The Holiday Shopping Season Cometh: How to Strategize

For many across the nation, only one holiday stands between them and the year’s biggest shopping season. According to the National Retail Federation, people will spend about $630.5 billion this holiday season on Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa gifts. New “shopping holidays,” such as Gray Thursday (Thanksgiving), Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Free Shipping Day, and Super Saturday, have all recently become quasi-holidays in and of themselves, locked and loaded with some pretty amazing deals. However, navigating these events to find the best deals can be a perilous journey fraught with gambles. You can either buy that TV on Black Friday or wait for a better deal, for example. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to make sure you get the best deals possible. Check Out the Deals Beforehand. – One of the first things you’re going to want to do if you want to get the most out of these shopping holidays is look beforehand to see what deals are out there. According to U.S. News and World Report, Target is the place to go for electronics and home necessities; Wal-Mart has some amazing deals on TVs and tablets; Macy’s is a destination for clothing and kitchen appliances; and Staples has the best bargains on laptops. Do It Digitally. – The Internet is a huge place. Monolithic tech company Google has only indexed 200 Terabytes’ worth of data, which is only about 0.004% of the total Internet. Surely you can find some great deals out there online given its size. The best days to go online shopping are, naturally, Cyber Monday and Free Shipping Day. Adobe expects Cyber Monday sales to hit $3 billion this year, a record. Failing that, you can also hit the digital bricks on Free Shipping Day (December 18). Shipping costs can actually put a serious dent in your budget if you do a lot of online shopping, which makes this event so advantageous. To give you an idea of just how big Free Shipping Day has...

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Genetic Testing for Autism? It May Be Possible Sooner Than You Think

Nov 25, 15 Genetic Testing for Autism? It May Be Possible Sooner Than You Think

Posted by in Featured

What if there was a way to provide parents with a better way of determining whether their child had a cognitive impairment like autism? That’s exactly what a group of researchers in Canada were wondering, and they believe they may have finally found an answer. Dr. Bridget Fernandez and a group of researchers at the Memorial University of Newfoundland first discovered that a certain group of genes are present in nearly 16% of people with autism. That may not seem like a huge percentage, but the team realized that it was enough of a coincidence to justify doing further testing, Tech Times stated. When the researchers created specific tests to look for and analyze these same genes in a variety of children, they found that children with certain physical abnormalities — birth defects which were developed in the womb — were also likely to have these same genes. In fact, the researchers discovered that 38% of children with these birth defects had the very same genes. The connection between these two groups is closer than some might believe; people who are on the severe end of the autism spectrum often have physical impairments, the Huffington Post reported, and these impairments are often linked to genetic mutations. It’s estimated that one in every 68 children in the U.S. lies somewhere on the autism spectrum; many children only experience mild symptoms, making it difficult for parents and medical professionals to determine if autism is, in fact, the cause of certain cognitive difficulties. However, as TIME reported, autism is traditionally diagnosed after children already begin some of the most important developmental stages of childhood; a series of behavioral tests, along with analysis of whether or not the child reached certain learning milestones at the average age. Without knowing that their child suffers from autism, parents often overlook the special needs of a young child with autism. A genetic test similar to what the Canadian research team created won’t provide answers for the majority of parents wondering if...

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New Government Study Finds Direct Link Between Alternative Healing Techniques and Overall Well-Being

Alternative healing techniques continue to grow in popularity, and a recent study has found that three of the most popular complementary approaches can inspire adults to adopt healthier habits outside of these practices. According to MinnPost.com, the government-funded study focused on chiropractic care, yoga, and natural supplements, which are three of the most widely-used alternative healing techniques in the country. The purpose of the study was to find a correlation between these three alternative healing techniques and the subjects’ general well-being. Research was conducted by the National Study for Complementary and Integrative Health. They used data collected from over 35,000 adults in a 2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). Possibly the most notable result of the study is that, in addition to the intended benefits of these techniques, subjects made other positive changes in their daily habits after turning to alternative healing. Researchers compared this to a “placebo effect” in which subjects made additional lifestyle changes outside of these practices to build on their success. Chiropractic care was essentially put in its own category for the study, as most subjects say they pursued it to treat a specific health condition, as opposed to merely trying a new alternative healing technique. However, patients experienced the same ancillary benefits of chiropractics as they did with yoga and natural supplements. Up to 31 million Americans suffer from low-back pain at any given time, and chiropractic care is a common source of treatment for adults. However, according to ValpoLife.com, female athletes also make consistent use of chiropractic treatment. The National Center for Chiropractic Sports Injury Research recently found that cheerleaders account for a whopping 70% of catastrophic injuries in women’s sports. They often turn to chiropractic care for rehabilitation, as well as to improve their skills and athleticism. The NHIS survey went on to note that those who try alternative healing techniques often cut back on smoking and alcohol, while some were found to have quit completely. Subjects also reported a reduction in stress, making healthier food choices,...

