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Is it legal to have an unregistered off-the-grid (no birth certificate) baby in the USA?I was actually roommates with someone in College whose parents decided to have him “off-grid”. Let me just say this: Stop even entertaining the idea of having a baby off-grid. It really makes your child’s life unnecessarily hard and your kid will forever resent you for putting that pain on them.I’ll get into the details in a moment, but first let me address the question proposed above. Yes, technically speaking it is not a crime to have your baby off-the-grid in the U.S.A. However, a lot of details surrounding the event would be illegal. First of all, any licensed midwife or doctor is required by law to file a birth certificate or they actually risk losing their license and getting a misdemeanor. If you forced them or threatened them to not file the birth certificate that would make you a likely accomplice and would not go over well with the authorities.But let’s ignore that for a moment and just assume you know how to birth a child on your own and can do it in your basement without any professional medical physician there to oversee you (which would be the only way you could pull this off). In this case you wouldn’t get thrown in jail for failing to get a birth certificate and no crime would have been committed. However you just set up a very difficult life for your child.These are some of the things I was told from by my roommate who didn’t have a social security number until he was 20 years old.No, he could not get a (legal) jobQuite literally he didn’t qualify to get even a job at McDonalds. If you remember the last job you got no matter how prestigious or demeaning it was, you had to fill out a bunch of signNowwork. Most of these forms require you to have a SSN (social security number) to properly fill them out. However the important one is the form labeled I-9. This form is required to be submitted by every employer after hiring a new employee. This form serves only one purpose, to determine that you are eligible to work in the United States. Your child (and my roommate) would not be able to complete this form which every employer must get filled out before starting employment with a new employee. Your child will not be able to get a job because of this.Yes, he can evade paying taxes.Okay, so this sounds like a perk I guess. But my roommate did not have to pay taxes. The government basically didn’t know he existed, so they never knew he was not paying. But then again he didn’t have a job. So would you rather have a job and pay some taxes or not ever be able to work except under the table for below minimum wage? Given that choice, taxes sound pretty awesome! Keep in mind that this also means your child is not eligible for any tax benefits or credits such as those that students get while going to college.No, You as the parent can not claim him as a dependent on your taxesYou’re already dealing with a child, wouldn’t it be great to get that child tax credit? Every year you'll basically be paying out of pocket for deciding not to get them a SSN.Yes, he can attend public school through 12th gradeHe would be able to attend school through high school without a social security number.No, he can not attend collegeWhile high school and lower education is okay, your child will never be able to attend collegeYes, he can go to the doctorThe doctor will still see your child and provide him his shots. However…No, he will not be covered under your family insurance (or qualify for Medicare/Medicaid)So you’ll need to plan on paying for all doctor appointments out of pocket.No, he can not travel abroad (even to Canada)You’d best hope none of your child’s friends decide to go to Cancun for spring break. Your child will not be eligible to leave the country or return to the US if he manages to leave (unless he plans to climb Trump’s wall)No, he will not be able to drive a carOkay, well nothing is stopping him from physically driving a car, but he would not be able to get a driver’s license and thus, can not LEGALLY drive. Hope he doesn’t get pulled over.No, he will not be able to voteOnce old enough he will not be able to register to vote.Yes, he can avoid the draftWell the good news is that like taxes, he can skirt the requirement to join the draft when he turns 18.No, he can’t get a loanThis means no credit cards, no car loan, no home, nothing. I’m sure plenty of people will claim these are all evil anyway, but these have powerful impacts on someone’s life. There might be times he needs it. (and when used properly none of these are bad things).No, he will not have a credit scoreThis goes with the above one, but he will not be able to work on this which affects your entire life/future. This also will disqualify him from renting most homes or apartments he is looking at.Basically your child will be treated as an illegal immigrant. Why put them through this when they are entitled to the benefits that the United States provides its citizens? There are people in other countries dying to get what your child is entitled to and you are (considering) denying your child those abilities? It just doesn’t make sense.Get them a SSN and if your child decides at 20 that he wants to live off-the-grid than he can burn his Social Security Card and go in the woods and hide from the government. But don’t be selfish enough to make that decision for them.My roommate resents his parents for not giving him a SSN. While all his friends in high school were driving, he couldn’t. While his friends go to Cancun for spring break, he had golden handcuffs in the U.S. and can’t leave. And worst of all he said was that while all his friends were earning money from jobs in high school, he couldn’t get a job.The job part was the hardest for him. He couldn’t leave the house or move out when he turned 18. He was stuck at home.Him working on getting a social security number was difficult and took him two years. He started when he turned 18 to get one once he realized he couldn’t go to college, he couldn’t get a job, he couldn’t rent an apartment, and thus will never really be able to be independent from his parents. It took two years and then at 20 he was able to get one and start working and going to school.He forever resented his parents. Don’t be those parents…
