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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Comic for February 26, 2011

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Comic for February 26, 2011: "

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Calvin and Hobbes for February 26, 2011

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Calvin and Hobbes for February 26, 2011: ""

Railway Budget 2011-2012 : Highlights

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Railway Budget 2011-2012 : Highlights: "
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Shakti audio release promo

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Shakti audio release promo: "
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Public response on Railway budget

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Public response on Railway budget: "
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How to Prepare an Emergency Fund

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How to Prepare an Emergency Fund: "
Having an emergency fund readily available at all times is invariably a good idea. It can protect you in a time of job loss or during a natural disaster period that directly impacts your living arrangements.

Experts recommend having three to six months of expenses put aside so that you can rely on these savings to buffer you in an emergency.[1] Take these steps to start preparing your emergency fund.


Steps


  1. Increase your take home pay. This can be done in various ways:
    • If you are paying into a 401k (superannuation) or other retirement savings program, as well as any other voluntary pay deductions, temporarily cease or decrease those contributions until you have built up your emergency fund. As soon as you have built up enough savings, restore the contributions.
    • If you usually get a tax refund, ask your employer to decrease the amount of taxes you have withheld from your paycheck.
    • If available, consider working some overtime or doing some freelance work. If it's not too tiring or conflicting with your day job, you might also consider a little weekend or holiday work doing something else you're good at, such as working with a local retailer.

  2. The other kind of dough
    The other kind of dough
    Attempt to live on less. If you are already accomplished at doing this, in the event of a disaster, your expenses will be lower already, and you will only need a smaller emergency fund.
    • Cook more food at home instead of eating out. This can help you save money and eat more healthfully.
    • Grow as much of your own food as possible by dedicating one portion of your garden to edible plants. If you're not a keen gardener or you have small space, grow easy plants like tomatoes and summer squash in containers.

  3. Nice try buddy...
    Nice try buddy...
    Always remember the value of having insurance as a standard means for protecting yourself against uncertainty but never over extend your finances by paying too much either. Shop around for the best insurance rates and check for better deals regularly. There is no need to feel loyal to one insurance provider over another; keep your own interests at the forefront.
    • Have house insurance, contents insurance, and car insurance. Although good, you can pass on life insurance if you can't afford it currently but keep it in mind for later. Income protection insurance is another good consideration alongside your emergency fund. And if you are in a country where health care is expensive and your employer isn't funding health insurance, you'll need this as well.
    • Lower your insurance rates by raising your deductibles, the amount you pay out of pocket before your insurance kicks in. Higher deductibles mean lower monthly premiums.
    • Also consider whether you're insured for things that are no longer relevant; staying updated is important, such as when you change cars or houses.

  4. Do you really, really need those collectibles instead of an emergency fund?
    Do you really, really need those collectibles instead of an emergency fund?
    Consider selling valuables you no longer want through online classifieds sites. Sites like Craigslist and auction sites like eBay and Trademe can be great ways to get rid of stuff you don't need anymore and to turn it into emergency fund cash.
    • Consider opening an account that is solely meant for direct payments into it from auction and online sales, whether by direct debit from customers or via Paypal.
    • Don't forget the yard or garage sale. These can often be better for large items you're not prepared to ship, like lawnmowers, lounge suites, and bulk clothing.

  5. Get a savings account. Look for the highest yielding interest account you can find that doesn't penalize you for early withdrawal of savings funds. Remember that the purpose of having an emergency fund is liquidity: the ability to use your fund at any time.
    • Online banks often have higher savings rates than ones with shopfronts. Be sure to shop around and if you can take advantage of a bank that is paying you to open an account with them, jump for it.
    • If you have a term deposit, consider breaking it into smaller amounts and staggering their end dates, so that if an emergency arises, you only have to break one of your longer-term investments and only lose interest on that investment and not the others.

