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African teen creates app to curb child kidnappings

Kelly Taylor

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When you picture a computer programmer, you probably envision a nerdy fellow with a pocket protector. The field of computer programming is dominated by males, something many women work to change daily. You might be familiar with model Karlie Kloss, who started coding classes for girls, but here’s a new name to learn – Tomisin Ogunnubi.

Coding Prodigy

Ogunnubi, a Nigerian teenager, learned to code computers at the ripe old age of 12. Her school, Vivian Fowler Memorial College for Girls, teaches computer technology skills through an Information and Communications Technology partnership with New Horizons Computer Learning Center.

Call her a prodigy or a virtuoso, but don’t forget to add entrepreneur. She’s 15 now and put her three years of experience coding to good use. She’s helping other children and teens remain safe.

Children in Danger

In Africa, child kidnapping has become common. Many people read the newspapers stories recounting the kidnappings of young girls by groups like Boko Haram. Ogunnubi knows the dangers of being a child in Africa firsthand. She decided to put her talent to work to help change things.

“I was very conscious about security, thinking, there are different dangerous people,” Ogunnubi said.

She released her first Android application, My Locator, in 2016. Her application helps track the child carrying the mobile device on which it’s installed. The app not only tracks the “Current Location” of the child, it also lets the child, or their parents add a “Remembered Location,” such as their home address or school. If the child gets lost, they can open the app and click “Remembered Location.” That causes the app to link with Google Maps and spit out directions to guide the child to the safe location.

The third key aspect of the teen entrepreneur’s first app alerts police and the child’s family if they’re threatened with harm. If someone approaches the child, they need only click the big “Alert” button on the app to directly contact the Lagos State Emergency Service at its 767 number, the equivalent of dialing 911 in the US. The app’s emergency call transmits a help plea and the child’s location when the call was made. Since a mobile device transmits the call, the location provided can be quite specific by using the cell device’s GPS and the tower from which the call was made. That means the child need not describe their location for police to respond. That offers a key benefit for children unable to speak whether due to the person who approached them or a condition such as damaged vocal chords, autism or another medical condition.

Making a Career of IT

The free app has more than 1,000 downloads on Google Play. Its now 15-year-old developer started brainstorming new app ideas. Rather than rest on her laurels, she wants to continue developing applications.

She’s already been interviewed by finance and technology news organizations and websites. They admitted being impressed by the teen’s creative thinking and innovation. For Ogunnubi, what began as a single course, changed her future. After completing her first class and the application, My Locator, she chose to change her curriculum track at Vivian Fowler Memorial College for Girls. She’s studying to become an IT professional, her course track in computer coding.

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Amazing

Why women make capable firefighters

Renee Yates

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It’s unfortunate that the idea persists in society that women are not capable of working as firefighters. As women have become increasingly prominent in other industries that have been traditionally dominated by males such as construction and logging, their numbers on the ranks of firefighting squads continue to remain low. 

Take the Fire Department of New York as an example. In 2018, five women succeeded in graduating from New York City’s Fire Academy. While some progress has been made for women in the FDNY since the fire department lost a gender discrimination lawsuit back in 1982, there are still fewer than one percent of firefighters for the department who are female. While fire departments in cities such as Seattle, Minneapolis, and Miami have more women, the average for fire departments across the nation is only about five percent female. 

Historically, women have long been successfully putting out fires in this country. Back in 1815, Molly Williams volunteered to serve at the firehouse fo New York City’s Oceanus Engine Company No. 11. Williams was a female slave working with a company that was not only all male, but all white as well. Williams was offered a job after she single-handedly handled a call when every man in the company was unable to handle the call because of being infected by the flu. 

Another early female firefighter in the US was Emma Vernell. She was 50 years old when she became the first woman to work as a firefighter in the state of New Jersey. 

