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Nancy Clayson

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Nancy is a young, full of life lady who joined the team shortly after the BelleNews site started to run. She is focused on bringing up to light all the latest news from the technology industry. In her opinion the hi-tech expresses the humanity intellectual level. Nancy is an active person; she enjoys sports and delights herself in doing gardening in her spare time, as well as reading, always searching for new topics for her articles.

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Parents can negotiate a lower child support payment if they become disabled and unable to work. The parents can agree to a new amount themselves. If that is not an option, the disabled parent can ask a family court for a support modification hearing.

divorce

How Do Courts Determine Child Support Payments?

When a couple with children divorces, they must determine the amount of child support the non-custodial parent must pay. Usually, couples use the family court to help determine the appropriate amount of support. When determining child support, the court considers:

·         The income of both parents

·         Child support or alimony either parent receives from a previous marriage

·         Whether either parent is paying child support or spousal support from a former marriage

·         Which parent pays for healthcare and the cost

·         Which parent pays for daycare and the cost

·         The ages of the children

·         Whether either parent lives with a new partner or spouse who contributes to household expenses

How Can a Parent Change Child Support after Becoming Disabled?

A parent may want to stop paying child support after becoming disabled. However, the parent’s obligation does not end because of a disability. However, if the parent’s earnings decrease due to the disability, he or she can take steps to modify the amount of support.

If the parents have a civil post-divorce relationship, they can try to negotiate a new payment. The disabled parent should present the difference between his or her previous income and current income. When the parents reach an agreement, they should put it in writing and sign it.

The disabled parent may also petition the family court for a support modification hearing. In the case of a new disability, the court is likely to lower the child support amount because the disabled parent no longer has the same income. However, the disabled parent must first prove the necessity for the adjustment to the family court.

The parent can help his or her request for modification by winning a disability hearing. When a parent provides the court with proof of a disability judgment and payment, the court is more likely to accept the need for modification. The court will then take into account several other factors, such as:

·         Whether the parent is receiving Supplementary Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). SSI provides minimum financial assistance to disabled people. The payments are often so low that the court won’t count them as income. SSDI is based on the disabled person’s prior income and may be much higher. SSDI income may be high enough to require child support payments. Further, the children can apply for auxiliary benefits and receive payments directly.

·         What the costs for medical treatment are for the disabled parent. The court will factor in these expenses to determine a lower payment.

·         Any additional support the disabled parent can provide. If the parent is no longer able to work, he or she may be able to provide more extensive childcare, decreasing some costs.

When parents become disabled, they can usually negotiate a lower child support payment. However, parents need to go through proper channels and make sure they are clear about the factors affecting their ability to make payments. Finally, each parent should keep a copy of any agreement or order modifying child support payments.

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Drivers who use hands-free devices while driving are safer than those who talk or text. Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) recently conducted a study that indicates drivers who use hands-free devices may even save lives. However, the use of hands-free devices still comes with an increased risk of accidents. Drivers should be aware of the dangers of distracted driving and the potential problems and liabilities that might result.

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Are Hand-Held Devices Safer than Regular Phone Usage?

VTTI’s recent study suggests that any activity that causes a driver to take his or her eyes off the road or hands off the wheel leads to a substantially increased crash risk. Therefore, drivers who use a hand-held phone are much more likely to cause an accident. Their crash risk is 2 to 3.5 times higher than a “model driver.”

The safest drivers are those that are alert, attentive, and sober. Even though drivers using hands-free devices are much safer than drivers who use hand-held devices, they do not qualify as model drivers. While talking on the phone is a primarily cognitive behavior, it’s still a distraction and is associated with slightly decreased reaction times. However, VTTI’s study shows that talking on the phone has roughly the same detrimental effect on a driver as singing or talking to a passenger. One of the lead researchers for VTTI’s study, Tom Dingle, explained that “talking on hands-free devices does not have any detrimental effects.” The study also indicated that the use of hands-free devices was not associated with any severe crashes or property damage.

What Are the Consequences of Using Hand-Held Devices While Driving?

Many states have passed laws prohibiting drivers from using hand-held devices, such as phones. If a police officer catches a driver using a phone while driving, he or she can cite the driver, which can be extremely expensive. However, a driver may experience more severe consequences if they cause an accident while using a hand-held device.

An insurance company might be able to deny coverage to a driver injured in a crash if the driver causes the accident while using a hand-held device. Although car insurance typically covers damage to cars and passengers, insurance companies may deny coverage if a driver is partially or wholly at fault. While a driver should always file a claim, insurance companies are likely to withhold payment for any accident where the driver was using a hand-held device in a hands-free state.

If an accident is fatal, the driver’s family may run into problems filing a life insurance claim. For Accident Death and Dismemberment policies (AD&D), insurance companies may deny coverage if the insured was committing a crime at the time of death. Drivers using hand-held devices in a hands-free state are committing a crime. Their actions may void their AD&D coverage.

Further, if others are injured or killed in an accident caused by a driver using a hand-held device, the driver’s insurance company may refuse to cover the claims. If that is the case, victims may choose to pursue damages against the driver. The driver will be personally liable and could lose all of his or her assets.

Using hands-free devices is a safer alternative to using hand-held devices. Further, using hands-free devices can help drivers avoid severe consequences.

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Updated November 29, 2021

A jury in Las Vegas Monday morning has sent a clear message to the nation’s largest insurance company.

United Healthcare “unjustly enriched” itself while the insurance giant unfairly gutted reimbursements to out of network emergency room doctors across Nevada. The jury awarded more than $2 million in damages, and will return December 7, 2021 to decide how much in punitive damages will be awarded. Testimony during the Las Vegas trial proved United used the reimbursement cuts to generate another billion dollars in profits for the largest insurance company in the country.

Jury deliberations begin at 8:30 am in Las Vegas in the important first legal battle between out of network emergency room physicians and the nation’s largest insurance company.

Medical staffing companies claim United cheated those doctors and nurses out of more than $10 million in reasonable payments for life saving emergency room care. While United slashed reimbursement rates, the company used the money to generate another billion dollars in profits instead of truly cutting the cost of healthcare for patients. 

In closing arguments, Houston attorney John Zavitsanos accused United of “oppression, fraud and conscious disregard, despicable conduct, nothing short of illegal.”

This is the first of legal battles in ten states that will reshape the reasonable payments for emergency room doctors. In Nevada those out of network ER doctors were often paid less than $200 for emergency work on patients suffering from strokes, heart attacks and gunshot wounds.

We will update as soon as we get a verdict.

The court livestream can be accessed here: https://bluejeans.com/541907772/9730

Cybersecurity is an essential tool in the fight against all kinds of online criminal activity. While a lot of us take it for granted that the sites we visit, share, and shop from, are all safe and have been thoroughly vetted by the appropriate authorities, you really never can be too careful. Cybersecurity is one of the primary, everyday things that we need to attend to to be sure that we keep our funds and our data out of the hands of people who might want to misappropriate them. Safety when shopping online, or even just browsing, is paramount. Here are a few tips from us to you to stay on the right side of cyber security.

Image source: Pexels

VPN

Whether it’s for your business or for you personally at home, the benefits of a VPN are endless. What the term means is Virtual Private Network, and what the program does is that it masks your online activity, whatever it may be, from third parties who might be lurking around. A VPN’s function is essential to shield your actual data and connection from anyone and anything by funneling it through a secure connection. This is especially helpful if you browse from public connections. Perhaps you work from a local coffee shop; this can be dangerous in terms of what’s available to prying eyes if you aren’t protected. Hackers target places with public connections to nab data; don’t make it easier for them.

The only downside to having a VPN is that it will inevitably slow your internet speed a little. All of your data is being bounced from one side of the world to the other, so this little drop in speed should hardly come as a surprise, as inconvenient as it can be.

