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A bee-autiful new solution for osteoarthritis relief

<p>Living with osteoarthritis can be a daily struggle, marked by pain, stiffness and limited mobility. For the millions of Australians affected each year, finding an effective and safe treatment is crucial – especially one without the unpleasant side effects so common to conventional treatments.</p> <p>That’s where <a href="https://www.raydel.com.au/shop" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Abexol</a> steps in: a new, naturally derived solution that is making waves in the health community thanks to a very surprising ingredient: Beeswax alcohols!</p> <p>Abexol was originally discovered during a study into gastrointestinal issues. Participants in the study not only experienced relief from stomach issues, but also noticed a marked decrease in joint pain. It was this lucky discovery that led researchers to explore Abexol’s dual benefits for joint and gastrointestinal health.</p> <h2>The bee-nefits of Abexol</h2> <p>Recently registered with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), Abexol is poised to revolutionise the way we approach osteoarthritis management. That’s because traditional treatments often come with a host of gastrointestinal side effects, including nausea, diarrhoea, heartburn and gastritis just to name a few.</p> <p>Abexol, on the other hand, offers a unique solution by protecting the gastrointestinal tract and improving gut health, all while addressing joint pain at the same time – making it a truly holistic approach to such a widespread issue among Aussie seniors.</p> <p>It’s worth noting that a lot of traditional osteoarthritis treatments are also fish-based, such as glucosamine, chondroitin, or fish oils. For people with fish allergies, this is obviously a huge problem. Abexol provides a safe, non-fish-derived alternative, effectively managing arthritis pain and inflammation without the risk of allergic reactions.</p> <p>Abexol is also rich in powerful antioxidants that shield the body’s cells from damage caused by free radicals. These harmful molecules can arise from normal metabolic processes or external sources like pollution and smoking. By neutralising free radicals, antioxidants help reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases.</p> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2024/07/RAYDEL-Abexol2_1280.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="716" /></p> <p>Abexol’s high bioavailability also ensures that the body can absorb it without issue. As the only beeswax-alcohols-based product registered by the TGA for treating mild arthritis and osteoarthritis while supporting stomach health, Abexol could well be the game-changer you have been searching for.</p> <p>According to Sarah Munnik, the Australian Market Access and Development Manager of Abexol, “Beeswax and derivatives of beeswax have been known to have great medicinal benefits, and have been used for hundreds of years across continents such as Africa, South America and Asia.</p> <p>“Ninety per-cent of our customers that have tried Abexol have loved it and have found that it’s either really helped to improve their joint pain and stiffness or supported their digestion and relieved gastric discomfort.”</p> <p>Abexol’s natural composition, lack of side effects and additional gastroprotective benefits clearly make it a standout choice. So embrace the future of osteoarthritis management with Abexol and get ready to step into a life of greater comfort and freedom.</p> <p>For more information, head to <a href="https://www.raydel.com.au/shop" target="_blank" rel="noopener">https://www.raydel.com.au/shop</a> – and don’t forget to take advantage of our special Over60 offer by entering the discount code Over60 for 15% off your purchase!</p> <p><em>Images: Shutterstock | Supplied</em></p> <p><em>This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with Raydel.</em></p>

Body

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How can I stop overthinking everything? A clinical psychologist offers solutions

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kirsty-ross-1513078">Kirsty Ross</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/massey-university-806">Massey University</a></em></p> <p>As a clinical psychologist, I often have clients say they are having trouble with thoughts “on a loop” in their head, which they find difficult to manage.</p> <p>While rumination and overthinking are often considered the same thing, they are slightly different (though linked). <a href="https://www.apa.org/monitor/nov05/cycle">Rumination</a> is having thoughts on repeat in our minds. This can lead to overthinking – analysing those thoughts without finding solutions or solving the problem.</p> <p>It’s like a vinyl record playing the same part of the song over and over. With a record, this is usually because of a scratch. Why we overthink is a little more complicated.</p> <h2>We’re on the lookout for threats</h2> <p>Our brains are hardwired to look for threats, to make a plan to address those threats and keep us safe. Those perceived threats may be based on past experiences, or may be the “what ifs” we imagine could happen in the future.</p> <p>Our “what ifs” are usually negative outcomes. These are what we call “<a href="https://ccbhc.org/hot-thoughts-what-are-they-and-how-can-you-handle-them/">hot thoughts</a>” – they bring up a lot of emotion (particularly sadness, worry or anger), which means we can easily get stuck on those thoughts and keep going over them.</p> <p>However, because they are about things that have either already happened or might happen in the future (but are not happening now), we cannot fix the problem, so we keep going over the same thoughts.</p> <h2>Who overthinks?</h2> <p>Most people find themselves in situations at one time or another when they overthink.</p> <p>Some people are <a href="https://www.apa.org/monitor/nov05/cycle">more likely</a> to ruminate. People who have had prior challenges or experienced trauma may have come to expect threats and look for them more than people who have not had adversities.</p> <p>Deep thinkers, people who are prone to anxiety or low mood, and those who are sensitive or feel emotions deeply are also more likely to ruminate and overthink.</p> <p>Also, when we are stressed, our emotions tend to be stronger and last longer, and our thoughts can be less accurate, which means we can get stuck on thoughts more than we would usually.</p> <p>Being run down or physically unwell can also mean our thoughts are <a href="https://healthify.nz/hauora-wellbeing/m/mental-health-and-your-body/">harder to tackle</a> and manage.</p> <h2>Acknowledge your feelings</h2> <p>When thoughts go on repeat, it is helpful to use both emotion-focused and problem-focused <a href="https://link.springer.com/referencework/10.1007/978-1-4419-1005-9">strategies</a>.</p> <p>Being emotion-focused means figuring out how we feel about something and addressing those feelings. For example, we might feel regret, anger or sadness about something that has happened, or worry about something that might happen.</p> <p>Acknowledging those emotions, using self-care techniques and accessing social support to talk about and manage your feelings will be helpful.</p> <p>The second part is being problem-focused. Looking at what you would do differently (if the thoughts are about something from your past) and making a plan for dealing with future possibilities your thoughts are raising.</p> <p>But it is difficult to plan for all eventualities, so this strategy has limited usefulness.</p> <p>What is more helpful is to make a plan for one or two of the more likely possibilities and accept there may be things that happen you haven’t thought of.</p> <h2>Think about why these thoughts are showing up</h2> <p>Our feelings and experiences are information; it is important to ask what this information is telling you and why these thoughts are showing up now.</p> <p>For example, university has just started again. Parents of high school leavers might be lying awake at night (which is when rumination and overthinking is common) worrying about their young person.</p> <p>Knowing how you would respond to some more likely possibilities (such as they will need money, they might be lonely or homesick) might be helpful.</p> <p>But overthinking is also a sign of a new stage in both your lives, and needing to accept less control over your child’s choices and lives, while wanting the best for them. Recognising this means you can also talk about those feelings with others.</p> <h2>Let the thoughts go</h2> <p>A useful way to manage rumination or overthinking is “<a href="https://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/docs/Options.pdf">change, accept, and let go</a>”.</p> <p>Challenge and change aspects of your thoughts where you can. For example, the chance that your young person will run out of money and have no food and starve (overthinking tends to lead to your brain coming up with catastrophic outcomes!) is not likely.</p> <p>You could plan to check in with your child regularly about how they are coping financially and encourage them to access budgeting support from university services.</p> <p>Your thoughts are just ideas. They are not necessarily true or accurate, but when we overthink and have them on repeat, they can start to feel true because they become familiar. Coming up with a more realistic thought can help stop the loop of the unhelpful thought.</p> <p>Accepting your emotions and finding ways to manage those (good self-care, social support, communication with those close to you) will also be helpful. As will accepting that life inevitably involves a lack of complete control over outcomes and possibilities life may throw at us. What we do have control over is our reactions and behaviours.</p> <p>Remember, you have a 100% success rate of getting through challenges up until this point. You might have wanted to do things differently (and can plan to do that) but nevertheless, you coped and got through.</p> <p>So, the last part is letting go of the need to know exactly how things will turn out, and believing in your ability (and sometimes others’) to cope.</p> <h2>What else can you do?</h2> <p>A stressed out and tired brain will be <a href="https://mentalhealth.org.nz/resources/resource/stress-and-how-to-manage-it">more likely</a> to overthink, leading to more stress and creating a cycle that can affect your wellbeing.</p> <p>So it’s important to manage your stress levels by eating and sleeping well, moving your body, doing things you enjoy, seeing people you care about, and doing things that fuel your soul and spirit.</p> <p>Distraction – with pleasurable activities and people who bring you joy – can also get your thoughts off repeat.</p> <p>If you do find overthinking is affecting your life, and your levels of anxiety are rising or your mood is dropping (your sleep, appetite and enjoyment of life and people is being negatively affected), it might be time to talk to someone and get some strategies to manage.</p> <p>When things become too difficult to manage yourself (or with the help of those close to you), a therapist can provide tools that have been proven to be helpful. Some helpful tools to manage worry and your thoughts can also be found <a href="https://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/Resources/Looking-After-Yourself/Anxiety">here</a>.</p> <p>When you find yourself overthinking, think about why you are having “hot thoughts”, acknowledge your feelings and do some future-focused problem solving. But also accept life can be unpredictable and focus on having faith in your ability to cope. <!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/223973/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kirsty-ross-1513078"><em>Kirsty Ross</em></a><em>, Associate Professor and Senior Clinical Psychologist, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/massey-university-806">Massey University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-can-i-stop-overthinking-everything-a-clinical-psychologist-offers-solutions-223973">original article</a>.</em></p>

Mind

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Worried about price gouging? For banks, there’s a simple solution

