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Archive for the ‘Financial’ Category

Cracking the code to live your best life: Canadian DNA testing companies, dnaPower and Inagene, partner to unlock true personalized health through…

Posted: September 24, 2020 at 4:01 pm


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dnaPower Inc, a biotechnology company that offers DNA testing for health and wellness, announces their partnership with Inagene Diagnostics. Inagene Diagnostics is a DNA testing company that uses genetic information to predict response to medications commonly used to treat pain and mental health conditions. These two Canadian DNA testing companies have joined forces to crack the code on personalized healthcare, empowering people to take control of their health and live their best lives.

dnaPower is committed to helping people make better data-driven decisions about their day to day health using genetics. We are delighted to be partnering with Inagene, a strong female-led, Canadian DNA company to include their pharmacogenetic testing.In addition to providing tailored health solutions for your diet, exercise and lifestyle, we can now add the ability to identify the medications best suited for your body to keep you safe and get the best health outcome. Dr. Lois Nahirney, CEO, dnaPower Inc.

Through their partnership, dnaPower and Inagene offer a suite of tailored health solutions for anyone looking to maximize insights to optimize their health. Comprehensive DNA testing is available for preventative health and medical treatment optimization. Personalized insights include tailored diet, exercise, lifestyle recommendations, and medications to optimize ones treatment plan based on their genetic information. Together, these powerful genetic insights act as a biological roadmap to help individuals navigate their best health.

Advancements in technology have opened up a world of opportunities to personalized healthcare in ways never seen before. There is no one size fits all solution when it comes to health. Unique genes can respond differently to foods, types of exercise, and medications. Spending years through trial and error to find the best diet, exercise, and medication is a way of the past. Individuals can now enjoy the ability to take control of their health without the guesswork through genetic testing.

We are excited and proud to partner withdnaPower another leading-edge Canadian company! Our teams care deeply about helping clients and are passionate about bringing innovation and personalized medicine to consumers. Helping individuals and their healthcare providers determine which drug and dose will work best, with less trial and error, is just part of the equation; the opportunity to learn what diet and exercise regimen works best for you, further enhances the client experience. Nancy White, CEO, Inagene Diagnostics.

To celebrate their partnership, dnaPower and Inagene are offering a combined special on their DNA tests. The Ultimate Insights Package includes the suite of dnaPower and Inagene DNA tests at the incredible price of $648 (retail value $1495). See this special offer.

Together, dnaPower and Inagene are passionate about empowering individuals to control their health with genetic testing, sharing a unified principle that knowledge is power.

About Inagene Diagnostics

With over two decades of experience in genetic research and diagnostics, combined with over 30 years of commercial health experience, Inagene has witnessed and been a part of the growing technology that now makes personalized healthcare possible. Inagene believes patients are not simply seeking more information, but practical and individualized information they can use to help make the best decisions about their health. Inagene Personalized InsightsTM makes it easy for patients and health care practitioners to navigate to the safest and most effective treatment options for medications used for pain and mental health conditions, and steer clear of those that arent.

About dnaPower Inc

dnaPower was one of the first in the world to offer DNA health testing, launching in 2008. They saw enormous potential for new DNA technology to help support peoples health and wellness, particularly in diet and fitness. dnaPower was a pioneer in applying leading-edge gene research to develop targeted gene panels. Since then, they have been providing personalized testing and professional support to help people like you make better, data-driven decisions about your health. With years of experience, dnaPower provides clear results and specific recommendations to help you take proactive and positive action for your unique body.

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Cracking the code to live your best life: Canadian DNA testing companies, dnaPower and Inagene, partner to unlock true personalized health through...

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September 24th, 2020 at 4:01 pm

Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War will have multiple endings – PC Gamer

Posted: August 28, 2020 at 6:01 am


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Call of Duty: Black Ops - Cold War is a direct sequel to the first Black Ops, though like Black Ops 2, it won't be entirely linear. At Gamescom's Opening Night Live today, RavenSoftware'sDanVondrak said that "player choice and player freedom" will drive the campaign of Black Ops - Cold War.

