Why You Need Touring Caravan Insurance

Submitted by: Michiel Van Kets

Good touring caravan insurance need not be too expensive. There are many insurance companies online that offer competitive rates so your investment can be covered in case of loss or damage. It is much easier for insurance companies to sell insurance online, so they can afford to give discounts and special prices for their customers. Competitive rates are not the only way to get reduced rates. There are also things the owner can do to reduce the insurance premiums. Some websites consolidate the top insurance companies and let you compare coverage and prices before you even contact the companies.

There are four basic insurance policies available for touring caravans. Accident or physical damage is the most basic policy. This type of coverage will pay for repairs if the caravan is damaged due to weather, vandals, thieves, animals or other unforeseen circumstances.

Fire insurance is another type of coverage possible for caravans. If your caravan catches fire due to a cooking or smoking accident or if it is in the way of a forest fire, then you need special fire coverage.

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The third type is property loss. If the caravan is stolen, lost or rolls over a cliff, this coverage will reimburse you for the cost of the caravan, depending on how old it is. You may get a new caravan of the same model or reimbursement for the market price of an older model. It may not cover the property inside the caravan, so, if it is valuable, you need to make sure it is covered in your household policy.

The fourth type is third party liability. This means that you are covered if someone gets hurt or someone else’s property gets damage because of your caravan. This is very important if you travel a lot or take friends and family with you.

A clean driving record will go a long way to reduce your caravan insurance premiums. This also gets you lower automobile insurance, but pulling a caravan takes skill and a good driving record shows the insurance company that you are a careful driver. This will lower the accident and physical damage insurance policy. Also, if you have been pulling a caravan for several years with no mishap, this will further reduce your rates.

Parking your caravan in a place where there is security when it is not being used or, better yet, in a caravan parking place or garage will reduce your insurance premiums for property loss coverage. Also, adding a tracking device in case the caravan is stolen, locking one axle so it cannot be easily towed and installing burglar alarums will all help to reduce property loss premiums.

Searching online for caravan insurance coverage is the easiest and most effective way to find cheap caravan insurance. There are also websites that provide the information from all the top insurance companies and answer questions about type and amount of coverage. You can compare quotes and make an informed decision to get the best coverage at a reasonable price.

About the Author: Michiel Van Kets writes about Caravan Insurance Experts, a Caravan Insurance company.

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Oral Roberts University accountant claims he was ordered to “cook the books”
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Oral Roberts University accountant claims he was ordered to “cook the books”

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A former accountant for Oral Roberts University (ORU) has filed a lawsuit against ORU and its Board of Regents claiming he was told by Richard Roberts and his wife Lindsay to “cook the books”, hiding financial wrongdoing from authorities and the public. Trent Huddleston, the accountant, has filed suit against the school and the Robertses claiming he “was improperly and unlawfully directed to perform functions and duties in violation of state and federal law in an effort by the defendants to ‘cook the books’ and hide from the appropriate authorities and the public the continued wrongdoing, improper and illegal conduct of the defendants, and in particular, of Richard and Lindsay Roberts.”

Huddleston said that nearly $123,000 in remodeling fees for their home was paid by Oral Roberts University and Oral Roberts Ministries. In addition the lawsuit alleges $4,000 was spent on a pool table for the Robertses. Previously the Roberts were accused of illegal political and financial wrongdoing, which forced the president to step down from his positison.

Last week at a meeting called by Oral Roberts, founder of the University and former faith healer, a majority of the faculty voted against allowing Richard to serve as president.

An ORU spokesman declined to comment on latest lawsuit and the faculty meeting.

In other news, Tulsa World released emails between Richard and his political adviser and sister-in-law, Stephanie Cantees. The emails given by an anonymous source, show the two plan to gain political influence using ORU students.

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British computer scientist’s new “nullity” idea provokes reaction from mathematicians
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British computer scientist’s new “nullity” idea provokes reaction from mathematicians

Monday, December 11, 2006

On December 7, BBC News reported a story about Dr James Anderson, a teacher in the Computer Science department at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom. In the report it was stated that Anderson had “solved a very important problem” that was 1200 years old, the problem of division by zero. According to the BBC, Anderson had created a new number, that he had named “nullity”, that lay outside of the real number line. Anderson terms this number a “transreal number”, and denotes it with the Greek letter ? {\displaystyle \Phi } . He had taught this number to pupils at Highdown School, in Emmer Green, Reading.

