Advocate Information Highway Magazine
1) The Advocacy Daily: What Causes Depression and What’s the Best Natural Treatment for Depression?
It seems that depression is in the headlines more and more these days. The World Health Organization says that there are over 300 million people in the world who have been struggling with depression. That’s an 18% increase between 2005 and 2015. And this makes people out there search the world wide web think: what’s the best treatment for depression? We would often hear about famous people who are or have been struggling with depression. Celebrities such as Beyonce, Adele, Dolly Parton, and Brooke Shields have opened up about their battle with depression. And they all described their experience as something that brought them pain, trauma, and shame. Fortunately, most have finally recovered from it. Others are not so lucky. Perhaps we have heard about people with severe depression resorting to suicide. And yes, even the most successful, talented individuals cannot escape. Take for example “successful” personalities like Kurt Cobain or Marilyn Monroe. Even the funniest guy in the world, Robin Williams, can fall victim. But yes, it happens. However, despite the number of people who have been affected by it as well as the alarming increase every year, most people choose to ignore or not seek medical help. Why? Because of the stigma attached to depression. What is the stigma attached to depression? Lewis Wolpert, a depression patient himself, wrote a paper called “Stigma of Depression – A Personal View” which was published in British Medical Bulletin. And he wrote: “Depression is a serious illness of which I and other patients should not be ashamed but this is hard to avoid. The stigma of depression is different from that of other mental illnesses and largely due to the negative nature of the illness that makes depressives seem unattractive and unreliable. Self stigmatisation makes patients shameful and secretive and can prevent proper treatment. “Stigma may also cause somatic symptoms as it is more acceptable to talk of stomach ache and fatigue than mental problems. A major contributing factor is that depression for those who have not had it is very hard to understand and so can be seen as a sign of weakness. Openness by depressives and education in schools could help.” Indeed this stigma is alive even today when most people have become more open to talking about mental illness. If you are someone who has been through depression, you will probably agree that sometimes, it is more convenient to just hide your depression and pretend that everything’s okay. Why? Because people who haven’t experienced depression cannot really understand what’s going on with a depressed individual. When you’re outside looking in, it is really hard to comprehend depression and its effects. That’s why people who haven’t experienced depression would often say, “That person is just weak.” Or “His mental capacity simply cannot handle life.” What can be done to reduce the stigma of depression? According to Wolpert, there is no easy way to reduce the stigma of depression. He even admits that acutely ill depressives are not attractive company. But he said spreading awareness about this disease can be the key: “Perhaps the most important aim would be to publicise just how wide-spread depression is and that it is a serious illness. Most important is that it can be cured. It could help a great deal if those individuals with depression who are well known public figures were to support such a campaign.” And we agree to this. Public figures can surely help spread awareness. Read our article on Celebrities Who Have Become Mental Health Advocates. What is Depression? If you are a person suffering from depression, it is very important to understand that what you’re going through is not something you’re experiencing because you’re weak. Instead, it is a mental health issue which definitely has a cure. If you haven’t experienced depression, understanding depression and anxiety is your first step, you will need to understand before you will know how to help those people who are struggling with depression. WebMD listed signs of clinical depression. And this can include: Trouble concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions Fatigue Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and helplessness Pessimism and hopelessness Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or sleeping too much Irritability Restlessness Loss of interest in things once pleasurable, including sex Overeating, or appetite loss Aches, pains, headaches, or cramps that won’t go away Digestive problems that don’t get better, even with treatment Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings Suicidal thoughts or attempts What Causes Depression? For a long time, doctors have told us that the cause of depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain. It has been advertised that depression occurs when the happy chemical called serotonin is absent and that depression can be cured by taking a prescription drug or antidepressant … the most popular ones being Prozac and Zoloft. And most Americans who have struggled with depression have done just that. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in 10 Americans aged 12 and over take antidepressant medication. Females are more likely to take antidepressants than males. However, recent studies are pointing to a new direction especially that according to recent studies, antidepressants don’t work most of the time. This is supported by a 2009 review article by psychiatrist, Michael Gaitlin of the University of California, Los Angeles, as cited in Scientific American, which reported that one-third of people who are taking antidepressants are NOT showing any signs of improvement. A significant number, though, somehow got a little better in the short term after taking anti-depressants but still remain depressed. And this means one thing: “If antidepressants correct a chemical imbalance that underlies depression, all or most depressed people should get better after taking them. That they do not suggests that we have only barely begun to understand the disorder at a molecular level.” Matthew J. Edlund M.D. wrote in Psychology Today: “Depression is a systemic, whole body illness — its causes are multiple, its manifestions endless, and its treatment multi-faceted. As Jonathan Himmelhoch and others have argued, depression represents an overall failure of the human body to adapt.” Similarly, Dr. Kelly Brogan, a holistic psychiatrist says that depression is often “an inflammatory condition, a manifestation of irregularities in the body that can start far away from the brain and are not associated with the simplistic model of so-called ‘chemical imbalances’.” What’s more, she says that depression is an opportunity. “It is a sign for us to stop and figure out what’s causing our imbalance.” Scientific American agrees with this concept. It suggests considering other non-chemical leads as a form of treatment for depression. These are probably the best treatment for depression. Since antidepressants are not working as best as they ought to be, here are some of the best natural treatments for depression according to Psychology Today and WebMD: Get into a routine When you’re depressed, you’ll have a tendency to lose the structure in your life and therefore, you will feel lost or mixed up. Establishing a daily routine by scheduling your activities daily will somehow help you go back on track. Get enough sleep Lack of sleep can worsen your depression, so try to get as much sleep as your body normally requires. If you find it hard to sleep, perhaps you want to consider changing your lifestyle. Set goals When you’re depressed, negativity can eat you up and make you feel like you won’t be able to accomplish anything. What you can do is try to set certain goals. Don’t be too hard on yourself and aim for something that’s out of your comfort zone. Start with very simple things which are achievable. Exercise When you exercise, your body is more likely to produce endorphins which makes you feel happier. These act as natural anti-depressants, so the more you move, the happier you’ll become. You can try simple exercise like running or walking. Don’t skip a meal Missing a meal will lower your blood sugar level, so you need to make sure not to skip a meal. Eating on time will stabilize your blood sugar level which will then reduce your mood swings. The Real Cause of Depression and What’s the Best Natural Treatment for Depression Again, let us stress the new findings from research that depression is not caused simply by the presence or absence of certain chemicals in the brain. Depression is more complex than that. Harvard Health says that there are several possible causes of depression including “faulty mood regulation by the brain, genetic vulnerability, stressful life events, medications, and medical problems.” Research says that depression comes about when several of these forces interact with each other. So, what’s the best treatment for depression? Our advice for you is to take our happiness classes which are offered at the Delta Discovery Center. We understand that the same things that create happiness will lift depression, and we have programs to achieve this. Through our Manufacturing Happiness Class, participants will blueprint their happiness program and design a life that is full and fulfilling. If you are interested in joining our Happiness Class, visit our website for more information.
2) The Business Daily: The $15 minimum wage bill has all but died in the Senate Republicans in the Senate won’t consider any wage increases.
