AN ALASKAN CHRISTMAS STORY

first_imgBy Susan Stamper BrownAmericans need a good dose of Christmas.As a nation, we are desperately lost, emotionally broken, spiritually deprived and headed for the same fate our “unadoptable” Alaskan husky dog was before my husband and I welcomed her into our home.It’s been four years since we adopted Kenai, a skeletal ball of nerves wrapped in cinnamon colored fur with spotty white “socks.”Obviously abused, she had zero trust in humans and no confidence in herself. Animal control officers almost deemed her unadoptable.She was literally scared of her shadow, fearing door entryways and basically everything inside our home, including us. She parked herself on our new chair in the living room corner. For three months she ate, drank and napped when she wasn’t staring at us and only left her perch when we’d take her outside to walk and potty.One cold and snowy winter night with near zero visibility, we feared this one-sided love affair had come to an end when she got away and bolted up and around our mountain. The more we called, chased and searched, the deeper into the woods and higher she climbed. Though we were forced to give up our search for the night, we refused to give up hope.Miraculously, she found her way back to our yard in the wee hours of an Alaska winter morning’s deep darkness. Despite our loving calls, she was afraid to come inside until we came up with a far-fetched idea to coax her inside walking our tiny terrier nicknamed “the rabbit killer” (for reasons not worthy of this column) on a leash nearby in hopes that she would follow.She did.Although we loved Kenai deeply and wanted desperately for her to come inside, we were at a complete loss on how to effectively communicate that message. Kenai needed an intermediary. A conciliator. A go-between. In our terrier, Kenai found a canine compatriot to communicate “There’s nothing to fear, come near, welcome home” in a way she could understand.Four years later, Kenai’s doing great. She’ll always be a little quirky, and full-blown crazy sometimes if something snaps in her head and sets her off. She’s slowly learning to do normal things like eat her food on the floor and play with toys if no one is watching.She loves to go for rides, begs for us to pet her, and even dares to bark now, with the cutest, most feminine and sweet bark you’ve ever heard.We added another sled dog to our pack, a well-balanced rescue that came with an amazing story all his own that I’ll share one day when the time is right. He’s rubbing off on Kenai in all the right ways. As for our terrier, well, she’s moved on from rabbits to shrews. I guess we should be grateful.With happy ears and a look of contentment on her face, Kenai’s resting in her now-worn out leather chair as I write.I think back to that winter morning years ago and the extremely loved shell of a dog curled up in that chair. I realize I learned something big about God’s love that day. An Alaskan Christmas story all my own.God sought us before we knew Him, reached out to us before we trusted Him and loved us before we knew how to love him back. He sent someone like us… an intermediary… Jesus, to communicate his message in a way we could understand. Through Jesus’ birth, eventual death, and resurrection, we come to understand (as much as is humanly possible) that God’s love for us is so deep and wide and high that we cannot escape his notice ‒ even when we try.“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be on his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

See More

All By Myself

first_imgWhat would you do if you had a last minute overnight layover in Las Vegas? For most of us it would be an excuse to party on the Strip until sunrise. Richard Dunn however, got a little more creative. He gave up a night of partying in favour of a night in with his iPhone, filming a music video to Celine Dion’s “All By Myself.”So how does one “all by himself” alone in an airport manage to capture a spectacular video almost as good as Celines? Richard explains his approach. “I had a person behind a ticket counter give me a roll of luggage tape before she left. I then used a wheelchair that had a tall pole on the back of it and taped my iPhone to that. Then I would put it on the moving walkway for a dolly shot,” Dunn wrote on his Vimeo page. “I also used the extended handle on my computer bag and taped the iPhone to my handle. I would tuck different stuff under the bag to get the right angle. For the escalator shot I had to sprint up the steps after I got my shot so the computer bag didn’t hit the top and fall back down. Quite fun!”You can see the brilliant video (below) of Dunn lip-syncing to Celine’s hit while wandering through the vacant airport. We hope this is not a one hit wonder for him!last_img read more

See More

21 years on, SA remains ‘lesson in nuclear disarmament’

