Saturday, 10 December 2011

How To Turn Any Picture Into a Coloring Page

How To Turn Any Picture Into a Coloring Page

Coloring books are a great way to keep a child's attention and occupy their time.

They also provide a creative outlet for a child's inner Picasso that is several times more preferable than your walls or new furniture. However, you can even make these for yourself. After all, coloring can be a way to relieve stress and meditate, so why not have fun coloring some beautiful scenery or a favorite character from your childhood?

Follow these steps to learn how to turn any photo (be it of you, a place you visited on vacation, or even just something you found online) into a colorless page.

Step 1: Go to and click the link "Open photo editor." Find the image you'd like to use from any of the sources listed on the next page that loads.

Step 2: Select Desaturate from the dropdown menu labeled Adjustment. The image should now be black and white.

Step 3: Right-click on the Background layer in the Layer window on the right-hand side. Select Duplicate layer from the menu that appears.

Step 4: Open the Adjustment menu again, this time selecting Invert from the list of options (make sure that the layer Background copy is selected in the Layer window).

Step 5: Click on the Layer settings button in the Layer window (this button looks like the two arrows pointing left and right). A drop-down menu labeled Mode will appear. Change the mode to Add.

Step 6: Now open the Filter menu and select the option Gaussian blur. A new window will appear with a slider in it. Adjust the slider level until your image is to your liking (this will vary with your taste and the source image used).

Step 7: Flatten the image by right-clicking on Background layer and selecting Merge down.

Step 8: Your image is probably rather gray at this point. Open the Adjustment menu and select Levels.

Step 9: The top part of the Layers window will have what looks like a graph displayed in it with three sliders (black, gray, and white) at the bottom. Move the black slider almost all the way to the right, and then adjust the positions of the gray and white slider until the outlines in the image visibly sharpened. Like step 6, there is no "proper" position to place them at, so just adjust them until the end result looks good.

You're done! Just save and/or print the image and give it to someone to color (or color them yourself!). If you're feeling brave, share a custom-colored picture in the comments section.

Friday, 9 December 2011

How To Pick The Best Christmas Tree

There's a perfect Christmas tree out there for everyone. From small tabletop trees to trees that nearly touch the peak of a cathedral ceiling, picking the right Christmas tree is all in the eyes of the beholder.

You cut or pre cut

 David Petts, co-owner of Haddon Nursery on Eddy Lake Road, has advice for people heading out in search of the perfect real Christmas tree. One of the first things a customer needs to determine is whether they want to cut down their own or buy a tree that has already been cut.


 Do you remember the scene from Christmas Vacation, where Clark Griswold takes his family out to cut down their Christmas tree? The family should have taken note of how tall their living room ceiling was, as well as to have grabbed a saw. Those heading out to buy a Christmas tree should assess how big of an area they have so they don't buy a tree too tall, wide or small.

Feel the needles

 When browsing amongst the available trees, feel their needles. Petts said you should not be able to pull off the needles. The needles should also be soft to the touch. Spruce trees drop their needles the fastest, about three weeks after being cut.

White pines

 Petts said white pines keep their very long needles the longest. However, decorating these trees can be challenging. Lightweight ornaments work better than heavy branch-bending ones.

Scotch pines

 Scotch pine trees are right in the middle, said Petts. These are popular because they are easy to decorate and the needles should stay put throughout the holidays, as long it's watered.

Fraser fir

 The Fraser fir tree is the most popular choice for many. Petts attributes this to the fact that it holds its needles quite well and its branches are strong. "It's good for decorating," he said.

 Regardless of which type of tree, pre-cut or freshly cut, the trunk needs to be sawed off about ½ inch from the bottom immediately before placing the tree in the stand. This step is crucial so that the pores, which have been sealed by the dried sap, is removed.

 By opening up these pores and removing the dried sap, the tree is free to soak up as much water as it needs.

Tree stands

 Tree stands come in a variety of styles. Petts said this is a personal preference of the tree buyer. For tall trees, stands that allow a rod to go up the center of the trunk offer great support. Most tree farms can drill this hole for their customers.

 When buying a tree stand, read the package instructions carefully, to see what size is appropriate for the particular Christmas tree. Some of tree stands readily available can hold tree trunks from 4 to more than 7 inches in diameter. Keep in mind how tall of a tree you have. The packaging will state how tall of a tree it can accommodate. The base needs to be wide and heavy enough to support a very tall tree.

 Tree stands that swivel or have their own watering system are also available.


 The most important thing to remember about Christmas trees and tree stands is to keep the stand filled with water at all times. Petts said if the stand runs dry, the sap on the bottom of the trunk will seal the pores again, preventing more water from entering. This situation will lead to needles falling off more quickly.

 Petts said he's heard of people claiming that sugar, aspirin and even bleach should be added to the water. From his experience, the best thing to use is plain, room-temperature tap water.

Living trees

 Petts said live trees with roots are becoming more popular, but because of their weight, smaller trees are the norm. These living trees, which are in containers or have their roots wrapped can be kept inside for about a week. The warmth of the home will prompt the tree to form buds. These trees can be brought in for up to 10 days at the most, and should be kept watered.

 Homeowners are advised to place a board or blanket over the area outside where this tree will be planted. When it's time to plant the tree outside, remove the covering to reveal fresh dirt and no snow to dig through.


 Some people switch to artificial Christmas trees due to allergies. Petts said although he has no scientific proof, some of his customers have told him that when they switched to a white pine, their allergic reactions lessened.


