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INTERESTING THINGS FOR YOU AT NIGHT PART 2 + 3 (ULTIMATE EXPANSION)
Japan Video Games Blog
TO THOSE WHO DON'T WANT THEIR WORK PROMOTED
We're not making money off the site, nor are we publishing anything to other places through feedburner claiming that it's our work, just a hobby of finding cool things around the internet, that's all. Sometimes we copy and paste too quickly and a link giving you credit doesn't appear, if that's the case and you DO want your work promoted, we will add in the backlink, we would love to give credit where credit is due!
Please contact me or drop a comment on any posts you guys don't want up and I'll take it off within 24 hours, thanks!
Friday, April 4, 2008
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The first part of this eCourse involves you really understanding the power
The way it works is simply this:
Thoughts -> Emotions -> (Thoughts + Emotions) -> Actions.
"To see a thing clearly in the mind makes it begin to take form." - Henry Ford
"Men are not prisoners of fate, but prisoners of their own minds." - Franklin D. Roosevelt
Learning is merely a component of life, like the limbs of the human body. We can learn a lot from others, but some things in life must be experienced to be truly understood. Below you will find a list of 10 such things, the things we all must figure out for ourselves.
If you hold a cat by the tail you learn things
you cannot learn any other way.
- Mark Twain
- Love – There is no official guide for falling in love, falling out of love, or dealing with the emotional intricacies of love. Love cannot be taught and it certainly cannot be forced. Love is an instinctual feeling, a powerful sentiment, one we will all find under different circumstances and must each figure out for ourselves.
- Friendship – Some personalities simply click and others clash. Just like love, friendship is a natural process that cannot be forced. Other people can select our acquaintances for us, but over time we will find true friendship on our own. When the conversations are comfortable and relaxed and a mutual feeling of trust is apparent, true friendship has been found.
- Loss – At some point each one of us will experience a loss in life. It could be the death of a loved one, the devastation of personal belongings, or a vicious rejection in our career. Each of us is going to naturally deal with loss in our own unique manner, some taking more time to reflect on it than others. While suggestions can be made, we must figure it out for ourselves, morn if necessary, and move on when we are ready.
- The Short vs. Long Catch-22 – There is a paradox found in various situations where we must choose between short-term and long-term fulfillment. It governs the path we take concerning our aspirations, desires, and available opportunities. Things that seem positive in the short-term can turn sour in the long-term. Likewise, disciplined efforts to meet long-term objectives can lead to a more dull short-term existence. People can try to advise us in specific situations, but we must ultimately figure out how to manage this catch-22 for ourselves across the broad scope of our lives.
- Self-Forgiveness – We all make mistakes. It is an inevitable element of being alive. Since we are undoubtedly our own toughest critic, we sometimes inflict unnecessary self-guilt on our conscious for certain actions we did or did not take. This typically hinders our productivity and happiness. Many self-help instructors attempt to teach self-forgiveness, but every circumstance and individual is slightly different than the next. Experience is the key. General experience in dealing with the process of trial and error across various life circumstances is really what increases our comfort level with making mistakes.
- Life Balance – Living a healthy, rewarding life involves the simple art of balance. We must balance risk vs. reward, family and friends vs. career goals, quantity vs. quality… the list could continue indefinitely. Over time, and with enough experience, we will be able to evaluate any situation, decipher the boundary extremes and find a happy, healthy medium between these extremes.
- Responsibility and Independence – Responsibility is not a quality instinctually instilled in all human beings. Some of us have to work really hard at leading a responsible life. The key is to realize that it is okay to assist someone, but the full burden of a responsibility should never be taken away from its owner. If it is, the owner will never learn, thus becoming forever dependant on others. Cause and effect is the ultimate guide to responsibility. “If I don’t get a job, I won’t have money to buy food.” Our success with responsibility will eventually lead to complete independence.
- Character Identity – “Who am I?” We all have to figure this out for ourselves. Character identity is incredibly difficult to define. We all have ideas in our minds of who we are, who we want to become, or how we want to live. The single greatest gift a human being possesses is free will… our ability to think, make choices, and take action with the decisions we make. These decisions eventually mold the person we are, our character identity.
- Betrayal – Dealing with betrayal usually sends a person on an emotional rollercoaster ride. There is no practical way of preparing for it because every act of betrayal contains a different set of variables. When it happens, we are usually left asking a series of questions. Why? Is there another side to the story? Can we work through this? These are questions only the people involved can answer and deal with.
- Happiness and Success – As I stated in my last post, happiness is doing what you love, and success is excelling at doing what you love. Nobody else can tell us how to be happy or what to love. As we progress through life we uncover these mysteries on our own. Once we have happiness figured out we can map out a course for achieving our own personalized version of success.
1. Don’t spend more money than you have.
2. Stick to your grocery lists – compile them based on an itemized overview of your household needs and never stray too far from it.
3. In a similar vein, never go grocery shopping hungry!
4. Keep your receipts, or write your own – at the end of each day, list your expenditures. At the end of the month, group those expenditures to create a simple overview of where you’re spending too much or even too little.