The BBC report provoked many reactions from mathematicians and others.

In reaction to the story, Mark C. Chu-Carroll, a computer scientist and researcher, posted a web log entry describing Anderson as an “idiot math teacher”, and describing the BBC’s story as “absolutely infuriating” and a story that “does an excellent job of demonstrating what total innumerate idiots reporters are”. Chu-Carroll stated that there was, in fact, no actual problem to be solved in the first place. “There is no number that meaningfully expresses the concept of what it means to divide by zero.”, he wrote, stating that all that Anderson had done was “assign a name to the concept of ‘not a number'”, something which was “not new” in that the IEEE floating-point standard, which describes how computers represent floating-point numbers, had included a concept of “not a number”, termed “NaN“, since 1985. Chu-Carroll further continued:

“Basically, he’s defined a non-solution to a non-problem. And by teaching it to his students, he’s doing them a great disservice. They’re going to leave his class believing that he’s a great genius who’s solved a supposed fundamental problem of math, and believing in this silly nullity thing as a valid mathematical concept.
“It’s not like there isn’t already enough stuff in basic math for kids to learn; there’s no excuse for taking advantage of a passive audience to shove this nonsense down their throats as an exercise in self-aggrandizement.
“To make matters worse, this idiot is a computer science professor! No one who’s studied CS should be able to get away with believing that re-inventing the concept of NaN is something noteworthy or profound; and no one who’s studied CS should think that defining meaningless values can somehow magically make invalid computations produce meaningful results. I’m ashamed for my field.”

There have been a wide range of other reactions from other people to the BBC news story. Comments range from the humorous and the ironic, such as the B1FF-style observation that “DIVIDION[sic] BY ZERO IS IMPOSSIBLE BECAUSE MY CALCULATOR SAYS SO AND IT IS THE TRUTH” and the Chuck Norris Fact that “Only Chuck Norris can divide by zero.” (to which another reader replied “Chuck Norris just looks at zero, and it divides itself.”); through vigourous defences of Dr Anderson, with several people quoting the lyrics to Ira Gershwin‘s song “They All Laughed (At Christopher Columbus)”; to detailed mathematical discussions of Anderson’s proposed axioms of transfinite numbers.

Several readers have commented that they consider this to have damaged the reputation of the Computer Science department, and even the reputation of the University of Reading as a whole. “By publishing his childish nonsense the BBC actively harms the reputation of Reading University.” wrote one reader. “Looking forward to seeing Reading University maths application plummit.” wrote another. “Ignore all research papers from the University of Reading.” wrote a third. “I’m not sure why you refer to Reading as a ‘university’. This is a place the BBC reports as closing down its physics department because it’s too hard. Lecturers at Reading should stick to folk dancing and knitting, leaving academic subjects to grown ups.” wrote a fourth. Steve Kramarsky lamented that Dr Anderson is not from the “University of ‘Rithmetic“.

Several readers criticised the journalists at the BBC who ran the story for not apparently contacting any mathematicians about Dr Anderson’s idea. “Journalists are meant to check facts, not just accept whatever they are told by a self-interested third party and publish it without question.” wrote one reader on the BBC’s web site. However, on Slashdot another reader countered “The report is from Berkshire local news. Berkshire! Do you really expect a local news team to have a maths specialist? Finding a newsworthy story in Berkshire probably isn’t that easy, so local journalists have to cover any piece of fluff that comes up. Your attitude to the journalist should be sympathy, not scorn.”

Ben Goldacre, author of the Bad Science column in The Guardian, wrote on his web log that “what is odd is a reporter, editor, producer, newsroom, team, cameraman, soundman, TV channel, web editor, web copy writer, and so on, all thinking it’s a good idea to cover a brilliant new scientific breakthrough whilst clearly knowing nothing about the context. Maths isn’t that hard, you could even make a call to a mathematician about it.”, continuing that “it’s all very well for the BBC to think they’re being balanced and clever getting Dr Anderson back in to answer queries about his theory on Tuesday, but that rather skips the issue, and shines the spotlight quite unfairly on him (he looks like a very alright bloke to me).”.

From reading comments on his own web log as well as elsewhere, Goldacre concluded that he thought that “a lot of people might feel it’s reporter Ben Moore, and the rest of his doubtless extensive team, the people who drove the story, who we’d want to see answering the questions from the mathematicians.”.

