Ham Radio – The Advantage of DStar and DMR Modes

Ham Radio is a fascinating hobby, but what is the advantage of D-star and DMR modes.

There are many different interests within the umbrella name of Ham Radio. People communicate with other like-minded people around the World using the Internal Short Wave bands. Ham Radio Operators equipment include H.F., (High Frequency), transceivers covering several of the Ham Band allocations, and many use Yagi aerials with three, four and sometimes six elements, to not only transmit their power out to the receiving station, but also to receive weak signals form lesser equipped ham radio Operators using simple aerial systems such as dipoles or vertical radiators. These aerial elements can be thirty three feet long when covering the twenty metre Ham Band, if the elements are widely spaced between each other at say point two of a wavelength, the distance between the elements is four point two metres, a very large aerial indeed.

Many Radio Hams who I have spoken to around the World have sixty feet high towers with multi element aerial as described above. You need a lot of space for such an aerial, and planning permission to go along with it.

D-Star and DMR are Ham Radio modes which are gaining in popularity, because the problems associated with having a large aerial do not exist, signals on D-star and DMR do not rely of the ionosphere to propagate signal around the World, they use laser light and data packets used to facilitate the International World wide web.

Many elderly radio Hams who have moved from their long term family homes, into small apartments, where outside aerials are not allowed, are finding that their interest in communication can still continue, using D-star or DMR modes of communication. The digital mode also has a great advantage over traditional propagation. You need propagation to be working in your favour when using High Frequency bands. If there is no propagation on a particular Ham Band, you simply do not hear any signals. D-star and DMR modes rely on the efficiency of the Internet, offering Radio Hams Worldwide communication without the need for natural reflection and refraction of the transmitted signal via the Earth’s Ionosphere.

Handheld transceivers capable of Digital transmission are now freely available from many of the Ham Radio retailers. Their transmissions are converted from standard analogue voice signals via voice encoders built into the hand set, these transmissions are picked up via local repeaters that are connected with each other to form a Worldwide network, if you do not live beside a D-star or DMR repeater you easily can turn your home based computer into a repeater with inexpensive add-on technology, they do the same job as a nearby repeater does.

The Basic Principles of Preventing Infection

Basic Infection Control refers to measures designed to prevent the spread of infections or potentially infectious microorganisms to health personnel, clients and visitor. Various infection control measures are used to decrease the risk of transmission of microorganisms in hospitals.

Principles of Basic Infection Control

1. Microorganism move through space on air currents. Avoid shaking or tossing linens as these motions create currents on which these microorganisms can be transported. All isolation room doors should be closed to stop air currents.

2. Microorganisms are transferred from one surface to another whenever objects touch. When a clean item touches a less clean item, it becomes “dirty” because microorganisms are transferred to it. Keep your hands away from your hair and face. Keep linens away from your uniform. Always keep clean items separated from dirty ones, any object dropped to the floor is considered dirty.

3. Microorganisms are released into the air on droplet nuclei, whenever a person breathes or speaks. Coughing and sneezing dramatically increases the number of microorganisms released from the mouth and nose. Cover mouth when coughing and sneezing. Wash hands thoroughly.

4. Microorganisms are transferred by gravity when one item is held above another. Avoid passing dirty items over clean items or areas because it is possible for the microorganisms to drop off into a clean item or area. When storing items in a bedside stand, place a clean items on upper shelves and potentially dirty items such as bedpans on lower shelves.

5. Microorganisms move slowly on dry surfaces but very quickly through moisture. Use dry paper towel when you turn off faucets. Dry both basin before placing on bed side for storage.

6. Proper hand washing removes many of the microorganisms that would be transferred by the hands from one item to another.

Universal Precaution

1. Wear clean examination gloves for listed body fluids: Blood, semen, vaginal secretions, CSF, synovial fluid, pleural fluid, pericardial fluid, amniotic fluid, etc.

