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Living with Less: How to Simplify Your Life

Now that you know the basics of minimalism and how changing your lifestyle can completely change your life for the better, you may be wondering how to actually get started on this journey. You don’t need extra money, actually, you should slim your wallet today.

You have been exposed to a lot of information about the minimalist lifestyle, and may feel pressure to quickly transition into full-blown minimalism. However, very few people can just throw all of their possessions away and start fresh. Deciding to throw away or donate your belongings is not an easy task, as we come to accumulate a lot of stuff that holds sentimental and monetary value. Although you may struggle every now and then, you will find that switching to minimalism will become easier as you begin experiencing the benefits of changing your lifestyle.

Slim wallet AKI from Kistesu Thin Wallets

Starting Off

Write down everything! Writing down your goals, expectations, and struggles will help affirm your mission to becoming a minimalist. Start by making a list of all the reasons why you want to switch to a simpler lifestyle. Next, make a list of all the things that are causing you stress that can be fixed by becoming a minimalist. This could be debt, a full schedule, too many mugs, whatever is causing you to become fed up with collecting material things. Lastly, you should definitely write down your goals for transitioning to minimalism and what you want to gain from the lifestyle. Whenever you are doubting your decision or are faced with the urge to make an impulse buy, you will have these written lists to remind you of your mission and purpose.

Throw away any duplicates! Believe it or not, many people accidentally end up owning a number of the same exact items. This only adds to the unnecessary clutter. Walk through your house and get rid of any duplicates your see: two sets of the measuring cups, copies of the same movie, books, etc. You only really need one of everything, and even that is sometimes too much of a minimalist. Place all of your duplicates in a box and place it out of sight for one month. If you find that you did not need anything that was in the box or even forgot what you had put in the box in the first place, then get rid of it!

Maintain a permanent clutter-free zone. Becoming a minimalist does not mean throwing away everything you own and completely emptying your house. Start your transition into the lifestyle with a small gesture; such as clearing a space in your home that is a clutter-free zone. This could be a table in the living room, a desk, or even just a drawer in the kitchen. From this small space, you can gradually expand your clutter-free zone to an entire room.

Limit what you travel with. Minimalists love traveling because it just reinforces the belief that you really don’t need much to get by. The next time you go to pack a suitcase for a trip, try packing for half of the time you will be away for. For example, if you are traveling for six days, pack for three. Doing laundry while on vacation may not seem ideal, but it is easier than carrying over- packed baggage.

Get rid of your clothing! We all have clothes that we hope to wear one day when the occasion arises, but the truth is that the red shirt with the price tags still attached will probably never be worn. Clearing your wardrobe is one of the easiest things that you can do when first deciding to become a minimalist. Start by limiting your clothing options to fifty things: including shoes, accessories, underwear, etc. Once you realize how much you don’t wear and don’t need, donating the rest will feel much easier.

Limit your meal options. Of course, you do not have to stick to the same meal plan for years on end to be a minimalist. But you can seriously cut down the grocery bill by keeping your meal choices limited. Preparing breakfast, thinking about lunch, and making dinner take a lot more time and energy than its worth. Cut down your stress and food bill by keeping your meals simple. Try eating the same thing for breakfast and lunch all week, and then having three or four dinner options that you can cycle through during the week. If your family does not enjoy this experience, let them know that it is an experiment and talk together about how to make future meals more minimalistic.

Save $1000 right away. Saving money is not always as easy as it sounds, but once you save the first thousand dollars, you will feel less financial stress and feel secure in case of an emergency. An emergency fund simplifies all of your potential worries: paying off a debt, a hospital bill, monthly payments, etc. Saving may seem to take forever to do, but you can easily accomplish conserving a thousand dollars in just forty- five weeks. This can be accomplished by completing the fifty-two-week challenge in forty- five weeks instead.

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The color of eyes: a study with application in forensic sciences

The applications of genetics in the field of forensic sciences are well known, but that does not mean there is still much to be explored and new lines of related research continue to be opened. This is the case of the determination of the color of the eyes, a topic that historically has not aroused greater interest because it is considered that any study aimed at defining the phenotypic aspect of people – that is, their characteristics and traits – was stigmatizing.

