Electrolyte Replenishment After Exercise

Everyone knows that we should stay well hydrated during exercise. When we exercise our body temperature elevates. Our body responds by sweating, this is its way of cooling down. How much we sweat depends of the weather, the intensity of the workout, and even the clothing we are wearing. No matter how much we sweat we lose water and electrolytes when we sweat. This fluid loss is called dehydration. Severe dehydration could seriously impact our health.

Our bodies maintain a very delicate balance of various chemicals to survive. Water is an important component in this balance. In fact, our bodies contain a high percentage of water. Our brain is 70% water as are our muscles. Even our bones contain water. Water helps release toxins from our muscles, kidneys, and liver. So we definitely need to drink water. However, when we sweat we do not just lose water. We also lose electrolytes. Water does not contain electrolytes.

Electrolytes are ions of certain minerals. Ions are positively or negatively charged atoms or molecules. The ions or electrolytes in our bodies help regulate certain metabolic functions. For instance, the negative and positive charges of electrolytes are necessary for the electrical stimulation that contracts our muscles, including our heart. Electrolytes also control the flow of water molecules to the cells. And just like with water, maintaining our electrolyte levels, is critical to our health.

The mineral ions that make up electrolytes include sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, hydrogen phosphate and hydrogen carbonate.

SODIUM

  • Assists with electrical impulses in the body allowing brain function and muscle contraction.
  • Affects urine production.
  • Helps maintain proper acid-base balance in the body.
  • Aids in maintaining blood pressure.

POTASSIUM

  • Important in the production of electrical impulses that contract muscles and in brain function.
  • Helps regulate fluids in the cells.
  • Aids in the   transmission  of nerve impulses.
  • Regulates the heartbeat.
  • Aids in digestion.
  • One study links potassium to bone health.

CALCIUM

  • Builds and maintains bones.
  • Part of the necessary electrolytes for nerve impulses and muscle contraction.

MAGNESIUM

  • Involved with the relaxation of the muscles that surround the bronchial tubes.
  • Assists in muscle contraction.
  • Helps activate the neurons in the brain.
  • Assists with enzyme activities.
  • Involved in the synthesis of protein.

CHLORIDE

  • Helps regulate balance of body fluids.
  • Aids in maintaining blood pressure

HYDROGEN PHOSPHATE

  • Assists in controlling the acidity level of the blood.
  • Is instrumental in calcium being deposited in the bones.

HYDROGEN CARBONATE

  • Contributive in maintaining the normal levels of acidity in the fluids of the body, in particular the blood
  • Helps keep the acid-base balance in the body.

Electrolyte replenishment drinks have been shown to provide certain benefits that water alone cannot. One study showed that runners who had consumed a carbohydrate electrolyte sports drink had a higher aerobic capacity than those of the placebo group. In another study, this one measuring the athletes speed, the group that had consumed the sports drink posted faster times than the placebo group. Electrolyte replenishment drinks help retain fluid and use it more efficiently during exercise. Those which include carbohydrates help stave off muscle fatigue.

One thing to beware of is that some sports drinks have a very high sugar content. There are sports drinks with upwards of 70 grams of sugar per serving and some with as little as 12. Despite this the American College of Sports Medicine have found that sports drinks are beneficial in providing energy to muscles, maintaining blood sugar levels, and preventing dehydration, making electrolyte replacement absolutely vital! So make sure to drink plenty of water in your daily life and after you exercise, think of having an electrolyte replenishment drink.

The Difference Between Being Smart, Educated, and Intelligent

I’ve always been intrigued by the subject of intelligence. As a child my mother would refer to me as “smart,” but I quickly noticed that all parents refer to their children as smart. In time I would discover that all children are not smart, just as all babies are not cute. If that were the case, we’d have a world full of beautiful, smart people – which we don’t.

Some of us are smart; but not as smart as we think, and others are smarter than they seem, which makes me wonder, how do we define smart? What makes one person smarter than another? When do “street smarts” matter more than “book smarts”? Can you be both smart and stupid? Is being smart more of a direct influence of genetics, or one’s environment?

Then there are the issues of education, intelligence and wisdom.

What does it mean to be highly educated? What’s the difference between being highly educated and highly intelligent? Does being highly educated automatically make you highly intelligent? Can one be highly intelligent without being highly educated? Do IQs really mean anything? What makes a person wise? Why is wisdom typically associated with old age?

My desire to seek answers to these questions inspired many hours of intense research which included the reading of 6 books, hundreds of research documents, and countless hours on the Internet; which pales in comparison to the lifetime of studies and research that pioneers in the fields of intelligence and education like Howard Gardner, Richard Sternberg, Linda S. Gottfredson, Thomas Sowell, Alfie Kohn, and Diane F. Halpern whose work is cited in this article.

My goal was simple: Amass, synthesize, and present data on what it means to be smart, educated and intelligent so that it can be understood and used by anyone for their benefit.

PRENATAL CARE

With this in mind, there was not a better (or more appropriate) place to start than at the very beginning of our existence: as a fetus in the womb.

There is mounting evidence that the consumption of food that’s high in iron both before and during pregnancy is critical to building the prenatal brain. Researchers have found a strong association between low iron levels during pregnancy and diminished IQ. Foods rich in iron include lima beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, spinach, asparagus, broccoli, seafoods, nuts, dried fruits, oatmeal, and fortified cereals.

Children with low iron status in utero (in the uterus) scored lower on every test and had significantly lower language ability, fine-motor skills, and tractability than children with higher prenatal iron levels. In essence, proper prenatal care is critical to the development of cognitive skills.

COGNITIVE SKILLS

Cognitive skills are the basic mental abilities we use to think, study, and learn. They include a wide variety of mental processes used to analyze sounds and images, recall information from memory, make associations between different pieces of information, and maintain concentration on particular tasks. They can be individually identified and measured. Cognitive skill strength and efficiency correlates directly with students’ ease of learning.

DRINKING, PREGNANCY, AND ITS INTELLECTUAL IMPACT

Drinking while pregnant is not smart. In fact, it’s downright stupid.

A study in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research has found that even light to moderate drinking – especially during the second trimester – is associated with lower IQs in offspring at 10 years of age. This result was especially pronounced among African-American rather than Caucasian offspring.

“IQ is a measure of the child’s ability to learn and to survive in his or her environment. It predicts the potential for success in school and in everyday life. Although a small but significant percentage of children are diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) each year, many more children are exposed to alcohol during pregnancy who do not meet criteria for FAS yet experience deficits in growth and cognitive function,” said Jennifer A. Willford, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Paul D. Connor, clinical director of the Fetal Alcohol and Drug Unit and assistant professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington has this to say about the subject:

“There are a number of domains of cognitive functioning that can be impaired even in the face of a relatively normal IQ, including academic achievement (especially arithmetic), adaptive functioning, and executive functions (the ability to problem solve and learn from experiences). Deficits in intellectual, achievement, adaptive, and executive functioning could make it difficult to appropriately manage finances, function independently without assistance, and understand the consequences of – or react appropriately to – mistakes.”

This is a key finding which speaks directly to the (psychological) definition of intelligence which is addressed later in this article.

ULTRA SOUNDS

Studies have shown that the frequent exposure of the human fetus to ultrasound waves is associated with a decrease in newborn body weight, an increase in the frequency of left-handedness, and delayed speech.

Because ultrasound energy is a high-frequency mechanical vibration, researchers hypothesized that it might influence the migration of neurons in a developing fetus. Neurons in mammals multiply early in fetal development and then migrate to their final destinations. Any interference or disruption in the process could result in abnormal brain function.

Commercial companies (which do ultrasounds for “keepsake” purposes) are now creating more powerful ultrasound machines capable of providing popular 3D and 4D images. The procedure, however, lasts longer as they try to make 30-minute videos of the fetus in the uterus.

The main stream magazine New Scientist reported the following: Ultrasound scans can stop cells from dividing and make them commit suicide. Routine scans, which have let doctors peek at fetuses and internal organs for the past 40 years, affect the normal cell cycle.

On the FDA website this information is posted about ultrasounds:

While ultrasound has been around for many years, expectant women and their families need to know that the long-term effects of repeated ultrasound exposures on the fetus are not fully known. In light of all that remains unknown, having a prenatal ultrasound for non-medical reasons is not a good idea.

NATURE VERSUS NURTURE…THE DEBATE CONTINUES

Now that you are aware of some of the known factors which determine, improve, and impact the intellectual development of a fetus, it’s time for conception. Once that baby is born, which will be more crucial in the development of its intellect: nature (genetics) or nurture (the environment)?

Apparently for centuries, scientists and psychologists have gone back and forth on this. I read many comprehensive studies and reports on this subject during the research phase of this article, and I believe that it’s time to put this debate to rest. Both nature and nurture are equally as important and must be fully observed in the intellectual development of all children. This shouldn’t be an either/or proposition.

