Important Indicators Everyone Should Know About

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What Everyone Should Know About Managing Up

Having a healthy, positive relationship with your boss makes your work life much easier — it’s also good for your job satisfaction and your career. But some managers don’t make it easy. Bad bosses are the stuff of legend. And too many managers are overextended, overwhelmed, or downright incompetent — a topic that HBR has covered extensively over the years. Even if your boss has some serious shortcomings, it’s in your best interest, and it’s your responsibility, to make the relationship work.

HBR recently ran a special series on managing up, asking experts to provide their best practical advice for navigating this important dynamic. Together, these pieces provide a good primer on how to maintain an effective, productive working relationship with your own boss.

To start, consider the type of manager you have. Many pose a unique set of challenges that require an equally unique set of skills to handle. Perhaps you’re dealing with:

No matter what type of manager you have, there are some skills that are universally important. For example, you need to know how to anticipate your boss’s needs — a lesson we can all learn from the best executive assistants. You need to understand what makes your boss tick (and what ticks her off) if you want to get buy-in for your ideas. Problems will inevitably come up, but knowing the right way to bring a problem to your boss can help you navigate sticky situations.

You and Your Team

Managing Up

There will, of course, be times when you disagree with your boss, and that’s OK — as long as you’ve learned to disagree in a respectful, productive way. Still, despite your best efforts to build a good relationship, there may come a time when you’ve lost your boss’s trust. It happens. And while it may take some diligent effort on your part, it is possible put the relationship back on track, even if you feel like your boss doesn’t like you.

And if you scoff at all the talk of bad bosses and think, “I have a great boss,” be careful. It’s possible to like your boss too much. And being friends with your manager can be equally tricky. You don’t want your boss to be your only advocate at work. You need to find ways to demonstrate your worth to those above her as well.

Perhaps the most important skill to master is figuring out how to be a genuine source of help — because managing up doesn’t mean sucking up. It means being the most effective employee you can be, creating value for your boss and your company. That’s why the best path to a healthy relationship begins and ends with doing your job, and doing it well.

12 Things Everyone Should Understand About Tech

Tech is more important than ever, deeply affecting culture, politics and society. Given all the time we spend with our gadgets and apps, it’s essential to understand the principles that determine how tech affects our lives.

Understanding technology today

Technology isn’t an industry , it’s a method of transforming the culture and economics of existing systems and institutions. That can be a little bit hard to understand if we only judge tech as a set of consumer products that we purchase. But tech goes a lot deeper than the phones in our hands, and we must understand some fundamental shifts in society if we’re going to make good decisions about the way tech companies shape our lives—and especially if we want to influence the people who actually make technology.

Even those of us who have been deeply immersed in the tech world for a long time can miss the driving forces that shape its impact. So here, we’ll identify some key principles that can help us understand technology’s place in culture.

What you need to know:

1. Tech is not neutral.

One of the most important things everybody should know about the apps and services they use is that the values of technology creators are deeply ingrained in every button, every link, and every glowing icon that we see. Choices that software developers make about design, technical architecture or business model can have profound impacts on our privacy, security and even civil rights as users. When software encourages us to take photos that are square instead of rectangular, or to put an always-on microphone in our living rooms, or to be reachable by our bosses at any moment, it changes our behaviors, and it changes our lives.

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All of the changes in our lives that happen when we use new technologies do so according to the priorities and preferences of those who create those technologies.

2. Tech is not inevitable.

Popular culture presents consumer technology as a never-ending upward progression that continuously makes things better for everybody. In reality, new tech products usually involve a set of tradeoffs where improvements in areas like usability or design come along with weaknesses in areas like privacy & security. Sometimes new tech is better for one community while making things worse for others. Most importantly, just because a particular technology is “better” in some way doesn’t guarantee it will be widely adopted, or that it will cause other, more popular technologies to improve.

In reality, technological advances are a lot like evolution in the biological world: there are all kinds of dead-ends or regressions or uneven tradeoffs along the way, even if we see broad progress over time.