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/peter-martin-682709">Peter Martin</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/crawford-school-of-public-policy-australian-national-university-3292">Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University</a></em></p> <p>Does it feel like you’re being charged more for all sorts of things these days, from <a href="https://theconversation.com/supermarkets-airlines-and-power-companies-are-charging-exploitative-prices-despite-reaping-record-profits-222755#:%7E:text=According%20to%20the%20inquiry%2C%20the,dairy%20products%20and%20breakfast%20cereals.&amp;text=Farmers%20recently%20accused%20supermarkets%20of%20making%20too%20much%20profit%20from%20their%20crops.">groceries</a> to <a href="https://theconversation.com/see-when-australias-biggest-banks-stopped-paying-proper-interest-on-your-savings-and-what-you-can-do-about-it-200265">banking</a>? Turns out, you’re right.</p> <p>While we might be more likely to remember prices that go up than prices that go down, the very best evidence – assembled by Australia’s <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2023-11/competition-review-mergers-background-note.pdf">Treasury</a>, the federal government’s lead economic adviser – says your suspicions are right. We really are being charged more than we used to be two decades ago.</p> <p>Coupled with the latest profit reports from Australia’s biggest supermarkets and banks, including Tuesday’s half-year results from Coles, it suggests we are contributing more to company profits than we used to.</p> <h2>Climbing price markups</h2> <p>The Treasury estimates show in the 13 years between 2003-04 and 2016-17, the average price markup – the difference between the cost of a product and its selling price – across all Australian industries climbed 6%.</p> <p>That’s extra profit, taken from your wallet, going to the people selling you things.</p> <p>Those Treasury estimates are contained in a background paper prepared for the competition <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/review/competition-review-2023">inquiry</a> being undertaken by a panel including Productivity Commission chair Danielle Wood, former Competition and Consumer Commission chief Rod Sims, and business leader David Gonski.</p> <p>At the same time, the average share of each industry held by its biggest four firms edged up from 41% to 43%.</p> <p>Profit margins are also higher here than in more competitive markets overseas.</p> <p>This is true in banking, where the big four have taken over St George, BankWest, and the Bank of Melbourne – and are about to take over <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/australian-competition-tribunal-authorises-anz%E2%80%99s-proposed-acquisition-of-suncorp-bank">Suncorp</a>.</p> <p>It’s also true in supermarkets, where the big two, Woolworths and Coles, have taken over or seen off Franklins, Bi-Lo and Safeway.</p> <h2>Bigger profit margins than overseas</h2> <p>Coles supermarkets reported earnings <a href="https://www.investopedia.com/terms/e/ebitda.asp#:%7E:text=EBITDA%2C%20or%20earnings%20before%20interest,generated%20by%20the%20company's%20operations.">before adjustments</a> of <a href="https://cdn-api.markitdigital.com/apiman-gateway/ASX/asx-research/1.0/file/2924-02777616-3A637432">A$1.73 billion</a> on sales of $19.778 billion in the half year to December – a profit margin of 8.7%.</p> <p>Last week, Woolworths supermarkets reported earnings of <a href="https://cdn-api.markitdigital.com/apiman-gateway/ASX/asx-research/1.0/file/2924-02774826-2A1506104">$2.45 billion</a> on sales of $25.648 billion – a margin of 9.6%.</p> <p>By way of comparison, the dominant UK supermarket group, Sainsbury’s, has a profit margin of <a href="https://stockanalysis.com/quote/lon/SBRY/statistics/">6.13%</a>.</p> <p>In banking, the Commonwealth Bank has just reported a return on equity (profit as a proportion of shareholders’ funds) of <a href="https://cdn-api.markitdigital.com/apiman-gateway/ASX/asx-research/1.0/file/2924-02772167-2A1504649">13.8%</a>. National Australia Bank reported <a href="https://www.nab.com.au/content/dam/nab/documents/reports/corporate/2023-full-year-results.pdf">12.9%</a>.</p> <p>While on a par with the big banks overseas, those recent returns are a good deal higher than CommBank’s <a href="https://www.commbank.com.au/content/dam/commbank-assets/about-us/2021-08/2021-annual-report_spreads.pdf">11.5%</a> and NAB’s <a href="https://www.nab.com.au/content/dam/nab/documents/reports/corporate/2021-full-year-results-management-discussion-and-analysis.pdf">10.7%</a> reported two years ago.</p> <h2>Little hope for groceries</h2> <p>For supermarkets, there’s not a lot the government can do, apart from launching an <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/inquiries-and-consultations/supermarkets-inquiry-2024-25">inquiry</a>, and perhaps giving Australian authorities the power to <a href="https://www.afr.com/policy/economy/break-up-firms-that-abuse-market-power-says-former-competition-tsar-20230709-p5dmtq">break up</a> firms that abuse their market power.</p> <p>But Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has said he isn’t keen on giving Australian authorities the sort of powers available to authorities in the United States and the United Kingdom, saying (incongruously) Australia is “<a href="https://www.pm.gov.au/media/radio-interview-abc-radio-brisbane-mornings">not the old Soviet Union</a>”.</p> <p>And doing anything short of that would be unlikely to have much effect. Australia’s two supermarket giants have invested a fortune in high-tech <a href="https://theconversation.com/coles-and-woolworths-are-moving-to-robot-warehouses-and-on-demand-labour-as-home-deliveries-soar-166556">warehouses and distribution systems</a>, which new rivals would be hard-pressed to match.</p> <h2>Hope for more competitive banking</h2> <p>But for banks it’s altogether different. Richard Denniss of the Australia Institute has come up with the idea, and it’s a beauty.</p> <p>It’s for the government to provide a low-cost banking service – expanding on services it already offers.</p> <p>The costs would be so low, other banks might decide to add features and resell them in the same way as resellers sell <a href="https://www.whistleout.com.au/MobilePhones/Guides/Telstra-network-coverage-vs-ALDI-Woolworths-Belong-Boost">mobile phone</a> and <a href="https://www.nbnco.com.au/residential/service-providers">NBN</a> services.</p> <p>The primary function of any bank is to provide a numbered account into which Australians can deposit and withdraw funds.</p> <p>The Australian Tax Office does this already, at an incredibly low cost.</p> <p>The tax office gives every working Australian a <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals-and-families/tax-file-number">tax file number</a>. Employers deposit money into these accounts, and – should the tax office owe a refund – taxpayers withdraw them.</p> <p>Some taxpayers ensure their tax is <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/businesses-and-organisations/international-tax-for-business/in-detail/income/refund-of-over-withheld-withholding-how-to-apply">overpaid</a>, so they withdraw later.</p> <p>Denniss describes it as a bank account with the world’s clumsiest interface.</p> <h2>The government could offer bank loans</h2> <p>It wouldn’t be much of a stretch from improving that interface to offering government loans.</p> <p>In fact, government loans are already provided in some circumstances: such as to retirees with home equity through the <a href="https://www.dss.gov.au/our-responsibilities/seniors/benefits-payments/home-equity-access-scheme">home equity access scheme</a>, and to Centrelink recipients through <a href="https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/centrelink-online-account-help-apply-for-advance-payment">advance payments</a>.</p> <p>It woudn’t be much more of stretch to provide loans more broadly, at an incredibly low administrative cost. The government already lends against the <a href="https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/who-can-get-loan-under-home-equity-access-scheme">value of homes</a>.</p> <p>Back in the days when the federal government owned the <a href="https://www.commbank.com.au/about-us/our-company/history.html">Commonwealth Bank</a>, it had to cover the high costs of running bricks and mortar branches.</p> <p>Freed from those costs, the government could now offer a low-cost, technology-enabled basic banking service that would tempt us away from the big four banks – unless they offered better value.</p> <p>Of course it would cost money, although a lot of it has already been spent setting up the system of tax file numbers and accounts. And of course the banks would hate the idea. That would be the point.</p> <p>But doing what we can to stop Australians being overcharged is important, not only for wage earners but also for businesses.</p> <p>The <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/review/competition-review-2023">competition inquiry</a> the government has launched is a good start. It shouldn’t be frightened about where it might lead.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/223821/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/peter-martin-682709"><em>Peter Martin</em></a><em>, Visiting Fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/crawford-school-of-public-policy-australian-national-university-3292">Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image </em><em>credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/worried-about-price-gouging-for-banks-theres-a-simple-solution-223821">original article</a>.</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Bride sparks fury over outrageous catering solution

<p dir="ltr">A bride-to-be has caused outrage online after sharing her unusual catering solution for her wedding day, after admitting she has invited more people to her big day than she can afford to feed. </p> <p dir="ltr">The American bride, who is planning her wedding for October, shared that she has invited 250 of her closest friends and family to her nuptial celebrations, while only being able to afford to cater for 150 people. </p> <p dir="ltr">Posting her predicament in a wedding page on Facebook, she wrote, “Bride here. Seems the most expensive thing is catering.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“To save a little bit of money, we are inviting 250 people, expecting about 200 (to RSVP), and telling the caterers to prepare for 150.”</p> <p dir="ltr">She said that in order to cater for the extra people, she was planning to order fast food from Raising Cane’s: a popular chain of chicken shops across the US. </p> <p dir="ltr">“I suggested maybe getting a tray of chicken to supplement the missing food,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Is this a terrible idea? Would I get the caterers to serve that chicken also, or just put it to the side and let the people serve the chicken themselves?”</p> <p dir="ltr">Many were stunned by the bride’s catering idea, with one person joking, “Oh, it’s a Hunger Games-themed wedding. Literally.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Another suggested, “If you can’t afford to feed 250 people, move your wedding date to save up enough for your guestlist or invite fewer people — the most reasonable option.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“Do not bring in fast food. The caterer will not, cannot, and should not serve your fast food.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Another person added, “Sucks for the guests, but also real sh***y for the caterer who will get blamed when there’s not enough food for everyone.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“If I come as an invited guest to your wedding and there’s not a plate for me, I am taking my gift back and self-serving all the chicken I can carry.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p>

Relationships

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How to get rid of sciatica pain: solutions from back experts

<p><strong>The scoop on sciatica pain</strong></p> <p>Fun fact: The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the human body. It runs from the lower back down each side of your body, along the back of the hips, butt cheeks, and knees, down the back of the calf, and into the foot. It provides both sensory and motor nerve function to the legs and feet.</p> <p>Not-so-fun fact: Sometimes this nerve can get compressed in the spine at one of the roots – where it branches off the spinal cord – and cause pain that radiates down the length of the nerve. This is a dreaded condition known as sciatica. It is estimated that between 10 and 40 percent of people will experience sciatica in their lifetime.</p> <p>“Sciatica is the body telling you the sciatic nerve is unhappy,” says E. Quinn Regan, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon. “When the nerve is compressed at the root, it becomes inflamed, causing symptoms,” Dr Regan says. These symptoms can range from mild to debilitating.</p> <p>While sciatica can often resolve on its own, easing symptoms and feeling better usually requires some attention and careful behaviour modifications. Rarely, you may need more medical intervention to recover fully.</p> <p>Here’s everything you need to know about sciatica, including symptoms, how it’s diagnosed, how it’s treated, and what you can do to prevent it from recurring.</p> <p><strong>Symptoms of sciatica</strong></p> <p>Sciatica is quite literally a pain in the butt. The telltale symptom of sciatica is pain that radiates along the nerve, usually on the outside of the butt cheek and down the back of the leg. It usually only happens on one side of the body at a time. Sciatica doesn’t necessarily cause lower back pain, though it can.</p> <p>Dr Regan says that people with sciatica describe the pain as electric, burning, or stabbing, and in more severe cases, it can also be associated with numbness or weakness in the leg. If sciatica causes significant muscle weakness, to the point of losing function, and/or the pain is so bad you can’t function, it’s time to get immediate help, Dr Regan says.</p> <p>Another symptom that warrants a trip to the ER and immediate medical intervention: bowel or bladder incontinence. “That means there’s a massive compression, and the pressure is so severe it’s harming the nerves that go to the bowel and bladder,” says orthopaedic surgeon Dr Brian A. Cole. This is rare, but when it happens, it’s imperative to decompress the nerve immediately, he says.</p> <p><strong>The main causes of sciatica</strong></p> <p>The most common cause of sciatica is a herniated or slipped disc. A herniated or slipped disc happens when pressure forces one of the discs that cushion each vertebra in the spine to move out of place or rupture. Usually it’s caused when you lift something heavy and hurt your back, or after repetitive bending or twisting of the lower back from a sport or a physically demanding job.</p> <p>Sciatica also can be caused by:</p> <ul> <li>a bone spur (osteophyte), which can form as a result of osteoarthritis</li> <li>narrowing of the spinal canal (spinal stenosis), which happens with normal wear-and-tear of the spine and is more common in people over 60</li> <li>spondylolisthesis, a condition where one of your vertebrae slips out of place</li> <li>a lower back or pelvic muscle spasm or any sort of inflammation that presses on the nerve root</li> </ul> <p>Some people are born with back problems that lead to spinal stenosis at an earlier age. Other potential, yet rare, causes of sciatic nerve compression include tumours and abscesses.</p> <p><strong>Could it be piriformis syndrome?</strong></p> <p>Something known as piriformis syndrome can also cause sciatica-like symptoms, though it is not considered true sciatica. The piriformis is a muscle that runs along the outside of the hip and butt and plays an important role in hip extension and leg rotation.</p> <p>Piriformis syndrome is an overuse injury that’s common in runners, who repetitively strain this muscle, leading to inflammation and irritation. Because the muscle is so close to the sciatic nerve, piriformis syndrome can compress the nerve and cause a similar tingling, radiating pain as sciatica. The difference is that this pain is not caused by compression at the nerve root, but rather, irritation or pressure at some point along the length of the nerve.</p> <p><strong>Sciatica risk factors </strong></p> <p>Anyone can end up with a herniated disc and ultimately sciatica, but some people are more at risk than others. The biggest risk factor is age. “The discs begin to age at about age 30, and when this happens they can develop defects,” Dr Regan says. These defects slowly increase the risk of a disc slipping or rupturing.</p> <p>Men are three times more likely than women to have a herniated disc, Dr Regan says. Being overweight or obese also increases your chance of injuring a disc. A physically demanding job, regular strenuous exercise, osteoarthritis in the spine, and a history of back injury can also increase your risk. Sitting all day doesn’t help either, Dr Cole says. “You put more stress on your back biomechanically sitting than anything else you do.”</p> <p>Certain muscle weaknesses and imbalances can also make you more prone to disc injury and, consequently, sciatica. “People with weak core muscles and instability around the spine might be more prone to this since the muscles need to stabilise the joints of the vertebrae in which the nerves exit,” says Theresa Marko, an orthopaedic physical therapist.</p> <p><strong>How sciatica is diagnosed</strong></p> <p>If your symptoms suggest sciatica, your doctor will do a physical exam to check your strength, reflexes and sensation. A test called a straight leg raise can also test for sciatica, Dr Regan says. How it’s done: Patients lie face up on the floor, legs extended, and the clinician slowly lifts one leg up. At a certain point, it may trigger sciatica symptoms. (The test can also be done sitting down.)</p> <p>Depending on how severe the pain is and how long you’ve had symptoms, doctors may also do some scans (MRI or CT) on your spine to figure out what’s causing the sciatica and how many nerve roots are impacted.</p> <p>Scans can also confirm there isn’t something else mimicking the symptoms of sciatica. Muscle spasms, abscesses, hematomas (a collection of blood outside a blood vessel), tumours and Potts disease (spinal tuberculosis) can all cause similar symptoms.</p> <p><strong>Managing mild to moderate sciatica </strong></p> <p>Resting, avoiding anything that strains your back, icing the area that hurts, and taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and naproxen, are the first-line treatment options for sciatica, Dr Regan says. If you have a physically demanding job that requires you to lift heavy things, taking some time off, if at all possible, will help.</p> <p>While it’s important to avoid activities that might make things worse, you do want to keep moving, says Marko. “Research now advises against bed rest. You want to move without overdoing it.”</p> <p>A physical therapist can help you figure out what movements are safe and beneficial to do. For example, certain motions – squatting, performing a deadlift, or doing anything that involves bending forward at the waist – can be really aggravating. Light spine and hamstring stretching, low-impact activities like biking and swimming, and core work can help. “In general, we need the nerve to calm down a bit and to strengthen the muscles of your spine, pelvis and hips,” Marko says.</p> <p>“Within a week to 10 days, about 80 percent of patients with mild to moderate sciatica are going to be doing much better,” Dr Regan says. Within four to six weeks, you should be able to return to your regular activities – with the caveat that you’ll need to be careful about straining your back to avoid triggering sciatica again.</p> <p><strong>Treating severe sciatica</strong></p> <p>If you’re trying the treatment options for mild to moderate sciatica and your symptoms worsen or just don’t get better, you may need a higher level of treatment.</p> <p>If OTC pain relievers aren’t cutting it, your doctor may prescribe a muscle relaxant like cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril).</p> <p>An epidural steroid injection near the nerve root can reduce inflammation and provide a huge relief for some people with sciatica. The results are varied, and some people may need more than one injection to really feel relief.</p> <p>Surgery is usually a last resort, only considered once all of the conservative and minimally invasive options have been exhausted. Dr Regan notes that a small percentage of people with sciatica end up needing surgery – these are usually patients who have severe enough sciatica that their primary care doctors have referred them to spinal specialists. And only about a third of patients who see spinal specialists may end up having surgery, he says.</p> <p>Surgeries to relieve disc compression are typically quick and done on an outpatient basis, according to Dr Cole.</p> <p><strong>Preventing sciatica in the future</strong></p> <p>“Once you have a back issue, you have a higher chance of having a back issue in the future,” Dr Regan says. Which means that your first bout of sciatica isn’t likely to be your last. It’s important to adopt a healthy lifestyle to reduce the risk of sciatica striking again.</p> <p>Building core strength is key. “Think of your midsection as a box, and you need to target all sides,” Marko says. “By this, I mean abdominals, obliques, diaphragm, pelvic floor, glutes and lateral hip muscles.” These muscles all support the spine, so the stronger they are, the better the spine can handle whatever is thrown its way.</p> <p>If there’s an activity you enjoy that aggravates your back, ditch it for an alternative. For example, running can trigger back pain and sciatica in some people, Dr Regan says. If you’re prone to it, try a new form of cardio that’s gentler on your back, like swimming, biking, or using the elliptical. Even just logging fewer kilometres per week can help reduce your risk.</p> <p>Dr Regan also recommends making sure you learn how to weight train properly. Lifting with the best form possible, learning your limits, and reducing weight when you need to will help keep your back safe from disc injuries.</p> <p>Making small changes to your daily life and workouts can help keep your back healthy and minimise the time you have to waste dealing with sciatica in the future.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/backtips-advice/how-to-get-rid-of-sciatica-pain-solutions-from-back-experts" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

