Friday, 29 March 2013

Tips for Buying Earrings

The right earrings can be the finishing touch that turns an ordinary ensemble into the envy of every woman in the room. But the wrong earring can be a painful experience for both your ear and your fashion sense.

The good news is that knowing the difference between the right earrings and the wrong ones is easier than it seems. Here are some common sense guidelines to help you get started:

1. Choose a Great Design

Like other types of jewelry, earrings come in a wide variety of shapes and styles. Although the style of your earrings will often be determined by the occasion, you shouldn't be afraid to branch out and try new designs. Experiment with an assortment of styles until you find the ones that are right for you.

Your earrings can help you create your own desired effect: professional, classy, romantic, sexy, fun, silly, delightful and/or cute. Choose your design with your intent in mind.

2. Metals to Consider

Earrings can be comprised of a variety of precious and non-precious metals including gold, silver, and nickel-based alloys. When choosing earrings, it is important to note that certain metals have been known to cause allergic reactions in some people. This is especially true of nickel-based metals, small amounts of which are found in stainless steel. If metal allergies are a problem for you, then you'll probably want to look for hypo-allergenic earrings made of either titanium or niobium.

Sterling silver is only 92.5% silver the rest is an alloy. 14 kt gold is 58.5% gold with the rest is an alloy such as copper, silver, zinc or nickel depending on desired shade. If needed, you can find out exactly what metal you are allergic to by going to an allergist.

3. Matching Earrings to You

Color is another important consideration in earring selection. A nicely colored earring should complement your eyes and facial complexion as well as your outfit. Experiment with an assortment of colors until you find ones that draw out your complexion and go well with the colors that dominate your wardrobe. Remember: You usually buy earrings to match your outfit, not outfits to match your earrings!

4. Gem or No Gem

The decision to wear an earring with a gemstone is largely based on occasion and personal preference. Small gemstones add an interesting sparkle for everyday wear, while larger gemstones should be reserved for special occasions. Another factor to consider is cost. For genuine gems, the bigger the stone, the bigger the price tag.

5. Is Bigger Better

When it comes to earrings, size matters. A good earring takes into consideration not only the size of the ear, but also the hair and face. If the earrings are too large they will draw undue attention to themselves and detract from your overall appearance. If they are too small, they will not be seen.

6. Remember to Check Weight

The weight of your earring makes a big difference in both comfort and appearance. The droop of an overweight earring looks bad and can be potentially harmful to the ear if it leads to ripping or tearing of the lobe.

7. Hoops and Dangles

In addition to size and weight, the length of the earring also needs to be considered. Although a longer earring can add a touch of elegance, it can also hinder your movement and easily become more of a problem than it's worth. When trying on longer earrings, make sure you can easily move your head from side to side without catching the earring on your collar or shoulder.

8. Should You Always Buy Pierced Earrings

Over the years, many women have been hesitant to wear clip-on earrings because of the perception that they are more easily lost than earrings that are designed for pierced ears. Even so, the two most important considerations in choosing a pair of earrings are comfort and appearance. If a clip-on looks and feels good, then there is no reason why you shouldn't buy them. Also, if the woman doesn't have pierced ears, clip-ons, screw-ons and ear cuffs are popular choices.

9. How Much Should You Spend

Earrings can range in price from a few bucks to thousands of dollars depending on the quality of metal and gems they contain. Most women prefer to spend moderately on the ones they wear everyday and spend a little more lavishly on a couple of pairs they reserve for special occasions. The important thing is that you are satisfied with the earrings you purchase, no matter however much you decide to spend.
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Monday, 21 January 2013

Urban flooding a Great Lakes regional dilemma

James Dau in Great Lakes Echo: More people in Great Lakes cities are falling victim to urban flooding, some as often as 30 to 40 times in their lifetimes, according to a Chicago-based sustainability nonprofit organization. “We did a brief survey of people in the Chicago region, and we heard some actually devastating stories about flooding from some of them,” said Harriet Festing, director of the Center for Neighborhood Technology’s water program. “We came away from it pretty shocked.”

The September report defines urban flooding as when buildings, streets or open property are inundated by rain, sewage or overflowing bodies of water. Festing characterized the problem in Chicago as not catastrophic, but frequent.

It’s also hidden. Property owners often don’t want to talk about it, she said. “They’re somewhat ashamed of it, having sewage in their living space. They’re afraid of what it might do to their property values.

Chicago flood victims are not alone. The survey led the center to investigate urban flooding across the Great Lakes region. “We wanted to find out if it was more widespread than just Chicago, to see if other cities were suffering the same problem,” Festing said.

Thirty of 48 cities surveyed responded. They represent approximately 19.7 million people, almost 23 percent of the region’s population.

Every city reported flooding, with 80 percent characterizing those issues as medium or large. While most municipalities track flooding, only about half have a plan for dealing with it. Only 20 percent could estimate the cost of flooding damage....

Stillman Creek Flood in Marion, Illinois, in August 2007, shot by Ben Jacobson (Kranar Drogin) stitched by Marku1988, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

UN clinches global deal on cutting mercury emissions

Tom Miles and Emma Farge in Planet Ark: More than 140 countries have agreed on the first global treaty to cut mercury pollution through a blacklist of household items and new controls on power plants and small-scale mines, the United Nations said on Saturday. The legally-binding agreement aims to phase out many products that use the toxic liquid metal such as batteries, thermometers and some fluorescent lamps, through banning global import and exports by 2020.

The treaty will require countries with coal-fired power plants such as India and China to install filters and scrubbers on new plants and to commit to reducing emissions from existing operations to prevent mercury from coal reaching the atmosphere.

...The deal also includes measures to reduce mercury use in small-scale gold mining, although stopped short of an all-out ban. Gold prices near $1,700 a metric ton have spurred the use of mercury as a catalyst to separate gold from its ore.

