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Our lobby bar, Atrium Lounge, offers your favorite beverage, appetizers and a full dinner menu in a comfortable, relaxed setting. Hours or operation are 5:00pm to 11:00pm.

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PETER CLARK

City Break Expert

Hockey fan, foodie, audiophile, vintage furniture lover and passionate about urban photography. Working to provide the best city break offers so you don’t have to stress about it. “You should enjoy the city, not worry about the trip’s details.”

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REBECCA GILBERT

Nature Trips Expert

Nature enthusiast, animal lover and passionate mountaineer. Your journey must be safe, efficient and convenient. “My mission is to create an unforgettable holiday because time has an essential role in everyone’s life.”

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DAVID HAWKINS

Exotic Destinations Expert

Skydiver, rock climber, surfer, kiter and lover of exotic fruits. “A “special” category of clients that I like is the newly married young people, whom I like to offer the journey of their lives in their honeymoon. A little something to help them get started.”

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A Hard and Fast Way to Lose Weight

A Hard and Fast Way to Lose Weight

I started on this diet out of necessity not because I was trying to lose weight. The results from this diet were amazing. The longer I was on the diet the better it worked. Without trying to turn you off it is a high protein diet with some changes I made to fit me and my situation.

I had split up with my wife and moved a state away without a job. I do not recommend doing that. Lucky for me I found a job quickly at a local car dealership. The money was not there, but it was a job. With a lot of my money being tied up with child support and living expenses I did not have a lot of money for food. But I knew from my past experiences in bodybuilding that with protein and water I would be fine, click here for more info.

Way to Lose Weight

The cheapest forms of protein at that time were cans of tuna and eggs. At first I was just eating. Then I started to modify it when I started to lose weight. The formula was to eat anywhere from one and half to two grams of protein per pound of body weight daily. So if you weigh 200 pounds then you would eat 300 to 400 grams of protein a day. In about a week I started to notice changes. I was eating about six eggs and one can of tuna in the morning, one can mid morning, two cans at lunch with three eggs, one can mid afternoon, and then more eggs in the evening. The eggs were whole because you will need the fat to function correctly and it helps burn the fat. On top of all that protein was a lot, and I mean a lot, of water. Translating into lots of pottie breaks during the day.

Now I am not going to lie ,on the weekends I did eat a little differently but not much. It would all depend on the money I had made, but come Monday morning I went right back to the eggs and tuna with lots of water. I stayed on this diet for about three months. I know the timeframe well because my wife and I got back together in March of that year.

Lose Weight

I love to lift weights and eat so the weight comes on pretty quick. So, I have had to go on this diet a couple of times and it always works. The hardest part is getting started, after about two weeks the cravings go away. The best part about this diet is if you are lifting weights you will not only lose weight you will change the way your body is shaped.

Sometimes when you lose weight you still look the same, just smaller. But if you will lift the weights and keep the protein high, you will not lose the muscle mass that you would in a more traditional diet. You will have a smaller and better shaped you. Weight loss does not need to be complicated, but it will be hard work.

Superyard XT Safety Gate Review: Portable Self-Contained Play Gate for Traveling Babies and Toddlers

Portable Self-Contained Play Gate for Traveling Babies and Toddlers

If you will travel with babies or toddlers, you sometimes don’t know exactly what you will encounter. You could have a hotel room or vacation rental with very little ability to baby proof or child proof. You could be visiting grandma’s house filled with delicate objets d’art on low shelves.

The Superyard XT portable play gate provides a handy solution to this problem. Here is a review of the Superyard XT portable play gate.

