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Forex 101 – Currency Pairs

Forex 101 - Currency Pairs

Foreign Exchange trading (Forex, hereafter) is a market that’s opened up to private investors since the 1990s, and it currently has over two trillion dollars worth of trading transactions every single day, making it the single largest market in the world.  The key to forex trading is that everything has a relative value; you want to buy a currency low and sell it for more than you paid for it. 

Currencies are listed with an exchange rate; for example, right now, one British Pound is worth $1.9248, meaning that it’s worth about a dollar ninety two.  This is the Dollar/Pound Currency Pair.  The relative value of a currency pair will shift over time; sometimes, it’ll shift fast – within minutes or seconds, usually just after a bank opens or just before a major bank closes; this is why most Forex traders live or die on the London close.

Now, a position for a forex trade would be to buy pounds at $1.9248 and expect to sell them when they hit a certain price, say you expect them to break $2.00 for whatever reason.  (There are lots of reasons to expect this; big bailouts are inflationary on the currency being used, and the US government is doing a lot of bailouts right now.)

The amount that a currency pair’s relative valuation can change is called its swing.  In day trading, swings can be in 10ths and hundredths of a cent, and the money is made by using leverage to buy (and sell) large blocks of currency.  Swings have a period (how rapidly they change), and fast swings (both up and down) are good for doing day trading style strategies.

Currency pairs also have other swing patterns; there are seasonal patterns in currency trading (like the fact that the dollar always rises in the summer time, due to Americans spending time on vacation, or the fact that the Euro rises in August for the same reason – most of Europe takes their vacation at the same time). 

If you’re just getting into forex trading, focus on long term swings and position trading.  These won’t make you as much money, as quickly, but their risk is lower.  More importantly, you don’t need to get into leveraging agreements to make a decent profit at it, and they don’t require that you spend all of your life watching numbers on a screen to push a trade through when the right numbers come up.

If you’re looking at the various online forex courses, be aware that most of them want you to get into a day trading strategy.  This can make you a lot of money quickly – it can also lose you a lot of money quickly.  It also requires constant vigilance;

Regardless of which strategy you use, forex trading can be a reasonable way to earn a living.  It’s still a job, it just happens to be one that’s well suited to certain types of people.  If you’re the sort of person who agonizes over when you’ve lost money on a bad trade, this may not be the right job for you.

Biomass CHP – What is It?

Biomass CHP - What is It?

Biomass CHP (Combined Heat and Power) is a way of generating both heat and power from Biomass. Biomass is a renewable energy created from recently living material, such as plants, waste wood or animal fats. As it is a renewable energy, Biomass won’t run out, unlike fossil fuels, and is not weather dependent like wind or solar power nor water dependent like tidal power or dams.

Using wood as fuel is one of the earliest forms of biomass. The burning wood is used to create heat. In a biomass CHP installation the steam created is used to drive a turbine, which then generates electricity.

This form of generating power is up to 70% efficient, compared to approximately 40% for coal and gas fired power stations. This increased efficiency is because the heat created during the power generation process is used, rather than wasted like it is in a fossil fuelled power station. There are also fewer emissions created than in a fossil fuelled power station.

CHP can be useful when a constant and reliable supply of electricity is needed all day every day. Hospitals, hotels and computer data centres are prime examples.

Other industries can make use of biomass, and it’s very cost effective for buildings that use a lot of power and heat, such as factories and refineries. Paper and food processing plants can also benefit from this technology in terms of saving money, and the environment by being more efficient.

Using this technology, the company or individual relies less on the national electricity supply. As more people follow suite, there is a reduced demand for electricity, which in turn will reduce the amount of fossil fuels used.

Because this is a stable and secure way to create heat and power, Biomass CHP is suitable for countries that suffer from frequent power outages or have to import all their fossil fuels. The carbon footprint of the country and the individual business can be reduced, as there may be enough organic materials grown or harvested nearby. This helps to decrease the storage and transport costs.

