Three Inspiring Nonfiction Survivalist Books

While tales of survival have been tossed around as legend through human history, there are some real people who have persevered through extreme conditions using only determination and tenacity. True survival stories are not only inspiring; they can teach us how to push ourselves when the time comes.

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption – by Laura Hillenbrand
This astonishing book based on a true story became a hit film in 2014, produced by Angelina Jolie. Olympic runner and Army Air Force bomber Louis Zamperini survived for 47 days after his bomber plane crash-landed into the Pacific Ocean in May 1943, during World War II. Zamperini and two crewmates fought off sharks, severe starvation, sun poisoning, and more. Discovered by the Japanese, he became a Prisoner of War (POW) for the remainder of the war. Unbroken is an extraordinary story of survival, determination, and strength.

Between a Rock and a Hard Place – by Aron Ralston
This book also became a biographical survival drama that hit the big screens in 2010, named 127 Hours, starring James Franco. Aron Ralston gave up his mechanical engineer career and moved to Colorado to enjoy the outdoors. During one of his adventures in 2003, he was climbing through Blue John Canyon in Utah’s Canyonlands National Park, and a boulder suddenly came loose. His right arm was crushed and trapped between the boulder and the canyon wall. Since no one knew where he was, Ralston was trapped and alone for 127 hours with limited food and water. Eventually, he had to amputate his arm to save himself. This compelling book is a personal account of his thrilling experience.

Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage – by Alfred Lansing
Another Hollywood hit, the movie is a retelling of an expedition to Antarctica based on the book by Alfred Lansing. The Endurance set sail for the South Atlantic in the summer of 1914. Sir Ernest Shackleton and his crew became castaways after The Endurance was crushed and trapped in ice. In five months, the men traversed more than 1,000 miles throughout one of the world’s most inhospitable regions. Through glaciers, mountains, and fighting off the harsh elements, Shackleton’s survivalist voyage was one of the most hazardous and astounding in human history.

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Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Common Check Engine Light Culprits

The dreaded “Check Engine” light is associated with doom-and-gloom for many drivers. “Will the engine die?” “Can I make it home?!” “Am I seeing smoke?” In all actuality, the light is a precursor to internal damage and is designed as an early warning sign. Read on for five common reasons the “Check Engine” light comes on.

  1. Spark plugs have burnt out: The conductor of the engine, spark plugs provide the necessary spark (hence the name) that ignites the fuel and air mixture, which creates engine power. Electricity crosses the gap between the ends of the plug, providing the proper voltage to the ignition. As the gap lessens and the spark plug gets worn down, the engine misfires, loses power, creates excess wear, and lowers gas mileage. If left unrepaired, an eroded spark plug will inevitably cause damage to connecting wires and ignition coils.
  • Gas cap is loose: The gas cap has a perfect seal on the fuel tank, so that any escaping vapor can be a hazard. A fuel level monitor can sense leaking gas and notify your car’s computer system, thereby causing the “Check Engine” light to emit.
  • Oxygen sensor is failing: The unburned oxygen in the exhaust system is monitored by a sensor. There is a precise fuel mixture that must be stabilized. When the oxygen is unstable, the car might idle at an elevated RPM. If the sensor cannot regulate the fuel mixture, the vehicle will have higher emissions. Oxygen sensors are tough, but they will eventually deteriorate when exposed to the elements, causing the “Check Engine” light to turn on.
  • Catalytic converter is worn down: To lessen the effects of pollution on the atmosphere, catalytic converters create an oxidizing reaction. As car technology has progressed, they have become more integrated with an engine’s management system, making them efficient and able to reduce wear. Catalytic converters last an average of ten years. Several factors can lead to the converter wearing down, such as oxygen sensors, worn spark plugs, and structural damage. Also, if antifreeze or fuel leaks into the exhaust system, the catalyst could overheat and melt.
  • Vacuum hose might be leaking: To allow smooth combustion in the engine, vacuum hoses release pressure buildup in components. Vacuum hoses are vulnerable to the elements such as dirt, heat, and debris. Broken hoses lead to misfires in the engine and sluggish performance. Most modern cars have a sensor that monitors the hose closely. If a pressure drop appears, a faulty code will be immediately signaled to the car’s computer system. Typically, the hose is worn and can be easily replaced.

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Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Hand Sanitizer Causes Eye Burns in Children

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers have become all the rage during the COVID-19 pandemic. The availability has sky-rocketed, and dispensers are available everywhere. Many adults are aware to not touch their eyes after rubbing the sanitizer throughout their hands, but children typically rub their eyes frequently. Some hand sanitizer automatic dispensers are almost eye-level with kids, which sometimes causes them to accidentally spray directly into their young eyes.

The chemical makeup of hand sanitizer can be moderately damaging to the ocular surface due to the elevated alcohol content. Ethanol causes severe discomfort and can kill corneal cells, sometimes requiring a corneal transplant.

