Phoenix, Arizona Police Department

For many of us, the news is our only means of keeping ourselves up to date on what is happening around us. There are a lot of things that are quite alarming like police departments, like those in Arizona, who has equipment that are more suited for military personnel instead of police officers.

There is a big difference on what the military and the police have to deal with and hence the difference in weapons. The military are supplied with higher powered weapons because they work in environments where they really need better firepower. The military do not always have the luxury of calling and waiting for backup before things get rough. That is why they have the kind of weaponry that will enable them to successfully defend themselves when they need to.

So to put that kind of firepower on the hands of police might not be totally necessary. There are a lot of instances where police officers have “accidentally” use too much firepower on a situation. As other would say, over-kill. One example of this is a Phoenix News Times article talking about the Arizona police department SWAT team fatally shooting an Iraq veteran because they were looking for drugs in the neighborhood.

They did find a small bag of marijuana in one of the houses but not in the veteran’s home. It’s just sad to know that an Iraq veteran who fought for the country was killed by the same kind of weapon that he used to defend the kind of freedom we enjoy. This is sad news indeed.

But there is still a bright side of news that shows more uplifting information like the Jump-rope-a-thon benefits Valley kids’ piece in the Phoenix News. Fitness is indeed an important matter especially today that well over a third of the people are overweight. Phoenix has a number of fitness gyms scattered all around the area so people can definitely get in shape.

One of the biggest things that people need to consider before joining any gym is the kind of equipment they have, does it have certified personal trainers and of course the distance of the gym from their houses. Make sure that you do not have to travel far to get to your gym because if you have to spend an hour or so driving to your gym, then it simply is not worth it since we all have other things to do in our daily lives.

News can be both a great way to keep yourself updated with the issues happening around you and to get important information for you to be able to plan things in the future like the weather if you are planning a trip. The news can be a lot of thing to a lot of people and it depends on them on how they will use it.

But what is certain is that the news is one of the most important things that modern living has to have if we are to function properly as a society.

News from the Art World

When people hear the word news, they immediately think of crime. And for the most part, they would be right. Since most news are about what crime happened and what are currently happening to many things around them that matters.

But the news often has a lighter side to it. Like when a trapped dog or cat gets rescued or a celebrity or actor has finally made a good movie. Whatever it is, the news has become a form of entertainment for a lot of people and not merely a means of keeping themselves updated. News has always been around for hundreds of years, the only thing that has changed is how it is being broadcast.

It used to be just through newspapers then radio, television and finally, through the internet. The news has even become a career for a lot of people and is just will not be the same world if we did not have any news. Even North Korea has news, though probably not as transparent as we are used to, but still they have it.

Getting the news gives people a sense of security by knowing, or at least having a good idea, on what is happening around them. People are naturally curious so not having any information on things can be quite frustrating. There are some who listen and watch the news, not really about the main event, but for the human interest pieces like hobbies and sports. One of the most well-known hobbies out there is painting.

Painting is one of the oldest and most well-known forms of art. There have been a lot of painters and paintings that has garnered international notoriety even well after the artist has passed. There is just too many of these painters and paintings to mention but what is interesting is the newer generations of artists have found a way to use various famous works of art into something more new-age to provide entertainment to a newer type of audience.

A BBC News entertainment and arts piece featured a Russian artist named Svetlana Petrova who has been gaining grounds in the online arts society by featuring her cat, named Zarathustra, on a number of famous works of art in the past including Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa,  James Abbott McNeill’s Whistler’s Mother, Grant Wood’s American Gothic.

For some, what Svetlana Petrova has done is nothing short of disrespectful to such great pieces of art while for some, it is merely smile inducing. She said she started her “cat-art” as a form of therapy after her mother’s passing. Art is in the eye of the beholder. For the older and more serious art’s people, this might not be funny but a lot of actually does not take it too seriously.

Personally, I think it is cute in a way and a great way for younger people to be exposed to art. Who knows, seeing this kind of art might peak the curiosity of the younger generation of more main stream art.

World Cup Fever in Texas

The latest fever everyone seems to be in right now is the World Cup fever. People from Austin, Texas are just one of the few people who are experiencing its grip right now. Everyone is excited on what’s going to happen. May it be a high school student, firemen, sales ladies, etc. everyone wants to be in the loop. Even random guys and gals in the gyms in Austin, Texas could be watching the TV while working out. And that is how you should also be showing your support as a World Cup fan.