It’s official: The Senate has no plans to raise the federal minimum wage anytime soon. A spokesperson for Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), who chairs the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, told Vox that the committee is not considering a bill that would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, or any other increase, for that matter. Republican opposition to the Raise the Wage Act in the Senate was expected, but the news essentially ends — for now — a years-long campaign to raise wages for millions of workers by lifting the current $7.25 minimum hourly wage. Judy Conti, director of government affairs for the National Employment Law Project, said that blocking the bill will end up hurt Republican senators. “Even the Chamber of Commerce acknowledges that it’s time to raise the federal minimum wage,” Conti wrote in an email to Vox. “[Alexander] may be retiring next year and happy to ride that time out without doing anything productive, but other members of the Senate don’t have quite the comfort level to be as complacent as he is.” In the House, things went differently. A total of 231 members voted in favor of the Raise the Wage Act, including three Republicans, and 199 opposed it. Its passage was a short-lived victory for fast-food workers, who have been pushing for a $15 minimum wage across the country for more than five years. And the bill would have had a huge impact on working families. It was expected to boost pay for 27 million US workers, lifting 1.3 million households out of poverty, according to an analysis released earlier this month by congressional economists. But the sharp pay increase made some lawmakers nervous. The Congressional Budget Office said it could trigger 1.3 million job losses for low-paid workers. Yet most recent academic research suggests that’s unlikely and would lead to few if any lost jobs. To appease moderate lawmakers, House Democrats had amended the bill to phase in the $15 minimum wage over seven years instead of six. But the Raise the Wage Act would have done much more than lift wages. It would have tied future changes to the minimum wage to changes in middle-class pay, and would have gone far in boosting paychecks for underpaid workers at a time when employers refuse to do so on their own. Despite the bill’s unglamorous death in the Senate, its passage in the House is a major step forward for low-income families. And, depending on the outcome of the 2020 election, Democrats are likely to try again in a few years. The Raise the Wage Act, explained Congress set a record in June: It had been more than 10 years since lawmakers raised the federal minimum wage, the longest period in history that it’s stayed stagnant. The current $7.25 minimum hourly rate was set in 2009, right in the middle of the Great Recession. Since then, America’s lowest-paid workers have lost about $3,000 a year when you consider the rising cost of living, according to calculations from the Economic Policy Institute. Enter the Raise the Wage Act, which House Democrats introduced in January to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024. The bill, which had more than 200 co-sponsors (all Democrats), also phased out the lower minimum wage for tipped workers such as restaurant servers and valets, which has been $2.13 an hour since 1996. Big business groups have not been happy about the fight for $15. Neither have their Republican allies in Congress, who have long pushed back against any effort to raise the federal minimum wage. But it’s hard to deny how popular the idea is with regular voters. Poll after poll shows widespread support for raising the federal minimum rate, even among Republican voters. And a majority of voters want at least $15 an hour. It’s no wonder why the vast majority of Democrats running for president have promised to double the federal minimum wage. Corporate America must have sensed the shift in public opinion too. McDonald’s executives recently announced that the company would no longer lobby against minimum wage increases. The president of the US Chamber of Commerce said earlier this year that he was open to the idea of raising the pay floor. For a while, Democrats were torn on how much to raise wages. Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL) introduced an alternative bill in April, which would create different minimum wage levels depending on the region. Only businesses in the most expensive areas would have to pay workers at least $15 an hour by 2024. The main problem with that bill, though, is that every state needs to hike minimum pay. There’s really nowhere in the country where minimum wage workers can afford to rent a modest two-bedroom apartment if they work full time. In July, however, Democrats signaled that they finally had enough members on board to pass the $15 wage bill. Research shows multiple benefits of raising the minimum wage The impact of raising the minimum wage is one of the most closely studied — and debated — subjects in economics. It used to be taken for granted that raising the minimum wage would decrease the number of low-wage jobs, and that teenagers would have more difficulty finding part-time work. Economists published research in the 1970s showing that it did happen, likely because restaurants and department stores had to cut jobs and work hours to cover the cost of paying employees more. But in the past decade, progressive economists have challenged these assumptions with new data that is now available. Dozens of Democratic-held cities and states have increased the minimum wage floor over the years, well above the current federal minimum of $7.25 an hour. Recent research suggests the worst-feared consequences of minimum wage hikes did not come to pass: Employment did not decrease in places where wages went up, and there was actually a residually positive effect on wages for other lower-income workers. Today, there are two things most mainstream economists agree on: First, that raising the minimum wage increases the average income of low-wage workers, lifting many out of poverty (depending on how big the raise is). Second, that raising the minimum wage likely causes some job losses. However, disagreement often revolves around how extreme the job cuts would be. A white paper from Anna Godoey and Michael Reich at Berkeley in July provided more evidence that the impact on jobs is insignificant. (A recent Congressional Budget Office analysis, which forecast 1.3 million job losses from a $15 hourly wage, did not include findings from that study because it was only released in July.) The Berkeley study found that raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024 would likely boost incomes for the poorest households in rural counties. They found no evidence that such a large wage hike would lead to significant job losses or fewer work opportunities. The research of Godoey and Reich, who analyzed pay data for millions of households in more than 750 counties, stands out for several reasons. First, it’s the only major pay study that relies on county-level income data, making its conclusions more precise; previous research has focused almost exclusively on state-level data. More local data allowed researchers to get a better sense of what could happen in rural counties, compared to urban centers. Second, it focuses on the impact of raising pay in areas with the largest share of minimum wage workers. Previous research has mostly focused on cities and states that have already raised the minimum wage, where workers tend to earn more money. And third, it’s the first research paper to analyze a wage hike as high as $15 an hour. Before, the highest pay rate studied was $13 an hour. To find out how a $15 minimum wage might affect rural areas, researchers measured the gap between the minimum wage and the median wage in those areas if they had a $15 hourly pay floor. Then they compared it to places with a similar gap. That allowed researchers to calculate what might happen in rural counties. They found no negative effects on jobs. In sum, “the US can absorb a $15 minimum wage without significant job losses, even in low-wage states,” Godoey told journalists in a conference call. The study is hardly definitive, but it adds to a growing body of research that is challenging long-held assumptions about the impact of raising the minimum wage: specifically, the view that it would hurt workers more than it would help them. The most recent meta-analyses on minimum wage increases, which analyze several research findings together, also suggest that the increases’ likely impact on employment would be minimal. Take the 2016 study by economists at Michigan State University, which crunched data from 60 studies on the minimum wage in the United States since 2001. It concluded that a 10 percent increase in the minimum wage would likely reduce overall employment in low-wage industries by 0.5 to 1.2 percent. Another meta-analysis comes in a highly anticipated study published this month in the Quarterly Journal of Economics by economists at the University of Massachusetts, University College London, and the Economic Policy Institute. They studied data from 138 cities and states that raised the minimum pay between 1979 and 2016. The conclusion is that low-wage workers received a 7 percent pay bump after a minimum wage law went into effect, but there was little or no change in employment. The study also showed that it would not cost jobs, even in states with large shares of minimum wage workers. “We’re overdue for an increase that would boost growth and minimize income inequity,” Kate Bahn, an economist at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, told Vox. Here’s what the Raise the Wage Act didn’t do The Raise the Wage Act was not perfect; there are millions of low-wage workers who would have gotten zero pay increase under the law. That’s because federal labor laws exempt so many workers from its protections. It’s important to keep in mind that minimum wage laws enshrined in the Fair Labor Standard Act do not cover all workers, including those in the gig economy. Under federal law, businesses do not need to pay independent contractors and freelancers the minimum wage or overtime. Think Uber drivers and Instacart workers who are still arguing that they’ve been misclassified as independent contractors. The Fair Labor Standards Act also excludes farmworkers and some domestic workers from the right to earn the minimum wage or get overtime pay. They were excluded as a concession to Southern lawmakers, whose states were highly invested in paying low wages to these groups of workers. At the time, that workforce was overwhelmingly black and Latinx, and excluding them from a minimum wage was intentional. Today, about a quarter of farmworkers and 67 percent of housekeepers earn less than the minimum wage. These loopholes reveal the limited impact of raising the federal minimum wage. American workers need more than a minimum wage increase — they need more expansive labor reforms. A $15 minimum wage is just the first step.
