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22 Things You Should Do After Installing WordPress

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Little tweaks with a big impact first and foremost are those little annoying tweaks, that left undone now, can have repercussions later. These are presented in no particular order since I make sure all are done before I install plugins or start posting.

  1. Update Your User Profile: I say this one is first because some of the other steps below will require you to log back in, and who can remember that crazy randomly generated bit of garbage they call a password?
    Dashboard | Users | Your Profile

    Change the password to something you stand a chance of remembering before you do anything else. Then, when you get kicked off (and you will for some of these settings), you can get back in without referring the email they sent you.

  2. Change Your Blog Tagline:Yes, it true. If you leave it as WordPress creates it, you are branded as a noobie from the word *go*. By default, WordPress inserts *Just another WordPress Blog* as the tagline. Go change it.You should be stating your purpose, provoking thought, asking a question – anything but *Just another WordPress Blog*. Dashboard | Settings | General Be creative, this is one of the first things your visitors see.
  3. Permalink Structure: Right out of the box, WordPress will display a link structure something like this for your posts: YourDomain.com/?p=101 which means absolutely nothing to you, your visitors or Google. Get rid of it.Dashboard | Settings | Permalinks There are five different options there, and while this post isn’t about a best SEO practice, I will mention that using either Day and Name or Month and Name do nothing for you from an SEO standpoint. I hope I don’t have to say that the Numeric option doesn’t either. I use a custom structure that let’s me benefit from the category name (as a part of the URL) and the Post Name. It looks like this: /%category%/%postname%/
  4. Decide on WWW or not: Again, by default, WordPress just includes your blog’s domain name here. If you plan to be giving out your link as MyDomain.com, then you should change it now on your blog. Since this affects your tracking analytics, it’s best to do it up front.Dashboard | Settings | General Please note, doing this will log you out. Just log back in with your handy new password.
  5. Discussion Settings: Boy, we could write a whole book on this topic, but let me just hit the highlights. You want folks to comment on your blog. You just don’t want the pill pushers and porn queens to have the run of the place.I setup comment moderation with 3 or more links (I use CommenLuv which inserts one link, their web URL is a second link, so 3 would be if they included a link in their comment. If you don’t plan to use CommentLuv, change this to 2). You can also include a list of words that are *iffy* in the box below this setting. Any comment with that word would *trigger* moderation. (Moderation just holds the comments until you stop by and approve or trash the comments). The Comment Blacklist box is where I spend my time. I include a list of words that I really don’t want on my site such as viagra, penis, enlarge, and the names of several popular drugs. I have nothing against the 60-something year old man who wants to improve performance, my site is just not the place to promote that. I also include words of a sexual nature, including rape, porn, xxx, sex, virgin, lesbian, gay, etc. Trust me, this helps.
  6. Activate (Turn On) Akismet:This often overlooked step can mean the difference between 384 spam messages a day, or not. Akismet is one of the very best *anti-spam* plugins and comes preinstalled with WordPress.Use it. One note though: WordPress requires an API key, something you can only get by registering on the WordPress.com site (profile only, no blogs required). Once you register, they will send an email with your API key. Insert that in the appropriate place in your Dashboard. (Once you activate Akismet, it will be at the top of every Dashboard page until you activate it).
  7. Turn Off Post Revisions: Post revisions is a great idea that WordPress takes to an extreme (in my mind, you might disagree). The basic premise is this. Every X seconds, WordPress will create a backup of your post.Great, right? Here’s the rub. Each *revision* it saves creates a new record in your database (making it bigger) and WordPress has the annoying habit of displaying a complete list of every revision you ever made in your life, when you go in to edit a post. If you are like me, and blog via a Desktop Client, you already have a backup of your post. So, to turn off this annoying feature, open your wp-config.php file in Notepad or something similar and add this line somewhere near the other define you find in there.
    define(‘WP_POST_REVISIONS’, false);

  8. Setup Categories:At least one. No, you don’t have to know the entire category structure at this point, but it is helpful to have at least an idea of the categories you will use most often. Once you have created your most often used category, change the default category to this.

    Dashboard | Settings | Writing Change the default post category to your newly created category.

    While you are on this page, here’s a Bonus Tweak: Change the Size of the post box from 10 to 20. By default, WordPress will create the “post body” box to be 10 rows high. I don’t know about you, but this feels a little crowded to me.