5. Pack a brown bag lunch each day. Save hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars each year.
6. Develop a distaste for Starbucks.
7. Talk yourself out of purchases. Ask yourself, do I need this? Think of various ways you can avoid a purchase that seems necessary through innovative MacGyvering.
8. You don’t need the $100 shirt from the pricey store when there’s a $10 equivalent at the thrift store. You don’t need a room-sized plasma TV when your old CRT still works.
9. Remind yourself frequently of your financial goals, especially when you’re at the mall: paying off a big debt, retiring early, the Macbook Air. Remind yourself that by living frugally, you’re at least in some small way helping the environment.
10. Use cash. Take money out of your account and use real cash from a real wallet to pay for your daily expenses. When you run out of bills, you run out of money to spend.
11. Use credit. Run your finances on credit cards so that you don’t lose big money over the course of the year in spare change spent on coke and McDonalds. Always repay within 48 hours.
12. Never watch commercials. Get a PVR.
13. Sleep on your purchases. Give yourself a night to consider and rationalize before buying a new toy, and if you rationally decide you need it, you can go back and get it. Mac users may need to take longer – much longer.
14. Review your budget and spreadsheets regularly. Keep your financial situation constantly fresh in your mind. This helps to curb your desire to spend, spend, spend, ensures you know how much you actually have to spend if you need to, and motivates you to pay off debt and save more.
15. Use spreadsheets instead of expensive apps like Quicken – use Google Docs for spreadsheets and you can even save on overpriced office software.
16. Use every last scrap of every last thing you purchase. Don’t waste anything. Don’t leave taps running, don’t throw out the quarter of a plate of dinner you didn’t eat.
17. Become a power Nazi. Switch off lights and appliances at every opportunity, and tweak your computer’s power settings to give you the optimum balance between power savings and practicality.
18. Think about money philosophically – consider your spending behavior as a reflection of who you are. If you would not like to be defined by your purchases of cigarettes, hard liquor and pork rinds, reconsider and make better purchases that reflect the person you’d like to be.
19. Respect money like you do your family heirloom; that which you respect, can’t be hastily thrown away. It’s not about how much you make, but how much you save.
20. Exercise in the great outdoors, or use your own body weight – forget expensive gym memberships and personal trainers.
21. Diligently organize rebates and send them in on time, every time.
22. Do extensive research before all purchases, especially impulse purchases. Find the best price online or off, even if it’s “almost new” from eBay.
23. Do extensive research not only on price, but on durability and quality; buying everything from Crazy Clark’s is a bad decision as far as your long term savings go.
24. Don’t fall for the vicious technology upgrade cycle. Your laptop is still fine until there’s something actually wrong with it; performance is all in the software you run. Do you need to be running Vista or Leopard or the latest version of Photoshop? For most people, probably not. Wishing for more drains what you have.
25. If you come under your budget, save the excess. There is no legal obligation to spend it!
26. Pay yourself first. Take 10% or so off the top of your income and save it before you even start paying bills.
27. Base your meals on cheap, but nutritious, food sources instead of fresh produce that goes off quickly all the time. They might be a better food source, but if you want to pinch pennies go to grains, lentils, legumes and beans.
28. Preventing an impulse purchase with this motivation hack: simply think about how many hours it took you to earn that amount.
29. When keeping track of credit card purchases, put them into your checkbook as soon as the transaction occurs. That way the checkbook will always have as much money as you actually have, letting you freely pay off your credit card when the time comes.
30. Don’t keep credit cards in your wallet, or near any of your computers with an Internet connection.
31. Water is cheap (for the time being) and can easily replace most other beverages, such as soda – just not coffee.
32. Borrow books from your library, don’t purchase them. This puts an imperative on you to actually read your books (how often do the ones your purchase just sit on the bookshelf?) and saves huge amounts of money if you read a decent amount.
Why is marijuana illegal? In twenty words or less:
"Reefer makes darkies think they're as good as white men."
Those were the words of the guy who outlawed it.
The current situation, in nineteen words:
Marijuana is illegal so that we can arrest poor people for no good reason.
Marijuana is harmless.
