Wikipedia Defeats Microsoft's Encarta

In a shocking revelation this morning, Reuters reported that Microsoft will stop providing its online and offline encyclopedia, Encarta, a rich authentic resource.

The decision, which Microsoft described as "People today seek and consume information in considerably different ways than in years past", will strip us off one of the best student resources available.

Wikipedia's enormous popularity as a free resource, and the ability to search and find any kind of information from the Web using search engines like Google has made MS take this tough decision.

Wikipedia, on the other hand is fully edited by people like you and I, and cannot be trusted more than a self-published book or blog. Though strict moderation is in place, it has way more to go to be regarded as a real encyclopedia. In a Twitter opinion poll we did recently, this was made explicit: Is Wikipedia authentic?

The Encarta service, except in Japan, will cease on October 31 this year, and the one on Japan will cease by December 31.

Share your opinions about this decision by Microsoft if you are already a loving subscriber of MS Encarta. To see the online edition, please visit: Encarta.msn.com.
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The Guide to Successful Personal Statement Essay

Personal statement essay is one of the most important types of the writing assignments. There several types of personal essays; the most important of which are the general comprehensive essay (in this type of the essay one might write on any topic and this essay is usually submitted during application process in medical and law schools) and personal application statement essay that addresses some particular topic.

For instance, the applicants can be asked to elaborate on some particular topic or answer some particular question. Try to avoid emphasize on your academic records, the application committee already has enough information on this matter. One should concentrate on the achievements in cultural life, music or sport.

Sometimes, there are several similar questions in different application forms; in spite of fact that they may look similar they nevertheless are being asked by different universities and thus the same answer should not be sent to all of them. Instead you should answer each one of them separately and try to understand in which way the questionnaire composed by on university differs from another. And finally try to be as much original as possible; avoid some simple and standard phrases remember your application essay help should impress application committee with its ingenuity and originality. Whereas original and creative style should be applied in the writing of personal statement essay more straightforward, scientific style must be sued in the composition of the process essay. It is one of the most popular assignments in the Universities.

In this essay one should describe how to do some something or one can focus on the describing how something was done. In this essay one should concentrate on some subject or process (you may describe how to cook turkey or how to repair a refrigerator). In describing of this process one must write it on the basis of the importance of this process, the ways and methods by which this process can be accomplished and most important steps of this process and the reasons why these steps are vital for the completion of the process. One should bear in mind that professionalism, experience and knowledge of your audience is of high importance in the writing of this type of paper. In describing of the steps taken you must understand what knowledge your reader possesses, whether he knows much about the subject in question or you juts tech him how to do some things. Your style depends on answer to the above mentioned questions, which certainly should be more or less scientific and embedded with different transition words (the words that can combine clauses in order to create more complex sentences. These words include the following: since, when while, if, unless and although).

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The Beautiful Suit by H G Wells

Here is a short story by the famed SF writer, H G Wells. Please read and comment.



The Beautiful Suit
By H G Wells

There was once a little man whose mother made him a beautiful suit of clothes. It was green and gold, and woven so that I cannot describe how delicate and fine it was, and there was a tie of orange fluffiness that tied up under his chin. And the buttons in their newness shone like stars. He was proud and pleased by his suit beyond measure, and stood before the long looking-glass when first he put it on, so astonished and delighted with it that he could hardly turn himself away. He wanted to wear it everywhere, and show it to all sorts of people. He thought over all the places he had ever visited, and all the scenes he had ever heard described, and tried to imagine what the feel of it would be if he were to go now to those scenes and places wearing his shining suit, and he wanted to go out forthwith into the long grass and the hot sunshine of the meadow wearing it. Just to wear it! But his mother told him "No." She told him he must take great care of his suit, for never would he have another nearly so fine; he must save it and save it, and only wear it on rare and great occasions. It was his wedding-suit, she said. And she took the buttons and twisted them up with tissue paper for fear their bright newness should be tarnished, and she tacked little guards over the cuffs and elbows, and wherever the suit was most likely to come to harm. He hated and resisted these things, but what could he do? And at last her warnings and persuasions had effect, and he consented to take off his beautiful suit and fold it into its proper creases, and put it away. It was almost as though he gave it up again. But he was always thinking of wearing it, and of the supreme occasions when some day it might be worn without the guards, without the tissue paper on the buttons, utterly and delightfully, never caring, beautiful beyond measure.

