A longevity expert shares the exercise she does to live longer

Short-term stress isn’t always a bad thing. It prepares our mind and body for what we need to do in the moment. Chronic stress, however, is more extreme and consistent — and has toxic effects on your body.

Stress fitness: A dose of healthy stress

Stress fitness is a way of exercising the body with short bursts of stress. Studies show it can improve the health and regenerative life span of your cells, instead of slowly wearing them out. 

Compare drinking coffee all day with enjoying a single shot of espresso. The former is not so great for you and probably leaves you feeling anxious and jittery; the latter comes with mood- and health-boosting benefits. 

Stress is the same way. You don’t want to be stressed the entire day, but you do want to take short, intense “shots” of it that will initiate your body’s recovery process and train it to be more resilient to future stress.

How to practice stress fitness

I like to do my stress fitness exercises in the mornings a few times a week, or at least once a week. Here are two to pick from:

1. High-intensity interval training (HIIT)

Complete one round of high-intensity interval training, which takes roughly seven minutes. You can pick as many from the following list as you like, but keep it simple to start:

  • Push ups
  • Plank
  • Side plank
  • Jumping jacks
  • High knees
  • Rope jumping
  • Mountain climbers
  • Jump lunges
  • Jump squats
  • Burpees

Do each exercise for 30 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest. Repeat until the seven minutes are up. 

Find your edge of intensity with speed where you feel some discomfort or struggle. Welcome the discomfort and difficulty as part of the experience — don’t fight against them.

If you haven’t been active in a while, start with something accessible like slow to brisk walking. 

2. Turn the dial to cold

Studies have found that taking a quick, cold shower can decrease inflammation, increase longevity and improve your metabolism. 

At the end of a warm shower, turn the dial to cold. Can you stay under the stream for 15 to 30 seconds? A minute? Push yourself to your edge in the same way you would with exercise, then relax into it. This is key. 

To build resilience, match the shock of the stress response with a relaxed mind as much as possible.

Bonus practice: Heat it up!

Cold exposure turns on positive stress, and so does heat exposure, in the right circumstances.

While more research is needed, some studies have found links between sauna bathing and lower risks of cardiovascular issues and inflammation.

Your heart rate increases during sauna use, as if you were doing moderate exercise. If you have access to a sauna at home or in your gym, try sitting in it for 30 minutes. 

But be sure to check with your doctor first if you have serious health conditions.

Written by Elissa Epel, PhD

Source: Stock Markets, Business News, Financials, Earnings – CNBC

March is Women’s History Month


10 ways to celebrate Women’s History Month

Women’s History Month is a time to recognize and celebrate the countless contributions that women have made throughout history. In addition, intentionally commemorating this month provides an opportunity to reflect on the progress that has been made in advancing gender equality and acknowledge the ongoing challenges women face.

By highlighting the contributions of women from diverse backgrounds and experiences, we can broaden our understanding of historical achievements and promote greater inclusivity in our cultural heritage. Also, bringing attention to issues like pay equity and access to education and healthcare helps us work toward a more just and equitable world for everyone.

Here are 10 creative ways that everyone can participate in Women’s History Month with intention.

Take in tours and exhibitions

In-person and virtual tours and exhibits that showcase strong and inspiring women can help you learn more about the accomplishments of celebrated and lesser-known female figures throughout history. Additionally, you can explore how women have influenced culture, art, science, technology and other aspects of life that often go unrecognized.

Host a book club

Host an in-person virtual book club featuring works written by women or about women’s experiences. Choose a book that can expand your understanding of how women have contributed to our shared culture and society and inspire you to take action. Make sure to select books written by diverse female authors to get a full range of perspectives and discussions. Invite friends who also share your interest in exploring women’s history and open up conversations about the issues faced and successes celebrated by female figures throughout the ages.

Create social media content

Creating content that recognizes women’s successes and accomplishments can help spread awareness, foster conversations and inspire others. Design graphics highlighting influential women throughout history. Share stories of inspiring women in your life on social media. Reminisce on the stories of inspiring female role models in your life or promote events honoring Women’s History Month in your community.

Click the link below to view all 10 ideas.

Article by Tricia Goss for: How To Celebrate Women’s History Month – Simplemost

How to find hidden cameras using mobile phones

Protect your privacy while traveling.

When you’re traveling, the last thing you want to think about is someone spying on you. But in a 2019 survey by real estate company IPX1031, 11 percent of respondents reported finding a hidden camera in their Airbnb.

“One of the reasons this is happening is because of the ready availability of low-cost camera technology,” says Jack Plaxe, security consultant at Guidepost Solutions. Cameras with pinhole lenses that can be easily concealed are available through Amazon and other shopping sites for less than $100.