1. 80% of the 50 million people around the world who are affected by violent conflicts, civil wars, disasters, and displacement are women and children
2. In 2004, 48.8% of the seats held in parliament in Rwanda were held by women. Contrast that to Cuba where 36% of the seats were held by women, and the USA, where 14.3 % of the seats were held by women. Saudi Arabia and the Solomon Islands are just two countries where there are no women in parliament (UNDP, Human Development Report 2004)
3. In 76 countries, less than half the eligible girls are enrolled in secondary school
4. Women own only 1% of the world’s land
5. Approximately three million women in the USA sport tattoos
6. A Saudi Arabian woman can get a divorce if her husband doesn’t give her coffee
7. 43% of Australian marriages end in divorce. of those who remarry, 65% of them will divorce again. By the time you try for marriage number 3, your chance of getting divorced is about 75%
8. The women of the Tiwi tribe in the South Pacific are married at birth
9. It is illegal to be a prostitute in Siena, Italy, if your name is Mary
10. In parts of Malaya, the women keep harems of men
11. The two highest IQ’s ever recorded (on a standard test) both belong to women
12. In Kenya where 38% of the farms are run by women, those women manage to harvest the same amount per hectare (2.47 acres) as men, despite men having greater access to loans, advice, fertilizers, hybrid seeds, insecticides. And when women were given the same level of help, they were found to be more efficient than men, and produced bigger harvests
13. Over half a million women die in childbirth every year in Africa and Asia
14. Nearly 1/2 of all Indonesian women have had their first child by the time they are 17
15. In the USA, unintended pregnancies account for almost half of all pregnancies
16. According to The World Health Org., 40 per cent of girls aged 17 or under in South Africa are reported to have been the victim of rape or attempted rape
17. In Sweden, 76% of mothers work, the highest percentage in the developed world
18. Australia, New Zealand and the US are among a handful of governments that do not require women to be paid some form of maternity leave. In countries as diverse as Russia, Colombia, Laos and Morocco, the government foots the entire bill for three to six months of maternity leave
19. By age 55, 95% of all U.S. women have married
20. In 2007 the world’s richest self-made woman was Ms Zhang Yin, a Chinese paper recycling entrepreneur
21. Only 5% of Hollywood feature films are directed by women
22. Today, Japan leads the world in condom use. Like cosmetics, they’re sold door to door, by women
23. Seventy percent of women would rather have chocolate than sex (Poll taken in a 1995 women’s magazine)
24. Australian women have sex on the first date more than women the same age in the USA and Canada
25. China is considered the next big marketing opportunity for the tobacco industry because only 3.8% of Chinese women smoke, compared with 63 % of adult males
When you think of a farm your mind may invoke images of rolling fields, tractors and perhaps a cow or two. But in the future – not so! Farms are movin’ from the country and into your nearest metropolis faster than you might think.
Due to unpredictable weather patterns that destroy millions of tons of crops each year and a growing human population set to peak at about 9 billion, some future-focused innovators are looking for better ways to keep food on the table. Two neo-farm prototypes currently evolving on separate continents share a common concept: urban farming as the future of sustainable agriculture.
The first project is the brainchild of Dr. Dickson Despommier, a professor at Columbia University. He imagines 30-story “vertical farm” skyscrapers in all the biggest cities. Each building would provide food and water to 50,000 people, produce crops year-round, and produce no waste. It would also naturally provide the environmental benefits of reducing pollution, restoring ecosystems, and solving the waste management problem.
Sound too good to be true? It was recently announced that Las Vegas is set to build the world’s first vertical farm. The project is estimated to cost $200 million and will feed 72,000. Design details are being currently being ironed out, but the doors should open sometime in 2010.
The other story starts in the underground vault of a bank in the Otemachi business district of Tokyo. No, this isn’t the setting for a Japanese heist movie. The underground facility was converted into a 1,000 square meter organic farm to be used as a training facility for people interested in agricultural jobs. Utilizing LED lighting and computer-controlled temperatures to grow over 100 different produces, it’s a high-tech fantasyland. Granted, it is just a demonstration facility, but it’s a great showcase of ingenuity and possibilities.
With construction projects underway, perhaps it won’t be too long before a massive vertical farm will grace the skyline in your city.
The State ofis looking to keep their promise of generating 20 percent of the electricity from renewable energy until 2010. A new five-year project has been launched by Southern California Edison consisting of building photovoltaic panels on commercial rooftops.
These solar panels will have a total area of 2miles and will generate 250 Megawatts of power which is enough for about 160,000 . In order to place the solar panels on , about $875 millions will be needed.
Although the panels will be placed on commercial buildings, the businesses will not be the owners of them, but they will have an agreement with a provider that will sell the electricity. The project is expected to be a success and they will not stop here because there is a big step until they reach that 20 percent of renewable energy.
Based on statistics, successful marriages are becoming very rare. In fact, one in every three marriages usually ends up in divorce.
Married couples and experts do agree that the magical yet simple element in all relationships is the constant demonstration of one’s affection.
Researchers show that what produces pleasure and contentment in one’s marriage was frequently demonstrating affection.
Happily married couples have reciprocal respect for each other. Respect is shown in the way they regard each other in actions and in words; withholding humiliating words even in an argument.
In marriage, couples give their relationship utmost importance. They enjoy each other’s company and spend quality time together, like dating regularly. This indicates prioritizing their relationship that plants a foundation for their future at such time as when children have to leave home.
Each spouse must learn not to give importance to minor faults and flaws; determine the really important issues and those that are not. They become aware that the purpose of their conflicts was not really to win, but rather to establish a deeper relationship.
Successful marriages are not all alike. But researchers have discovered that there are some traits present in happily married couples that contribute to the success of their marriage.
Traits that of happily married couples include:
1. Spouses in the relationship are giving. They give, not expecting things in return.
2. There is commitment between each of them. They continue to work for their partner’s happiness and are driven to work hard on their marriage.