Biomass can be used in domestic applications too. Communities can share resources such as heat and electricity between many houses. Houses that are connected to this system won’t need boilers, as the water is transported using a grid of hot water pipes. Some of the electricity generated is used to keep the pipes heated, and the excess can be transferred to the national electricity supply.

Biomass CHP can save money, and the environment and is more efficient than a coal or gas fired power station. Why not see how you can benefit from this technology?a

7 Ways to Live Greener

7 Ways to Live Greener

The Earth Day may have passed, but it’s never too late to start living a greener life. The economic conditions in the U.S. and around the globe have made a lot of folks rethink their lifestyles. Green technologies not only allow you to live a more healthy life, but they also help save the environment. And it doesn’t hurt that you can save a lot of money on your energy bill by using these technologies.

You don’t have to be a technical person to go green. It’s much more simple that all. And any step that you take, however small, will help save your money and save the planet too. Here are 7 simple ways to go green:

1. Go Solar: if you live in a location that gets a lot of sunshine, you are going to save a lot of money by going solar. You can charge up your house with solar power, and you won’t have to pay a monthly fee.

2. Use the Wind: wind engines can help you cut your bills remarkably. If you get a lot of wind in your area, you are in luck.

3. Use a dimmer: a dimmer is a system that lets you spend less energy without having to turn off your lights. It can save a lot of energy and lower your bills.

4. Fix your bathroom: Use low-flow faucets, showerheads, and toilets to save water and cut your costs. There is no need to waste water these days.

5. Lower your thermostat: a lot of homes that I have been to are either too hot or too cold. By taking a conservative approach, you can cut your costs without having to do too much. There is no way to make your house feel like Hawaii during winter time.

6. Buy a Kindle: you don’t have to buy paper books to get value out of them. Gadgets such as Amazon Kindle help you save money and a lot of trees in the process.

7. Car Pool: you don’t have to drive to your work everyday when you can carpool. In some cases, that might not work out. But it never hurts to try.

There are hundreds of other things that you can do to live a greener life. No step is too small. But the sooner you start, the more you will save, and the better the earth will be for it.

Adult Children Can Create a Truly Successful Mothers Day

Adult Children Can Create a Truly Successful Mother's Day

Another Holiday is here, another opportunity to feel guilty for many long distance care givers. No you haven’t spent as much time with Mom as you should have. Perhaps you have had your secretary screening calls, or may be even let it go to the dreaded voice mail. Just for a moment, let’s move past the emotional feelings that are there, and try to get into the moment. Just for the minute, let’s not think about what is good for you and your family, but what is good for Mom.

If you are getting ready to spend forty or more dollars on a fabulous floral arrangement, hold that thought for a moment. If you have given her a floral arrangement every year for the past 20, 30 or 40 years, do you really think it will be a surprise. Consider the phone call or words said in thank you, have they changed any over the last 20, 30 or 40 years? What about that wonderful vase you gave her for Christmas? Or that beautiful cardigan sweater she is saving it for a special occasion. Is it neatly wrapped in tissue, carefully packed away so nothing happens to it?

Yes you are busy, and no there really is nothing she needs, or is there? Let’s take a look at a few options that are a bit un-orthodox. A few ideas that just may give her a gift that she will get long term joy from. In addition, if one of the siblings is the caretaker, it will be a benefit to them as well.

Let’s take a look at mom first. Forget the woman from 20 or 30 years ago, I want you to see her as she is right now. What does she do all day? What does she talk about, complain about, demand or cry about? What problems is she facing, that perhaps you can find a solution to. Some of the areas we find available for children of seniors to really help with are often never discussed with them. Usually they come down to a few dollars or two. While Mom may be thrilled to see the flowers, if they find out the cost they are disgusted at the waste.

What can you do with $40 that will have impact? First you can ask her if there is something she would like to have for $40. She will tell you nothing, or perhaps hint at something. I know a few that actually would love to have the cash. Remember when you got a card with cash in it? It is kind of fun having a little mad money lying around. Okay, most kids will not give mom an envelope with cash; it is definitely not personal and not as pretty as dead flowers. As a society we have a warped attitude towards money, gift certificates to stores you will never set foot into are okay, but cash is gross.

