Today I Learn… I make a point of learning something new everyday. This is what I learn each day

1, Nov 30, 2013

The pay difference between a food prep and a software developer

Filed under: Career — admin @ 1:55 am

I share this article with my children a few weeks ago. “New study reveals fastest-growing occupations through 2017” by By Susan Ricker. I want them to notice the pay difference between the highest and the lowest among the list:
The lowest is food prep and serving — $8.75,
The highest is software developers — $47.64

While the field that will see the highest growth is personal care and home health aides, but sadly to say, their pay is so indecent.

The following list, adapted from the report, spotlights the fastest-growing occupations that are projected to see at least 8 percent growth and 30,000 jobs added from 2013 through 2017.

1. Personal care and home health aides
Projected growth: 21 percent
New jobs: 473,965
Median hourly earnings: $9.77

2. Market research analysts and marketing specialists
Projected growth: 14 percent
New jobs: 60,889
Median hourly earnings: $29.10

3. Medical secretaries
Projected growth: 14 percent
New jobs: 76,386
Median hourly earnings: $15.17

4. Emergency medical technicians and paramedics
Projected growth: 13 percent
New jobs: 30,234
Median hourly earnings: $15.28

5. Software developers (systems and applications)
Projected growth: 11 percent
New jobs: 110,049
Median hourly earnings: $47.64 (This must be entry level pay for)

6. Medical assistants
Projected growth: 10 percent
New jobs: 60,109
Median hourly earnings: $14.35

7. Registered nurses
Growth: 9 percent
New jobs: 256,703
Median hourly earnings: $32.04

8. Network and computer systems administrators
Growth: 9 percent
New jobs: 34,825
Median hourly earnings: $35.14

9. Pharmacy technicians
Growth: 9 percent
New jobs: 31,975
Median hourly earnings: $14.29

10. Landscaping and groundskeeping workers
Growth: 9 percent
New jobs: 111,444
Median hourly earnings: $11.07

11. Social and human service assistants
Growth: 9 percent
New jobs: 34,411
Median hourly earnings: $14.02

12. Computer systems analysts
Growth: 8 percent
New jobs: 40,462
Median hourly earnings: $37.98

13. Management analysts
Growth: 8 percent
New jobs: 60,157
Median hourly earnings: $35.80

14. Cooks, restaurant
Growth: 8 percent
New jobs: 79,364
Median hourly earnings: $10.63

15. Insurance sales agents
Growth: 8 percent
New jobs: 52,565
Median hourly earnings: $23.20

16. Nursing assistants
Growth: 8 percent
New jobs: 117,400
Median hourly earnings: $12.01

17. Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses
Growth: 8 percent
New jobs: 63,320
Median hourly earnings: $20.33

18. Combined food prep and serving, incl. fast food
Growth: 8 percent
New jobs: 237,192
Median hourly earnings: $8.75

19. Receptionists and information clerks
Growth: 8 percent
New jobs: 85,035
Median hourly earnings: $12.64

1, Nov 29, 2013

Do you know if you need Vitamin D?

Filed under: Healthy diet — admin @ 1:45 am

Harvard Medical School newsletter lists these factors that you should consider when you take vitamin D.

1. Where you live.
The further away from the Equator you live, the less vitamin D–producing UVB light reaches the earth’s surface during the winter. Residents of Boston, for example, make little if any of the vitamin from November through February. Short days and clothing that covers legs and arms also limit UVB exposure.

2. Air quality.
Carbon particles in the air from the burning of fossil fuels, wood, and other materials scatter and absorb UVB rays, diminishing vitamin D production. In contrast, ozone absorbs UVB radiation, so pollution-caused holes in the ozone layer could end up enhancing vitamin D levels.

3. Use of sunscreen.
Sunscreen prevents sunburn by blocking UVB light. Theoretically, that means sunscreen use lowers vitamin D levels. But as a practical matter, very few people put on enough sunscreen to block all UVB light, or they use sunscreen irregularly, so sunscreen’s effects on vitamin D might not be that important. An Australian study that’s often cited showed no difference in vitamin D between adults randomly assigned to use sunscreen one summer and those assigned a placebo cream.