  6. Straight from work to savings
    Straight from work to savings
    Set up automatic payments into your savings account. Have a certain amount of each paycheck going into savings. Doing this makes it harder for you to spend the money and you'll feel reticent to reduce it when you know it's earmarked for your emergency fund.
  7. Here's an emergency
    Here's an emergency
    Avoid touching your savings account until you are in a real emergency. This part is important because you need to define what an emergency actually is and is not. An emergency is not that last pair ever of your most favorite shoes on sale nor is it when a friend comes telling you a tale of financial woe. This is about your emergency savings that will protect you, not your wardrobe or your friends. An emergency is:
    • A natural disaster that causes you to have to leave your living arrangements temporarily or permanently
    • Job loss or a massive cut-back in hours
    • A sudden immediate family illness for which you're responsible for meeting payment costs
    • Invasion (war), or civil unrest, especially if you need to vacate or stockpile, and so forth.

  8. Find ways to build your money, not your stress levels
    Find ways to build your money, not your stress levels
    Aim to have a plan for an increasing level of savings in place at all times. After you have developed an emergency fund, work on reducing your sense of fear and worry that you're only a few steps away from destitution. Some of the things you can do include:
    • Deal with your emotional issues around money, especially if you over-spend or hide money from your spouse.
    • Get used to using a budget; this cannot be over-stressed!
    • Do not spend more than what you earn. Having more stuff that causes you to go into debt is a very poor plan for living a fulfilled and worry-free life.
    • Put your savings ahead of your splurging. If you feel a sense of financial deprivation, again you'll need to deal with your emotional issues.


Video


Tips


  • You can use these savings techniques to save for other things such as a down payment on a house.
  • Carefully evaluate the amount of money you will need in your emergency fund by thinking through potential emergency scenarios. For example, someone who owns their own home may have very different emergency fund needs than someone who rents an apartment.
  • While you are advised not to store money in the home, sometimes having a few notes tucked away safely is a wise thing to do in the event that electricity stops working and ATMs don't function, or an emergency alert causes people to empty all ATMs before you reach them. There's nothing funny about being left with no real money during an emergency where people are terrified about having no food, fuel, or communications. Either accept that doing this might end up in the occasional loss of a few hundreds if your house is broken into, or be prepared to run down to the ATM the first whiff of an emergency like a flu epidemic or natural disaster. During an emergency, always have small bills.[2]
  • It may be helpful to establish a credit line with your bank that you have no intention of using unless there is a real emergency.
  • Ways to help you not touch your emergency account include:
    • Be very self-disciplined.
    • Open an account in a bank you don't normally use.
    • Leave the card for the account in a deep dark place at home, to be revealed only when needed; in other words, out of your wallet.
    • Only have an online account for the emergency fund and simply don't open it for any reason – don't learn the password off by heart, etc. (but definitely keep it where you can find it in an emergency).
    • Make a pact with a spouse or partner that the account remains untouched; rely on mutual guilt.
    • Keep some of your emergency fund in junk silver or silver bullion. Silver is liquid enough for an emergency, but requires more consideration to trade or spend than cash or an emergency account.


Warnings


  • Reducing your 401k contributions will usually lead to higher tax obligations. Be sure to be consider these in your planning.
  • You can't afford to not have an emergency fund, even during college years.[3]
  • Don't create an emergency fund at the expense of increasing your credit debt. Put aside what you can afford and do not go into debt even further.
  • Money earned through side-work or moonlighting is taxable income. Know the rules regarding your tax liabilities (including potentially having to pay an amount to your government quarterly) on money earned through such work. Talk to a CPA or other Tax Advisor if you are unsure about the laws where you live.

Things You'll Need


  • Savings account
  • Small bills tucked away for a natural disaster or health scare emergency

Related wikiHows



Sources and Citations


How to Tie a Clove Hitch Knot

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How to Tie a Clove Hitch Knot: "
Completed clove hitch
Completed clove hitch
This is a fairly simple knot that can be useful for securing ropes to trees, posts, or other things that stand upright. With this knot, it's fairly easy to adjust the length of the rope if you need to. It can be used in lashing ropework and also in sailing, especially as a temporary way to hold things.

