The Case For Giving Free Massages to the Homeless

Holistic health and pursuit of happiness should be available to all, especially those in poverty and struggling.

If ever there was an age of anxiety, it is now. We all seem pushed to the limits at work, personal debt is rising, and the housing market is shrinking, while the world around us seems to be going politically and ecologically out of control. This anxiety is a stress factory that spawns mental, physical and behavioral diseases that, as we know, cost a fortune to contain, let alone fix. On its own, work-related stress accounts for $300 billion dollars a year. 

Many of us are taking an alternative route to deal with this toxic stress. We run to Whole Foods to get the organic kale, we take a yoga or meditation class, get on a massage table, or receive acupuncture or reiki. We can relieve stress by going to a tai chi or a qi gong class, or we do the latest thing and take a “forest bath” by going for a walk in the woods. We see how these things change not only the quality of our lives, but also our health, as measured by blood pressure, stress hormones, immune response and number of doctor visits. 

So, are these things luxuries for the middle class or are they life-changing and money-saving medical interventions? It may sound comical in an age where the battle lines are being drawn around whether low income people should receive healthcare at all, to suggest that they should be getting acupuncture or a free massage, but why not? Since these interventions are proven to work, they could be used on a routine basis to reduce hospital visits, relapse to drug use, and maybe even recidivism to incarceration.

Gandhi once said that poverty is violence, and today 40% of New Yorkers live below the poverty line. This violence is generated by homelessness, by the criminalization of poverty, and the soul-crushing trauma of racism. Can holistic interventions be a significant help in stemming this tidal wave of misery?

We work together at New York Harm Reduction Educators, a social welfare program in East Harlem that does just this. Do tough guys enjoy yoga and acupuncture? Yes they do. Are they interested in following a guided meditation, actively participating in a drum circle, an art group or a walk in the woods? Yes again.  We have seen people locked into a cycle of drugs and incarceration start to turn a corner in their lives. We see those at the margins of our society actually finding room to breathe, room to move, cry, laugh, be human. We see destructive behavior change – this with a very limited budget and space.

The challenge is to make the things that we know work for us and the ones we love available to our neighbors. Mindfulness, meditation, and yoga have already been used in prisons and jails and rehabs to great effect and at little cost – but what about when people hit the streets? There is absolutely no reason to withdraw the stress-reduction just at the moment that stress increases exponentially.

At NYHRE we have found a template for continued destressing that can be duplicated and improved upon throughout the city and in fact the country. This is a case where doing the right thing is doing the practical thing – by opening the space that we have found effective in our own lives and making it available for our less fortunate neighbors we can practice compassion and practicality. In an era when poverty is punishment, the pursuit of happiness should be open to everyone.

 

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Combat optional

One of the comments on my previous post on Zelda about combat feeling optional got me thinking. Role-playing games evolved from war games: The full name of TSR, the company that first made Dungeons & Dragons, was “Tactical Studies Rules”; and the game evolved out of a squad-based war game with heroes fighting monsters. Since then combat against monsters has been very much at the heart of role-playing games of all sorts. Frequently you gained experience points, and thus levels, and thus power, by killing monsters. In MMORPGs that even led to players thinking about monsters as being a resource, with other players being a nuisance for “killstealing” or otherwise taking that monster resource away from you.

In Zelda – Breath of the Wild the monster is back where it belongs: In the role of an obstacle. There are no xp to gain, killing monsters doesn’t increase your power. Yes, you might earn a nice weapon in a treasure, but you could also break your weapon while killing the monsters and then find a worse replacement in their treasure chest. Monsters drop monster parts, which can be combined with stuff like insects to cook elixirs (which sell for much more than the monster parts). There is even a special trader in the game that allows you to trade monster parts for another currency with which you can buy special items like monster disguises. But in the long run, killing monsters frequently just isn’t worth it. When exploring in the mountains and getting attacked by a monster, I’d try to punt it over a ledge and got rid of it, even if that meant I wouldn’t loot it.

Combat isn’t completely optional however. At the very least you will need to kill 5 different incarnations of Ganon, the big evil guy, before reaching the closing credits. If you want to do all shrines, about 10% of them consist of a combat trial, and some others have lesser guardian monsters mixed with puzzles. You might also want at some point in time farm certain monster parts to upgrade armor with. But what I like is that you can wander the landscape and decide to circumvent a monster camp if you don’t feel like attacking it. Because you don’t have to fight everything.

MongoDB overView with Installation_procEss: SQL – Where all to UsE ?

MongoDB


MongoDB (from humongous) is a free and open-source cross-platform document-oriented database program. Classified as a NoSQL database program, MongoDB uses JSON-like documents with schemas. MongoDB is developed by MongoDB Inc. and is free and open-source, published under a combination of the GNU Affero General Public License and the Apache License. Any relational database has a typical schema design that shows number of tables and the relationship between these tables. While in MongoDB, there is no concept of relationship.