3. Being strong-minded makes their bond stronger. While they cherish their individuality in expressing their opinions, making decisions and pursuing goals, putting their marital relationship in harmony is their priority.
4. These couples have active sexual lives. Sex plays a significant role in marriage, therefore they always find ways to make it more pleasurable.
5. There is constant communication in their marriage. They are free to share their thoughts and opinions about anything, each one not manipulative of the other but allowing each one to grow.
6. Each one is sensitive to the other’s need.
7. They establish goals together. They agree on their goals as “partners in life”.
Marriage is a commitment for courageous individuals ready to risk their emotions, hard work, and challenges of building a life together.
Here are five things I do to help repair some of the emotional damage.1) Change the Scenery
Go outside together and look at the moon. This has been a popular one for us since before my son could talk. When he would cry at night, I would sometimes take him outside and point to the moon, be it thumbnail or orb. For him, I think it provided a beautiful distraction—plus there was the shock of the cold, the literal change of atmosphere, that helped to divert his negativity. I benefited similarly, but the moon also gives a wonderful perspective. We’re just so small. There’s so much out there besides a two-bedroom house and a tricky child.2) Tell a Story
The most magic words in my house are “Once Upon a Time.” I can stop a full blown kicking and wailing tantrum in just four words. The stories are often featuring my son as the hero, and the hero is often in the same trouble as my son. There are numerous benefits to playing it out in pretend. One, you can insert a pretty good moral to your story, one that helps your child see things your way. Two, by telling the story with your child as the hero, you get to effectively put yourself in his or her shoes. This can be a biggee when it comes to compassion and understanding just why the child is acting out the way that he or she is.3) Switch Roles
Have the child tell you a story about what happened. Sometimes, they’re game for this, sometimes not. But I have learned a lot about my tone of voice and when I forget to say please by hearing my son repeat his version of our discord. This practice not only empowers the child to be creative, it also helps them to see your point of view. It provides a way for you both to talk about things that need to be worked on without you always being the one to bring it up.4) Make a Kindness List
As you put your child to bed, list together the things that you did together that day that made other people happy. Last night, Finn and I recalled how we’d bought flowers for my parents to welcome them home. We’d baked oatmeal cookies for the people who work with us at our orchard. We left a nice note on the dashboard of a friend when we saw her car parked near a pond. We opened a door for an old woman going into the hair cutters. I like the act of putting us both on the same team—making us partners in generosity—but you might also want to list nice things that you did for each other that day. If your child isn’t participating in the list making, don’t worry. Somewhere down in there they’re listening.5) Vent
Honor the frustration. It doesn’t change our inner worth to admit that the day, well, sucked. Last night I wrote an email to another mother after my son went to bed. “I am tired of being a woman,” I said, and gave a short outline of the day. She wrote back, “Then be a girl. Not a woman. It is tiresome to be a mom. Give up more. Sleep more. Yell even.” I didn’t yell. I didn’t get much sleep, either. But I did feel as if she had heard me, acknowledged me, and loved me including, not despite, my own flaws. Some days are hard. Let them be hard. Now go to bed. Wake up. Start over again.
Make no mistake people these cute little things aren’t any from of a semi-developed human embryo but are munchable chocolates. It was such a pain to jot down ‘munchable’. How can you just eat them? Would have been a great design if the material used was clay but then he’s used it to make a chocolate. I bet you, nine out of ten people won’t eat them, the only one who would, would have something to do with the sprite.
For those who are overwhelmed by their clutter, here are some great ways to get started, five minutes at a time.
- Designate a spot for incoming papers. Papers often account for a lot of our clutter. This is because we put them in different spots — on the counter, on the table, on our desk, in a drawer, on top of our dresser, in our car. No wonder we can’t find anything! Designate an in-box tray or spot in your home (or at your office, for that matter) and don’t put down papers anywhere but that spot. Got mail? Put it in the inbox. Got school papers? Put it in the inbox. Receipts, warranties, manuals, notices, flyers? In the inbox! This one little change can really transform your paperwork.
- Start clearing a starting zone. What you want to do is clear one area. This is your no-clutter zone. It can be a counter, or your kitchen table, or the three-foot perimeter around your couch. Wherever you start, make a rule: nothing can be placed there that’s not actually in use. Everything must be put away. Once you have that clutter-free zone, keep it that way! Now, each day, slowly expand your no-clutter zone until it envelopes the whole house! Unfortunately, the neighbors don’t seem to like it when you try to expand the no-clutter zone to their house, and start hauling away their unused exercise equipment and torn underwear when they’re not at home. Some people don’t appreciate simplicity, I guess.
- Clear off a counter. You want to get your house so that all flat spaces are clear of clutter. Maybe they have a toaster on them, maybe a decorative candle, but not a lot of clutter. So start with one counter. Clear off everything possible, except maybe one or two essential things. Have a blender you haven’t used since jazzercise was all the rage? Put it in the cupboard! Clear off all papers and all the other junk you’ve been tossing on the counter too.
