Friday, 23 June 2017

Traveling As Backpackers

Traveling is so liberating. It gives you a new perspective on life and a chance to experience many new things for the first time. You also get to learn new cultures and meet new people whose lives are entirely different from yours. But since money is a big factor when it comes to traveling, most people consider it as a luxury. Hence, only a handful gets to travel as often as they want.

However, it is time to change this misconception. You can travel even though your budget is limited. If you haven’t heard of the term “backpacking” yet, it’s high time you include it in your vocabulary and probably even your life. With some preparation and lots of guts, you can travel to your dream destination with nothing but your backpack on.

Every person should at least try backpacking even if it's just a one-time thing. You'll be surprised that the world has so much to offer so why not get out of your comfort zone. But before that, here are a few tips that beginners should take note of.

Pack Light

Backpacking can be considered as a vacation, but it's totally different. Basically, you just live off on a few basic things as you travel. When backpacking, always pack light by bringing the things that you really need and you can replace. Don't take sentimental and expensive stuff with you because they're just going to cost you overweight luggage fees.


And you’d be surprised at the many success stories of backpackers who already traveled the world while we are still here daydreaming about it.

Johnny Ward is living the dream.

The travel blog he started as a broke backpacker called OneStep4Ward developed into anonline marketing firm that he can manage from anywhere in the world. He built himself a career that granted him the flexibility to travel for 10 years (and counting), and visit every country on Earth. Not to mention the $1.5 million he's earned along the way.

Ward spoke to INSIDER via email about how he made it all happen, one step at a time.

Johnny Ward didn't come from money growing up in Ireland.

He grew up on welfare in a single-parent household with his mother and sister. He moved to England to study International Economics, then decided to travel the world after graduating.

He funded his travels by teaching English in Thailand, and spent two years backpacking around Southeast Asia on a budget of about $10 to $15 a day.


See, traveling through backpacking is a great way to see the world if you are short on money but have a lot of time in your hands. This is also a great way to imbibe a new culture as you really interact with the locals and even hold a job for a certain period of time. If you want to hit the road and commune with nature as much as you can, there is no need to spend lots of money on gears you’ll seldom use because you can just simply rent them out.

The biggest barrier between most people and a backpacking trip isn’t the physical exertion, the time off, or a fear or bears: it’s the cost and difficult of obtaining the necessary gear. If you don’t already own a backpack, tent, sleeping bag, etc, purchasing all of that isn’t just expensive, it can also be colossally overwhelming.

Now, a new startup wants to make renting all the necessary stuff easy, and it's offering to ship the equipment anywhere with an address. 

For just $68 per day, CampCrate will mail you a box containing a backpack, sleeping bag and pad, tent, headlamp, water filter, and JetBoil stove. Couples can rent gear for two, for $120 a day. When you’re finished, just drop it off at a post office—CampCrate covers the shipping and provides a pre-printed label. The only other things you’ll need are clothing, food, and a map. 

“There’s other gear rental services,” acknowledges the company’s founder, Chad Lawver, “But I think we’re the first to make it this easy.” 


If you have a passion, go for it. There will always be challenges and limitations but you can always work your way around if you are passionate enough. Nothing compares to the feeling of being in a place you’ve only seen in books or on the web before. Indulge yourself in these little luxuries and discover more of what you are capable of along the way. Go out and travel as much as you can and have wonderful stories to tell to your grandkids someday.

The following article Traveling As Backpackers Find more on: The Blog


Friday, 16 June 2017

Wildlife in Danger

When we talk about critical issues involving Mother Nature and environmental conservation, we only think of their effects on humans (especially climate change and global warming). However, we fail to include our non-human friends because as usual, we are too preoccupied with ourselves.

The wildlife is the first to suffer in the case of a natural/ man-made calamity or disaster. They are not as ingenious as us in getting ourselves out of trouble. So as the more superior species than that of our furry and flighty friends, it is but our responsibility to think of their welfare and well-being because obviously, they can’t think for themselves and these environmental issues are our fault in the first place.

Efforts to save some of England’s rarest species, including the shrill carder bee and the chequered skipper butterfly, from extinction are being backed by £4.6m in lottery funding.

Little-known and exotically named insects such as the bearded false darkling beetle and the royal splinter cranefly, as well as plants including the prostrate perennial knawel and interrupted brome are among the 20 endangered species being targeted for action.

A further 200 threatened species will also be helped by the funding from the National Lottery, including pine martens, large garden bumblebees, lesser butterfly orchids and hedgehogs.

The money will support the “Back from the Brink” initiative to bring together leading charities and conservation bodies in the first countrywide coordinated effort to safeguard species from extinction and deliver conservation measures across England.

The scheme aims to boost conservation efforts in 150 key habitats and landscapes, and recruit and teach more than 5,500 volunteers the skills they need to study, identify and look after threatened species.


