The Debate Rages: Fewer or Less?

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.

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Got it? Try this one!

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7 Text Message Scams to Avoid and Report Immediately

It sometimes feels like we get more text messages from scammers than from real people these days. And it’s not your imagination that things have gotten worse in the past year.

“In March, 11.6 billion scam messages were sent on American wireless networks, up 30 percent from February,” the New York Times reports.

Following are some of the worst recent scams to watch for.

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1. Medicare scams

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.

You can report suspected scams at oig.ssa.gov/report.

3. Cable company scams

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.

Report scams of this type at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

4. IRS scams

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 phishing@irs.gov. 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.

Amazon’s website explains how to spot this type of scam and provides a way to report suspicious messages.

6. Student loan forgiveness scams

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.

You can report these scams and others at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

Source: https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/personalfinance

Daily Language Practice

Yes it’s back. DLP returns to Tutoringyou.org for another year. Here is a sample of what will be posted.

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Instructions: Review each sentence and make any correction. There is an answer sheet to check your answers.

Answer Sheet

I hope this information helps you become a little closer to English language excellence. Please hit the follow button and continue your learning.

Are Chia Seeds Good for Health? 

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.

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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.

Source: https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/nutrition

Some Good News for a Change

There’s still a lot of good in the world — and a lot of reasons to be hopeful. (Even when it doesn’t always feel that way.) Here is some good news for you.

Article by Best Life

Grow Milkweed and Save the Monarchs

Types of milkweed to support monarch butterflies

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.

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How to keep milkweed from taking over your garden

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!

BY: Jennifer Howell

Source: https://www.gardengatemagazine.com/articles/flowers-plants/bird-butterfly-friendly/types-of-milkweed-for-monarchs/

Tuesday is Love Your Freckles Day

So what else is happening this week that might interest you besides:

Family sitting at thanksgiving table

Monday, Nov. 21

  • World Hello Day
  • World Television Day
  • National Stuffing Day
  • Alascattalo Day
  • National Gingerbread Cookie Day
  • Odd Socks Day
  • World Fisheries Day

Tuesday, Nov. 22

  • Go for a Ride Day
  • National Cranberry Relish Day
  • Love Your Freckles Day

Wednesday, Nov. 23

  • Drinksgiving
  • National Espresso Day
  • Fibonacci Day
  • Eat a Cranberry Day
  • National Cashew Day
  • National Jukebox Day
  • National Tie One On Day

Thursday, Nov. 24

  • Thanksgiving Day
  • National Day of Mourning
  • National Sardines Day
  • Celebrate Your Unique Talent Day
  • National Family Health History Day
  • D.B. Cooper Day

Friday, Nov. 25

  • Black Friday
  • Native American Heritage Day
  • International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
  • National Play With Dad Day
  • Buy Nothing Day
  • You’re Welcomegiving Day
  • National Parfait Day
  • Sinkie Day
  • Maize Day
  • Flossing Day
  • Fur-Free Friday
  • Day of Listening

Saturday, Nov. 26

  • National Cake Day
  • Small Business Saturday
  • World Lewis Day

Sunday, Nov. 27

  • National Craft Jerky Day
  • Pins and Needles Day
  • Turtle Adoption Day
  • National Bavarian Cream Pie Day
  • Aura Awareness Day
  • Advent Sunday

Photo credit: © The Good Brigade – Getty Images

Article source: Woman’s Day©

Do You Sudoku? Sudoku Tips That’ll Help You Win

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.

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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.

What is a hidden pair in Sudoku?

A hidden pair in Sudoku is “When a pair of numbers appear in exactly two squares in a row, column, or block, but those two numbers aren’t the only ones in their squares,” according to thonky.com.

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.

Source: https://www.rd.com/list/printable-sudoku-puzzles/

How To Create A Winter Evergreens Planter

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.

How To Create A Winter Planter

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.

How To Create A Winter Planter

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!

How To Create A Winter Planter
How To Create A Winter Planter

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!

Source: https://westcoastgardens.ca/our-resources/how-to-create-a-winter-planter