Four Horsemen of the Cultural Apocalypse – Criminology, Psychology, Sociology and Theology

Historic attempts, feeble and selfish at best, the four horsemen of the cultural apocalypse long endeavored to establish their relevance for defining human nature. For the tip of psychic iceberg, the regression devolved from philosophical contemplation to pretentious claim of scientific validity. Behold, they came from the darkness of human intentions, to claim truths yet to be found in the shadowy mysteriousness of human intentions, motivations and eternal damnation. As to pundits, politicians, the public and the proselytes for each cause, or school of thought, or cult of confession, they fostered arrogance of speculation deemed “scientific”.

Of those not seriously qualifying as a science, as in astronomy, biology, chemistry, anatomy and physiology, by way of rigorous analytic contention, philosophical conjecture conspired to make its creations inventive nightmarish creatures. In the realms of academic, the path of least resistance, the trails the herd frequently travels and the walkways crowded with mass gullibility, sleight of hand mesmerized the many. As to the usual suspects, in the treachery of myth, magic and metaphor, the four collude their smug piety in egregious fallacies of inference. Of that, the wayward pretenses of magical thinking deludes the masses in simplistic thinking.

Complicity is found in the ease by which degreed sanctification blusters in the hallowed sanctuaries of anecdotal regurgitation, flashbacks through history and bogus claims of research validity. Where the challenge comes in mathematical analytics, biologic physicality, subatomic microscopy, astronomical forensics, and proof of scientific validity, the horsemen excuse their shortcomings in appeals that hope springs eternal. Subjective validation supersedes facts. Their bafflegab trespasses upon many boundaries, as criminology, psychology, sociology and theology strike back with a vengeance. None dare disagree and breaks from the formation.

In the adventures of pseudosciences, anything is possible, and yet, the mere mention of the word should not engage fear, animosity or condemnation. Nothing about the term should invite excommunication, exorcism or execution, but instead encourage the intensity of continuous investigation. No silver bullets, holy water or laying on of hands should amass a counteroffensive against those who might question the scientific authenticity of myriad conjectures. Healthy skepticism in the pursuit of intellectual vitality, by insistence upon investigative scrutiny, questioning and doubting specious generalizations, is creative and productive.

Nonetheless, the mention of anything that might sound like, look like, or feel like a hint of something akin to “pseudoscience”, the emotional reactivity transmutes a seemingly normal looking individual into a venomous demonic entity. The question arises as what constitutes normal, or better yet, what is a “reasonable person”. Additionally, the query begs the timeline as to when it became acceptable to advance varying levels of stupidity or ignorance in terms of hunting down the truth and proving evidence to support any assertion. The negativity is nauseous.

As to that historic point of reference, in article of major online science journal, the writer ponders at what point in U.S. history it became part of the social mainstream to accept fiction over facts. Further, as one of the founding fathers claimed well-reasoned thinking processes, supported by scientific validation, and persistent testing and systematic study to prove or disprove, are essential to the revelations of truth beyond doubt. The hint is in the writings of historic scientific investigators and those who contributed to the Declaration of Independence.

While people have a right to their beliefs, at least to some degree in the West, knowledge advances wisdom which transforms civilization, not by mere conjecture based on opinion, but by intense study, rigorous testing and analysis, argument and dispute. Additionally, belief systems either transform over time, or remain static prone to stagnation. Regardless, continuous introspective assessment within each individual is essential.

Further, ongoing discourse is vital, as each ought to understand the other given their perspective, time and place, maturity, experience, innovation, growth and discovery. As most are where they are at a point in time, based on at least the forgoing, but also their selfless attention to rigorous analysis of their ideations that channel into propositional viewpoints. Disagreement is indispensable, while peer review is a fraud, unless the laboratory, or the crime lab, the microscope proves the assertion at hand by the physical nature of scientific validation. Alternative philosophical fascinations often remain fixated on unsubstantiated illusions.

Ideological claims are insufficient without the stringent testing of evidentiary authentication by the weight of physical realm provability. As to that, beliefs, especially those of an occultic, supernatural or cultic philosophical standpoint are immensely tainted by the bias of subjective validation. Key to the maturation of experienced real-world credibility includes the degree to which transformation has chosen a higher path of informed enlightenment. While everyone should labor to transcend their personal egoistic intentions, most will be unwilling to concede their self-interests. Unfortunately, arrogance contrives to make pseudoscience into a science.

For non-practitioners in the various schools of philosophy, particularly those who transferred from the classroom to the faculty room, and never set foot in the real world, the challenge of credible scientific validation remains daunting. So much so, that “field research” often passes on as anecdotal observations, interviews, surveys and speculations regarding other research. In the regurgitation of previous opinionated speculations, sometimes, a facade of “scientific” is attached to the inquiry. Sooner or later, others begin to accept the “scientific validation”.

The gamesmanship becomes even more pervasive as that public begins to accept ideological perspectives as “conclusive proof” of an unsubstantiated claim. While some investigators have tried to foster a round table discussion on issues of “real science” versus “pseudoscience”, as well as “peer review” versus critical analysis, the experience has been less than satisfactory. Particularly in the world of academia, where fantasy sometimes becomes a defensive theory, challenges to the pretentious allegory of fiction masquerading as fact, usually invites severe reaction.

To claim or otherwise perpetrate the illusion of a science, a particular school of thought, or ideology, etc., does little to promote problem solving in everyday matters of human behavior. While various doctrinal and dogmatic traditions assert a scientific basis, the reality is such that a claim of using “scientific methodology” is a shallow appeal the practicality. By the convolutions of magical thinking, it is a leap of faith from theory to evidentiary validation. And, in the 21st century, reflecting the words of one scientist, people may have forsaken the ability to distinguish between science and science fiction. Personal bias skews every point of view.