4. Skin color.
Melanin is the substance in skin that makes it dark. It “competes” for UVB with the substance in the skin that kick-starts the body’s vitamin D production. As a result, dark-skinned people tend to require more UVB exposure than light-skinned people to generate the same amount of vitamin D.

5. Weight.
Body fat sops up vitamin D, so it’s been proposed that it might provide a vitamin D rainy-day fund: a source of the vitamin when intake is low or production is reduced. But studies have also shown that being obese is correlated with low vitamin D levels and that being overweight may affect the bioavailability of vitamin D.

6. Age.
Compared with younger people, older people have lower levels of the substance in the skin that UVB light converts into the vitamin D precursor. There’s also experimental evidence that older people are less efficient vitamin D producers than younger people.

1, Nov 28, 2013

The cost of the stuffs, unused and clustered in your house

Filed under: Money — admin @ 12:13 am

As I continue plodding on house-cleaning, for some reasons, I thought of an article that I read long ago “How Much Money Is Your Clutter Costing You?”

And then, I read this piece recently “10 Clever Uses for the Space Under the Stairs.” As I read it, I couldn’t help asking, “Why do we have so much junks and we need so much space?”

Perhaps because I saw in my house something stored in boxes or piled in a corner, unused and untouched for many years and will remain so until we move out of this space. “What shall I do with them?” I don’t know how many times I have asked myself. Yet, this question always comes to my mind when I clean the house and see the piles of unused and untouched stuffs.

I know they are burdens but I never think of the cost of the stuffs that I am not using, nor intend to use. It actually cost more than the space they occupy. It cost my time to think about them. Yes, I have to think hard about how to dispose them without committing the crime of being wasteful.

I never thought of this when I bought them. Now I have to deal with the consequence of thoughtless shopping. Another cost.

1, Nov 27, 2013

Eat less of these foods from Harvard nutrition scientists

Filed under: Healthy diet — admin @ 2:53 am

According to a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School, it is better to keep to a minimum these foods because “Research suggests that eating these foods regularly (and to the exclusion of healthier choices) can set the stage for life-threatening illnesses such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and even some cancers.”

Added sugar
Whether it’s white granulated sugar, brown sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, corn sugar, or honey, sugar contains almost no nutrients and is pure carbohydrate. When you eat a lot of sugar you are filling up on empty calories, causing your blood sugar to rise and fall like a roller coaster, and can keep you from eating foods that with important nutrients and fiber.

Eat real food
That’s the essence of today’s nutrition message. Our knowledge of nutrition has come full circle, back to eating food that is as close as possible to the way nature made it.

Dairy fat
Ice cream, whole milk, and cheese are full of saturated fat and some naturally occurring trans fat and therefore can increase the risk of the health problems, notably heart disease. The healthiest milk and milk products are low-fat versions, such as skim milk, milk with 1% fat, and reduced-fat cheeses.

Baked sweets
Cookies, snack cakes, doughnuts, pastries, and many other treats are hard to pass up, but these commercially prepared versions are packed with processed carbohydrates, added sugar, unhealthy fats, and often salt.

White carbohydrates
Bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, cookies, cake, or pancakes — if you enjoy these foods, opt for whole-grain versions. Yes, you can find or make whole-grain pancake mix. Whole-wheat pastas and breads are luckily easy to find. And you can always make your own homemade cookies or bars using grains such as oatmeal, and less sugar and unhealthy fats.

Processed and high-fat meats
Shun the cold cuts and “pigs in a blanket.” Despite some conflicting reports, the balance of the evidence confirms that processed meats like bacon, ham, pepperoni, hot dogs, and many lunch meats are less healthy than protein from fish, skinless chicken, nuts, beans, soy, and whole grains. Fresh red meat should be eaten sparingly and the leanest cuts selected.