Pros of the Superyard XT Gate

Pros of the Superyard XT Gate
  • It can be folded down to transport, and comes with a carrying handle.
  • It is self-contained, and you can increase the play area by adding two extension panels to create a massive 34.4 square foot space inside the gate.
  • The large size makes it much more inviting for babies and toddlers, who can get cranky spending time in a travel play yard, know more.
  • It’s great for use at home as well.
  • You can also use it in reverse to enclose certain areas and protect them from your baby or toddler, such as surrounding a Christmas tree.
  • It can quickly be opened, and it can quickly be collapsed and propped against the wall.
  • After several months of use and many instances of opening and closing, it is still quite sturdy and no parts have gotten loose.
  • It also can be used to provide a play area outside for camping or at the beach.
  • It’s ideal for use in places with odd-shaped or uneven door openings, or in homes with an open floor plan where a standard gate cannot be used.
  • You can gate your baby or toddler without concerns about leaving marks or screw holes that a standard door gate will leave.

Cons of the Superyard XT Gate

  • It is a bit heavy and large for travel. It weighs 23 pounds with the basic six panels, and 32 with the extension panels. It does lay flat, however, so it will travel well if you have a large trunk or hatch or you have a travel compartment for your roof rack.
  • It takes a little practice to get the knack of inserting the two panels together to enclose the gate.
  • You would still want to keep a close eye on your children while in the gate, as you would with any enclosure. A hard push to the side can move or even tip the gate. Unlike gates you install in a door frame, its own weight must hold it in place.
  • If you will be staying in lodging, you will need a room with enough space to use the gate. With the six panels, you will need 18.5 square feet of open space. You might consider staying in a hotel suite or a vacation rental.

Bottom Line on the Superyard XT Gate

Bottom Line on the Superyard XT Gate

There are almost no products that do precisely what the Superyard XT can do: provide an enclosed play area for babies and toddlers. There are really two alternatives, the standard gate and the play yard.

The standard gate requires that you know the width of the door opening and it provides free access for baby to everything within that room. That really isn’t practical for travel. The play yard is confining to baby, and also very bulky for travel.

This gate is very versatile, and can be used both at home and while traveling.

Riga, Art Nouveau Capital in Europe

Riga, Art Nouveau Capital in Europe

Like its Baltic neighbours, Latvia shares naturally beautiful scenery, cobbled streets and a capital which is bustling with energy and a wonderful Old Town filled with history. The largest city of the Baltics, Riga presents itself as a cultural hub where the architecture alone makes it one reason to visit. Visually, it is a city both interesting and unique with plenty to offer the tourist and architecture enthusiast. With the historical allure of the the Old Town there is little wonder why it is UNESCO world heritage listed.

Within the Walls of Riga’s Old Town

Within the Walls of Riga's Old Town

The capital Riga is undoubtedly one of the most exciting areas in the Baltic region to visit and find more. A mixture of old and new is no more apparent than in the Old Town, with a balance of old, elegant and modern designs in what was once a medieval town. Filled with beautiful Art Nouveau architecture and murals adorning walls of buildings, this is one cultural aspect setting it apart from other cities in the Baltics. Offering sophisticated choices for an evening out or a more casual approach to dining, the Old Town has the best of both worlds being home to some of the city’s best bars and restaurants. For learning about Latvia’s history, the Museum of Occupation is the best place to begin which includes a comprehensive view of the lives of people in an occupied Latvia. Finding somewhere to stay within the Old Town is easy, with plenty of places to choose from in this flourishing capital.

Outside the Old Town

Outside the Old Town

Art Nouveau sightings are still apparent outside the Old Town, particularly in Alberta and Elizabeth streets, with buildings of all kinds adorned with decorative arts an sculptures. Among the elegant mix of baroque, gothic, renaissance and medieval heritage of the city there are beautiful parks, important monuments and the Daugava river showing the modern day Riga as a diverse capital with much to discover.

The State Museum of Fine Arts displays pre-World War Two Russian and Latvian paintings and is a great museum in its Soviet style splendour. Also worth visiting is Riga Central Market, which is one of Europe’s largest markets with a variety of things for sale from music to food, which is particularly excellent good for fresh and cheap produce. This exciting capital with its German, Russian and Swedish influences is a standout in Europe which, so far, is unspoilt in comparison to the herd of tourists that flock to the regions of Western Europe.

