Botox Facts

Botox injections are used for a variety of medical reasons, but can also be used cosmetically. When the drug is injected under the skin, it acts as a muscle relaxer by blocking nerve transmission in the face. This procedure can reduce the sagging, fine lines, and wrinkles that are associated with aging. There are a few things, however, which can interfere with the effectiveness of the procedure. Keeping these facts in mind will help you to achieve the best possible results.

Age is a Factor

Botox injections are most effective for patients under the age of forty. If you’re over 40, the injections will still work, but they will be less effective and it will take longer to achieve your desired results. Once you’ve reached this age, you begin to lose fat in your face. The fine lines and wrinkles that you’re seeing are no longer due to muscle tension, but to actually tissue loss, which cannot be reversed with this drug. A series of injections will still add youth to your appearance, but may not be able to completely eliminate fine lines and wrinkles.

Keep Side Effects in Mind

While many patients experience no side effects from an injection series, others develop headaches or feel nauseous after receiving their shots. Before you have a series of injections, you should be sure that you’re not allergic to the drug. Those who are allergic may experience respiratory difficulties after a shot series. Be sure to inform your cosmetic surgeon of any other medications that you’re taking, so that he can check for drug interactions. A drug interaction or allergic reaction can be life threatening, so it’s important that your doctor is aware of your allergies and medications.

The Procedure is Temporary

When you elect to have Botox injections, you should be aware that the procedure is temporary. A series of shots generally lasts four to five months; after this, you’ll need to make another appointment and repeat the procedure. Regular injections will help to ensure continued results, whether you’re having the procedure for cosmetic or medical reasons.

These injections aren’t only used for cosmetic purposes. If you experience migraines, chronic pain, or cervical dystonia, you may also be eligible for the injections. Depressed patients, those with overactive bladders, and men with prostate issues may also gain relief from their symptoms through these injections. If you struggle with these issues, consult your doctor to see if Botox is right for you.

What is Bluetooth?

Bluetooth technology specifies a two-way, short-range radio link that enables communication between PCs, mobile phones, PDAs, and other computing, electronic, and home theatre equipment. With Bluetooth, you can easily synchronize contact or calendar data between a PDA and laptop, talk on a hands-free phone, or print without cables. It is a cable replacement technology like infrared, but offers many advantages over infrared.

The Bluetooth specification focuses on keeping costs low, power consumption minimal, and the size small. Its low power consumption means it can be used in battery-powered devices. Bluetooth offers faster data rates and greater   transmission  distances compared with infrared and there are no line-of-site restrictions. It operates at the 2.4 GHz radio frequency, ensuring worldwide operability.

History

Bluetooth is named after a 10th century Danish king, Harald Blatand (Harld Bluetooth) who was known for uniting warring groups in current-day Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. It was originally developed by Ericsson, but is now managed by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG).

The Bluetooth SIG is an industry group with members from the telecommunications, computing, and chip manufacturing industries. To date over 2000 companies are members. The Bluetooth SIG oversees a qualification program to ensure compliance with the standard and interoperability with other Bluetooth devices. Any device bearing the Bluetooth logo has successfully completed interoperability testing.

Technical Details

Speed: The gross data rate supported by Bluetooth is 1 Mbps. Actual data rates are 432 kbps for full-duplex and 721 kbps for asymmetric  transmission .

Frequency: Bluetooth uses the unlicensed ISM (Industrial, Scientific, and Medical) band at 2.4 GHz. In most countries, this band is available. In a few countries it is reserved for military use, but even these countries are moving to make the band available for general use. Because Bluetooth shares the same frequency range as 802.11b WLAN products, these two technologies cannot operate in the same space under some conditions.

Security: Bluetooth is designed to be as secure as wire using authentication and 128-bit encryption. Applications can also build their own security on top of the Bluetooth connection.

 Transmission  distance: Bluetooth’s typical range is up to 10m. The range depends on the radio power class used. A class 2 radio has a typical range of 10m. More powerful classes support longer ranges and have higher output powers. Most devices use a class 2 radio and mobile devices, like mobile phones, where low power consumption is crucial, can only use a class 2 radio.

Architecture: With Bluetooth, up to 8 devices can be connected simultaneously. A piconet is the term for a collection of Bluetooth devices connected in an ad hoc fashion. All devices are peer units, but one device acts as a master and the other slaves for the duration of the piconet connection. Each piconet can support up to 3 full-duplex voice devices. Within a 10m area, there can be up to 10 piconets.