That freedom includes creating a character and completing (or not completing) optional objectives. There will also be "player choice moments" throughout the campaign.

"Some of those choices earlier in the game, and some towards the end, will actually shape the ending of the narrative, of the campaign," said Vondrak, who confirmed that he meant there will be multiple endings to Cold War, like there were in Black Ops 2.

We also saw a new trailer (embedded at the top of this article) which features a rosy-cheeked Ronald Reagan giving the OK to an illegal CIA operation. As Morgan mentioned in his preview yesterday, it's true that the real Reagan administration was involved in illegal CIA operations, but what the game presents as freedom fighting was actually the illegal funding of war crimes in Nicaragua by selling weapons to Iran's Khomeini government, and that just scratches the surface. I typically expect a little more self-awareness from Call of Dutynot much, maybe, but a little more. (Then again, Oliver North himself was in Black Ops 2, so I might've just been fooling myself.)

Black Ops - Cold War will be out on November 13.

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Call of Duty: Black Ops - Cold War will have multiple endings - PC Gamer

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August 28th, 2020 at 6:01 am

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Contributing to the community: Milwaukee business brings vegan twist to Juneteenth celebrations – WITI FOX 6 Milwaukee

Posted: June 18, 2020 at 4:47 am


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MILWAUKEE -- An idea from a Milwaukee business owner hit hard by the pandemic is growing, looking for ways to celebrate Juneteenth throughvegansoul food.

Juneteenth is formally recognized as June 19, marking the emancipation of the last remaining slaves in the U.S. and a celebration of African American culture. But celebrations are stretching all week long in Milwaukee. At Alice's Garden near 21st and North, one event aims for the soul.

"Create menus that honor the heritage and culture of African American people," said Zakiya Courtney, owner of Vegan Soul.

Courtney has been a personal chef and caterer for years, running Vegan Soul out of her kitchen. The coronavirus hit her business hard.

"It stopped. This is my first event that I've had. My business totally stopped," Courtney said.

But, featuring some ingredients grown right in the community garden, a sold out pop-up soul food restaurant is showing Courtney what the pandemic has returned to us.

"Just being able to sit down at a table and talk with your family -- what their day has been like. What their world has been like...goals, plans...all those discussions take place at the table and usually over food," said Courtney.

Also important, customers are there to support a local black business owner. It's an appreciation and celebration Courtney will extend beyond Juneteenth.

"When people choose to support businesses like mine, they are contributing to the community," Courtney said.

In case you are wondering how Courtney makes ribs -- a soul food staple -- vegan, she says she uses gluten as a meat alternative.

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Contributing to the community: Milwaukee business brings vegan twist to Juneteenth celebrations - WITI FOX 6 Milwaukee

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June 18th, 2020 at 4:47 am

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In Light of COVID-19 This Doctor Tells Black Patients: Eat Vegan – The Beet

Posted: June 10, 2020 at 2:56 pm


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The Coronavirus pandemic has turned the world upside down, only to be eclipsed by nationwide protesting over social injustice and the call for sweeping social and political change. But as everyone's attentionhas shifted from the disease to the protests, COVID-19 is still raging on and cases are still rising in states across the south, impacting African American communities and Black counties at disproportionate rates.

From the start, COVID-19 has been an unequal killer, posing a greater danger to Black communities than otherracial groups.Disproportionately, Black counties account for over half of coronavirus cases in the U.S., and nearly 60% of deaths, a recentstudy found.

While existing health disparities have been one factor, poor eating habits among African Americansis another, and one doctor says that this can be effectedthrough dietary changes.

"Adopting a lifestyle such as a plant-based approach to eatingcan be truly life-saving," saysDr. Millard D.Collins, Interim Chair and Associate Professor of Family & Community Medicine at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, TN. Meharry is the nation's oldest historically Black academic health science institution and prides itself on producing physicians, dentists, and researchers that serve poororunderserved patients, primarily African Americans. Nashville is still treating a steady streamofCOVID-19 cases.