Home Care of Elder Parents: Managing Care Within the Family

Home Care of Elder Parents

As my parents are moving up in years, my sister and I have stepped into a new role as elder caregivers. The two of us take turns caring for our elderly parents, “trading off” weeks that work around around our jobs and families.

When our Mom was diagnosed with cancer recently, Sis and I soon discovered that we needed a better system for sharing medical information click for source. We developed a “Family Charting System” that helped us keep track of Mom’s medical appointments and health information. The Family Charting System is passed back and forth between the two of us when it’s time for us to exchange places and is a fantastic ways to bring us current with Mom’s current treatment plan.

If you and your siblings are having similar problems in tracking your elder parents’ heath care appointments and treatments, a Family Charting System may work for you. This is how it’s done:

Supplies Needed

Supplies Needed

* A three ring zippered binder with pouches, pockets, and pen holder.
* Tote bag which is large enough to hold both the notebook, but alsobottled water, snacks, and other supplies that might be have to brought to an appointment
* Pens
* Single hole punch
* Spiral bound notebook
* pocket notebook
* pocket calendar

Setting up the Family Charting System

Setting up the Family Charting System

The three ring zippered binder is the foundation of your charting system and it’s here where the spiral notebook should be stored, along with the pens, hole punch, pocket notebook, and pocket calendar.

The pocket notebook is used for recording current medications, and important contact information. It should be kept in one of the zippered pouches where it’s easy to find.

The spiral bound notebook is used as a log, and records both the date of the appointment or treatment, what was said and what was done. It should also record general observations such as how the parent responded to the treatment.

Upcoming appointments are noted in the pocket calendar.

Copies of test results should be punched with the hole punch and placed behind the spiral bound notebook in the zippered binder. While your parent’s physicians should have copies of everything, having extra copies will give you something to refer to if there is a question.

The original copy of the living will directive should also be kept in the zippered binder.

In a situation where both parents are in need of care, two separate Family Charting Systems should be set up so that each parent has his or her own set of records.

Using the Family Charting System

Once the charting system has been set up, it can be placed in the tote bag and stored in an agreed upon place in your elder parents’ home. This makes it convenient for siblings to grab on the way to a doctor’s appointment or treatment center.

The Family Charting System is an effective way of organizing and managing elder parent’s medical information, especially when more than one sibling is involved in their care. By keeping medical information in one easy-to-find location and recording what transpires at the doctor’s office or clinic, siblings can effectively share this medical information without the risk of forgetting something important.

The Top 10 Things I Did to Lose Weight and Keep it Off

The Top 10 Things I Did to Lose Weight and Keep it Off

The best way to lose weight is to combine diet and exercise in a way that is personally motivating. Here are my top ten tips to the best ways lose weight, which I applied while losing four clothing sizes!

1. Find your motivation. We all want to lose weight for different reasons. Whatever your reason might be, you must harness that desire to kick-start your body towards reaching that goal. For example, buy a bikini in advance to wear once you hit your weight goal, or tape a picture of the hot celebrity body you are craving to emulate on your refrigerator.

Did to Lose Weight

2. Make a Goal. None of us are very good at sticking to a plan if we don’t know what that plan specifically entails! Make some goals and write them down. Start small, focusing on either diet or exercise, and be specific about what you plan to do. For example, your goal can be to eat eight servings of fruits/veggies a day, or to wake up 30 minutes early to go for a walk before work.

3. Find Cheerleaders. Enlist the help of your spouse, partner, parents, kids, and coworkers. Ask them to cheer you on and keep you accountable.

4. Enlist a Partner to Lose Weight Alongside You. Invite a friend to take daily walks with you on your lunch breaks, share a trainer with a friend, or to make healthful dinners together. Share your struggles and successes.

5. Fill up on Fruits on Veggies. Add more fruits and veggies to your diet, and you will find yourself filling up on quality, healthful foods. This will help you reduce your daily calorie intake as well.

