Category Archives: CURRENT ISSUE

Water, Food, Energy and Our Future

Microsoft Word - Perfect Storm Scenario and Nexus Thinking

Our planet’s population is growing each year and is fast approaching eight billion mark. Our climate is changing due to carbon footprint, which influences all aspects of our lives. As such, widespread concern whether natural resources which supply water, food, and energy for people will be sufficient enough to provide all the necessary means for life is well-grounded and timely. In recent decades, many people—including scientists, researchers, and public figures—have voiced their worries regarding the future of our planet and insisted that we must develop new policies which would stress the necessity of sustainable growth and development.

The idea that natural resources will get scarce as population grows is not new.  One of the most famous people who brought it to everyone’s attention was the Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus (1766-1834), an English scholar, cleric, and author. In his seminal work An Essay on the Principle of Population, he argued that while population grew geometrically, food supply grew arithmetically; thus, in the future, food supply would not be able to keep up with people’s needs. His work, while provoking a lot of criticism, nevertheless initiated vigorous scholastic debate for years to come and gave rise to many works devoted to the subject of population growth and its economic consequences.

Food

In recent years, the concept of water-food-energy nexus introduces by Stockholm Environment Institute and supported by such renowned organizations as Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, International Food Policy Research Institute, Stockholm International Institute, World Business Council for Sustainable Development and others, steadily gained in popularity. To put it briefly, the nexus concept promotes integrated approach to securing water, food, and energy supplies across the globe. While it might seem that water, food, and energy belong to separate sectors, they are much more interconnected than previously imagined. As a result, the disturbance in one of the sectors will inevitably result in disturbances in the other two, which will lead to catastrophic consequences all over the world.

renewable, energy

As such, concerted efforts should be made in managing, developing, and governing various areas of water, food, and energy sectors by all world countries.Despite all the progress the humanity has achieved over the centuries, 550 million people in Asia and Pacific still do not have enough food; more than 600 million people in the world have no access to electricity; and about 55 percent of world population does not have access to clean and safe drinking water. At the same time, it is obvious that natural resources are not limitless and should be managed in a most efficient and productive manner, should not be overexploited, and should be sustainable. Consequently, water-food-energy nexus approach offers a wide variety of policies to achieve such an end. For example, these policies include an active promotion of green economy principles, increase of the productivity of various resources, use of waste as a resource in multi-use systems, integration of poverty alleviation and green growth, and stimulation of sustainable development through economic incentives.

Water Shortage

The need to build sustainable and green world economy is pressing. As such, people at all levels— be it individual, business, or country—must take steps to secure a future for our children.

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Nature vs. Nurture: Perennial Debate

physical traits of parentsWhen a person looks in the mirror, he or she can easily see some of the physical traits inherited from their parents or other relatives such as eye color, shape of one’s nose and mouth, skin color, hair color, and so on. However, when it comes to psychological traits and character, the answer is not so easily found. Why our personalities are as they are? What factors contribute to each person’s character being one-way and not another? For years, researchers have tried to determine whether person’s character, individuality, and special talents are mostly pre-determined by genes or shaped by the environment a person grows up in.

Perennial Debate

The proponents of “nature theory” (known as nativists) stipulate that their genes largely determine people’s innate characteristics, personality, and abilities. As such, each of us has predetermined IQ, special talents, or inclinations, be they bad or good. While environment can make some difference, genes play a much more important role in shaping one’s personality and capacities. On the other hand, supporters of “nurture theory” (known as behaviorists) argue that their environment mostly forms people’s characters. As such, they believe that each person is born as kind of a “blank slate,” (or “tabula rasa” as introduced by philosopher John Locke) which gets “filled up” by one’s experiences, environment, and social determinants. Consequently, the environment can determine whether a person will grow up to be a success, for example in academic or creative field, or a failure. However, most people agree that both nature and nurture play somewhat equally important role in shaping one character, abilities, and personality.

Perennial Debate - how environment effects people behaviorThe debate regarding what makes us what we are is a significant one. For example, if one considers the problem of addiction (such as addiction to alcohol, drugs, or gambling) from the point of nativist, then it is clear that the research should be directed towards discovering specific genes responsible for such behavior and, if possible, manipulating them in order to cure people from their addictions. However, when one believes that environment is mostly responsible for people’s behavior, then the effort should be directed at providing stable and nurturing environment where these types of addictions are actively discouraged and disapproved.

Lately, the debate regarding nature vs. nurture came into limelight due to the discussion whether there is a gene responsible for people being gay. Given the pressure gay people often find themselves under, it is indeed important to understand the mechanism of homosexuality and whether it’s predetermined by one’s genetic make-up or societal factors.