A recent study shows that early intervention in the home and in the classroom can make a big difference for a child born into extreme poverty, according to Eric Turkheimer, a psychologist at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. The study concludes that while genetic makeup explains most of the differences in IQ for children in wealthier families, environment – and not genes – makes a bigger difference for minority children in low-income homes.

Specifically, what researchers call “heritability”- the degree to which genes influence IQ – was significantly lower for poor families. “Once you’re put into an adequate environment, your genes start to take over,” Mr. Turkheimer said, “but in poor environments genes don’t have that ability.”

But there are reports that contradict these findings…sort of.

Linda S. Gottfredson, a professor of educational studies at the University of Delaware, wrote in her article, The General Intelligence Factor that environments shared by siblings have little to do with IQ. Many people still mistakenly believe that social, psychological and economic differences among families create lasting and marked differences in IQ.

She found that behavioral geneticists refer to such environmental effects as “shared” because they are common to siblings who grow up together. Her reports states that the heritability of IQ rises with age; that is to say, the extent to which genetics accounts for differences in IQ among individuals increases as people get older.

In her article she also refers to studies comparing identical and fraternal twins, published in the past decade by a group led by Thomas J. Bouchard, Jr., of the University of Minnesota and other scholars, show that about 40 percent of IQ differences among preschoolers stems from genetic differences, but that heritability rises to 60 percent by adolescence and to 80 percent by late adulthood.

And this is perhaps the most interesting bit of information, and relevant to this section of my article:

With age, differences among individuals in their developed intelligence come to mirror more closely their genetic differences. It appears that the effects of environment on intelligence fade rather than grow with time.

Bouchard concludes that young children have the circumstances of their lives imposed on them by parents, schools and other agents of society, but as people get older they become more independent and tend to seek out the life niches that are most congenial to their genetic proclivities.

BREAST-FEEDING INCREASES INTELLIGENCE

Researchers from Christchurch School of Medicine in New Zealand studied over 1,000 children born between April and August 1977. During the period from birth to one year, they gathered information on how these children were fed.

The infants were then followed to age 18. Over the years, the researchers collected a range of cognitive and academic information on the children, including IQ, teacher ratings of school performance in reading and math, and results of standardized tests of reading comprehension, mathematics, and scholastic ability. The researchers also looked at the number of passing grades achieved in national School Certificate examinations taken at the end of the third year of high school.

The results indicated that the longer children had been breast-fed, the higher they scored on such tests.

TALKING TO YOUR CHILDREN MAKES A DIFFERENCE

Thomas Sowell, author of Race, IQ, Black Crime, and facts Liberals Ignore uncovered some fascinating information that every parent should take note of. He writes:

There is a strong case that black Americans suffer from a series of disadvantageous environments. Studies show time and again that before they go to school, black children are on average exposed to a smaller vocabulary than white children, in part due to socioeconomic factors.

While children from professional households typically exposed to a total of 2,150 different words each day, children from working class households are exposed to 1,250, and children from households on welfare a mere 620.

Yes, smart sounding children tend to come from educated, professional, two-parent environments where they pick-up valuable language skills and vocabulary from its smart sounding inhabitants.

Mr. Sowell continues: Black children are obviously not to blame for their poor socioeconomic status, but something beyond economic status is at work in black homes. Black people have not signed up for the “great mission” of the white middle class – the constant quest to stimulate intellectual growth and get their child into Harvard or Oxbridge.

Elsie Moore of Arizona State University, Phoenix, studied black children adopted by either black or white parents, all of whom were middle-class professionals. By the age of 7.5 years, those in black homes were 13 IQ points behind those being raised in the white homes.

ACCUMULATED ADVANTAGES

At this juncture in my research it dawned on me, and should be fairly obvious to you, that many children are predisposed to being smart, educated, and intelligent, simply by their exposure to the influential factors which determine them long before they start school.

An informed mother, proper prenatal care, educated, communicative parents, and a nurturing environment in which to live, all add up to accumulated advantages that formulate intellectual abilities. As you can see, some children have unfair advantages from the very beginning.

Malcolm Gladwell, author of top-selling book Outliers, wrote that “accumulated advantages” are made possible by arbitrary rules…and such unfair advantages are everywhere. “It is those who are successful who are most likely to be given the kinds of social opportunities that lead to further success,” he writes. “It’s the rich who get the biggest tax breaks. It’s the best students who get the best teaching and most attention.”

With that in mind, we turn our attention to education and intelligence.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE WELL EDUCATED?

Alfie Kohn, author of the book What Does It Mean To Be Well Educated? poses the question, does the phrase well educated refer to a quality of schooling you received, or something about you? Does it denote what you were taught? Or what you remember?

I contend that to be well educated is all in the application; the application and use of information. Information has to be used in order to become knowledge, and as we all have heard, knowledge is power.

Most people are aware of the floundering state of education in this country on some level. We tell our children that nothing is more important than getting a “good” education, and every year, due to government budget shortfalls, teachers are laid off, classes are condensed, schools are closed, and many educational programs – especially those which help the underprivileged – are cut.

The reality is, we don’t really value education. We value it as a business, an industry, political ammunition, and as an accepted form of discrimination, but not for what it was intended: a means of enriching one’s character and life through learning.

What we value as a society, are athletes and the entertainment they offer. The fact that a professional athlete makes more money in one season, than most teachers in any region will make in their careers, is abominable. There’s always money to build new sports stadiums, but not enough to give teachers a decent (and well-deserved) raise.

Ironically, the best teachers don’t go into the profession for money. They teach because it’s a calling. Most of them were influenced by a really good teacher as a student. With the mass exodus of teachers, many students are not able to cultivate the mentoring relationships that they once were able to because so many are leaving the profession – voluntarily and involuntarily – within an average of three years.

At the high school level, where I got my start, the emphasis is not on how to educate the students to prepare them for life, or even college (all high schools should be college-prep schools, right?), it was about preparing them to excel on their standardized tests. Then the controversial “exit” exams were implemented and literally, many high schools were transformed into testing centers. Learning has almost become secondary.

This mentality carries over into college, which of course there’s a test one must take in order to enroll (the SAT or ACT). This explains why so many college students are more concerned with completing a course, than learning from it. They are focused on getting “A’s” and degrees, instead of becoming degreed thinkers. The latter of which are in greater demand by employers and comprise the bulk of the self-employed. The “get-the-good-grade” mindset is directly attributable to the relentless and often unnecessary testing that our students are subjected to in schools.

Alfie Kohn advocates the “exhibition” of learning, in which students reveal their understanding by means of in-depth projects, portfolios of assignments, and other demonstrations.

He cites a model pioneered by Ted Sizer and Deborah Meier. Meier has emphasized the importance of students having five “habits of mind,” which are: the value of raising questions about evidence (“How do we know what we know?”), point of view, (“Whose perspective does this represent?”), connections (“How is this related to that?”), supposition (“How might things have been otherwise?”), and relevance (“Why is this important?”).

Kohn writes: It’s only the ability to raise and answer those questions that matters, though, but also the disposition to do so. For that matter, any set of intellectual objectives, any description of what it means to think deeply and critically, should be accompanied by a reference to one’s interest or intrinsic motivation to do such thinking…to be well-educated then, is to have the desire as well as the means to make sure that learning never ends…

HISTORY AND PURPOSE OF IQ

We’ve always wanted to measure intelligence. Ironically, when you look at some the first methods used to evaluate it in the 1800s, they were not, well, very intelligent. Tactics such as subjecting people to various forms of torture to see what their threshold for pain was (the longer you could withstand wincing, the more intelligent you were believed to be), or testing your ability to detect a high pitch sound that others could not hear.

Things have changed…or have they?

No discussion of intelligence or IQ can be complete without mention of Alfred Binet, a French psychologist who was responsible for laying the groundwork for IQ testing in 1904. His original intention was to devise a test that would diagnose learning disabilities of students in France. The test results were then used to prepare special programs to help students overcome their educational difficulties.

It was never intended to be used as an absolute measure of one’s intellectual capabilities.

According to Binet, intelligence could not be described as a single score. He said that the use of the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) as a definite statement of a child’s intellectual capability would be a serious mistake. In addition, Binet feared that IQ measurement would be used to condemn a child to a permanent “condition” of stupidity, thereby negatively affecting his or her education and livelihood.

The original interest was in the assessment of ‘mental age’ — the average level of intelligence for a person of a given age. His creation, the Binet-Simon test (originally called a “scale”), formed the archetype for future tests of intelligence.

