Interesting Facts about Ringworm

In spite of its popular name, the actual cause of ringworm is infection with fungal organisms. These infectious fungal organisms are called dermatophytes and the medical term for ringworm is dermatophytosis. Sometimes ringworm is also known as tinea. The fungal infectious organisms responsible for causing ringworm are widespread in nature and they commonly populate the soil. The only effective means of preventing the occurrence of ringworm is to maintain a good hygiene. Ringworm is very contagious and it can easily be acquired through direct contact with contaminated people, animals or objects. Regularly wash your hands after entering in contact with stray animals, as many of them are carriers of the fungi responsible for causing ringworms in humans.

Arthrospores are the main cause of ringworm in humans. Although there are lots of animals contaminated with arthrospores, they usually don’t show any signs of the disease. For some reason, most animals appear to be immune to this form of fungal infection. Microsporum canis is a type of fungi that commonly infects cats. This type of fungus can be easily transmitted to other animals and to humans. It is strongly recommended to avoid physical contact with animals that show signs of disease in order to prevent contamination with infectious fungal elements. Also, if you own a dog or a cat, ensure that your pet is not contaminated with dermatophytes by paying regular visits to a veterinary.

Ringworm can affect virtually any region of the body. Hands and feet are very exposed to fungal infection and dermatophytes often infect these body parts. Although it commonly affects skin, ringworm can also affect nails and scalp. Ringworm involves inflammation, rash and swelling of the skin, scalp, soft tissue and nails. Rash is usually the first sign that indicates the presence of fungal infections. Skin lesions may also appear in later stages of the disease. If the infection spreads through the deeper layers of the skin it can cause pustules and painful nodules. A hardened crust often forms on the surface of the affected skin. Common symptoms of ringworm are persistent itching, soreness and irritation.

Ringworm of the scalp appears in the form of pustules or pus-filled reddish bumps. Foot ringworm usually affects the skin regions between the toes. Foot ringworm appears in the form of cracked, hardened skin. The affected skin also tends to exfoliate, causing itching and soreness. Ringworm of the nails is manifested by thickening and discoloration of the nails.

It is very important to see a dermatologist if you have the symptoms of ringworm. Although it may resemble a simple rash or irritation, ringworm can cause serious complications if it is not appropriately treated. The treatment for ringworm can be prescribed in the form of oral tablets or creams and ointments for external use. The medications used in the treatment for ringworm contain antifungal material and they are usually very effective in overcoming the infection. With appropriate medical treatment, ringworm can be completely cured within a week.

Honda Motor Scooter Guide

Driving a car, truck or SUV can be pricey when you factor in the cost of rising gas prices. If you are a single motorist or only use your vehicle for commuting, an alternative to consider is a Honda motor scooter. There are currently six different models to choose from and of the various designs available, one is sure to meet all of your needs. Running errands around town, seating for two, storage space, long-distance riding and engine performance are just some options to consider when thinking about the kind of scooter you would like to be riding.

The Metropolitan model from Honda offers single seating for the modern rider. This scooter is perfect for the driver looking for sharp European design while being fuel efficient. Automatic   transmission  is also a perk for those who are new to riding scooters as shifting gears may seem intimidating. A 49cc engine gives a top speed of 40 miles per hour which is plenty fast for local around-town driving or commutes that do not involve travel on highways.

Are you looking for a two-seat scooter with generous storage space and a little more engine zip than the Metropolitan? A Honda motor scooter that could be for you is the Honda Elite model. Reach speeds up to 50 miles per hour with its 108cc engine while riding comfortably with a second person seated behind you. And you do not need to worry about taking your helmet with you after reaching your destination with this model’s under seat storage feature.

Honda’s Ruckus model offers a rugged exterior as opposed to the smooth lines of the Metropolitan and Elite scooters. Automatic  transmission , a liquid-cooled engine and electric start are all features of this Honda motor scooter. Oversized tires allow for handling a bit rougher terrain while still enjoying the fuel efficiency that driving a scooter provides.

The PCX scooter offered by Honda engages a 125cc engine that can travel up to 60 miles per hour. A trunk allowing for a full size helmet and an accessory rack ensures you will have the space needed to accommodate all of the items you may be traveling with. Some highway travel is permitted with this motor scooter which may be a great option for commuters.

A sleek model that gets you from point A to point B faster and with room for two is Honda’s SH150i. This fuel-injected scooter features a 153cc engine and a Combined Braking System. A top speed of 65 miles per hour with two riders makes this scooter an ideal option for those looking for local and highway travel.

Finally, the Silver Wing ABS is the ultimate luxury scooter from the Honda line. An ample windscreen and seating for two offers comfort to all riders while the 582cc engine delivers power for those longer rides. The anti-lock braking system and automatic  transmission  offered with this Honda motor scooter model is sure to provide fast and fun transport for the motorist looking for ultimate comfort.

Online Education – Do You Want To Return To School?

In our rapidly changing global world, millions of students are currently taking college-level online (distance education) classes. Private and public universities in the United States and abroad are offering Certificate, Baccalaureate, Masters and Doctoral degree programs over the Internet to adult learners. From Ivy League to Community Colleges, an increasing number of students can log on to their classes from home, work or while commuting by bus and train. Adult learners frequently juggle a myriad of responsibilities including raising children, career, and care giving for senior parents. Formerly, a university of interest may have been out of reach geographically. Presently, an employee located in the United States can register for classes taught half way around the world. Non-traditional venues outside of the more traditional classroom offer viable opportunities for continuing one’s education.