Nature vs Nurture 4The relative importance of both nature and nurture is best understood when one considers twins. Both fraternal and identical twins have many more similar innate characteristics than other types of siblings. Still, if one is a believer of “nature” theory, identical twins who are reared in the same environment and exposed to the same social norms and culture should be much more similar in their personalities than they usually are. At the same time, when twins are brought up in different families and even in different cultures, they still share many common traits and talents.

Obviously, both hereditary and social determinants play crucial roles in shaping one’s character, abilities, inclinations, and personality.

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Excessive Dieting and Exercising

Strict Dieting and Excessive Exercising: How Do They Affect Your Health?

Extream Exercising jwilliamsModern people live in stressful times. We are constantly barraged by new information, connected to our devices such as phones and computers, and have too little time for anything else except our jobs and household chores. Realizing the pressure of everyday lives, many people do their best to stay healthy by eating right, exercising regularly, and avoiding bad habits such as smoking and drinking alcohol. However, some people take their healthy habits too far by exercising excessively, adhering to very restrictive diets, or taking too many vitamins and different supplements. Many well-regarded studies have shown that such behavior, instead of making one healthier, might in fact harm one’s well-being.

The United States is a country with one of the highest obesity rates in the world According to 2013 UN report, it ranks second—after Mexico—with 31.8 percent of population being obese. Although in the last few years the obesity growth rate has slowed a little bit, it is still a very alarming issue. Many obese people suffer from a wide array of diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, stroke, and generally bad health which negatively affect the overall economy of the country (lower productivity, higher health costs, etc). As such, it is a very positive development when a person decides to take control of his/her health and embark on a healthy lifestyle. However, one of the main rules one needs to remember is that everything is good in moderation.

For example, if a person eats a well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet, he or she rarely needs to consume additional vitamins or supplements because all essential nutrients are already provided by food. According to Cynthia Sass, MPN, RD if one takes an excessive amount of such popular supplements as omega 3 fatty acids, iron, vitamin C, zinc, calcium, to mention just a few, he or she can seriously harm one’s health.

Man Drinking after ExerciseTo illustrate, high levels of omega 3 fatty acids can lead to weakened immune system, too much vitamin C and calcium can cause kidney stones, excessive zinc can cause many undesired effects such as vomiting, diarrhea, and lowering of bad cholesterol, and excessive iron can build up in tissues and organs such as heart and liver. Consequently, it is much better to commit to eating healthy combination of vegetables, proteins, and good carbs than risk overloading one’s system with unnecessary, and potentially hazardous, nutrients. Very strict diets also negatively affect peoples’ health by depleting their bodies of essential nutrients.

Another extreme behavior to which people become susceptible when trying to living healthfully is excessive exercising. Some people run every day for many miles, others enroll in such demanding fitness programs as CrossFit without being physically prepared for them, and third spend many hours at the gym. Once again, many researchers maintain that health benefits fall dramatically when person puts his or her heart and cardiovascular system under high pressure during strenuous and prolonged exercising. In fact, there are always stories when people collapse or even die when they run marathons, as was a case in Raleigh, NC when two people have died while running Rock’n’Roll half-marathon on April, 13, 2014. Usually, runners’ deaths are cardio-related, as it was in this tragic case.

While everyone should be mindful of their health and committed to eating well-balanced diets, exercising regularly, and avoiding bad habits—one also needs to remember that everything is good in moderation. – Becky Kospanova

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Non-White Oppression

A Tale of Oppression And Suppression of Non White Americans

This story was inspired by a relative of an African American’s sibling’s plight of racism and injustice at the hands of raciest and oppressive law enforcement in southern sates by fabricated and illegally charging them with crimes they did not commit; which still happens to young men and women of color in America today. This creates a minimum wage work force all across urban areas of America. These tactics actually began during the early nineteen century and continues today.

Black Teen Agers

The main affect of this form of discrimination was and is to document and keep youngster of color Americans, from having the same chance to succeed in life as their young white male and female counter parts, simply by adding there names to the criminal systems for the rest of their life’s, even though they committed no crimes; all in a systematic attempt to control and denying many of them the opportunity to vote in elections and provide a low income work force.

Once they are labeled and wrongfully targeted, they are always looked at as criminals by society and that alone hinders their chance of landing top-level jobs and higher education at upper level Collages and Universities. It also keeps these victims in the lower income bracket. Many of these victims end up choosing a life of crime, drug and alcohol abuse as a result of the stigma of being a criminal that was wrongfully place on them early in life.

