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4 Things To Think About Before Applying for Medical School

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If you are reading this article, you are not just now coming to the conclusion that you want to be a doctor. It has become more than a nagging thought and has settled into your mind as the thing you want to do. You have lofty dreams of saving patients and giving good news to families and possibly images of on-call room romances depending on which medical dramas you like to watch between studying for the MCAT. Before you start trying on white coats, let’s examine four things that you may want to consider before becoming a doctor.

1. Initial Investment:

Doctors are often portrayed as high-rollers. However, many of them do not begin their journey’s this way. After the hundreds of dollars spent during the application process for application fees, standardized tests, test prep, etc., one would think that getting accepted into a school would mean smooth sailing. Then comes the issue of tuition, books, supplies, and of course living expenses. (You still have to eat!) While ambitious, it is not always feasible to get a job while in medical school. Therefore, unless you have a rich relative that is willing to sponsor you, you are going to need some financial assistance. Grants and loans are the most popular ways that medical students find a way to make it as they help cover the cost of tuition, books, and living expenses, but be wary of piling up too much. If you’re still in high school, be sure to go to an affordable undergrad school and research well on what they can offer you.

2. Graduation Does Not Mean the End

So you’ve finally graduated! Congratulations! You made it out with a lot of medical knowledge and a major part of your sanity. You are an MD now. You can get right out there and start practicing, right? Not yet, speedy. It is internship time!!! All Doctors must spend at least one year in some form of internship. Then after that is your residency. If you are looking to specialize there is even more education to gain. No worries though, you are getting paid. You probably took out plenty of student loans, and while with your future salary, they might seem easy to pay off, remember that you probably have interest rates to pay off. You might ask why you have to pay so much in interest, but it is the unfortunate cost of taking out a loan, It’s what it costs to borrow, and since you did borrow a lot, you’re going to have to pay that and more. The best ways to handle this is to pay as much into your student loans as you possibly can, even if you are still in your internship and residency.

3. Insurance, Insurance, Insurance

One word that is immediately going to become a part of your vocabulary is insurance. Insurance covers most of your paycheck. Unfortunately, insurance for doctors takes a part as well. Every physician has to have insurance for doctors. In addition to actual medical insurance, malpractice insurance is also a requirement. This type of insurance for doctors is what comes into effect if the doctor makes a mistake serious enough to warrant a lawsuit from either the patient or the family of that patient.

4. Emotional Costs

While being a doctor may seem glamorous on television, it is wrought with stress. You literally have the health of a sick person in your hands. If they come to you, there is a level of trust that has been placed on you. That is a lot of pressure. Confronting a family to tell them that their relative is either in critical condition or worse has passed away is not only a lot of pressure, but it can be even more emotionally taxing. Perhaps taking an aptitude test to help you make the decision may be in your best interest. 

Becoming a doctor is not without its perks, you get to help people who are at their worst and ideally usher them back to a healthier version of themselves. The money is not bad either. Nevertheless, there are a few cons: Initial investments, post-graduate education, insurance for doctors, and emotional costs. It is important to weight all of the costs (including where you go for undergrad) against the benefits of any major decision especially one like this.

References:

What You Should Know About Breeds Before You Get A Dog

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Adding a dog to your family is a very big decision. The choice about whether to get a puppy or an adult, or whether to buy from a breeder or adopt, is very personal and specific to each individual or family’s situation. One of the most important things to understand before making your decision is how the breed of a dog can impact its demeanor, personality, and temperament. Here are some things you should know about dog breeds before choosing your family pet.

Established Dog Breeds

Dog breeds have been created and established to categorize dogs that look, behave, and act similarly. Dogs are bred with other dogs of the same breed in order to continue the lineage of the group. Dogs that mate with other types of dogs produce offspring that are considered mixed-breed or, in some cases where the lineage cannot be traced, a mutt. Cross-breeds are dogs that are specifically bred to create a combination of characteristics between two breeds, such as a Goldendoodle, which is a combination of a Golden Retriever and a Poodle.

