Charity In The Clouds

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While we all strive to aspire for all the better things in life for ourselves and for our family, we still manage to somehow share to the less fortunate when we have something extra – whether it be in goods or cash. You feel good whenever you share, right? Not only do your charitable efforts pay off in heaven but it likewise helps uplift the life of another human being.

Charity giving also leveled up along with technological advancements. Most charitable efforts and fundraising activities now take place on the web. Social media is a powerful tool in reaching out to more people without spending much on propaganda. It’s basically the digital form of word-of-mouth. Helping others have never been this easier. If only technology is always used in a good way and not to spread hate and negativity, life indeed will be such a breeze.

Cloud, in every form, is a boon for non-profit. Out of necessity, charities in particular have very strong governance in place to scrutinise the value of any investment and have thin resources that must be utilised as efficiently as possible – particularly if reliant on fundraising. They will often have little IT infrastructure and no in-house IT support, so the opportunity to outsource to the cloud where they pay for only what it is needed at that point in time is compelling.

Non-profits were quick to adopt everyday office and collaboration tools such as mail, document sharing and conferencing on a flexible per-user basis. However, what’s really interesting is how non-profits can access innovative cutting-edge services such as data analytics and machine learning that would have only been possible by joining the queue at a major university computing centre in years gone by.

Research scientists can crunch terabytes of data in the cloud and scale to suit their needs – and funding levels – in an effort to solve big problems like predicting crop failures, understanding societal and health trends, or eradicating disease.

(Via: https://thestack.com/big-data/2017/03/28/how-big-data-and-cloud-are-supporting-life-saving-non-profit-operations/)

While many of us only have a limited technological know-how, there are a handful of people who excel in the field who are now using technology to improve society by giving/ sharing more and helping find solutions to problems that plague mankind for as long as we can remember.

Five years ago few people would have heard of Uber, Airbnb or Netflix but now they are household names.

And, as more of us turn to apps and technology for the services we use in our leisure it would be naïve for charities to ignore the digital revolution, wouldn’t it?

Well, worryingly, a recent study by Lloyds banking group found that a staggering 49% of third sector organisations lack basic digital skills.

The report’s authors said this included such things as charities having a website, having a social media presence or an ability to accept online giving.

So, are those charities ignoring digital at risk of being left behind?

Financially yes – the report also found charities that are more digitally mature are 28% more likely to report an increase in funding than those who aren’t.

So why are so many charities failing to be more digitally aware?

As with much of the sector, funding is an issue. To make use of any new technology some training is often required and although there are some free online courses, depending on the tech involved training costs can still add up. 

To implement new digital strategies and techniques new staff may have to be hired in specialist roles, particularly if existing staff don’t have digital skills or are simply stretched to the limit in their current role.

(Via: http://thirdforcenews.org.uk/tfn-news/tech-special-digital-is-booming-and-charities-need-to-take-note)

More charitable institutions must realize the importance of keeping up-to-date to technological innovations to staying relevant in a rapidly changing world. If not, you miss out on a lot of opportunities to seek help and consequently help those who are poor and struggling in life. If you look around you, you’ll see that the future lies with technology.

So, why not take advantage of technology and spread the love through charitable works and fundraising activities that raise awareness for various causes – and no better way to do it than up in the clouds where all the action is currently taking place.

Charity In The Clouds See more on: https://hdbizblog.com

From https://hdbizblog.com/blog/charity-in-the-clouds/

U.S. International Relations During The Trump Era

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Now that the United States has elected a new president, the world is watching for his next course of actions with an eagle’s eye. Not only is political activism growing within the country but the U.S. international relations is also a sensitive topic made even worse by President Trump’s controversial moves so far – think of immigration policies and the travel ban.

His words are uttered without caution and it has put the country in a negative light in the global arena. The country’s economy will undoubtedly suffer if he continues to speak and act harshly without thinking of the repercussions of his actions. After all, he is no longer just an entrepreneur but the highest elected official of one of the most powerful countries in the world.

The U.S. should think twice before severing ties with China or angering the Russian leader even further when the latter actually congratulated him during his unprecedented win late last year.

VLADIMIR Putin was tonight brought in from the international wilderness as new US President Donald Trump vowed to oversee a new era of “constructive cooperation” between the two rival superpowers.
In a phone call which will send shockwaves through Brussels the Republican supremo promised to work more closely with the Kremlin chief on global affairs, marking a significant thawing in the relationship between the US and Russia.
European Union leaders have spent the week blindly lashing out against the new President-elect in a desperate attempt to appear relevant to his new administration. But tonight’s call between the two world leaders, which was apparently warm and conciliatory, will only heighten their fears that Brussels is set to be sidelined by the new US government.
During a historic conversation, the Kremlin chief offered his congratulations to Mr Trump on his shock victory over Hillary Clinton and expressed his hope that relations between the pair would be significantly better than those he had with Barack Obama.
Mr. Putin told the 70-year-old President-elect that he respects him and hopes to enter into a successful political partnership in the future so they can work together to defeat extremism and terror.