The threat of climate change hurts the wildlife more than it does to us. Droughts leave them thirsty and dying. Floods can kill them too. They have no urban jungle to shelter them from the elements or a supermarket to provide food when they are hungry. When the trees stop bearing fruits and the crops start growing, the animals will soon die too.

For long, Nigeria has rested on an erroneous notion that our wild animals were plentiful and not under any threat of extinction, however, following the recent publication of the IUCN red list of globally threatened species which revealed that 148 animal and 146 plant species found in Nigeria were threatened at various degrees including some species near extinction, we hope it is not too late to right the wrongs. Out of the very large landmass that Nigeria boasts of, we are not assured of the functionality of our seven National Parks, we are not sure they really are a refuge for what we have left of our wildlife population, we are yet to see wisdom in prioritising our wildlife heritage, we have chosen not to take a cue from smaller countries like Gabon with 13 well-managed national parks, Egypt with 25 national parks and Kenya with 23 national parks only aside game reserves, wildlife sanctuary and other forms of protected areas in countries like Botswana, South Africa, Tanzania and Madagascar are clear examples for Nigeria to follow.

"100 Cross River gorillas remain in Nigeria", "There are approximately 450 savanna elephants in Nigeria", "Fewer than 50 lion remain in Nigeria","Value of illegal wildlife trade is 50 - 150 billion USD per year", "Over 56 billion farmed animals are killed by humans every year", "Half of world's wildlife was lost in last 40 years", "100,000 African elephants were killed in last three years for their ivory", "Less than 7,100 cheetahs remain in the wild", "Population of birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish has declined by 52 per cent globally between 1970 - 2010" waking to read these and many more anti-wildlife true statistics tell that the time for urgent action is now.


It is high time we acknowledge the connection between environmental deterioration and wildlife extinction. Even though we may never see the extent of damage our abuse and neglect is causing to the wild, it does not mean that the problem is not real.

If we don’t act now, it may be too late for some of the endangered animals nearing extinction. We’ve seen it over the years. More and more animals disappear from the face of the planet forever. The most recent are the African Black Rhino. We somehow managed to wipe out every single one of them and it is a depressing thought as any. Let us get our act together and save the planet along with everyone else living in it.

Wildlife in Danger is courtesy of The Pod Blaze Blog


Friday, 9 June 2017

The Media: The 4th Estate

The media is the voice of the people. They show the public what is happening in their surroundings and tackle all issues that affect society - big or small. From politics to entertainment, the media gives everyone a glimpse of what’s happening behind-the-scenes in every event and keeps us up to date on the past and current issues.

Traditional media dominated the world in yesteryears. But as the world evolves and our technology improves, other media outlets have sprouted that have even a wider reach than that of conventional. Nowadays, the media makes use of social media and the Internet in reaching out to more people and they can be accessed 24/7, which is unheard of in the past.

Facebook and Mozilla are among the companies and organizations launching a US$14 million fund to promote news literacy and increase trust in journalism.
The nonprofit, called the News Integrity Initiative, will be based at the
City University of New York. It will run as an independent project of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.
Others contributing to the fund include Craigslist founder Craig Newmark and the Ford Foundation.
Recent polls show the public's trust in the news industry at a low.
False news and misinformation, often masquerading as trustworthy news and spreading on social media, has gained a lot of attention since the 2016
U.S. presidential election. Companies like Facebook are trying to address the issue.


Media not only tackles local issues but even global ones too. The world keeps getting smaller because the web bridges the distance among people. The issues get interconnected as well and may even unite nations against a common enemy: terrorists, for instance.

U.S. media outlets say terrorist groups have been testing explosive devices that can be hidden in a laptop and that can evade some commonly used airport security screening methods.

CNN and CBS said Friday that U.S. intelligence officials had told them militants with al-Qaida and Islamic State have been developing innovative ways to plant explosives in electronic devices.

The news organizations said the new intelligence suggested that the terror groups have obtained sophisticated airport security equipment to test how to conceal the explosives in order to board a plane.

They said the intelligence played a significant role in the Trump administration's recent decision to prohibit travelers flying out of 10 airports in eight countries in the Middle East and Africa from carrying laptops and other electronic equipment onboard in the cabin area.


Without the media, the public will be lost on issues of national and global interest. They give us context on the moves and decision of the state. And if you want some entertainment, they got that covered too. But when it comes to U.S. news these days, it’s hard to decipher which one is legit and which one is for leisure as Donald Trump as president has definitely changed things a lot.

Before most people are out of bed, Donald Trump is watching cable news.

With Twitter app at the ready, the man who condemns the media as "the enemy of the people" may be the most voracious consumer of news in modern presidential history.

