business world. Traditional business has been struggling to keep up with its technology savvy employees, and its customers’ expectation for easy information access and seemingly effortless multi-channel transactions utilizing their device du jour.

Relevant business technology is all about software now — specifically customer-facing software that eases information/transaction access, and software bundled into the company’s product or service offerings that add innovative, unique function. That software-defined customer experience and connectedness is crucial to future business vitality. The composition of a “product” has been expanded to include software. A firm’s customer experience needs to be managed in a product management context. Product management in a software defined world must confront the increasingly shortened time frame between innovation and commoditization. Speed to market is crucial.


Even small American businesses are now heavily dependent on new technological solutions and social media innovations in promoting and building their brand and even in regularly reaching out to their customer base. The web continues to innovate as we speak and you really have to devote a great deal of your time, money and effort in harnessing tech to your company’s advantage and in streamlining your business efforts. Open up your mind to various possibilities offered by the web because that is when real growth takes place.

Maximizing Technology In Building Your Business was initially published to NC Blog

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What’s In Store For The 2020 Olympics

Life would be so boring without exciting and adventurous activities like sports. Although not everyone are gifted enough to be athletic in build, talent or skills, we all know how to appreciate many of these sporting events that interests us or captures our fancy. Athletes devote a great deal of their time in honing their skills especially if they compete in prestigious events like say, the Olympics. The prestige of winning medals in such competitions can be the highlight of any athlete’s career and determine their path in life.

Every four years, a host country is tasked to prepare for the Olympic Games that were originally held in Athens, Greece. The next Olympic Games or otherwise known as the Games of the XXXII Olympiad will take place in Tokyo in 2020. Being the host country is both a big honor and a responsibility. For this event alone, a budget of 400 billion Japanese Yen was set by the Japanese government to spend for all the hosting preparations.


Commenting on the decision, IOC President Thomas Bach said: “The fascinating new events that we approved today, together with the five new sports that were added to the Tokyo 2020 programme last year, represent a step-change in the Olympic programme. I am delighted that the Olympic Games in Tokyo will be more youthful, more urban and will include more women.”

The EB decision will lead to a net increase of 15 events, an overall reduction of 285 athletes from Rio 2016, and the highest representation of female athletes in Olympic history. In Tokyo, the number of mixed events will double from nine in Rio 2016 to 18. All new events will make use of existing venues.

Today’s decision is a significant step towards achieving the 50 per cent gender balance at the Olympic Games in both athletes and events, as clearly stated by Olympic Agenda 2020.


Sporting events like rowing, canoe, weightlifting, and shooting are now gender-balanced as well as in athletes for the same four events along with two more – judo and sailing. Freestyle wrestling, mountain bike, and BMX racing have also become gender balanced at a discipline level. Mixed events add more spice and excitement to the Olympics while the adding of events like BMX freestyle and skateboarding indicates the desire to tap a more youthful audience, which happens to be the biggest chunk in the global population today.

THE version of 3-on-3 coming to the Tokyo Olympics in three years isn’t exactly the same game seen on so many local playgrounds.

The IOC on Friday added 3-on-3 to the Olympic program for 2020 in an effort to give the games a more youthful and urban appeal. Basketball and Olympic officials hope the half-court game is as successful as beach volleyball — a smaller, faster version of the 5-on-5 sport.

World governing body FIBA had 3-on-3 in the 2010 Singapore Youth Olympic Games and in the 2014 edition of the event in Nanjing, China, the sport now becoming the first Youth Olympic discipline to be included in the Olympic program.


The introduction of the 3-on-3 basketball as an official Olympic sport is also a strong indicator that the committee also wants to give sports enthusiasts what they want to see, their favorite game of basketball. This move only goes to show that basketball is increasingly becoming a popular sport all over the world. However, basketball fans should not get disappointed if the basketball game they see on the Olympics is far from what they see how this game is usually played.

The Olympics committee is doing their best to maintain the importance and popularity of the Olympics considering that fewer cities are willing to host it and that its audience are mostly the older demographics. This is the main reason why new and more youthful sports were added into the line-up – to capture the attention and interest of the younger people if they want to stay relevant in an increasingly changing world.

