Windows 11 cheat sheet: Everything you need to know

Microsoft unveiled on June 24, 2021 its newest operating system, Windows 11—almost six years after Windows 10 debuted. Windows 11 will offer several updates and new features, including a simpler design intended to increase productivity, ease of use and creativity, ways to connect to people faster, better PC gaming experiences, faster ways to get information you need, an all-new Microsoft Store, and a more open ecosystem that unlocks new opportunities for developers and other creators.

This Microsoft Windows 11 cheat sheet details the operating system’s main features, lists system requirements for the OS, explains how and when to get it and more. (Download the free PDF version of this Windows 11 cheat sheet.) We’ll update this Windows 11 guide when new information is released.

SEE: Windows evolves: Windows 11, and the future of Windows 10 (TechRepublic) 

What is Windows 11?

Windows 11 is Microsoft’s newest major release of its operating system and the successor to Windows 10. The OS features an all-new simplified, yet modernized, interface and was designed to inspire productivity and creativity. 

Pre-release updates of Windows 11

As of July 29, 2021, a preview version of Windows 11 is available for review to members of the Windows Insider Beta Channel; before that date, preview versions of Windows 11 were only available to members of the Dev Channel. So, to install Windows 11 Version 22000.100 or better on a valid Windows 10 PC, activate the Windows Insider Beta Channel on the Update & Security Settings screen in Windows 10 and then click the Check For Updates button.

As of August 23, 2021, Microsoft has released an ISO file for the Windows 11 Insiders Preview; previously, your only option was to upgrade Windows 10 to Windows 11 through Microsoft’s Windows Insider program. To download the Windows 11 ISO file, navigate to the Windows Insider Preview Downloads page and sign in with your account.

SEE: How to install Windows 11 from Microsoft’s ISO file (TechRepublic)

What new features come with Windows 11?

In Windows 11, the newly centered Start button uses the cloud and Microsoft 365 to show recent files, no matter what platform or device they were being viewed on previously, including an Android or iOS device.

A new set of features to Microsoft Windows 11 will be the introduction of Snap Layouts, Snap Groups and Desktops. These offer a “powerful way to multitask and stay on top of what you need to get done,” according to the Microsoft’s press release. With these Windows 11 features, users can organize windows and optimize screen real estate for a cleaner visual layout. Users can create and customize separate Desktops for each part of their life—like one for work and one for personal use. 

In Windows 11, Microsoft is integrating Chat from Microsoft Teams into the taskbar so users can instantly connect via text, chat, voice or video with personal contacts regardless of which platform or device is being used across Microsoft Windows, Android or iOS. Through Microsoft Teams, users can now instantly mute and unmute or start a presentation directly from the taskbar in the new OS.

For gamers, Windows 11 “unlocks the full potential of your system’s hardware, putting some of the latest gaming technology to work for you,” according to Microsoft. Windows 11 will offer DirectX 12 Ultimate, which enables immersive graphics at high frame rates; DirectStorage for faster load times and more detailed game worlds; and Auto HDR for a wider, more vivid range of colors. Microsoft Windows 11 will still support users’ favorite PC gaming accessories and peripherals. 

Windows 11’s new Widgets are a personalized feed powered by artificial intelligence and Microsoft Edge. Instead of using a phone to check news, weather or notifications, now users can open their Windows 11 desktop to see a similarly curated view. Widgets offers new opportunities within Windows 11 to deliver personalized content for creators and publishers. 

The Microsoft Store is getting a major overhaul–users will have one safe location for apps and content to watch, create, play, work and learn. According to Microsoft, the Store “has been rebuilt for speed and with an all-new design that is beautiful and simple to use. Not only will we bring you more apps than ever before, we’re also making all content—apps, games, shows, movies—easier to search for and discover with curated stories and collections.” Soon, leading first- and third-party apps such as Microsoft Teams, Visual Studio, Disney+, Adobe Creative Cloud, Zoom and Canva will be available in the Microsoft Store.

Coming in late 2021 for Windows 11: Android apps on Windows. Through its partnership with Amazon and Intel, and for the first time ever, the Microsoft Store will allow users to discover Android apps, which can be downloaded via the Amazon Appstore. Microsoft is enabling developers and independent software vendors to bring apps to the Microsoft Store, no matter what app framework is used to create them. 

What are the system requirements for Windows 11?

  • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster with two or more cores on a compatible 64-bit processor or System on a Chip (SoC)
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Storage: 64 GB or larger storage device
  • System firmware: UEFI, Secure Boot capable
  • Graphics card: Compatible with DirectX 12 or later with WDDM 2.0 driver
  • Display: High-definition (720p) display that is greater than 9″ diagonally, 8 bits per color channel
  • Internet connection: Windows 11 Home edition requires internet connectivity and a Microsoft account to complete device setup on first use. Switching a device out of Windows 11 Home in S mode requires internet connectivity.

SEE: How to tell if your PC can run Windows 11 (TechRepublic) 

Photo credit: © Provided by TechRepublic  Microsoft Windows 11 Image: Microsoft. Article by TechRepublic Staff.

Source: Windows 11 cheat sheet: Everything you need to know (msn.com)

Got Earwax, Suddenly ?

Ever itch your ear only to find a sticky, yellow glob at the end of your finger? Not a pretty sight — but hey, it happens.

Earwax is a completely normal part of your body. It’s a mixture of dead skin cells from your ear canal and secretions from your ear’s sweat glands and sebaceous (or lubricating) glands, Ksenia Aaron, MD, an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist at the Cleveland Clinic, tells LIVESTRONG.com

And it’s there for a reason: Earwax defends against invaders that enter your body through your ear. “There’s a slightly acidic property to it, so it’s actually protective against bacteria and other microbes that might get into your ear canal,” Dr. Aaron says.

Earwax is also hydrophobic, which means it repels unwelcome water in your ear canal to prevent issues like infection, itching and muffled hearing, according to the Mayo Clinic.

That said, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing, says Zan Mra, MD, an ENT specialist at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Earwax buildup can cause earaches and discomfort, trouble hearing, dizziness and even a cough, according to the Mayo Clinic.

That’s why your body has its own mechanism to get rid of it: When you chew or speak, your jaw moves and helps ease earwax out, Dr. Mra says.

But if you notice you suddenly have much more earwax than usual, tackling the source of the overload can help prevent further buildup. To help, here are six reasons why you may have so much earwax:

1. Ear Infection

Your earwax problem may not be wax at all — it might actually be an ear infection, Yin Ren, MD, PhD, an ENT specialist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, tells LIVESTRONG.com.

It can be easy to confuse the two because they can both cause difficulty hearing and the sensation of something stuck in your ear, Dr. Ren says.

How do you tell the difference? Well, “earwax is almost always painless, while an ear infection hurts and produces foul-smelling drainage,” he says. Infections also tend to come on suddenly due to bacteria or a virus.

Fix it:​ See your doctor — either your primary care provider or an ENT — to get your ears checked out. Dr. Ren says infections are typically easy to diagnose and treat with oral or ear drop antibiotics.

2. Irritation From Ear Buds or Hearing Aids

If you love to use your ear buds while you run or talk on the phone, they may be contributing to your excessive earwax. “[Wearing ear buds] causes a breakdown of skin cells in the ear, which can lead to a buildup of earwax,” Dr. Ren says.

They can also push wax back into your ear canal, leading to blockages and hearing problems, Dr. Ren says.

Wearing ear buds often or for long periods of time can add to the problem. “If you keep ear buds in your ears for hours, they block earwax from naturally draining,” Dr. Mra says.

Even worse, that extra earwax can trap dirt and bacteria on your ear buds in your ear, which can sometimes lead to infection.

Hearing aids can present many of the same problems. “When the mold is not well-fitted, it moves around in the ear, causing irritation,” Dr. Ren says.

Fix it:​ The best solution is to use over-ear headphones instead of in-ear ones, Dr. Mra says. If you can’t bear to part with your buds, he recommends limiting use to only an hour or two a day. He also suggests wiping down ear buds or hearing aids with peroxide before and after each use.

If you still notice buildup despite these precautions, an over-the-counter earwax removal drop like Debrox ($5.60 from Amazon.com) can help soften and loosen earwax so it drains more easily, Dr. Mra says.

If you wear hearing aids, see your audiologist to get the fit checked.

3. Q-Tips

Though Q-tips may be your preferred method of ear cleaning, they’re actually another cause of excessive earwax. “They irritate your ear canal, which in turn stimulates the glands in your ears to produce more secretions,” Dr. Aaron says.

Q-tips can also push earwax deeper into your ear canal. This can make it harder to hear and thus create the illusion of too much earwax, she says.

Fix it:​ Toss the Q-tips.

If they have become part of your hygiene routine, Dr. Aaron recommends placing a few drops of mineral or baby oil in your ear before bed instead. (You can use a cotton ball to prevent it from seeping onto your pillow as your sleep.) “The oil will help soften any earwax that is dry and contributing to buildup,” she says.

