To Whom It May Concern: Capitalization Rules

to whom it may concern capitalizationWhile the use of the phrase “to whom it may concern” was once a popular introductory greeting for a business letter or formal correspondence, it is considered by many to be outdated in today’s workplace. Current trends in communication recommend addressing a letter or email with a person’s name; a practice made easier these days with the help of the Internet and online address books. Decades ago, when applying for jobs out of college, I often addressed cover letters using this phrase; however, recent technological developments allow us to have instant access to those in the position to hire new employees.

If you’d like to learn more about crafting excellent cover letters and resumes, check out Philip Ebiner’s course Professional Resume and Cover Letter Training. [Read more…]

With Best Regards: Closing Your Letter

Best RegardsWhen writing professional or informal emails and letters, it is often considered proper etiquette to complete your correspondence with an appropriate closing signature. In many ways the valediction or complimentary closing for a business letter or formal email has traditionally been to use the word “sincerely,” however, in recent years this outdated closing has been replaced with “kind regards,” “best regards,” and simply “regards.” But what does it mean to end a formal or informal correspondence with these words? And what exactly do these goodbyes mean? And when is it appropriate to use this closing statement? For information on how you can learn to craft a topnotch business email, check out Enspark Interactive’s course titled Business Email Etiquette. Course sections include detailed information regarding an email’s essential parts, and along with the following information, will help you create interesting and work-appropriate communications.

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Forced Perspective: Add Comedic Magic to Your Day

forced perspectivePerhaps one of the world’s most exciting and entertaining tools, forced perspective brings giants to life, allows us to hold the Leaning Tower of Pisa with one hand, and creates the illusion of architectural space. Forced perspective can add comedic magic to our everyday experience, and can offer a new appreciation for photography, sleight of hand tricks, and optical illusion.

Used historically in art and architecture, and more recently in film and photography, forced perspective is a method that utilizes the manipulation of objects within an image to create the illusion that an object is larger or smaller that it actually appears. The technique is best represented in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings film trilogy to show the dramatic height differences between the different groups of characters. The technique allows the Hobbits to remain tiny when compared to the elves and giants, despite the fact that the actors employed are of relatively similar human size. Artists and architects including Frederic Auguste Bartholdi’s Statue of Liberty and Michelangelo’s David used forced perspective to give the viewer a sense of proportional accuracy when viewing these sculptures from a single vantage point. Both statues’ upper proportions are larger when seen head-on because the view from the ground would visually minimize their upper halves. Forced perspective can be used through a standard camera or cell phone. To learn more, check out Chet Davis’ iPhone Photography Secrets. [Read more…]

Enzyme Deficiency: Understanding and Overcoming Nutritional Problems

enzyme deficiency(Writer’s note: Before you make any drastic dietary or lifestyle changes, consult with your healthcare provider. An enzyme deficiency can be fatal if not properly and immediately address by a medical professional).

Enzymes are an essential element of the body that aid in the process of helping the body absorb nutrients in food. Most are proteins and act as the catalysts for nutrient absorption. An enzyme deficiency can lead to a number of serious illnesses with symptoms that include anemia, jaundice, and abdominal pain. Many people who suffer from an enzyme deficiency experience stomach pain, cramping and bloating, and skin rashes. Enzyme deficiencies are hereditary and can often lead to organ failure and chronic pain. They are commonly found in the body shortly after birth and can be difficult to treat because the body lacks the basic genetic material to sustain them.

Enzyme deficiencies vary and while some can be life threatening, others can be easily managed under the care of a physician. Many nutritionists and members of the healthcare industry believe that an enzyme deficiency can be balanced with the help of a healthy diet, exercise, and stress reduction. In the course Healthy Practices, instructors discuss the importance of healthy habits and will impart their wisdom regarding simple ways to achieve better health. [Read more…]

Socialism vs. Communism

socialism vs communismWhile communism and socialism are inextricably linked, and are similar in a variety of ways, the two prove to be distinctly different as well. Both are founded on similar principles including a disdain for societal class divisions, and communism, by many accounts, is a more extreme version of socialism. While socialism exists solely as an economic system, communism is a political system that relies on a planned economy and the complete abolition of a centralized government.

