Use the adjective fewer to describe countable items; otherwise, use the adjective less. And here’s a tip: in general, if the noun is plural, use fewer; if it’s singular, use less: Fewer treadmills line the floor of the gym.
The Federal Trade Commission notes scammers are taking advantage of Medicare’s open enrollment period to rip off seniors. The scam involves impersonating Medicare agents who request your Social Security number, banking details or credit card information in order to keep your benefits or sign up for a better plan.
Real Medicare representatives should already have the information they need from you. If not, they will call — not text — and only in specific situations.
You can report scammers of this type by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227) or visiting ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
2. Social Security scams
Scammers impersonating Social Security officials have been offering people higher benefits over text messages and luring them to a fake website to steal personal information, the Social Security Administration says.
There are ways to increase your benefit, but Social Security will only text you in certain rare situations described on its website, and it will never ask for personal info in the process.
Want a lower cable or internet bill? Lately, scammers have been texting people to conveniently offer just that, the FTC says. They ask you to prepay part of your bill — in gift cards — to qualify for the offer.
Anyone telling you to pay with a gift card is scamming you, and you won’t be able to get the money back, according to the FTC.
Tax season is a few months away still, but the IRS is warning of an “exponential” increase in text scams. These texts trick taxpayers into clicking a link where their personal information is collected by promising things such as tax credits or COVID-19 relief.
The IRS will never text you asking for personal or financial information. It asks you report such scams by emailing a copy of the exact text or sending a screenshot to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also forward such texts to your wireless provider at 7726 (SPAM) so they can attempt to block the number from texting others.
5. Amazon scams
We’re entering the holiday shopping season, which is what you might call a prime opportunity for scammers. Texts posing as Amazon may mention orders you didn’t place and link to a purported Amazon URL, which is actually a fake designed to steal your personal and financial information.
The recent move by the federal government to forgive up to $20,000 in student loan debt is providing even more juicy targets for scammers.
Common texts from these scammers may scare borrowers by claiming the program is being discontinued, that forgiveness is “first come, first served” or that you must verify personal information to qualify, the U.S. Education Department warns.
You can report such texts to the Education Department, and if you made the mistake of trusting a scam message, you should contact your loan servicer and bank immediately to notify them.
7. Tech support scams
The upcoming Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales days are a great time to upgrade your computer and other tech — something many of us occasionally need help setting up.
Scammers take advantage of that by impersonating tech support services such as Best Buy’s Geek Squad, the FTC warns. You may receive texts claiming you’ll be charged hundreds of dollars to renew membership to this service, even if you never signed up for it.
Once they get you worked up, the scammer might offer to reverse the charge if you provide your bank account information or remote access to your computer, which they then use to rob your accounts.
The FTC advises consumers in these situations to contact the company in question using a phone number they know is real — you might grab one from a recent billing statement, business card or the company website — and asking about the text message.
The small, black seeds are among the richest plant sources of the omega-3 fatty acid known as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Diets high in ALA have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease. Chia seeds are also high in fiber, which may help lower harmful LDL cholesterol levels.
Chia seeds have several beneficial effects on health. They are rich in omega-3-fatty acids, protein, fiber and various minerals. Aids in the reduction of free radical production, in turn, decreases cancer risk. Aids in metabolism improvement and increases antioxidant levels.
It’s best to grow a milkweed that is native to your area so monarch butterflies that visit find the habitat to which they are accustomed. You can grow other species, but the natives are suited to your region. Most milkweeds grow best in full sun, but they will tolerate some shade. With the exception of swamp milkweed, which prefers moist, rich soil, milkweed species will thrive in poor, dry soils and disturbed areas, fields, and ditches. Also keep in mind that milkweed plants have some toxicity — so keep them out of places where livestock may graze and don’t let pets or children chew on them.
Photos courtesy of Prairie Moon Nursery (whorled milkweed); John D. Byrd, Mississippi State University, Bugwood.org (green milkweed); Dave Powell, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org (antelope horns); D.L. Cook (California milkweed)
Milkweed is a host plant for monarch caterpillars
Though adult monarch butterflies sip nectar from many flowers, monarch caterpillars feed exclusively on milkweed plants, specifically those in the genus Asclepias. Monarch butterflies lay their eggs on milkweed plants so their larvae, or caterpillars, have an instant food source once the eggs hatch. Chemicals in the milkweed are ingested by the caterpillars which are toxic to other animals, helping protect them from predators. Caterpillars and adult butterflies are also brightly colored, a natural warning that this insect is toxic.
Many people consider milkweed a weed, but go ahead and plant those pretty “weeds.” The monarchs will thank you. However, if you are worried about these plants spreading too much or your neighbors complain, there are a few things you can do:
Contain milkweed rhizomes
Since milkweeds multiply through underground rhizomes and by seed, keep a small milkweed clump contained by sinking 12- to 18-inch plastic or metal edging into the ground around the plants. Or periodically spade into the ground around the base of the plants and remove any wandering rhizomes from the soil.
Remove seed pods
You’ll also want to cut green seed pods off so they can’t produce seed. It won’t bother the monarchs — they feed on leaves and stems as caterpillars and nectar as adults, so they won’t even notice the pods are gone!