6. Shop for Fresh Food. Stock up on fresh foods found only on the outskirts of the grocery store – this includes fruit, vegetables, low-fat dairy and lean meats. Skip the wide range of processed boxed food that is found in the center of the grocery store.

7. Drink more Water. As water has zero calories, it is an obvious choice over the high sugar and high calorie sodas and fruit juices. It will also fill you up and increase your energy. If you are not a fan of drinking water, try club soda or another non-caloric carbonated water.

8. Add More Movement. Join a gym, take evening walks, take the stairs, walk the dog, bike to the store, take a new exercise class. Examine where you are now in your exercise routine (or lack thereof) and take it up a notch.

Lose Weight

9. Don’t Get Discouraged. If you do not meet your goal immediately, or if you plan is temporarily derailed, make a fresh start upon waking up the next morning. Learning from our mistakes is a great way to lose weight!

10. Make an Appointment With an Expert. Take advantage of experts around you and ask them for individualized tips. Consult fitness magazines for at-home exercises and columns of fitness experts. Insurance companies will pay for a session with a nutritionist, who can teach you to read nutrition labels, count calories or tailor a meal plan to your needs. Personal trainers usually offer a free training session, giving you the opportunity to learn how to properly lift weights or use the machines at your gym, source.

The single best diet and weight loss tip, however, is to find what works for you and you alone… then stick with it! Make your goals harder as time goes on, and keep taking it up a notch. By following these ten tips, you will successfully achieve you desired weight loss and meet your personal goals!

Dark Chocolate Lowers Blood Pressure and Protects Against Stroke

Dark Chocolate Lowers Blood Pressure

For people with a sweet tooth, researchers are giving one more reason to add a few ounces of dark chocolate to their diet each week. Over the past few months, dark chocolate has been touted as a healthy food choice for many different health conditions and the most recent is the study that found eating this sweet delight can help lower blood pressure.

Dark Chocolate Lowers High Blood Pressure

Dark Chocolate Lowers High Blood Pressure

Researchers reported in the June 28, 2010 issue of the online journal BMC Medicine that eating dark chocolate can lower blood pressure. The researchers from the University of Adelaide, Australia found that the powerful antioxidants, flavanols, which are a compound in dark chocolate, can actually help to dilate blood vessels which can lead to lowering blood pressure, find out more. They reported a reduction of up to 5mm HG in systolic pressure by eating dark chocolate, which is a comparable reduction in blood pressure to exercising 30 minutes a day. The researchers believe that eating dark chocolate could lower the risk of a cardiovascular event by 20 percent over five years.

The researchers also found that dark chocolate only lowered blood pressure in people who had hypertension and did not affect the blood pressure in those who had a normal reading. They also did not specify the exact amount of dark chocolate that should be consumed to lower blood pressure. However, the Mayo Clinic of Rochester, MN feels that eating no more than three ounces of dark chocolate a day, which contains a level of 65 percent or higher of real cocoa, can be beneficial to treating heart disease.

Dark Chocolate Lowers Stroke Risk

Dark Chocolate Lowers Stroke Risk

In addition to lowering blood pressure, eating dark chocolate may lower the risk of stroke as well as protect against brain injury from a stroke. According to research presented at the April, 2010 American Academy of Neurology’s 62nd Annual Meeting, eating dark chocolate was found to lower the risk of having a stroke and lower the risk of death after a stroke. The study found that people who ate one serving of dark chocolate each week lowered their risk of stroke by 22 percent and people who ate 50 grams of dark chocolate each week lowered their risk of dying of a stroke by 46 percent. Once again, the researchers stated that the flavonoids in dark chocolate were responsible for the lowered risk of stroke.

Another study reported in May, 2010 stated researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine discovered a new compound in dark chocolate which may protect the brain from injury after a stroke occurs. The compound, epicatechin, found naturally in dark chocolate, increases the cellular signals that shield nerve cells from damage after a stoke occurs. While the researchers were not clear on how much dark chocolate had to be consumed, they did state that small amounts are sufficient.