This systematic way of targeting people of color especially young men has been a mainstay conspiracy outline originally by the decedents of former slave owners nearly two hundred years ago, mostly in the south as a way to help provide a large pool of low wage workers available to southern landowners, after the civil war and the passing of the emancipation law. This conspiracy also has created the largest prison population of any country in the world, with seventy percent of the inmates being people of color, which again as records show also diminish the voting block for that population in favor of the controlling interest and are generally owned by those billionaire’s decedents of slave owners.

unanameergfCheap labor along with preventing voting rights now days or at the forefront of many legislators actions in congress today according to major media outlets, and is considered to be the driving force behind conservative agendas. Many state’s governments leaders allegedly are accused of gerrymandering senate and congressional districts maps in order to control minority voting by legislators, and is under investigation by the US Justice Department, mainly in the south prompted by the midterm elections of 2012. Several states maps were order to be redrawn by federal courts as a result that election according to Associated Press reports.

The GOP controlled house has refused to even consider voting on raising the minimum wage to $10 as requested by President Obama in order to keep their donors, happy and helps secure cheap labor for the corporations they own or control, while quietly approving bills that allow their donors to build more privet prisons.

In America, the prison system is a multi billion business just to house many of these young people who were unjustly force into a life of crime and drugs by the actions of those who swore to protect all citizens. These citizens were left with few outlets to succeed. Gerrymandering is a practice that attempts to establish a political advantage for a particular party or group by manipulating district boundaries to create partisan advantaged districts. The main incentive is to hinder people of color, which is also a way of enslaving people of color both young and old and should never be allowed to happen in America.

America was founded on the belief that all men are created equal as written in the constitution; which means everyone, not just those who were elected and vote on establishing unjust laws for their own benefit, or actions that just benefit their billionaire donors that ultimately allows those same billionaires the opportunities to buy elections.

When American politician and law enforcement personal are ultimately brought to justice for breaching the laws of Americans are found guilty of these atrocities, then and only then, can the oppression and suppression of young people of color be eliminated in America, and truly be the Land of The Free.

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Handwriting a Dying Skill?

Is Handwriting Becoming a Dying Skill?

HandwritingFor centuries, the only way to communicate with people at distances or record one’s thoughts and experiences was to put things in writing. Although it might seem that writing had existed as long as humankind itself, it was certainly not the case. The history of writing is a long and fascinating one, starting with primitive drawings on the walls of caves and rocks and gradually developing all around the world in different forms such as pictographic, hieroglyphs, and finally to the earliest known alphabetical systems such as Proto-Sinaitic, Ugaritic, Egyptian, and Phoenician which were dated to about 3500-3000 years ago. Over the time, the materials for writing have changed, the writing instruments have changed, the subject matters have changed, but the enthrallment of people with writing itself has always been constant.

However, with the astonishing progress of technology in recent years, there is one form of writing that seems to be slowly eroding. It is writing by hand. Modern people are very much connected technologically and seem always to be e-mailing, tweeting, texting, instant messaging, etc. to each other. Surely, there is an occasional note or signature handwritten; but it is an undeniable fact that we all write less and less by hand. Is handwriting need to be preserved nowadays? For example, there is much debate regarding the need to teach our children to write in cursive. Many people argue that cursive, writing can be difficult for elementary level children to master and, as a result, might negatively affect their academic success.

Moreover, many school districts in the USA have voted in favor of teaching of keyboard typing skills than cursive writing. While children still write by hand at schools (though most of them print), they rarely write long compositions and mostly fill in blanks with few short sentences. I know this for a fact. My son, who is a seventh-grader and a very good student, almost does not write by hand. He does most of his work on computer (supposedly, this way school saves a lot of paper and trees), and as such he types at terrific speed but his penmanship is quite poor. Frankly, it saddens me.

Handwritten letters, notes, cards always bring so much more pleasure than anything typed. Somehow, knowing that a person took time to write by hand evokes closer feeling to a writer and the things he or she is writing to you. Not only that, but there were studies (quoted in Martha Stewart’s Living magazine article by Joanne Chen), that have shown, that when people write by hand, their hand movements make them remember the written things better and maybe even become smarter and more creative. For example, when one studies a foreign language, he or she will remember new words and language rules much better if they were written by hand (probably because it makes one to concentrate more than when typing).
Handwriting is gradually becoming more and more marginalized in today’s technology-obsessed world. However, it is a form of art which needs to be preserved because it is so human, personal, and expressive. – Becky Kospanova 

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2014: The Year of Women in Politics?

Women in PoliticsOn November 4, 2014, midterm elections will be held in the United States where all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives; 33 out of 100 seats in the United States Senate (plus three more seats up for special election); as well as 38 state and territorial governorships and 46 state legislatures will be contested. The main question for most people is whether the Democrats will be able to keep their majority in the Senate because it would determine the policies of American government to a great extent in a foreseeable future. However, there is another exciting development related to it because the upcoming elections present an unprecedented opportunity for more women than ever to rise to political power.