- Pick a shelf. Now that you’ve done a counter, try a shelf. It doesn’t matter what shelf. Could be a shelf in a closet, or on a bookshelf. Don’t tackle the whole bookshelf — just one shelf. Clear all non-essential things and leave it looking neat and clutter-free.
- Schedule a decluttering weekend. Maybe you don’t feel like doing a huge decluttering session right now. But if you take the time to schedule it for later this month, you can clear your schedule, and if you have a family, get them involved too. The more hands pitching in, the better. Get boxes and trash bags ready, and plan a trip to a charity to drop off donated items. You might not get the entire house decluttered during the weekend, but you’ll probably make great progress.
- Pick up 5 things, and find places for them. These should be things that you actually use, but that you just seem to put anywhere, because they don’t have good places. If you don’t know exactly where things belong, you have to designate a good spot. Take a minute to think it through — where would be a good spot? Then always put those things in those spots when you’re done using them. Do this for everything in your home, a few things at a time.
- Spend a few minutes visualizing the room. When I’m decluttering, I like to take a moment to take a look at a room, and think about how I want it to look. What are the most essential pieces of furniture? What doesn’t belong in the room but has just gravitated there? What is on the floor (hint: only furniture and rugs belong there) and what is on the other flat surfaces? Once I’ve visualized how the room will look uncluttered, and figured out what is essential, I get rid of the rest.
- Create a “maybe” box. Sometimes when you’re going through a pile of stuff, you know exactly what to keep (the stuff you love and use) and what to trash or donate. But then there’s the stuff you don’t use, but think you might want it or need it someday. You can’t bear to get rid of that stuff! So create a “maybe” box, and put this stuff there. Then store the box somewhere hidden, out of the way. Put a note on your calendar six months from now to look in the box. Then pull it out, six months later, and see if it’s anything you really needed. Usually, you can just dump the whole box, because you never needed that stuff.
- Put a load in your car for charity. If you’ve decluttered a bunch of stuff, you might have a “to donate” pile that’s just taking up space in a corner of your room. Take a few minutes to box it up and put it in your trunk. Then tomorrow, drop it off.
- Create a 30-day list. The problem with decluttering is that we can declutter our butts off (don’t actually try that — it’s painful) but it just comes back because we buy more stuff. So fight that tendency by nipping it in the bud: don’t buy the stuff in the first place. Take a minute to create a 30-day list, and every time you want to buy something that’s not absolutely necessary (and no, that new Macbook Air isn’t absolutely necessary), put it on the list with the date it was added to the list. Make a rule never to buy anything (except necessities) unless they’ve been on the list for 30 days. Often you’ll lose the urge to buy the stuff and you’ll save yourself a lot of money and clutter.
- Teach your kids where things belong. This only applies to the parents among us, of course, but if you teach your kids where things go, and start teaching them the habit of putting them there, you’ll go a long way to keeping your house uncluttered. Of course, they won’t learn the habit overnight, so you’ll have to be very very patient with them and just keep teaching them until they’ve got it. And better yet, set the example for them and get into the habit yourself.
- Set up some simple folders. Sometimes our papers pile up high because we don’t have good places to put them. Create some simple folders with labels for your major bills and similar paperwork. Put them in one spot. Your system doesn’t have to be complete, but keep some extra folders and labels in case you need to quickly create a new file.
- Learn to file quickly. Once you’ve created your simple filing system, you just need to learn to use it regularly. Take a handful of papers from your pile, or your inbox, and go through them one at a time, starting from the top paper and working down. Make quick decisions: trash them, file them immediately, or make a note of the action required and put them in an “action” file. Don’t put anything back on the pile, and don’t put them anywhere but in a folder (and no cheating “to be filed” folders!) or in the trash/recycling bin.
- Pull out some clothes you don’t wear. As you’re getting ready for work, and going through your closet for something to wear, spend a few minutes pulling out ones you haven’t worn in a few months. If they’re seasonal clothes, store them in a box. Get rid of the rest. Do this a little at a time until your closet (and then your drawers) only contains stuff you actually wear.
- Clear out your medicine cabinet. If you don’t have one spot for medicines, create one now. Go through everything for the outdated medicines, the stuff you’ll never use again, the dirty-looking bandages, the creams that you’ve found you’re allergic to, the ointments that never had an effect on your energy or your eye wrinkles. Simplify to the essential.
- Pull everything out of a drawer. Just take the drawer out and empty it on a table. Then sort the drawer into three piles: 1) stuff that really should go in the drawer; 2) stuff that belongs elsewhere; 3) stuff to get rid of. Clean the drawer out nice, then put the stuff in the first pile back neatly and orderly. Deal with the other piles immediately!
- Learn to love the uncluttered look. Once you’ve gotten an area decluttered, you should take the time to enjoy that look. It’s a lovely look. Make that your standard! Learn to hate clutter! Then catch clutter and kill it wherever it crops up.