4. Ear Hair

Ear hair may be another reason why you have so much earwax because it can get in the way of drainage. “Men are more prone to earwax because they often have hair in their ears, which blocks its natural excretion,” Dr. Aaron says.

Fix it:​ “Earwax is totally normal, so if it doesn’t bother [you], then there’s no need to do anything,” she says.

But if it does, you can always remove ear hair with an over-the-counter trimmer, like Panasonic’s Men’s Ear and Nose Hair Trimmer ($19.99 from Amazon.com). Just never wax or shave ear hair, Dr. Aaron cautions, as you don’t want to burn or nick the sensitive ear canal.

5. Chlorinated Water Buildup

Remember how earwax repels water? That only works so well.

“Swimming in a chlorinated pool can irritate your ear canal, which stimulates the production of more earwax to protect it,” Dr. Aaron says.

Fix it:​ You may be tempted to pop in ear plugs when you hit the pool, but don’t: Those are also irritants, Dr. Aaron says.

Instead, she recommends drying your ears after swimming. Set your hair dryer to low and hold it about six inches from your ears for a few minutes to reduce moisture from chlorinated water, she says.

6. Residue From Bathing Products

If you notice your ear canal is itchy and irritated in addition to waxy, then your shampoo or soap may be the culprit, especially if you’ve switched it recently, Dr. Ren says.

Fix it:​ Switch back to your original bathing products (provided they weren’t irritating) or try a mild shampoo with no added fragrance, like Neutrogena Gentle & Soft Healthy Scalp Shampoo ( $11.99 from Amazon.com). You should also take extra care to rinse your ears when you bathe so there’s no soapy residue, he says.

Photo credit: Charday Penn/E+/GettyImages

Article written by Hallie Levine for Livestrong.com

Source: 6 Reasons You Suddenly Have More Earwax Than Usual | Livestrong.com

Foods that are dangerous or deadly for dogs

Life or Death Diet

Be careful — some of your favorite foods might lead to a life-or-death scenario for your dog. Though your buddy may beg for table scraps, there are certain “human foods” to keep away from a precious pet, no matter the puppy eyes they make at you. If you suspect your dog has eaten one of these items, contact your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline as soon as possible. 

Xylitol

Because this artificial sweetener typically found in sugar-free gum, breath mints, mouthwash, and toothpaste tastes like sugar, it may be tempting for pets. But Xylitol should be kept away: Even small amounts, such as from two pieces of gum, can cause seizures, liver failure, or even death after the xylitol is absorbed quickly into the bloodstream and causes a rapid decrease in blood sugar, VCA Animal Hospitals say. This can happen within 10 minutes to an hour. 

Macadamia Nuts

Watch out when baking with these. This very tasty but fatty nut may cause pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas, if even a little bit is eaten by dogs, even within a cookie or bread. Other common symptoms from macadamia nut ingestion include weakness in the back legs, vomiting, and diarrhea, the ASPCA says.

Chocolate

This is another one of those ingredients a dog may ingest when counter surfing. The signs of chocolate poisoning in a dog usually appear within six to 12 hours, and symptoms can be wide ranging: vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, panting or restlessness, excessive urination, racing heart rate, muscle tremors and seizures — and can lead to heart failure if too much is eaten. Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, which can speed the heart rate and stimulate the nervous system of dogs, according to the Merck/Merial Manual for Veterinary Health. Just how sick a dog gets can depend on the type and amount of chocolate; cocoa powder is considered to be the most toxic form, milk chocolate less so. You can calculate risk based on how much and what was eaten. 

Grapes and Raisins

Even one grape or raisin can be fatal for some dogs by leading to acute kidney failure, the American Kennel Club says. Before panicking, it’s worth noting that dogs are generally more likely to be poisoned by large amounts, and there appears to be a range of sensitivity. Some dogs may be able to eat a few and be fine, according to VCA Hospitals. Though it’s not confirmed, the danger may arise from mycotoxins produced by fungus or molds, tartaric acid, or salicylates found in grapes that lead to decreased blood flow to a dog’s kidneys. Symptoms such as lethargy and lack of appetite appear within 24 hours after ingesting, with symptoms such as urination problems taking another day.

Onion, Leeks, and Chives

While it’s hard to imagine a dog just grabbing an onion to chow down on, a pup could easily sneak a meal seasoned with onion, leeks, or chives, such as a nice piece of chicken, and a 45-pound dog can eat just the equivalent of one regular-size onion to suffer serious side effects. Onions and their cousins are dangerous because they can make a dog’s red blood cells fragile and cause them to burst, VCA Hospitals say. Certain breeds — such as dogs of Japanese descent including Akitas or Shiba Inus — may have a higher risk for toxicity.

