Saturday, June 30, 2007

Mayan Civilization - Pretty Impressive

Upon seeing Mel Gibson's "Apocalypto" I became fascinated with Mayan Culture. With My background as a cultural anthropology minor in college I decided to do some research into Mayan Civilization particularly from a cultural perspective.

The first thing that struck me was how far back the Mayan Civilization goes. It is believed that they came to our part of the world in the 4th ice age via the Bering Strait. My research has led me to believe that they originally descended from Egypt migrated through Asia and then onto Siberia, Alaska and what we call North America. As the Ice melted they migrated south. Most researchers are split with the Egyptian theory. I find that many of the cultural practices including the building of pyramids and their hieroglyphic language closely mirrored the Egyptian culture at various points of pre-historic and historic history.

As soon as the ice age came to an end we see a shift from humans being total carnivores to include plants in their diets. The early Mayan Descendants started agricultural villages as far back as approximately 9000 BC. Stone tools as well as pottery were found in Guatemala dating back to 9000 BC.

The Mayan Empire was not one homogeneous country. It was a series of independent states that were connected by a common culture that unified them. The root of the Mayan culture was based on the Olmec, to which the Mayan adopted, adapted and expanded upon.

Religion and politics went hand and hand in Mayan Civilization. Kings were born to throne and secondary rulers by nepotism. New Kings were the eldest of the male children to the previous kings. Many time priests and kings were one and the same. The king was usually the head priest also. The ruling class was also either hand chosen or born into the royal family, as were priests. In Mayan belief it was the King and his reigning powers that ensured the continuation of the universe as with the Egyptian belief System. The Mayans were big on bloodletting and the higher the rank in class the more blood one was expected to sacrifice. It was not uncommon for the king to pierce his penis or tongue with the blood being part of the sacrifice.

The Mayan Civilization was the only Mesoamerican pre-Columbian culture to have a written language. They also developed complicated calendar systems as well as astronomy and mathematics. The Mayans did practice human sacrifice in times of extreme difficulty. No one really knows why the Mayan Civilization collapsed even before the arrival of the Spaniards. It is speculated that natural things like natural disasters, disease as epidemics and climate change were part of the environmental factors to help the decline of Maya Civilization. Non-Environmental factors included foreign invasion and warfare, peasant revolt and trade break down. With these factors already present it was easy for the Spanish to come in and finish off the Mayan Civilization.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Where Does Gasoline Come From?

Drivers know the basic procedure for keeping their vehicles running: fill up with gasoline, drive, repeat. Most drivers know this routine so well that it is second nature, without stopping to wonder where the gasoline that seems so essential to their lifestyles originates. You have probably heard the buzz about the need to conserve petroleum based products due to their limited availability for future generations. This is because petroleum based products such as oil and natural gas are nonrenewable resources that take millions of years to produce naturally, and known reserves fall considerably short of anticipated future demand. The gasoline that powers most vehicles has its origin in ancient marine life that died millions of years ago, but how so?

Oil and natural gas, generically classified together as petroleum products, are found deep within the earth in many parts of the world. What surprises many people is that oil is actually formed from the remains of small organisms, such as algae, plankton and vegetation which lived tens or hundreds of millions of years ago in oceans and lakes. When such organisms passed away, their remains settled on the bottoms of the oceans or lakes, and were covered by mud and sediment. The presence of oxygen with time helps organisms decay, but the small percentage of these organisms that would go on to form oil became compressed into oxygen deprived mud and rock. Over thousands of years, the pressure and heat exerted on the original layer became increasingly intense, eventually converting the organic matter into deposits of petroleum.

Such petroleum deposits are extracted by humans to be processed for use across many industries. One substantial use for such natural oil is the production of gasoline for automobiles with internal-combustion engines. But the oil extracted from underground, called crude oil, must be refined through the process of fractional distillation before it is ready to power an engine. Fractional distillation involves heating oil in a controlled environment in order to separate different kinds of hydrocarbons as their characteristic boiling points are reached. Through this process, chemists obtain the substance we know as gasoline.

Internal combustion engines, those utilized to power most vehicles, get mechanical energy through the burning of chemical energy in a combustion chamber. Such fuel combustion activates a piston contained within a cylinder, turning a crankshaft that turns the wheels of the car using a chain or drive shaft.

Today, measures are being taken to reduce consumer reliance on natural oil due to limited supply as well as widely held environmental concerns.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Spanish Schools In Spain Can Be Very Different For Students Arriving From Abroad, So Be Prepared

Spanish schools teach their pupils in Spanish, and those wishing for the lessons to be taught in English will have to seek out what is known as an international school. These international schools, and there are quite a few, are designed to mimic for the most part American schools for Americans and other English speaking students.

