Navigating the Thrills and Spills of Insurance

With all of the recent natural disasters you may have taken stock of your own home and thought about what you might do to replace items you might lose in such a scenario. Here is a helpful link from the site United Policy Holders that helps explain how you might go about dealing with such issues.

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United Policy Holders is a non-profit [501 (c)(3)] dedicated to helping consumers successfully navigate various types of insurance to make sure each gets the best deal and fair shake when it comes time to both buying and using insurance. Think of them as a sort of Consumer Reports of insurance.

In fact, here is their mission statement posted on the home page:

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Just to the right of the mission statement is a short list of broad topic areas covered on the site:

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Today let’s focus on what can be done in the event you have to make a claim on your property due to some sort of disaster. They have a detailed, step by step tutorial on how to successfully make claims to replace much of, if not all of, your damaged property here:

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They even offer tools to help inventory your household items in advance to avoid having to complete the arduous task after a disaster has struck. There is even an app to assist in the process, if you get into that sort of thing:
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Another helpful feature I found was an example of an actual letter sent to an insurance company requesting an extension on the time allowed to complete a claim:

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This site offers a wealth of information from which anyone may benefit because nearly all of us have insurance of one type or another. This site aims to help us identify how to proactively take advantage of all our insurance carriers promise and to avoid being taken advantage of by what can be a bloated, dense bureaucracy.

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All About the Presidency

Did you know that even though we are the Business/Science department we also have some materials concerning Political Science? In the 100’s there are Philosophy works with a heavy political bent, and in the 300’s you may find works on Economics, Law and Statistics that discuss politics as well.  Add to that all the Gov Docs we have, and there is a sizable collection of works directly related to politics in general and specifically the United States. So, in the spirit of completion let’s discuss a site that is all about the United States Presidents.

The Miller Center of the University of Virginia hosts The Presidency, which uses many different resources that allow a user to go deep on any president.

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The opening page is like any other–there are a few banner-highlighted stories, followed by featured content. Then you can choose many different paths. Though you should get on the site and explore it for yourself, I’ll show you a few things I found on my own & how I got there. When I clicked the icon in the upper left hand corner:

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I was taken here, where I chose “Issues & Policy”

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Which, among other things, linked me to an article on a proposed Carbon Tax to help battle climate change.

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If you don’t like that route you may just scroll down the main page to find more conventional topics, such as the impact and legacy of each president:

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You may also experience original documents, such as Secret White House Tapes, in which, among other treasures, you can hear a rather bawdy LBJ order some clothes directly from the founder of Haggar men’s wear.

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There is so much more to explore on this site, and it seems pretty complete and authoritative. I encourage you to check it out, so that you may impress a patron with how helpful you are in answering questions about the presidency.

 

Handyman Help

Here in Business & Science we regularly get requests for information on home building and repair. Today I will detail a site that can help, as our resources on this topic needs building up.

The site for The Family Handyman magazine is largely free and very helpful for Do It Yourself projects.

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The site is a little ad heavy for my taste, but the good thing about that is the content appears to be free, though I did not exhaustively check out every possible link on the site–there may be some pay areas, but I did not come across any.

The site is organized in a familiar format, with videos, links to full instructions for various projects and the like. I chose this topic:

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All I have to do here is click the link and I can see pictures with detailed instructions on how to stop a running toilet (hint: it does not involve chasing). I can print out the directions, email them or share them to my favorite social media site.

There are many topics from which to choose and they all appear free for the user. They do push subscriptions to their magazine, but it is not particularly obnoxious.

This may be a good resource for us to refer patrons to if/when we cannot locate a book or other tangible item on a particular DIY topic.

Learning Express Library Can Help Patrons Who Cry “Computer Illiterate”

The Learning Express Library has proven helpful to many of our patrons seeking various testing materials for tests such as the HiSET or nursing areas like the HESI or NCLEX. However, did you know that Learning Express has so much more? One tutorial area that could help many of our computer challenged patrons is the Computer Skills Center :

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I selected the “Getting to Know Your Computer” link on the left (red circle) and “Computer Basics 2” on the right (blue rectangle):

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This brought me to a video tutorial:

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On the tutorial you are in total control: the video has a transcript that you can follow along with, download or even print:

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…and you can toggle between chapters as well:

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There are many other computer tutorials in Learning Express, ranging from basic topics detailed in this post, to more complex issues, such as the intricacies of learning how to navigate the internet, to even specific programs, such as Microsoft Word and Adobe products:

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For the willing patron these tutorials can lead to increased productivity and less frustration on the computer.

Chemistry Mavens: Get Your Interactive Periodic Table Here!

The Dynamic Periodic Chart at ptable.com may be very helpful to those engaged in Chemistry classes of various levels. When you log in you see a standard periodic table:

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You may also parse the chart in various ways by checking/unchecking these boxes:

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When you click on a particular element a popup takes you to a Wikipedia entry about the element:

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You may also use these tabs to change the type of information that is available to you:

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For example, if you choose Orbitals and click on Arsenic (As) then you see this information:

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Honestly I can tell you little about what that means, but there it is! Maybe I need to go back to Chemistry class myself!

Museum Day Live

Aside from being a fascinating site with many interesting pictures and stories, Smithsonianmag.com, has sponsored the annual Museum Day Live for more than a decade.

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Long story short, this is a day during which you may obtain a pass which will allow two people to attend a museum affiliated with this special day for free. In Memphis there are three museums associated with the day. One is the Dixon Gallery and Gardens. The other two I will let you find out for yourself using the site’s Find a Museum page that lists nearly 900 participating museums spanning all 50 states.

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Happy hunting!

Vintage Patterns for Hardcore Tailors

Like to sew? Don’t have enough patterns to feed the need? Well then, do I have a site for you! The Vintage Sewing Patterns Wikia stitches together vintage patterns no younger than 25 years old, so if you want to sew your own Hollywood swimsuit from 1946 then this site has you covered:

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or, if you want to sew your own Chewbacca costume from McCalls:

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Looks pretty authentic doesn’t it?

This site has the patterns arranged in 8 garment types:

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and there are sub types within each garment type. Additionally you may look up patterns by the maker, by decade, by season and even look at old video footage concerning patterns. There are also links to other style sites, style news, top ten lists and more. This site should interest anyone interested in sewing in general, but vintage sewing in particular.