 With the first snowfall of the season on the ground, now is the time to pick out that Christmas tree. At Haddon Nursery, they sell between 350 and 500 Christmas trees every year, depending on the weather.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Africa: How To Build On Success Against AIDS

The public and private sectors have achieved remarkable success in Africa in the battle against AIDS, and the question now is: Where do we go from here? I have two answers, but, first, understand the incredible accomplishment of the past decade.

Despite the advent of effective anti-retroviral drugs, in 2002 AIDS was running rampant in Africa and other low-income parts of the world. At the time, scholars were predicting the disease would kill 6.5 million people annually.

Instead, according to the World AIDS Day Report just issued by UNAIDS, 1.8 million died in 2010 from AIDS-related causes, down from a peak of 2.2 million in 2004. New infections with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, have fallen to 2.7 million from a high of 3.1 million. In sub-Saharan Africa, the drop is even more dramatic: to 1.9 million from 2.6 million, or 26 percent.

The reason for the declines in deaths and infections is clear: the world, led by the United States under President George W. Bush, mobilized to fight the disease. Testing, counseling, and education vastly increased. The number of clinics offering anti-retrovirals (ARVs) jumped from 8,000 in 2007 to 22,000 in 2010. Nearly half of pregnant women are now getting therapies that prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Most dramatically, there are now 6.7 million people receiving ARVs, up from 400,000 in 2003. The number of children on ARVs has risen by a factor of six in just five years. And, in Africa alone, ARV use jumped 20 percent in 2010 alone.

This assault on AIDS was spearheaded by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). U.S. taxpayers are by far the largest single source of funding for the Global Fund, contributing $6 billion of the $20 billion raised so far. PEPFAR was introduced by President Bush in his State of the Union Address in 2003 and initially funded for five years with $15 billion from U.S. taxpayers. In 2008, Americans renewed their commitment and will spend an additional $39 billion on PEPFAR and the Global Fund through 2013.

But money alone does not come close to explaining the success of this effort. It has worked because it was based on a partnership with an intense focus around explicit, measurable results. And it could never have saved millions if private pharmaceutical firms had not developed drugs that stopped the progress of HIV to full-blown AIDS. The success, said Mark Dybul, who formerly headed PEPFAR and is now a fellow at the George W. Bush Institute, “shows the power of partnership, the power of the American people standing with the people of Africa…to tackle their problems.”

At the time PEPFAR was started, wrote President Bush yesterday in the Wall Street Journal, “Some were skeptical, particularly about the possibility of treatment. Skepticism is no longer sound.”

Still, nearly 2 million people are dying of AIDS, and 53 percent of those who are eligible for treatment are not receiving it. The fight must continue – and at an intense level. That’s not easy at a time of global belt-tightening. Policymakers and publics need to realize that defeating AIDS is not only a humanitarian cause but also a practical one.

The successes in the battle against AIDS have helped sub-Saharan Africa become a bright spot in the global economy. The Economist, in its “The World in 2012″ publication, projects 5 percent growth in the region for coming year, ranking four African countries among the top 10 nations in the world in its annual forecast. And defeating AIDS is key to ending the violence and political unrest that have plagued Africa. Health makes wealth, and health makes security. Those outcomes are as important to the United States, which can sell goods into African markets and increase its safety through African stability, as they are to Africa.

So the first answer to where we go from here is more of the same, and then some. The goal of UNAIDS is “Zero new HIV infections” and “Zero AIDS-related deaths.” That sounds right.

The second answer is to build on the AIDS-fighting platform to fight other deadly diseases in developing nations, especially in Africa. The Bush Institute is starting to do just that, in partnership with UNAIDS, PEPFAR, Susan G. Komen for the Cure and founding corporate partners Merck, Becton Dickinson, Bristol-Myers Squibb, QIAGEN, the Caris Foundation, GlaxoSmithKline, and IBM.

The U.S. State Department, under Hillary Clinton, has had the foresight to see that the clinics and the systems that PEPFAR has established over the past eight years can be leveraged against non-communicable diseases as well as against AIDS.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

How To Choose The Perfect Keyboard

Are you still using the keyboard that came with your computer? Or maybe you've tried something new, but you've got some nagging RSI strain, cords tangled everywhere, or a lagging mouse that's left you unjustly fragged into oblivion? If your keyboard aren't working for you, it's time to buy new ones. Here are the things you'll want to keep in mind as you shop.


While you primarily use keyboards for typing—and while a $10 keyboard will type just fine—they can do oh so much more. A nicer keyboard gives you extra buttons for quick media control, volume control, or even app launching, and if you experience any RSI, a new keyboard can help eliminate that by forcing you to use good posture. When you're ready to bite the bullet and pick up a new keyboard, here are some things to watch out for.


How to Choose the Perfect Mouse and Keyboard

Just like mice, your keyboard is something you use all day at your desk, so you should make sure it isn't going to cause you any strain. Keyboards with adjustable height and tilt are always a good idea, so you can get it at just the right level for where you're sitting. It's also great when a keyboard includes a wrist rest, but you can also buy these separately if need be. Some people love "ergonomic" keyboards like the Microsoft Natural Keyboard Elite or the Logitech K350, since they force you to align your wrists in a more comfortable, friendly position. However, they can take some getting used to if you prefer more traditional, flat keyboards, so be ready to make a commitment to your new posture if you buy one of these.