Many political analysts predict that there is a real chance to change the traditionally male-dominated American political landscape to one where more women will have a real chance to impact the country’s politics. It is a well-known, albeit disconcerting, fact that although American women represent more than 51 percent of voting public, they still hold only about 20 percent of political positions. However, some influential political positions are contested by women this year, which can make a difference on how the political process will proceed in the country.

For example, for the first time in the history of West Virginia, there are two female contenders for a Congress seat this year: Natalie Tennant (D) versus Shelley Moore Capito (R) (Capito is predicted to be a winner at the moment). In Kentucky, Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) is running for a Congress seat against Mitch McConnell (R), although she is facing an uphill battle in a predominantly Republican state. Terri Lynn Land, Former Secretary of State in Michigan, is one of those who holds a lot of hope for a Republican party to win the position after Carl Levin had retired. And, of course, there are media favorites such as Susana Martinez, New Mexico’s first female governor who is surely a force to be watched; Elizabeth Warren, Democratic Senator from Massachusetts, who became popular after airing her views at such shows as Jon Stewart; and Mia Love, who potentially can become the first black female Republican in Congress and the first person of color to represent Utah. There are many women candidates running for Governor of states, like Wendy Davis (D) Texas, across the US as well which is sure to change the political landscape.

Why women can make better politicians? Although it may be politically incorrect to say so, but women are more flexible, better attuned to other person’s view, and are more willing to compromise. If one considers low poll rates for an American government at the moment, women can provide new hope for people. The ability of women politicians to achieve results was well demonstrated during the shutdown of the American government. Out of fourteen senators of the bipartisan committee which worked out the compromise, six were women (which is very impressive considering the number of women there overall), and they delivered. The shutdown was discussed, debated, and ultimately resolved. Such is a power of women: discuss, listen, consider, compromise and deliver. – Becky Kospanova

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Child Free Lifestyle on the Rise

To Have or Not to Have: Childfree Lifestyle is on the Rise

bbbbbOne of the most frequent questions any married couple receives is, “Do you have kids?” and if the answer is negative, the inevitable follows, “So, when are planning to start having kids?” It is not surprising, of course. For centuries, marriage and parenthood were practically synonymous and—provided a couple did not have fertility issues—it was taken for granted that at some point they would have children. However, nowadays more and more people make a conscious decision not to have any children. For example, Pew Research Center found out that the value of having children in order to have a fulfilling relationship is gradually declining over years. To illustrate, 65% of people in 1990 agreed that children were important to relationship, but in 2007 only 41% did so. Consequently, nowadays every one out of five women of childbearing age does not have a child compared to one out of ten in 1970s (US Census Bureau).

What are the main reasons which make capable and, most of the times, financially secure couples forego the notion of parenthood? As with any human behavior, there is a plentitude of explanations. Sometimes, there is a relatively simple one such as unwillingness to pass genetic diseases. Modern level of medical science enables us to predict whether our children will inherit some diseases which are incurable; therefore, people can make a responsible decision not to risk to have a child with a potentially devastating disease.

Still, the majority of people who decide not to have children in committed relationships are perfectly healthy and driven by other considerations. Some of them are: concern about overpopulation; unwillingness to bring a child into a world where there are so many political, environmental, and societal problems; taking care of elderly or sick parents or other relatives which does not leave much time for children; financial constraints; unwillingness to jeopardize their careers; fear of pressure childcare might take on a relationship with a significant other; lack of patience when it comes to children; having bad childhoods and consequent fear of being inadequate parents themselves; unwillingness to pass on freedom childlessness allows and such.

aaaaThere is a certain stigma many people, especially women, carry if they decide to not have a child. They are often considered to be selfish and self-centered when compared to their counterparts with children. However, numerous studies have shown that while conventional wisdom dictates that children bring happiness to parents, things might be in fact different. Quite often, people without children report better satisfaction with the quality of their lives than people with children. For example, they have more money because childrearing is expensive; they are able to do many things such as traveling, working more hours, having time to pursue their hobbies and volunteering; they are able to focus on their partners more and, subsequently, have better relationships; and they are generally less stressed than people with children.

In the end, it is a very personal decision to have or not to have a child. While children, undeniably, bring a lot to a person’s life, some are just better without them. Given the current rate of population growth in the world, we are not in any danger of extinction, and as such we should be more tolerant and accepting of those who decide to be childfree. – Becky Kospanova

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Cohabitation vs. Marriage

Cohabitation vs. Marriage: What Is Your Choice?