Both systems have their roots in the thought of 18th century thinkers like French philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau and German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Communist theory has caused controversy worldwide and is considered particularly dangerous in the eyes of capitalist free market societies. The supposed catalyst for many wars and revolutionary conflict, communism stands as the near complete antithesis of capitalism. Until the late 1980s much of Eastern Europe including the former U.S.S.R. remained under a communist system of government and currently only four countries across the globe remain true proponents of the communist party. [Read more…]

Passive Listening: Practicing Your Observational Listening Skills

passive listeningAccording to the International Listening Association, listening is, “The process of receiving, constructing meaning from, and responding to spoken and/or nonverbal messages.” But in a world where we are constantly bombarded with information and sound, sometimes it can be difficult to listen and fully comprehend the stimuli around us.

As babies we learn to listen to sounds using discriminative listening skills; we can distinguish between the voices of our mothers and fathers, and while we may not comprehend the messages being given, we are able to hear and process sounds and tones. Therapists and teachers utilize listening skills on a regular basis, and as compassionate and caring human beings, listening helps further our relationships with people and improves our bonds with friends and family members. Students use listening to better understand their subjects, and we regularly apply our passive listening skills to our experience of music and television.

There are a number of different types of listening including both active and passive listening, which are both important factors in effective communication. While active listening allows the listener to engage with the speaker, passive listening encourages the listener to observe the speaker quietly. Julian Treasure’s course Conscious Listening to further understand the importance of this very valuable skill. [Read more…]

Relief Teaching: A Substitute Career in Education

relief teachingRemember those sought after days in elementary school when your regular teacher was absent and a relief teacher instead supervised you? A relief teacher rarely knew the lesson plan and often arrived with a television and movie station, or books to quickly pass the time until the last bell rang. Relief teachers, as I remember, rarely knew the standard lesson plan, and were often forced to use extreme tactics while ensuring that our safety (and her own) weren’t compromised. Constant sufferers of spitballs, class disruption, and schoolyard taunting, relief teachers often feel the brunt of the pain when a regular teacher is absent.

Known in some parts of the world as substitute teachers or guest teachers, the relief teacher’s duty extends far beyond the basics of reading and arithmetic. These brave souls continually play the role of disciplinarian and entertainer, and are often overlooked as very important members of society. If you are seeking a career as a relief teacher, or are embarking on your first job wrangling another teacher’s students, check out Classroom Management Essentials so that you can better handle your new and unfamiliar classroom and its (sometimes unruly) occupants. [Read more…]

How to Make Custard Pudding

two bowls of vanilla custard garnished with raspberries and mintCustard pudding is a dessert that can be found in a variety of forms in a number of different cultures across the globe. From Spanish flan to French crème brulee to Indian rice porridge, custard puddings are a mixture of just a few simple ingredients and a few easy steps. For a delicious journey through the cuisine of India and a tasty rice porridge recipe, try Veena Nair’s Veena’s Kitchen course for the Indian version of this popular dessert. Combining eggs, dairy and sugar, this tasty treat is great served warm on a cold winter’s day, or serve chilled as the perfect end to a delicious summer barbeque. Custard pudding is an excellent alternative to cakes and pies, especially for those with Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. This dessert can be made in a variety of flavors, and is an outstanding compliment to any meal.

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Types of Yeast: From Brews to Buns

types of yeastFrom brews to buns, yeast has been used for centuries to help give life to some of our favorite food and drink. Also known as saccharomycotina, yeast are tiny organisms that are part of the fungi kingdom, and through fermentation this tiny little entity grows and gives beer and wine its alcohol content, and allows bread to rise. Yeast can be found naturally occurring on the skins of grapes, apples, and melons, and exists within the digestive tract of humans and a number of other mammals and insects. Yeast can be found in fermented beverages like wine, beer, and kombucha, and baked goods like bread, pretzels, and cinnamon rolls. Nutritional yeast provides vitamins and protein, and is an excellent source of B-vitamins; this type of yeast can be purchased in bulk and is a great addition to any vegan or vegetarian diet.

The most common types of yeast are baker’s yeast and brewer’s yeast, and if you’re interested in learning one of the most common ways to use yeast in the kitchen, check out Dan McTiernan’s How to Bake Real Artisan Bread.

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Reproductive Cloning: From Dolly to New Frontiers

reproductive cloningIn 1996, scientists successfully cloned Dolly the Sheep through a technique known as reproductive cloning, or somatic cell nuclear transplantation (SCNT). The process duplicates an existing organism by transferring the selected organism’s DNA from an existing nucleus to that of a cell whose nucleus has been eliminated. The new cell is chemically stimulated to promote growth, and is then placed inside a host’s uterus. If you’re new to the subject of biology, check out An Introduction to Basic Biology, where instructor Ms. Ley King discusses the topic beginning with basic foundational information to genetics and reproduction.

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