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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Earning a second income

Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can earn a second income.

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Earning a second income is important for numerous reasons. Of course, boosting your income is always a good thing, as having more money available can only ever be a positive in this day and age. Nevertheless, it also offers you a degree of protection. Diversifying your income means you are protected should one stream of money stop coming in.

So, with that being said, let’s take a look at some of the ways you can earn a second income.

Trading – There are plenty of different commodities you can trade nowadays. It is important to explore your options carefully so you can find the right one for you. Gold trading is always a wise option to consider. Did you know that only 166,500 tonnes of gold have ever been mined? The supply of gold above ground is limited, and when demand is high, and supply is low, you are always going to make a tidy return on your investment.

Matched betting – Another method you should consider is matched betting. Although this features the word ‘betting’, it does not involve gambling in the traditional sense. If you place a matched bet correctly, there is no risk involved at all. Matched betting involves using the free bets and promotions that are offered by bookmakers to guarantee a profit. If you are going to go down this route, it is a good idea to set up a new bank account so that you can keep your matched betting activities separate. Numerous deposits to bookmaker accounts never looks good if you attempt to go for a mortgage.

Rent out your driveway – This is a great way to make some extra cash because it does not involve a lot of effort on your behalf. In fact, all you need to do is communicate with the person renting out the driveway and keep your space free – it is as simple as that. If you live in a busy area nearby a lot of businesses, this could be especially lucrative. Nonetheless, you can only take advantage of this opportunity if you have a private driveway. You can’t rent out a car parking space on a main road, as you will get in trouble with the council.

Freelance – Last but not least, freelancing in your spare time is another way to build up some extra cash. If you have a skill that can be provided from the comfort of your own home – for example, writing, designing, or admin – then you can look for freelance jobs online. The good thing about this is that you can tailor it to the time you have available.

As you can see, there are many different ways you can earn a second income. From renting out your driveway to trading gold, you have plenty of different options. This means you can even set up a third and fourth income stream.

Health & Wellness

Sexual minority adolescents more likely to experience mental health problems

Sexual minorities were around five times more likely to experience high depressive symptoms (54% vs 15%) and self-harm (54% vs 14%). They also had lower life satisfaction (34% vs 10%), lower self-esteem and were more likely to experience all forms of bullying (i.e. peer bullying 27% vs 10%) and victimisation (i.e. sexual assault/harassment 11% vs 3%) .

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Photo by Christopher Campbell from Unsplash.com

New research, published in The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health, found that adolescents from sexual minorities (those attracted to same sex or both sexes) are more likely to experience mental health problems, adverse social environments and negative health outcomes in contrast to their heterosexual counterparts.

The research – entitled ‘Mental health, social adversity & health-related outcomes in sexual minority adolescents: findings from a contemporary national cohort’ – aimed to rectify the lack of contemporary data in Generation Z (people born between 1995 and 2015) regarding the disparity in adverse outcomes faced by sexual minority young people who have grown up in this Century – a time of advances in rights for sexual minorities.

10,000 adolescents

In order to gain a better understanding of these outcomes researchers from the University of Liverpool and University College London analysed information on almost 10,000 adolescents born between 2000-2002 who are taking part in the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS).

The researchers analysed mental health (e.g. depression, self-harm), social (e.g. victimisation, bullying), and health-related outcomes (e.g. weight perception, substance use) in sexual minority (629) versus heterosexual (9256) adolescents at age 14 years. They also estimated the number of co-occurring difficulties in each group.

Findings

The researchers found that sexual minorities were around five times more likely to experience high depressive symptoms (54% vs 15%) and self-harm (54% vs 14%). They also had lower life satisfaction (34% vs 10%), lower self-esteem and were more likely to experience all forms of bullying (i.e. peer bullying 27% vs 10%) and victimisation (i.e. sexual assault/harassment 11% vs 3%) .

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Sexual minorities were also at increased odds of trying cannabis (16% vs 6%) trying alcohol (67% vs 52%), perceiving themselves as overweight (49% vs 33%), and dieting to lose weight (66% vs 44%).

Sexual minorities experienced more negative outcomes at the same time. For example, sexual minorities experienced 1.4 out of 3 mental health difficulties on average whereas heterosexual adolescents experienced 0.4 out of 3 on average. Overall cumulative difficulties experienced were 9·4 out of 28 for sexual minority youth versus 6·2 for heterosexual youth.