One night, when he was dreaming of it after his habit, he dreamt he took the tissue paper from one of the buttons, and found its brightness a little faded, and that distressed him mightily in his dream. He polished the poor faded button and polished it, and, if anything, it grew duller. He woke up and lay awake, thinking of the brightness a little dulled, and wondering how he would feel if perhaps when the great occasion (whatever it might be) should arrive, one button should chance to be ever so little short of its first glittering freshness, and for days and days that thought remained with him distressingly. And when next his mother let him wear his suit, he was tempted and nearly gave way to the temptation just to fumble off one little bit of tissue paper and see if indeed the buttons were keeping as bright as ever.

He went trimly along on his way to church, full of this wild desire. For you must know his mother did, with repeated and careful warnings, let him wear his suit at times, on Sundays, for example, to and fro from church, when there was no threatening of rain, no dust blowing, nor anything to injure it, with its buttons covered and its protections tacked upon it, and a sun-shade in his hand to shadow it if there seemed too strong a sunlight for its colours. And always, after such occasions, he brushed it over and folded it exquisitely as she had taught him, and put it away again.

Now all these restrictions his mother set to the wearing of his suit he obeyed, always he obeyed them, until one strange night he woke up and saw the moonlight shining outside his window. It seemed to him the moonlight was not common moonlight, nor the night a common night, and for awhile he lay quite drowsily, with this odd persuasion in his mind. Thought joined on to thought like things that whisper warmly in the shadows. Then he sat up in his little bed suddenly very alert, with his heart beating very fast, and a quiver in his body from top to toe. He had made up his mind. He knew that now he was going to wear his suit as it should be worn. He had no doubt in the matter. He was afraid, terribly afraid, but glad, glad.

He got out of his bed and stood for a moment by the window looking at the moonshine-flooded garden, and trembling at the thing he meant to do. The air was full of a minute clamour of crickets and murmurings, of the infinitesimal shoutings of little living things. He went very gently across the creaking boards, for fear that he might wake the sleeping house, to the big dark clothes-press wherein his beautiful suit lay folded, and he took it out garment by garment, and softly and very eagerly tore off its tissue-paper covering and its tacked protections until there it was, perfect and delightful as he had seen it when first his mother had given it to him--a long time it seemed ago. Not a button had tarnished, not a thread had faded on this dear suit of his; he was glad enough for weeping as in a noiseless hurry he put it on. And then back he went, soft and quick, to the window that looked out upon the garden, and stood there for a minute, shining in the moonlight, with his buttons twinkling like stars, before he got out on the sill, and, making as little of a rustling as he could, clambered down to the garden path below. He stood before his mother's house, and it was white and nearly as plain as by day, with every window-blind but his own shut like an eye that sleeps. The trees cast still shadows like intricate black lace upon the wall.

The garden in the moonlight was very different from the garden by day; moonshine was tangled in the hedges and stretched in phantom cobwebs from spray to spray. Every flower was gleaming white or crimson black, and the air was a-quiver with the thridding of small crickets and nightingales singing unseen in the depths of the trees.

There was no darkness in the world, but only warm, mysterious shadows, and all the leaves and spikes were edged and lined with iridescent jewels of dew. The night was warmer than any night had ever been, the heavens by some miracle at once vaster and nearer, and, spite of the great ivory-tinted moon that ruled the world, the sky was full of stars.

The little man did not shout nor sing for all his infinite gladness. He stood for a time like one awestricken, and then, with a queer small cry and holding out his arms, he ran out as if he would embrace at once the whole round immensity of the world. He did not follow the neat set paths that cut the garden squarely, but thrust across the beds and through the wet, tall, scented herbs, through the night-stock and the nicotine and the clusters of phantom white mallow flowers and through the thickets of southernwood and lavender, and knee-deep across a wide space of mignonette. He came to the great hedge, and he thrust his way through it; and though the thorns of the brambles scored him deeply and tore threads from his wonderful suit, and though burrs and goose-grass and havers caught and clung to him, he did not care. He did not care, for he knew it was all part of the wearing for which he had longed. "I am glad I put on my suit," he said; "I am glad I wore my suit."