Although, people who were free and had absolutely nothing to do yesterday, July 1, were very lucky as they had the chance to go to the Long Center and join thousands of fans as they cheer on the US team. If you’re not familiar with the Long Center then you should know that it is a 501 cm3 not-for-profit dedicated to broadening the appreciation and enhancing the enjoyment of the cultural arts. Just the perfect venue for this type of event. The number of fans who were there was really amazing. You can see how supportive they were of their own country. So, even though they were not present physically in Brazil, they were definitely there in spirit. The fans watched the game as the US takes on Belgium at 3 p.m. in a win-or-go-home match. After all, that was the biggest moment right there. It’s an all or nothing situation and that is why you should not miss a thing. The best thing about the outdoor watch party was that it was absolutely free including the parking. Gates opened at 2 pm in preparation for the match that started at 3 pm. Coolers were allowed but not alcohol. Food and beverages were also available for purchase onsite. Everyone was asked to watch out for their dogs as well. So, anyone who were available at that time and had the drive to go just went there with all the support they can muster.

In the morning of Tuesday, jumbotrons were already pulled up on the grounds and hundreds have already RSVPed on Facebook and it even got bigger than that as soon as the match began. So, it’s pretty safe to say that the World Cup is not only a big deal for other Americans but also for people in Austin. After all, Texas is traditionally an American football country and so football has taken its hold. According to ESPN, Austin had some of the highest numbers for ratings in the country during the last match. Even the Members of the American Outlaws which is Team USA’s unofficial support group said that they have seen their numbers boom in Austin. What made this possible is the very interesting 1994 World Cup and Major League Soccer and of course the social media. Through the digital age, it is now possible to watch the match wherever you maybe.

Recently it has been announced that the Austin Aztex will be entering the USL Professional soccer ranks starting next season in 2015. Thus, Austin is poised to take the next step in becoming an even bigger soccer city.

Are You Ready for the Switch to ICD-10?

ICD-9 will soon be phased out making room for the new standard, ICD-10. The tenth revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) is set to be implemented in October after several delays.

The delays were caused by the major impact introducing the ICD-10 will bring on healthcare professionals. The new revision is far more specific than its predecessor, which requires over 4 times the number of codes. The sheer number of new codes will cause a steep learning curve for all current medical coders and any aspiring ones.

What medical coders do is they convert doctors’ handwritten scribbles into specific codes that are then sent to insurance companies. The insurance companies use the codes to decide what and how much to pay. One major advantage over the new set of codes is the ability to determine which side of the body the medical condition applies to.

This alone will greatly cut down on insurance fraud as insurance companies can now see more details. For example, a knee replacement on the right and left knees is more likely a real situation than repeated replacements of the same knee.

However, some opponents to the new set of standards argue the codes are too specific, offering now added value and just increasing the burden on the coders who must learn the new codes. For example, there is a code, W53.21, for a squirrel-induced injury, another one, V80.919, for an injury caused by a collision with a motor vehicle while riding an animal, and a code, W93.2, for spending too much time in a refrigerator.

There are also two different codes used for turkey bites. However, the additional codes do offer the ability to see health related patterns, like a sweeping flu season. In addition, the new codes also make it possible to keep track of first time hospital visits compares to repeated visits. Since the first visit usually costs more due to initial tests and x-rays, this can help insurance companies determine how much to pay.

The codes alone are not the only obstacle. New software and systems need to be put in place to handle all the new codes. For the greater part of a decade, hospitals, medical coders, and insurance companies were relying on the ICD-9. Some software and systems can be upgraded, but others have to be completely replaced.

Overall, the greater accuracy and visibility into the current health situations of the country as a whole should provide valuable insight to medical researchers.

Best Places to Invest in this Tough Market

The real estate market in the US has been through tough times and just early in the year it had been through another stumble. This is in fact a huge concern especially if you are looking into buying a home and becoming a landlord.  But now, a piece of good news has surfaced as previously owned homes were snapped by Americans in May in the biggest monthly sales gain in almost three years. This is a good sign and one which means that the residential real estate market is on the right track.

The rental market specifically has been experiencing a rapid growth over the past several years, with many landlords earning double-digit returns of 10% or more. Although in some markets, the increasing prices of homes have diminished profits for landlords, there are still some markets that offer plenty of returns. That is based on the report by RealtyTrac which has analyzed rental market conditions in 370 major U.S. counties, including average rents, median home prices and unemployment rates.

