On Dis-ease

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We are all terminally ill. It is a matter of time before we all die. Aging and death remain almost as mysterious as ever. We feel awed and uncomfortable when we contemplate these twin afflictions. Indeed, the very word denoting illness contains its own best definition: dis-ease. A mental component of lack of well being must exist SUBJECTIVELY. The person must FEEL bad, must experience discomfiture for his condition to qualify as a disease. To this extent, we are justified in classifying all diseases as “spiritual” or “mental”.

Is there any other way of distinguishing health from sickness – a way that does NOT depend on the report that the patient provides regarding his subjective experience?

Some diseases are manifest and others are latent or immanent. Genetic diseases can exist – unmanifested – for generations. This raises the philosophical problem or whether a potential disease IS a disease? Are AIDS and Haemophilia carriers – sick? Should they be treated, ethically speaking? They experience no dis-ease, they report no symptoms, no signs are evident. On what moral grounds can we commit them to treatment? On the grounds of the “greater benefit” is the common response. Carriers threaten others and must be isolated or otherwise neutered. The threat inherent in them must be eradicated. This is a dangerous moral precedent. All kinds of people threaten our well-being: unsettling ideologists, the mentally handicapped, many politicians. Why should we single out our physical well-being as worthy of a privileged moral status? Why is our mental well being, for instance, of less import?

Moreover, the distinction between the psychic and the physical is hotly disputed, philosophically. The psychophysical problem is as intractable today as it ever was (if not more so). It is beyond doubt that the physical affects the mental and the other way around. This is what disciplines like psychiatry are all about. The ability to control “autonomous” bodily functions (such as heartbeat) and mental reactions to pathogens of the brain are proof of the artificialness of this distinction.

It is a result of the reductionist view of nature as divisible and summable. The sum of the parts, alas, is not always the whole and there is no such thing as an infinite set of the rules of nature, only an asymptotic approximation of it. The distinction between the patient and the outside world is superfluous and wrong. The patient AND his environment are ONE and the same. Disease is a perturbation in the operation and management of the complex ecosystem known as patient-world. Humans absorb their environment and feed it in equal measures. This on-going interaction IS the patient. We cannot exist without the intake of water, air, visual stimuli and food. Our environment is defined by our actions and output, physical and mental.

Thus, one must question the classical differentiation between “internal” and “external”. Some illnesses are considered “endogenic” (=generated from the inside). Natural, “internal”, causes – a heart defect, a biochemical imbalance, a genetic mutation, a metabolic process gone awry – cause disease. Aging and deformities also belong in this category.

In contrast, problems of nurturance and environment – early childhood abuse, for instance, or malnutrition – are “external” and so are the “classical” pathogens (germs and viruses) and accidents.

But this, again, is a counter-productive approach. Exogenic and Endogenic pathogenesis is inseparable. Mental states increase or decrease the susceptibility to externally induced disease. Talk therapy or abuse (external events) alter the biochemical balance of the brain. The inside constantly interacts with the outside and is so intertwined with it that all distinctions between them are artificial and misleading. The best example is, of course, medication: it is an external agent, it influences internal processes and it has a very strong mental correlate (=its efficacy is influenced by mental factors as in the placebo effect).

The very nature of dysfunction and sickness is highly culture-dependent. Societal parameters dictate right and wrong in health (especially mental health). It is all a matter of statistics. Certain diseases are accepted in certain parts of the world as a fact of life or even a sign of distinction (e.g., the paranoid schizophrenic as chosen by the gods). If there is no dis-ease there is no disease. That the physical or mental state of a person CAN be different – does not imply that it MUST be different or even that it is desirable that it should be different. In an over-populated world, sterility might be the desirable thing – or even the occasional epidemic. There is no such thing as ABSOLUTE dysfunction. The body and the mind ALWAYS function. They adapt themselves to their environment and if the latter changes – they change. Personality disorders are the best possible responses to abuse. Cancer may be the best possible response to carcinogens. Aging and death are definitely the best possible response to over-population. Perhaps the point of view of the single patient is incommensurate with the point of view of his species – but this should not serve to obscure the issues and derail rational debate.

As a result, it is logical to introduce the notion of “positive aberration”. Certain hyper- or hypo- functioning can yield positive results and prove to be adaptive. The difference between positive and negative aberrations can never be “objective”. Nature is morally-neutral and embodies no “values” or “preferences”. It simply exists. WE, humans, introduce our value systems, prejudices and priorities into our activities, science included. It is better to be healthy, we say, because we feel better when we are healthy. Circularity aside – this is the only criterion that we can reasonably employ. If the patient feels good – it is not a disease, even if we all think it is. If the patient feels bad, ego-dystonic, unable to function – it is a disease, even when we all think it isn’t. Needless to say that I am referring to that mythical creature, the fully informed patient. If someone is sick and knows no better (has never been healthy) – then his decision should be respected only after he is given the chance to experience health.

