Life with advanced breast cancer: a daughter’s perspective
(BPT) - Cate Edwards, daughter of Elizabeth Edwards, became part of the cancer community when her mother was first diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. Shocked and defiant, Edwards and her mother assembled the best team of healthcare providers and confronted the cancer with grace, courage and perseverance.
“I moved back in with my family to be with my mom through the early stages of her treatment,” said Edwards. “I was sure there was an end to cancer in sight and I wanted to see her through it.”
Less than a year later, they were able to breathe a sigh of relief when Elizabeth’s scans came back clear and she appeared to be in remission. Unfortunately, the cancer was not gone for good.
The cancer returned. This time, it was metastatic breast cancer that had spread to the bone, which was treatable but incurable. Advanced breast cancer (ABC) is composed of metastatic breast cancer (stage IV) and locally advanced breast cancer (stage III), according to the American Cancer Society. Metastatic breast cancer occurs when the cancer has spread beyond the breast to other parts of the body, such as the brain, bones or liver. Locally advanced breast cancer means the cancer has spread to lymph nodes and/or other tissue in the area of the breast, but not to distant sites in the body.
The advanced breast cancer felt different. The focus turned from becoming a “survivor” to simply surviving, and Edwards and her mom sensed they were part of a new cancer community.
“Before my mom was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer, I assumed breast cancer patients fell into two categories - those who were “survivors” and those who were not,” said Edwards. “When Mom’s cancer metastasized, I realized this wasn’t the case. There is a community of cancer patients who are challenged by an unpredictable, chronic disease that they could live with for weeks, months or years.”
While there are many resources for early stage breast cancer, information specifically for the ABC community - which includes patients and those who care for them - has been limited. A global survey of nearly 1,300 women in 12 countries, conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of Novartis Oncology, showed that 70 percent of U.S. women living with ABC often feel isolated and left out of the broader breast cancer awareness movement. Additionally, 75 percent of women with ABC feel resources to help family and friends cope with and understand the disease would be especially helpful.
To address the unique needs of the ABC community, the “Count Us, Know Us, Join Us” (Count Us) program was developed with guidance from 13 leading cancer advocacy groups. The Count Us program, which is available in English and Spanish at www.advancedbreastcancercommunity.org, provides education and support to patients, caregivers, loved ones and supporters.
In honor of her mother, who passed away, Edwards has joined Count Us as an ambassador to share her caregiver experience and to help amplify the voice of the ABC community.
“Anyone impacted by this disease - whether a patient, daughter, husband, friend or colleague - is part of the community,” said Edwards. “Living with advanced breast cancer means living with uncertainty, but knowing first-hand the struggles this community faces, there is one thing that’s certain: no one should face it alone.”
Rosalie Canosa, MSW, MPA, LCSW-R, Program Division Director, CancerCare, agrees more support is needed for the ABC community, which has different needs than the early stage breast cancer community, especially when it comes to caregivers who need support as well.
“Seventy percent of women with advanced breast cancer have a caregiver, whether it’s a family member who attends every doctor appointment or a neighbor who brings a meal once a week,” said Canosa. “However, caregivers are often so focused on helping that they underestimate support theymay need over time. That’s why I am happy that Cate is joining the Count Us program, to raise awareness for everyone in the advanced breast cancer community.”
For additional information on the Count Us program and resources for ABC support, as well as video messages from Cate Edwards, visit www.advancedbreastcancercommunity.org.
Courtesy of BPT
Small improvements indicate Americans taking steps toward better credit
When you’re struggling with thousands of dollars of debt, saving a few bucks here or there may seem like a drop in the bucket. Yet in financial terms, those drops add up, and can ultimately create a more positive overall picture. That seems to be the case for the country, as evidenced by a recent report on credit scores and credit habits among American consumers.
Experian’s third annual State of Credit report, which analyzes the average VantageScore (an industry-leading consumer credit risk score with scores ranging from 501 to 990, with higher scores representing a lower likelihood of risk), debt levels and credit use of people living in more than 100 U.S. cities, found that in the past year:
* Americans’ average credit scores edged upward for the second consecutive year.