In a recent interview, no lesser nutritional leading light than T. Colin Campbell found that plant-based eating had a "significant" impact on the ability to create antibodies to a virus, in the case of his study it was against Hepatitis B, but he points out that the commonalities in how the body creates antibodies apply to all viruses. So the importance of a healthy plant-based diet to fight the coronavirus as well as to prevent disease and reverse symptoms can't be overstated right now.

Dr. Collins points out that the Black community suffersfrom America's silent killers: Heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.A diet rich in meat and processed food has been linked to diabetes, heart disease, and an increased risk of some cancers, studies have found. Plant-based eating has been tied to lowering the risk of those diseases and premature death of all causes.

There is already a sweeping trend to reverse this: The fastest-growing demographic among plant-based eating is, in fact, African Americans, according to a study published earlier this year. Plant-based meals, primarily derivedfromvegetables, fruits, (frozen and or fresh), grains, like rice and beans, nuts and seeds have been shown in dozens ofstudies to bean effective way to lower risk of type 2 diabetes, reverse symptoms of heart disease, lose weight, and build the immune system to help fight against infectious diseases, like COVID-19.

Dr. Collins says it is crucial to adopt a healthy lifestyle now. Read on for his best advice regarding how to protect yourself from disease, now and later. The Beet's interview with him:

Dr. Collins: Healthy lifestyles should be practiced at all times, but during times of attack, it is even more of an essential practice that should be embodied by all people.

Pertaining to the African Americans plight, we have the worst health outcomes, compared to any other ethnicity, and the mortality associated with COVID-19 is directly proportional to this reality. It is well documented the impact of a plant-based diet on obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and more, which all can lead to cardiovascular (heart) and cerebrovascular (brain) compromise. And we know how healthy plant-based eating can positively affect the body. Adopting a lifestyle such as [a healthy plant-based approach] can be truly lifesaving.

Dr. Collins: Great question. I am not sure if we can decrease COVID-19 cases among African Americans since... distancing practices predicate ones infection with this disease. However, we can adopt this lifestyle as a means to improve the co-morbid conditions that may already be presentfor e.g. heart disease, lung disease, cardiovascular disease, and cancerthus strengthening ones immune system and chances of survival in the event that a person becomes infected.

Dr. Collins: Your presumption is correct, in that veganism is indeed a lifestyle and foods are more available than one may think. I think the critical step in this is to put the word out and challenge African Americans to take matters into their own hands and learn the ways of veganism.

It is always challenging to adopt something new and make it sustainable. Articles such as this are a great first step. Lastly, the adoption of a plant-based diet can do wonders to boost the immune system, improve energy, and improve chronic diseases mentioned earlier, thus, it can save lives.

But it is critical to not confine such an approach just in response to COVID-19. Health outcomes of African Americans need attention, and we must not miss this teaching moment the pandemic has provided to promote this strategy to our people. It can mean the difference between life and death.

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In Light of COVID-19 This Doctor Tells Black Patients: Eat Vegan - The Beet

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June 10th, 2020 at 2:56 pm

Posted in Financial

Chess.com Jokingly Promoted xQc To Grandmaster | TheGamer – TheGamer

Posted: June 3, 2020 at 12:47 pm


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During a Twitch stream, xQc was temporarily granted the title of Grandmaster while playing online blitz matches on chess.com.

During a Twitch stream, xQc was granted the title of Grandmaster while playing online blitz matches on chess.com. The promotion was quite shocking as the coveted "GM" rank is only held by an elite few. On that note, xQcwas only sitting at a 589 rating, typical for chess beginners. For perspective, actual chess Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamurahas a 3214 blitz ranking currently number 1 on the leaderboards.

Overall, the chess community has proventhat they are more than ready to deal with the new attention that Twitch has driven the sport. The streamer's sudden promotion was likely alighthearted prankset upby chess.com admins, especially considering that xQcis fairly new to the sport and only playing for fun. Additionally, chess.com even added xQc to their list of Grandmasterson a separate page only to be eventually removed after the fun died down.