A team of researchers using data from the French Poison Control Center (PCC) found a sevenfold increase in French reports of ocular hand sanitizer accidents in children from the same period in 2019.

From May 2020 to August 2020, the number of hand sanitizer eye exposures in public places increased from 14.4 percent to 52.4 percent. In 2020, a total of 16 children were hospitalized. Ten boys had a mean age of three-and-a-half years in 2020, while one 16-month-old boy was admitted in 2019.

Total hand sanitizer incidents in 2020:

  • 16 children were admitted to the hospital
  • Eight children developed a corneal or conjunctival ulcer
  • Six patients’ corneal ulcers involved over 50 percent of the corneal surface
  • Two children required amniotic membrane transplants

Hand sanitization and disinfection are crucial for public health. However, these findings insinuate health authorities need to ensure hand sanitizer stations are being used properly. The public should be warned about proper usage and safety concerning young children and the dangers of hand sanitizer.

Rohr Eye & Laser Center offers the most advanced technology available to provide personalized and extraordinary care to our patients. Whether your goal is to maintain or improve your natural vision, we are here to help you. Call us at 877-579-0202 or visit https://www.michiganlasik.com/ to schedule an appointment today.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

$35 Billion Water Bill Passed in Senate

A $35-billion measure to purify the United States’ water systems passed overwhelmingly in the Senate. The 89-to-2 vote is evidence that lawmakers in both parties support infrastructure initiatives. Now that the bill has passed in the senate, it will go to the House of Representatives.

“We’re trying to work in a bipartisan way whenever we can – and this bill is a classic example,” said Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer of New York. “It doesn’t mean that we’ll be able to do the whole thing bipartisan, but we’ll do as much as we can.”

The newly approved legislation would authorize funding to repair and support the water supply throughout the United States. Those that have long been neglected, such as people who reside in rural and tribal communities, also suffer from poor sanitation and unclean drinking water. Lead pipes would be removed from schools, and infrastructure would be updated to be more resilient to the impacts of severe weather and global warming.

“I don’t want to overplay it, but I think it’s definitely a major positive,” said Senator Shelley Moore Capito, Republican from West Virginia.

According to policy experts, environmentalists, and urban planners, the subsidies toward America’s deteriorating water systems is way past due. A 2018 study examined 30 years of data and found that as many as 10 percent of communities have poor water systems (health-based violations), which affect roughly 45 million people yearly. Moreover, over two million United States residents do not have access to drinking water or sanitation services, according to a 2019 report compiled by the United States Water Alliance.

The Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Water Act were both accepted in the 1970s, but federal investment has drastically declined. In 1977, capital spending in the water sector was at 63 percent versus nine percent in 2017.

Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois introduced the new Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act. She said, “Access to clean water is a human right. Every American deserves access to clean water no matter the color of their skin of the size of their income.”

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Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Five Tips for Radiology Fundraising

A growing number of academic institutions are relying on the generosity of others to implement otherwise too-expensive ideas or changes. Fundraising is an imperative aspect of many organizations, including the radiology field. Having a basic knowledge of fundraising is essential to your success.

President of Johns Hopkins University from 1996 to 2009 and radiologist William Brody, M.D., Ph.D., laid out some guidelines for successful fundraising in the April edition of the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

“Whether you are a newly-appointed assistant professor of radiology, a dean of the medical school, CEO of a health system, or a university president, knowing how to raise funds is critical to your success and the success of the department or organization you represent. Fundamentally, fundraising is selling. I am not talking about your grandfather’s used car salesman. Selling is a universal skill that can be learned,” Brody said.

Relationships: Fundraising is also called friend-raising for a reason. To develop long-term relationships, make meaningful connections with donors who will support your departments or institution for the long haul. It is perfectly acceptable to return to donors who have contributed in the past, as they are most likely to donate again.  

Trust the process: Whether you seek a research grant, new building, or an endowed professorship, there are four key steps to achieve success: attention, interest, desire, and finalizing. Ensure you are following the process to attract donors.

Invest wisely: Use your own money to contribute to staff who can help cultivate donors, conduct background research, investigate prospects, develop brochures and other media, demonstrate, advertise, etc.

Speak out: When donors are looking to donate to a cause, radiology isn’t always top of mind. The lack of face-to-face contact radiologists have with patients makes it essential to be proactive. Don’t be intimidated – fundraising isn’t necessarily effortless. It is critical for your career, so try to learn the best you can.

Embrace technology: Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an integral part of radiology. Many tech donors are drawn to the AI sector, so be sure to entice prospects from a wide range of fields, including other areas of medicine, technology leaders, venture capitalists, and even patients with relevant interests.