H. H. Goddard, director of research at Vineland Training School in New Jersey, translated Binet’s work into English and advocated a more general application of the Simon-Binet test. Unlike Binet, Goddard considered intelligence a solitary, fixed and inborn entity that could be measured. With help of Lewis Terman of Stanford University, his final product, published in 1916 as the Stanford Revision of the Binet-Simon Scale of Intelligence (also known as the Stanford-Binet), became the standard intelligence test in the United States.

It’s important to note that the fallacy about IQ is that it is fixed and can not be changed. The fact is that IQ scores are known to fluctuate – both up and down during the course of one’s lifetime. It does not mean that you become more, or less intelligent, it merely means that you tested better on one day than another.

One more thing to know about IQ tests: They have been used for racist purposes since their importation into the U.S. Many of those who were involved in the importation and refinement of these tests believed that IQ was hereditary and are responsible for feeding the fallacy that it is a “fixed” trait.

Many immigrants were tested in the 1920s and failed these IQ tests miserably. As a result, many of them were denied entry into the U.S., or were forced to undergo sterilization for fear of populating America with “dumb” and “inferior” babies. If you recall, the tests were designed for white, middle class Americans. Who do you think would have the most difficulty passing them?

Lewis Terman developed the original notion of IQ and proposed this scale for classifying IQ scores:

000 – 070: Definite feeble-mindedness

070 – 079: Borderline deficiency

080 – 089: Dullness

090 – 109: Normal or average intelligence

110 – 119: Superior intelligence

115 – 124: Above average (e.g., university students)

125 – 134: Gifted (e.g., post-graduate students)

135 – 144: Highly gifted (e.g., intellectuals)

145 – 154: Genius (e.g., professors)

155 – 164: Genius (e.g., Nobel Prize winners)

165 – 179: High genius

180 – 200: Highest genius

200 – higher ?: Immeasurable genius

*Genius IQ is generally considered to begin around 140 to 145, representing only 25% of the population (1 in 400).

*Einstein was considered to “only” have an IQ of about 160.

DEFINING INTELLIGENCE

Diane F. Halpern, a psychologist and past-president of the American Psychological Association (APA), wrote in her essay contribution to Why Smart People Can Be So Stupid that in general, we recognize people as intelligent if they have some combination of these achievements (1) good grades in school; (2) a high level of education; (3) a responsible, complex job; (4) some other recognition of being intelligent, such as winning prestigious awards or earning a large salary; (5) the ability to read complex text with good comprehension; (6) solve difficult and novel problems.

Throughout my research and in the early phases of this article, I came across many definitions of the word intelligence. Some were long, some were short. Some I couldn’t even understand. The definition that is most prevalent is the one created by the APA which is: the ability to adapt to one’s environment, and learn from one’s mistakes.

How about that? There’s the word environment again. We just can’t seem to escape it. This adds deeper meaning to the saying, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” It means recognizing what’s going on in your environment, and having the intelligence adapt to it – and the people who occupy it – in order to survive and succeed within it.

There are also many different forms of intelligence. Most notably those created by Dr. Howard Gardner, professor of education at Harvard University.

Dr. Gardner believes (and I agree) that our schools and culture focus most of their attention on linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligence. We esteem the highly articulate or logical people of our culture. However, Dr. Gardner says that we should also place equal attention on individuals who show gifts in the other intelligences: the artists, architects, musicians, naturalists, designers, dancers, therapists, entrepreneurs, and others who enrich the world in which we live.

He felt that the traditional notion of intelligence, based on IQ testing, was far too limited and created the Theories Of Multiple Intelligences in 1983 to account for a broader range of human potential in children and adults.

These intelligences are:

Linguistic intelligence (“word smart”)

Logical-mathematical intelligence (“number/reasoning smart”)

Spatial intelligence (“picture smart”)

Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence (“body smart”)

Musical intelligence (“music smart”)

Interpersonal intelligence (“people smart”)

Intrapersonal intelligence (“self smart”)

Naturalist intelligence (“nature smart”)

Not associated with Dr. Gardner, but equally respected are:

FLUID & CRYSTALLIZED INTELLIGENCE

According to About.com, Psychologist Raymond Cattell first proposed the concepts of fluid and crystallized intelligence and further developed the theory with John Horn. The Cattell-Horn theory of fluid and crystallized intelligence suggests that intelligence is composed of a number of different abilities that interact and work together to produce overall individual intelligence.

Cattell defined fluid intelligence as “…the ability to perceive relationships independent of previous specific practice or instruction concerning those relationships.” Fluid intelligence is the ability to think and reason abstractly and solve problems. This ability is considered independent of learning, experience, and education. Examples of the use of fluid intelligence include solving puzzles and coming up with problem solving strategies.

Crystallized intelligence is learning from past experiences and learning. Situations that require crystallized intelligence include reading comprehension and vocabulary exams. This type of intelligence is based upon facts and rooted in experiences. This type of intelligence becomes stronger as we age and accumulate new knowledge and understanding.

Both types of intelligence increase throughout childhood and adolescence. Fluid intelligence peaks in adolescence and begins to decline progressively beginning around age 30 or 40. Crystallized intelligence continues to grow throughout adulthood.

SUCCESSFUL INTELLIGENCE

Then there’s Successful Intelligence, which is authored by intelligence psychologist and Yale professor, Robert J. Sternberg, who believes that the whole concept of relating IQ to life achievement is misguided, because he believes that IQ is a pretty miserable predictor of life achievement.

His Successful Intelligence theory focuses on 3 types of intelligence which are combined to contribute to one’s overall success: Analytical Intelligence; mental steps or components used to solve problems; Creative Intelligence: the use of experience in ways that foster insight (creativity/divergent thinking); and Practical Intelligence: the ability to read and adapt to the contexts of everyday life.

With regard to environment, Mr. Sternberg writes in his book Successful Intelligence: Successfully intelligent people realize that the environment in which they find themselves may or may not be able to make the most of their talents. They actively seek an environment where they can not only do successful work, but make a difference. They create opportunities rather than let opportunities be limited by circumstances in which they happen to find themselves.

As an educator, I subscribe to Mr. Sternberg’s Successful Intelligence approach to teaching. It has proven to be a highly effective tool and mindset for my college students. Using Successful Intelligence as the backbone of my context-driven curriculum really inspires students to see how education makes their life goals more attainable, and motivates them to further develop their expertise. Mr. Sternberg believes that the major factor in achieving expertise is purposeful engagement.

EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE

In his best-selling 1995 book, Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman reported that research shows that conventional measures of intelligence – IQ – only account for 20% of a person’s success in life. For example, research on IQ and education shows that high IQ predicts 10 to 25% of grades in college. The percentage will vary depending on how we define success. Nonetheless, Goleman’s assertion begs the question: What accounts for the other 80%?

You guessed it…Emotional Intelligence. What exactly is emotional intelligence? Emotional intelligence (also called EQ or EI) refers to the ability to perceive, control, and evaluate emotions. Many corporations now have mandatory EQ training for their managers in an effort to improve employee

relations and increase productivity.

TACIT KNOWLEDGE aka “STREET SMARTS”

You’ve heard the phrase, “Experience is the greatest teacher…”

In psychology circles knowledge gained from everyday experience is called tacit knowledge. The colloquial term is “street smarts,” which implies that formal, classroom instruction (aka “book smarts”) has nothing to do with it. The individual is not directly instructed as to what he or she should learn, but rather must extract the important lesson from the experience even when learning is not the primary objective.

Tacit knowledge is closely related to common sense, which is sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts. As you know, common sense is not all that common.

Tacit knowledge, or the lessons obtained from it, seems to “stick” both faster and better when the lessons have direct relevance to the individual’s goals. Knowledge that is based on one’s own practical experience will likely be more instrumental to achieving one’s goals than will be knowledge that is based on someone else’s experience, or that is overly generic and abstract.

BEING BOTH SMART AND STUPID

Yes, it’s possible to be both smart and stupid. I’m sure someone you know comes to mind at this precise moment. But the goal here is not to ridicule, but to understand how some seemingly highly intelligent, or highly educated individuals can be so smart in one way, and incredibly stupid in others.

The woman who is a respected, well paid, dynamic executive who consistently chooses men who don’t appear to be worthy of her, or the man who appears to be a pillar of the community, with a loving wife and happy kids, ends up being arrested on rape charges.

It happens, but why? I found the answer in Why Smart People Can Be So Stupid. Essentially, intellect is domain specific. In other words, being smart (knowledgeable) in one area of your life, and stupid (ignorant) in another is natural. Turning off one’s brain is quite common especially when it comes to what we desire. A shared characteristic among those who are smart and stupid, is the difficulty in delaying gratification.

Olem Ayduk & Walter Mischel who wrote the chapter summarized: Sometimes stupid behavior in smart people may arise from faulty expectations, erroneous beliefs, or merely a lack of motivation to enact control strategies even when one has them. But sometimes it is an inability to regulate one’s affective states and the behavioral tendencies associated with them that leads to stupid and self-defeating behavior.