In the last decade, however, it was gaining more and more momentum, summoning a large number of experts. In this favorable context, two scientists from the Multidisciplinary Institute of Cell Biology (IMBICE, CONICET-UNLP-CICPBA) (Argentina) have just published a paper in the journal Genetics and Molecular Biology.

The study investigates the genes that participate in the determination of the hue of the iris, the circular area in whose center the pupil is located. “The sample with which we work corresponds to the native population of Buenos Aires and with a minimum of five years of residence in the province,” says Diana Hohl, CONICET doctoral scholar and first author of the work, adding: “We compared the results with similar research based on Europeans, Africans, and Asians, and the differences are so many that the eye color identification protocols that are used internationally could not serve for this region of the planet. The variation of the genes involved may be different in each location. ”

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The research was based on 118 people between 18 and 50 years old, given that a very old age could influence the color of the iris, especially if there is an eye disease. In the same way, those who use the medication in droplets that could cause the darkening of the eye were excluded. Each volunteer was photographed without incident of external light and illuminated only with a flashlight, and a sample of saliva was also requested to correlate what was observed in the images with the genetic information, and thus be able to determine the genes that are involved in the precise definition of each tone.

Within the aforementioned identification protocols, in Europe there is a kit that analyzes a series of polymorphisms, that is, variations in the DNA that occur within the same population. The result allows us to estimate the color of a person’s eyes from their genetic information with a very low probability of error. “But here we find different frequencies of those gene variants, called alleles. It is likely that they are very common among Europeans but less frequent in this area due to our ethnic mix. So those markers might not work here, “explains Cecilia Catanesi, CONICET assistant researcher at IMBICE and participant in the research.

The genes that participate in the definition of the color of the iris are at least twenty, although the most involved are seven or eight. The main contribution to the forensic disciplines is that knowing them allows us to predict that trait of a suspect that is being sought, and not only to compare it with a detainee. “For example, it is very common to find biological material under the nails of a victim who defended himself. In these cases, knowing which genes give pigmentation of the skin, eyes, and hair allows us to draw an approximate profile of the characteristics of the attacker. But particularly the tone of the eyes is very little sense to the environment: it means that it is almost entirely determined by genetics and, with the exception of age, which can produce changes, there are not many other factors that influence it “,

Another application that can have this information is when estimating the identity of a person from skeletal remains. “When bones are found and there is no DNA from potential relatives to compare, genetic determination is very useful,” says Hohl, and continues: “As a forensic anthropologist can know if it was a man or a woman, or the height that he had, for example, it is also possible to know the color of eyes that he had, and it is one more fact when orienting the search “.

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At the beginning of the research, the scientists used software developed abroad to perform a quantification of the color of the iris, but they had many problems because they did not achieve a good recognition of many of the Buenos Aires’ own tones, and instead It was much more precise with light tones, which predominate in other parts of the world.

For the following trials, then, they used another program and, with the help of IMBICE staff, they are developing another measurement methodology. They also improved the procedure to take the photographs, and went on to do it with the collaboration of CONICET intern María de Los Ángeles Gutiérrez in the scope of the University Extension Environmental Program of the National University of La Plata (PAEU, UNLP), which counts with a laboratory and equipment much more adapted for the task.

The publication was based on Hohl’s thesis, a work that was awarded twice in the past year: during the Third International Scientific and Technological Congress of the Province of Buenos Aires, and at the XIV Latin American Congress of Biological Anthropology, organized by the Association of Argentine Biological Anthropology in Uruguay.

Why study Big Data is a guarantee of job success?

The Big Data profession is fashionable. There are already many companies from different sectors looking for specialists in data analysis and Big Data.

Moreover, this professional profile has even become the most demanded job profile in 2017, which is why many students choose it with the aim of achieving a successful professional future in the coming years.

But what is Big Data and what does an expert in this area really do? What kind of studies have to be done to become a Big Data professional?

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What is the big data

It is not something new, but it is a novelty if we think about its application in corporate environments. Big Data represents the massive analysis of data, but at a higher level than the different types of software have been doing so far. In addition, the term includes the storage, processing, and use of data that obviously have an objective at the enterprise level.

All those data that the Big Data expert will analyze to draw useful conclusions for the company he works from coming from different sources: social networks, web applications, biometric data, data transactions and even online marketing and user behavior in the network. Everything can be analyzed with a predefined objective and it is the Big Data professional who is responsible for carrying out this analysis and treatment of the data.