2. Wash hands:

  • a. Immediately after contact with body substances containing blood
  • b. Between patient care
  • c. Immediately after gloves are removed.

3. Wear masks and protective eyewear when appropriate.

4. Wear moisture-proof apron when appropriate.

5. Wear utility (household rubber) gloves appropriately

6. Dispose of equipment and secretions properly

7. Wear sterile gloves appropriately

8. Handle specimens of blood and listed body fluids appropriately

9. Handle soiled linens correctly:

a. Hold linen away from uniform

b. Do not shake or toss linen

c. Transport linen contaminated with blood or bloody fluids in leakage resistant proof bags.

Painting Light

HOW TO PAINT LIGHT

I teach students how to paint and draw light. I am also a lighting specialist. My fascination with light encompasses, not only the commercial, retailing aspect, but the artistic as well. Once drawing and painting skills are developed to the point where students can accurately put down what they see, creating light and shadow is studied and faithfully delineated subject matter emerges in a world of space and volume.

LEARNING TO SEE

Basically, the depiction of light and shadow is accomplished by using dark and light colors in painting and tonal gradations in drawing. For a beginning student this often requires some visual skills.. First, I tell the student it is necessary to convert what they see to a two-dimensional vision that they can translate to a two-dimensional surface like a canvas or a sketchbook page.

POWERFUL GRIDS

Seeing objects two-dimensionally can be done in several ways. The easiest (and most time-tested) is to construct a grid in front of the subject matter–that could be actual objects, a photo or a picture. This can be done most simply by holding a pencil vertically and horizontally against the viewed objects, comparing their shapes to the vertical and horizontal lines of the pencil.

Another time-tested method is to literally construct a grid on plate glass or Plexiglas and place that grid in front of the objects. Now the viewed objects are intersected by many squares (depending on how large or small the squares in the grid are.) Each quadrant (square) of the grid can then be painted or drawn independently and upon completing the entire grid, the composition of objects is finished to compose an accurate picture of the objects.

Light and shadow are more easily discerned and created with this grid method. How objects are illuminated can be defined on paper or canvas by observing and re-creating light and shadow at play in each quadrant. In accomplishing this by shading and highlighting, illumination and therefore, volume is created, the illusion of the three-dimensional space is created, reborn on a two-dimensional surface.

EARLY LINE AND COLOR

Accuracy, as well as light and shadow were not always the motivation behind depicting artful images. Before the Renaissance, art works in Europe depicted objects ( figures, landscapes, buildings) in a flat space. There was no light and shadow. Figures were delineated and colored in a style much like a coloring book. These images translated well to stained glass windows and mosaics. Their simplicity of line and color contributed to the strength of the iconography, often of religious significance.

EARTHLY LIGHT

With the discovery of perspective, space and volume became important to artists as well as the depiction of light and shadow. Symbolic icons and images described by line gave way to depictions of illuminated space. In perspective, objects recede and advance in a two-dimensional space that is totally visually believable. To augment the receding and advancing figures with directional light and shadow completed the believability, creating a world the eye could explore as a simulated, illuminated three-dimensional environment.

GOLD LEAF TO EARTHLY LIGHT

Spiritual light, the vehicle of infinity was often expressed with the use of gold leaf in Medieval altarpieces. The warm, glowing, reflective surface behind religious figures imbued the work with a rich and reassuring statement-the glory of heaven and God’s power. A more earthly light replaced gold leaf in the Renaissance. Spiritual figures were bathed in sunlight and swathed in shadow. The light that illuminated the humble shepherds was the same light that shone on Jesus and his followers.

REPEATING HISTORY

It is interesting to me that the journey a beginning drawing or painting student takes often replicates the historical transition from the Medieval use of line and color-in style to the Renaissance application of illuminated space and volume. And, with more advanced students, their journey often continues to repeat the contemporary return to line and color-in, the preference for depicting flat, shallow space and solid color.