  9. Setup Ping Services:This one isn’t strictly a *do-it-before-you-do-anything-else* kinda tweak, but will go a long way to getting you that coveted traffic.By default, WordPress added one ping server to the list of possible servers you can use. (Just one?) So, I went out and found some of the best servers. I just copy the list into the area for other update services. Rather than include them all within the body of this post, I am attaching a text file you can download and copy from. Dashboard | Settings | Writing Copy the list (or select the ones you want) from the List of Ping Servers that can be found on my blog
  10. Install Google XML Sitemaps Google XML Sitemaps generates a compliant XML-Sitemap for your site, allowing the major search engines (Google, Yahoo, Ask, MSN) to easily index your site. Every time you edit or add a post, the sitemap will modify itself unless you tell it differently (see below).This part is optional, but highly recommended! Go to Google Webmaster Central and log in with your Google Account (you do have a Google Account, right?). On the first page, there will be a link to “Verify” your site. Follow the instructions there. Once that’s done, you can then click the *Add Sitemap* link from the first page and put in the URL to your sitemap, which will be something like this (non-working) link: YouDomain.com/sitemap.xml
  11. Install A Database Backup Plugin:WordPress is software that is driven by a database. All your posts, pages and links are stored in the database. If it crashes, your entire *blog* could be lost, so take a minute and install a backup plugin to protect yourself.I have tried three or four, but the one I like best (and make sure is on all my blogs now) is the WP-DBManager Plugin. Once installed and activated, just go to Dashboard | Database (it’s on the bottom) and select DB Options. Select the maximum number of backups to keep on hand (mine is 10) and setup the auto-email feature. This will send a zipped copy of your database backup to your email address. Sweet, huh?
  12. Change Media Settings:WordPress will (somewhat) auto-size your content based on when and where you insert it into a post. If your theme allows 400px for the content width, and your max width for a large picture is 1024, you have a problem.You can manually resize any photo, but taking the time to update these media values before you get started is a real time saver. Dashboard | Settings | MediaAdjust according to *taste*, but make sure your large size is no wider than your post content area as defined by your theme. For example, mine is 580px to fit in this area.
  13. Change Plugin and Theme Location:Okay, don’t be scared, but this is moving a little towards the advanced side. First, the logic behind this…WordPress is open source software. It is maintained by a whole team of community minded folks who are constantly improving it and adding new features. As a result of all this busy activity, from time to time you are going to have to upgrade your WordPress software (and yes, it’s still free). However, the upgrade process (without the proper plugin) can be a little scary and a bit tedious. To prevent accidentally overwriting your plugins, themes or special settings, there is a way you can move your static (unchanging) files to a different location. It can be anywhere on your webserver. All you have to do to implement this strategy is copy the entire directory (wp-content) to another location and then tell WordPress where it can find those files. Like we did to turn off revisions, just edit the wp-config.php file to include the define statement shown below. define(‘WP_CONTENT_DIR’, ‘labnol.org/assets/wp-content’ ); (I had to remove the first part of the domain name that would normally appear in the address base – be sure to put it back). Don’t forget to upload it back to your blog’s root folder.
  14. Prevent Visitors From Browsing Your WordPress Folders:Okay, there are the curiosity seekers, and there are hackers. I don’t want either one accidentally wandering around my WordPress installation. For ANY reason. There are a couple of ways you can prevent this. One is simple, one is not so simple. Select the method you are most comfortable with.

    • Method 1Create an empty text file and save (name) it index.php. Upload this file to wp-content (wherever you placed this), wp-admin, and wp-includes. The empty file will be read when they navigate to that location and display a blank white page, rather than a list of your files.
    • Method 2Add the following line to your.htaccess file that exists in the main WordPress installation directory.
      Options All -Indexes: This will turn off the auto-feature to *list* files that exist in a directory without a default page.

  15. Make It Harder To Hack Your Site:Along those same lines, I want to make it a bit harder for the hackers to find weaknesses in my installation. Knowing my WordPress version can provide them with enough information to attack me, I remove the temptation. (And no, it doesn’t happen often, but yes, it does happen).I remove the little snippet of code that is present in almost every theme out there.

    And while that’s almost enough to discourage most, you can completely remove the feature from WordPress by adding this line to your theme’s function.php file.