The other half of the ergonomic factor is the feel of the keys. Some keyboards have more traditional raised keys, though laptop-style keyboards are becoming very popular for desktops, like the Logitech DiNovo Edge or even chiclet-style keyboards like those from Apple. If you have the money to spend, though, mechanical keyboards like the SteelSeries 6Gv2 have become very popular as of late—that is, keyboards with a mechanical spring inside instead of a rubber dome. These keyboards have a bit more resistance to the keys. It takes a bit more effort to press them down, and they'll spring up faster, but overall they have a better and more consistent "feel" to the keys. They don't wiggle around like traditional keyboards, and you're less likely to get one key that sticks down more than the others. If you can find one to try out, it's worth a look—many people who use mechanical keyboards say they'll never go back to the standard rubber dome. They do tend to be a bit louder and more expensive, though, so keep that in mind as you shop.

Wired vs. Wireless

How to Choose the Perfect Mouse and Keyboard

Like mice, the main draw of wired keyboards is the responsiveness, which can be important in gaming. In my opinion, however, wireless keyboards hold less of an advantage over their wired counterparts than wireless mice do. Since you move mice around a lot, that wire can get pretty annoying, but your keyboard generally stays in one place most of the time. As such, the only thing that really matters is how the keyboard looks with a wire coming out of it, unless you're prone to losing your keyboard on your lap. Wireless keyboards have the same downsides as wireless mice, too: they're more expensive, require batteries, often take up a USB port on your machine anyway (unless they're Bluetooth), and generally just cause one more link in the chain where something could go wrong. Still, if you want to move your keyboard around (or if you ever plan on using it for a home theater PC), getting rid of that wire can be convenient.

Extra Function Keys

How to Choose the Perfect Mouse and Keyboard

Lots of keyboards nowadays have extra function keys that usually correspond to launching apps, controlling your music player, controlling your volume, and so on. Often, they come as either separate buttons above the normal F1-F12 keys, or as extra actions on the F1-F12 keys that you can access with a FN key. They can be very handy, and you can usually remap them to pretty much anything you want with the the software that comes with your keyboard—though if your keyboard's software suite isn't very good, you can always just create your own global keyboard shortcuts with something like AutoHotkey, too.

Other Considerations

Keyboards come with all sorts of different features these days, so it's hard to cover them all here. For example, some keyboards come without number pads, some come with alternate keyboard layouts like Dvorak, and some even come with extra USB ports for your other peripherals. And if you're a gamer, you have a whole other set of features to deal with, like add-on panels with gaming hotkeys and anti-ghosting features. Illuminated keys are also a popular feature for gamers, or just those that spend a lot of time in the dark. As with most hardware, the best thing you can do is shop around, and shop around in person. The more you can try out keyboards and get a "feel" for them, the more informed your decision will be. Don't just tap on the keyboards, though, go through the kinds of actions you'd go through in a normal day. I'll usually bang out a fake news article, pretend copy and paste some links with my remapped shortcuts, and move my hand between the mouse and keyboard to see if there are any annoyances that will drive me crazy after a few days of use. Plus, the more you shop around, the more you'll discover new features like illuminated keys, which could change your decision significantly.

What We Use

Again, we encourage you to check out different models for yourself, but if you're feeling a bit overwhelmed, here are some of our favorite keyboards:

How to Choose the Perfect Mouse and Keyboard

  • Alan and both Adams are fans of Apple's keyboards, for their low profiles and good key action. Despite what you think about Apple and their computers, their chiclet-style keyboards are actually pretty fantastic. The wired version even contains a USB port so they don't "waste" one in your machine.
  • When gaming, Alan uses the Logitech G19, which has a ton of extra keys across the top that you can program to different actions in different games (or, again, actions on the desktop). It also has a handy little LCD that can display information in different games, which is super useful. Plus it lights up in different colors. How could you say no?
  • Jason's a keyboard hoarder, but right now his favorite is the Microsoft Comfort Curve 3000, which he's written about before. If you're a sufferer of RSI, this is a great keyboard to check out. It's got a nice ergonomic "wave" design that doesn't feel awkward, but forces you to keep good keyboard posture.
  • I've used a few keyboards over the years, but I can't pry myself away from Logitech's slim-profile keyboards. As a guy who sits in the dark a lot, I'm currently loving the Logitech Illuminated Keyboard, which has just enough function keys to keep me happy. Logitech's diNovo line is also great though, if you're willing to spend a bit more money for a bunch of other functionality.

Remember, comfort and health comes first. You probably spend lots of time sitting at your desk with these peripherals, and the less likely you are to develop strain injury, the better—the rest is just a matter of convenience. Got any of your own favorite mouse and keyboard features (or just favorite models you want to share)? Sound off in the comments.

Google Search Optimization

The ways you can do a search on google more effective and relevant.

Winter Survival Guide

Winter’s coming, and with it comes a host of health-related issues. Here are some tips to help you enjoy the good things this season offers and recognize, cope with and avoid the bad.

Fighting infection

“An emphasis on hand hygiene is the single most important measure for the prevention of infection in the winter months, when influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and other respiratory viruses are circulating … and really at any time.” said Patricia Burns, infection control coordinator for St. Elizabeth Healthcare. If you haven’t thought about how you wash your hands since you first learned as a child, Burns offers this refresher:

Wash them frequently, using soap and water, covering all surfaces and using friction for 15-20 seconds. If using a waterless hand hygiene product, follow instructions for amount and rub into hands until the product is absorbed.