Garlic

Like onions, garlic can cause harm to a dog’s blood cells. You’ll want to be especially careful of concentrated dried and powdered forms, which could cause illness faster. For example, it takes 15 to 30 grams of garlic per kilogram of a dog’s body weight to make them ill, and one clove of garlic may weigh somewhere around 3 to 7 grams — but 1 teaspoon of garlic equals about eight cloves of garlic.

Alcohol

Alcohol’s effects on a dog are based on the pet’s size and the alcohol concentration ingested. For example, light beer is lowest in alcohol, while gin — or even the alcohol level in hand sanitizer — is going to be the highest and most dangerous. Symptoms of alcohol poisoning in dogs would be similar to humans and include a lack of coordination, vomiting, weakness, drooling, and finally decreased breathing.

Coffee

We may need it simply to wake ourselves up, but caffeine raises blood pressure in dogs and can cause cardiac arrhythmias. Pets may also lose muscle control and have tremors or seizures as a result of taking in caffeine, as well as suffer damage to the liver, heart, kidneys, lungs, and central nervous system. Don’t panic, though; one to two laps of coffee, tea, or soda is unlikely to cause problems for most pets; just be sure to keep coffee grounds, tea bags, and the like tucked away safely.

Raw Yeast Dough

Baked bread is safe for dogs to eat, though it isn’t the most healthy treat to share with your pet. Letting a pet consume raw dough is downright dangerous, though. Unbaked bread dough can expand in the warm and moist environment of a dog’s gut, leading to bloat or a twisted stomach — a very dangerous and even potentially deadly condition for dogs. Bloat symptoms include a clearly uncomfortable animal who may be retching with nothing coming up, distended stomach, an elevated heart rate, pacing, and panting.

Raw Meat

Raw food diets have become popular for pets, with many social media groups devoted to the topic. But before you jump on the bandwagon, be aware that this may not be a very safe trend. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Center for Veterinary Medicine, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration all say raw dog foods can be dangerous to pets and their owners. One study found that nearly one-fourth of commercially available raw dog foods tested positive for salmonella and listeria. These bacteria can make humans and canines extremely ill. But dogs can actually carry salmonella in their intestines without showing signs of illness, exposing owners unknowingly.

Indigestible Parts of Foods

Dogs may love a taste of a nice meaty bone or a bite of a watermelon, but problems arise when these types of treats are given to a pet without monitoring. Dogs can’t be counted on to stop eating when they reach the part of a food that isn’t digestible, which includes bones and watermelon rinds but also corn cobs and peach and avocado pits. (In very small amounts, avocado pulp itself may irritate a dog’s stomach, though is unlikely to cause death.) These items can cause an obstruction in the stomach, which may lead to surgery or worse.

Sego Palm

For humans, this plant is decorative and pretty; for a dog it can be deadly. Eating even a small amount of the leaves and especially the seeds from this plant can cause severe gastrointestinal problems, affect the nervous system, and cause liver failure. Symptoms are likely to show up within 15 minutes of ingesting the plant, but may also take hours.

Article written by Jennifer Magid for cheapism©

Source: Foods that are dangerous or deadly for dogs (msn.com)

There Could be a Shortage of This Essential Food Ahead of Thanksgiving

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommendations telling Americans how to celebrate holidays safely, even though they are still about three months away. This is one reason why gatherings may look different this year because of safety and preventing the virus from spreading, just like in 2020. Another has to do with the cuisine, especially for Thanksgiving. The meal may be missing a centerpiece.

The most popular size of turkey for Thanksgiving feasts is 14 pounds because it feeds about 14 people. The smaller family celebrations of last year (when the CDC recommendation for family gatherings was 10 people or less) required smaller turkeys. This, combined with factory shutdowns due to COVID-19, the tight labor market, rising corn and grain prices, and the fact that farms haven’t been able to develop 14-pound turkeys fast enough, means there is now a turkey shortage, the New York Post reports.

“It’s a very precise schedule to get the turkey to the size of 14 pounds or less,” Daniel Romanoff, the president of meat distributor Nebraskaland, told the news outlet. “And the plants weren’t able to keep up with that size.”

Now grocery stores are seeing their 14-pound turkey supply slow to as much as 50%, while some, like Morton Williams in New York City, won’t get any turkey in stock below 16 pounds. The news is forcing all of them to scramble to find solutions.