Why do racial minorities disproportionately make up the American prison population?Remember what Macy’s did to Black and Hispanic shoppers?Macy’s used to stop them in the middle of the store, take them to an office, and accuse them of credit card fraud.When that didn’t work, the story changed. They were shoplifting.Usually, the terrified shoppers would sign confessions. They would get a bill for restitution of the “stolen” merchandise. Most people paid it immediately. Even if they hadn’t stolen anything. Which was most of the time.This was illegal. In fact, Macy’s had been fined and scolded sternly by NYS Attorney’s General for its solution to store “shrinkage”.But no one paid attention until actor Rob Brown got the Macy’s treatment.‘Treme’ star says he was racially profiled at Macy’sBy the time they put the cuffs on the soap opera/movie star for his Macy’s spree, an 18-year-old engineering student, Trayon Christian, who is also black, had been dealing with the same policy at Barney’s for weeks. Black student wins $45G settlement over Barneys stop-friskBy now, you should be thinking: WTF?So you tell me: Why do you think racial minorities disproportionately make up the U.S. prison population?Why do you think certain people get arrested for shopping while black?If they can corner and coerce confessions out of people for shopping, if they can arrest ordinary people and give them criminal records because they buy things with their own credit cards at a famous department store, is it any surprise that prisons are packed with people of color?I realize this is hard to believe. But I’ve got a DVD for one of those shopping sprees that ended in criminal charges. The arrested shopper refused to plea bargain. That guy’s lawyer DIDN’T EVEN ASK for the Macy’s security tape. The phony charges weren’t dropped for 4 years — after Robert Sanger took his case over.But that shopper wasn’t famous. He was just innocent. And his story was really hard to swallow … unless you saw the tape.I’ve been shopping in Macy’s for 60 years and I’ve never been accused of credit card fraud. Or shoplifting. Or anything.Because I’m white.Black people are uneducated. They drop out of school. They are undisciplined. Black people live in projects where they commit crimes and do drugs. Black people don't have jobs. So they have no money. White people work. Black people want the things that white people have. So they steal them.Sometimes black people are caught. They go to jail. Jails are filled with black people for a reason.Are black Americans incarcerated more than whites because they commit more crimes or because the system discriminates against them?My teenage daughter was down by Roslyn train station one weekend evening, doing plenty of nothing with her teenage friends, when someone noticed the mother of one boy as she drove past them, through a stop sign, in full view of the police.Hey Alan, is that your mom?Alan’s mother was an alcoholic. A white alcoholic.The police lights flashed. Alan’s mother stopped her car and rolled down the window. The teens watched nervously from the train station. The officer ordered the female driver to get out of her car. They watched her struggle through his tests.Alas, she stumbled badly, unable to stand on one leg, or touch her nose, or walk a straight line. Had the police not stopped this woman, she might have crashed into another car or hit someone on a bicycle. She might even have run over Alan. She was that stewed.Alan’s mother sat in her car, still, while the officer sat filling out a form in the police car. The teens waited. They worried. The woman had clearly failed the sobriety test. Because she was drunk as a skunk.But then the officer got out of his car. He walked back to Alan’s mother. They spoke, he handed her a ticket, and got back in the police car. Then she drove off in the direction of affluent East Hills, the police car close behind. Alan would later report that the police had escorted his mother home, warned her not to drink and drive ever again, and then went back to work.Because she was white.If you have two neighborhoods — 1 black, 1 white — and you put 9 cops in the black neighborhood and 1 in the white neighborhood, most of your arrests will be black.Because that’s where all the police are.Reverse this arrangement, and most arrests will be white. Because that’s where all the police are. Crime data would show that white neighborhoods have a crime problem.But that’s not how they do it.In black neighborhoods, black people are stopped for trespassing, jay-walking, graffiti, littering, loitering, selling loose cigarettes, fighting, smoking marijuana, shopping, driving or just walking down the street.If there are no police, no one gets arrested.It’s good to be white. I dare you to tell me you disagree.A commenter at the right-wing Crime Prevention Research Center wrote in July:The percentage of