Implications

The lead author, Rebekah Amos, said: “Our current study provides much needed population-based estimates indicating pronounced differences in mental health, social, and health-related outcomes between sexual minority and heterosexual adolescents in the UK. We find that sexual minority adolescents are five times more likely to be depressed and self-harm and 2-3 times more likely to be bullied and be victimised, illuminating the scale of current adversities this group of adolescent are facing.”

Dr Praveetha Patalay, study co-author, said: “The study exposes the vast disparities in a range of outcomes between sexual minority and heterosexual young people, highlighting the need for further prevention efforts and intervention at the school, community and policy level to ensure sexual minority adolescents do not face lifelong adverse social, economic and, health outcomes.”

Dr Ross White, clinical psychologist and study co-author, said: “The study findings highlight the need for mental health professionals, teachers, parents and young people to work together to co-create systems of support that will allow young people to flourish irrespective of their sexual orientation. An important aspect of this work will be to foster societal attitudes that celebrate diversity, recognise common humanity and nurture compassion for one-self and others.”

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Rebekah Amos added: “Despite high profile policies such as the legalisation of same sex marriage in 2013 in England, Wales and Scotland and the introduction of sexual orientation as a protected characteristic during these adolescents’ lifetime, the evidence presented here indicates that large inequalities in social and health outcomes still exist for sexual minority adolescents growing up in the 21st Century.”

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Health & Wellness

8 Tips for promoting men’s health

Here are a few tips that can help ensure the success of men’s health programs.

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Photo by Christopher Campbell from Unsplash.com

Men tend to shy away from clinical medical services and formal health care programs, leaving community-based programs to help fill the gap. But not all programs are created equal. This is according to a study – “Community-based men’s health promotion programs: eight lessons learnt and their caveats”, which was published in the journal Health Promotion International – that shows that the programs that succeed are those that recognize and adapt to the social forces that uniquely affect men.

So for University of British Columbia (UBC) nursing professor John Oliffe, who led the study that reviewed community-based programs in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, UK and the US, there are a few tips that can help ensure the success of men’s health programs.

Recognize the forces that affect men’s health: The UBC research points out that social factors can significantly affect health, including race, culture, socioeconomic status, education and income levels. Dudes Club, a program based in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, succeeds because its content is tailored to its largely Indigenous clientele. Events include culturally based activities and elder-led circles, and clients are reporting improved mental, spiritual, physical and emotional well-being as a result.

Physical activity builds connections: Activity-based programs that link to masculine ideals such as problem-solving and physical prowess work well. Men’s Sheds, a program that runs in Australia, Canada and a few other countries, successfully attracts men with woodworking activities, computer tutorials, gardening and informal social events.

Safe spaces help men open up: Many men are reticent to talk about health challenges or talk about personal issues, but programs–like prostate cancer support groups–can expand their comfort zone by creating safe spaces for sharing experiences and discussing sensitive topics.

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Knowledge can combat stigma: Many men who are experiencing health challenges like depression or suicidal thoughts lack knowledge about their condition, which further fuels any stigma they may already feel. Community-based programs can promote health literacy and tackle stigma by using simple, non-judgmental language to describe health conditions, Oliffe said.

Men-focused environments work well: No surprise, “men-friendly” community spaces and activities–such as sports events or competitions–work better in recruiting men to health-related programs than strictly clinical programs. Oliffe points to a few examples, including some European soccer clubs, that draw men in to join exercise and healthy eating programs.

A clear vision for the program is a must: Programs must have tangible benefits, clear goals and strong, collaborative leaders. Dads in Gear– developed to assist dads to quit smoking–recruited participants with an offer of free meals and child care. It emphasized the need for participants to actively work for their well-being, and it encouraged the men to independently sustain their healthy practices after completing the program.

Evaluate to perpetuate: Every program should carry out a consistent and formal evaluation process, Oliffe advises. This helps to support future funding efforts and ensures the program is working as well as it should.

Pop-ups’ are OK: And finally, don’t expect to sustain or expand every program, says Oliffe, as some might be best considered “pop-ups”. Once they’ve hit their goal, they can be retired and regarded as the seed for future ideas.

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Technology

7 Reasons why solar panels are the future of commercial energy production

A number of major corporations have recently begun basing most of their operations on renewable energy, and there’s been a sharp, year-after-year increase in the number of commercial solar installations being commissioned.