Compulsory age for beginning school in Spain is six years old. A primary school is dedicated to the education of all students for the initial eight years. At the age of fourteen, students either enroll in a secondary education school or move on to trade school. This is determined by the students' grades throughout their primary education. Students who have completed the initial eight years of their education receive a certificate much like what Americans would call a high school diploma.

In the secondary years, academic students continue their education in the formal setting that can be equated to American High Schools while the trade inclined students learn skill sets that are more appropriately termed as a Vo-tech school in the United States. There are distinct advantages and disadvantages to this type of system.

Prior to attending any school in Spain, students must go through an interview process. Any student coming into the country is going to be required to show proof of numerous things, including their previous educational experience. All of the preparations for entering a Spanish school from outside the country should be taken care of prior to arrival to avoid unnecessary and costly delays. Parents will have to prove residency, previous education, immunizations, identification, and provide a photograph of the child for school identification passes.

School schedules vary greatly. They can range anywhere from a typical American school day with classes beginning between 8:00 or 9:00 in the morning and concluding around 3:00 or 4:00 in the afternoon. Other schools allow a two hour lunch with the option of returning home for this break but may run as late as 5:00 in the evening. Parents interested in sending their child to a Spanish school should double check the schedule before committing to any school. American children may have a difficult time adjusting to the extended schedules of some schools.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Get a Headstart on Anything With Free Online Accounting Classes

You can use free online accounting classes to help you achieve a number of goals. It's not just for getting an Accounting degree anymore! If for example you're just interested in learning the basic principles of accounting, you can try getting a book introducing accounting. However, by staying in the outmoded age of print, you are truly missing out on the perks of acquiring new skills online.

An aspiring business owner would definitely benefit from free online accounting clsses. It isn't enough that one has the enthusiasm to make it as an entrepreneur, after one - one has to have good money management skills as well. These skills are easily acquired through focus, dedication, and careful attention to detail. These are things you could learn by applying yourself to a class, online or offline.

But why sign up and pay for real-time classes, if you're just out to learn the basics? Be a smart investor: save your money and learn as much as you can over the Internet! One may argue that information found over the Internet may be dubious and potentially even damaging, but if you keep your eyes peeled you'll be able to spot a scam school a mile away. Make sure to take classes only from credible sources, ones that check out among people you trust. If possible, ask for a referral from your close friends or relatives - their word is still invaluable in establishing the usefulness of a particular website or institute.

And if you already have your accounting degree and are gainfully employed, but are still looking to further your education, online education is one way to get the most out of the little free time you have. Not being required to physically attend classes gives you more time to rest in-between the rigors of shuffling between work and home. If you are already working to support a family, you would be better able to appreciate the time and effort you save just by logging in, working on your papers, then submitting everything, all entirely online. Free classes that can be accessed over the Internet can help you with your research.

Perhaps you're also aiming to advance in the corporate ladder. The reality is, the corporate world is quite cutthroat. You need to be on top of your game all the time. You need to stay sharp, and for that you need not just to practice, but to be intimately familiar with the techniques that could assure a faster, more accurate output. It's not always about the degree! Sometimes you just want to be smarter, faster, and more efficient - you want to exceed your old limits as an employee. You can do this by making the right move, and taking advantage of free online accounting classes.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

New York Schools Plan For The Future

New York Schools encompass two different worlds: New York City and New York State. Assessments of the two are generally separate since the thriving metropolis of New York City is a different world from the New York Schools that make up the rest of this rural and suburban state.

Johanna Duncan-Poitier, recently named senior Deputy Commissioner of Education
P-16, recently revealed the Board of Regent's plan for the New York Schools outside of the city limits. While these New York Schools retain a national reputation for excellence, they still face challenges in educating the vast and diverse students in its many districts. Duncan-Poitier announced an unprecedented $1.7 billion budget that New York Schools will use to improve graduation rates, raise learning standards and increase accountability.

Among the issues that New York Schools are dealing with are: charter schools, time for instruction and inequity in learning. The last, a learning imbalance, seems to occur during the middle school years. 70% of New York Schools' fourth grade students passed the reading and writing exams, while only 48% of eighth graders passed. This challenge is compounded by the gap black and Hispanic children face in reaching similar achievement goals.

One way some New York Schools addressed this challenge was by extending the length of the school day in 2006. Their results will determine whether other schools follow suit.