A good place to start would be in Anderson County, S.C., where landlords who rent out a median priced three-bedroom home would average returns of 15.3%. This figure is even higher than the national average of 10% as found by RealtyTrac. This is due to the cheap homes that are found in the area at a median price of less than $70,000 while monthly rents average at $900. Anderson is a part of the Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin, SC Metropolitan Statistical Area.

The area is a growing industrial, commercial and tourist center. As the home of Anderson University of approximately 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students and several auto parts makers for BMW, it has a low 4.3% unemployment rate. This only means that the demand will continue to rise and help add to future profits. Other areas that will make being a landlord great is in Woodbury County, Iowa. Median home prices in the area were as low as $84,250 while monthly rents averaged at $914, including the ones in the Sioux City metro area. That is a big 13% rental return for the landlords.

Low unemployment is one key factor that future landlords should take into account when assessing a market. However, that is not the only thing that matters. According to RealtyTrac, investors should also look at the demographics of an area thoroughly especially when it comes to baby boomers and millennials. The number of individuals who are experiencing major life changes in these demographics will grow rapidly and that should help investors in deciding when and where to buy and sell.

For boomers born between 1945 and 1964, retirement-friendly markets in Florida are predicted to be hot. Since 2007, a 20% growth or more has been observed by some local markets. Just make sure that before you buy anything there, you get to read the Florida landlord/tenant law. For Millennial markets, the leading metro areas include the ones in Baltimore, Philadelphia, Jacksonville, Fla. and Atlanta. It also includes several smaller markets such as Fayetteville, N.C. and Virginia Beach/Newport News City, Va.

Why the Coffee Craze?

Nowadays, coffee is considered as one of the most popular beverages available for consumption. Millions of people enjoy a cup of coffee every day. Its target market has expanded over time and now even young people have developed a certain love for coffee. One can’t help but wonder why and how coffee is in demand lately. Surely, there is something special about it that keeps people from wanting more. Like any other beverage, coffee drinking may have good and bad effects to the consumer. It is one’s responsibility to be aware of coffee’s beneficial and detrimental effects not only on one’s health but in one’s life in general.

coffee crazeOriginally, the beneficial effects of coffee has been linked to its most intriguing and essential ingredient, caffeine, though some other compounds may also be responsible for its other important properties. Coffee brew consumption has been proven to aid in preventing some severe and prevalent diseases thus making coffee a functional beverage. Studies show that coffee can greatly affect the nervous system and has a lot of effects regarding the health of the consumer, examples include coffee having a moderate slimming effect, its capacity to alleviate asthma symptoms and many more. Coffee consumption should not be taken for granted and it should be taken moderately for caffeine can be quite addictive.

Caffeine is a well-known stimulant responsible for increasing one’s alertness through stimulation of the central nervous system, rising blood circulation and respiration. Studies also show that caffeine can enhance the mood, improve body performance and reaction time and may be associated to the reduction of symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and tremors. However, caffeine has also some negative effects such has sleeplessness and mild addiction, which has prompted development of a decaffeinated coffee industry, which might also benefit from naturally decaffeinated coffee genotypes. High doses of caffeine also cause anxiety, restlessness, tension, nervousness, and psychomotor agitation, while long term use of this alkaloid may increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, with individual differences in caffeine response, probably related to genetic factors.

Other beneficial physiological outcomes associated to coffee consumption are the stimulating effects observed on gastrointestinal tract and liver, probably from caffeine, chlorogenic and caffeic acids, inhibition of the onset of liver cirrhosis and alcohol-associated pancreatitis, reduction of the odds of having asthma symptoms and prevention of clinical manifestations of bronchial asthma.

We once conducted a study to find out how coffee consumption affects one’s overall performance. The study aimed to find out if the capacity to achieve more is directly proportional to the amount of coffee taken by consumers. Whether it’s students who drink coffee to avoid getting sleepy while studying or adults who take coffee before working out in fitness centers in Santa Monica or wherever, we want to know the effect it will have. From the data we gathered we wanted to inform everyone if drinking coffee is the best solution to increase alertness or the best beverage for daily casual activities. Fortunately, through that study we were also able to gain knowledge of the physical and mental effect of coffee and were also able to fully understand the reason behind coffee addiction and its physiological effects on the consumers.