Is all Dark Chocolate Healthy?

Is all Dark Chocolate Healthy

Not all dark chocolate is effective in lowering blood pressure or protecting the body from stroke. According to the Johns Hopkins’ researchers, just because a product is labeled “dark chocolate” doesn’t mean it will contain epicatechin or other active ingredients. Most chocolate is heated and sugar and other ingredients are added, taking away the strength of flavanoids as well as epicatechin. It is recommended to look for dark chocolate which still contains at least 65 percent of cocoa, although 85 percent or higher is better, and that has the least amount of processing. Many health food stores carry the brands of the purest dark chocolate.

Doctors also stress the fact that more chocolate doesn’t mean a healthier heart. Chocolate is rich in fat and sugar and is high in calories. Only eat dark chocolate in moderation for its health benefits.

Laser Teeth Whitening Price – How Much Will it Cost?

Laser Teeth Whitening Price

In this modern age, everybody wants to look their absolute best. And people are always looking for the easiest way to get solutions to their problems. If they want to lose weight, it always has to be overnight. Ofcourse, there is no such thing. But when it comes to teeth whitening, it’s a slightly different story. If you are not satisfied with the color of your teeth, you can get that problem fixed in relatively little time. And it won’t cost you a lot of pain either.

How Does Laser Teeth Whitening Work?

How Does Laser Teeth Whitening Work

Laser teeth whitening systems are methods for people to get whiter smiles almost instantly without going through the hassle of using at-home whitening kits for weeks on end. Some people get a little scared because of the whole laser part in this method. But as it turns out, having your teeth whitened by the laser is actually fairly harmless and also safe.

When you take place for the procedure, you can try this out the dentist will have you sit down in the chair and your teeth will be cleaned. Any debris and/or plaque that may have built up since your last visit to the dentist, will be removed. Then, a patented gel will be applied to your teeth. Once the laser is pointed at this gel, its active ingredients are activated. The bleaching chemicals in the gel will then start to do their work. The laser speeds up the working of these chemicals, which are usually a concentrated form of carbamide peroxide of hydrogen. This whole process takes less than an hour. Your teeth can easily become around 14 shades whiter once the treatment has been completed. It is possible that you will require more than one treatment. If you’re a smoker or a heavy coffee drinker, your teeth will have more stains than those of a non smoker and non coffee drinker. It’s going to cost a little extra, ofcourse. But don’t let it hold you from having your teeth whitened.

What Is The Cost Of Laser Teeth Whitening?

What Is The Cost Of Laser Teeth Whitening

This technology is relatively new. For this reason, this laser treatment is not exactly cheap. Your bill will be at least a few hundred dollars. And that’s per single session. The other options are ofcourse to try out at-home products, whitening kits and home remedies such as baking soda. All of those are cheaper, but they also produce less impressive results. A lot of dentists will offer a discount to first customers, or to people who are willing to pay upfront for multiple treatments. Negotiate for a good price and before you know it, you’ll be going through life with a bright smile for cheap!

Dish Network: What Has Happened to Customer Service?

Dish Network

Dish Network is one of two leading satellite television companies in northern Indiana, and other than local cable TV, Dish Network and DirecTV are the only two options. Dish Network was the first satellite television company I subscribed to almost a decade ago, and after subscribing to cable TV, and DirecTV, I’ve decided I’m ready to go back to cable when I move out of the area. I am very displeased with the level of customer service provided by Dish Network, and no amount of calling, writing, and complaining has prompted anyone to help with my problem.

Bill Pay

Beware of paying your Dish Network bill online using an electronic check. After paying by debit card the prior month and finding out I was charged an extra dollar, I decided to avoid the extra fee charged by Dish Network and pay by check online. Although I pay almost all of my bills online, I should have mailed the bill and avoided paying online altogether. I entered the requested information from the bottom of my check, and I double-checked the figures before I hit send. I knew if I made one mistake the payment would not be received, and I was extremely careful.