Document Database

A record in MongoDB is a document, which is a data structure composed of field and value pairs. MongoDB documents are similar to JSON objects. The values of fields may include other documents, arrays, and arrays of documents. Following is the example of MongoDB document 

MongoDB database document


Following are some advantages of using document database

  • Documents correspond to native data types in many programming languages.
  • Embedded documents and arrays reduce need for expensive joins.
  • Dynamic schema supports fluent Polymorphism.
Following are the features of MongoDB
  • MongoDB provides high performance data persistence.
  • MongoDB supports a rich query language to support read and write operations.
  • Extremely faster than RDBMS
  • It is easy to use and lightweight.
Lets see advantages of MongoDB over RDBMS
In recent days, MongoDB is a new and popularly used database. It is a document based, non relational database provider.
  • MongoDB is schema less. It is a document database in which one collection holds different documents.
  • Structure of a single object is clear in MongoDB.
  • There are no complex joins in MongoDB.
  • Uses internal memory for storing the (windowed) working set, enabling faster access of data.
  • MongoDB is easy to scale.
  • Conversion/mapping of application objects to database objects not needed.
Where MongoDB should be used?
  • Big and complex data
  • Mobile and social infrastructure
  • Content management and delivery
  • User data management
  • Data hub
Lets see how to install MongoDB on windows
Setp 1: Download MongoDB for Windows
Download the latest production release of MongoDB.
To find which version of Windows you are running, enter the following commands in the Command Prompt or Powershell:


Step 2: Install MongoDB
In Window explorer, locate the downloaded MongoDB msi file, double click on that file and follow the instructions appears on the screen. These instructions will guide you to complete the installation process.

Step3: Setup MongoDB Environment
MongoDB requires a data folder to store its files. The default location for the MongoDB data directory is c:datadb. So you need to create this folder using the Command Prompt.

Start If you want to start MongoDB, run mongod.exe or You can do it from command prompt by using following command
C:Program FilesMongoDBServer3.4binmongod.exe

This will start the mongoDB database process. If you get a message “waiting for connection” in the console output, it indicates that the mongodb.exe process is running successfully.
If you will get following error 
mongod error
then click here and follow the steps.

When you connect to the MongoDB through the mongo.exe shell, you should follow these steps:
1. Open another command prompt.
2. At the time of connecting, specify the data directory if necessary.

If you use the default data directory while MongoDB installation, there is no need to specify the data directory.
For example:
C:mongodbbinmongo.exe 
If you use the different data directory while MongoDB installation, specify the directory when connecting.
For example:
C:mongodbbinmongod.exe– dbpath d:testmongodbdata  

If you have spaces in your path, enclose the entire path in double space.
For example:
C:mongodbbinmongod.exe– dbpath  “d: testmongodbdata”
This will show that MongoDB is installed and run successfully.

MongoDB Help
To get a list of commands, type db.help() in MongoDB client. This will give you a list of commands.

MongoDB Statistics
To get stats about MongoDB server, type the command db.stats() in MongoDB client. This will show the database name, number of collection and documents in the database.

Learn Database Programming

Elemental Evil: Sessions 13 & 14

I just noticed that I am behind on my reporting on the Elemental Evil campaign. In the previous reported session the group had reached level 5 and was about to head for the Sacred Stone Monastery. Sessions 13 and 14 were about the adventures of the group in that monastery. However once again it has to be remarked that this particular group is mainly interested in the combat aspects of D&D, and less interested in the role-playing aspects. And the campaign has been chosen with this preference in mind, containing a lot of dungeon crawls. Nevertheless even in that campaign the group still managed to avoid most opportunities to find out more about the story, and spent those two sessions mostly in combat encounters.

The group entered the Sacred Stone Monastery via the garden and from there into the main hall. However that was exactly what the bad guys had planned for invaders, as the main hall contains a trap that drops the group down into the dungeon and into a cage with an Umber Hulk. Having beaten the Umber Hulk and then some orog and ogre guards, the group liberated a group of slaves used for mining work. That included members of the Mirabar delegation, which in the book is the official story hook. However the group showed absolutely no interest in asking them about what had happened to the delegation, and allowed the slaves to leave unescorted.

Next the group entered a part of the dungeon in which a Lich lives. A Lich is a challenge rating 21 monster and obviously not meant as a combat encounter for level 5 characters. But in spite of the Lich just being a bit grumpy and not immediately attacking, the group decided against getting information from him, and just fled. Having otherwise cleaned out the basement, the group found another staircase up, and found themselves in the middle of the monk’s quarters, where a big fight ensued. That included the boss of the place, a blind female monk with the name of Hellenrae. Just like in the previous two elemental keeps, the group killed the boss, looted the magical key part the bosses are carrying, and then legged it.

Then they returned to Red Larch to rest and recuperate. But the next morning at breakfast in the inn, they were attacked by four hell hounds. That was a bit annoying for the sorceress, who mainly had fire-based spells like scorching ray and fireball, to which the monsters were immune. But although they took heavy damage from fire breaths, the group prevailed and sent the dogs packing. They (correctly) concluded that the hell hounds had been sent by the one cult they hadn’t visited yet, the fire cult. As they had previously heard about druids planning a fire ritual at a location which corresponded to the location of the fourth elemental keep on their ancient map, they plan to go there in the next session.