The central character in this book who many of these lessons regarding being smart and stupid revolve around is Bill Clinton and his affair with Monica Lewinksky.

WISDOM & CONCLUSION

My great grandmother, Leola Cecil, maybe had an 8th grade education at the most. By no stretch of the imagination was she highly educated, but she had what seemed like infinite wisdom. She was very observant and could “read” people with startling accuracy. Till the very end of her life she shared her “crystallized intelligence” with whomever was receptive to it.

She died at the age of 94. I often use many of her sayings as a public speaker, but most importantly, I use her philosophies to make sure that I’m being guided spiritually and not just intellectually. Many of us who are lucky enough to have a great grandparent can testify that there is something special about their knowledge. They seem to have life figured out, and a knack for helping those of us who are smart, educated and intelligent see things more clearly when we are too busy thinking.

What they have is what we should all aspire to end up with if we are lucky: wisdom.

Wisdom is the ability to look through a person, when others can only look at them. Wisdom slows down the thinking process and makes it more organic; synchronizing it with intuition. Wisdom helps you make better judgments regarding decisions, and makes you less judgmental. Wisdom is understanding without knowing, and accepting without understanding. Wisdom is recognizing what’s important to other people, and knowing that other people are of the utmost importance to you. Wisdom is both a starting point, and a final conclusion.

Investing – How To Choose The Best Option

Investors are increasingly forced to choose from a proliferation of investment options. They also have to deal with contradictory advice on how to achieve their financial goals and how to invest the savings they have accumulated during their lifetime. If you consider that there are more than 7000 mutual funds available in the United States alone, and thousands of insurance products worldwide, making the choice that will satisfy them ever after is daunting, to say the least.

No wonder people so often ask the rather general question: Which investment is best? The first part of the answer is easy: No single investment is ‘the best’ under all circumstances for all investors. Personal circumstances, goals and different people’s needs differ, as do the characteristics of different investments. Secondly, one asset class’s strength in certain circumstances could be another’s weakness. It is therefore important to compare investments according to relevant criteria. The art is to find the appropriate investment for each objective and need.

The following are the most important criteria:

  • the goal of the investment
  • the risk the investor can handle
  • liquidity required
  • taxability of the investment
  • the period until the financial goal is reached
  • last but not least, the cost of the investment.

THE GOAL

Goals determine the characteristics sought in an investment. You will be in a position to choose the most appropriate investment only when you have decided on your short-, medium- and long-term goals. The following generic goals are normally involved:

Emergency fund

Emergency fund money should be readily available when needed, and the value of the fund should be equal to about six months’ income. Money market funds are excellent for this purpose. While these funds do not perform much higher than inflation, their benefit is that capital is saved and is easily accessible.

If you already have a ready emergency fund covering more than six months’ income, you could consider a more aggressive mutual fund

Capital protection

If your primary aim is capital protection, you will have to be satisfied with a lower growth rate on the investment. Those above 50 are normally advised to be conservative in their investment approach. While this may for the most part be sound advice, you should also keep an eye on the risk of inflation, so that the purchasing power of your money does not depreciate. It is not the nominal value of the capital that should be protected, but the inflation-adjusted one. At an annual inflation rate of 6%, $1 million today will buy the same as $174 110 in 30 years’ time. A 50 year-old with $1 million would therefore have to lower his living standard substantially if he only retains the $1 million until he was 80.

Conservative investments like those listed above should form the normal basis for providing an income. Because of inflation risk, investments should be structured so that they can at least keep up with inflation. This means that at least a percentage of the investment source providing the income should be made up of other asset classes like property and equity mutual funds. The percentage would differ according to individual and economic circumstances.

Investors fortunate enough to have their basic budget provided for by a conservative fund could consider increasing their income with commercial property funds and tax-free income from dividends paid out by listed shares.

Capital growth

If an investor’s primary goal is to achieve capital growth, the real rate of return should be higher than inflation. This implies greater risk to capital in the short term. Investors aiming at capital growth should not be apprehensive, as they will reap the rewards in the long term.

The history of equity prices over the past 100 years proves equity investments to be the best performer, followed by property. This does not mean you should buy either of these investments blindfolded. Wait until the quality shares in which you are interested are trading at inexpensive price levels.

RISK

The investment with a history of the highest growth is not necessarily the one to choose. The Standard Bank’s Gold Fund increased by 178% during the period 13 August 2001 – 24 May 2002 (284 days). Judging only on the growth of the fund during this period, it performed exceptionally well. But would it be the right investment for a retiree? During the 805 days following this, the same fund experienced a negative growth rate of 44%! The problem with an investment that decreases by this percentage is that it will not reach its previous peak by increasing again by 44%. This is because the growth this time will take place from a lower base, so in fact the investment would have to increase by approximately 80%.

LIQUIDITY

Hard assets like Persian carpets, works of art and antique furniture may be good investments in the long term, but unfortunately they are not very liquid. The same is true of certain shares in smaller companies. Money market funds, on the other hand, are very liquid, but the returns may not always be as good as those from other investments. The need to liquidise the investment quickly is therefore also a criterion to consider when evaluating investments.

TAXABILITY

The taxability of an investment has a considerable impact on its value to the investor. When comparing the returns on different investments, the return after tax has been deducted should be used. The investor should always ask what will be left in his pocket after tax deduction.

PERIOD

Conservative investments with no potential for high returns are suitable for shorter periods, while investment-objectives with longer time horizons aspire to achieving higher returns. Money market funds are suitable for periods of one or two years. Income and conservative asset allocation funds for three or four years and flexible asset allocation funds, commercial property funds and value equity funds may be chosen for longer periods, dependent on the economic and interest cycle and the propensity of the investor to accept risk.

COSTS

The costs involved in an investment are normally things like administrative cost and commission. The percentage of the costs to the investment amount directly affects the value of the investment. Many of the currently available investment products are structured in such a way that investors can negotiate commission.

CONCLUSION

No investment strategy blueprint is going to be perfect for everyone’s circumstances. Investment opportunities should therefore be examined critically before any decision is made. It should also be kept in mind that there are different companies managing specific funds under the investment categories referred to above. Some are more effectively managed than others. Investors should therefore research investments as well as the managers thoroughly before investing. Otherwise, they could appoint professional asset managers to do so on their behalf. Time spent determining the type of investment you really need is time invested in your future financial well-being.

Energy Healing and the Sacred Art of Transmission

In a sense, we are all transmitting, or broadcasting energy all of the time via our thoughts, feelings and beliefs, as everything is energy and has frequency. Yet I wanted to go deeper here and share with you what I know to be possible, which I am referring to as the “sacred art of transmission” as it is a much more powerful, precise and rare spiritual and healing gift.

It is the ability to transmit spiritual, healing, and intuitive awakenings through look, touch, voice, or even mere presence. It has been over twenty years, but I will never forget my earliest memories of energy transmissions. While some happened through my spiritual teachers, many of them occurred during Reiki healing sessions, and then in teaching and attuning others to this awesome healing art.

Reiki Energy Healing Attunements are Transmissions

After I met my first spiritual teacher, I decided to take a Reiki workshop even though I had never experienced it myself. I was just so curious and my colleague had told me of her experience awhile back, but at that time I was not open, as I had no mental “box” to put it in and kind of shelved the whole concept.

I am so grateful I did. Because I noticed that while there were many great and wise people I knew who were meditating also with the same Master, and most for much longer than me, it was not common for anyone but the energy healers to expect to be able to transmit this potent energy and spiritual space. It was clearly a level of empowerment that I came to appreciate only much later. And it had to do with owning the ability to transmit energy, not just to sit in the energy.

In Reiki Level 1 there are 4 initiatory attunements, which I couldn’t possibly comprehend at that time. Reiki attunements are initiations or transmissions of energy that open the healing channels or energy pathways within everyone.

Yet I now come to realize that the Reiki Master is passing down the ability to awaken or open the healing channels that lie dormant within us all, through these specific attunements. In this instance, everyone else in class was tingling, but I feared I was a Reiki “dud” when we began to practice on each other, and everyone else’s hands were tingling, and I got nada, bupkis.

Until we got to the final two attunements. And something DEFINITELY happened. I actually heard and felt a spirit man initiating me, in addition to the woman teaching the class. When I asked who it was, I got that it was the founder, Dr. Mikao Usui, himself. I asked if he did all of the attunements with her, and she looked stunned. I can only guess that was not everyone’s experience.

Then it began happening: not from me but through me…

I have taught students, who have supposedly already taken Reiki classes with another teacher, and they were very surprised that they felt such tangible energy flow, or experienced such deep meditation states, expansion, and 3rd eye intuitive openings. I was surprised that they didn’t experience that with other teachers. It pains me, but there seem to be many people now teaching a much diluted version of what I received.