Predictable Breed Characteristics

Researching typical traits in different types of dogs is helpful in choosing your new dog, as breeds are easily predictable in temperament. Some of the characteristics specific to certain breeds are fairly consistent across all dogs in the breed. Greyhounds are known for having boundless energy, while Beagles are known for barking frequently, and French Bulldogs are noisy when breathing. Prior to bringing home a new dog, it is important to do your homework on the different breeds to ensure that the dog you choose is the right fit for your home and family.

Unpredictable Breed Characteristics

While many things about the breed can tell you about the dog, not all characteristics are predictable and certain for your specific pet. Aggressiveness, while sometimes considered a predictable characteristic for some breeds, is a trait that is not inherent. Instead, it is nearly always nurtured through the environment in which the dog is raised or has lived. Hyperactivity is also a trait that is not always ingrained in the genetics of certain breeds. Often, like aggression, excessive levels of activity are created by the environment. So, while knowing the breed will help you narrow down traits that are compatible with your home environment, it is essential to do your research on the dog’s early life. Interviewing the breeder or the shelter employees can help you to determine this information prior to selecting and bringing home your dog.

Purebred Dogs

A dog that is considered purebred has a lineage including only one breed of animal. These dogs are the most consistent in terms of their predictable characteristics, which can be helpful when selecting a pet since you are better able to foresee the way the dog will act and behave in your home. While bringing home a purebred pet gives you some peace of mind about what to expect from your dog, some purebred dogs deal with health issues related to years of mating within the confines of the breed. For example, German Shepherds have a high incidence of hip dysplasia, while Pugs are known for having eye problems. When purchasing a purebred dog from a breeder, be sure to ask about any of the known medical concerns and ensure that your specific pet is cleared of any that can be determined at that point.

Cross-Breed

Dogs that are the product of two breeds mating often have their own unique set of characteristics. However, with cross-bred dogs, it is not always possible to know which sets of traits are stronger and more prominent in the specific pet that you are considering. Speaking with the breeder or shelter worker may be able to give you more insight about your dog’s specific background and parents, which can help you to better forecast your dog’s personality and temperament.

Mixed-Breed and Mutt

When several or more breeds are present in the lineage of a pup, it can be difficult to ascertain any information about the dog’s ancestry. In some cases, it can be impossible to know any or all of the breeds that are in the genetic makeup of the dog. This can make it hard to determine anything specific about the dog, and is why some may recommend avoiding bringing home a mixed-breed or a mutt. Mixed-breed and mutt dogs are typically found in shelters, as they are the result of unintentional breeding. Therefore, most of these dogs are usually older and have either had previous owners or have been subjected to harsh living conditions. It is important to talk with the person who has background and history information about the dog, as breed information may not be helpful with dogs that fall into these categories.

Allergies

Those with pet allergies will be more sensitive to some dog breeds than others. Dogs with long hair and thick undercoats will shed more, and therefore create a higher risk of an allergic reaction or irritation. Some dogs have been bred to have hypoallergenic fur, which is less of an irritant to those with allergies to dogs. If you or another member of your family has an allergy to dogs, be sure to research the breeds for allergen information prior to selecting a dog for your home.

Lifestyle

One of the most important things to consider when bringing home a dog is to ensure that it will fit your lifestyle. If you work long hours and do not have a lot of time to spend walking your dog, you will want to avoid breeds that are known for their high energy. If you are an avid hiker and want a dog that can climb mountains with you, you will want to avoid breeds of dogs that have short legs or breathing difficulties. Ensuring that a pet’s traits are similar to your interests and characteristics will ensure a better match.

Adding a dog to your family is an important decision and one that should be well thought out and thoroughly researched. Information about the different breeds can help you choose the right dog for you.

References:

https://www.petmd.com/dog/care/evr_dg_purebred_dogs_complications

https://petolog.com/articles/mixed-breed-dogs.html

https://www.puppyjoy.net/breed

http://www.dogbreedslist.info/hypoallergenic-dog-breeds/

Cool Skills You Can Learn That Are Guaranteed To Impress

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In the 21st Century, we are often a bit spoiled when it comes to education. Given access to a wealth of information and skill sets that in past generations would have required years of study and a fortune in tuition costs to acquire, we need only discover what we are passionate about to move on to new and exciting horizons of learning that will make us into the most popular person in any room.