Current dietary guide lines and the American Heart Association recommend reducing sodium to 1,500 mg per day and not exceeding 2,300 mg per day. But most of us get 1 ½ teaspoons (or 8,500 mg) of salt daily. That translates to about 3,400 mg of daily sodium. Your body needs a certain amount of sodium, but too much can increase blood pressure and the risk of heart disease and stroke.

1, Nov 26, 2013

Add to your wealth not just money

Filed under: Career — admin @ 1:56 am

I used to tell this to my son. Pretty soon, I will have to constantly pound this idea on my daughter when she lands on her first job.

Always keep in mind this — increase your wealth not just your money. Wealth is more valuable than money.

Money does not always equal to wealth. Money comes and go monthly, a rather transient object. Without wealth, you constantly have to sell your time, your life and skill for money in order to have food and shelter.

Wealth include your skills, your connections, your social status, and many intangible and tangible assets that you can amass.

Without money, a CEO of a big company or president Clinton or his wife, even after white house stay, can still generate tons of money to buy a mansion of their dream.

The former manager of our research department left us in 2011. In less than three years, she changed job four times. She has this luxury and the freedom of hopping from one position to another because of her wealth — network. I wish I could have one of the jobs that she left behind, of course I am over-qualified for that but still cannot get it!

When we go to work everyday, most of us think we go to make money, on the surface at least. That’s it. But this is not what the higher level people think everyday. They think of increasing their wealth, making connection, achieving larger goals for their record, and how to make small potatoes like us serve their needs and help them toward achieving their goals.

It is such a shame that we spend our lives helping others realize their dreams, like an IOWA — an idiot out wandering aimlessly. Don’t just being instrumental to people above you. Don’t just be a small dispensable cog in the larger machine.

Make it your high priority everyday to increase your wealth, your intangible value, skills and connections, in whatever way you can think of, and get ready to fly higher. Seek opportunities to grow everyday and let go of nothing that you encounter in your daily life.

1, Nov 25, 2013

Be a good parent when the children have gone to college

Filed under: children — admin @ 12:04 am

On the matter of children leaving home, most likely this is something that parents cannot change. But that does not mean parents can do nothing about it. Parents can either move closer to the children and change themselves to adapt to their children’s needs or try to be a more understanding parents to their adult children, so that they can form a good relationship with their children.

In fact, our relationship with the children has to evolve as the children grow up and the parents age. From what I can see the relationship with the children is very crucial to our happiness.

The comfort for the parents is they might sever the tie with their past, their childhood, their high school friends, etc. but their ties to their parents will survive everything.

1, Nov 24, 2013

Inner strength and a more positive life

Filed under: Life — admin @ 2:06 am

I forgot where I copied this, but here’s what I read about our inner strengths — “built-in capacities for certain thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Everyone has these capacities to one degree or another. Your particular pattern of strengths is part of what makes you unique.”

When you play from your strengths, you are likely to feel more energetic and perform better than when you are trying to use a capacity that comes less naturally.

Leveraging your strengths can help you accomplish many goals. Making your strengths work for you, especially when the task at hand is well-aligned with your personal values, can leave you feeling more competent and connected.”

This reminds me of a Chinese saying — yang-chang-bi-duan.
leverage your strength

1, Nov 23, 2013

Watch what you post on the internet. Never know when it will come back

Filed under: Career — admin @ 12:30 am

Sometimes it will hurt you when it comes back. This happened to a high school senior.

“Perhaps she hadn’t realized that colleges keep track of their social media mentions.

“It was incredibly unusual and foolish of her to do that,” Scott A. Meiklejohn, Bowdoin’s dean of admissions and financial aid, told me last week. The college ultimately denied the student admission, he said, because her academic record wasn’t competitive. But had her credentials been better, those indiscreet posts could have scuttled her chances.