Antivirus software

It feels like this should go without saying, but we’re saying it anyway. Having a reliable antivirus installed is non-negotiable if you use the internet on any of your devices. If you’re unfamiliar with what antivirus software does, we’ll break it down for you. It acts as a soldier or security guard against malware (any software made with malicious intent), spyware (software designed to remain hidden and capture your data), viruses in general (harmful programs that replicate on your computer) and anything dangerous that might find its way into your computer.

Some antivirus software works to combat all of these forms of the program; others may only take on one at a time, so be sure you understand what you’re purchasing. Remember that programs like this need regular updates to stay current and functioning at a high level.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Complex passwords

We know it’s challenging to remember a hundred complicated passwords, but keeping your passwords long and complex is a crucial aspect of keeping your sensitive data safe. The more unique and complex your password, the more difficult it is for any hacker to figure out what it is. If there are security questions that need to be set, consider using a translation tool to translate them into a different language. The more unpredictable they are, the better. Adding a space before or after other characters is another excellent option to add uniqueness.

If you struggle to keep track of all your passwords, you can make use of an app like LastPass or Samsung Pass (depending on what device you are using) to keep all your information safe but still readily accessible. You could also consider using a password-protected spreadsheet.

Firewall protection

You might be asking, what is the difference between an antivirus and a firewall? Well, we’ll tell you. A firewall protects your hardware and your software, making it essential if you or your business have physical servers. It also blocks viruses or deters them from even entering your network, rather than dealing with them after the fact.  Firewall and antivirus make a very successful team. A firewall will keep your network traffic, inbound, and outbound, safe and secure. It may block certain unsavory websites which might be used by hackers to target unsuspecting visitors. It can also be programmed to stop people in a business from sending out certain kinds of data.

Encryption software

If you run a business, this is particularly important. If your business handles any kind of online transaction with credit cards, identity numbers, or bank transfers, you’ll need an encryption program to keep that data safe. It alters the information being sent and received into unreadable codes. It’s a program that is designed to anticipate the worst-case scenario; should your data get stolen, the hacker who has it will not be able to read it without the correct keys to do so.

Photo by Saksham Choudhary from Pexels

Ignore emails from unknown senders

This is just good common sense when it comes to emails and calls. Any email coming from an unknown sender or from an email address that looks even the least bit suspicious is one that you should delete without opening it. Unscrupulous individuals and hackers will try to get to you through a seemingly innocuous email. They may tell you you’ve won something in a contest that you never even knew you had entered, or that they are a long-lost relative with an inheritance that needs to be passed on to you. Though it would be nice to think that these things happen, it is a fair bet that they aren’t really real. Ignore, delete and block the sender.

Back up often

This is a good idea for many reasons, not only to safeguard your data from cybercriminals. If you back up your data on the cloud or on physical hard drives regularly, you can be sure that you’ll always have access to it, even in the worst of times. This takes away the leverage that hackers might have to ransom your data back to you, but also puts your mind at rest that you’ll never lose important data because it is stored in more than one place.

Wrap up

There are many basic cyber security tools that you can make use of to safeguard your data; we suggest you start today.

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Image source: sanantoniowinery.com

Identifying a brand is what marketing is all about. For a business to be successful, it needs to voice its brand so that others hear it and then can relate to it. Fine wine gets recognition. You can find fine wine at the San Antonio Winery, which is a Los Angeles Winery

The voice also needs to be the strongest heard in order for the brand to make an impact on the consumer. We can see several examples today that show the brand making an impact by words or symbols such as Nike and McDonalds; McDonald’s has its arches and Nike has its “Just Do It” slogan. With that, several ways exist that can make a brand popular and where the consumer will always remember.

Below, we have four of the most popular brands and the reasons why they have become so popular.

1. Apple

Apple has surely become an addictive brand and it can go without saying why. Right from the start, Steve Jobs was able to introduce a technology that is all-inclusive to itself. You may find it hard to believe if one person never had an iPhone or let alone heard of what it was. Plus, when a new iPhone is released, there seems to be a frenzy that erupts among consumers concerning being able to obtain one as soon as possible. By easily astonishing the consumer with their latest version, the consumer feels an overwhelming need for it as soon as an announcement has been made. If this was not accomplished, then the consumer would end up having a product that is obsolete.

2. Spotify

As the leading streaming music provider, Spotify is able to quickly hook its listeners to the brand in an ingenious way. By being driven by its users, the music can be customized by the user’s taste in music and other preferences. It is considered a tool for entertainment as well as an experience socially through sharing among users. Having content that is created by the user is what makes the success of the Spotify brand possible. The popularity of Spotify grew in 2016 when a campaign was set in motion that displayed weird user-created playlists. By having users feel like their music is seen by many, they will likely stick around for more of what the brand offers.

3. Barefoot

The Barefoot wine brand has been the best brand of wine for a while now and it does not seem to be changing any time soon. The brand’s revenue easily reaches over millions with more than 20 million cases sold yearly. This amount alone makes them the best selling. The red wines are sweet but not overly sweet and the whites go beyond invigorating.

The Barefoot brand focuses its efforts on fun and being able to share time with others. They center on people coming together through the great wine so that new people can also become familiar with the wines. This makes the wines friendly, enjoyable, and delicious.

The Barefoot brand provides a variety of wines including Spritzer, Pink, White, Bubbly, and Red. The flavors for the reds, whites, and spritzer include Red Cherry, Crisp, Berry, Refreshing, Citrus, Rich Red Blend, Sweet Red, Red Moscato, Sangria, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Grigio.

4. Airbnb

You may have thought it was crazy to stay in a home that was somebody else’s. However, with Airbnb, the brand is able to make the tenant feel at ease as they enjoy another owner’s cabin in the mountains. With traveling itself being already pretty addictive to many, it only makes sense to add a safe, cozy home to the list of destinations one can reach for a good night’s sleep, without paying more than what it is worth for each night. Not only that, but you enjoy open communication with the owner so there will never be any surprises. This is especially good if you plan to travel internationally. Airbnb locations can be found in over 190 nations which makes it an option worth checking into.

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A 13-year-old boy’s death from leukemia is changing the stakes in a Fifth Ward cancer case.

The City of Houston is now being sued for first time along with Union Pacific.

Image source: dolcefino.com

Press release

The family of 13 y/o Corinthian Giles has sued Union Pacific and the City of Houston over his death from leukemia. Benzene, a carcinogen specifically linked to leukemia, has been discovered  in excess of safe levels in the soil, groundwater and public sewers near Giles’ home.

Giles family joins thousands of residents suing Union Pacific Railroad Company for contaminating their properties and groundwater with creosote,    and other toxic chemicals used at Union Pacific’s rail yard located in Houston’s Fifth Ward and Kashmere Gardens neighborhoods.

The State of Texas has been investigating cancers and adverse health effects in connection with contamination from the Union Pacific site. Just six months before Giles’ death, a cancer cluster was confirmed in his neighborhood, specifically identifying high rates of the same type of childhood leukemia Giles died from.

Giles was raised just two blocks from the Union Pacific site and a contaminated City of Houston right of way. Union Pacific and the City have known about the contamination for decades but failed to warn residents of the risks or clean it up.

Image source: dolcefino.com

“Children are dying from contamination that has been spreading for decades. Enough is enough. Union Pacific and the City of Houston need to accept responsibility and take action to remedy this tragedy immediately,” says Giles’ attorney, Jason Gibson of The Gibson Law Firm.

The case is “Latonya Payne, et al. v. Union Pacific Railroad Company, et al.,” Cause No.2021-72319, in the District Court of Harris County, Texas.