3) The Education In The United States Daily: Why diversity in classrooms matters Consider it preparation for an increasingly multicultural future — and it can be done without giving up quality.
Some of the best places to live and learn in the country have an abundance of key assets: devoted teachers, challenging curricula, and vibrant cultures of achievement. But most lack one important quality: racial diversity. The lack of diversity reflects a disturbing development in the U.S. today: the growing resegregation of American schools. This trend began in the 1980s and accelerated in the wake of several Supreme Court decisions during the Bush administration. The result is an education system that’s increasingly separate and unequal. Large numbers of minority children, black and Latino students in particular, are ghettoized in high-poverty schools — with alarming results. According to a 2009 report by the Civil Rights Project at UCLA: “The U.S. continues to move backward toward increasing minority segregation in highly unequal schools.” These nonwhite schools are segregated by poverty as well as race, creating an unstable, often dangerous education experience, with high teacher turnover and scant resources. According to UCLA researchers, “These are the high schools that account for most of the nation’s ‘dropout factories,’ where a frightfully large share of the students, especially young men, fail to graduate and too many end up virtually unemployable.” So what? Beyond basic fairness, why should parents care about diversity? Should they count themselves lucky if their child’s school is blessed with a variety of AP offerings and a great music program, or should they be looking for more? Ironically, while our schools are becoming more segregated, our society is becoming ever more diverse. Some 44 percent of American students today are nonwhite, and that number rises every year. To prepare kids to be global citizens, we need to expose them to more than the quadratic equation and the history of the 13 colonies. It’s essential for our kids to learn to get along with and understand people from all walks of life. In fact, diversity in education has been shown to promote tolerance. One recent study found, for example, that college students in diverse settings exhibited less racial and ethnic prejudice than students who interacted mainly with those of similar backgrounds. Learning empathy, flexibility, and how to work with people from different backgrounds and cultures will prepare kids to navigate an increasingly multicultural future. Reversing the trend Many parents who support the concept of educational equality feel forced to choose between excellence and diversity when it comes to selecting a school for their child. But there are educational pockets around the country that defy this trend by showing how diversity and quality schooling can go hand in hand. Richard D. Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation who has written widely on the subject, says that students in high-poverty schools are, on average, two years behind their peers at low poverty schools. This imbalance disappears, he says, “when low-income students have a chance to go to economically mixed schools, where their peers are academically engaged, where parents have the time and resources to be actively involved in school, and know how to hold school officials accountable, and where educators are highly effective and have high expectations for students.” In a report, Kahlenberg identifies several turn-around magnet schools that have successfully integrated students by socioeconomic status. The result? Increased achievement for low-income and minority students — and no drop in achievement for the student body as a whole. Districts addressing diversity? Kahlenberg says more than 65 school districts around the country have implemented policies to address the issue of school poverty. And programs such as METCO in Massachusetts, which connects inner-city Boston children with high-performing schools in the city’s suburbs, are attempting to dispel some of the region’s educational inequities. Such efforts are a step in the right direction, but most are small and affect only a small number of students. Far more needs to be done. In a world that is becoming more multiracial and multicultural every day, we’ll all benefit from an education system that doesn’t force a Faustian bargain between a good education and an ethical one.
4) The Fashion Design Daily:
KK Fashion Week Sept 13-21
KOTA KINABALU: KK Fashion Week (KKFW) returns in full force after an eight-year hiatus, with a jam-packed programme meant to engage fashion designers, entrepreneurs and the general public. Among highlighted events are a three-day Fashion and Textile Trade Expo, a talk-cum-workshop entitled ‘Celebrating Autism Awareness Through Fashion’ and a Gala Night cum charity dinner as the finale. KKFW chairperson and founder Juliana Situn said the programme would start from September 13 till 21, with the involvement of non-governmental organisations Caring and Helping Individuals Learn and Develop (C.H.I.L.D.) Sabah and Sabah Autism Society (SAS). “The Trade Expo will begin September 13 to 15 at the Karamunsing Complex Exhibition Hall. There will be 81 booth spaces for the public to rent, ranging from RM600 to RM2,500. We are hoping for fashion designers and entrepreneurs to take part and showcase their products. “It also serves as a platform to connect suppliers of raw materials, fashion buyers and manufacturers, and facilitate business matching in the local and international fashion community. “On stage, there will be a fashion design competition, product launches, media events, modeling, fashion colouring competitions for children and dancing and singing competitions. “Fashion schools and companies will also have the opportunity to present their latest fashion technologies in keeping abreast with technologies in advanced countries. “Simultaneously, on September 14, there will be a talk-cum-workshop entitled ‘Celebrating Autism Awareness Through Fashion,’ to involve 110 parents and their autistic children. Invited speaker Ruth S. Arunasalam will work with parents to demonstrate how talents in autistic children can be identified. “In addition, fashion paintings entitled ‘Hijab’ will also be showcased, which were done by autistic teen Thasraveen Chandra Segaran, or better known as Aveen, from Sarawak. This is to amplify the point that autistic individuals possess talent that can be nurtured given the right intervention at an early age. “These paintings will then be sold to the public at the Fashion Expo and at 5.30pm at the Gala Night on September 21, at ITCC Penampang. “To mark the end of KKFW 2019, the Runway Gala Night will feature fashion shows, showcasing winning designs of the Fashion Design Competition themed ‘Sabah Ethnic Motifs, Couture for the World.’ “It is a platform for charity fund raising and the mock cheque presentation ceremony will take place then. It is also a time for appreciation and recognition of those who have contributed generously to the event,” said Juliana. This time around, KKFW will be raising funds for two beneficiaries, C.H.I.L.D. Sabah and SAS. What sets KKFW apart is its mission to not only create a community of all involved in the creative industry, but also bring them together to raise funds for charity, Juliana added. It is unique among fashion weeks around the world because it is a platform for established designers, as well as an ‘in-house incubator’ that discovers new talent and launches the careers of young designers by organising fashion design competitions and introducing new technologies to increase productivity. “KKFW is a local event with a global vision, enabling our designers to work locally while reaching larger markets. “Through educational fashion seminars, year-round fashion events and charitable partnerships, KKFW is gaining rapid acclaim for its community-service efforts that encourages world-class innovation into Sabah’s fashion industry,” she elaborated. Juliana added that it is time that Sabah too invests in fashion tourism, by hosting KK Fashion Week in collaboration with its organisers and giving it prominence in the yearly Tourism Calendar, with heavy promotion overseas as one of the key tourism products of Sabah. Since the launch of KKFW in 2011, organisers, fashion designers and entrepreneurs used their own means and relied on sponsors to make the event possible. It was estimated that more than RM250,000 was spent to organise the one-week KKFW debut in 2011. “Thus in preceding years, KKFW ran out of funds and could not continue in organising this event. In comparison with KL Fashion Week and other similar established events internationally, KK Fashion Week is only making baby steps in becoming a global event to spur the fashion industry and tourism in Sabah. “This year, KKFW 2019 is making a comeback with hopes that the government could give this event the business impetus to thrive in years ahead,” said Juliana.