Indeed, few individuals with an interest in the personal computer boom of the 1980s could have dreamt of a time when watching a lecture from Harvard University, learning a new instrument, and learning a magic trick from Penn and Teller could have been accomplished in a single afternoon. Indeed, whether it’s with the aid of smartphones or with the time-honored traditions of our local schools, we are now only limited by our imaginations when it comes to accomplishing exciting new goals. Here are just a few ways to develop a sparkling set of life-changing talents in the information age!

Stand-Up Guys and Gals: The Art of Comedy

If you’ve ever wanted to be the go-to person for friends who need cheering up, or if you’ve ever wanted to leave people laughing so hard they can’t breathe, you may be interested in the exciting world of stand-up and improv comedy. The art of stand-up and improv comedy has become more accessible in recent years due to an enormous amount of resources becoming available online, particularly as industry greats have taken their wisdom to social media and Youtube. If sketch comedy is your passion, the availability of online tips from members of improv groups like the Groundlings, whose alumni include Will Ferrell, Lisa Kudrow, and Phil Hartman, can prepare you for an exciting new world of comedic skills. Whatever your interest, now is a great time to catch the comedy bug and wow new and old friends!

The Art of Magic: A Surefire Way to Delight Our Social Circle

Image Courtesy of Vanity Fair

Whether it is humanity’s age-old fascination with illusion or the wonderful experience of seeing new and exciting developments within an ancient art form take shape, magic appears to be as exciting as ever both in popular media and in the social lives of its dedicated practitioners. (Pro tip: a good set of magic skills is perhaps the easiest and fastest way to turn total strangers into new friends.)

Perhaps no skill set in the world can count more passionate affiliates among its base than that of the bona fide magician, whose code of honor is a cross between the samurai and the alchemist. (Second pro tip: be aware that trying to work out the secrets of the world’s greatest magicians can quickly become a lifelong passion and an introduction to a vast world of new friends.) In the United States alone, the art of magic has been raised to a stunning level of perfection by famous magicians ranging from Harry Houdini to Penn and Teller, and the information age has made it easier than ever to learn from the greats. A cursory scan of Youtube and other video sites will give the aspiring magician hours of entertainment and potential for in-depth learning, and few people can find a type of work that is as satisfying or as social as that of the illusionist. Indeed, anyone who has ever been a bit shy about approaching others may find their confidence levels boosted by the positive manner in which magicians are received, and anyone who has ever been in a boring situation knows how quickly smiles appear when a good magician enters the room.

Computer Coding and Website Design: When Fortune Awaits

Gone are the days when the aspiring computer coder needed to lock themselves away in a library for thousands of hours to learn the arcane and often intimidating secrets of computer science. There are hundreds of sites on the internet offering free tutorials for programming languages such as Python and Java and just as many sites teaching the craft of website building. There are even resources on using Elasticsearch for data analytics. Now, the opportunity for an aspiring computer scientist to create their own business or aim for recruitment by companies such as Facebook or Google has never been easier. Unlike similarly financially stable professions like law or medicine, a degree in computer science is by no means a requirement for working in the tech industry, where initiative and experience count for more than a degree. In fact, now is a fantastic time for self-starters to teach themselves a skill set that will not only impress potential clients and employers but will also help friends who need a career-boost with the design of a stunning website or app to support their dream job.

Lock Picking: Or How to be the Most Useful Person in the Room

Image courtesy of Positive Security Perth

Anyone who has ever been in a jam involving a tricky lock or a missing key knows the inestimable value of someone with lock-picking skills. Whether it’s fixing a jammed door at work and showing the boss that we’re dedicated employees or helping out a new friend when they’ve locked themselves out of their car, a person with the ability to pick a lock helps people to be more productive and safer! Thankfully, the secrets of the locksmithing trade have never been easier to learn, and being the indispensable friend that everyone turns to in times of emergency is a surefire way to being both popular and helpful.

