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Choosing between a smartphone camera and a professional model

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Professional digital cameras outperform smartphone cameras, but choosing between the two comes down to price, convenience, and expected use, according to Popular Science Magazine.

About 77 percent of adults now own a smartphone, according to Pew Internet Research, and for general use, smartphones fit the bill.
Smartphone cameras excel in convenience since they provide a decent photo that can then be easily shared with friends, family, and social media. The best phones have features that detect and compensate for low light, with added features that blur backgrounds, add soft light effects and even catch action shots and video.

For the dedicated hobbyist or professional, smartphones are too clumsy, slow, and restricted. This is why press, sports and wildlife photographers choose a professional-grade DSLR (digital single lens reflex), according to Tech Radar. If you want to catch action, this is the best way to do it. DSLRs have continuous shooting motors than can capture bursts of 7 frames per second and much more. If you want to blow up the picture to billboard size, again the DSLR is the way to go since extra large sensors record minute details. For creative control, a DSLR allows the user to set and tweak every setting.

The drawback of a DSLR will be obvious to anyone who has priced the camera and lenses. Professional-level cameras start at more than $2,000 and range up to $5,000 before you get the extra lenses and accessories. Nikon and other makers do have beginner-level DSLRs that start at about $400. These models give the hobbyist about five frames per second in continuous shooting, high resolution relative to smartphones, and the camera body is made for the hand. You also have to tote around a bag with lenses and tripod, although this won’t be a burden to enthusiasts.

Mirrorless cameras (CSCs) are another option. These models, introduced in 2008, are smaller, lighter, and simpler than DSLRs, with continuous shooting options that range into 20 frames per second. You can change lenses on the cameras and tweak shots. Pros have stayed away from this type in part because they don’t allow the user to look right through the lens to the shot. Instead, they have rear screens or electronic viewfinders. The simplicity of these cameras appeals to the serious hobbyist, although they don’t get a price break. Beginner models start at just over $400 and range up to $4,000 for professional models.

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Four agricultural jobs for animal lovers

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If you’re an animal lover looking to work in the agriculture industry, here are four careers that involve working with animals.

1. Animal health inspector. Animal health inspectors make sure animals on farms are kept in safe, well-maintained environments where they’re not mistreated or neglected. Most animal health inspectors hold an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in animal science or a related field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary of an agricultural inspector is $44,930.

2. Livestock breeder. Livestock breeders use their knowledge of genetics to select breeding stock that will produce healthy, high-quality farm animals. The duties of animal breeders include choosing the right animals for breeding, administering medications and supplements and maintaining health and pedigree records. Many breeders specialize in a particular species and have degrees or certificates in animal science or animal health. The average salary of an animal breeder is $43,450 a year.

3. Livestock farmer. Most large livestock farms specialize in one type of animal—for instance, there are dairy farms, horse farms, poultry farms, apiaries (bee farms) and more. If you’re looking to manage your own livestock farm, obtaining a certificate or degree in agriculture, agribusiness or livestock production can help you obtain the skills you’ll need to be a commercial farmer. The median annual salary for a farmer or agricultural manager is $69,620 a year.

4. Veterinarian or veterinary technician. Many veterinarians and veterinary technicians specialize in providing medical care to farm animals like horses, cows, sheep and pigs. To become a veterinarian, you must obtain a degree in veterinary medicine from a university and a license to practice in your state. To become a veterinary technician, you’ll need to complete an associate’s degree in the field. The average annual salary for veterinarians in the U.S. is $90,420 and the average salary for veterinary technicians is $33,400.

If you think you’re ready to devote your life to working with animals, investigate these opportunities to jumpstart your career.

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Living room or sports bar: where should you watch the big game?

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Hockey playoffs are here! Time to put on your lucky jersey and get ready to yell, cheer, chant, boo and curse. But where should you engage in all this fandom? From the comfort of your home or at the sports bar? Here are some of the advantages of each option.