unemployed young black men has always been north of 40% since 1970; whereas for caucasians it has always been less than 20% during the same time period.Couple this with the reality of the life experience with authority (police, school discipline) and declining community structure (single parent families etc.) and you get all the reasons why the percentages of black youth get involved in crime.The Real Root Causes of Violent Crime: The Breakdown of Marriage, Family, and CommunityIn other words, this whole trend, black people being arrested and going to jail, is their own fault! If young black men would just get a job, like young Caucasian men, and work, maybe they wouldn’t be in so much trouble all the time.Right?!In 55 days, Donald Trump will be President.Trump likes private prisons: Donald Trump's Election Win Is Making This Stock SoarLast March, Trump told Chris Matthews, “I do think we can do a lot of privatizations and private prisons. It seems to work a lot better.” MSNBC Town Hall with Donald Trump Moderated By Chris MatthewsIt certainly works better for white people.But it’s bad news for certain other people who tend to get arrested.What else? Donald Trump likes the death penalty. That’s old news. But it’s bad news, for certain other people.We should all be worried. I’m not worried about me. I’m worried about them.Racial minorities disproportionately make up the American prison population. Racial minorities will have the fight of their life with Donald Trump.Think things are bad now? The worst is yet to come.
How can I apply for a credit card?1. Know your credit score :Knowing your credit score or an estimate of it is one thing — but you also need to know what your score means and whether it’s high enough to qualify you for a credit card. We recently looked at what constitutes a Good Score, and, according to credit expert John Ulzheimer, here’s how credit score ranges tend to stack up from top to bottom:A credit score of 760 or higher is considered excellent credit.A score between 701 and 759 is considered good credit.A score of 651 to 700 is considered fair credit (695 is the national average).Under 650 is considered poor credit.The higher your credit score, the more likely you are to get approved for a credit card. So is your score high enough? In 2013, only 39.1% of all applicants were approved for general purpose credit cards, according to a study by the Financial Bureau. However, 58.7% of Americans with “prime” credit scores — those in the 660 to 720 range — were approved, and 85.5% of applicants with “superprime” credit scores (720 or above) were approved.There are other variables that may determine whether you’re ultimately approved for a credit card or denied, but once you know your credit score you’ll have a better sense of your chances. And if your score is on the lower end of that spectrum, you’ll know it’s time to make some changes — paying down balances and paying bills on time — to get that number moving in the right direction before applying for a credit card.2. Check your actual credit report for free.In addition to your credit score, it can be helpful to get a copy of your actual credit report. Fortunately, you can get a free copy of your credit report from all three major credit reporting agencies – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion – for free, once per year.If everything reported it is accurate, you have nothing to worry about. If you find a mistake, however, you should do what you can to have it fixed right away.3. Make all of your monthly payments on time.If you need to improve your credit before applying for a Reward Credit Card — or simply want to keep it in perfect shape for the long haul — paying all of your bills on time is the best and easiest way to do it. Conversely, missing a payment or paying your bills late can wreak havoc on your credit score in a hurry. You should avoid making late payments on any of your bills if you can.4. Pay down your debts.Another big factor in your credit score is your credit utilization. This term, utilization, is used to describe how much money you owe in relation to your credit limits. While utilizing some of your available credit is generally a good thing, running up too many large balances is frowned upon and reflects negatively on your credit score.Most experts suggest keeping your credit utilization below 30% — meaning, if your credit limit is $1,000, you shouldn’t carry a balance larger than $300. When you’ve used up more than 30% of your overall credit limit, it makes you appear riskier to lenders and can cause your credit score to drop.When you pay off debt and get your utilization below 30%, on the other hand, your credit score will have the best chance to surge — and it does so right away. So if your credit score is borderline, pay down any outstanding balances before applying for a credit card to give yourself the best chance of getting approved.5. Search for the right credit card offer.While you might be anxious to get any type of credit card, it’s important to take some time to search for the best offer and find one that suits your needs.If you want a credit card to consolidate your debt, for example, you can start by looking at Balance Transfer Credit Cards that will let you pay zero interest for a limited time. If you’d rather earn rewards, there are dozens of Great Rewards Credit Card to consider that offer everything from Cash Back to Airline miles.Once you find a card that seems like a good match for your spending habits, applying is as simple as filling out an application online, including your personal information and details