It is way more than just intention. It is more like you begin to embody the universal life energy. I now have two decades of validation that direct transmission is happening through me, and not just in Reiki attunements or private sessions. It begins to flow through you like water… and not just via the hands. One Reiki student was walking with me and we stopped at a small waterfall flowing into a pond. She gasped, and said that something was coming out of my eyes; a light, and it felt just like a healing session.

Another time, I met with a new neighbor and she was describing her chronic back pain. I felt deep compassion for her and wanted to help in some way, but it felt too early in the conversation to suggest a Reiki session. But she immediately felt relief, and asked “are you doing that thing you do, cuz my back feels better and better.”

Over time, the knowing what is possible, turns to probable. Now, with very little effort on my part I can align and focus my eyes, my feet, my heart, my thoughts and healing happens, calm serene stillness descends, light radiates. I used to be shy about stating these things, feeling like it was ego. But now I know I must tell you all what is possible for you, just as it became possible for me. I see my students stepping into this mind-blowing reality that they, too can transmit healing energy. There is nothing that delights me more!

Biker Lifestyle – Building the Perfect Custom Harley Chopper

If you ride to live, then you know what it means to own a custom Harley chopper, and I am not talking about some add-on chrome bike either; Anyone with some cash can drop by your local Harley Davidson dealer and ride away on a new Road King, or other of their other factory models.

A real custom Harley chopper is a one of kind custom built masterpiece that is created from the ground up, a 100% all original work of American beauty that reflects the personality and lifestyle of the proud owner. Hard core bikers know what I am talking about; the painstakingly hard work of creating and shaping a one of a kind statement of riding to live, and living to ride, wrapped around the perfect custom Harley chopper.

Building the perfect Harley doesn’t happen over night either, everything must be the perfect balance of frame, forks, the right rake and extension, rolling on tires and wheels that support the whole design. Every thing matters when building the perfect custom Harley, and if you are truly hardcore, then to complete the full extension of machine to man could mean 100% custom parts, engine, tank, and chrome. Nothing but the best will do.

So what does it take to build the perfect custom Harley motorcycle? First off it takes a boatload of cash, then you gonna need to find the right craftsman to hand all that cash to, and then brother you need some patients; you gonna have to sit down and talk with your craftsman, and help him understand how you are, what is important to you, so he can put pen to paper to form up some rough ideas. These ideas will be shaped and tweaked and considered until your Harley craftsman has the design that is truly you, and no one else.

Every nut, bolt, piece of molding, the right handlebars, and grips, absolutely everything will be well thought out, and nothing will be left to chance, or just thrown in. The perfect ride height that flows with a saddle that is made to fit your backsides contour, and all of the remaining pieces that are build around the heart of your custom chopper, the engine and   transmission .

With you custom Harley almost complete, there will hours and hours of assembling and disassembling, fine tuning, tweaking, and testing until the final phase will be applying the richest paint job and graphics that turn thousands of dollars of hard earned cash and countless hours of laborious love, sweat, busted knuckles, and blood into the work of beauty that is your custom Harley chopper.

OK so where do you find this custom chopper craftsman? Well I am sure you already know the answer, and this isn’t an overnight decision either, we have read every biker rag, went to all of the top bike shows, studied every custom bike we come across, and after we have researched all of our options, we pick up the phone or ride out to our craftsman and after a serious conversation or two we close the deal by shaking hands, signing some paperwork, and dropping that that big fat wad of cash we have been saving for who knows how long.

Those of you who have lived that dream of building and owning the perfect custom chopper know what I am talking about. Those of you still working on the dream will very soon know as well. The love of our lifestyle is but a reflection of how we live, carry ourselves and the bike we ride, the rest of this love is in our hearts!

how to find free cna classes online

In whatever field you would like to venture in for a solid career, you would have to start all the way from the bottom and that would be with education. If you’re interested in becoming a certified nurse assistant but don’t have the finances to gain the education that you need, then here are some ways you can find free CAN classes online.

Know that your search engine is your strongest weapon, so go online and start looking up free online classes. You may come across quite a few, but don’t join the first thing you see. Instead, take some time to research the course and program and make sure that it is accredited and recognized by the state.

Besides that, get in touch with your state’s nursing board and find out all the requirements necessary as they are the ones who are responsible for your licensing later on. When you’ve done that, start making calls to local nursing centers or even hospitals to see if they have couching services. Some of them have got classes conduction through the method of distance learning via internet, so if you don’t find out about them online, make inquires through phone or mail.

Also, you can also see if online institutes have got special financial aid or scholarships that you could apply for. There are too many online campuses these days that you wouldn’t have trouble finding one. Don’t forget that distance learning is worldwide and your geographical position doesn’t matter. All that counts is that the course you partake in is accredited and approved by the state in which you wish to practice in.

When you find a free CNA class to use online, don’t just rely on the limited materials given but use all your resources and study hard and make the time spent worth it.

The Importance of Food in Our Life

Food is the basic necessity for all of us and we all earn money to get this basic necessity. We need to eat 3 meals a day to keep our body running so that we can manage our daily functions. Many of us ” Eat food to live” while there are others who “Live to eat food”. In fact, nutrition assumes a special importance in each and everyone’s life.

Types of Foodstuff

The food is normally divided into two main categories given below:-

1- Vegetarian food- These include stuffs like milk, fruits and vegetables. These are those stuff that are obtained from plants and trees.

2- Non- Vegetarian food- These include stuffs like meat and meat products, chicken, turkey, fish, squid etc. Non vegetarian food are generally obtained by killing animals.

Nutrition from Foodstuff

Nutrition from food is necessary and without this daily dose of nutrition animals may not survive for long. It is important to support life as nourishment obtained helps the cells present in our body to carry out its routine functions. Different stuffs provide different levels of nutrition. The nutrients are divided into six classes which are given below:-

1- Carbohydrates- These provide energy to the body and are found in items like rice, bread and other grain products.

2- Fats- It consists of a group of compounds that are generally insoluble in water. These are found in items like butter, ghee, fish oil, lard etc. Fats are stored in the human body for use at a later use for energy.

3- Minerals- These are needed for the maintenance of proper functions in the body like the transport of oxygen throughout the body, stimulating growth, normalizing the nervous system etc. Minerals can be found from a variety of food items such as meat, cereals including cereal products such as bread, fish, milk and dairy foods.

4- Protein- These are important components of muscles, skin and hair. Proteins are helpful in creation of various enzymes in the body that control various important functions. Major sources of protein include milk, meat, fish, egg, and vegetables.

5- Vitamins- They are an essential component of animal body required for good health. It is organic compound required as a nutrient. Good sources of vitamins are fruits, vegetables, cereals, milk and eggs.

6- Water- It is popularly known as the”elixir of life”. The human body comprises of 55-78 % of water. It is required for the essential functioning of the various important parts of the human body.

Thus, these points given above reflect the importance of food and nutrients in our diet. As long as a human is alive, he needs water and foods in the required quantity.

Who Will Become Wealthy in the Information Age?

As you know, we’re now well and truly in the
Information Age. It began about 10 years ago. In fact,
many economists say it began in 1989, with the Fall of
the Berlin Wall (and the start of the World Wide Web).

To understand who will become wealthy in the
Information Age, first we need to understand how the
Information Age differs from the Industrial Age (born
about 1860, died about 1989).

In fact, let’s get a complete overview and go back to
the Agrarian Age.

In the Agrarian Age, society was basically divided
into two classes: the landowners and the people who
worked on the land (the serfs). If you were a serf,
there wasn’t much you could do about it:
land-ownership passed down through families and you
were stuck with the status you were born into.

When the Industrial Age arrived, everything changed:
it was no longer agriculture that generated most of
the wealth, but manufacturing. Suddenly, land was no
longer the key to wealth. A factory occupied far less
land than a sheep farm or a wheat farm.

With the Industrial Age came a new kind of wealthy
person: the self-made businessman. Wealth no longer
depended on land-ownership and the family you were
born into. Business acumen and factories were creating
a new class of wealthy person. But it still required
enormous capital to build a factory and start a
business.

Then came the World Wide Web (in about 1989) and
globalization. Suddenly, everything changed again.

Factories (or real estate) were no longer necessary to
run a business. Anyone with a website could start a
business. The barriers to wealth that existed in the
Agrarian Age and the Industrial Age were completely
gone. People who could never have dreamed of owning
their own business were making millions from their
kitchen table.

Of course, the Information Revolution didn’t begin
in 1989.

It began in 1444 when Gutenberg invented the printing
press in Mainz, Germany.

But the printing press (newspapers, magazines,
paperbacks) belonged to the Industrial Age, not the
Information Age.

