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5 hours ago

Keystone Species - The Sea Otter

A Monotypic Species

The sea otter has been held up as a classic keystone species. Keystone species affect an ecosystem much more profoundly than their size or numbers would suggest. The sea otter is an essential element in keeping its habitat healthy. Part of their nourishment comes from benthic (sea floor) herbivores such as sea urchins. Sea urchins graze on the kelp, eating through the lower stems. The kelp then drifts away and dies. When the kelp forest is destroyed in this way, there is an enormous flow-on or cascade effect on the marine ecosystem. The sea otter helps keep a viable balance of kelp forest and herbivores. Other keystone species are the mountain tapir and the prairie

1 day ago

20 Essential Search Engine Optimization Tips for Small Business Owners

Matt Cutts, Google's most visible search engine optimization guru, has said there are more than 200 variables in the Google algorithm. Don't expect to find an explanation of all 200 here -- because I don't know them. (That's why Google is full of Ph.Ds.) But I have helped a number of Websites get to the No. 1 search result. How? By following simple rules. What I have learned about Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines over the last 15 years could fill my Starbucks Venti cup. Lots of so-called SEO experts will swear they know enough to f

5 days ago

Is it time for a four-day workweek?

Why don't more bosses implement a four-day workweek?

Doctors, executives and human resource experts say it would be great for the American workforce. People would have more time to see the dentist, hang out with their children and get errands done. Workers would be happier, and morale would improve.

Instead, much of America is still on a five-day week, with just two precious days on the weekend.

Google (GOOG) boss Larry Page praised the idea of a reduced workweek at a business summit last week. "The idea that everyone needs to work frantically to meet people's needs is just not true," he said. People need to feel busy and productive, he said, but they don't need to work so much to get there.

"Most people like working, but they'd also like to have more time with their family or to pursue their own interests," Page added. "So that would be one way to deal with the problem, is if you had a coordinated way to just reduce the workweek."

The merits of a four-day workweek have been proven repeatedly. Software company 37signals switches to a four-day workweek from May through October, and only asks employees to work 32 hours a week during that time. CEO Jason Fried wrote in The New York Times that employees get more productive during those months.

"When there's less time to work, you waste less time," Fried wrote in an op-ed. "When you have a compressed workweek, you tend to focus on what's important. Constraining time encourages quality time."

Utah experimented with a four-day workweek for state workers, but switched back to a traditional week in 2011. Employees loved the four-day stretches, and spent their days off volunteering or working second jobs, The Associated Press reports. Employees had fewer conflicts with work and home and saved money on gas. There was just one problem: Residents complained because some state services weren't available on Fridays.

Market research firm Slingshot SEO has a four-day workweek, with employees clocking 10-hour days. "Your employee retention rate literally soars," wrote CEO Jay Love on Inc.com. "Who would ever want to give up three days at home, only commuting four days a week."

British doctors have recommended that the U.K. switch to a four-day week, saying it would help fight high blood pressure and mental health problems in the workforce. "The lunch hour has gone, people just have a sandwich at their desk and carry on working," public health professor John Ashton told The Daily Mail.

There are some drawbacks to that kind of schedule, however. Ideally, the entire company should be on the same four-day week, or some employees may feel like they are missing out, CNN.com reports. One Denver attorney told the site that when she took a day off during the week, she felt like her stature at work diminished. "I became convinced that once out of sight, I was out of mind," she said.

Also, some workers may find it exhausting to pull a 10-hour shift four days in a row. That's a lot to ask, even for the reward of a three-day weekend.

Finally, some executives feel like they can't miss out on one day of business. They fear many emails and voicemail messages go unanswered. The rest of the business world isn't stopping, and customers and partners could get irritated at the lack of response.

So could America ever get on a path to a four-day workweek? Until company bosses become convinced of any real benefits, the chances are slim. "Often, it isn't that employers don't want to offer four-day workweeks, it's that they're not sure what's in it for them," workplace expert Lisa Horn told Next Avenue.

6 days ago

How to Find an Ethical Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Company

SEO stands for 'Search Engine Optimization', which is what individuals, companies, or anyone with a website do to make their site show up in search engine results at a higher ranking.

Ranking decides whether your website is going to show up on the first 10 pages of the results or pop up way back somewhere. This means that when people type in a certain term or keyword in a search engine, as they usually do when looking for something, the sites with the highest ranking show up in the first 5 to 10 pages. Considering how many millions of sites there are and what a vast and expanding place the Internet is, it is important that your website have a high-ranking and thereby a high visibility

7 days ago

A new challenge for Andy Stanley – CNN Belief Blog

By John Blake,

(CNN) - Since President Obama's re-election, pundits have asked if the Republican Party needs to change its message to adapt to a changing America.



Here's another question: Will conservative Christians have to adapt their message as well?

I thought about that question as I interviewed one of the nation's most popular pastors, Andy Stanley. He is a Christian conservative who is also the pastor of North Point Community Church, a sprawling 33,000-member church in suburban Atlanta, Georgia.

1 week ago

Prevention: Allergy-Proof Your Home - ABC News



Your home should be a haven away from allergy triggers. And fortunately, it can be. There are plenty of things you can do inside your home to reduce allergen levels, from cleaning and vacuuming regularly to keeping humidity levels low. Here's an overview of 10 simple steps to take starting today. Your efforts will be rewarded with fewer allergens--and with possibly stopping them from developing in the first place.

Keep your home cool and dry

You should keep your home cool and dry to decrease mold and dust mite growth and roach intrusions

2 weeks ago

Waterproof Paint, Plastic Vapor Barrier, Or Concrete Sealer?

What To Use To Control Moisture & Humidity In Your Basement

Generally speaking, homeowners now recognize the importance of creating a vapor barrier on their walls. Whether through waterproof paint, a plastic vapor barrier, a penetrating sealer, or some other method, creating this barrier will prevent water vapor from seeping through the pores of concrete.



In a finished basement, a vapor barrier will protect drywall and insulation from the moisture buildup that would otherwise lead to mold, mildew, and humidity passing through the concrete walls and floors loc