Sunday, July 31, 2011

10 Things You Shouldn't Keep in Your Wallet or Purse

We all make sure we've got our keys, wallet and phone before we head out the door, but more often than not, we are carrying around things that are better left at home. Some items we carry on a daily basis can be virtually impossible to replace, and others may leave us at risk for identity theft in the event of loss. We checked in with the personal finance experts at LearnVest to find the top 10 things you shouldn't carry in your purse or wallet.

Social Security Card

"You may carry it around thinking you need a back-up source of ID, but these days you don't really need it," says Maria Lin, editor in chief at Learnvest. If your Social Security card gets in the wrong hands, someone could open a credit card, apply for a loan, or even buy a car with the information. It's nine digits, just memorize it.

Your Passport

If you're traveling internationally, of course you can't leave your passport at home, but you can leave it in the hotel safe. When you are abroad, make a photocopy of your passport to have in your wallet for identification along with your driver's license. "If you lose your passport or get mugged in a foreign country, it's such a horrible hassle," says Lin. "You have to go to the embassy, and it's a vacation nightmare." If you're traveling in the U.S., use your driver's license instead. "Your passport is such a primo document for your identity, if someone gets a hold of it, you can really put yourself at risk for identity theft," says Lin.

Passwords/Pass codes

Although most PIN numbers are only four digits long, some people still write them down so they don't forget. "If you store any type of ATM password or even a code for your home alarm in your wallet, you have basically gifted a thief with access to your life," says Lin. If you absolutely can't remember important pass codes, store them digitally on a password-protected phone, but never write them down and leave them in your wallet or purse.

A Non-Password Protected Phone

Today, many people have smart phones that allow them instant access to bank accounts, PayPal accounts, medical records, and more. Even if your phone only accesses e-mail, a thief could easily search for banking or ATM passwords or addresses, according to Lin. "Think about all the things you have digitally stored on your phone. You have to have it behind password protection. This way a thief can still erase your phone's memory and use it for themselves, but they won't have access to your data."

Your Checkbook

"As innocuous as it seems, your checkbook has your bank account number and routing number on it, your address, and possibly imprints of your signature," says Lin. Lin says that if you know you're going to need to write a check one day, peel off one check out of your book and take it with you. If you know you're going to need to write multiple checks in one day, go ahead and take your checkbook, but don't get into the habit of carrying it around with you all the time, Lin says. "You want to prevent someone's ability to just start writing out your blank checks and cashing them."

Too Many Credit Cards

"A lot of people put all their cards in their wallet and carry them with them at all times," says Lin. "But if your wallet gets lost or stolen, that means you're going to have to sit and cancel every single one, and wait a week without any credit cards before you receive a replacement." Only carry the one or two cards you use on a daily basis and a backup, and leave others at home. Also make sure you keep photocopies of the front and back of each card at home, Lin advises. The 1-800 number to call and report a lost or stolen card is very often on the back of your card -- which doesn't do you a lot of good once the card is no longer in your possession.

Too Much Cash

Lin offers the following rule of thumb when it comes to carrying cash: Bring only as much with you as you're willing to lose. "It's good to have a little cash on you at all times for emergencies, but you don't want to carry so much that you're going to feel a real hit if your wallet gets stolen." For people on a "cash diet," Lin recommends bringing only as much cash to cover the day's expenses.

Gift Cards/Certificates

"A lot of people carry these around thinking, 'I never know when I'm going to be passing this store,' but chances are, you're going to forget about it anyway, and if your wallet gets stolen, it's one of the first thing thieves are going to use," Lin says. Gift cards and gift certificates are just like cash -- they don't require ID for use. "Try to leave it at home and take it with you only when you are consciously going to shop at that store," Lin says. "Make it a special excursion; it's a treat to have free money to spend."

Jewelry or USB Devices

"It may sound silly, but if you're changing earrings or heading from a business meeting, it's very possible you may forget and toss these things in the zipper compartment of your wallet," says Lin. USB devices can be bad news in the hands of thieves if they contain confidential files. "It would be horrible to get your wallet stolen any day, but if you're also losing your grandmother's earrings or a presentation you've been working on for months, it's even worse!"