The printing press is a ‘one-to-many’ technology. The
Internet is a ‘many-to-many’ technology. And that was
what changed in 1989.

The Industrial Age was about centralization and
control. The Information Age is about
de-centralization and no control. No government and no
media magnate controls the Internet. This is the
crucial thing to understand about the Information Age.

As we moved from the Agrarian Age through the
Industrial Age to the Information Age, there’s been a
steady collapse of the barriers that kept one section of
society wealthy and the other section poor.

In the Information Age, literally anyone can become
wealthy.

So now that we have a clearer picture of how the
Information Age differs from the Industrial Age, let’s
ask that question again: ‘Who will become wealthy in
the Information Age?’:

(1) People Who are Self-Taught

To explain this better, let’s go back to the Agrarian
Age and the Industrial Age, and the   Transmission  of
Skills.

In the Agrarian Age, skills were passed on from father
to son. If you wanted to learn how to be a blacksmith
you had to be a blacksmith’s son. If you wanted to
learn to be a stone-mason, you had to be the son of a
stone-mason.

With the coming of the Industrial Age, all this
changed. You could go to University and learn whatever
skills you wanted. Knowledge was freely available.

But in the Information Age, the  Transmission  of Skills
is changing once again.

The skills necessary to succeed in the Information Age
are not being learnt from our parents (as in the
Agrarian Age), nor are they being learnt in schools
and colleges (as in the Industrial Age). Children are
teaching their parents computer skills. And many of
the entrepreneurs who start hi-tech Internet companies
have never been to college.

The millionaires (and billionaires) of tomorrow
probably won’t have a college education. They will be
high-school drop-outs, self-taught people.

(2) People with New Ideas.

Again, it’s the people who are able to think outside
of the existing structures who will become wealthy in
the Information Age. Often, it’s just a Simple Idea
that launches people to success in the Information
Age.

Take Sabhir Bhatia, for example – the man who invented
Hotmail. Bhatia was a computer engineer working in
Silicon Valley. He had no previous business
experience, whatsoever.

But one day, while he was driving back from work, a
friend called him on his cell phone and said that he
had an idea: What about starting a free, web-based
email service? Bhatia knew this was the idea he’d been
waiting for. He told his friend to hang up immediately
and ring him at home on a secure line.

Three years later he sold Hotmail to Microsoft for
$400 million.

(3) Writers

The third group who will become wealthy in the
Information Age are Writers.

In the Industrial Age, Writers depended on large
publishing Houses to get published (remember that the
printing press is an Industrial Age technology – it is
centralized and controlled). And the Publishing Houses
took the lion’s share of the profits.

In the Information Age, Writers are doing their own
publishing – and keeping most of the profits
themselves. Indeed, Writers are flourishing on the
Web – mainly through eBooks and Ezine Articles.
But even if you don’t write eBooks or Ezine Articles,
if you own a website, you are a Writer.

Why?

Because the Internet is basically a written medium. It
favors writers, people who are able to communicate
effectively through the written word. Remember, it’s
not the graphics on your website that sell, it’s the
words you use.

In the Information Age, we’re all Writers!

EDGE: A Stepping-stone Toward 3G Technologies in Pakistan

ABSTRACT

The business of wireless data is expected to grow in the region of 100-200 % per annum and the mobile communication industry agrees that wireless data services will form the foundation for future business. The enormous success of short messaging in many countries proves that people accept the benefits of non-voice services.

Enhanced Data Rate for Global Evolution (EDGE) is a technology that gives Global Systems for Mobile Communications (GSM) the capacity to handle services for the third generation of mobile telephony. It provides three times the data capacity of General packet Radio Service (GPRS). Using EDGE, operators can handle three times more subscribers than GPRS; triple their data rate per subscriber, or add extra capacity to their voice communications.

This article provides an overview of EDGE technology. In particular, starting from the introduction of this 2.5G technology I describe the core technical aspects and distinct features. I will provide a comparison with GPRS for data services and then a survey of the current state of this technology in Pakistan. I have also covered some benefits for operators and customers.

1. Introduction

The importance of wireless data and multimedia services both for business and end customers are increasing on an unparalleled scale. Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE) is a new radio interface solution and is based on an enhanced modulation. EDGE offers GSM network operators an evolution path to mobile data and multimedia services with a three fold increase of data throughput in the existing GSM spectrum. EDGE therefore provides an alternative for operators who do not have a Universal Mobile Telecommunication System (UMTS) license. Moreover it also represents a complement to UMTS for operators intending to first deploy UMTS only in densely populated areas, but who can also use EDGE to provide wide area coverage of future oriented 3G services. In the US market operators have chosen EDGE as the 3G solutions. [8].

We are presently experiencing the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) as well as the higher   transmission  speeds of High Speed Circuit Switched Data (HSCSD), joined by the convenience of “always on-line” direct Internet connections with GPRS. [1]

EDGE, new radios interface technology with enhanced modulation, increases the HSCSD and GPRS data rates by up to three fold. EDGE modulation is going to increase the data throughput provided by the packet switched service even over 400 kbps per carrier. Similarly, the data rates of circuit switched data can be increased, or existing data rates can be achieved using fewer timeslots, saving capacity. Accordingly, these higher speed data services are referred to as EGPRS (Enhanced GPRS) and ECSD (Enhanced Circuit Switched Data).

EDGE, is a major improvement in GSM phase 2+. As a modification to existing GSM networks, EDGE does not require new network elements. [1]

In the US, for instance, EDGE is part of the IS-136 High Speed concept, which is one of the third generation Radio  Transmission  Technology (RTT) proposals from TR.45. EDGE is eventually going to be standardized which makes possible to achieve a global mobile radio system with many services characteristic to third generation systems.

2. Overview

The increased bit rates of EDGE put requirements on the GSM/GPRS network architecture. Figure. 1 illustrates the GSM/GPRS architecture, the shaded parts of which are discussed in this section. Other nodes and interfaces are not affected at all by EDGE introduction. An apparent bottleneck is the A-bis interface, which today supports up to 16 kb/s per traffic channel. With EDGE, the bit rate per traffic channel will approach 64 kb/s, which makes allocation of multiple A-bis slots to one traffic channel necessary. Alternative asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) or IP-based solutions to this problem can also be discusses.

One important fact is, however, that the 16 kb/s limit will be exceeded already by the introduction of two coding schemes (CS3 and CS4) in GPRS, which have a maximal bit rate per traffic channel of 22.8 kb/s. Consequently, the A-bis limitation problem is being solved outside the EDGE standardization, and it is therefore a GPRS related, not EDGE-related, modification. For GPRS-based packet data services, other nodes and interfaces are already capable of handling higher bit rates, and are thus not affected. For circuit-switched services, the A interface can handle 64 kb/s per user, which is not exceeded by EDGE circuit-switched bearers. [9]

2.1. Impact on GSM Network Planning

An important prerequisite, which to a large extent will determine the success of EDGE in GSM, is that a network operator be able to introduce EDGE gradually. For initial deployment, EDGE-capable transceivers will supplement standard GSM/GPRS transceivers in a subset of the existing cells where EDGE coverage is desired. Hence, an integrated mix of GSM, GPRS, and EDGE users will coexist in the same frequency band. To minimize effort and cost for the network operator, radio network planning (including cell planning, frequency setting of power and other cell parameters) must not require extensive modification.

2.1.1. Coverage Planning

One characteristic of non-transparent radio link protocols that include automatic repeat request (ARQ), is that low radio link quality only results in a lower bit rate for the user. Hence, low SIR for a user does not result in a dropped call, as for speech, but in a temporary decrease of user bit rate. For transparent bearers, which typically offer a constant bit rate, link quality control must be extended to incorporate resource allocation, in the sense that the number of dynamically allocated time slots fits the bit rate and bit error rate (BER) retirements. Transparent bearers, will thus be available in the entire GSM cell, but require fewer time slots in the center of the cell (where 8-PSK coding schemes can be used).

2.1.2. Frequency Planning

Most mature GSM networks of today have an average frequency reuse factor of around 9 (meaning that available frequencies are divided into nine frequency groups). However, there is also a trend toward tighter reuse factors. With the use of frequency hopping, multiple reuse patterns (MRP), and discontinuous  transmission  (DTX), reuse factors as low as 3 become feasible. EDGE supports a variety of reuse patterns. In fact, by its use of link quality control, EDGE can be introduced in an arbitrary frequency plan, and benefit from high SIR closer to the base stations. EDGE can be introduced in an existing GSM frequency plan, and that it also supports future high-capacity solutions based on tighter frequency reuse.