Applications

Bluetooth is becoming the preferred wireless technology in the WPAN (Wireless Personal Area Network). Personal applications include:

– Users can connect PCs to transfer files.

– Workers can collaborate on the same document using Microsoft NetMeeting.

– Users can connect to a printer without cables.

– Users can synchronize data between a handheld PDA and laptop.

– Users can listen to music via a wireless headset.

– Users can talk on their mobile phone with a wireless headset.

– Users can connect their laptops to the internet using their mobile phone’s GPRS or UMTS network.

Issues about Scabies Rash

Scabies rash can be identified only if it is accompanied by other symptoms of scabies. If you have a severe, persistent rash that doesn’t seem to ease up it might be caused by infestation with scabies mites. Scabies rash is characterized through itching and soreness and it tends to intensify at night. Scabies rash may also become very irritated after taking a hot shower or bath. If the skin appears to be blistery and scratched and the presence of small burrows is revealed on the surface of the skin, it is a possible sign of scabies rash and appropriate dermatological treatment is required.

An overwhelming number of 300 million people worldwide are diagnosed with scabies each year. Scabies can be very easily acquired by simply touching a contaminated person. Although scabies is very contagious, scabies rash can’t be transmitted from a person to another. Scabies rash usually occurs when the body develops allergic reactions to scabies mites and their feces. The only contagious aspect of scabies involves the mite infestation. If the mites responsible for causing scabies are transmitted to a person, they will quickly infest the skin and the symptoms of scabies will occur within a few days. Scabies mites can be acquired through direct contact with an infested person or by touching or wearing contaminated clothes or personal items. Scabies mites can live without their human hosts for about 3 days and therefore they can easily contaminate bed sheets, clothes, towels, etc.

The main cause of scabies in people is contamination with a particular type of mite, called Sarcoptes scabiei var. hominis. This microscopic mite lives only on the bodies of human hosts and an infected person can spread it to hundreds of other persons.

It is important to note that scabies rash, just like other scabies symptoms, doesn’t occur due to improper hygiene. Although in the past, when the true nature of scabies wasn’t completely understood, people considered scabies rash to be the consequence of poor hygiene, today the cause of scabies rash is clear to most people. It is true that scabies occurs mostly to people from the lower classes of society, but this has nothing to do with hygiene. The factors that facilitate the   transmission  of scabies are overcrowding and situations that involve a lot of physical contact (factory workers). Hygiene can neither facilitate the occurrence of scabies, nor prevent it.

The most common symptoms of scabies are inflammation, discomfort, pain, swelling of the skin, pustules, burrows, nodules. However, the most intense of all seems to be the scabies rash. This symptom of scabies occurs as a result of allergic reactions to the mites’ feces, secretions, eggs and larvae.

Scabies rash is among the first symptoms that occur and it is usually the last one to disappear. Even if the condition is appropriately treated with topical medications, scabies rash may persist for another few weeks! This is due to the fact that even after they die, the mites remain under the skin and continue to produce allergies that cause scabies rash. The mites’ secretions contain substances that are toxic to the human body. However, there are ways of easing the itch, soreness and pain characteristic to scabies rash. Dermatologists usually prescribe hydrocortisone and antihistamine along with the treatment for scabies. These topical medications are usually in the form of creams, gels and ointments and they ameliorate scabies rash. However, if the scabies rash persists and even intensifies after a few weeks, it is a sign that the mite infestation hasn’t been eradicated and the treatment needs to be repeated.

Why Are Metals Good Conductors?

Different metals are often employed for various applications because they are known for being good conductors of both heat and electricity. All of the appliances that we find in our homes and workplaces, such as kettles and computers, use metal for one reason or another. But why are they such good conductors? How does it all work?

Generally, atoms will tightly hold onto their electrons, not allowing them to move very much (if at all). In metal, however, atoms hold onto their electrons more loosely, allowing some of them to even be free moving. This is because the electrons form a metallic bond of sorts with each other, creating a moving sea vibrating electrons. They drift aimlessly through the metal, helping to give it it’s various properties, including strength.

Electrical conductivity

This term refers to a metal’s ability to conduct an electrical current, such as in a refrigerator or television. The outer electrons of the atoms are loosely bonded and are free to move through the material. When an electrical current is applied to a metal, it causes the free moving electrons to flow, which allows the current to pass through and be moved on.