Why is it a profession for the future?

The fact that these analysis actions are so important for the company has an explanation. And, in addition to being a flexible technology, it is scalable, fast, economical and satisfies a predefined objective. In short, companies that use Big Data get a solid base of knowledge to increase their profits, save costs, get new customers or improve the retention of current, among many other things.

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The fact that prestigious companies such as Amazon, Netflix, Spotify or Nike, or even governments of different countries, are pioneers in the use of Big Data to improve their companies or their knowledge about people, suggests that the rest of Companies, large and small, will be added to the use of this new professional profile.

Possibly, if we stop to think, we will find more companies and environments that are currently using Big Data or massive data analysis to improve some aspect related to your company or activity.

What to study to be an expert in Big Data?

Although there is still no specific university career to train professionals in this field, it is possible to study Big data from the wide range of higher education or master’s degree available in Spain.

As a general rule, students interested in this type of training correspond to technical studies: mathematicians, statistical experts, computer engineers or software developers. However, there are also less technical profiles, such as business administration and management professionals or marketing experts, who have also joined the art of collecting data, interpreting it and giving it a useful value for the company.

And is that, depending on the professional profile, each of them has value in a different stage of the process of data analysis. For example, the most technical profiles focus on the creation of algorithms and predictive patterns, while others use Business Intelligence to apply the results extracted from the patterns to the company’s objectives.

Be that as it may, any of them needs to enroll in a specialized master to be trained in all stages of Big Data.

Once the master’s degree is finished, students will be prepared to dedicate themselves to the world of Data Intelligence in any business environment. You will have a professional profile suitable to work as a Macro data Systems Administrator, Data Intelligence and Business Intelligence Architect, Mass Data Systems Auditor, Data Scientist, Data Engineer, Chief Data Officer, Data Analyst and other related positions.

All those who meet the access requirements and are interested in studying Big Data can already access the pre-registration to the Master in Big Data and Business Analytics of the Complutense University of Madrid. It is one of the most demanded masters in the technology sector and knowing the labor demand that exists today, why wait another year?

Bats become library “guardians” balancing culture and nature

The most well-known and most spoken colony of bats in Portugal is the one that lives in the Joanina Library, University of Coimbra, and since the sixteenth century has been in charge of preserving its hundreds of volumes so that they are not devoured by insects known as “bibliophages”.

Each bat that inhabits the valuable Library of Coimbra (Heritage of Humanity), can in just one night get to hunt 500 insects that fly between the copies.

For this reason, those responsible for the library, built under King João V – hence the name of Joanina – ensure that their volumes have been perfectly preserved, despite the numerous cracks and ventilation circuits through which the insects pass.

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Every night, before the closing of the library, a baroque masterpiece where the specimens of European culture are preserved between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, hundreds of volumes are preserved with leather blankets, so that the copies are not deteriorated with the feces of the bats.

The certainty of the colony’s existence, where two bat species coexist, was recently confirmed by the Portuguese researcher, Jorge Palmeirim, who, despite not seeing the animals, was able to measure the sounds emitted by them when they fly at night.

Especially important is the hunting of the woodworm, whose larva digs sinuous galleries very apparent in the books and can do real damage both in papers and in the leathers of books.

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Those known as “moths”, companions of the woodworms, are also hunted for bats, because, instead of making galleries, they end up consuming the sheets of paper, preferably of the old books.

However, the increase in specimens and the passage of time have meant that bats are not enough to protect the books of the Biblioteca Joanina, one of the main tourist attractions in Coimbra.

According to information given by the university to the Efe Agency, a new anoxia chamber of six cubic meters of capacity was recently acquired to handle the bibliographic fund.

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The objective of the chamber, which cost about 70 thousand euros for the university, is the disinfection of books, thus avoiding the action of insects.

In the three floors of the Joanina Library, 60,000 volumes of different materials are preserved, all edited until the end of the 18th century, and together with the General Library of the university, 1 million volumes are accounted for.

In addition to books, the Joanina Library holds newspapers, magazines, very particular manuscripts and special collections, among the highlights, are a remarkable collection of old maps and an extensive and unusual set of musical documents from the 16th and 18th centuries.

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