5) The Food Daily:
Easy to Make Madras Chicken Curry
When your kids taste are developing, I find that allowing them to explore the world through food is a wonderful way to “go on safari” or “gaze at this Eiffel Tower” or enjoy a “picnic in the countryside”. The possibilities are endless. Although I have never been to India, I have been to many amazing Indian restaurants while I lived in England. I loved our weekly curry nights, and every week I would try something new or order mine with a bit more eye-popping heat. Vindaloooooo! My inspiration is obvious, but I seriously crave a good curry, so for dinner we are making our way to India! Now, I have to be mindful of how much heat goes into my curry, thank you very much children, so I have a little system. For my older daughter, she will enjoy it pretty much as is, I just make sure she has plenty of water. Ha. For my sons, my youngest is fairly adventurous and will only eat the sauce and then there’s my middle child …. well, he’s the picky one! He likes the chicken WITHOUT any sauce, so my work around is that I just pull his meat out and carry on with the rest. There’s always one. 🙂 Overall, my kids enjoy the variety of foods and don’t complain too much. I’ve learned their favorites and I will adjust if needed, without making three different meals for each. Nope, not doing that. So I try to create a meal that will be enjoyed by us all. This is really easy to make. If you are able and have the time, by all means – marinate the chicken longer or even overnight. If you can’t find a Madras curry paste, try making your own (click here for my Madras curry paste recipe), it’s easy and can be used for up to 4 tasty meals. Now go get your curry on and ENJOY! Easy to Make Madras Chicken Curry Yield: 4 Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 40 minutes Total Time: 55 minutes I love a good cozy curry and this one is amazing, easy to make Madras Chicken Curry! 5.0 Stars (1 Reviews) Print Ingredients 1 - 2 lbs boneless Chicken breast (can use thighs if preferred), cut into bite-sized pieces 1 Tbsp fresh Lemon juice 2 tsp Garam Masala Salt & pepper to taste 2 Tbsp Oil, or Ghee (clarified butter) 1 large Onion, finely diced 2 cloves Garlic, minced 1 - 2 Tbsp Madras Curry Paste, for mild (for medium-hot - 3 Tbsp; hot - 4 - 5 Tbsp) 1 (15 oz) can diced Tomatoes 1/4 cup fresh Coriander, chopped Basmati Rice, cooked accordingly, (optional) Naan Bread (optional) Extra fresh Coriander, to garnish if desired Get Ingredients Powered by Chicory Instructions In a bowl, toss the bite-sized Chicken with the Lemon Juice and Garam Masala. Marinate for at least 30 minutes. In a large skillet over medium high heat, heat the Oil (Ghee). Saute the Onion until translucent and soft, 5 - 6 minutes. Add the marinated Chicken and cook until starting to get some color (3 - 5 minutes), then stir in the Madras Curry Paste, continue to cook for an additional couple of minutes. Stir in the diced Tomatoes with their juice and mix in well. Cover & simmer for 20 - 30 minutes over low heat. Just before serving, stir in the fresh Coriander. Serve with Basmati rice or Naan bread and topped off with extra fresh Coriander if desired.
6) The Health Care In The United States Daily: Koch-backed study finds ‘Medicare for All’ would save U.S. trillions An estimated cost of $32.6 trillion over 10 years is less than the US would spend over the next 10 years under the current system. A single-payer Medicare for All system would reduce the amount the U.S. spends on health care by more than $2 trillion, a Koch brothers-funded study released Monday found. Research by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University — a libertarian think tank backed by the Koch brothers — projected that the Medicare for All plan championed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) would cost the government $32.6 trillion over 10 years. The highly critical report represented this figure as additional federal spending on top of what the government currently spends on health programs, and found that even doubling all federal individual and corporate income taxes would not cover the costs of Sanders’ Medicare for All plan. The study did conclude, however, that Medicare for All would result in significant savings for the country because of lower prescription drug costs, saving $846 billion over the next decade. Streamlined administrative costs under the plan would save another $1.6 trillion, the researchers at the Mercatus Center found. But when we talk about a Medicare for All system, it’s important to discuss the costs in the context of what the U.S. already spends on health care, given that the idea would be to replace the current system with a new Medicare for All program. As of 2016, national health expenditures — which includes federal spending, state Medicaid programs, and private employer health care spending — totaled $3.3 trillion per year, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. That means that over the next decade, the U.S. is projected to spend more than $33 trillion, plus inflation, on health care services without any changes to our current system — significantly more than Mercatus’s estimated $32.6 trillion cost to the federal government over the next ten years. Single-payer health care is gaining steam. These are the people who made it possible. Sanders’ proposed single-payer plan would be free at the point of service, and would not include any cost-sharing — that is, no co-pays or premiums. Under his plan, taxes would replace those often high costs, which currently are shouldered by patients. Research from March of this year found that the present system has left 15.5 percent of adults between 19 and 64 without health insurance, while more than a quarter of lower-income families are uninsured. Monday’s study concluded that not only would Medicare for All provide insurance for the millions of Americans currently without coverage, but it would also save the the United States $2.054 trillion over the next decade. In a comment to Fox News, Sanders took exception to the report’s conclusion Medicare for All would lead to a drastic increase in taxes, calling the study “grossly misleading and biased.” He noted, too, that that the center is funded by the Koch brothers, who known for their fierce advocacy of libertarian policies. “If every major country on earth can guarantee health care to all, and achieve better health outcomes, while spending substantially less per capita than we do, it is absurd for anyone to suggest that the United States cannot do the same,” Sanders told Fox News. The immediate response to the Mercatus study focused mostly on its eye-popping $32.6 trillion estimate. Too often, as much of the pundit and politico chatter proved Monday, the cost is where conversations about single-payer both begin and end. Harping on the costs of the plan without discussing its benefits is a favorite tactic of the right, but centrist Democrats have a history of falling into the same trap. Former Clinton administration adviser Kenneth Thorpe, for example, talked up the high price tag of singer payer as highlighted by the Mercatus analysis Monday. “It’s showing that if you are going to go in this direction, it’s going to cost the federal government $2.5 trillion to $3 trillion a year in terms of spending,” Thorpe told the Associated Press on Monday. “Even though people don’t pay premiums, the tax increases are going to be enormous. There are going to be a lot of people who’ll pay more in taxes than they save on premiums.” What no one seems to mention is what that money is paying for. Ultimately, Sanders’ Medicare for All plan would provide comprehensive coverage for all residents of the United States, including primary and preventative care, emergency and hospital services, maternity and newborn care, prescription drugs, substance abuse and mental health services, as well as pediatrics, laboratory, and diagnostic services. The plan also guarantees dental, vision, audiology, and abortion coverage. Access to services like primary and preventative care will greatly decrease emergency room overuse, and expansive maternal care might help a country that boasts the unfortunate title of having the worst maternal death rate in the developed world. The point is this: The resistance to single-payer, especially among establishment Democrats, is really just resistance to changing the status quo. The Democratic party is supposed to be the one that believes government can and should help people. Single-payer, as Monday’s study confirmed, is the best way to do that — while also saving the government trillions of dollars! The status quo is already changing, anyway. Just two and a half years ago, it was former Secretary of State and future Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton who argued that “people who have health emergencies can’t wait for us to have a theoretical debate about some better idea that will never, ever come to pass.” The irony, of course, is that in 1994, Clinton said she believed that by the start of the next decade, the U.S. would have a single-payer system. “I don’t even think it’s a close call politically,” she told reporters at the time. “I think the momentum for a single payer system will sweep the country… It will be such a huge popular issue… that even if it’s not successful the first time, it will eventually be.” At any rate, Sanders’ plan wouldn’t leave people with health emergencies waiting. According to legislation he introduced last fall, Medicare eligibility would expand over the course of four years and slowly transition people from private to fully public health care coverage. In the first year, people aged 55 and older, as well as those younger than 18 would become eligible for Medicare. The second year, eligibility would extend to people older than 45, and then to people older than 35 in year three. By year four, everyone would be eligible for Medicare. A slew of possible 2020 Democratic presidential candidates and other high-profile figures in the party have expressed support for the measure now, too. Sanders’ Medicare for All Act of 2017 introduced last September was co-sponsored by Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) , Brian Schatz (D-HI), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Edward Markey (D-MI), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). Single-payer — and socialism in the United States more generally — got another big boost last month when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pulled off an upset victory in her primary against Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY). Not long after Ocasio-Cortez’s victory, actress-turned-activist Cynthia Nixon, who’s challenging New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the state’s upcoming Democratic gubernatorial primary, endorsed Medicare for All, too. Nixon is one of a dozen candidates for governor across the country who supports a single-payer system. Congressional candidates running this cycle — including Ocasio-Cortez, Kara Eastman in Nebraska and Gina Ortiz Jones in Texas, among others — have already made Medicare for All a winning issue. Just days before the release of the Mercatus study, Ocasio-Cortez was asked about the costs of a single-payer system in an interview with Daily Show host Trevor Noah. She argued that the problem with instituting single-payer isn’t actually its high cost, but rather a resistance to change. “A lot of what we need to do is reprioritize what we want to accomplish as a nation,” she said. “Really, what this is about is saying, health care is important enough for us to put first. Education is important enough for us to put first. And that is a decision that requires political and moral courage, from both parts of the aisle. Period.” This story has been updated to clarify that savings achieved under Sanders’ proposed Medicare for All bill would affect all national health expenditures, including private employers and state Medicaid programs, not just federal health care spending. It has also been updated to clarify that the study represents its $32.6 trillion price tag as additional costs on top of current health expenditures.