Thermal conductivity

This term, on the other hand, refers to a metal’s ability to conduct heat, such as in a toaster or heater. The electrons nearest the heat source begin to warm up, causing them to vibrate fairly fast. In colliding with the cooler, slower moving electrons around them, the hot electrons transmit this heat energy on. Metal is such a good conductor of heat because their electrons are packed so closely together, allowing the vibrations to be passed on very quickly.

Metals are quite often cool to the touch, causing many people to believe that they are actually good conductors of cold, not heat. This, however, is a common misconception – metals are able to quickly absorb heat from their surfaces, including from human skin. It is this loss of heat that causes metal surfaces to feel cold underneath our hands.

When people ask why metals are good conductors of both heat and electricity, the short answer is because of the way their electrons are able to freely move around. To fully get into the specifics of how each element is effectively conducted by different alloys, you would probably have to attend physics classes in order to understand the processes. Having a basic understanding, however, should be enough to show why metal is so useful.

A Fragile Lifeline: Lessons I Learned Answering The Aids Hotline

Dial 1-800/AIDSNYC

Every Monday and Wednesday morning, promptly at 10 a.m., I leave behind

my daily life and turn to volunteering as an AIDS Hotline counselor at New York

City’s GMHC [Gay Men’s Health Crisis], the nation’s largest social service

agency for AIDS.

For the next four hours, my co-volunteers and I sit in front of a bank of

constantly-ringing telephones, talking to men, women, and teens who call in

from across the nation with urgent questions about AIDS, the ravaging disease

that has left 13.9 million people dead worldwide.

After almost 20 years, a whole generation, families are still facing the

heartache of tending the sick, while scientists continue to be confounded by

this stubborn, ravaging virus.

Although the federal government currently spends$4 billion per year on

AIDS research, and $15 billion worldwide, there is no cure in sight for the viral

infection and no vaccine available. Small wonder that the GMHC AIDS Hotline,

the nation’s first, is flooded with more than 40,000 calls each year.

Listening to callers 8 hours each week, I often think the Hotline is actually a

direct link to the soul of callers–an anonymous forum that allows each to

reveal secrets and fears that they might otherwise never discuss with anyone.

A Morning in May

This is the way it began: “Good morning, GMHC AIDS Hotline, can I help

you?”

“Yes…I have a question…[hesitantly] My son…he’s 21…and he just found

out…he’s HIV-positive [voice breaking] I’m…..alone, divorced. And I need some

help…someone to talk to…”

“Of course….happy to talk to you…it sounds like this has been devastating

for you….”

“It’s terrible. He told me two nights ago….he’s…he’s so young….I don’t

want him to die. He’s my only child….why did this have to happen?” [crying]

Her son, she explains, had sometimes neglected using condoms, convinced

he wouldn’t contract HIV infection from his female partners.

“How could he be so stupid?” she now asks angrily. “Why didn’t he know

how to protect himself? I don’t understand. What am I going to do?”

We talk for 35 minutes, and by the end of the conversation, I notice I’m

barely breathing. The distraught woman’s anguish is palpable. Her situation is

every mother’s worst nightmare.The life of her child is in jeopardy and she

feels helpless and afraid. I can’t imagine anything worse.

During the call, I do my best to employ the GMHC Hotline protocol of “active

listening,” which involves using silence, empathy and gentle probing with

open-ended questions. I’m also having my own emotional reaction to the panic

in her voice, and I’m worried about whether I’m doing enough.

Toward the end of the clal, when she exclaims: “I don’t want my baby to

die,” my heart plummets: “I know….I understand that, but there is hope,” I tell

her. I find myself on the verge of tears.

The Bad News

This mother’s story is too common. According to the Centers for Disease

Control in Atlanta, Ga., 40,000 Americans (half of them under 25) are newly

infected with the AIDS virus each year. Unprotected sex and intravenous drug

use remain the principal modes of   transmission .

“Teenagers,” notes AIDS activist Elizabeth Taylor, “are being very hard hit.”

She refers to the three million adolescents who contract a sexually-transmitted

disease annually.

“Heterosexual teenage football players who are healthy and drink milk can

get it too!” says the 71-year-old actress, who has singlehandedly raised $150

million for AIDS research. “But teens are very ignorant and feel invincible. They

believe there’s an invisible shield protecting them from the virus, when it’s

actually aimed right at them.”