Certain chess personalities emerged as vocal opponents tothe recent attention Hikaru and xQc generated through their collaboration. Nevertheless,many of these "chess elitists" have come around. Ben Finegold recently made amends for his earlier insults, apologizing to xQc fansand showing some respectable sportsmanship. Oh, and the powerhouse known as Magnus Carlsen is starting to warm up to the platform.

Sources: Twitch, Chess.com

NEXT: Chess Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura Is Demolishing Opponents On Twitch

Speedrunner Breaks Super Mario 64 Previous World Record In Emotional Stream With Family

Andrew Penney is a writer for TheGamer. A bit of musical expatriate, he studied musicology and trumpet performance in college, but found his love for writing about gaming and streaming too alluring to stay away from. Some of his favorite games include Homeworld, Warcraft III, Starcraft 2, Apex Legends, Katana Zero, and Bastion. When not hunched over a keyboard furiously typing, you'd likely find him engulfed in anime or Apex avoiding the sun entirely.

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Chess.com Jokingly Promoted xQc To Grandmaster | TheGamer - TheGamer

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June 3rd, 2020 at 12:47 pm

Posted in Chess,Financial

100-Year-Old Woman Defeats COVID-19, 17 Days After Losing Son To The Virus – Femina

Posted: May 30, 2020 at 6:47 am


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She has proved that age is no bar when it comes to battling hardships, no matter how unfavourable the circumstances. A 100-year-old woman who had tested positive along with other family members has successfully defeated the novel coronavirus after an 11-day battle. The woman Chanda Bai, from Nehru Nagar, Indore, was discharged from a city-based hospital after recovering from the infection. This came shortly after a fortnight when her 70-year-old son died due to suspected coronavirus infection.

The officials have termed her recovery as the triumph of her strong will power. The elderly woman was facing a lot of difficulties to move around due to her knee problems. Her 70-year-old son had died a few days ago. But due to her strong will and the treatment, the elderly patient finally recovered and returned home, they were quoted by a news agency.

The elderly woman, along with five members of her family, was screened for COVID-19 and hospitalised after testing positive. Her son, though, didnt make it. According to a family member, he exhibited COVID-19 like symptoms, including fever and cough. However, even before his samples could be taken for testing, his condition suddenly deteriorated, and he died during the treatment.

That is when the entire family of 16 members decided to get tested for the disease, which confirmed that six people from the family, including the centenarian woman and 10-year-old twinsa brother-sister duo, were infected. They were since then hospitalised at Sri Aurobindo Institute Medical Sciences (SAIMS) Hospital in Indore.

Indore is one of the worst-hit districts in the country in terms of the spread of coronavirus. On Friday, the number of COVID-19 patients increased to 2,850 in the district. Of these, 109 patients have died, while 1,280 people have recovered from the epidemic after treatment.

Photo: Representational image

Also Read: Girl Who Cycled 1200km In 7 Days During Lockdown Called For Sports Trial

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100-Year-Old Woman Defeats COVID-19, 17 Days After Losing Son To The Virus - Femina

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May 30th, 2020 at 6:47 am

Posted in Financial

ZYTARUK: Beware COVID-19s second wave – vancouverislandfreedaily.com

Posted: May 21, 2020 at 2:46 pm


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Spanish flu offers good lesson on bowing to politics while re-opening during pandemic

So let it be written

A little more than a century ago, the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918-19 killed more than 50 million people.

So what did we learn?

They say history tends to repeat itself, witnessed by the playing out of a 100-year cycle that saw a bubonic plague in Europe in 1720, cholera smite Asia in 1820, the Spanish Flu, and of course our present-day pandemic.

George Bernard Shaw instructs us that We learn from history that we learn nothing from history.

Personally, I prefer Stephen Hawkings take on it: We spend a great deal of time studying history, which, lets face it, is mostly the history of stupidity.

T.W. Paterson column: 102 years ago the Spanish Flu met British grit

Read also: Is COVID-19 a sign of things to come?