* Average debt decreased slightly.
* Income rose by nearly one and a quarter percent.
* Foreclosures fell by 12.59 percent.
* Among the 10 cities with the highest credit scores, eight had improved average scores over last year. Among the 10 cities with the lowest average scores, seven also improved their credit scores.
The cities with the highest average credit scores were: Minneapolis (787); Madison, Wis. (786); Wausau, Wis. (785); Sioux Falls, S.D. (784); Cedar Rapids, Iowa (783); San Francisco (783); Green Bay, Wis. (781); La Crosse, Wis. (779); Boston (778) and Duluth, Minn. (777).
The lowest average scores were found in Harlingen, Texas (688); Jackson, Miss. (702); Corpus Christi, Texas (706); Shreveport, La. (708); Monroe, La. (709); Augusta, Ga. (710); El Paso, Texas (710); Myrtle Beach, S.C. (710); Memphis (711) and Savannah (713).
While many of these indicators point toward a renewed focus by Americans on wise credit habits, there are also signs that consumers still have room for improvement, says Maxine Sweet, vice president of public education for Experian. In uncertain economic times, credit and debt management is often viewed as an indicator of Americans’ overall financial well-being. As our nation and individual consumers struggle to emerge from recession, establishing and maintaining good credit has never been more important.
Sweet offers consumers some basic credit information:
If you haven’t already done so, check your credit score and report so that you have a benchmark for improvement. It’s important to understand the financial behaviors that influence the information in your credit report. Once you understand how your financial behaviors affect your credit report, you’ll be able to take steps to improve your credit history and, subsequently, improve your scores. Factors that affect your credit score include:
* Bill payment history - Paying bills on time is the single most important contributor to good credit. Late payments negatively affect your ability to get credit since they indicate a stronger likelihood that you will make late payments again or will be unable to pay your debts in the future. Even if the debt you owe is a small amount, it is crucial that you make payments on time.
* Credit card balances and other revolving credit - If you max out your credit card or charge balances that are very close to your limit, you will increase your balance to limit ratio, or utilization ratio. A high utilization ratio may indicate that you are tempted to charge more than you can pay and therefore, negatively affect your credit score.
* Length of credit history - How long you’ve had certain accounts matters for your credit history. What’s more, if you have negative information on your credit report, time is your ally in improving your credit score. While steps like catching up on late payments and paying down debts can help improve your score, there is no overnight fix for a low credit score. Improving your score will require time and discipline.
To learn more about building and maintaining a strong credit history, visit LiveCreditSmart.com.
Courtesy of BPT
Connect to color through your passions
(BPT) - Whether you love to sit on the beach or collect antiques, drawing from your personal passions can help you find the perfect colors to enhance your space.
“If a hobby or activity lifts your mood, surround yourself with things that remind you of it,” says David Bromstad, HGTV star and celebrity designer. “I always look to a homeowner’s passions when helping them decorate. And if you start with an established palette of coordinated colors, it’s easy to follow your instincts.”
Bromstad recommends the HGTV(R) HOME by Sherwin-Williams color collection, offering eight paint palettes that evoke many favorite pastimes, with colors that create room-to-room harmony throughout the home. He offers these tips for using color to express your passions.
Head-for-the-beach colors. If you are inspired by the sea and sand, use maritime blues and dune grass greens to create a fresh, breezy feeling that beckons barefoot comfort. Create an indoor seaside retreat using rattan furniture, Sea Salt (SW 6204) pale aqua walls and a table painted Rapture Blue (SW 6773), both from the Coastal Cool collection. Complete the look with accessories such as seashells and clear vases that evoke sea glass washed ashore.
Pick colors fresh from the garden. Let the colors of your favorite flowers, fruits and vegetables guide your color choices throughout the home. Evoke beautiful pink flower petals with Exuberant Pink (SW 6840) on a bathroom accent wall; paint a desk in a fresh, Frolic (SW 6703) green; or bring out citrus colors in the kitchen with orange Tango (SW 6649). Reference the Color Pizzazz collection for more bold inspiration.