Taylor believes in addressing the problem head-on: “Tell your teenage son:

‘Maybe a condom doesn’t feel as good, but if it saves your life, it’s better than

being six feet under.’ Intelligence must replace random sex.”

Although a new generation of AIDS-fighting medications is prolonging the

lives of thousands, nearly half of the 900,000 people infected with HIV in the

U.S. cannot afford these drugs. Since the virus was discovered in l981, 410,800

Americans have died from AIDS-related complications, and the disease has left

13.9 million dead worldwide.

Who Calls a Hotline?

Not long ago I took a call from a 15-year-old boy living in a small town who

said he feels guilty about his sexual attraction to other boys and is scared to

discuss this with his parents. I ask him if there’s a school counselor or relative

he might talk to, but he says he’s too afraid to confide in anyone.

Being a teenager is hard enough, I thought, without the pressure of

keeping this kind of secret. I felt angry and saddened that this child can’t

comfortably discuss his feelings with his own parents.

I encourage him to call the Gay Community Center Youth Program in a

nearby city. In the meantime, I assured him that he could call our Hotline

anytime, that we’d be there for him.

This call was typical of the many we get from teenagers,whispering from

their parents’ homes, confiding their blossoming sexual feelings and concerns.

Our Hotline also receives calls from married men who phone from their offices,

worried about extramarital sexual encounters; gay men suffering side effects

from medications; mothers caring for a sick child or grieving for one lost to

AIDS; even health care professionals themselves confused and requiring

burnout support.

One particular morning, I’m struck by the number of single women who

turn to our hotline for help. At 10:15 a.m. a distraught young woman calls,

explaining that she had been dating someone “very charismatic,” after a two-

year period of sexual abstinence.

“At first we used condoms and I was taking the pill to avoid pregnancy,” she

says. But after her partner assured her he was HIV-negative, the couple began

having unprotected sex. A few months into the relationship, she recounts, his

behavior became “unpredictable,” until he finally admitted he was sleeping with

other women and was addicted to heroin. Now she has to withstand the

“terror” of waiting 3 months before getting an HIV antibody test. To help her

cope, I give her the names of three terapists in her area. The call lasts 43

minutes.

At 11:15 a.m. I take a call from a woman who is breathing heavily.

She says that four months earlier she’d had a brief affair with a limousine

driver, “not out of passion, but because I felt lonely. This was so totally unlike

me,” she continues. “I come from a traditional Orthodox Jewish family…”

Although they used condoms, and she has since tested negative for HIV, she

feels deeply ashamed, and has stopped seeing him. And because she has both

a persistent vaginal yeast infection and a rash on her neck, she’s convinced she

must be infected by HIV.

Although rashes, high fever, swollen lymph glands, heavy night sweats, sore

throat, or other flu-like symptoms may indicate HIV, they can just as easily

accompany the common cold or flu, or other type of infection. I encourage her

to seek medical help and counseling, but the calls ends on a down note. “I

must have it [AIDS],” she moans. I’m exasperated because it doesn’t sound

that way to me, yet I can’t get through to her. The call lasts 22 minutes.

It’s 11.38 a.m. when a well-spoken woman, who says she’s an attorney,

calls from her office, asking for the names of anonymous testing sites. At first

very businesslike, she calmly takes down all the information. I ask her why

she’s considering a test. Total silence. Then she begins to cry: “I….I can’t

talk….I’m sorry…you see, I have swollen lymph glands….[crying]….And my

doctor wants to rule out HIV…I feel overwhelmed…” Then, abruptly: “Where

can I send a donation?” She thanks me and hurries off the phone after just 3

minutes.

These were one-time callers, but, as in any epidemic, an element of panic

prevails, and our hotline also attracts an army of “chronic” or repeat callers

who are intensely fearful no matter how benign their risk, many revealing

continued misconceptions and paranoia about a disease that can be effectively

prevented. We do our best to help them, but often they’re impervious to

counseling.

Most poignant are calls we get from AIDS patients, phoning from their

hospital beds, attempting to navigate the exhausting labyrinth of insurance

and health care matters. One man, in hospice care, said he craved

companionship and missed the “good old days” when he was handsome and

healthy.