Image by Shafin Al Asad Protic from Pixabay

Over the years, technology has been making the lives of human beings much easier. Whether it’s the wheel or the internet, new technology gives us better ways to be productive. Saving time, getting more work done, and accomplishing difficult tasks are some more benefits of newer technologies. With many new companies creating innovative products and services — like Tesla — hopefully, our lives and jobs will become even easier. But let’s not take for granted what we already possess. Let’s take a look at 3 technologies that are benefiting the workforce.

Chat and Group Apps

Teamwork, collaboration, and synergy are important for a successful business: to accomplish a large task, everyone must be on the same page. Before the days of the internet, working as a team was limited to in-person meetings, phone conferences, and other similar means. A scheduled time was almost always necessary, having to consider many schedules to make a time work. However, new group apps like Slack and Microsoft teams are addressing this problem. These group-based apps allow constant communication, file sharing, and collaboration on a large scale. Notifications and separate message chains are other benefits of these technologies.

RPA

Another technology making work life easier is RPA (Robotic Process Automation). Basically, RPA allows the simplification and automation of simple tasks. These tasks can include but aren’t limited to responding to emails, transferring contact information, and managing human resource responses. How does RPA do this? Scripted programs and AI are why this is possible. With RPA, tasks that can take several hours to complete are reduced to a fraction of that total time. If you would like to learn more about RPA and how it can improve the workforce, contact the medical RPA experts at Amitech Solutions today.

Cloud Storage

This last piece of technology goes hand-in-hand with the group apps mentioned above. Cloud storage systems allow for the sharing of data, projects, and important information between an entire team — wirelessly. If you save something in a cloud storage system, another teammate can access it and update it in real-time. Items can be shared, worked upon at the same time, and filed to positively benefit the workforce. Some of the main cloud storage providers include Google Drive, Dropbox, and the Microsoft OneDrive for Business. Need to learn how to recover and backup data from cloud storage? Find out here.

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Image source Pexels

Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram have been hit by an outage lasting several hours.

All three services are owned by Facebook and could not be accessed over the web or smartphone apps.

Downdetector, which tracks outages, logged tens of thousands of outage reports for all three platforms from around the world.

Facebook’s chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer has tweeted his “sincere apologies” to those affected.

“We are experiencing networking issues and teams are working as fast as possible to debug and restore as fast as possible,” he wrote.

Some people also reported problems using Facebook’s virtual reality headset platform, Oculus, and apps which require Facebook logins were affected, including Pokémon Go.

An outage of this scale for such a long time is rare.

Another disruption in 2019 left Facebook and its other apps mostly inaccessible across the world for more than 14 hours.

American Airlines Jets Grounded by iPad Outage

As yet there has been no official reason given for the problem. But online network experts speculated it may involve an error with DNS, or the domain name system, for Facebook sites.

DNS is often compared to an address book or phone book for the internet, pointing web browsers to the computer system which serves the website they are looking for.

Several other tech companies, including Reddit and Twitter, have poked fun at the social media giant’s predicament – prompting responses from the affected apps.

The disruption comes the day after an interview with a former Facebook employee who leaked documents about the company.

On October 3, Frances Haugen told CBS news that Facebook had prioritized “growth over safety”.

On October 5, Frances Haugen will testify before a Senate subcommittee in a hearing titled “Protecting Kids Online”, about the company’s research into Instagram’s effect on the mental health of young users.

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Press release

This year the world’s most renowned architecture award for skyscrapers, the Emporis Skyscraper Award, goes to One Barangaroo in Sydney. For the first time in the more than 20 year-long history of the awards, the prestigious trophy goes to Australia. One Barangaroo is a 890-foot-tall skyscraper, designed by British architect WilkinsonEyre and is the tallest building in Sydney, offering spectacular views of Sydney Harbor and the city’s iconic Opera House.

Photo credit: Sergius Kirsch (CoStar Group)

Like every year, the winner of the Emporis Skyscraper Award was selected by an international jury of architectural experts from over 300 skyscrapers that were completed in 2020 with a minimum height of 100 meters. For more than 20 years, the renowned award has been awarded by Emporis (www.emporis.com), the international provider of building data, and is an indispensable part of the international architecture scene.

According to the jury, the extravagant design of One Barangaroo’s exterior façade was the deciding factor for the building coming in at first place. It is inspired by natural shapes and resembles three petals rising slightly twisted into the sky. The magnificent tower stands on a four-story high podium, the outer walls of which are decorated with a mantle of marble. In addition to a casino, apartments and restaurants, the building also houses a luxury six-star hotel owned by the Crown Resort Group, Australia’s largest entertainment conglomerate and developer of One Barangaroo.   

Second place was awarded to TELUS Sky in Calgary which has become the city’s third tallest building. The tower is named after its tenant “Telus Communications” a Canadian telecommunications company. TELUS Sky stands out because of its extraordinary structure and façade: it has a rectangular base and with rising height the floor plates gradually reduce in size, creating small terraces and balconies. The façade is illuminated at night by a public art LED lighting installation which has been designed by Canadian artist Douglas Coupland. The installation is also accompanied by a smartphone app with live information about the ongoing light performance.

Photo credit: Sergius Kirsch (CoStar Group)

In third place is One Vanderbilt in New York City. The skyscraper, designed by Kohn Pedersen and Fox, is located near Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan and combines state-of-the-art office space with direct connections to one of the city’s largest transport hubs. The striking features of the tower are the four visually clearly separated modules which combined give the building an asymmetrical, distinctive shape, making it one of New York’s latest eye-catchers in the Manhattan skyline.

Photo credit: Sergius Kirsch (CoStar Group)

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, 2020 was a turbulent and challenging year that also had a strong impact on the construction industry; the total number of skyscrapers completed in 2020 fell by 20% in comparison to the previous year. Nevertheless, the top 10 buildings selected for the Emporis Skyscraper Awards clearly show that many impressive skyscrapers were completed despite the difficult conditions faced by owners, developers, construction companies and architects. In the coming year strong growth is expected to return which underlines the resilience of the construction industry and makes the jury very optimistic for the candidates of next year’s award.

With social events back on the calendar, it’s a good time to review host and hostess gift etiquette. It’s best practice to provide a thank you gift when someone hosts you for dinner or an event to show your appreciation for their effort and consideration.

Here are some simple thank you gifts to show gratitude to your gracious host.

A Bouquet of Flowers

A bouquet of flowers is a traditional, affordable thank you gift that adequately conveys your gratitude for being invited to an event. Better yet, it’s the perfect last-minute gift if you’re grabbing something on the way. If you show up without a gift, you can always use a flower delivery service to deliver the bouquet with a gracious note the day after the event.

Shades of yellow, pink, coral, and peach are the best shades for thank you flowers as they symbolize friendship and gratitude. However, if you know your host well or perceive their floral preferences, something more customized will be greatly appreciated.

Cooking Oils

Culinary offerings are a trusted go-to for host gifts, especially for dinner parties and holidays. Gourmet cooking oils are a fabulous culinary gift that’s unique and flavorful. There are endless cooking oil blends online as well as many DIY elevated cooking oil options you can try at home.

If you’re looking for something to pair with your gift of cooking oils, consider a gourmet vinegar option and a loaf of fresh-baked French bread.

Delicious Cookies

Cookies and candies are another delicious option for a host or hostess gift. Be sure to let your host know whether they’re meant to be shared or enjoyed in private.

While Grandma’s chocolate chip cookies are always a favorite, you can elevate this gift by purchasing cookies from a gourmet bakery. Macarons are the latest trend in delectable host gifts and look beautiful when wrapped and presented.

Seasonal Candles

Candles are another simple yet elegant host gift that’s easy to procure as a last-minute option. If you attend many events, you can even stock up on some nice candles for those spontaneous dinner parties and gatherings.