All the attempts to introduce “objective” yardsticks of health are plagued and philosophically contaminated by the insertion of values, preferences and priorities into the formula – or by subjecting the formula to them altogether. One such attempt is to define health as “an increase in order or efficiency of processes” as contrasted with illness which is “a decrease in order (=increase of entropy) and in the efficiency of processes”. While being factually disputable, this dyad also suffers from a series of implicit value-judgements. For instance, why should we prefer life over death? Order to entropy? Efficiency to inefficiency?

Health and sickness are different states of affairs. Whether one is preferable to the other is a matter of the specific culture and society in which the question is posed. Health (and its lack) is determined by employing three “filters” as it were:

1) Is the body affected?

2) Is the person affected? (dis-ease, the bridge between “physical” and “mental illnesses)

3) Is society affected?

In the case of mental health the third question is often formulated as “is it normal” (=is it statistically the norm of this particular society in this particular time)?

We must re-humanize disease. By imposing upon issues of health the pretensions of the accurate sciences, we objectified the patient and the healer alike and utterly neglected that which cannot be quantified or measured – the human mind, the human spirit.

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Watch Out! Facebook Announced That Your Page Likes Will Soon Decrease

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Whether you are a social media agency handling your clients Facebook page or you are handling your own, you will definitely relate to this news.

After working for months and years on building a Facebook community, a new update will take place in the near future that will decrease the number of fans you have on your page.

No, it’s not because of something you did wrong!

Facebook recently announced in a blog post that it will be removing intentionally deactivated and memorialized accounts from page likes.

Don’t worry, it’s not bad news for your business or your clients.

The social network revealed 2 main benefits for Facebook page owners, and indeed, they make sense:

Page insights: After building, implementing and updating your social media strategy, one main thing will matter to you… Results. The way Facebook currently exports your insights doesn’t provide you with an accurate visibility on the page’s activities. How can it take into consideration users who are no longer on Facebook? This doesn’t make sense. So with the removal of the deactivated accounts, the insights will be automatically updated generating more accurate results. Yay!

On another hand, it will make it easier for businesses or social media agencies using lookalike tools to find audiences similar to the ones who actively “like” their page. Double yay!

Consistency: As you might have already realized, “comments and likes” coming from deactivated accounts have disappeared. The moment a user removes his accounts, all the engagement made on page or individual posts will also be removed. This upcoming Facebook update will create consistency in the data as it will also discard the users.

As for the number of page likes you might be losing, Facebook declared a “small dip”. But how much is a small dip? Actually, it depends on the number of page likes you already have. If your Facebook page has a few hundreds, you might not feel the loss. However, if it has hundreds of thousands or even millions, the small dip might be more obvious.

Keep in mind that this update only affects manually deactivated accounts and not users who have been inactive for a while but still have their accounts. On a later period, if deactivated accounts are reactivated, Facebook will directly re-add it to the page likes.

For social media agencies: Hurry up! Tell your clients about this new update so they are in the loop of the change and don’t blame you for doing something wrong.

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Source by Roger Kramer

How to Protect Your Brand’s Online Reputation

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In the world of the internet, the life of a brand is as good as that of a mosquito if it is not attended to regularly. Even established brands have lost market share because they were non-existent in the online space. Today, whenever one hears a company’s name, the instant tendency is to check on the internet about the company. And when they find no information, their subconscious deletes it from the mind and the company has lost a prospective customer. At the same time, if adequate relevant information is not available, the customer may have an incorrect idea about what a particular brand has to offer.

In order for a company or a hotel to maintain its reputation online, it has a lot of avenues that it can use. A website of its own, staying active on social media and networking websites are just a few options the company can use to market itself in possible the largest marketplace on the planet. With almost 3000 new websites coming into existence almost every day, it’s almost as if one were competing in the proverbial “perfectly competitive” market. Thanks to the Online Hotel marketing agencies, that offer great support. In such a market all a brand can do is offer various options to a prospect and hope for the best. Now within such a structure, in reality, many players have found innovative new ways to draw people to their offering and keep them interested. This is how they secure brand recall.