For the inclination to subjective validation, bias enters every query. Control of that predisposition by way of some effort at objectivity is vital to any investigation. Accordingly, this suggests the influence of the investigators personal beliefs. Attempts have been made to identify preconceived notions and their influence in relation to ideological partiality. Depending on the survey and the organization conducting the survey, results may vary to some degree. In this regard, one study of religious inclination by a major research agency, as pertains to a “belief in God”, suggested little of 80% of the participants believed in a “higher authority”.

That is to say, the majority claimed a belief in a divine being or supernatural entity that influences their lives. On an education basis, those with graduate degrees were reported to have a believability range of about 70%. Of course, the temptation here is to speculate on the influence of belief systems and the claim of “scientific methodology” among the pseudosciences. Where two thirds of educated persons believe in the supernatural, how does that impact objectivity?

The illusionary intricacy assumes many parts of the whole. Taking belief systems from “cultic”, or dogmatic sources, the comingling of presumptive errors compound the mythic proportions by which fallacies of inference transition to accepted hastily drawn conclusion. In collusion with multiple facetious claims, unsubstantiated by the organic rigors of physical evidence, whether microscopic or cosmic, viewpoints, opinions and gossipy flirtations mutate into grotesque forms of imaginative superstitions. In most controversies of argumentation and debate, as regards human behavior from a mental analysis, interactivity of interpersonal exchange should be cautiously anticipated.

One or more participants may not have achieved sufficient maturation.
To confront or otherwise interact in more profanely productive ways, a certain degree individualization is necessary. Bias, prejudice, immaturity, inexperience, lack of close contact with reality, and so on, stifle energetic intensity for enlightened liberation. As suggested in the forgoing, dogmatic and doctrinaire beliefs constrict visionary processes. This suggests probable generational rift, as younger generations may not have arrived at levels of competency strengthened by years of experience, education and personal transformation. Mature, adult, grownup and wiser insightfulness requires extraordinary investment of well-differentiated selflessness.

An example of the youthful indifference to adventurous discovery outside the monogamous constrictions of institutional conformity, comes in the form of limited and defensive perspectives. One aspect is easily attacking alternative points of views, such as the ease by which schools of thought in psychology quickly condescend the medical specialty of psychiatry. That is fascinating intrigue of extraordinary bias, especially considering the roots of psychology. Opinions are not evidence of extraordinary discovery for the complete explanation of human nature.

But of course, in mainstream American society, any conjecture can be accepted without question as scientific efficacy. Of which, the frauds perpetrate the worst afflictions over a weakened society. In a dumbed down culture, self-imposed of course, anything is believable. Plus, bias reflects the academic arrogance of fearful, self-absorbed, child-like infantile narcissism. In this, as for example within the collegiate communities, academia perpetrates the fantasy as fact, absent materiality of scientific proof. And yet, the hypocrisy runs rampant.

On the offensive, in a celebrity worship culture, any actor of famous characterization can pontificate on any social issues and be accepted as authorities. While free speech is one thing, and an opinion is good anyone else’s, expertise is quite an exception. Opinions, gossip and rumors are not evidence. To use one’s wealth, status and influence is not equitable.

Where bias clouds conjecture and otherwise influences conclusions, observational misinterpretation hazes over the reliability of personal perspective. All utterances should be suspected of cognitive bias, as eyewitness testimony is subjected to cross-examination. Yet, frequently, to leverage one’s apparent status of supposedly famous stature and notoriety, to espouse an opinion as though fact or scientific validation, is to use the force and effect of egoistic intimidation. It is insulting and abusive to presuppose one’s socio-economic political status is more relevant than some else. Power and privilege do not infer intelligence.

Such arrogant notions, as for example a Hollywood actor, blabbering about guns and school violence are essentially private opinions. Often such blathering are superficial for fame and personal promotion, and avoid any semblance of scientific or evidentiary authentication. Unsubstantiated speculations do more harm than good and serve to mislead others. In the use of wealth, pretense of authority, and presumed reputation, many frauds are perpetrated.

Given the nature of egregious fallacies of inference, public policy can be adversely affects, as politicians tend to be easy targets of pseudoscience. Such exhibitions of notoriety use the unfair advantage of material success to promote a particular economic or political agenda. Often the result is further erosion of any aspect of intellectual discourse to serve the greater good, or protect the general welfare of the republic. Too frequently, stupidity advances instead of wisdom. When the four horsemen enter the scene of societal interactivity, pseudoscience quickly becomes the imposter impersonating the reality of scientific validity. Fiction replaces fact.

A very quick admonition is to exercise a sense of healthy skepticism by common sense application of cynical analysis. People say and do what people say do because it’s what they desire to do. Claims, assertions and studies of any kind are to be carefully investigated by testing the data, insisting upon replication and ensuring scientific efficacy. At one of the inquiry is the immediate understanding that correlation cannot be confused with causation. Regardless, the intentional collusion is committed every day in the not so hallowed halls of academia.

In the non-science realm of philosophical speculation, anything is possible. Pseudoscience can easily concoct an explanation and assert a correlation as a causation. While comparing an apple and orange side by side, one can infer the relationship as examples of fruit. In terms of a distinctive differentiation, a dissimilar nature emerges. Nonetheless, many can easily conjure along a simplistic continuum claim a specificity of correlation to causation generalities. No matter what the facts may show, some will insist every apple is actually an orange.

Since the comparison of the fruit was conducted over a bushel or a basket or two, the observational bias, and the resulting survey assessment, extrapolate a very broad generalization. Given the fruit’s family tree, seasonal abnormalities, and agricultural inequities, it is easy to infer that all apples and oranges are exactly the same. In other words, one template fits all. After labeling one or more as “bad apples”, or “rotten oranges”, the diagnosis, or cultivation, transitions to a “cure”, which typically means a drug therapy, or pesticide to kill off the psychic contagion.