If you have time to plan, choose a seasonal or personalized candle for a more meaningful approach. Homesick candles are a unique take on the candle-making business, with scents representing different parts of the world. For example, the Iowa candle smells like vanilla, bourbon, cream, and praline, while New York City smells like citrus, jasmine, bergamot, and concrete. 

Handmade Soap and Lotion

As one tends to wash their hands frequently while making and preparing a meal, offering those hands some TLC makes for a great host or hostess gift. Offer your host some luxurious homemade soaps and hand lotion from a local maker. Opt for something with rejuvenating ingredients, like shea butter for moisture.

If you’re purchasing lotion, opt for something all-natural and free of artificial fragrances. Cheap commercial hand lotions tend to have additives that irritate sensitive skin.

Homemade Preserves

Finally, take a traditional, charming approach by giving the gift of homemade preserves: jams, jellies, pickles, honey, etc. Keep in mind that these don’t have to be made in your home; you can purchase them from a local farmers market.

Preserves are a nice edible offering that pairs well with a variety of dishes. Jellies and jams could be used for baked goods, toast, charcuterie boards, and marinades. Pickles also work well on a deli platter, charcuterie board, or with a traditional roast dinner.

Host gifts are meant to be subtle and discreet as a simple thank you for the invitation. These host and hostess gifts are simple but practical and elegant, and will convey your gratitude without detracting attention from the event.

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Photo by Johnny killroy on Unsplash

Painting a small boat is relatively easy. But of course, it goes without saying that it depends on your knowledge and skill. You can always hire a skilled person trained in painting boats if you want a professional finish. 

Painting the boat deck is part of boat maintenance, which will help your boat look fresh and new. A new coat of paint also helps in protecting the boat from the elements. However, if you are ready to tackle painting your boat yourself, it is essential to know what type of paint for your boat deck you should use. 

Boats are made from different materials. This time, we’ll discuss how to paint the deck of a fiberglass boat.

Steps in painting a deck 

If you have all the materials and your safety gear ready, here are the steps.

  1. Clean, rinse and dry the boat

You have to ensure that the deck is clean and dry. Move your boat to a place with shade, but you can still use the sunshine and breeze to your advantage. Wash the deck and use the cleaning material you usually use. Rinse the deck with fresh water, ensuring that no debris has fallen on the deck. Dry it as much as you can and leave it for a time to air dry.

Another thing to note here is that if the deck still has a layer of gel coat, you should remove it first. Then, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on safely removing gel coat finish off the boat deck.

2. Remove the boat fixtures you will not paint.

Remove the fixtures on deck that you will not paint so you can do the job easier. For non-removable fixtures, wrap them in painter’s tape for their protection. Likewise, mask the areas that you will not paint. Take your time in this step to ensure that you protect the areas that will not receive paint. Moreover, ensure that the tape properly adheres.

3. Paint the deck

With the appropriate paint you chose, apply the primer. Allow it to dry before applying the paint in the recommended layers. Ensure that you apply the paint evenly in multiple thin coats. Allow the paint to dry between each coat, and finish it off with the recommended topcoat. 

4. Remove the tape

When the paint is almost dry, remove the tape and inspect the deck. Make sure that the areas around the movable and non-removable features are cleanly painted. Do some touch-up jobs when necessary. Next, allow the paint to air dry completely. It may take a few days before the paint properly dries, depending on the weather condition. Reattach the items that you removed when the paint is dry. While waiting for the deck paint to dry, see that no debris will fall on the deck and adhere to the paint.

Read and follow the paint manufacturer’s instructions carefully so that you can achieve the professional finish you want to achieve. Moreover, find out which type of paint is the most suitable for your fiberglass boat deck.

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Image source Pixabay

Guess what? You are the only perfect driver. Admit it; you have thought this before. Seriously though, no matter how vigilant you are, accidents happen.

Car accidents are scary no matter who’s at fault. There is an adrenaline rush, chaos, and sometimes you know what happened and sometimes you don’t. Your first instinct may be to jump out of your vehicle to find out what happened. Don’t do this.

Before getting to what to do in case of an accident, let’s talk about exactly what insurance is.

Basically, a car insurance policy protects you from paying for any damage or injuries if there is a car accident. Depending on the type of car insurance you have, it may cover damage to your car as well. Car crashes aren’t the only type of accidents that insurance covers. They also cover other things, such as hitting a stationary object like a tree, pole, or even your garage. Not to mention any animals that you aren’t able to avoid, like a deer.

Now, let’s get into what you really want to know. These steps work no matter who is at fault or even if you were involved in a hit and run. If you follow the steps, below you’ll discover filling out your paperwork is much easier when you know what to do if you’re in a car accident.

1.  Check Yourself And Passengers For Injuries

Immediately check yourself and anyone that’s in the car for injuries. If anyone experiences neck or back pain, make sure they don’t move until help arrives. The adrenaline experienced in a car accident dulls your pain, and you may not realize the extent of the injury.

2.  Check Your Surroundings & Get Out Of The Way Of Traffic

If there weren’t any injuries, check your surroundings and then move to safety. Check for the smell of gas and determine if you need to do anything to ensure everyone is safe. If you are in the way of traffic you need to move your car as long as there are no injuries.

While moving your vehicle, make sure you do it slowly and do your best to be calm. This is harder than you may think. Anyone who has been in an accident knows you can easily pull forward instead of reversing. These types of mistakes are common when you are in a high-stress situation. So really pay attention to what you’re doing to prevent further damage to your vehicle or the other party’s car.

3.  Call The Police & Make A Report

 No matter how minor the accident is, you need to call the police. If you are planning to file a claim with your insurance, a police report is mandatory. There are areas where police will not come out to a minor accident, especially in large cities.

When or if the police come out, you want to get their name, badge number, and contact information. You’ll also need to get a copy of the police report. Many places are moving their records online, and you’ll have to get your info off the internet. This will save time because if you don’t get it, your insurance company will have to. 

4.  Gather Information & Take Pictures

Especially if the police don’t show up, you’ll want to gather the other party’s information. You’ll need information such as their name, address, phone number, insurance information, and if there are any witnesses, you’ll need theirs too. As a side note, avoid discussing who’s at fault; stick to the facts.

If you have your cell phone with you, you need to take pictures of the vehicles and any injuries you or your passengers may have. There are times you may not be able to take the photos at the time of the accident. If not, then take them as soon as you can.

5. Seek Treatment & Notify Your Insurance Company

You must tell first responders about any pain you are experiencing after the accident and seek medical treatment immediately. You may not feel pain or think your injuries are minor but then experience pain a few days later. Having proper documentation will help prove the injury occurred due to the accident. If you experience new or worsening pain, you’ll want to immediately schedule an appointment with your doctor.

Sometimes people believe it is easier to negotiate a cash settlement with the other driver to avoid getting the insurance companies involved. This is a bad idea; You are liable for any damages above the cash settlement if you don’t contact your insurance company. Many states have a time limit on how long you can wait to file a claim, so it’s essential to do it immediately.

Most people think of car insurance as that useless bill you have to pay monthly… until you actually need it. You never know when or if an accident will happen, so make sure you have car insurance that best suits your needs and at a fair price.  If you live in a no-fault state and don’t have car insurance, you can end up in a whole mess of trouble, especially with the law.

The steps listed above may seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised at how many people get lost in the heat of the moment. The truth is, many people act without thinking, and they instantly want to confront the other driver. Confrontation is something you want to avoid. Take the time to assess and breathe before doing anything foolish.

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It’s no secret that Canada has a lot of ways to get Canadian Permanent Residency (PR), over 100 immigration and visa options, in fact. 

But what are some of the quickest ways to get Canadian PR status?

