What We've Been Up To
Serial. Missing Richard Simmons. Lore. Podcasts are growing in popularity, providing entertainment and information for millions of people. Their topics range from real crime dramas to video game walkthroughs. With the wide range of audiences for podcasts, anyone can start one and join the vast network. But as with many writers who want to write a book and many entrepreneurs who want to start a business, the main question remains: Where do I start?
Making a podcast begins with one, simple, important point: your topic. You will want to choose something general enough to attract an audience yet narrow enough to focus your discussions. For example, if you’re interested in crime, maybe you’ll want to concentrate on unsolved crimes or serial killers. Consider the genre of your podcast and then the topic. This will come in handy later when you are categorizing it before publishing.
Next, you’ll want to decide on a format. Will you be working alone? Will you have a partner who shares the mic? Or maybe you will conduct interviews each episode. Going with our unsolved crime podcast hypothetical, perhaps you want to narrate a story for the first half of your episode and then interview someone connected with the case for the second half. Be sure to stick with your format most of the time, as your listeners will come to expect this format when they download future episodes. If you decide to change your format halfway through the season, make sure and alert your audience.
Now comes the actual monetary investment in your podcast project. You’ll want to make sure you have the right equipment for the job. This includes microphones, microphone screens, recording software, editing software and any other devices you may need for your episodes. If you want to have an opening and/or closing song or jingle, then have it pre-recorded on your computer. Editing is one of the most important aspects of producing a polished, professional podcast, so be prepared to spend a pretty penny on software.
Finally, you’ll be ready to publish. But it’s not as simple as uploading your episodes to YouTube. You’ll need a platform. You’ll need to contact a hosting service first and purchase bandwidth. Then that platform will help you upload your episodes to places like Stitcher, SoundCloud or iTunes. Podcasters should also create a website for their podcast, where listeners can stay up to date on info, discussions and releases. Once you’ve done all that, you’re ready to develop a real following.
Click image to see a larger version.
The issues of pollution and global warming have a lot of people concerned about Earth. Will the planet even be inhabitable by the next century? What would humans do if sea levels continued to rise, animals kept going extinct and the air became more and more toxic? Many people, including scientists, point to the stars. NASA and other space agencies around the globe put a lot of time and effort into searching for Earth-like planets throughout the galaxy. They also work on technology that may one day be able to produce an artificial atmosphere so that an uninhabitable planet, like our close friend Mars, could become a new colony for humans. But what exactly would we need in order to move from Mother Earth and settle down on another planet?
It isn’t entirely unreasonable to think that humans could one day live on a different planet like Earth. In fact, scientists have already discovered a near clone of Earth far, far away. 8.2 quadrillion miles, to be exact, meaning it would take humans 26 million years to even reach it. The planet was named Kepler 452b, and it’s been confirmed that the planet has the same makeup as Earth, including an oxygen-rich atmosphere and a molten core. The main problem is that we would need light-speed travel to get there, and the scientific jury is still out on if that could ever be possible.
Many astronomers point to our red neighbor, Mars, which is actually quite dangerous as it is, considering it has no magnetosphere to protect from the sun’s radiation and no oxygen in its atmosphere. Some scientists believe Mars is hiding frozen, fresh water deep beneath its surface, but more excavation would be necessary. In fact, a lot of things would have to happen to make Mars livable, including: a new atmosphere or constant oxygen tanks/tents for humans, decontaminated soil rich with nutrients from Earth, suits made from radiation protection fabric and pressurized habitats with individual heating sources.
The desire for exploration propels mankind into space, but unfortunately so does the fear of extinction. Earth will not last forever, whether it is destroyed by its own inhabitants or by time itself. The search for inhabitable planets and new, life-sustaining technology may become necessary for the continuation of the human race.
Click image to see a larger version.
We’re all told that adding more fresh fruits and vegetables to our diets can help us lead healthier, disease-free lives. But nothing is worse than looking in the fridge or pantry days after grocery shopping and finding rotten fruits, moldy vegetables and — worst of all — a ton of money down the drain.
The fact is there is a science to storing fruits and vegetables. Each one has its own unique needs when it comes to factors like water, sunlight and containment. The spectrum is wide, too.
Cucumbers, for example, should be stored in the fridge with a damp cloth wrapped around them while potatoes can last weeks in a cool, dry, dark pantry.
There are some foods that should never be wet when storing, like strawberries, which can easily grow mold. However, keeping celery stalks cut and in water preserves them for a longer period of time.
Tomatoes, bananas, oranges and plums can be left out on a counter at room temperature. But leave out cherries and you’ll be tossing a bunch of squishy globs of mold in a few days’ time. Even herbs have different storing needs, depending on the type. Leafy herbs like mint, parsley and basil should be kept in a damp paper towel in the fridge. Woody herbs like thyme, lavender and oregano should stay in separate sealed containers to maintain their aromas.
It’s no secret that Americans are notorious for wasting food. Some estimates say almost half of the food grown, processed and transported in the U.S. goes to waste. When you store your fruits and vegetables correctly, not only are you saving yourself some green, but you’re helping the planet stay a little greener, too.
Click image to see a larger version.
Healthcare is quite the hot button issue in the U.S. these days. There is a lot of talk about reforming the health insurance industry, affordable insurance rates and what the overall healthcare system in America should look like. At the heart of all the legal back-and-forth is a question that not many people ask: just how healthy (or unhealthy) are Americans? When thinking about healthcare as general support for someone’s well-being, it’s important to know the facts about health statistics in the U.S.
Preventive care is a large part of why many Americans think healthcare is the most important issue facing us today. The more access someone has to regular checkups and early screenings, the more likely it is that they’ll lead healthier lives as they age. Preventing disease is much cheaper than treating it, and catching things like cancer early means longer life expectancy.
Viewing accessible, affordable healthcare as a way to prevent things like heart disease — America’s No. 1 killer — and cancer have the potential to change what type of care we think all citizens should have access to. The U.S. certainly isn’t the healthiest nation in the world, with almost 50% of adults suffering from a chronic illness; and many countries have higher life expectancy rates than we do. However, we all know knowledge is power, and statistics show that a lot of disease in the U.S. comes from preventable causes, like smoking, obesity and substance abuse.
Click image to see larger version.