The Guitarist: The Art of Winning Friends (and Making Music)

One of the most rewarding skills a person can develop over the course of their lifetimes lies in the development of latent musical talent. With guitar stores now competing for customer dollars online, it’s easier to score a professional-level guitar for a great price, and with a veritable wealth of tutorials online for honing guitar skills at anywhere from a beginner to an expert level, becoming the life of the party or camping-trip has never been easier. And don’t let the prospect of learning a new instrument intimidate you! As anyone who has ever learned Bob Marley’s discography will tell you, some of the most popular songs in the world are comprised of the same three chords, meaning that even a few hours of learning will have you playing your friends’ favorite tunes.

If the guitar seems a bit too formidable to start with, there is always the option of picking up a ukulele for even less than the cost of a good guitar. The smaller, more user-friendly alternative to a guitar, the ukulele has fewer strings and less tension on the fretboard, meaning that you’ll be playing new songs within an afternoon. Bonus idea: many companies are currently selling “guitarleles,” smaller versions of guitars that still retain the basic structure and six-strings of the larger instrument. These models are an excellent introduction to the world of guitar without the expense or finger-strain!

How New Skills Can Change Our World

As human beings, we are naturally drawn to people who are able to successfully develop new skills, just as our lives are often improved by taking on new skills ourselves. Whether it’s in the picking up of a new instrument or in learning a stunning magic trick, mastering the learning process of a new skill set with the aid of online lectures and tutorials or the local community college can bring new and exciting opportunities in life. For many people, the results can be completely life-changing!

 

What’s the Difference Between a Crown and a Filling?

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If you are looking to get dental work done, you might be wondering about your options. Among the most common are something called crowns and fillings. However, these terms can be confusing at first, even though they have unique differences. Here is the difference between them that you need to know before making any decision about your dental health:

What is a Filling

When you start having a toothache, it is often caused by some kind of bacterial decay in your teeth. These are often called cavities but can be caused by a variety of things.

To solve this, fillings are often suggested. They involve cleaning out the tooth area, perhaps removing parts of your teeth along with the bacteria and other sites of infection and cleaning them thoroughly. Then, a filling material that is inserted to seal up the area and make it look natural (detailed here). This is often done with a resin that looks white or gold.

What is a Crown

A crown is used in a similar situation to a filling. If you have cavities and want to keep the tooth or root from getting further damaged, you can have a crown put on. This also protects the tooth from further chipping or damage if it is weak.

A crown consists of a cap made of porcelain that lays over the original tooth. It is designed to look just like a regular tooth so no one can tell the difference if they don’t have a trained eye. Sometimes, crowns involve more procedures than fillings because you might need your teeth filed down a bit or to have extra adhesive applied (explained here).

How to Decide Which One to Get?

The question of whether you need a crown or a filling is a hard one to answer. After all, you want the best look in your smile without spending more than you have to or enduring as much pain. A dental professional who provides these services is the best person to answer this question for you. They can examine your mouth and your issues on a personal basis to offer the ideal solution for you.

When it comes to dental health, it can seem overwhelming. After all, there are so many terms out there about different operations or solutions you can have done. Review the differences above if you have cavities or other oral issues you need fixed. Then consult a professional who can guide you in the best direction for your specific dental needs.

More information about the difference between a filling and a crown is discussed here.

For more news in the dental industry, check out these articles:

4 Commonly Misdiagnosed Dental Issues

Should I Be Concerned About Flouride in My Water?

5 Ways We’re All Gradually Turning into Cyborgs

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Are you becoming culturally isolated through the constant use of social media platforms? Does your smartphone answer all your problems and give you unearned compliments? Does the idea of a shiny metal implant on your body only slightly alarm you? If you responded yes to even half of these questions, then chances you just might be on your way to becoming a cyborg.