Andrej Bauer, a professional mathematician from Slovenia writing on the Bad Science web log, stated that “whoever reported on this failed to call a university professor to check whether it was really new. Any university professor would have told this reporter that there are many ways of dealing with division by zero, and that Mr. Anderson’s was just one of known ones.”

Ollie Williams, one of the BBC Radio Berkshire reporters who wrote the BBC story, initially stated that “It seems odd to me that his theory would get as far as television if it’s so easily blown out of the water by visitors to our site, so there must be something more to it.” and directly responded to criticisms of BBC journalism on several points on his web log.

He pointed out that people should remember that his target audience was local people in Berkshire with no mathematical knowledge, and that he was “not writing for a global audience of mathematicians”. “Some people have had a go at Dr Anderson for using simplified terminology too,” he continued, “but he knows we’re playing to a mainstream audience, and at the time we filmed him, he was showing his theory to a class of schoolchildren. Those circumstances were never going to breed an in-depth half-hour scientific discussion, and none of our regular readers would want that.”.

On the matter of fact checking, he replied that “if you only want us to report scientific news once it’s appeared, peer-reviewed, in a recognised journal, it’s going to be very dry, and it probably won’t be news.”, adding that “It’s not for the BBC to become a journal of mathematics — that’s the job of journals of mathematics. It’s for the BBC to provide lively science reporting that engages and involves people. And if you look at the original page, you’ll find a list as long as your arm of engaged and involved people.”.

Williams pointed out that “We did not present Dr Anderson’s theory as gospel, although with hindsight it could have been made clearer that this is very much a theory and by no means universally accepted. But we certainly weren’t shouting a mathematical revolution from the rooftops. Dr Anderson has, in one or two places, been chastised for coming to the media with his theory instead of his peers — a sure sign of a quack, boffin and/or crank according to one blogger. Actually, one of our reporters happened to meet him during a demonstration against the closure of the university’s physics department a couple of weeks ago, got chatting, and discovered Dr Anderson reckoned he was onto something. He certainly didn’t break the door down looking for media coverage.”.

Some commentators, at the BBC web page and at Slashdot, have attempted serious mathematical descriptions of what Anderson has done, and subjected it to analysis. One description was that Anderson has taken the field of real numbers and given it complete closure so that all six of the common arithmetic operators were surjective functions, resulting in “an object which is barely a commutative ring (with operators with tons of funky corner cases)” and no actual gain “in terms of new theorems or strong relation statements from the extra axioms he has to tack on”.

Jamie Sawyer, a mathematics undergraduate at the University of Warwick writing in the Warwick Maths Society discussion forum, describes what Anderson has done as deciding that R ? { ? ? , + ? } {\displaystyle \mathbb {R} \cup \lbrace -\infty ,+\infty \rbrace } , the so-called extended real number line, is “not good enough […] because of the wonderful issue of what 0 0 {\displaystyle {\frac {0}{0}}} is equal to” and therefore creating a number system R ? { ? ? , ? , + ? } {\displaystyle \mathbb {R} \cup \lbrace -\infty ,\Phi ,+\infty \rbrace } .

Andrej Bauer stated that Anderson’s axioms of transreal arithmetic “are far from being original. First, you can adjoin + ? {\displaystyle +\infty } and ? ? {\displaystyle -\infty } to obtain something called the extended real line. Then you can adjoin a bottom element to represent an undefined value. This is all standard and quite old. In fact, it is well known in domain theory, which deals with how to represent things we compute with, that adjoining just bottom to the reals is not a good idea. It is better to adjoin many so-called partial elements, which denote approximations to reals. Bottom is then just the trivial approximation which means something like ‘any real’ or ‘undefined real’.”

Commentators have pointed out that in the field of mathematical analysis, 0 0 {\displaystyle {\frac {0}{0}}} (which Anderson has defined axiomatically to be ? {\displaystyle \Phi } ) is the limit of several functions, each of which tends to a different value at its limit:

  • lim x ? 0 x 0 {\displaystyle \lim _{x\to 0}{\frac {x}{0}}} has two different limits, depending from whether x {\displaystyle x} approaches zero from a positive or from a negative direction.
  • lim x ? 0 0 x {\displaystyle \lim _{x\to 0}{\frac {0}{x}}} also has two different limits. (This is the argument that commentators gave. In fact, 0 x {\displaystyle {\frac {0}{x}}} has the value 0 {\displaystyle 0} for all x ? 0 {\displaystyle x\neq 0} , and thus only one limit. It is simply discontinuous for x = 0 {\displaystyle x=0} . However, that limit is different to the two limits for lim x ? 0 x 0 {\displaystyle \lim _{x\to 0}{\frac {x}{0}}} , supporting the commentators’ main point that the values of the various limits are all different.)
  • Whilst sin ? 0 = 0 {\displaystyle \sin 0=0} , the limit lim x ? 0 sin ? x x {\displaystyle \lim _{x\to 0}{\frac {\sin x}{x}}} can be shown to be 1, by expanding the sine function as an infinite Taylor series, dividing the series by x {\displaystyle x} , and then taking the limit of the result, which is 1.
  • Whilst 1 ? cos ? 0 = 0 {\displaystyle 1-\cos 0=0} , the limit lim x ? 0 1 ? cos ? x x {\displaystyle \lim _{x\to 0}{\frac {1-\cos x}{x}}} can be shown to be 0, by expanding the cosine function as an infinite Taylor series, dividing the series subtracted from 1 by x {\displaystyle x} , and then taking the limit of the result, which is 0.

Commentators have also noted l’Hôpital’s rule.

It has been pointed out that Anderson’s set of transreal numbers is not, unlike the set of real numbers, a mathematical field. Simon Tatham, author of PuTTY, stated that Anderson’s system “doesn’t even think about the field axioms: addition is no longer invertible, multiplication isn’t invertible on nullity or infinity (or zero, but that’s expected!). So if you’re working in the transreals or transrationals, you can’t do simple algebraic transformations such as cancelling x {\displaystyle x} and ? x {\displaystyle -x} when both occur in the same expression, because that transformation becomes invalid if x {\displaystyle x} is nullity or infinity. So even the simplest exercises of ordinary algebra spew off a constant stream of ‘unless x is nullity’ special cases which you have to deal with separately — in much the same way that the occasional division spews off an ‘unless x is zero’ special case, only much more often.”

Tatham stated that “It’s telling that this monstrosity has been dreamed up by a computer scientist: persistent error indicators and universal absorbing states can often be good computer science, but he’s stepped way outside his field of competence if he thinks that that also makes them good maths.”, continuing that Anderson has “also totally missed the point when he tries to compute things like 0 0 {\displaystyle 0^{0}} using his arithmetic. The reason why things like that are generally considered to be ill-defined is not because of a lack of facile ‘proofs’ showing them to have one value or another; it’s because of a surfeit of such ‘proofs’ all of which disagree! Adding another one does not (as he appears to believe) solve any problem at all.” (In other words: 0 0 {\displaystyle 0^{0}} is what is known in mathematical analysis as an indeterminate form.)

To many observers, it appears that Anderson has done nothing more than re-invent the idea of “NaN“, a special value that computers have been using in floating-point calculations to represent undefined results for over two decades. In the various international standards for computing, including the IEEE floating-point standard and IBM’s standard for decimal arithmetic, a division of any non-zero number by zero results in one of two special infinity values, “+Inf” or “-Inf”, the sign of the infinity determined by the signs of the two operands (Negative zero exists in floating-point representations.); and a division of zero by zero results in NaN.

Anderson himself denies that he has re-invented NaN, and in fact claims that there are problems with NaN that are not shared by nullity. According to Anderson, “mathematical arithmetic is sociologically invalid” and IEEE floating-point arithmetic, with NaN, is also faulty. In one of his papers on a “perspex machine” dealing with “The Axioms of Transreal Arithmetic” (Jamie Sawyer writes that he has “worries about something which appears to be named after a plastic” — “Perspex” being a trade name for polymethyl methacrylate in the U.K..) Anderson writes:

We cannot accept an arithmetic in which a number is not equal to itself (NaN != NaN), or in which there are three kinds of numbers: plain numbers, silent numbers, and signalling numbers; because, on writing such a number down, in daily discourse, we can not always distinguish which kind of number it is and, even if we adopt some notational convention to make the distinction clear, we cannot know how the signalling numbers are to be used in the absence of having the whole program and computer that computed them available. So whilst IEEE floating-point arithmetic is an improvement on real arithmetic, in so far as it is total, not partial, both arithmetics are invalid models of arithmetic.