Seven days after submitting my payment I received notification from Dish Network that my checking account was invalid, and I was asked to call Dish Network as soon as possible. I did just that, and I was connected to a man with a very thick accent that I could barely understand. I asked for the erroneous numbers I supposedly submitted, and he was unable to tell me because of security reasons. If the numbers led to an invalid account, why couldn’t I have those numbers? How am I supposed to know if I truly made a mistake if Dish Network can’t provide me with the numbers I submitted?

Although the bill was now $7.00 higher than it had been because of this alleged error, I wanted to pay it. I was informed by Steve that I could no longer pay by check because of the prior electronic check I submitted. He said I would have to pay by Western Union or at Radio Shack. He rattled off a number of other options, but I quit listening after hearing him mention Western Union. This was ridiculous, especially since I couldn’t be told where I went wrong, and I had no intentions of following his instructions.

What has happened to customer service? Is Dish Network outsourcing now? Each time I have called Dish Network for anything, I’ve been connected to someone with an American sounding name who clearly sounds foreign. I have nothing at all against people from other countries, but when I want customer service I want to speak to someone I can fully understand. If I have trouble understanding someone, I have to wonder if they can completely understand me. When the last individual I spoke to said his name was Steve, I was tempted to say, no you’re not! I’d like to speak to someone I can understand.

Email Correspondence

Email Correspondence

The following is a copy of my recent email correspondence with Dish Network customer service, and it clearly shows that customer service is lacking. Either the person didn’t read my question carefully, or they didn’t understand what I was asking. In a nutshell, I was presented with the same excuse about not being able provide that information because of security reasons, even though I didn’t request the information, and I was given a huge list of payment options. All I wanted was to find out who could give me that information.

From: K. Ray

Sent: Monday, May 21, 2007 5:26 AM

To: FeedBack

Subject: Re: DISH Network Payment Confirmation

My check payment wasn’t accepted for whatever reason. The account is good, and I was VERY careful when I entered the requested numbers from the bottom of my check. When I called to inquire as to why the payment wasn’t accepted I was told they couldn’t tell me what information I entered because it is secure. It seems to me that’s the only way to confirm that I made a mistake. I don’t think I made a mistake, but I am being penalized with a late fee, not to mention the fact that they will no longer take my checks. I want to know who I need to talk to that has the information I entered that ultimately caused my check to be denied. I deserve to know the numbers I entered before I am charged a late fee and punished for my supposed error. If the numbers are bad anyway, I don’t understand why I can’t know what they are.

If I find out I made a mistake I will apologize, but if I am not allowed to know what mistake I made, or if I find out I didn’t make a mistake, and it is not rectified, I will cancel with Dish Network. I am moving in July, and I originally planned to have it hooked up at my new home. As it stands, I would rather pay the cancellation fee and switch to cable. In addition, I will be sure to tell everyone I know about my experience. I am a writer with Ezine, and I plan on writing about my experience in the very near future.

K. Ray

The Response I Received

The Response I Received

Dear K. Ray,

Thank you for your email. Please accept our apologies for the inconvenience and confusion caused by this issue, we can’t provide the checking numbers entered via email for security purposes.

DISH Network makes paying your bill easy and convenient by providing many different options. Our current payment options are as follows:

CASH PAYMENT OPTIONS

Western Union Quick Collect Payments:

You can use the following link to locate Western Union payment center locations near you.

Simply complete the BLUE Quick Collect Form using the following information:

* Your 16 digit DISH Network account number: (see your billing statement)

* Pay To: DISH Network

* CODE City: DISHNetwork (one word)

* CODE State: Colorado

If service is interrupted, it will be restored within 4 hours. The payment will post to your account within 2 business days. This option costs $12.95, charged by Western Union.

Money Gram Express Payment: Please use Receive Code – 1899 and your DISH Network account number on the BLUE Express Payment form.

If services are interrupted, they will be restored within 2-4 hours. The payment will post to your account within 2 business days. This option costs $6.95, charged by Money Gram Express.