That call was a tough one for me as just the day before a close friend of

mine, Joe, who had battled HIV for 16 years, had finally succumbed. Although

at the end Joe was a mere skeleton, he was nonetheless at peace. “I’ve done

what I wanted to,” he told me on our last visit. An avid gardener, he insisted

on a final trip to his country house to see his garden one last time. For a

moment the caller’s reality and the memory of my deceased friend blurred in

my mind and I was overcome. Time for a break.

Face to Face

One of the most and unique services GMHC offers is called “A-Team

Counseling,” a one-time, in-person session that’s free and anonymous.

Recently, I was on an A-Team counselling a 26-year-old HIV-infected

mother from the Midwest. She had traveled to Manhattan by bus to find her

estranged boyfriend, who, she recounted tearfully, had kidnapped her 7-year-

old son. Disheveled, painfully thin, the woman was a disturbing sight. She’s

learned that the two had already returned home where the boyfriend was, and

the child put in his grandmother’s custory. custody of his grandmother.

Meanwhile she’d run out of money for the return trip, been refused a loan by

her family, lost her ID, gone hungry and spent two nights on the street.

Fortunately, this woman was registered at a local AIDS organization in her

town. I telephoned her caseworker and persuaded him to buy her a one-way

Greyhound bus ticket for $115.00. I also gave her subway tokens, a basket of

food, juice and coffee. Smiling shyly, she thanked me for caring.

Shaking hands good-bye with this woman was a bittersweet farewell. What

will happen to her? I wondered will her health deteriorate or improve? Will she

gain control of her life and be able to provide for her son? I’ll never know. One

thing I do know: She’d appeared with the sorrow of a difficult life in her eyes,

but when she left, she was elated at the thought of being reunited with her

child. It seems that with faith and a helping hand, almost anything is possible.

* * * * *

10 BIGGEST MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT AIDS AND HIV

(This list would probably be most effective when presented in a vertical chart,

the misconception on the left, the correct answer on the right.)

1)The AIDS virus can be transmitted through saliva, sweat, tears, urine or feces;

also through deep kissing.

1) HIV can ONLY be transmitted through four bodily fluids: blood, semen,

vaginal secretions and breast milk–and can also be transmitted from a mother

to her child before birth, during birth, or while breast feeding. The exchange

of saliva through kissing is no-risk, unless the saliva has blood in it and both

you and your partner are bleeding in the mouth simultaneously.

2) HIV may also be transmitted through casual contact with an infected person.

2) You can’t get infected from toilet seats, phones or water fountains. The virus

can’t be transmitted in the air through sneezing or coughing. You can’t get

HIV from sharing utensils or food or from touching, or hugging. HIV dies after

being exposed to the air. Therefore, touching dried blood on a shaving blade, a

toothbrush or a bathroom counter top is no risk. In any case, unbroken skin is

impermeable, like a rubber raincoat, and cannot absorb the virus whether it’s

alive or dead.

Blood transfusions and medical procedures in the U.S. are safe. Giving blood is

completely risk-free. The chance of getting HIV from dentists or other health

care providers is too low even to measure.You can’t get it from mosquitoes or

other insect or animal bites.

3) Oral sex is just as risky as vaginal or anal intercourse.

3) Although not 100% risk-free, oral sex is considered a low-risk

activity,except if: you have bleeding gums, recent dental work, open sores such

as a herpes lesion, any cut, blister, or burn in the mouth, or if you’ve just

brushed or flossed your teeth. Also, oral sex with an infected woman is riskier

if she is having her period, since menstrual blood can contain HIV. Overall,

latex barriers, (such as condoms or dental dams) used during oral sex reduce

the  transmission  of not just HIV, but other sexual transmitted diseases.

4) Animal skin, latex and polyurethane condoms are all equally effective in

preventing HIV infection and you can use ANY lubrication on the condom

desired.

4)Only latex or polyurethane condoms may be used, as HIV can pass through

an animal skin condom. With latex condoms, only water-based lubricants–like

K-Y jelly or H-R jelly–may be used. No lubricants with oil, alcohol, or grease

are safe.Petroleum jelly,Vaseline, Crisco, mineral oil, baby oil, massage oil,

butter and most hand creams can weaken the condom and cause it to split.

However, with polyurethane condoms, petroleum-based lubricants can be

used.

5) Women have to rely on men using condoms during intercourse to protect

themselves against HIV.