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The rental housing crisis is hurting our most vulnerable and demands a range of solutions (but capping rents isn’t one of them)

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/andrew-beer-111469">Andrew Beer</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/emma-baker-172081">Emma Baker</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-adelaide-1119">University of Adelaide</a></em></p> <p>Roughly <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/people/housing/housing-occupancy-and-costs/2019-20">one in three Australians</a> rent their homes. It’s Australia’s fastest-growing tenure, but renting is increasingly unaffordable. From 2020 to 2022, our <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4253168">research</a> found a large increase in the proportion of renters who said their housing was unaffordable.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/542737/original/file-20230815-25187-p7vxqo.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/542737/original/file-20230815-25187-p7vxqo.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/542737/original/file-20230815-25187-p7vxqo.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=217&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/542737/original/file-20230815-25187-p7vxqo.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=217&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/542737/original/file-20230815-25187-p7vxqo.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=217&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/542737/original/file-20230815-25187-p7vxqo.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=273&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/542737/original/file-20230815-25187-p7vxqo.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=273&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/542737/original/file-20230815-25187-p7vxqo.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=273&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="horizontal bar chart showing changes in Australian renters' assessments of affordability form 2020 to 2022" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Change in Australian renters’ assessments of affordability from 2020 to 2022.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Baker, Daniel, Beer, et al, forthcoming, The Australian Housing Conditions Dataset, doi:10.26193/SLCU9J, ADA Dataverse</span></span></figcaption></figure> <p>Australians are concerned about the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/jul/05/rents-rise-again-across-australia-with-sydney-seeing-fastest-rise-in-20-years">pace</a> of <a href="https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/how-much-has-rent-increased-around-australia/8ljlnf0zm">rent rises</a>. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese <a href="https://www.pm.gov.au/media/national-cabinet-meeting">says</a> increasing housing supply and affordability is the “key priority” for tomorrow’s national cabinet meeting.</p> <p>The crisis has impacts well beyond affordability. The rental sector is where the worst housing accommodates the poorest Australians with the worst health.</p> <h2>The unhealthy state of rental housing</h2> <p>Forthcoming data from the <a href="https://dataverse.ada.edu.au/dataverse/ahcdi">Australian Housing Conditions Dataset</a> highlight some of these parallel challenges:</p> <ul> <li> <p>it’s often insecure – the average lease is less than 12 months, and less than a third of formal rental agreements extend beyond 12 months</p> </li> <li> <p>rental housing quality is often very poor – 45% of renters rate the condition of their dwelling as “average, poor, or very poor”</p> </li> <li> <p>poor housing conditions put the health of renters at risk – 43% report problems with damp or mould, and 35% have difficulty keeping their homes warm in winter or cool in summer</p> </li> <li> <p>compounding these health risks, people with poorer health are over-represented in the rental sector. Renters are almost twice as likely as mortgage holders to have poorer general health.</p> </li> </ul> <p>Measures that potentially restrict the supply of lower-cost rental housing – such as rent caps – will <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4253168">worsen these impacts</a>. More households will be left searching in a shrinking pool of affordable housing.</p> <h2>It’s all about supply</h2> <p>Fixing the rental crisis needs more than a single focus on private rental housing. The movement between households over time between renting and buying homes means the best solutions are those that boost the supply of affordable housing generally. No one policy can provide all the answers.</p> <p>Governments should be looking at multiple actions, including:</p> <ul> <li> <p>requiring local councils to adopt affordable housing strategies as well as mandating <a href="https://www.ahuri.edu.au/analysis/brief/understanding-inclusionary-zoning">inclusionary zoning</a>, which requires developments to include a proportion of affordable homes</p> </li> <li> <p>improving land supply through better forecasting at the national, state and local levels</p> </li> <li> <p>giving housing and planning ministers the power to deliver affordable housing targets by providing support for demonstration projects, subsidised land to social housing providers and access to surplus land</p> </li> <li> <p>boosting the recruitment and retention of skilled construction workers from both domestic and international sources.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>The biggest landlord subsidy isn’t helping</h2> <p>More than <a href="https://data.gov.au/data/dataset/taxation-statistics-2020-21/resource/ebbd32e3-4556-41e1-a8b9-33387457d518">1 million Australians</a> claim a net rent loss (negative gearing) each year. Even though negative gearing is focused on rental investment losses, it is not strictly a housing policy as it applies to many types of investment.</p> <p>The impact of negative gearing on the housing system is untargeted and largely uncontrolled. As a result, it’s driving outcomes that are sometimes at odds with the need to supply well-located affordable housing.</p> <p>The most impactful action the Australian government could take to deliver more affordable rental housing nationwide would involve refining negative-gearing arrangements to boost the supply of low-income rentals. These measures may involve</p> <ul> <li>limiting negative gearing to dwellings less than ten years old</li> <li>introducing a low-income tax credit scheme similar to the one in the United States.</li> </ul> <p>We can learn much from the US, where the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (<a href="https://www.huduser.gov/portal/datasets/lihtc.html">LIHTC</a>) scheme subsidises the acquisition, construction and renovation of affordable rental housing for tenants on low to moderate incomes. Since the mid-1990s, the program has supported the construction or renovation of about 110,000 affordable rental units each year. That adds up to over <a href="https://www.taxpolicycenter.org/briefing-book/what-low-income-housing-tax-credit-and-how-does-it-work">2 million units</a> at an estimated annual cost of US$9billion (A$13.8billion).</p> <p>This scheme is much less expensive per unit of affordable housing delivered than Australia’s system of negative gearing.</p> <p>Closer to home, the previous National Rental Affordability Scheme showed the value of targeted financial incentives in encouraging affordable housing. This scheme, available to private and disproved investors, generated positive outcomes for tenants. The benefits included better health for low-income tenants who were able to moved into quality new housing.</p> <p>A <a href="https://cityfutures.ada.unsw.edu.au/documents/81/Next_moves_report.pdf">raft</a> of <a href="https://apo.org.au/node/260431">evaluations</a> have <a href="https://www.ahuri.edu.au/research/final-reports/267">demonstrated</a> the achievements of this scheme.</p> <h2>Crisis calls for lasting solutions</h2> <p>Short-term measures such as rent caps or eviction bans will not provide a solution in the near future or even the medium or long term. Instead, these are likely to worsen both the housing costs and health of low-income tenants.</p> <p>Reform focused on ongoing needs is called for. Solutions that can be implemented quickly include the tighter targeting of negative gearing and the introduction of a low-income housing tax credit.</p> <p>Talking about change, as the national cabinet is doing, will begin that process of transformation, but it must be backed up by a range of measures to boost the supply of affordable housing. This, in turn, will improve the housing market overall as affordable options become more widely available.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/211275/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/andrew-beer-111469">Andrew Beer</a>, Executive Dean, UniSA Business, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/emma-baker-172081">Emma Baker</a>, Professor of Housing Research, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-adelaide-1119">University of Adelaide</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-rental-housing-crisis-is-hurting-our-most-vulnerable-and-demands-a-range-of-solutions-but-capping-rents-isnt-one-of-them-211275">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Solutions to common cruising problems

<p>Have you ever encountered any of these problems while you were out at sea? Here’s how to solve the most common problems encountered on a cruise.</p> <p><strong>1. You haven’t received your luggage</strong></p> <p>Most cruise lines ask passengers to be patient for the first few hours of the cruise after sailing. If you haven’t received your luggage after a few hours then you need to talk to someone at the purser’s desk. If your luggage was lost in transit then the cruise line will begin to trace their location and try to have them delivered to the ship at the next cruise port. If your luggage was loaded by a porter then it is possible that it is missing because there is a contraband item (like candles or alcohol) in your bag or it has been delivered to the wrong cabin.</p> <p>It’s helpful to carry on a bag with an outfit for your first day on the cruise along with toiletry essentials and medication.</p> <p><strong>2. Something in your cabin doesn’t work</strong></p> <p>The first step is to check with a cabin steward that there is a legitimate problem with the object and that it doesn’t just require a change of batteries. If the object still doesn’t work then call the front desk and notify them of the issue. If the problem can’t be fixed they may offer you a cabin upgrade or a gift like onboard credit. If they don’t offer you anything, be sure to ask!</p> <p><strong>3. You are unhappy with your dinner arrangements</strong></p> <p>If you are unhappy with your assigned dining time then you can request a switch in time slots or swap assigned dining for flexible dining. All dining requests cannot be accommodated, however, due to the high demand, but the staff will do their best to cater to your preferences.</p> <p>If you are not getting along with your tablemates then be upfront with the dinning staff when you request a new table. Often, the other party will also request for other arrangements.</p> <p><strong>4. Your ship had an itinerary change</strong></p> <p>All cruise contracts note that ports calls are not guaranteed and may be bypassed or changed. Usually, passengers will be refunded the port tax in the form of onboard credit, however, it is only a small amount of money. If you book excursions through the cruise line then you will be refunded your money but if you booked an excursion through a different company, you will need to contact them to find out about cancellation policies and refunds. It is always best to do your research in advance when booking a tour so if you do miss a port you won’t be short changed.</p> <p><strong>5. Your ship’s medical facility won’t accept your insurance</strong></p> <p>Cruise ships do not accept regular health insurance but keep your receipts as some insurance companies will reimburse you for medical expenses you incurred while travelling. A safe bet is purchasing a travel insurance policy that will cover any healthcare expenses.</p> <p><strong>6. Your onboard account is inaccurate</strong></p> <p>Incorrect account information can be fixed if you go to the purser’s office or call and explain the discrepancy. It’s best to keep an eye on your account throughout the cruise so you are not hit with any surprises at the end. It is helpful to save your receipts from onboard purchases if you need to contest anything.</p> <p><em>Images: Shutterstock</em></p>