(Via: http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/732261/Vladimir-Putin-Donald-Trump-Russia-America-President-US-politics)

However, Trump’s outrageous policies so far did nothing to assuage the worries of the leaders of many organizations and even that of other nations especially in China, Europe, and the Middle East. Worse, they even united against a common enemy – Trump himself.

European Union leaders voiced concerns about US President Donald Trump at a summit in Malta on Friday, saying they needed to stick together to face an increasingly uncertain global future.
The 28 countries showed a flash of unity by backing a plan to curb mass migration from Libya by helping the north African state´s coastguard to stop boats making the dangerous crossing to Italy.
But worries about the new US administration overshadowed the talks, with French President Francois Hollande slamming Trump´s “unacceptable” comments backing Britain´s decision to leave the EU.
“He shouldn´t meddle in in the European Union´s business,” Hollande told reporters.
“It is unacceptable that there should be, through a certain number of statements by the president of the United States, pressure on what Europe should or should not be.”
Other leaders said that while they wanted to maintain transatlantic ties they also had to be realistic faced with a president who has backed further exits from the EU and called NATO “obsolete”.

Even bolder statements have been issued by some European leaders as of late that reveal what they really think of the American leader.

The twin shocks of Brexit and Trump´s election have prompted deep soul-searching in the EU about its place in the world, and how to counter populist and eurosceptic movements that want to dismantle the bloc.
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel told Time magazine in an interview that it was time for the EU to take “very strong decisions”.
“In the last few months we have seen the Brexit, we have seen the election of Trump — it means that it is time now to move in Europe,” he said

(Via: https://www.geo.tv/latest/129901-EU-leaders-unite-over-Trump-concerns)

And we can only hope that things will turn for the better when it comes to U.S.-Russia relations in the years to come.

The telephone call between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump on January 29 was the first official contact between the two leaders since Trump’s investiture. The Kremlin has welcomed Trump’s promises to mend ties with Moscow, which have been strained by the Ukrainian crisis, the war in Syria and allegations of Russian meddling in the US elections.
All of these points of contention to one side, one of the key objectives behind Trump’s outreach to Moscow is whether he can persuade Russia to turn away from Iran. In an article for Bloomberg, Eli Lake states: “The Romanovs humiliated Iran in the 19th century with punitive treaties. Last summer tensions rose briefly when the Russians acknowledged they were flying air missions out of Iran into Syria. Iranian mistrust of Russia can be exploited with deft diplomacy.”

(Via: https://www.fairobserver.com/region/europe/russia-us-relations-donald-trump-vladimir-putin-politics-news-17331/)

The new president has much to learn regarding international diplomacy. So, he should never take things lightly. His habit of saying things without thinking will not work in the global arena and the country’s international relations may eventually suffer (as if it is not already suffering right now).

The future of the United States (well, for the next four years that is) lies in his capable (?) hands. His cabinet and advisors should do their job and guide the President on how to conduct himself as one to make up for his lack of experience as a public official. Millions of lives depend on his sound judgment – and whether you voted for him or not – you have no choice but to support his leadership and do your part in helping the country by being a responsible American citizen in everything you do.

U.S. International Relations During The Trump Era is republished from OCBG

From https://hdbizblog.com/blog/u-s-international-relations-during-the-trump-era/

Why Cloud Technology?

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The human race has gone so far when it comes to computing. From bulky computers with limited functions, we now enjoy a sleek line of gadgets that allows us to do multiple tasks at once. Smartphones are fast becoming a technology favorite while people who do computing for work can rely on a trusted laptop or desktop computer to help him/ her do the job with ease.

What is even better with these technological advancements is not its hardware but what is inside it. Software ten years ago is but a shadow of the software advances we now have. Experts became ambitious when it came to data storage and the use of CDs or flash drives for external storage are not the only solution anymore. Cloud computing is now the name of the game and it has blown away people’s mind when it was launched.

At its most basic, the cloud is simply about taking all of the tech you used to have on your computer and letting someone else take care of it for you. The easiest way to understand this is to think of renting these resources (servers, hard drives, networking gear) from companies like Dropbox, Google, Amazon and Microsoft that maintain them in their own data centers, instead of owning them. In a way, this is akin to renting an apartment instead of owning your own home. In this case, however, you are renting computer resources instead of a roof over your head — and just like with the apartment you’re renting, your landlord is in charge of taking care of maintenance.

So instead of having to worry about dealing with all of the hardware and software that runs on it, you can just do your job and run your business.

Imagine life before all these technologies took place.

Before smartphones, tablets, laptops and the cloud, we had a big beige box under our desks (or lots of them sitting in a data center). We bought software and installed it onto the hard drive, and often lived with the old version for years because upgrading was expensive, time-consuming and could cause compatibility issues. The cloud changed all that.

