Holiday Tip of the Day: Get Through the Holiday Blues
The holidays are a joyous time of the year for many people, which can make it more stressful if you are depressed. Exercise, focusing on positive relationships, and doing things that you find rewarding can help with depression. Winter depression could be a sign of seasonal affective disorder, which is caused by the lack of sunlight. Get advice on how to cope with depression around the holidays.
From the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA):
From extreme drought, heat waves and floods to unprecedented tornado outbreaks, hurricanes, wildfires and winter storms, a record 12 weather and climate disasters in 2011 each caused $1 billion or more in damages — and most regrettably, loss of human lives and property. NOAA’s National Weather Service has redoubled its efforts to create a “Weather-Ready Nation”, where vulnerable communities are better prepared for extreme weather and other natural disasters.
As the holidays approach and toy catalogs arrive in the mail, shoppers can become overwhelmed with all the choices. To keep kids safe, make sure to choose age appropriate toys and look for labels with safety advice. For young children, avoid toys with small parts, sharp edges, and electric toys that can heat up. Always purchase safety gear in addition to sports-related gifts or ride-on toys, such as bicycles or skateboards. Learn more about how to buy safe toys.
FDA Considers New Warnings on Some Birth Control Pills
Two U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panels will meet today to discuss adding new warning labels to certain forms of oral contraceptives, also called birth control pills.
An FDA-funded review showed that there is an increased risk of blood clots in the legs or lungs with some of the newer types of birth control pills. The review also found that two other forms of birth control, the contraceptive patch and ring, had higher rates of clots.
Women should talk with a doctor about birth control options to make a decision that is right for them.
NASA’s Kepler Mission Discovers New Habitable Planet
NASA’s Kepler Mission announced the discovery of a newly confirmed planet, Kepler-22b. Kepler-22b is located 600 light years away, and is 2.4 times the radius of Earth. It orbits a star similar to our sun, and is the smallest found to orbit in the middle of a habitable zone. Though the planet is larger than Earth, its orbit is only 290 days. Scientists have yet to find out Kepler-22b’s composition, whether it is rocky, gaseous or liquid.
Of the 54 habitable planet candidates reported in February 2011, Kepler-22b is the first to be confirmed. The discovery of Kepler-22b brings NASA one step closer to finding Earth-like planets. The planet’s host star belongs to the same class as our sun, called G-type, although it is slightly smaller and cooler.
Kepler is NASA’s 10th Discovery Mission and is funded by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at the agency’s headquarters.
Every holiday season, fires claim the lives of over 400 people and cause over $990 million in damage. You can keep your family safe by using nonflammable decorations, not overloading electrical sockets, and avoiding the use of lit candles. If you have a live Christmas tree, water it regularly. Dry trees could catch on fire and rapidly fill your room with deadly gases. Prevent holiday fires in your home.
Holiday Tip of the Day: Shop Online to Save Money and Time
Shopping online can help you stick to a budget because you may be less tempted to buy unnecessary items on display at the store. Look for coupons and promotion codes, free shipping offers, and return policies before you buy. Also, be sure to check holiday ordering deadlines to make sure your gifts will arrive in time. Save money and avoid problems when shopping online.
In June 2011, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry officially accepted elements 114 and 116 as the newest and heaviest elements on the period table. This comes more than 10 years after scientists from the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna and Lawrence Livermore chemists discovered them. Scientists involved in the discovery recently proposed “Flerovium” as the name for element 114 and “Livermorium” for element 116.
when can i find a real grant i dont have to pay back and actually claim it
The government offers different types of financial assistance, including grants. You are not required to pay back a grant, but there are very few grants available to individuals. Most grants are awarded to universities, researchers, cities, states, counties, and non-profit organizations. Loans are generally the best option for individuals. You are required to pay back a loan, often with interest.
Benefits.gov can help you identify loans and sources of financial assistance for which you may be eligible and tell you how and where to apply.
Holiday Tip of the Day: Pay Attention to Portion Sizes
It can be hard to choose healthy foods when the holidays are filled with temptations like sweets and desserts. One way to maintain your weight over the holidays is to enjoy your meals, but avoid oversized portions. It’s also important to balance food choices with physical activity to avoid weight gain. Find more tips on picking healthier foods and planning a healthy menu.
Where can I register my product design to be protected
There are three different tools available to protect intellectual property: patents, trademarks, and copyrights.
A patent protects an invention or discovery. There are three types of patents: utility, design, and plant. Design patents may be granted to anyone who invents a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture. Learn more about patents and the patent process.
A copyright protects an original artistic or literary work, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, or architecture. You do not have to register a work with the U.S. Copyright Office in order for it to be protected. Copyright exists the moment a work is created. Note that ideas and discoveries are not protected by copyright law, although the way in which they are expressed may be. Find out how copyright is different than a trademark or patent.
As an example, if you invent a new kind of vacuum cleaner, you would apply for a patent to protect the invention itself. You would apply to register a trademark to protect the brand name of the vacuum cleaner. And you might register a copyright for the TV commercial that you use to market the product.
Holiday Tip of the Day: Save Money with LED Holiday Lights
Electricity bills can grow during the holidays if you decorate with strings of lights. Light-emitting diode, or “LED,” holiday lights offer a quality alternative to traditional lights and save both energy and money. The Department of Energy estimates that if every household switched to LED holiday lights, the country would save approximately $410 million in electricity costs. Learn more about the benefits of LED holiday lights.
Why don't you answer questions candidly instead of deflecting to everything other than the information asked?
Our goal is to help people find the best resources available to answer their questions about the government. This blog is run by people who work for the U.S. General Services Administration, which means that sometimes we can’t answer specific questions about programs controlled by other government agencies, but we will always work to point you in the right direction.