At your home
Watching the game in your living room comes with more than one perk. Here’s the lowdown:

• Sports bars tend to be loud and rowdy, and during playoffs, the noise level gets turned up even more. If you prefer a more laid-back atmosphere where you can converse and comment on the game in comfort, you’re better off watching the playoffs at your place.

• Watching the game from home is also a good way to save a few bucks. You’ll spend far less on snacks and beverages. Plus, you get to be in charge of the menu.

• There’s nothing stopping you from bringing the excitement of the sports bar into your living room. Invite your friends over, crack open some beers and make a friendly bet or two. You’re sure to have a fun night.

At a sports bar
Here are some of the advantages of watching the playoffs at a pub packed with hockey fans:

• If you enjoy a truly electric atmosphere, then the sports bar is the place to be. Watching the game with dozens of other hooting and hollering fans allows you to be a part of the excitement.

• The bar is also a great option if you want to have a good time without having to worry about prep and clean up. Just put on your team jersey and head right over.

• The sports bar is also a good choice if you want to go out on a date with your partner. Get a babysitter for the kids and enjoy a whole evening at the pub.

Wherever you decide to watch the big game, you have an exciting night ahead of you. Enjoy!

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How the Easter Bunny became a tradition

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Have you ever wondered about the origins of your favorite Easter traditions? How did a rabbit delivering chocolate eggs come to represent this holiday? Here’s the lowdown on some of our long-held Easter customs.

Easter eggs
Eggs have long been a symbol of rebirth, and decorating and exchanging them in the spring is a practice that goes back many thousands of years. Early Christians adopted this custom and eventually began exchanging empty eggs to represent Christ’s tomb after the resurrection. The eggs were often dyed red to represent the blood Jesus shed on the cross.

The Easter Bunny

Some believe that the Easter Bunny we know and love today was brought to North America by German immigrants in the 1700s. Their Easter traditions involved the Osterhase, an egg-laying hare. The night before Easter, children made nests for the hare to lay its eggs in. The next morning, the kids would find brightly colored eggs, paper bunnies and small treats in their nests.

Easter chocolates
The tradition of eating chocolate at Easter has nothing to do with ancient custom and everything to do with this treat becoming readily available to the masses. By the late 19th century, cocoa had become much more accessible to the middle classes and parents started putting chocolate candies in their children’s Easter baskets.

This Easter, as you’re hunting for Easter eggs or biting the ear off of a chocolate bunny, you can tell your family about the intriguing origins of the custom.

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Three modern funeral trends

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There’s no one right way to approach a funeral and today’s ceremonies are increasingly stepping away from long-held traditions. Given that each individual leads a unique life, it follows that when a person passes away, he or she is commemorated in an equally unique fashion. Here are three ways forward-thinking families are customizing funerals for the modern age.

1. Not wearing black
Some families ask guests to forego the traditional garb and instead sport bright colors. This practice encourages people to regard the ceremony as first and foremost a celebration of the deceased’s life.

2. Themed funerals

This is another way of putting the accent on celebration and commemoration. A funeral can be themed around a personal passion, a special achievement, a favorite color, a choice book or film—you name it.

3. Green funerals
Environmentally conscious individuals are increasingly opting for eco-friendly funeral practices. Green funerals may include a burial in the forest, using remains to grow a tree and choosing sustainably sourced wood for the coffin.

These are just a few ways to personalize the funeral of your loved one. There’s nothing stopping you from expanding on these ideas or using your own, so long as the wishes of the deceased are taken into account

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What’s biodiversity and why is it important?

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This year’s theme for Earth Day (April 22, 2019) is Protect Our Species, a message that provokes us to consider the ways in which we can help endangered species on our planet.

Biodiversity — or the amazing variety of plants, animals and microorganisms that live and interact on the earth’s surface — is essential to the sustainability of all life forms. In fact, the rich variety of species on our planet is a key part of what makes Earth habitable for human beings. The air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat all rely on multiple organisms interacting with each other every day.