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Energy production and expenditure are always important topics for business owners and managers to consider due to the fact that every company requires a certain amount of power or fuel to operate. As a result, entrepreneurs and CEOs are always looking for ways to reduce their companies’ utility bills. Of course, one obvious way to do that is to install a solar panel system that will completely eliminate your company’s monthly electricity expenses in the long-term. 

Despite the fact that installing solar panels makes a lot of common sense and is just the right thing to do overall – both ethically and financially in most cases – the vast majority of the world’s companies still operate using conventionally produced power supplied by their local grid. However, a number of major corporations have recently begun basing most of their operations on renewable energy, and there’s been a sharp, year-after-year increase in the number of commercial solar installations being commissioned. 

With that said, here are seven reasons why solar panels are definitely the future of commercial energy production:

1. General Cost-Effectiveness

Companies can exist for decades or even hundreds of years, continually consuming electricity throughout the length of numerous human generations consecutively. Solar panel systems can be purchased and installed using lines of credit or financing options, which means that the upfront cost for installing solar is becoming cheaper as the market becomes more competitive and more alternative lenders enter the funding space as investors. 

These factors combine to form a scenario in which it makes perfect long-term financial sense for companies to upgrade to solar as soon as possible. In fact, according to Semper Solaris, which is one of California’s leading providers of solar panels, the state has seen a boom in the number of businesses that are ditching the grid and switching to full solar setups. They’ve been able to stand at the forefront of the commercial solar trend in their region by offering a full catalog of solar panel installation configurations that precisely accommodate the energy needs of any business. 

A number of major corporations have recently begun basing most of their operations on renewable energy, and there’s been a sharp, year-after-year increase in the number of commercial solar installations being commissioned.

2. Business Owners are More Progressive Than Typical Consumers

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Since businesses have an undeniable incentive to continually search for refinements that will increase their bottom lines, it stands to reason that entrepreneurs would be more savvy and progressive than the average consumer. 

As such, the rate of technological adoption is much higher among business owners than it is among the general population. After all, the amount that you stand to save as a business is much greater than the small savings that a homeowner would enjoy by making energy-efficient adjustments.

3. Limiting Third-Party Dependence

The concept of corporate self-sufficiency is really taking off because business owners are learning about the dangers of building a home on someone else’s property. Essentially, that means you shouldn’t rely too heavily on any service provider, partner, supplier, or other entity. 

While it’s impossible to stand alone as an island in business, there are certain expenses and risks that you can mitigate or eliminate altogether, and having to pay for electricity for the duration of your company’s existence is one of those unnecessary factors that can be crossed off of the list. 

As entrepreneurs continue to realize the inherent benefits of freeing themselves from grid dependency, it is inevitable that a growing percentage of entrepreneurs will use some of their initial seed funding to pay a solar company for the installation of free and clean energy production systems. 

4. Environmental Responsibilities

Every business has to consider the impact it is having on the environment, not only for moral and ethical reasons, but also for the sake of positive PR. Did you know that Apple is now 100% powered by renewable energy? In fact, many of their customers are attracted not only by the existing popularity of their iPhone and MacBook device lines, but also because they’re one of the only tech manufacturers that can make such a bold claim. 

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Likewise, Google has taken the more indirect approach of buying enough solar energy to offset their annual electricity usage. Since businesses try to emulate the success of their highest-ranking competitors, we’ve seen a wave of other tech companies following suit in switching their manufacturing and distribution practices to rely to fully solar-powered processes. 

5. Solar Radiation is the Most Abundant Form of Available Energy

The sun’s rays are constantly washing over more than 50% of the Earth’s surface at any given time. Mathematicians have calculated the total solar power generating capacity of the entire planet and just a few years of collecting solar energy at a maximum rate would give us enough stored energy to power a civilization the size of our current global society for a span of hundreds or thousands of years. 

As finite natural resources like fossil fuels continue to become increasingly expensive and competitively pollutive relative to the other green products and technologies on the market, it won’t be long before the race to occupy optimal solar-harvesting land begins. When that happens, companies will look for ways to create innovative solar arrays that can gather sunlight from multiple angles within multi-story structures. Companies will also start developing satellite based solar arrays that are able to collect solar energy from more spots in Earth’s orbit because sunlight extends beyond the horizon, which brings us to our next point. 