Metal Implants

Metal implants are the most obvious indication that someone is turning into or already is a cyborg, also the least disturbing. A classic cyborg is going to have metal on their body – and we’ve already long started this traditions. For years on end we’ve used braces. And let’s not forget their more permanent cousins, metal implants, which according to this article, the implant process begins when a metal post is surgically positioned into the jaw. That’s pretty deep in there. Any decent future millennial cyborg has already made peace with our new accessories. From metal chips in our arm, so our corporate overlords can read our blood sugar, blood alcohol content, to bionic eyes to VR glasses, how we transform is completely customizable. What is more disturbing than the metal possibilities, are the social consequences of being a cyborg.

Discussions with A.I.

Do you find yourself asking Siri and Alexa for a suspiciously large amount of emotional support? Are you looking to them to answer all your problems while complementing your less than average work ethic? Chances are you are a future cyborg. The truth is, we might find ourselves having extended conversations with A.I. in the near future, and less with the people we know and love. If we are not careful, we may see ourselves being sold out to a social media content company for a few extra gigs of memory or converting ourselves through pleasant conversations designed to make us fall in love with our devices.

A World of Knowledge in Our Pocket

In our pockets lie vast and infinite information at the touch of a button. Being able to pull immense amounts of technical knowledge or cat videos has brought us one step closer to the machine god versions of ourselves. Any decent cyborg can pull up the ability to hack into a government database or make reservations at an incredible restaurant on Yelp. You are powerful beyond measure.

Everlasting Life

The desire and search for an immortal or everlasting life are one of the perks of becoming a cyborg. People looking to alter their genes, insert robot organs into our bodies, or exercising every day are without a doubt on the road to becoming a cyborg. Not wanting to live forever would disqualify one from becoming a cyborg, and with the amount of avocado toast and exercise millennials are getting, there is no doubt about their motives. What is the point of wanting to live forever when you eventually become socially isolated?

Social Isolation

The last and most disturbing reason we are all becoming cyborgs is our voluntary desire to isolate ourselves via social media and smartphones. Socially, I do not think cyborgs will have book clubs or supper clubs. Since we choose to become culturally separated from each other through constant social media use, an ever-increasing wealth of knowledge at the touch of a button, and our refusal to just send that email, there is no doubt that we are already training ourselves to come to terms with our colder metal future selves.

It’s disturbing how relaxing, calm and reasonable the road to becoming a cyborg is. With the infinite possibilities metal implants will bring us, the ability to locate any cat video with ease, to the desire to live longer, it has been disturbingly easy to fall into the trap of wanting to be a cyborg – instead see how it can be possible to blend technology into your life like a perfect gentleman.

Should I Be Concerned About Fluoride in My Water?

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Fluoride is a chemical compound that is proven to be beneficial to teeth. It strengthens enamel and prevents decay. As a result, there are many over-the-counter toothpastes and mouthwashes containing fluoride. However, those who are at an extra high risk for cavities may benefit from professional fluoride treatments in addition to daily doses. Thus, there has been a long standing dichotomy on the issue of fluoride use for dental care and it being added to our water supply. What exactly is it used for? How does fluoride benefit my dental health? Does its treatment outweigh the danger of using it? Let us attempt to examine this closely.

What is Fluoride?

Fluoride is a derivative of FLUORINE, a natural mineral found in soil, food and water. The synthetic version of fluoride is what is used in our oral care products and water supplies. It has been added to water over 70 years ago to assure dental health in children and adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “drinking fluoridated water keeps teeth strong and reduces cavities (also called tooth decay) by about 25%,(…) cavities still one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood”. So the concept of community water fluoridation was brought in to ensure fluoride was accessible to general public health in disadvantaged communities.

This, however, also raised the concern of many regarding side effects caused by the mineral. For instance, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) reported of how a “possible relationship between fluoridated water and cancer risk has been debated for years.” “More recent studies, however, have yet to find an immediate link between fluoride and cancer.” This to say, nothing comes without the element of scrutiny.

Still, How Does Fluoride Benefit My Dental Health?

Fair question. Well to start, it is the most cost effective way to protect teeth from acidity such as plaque bacteria and sugar from attacking its enamel. It also prevents excessive demineralization without properly restoring your teeth’s natural mineral.