(Via: https://techcrunch.com/2017/02/19/wtf-is-cloud-computing/)

And it does not show any signs of ever slowing down.

Cloud adoption in the UK has reached the point where it is not far off being universal and there will be more customer spending in that area this year.

The latest state of the market analysis from the Cloud Industry Forum has found thatUK cloud adoption rates now stand at 88%, with 67% of users expecting to increase their use of hosted services even more over the course of 2017.

Year-on-year the cloud adoption rate has gone up by 5% with small firms and the public sector driving a lot of that growth.

(Via: http://www.computerweekly.com/microscope/news/450414811/Cloud-adoption-reaches-fresh-highs-but-skills-and-security-issues-remain)

Google has even bigger plans for cloud technology and will take its A-game a notch higher.

Machine learning, though, could eliminate such problems, and Google is now offering one such solution: the Cloud Video Intelligence API, currently in private beta. Unveiled yesterday during the kickoff of the three-day Google Cloud Next ’17 event in San Francisco, the application program interface (API) is the first of its kind to enable subject- and context-based searches of video content, according to Google.

Yesterday, Google also announced its acquisition of Kaggle, described as “the world’s largest community of data scientists and machine learning enthusiasts.” By joining forces with Kaggle, Google said it will be able to speed up efforts to advance and democratize the adoption of artificial intelligence.

(Via: http://www.cio-today.com/article/index.php?story_id=030000HWVG9U)

We can only wonder what the future has in store for us with all these technologies ruling our life. Two decades ago, only a small percentage of the population owned cellphones – and they were the big and bulky ones. You also need a camera to take pictures, a video camera to take videos, a calculator to make computations, and you get in touch with people through regular snail mail.

Indeed, life is very much different back then. But now that our technology has reached the clouds, artificial intelligence may be the next big thing and a common one as well ten to twenty years from now. Who knows, right? For now, let us just enjoy all the comfort and convenience offered by these technological knick-knacks without missing out on what’s really important in life – quality time and meaningful relationships with the people you love.

The blog article Why Cloud Technology? was first seen on The HD Business Blog

From https://hdbizblog.com/blog/why-cloud-technology/

A Brighter Future With Public Education For All

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Education is a form of intangible wealth that can’t be taken away from you forever. It is your ultimate tool to remain globally competitive and succeed in this world that is far becoming more technological than ever. It is the reason why you go to school from your early years until you get a degree and are ready to face the real world. Unfortunately, education does not always come cheap.

Public education is available to the majority of the American youth from primary to secondary school as long as you are okay with the system. Public schools can be stressful for students but it is better to get an education than nothing at all.

Getting an education even becomes more challenging (and even impossible for some) during college. It becomes optional. High school graduates who can’t afford to pay for high college tuition fees join the workforce and forget about their bigger dreams that a good education can help you realize. It is why states like Texas are doing something to address issues regarding public education because most Americans can’t afford private school nor pay for college but it does not mean there is no hope for them anymore.

A road trip to the state capitol may not seem to be the best way spend a spring break, but that’s how second grade teacher Sarah Marsch was spending her Monday.  Instead of hitting the beach, Marsch and other educators spent the morning navigating the hallways of the capitol extension.

“The kids deserve an education more than one day out of my Spring Break,” said Marsch.

This trip, organized by the Texas American Federation of Teachers, was to promote public education. The group is passionate about their message but Texas AFT is competing with several hot topics for the attention of state lawmakers. Emotional debates have already been held on legislation to ban sanctuary city policies, as well as on a proposal to regulate access to rest rooms.

(Via: http://www.fox7austin.com/news/local-news/241339423-story)

They believe that the children’s future is worth fighting for and they will do their best for their voices to be heard by the politicians who shape the future of our country.

It has been said that passions, only passions, can elevate the soul to great things.

As we reflect on the third nine weeks of school, it is clearly evident that we are surrounded by exceptional students, outstanding employees, supportive parents, a visionary Board of Trustees and a community that truly values the importance of education. With everyone’s commitment and dedication to the success of “Every Child, Every Classroom, Every Day,” we indeed bring forth positive changes throughout the Victoria Independent School District.

(Via: https://www.victoriaadvocate.com/news/2017/mar/11/proper-state-funding-for-public-education-is-vital/)

More on this story:

Hundreds of Houston ISD educators, parents and students used their first day of spring break to advocate for education at the State House.

At about 6:30 a.m., nine charter buses hit the road for Austin all set to meet with lawmakers regarding the latest issues facing education.

The Houston Federation of Teachers led the charge. President Zeph Capo says they will spend the time to focus on two main issues including funding.

“The state says that we are rich,” explained Capo. “However, if you ask any one of the teachers or even the students that are with us today they’ll say they can’t tell that from their classrooms.”