New York Schools also struggle with the success of its charter schools. Since implementing the charter school concept in 1999 New York Schools have debated their success. Success or failure of charter schools is highly individual. Some New York Schools in the charter system boast success and have waiting lists of children hoping to enroll. Other educators in the New York Schools argue that the success of these charters rests partially in the fact that they take fewer disabled, non-English speaking and poor students. These are all factors that negatively impact a student's success in school.

Charter Schools were first established to give New York Schools' students choice with out the private school price tag. It's also beneficial for New York Schools to keep students enrolled in the system, since schools receive tax dollars on a per pupil basis. Many parents and educators don't like the charter school concept because they feel it dilutes the positive effects of New York Schools by removing the most involved parents from the public school setting.

The P-16 Plan introduced this month is based on findings of the most recent report card for New York Schools. Initiatives designed to go into effect in the fall bear the burden of maintaining the reputation of New York Schools as some of the best in the county.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The History of Credit Card Processing in America

Charge cards can be dated back to the early 1900s. In 1914, what seems purely as a customer service goodwill gesture, Western Union gave some of their prominent (preferred) customers a metal card to be used in deferring payments-interest free-on services used. One source said this card became known as "Metal Money."

As time progressed so did the charge card. Up till the start of WW II, department stores, communication companies, travel and delivery companies, and oil companies had extended this service to their preferred customers. These company based charge cards were limited by their use exclusively through the issuing company. These companies issued the cards, processed the transactions, and collected the debts from the customer.

In WW II, the use of credit and charge cards was prohibited.

After WW II, credit cards became more accessible to the general public After seeing trends indicating increased travel and spending among those who held charge cards, banks became interested in credit cards-after all they were in the business of lending money, and they saw the profit potential behind attaching interest to the cards.

When banks first got into the credit card business, they were only issuing cards to local consumers. In 1951, the Franklin National Bank in New York, issued the "Charge It" card. Which allowed customers to charge purchases at local stores. This charge card system worked much like credit card systems work today. The consumer made a purchase using the card; the merchant performed a credit authorization from the network, then completed the sale. The bank would reimburse the retailer and collect the debt from the consumer at a later date. Other banks across the nation were impressed with the success of this process that within several years after the "Charge It" card they offered their customers similar services for making purchases at local retail establishments.

In the 1950s the first charge card was developed that allowed consumers to make charges for services and goods from a variety of retail outlets. This innovation was the Diner's Club charge card, which was established for business men to use for travel and entertainment expenses. The Diner's Club card gave its members up to 60-days to make payment.

The first "revolving-credit" card was issued in the State of California by the Bank of America. The card, BankAmericard, was marketed all across the state. This card set another milestone in the development of the credit card industry. The BankAmericard was the first card to give cardholders payment options. Payment options like today's cards, let consumers pay the debt in whole or they could make monthly minimum payments while the banks charged interest on the remaining balances.

By the 1960s, bank card associations begun to emerge. In 1965, Bank of America issued licensing agreements to other banks-both large and small-across the nation. These licensing agreements permitted regional banks to issue BankAmericards and to exchange transactions through issuing banks.

By 1969, most independent bank charge cards had been converted over to either the BankAmericard or Master Charge cards.

Eventually, charge card issuing and processing became too large of a task for the banking industry to handle. That is what lead to the emergence of credit card associations such as Interlink Association, Western States Bank Card Association, and National BankAmericard Inc. Current associations include Visa and Master Card.

The next major changes in the credit card industry involved streamlining transaction processing and reducing credit card fraud. In the early 1970s, electronic authorizations allowed the retail establishment to get approval for credit card transactions 24 hours per day.

By the mid 1970s, the credit card industry started exploring international waters, but had some difficulty because of the name association; "America" in BankAmericard, for instance. This lead to the renaming of BankAmericard to Visa and Master Charge followed suit by changing its name to Master Card.

By 1979, electronic processing was improving. Electronic dial up terminals and magnetic strips on the back of credit cards allowed retailers to swipe the customer's credit card through the dial up terminal, which accessed issuing bank card holder information. This process gave authorizations and processed settlement agreements in a mater of 1-2 minutes. An added benefit was paper reduction.

The early 1980s, gave birth to the first Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs), which allowed consumers access to cash, and to make deposits, 24 hours a day across our nation and in other countries as well. Credit card holders could access cash in different currencies.

Since its existence, Visa has been a leader in credit card innovation. Because of this they have emerged as the world's leading credit card association with over 1-billion cards being issued, and carrying over 50% of all credit card transactions conducted world wide.