I find this reassuring. The art world is wide open, brimming with many styles, images, materials and skills. For today’s artist, everything is available, to use towards a creative purpose. All of history as well as the latest technological/digital images are ready to be researched and developed.

Passive Investment Income

What are some ways a person can generate passive investment income? There are a number of ideas about it. Everyone has his own ideas about which one can be a passive investment income. We should have our own choice of investment. The wealthy, the marginalized, and the middle class people differ in their own preferences about investing their money. Now, let’s compare ways and opportunities according to some considerations such as safety, profitability, and also liquidity.

Safety means that your investment and the income are stable. The money that you invest could be prone to the changing market condition, economic slowdown, and social unrest. The point is that your passive investment income should always be there. In that case, it is safe to invest.

On the other hand, profitability is what we usually consider when we invest. We are supposed to believe that what is profitable is ideal. That’s right. But is it risky? Is my money stuck? Obviously, everyone would go for whatever gives them profit. Whenever we consider gains, the highest amount is always the best passive investment income. What we should consider here should not have been about the top gainers only. It’s should also be the safer ones.

Another significant factor that must be considered is liquidity. Let us suppose that we earn very attractively from our safe investment. What does that mean to us anyway? When you are ready to use your fund because you really need it and that’s the reason why you invested, is it possible to convert it to cash now? If there is no liquidity, our passive investment income is only an imagination. You would become wealthy only in your dreams. Liquidity is not only about the comfort of making a withdrawal. It is also about how smooth it is to invest.

Now, here are three kinds of investment we may consider whether which passive investment income is better for us. So, let’s talk about three kinds of portfolios such as business, stocks, and real estate.

Business is a personal activity that deals with economic factors that determines future gains. It is the chemistry of work and investment. This means that a businessman does not only wait for passive income, he should also work for it. Therefore, it is an active income and at the same time passive.

In the aspect of safety, business is not that safe. It is exposed to economic cycle. Businesses are under the supply and demand law. If the demand for their goods has been increasing, the price will also increase, and so will the supply. As time goes by, the demand will influence the supply to increase more. So if the supply is much greater, it will then influence the price to decrease. Consequently, businesses are getting more unstable and their future is turning gray. But, businesses may also get more resilient. As this type of investment is a little active, the active control of a businessman can manage a worse situation. Therefore, these two characters of investment regulate the cycle. Because of this, business becomes good. It is definitely a good example of passive investment income when it comes to safety.

In stock market, it’s the other way around. Safety is a very controversial issue here. Obviously, the risk involved here is very high. But the potential return is high, too. Passive investment income is more common in stock trading. Therefore, your income here is not the product of your active participation in the company. It is the product of your decision.

In the area of real estate, the lesser amount you invest, the safer it is. The bigger the investment you have, the riskier it becomes. But land alone is considerably not risky. The reason why real estate becomes a little risky is because the cost of structural materials is getting higher. Structural materials are also subject to the law of supply and demand. So, if we only rely on land for passive investment income by renting it out, our passive income will not be affected by any price fluctuation. Aside from that, structures depreciate over a period of time. Therefore, investing in real estate can be risky or safe depending on the kind.

In terms of profit, it is more attractive in business. In some businesses, you have to spend time before you earn regularly. Usually, the profit is negative especially if they are just beginning to operate. They should promote their brands and strengthen themselves in the market. When the consumers buy their goods, passive investment income begins. On the other hand, other businesses are doing well in the beginning of the operation. During the first stage, their sales shoot up. Subsequently, they grow very early. As time goes by, consumers get sick and tired of their goods. Consequently, these businesses reduce their passive income. Nevertheless, what is nice about business is the resilience to catch up with the competition. In business, the consistency of income is stable. One more advantage in business regarding this is the petty cash. Passive investment income in business need not come after a fixed cycle like that in stocks. There is always readily available petty cash.