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Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Everything You Need to Know about Pool Remodeling

It’s almost pool season! If you’re hoping to remodel this spring or fall, here’s what to expect. Pool contractors commonly map out their estimated start and completion dates to organize schedules and manage expectations. Read on to review a general timetable for the pool remodeling process.

Draining
A pump is placed in the bottom of the pool attached to a hose leading out to the street. Depending on the size of your pool, the draining process can take anywhere between six to 12 hours. A loud “slurping” sound might erupt when the pool is totally drained. In this case, unplug the pump from the outlet.

Chipping
The pool’s old surface is removed, primed, and tiled if the owner requested it. Getting the pool prepped correctly is imperative to the job. This process takes roughly four to six hours, depending on the crew.

Tiling
Typically, homeowners select the tile they would like in their pool. After finalizing the homeowner’s selection, the tiles are laid, grouted, and set. The entire process takes roughly a day or two, depending on the pool size. If a plaster finish has been requested, the tile trims are added on the last day.

Surfacing
Pebble and plaster are mixed to the correct consistency and then pumped into the swimming pool using large hoses. The hand-troweling application takes roughly four to six hours.

Pebbling
An acid wash over the pool surface ensures the pebble application is complete. After this step, which only takes a couple of hours, the filling process can begin.

Watering
Water is added to the pool once the pebble acid wash and plaster are in place. The water must reach halfway up the tile line (or skimmer opening) before the water is turned off. If the water flow is stopped before the pool is entirely full, water lines will form on the inside of the pool. The owner should ensure the tap is left open until the pool is filled. This takes between 12 to 48 hours.

Balancing
Depending on whether the pool is plaster or pebble, it will take either a few hours or a few days to complete this chemical-balancing step. Plaster is more sensitive, which means the owner will need to monitor the water’s pH level to ensure it remains acidic.

Looking to get your pool remodeled? Contact the experts at Pound Pool Plastering today.

Pound Pool Plastering offers free estimates and complete pool renovations. Dale Pound, owner, personally oversees each pool project to ensure the highest quality is delivered. We offer Diamond Brite, Sunstone, Hydrazzo, Marcite, Pebble finishes, Bead Crete, tile choices, coping stones, etc. We are pool renovation experts – contact us today at 248-476-4544 or poundpool@sbcglobal.net.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

U.S. Beat Projections for Power Sector Emission Cuts

A new study published by the United States Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory entitled, “Halfway to Zero,” showed that the power sector has unexpectedly reduced emissions throughout the past 15 years.

Projections made in the United States Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) 2005 Annual Energy Outlook estimated that power industry emissions would increase by 27 percent to just above 3,000 million metric tons (MMT) of carbon emissions in 15 years, ending in 2020.

The power sector has dropped 50 percent below initial projections, reaching zero emissions. The carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector in 2020 were 1,450 MMT, which is over 50 percent lower than the original forecasts and also 40 percent of the 2005 levels.

Public policy, markets, and technology have given way to the swift drop, according to the study. Demand for electricity was 24 percent lower in 2020 than what was predicted by the EIA in 2005. Outperforming expectations, wind- and solar-powered energy delivered 13 times more generation in 2020.

Hydropower, biomass, and geothermal are not in the calculations; however, if they were, the study noted that renewable performance is 79 percent higher than projected. Therefore, the total amount of renewable electricity surpassed expectations by an even larger margin.

Not only is this good news for the environment; it is also good news for the economy. The study showed that power supply-related employment was 29 percent more than 2020 predictions. Since the renewable energy division is so job-intensive, more jobs are required per output than fossil fuels, according to the study.

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Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Tips for an Effortless Mortgage Pre-Approval

Before you start shopping for a home, it’s essential to get pre-approved by a mortgage lender to get a concrete idea of the loan amount, interest rates, and available loan programs. A pre-approval is different from a pre-qualification. The pre-approval process involves gathering information (income and asset documents along with a credit report) to confirm you are pre-qualified, whereas pre-qualification does not include the same paperwork.

Before making an offer on a home, real estate agents will verify the potential buyer has completed a full pre-approval with a reputable lender. Before you start the pre-approval process, ensure you have the necessary paperwork compiled and be ready to fill out the loan application.

Residential History
Most lenders will ask for your residential history, which includes addresses where you have lived over the past two years, as well as the contact information of your previous landlords.

Personal Assets
Statements from your checking, savings, and other bank accounts two months before the application date will be required. Additionally, other asset statements (past two months), including certificates of deposit, individual retirement accounts, stocks, bonds, and other securities, should be disclosed. Cash on hand is not acceptable; a clear paper trail will be required for large deposits. Any real estate holdings (property address, current market value) need to be disclosed to the lender, along with a copy of the mortgage and homeowner’s insurance statement and the most recent HOA payment if applicable.