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Transgress to impress: why do people tag buildings – and are there any solutions?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/flavia-marcello-403040">Flavia Marcello</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/swinburne-university-of-technology-767">Swinburne University of Technology</a></em></p> <p>In 1985 photographer Rennie Ellis <a href="https://trove.nla.gov.au/work/8707788">defined graffiti</a> as “the result of someone’s urge to say something – to comment, inform, entertain, persuade, offend or simply to confirm his or her own existence here on earth”. Since the mid-1980s, graffiti has crossed from vandalism to an accepted form of art practice through large murals or “pieces” and stencil art aimed at informing, entertaining and persuading us.</p> <p>But these are outnumbered by the tags you see everywhere. These stylised icon-type signatures define a hand style and confirm their author’s existence on Earth. These, for many of us, remain an eyesore. If you walk through an urban environment filled with tags, you may feel less safe. Heavily tagged areas can suggest the area is not cared for or surveilled.</p> <p>So why are Australian cities so full of tags? The problem is, the main solution proven to work is expensive. When tags go up, paint over them – and keep doing it. While anti-graffiti paint exists, it’s not widely used at present.</p> <h2>Why do people tag?</h2> <p>Graffiti in urban centres is often tied to the world-wide proliferation of hip-hop culture. Along with DJing, rapping and breakdancing, “Graf” or “writing” is considered one of its <a href="https://www.britannica.com/art/hip-hop">four pillars</a>.</p> <p>Posturing (or showing off) is a big part of tagging. When you see a tag on a freeway overpass or seemingly inaccessible building parapet, it’s not only confirming the tagger’s existence, it’s bragging. See how high I climbed! See what crazy risks I took!</p> <p>As one tagger in Sydney’s outer south-western suburb of Campbelltown <a href="https://www.aic.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-05/vandalism-graffiti-state-rail-authority-nsw.pdf">told researchers</a> in the 1980s:</p> <blockquote> <p>If you get on a train and see your name and know you’ve been here before that’s real good. Like, I was here. Or you see your mate’s name and you can say, hey, I know him […] It’s really good if you can get your name up in a difficult place where nobody else has. Other kids look at that and think, great!</p> </blockquote> <p>So why do people tag?</p> <ul> <li> <p>it boosts self-esteem and a sense of belonging to a social network, particularly for teens experiencing alienation at school</p> </li> <li> <p>it demonstrates bravado. Risky places have the added advantages of being both highly visible and harder to remove</p> </li> <li> <p>it gives graf artists practice for bigger pieces. You have to work quickly and accurately, especially in precarious positions where you could get caught at any moment.</p> </li> </ul> <p>While cities like Melbourne <a href="https://www.timeout.com/melbourne/art/where-to-find-the-best-street-art-in-melbourne">have embraced</a> larger murals and pieces as street art – even making them a tourist attraction – tagging isn’t regarded the same way.</p> <p>So why do non-taggers hate it? On a broader level, tagging can signify a sense of social degradation which makes people feel less safe.</p> <p>There’s no clear link between <a href="https://www.aic.gov.au/publications/rip/rip6">more graffiti and more crime</a>. Even so, the public perception is that tagging is a sign warning of the presence of <a href="https://www.aic.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-05/vandalism-graffiti-state-rail-authority-nsw.pdf">disaffected and potentially violent</a> people in gangs.</p> <p>Asked to picture a tagger and you will most likely come up with a stock photo stereotype: a male teenager in a hoodie from a seedy area. But you would not be completely right. It is true just under half (46%) of graffiti damage and related offences are committed by 14 to 16 year old males, but the largest percentage of offenders actually come from <a href="https://www.goodbyegraffiti.wa.gov.au/Schools/Facts-for-Students/Who-are-the-most-likely-offenders-of-graffiti">middle- to high-income families</a>.</p> <p>So what tools do we have to manage it?</p> <h2>Punishment</h2> <p>It’s perfectly legal to commission a graf artist to paint a wall of a building you own. Many people do this to avoid a street-facing wall being tagged. For it to be illegal, tagging or graffiti has to be done without the owner’s permission.</p> <p>Since the majority of taggers are under 18, if they’re caught, punishment will usually include a caution, fines (presumably paid by bemused but cashed up parents) and cleaning off tags.</p> <p>But punitive measures only go so far because the appeal of graffiti is the transgression. Other measures include keeping spray paint locked away or not for sale to under 18s as well as zero-tolerance rapid removal. This can work for a while, but taggers know their tags are temporary. It’s a constant game of cat and mouse a committed tagger will eventually win.</p> <h2>Technical solutions</h2> <p>If you’ve walked past workers scrubbing or pressure washing tags off walls, you may have wondered why there are no coatings which don’t let paint stick.</p> <p>These actually <a href="https://www.ipcm.it/en/article/anti-graffiti-paints-what-are-they-and-how-they-work.aspx">do exist</a>, and can work well. When in place, you can remove graffiti with a solvent rather than having to repaint. But they’re not widely used.</p> <p>Unless paints such as <a href="https://interestingengineering.com/innovation/7-inventions-from-mexico-that-would-go-on-to-change-the-world">Deletum 3000</a> are used everywhere this approach is unlikely to be effective.</p> <h2>Prevention</h2> <p>The problem with punitive and technical measures is the limited reach. The vast majority of unwanted graffiti <a href="https://www.aic.gov.au/publications/rip/rip6">goes unreported</a>. That’s why prevention is becoming more popular.</p> <p>How do you prevent tagging? By making it easier to report. By setting aside areas for taggers and graf artists. By commissioning pieces to deter graffers from illegal modes. And by talking directly to taggers about strategies. But these behaviour change efforts take time.</p> <p>People who hate tagging often believe taggers are motivated by negative emotions such as <a href="https://www.aic.gov.au/publications/rip/rip6">boredom and rebelliousness</a>. For them it’s vandalism, a criminal act associated with gangs, petty crime, broken windows and a less attractive environment to live in.</p> <p>But the truth is, taggers are often motivated by positive emotions. Tagging, for them, brings pride, pleasure, enjoyment and community. That’s why behaviour change approaches can be hard.</p> <h2>So what’s the best way forward?</h2> <p>In the 1990s, many cities declared war on skateboarders, using punishment and installing metal stoppers on well-skated urban areas. But the real solution was simpler: create skate parks.</p> <p>For taggers, the answer may be similar. Give them spaces such as little-used alleyways to practise their art. And for the rest of us, the solution may be to look at tags with different eyes. Not as a sign of crime and the collapse of civilisation, but as a need for validation, for transgression, for community and all the other things you probably wanted when you were a teenager.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/205492/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/flavia-marcello-403040">Flavia Marcello</a>, Professor of Design History, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/swinburne-university-of-technology-767">Swinburne University of Technology</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/transgress-to-impress-why-do-people-tag-buildings-and-are-there-any-solutions-205492">original article</a>.</em></p>

Art

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Why quick health fixes are never the solution

<p>When it comes to diet and exercise, there are no shortcuts. Weight loss, muscle gain, addressing nutritional deficiencies, lowering of things like cholesterol... none of these things can be done quickly. All efforts must have a cumulative effect to work.</p> <p>We love a "quick fix" because we don't like hard work. When a study breaks the news that, for example, a glass of red wine a day is equivalent to going to the gym, people change their approach to their health without understanding what was actually a very flawed, limited study.</p> <p>But the messages from quick fixes are catchy. "I don't have to go to the gym!", "If I eat this, I'll lose weight in three weeks!", "I can get a six-pack without doing crunches!", and so the beliefs go.</p> <p>Knowledge, hard work and discipline is the only secret to achieving health goals. But that doesn't stop people trying to seek out an easier way.</p> <p>Quick fixes are appealing for many reasons. The world of health is complex and often unclear (and even contradictory). Quick fixes are clear cut. They give you explicit instructions that are easily followed, and they're usually one-dimensional, e.g. "don't eat anything except chicken and broccoli".</p> <p>They also often give you a hint of success early on, which gives you confidence. If you dramatically drop your regular diet for a juice cleanse that is only 25 per cent of your regular calorie intake, of course you're going to lose weight. Until you don't.</p> <p>The unsustainable – and usually unhealthy – nature of quick fixes is that they normally come with a yo-yo effect. You'll lose weight dramatically in the first few weeks but then you'll plateau, and then that weight will pile back on with a vengeance.</p> <p>The yo-yo effect is actually called "weight cycling", and is largely psychological. You embark on a reduced calorie diet and/or energy-intensive exercise regimen that is extreme from the outset, and initially you experience pride and elation over your efforts. The effects of fatigue soon set in and force you back to old ways (and often, backwards) in your health-related endeavours.</p> <p>Any kind of quick fix diet will also slow your metabolism down, because when you cut calories you're also cutting macronutrients. The result? Muscle loss instead of fat loss.</p> <p>This unhelpful quick fix mentality applies to "superfoods" and any kind of "ground-breaking" ingredients (think chia seeds, kale, blackcurrants, nut oils and the like) too. No single food can speed up your progress when it comes to your health goals.</p> <p>We're obsessed with quick fixes because they have a cult value to them. They're based around creating a fear of something – whether it's going to the gym or sugary foods – and telling you that if you follow a certain, easily-prescribed doctrine, you can be free of that fear.</p> <p>As a consumer, scepticism is your greatest tool when thinking about supposedly revolutionary health studies and claims made by so-called experts. When reading about a scientific study that claims a quick fix concerning the miraculous benefits of one type of food, specific exercise activity, or diet, there are a few important things to know.</p> <p>Firstly, that study might be taken from a minute group of subjects (e.g. only 10 people), which doesn't provide reliable evidence. Studies also can use unnaturally high concentrations of a "miracle" ingredient, enabling researchers to produce a desirable result that will get published in journals and mainstream media. A great example in recent times of this has been goji berries, and their purported effect on heart disease prevention.</p> <p>It's also vital to know what many studies are funded by corporations that stand to benefit from those desirable results. You, as a consumer, should be wary of any quick fix backed up by a single scientific source, because that research might have solely been conducted with a view to use it to sell a product.</p> <p>When it comes to health fixes, if it's easy and revolutionary, it's too good to be true. Take to Google with a sceptical eye, and you'll find it's easy to discover how misleading any quick fix can be.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>Written by Lee Suckling. First appeared on <a href="http://www.stuff.co.nz/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Stuff.co.nz.</span></strong></a></em></p>

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“100 is just a number”: Centenarian’s sweet solution for a long and happy life

<p>When Shirley Goodman reached the milestone age of 100 years old, the last thing on her mind was slowing down. </p> <p>And the centenarian, who lives in Florida, has shared her advice for living a long and happy life - though what she had to say has taken many by surprise.</p> <p>Rather than stressing the importance of getting enough rest and following a strict diet, as we so often hear, Shirley believes her passion for having fun, doing what she enjoys, and eating her share of well-deserved treats to be the secret of her success. </p> <p>As Shirley told <em>Today</em>, “I feel great. 100 is just a number to me.”</p> <p>This is despite the two open-heart surgeries she has undergone - including a bypass, and the installation of a pacemaker and a stent. Shirley also experiences difficulties with her vision and her hearing, but nothing will keep her from embracing life and doing what she loves: dancing.</p> <p>“My legs are still working,” she said. “I’m an optimist. I try to do positive thinking all the time. That’s very important. I have a bracelet that says ‘Positivity’ on it. </p> <p>“I wear it every day and I try to stay positive.”</p> <p>She started dancing when she was just eight years old, even opening up her own dance school at 17. And while she did close down her business after marrying, she never gave it up, following her heart - and her dancing feet - in her free time instead. </p> <p>And in recent years, Shirley has taken that same passion to a whole new realm, establishing herself on the internet as ‘The Dancing Nana’. On Instagram, her family regularly share clips of Shirley dancing, and even participating in some viral internet trends, from doing ‘the floss dance’ to ‘the Tush Push’. </p> <p>It was the latter that propelled her to viral heights in 2019, when a clip surfaced of a then-96-year-old Shirley enjoying herself at her nephew’s wedding reception, outshining the younger guests on the dance floor with her spectacular footwork and twirls. </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/BwLLINgB2uX/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BwLLINgB2uX/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by The Dancing Nana (@the.dancing.nana)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>“I would advise people,” she told <em>Today</em>, “if they like music at all, to keep it in their lives and don’t just sit home in a rocking chair.”</p> <p>“I attribute [my long life] mostly to two things. One is my family,” she later added, “I have a wonderful, devoted family. </p> <p>“And the jazz, the music down here in Sarasota, and my tap dancing. That’s what keeps me going.”</p> <p>And while Shirley has dabbled in other pursuits, dancing still holds the key to her heart, as nothing else quite took with her, with the 100-year-old confessing that she “wasn’t crazy” about golf, and played tennis until she was 90. </p> <p>“I only walk as far as my mailbox,” she added, “which is about five minutes.” </p> <p>She does, however, enjoy her share of yoga. Every morning, she FaceTimes her daughter for a session, and the two spend some mindful time together from their respective homes in Florida and New York.</p> <p>Another thing Shirley very much enjoys is a sweet treat. And as some longevity experts admitted to <em>Today</em>, many who reach impressive ages like Shirley don’t often focus on their recommended share of vitamins and other ‘healthy’ snacks.</p> <p>“I don’t eat healthy food,” Shirley admitted. “My kids would holler at me … but when I hit 90, they stopped bothering me.”</p> <p>As Shirley’s 71-year-old daughter Joan added, they all just assumed Shirley was going to outlive them, but that “you would not want to write a cookbook based on her nutritional recommendations. I think the secret is to enjoy what you’re eating.”</p> <p>Top of Shirley’s most loved menu is “anything that’s cooked in batter”, or some chocolate and other sweets of the like. She enjoys a piece of chocolate after each of her meals, and views breakfast as the perfect opportunity for a chocolate chip cookie - however, you won’t catch her nibbling on any dark varieties, as milk chocolate with some nuts is what she prefers to reach for. </p> <p>And when it comes to home cooked meals with some vegetables, Shirley isn’t a fan. </p> <p>“I say ‘cook’ is a four letter word, so I don’t cook very much,” said. “I eat very small portions, but I eat everything and anything I like.”</p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