(Via: http://www.khou.com/news/local/public-schools-rally-in-austin-on-monday/422101762)

It does not help that President’s new Education secretary appointment faces a lot of criticisms and backlash from the public in general.

After a tie-breaking vote by Vice President Mike Pence, Betsy DeVos was named the nation’s Secretary of Education. DeVos, having only recently secured the title, has stirred up quite a bit of commotion in the United States.

Billionaire DeVos is the most recent Trump administration controversy to fill Twitter feeds in the last week or so, but this time, the controversy is surrounding not just education as it sits, but potentially the education of generations to come.

But then, you can’t blame the people for not liking her and doubting her capabilities to perform her job well.

Much of the criticism surrounding any important party-affiliated decision can be logically traced back to the other party, but in DeVos’s case, both parties seem to have their own fair share of issues. This comes from a huge concern regarding DeVos’s lack of experience in education.

Other than only showing her support for school vouchers and charter school implementation countrywide, DeVos has little experience in the education system.

It seems almost as if DeVos has only her financial power and a night of reading education articles to thank for her position as Secretary of Education of the United States.

(Via: http://www.nwmissourinews.com/opinion/article_3126241a-f8b1-11e6-a54a-d7d1b21aab52.html)

Other do not see her as a good fit for the role because she likely has no idea what the education department needs – especially the needs of the schools and the students. What we all need is someone who has genuine interest to improve public education, so our youth grows up to be educated individuals who can help America regain greatness despite the many flaws of its political system.

A Brighter Future With Public Education For All is courtesy of HDBizBlog.com

From https://hdbizblog.com/blog/a-brighter-future-with-public-education-for-all/

Rising Political Activism In Trump’s America

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The political tension in the country right now is palpable that even those in other countries can feel it. With the recent unexpected win of the Republican presidential candidate, now President Donald Trump, emotions have been high and even ordinary people get into heated arguments in real life and on social media regarding their political beliefs.

And this tension has been experienced since the campaign started – or even as early as when both parties were choosing who their presidential bets will be. The Clinton and Trump rivalry is even more intriguing and explosive than your average Hollywood movie. People were on the edge of their seats as the election unfolds until the winner was announced.However, people today refuse to be on the sidelines and have mustered the guts to fight for their rights. The rise in political activism allows their voices to be heard amidst the chatter of the controversial U.S. politics.

However, people today refuse to be on the sidelines and have mustered the guts to fight for their rights. The rise in political activism allows their voices to be heard amidst the chatter of the noisy U.S. politics.

For years, Justin Boyan worried about the effects of climate change but focused on his wife, his two daughters and his work as a computer scientist in Rhode Island. Then Donald J. Trump became president, and Mr. Boyan was jolted into political activism.

Within days of the election, Mr. Boyan began volunteering for the Working Families Party, a liberal political organization focused on income inequality, and attended almost weekly protests to voice his dismay. He traveled to the Women’s March on Washington with his family the day after inauguration, protested Mr. Trump’s travel ban at the Rhode Island state capital, and began studying criminal justice issues, which he connects to climate change as two issues where policy makers, he believes, have put the demands of big-money contributors over the needs of ordinary people.

The same energy motivating Mr. Boyan is bursting out at demonstrations and town hall meetings across the country. Protesters who had focused on issues like police shootings of black people, a $15 minimum wage and climate change are collaborating against a common foe, President Trump. In cities and states, activists are exchanging civil disobedience tactics, pooling financial resources and showing up to demonstrations about issues that they may not have previously focused on.

Call it Protest Nation: Activists across the country have been strengthening old partnerships and making new ones.

(Via: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/14/us/politics/protesters-resist-trump.html?_r=0)

Political activism will probably be a constant threat to the new administration to ensure they remain level-headed and pass and enforce national policies and laws that benefit most Americans.

First, activists did not foresee Bush doing the destructive actions that Trump has already initiated. Second, the threatened deportation of millions of immigrants means that millions more know someone at risk from Trump. Third, millions are either personally impacted by the threatened loss of health care or know someone who is.

But this heightened activism involves more than Trump. The Sanders and Clinton campaigns both energized the progressive base. I think activists would have been just as fired up and excited to get positive laws passed had Clinton won the White House, though clearly there would not be the fear that Trump has so maliciously spread across America.

(Via: https://www.laprogressive.com/grassroots-activism/)

The last U.S. presidential election is perhaps the most divisive the country (and the world) has ever witnessed. Ordinary people became political activists who will stay vigilant considering the many outrageous things the new President have implemented so far.

The travel ban, the Obamacare repeal, “A Day Without A Woman,” Russian hacking—keeping up with politics is overwhelming right now. And it can be hard to know how to take action most effectively, whether you’re a progressive or a conservative. A San Francisco company called IFTTT is offering a solution: Online apps that automate the process, such as creating an email digest of tweets from Women’s March organizers or posting the Senate’s daily agenda to a Slack channel. The company just introduced a suite of tools, called applets, for causes on the political left and right.