Evolution brings with it its fair share of specialists in various fields. With the evolution of the World Wide Web, there have emerged specialists whose skills are meant to promote a brand in the online space and make sure brand recall is one of their key offerings. Digital marketing agencies have storied history of successfully Hotel Internet Marketing and forming overseas partnerships in order to ensure guaranteed footfall. Their work is a perfect example of how companies are looking to make their mark online. From maintaining a website and promoting it to maintaining blogs keeping possible customers informed about the industry and major players in the industry, these specialists make all these a part of their offerings.

Because of the freedom of speech that one enjoys in the online space, a brand’s reputation can be toyed with rather easily. This makes the work of specialists even more relevant. By using various portals to promote a company definitely does spread the word about itself online, but these forums are also open to scrutiny and criticism and whose word will be taken seriously is a question that worries many marketers and organizations. Organizations must make it a part of their plan to keep a check on their online tracks. Thus, it can be inferred that as much as the internet has to offer in terms of promotional opportunities, it can also be a threat to one’s virtual presence if not monitored. And in this case, thanks to the Digital marketing agencies (also Hotel marketing agencies) who are there for the rescue.

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Source by Aviarya Arya

Facebook Advertising on Weekends: Is It Really More Effective?

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Businessmen who use Facebook for their ad campaigns are continuously looking for more and more ways to promote their business using this social networking site. Facebook is home to almost 1 billion subscribers from all parts of the world. Aside from individuals, Facebook also acts as an information mediator between celebrities and fans, businesses and clients, groups and members, and many more. Advertising on Facebook is deemed to be very effective those who tried using it reported a 30% increase on their revenue.

If you have been using Facebook to promote your business, you are probably wondering if there are other ways that can help you boost the number of your page’s followers. Well, one popular notion is that ads that run during weekends are more effective than those that are flashed during the weekdays. Interesting, isn’t it? If you want to find out if this claim is true, read on.

The Myth: Weekend Advertising

As more and more people discover the benefits of using Facebook advertisements, more and more studies and researches are being conducted to improve the results of these ads. One of these new ways is weekend advertising. Weekend advertising operates on a very simple notion: the number of Facebook users is much higher during weekends, which enables businessmen to target a larger number of people and entice them to buy from their website.

The weekend advertising principle is also true for other social networking sites such as Twitter, Multiply, and Tumblr. In fact, a site called tweetclock.net, reported that the number of people who log in their Twitter accounts are 40% higher on weekends than on weekdays. Researchers reflect the same on Facebook.

Given that, weekend advertising is a fairly simple concept that small businesses can use to help boost their following on Facebook. But, one question still remains, is it really effective?

The Proof

A research conducted by TBG digital, a social media analyst, concluded that advertising on Facebook during weekends is indeed more effective than advertising on weekdays. The research panel studied some 66 billion impressions which are recorded for a span of three months. Their research found out that ads perform their best during Saturdays and they are at their worst when Monday comes. The average for Saturday is 12% higher than the Monday average.

TBG Digital studied the click through rates which are closely proportional to the cost per click of an ad as well as its cost per impression. Ads which have a higher CTR are shown more frequently while those with a low CTR has to have a higher bid to be flashed as frequently as the others. However, another way of driving a higher CTR is to schedule their ads to be shown during weekends when the number of potential customers is higher.

Simon Mansell, TBG’s Digital CEO said that the reason for this conclusion is that weekends are generally allotted for relaxation and free time. People who are out of school and offices find the time to catch up on their social media life and thus, are likely to come across an ad or two. Another reason is that people who use Facebook during weekends tends to concentrate on their News Feed since they access Facebook during their breaks. On weekends, they have more time to wander through the site and they tend to see ads and click through them.

As the author of this article, I personally surveyed 100 Facebook friends and asked them the same question. These 100 people hail from at least five countries and each has a lifestyle somewhat different from the others. Surprisingly, only 26 said that weekday ads work better for them. Some of the reasons they gave were:

· Access through Facebook is through offices and schools during weekdays

· Weekends are for mauling and spending some time for the family

· Computer maintenance and repair are generally done during the weekdays.

The remaining respondents said that weekend ads work better for them since they have more idle time spent on the page which entices them to click an ad. Also, the greater majority said that they have more time for Facebook during the weekends than on weekdays.

The Ad Campaign

Of course, these studies do not assure that you can surely get a boost for your revenue when you apply the weekend ad theory. In order to take advantage of this principle, you have to make sure that your ads are striking enough to catch the attention of your targeted audience. Also, create ads that are far from the ordinary and delivers the message in a simple yet effective way.

