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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Difference Between a Cold and Flu

There was a time when I would use the term cold and flu interchangeably, unaware that they are actually two different illnesses. I'm sure a lot of you have done the same mistake as I, but hey, it's never too late to learn from it. This is especially important since the cold and the flu have quite similar symptoms, but the flu poses more danger to our health as opposed to a common cold.

The flu, otherwise known as influenza, is a respiratory infection caused by flu viruses. Most people recover from flu as easily as they contract it; however the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates about 100,000 cases of hospitalization and about 36,000 deaths from the flu and its complications every year in the United States alone.

Whereas a cold is a viral infection that is caused by a virus 99% of the time, and very rarely caused by bacteria. It usually affects the nose and the throat and unlike the flu, a common cold is usually harmless as it is a milder form of respiratory illness.

Both the cold and flu share common symptoms such as nasal congestion, scratchy throats, coughing, and sneezing and fatigue. These are a few pointers to help you distinguish the two illness:

1) Duration
A cold usually last for about 3 days to a week while the flu can last for much longer from a few days to a few weeks. If your 'cold' get better after a week or so, then it is likely to be a common cold. If it persists after a week, you should consult a doctor.

2) Types of Symptoms

A flu involves body aches, chills, dry cough (without producing any mucus), fever, headache, sore throat, stuffy nose, fatigue, mild to severe chest discomforts and chills.

A cold usually involves mucus buildup in your nose, difficulty breathing through your nose, swelling of your sinuses, sneezing, sore throat, cough, fatigue, body aches, and headache.

Although a cold would cause tiredness, you would experience a more severe case of tiredness or exhaustion with the flu, especially during the beginning of the symptoms.

A cold does not usually comes with fever, although sometimes it does. The occurrence of a fever would most likely indicate either an allergy or a flu.

3) Onset of Symptoms

The symptoms for cold usually begins 2 4 days after the infection while for flu, they would show 1 6 days after the infection. However, sometimes you might get a fever within a few hours after flu infections with other symptoms gradually showing up later.

4) Occurrence of Symptoms

A flu usually break out during cold seasons, like in late fall and winter. Since the flu is contagious, it is likely to create an epidemic, especially in schools.

Unfortunately, a cold also usually happens during cold seasons and it is also contagious.

You can check if you're having the flu or just a common cold by using home tests like home fever test, home ear infection test, or home flu test. The best way, however, is to see a doctor if you suspect a flu.

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Favicon: Make One and Upload to Your Site


Favicon stands for Favorite Icon; it’s the little custom icon you sometimes see next to URL at the address bar of a web browser. They also show up next to title of your bookmarked sites and even on the tabs in tabbed browsers. It is only 16 pixels by 16 pixels in size and of .ico file extension.


How to Create a Favicon

If you want to use an (existing) image as your favicon, the first thing to remember is to make sure it is sized 16 by 16 pixels. Then save it as an ICO file (e.g. favicon.ico). On another hand, you can also create the image you want, and then use a favicon generator to reduce the favicon into a 16 pixel square.

You can also create favicon using generators available online. I’m not sure which one is the best, so well, Google it!

How to Upload the Favicon

If you’re using a website, simply upload the favicon in your root directory and the web browsers that support favicons will apparently locate it eventually. Then put the following HTML code just before the closing tag.

How to Upload Favicon on Blogger

If you want to put a favicon on Blogger, you can do it even without an ICO file. What you need to do is to pick an image that you want as your favicon and upload as per usual in an entry post. Then save it, but don’t publish it. Locate the image’s URL in the Edit HTML part.

Next, go to your Template and place the following HTML code just before the closing tag, only this time, you should replace the ‘favicon.ico’ with the URL of your image that you previously saved.