And today’s spy cameras are so small that if they’re properly concealed, there is no telltale sign, says Mike O’Rourke, CEO of Advanced Operational Concepts. Many come already installed in clock radios, smoke detectors, lamps, and other portable devices.

While the untrained eye might not be familiar with how to find hidden cameras, there are some things you can do to reduce your risk.

Luckily, your smartphone can detect cameras that your eyes can’t see. There are two ways to find hidden cameras using your mobile phone, Koblitz says. The first uses your smartphone’s camera to spot infrared light coming from a camera that is recording in the dark.

  1. Open your smartphone’s camera, and flip the lens to selfie mode.
  2. Make the room as dark as possible by turning off the lights and closing the curtains.
  3. Scan the room slowly with your phone’s camera lens, looking for any glowing lights that are purple or white.

You can also install a network scanner app like Fing, which lists devices that are connected to the Wi-Fi network and their IP addresses.

  1. Connect your phone to the Wi-Fi network and open Fing.
  2. Android users: Tap Refresh to start scanning. iPhone users: The app will automatically begin scanning.
  3. Once the app finishes scanning, search the list for devices with camera manufacturers like Nest, Arlo, or Wyze, or IP addresses listed as “IP Camera.”

Photo credit: ©rd.com, Getty Images

Article by Jen McCaffery, Brooke Nelson for Reader’s Digest©

There’s a Massive Air Fryer Recall Due to Fire Risk

© Ali Majdfar – Getty Images

  • Nearly 2 million air fryers made by Cosori, sold between 2018 and 2022, are being voluntarily recalled after an internal investigation revealed an electrical malfunction may pose serious safety risks.
  • The air fryers, which were sold online by Amazon and through retailers like Best Buy and Home Depot, may overheat, melt, catch fire and smoke, the manufacturer reports.
  • The impacted air fryers, available in two different sizes and five distinct colors, can be identified using printed model numbers and exchanged for a free replacement.

Around 2 million air fryers have been voluntarily recalled after manufacturers at Cosori discovered they may pose a fire risk. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that affected consumers need to “immediately stop” using the appliances in question, which were widely available and sold between June 2018 and December 2022 both in stores and online — as well as in Canada and Mexico.

Source: https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/companies/there-s-a-massive-air-fryer-recall-due-to-fire-risk/ar-AA17Uk8J?ocid=msedgntp&cvid=41e19050a21248c2ac7408078ef37c7a&ei=20

If You Use LastPass, Change All of Your Passwords ASAP

On Dec. 22, LastPass CEO Karim Toubba acknowledged in a blog post that a security incident the company first disclosed in August eventually paved the way for an “unauthorized party” to steal customer account information and sensitive vault data. The breach is the latest in a lengthy and troubling string of security incidents involving LastPass, which date back to 2011. 

It’s also the most alarming.

The unauthorized party was able to gain access to unencrypted customer account information like LastPass usernames, company names, billing addresses, email addresses, phone numbers and IP addresses, according to Toubba. That same unauthorized party was also able to steal customer vault data, which includes unencrypted data like website URLs as well as encrypted data like the usernames and passwords for all the sites that LastPass users have stored in their vaults.

If you’re a LastPass subscriber, the severity of this breach should have you looking for a different password manager, because your passwords and personal data are at serious risk of being exposed.

What should LastPass subscribers do?

The company didn’t specify how many users were affected by the breach, and LastPass didn’t respond to CNET’s request for additional comment on the breach. But if you’re a LastPass subscriber, you need to operate under the assumption that your user and vault data are in the hands of an unauthorized party with ill intentions. Though the most sensitive data is encrypted, the problem is that the threat actor can run “brute force” attacks on those stolen local files. LastPass estimates it would take “millions of years” to guess your master password — if you’ve followed its best practices.

If you haven’t — or if you just want total peace of mind — you’ll need to spend some serious time and effort changing your individual passwords. And while you’re doing that, you’ll probably want to transition away from LastPass, too.

With that in mind, here’s what you need to do right now if you’re a LastPass subscriber:

1. Find a new password manager. Given LastPass’ history with security incidents and considering the severity of this latest breach, now’s a better time than ever to seek an alternative.

2. Change your most important site-level passwords immediately. This includes passwords for anything like online banking, financial records, internal company logins and medical information. Make sure these new passwords are strong and unique.

3. Change every single one of your other online passwords. It’s a good idea to change your passwords in order of importance here too. Start with changing the passwords to accounts like email and social media profiles, then you can start moving backward to other accounts that may not be as critical.

4. Enable two-factor authentication wherever possible. Once you’ve changed your passwords, make sure to enable 2FA on any online account that offers it. This will give you an added layer of protection by alerting you and requiring you to authorize each login attempt. That means even if someone ends up obtaining your new password, they shouldn’t be able to gain access to a given site without your secondary authenticating device (typically your phone).