There are two methods suggested here. You might like to try both to see which works out best for your needs.


Steps


Method One


  1. Pick up the running end of the rope (the end that will be loose after you tie the knot). Wrap it halfway around the pole or timber.
  2. Cross the running end over the wrapped part of the rope. This will form an 'X' shape. Bring it back around the pole.
  3. Lift the 'X' part of the knot and slip the running end under this 'X' horizontally.
  4. Pull the knot tight.

Method 2[1]


  1. This is an alternative method of tying the clove hitch. A clove hitch may be tied by forming two loops and putting a pole through those two loops. This alternative technique has the limitation of having to be tied at the end of a pole. However, it is quicker to tie than the above method.
  2. Make 2 loops as shown
    Make 2 loops as shown
    Make the two loops. An easy way to remember this is to end the left loop above and right loop down.
  3. Place the right loop above the left loop
    Place the right loop over the left loop.
  4. Insert the pole into the loops. You now have a clove hitch.
  5. Pull ropes in opposite directions
    Pull in opposite directions to tighten the clove hitch.

Video


Tips


  • Remember to first make an 'X' then pull the working end through the 'X'
  • The clove hitch is an excellent knot for starting and ending lashings.

Warnings


  • This knot may jam, making it hard to untie in some situations.[2]
  • This knot may also slip, which means you should not use it to support large weights or in situations where the knot coming untied under stress could be dangerous.[3]
  • In general, this knot is not highly secure, so it is best used for temporary situations.
  • This knot will be secure as long as tension remains constant as it tightens down on itself. In a load/unload situation this knot is highly unsecure.

Things You'll Need


  • Rope or twine
  • Pole or timber

Related wikiHows



Sources and Citations


How to Take Care of a Praying Mantis

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How to Take Care of a Praying Mantis: "
Praying mantis
A fascinating insect, the praying mantis is widespread in the world and makes an awesome choice for a pet. Even people who don't like a lot of bugs can be persuaded to enjoy the antics of a praying mantis, as it swivels its head to look behind its shoulder at you (indeed, it's the only insect that can do this!)[1]

Praying mantises (or mantids) come in many colors such as pink like a flower (the orchid praying mantis – Hymenopus coronatus) and white, although most are brown or green. The type of praying mantis species you'll be able to keep will depend on where you live and whether you're obtaining your praying mantis from the great outdoors or your local exotic pet store. Raising a praying mantis is fairly straightforward, a lot of fun, and it's likely you'll learn a lot more about this unique and entertaining insect simply by observing its daily antics.


Steps


  1. Find a praying mantis. The praying mantis is found in many parts of the world and some were introduced to the United States in the early nineteenth century and have since become naturalized.[2] If you know you have them in your local area, consider finding one from the wild. Praying mantises are usually about 3 inches (7-8cm) in length and mostly brown or green, and they look much like sticks and leaves, making them blend in well with their environment.
    • Look in places where there are many green bushes, crickets, and butterflies. These are some of the mantises' favorite foods.
    • Look carefully. These little bugs are masters of disguise. Most are long and green. Some can be fat and gray, or even have a pinkish hue. Some look like flowers, but those are mostly found in Africa and Asia. Try to imagine how the praying mantis is likely to appear when it is pretending to be part of a plant and it'll be a bit easier to find one.