Caring

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Plant enthusiast’s simple solution to get rid of pests

<p dir="ltr">A plant enthusiast has come up with an easy way of getting rid of gnats and fruit flies around houseplants for good.</p> <p dir="ltr">Graphic designer Brad Canning created his own bug “trap” using three products, dishwashing liquid, apple cider vinegar and honey.</p> <p dir="ltr">The 29-year-old man, who owns more than 60 indoor plants, mixed the three ingredients in a small bowl and placed it near his houseplants. </p> <p dir="ltr">The method works because fungus gnats and fruit flies are attracted to the sweet smell and taste of apple cider vinegar and honey, once they try to drink it, the sticky dish soap would trap them. </p> <p dir="ltr">“How annoying are these tiny little bugs? They’re flying around because you’ve got a couple of houseplants. Lets get rid of them. It’s pretty straight forward,” Brad said in his <a href="https://7news.com.au/lifestyle/%20bradcanning">TikTok video</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">He made his DIY solution by combining a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, a dollop of honey and a splash of dishwashing liquid. Braid said white vinegar will work in lieu of apple cider vinegar. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Give it a little bit of mix," he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The gnats will be completely attracted to it. They’ll fly in there and will die,” Brad said, adding: “So this will only help to get rid of adult gnats.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The video went viral with many saying they can’t wait to give the method a go at home while those who tried it said it did in fact work. </p> <p dir="ltr">“I did this and it 100 per cent worked for gnats - took a day or two so be patient,” one said. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credit: TikTok</em></p>

Home & Garden

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Some of the worst things that can happen while travelling

<p dir="ltr">You’re all packed, at the terminal, checked in and ready to board the plane… life doesn’t get any better than this. </p> <p dir="ltr">But life has something else in store for you. </p> <p dir="ltr">If your luck is anything like ours, every worst possible thing you can imagine happening while on holiday WILL happen to you.</p> <p dir="ltr">Below are the top five awful scenarios that could occur when all you want is to get away. </p> <ol> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation"><strong>Getting sick</strong></p> </li> </ol> <p dir="ltr">No matter who you are, no one wants to waste their holiday sick but it’s not exactly something you can control.</p> <p dir="ltr">Stock up on Vitamin C and make sure your travel insurance covers you if you go to the doctor and require medication. </p> <ol start="2"> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation"><strong>Being scammed</strong></p> </li> </ol> <p dir="ltr">You’ve finally arrived at your destination and all you need is to get to the hotel or holiday home but you’re shocked to find that the places doesn’t exist or a family actually lives there. </p> <p dir="ltr">To avoid being scammed, research in advance and read your guidebook for tips on common tourist scams for the country you’re traveling to.  </p> <ol start="3"> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation"><strong>Bad weather</strong></p> </li> </ol> <p dir="ltr">Yeah look, this one is out of everyone’s hands. </p> <ol start="4"> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation"><strong> Losing your luggage</strong></p> </li> </ol> <p dir="ltr">Look, these things happen but doesn’t this mean you can go shop for something exciting and new?</p> <p dir="ltr">If you’re not looking to waste your time shopping, contact your airline and organise a way for them to get in contact when/if your luggage is found.</p> <ol start="5"> <li dir="ltr" aria-level="1"> <p dir="ltr" role="presentation"><strong>Trouble with the law</strong></p> </li> </ol> <p dir="ltr">Remember, what’s okay in Australia may not be acceptable elsewhere. </p> <p dir="ltr">If you're arrested or jailed overseas, you have the right to contact the Australian Government for help. </p> <p dir="ltr">They however, can’t get you out of trouble or out of jail, but will do what they can to assist. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Technology has made buildings less climate-friendly: but we can look back in time for solutions

<p>It’s been <a href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/10/04/new-technology-answer-climate-change-not-targets/">claimed</a> that technology is the answer to the climate crisis. By eventually separating economic growth from its effects on the environment through improving energy efficiency, the argument runs, better technology promises to prevent <a href="https://theconversation.com/theres-no-end-to-the-damage-humans-can-wreak-on-the-climate-this-is-how-bad-its-likely-to-get-166031">catastrophic</a> global warming.</p> <p>But among the many things that this argument fails to consider is the <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13563467.2019.1598964">reality</a> that new technology has often encouraged extravagant forms of consumption: from private cars and planes to kitchens full of appliances and air conditioning in countries with mild climates.</p> <p>Technology has also caused what’s called the “<a href="https://esrc.ukri.org/about-us/50-years-of-esrc/50-achievements/the-rebound-effect/">rebound effect</a>”: where improving energy efficiency leads to cheaper energy and therefore higher rates of energy consumption. For example, buying a more fuel-efficient car will reduce your average fuel cost per trip and thus is likely to lead to more trips, taking away at least some of your anticipated energy savings.</p> <p>A similar trend appears in architecture, where advances in artificial cooling, heating and computer-aided design have – rather than creating more efficient designs – actually introduced <a href="https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/667480/from-waste-to-resource-productivity-evidence-case-studies.pdf">wasteful</a> building styles.</p> <p>In <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/2093761X.2016.1237397">my work</a>, I call this phenomenon the “architectural rebound effect”. This effect becomes especially clear when we look at how <a href="https://www.dezeen.com/tag/facades/">building façades</a> (the “skin” that covers buildings) have evolved over the past 100 years.</p> <h2>Façade failures</h2> <p>The <a href="https://cris.brighton.ac.uk/ws/portalfiles/portal/379433/CdR+Final+Diaz+%26+Southall+Published+Version.pdf">Cité de Refuge</a> residential building in Paris, designed by Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier in 1933, boasts one of the earliest examples of a façade made entirely out of glass. But with no windows or air conditioning, its summer indoor temperatures reached up to <a href="https://lmdvlugtdml.wordpress.com/home/lmd-words/miscellaneous-writings-and-publications/le-corbusiers-cite-de-refuge-historical-technological-performance-of-the-air-exacte/">33°C</a> – making it a “<a href="https://cris.brighton.ac.uk/ws/portalfiles/portal/379433/CdR+Final+Diaz+%26+Southall+Published+Version.pdf">notable failure</a>” in architecture.</p> <p>To fix this, the façade was fitted with external shading devices and about a third of its glass was made opaque. This strategy was mostly effective: computer simulations have shown that the upgraded design reduced indoor summer temperatures to <a href="https://cris.brighton.ac.uk/ws/portalfiles/portal/379433/CdR+Final+Diaz+%26+Southall+Published+Version.pdf">below 25°C</a>.</p> <p>From the 1950s, fully glazed façades without shading devices began to dominate city skylines thanks to increasingly efficient and cheap <a href="https://archive.curbed.com/2017/5/9/15583550/air-conditioning-architecture-skyscraper-wright-lever-house">air-conditioning systems</a> that allowed temperatures inside these buildings to be regulated.</p> <p>But these new glass boxes came with their own set of environmental problems. For instance, <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13602360903119405">research</a> has shown that office buildings built in the Manhattan borough of New York between 1965 and 1969 consumed twice as much energy per unit floor area than buildings erected between 1950 and 1954.</p> <p>One reason for this is probably the difference in the window-to-wall ratio between these groups of buildings. While the later buildings had a ratio between 53% and 72%, the earlier buildings’ ratio sat between 23% to 32%. This means that more heat was allowed into and out of the former group of buildings during summer and winter, increasing their need for artificial cooling and heating.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/437794/original/file-20211215-21-f60i8n.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="An apartment building with red, yellow and blue external features" /> <span class="caption">The Cité de Refuge after its refurbishment, with external shades and opaque glass.</span> <span class="attribution"><a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cit%C3%A9_de_Refuge.jpg" class="source">IanTomFerry/Wikimedia</a></span></p> <p>Another problem with fully glazed façades is the excessive glare they cause inside buildings, which means that indoor blinds must be pulled down most of the time. This blocks occupants’ views to the outside and increases reliance on artificial lighting, increasing energy consumption even further.</p> <p>These problems with fully glazed façades still plague buildings today. Now, parametrically designed shading devices are often used as a solution. Unfortunately, these tend to block outdoor views for those working inside, while keeping the need for <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0038092X12002046">artificial light</a>.</p> <h2>Limiting freedoms</h2> <p>Should we prevent architects from exercising their aesthetic freedom in designing these extravagant buildings that harm our planet? One solution could be to set a maximum limit on the amount of energy a building is allowed to consume. This would require architects to use <a href="https://www.re-thinkingthefuture.com/sustainable-architecture/a3992-what-are-passive-design-strategies/">passive design strategies</a> – techniques that enable humans to live in challenging climates without expending unnecessary energy.</p> <p>For example, by the year 400 BC, Persians had devised an ingenious way to <a href="http://jfa.arch.metu.edu.tr/archive/0258-5316/2012/cilt29/sayi_2/223-234.pdf">store ice</a> during hot summer months using ice pits called “yakhchals”. These were vaulted reservoirs with a height of up to 15 metres and a depth of approximately six metres.</p> <p>By allowing hot air to exit through an opening at the top of the reservoir and burying ice deep in the earth, the base of the yakhchal – and the ice inside – would <a href="https://www.maxfordham.com/research-innovation/the-physics-of-freezing-at-the-iranian-yakhchal/">remain cold</a> throughout the summer.</p> <p>An example from the modern era is the <a href="http://thegreentreefoundation.org/energy_concious_building/case_studies.pdf">Inspector General of Police Complex</a> building in Gulbarga, India, which uses a wind tower fitted with water sprays to create a comfortable environment in a hot and humid climate. Droplets from the sprays absorb heat from incoming air, reducing the air’s temperature by up to 13°C before it enters the building.</p> <p>It’s vital to first decide how best to measure buildings’ maximum energy limit. In current building energy rating schemes, “<a href="https://aiacalifornia.org/energy-use-intensity-eui/">energy use intensity</a>” is often used, which refers to the amount of energy consumed per unit of floor area.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/437800/original/file-20211215-25-1v88ihf.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="A brick building in the desert" /> <span class="caption">This yakhchal in Iran was used to keep ice cool.</span> <span class="attribution"><a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Iran_desert,_yakh-chal_(%D9%89%D8%AE_%DA%86%D8%A7%D9%84_en_persan)_,_goat_herd_-_glaci%C3%A8re,_troupeau_de_ch%C3%A8vres_(9261276542).jpg" class="source">Jeanne Menj/Wikimedia</a></span></p> <p>But a flaw of this metric is that it allows overly large, grandiose buildings to be certified as <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUuVoMCVwQo&amp;ab_channel=InternationalPassiveHouseAssociation">low energy</a>. A more appropriate metric could focus on energy consumed in relation to the number of people using a building – in other words, a building’s energy use per person.</p> <h2>Making masterpieces</h2> <p>A possible objection is that this could result in “boring” buildings with no aesthetic appeal. In this case, we could encourage architects to express their creativity through building structures not designed to house people and therefore require little to no operational energy to run.</p> <p>This would considerably reduce the environmental impact of such architectural masterpieces. On average, <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0378778810001696">80% to 90%</a> of a building’s carbon emissions arise from operating it, not building it.</p> <p>What’s more, many iconic buildings have failed to function as they were designed to. Mies von der Rohe’s <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2021/aug/30/curse-mies-van-der-rohe-puddle-strewn-gallery-david-chipperfield-berlin-national">New National Gallery</a> in Berlin suffered from cracking windows and heavy condensation, while Frank Gehry’s MIT-based <a href="https://www.wired.com/2007/11/mit-sues-frank/">Stata Centre</a> in Massachusetts has leaky roofs and excessive mould. These buildings have not been demolished, however, but left standing as examples of top-quality design.</p> <p>Perhaps if architects channelled their desire for daring aesthetic into sculpture-like structures rather than buildings designed for habitation, they could continue to keep pushing the limits of design without making the planet pay.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/169551/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/bashar-al-shawa-1263266">Bashar Al Shawa</a>, PhD Student in Architecture, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-bath-1325">University of Bath</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/technology-has-made-buildings-less-climate-friendly-but-we-can-look-back-in-time-for-solutions-169551">original article</a>.</p> <p><em>Image: Micuradu/Flickr</em></p>