Beyond the hedge he came to the duck-pond, or at least to what was the duck-pond by day. But by night it was a great bowl of silver moonshine all noisy with singing frogs, of wonderful silver moonshine twisted and clotted with strange patternings, and the little man ran down into its waters between the thin black rushes, knee-deep and waist-deep and to his shoulders, smiting the water to black and shining wavelets with either hand, swaying and shivering wavelets, amidst which the stars were netted in the tangled reflections of the brooding trees upon the bank. He waded until he swam, and so he crossed the pond and came out upon the other side, trailing, as it seemed to him, not duckweed, but very silver in long, clinging, dripping masses. And up he went through the transfigured tangles of the willow-herb and the uncut seeding grasses of the farther bank. He came glad and breathless into the high-road. "I am glad," he said, "beyond measure, that I had clothes that fitted this occasion."

The high-road ran straight as an arrow flies, straight into the deep-blue pit of sky beneath the moon, a white and shining road between the singing nightingales, and along it he went, running now and leaping, and now walking and rejoicing, in the clothes his mother had made for him with tireless, loving hands. The road was deep in dust, but that for him was only soft whiteness; and as he went a great dim moth came fluttering round his wet and shimmering and hastening figure. At first he did not heed the moth, and then he waved his hands at it, and made a sort of dance with it as it circled round his head. "Soft moth!" he cried, "dear moth! And wonderful night, wonderful night of the world! Do you think my clothes are beautiful, dear moth? As beautiful as your scales and all this silver vesture of the earth and sky?"

And the moth circled closer and closer until at last its velvet wings just brushed his lips...

* * * * *

And next morning they found him dead, with his neck broken, in the bottom of the stone pit, with his beautiful clothes a little bloody, and foul and stained with the duckweed from the pond. But his face was a face of such happiness that, had you seen it, you would have understood indeed how that he had died happy, never knowing that cool and streaming silver for the duckweed in the pond.



Thanks to the Project Gutenberg
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Compare and Contrast Essay

We use assessment thinking almost in everyday basis. For examples, when deciding which university to attend, which car to buy, or whether to drive a car or take a bus or an airplane to a vacation site, we would usually take times to evaluate the decision that we are going to make.

Generally, there are two ways to write this sort of article. But before you start, you must make sure that you are writing about two related topics. It is indeed impossible for you connect an apple and a dog as both of them are two totally different things.

After deciding the topic for your essay help, you might want to proceed to brainstorm the points of comparison and contrast about the two topics and map out the ideas of your essay outline. By doing so, you can get a better pictures of the essay that you ought to write about. At the same time, it would help to counter check the points that you had made and think about the format of the compare and contrast essay that you ought to write about.

There are two common ways to write the composition. One is for you to focus on one item to another. By using this style, you need to begin by saying everything you have to say about the first item you are discussing, then move on and make all the points you want to make about the second item (and after that, the third, and so on, if you're comparing/contrasting more than two things).

If your essay is short, you might be able to fit all of your points about each item into a single paragraph, but it's more likely that you'd have several paragraphs per item.

Another style of writing the compare and contrast essay is by doing the comparison of one point at a time. In this way, Rather than addressing things one subject at a time, you may wish to talk about one point of comparison at a time. There are two main ways this might play out, depending on how much you have to say about each of the things you are comparing. If you have just a little, you might, in a single paragraph, discuss how a certain point of comparison/contrast relates to all the items you are discussing.

While writing your essay, it is crucial that your essay have the flawless flow. As you are comparing two things in your essayArticle Submission, you need an extra effort to lead your readers throughout the essay with linkages through every paragraph of your essay. By this way only your readers would have a clearer picture of what are your arguments and points made.

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What Is RSS? Avoid These RSS Feed Syndication Mistakes

Many blog publishers have put up RSS feeds to gain more readers. The importance of readers is that they are returning users of a blog. They read content, social-bookmark it, link to it, and tell their friends about it. They create the wagon for your blog to progress smoothly. But making mistakes with RSS feed delivery can alienate your readers. Here a few of them.



What Is RSS?

Thanks to my reader, Renee Lemley, who put in great effort to create the following presentation describing all aspects of RSS syndication. You can view her comment as the first below. Here is the presentation:




Here are the mistakes of RSS publishers:

1. Not Providing Full Feeds

Readers hate to read a summary and click on the link to reach your ad-rich slow-loading blog to read the full article. So, first step in alienating more than half of your readerbase is providing summary feeds.

2. No Email Subscription

Many readers don't know of RSS. They may find that reading the updates in email is convenient. Don't provide an email form and subscription button, if you wish not to tend to these readers.

3. Not Knowing Your Feed's Condition

If you yourself don't track your feed's availability and health, then who else will? Subscribe to your feed both in a reader and in email. In FeedBurner (FB), you can track the feed's health from FeedMedic in Troubleshootize tab in dashboard.