3. Most people in tech sincerely want to do good.

We can be thoughtfully skeptical and critical of modern tech products and companies without having to believe that most people who create tech are “bad”. Having met tens of thousands of people around the world who create hardware and software, I can attest that the cliché that they want to change the world for the better is a sincere one. Tech creators are very earnest about wanting to have a positive impact. At the same time, it’s important for those who make tech to understand that good intentions don’t absolve them from being responsible for the negative consequences of their work, no matter how well-intentioned.

It’s useful to acknowledge the good intentions of most people in tech because it lets us follow through on those intentions and reduce the influence of those who don’t have good intentions, and to make sure the stereotype of the thoughtless tech bro doesn’t overshadow the impact that the majority of thoughtful, conscientious people can have. It’s also essential to believe that there is good intention underlying most tech efforts if we’re going to effectively hold everyone accountable for the tech they create.

4. Tech history is poorly documented and poorly understood.

People who learn to create tech can usually find out every intimate detail of how their favorite programming language or device was created, but it’s often near impossible to know why certain technologies flourished, or what happened to the ones that didn’t. While we’re still early enough in the computing revolution that many of its pioneers are still alive and working to create technology today, it’s common to find that tech history as recent as a few years ago has already been erased. Why did your favorite app succeed when others didn’t? What failed attempts were made to create such apps before? What problems did those apps encounter — or what problems did they cause? Which creators or innovators got erased from the stories when we created the myths around today’s biggest tech titans?

All of those questions get glossed over, silenced, or sometimes deliberately answered incorrectly, in favor of building a story of sleek, seamless, inevitable progress in the tech world. Now, that’s hardly unique to technology — nearly every industry can point to similar issues. But that ahistorical view of the tech world can have serious consequences when today’s tech creators are unable to learn from those who came before them, even if they want to.

5. Most tech education doesn’t include ethical training.

In mature disciplines like law or medicine, we often see centuries of learning incorporated into the professional curriculum, with explicit requirements for ethical education. Now, that hardly stops ethical transgressions from happening—we can see deeply unethical people in positions of power today who went to top business schools that proudly tout their vaunted ethics programs. But that basic level of familiarity with ethical concerns gives those fields a broad fluency in the concepts of ethics so they can have informed conversations. And more importantly, it ensures that those who want to do the right thing and do their jobs in an ethical way have a firm foundation to build on.

But until the very recent backlash against some of the worst excesses of the tech world, there had been little progress in increasing the expectation of ethical education being incorporated into technical training. There are still very few programs aimed at upgrading the ethical knowledge of those who are already in the workforce; continuing education is largely focused on acquiring new technical skills rather than social ones. There’s no silver-bullet solution to this issue; it’s overly simplistic to think that simply bringing computer scientists into closer collaboration with liberal arts majors will significantly address these ethics concerns. But it is clear that technologists will have to rapidly become fluent in ethical concerns if they want to continue to have the widespread public support that they currently enjoy.

6. Tech is often built with surprising ignorance about its users.

Over the last few decades, society has greatly increased in its respect for the tech industry, but this has often resulted in treating the people who create tech as infallible. Tech creators now regularly get treated as authorities in a wide range of fields like media, labor, transportation, infrastructure and political policy — even if they have no background in those areas. But knowing how to make an iPhone app doesn’t mean you understand an industry you’ve never worked in!

The best, most thoughtful tech creators engage deeply and sincerely with the communities that they want to help, to ensure they address actual needs rather than indiscriminately “disrupting” the way established systems work. But sometimes, new technologies run roughshod over these communities, and the people making those technologies have enough financial and social resources that the shortcomings of their approaches don’t keep them from disrupting the balance of an ecosystem. Often times, tech creators have enough money funding them that they don’t even notice the negative effects of the flaws in their designs, especially if they’re isolated from the people affected by those flaws. Making all of this worse are the problems with inclusion in the tech industry, which mean that many of the most vulnerable communities will have little or no representation amongst the teams that create new tech, preventing those teams from being aware of concerns that might be of particular importance to those on the margins.

