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Electronic cigarettes are all the rage among smokers in the 21st Century. For those who don’t smoke, the whole thing just adds another layer of bewilderment to it all, surely, but they may be surprised to know that many are using the devices to quit the habit, not simply to continue engaging in it.

In a lesser-of-two-evils kind of way, electronic cigarettes have been found to be safer than traditional cigarettes by none other than the Boston University School of Public Health. A study conducted in 2010 found that these devices were “much safer” than conventional means of nicotine delivery – and speaking of nicotine, the level of toxicity they contained was similar to those in existing nicotine replacements such as patches and chewing gum!

In fact, the amount of carcinogens associated with electronic cigarettes was found to be up to a thousand times lower than that in regular cigarettes. The study even noted that preliminary evidence so far demonstrates that such devices can actually help smokers quit smoking by simulating a real tobacco cigarette. And indeed, some people, ironically, doubt that any significant amount of nicotine is delivered at all! In fact, differing concentrations of nicotine exist, so that users can decide the amount of nicotine they wish to take in, from none whatsoever to levels even higher than otherwise available!

However, it is also important to note that while many manufacturers and resellers have marketed the products to be an easy and even effective method of kicking the habit, even the trade group recently formed to represent the industry requires its members to refrain from making such claims. On the other hand, surveys of users have found at least the perception of a reduction in health problems, such as less coughing, the increased ability to exercise, and an improvement in the senses of taste and smell!

Fiberglass resin planters are a fantastic addition to virtually any garden, especially the translucent varieties since you can stick a light inside them and illuminate the walls for quite a few wonderful visual effects. They are generally lightweight and may be used indoors if they do not have holes at the bottom. These fiberglass resin planters can even be drilled for water flow if destined for out-of-doors use. They can also serve outside in an intact state as fountain basins or water-garden-in-a-container, depending on the shape and size. And since they are fiberglass, you can be certain that such planters are highly durable, too.

No matter the state of the economy, you can bet that educational toys will be among any holiday shopping season’s bestsellers. New ones emerge every year that purport to capitalize on the latest in research findings that concern early childhood development, and well-meaning parents pull out the pocketbooks as if on cue. However what is it that makes a toy an educational one?

After all, children learn naturally – actually, they cannot help but learn; their minds do nothing but learn. This suggests that for a very young child, anything and everything could be an educational toy. And so it is, though some toys will be more educational than others. Thus, taking a look at educational toys, it comes to what provides the most bang for the buck.

But consider also the following: Lego building blocks would be the classic example of an educational toy, but they are for rather young children, while something such as robot kits or perhaps chemistry sets will serve the same purpose for older kids, though only of a certain inclination. And here lies one of the interesting though often overlooked areas of educational toys, their specificity and lack of the same.

Scour the market and you will discover that offerings under this category are usually geared towards the very young. This is because with maturation comes increased individualization in tastes and interests, as well as the capacity to learn on one’s own (and, not so coincidentally, formal schooling!). And so toy manufacturers, like every business, aim for the biggest market possible. This is a big reason for why many of these toys appear so similar. Yet for all the obvious similarity, companies do exist that try tocater to niche markets. Among many parents there exists a “back-to-basics” preference which has lead to the mass re-emergence of old-fashioned wooden fare.

In 2004, the third largest earth quake ever recorded on a seismograph, at between 9.1 and 9.3 on the Richter scale, erupted beneath the Indian Ocean, triggering the Indian Ocean Tsunami that killed in excess of 230,000 people and causing billions of dollars worth of water damage in dozens of countries. Indonesia was the very first, and worst place to be hit by the tsunami, whose waves reached as high as a hundred feet and above.

India and Sri Lanka were also among the very badly hit places, suffering well over 12,000 and 35,000 deaths. The Tsunami was also observed as far as away as South Africa, where vastly smaller but still measurable waves washed ashore several hours following the initial earth quake, killing at least eight people.

Additionally an estimated ten million more people had also been left homeless or displaced due to the tsunami. The extreme seismic activity of the earthquake itself shook the whole planet an estimated 1 centimeter, and also triggered earthquakes along faults as far away as Alaska.

Granted the degree of water damage suffered by the affected countries, it was also feared that the death toll of over 200,000 may potentially double due to the threat of waterborne illness and disease, which as a result of relief efforts was able to be avoided. However, the physical water damage inflicted by the sheer power of the waves, which overwhelmed thousands of kilometers of coastlines on all sides of the Indian Ocean, was vast. Entire villages were wiped off the face of the earth and also cities experienced tremendous damage because of the sheer force of impact and the subsequent flooding.

The scale of the disaster motivated what is by some considered the largest humanitarian response ever conducted. The World Bank initially estimated that total relief efforts would cost somewhere in the neighborhood of five billion dollars, USD. Over the next several years, the United States alone offered roughly 350 million dollars to help fund relief efforts.

Even a number of major private corporations, for example Coca-Cola, Microsoft, and BP, all pledged tens of millions of dollars toward recovery efforts in the affected countries. Within a week, about 1.8 billion dollars, USD, had been pledged by various countries around the world before relief efforts were relegated to UN control. Though immense, there has still been a big amount of criticism directed towards the US and Europe for their perceived insufficient allocation of funds. Some countries, Sri Lanka in particular criticized donor countries, claiming that they had yet to see any of the pledged donations made by some countries at all.