Some people continue to wonder if women are really capable of working as firefighters. One needs only look at statistics to find an answer to this quandary. Consider statistics from the national Candidate Physical Abilities Test that firefighters need to pass. In 2008, 70 percent of all women who took the exam passed. This figure is not significantly far behind the percentage of men who passed the exam. In the same year, 75 percent of men passed. This shows that women are not statistically far behind men in taking the exam and passing or failing is more a matter of individual capabilities than a question of gender. 

It’s likely that women remain underrepresented in the firefighting profession because of traditionally perceived gender roles. Fire departments all over the country have been found to have testing and qualification procedures that not only discriminate against women, but also against minorities as well. Available equipment is often designed to fit men rather than women. Also, harassment toward women is rampant in some departments. 

Nevertheless, women succeed in careers as firefighters. In fact, hundreds of women have attained the rank of captain or lieutenant in their careers as firefighters. In fact, the city of San Francisco fire department was led by a woman, Chief JoAnne Hayes-White, as of 2004. 

It’s important that people realize that females are perfectly capable of serving as firefighters because, as a female Wisconsin firefighter once remarked, “No one cares if you’re a woman when their house is on fire”. 

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Culture

My Dog Loves Taking These Vitamins Every Day

Shannon Jackson

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I feed my canine dog food that contains healthy ingredients like lamb and garbanzo beans. I give him lots of people food on the sly, too. Since I never thought vitamins made for dogs were something my pet needed because his diet has always been nutritious, I never considered giving my dog a vitamin supplement.

Things changed when I became aware of Dandy. This is a company that does what it takes to tailor their vitamins to your dog’s needs and your concerns about your pet’s health. Using their expert knowledge and the information you give them about your dog, this company is able to create great tasting vitamins that are designed to enhance your dog’s health in a customized manner.  

Since I began giving my dog, Zephyr, these vitamins on a daily basis, he walks up to the pantry I keep them in and cries out to me because he wants them.  

If you would like to order dog vitamins from Dandy, know that you will be required to answer some questions. The information you submit will help the experts at the company create the best vitamin supplement for your canine. You’ll be asked for your dog’s age, and you will have to give Dandy your dog’s weight. Your dog’s level of activity may be needed, too.  

It took me approximately five minutes to answer all the questions. In a couple of days, Zephyr was able to start taking the vitamins I had received in the mail. A ball and two other delightful goodies were included in the package that arrived. One of these other goodies was a cool bandana.

The vitamins that were delivered to me were separately packaged. This has made administering the supplements to my pet every day very convenient. I can honestly say your dog will go crazy over the yummy flavors these treats come in. When I throw these vitamin supplements into Zephyr’s mouth, he really enjoys gobbling them up.

My dog is used to taking his vitamins every day now. He’ll actually give me a sign to let me know it’s time for his supplements. This typically happens when we return from our daily stroll. It’s a time when he’ll walk up to the cupboard I keep his vitamins in and wait for me to give him his treats.

I’ve noticed an improvement in the amount of energy Zephyr has now that I give him Dandy vitamins. I’ve also noticed that he doesn’t scratch anymore because his skin is no longer itchy. The scratching stopped once I began giving him the Dandy supplements. My dog’s health is good now, and he’s full of life thanks to this amazing product.

You might as well give your dog a treat that has health benefits if your pet enjoys eating dog treats. You might as well give your pet Dandy vitamins.

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Cute

The Title Is WORK At Home Mom, Got That?

Renee Yates

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The prevailing vision of the work at home mom is a woman with fuzzy slippers, pajamas, no makeup, with cup of steaming coffee in hand. The reality is that she does indeed have coffee in one hand, but she has a phone to her ear talking to the home office or a client. It’s frustrating. What park of “work” don’t people understand? These are five things every working mom wants their families to know about working at home.

1. It’s Called WORK At Home

By the year 2028, Upwork tells us that 73 percent of companies will use remote workers. Okay, Mom gets a full pot of coffee and even time to drink it. What she also gets is phone calls “wondering” if she can get that proposal out a day earlier and the boss breathing down her neck for the P&L spreadsheet he needs to show the CFO. It’s the same as if she were in the office.

