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Closing Cost Estimator ? Saving Money On Closing Costs - No ...

Most home buyers, especially new ones are not aware of their liability to additional costs when purchasing real estate property. In order to enjoy a smooth experience when purchasing real estate property, it would be a good idea to have some extra cash stashed away just in case. The extra cost incurred may be due to factors such as lawyer fees, your negotiation skills, several third party fees and lenders. To get a good estimate on your property?s closing cost, you will need to use a closing cost estimator. This article provides information on closing estimation and how you can save thousands during real estate purchases.

Here are some fees to expect during real estate transactions; Attorney fees, title insurance, loan discount points, loan original fees, property taxes, recording fees and premium for mortgage insurance among others. Depending on where you are coming from and the companies you are working with, the amount to be paid will vary.

To make your work easier, it would be best to know the fees that are negotiable and those that are not. Fees such as those from recording fees, prorate interests, taxes and city stamps will have to be paid. However, fees from appraisal, loan-processing fees, third-party fees and lender charges can be negotiated, reducing the amount of money spent on closing cost.

How Can You Lower Closing Costs?

Attorney fees ? Attorneys are very important when it comes to closing a real estate deal. They will help you deal with all the legalities associated with real estate transactions, making your work easier. Fair charges from attorneys range between $500 and $800. A good way to negotiate this amount is by simply asking the lawyers to charge by the hour. By doing this, you will have several fees charged together, saving a good amount of money on the services.

Lender fees ? Not all lenders charge these fees. In fact, most of these charges are mostly found in services offered by small banks and mortgage brokers. The cost may be incurred through preparation of documents, application fees and determination of interests charged. Eliminating some of these elements can see you save thousands of dollars in closing cost. It will be uip to you to decide the services you need and those that you want to get rid of.

Recording fees and property taxes are a bit harder to escape but with the right knowledge, you can see yourself reduce the amount paid for the process. The amount paid on recording fees and property taxes is usually about a 3rd of the property cost. This cost is usually shared between the seller and the buyer.

Title insurance ? Owner?s and loan policies are the only two types of title insurance policies there are. The amount paid on loan title insurance is based upon the loan amount while owner?s policy will be based upon the real estate property?s purchase price.
There are many different websites offering closing cost estimator software. This allows new real estate investors determine the amount of money they will be able to save during a transaction.


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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Court rules Wal-Mart can fire legal medical marijuana user | The ...

Although he lives in a state where medical marijuana is legal, a federal court ruled on Wednesday that a Michigan man could be terminated by his employer for testing positive for the drug.

Doctors diagnosed Joseph Casias with sinus cancer and an inoperable brain tumor at the age of 17. After Michigan legalized the use of medical marijuana in 2008, Casias?s oncologist recommended that he try the drug marijuana to relieve both his pain and the side effects of other prescribed pain medications.

Casias used marijuana during the final months of his five-year employment at a Wal-Mart in Battle Creek, Michigan. Although the drug proved beneficial, Casias made certain never to use it on the job or come to work under the influence.

However, after Casias was injured on the job in Nov. 2009, Wal-Mart company policy required he be administered a drug test as a routine measure.

Unsurprisingly, Casias tested positive for marijuana. Wal-Mart fired him a week later.

Casias, represented by the ACLU, sued Wal-Mart for wrongful discharge and violation of Michigan?s Medical Marihuana Act, arguing that the law prohibits a business from sanctioning a patient legally using the drug.

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan ruled that Wal-Mart did not violate Michigan law by firing Casias. On Wednesday, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed.

In a split 2-1 ruling against Casias, the court focused on the following portion of Michigan?s medical marijuana law:? ?A qualifying patient ? shall not be subject to arrest or ? disciplinary action by a business or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau ??

Casias and his attorneys argued that the law prohibits ?disciplinary action by a business? against a patient using legal medical marijuana.

Ezekiel Edwards, director of the ACLU?s Criminal Law Reform Project, explained Casias? argument to The Daily Caller News Foundation.

?We paid attention to the fact that there?s a disjunctive separating ?business? from the words that follow it, ?occupational or professional,?? he said.

Edwards provided the DCNF a copy of the ACLU?s brief, which further explained, ?the use of ?or? instead of a comma between ?business? and ?occupational? signifies that ?business? is to be read independently from ?occupational or professional licensing board or bureau.??

The court, however, read the statute differently and ruled against Casias on a different interpretation of the grammar.

It found that the statute is referring to a series of three types of licensing boards and bureaus ? business, occupational, and professional.

Accordingly, the court reasoned that the statute merely prohibited disciplinary action from different varieties of licensing boards and not a private business.