Cook up some color excitement. Make your kitchen the ideal gathering place with deliciously warm and inviting colors. Spice it up with rich, saturated tones of Peppery (SW 6615) orange and Grandeur Plum (SW 6565), found in the Global Spice collection. For room-to-room harmony, use Garden Sage (SW 7736) or Edamame (SW 7729) in an adjoining dining room.
Design around your collectibles. If you are an antiques aficionado, choose colors that celebrate the retro hipness of repurposed objects. Use colors like Bold Brick (SW 6327), or Urbane Bronze from the Urban Organic collection, to add substance to kitchen cabinets. Give a mudroom an eclectic twist with Armagnac walls and a Parakeet (SW 6711) green bench.- -
For additional inspiration and information on HGTV HOME by Sherwin-Williams, visit sherwin-williams.com/hgtv.
Courtesy of BPT
One thing you don’t want to bring back from vacation
(BPT) - Before going on a trip, most of us are not thinking about what we’ll bring back with us other than souvenirs and digital snapshots. But with bed bug infestations on the rise in many travel destinations, it’s important to take precautions to avoid bringing these unwanted guests home.
Bed bugs have been found in schools, homes, college dormitories and even the finest hotels. Protect yourself and your belongings when you’re traveling by learning to identify these globetrotting pests.
Adult bed bugs are reddish-brown with small, flat, oval and wingless bodies about the size of an apple seed. They crawl at a steady rate and can be seen with the naked eye. Bed bug nymphs look much the same but are smaller and lighter in color than adults. Both nymphs and adults feed on blood. Nymphs need blood to molt, and adults need blood to mate and lay eggs.
Upon arriving in a hotel, motel or bed and breakfast, carefully inspect the bed linens and headboard, and pull the sheets back to check the mattress for bed bugs. Examine upholstered furniture and draperies as well. If a room is infested with bed bugs, you’re also likely to find fecal staining, which is light brown to black and looks like tiny drops of dried blood. If you find any evidence of bed bugs, report it to management immediately.
Additional precautions can be taken to reduce the likelihood of bringing the pests home with you. Use hotel room luggage racks to hold luggage when packing or unpacking rather than placing it on the bed or floor. Upon returning home, thoroughly inspect all bedding, suitcases, backpacks, boxes or other items that traveled with you. Clothing and bedding should be laundered and run through a high-heat dryer cycle.
If a few hitchhikers manage to make it back with you, several treatment options are available for bed bug infestations. Pest management professionals are trained to choose and safely apply effective products for infestations, and there also are products available for consumers seeking an effective do-it-yourself solution. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides a Bed Bug Product Search Tool that can be used to find an effective pesticide product for the situation.
“There are more than 300 products registered by the EPA to control bed bugs, and many can be used by consumers,” says Aaron Hobbs, president of RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment) - a national organization representing the manufacturers, formulators and distributors of pesticide products. “These products are rigorously tested to ensure they are effective. Just remember to always read and follow all label directions.”
Don’t let bed bugs hinder your travel plans. Know what to look for, inspect your room upon arrival, examine luggage and contents when you return and rest assured that there are treatment options should bed bugs hitch a ride home with you. For more information, visit www.DebugtheMyths.com.
Courtesy of BPT
Selling or staying put, ‘daylighting’ improvements pay off for homeowners
(BPT) - If your home will be on the
market soon, you’re probably looking for every possible edge that will make it stand out to potential buyers. But even if you’re staying put, you still want to make your home as attractive and valuable as your budget will allow.
“Daylighting” improvements that boost your home’s brightness and energy efficiency offer substantial return on investment for both home sellers and those who will be staying in their homes for the foreseeable future.Bringing the daylighting concept home
Industrial and office designers have long used daylighting - the concept of illuminating interior spaces with natural light from above - to improve energy efficiency, healthfulness and functionality of rooms. The slower housing market and sluggish economy have raised homeowner interest in the concept.
“Daylighting improvements not only elevate a home’s visual appeal for potential buyers, they can enhance homeowners’ enjoyment of their living space, and reduce energy costs,” says Ross Vandermark, product manager with an international skylight manufacturer.