Adult learners make up the largest demographic of post-secondary institutions in the United States. For this student group, the benefits of online academic programs are:

o To update current skill sets

o To learn new skill sets

o To earn an undergraduate or graduate level degree

o The fulfillment of academic requirements necessary for a current job or promotion

o To change careers

o The satisfaction of certification or licensure requirements

o Personal and spiritual growth and development

Not for the faint of heart, success in distance education academic programs requires high levels of stamina, discipline, and motivation. A good candidate must be computer literate, possess the ability to read massive amounts of material in short-time frames, have good writing and communication skills, hold high expectations for good grades, enjoy applying critical thinking and commit a minimum of 15 hours per week per course (be prepared to allocate more, if necessary).

The Internet and the World Wide Web provide the critical technology platform for distance education. University technological and operational infrastructures (including hardware, software and transmission) provide the additional cornerstones to the technology platform needed to execute distance education programs. The delivery of academic content may be accomplished in several formats. The more traditional venues are correspondence courses, videos, audio-cassettes, CD-ROMS, and broadcasts via television and radio. Modern formats include synchronous and/or asynchronous education content distribution channels. Synchronous delivery refers to real-time interaction between instructor and student i.e., two-way video-conferences, whiteboards, chat rooms, telephone software (ex. Skype), and mobile technology devices. Asynchronous interaction does not involve real time communication. Instead, interaction between instructor and student is accomplished through the use of e-mail, DVDs, and the traditional education delivery formats.

As a student, you will need a desktop or laptop computer, an Internet Service provider, a cell phone, software (i.e., word processor, financial spreadsheet, calendar and Power Point), a backup storage disk drive (nothing can make your heart drop faster than losing a body of work that you’ve diligently developed), a headset with microphone for virtual team discussions and the traditional school supplies. Optional technology may include memory upgrades, scanners, digital scanners, and fax machines.

Ten Tips For The Successful Online Student:

o Have a credit card or debit card ready for downloading e-books and other required course reading materials.

o Maintain a list of more than one bookstore in the event that a required textbook is sold out. It’s always a good idea to obtain a list of the required textbooks midway through the term and order in advance for the following term.

o Do not be shy about asking for help if needed. I cannot stress enough the importance of communicating openly with your professor or instructor about course material that you may not understand. Online academic programs tend to move rapidly and course content that you do not understand will most likely cause problems down the road resulting in frustration and possibly, lower grades.

o Seek out a tutor. If there are areas that you know need strengthening, even before the class begins, have a tutor on stand-by. Also, the telephone number of a computer specialist should be in your rolodex.

o Time management will be critical. Keep a planner. Read your syllabus as soon as it becomes available and plan accordingly.

o Uphold your responsibilities as a virtual team member. Your contributions will directly impact the team grade.

o Exercise. Long hours at the computer can cause strain on the neck, shoulder, arm and back muscles, not to mention the hands. Remember to periodically stretch and tone.

o Eat a healthy diet. Keep good healthy recipes handy. Hydrate. Avoid heavy snacking on calorie-laden food and instead eat lots of fruit and vegetables. Avoid white flour and choose high fiber grains.

o See your doctor. A healthy body feeds a healthy mind.

o Stay in contact with your Academic Advisor to be sure that you are satisfying the requirements needed to complete your degree.

In the Fall term of 2006, 3.5 million students representing 20% of all U.S. higher education students, took at least one online course (2007. The Sloan Consortium). It is projected that distance education will continue to grow in popularity domestically and internationally. The most commonly offered online academic programs are Business, Computer Science and Engineering, Education, Engineering, Library Science, Nursing, and Public Health. Whether you select a community college, public institution, private institution or Ivy League university, enjoy the learning experience.

© 2007-2008 Jeanna Foy-Stanley

Protect Yourself From Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Promote Safe Sex

Sexually active persons are often victims of sexually transmitted diseases. While most people consider sex as a need, it is also a must that you should know all that you could about certain consequences of engaging in sexual activities especially when you change partners often. That is why be careful when choosing your sexual partner and make sure to maintain a clean personal hygiene. Sexually transmitted diseases are often caused by bacterial infection. While most kinds of these diseases are curable, HIV in particular is deadly. So if you want to enjoy a longer life span while enjoying the good things life has to offer keep yourself in check at all times by doing STD tests.

Sexually transmitted disease tests are often conducted in clinics with the help of a medical expert. However, for most people who find it inconvenient by setting an appointment for a test, a STD test can be conducted at home with STD test kits. These test kits can be purchased online and delivered straight to your doorsteps. This is truly a convenient method of keeping yourself in check since these cases are highly sensitive.

Even if you choose to get tested at a clinic, your results are still kept confidential. STD test kits have easily understandable instructions with it that can be easily followed to determine the result. Once you see a positive result, do not panic. Bear in mind that it is better to have found it an earlier stage to determine the best and fast way to cure your infection.

There are different kinds of sexually transmitted diseases. There are those which can only be spread through pure sexual contact either by oral, anal, or vaginal sex. There are also kinds which can be transmitted without sexual contact. The best way to prevent yourself from getting infected is of course by abstinence, avoiding sex. While most people cannot do this method, the use of condom is the second best method.

Although this is not full proof, with proper use, you can still enjoy the benefits of sex and peace of mind that you are safe from getting infected at least. Knowing more about STDs and promoting safe sex can help reduce the case of sexually transmitted diseases especially on young people who are sexually active.