  2. A few container ideas; make sure they're clean and have air holes poked in them
    A few container ideas; make sure they're clean and have air holes poked in them
    Get a container for your mantis. Get a small container to put your mantis in once you find it. It doesn't have to be very big - just a 6' x 6' square (15.2cm x 15.2cm) should do for most mantises. The container should be well ventilated and preferably made out of mesh, or chicken wire, to give the mantis and its prey something to cling onto. It should also have a secure top. Never use a container that had chemicals in it.
  3. Catch your mantis. More than likely, you won't need any gloves, unless you're squeamish about touching bugs. Simply place the opening of your container in front of the mantis. Coax the mantis into the container using a twig, or your hand if you are okay with that. Soon, he or she should willingly go into the container. Close the top, because mantises are smart, and they'll seize any opportunity to escape.
  4. Purchase a praying mantis. If you can't find one or they aren't in your area, visit your local pet store and ask for advice as to whether they can get a particular praying mantis for you. This might give you wider options for different species, depending on the laws in your country as to importing insects and keeping them as pets.
    • If purchasing a praying mantis, they are usually sold as nymphs. Each nymph comes packed in small container.[3]

  5. A vivarium
    A vivarium
    Prepare the home for your praying mantis. For the praying mantis to remain happy and healthy, she will need a good environment within your home. Choose a suitable structure to house your praying mantis, such as a vivarium. The structure should be large enough for a growing mantis if you've purchased a nymph and it needs to be kept warm, at around 24ºC (75ºF), and a few less degrees at night.[4]
    • Provide climbing items. The praying mantis needs to be able to clamber up on things such as twigs, branches, small dowel poles, etc.
    • Decorate with foliage, twigs, and other natural items that allow the praying mantis to climb and clamber around. Some people place a living plant or two into the display, as the mantis will enjoy being able to climb it.
    • Warmth can be provided by using a spot lamp or a heater pad. Speak to your pet supplies specialist to see what they have in stock.

  6. Keep your praying mantis separate from any other ones you plan on keeping. Praying mantises have voracious appetites for insects, including one another. They're top predators in the insect kingdom and will stalk or wait until their chance comes, so don't give them the chance to also be a cannibal.[5] Have separate housing for each praying mantis you intend to keep.
  7. A young praying mantis feasting
    A young praying mantis feasting
    Feed your mantis properly. The food requirements of a praying mantis will vary depending on their growth stage:
    • For a nymph purchased from the pet store: Feed with fruit flies, micro crickets, gnats, aphids, and other mini bugs.[6]
    • For a mantis that has grown and is molting or shedding, (the instar stage): Start to increase the insect size; then for each shedding period, feed normally but remove anything she ignores because she may not eat during molting.
    • For a fully grown praying mantis, get busy: Catch butterflies, crickets, grasshoppers or even house flies. In the wild praying mantises will consume anything they can catch and hold. They are also known to eat bees and wasps in the wild[7] but you probably don't want to mess with them.
    • Buying crickets from the pet store is not necessary, although some people will tell you that using wild crickets could make your pet sick. This may be true for store-raised mantises, but for wild-caught ones, not much harm should come to them. As for store-bought crickets, some caution should be exercised. Many pet stores do not feed or properly care for crickets, and any diseases those crickets have as a result can be passed on to your mantis. If you're not sure, spend a few days feeding store-bought or wild-caught crickets high nutrition diets to help manage the bacteria in their gut, and they should be fine.
    • Don't give the mantis live food that is bigger than it or your mantis might be the one that gets eaten.
    • Spray mist the enclosure to provide water for the praying mantis.

  8. Please keep my home clean!
    Please keep my home clean!
    Clear uneaten food out of the mantis' home. Mantises aren't the tidiest of diners and they'll leave behind all manner of debris including legs, wings, chewy or hard bits they didn't like, etc., and you need to remove these daily. When this debris piles up, the praying mantis will stress out and won't cope well in her artificial environment.
    • When cleaning out the leftovers from her meals, also remove your praying mantis' fecal matter (pellet shaped).