Did you know that you could become a permanent resident in a year or less? And believe it or not, there’s actually more than one way to get there!  

Top 3 Pathways to Permanent Residency in Canada

  1. Express Entry

The Express Entry system is probably one of the most popular ways to immigrate to Canada. It manages three immigration programs, and each one could get you Canadian PR status in as little as six months to a year. These three programs are: 

  • Federal Skilled Worker Program – for highly-skilled workers like doctors, lawyers, architects, and dentists. 
  • Federal Trade Worker Program – for skilled and experienced trade workers like long-haul truck drivers, industrial butchers, and electricians. 
  • Canada Experience Class – for highly-skilled workers with at least one year of Canadian work experience

First, you will need to create an Express Entry profile containing information about your age, work experience, education, language skills, and ability to settle in Canada. Your profile will then enter a draw pool, and, if successful, you will be invited to apply for permanent residency.

For more information about Canada’s Express Entry system and how to apply, visit this page.  

2.    British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP)

The British Columbia PNP (or BC PNP) offers one of the fastest visa application processing times of all the immigration programs in Canada. As a matter of fact, it’s faster than the Express Entry system, with processing times of just two to three months!

The BC PNP has programs that specifically help tech and healthcare workers, as well as entrepreneurs and graduates, immigrate to Canada. And to top it off, you can also apply through an Express Entry-linked stream as long as you have a valid Express Entry profile.

3.    Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP)

The Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) is yet another way to get Canada PR status in less than a year. The SINP also has an Express Entry-linked program, but the programs under its Work Experience category may get you PR status quicker. This is provided you meet the requirements and have at least six month’s work experience in Saskatchewan.

Qualifying programs include:

  • Skilled Worker with Existing Work Permit Program
  • Semi-skilled Agriculture Worker with Existing Work Permit Program
  • Healthcare Professionals Program
  • Hospitality Sector Project
  • Long-Haul Truck Driver Project

Graduates may also be eligible to apply for Canadian permanent residency under the SINP. To do so, they must have at least six month’s work experience in the province and meet the other requirements of the program.

Canada Permanent Residency Application

Most people don’t know that applying for Canadian permanent residency is actually a two-part process.

Part 1: Apply for an ITA

Most immigration programs that offer Canada PR status will either require that you: 

  • Request an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residency or 
  • Submit a Notice of Interest to a specific province or territory 

This can be done through any of the Express Entry programs as well as any of the 11 PNP categories. 

Part 2: Apply for PR Status

Once you have applied for an ITA and are successful, you will be invited to start the Canada permanent residency application. You will have 60 days to submit your application. Permanent residency processing times would usually be around six months but could take longer due to the effects of COVID-19.

Taking the First Step 

The first step to a successful application is to know which programs or visas you qualify for. This can either be done using the government eligibility tool, which is free, or by getting help from a paid registered representative. Both ways could get you to Canada, but there is a big difference between the two.    

So, what’s the difference? 

Using a paid service means that you can rest easy knowing that you’ll get guidance and support throughout the entire application process on over 100 options to help you make the best choice for yourself and your loved ones.

Using a free tool or getting a free assessment is great, but the results are often very general and not tailored to your specific needs or situation. Yes, you may save a few extra dollars, but is it really worth it to risk your chances to start a new life in Canada?

For more information on how to get Canada PR status in under a year, or to learn more about the application process, visit CanadianVisa.org.  

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Image source: PxHere

The United States has the highest number of guns and gun owners per capita than any other country, nearly 393 million guns in all. With all of the guns in the U.S., it’s important to practice gun safety and safe storage at home, in the car, or on your person. Here are some tips for gun safety.

Where Can I Practice?

One of the most frequent places where gun emergencies happen is in backyards. In most areas of the United States, you cannot practice shooting in your backyard. In fact, negligent security shooting lawyers note that in many areas, you cannot shoot within 250 yards of another building, such as a home. Be sure that you practice good gun safety by practicing at an indoor or outdoor shooting range. If you own a lot of land, you can practice shooting there. Look at your local and state laws before you load up to practice.

Safety Around Guns at Home

The first rule of gun safety at home is to treat every gun as if it is loaded with bullets. That way, you will always be on guard and handle guns carefully.

If you have small children, never allow them to play with a gun. You might want to begin teaching them about gun safety and how to properly handle guns. Also, with small children, you may want to get gun locks or a gun safe to protect your guns when you are not at home. This is especially important with small children because they are constantly exploring. While some gun locks make it difficult to get to your gun when you need it, the latest gun locks use fingerprints and open quickly.

While you’re teaching your children or other family members about gun safety, be sure that you teach them about pointing a gun. Most gun experts tell you to never point a gun at anything you don’t intend to shoot. If you are cleaning your gun, be sure that you aren’t pointing at anything except the floor.

Safety In Your Car

Many states allow you to keep a gun in the car. If you have a gun in the car, one of the first rules you need to keep in mind is where to store it. While many people place guns under the driver’s seat or even in the storage area between seats, the safest place to store your gun in the car is in a locking glove compartment. Like your home, you may want to apply a gun lock to the gun if you decide to keep it in your car.

If you happen to be pulled over for speeding or another traffic offense, you’ll want to tell the police officer where your gun is. Depending on the officer, they may want you to take the gun out, or leave it where it is stored. Another option for gun storage in vehicles is a locking gun case. Locking gun cases are available for nearly every type of gun, so be sure and look at your local gun store. These gun cases ensure that children or pets aren’t able to access your gun while you’re driving or sitting in a drive-thru.

One other tip for gun safety in the car. If the only time you have a gun in the car is when you are traveling from place to place after hunting or practice, unload your gun before you get into the car. If you make it a habit to unload your gun before you step into your car, you’ll be less likely to forget and enter your car with a loaded gun.

Personal Gun Safety

What if you carry a gun with you at all times? Here are some tips for personal gun safety. First, you need to get a holster, a special purse, or a briefcase that contains an area for guns. These special containers will keep your gun safe while allowing you to access it easily. Also, once you remove the gun from a container, keep your finger off the trigger and muzzle pointed towards the ground to avoid any type of accidental shooting. Be aware when handling the gun what is in front of you and what is behind you, to avoid accidents.

No matter whether you keep guns at home, in your car, or you carry them on your person, learning gun safety will prevent a lot of accidents. No responsible gun owner wants to shoot someone unless it is absolutely necessary. By keeping these tips in mind, you or someone you love are far less likely to be the victim of a gun accident.

cloud-storage

Have you ever wondered what to do with your data if you can’t afford to keep it in the office? Well, don’t worry as most companies are providing software that can recover and backup data in the office so that employees can work productively. However, many companies charge a fee for the service and finding the best service provider can be a tricky business especially if there are many of them in the market. Hence, here are some tips to check on cloud storage pricing so that you can find the best service provider at the lowest cost.

The cloud computing environment is growing rapidly. Millions of users are using this service across the world and its growth has resulted in low prices because cloud services providers have lower overhead costs. Hence, they offer such services at low costs because they don’t need to pay for computers, servers, other equipment, etc.

Reasonable Price:

Nowadays, several cloud storage providers provide good data storage services at reasonable prices. They are capable of storing large volumes of data and hence they don’t incur high costs. If you are considering buying a cloud storage service, go for those that have the biggest storage capacity. The size of the data required and its reliability should be given consideration when you are deciding the price for the service. The quality of service should also be a factor while deciding the price.

Customer Satisfaction:

It’s advisable to check on the customer satisfaction rate before you buy storage services. The storage company that you choose should have a good rating and thus you will be safe from any downtime of the system due to hardware problems. The cost of restoring data from a disaster is very important. In case of any problem, it is vital to know whether the backup systems of the company are reliable enough.

