22% of Americans have consulted a psychic or medium, according to You Gov. While they might not be overly popular with the general public, there’s one group of individuals that turn to psychics in their droves: celebrities. George Clooney, Khloe Kardashian, Brad Pitt and Jenny McCarthy are just a few famous faces who have confessed to seeing a psychic. But just how do celebrities benefit from psychics in a way that others don’t?
Anxiety and depression are officially the two most common mental conditions in the United States, with anxiety alone affecting 40 million adults, as reported by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Around two million of these have one of the most severe manifestations of anxiety – panic disorder, which can seriously hamper their well-being and sometimes make work or a social life an impossibility.
Of two co-travellers who surprised the writer with their graciousness, 24 years ago.
It was the summer of 1990. As Indian Railway (Traffic) Service probationers, my friend and I travelled by train from Lucknow to Delhi. Two MPs were also travelling in the same bogie. That was fine, but the behaviour of some 12 people who were travelling with them without reservation was terrifying. They forced us to vacate our reserved berths and sit on the luggage, and passed obscene and abusive comments. We cowered in fright and squirmed with rage. It was a harrowing night in the company of an unruly battalion; we were on edge, on the thin line between honour and dishonour. All other passengers seemed to have vanished, along with the Travelling Ticket Examiner.
Reduced Risk of Cancer – According to The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine,vegetarians are nearly 50% less likely to get cancer than those who consume meat.
Reduced Risk of Heart Disease – Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and Dr. Dean Ornish, two researchers, have suggested that those that avoid meat have a reduced risk of heart disease. Not to mention, a vegetarian and vegan diet reduces cholesterol.
Reduced Risk of Osteoporosis – Studies suggest that having too much protein in your diet can cause bone calcium loss. Meat eaters typically consumer far more protein than their bodies need.
Reduced Risk of Kidney and Gallstones – Calcium is leached from your bones because your body is constantly trying to neutralize acids that are produced by consuming too much protein. These can result in the formation of gallstones and kidney stones.
Farmed Animals Often Carry Disease – You may not know but according to the FDA, the number one cause of food-borne illness is poultry. Even though there is an alarming amount of antibiotics and pesticides used, nearly 60 percent of supermarket-sold chickens are infected with some amount of live salmonella bacteria. Additionally, roughly 30 percent of sold pork products contain toxoplasmosis. The population is increasingly at risk from dangerous and highly contagious diseases such as Foot and Mouth Disease and Mad Cow Disease from sheep and cattle.
Farmed Animals Can Contain Toxic Chemicals -There are alarming accumulations of chemicals, including pesticides in meat products, much more than what is found in plant products. Do you know that half of the United States’ antibiotic supply is used to treat farm animals? Not for healthy purposes but merely as growth promoters and ways to preserve and make more profit.
Inefficient Use of Agriculture – 70 percent of grain production in the United States is used to solely feed farm animals. The mass amount of grains and soybeans that are fed to animals that are consumed by one average American in one year’s time could easily feed seven hungry people for the same amount of time.
Inefficient Use of Water – It requires 2,640 gallons of water just to produce one pound of beef. The water that is used to raise animals solely to be slaughtered for food is far more than half of the water that is used in the United States.
The World Wide Web as we know it turns 25 today and has pervaded, infiltrated and dominated billions of lives around the world since then.With the advent of the ‘digital citizen’ and the ‘netizen’ since then, the Web has effectively replaced many services and things that were integral parts of day to day life not all that long ago. When for instance, was the last time you actually took the trouble of sticking photographs in an album? Or used a physical encyclopaedia? Or sent a greeting card? With that in mind, we decided to compile a list of 25 things that are either completely or well on their way to becoming obsolete in honour of the Web’s 25th birthday.
1. Appointment diaries, planners and the rolodex Pencil this one down as ‘obsolete’.Seriously, who uses planners in the age of Google and other online calendars? With all sorts of handy features like pop-up reminders, alarms, notifications and even shared calendars to make sure that you don’t miss your important appointments, the days of assiduously writing down your important meetings are well and truly over.