Homeowners who want to apply the principles of daylighting to their home have many options: They can add windows or roof windows or install any number of types of traditional skylights or Sun Tunnel tubular skylights.The easiest daylighting upgrade
While adding a window in the wall of your home may raise practical and design issues, adding a roof window or skylight can be much easier. Roofs are, for the most part, a blank slate, allowing you to install skylights wherever they are needed most. And daylighting from above doesn’t just add functionality; it offers room-changing drama and decorating flair.
Roof windows are hinged, venting units designed to be installed in easily accessible areas, such as the angled walls in attic bonus rooms, and are operated by hand. A double-sash roof window is available that opens from both bottom and top to form a balcony on your roof. These units are often used in place of, or to replace, dormers.
Skylights are usually positioned higher on the ceiling, out of reach. Venting models can be opened or closed manually with a control rod or by remote control.
Skylights are popular with daylighting designers for several reasons. First, they easily fulfill the primary goal of daylighting by admitting more natural light into a room than similar sized vertical windows - thereby reducing the need for energy to power artificial lights. But they also work to enhance the healthfulness of a home.
If you opt to install a manual or electric venting skylight, it can be a natural, low-energy way to vent humidity, fumes and stale air from your home. Electric venting models open and close by remote control and have rain sensors to close them automatically.Energy efficiency, high-tech and decorating in one package
Another important similarity among windows, roof windows and skylights is in the glazing, or how the glass is manufactured. Since the units are mounted facing directly at the sun, skylight glazing technology has to be among the best in the industry. Qualified units feature double-pane, gas-filled construction to control heat gain or loss, and filter the sun’s fade-causing rays.
Independent research done in Denmark shows that skylights admit 30 percent more light than vertical windows in dormers, and provide the drama of a sky view that can’t be achieved with vertical windows.
In addition to high-tech features such as remote control and automatic rain sensors, skylight blinds are available in a varied palette of colors and patterns. Homeowners can utilize blinds as another decorating option while achieving as much as a 37 percent increase in energy efficiency, according to Vandermark.
He recommends closing the blinds on high heat/sun days in the summer to reduce potential solar heat gain and, on cold winter nights, to provide an extra layer of thermal insulation to keep warm air indoors.
Skylights also address important health considerations. One in five Americans suffers varying degrees of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a condition in which the symptoms can include depression and fatigue due to lack of sufficient daylight. Skylights can help by admitting abundant daylight while visually expanding rooms in any style or size home.
Modern, low-profile skylights are unobtrusive and as dependable as vertical windows. Information about units with a 10-year, no-leak installation warranty, plus an installer locator, is available at veluxusa.com. There’s also a free mobile phone app available to help homeowners see how skylights and blinds would look in rooms in their own homes.
For government information on window and skylight energy efficiency, visit energystar.gov, and for independent agency information, visit nfrc.org or efficientwindows.org. For remodeling information visit nahb.org/remodel or greenhomeguide.org.
Courtesy of BPT
Tankless water heater repair and installation for your home
We all know hot water is a necessity. Most of us have water heaters at home and do not give it a second thought, we just assume we will have hot water on a daily basis until… You are standing in the shower and the water goes cold because someone in the other part of the house decides to turn on the water- maybe trying to get the dishes done after dinner. Or we get ready for that therapeutic evening bubble bath so we can unwind and there is no hot water. If this sounds familiar it may be time to consider a tankless hot water system.
Let’s discuss the advantages of replacing your old hot water tank with a Tankless water heater. Have you found yourself scratching your head when the electric bill comes? Most of us have. Depending on your household size and use, your conventional hot water tank can drive your electric bills through the roof.
Did you know that most conventional heaters make up for almost 20% of your household energy consumption? Think about this for a moment. 20% is a lot of consumption when you begin thinking about the different household items that make up your electric bill…clothes dryers, stoves, heat, washing machines, lights, hair dryers and the list goes on. So when you think about it, 20% for the use of hot water is quite a bit of your electric bill. This is why if you are a conservationist or a home owner that simply wants to save money and enjoy effective water heating, consider switching to a different system. It may be time to try using a tankless water heater.
