A healthy selection of top health sites

Health Sites
Here is a great list of Health sites that appeared in USA Today in a special report.
Adam (www.adam.com)
AMA Health Insight(www.ama-assn.org/ama)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov)
Drug Infonet (www.druginfonet.com)
Hardin Meta Directory (www.lib.uiowa.edu/hardin/)
HealthAnswers.com (healthanswers.com)
Health Central (healthcentral.com)
Healthfinder (healthfinder.gov)
InteliHealth (intelihealth.com)
Mayo Clinic Health Oasis (www.mayoclinic.com/)
MedHelp International (www.medhelp.org)
MedicineNet.com (www.medicinenet.com)
MedScape (www.medscape.com)
myOptumHealth.com (myOptumHealth)
National Institutes of Health (www.nih.gov)
WebMD (www.webmd.com)

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e-philanthropy

Philanthropy

e-philanthropy: written October 5, 1999
edited January 17, 2010 and June 21, 2016

I think we are all aware of how well the stock market has recovered in recent years. The unprecedented growth has resulted in prosperity for many people beyond what they may have imagined was possible. For many people, the amassing of a million dollars of net worth was a dream they didn’t really expect to happen. Now many of those same people likely dream of $10 million. Those with $10 million dream of $100 million and those with $100 million dream of being billionaires! Much is being written about the wealth of so many. At the same time there are much larger numbers of people who have not been so fortunate. There are many people who go to bed hungry. Even in affluent communities there are long lists of people waiting to gain access to barely habitable Federal housing. For reasons of health, location, skills, misfortune, or disadvantage there are large numbers of people in need.

Who is responsible? (read full article). The government or those who are more fortunate? Many would agree it is at least in part the latter? What can be done? A lot. For those of us who have been fortunate, there is a range of ways to help out. Basically, there are so many ways to help there are no excuses for not doing so. The means to help follow a hierarchy as do so many things. At the base of the pyramid of helping is giving money anonymously. This can be done through the United Way, churches or synagogues, private foundations, various national appeals, or directly to pinpointed charities. Web sites abound. A few links can be found here.

A second level up the pyramid is to put anonymity aside; to directly support causes that are meaningful or important to you or your friends and family. A couple of years ago (circa 1996) I attended a reception of the Society of Alexis de Toqueville, a group of contributors to the United Way who exceed a threshold of $10,000 in giving per year. At the reception I was astounded both at how many people were there and how many people were not there. It was initially impressive to see a group of 150 or so in the room. Some quick arithmetic suggested that the giving represented was probably greater than $2 million. On the other hand seeing there were just a very few people (literally) from major companies represented (GE, IBM, Merrill Lynch, Chase Manhattan, Texaco, etc.) made it painfully clear how small the participation really was.

Given the stocks of all these companies (and many more) has appreciated so much, and the additional fact these companies all provide a corporate match of the employee gift, shows how much philanthropic potential exists. Suppose, for example, an employee had options to buy company stock at $25 per share and the current price of the stock was $50 per share. A gift of just 100 shares of stock would be worth $5,000. The company match would make the gift worth $10,000 and establish the employee as an Alexis de Toqueville giver. The cost of the donation to the employee would be $2,500 to exercise the options plus a capital gains tax of roughly $750 minus a tax savings of $2,000 (assuming a 40% tax bracket) or a net cost of $1,250. The leverage of the gift: 8 to 1!

A further extrapolation of the leveraged giving idea is the formation of a private foundation. On October 21, 1998 the Senate passed a bill which made permanent the section 170(e)(5) about charitable deduction for gifts of appreciated stock to private foundations. This means any person can establish a private foundation and use appreciated stock to do so. This can be a very useful way to reduce tax obligations in the event of a bonus payment, retirement payout of restricted stock, or any “spike” in income. At the same time the foundation can be used to provide charitable donations for subsequent gifting or even to receive and distribute charitable donations from others .

There are a few catches, but they are reasonable. One is your foundation must give away at least 5% of it’s average net assets each year. Another is you have to file a tax return for the foundation. If all this is too daunting, you can donate to an existing foundation that someone else has established or you can use a firm such as Foundation Source to handle all of the administration of the foundation.

At the Alexis de Toqueville reception, hosted by Jane Pauley (NBC) and Bob Wright (GE), I was quite impressed with the brief comments made by Jane. She talked about the positive impact people can have by publicly revealing the amount of their contributions. Put modesty aside, she said, and let others know. It will challenge them and spur larger gifts. I think she is right. As the United Way and others publish their gold/silver/platinum and Alexis de Tocqueville giver lists, the top categories seem to be growing.

And then there is the most important gift of all — personal involvement. Your time is your most scarce resource and giving even a small amount of it is often very difficult. In the end, however, this is the greatest gift and the greatest leverage. An hour of time to a board or committee can be as valuable as the 8 to 1 leverage of a financial gift.