It’s as simple as that. Refresh your browser and voila, you’ve got a favicon!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Spooky Spirits: a Downloadable Game Review


A downloadable game created by Legendo entertainment AB, the game revolves around two wardens of the NetherWard – a place where all the ghosts are kept -, whose jobs are to guard naughty ghosts and spirits (called Spookies) from frightening human beings. These two wardens are siblings Becky and Tim. Unfortunately, as the story goes, Tim ‘accidentally’ snoozed away one day and allowed the Spookies to escape, but of course Tim insists he was not sleeping on the job. Now, Becky and Tim have to embark on an adventure in order to recapture the Spookies and bring them back to Netherward.

The Game

The introduction of the game is alluring enough and its context is fairly fresh. Surely the idea of ghost guardians chasing after pesky little spirits is an appeal on its own. Sadly though, the introduction gives us a false sense of gaming adventure, because this is certainly not an adventurist type of game. It is simply like a game of Tetris or Collapse, but with a twist.

Generally, this color-matching-blocks game requires the player to drop colored blocks into the container before any of them reaches the top. There is a catch though. You can’t necessarily clear the blocks by just dropping any blocks to a group of matching color blocks. Only blocks that contain the ghostly Spookies can clear the blocks when dropped on them. When that happens, the Spookies will be captured and trapped in another container or the Spookie-tank. If you drop a Spookie-block on blocks of different color, it will not explode and will merely stay there until you drop another block of same color on or next to it.

The objective is to capture as many Spookies as possible. If you fail and the blocks reach to the top, you will get a snickering ‘Nice try’. But no worries, you can always replay the level.


Modes

There are, in total, three modes to play from. The first one is the Panic Mode, and is played exactly as explained above, and with a target score that you have to meet before you can move on to the next level.

The second one is the Puzzle Mode, where you must clear all the colored blocks with a limited number of drops. For instance, in level one, you are given a maximum of one drop only. That means you must clear the block by dropping the Spookie-block only once. This takes a bit of thinking, but there is no rush like in Panic Mode.

The last one is Eternity Mode. This is where you want to play to earn high scores and get your name in the reputed Hall of Fame. The speed of the game will increase gradually, and it is played like the Panic Mode, only this time, there is no target score.

Instruction

When you start to play at the start of every mode, there will be a short how-to-play instruction to guide you. The game is simple enough so players will unlikely have any great difficulties in it. In the case where you need help, you can always return to the menu and go to the instructions. The game allows you create a profile at the start so you don’t have to worry about having your ‘achievements’ erased – it will be all saved.

There is one minor glitch though. There is no verbal dictation throughout the game so young children who cannot read properly might find it difficult to understand.

Sound and graphics

The graphics and music are excellent. The first time I saw the characters of Becky and Tim, the only word I could think of was, ‘Cute!’ The music that accompanies is suitable and creates a fun and exciting atmosphere while still maintaining a bit of spookiness. To complete the ghostly ambience of the game, the cursor also resembles a severed mummified hand (but not a gory one).

This is a fun-loving game and while it might not sustain prolonged attention from the adults, it will sure get the kids hooked up. It is worth a rating of 4/5.

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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Polyandry



You've heard of polygamy, a branch of polygyny. Now let me introduce to you polygamy's sister, polyandry.

Polygamy is the relationship (marriage) of one man with 2 or more women, and polyandry is the same, except it is of one woman with 2 or more husbands.

You probably have never heard of it because it's rare in our human world. While polygamy is illegal in most places around the world, it is still being practiced by men, mainly because

1) religion actually allows it - Islam!
2) polygamy = more wives, more children, more hands at work
3) custom allows it (ancient chinese!)
4) men are generally more horny (yes, my own opinion, but who can say it's not true?)

Michael Alan Park, author of Introducing Anthropology, insists that polyandry is rare because it presents no greater "reproductive potential" than a monogamous marriage.

You see? Women have been treated like a baby machine (or just a set of extra hands at farm) throughout the centuries. Polygamy in Islam is supposed to have begun when the Prophet allowed multiple marriage to a maximum of 4 women because at those times, these women were husbandless (widowed or something) and have no one to care for them. So to take care of them, men can take them as wives.