DISH Network Dollar Payments: You can use the following link to locate a convenient location to make DISH Network Dollar Payments. You will need to provide your 16 digit DISH Network account number in order for the payment to be processed. There is a $1.00 convenience fee for this service. If services are interrupted they will be restored within 2 business days. The payment will post your account the same business day we receive it.

Pre Cash: Obtain a payment card at a participating Radio Shack location then call our automated phone system to “link” your PreCash card with your DISH Network account.

How to –

* Call the automated phone system at 800-333-DISH

* Enter the 16-digit PreCash Payment Card number

* Enter your 16-digit DISH Network account number

* Confirm your DISH Network account number

If you cannot “link” your card through the automated phone system, a Customer Service representative will assist you.

American Cash Express (ACE) Payments:

How it works –

*$4.00 Processing Fee

* There are no forms to complete. Customers must call 800-991-9164 for the nearest location.

Payment will post within 2-4 hours; services will be restored if interrupted.

We value our customers and attempt to accommodate their every need. Your business is greatly appreciated and we thank you for allowing us to be of assistance to you. If you have any further questions or concerns, please refer to www.dishnetwork.com or reply to this email. Or call our Customer Service Center at 1-800-333-3474.

Sincerely,

Y.Abdullah

DISH Network eCare

My Dilemma

I still have not worked out this problem, and after I move in about six weeks, I’m planning on paying the penalty for dumping Dish Network early, and I’m signing up for local cable TV. Although I’m happy with the programming Dish Network provides, Dish Network is clearly not the company it used to be. They have not understood my questions, and they have not helped me in any way. Customer service seems to be based in another country, and I’m tired of trying to get through to these people. If customer service isn’t based in another country, I find it odd that everyone answering phones in customer service has a thick accent that is often difficult to understand. I don’t feel Dish Network can provide the level of customer service I need right now, or in the future, and I will never sign up for service or recommend them again.

Kepler Space Telescope Finds New Planets that may be Inhabited

Kepler Space Telescope Finds New Planets that may be Inhabited

Far from the solar system Kepler is finding a variety of planets and satellites. Launched March 6, 2009, success has come quickly to the mission. The Kepler space telescope is only a fraction the size of the Hubble, but its mission is much more specific and not intended to produce the spectacular images of Hubble. Kepler has a heliocentric — sun-centered — orbit following the Earth around the sun. It is far beyond the atmosphere of the Earth at a distance of 1 AU — about 93 million miles — and falling slowly behind the earth.

Kepler Looks at a Special Place in a Special Way

Kepler Looks at a Special Place in a Special Way

Kepler’s mission is to study a sector of the Milky Way galaxy with about 150,000 stars in its field of view. It does not take pictures of planets, but uses a light-sensing device known as a photometer to detect slight variations in the light emitted by stars as planets orbit in front of them. The planets block a small amount of light from the star, and these small variations in brightness can be detected by Kepler’s sensitive instruments.

The amount of variation gives an indication of the size of the planet. The stars discovered with tell-tell variations are observed from Earth with larger telescopes for spectroscopic analysis which yields information about the location of the planet relative to its star as well as its density and mass, source.

Assumptions can be made about the chance of life on the planets. Kepler attempts to locate planets in the “habitable zone,” also called the Goldilocks Zone. This refers to a location and orbital shape that is “just right” for the existence of life as we know it.

New Announcements from the Kepler Team Confirms its Success

On December 5, 2011, the Kepler team announced that the mission has isolated one planet that was enough like Earth to possibly support life. The evidence is indirect and open to interpretation, but the mission has been an astounding success. Only decades ago the idea of gathering detailed information on planets light years away seemed dim.

The planet — Kepler 22b — is 600 light years away and seems to be about the right size and temperature with a decent orbit and atmosphere. In other words, it is in the Goldilocks Zone. Kepler 22b has been studied for two years to gather data. Over 1,000 planets have been added to its previous discoveries bringing the total to over 2,000 since the mission began.