In the end, a question lingers in the haze of magical thinking, regardless of protestations and threats of retaliation for political correctness violations, and that is what does the scientific evidence show? Followed up by, what does the blood test, x-ray, ultra sound or other lab test reveal? Offenses are easily taken when serious speculation challenges viewpoints. However, when consensus, or by majority vote, a theoretical construct becomes a “diagnosis”, skepticism ought to fill the void in the empty spaces around the special conjecture.

The insightful inquisitor chases every element of claims said to be true to the exclusion of every other possibility. Unfortunately, in a devolving society, facts are easily circumvented for the satiation of the most convenient and simplistic explanation. Of which, conjecture is not really an explanation at all. Speculation as to the superficiality of an alleged “mental illness” issue is an opinion based on a theory. It is centuries old dogma exorcizing demons, or fortune telling masquerading as “criminal profiling”, or pseudoscience pretending to be science.

Doctrines of the supernatural are schemes of myth, magic and metaphysical suppositions, for which something called faith accepts undefinable phenomena. Faithfulness to an ideology does not insist upon the rigors of scientific validation. Meanwhile, in the hypocrisy of belief, if 80% of the population, including adherents of certain schools of “social studies”, believe in things supernatural, bias of speculation has been influenced before the fact.

So, bias influences conclusions about one thing or another, while observations of the biased inquirer has preconceived notions as to subsequent observations. In conjunction, designing a form of investigation, or model to be tested, in conjunction with predisposition aforethought, influences the outcome determined in the results. To this primordial mix, throw in “scientific sounding” jargon and anecdotal references similarly supportive, and a whole scheme of conjecture becomes believable. Now add a spiritual dimension, or occult symbolism, or doctrinaire admonition, and eventually the unsubstantiated claims will be accepted. By politicians, pundits and the public. Willful acceptance follows the easy path of simplistic acquiescence.

Easy trouble free receptivity does not provide the motivational basis of in-depth inquiry. To say that “it turns out that”, “it has been reported that”, or “it is assumed that”, and so on, does not substantiate anything. In fact, to the contrary, immediate challenge should be issued. Any and all claims are to be vigorously tested, debated and questioned. Alleged data ought to receive critical analysis, while opinion, rumor and gossip are never to be accepted without thorough investigation. Likewise, jargon, labeling, and so-called diagnoses from a philosophical viewpoint are to be questioned without hesitance. Included in this inquisition is any pretentiousness relative to anecdotal claims of supposed credibility. Similarly, faith proves nothing.

Motive, means and opportunity is an illusion. This typical “crime solving” rubric sounds nice in a movie or television drama. The public finds this sort of simplicity easy to digest. However, it is misleading. At best, a starting point. Nonetheless, such a perspective can be misleading and counterproductive. In a classical criminological spectrum, such admonitions by an inquirer are meaningless unless evidentiary substantiation suffices the authenticity of scientific validation. Every critical analysis invites the provocation as to whether or not an issue can be elevated to a scientific sufficiency by matters of reliable proof of technical authentication.

Absent serious evidentiary verification, credible legitimacy and substantive multifaceted verification, supposition based on opinion remains insufficient. As research comes in many forms, and data often manipulated to ensure subjective validation, intense scrutiny of any claim is essential. Otherwise, conjecture, assumption, inference, and so forth, are speculative points of interests that demand deeper investigation. To the reference of motive, means and opportunity, yes, fiction writers are fond of any phrase redundantly torturing one cliché after another.

Outside the hardcore sciences of forensic analysis, the “soft sciences”, “social studies, or more adversely the pseudosciences, perpetuate grievous fallacies of inference that render an assortment of hasty generalizations. Especially in detective fiction, movies, television, etc., the repetitive nature of fallacies of inference unfortunately carry over into the real world. Unfortunately, people will believe anything. Faulty conclusions, lazily drawn through the zeal of immediate gratification for a definitive “singular theory”, erroneously pontificated upon cognitive bias, results in unsubstantiated conjecture. This sets the stage of divisive social policy and hastens the eventual demise of the human species. That point relates to the regressive inclinations of human devolution. In a world losing the imaginative edge of innovation, the decay of analytic insight, and the loss of rational methodology, self-serving infantilism invites a dystopic set of consequences.

Observing post-election vehemence in the grotesque rhetoric of condescension is but one example of a regressively adversarial trend in the American society. An entitled sense of retaliation for perceived claim of “victimization”, irrationally justifies a “get even” mentality. Selfishness, the grand scheme of personal enrichment, easily allows the seduction to any mythic or supernatural means to exert power, control and domination over others. From the standpoint of personal belief systems, influenced by ideological extremes of one form or another, the baseless claims of over-simplification justifies egregious fallacies of inference clinging to hasty generalizations.

Lacking the backbone, expressing cowardice in avoiding courageous actions toward wiser ascension, and degrading the freedom of individuality, the social mainstream exhibits an illicit collective consensus that conspires to stifle mature growth. In the process of perpetual putdowns toward another perspective because they disagree, expresses the erosion of the free exercise of competitive ideations. Maturation to higher states of mental and physical individuality demands fortitude beyond the normal routine of daily interactivity.

In addition, such evolving transformation bears the signpost of pointing in the direction of an attendant possibility toward a more probable outcome of higher self-realization. Across the superficiality of social media and “opinionated” news reporting, the shallowness of bloated “mindless” conceit wallows in the shortsighted inebriation of degrading arrogance. As such, anti-thinking pervades the array of communal connections with a range of nonsensical notions for the sake of emotional reactivity. In support of the status quo consensus of myriad small-minded illusions, meaningful levels of rational understanding stifle the elevation of society.