Data Backup and Storage:

The cloud storage services offered by many companies can meet all your data backup and storage requirements without any hassle. You just need to pay for it once and the entire process is over. This helps save money, time, and effort. You can work with more employees if you purchase cloud storage services from a reliable company. This also allows you to save on office space requirements.

Today, many businesses are opting for cloud storage because it meets all their storage and recovery requirements as well. In case of any disaster, they can easily restore data and run the business smoothly without any difficulty. You also don’t need to upgrade your servers or purchase new software in order to recover data from the cloud.

Easy System to Use:

You can also save on bandwidth requirements. Data transfer is faster when compared to local servers. Cloud data centers are fast and therefore, your application is able to respond at the speed of light. This further improves user experience and makes the overall usage of the system easier.

Many cloud computing companies also offer other data services apart from storage and restoration of data. They allow you to create online databases and file-sharing systems. If you find it convenient, you can use these services for emailing, scheduling, and monitoring tools. If you’re looking to start a cloud data center today, then you need to contact a reliable cloud provider so that you can get started right away.

As virtual events become more popular, there is a growing demand to make these webcasts accessible to deaf or hard-of-hearing viewers.

One way to do so is to use live captioning. Live captioning is the process of converting audio into captioned text. This is performed by a human captioner, either on-site or remotely (which is increasingly the scenario).

Even before the pandemic, live captioning was primarily done remotely. Put simply, the captioner receives an audio feed that they then type out using a special stenotype machine or voice writing. This typed-out text is then displayed inside a box (usually) on monitors and screens.

Caption-providing companies work with their own tools, methods, and content management systems, and keyboard shortcuts are developed for this purpose.

Each captioner is trained in using the company’s workflow and software, which helps them hit both accuracy and speed in capturing the audio in text form. Professional captioning is usually more than 95% accurate.

Live captions are supported on most media platforms and video players like YouTube, Facebook, etc. Joining these players are also virtual events platforms like PheedLoop, Balloon, and Kaltura, and virtual meeting platforms like Zoom and Cisco WebEx.

What are Live Captions?

To understand how they are beneficial to online events, we first need to understand what it actually is. Did you know that there are two types of captions? Open captions and Closed Captions. You will have noticed the CC option on your television or YouTube. These are Closed Captions that are turned on or off at the will of a user.

Open Captions are permanently superimposed or burned onto the video and are used for some pre-recorded content. Live captioning is mostly Closed Captions that are typed out in real-time by captioners.

Live captioning, because it is powered by human captioners, avoids the pitfall of imprecision that you encounter with AI speech recognition systems. Chances are you will have seen at least one such instance on YouTube, for example, and chuckled to yourself. This is the key difference between captioning by humans and captioning by automation (Automatic Speech Recognition or ASR).

Accuracy v/s possible imprecision. This puts live captioning head and shoulders above automated captioning, as actual humans do the listening. Live captions are always of high quality. AI tools usually fall short due to issues ranging from audio fidelity, speaker accents, and speakers talking over each other.

These systems are a helpful aid in the world of captioning in terms of saving time and effort, but ASR may fall short on the accuracy parameter. Score one for human captioners.

How do Live Captions work?

During the broadcast or live-streaming of your virtual event, captions appear just a few seconds after the words have been spoken onscreen. A captioner listens to the audio and generates the spoken text either using a stenotype machine or voice writing.

The captions are then processed and delivered to either a web page, mobile device, or a site where an event is being viewed. All of this happens in the ether, and voila! Technology has vastly advanced to improve the latency between video and text to as little as a few seconds.

Live captions are the secret sauce to ensuring the success of your virtual event. Virtual events with accessible videos are delivered in a way that ensures maximum participation from the audience.

For example, if you are not actively listening to the audio on your phone or computer or are interrupted during the course of the event, you can still get the full picture by just reading the captions. You can scroll back to read the captions for the portion of the event you inadvertently missed or read it in its entirety.

Why you need live captions

The simple act of transcribing the spoken words of your event will dramatically improve your audience’s comprehension. It’s not just that they command your audience’s attention; they can be turned on and off at your discretion.

Captions should be innocuous, so they don’t clutter your viewing experience. Therefore web design is a critical component of these captions. They add to the viewing experience, not take away from it. Here are some tangible benefits that live captions can have on your online events.

1.   Accessibility

Audiences that are deaf and hard-of-hearing benefit hugely from live captions as they get full context into an event from reading the captions, both in real-time and post-event. Simply put, live captions will help lead to a better understanding of your content and boost audience engagement.

There is no comparison between in-person audiences and virtual audiences in terms of size. Logging in to virtual events from the comfort of home has made hosting events online a great way for businesses to stay engaged with employees and customers worldwide.

2.   Inclusivity

Some caption providers also offer the ability to translate live captions into multiple languages, thus opening meeting participation to a global audience.

This has made non-native English speakers and non-English speakers also become comfortable with conferencing online, as they can consume the content in their preferred languages.

3.   The human touch

The captioning workforce is made up of experienced professionals. These captioners are trained in, and attuned to, nuances in a spoken language like nuance, pronunciation, inflection, context, etc.

With a diverse workforce that can perceive and understand linguistic nuances in multiple languages, captioners have a unique advantage over automatic speech recognition.

4.   Minimal latency

Technological advancement ensures captions are displayed in real-time with a negligible time lag, so it doesn’t disrupt either the event or audience comprehension.

In summary:

Caption providers offer simple widgets that are customized to each individual event. These widgets only need to be added on or plugged into your event page for live captions to show up on your event. The integration happens seamlessly, with captioners and event monitors working alongside from the captioning side to ensure that your event’s message is captured in text form authentically.

Photo: Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit

According to an independent investigation, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women, subjecting them to unwanted kissing and groping.

Announcing the results of the inquiry, New York Attorney General Letitia James said Andrew Cuomo had violated state and federal laws.

Governor Cuomo is yet to respond to the investigation but has previously denied wrongdoing.

The report is likely to play a major part in a separate impeachment inquiry.

The investigation was commissioned in 2020 after several women came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against the governor.

Investigators spent five months speaking to nearly 200 people, including staff members and some of those who made complaints against him. Tens of thousands of documents, texts and pictures were reviewed as part of the inquiry.

“The independent investigation has concluded that Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women and in doing so violated federal and state law,” Letitia James said.

Andrew Cuomo, the attorney said, had engaged in “unwelcome and non-consensual touching and making numerous offensive comments”.

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In one case, Governor Cuomo and his staff retaliated against a former employee who accused him of wrongdoing, according to Letitia James.

Other women described being groped, kissed or sitting on the governor’s lap.

Andrew Cuomo allegedly reached under the blouse of an assistant to touch her breast, while another aide said he asked her if she was open to sex with an older man.

The governor stood behind a state trooper in a lift, running his finger down her neck and saying “hey you”, according to investigators.

On top of the allegations of harassment, Andrew Cuomo is accused of presiding over a “hostile and toxic work environment”.

Joon Kim, who co-led the investigation, said: “It was a culture where you could not say no to the governor and if you upset him or his senior staff you’d be written off, cast aside or worse.”

“At the same time the witnesses described a culture that normalized and overlooked everyday flirtations, physical intimacy and inappropriate comments by the governor,” he added.

How Artificial Intelligence is Shaping the Future of Gaming


Anyone who suggests that artificial intelligence is taking over the world is speaking the truth. Even though it may sound hyperbolic, AI will have some say in nearly every sphere of our lives in the next five to ten years.

When people think about artificial intelligence and what it can do for various industries, the online gambling sector rarely comes to mind. As artificial intelligence continues to evolve, so do its possibilities with respect to gaming.

Below are some ways that AI is shaping the future of gaming and gambling.