These could look like 20-pound turkeys broken up into parts, allowing customers to choose which ones they want. But it also will mean there will be more frozen birds available compared to fresh ones. These require more planning to cook—defrosting takes about six days, and so will require planning. In fact, this is exactly when you should buy your Thanksgiving turkey.

Photo©Shutterstock. Article by Amanda McDonald for eatthis,notthat.com

Source: There Could be a Shortage of This Essential Food Ahead of Thanksgiving, Experts Say (msn.com)

What’s Leaving Netflix in August 2021

leaving netflix august 2021

Last chance to see these shows.

Full List of What’s Leaving Netflix in August 2021

What’s Leaving Netflix on August 1st

  • A Clockwork Orange (1971)
  • Aussie Gold Hunters (Season 1)
  • Bride of Chucky (1998)
  • Casino Tycoon (1992)
  • Child’s Play 2 (1990)
  • Child’s Play 3 (1991)
  • Cop Out (2010)
  • Doubles Cause Troubles (1989)
  • Eat Pray Love (2010)
  • Elizabeth Harvest (2019)
  • Everyday Miracles (Season 1)
  • Four Christmases (2008)
  • Freak Show (2017)
  • Fred Claus (2007)
  • Friends with Benefits (2011)
  • Genius of the Ancient World (Season 1)
  • Genius of the Modern World (Season 1)
gi joe netflix
  • G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009)
  • Grand Designs (Season 10 & 15)
  • Hardcore Henry (2015)
  • Hero (1997)
  • Hinterland (Seasons 1-3)
  • History of Joy (2017)
  • Holding the Man (2015)
  • Hook (1991)
  • Horns (2013)
  • Jupiter Ascending (2015)
  • Justice, My Foot! (1992)
  • Kaaliyan (2017)
  • King Arthur (2004)
  • Khalawees (2018)
  • Kuppivala (2017)
  • Lechmi (2017)
  • Little Baby Bum: Nursery Rhyme Friends (Season 1)
  • Little Dragon Maiden (1983)
  • Love in a Puff (2010)
mad max leaving netflix
  • Mad Max (1979)
  • Mad World (2016)
  • Melle (2017)
  • Minnaminugu the FireFly (2017)
  • Miss Rose (Season 1)
  • My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997)
  • Nacho Libre (2006)
  • Nights in Rodanthe (2008)
  • Office Girls (Season 1)
  • Once In A Lifetime Sessions with Moby (2018)
  • Once In A Lifetime Sessions with Nile Rodgers (2018)
  • Once in a Lifetime Sessions with Noel Gallagher (2018)
  • Once In A Lifetime Sessions with TLC (2018)
  • Operation Ouch! (Season 1)
  • Oru Vishsheshapetta Biryani Kissa (2017)
  • Pariah (2011)
  • Queen of No Marriage (Season 1)
  • Reality of Dream (2015)
  • Remember Me (2010)
  • Revenge (Season 1)
  • Seed of Chucky (2004)
spanglish netflix
  • Spanglish (2004)
  • Step Up 4: Miami Heat (2012)
  • Sudani from Nigeria (2018)
  • The Little Rascals (1994)
  • The Patriot (2000)
  • The Pelican Brief (1993)
  • The Prince Who Turns into a Frog (Season 1)
  • The Truth About Alcohol (2016)
  • The Women Who Kill Lions (2016)
  • Two Fathers (Season 1)
  • Weeds on Fire (2016)
  • Your Highness (2011)
  • You’re My Destiny (Season 1)
  • Zombieland (2009)

What’s Leaving Netflix on August 2nd

  • American Assassin (2017)
  • Forever Chape, aka Para Sempre Chape (2018)
  • Los tiempos de Pablo Escobar (2012)
  • Love Cuisine (2015)
  • Miss Rose (2015)
  • Office Girls (2011)
  • Pick of the Litter (2018)
  • Queen of No Marriage (2009)
  • Two Fathers (2013)
  • The Prince Who Turns into a Frog (2005)

What’s Leaving Netflix on August 3rd

  • Marching Orders (Season 1) – Netflix Original Series

What’s Leaving Netflix on August 5th

  • #cats_the_mewvie (2020)
  • Alarmoty in the Land of Fire (2017)
  • Detention Letter (2017)

What’s Leaving Netflix on August 7th

  • Mission: Destroy Love (2014)