"Visa (International) is a "not for profit" organization comprised of over 40,000 member Banks and MasterCard is a for "Profit" company who issues credit cards and sets and maintain rules for credit card acceptance and processing. They are both run by board members who are mostly high-level executives from their member banks and industry heavy hitters."

There are five leaders in the credit card industry: Visa International, MasterCard, American Express, Discover and Diner's Club. There are others trying to penetrate the industry like check processing companies, Euro Card, JCB and ATM companies but credit cards still account for over 90% of all e-commerce transactions!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Photography School - Choose The Right Field Of Study

Photographers may specialize in one field of photography or they may generalize in a combination of two or more types of photography. Prior to selecting the photography school you are going to attend. Narrow down the specific fields of photography you are most interested in. The differences between photographer specialties are in the subject matter, work conditions and in the type of equipment used and required for design and composition of the photograph.

Photographer fields of study for you to consider:

Wedding and Portrait Photographers pose their subjects and carefully set up lighting and use flash units to enhance the images.

  • Fine arts photographers sell their images as fine artwork. In addition to technical proficiency, fine arts photographers need artistic talent and creativity.
  • Commercial Photographers shoot scenic photography for advertising, stock image and print sales. They also photograph products like food and merchandise or buildings and architecture.
  • News Photographers typically work on location at news-worthy events. They take pictures that enhance stories used by the news media.
  • Industrial Photographers shoot photos of machinery, employees working, equipment, products, and company officials. The images are typically done on location and used for the analysis of engineering projects, publicity, or company records.
  • Medical Photographers specialize in more technical forms of photography, such as Ophthalmic, Surgical or Pathological photography.
  • Freelance Photographers line up their own work and projects. Then they sell their photography directly to clients. They must be highly motivated to become successful.
Which field should you pursue? Ask yourself, why do I want to be a professional photographer, for the love or the money? Most of us do it for the love of photography. If you do it for the love of photography, consider combining your passion for photography with other interests like chemistry, medicine, news, special events etc. Important things to consider when choosing a specialized area of photography:

  • Working Conditions- If you want to work indoors in an air conditioned office or outdoors in the elements and on the move.
  • Salary Range- The compensation you can expect from each field of photography varies greatly. Research pay ranges before you select your field of study.
  • Educational Requirements- In some fields of photography like portrait and fine art, talent and experience are enough for motivated individuals. However additional education in areas such as engineering, medicine, biology, or chemistry are required for other fields.
  • Advancement Opportunities- Opportunities for advancement at a small photography studio are limited. Photographers in other industries such as media, medical and scientific photography can find room for moving up.
Careers in traditional photography like the media positions are highly competitive, since salaried jobs are extremely desirable. Some of the less crowded fields in the photography profession are the aerial, industrial and scientific fields of photography. In addition to photography skills, these jobs require college degrees and specialized technical training. When you carefully consider all of the factors, I'm confident you will choose the right career path.

Friday, June 8, 2007

The #1 Secret to Getting a Teacher Interview

One of the biggest misconceptions about the teaching profession is that teaching jobs are easy to find. For some reason the general public thinks that teaching is something people fall back on when all else fails…nothing can be farther from the truth.

The truth is teaching jobs are NOT a dime a dozen.

There are so many people applying for teaching positions that it is extremely difficult to even get an interview for a teaching position.

Unfortunately, getting the teacher interview may actually seem like a job in itself.

If you think the traditional method of simply sending in your teacher résumé and cover letter will do the trick you are sorely mistaken.

While your resume and cover letter are important, you still need to do more if you want to make absolutely certain you get the teacher interview.

Without a doubt the number one secret to landing the teacher interview is…contacts and connections.

While this may seem obvious, most potential teachers don't exactly understand what is meant by a connection/contact or how to effectively use them.

Of course, if you are the daughter of the superintendent of schools you probably won't have a difficult time getting a teacher interview.

However, your connection does not have to be all that great. Nearly any connection will help you land a teacher interview. Do you know a teacher in the school you are applying to? Do you know a parent whose child goes to the school? Do you know a school board member? A secretary? Support staff? Do you know anyone who is in any way connected with the school you want to interview with? If so, have that person specifically ask the administrator to give you an interview.

Remember, your connection is not trying to get you the job, your connection is trying to get you the interview…it is up to you to get the job!

However, you don't necessarily have to have a contact with direct connections to the school. Any contact will do. In fact, your contact and the administrator may have never even met before. For example, a college professor, your cooperating teacher/supervisor, another teacher or administrator can most certainly get you that teacher interview.