Are there any funds remaining for energy assistance for general public?
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) can help low-income households, particularly those that use a large portion of their income to pay for immediate energy needs. LIHEAP helps families pay their energy bill and provides assistance if the power company shuts off energy to the home.
Between Thanksgiving and December 25, Americans will send more than 16 billion letters, packages and postcards to friends and loved ones. It’s no wonder the holiday season is the busiest time of the year to send anything by mail.
The U.S. Postal Service, or USPS, is the federal agency tasked with delivering mail to all U.S. households. Below you’ll find a roundup of some of the services it offers, the mail-by dates for shipping at home and abroad for 2011, and tips for sending your packages safely.
Services available online
Did you know you can send a package without leaving your home? It’s one of the many things you can do online at USPS.com. The Postal Service recently has added several services in Spanish and Chinese, including tracking packages and finding zip codes if you only have a partial address.
Other services available online:
Print labels for domestic and international shipping.
Schedule a pickup of your shipment from your home (free when using certain services).
If you want your letter or package to arrive by a certain date, be sure to find out the mail-by date.
For example, if you’re mailing something to Europe and you want it to arrive by December 25, you need to send it by December 9 if you are using First Class Mail, your cheapest option. Or you can send as late as December 20 by using Global Express Guaranteed, the most expensive of the services.
The mail-by dates for Mexico extend from December 9 to December 21; for Central and South America the dates span from December 2 to December 20; and for Asia from December 9 to December 19. The dates depend on the type of service you use.
There are several things you can do to avoid problems with a shipment, the most important is to clearly write the complete destination address of the package or letter as well as the sender’s address. In addition, be sure to:
Write the correct zip code on the package or, if you don’t know it, don’t include one at all. The Postal Service prefers having no zip code to an incorrect one.
For your package, be sure to use a box that’s sufficiently strong to protect the contents. If you think the content inside can break, be sure to write the word “FRAGILE” on the box.
Protect the contents of your package with paper, newspapers or air bubble plastic bags. Make sure the contents are secure so that they don’t move around during the trip.
Take the batteries out of the toys, wrap them up and place them next to them.
Inside the package include another label with the destination address and the sender’s address in case the box is damaged during the trip.
Besides USPS.gov and the local postal offices, you can always get more information by calling the USPS free hotline, 1 (800) 275-8777.
The holidays can be expensive, but you don’t have to break the bank to celebrate. Taking a few minutes now to plan your holiday spending could help you avoid taking on debt. Start by creating a holiday spending plan, keep track of what you spend, avoid impulse purchases, and leave the credit cards at home. Plan your holiday spending and get low-cost gift ideas.
Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia, or brain function loss, among older people. It usually begins after age 60, and risk increases as one gets older. Up to 5.1 million people may have Alzheimer’s, and as our population becomes older overall, the disease will become more prevalent.
Learn how to spot some of the signs of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Early signs of Alzheimer’s disease:
Trouble remembering recent events.
Problems remembering names of people and places.
Trouble solving simple math problems.
Some later signs:
Forgetting how to brush your teeth or comb your hair.
Cannot remember the names of common things such as desk, house, apple, etc.
From the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
When it comes to prevention, it can be difficult to understand what it means for each of us and the decisions we make about our health. The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) developed myhealthfinder, a web-based tool, to make it easier, reliable, and ad-free.
myhealthfinder, available in both English & Spanish, can help you decide which preventive services are right for you. Preventive services include things like medical tests and vaccines that can prevent illness and keep you healthy. These services are recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and the Bright Futures Guidelines for Health Supervision of Infants, Children, and Adolescents.
To use myhealthfinder, visit www.healthfinder.gov. In the upper right corner, you will find myhealthfinder. Simply enter your age, sex, and pregnancy status to receive your personalized health information and resources.
November is National Diabetes Month, a time to remember the victims of this disease, support those it affects, and to pledge to fight it.
In the United States, diabetes affects nearly 26 million people—more than eight percent of the population—and many more are at risk. However, diabetes can be managed or prevented.
Diabetes is a disease in which your blood glucose, or sugar, levels are too high. Glucose comes from the foods you eat. Insulin is a hormone that helps the glucose get into your cells to give them energy.
With Type 1 diabetes, your body does not make insulin. With Type 2 diabetes, your body does not make or use insulin well. Without enough insulin, the glucose stays in your blood.
Over the years, high blood glucose damages nerves and blood vessels, leading to complications such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, nerve problems, gum infections, and amputation.
Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90 percent of diabetes cases, and it is growing. You can reduce your chance of developing Type 2 diabetes by adopting a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and consulting a medical professional about your individual needs and risk factors.
November is National Native American Heritage Month.
As of the 2010 Census, there are 5.2 million American Indians and Alaska Natives in the United States, making up 1.7% of our population. There are 565 federally-recognized tribes, the biggest of which are Cherokee, Navajo, and Choctaw.
Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season, and it’s important to remember safety precautions for you and your family while preparing a large meal. Use these tips to avoid food borne illness:
Use clean work surfaces, cook foods to the proper temperatures and keep raw meat away from other foods to prevent bacteria from getting into the food and causing illness. The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers advice on storing and preparing food for groups.
Whether you’re using a fresh or frozen turkey, there are important guidelines to follow in the days leading up to Thanksgiving and while preparing the turkey. Keep a fresh turkey stored in your refrigerator until you’re ready to cook it and allow a few days for frozen turkeys to thaw safely in the fridge or in cool water.
While cooking, remember the rest of your family around you. Make sure young children are out of the way of the oven and other hot cooking appliances. If you are cooking outdoors, monitor your food closely to prevent a fire.