Since it saw no legal protection against termination in the statute, the court found no reason to dispute Wal-Mart?s firing of Casias. However, the court stated that the law does protect Michigan citizens from criminal prosecution.

Edwards criticized this narrow interpretation of Michigan law, telling the DNCF, ?We don?t feel that the court really addressed in a particularly detailed and analytic way the wording of the statute.?

He also accused the court of undercutting the Michigan legislature, explaining,? ?It obviously would seem to undermine the intent of passing the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act that allows sick patients with debilitating or painful conditions to access the medicine but then somehow not protect them from this kind of severe disciplinary action from an employer.?

Absent an agreement by either the entire Sixth Circuit or the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an appeal, Wednesday?s ruling will be final.

Edwards would not confirm whether Casias and the ACLU would try to appeal the case, but he did indicate they ?are seriously considering that option.?

Edwards also suggested there might be a legislative solution. He sees this as ?an invitation to the Michigan legislature [and] Michigan citizens to enact legislation? that is ?more explicit in protecting medical marijuana patients? so ?they don?t have to make a choice between gainful employment, paying their rent, and their career ? and treating symptoms of debilitating diseases.?

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Friday, September 21, 2012

How To Laser Target Your Prospects With Facebook Ads | The Daily ...

  • The Daily Egg
  • How To Laser Target Your Prospects With Facebook Ads
by Adam Kreitman 09/20/2012

It?s popular to trash Facebook these days.

Its stock price has fallen to record lows, billionaires are dumping their stock, big companies are abandoning their paid advertising campaigns and there have even been doubts raised about the legitimacy of Likes companies get from their FB ads.

Certainly Facebook advertising isn?t going to work for everyone. As I wrote about a few months back, it?s very difficult to get direct sales from Facebook ads. But, depending on the kind of business you?re in and your strategy, FB ads can and do work.

What Facebook has going for it that no other company can match is an incredibly rich amount of demographic data about their users. From the information you put in your profile to your Likes to the web pages you visit, Facebook has compiled the most accurate and complete demographic profiling information available to most advertisers.

So, let?s focus on the positive here!

In this article we?re going to look at how demographic targeting on Facebook works and three real world examples to see how different businesses can use Facebook to laser target their prospects.

How To Target Your Prospects on Facebook

When trying to reach your target demographic on Facebook, there are a number of the usual options you?d expect?Age, Gender, Education, Location (Country, State, City, Zip Code), etc.

And while that?s all well and good, where things really get interesting is in the more advanced demographic and interest targeting options. Here you can target people by their likes and interests either through Broad Category Targeting or Precise Interest Targeting.

Broad Category Targeting

With Broad Category Targeting, you check off pre-set groups from a list of categories Facebook has compiled. Here are some of examples of the groups you can target within these broad categories:

  • Activities: Cooking, Gaming(Social/Online), Gardening, Photography
  • Family Status: Away From Home, Baby Boomers, Engaged, Expecting Parents, Parents (child: 4-12yrs)
  • Interests: Charity/Causes, Health & Well-being, Home & Garden, Pets (Cats), Pets (Dogs), Politics (US Non-Partisans)
  • Retail/Shopping: Beauty Products, Consumer Electronics, Fashion, Luxury Goods

Precise Interest Targeting

With Precise Interest Targeting, you type in keywords and Facebook will come up with a list of related likes and interests you can use to target prospects. Here?s an example where I type in the keyword ?entrepreneur??

With Precise Interest Targeting, you can type anything from names of brands, movies, books and TV shows to activities such as home schooling, baseball and crocheting to occupations/job titles such as lawyers, engineers, CEOs. And much more!

To get a better sense of how this all targeting can work, let?s look at some real world examples.

I?ve picked out 2 real businesses and 1 ?generic? politician (to keep things non-partisan!) and have come up with suggestions of different targeting options they could use to reach prospects through Facebook ads. (Note: None of these are clients of mine and I have no connection to, or insider knowledge of, their businesses).

Example 1 ? ikram Clothing Store

ikram is a high end women?s clothing store in Chicago.

When targeting an affluent, fashion conscious market the easiest way to do so on Facebook Ads is through the Broad category options of ?Fashion? and ?Luxury Goods?.

If we were to target Facebook users who fall in those categories and live within 10 miles of Chicago, we get an audience of 1,041,400 people. That?s a pretty big group and it?s often better to more finely slice and dice things for optimal results.

One way to do that is to limit your demographics by age and gender. Since ikram sells women?s clothing, it makes sense to target women with their ads (though they could run ads to men promoting ikram as a place to get memorable, unique gifts for spouses or girlfriends).

ikram could also narrow the age range to target women 35 and older (who are likely to have more disposable income).