Don't get SAD

Less daylight can bring on winter depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

“It’s more than the ‘winter blues’ or ‘cabin fever’ when the symptoms consistently last for more than two weeks or they are associated with hopelessness, suicidal thoughts or cause impairment in one’s day-to-day functioning,” said Dr. John Hawkins, chief of psychiatry, deputy chief of research and medical director of Brain Imaging Center at the Lindner Center of Hope in Mason. “Many people can get down in the dumps when it’s cold and gray outside, and some want to linger in bed a bit longer or just hang out more often. But Seasonal Affective Disorder goes beyond that. People who have this disorder experience very real, serious symptoms of depression.”

Symptoms include: Depressed mood; irritability; hopelessness; anxiety; loss of energy; social withdrawal; oversleeping (feeling like you want to hibernate); heavy, “leaden paralysis” feelings in arms and legs; loss of interest in activities you normally enjoy; appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates such as pastas, rice, bread and cereal; weight gain; and difficulty concentrating.

Preventative/coping tips:

Seek enjoyment: “Instead of dreading the cold and the snow or the damp drizzle, reframe this as a time to enjoy those DVR shows or books that you’ve been meaning to get to while you enjoy a nice cup of tea.

Exercise and eat well

Let light in via windows

Participate in stress management classes

Seek professional help if:

The depressed mood/lack of enjoyment and other symptoms last more than two weeks

You have thoughts of suicide or are not attending to important responsibilities (e.g. missing work or school)

You have a history of depression or bipolar disorder

Winter-related injuries

Dr. George Shaw, associate professor of emergency medicine at the University of Cincinnati, lists these as the most common injuries during the winter months and offers advice on avoiding them.

Slips and falls: These can be especially dangerous for the elderly, who can sustain hip fractures. “We get a lot of black ice in Cincinnati, so even if you don’t think your porch is covered, be careful.”

Car accidents: Exercise care while driving, and wear your seat belt. Keep an emergency kit in your car, stocked with a small shovel, flashlight, water and cat litter (to be used for traction) – and be sure to activate the GPS signal on your cell phone in case you get stuck. “Don’t go wandering away from your car if you’re out in the middle of nowhere,” Shaw says. The safest place to be is in your car, waiting for help.

Snow blowers:Shaw said he’s seen at least one partial hand amputation – and some lost fingers – from people reaching in to clear out a snow blower while it’s still running. “Turn off the snow blower if you’re going to clean it out.”

Hypothermia: This is most common in people who’ve been drinking, because “when you drink alcohol, one of the things that gets impaired is your temperature sense.” When you’re outdoors, dress in layers for warmth, and drink responsibly. And stay dry – being wet increases the rate at which a person can become hypothermic.

Outdoor workouts

For those who prefer to exercise in the great outdoors, winter weather can put their routine into a deep freeze.

“Winter is probably the time you need to keep the exercise habit going the most to combat winter fatigue and weight gain,” said Gretchen Aberg, fitness director at Mercy Health/Anderson and a lifestyle and weight management coach. She offers these tips for cold-weather workouts.

Dress in layers: “It will take a little longer to warm up the body in the cold, so you want to start out with a couple of layers that can be peeled off as your body temperature increases with activity. Try a sweat-wicking material next to your skin and then a layer of fleece and then a waterproof layer on top.”

Protect your hands, head, ears and feet: “It is the extremities that lose the most body temperature when exercising in the cold. Wear a hat that covers your ears, gloves to protect your hands and thermal socks to protect your feet from frostbite.”

Wear reflective gear: “You may be hard to spot when exercising in the early morning, at night or on a snowy or foggy day. Make sure you wear reflective gear.”

Pay attention to the weather: “Listen to the weather report before you go out. You don’t want to get halfway into your workout when the blizzard hits or the wind kicks the temperature down below freezing. It is best to exercise indoors if the weather gets too extreme.”

Indoor options

Join a fitness club: “Many clubs have indoor tracks, indoor pools, indoor tennis courts, indoor cycling classes or cardiovascular machines,” Aberg said. “At the very least, smaller clubs have strength equipment and cardiovascular machines. Your cardio workouts can usually be easily transferred to the indoors. It’s also a good time to cross-train or add a strength routine into your program.”

Walk the mall:“If you’re an exercise walker, many indoor malls open their doors early for people that want to walk the perimeter of the mall.”

Exercise at home: “There are many exercise DVDs on the market,” Aberg said. “Pop one into your DVD player and start moving. With minimal to no equipment, you can get a great workout at home.”

How To Avoid Credit Card Holiday Surprises

Tis the season to charge it.

Pay a little now, finance the rest with credit cards. If you're like a lot of people, that might sound like a good deal for holiday shopping. "We spend more in this five-week week period than in the collective 47 weeks that lead up to it," says credit expert John Ulzheimer.

Yet your option to pay the full amount that is due for the billing period - the smart thing to do - may not be the most prominent one displayed on your credit card statement. And when you go online to pay your bill, the minimum payment box might already be checked.

Even sophisticated consumers can fall into the minimum payment trap, according to Linda Salisbury, a Boston College professor who studied consumer behavior when paying credit card bills. She surveyed hundreds of people on the subject.

Using actual credit card payment data collected by British researchers as well as her own research, she says consumers appear to be drawn to paying less than they might have when they see a "minimum payment" amount on their bill.