On one hand, profit potential in stock investing is definitely high. As the character of stocks is risky, risk appetite causes the value of stocks to go up quickly. On the other hand, risk aversion and profit taking in the intraday trading can cause the value of stocks to go down quickly, too. Risk management in the stock market depends on the traders. Speculators enjoy their passive investment income from the price volatility while non-aggressive traders and investors get their passive investment income from dividends. Therefore, we can’t rule out the risk nature of stocks. When we gauge the balance between the energy we exert and the profit we earn, investing in stocks could be the most attractive one. We must not forget that passive investment income is an income that we could get without extra effort. If stock market really offers this potential, it must be a better option for passive investment income.

In real estate, how can we have a passive investment income? There is no doubt that one may enjoy his passive investment income in real estate without extra effort. The point is whether or not the ratio of profit is balanced with the investment. Surely, we can gain in real estate primarily because the usual investment is big as well. But always remember that you should pay the capital gains tax annually. This might explain why landlords do not solely rely on renting out their lots. Hence, land is usually developed to optimize the gains. Regarding the actual amount of gains, real estate could guarantee a better passive investment income. Therefore, we should really consider the ROI.

In terms of liquidity, it is somewhat less in business. Of course, liquidity still exists. However, much time is spent to put up a business, to start gaining, and even the time it takes to stop operating. Although the period of time executing all these can be determined according to a business plan, the process is still slower depending on the kind of business. Retail businesses are quite liquid whereas manufacturing industries are not.

Among the common types of investments known to many, investment in stocks is the most liquid one. You can open and close an investment account at your convenience. Moreover, you may select any available stock you wish to invest in. If you wish to have exposure in stock market, to take profit, or to pull out your investment, it won’t take that long. You may do so at any given time wherever you may be.

On the contrary, liquidity is a big problem in real estate. In business, there are still ways to determine it, but hardly in real estate. Usually, it is like a game of chance to sell even a small house and lot. Thus, investing in real estate, earning passive income, and even pulling out your investment will never occur overnight. It won’t matter if it doesn’t affect productivity. For instance, you have found a better opportunity that needs quick decision. Then, you think it best to change your existing investment into such a new one. Perhaps, before you are able to pull out your investment from real estate, your commitment to others will have already been canceled. In similar case, you might get stuck.

These are some ways a person can generate passive investment income. Whether you wish to invest in stocks, real estate, or business, you can always find an opportunity to generate passive investment income.

Deadly Staph – Tips for the Prevention of Staph Infections

Over the past few years some dangerous Staph bacteria have become resistant to antibiotics. Only recently has the news media focused on this serious new health problem, which is of urgent concern to our schools. These killer bacteria, called methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus or “MRSA”, have recently caused panic in schools in the USA. Some infected students have become seriously ill and some have died after these antibiotic resistant bacteria invaded their blood stream. Most Staph bacteria only causes minor skin infections and are treated with antibiotics. Serious and deadly infections however, develop when antibiotic resistant bacteria (MRSA) is involved. The best methods for prevention of all types of Staph infections involve general cleaning strategies which can be incorporated into the routine cleaning practices at all schools. Here are some tips for limiting the possibility of Staph bacteria infecting your students:

1.) Establish a daily and routine environmental cleaning schedule for your school restrooms and dining areas. The cleaning staff should be trained and monitored to be sure they understand and practice thorough and effective cleaning procedures. Your local health department can provide advice on procedures.

2.) Use germicidal products or a solution of 1 part chlorine bleach and 9 part water to clean any surface that is subject to frequent touching by students, including light switches, doorknobs, faucet handles, hand rails and all restroom fixtures. Use soap and water at a minimum, preferably an all-purpose cleaner, for a daily cleaning of all other floors and surfaces.

3.) Install automatic soap dispensers, automatic hand dryers and automatic paper towel dispensers. These touch-free automatic dispensers will reduce student’s exposure to appliances that are frequently the source of hand transmitted bacteria. like Staph. If your school still utilizes the old manual hands-on dispensers it will be nearly impossible to clean them frequently enough to eliminate the spread of bacteria.