Another trick I?ve used in campaigns targeting more affluent customers is to set the Education targeting option to ?College Grad.? By targeting college grads (as with targeting an older demographic), you tend to reach a more affluent group.

Instead of targeting the Broad Interest categories of Fashion and Luxury Goods, ikram could also switch to Precise Interest Targeting and use keywords that their customer base likes.

For example, they could target?

  • Larger, high end fashion stores like Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Neiman Marcus
  • High end fashion brands like Louis Vuitton, Giorgio Armani and Coco Chanel
  • High end brands (not necessarily related to fashion) like BMW, Lexus and Lancome.

While ikram can certainly target Facebook users across Chicago, having some campaigns that target users in more affluent cities like Naperville, Highland Park or Lake Forest could work well.

Also, there are affluent neighborhoods within the city of Chicago that can?t be targeted by city name. By using zip code targeting, however, ikram could run ads in these neighborhoods. (You can only target ads by city OR zip code so, in this case, you?d have to set up one ad that targets the suburbs and another that targets within the city limits of Chicago by zip.)

Lastly, Facebook lets advertisers target users on or around their birthday. Using this information, ikram could run ads promoting a special 25% Off birthday coupon that will reach people right around their birthdays.

Example 2 ? Generic Political Candidate

It?s campaign season here in the U.S. You can?t turn on the TV without seeing ads for politicians. Political yard signs are sprouting up like weeds. And the backs of cars are getting covered up with bumper stickers for, or against, various candidates.

But how could a candidate turn to Facebook to reach voters?

I won?t use any specific politician here as an example, but let?s look at some of the ways a politician, in general, could use Facebook advertising.

First, and most obvious, is targeting users geographically. Depending on whether the candidate is running for local, state or national office, they could use Facebook?s geographic targeting options to reach their intended audience.

Also, since you have to be 18 or older to vote, it makes sense to run ads only to those 18 and above.

But politicians can get very creative using Facebook.

Sticking with age targeting for a moment. The candidate may want to target older voters with ads promoting the politician?s plans for Social Security and Medicare. There are over 16 million FB users who are 64 or older in the United States that could be targeted with ads about those issues.

Let?s say you have a candidate that wants to tout their strong record of protecting the environment. Under ?Interests? in the Broad Category targeting, one of the options is ?Environment? which the candidate could easily use to target voters who are likely to care more about environmental policies.

Using Precise Interest Targeting, the campaign could get even more creative. They could target:

  • Users who like the Sierra Club, the National Wildlife Federation and other environmental groups.
  • People who like Al Gore and/or his movie ?The Inconvenient Truth?.
  • Those who enjoy outdoor activities like fishing, hiking, or hunting.

Facebook also lets you target parents. So a political candidate could run ads touting their plans for Education to parents (and you can get specific on Facebook here by targeting parents of kids of various ages as seen below).

There?s also an ?Education/Teaching? option under the Broad category of ?Interests? that could be useful here.

This is just the tip of the iceberg for a politician. They can target people by political affiliations, specific political causes, and more. A savvy political campaign could get very strategic on Facebook by targeting highly relevant ads to specific demographic groups.

Example 3 -? Chobani Greek Yogurt

For our last example, let?s look at Chobani, a national brand of Greek Yogurt.

For starters, Chobani has a product line, Chobani Champions, made just for kids. To target parents of kids with this healthy snack idea, here are a few options?

Since moms tend to do more of the food shopping, they could limit their ads to just target women. Then, as with our political candidate example, Chobani could benefit from targeting Parents using the Broad Interest Targeting options on Facebook. If their primary target market here is young kids to teens, they could limit ads serving to only Parents (child: 4-12) and Parents (child: 13-15).

Using Precise Interest Targeting, Chobani could focus on brand names and interests that parents identify with.

One option is to use brand names like Graco (baby products), Fisher-Price and/or Build-A-Bear Workshop.

They could also target specific groups such as Soccer Moms, Homeschoolers, or Mommy Bloggers (the last is not a big group, but the hope would be to get some Mommy Bloggers talking about Chobani on their blogs for the viral marketing effect).

Another market for Chobani is adults looking for a healthy snack/meal.

There are some Broad Interest category groups worth testing that would target Facebook users more likely to be interested in healthy products/snacks. Two good options here are ?Outdoor Fitness Activities? (under Activities) and ?Health & Wellbeing? (under Interests).

For Precise Interest Targeting, Chobani could target specific activities enjoyed by those interested in a healthy lifestyle such as yoga or those who participate in marathons or triathlons.

Since Chobani sells Greek Yogurt, obviously targeting those who Like Greek Yogurt makes sense! This can be done by targeting the keyword ?Greek Yogurt? as well as by targeting the names competing brands like Voskos and Oikos.