6. Solar Energy is Available Everywhere, Even in Space

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Most forms of energy production take place under very specific circumstances and in locations that have been specifically designed to carry out complex process. For example, to generate unclear energy, you need a nuclear power plant; to generate hydro-electric energy, you need a dam. Solar panels utilize the sun’s ubiquitous energy without the requirement for any significant building or infrastructure projects beyond the assembly and installation processes. There are very few locational limitations on solar energy, and as it doesn’t require massive investments to establish, utility providers of the future may see the value in establishing regional solar arrays rather than building more power plants. Plus, since many of the world’s richest people are heavily invested in the development of space travel and exploration, eventually we may see the need for space-bound solar power stations or even planetary solar arrays. 

As finite natural resources like fossil fuels continue to become increasingly expensive and competitively pollutive relative to the other green products and technologies on the market, it won’t be long before the race to occupy optimal solar-harvesting land begins.

7. Subsidization Programs and the Collective Effort to Save the Planet

It has been said many times that we are the only species that can destroy the planet, but it’s worth noting that we are also the only species capable of saving it with the power of minds alone. Many politicians and regulators aren’t exactly the most progressive or empathetic people, but they still need to align with public opinion in order to receive votes and support. 

That means that, gradually, as more voters start to hold environmental issues with higher regard, more politicians and regulators will have to appeal to this growing audience to win elections and continue their careers. As a result, we’ve seen many subsidization programs launched to create positive environmental and economic effects, which are goals that every politician wants to deliver on, or at least promise. 

The Bottom Line is: Businesses Want Lower Bottom Lines

In business, the term “bottom line” means the amount of profit you’re making after all expenses, investments and other costs have been taken into account. Energy bills create a huge dent in every company’s bottom line, which can be corrected in the long-term by switching to solar power. 

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Health & Wellness

2/3 of parents cite barriers in recognizing youth depression

Teens and preteens are no strangers to depression: 1 in 4 parents say their child knows a peer with depression; 1 in 10 say a child’s peer has committed suicide.

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Photo by Warren Wong from Unsplash.com

Telling the difference between a teen’s normal ups and downs and something bigger is among top challenges parents face in identifying youth depression, a new poll suggests.

Though the majority of parents say they are confident they would recognize depression in their middle or high school aged child, two thirds acknowledge barriers to spotting specific signs and symptoms, according to the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health at the University of Michigan in the US.

Forty percent of parents struggle to differentiate between normal mood swings and signs of depression, while 30% say their child is good at hiding feelings.

“In many families, the preteen and teen years bring dramatic changes both in youth behavior and in the dynamic between parents and children,” says poll co-director Sarah Clark. “These transitions can make it particularly challenging to get a read on children’s emotional state and whether there is possible depression.”

Still, a third of parents polled said nothing would interfere with their ability to recognize signs of depression in their child.

“Some parents may be overestimating their ability to recognize depression in the mood and behavior of their own child,” Clark says. “An overconfident parent may fail to pick up on the subtle signals that something is amiss.”

The poll also suggests that the topic of depression is all too familiar for middle and high school students. One in four parents say their child knows a peer or classmate with depression, and 1 in 10 say their child knows a peer or classmate who has died by suicide.

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Indeed, rates of youth suicide continue to rise. Among people ages 10 to 24 years old, the suicide rate climbed 56% between 2007 and 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Our report reinforces that depression is not an abstract concept for today’s teens and preteens, or their parents,” Clark says.

“This level of familiarity with depression and suicide is consistent with recent statistics showing a dramatic increase in suicide among… youth over the past decade. Rising rates of suicide highlight the importance of recognizing depression in youth.”

Compared to the ratings of their own ability, parents polled were also less confident that their preteens or teens would recognize depression in themselves.

Clark says parents should stay vigilant on spotting any signs of potential depression in kids, which may vary from sadness and isolation to anger, irritability and acting out. Parents might also talk with their preteen or teen about identifying a “go to” adult who can be a trusted source if they are feeling blue, Clark says.

Most parents also believe schools should play a role in identifying potential depression, with seven in 10 supporting depression screening starting in middle school.

“The good news is that parents view schools as a valuable partner in recognizing youth depression,” Clark says.The bad news is that too few schools have adequate resources to screen students for depression, and to offer counseling to students who need it.”

Clark encourages parents to learn whether depression screening is taking place at their child’s school and whether counseling is available for students who screen positive. Given the limited resources in many school districts, parents can be advocates of such efforts by talking to school administrators and school board members about the importance of offering mental health services in schools.

