REPOST: Dominica, the Caribbean’s Best-Kept Secret for Nature Lovers

Ever heard of the Caribbean island called ‘Dominica?’ This off-the-radar tropical destination boasts off some of the planet’s most pristine natural environments—from geothermic rock pools and lush tropical rainforests, to giant waterfalls and gorgeous black beaches—spread across an area smaller than New York City! Let this article from Vogue make you fall in love with this island:

 

Approaching Secret Beach by boat.
Photo: Courtesy of Christina Liao

 

Tucked away between Guadeloupe and Martinique is unadulterated Dominica (pronounced dom-ah-nee-ka). Because it’s often confused with the Dominican Republic and lacks direct long-haul flights, the destination has predominantly remained under the radar. But with few places left in this world that feel unspoiled, the country truly stands out. A favorite of Vogue’s Fashion News Director, Chioma Nnadi—who used to live on Martinique and brought her family and friends to Dominica twice because she loved it so much—she blissfully sighs when I tell her I’ve just returned from the verdant island. “Everything about Dominica is kind of magical. The fact that it feels like a small village, but has so many natural and unexpected wonders packed into one island, is beyond anything I have ever seen before. If you’re expecting a picture-postcard Caribbean beach scene with powdery white sand, then you won’t find it [there], but that’s also what makes it special,” she raves. With two-thirds of Dominica covered in rain forest, 365 rivers weaving their way around the land, and a number of volcanoes and waterfalls, you’ll wonder whether or not you’ve been transported back to the Jurassic period. Don’t expect to come here for white-glove service the way you would in St. Barth’s or Grand Cayman, but rather to get a taste of what local, unsullied life is like. “Seeing how the indigenous Carib communities, which still build very traditional wooden houses literally on stilts, live was super-memorable,” recalls Nnadi. Now, who’s ready to pack their bags for the Caribbean’s “Nature Island”?

 

What to Do

Hike Waitukubuli Trail

The longest in the Caribbean, coming in at 115 miles, it’s recommended that you walk one segment a day, which would lead to a whopping two-week hike through the mountainous terrain. It’s no easy feat, but for the truly ambitious, it’s a scenic bucket-list endeavor that will put you face-to-face with sulfur springs, local farmers, and picturesque waterfalls.

A waterfall cascades into the ocean.
Photo: Courtesy of Christina Liao

 

Sail Around the Island

For those who want a quick glance of Dominica without all the work of a grueling 14-day trek, hop on a speedboat and motor your way around. On the northern end you’ll come across Douglas Point, otherwise known as Split Rock, named after the slab of stone that halved underwater upon separating from its cliff, as well as a waterfall that cascades directly into the ocean.

 

Visit Boiling Lake

Be forewarned that this is known as one of the most difficult hikes you may ever endure. Located in the Morne Trois Pitons National Park, the island’s UNESCO World Heritage Site, it takes about six hours round-trip and requires scaling steep inclines and trudges through sludgy mud and multiple rivers. It’s strenuous, but for the avid hiker, totally worth it when it comes to the panoramic views of the rain forest and a pit stop at a natural Jacuzzi before reaching the world’s second largest boiling lake.

 

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Modern marvels: Everyday consumer products and biotechnology

To most, biotechnology sounds like a big word, and it is. It sends the population imagery of scientists in large white lab coats, goggles, masks, and plastic gloves fiddling with their test tubes and petri dishes, transferring strains of bacteria from one container to the other. Enzyme research and microbiology play a big part in the industry, but that’s not all there is to it. Biotechnology plays a crucial role in the development of everyday consumer products as well, most of the populace just don’t seem to realize it.

 

Image source: dcmh.net

 

One of the no-brainers when it comes to biotech application is pharmaceuticals. Bio-processing is utilized in order to develop new medicine which are hard to reproduce due to purity quality control. Biotechnology has made a significant impact in the world of pills, and it is projected to grow in the future.

 

When drivers go to their nearest gas station, they can sometimes see fuel dispensers with large stickers labeled ‘biodiesel.’  This marvel of modern biotechnology helps reduce the carbon emissions from cars as a result of burning fossil fuel. It is not as popular as of the moment, but it will become a significant force in the aversion of climate change.

 

Image source: dailymail.co.uk

 

A lot of food that everyone eats is a result of biotechnology as well. Numerous biochemicals are used in the processing of sweeteners, flavors, and acidity regulators.  Those substances are then utilized in order to vastly improve the taste of everyday foodstuff. Drinks are no exception to this as well, most especially alcohol.