Theres been evidence aplenty, during this our go-around, of foolhardy behaviour on our beaches, in grocery store aisles, along sidewalks, in parks, you name it. Masses of people recklessly thumbing their noses at social distancing and invading other peoples space.

Too many people simply lack the patience to stay put. Theyre bored with the pandemic, are moving on, and as a result of their negligence more people will be doomed to suffer from COVID-19, and more will die.

So what happened in 1918?

People were human, thats what.

In San Francisco, they thought they had the Spanish Flu licked. Driven, no doubt, by impatience, public pressure and economic necessity, the politicians prematurely re-opened the city for business. They celebrated its return to normality with a grand parade which resulted in the deadly flu returning with a vengeance.

Beware, the second wave.

Today theres immense pressure on governments to ease restrictions, considering they are unable to control the crowd thats already liberated itself from the ravages of common sense.

And when government starts talking about easing up, and returning to some semblance of normal, yet more people see that as a green light to drop their guard. People are waiting for a sign, and champing at the bit.

Theres no denying the fierce economic imperative to re-start the engine. Our catch-22 is staying healthy in the process.

Dr. Stewart Prest, a political science professor at Simon Fraser University, says there seems to be a broad understanding in Canada that opening up too much, too quickly, could really make things worse in the long run.

That some jurisdictions have chosen to open up while the first wave is still cresting, he says, seems terrifying, to be honest.

Im not an epidemiologist, I dont know if you can fully prevent a second wave, Prest says.

There are important lessons from history, and I think its fascinating that some jurisdictions seem to be better able to take those on board than others.

So let it be done.

Tom Zytaruk is a staff writer with the Surrey Now-Leader. You can email him at tom.zytaruk@surrey nowleader.com.

Coronaviruszytaruk column so let it be done

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ZYTARUK: Beware COVID-19s second wave - vancouverislandfreedaily.com

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May 21st, 2020 at 2:46 pm

Posted in Financial

Vegan Sausage and Grits Recipe – VICE

Posted: May 14, 2020 at 6:50 pm


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Servings: 4 Prep time: 20 minutes Total time: 40 minutes

for the sausage and peppers: cup|60 ml olive oil 4 links vegan breakfast sausage, casings removed 1 large red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced 1 large yellow onion, diced 3 garlic cloves, minced 1 large jalapeno pepper, stemmed and diced kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 1 tablespoon soy sauce 2 scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish hot sauce, to serve

for the grits: 1 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste 1 cup|200 grams corn grits 1 cups|200 grams shredded vegan cheddar 3 tablespoons vegan butter freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Make the sausage and peppers: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until browned, 6 to 7 minutes. Add the bell pepper and onion and cook until lightly golden and soft, 5 to 6 minutes, then add the garlic and jalapeno. Cook for 2 minutes more, then add the vinegar and soy sauce and cook until absorbed. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.

2. Make the grits: Bring 4 cups of water and the salt to a boil in a medium saucepan over high. Stir in the grits and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thick and smooth, about 6 to 7 minutes. Cover, turn off the heat, and let sit for 5 minutes, then stir in the cheese and butter until melted. Season with salt and pepper.

3. To serve, top the grits with the sausage mixture and garnish with the scallions. Serve with hot sauce on the side.

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Vegan Sausage and Grits Recipe - VICE

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May 14th, 2020 at 6:50 pm

Posted in Financial

Peter Fortunato and a winding path to writing – ithaca.com

Posted: February 27, 2020 at 7:46 pm


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Growing up in Wappingers Falls in the Mid-Hudson Valley, Peter Fortunato loved horses and came to Cornell in 1968 to become a veterinarian. That changed during his first year when he realized his vocation was to be a writer, so he transferred into the College of Arts and Sciences. Peter was also inspired by his art history courses with Peter Kahn, who encouraged him to keep making visual art. Then he met his life partner and eventual wife, the poet Mary Gilliland when they were both advisees of James McConkey, who became a lifelong friend.