2.1.3. Radio Network Planning

An important prerequisite (and to a large extent, one that will determine the success of Edge) is that network operators should be able to introduce Edge gradually. The initial deployment of Edge-capable transceivers will supplement standard GSM transceivers in a subset of cells where Edge coverage is desired. An integrated mixture of circuit-switched, GPRS and Edge users will thus coexist in the same frequency band. To minimize operator efforts and costs, Edge-related implementation must not require extensive modification of the radio network plan (including cell planning, frequency planning, the setting of power levels and other cell parameters).

2.1.4. Channel Management

After Edge has been introduced, a cell will typically include two types of transceiver: standard GSM transceivers and Edge transceivers. Each physical channel (time slot) in the cell can be viewed as being one of at least four channel types:

1. GSM speech and GSM circuit-switched data (CSD);

2. GPRS packet data;

3. Circuit-switched data, enhanced circuits witched data (ECSD), and GSM speech;

4. Edge packet data (EGPRS), which allows a mix of GPRS and EGPRS users simultaneously.

While standard GSM transceivers only support channel types 1 and 2, Edge transceivers support all four channel types. Physical channels are dynamically defined according to terminal capabilities and needs in the cell. For example, if several speech users are active, the number of type-1 channels is increased, at the expense of GPRS and Edge channels. Obviously, channel management must be automated, to avoid the splitting of channels into static groups. Otherwise, trunking efficiency would diminish.

3. Interleaving

To increase the performance of the higher coding schemes in EGPRS (MCS7 to MCS9) even at low C/I, the interleaving procedure has been changed within the EGPRS standard. When frequency hopping is used, the radio environment is changing on a per-burst level. Because a radio block is interleaved and transmitted over four bursts for GPRS, each burst may experience a completely different interference environment. [7]

If just one of the four bursts is not properly received, the entire radio block will not be properly decoded and will have to be retransmitted. In the case of CS4 for GPRS, hardly any error protection is used at all. With EGPRS, the standard handles the higher coding scheme differently than GPRS to combat this problem. MCS7, MCS8 and MCS9 actually transmit two radio blocks over the four bursts, and the interleaving occurs over two bursts instead of four. This reduces the number of bursts that must be retransmitted should errors occur. The likelihood of receiving two consecutive error free bursts is higher than receiving four consecutive error free bursts. This means that the higher coding schemes

for EDGE have a better robustness with regard to frequency hopping.

4. EDGE & GPRS

EDGE, or the Enhanced Data Rate for Global Evolution, is the new mantra in the Global Internet Connectivity scene. EDGE is the new name for GSM 384. The technology was named GSM 384 because of the fact that it provided Data  Transmission  at a rate of 384 Kbps. It consists of the 8 pattern time slot, and the speed could be achieved when all the 8 time slots were used. The idea behind EDGE is to obtain even higher data rates on the current 200 KHz GSM carrier, by changing the type of the modulation used.

Now, this is the most striking feature. EDGE, as being once a GSM technology, works on the existing GSM or the TDMA carriers, and enables them to many of the 3G services. Although EDGE will have a little technical impact, since its fully based on GSM or the TDMA carriers, but it might just get an EDGE over the up coming technologies, and of course, the GPRS. With EDGE, the operators and service providers can offer more wireless data application, including wireless multimedia, e-mail (Web Based), Web Infotainment, and above all, the technology of Video Conferencing.

Now all these technologies that were named earlier, were the clauses of the IMT-UMTS 3G Package. But, with EDGE, we can get all these 3G services on our existing GSM phones, which might just prove to be a boon to the user.

The current scenario clearly states that EDGE will definitely score higher than GPRS. The former allows its users to increase the data speed and throughput capacity, to around 3-4 times higher than GPRS.

Secondly, it allows the existing GSM or the TDMA carriers to give the sophisticated 3G services. And with 1600 Million subscribers of GSM in over 170 countries, offer the full Global Roaming, anywhere between India to Japan and to San Francisco. Based on an 8 PSK modulation, it allows higher bit rate across the air Interface. There is one symbol for every 3 bits. Thus, EDGE Rate is equal to 3x GPRS Rate.

5. Future Evolution Towards WCDMA

The next evolutionary step for the GSM/EDGE cellular system includes enhancements of service provisioning for the packet-switched domain with the service provisioning in UMTS/UTRAN (UMTS terrestrial radio access network). GERAN will provide improved support for all quality of service (QoS) classes defined for UMTS: interactive, background, streaming and conversational. By doing so, a new range of applications, including IP multimedia applications, will be adequately supported. This part of the GSM/EDGE evolution focuses on support for the conversational and streaming service classes, because adequate support for interactive and background services already exists. Additionally, parallel simultaneous bearers will support multimedia applications with different QoS characteristics towards the same MS, such as multiple media streams handled through IMS domain. A driver for such evolution on the packet-switched side is the paradigm shift within the telecommunications world from circuit to packet-switched communications.

Both the core network defined for GPRS and the current GSM/EDGE radio access network require modifications to support enhanced packet services. The GPRS/EGPRS networks can quickly and cost effectively evolve with market needs, and align with services provided by WCDMA networks. The current evolution of GSM/EDGE, which covers all of the above aspects, is being standardized in 3GPP TSG GERAN. [4]

6. EDGE in Pakistan

Pakistan has the sixth largest population in the world – approximately 150 million. There are currently four mobile operators in the country. Mobile penetration at the end of 2003 was just 2.3% with a subscriber base of 3.4 million, while fixed line penetration was approximately 2.4%. Many geographic areas in Pakistan are without telephone coverage. To accompany recent positive economic development in Pakistan and the inherently low mobile penetration, high growth within the mobile segment is expected. At the moment the people in Pakistan are more concern with the text-enabled facility like SMS. Although the introduction of GPRS gave a new concept and new boost in Cellular network but still, people are not that much concern using Internet by their terminal. Few think that it still more costly and few believe that GPRS didn’t develop the interest for using Internet if we compared it by computer.

In April 2004 Norwegian mobile telecom operator, Telenor, bid for and ultimately won a license to operate a cellular network in Pakistan. The license covers the operation of Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM), General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) and Enhanced Data Rates for Global Evolution (EDGE) technology for the network. [14]

Telenor Pakistan has signed two deals with mobile infrastructure contractors for different areas of the network:

Nokia have signed a three-year deal to build and operate a GSM / GPRS / EDGE network to cover the central and Northern Punjab region (phase one), centered around Lahore.

Siemens have signed a deal to build a GSM / GPRS / EDGE network to cover the southern areas of Pakistan, centered around Islamabad.

Further enhancements in data capability over the core GPRS / GSM network will be provided in both networks with the installation of Enhanced Data for Global (GSM) Evolution technology. This component of the two systems will be installed after the initial roll-outs and will allow the subscribers to have the use of advanced mobile services such as downloading video and music clips, full multimedia messaging, high-speed color Internet access and email on the move.

Nortel Networks will upgrade Ufone’s existing wireless systems and supply new GSM/GPRS core network and radio access equipment, including Mobile Switching Center, Home Location Register (HLR) and advanced Base Transceiver Stations (BTS).

A key component of the Ufone expansion will be Nortel Networks BTS 12000, designed to deliver additional capacity within a GSM/GPRS network while positioning operators to drive lower costs and to offer advanced wireless services based on third generation (3G) EDGE (Enhanced Data for GSM Evolution) technology. The expansion will also include Nortel Networks Passport Packet Voice Gateway (PVG) for migration of TDM voice trunking to a packet-based infrastructure.

7. Benefits

As highlighted previously the need to reduce business risk and make the best use of existing resources is of paramount importance within today’s business environment.

7.1. Financial

GSM based networks have become the standard within the cellular landscape. As EDGE is a GSM based technology and provides an enhancement for GPRS at a little additional cost it is considered the best way in which to capitalize on existing resources. [1]

7.1.1. Radio Access Network

In most cases GPRS enabled base stations and BSC’s can be simply upgraded to EDGE by way of relatively low-cost software and hardware upgrades, which will pro-long the life cycle of the deployed RAN elements.

7.1.2. Core Network

For GPRS enhancement, there is very little modification to be completed within a GPRS enabled core network, thus enhancing the sunk core network investment.

7.1.3. Antenna Sites

There is no requirement for additional antenna sites when deploying EDGE. Assuming high quality linear amplifiers with high RF output power are used within the BTS, the coverage pattern will be the same as the existing GPRS deployment, so protecting existing site investment.

7.1.4. Spectrum Utilization

EDGE triples the GPRS data capacity whilst using the existing GSM spectrum and offers up to three times the GPRS data rate to the end user. EDGE is spectrally the most efficient radio technology for data applications requiring up to 100Kb/s throughput (compared to CDMA and WCDMA), and only WCDMA is spectrally better for higher throughputs.

7.1.5. Applications

GPRS enabled applications and services will generally not require any additional investment to become EDGE compatible. This is also valid for known WCDMA applications.