- Have a conversation with your SO or roommate. Sometimes the problem isn’t just with us, it’s with the person or people we live with. An uncluttered home is the result of a shared philosophy of simplicity of all the people living in the house. If you take a few minutes to explain that you really want to have an uncluttered house, and that you could use their help, you can go a long way to getting to that point. Try to be persuasive and encouraging rather than nagging and negative. Read more about living with a pack rat.
Your Guide to Masturbation
Masturbation is the self-stimulation of the genitals to achieve sexual arousal and pleasure, usually to the point of orgasm (sexual climax). It is commonly done by touching, stroking or massaging the penis or clitoris until an orgasm is achieved. Some women also use stimulation of the vagina to masturbate or use "sex toys," such as a vibrator.
Just about everybody. Masturbation is a very common behavior, even among people who have sexual relations with a partner. In one national study, 95% of males and 89% of females reported that they have masturbated. Masturbation is the first sexual act experienced by most males and females. In young children, masturbation is a normal part of the growing child's exploration of his or her body. Most people continue to masturbate in adulthood, and many do so throughout their lives.
Why Do People Masturbate?
In addition to feeling good, masturbation is a good way of relieving the sexual tension that can build up over time, especially for people without partners or whose partners are not willing or available for sex. Masturbation also is a safe sexual alternative for people who wish to avoid pregnancy and the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases. It also is necessary when a man must give a semen sample for infertility testing or for sperm donation. When sexual dysfunction is present in an adult, masturbation may be prescribed by a sex therapist to allow a person to experience an orgasm (often in women) or to delay its arrival (often in men).
Is Masturbation Normal?
While it once was regarded as a perversion and a sign of a mental problem, masturbation now is regarded as a normal, healthy sexual activity that is pleasant, fulfilling, acceptable and safe. It is a good way to experience sexual pleasure and can be done throughout life.
Masturbation is only considered a problem when it inhibits sexual activity with a partner, is done in public, or causes significant distress to the person. It may cause distress if it is done compulsively and/or interferes with daily life and activities.
Is Masturbation Harmful?
In general, the medical community considers masturbation to be a natural and harmless expression of sexuality for both men and women. It does not cause any physical injury or harm to the body, and can be performed in moderation throughout a person's lifetime as a part of normal sexual behavior. Some cultures and religions oppose the use of masturbation or even label it as sinful. This can lead to guilt or shame about the behavior.
Some experts suggest that masturbation can actually improve sexual health and relationships. By exploring your own body through masturbation, you can determine what is erotically pleasing to you and can share this with your partner. Some partners use mutual masturbation to discover techniques for a more satisfying sexual relationship and to add to their mutual intimacy.
Fractal_Cheetah_1_by_artofpain.jpg (JPEG Image, 1005x723 pixels) - Scaled (97%)
1. Research the customer. Instead of cutting the market research budget, you need to know more than ever how consumers are redefining value and responding to the recession. Price elasticity curves are changing. Consumers take more time searching for durable goods and negotiate harder at the point of sale. They are more willing to postpone purchases, trade down, or buy less. Must-have features of yesterday are today’s can-live-withouts. Trusted brands are especially valued and they can still launch new products successfully but interest in new brands and new categories fades. Conspicuous consumption becomes less prevalent.
2. Focus on family values. When economic hard times loom, we tend to retreat to our village. Look for cozy hearth-and-home family scenes in advertising to replace images of extreme sports, adventure and rugged individualism. Zany humor and appeals on the basis of fear are out. Greeting card sales, telephone use and discretionary spending on home furnishings and home entertainment will hold up well, as uncertainty prompts us to stay at home but also stay connected with family and friends.
3. Maintain marketing spending. This is not the time to cut advertising. It is well documented that brands that increase advertising during a recession, when competitors are cutting back, can improve market share and return on investment at lower cost than during good economic times. Uncertain consumers need the reassurance of known brands--and more consumers at home watching television can deliver higher than expected audiences at lower cost-per-thousand impressions. Brands with deep pockets may be able to negotiate favourable advertising rates and lock them in for several years. If you have to cut marketing spending, try to maintain the frequency of advertisements by shifting from 30-to-15 second advertisements, substituting radio for television advertising, or increasing the use of direct marketing, which gives more immediate sales impact.
4. Adjust product portfolios. Marketers must reforecast demand for each item in their product lines as consumers trade down to models that stress good value, such as cars with fewer options. Tough times favour multi-purpose goods over specialised products and weaker items in product lines should be pruned. In grocery-products categories, good-quality own-brands gain at the expense of national brands. Industrial customers prefer to see products and services unbundled and priced separately. Gimmicks are out; reliability, durability, safety and performance are in. New products, especially those that address the new consumer reality and thereby put pressure on competitors, should still be introduced but advertising should stress superior price performance, not corporate image.
5. Support distributors. In uncertain times, no one wants to tie up working capital in excess inventories. Early-buy allowances, extended financing and generous return policies motivate distributors to stock your full product line. This is particularly true with unproven new products. Be careful about expanding distribution to lower-priced channels; doing so can jeopardise existing relationships and your brand image. However, now may be the time to drop your weaker distributors and upgrade your sales force by recruiting those sacked by other companies.