 

Biotechnology is a huge industry, with sector earnings in the US estimated to have grown on average of more than 10% each year over the past decade. As of 2015, about 670 public companies and over 200 thousand employees in the US and Europe generate some US$133 billion of biotech revenue. Biotech companies are among the fastest growing businesses in the world, making them important components in various investment portfolios, including those managed by large financial institutions like the LOM Group.

 

REPOST: 21 uses for the most ‘fascinating metal in existence’ (Business Insider)

One of the seven ‘metals of antiquity,’ silver has been used in a variety of applications throughout history. The following infographic published on Business Insider illustrates the many wonderful modern uses of this precious metal.

 

From our perspective, silver is the most fascinating metal in existence.

 

Silver is best known for having extraordinary properties that have made it an effective monetary metal for thousands of years. Currency buffs all know the metal as being rare, durable, fungible, malleable, ductile, and divisible, which match the properties of money agreed on by most economists. Silver, of course, has been used by civilizations ranging from Ancient Rome to the United States for monetary purposes.

 

However, these monetary uses are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of silver’s overall utility. More than 50% of all silver uses are for industrial applications, and it’s not just a single application that dominates that mix.

 

Silver has an array of properties that make it interesting for many practical purposes. Firstly, silver is the most conductive and the most reflective metal, which make it useful in batteries, solar panels, and electronics. It’s also an effective industrial catalyst for producing very important materials such as plastics or polyester. Lastly, silver is extremely anti-bacterial and non-toxic, making it handy for a wide variety of medical and technological applications.

 

Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist

 

Investing Outside of the Country- Is It a Good Idea?

If you’re someone who wants more adventure, perhaps investing outside the country would be a good idea for you. But I have to say that it is not for everybody. It is a bit risky, but it is also worth the try. Here you will find some benefits and advantages on doing this. This type of investment is best known as Offshore Investment. One of the benefits that you could get from it would include your tax papers since you won’t have to deal much of it in your own country.offshore investment

 

There are so many opportunities and places where you could put your money in if you decided to do this kind of investment. If you are scared that there might be just a limited number of companies, bonds, properties, equities and the like when doing this outside your home country; then I can assure you that it is something you shouldn’t worry about because they are literally a lot of them out there. Are they legal? I can also tell you that you will a lot of them perfectly legit to put your money in.

 

Of course, it is something that not a lot of people would probably do because most would find it too risky, but with the right knowledge in this business, there is no doubt that your money could actually do well. So before you even jump into it, I think it is only proper that you know exactly what you’re getting into. Offshore investment means making a deal in trading or placing money for investment outside your home country.

 

Lots of things can be done offshore like manufacturing, logistics and other customer service. As an investor, it is best that you aware of certain business activities that you could do outside your homeland. It would even ben interesting to know that transactions like this from country to another doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be outside of your country. You can do online and run all that or have all that information through your online broker.

 

offshore investingYou would be surprised that the government actually uses this method per state. They often use it for administrative purposes. Outsourcing is also another term that it is known for. Many do this because they get exempted with taxing. Imagine doing business without having to worry about paying for your tax since you are a foreigner of the country you are dealing business with. You would be amazed to find out that most people’s wealth actually are gained through this kind of business now.

 

Of course, if there are advantages, you probably are wondering, what’s the catch? One disadvantage on this kind of deal is that since it is offshore, you can’t exactly physically your client or anyone you are dealing with in this business. It is all about trusting online, which of course is risky. You just have to really do your homework in researching very well the people and the company or anything that you would place your money on offshore.

 

Minecrafting Tricks for Creative and Survival Mode

I’m claustrophobic.  So when I first tried digging for diamonds in Minecraft, it made me feel a bit queasy.

I had to go through layers and layers of dirt until I reached bedrock at the bottom of a deep pit of blackness.  But once I reached the bottom, I realized I didn’t actually plan how I was going to get back up to the outside world. Duh. So there I was, with my diamonds, but no way to get back up to the surface.  Being stuck there hopeless, it was simply horrific.

Of course, I starved to death under there.  I kept jumping and jumping, trying to escape, but all to no avail. I was clueless at that time on how to climb up.  I was still struggling with the game and still learning how to navigate with my fingers.

Oh the heck with it, I said to myself.  I decided to just start a different Minecraft world. Start fresh, start anew.  And I actually never, ever went back into that first world I created.