Couples Living Togeather 3Just a few decades ago it was socially and culturally unacceptable, or at least frowned upon, for couples to live together without being officially married. However, nowadays it is not only a common occurrence, but the trend is actually on the rise. For example, there were about half a million unmarried couples living together in 1960, by 2000 there were about 4.75 million unmarried couples, and by 2013 the number of such unions grew to a little bit over an eight million (which is an astonishing 1500 percent increase over the last half a century). What are the reasons for such a change and what impact does it have on a society as a whole?

One of the biggest reasons for such a change was the shift in cultural and societal norms in the country, starting with sexual revolution and the introduction of birth control pill. People felt liberated and the previously rigid norms of societal conduct became more fluid. Consequently, more and more couples felt that it was perfectly acceptable, and even advantageous, to cohabit, i.e. to share household and have intimate relationship without being officially married. For example, according to National Marriage Project report from 2002, “In recent representative national surveys nearly 66% of high school senior boys and 61% of the girls indicated that they “agreed” or “mostly agreed” with the statement “it is usually a good idea for a couple to live together before getting married in order to find out whether they really get along.” Thus, not only society as a whole became more open to the idea of cohabitation, but the belief that cohabitation is actually a more progressive form of family life which allows the couples to make sure that they are truly compatible before getting married became firmly entrenched.

Couples Living Togeather 2However, the evidence shows otherwise. According to National Marriage Project, couples which cohabitate report less satisfaction with the quality of shared life than their married counterparts; they break up more often and more easily; if they eventually get married, the rate of divorce among those who cohabitated previously to getting married is 46 percent higher than among those who did not cohabitate before the marriage; and it has an adverse effect on children. Why does it happen? Some researchers have suggested that people who decide to cohabitate rather than marry may already have lower commitment levels to their partners and, therefore, are more likely the end their relationship if something does not go the way they want. It holds especially true for those who cohabitate multiple times because they become more “habituated” to the idea of abandoning the relationship at the sight of trouble. In contrast, married couples are usually committed to long-term relationships and are decidedly more willing to find solutions to their problems such as improving their communication, seeking counsel, etc. Also, it has been suggested that when people choose to cohabitate, they do not apply the same criteria to their partners which they would have applied if they were choosing a marriage partner. Without a clear long-term commitment, people often get involved with “good-enough” partners, thus further diminishing the perspective of long-term and stable relationship.

Does it mean that cohabitation is a bad idea? Certainly not when approached with a right attitude and realistic expectations. The research has shown that when a couple decides to cohabit for a short period of time as a step to marriage, the rate of divorce is not higher than among those who did not cohabit. Of course, the idea that the cohabitation will surely lead to marriage needs to be clearly understood, articulated, and accepted by both involved parties.  – Becky Kospanova

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2013 – A Look Back

2013: Looking Back at What Was Happening

2013-WRThe 2013 year was a year full of events: from serious ones such as the U.S. government shutdown, contentious introduction of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (or commonly known as ObamaCare), and a NSA spying scandal to some rather silly ones such as perplexing popularity of “twerking” incessantly perpetuated by the infamous Miley Cyrus, the widespread posting of “selfies” which once again brought down former governor of New York Eliot Spitzer, and the unfortunate drug habit of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

Of course, some of the biggest news of the past year was happening in political realm. A lot of people were dismayed, but probably not very surprised to learn that the U.S. government spied not only on its citizens but also on many foreign nationals. Edward Snowden, a former NSA employer leaked the facts about it; as a result, he was forced to seek political asylum in Russia. Of course, it did not add to the popularity of the government. Gallup poll—a well-regarded outlet to observe the nation’s feelings—demonstrated that job approval rate for Congress was 12 % in December, a slightly higher number from an abysmally low 9% job approval rate in November, 2013. All in all, 2013 annual job approval rate for Congress was 14 %, or the lowest one since Gallup started taking the poll in 1974. Similarly, Obama’s job approval rate is rather uninspiring; according to Gallup poll, it was 40 % in December 2013.

One of the biggest controversies introduced by the President Obama and which negatively affected his popularity to a large degree was the ObamaCare, the universal health insurance plan for the Americans, which led to the government shutdown in October 2013. While many critics argued that the plan was “socialist” and run against the values of market competition deeply ingrained in the USA, ObamaCare provided a major help (aside from Medicare and Medicaid) for many Americans who could not afford health insurance before. As such, Americans might take a little longer to appreciate the value of ObamaCare, but it still was an undeniably big step for the government.

Of course, there was much other news that dominated the media in 2013. There were tragedies such as Boston Marathon Bombing, death of Nelson Mandela, devastating tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, and wildfires in California, but also the stories of human achievement and perseverance such as the recognition by the Supreme Court of the right of gay marriage, Pope Francis’s encouraging acts which showed that Catholic Church is becoming more accepting, and the actions of many regular people who were kind and considerate to their countrymen (a cop buying shoes for a homeless person, a waitress buying a meal for government worker’s meal, and numerous donations to sick and poor).