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The Mott Poll report is based on responses from 819 parents with at least one child in middle school, junior high, or high school.

Depression is – of course – an important issue in the LGBTQIA community. One study done in November 2018, for instance, found that half of LGBT people (52%) said they’ve experienced depression in the last year; one in eight LGBT people aged 18-24 (13%) said they’ve attempted to take their own life in the last year; and almost half of trans people (46%) have thought about taking their own life in the last year, 31% of LGB people who aren’t trans said the same.

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LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

Is it safe to leave my car in the driveway while away on vacation?

It is considered safe to leave your car in the driveway while on shorter trips, as long as you ensure that it is safe and secured. Emptying the fuel take and inflating tires to the correct pressure along with covering it up well, will help you avoid coming back home to find troubles with your car.

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It is the holiday season and you are probably packing your bags, and everyone is eager to go on a long-awaited trip. But before you do so, you need to make sure that your vehicle is parked somewhere where it is safe and secure.

Leaving your car in the driveway while on vacation sounds like a great idea. A house with cars parked in the driveway might keep away intruders and burglars who think you are home. However, theft shouldn’t be your only concern when leaving your car at home because other things might happen while you are away such as falling objects that might cause dents and scratches on your car. 

Deciding whether to leave your car in your driveway or to park it somewhere safer, depends on the length of your trip. For longer trips, it is best to leave your car at the airport’s parking lot and take a shuttle to the airport. In the US, for example, the idea of long term parking has really taken off, and it’s very convenient and safe. In Miami, if you are worried about incurring costs, MIA parking rates are affordable and often offer good deals. It will cost more to fix your car as a result of damage that may occur due to unsafe parking, than paying to leave your car in a secured area.

Here are a few tips to consider when you leave your car in the driveway while away on vacation:

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Cover Up

Choose the right car cover that fits perfectly on your car, so that there will be no, or little space left where dust can enter. The cover needs to be more weatherproof and tougher than the one designed for indoor parking.

Maintaining the Battery

Batteries lose charge over time, so even if your car is not operating, your batteries are still working, this keeps all the electronic presets running. The best way is to disconnect the negative terminal of the battery before leaving. 

Empty the Fuel tank

If your car runs on petrol, then it is best to empty your fuel tank. Because unlike diesel, petrol tends to become stale when the car is not in use. Also, additives in petrol degrade over time, causing problems in your fuel tank.

Inflate the Tires

Flat spots on tires occur when a car hasn’t moved for a long time. Inflating your tires to the correct air pressure will help avoid tire issues. For longer trips, it is best to get someone to move the car every week to warm up the tires.

After cleaning and organizing your car, make sure to secure it by removing any valuable items, such as electronic devices and the stereo system.

It is considered safe to leave your car in the driveway while on shorter trips, as long as you ensure that it is safe and secured. Emptying the fuel take and inflating tires to the correct pressure along with covering it up well, will help you avoid coming back home to find troubles with your car.

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Health & Wellness

First case of sexually transmitted dengue confirmed in Spain

Health authorities confirmed a case of a man spreading dengue through sex. This is a world first for a virus which – until recently – was largely thought to be transmitted only by mosquitos.

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Photo by Егор Камелев from Unsplash.com

No, getting bitten by mosquitos isn’t the only way you can get dengue.

In Spain, health authorities confirmed a case of a man spreading dengue through sex. This is a world first for a virus which – until recently – was largely thought to be transmitted only by mosquitos.

The case involves a 41-year-old man from Madrid who contracted dengue after having sex with his male partner, who got the virus from a mosquito bite during a trip to Cuba and the Dominican Republic.

When the man’s dengue infection was confirmed in September, it puzzled doctors because he had not traveled to a country where the disease is common. An analysis of the sperm of the two men was carried out and it revealed that not only did they have dengue, but that it was exactly the same virus which circulates in Cuba.

Dengue is transmitted mainly by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which grows in number in densely-populated tropical climates, such as the Philippines.

Though it kills 10,000 people a year and infects over 100 million, the disease is fatal only in extreme cases, though symptoms are extremely unpleasant, including high fever, severe headaches and vomiting. It is particularly serious – and deadly – in children.

In the Philippines, the Department of Health reported a total of 271,480 dengue cases from January to August 31 this year, prompting it to declare a national dengue epidemic. As of end-August, an estimated 1,107 people have died of dengue in the country.

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