What’s In Store For The 2020 Olympics See more on: NC Blog

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Your Skin Needs Some Summer Lovin’

The skin is the largest body organ and is the first barrier to microorganisms so we don’t easily fall prey to bacteria, viruses, etc. Aside from that, the skin also serves an aesthetic purpose. After all, it is the first thing people see when they meet you. People can form judgments on you by simply basing it on the way you look. And as the summer season welcomes everyone, we should take extra precaution in caring for our skin because the intense heat of the sun can do it a lot of harm. Aside from the threats of skin cancer, the very idea of having sun spots or skin tags at an early age isn’t a pretty sight at all.

We can’t deny that the summer months nowadays are hotter than they used to be. Climate change has a profound effect even on the seasons that winter is colder and summer is definitely warmer than what we are used to. The thought of spending hours out in the sun may be a refreshing change for the months we’ve been cooped inside the house but it can leave you sweating like crazy and feeling hot from the inside out. Hence, wearing sunscreen is non-negotiable or risk suffering from painful and ugly sunburns that can ruin your physical appearance for a while.

We all want flawless skin, especially during summer. When temperatures rise and the air is dry, fresh skin becomes even more important. There are thousands of beauty products that promise to give you clear and glowing skin. Instead of relying on these products, you can try some simple and easy home remedies to improve your skin’s overall health and appearance. Here’s a a few simple ways to make sure that your skin stays soft and clear:

Lemon is one of the best ingredients that you can use to promote clear skin. The citric acid in lemons helps keep the skin clear by removing dead cells, and its vitamin C content helps reduce dark spots by increasing the cell renewal process. Lemon also has bleaching properties that will help improve your overall skin complexion. (Side note: you can also use lemon to lighten your hair during the summer!)

Apply fresh-squeezed lemon juice to your entire face and neck. Leave it on for 10 minutes and then wash it off with lukewarm water. After this, rub cucumber slices on your skin to soften and moisturize it. Do this daily or every other day.
Another option is squeeze the juice of one-half lemon and mix one to two tablespoons of raw honey in it. Apply it on your face, leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes and then rinse it off.


Aside from having to deal with the scorching heat of the sun, the humidity is a major bummer too. It’s why wearing loose cotton clothing and short-sleeved shirts, shorts and skirts are outfit staples during the warm summer season. It allows you to sweat and cool off and stay sane the entire day. However, it also means you’ll be showing off more skin than before and exposing it to the harmful rays of the sun.

Between the chlorine-spiked pool water, dank camping-tent air, and endless stream of cold brews (of all varieties), summer tends to do a number on your skin. So if you’re over the age of 25 and are still mostly using one bar of soap to clean and moisturize every part of your body, now is probably a good time to, ahem, expand your repertoire. And a vitamin C serum is a very good place to start.

As we’ve mentioned in the past, a serum is something you use after you wash your face but before you moisturize to give your skin some extra help where it needs it most. Think: acne, wrinkles, and dryness. Vitamin C is a common ingredient in all skin-care products because of its awesome ability to reduce discoloration, stimulate collagen production, minimize fine lines and wrinkles, and protect your skin against future sun damage. Whether you’re spending your summer chilling on a boat or mowing the lawn, this multi-tasker ingredient, in this powerful form, is precisely what your face needs right now.


It is easy to forget about your skin and neglect it with the long list of activities you’ve got lined up this summer. You may aspire to sport that glowing and dewy sun-kissed look but you may end up looking sunburnt along the way especially if you don’t take precautions before going out in the sun. You can’t afford to dilly-dally when it comes to skin care. You have to stick with it without fail every single day because your skin isn’t as infallible as you’d like to think it is. Give it the lovin’ it needs and you’d have no problem looking your best all summer long.