4. No Frequent Updates

Don't update daily or at least thrice a week, if you wish to get rid of your readers. A pretty good option for the bloggers who don't like reviews and criticisms.

5. Don't Describe RSS

Many readers know of 'subscribing', but they don't know of RSS (Really Simple Syndication). So, don't give a description of what RSS is, and you will successfully keep half of your blog's users at sea.

6. Create a Really Tiny RSS Feed Icon On the Bottom of the Blog

Create tiny RSS icons and email subscription forms, with little or no description, at the most insignificant part of your blog. Don't provide large RSS subscription banner in every post. Don't even tell them that if they subscribe to the feed, they will get updates daily automatically.

Conclusion

If you can share any such mistakes that can really drive your users away, please share them.
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Taking Control of Your Blog: Some Social Interaction Tips

Blogging doesn't involve writing and publishing a new post in your niche alone. It's far more than that. In essence, a blogger is a social person, with strong and valuable views in his topic. He has to update himself daily of whatever is happening in the niche, and post opinions. Also, the blogger has to have tight relationships with the readers and users. Let's see some of the social interaction tips for bloggers.

1. Create About Me Page With Credentials

Your readers, after looking at first few of your articles, want to know who wrote them. So, it is very convenient to display your personal information, with credentials. If you are blogging on behalf of a group or organization, you can make the blog more authentic this way.

2. Read and Embed News Aggregators

A blogger keeps current on the topic news. Also, most bloggers will find it beneficial to show the niche news on the blog itself as a widget. You can do this by showing most dugg posts, Google News widget, or any social widget that concentrates on his niche.

3. Read, Moderate, and Reply to Comments

Keep a strict comment policy, and reply to any comment that requires a reply. The readers of your blog should evolve a belief that you are there to help them.

4. Read and Interact With Reader Blogs

Though on becoming more and more popular it may be almost impossible for you to do this, try your best to visit a reader's blog on similar topic occasionally and imparting valuable suggestions through comments. If possible, even consider guest-posting in them.

5. Acquire Suggestions and Make Changes

It's very important that you ask suggestions to your readers. Improve your blog according to these suggestions. You can be more user-friendly in this through polls, surveys, etc., besides just comments.

6. Social Media Interaction

You should ideally place icons to your social media profiles in your blog. This will help you acquire more friends and build a better network. Remember, however, not to place links to inactive profiles (something I have yet to do).

7. Contribute Globally As Well As Locally

Most bloggers have top publications (online and offline) in their niche. There are publications with a more global reach as well as a local reach. It is very important for you to contribute well to these publications, after becoming quite an authority in the niche with your blog.

Conclusion

Those and many different strategies can be used to develop your blog. If you have more suggestions for better social growth of the blog, please share them through the comments.
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Some Types of Essays

Literary essay is the most common type of writing that students will inevitably deal with. The key component of any essay is personal input. Personal input is something that literary essay cannot exist without. In an ordinary essay, an author may be asked to write and express personal points on some theme.

A typical student will write hundreds and hundreds of essays by the end of the program. Professors believe that writing a literary essay is one of the most important skills to learn. Essay writing help students develop critical thinking and makes them learn to express ideas clearly and concisely. But nowadays there are a lot of writing services which write custom essay. On the one hand, they help students which are not strong in writing literary essay, and on the other hand, they do clumsy assistance with writing a custom essay. I do not think that the reflection over definition essay topics will be superfluous.

It will help students to reflect and pay attention to important questions to which earlier they did not give value, but they are really important. Each adult person should be educated and informed in different fields of knowledge. Each essay help to learn something new or once again to consider already known write definition essay topics. For these purposes well approaches argumentative essay format. This way the writer can prove the point of view, leaning on already known facts or opinions of other people.

The student writing the composition in argumentative essay format carries out some kind of research. It is necessary to rummage properly in the literature to prove all your judgments.Any way, you never know what you can do, till you try ... So whether you thinking about definition essay topics or writing an article in argumentative essay formatFind Article, in any case it will be useful if you make it yourself then you buy a custom essay.