Credit experts say you need to resist the draw to pay low and instead shell out for as much as you can afford in order to break the hold of card debt. That attraction to pay less, Salisbury says, has a greater impact on people who have the money to pay the bill, because they could afford to pay the full amount, but don't, and end up spending money on interest instead.

The impact of paying the minimum is significant. An example: If you have $10,000 in debt on card with a 10 percent interest rate and a bank that requires a minimum payment of 4 percent of the balance (initially $400 a month), it would take about 10 years to pay off that card if nothing more was charged. Increase your payment to $800 a month and it would take 14 months and save you nearly $2,000 in interest.

That impact is even greater on those who accept the tempting store credit card offers being constantly dangled in front of them, with those cards typically carrying interest rates at 20 percent and higher.

New York City bankruptcy lawyer Daniel Gershburg says he sees the psychological pull to pay the minimum by clients all the time.

"They believe that because they're making this tiny payment every month, they are above water, when, in actuality, they're not," he says. "It's really a huge problem because consumers then spend so much more and pay so much more in interest because of this unrealistic sense of security that a minimum brings with it."

You might think that the calculations on your statement showing how long it will take to pay off your credit card debt would motivate higher payments. But that hasn't been the case, Salisbury says. "We were surprised that the additional cost and loan payoff information didn't have a positive effect."

The federal CARD Act, which took effect in 2010, is responsible for the disclosures we now see on credit card statements -- how long it will take to pay off a balance if you pay the minimum as well as how much you'd have to pay monthly to retire your debt in three years. There are also plenty of online calculators out there, such as what you can find on, that let you change scenarios to see just how much a difference a bigger (or smaller) payment can make.

"Give it a try the numbers can be scary," says president Ethan Ewing: "The minimum monthly payment is a costly way to pay down your balance, and can effectively lock you into a lifetime of debt."

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says 70 percent of consumers surveyed say they have noticed new credit card disclosures on their bills. But fewer than one-third say this caused them to make bigger payments or stop charging up their cards.

A bit of good news for holiday shoppers with good credit who are intent on paying off their debt: A resurgence of card offers featuring introductory balance transfer interest rates that last a year or more (Citi is offering 21 months). Some of the offers are fee-free. Others charge up to 3 percent of the balance, that could be hefty -- $600 if you transfer $20,000.

How To Teach Pearl Harbor Attack History

The attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December, 1941
The moment the magazine exploded on the destroyer USS Shaw during the attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December, 1941. Photograph: Associated Press.

Seventy years ago tomorrow, Japan launched its attack on Pearl Harbor, the US naval base in Hawaii, with the loss of more than 2,400 lives.

The Guardian Teacher Network has a wealth of materials to help pupils investigate why the attack happened and what some of the consequences were, including the devastating atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

Battles of World War II – 1941 is a history lesson for KS3 that uses interactive questions, maps and photographs to explain the course of events before, during and after the attack. Pupils are encouraged to put themselves in the shoes of a newspaper editor to explore the American response to Pearl Harbor, and to ponder what they would usually be doing at 8am on a Sunday morning, the time of the attack.

For KS2, the lesson Asking Questions About the Second World War includes a timeline of events showing the attack on Pearl Harbor. For KS3 and KS4, Encyclopaedia Britannica has produced a set of four worksheets about the Second World War that are useful for studying the key events.

The attack on Pearl Harbor led directly to America's entry into the Second World War and this is explored in the KS3 lesson Battles of World War II – 1942-1945. Pupils examine the end of war in Europe, the escalation of war in the Pacific, the increasing role of Japanese kamikaze pilots, and the development of atomic weapons including the role of scientist Albert Einstein, a Jewish German.

The KS4 history lesson Second World War looks specifically at the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. Using photographs from the Imperial War Museum and articles from the Guardian and Observer newspapers, pupils are asked to consider why Harry Truman, the US president, ordered the attacks, estimated to have caused around 200,000 deaths. Primary sources of information used in the lesson include an interview with a Hiroshima survivor who describes the death of her daughter from radiation sickness.

After Hiroshima, President Truman threatened "a rain of ruin from the air the like of which has never been seen on this earth" if Japan did not surrender. Details of the Nagasaki bombing three days later and Japan's subsequent capitulation are covered in this KS4 history lesson.

In March this year, following the devastating effects of a massive earthquake and tsunami, the Japanese prime minister, Naoto Can, said his country was facing "its biggest crisis since the Second World War". After the Wave is an English lesson that focuses on the aftermath of the disaster, with tips and ideas to help pupils write their own newspaper reports.

• The Guardian Teacher Network has more than 100,000 pages of lesson plans and interactive materials. To see and share for yourself go to There are also hundreds of jobs on the site and schools can advertise for free on

Monday, 5 December 2011

How To Create a Cubist Style Logo Design in Illustrator

Follow this logo design process walkthrough to see the making of a cubist style logo design made up of lots of detailed vector facets. Not only will we be creating the actual design in Adobe Illustrator, but I’ll also be describing the whole logo design process in this tutorial, from the initial sketches right through to finishing off the final design.

Raven logo design

The logo we’re creating as part of this tutorial is a trendy “Cubist” style logo made up of lots of detailed elements to form an larger object. The design is based on a fictional brand or company named Raven, but the whole process is the same for a live client (just without the infinite cycle of changes and revisions!). We’ll first create the full colour logo in all its glory with gradients and effects, then tone back the logo to create flat and mono versions to provide a versatile design for use in any situation.