5) Women may employ the “female condom,” a plastic sheath that can be

inserted in their vaginas and used for protection against HIV. It can be inserted

up to 8 hours before sex, has rings at both ends to hold it in place and can be

lubricated with oil-based lubricants that stay wet longer. In addition, women

can carry conventional condoms for their male partners’ use.

6) If a woman is HIV-positive, her offspring will automatically be born infected

with HIV.

6) With no medical treatment taken, about 25% of HIV-positive women will

give birth to infants who are also infected. However, the use of anti-HIV

medications has resulted in a significant decrease of mother-to-child

 transmission  of HIV in utero and during delivery to less than 5%. (NYT 10/19/

99].

7) AIDS is fundamentally a gay disease contracted by white males.

7) Recent data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

indicate that young gay Hispanic and African-American men and heterosexual

women are the fastest growing segment of the population being infected with

HIV. Women now account for 43% of all HIV infected people over age 15. [NYT

11/24/98] African-American and Hispanic women account for more than 76%

of AIDS cases among women in the U.S.

8) Heterosexual men are not really at risk for contracting HIV, even if they

don’t use condoms.

8) The inside opening of the penis is composed of highly-absorbent, sponge-

like mucous membrane tissues, which can provide a route for HIV-infected

vaginal secretions or blood to enter the bloodstream. Proper condom use

protects men from infection.

9) The AIDS epidemic is largely over because new AIDS medications like

protease inhibitors and others have turned AIDS into a chronic, not a terminal

disease.

9) In the U.S., AIDS is the fifth leading cause of death for people 25-44 years

old. Roughly half of all those infected with HIV in the U.S. are not receiving any

medications or medical care. AIDS now kills more people worldwide than any

other infection, including malaria and tuberculosis.[NYT 11/24/98] In 1998

alone, 2.5 million people died of AIDS worldwide. 13.9 million people have

died since the virus was discovered in 1981.

10) If you think you’ve been exposed to HIV through unprotected sex, you can

take an HIV antibody test 2 weeks later and get an accurate result.

10) The standard “window” or waiting period remains a full 3 months. However,

because the widely-used HIV antibody tests (The ELISA and Western Blot) have

become so sensitive, about 95% of people will procure an accurate result 4-6

weeks after a possible exposure to the virus.

* * * *

[Note:The information stated above was reviewed for medical accuracy by Dr.

Todd J. Yancey, an infectious disease specialist practicing in New York City and

affiliated with New York Presbyterian Hospital, NY, Cornell Campus.]

THE CHILD LIFE PROGRAM

“Mommy takes a lot of medicine and Mommy’s really tired sometimes and she

can’t take you to the park as much as she used to. It’s not that I don’t love

you…and that I don’t want to…but Uncle Jack’s going to take you to the park

today.” –A mother living with AIDS, a client at GMHC, talking to her 6-year-

old son.

In New York City alone, 28,000 children have been orphaned by AIDS since the

epidemic began [NYT 12/13/98]

GMHC’s unique Child Life Program serves HIV-infected parents and their

children–who may, or may not, be infected with the virus. “We help families

strengthen their ability to cope, relieve the pressure of parenting with support

services, and teach parents how to talk to their kids,” says Child Life Program

Coordinator Alison Ferst. “Unfortunately, should a parent or child be sick

enough to be facing death, we also help them walk through it with grace and

dignity—as opposed to feeling alone, isolated and frightened.

“We also encourage sick parents to make stable legal plans for their

children who may be left behind,” adds Ferst, “and to have disclosure

conversations with the children in advance, so you don’t have a child standing

at her mother’s funeral, not sure where she’s going next.”

When an HIV-infected Mom arrives at GMHC to have lunch, attend a support

group, consult with a lawyer, or access the acupuncture clinic, she can leave

her children in a spacious playroom, decorated with fanciful murals and a giant

tree hand-painted by the famed children’s story writer and illustrator, Maurice

Sendak, who donated his art. [see photos] The program provides: child-

sitting, nutrition services, a food pantry, art and magic classes, and

recreational trips–church picnics, seasonal apple-pumpkin picking,

amusement parks, zoos, museums, beaches. Also: homework help sessions,

holiday parties, hospital visits, summer sports and weekly support groups for

HIV- positive parents and their HIV-negative children.

This unique program also features: Cooking classes for kids who sometimes

prepare meals for sick parents; Pediatric Buddies, GMHC adult volunteers who

play with sick children and also assist with family chores; Fun With Feelings

Support Group, Friday Evening Family Time, Birthday parties, and a Holiday Gift

Drive.

