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Salmonella in my Oregano?

Salmonella in my Oregano?

While purchasing some items at the local Food Lion, I ran across one of those haphazardly posted messages displayed only with a sad single piece of tape holding it up to a random post behind the cashier. It was a recall notice for McCormick Oregano.  I was totally blown-away! What could possibly get in oregano that would cause it to be recalled?

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Home Automation: 3 Considerations

Home Automation: 3 Considerations

A recent article on home automation caught my attention on the New Republic Website because my wife and I had considered some automation options but declined all of them (unless you include a programmable thermostat).

We grounded our considerations in history, current events, and current technology (or the lack thereof).

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My Two Favorite Federal Laws

I am certain that very few people have favorite federal laws. After all, who wants to talk about federal legislation at a party (hint: I do). However, being a bit of a policy wonk and government guru, I enjoy reading and learning about federal laws. In fact, I actually have TWO federal laws that I consider to be my favorite. They both involve the stomach.

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30 Days in the WordPress Forum

30 Days in the WordPress Support Forum: Here are 9 things I learned

Having been blogging on and off for the past couple years and maintaining blogs during the school-year for my classes, I thought I might spend some time this summer in the WordPress Support Forums.

I’ve spent about 30 days in the support forum and learned some interesting lessons and insights:

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11 Ways NOT to write a WordPress Plugin

I’ve been tinkering with WordPress, blogging, and Web Development on and off for the past 15 years. I would start it and then stop it. Never really sure where to go or what to do.

This past school year I created a WordPress site for use with my classroom and pioneered some WordPress features in an educational context, such as WordPress Hunts to analyze points-of-view and Web Quests, where I provide a list of links in a post for students to visit with questions at the bottom for students to answer.

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Penny Stocks Advice

Penny Stocks Advice: The one thing you need to know

During the mid-aughts, fresh out of college, young, single and flush with cash I decide to invest in penny stocks. Penny stocks typically trade for, you guessed it, in the pennies for each share. They are very risky, trade Over-the-Counter (that is the name of the stock ‘exchange’ where they trade in, sometimes it is referred as the ‘Pink Sheets’), and are lightly regulated. The lack of regulation makes them a susceptible for various fraud schemes such as the classic, ‘pump-and-dump’. However, if the right penny-stock begins to increase the margins for profit (on such a small investment) could be in the thousands!

Either way, I had invested about 500 dollars into a penny-stock called LOGO that was seeking to create a gay/lesbian themed TV network. I used to follow the stock and post in penny-stock forums and discuss the pitfalls, buy-points, sell-points of various penny-stocks (including LOGO). Thinking back on it, it wouldn’t surprise me if some of those people were plants, operating an online version of a “boiler-room”.

When I met with my financial adviser she gave me this look of horror and disgust. When I couldn’t explain to her why I bought Penny-Stocks or why I selected LOGO, her and I agreed to sell my penny-stocks and invest in mutual funds (which have since earned more money than my penny-stock).

Now, LOGO TV is actually a channel, though I am not sure whatever became of the penny-stock.

I write this post because Bloomberg Business has a great article that represents a ‘case-study’ on the perils and profits of penny-stocks.

Cynk was a company with 1 employee, no assets, and 0 revenue that became worth 6 billion dollars.

Cynk: The 6 Billion Dollar Penny Stock Debacle

The take-away from my experience with Penny-Stocks (and what one person in the aforementioned article calls them) is that they should be treated as Lottery-Picks. If you like investing and want to invest in penny-stocks than do so but do so with moderation (500 dollars was way too much) and with the understanding that you are properly getting taken for ride and will not win.

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Diplomacy: Destroyer of Friends

Diplomacy or how to lose friendships

Diplomacy is a strategy board-game whereas you try to control supply depots, build armies and navies, and attempt to conquer Europe by controlling 18 depots. It takes place in pre-WW1 Europe with the Seven Great Powers: Ottoman Empire, Russia, England, Germany, Austria-Hungary[affectionately called AH], France, and Italy [I won’t give the nickname used to describe Italy as it is not appropriate].

Diplomacy Current Release
Diplomacy Current Release

What makes Diplomacy different is that in order to win you have to work together, collaborate, coordinate and build-trust with other nations in order for you to achieve. Implicitly, of course, is the notion that your “allies” could easily turn on you, stab you in the back, not support you, and all-around sabotage your actions.

This is way diplomacy is often described as a “friend-destroyer” because you play the game with your friends, use your friendship to build-trust, and then stab your friend in the back.

I was introduced to Diplomacy at a very young age. I recall hanging out in the basement of one of my friends playing the game and enjoying the political elements of it such as: strategy and alliance-building. Now that my friends and I have moved to various cities, we have migrated to diplomacy smart-phone apps such as: Droidippy to play the game.

Some links for Diplomacy Lovers:

Boardgame Geek Diplomacy

Diplomacy Boardgame of the Alpha Nerd: A radio story sponsored by Grantland and broadcast on NPR. Takes place during the Diplomacy World Championship.

Allan Calhamer Inventor

 

 

 

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Crawlspace: 5 Important Considerations

My wife and I purchased a property here in Virginia that came with a crawlspace. Now, for those of you who are not from Virginia, houses here rarely come with basements. The houses are either built on a slab (a concrete pad that serves as the foundation with the frame built off of it) or a crawlspace (a space beneath the house that one must crawl under). Crawlspaces exist because the house has been elevated off the ground through the use of concrete blocks (thus creating a space beneath the house).

Crawlspace
Crawlspace (taken from www.foundationmaster.com
Slab
Slab (taken from How Stuff Works)

Following our purchase my wife and I had to do a lot of work in the crawlspace and from all of our work and research here is what we learned:

 

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