In fact, the standard convention for distinguishing the two types of NaNs when writing them down can be seen in ISO/IEC 10967, another international standard for how computers deal with numbers, which uses “qNaN” for non-signalling (“quiet”) NaNs and “sNaN” for signalling NaNs. Anderson continues:

[NaN’s] semantics are not defined, except by a long list of special cases in the IEEE standard.

“In other words,” writes Scott Lamb, a BSc. in Computer Science from the University of Idaho, “they are defined, but he doesn’t like the definition.”.

The main difference between nullity and NaN, according to both Anderson and commentators, is that nullity compares equal to nullity, whereas NaN does not compare equal to NaN. Commentators have pointed out that in very short order this difference leads to contradictory results. They stated that it requires only a few lines of proof, for example, to demonstrate that in Anderson’s system of “transreal arithmetic” both 1 = 2 {\displaystyle 1=2} and 1 ? 2 {\displaystyle 1\neq 2} , after which, in one commentator’s words, one can “prove anything that you like”. In aiming to provide a complete system of arithmetic, by adding extra axioms defining the results of the division of zero by zero and of the consequent operations on that result, half as many again as the number of axioms of real-number arithmetic, Anderson has produced a self-contradictory system of arithmetic, in accordance with Gödel’s incompleteness theorems.

One reader-submitted comment appended to the BBC news article read “Step 1. Create solution 2. Create problem 3. PROFIT!”, an allusion to the business plan employed by the underpants gnomes of the comedy television series South Park. In fact, Anderson does plan to profit from nullity, having registered on the 27th of July, 2006 a private limited company named Transreal Computing Ltd, whose mission statement is “to develop hardware and software to bring you fast and safe computation that does not fail on division by zero” and to “promote education and training in transreal computing”. The company is currently “in the research and development phase prior to trading in hardware and software”.

In a presentation given to potential investors in his company at the ANGLE plc showcase on the 28th of November, 2006, held at the University of Reading, Anderson stated his aims for the company as being:

To investors, Anderson makes the following promises:

  • “I will help you develop a curriculum for transreal arithmetic if you want me to.”
  • “I will help you unify QED and gravitation if you want me to.”
  • “I will build a transreal supercomputer.”

He asks potential investors:

  • “How much would you pay to know that the engine in your ship, car, aeroplane, or heart pacemaker won’t just stop dead?”
  • “How much would you pay to know that your Government’s computer controlled military hardware won’t just stop or misfire?”

The current models of computer arithmetic are, in fact, already designed to allow programmers to write programs that will continue in the event of a division by zero. The IEEE’s Frequently Asked Questions document for the floating-point standard gives this reply to the question “Why doesn’t division by zero (or overflow, or underflow) stop the program or trigger an error?”:

“The [IEEE] 754 model encourages robust programs. It is intended not only for numerical analysts but also for spreadsheet users, database systems, or even coffee pots. The propagation rules for NaNs and infinities allow inconsequential exceptions to vanish. Similarly, gradual underflow maintains error properties over a precision’s range.
“When exceptional situations need attention, they can be examined immediately via traps or at a convenient time via status flags. Traps can be used to stop a program, but unrecoverable situations are extremely rare. Simply stopping a program is not an option for embedded systems or network agents. More often, traps log diagnostic information or substitute valid results.”

Simon Tatham stated that there is a basic problem with Anderson’s ideas, and thus with the idea of building a transreal supercomputer: “It’s a category error. The Anderson transrationals and transreals are theoretical algebraic structures, capable of representing arbitrarily big and arbitrarily precise numbers. So the question of their error-propagation semantics is totally meaningless: you don’t use them for down-and-dirty error-prone real computation, you use them for proving theorems. If you want to use this sort of thing in a computer, you have to think up some concrete representation of Anderson transfoos in bits and bytes, which will (if only by the limits of available memory) be unable to encompass the entire range of the structure. And the point at which you make this transition from theoretical abstract algebra to concrete bits and bytes is precisely where you should also be putting in error handling, because it’s where errors start to become possible. We define our theoretical algebraic structures to obey lots of axioms (like the field axioms, and total ordering) which make it possible to reason about them efficiently in the proving of theorems. We define our practical number representations in a computer to make it easy to detect errors. The Anderson transfoos are a consequence of fundamentally confusing the one with the other, and that by itself ought to be sufficient reason to hurl them aside with great force.”