7) The Politics Daily: How to close the massive gender gap in Congress Women’s lives improve when government is more inclusive. So let’s do this already. Rep. Cheri Bustos, the Illinois lawmaker who is charged with ensuring House Democrats hold on to their majority, had some brutally honest words for a 20-something woman asking when Congress might see gender parity. “Probably in your lifetime, not mine,” Bustos, a 57-year-old Congress member in her fourth term, said during a March event. At the gathering, hosted by the Wing in Washington, DC, Bustos spoke at length about the need to recruit more women to the Democratic Party (she’d like to get to set a new record in the House, building on the 89 who are currently serving) while recognizing just how many challenges remain. House Democratic women pose for a portrait in front of the US Capitol on January 4, 2019. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Most experts agree with Bustos, whose estimate may even be a bit optimistic. According to an analysis by Deutsche Bank Securities chief economist Torsten Slok, at the current rate, the US is about 90 years away from seeing equal numbers of men and women in Congress. It’ll happen by 2108 — if we’re lucky. While women had a record year in the 2018 midterm elections, bringing their total numbers in Congress to 127, much of the data is still grim. For every woman across both chambers, there are roughly three men. And the split along party lines is even starker. Thirty-eight percent of Democratic lawmakers are currently women, while just 8 percent of Republicans are. By international standards, it’s downright embarrassing. America currently ranks 76th of 193 countries in women’s representation, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union. That ranking is actually lower than two decades ago, as other countries have improved on this measure while the US has stagnated. It doesn’t have to be this way. Political experts say there are key reforms that could significantly reduce the country’s existing gender disparities — and we know they’re effective because other places have already tried them. Some, like a quota system, would be harder to implement, while others, like a shift to ranked-choice voting, have already picked up momentum. Achieving gender parity in Congress isn’t just a matter of international pride or identity politics. A more representative government, as research has repeatedly shown, has real effects on improving the lives of women. A study from Georgetown University professor Michele Swers found that liberal women in Congress sponsored far more bills related to women’s health than their male counterparts. Female lawmakers, backed, on average, 10.6 bills related to the subject, roughly double the number supported by their male colleagues. If America is serious about getting more women into Congress, here’s how it could be done. Use a quota system The quickest way to get to gender parity is to require it. “If you could do anything ... and be really transformative, the thing to do would be to adopt a quota policy,” says Diana O’Brien, a political science professor at Texas A&M University who focuses on the intersection of gender and politics. Quotas are now used in some capacity by half the countries in the world — including in many of those that currently rank above the US when it comes to gender parity. In places that have imposed a quota, like Tanzania and Rwanda, anywhere from 20 to 50 percent of representatives in the country’s federal legislature are legally required to be women. It’s a mandate that works. Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame (center in the first row) poses with 80 new members of the parliament in September 2018 after they took their oath for a five-year term. Cyril Ndegeya/AFP/Getty Images While not all quotas have been equally effective (and some stop short of increasing women’s actual influence over policy), a 2018 paper in the Journal of Politics found that quota systems, on average, contributed to the doubling of women’s representation in federal legislatures from 10 percent to 20 percent. In places that had implemented quotas — and saw more women take office as a result — there was also a notable increase in funding and focus directed toward public health. For every 1 percent increase in women in the legislature, researchers found a 0.06 percent increase in spending on health care, and in some places, a commensurate decline in spending on defense. Quotas often take the form of either an amendment to a country’s constitution or the passage of a new law. In Rwanda, a 2003 amendment to the country’s constitution reserved 30 percent of the seats in its legislature for women. Today, 64 percent of its parliament is made up of women, up from 18 percent in the 1990s. In Belgium, a 2002 law required political parties to run a certain number of women on the ballot. Since the implementation of its quota laws, women’s representation in its parliament has grown from 16 percent to 40 percent. The prime place to enact this could be in the Senate, O’Brien told Vox. An amendment to the Constitution or new legislation could mandate that every state elect at least one female senator, for example. The House is slightly more challenging since districts only have one representative, but half the seats in the lower chamber could also be effectively “reserved” for women. Actually imposing a quota of this kind would likely be tough, and face significant legal opposition. According to a paper from the William & Mary Law Review, it’s unclear if Congress, which has regulatory oversight of federal elections, has the legal authority to pass a law establishing a quota system. Plus, if lawmakers wanted to go the constitutional amendment route, they would need the approval of two-thirds of both the House and the Senate, as well as three-quarters of states, a long shot for something that’s expected to be quite controversial. Quotas, after all, have also been criticized for being anti-democratic, and anti-meritocratic. Those who push back on such claims argue that the existing underrepresentation of a large swath of the population is anti-democratic in itself. They also point to a study of Swedish quotas that found that the implementation of gender quotas saw more qualified women take office and actually improved the quality of the male politicians. Parties could voluntarily implement a version of the quota system as well. Who wins a primary is often up to voters, rather than party leaders, but they could self-impose recruiting requirements, making sure there are women competing in each viable primary. However, it would require both parties to be on board for it to really work. The lopsided commitment to gender parity from Democrats and Republicans in the US is, ultimately, a major reason progress has been so sluggish. While emerging leaders in the Republican Party, like Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York’s 21st District, have made recruiting more women a priority, the GOP as a whole has been less focused on this goal compared to Democrats, due to its aversion to anything tied to so-called identity politics. Javier Zarracina/Vox “Republicans are far less likely to believe in group rights or identity politics,” says Jennifer Lawless, a political science professor at the University of Virginia. “Structurally, the biggest challenge that needs to be met is to provide incentives to the Republican Party.” One of the biggest incentives to Republicans, Lawless notes, is the risk the party faces in losing independent women, a major voter demographic. In moderate districts and purple states, the hemorrhaging of such voters could prompt Republicans to place more focus on gender equity. Increase public financing for campaigns A second reform would address one of the biggest challenges that many candidates face when running for office: raising money. Political action committees, or organizations that use funds to advance different campaigns, have historically poured a ton of money into elections. In 2018 alone, the top PACs spent more than $50 million on the midterm elections, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. They’ve also historically underfunded women, especially on the Republican side. There’s one idea that’s been raised to simultaneously dilute the influence of these PACs and promote underrepresented candidates: expanding public financing. Public financing simply means an increase in funding for political candidates offered by the government. In order to receive this government support, candidates often have to commit to limits on their campaign spending and caps on the types of donations they receive. Public financing can take a few different forms. There are block grant programs, in which the government provides all the funding a candidate needs for a particular race. There are matching programs, in which candidates agree to accept small-dollar donations, and the government will match the funds they raise. And there are voucher programs, in which the government gives the public what’s effectively “free money” to donate to the candidate of their choice. Although