first_img1 December 2014It has been 21 years since South Africa dismantled its nuclear weapons programme, and the country’s progressive disarmament policies continue to play a significant role in the global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime.Speaking at a seminar to mark 20 years of democracy and disarmament in South Africa, Johann Kellerman from the Department of International Relations and Co-operation outlined how the country’s foreign policy had, since 1994, been committed to peace, human security and disarmament for both conventional (including small arms) and weapons of mass destruction capabilities.“This policy forms an integral part of South Africa’s commitment to democracy, human rights, sustainable development, social justice and environmental protection,” he said.The seminar, held on 25 November, was hosted by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in collaboration with the Oslo-based International Law and Policy Institute and the Pretoria Delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).Since South Africa’s accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in 1991 and the decision to dismantle its nuclear weapons programme in 1993, the country had played a leading role in international disarmament and non-proliferation forums. “There are many lessons that can be learned from the South African case,” said Noel Stott, a senior research fellow at the ISS.“The importance of this country’s nuclear weapons programme is not so much that it developed one, but that it voluntarily dismantled it. This offers useful insights into how other states can disarm and why such a decision would improve global human security.”Nic von Wielligh, author of Die Bom: Suid-Afrika se Kernwapenprogram (The Bomb: South Africa’s Nuclear Weapons Programme), discussed South Africa’s decision to dismantle its nuclear weapons programme and place all its nuclear facilities under International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards.“When conditions change and the deterrent is no longer required, there must be the political will to dismantle the weapons, allow international inspections, and be totally transparent about it,” said Von Wielligh.Global movementSouth Africa is a strong proponent of the humanitarian initiative, a global movement that has placed the potentially catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons on the international agenda.In support of this initiative, the country made key contributions to the Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in Oslo, Norway in March 2013 and in Nayarit, Mexico in February 2014. The next conference will be hosted in Vienna, Austria in December 2014.Sarah Swart, the regional legal adviser of the ICRC, spoke about the importance of this initiative for the debate on disarmament.“According to an assessment carried out by the ICRC from 2006 to 2009, the means to assist a substantial portion of survivors of a nuclear detonation are not currently available in most countries, and is not feasible at the international level. There is therefore a humanitarian imperative to prevent the use of nuclear weapons in the first place.“The world is at a critical juncture regarding nuclear weapons. The Red Cross Movement will continue to call on all states to ensure that nuclear weapons are never again used and to pursue negotiations to prohibit their use and completely eliminate nuclear weapons through a legally binding instrument, in accordance with existing obligations.”Source: Institute for Security Studieslast_img read more

See More

Evalauting fixed costs on the farm – Part 2

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Earlier this month, Evan Hahn, Vice President Credit-Agribusiness with Farm Credit Mid-America shared some thoughts on how to better manage fixed costs. Employee and family labor expenses can be difficult to trim but the costs of overpaying for labor or not fully utilizing a workforce can be a drag on earnings.“Identifying ways to improve production efficiency is one strategy for adjusting labor costs,” Hahn said. “For example, precision equipment has allowed farmers to reduce their labor needs while still operating efficiently.”Family expenses is another tough area to find ways to cut down, but Hahn says it needs to be considered. “As farm profits decline with commodity prices, families may need to take a closer look at their living expenses and adapt to living with less income,” Hahn said. “One way to control family living costs is to write yourself a check from the operation every month. Separating your family living funds from operational expenses will keep you from overspending.”As you examine these expenses, Hahn suggests farmers talk to their financial advisor or lender to better understand how these costs impact their balance.AUDIO: The Ohio Ag Net’s Ty Higgins visits with Farm Credit’s Evan Hahn about addition ways to manage fixed costs on the farm.FCMA Financially Speaking Evan Hahn 4.24.17For more financial tips, insights and perspectives from Farm Credit Mid-America visit e-farmcredit.com/insightslast_img read more

See More

Are Wearables Actually Having a Positive Impact on Health and Wellness?

