Benefits of Learning and Playing Chess

If you don’t know, there are actually many regular chess meet-ups around Singapore. At first, many people think that chess is just for intellectuals because of how much you use your brain in each game. But really, it’s for everyone! There are so many amazing benefits we can get from learning and playing chess! Here are only some of them.

Gives a boost in memory

When it comes to chess, not only are their many rules to remember, but there are also many complex strategies you can memorize to gain more advantages. By using your memory of that information, you can recognize what your opponent is going for and devise strategies on the spot. You’re also exercising your memory in the middle of the game because you’ll have to remember your opponent’s moves all throughout.

It can protect you from Alzheimer’s

By playing chess regularly, you give your brain the exercise it needs to stay healthy and prevent certain neurological diseases. As we get older, it’s almost inevitable that we’ll slowly have cognitive decline. But constantly giving your brain a workout will significantly delay its effects. There have also been many studies showing that those who do brain exercises like chess are less likely to have dementia as they age. 

Helps improve your problem-solving skills

More than anything, chess is all about training your analytical and problem-solving skills. The list of moves you can do is practically endless because the game is constantly changing depending on the choices you and your opponent make. Not only that, you’ll have to make decisions fast and think on your feet as well. This is an important skill to develop since we don’t only face problems in-game but also in life as a whole.

It also sparks creativity

In connection to the point above, you’ll need creativity to overcome problems just as well. If you get cornered by your opponent, you’ll have to start experimenting in your mind and use your creativity to look ahead. So even when you make sacrifices, you can make better plays later on since you’ve already painted the bigger picture in your imagination.

Helps boost focus and concentration

Given all the thinking you’ll have to do, playing chess will definitely teach you to stay focused. Total concentration is just a big demand of the game. Lose your focus once and it’s almost always guaranteed that your mistakes will be magnified. Of course, improved focus will also help you in many different aspects of life!

Might help lose weight

This might come as a surprise but playing a serious game of chess can actually help you burn a lot of calories. This is largely because of the stress and mental focus that players dedicate to each game. Many recent studies have found that one game between chess grandmasters will have them burn about 200-400 calories. So playing in a major tournament up to the finals will have one burn up to about 6000 calories!

Tips on Conducting a Productive Job Interview

Your company in Singapore is starting to grow and there are more and more job openings. Then you start interviewing people, but it seems you’re still having difficulty with the interview itself. Sometimes the candidates are nervous, and sometimes the interviews are just too stiff. So, here are some tips you can use to make your interviews more productive.

Remember what you’re looking for in the candidate

Before any interview, try to review the qualifications and responsibilities needed for the position. Let’s just say that the interviewee is a smooth talker and he’s got you hooked so you think about giving him the job. But you don’t realize that he barely fits the responsibilities for the position. Remembering what you’re looking for the position helps keep you level-headed, especially if there is more than one candidate.

Prepare open-ended questions

Interviews almost always consist of open-ended questions. This is simply because it encourages the other person to elaborate and give more information. It will also make the interview process more consistent and it can also be used to make comparisons between candidates a lot easier.

Review the resume

It would also be good to go over the candidate’s resume before the interview. Most of the time, you’ll have to frame questions connected to the information they give in their resume just to check if they’re not pretending. There are even some employers who try to look into the candidate’s social media accounts to learn about them better.

Make the interviewee comfortable

A lot of people would think that this is favorable to the candidate, but that’s usually the case. If your interviewee is nervous, chances are he’ll forget important points or maybe even have a hard time speaking. If he is comfortable though, it will be easier for him to answer and it makes the interview more conversational and personal. It would do good to smile as the interviewee enters or even offer him a glass of water.

Make sure to be a good listener

You have to remember that you’re not there just to ask questions. Although, understandably, there will be times when you tune out what the interviewee is saying. Even so, it would really serve your best interest if you listen attentively. If you show that you are listening, it makes it easier for the interviewee to speak up. So, you’ll get to learn more about them and see if they really have the qualifications.

Make sure to follow-up

After the interview, you should also follow up on the candidates to let them know of the results. Even if they don’t get the position, you should still send them a message so that they can take the opportunity elsewhere. This will also leave a good impression and will sometimes have the candidate refer others to your company.