5. Change your master password. Though this doesn’t change the threat level to the stolen vaults, it’s still prudent to help mitigate the threats of any potential future attack — that is, if you decide you want to stay with LastPass.

Article and photo by: CNET: Product reviews, advice, how-tos and the latest news


After Telling Millions of Taxpayers to Hold Off Filing, IRS Says Go Ahead

New guidance clears up confusion over taxability of certain state rebates and refunds.


The new IRS guidance means tax season can proceed, and many Americans won’t face surprise taxes on these payments.

A week after telling millions of Americans to hold off filing their tax returns, the Internal Revenue Service provided guidance on the taxability of certain state payments Friday to clear up the confusion.

Here is the whole story direct from the IRS:

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service provided details today clarifying the federal tax status involving special payments made by 21 states in 2022.

The IRS has determined that in the interest of sound tax administration and other factors, taxpayers in many states will not need to report these payments on their 2022 tax returns.

During a review, the IRS determined it will not challenge the taxability of payments related to general welfare and disaster relief. This means that people in the following states do not need to report these state payments on their 2022 tax return: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. Alaska is in this group as well, but please see below for more nuanced information.

In addition, many people in Georgia, Massachusetts, South Carolina and Virginia also will not include state payments in income for federal tax purposes if they meet certain requirements. For these individuals, state payments will not be included for federal tax purposes if the payment is a refund of state taxes paid and either the recipient claimed the standard deduction or itemized their deductions but did not receive a tax benefit.

The IRS appreciates the patience of taxpayers, tax professionals, software companies and state tax administrators as the IRS and Treasury worked to resolve this unique and complex situation.

The IRS is aware of questions involving special tax refunds or payments made by certain states related to the pandemic and its associated consequences in 2022. A variety of state programs distributed these payments in 2022 and the rules surrounding their treatment for federal income tax purposes are complex. While in general payments made by states are includable in income for federal tax purposes, there are exceptions that would apply to many of the payments made by states in 2022.

To assist taxpayers who have received these payments file their returns in a timely fashion, the IRS is providing the additional information below.

Refund of state taxes paid

If the payment is a refund of state taxes paid and either the recipient claimed the standard deduction or itemized their deductions but did not receive a tax benefit (for example, because the $10,000 tax deduction limit applied) the payment is not included in income for federal tax purposes.

Payments from the following states in 2022 fall in this category and will be excluded from income for federal tax purposes unless the recipient received a tax benefit in the year the taxes were deducted.

  • Georgia
  • Massachusetts
  • South Carolina
  • Virginia

General welfare and disaster relief payments

If a payment is made for the promotion of the general welfare or as a disaster relief payment, for example related to the outgoing pandemic, it may be excludable from income for federal tax purposes under the General Welfare Doctrine or as a Qualified Disaster Relief Payment. Determining whether payments qualify for these exceptions is a complex fact intensive inquiry that depends on a number of considerations.

The IRS has reviewed the types of payments made by various states in 2022 that may fall in these categories and given the complicated fact-specific nature of determining the treatment of these payments for federal tax purposes balanced against the need to provide certainty and clarity for individuals who are now attempting to file their federal income tax returns, the IRS has determined that in the best interest of sound tax administration and given the fact that the pandemic emergency declaration is ending in May, 2023 making this an issue only for the 2022 tax year, if a taxpayer does not include the amount of one of these payments in its 2022 income for federal income tax purposes, the IRS will not challenge the treatment of the 2022 payment as excludable for income on an original or amended return.

Payments from the following states fall in this category and the IRS will not challenge the treatment of these payments as excludable for federal income tax purposes in 2022.

  • Alaska [1]
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois [2]
  • Indiana
  • Maine
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York2
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island

For a list of the specific payments to which this applies, please see this chart.

Other payments

Other payments that may have been made by states are generally includable in income for federal income tax purposes. This includes the annual payment of Alaska’s Permanent Fund Dividend and any payments from states provided as compensation to workers.

[1] Only for the supplemental Energy Relief Payment received in addition to the annual Permanent Fund Dividend.

[2] Illinois and New York issued multiple payments and in each case one of the payments was a refund of taxes, which should be treated as noted above, and one of the payments is in the category of disaster relief payment.

Source: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-issues-guidance-on-state-tax-payments-to-help-taxpayers

There you have it. So, file away and I hope your refund is HUGE!

IRS warns taxpayers to hold off filing returns in 20 states

Well, so much for early promises by the IRS that taxpayers could expect to “experience improvements” as they file their 2022 returns this year.

Taxpayers in more than 20 states were warned last week by the Internal Revenue Service to hold off filing their tax returns for now until the IRS irons out how the taxpayers in those specific states should report, if at all, money received from their states through special tax refunds or payments in 2022.