  16. Change The Location Of Your Upload Folder:By default, WordPress will put any photo’s you upload to a directory called wp-content/uploads. First and foremost, uncheck the “Organize my uploads into month and year based folders”. It makes absolutely no sense in the real world, and we like working in the real world.Dashboard | Settings | Miscellaneous You can optionally tell WordPress to use any folder on your webserver for the default location, but if you plan to do this, include the *path* to your folder, and the full URL as well. (ie: *path* would be../../images if you want the photo’s to go to MyDomain.com/images/ The../ tells WordPress to move up one directory))
  17. Add Your RSS Feed To Feedburner:Yes, you can use the built in RSS feed that WordPress installs, but Feedburner is such an excellent feed content delivery and tracking system, why would you want to?Burn your feed with Feedburner, and then either install a Feed plugin that will force all your feeds to your Feedburner account URL, or update the theme header.php file to add the following line:

  18. Activate Your Analytics:Keep track of your users and traffic, there’s a lot you can learn from who visits, how they found you and where they go from your place.I recommend Google Analytics, Woopra, Firestats and Psychic Search. Other good analytic services available include Mint and StatCounter. You have a couple options here. The first is plugins (always recommended for the value they add to your blog), or manual theme edits. For example, Google will provide you with a little code snippet. Just open the footer.php file and just above the closing body tag, add the chuck of code. I prefer a good plugin like Ultimate Good Analytics. Both Psychic Search and Firestats are plugins as well. Woopra is a service that also offers a plugin (optional).
  19. Custom 404 Page:It happens, people make mistakes… they type the address wrong, or you move a page. They land from the search engines from a link that no longer exists. Bam! 404 Error. (A fancy-non-geek-way of saying the dang thing is just gone).Now, you can just hope it doesn’t happen (it will), or you can plan on it now, and get the most use out of that page. Do you offer a product? Place a mini-sales letter on your 404 Page Template with a link to the full letter. Add things like your Top Posts, or Most Actively Discussed Items to the 404 page to give them options to consume your content. A 404 page doesn’t have to be a death-sentence. Give the visitor options and she won’t leave your blog just yet.
  20. Help Google Love Your Blog:It’s a sad fact that most bloggers don’t do this step until they have been blogging a while and realize there are things they should be doing to optimize for the search engines. You can be ahead of the game if you install Headspace2 or All In One SEO right away, and start completing the extra fields they give you.I won’t go into detail here (that’s a whole ‘nother post), but each of them offers fields for Title, Description and Keywords on the New Post screen. You should complete all three. Make sure you use your primary keyword for the post at least once in the title and description, and place 1-5 keywords in the keyword field.
  21. Create a Contact Me Page:Do not over look this important step. You want to be accessible. You want them to feel you are a real person they can reach out to. If you don’t provide a way to *connect*, they won’t. And they will wander off, never to be seen or heard from again.
  22. Create a Visitor Site Map:This is different than the one you created for the search engines… this is a page that provides a quick overview of everything on your site.Don’t assume your navigation is working for your visitors (it might not be). The more ways you provide for them to find your valuable content, they more they will. If your theme doesn’t include an archives.php file to allow this, get Dagon Design Sitemap Generator or SRG Clean Archives. Both are plugins and make this process almost painless.

Anything Else? I know, I know… this post was a little longer than I had planned, but these are the things I do to every new WordPress blog I create (40+ and counting). I have found these tweaks to be the absolute minimum required to get a blog that is easy to maintain, and gets found by the search engines. And though I mentioned some very important plugins, there are many more plugins you should consider using. And while this isn’t the sum total of what I do to setup a blog, I would value hearing what YOU do when you setup a blog (if you have already), or come back and comment to tell me if I missed something.

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Plasma Donations Put a Price on Human Life

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Reminiscent of a medical facility, this plasma center, built only a year before is brimming with white lab coats, face shields and medical gloves. The sound of Velcro and beeps from blood pressure machines and the whirring of hematostats as they separate blood and plasma fill the air.

The appearance is all so sterile and clinical, but the workers here are not medically certified, they are only required to have a high school diploma and all are trained by each other. Of the almost 70 workers in this building, besides the LPN nurses and the one RN, certified phlebotomists (medically trained personnel that collect blood, plasma and tissue samples from patients) are 10 % of the workforce here which is a crapshoot for professionalism in the taking of blood and plasma.