Peter graduated in 1972, but stayed on an extra year until Mary graduated. He wrote poetry, read about Zen Buddhism, and began practicing meditation after being introduced by Mary to the writings of poet Gary Snyder and philosopher Alan Watts. He earned money by working at Cornells High Voltage Lab, doing yard work, and modeling nude in figure painting classes at Cornell and Ithaca College.

After winning a fellowship in creative writing at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, Peter and Mary moved South. While writing and earning an M.F.A. in poetry, he and Mary also worked as models for art classes. They were in high demand because while meditating they could sit still for so long.Greensboro was soon to be known as Little Atlanta. However, we lived in the country, and since cohabitation was illegal in North Carolina, we had to pretend we were married. After graduate school, while waiting for clear direction, he and Mary took a BOCES Carpentry class and each continued to write.

With no fixed plan we accepted friends offer to return for a weekend to Ithaca: Gary Snyder is coming to give a reading. We can go to that and the reception! We both adored Gary, who remains our friend and teacher, Fortunato said. The reading and the party were fantastic and went on into the early morning hours. Before we crawled home, Gary had invited us and we had agreed to join him and his family in Nevada County, California in the foothills of the Sierras, where he and his friends were building a community school.

Mary and Peter loaded their 1965 VW Bus and drove to California. We practiced Zen and we helped build the school. We wrote poetry and savored life with our hero and his circle, living off the grid, off the beaten path. [...] We found ourselves in the midst of the Back to the Land Movement. [...] It was an exciting time.

Loving the uncharted life, Mary and Peter had many adventures before trekking back to the East Coast. They worked in the San Francisco Bay area doing carpentry and house shingling. And Peter would constantly write. After living for a time on a houseboat in Sausalito and then back in the Mid-Hudson Valley for a while, Peter and Mary eventually returned to Ithaca in December of 1977. They were confident they could live anywhere, make friends, and do many different things to make a living.

While continuing to do carpentry and occasionally working as models, Mary and Peter found other opportunities: Mary completed a Masters at Cornell, and they both began careers in academia. They bought a rundown rental house and turneditinto a spacious, bright retreat with room for two writing studio offices, and a meandering garden leading down to Six Mile Creek.

Peters first book of poetry A Bell or a Hook, inspired by his life in California, was published by Ithaca House, located at 108 North Plain Street. Baxter Hathaway and wife Sherry created and ran the publishing company. Baxter, a renowned author, was also founder of the Creative Writing Program at Cornell, so this reunion was especially dear for Peter, who had studied writing with Baxter as an undergrad. Marys first poetry collection, Gathering Fire, was also published by Ithaca House.

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As Peter began teaching creative writing, composition and poetry at Cornell and Ithaca College, he also continued his studies in complementary alternative medicine. For many years, he has had a professional counseling practicefocusing on hypnotherapy, shamanism and Reiki.

Mary, a well-known poet, joined the Cornell University faculty in 1981 and retired from her full-time work in 2007. Peter who had been teaching on East Hill and South Hill for almost 30 years, in 2005 took a position at the newly opened Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar. Mary also taught there for a semester. Peter stayed on for four years.

The students were very sincere and engaging, he said. With tolerance and mutual respect, as the War in Iraq continued several hundred miles away, we learned from each other.

It takes something unique for two writers to make a good life together, and Peter and Mary have continued unabated in their creative lives. We have worked hard as two artists, seeking to find our way. We have created a special synergy as a couple, understanding that we each need space and time and quiet to create, yet loving and valuing the time we can spend together.

Peter's new novel Carnevale is full of references to his early life in the Hudson Valley, as well as to the sexy, psychedelic 60s. All are invited to Peters reading March 11 at 6:30 p.m. in the Tompkins County Public Library.And then we hope to hear Marys version of this couples wild story.

Ithaca is filled with treasurespeople, places, programs. Marjorie unearths some of these gems every other week here in her column, Community Connections.

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February 27th, 2020 at 7:46 pm

Posted in Financial

Finding creativity in plain sight: How to question convention and allow inventive thinking to flourish – Fora.ie

Posted: December 8, 2019 at 4:49 pm


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Its people that are creative, not organisations.

