Monthly Archives: November 2014

Black Friday Soon!

Just wait a few hours, then it’s Black Friday.Are you ready for your shopping?

Big Sales on Black Friday

Tomorrow is Black Friday!

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6 ways to brighten someone’s day

Heart favor

I recently wrote a paper for a rhetoric class where I talked about value hierarchies. Value hierarchies simply display how we place certain values superior to other values. As I evaluated my life, I realized that last year I let the pressures of school, work, and extracurriculars override my desire to be less self-centered. In essence, my value hierarchy placed “me” above “others.”

Sometimes, especially in college, it’s unavoidable. We don’t pay thousands of dollars in tuition simply to be nice people. But despite the fact that my primary purpose for coming to college is to get a degree, I’m also here to foster relationships with other people. I truly believe that part of the reason I’m at UT is to build a community and be a helping hand to others.

I don’t think I’m alone in these ideals, either. You might find yourself wanting to balance out your life and do something selfless. I think nearly everyone wants to do something good, but most people can’t find the time. You might assume that you need to spend five hours a week volunteering in order to make a difference. It’s understandable in college to be stressed, pressured, and have limited time for others. You can’t do it all. But the truth is, change starts small. That’s why I’ve been trying to do little things to make the world around me brighter.

These small acts of kindness do not make me any better than anyone else. They simply give me an outlet to serve people I care about, one favor at a time. You probably already do some of these things for other people, but if you want some inspiration for how to make someone’s day, read on.

1. Write Notes or Cards


Sometimes I just feel like I need an outlet for my creative side. I’m prone to writing notes to my roommates expressing how awesome they are, how much they mean to me, or wishing them good luck on a test or paper. If I’m really sentimental, I’ll write a letter and seal it up, saving it for a time when they really need a boost.

I’ve also been the recipient of small notes in the morning from my roommate telling me to “ace a quiz” or “have fun at work.” While simple, they actually put a smile on my face for the rest of the day. You can even mail the notes to your closest friends (even if they live a couple blocks away!). Receiving an unexpected affirmation is a great surprise!

2. Bake Something Sweet

Chocolate chip cookies

Here’s my thing – if my roommate is stressed or has had a long day, I’ll pop some brownies in the oven. It takes me about five minutes to mix, and five minutes to clean up. The look on her face when she comes home to her favorite dessert makes me smile.

Baking is not only stress-relieving, but you can eat the results as well! If you want to go the extra mile, package up some cookies and decorate circle tins like this. Deliver the treats to your friends who could use a sugary surprise, or even to someone in one of your classes who has been having a rough day.

3. Buy an Extra “Something”

Don’t you hate it when someone walks in with food, and you wish they could go back in time and order some for you too? Maybe I’m the only selfish one, but after feeling like this several times, I decided I didn’t want to inflict this food-craving on anyone else.

If I know I’m going to see a friend or coworker soon and I’m at a fast-food chain or small eating establishment, I’ll pick up something to-go for them (it works better if I know what they usually order). For example, I don’t think I’ve ever walked out of Jamba Juice without two smoothies. And I try to grab my roommate an extra coffee if we’re going to the same class.

It’s low-cost, and you’re already getting yourself something, so this is definitely an opportunity to do something nice.

4. Send a Text

Girl texting
While I’m all about the handwritten (see above), sometimes you just don’t have time, or you think about someone while you’re on-the-go. While it might feel tacky or rushed, a small text can actually be a great booster in someone’s day.

Sometimes I’ll get texts from friends ranging from the general “have a good day” to “hope your rhetoric exam went well.” They both make me feel awesome and loved. Spread the joy and take a few minutes (or seconds if you’re a super-fast typer) out of your day to send a text to someone you care about.

5. Extend an Invite

Dinner with friend
Sometimes all it takes is extending an invite to remind someone you care. You don’t even have to be super-formal (“want to get bagels before class tomorrow?”) to be effective. You can let others know you value their company and ask people to meals, parties, meetings, etc. Just make sure you follow through.

6. Call an Old Friend

Talking on phone
Photo Credit: ELLE

I’m so bad about this one! But I love getting calls from friends I haven’t seen in a while, especially ones that don’t even go to school with me. When a high school friend calls out of the blue, we get to catch up, and I love knowing that they care enough to keep our relationship alive. Try it with your old friends that you miss, or even friends you met in college and lost touch with this semester.

Finding balance between your values doesn’t have to be difficult. You might feel like you’re doing something wrong if you feel good doing things for others. After all, isn’t that actually being selfish? I don’t know the psychology behind altruism, but if you make someone’s day a little bit better, who cares!

Spreading joy can actually create a virtuous cycle where the recipients of your favors might feel inclined to help others in return. Not only can you keep your value hierarchy in balance, but you’ll help others as well.