Keep in mind that getting fluoride through water is not sufficient. According to WebMD.com, there are other forms of fluoride available for proper oral cleaning. We know of course of toothpaste and mouthwash containing fluoride, that we apply directly to our teeth for daily care. But did you know that there are fluoride supplements in liquid or tablet form? These are to be prescribed by a medical professional, for they are mainly intended for people living in areas with fluoride-deficient drinking water. It also reports that fluoride is treatment benefiting those suffering chronic mouth conditions such as dryness and gum disease.

So should you be concerned? Well, like anything, knowledge is key. Consult with your dentist to learn more about safe dosage information and proper intake. Until then, take care of your pearly whites and focus on your oral hygiene!

References:

Dental Health and Fluoride Treatment | WebMD

Fluoride | Collman

Why do we have fluoride in our water? | Medical News Today

4 Most Commonly Misdiagnosed Dental Issues

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Dentists and doctors are still human, and sometimes mistakes can occur despite their best efforts. Many dental conditions present with similar symptoms. If a patient has multiple complaints, such as swelling, infection, and pain together, diagnosis of underlying causes becomes difficult. Learning about your diagnosis is key. It never hurts for patients to receive a second opinion.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ)

This joint is hinge-like and attaches your jaw to your skull, and you have one on each side of your head. Causes vary, but arthritis, injury, and genetics can all play a role. TMJ causes many symptoms, including pain in your jaw, the joint itself, pain that radiates from your inner ear, and facial pain. You may have difficulty chewing or have pain while chewing. In some cases, your jaw will lock.

Cutaneous Odontogenic Fistula

When an infection originates from the mandibular molars, it can travel through the sinus tract and present as a skin lesion. Other doctors and specialists fail to diagnose it as a dental issue, but the condition can be difficult to diagnose, as patients tend to have zero dental symptoms. MRI and dental x-rays generally show the infection.

Sinusitis

Your maxillary sinus is the largest and in close proximity to your maxillary teeth. It allows infections to spread easily from your teeth (abscess) to your sinus. Symptoms mimic a sinus infection, including sinus headache, nasal discharge, and fever. Your sinuses may show signs of tenderness and pain to touch or swell.

Cracked Tooth Syndrome (CTS)

Dentists often misdiagnose CTS as temporomandibular disorder, headaches, ear pain, sinusitis, or facial pain. The cause, however, are small cracks in the tooth that x-rays miss. Dentists use a multitude of testing, which ranges from x-rays to special bite tests, in their diagnosis. A patient may go through several wrong diagnoses first because the associated pain presents like other conditions. The patient may also have secondary conditions with CTS being its underlying cause. Causes for TSC vary, but previous injury, hard foods such as popcorn kernels, and genetics can play a role.

Misdiagnosis and missed diagnosis aren’t always the dentist’s fault. Often adults and children only see the dentist when a problem or pain starts. If you have an active infection, your dentist will treat it before looking deeper because that is most important. It’s up to patients to keep up with their dental health by getting routine cleanings and dental checkups.

Understanding New Age Spiritual Healing

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Healers and healing traditions have existed throughout human history. Some heal in the physical sense, and some provide healing using energy or alternative techniques. There are also emotional healers, such as therapists and grief counselors. Plenty of other healers don’t think of healing as a job, but they still seek out opportunities to provide random acts of kindness. We all have some ability to heal within us, but some are more gifted than others.

Healers and New-Age Spiritualism

“New age” is an umbrella term that covers a wide variety of beliefs and practices that deviate from the mainstream. Popular ideas that most would deem “new age” include psychic abilities, earth magic, tarot cards, energy healing, and astrology. Although many of its belief systems have roots in older religions, such as Hinduism, Taoism, and Gnosticism, the new-age movement is seen by many as a transition away from the rigid control of organized religion and into an era of a more individualized spirituality.

Visiting a Spiritual Healer: Is it in the Cards for You?

People are attracted to spiritual healing for a simple reason: it’s desperately needed. Life is hard, and we are realizing that it’s not enough to survive anymore. We want to know the truth of why we’re here. Spiritual healers bring messages of awakening to the world. They help us grow in our self-awareness.