If you happen to change partners often, keep your body in check at all times. If you happen to experience slight changes be sensitive enough to care and conduct STD tests at the convenience of your own home. Most of these sexually transmitted diseases do not show symptoms at the early stage and when left untreated can cause complications which can never be cured even on a long term basis. As long as it is not HIV, there is a sure way to rid yourself of bacteria that cause such infections. Always maintain proper and good hygiene especially on sensitive body parts.

Hands-Only CPR: When and How to Do It

I’m frequently asked if giving breaths has been eliminated from CPR now that the CPR guidelines have been updated. The simple answer is no, the breaths are still instructed in traditional CPR classes. However, there has been a big push, especially by the American Heart Association, to teach a version of CPR without breaths. This approach is often called “hands-only CPR”.

In short, hands-only CPR is fast, deep compressions on a victim’s chest. If someone doesn’t respond to your efforts to wake them, and their breathing is irregular or they aren’t breathing, you push straight down on an adult’s chest at least 2 inches at a rate of at least 100 compressions a minute. This is a skill you need to practice with an instructor on a manikin, so I’m not going to go into further detail on how to perform this skill.

Hands-only CPR has many advantages over traditional CPR: it’s simple to do, it reduces the risk of disease   transmission  while doing CPR, and research shows it’s as effective or more effective when used appropriately.

Hands-only CPR is an acceptable approach when you witness someone suddenly collapse. If this is an adult, it’s probably because of cardiac arrest (a heart attack). The victim still has several minutes of oxygen in their blood because they were breathing moments before they collapsed. The goal of hands-only CPR is to circulate that oxygenated blood throughout their body. By continually compressing their chest, you are literally squeezing blood through their heart so it reaches the brain and organs. Those compressions will buy the victim valuable minutes until emergency medical personnel arrive.

However, hands-only CPR isn’t always the best approach. If the victim has become unconscious and isn’t breathing normally because of an airway emergency, they need CPR with breaths. Asthma, severe allergies, choking, drowning and suffocation are all examples of airway emergencies that can lead to a victim who is unconscious and not breathing normally. Because these victims are lacking oxygen, they need rescue breaths, along with chest compressions.

Children and infants usually have healthy, strong hearts so if they become unconscious, the cause is usually not cardiac related. Most likely they are suffering from an airway emergency. This is why every parent who takes a CPR class should learn to do CPR with breaths. Unless a CPR class says it’s a hand-only class, all American Red Cross and American Heart Association CPR classes will teach you how to give rescue breaths along with compressions.

Fax Machines Reviews

In the field of telecommunications, the word fax (facsimile) refers to the act of transmitting copies over a telephone network. This system enjoys a distinct advantage because the transfer is immediate. This machine consists of a modem and an image scanner. Sometimes, the equipment is equipped with printers and photo-copiers. Although these machines have existed since the last century, they began to gain popularity in the last two decades due to their economic affordability.

Digital fax machines gained popularity in Japan. In recent years, the internet has made inroads into the field of telecommunications but the machines have continued to remain a popular choice, even in the corporate world,for the transfer of documents. Fax servers have replaced the old fax machines. These can receive faxes and transmit the information over the internet to the user. There are two kinds of fax machines.

The analog machines used earlier, are no longer in vogue. Digital machines have replaced them. The digital machines have two groups, Group three and group four. The machines are classified on the basis of the time they take to transmit a document. There are also different classes of this machines and different transmission rates. These machines use a variety of modulation methods to transmit data. It use two different methods of compression to reduce the amount of data that needs to be transmitted between two machines. These methods are Modified Huffmann and Modified Read. In the Modified Huffmann method each word is scanned and compressed independently. The amount of white space is also reduced considerably. This helps in minimising the time taken for transmission. The Modified Read Method uses a slightly different method of compression.

The first line is scanned using the MH method. The second line is scanned and the differences are determined. These differences are transmitted after a process of encoding. This method pre-supposes that these differences are minimal. The Matsushita White Line Skip is another method of compression but it can be used only on Panasonic machines.

Most of the machines that are used currently belong to the Group Three. Documents are scanned in black and white. Thermal printers that were hitherto used have given way to a generation of this machines. Thermal transfer printers,laser printers and ink-jet printers are some of these machines. Thermal fax papers, however, do not possess legal validity as the ink used in these papers is not indelible.

Fax machines come now in compact sizes and are very portable. They are also all-in-one machines that lend themselves to official and personal use, that can print, scan and fax. These machines have become versatile and they are invaluable in any corporate setting or a business house.

Researching the Pros and Cons of Getting Your Degree Online

Are you considering getting your bachelor’s or master’s or other degree online? It’s a growing field that’s receiving acceptance and approval for all types of career and education goals.

The biggest advantage to online degree education is that it’s a complete college degree program that is delivered via the Internet. All classes, materials, tests and lectures are delivered online. This process allows the student to “attend” class from anywhere at any time that is convenient to them.

According to educators from Cornell University, “the web provides significant new functionality in transmitting information to the student and providing forums for exchange. The web is revolutionizing some areas of study through increased opportunities for learning and alternative formats for information.” (Dwyer, Barbieri, and Doerr, 1995).

One of the ways it has done this is through enhanced student-to-student and faculty-to-student communication. Students and faculty can both benefit from using the communication and assessment tools that are made available via online learning.

The technology also enables students to exercise more flexibility in their approach to education, depending on what best suits their personal learning styles and busy schedules.