Tickets to the movie theater, for her and a friend, and you will take care of the driving. Either with a professional driver, or do it yourself. You can spend the $40, on a gift card that not only buys the ticket but works at the concession stand as well. If she is comfortable with the DVD player you bought her a few years ago, order her Netflix. She may not be able to use the internet to order, but you certainly can pre-order her some fabulous movies to view at home. One of the reasons we like Netflix is because it comes in the mail, and she gets to mail it back. There is responsible action that she is taking. Psst. You are treating her like a responsible adult, and you get to share a conversation that doesn’t sound like a medical encyclopedia. When is the last time you started a sentence with, “Mom, how’d you like the movie?”

Here is a little Alzheimer’s secret. If your parent is suffering from Alzheimer’s, buy them a video that is about Fish. Not sharks, but fish swimming in schools. One that is beautiful and relaxing. There are some studies that find it a good choice. It’s worth a try.

Use this opportunity to introduce Mom to Home care. She may be fighting having any home care at all. You may have better luck with using the holiday to schedule someone in. Does she need a ride to a Dr’s appointment, hair appointment, shopping? Good caregivers encourage participation. They are not a cleaning crew.

Early introduction allows new beliefs to happen. Unfortunately, our general understanding of Home Care is pretty limited. Allowing both Mom and you to learn about Home Care givers, early in the aging process, will allow for greater understanding as time progresses and the need is immediate.

If she is early in Alzheimer’s or Dementia, you both know it will progress. By introducing new people now, family caregivers as well as Mom, become comfortable with strangers. And respite care is very important.

If mom is living with one of the kids, give her a weekend at a facility. This is a two pointer, one it gives the caregiver a day to be a human being, and it introduces mom to some great people. Most facilities have respite care. Most facilities are a lot more fun than your sister’s house. Check to see what activities are going on.

The bottom line with any holiday is that money and time are tight. It is up to the children of a senior to think outside of the box, use the tools that they are comfortable with to learn about the aging process, and get out there and learn. For most of the Boomer generation, the “Simpson’s grand pa” is our understanding of life in a home. I am sure if I took the time I could find one just like it. The Senior Facilities I associate with are places I would move into now if I could. 5 star dinning, and constant visiting, doing and learning. By opening your mind to the possibility that there is a better way to do this, you have started the journey. Remember, if mom is 80, you are probably 50 or 60. Start planning where you want to be when you reach 90, and that starts with stroking the keys on your PC. Get in to Choice, before crisis.

Mauviel Copper Cookware – Match Your Style and Personality

Mauviel Copper Cookware - Match Your Style and Personality

What’s so special about copper cookware? Well, this cookware for the truly discerning cook has been around since 1830, and for professional chefs, it’s some of the most sought-after cookware in the world. Copper pots and pans come in several different lines and materials created with the utmost in quality manufacturing, so they’ll last in your kitchen for years to come.

Copper has been used for cooking for centuries because it has some wonderful qualities. Copper heats more evenly and quicker than other metals. You’ll have more control over what you cook because it heats up and cools down quickly. You can cook with a lower heat in copper cookware, which leads to better food quality. You can use copper cookware on any type of stove, and in the oven and under the broiler, too. Copper is soft, so it easily releases food and it’s easy to clean, too. Copper is the metal of choice for candy makers because unlined copper bowls keep melted sugar from crystallizing, and it’s the best for beating egg whites to perfection, too.

When you shop for copper cookware, there are some things you should know. The company offers four different handle designs and three different pan thicknesses, along with stainless steel linings. They have created these lines because each cook is different and the personality of the pans can match the personality and experience of the cook. The stainless steel interior is also up for just about any type of food you put in it, and it can withstand the higher temps of your oven and broiler, too.