What to Do About Aphids in Plants

What do you do if your plants still have yellowed and distorted leaves even if you’ve taken good care of them? Try checking the plant for tiny sap-sucking insects called aphids.

What are Aphids?

There are at least 6 types of aphids that differ in color and vary slightly in size, but they are all members of the superfamily Aphidoidea. Colors range from black to colorless, and are mostly wingless although there are winged aphids, too. Some aphids feed on specific plants only, but others can colonize several plants over time. A few aphids will feed on different plants in different times of a year.

They can be as destructive as other plant pests because they reproduce very fast and in high numbers, so it is possible to affect the rest of your garden with just one plant. They are also vectors for viruses, mold, and eventually leave plants disfigured. It is known to gardeners that aphids can form a mutual relationship with some ant species, and in fact, some of them are farmed by ants.

What Do they Do to Plants?

To determine if your garden is infested with aphids, you will only need to look for clues in your plants. The aphids usually feed on the roots, stems, leaves, buds, fruits, or flowers of the plant but this depends on the species. They usually prefer succulents if they are the type that feed on a variety of plants.

Look for stems or leaves covered with a sticky substance that looks like strings of white cotton, mishappen/curling/yellowing leaves, fungal growth, blackened branches and leaves, deformed and distorted fruits, galls on leaves or roots, and other insect infestation on the plants (aphids can attract predators). Lastly, look at the underside of the leaves if there are tiny insects because the aphids usually hide there.

How are Aphids Removed?

Aphids can be difficult to control, so make sure you take note of all the signs of infestation. If the infestation is only limited to specific parts of the plant, just physically remove the affected leaves and stems. Drop these cuttings into a bucket of soapy water then discard.

If there are ants in the garden that might be helping increase the population, trim the lower parts of the plants so that they don’t touch the lower ground. Some gardeners even coat the lower stems with sticky substances, so the ants can’t have access. Some people also spray soapy water or neem oil to remove both the aphids and ants. Most soaps, however, can also kill beneficial insects, so neem oil is usually more preferable because it can also eliminate other pests and fungi.

Some gardeners choose a natural approach by introducing the natural aphid predators such as the ladybug beetle. If you have fragrant herbs, you can also introduce green lacewings. Another way is to introduce plants to attract the aphids away from the other. These include aster, zinnia, cosmos, verbena, and dahlia.

What You Need to Know Before Buying Xbox 360

Xbox 360 has been famous for its several outstanding games, but it was also infamous for the red ring of death. However, if you want to complete your gaming collection, it is still a worthy console to invest in because of the selection of games.

Console Specifications

The Xbox 360 has a 3.2 Ghz PowerPC tri-core Xenon CPU and 500 MHz ATI/AMD Xenos graphics. It has a memory of 512 MB GDDR3 RAM which clocks at 700 MHz. The original models had 3 USB slots, the slim has five, and the elite has four. It is also compatible with 461 Xbox games so if you already have an extensive library of the previous generation, this is a good investment.

There were several iterations of the console released over the years, mostly to improve issues that have plagued the older models. Perhaps you have heard about the red ring of death, so if you are worried about that, you should look for Xbox 360 S (slim) and Xbox 360 E (elite) models instead of the original.

Console Variations

At the launch of the console, there were two versions to choose from such as the morning Xbox 360 and the Xbox 360 Core. Later, other versions such as the Elite package, Xbox 360 Arcade, Xbox 360 Super Elite and Xbox 360 Pro or Premium were also released. If you are looking for a used model in game shops, it is important to be able to distinguish between the different models and their slightly confusing names.

The most common models you might find (and are probably cheap) are the Xbox 360 S and Xbox 360 E. Xbox 360 S also comes in 4 Gb, 250 GB, and 320 GB models. Just remember the highlights for the following versions:

  • Xbox 360 sometimes have no HDMI outputs especially in the earliest versions and its Arcade model does not have a hard drive
  • Xbox 360 S has a built-in Wi-Fi and is better at addressing overheating issues
  • Xbox 360 E has to AV port and audio digital optical connection but only has HDMI

Basic Accessories

When it comes to accessories for the Xbox 360, basic necessities should include at least two controllers, charger, battery cover, memory card, and a hard drive. However, you can also look for other accessories to complete your Xbox 360 experience such as network adapter, Xbox 360 Kinect motion sensor, and USB microphone.