AI Can Read Thoughts

When the news came through that an IBM Deep Blue computer had beaten a chess master, Garry Kasparov, most people did not bat an eye. The idea of computers being superior intellectually to humans does not seem surprising, as computers have nearly unlimited processing capability.

Other such events have occurred, with Google’s AlphaGo computer beating Lee Sedol, while Libratus has defeated many of the world’s top-rated poker players with ease.

The idea of a computer winning at online gaming or gambling is not that surprising on the surface. People count cards when they have the chance, and a computer can do that better than any person.

What is most remarkable is that Libratus defeated top-rated poker champions not by counting cards, but by reading people’s faces and understanding their weaknesses in the game.

When such AI evolves even more, what are the ways that it could reshape the online gambling industry?

Catching Gambling Addicts

The growth in AI over the past few years has been remarkable to witness, while the popularity of online gambling has continued to rise. With these two niches heading in similar trajectories, a merging is inevitable.

One of the ways that gambling businesses are looking to leverage AI is through the tracking of gambling addicts. Catching an addict at a physical casino is very easy, as there are people watching the different cameras placed throughout those facilities.

When people bet online, catching addicts is a serious challenge. Even though there is a misconception that casinos want addicts to gamble at their facilities, most casinos and online casinos will say that gambling addicts are bad for business.

Thanks to AI, online casinos can now identify problematic behavior by players. The AI can begin to recognize that addicts behave with a specific pattern. When they understand those patterns, the AI can intervene quickly to ensure that person does not gamble away too much of their money.

Leveraging Smart Data

Online casinos are far from the only business sector that looks to leverage smart data. These sites can gather a lot of information about their users, including the games they enjoy playing, how often they play, the bets they make, and when they have their longest gaming sessions.

Leveraging such information to deliver targeted promotions and discounts to their users can help online casinos immensely. They would then have the tools to create the targeted coupons, site-wide discounts, and other perks for each user on their platform.

Delivering Flawless Customer Service

One of the real ways that AI is changing business is through improvements in customer service. Online gambling casinos are taking advantage of this as well.

When you go to an online casino, you often see a little chat box appear in the bottom right or left corner. You can click on that box and start a chat with the AI helper. They can answer most of your questions, while connecting you to a human representative if you need further help.

As AI continues to improve, online casinos believe the customer service they can offer to their clients will only improve as well. They can soon interpret the issues a customer is facing as soon as that person starts a chat with the AI.

Better Sports Odds

If you ever watch a game of soccer, American football or basketball, you can see how many stats are analyzed throughout the contests. With so much information available, online sports books can leverage AI to make sense of the data in real time.

By analyzing the data for the present game and looking at historical outcomes, the AI could better predict the likelihood of a game finishing a specific way at that stage of the contest.

Such predictions would allow the online sports book to dynamically adjust its odds for various events related to that game as the match unfolds. Such changes in the odds would give opportunities to betters, but would also mean the sports book is offering the best possible odds from its perspective.

Reaching a Younger Audience

When most people think about gambling, both in person and online, they imagine an older crowd. That may be true, but online casinos are making several moves to try and win over a younger audience.

Using AI may be one way to make that happen. With AI driven VR, young people who have the relevant hardware could have extremely realistic and unique digital experiences when attending online casinos.

If an online casino or sportsbook wants to lure Millennials and Generation Z clients in the coming years, leveraging AI may be their best way of achieving their goals.

Bet Safely to Make Money

The future of online gambling is very interesting, especially considering the way artificial intelligence is gaining traction in nearly every sector. Online casinos are already leveraging AI to identify and help gambling addicts, dynamically adjust sports odds and deliver the very best customer service to their clients.

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Image source: Wikipedia

Rodney Alcala, who was sentenced to death in California for murdering a 12-year-old girl and four other women, has died of natural causes, officials say.

The 77-year-old died at a hospital near California’s Corcoran state prison in the early hours of Saturday.

Rodney Alcala, who was known as the “Dating Game Killer” after taking part in The Dating Game TV show, was convicted in 2010.

As well as the California killings, he had also pleaded guilty to the murders of two other women in New York.

Rodney Alcala was first handed the death penalty in Orange County in 1980 for the kidnap and murder of Robin Samsoe, 12, in Los Angeles the previous year.

However, his sentence was overturned by the California Supreme Court and he was granted a new trial.

He later received the same penalty in the second trial, but this was again overturned in 2003.

In the years that followed, investigators discovered forensic evidence linking Rodney Alcala to the other California murders.

At the 2010 trial, he was found guilty of killing Robin Samsoe as well as four other women aged between 18 and 32 in the years between 1977 and 1979.

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In September 1978, Rodney Alcala took part in The Dating Game, a TV show in which a single woman questioned three single men hidden from her view before selecting one based on their answers.

Rodney Alcala was selected at the end of show, but the woman later said she decided not to date him after a conversation with him backstage, describing him as “creepy”.

In 2012, Rodney Alcala was extradited to New York after he was charged over two additional murders from 1971 and 1977. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced in New York to 25 years to life.

California state prison officials said in a statement on July 24 that Rodney Alcala was suspected of being involved in a number of additional killings.

No further details were given about his death.

There are currently some 700 inmates on death row in California, but Governor Gavin Newsom has ordered a moratorium on executions.

WhatsApp has announced it blocked over two million accounts in India in May and June for violating rules.

The Facebook-owned messaging service said 95% of these users were blocked for violating the limits of the number of times messages can be forwarded in India.

The submissions were made by WhatsApp in its first monthly compliance report under India’s controversial new IT rules.

India is WhatsApp’s largest market with about 400 million users.

The company said its “top focus” has been to prevent accounts in India from sending harmful or unwanted messages at scale.

Using advanced machine learning technology, WhatsApp reportedly bans close to eight million accounts across the world every month.

Two million accounts in India sending a “high and abnormal rate of messages” were banned in India alone between May 15 and June 15, the service said.

The service identifies an Indian account as one with a +91 (country code) phone number.

WhatsApp often ends up being the focus of discussions on the spread of misinformation and fake news in India.

Such fake news and hoaxes are forwarded to tens of thousands of users in hours, and it’s practically impossible to counter them.

Messages and videos circulating in bulk have in the past incited mob violence in India, even leading to deaths.

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In addition to responding to user complaints, WhatsApp said it deployed its own tools to prevent abuse on the platform.

The service said it relied on the “behavioral signals” from user accounts, or on available “unencrypted information”, profile and group photos, and descriptions to identify potential offenders.

WhatsApp’s submissions come at a time when tech companies are embroiled in an intensifying battle with the Indian government over the new IT rules.

The guidelines – announced in February and became effective in May – seek to regulate content on social media and streaming platforms, and have raised serious concerns about free speech and user privacy.

Critics say they give the government and law enforcement agencies powers to take down a wide range of content on the internet. But the government claims the rules are meant to prevent abuse and misinformation.

WhatsApp is testing a new feature that will let users message without using their phone for the first time.

At present, WhatsApp is linked to a user’s phone. Its desktop and web apps need that device to be connected and receiving messages.

However, the new feature will let users send and receive messages “even if your phone battery is dead”.

Up to four other devices – like PCs and tablets – can be used together, WhatsApp said.

To begin with, the new feature will be rolled out as a beta test for a “small group of users”, and the team plans to improve performance and add features before enabling it for everyone.

End-to-end encryption – a key selling point for WhatsApp – will still work under this new system, it said.

Several other messaging apps already have such a feature, including rival encrypted app Signal, which requires a phone for sign-up, but not to exchange messages.

The feature has long been requested by WhatsApp users – of which there are a reported two billion.

In a blog post announcing the move, Facebook engineers said the change needed a “rethink” of WhatsApp’s software design.