Creativity is something that is in high demand, falling under the set of soft skills that are now a huge advantage in business.

However, creativity exists outside of learned expertise, its more about the way an individual perceives reality. With this in mind, its important to note that its people that are creative and not organisations.

The most obvious characteristics that come to mind are artistic; such as painting, sculpture and music. These are indeed creative, but these are skills that have been honed over many years, practised, fine-tuned. They are a form of learned expertise, just like accountancy and medicine.

The less obvious forms of creativity are when we talk about thinking creatively. This is far more interesting, and far more accessible for everyone to do: It is just thinking.

Most ancient cultures lacked the concept of creativity, seeing it as a form of discovery and not creation. They assumed that all around them was divine, furnished by the Gods, and not humans. Humans didnt have the divine right to imagine something into reality. That was reserved for Gods.

Humanism allowed us to move past this view though, and a combination of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment accelerated it. It removed the authority of thought, a single, all-encompassing view.

This lead to a questioning of conventional ways of doing things, and allowed inventive thinking to flourish, new ideas, new concepts and completely new ways of viewing the world arose. But when conventions are questioned by someone, they arent viewed as creative thinkers, they are viewed as troublemakers.

We dont like change so we shun the unconventional thinkers, and this is the key point. Creativity can be challenging. Its about questioning assumptions, proposing the preposterous and not being bound by the perceived right or wrong outcome.

Harnessing creativity

Many people consider business creativity to be the domain of only certain departments or people. This is a drawback, as it thrives on diversity and cross-departmental input.

Its about ideas, observations and innocent questions that can spark new and valuable ways of doing things. To foster this though, a structure needs to be in place to allow people to contribute in a meaningful manner.

In 1951 Toyota launched its creative idea suggestion system. Its slogan Good Thinking, Good Products is in Toyota factories around the globe to encourage all employees to suggest improvements or ideas. This differed from the normal suggestion box approach in that it had very clear guidelines and a clear path to resolution.

It meant ideas were evaluated on their merit, and not on who was proposing them. It also explicitly stated that permission for suggesting improvements was not required, thus removing the hierarchal barriers that can impede creativity.

Intermingle expertise

One of the reasons that scrappy start-ups become successful is that they are working on a limited budget, which means that they cant afford a specialist for every role. This can seem like a handicap, but it is one of the reasons they succeed.

An organisation stocked with experts tends to have a conventional way of doing things, as informed by each of their specialisms. When that expertise isnt available though, a different way to do whats needed will be found.

This new, non-traditional approach can be the reason that the start-up finds success. It brings a different perspective to proceedings, one unencumbered by traditional patterns of thinking around the discipline.

One way around this limitation in larger organisations is to create a system that allows departments to seek fresh viewpoints from other internal teams or departments. This isnt a form of offloading problems, rather it allows for different points-of-view to be applied to it, and sometimes a novice in the field might propose something that everyone else has missed.

Create areas to focus on, not goals

Conceptually it can be hard to view goals as a negative thing, we are primed to achieve them from an early age.For creative outcomes, it is important that they are removed.

By setting fixed goals the results that are defined are already set. This is the opposite of what is required when seeking new ideas and outcomes. When you ask for the expected, thats what you will always get.

Instead, create areas of focus to concentrate on. These can be centred on optimising or innovating, customer-facing or inward-facing, departmental or company-wide. Its not important which, what is important is that there isnt a fixed goal in mind for what you want the creative thinking to apply to. This allows for a range of results to indicate success. It can also present results that can surprise because when the narrow success goals are removed, creativity flourishes.

Most organisations are brimming with creativity, but they need to seek it out to get the best results.

Designing environments and structures to enable this is crucial, and finding the people that are willing to ask the questions, explore the unknown and to challenge everyday assumptions. They can be young or old, just in the door or part of the furniture. They may be known internally as lacking experience, difficult or trouble makers. Find these people and creativity will thrive.

Keith Kent is the founder ofEpigram,which works with organisations to improve their business through innovation.

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December 8th, 2019 at 4:49 pm

Posted in Financial


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