In addition, the class material and program is continuously updated for up to the minute, real world application. This allows the student to immediately begin applying their new knowledge to their existing work environment.

There are many different types of programs available. Students can receive a bachelor’s or master’s degree in many areas such as accounting, marketing, human resources, e-business, information technology, nursing and even elementary education.

The typical online program takes three years to complete. A master’s degree program may take up to four years depending on the type of degree sought and the prior education of the student.

Most programs are accredited and they usually accept the transfer of prior credits from other accredited universities. Some of them are also well-known off-line schools such as Duke, Stanford, Jones International, and Capella.

While enrolled, a student typically takes just one class at a time for a five to six week period. This allows the student to concentrate solely on that material before moving on to the next module of information.

The price of an online degree education program is comparable to that of a regular college degree. Plus, many students are eligible for financing in the way of a student loan. Sometimes employer education programs can even reimburse a student’s tuition fees.

Keep in mind though, that you may have to be a little more organized and self-motivated for this type of education and you will have to manage time demands in other areas of your life. Because you normally won’t have set class times, it will be up to you to the time into your schedule. Then again, some programs require that you log on to the Internet at designated times for virtual class sessions.

Another potential disadvantage is that some employers still prefer that their employees have degrees from traditional colleges. However, these views are rapidly changing.

A recent survey of 1,300 graduates and 80 employers asked supervisors to rate the value of the degree earned by their employee compared to a resident school degree in the same field. Sixty-nine percent of the supervisors rated the online degree “just as valuable” or “more valuable” than traditional degrees. This means that one out of three supervisors need to be convinced that an online degree offers the same quality and content as a traditional degree.

Plus, traditional brick and mortar universities who offer online courses often make no separation between their programs and the type of degree awarded. And transcripts do not indicate whether a course was done at a distance or on campus.

Using Pictures to Teach Narrative Writing with Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

Subject: Sixth Grade Language Arts – Segregation and Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

Time allotted: 90 minutes

Organization: large group

Objective: Students will demonstrate the understanding of the components in a narrative by using pictures about segregation to write the narrative.

Student worksheet available at http://www.trinaallen.com/rollofthunderstudent.html

Teaching Mode: Direct

Provision for Individual Differences: Students are heterogeneously mixed. The combination of modeling by the teacher and students will help to meet the needs of the varying abilities in the classroom. This assignment is open-ended enough for all students to find success “where they are” (Gardner, 2004).

Teaching Strategies: Some lecture, dialogue, modeling, discussion, group critique, planning.

Teaching Behavior focus: Focus will be as facilitator. Students will direct the lesson by creating the model used to demonstrate narrative writing.

Materials needed for this lesson:

oOne copy of a picture depicting segregation for each student– ideally with larger copies available for fine details.

oPaper- pencil

ooverhead, board and markers, or chalk

oGeneral classroom supplies

Lesson Activities:

Step 1. Anticipatory Set: (Motivation)

oAs review, ask students to write a definition of segregation. Volunteers will state their definitions. Write the definition on the board for students to refer to as they write their narratives. (Students should have read and discussed segregation and Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry prior to this lesson).

oDistribute pictures depicting segregation- one to each student. Or ask students to bring pictures from magazines that demonstrate segregation or reverse segregation. Hang several larger pictures on the wall so students can use them for greater detail.

oStudents will examine their picture individually for five minutes, writing details on the worksheet.

Note: Newspapers and magazines are good sources of pictures for this lesson as well as the following online museum Web sites.

Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia at Ferris State http://www.ferris.edu/htmls/news/jimcrow/index.htm

Norman Rockwell Museum http://www.nrm.org/

Online Tours of the National Gallery of Art http://www.nga.gov/onlinetours/index.shtm

Web Museum, Paris http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/

Step 2. Objective (Overview of learning outcomes to pupils):

Students will use pictures about segregation related to their unit of study for Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry to:

odemonstrate knowledge of the characteristics of narrative writing by writing a narrative.

odemonstrate connections between images and words by using narrative writing to build understanding of content.

ouse detailed vocabulary in writing their text.

Step 3. Presentation (Input) of information:

Students will review the following characteristics of narrative writing as a whole class: developing plot, character and setting using specific detail and ordering events clearly using chronological order.

Direct students’ attention to one picture on the board. As a whole class have students brainstorm possible events and characters this picture illustrates about segregation. Place the words or phrases under the following headings on the board as students share their ideas. Have students fill this information in on their worksheets.

Characters Setting Situation Feelings Vocabulary

Step 4. Modeling/Examples:

Use one character from the class table. Model writing a narrative on the board from the character’s point of view by calling on students to give the details. Encourage students to describe the picture and to invent an original story related to the segregation illustrated in the picture. Decide as a class whether to tell the story that leads up to the picture, or to narrate the events that follow the picture. Write events in chronological order on the board as well as including the character’s feelings and thoughts.

Step 5. Checking for Understanding:

Have students evaluate the story written on the board that they created by checking the blank before each element of narrative writing that they find in the class story about segregation.

1. _____ One character’s point of view.

2. _____ Details about the character .

3. _____ Details about the setting.

4. _____ Details about the situation.

5. _____ The story was in the correct chronological order.

6. _____ The narrative contained feelings and thoughts.

Circulate as students work to check for understanding. Call on students to share their evaluation to be sure all students understand the content.