7. There is never just one single genius creator of technology.

One of the most popular representations of technology innovation in popular culture is the genius in a dorm room or garage, coming up with a breakthrough innovation as a “Eureka!” moment. It feeds the common myth-making around people like Steve Jobs, where one individual gets credit for “inventing the iPhone” when it was the work of thousands of people. In reality, tech is always informed by the insights and values of the community where its creators are based, and nearly every breakthrough moment is preceded by years or decades of others trying to create similar products.

The “lone creator” myth is particularly destructive because it exacerbates the exclusion problems which plague the tech industry overall; those lone geniuses that are portrayed in media are seldom from backgrounds as diverse as people in real communities. While media outlets may benefit from being able to give awards or recognition to individuals, or educational institutions may be motivated to build up the mythology of individuals in order to bask in their reflected glory, the real creation stories are complicated and involve many people. We should be powerfully skeptical of any narratives that indicate otherwise.

8. Most tech isn’t from startups or by startups.

Only about 15% of programmers work at startups, and in many big tech companies, most of the staff aren’t even programmers anyway. So the focus on defining tech by the habits or culture of programmers that work at big-name startups deeply distorts the way that tech is seen in society. Instead, we should consider that the majority of people who create technology work in organizations or institutions that we don’t think of as “tech” at all.

What’s more, there are lots of independent tech companies — little indie shops or mom-and-pop businesses that make websites, apps, or custom software, and a lot of the most talented programmers prefer the culture or challenges of those organizations over the more famous tech titans. We shouldn’t erase the fact that startups are only a tiny part of tech, and we shouldn’t let the extreme culture of many startups distort the way we think about technology overall.

9. Most big tech companies make money in just one of three ways.

It’s important to understand how tech companies make money if you want to understand why tech works the way that it does.

  • Advertising: Google and Facebook make nearly all of their money from selling information about you to advertisers. Almost every product they create is designed to extract as much information from you as possible, so that it can be used to create a more detailed profile of your behaviors and preferences, and the search results and social feeds made by advertising companies are strongly incentivized to push you toward sites or apps that show you more ads from these platforms. It’s a business model built around surveillance, which is particularly striking since it’s the one that most consumer internet businesses rely upon.
  • Big Business: Some of the larger (generally more boring) tech companies like Microsoft and Oracle and Salesforce exist to get money from other big companies that need business software but will pay a premium if it’s easy to manage and easy to lock down the ways that employees use it. Very little of this technology is a delight to use, especially because the customers for it are obsessed with controlling and monitoring their workers, but these are some of the most profitable companies in tech.
  • Individuals: Companies like Apple and Amazon want you to pay them directly for their products, or for the products that others sell in their store. (Although Amazon’s Web Services exist to serve that Big Business market, above.) This is one of the most straightforward business models—you know exactly what you’re getting when you buy an iPhone or a Kindle, or when you subscribe to Spotify, and because it doesn’t rely on advertising or cede purchasing control to your employer, companies with this model tend to be the ones where individual people have the most power.

That’s it. Pretty much every company in tech is trying to do one of those three things, and you can understand why they make their choices by seeing how it connects to these three business models

10. The economic model of big companies skews all of tech.

Today’s biggest tech companies follow a simple formula:

  1. Make an interesting or useful product that transforms a big market
  2. Get lots of money from venture capital investors
  3. Try to quickly grow a huge audience of users even if that means losing a lot of money for a while
  4. Figure out how to turn that huge audience into a business worth enough to give investors an enormous return
  5. Start ferociously fighting (or buying off) other competitive companies in the market

This model looks very different than how we think of traditional growth companies, which start off as small businesses and primarily grow through attracting customers who directly pay for goods or services. Companies that follow this new model can grow much larger, much more quickly, than older companies that had to rely on revenue growth from paying customers. But these new companies also have much lower accountability to the markets they’re entering because they’re serving their investors’ short-term interests ahead of their users’ or community’s long-term interests.