first_imgFor the past decade, wearable devices have been marketed in the health and fitness niche as providing numerous advantages to the wearer. But how effective are these devices? Are they just for show, or do they yield tangible benefits?The Origins of Wearable DevicesWearable devices – i.e. those with digital displays and internet connectivity – may be recent additions to the marketplace, but health and wellness wearables have been around for decades – even centuries.Dating all the way back to early centuries, people have relied on birthstones in jewelry to provide a diverse array of benefits. As Estate Diamond Jewelry explains, “Birthstones have long been believed to bring a combination of good luck, good health, prosperity, love and many more benefits to the wearer. Each stone is associated with a particular month is a tradition going back as far as the 15th century.”Then you have copper bracelets, which were first worn in ancient Egypt and most recently enjoyed a stretch of popularity in the late 20th century.“For those who advocate the use of copper bracelets, proposed benefits focus on reducing joint inflammation and easing pain,” Glenda Taylor writes for Livestrong.com.Even more recently, between 2007 and 2011, companies like Power Balance marketed silicon bracelets that were supposed to improve balance in athletes. While the product ultimately turned out to be a sham, millions of units were sold along the way.The Practical Health Benefits of Wearable TechWhile wearables from past decades and centuries often come with controversy, there’s reason to believe that today’s wearable devices are actually beneficial. At the very least, they have the potential to become beneficial in the near future.The jury is still out on many of the claims wearable device manufacturers make, but here are some trends and developments worth keeping an eye on.1. Clinical Trial Data CollectionOne of the more intriguing aspects of this conversation is the usefulness of wearable devices in clinical trials. Not only do they allow clinical data to be collected and analyzed in real-time, but they also make it easier for researchers to find willing participants.Apple has released an app called ResearchKit, which works in conjunction with iPhones and Apple Watches and allows researchers to collect invaluable information from users.“Within a day of ResearchKit’s launch, 11,000 volunteers signed up for a Stanford University cardiovascular trial. Prior to this innovation, Stanford said it would take a year to reach that level of participation,” George Clinical explains. “Another ResearchKit app, mPower was launched last year. Within six hours, 7,406 people had enrolled in the Parkinson’s study through the application. Prior to that, the largest study group was 1,700.”The hope is that this technology will only continue to improve, which will further increase the rate of participation and enhance the data sets researchers can access.2. Chronic Disease ManagementWearables offer a lot of promise in terms of monitoring and addressing chronic diseases, such as diabetes. Several technologies are in the works right now and a few have already been tested with positive results.For example, Verify (formerly known as Google’s Life Science) has teamed up with a company called Dexcom to develop a wearable tracker that diabetics can use to monitor their glucose levels around the clock. It consists of a disposable needle that goes just under the skin and a patch that sits on top and houses the electronics used to measure and transmit data to Bluetooth devices.The hope is that technology like this could help diabetics live a more normal life – one where they have continuous access to potentially life-saving information.3. Health AwarenesFinally, there’s a lot of value in simply being aware of your health at all times. Something as simple as wearing a Fitbit or Apple Watch allows individuals to stay on top of heart rate, physical activity, calories burned, steps taken, etc. When these metrics are on the top of someone’s mind, it makes them more likely to practice smart, healthy habits.Poised for BreakthroughThere are certainly some signs that indicate a positive correlation between wearables and health and wellness, but the expectations are for more benefits to emerge in the near future. Staying aware of what’s happening in this niche will prove to be highly useful as the marketplace evolves. Frank Landman Frank is a freelance journalist who has worked in various editorial capacities for over 10 years. He covers trends in technology as they relate to business. Follow the Puck Related Posts center_img Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Trends Driving the Loyalty Marketing Industry What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech …last_img read more

See More

Man 66 charged with firstdegree murder in disappearance of two Toronto men

first_imgTORONTO – Months after dismissing growing fears about a potential serial killer prowling Toronto’s gay village, police said Thursday they have arrested a man they believe is responsible for the presumed deaths of at least two men who disappeared from the neighbourhood.Bruce McArthur, a 66-year-old Toronto man, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder Thursday morning in the presumed deaths of Selim Esen and Andrew Kinsman, both reported missing from the Church and Wellesley streets area at separate times last year, police said.“We believe he is responsible for the deaths of Mr. Esen and Mr. Kinsman, and we believe he is responsible for the deaths of other men who have yet to be identified,” said Det. Sgt. Hank Idsinga.“In other words, we believe there are other victims,” he said. Idsinga would not say who the other victims may be, but said police are aware of other men reported missing from the area.Members of the LGBTQ community were voicing concerns and pushing for answers last year in light of the disappearances, which were deemed suspicious at the time.Investigators working on the cases issued public reassurances, saying they had no reason to believe the two men were dead, nor that their absence had anything to do with a serial killer or predators targeting men through a dating app.In December, police warned people to be careful using dating apps.Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders defended the force’s approach when asked about the shift Thursday.“In policing, what we do is we follow the evidence and what I said at the time that I said (it) was accurate at that time,” he said. He thanked the Church and Wellesley community for its help, saying the ongoing communication had raised awareness and given the investigation more focus.Helen Kennedy, executive director of the LGBTQ advocacy group Egale, said news of the arrest brought relief after months of fear and apprehension.“The community, especially in the village, were very, very nervous, and rightly so. Two gay men went missing and the circumstances around their disappearances were very suspect and so people were speculating about what had happened to these two guys,” she said.“I think that we had every right to be afraid and nervous, but at the same time, the police need time to do their work,” she said.Officers had been investigating McArthur for months but could not make a “definitive link” to the disappearances until Wednesday, Idsinga said.The men’s bodies have not been found, but police said they were combing through five properties — four in Toronto, one in Madoc, Ont. — connected to McArthur, a self-employed landscaper.Provincial police were searching a rural property north of Madoc Thursday evening.A Canadian Press photographer at the scene said there were at least two police cruisers and two officers on the property.Calls to the local provincial police detachment were not returned.Idsinga said police have a “pretty good idea” of how the men died but would not elaborate, citing the ongoing investigation.McArthur had sexual relationships with both men and all three were on dating apps, he said.“He did have a relationship with Mr. Kinsman for some time,” Idsinga said.“We don’t know what his exact relationship with Mr. Esen was leading up to the (alleged) murder, whether he had just met him that day or whether he had known him for some time, we just don’t know that yet.”A separate project is probing the disappearance of three men who went missing from the same area between 2010 and 2012.last_img read more