Step 6. Guided Practice:

Using the picture that they were assigned (or the one they brought from home) students will brainstorm possible events and characters by filling their ideas in the same table used in step 3:

Characters Setting Situation Feelings Vocabulary

Circulate to check for understanding.

Step 7. Independent Practice:

Have students choose one character from the table and write a narrative similar to the one modeled for them in step 4 from that character’s point of view. Students will invent an original story related to the segregation illustrated in the picture. They will decide whether to tell the story that leads up to the picture, or to narrate the events that follow the picture. They will write events in chronological order and write about the character’s feelings and thoughts.

Step 8. Closure:

Students will be evaluated using the same rubric used in step five, Checking for Understanding. Refer students to that evaluation rubric and ask students to give the example from the story previously written on the board to illustrate each area from the rubric. The stories can be assigned as homework or completed as class work as per the preference of the teacher.

Note: This lesson is modified from Gardner, T. (2004). A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words: From Image to Detailed Narrative, from http://www.readwritethink.org/lessons/lesson_view.asp?id=116.

In With the Nu

AS YOU sit in one of the small and scruffy departure lounges at Kunming Airport, waiting for the connecting flight to Xishuangbanna in the southwest, you turn your attention to two large billboards situated prominently near the windows facing the cluttered airstrip. The posters, with glossy defiance, celebrate the ongoing construction of two large hydropower stations on the Jinsha River, the western branch of the Yangtze. The plants, built also to reduce the siltation pressures on the Three Gorges Dam further downstream, are airbrushed in clean and shiny whites and greys, and the water around them remains a perfect and implausible blue.

They are among many such construction projects currently being considered in Yunnan, where economic development has been given the priority above almost everything else, and where power corporations from the east have been rushing to take advantage. A project that will eventually submerge the celebrated Tiger Leaping Gorge – on the section of the Jinsha north of Dali – is also underway, arousing significant international opposition. The International Rivers Network says that the damage caused by the flooding of the valley to the local ‘cultural heritage sites’ will be ‘irreplaceable’. They are also concerned by the irreversible changes to a unique ecosystem.

Meanwhile, the provincial capital of Kunming continues to grow. The train station, renowned as the most unbearable in the whole of China, is still surrounded by rubble and temporary wooden partitions marking some new road or building. The entire city, cowed by roadblocks and scaffolds, picked at by cranes, seems – like many others in China – to be on the verge of an explosion. As the government slogan announces, peremptory and beyond refute, ‘Development is inevitable’.

In the far west of Yunnan, the untouched Nu River seemed to have been given something of a reprieve a few months ago. China’s single remaining virgin waterway, which winds north through some of the province’s most beautiful landscape, was about to be given a big seeing-to by the nation’s energy-mad authorities. Earlier this year, Premier Wen Jiabao was said to have intervened personally, asking developers to reconsider their plans. Still, one imagines that the ‘rape’ of the Nu is just a question of time.

The philosopher, Martin Heidegger, chose to illustrate the two different approaches to nature by comparing the construction of a bridge with the construction of a hydroelectric dam. Modern technology, he wrote, was ‘a manner of unprotecting’ nature. A bridge, connecting up the two banks, shows ‘respect’ for the river, but a hydropower station actually turns nature into part of its own ‘inventory’. The power plant is not built into the river, but the river is built into the power plant.

To illustrate the difference in perspectives, Heidegger compared the Rhine as part of the inventory of modern technology with the Rhine described in a poem by Holderlin. After it has been devastated by technology, the river remains as ‘a provided object of inspection by a party of tourists sent there by a vacation industry’. Such a description seems appropriate in modern Yunnan. While the power companies work their way through the region’s rivers, foreign and domestic tourists have transformed old cities such as Dali and Lijiang, and plans to improve the transportation infrastructure to the west and to the south will see the character of prefectures such as Xishuangbanna and the Nu River changed beyond recognition.

There are a number of small bridges connecting the banks of the Nu, but the favoured means of crossing by the local farmers seems even purer than that. Hooking themselves into a harness consisting of a rope and a piece of flat canvas, they sweep back and forth at massive speeds on a cable attached to a couple of trees, and carry bags of cement, grain and sometimes even livestock between their knees as they do so. One farmer agreed to carry me. Slung across the grey autumn waters and into a patch of worn grass on the Nu River’s left bank, the bowel-shaking fear quickly gave way to a sense of exhilaration.

I was taking a long ride from Dali with an incompetent local tour guide to the town of Liuku in western Yunnan, right on the bank of the Nu River. The area is a picture of health, ruddy and rugged and robustly green. Farmers spin past on motorbikes, trading chunks of meat with local guest houses and restaurants. At one stop along the way, situated on a bend on a country road, a three-legged horse skipped past – cheerfully enough, considering the circumstances. The half-whistle, half-bleat of the local birds could be heard everywhere. Tiny communities lived in wooden shacks on the hills, emerging on Tuesdays to trade at the local markets.

It was tempting to call the place quaint, and worthy of any preservation order that might be made to stick. It was, however, dirt-poor, and though much better and much more lively than a decade or so ago (according to our guide), most of the people living here would love to replace their stilted huts, their latrines, their drafty outhouses, with new buildings and indoor plumbing.

Usually, it is only outsiders who get sentimental. We, after all, can go home somewhere else. One isn’t entirely sure that the life of the poor throughout China would be improved by any degree were their barns, their slums, their shanty towns to become ‘heritage sites’. On the other hand, it is clear that the mass destruction caused by economic growth is not of much benefit to the communities affected. It is also clear that the ecology of Yunnan – one of the most varied and vibrant in China – is being put under threat.