about your income. Most credit card issuers will give you a response in minutes.Just remember that the best credit cards and offers generally go to those with good or excellent credit. If your credit needs some work, you might need to consider a different type of credit card to get started.6. Consider a secured credit card as your last resort.If your credit score isn’t high enough to qualify you for a traditional credit card, you should consider a secured credit card to get the ball rolling. Unlike unsecured credit cards that actually extend you a line of credit, secured cards offer credit that is tied to a cash deposit you put down.For example, many secured credit cards offer a $500 credit limit but require a $500 deposit to get started. While this may not seem beneficial at first, secured credit cards are often the only way for people with bad credit or no credit to raise their credit score.Once you begin using your secured card responsibly, paying it off each month, your credit score will improve, and you’ll typically be able to upgrade your card to an unsecured credit card and get your deposit back. If your credit score improves dramatically, you may even be able to qualify for a top rewards credit card after a stretch using a secured card. It really depends on your situation, your goals, and how much your score improves7. Use credit wisely and never give up.If you aren’t able to qualify for a credit card right now, the best thing you can do is give yourself some time. By using the credit you do have responsibly — paying utilities, car payments, and student loan bills on time, every time — you’ll put yourself in the best position to boost your score over time. And if you have bills in default, a lot of debt, or other negative marks on your credit report, you should focus on repairing that damage before you take on more credit anyway.Pay all of your bills on time, refuse new debts and pay down old ones, and monitor small changes in your credit report for signs of progress. Over time, your score will inevitably rise as long as you treat it with the respect it deserves.
How do credit card payments work?Great question.To help you get a grasp of how payment network transactions work specifically, here’s a step-by-step explanation of everything that happens after you hit the ‘Order now’ button.Once you complete an order on the merchant’s website, the system redirects you to the payment form, where you enter your credit card details. After you fill out the necessary information, you click ‘Submit.’The merchant receives your credit card information. Afterwards, your credit card information along the order amount is transmitted to the payment gateway.Using payment card information, a payment gateway sends an authorization request to the acquiring bank.The authorization request is redirected to your IPS (Visa / MasterCard / etc.). Upon approval, it’s redirected to an issuing bank.If your card is 3DSecure, the system will redirect you to a page where you should enter the password.The system redirects the information from the IPS to the acquiring bank.Upon completion, a payment gateway sends a request to the acquiring bank and later to the IPS and the issuing bank to subtract an order amount from customer’s cart.If there are sufficient funds on card owner’s balance, the issuing bank sends confirmation of the transaction to IPS.IPS gives its confirmation in about 15 minutes after the authorization and merchant finds out that a transaction is successful.This is a detailed description of information exchange happening between all parties involved in the payment process.To dive deeper into the whole payments ecosystem, check out my article below:‘How an online payment gateway works’It covers everything you need to know about payment gateways, payment processing, and merchant accounts.Hope I was helpful!Footnotes Difference between a payment gateway, processor and merchant accounts
How do ordinary people go about buying a gun in your country/state?TEXAS:There is no gun registration, or gun permit required to purchase a gun in Texas. Usually, there is no additional fee, beyond the purchase price of the gun. The exception would be when the two parties to a private transaction use the services of an FFL to transfer the firearm ownership. In that case, there would be whatever fee that FFL charges, and there is no set rate for that. Fees tend to run between $10 and $25 or so, depending on who they are and where they are. Texas uses the NICS instant background check system run by the FBI for people who do not possess a permit to carry concealed. Unless you are otherwise unqualified for lawful gun ownership (felony convictions, psychiatric history, known gang affiliations, etc.), you walk into the store, choose the gun, fill out the BATFE Form 4473, hand over your driver's license or other state issued photo ID, and wait for 10-15 minutes while they call in your information to NICS. (I believe this can now be processed online too, rather than just by phone.) When the background check clears, you pay for the gun and leave with it. The entire process usually takes 15-20 minutes.If you have a Texas CHL (Concealed Handgun License), you have ALREADY gone through a far more stringent background check than that required by NICS, so NICS is not involved in the purchase. When you choose your gun for purchase, you hand the sales clerk both your TDL and your CHL, you fill out Form 4473, you pay, and you leave with your gun. Assuming you know what you want, time in and out depends on how much time you spend shooting the breeze with the salesperson.....and that is