2. Take Your Child To Work Day

Many offices offer this day for kids to see what Mommy does at the office. They help to file, pass Mom something from the In tray, or put someone on Hold until Mom can answer the phone. They suddenly understand why “it’s 5:00 somewhere” has a special meaning to Mom.

When Mom works at home, she has to break up fights, feed the kids breakfast and lunch, throw messy clothes in the wash, and yell a lot. When she gets any work done, it’s sometimes wrong and takes twice the time to get it done right.

3. We Don’t Socialize At Work

We all have that one friend who calls and texts every five minutes to make sure we don’t miss their wonderfulness.  We don’t call you at your office to yak every five minutes. Please show us the same courtesy.

We’ve all seen the clerk at the pharmacy, the dollar store, or the gas station laughing over something on Facebook. We wait until they turn their frowning attention to us. While social media can be a great way to market one’s business, it’s a totally different thing when it puts customers in second place. We have a boss to satisfy, so asking us to put him second would cost us our jobs.

4. Work At Home Doesn’t Mean Housework

Yes, while Mom is getting coffee, she can toss a couple dishes in the dishwasher. Okay, on the way to the bathroom, Mom can pick up shoes, clothes, and toys to put in someone’s room. While it usually takes Mom a couple hours to clean the house, she can’t do that at the same time she’s taking a meeting on the phone.

What Moms want their families to understand is that the housework will still be there at 5:00. Moms working in offices use their early evening hours to clean, so why should it be any different when Mom works at home? Asking her to do the housework in between projects or phone calls is too much. Give us a break, guys.

5. Fresh Air Is Important

There’s a reason people explode out of doors at noon and quitting time. We have to get away from the same four walls day in and day out. When we can, we walk somewhere close for lunch, walk to the post office or the bank for our job, and we walk to the parking area after work. Work at home Moms need to get out more than just checking the mailbox. Getting outdoors for us clears the mind, and the fresh air and sun benefits our health.

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Cute

Quilty the Escape-Artist Cat Sets His Fellow Shelter Cats Free

Kelly Taylor

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Meet Quilty: a devious 6-year-old rescue cat with a mission to help his friends roam free.

Shortly after Quilty’s arrival to the Friends for Life animal shelter in Houston, Texas, staff members noticed the door to the senior cat room (where Quilty was residing) was mysteriously open every morning. As a result, all of the senior kitties would be meandering freely through the entire shelter.

The breakouts became so frequent that the Friends for Life staff eventually checked their security footage to solve this mystery. Lo and behold, the culprit was caught: Quilty!

Quilty would open the door to the senior cat room not only at night, but several times throughout the day by jumping up and pulling down the door handle. In a Facebook post, the shelter explained that “Quilty-proofing” the senior cat room was a necessity.

Quilty was placed in “solitary confinement” in the lobby while the staff worked to make sure his escapades would be impossible to repeat. The shelter explained that although the senior cats would likely miss their adventures in the shelter, the “staff did not miss the morning cat wrangling, so we’ll just have to agree to disagree there.” 

Upon sharing this post, Quilty’s story went viral. His Instagram page, free_quilty, has gained over 50,000 followers and the shelter now sells Quilty merch branded with the #FreeQuilty hashtag. Eventually, Quilty’s story even made it to The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.

Not surprisingly, Quilty was unsatisfied by the shelter’s decision to confine him to the senior cat room. Upon realizing his daily escapes were no longer achievable, Quilty resorted to insessently meowing and digging at the room’s doors and windows to express his frustration. As a result, the #FreeQuilty hashtag with photos and videos of a grimacing Quilty blew up and made the vigilanty kitty even more reputable. In an Instagram video of him lying on the floor and pawing the door, Quilty illustrates his own frustration by writing, “I’m going INSANE here folx . . . and they literally just come stare at me. #WTFhumans”.