Still, crossing the upper reaches of the Mekong, watching the silt-filled, chocolate-coloured waves and negotiating the old van past the piles of rocks cast down during a recent landslide, one cannot fail to be impressed somehow. I have been bruised, stupefied and generally thrown about by hundreds of poor-quality roads throughout China. Here, the biggest challenge was the occasional ford cutting across a narrow but mostly impeccable mountain pass. In harsh conditions, the road builders had performed well.

Roads are the big thing in Yunnan. Plans are underway to complete a regional high-speed road network that will connect Kunming with Singapore. Coming back from the wild elephant park in Xishuangbanna, we were halted by a fleet of trucks and steamrollers inching along to assist a team of miscellaneously-dressed labourers spreading grit across the tracks. Above us was the skeleton of an overpass, its bare stanchions planted in the fields nearby. The old road will eventually become superfluous for the majority of freight traffic surging through the region and into southeast Asia. Things will change, we thought, and Jinghong, the region’s major city but run at a painfully slow pace, will no doubt be brought up to speed by an opportunistic migrant population from Sichuan or the northeast.

LIUKU is a small urban centre and trading spot for the hundreds of small counties and villages scattered throughout the area, several hundred kilometres west of Dali. Whatever purists might think, the locals would love it if streams of tourists were suddenly to pour in from the more fashionable areas further east, but apart from the way it nestles comfortably – if a little chaotically – in the mountains running along the banks of the Nu, there is little to distinguish the place. Its greatest advantage is its location, and visitors note the great potential of the riverfront, where a couple of cafes now provide much of the town’s nightlife.

As one enters the town, an old Ming Dynasty temple lies on the mountain above the intersection of the Yagoujia River and the Nu River itself. As is customary, the temple appears as if it was built out of papier mache and painted yesterday morning by industrious local schoolkids. A huge laughing Buddha decked out in gold paint seems to dominate the gaff from his little stage. Dogs patrol the high steps, and spiders, each two inches long, nest in the frames of doors and in the overhead lights.

Across on the other side of the river, the effects of the previous night’s rain storm were clear to see, with policemen knee-deep in mud and the road – the only route north – blocked by piles of displaced rock.

The foreigners, so prevalent in Dali, and less so in Jinghong further south, were nowhere to be seen. Hardcore travellers head north to see the enclaves of Tibetans, or the old ethnic ways of the Lisu, the Nu and the Drang nationalities. Some come to see the immense volume of indigenous butterflies, with a couple of Japanese collectors even managing to steal a few rare specimens under the noses of the local authorities a few years ago. There were also stories of a pair of American travellers crossbowed in the back by Lisu hunters after trying to abscond with some significant local religious icon – the man with the story wasn’t quite sure what the object was. The rest of the local legends about foreigners involve them being attacked by Tibetan dogs and carried out of the forests, bleeding. Still, foreigners here are once again the objects of fascination, rather than the sort of seen-it-all-before scorn one gets in Shanghai, or the dollar-sign gazes in Dali and Lijiang.

Guidebooks such as Lonely Planet abhor the current pace of Chinese development, of course, and as the years pass and the new editions enter print, the laments about the high-rises and highways seem to get longer and longer. China is losing its character.

We can understand this. And yet, after a week on the road along the Nu River, speaking no English and staying in the dingiest of guest houses, we still longed for the pizzas, banana pancakes and foreign influences in Dali. Many agreed, and many long-hatched tour plans are thwarted by the magnetism of the town’s bars and cafes. Some foreigners on year-long tours find themselves stuck, unable to leave, trapped in a perpetual marijuana haze and remaining lucid enough just to teach a few classes in the main city and pay for their lodgings.

Travelling further north from Liuku on the way to Fugong the following day, rain clouds lingered like smoke on the mountains, and dozens of blue, three-wheel buggies chugged down the slope on the only road out. We drove through building sites, where workers squatted on dunes of mud, and through villages in which cattle and old nags wandered wearily past, and where tiny, friendly little dogs lounged on almost every stoop. Streams of water, bloated by a heavy rain storm the previous evening, cascaded into the rough Nu waters.

We stopped off in a small market village called Gudeng, close to the Binuo Snow Mountain, and watched the local farmers manhandling a couple of disobedient black pigs. Another offered us a glass of warm corn liquor he had just produced at a makeshift stove attached to a dirty plastic pipe. The dominant presence in the town was the family planning centre, where government slogans about improving the quality of the population were pumped out from a pair of loud speakers, drowning out the Chinese disco beats emerging from the market itself. Apart from the family planning centres, there are other things that seem ubiquitous throughout China, from Xinjiang to Shanghai and from Guangdong to Yunnan. One of them is the pool table. Another is the bill poster advertising cures for sexually-transmitted diseases.

WE CAME to understand that in the pretty little town of Fugong, where we spent Mid-Autumn festival, the local residents – mainly of Lisu minority – would also have longed for the sort of opportunities afforded to Dali. Cafes, restaurants, and a place on the tourist trail would revitalize the place, and would ultimately be of far more value than a hydropower station. Can the two be disconnected? Some of the villages along the banks of the Nu River didn’t even have a watt of electricity until the last decade. It is a fact of life that further development – including the tourist industry – requires more power.

Purists are unlikely to consider the contradiction, and may indeed prefer to slum it – for a week in any case – in tents or in the dingy, second-rate guest houses available en route. Still, the woman at the reception of the guest house in Gongshan seemed apologetic. ‘Are you sure you want to stay here?’ she said.