With electric bills soaring and people becoming more eco- friendly, many are now considering installing a tankless water system. The advantages to having a tankless system may outweigh the disadvantages. Let’s review some of the reasons why installing a tankless heater could be very beneficial:
Tankless hot water heaters are energy efficient. You can cut your heating cost to up to 30%. Tankless systems work differently from conventional water heaters. With a Tankless water system the water is heated only when it is needed. When you turn on the faucet, that is when the Tankless heating system kicks in and the water is heated (using a heating element). This kind of system is also called “Instantaneous” or “On Demand. ”
With tankless water heaters there is a constant flow of hot water, so this allows everyone in your home to have hot water at the same time- no more being deprived of hot water in your home! It does not matter if two or more faucets are running at the same time. But be sure to speak to a professional plumber so they can advise you on what you may need to properly supply your entire house or what your options are regarding installing two or more of this type of system to meet larger instantaneous hot water demands.
You should know that tankless water heaters are considered safer because the system does not store water that can be a breeding ground for bacteria such as Legionella. Keeping the water temperature at an appropriate level is important to prevent these types of bacteria from thriving.
Preventive maintenance is still periodic- the same as a conventional heater - but the cost is less. Perhaps one of the best advantages of a tankess water system is that if you do what the manufacturer requires, it can potentially last up to 20 years and still maintain its efficiency.
Energize your home’s exterior with vibrant colors
(BPT) - Chances are you’ve thought about adding a splash of color to the exterior of your home, and you’re not the only one. Many people have the same idea, but they don’t act because they’re worried they will choose poorly. Selecting the wrong color for your home’s exterior isn’t only costly, it’s embarrassing as well.
“Many homeowners are afraid to add color to their home’s exterior because they don’t want to make a mistake,” says Sensational Color’s Kate Smith, Color Marketing Group (CMG), a career color trend forecaster. “Especially when people look at the style of their homes, they can become confused by what colors will enhance their exteriors.”
One common mistake homeowners make when seeking to add color to their home’s exterior is they fail to identify a full color palette. They set out to choose that perfect color for their home without thinking about how it will interact with the newly-installed window frames or new roof.
Smith says the selection of your main color should take into account the colors of fixed features related to your home, such as the brick, stone or stucco found on your foundation, porch or walkway. Selecting color options for the trim, shutters and the front door should only come after the main color has been selected.
All of this may sound daunting, but Smith says the key is to follow the process. If you’re ready to take the opportunity and make your home the most envied on the block, a new, 36-page free ebook, titled “FRESH Color Schemes for Your Home Exterior,” can help.
In this free guide, author Smith advocates for taking a “top down” approach to adding eye-pleasing color palettes to the home exterior. She says people who are interested in making a color change to their exterior should start with the roof color and work their way down, taking into account the siding, window frames, front entry door and trim.
The ebook includes specific tips for home styles including: ranch, colonial, bungalow, Victorian, Spanish mission, European and new American homes. Smith provides several color combinations for each home style as well as tips for making the homes complement their neighborhoods.
“One of the hottest trends in the marketplace right now is to ‘shake up’ home exteriors with color,” says Smith. “This tutorial provides guidance on understanding the home’s exterior features and playing off them with color accents.”
Smith created the guide in collaboration with several building manufacturers including: DaVinci Roofscapes, Fypon, Simonton Windows and Therma-Tru. You can access the ebook through these company web sites or through Smith’s website sensationalcolor.com.
“No homeowner should feel locked into blah or standard colors on their home’s exterior,” says Smith. “A shake or slate polymer roof can have an appealing blend of colors, such as browns and autumn tones. Low-maintenance vinyl window frames and grids come in pine green, chocolate and even brick red to add pizzazz to the home. And, homeowners can create a welcoming front entrance by painting a fiberglass door a striking accent color. Tie that all together with painted urethane trim pieces that add the ‘icing on the cake’ for the home and you can really make a home more appealing with coordinated colors.”