You may also need wireless remote, HD component cable, extra AV cable, a quick charging kit, breakaway cable, keyboard chat pad, speed wheel, Xbox communicator adapter module card, aviator stick, Xbox 360 intercooler, arcade stick, skateboard controller, fishing rod controller, draw tablet, turntable, shot rifle, and other special controllers for specific games.

Best Xbox 360 Games

You can find tons of first-party and third-party titles for the Xbox 360, so if you are in luck, look for these amazing games to add to your collection: Crackdown, Gears of War, Lost Odyssey, Blue Dragon, Infinite Undiscovery, Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2, Dance Central, Mass Effect Series, Halo 3 and Halo: Reach, Tenchu Z, Forza Motorsport 3 and Forza Horizon, Otomedius Excellent, Beautiful Katamari, Alan Wake, Fable 2, Left 4 Dead, Import Tuner Challenge, Over G Fighters, Brutal Legend, Red Faction: Guerilla, Shadow Complex, The Orange Box, Portal 2, Super Meat Boy, Mark of the Ninja, Ninja Gaiden II, The Outfit, and Perfect Dark Zero.

No Nonsense Diet Guide for Losing Weight

Diet fads and meal plans for people trying to lose weight are usually filled with information and advertisements that do not help. Often, people are given promises of fast results that are unhealthy and unrealistic. Below is a guide to creating a diet plan without having to resort to fancy tricks and diet supplements.

Watch What You Eat

Unlike people trying to gain weight, you’ll have to avoid some types of food to lose weight. It’s not as easy as it sounds, but if you get used to a healthy meal plan, then you won’t be craving for most of these. Generally, you should avoid desserts after every meal to lessen the unwanted calories. Avoid soda, fruit juices brought at shops, white bread, fast food, frozen meals, cereal, hydrogenated oils, corn syrup, and alcoholic beverages.

Stave Off Hunger

The first few days of your new diet will be the most difficult because your body is still getting used to the new routine. It could be more tempting to eat especially during evenings, and you will always feel hungry and deprived, but don’t give up. If you feel like having three complete meals a day isn’t enough, drink water or unsweetened tea in between meals or eat fruits.

Practice eating smaller portions of what you used to eat and try to eat them slowly, like literally chew the food slowly. An alternative is to eat six small meals per day consisting of one source of protein, one source of fibrous carbohydrates, and one source of complex carbohydrates. You can get these from brown rice, broccoli, chicken, green beans, tuna, baked potatoes, lean beef, salad, sweet potatoes, asparagus, quinoa, and salmon.

Watch Your Insulin Levels

However, for those who already have problems with their insulin levels or insulin production, a different diet is required. Most doctors in Singapore will advise you to eat every three hours to keep the insulin levels stable and to control any urge to eat unhealthy food.

But you’re supposed to eat less, right? Not exactly. If your metabolism is slow, then your body needs to eat more healthy food to burn calories, because skipping or missing meals can trigger the starvation process in your body, making you crave for more food.

More Healthy Food

Admit it, you’ve probably gained your weight from eating more than what your body can burn, that is why you should re-examine the types of food you usually eat and pick out the ones that are nutritious and contain less carbohydrates and fat. Stick to vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, but avoid cookies, deep fried food, soft drinks, chips, and any food with refined sugar, fruit juice or honey.

The healthier option come from brown rice, wild rice, oats, barley, spelt, quinoa, sweet potatoes, and legumes. Eat more dietary fat from salmon, trout, olive oil, nuts, mackerel, avocado, seeds, and peanut butter. Be warned, however, that some of these are going to be hard to find, especially if you’re planning to go organic.

How to Find Clothes if You Have Bow Legs or Knock Knees

Some fashion-conscious individuals consider it a fashion crime to wear tight-fitting trousers when you have bow legs or knock knees. These conditions refer to the odd leg curvature at an upright position that are either one of the following: O-shaped legs, X-shaped legs, and odd shin curvature.

Unfortunately, correcting your leg’s odd curvature is not going to be easy, that is why the most you can do is to minimize their appearance by picking the right clothes.