Copper cookware is the green alternative for cookware, too. Since you don’t have to use such high temperatures when you cook with copper, you’ll save on energy and you can see that savings on your energy bill. If you cook with aluminum cookware, you’ll need about half the heat you use now, if you use stainless steel, you’ll need even less than half, and you’ll need about a quarter of the heat you use now if you cook with cast iron cookware.

You can keep your copper cookware looking beautiful for decades to come by periodically polishing the copper surface. Never put your copper cookware in the dishwasher, and always let cooked on food soak in warm, soapy water. Stainless steel is tough but it can still be harmed by using scrubbers or scouring powders. This beautiful cookware will make cooking a breeze, and with it’s distinctive copper sheen and obvious quality, it will add beauty to your kitchen too.

How Can You Trust You Are Buying a Quality Nutritional Supplement?

How Can You Trust You Are Buying a Quality Nutritional Supplement?

It can be very overwhelming to shop for a quality supplement when all the companies out there say they are “the best”. What do you believe and what can you trust? If you are someone who has been fooled by the marketing of over the counter nutritional supplements/vitamins and your grab a “One a Day” for the adults in your family or “Flintstones” for the kids-you will FLIP when you see the ratings of these so called “vitamins” and wish you had every cent back you ever paid for them. I want to share a wonderful resource I was introduced to that helps research which supplement is best for you and your family.

It is a compendium of over 1500 nutritional products available in the United States and Canada. The book is a result of thousands of hours of research with the goal to bring the consumer an easy to use guide to the supplement market. It also gives understanding to the protective powers of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

According to NutriSearch you will find:

-Over 1500 U.S. and Canadian supplements scientifically rated and compared
-18 critical health support criteria required to evaluate supplements
-300 graphs to easily compare top-rated products
-Aid in determining which supplement is best for you and your family using a scientifically based approach
-Relates recent scientific evidence that shows supplements can optimize health and slow the aging process

The credibility of this guide is phenomenal when you understand the science behind it all.

What a find – I now have total confidence that the supplements I have chosen for my family are the best based on scientific research and knowledge.

Moonlighting on the Internet – Book Review

Moonlighting on the Internet - Book Review

I just finished reading “Moonlighting on the Internet: 5 Word Class Experts Reveal Proven Ways to Make Extra Cash.” As a professional blogger and owner of several Internet properties, I am always interested in reading books on how to make money online. I had high expectations for this book and I was a little disappointed.

As the title suggests, this is a resource that explains how to make money on the Internet. The author covers 5 basic methods: Ebay, yahoo stores, affiliate marketing, information, and blogging. As a blogger, I was immediately drawn to this section first. The information was rather basic and the techniques that were described were rather old. I was not impressed with the chapter on blogging at all. I was however impressed with the section pertaining to Ebay. This is an area where I have limited knowledge and the information was presented in a logical and easy to understand manner.

The book does have some bright spots and would be helpful for someone just staring out on the Internet. My major criticism of the book is it seems like they are trying to cram so much information into a limited space. Each section could have their own book devoted to it. By trying to cram so much information in, I think they just really scratch the surface on these topics. The result is that they provide a good general understanding of the material. In my opinion, they do not dig deep enough to really provide strategy and techniques to really make money online.

In closing, I feel this was an average resource. It does a good job of covering the basics of the 5 most popular ways to make money but does little to actually help you achieve that goal.

Female Adolescents in Need of Strong Role Models in Literature

Female Adolescents in Need of Strong Role Models in Literature

Hillary Clinton almost wrested the Democratic nomination for president last year. In endorsing Barack Obama she spoke of being unable “to shatter that highest hardest glass ceiling this time [but] thanks to you it’s got about 18 million cracks.” Clinton did for women what Barack Obama did for blacks. Women were no longer content to remain second class citizens; playing second fiddle to males and acting submissive to them.

Just as significantly as Clinton being a woman was the fact she had flaws . . . more than a few. It was her complexity that made her so compelling. She was someone women could identify with, not the perfect female heroine with the sizzling body and glowing personality. Women saw a lot of themselves in Hillary Clinton and supported her despite her failings.