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Why are homes still being built along rivers? Flooded residents disagree on the solution

<p>Like many residents living near Calgary’s rivers, Irene’s house flooded in June 2013 when heavy rainfall melted the snowpack in the Rocky Mountains, inundating much of southern Alberta in what was, at the time, <a href="https://globalnews.ca/news/2810070/top-10-most-costly-disasters-in-canadian-history-for-insurers/">the costliest disaster in Canadian history</a>.</p> <p>Irene watched as her belongings floated down the street. Everything in her basement and the first level of her home had to be discarded into a trash pile in her front yard.</p> <p>Reflecting on this trauma and her home’s devastation, she said: “Developers get away with a lot of shit they shouldn’t get away with.” She recalled arguing years earlier with the developer about how close to the river it planned to build the houses, and wondered if it might have been worse had her home been built as close to the river as initially planned.</p> <p>I was part of a team <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/15356841211046265">studying housing, environmental views and hazards</a> who interviewed residents of Calgary’s flood-affected neighbourhoods. Remarks like Irene’s were common.</p> <p>Calgary and many other cities, including <a href="https://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/housing-development-in-ste-marthe-sur-le-lac-was-mainly-in-flood-zone">Montréal</a>, <a href="https://www.mapleridgenews.com/news/maple-ridge-council-proceeds-with-riverfront-subdivision/">Vancouver</a>, <a href="https://www.usnews.com/news/healthiest-communities/articles/2019-10-08/commentary-the-danger-of-development-in-flood-prone-areas">Myrtle Beach</a> and <a href="https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Even-after-Harvey-Houston-keeps-adding-new-homes-13285865.php">Houston</a>, continue to build houses in areas that hydrologists and engineers have designated as being high-risk for flooding.</p> <p>In most jurisdictions, home-builders are not financially liable for flooding for very long. In <a href="https://www.qp.alberta.ca/documents/Acts/n03p2.pdf">Alberta, the window of liability is one year</a>, at which point the risk is transferred to homeowners. Following floods and other disasters, research shows that the <a href="https://doi.org/10.1353/sof.0.0047">development of new housing does not slow</a> <a href="https://doi.org/10.1093/sf/sox054">but intensifies</a>, as flooded properties lose value, are bought by developers and, as memory of flooding fades, <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/calgary-home-built-after-alberta-floods-11604521775">become lucrative investments</a>.</p> <h2>The residents’ point of view</h2> <p>The residents I spoke with viewed developers as myopic capitalists who choose profit over safety. Scott told me that while developers are responsible for driving the hazard risk, “You can’t blame the developers, they are … there to make bucks, right? And if the city says you can build there then, bingo!… They make a pile.”</p> <p>Surprisingly, even though their homes had been flooded, residents were not angry at developers for situating the houses close to a hazard. Rather, they were resigned to it.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/434534/original/file-20211129-19-1bqnj0l.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="A man wearing a mask and work gloves throws muddy debris into a pile next to a house." /> <span class="caption">Yahya Abougoush helps clean up his parents’ house in High River, Alta., on July 3, 2013.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh</span></span></p> <p>When asked what they thought should be done to keep people safe from floods, residents had two very different suggestions.</p> <h2>Better regulations</h2> <p>A sizeable group of Calgarians favoured new government regulations limiting development in flood-prone areas to rein in developers.</p> <p>Rachel said, “They can’t build where the city says they can’t…. It has to be government who says it can’t be done.”</p> <p>Gary said he believes Calgary’s municipal government “lacks the balls” to stand up to developers and regulate floodplain development. When asked why that was, he said, “It’s about money” and the political influence that developers wield over city council. Residents viewed the municipal government as weak, ineffectual and unwilling to stand up to developers.</p> <p>Quite often, the same people who argued for better government regulations on floodplain development also insisted that government should provide home buyers with a disclosure of a home’s location in a flood-prone area, a move that the real estate industry has dubbed “idiotic” and one that would “<a href="https://www.hachettebookgroup.com/titles/jeff-goodell/the-water-will-come/9780316260206/">kill the market</a>.”</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/431443/original/file-20211111-27-1w1jkn7.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="A gravel path and some strips of grass separate a row of homes from a river." /> <span class="caption">New homes in Riverstone, with Bow River visible on the left.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">(Timothy Haney)</span>, <span class="license">Author provided</span></span></p> <p>Tasha wished she had been informed of the risk prior to buying her home, and told us, “I have lived here for 42 years and I have never heard of ‘flood fringe’ … maybe realtors should be more upfront about that.”</p> <p>The flood fringe is the area adjacent to the river with measurable flood risk — usually greater than one per cent annual probability of flooding. Angela said any declaration must go beyond a simple disclosure and “explain what it means.” Many preferred this type of new regulation.</p> <h2>Buyer beware</h2> <p>As one might expect in Alberta, a place known for <a href="https://press.ucalgary.ca/books/9781773850252/">right-wing populism</a>, other participants pushed back against new regulations and said individuals must bear responsibility. They deferred to the sanctity of private property rights and their distaste for government overreach. They felt that buyers must beware, often mentioning the need for “common sense.”</p> <p>Caleb said, “I think people can live wherever they want, but I think they have to carry that risk.” Others called it “instinctual.”</p> <p>Sociologists, like me, are often critical of “common sense,” looking at how such taken-for-granted knowledge is a culturally dependent and contextually specific <a href="https://doi.org/10.1086/678271">product of socialization</a>. Still, many Calgarians did not see it this way and did not believe that the government should infringe on private property rights.</p> <h2>Precaution over profits</h2> <p>Calgary, like many cities, continues to develop <a href="https://calgary.ctvnews.ca/development-dispute-chaparral-residents-say-proposed-community-would-put-their-homes-at-risk-1.5326215">new housing close to rivers</a>. New neighbourhoods like Riverstone and Quarry Park offer housing marketed for their picturesque living and river access.</p> <p>In other areas, older homes near the river are being <a href="https://calgaryherald.com/life/homes/condos/white-the-evolution-of-calgarys-infill-housing">razed to make room for infills</a> — usually two or more homes on an existing lot. These infill developments increase the density in river-adjacent communities, putting more residents at risk.</p> <p>The lack of consensus among the study participants was also noteworthy. Citizen activism tends to get mixed results in influencing government decision-making on development <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/13604813.2019.1690337">even when</a> there is <a href="https://uwapress.uw.edu/book/9780295748696/pushed-out/">relative consensus</a>. But in the case of restricting development near rivers, there is no such consensus, which may make it difficult for residents to mobilize.</p> <p>My own view is that municipal governments must stand up to moneyed development and home-building interests by restricting growth near rivers, which should instead be preserved as green space.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/434535/original/file-20211129-59784-d6hlez.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="aerial view of a bend in a river with some elongated islands, several bridges and homes and business developments on each bank." /> <span class="caption">After floods in 1993 and 1995, and facing future flooding due to climate change, the Dutch city of Nijmegen gave more room to the Waal River during periods of high water by relocating a dike and dredging a new channel.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">(DaMatriX/Wikimedia)</span>, <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/" class="license">CC BY-SA</a></span></p> <p>This approach is often called “<a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/15715124.2020.1723604">room for the river</a>,” and is particularly popular in northern and western Europe. With this approach, areas immediately adjacent to waterways are preserved, providing esthetic and recreational value, and people are moved away via buyouts when necessary. New development is restricted. It has been imported and applied in North American cities such as <a href="https://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/cities-around-globe-eagerly-importing-dutch-speciality-flood-prevention-180973679/">Norfolk, Va.</a>, though with varying degrees of consistency and success.</p> <p>The more volatile climate we are experiencing as a result of climate change will undoubtedly bring new flood events near rivers and mounting flood losses. Society must work harder to keep people and property away from the water, starting with halting new developments near these hazards. The first step in getting out of a hole, of course, is to stop digging.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/171660/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/timothy-j-haney-1032153">Timothy J. Haney</a>, Professor of Sociology and Board of Governors Research Chair in Resilience &amp; Sustainability, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/mount-royal-university-966">Mount Royal University</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-are-homes-still-being-built-along-rivers-flooded-residents-disagree-on-the-solution-171660">original article</a>.</p> <p><em>Image: <span class="attribution"><span class="source">THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh</span></span></em></p>

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Red Cross nurse accused of switching vaccines for salt solution

<p><span>Northern German authorities are contacting thousands of people and informing them to get another COVID-19 jab after an investigation uncovered that a Red Cross nurse may have injected them with a saline solution.</span><br /><br /><span>The nurse has been suspected of injecting salt solution into people's arms instead of a real dose at a vaccination centre in Friesland, a district near the North Sea Coast.</span><br /><br /><span>"I am totally shocked by this episode," Sven Ambrosy, a local councillor, said on Facebook.</span><br /><br /><span>Local authorities are in the process of contacting over 8,600 residents who may have been affected.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7836313/vaccine.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/1e3453d989304150b35c9bbfb0e97893" /></p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em><br /><br /><span>Saline solution is harmless, however many people who got vaccinated in Germany in March and April are elderly people at high risk of catching the deadly viral disease.</span><br /><br /><span>Sadly, the time frame that a majority of elderly people received the jab, coincides with when the nurse is suspected to have switched the vaccines.</span><br /><br /><span>Police investigator Peter Beer, told German media that there is "a reasonable suspicion of danger".</span><br /><br /><span>The nurse, who remains anonymous for now, made it clear on social media that she was sceptical of vaccines in social media posts, police investigators said.</span></p>

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Discover the new alternative to nursing homes which provides a kinder care solution for your parent