Geomerics, a start-up company specializing in simulation software for physics and lighting and funded by ANGLE plc, had been asked to look into Anderson’s work by an unnamed client. Rich Wareham, a Senior Research and Development Engineer at Geomerics and a MEng. from the University of Cambridge, stated that Anderson’s system “might be a more interesting set of axioms for dealing with arithmetic exceptions but it isn’t the first attempt at just defining away the problem. Indeed it doesn’t fundamentally change anything. The reason computer programs crash when they divide by zero is not that the hardware can produce no result, merely that the programmer has not dealt with NaNs as they propagate through. Not dealing with nullities will similarly lead to program crashes.”

“Do the Anderson transrational semantics give any advantage over the IEEE ones?”, Wareham asked, answering “Well one assumes they have been thought out to be useful in themselves rather than to just propagate errors but I’m not sure that seeing a nullity pop out of your code would lead you to do anything other than what would happen if a NaN or Inf popped out, namely signal an error.”.

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Growing Concern Of Recycled Cardboard And Our Food

Growing Concern of Recycled Cardboard and Our Food

by

Dr. Victor Marchione

DO you pay attention to how your food is packaged? Some people do. And they ve arrived at an unsettling perspective on recycled cardboard. In a piece of health news sure to get some play in the mainstream media, researchers found that harmful mineral oils from the cardboard could migrate into the food.

And suddenly those healing foods aren t so healing.

The oils are from printing inks used on cardboard. If recycled cardboard is used for food packaging, it could leak into the food. It might, the study says, even contaminate food even if the recycled cardboard is used for the corrugated card transport box that holds individual packs.

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Researchers in Switzerland found that (in packs of fine noodles) food rapidly absorbed 10 times the recommended limit for concentration of these contaminating oils from the transport box.

The recognized limit for these oils is 0.6 mg in each kg of food, but researchers discovered that, after standing in packaging for just six weeks, food could contain 6.1 mg/kg. And this was in food that had a two-year shelf life, so it is quite possible that the value could increase further over time.

Many dry foods such as rice, noodles, breadcrumbs, cornflakes and muesli are sold in paperboard boxes, where the recommended limit of mineral oil contamination may be exceeded over 100 times. Even more foods are stored and transported in larger boxes largely consisting of recycled paperboard. The research showed that, even if the food was contained in clean paperboard boxes from fresh fibers, printed with inks free of mineral oil and wrapped into a polyethylene film (also free of mineral oil); mineral oils from the corrugated card transport box far exceeded the limit.

The researchers say that many companies have realized the problem and recently some have changed their packaging materials. They use fresh fiber paperboard printed with inks free of mineral oil. But, even still, there is an issue. They continue to use recycled card in the corrugated board transport boxes, which means the problem continues to exist.

It s not as if we as food consumers have that much say in this. But it is worth noting where your food comes from and how it is transported. Every supermarket should discuss with their customers where their food comes from if asked. So ask! Write a local politician to look into it. If anything, just be aware.

And remember, you can always get more natural health advice, the latest alternative health breakthroughs and news, plus information about nutrition, alternative remedies and cures and doctors health advice, all free when you sign up for the Doctors Health Press e-Bulletin. Visit http://www.doctorshealthpress.com/ now to find out how to start your free subscription.

The Snack That Makes You Smarter & 11 Other Brain-Boosting Super FoodsFREE report reveals the foods that could help you maintain your healthy brain function and also could help you remember names and places easier. It will be like your mind has turned back the clock! Click here to get your FREE report.http://www.doctorshealthpress.com/ads/dhpart/

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US unemployment rate reaches 9.8%
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US unemployment rate reaches 9.8%

Friday, October 2, 2009

Companies in the United States are shedding more jobs, pushing the country’s unemployment rate to a 26-year high of 9.8%.

The US Labor Department said on Friday that employers cut 263,000 jobs in September, with companies in the service industries — including banks, restaurants and retailers — hit especially hard. This is the 21st consecutive month of job losses in the country.

The United States has now lost 7.2 million jobs since the recession officially began in December 2007. The new data has sparked fears that unemployment could threaten an economic recovery. Top US officials have warned that any recovery would be slow and uneven, and some have predicted the unemployment rate will top 10% before the situation improves.