See More

Beside The Points For Monday April 23 2018

Predictions NBA See more NBA predictions All newsletters Oh, and don’t forgetA successful no no nearly killed this man We’re launching a sports newsletter. 🏆  Join the squad. Subscribe Things That Caught My EyeSeattle to earn more frequent flyer milesThe Seattle Seahawks, by virtue of playing in a city that is very far away from other cities that host NFL teams, spend a lot of time on planes. Once every four years, they get a reprieve and get to play in Oakland, a place only 801 miles away. This year the NFL scheduled that advantage away, as Seattle will play Oakland 4,789 miles away in one of the London games. [ESPN]Detroit isn’t as bad off as it seemsEvery year, people talk about a strength of team’s schedule, and every year they tend to use the one thing that isn’t super predictive of future results, namely total wins and losses. Football is fluky, and a team’s win percentage is often no indicator of how a team will do in a subsequent year. What is helpful is looking at Pythagorean wins, which looks at how a team with a given points scored and allowed would be expected to perform as. Ranking strength of schedule by that, a team like Detroit — which has the second hardest schedule according to wins — can breathe easier, as they’d be more in the middle of the pack, with the 15th hardest schedule. [FiveThirtyEight]Pine tar seems like a bigger problem?Gerrit Cole’s spin rate on a fastball jumped from 2,163 rpm last year to 2,332 rpm this season, a jump that Trevor Bauer of the Indians suggested may have been due to the use of pine tar. Several years ago a particularly brazen use of pine tar — which can aid in grip and control of the ball and is super illegal — got Michael Pineda ejected from a game. How widespread this practice is is unclear, but pitchers and managers reportedly seem to tolerate it because many people regardless of club are using it. [ESPN]Try out our interactive, Which World Cup Team Should You Root For?Shady way of doing businessWe are several weeks into baseball, which means that finally top-tier talent that was forced to marinate in the minors for an arbitrary two weeks in order to defer free agency for another year is being brought up to the big leagues. The CBA gives teams control over a player for 4 or 5 minor league seasons, then six full major league seasons. Operative word being full; if you force a rookie to spend a few weeks in the minors and then bring him up, teams can defer free agency for an additional year. [The Ringer]Don’t call it a tankThe Miami Marlins, which FiveThirtyEight forecasts will have an estimated 60 wins at the end of this season (the lowest in the league), are in part owned by Derek Jeter, who oversaw a roster wipe. Confronted about this by HBO’s Bryant Gumbel, Jeter vehemently denied that the tank was on and that he truly expects the team to contend this year. [Miami Herald]Browns attempt to defy historySince 1950, the Browns have drafted 49 quarterbacks. Of those, eight were in the first round. Only one of those eight was a successful pick, Bernie Kosar, who led the Browns to three AFC championship games. In their whole history, they’ve had 55 different starting quarterbacks, of whom only 11 started in a playoff game, and only 2 since 1993. Let’s see what they do with their No. 1 pick. [ESPN]Big Number(s)21 pitchesCongratulations to San Francisco Giants first baseman Brandon Belt and condolences to viewers of a baseball game he played in! Belt has the record for most pitches in a single at bat, with 21 pitches. The at bat lasted 12 minutes and 45 seconds. [ESPN]Leaks from Slack: neil:That has to be one of the least likely no-hitters ever(at least based on the opponent)chris.herring:I’m just seeing the highlights of the no-hitter! Thats so shady! The error they called def shouldve been a hit! read more

See More

Aberdeen coach knows they need a big performance to win the

first_imgFor Derek McInnes, his team will have the most difficult match of the year against Celtic on SundayAberdeen and Celtic will face each other in the Scottish League Cup Final on Sunday.And Aberdeen’s manager Derek McInnes knows his team has to play their best match of the season to win.“We haven’t lost a goal in the competition yet, we’ve beaten three Premiership teams already,” said McInnes to the BBC.ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND - MAY 04: Manager of Celtic Neil Lennon celebrates as his side secured the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership title after the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership match between Aberdeen and Celtic at Pittodrie Stadium on May 04, 2019 in Aberdeen, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)Lennon praises Celtic’s fan support Manuel R. Medina – May 5, 2019 According to the team manager, the way the supporters behave this season helped the team achieve an eighth consecutive title.“We’ve had to win at Easter Road [on penalties against Hibernian]; Hampden against Rangers.”“We feel we’ve got the big performance in us to win the game. Celtic are the bigger club, they’ve got the bigger squad; better squad but we are capable of a bigger performance on the day and that’s what we’re searching for,” he added.“In the last few months, we’ve had two very tight games against them.”“The game we won, there was nothing really in the game. We came up with a big moment to get the three points and an important result,” he concluded.last_img read more

See More