What can be learned from looking back at 2013? Probably, the most important lesson is that people of all stations in life make history. One does have to be rich or famous to show a little kindness, compassion, and love. – Becky Kospanova

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Timeless Classics Reggae/World

HousTone Records Announces The Release Of
Timeless Classics Volume III Reggae/World January 15th, 2014

Timeless-Classics-Vol-III-Reggae-World-Vol. III Reggae/World is a collection of Gold and Platinum songs recorded, by reggae stars and undiscovered artist from around the world. There are many people around the world that enjoy and listen to reggae; but many others that have not really listen to reggae music, mostly because they cannot understand the music and what the artist is singing. That is no longer a problem as Reggae/World features all well-known songs performed by Reggae and World artist from around the world. This CD is great for theme pool parties or just enjoying the great vibes and feeling that Reggae and World music offers from songs you know.

For more than 25 years HousTone Records has released LP/CDs, from the fields of Rock, Jazz, Classical, Blues, Country, New Age, Reggae, World Beat and R & B. One of the key elements in HousTone Records signing, processing, selecting and distributing artist’s products is, the artist must agreed to record for the CD two well known cover songs. This allows the artist music to be judge by fans for the talent they have, from the music they know.

UB40, Bunny Wailer, Big Mountain, Shaggy, Little Kirk, Aswad, Dennis Brown, Sammy Levi, Fauzi & Tribo De Jah, Johnny Dread, Tony Tribe, Fugees, Mikey Spice are just some of the artist on the Timeless Classics Vol. III Reggae/World compilation.

Hear their versions of some of your all time favorite songs like No Woman No Cry, Man In The Mirror, Me And Mrs. Jones, Ribbon In The Sky, What A Wonderful World, Now That We’ve Found Love, Girl From Ipanema, Wings Of Love, Killing Me Softly, Roxanne and many other million selling hits featured, on Timeless Classics Vol. III Reggae/World CD.

ABOUT:
HousTone Records does not except unsolicited material. Artist can submit a request to have, 3 songs reviewed and one of the three must be a well-known cover song. Submit request by E-mail only but hard copy promo package must be sent by regular mail only.

HousTone Records: Making a difference by Marketing, Recording and Distributing One Act at a Time!

PO Box 8305-Houston, Texas 77288
PH: 713-866-4009, EXT 2
E-Mail info@HousToneRecords.com
www.HousToneRecords.com

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Live On Another Planet?

If You Could, Would You Live On Another Planet?

mars-one-729-620x3491People have always been fascinated by the Universe; Archaeological finds demonstrate that as early as 5000 years ago, people already tried to analyze and interpret the movement of celestial bodies; ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, Central America, China, and Greece built first prototypes of astronomical observatories. Nowadays, thanks to impressive technological and scientific advances, it is becoming more and more plausible to imagine people being able to live on some other than the Earth planet.

As it is well-known, first space mission occurred on April 12, 1961 when a Soviet astronaut Yuri Gagarin traveled into orbital space for one hundred and eight minutes in his space ship Vostok 1. Soon thereafter, an American astronaut Alan Shepard went into space on May 5, 1961; and John Glenn was the first American to go into orbit around the Earth on February 20, 1962. Moreover, twelve people, including Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin in 1969, have landed on Moon. Currently, many countries have space stations and space programs and the NASA had recently announced that it plans to develop a space capsule which will allow four astronauts to travel into deep space locations such as Mars, Moon, and different asteroids by 2016.

living-inspaceMoreover, in recent years a new phenomenon called “space tourism” or “citizen space exploration” has taken place. While very few people were able to take advantage of it due to its really astronomical price which goes anywhere from twenty to forty million dollars per person, people still seem to be intrigued by the possibility of living on some other planet in the future. Of course, there are numerous variables to consider: gravity, radiation levels, temperature, and the availability of life-sustaining recourses such as water. So far, NASA scientists reported the discovery of some Earth-like planets in the habitable orbit of sun-like stars which are not too cold or hot for water (essential factor for possible life). And, quite frankly, it does seem plausible that in an infinite universe there might be at least one planet capable of sustaining life besides the Earth.

As such, a hypothetical question arises—if some planet which potentially could sustain humans was discovered, would there be people willing to leave the Earth and start a new life there?

Of course, first and foremost it is a question of personal choice and available technologies. After all, there are always peopleMooncolony1 who like the unknown and our technological progress is truly astounding. Many things which seemed like something out of sci-fi books and movies are becoming a reality; and it is not so far-fetched to imagine that someday people will be able to develop technologies which would allow us to live on another planet. Also, there is another, much more gruesome, possibility that people will simply be unable to continue living on Earth due to some catastrophe such as ecological, nuclear, being hit by an asteroid, or overpopulation. While it is difficult to consider such awful scenarios, it is still better to be somehow prepared for them. Consequently, it is crucial that further exploration of space continues. – Becky Kospanova

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Know Your Neighbor?