(Via: https://www.fastcompany.com/3068810/want-to-stay-on-top-of-your-political-activism-there-are-some-apps-for-tha)

Even though most political activists right now focus on their fight against Trump and his biased policies, real activism is actually neutral in nature. Activists react to everything that concerns (or affects) them whether it comes from the ruling party or the losing one.

It is a good thing that political activists can make the most of social media to reach a bigger audience. These new technologies serve as a bigger platform, so more people can hear their sentiments without spending much. After all, these new policies not only affect people in America but in other countries too on issues regarding open trade and immigration policies that have caused a stir not long ago.

Rising Political Activism In Trump’s America See more on: https://hdbizblog.com

From https://hdbizblog.com/blog/rising-political-activism-in-trumps-america/

Politicizing American Health Care

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The citizens have a right to receive healthcare services from the government. From the young to the elderly, it is the government’s responsibility to look after the needs of the people – if not for free then at a reasonable price that the majority of the population can afford. After all, the public pay taxes – taxes that should be put to good use by the government and given back to the people when the need arises.

Unfortunately, politics is not always fair. More often than not, politicians are only concerned about their own vested interests and nothing more. They make policies without thinking about its implication on a full-scale and how people’s lives will be affected by it over time.This time, Obamacare is in the spotlight. Or rather, the desire to have it replaced by a Republican-approved health care law that they can claim as their own making. In short, they want the people to forget about

This time, Obamacare is in the spotlight. Or rather, the desire to have it replaced by a Republican-approved health care law that they can claim as their own making. In short, they want the people to forget about the achievements of the former leader as the ruling party strives to realize Trump’s advocacy of making America great again.

To replace the Affordable Care Act with is the heart of current debate.

But so is whether Republicans were ever serious about a full repeal. The 2015 vote was similar to prior votes in preceding years (there were 48 repeal attempts total) in which virtually every Republican swore to dismantle Obamacare completely.

But did they mean it? Were they just voting for a full repeal when they knew President Obama would never sign it?

Obamacare has helped some Americans and has hurt others. It’s complicated. But this was also true when so many Republicans also voted on a full repeal they knew wouldn’t pass. They didn’t have to think about a replacement because they knew President Obama would never get rid of his primary policy legacy.

But President Trump has vowed to repeal. The most conservative members of Congress are insisting on simply revisiting the 2015 legislation virtually every Republican already voted for.

(Via: http://rare.us/rare-politics/issues/obamacare-rare-politics/the-obamacare-debate-reveals-which-republicans-are-principled-and-who-is-just-playing-politics/)

The Obamacare repeal is probably the hottest thing to hit congress for a while now and will probably stay until they are able to come up with an acceptable health care law replacement that will appeal to all.

It’s been a rough week for GOP leadership. Their Obamacare replacement plan has been almost universally opposed by conservative pundits, policy analysts, and advocacy groups. Despite early success moving the bill quickly through two House committees, it’s clear that the battle for health care reform is going to be long and hard-fought.

In other words, the deliberative branch of government will actually have to deliberate. This is oddly refreshing given the tendency of presidents and party elites to jam legislation down the throats of the American people, often with little debate or dissent.

The balance of powers is finally making a comeback.

The funny thing about this entire spectacle is that President Trump remained in the background and allowed the Congress to do the dirty job. So, in case it backfires, he is not to blame.

What these Republican lawmakers see as Trump’s flaw is actually his greatest asset from a constitutional perspective. The man is hands-off on the hard stuff, leaving Congress to craft legislation and take the blame if it goes awry.

One could write this off as a result of Trump’s narcissism and incessant refusal to take blame. That’s fair enough, but the outcome is positive nonetheless: leaving legislation to be drafted and debated by Congress with input from the American people, as the Constitution imagined.

And the input sure is coming in. An impressive coalition of outlets and advocacy groups have been applying pressure on lawmakers to go back to the drawing board and return with a more conservative solution. Even the Heritage Foundation and Breitbart are getting in on the action, a positive development for two outfits that are often accused of cozying up to the GOP establishment and Trump administration, respectively.

(Via: http://rare.us/rare-politics/issues/obamacare-rare-politics/why-im-glad-donald-trump-is-taking-a-back-seat-in-the-healthcare-fight/)

It is a close fight on the approval of the new health care law between the political parties. It just goes to show that even if the Republicans seem to have the upper hand right now, there is still some sort of balance in politics after all and this drama continues to unfold with each passing day.

Health care is an important public service and it can greatly impact people’s live. Something they should always remember during heated discussions about the Obamacare repeal and other related arguments concerning it. Let us just all hope that these politicians do not forget why they are in public office in the first place, which is for public service and public trust.

Politicizing American Health Care was initially seen on OCBG

From https://hdbizblog.com/blog/politicizing-american-health-care/

Save The Environment While We Still Can

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The environment has changed so much over the years. If you look around you, only a few remains the same and almost everything else is brand new. Even when looking at old photographs, the difference is striking you’d often wonder what it was like living back in the days.