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Freelancing At ODesk: A Global Opportunity

ODesk is a one of the fastest-growing freelance businesses today. Founded in California in 2003, it is perhaps the largest freelancing company that attracts providers and customers from worldwide. It is pretty easy to become a member at ODesk—you can become provider, buyer, or both. Another specialty of ODesk is that you can register a provider company, so that you can induct other independent contractors within ODesk or outside and do more higher-paying projects.
The On Demand Global Workforce - oDesk

Independent contractors or providers at ODesk are from different parts of the world, and all are paid by the hour. The jobs posted at the site, by customers include writing (SEO copywriting, web content writing, blogging, and more), Web development, software development, graphic design, etc.

Each independent contractor is verified and tested of their competency in their respective fields, before they are allowed to undertake any project.

On signing up as a provider, you have to complete your profile with your experience, education, personal, and contact details. On completion, you will have to take an ODesk readiness test. It tests your understanding of the policies and work ethics. Unless you pass it, you won't be able to apply for any jobs posted.

Besides this, there are tests for many different skills, including writing skills, grammar, Web and Windows proficiency, technical skills, etc. As you complete and pass in more tests, you will be able to set higher pay per hour, such as 8 dollars per hour to as much as 90 dollars per hour, for starters.

Another facet of this company is the feedbacks and ratings of customers and providers, by each other. These feedbacks help you get better pay rates and more projects. So, it is important that you finish the projects in time and well and have reliable reports ready as required by the ODesk system.

Provider Companies

In ODesk, you can register yourself as a provider company rather than just an independent contributor. You can also join different provider companies created by other users of the system.

The system is almost entirely like in the real world. The company executive can appoint as many providers as possible under their company, and interview them on behalf of the buyer. The benefit of becoming a company is that you will be able to see thousands of jobs posted by many real-world companies. And there are no membership fees.

The provider company gets the payment to its account, and is responsible for disbursing it to the providers under it.

For Customers/Buyers

ODesk is one of the best options for customers who want to get their digital jobs done by the freelance community. They can get the best of rates ever, through this. Though there were objections to the ODesk business practice as being unjust to the workers from the third world, it seems that both sides get the best rates through this, and there are a myriad of happier people.

Buyers can literally track every bit of their workers' progress through screenshots, keyboard and mouse activity, and even webcam images. Nevertheless, people raised voice against this, saying it is mean to interfere in work this way. It's all, however, up to the worker to decide. Anyway, remember most multinational companies closely monitor their employees' day-to-day activities at their offices.

The buyers can pay workers by the week, when they get and review the timelog of work done in the week.

Payment Systems

ODesk pays its providers in a wide range of means. It is literally possible to get paid anywhere in the world. This is why ODesk is the primary choice among freelancers worldwide. Here are the payment options available:

ODesk MasterCard Debit card from Payoneer:

One of the best options for global payment. You can get your money in a slick debit card from Payoneer, of which you can be a member through ODesk.

Payoneer accepts you as a member if you are above 18 years old in order to apply the card yourself. Minors can get it through parent intervention. Payoneer card can be applied with pretty much any sort of identity you have, such as your country ID card, drivers' license, etc. Payments will be available on your card pretty quickly, and you will be able to use the card from any MasterCard ATM around the world. You can even use it online, for verifying PayPal.

Moneybookers:

You can withdraw the money directly to your bank account, but the fees applied are high. Also, unverified accounts are difficult to operate.

PayPal:

You can withdraw money to your bank account, but make sure you get PayPal verified to lift the limits.

Direct Deposit (Automated Clearing House):

ACH is the best way to get fastest payments, and is available only in the US. It's also completely free.

Wire Transfer:

The charges are 30 dollars per transfer; also, incoming fees differ depending on the bank. It can be used to transfer money to any bank account worldwide. The expenses incurred, however, makes it a highly unpopular method of payment.

The best payment choice is of course the MasterCard or PayPal, for international providers, and ACH for US providers.

Conclusion

On a daily basis, hundreds of high-paying jobs on various different fields are posted in ODesk. Tens of thousands of providers and thousands of provider companies already exist in the system, and rake in great benefits. For you to be part of the system, register with ODesk.

Please share your opinions and experience with ODesk through comments.
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Five Paragraph Essays

Custom essay writing help goes on analyzing different types of essays. One of these types is certainly worth attention. It is the five paragraph essay. The five paragraph essay is a formal essay comprising exactly five paragraphs: an introduction, three paragraphs of body or explanation, and a conclusion. The five paragraph essay gives some to students by providing them with a set structure, which is especially helpful for timed essays, and that it assists students in developing topics in sufficient depth. The major disadvantages are revealed when the essays are restricted by the structure so strictly that they become bland or when the topic divisions feel forced or unnatural. Custom essay writing service will post a string of sample five paragraph essay created by its writers. All of them can help to understand the procedure of five paragraph essay and acquaint readers with writing techniques and approaches. As there is a set structure for five paragraph essays one is to begin with introduction.