2. Maps When was the last time you actually unfolded a road map to get directions? Unless you’re a true physical map romantic, chances are that you don’t remember. With services like Google Maps not only showing you roads but also calculating the best routes for you to take, there is really little reason for you to use anything else.And with online maps getting smarter and smarter and expanding their services to also show you things like traffic movement and interesting places to visit, this battle is all but over.
3. Encyclopedias One word. Wikipedia. Enough said. And for the times that Wikipedia just doesn’t cut it, there’s always Google. More likely to be found in a museum.
4. Smut (porn) magazines Really. Who pays for their porn anymore? The online porn industry has single handedly engineered the misfortune of many ‘established’ smut magazines. What turns off porn stars more than anything else? Free sites, that’s what.
5. Privacy We may fight it as hard as we can, but the truth is that the Internet has long killed privacy. Unless you have absolutely no presence on social media, no one knows what you do and you have a job that won’t show up anywhere online (i.e. spy) chances are that even a cursory search of your name will reveal at least your basic information to the outside world.And then of course there is the fact that sites like Facebook and Google probably know everything about you, based on your browsing history. They claim to use this information to decide what ads to show you, but the truth is that they probably know you better than you may know yourself.
Creeped out yet? Good, because you should be.
6. Telegrams Remember all those ‘last’ telegrams that were sent out in nostalgia last year? Yeah, blame email for that. Which brings us to point 7 which is….
7. Letters Ah the old physical letters! Initially, the handwritten ones and then typed letters. The romanticized bundles of letters tied up with a blue ribbon in the metaphorical attic are destined to be replaced with printouts of emails.
8. Reference libraries With online references, online book stores and so many academic articles available online for a fee, there is really no reason to trudge to a reference library, painstakingly leaf through musty volumes of books, and then carefully photocopy the sections you need. A net connection, credit card and a printer is really all you need.
9. Train timetables and almanacs With schedules of trains and expected arrival times all available online, no one really buys timetables, but for the nostalgic value.
10. Attention spans Have you even read this far? Well done. But seriously the Internet with all its bite-sized chunks of news and snippets, short videos and little pictures, our collective attention spans are getting shorter and… oh look! It’s a picture of a cat! Sorry, where were we?
Apologies for the distraction. Please scroll back up to read again
11. Airline booking centres The sheer number of printouts and mobile phones with PNRs that are waved around at airports is enough explanation for this one. Booking tickets has become worlds easier now.
12. Dictionaries With online dictionaries, it’s become much easier to type and search for words rather than painstakingly look them up in the physical dictionary. And as we all know, dictionary.com is the new tool of Scrabble lovers everywhere.
13. Photo albums If it’s not on Facebook, it probably didn’t happen. (But watch out for those privacy settings)
14. Recipe books Julie and Julia notwithstanding, the truth is that unless you’re a huge fan of a particular cook, you’re going to search for all your recipes online. It’s become that easy.
15. Greeting cards The traditional greeting cards have been dealt a double whammy. First up, there were the e-card sites like Hallmark and 123greetings and now there is social media. Wishing people on Facebook is the new greeting card, people. You know it’s true.
16. Book stores Amazon. Flipkart. Need we say more? Except for when you want a worn-out early edition, but then you can probably find it on eBay.
17 . Copyright While we don’t advocate piracy, the fact is that we can’t ignore the effect of the Internet on copyrighted material like songs, movies and even books. Although industries and artists have been trying to fight back along with newly strengthened laws and monitoring, the fact is that it’s not that easy to do.But the effect of the Internet on copyright has not been all bad. There are theCopyleft and Creative Commons movements that have sought to share content fairly, instead of restricting them under copyright laws.
Internet plays matchmaker too
18. Personal diaries These were first replaced by the blogs. But now we have Twitter and Facebook. Yup. Personal diaries in 140 characters in less. As for private diaries… please refer point 5.
19. Yellow pages Want a number or address? Google it.
20. Matrimonial ads While these are still completely not dead, as newspaper pages will prove, fact is that more and more people are turning to online matrimonial services to find the ‘perfect partner’ for themselves or their offspring. And there’s so much more choice and scope for stalking thanks to Facebook and Google. Again, refer point 5.