“Continued household deleveraging and rising unemployment may weigh more on consumption than forecast, and accelerating corporate and commercial property defaults could slow the improvement in financial conditions,” read a report by the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook, predicting that unemployment will average 10.1% by next year and not go back down to five percent until 2014.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Economy.com, said that “it’s a very fragile and tentative recovery. Policy makers need to do more.”

“The number came in weaker than expected. We saw a lot of artificial involvement by the government to prop up the markets, and now that that is starting to end, the private sector isn’t yet showing signs of life,” said Kevin Caron, a market strategist for Stifel, Nicolaus & Co.

Also on Thursday, the US Commerce Department said factory orders fell for the first time in five months, dropping eight-tenths of a percent in August. Orders for durable goods — items intended to last several years (including everything from appliances to airliners) — fell 2.6%, the largest drop since January of this year.

The US government has been spending billions of dollars — part of a $787 billion stimulus package — to help spark economic growth. There have been some signs the economy is improving.

The Commerce Department said on Thursday that spending on home construction jumped in August for its biggest increase in 16 years. A real estate trade group, the National Association of Realtors, said pending sales of previously owned homes rose more than 12 percent in August, compared to August 2008.

A separate Commerce Department report said that consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of US economic activity, rose at its fastest pace in nearly eight years, jumping 1.3 percent in August.

Other reports have provided cause for concern. A banking industry trade group said Thursday the number of US consumers making late payments, or failing to make payments, on loans and credit cards is on the rise. A survey by a business group, the Institute for Supply Management, Thursday showed US manufacturing grew in September, but at a slower pace than in August when manufacturing increased for the first time in a year and a half.

Stock markets reacted negatively to the reports. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 41 points in early trading, reaching a level of 9467. This follows a drop of 203 points on Thursday, its largest loss in a single day since July. The London FTSE index fell 55 points, or 1.1%, to reach 4993 points by 15.00 local time.

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Buckingham Palace releases trivia about Queen Elizabeth II
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Buckingham Palace releases trivia about Queen Elizabeth II

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

As Queen Elizabeth II approaches her 80th birthday, on April 21, Buckingham Palace has released 80 little known facts about her.

Did you know that: The Queen owns all dolphins, porpoises, and sturgeons in British waters. She has sat for 139 official portraits, opened 15 bridges in the UK, launched 23 ships, and speaks fluent French.

The Queen sent a message of congratulations to Apollo 11 astronauts, for the first moon landing on July 21 1969, and it was put in a metal container and placed on the Moon’s surface.

Or that in 1976 at an Army base she sent her first e-mail. Or she has owned more than 30 corgis, starting with Susan who was her 18th birthday present. And in 2002, at 76 years of age, that The Queen was the oldest monarch to celebrate a Golden Jubilee.

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4 Wd’s Enjoyable Driving Experience Whether You Are Scaling Hills Or Navigating Rough Terrain}

4WD’s Enjoyable Driving Experience Whether You Are Scaling Hills Or Navigating Rough Terrain

by

Charles Manfredi

What is a 4WD?

Most people own vehicles that are two-wheel drive, meaning that the engine provides power to only two, either the front or back pair. In a four-wheel drive (4WD) vehicle, the engine provides power to all four wheels.

Advantages of 4WDs

Compared to two-wheel drive vehicles, 4WDs are easier to control and sustain traction better, especially in slippery conditions. If one or two wheels come off the road, with a 4WD, you can rely on two or three other wheels to regain control. A few other advantages of 4WDs include:

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Extra Safety: most 4WDs are elevated and give drivers better visibility of road before them.

Extra Room: the characteristically bigger interiors deliver added room for passengers, supplies and/or gear, making any trip, regardless of purpose, easier and more fun.

Cornering and Overall Stability: power is equally spread amongst all the four tires, so the weight on each is reduced, and such stabilizes the vehicle overall, on hills, and while turning corners.

4WDs are Enjoyable Regardless of Terrain

Australia is full of rough territories, sandy beaches, and sloping hills and a 4WD is really the only vehicle that can handle those areas. Youll nonetheless have a great time driving through those parts because a 4WDs better traction and greater stability result in a better driving experience. Safety, as always, comes first. Here are some tips keep you safe while riding certain terrains:

Potential Rolls: this is a concern whenever there is a hard angle on uneven, rocky ground. Consider first how your vehicle will operate before you execute the turn. If at any time you sense a possible roll, stop at once. If its too late to stop, try to turn into the roll (direct wheels in the direction the vehicle is leaning. E.g. if you start to tip left, turn the wheel hard left). You may be able to correct the roll.