I didn’t delete it though. I wanted to save it for posterity. So sometimes, I just take a side glance at the name of that world in my list of worlds.  It still haunts me.  I can still remember that original feeling of terror from being stuck in that pitch black darkness of a mineshaft. And I can imagine Steve (my character) still stuck in there bored.  Ugghhh.  Maybe I should pay that world a visit one of these days.

Okay fast forward to the present.  I now know that I should have brought dirt with me as I mined deeper down that fateful Minecraft night. Yes, I should have packed in at least 128 blocks of dirt.  And the way you use the dirt is you put some dirt, jump up on that dirt, put some more dirt, jump up on it again, so on and so forth, until you reach the surface. Oh, and of course don’t forget to bring some torches with you to use when you are deep inside the dark mineshaft.

Minecraft has become a wonderful world to get lost in nowadays.  You work like an architect, a city planner, a king with his kingdom and villager subjects. You can be a farmer too if you wanted. You can be a warrior or a hero or a villain.

Even if you’re just still a noob, you can make it big in Minecraft Creative mode.  But if you like a good challenge facing the elements and battling zombies or if you like burning down villages and mass murdering innocent creatures (you jerk !!!), then go to Survival mode.

 

Now for our Minecraft cheats of the day:

 

  1. If you are a noob but want to start delving into Survival mode, you can actually bring a lot of supplies with you that you can easily get from Creative mode.  So make a world in Creative first. Stack up on the things you need – at the very least iron stone and wood and some food and torches. Then quit that world, press the pencil icon and shift to survival. With this trick, you will have easily procured the things you need to get you going in Survival. Please note however, you can fly in creative, but make sure you are back on the ground first before you shift to survival mode.  If you don’t you are going to come crashing down from the sky and you are going to die.

 

  1. If you want to make a giant mob, type “spawn slime size 25000” and you will have a slime as big as an entire island. You can also type “/spawn giant” and you can have a giant zombie.  Don’t worry, it will only attack you if you attack it first.  If you type “spawn magma cube size 25000” you’ll end up with a giant magma cube as big as the giant slime.  Lastly, type “spawn wither size 25000” and you’ll have a giant wither towering over the clouds. And what are all these giant things for?    But they’re cool hey.

 

  1. To turn a mob upside down, get a name tag (you use that for naming animals), put it in an anvil and type “dinnerbone” on the name tag. You then tap that name tag on the mob.  The mob will flip upside down, walking on its head or back.

 

  1. To be able to breathe under water, place a ladder on the walls of an underwater island. You can breathe under water if you stand beside the ladder because the ladder will be half the size of a standard block and there will be air in the extra space between it and the water block.

 

Finally, some words of wisdom:  just keep practicing.  If you make a mistake or want to do better, don’t be afraid to tear down what you’ve built and start again.  Soon enough you’ll be building skyscrapers taller that Burj Khalifa and cities that will make New York, London and Tokyo just weep.

 

 

Minecraft, the Periodic Table and Commodities Trading

Minecraft is not just an ordinary video game.  Yes, it’s fun and addictive.  But it can also be used as an educational tool.

Even elementary aged children can get a fair bit of education in Minecraft.  They learn the names of precious stones and commodities like lapiz lazuli, emerald, coal, iron, gold and diamond.  And some of the qualities of these elements and compounds in Minecraft really do reflect their actual characteristics in the real world.


For example, gold, which is the element symbol Au in the periodic table, is a rare and precious metal people in the real world would invest in as a store of value and as a hedge against currency fluctuations.  However, in it’s pure state, gold is weak and malleable.  It only has a few industrial uses compared to other commodities. You will rarely see ministries of defense making tanks or missile tips out of gold.  It’s a weak metal compared to other elements such as iron or tungsten.

In the world of Minecraft, gold is rare but doesn’t have much practical value either.  Don’t make the mistake of crafting your sword out of it. You do not want to find yourself battling pig men and skeletons with a golden sword because that sword is also malleable and will break really quickly.

Instead, you should make a sword out of iron or diamond.  In the real world too, iron and diamond are one of the hardest elements.  Is diamond an element?  I’m not sure. Maybe not. Oh yes it is, it’s carbon.  Okay, whatever.  Just google it. I’m not here to spoon feed you with chemistry facts.  This is a video game cheat site.

And so, where was I?  Ok back to the topic of the “educational benefits of Minecraft”.  So it’s also educational for them kids.  Yes, Minecraft should replace Science in school.  Physics and Chemistry should instead be termed as Minecraft 102 and Minecraft 103.  No, just kidding.