If you want to visit a spiritual healer, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. Methods of spiritual healing include:

  • Reiki or other energy work
  • Prayer or guided meditation sessions.
  • Entity removal or exorcism
  • Crystal and nature healing

Finding Your New Guru: What to Look for in a Spiritual Mentor

Qualities of spiritual healers include a powerful intuition, the ability to move energy, a deep connection to a higher power, and a strong drive to do something that can really make a difference in the world. You want to find someone who had the strength to follow those instincts and devote their lives to helping others.

This process is about developing your intuition. It’s important to go with an option you feel comfortable with. Struggling to make a decision means you should likely wait. You’ll attract a healer in time, but only if you stay open-minded and believe the right person will come. In the meantime, devote some energy to working on yourself. Above all, the most powerful healing you’ll ever experience will come from within.

 

What’s the Deal with Tarot Cards?

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What Are Tarot Cards All About?

Tarot cards have a long and fascinating history. What you think about tarot cards probably has a lot to do with where you are from. If you are from the United States, you probably think tarot cards are only used for psychic readings. If you are from Europe, you probably see tarot cards as used to play various kinds of card games – much like what Americans would call “playing cards.” But what are tarot cards really all about?

History, Mystery, and Myth

There is a lot of mystery and myth surrounding the true origins of Tarot cards. We do know that tarot cards entered Europe in the 1300s, with the word tarot coming to us from the Italian word tarocchi. What comes before that is the enigmatic part. It’s thought that the true origin of the mysterious cards can be traced to either Europe or the Middle East. Playing cards were originally introduced to Europe via Egypt, and because Egyptian cards had many symbols and images that are still present in tarot cards today, some believe this accounts for the true origin of the cards. Until the invention of the printing press, the cards had to be made by hand. Due to this, the cards were initially most popular with nobles and other high classes. Because tarot cards are so heavily steeped in symbolism and the Occult, some believe that the cards have carried a great deal of hidden meanings over time. However, from the very beginning of their existence in Europe, tarot cards were used for games, parlor tricks, and so on. It is not known precisely when tarot cards began being used for divination and other paranormal efforts, although by the 1700’s and 1800’s this was becoming commonplace.

What’s in a Deck?

Tarot cards were used for playing games even from the beginning. The contents of a deck of tarot cards often varied by country or region, and various sets of rules were used depending on what game was to be played. Over the centuries, the contents of a deck could greatly vary. Each Tarot card has always had a suit, but suits varied depending on the country. There were four main styles of Tarot decks: Italian suites, Italian/Portuguese suites, German suites, and French suites. These differing decks could even contain different numbers of cards.

Modern tarot decks contain 78 cards and are split into two parts, called the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana. The 56 cards of the Minor Arcana and the 22 cards of the Major Arcana are suited and numbered. As you may have guessed, the Major Arcana cards – also known as “trumps” – are the more “powerful” cards, whereas the Minor Arcana cards – also known as “pips” – are the “weaker” cards. If all this sounds familiar, it should: many of the concepts and elements of tarot cards are parallel to what are known as playing cards in the U.S. Tarot decks even have a card called the Fool, which is analogous to the Joker card in a deck of playing cards.

Tarotology

The practice of reading tarot cards for the purpose of gaining insights is called Tarotology. Similar to using a Ouija board, tarot readings involve posing questions to the cards, followed by trying to interpret the cards for answers. Those who go for tarot readings typically seek answers to personal matters, such as what future fortunes one will find in life, love, and money. Depending on the person, these ‘psychic readings’ may be considered serious or just for fun. Some believe that true supernatural forces guide the cards, whereas others may believe that the effect is psychological.

Tarotology is not without criticism. ‘Serious’ Tarotology is largely considered a fraud, having no scientific basis. It has also been criticized by Christian churches and leaders who consider tarot cards to be linked to the devil and demonic powers. Aside from ‘professional’ Tarotology, readings are generally considered to be for entertainment, or to reveal something in one’s psyche or subconscious.