The pervasiveness of this kind of business plan can make competition almost impossible for companies without venture capital investment. Regular companies that grow based on earning money from customers can’t afford to lose that much money for that long a time. It’s not a level playing field, which often means that companies are stuck being either little indie efforts or giant monstrous behemoths, with very little in between. The end result looks a lot like the movie industry, where there are tiny indie arthouse films and big superhero blockbusters, and not very much else.

And the biggest cost for these big new tech companies? Hiring coders. They pump the vast majority of their investment money into hiring and retaining the programmers who’ll build their new tech platforms. Precious little of these enormous piles of money are put into things that will serve a community or build equity for anyone other than the founders or investors in the company. There is no aspiration that making a hugely valuable company should also imply creating lots of jobs for lots of different kinds of people.

11. Tech is as much about fashion as function.

To outsiders, creating apps or devices is presented as a hyper-rational process where engineers choose technologies based on which are the most advanced and appropriate to the task. In reality, the choice of things like programming languages or toolkits can be subject to the whims of particular coders or managers, or to whatever’s simply in fashion. Just as often, the process or methodology by which tech is created can follow fads or trends that are in fashion, affecting everything from how meetings are run to how products are developed.

Sometimes the people creating technology seek novelty, sometimes they want to go back to the staples of their technological wardrobe, but these choices are swayed by social factors in addition to an objective assessment of technical merit. And a more complex technology doesn’t always equal a more valuable end product, so while many companies like to tout how ambitious or cutting-edge their new technologies are, that’s no guarantee that they provide more value for regular users, especially when new technologies inevitably come with new bugs and unexpected side-effects.

12. No institution has the power to rein in tech’s abuses.

In most industries, if companies start doing something wrong or exploiting consumers, they’ll be reined in by journalists who will investigate and criticize their actions. Then, if the abuses continue and become serious enough, the companies can be sanctioned by lawmakers at the local, state, governmental or international level.

Today, though, much of the tech trade press focuses on covering the launch of new products or new versions of existing products, and the tech reporters who do cover the important social impacts of tech are often relegated to being published alongside reviews of new phones, instead of being prominently featured in business or culture coverage. Though this has started to change as tech companies have become absurdly wealthy and powerful, coverage is also still constrained by the culture within media companies. Traditional business reporters often have seniority in major media outlets, but are commonly illiterate in basic tech concepts in a way that would be unthinkable for journalists who cover finance or law. Meanwhile, dedicated tech reporters who may have a better understanding of tech’s impact on culture are often assigned to (or inclined to) cover product announcements instead of broader civic or social concerns.

The problem is far more serious when we consider regulators and elected officials, who often brag about their illiteracy about tech. Having political leaders who can’t even install an app on their smartphones makes it impossible to understand technology well enough to regulate it appropriately, or to assign legal accountability when tech‘s creators violate the law. Even as technology opens up new challenges for society, lawmakers lag tremendously behind the state of the art when creating appropriate laws.

Without the corrective force of journalistic and legislative accountability, tech companies often run as if they’re completely unregulated, and the consequences of that reality usually fall on those outside of tech. Worse, traditional activists who rely on conventional methods such as boycotts or protests often find themselves ineffective due to the indirect business model of giant tech companies, which can rely on advertising or surveillance (“gathering user data”) or venture capital investment to continue operations even if activists are effective in identifying problems.

This lack of systems of accountability is one of the biggest challenges facing tech today.

If we understand these things, we can change tech for the better.

If everything is so complicated, and so many important points about tech aren’t obvious, should we just give up hope? No.

Once we know the forces that shape technology, we can start to drive change. If we know that the biggest cost for the tech giants is attracting and hiring programmers, we can encourage programmers to collectively advocate for ethical and social advances from their employers. If we know that the investors who power big companies respond to potential risks in the market, we can emphasize that their investment risk increases if they bet on companies that act in ways that are bad for society.