4.) Immediately clean up any surface that has a visible body fluid contamination such as blood, urine or other body fluid.

5.) Make sure automatic soap dispensers and automatic paper towel dispensers are filled with product at all times. This should be part of the cleaning personnel daily routine. Refill the dispensers daily.

6.) Encourage good hygiene. Students should be cautioned against sharing water bottles and personal items, encourages to shower after gym classes and other physical activities.

7.) Require that students cover cuts, abrasions and lesions with a proper dressing (bandage) until healed. Athletics staff should monitor this closely among their athletes.

8.) Clean all items used in athletic activities with an all-purpose cleaner and wash uniforms after each use.

9.) Publish, articulate and post reminders to staff and employees the importance of frequent hand washing with soap and water or the use of germicidal hand gels. Your schools restrooms and cafeteria should have warning signs posted in highly visible areas reminding everyone that hand washing is a requirement of your facility and is everyone’s responsibility.

Following these simple cleaning routines will greatly reduce you schools risk of bacterial infections of all types, including Staph and viruses, such as the flu, and the common cold.

How To Get Rid Of Cold Sores Fast And Resume Your Daily Life

Suddenly you feel the tingling sensation at the edge of your lip. There is no doubt in your mind that a cold sore is coming. Although you can’t cure it at the moment or prevent it completely, but you can speed up the healing with the following remedies.

Peppermint Oil

Essential oils can help your cold sores to heal faster. One study shows that peppermint oil can eliminate herpes simplex virus outside the cells in 3 hours. In other words, essential oils are not effective if the virus is hiding in the nerve. To use peppermint oil, you need to dilute it with olive oil because at high concentration, it is toxic. Apply it when you notice the tingling sensation.

Lysine

Taking high dosages of lysine has been found to speed up healing of cold sores. It replaces arginine in the cells. Arginine is the fuel for herpes simplex virus. The lack of arginine in the cells forces the virus to retreat.

You can reduce the consumption of foods that contain arginine. These include grains, chocolate, nuts, and seeds.

If you don’t want to take lysine supplements, increase the intake of lysine rich foods such as meat and dairy products. Just make sure they provide between 3000 and 9000 milligrams of lysine daily.

Abreva

Abreva is FDA-approved over-the-counter cream. It contains docosanol or behenyl alcohol that can get rid of cold sores fast. For best results, you have to use it as soon as the first symptom appear. It requires up to 5 applications per day.

Compeed

One study compares the speed of healing between Compeed Cold Sore Patches and acyclovir 5% cream. The result is that Compeed has the similar quick healing abilities as acyclovir cream. According to consumers’ reviews, many find that their cold sores clear quickly after patching their sores with Compeed. Unlike topical creams, Compeed is not messy. It is transparent so you don’t even know the patch is there. It also prevents the virus from spreading. In addition, it is an ideal remedy for pregnant women who have concerns about prescriptions.

Manage Your Stress

When you are under stress, your immune system weakens. This does not help your body to recover quickly for the herpes outbreak. If you want the cold sores to go away faster, you have to reduce your stress. Take a stroll, or join yoga classes. Modify your hectic schedule to give you time to relax.

The problem I find with today’s cold sore remedies is the timing. Most treatments will work the best if you act the moment you spot the tingling sensation. If you fail to do so, it will take longer time for you to resume your daily activities. Although the above remedies can get rid of cold sores quickly but what if you have to attend a major meeting or event tomorrow?

Interactive Technology in Healthcare Education

Healthcare professionals are under pressure to remember, utilize and absorb vast amounts of new or changing information in increasing volume. This surge has led to new and improved computer-based tools for many healthcare activities and to an explosion in the marketplace of tools used in instruction and education of healthcare workers. This article explains the use of interactive technology in healthcare and how this benefits instruction and education of healthcare professionals.