“Children infected or affected by AIDS,” concludes Ferst, “want to be like

other kids: They want to play with their friends, want to know that someone

will always take care of them, want to know they’re not alone, and often

wonder if it’s their fault when Mom or Dad gets sick.” These children need a

helping hand and any of us can provide one.

What Is an Investment?

One of the reasons many people fail, even very woefully, in the game of investing is that they play it without understanding the rules that regulate it. It is an obvious truth that you cannot win a game if you violate its rules. However, you must know the rules before you will be able to avoid violating them. Another reason people fail in investing is that they play the game without understanding what it is all about. This is why it is important to unmask the meaning of the term, ‘investment’. What is an investment? An investment is an income-generating valuable. It is very important that you take note of every word in the definition because they are important in understanding the real meaning of investment.

From the definition above, there are two key features of an investment. Every possession, belonging or property (of yours) must satisfy both conditions before it can qualify to become (or be called) an investment. Otherwise, it will be something other than an investment. The first feature of an investment is that it is a valuable – something that is very useful or important. Hence, any possession, belonging or property (of yours) that has no value is not, and cannot be, an investment. By the standard of this definition, a worthless, useless or insignificant possession, belonging or property is not an investment. Every investment has value that can be quantified monetarily. In other words, every investment has a monetary worth.

The second feature of an investment is that, in addition to being a valuable, it must be income-generating. This means that it must be able to make money for the owner, or at least, help the owner in the money-making process. Every investment has wealth-creating capacity, obligation, responsibility and function. This is an inalienable feature of an investment. Any possession, belonging or property that cannot generate income for the owner, or at least help the owner in generating income, is not, and cannot be, an investment, irrespective of how valuable or precious it may be. In addition, any belonging that cannot play any of these financial roles is not an investment, irrespective of how expensive or costly it may be.

There is another feature of an investment that is very closely related to the second feature described above which you should be very mindful of. This will also help you realise if a valuable is an investment or not. An investment that does not generate money in the strict sense, or help in generating income, saves money. Such an investment saves the owner from some expenses he would have been making in its absence, though it may lack the capacity to attract some money to the pocket of the investor. By so doing, the investment generates money for the owner, though not in the strict sense. In other words, the investment still performs a wealth-creating function for the owner/investor.

As a rule, every valuable, in addition to being something that is very useful and important, must have the capacity to generate income for the owner, or save money for him, before it can qualify to be called an investment. It is very important to emphasize the second feature of an investment (i.e. an investment as being income-generating). The reason for this claim is that most people consider only the first feature in their judgments on what constitutes an investment. They understand an investment simply as a valuable, even if the valuable is income-devouring. Such a misconception usually has serious long-term financial consequences. Such people often make costly financial mistakes that cost them fortunes in life.

Perhaps, one of the causes of this misconception is that it is acceptable in the academic world. In financial studies in conventional educational institutions and academic publications, investments – otherwise called assets – refer to valuables or properties. This is why business organisations regard all their valuables and properties as their assets, even if they do not generate any income for them. This notion of investment is unacceptable among financially literate people because it is not only incorrect, but also misleading and deceptive. This is why some organisations ignorantly consider their liabilities as their assets. This is also why some people also consider their liabilities as their assets/investments.

It is a pity that many people, especially financially ignorant people, consider valuables that consume their incomes, but do not generate any income for them, as investments. Such people record their income-consuming valuables on the list of their investments. People who do so are financial illiterates. This is why they have no future in their finances. What financially literate people describe as income-consuming valuables are considered as investments by financial illiterates. This shows a difference in perception, reasoning and mindset between financially literate people and financially illiterate and ignorant people. This is why financially literate people have future in their finances while financial illiterates do not.

From the definition above, the first thing you should consider in investing is, “How valuable is what you want to acquire with your money as an investment?” The higher the value, all things being equal, the better the investment (though the higher the cost of the acquisition will likely be). The second factor is, “How much can it generate for you?” If it is a valuable but non income-generating, then it is not (and cannot be) an investment, needless to say that it cannot be income-generating if it is not a valuable. Hence, if you cannot answer both questions in the affirmative, then what you are doing cannot be investing and what you are acquiring cannot be an investment. At best, you may be acquiring a liability.