Courtesy of BPT
Cost of home fire sprinklers at all-time lows; benefits still high
(BPT) - When it comes to the safety of your home and family, you would probably say money is no object. Yet cost (real or perceived) has long deterred many homeowners from considering a residential fire sprinkler system to protect their homes. The systems cut the risk of dying in a home fire by 80 percent, have broad support from safety experts and can even qualify you for a discount on your homeowner’s insurance. But until now, a perception of high cost has overshadowed those positives.
A new study reveals that the price of residential fire sprinkler systems has dropped significantly, creating an opportunity for safety-minded homeowners to tap the many benefits of sprinklers.
The average per-foot cost of a residential fire sprinkler system was $1.61; the average per-foot cost has plunged to $1.35, according to a report by the Fire Protection Research Foundation. Multipurpose systems that use a home’s cold-water supply, rather than a separate piping system, are even more affordable - just $1.23 per square foot, the report found.
And costs are likely to drop even lower, one expert says.
“More communities are considering, or have already implemented, fire sprinkler requirements for new, single-family homes,” says Eric Skare, a volunteer firefighter and fire safety systems product manager for Uponor North America (www.uponor-usa.com), an Apple Valley, Minn.-based sprinkler system manufacturer. “Growing demand has resulted in increased competition and lower installed costs for these systems. Manufacturers competing for market share continue to develop lower-cost products to ensure the cost-effectiveness of residential fire sprinkler systems.”
The lower cost is good news for anyone interested in protecting their home with a fire sprinkler system, Skare says. The benefits of such systems are many:
* Eighty percent of all fire deaths occur in residential fires. While functioning smoke alarms reduce the risk of home fire fatalities by 50 percent, sprinklers slash the risks by 80 percent, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
* Multipurpose systems - like those provided by Uponor - reduce the amount of piping needed to supply sprinkler systems because they tie into a home’s existing cold-water plumbing system. Instead of two piping systems - plumbing and fire-sprinkler - the builder need install only one, reducing material, labor costs and jobsite-scheduling hassles, saving 35 percent to 65 percent in installation time over standalone, rigid CPVC systems. That, in turn, should result in a lower cost to the home buyer.
* Homeowners insurance companies provide an average premium discount of 7 percent to homes with fire sprinkler systems, according to the Fire Protection Research Foundation.
* Home fire sprinkler systems act quickly to reduce heat, flames and smoke from fire, giving families valuable time to safely get out of a burning home. “Sprinklers extinguish most home fires in seconds, before the fire department arrives and before major damage can occur,” Skare notes. In fact, sprinklers are far less damaging than fire hoses used by firefighting teams. One study in Scottsdale, Ariz., found the average fire damage loss for a home without sprinklers was more than $45,000; with sprinklers, losses shrink to slightly more than $2,100.
* Sprinklers enhance home value. Forty-five percent of homeowners prefer a home with fire sprinklers and nearly 75 percent say the presence of sprinklers increases a home’s value, the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition reports.
Perhaps the most compelling argument in favor of sprinklers is the cost-to-value ratio. The average total cost for installing a multipurpose fire sprinkler system is around $6,000, according to the Fire Protection Research Foundation report.
“That investment could buy your family the extra time they need to escape a home fire,” Skare says.
Courtesy of BPT
How automotive technology lightens the burden on drivers’ budgets
Now more than ever, car buyers are focused on fuel efficiency. At the same time, they have demonstrated no desire to sacrifice performance, safety and style.
To satisfy car buyers’ tastes, automakers have been busily developing ways to squeeze more miles out of a gallon of gas. In addition to better engine design, an often overlooked transformation has led to increased fuel efficiency: more and more, automakers are replacing heavier materials with lighter-weight plastics.
Generally known as “lightweighting,” reducing a car’s weight minimizes the load on the engine, so it needs less fuel. Replacing traditional materials with plastics has contributed significantly to lightweighting, so much so that experts estimate plastics make up 50 percent of today’s automobiles by volume - but only 10 percent by weight. This progression toward plastics occurred over many decades, as cars also became generally more reliable, safer and better designed.