The introduction usually consists of a minimum of three sentences in length. The first two or more sentences will provide the context for your response. The last sentence of the essay called the thesis statement will define the three paragraph divisions of your essay. Then it is turn of the first body paragraph. The first body paragraph will unfold the first of the three divisions of your topic mentioned in your thesis statement. The paragraph will be made up of about 8-12 sentences in length, will begin with a topic sentence emphasizing the first division of your thesis statement, will give details explaining what is meant by that topic sentence, and will end with a concluding sentence that resumes the paragraph.

Afterward it is time one should process to the second body paragraph. The second body paragraph will unfold the second of the three divisions of your topic specified in your thesis statement. This paragraph will also be made up of about 8-12 sentences in length, will begin with a topic sentence which forms a transition statement from the first paragraph and identifies the second division of your thesis statement, will give details clarifying what is meant by that topic sentence, and will end with a concluding sentence that resumes the paragraph. The third body paragraph should be written after the same pattern as the second body paragraph.

The concluding paragraph will contain a few sentences that will summarize the main ideas of the essay expressed in the introduction in an impressive and meaningful fashion.

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Five Paragraph Essays

Custom essay writing help goes on analyzing different types of essays. One of these types is certainly worth attention. It is the five paragraph essay. The five paragraph essay is a formal essay comprising exactly five paragraphs: an introduction, three paragraphs of body or explanation, and a conclusion. The five paragraph essay gives some to students by providing them with a set structure, which is especially helpful for timed essays, and that it assists students in developing topics in sufficient depth. The major disadvantages are revealed when the essays are restricted by the structure so strictly that they become bland or when the topic divisions feel forced or unnatural. Custom essay writing service will post a string of sample five paragraph essay created by its writers. All of them can help to understand the procedure of five paragraph essay and acquaint readers with writing techniques and approaches. As there is a set structure for five paragraph essays one is to begin with introduction.

The introduction usually consists of a minimum of three sentences in length. The first two or more sentences will provide the context for your response. The last sentence of the essay called the thesis statement will define the three paragraph divisions of your essay. Then it is turn of the first body paragraph. The first body paragraph will unfold the first of the three divisions of your topic mentioned in your thesis statement. The paragraph will be made up of about 8-12 sentences in length, will begin with a topic sentence emphasizing the first division of your thesis statement, will give details explaining what is meant by that topic sentence, and will end with a concluding sentence that resumes the paragraph.

Afterward it is time one should process to the second body paragraph. The second body paragraph will unfold the second of the three divisions of your topic specified in your thesis statement. This paragraph will also be made up of about 8-12 sentences in length, will begin with a topic sentence which forms a transition statement from the first paragraph and identifies the second division of your thesis statement, will give details clarifying what is meant by that topic sentence, and will end with a concluding sentence that resumes the paragraph. The third body paragraph should be written after the same pattern as the second body paragraph.

The concluding paragraph will contain a few sentences that will summarize the main ideas of the essay expressed in the introduction in an impressive and meaningful fashion.

Besides five paragraph essay help the experts, writers and editors of custom essay writing service are competent in completing all sorts of custom essays term papers, academic papers, research papers, admission essays, compositions, course-works, book reports, case studies, thesis, dissertations, editing, resume services Free Articles, creation of sites content and so on. One may order custom essays and papers by means of filling in the necessary form on its site.

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Use Google Trends for Instant Traffic

Quite a while back, I had three occasions with extraordinary surge of traffic. On those occasions, I found almost three times more traffic a day than that I would normally get. The reason was pretty straightforward, I had written about something hot at the time.

If you are a starting blogger, with somewhat good amount of search engine optimization done on your blog, so that your new posts are picked up by the search engines pretty much overnight, then you are in for a decent amount of traffic with the help of Google Trends.

This Google service is just right for the news buffs. You are to get the hottest keywords of the time. Here is what you need to do.

Go to Google Trends website, look for the keywords at the 'Today's Hot Trends' section. They are updated daily with the most searched keywords from your particular geographical area. Which means, if you write an article about any of the hottest trends listed, you are sure to get a surge of traffic.

Now, your particular niche keyword may not be listed in the hottest trends list. It's not every day that an important event in your niche comes to be listed as among the first ten of the hottest.