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What not to buy on Black Friday

An iPod



Apple’s portable media player is actually an excellent device, but has almost no reason for being. (The same goes for Sony’s Walkman and virtually any off-brand media player you can think of.) Your smartphone (iOS or Android) does everything an iPod can do and much more.

The only caveat here is if you pick one up for anyone under 12. Many feel children shouldn’t have phones, and an iPod satisfies virtually every other need, including photography, gaming, music, movies, TV and even social communication.

A cheap desktop PC

cheap desktop

There are some juicy deals out there, such as a $399 Windows 7 Dell box with 8GB of RAM and 1TB of storage.

I’m telling you, don’t buy it or systems like it.

There are a couple of red flags here. First, it’s a box! It’s also an Intel Core i3 system. Most of Intel’s CPUs are plenty strong and power efficient, but the i3 is best suited for word processing, light web browsing and not much else.

There are so many better system choices out there, including light, portable Chromebooks that cost $200, connect to the Internet and a host of online tools — even virtually unlimited storage.

If you’re out buying a computer this week, don’t accept anything less than a Core i5 and, if you can, save for a Core i7 and discrete graphics. (The offending systems doesn’t even mention graphics — never a good sign.)

A phone or tablet, if it’s 8GB of storage

You’ll see a lot of great deals for mobile devices, but if you don’t pay attention to storage space, you could end up frustrated later.

With the amount of HD content and 8-20-megapixel images (not to mention 43-megapixel panoramas we’re storing), you’ll burn through 8GB in no time. The bare minimum storage space for smartphones and tablets is 16GB. And if you can afford 32GB, get it. I know, Apple cut out that mid-tier, and that’s unfortunate, but other manufacturers still offer that option.

What not to buy on Black Friday

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Thanksgiving vs. Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday: What to Buy Each Day

If you can only shop on one day, choose Thanksgiving for the biggest variety of deals. But for some items, like iPhones or clothing, Black Friday or Cyber Monday will be better.

Black Friday sales

Black Friday is held up as the ultimate shopping day, but Thanksgiving actually offers more awesome deals. Of course, there are great sales to be found throughout the Black Friday season, with Cyber Monday deals adding their fair share of savings to the mix. However, if you’re looking for a specific type of product, it’s hard to know whether Thanksgiving, Black Friday, or Cyber Monday will give you the best chance to score that bargain.

Because most shoppers will be looking for deals on these three days specifically, we gathered data from the past three years of Thanksgivings, Black Fridays, and Cyber Mondays to determine which days offered the best sales on a given product category. From TVs to toys to tablets, we’ve got the skinny on when you’re most likely to find a killer price low. But before we get to the results, let’s discuss the amorphous blob of time that Black Friday has become.

Black Friday is a Season

Around this time of year, DealNews often refers to the “Black Friday season,” but it’s not mere marketing hype (at least, not entirely). We’ve been tracking the expansion of Black Friday for years, and can say with some certainty that these sales will last for nearly two weeks. Thanksgiving sales can start as early as the Monday before, Black Friday sales almost universally start on Thanksgiving, and we’ll begin seeing Cyber Monday sales on Saturday. In fact, Cyber Monday has become Cyber Week, with excellent offers still appearing as late as the Friday after Black Friday.

So as you’re reading the guide below, keep in mind that we’re discussing trends as opposed to hard and fast rules. The savvy shopper will keep an eye out for discounts throughout Black Friday week — no matter what the calendar says.

That said, on to the findings!

BF vs. TG vs. CM

Ditch the Turkey, Get the Deals

If you can only shop on one day this year, go shopping on Thanksgiving. Almost every product category we examined showed a higher concentration of deals on Turkey Day. This is especially true in the electronics and entertainment categories, where everything from hard drives to Blu-rays see steep discounts. In fact, about 51% of all the deals we listed on Thanksgiving last year were hot enough to be marked Editors’ Choice.

Of course, these Thanksgiving deals are really just early Black Friday deals. With many stores choosing to start Black Friday sales on Thursday, there’s little wonder that this holiday has become a shopper’s dream. If you’d rather linger over your pumpkin pie, rest assured that many of these sales will be live on Black Friday — even if the doorbusters are gone.

So what’s your Black Friday game plan? Will you concentrate your savings on a single day? Share your strategies in the comments below! And if you’re excited for Black Friday deals, consider subscribing to the DealNews Select Newsletter to get a daily recap of all our deals; you never know when a Black Friday price will be released! You can also download the DealNews app, check out the latest Black Friday ads, or read more buying advice.

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Greeting from, happy thanksgiving day!

thanksgiving day

Happy Thanksgiving Day!