As alleged in one major publication, representing one of the four horsemen (criminology, psychology, sociology and theology), an author for the “psyche” realm accuses religion as being representative of faulty reasoning that leads to magical thinking. In so doing, the claimant suggests gross errors of “cognitive bias” in the spheres of religiosity and the paranormal. The argument proposed is that such things are the result of wishful thinking not scientific validation.

Such is a fascinating notion emanating from field closely allied to the psychological aspects within the arena of “social studies”. But wait, one could offer by contrast that the “four horsemen” are very closely related in that real science is not a strong element in their entrenched domains. All such accusations, claims and ideological perspectives devolve to speculations based on philosophical biases. Hope springs eternal in the non-reality of subjective validation and ensuring consistent patterns of simplistic conjecture. As such, the status quo remains secure.

Investing Money in 2014 and 2015 for Retirement – An Old Pro’s Viewpoint

In 2014 and maybe 2015 and beyond, investing money will be tougher and putting together the best investment portfolio might mean investing money for safety vs. higher investment returns. The best investment ideas are slim pickings. There is very little that is normal in today’s world of finance. My reasoning and background follows.

In 1971 I had my Masters in Business (finance) and knew nothing about the investment world or investing money. Actually, I found it quite embarrassing, because adults that I would meet in the business world thought that I might have the best investment ideas in my pocket – due to my education. The years that followed were not the best investment environment, and I became a stock broker in Columbus, Ohio in 1972. I learned real quick what my job was really all about: selling investment ideas… SELL the sizzle NOT the steak… I was informed by my sales manager.

Forty years later, investing money is a game that I find has changed little. It’s all but impossible to find the best investment, and the world of investing money is primarily a sales game aimed at uninformed investors (more than 90% of the investing public). I once read that NOW is always the hardest time to invest money. I’ve seen difficult times in the markets for over 40 years and I’ve NEVER repeated that phrase until now.

At this time, I am afraid that it is really true. Allison and I have three children, who are all basically 30-something and trying to make it in a difficult world. Investing money for retirement is not an option for them. It is an absolute necessity if they don’t want to work for the rest of their life. Many folks my age are covered by pension funds plus other entitlements, but that’s not the norm for 2014 and beyond. Now, let’s get down to business and talk about investing money in 2014 and beyond; and the best investment ideas I can muster as an older (but still on top of my game) retired financial planner.

If you have a 401k at work participate in it, and take maximum advantage of your employer’s matching contribution if your company offers this feature (it’s free money). Investing money here is automatic and almost painless. This is one of the best investment ideas available for accumulating a nest egg for retirement. Plus, the tax advantages will put a smile on your face each year at income-tax time.

Open a Roth IRA with a major NO-LOAD mutual fund family and start investing money each month through their automatic investment plan. Enter “no-load funds” into a search engine and you’ll see some of the biggest and best fund companies at the top of the page, names like Vanguard, Fidelity and T Rowe Price. Give them a toll-free call if you have questions – like do you qualify, how much can you invest a year, and will they send you free literature. A Roth IRA (or Roth 401k if available) is one of the very best investment ideas for accumulating money for retirement. A Roth account (IRA or 401k) is TAX FREE investing, as long as you follow the rules. Tax free is as good as it gets and difficult to find.

Mutual funds are the average investor’s best investment vehicle because they offer both professional management and instant diversification in the form of a managed portfolio of stocks, bonds, and money market securities. When you invest money in a fund, you own a very small part of (own shares in) a very large investment portfolio. There is always a cost for investing money in funds. All funds charge for yearly expenses. This can amount to less than 1% a year in NO-LOAD FUNDS, with no sales charges when you invest money and no extra ongoing management fees. Or, you can pay 5% in sales charges off the top when you invest money, 2% or more for yearly expenses and 1% to 2% in additional management fees if you work through a sales rep (financial planner, adviser, or whatever).

One of the best investment ideas for 2014, 2015 and beyond: keep your cost of investing money as low as possible. This could make a difference of tens of thousands of dollars over the long term. A dollar saved is a dollar earned.

Do all that you can to learn about investing money; and especially learn about stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. Once you understand stocks and bonds, getting a handle on mutual funds is a piece of cake. What are the investment options inside your employer’s 401k plan? The vast majority of them are likely mutual funds – mostly stock funds, bond funds, and/or balanced funds (that invest in both stocks and bonds). There will likely also be one or two safe investment options that pay interest: a money market funds and/or a stable account.

Investing money successfully in 2014 and beyond could be very difficult due to today’s investment environment. First, record low interest rates mean that safe investments that pay interest are paying close to nothing. Second, bonds and bond funds pay more interest, but when interest rates go back up to normal levels they WILL LOSE money; that’s the way bonds and bond funds work. Third, stocks and stock funds are pricy, having gone up in value and price well over 100% since 2009. In other words, best investment ideas are few and far between.

Here’s the best investment strategy in 2014 and beyond for beginners who want to start investing money for retirement and keep it simple. In a 401k and/or Roth IRA account invest (monthly or each payday) equal amounts into a stock fund, bond fund, and money market fund. If your 401k has a stable account option use this instead of the money market fund if it pays more interest.

Mutual funds are always one of the best investment ideas for most investors – if you invest money in low-cost no-load funds. (Your 401k plan should have no loads, sales charges). When investing money for retirement in 2014 and 2015 keep three factors in mind. Two of these always apply: keep costs low and invest money across the board in all three fund types listed above. Your third factor is to give money market funds equal weight in 2014 and beyond for added safety. Normally, you would give them less weighting.

Different Types of Farm And Agricultural Machinery

As the population of the country grows the demand for food and organic products also increases. The farmers and farm land owners have to work hard to produce more products so that they meet the increased demands. In recent times technology has led the way and transformed the way agricultural activities are performed. There are different types of farm and agricultural machines which can now be used by farmers. Although they are expensive, they can really help a lot in improving efficiencies and increasing produce. Some of the different types of machines are described below.