The post Your Skin Needs Some Summer Lovin’ is republished from Naked Conversations Blog

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Growing Terrorist Threat In Southeast Asia

We’ve all heard about wars waged by ISIS in the Middle East but it seems that the threat is about to hit Asia hard as these Muslim terrorists have started expanding their caliphate. For almost a month now, the Philippine government is battling the Maute rebels that have pledged allegiance to ISIS in the battleground that is now Marawi in the southern part of the Philippines. It is being led by Isnilon Hapilon, who has a $5-million bounty on the head and included in the US list of most wanted terrorists. Innocent residents of this inland city have been evacuated but some have already fallen along with Philippine soldiers who came to their aid and are in hot pursuit of the local terrorist group.

It’s not ISIS fighters yet who took over the city but it has been a while since they have started recruiting in this part of the world. There were even other neighboring Asians like Malaysians and Indonesians who joined the Maute group during the attack, which is why the entire island of Mindanao has been put under Martial Law. As the Islamists are losing the battle on their turf (especially in Syria), they were reportedly planning to move and create a new terrorist hub in Southeast Asia. It is indeed very alarming news for the many Southeast Asian nations who aren’t equipped to deal with this kind of terrorism.

Southeast Asia’s jihadis who fought by the hundreds for the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria now have a different battle closer to home in the southern Philippines. It’s a scenario raising significant alarm in Washington.

The recent assault by IS-aligned fighters on the Philippine city of Marawi has left more than 300 people dead, exposing the shortcomings of local security forces and the extremist group’s spreading reach in a region where counterterrorism gains are coming undone.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told Congress last week that a long-running U.S. military operation to help Philippine forces contain extremist fighters was canceled prematurely three years ago. Small numbers of U.S. special forces remain in an “advise and assist” role, and the U.S. is providing aerial surveillance to help the Philippines retake Marawi, an inland city of more than 200,000 people.


Many homes and properties have been destroyed as the government continues to strike the terrorists from the air. The Islamic State will not easily give up without a fight and they will try to bring as many as they can down because of their radical and otherworldly views in life especially religion.

Survival has become a daily battle in Marawi, the capital of Mindanao’s Lanao del Sur province and whose mostly Muslim 200,000 population make the city the biggest Islamic community in what is otherwise an overwhelmingly Catholic country. Villarosa, a teacher in Marawi, was handing out wedding invitations when black-clad fighters of what the locals call Grupo ISIS swarmed the streets. She ran, hid, and took shelter in a nearby house with 38 other people. Outside, she heard, her workplace Dansalan College was burning, and Christians were being killed. “We rescued ourselves—no military,” says Villarosa. “We had to run, walk, crawl.” Seven of her colleagues, including the school’s principal, were unaccounted for, but, low on food and water, and with news that the military was set to bomb the area, Villarosa decided to get to the sanctuary of city hall. “It looked like a movie outside, it looked like The Walking Dead,” she says, referring to the post-apocalypse U.S. TV series.

The battle for Marawi began on May 23, when the Philippine military tried to capture Isnilon Hapilon, the head of a southern militia that has pledged loyalty to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. But the army met fiercer than expected resistance. Allied with another pro-ISIS brigade called the Maute Group, Hapilon’s fighters took a priest and his congregation hostage, freed prisoners from the local jail, and overran the city. More than three weeks later, the fighting persists, hundreds have died—militants, soldiers, civilians—and hundreds more residents remain trapped in the city. Many have no electricity or running water. Food stocks are diminishing fast. As residents seek safety, much of Marawi has become a ghost town.


Everybody loses in wars. Only the terrorists feel an evil sense of satisfaction in wreaking havoc to our modern world. It’s the civilians that suffer the most because some may die and many get injured and they often don’t have any more homes to return to aside from finding yourself in a limbo as the war drags on. Barely a year into office, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has worked hard to address the drug problem of the nation but he now faces a different even bigger-scale problem that requires help from other nations like America. The Islamic State isn’t giving up that easily, so the war drags on and the government will do its best to wipe out these terrorists and establish peace and order in the war-torn city of Marawi.