“We would have wondered about the judgment of someone who spends their time on their mobile phone and makes such awful remarks,” Mr. Meiklejohn said.

People do make judgement based on what they read about you and your footprint on the internet. So, be careful what you utter or twitter on the supposedly free cyber space. You never know when it will come back and hurt you somewhere some day.


1, Nov 22, 2013

The end of a few months efforts

Filed under: Learning — admin @ 7:40 pm

I felt extremely low in spirits after the test ended today, because I knew I didn’t pass it. The time-out screen suddenly screamed out when I still had about 10 more to go. The result confirmed my fear.

Either I didn’t manage my time well or I was too slow to go through this 100-question test in 120 minutes. Most of them are cases or scenarios that need resolution, which I couldn’t resolve in that time frame. Surely, I wasn’t able to read and think as fast as I was required to. Another big factor, I think it didn’t test what I have prepared.

I checked my cell phone after I got home and found some unanswered calls. My daughter called. I texted to my daughter and some friends about the result.

My daughter texted back. “I’m sorry you didn’t pass :(( Will you try again? At least you tried though! The time you spent studying wasn’t wasted either, because you learned something in the end.” A friend of mine also asked if I would try again.

Now I felt a lot better now. At least I tried, even though I didn’t pass it. Of course I have learned a lot.

That’s the end of all the efforts I made in the past few months. Now I need to shift gears and get myself in the mood for the coming holiday.

1, Nov 17, 2013

Holiday is the homecoming season…

Filed under: children,Holiday — admin @ 8:34 pm

Yesterday, my son emailed me his itinerary for the incoming holiday. I was delighted to learn that he will be home from 12/19 to 12/29/2013, 10 days in all. Last year he came back for 6 days, 12/20-26/2012. My daughter will arrive two days before him.

This year more than any time in the past, I am eagerly looking forward to the joyful holiday season when both of my children will be home and when my house is once again filled with lively laughter. My heart already jumps with warmth and excitement at the thought. My sister’s son will come over, too.

Busy as I am right now as I am getting ready for next Friday’s exam, I still find time thinking and planning for their homecoming.
More later.

1, Nov 12, 2013

It was somber and gloomy on Veterans Day 2013

Filed under: Life — admin @ 12:07 am

Yesterday was Veterans Day. It was rather dark, wet and gloomy, discomfort not just to the body but to the soul. I was groping up and down for some good news to cheer me up, but none ever came at the office during the day.

As I drove home in the late afternoon, I heard radio talking about Veterans Day. My mind was dragged to that topic. From there, I thought of army life, the hardship and the sacrifice, the bitterness, desperateness and the hopelessness with the dead threat like a dagger hanging around their necks. The more I thought about it, the more dreadful I was of that kind of life.

No wonder there is a high suicide rate among soldiers in service. I don’t know how I would survive that kind of life. I don’t know which way to look at this issue. All I know is I should count my blessing on this Veterans Day.

1, Nov 4, 2013

A deadline could make you work more productively

Filed under: Mother — admin @ 12:49 am

Finally, on the last day of this October, I decided I must impose a deadline on myself for this CPHIMS exam. I told myself I would always feel not ready if I kept telling myself so and kept postponing it or if there is no deadline.

Right now I poured most of my off-work time on the preparation, putting aside everything else, like getting the house really ready for the children to come back home during Christmas holiday, like starting the project or art craft that I am so anxious to, like experimenting with plant propagation, like reading the books that I cannot put down, like contacting some friends, like writing here and other places, like getting myself healthier, etc.

Finally, on 10/31/2013, I took my courage in both hands and registered and paid for this exam, a hefty amount. Well, still not courageous enough when I gave myself three weeks to get ready and scheduled it on 11/22/2013, six days before Thanksgiving.

I have to get it behind me before Thanksgiving as I need time and the state of mind to get house ready for some friends to come over for that day.

The strange thing is after footing the bill and have a target day, I find myself more productive than before. Certainly knowing a deadline forces me to be more focused and productive.

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