Whether you are ready to learn how to play Sudoku or consider yourself a puzzle master, here are Sudoku tips, techniques, and strategies for getting your mind right your pencil ready.
The object of the puzzle is to figure out the places where you have to place the numbers 1-9 in order to have every single row, column, and block filled up with a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and a 9. Most sudoku puzzles are made so that there is only one final solution after sifting through all the options and filling in all the blocks. Only 1 same number is allowed in any row, column, or small square.
There’s a lot more to Sudoku than simply writing numbers in a row and column. Sitting down before a fresh Sudoku grid and playing Sudoku requires logic, not guesswork, and a substantial knowledge of Sudoku solving techniques. Once you know these Sudoku tips, you will be able to solve even the most challenging puzzle.
What is the technique to solve Sudoku?
There are more than a few techniques to solve a Sudoku puzzle, but per Conceptis Puzzles, the easiest way to a Sudoku solution is to, “Scan rows and columns within each triple-box area, eliminating numbers or squares and finding situations where only a single number can fit into a single square.” If you’re looking to learn how to play Sudoku, the scanning technique is a swift and generally efficient method of solving easy Sudoku puzzles from start to finish and can get players far into more difficult puzzles before switching to an advanced Sudoku strategy. Don’t forget to check out these printable sudoku puzzles that’ll test your smarts.
What is pencil marking in Sudoku?
Sudoku pencil marking is a systematic Sudoku solver strategy in which puzzle doers use a pencil to write small numbers inside the squares, denoting which numbers may fit in. Conceptis Puzzles says that, “After pencil marking the puzzle, the solver must analyze the results, identify special number combinations, and deduce which numbers should be placed where.” Pencil is, of course, easy to erase in a hurry once you find the solution—or realize you made a mistake
What is a Sudoku single candidate?
A single candidate is a very easy Sudoku strategy for solving a puzzle. Sudoku of the Day says this Sudoku strategy involves “Using pencil marks to store what candidates are still possible within each cell.” The site continues on to note that, “By then examining the surrounding column, row, and box, a single candidate means you’ve managed to rule out all other possibilities for a particular cell,” leaving just a single number left that could possibly fit.
So, are you ready to try and solve an easy Sudoku puzzle? OK! Here is one that you can print out. It has an answer sheet, so no worries. If you get stuck, just erase until you see the mistake. The game will become easier for you as you do more puzzles. You are then ready for more difficult ones.
Good luck. I hope you have fun with Sudoku, and continue playing whenever you can.
This winter, deck out your front door with a gorgeous winter greens planter that really celebrates the season using natural evergreen boughs, branches and holiday accents! Not only will you feel the Christmas spirit every time you get home (not to mention have that wonderful evergreen aroma) but your family and holiday guests will as well. Our easy guide to creating a winter planter of your own will soon have you singing fa-la-la-la-la and stocking up on fir boughs and pinecones.
Gather all your greenery and branches together for your design. There are so many great choices for a winter planter, make sure to mix it up with at least three or more kinds of greenery, to really get different textures in your design and create interest. Some of our favourite winter greens include: Carolina sapphire, juniper, noble fir, hemlock, white pine, Oregonia, cedar, douglas fir and silver fir. We also love to use eucalyptus (there are a number of different varieties and they all look amazing!), magnolia, skimmia, and ilex berries (so colourful) in our designs as natural accents.
1. Prepping the Pot
Fill your pot with potting soil, it’s a great base for anchoring your greens and branches in place! (PRO-TIP: You can also re-use a finished planter from last season. To prepare a used pot from last season, simply sheer the tops of the old plants off from their roots and clean the top of the soil. The roots in the soil are a perfect anchor to hold your greens in place.)
2. Branching Out
Start with the tallest branches/poles in the centre of your planter. We suggest that your final greens arrangement should be double the height and double the width of your pot. (So, if your pot is 16″ tall and 12″ wide, your arrangement is 32″ tall and 24″ wide.) For branches, try cornus, birch poles, alpine huck, or anything you can collect from the wild. You can also use faux berries or pinecones on picks in the centre.
3. Create a Collar
Next, create a collar using greens around the rim of the pot, to define the overall width of the arrangement. Jason uses silver fir boughs here, turning them over to showcase the pale white needles which fit in beautifully with the theme of this winter planter.
4. Fill in the Greens
Finally, add in the greenery tight against these poles/branches to secure them in place. Fill up the centre of your design with greens that stagger in height, decreasing as you get farther from the centre. Bright green douglas fir, long-needled white pine, juniper and seed pod eucalyptus branches create interesting textures and varied shades of green!
5. Add the Bling
Accents are a great way to add interest. Faux berries, glitzy ornaments or natural seedpods. A few shiny baubles create reflections and immediately bring the Christmas spirit to an arrangement! You can also use natural accents you’ve collected like pinecones or woodcuts. We carry a large assortment of different accents for every style!
Even though these winter planter arrangements are not living, they need to be watered once a week, with cold water, to help keep the greens fresh. In climates where freezing is normal, once the arrangement is frozen, you can leave it. In climates where it doesn’t freeze often, you will need to water more often.
For more inspiration in creating your own winter planters, take a look at our free Planter Templates collection, where you can download and print instructions and blueprints to use!