Digital systems that capture images from documents, 35-mm slides, physical samples or specimens, or virtually anything that the camera lens can see, is found in interactive technology. In healthcare, transmitting these images to computers with simple devices or software that will allow the display and integration of educational material into the training environment is easily accommodated.

The method for delivering these images or documents, usually via PowerPoint presentations, photography, videotape or audio presentations can turn a standard Windows PC into a dynamic, interactive, teaching tool. Depending on the type of training environment needed, interactive presentations can be found in the use of liquid crystal displays, large plasma displays, rear projection systems or even whiteboards. Educators can now tailor their courses to their audience’s expectations and needs using any number of these presentation forms.

Effectiveness of interactive learning systems is largely dependent upon the type or form of delivery used in combination with software that is easily used by both novice and expert users. Smaller systems will use a pen or stylus vs. a computer and a mouse where larger systems may use elaborate videoconferencing systems where many participants can be in the virtual classroom at the same time. Many healthcare organizations already utilize small and large types of communication systems routinely in the delivery of quality, high-tech healthcare to patients and their community. Adapting this equipment or having it serve dual purposes is an easy and cost-effective transition.

The era of the blackboards and chalk dust is now a memory for most of us. Interactive technology tools permit the educator to draw on, write on, and annotate data right on the screen as part of their dynamic presentation. In addition, the educator can now annotate their presentation and then save, print and even distribute by email, the contents of the class session to all participants.

The mobility that interactive technology gives the educator in the virtual classroom lends itself to unlimited types of uses and methods for delivery of high quality, interactive, sessions. Participants, too, benefit from easy access to the sessions, improved and more accurate note-taking that can be used later for study and reference. This all leads to greater retention of the learning objectives and enhanced or improved application in the field once the participant returns to the office or department.

Healthcare professionals should look for educators and learning systems that combine ergonomics with interactive technologies that integrate use the user of free text, annotation, images and video clips with the traditional printed materials. Transitions between screens or programs, linking to the Internet and class sessions, downloading or printing of the course materials and saving of files or information for future classes or reference use should be easy and simple to use. The presentation and delivery of the educational material should be efficient and easy to use and tailored to use by both healthcare professionals that have varying levels of technological skills.

Regardless of whether healthcare workers are new to the workplace or seasoned professionals, the learning systems used should assist them with learning new skills, procedures, diagnostic techniques and terminology. Communication between healthcare workers in both local and distant communities is on the rise and the use of interactive technology enables the participants to collaborate and share critical data and information.

Interactive technology can also benefit the bottom line and reduce costs formerly associated with travel or staffing and resources to send workers to local, regional or national meetings. Interactive presentations and systems can also attract and hold the participants interest and attention, enhancing their learning and retention gained from the course(s).

It is no wonder, then, that interactive technology has gained such a strong and prominent position in the education of healthcare workers. Healthcare workers looking for either online, distance or local training should evaluate the presentation and delivery systems used in order to maximize their learning experience.

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AIDS – What Really is AIDS and How Can it Be Prevented?

AIDS is a disease of the immune system which is caused by HIV which is otherwise known as “human immunodeficiency virus” a diagnosis of HIV can be devastating news for anyone. The condition is prolonged and takes time to weaken the immune system leaving sufferers of the illness susceptible to other illnesses such as the common cold, which due to the weakened immune system of AIDS sufferers can be deadly. An individual suffering from AIDS or HIV is also more susceptible to tumors meaning routine checkups are needed after a diagnosis, leading to a life of hospital appointments.

HIV can be transmitted through full on contact of the mucus membrane, such as mouths, lips and genitals and can also be transmitted through full on contact with an infected bodily fluid. These fluids can be blood, semen, vaginal fluid and breast milk meaning that HIV and AIDS can be passed through to a child throughout pregnancy and throughout breast feeding. The contact of these fluids can happen throughout different activities including anal, vaginal or oral sex, a blood transfusion or the exchange of infected needles, which would commonly be more associated with drug use.