As the donors (people who give a voluntary gift of plasma) are processed through, their vitals are taken and their appearance assessed as per the companies standard operating procedures (SOP). 38% of those interviewed come because they need the money to help pay for food, rent or bills, 60 % donate because the money supplemented their vacations or spending money, the other 2 % came because they believed that they were “Saving Lives.” Most are not your typical college students, but instead housewives, part-time workers or the working poor.

Plasmapherisis (the removal, treatment, and return of blood plasma from blood circulation) began back in the 1940’s in order to harvest clotting agents by the pharmaceutical companies – now there are more than 500 donation centers in the United States and more being built every day.

The buying and selling of Blood and Plasma is a multi-billion dollar per year business. Plasma is more commercial than Blood and can not be synthetically replicated. In 1988, more than 21 years ago, the industry made over 2 billion dollars per year alone making the current numbers staggering, but incredibly secret.

US Federal regulation is more liberal than anywhere else in the world allowing up to 60 liters (127 pints) a year. The next highest producing country is Canada allowing only 15 liters per year, which is the recommendation from the World Health Organization. More than half of the plasma used in medicines worldwide is from the US.

While US donors are the source of 60% of the world’s plasma, foreign companies like huge mosquitoes, are the ones that control the product from Japan, West Germany, Austria and Canada, flying in to the US to puncture the blood and plasma supply and then fly the profits home to feed on them. Not only do foreign companies own the majority of plasma collection centers, the majority of plasma medications are also sold abroad as well.

There are two different types of plasma donations…the first is non-profit. The largest would be The American Red Cross. According to FDA regulations, truly donated plasma and blood, without any funds exchanging hands between the donor and the organization, is the only blood or plasma that can be transfused into humans. If an individual is paid any money at all, for their time or for their plasma, it can not be used to “Save Lives” per se. Because for-profit donation centers feed on the need or the greed of the economic world temperature, non-profit donation centers are suffering. When non-profit donation centers suffer, then those who need plasma: burn, shock or trauma victims go without. Those looking to make a humanitarian donations should be donating blood and plasma at non-profit donation centers like the American Red Cross.

Donations that are “paid” for are sold to drug and research companies and with the economic downturn of 2007-2009, plasma donation centers are on the rise with one of the largest Austrian Pharmaceutical backed donation centers achieving a 19% rise in stock prices within a quarter while other markets were plummeting.

The ethical question of Plasma Donation comes at a cost. Organ donation is not an unusual thing, but bodily “donation” that is suppose to help and not hinder human survival is questionable when big business gets involved, and for-profit donation of blood and plasma is very big business.

Plasma that is donated to drug and research companies is refined down and made into medicines that “Save Lives”. What is the cost of those medicines to those that would die without them? $50,000.00 to $80,000.00 per year, which can really change the slogan, “We Save Lives” to “We Cant Afford to Live”. Those without insurance or government funded backing can not afford the medications or treatments and without those “donated” treatments, die. Most are government funded solutions, which means tax payers, donors or non-donors, are paying to treat those that would die without the treatments that are suppose to be a voluntary gift…so the saying, “Give until it hurts” may be more applicable.

For-profit donation centers started targeting college students in the 1970’s to improve the quality of the plasma supply. Companies speculated that college students should be healthier than the average population. In 1999 a study was conducted by Ohio University which found that university plasma donors were not as healthy as once thought. Paid donors are three times more likely than non-donors and four times more likely then Red Cross donors to drink alcohol five or more times a week. One eighth of non-donors, one quarter of Red Cross Donors to one third of paid donors smoke tobacco. Consumption of toxins or unhealthy lifestyle is not the only issue at hand today, body piercings, tattoos and branding are other issues that pose unhealthy donation bases as well. Body art is not always visible and unless confessed to, can not always be subject to scrutiny by the donation center.

For profit donation centers will pay $8.00 -$20.00 dollars for the first donation and then to encourage the donor to come back, will pay a higher price for the second donation within the seven day period.

Depending on the weight of the individual, the donation center will take 690mL to 880mL per donation. The 880mL bottles bring a price of anywhere from $300.00 to $1,700.00 when sold to the Pharmaceutical companies. If there is anything wrong with the plasma, if it’s hemolysised (infused with red blood cells) or if the plasma is lipemic (excess fat within the plasma) the plasma is sold to veterinarian companies and bring a lesser price for the donation center.

Plasma donation was worth approximately 4.5 billion dollars in 2007. Today there are approximately 1.5 to 2 million donors worldwide and is expected to grow significantly in the struggling economy of 2009.