21. Fax Remember the expression, “Did you get the fax I sent?”. Us neither.
22. What’s a blind date? Though you may not ‘personally’ know someone before you meet them, chances are that with Google, Facebook and a little help from your friends, will help you find out what Mr or Ms Stranger looks like, where they work, where they went to school and what they like to eat and what they did last Saturday. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. You can find out pretty much anything you want about a person online. The only challenge will be how not to freak them out by revealing everything you know about them… on your first date.
Not the best way to begin a blind date
23. Detectives Google, Linkedin and the other social networks are really making a lot of services redundant. Private investigators can be added to the list.
24. Bill payment centres No more standing in lines to pay your electricity and water bills, thanks to the fact that most utility service providers have their own payment gateways.
25. Experts Everyone is an expert thanks to Google and Wikipedia — ON the surface anyway. But given the fact that attention spans are already obsolete, who needs in-depth knowledge anyway?
Yesterday I heard a few extracts of the speech delivered by Rahul Gandhi in Gujarat. He compared Narendra Modi to Adolf Hitler. Rahul Gandhi may have been a young child in 1975 when his grandmother Smt. Indira Gandhi as Prime Minister decided to proclaim the internal emergency. Surely, he is not unaware of what happened during those nineteen months of the Emergency. I was a college student at that time. As a Students Union Leader and an Activist in JP’s movement I spent the next nineteen months in prison. I came across a document being circulated as a part of the underground literature which was titled “A Tale of Two Emergencies”. I was later told that it had been authored by Shri L.K. Advani. This document is even now available as an annexure to Advani ji’s prison memoirs titled “A Prisoner’s Scrap Book”. The document was based on the authentic work of history of Nazi Germany by William Shirer. Shirer’s book was titled “The Rise and Fall of Third Reich” I obtained a copy of the book in prison and spent a few weeks reading it. After reading the book I had no doubt that the only Indian politician in post independence India who drew inspiration from Adolf Hitler was Smt. Indira Gandhi. The comparison between Hitler and her was startling.
Say you come into Venezuela with just $1 and an eye for business. Just how much money can you turn that bill into using tried-and-true, being-used-right-now scams? With a bit of gumption the answer to that is…$175K or so. Really. Here’s how.
First, take your crisp new dollar bill to a black market currency dealer and buy yourself Bs.85.
Did you make sure to get travel insurance before you trip?
Good…..Now go to a doctor and buy yourself Bs.85 worth of medical attention. Any pretext will do. Don’t forget to get a receipt, though: your insurance company back home will reimburse your 85 Bolivar claim at the official rate, giving you back $1 for every 6 Bolivar and 30 cents you spent.So after one doctor’s visit, your $1 has already turned into $13.50. Not too bad.
But we’re just getting going here. Needless to say your next step is to take your $13.50 right back to the currency tout and buy yourself 1,150 Bolivar.Next, take your 1,150 bolivars to any reputable Caracas jeweller. There, you can get about 5.7 grams of 18-karat gold for that. As it turns out, back stateside those 5.7 grams of gold are worth $182.29.
Your Caracas black market dollar dealer will be expecting your call by now: the $182.29 you netted for the gold buys you 15,495 Bolivar.
This is fun, isn’t it?
But maybe you’re getting a bit impatient at this point. Sure, a 18,290% profit with no risk and for doing no real work isn’t too bad, but let’s say you want to make some real money.
For that, you need to go to a market with genuinely grotesque price differential. And in a petro-state like Venezuela, that can only mean one thing: gasoline.
At Venezuela’s ludicrous price of 0.097 Bolivar per liter, the 15,495 bolivars currently burning a hole in your pocket can buy 159,742 liters of unleaded gas. That’s 42,200 gallons or so.The next step is to load your gas into a tanker truck and drive it out to Colombia, where each and every one of your 42,200 gallons will sell for US$4.14/gallon….By the time it’s all said and done, that clean, crisp $1 bill you came into Venezuela with has turned into US$174,905.
