The Dark Secret About Education – Part II

Believe in Positive Power.

We can revitalize the whole educational system by more study of an emphasis on ethics, logic, philosophy, religions, the arts, sciences, and a greater awareness of the power of positive thinking. Our educators could start by teaching young people, The Five Steps To Successful Living. Above all else, young people should be given more opportunity to creatively discuss, and become involved in solving current social problems. We need more programs like the Olympics of the Mind, for example.

Our country can benefit from inspired adults who sponsor projects that provide rewards to our youth for trying to resolve our great social challenges: the environment, crime, racism, violence, substance abuse, obesity, poverty, incarceration, rehabilitation, and even terrorism. We also need to believe that our educational system can and will involve parents once again in a collaborative effort to educate our young people, and model acceptable social behaviors.

Parents may have to be held responsible for keeping their kids in school, and for teaching appropriate social values, preventative healthcare and positive mental attitudes. Parents who leave their children alone all day to watch television, or let them wander the streets unsupervised, or abuse, or neglect them, could be held accountable by our society. They might be encouraged to pay for the social treatment programs necessary to make up for the deficiency in their parenting skills.

To this end, our juvenile court system with high recidivism rates and antiquated laws, (encouraging the reunification of abused and neglected children with parents who are damaged mentally, emotionally, and socially), all need more reassessment and renovation. The courts must hold families accountable for child abuse, neglect, and criminal behavior.

We should hold the educational and juvenile court system accountable for providing the necessary treatment and support services necessary to salvage children, who are damaged by the bad decisions and self-destructive behaviors of their parents.

I believe parenting is not a right, it is a privilege. I think our culture should protect the rights of children to be safe from harmful parents as much as the legal systems protects the rights of all adults. If necessary, pass a new constitutional amendment to guarantee our children legal protection from damaged parents who sexually, physically, or emotional abuse them. We can’t afford to wait any longer for improvements in the educational system. Our dark secret says,” Leave it alone; somebody else can fix it.”

We need to face the social problems of today, not deny them, or believe we are too busy to resolve them. We can act now to do something positive about these problems. Let us begin by expressing our feelings, both negative and positive about our educational crisis. We can start using positive thinking to develop a meaningful plan of action.

The only thing that can try to hold us back or our country back is the dark secret of fear. The negative side whispers in our ears: “Nothing better can be done at this time.” But the only power fear has is the influence we give it by avoidance, denial, despair, anger, depression, guilt, and shame.

The Five Steps also shouts in our other ear a more positive message: Begin by facing the dark secret, release the negative feelings, and replace them with positive emotions and good thoughts. Actually, we can solve any problem if we devout our total creative energy to finding the right solutions. Which voice will influence you today?

How to Spot a Reputable Salvaging Company

Reputable salvaging companies do exist in abundance, that is how they survive, by giving good service. More and more buyers of salvage vehicles are becoming educated about their purchases, and as such they have to meet buyer demands. A reputable salvaging company is only as good as the information it provides the buyer, and this information should divulge the ins and outs of the vehicle the buyer is considering to buy.

Questions a reputable salvaging company should be able to answer.

1. How much damage did the vehicle sustain? A complete history check should be provided on all vehicles. This will inform the buyer as to the exact type of damage the vehicle sustained, as well as how many times the vehicle may have been damaged in the past.

2. Will I be able to legally drive this vehicle on the roads? Street legal vehicles are determined by the state or federal government. Vehicles that are rebuilt or that have been badly damaged will not be considered to be street legal, and as such will not be granted a license for operation.

3. Will I be able to get reasonable insurance, if any, for this vehicle? Depending on prior damage, and how the vehicle was repaired it will either be insurable, or will be considered to be too much of a risk. Risky vehicles will cost the buyer too much money, as the insurance company will offer a very high premium.

4. Has the vehicle been rebuilt? Rebuilt vehicles may have parts from several other vehicles. This may cause a problem with the state, and federal government, as well as insurance companies. These cars are dangerous and some of them will even be considered as scrap metal.

How to spot that something is amiss with a salvaging company

If the salvaging company cannot answer the above questions, it should not be one of your choices to buy from. These companies usually offer very good deals and it will be tempting to buy from them, but if none of the questions can be answered, then it can be safely concluded that the buyer will end up with nothing but scrap metal.

A reputable salvaging company will cater to the needs of the buyer while still making a profit. This does not mean that good deals are not available, the difference is that they value the customer. Finding a reputable salvaging company is fairly easy, just go with whatever has been recommended by friends, or family, or go with the most popular online sites.

Maximizing Educational IT Assets – An Integration Strategy for Educational Institutions

PROBLEM: Among the unique challenges facing educational institutions in the early years of the twenty-first century is how best to serve a diverse user base with new technologies in a time of tight budgetary restrictions. While many businesses in the private sector can focus on the handful of software solutions that fit their particular needs, colleges, universities, and other institutions must attempt to integrate large-scale solutions for the entire campus community with a myriad of applications and business methodologies used at the individual department level.

To make this mandate even more challenging, many state-funded educational institutions are facing belt-tightening measures that put a cramp on their information technology budget and force them to focus on crucial services, often at the expense of innovation. Consolidating core software functions and getting existing and new applications to “play well together” makes perfect sense in such a climate.

While the current economic slowdown may have stalled some bold and exciting plans for the future, it also may provide a chance to clean up some of the sloppiness left behind after ten years of rapid, often directionless, growth.