  9. Handle with care. Your praying mantis is delicate no matter how strong she appears. Avoid picking her up as there are several risks involved; she might be crushed by an over-enthusiastic grip, or she might defend herself against your attempt by stabbing you with her forearms.[8] It will probably surprise you more than hurt you but it will definitely stress her and put on the defensive. The answer is to allow her to climb onto your outstretched palm, finger, or top of your hand, at her leisure. Be patient!
    • Praying mantises have wings once they're adults, meaning that they can fly. If you want to hold her, close all windows and doors before removing her from her home.
    • When molting, leave your praying mantis alone and don't touch her.[9] She'll shed her old exoskeleton and gain a new one. Once the new one is in place, you can handle her again.

  10. Consider breeding the praying mantises if you want to have several praying mantises over time. A praying mantis has a short lifespan, of around six months from nymph to adulthood, and another six months as an adult.[10] With good care, this can be extended up to a year and a half in the easy home life you're providing. Identify the gender of your praying mantis first - the female has six segments on her underside while the male has eight. If a female is mated, she can produce several egg cases (oothecae), and may well eat the male (and be aware that unmated females will probably still lay eggs, they just won't hatch).
    • Be prepared for nursery duty if you catch or mate a female mantis. She will grow a big belly, and lose the ability to fly. When your mantis lays eggs, it should be in the early fall, or late spring. Don't worry. You will have plenty of time to prepare for your eggs to hatch next spring.
    • The egg case will have a ridge along the center of it. It's not to everyone's liking to look at but shelve your squeamishness!
    • Come springtime, the eggs should soon hatch, and the nymphs should emerge through tiny holes in the egg case. A word of caution – they can, and will often eat each other if they are not separated, and when they reach molting stages, many mantises will stop eating for a day or two, so it's easier to squeeze out of that old shell.
    • Feed as outlined above.
    • Those you don't plan on keeping can be set free in your garden.

  11. Maintain hygiene. Wash your hands after handling your praying mantis, its cages, or cage accessories.

Video


Tips


  • You would be better off purchasing a mantis from a pet store; pulling one out of the wild can be very stressful, and it can possibly kill them.
  • With proper care praying mantises can live up to one and a half years.
  • Always treat any animal with care, and wash your hands after handling their cages or cage accessories.
  • Contrary to popular belief, mantises are not endangered, and it is not illegal to kill one. But that doesn't mean you should! In the United States, you may not release non-native species; check your local laws wherever you live.
  • Praying mantises are harmless to humans although they're fearful foes to other insect-kind.
  • Praying mantises have very fragile egg cases, so be very careful.
  • Check out Wikipedia's list of the mantis species: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mantis_genera_and_species if you're keen to know more about the different kinds of species.
  • Always treat any animal with care.
  • Use a fluorescent light above the vivarium if you'd like to see your praying mantis at night. This will also give out light that any live plants you're growing will appreciate.
  • It may be preferable to simply observe the praying mantises in your vicinity rather than take them captive. They are so beautiful to watch. They will watch you as well. A praying mantis visit is good luck. Killing one may bring you bad luck.

Warnings


  • Again, never use a container that had any kind of chemical in it.
  • It is really a bad idea to house two or more mantises together. They generally don't get along well as adults, and one can quickly become a snack for the other.
  • Don't use poison (fungicides, pesticides, insecticides) on the plants or plant material you use in your mantis' home; it will kill the mantis.
  • Don't leave a praying mantis outside overnight; it may freeze to death if you live in a cold climate.
  • Don't clean the vivarium with anything toxic. Use hot water and a mild liquid soap if needed. Or ask at the pet store for cleaning advice.

Things You'll Need


  • Container for catching (if relevant)
  • Vivarium or similar for home
  • Twigs, branches, etc., for climbing
  • Prey, such as bugs, flies, etc., as detailed above
  • Heat pad or other heat source to maintain proper temperature
  • Fluorescent light (optional)
  • Live plants (optional) or foliage

Related wikiHows



Sources and Citations

Comic for February 25, 2011

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Comic for February 25, 2011: "

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Calvin and Hobbes for February 25, 2011

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Calvin and Hobbes for February 25, 2011: ""