Because of the rapid growth within the industry, corporations train their workforce to take the donations, paying an average of $10.00 per hour. The workforce usually does not have medical certification or medical training unless they are one of the 8 LPN’s or RN’s that are hired. A licensed medical doctor covers the center with his license, but he is rarely seen on the floor of the center. He comes in maybe once a week to sign charts and watch vitals being taken once on those being trained and then he is off again, taking only his cut of the centers profits. The corporate training is not done by the LPN’s or RN or even by the doctor, it is done by regular employees that do not have medical certification or license.

Corporate training consists of reading of Standard Operating Procedures in a conference room for several hours, sometimes days, then you are put out on the floor with a trainer to watch him/her go through the motions. If you have an efficient trainer, then you can process with professionalism, but if you do not, then most Medical Historians (Someone who takes vitals, transcribed medical information and does basic phlebotomy) struggle and their bedside manner, technique and record keeping will leave much to be desired and the donors do not get the care that they may need.

In this center, processing time is a task master. This center processed 570 donors in one day with an average of 390 customers a day. From the time donors check in with the receptionist until they scan out they are timed. Time is money in this industry. When doing vitals, the Medical Historians are given a maximum of 1 minute 21 seconds to complete the processing of the donor and sending them out to the phlebotomy floor for the donation which is not much time to practice accuracy. There is no time to check your gloves for contamination issues such as plasma, mucus or blood, so donors are subject to cross-contamination every time they come into the center. Company policy states that gloves should only be changed when they are contaminated with blood, torn, cut or every two and one-half hours.

That is to save time between donors and the crack of the whip comes from the managers as they wait with stop-watches and pink slips over their white coated slave labor force. The Medical Historians are moving so fast in order to keep from getting fired that there were 2 contaminations of workers within 2 months…both from filled but broken capillary tubes that were shoved into the workers skin through their gloves or through their lab coats and scrubs and into their skin. One contamination happened when a Medical Historian tried to pull a hair out of her mouth and realized that she had just consumed the previous donors blood. Donors have to ask specifically to have the Medical Historians “change your gloves” before they are allowed to do it.

Phlebotomists on the floor are moving just as fast. They have one minute to clean, find the vein and stick the donor. They can stick 3 times, twice per arm unless there is a loss of red blood cells or the donor is in danger and needing saline, then they can stick the third time for emergencies. This causes the likelihood of Hematomas (Blood that collects under the skin or in an organ) for the donors, large bruises over 3 inches and tender areas on the arm. Sometimes, because a donor has to be stuck twice, both arms result in hematomas. Donors have to heal up for several weeks before they can return to donate, which makes the donation process an unreliable source of income for anyone.

When this center is running at full gear, processing 570 donors per day, most who work an 8 hour shift are not allowed to take lunches and sometimes not allow to take bathroom breaks. The pace is fast and furious and as soon as the donors are processed and the plasma is back in the lab, they tear down the used sets and get ready for the next donor. Used sets can be dangerous, they are suppose to be heat sealed but sometimes if there is equipment failure, the tubing doesn’t get sealed completely and when the phlebotomist pulls the tubes off the machines, plasma can splash up and out into the face, unprotected arms and saturate clothing. The Personal Protective Equipment required by OSHA doesn’t always cover everything it needs to cover, especially since Personal Protective Equipment is not fitted or trained on, so the workers are in constant hazard of contamination, which happened at least once within a 3 month period of time in this center. There are not only hazards to the Employees, but to the donors as well in this atmosphere. Because the center is trying to fill beds as soon as possible, sometimes beds are not cleaned before the donors sit down and donors can find themselves sitting in the blood of the last donor.

There are 22 Right-to-Work states in the US, which means that in order to receive lunch and bathroom breaks, they have to be contractual or within Union Guidelines, if they are not, the Department of Labor can not enforce bathroom breaks or Lunches for the workers. Of the 22 Right-to-Work states, plasma centers flood at least 13 of those states, and build fewer plasma centers in non-right to work states.

Employees have a hard 8 to 10 hour shift in front of them, not only working long hours without breaks, but working in a precise and fast paced environment as well and without the certified medical training that is desired.