Adolescent girls now more than ever need literary protagonists they can identify with – warts and all. Too often females are secondary characters (significant, yet subordinate). The Harry Potter series revolves around, well, Harry Potter (ironically proving a woman can create compelling male characters).

Adolescent girls, so confident in elementary school, face an identity crisis and a battering to their self-esteem beginning in middle school. As an educator for 28 years I’m the first to admit teachers are often to blame (girls aren’t as capable in math and the sciences far too many teachers believe. It’s rubbish, but that’s what pre-teen and teenage girls are taught to believe). Parents aren’t as involved as they should be so adolescent girls don’t get encouragement from the home.

Girls at this age need to read about others like themselves. They need to read about other girls who lack self-confidence, are full of contradictions, are childish, headstrong, selfish, jealous and bitchy. They need to see, too, that these same literary characters can be confident, inspiring, compassionate yet strong. They need role models who are able to make almost impossible choices and live with the consequences; female protagonists who can lead and accomplish as much or more than their male counterparts.

Teens have to read about girls who get knocked down, bloodied and battered, yet get up to fight another day. They need literary protagonists they can say, “That could be me. I’m not a freak. Others have the same self-doubts and insecurities as I have. I’m not alone . . . and I can prevail.”

Girls need strong-willed and flawed literary role models to shatter stereotypes that hold them back. Boys protect girls. They strut their stuff when their girl is challenged or endangered. Women couldn’t fight in wars until recently and even now can’t fight in combat units. Girls are nurses (not even doctors, for the most part) in relative safety behind the lines helping to patch up the wounded.

And we can’t ignore the double standard when it comes to sexuality. A girl who is sexually active is a slut or “easy.” Yet, sexually active boys are studs. On the other hand a girl who doesn’t let her boyfriend get to second or third base (much less home) is a tease. Is it any wonder girls are confused? Sexually, regardless how an adolescent girl responds she faces negative connotations, yet for boys to be aggressive is “manly.”

Where are literary role models to counteract these stereotypes? Far too few exist. And with the vast number of heroic males literature only reinforces stereotypes males have of females and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. Boys lead and protect. Girls follow.

Authors need to follow the example of Hillary Clinton and provide flawed, complex yet heroic female protagonists. We need female characters who refuse to submit to their male counterparts. Female characters adolescents can identify with.

Explore Orgasmic Soul

Explore Orgasmic Soul

Soul music is definitely not afraid to open up and express itself from the sexual side of the spectrum. Call it bedroom music, freaky jams or whatever you want, but there’s just something about this style that sends a vibe through the listener and puts them on that other level. This bold genre has never been scared to take a walk on the wild side, opening up hearts and souls to the brink of delightful controversy. Whether it’s Love Serenade and others from Barry White’s vault of lustful classics to D’Angelo’s tastefully raunchy “How Does it Feel”, these risque tunes go beyond traditional love ballads, penetrating the soul in a naughty manner while provoking kinky thoughts that dare to be acted upon. Even the most conservative listener can’t deny the passion because when you break it down, everybody’s got their favorite.

Double Your Pleasure

Many people didn’t know what to expect from Floetry, the U.K. turned Philly tandem of soulful sisters. They quickly learned after being hit with a sensuous dose of Floetic, the duo’s highly acclaimed debut album. Although the first single, “Say Yes” is the most of notable sexually orientated tracks, this ground-breaking album actually has a nice mix of mood setters throughout. The way Marsha and Natalie wrap spoken word around R&B and soulful jazz warrants an intimate setting in the dark or perhaps even solo session in a warm bubbly tub. Supple ballads like “Getting Late” generate a pleasurable warmth that can easily lead to something much hotter, making this classic soul album the perfect remedy for after dark rendezvous.

Ask, and Your Desires Shall be Fulfilled

Anointed by many as of the queen of Nu Soul, Jill Scott made sure everyone knew who she was with the release of Who is Jill Scott? in 2000. Though best known for her uplifting, socially responsible cuts, Jill also has a sultry side and the powerfully tantalizing voice to go along with it. “The Way” is a mesmerizing cut from her debut album that struck a chord with several female listeners, causing some to think about the relationship with their men while unleashing the freak within others. This track proved that Jill wasn’t the innocent little girl she was perceived to be as the diva went into detail about the passionate night she had in store. Though nearly a decade old now, you better believe this one is still burning up sheets across the nation.