To determine if you have knock knees, examine your legs in front of a mirror while standing up with your thighs together. If your calves look like they are bending outwards and there is an obvious inward curve below your knees, then you have knock knees.

Bow legs or genu varum is a condition where the curvature of the tibia or the femur makes the legs appear bent when your feet are placed together. This means that if you try to stand with your feet together, your thighs, knees, and calves will not meet.

Trousers or Jeans

To minimize its appearance, you should stick to straight leg trousers, most straight leg jeans, boot cut jeans, flared jeans, and wide leg trousers. Avoid skinny jeans that will make the gap between your calves appear wider. Boyfriend jeans are fine if you have long legs, but the cut will highlight your calves. You should also stay away from capri pants, stretch jeans, and trousers with patterns and stripes.

A-Line Dresses and Skirts

Would you rather wear dresses and skirts than jeans? No problem. You can still look stylish in A-line skirts and dresses that will work on any body type and height. A-line means that the skirt ends just below the knees or in mid-calf to hide the unsightly leg curves. Trumpet skirts are also a good choice because they flare out at the hem and give a nice, flowing look. The former is recommended only if you want to hide your thigh gap.

Avoid straight, tight-fitted skirts and mini skirts in general, and instead, go for long skirts, flowing skirts, and mid-calf skirts.

Colors, Patterns, and Contrast

Ideally, you would want to draw away the attention on your legs by wearing colored and/or patterned tops complemented by dark-colored or solid-colored trousers. Focus on accentuating the upper half of your body with various accessories, makeup, and hairstyle. But you could also buy shoes that will make your legs appear straighter, such as knee-high boots.

Shoes and Correction Insoles

Matching the color of your shoes to your pants will also do wonders for your bow legs, especially if you pick monochromatic colors that never go out of style. It’s also a good idea to invest in corrective shoes for bow legs or heel pads that you can insert in your shoes to avoid wearing down the soles. It can provide additional support for your walking posture without having to rely on unfashionable knock knee braces.

Teaching Kids How to Cook

Encouraging your children to practice cooking at an early age can help them become responsible eaters and independent individuals because they know what happens from purchasing to preparation and serving.

After all, it’s a basic survival skill that they will have to learn sooner or later. What can you do as a parent to teach your kids to love cooking? Here are some tips.

Cooking Activities by Age

Some psychologists recommend that you should expose your kids to certain preparation techniques appropriate for their skills to avoid accidents in the kitchen. For example, at age 3 or below, you can start by letting the child wash vegetables, stir room-temperature ingredients, place ingredients on scales, or mash ingredients with a fork.

By 5 years, the child should be able to knead, sieve, weigh, wash fruits and vegetables, roll the dough, hand-mix, and use the mortar and pestle. At age 7, your child can be taught to handle small knives and scissors and set the table. Eleven-year-old should be able to identify most ingredients, make simple salads, open cans or use peelers, and operate the oven and microwave.

Assign Chores in the Kitchen

To avoid accidents, your child should be assigned to help in smaller and easier tasks that don’t involve carrying or touching sharp, pointed, and breakable objects. Toddlers should be encouraged to watch you prepare while older kids younger than 12 should be able to identify the various fruits, vegetables, and meat.

Do not be afraid to relinquish control or worry that your child will get dirty. As long as they are not playing with open fire and are safe from dangerous objects and substances, let them help if they want.

Master Simple Recipes and Learn Responsibility

Snacks, simple breakfast, smoothies, and salads are the easiest recipes kids can learn on their own. It could be as simple as scooping and spreading ready-made ingredients on bread, peel fruits, and make toast.

Not only will you encourage them to love cooking, but they will also become aware of the effort it takes to prepare food. Next time that they go to a restaurant or a street food stall, they will have more respect towards people in the food business and will hesitate to waste leftover food.

Safety First

Some kids will ask that they be allowed to cook on the stove, but if you think they are not yet ready to handle open fire, you can let them watch you cook instead. That would be the perfect time to teach them about safety and responsibility. Point out which items they are allowed to use and why they are not yet allowed to handle knives.

Explain that they will one day be able to cook for themselves once they have mastered the basic preparation techniques. These include washing hands before handling food, keeping the kitchen and utensils clean, which food must be refrigerated, how to determine which are raw or ready-to-eat, and when to taste food.