<p><strong>An innovative new care approach which is centred around delivering personalised solutions and choice is attracting interest from families who don’t want to see their loved ones move into a nursing home.</strong></p> <p>The<span> </span><strong><a rel="noopener" href="https://ldk.com.au/aspire/" target="_blank">Aspire Aged Care</a></strong><span> </span>model is based at LDK’s six-hectare Greenway Views seniors living complex at Tuggeranong, Canberra.</p> <p>Stage one of Greenway Views was delivered at the end of 2019 and includes 210 apartments and a wide range of community facilities. Stage two is due to be completed later in 2021 and will include additional apartments and a beautiful new alfresco bar and entertainment area.</p> <div> <p>Aspire Aged Care is co-located within Greenway Views and has 117 beautifully appointed apartments providing the same level of care as a nursing home, but within the vibrant village community.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7840132/downsizing_spon-1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/3425911efdc34d8a9035c3a2a152f9bb" /></p> <div><em>Apartments at Aspire Aged Care have a modern and attractive interior design.</em></div> <div> <p>Within Aspire Aged Care, residents live in their own homes and receive tailored care services from registered nurses and care staff, who are on-site 24 hours a day, seven days a week. </p> <p>This is a different approach to that commonly found in nursing homes, in which residents are effectively seen as patients under medical care and therefore part of an institution.</p> <p>“Before we launched Aspire Aged Care, we conducted research to gauge what consumers were looking for,” LDK CEO Bryon Cannon said. </p> <p>“Not only did they want certainty and transparency when downsizing, they also didn’t want to go to a nursing home and wanted to stay at home for as long as possible. </p> <p>"The consumer has changed significantly in the last few decades, so what might have been acceptable for the consumer before might not be suitable for the baby boomers and their families of today.”</p> <p><strong>Modern and spacious apartments and latest technology</strong></p> <p>The modern and spacious studio and one-bedroom apartments in Aspire Aged Care feature their own kitchen, laundry and balcony, with residents having a key to their front door and plenty of space for their own treasured belongings.  </p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7840131/downsizing_spon-2.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/2962e08a578f4db2a28aafdb8944b3d5" /></p> <div><em>The apartments at Aspire Aged Care include a kitchen, laundry and balcony</em></div> <div> <p>In a move that has been very popular among residents, the apartments are also pet-friendly.</p> <p>Each well-appointed apartment provides privacy and views of the lush natural surroundings as well as access to all Greenway View’s onsite amenities and communal areas. </p> <p>This ensures residents and their families can enjoy the vibrancy of a village environment, while having immediate access to the highest quality of customised care.</p> <p>Innovative and unobtrusive technology is designed to provide peace of mind and a safe environment for residents and their families.</p> </div> <div> <p>Thoughtful design features include responsive circadian lighting to assist the wellbeing of dementia residents and passive sensor monitoring and emergency response systems for immediate assistance.</p> <p>Apart from the physical features, Aspire Aged Care residents and their families are also benefiting from LDK’s customer-centered values and the company’s commitment to staffing excellence.</p> <p>“Our staff must align to the company's culture of Love, Decency and Kindness, which makes up our LDK name,” Mr Cannon said.</p> <p>"We focus very heavily on culture.</p> <p>“We model our business on being a genuine people-first business.</p> <p>“We care for people, and our people care for people, so we need to invest a lot of time and resources into developing our workforce and have their values align to the values of the business, our purpose and our vision. </p> <p>“If we have an engaged workforce, we can deliver the best resident outcomes, and that's what we strive for."</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7840134/downsizing_spon-4.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/5d5afb5e32f747e5b1f0152bc3b87fcf" /></p> <p><em>Aspire Aged Care residents live in a village environment</em></p> <p>Aspire Aged Care offers all levels of care, including palliative and end of life care, dementia care and private respite care. It also includes a comprehensive activity and lifestyle program for residents.</p> <p>This is part of LDK’s “One Move Promise”, which effectively means residents won’t need to move outside of the village for care reasons.</p> <p><strong>Testimonials for Aspire Aged Care</strong></p> <p>Despite only opening in early 2020, resident and family testimonials are already rolling in for the Aspire Aged Care model.</p> <p>“I’ve had a bit of experience looking in nursing home as a legatee for the last 26 years, it wasn’t what I wanted for my wife,” said Jim Quick.</p> <p>“I saw the advertising for LDK and come over to look.</p> <p>“I was very impressed with the model, I was back within two days to pay a deposit.</p> <p>“We chose to come here for the care that’s available, which in seven months we have found to be faultless.”</p> <p>“We looked at a few nursing homes and retirement villages and were very discouraged by what we saw and what seemed to be available,” said Nancy Cogan.</p> <p>“One day I saw an advertisement in the paper for LDK, what popped out at me was the one move promise, that’s what brought us here.”</p> <p>“Since moving in there was an immediate increase in the care available for my husband.”</p> <p><strong>Conclusion</strong></p> <p>At LDK, we know every individual’s ageing journey is different. </p> <p>That’s why we partner with each resident to tailor a care plan to suit their individual needs, wishes and preferences.</p> <p>The Aspire Aged care offering is simple, providing services and support in the privacy and comfort of your own home, delivered with Love, Decency and Kindness.</p> <p>Find out more about<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://ldk.com.au/aspire/" target="_blank"><strong>Aspire Aged Care</strong><span> </span></a>here. </p> <div><em>This article was made in partnership with <a rel="noopener" href="https://ldk.com.au/aspire/" target="_blank"><strong>Aspire Aged Care</strong></a>. </em></div> </div> <p>​<img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7840130/downsizing_spon-3.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/ce749ca57d8147b9abe61a29d552d08f" /></p> <div><em>Interior photo of an Aspire Aged Care apartment</em></div> <div></div> </div> </div>

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$1 solutions you’ll wish you knew sooner

<p><strong>Pull nails out gently</strong><br />If you’re planning to pull a nail out of wood but worry that the hammerhead will hurt the grain, protect the wood before using the hammer. How? Slip a plastic spatula under the head of the hammer before you start the job.</p> <p><strong>Replace the oil in baking</strong><br />Fat makes baked goods moist and tender. It’s also incredibly kilojoule-dense, and if you’re cutting kilojoules, it’s an easy place to start. But say you don’t like your cakes and muffins dry and tough? Then applesauce is the answer. Replace up to 2/3 of the oil called for in a cake or muffin recipe with applesauce, and you’ll add moisture and flavour while ditching the fat.</p> <p><strong>Sweeten the house</strong><br />People who are allergic to air fresheners and sprays can still enjoy the benefits of a sweet-smelling house. Wet a cotton ball with vanilla and dab it very lightly on the outside of a regular light bulb (not a halogen bulb) in your lamps. When you turn on the lamp, the bulb heats up and a faint but alluring scent of vanilla drifts out.</p> <p><strong>Soften beans</strong><br />Afraid those dry beans have been on the shelf too long? Help soften them by adding a pinch of baking soda to the soaking water. Add a fresh pinch to the cooking water, too, and you can significantly reduce the aftereffects of bean consumption.</p> <p><strong>Neutralise mouth ulcers</strong><br />Place an antacid tablet directly on the ulcer, giving it time to dissolve, or simply chew one. The medicine will stop the acids and enzymes in your mouth from attacking the tissue in the sore, and more importantly, it will stop the pain. (Be sure to check the product’s label for correct dosage instructions.)</p> <p><strong>Rip it off the right way</strong><br />Pulling an adhesive bandage off your child’s skin can be tough on both of you. Make it easier by rubbing the bandage with a cotton ball soaked in baby oil. Rub until you can easily pull the bandage off. This trick works well for adults with sensitive skin, too.</p> <p><strong>Clean your carpet overnight</strong><br />Whether your carpet smells dank and musty because of a pet, a smoker, or a season of rain, take the odour out with baby powder. Using a flour sifter, spread the powder generously over the carpet. Let it sit overnight – a few hours will suffice, but overnight is better – and vacuum up the powder and the smells in the morning.</p> <p><strong>Hold a nail</strong><br />Stop hitting your fingers every time you hammer a nail in place. Use the teeth of an ordinary comb to hold the nail while you hammer.</p> <p><br /><strong>Get rid of fishy odours</strong><br />Been chopping something pungent? The smell of garlic or fish can linger on your fingers long after the food is gone. Avoid that by scrubbing your wet hands with baking soda, just as if it were soap, then rinse in warm water. Your hands will smell sweet – and feel softer, too.</p> <p><strong>Remove splinters</strong><br />Make a paste of Epsom salt and water and apply it to the area harbouring a splinter. The paste will pull the splinter to the surface of the skin in about 10 minutes. It will pull insect stingers out of your skin, too.</p> <p><br /><strong>Skip the shaving cream</strong><br />Use hair conditioner for a smooth, clean shave – on your legs, under your arms, and (for men) even on your face. The conditioner will pamper your skin as well as your hair! You can also use hair conditioner as a soothing agent for legs irritated by shaving.</p> <p><strong>Preserve your bouquet</strong><br />Spray the undersides of your cut flowers – leaves and petals – with hair spray to prolong their life. Be sure to stand about 30 cm away when you spray them for best results.</p> <p>Numb your eyebrows<br />Make plucking your eyebrows much less painful by putting an ice pack on them until they’re uncomfortably cold. At that point your skin will be numb enough to begin plucking. You won’t even feel the tug!</p> <p><strong>Train a dog</strong><br />Most dogs hate the sound of dried beans rattling in a can. Use that to your advantage when training a dog by putting a handful of beans in the bottom of an empty aluminium soda can. Seal the top with a strip of tape. When your dog misbehaves, shake the can a couple of times.</p> <p><br /><strong>Refresh tired feet</strong><br />Take this tip from marathon runners, who know that a ten-minute soak in a sugarless mouthwash will take your tootsies from tired to terrific. Alcohol invigorates and mint will make them smell sweet again.</p> <p><strong>Remove crayon from walls</strong><br />If you find crayon markings on your wall, don’t get mad – get shaving cream. Spray the shaving cream directly onto the offending artwork, and scrub it off with a toothbrush or scrub brush.</p> <p><strong>Make a close-fitting hot pad</strong><br />Soothe aching muscles with a custom-made hot pad. Fill a long sock, such as a tube or athletic sock, with dried beans, and tie the top tightly closed with ribbon or string. Heat in a microwave on high for 30 seconds. Place it right on your painful spot. You can drape it around a stiff neck or wrap it around a sore wrist, and it will mould to you, providing faster relief.</p> <p><strong>Keep cookies fresh</strong><br />Homemade chocolate chip cookies can go from tasting deliciously soft and cakey to feeling hard and crunchy in a matter of days. To keep your freshly baked cookies tasting freshly baked, put a couple of slices of bread into the tin or jar where you store the cookies, laying the bread right on top of the cookies. The bread will keep that just-out-of-the-oven flavour and texture intact for up to a week.</p> <p><strong>Wax your windows</strong><br />Do your double-hung windows have a bumpy ride every time you open or close them? If your windows don’t slide up and down with ease, let a candle help them. Clean the insides of the window frame where the sashes travel, then rub the same area with a candle. The windows will have a much smoother journey.</p> <p><strong>Make your garage floor sparkle</strong><br />If you find a puddle of oil on your concrete garage floor, pour paint thinner over it, and then cover the area with kitty litter. (Make sure that the garage is well ventilated by keeping the garage door open, and don’t let anyone smoke or strike matches anywhere near the affected area – and keep the cats away.) The kitty litter will absorb the oil. Just sweep up the mess and you’re done.</p> <p><strong>Clean smudges off suede</strong><br />Suede jackets, shoes and handbags look great, but they’re prone to picking up dirty marks. Clean fresh smudges off quickly and easily before they set into stains by rubbing the suede gently with a piece of fresh white bread. Use a small, circular motion. You may need a second piece of bread to get the spot clean.</p> <p><strong>Keep down items from clumping</strong><br />Throw one or two tennis balls into the dryer the next time you dry down-filled items like pillows, comforters and jackets. They’ll ditch the flat look they get from the washing machine and puff up again with pride.</p> <p><strong>Repel mosquitoes</strong><br />You may love the mild apple-like flavour of chamomile tea but mosquitoes absolutely hate it. Brew a very strong batch of chamomile tea and keep it in a spray bottle in the fridge. Before you relax in the back yard or run through the tall grass, spray exposed skin liberally. It’s fragrant, potent and totally safe for children.</p> <p><strong>Fill a stripped screw-hole</strong><br />If the screw keeps turning and turning in a piece of wood, push a bit of foil loosely in the hole and try again. It will grab tight.</p> <p><strong>Freshen a fridge</strong><br />If something soured in your fridge or the freezer failed, clean it out, then fill a wide, shallow bowl with fresh coffee grounds and leave it in the fridge or freezer overnight. The strong scent of coffee will permeate the space, eradicating any hint of what went wrong.<br /><br /><strong>Banish burned-on food</strong><br />Liquid fabric softener is your best friend when it comes time to scrub pots and pans soiled by your worst enemy, baked-on grime. Soak the offending vessel in water and a squirt of fabric softener. Let it sit for an hour. Wash and rinse it all away.</p> <p><strong>Feed your plants</strong><br />Used coffee grounds are full of nitrogen, so it’s a shame to throw them away each day. Coffee is especially good for acid-loving plants, like camellias, evergreens, rhododendrons, azaleas and rose bushes, so be sure they don’t miss out on the occasional cup of coffee – grounds, that is.</p> <p><strong>Oil squeaky hinges</strong><br />Spray a little oil-based furniture polish on a squeaky door hinge, then open and shut the door several times to work the lubricant into the hinge. The furniture polish is a lot cleaner than the oil you’d usually use for a noisy hinge, and it works just as well to silence the squeak.</p> <p><strong>Untangle a shoelace</strong><br />Junior got a knot in his sneaker and pulled and pulled until it became an impenetrable mass. Sprinkle the knot generously with cornflour, and then work the knot again. The laces will start to slip and slide, and you’ll be able to get the kinks out.</p> <p><strong>Breathe better with a paper bag</strong><br />Got a case of the hiccups? Stop them before you start to hurt. Breathe in and out of a paper bag for a few minutes. You’ll create a build-up of carbon dioxide in your lungs, which helps relax your diaphragm – whose involuntary tightening causes the hiccups in the first place. This trick works if you’re hyperventilating, too.</p> <p><strong>Give the jar a hand</strong><br />No more banging a jar on the floor to loosen a tight lid. No more running it under hot water. And no more fancy tools designed to do the trick – that somehow don’t work. Just put on a pair of rubber gloves, and open the jar with ease. (Psst – sandpaper also works wonders!)</p> <p class="p1"><em>This article first appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/home-tips/1-solutions-youll-wish-you-knew-sooner?pages=1"><span class="s1">Reader’s Digest</span></a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.com.au/subscribe"><span class="s1">here’s our best subscription offer</span></a>.</em></p>