Heading across the river, we came across a large wooden public house built on an old water mill. Wheels driven by the Nu River itself churned away beneath a section of rooms lined with soggy woven carpets and old Lisu paraphernalia – the traditional costumes and weaponry of the bulk of the local people. A dozen girls from a local hair salon were dancing in the middle of one of the stages on the upper tier of the building, moving two steps forward and two steps back, hand in hand. They greeted us favourably, encouraging us to join in their drinking games. We had a ‘one-heart drink’ (tongxinjiu) – where two people drink from the same glass, their cheeks and mouths touching – with every one of them, the sweet local liquor dripping onto our clothes.

Hours later, after crossing the bridge again and singing Lisu songs as we parted company with our new friends, we managed to stumble through a tunnel and into the grounds of the local Public Security Bureau, where the Fugong police were also celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival with a form of dance which, by the time we started to participate, seemed to involve running at top speed while kicking our legs as high as possible in the air. Local police chiefs, conforming to the stereotypes of drunkenness that seem more or less international, told us that national boundaries didn’t matter, and that friendship transcended all countries. We agreed.

The next morning, driving out of the town and past a long row of old wooden buildings with red sliding doors and a range of shoddy garages that serve as shops and diners, we headed for Gongshan along a spectacular stretch of scenery, part of a 300-km gorge lined with waterfalls, brooks and white cloud pierced by the mountains on both banks. Houses seemed to balance precariously on the plateau, only a storm away from complete collapse. Women carried large squares of corrugated iron along the slopes, their children following.

The whole Gongshan region, an old man in the guest house told me, has now been renamed the ‘Three Rivers Gongshan Region’. ‘They are creating a trademark,’ the man said, shrugging his thin shoulders. The Mekong, the Nu, and the Jinsha all pass through before reaching their source, and the local government are trying to draw in the trade.

The town itself, another sleepy cluster of apartments, restaurants and trading posts all piled up in layers along the slopes leading from the river to the mountain, was actually far from untouched. As was the case in Liuku, the missionaries had already been and gone, leaving a curious legacy of Roman Catholicism among the local minority communities. Mothers sat weaving on the steps of a church – a square, squat one-storey affair with a bright red cross built on the mountain – waiting for evening prayer. Prayer notices on the wrought-iron door of the church were transcribed in a romanized version of the local Lisu language. Some hours later, an implausible disco beat pounded out from a wooden house further up the hill, and the church was empty.

A Tibetan girl, working in a curious entertainment complex close to another Catholic church further down in the valley, asked us if we were fellow believers. She answered to her Catholic name of Mary, and was from Dimaluo, an ethnic mishmash of Tibetans, Lisu, Drong, and others some way further north along the river. There was a sadness to her as she told us her life story, about her stalled education, about the death of her father after a sudden and inexplicable ‘infection’, and about her preference for the countryside from which she hailed.

In the stores nearby, posters of Zhou Enlai, Sun Yatsen and the Panchen Lama swayed slightly in the wind, and beneath them lay the usual clutter of mooncakes, cigarettes and cheap, defective batteries.

What worried us about ‘untouched’ places like Fugong or Gongshan was not so much the prospect of development, and the ‘exploitation’ or ‘despoliation’ or ‘swamping’ of the local culture and character, but the thousands of local residents, educated to a degree, certainly aspirational, but cut off even from the possibility of ambition, marooned in a remote town that is linked to the nearest city only through a single mountain pass that requires two days to traverse. As we did at the Three Gorges, we started to wonder whether the sacrifice of the local scenery could somehow be made worthwhile, if it could allow these people a way out. After all, it might be more appropriate to judge the vitality of a culture by its porousness, and more pertinently, by the opportunities it gives its members to escape and try something new.

Heidegger hated the way the Rhine had become an object of the tourism industry as well as the hydropower industry, but on the Nu River, we had to allow for the fact that the proposed construction of an airport in remote Gongshan, the construction of highways, and the development of local industry might actually be good for the area, in the absence of any other options. Heidegger hated TV and spent most of his final, disgraced decades in a wooden shack in the Black Forest, but he had choice. The local residents in Fugong and Gongshan have TV, and they see the glitter of wealth and opportunity. But they have no wealth. And no opportunity.

And yet, the ‘current mode of development’ is all about exploitation, and the further enrichment of China’s east coast at the expense of the west. The scenery is ruined, the ecology is damaged, and old farming communities are moved to nearby urban slums, where they have little prospect of work or prosperity. Here, as in the Three Gorges and other regions, one imagines that the local people will reap little of the rewards of ‘opening up’.

Questions First Time Investors Should Ask Before Investing

It is easy to find people’s opinion on how to invest in the stock market as everyone has a different angle on what to expect in the stock market at every point in time, but most of the time people’s opinion may be very confusing. The most common problem that new investors do have is how to determine good investments from the bad ones, what to invest on, what time to invest among others. Some of the questions that you need to answer so as to make a good decision when you want to invest are highlighted below.

Is This a Good Time to Invest in Stocks?

On the off chance that you are taking a gander at money markets amid a lofty decrease, you may think it is a terrible time to begin investing. On the off chance that you are taking a gander at it when stocks are reviving, you may think it is a decent time.

