Ten facts about snowflakes
1. The word snowflake is often used to refer to what’s technically a snow crystal. Snowflakes can be made up of hundreds, or even thousands, of individual snow crystals.
2. Snow crystals grow fastest in temperatures around 5 °F, but no one knows why.
3. Almost all snowflakes are six-sided, or hexagonally symmetrical.
4. It’s virtually impossible for two naturally occurring snowflakes to be exactly alike.
5. The shape of a snowflake is determined by atmospheric factors such as temperature and humidity.
6. Sticking out your tongue to catch a few falling flakes is fine, but eating snow off the ground is a bad idea, as it may contain pathogenic substances.
7. In the 19th century, an American named Wilson Bentley developed a method for photographing snowflakes in great detail with the help of a microscope. He took more than 5,000 photos during his lifetime, many of which are now on display in various museums.
8. In 1951 the International Commission on Snow and Ice devised a system for categorizing snowflakes according to their shape. The seven main shapes according to this classification are plates, stellar crystals, columns, needles, spatial dendrites, capped columns, and irregular forms.
9. Individual snowflakes form when water vapor freezes around a tiny airborne particle (e.g. dust or pollen).
10. The largest individual snow crystal ever photographed was 10 millimeters (a little over 3/8 inch) wide.
3 tips for tackling debt as a senior
Debt among seniors is on the rise. If you or someone you know is struggling financially, these three tips can help.
1. Create a budget. Figure out precisely how much money you earn, spend and save every month. See where you can tighten your spending. Start by asking yourself which of your small, recurring expenses you can reduce or eliminate.
2. Prioritize debts. Determine the interest rate for each of your debts. Make the minimum payments for each debt, and then funnel whatever else you can afford towards the debt with the highest interest rate.
3. Renegotiate with creditors. Discuss your financial situation with your creditors and determine if they might lower the interest rate on your debt, consolidate your debts into one loan or stretch out your payments over a longer timeframe. Reducing your minimum monthly payments can help you stay solvent while paying off your loans.
Finally, if you need extra help, be sure to get it. Contact an accredited not-for-profit credit counselor, a financial adviser or a licensed insolvency trustee. These experts can help you evaluate your debt situation, make a budget and develop strategies to pay off your debt.
If you have financial problems, expert advice can be extremely helpful. However, be cautious about who you trust with your personal information, and be particularly wary of debt settlement companies. These organizations are usually for-profit businesses and many engage in high-pressure sales practices and make false claims. Only work with reputable debt settlement companies that are accredited and willing to provide you with references.
3 car care tips for summer
Though summer is typically kinder to your car than winter, sunny weather can still take its toll. Here are three tips for looking after your car during summer.
1. Keep the engine cool. Hot days can make your engine overheat, so it’s important to keep your car’s fluids topped up — they carry heat away from your car’s critical components. Check the levels regularly and be sure to top up your coolant, motor oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid and brake fluid as needed.
2. Keep your tires inflated. Under-inflated tires are prone to overheating, which can result in a blowout. High road temperatures further contribute to the overheating, so in summer it’s important that you check the pressure in your tires regularly.
3. Protect your car’s paint. The scorching sun can cause your car’s paint to peel and chip. When possible, you should try to park in shaded or covered areas. It’s also a good idea to get your car waxed to provide it with an extra layer of protection. Alternatively, you can apply a UV polish.
Be sure to follow these tips this summer so you can keep cruising all season long.
Looming security threat: Your phone number may be vulnerable
Suppose for some reason you lose your phone number. Then suppose it is recycled to people with bad intent. Could the number be used to fetch passwords? Could they get into your email?
You bet they could.
Millions of people get new phone numbers, some of which have been used in the past by someone else. In the best case, the new owner gets lots of annoying FaceTime requests from teenagers. In the worst case, he gets a text every time the previous owner makes a bank deposit. Why? That someone hasn’t changed his phone number with the bank.
According to KrebsOnSecurity, that’s just the tip of an enormous security iceberg. Many companies have built their user authentication programs around phone numbers.
One person who tested the security of phone numbers found this out. He got a new number then went to a large email provider and typed the new number in the login. The provider then offered to reset his password and sent a SMS message with a code. He got in using the code. Except for one thing: He got in to the email of another person, the one who previously owned the phone number.
Imagine what bad actors could find out about you if they could read your email.
The fact is that phone numbers today are tied to a person’s identity and attackers can use the number as an identity document.
It’s not just recycled phone numbers that can be vulnerable either, since there are hacks that allow the theft of numbers.
That makes everyone with a phone vulnerable, but there are some things you can do:
* Close accounts you don’t use.
* If you don’t have to give your phone number online, don’t.