What’s Leaving Netflix on August 8th

  • Denis Leary: No Cure For Cancer (1992)
  • The Promise (2016)

What’s Leaving Netflix on August 9th

  • God Bless the Broken Road (2018)

What’s Leaving Netflix on August 10th

  • Beyond the Clouds (2018)
  • El Cartel (1 Season)
  • El Cartel 2 (1 Season)
nightcrawler netflix
  • Nightcrawler (2014)

What’s Leaving Netflix on August 11th

  • We the Animals (2018)

What’s Leaving Netflix on August 12th

  • Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes (2017)

What’s Leaving Netflix on August 13th

  • Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)
  • Scary Movie 5 (2013)

What’s Leaving Netflix on August 14th

  • Hurricane Bianca: From Russia with Hate (2018)
  • Persona (2015)

What’s Leaving Netflix on August 15th

  • Casino Tycoon 2
  • Disciples Of The 36th…
  • Five Elements Ninjas
  • Legendary Weapons of China
  • Lifeline
  • Love on Delivery
  • Loving You
  • Mahjong Heroes
  • Martial Arts of Shaolin
  • Mr. Virgin
  • Mother Goose Club (Seasons 1-2)
  • My Schoolmate, the…
  • Nuestra Lucha Libre
  • Opium and the Kung Fu…
  • Painted Faces
  • Prince Charming
  • Return To The 36th Chamber
  • Shark Busters
  • Sword Masters: Two…
  • The Bare-Footed Kid
  • The Mad Monk
  • The Young Vagabond
  • Wheel of Fortune
  • Wish I Was Here

What’s Leaving Netflix on August 16th

jericho leaving netflix
  • Jericho (Seasons 1-2)
  • Wish I Was Here (2014)

What’s Leaving Netflix on August 19th

  • The Investigator: A British Crime Story (Seasons 1-2) – Netflix Original series.

What’s Leaving Netflix on August 21st

  • Kill the Irishman (2011)
  • Norm of the North: Keys to the Kingdom (2019)
  • Rembat (2015)
  • The Founder (2016)

What’s Leaving Netflix on August 22nd

  • Hati Perempuan (2015)

What’s Leaving Netflix on August 23rd

  • 1BR (2019)

What’s Leaving Netflix on August 27th

  • The Angry Birds Movie 2 (2019)

What’s Leaving Netflix on August 28th

  • A Princess for Christmas (2011)

What’s Leaving Netflix on August 30th

  • Strange but True (2019)

What’s Leaving Netflix on August 31st

  • Casino Royale (2006)
  • Full Out (2015)
  • Quantum of Solace (2008)
  • Stranger than Fiction (2006)
  • The Eichmann Show (2015)

Flower seeds to sow in August

By BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine

With late-summer’s warmth on your side, you can get plenty of flower seeds off to a flying start by sowing in August.

It’s also a good time to take note of any bare gaps in beds and borders. Many seeds can be directly sown in these areas now, ensuring glorious colour next year. Ideas to consider include a mini wildflower meadow, or a bed of hardy annuals.

Check out five flower seeds to sow in August, below.

Calendulas

Calendula 'Fruit Twist'

Calendula ‘Fruit Twist’

Colourful and easy to grow, calendulas can be sown in August and September, for flowers in late spring. They’re hardy, so simply direct sow them where they are to flower.


Cornflowers

Cornflower - Centaurea cyanus

Cornflower – Centaurea cyanus

As with calendulas, you can sow cornflowers (Centaurea cyanus) in August and September, for May flowers. Cultivars to sow and grow include ‘Black Ball’, which has deep chocolate-coloured blooms, and ‘Blue Ball’.


Forget-me-nots

Forget-me-nots in bloom

Forget-me-nots in bloom

Forget-me-nots (Myosotis sylvatica) can be sown throughout the summer months and into September. A useful ground cover plant for shade that will readily self-seed.

Buy forget-me-not seeds from Crocus


California poppies

California poppies

California poppies

Despite their vivid, exotic appearance, California poppies, Eschscholzia californica, are hardy, and will survive a winter outdoors. Simply sow where you want them to flower. Here are full instructions on how to sow California poppies outdoors.


Wild carrot

Flowering wild carrot or Queen Anne's lace

Flowering wild carrot or Queen Anne’s lace

Wild carrot or Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota) looks magnificent as part of a wildlife garden. Choose a sunny, well-drained spot and sow where you’d like it to flower.