Trump usually rises before 6 a.m. and first watches TV in the residence before later moving to a small dining room in the West Wing. A short time later, he's given a stack of newspapers — including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, The Washington Post and, long his favorite, The New York Post — as well as pile of printed articles from other sources including conservative online outlets like Breitbart News.

The TVs stay on all day. The president often checks in at lunch and again in the evening, when he retires to the residence, cellphone in hand.

It is a central paradox of the Trump presidency. Despite his fervent media criticism, Trump is a faithful newspaper reader who enjoys jousting with reporters, an avid cable TV news viewer who frequently live-tweets what he's watching, and a reader of websites that have been illuminated by his presidential spotlight, showcasing the at-times conspiratorial corners of the internet.

No recent president has been so public about his interest in his media coverage, nor seemed so willing to mobilize the powers of the federal government based on a media report that he has just read, heard or watched.

In fact, the power of Trump's media diet is so potent that White House staffers have, to varying degrees of success, tried to limit his television watching and control some of what he reads.


It is true indeed that the media is still a powerful and influential entity in the world today. World leaders seek the media’s attention when they run for office and still make use of them when reaching out to the people when in office. Even though at times many complain that the media may be biased but still they show the people the different sides to a story, so we have an idea what’s happening to the world at large.

The Media: The 4th Estate See more on:


Friday, 2 June 2017

Why Code Testing Is Crucial

Computing is the way of life. That is the reality of our world today. Everywhere you go, computers run our life, from major industries, companies, offices, and organizations, everything is computerized. Considering how important computing is in our modern life, we need to remain vigilant to ensure that computers use the right codes all the time.

The Internet of Things managed to connect everyone on the web seamlessly. Wherever you are in the world, you can access the same stuff as someone living in other corners of this planet. And considering how gullible people may be at times, they will often believe the first thing they see on the net even without verifying it first or one mistake can cost someone his/ her job, money, life, or something else.

As systems in industrial, automotive, medical, and energy markets that involve human life and limb are connected to the IoT, the stakes get higher and the pressure for safety and reliability increases. While hardware can be physically isolated and protected, once the system is connected to the Internet, it becomes exposed through software, which forms the “soft underbelly” of the IoT. And if they’re not secure, they can’t be considered reliable or safe. That means the battle for safe and secure devices takes place on the field of software.

Producing safe and secure code has a number of dimensions. On one level, code that’s functionally correct—it does what it’s supposed to do—can still contain openings that a hacker can take advantage of. On another level, the code must be functionally safe in that it follows rules to prevent injury or damage, and it must be functionally secure in that it contains mechanisms such as encryption that prevent access.


Coding testing is a crucial aspect of technology since more and more are at stake every day. Even hospitals rely on technology in saving lives or in carrying out various medical processes – from documentation to actual medical procedures and surgeries.

Ran Yingying, a former state television presenter, is also the wife of Chinese Boxing Association flyweight champion Zou Shiming. Recently, Ran drew attention for posting the test scores of her 6-year-old son’s commercial genetic test, which had come up with a series of figures covering everything from his ability to learn languages to music appreciation, athletic ability, interpersonal skills, and aptitude for mathematics.

“It looks like the son of China’s most successful boxer did not get his father’s sports genes,” Ran wrote, mostly in jest. Her post was forwarded tens of thousands of times, with many commenters saying they want to perform similar tests on themselves or their kids.

Such genetic tests have become so popular that in late 2015, 22 experts in the fields of genomics and sports science published a statement in the British Journal of Sports Medicine saying that no child or young athlete should be subjected to genetic testing to spot athletic talent or boost performance. They concluded that the scientific evidence on the effectiveness of these commercial tests is “simply far too weak to back their use.”

Public demand is running high regardless. With varying levels of scientific support, startups are already offering a wide array of genetic tests, be they screenings for health risks or predictors of personality.


Even in a controversial field as genetic testing, computing and coding testing play a major role in making things happen as safely as possible, especially that human lives are at stake.

Risk might be mission critical, such as software on a scientific robot crawling another planet, or risk might be associated with sensitive financial information.

In the first example the integrity of the software is paramount; it is hard to fix something on another planet. In the latter example both quality and security are important, with security perhaps paramount.

There’s also a fundamental difference in how quality and security are each regarded. A quality assurance test at the end of a production cycle will tell you whether a software product is stable enough for release – a simple “Yes” or “No.” Whereas a security test will be vaguer – “It depends” – and in the race to market, that result may be overridden by management. Quality code may not always be secure, but secure code must always be quality code.


There is a lot at stake when it comes to computing nowadays. Coding testing and security is a must because we are not only dealing with sensitive information but the number of people and organizations relying on these systems are far too many now that technology runs the world. A minor error in the coding of these data can prove to be disastrous, so there is just no room for error at all.

The blog post Why Code Testing Is Crucial is republished from


Public Education For All: Will It Just Be A Dream?

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