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"Fair" solution to ALDI Specials Buys problem

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text "> <p>The chaos of the weekly Special Buys deals by ALDI are well-known by frequent shoppers as they try and get their hands on a bargain.</p> <p>With reports of pushing and shoving in aisles as well as people buying special buys in bulk before others can get their hands on them, a mum was shocked to see a "fair" system implemented at her local store.</p> <p>She praised the solution to ALDI's biggest problem.</p> <p>“I was very impressed with ALDI Seven Hills this morning. I arrived at 7:50 am to find approximately 25 people in front of me,” the NSW woman wrote in the <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.facebook.com/groups/1034012533313136/permalink/3193450564035978" target="_blank" class="_e75a791d-denali-editor-page-rtflink">ALDI Mums Facebook group</a>.</p> <p>“At around 8:15 a staff member came out and went down the line (in order) asking who wanted the Air Fryer.</p> <p>“He took everyone’s names and told us to line up near the registers and they would be handed out.”</p> <p>She thanked her store, saying: “Normally it’s a sh*t fight trying to get the specials, but today it was very civilised.”</p> <p>Despite ALDI having a nationwide policy of not limiting or restricting its weekly deals with customers, stores "do reserve the right to limit purchases to one per customer when they anticipate unusually high demand".</p> <p>Others were impressed and called on ALDI to introduce the system everywhere.</p> <p>“That’s amazing! Hopefully the other stores follow suit!” one said.</p> <p>“That is a great idea, all stores should do that,” another agreed.</p> <p>“Wow that’s so much better! And also fair,” someone else chipped in.</p> <p>The coronavirus pandemic has also thrown some spanners in the works as many try to social distance and get their hands on Special Buys.</p> <p>“It just seems like this style of shopping as it is, isn’t helping people social distance,” one mum wrote on Facebook recently, to much support.</p> </div> </div> </div>

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Old-time home remedies that actually work

<p>Researchers have produced hundreds of studies in the past five years about the effectiveness of home remedies, but not all the old-time solutions really help. That’s why this list focuses on treatments with evidence to back them up. Remember that even natural cures can interact with medications. If you take pills regularly or have a chronic health condition, check with your doctor before trying these.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Buttermilk for age spots</strong></p> <p>You can skip the expensive skin creams. This rich by-product of butter contains lactic acid and ascorbic acid. One study showed that this combination lightened age spots more effectively than lactic acid alone. Apply to the spots with a cotton ball, then rinse with water after 20 minutes.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Comfrey for back pain</strong></p> <p>This medicinal plant has been used for centuries to treat joint and muscle pain. A study of 215 patients found that applying concentrated comfrey cream to the lower and upper back reduced muscle pain. You can buy it in health food stores and online.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Aloe for burns</strong></p> <p>“Aloe is a very soothing remedy for burns,” says dermatologist, Dr Purvisha Patel. One study demonstrated it was more effective than other treatments for second-degree burns. Make sure you use pure aloe, not a scented version. If you own an aloe plant, simply cut open a leaf and apply the liquid directly to the affected area. For serious burns, you should still see a doctor.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Ground flaxseed for constipation</strong></p> <p>“It’s almost as if nature tailor-made ground flaxseed to relieve constipation,” says gastroenterologist Dr Will Bulsiewicz. “It is a great source of both insoluble and soluble fibre, which add bulk to the stool and promote the growth of good bacteria.” Ground flaxseed is an excellent source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to help soften stool and relieve constipation. Aim for two to three tablespoons a day as part of a fibre-rich diet.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Thyme tea for coughs</strong></p> <p>Thyme is a natural expectorant that relaxes the respiratory tract and loosens mucus. Studies have found that using thyme in combination with primrose or ivy relieves the frequency and duration of coughs. To make thyme tea, place two tablespoons of fresh thyme (or one tablespoon dried) in a cup of hot water. Allow it to steep, then drain out the herb. Add honey to taste.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Blackberry tea for diarrhoea</strong></p> <p>Blackberries are rich in tannins, substances that can tighten mucous membranes in the intestinal tract. They have long been used as a treatment for diarrhoea. Make blackberry tea by boiling one or two tablespoons of fresh or frozen blackberries or dried blackberry leaves in one and a half cups of water for 10 minutes, then strain. Drink several cups a day. You can also buy blackberry tea, but make sure that it contains blackberry leaves and not just flavouring.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Lavender oil for foot odour</strong></p> <p>Lavender essential oil not only smells good but also has antibacterial properties that help kill germs. Before bed, rub a few drops of oil onto your feet and massage it in. Pull on a pair of socks to protect your sheets.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Globe artichoke extract for GORD and heartburn</strong></p> <p>Compounds in artichoke leaves called caffeoylquinic acids stimulate the release of bile from the gallbladder, which helps relieve nausea, gas, bloating, and other symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GORD) and heartburn. Since the leaves are mostly inedible, look for artichoke extract capsules in health food stores or online.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Cherries for gout</strong></p> <p>People who ate about 20 cherries every day were less likely to experience flare-ups of gout, according to a study of 633 patients with the condition. Cherries contain compounds that help neutralise uric acid.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Peppermint oil for headaches</strong></p> <p>Peppermint essential oil cools the skin, numbing the pain of a tension headache as well as acetaminophen does, according to two small studies. Mix a few drops with olive oil to prevent skin irritation, then gently massage onto your forehead and temples.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Sugar for hiccups</strong></p> <p>A spoonful of sugar doesn’t just help the medicine go down – when it comes to hiccups (contractions of the diaphragm), it is the medicine. “Eating the grainy sugar crystals forces you to swallow harder than normal, and this resets your diaphragm” to stop the spasms, says nutritionist, Claire Martin.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Fennel for indigestion</strong></p> <p>Those tiny seeds that you often see in bowls at Indian restaurants are fennel. They contain carminative agents, which help expel gas from the intestinal tract. Chew a pinch of fennel to help prevent after-dinner belching.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Valerian for insomnia</strong></p> <p>Valerian, an herb, helps people fall asleep faster without the ‘hangover’ effect of some sleeping pills. It binds to the same receptors in the brain that tranquilisers such as Valium do. Take one half to one teaspoon of valerian tincture or two valerian root capsules 30 minutes before bed.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Lemon juice for kidney stones</strong></p> <p>The most common type of kidney stone occurs when oxalate – a compound found in foods such as spinach, bran, and French fries – builds up in urine and ‘sticks’ to calcium, forming crystals. Drinking at least 120ml of lemon juice per day could help, researchers say, as citric acid can prevent the crystallisation of calcium and oxalate that creates these stones.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Avocado for razor burn</strong></p> <p>Avocado is rich with vitamins and oils that soften and hydrate skin to relieve the tenderness of razor burn. Apply mashed fruit or avocado oil directly to the irritated skin.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Clove oil for tooth and gum pain</strong></p> <p>“Oil of cloves can sometimes soothe an inflamed tooth,” says dentist, Dr Saul Pressner. Clove oil has bacteria-slaying properties and also a numbing effect. Mix a few drops with olive oil to avoid irritation, then swish it in your mouth.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Cranberry juice for urinary tract infections</strong></p> <p>A study of 373 women with a history of urinary tract infections (UTIs) showed that those who drank a glass of cranberry juice daily had a 40 per cent reduction in the number of UTIs compared with those who drank a placebo. While other studies have been mixed about the effect of cranberry juice on UTIs, scientists think a compound in cranberry juice can prevent bacteria from sticking to the walls of the urinary tract.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Cod liver oil for vision problems</strong></p> <p>This oil is a rich source of omega-3 fats, which increase blood flow to the eyes and decrease the risk of developing glaucoma and possibly macular degeneration. Take one teaspoon daily.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Duct tape for warts</strong></p> <p>Although doctors aren’t sure why it works, one study found that putting duct tape on warts and replacing it every six days was 25 per cent more effective than freezing them – and much cheaper.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Honey for wounds</strong></p> <p>Since ancient Egyptian times, people have used honey as a salve for wounds. Pure honey contains the enzyme glucose oxidase, which causes a chemical reaction that releases hydrogen peroxide, an antiseptic. Honeys range widely in their antibacterial potency, however. For best results, scientists recommend manuka honey, from New Zealand, which contains an additional compound that increases its effectiveness. Apply honey directly to a wound every 12 to 24 hours and cover it with sterile gauze.</p> <p> </p> <p><em>Written by Jen McCaffery and Tina Donvito. </em></p> <p><em>This article was originally published on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/culture/20-old-time-home-remedies-that-actually-work">Reader's Digest</a>.</em></p>

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Government ignores vital family violence reducing solutions

<p>Hannah Clarke and her three children were doused in petrol and burnt to death by her ex-partner in a Brisbane suburb on 19 February. She is one of nine women who’ve been violently killed so far this year, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/notes/destroy-the-joint/counting-dead-women-australia-2020-we-count-every-known-death-due-to-violence-ag/2815333238514402/">according to</a> the Counting Dead Women Australia researchers of <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DestroyTheJoint/">Destroy The Joint</a>.</p> <p>Outrage over the brutal multiple murder led to a special “<a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/outrage-as-morrison-continues-inaction-on-violence-towards-women/">nothing off the table</a>” meeting of state and territory women’s safety ministers convened on 6 March, with a subsequent scheduled COAG forum of the same ministers being held a week later, <a href="https://www.womenssafetynsw.org.au/impact/article/coag-opts-for-more-talk-but-no-new-measures-to-tackle-domestic-violence-crisis/">with neither gatherings</a> resulting in any proposals.</p> <p>This lack of new measures has led women’s safety advocates to question the government’s decision to simply increase prevention campaigns, without making much-needed changes to both the civil and criminal justice systems that could significantly reduce domestic and family violence.</p> <p>Indeed, the <a href="https://awava.org.au/">Australian Women Against Violence Alliance (AWAVA)</a> had already presented the ministers with <a href="https://awava.org.au/2020/03/05/in-focus/womens-safety-ministers-urgent-actions-for-womens-safety">five key recommendations</a>, which included fully funding specialist organisations, a national risk assessment and referral process, as well as ensuring access to assistance for all.</p> <p><strong>AVO standards</strong></p> <p><a href="https://www.womenssafetynsw.org.au/">Women’s Safety NSW</a> chief executive Hayley Foster told Sydney Criminal Lawyers that of the five AWAVA recommendations there are two solutions that she draws attention to as being of particular significance.</p> <p>“Most importantly, we need apprehended violence orders to be enforced,” Ms Foster emphasised. “Right now, across the nation, when offenders are brought before their local or magistrates court for breaching those orders, they are regularly let off with non-custodial alternatives.”</p> <p>The women’s advocate stressed that the AWAVA isn’t suggesting mandatory sentencing. Rather, it would like to see specialist domestic violence (DV) prosecutors and magistrates established, as at present, the risk to a woman’s safety can be heightened depending on the <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/queensland-barrister-who-was-found-guilty-of-tax-offences-tipped-to-become-magistrate/">magistrate</a> they see.</p> <p>Foster also outlined that she’s been involved in surveying DV advocacy workers at 117 local courts across NSW and found that there are substantial variations in the way magistrates deal with such matters, which includes differences in penalties being imposed and protections afforded to victims.</p> <p><strong>Parental responsibility</strong></p> <p>The other recommendation that Foster highlights is that the presumption of equal shared parental responsibility contained in part 7 division 2 of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) (the Act) should be removed all together, so as to ensure the safety of children.</p> <p><a href="http://classic.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/fla1975114/s61b.html">Section 61B</a> of the Act defines parental responsibility as “duties, powers, responsibilities and authority” that a parent has in relation to a child, while <a href="http://classic.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/fla1975114/s61da.html">section 61DA</a> stipulates that there’s to be a presumption of equal shared parental responsibility when the court makes an order.</p> <p>According to Foster, when entering the family law system, most women are told that “no matter how violent and abusive their ex-partner is, he’s going to get supervised, overnight access to the children if he wants to, and she is warned against making too many allegations or fighting this”.</p> <p>This claim was backed up by Foster with figures that show that although <a href="https://aifs.gov.au/publications/evaluation-2012-family-violence-amendments">70 to 85 percent</a> of family cases deal with violence, only 3 percent of matters result in no face-to-face time given to fathers. And this set of circumstances leads some women to decide not to take action in violent situations.</p> <p>These are “two really important changes that – yes – if implemented right away would dramatically increase women and children’s safety within weeks,” Ms Foster said, adding in conclusion that she has no idea why the government won’t even consider these vital recommendations.</p> <p><em>Written by Paul Gregoire. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/government-ignores-vital-family-violence-reducing-solutions/">Sydney Criminal Lawyers. </a></em></p> <p><em> </em></p>

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