entirely up to you.Funny thing is..... ever since leaving California, I have purchased far more guns than I owned when I still lived there, and despite not having to wait 10 days, and despite not having to purchase emasculated "Calfornia Only" versions of those guns, not one single one of them has ever been used in a criminal manner, or stored in an unsafe manner. Not one of them has ever jumped up of its own accord and massacred an entire school yard full of children........and our murder rate is lower than California's.....Guns: Texas vs CaliforniaKeep in mind that there are 48% more people in California, but California suffers 56% more gun murders than Texas. Similarly, of all ways to murder people, Californians murder people with guns 69% of the time, while Texans murder with guns only 65% of the time. This indicates that the average Californian is more likely to murder or be murdered with a gun than the average Texan.No-one knows for sure how many guns exist, are owned, and who owns them, but I did find a 2001 survey that purportedly broke down likely gun ownership by state. According to these numbers, Texans as a whole own 45% more guns than Californians. That’s total guns, not guns per capita. So it would seem that even with fewer total guns spread among more people, more are still murdered with guns in California.If you break down the number of gun murders per 100,000 people, we see the likelihood of gun murder relative to the size of the population. This is the actual likelihood that you will be murdered with a gun in that state. With this measure, we see that your chance of murder by gun is 1 in 29,674 in California, compared to the less likely 1 in 31,348 in Texas.Interestingly, the most violent gun crime area in America by far is Washington DC. No state comes anywhere close. There is almost an order of magnitude more gun murders in Washington DC than any state. Your chance of being murdered with a gun in Washington DC is 1 in 6,250. Washington DC is infamous for its long standing ban on legal gun ownership by private citizens, in direct violation of the Second Amendment. This ban was partially lifted a couple years ago, but the restrictions on private gun ownership are still severely limited.At the other end of the spectrum, the city of Kennesaw, Georgia has had a city ordinance since 1982 requiring all households to own at least one gun and ammunition for it, with the reasonable exceptions of the mentally handicapped, religiously convicted against guns, and known criminals. Their overall crime rate is half the US average.Why do you suppose that is? And don't give me poverty, immigration, and race as issues. We have poor people, immigrant people, and ethnic people in Texas too.....probably in similar proportions to California. I think, and this is a very generalized statement, that the reason is a greater sense of personal responsibility among Texans, both for their personal station in life as well as the role of government in their lives than among Californians. We trust ourselves with guns because we are not ignorant about responsibility. This difference exists because Texans still have a healthy mistrust of overbearing government, while Californians welcome it, abdicating their personal responsibilities in the process. Again, these are very general statements, and I recognize that there are many Californians who think like I do, but are simply trapped there by job and/or family circumstances and history, and are not likely to leave the state like I did.Anyway, I apologize for the soapbox, but I thought it necessary to explain why Texans, as a whole, tend to be far more libertarian than some other states about controls on gun purchases. It is not sufficiently libertarian (in my view) in other areas, specifically in the matter of Open Carry, both of handguns and long guns.By way of explanation, I am not a rabid open carry advocate, but I do support it. If we had open carry, I would still most likely conceal my pistol most of the time. I would just be a lot less concerned about perfect concealment on a 102º day with 85% humidity, or while driving, for instance. But we don't have open carry here, at least not yet, and there is a statist wing of the state's republican party which colludes with democrats to keep that from happening. Hopefully, we'll remove that roadblock in the next legislative session (2015, our legislature only meets on alternate years). As far as long guns go, there is no law against carrying a loaded long gun anywhere that firearms are allowed, but there is a law against the open display of a firearm in a manner intended to cause alarm......and that is a subjective standard directly correlated with just how tightly the observer's panties are twisted up about firearms, because the observer gets to decide what causes alarm, not the person whose intent is at stake. I may carry a shotgun from the trunk of my car in the parking lot, into a gunstore 20 yards away, intending to have it repaired, and not at all intending to cause alarm——but to the socialist twat driving by, that display may be very alarming, and a "man with a gun" call goes out to the local PD.........and socialists LOVE it when they can enforce their illiberal and repressive attitudes onto other people, so I'll be the one taking the ride to the local cop shop until it all gets sorted out, and not the person whose complaint had me falsely detained.So in those kinds of respects, Texas is not yet perfect; but it is a DAMNED sight better, and a LOT more common sense than California, most particularly with respect to the process of buying a gun.