Neither one of the times is fundamentally great or terrible in the event that you are investing for the long haul (10 years or more). Nobody can anticipate with any level of assurance which way the share trading system will move at any given time; yet over the long haul, stock markets has constantly moved higher. Each bear advertises is trailed by a buyer market (when stock costs rise). Verifiably, positively trending markets have endured any longer than bear markets, and the additions of buyer markets have more than counterbalance the misfortunes in bear markets

How Much Risk Should I Take?

A standout amongst the most essential fundamentals of investing is the cozy relationship amongst risk and returns. Without risk, there can be no profits. You ought to will to accept more risk on the off chance that you are looking for more noteworthy returns. In that regard, risk can be something to be thankful for, yet just in the event that you take into consideration adequate time to let the inescapable market cycles happen. By and large, in the event that you have a more drawn out venture time skyline, you ought to will to expect a more noteworthy measure of risk, on the grounds that there will be more opportunity for the market to work through the here and there cycles. Generally, understanding financial specialists have been compensated with positive long haul returns.

New investors are regularly encouraged to put fundamentally in common money, which can give moment enhancement, offering the most ideal approach to lessen risk. By putting resources into a couple of various shared assets speaking to various resource classes, (for example, expansive development stocks, global stocks or bonds), you can lessen unpredictability significantly promote without yielding long haul returns.

On the off chance that you are beginning an investment program by investing incremental measures of cash on a month to month basis, you will profit by dollar cost averaging. When you invest an altered measure of cash on a month to month premise, you get some share costs at a higher cost and some at a lower cost because of market changes. At the point when the market decreases, your settled dollar sum will purchase more shares. After some time, the normal cost of your shares ought to be lower than the present market cost. By utilizing dollar cost averaging, your drawback risk will be alleviated after some time.

What Is My Investment Goal?

The most vital question to consider before making any invest is, “What Is My Investment Goal?” Your ventures will contrast boundlessly if, for instance, you are attempting to spare cash for retirement as opposed to attempting to spare cash for an up front installment on the house. Things being what they are, ask yourself, “Is this venture prone to help me meet my objective?”

What Is My Risk Tolerance?

If your investment objective is to profit as would be prudent and you can endure any hazard, then you ought to invest in the National Lottery. Putting resources into lotteries, be that as it may, practically promises you won’t achieve your venture objective. There are speculations for each level of risk resilience. But if you are not a high-risk taker, investing in long-term investment is the key.

What Happens if This Investment Goes to Zero?

Among the 12 stocks in 1896 stock list, only General Electric is still in operation, the other eleven firms in the first record have either gone bankrupt or have been gobbled up. There is a genuine plausibility that any investment you make could go to zero while you claim it. Ask yourself, “Will I be monetarily crushed if this speculation goes to zero?” If the answer is yes, don’t make that venture.

What Is My Investment Time Frame?

As a rule, the more extended your investment time allotment, the more risk you can take in your investment portfolio since you have more opportunity to recuperate from a mix-up. Likewise, in case you’re putting something aside for retirement, and you’re decades from resigning, putting resources into something illiquid (like an investment property) may bode well. “Does this venture bode well from a planning perspective?”

When and Why Will I Sell This Investment?

If you know why you are putting resources into something, you ought to have an entirely smart thought of when to sell it. On the off chance that you purchased a stock since you were expecting 20 percent income development for each year, you ought to anticipate offering the stock if income development doesn’t live up to your desires. On the off chance that you purchased a stock since you enjoyed the dividend yield, offer the stock if the profit yield falls.

Who Am I Investing With?

It is extremely hard to judge the character and capacity of anybody in light of a two-passage portrayal accessible in an organization’s yearly report or a common store outline. However, you ought to at any rate know with whom you are entrusting your money. What is their past record? Things to hope for are long fruitful track records and good dividend and turnover.

Do I Have Special Knowledge?

A celebrated investment expert feels that normal individuals have a tremendous favorable position over investment experts in fields where they work in light of the fact that no investment professional will ever know more around an industry than somebody who works in it. Ask yourself, “Am I putting resources into something I know something about, or am I putting resources into something that some specialist know something about?”

I couldn’t care less how great something sounds. In the event that I don’t totally see how it functions, I won’t put resources into it.

In the event that an investment can’t be clarified obviously, it implies one of two things:

The individual clarifying it doesn’t comprehend it either, or there’s something about the investment that the individual is attempting to stow away.

On top of that, one of the greatest keys to investing admirably is adhering to your arrangement through the good and bad times.

That is difficult. Indeed, even the best investment methodologies have enormous down periods that make you reconsider. Adhering to your arrangement in those extreme times requires a practically religious-like conviction that things will pivot.

Furthermore, the best way to have that sort of conviction is to comprehend why you’re investing the way you are and what every bit of your arrangement is accomplishing for you. Without a solid comprehension, you’ll more likely than not safeguard at the main indication of inconvenience.

Why Do I Still Own That Investment?

It is a smart thought to intermittently look through your investment portfolio to ensure regardless you need to claim your stock. Offering an investment for a misfortune or offering a major champ is exceptionally troublesome. Be that as it may, the greatest distinction amongst beginner and professional investors is that professional investors don’t have passionate ensnarement with their investment and can strip themselves of their investment without kicking themselves if the investment keeps on picking up esteem.

Should I Be Managing My Own Investments?

It is extremely difficult for beginner investor to perform well than a professional investment expert. If you don’t have sufficient energy or slant to deal with your investment, you ought to think about paying an expert to do it for you. Every investor wants to make profit, so there is no harm in trusting your investment in good hand.