That is because the current version “uses a smartphone app as the primary device, making the phone the source of truth for all user data and the only device capable of end-to-end encrypting messages for another user [or] initiating calls”, the company said.

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WhatsApp Web and other non-smartphone apps are essentially a “mirror” of what happens on the phone.

However, that system has significant drawbacks familiar to many regular users, as the web app is known to frequently disconnect.

It also means that only one so-called “companion app” can be active at a time – so loading WhatsApp on another device will disconnect a WhatsApp web window.

“The new WhatsApp multi-device architecture removes these hurdles, no longer requiring a smartphone to be the source of truth, while still keeping user data seamlessly and securely synchronised and private,” the company said.

On a technical level, the solution was giving every device its own “identity key”, and WhatsApp keeps a record of which keys belong to the same user account. That means it does not need to store messages on its own server, which could lead to privacy concerns.

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s decision to stop accepting BTC payments due to the digital currency’s “rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining” has culminated into what could be the world’s most expensive breakup ever, with the BTC price dropping costing the cryptocurrency market more than $365 billion. Until now, BTC has not yet fully recovered from the price drop.

But the ramifications of these events did not stop here. Now, digital currencies are being seen as wasting a massive amount of energy like BTC. This is because Bitcoin mining uses Proof of Work algorithm (PoW), which is integral to the original Bitcoin design. According to the Bitcoin white paper published by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008, all miners who act as nodes on the network must “vote with their CPU power,” expending a huge amount of electricity in the process. Now, all people are talking about is how Bitcoin is inefficient and not environment-friendly.

And this is where the big misunderstanding lies. While BTC is indeed wasting energy due to its massive energy consumption that only benefits the few rich who can afford to store it in order to sell it when its value goes up, the same is not true for all digital currencies, especially BSV, which can actually be considered the green Bitcoin.

“I think what [Elon] got right is that BTC is not efficient and it does not, I think, have a good ratio of what it costs to use and the environmental cost relative to its utility. I think what people get wrong though is then that’s true for all Proof-of-Work blockchains, that’s true for all versions of Bitcoin, that’s true for crypto in general,” Zach Resnick, managing partner of BSV-focused Unbounded Capital, said during a panel discussion at the CoinGeek Conference in Zurich that includes nChain CTO Steve Shadders, TAAL Distributed Information Technologies CMO Angela Holowaychuk and Kristeen Harrison, environmental & sustainability advisor to the board of UK-based wallet Zumo.

“You cannot just look at the power consumption in isolation, you have to look at what is the utility, what is this thing providing and how much power does that cost, and looking at the net metric—not just how much power, which I think is a pretty horrible metric for analyzing this,” Resnick added.

And in this true measure of sustainability, which accounts for the energy consumed in proportion to the benefit and utility it provides, it can be said that BSV is the real green Bitcoin. How so? BTC can only process five to seven transactions per second (tps) and its blockchain only has a maximum of 3MB block sizes due to its refusal to scale. At this rate, where one BTC is mined at 5,500 kilowatt-hours, half the consumption of an average American household in a year, it certainly is a waste of electricity.

Now, compare that to BSV, which continues to scale. At present, its test network has already surpassed 9,000 tps. Last March 14, TAAL mined 2,674 transactions in a 638MB block. And with the release of Teranode later this year, the BSV network can process more than 50,000 tps—a figure that rivals that of VISA. The numbers speak for themselves. And the conclusion can only go one way—BSV is the green Bitcoin and is energy efficient.

“And you know, 50,000 is just the starting point, we’re talking about millions, billions of transactions per second. It’s only one angle to it, but there’s this total energy aggregate cost for Bitcoin, which you can divide amongst five transactions per second, or you can divide that cost amongst millions or billions,” Shadders explained.

“I think there’s a meaningful chance that when we look back 20, 30 years in the future back to now or over the next five to 10 years, there’a a very good chance that BSV adoption is synonymous with our transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy and potentially the largest driver of that revolution,” Resnick concluded.

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Donald Trump has filed a lawsuit against tech giants Google, Twitter and Facebook, claiming that he is the victim of censorship.

The class action lawsuit also targets the three companies’ CEOs.

The former president was suspended from his social accounts in January over public safety concerns in the wake of the Capitol riots, led by his supporters.

On July 7, Donald Trump called the lawsuit “a very beautiful development for our freedom of speech”.

In a news conference from his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, Donald Trump railed against social media companies and Democrats, who he accused of espousing misinformation.

He said: “We are demanding an end to the shadow-banning, a stop to the silencing, and a stop to the blacklisting, banishing, and cancelling that you know so well.”

The suit requests a court order to end alleged censorship. Donald Trump added if they could ban a president, “they can do it to anyone”.

None of the tech companies named have yet responded to the lawsuit, which was filed to a federal court in Florida.

Donald Trump was joined at the announcement by former Trump officials who have since created the not-for-profit America First Policy Institute.

The former president called the post that got him banned from Twitter, “the most loving sentence”.

According to Twitter, the tweets that resulted in Donald Trump’s ban for “glorification of violence” were from 8 January, two days after the rioting in the nation’s capital. The riot followed his repeated claims, without evidence, that the election was rigged in Joe Biden’s favor.

Donald Trump wrote that the “great patriots” who voted for him will have “a giant voice” and “will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form”, and in another post said he would not attend President Joe Biden’s inauguration.

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At the same time on July 7, Donald Trump’s Republican allies in Congress released a memo describing their plan “to take on Big Tech”.

The agenda calls for antitrust measures to “break up” the companies, and a revamping of a law known as Section 230.

Section 230, which Donald Trump tried to repeal as president, essentially stops companies like Facebook and Twitter from being liable for the things that users post. It gives the companies “platform” rather than “publisher” status.

“It’s a liability protection the likes of which nobody in the history of our country has ever received,” he said, criticizing the law on July 7.

Donald Trump added that the law invalidates the companies’ statuses as private companies.

The lawsuit has been criticized by legal experts, who pointed to Donald Trump’s habit of issuing lawsuits for media attention but not aggressively defending the claims in court. His argument of free speech infringement has also been questioned by analysts, as the companies he accuses have those same First Amendment protections in determining content on their sites.

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Image source Pexels

Facebook’s shares jumped 4.2% to $355.64 after federal court has dismissed two separate anti-trust lawsuits filed against the social networking giant.

Judge James Boasberg ruled that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)’s anti-trust complaint against the social networking giant was too vague.

Another separate anti-competition lawsuit filed by a coalition of states was thrown out because the alleged violations occurred too long ago.

This resulted in Facebook’s market value rising above $1trillion for the first time ever.

In the US District Court for the District of Columbia ruling, Judge Boasberg wrote that the FTC’s complaint was “legally insufficient” and had to be dismissed, because the FTC had “failed to plead enough facts” to back up its claim that Facebook was stifling competition.

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The FTC’s lawsuit had requested that the technology giant, which also owns Instagram and WhatsApp, be broken up.

“The FTC’s complaint says almost nothing concrete on the key question of how much power Facebook actually had, and still has, in a properly defined anti-trust product market,” wrote Judge Boasberg.

“It is almost as if the agency expects the court to simply nod to the conventional wisdom that Facebook is a monopolist.”

While this is a setback for the FTC that some analysts say could have repercussions for the future of anti-competition law in the US, the watchdog can re-file the charges and has until July 28 to do so.

Separately, Judge Boasberg also dismissed an anti-competition lawsuit brought by a coalition of 45 US states together with the FTC.

This lawsuit had also sought to force Facebook to divest Instagram and WhatsApp. It related to Facebook’s acquisition of the two apps in 2012 and 2014.

In March, Facebook petitioned the federal court in the US to dismiss them, describing the FTC complaint as “nonsensical”.