How Well Do You Know Your Neighbor?

Neigbors-2-BModern life is so much more different from what it used to be just few decades ago. Seemingly everyday, new technologies are developed which allow people to access all kind of information and communicate with people from anywhere in the world. However, at the same time the Americans seem to know less and less people who live right next door to them. It is a fairly new phenomenon because our grandparents and even our parents knew most of their neighbors rather well. But not anymore—for many Americans their whole interaction with neighbors is reduced to perfunctory hand wave and an occasional small talk in passing. For some, it is a perfect arrangement because they really do not have to be friendly with people with whom they happened to live nearby by chance; others might feel that they are missing an opportunity to get to know their neighbors, be helpful to each other if necessary, and maybe get a new friend.

Sociologists have been analyzing this phenomenon for quite some time. One of the best books on the subject, Robert Putnam’s “Bowling Alone” published in 2001, argues that the break of social bonds (taken in a wider sense to include involvement into civic clubs, church groups, etc.) leads to a number of problems in a society such as decreased safety of the neighborhoods, lower educational performance, reduced civic involvement into communities, decline in democratic responsiveness, and even health, happiness, and everyday honesty.

There are many factors which explain our reluctance or inability to establish relationships with our neighbors. Historically,how-to-deal-with-neighbors Americans have always been a nation which prized their privacy and the right to protect their properties; as a result, we are often disinclined to approach a neighbor out of fear to feel unwelcomed. Also, Americans move from one place to another much more often nowadays. Thus, we often fail to establish relationships with ever-changing neighbors. In addition, modern families are often two-career families and there is nobody home most of the day and, after a long day of work, people rarely have time to associate with their neighbors. After all, there is housework to do, dinner to be prepared, children to be taken care of—the list is long. Moreover, new technologies allow us to keep up with just about anything happening in the world; as such, simple, face-to-face interaction with your neighbors is often less interesting and stimulating for many. These are just few factors, and it is a fact of our modern life that sometimes it is simply easier not to get friendly with our neighbors.

However, there is something to be said about trying a little bit harder to become more neighborly. After all, you will always have somebody to watch over your house and pick up your mail when you go away; you might carpool with your perspective kids; you might acquire a new friend; your neighbors might notice any suspicious behavior around the neighborhood and alert you as well. So, turn off you TV and computer, step out of the house, and get to know your neighbors! – Becky Kospanova

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Saggin Paints -True Meaning

Saggin pants 3After Several Restaurant Chains Announce That They will be refusing to serve customers with saggin pants; I elected to repost this story just to keep the public aware of the true meaning behind the issue.

Saggin Pants

Letter from a college student directed to Black young men and women.

The other day, a friend of mine visited me in the lobby of my dorm just to chat while her laundry was drying. As we were chatting, two young freshmen came by. One of the boys wanted to ‘talk’ to my friend (as in date). She asked him how old they were, and both of the boys replied 18. My friend and I both laughed hysterically because we are both 22 years old. After my friend left, the young men were still hanging around and one wanted to know how he could gain her interest.

The first thing I told him to do was to pull up his pants! He asked why, and then said he liked saggin’ his pants. I told him to come over to my computer and spell the word saggin’. Then I told him to write the word saggin’ backwards.

S-A-G-G-I-N

N-I-G- G-A-S

saggin pants 4I told him the origin of that look was from centuries ago. It was the intent of slave owners to demoralize the field workers by forbidding them to wear a belt as they worked in the fields or at any other rigorous job. In addition, men in prison wore their pants low when they were ‘spoken for. The other reason their pants looked like that was they were not allowed to have belts because prisoners were likely to try to commit suicide. And, saggin’ pants prevents you from running.

We as young Black people have to be the ones to effect change. We are dying. The media has made a mockery of the Black American. Even our brothers and sisters from Africa don’t take us seriously. Something as simple as pulling up your pants and standing with your head held high could make the biggest difference in the world’s perception of us. It is time to do right by ourselves. We need to love and embrace each other. No one is going to do that for us.

It all comes down to perception. What people perceive is what reality to them is. We have to change not only the media’s perception of us, but we need to change our perception of ourselves.

Remember all eyes are on you Black Man. All eyes are on you Black Woman. All eyes are on your Black Child. People point the finger at us and expect us to engage in negative and illegal activities, to manifest loud, boisterous behavior, to spend our hard earned money in their stores, buying goods we don’t need, or really want. We have allowed not only the media, but the government and the world to portray us as a ‘sub-culture.’ They have stripped our culture down to the point where the image of Black people is perpetuated as rappers, athletes, drug users, and consumers of junk food, expensive tennis shoes, expensive cars, expensive TVs, cell phones and not investing in homes for our families.