What are the problems faced by Indian students in the USA?Communication ProblemsThe main difficulty that Indian students face on campus is how to interact with other international and American students and teachers.A large majority of Indian students, even some of those who have graduated in the English medium from reputed schools in big cities in India, not to speak of small towns, struggle to converse with other students, particularly Americans.They are unable to understand popular American expressions, including idioms (“I’ll take a rain check,” “you’re on the ball,” “I’m still finding my feet,” etc.), words/phrases (“downtown,” “okra,” “check,” etc.), and spellings (“caliber,” “program,” traveling,” etc.).American pronunciation also confuses Indians (“semai” for “semi,” “skejule” for “schedule,” “lieu-tenant” for “lieutenant,” etc.).Moreover, Americans find it difficult to understand their accent, and the need to repeat themselves frustrates them. However, like other international students, most of them are, before long, able to speak in a neutral accent.Another problem is the use of Indianisms. “Made in India” phrases such as “what’s your good name?” “revert back,” “attended a function,” and “mother promise,” and words such as “prepone,” “cousin brother/sister,” and “out of station” puzzle all except others from India.The use of “is” and “are” and “has” and “have,” and even “had,” interchangeably causes bewilderment among native speakers.In some situations, Indian students grasp the literal meanings of words but don’t comprehend what the speaker is trying to convey.For example, to a casual “How do you do?” from an American, the newcomer Indian student, without realizing that the question was meant only as a courtesy or greeting, may feel obliged to provide an update of how his/her day has been, only to see the American walking away briskly.Such situations may confuse Indian students and take away some of their self-confidence. The inability to talk to and mingle with other students may negatively influence their social lives, and they may end up forming a circle of friends consisting of only Indian students. This robs them of an opportunity to experience diversity on the campus, which brings down the quality of their overall academic experience.The difficulties associated with communicating with others also affect Indian students’ academic interactions. Many Indian students are afraid to raise questions related to their subjects or answer teachers’ questions. They worry that their teachers might not understand them or that their inability to speak clearly might invite ridicule from their classmates.Subtle differences in body language between Americans and Indians, too, are often cause for awkwardness. For example, while meeting someone for the first time, Indian students may offer a “cold fish” handshake or a “crusher,” while a firm handshake is what Americans expect.Another aspect that Indian students fail to notice early enough is that Americans respect “personal space,” which is roughly an arm’s length from the next person, even a good friend. Indians, perhaps because they are used to crowded public spaces, sometimes don’t realize that they may be standing too close to the next person.Americans may have mastered the art of listening, but Indians? Only the most sophisticated and sensitive Indians have the patience to await their turn to speak. On campus, it is considered rude to interrupt a teacher, however relevant your point, without receiving permission to speak. Many Indian students learn this lesson only from experience.Read our related tongue-in-cheek post: MBA in USA: Mind your languageLifestyle problems on the university campusOf course, you need more than friends and fresh air to survive, even on the beautiful campuses, and your favorite foods likely top your list of priorities. No surprise then that “desi” food is usually what Indian students in the US appear to miss the most.The masala noodles and snacks they pack from home deplete quickly, and newcomers go looking for Indian restaurants sooner rather than later. They find good eateries and make Indian friends who can cook—vegetarians find the going a little tougher at the beginning.In time, at least some of them manage to mix and match various dals, vegetables, and spices into eminently edible dishes.But all this while, the heart is heavy with homesickness, despite the gadgets that bridge distances. Memorabilia work for some but worsens the longing in others. Food is the best medicine in these troubled times.Money management is a major issue for all but those with well-heeled folks back home. Indian students habitually convert every price-tag from dollars to rupees. Some end up leading a more frugal lifestyle than they need to; there is the other extreme, too, of course.But generally, budget constraints hamper the social lives of most Indian students, and hopes of keeping up with rich American or Chinese kids die a quick death. This, too, results in Indian students creating their own exclusive, but insular, social circle.The eclectic American culture is also individualistic and direct, and it pays to appreciate every person for who he or she is. Simple gestures like saying “Hello!” and acknowledging the personality and presence of others don’t cost a buck but help make a wide and varied circle of friends and improve the campus experience.If there is no committed effort to mingle with people from other cultural backgrounds, this opportunity is lost.Problems