But seriously, even higher elementary subjects make their cameo appearances in Minecraft.  Take for instance, the subject of Economics.  Children can actually learn the concept of barter as well as commodities trading when they swap with them villagers in Minecraft, give a villager sixteen strands of wheat and he will give you one emerald (the villagers’ reserve currency in Minecraft is the emerald).  Nice trade.

In a manner similar to the way people build their wealth in the real world, a Minecraft player also has to start from scratch – grass and wood he forages for with his bare hands- and from there, if he’s smart and hardworking, he can build a great city with vast resources and subjects.

You start by getting some wood from a tree (with your hands).  Then you craft the wood into planks then make some commodities trading sticks.  With that, you can make your first wooden pick axe.  Using that pick axe, you can now mine for stone and make stone tools such as a stone pick axe. Then using the stone tools, you can go mining for iron ore.  You then smelt the iron ore in the furnace to make iron ingots which you will use to make a full set of iron tools.  With those iron tools you can now go mining for diamonds, emeralds, lapis lazuli, red stone, gold and whatever other riches you may fancy.  The crème de la crème of all Minecraft tools are the diamond tools.  You can only mine for obsidian using diamond tools.

Now what do you use obsidian for?  You use obsidian to build a portal that will take to the nether realm where you can get blaze rods.  You then turn the blaze rods to blaze powder, add it to enderpearls to make an ender eye.  You then throw the ender eye around.  Where it goes through the ground, that is where the Stronghold is.  The Stronghold is the underground castle that contains the portal to the End.  The End is a moonlike dimension where the Ender Dragon lives.

Finally, you have to defeat that vicious dragon.  “No this is not Super Mario you fool!” the Ender Dragon says.  Just kidding, he doesn’t talk.  For all you young ones out there, the villain at the end of Super Mario is a turtle, by the way.

So, getting back on topic, if a player works hard in his mining business, does a lot of research and studies how to procure more of the Minecraft world’s resources, he finds himself with a huge pile of wealth.  The more industrious the player, the larger and larger his hoard of commodities (wheat, beef, carrots), precious metals and stones.

So we see, Minecraft is based on real life concepts of industry and the wealth building process.  It uses the idea of maintaining an inventory of precious commodities and using what you already have accumulated to further expand your wealth.

Now that is a good educational tool for you lazy video game bums.  A player becomes acquainted not only with the mining industry, he even learns a bit of science, agriculture, trade and some basic principles of economics and finance – some practical, possibly useful stuff that

might help you to actually get rich in the real world.

How To Invest In Real Estate

There are so many things that you could do with your money and start an investment. One of the best decisions you would ever make in this life when it comes to investing is putting it into real estate. For the past five decades now, investing in real estate has become wildly in demand due to the many benefits it brings and the returns it could do to an investor. But this is something that shouldn’t be done impulsively even when you are vastly wealthy. It is always best to make smart decisions regarding this so you would get your money’s worth.

 

Truth be told that this could be a lot harder than investing on bonds and stocks, but don’t worry because I’m here to  walk you through on how you could invest your money in real estate.

real estate investmen

First, make sure that the property you are about to acquire has a good location. That’s pretty much the number one rule in real estate, location, location, location. Scout around the area where you think is not only gorgeous, but definitely profitable. Get a trustworthy real estate agent who knows what they are talking about in the business. Don’t be afraid to widen your options because you will never know what would be the best property for you if you don’t go out searching for the best.

 

It doesn’t always have to be luxurious or expensive, it just needs to be appealing and livable. Most of the time, people have this misconception that it has to look like a celebrity mansion to profit from it in the end. It is all about being resourceful and knowing what you want for that piece of property that you bought.

 

Now, let’s talk about investing on it. The first thing that you could do to a house or a piece of real estate that you acquired is to make it available for rental. You could be the landowner and what you will need is a tenant who will rent it out for you. Price it accordingly or at least make it reasonable. It would depend on the location and the amenities that you are going to provide should you base your rental charges. But most landowners charge more in order to gain a lot of profit from their estate, it is just among the strategies to make a lot of money from it.

 

You can actually already rent it even without you having paid the whole price of the house just yet. You can use the rental profit and money that you are basically getting from it to pay for the mortgage of the house. A lot of people have been doing it, so it’s perfectly legal and once again, it is all about strategy.

 

Trading your real estate in the market is also another option. This is something more technical and advance, but it is also what an investor do to a purchased piece of property. The advantage of this one is that your house could be up for bidding. This way, you could easily choose who you could sell it to for a price that would work for you.