Another interesting opportunity for Chobani that I?ve successfully used in the past is targeting people interested in Couponing with ads promoting a coupon.

There are a number of coupon websites that get a ton of traffic and have very loyal followers. If one of those sites picks up on a coupon Chobani offers through Facebook, the coupon could easily go viral and reach many more people who would not have seen the Facebook ads. (Using this strategy, the brand I was running FB ads for got thousands of Likes in a few days because a few coupon sites published their coupon?and they only spent about $50 in clicks during that time!)

These three examples give you a taste of what?s possible with Facebook targeting. As you can see, you can get very creative in how you reach your ideal prospects.

Yes, it can be a challenge to measure the results of FB ads. Yes, it?s difficult to convert Facebook visitors into customers. And, yes, there?s a lot of room for improvement for FB paid advertising.

But, if you know who you?re trying to reach, you can get very targeted, and very creative, about reaching them through Facebook.

About the Author:? Adam Kreitman is an?internet marketing consultant?who owns Words That Click, a?firm focusing on online marketing strategies for small and mid-size businesses.

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Informatics approach helps doctors, patients make sense of genome data

ScienceDaily (Sep. 20, 2012) ? The cost of sequencing the entire human genome, or exome -- the regions of the genome that are translated into proteins that affect cell behavior -- has decreased significantly, to the point where the cost of looking at the majority of a patient's genomic data may be less expensive than undertaking one or two targeted genetic tests. While efficient, the acquisition of this much genetic data -- in some cases as many as 1.5 to 2 million variants -- creates other challenges.

In a paper that appears September 21 in the advance online edition of Genetics in Medicine, researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill unveil an analysis framework aimed at helping clinicians spot "medically actionable findings" from genetic tests in an efficient manner.

"The challenge for medical geneticists is what do we do with the 'incidentalome' -- the large amount of genetic data that these tests generate which may be important but which was incidental -- that is, had nothing to do with why the patient underwent DNA analysis in the first place," said Jonathan Berg, MD, PhD, assistant professor of clinical genetics and a member of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

"Our team is faced with this issue in a clinical trial we are conducting called the NC GENES study. So we put together a framework that classifies genetic variations into three different 'bins': those that are linked to a treatable or preventable condition (the medically actionable); those that have a known link to conditions for which we don't have treatment options; and those for which there is no known direct association between a genetic variation and a disorder," he said.

The team then created an informatics approach to carry out a structured analysis on these three 'bins'.

"While there are still some challenges, we believe that this approach facilitates the analysis and streamlines the ability of the molecular analyst to go through a lot of data very quickly, providing more timely results to physicians and patients," says Berg.

Berg notes that the researchers had to set a very high bar for the genetic variants reported to patients and physicians, taking into account that there are errors in all of the current databases of known disease-causing mutations and that they contain variants that are probably not disease causing, due to unavoidable errors in data processing and other aspects of genetic research. However, because most hereditary disorders are very rare, disease causing mutations are highly unlikely.

"In epidemiologic terms we valued specificity over sensitivity. We will have some false negatives because we are ignoring some genetic variants that we don't understand well or that are very unlikely to occur. However, as researchers who also work with patients, we know that there are significant consequences to false positive results for genetic disorders and given the rarity of many of these disorders we think this is an appropriate risk," he argues.

Berg and his collaborators, which include James Evans, MD, PhD, Bryson Distinguished Professor of Genetics Research and a member of UNC Lineberger, are also studying the practical consequences of our ability to pinpoint disease-causing mutations in the genome.

"We hope that this methodology will enhance our ability to quickly translate a large amount of data into findings that are useful to physicians and patients, allowing us to study important issues like patient preference for learning about their likelihood of developing or passing along a hereditary disease for which there is no treatment," said Evans.

"These are important ethical considerations, and currently there exist no best practices because this technology is still relatively new," he added.

In addition to Berg and Evans, the research team included Michael Adams, MS, and Kristy Lee, MS from the UNC Department of Genetics, Kirk Wilhelmsen, MD, PhD from the Department of Genetics, the Carolina Center for Genome Sciences (where Berg and Evans are also members), and the Renaissance Computing Institute, and Nassib Nassar, PhD, Chris Bizon, PhD, and Charles Schmitt, PhD, from the Renaissance Computing Institute.

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The above story is reprinted from materials provided by University of North Carolina Health Care.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.

Journal Reference:

  1. Jonathan S. Berg, Michael Adams, Nassib Nassar, Chris Bizon, Kristy Lee, Charles P. Schmitt, Kirk C. Wilhelmsen, James P. Evans. An informatics approach to analyzing the incidentalome. Genetics in Medicine, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/gim.2012.112

Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.


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