AIDS symptoms often lie dormant until the disease is in its more advanced stages meaning that a diagnosis of AIDS can be even more devastating when the time left is short. Sufferers from AIDS have an increased risk of developing cervical cancer in female sufferers and cancers of the immune system such as Lymphoma. AIDS in its more advanced stage with come with symptoms such as fevers, sweats, swollen glands and weakness. Weight loss is also a common symptom of an AIDS sufferer. AIDS sufferers are also more susceptible to pneumonia as well due to the weakened immune system. AIDS is truly a life wrecking illness for everybody involved.

Since there is no cure for AIDS, the best way to decrease the spread of it and stop others contracting it is with prevention methods. Some of these methods include safe sex, being responsible and using a condom. Sexual relations are one of the main causes of AIDS transmission and a condom could save lives. It is proven that unprotected sex is responsible for the AIDS pandemic all over the world. A male or female condom would suffice.

People working in the health care industry also can do their bit in stopping the transmission of AIDS and HIV by following precautions and using the appropriate safety equipment to keep the illness from spreading. Also, it has now been said that mothers who are suffering from HIV or AIDS should avoid breast feeding their child as to prevent the child from contracting the illness as well. This is what any reasonable parent would do for their child if they knew it could save their life.

Overall, AIDS is a life wrecking disease and it is nothing to be ashamed of. Yet the prevention of it is so simple that people don’t need to be dying every day from this disease. AIDS doesn’t only affect one person; it spreads like a fire and can affect thousands. So think, and use precautions so you don’t become a sufferer too.

The Best Investment Portfolio for 2014 and Beyond

If you have an investment portfolio (like in a 401k plan) take a good look at it, because it might not really be the best investment portfolio for 2014 and beyond. If you are a new investor, don’t start investing money until you are familiar with the best funds to include in your portfolio in 2014.

Your investment portfolio is simply a list showing where your money is, and for most average investors consists primarily of mutual funds: stock funds, bond funds and money market funds. Here we discuss the best funds and asset allocation to achieve the best investment portfolio in the event that 2014 and beyond becomes a tough environment for investors. You may need to make changes in your existing portfolio; and you should also be aware of the following as a new investor before you start investing money.

As an investor you should receive statements periodically which show you where your money is. The problem is that many investors do not give these statements, which clearly show you your asset allocation and your investment portfolio, the attention they deserve. That can be a problem. For example, if you had 50% of your portfolio allocated to stock funds in early 2009, you could have two-thirds of your money in these funds now. If the stock market takes a big hit, you stand to take a big loss. Let’s take a look at stock funds and the best funds for investing money there first.

The stock market and many diversified stock funds have gone UP in value about 150% in less than 5 years, and numerous financial analysts expect a correction (stock prices to go DOWN) in 2014. If your investment portfolio shows that more than half of your assets are invested in stock funds consider cutting back to 50% or less. If you are a new investor ready to start investing, allocate no more than 50% to diversified stock funds. The best funds: those that invest in high quality, dividend paying stocks vs. growth funds that pay little in the form of dividends. This is your first step in putting together the best investment portfolio for 2014, because it cuts your potential losses.

The best investment portfolio also includes bond funds, which have been good solid investments for over 30 years. Why? Interest rates have been falling, which sends bond prices and bond fund values higher. Problem: interest rates have hit all-time lows and appear to be heading higher. Higher interest rates create losses for bond fund investors. Many investors have an investment portfolio loaded with bond funds and are totally unaware of the risk involved if rates go up. If you are getting ready to start investing money you need to know this as well. When interest rates go UP, bonds and bond fund values go DOWN. That’s about the only iron-clad rule in the investment world.