It’s worth starting any logo design project with a sketch. Our fictional brand of raven is simply going to be based on the Raven breed of bird, but for live projects you may need to brainstorm ideas on how to visually represent a company’s values. Sketch out a some basic raven poses to find a typical profile that would be easily recognisable at small scales.
Curved lines can lead to the profile being mistaken for a seagull or a pigeon, so stick to sharp lines to relate to that predator nature of ravens and crows.

Once you’re happy with your overall silhouette or profile open up Adobe Illustrator and draw your outline with the pen tool using simply clicks. Trace a stock photograph to ensure you capture all the necessary proportions.

The design we’re creating is based on the cubist style to spice up the design with some fancy effects. Draw intersecting lines between each corner point of the outline.

Add a range of intersecting lines until the design is made up of plenty of facets. Don’t go too far though as any tiny facets will be lost at small scales, which is generally how logos are used. Select all the intersecting lines and press CMD+8 to create a Compound Path.

Select both the compound path lines and the overall outline and hit the Divide option from the Pathfinder palette. Right click and Ungroup the objects.

Set up a series of colour blocks to form a simple palette, then fill the individual shapes of your cubist design with these colours.

Once all the segments have been filled make a duplicate of the design. We’ll package up this flat colour version of the logo with the final files. Make a copy of the swatches and replace the fills of each block with subtle gradients.

Replace all the flat colour segments with their gradient counterpart, then go through each individual shape with the Gradient tool to adjust the direction of the gradient flow.

The main logo symbol is complete, so we can now move onto the type. A series of sans-serif contestants were laid out to compare their overall form. The more realist styles with the straight leg of the letter R seem to have a more modern and stylish appearance that suits the straight lines of the logo symbol.

One clear winner out of all the fonts is the Futura typeface. Its sharp points relate well to the clean lines used in the creation of the raven symbol.

Next it’s time to combine both the type and the logo. Positioning the raven symbol facing away from the type leaves an awkward space between the two elements, whereas the breast and head naturally surround the first letter when it’s faced in the opposite direction.

Finally the type and symbol are balanced in size by scaling the type to 1/3 of the overall size of the symbol. The tracking is also increased to increase the spacing between each letter to match the whitespace between the two objects.

The full colour logo will be the primary design used in most situations, but it’s always worth creating flat and mono versions for ultra small sizes or when inverted on a black background.

Raven logo design

All the designs can then be exported and compiled into a complete package and handed over to the client. The final layout shows the full colour primary logo, the flat and mono versions and the cubist style pattern, which could be used in any additional branding, such as the website design, business cards or stationery.

How To Search For Text Inside of Any File Using Windows Search

Many of us rely on Windows Search to find files and launch programs, but searching for text within files is limited to specific filetypes by default. Here’s how you can expand your search to include other text based files.

What about searching for text inside of .html, .php, .js, and other text based web and scripting files. Windows search also allows you to include other file extensions with a few simple clicks.

First, go to your control panel and open the indexing options.

Now click on advanced and then file types in the new window.

Find the extension of the file you would like to search the contents of and then click on the index properties and file contents radio button at the bottom of the window.

The filter description column should automatically changed to whatever filter is used to open that filetype by default.

If the filetype you are looking for is not in the list it means you do not have a program set as the default handler for that filetype. You can add the extension to the list and by default Windows Search will use a plain text filter to search the file contents.

If you search for text inside one of the new filetypes it should now show up in your search results, once the index is doing being rebuilt.

If you’d like to always search within file contents for a specific folder, navigate to the folder you want search contents for and click organize then folder and search options.

Click on the search tab and then click the always search file names and contents radio button.

The index will need to be rebuilt again and once it’s done your searches will automatically look in file content.

How To Get And Keep A Mentor

Everyone tells you to seek out mentors in your career, but how exactly do you do that? And how do you interact with a mentor when you get one? Never fear, we have some answers for you.
Pick the right mentor.

I talked to Dr. Belle Rose Ragins, Professor of Human Resource Management at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and co-author of The Handbook of Mentoring at Work, who says an important first step is identifying someone who can be a good mentor for you. She points out that your mentor should be someone you respect and someone who's respected by others. However, the biggest star at your company or in your field may not be the best fit for you. What you really want is someone who will be concerned with your career and will have the time to invest in you and the patience to help you learn. Identifying people like this in your work life is the first step to forging a good mentoring relationship.
Remember that mentoring can take many forms.

Ragins also told me that "there are no mentoring police" — no one's going to force you to make a mentoring relationship look a certain way. That relationship certainly can take the form of an ongoing one-on-one connection, but you can also have what she calls "mentoring episodes" — briefer interactions where you still learn something valuable. She explains, "you don't have to be in a mentoring relationship to give or get mentoring." If you think of mentoring as something that can take a lot of different shapes, formal or informal, it can be a lot less intimidating to seek out a mentor.
Ask for advice.

Asking someone to be your mentor is tough. Ragins points out that you probably don't want to barge into someone's office and be all like, "excuse-me-will-you-be-my-mentor." Instead, if there's someone whose brain you really want to pick, or whom you'd like to develop a closer working relationship with, think of some specific things you want their advice on. Then ask them to get lunch or coffee with you to talk about them. I also talked to Lois Zachary, bestselling author of The Mentor's Guide, The Mentee's Guide, and Creating a Mentoring Culture, who has similar advice. She advocates that potential mentees figure out what their "learning goals" are before approaching potential mentors — that way, you'll have concrete things to talk about and a clear picture of how the mentor can help you.
Propose an idea.