the research about the effects of public financing programs is ongoing, there is early evidence to suggest that it allows a wider range of voters to contribute to a campaign, and ultimately elect a more diverse slate of lawmakers who don’t need to rely on PACs for money. New York City, where the government will match candidate donations sixfold (up to every $175 donation), for example, has seen strong results, according to the Campaign Legal Center: Since New York City first enacted public financing, city voters have elected the first African-American mayor, and the first Asian-American, Dominican-American, and African-American woman to city council. For the first time in thirty years, a third-party candidate won a seat on city council. According to a report from the Center for American Progress, multiple states that have robust public financing programs including Arizona, Minnesota, and Maine also have a higher proportion of women in their state legislatures. Public financing can convince more candidates to run, since it guarantees a degree of financial support. Additionally, it means that candidates are less reliant on big-money donors. Building up more public financing systems likely won’t be enough, for now. While a public financing option for presidential elections currently exists, there is none at the federal level for congressional races. Multiple bills, including the Fair Elections Now Act, have been raised, though they have yet to become law. And even if this support were to exist, candidates in particularly competitive races may opt out of this option, because it would force them to limit the number of private donations they could receive, in addition to their total spending. A more immediate lever, then, could be to ramp up pressure on PACs and private donors and push them to give to women. Emily’s List has provided one of the most effective models of this approach for Democrats, while Winning for Women, a GOP PAC, says it’s laser-focused on doing the same for Republican women in 2020. “Twenty in 20. We want to see the number of [Republican] women in total in the House back up to 20,” Olivia Perez-Cubas, a spokesperson for Winning for Women, told Vox. (Republicans had 23 women in the House during the previous congressional term, though they’ve since seen their ranks drop to 13.) Change the way we vote A third reform that could play a major role in propelling more women into office is already being implemented in a handful of local and state elections, in places like Maine and San Francisco: ranked-choice voting. This idea enables people to rank a slate of candidates from their top choice to their least favorite — rather than selecting just one candidate, as Americans do now. If ranked-choice voting were implemented in the Democratic primary, for example, instead of picking a single candidate, voters would be able to rank a set of them. A voter who preferred Sen. Elizabeth Warren could still rank Sen. Kamala Harris second and Sen. Bernie Sanders third. When the votes are tallied, if no candidate has accrued more than 50 percent of the vote, the candidate who has the fewest first-choice votes is removed. Those votes then go to each voter’s second choice. This process is repeated until one candidate secures a majority of the vote. As Lee Drutman writes for Vox, ranked choice has been adopted by 20 cities and was first used by Maine for its statewide and federal elections in 2018. Voting this way means that voters will typically be nudged into getting to know more candidates, and candidates, too, will be pushed into campaigning across broader constituencies. Because of how it’s set up, ranked choice can have positive effects on diversifying representation, it turns out. These elections often wind up being less negative, which can spur more women to run. Additionally, since voters get to choose among a broad set of candidates, they don’t have to worry about “the electability question” or splitting the vote, a feature that could make them more likely to weigh traditionally underrepresented candidates. “In the cities where you see ranked-choice voting, there’s double the women on the city councils. There’s 40 percent more women mayors; it also adds more people of color,” says Erin Vilardi, the founder of VoteRunLead, an organization focused on recruiting women to pursue office. It’s worth noting that many cities that have implemented this practice are also progressive hubs that have historically boosted women candidates more than other places. “The data is so clear and it’s unimpeachable. More diverse women are going to get elected, and it’s going to pick up steam,” argues Cynthia Terrell, the founder of RepresentWomen. New York Democratic representatives (from left to right) Grace Meng, Carolyn Maloney, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Nydia Velázquez, and Yvette Clarke after taking a group portrait at the US Capitol in January 2019. Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images Ranked-choice voting also has relatively low barriers to implementation. In Maine, it was approved via a ballot measure by its residents in 2016 and was first used last year — demonstrating how quickly cities, and even states, can begin making changes that help improve their elected representation. Ultimately, achieving gender parity in Congress is only seen as a slog because it’s being treated like one. Practically speaking, if both parties and the American public had the political will, it could happen in the next decade. “In order to bring about gender parity in Congress, we’re talking about identifying another 100 women who can win elections,” Lawless emphasizes. “In 2020 or 2022, we should be able to do this at the congressional level.”
8) The Sports In The United States Daily: Could Edinson Cavani play for Inter Miami? It’s possible, and here’s why.
Another week, another soccer star linked to Inter Miami. The latest one — prolific Uruguayan forward Edinson Cavani — would join the team in June 2020 after his contract expires with Paris Saint Germain, according to Fox Deportes analyst Alvaro Izquierdo, whose Tweet on the news went viral Monday morning. “This really would be a bombshell in MLS,” wrote Izquierdo, a Uruguayan former soccer player. Cavani, 32, is the leading scorer in PSG history with 194 goals in 281 games with the French club. He joined PSG from Napoli in the summer of 2013 for a then-club record $76 million and played alongside Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who now makes headlines with MLS team Los Angeles Galaxy. Cavani has won five Ligue 1 championships with PSG and was named the league’s Player of the Year in 2016-17. Inter Miami co-owner David Beckham played for PSG and has a good relationship with the club. Cavani has scored 48 goals in 114 games for the Uruguayan national team over the past 11 years, and played in the past three World Cups. He plays center forward and is known as a lethal finisher who scores spectacular goals on the ground and in the air. Inter Miami officials would not confirm or deny whether the club has been in talks with Cavani. Other players who reportedly have had contact with Inter Miami include James Rodriguez, Radamel Falcao, and Luis Suarez. Beckham, co-owner Jorge Mas, and sporting director Paul McDonough have said the team will carry three Designated Players (whose salaries can exceed the league cap). So far, they have signed one — Argentine 19-year-old Matias Pellegrini, who is classified as a “Young Designated Player,” meaning only $150,000 of his salary counts against the cap. Julian Carranza, another 19-year-old Argentine, signed with the team, as did Christian Makoun, captain of Venezuela’s U20 team. Makoun spent last season on loan in Italy with the Juventus U19 team, but Juventus decided not to exercise its option to sign him to a contract. Real Madrid and Arsenal had shown interest in Makoun last year, and Atletico Madrid was in talks with him this summer. It is still being decided where he will play through the end of the year, as he wouldn’t join Inter Miami until training camp in January 2020. The coaching search continues, and Mas said he’d like to have the coach in place by the end of August. He said it would be “somebody you know who has played and coached at the highest level.” One candidate who fits that description is former PSG coach Laurent Blanc, who played on the French 1998 World Cup champion team, and played for Napoli, Barcelona, Marseille, Inter Milan and Manchester United. Cavani played for Blanc at PSG. Other possible candidates include former English Premier League coach David Moyes, who owns a condo in Naples and frequently visits with his wife; Napoli coach Carlo Ancelotti, who is a friend and former coach of Beckham’s and didn’t dismiss the idea of coaching Inter Miami when asked last week while at Hard Rock Stadium for a game against FC Barcelona; former AC Milan coach Gennaro “Rino” Gattuso; former Juventus coach Max Allegri; former Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari; former French star Theirry Henry, who has played in Europe and MLS; and former U.S. national coach Jurgen Klinsmann.