Employment and Income History
Crucial to the pre-approval process, these documents prove the borrower’s ability to repay the loan. It is ideal to work in the same industry for the past two years; your most recent paystubs, along with a W-2 form, are necessary as well. If the borrower is self-employed or works on commission, they will have to provide the last two years of income tax returns, profit and loss statements, balance sheets, along with employment verification.

Personal Debt
Borrowers’ credit reports will be examined to understand their monthly debt, which is a factor in terms of how much they can afford. New monthly debts or those that might not show up on a credit report (auto or student loans, credit card statements, etc.) are also required.

Down Payment
Limited budgets can be accommodated with mortgage programs for those without enough monetary funds to cover a down payment. Down payment assistance (gifts) can be given from family members; they must complete a gift letter to confirm, however.

EB Mortgage is a locally owned mortgage company with experts in new home purchase, refinancing, and commercial loans. Our wholesale rates can’t be beaten. We offer more products, more options, and more solutions. Our “3C” Process is simple: complete our pre-approval request, consider options based on your requirements, and choose the offer that suits your needs best. Call us at 866-246-0516 or e-mail contact@ebwmtg.com today.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Yahoo Answers Is Gone Forever

Yahoo published a press release explaining that their “Answers” service is permanently shut down. “Once a key part of Yahoo’s products and services, it has declined in popularity over the years as the needs of our members have changed,” said the release. The site is no longer accessible as of May 4, 2021, but those who have interacted previously can download their Yahoo Answers data until June 30.

Yahoo Answers was an enigma. Launched in 2005, the question-and-answer platform was meant to be “a place where people can ask each other questions on any topic, and get answers by sharing facts, opinions, and personal experiences.” Initially, it was created to help boost Yahoo Search results. Back then, Yahoo was a massive company with a humungous social community, e-mail address hosting, directories, and the biggest search engine worldwide.

“Long term, Answers has the potential to attract incremental users, increase time spent on the Yahoo! Platform, and create monetization opportunities through additional sponsored links and page views,” Douglas Anmuth told Forbes in 2005.

Truth be told, Yahoo Answers had a legacy, but not the one it was intended for. The answers were never really relevant; instead, the questions were more popular. As seen on YouTube, comedians and podcasters made light of the interesting Yahoo Answers community.

The ridiculous questions people asked gave way to its popularity. Despite the off-the-wall jokes, the platform did have some formidable queries such as household repairs and awkward questions from teens too shy to ask their parents.

An internal ranking system helped create a sense of community though it didn’t mean much. Those who asked questions could choose the best answer, giving them points and leveling them up. This sense of community made the platform engaging. In 2005, Facebook and Reddit were infants, and Twitter was seen in the distance. Yahoo Answers didn’t compete with those social media platforms, but they did fulfill similar needs throughout their user base. As chat rooms began to shift to social media, Yahoo Answers was a half-step between the two.

After May 4th, Yahoo Answers will be lost to the depths of the Internet the way of GeoCities, MySpace, and Adobe Flash. The good news is, a large portion of Yahoo Answers will be available on the WaybackMachine, an Internet archive.

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Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Cancer Patients Can Be Protected from Radiation Using a 3D-Printed Shield

Cancer patients could soon be donning a personalized protection shield giving them an extra level of armor against radioactive toxicity while undergoing radiation therapy. More than 200,000 patients in the United States report injuries to healthy tissue from radiation exposure annually. A large portion of the damage occurs in the mouth and gastrointestinal tract leading to oral mucositis, esophagitis, and proctitis.

A team of researchers published a study in Advanced Science that outlines the personalized 3D-printed device that shields radiation from patients. The proof-of-concept was designed by the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT.)

James Byrne, M.D., Ph. D., a postdoctoral researcher at Brigham and Women’s and MIT; senior radiation oncology resident physician at Brigham and Women’s; MGH; and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, said their testing showed “Promising results. When we treat patients with radiation, we do our best to minimize the area of healthy tissue that receives radiation and break up treatment into small doses, but it’s a fine balance. We want to administer the most dose we can to shrink the tumor without causing damage to healthy tissue. Our goal through this project was to find an innovative solution that could offer personalized protection for patients.”

To develop the shield, several types of solid and liquid materials were used. Eventually, substances that block gamma and X-rays were chosen to reduce radiation backscatter. Custom-made designs from CT scans were produced from 3D printers. Rats and pigs were used to test the devices, focusing on whether they impacted the mouth and gastrointestinal tracts. Patients commonly experience side effects of radiation in the esophagus, small intestine, or gastrointestinal tract.

The encouraging results shows that the 3D shield successfully protects healthy tissue in the mouth and rectum of rats. In humans, the device could reduce mouth radiation by 30 percent for head and neck cancer patients. A 15-percent drop in radiation exposure could also be noted for prostate cancer patients without any dose reaction to the tumor.

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Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.