The key is to get that contact to make a phone call for you. A phone call from one administrator to another (even if they have never met) will definitely get your resume "flagged" and most certainly get you an interview for a teaching position. Again, this just gets you the interview…it is up to you to get the job.

How do I know?

Simple, this is precisely how I got a teacher interview for the school I am currently teaching at. I was moving from New York to Florida and I had my New York principal make a phone call to a principal in Florida and the very next day I got the interview. Keep in mind, these two administrators never met and I was applying for a social studies teaching position and competing against 150 other applicants.

Just to prove my point, when the interview started I was told by the administrators conducting the interview that the only reason they decided to interview me was because my principal made that phone call.

Again, don't underestimate the power that a phone call can make from even a weak connection…this may be the single biggest factor in helping you land that teacher interview.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Learning Online - The Internet Is A Great Resource For Learning Any Subject

Having trouble finding time out of your daily schedule to study or to get the degree that you want for a better job? Or is the conventional way of studying to boring for you? Either way, if any of these two cases are true in your situation then learning online is probably the most suitable solution for someone like you. Even if you’re just interested in learning something new or something that you’ve always wanted to learn, online learning can provide you with almost everything.

Having the same as a classroom fit the screen of your computer is what online learning is all about. From online tutors to online classmates, all will be delivered through the net to the comfort of your computer. What does this mean? Basically, that you won’t have to go to school, especially if you’re having transportation problems. It also means that you study when you feel like it. However, this freedom acts just like a double-edged sword. You have to be able to self-discipline yourself so that you can get the assigned homework done on time. Otherwise, you will have a hard time studying online.

What kind of resources does the net have to offer? The first would be the incredible amount of audiovisual content that you can get for free. You can practically get any video about any topic that you want. Meaning that you can learn almost anything through videos. For example, if you want to learn how to dance, draw or even play a type of sport, there will be countless of online videos on these topics for sure. Online schools also offer online tutors, whom you can contact anytime you want to via e-mail and can expect an answer the day after. Lastly, you get a chance to meet other people around the world who are studying in the same field as you. And who knows, you might end up making a few friends across globe at the same time.

With learning online not only will you be able to work while studying but you'll also be able to get a recognized degree at the same time. Moreover, it is also time efficient and cost effective, meaning that it's cheaper than going to school. And with the free time to spare you will be able to spend more time with your family and friends. As for recreational learning, like mentioned above you can practically learn anything that you want from audiovisual content on the net.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

4 Reasons Your Child Should Do Science Projects All Year, Not Just For

There are many things out there that your children can be doing like watching T.V. or listening to music. But these things do not enhance your child's thinking. You want to challenge your child's mind, help them build thinking skills that they will need for there lives. Here are 4 reasons your child should do science projects all year, not just for the science fair.

The 1st reason your child should do science projects all year, not just for the science fair is because it gets your child off the couch and using their mind. Make sure to help your child find things to do that they are interested in. Make sure to act interested in science yourself. If you do not act interested there is a big chance your child won't be interested. So find activities that you and your child can do together.

Then 2nd reason your child should do science projects all year, not just for the science fairs is because it helps your child with their problem solving skills. Problem solving skills are very important to have in their lives. Your child will learn problem solving skills through science projects because they will have to find solutions to different problems. For instance they might be curious how a current charge is made. You can help them research out what makes current charge and then using problem solving find an experiment where you can test out the theory. Problem solving can help your children in future jobs and relationships between other people. When you do science projects all year and not just for the science fair it will help increase the times your child is learning how to problem solve.

The 3rd reason your child should do science projects all year, not just for the science fair is because it will help your child to be more interested in science as a whole. Your child might just try to get through science right now by doing the bare minimum, But with your help you can do science projects all year long and get them to have a bigger interested in science. So not only does it help them to achieve more in there science class it also increases your child's love for science.

The 4th reason your child should do science projects all year, not just for the science fair is because it will make your child more knowledgeable. You child will start to learn things from science that they did not know before. This will help them to be more interested in there surroundings. It will also help them to pay attention to things around them. For instance it might make your child more out to think on a higher level about how things work. And if they can't figure out how they work they will be excited to go find out because they know that you will help them do a science project on the things that they are having trouble understanding.

These are all reasons to do science projects all year, not just for the science fair. Doing science projects with your child will help you to find a bond that will help your child in their future. Encourage your child to find solutions and different ways to get things to work. By doing this you are helping your child to learn and grow while having fun. So make sure to do science projects all year.