Sometimes receipts can have your credit card information on them, as well as your signature, which thieves could do a lot of damage with. Additionally, if you've just purchased a big-ticket item like a new computer or jewelry, you may need that receipt for warranty purposes. "If you're planning to use your receipts for expense purposes at work, those few hundred dollars of business receipts can just vanish and your employer might not be so understanding," says Lin. "Get in the habit of taking out your receipts every night instead of carting them around with you."

info Yahoo

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Record-breaking heat smothers eastern US

Temperature records tumbled on the US East Coast Friday, sending wilting Americans to swimming pools and air-conditioned malls to seek respite from the searing heat.
Newark, New Jersey saw an air temperature of 108 degrees Fahrenheit (42 Celsius), the highest ever recorded in the city since records began there in 1931, and the hottest reported by the National Weather Service on the East Coast.

At Dulles Airport near Washington, temperatures hit 105 degrees Fahrenheit (41 Celsius), the highest since the facility opened in 1962. Two cities in Connecticut, Hartford and Bridgeport, also set all-time temperature records as the mercury touched the 103 Fahrenheit (39 Celsius) mark.

A dozen other towns, cities and airports up and down the East Coast set triple-digit Fahrenheit records for the calendar day, as did New York's Central Park, where the read-out on thermometers showed a temperature of 104 Fahrenheit (40 Celsius). Inside the old townhouse in northeast Washington that Ben Dooley shares with two housemates, the temperature was pushing 91 degrees Fahrenheit (33 Celsius).

That was the temperature indoors.

Outdoors in Washington, the mercury climbed to 101 Fahrenheit (38 Celsius) Friday, but high humidity made temperatures in the US capital feel more like 116 Fahrenheit (47 Celsius) -- hotter than Death Valley at daybreak. From Texas in the southwest to Maine in the far corner of the northeast, more than half of the 50 US states were under extreme heat warnings with the record temperatures and high humidity reportedly claiming at least 22 lives in the past week.

"Bullseyes of high heat and humidity" were affecting the central states and most of the East Coast, said Chris Vaccaro, a spokesman for the National Weather Service.

Triple-digit temperatures were recorded in Islip, Long Island, which is usually cooled by Atlantic breezes; Philadelphia, Allentown and Reading in Pennsylvania; Georgetown in Delaware; Boston, Massachusetts; the East Coast gambling mecca of Atlantic City in New Jersey, and Baltimore in Maryland.

Even Bangor, Maine, which lies at the same latitude as Montreal in Canada, reached a record for the calendar day of 97 Fahrenheit (36 Celsius).
To beat the heat, people streamed to swimming pools, spent long hours in air-conditioned museums or shopping malls, or sat inside the foyers of public buildings that were opened as cooling centers.

Philadelphia, the "city of brotherly love", became the city of smothering heat, with temperatures at 102 Fahrenheit (39 Celsius) by late afternoon.
Public swimming pools in the Pennsylvania city were so crowded that swimmers were asked to leave every 30 minutes to allow a new crowd to enjoy a cooling dip.

Maryland's Hidden Spring camp for kids aged up to 14, called off a much-anticipated hike to a waterfall and took the 45 campers bowling instead.
"It didn't seem wise to take the kids hiking. They're disappointed and so are we, but an air-conditioned bowling alley seemed a good trade-off for triple-digit heat," camp director Eric Fishman told AFP.

In New York City, the Office of Emergency Management opened cooling centers in air-conditioned public facilities for people "experiencing physical discomfort in the heat wave."
And the Washington public transportation system lifted its ban on drinks in trains and buses -- although it stressed that the exception to the rule applied to bottled water only and would end after Sunday night.

Nightfall has brought little respite from the heat, with temperatures only falling to lows in the 70s or 80s Fahrenheit (20s Celsius).
"That's one of the unhealthy aspects of this heatwave: temperatures aren't retreating at night, and that taxes the body. Last night in DC, the low was 82," Vaccaro said.

Dooley described the previous night in his room without air conditioning in northeast Washington as "unbearable" and admitted that, although not a fan of airconditioning, he was considering "camping" in his housemate's room, equipped with a window air conditioner."

As many as 34 states at a time have been under heat advisories since the latest surge in the heatwave began a week ago in the Midwest before moving eastward.
The high temperatures and humidity are expected to continue into the weekend until a cold front -- or less-hot front -- is forecast to move in.

info Yahoo

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Mt. Lokon erupts, locals flee for safety

Mt. Lokon in Tomohon, North Sulawesi, erupted on Thursday evening after several days of increased activity, forcing more than 2,500 residents to evacuate and seek refuge in safer areas.