Because they do not have the training and because the bottom line pushes ethics, sometimes shortcuts are taken. When the plasma is delivered to the lab, the lab tech has only 30 minutes to process all those bottles. If the bottle is leaking, that bottle has to be thrown out because it is air contaminated, if the bottles take longer then 30 minutes to process before being put in the storage freezer, they are thrown out, a loss of a lot of money. What has happened in the past is that the lab tech will push the bottles back over into more time to process, or the lab tech will process an air contaminated bottle and just wipe it down, or instead of taking samples from each of the plasma bottles as required by FDA, they will open one bottle and take all the samples from that one bottle…because it saves time. These infractions can close a center, but only if it is caught and reported to the FDA, which questions the purity and usability of the plasma in the system and poses the question of contamination of medications as well.

Workers who stay in this business have after 3 months suffer from foot problems, back problems, hip problems, headaches, varicose veins and neck problems that are not covered by Workman’s Comp and the conditions are not covered by OSHA. This doesn’t include the possibility of contamination that may render them with HIV, Hepatitis or other communicable diseases. These are long lasting ailments and conditions with long lasting effects. Although there are only a few that stay in this field longer than 6 months, Supervisory positions are no better.

Supervisors have demanding jobs as well. They oversee the operations to maintain not only FDA standards but also the Company’s SOP (Standard Operating Procedures). Supervisors not only man the course of Medical Historians, but also phlebotomists on the floor and incoming data entry. A supervisor must be trained and tested on all aspects of phlebotomy and medical history as well as incoming data. If the Medical Historians and Phlebotomy work 8 to 10 hour shifts without lunch or bathroom breaks, then the supervisor works 12 hour shifts with the same conditions and with the added responsibility of catching all non-conforming events that may give the center a Quality Incident Report that, depending on the severity, may be reported to the FDA if it effects the health of the public.

When new donors come through the door, they are required to read a “New Donor” booklet, which has in it all the side effects, what to expect and some of the documentation that they will be required to sign. From the time they check in until they are done reading the book, even the donors are timed, up to 10 minutes to read their packet of legal documents. After they are done reading, they are asked for two forms of identification, usually a current driver’s license and social security card will be sufficient. If the driver’s license is not current or an address is not current, then a piece of mail that is dated less than 60 days can be used to verify the address. Social Security must be verified by Social Security Card, current Tax Information or Pay stub.

Plasma donors are usually not aware of side effects and most likely told that plasma donations are safe in the long term…the reality is that 7% of the human population has an anaphylactic reaction to sodium citrate or saline of which they will need intravenous medications immediately. If they do not receive treatment within minutes, the reaction is fatal.

In this center, we have at least 5 to 6 lesser reactions a day, sometimes more. Immediate side effects can be fainting, bleeding, edema at the venipuncture site, nausea, vomiting, drop in blood pressure, faintness, dizziness, blurred vision, coldness, sweating or abdominal cramps.

If allowed to progress the side effects can be tingling around the mouth or in the limbs, muscle cramps, metallic taste in the mouth and further reactions can lead to irregular heartbeat or seizures.

After prolonged donations, 12% of donors will have a lowered level of antibodies, causing an inadequate immune system response and the probability of increased infection or disease for the rest of their lives.

Plasma donations can save lives, especially when given freely and as a humanitarian gesture…drug and research companies would like the public to believe that they are the good guys in order to increase the bottom line in this Multi-billion dollar business, profiting on the generosity of some and the desperation and greed of others, treating donors like Cash Cows grazing on the bottom line.

For-profit donations feed a fire-storm of ethical questions such as, “if selling human organs is immoral, unethical and illegal, then what makes selling Plasma any different?” “If harvesting a human organ and holding it ransom to those that can pay the price to live, if selling it to the highest bidder is wrong, then isn’t harvesting plasma and selling it to those that would die without it the same thing?” What is the cost of a human life? With 15 million donations a year, the plasma industry looks the donor gift horse in the mouth everyday and laughs all the way to the bank. For-Profit plasma companies have a win-win situation…donors give their plasma or practically give their plasma to the industry and the blood sucking, plasma hoarding corporations can turn around and charge $50,000.00 to $80,000.00 a year to allow a person to live, long term cost projections are at $3.7 million to $5.9 million for medications that allow one person to live a normal life…and now we can put a price on what a human life is worth to the plasma industry.

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Finance

How to Pick the Right Auto Body Repair Shops

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Some of the biggest questions people run into deal with the repairing their vehicles. Many times people are confused and don’t know how to go about picking the right auto body shop. What process should I run through in picking the right vehicle repair shop? What questions should I consider?