SOLUTION: The needs of each department of an educational institution are so diverse that it would be foolhardy to try to develop one application to meet them all. However, there is no reason the basic functions common to all departments, the “business infrastructure,” cannot be tapped by each department for its own purposes. The salient reasons for developing on a common framework include:

  • Efficiency — The integration of accounting and billing methods allows departments that use their own software for business services to directly tap the data provided by a centralized entity that provides services to the entire campus, such as a Financial Services office. By the same token, a common platform such as the web allows a facilities management department, for instance, to provide utility billing and work order information to departments in a paperless format, as well as to streamline common services such as work order submission.
  • Security — Every application with sensitive or private information requires a database to store user logins, passwords, and permissions. The ability to use one central database to store this information for many applications means each user need only remember one login and password, and authentication can be handled in one place, meaning fewer access points need to be secured.
  • Interdisciplinary study — Institutions are beginning to recognize the value of linking different disciplines for a common good. For instance, a researcher into online security issues might find it useful to share information with a behavioral scientist to understand why people are willing or unwilling to provide credit card information online. Or an historian might find it useful to plumb data from a molecular biologist’s lab to understand the dispersion patterns of ancient human populations.

METHODS: Fortunately, technology can be used to ease many of the unique headaches universities, colleges, and academies must endure. The emergence of middleware solutions using standard data formats like XML can be powerful tools in the right hands. While the IT department for the institution itself must provide some support for these methodologies, there are concrete solutions individual departments and other organizations on campus can use to get themselves up to speed:

  • The Central Authentication Service (CAS) — Developed at Yale University, CAS is an open source method for authenticating users in one place for many different applications. Integrating existing applications into a CAS solution allows users to provide their login and password combination once, and these credentials are passed to every application the user accesses during that browser session, including uPortal, webmail, and custom software. Applications large and small can capitalize on this technology with a good developer and a little help from the central IT department.
  • Adopting a web-based interface — The proliferation of web technology is approaching a level of sophistication that will eventually rival that of desktop technology for even heavily data-intensive applications. While we may never live in a web-only world, it’s not too soon to capitalize on the unique advantages a web-based application or a web interface for an existing non-web application provides. Aside from making the application available to any machine with a web browser (the other kind are very hard to find these days), a web solution in many cases replaces paper and phone calls as a means of doing business.
  • Maximizing existing assets — While it would be nice in the best of all possible worlds to replace an aging application with a brand-spanking new one, it is not always feasible. Under tight budgets, getting the most out of existing applications is often the right way to go. While not all applications are worth salvaging, a surprising number can be retooled or replaced one piece at a time, keeping the underlying data structure intact until it makes sense to upgrade to newer back-end technologies. Additionally, even legacy databases can often be coaxed into providing their essential data in a usable format, even if it has to be converted from raw text. Often, such a conversion leads to a streamlined data structure after columns and tables that are no longer used have been dropped.

SUMMARY: While universities face a set of challenges rare outside of academia, highly diverse user bases and shrinking budgets need not mean substandard application design. An intelligent mix of integration, centralization, and the incremental replacement of outdated technologies can ease these challenges and allow an educational institution to focus on its primary objective, to educate.

What is the Average Lifespan of a Vehicle?

Whether you are thinking about buying a car and trying to decide if the cost of a new car is worthwhile or are wondering how much money you should put into repairing your older vehicle, learning the average lifespan of a vehicle can help you with your decision. Of course, averages are not always accurate, and you may find that your car lives much longer or much shorter than the average, but an average can help you make an educated choice.

The Official Average
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, vehicles tend to last just over 13 years. Mileage also plays a role in how long a car, truck, or van will last, and the average final mileage for a vehicle is 145,000 miles. Half of all of the vehicles on the road today are 8 years old or older, with a third of them being at least 10 years old.

Thoughts for Buying Cars
If you are in the market for another vehicle, the decision about buying new or used is sometimes difficult. Of course, your budget may dictate that you shop for a used car, and used cars depreciate much less quickly than new ones, but you will probably get a longer lifespan out of a new vehicle. New vehicles come with warranties, which make maintenance and repair early in the vehicle’s life convenient. Also, you will not be buying someone else’s “problem” when you buy a new car. If there is a mechanical problem or recall on the car, it will probably be covered in the warranty.

Buying a used car does mean you can end up buying someone else’s problem. On the other hand, if the used car is less than 8 years old, you have a pretty good indication that it will last a while, based on national averages. You will also be able to afford more “extras” in a used car than in a new car for the same amount of money, provided you have enough for a new car to begin with.

Dealing with an Existing Vehicle
If you have an older car that is in need of some serious repair, such as a transmission job or a complete engine overhaul, understanding the lifespan of a vehicle will help you decide whether or not to put the money into the vehicle that is necessary for the repair. If the vehicle is almost 13 years old or has close to 145,000 miles, it is probably nearing its end. If you put a few thousand of dollars into a repair, and the vehicle only lasts a few more months or even another year, you will be in bad shape.

Instead, consider junking the car. The working parts, body, and even tires in some cases, can be salvaged and sold by the junkyard, and you can get some of that money upfront. You can use that money and the money you would have spent on repairs for a down payment on a more reliable used vehicle or even a new vehicle. Before you put money into the repairs, call the junkyard to see how much you can get, and consider using that money to purchase a better vehicle.