in Academics / StudiesIndian students, most of whom have learned by rote to score in exams, take time to appreciate the differences between the Indian and the American systems of education.As one student comments on another website, Indian students enter US campuses as excellent test-takers, but they need to become good researchers to succeed further. Making this transformation is not easy for a majority of Indian students arriving in the US.The requirement to learn concepts and express this understanding is a major hurdle for Indian students who are used to spoon-feeding and learning “by heart.” The idea that the campus is a place to acquire knowledge and not just a stepping stone to a great-paying career and that teachers and libraries are resources in the pursuit of learning is lost on many students. Many realize late that only they themselves are responsible for their academic performance.Respect for rules and regulations is learned the hard way in many cases. Unfortunately, the fact that plagiarism is a serious academic offence in the US is fully appreciated only after the first punishment.Among other bitter lessons are that using information from other published material invites suspension, that verbatim reproduction from textbooks or teachers’ notes is plagiarism, unlike in India, and that “combined study” and shared project work are not encouraged.Time management issuesTime management is a maddening problem for Indian students on US campuses. Many Indians are not used to punctuality in their own country, and schedules for classes and meetings are frequently disrespected. They take this habit to their U.S. universities, with unfavorable consequences.The concept of time management is much discussed in India but often remains only on signNow. Failure to manage time affects academic preparations because syllabi in US schools are designed to be absorbed over a period rather than in a feverish season of last-minute cramming.Students who adopted a laidback approach while in India find it difficult to suddenly become systematic. Naturally, they are found wanting in assessments based on attendance, assignments, tests, quizzes, and the final examination that demand consistent diligence.But, all said, most Indian students manage their early predicaments quite well. More than a few go on to excel in their fields, making their sponsors, their parents, happy, and setting an example for other students going West.Many top universities have support systems in place. For instance, there’s an association of Indian students at MIT called Sangam. Use the resources such as these on the university campus, be aware of the cultural differences between Indian and American students, and you’ll do just fine.Website-http://www.mbacrystalball.com/bl...
What are some travel hacks no one talks about?Since I do travel a lot. I have a bunch to travel hacks in my notes compiled that I keep in mind and read before heading to a new destination. Here are they.Travel Hacks Before You Leave1. Instead of a hotel, look into reserving a home if traveling with a family, or a single room if alone. Websites like AirBnB can provide homes and private rooms from home owners who are renting them out, usually offering better accommodations than hotels.2. Roll your clothes when packing. Instead of creating a folded pile in your suitcase, rolling allows you to fit more things in. Plus, you can even roll underwear and socks within your clothes for optimal space-saving.3. Scan your passport, identification card, and itinerary and email them to yourself. This provides an extra copy of each in the event of loss or theft. As an iPhone user, once I email the documents to myself, I usually open the email on my iPhone and save them onto iBooks. This provides me with an offline record.4. It’s important to remember to call your credit or debit card company before you leave to ensure that you have your card authorized for your foreign destination. This prevents them from suspecting suspicious activity.5. Mark your baggage as fragile. This is a tip I learned a while ago from a friend who found it to be a great way to ensure that your baggage is handled correctly. Your luggage is kept at the top because of this, which will make it one of the first bags to be released.Travel Hacks For the Departure6. Bring your own water bottle. Depending on the airline’s own policies regarding drink costs, the amount of times water is offered may not be to your liking. Having your own water bottle ensures that you have water when you want it. When they do come around, top off your bottle with what they give you.7. Never underestimate the value of a fanny pack. Yes, they can be embarrassing and seemingly out of the mid-to-late 1980s, but trust me—every time I travel, even domestically, it has ensured that my valuables are safe, and it expedites security checks.8. Splurge on Internet service if your flight is more than six-and-a-half hours long. You’ll thank me when you find that sparking conversation with your seat partner is harder than pulling teeth. Plus, you can complete work for the last time before you hit your destination.9. Ensure that you have a pen before leaving home so you can complete customs forms. Fill the forms out when you get them, and ensure that your family members have theirs filled as well. People will clamour for your pen; flight attendants rarely have them.10. 