  • Buy wild carrot seeds from Crocus

Source: Flower Seeds to Sow in August – BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine (gardenersworld.com)

The 5-Minute Habit (Based on Neuroscience) That Will Change Your Life

“I’ve got a dream that’s worth more than my sleep.” –Eric Thomas

It’s true that in order to live our purpose in this world, we’ve got to have a vision and a plan for achieving our dreams. We must be tenacious in working toward our goals, and we might occasionally have to sacrifice a little sleep for that dream. However, our “hustle at any cost” culture has convinced us that this means choosing between success and quality of life (e.g. health, happiness and fulfillment). This either/or mindset is not just inaccurate — it actually threatens our bottom lines and secretly sabotages success.

The stress, exhaustion and decision fatigue caused by “hustling” can all lead to mood swings. Our logical processes literally shut down, opening up the floodgates to irritability, frustration, anger and sadness. In other words, the primitive part of our brains (controlled by emotion) takes over and dictates our behaviors, while our higher-level thinking is put on pause.   

Can you see how this creates the exact opposite of the success we’re striving for?    

Although the stigma remains that break-takers are lazy or unmotivated, this belief is unfounded. Breakthroughs in neuroscience research unveil proof that goes against everything we thought we knew about achievement.

Periods of intentional rest are now known to boost our

  • Productive energy
  • Creativity
  • Innovative thinking
  • Executive function
  • Positive mindset
  • Intuition
  • Memory

One specific method that’s especially effective? Napping. Often we’re tempted to rely on coffee in lieu of taking a short break when we feel sluggish during the workday. However, napping has been shown to enhance alertness and attention even better than caffeine. 

Brief periods of rest also counteract the sluggish effects of not getting enough quality sleep at night. Napping even makes us better problem solvers, which directly leads to innovation and decisive action — two notable hallmarks of success. 

Maybe this all sounds great, but you’re wondering who has the time or flexibility for a workday nap? You’re right, many of us don’t… but guess what? Falling asleep is not necessary in order to feel the restorative benefits of midday rest! Try these three faux nap ideas to enhance creativity and productivity. They’re easy to fit into even the busiest of schedules — so pick one, set a timer for five minutes and enjoy.

1. Close your eyes

More than 50 percent of the surface of the brain is devoted to processing visual information. Closing our eyes frees up the energy associated with that 50 percent, allowing our brains much needed recovery. We can tap into the unconscious processes that help us connect with our innovative ideas and solve problems more efficiently simply by decreasing visual input.

Action step: Create a cozy nap environment without the expectation of falling asleep. Taking that pressure off of ourselves goes a long way toward relaxation and leads to increased productivity. Consider playing some soothing music to help drown out any distracting noises. Allow your eyelids to gently close, and notice any thoughts that arise.  

2. Daydream

As a child, were you ever scolded for gazing dreamily out the window? Our parents and teachers presumed that a wandering mind was a hindrance, but neuroscience researchers find that daydreamers actually score higher on creativity scales. 

Making time for free-flowing thought allows for almost effortless disentanglement of the jumbled information in our minds. Just as our muscles gain flexibility through gentle stretching, new insights are more likely to surface when we’re relaxed. For best results, approach your daydreaming session with intention: You must be able to notice when you are in this state and pull yourself out at will. This requires some practice.

Action step: Choose a photo or work of art that feels relaxing to look at, perhaps a calm ocean scene or some flowers against a bright blue sky. (Note: Blue is calming; orange stimulates creativity.) Set a timer for five minutes. Sit comfortably and gaze at the picture. Allow your mind to wander while keeping the focus on the feeling you get from the image, and keep a pen and notepad nearby to jot down any flashes of inspiration.  

3. Breathe

The adult brain, a mere two percent of body weight, is responsible for around 20 percent of oxygen consumption. This means oxygen is one fuel our brains heavily rely on for planning, decision-making and higher-order thinking.

Simple focused breathing gives us a mental energy boost. It also helps us relax into our unconscious mental processes, supporting creativity and productivity by activating our parasympathetic nervous system (responsible for both mental and physiological relaxation).

Action step: First, practice diaphragmatic breathing — drawing the air into your belly instead of your upper chest. Place one hand over your heart and the other over your abdomen while inhaling. When your lower hand rises during inhalation and your upper hand does not, you know you’re bringing the air fully into your diaphragm.

Next, breathing only through your nose, inhale for a count of four… hold for a count of four… exhale for a count of four… and hold again for a count of four. Repeat this sequence for anywhere from two to 10 minutes.    

Access intuitive solutions via the subconscious mind

Using these techniques, our brains are able to pick apart information and reassemble it, like pieces of a puzzle, in a way that our conscious mind alone cannot.