So if roughly half of today’s car is made with plastics - where is all this stuff? This trend is probably most readily apparent inside the car. Other than windows and perhaps leather seats, nearly everything a driver or passenger sees and touches is made with plastics: the ceiling, visors, dashboard, instrument panel, door panels, carpeting, seat fabrics and cushions, seat belts, air bags … the list goes on. It may be less obvious on the exterior, but today’s bumpers, quarter panels, headlights, taillights, grills, spoilers, running boards, and some other parts are generally made with plastics - or are rapidly headed in that direction. And take a look under the hood: a plethora of hoses and housings are made with plastics.
Flexibility, transparency, strength, lower weight - a wide range of properties led the automakers’ shift toward plastics. And the development of advanced plastics with special properties - such as shatter-, heat-, and corrosion-resistance - is leading to even greater inroads in vehicles. For example, polycarbonate plastic is emerging as an alternative to glass. Nearly unbreakable, this plastic has long been used in race cars because it’s less likely to shatter in a crash, and it also reduces the weight of the car to help improve speed. Some carmakers today use polycarbonate for sunroofs and other windows to shave off unneeded pounds.
Lightweighting, and the resulting increase in fuel efficiency, contributes not only to the car owner’s bottom line but also to a lighter environmental footprint. Better gas mileage saves money at the pump, and cutting fuel consumption can reduce a car’s CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions, as well as the impacts associated with energy production itself. Lightweighting contributes significantly to the efficiency of hybrid and electric vehicles, too.
Some automakers are taking further steps toward sustainability by using recycled plastics in their vehicles. For example, one major automaker is recycling an estimated 2 million plastic bottles into fabric for car upholstery. Car designers also have begun using plastics sourced partially from plants, such as the plastic foam in some seat cushions.
With federal regulations requiring an increase in fuel economy to nearly 55 miles per gallon for cars and light trucks by 2025, automakers must continue to seek ways to do more with less. More technological advancements, more safety features, more fuel efficiency. And less weight. To meet these goals, many experts predict even wider-scale adoption of plastics in future models - including plastic composites in the chassis and engine - leading to ultra-lightweight cars with better gas mileage and lower emissions than ever before. That’s good news for the car owner’s wallet and the environment.
For more on the use of plastics in automobiles, visit www.plasticsmakeitpossible.com
Courtesy of BPT
Growing career field provides vital support to businesses
Communication is the backbone of all businesses - regardless of size or industry. In the modern business environment, the ability to transmit and store information is vital to productivity - and thus, success. But no communication system runs itself - it’s the people behind the scenes who ensure that a business thrives. This means huge career potential for individuals who can design, implement, secure and manage communication networks and keep them running smoothly.
This widespread demand is one of the reasons CNN.com listed database administrators and systems administrators among its “Best Jobs in America for Fast Growth.” Candidates for these positions are expected to have an educational background in network and communications management or similar subjects.
Bachelor’s degree programs in network and communications management prepare students for maintaining network security and system efficiency, as well as designing computer communications systems.
Students of the Network and Communications Management bachelor’s degree program at DeVry University, for example, learn skills in Ethernet-enabled voice-operated IP systems, security firewalls and next-generation network administration. Courses review wireless communications, advanced topics in networking and network security, preparing students with working knowledge to solve any business communications issues.
Such a degree could open doors to a variety of roles within an organization’s information technology department.
Professionals in this field are responsible for maintaining system efficiency. They certify that all components of an organization’s computer system work together properly. Additional responsibilities include troubleshooting user problems and providing recommendations for future system upgrades.
Storing, organizing, analyzing, using and presenting data all fall under the responsibility umbrella of database administrators. These professionals determine user needs and implement the necessary modifications for specific computer databases. Database administrators also oversee security measures when this information is shared via the Internet.
Candidates for employment in this field should demonstrate analytical skills, technical understanding of networked data, voice and images, and how to strategically apply this knowledge to any business network.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Handbook reports that overall employment of computer network, systems and database administrators is projected to increase by 30 percent from 2008 to 2018, making it a clear bright spot in the job market.
As companies continue to grow and embrace the latest technological advances to enhance their products and profitability, the dependency for individuals with the expertise to ensure smooth, secure and efficient network communication will continue to remain relevant.
Courtesy of BPT