Soft Sand: soft sand can cause trouble. To stay out of it, you have to keep on moving. When the beach is soft, third gear low range should deliver adequate speed and grunt. Keep gear changes to a minimum as the sand can pull you up when you ease off the throttle. Tow Bar Hitch Gear shifts should be even and quick and sustain speed. If you get bogged down easy does it – dont fight spinning your wheels will only drive you down more. Gradually reverse over the flattened sand.

Driving Up Steep Hills: when you come across a steep hill, look it over carefully. If you couldnt safely walk up the hill, you cant safely drive up the hill. If you determine that the hill is safe to drive, first decide which Towbar Mounted Bike Carrier gear youd like. Its best to avoid gear shifts while youre in mid-climb as it lessens the possibility of rolling. Also try to keep stops to a minimum as stops and starts are tricky on hills and you want to avoid rolling back, especially if you have a manual transmission.

Driving Down Steep Hills: gravity will continually try to pull you into an uncontrollable slide, so control is key while driving down steep hills. Try not to engage the clutch it will increase your speed, and if you activate the brakes, the wheel may lock and you could skid and, well, the rest is extremely unpleasant.

Once you get used to handling your 4WD Van Fitouts Northern Beaches and can navigate through rough terrains, you’ll be taking trips to romantic, out-of-the-way camping areas; hiking trails with rare wildlife; little-known fishing holes; stunning parks, just to name a few.

Situated in Sydney’s northern suburbs, Bars N Racks are the premier retailer for all your passenger tow bar, roof rack, 4WD equipment, caravan and RV, tradie ute and van accessory needs – with some of the world’s best brands and products available.

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BHP Mine remains closed during death probe
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BHP Mine remains closed during death probe

Tuesday, February 7, 2006

BHP Billiton Ltd says its underground Leinster nickel mine in Western Australia, where a contractor was killed in an explosion last week, will stay shut until the outcomes of a government investigation are released.

A BHP spokesman in Perth refused to estimate how long company and government officials will take to investigate the incident. “These investigations can go on for quite some time and the mine will remain closed for that same length of time, said Brian Watt. “But it’s difficult to speculate”

Watt declined to comment on how much damage the underground explosion caused to the mine, or how much time would be needed to bring the operation back on line once a decision to resume is made.

BHP Billiton have confirmed the death at the Leinster Nickel Operation, north of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia – 950 km north east of Perth. BHP said the incident occurred late in the afternoon of Friday, February 3.

Mark Quinn, 32, from Broken Hill in far western New South Wales and an employee of MacMahon’s, was fatally injured. He was working approximately 900 meters underground when an explosion occurred. BHP said in a media release that there were no other persons injured as a result of the incident.

The cause of the explosion is not yet known. Operations at Leinster have been stopped and employees at site are being briefed and counseled.

BHP Billiton is the world’s third largest nickel producer, with the Leinster mine producing up to 45,000 metric tons of nickel concentrates a year.

Following speculations that Leinster’s closure may lead to a nickel shortage, a spokesperson told Reuters that BHP Billiton had sufficient nickel concentrate stockpiled to last until the mine reopens.

The Western Australian government has described the fatality rate in the mining industry as “deplorable and atrocious”.

John Bowler, Western Australia’s Employment Protection Minister says he will consider implementing changes to improve the safety record of the mining industry. Mr Quinn’s death is the third underground fatality and the fourth mining death this financial year.

The new Minister, John Bowler, says he will consider implementing any changes needed to improve safety in the industry.

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China overtakes Germany as world’s biggest exporter
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China overtakes Germany as world’s biggest exporter

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Chinese officials have said that their country’s exports surged last December to edge out Germany as the world’s biggest exporter.

The official Xinhua news agency reported today that figures from the General Administration for Customs showed that exports jumped 17.7% in December from a year earlier. Over the whole of 2009 total Chinese exports reached US$1.2 trillion, above Germany’s forecast $1.17 trillion.

Huang Guohua, a statistics official with the customs administration, said the December exports rebound was an important turning point for China’s export sector. He commented that the jump was an indication that exporters have emerged from their downslide.

“We can say that China’s export enterprises have completely emerged from their all-time low in exports,” he said.

However, although China overtook Germany in exports, China’s total foreign trade — both exports and imports — fell 13.9% last year.

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