If we understand that most in tech mean well, but lack the historic or cultural context to ensure that their impact is as good as their intentions, we can ensure that they get the knowledge they need to prevent harm before it happens.

So many of us who create technology, or who love the ways it empowers us and improves our lives, are struggling with the many negative effects that some of these same technologies are having on society. But perhaps if we start from a set of common principles that help us understand how tech truly works, we can start to tackle technology’s biggest problems.

50 Facts About Life Everyone Should Know

Want to sleep better? Try number nine.

One of the downsides of living in the Information Age? It feels impossible to keep up! We’re awash in information all day, every day. The good news, of course, is that some things are worth knowing a lot more than others. The name of the second baseman for the ’92 Mets? Probably not important. But tips for living a better life? Well worth committing to memory. (Note: Apologies to baseball buffs.)

From practical tips to tidbits that can help you out in cocktail party conversation, here are 50 facts everyone should know. So read on, put on your learning caps, and feel your quality of life rise. And for some amazingly fun facts to share, check out these 100 Awesome Facts About Everything!

Believe it or not, that little ball of cotton that comes in your bottle of pills, which is there to keep pills safe during shipping, is meant to be removed. It can collect moisture because of its absorbent nature, which makes your pills deteriorate faster. And for more great health facts, check out the 50 Best Supplements on the Planet.

Assuming you want to tip 20 percent for good service, move the decimal point one digit to the left and then double that number. It’s that easy! For example, if a bill is for $35.50, you move the decimal to the left, which gives you $3.55. Double that number, and you’ve got $7.10—a 20 percent tip calculated in seconds. And for more restaurant etiquette tips, here are 25 Things You Should Always Do at a Fancy Restaurant.

Sharp knives aren’t actually as likely to cut you as dull ones. Because a sharp knife easily slices through food, you only have to apply a small amount of pressure when using them. This means that you’re more likely to cut the item you’re intending to cut, and not your hand.

Dull knives, however, can’t cut through food easily, and often cause injuries when resistance between the dull blade and the food’s surface suddenly gives way, at which point the knife flies out of control. Since you have to use so much pressure to cut with a dull knife, they often cause deep cuts and gouges, as opposed to the minor nicks a sharper knife might inflict. Keep your knives sharp and hone those skills for maximum safety. And for more tips on becoming a culinary master, check out these 5 Easy Kitchen Moves.

You are a planet teeming with microbes. Trillions of them inhabit your body. In fact, 90 percent of the cells in your body are actually composed of microbes. Now, this is actually a good thing, but if you want to limit the amount of microbes on your skin, learn about The Safest Way to Wash Your Hands.

Well, they do. It’s just that they aren’t made of bone. They’re little bits of cartilage that have yet to ossify into bone. And for more information about the little ones in your life, here’s How to Avoid Spoiling Your Child.

Intervertebral disks between your vertebra are filled with water. Over the course of a day, the weight of your body causes the water to diffuse out of the disks, and you can lose up to an inch in height by the time you go to bed at night. At night, while you’re sleeping, water can diffuse back into the disks.

So, if you’re feeling a bit on the short side, measure yourself when you first wake up. Another thing that could be making you shorter is bad posture from too much screen time. And for more on the importance of posture, read up on What is “Tech Neck,” and Do You Have It?

Yup, in many ways it’s not great to be a dog. Eating grapes or raisins, even in small quantities, can cause kidney failure or death. Macadamia nuts can cause vomiting, tremors and depression. Onions and garlic both can give dogs anemia. Dogs should never eat any part of an avocado. Doing so can cause breathing difficulties or even death. The caffeine in coffee and tea is too much for a dog and can cause tremors, vomiting, and seizures. In large enough quantities, death is possible. Xylitol can lead to liver failure and death for dogs. Lemons and limes can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Stomach pain and seizures can result from your dog consuming nutmeg. And alcohol and raw yeasted dough can both give dogs alcohol poisoning. And for more information about keeping your dog in perfect health physically and mentally, here are 15 Signs Your Dog Is Depressed.