Tractor

This is the most commonly used equipment in the farm. A tractor pulls heavy objects and supplies needed in the production. It has two large wheels at the back and two small wheels in front. Today tractors are more modernized. They have comfortable seats, durable wheels and body and temperature control.

Cultivator

Before planting, the soil should be cultivated by stirring and pulverizing. This is to aerate the soil. Like the tractor, this machine also has two big wheels at the back and two small wheels in front. It also has shanks or teeth which will cultivate the soil once the machine is operational.

Broadcast seeder

It is a machine that is attached to the tractor so that the seed will be distributed all over the land. The seeds are located in a hopper which has multiple blades inside. Rotating disks are also located so that you can spread the seeds in different patterns.

Harvester

When the plants are already ready to be harvested, a harvester is used. All kinds of grains can be collected by a harvester. It performs three different roles. It can chop the plants, remove the finished product and clean the debris from the product.

Sprayer

Plants are prone to pest infestation. You need to protect them by regularly applying pesticides. You can only do this when you have a sprayer. It facilitates the work especially if your land is wide. You can also use the self- propelled row-crop sprayer which has four wheels. The sprayer is usually found at the back of this equipment.

With these different types of farm and agricultural machinery, farmers have been able to produce a higher quantity of products at a lesser cost. They have proved to be a boon to the farmers. In some locations, farmers may also be able to secure bank loans to purchase such equipment.

What Is an Investment?

One of the reasons many people fail, even very woefully, in the game of investing is that they play it without understanding the rules that regulate it. It is an obvious truth that you cannot win a game if you violate its rules. However, you must know the rules before you will be able to avoid violating them. Another reason people fail in investing is that they play the game without understanding what it is all about. This is why it is important to unmask the meaning of the term, ‘investment’. What is an investment? An investment is an income-generating valuable. It is very important that you take note of every word in the definition because they are important in understanding the real meaning of investment.

From the definition above, there are two key features of an investment. Every possession, belonging or property (of yours) must satisfy both conditions before it can qualify to become (or be called) an investment. Otherwise, it will be something other than an investment. The first feature of an investment is that it is a valuable – something that is very useful or important. Hence, any possession, belonging or property (of yours) that has no value is not, and cannot be, an investment. By the standard of this definition, a worthless, useless or insignificant possession, belonging or property is not an investment. Every investment has value that can be quantified monetarily. In other words, every investment has a monetary worth.

The second feature of an investment is that, in addition to being a valuable, it must be income-generating. This means that it must be able to make money for the owner, or at least, help the owner in the money-making process. Every investment has wealth-creating capacity, obligation, responsibility and function. This is an inalienable feature of an investment. Any possession, belonging or property that cannot generate income for the owner, or at least help the owner in generating income, is not, and cannot be, an investment, irrespective of how valuable or precious it may be. In addition, any belonging that cannot play any of these financial roles is not an investment, irrespective of how expensive or costly it may be.

There is another feature of an investment that is very closely related to the second feature described above which you should be very mindful of. This will also help you realise if a valuable is an investment or not. An investment that does not generate money in the strict sense, or help in generating income, saves money. Such an investment saves the owner from some expenses he would have been making in its absence, though it may lack the capacity to attract some money to the pocket of the investor. By so doing, the investment generates money for the owner, though not in the strict sense. In other words, the investment still performs a wealth-creating function for the owner/investor.

As a rule, every valuable, in addition to being something that is very useful and important, must have the capacity to generate income for the owner, or save money for him, before it can qualify to be called an investment. It is very important to emphasize the second feature of an investment (i.e. an investment as being income-generating). The reason for this claim is that most people consider only the first feature in their judgments on what constitutes an investment. They understand an investment simply as a valuable, even if the valuable is income-devouring. Such a misconception usually has serious long-term financial consequences. Such people often make costly financial mistakes that cost them fortunes in life.

Perhaps, one of the causes of this misconception is that it is acceptable in the academic world. In financial studies in conventional educational institutions and academic publications, investments – otherwise called assets – refer to valuables or properties. This is why business organisations regard all their valuables and properties as their assets, even if they do not generate any income for them. This notion of investment is unacceptable among financially literate people because it is not only incorrect, but also misleading and deceptive. This is why some organisations ignorantly consider their liabilities as their assets. This is also why some people also consider their liabilities as their assets/investments.

It is a pity that many people, especially financially ignorant people, consider valuables that consume their incomes, but do not generate any income for them, as investments. Such people record their income-consuming valuables on the list of their investments. People who do so are financial illiterates. This is why they have no future in their finances. What financially literate people describe as income-consuming valuables are considered as investments by financial illiterates. This shows a difference in perception, reasoning and mindset between financially literate people and financially illiterate and ignorant people. This is why financially literate people have future in their finances while financial illiterates do not.

From the definition above, the first thing you should consider in investing is, “How valuable is what you want to acquire with your money as an investment?” The higher the value, all things being equal, the better the investment (though the higher the cost of the acquisition will likely be). The second factor is, “How much can it generate for you?” If it is a valuable but non income-generating, then it is not (and cannot be) an investment, needless to say that it cannot be income-generating if it is not a valuable. Hence, if you cannot answer both questions in the affirmative, then what you are doing cannot be investing and what you are acquiring cannot be an investment. At best, you may be acquiring a liability.

Working In Agriculture

A wide variety of agriculture jobs exist, ranging from hands-on field work to complex positions in agricultural engineering. Specific job categories include agribusiness, agricultural inspection, agriscience, and farm work. Some positions are learned on the job, while others will require a college degree and specialized training.

Agriculture jobs in the business sector involve working with companies that grow and sell crops and livestock. The distribution, buying, and trading of produce may be supervised. The work typically includes marketing, price analysis, drafting contracts, and farm management. Most of these positions will require a four-year degree or higher, as well as good communication and people skills.