As much as we embrace change and development, it breaks our heart to see how much Mother Nature suffers from man-made destructions. Forests are slowly disappearing, so are the animals living in it. More animals have now gone extinct because of poaching or the destruction of their homes. Water is polluted because we never learned how to dispose of our trash properly. Toxic waste products of big production plants go directly to our rivers, it’s no wonder less fish thrives in it.

The U.S. started its conservation efforts decades ago but there is still so much work left to be done up to now.

On December 2, 1970, Republican President Richard Nixon established the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This was the world’s first major government organization dedicated to ameliorating the environmental condition of its citizens. The world marveled at how the United States was able to address pollution concerns that were harming the welfare of ordinary Americans. Within the iconic “swing state” of Ohio the pollution had been so severe that in 1969 the Cayahoga river literally caught fire from all the organic chemicals and oil that had been dumped into it.

But a little progress is better than nothing at all.

No doubt specific industries such as coal power have contended with enormous environmental compliance costs but this stringency has spurred innovation and cost reduction in other areas. Air quality standards have led to catalytic converters and greater energy efficiency and ultimately cost reduction for consumers in electricity bills and miles driven per unit of services provided. Not all of EPA’s work is “command and control” either. The Agency’s “Energy Star” program, for example, has allowed for product differentiation in appliances through competitive private enterprise and consumer choice.

(Via: http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2017/02/07/epa-patriotism/)

If there is one state in the country that seems to be doing it right, it is Atlanta, Georgia. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognizes the conservation efforts of Atlanta through water and energy conservation.

The city received the 2017 Climate Leadership Award – Partnership Award Certificate from the EPA at the annual Climate Leadership Conference held in Chicago March 1-3.

The city has been promoting energy and water conservation through the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge, which has a goal of reducing energy and water consumption by at least 20 percent in participating buildings across the city by 2020; and the Climate Action Plan, which details ways to reduce energy, water usage and waste generation as well as create jobs and improve air quality.

(Via: http://www.ajc.com/news/local/atlanta-recognized-for-conservation-efforts/fAZmy9A9HbgcBsxvBXPE3N/)

We need to understand that environmental conservation efforts start at home. If we do not act now, we will suffer from the wrath of Mother Nature. Global warming and climate change are just the tip of the iceberg. And we all experience it now. Do we need to witness and experience more natural calamities before we change our ways?

Let us leave behind a legacy that our children can be proud of. We want the future generations of this planet to still be able to enjoy the beauty of nature. Visit this site http://www.worldethicalfoundations.org/ to learn how to make the world a better place. It is not yet too late.

You can make a difference. Reduce energy consumption. Try other renewable sources of energy like solar and wind power. Always reuse, reduce or recycle. Save water. All these things you can do on your own yet have a big impact on the conservation of our environment and the future of our planet.

The following article Save The Environment While We Still Can Find more on: HDBiz Blog

From https://hdbizblog.com/blog/save-the-environment-while-we-still-can/

The Women of Science – The Struggle Is Real

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We were taught from a young age that those who shaped history were men. But since we just celebrated the International Women’s Day this week, we should also recognize the contributions of women in science. If not for their specific achievements, then let us pay tribute to them for being the inspiration of great men of yesteryears. After all, behind a great man is a great woman.

Indeed, many great women have walked this earth and their contributions have outlived them and benefit many of us today. Theguardian.com has a story on women who are unsung heroes in the field of science.

This is where history steps in to remind us that even the ability to participate in science has always been political. TrowelBlazers is an organization that tracks the struggle women have experienced following their passion for science, and while early female pioneers faced different prejudices from those experienced by other marginalised groups (whether based on ethnic, sexual orientation, gender or ability), the ground-breaking – literally- work of female scientists shows us not just how to fight back, but that the fight is worth it.

The story of women in archaeology and the earth sciences is often one of unsung contributions; women painstakingly illustrating geological formations for their spouses’ fancy scientific tomes, their only credit the occasional guest appearance in the acknowledgements. The names of those famous husbands, like Flinders Petrie the Egyptologist and general media darling become cultural institutions, but never think of his wife Hilda Petrie, who not only found the money to pay for all those pith helmets, but independently dug her own sites.

Still less do we think of the dedicated women who lacked the finances or connections to make a splash in the drawing rooms of scientific societies, like Egyptologist Margaret Murray. She may have enthralled hundreds with her live, ticketed ‘mummy unwrappings’ but her students still had to club together to buy her academic robes.

These women have made their mark in history. That is without a doubt. As the world progresses and many breakthrough technological advancements keep on taking place, women still have more to contribute and a chance to show everyone just what they are capable of. Very few women attempt to try the field of computer science and the reason stems from their youth.