9) The Technology Daily: Operational Amplifier Basics
Operational amplifiers are linear devices that have all the properties required for nearly ideal DC amplification and are therefore used extensively in signal conditioning, filtering or to perform mathematical operations such as add, subtract, integration and differentiation. An Operational Amplifier, or op-amp for short, is fundamentally a voltage amplifying device designed to be used with external feedback components such as resistors and capacitors between its output and input terminals. These feedback components determine the resulting function or “operation” of the amplifier and by virtue of the different feedback configurations whether resistive, capacitive or both, the amplifier can perform a variety of different operations, giving rise to its name of “Operational Amplifier”. An Operational Amplifier is basically a three-terminal device which consists of two high impedance inputs. One of the inputs is called the Inverting Input, marked with a negative or “minus” sign, ( – ). The other input is called the Non-inverting Input, marked with a positive or “plus” sign ( + ). A third terminal represents the operational amplifiers output port which can both sink and source either a voltage or a current. In a linear operational amplifier, the output signal is the amplification factor, known as the amplifiers gain ( A ) multiplied by the value of the input signal and depending on the nature of these input and output signals, there can be four different classifications of operational amplifier gain. Voltage – Voltage “in” and Voltage “out” Current – Current “in” and Current “out” Transconductance – Voltage “in” and Current “out” Transresistance – Current “in” and Voltage “out” Since most of the circuits dealing with operational amplifiers are voltage amplifiers, we will limit the tutorials in this section to voltage amplifiers only, (Vin and Vout). The output voltage signal from an Operational Amplifier is the difference between the signals being applied to its two individual inputs. In other words, an op-amps output signal is the difference between the two input signals as the input stage of an Operational Amplifier is in fact a differential amplifier as shown below. Differential Amplifier The circuit below shows a generalized form of a differential amplifier with two inputs marked V1 and V2. The two identical transistors TR1 and TR2 are both biased at the same operating point with their emitters connected together and returned to the common rail, -Vee by way of resistor Re. Differential Amplifier The circuit operates from a dual supply +Vcc and -Vee which ensures a constant supply. The voltage that appears at the output, Vout of the amplifier is the difference between the two input signals as the two base inputs are in anti-phase with each other. So as the forward bias of transistor, TR1 is increased, the forward bias of transistor TR2 is reduced and vice versa. Then if the two transistors are perfectly matched, the current flowing through the common emitter resistor, Re will remain constant. Like the input signal, the output signal is also balanced and since the collector voltages either swing in opposite directions (anti-phase) or in the same direction (in-phase) the output voltage signal, taken from between the two collectors is, assuming a perfectly balanced circuit the zero difference between the two collector voltages. This is known as the Common Mode of Operation with the common mode gain of the amplifier being the output gain when the input is zero. Operational Amplifiers also have one output (although there are ones with an additional differential output) of low impedance that is referenced to a common ground terminal and it should ignore any common mode signals that is, if an identical signal is applied to both the inverting and non-inverting inputs there should no change to the output. However, in real amplifiers there is always some variation and the ratio of the change to the output voltage with regards to the change in the common mode input voltage is called the Common Mode Rejection Ratio or CMRR for short. Operational Amplifiers on their own have a very high open loop DC gain and by applying some form of Negative Feedback we can produce an operational amplifier circuit that has a very precise gain characteristic that is dependant only on the feedback used. Note that the term “open loop” means that there are no feedback components used around the amplifier so the feedback path or loop is open. An operational amplifier only responds to the difference between the voltages on its two input terminals, known commonly as the “Differential Input Voltage” and not to their common potential. Then if the same voltage potential is applied to both terminals the resultant output will be zero. An Operational Amplifiers gain is commonly known as the Open Loop Differential Gain, and is given the symbol (Ao). Equivalent Circuit of an Ideal Operational Amplifier Op-amp Parameter and Idealised Characteristic Open Loop Gain, (Avo) Infinite – The main function of an operational amplifier is to amplify the input signal and the more open loop gain it has the better. Open-loop gain is the gain of the op-amp without positive or negative feedback and for such an amplifier the gain will be infinite but typical real values range from about 20,000 to 200,000. Input impedance, (ZIN) Infinite – Input impedance is the ratio of input voltage to input current and is assumed to be infinite to prevent any current flowing from the source supply into the amplifiers input circuitry ( IIN = 0 ). Real op-amps have input leakage currents from a few pico-amps to a few milli-amps. Output impedance, (ZOUT) Zero – The output impedance of the ideal operational amplifier is assumed to be zero acting as a perfect internal voltage source with no internal resistance so that it can supply as much current as necessary to the load. This internal resistance is effectively in series with the load thereby reducing the output voltage available to the load. Real op-amps have output impedances in the 100-20kΩ range. Bandwidth, (BW) Infinite – An ideal operational amplifier has an infinite frequency response and can amplify any frequency signal from DC to the highest AC frequencies so it is therefore assumed to have an infinite bandwidth. With real op-amps, the bandwidth is limited by the Gain-Bandwidth product (GB), which is equal to the frequency where the amplifiers gain becomes unity. Offset Voltage, (VIO) Zero – The amplifiers output will be zero when the voltage difference between the inverting and the non-inverting inputs is zero, the same or when both inputs are grounded. Real op-amps have some amount of output offset voltage. From these “idealized” characteristics above, we can see that the input resistance is infinite, so no current flows into either input terminal (the “current rule”) and that the differential input offset voltage is zero (the “voltage rule”). It is important to remember these two properties as they will help us understand the workings of the Operational Amplifier with regards to the analysis and design of op-amp circuits. However, real Operational Amplifiers such as the commonly available uA741, for example do not have infinite gain or bandwidth but have a typical “Open Loop Gain” which is defined as the amplifiers output amplification without any external feedback signals connected to it and for a typical operational amplifier is about 100dB at DC (zero Hz). This output gain decreases linearly with frequency down to “Unity Gain” or 1, at about 1MHz and this is shown in the following open loop gain response curve. Open-loop Frequency Response Curve From this frequency response curve we can see that the product of the gain against frequency is constant at any point along the curve. Also that the unity gain (0dB) frequency also determines the gain of the amplifier at any point along the curve. This constant is generally known as the Gain Bandwidth Product or GBP. Therefore: GBP = Gain x Bandwidth = A x BW For example, from the graph above the gain of the amplifier at 100kHz is given as 20dB or 10, then the gain bandwidth product is calculated as: GBP = A x BW = 10 x 100,000Hz = 1,000,000. Similarly, the operational amplifiers gain at 1kHz = 60dB or 1000, therefore the GBP is given as: GBP = A x BW = 1,000 x 1,000Hz = 1,000,000. The same!. The Voltage Gain (AV) of the operational amplifier can be found using the following formula: and in Decibels or (dB) is given as: An Operational Amplifiers Bandwidth The operational amplifiers bandwidth is the frequency range over which the voltage gain of the amplifier is above 70.7% or -3dB (where 0dB is the maximum) of its maximum output value as shown below. Here we have used the 40dB line as an example. The -3dB or 70.7% of Vmax down point from the frequency response curve is given as 37dB. Taking a line across until it intersects with the main GBP curve gives us a frequency point just above the 10kHz line at about 12 to 15kHz. We can now calculate this more accurately as we already know the GBP of the amplifier, in this particular case 1MHz. Operational Amplifier Example No1. Using the formula 20 log (A), we can calculate the bandwidth of the amplifier as: 37 = 20 log (A) therefore, A = anti-log (37 ÷ 20) = 70.8 GBP ÷ A = Bandwidth, therefore, 1,000,000 ÷ 70.8 = 14,124Hz, or 14kHz Then the bandwidth of the amplifier at a gain of 40dB is given as 14kHz as previously predicted from the graph. Operational Amplifier Example No2. If the gain of the operational amplifier was reduced by half to say 20dB in the above frequency response curve, the -3dB point would now be at 17dB. This would then give the operational amplifier an overall gain of 7.08, therefore A = 7.08. If we use the same formula as above, this new gain would give us a bandwidth of approximately 141.2kHz, ten times more than the frequency given at the 40dB point. It can therefore be seen that by reducing the overall “open loop gain” of an operational amplifier its bandwidth is increased and visa versa. In other words, an operational amplifiers bandwidth is inversely proportional to its gain, ( A 1/∞ BW ). Also, this -3dB corner frequency point is generally known as the “half power point”, as the output power of the amplifier is at half its maximum value as shown: Operational Amplifiers Summary We know now that an Operational amplifiers is a very high gain DC differential amplifier that uses one or more external feedback networks to control its response and characteristics. We can connect external resistors or capacitors to the op-amp in a number of different ways to form basic “building Block” circuits such as, Inverting, Non-Inverting, Voltage Follower, Summing, Differential, Integrator and Differentiator type amplifiers. Op-amp Symbol An “ideal” or perfect operational amplifier is a device with certain special characteristics such as infinite open-loop gain AO, infinite input resistance RIN, zero output resistance ROUT, infinite bandwidth 0 to ∞ and zero offset (the output is exactly zero when the input is zero). There are a very large number of operational amplifier IC’s available to suit every possible application from standard bipolar, precision, high-speed, low-noise, high-voltage, etc, in either standard configuration or with internal Junction FET transistors. Operational amplifiers are available in IC packages of either single, dual or quad op-amps within one single device. The most commonly available and used of all operational amplifiers in basic electronic kits and projects is the industry standard μA-741. In the next tutorial about Operational Amplifiers, we will use negative feedback connected around the op-amp to produce a standard closed-loop amplifier circuit called an Inverting Amplifier circuit that produces an output signal which is 180o “out-of-phase” with the input.
10) The TV Shows, Movies, Music, Videos Daily: 5 Easy Steps: Get Your Music Into TV & Film - Successfully
If you read MC, you know that licensing your music to TV & film is one of the most effective ways to make money. It not only brings in a licensing fee upfront, but a steady stream of royalties on the back-end. How do you get into licensing if you’ve never done it? Or if you’ve been working at it without much success, how do you start getting those placements? Here are five easy steps, from SyncSongwriter.com, to not only get you started, but help you do it successfully. 1) RESEARCH You may have noticed that different TV shows or movies tend to use particular styles of music depending on the plot and vibe of the production. By understanding the kinds of music each one tends to go for, you can track down a show or upcoming movie that suits the way you write. Then all you have to do is find out who is doing the music supervision for the production and to send it to them when they happen to be looking for it. Sound difficult? This is actually pretty easy with some great online tools at your disposal. The first place you’ll want look is Tunefind.com. There you can discover what music has been used in each episode of a particular show or movie. You can also type in the name of any artist you sound similar to, and find out if and where their music may have been synced before. Chances are if they had success in a certain show or film type, you might too. The other place to investigate is YouTube where almost every show, movie or ad has a list of all the songs that were included in their soundtracks. While it is trickier to find out what kind of music an upcoming movie is looking for and when they need it, it is dead easy with a TV show. You can bet they are looking for the same kind of music they placed in previous episodes if it’s still on the air. 2) TARGETING Next we want to find out who the music supervisor is for the show or movie we are going to target. To discover which music supervisor is working on which production, head over to IMDB.com and search for the show you are targeting. Scroll down until you find out who they are, then click on their name to check out their profile. You can also see what other productions they are working on as well. Now you know who to contact––you’re halfway there! 3) SONG PRODUCTION Whether you are an artist pitching pre-existing songs, or you wrote one specifically for the production, everything you record has to sound top-notch. This is especially true with licensing. Remember, your recording will be the final version on the soundtrack. It has to sound as good as everything else that’s getting into TV & film. This is actually one of the easiest steps of them all, but is so often overlooked by songwriters. Music supervisors consider the production value of your song first, even over whether it’s a great song or a great fit for the show. If it doesn’t sound as good as everything else they’re placing, they won’t even give it a listen. So, if you aren’t a pro in your home studio, just hire a music producer online. Nowadays you can get world-class sounds on your music without stepping foot in a studio. Just send the producer some examples of what you’d like yours to sound like, and you’ll be golden. If you know what you’re doing in your home studio, just make sure everything––from the recording, to your mixing and mastering––sounds stellar. The true test is to put your song into a playlist along with other songs in your genre that are popular or have been synced before. If the production quality of your music stands up to them, you are good to go. 4) ORGANIZE Now that your songs are recorded and ready to pitch to the music supervisors you’ve targeted, it’s time to make sure you’ve tied up any loose ends. The first thing you want to do is make sure you have an instrumental-only mix of your songs. Music supervisors will sometimes want to use a recording of your song without the vocals so it doesn’t interfere with the dialog on the screen. Second is to make sure you have included all the right metadata in your file before you send it. If you don’t know what to include, you can download a free guide here: syncsongwriter.com/metadata. This will help a music supervisor be able to file your song correctly and be able to contact you if they forget who sent it. Third, make sure you sign up with a performance rights organization (PRO) such as ASCAP, BMI, SESAC etc. These organizations collect royalties for you whenever your song is aired, and you sure don’t want to miss out on those. Lastly make sure that if you are not the sole writer, that you have a contract with the co-writer and they have given you permission to shop the song to TV & film. 5) PITCH YOUR MUSIC So now it’s time to get your music into the right hands. Your biggest hurdle is that music supervisors are notoriously hard to connect with. Remember that they receive hundreds of songs a week from artists just like you trying to get into TV & film. By now though, you’re already head and shoulders above the vast majority of songwriters out there since you researched, targeted, produced, and organized your music properly in the first four steps. The trick with getting your music heard when you’re starting out is to develop relationships with music supervisors directly, or go through people who already have relationships with music supervisors. If you don’t have the opportunity to be introduced to the gatekeepers, find yourself a reputable licensing agent who believes in your music. You will have to give up a percentage of the upfront sync fee, but it will be well worth it if you can start getting placements with your songs. Once you build a reputation with some sync placements it will be much easier to start reaching out to music supervisors yourself. This way you will be able to keep the whole sync fee, and it will make it easier to build relationships in the industry from your previous successes. Either way, when it comes time to send out your music, keep your email short, friendly and only include a link to download your best, targeted songs. Never include MP3’s as you will guarantee your email ends up in the trash. I have taught these five steps to many singers, musicians, and songwriters who successfully got their songs into TV & film over and over again. Most importantly, I’ve introduced them to top music supervisors so they could start developing those first valuable relationships in the industry. Chris Shreenan-Dyck is an award-winning music producer who has worked on gold and platinum-selling albums, and licenses artists’ music to TV & film. He also teaches musicians how to license their own music successfully and introduces them to top music supervisors. Find out more at Sync Songwriter, syncsongwriter.com.
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