Ragins offers another possible way to approach a mentor: propose a new project or idea, and see how they react to it. Not only is this a good way to initiate a closer working relationship with someone, and potentially solicit their guidance — it's also a way to evaluate what they'll be like as a mentor. If they tear down your idea or aren't receptive, they may not be a good fit for you. But if they offer suggestions for improvement or help build on what you've proposed, you may have yourself a winner. And you can use that interaction as a springboard for future mentoring conversations.
Set some guidelines beforehand.

Zachary suggests that when you're entering into a mentoring relationship with someone, you should have a talk with them — not just about what you want to learn, but about how you want the relationship to go. Talk about confidentiality — will what you say to your mentor stay between the two of you, or will she or he be sharing it with other people? Discuss how you'll handle any disagreements or problems that might come up. And make an agreement that if at any point the mentoring relationship ends, you'll make sure to have a "good closure conversation" that allows you both to express appreciation, talk about what you learned, and move on. Depending on the formality of your mentoring relationship, it may not make sense to talk about all these things explicitly, or all at the same time. But Zachary's advice is a good guide to the kinds of things you should be thinking about when a mentorship begins — including its possible end.
Check in frequently.

Zachary also advocates regular check-ins to make sure everything in the relationship is going smoothly. Touch base with each other about whether you're both getting your needs met — are you getting the advice you need? Are you being respectful enough of your mentee's time (something Ragins emphasizes is important)? Regular check-ins can help resolve disagreements or problems before they become major. They can also help you get the most out of your mentoring relationship. Again, you may not need to check in all the time with some of the more informal mentors Ragins describes. But if you're in an ongoing mentoring relationship with someone, Zachary says "you should always have a meeting date on the calendar."
With personal conversations, let the mentor set the tone.

Especially if you're friendly with your mentor, you may be tempted to talk about your personal life with him or her, and even to ask advice about personal matters. Depending on your relationship, this could be totally fine — after all, Ragins points out, a mentor can also be a friend. But she advocates that you "let the mentor lead the way with respect to disclosure." If your mentor keeps things super-professional, you may not want to ask her what to get your boyfriend for Christmas. But if she talks about what she's getting her spouse, that can be your cue to open up a little bit. Also, Ragins offers a reminder not to put your mentor in a difficult position ethically or legally by asking her to keep secrets she's actually obligated to divulge (an example could be if she is a mandatory reporter, and you tell her about sexual harassment but ask her to keep quiet).
Keep in touch if you switch jobs.

Ragins notes that even if you leave your job, "no one's going to make you give your mentor back." If your mentor was a coworker, you might not see each other or talk as much as you once did. But you can still keep in touch by email and at networking events in your field, and you can still benefit from your mentor's expertise. Ragins recommends that rather than having one mentor at any given time, you should seek out multiple mentors, a "constellation of relationships" that give you the work wisdom you need. Obviously you don't need to be meeting with each of these mentors regularly, or even ever — Ragins says that a "long-distance mentor" can definitely be part of your constellation. But you can seek advice from any or all of them depending on the situation you find yourself in. Ragins adds that when you do find good mentors, you should "treasure those relationships like you treasure your friends," because "they are worth their weight in gold."

How To Use Google Search Engine More Effectively

Sunday, 4 December 2011

How To Safely Move With Pets

As a military brat, I spent much of my childhood moving around the country. With each move, we left memories and even treasured toys in our wake. Perhaps that's why I'm more prone to trash rather than transport items from my old life to the new destination.

My dog Lulu -- along with her bedding, clothes, toys and treats -- is all I need to make any house a home. Since she is way too big to fly under a passenger seat, and I have heard too many horror stories about pets flying as cargo, our next cross-country move will involve an extended road trip.

Here are 10 things to consider when moving with your pets.

Start with a trip to the vet

Avoid bumps later in the move by scheduling a checkup with your vet, and be sure that your pet is up to date on vaccinations.

"Any underlying health issues will come to the surface on transport," says Kyle Peterson, co-founder of Tennessee-based Peterson Express Transport Service (PETS LLC), which transports dogs from Southeastern animal shelters to adoption facilities in New England. "You want to make sure [pets] are not harboring parasites that would take advantage of a weak immune system, already compromised by stress."

Your vet also can provide an interstate health certificate, which is required to transport pets across state lines.

Stock up on supplies

No one wants to be stuck on I-75 with a hungry pooch, so I stash plastic bags filled with single servings of Lulu's kibble during lengthy car rides. If your pampered friends enjoy specialty pet food not typically stocked along Route 66, it's best to bring your own. This also helps avoid any tummy trouble caused by a last-minute food switch. Trust me; that can get ugly ... and stinky.

In addition to a pet first-aid kit, it also helps to stock up on pet meds, and carry the prescription with you in case you need a quick refill. Emergency visits to the vet put a cramp in any road trip, but it pays to know that experts are nearby. Bookmark in case you need to make a pit stop. The site lists members of the American Veterinary Medical Association as well as emergency clinics arranged by city, state or ZIP code.