Most baby carrots you buy from the store are baby-cut carrots, which are actually just misshapen full-sized carrots that have been whittled down. (Who knew?) And if you’re curious about how you should eat your carrots—baby or full-size—read Why Eating Raw Food Is Better for You Than You Ever Knew.

Sleeping with your doors closed will help protect you from smoke and toxic fumes in the event of a fire. And for more information on how to rest better at night, check out these 70 Tips for Your Best Sleep Ever.

Before you hand off that important spreadsheet, be sure to run a spellcheck manually to spare yourself any undue embarrassment. And if you really want to look good on the job, here’s How to Fireproof Your Career.

When it comes to snow, it’s water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink. It requires a lot of energy for your body to convert something from a solid to a liquid, and while snow will provide a tiny amount of hydration, it will also lower your body temperature in the process, making you more prone to hypothermia. And for more great knowledge, don’t miss these 40 Random Obscure Facts That Will Make Everyone Think You’re a Genius.

In movies, when somebody is drowning, it is very flashy, with lots of screaming and flailing arms. In reality, people who are drowning can rarely call for help. Signs a person is drowning include being vertical in the water with their head tilted back, possibly hyperventilating, and appearing to be climbing an invisible ladder. They might also be face down in the water.

You can actually download the entirety of Wikipedia and keep it on a USB drive. Here’s the link, if you’d like to eliminate the middle man and own the source. And for more mind-blowing trivia, don’t miss these 40 Amazing Animal Facts.

If you close your eyes in a completely dark room. When you open them, the color you see is called eigengrau, which means intrinsic gray. It’s the shade of dark gray people see when there’s no light.

It’s called petrichor. It comes from an oil plants exude that dries on the ground. When it rains, the oil combines with a byproduct from a type of bacteria to produce the smell.

Just a single month of sleeping in a 66-degree room helped increase subjects’ fat-burning ability by as much as 10 percent, according to research from Commonwealth University. And for more great knowledge, bone up on the 40 Facts You Always Believed That Aren’t True.

Researchers at John Hopkins University took the average of light from over 200,000 galaxies. It turns out the universe is, on average, kind of beige. They named the color “cosmic latte.”

Over the course of a lifetime, you’ll yawn approximately 250,000 times, according to one expert on the subject. If you live to 70, that’s about 10 yawns per day.

Granted, goldfish bowls have a classic look, but what they don’t have is adequate filtration or oxygen for your fish. It’s better to get a proper aquarium.

They also have a higher tolerance for pain, which is fortunate.

Use Amazon Smile instead of plain old Amazon, and Amazon will donate 0.5 percent of your purchases to a charity of your choosing.

While human hair generally grows at a rate of about six inches per year, there is some difference in growth rates based on ethnicity. According to research published in the International Journal of Dermatology, people of Asian descent tend to have faster-growing hair than those of other ethnic backgrounds.

Save yourself some money, because they are equally effective.

Many phones, including iPhones, track your location and attach that information to every picture you take by default. You can turn it off in your settings, but that doesn’t remove the information from pictures you’ve already taken.

USPS will probably ship it to its owner, postage due. Also: make sure you have the correct address on your ID.

In some states, you can request that the DMV re-examine a senior. So if Grandpa Joe isn’t taking the hint that he’s not safe behind the wheel, you can put the responsibility for nagging him about it solely on the shoulders of the DMV.

The next total solar eclipse visible in North America isn’t too far into the future—April 8, 2024, to be precise. So, if you missed the last one, you’ve got another chance.

I.e. is an abbreviation of “id est,” which means “that is,” but you can remember what it means with the phrase “in essence.” E.g., on the other hand, stands for exempli gratia, which means “for the sake of example,” but can easily be remembered as “example given.”

You don’t have to cast your vote before the polls close. As long as you’re in line, you’re legally allowed to vote.