Here are some of the reasons why biodiversity is essential for human survival:

• Food. The plants and animals we consume are products of Earth’s biodiversity. For example, without insects to pollinate crops or bats to control pests, the agriculture industry as we know it wouldn’t exist. Plus, hundreds of millions of people rely on wildlife for sustenance. When a species dies out, many other species may lose a food source.

• Air. Humans and other animals depend on photosynthesizing organisms to produce the oxygen we breathe. Different plant species also absorb pollutants from the air, including excess carbon emissions.

• Water. Our fresh water supply also depends on diverse ecosystems. For instance, wetland ecosystems perform a process called phytoremediation, which naturally removes toxic chemicals from water and soil. Waterways with more species have also been shown to be more effective at removing nitrogen pollution.

• Raw materials. Biodiversity gives access to a wide range of raw materials, including wood, biofuels, fibers and plant oils. Materials from different species offer different benefits, such as harder or softer woods or cooking oils with different smoke points.

• Medicine. Medical researchers study different plants, animals, fungi and bacteria in order to make discoveries and uncover new medicines and vaccines. When a species becomes extinct, the possibility that it could be used to produce new medical resources disappears forever.

Unfortunately, Earth’s biodiversity is under threat. Scientists believe that a mass extinction brought about by the effects of human industrialization is currently underway. However, we can take steps to stop it. To learn about what you can do to help conserve biodiversity in the United States and around the world, visit earthday.org.

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An introductory guide to cannabis consumption

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Cannabis is a plant genus that produces three species of plants: Cannabis indica, Cannabis sativa and Cannabis ruderalis. Most varieties on the market come from indica and sativa plants. Since ruderalis contains only trace amounts of tetrohydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, it’s rarely grown for commercial use.

Cannabis effects
It’s often said that indica is more of a nighttime variety that promotes full-body relaxation whereas sativa sharpens your mental focus and provides an energy burst. However, your physiological responses have less to do with the species and more to do with the chemical makeup of the particular plant. Depending on growing conditions and methods, different indicas and sativas have varying high and low percentages of THC and cannobidiol (CBD) — another active ingredient that has calming but not mind-altering effects.

Indica and sativa plants are often crossbred to produce hybrid strains with certain characteristics, such as higher levels of THC for users looking for intense highs or elevated levels of CBD without THC for those using cannabis for medical reasons. When choosing strains, pay attention to percentages of THC and CBD and figure out what ratio of active ingredients works best for you.

Cannabis products
Cannabis consumption methods vary. Here are some common ways marijuana is distributed:

• Flowers. Dried cannabis flowers are typically smoked using hand-held pipes, water pipes, hookahs or rolling papers. It’s also possible to vape the flowers with certain types of vaporizers. The effects of the drug are felt immediately.

• Edibles. Though slow to take effect, foods that contain cannabis tend to cause powerful full-body effects. They’re usually made with one cannabis-infused ingredient that’s high in fat, such as butter or olive oil.

• Ingestible oils. These can be ingested like edibles but have the consistency of oil. They can either be eaten or made into digestible capsules.

• Tinctures. The liquid extracts are consumed by placing a few drops underneath the tongue. They’re fast acting and allow for maximum dosage control.

• Topical lotions. Topical products are primarily for medical use. They provide localized relief to tense or sore parts of the body without producing a high.

Before consuming cannabis, research different strains and delivery methods, along with their positive and negative effects, to identify which ones may be right for you.

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Learn to paint flowers in landscapes, vases, close up and loosely! Use your own acrylic paint, watercolor or colored pencils. You must have basic knowledge of your medium. Instructor: Hillary White, MAT, CDA Wednesday afternoons,[...]
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Learn the basics of watercolor painting along with some fast and fun techniques. Use what you learn to paint any subject matter including landscapes, still life, floral or abstract. Instructor: Hillary White, MAT, CDA Materials[...]