6. Adjust pricing tactics. Customers will be shopping around for the best deals. You do not necessarily have to cut list prices but you may need to offer more temporary price promotions, reduce thresholds for quantity discounts, extend credit to long-standing customers and price smaller pack sizes more aggressively. In tough times, price cuts attract more consumer support than promotions such as sweepstakes and mail-in offers.
7. Stress market share. In all but a few technology categories where growth prospects are strong, companies are in a battle for market share and, in some cases, survival. Knowing your cost structure can ensure that any cuts or consolidation initiatives will save the most money with minimum customer impact. Companies such as Wal-Mart and Southwest Airlines, with strong positions and the most productive cost structures in their industries, can expect to gain market share. Other companies with healthy balance sheets can do so by acquiring weak competitors.
8. Emphasise core values. Although most companies are making employees redundant, chief executives can cement the loyalty of those who remain by assuring employees that the company has survived difficult times before, maintaining quality rather than cutting corners and servicing existing customers rather than trying to be all things to all people. CEOs must spend more time with customers and employees. Economic recession can elevate the importance of the finance director’s balance sheet over the marketing manager’s income statement. Managing working capital can easily dominate managing customer relationships. CEOs must counter this. Successful companies do not abandon their marketing strategies in a recession; they adapt them.
The image you see above was created by Pixel Fantasy by taking random pictures and inserting sprites into them. When I asked about the picture he said “I actually just found a picture online and put them in it. I thought it made perfect sense” and it does make perfect sense. Let’s see some more of his work that makes perfect sense:
June 1, 2007 – Eighty-five percent of women are pleased with their partner's penis proportions -- yet many normal men suffer "small-penis syndrome," urologists report.
Small-penis syndrome is the anxiety of thinking one's penis is too small -- even though it isn't. It's a totally different condition from having a truly tiny tinkler, a condition known by the cold, clinical name of micropenis.
Urologists Kevan R. Wylie of Royal Hallemshire Hospital and Ian Eardley of St. James Hospital in Leeds, England, review the literature on penis size in the June issue of the urology journal BJU International. They urge doctors not to laugh away these very real worries over an imaginary defect.
"It is very common for men to worry about the size of their penis," Wylie says in a news release. "It is important that these concerns aren't dismissed as this can heighten concerns and anxieties."
Wylie and Eardley note that studies of penis size are remarkably consistent. The average erect penis is about 5.5 to 6.2 inches long and 4.7 to 5.1 inches in circumference at midshaft.
A truly diminutive dangler -- a micropenis -- is less than 2.75 inches long when erect, Wylie and Eardley calculate.
Few men suffer this condition. Yet 45% of men want a bigger penis, the researchers find. No wonder the Internet is rife with offers of "miraculous" penis-lengthening schemes.
There is slight evidence that some of them, such as the Phallosan extender system and the Penistretcher device, may result in slightly lengthening the stretched length of a flaccid penis. But Wylie and Eardley note that there is far too little peer-reviewed research to know whether these devices -- or others like them -- offer any real benefit.
Similarly, the researchers note that plastic surgeons have been touting their ability to make a man's flaccid or erect penis larger. Again, they note, these techniques are unproven except for cases of true deformity. And they warn that serious complications may ensue.
Wylie and Eardley recommend that urologists take men's concerns seriously. If education and counseling doesn't do the trick, they advise psychotherapy for men whose obsession over penis size is interfering with their lives.
Why Does It Happen? The Causes of Loss of Libido in Women
- Biology plays a significant role in loss of libido.
For women, sex can have serious consequences – a baby to take care of for the next twenty years. Not surprising that females seem hard-wired to approach sex with slightly less abandon than males.
“It’s a control device – pregnancy is a threatening condition for women – it renders them vulnerable, they can’t run from predators,” says Laumann. Men can afford to have sex at any moment, Laumann says – it doesn’t make them vulnerable. But for women it’s much riskier, which can cause loss of libido.
- Socialization in our culture causes loss of libido in women.
If biology doesn’t get you then social standards will.
“We found that the messages women get from society about double standards has a big affect on their sexual desire,” Koch says. “I work with college women, and even though we have Sex and the Cityon TV saying you can be sexual, women still get the message that it is not OK. Men are looked at as studs if they are sexual, but the women are still called sluts.”
- The quality of the relationship affects libido.
“For women, desire is elicited in the connection in the relationship. If we don’t talk and connect, we don’t have sex -- for men, they connect in the sex,” explains Perel.
Koch agrees. For women, “it’s not what happens in the bedroom – their desire arises when they are interacting with their partner, just touching, talking, when they go on a hike or a picnic, that starts to get them sexually interested,” Koch says. If the quality of those intimate but non-sexual contacts aren’t being attended to, most women just won’t feel “in the mood.”
- Hormones influence libido.
“Hormonal fluctuations with pregnancy, breast-feeding [resulting in elevated prolactin levels] – and then with perimenopause later in life all can lessen desire,” says Eva Ritvo, MD, Chair at the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center, Florida, and author of The Concise Guide to Marital and Family Therapy.