But you can pretty much estimate with Trends, which keywords you need to give greatest emphasis to, while writing articles. For this, you need first to make a list of keywords you need to focus on your latest article. Then search in Trends with these keywords separated by comma (maximum five of them), and see the result.

Google Trends will show a graphical view of how popular each of your keywords currently is. This gives you a pretty much estimate of which of the keywords you should give highest emphasis to in your article in order to drive the best amount of search engine traffic.

Trends Tricks

Here are a few tips and techniques you will find handy when using Trends.

1. You can separate the keywords by vertical bar (|) instead of comma to know trends about the searches that contain any of the terms.

2. In order to estimate searches for a collective term, put it in parentheses. As in (Weather in Alasca)|(Weather in Britain)

3. Exclude your search terms by preceding the term with a minus sign. As in Alaska -Ohio

4. Click this to get the trends delivered to your RSS feed reader.

5. In order to suggest new features to the Trends lab, please log on to the Trends page on Google Groups.

Conclusion

Google Trends is a very useful keyword research tool for your blog. If you use it well, you can make it worth your while.
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The Benefits of Popular Posts Widget for Blogs

[A Guest post by Bishal Adhikari from Tech Tips and Tricks]

If you run a blog, you must have used analytics to track your visitors. While using analytics, you may have noticed that some of the posts on your blog are popular than the others. So, many of you must have inserted a popular posts widget in your blog, showing the ones that get a good amount of traffic.

For WordPress blogs, these posts can displayed via the Popular Posts plugin. For Blogger blogs, you need to manually customize your template to insert some codes which in turn will show up the popular posts.

Showing popular posts on your blog has many advantages.

  1. As popular posts widget includes the posts that the users prefer to read, you'll gain more traffic for them and new visitors will tend to spend more time on such posts.
  2. If you have social bookmarking link embedded to each of your posts, such as the "digg it" button, it will be more fruitful. Your visitors who are into social bookmarking will possibly bookmark these posts. As a result, a lot of traffic will pour down from the social bookmarking sites.
  3. You can add a "link to this page" item for each of your posts to generate its permalink dynamically. Popular posts are the ones that are generally liked by people. This will help increase your PageRank too to some extent.
  4. Popular posts widget can be inserted via JavaScript. So, the links generated from JavaScript won't bleed out your page rank much.
  5. Popular posts widget inserted through JavaScript can be customized to stand out, so that more people will tend to click on them.
The popular posts plugin for WordPress blogs ranks the posts based on the comments that they have accrued, i.e. the more comments a post gets, the higher it ranks in the widget. But, you can also add a popular posts widget for your blog based on your Google Analytics data, showing the posts that attract the highest number of traffic. You'll need to use Yahoo Pipes for aggregating the traffic data and also need to use a bit of JavaScript for inserting the widget into your blog.

All in all popular posts widget is a must have for any blog to get more traffic and attention.
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Former Convicts as Friends in Facebook: Jail Officer Loses Job

The Telegraph reported this story today: After investigating the misconduct of a jail officer in Leicester jail, the residential landing officer, Nathan Singh was relieved of the position for befriending thirteen former convicts through Facebook.

Nathan was suspected of giving cell phones and other items to inmates, but the investigation failed to prove it, though it got evidence of Nathan's Facebook contacts.

His friends have been jailed for various crimes from murder, fraud, theft, to drug offences.

Nathan explained that most of these friends were known to him over many years, either from school or football team. He also defended him saying that he accepted the friend requests from people without looking at their profiles.

The operation, codenamed Operation Earlgrey to pin down Nathan was initiated five months after he joined the prison service in January 2008.

This story is an indication of how important the social networking and bookmarking sites are becoming in the real world. From now on, your discreet use of Facebook, Twitter, and others is highly recommended.
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Thesis: The Best Professional WordPress Theme

If you are starting out professional blogging with a registered domain and hosting account, with a WordPress blog set up, then the next thing you need is a professional template. And Thesis WordPress theme from DIY Themes is the best and most popular WordPress theme out there [Look below to see professional bloggers talking].
The Thesis Theme from Chris Pearson and DIYthemes
There are many professional WordPress themes available, but none carries the benefits Thesis does.

With Thesis, search engine optimization is virtually non-existent. It has all the features and requirements of SEO pre-built in it. So, all you need to do is install this theme and customize it to your requirements.