Although the financial benefits of EDGE can be apportioned to individual network elements as outlined above, one of the main business drivers is that EDGE forms an essential part of the overall GSM evolution towards a seamless multi-radio GSM/ GPRS/EDGE/WCDMA network. As mentioned previously GSM is the main standard for cellular communications worldwide and the business benefits of deploying an industry standard technology can be seen in nearly every aspect of a network deployment, from end-user devices, to applications to hardware.

7.2. For Operator

Operators can also experiences the advantages of EDGE in following ways.

7.2.1. Migration to wireless multimedia services

The operator can increase data revenues by offering attractive new types applications to end-users.

7.2.2. Improved customer satisfaction

Increased data capacity and higher data throughput will decrease response times for all data services, thus keeping end users satisfied and connected.

7.2.3. Early deployment of 3G type applications

EDGE networks are expected to emerge in year 2001, when mature markets are likely to start demanding multimedia applications.

7.2.4. Quick network implementation

EDGE will not require new network elements and EDGE capability can be introduced gradually to the network.

7.3. For User

7.3.1. Improved quality of service

Increased data capacity and higher data throughput will eventually satisfy the customers’ need for QoS.

7.3.2. Personal multimedia services

Attractive new types of applications and terminals will become available.

7.3.3. Potentially lower price per bit

Lower cost of data capacity for high-speed data applications gives the operator flexibility in pricing.

8. Conclusion

While the tug of war between access technologies – CDMA vs. UMTS vs. GSM — continues to be debated globally, EDGE provides an ideal solution for GSM carriers to add data capacity using limited spectrum. Keeping in view the fact that GSM supports more subscribers today than any other access technology (roughly 65 to 70% of the global subscriber market), and that GSM/GPRS operators are scrambling to add capacity to support user growth and launch next generation data services, the increased capacity and throughput offered by EDGE becomes very compelling. And, in a market where wireless carriers must squeeze the most out of capital outlays–past and future, it is no real surprise that we are going to see a renewed wave of interest in EDGE from our GSM customers.

Today the position of EDGE as a technology evolution of GSM is clear. Initially promoted as an alternative to WCDMA and generally a niche technology, EDGE is now regarded as a key enabler for GSM/EDGE and WCDMA operators alike. Being able to drive business value from existing GSM infrastructure and spectrum is one of the main advantages, and along-with the ability of EDGE to reduce CAPEX, time-to-market and time-to-revenue, with regards the delivery of global high-speed data services, EDGE is a must technology.

The cellular companies working in Pakistan did not have the license for the EDGE. Now as the introduction of some new companies like Telenor and WARID, it is possible that in near future Pakistan will also be able to use this facility. Then GPRS can become a real important factor in cellular network, as the people in Pakistan will use the Internet not only for downloading ring tones but also can enjoy the streaming videos by their cell phone and so many other facilities.

The First Steps Towards Becoming A Working Actor

So your bags are packed and your next destination is Hollywood to pursue your life long dream of becoming a movie star. No one will say its an easy road to take, so hats off to you for going through with this journey. This article will save you a lot of time in preparation when you make it there. The first thing you need to do is land an agent. Listed below are the four main things you need to have/do in order to get that agent.

ACTING CLASSES

Before an actor becomes an actor, they are put in training. The same way a boxer conditions his or her body to become a better fighter, an actor trains through acting classes, to hone his or her craft.

Acting classes are the basics, where you start before anything else if your desire is to become an actor. You develop your skills using various techniques to mentally train your mind to transform yourself as a person saying words written on paper, into a person living in a moment of truth. There is no single method or technique that is correct; it’s all about finding the approach that works for you. Again, just like every boxer has a unique style, every actor brings something different to the table. Whether you identify with Sanford Meisner, Constantin Stanislavski, Lee Strasberg, Stella Adler, or somebody entirely different, a great acting program will offer one or a combination of the techniques that work for you.

HEADSHOTS

The first thing an agent or casting director look at (whether finding new talent or filling a role) is a headshot.

A headshot is an accurate picture of you, representing your physical attributes. A headshot photo is often of one’s face, but just as fashion trends come and go, headshot framing can be trendy as well. Another great reason to have a current photo, is so that you don’t seem outdated in terms of style, color, and formatting. A person’s entire body can be used in a headshot when submitting to a modeling agency.

A “look” is an actor’s demeanor in a photo. If an actor wishes to audition primarily for comedic roles, the photographer will direct him into a playful mood, capturing images of the actor smiling, and perhaps looking a bit goofy. For action roles, the demeanor could be more intense and serious. This is not necessarily a rule, but rather a way of creating an advantage for those going after specific roles.

When just beginning a career, it is crucial to have a variety of photos to demonstrate versatility and to open up as many doors as possible. Don’t pigeon-hole yourself right away, but at the same time, be honest with yourself. Know what you can and can’t do as an actor and get pictures that correlate with your repertoire of skills.

At the very least, an actor just starting out needs a commercial shot (generally a smiley picture used for commercial auditions) and a theatrical shot (generally more serious, used for film and television auditions).

ACTING RESUME

An actor’s resume displays the work they have done. A rule of thumb in the industry is to have your resume stapled at the corners and behind your headshot, making a clean attachment for casting directors and agents who sift through hundreds of headshots, looking for that person with the right look for a particular role. Although almost all submissions are digital these days, having hard copies of your picture and resume is still expected.

Your resume should consist of only the most the basic info: your name and contact information (either personal phone number and/or email address, or that of your agent/manager). If you belong to SAG-AFTRA you should indicate that as well. Putting your height, weight, and hair/eye color used to be standard, but has begun to phase out.

List the most prominent productions you have been involved in, and the details should be broken down into different headings: Film & TV, Theater and New Media (web series). Once your credits begin to grow, the heading of Film and TV can be broken up into two categories. Next you should list your training. Acting classes, theatre, voice over training, etc.

Lastly, the most commonly overlooked section of a resume: Special Skills. Here is where you can brag about hidden talents you have, or cash in on ordinary talents. List the sports you play, the games you know, the accents you can do, the languages you speak, etc… You’d be surprised how many actors can book a role simply because they know how to hula hoop or, believe it or not, drive a manual transmission. You can also use this section to be creative and write something that will stand out and make you memorable. If you can freestyle rap, for example, that’s a great way to grab attention on a resume, just be prepared to show it off if and when you’re asked about it. DO NOT LIE on you Special Skills section. It will only hurt you in the long run.

Now here’s the catch 22. You need an agent to get work, but you can’t get work without an agent. So how do you get work without an agent to start? I’ve been in this predicament, and had an agent call me and tell me this exact bit of information.

“A good agent won’t represent somebody who doesn’t have an acting background, even if you found one that did, you don’t want that type of agent representing you. You need to focus on building your resume. Get enrolled in some acting classes, and for work, try looking into either Craigslist to get involved in any student films, or lacasting.com and do some extra work. All of this will help build your resume and show you are serious about acting.”

DEMO REEL

After you feel you’ve taken enough acting classes, had your headshots taken, it’s time to start looking for representation. It’s very difficult getting represented by an agent with just your headshots, resume and acting training. You need a video montage of you showing off your acting chops. This where a demo reel comes in handy.

A demo reel is a collection of scenes edited together to showcase the ability of an actor. Demo reels are also made for directors, cinematographers and editors as well. For an actor, a demo reel can be used to show their genre range, mixing in various works they have done from dramatic to comedic. They can also be tailored to represent an actor in one complete genre, such as an all action genre reel. This usually comes only after the actor has enough credits to warrant separate reels.

A good demo reel is usually between three to five minutes in length and displays anywhere from six to eight scenes. Sizzle reels, are a trimmed down version of a demo reel, usually running no more than one minute in length with music overlaying the edited footage giving a “teaser” type effect. Sizzle reels are becoming quite popular, as they are quick and stylish. It is good to have both, as every agent has their own reservation for what they want submitted.

The biggest mistake people make in getting their demo reel made is that they over do it. Often times I’ve seen demo reels consisting of scenes of a person screaming at the top of their lungs or crying, or holding a gun and shooting someone. A great demo reel should be 2 things, subtle and entertaining. Keep that in mind. And always lead with your best stuff, either your most impressive credit, or the clip(s) that showcase you the best. Remember, the person watching the reel doesn’t love you as much as you might love yourself, and isn’t likely to watch the entire thing, no matter how short it is.

TIME TO GET AN AGENT

At the end of it all, you’ve got enough acting classes under your belt, you have a great new headshot, your resume is substantial and growing, and you have a reel that represents you well, it is now time for you to find an agent. You can check out our updated Agent list. We hope this article has been a good source of information to you. Check out our site for other articles related to the world of acting. Good luck on your journey, looking forward to seeing you on the silver screen!