* If your number has changed, go to every account and update your phone number.
* You can also disable SMS text codes.
Helpful apps for seniors with disabilities
Mobile apps aren’t just for gamers, daters and Instagrammers. In fact, downloadable apps for smartphones, tablets and other devices now serve many different types of users, including those with disabilities. Here are some of the best apps out there.
For those with a hearing impairment
RogerVoice transcribes phone calls in real time, allowing you to read conversations on the screen of your phone as they’re happening. There’s also P3 Mobile, which allows you to make video-based calls and has features tailored to those who have difficulties hearing.
For those with a visual impairment
For those who use a wheelchair
Wheelmap is a digital map (like Google Maps) that shows users which businesses in their area are wheelchair accessible. It’s a crowdsourcing platform, meaning that users themselves add information for businesses that haven’t already been identified, so the map becomes more detailed every day.
All these apps are free and compatible with both iOS and Android devices.
Did you know?
Your device has built-in features oriented to those with both hearing impairments and visual impairments. On iPhones and iPads, find and activate these features by going to: Settings > General > Accessibility. On Android devices look under: Settings > Accessibility.
A brief guide to selling your car quickly
Generally, spring is a good time to sell a car. As winter winds down, highways, byways and country lanes beckon. The result? A spike in car sales! But this doesn’t mean that propping up a “for sale” sign in your window will suffice. To the contrary, you can count on facing a fair bit of competition, making it essential that you present your car in the best possible light. If you wish to lay the groundwork for a speedy sale, you’ll definitely need to give your vehicle a bit of TLC.
A clean and fresh interior
Dirt, stains, odors and general untidiness detract considerable value from your car and can put off potential buyers. Even an hour or two of cleaning goes a long way. Tidying the interior involves vacuuming, washing the windows and dusting and wiping all the surfaces. It’s also recommended that you apply cleaning products to the carpets, followed by an odor eliminator. A fresh smelling car will sell quicker.
In addition, consider using a scented disinfecting product on the seats. For leather seats, a leather-cleaner is recommended. And be sure to wash those normally out-of-sight areas: clean the trunk as well as the engine. However, you should only clean the engine yourself if you have the know-how and the proper products. Otherwise, entrust engine cleaning to a professional.
A shiny exterior
Needless to say, the exterior should sparkle and a top-grade car wash is the first priority. Also, consider applying wax—spring happens to be the perfect time to do so and spray-on waxes can do the job in about 15 minutes.
Once the inside and outside are spick and span, perform a detailed inspection of your car, putting yourself in the buyer’s shoes. See if there are scratches that can be touched up or rust that might be worth getting removed. However, you shouldn’t go so far as to get your car repainted. Given the price of paint jobs, you’re unlikely to get a good return on your investment.
After thoroughly cleaning your car, it’ll be photo-ready. It’s worth pointing out that taking quality pictures is essential to speedily selling your car, especially if you’re going to have an online ad. It’s best to post clear photos taken from a variety of angles and to also include shots of the interior.
Documents for the buyer
If your car is in good shape, ask your mechanic for a signed inspection report. This will serve as solid reassurance for potential buyers. Moreover, hold on to your receipts to show that you’ve properly maintained your car and made essential repairs.
By taking these steps prior to putting your car on the market, you’re sure to increase your chances of making a speedy and satisfactory sale.
Basic manners in the airport, plane
Once upon a time, people got dressed in suits and ties or dresses for the occasion of a flight, which was seen as a special affair. Today? Not so much. And our manners sometimes reflect that more casual take.
But anytime you have a lot of people smushed into limited space, etiquette is an important consideration. So here are some tips for airport etiquette to keep in mind the next time you travel:
– Keep your phone quiet. Somehow, even in 2019, people seem to forget that headphones and earbuds are the best way to keep peace with your neighbors. Enjoy your music and your movie, but remember to keep it to yourself.
– Share armrests. Airplanes have shoved more and more seats into their cabins, which makes elbow room harder to find. Be a dear and leave some room on the armrest for the person next to you.
– Save the fish for another day. Your fellow travelers beg of you: save the fish tacos for a more open-air space.
– Speaking of stink: it’s a sensitive topic, to be sure, but a shower and some form of deodorant is most appreciated.
– Share the charging stations. Stay nearby and keep an eye on your device, and once it’s charged, unplug and let someone else use it. It’s not nice to be an outlet hog.
– Understand carry-on rules and restrictions. Don’t be That Guy, who’s trying to shove an Obviously-Far-Too-Large Suitcase and a set of golf clubs into the overhead bin and holding up the boarding process.
– Have your ticket and ID ready. You know they’re going to check, so have a plan in place for fetching your identification and ticket or boarding pass.