How can we get more people thinking about all this? One idea is e-philanthropy. It is not just “click here to donate”. It is a larger idea. Creating a local community of interest, a charity portal, can enable charities to make their needs known, and where those with resources can make their abilities known, whether it is an anonymous gift, targeted visible funding, or volunteer time. If the idea spread, it might mean enabling people to contribute to charities where they grew up, went to school, or have a vacation home. It might also be a resource to help people set up their own private foundations or contribute to existing ones. It might also be a way for the smallest of charities with no executive director, corporate sponsors, nor advertising budgets to make themselves visible. The bottom line is simple. Incomes and assets are up. So is the need of those less fortunate. Let’s give e-philanthropy a chance. For more ideas, please read Another article about e-philanthropy.

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Site powered by

The following is a list of some of the software and tools used to build and run my site. Using the power of Lotus Notes Domino, it is easy for myself and my team to manage, add, or change new content and design to the site.

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Motorcycling in the Winter

A 1908 Harley-Davidson (one of the first)

There is a separate Reflection on how it all got started. Probably the best day of motorcycling I have ever experienced was in December 1998 when the The Riding Club of Greenwich held its second annual ride to Blythedale Hospital to visit the children. The New York Cruisers sent a contingent for the trip. There were nearly 50 motorcycles in total including two 1998 Harley Police models which escorted us to the hospital. We gave gifts to the children, entertained them with motorcycle paraphernalia, and sang Christmas carols to them. It was an emotional experience in addition to a nice motorcycle ride. You can see pictures of the event in the Photo Gallery.
My early riding days were in Tampa, Florida where the weather was almost always nice so until this winter I had had no cold weather riding experience. I have a condition called Raynaud’s Disease which makes for very uncomfortable fingers and toes when it gets cold so I was sure that I would stop riding in the Fall. That was before I discovered heated motorcycle clothing! It started with Hot Grips. This weekend project resulted in replacing the Harley installed grips on the Sporster and wiring up a switch under my GPS receiver bracket to operate them. The heated grips are great for cool days but I quickly found out that riding when it is below 40 degrees requires heavy duty heating. After searching around the web I discovered the nice people at Widder where I got electric gloves, vest, and chaps. I wear the chaps under my jeans and connect them to the vest. The gloves have a wire down each arm of my jacket and the wiring harness connects to the vest. The vest in turn connects to a switch which connects to my battery. Getting the wiring in place on the battery was yet another weekend project. My first ride was at 29 degrees. I was warm and toasty… except for my toes. I naively thought that two pairs of socks and my heavy leather boots would shield me from the cold. Not so. What to do. I sent an email to the nice folks at Widder. Do you have electric socks? No, sorry. Hmmm. Back to the web and the Excite search window. "Heated socks". First match was Gerbing. A complete line of heated clothing awaited, including socks, but I could see that the electrical connectors were not going to be compatible with my existing clothing. Being a PC junkie, incompatabilities are nothing new! I called the folks at Gerbing. Like every motorcycle industry supplier I have encountered, they were the nicest people. No problem, we’ll make you a wiring harness and an adaptor. And, if you send your chaps and the harness back to us in the Spring we’ll rewire your chaps to include the connectors at the bottom for our socks so you don’t need to have so many wires on your body! Wow. It’s a deal. Three days later I had the socks, got everything wired up, and off to Banksville. Toes? Warm and toasty! Not sure I’ll make it through the whole winter but as long as there is no ice on the road I am going to be riding and looking through the curves.
Addendum (10-Jan-99): Went out for an early ride this morning to meet up with the riding club. Navigating through the ice patches on my driveway turned out to be the easy part of the trip. About five miles from the house I realized my heated clothing and gloves were not working. I wasn’t sure at first. It was fifteen degrees and I didn’t expect to feel the heat — I didn’t expect to get cold though. I started to quickly get very very cold. I turned on the Hot Grips and they helped quite a bit but not enough to keep my hands from starting to hurt. I pulled over to the side of the road and checked all the connections. No problems. Must be the fuse which I neatly tucked under the seat when I installed the wiring! Back to the house and into the garage, got my homemade ramp setup, and into the nice warm basement. Sure enough the 10 amp fuse was blown. I wasn’t sure if the problem was my battery tender hookup or whether the addition of the socks put things over the limit. I added up the draw of the socks + chaps + vest + gloves. Sure enough….. 11 amps! Off to Radio Shack for 15 amp fuses.

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LEGO MindStorms

I knew it had to be something good when I read the caption on the user registration card which said “Top 5 Things NOT to do with your RCX”. They were….
5. Don’t give your RCX your credit card number, it will just order more friends.
4. Don’t take your RCX to scary movies. Especially ones involving vacuum cleaners.
3. Don’t get into debates with our RCX about artificial intelligence not being as good as real intelligence. You won’t win.
2. Don’t let your RCX go on tour with an Irish Step Dancing troupe. Things could get ugly.
1. No Matter how many times it asks you, never, never ever let your RCX drive. Trust us.
So that was the beginning after some good friends gave me this for Christmas. Then I went to the web site to register. I begain to get suspicious when the registration dialogue aske for “your parent’s email ID”. Then when I scrolled down the drop down box of year of birth and got to “decades” instead of years I really began to wonder if this was for me. I’ll try to keep a log of my experiences with it here on this page. Stay tuned.

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