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Now That Kenney Has Been Elected Mayor, What Key Issues Will He Likely Address First?

Jim Kenney ended his career as City Councilman four years ago, when he was on what the Inquirer describes as “the brink of political extinction.” On Tuesday, Nov. 3, the residents of Philadelphia elected Kenney to be their 99th mayor, starting on Jan. 4, 2016. After 98% of the votes were counted, Kenney, 57, was leading by a ratio of six-to-one — reportedly the biggest gap in mayoral elections in Philadelphia’s history. It’s likely that Kenney’s win was helped along by a last-minute endorsement from President Obama on Nov. 2., although most people believe he would have won the election even without a presidential endorsement. Republican nominee Melissa Murray Bailey faced an uphill battle in the election, considering that voter registration in Philadelphia is roughly seven Democrats for every one Republican. As the Daily News described it, Tuesday’s general election “had the suspense of a Harlem Globetrotters basketball game.” So now that Kenney has been elected, it’s time for the two most important questions: Where does Kenney really stand on important city issues? Education: Kenney is currently advocating for expanded pre-K programs, and his support for Philadelphia’s students and teachers has been one of his defining campaign points. He’s also discussed opening up public schools that can provide healthcare and social services as well. Small businesses: Small and local businesses already provide anywhere from 60-80% of jobs across the country, and Kenney has made it clear that he intends to provide more job opportunities to the city. Specifically, he has said that he wants to bring in more small businesses in the tech industry. Mass incarceration: Kenney hopes to make jobs more available to Philadelphia residents getting out of jail. He has called for greater enforcement of “ban the box” legislation, which prohibits private employers from asking about applicants’ past arrests and/or convictions during the earliest stages of hiring. Police accountability: Kenney has made a point of calling for the end of “stop and frisk” policies on the streets of Philly. He is also expected to review the list of...

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U.S. Economy Shows Small But Positive Growth in Third Quarter Report

Amidst a general narrative that America’s economy is still recovering from the last recession, a recent report has shown minor but considerable growth due to an increase in personal consumption. According to The New York Times, a report from the Commerce Department found that the American economy grew 1.5% in the third quarter of 2015, despite a slight deceleration in the economy during the previous quarter. Experts say that the minor setback in the second quarter was largely due to economic turmoil overseas. However, increased spending by the American public has righted the ship, largely thanks to consumers spending about twice as much on things like furniture and health care in recent months. Approximately 76% of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck, so the news of increased personal consumption is fairly surprising. Scott Clemons, chief investment strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman, believes that it’s one of the main reasons the economy experienced any growth at all. “The good news is that the important engine of personal consumption remains strong,” said Clemons. “The headline data was slightly disappointing, but the persistent strength of personal consumption bodes well for a continued modest expansion in the U.S. economy.” According to CNN Money, the growth rate outperformed the expectations of many predictive analysts. Before the report was released, the Atlanta Federal Reserve projected a growth rate of 0.9%. Bank of America was slightly more optimistic, forecasting 1.2% growth for the economy. Just one year ago, Americans thought the recession was behind them for good. Third quarter growth rate in 2014 was a whopping 4.3%, though that number is largely due to the anemic state of the economy during previous fiscal quarters. Scott Anderson, chief economist at Bank of the West in San Francisco, said that his bank had heightened expectations for the report, predicting a growth rate of 2.5%. He feels as if the results are still positive enough to build momentum going forward for the country, adding that “it bolsters the case that we will see a bounceback in...

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