Performing a Tarot Reading

Practitioners of tarot readings often begin with guidebooks to learn rules and methods for readings, and then selecting which kind of deck to use. The experienced reader will make sure to memorize the deck and know it front and back. Tarot readings are often goal oriented, with the reader trying to facilitate a miniature journey of self-discovery for the ‘read-ee.’

The various suits, numbers, and images on the cards are steeped in symbols that represent the journey through life. Thus, reading tarot cards is considered a practice in receiving wisdom and insights through taking part in this symbolic journey through life. The Major Arcana cards represent the stages of life, while the Minor Arcana cards represent the obstacles, experiences, events, and other things that one goes through in the journey of life.

There are various ways to perform a reading. Generally, a tarot reader will make ‘spreads’ of the cards by drawing from the deck gradually and placing the cards in certain formations and patterns. From this, the reader will try to analyze the images, symbols, and numbers on the cards and come up with an interpretation. The reader might draw only a few cards from the deck, or even make a spread of the entire deck. Regardless, the cards used are connected to form stories and interpretations.

The results of tarot readings are widely open to interpretation, hence why most who go for readings are doing so for entertainment or seeing what their subconscious mind comes up with.

So What’s the Deal with Tarot Cards?

Tarot cards have been around for a long time and continue to be famous. Whether used for severe matters or for fun, a lot of people like to consult the cards. But what is the deal with tarot cards, really? Like so much in life, you get out of them what you put in. They are what you make of them.

If you’re interested in reading some more articles and news, be sure to check them out here!

References:

https://science.howstuffworks.com/science-vs-myth/extrasensory-perceptions/tarot-card.htm

https://www.psychic2tarot.com/psychic-readings/

https://www.trustedtarot.com/cards/

https://www.thoughtco.com/a-brief-history-of-tarot-2562770

4 Major Issues With The Current Prison System

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According to statistics from the Bureau of Justice, the amount of adult state and federal prison residents grew from 139 per 100,000 inmates in the 1980s to 502 per 100,000 residents in 2009 — an uptick of 261%. More than two million Americans are currently facing time in jails or prisons, and the cumulative amount of Americans under some type of penal supervision (like prison, jail, probation or parole) is beyond 7.2 million.

1. The larger picture of prison overcrowding.

The United States has the largest rate of incarcerations in the world at 756 per 100,000, counting juveniles and adults according to the International Centre for Prison Studies based in U.K. With 5% of the world’s total population, the United States makes up about one-quarter of the entire prison population.

2. Death in Prisons

The explanations of death within the custody of police varies from killings by other prisoners, capital punishment, suspected homicide by the police, physical or psychological abuse, suicide, natural causes or unintentional death. The data can be inconclusive as deaths in police custody are not required to disclose the circumstances of the death.

Looking at estimates of US jails, the fatality rate is 128, and prison rates are 264 per 100,000 according to The Bureau of Justice Statistics. Different research has concentrated on particular states, like Maryland and the numbers of deaths by identification (race, gender or age).

3. Low-income areas are more heavily policed

The legislative response across the country was in part due to updated punishments, more severe parole and sentencing systems, less dependence on probation or other options aside from imprisonment, and a rising prison-building market.

While substance abuse happens throughout society, low-income urban populations are more patrolled, due to the fact that more everyday experiences transpire in public areas and illegal actions are harder to conceal.

4. Downward spiral

When adolescents are detained, the consequences endure for their whole lives, impacting job assurance, assets, earnings, owning a home, public benefits, marriage and family life and voting rights in some states. As this happens disproportionally in lower-income neighborhoods, the impacts exceed far more than those directly influenced.

Many people are trying to reverse this trend, not only drawing awareness to how deaths in custody are not required to disclose circumstances of the death, but also fighting for men that are inside of the prisons, and the young people that carry the burden of difficulties faced in urban environments.

References:

Halperin Law Center | Virginia Jail Death Review

US News | Underfunded, Overcrowded State Prisons Struggle With Reform

NEWYORKCITYREVOLUTION | Over-Policing of Low-Income Neighborhoods