“So we cannot be what we cannot see, and we can’t expect our girls to aspire to be something that they don’t see themselves in. And so culture, I think, is the number one reason why you have this massive decline. It’s not about aptitude. And you see this really happen around middle school when girls are more attuned to what they see in magazines, what they’re watching on television what they see on Netflix. And so I think that role models play a huge role in sparking girls’ interest in computer science.”

(Via: http://college.usatoday.com/2017/03/08/man-computer-science-needs-more-women/

Most women have gone through phases in their lives where they were made to feel to be the weaker sex especially in a field dominated by men like math or computer science.

The same thing always happened in math class, starting in high school and continuing through college: I knew that I unless I went to the board and solved a complex problem off the top of my head, I would spend weeks fending off boys who wanted to “tutor” me. They came unsolicited, most frequently in the first week, and I knew why: I was a girl, therefore I was not good at math, therefore they would help me. (“You should be flattered,” a friend told me once. “Maybe they think you’re cute and they’re shy.” Why would I be flattered by a suitor who implied I was an idiot, I wondered.) So it was crucial to publicly solve a difficult problem immediately — otherwise I would not be left alone to work.

I have often wondered what it would be like to walk into a math class and not have to prove I belong there. Proving myself was tiring, and my male classmates didn’t have to do it. They already belonged; only my membership was in question. Eventually I left math, when I got sick of proving myself. There’s a lot of talk about the leaky STEM — science, technology, engineering, and math — pipeline for women; I am one of the drips, a woman who left.

(Via: http://www.theverge.com/2017/3/8/14843308/day-without-a-woman-2017-strike-stem-women-in-sciences)

It may be infuriating at times but women have got to keep their cool. The world is ever changing and gender equality is being pushed on all fronts. If you look around you, you can see many women filling up important positions and becoming more vocal in their views in life. We have a long way to go but women should not lose faith that the time will come they will get the respect they deserve because of what they can do and contribute to society.

The Women of Science – The Struggle Is Real Find more on: HDBizBlog

From https://hdbizblog.com/blog/the-women-of-science-the-struggle-is-real/

How Prevalent Is Hacking In Today’s World

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Now that we all breathe social media, it is no longer surprising that a single person owns more than one electronic device – smartphone, tablet, iPad, PCs, and laptops. Aside from having personal social media accounts on popular sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, many of us do our shopping and banking online because of our busy lifestyle. To be honest, we just want to avoid the long lines in the bank. But the problem is that we input a lot of sensitive data on our computers, laptops or smartphones that when hacked can prove to be disastrous.

There are many spam mail and dangerous links we unconsciously click that puts our devices at risk of hacking or getting a virus. We all know that nothing is impossible after thousands of sensitive emails of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were released by Wikileaks to discredit her character or to possibly reveal her true nature. But what’s more frightening is the involvement of the CIA in various hacking practices.

WikiLeaks said 7,818 web pages and 943 attachments were published, but were just the first part of more material to come. WikiLeaks said it has an entire archive of data consisting of several million lines of computer code. The documents appear to date between 2013 and 2016. WikiLeaks described them as “the largest ever publication of confidential documents on the agency”.

The files describe CIA plans and descriptions of malware and other tools that could be used to hack into some of the world’s most popular technology platforms. The documents showed that the developers aimed to be able to inject these tools into targeted computers without the owners’ awareness.

The files do not describe who the prospective targets might be, but the documents show broad exchanges of tools and information between the CIA, the National Security Agency and other US federal intelligence agencies, as well as intelligence services of close allies Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Take these scenarios, for example.

The tools described would allow the CIA to take almost complete remote control of a user’s phone, turning it into a complete spying device reporting back to the agency. But it would only do so on the most important targets, since each time the agency uses the malware, it runs the risk of being discovered, prompting manufacturers to release a fix to prevent future attacks from succeeding.

Exactly that happened in August 2016, when Apple issued a global iOS updateafter three attacks implemented to try and break into the iPhone of an Arab human rights activist were discovered.

The documents also include discussions about compromising some internet-connected Samsung televisions to turn them into listening posts. That hack, like many others, would only work in an extremely targeted manner: it requires physical access to the TV in question, since the malware is loaded via a USB port.

One other document discusses hacking vehicle systems, appearing to indicate the CIA’s interest in hacking recent-model cars with sophisticated onboard computer systems.

(Via: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/mar/08/wikileaks-vault-7-cia-documents-hacked-what-you-need-to-know)

It is frightening to find out that your data is not safe online if these things happen. If secured accounts and devices of important people can be hacked, you’ll have lingering doubts about your security too.

Jump to today. Most of us carry devices products with intelligence and sensors – and phones are just the beginning. Smart watches and fitness trackers log data about our bodies. Smart home devices know when we come home and what we like for entertainment. Our automobiles know our travel patterns and our behavior. The proliferation of sensors means that data is always being gathered around us, whether we consent or not. In our modern era, information is power and money, and all of the smart devices we surround ourselves with are creating value by monitoring us.