Allocate no more than 25% to 30% of your total investment portfolio to bond funds to cut your risk. The best bond funds are categorized as intermediate-term funds, where the investment portfolio of the fund invests in bonds that mature (on average) in 5 to 10 years. These are the best funds now because they pay a respectable dividend with only moderate risk. The worst funds to hold now: long-term funds that hold bonds maturing (on average) in 15, 20 years or more. When you review your investment portfolio, get rid of these because they will be big losers if (when) interest rates shoot upward. New investors who want to start investing money: avoid them and allocate about 25% of your money to intermediate-term bond funds to avoid heavy risk.

Sometimes the best investment portfolio is loaded with aggressive stock funds and includes longer-term bond funds. Now, looking at 2014 and beyond, is probably not one of those times. For many years now losses in stock funds have been offset by gains in bond funds. Today the problem for investors is that even the best funds of both varieties could get hit if the economy falters and interest rates rise significantly. That makes investing money today a real challenge… one that few investors are prepared for.

So, let’s say that you start investing money with less than 50% going to the best funds in the stock department and about 25% allocated to the best funds in the bond universe… or you adjust your existing investment portfolio to these levels… where do you invest the rest of it? Even though interest rates are still historically low, you bite the bullet and invest it for safety to earn interest. In a 401k plan your best safe investment is likely the stable account, if your plan has one. Otherwise, the best fund for safety is a money market fund (even though they presently pay almost no interest). When rates go up, they should pay more. Or you can shop the banks for the best rates on short-term CDs, or savings accounts.

I expect that 2014 and beyond will be a challenging time to start investing money or to manage an existing investment portfolio. On the other hand, now you should have a handle on the best funds to consider when putting together the best investment portfolio possible. Remember, you must stay in the game in order to get ahead over the long term; but sometimes moderation is your best course of action.

A Buyer’s Guide to Kids ATV

Buying a kids ATV (All Terrain Vehicle) could be a confusing task. Often, most people do not know how to go about buying the ATV. There are so many factors to consider. Size, make, price and safety are examples of factors that must be taken into account. Of course, looks too play an important part. After all, your child will not accept a kids ATV that doesn’t look cool! So, how do you buy the right bike?

Size: When it comes to size, most parents make big mistakes. It is common for them to buy a kids ATV that is one size bigger so that their child can grow into the bike gradually. But, buying a quad bike that is bigger than the required size is dangerous. Your child should have comfortable access to the handle bars, brake and accelerator. If they cannot reach these parts comfortably, it could be dangerous. Parents must also consider the size of the engine. If the engine is too powerful, it could go out of control. 50cc engines are best suited for young children.

Quality: When you buy kids ATV, it is important to consider the quality of the bike. A quality bike equates to lesser number of break-downs, repairs and low maintenance costs. Reputed brands are highly conscious of the quality of their machines. Also, since kids grow out their ATVs pretty fast, you need to consider your re-selling options. A reputed brand fetches much more when you want to resell. If you are about to buy a brand that sounds new, find out more about warranties, guarantees and so on.

Safety: Kids ATV must keep to high safety standards. High quality quads have a large number of safety features. Some even have safety features that may not be present in adult ATVs. Examples include kill switches which help kill the engine in case of trouble. Remote controls allow parents to control the ATVs, in case of necessity. A safe engine keeps your child safe.

The ATV is also known as the quad or four wheeler. According to the ANSI (American National Standards Institute), the ATV is a vehicle that is equipped to travel on all terrains. It has four low pressure tires and a handlebar. The vehicle is legal in some countries and not allowed on the roads in other countries. Regardless, kids need to learn how to be safe on the kids ATV before they can graduate to more powerful ATVs.

Kids between the ages of 6 and 12 must always ride a kids ATV with a 70cc engine or lesser. As age and experience increase, they can opt for more advanced models. It is necessary to buy the ATV that suits your child’s physical make up. In this regard, you cannot accept any industry norms. The only way to find out is to take your child for a test drive. Your child must be able to shift gears if you intend to buy manual   transmission . Otherwise, go for the automatic ATVs.