...The Minamata Convention on Mercury - named after the Japanese city where people were poisoned in the mid-20th century from industrial discharges of mercury - needs ratification from 50 countries and is expected to be formalized later this year....

Disease 'halves people's incomes' in tropical countries

LuĂ­s Amorim in Tropical countries' per capita incomes could more than double if they managed to reduce their health burden from vector-borne and parasitic diseases (VBPDs) to that seen in temperate countries, a study has found.

The study says that poor economic performance is caused partly by high disease burden, which is in turn affected by biodiversity. Although VBPDs remain a leading cause of death and disability in poor countries, there is debate over their relative impact on global poverty patterns, the paper says.

Researchers from Harvard Medical School and Princeton University in the United States and from UniversitĂ© de Cergy-Pontoise in France set out to examine whether these diseases only played a historical role in delaying tropical countries' growth by limiting foreign investment and institutions' development, or whether environmental factors present in the tropics are the key element driving the VBPDs — which in turn still harming wealth production today.

If disease is still hindering development, then healthcare improvements should be made a key part of macroeconomic strategies and foreign economic aid, and not only be done for humanitarian reasons, the paper argues.

The researchers used models to estimate the relative effects of disease burden and per capita income on each other, controlling for other factors. The findings bolster the case for targeting diseases to lessen their impact on tropical countries' economic development, according to Matthew Bonds, lead author from Harvard Medical School....

Nurse Ubah Mahammed marks a child after administering de-worming medicine, Shinile Woreda, Ethiopia, Oct. 13, 2010. US Army photograph

Dietary shifts driving up phosphorus use

Seed Daily via SPX: Dietary changes since the early 1960s have fueled a sharp increase in the amount of mined phosphorus used to produce the food consumed by the average person over the course of a year, according to a new study led by researchers at McGill University. Between 1961 and 2007, rising meat consumption and total calorie intake underpinned a 38% increase in the world's per capita "phosphorus footprint," the researchers conclude in a paper published online in Environmental Research Letters.

The findings underscore a significant challenge to efforts to sustainably manage the supply of mined phosphorus, a non-renewable resource widely used as fertilizer.

When phosphorus is lost through agricultural runoff or sewage systems, it can pollute waterways downstream. In addition, because deposits are heavily concentrated in a few countries, global supplies and prices for the resource are vulnerable to geopolitical tensions.

In recent years, many researchers have explored how human activity has altered the phosphorus cycle in the environment and how management of phosphorus could be altered to ensure long-term sustainability. This new study sheds more light, in particular, on how diet choices have affected the intensity of phosphorus use around the world.

"Our results demonstrate that changes in diet can be a significant part of the strategy for enhancing sustainability of phosphorus management," says lead author Genevieve Metson, a doctoral student in McGill's Department of Natural Resource Sciences. "In particular, reduced consumption of meat, and especially beef, in countries with large phosphorus footprints could put a big dent in demand for mined phosphorus - since it takes many kilograms of feed, which is fertilized, to produce a kilogram of meat."....

Illustration from Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary (1890—1907)

Study finds severe climate jeopardizing Amazon forest

Terra Daily: An area of the Amazon rainforest twice the size of California continues to suffer from the effects of a megadrought that began in 2005, finds a new NASA-led study. These results, together with observed recurrences of droughts every few years and associated damage to the forests in southern and western Amazonia in the past decade, suggest these rainforests may be showing the first signs of potential large-scale degradation due to climate change.

An international research team led by Sassan Saatchi of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., analyzed more than a decade of satellite microwave radar data collected between 2000 and 2009 over Amazonia. The observations included measurements of rainfall from NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission and measurements of the moisture content and structure of the forest canopy (top layer) from the Seawinds scatterometer on NASA's QuikScat spacecraft.

The scientists found that during the summer of 2005, more than 270,000 square miles (700,000 square kilometers, or 70 million hectares) of pristine, old-growth forest in southwestern Amazonia experienced an extensive, severe drought. This megadrought caused widespread changes to the forest canopy that were detectable by satellite. The changes suggest dieback of branches and tree falls, especially among the older, larger, more vulnerable canopy trees that blanket the forest....

Bamboo and ferns in the Amazon, shot by Tadd and Debbie Ottman, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

Obama sworn in to second term as US president

US President Barack Obama was on January 20 officially sworn in for a second four-year term by the Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts at a small White House ceremony.  
Surrounded by family, friends and staff, in the Blue Room of the White House, Obama placed his hand on the historic Robinson family bible, selected specifically for the occasion, and recited the 35-word presidential oath written in the Constitution.
"I Barack Hussein Obama do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States," he said.
Obama's first term ended at noon under the Constitution.
First Lady Michelle Obama held the bible with daughter Malia standing alongside. The Robinson Family Bible was selected specifically for the occasion.
The bible was a gift from the First Lady's father, Fraser Robinson III, to his mother, LaVaughn Delores Robinson on Mother's Day in 1958.
Mrs Robinson was the first African-American woman manager of a Moody Bible Institute's bookstore and she used the Bible regularly.
As per the 20th amendment to the US Constitution, which changed the beginning of a presidential term from March 4th to January 20th, the term of the newly-elected president begins at noon on 20th January.
However, historically, inaugural ceremonies are not held on a Sunday because courts and other public institutions are not open.
As a result, in accordance with the requirements of the US Constitutions, Obama and Vice President Joe Biden were officially sworn in on Sunday, but the ceremonial swearing in, which is open to the public, will take place on the west steps of the US Capitol on Monday.
This would be only the seventh time in the US history that a president will take the oath ceremonially on Monday following an Inauguration Day that fell on a Sunday.