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How to Make a Film on an iPhone – WOMP

Want to make a sweet film but the only camera you have is your iPhone? On this episode of “WOMP,” Kevin and his crew show you the pro’s and con’s you’ll face in producing your film on the iPhone. See what to look out for involving how to best utilize camera mounting, how to adjust your focal length, and how to get the best sound pickup on the iPhone and see the end product of what Kevin and his friends shot! Let us know in the comments what you think!

Some holders maybe help you:

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Types of twilight, dawn and dusk

Types of twilight, dawn and dusk.

Twilight is the time between darkness and sunrise in the morning, and sunset and complete darkness in the evening, when there is light outside, but the Sun is below the horizon. There are 3 types of twilight: civilnautical, and astronomical

Earth’s atmosphereMorning twilight ends with dawn, while twilight in the evening ends with dusk. A number of atmospheric phenomena and colors can be seen during twilight.

Twilight occurs when the Earth’s upper atmosphere scatters and reflects sunlight and illuminates the lower atmosphere.

Astronomers define twilight in the context of the Sun’s elevation with respect to the horizon (the angle that the geometric center of the Sun makes with the horizon). They also distinguish between 3 types of twilight, dawn and dusk based on this definition.

Civil twilight, civil dawn & civil dusk

Civil twilight occurs when the Sun is betwen 0° and 6° below the horizon. In the morning, civil twilight begins when the Sun is 6 degrees below the horizon and ends at sunrise, while in the evening, it begins at sunset and ends when the Sun reaches 6 degrees below the horizon.

Civil dawn begins when the geometric center of the Sun is 6° below the horizon and ends withsunrise, which is the moment when the Sun’s upper edge touches the horizon.

Similarly, civil dusk begins with sunset and ends when the geometrical center of the Sun goes 6° below the horizon. Sunset is the instant when the trailing edge of the Sun goes below the horizon.

Civil twilight is the brightest form of twilight. There is enough natural sunlight during this period that artificial light may not be required to carry out human activities. Only the most brightest celestial and space objects can be observed from Earth during civil twilight.

Several countries use this definition of civil twilight and civil dawn to make laws related to aviation, hunting, and the usage of headlights and street lamps.

In the United Kingdom, the time when everyone has to switch on their headlights is known as hours of darkness, which is 30 minutes before sunrise and after sunset.

Nautical twilight, nautical dawn & nautical dusk

Nautical twilight: Nautical twilight occurs when the geometrical center of the Sun is between 6° and 12° below the horizon. This twilight period is less bright than civil twilight and artificial light is generally required for human activities.

The term, nautical twilight, dates back to the time when sailors used the stars to navigate the seas. During this time, observers on Earth can easily see most stars.

Nautical dawn occurs when the Sun is 12° below the horizon during the morning.

Natutical dusk occurs when the Sun goes 12° below the horizon in the evening.

In addition to being important to navigation on the seas, nautical dawn and nautical twilight also has implications for the military in several countries. For example, the United States’ military uses nautical twilight, called begin morning nautical twilight (BMNT) and end of evening nautical twilight(EENT), to plan tactical operations.

Astronomical twilight, astronomical dawn & astronomical dusk

Astronomical twilight occurs when the Sun is between 12° and 18° below the horizon.

In the morning, the sky is completely dark before the onset of the astronomical twilight, and in the evening, the sky becomes completely dark at the end of astronomical twilight. Any celestial bodies that can be viewed by the naked eye can be observed in sky after the end of astronomical twilight.

Astronomical dawn is the time when the geometric center of the Sun is at 18° below the horizon. Before this time, the sky is absolutely dark.

Astronomical dusk is the instant when the geographical center of the Sun is at 18° below the horizon. After this point, the sky is no longer illumintaed.

Shorter twilight at the Equator

The length of twilight experienced by a location depends on its latitude. Equatorial and topical regions tend to have shorter twilights than locations on higher latitudes.

At higher latitudes, during the summer months, there may be no distinction between astronomical twilight after sunset and astronomical twilight before sunrise. This happens when the angle the Sun makes with the horizon – also known as the Solar Elevation Angle is less than 18 degrees during the local midnight.

Similarly, higher latitudes may experience an extended period of nautical twilight – if the Sun remains 12 degrees below the horizon throughout the night.

Twilight at the North and South Pole

For a few days before the Spring Equinox – the Poles do not have a nautical or astronomical twilight. Instead, the civil twilight in the evening extends up to the civil twilight in the morning. This is because the Sun is never below 6 degrees from the horizon. During this time the sky at the poles is illuminated throughout the night.

During the summer months, especially around the Summer Solstice, the North and South Poles experience extended several days with no twilight at all.

Similarly, a few days before the Fall Equinox the Poles experience no nautical or astronomical twilight and an extended period of civil twilight, that keeps the sky illuminated throughout the night.