The risk of attacking most devices is today is extremely low because when they become connected, they also become easy to access. The reward isn’t always spectacular, such as when programmable street-warning signs are hacked to promote political points of view or convey humorous messages, but there is the potential for more harmful attacks with higher payoff. For instance, the Stuxnet attack on an Iranian nuclear processing facility allowed the perpetrators to destroy important nuclear processing equipment of a political adversary. The attack was complex, designed to take advantage of the connected nature of things to propagate without detection until it was too late and the centrifuges had already been reprogrammed to damage themselves. The reward was high, and the nature of our connected world lowered the risk side of the equation to a point where advanced actors could carry out a successful attack.

(Via: http://embedded-computing.com/guest-blogs/make-your-device-unattractive-to-hackers-design-in-security-early-on/)

Exercise more caution in the sites you access and in the physical security of your devices. Even if not all of us are technical geniuses, you can always make use of firewalls, virus detection and anti-spyware software to protect your data and gadgets. But if you want to upgrade your technical knowledge and skills, you can join seminars that teach you about data security and how to prevent hacking that even beginners can pull off.

If you don’t have the time and money to go to one, visit sites like http://paranoidlinux.org/ to learn more about how your computer works and how to protect it from any threat of hacking to make sure your data remains safe all the time.

The following article How Prevalent Is Hacking In Today’s World was initially published to HDBizBlog

From https://hdbizblog.com/blog/how-prevalent-is-hacking-in-todays-world/

What’s New With Trump’s Travel Ban?

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Since he announced his intent to run as the Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump never ceased to make it to the headline. His personality is as colorful as the life he has lived so far. He says the most outrageous of things and never fails to flaunt his riches.

His campaign slogan was to “Make America Great Again”. American citizens who are fed up with the increasing terroristic activities happening everywhere pledged their support for him – Trump who promised to put America first all the time and boost the nation’s economy. He even disclosed plans of building walls on the border to prevent illegal aliens get into the country undocumented. Hence, it was not surprising that he issued a travel ban soon after his inauguration.

People were outraged and he earned the disapproval of many, both in and out of the United States. Now, let’s find out what else is new with the much-talked about travel ban:

President Trump took a second swing at his temporary travel ban Monday, this time targeting travelers from six majority-Muslim countries and crafting his executive order in ways intended to survive challenges in U.S. courts. 

The new ban, which goes into effect March 16, no longer restricts travel from Iraq, one of seven listed in the original order. The 90-day ban now is limited to Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Yemen.

As before, the order shuts down the U.S. refugee program for 120 days to give the federal government time to develop “extreme vetting” procedures to prevent terrorists from entering the country. However, Syrians are no longer subject to an indefinite ban, as they were under the first order.

The White House spent weeks drafting the revised ban, coordinating with the departments of State, Justice and Homeland Security to avoid the chaos that followed the Jan. 27 order. That one took immediate, snarling travel for thousands of people around the world and at U.S. airports. This time, federal agencies will have 10 days to prepare before the order goes into effect.

(Via: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/03/06/donald-trump-travel-ban-six-majority-muslim-countries/98798788/)

Aside from preventing certain nationalities from entering the United States, the U.S. also issued a travel advisory to its citizens on several South Asian countries.

In a world-wide travel advisory to its citizens, the United States has told those headed for South Asia to avoid Afghanistan altogether, avoid certain parts of Pakistan and Bangladesh, and mentioned “active” extremists in India.

The advisory replaced and updated one issued in September 2016 and with travel warnings already in effect for 41 countries — 16 in Africa, 2 in East Asia and Pacific region, 2 in Europe, 12 in Middle East and North Africa, 3 in South and Central Asia, and 6 in the Western Hemisphere.

“As terrorist attacks, political upheaval, and violence often take place without any warning, US citizens are strongly encouraged to maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness when traveling,” it said.

The threat of terrorist attacks directed at American citizens has resulted in the issuance of these travel advisories.

US citizens should avoid travel to Afghanistan, as no region in the country is immune from violence. A number of established terrorist organisations, indigenous sectarian groups, and other militants pose a danger to US citizens in Pakistan. Extremist elements are also active in India, as outlined in a recent emergency message. Terrorists have hit a wide variety of targets in Bangladesh.”

(Via: http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/us-issues-travel-warning-to-its-citizens-heading-to-south-asia/story-efAwaEM2JPIlpqYDGsU6YI.html)

Let us just think that President Trump has our best interests at heart, thus these travel bans. But if you feel that you’ve had enough of the stress brought about by politics, you can always head out of the house and enjoy your time with family and friends at a fair and let the fresh air clear your mind of any doubts and worries.

The article What’s New With Trump’s Travel Ban? was originally published to The HD Business Blog

From https://hdbizblog.com/blog/whats-new-with-trumps-travel-ban/