One more 7th Continent post before I shut up :)

The 2nd Kickstarter for 7th Continent ended with 43,733 backers having pledged over $7 million. But if you missed it, there is a possibility to Late Pledge with options limited to getting either just the new expansion, or the whole game plus expansion. I don’t know how long this will be possible, I presume it is until the pledge manager goes live in November.

*Spoiler Alert*
My wife and me are making great progress on the first curse, The Voracious Goddess. We lost on the first attempt and restarted. Knowing the starting island better made things easier, so on the second attempt we managed to get off the island the comfortable way. That gives you a choice of three places to continue, and by pure chance we seem to have chosen the absolutely best one. We found a place to rest and spend our xp on advanced skills. We found a place to hunt and recover all of the adventuring deck. And we found the next two landmarks on the clue map.

It was getting nearly too easy, and so we decided to do something more risky. Instead of following the clue map further, we entered what I can only describe as a dungeon. We didn’t completely clear it out, because there was a rather suspicious lever we didn’t dare to pull. But we did everything else in it and exited with some treasure and more advanced skills. Next we will try to hunt again and then follow the path on the clue map.

Oracle Joins the White House in Global Campaign to Empower Girls and Women

Oracle Education Foundation
The Oracle Education Foundation is a nonprofit organization funded by Oracle Corporation. Its mission is to “inspire students globally to think, connect, create and share — using technology to help them dissolve boundaries, fulfill their potential, and create a better society.”
Oracle teamed up with the White House back in April to donate money to support the Obama administration’s Computer Science for All initiative. The goal is to empower and engage student through various computer science programs in over 1,100 US institutions. They hope the money and attention will draw young people around the world into learning about science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM. The company committed $200 million to the cause.

On the heels of Oracle’s $200 million commitment to support Computer Science (CS) Education for All,the White House announced Oracle’s additional $3 million investment to immerse girls worldwide in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The company’s commitment of direct and in-kind funding supports “Let Girls Learn,” a U.S. government initiative aimed at helping adolescent girls around the world go to school and stay in school.

We want more girls focused on building upon science and math fundamentals and we want more women choosing the technical disciplines because they are both prepared to do so and because they believe it will advance their career opportunities,” Oracle’s (female) CEO, Safra Catz, said in a statement.

OWL

Oracle will offer more than 65 educational events and reach over 55,000 young girls globally through a powerful nexus of its corporate social responsibility programs spanning Oracle Academy, Oracle Education Foundation, Oracle Giving and Volunteers, (OWL), and Oracle Diversity and Inclusion. Events will include summer computing camps, codefests, workshops and conferences designed to encourage and inspire adolescent girls to become original thinkers, creative designers and enterprising trailblazers.

The money will help to fund programs to send 55,000 young girls around the world to various summer computing camps, codefests, workshops and conferences. Additionally, Oracle plans to expand its CS efforts in Egypt with an additional investment of nearly $1 million in educational resources and services over the next four years. The commitment is part of a new collaboration between the Ministry of Education in Egypt, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Oracle Academy, Oracle’s philanthropic educational program that impacts more than 2.6 million students in 106 countries. The partnership will support computing education in nine newly-created STEM schools throughout the country, including one boarding school exclusively for girls which will accept up the top 10 percent of girls across the governorates, reaching 150 girls each year and providing three years of paid education for each girl.
With the donation, Oracle joins several other technology companies which are participating in the White House’s computer science program. Both Google (GOOG, +0.89%) and Salesforce (CRM, +0.17%) (as well as the Cartoon Network) said they would donate in aggregate over $60 million to the program when it was first announced.
As part of the company’s global campaign to support girls and women in technology, Oracle will drive several notable projects:
  • Oracle Academy will team with Arizona State University and others under the USAID Build-IT project to help women in Vietnam develop into IT leaders.
  • Oracle Education Foundation and Oracle Volunteers will team to teach girls coding, electrical engineering and project management through girls-only workshops for Design Tech High School (d.tech), an innovative, free California public high school. Oracle is building d.tech’s new facility at its headquarters in Redwood Shores, Calif., making d.tech the world’s first public high school on a technology campus.
  • Oracle Giving and Oracle Academy will award grants and sponsorships globally to nonprofit organizations striving to increase girls’ access to educational opportunities and encourage them to pursue degrees in computer science and STEM fields.
  • Oracle Giving will continue its support for MentorNet, which engages STEM professionals in the virtual mentoring of undergraduates, 66% of whom are women.
Oracle Academy, a computer science educational program, and Burning Glass Technology, an analytics company, recently did research and found that programming jobs grow 50 percent faster than the market average. As technology is increasingly present in people’s personal and professional lives, there is a need for computer science learning.

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