If you’ve never cleaned your dishwasher, it might be time. Look up some instructional videos or hire a professional, and get that thing in tip-top shape. It will greatly improve your machine’s performance.

Don’t have the cash for rent or a down payment? You’re not alone. For the first time in over 130 years, more people between 18 and 34 are living with their parents than on their own or with a partner.

Taking an aspirin at the first sign of a heart attack can be a lifesaver. The drug inhibits platelets from forming a clot that can block and artery and cause a full-on heart attack. For the fastest relief (and time is of the essence), chew the aspirin instead of swallowing it.

You might think you’re doing the ducks a favor, but feeding them actually water pollution, poor nutrition, and can even delay migration. Just as it is with all wild animals, it’s best not to feed them, no matter how cute and happy they are when they eat little cubes of bread.

Instead of dousing yourself in V8, make a mixture of dish soap, peroxide, and baking soda. The skunk spray is an oil, which your grease-fighting dish soap will take care of. Peroxide and baking soda add plenty of oxygen to the mix to help get rid of the smell.

Air is actually 78 percent nitrogen. An over abundance of oxygen can actually make you feel kind of high. That’s why oxygen bars were a thing for a bit in the late ’90s and early ’00s.

On the subject of science, everything (barring subatomic particles) is made of chemicals. That means that, despite what folks on the internet may tell you, something containing chemicals isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s probably worth noting that the length of a chemical’s name doesn’t correlate to how good or bad it is for you, either.

Don’t have any close friends who feel like good choices to inherit your fortune? Not a problem. Your pets can be listed as the beneficiaries of your will. However, as was the case with famed hotelier Leona Helmsley’s prized pooch, their total payout may be reduced if your heirs contest the will—her pup only got $2 million of what was supposed to be a $12 million inheritance in the end.

Water will make a grease fire much, much worse. Instead, starve the fire of oxygen by completely covering it and removing it from heat, if possible. Baking soda will also help put out a grease fire, as will a class B fire extinguisher.

And not just a little, either. Eating just two leaves off a lily plant can be fatal to a cat in a few short days without treatment. If you’re a cat person, you should find a different houseplant to love.

Most modern microwaves come with a mute option. Sometimes it’s as easy as finding the button that has “mute” written on it in small letters and holding that down for a while. Otherwise, check your owner’s manual and exponentially improve your quality of life.

An effect called Rayleigh scattering is what makes the sky appear to be blue. Shorter wavelengths of light get absorbed by gas molecules in the air and scattered around the sky. Because of this, the blue light is everywhere you look, and the sky looks blue.

Having strange dreams? It’s time to skip the blue cheese on your salad. According to research from the British Cheese Board, eating blue cheese is particularly associated with vivid dreams.

There are perforated spots on either side of a box of aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Punch those in, and they hold the foil or wrap in place, and you never have to deal with accidentally flinging a roll across the kitchen ever again.

If you stop taking antibiotics before you’re supposed to, any bacteria that didn’t get killed can develop an immunity to that antibiotic and become a super-strain that’s much more difficult to kill in the future. So keep taking your pills, even if you feel better.

Go to your house, click on it, and then click “report a problem” at the bottom of the screen. You can also do this for your face or your car.

Instead of accidentally getting duped into a membership to a service you don’t want, simply cancel during the free trial period. With most free trials, you can cancel immediately after you sign up and still enjoy the entire trial period.

If you allow Wikipedia to know your location, it can provide you with pages about subjects relevant to where you are using its Nearby function.

In the United States, it’s customary to stand right and walk left on stairs and escalators, even if it’s not posted anywhere.

People with active social networks and close friends they talk to live longer than people who rely only on family, according to researchers at Michigan State University. So, whenever possible, make time to see the members of your social circle, even if it’s just for a coffee.

You can find your terminal and gate number by Googling your flight number rather than crowding around the sign at the airport. Google is often updated before the sign too, so you can find out sooner if your flight has been delayed or canceled. And if you want more ways to streamline the travel process, here are 20 Ways to Make Flying Less Miserable.

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