20 minutes before you land, sprint for the bathroom. Usually when the seatbelt light comes on, I’ve found that you still have 15 minutes of leeway until you truly have to be seated. Use this opportunity to relieve yourself to prevent fighting for restrooms when you land.Travel Hacks When You Arrive11. Dart directly for baggage claim. It is amazing how many people seem to lollygag after landing. Save that for someplace else to save yourself time and to prevent any arguments with fellow travelers.12. Use ATMs to get local currency. Using money converters in the airport usually come with their own fees and the exchange rates are a rip-off. ATMs always dispense local currency, of course, so use your debit or credit card and get your money there.13. Ensure that you have Yelp downloaded for domestic travel in the US. This is a great city guide for both travelers and locals alike, and is best way to find the most amazing places to eat and sightsee.14. Shop for groceries when you arrive. You don’t have to shop for a feast, but getting basics like water and a few snacks in local stores instead of at the hotel can save you a ton.15. When in your room, remove only the necessities from your luggage. Trying to make yourself at home by taking out every pair of shoes and all of your toiletries will only make repacking a living hell, and it increases your chances of forgetting something when it’s time to go home.Exploring Your New Location16. Use guidebooks sparingly. I recommended Yelp because it allows you to discover a few places off the beaten path. Guidebooks only presents you with tourist spots; even those that advertised themselves as being off the beaten path.17. Use the local language as much as possible. It reflects well not only on you, but also on Americans/your nationality in general. It shows you are willing to make the effort, which can work in your favor in some situations.18. Have a souvenir list prepared, and stick to it. This will save you money and prevent you from purchasing something that “you’ll find someone to give to another time”.19. Eat locally only. Save McDonalds, if you have to eat it in any location, for when you’re home. Trying the local cuisine will save you more money and allow you to experience new and flavorful meals.20. “When in Rome, do as the Romans” is a general saying that I like to translate it as, “don’t be a stubborn traveler, and get out of your comfort zone”. If a country advises modest dress, for example, follow through. It can even ensure your safety as a foreigner.Travel Hacks for Returning Home21. If you are a frequent traveler, live out of your toiletry bag and keep it packed. This will allow the packing process to be a bit easier and will prevent you from having to make expensive toiletry purchases if you forget something.22. Use IFTTT when sharing traveling photos to make it seamless and easy. “Recipes” like sharing automatically to Dropbox or Evernote will allow you automatically to have a copy of your precious photos.23. Unpack immediately when you enter the door. You may be tired out of your mind, but you’ll be glad you did it in the morning. Plus, it saves your luggage from smelling like soiled laundry.
Is it safe to give all my details: name, address, credit card number and CVV, when filling in a credit card authorization form?Safety is relative.Ecommerce is safe as long as you know what to look for. If the site doesn't feel safe, go with your gut. Here are reasons why you have to fill out all of the information requested like name, address, CVV and full card number.1. When you are purchasing goods from a merchant, that merchant needs certain information to verify you are the valid cardholder. The merchant is assuming the real risk in assuming you aren't a fraudster using a stolen card. Put yourself in the merchant's position. Would you just take a card number and expiration date from some random cardholder and hope it's not a stolen card?2. Information such as Address and ZIP and CVV/CVC (Visa/MC) or CID (Amex/Disc) are tools to verify the card is valid. They mitigate risk for the merchant. Address and ZIP in a Card Not Present (CNP) situation also allow the merchant to get the best possible processing rates for that transaction. 3. A legitimate merchant will have a secure website (if this is the scenario to which you're referring). Look for 2 things when entering your payment information on the site.Secure Connection in the URL Address denoted by HTTPS:A Privacy and Security Statement that includes their Compliance and Security Assessor:4. Credit card numbers are created by a sophisticated algorithm which is why you can't simply input the last 4 digits into a form. There are sites that will allow you to enter the lat 4 digits once you have already registered with them to verify the choice of card, but this is after they have your card on file. There are billions of debit/credit cards in the world with different expiration dates, CVV values and different 11/12 beginning digits so the chances that your card is the only one with a unique 4 digit ending are pretty slim.What is not safe 1. Filling out a signNow form with this same data and mailing it to someone. Imagine if it got lost and someone got this info. Shopping spree on the internet for them. It still amazes me that my water bill allows this info to be paid in this manner. I would never fill out a form with my credit card data an mail or fax it. A big no-no. 2. Never email you credit card data to anyone. This communication can be easily intercepted and go into the wrong hands. Email is a safe mode of transmitting sensitive card data..