For now, everything is put on hold. No more worries over trade and business when it’s the people’s lives in danger. Businesses, big and small, are non-existent. In its wake, you can hear fighter jets dropping bombs on suspected Maute hiding spots or the continuous sound of gunfire. Everyone fled their homes to spare their lives from the brutal attack of the Maute militants who even dare raised the Islamic State’s flag in the city. Christians are killed. Their Muslim brothers and sisters teach the Christians various Muslim prayers in an attempt to spare them from the Maute’s wrath. While many are hopeful that the government can take control of the situation, many can’t still breathe a sigh of relief until that day comes.

The post Growing Terrorist Threat In Southeast Asia is available on The Naked Conversations Blog

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What’s With The Brand

If you look at today’s market, it can get nauseous since probably millions of businesses compete for the public’s purchasing power. Yet regardless of your business, you are nothing without your brand. The market is increasingly becoming competitive, so you need to have an effective brand that people can easily remember and relate to. It is the brand that separates successful and profitable businesses from the ones that don’t make it to the cut. Your brand communicates what the business is about, what you offer, and what sets you apart from the competition.

Your brand mainly talks about your promise to consumers. First and foremost, you need to define your brand before worrying yourself over other aspects of the business. However, you don’t realize it or get the answers in one go. It is more often than not a self-discovery journey, much like a trial and error thing before you can hit the jackpot. To find out the answers you are looking for regarding your brand, you must first be able to define your company mission. Then, list all your products or services and identify its various pros and cons. Know the public’s perception or pre-formed notion about your company. Are you happy with what they think? If not, what do you want to change and how do you intend to do it?

The Harley-Davidson bar and shield is arguably one of the most recognized logos in the world. It’s on everything from shirts and hats to teddy bears and coffee mugs. And oh, by the way, it’s also on the company’s motorcycles.

That’s a brand, and the highest evolution of the species. People not only recognize the logo, but exactly what it stands for: terms like “rebel,” “rugged” and “individual” immediately spring to mind. When a brand reaches that pinnacle, customers connect with it on a much deeper level, and identify with those traits. The brand has become an experience. Don’t make the mistake, however, of assuming that branding of this kind is only for Fortune 500 companies.

Brand consistency is instrumental in the healthy development and progression of any business, including Laundromats. A positive experience with your brand improves customer satisfaction and can help scale positive word-of-mouth that’s absolutely priceless.


Always do your research first to save yourself from committing many mistakes you could have avoided in the first place and conserve your time, effort and money. Know your market and identify your target. The next most sensible thing to do is to get your own brand logo so that people can easily identify you from the crowd. Also, think of the message you want to communicate or appear alongside your logo. These may be petty things for now but you’ll realize later on how crucial they are to your success.

If you could get your hands on it, you probably wouldn’t even recognize Influence & Co.’s first logo. Graphics, colors, fonts, logos, and messaging change over time, and that’s normal. But after a while, the customers who stay with your business year after year expect a certain look and feel. With 90 percent of buying decisions made subconsciously, that consistency is key to quickly and emotionally connecting with customers as your business grows.

Brands like Coca-Cola and Nike have managed to maintain consistency over decades in business. Even with subtle changes in design over the years, there is a basic look that remains consistent.

But your brand is more than a logo. It’s everything that represents your company, from your personal branding and the content you create to your mission, the employees that humanize your brand, and everything in between. As you grow your company, maintaining your brand’s consistency can be a challenge. 


Many things will change but one thing should remain the same, your brand should speak about the values you also value in life and should not change even if your business grows to an exponential level. You ought to communicate the same message over and over again regardless of the passage of time if you establish set policies or SOPs that everyone in the company should observe – without exception. From setting up business emails for everyone to generating businesslike logos and templates, it gives outsiders the message that you are a cohesive team and you know and are consistent in what you are doing.

And as the company grows, learn to delegate tasks. Micromanaging will just exhaust you and keep your attention away from more important things that you need to personally oversee. There are much more reasons as to why branding matters a lot and you probably know it by now. Get all these issues taken care of as soon as you possible and you can start reaping the benefits of your hard work sooner rather than later.

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