As the days move towards the Winter Solstice, the Sun does not rise 6 degrees above the horizon. Because of this, for some days, the Poles do not have civil twilight, only an extended period of nautical twilight. Eventually, the Sun does not rise more than 12 degrees above the horizon, causing the Poles to experience only extended periods of astronomical twilight. Finally, after the Winter Solstice, the Sun does not rise at all i.e. it stays 18 degrees below the horizon leading the Poles to experience several months of darkness.

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Thanksgiving History – Turkey History

91fe4497ccb5ec1b6db80010aabc6e61Thanksgiving History – Turkey History.

The wild turkey (Meleagris gallopa) is native to North America and was a staple in the Native American diet. It was imported to Europe in the early part of the 16th century by the Spaniards via Turkey (the country.) It was confused in those early times with the Guinea fowl which also arrived via Turkey, and both birds were called turkeys in those days. When it was assigned its latin name in the 18th century, the name turkey still stuck. Native Americans called it peru with no reference to the country of the same name. 

Turkey was introduced to the early Pilgrim settlers by the Native American Wampanoag tribe after the Pilgrims arrived in 1620. The first year for the settlers was bleak, with many dying from the journey. Their seeds, aside from barley, did not produce any usable crops. The Indians assisted the settlers, introducing them to native foods such as corn and squash and showed them how to hunt and fish. The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621 at the behest of Governor William Bradford, and the Native Americans were invited guests of honor. 

Thanksgiving became an official holiday in the United States on October 3, 1863 via proclamation issued by President Abraham Lincoln. This was largely due to the lobbying efforts of Sarah Josepha Hale, editor of Godey’s Lady’s Magazinewho had lobbied for 17 years for the holiday. The proclamation declared the last Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day. 

By 1916, Thanksgiving was referred to in writings as Turkey Day due to the popularity of the bird at the traditional feast. 

Interestingly enough, in 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt attempted to move the official Thanksgiving date to earlier in November in order encourage a longer Christmas shopping season as a Depression recovery strategy. His idea was shut down by Congress, and the official date was declared permanently as the fourth Thursday in November via Public Law #379. 

The popularity of wild turkeys nearly wiped them out. The federal government stepped in with protection in 1991, and they are now found in 49 states. 

Turkey was most-associated with Thanksgiving and Christmas, making winter the prime season for turkey farmers. In 1935, the per capita consumption of turkey was only 1.7 pounds. 

Today, turkey has been recognized as a lean substitute for red meat. Aggressive marketing by turkey farmers by advertising and availability of parts rather than the necessity of cooking a whole bird has increased consumption to 20 pounds per person per year, with 74 percent of the consumption being in sliced turkey sandwiches. 

15% discount for you during Nov.21st to Dec.3rd:

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Dinner table


Plus: 3 stories of gratitude and generosity from StoryCorps

Sometime between the first bite of turkey and the last slice of pie, it’ll happen: a lull in the dinner conversation. What will you do next? If you’re breaking bread with acquaintances, you might turn small talk into smart conversation. But if you’re with family and friends and want to deepen the ties that bind, then try asking one of the following 10 questions around the table, as recommended by StoryCorps founder (and 2015 TED Prize winner) Dave Isay:

What are you grateful for?

What are you proudest of?

What’s been the happiest moment of your life so far?

What’s been the hardest moment of your life, and how did you get through it?

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life?

How would you describe yourself as a child? Were you happy?

Who has been kindest to you?

How do you want to be remembered?

If your great great grandchildren could listen to this years from now: is there any wisdom you’d want to pass on to them? What would you want them to know?

If you could honor one person in your life — living or dead — by listening to their story, who would that be, what would you ask them and why?

Need some inspiration first? Below, check out 3 stories of gratitude and thanksgiving, chosen by Dave Isay. For more stories from the heart, listen to these 7 unforgettable StoryCorps tales and read Ties That Bind: Stories of Love and Gratitude from the First Ten Years of StoryCorps.

“I put an ad in the local paper and offered to cook Thanksgiving dinner for twelve people.”
“Scott Macaulay remembers how, 25 years ago, he started an annual holiday dinner for strangers who have nowhere else to go.” Listen to his story.

“If we left, they wouldn’t have nobody.”
“In 2013, Maurice Rowland was working as a cook at Valley Springs Manor, an assisted living home for elderly residents in California. He got his friend Miguel Alvarez a job there as a janitor last fall. But in October of that year the company that managed the home suddenly shut it down, leaving many of the elderly residents with nowhere to go. The staff stopped being paid so they all left, except for Maurice and Miguel. At StoryCorps they remembered caring for abandoned residents until the fire department and sheriff took over three days later.” Listen to their story. 

“A good man”
“Bryan Wilmoth and his seven younger siblings were raised in a strict, religious home. At StoryCorps, Bryan talks with his brother Mike about what it was like to reconnect years after their dad kicked Bryan out for being gay.” Watch the animated story.


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