Agricultural inspectors often work for government offices that establish and enforce health and safety regulations regarding the food supply. These inspectors make sure that farms and processing plants are following the proper procedures where food safety is concerned. This usually involves testing livestock for harmful diseases and inspecting food for dangerous microbes and other contaminants.

An agricultural scientist works to improve the quality and safety of both farm animals and crops. These positions are often found in universities and research labs. The agricultural jobs may include improving farm equipment technology to increase the quantity and quality of goods, finding cures for diseases that affect livestock and crops, and discovering more effective methods of pest control. A strong background in science, math, and engineering is necessary for this position.

Farming was likely the very first agriculture job; in addition to crops and livestock, it may also involve specialized animal breeding. To ensure healthy crops, the art of plowing, planting, and fertilization must be learned for each crop type. The responsible use of pesticides is also important, as well as the routine maintenance of facilities and equipment. A production manager may be employed to oversee progress, while also finding ways to increase production using less time and money. Many farm positions are seasonal, employing extra workers during certain months to pick fruits and vegetables.

Animal breeders must be well educated in animal health and genetics. They must know the proper foods to feed an animal for ensuring healthy offspring, and will study the various traits of different animals to determine the best breeding specimens. Breeders will often use artificial insemination and must therefore understand how the procedure works.

Best Investment Ideas and Best Safe Investments for 2012

Here we list some of the best investment ideas and tackle the challenge of finding the best safe investments for 2012. What might appear to be one of the best investment ideas to the uninformed could turn out to be one of the worst.

Looking at the big picture for investment ideas in 2012, moderation in asset allocation and a balanced investment portfolio will be the most basic key to success. There are 4 asset classes, and average investors need to spread their money across at least the first three to keep their overall portfolio risk moderate. The 4 categories in asset allocation are: safe investments, bonds, stocks and alternative investments like gold and real estate (optional). Asset allocation can be simplified, because there are mutual funds available to average investors that represent each of the 4 asset classes. Now let’s get more specific about the best investment ideas for 2012 starting with safe investments.

Safe investments earn interest and do not fluctuate in price. You will need to look outside of mutual funds in 2012 to find the best safe investments because record low interest rates have taken yields on money market securities (and hence money market funds) down to just about zero. One of the best investment ideas if you have an account with a discount broker or major mutual fund company is to shop for one-year CDs paying higher rates if you can’t get competitive rates from your local bank. Do not tie your money up for longer periods just to earn a little more interest. One of these days interest rates will go back up and you will be locked in at a lower rate and face penalty charges if you cash in early.

Finding the best safe investments will be truly challenging in 2012, but here are some more investment ideas. If you are in a retirement plan like a 401k that has a fixed or stable account option do not overlook it. You can often get a much higher interest rate there (maybe 4% to 5%) than anywhere else outside of your retirement plan. If you own an older retirement annuity or universal life insurance policy, it might have a fixed account you can add money to that is guaranteed to never pay less than 3% or 4%. Remember, truly safe investments like U.S. Treasury bills and bank money market and savings accounts are paying WAY LESS than 1%!

Over the past 30 years bonds and bond funds have become a favorite with investors because they have been consistent performers and returned on average about 10% per year… basically about equal to what stocks have returned, but with considerably less risk. Many investors have fallen in love with their bonds funds and consider them to be among the world’s best safe investments. Bond funds are NOT safe investments. They have performed well since 1981 (when interest rates and inflation were at record highs) for one primary reason. Both inflation and interest rates have been falling for 30 years, which has sent bond prices higher. Loading up on bond funds now is NOT one of the best investment ideas for 2012. In fact, it is one of the worst investment ideas.

When interest rates and/or inflation turn around and head upward bond funds, especially those that hold long-term bond issues, will be losers. That’s how bonds work. One of the very best investment ideas for 2012 is to sell your long-term bond funds if you own any, and switch to funds holding bonds with average maturities of about five years. These are called intermediate-term bond funds; and average investors should have some money invested here as part of their asset allocation strategy to add balance to their investment portfolio. These are not truly safe investments, but they are much safer than long-term funds.

My best investment ideas in the stock department focus on stock funds. Do not go heavily into the more aggressive funds that invest primarily in growth and/or small company stocks. These pay little if anything in dividend income and tend to be more risky and volatile than the average stock fund. Go with funds that invest in high quality large-company stocks with excellent dividend paying histories. Look for funds that are paying 2% or more in dividends. One of the best investment ideas for 2012 and beyond: invest in no-load funds with low yearly expenses. No-load means no sales charges, and low expenses mean higher net returns to the investor.

Alternative investments include the likes of real estate, gold and other precious metals, natural resources, commodities, foreign investments and so on. One of the best investment ideas for managing a truly balanced investment portfolio is to include this fourth asset class as well. The simplest way for the average investor to add these alternatives to their portfolio is with mutual funds that specialize in these areas or sectors. My best investment ideas here: don’t go heavily into any one area, and don’t chase after a sector (like gold) just because it’s hot. Real estate and natural resources funds would be my picks as two of the best investment ideas in the alternative investments asset class.

Moderation and diversification across the asset classes will be the key to asset allocation in 2012. I have also listed some specific best investment ideas for keeping the average investor in the game and out of serious trouble should the investment scene turn ugly. Above all else memorize this: long-term bond funds are not among the best safe investments for 2012. They are not safe investments, period.

Reducing High Blood Pressure With Vitamins – Four Nutrients That Will Save Your Life

In addition to prescribed medications, it is extremely beneficial to incorporate home remedies to lower your blood pressure. Hypertension is significantly dangerous and potentially life threatening. Consequently, anyone suffering from the disease would be encouraged to research information about reducing high blood pressure with vitamins. Medical research and studies conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) indicates that certain vitamins are guaranteed to lower your blood pressure.