That’s a seventeen million percent profit margin for doing basically nothing.
This isn’t just some thought exercise, it’s the central reality of the Venezuelan economy today.
The catch, of course, is that the viability of each of these scams depends first and foremost on having official protection from some regime-connected power broker. You can’t smuggle gasoline out of the country without a National Guard officer (or 10) taking a cut. You can’t load much gold into a northbound plane without paying off an airport guard. Any attempt to buy a substantial number of official rate dollars is going to depend on some regime official – probably wearing olive-green giving his go-ahead.
As the protests mount on the streets, it’s important not to lose sight of this: it’s these rackets those guys are protecting.And their willingness to use violence to protect them is roughly proportional to the profit margins involved.
Natural remedies are the healthiest way to treat your ailments, but where do they come from? This is necessary information for any health buff!
Coconuts Fight Fat – Sri Lanka
You may have heard that coconut oil is a great way to slim your waist. Well the people of Sri Lanka figured this one out way before the rest of the world. It is reported that the average Sri Lankan eats about 116 coconuts per year, and they are half as likely as the average American to pack on the pounds. The reason is that coconut oil is packed with medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) that stimulate the liver to burn fat 50 percent faster than normal. Try having about two tablespoons of coconut oil daily (in your cooking) and you could shed up to three pounds a month!
Yoga Treats Insomnia – Austria
Although yoga is practiced all over the world, in Austria it is used solely as a stress-buster and quick treatment for insomnia. Austrians like to go all out and go on yoga retreats and holidays for up to a week, but according to research from the University of Pennsylvania, practicing yoga for just 20 minutes a day could get rid of your insomnia. The research also found that practicing yoga is just as effective, if not more, than taking a sleeping pill and it also will rid you of anxiety, stress and depression.
Ginger Controls Triglycerides – Indonesia
Indonesia is the world’s largest grower and consumer of ginger and ginger products, with locals using it in their cooking, teas, candies and breads. Their tradition has long pointed to ginger as an effective treatment for the heart, and there are studies to back them up. Triglycerides are fats that clog your arteries, and according to Stanford researchers, a daily dose of ginger could cut the production of these fats by 27 percent. Ginger is also twice as effective as aspirin at preventing blood clots and preventing inflammation.
Turmeric Steadies Blood Sugar – India
Turmeric is a flavorful yellow spice used in rice and meat dishes and even deserts, but it also has outstanding medicinal properties. Indians use turmeric to treat high blood sugar levels, a practice that has been scientifically confirmed by research at Gujarat University. They confirmed that the active ingredient in turmeric, called curcumin, switches on the genes that keep blood glucose levels stable. The compound can also help the pancreas make insulin when it is low. In order to see the benefits of turmeric, start taking about half a teaspoon daily either directly or in your cooking.
Mustard Baths Calm Muscle Pain – England
Ever heard of a mustard bath? While it may sound like a hoax, mustard baths are used heavily in England to quell tight and achy muscles. Mustard has healing plant compounds that draw out toxins through the pores to improve circulation, relax tight muscles and speed the healing of damaged tissue. For your own mustard bath, mix 2 cups of Epsom salts, 1/4 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup dry mustard in a jar. Pour only 1/4 of this mixture into a warm bath, mix the water before getting in, soak for 20 minutes and rinse.
Chamomile Tea Beats Off Bloating – Germany
What began as a simple German folk remedy has now been proven as a scientifically effective method for fighting off bloating. In research conducted at Stanford University it was found that sipping two cups of chamomile tea daily could help ease bloating and belly pain within just 24 hours. This is because chamomile calms the adrenals and the production of a stress hormone called cortisol that can interfere with digestion and produces painful gas and belly spasms. Not only does chamomile tea soothe the stomach, it also causes the brain to produce more enkephalins, or painkilling hormones that will help fight off depression and negative thoughts.