We are so much more!

To all our Black Men: Its time to stand up. There are billions of Black Women who want to do nothing more than worship the ground that you walk on. We are so in love with your potential. We want to have your back, we want to love, support and cherish every ounce of you’re being. But with that you have to show that you are willing to be the head of our households. You have to prove yourselves worthy of our submission. We need you to be hard working…Not a hustler. We need you to seek higher education, to seek spirituality. We need you to stand! And trust us; we will have your back. We know that it gets hard. We know you get weary. Trust and believe that there is nothing that a Black Man and a Black Woman can’t handle with GOD on their side.

To all our Black Women: It is also time for you to stand up. It is time for you to stop using our bodies as our primary form of communication. It is time to be that virtuous woman that Proverbs spoke of. You cannot sit by the wayside while our men are dying by the masses. You are the epitome of Black Love. It starts within you. You need to speak with conviction to let not only our Black Men know, but the world, that you are the Mothers of this world. You are so powerful. You are so beautiful. You need to love and embrace every blessing God has given us physically, emotionally and spiritually.

For all our Black Children: We need to love them. We need to teach them. We need to stand up for them. We need to protect them. We need to show them that there are no ‘get rich quick’ schemes. We need to tell them that they WILL die trying if they submit to a life of crime and deceit. We need to teach our children that no one will love them the way we can. And being a basketball player, a rapper, or a drug dealer is not reality. It’s not realistic and only a small percentage of people ever make it as a rapper or professional athlete. We need to teach our children that we can be more than rappers and athletes. We can be the owners of these sports teams. We can be the CEO’s of OUR fortune 500 companies. We need to believe in literacy. I am almost certain if we were to look back to the 1930s and 40’s, the literacy rates for Black American Children are probably still the same.

Please Share & Have a wonderful day.

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Beer or Wine?

Beer or Wine: What Does Your Choice Say About You?

beer &amp_ wine 1Most people, after experimenting with different types of alcohol, choose their favorite drink and stick to it. There is a wide range of alcohol to choose from: hard liquors, different cocktails, dazzling variety of wines and, of course, many types of beers. As such, many people believe that a choice of drink can tell a lot about a person’s character and life style. What are some of the most widespread beliefs associated with favorite alcoholic beverage?

Two of the most popular drinks, beer and wine, have been around a long time, probably as long as humans themselves. Archeological discoveries demonstrate that people started producing wine and beer around 3000 BC on territories of such ancient countries as Iran, Egypt, Armenia, and Georgia (to name a few). Thereafter, the production of wine and beer has spread across the continents and both drinks have steadily gained in popularity. Of course, both drinks came to be associated with certain traits of character.

Beer is often a first alcoholic beverage for many people, and some stay faithful to it for years to come. Generally, it is a cheap, filling, and readily available drink, which can be enjoyed just about everywhere. While there is a wide choice of beer ranging from lagers, ales, pilsners, stouts, drafts, and bottles—it is still considered to be a rather democratic drink. Poor, simple folks equally love it as well as rich and powerful. Still, beer is often considered to be a somewhat lowbrow drink. Usually, someone who drinks beer is seen as a non-fussy, predominantly blue-collar, undemanding person who does not look for finer things in life. However, with the spread of microbreweries beer is becoming fancier nowadays. There are beer-tasting events held in many locations where beer can often cost as much as good wine.

Wine is also a very popular drink with many people. Most people come to it later in life and some become true connoisseurs of it. Wines beer-wine-spirits 3vary greatly in price depending on region and year it was produced. French and Italian wines, with their superior grapes and rich traditions, are often the most expensive ones; Australian, South African, Chilean, and American wines are often more affordable and some can be very good. While wine drinkers can sometimes come off as pretentious and somewhat snooty, many people drink red wine because of its health advantages; scientists assert that it is good for your heart. Interestingly, according to 2011 statistics provided by International Wine and Spirit Research and Vinexpo, traditional countries with highest rates of wine consumption such as France, Italy, Spain, Austria, and Germany were pushed over by US, where experts predict that by 2015 there will be 13 liters of wine consumed per adult per year. Two more countries, which are emerging as big wine markets, are China and Hong Kong. As such, wine is becoming a drink of choice for many people across the countries.

No matter what kind of alcohol a person prefers, the stereotypes associated with it are often no more than that—stereotypes. In the long run, your alcoholic preferences do not define your character; most importantly, your character shows if you can enjoy a drink responsibly.
Becky Kospanova

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