If you manage a fan page for your business, posting status updates, photos, and others on your page during weekends is likely to draw people to your business page and get to know more about your product. Engaging your fans in a simple trivia question can also help to draw them to your site.

The weekend ad principle is found to be more effective for businesses that target kids and teenagers. However, using your own unique brand of creativity and of course, some determination, you can use this principle to turn your business to the business that everyone knows about.

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Source by Mark M Dale

Google Nexus One Trumped by HTC Desire

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The Android powered Nexus One manufactured by HTC for the search engine giant Google has a new competitor on the block, the new HTC Desire is the manufacturers own version of this powerful new smart phone and incorporates some new features that may sway a potential customers handset choice.

Firstly, the HTC Desire offers the manufacturers own Sense user interface running over the top of the Android operating system, users of HTC device will recognise this as a smooth way to navigate the phones menu system and also makes for a great web browsing experience.

Secondly, the Desire offers support for Flash 10.1 already incorporated, this gives extra support for flash driven websites which the Google Nexus One is not currently able to view.

Lastly, and on a physical level, the Nexus One uses a trackball located under the main screen for navigation of the phones features and menu system, the new HTC Desire does away with this ‘older’ technology in favour of a new optical pad as found in the recently released HD2 model which means you simply slide your finger across the pad rather than having to physically move it.

This may not sound that important until you speak to an existing user of this technology, many Blackberry owners and even HTC Hero users have experienced wear to their trackball after repeated use and in some cases these have had to be replaced, the Desire will continue with no wear to this function.

Whether the Google name will help sell the Nexus One remains to be seen but the original hype surrounding the release of this latest Android phone seems to have ebbed very quickly with some voicing their disappointment at the device dubbed the ‘super phone’.

Availability is also an issue, the Nexus One is currently only sold by Google themselves rather than via the networks as with the Desire, currently consumers can connect the HTC Desire to both Vodafone and T-Mobile pay monthly deals with network subsidies making the phone free on some tariffs. Those wanting to purchase a Nexus One have to buy the device as a SIM Free phone for the ‘real’ price of the handset and then use a network SIM card to connect to a network.

HTC looks to have cornered a market after watching feedback from Nexus One customers and also NOT dubbed their new phone as ‘super’, the result is a well thought out design incorporating many of the same features but without the niggles present in the Nexus One.

The Desire is being released released alongside two more new models from the manufacturer, the new HTC Legend which is a Hero upgrade and the HD Mini which is a smaller version of the HD2 are set for release over the next few days.

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Source by Susan Hargreaves

The History of Google AdWords

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AdWords is Google’s primary source of revenue. To give you an idea of how much money we are talking about, Google totaled advertising revenues of $21 billion dollars in 2008. AdWords offers a pay per click advertising system to businesses and individuals using both text and banner picture ads. This program allows users to target local and global markets by using a bidding system for what the ad is worth per click. AdWords, however started from humble beginnings before it turned into the massive money making juggernaut that it is today.

The original idea of AdWords was invented by a man named Bill Gross from Idealab, who borrowed it from the Yellow Pages. Google tried to buy the idea from Bill Gross but they were unable to ever settle on a deal to make it work. Google Still launched AdWords in 2000 and followed Bill Gross’s model to an extent. After the launch, Google and Idealab settled the legal dispute and AdWords was off and running without any strings attached.

When it first started, users would pay a monthly fee and Google would set up and manage their campaign for them. In order to help cater to smaller businesses, Google came up with the AdWords self-service portal so that an individual could run their own campaign catered to their small business. In 2005 Google provided a campaign management service called Jumpstart to help advertisers in setting up their own campaigns with many customizable features. This service ended and is no longer available since the Google implemented its Google Advertising Professional program in 2008, which provides a way for students to be certified in order to be hired out by companies to run their AdWords campaigns.

In 2009, Google updated and revised the AdWords interface to make it easier to use. They also added Local Business Ads for Google Maps and Video Ads to cater to a larger market and to keep up with the technological advances of marketing. As you can see, Google AdWords has become a thriving marketing beast, and if you have a business, it’s a no-brainer to get started as fast as you can. But it is one of the easiest ways to advertise and the greatest part about it is that everything can be customised such as the ad, budget, and how much you want to pay per day to show the ads, not to mention that you can select when are where to show the ads. If you are looking to jumpstart your business or get your name or product out there, Google’s PPC system has proven itself as an extreme force that is highly effective, and it will definitely help you with the marketing process.

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Source by Daniel M Burns