Vaginal dryness, which can result from declining estrogen levels, can make sex painful and cause loss of libido. Testosterone levels also affect libido in men and women –and for women that hormone often peaks in their mid-20s and declines from there until menopause, when levels drop dramatically.
- Medical conditions and medications can cause loss of libido.
Depression and the SSRI anti-depressants used to treat it can also inhibit desire. So can certain blood pressure lowering drugs. Conditions such as endometriosis, fibroids and thyroid disorders can also cause loss of libido in women.
- Changing life stages –and stress -- influence libido.
Life changes – especially the birth of a child – can cause a loss of libido in women. “Among women surveyed in their 20s with a child under five or six – their lack of interest doubled and tripled,” Laumann says. “You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure it out – physical stress and tiredness are big factors.” Other life changes, such as losing a job or watching kids leave the nest, can all trigger stress and dampen libido.
10 Tips for Rekindling Sexual Desire
Remember, frequency is not the measure of a healthy sex drive. Your feelings are what count. If you look forward to sex, and feel good about it, before during and after, that is the true measure of libido. Here’s how to help make your love life interesting and satisfying again.
- Try selfishness to boost libido. “The thing that most inhibits desire in women is caretaking – taking care of the kids, taking care of the husband,” says Perel. “Caretaking makes a woman think about others. But if you can’t be selfish -- in the most positive terms it is the capacity to be focused on the self in the presence of others -- you can’t have an orgasm.”
- Focus on small, private pleasures. For the woman with four kids who came into Perel’s office, feeling asexual and numb to all pleasure, Perel did not recommend going on a date with her husband. She suggested that the woman focus on her own simple pleasures. Hire a babysitter and go to a movie, enjoy a fragrant, leisurely bath – to remind herself she deserves to feel pleasure. Start small and build.
- Reconnect safely and non-sexually to combat loss of libido.
For many couples, before you can think about improving the sex, it is important to repair the intimate connection. David Schnarch, director of the Marriage and Family Health Center in Evergreen, CO, and author of Passionate Marriage, recommends the Hug-Until-You-Relax technique. It is simply a long hug, with both partners clothed, lasting 5-to-10 minutes – until you feel relaxed and at peace. This reconnection – “maintaining your sense of self when you are emotionally and physically close to others,” Schnarch says – is the foundation of passion in a relationship.
- Changing the scenery fuels libido in women: Passion feeds on a sense of newness and excitement – boredom is the enemy. “When things get routine it hurts the libido,” says Ritvo. “Get a hotel room, even in your own town, for a night, to spice things up.” Or change rooms in the house – who says lovemaking always has to happen in the bedroom?
- Try self-stimulation to help loss of libido: “Women who are able to masturbate are more likely to be more satisfied with a partner and experience orgasm more consistently,” says Koch. “It is a myth that if women enjoy masturbation, they won’t want a partner – it’s the reverse. You learn what feels good and you can express that to your partner, and guide your partner,” Koch says.
- Talk about what you like and want to boost libido: The worst thing you can do, if you have been avoiding sex together, is to stop talking about it as if the problem will disappear. To keep the distance between you from growing, talk about your willingness to connect. Read sex books together, look at the pictures, laugh – and let your partner know what you’d like him to try with you -- next time – to take off any immediate pressure.
- Use lubricants to combat loss of libido in women. Vaginal dryness does not have to get in the way of enjoyment. If you go outside the local pharmacy to a sex shop (see Tip 10), you can find a wide variety of lubricants, in different flavors and aromas. Just shopping for them together can be erotic. Estrogen cream, applied directly into the vagina, can help increase vaginal secretions. Unlike oral estrogens that carry some cancer risks, estrogen creams are considered generally safe. Still, talk with your doctor about whether this treatment might be right for you before trying it.
- Stop worrying about how you look…naked and otherwise. “Research shows that women are harsher on evaluating their own bodies than men are,” Koch says. “Your partner probably finds you more attractive than you think you are.” So relax and be kinder to yourself -- enjoy.
- Focus on the whole body to combat loss of libido. Where sexual satisfaction is concerned, paradoxically, the longer, meandering route can be the shortest path to pleasure. Don’t head straight for the genitals – encourage your partner, by example, to tease and take detours. Be pleasure oriented, not goal oriented. Continue to take your time even when you shift gears into a more sexual mode. And remember, it is not only your partner’s job to turn you on, desire should begin with you.
- Have realistic expectations to avoid loss of libido. Be realistic in your expectations. Women can take about three times as long (or longer) to reach orgasm as men and, by some estimates, only “26% of women report that they always have orgasms,” says Laumann. But even without the Big O, women report enjoying the sex and feeling closer to their partner afterwards. So mentally shift gears from Mommy Mode to Sex Goddess Mode. And give yourself permission to try new things -- you may surprise yourself. “No absolutes –lingerie, sex toys, pornography – it’s what works and is safe and consensual and pleasing to both partners,” says Ritvo.