There are 207 planets that are approximately Earth-sized. Multiple planets have been discovered sharing a single star — in other words, solar systems. The mission will continue for another year and undoubtedly add to the list of known exoplanets.

Kepler Team

The Kepler space telescope was launched in 2009. Since then its instruments have scanned over 150,000 stars and picked out over 2,000 planets and moons orbiting stars hundreds of light years away. No pictures are available as the techniques involved were based on slight variations in the light of stars as planets passed in front of them. Additional information was gathered by earth-based analysis of light. The most promising candidate for possible life so far — Kepler 22b — was announced on December 5, 2011.

Emwave Personal Stress Reliever: Biofeedback Device for Deeper Sleep, Meditation, and Self-Hypnosis

Emwave Personal Stress Reliever

The Emwave — a handheld biofeedback device that provides information on heart rate patterns — offers possibilities beyond basic stress relief. Since it helps users to sense their own heartbeat, synchronize the heart rate with breathing, the device compels many users to concentrate on a goal.

The Emwave essentially induces the requirements for deep meditation as taught throughout the ages in mystery schools, yoga traditions, ashrams and monasteries. What once relied on isolation, the stern hand of a guru and much willpower is now encapsulated in this little gadget.

The Emwave for Sleep

The Emwave for Sleep

The most practical use of the Emwave is as a weapon against insomnia. It chimes pleasantly as it reads the pulse beat and flashes a soft blue light at a measured pace to time breathe rate. The volume of the chime can be adjusted, or turned off completely, and the intensity of the light may be raised or lowered. A clip that attaches softly to the earlobe and connects by a wire to the Emwave detects heart rate so that a finger needn’t be pressed to the sensor of the machine while trying to sleep.

If the insomniac sincerely senses their heart, breaths deeply in rhythm with the light and tries to invoke a pleasant emotional feeling sleep will come. The Emwave may be as quick as a tranquilizer but it’s safer and eventually repeated use brings sleep faster and faster.

Using the Emwave for Deeper Meditation

True meditation has as many approaches as there are spiritual traditions and often asks for more devotion than a modern person is willing to give. The Emwave ingeniously circumvents this obstacle by updating meditative practice to the 21st century.

By giving a tangible object that actually senses and shows the internal state, the Emwave dispels any discouraging doubts the beginning meditator might have about being in the right mind frame. The breath pacer gives something objective to concentrate and fix the mind upon.

Perhaps the most compelling aspect is that as long as the Emwave detects a good internal state, incremental lights build up in a display with each successful breath. Yet if the Emwave detects a negative internal state the light units decline with each unsuccessful breath thus impelling the user to paradoxically strive for a positive mind state, find more about this.

Many Emwave users report a real sense of fulfillment is reached at the end of a session in which the entire display has been filled with light. The Emwave even shows the percentage of time spent in negative, neutral, and positive states during each session which the meditator can then record in a notebook to track their progress from day to day. Meditation becomes an engaging challenge rather than a chore.

Using the Emwave for Self-Hypnosis

One of the main requirements for hypnotic trance is deep relaxation along with an alert, concentrated mind state. In the past spinning hypno-wheels, swinging medallions, metronomes or glittering jewelry were used to induce this state but the Emwave makes all of them unnecessary.

The rhythm of the blue breath pacing light is pleasant to behold, as is the chime to hear, so that several senses are engaged at once which is a key to deepening trance states. The biofeedback from the Emwave indicates when the trance has been reached or when it has been dispelled.

Emwave Coherence

Emwave Coherence

“Coherence” is the term used by the Institute of Heartmath to describe for the overall benefit that the Emwave can provide. By practicing with the Emwave several times a day, the user quickly begins to develop an internal feeling which easily neutralizes tension, anxiety, irritation, frustration and worry.

Even if the goal isn’t to fall asleep quickly, achieve enlightenment, or improve yourself through hypnosis the unavoidable outcome of using the Emwave is a general state of calmness, poise, and confidence which is valuable to everyone living today.

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