Plan for potty breaks

Since 2004, PETS LLC has transported more than 35,000 pets. Peterson and his wife, Kim, started as volunteers making the trek with dogs in a pickup truck. The operation has grown to include 150 dogs traveling in customized, climate-controlled trailers, complete with individual crates. The team schedules a break every few hours and walks at eight-hour intervals. Your pets may have different needs. Play it safe by scheduling frequent breaks so pets can stretch their legs -- and stock up on water for those travel bowls.

Dr. Jennifer Monroe of Eagle's Landing Veterinary Hospital in McDonough, Georgia, recommends pet breaks every three to four hours. Don't forget the poop bags. Since some cats have no interest with spreading their paws in the great outdoors, she says not to push the issue.

"With a lot of cats, being outside is a very, very bad thing for them," says Monroe, whose cat Cinnamon made the trip from New Orleans to Georgia. "The only time I would recommend a cat on a leash during a road trip is if it's something you do ordinarily."

Cat owners also should be mindful of cat-aggressive dogs at rest stops. "You need a harness -- not just a collar and leash -- for cats. They are very elastic creatures," Monroe warns.

Update ID tags and consider a microchip

Be sure your pet is on the end of a sturdy leash -- complete with up-to-date ID tags. Most major pet store chains sell ID tags for a few dollars; consider it an inexpensive way to recover lost pets. Microchips offer even more insurance. Just be sure to update the information on file with your new address as soon as possible.

"I recommend microchipping, especially when you are going across state lines," Monroe says. "Unfortunately, we have a lot of animals that get away during the move because people accidentally leave the car door open. Be sure to have current ID tags and a microchip with at least your phone number."

Make pet-friendly plans

Sometimes you just need to pull over and take a break. Now that pets go just about everywhere with their people, hotels have begun to roll out the red carpet for birds, cats, dogs and even gerbils. and list hotels that accept multiple pets, including exotic animals. Map out a few locations along your route, just in case you need to stop.

When you reach your destination, Monroe recommends touring local veterinary facilities to find the right fit. It also helps to seek referrals.

MNN: Fun gift ideas for your pet

Administer sedatives with care -- or not at all

Except in extreme conditions, Monroe does not recommend the use of sedatives to keep pets calm during long road trips. "A lot of times the sedative can add to the anxiety of the experience," she says. "Some sedatives can have the opposite effect and cause pets to become more anxious or excited or they don't work completely. You want to find that out before you get on the road."

Of course, you can skip the sedatives and allow your pet to travel with other furry friends, through options like professional pet transporters such as Pet Airways, which flies cats and dogs (in the cabin, not as cargo) across the country with their own pet attendant. Reservations aren't cheap. Fares start at $99 each way, and you will need to coordinate schedules carefully since the pet airline offers eastbound flights Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and westbound flights Thursday and Friday. Make sure you have up-to-date vaccination records, sturdy crates and plenty of identification for your pet.

Take advantage of wide-open spaces

If you don't know whether animals have lived in your new home, Monroe recommends doing a flea treatment while it's still empty. "There's never a better time; you can get into nooks and crannies, especially if a lot of cats and dogs lived there before," she says. "It's better to deal with it before than afterward."

Give pets a place to call their own

Keep pets away from the hustle and bustle on moving day, which typically involves lots of open doors and visitors. Monroe recommends turning a bathroom or spare bedroom into the pet's space, complete with food, water and litter boxes. Leave them in that space until everything is packed up. Then reverse the process in your new space. Wait until everything has been unpacked before allowing pets to roam the space. This is especially true for finicky feline companions.

"Let them acclimate on their own terms. They are not dogs and won't get excited in a new place," says Gwen Sparling, owner of Camp Kitty feline boarding facility in Scottdale, Ga. "Let them out in the middle of the living room and they will find a corner or space to feel safe."

Adjusting to a new home can require a little time and patience, says Sparling, who fosters rescued cats at her facility. "We say give them two weeks for their personality to come out," she says. "After a while they make themselves at home."

Do your research before leaving home -- or unleashing the hounds

Some communities ban certain dog breeds. Also, note that city ordinances can set limits on the number of pets in a household. Do your homework on city and state ordinances before leaving home. The Animal Legal and Historical Center website, created by the Michigan State University Center College of Law, offers tools to research city, state and federal guidelines regarding pets. It also helps to place a call to your insurance agent.

"When transferring from one state to the other, let your agent know in your home state," says State Farm insurance agent Lindsay Mullen. "They typically will help find an agent that's near you. All that's needed is the new address and information about the home. Other than that, we handle everything else behind the scenes."

Mullen says your agent can help determine coverage amounts. But keep in mind that homeowners' or renters' insurance will not cover pet accidents, death or injury.

MNN: How to find the right doggy daycare

Also, Monroe suggests taking a tour of the backyard before allowing pets to roam free. Look for gaps or holes in the fence line, and pick up any items that pets may try to chew or swallow. "Supervise pets in the yard until you are convinced they can't get out," she says.

Make new friends

Before you take your pets to new dog parks or boarding facilities, Monroe suggests taking a solo trip to check things out. The same applies to doggy daycare facilities or groomers. Reputable businesses will require that dogs have a Bordetella or "kennel cough" vaccine, Monroe says.

"Any time you are going to a dog park, there's always that unknown factor: What kind of dogs will be there? What will the environment be?" she says. "Go to the dog park first, without your dog, so you can look at the park, fences and other dogs. Get a feel for the dynamics before you bring your pet."

Bring a bag filled with treats so you can make new friends. That's the neighborly thing to do.

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