What value am I getting for my Auto Body Repair?

The most important question in determining what auto body repair shops is: What value am I getting in repairing my vehicle here? Many body shops out there are looking for unsuspecting customers and ways to pad their bottom dollar. A lot of times body shops will offer the lowest price because they know this will attract customers. Unfortunately, from a customer standpoint choosing the lowest price is not always the way to go.

Daniel T., Vice President of National Auto Parts, in Dallas, Texas, concurs that doing this will only create more car issues in the future. “Repairing your vehicle is always about what you get in return. These days, body shops continue to push the limits of their customers to see how much more they can get away with. At this point the body shop knows exactly what they’re doing. Is the customer to know the better?”

What can I do to protect myself?

A solution that’s been picking up a lot of traction recently is hiring a third party to assist you in this area. There are a few good car crash consultants out there that will help you figure out what’s being put on your vehicle and how the vehicle’s being repaired. When looking for a good car crash consultant selecting one that gives you a lot of insight on the repair and product being used is imperative. Using these specialists provides visibility in an area with many questions.

Another way is looking for a detailed report of the work being put into the vehicle and reviewing the warranty the shops offers. When you get into an accident, every insurance gives you an assessment of the damages, take a look at the sheets and read over to see what product they’ve listed for use. Auto Body Shops sporadically will attempt to use cheaper parts to make more money. Requesting the use of what’s listed on your insurance assessment is not unusual and will help protect against this. In regards to warranties, most legitimate body shops will have an extensive warranty and stand by their work.

Where should I look for the body shop?

Driving to the nice plush auto body repair shops off the highway might be convenient, but doing this often drives up the price of the job. “All businesses have costs and are in it to make money. With this assumption, you have to believe any cost a business incurs will be passed onto their consumer,” Daniel says. Hanging off the highway, and looking more in-city gives any prospective client a better chance to keep labor costs low. Prices per hour for labor can vary wildly from $30-$100 for the same type of work. Don’t misunderstand the shop may not look the best, but you can be guaranteed going this route will provide good value.

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Finance

Proximate Cause – Mitigation

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The insured should mitigate the loss insured, where possible. A failure to do so might enable the insurer to say that the loss was not proximately caused by an insured peril but rather by the fault of the insured. However, in doing so he might increase the loss, or cause a loss which is not covered by the policy. He will be able to recover if he acted reasonably and the loss can still be directly linked to the insured risk, so that he has not taken any steps which constitute a navus actus interueniens.

– A storm blows down the gabled wall of a timber building. The falling wall breaks the electrical wiring which short circuits and sparks, causing a fire in the timber building. The fire brigade use water hoses to put out the fire and cool neighbouring buildings. However, the water causes damage to the unburnt contents of the timber building and the neighbouring buildings. There is a direct line of causation between the storm and the water damage (Stanley v. Western Insurance Co. (1868) LR 3 Ex 71).

– A fire starts in a building and the insured throws furniture out of a window in an attempt to save it. The furniture is damaged on impact with the ground.

Positive action by the insured to avoid or mitigate a loss does not generally break the chain of causation, as long as he acts reasonably. Thus the proximate cause of the loss is fire. Even where the policy excludes cover for property removed from the premises, the exclusion will not apply where the insured property is removed for its own safety (Marsdenw. City & County Assurance Co. [1866] LR 1 CP 232). Similarly, if the property is stolen shordy afterwards, the loss is covered by the fire insurance (Levy v. Baillie (1831) 7 Bing 349) unless the insurer could demonstrate that the insured acted unreasonably in not taking steps to prevent theft, or to minimise other damage, e.g. from the weather, as the theft or weather damage would be a new act which breaks the chain.

– A fire causes a fire alarm to go off. Employees leave the building but the production process in operation cannot be delayed or stopped without damaging the goods. The proximate cause of any damage to the goods resulting from a stoppage in the production process would be fire. If, however, the fire alarm was rung falsely, or there was no reason for the employees to leave the building, the proximate cause of the damage to the goods being processed would not be fire, as the risk itself has not commenced (Watson & Sons Ltd. v. Firemen’s Fund Insurance Co. of San Francisco [1922] 2 KB 355). The proximate cause of damage caused by departure after a false fire alarm is the negligence of the person setting it off. This will always be a question of fact.

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