Eating right comes easy by choosing a good diet which is essential for people with Hypertension. The dietary guidelines recommended by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and of the Health and Human Services combat the factors that are associated with high blood pressure. The goal is to minimize the unhealthy lifestyle habits that are harmful to your health and may shorten your life. Here is a productive list of USDA approved vitamin supplements that are effective against high blood pressure.

Potassium: This is a vitamin that is proven to help prevent and control high blood pressure. Be sure to eat foods that pertain plenty of Potassium. Foods that are a good source for potassium are fruits, vegetables, dairy foods and fish. Specific foods are apricots, bananas, beets, oranges, prunes, milk- fat free or skim, baked potato (flesh &skin), cooked spinach, fish and winter squash.

Calcium: This vitamin/minerals supplement is a powerful blood pressure lowering element. It is an important nutrient for overall good health. It is recommended that you take one gram of elemental calcium daily. Foods that are a good source of calcium are dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese. To maintain a healthy body weight, however, be sure to consume skim or lowfat varieties. Foods that are high in calcium include raw broccoli, salmon, cooked turnip greens and tofu.

Magnesium: Magnesium deficiency could be potentially dangerous for those suffering from Hypertension. As a matter-of-fact, the vitamin level is extremely low in the Hypertension patients. Therefore, it is recommended that you eat plenty of foods that contain this nutrient. It is possible to take a daily supplement of 400mg daily. Recommended food source for magnesium is beans, okra, broccoli, spinach, croaker and nuts/seeds.

Vitamin C: This nutritional supplement is important for controlling elevated blood pressure. If the serum level of Vitamin C is low, the blood pressure rises. It is not yet determined, however, if this is a result of dietary habits or a direct effect of the Hypertension.

The key to reducing high blood pressure with vitamins is to eat a variety of foods that actually supply the nutrients, fiber and vitamins that is indeed required to reduce elevated pressure. Fundamentally, you should apply a basic vitamin or mineral formula to your diet and supplement it with nutritional supplements daily.

Four Interesting Facts About Frozen Food That You May Want to Know

In today’s world, only a very small percentage of people grow their own food. Indeed, in some parts of the world, less than 5% of all people are involved in agriculture. And even for those who are involved in agriculture, it is highly unlikely that they would be in a position to grow all the foods they need. In most cases then, people end up consuming foods produced very far away from where they are. And to ensure that the food doesn’t end up being spoilt on the way, between where it is produced and where it is consumed, it becomes necessary to preserve it, through among other methods, freezing – so that we end up with frozen food.

Here, then, are five interesting facts about frozen foods that you may want to know.

1. That frozen food is not a new concept. Many of us imagine that freezing of food became a possibility with the invention of the refrigerator. Nothing could be further from the truth, because for thousands of years before the invention of the machine we know as the refrigerator, people had been consuming food that was frozen. It was one of the ways through which people in the parts of the world beset with long winters could store the food they needed to take them through the season. Of course, refrigeration (as we know it today) is a fairly young concept; originating from the 1930s – making it less than a century old.

2. That frozen food is typically poorer in some nutrients than unfrozen food. It has been observed that a considerable portion of certain nutrients, especially vitamin C and carotene get damaged during the freezing process, so that frozen food is poorer in these nutrients than food that is not frozen. Vitamin B1 and B2 are other nutrients that may also get lost during the freezing process.

3. You may want to know that frozen food is healthier than food that is preserved through the use many other methods (for instance preservatives), the loss of some nutrients that takes place during freezing notwithstanding. The idea behind using preservatives is to keep food from being invaded by micro-organisms. But freezing achieves the same objective, so that frozen food doesn’t have to be laden with preservatives. In the final analysis, the likely harm from use of some preservatives is much worse than the loss of nutritional value that freezing causes; for this loss of nutritional value is something that can be made up for.

4. That frozen food, contrary to what many of us imagine, doesn’t have to be tasteless. Sure, freezing food can cause some loss of delicacy. But if you make use of a stabilizer when putting the food into the freezer, you can conserve the taste of that food, so that it tastes ‘natural’ when it is finally taken out of the freezer for consumption.

The Best Investment Portfolio for 2014 and Beyond

If you have an investment portfolio (like in a 401k plan) take a good look at it, because it might not really be the best investment portfolio for 2014 and beyond. If you are a new investor, don’t start investing money until you are familiar with the best funds to include in your portfolio in 2014.

Your investment portfolio is simply a list showing where your money is, and for most average investors consists primarily of mutual funds: stock funds, bond funds and money market funds. Here we discuss the best funds and asset allocation to achieve the best investment portfolio in the event that 2014 and beyond becomes a tough environment for investors. You may need to make changes in your existing portfolio; and you should also be aware of the following as a new investor before you start investing money.

As an investor you should receive statements periodically which show you where your money is. The problem is that many investors do not give these statements, which clearly show you your asset allocation and your investment portfolio, the attention they deserve. That can be a problem. For example, if you had 50% of your portfolio allocated to stock funds in early 2009, you could have two-thirds of your money in these funds now. If the stock market takes a big hit, you stand to take a big loss. Let’s take a look at stock funds and the best funds for investing money there first.

The stock market and many diversified stock funds have gone UP in value about 150% in less than 5 years, and numerous financial analysts expect a correction (stock prices to go DOWN) in 2014. If your investment portfolio shows that more than half of your assets are invested in stock funds consider cutting back to 50% or less. If you are a new investor ready to start investing, allocate no more than 50% to diversified stock funds. The best funds: those that invest in high quality, dividend paying stocks vs. growth funds that pay little in the form of dividends. This is your first step in putting together the best investment portfolio for 2014, because it cuts your potential losses.