We’re looking at one mind-boggling blunder that puts tens of millions of taxpayers on the hook in states that include California, Massachusetts and Virginia.

Tax software companies and tax professionals are waiting to see what move the IRS takes next, too.

Some tax software companies have concluded that some state tax payments are not taxable and have programmed their software so the payments are not reported.

Tax professionals told me that there likely isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer here that can apply to every state. But general guidelines and tax rules will be taken into account to address how states paid out the money.

Taxpayers are stuck in a filing season ditch. If they’re depending on getting a decent size federal income tax refund early in the season, forget it. They need to delay filing a return as the IRS works out what experts say could be fairly complex guidance. The IRS is expected to issue some word in the coming days.

The National Taxpayer Advocate issued a highly critical blog Thursday that questioned why the IRS waited so long to address whether special tax refunds or payments will be treated as taxable income on a federal income tax return. The same blog also stated that the IRS failed to provide timely guidance involving a change in reporting of payments of more than $600 on platforms, like Venmo and PayPal.

If these taxpayers file early anyway, they risk doing their taxes wrong.

Source: https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/taxes/irs-warns-taxpayers-to-hold-off-filing-returns-in-20-states-as-it-checks-if-it-can-tax-special-refunds/ar-AA17kVt6?ocid=msedgntp&cvid=cc46b85755ba4dc0e4f9ed56f1cb9fd5

Here are the states affected by this news:

At least 22 states authorized tax rebates last year as their coffers were buoyed by strong economic growth and federal pandemic aid, according to the Tax Foundation. The following states sent rebate checks to at least some of their taxpayers last year, the Tax Foundation said:

  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Virginia


Beware the Top 5 most popular scams Last Year

Scammers have been notorious for taking advantage of current events and news. Unfortunately, the pandemic has been followed by a troubled economy, supply chain issues, and now a feared recession. This environment has allowed fraudsters to prey on people’s emotions and find victims more easily.

So, what were the most popular scams around the area in 2022?

At the number one position for the third year in a row is the menacing problem of online purchase scams. The pandemic is a huge factor in the escalation of these scams to the top, where it has remained, as shopping on websites is still a convenient and common way to purchase.

Phishing scams continued to be the number two scam reported locally for the second year in a row. These scams not only flood consumers’ e-mail inboxes, they also are a dangerous weapon that Cyber Criminals use to infiltrate businesses.

At number three is counterfeit products, which moved up from the number four position last year. Many fake websites are popping up, especially on social media, and consumers report paying for items they never receive, or cheap knock-off merchandise is delivered.

Employment scams remain high on the list at number four. Experts are predicting, with remote working and more layoffs in the news, this scam could be even more significant in 2023.

A new entry to this year’s top 10 list landing at number five is advance fee loan scams. The scam has been on the list in the past and is most likely returning due to inflation and a tough economy. More people are looking for loans and find solicitations in their email, text, and pop-up ads with enticing offers, which often lead to scams.

It should be noted that there is catch-all category called “other,” which contains a garden variety of scams. Many hot topics in this category include a wide range of issues, from romance and pet/puppy scams to airline issues, concert tickets, legal services, maintenance issues, and social media marketplace issues.

Source: http://www.msn.com Photo credit: cyberintro.net

HEADS UP: PayPal hacker attack exposes customer names and social security numbers.

© Kurt Knutsson

Last Thursday, PayPal began notifying nearly 35,000 of its customers that their accounts were breached between Dec. 6 and 8. During the two days, PayPal claims that no money was stolen from anyone.

The hackers were still able to obtain personal and private information, including full names, dates of birth, physical addresses, social security numbers and tax identification numbers. PayPal halted the intrusion within two days, reset the passwords for affected users and said no unauthorized transactions were attempted.

PayPal’s internal investigation revealed that the hackers used a method known as credit stuffing to breach the accounts of these victims. Credential stuffing is when hackers use existing credentials already floating around the dark web to hack into private accounts. They use bots with lists of usernames and passwords acquired in previous data breaches and try the credentials at multiple online services with the hope that customers have not recently changed their passwords. This is where those who use the same passwords across multiple different accounts could run into a big problem. 

If you were one of the victims of this PayPal attack, then PayPal should have already reset your password. When you go to make a new password, make sure it is a strong password with capital and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. The company is also offering victims two years of free identity monitoring from Equifax.

There are steps you can take to ensure that something like this never happens to you.

  • Create strong passwords and don’t use the same ones for multiple accounts: you can find out more about creating strong passwords and great password managers 
  • Use 2-factor authentication: take advantage of 2-factor authentication for any services you use that offer it. This is one extra step that will keep a hacker out of your private information even if they get their hands on your login credentials.

Copyright 2023 CyberGuy.com.

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