According to residents of the nearby city of Tomohon, the initial eruption at 10:30 p.m. local time (9:30 p.m. Jakarta time) sounded like thunder, reported Friday.

“People started to panic. We also felt the temperature rise,” said Aprilia, a student of a private university in Tomohon. “We could see the smoldering hot lava spewing from the volcano. It's was a big fire. We also felt the tremor,” she said.

Several areas in the surrounding district were reportedly showered in volcanic ash.

“Ash is everywhere, covering my house,” said Jhon Pangemanan, a resident of Mokupa, Tombariri, Manado, adding that ash was also covering the streets.

North Sulawesi Disaster Mitigation Center chief Hoyke Makarawung said his office had evacuated around 2,510 residents living within a 3.5-kilometer radius of the volcano, from 9 p.m. local time.

"We led them to designated temporary shelters at PPWG Kaaten and Tomohon city park,” he said.

info The Jakarta Post

Saturday, July 9, 2011

5 Foods that Keep You Thin


Apples are a good source of dietary fiber. Dietary fiber not only contributes to a healthy digestive system and reduced cholesterol, but it also benefits smart eaters by yielding no calories while keeping them satisfied.

And there's something else about the fruit that might help you feel full. A study in the journal "Appetite" found that when women added either three apples or three pears to their daily meals, they lost more weight than people who added three oat cookies to their diets -- even though the fruit and the cookies contained the exact same amount of dietary fiber.

Although the reason behind this finding may be a mystery, there is something to be said for the findings. According to Alan Aragon, a nutritionist and author of "Girth Control: The Science of Fat Loss & Muscle Gain," crunchy foods in particular can trick a person into feeling fuller. The act of chewing may send satiety signals to your body, he says, making you think you've eaten more than you really have and keeping hunger at bay.


If you're looking for a tasty midday snack, a handful of almonds are a well-regarded option. A study in 2009 in "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" found that women who ate nuts at least two times a week were more successful at keeping weight off than those who didn't eat this food.

One particular favorite among some nutritionists is almonds, says Aragon. One ounce of this food contains only 167 calories, plus it packs roughly 6 g of protein and 3 g of fiber, both nutrients that can make you feel full. Furthermore, like apples, almonds are crunchy and require a lot of chewing, so they, too, can make you feel like you've eaten more than you actually did and keep you fuller longer.


If you're uncertain about fish, there's no need to fear. Seafood can be part of a healthy diet. And there's some evidence that the fat in foods such as salmon can boost satiety levels, says Aragon. For example, a study published in the "International Journal of Obesity" found that when dieters ate salmon a few times a week, they lost about two more pounds than those who didn't include seafood in their meals.

And in spite of the mention of salmon's fat content, the food is relatively low in calories. One 3-oz. serving has just 175 calories. Salmon is a good source of protein as well.


There's no doubt that protein, like fiber, has impressive satiating powers. And while eggs seem to have a bad reputation in some circles, there can be no contesting their ability to help keep your weight in check.

Research has shown that eating eggs at breakfast can help you fight weight gain all day long. A study reported in 2008 in the "International Journal of Obesity" found that when dieters ate two eggs for breakfast for five days out of the week, they lost 65 percent more weight than dieters who consumed a bagel in the morning. Although protein is likely to fill you up whenever you eat it, some scientists suspect that having more in the morning can keep you feeling fuller all day long.


It's true that most veggies make for great diet fare. Non-starchy vegetables in particular, such as carrots, celery and spinach, are filled with fiber. Like other foods high in fiber, they can help keep you feeling satiated.

Plus, they're pretty self-regulating, says Aragon. You can't really overeat with nonstarchy vegetables. After all, how many baby carrots can a person eat without needing to dunk them in some ranch dressing?

So while there are many veggies that can help you stay slim, tomatoes might be a particularly good option because they're so tasty. And, besides, with that whole a-tomato-is-a-vegetable-no-it's-a-fruit argument, you might have forgotten all about eating them. One cup of cooked, red tomatoes contains just 43 calories, but tastes just as delicious as any number of high-calorie foods.

And that's at least half the secret, finding foods that are both healthy and tasty. The good thing is, they do exist. Over time, you'll discover what wholesome, filling foods you prefer, expanding your choices while shrinking your waistline.

info Yahoo


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