Nice Hot Cup of Mocha Delight

Soul music has had its fair share of male sex symbols over the years but few have captivated the ladies like Maxwell. Perhaps it’s the poofy black locks and sometimes nappy dreads or smooth jazzy voice that sends women into an uproar. Maxwell’s debut album, Urban Hang Suite was well received, laced with a myriad of cuts well worthy of the “Orgasmic Soul” label. The album was full of catchy mood setters but none more so than “Til the Cops Come Knockin'” The explicit lyrics of this intensely hot song let the world know what was on this brother’s mind.

The Freakish Nature of the Beast

So what is it about soul music that sends listeners into a sexual frenzy? Are these artists merely touching on our hidden fantasies and bringing them to light? Of course, that’s why we’re all in. While such thoughts might cause you to blush, almost everyone appreciates those smooth melodies that help us get off on a little “Sumptin Sumptin”.

Redundancy – Disaster Or Opportunity?

Redundancy - Disaster Or Opportunity?

When your job is made redundant, it’s all to easy to see it as a disaster – as though you’re unwanted, unloved and you’ve been assigned to the scrap heap. Even if you’re quite happy to leave the job you’re in, and move on, you may go through a period of ‘mourning’, of feeling rejected and wondering whether it was somehow your fault. However, redundancy can also be an ideal opportunity to do something you’ve always dreamed of, especially with a handy cash injection to get you started.

So how can you avoid the post-redundancy blues and turn redundancy to your advantage? 

Stay Positive

First and foremost, it’s important to recognise that it’s your job that’s been made redundant, not you. It’s nothing personal. You’re still a valuable and useful member of society. Your employers are simply reacting to the current economic climate in the best way they know. If the economy recovered next week, they would no doubt want you back – but you might not want to go. Their loss, not yours!

Despite the picture of doom and gloom painted by the media, there are still jobs that need to be done, and people who are looking for specifically what you have to offer. It might just take a little longer than before, to connect with the right people.

Stay Confident

If you’ve been working in the same job or industry for a long time, you may be feeling like you’ve lost part of your identity, as our identity and feelings of self-worth are often firmly linked to the job we do. You may be uncertain about what to do next, especially if there have been a lot of redundancies in your industry, or if you’ve been in the same industry for most of your working life.

Be kind to yourself. Go for walks in the park, by the sea or in the countryside, visit friends, go to an art gallery or a matinee performance… This isn’t just being idle, or burying your head in the sand. It’s giving your creative side an opportunity to express itself. The chances are, it didn’t get much of a look-in when you were at work – so allow yourself to play for a while, and see what ideas come up about what you want to do next.

Stay Motivated

When you’re considering your options, ask yourself “why would I apply for this job?” or “why would I set up this business?”. If the answer to that question is nothing more than “to pay the bills”, you might want to choose something else, or adopt a different attitude. If your heart isn’t in what you’re applying yourself to, your prospective clients and employers will notice it in your words and your body language. It’s a bit like asking someone out on a date, not because you fancy them, but because you’re just desperate to go out with anyone!!

Motivation is only a problem when you’re trying to make yourself do something you don’t really want to do. If you can find something that inspires you, you won’t be able to wait until the alarm goes off before leaping out of bed in the morning, to get stuck into it!

Be Persistent

Once you’re clear about what you want to do, keep doing whatever it takes to achieve your goal, bearing in mind that it might take longer than you anticipated, and you might need to do something else to keep paying the bills in the meantime. If it’s truly what you want, then no amount of waiting, or obstacles will prevent you from getting where you want to be.

What Next?

If you’re unsure about what to do next, and you’d like some help working out who you really want to be when you grow up, feel free to get in contact with me via my website.