What if we made this common practice?

What if we embraced the power of our natural mind-body connections?

What if, instead of celebrating busyness, we paused enough to tune into our deeper levels of consciousness?

Then we would understand that we don’t have to trade our dreams for restorative rest. In fact, when we give ourselves the space to relax, we empower our minds to align with our dreams. And that is when we can achieve a level of success that hustle culture just can’t match.

Photo by Shutterstock.

Article by Leah Borski for Entrepreneur©

Source: The 5-Minute Habit (Based on Neuroscience) That Will Change Your Life (msn.com)

When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated – How to Protect Yourself and Others

Safer Activities for You and Your Family

  • If you are fully vaccinated, you can participate in many of the activities that you did before the pandemic.
  • To maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.
  • Wearing a mask is most important if you have a weakened immune system or if, because of your age or an underlying medical condition, you are at increased risk for severe disease, or if someone in your household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease, or is unvaccinated. If this applies to you or your household, you might choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission in your area.
  • You should continue to wear a mask where required by laws, rules, regulations, or local guidance.

COVID-19 vaccines are effective at protecting you from getting sick. Based on what we know about COVID-19 vaccines, people who have been fully vaccinated can do things that they had stopped doing because of the pandemic.

These recommendations can help you make decisions about daily activities after you are fully vaccinated. They are not intended for healthcare settings.

Have You Been Fully Vaccinated?

In general, people are considered fully vaccinated: ±

  • 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
  • 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine

If you don’t meet these requirements, regardless of your age, you are NOT fully vaccinated. Keep taking all precautions until you are fully vaccinated.

If you have a condition or are taking medications that weaken your immune system, you may NOT be protected even if you are fully vaccinated. You should continue to take all precautions recommended for unvaccinated people until advised otherwise by your healthcare provider.

What You Can Do

If you’ve been fully vaccinated:

  • You can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic.
  • To reduce the risk of being infected with the Delta variant and possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.
  • You might choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission if you have a weakened immune system or if, because of your age or an underlying medical condition, you are at increased risk for severe disease, or if a member of your household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease, or is unvaccinated.
  • If you travel in the United States, you do not need to get tested before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel.
  • You need to pay close attention to the situation at your international destination before traveling outside the United States.
    • You do NOT need to get tested before leaving the United States unless your destination requires it.
    • You still need to show a negative test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before boarding an international flight to the United States.
    • You should still get tested 3-5 days after international travel.
    • You do NOT need to self-quarantine after arriving in the United States.
  • If you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you should get tested 3-5 days after your exposure, even if you don’t have symptoms. You should also wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure or until your test result is negative. You should isolate for 10 days if your test result is positive.

What You Should Keep Doing

For now, if you’ve been fully vaccinated:

  • You will still need to follow guidance at your workplace and local businesses.
  • If you travel, you should still take steps to protect yourself and others.
  • Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth is required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and while indoors at U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations. Travelers are not required to wear a mask in outdoor areas of a conveyance (like on open deck areas of a ferry or the uncovered top deck of a bus).
  • Fully vaccinated international travelers arriving in the United States are still required to get tested 3 days before travel by air into the United States (or show documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past 3 months) and should still get tested 3-5 days after their trip.
  • You should still watch out for symptoms of COVID-19, especially if you’ve been around someone who is sick. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested and stay home and away from others. If your test is positive, isolate at home for 10 days.
  • People who have a condition or are taking medications that weaken the immune system, should continue to take all precautions recommended for unvaccinated people until advised otherwise by their healthcare provider.

What We Know

  • COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective at preventing COVID-19, including severe illness and death.
  • COVID-19 vaccines are effective against severe disease and death from variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 currently circulating in the United States, including the Delta variant.
  • Infections happen in only a small proportion of people who are fully vaccinated, even with the Delta variant. When these infections occur among vaccinated people, they tend to be mild.
  • If you are fully vaccinated and become infected with the Delta variant, you can spread the virus to others.
  • People with weakened immune systems, including people who take immunosuppressive medications, may not be protected even if fully vaccinated.

What We’re Still Learning

  • How long COVID-19 vaccines can protect people.

Want to learn more about these recommendations? Read our expanded Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People.

± This guidance applies to COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson (J&J)/Janssen COVID-19 vaccines.  This guidance can also be applied to COVID-19 vaccines that have been listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization (e.g. AstraZeneca/Oxford).

Source: When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated – How to Protect Yourself and Others