Right. A noble man would simply provide for them without asking for a marriage. And as a return of the men marrying them and taking care of them, these women have to take care of their home and have sex with them and have their babies. Excuse me, but it seems like the men are getting a better bargain here.


Polygamy in Africa



The point is relationship and sex nowadays are no longer for the mere purposes of reproduction. So I guess it would be fair for a woman to have sex or relationships with multiple men.

Polyandry is new polygyny!

Okay, I'm actually just venting. Because to be fair, I'm for one-one relationship. (Islam should fucking abolish the 4-wives law - we can bloody take care of ourselves now!) I dont know how Mormon fundamentalist stand on this (I think they are for polygamy) but they shouldn't. Or if they do, they should allow polyandry also. One wife, three husbands. Imagine that. Kids will never know who their bio father is (unless DNA-checked) unlike in polygamy.

But you know what's the difference? In polyandry, the husbands share one wife out of convenience but hardly ever would you hear that the 'extra' husband is being used as a tool. There is no such thing as the woman's job is to serve the husband or vice versa. But in polygamy, that happens often enough, and multiple marriage is not done because of survival, but because you can.

But apparently polyandry is a tradition that carries on till now in Tibet and Himalaya villages.



Polyandry in the Himalayas


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Next venting topic - Is dowry a form of selling price of your child?

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Monday, December 1, 2008

Why does Islam Forbid Gambling?


In Islam, there are two types of deeds: halal and haram. Halal means the act is lawful and is permitted by the Legislator, while haram means the act is sinful and strictly and specifically forbidden in such a way that doing it would bring punishment. Gambling is one of the deeds that is considered haram in Islam.

The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and his companions were against any form of gambling - card games, horse racing, gambling machines, or lottery as it is defined as a game of haphazard in all matters particularly a game of chance by means of divinatory arrows.

The Holy Qur'an says:
"O ye who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones, and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination,- of Satan's handwork: eschew such (abomination), that ye may prosper. Satan's plan is (but) to excite enmity and hatred between you, with intoxicants and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of God, and from prayer: will ye not then abstain?"
(Sura Ma'idah 5:90,91).

In another verse, this was mentioned:
"They asked the Prophet (S.A.W) about khamr (intoxicants) and games of chance (gambling). Say, in both of them there is great harm although there is some advantage as well in them for men, but their harm is much greater than their advantages."
The verses meant to say that gambling is an abominable act by the Satan, who would sow the seeds of enmity in us and hatred against one another and turn us aside from the remembrance of Allah and other obligation by means of gambling.

The main reason gambling was forbidden is because gambling involves taking away someone's money without actually earning it. The gambler puts no particular effort whatsoever in order to win the money. Since the money was accumulated through the gamble money of other gamblers, taking the winning money without giving any contributions back to the contributors (other gamblers) would be no different from stealing. As Islam does not endorse theft, it does not endorse the game of dice as well.

Another reason Allah prohibits gambling is its addictive nature, which drives a man to gamble his fortune and belongings away to satisfy his thirst. This addiction does not only destroy the man (gambler) himself but also his family who are likely to be dependent on him. Wealth and health can be lost in the process. More social ills can come from gambling; it can cause the break-up of a family and lead to moral and social corruptions. Since Islam is all about peace and the building of families, the act gambling would go against the very core of the religion.

The chances of a gambler losing more than winning is quite common. This can generate ill feeling such as jealousy and hatred towards the winner, not to mention the losing gambler would also resort to crimes to gain more money in order to gamble again. The gambler would be so absorbed in his gambling that he forgets his duties and responsibilities to Allah. The time a gambler takes to gratify his urges can better used to take care of his family and remembering Allah. Aside that, this would also destroy the sense of love and brotherhood that Allah has tried to cultivate in men for so long.

The sum of a man's income, or the speed in which he gains them, is immaterial as long as it was done in a legitimate and lawful manner. A business person may gain huge profits but if he did not earn them by resorting to cheating or exploitation of any form, then his income is halal.

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