Garlic Fights Off Viruses – Russia
While garlic is used the world over to add flavor to food, in Russia they use this herb to get rid of colds, the flu or any other viral infection. It has recently been proven that this pungent natural medicine is seriously effective. At the University of Florida in Gainesville, it was shown that adding one clove of garlic to your daily diet could cut your risk of viral infections by almost 43 percent! This is because garlic is full of allicin, an immunity boosting sulfur compound that fights off the growth and spread of germs.
Acupuncture to Treat Headaches – China
Acupuncture has been used for centuries in Eastern and Chinese medicine, but now more than 80 million Chinese use this therapy to treat chronic headaches. At Taiwan’s Kaohsiung Medical University it was found that daily acupuncture treatments work much better than prescription muscle relaxants. This is because acupuncture prompts the release of powerful painkilling hormones called endorphins and relaxes the scalp muscles to soothe the overactive pain nerves.
Coffee Gets Rid of Depression – Finland
This cold Scandinavian country is actually the world’s largest consumer of coffee, drinking on average about 1,640 cups per year. Indeed, coffee was originally sold in pharmacies in Finland in the 18th century has a treatment for depression. Now research from Harvard backs up coffee’s use as an anti-depressant, finding that drinking 2 cups a day of caffeinated coffee could reduce your risk of depression by 34 percent, and if you drink 3 cups, by 42 percent. The mix of caffeine and antioxidants in coffee stimulates the brain to produce more powerful antidepressant hormones like serotonin and dopamine.
Coriander Rids of Food Poisoning – Egypt
One of the world’s oldest spices and a popular Egyptian remedy for stomach pain, new research proves the powerful effects of this ancient spice. The research suggests that coriander seeds can speed up recovery from full-blown intestinal infections by destroying dangerous bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella. This is because coriander punches holes in the bacteria’s’ protective outer membranes, effectively destroying them for good. Next time you are having tummy troubles, try adding 1 teaspoon of ground coriander to one cup of boiling water. Drink up to three cups of this mixture daily until the bug is gone.
Honey Treats Sinus Infections – New Zealand
Unpasteurized honey is one of the top treatments used in New Zealand to treat sinus and throat infections. According to research at the University of Illinois and the University of Amsterdam, the natural antibiotics and enzymes in unpasteurized honey can destroy nearly 100 percent of bacteria and viruses on contact! This includes the bugs that cause painful sinus and throat infections. For an effective remedy, mix two tablespoons of unpasteurized honey into your coffee or tea to prevent painful infections. Use darker honeys like buckwheat or wildflower for the best results.
Aloe Vera to Treat Rashy Skin – Mexico
Where the sun is hot and always shining, aloe vera is used to treat rashes and other skin problems. Researchers at the University of Texas found that aloe vera reduce redness, speeds healing, increases the skin’s moisture levels and strengthens resistance to irritants. They also discovered that aloe vera not only treats the current outbreak, but prevents further outbreaks in the same area. Other research from Malmo University Hospital in Sweden found that aloe vera cream can treat psoriasis in 83 percent of cases.
Kefir Treats Irritable Bowel Syndrome – Russia
Irritable bowel syndrome is an uncomfortable and serious condition in which the bowels do not perform as they should. However in Russia they use a tart and tangy yogurt called kefir to treat the condition with healthy probiotic bacteria and yeast. Kefir is an effective treatment for IBS because it contains five time more healthy, intestine-soothing probiotics than most regular yogurts. In research conducted by the University of Madrid it was found that having just a half-cup serving of kefir daily could trigger a ten-fold increase of healing probiotic bacteria in the digestive tract.
Arnica to Prevent Bruises – Greece
An herb that grows in the mountainous regions of Greece, arnica has been a go-to remedy since ancient times for nasty bruising and closed wounds. It has become the most popular homeopathic remedy worldwide due to its power of healing and treating the most serious of bruises. This is because arnica is a plant rich in compounds that reduce swelling by as much as 30 percent, improves circulation in damaged tissues, boosts the flow of nutrients and flushes out the blood from the wound. You and find arnica gel at your local health store or in some pharmacies. This is definitely a tube to have in your medicine cabinet!