The best investment portfolio also includes bond funds, which have been good solid investments for over 30 years. Why? Interest rates have been falling, which sends bond prices and bond fund values higher. Problem: interest rates have hit all-time lows and appear to be heading higher. Higher interest rates create losses for bond fund investors. Many investors have an investment portfolio loaded with bond funds and are totally unaware of the risk involved if rates go up. If you are getting ready to start investing money you need to know this as well. When interest rates go UP, bonds and bond fund values go DOWN. That’s about the only iron-clad rule in the investment world.

Allocate no more than 25% to 30% of your total investment portfolio to bond funds to cut your risk. The best bond funds are categorized as intermediate-term funds, where the investment portfolio of the fund invests in bonds that mature (on average) in 5 to 10 years. These are the best funds now because they pay a respectable dividend with only moderate risk. The worst funds to hold now: long-term funds that hold bonds maturing (on average) in 15, 20 years or more. When you review your investment portfolio, get rid of these because they will be big losers if (when) interest rates shoot upward. New investors who want to start investing money: avoid them and allocate about 25% of your money to intermediate-term bond funds to avoid heavy risk.

Sometimes the best investment portfolio is loaded with aggressive stock funds and includes longer-term bond funds. Now, looking at 2014 and beyond, is probably not one of those times. For many years now losses in stock funds have been offset by gains in bond funds. Today the problem for investors is that even the best funds of both varieties could get hit if the economy falters and interest rates rise significantly. That makes investing money today a real challenge… one that few investors are prepared for.

So, let’s say that you start investing money with less than 50% going to the best funds in the stock department and about 25% allocated to the best funds in the bond universe… or you adjust your existing investment portfolio to these levels… where do you invest the rest of it? Even though interest rates are still historically low, you bite the bullet and invest it for safety to earn interest. In a 401k plan your best safe investment is likely the stable account, if your plan has one. Otherwise, the best fund for safety is a money market fund (even though they presently pay almost no interest). When rates go up, they should pay more. Or you can shop the banks for the best rates on short-term CDs, or savings accounts.

I expect that 2014 and beyond will be a challenging time to start investing money or to manage an existing investment portfolio. On the other hand, now you should have a handle on the best funds to consider when putting together the best investment portfolio possible. Remember, you must stay in the game in order to get ahead over the long term; but sometimes moderation is your best course of action.

Manufacturers of Tracked and Wheeled Agricultural Tractors

Farming would never be easy if the agricultural and farm tractors today stayed in the drawing boards. Transferring heavy sacks of fertilizers, grains, and other farming equipment made the workload light for farmers when the tracked and wheeled agricultural tractors were introduced. These tractors were also designed to have a variety of attachments for sowing, plowing, and planting. Agricultural tractor dimensions vary in order to be able to carry these additional farming technologies.

Manufacturers of agricultural tractors have considered the importance of different farming attachments that they developed a wide range of tractor choices. The New Holland Agriculture of Pennsylvania, the AGCO Corporation of New York, and John Deere and Company of Illinois continue to design and manufacture a series of models with different agricultural tractor dimensions.

New Holland has developed six models for the T9 Series 4WD – TIER4A Tractors. Each articulated tractor runs on engines of up to 507 horsepower. The agricultural tractor dimensions vary from one tractor to another. With 20.8 R 42 tires, tractors in the series have a maximum height range of 144.2 inches (3663 millimeters) to 148.5 inches (3772 mm.). The smallest tractor in the series has an overall length of 295 inches (7493 millimeters), while the largest stretches to 300 inches (7615 mm.). The smallest of the six models has an outside frame width of 36.5 inches (929 mm.), while the largest has 44 inches (1116 mm.). The wheelbase for the smallest is 148 inches (3759 mm.) and 154 inches (3911 millimeters) for the largest. The maximum operating weight for the series ranges from 42,000 pounds (19051 kilograms) to 56,000 lbs. (24,494 kg.).

The Pennsylvania manufacturer also has the TK4000 Series Crawler Tractors. The agricultural tractor dimensions for this series also varies. The TK4030V, the most slim of the four models, has a width of 46.1 inches. TK4050 has a 55.5-inch width, while the low height TK4050M has an overall width of 68.9 inches. The TK4030V delivers 64 PTO horsepower while the other two models deliver 83 PTO horsepower. The maximum length for the models in the series ranges from 130 inches (3352 millimeters) to 135 inches (3431 mm.). The range of the height from the wheel to the top of the seat is 50.3 inches (1278 mm.) to 56.3 inches (1431 mm.). The maximum height to the top of the rollbar is from 87.0 inches (2210 millimeters) to 91.5 inches (2326 mm.).

Likewise, the AGCO has manufactured agricultural tractors under the core brands of Challenger, Fendt, Massey Ferguson and Valtra. The most interesting among the more than 100 models can be found in the Challenger MT800C Special Application series. All four tracked models in the series were designed with ultra-hard wearing polyurethane mid-wheels and full-length debris deflector. The agricultural tractor dimensions in the series are not too high for the 430 to 570 rated horsepower of the engines.

Finally, John Deere also offers tracked and wheeled tractors in its 2011 8R/8RT Models. The 8335RT Tractor is the largest of the 10 models. It has a wheelbase of 99 inches (2515 millimeters). It runs on a 335 horsepower engine. The agricultural tractor dimensions in terms of width and height are stable. The overall width from axle end to end is 134.6 inches (3420 mm.), but the width expands to 174.6 inches (4435 millimeters) with the wide axle kit installed. The command view height is 131.3 inches (3334 millimeters). The length is dependent on the attachment. With the hitch, drawbar, and front weight support (excluding front suitcase weights) the length ranges from 253.1 inches (6428.4 mm.) to 256.5 inches (6514.2 millimeters). With the hitch, drawbar, front weight support, and front suitcase weights, the length ranges from 267.5 inches (6795.4 millimeters) to 270.9 inches (6881.2 millimeters).