In regards to his adoption, the shelter joked, “If someone out there is looking for a clever cat that gets along with dogs but does not get along with closed doors, we have someone they really need to come and meet. Please. Come meet him. And take him home. Please…” Upon gaining so much recongition on the internet, Quilty actually began to receive a lot of inquiries from people all over the United States who wanted to adopt him. 

Eventually, Quilty began a trial period, which Friends for Life calls “sleepover”, with a potential forever-family. Although the family was confident enough that their door handles could handle Quilty’s mischief, he actually has made zero attempts to escape since he arrived. In addition to humans, the family consists of two dogs, a hamster, and a hedgehog. So far, it seems like Quilty is warming up to his new siblings perfectly well.

The family submitted an application to adopt him, and Quilty has officially found his forever-home! In an instagram post that pictures him and his four new humans, Quilty states, “I’m pretty freakin’ happy here, to tell you the truth. I haven’t even thought yet about potential escape routes so… I guess these guys aren’t knobs.”

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Culture

Doctors Debate a New Study That Puts Kids’ Screen TIme in a Positive Light

Kelly Taylor

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Is Screen Time A Common Sense Issue, Or Is There More To Learn From A Recent Study?

Children glued to their phones and tablets may give parents a break, but is the overall, long-term effect of “screen time” actually positive? On TV, the show “The Doctors” took on this question in response to a controversial study that seemed to claim that kids benefit from screen time more than they are harmed. Ironically, parents can go online and spend some screen time of their own catching up on this segment of “The Doctors” along with videos from well-known medical sources such as Kaiser Permanente and even the U.S. Government‘s NIH. Why did these doctors get heated about the results of the study?

The Potential Dangers of Children Spending Significant Screen Time

Mental development of children involves diverse sensory inputs, problem-solving, interaction with others and managing of emotions. Screen time may help educate and entertain kids, but overall the brain and personality development of the child could be at risk if they spend too much time face-to-screen.

Is Erosion of Family Life Another Concern?

While studies often focus on screen time as a negative factor in children’s school and developmental progress, the effect on family life as a whole is sometimes omitted. Kids who spend so many hours alone, not interacting with their families when they are at home, would in the past have been cause for concern. They might be depressed, have a developmental issue, or be holding in feelings about some difficult issue in their lives. Screen time is a distraction that could serve to mask these and other concerns. When kids participate in the family, physicians note, they not only grow but they have better access to interactive parenting.

Dr. Judy Ho And Her Analysis Of A Controversial “Study”

On “The Doctors,” the team considered the positive spin on kids and screen time of a new but controversial study. Clinical psychologist Dr. Judy Ho, who had strong opinions on the subject, played the “bad guy” and asked tough questions, offering her own well-developed views. She noted that the study they were discussing was missing several key elements of a well-designed piece of research, and so the conclusions were unlikely to be useful as information for parents. The data simply served as an informal survey of interested parents, and the results were a compilation of general comments about kids’ characteristics. There wasn’t really any direct and scientific way to see cause and effect.

Boiling Down The Issue Of Screen Time For Kids

Parents may use decisions about gadget use as a teachable moment in their children’s lives, but as always peer pressure is going to be a powerful force. Kids who aren’t connected tend to miss out, as previous generations of TV-watching kids did, on social interactions with other kids which revolve around common media experiences.

Teaching Your Children to Grow into Adulthood

Parents have to weigh social “coolness” against developmental, family, and educational concerns. In the end, though it may be difficult for some parents, Dr. Patty’s suggestions are a great starting point: have no-screen zones like the dining room with a basket by the door, have concrete limits for screen time — typically less than two hours a day — and try to make screen time a parent-child experience rather than a media consumption moment. Talk about screen-based experiences, think about them together, laugh at the funny stuff and ask questions about the serious stuff. Use screen time to help your child’s mind grow.

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