Thesis is completely customizable. From Brian Clark's CopyBlogger to Chris Brogan's blog run on Thesis, and each of these blogs look distinctly different.

With Thesis, tweaking and fine-tuning each and every page of your website is pretty easy. Also, with its layout generator, you can test various different layouts, font choices, etc., without affecting the general look of the blog.

Besides the talented support staff of Thesis, you can get great tweaking and customization techniques from expert users of Thesis from the Thesis support forum.

Professional Bloggers About Thesis

In this section, let's look at professional bloggers, who don't talk about Thesis just in order to make some sales, but have actually used it for themselves.

1. Darren Rowse: For his new blog, Twitip, Darren Rowse, the owner of ProBlogger, chose Thesis theme. Here is what he says:
WP is generally pretty well optimized to start with but Thesis takes it a step further and gives you every chance of ranking well in Google.

2. Brian Clarke: For Copyblogger, the number one copywriting blog on the planet, Brian Clarke uses Thesis. Here is what he says:
Thesis is the search engine optimized WordPress theme of choice for serious online publishers. Its innovative options panel and incredible customizability make Thesis perfect for beginners and professionals alike.

3. Rae Hoffman: The author of Sugarrae.com says:
I was not given a "review copy" of Thesis. I bought the theme. I forget where I'd first heard about it, but I believe it was a tweet by copyblogger.

4. Rocky John Tayaban: The author of the WeblogZone says:
In my experience, I bought three Premium Wordpress Themes but ended up not using any of them. Instead, I found Thesis Premium Wordpress Theme designed by Chris Pearson and have used it ever since. After using it for quite awhile, I am most certainly satisfied with its positive impact on my blog.

These are only a few of the satisfied customers of Thesis theme. There are hundreds and hundreds more, and they are all ranking on the top of Google for their respective keywords, and earning money they hoped to earn online.

In order to get this great theme for your new site, and forget everything about SEO, please visit DIY Thesis.
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Five Unavoidable Firefox Add-ons for Search Engine Optimization

Mozilla Firefox is my favorite browser. It is pretty fast and convenient, even after loading it up with many important add-ons. But for even faster browsing, you may prefer Google Chrome. I use Chrome only when I do light browsing, not when I do power-browsing, using online applications, for which nothing matches up with Firefox. Today let me discuss some indispensable SEO add-ons for Firefox.

SEOQuake [Get it here]: This is a very advanced SEO extension that gives you various pieces of information about the pages you are visiting, such as PageRank, backlinks, social bookmark details, Whois info, and many more. Perhaps this one complete extension is all you need for your SEO needs in Firefox.

SEOpen [Get it here]: This add-on gives you information about backlinks, PageRank of pages, header information, robots.txt file, whois information, etc.

SearchStatus [Get it here]: This plugin gives you quick view of Google PageRank, Alexa Rank, Compete rank, keyword density, and Nofollow link highlighting, from the right hand side of the browser status bar (you can change it).

RankQuest SEO Toolbar [Get it here]: A highly popular add-on that gives you more than thirty SEO tools all from Firefox interface.

KGen [Get it here]: This is a cool add-on that gives you the important keywords on any of your visiting pages. This will help you a lot in research for your own pages, by visiting and making a list of your competitor's keywords.

If you have other suggestions and add-ons to mention, please let us know through the comments.
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Essay Template

An Essay template will generally have the expected components that all other essays have. These are the introduction, main body paragraphs and the conclusion. These are three indispensable portions of an Essay template that guide you in becoming a better writer. Each portion has different characteristics and guidelines depending on the type of essay help you are assigned.



Your introduction in an Essay template can guide you to catch your reader’s attention. This is usually your primary objective in an introduction. However, you may also provide a background for your reader’s interest. You will also obtain guidance for presenting your main arguments if your Essay template is meant for argumentative essay development. If your template is meant for descriptive writing, your introduction guidelines will lead you to narrow your introduction down to your main descriptive focus.

Your Essay template provides different guidelines that could help you with developing the body of your essay too. However, you need the correct kind of essay template to help you with the kind of essay body you want to write. For example, to obtain help for writing an argumentative essay body, you need an Essay template that describes how to write argumentative essays. Likewise, you will need an essay template that deals with analytical essays if you need to write an analytical essay body.

Your Essay template has pointers for creating the main body of your essays. You may have tips to improve the use of supportive sources and in-text citations. You may also be advised about how to present your arguments in an effective way. If you need to analyze a point, your Essay template can provide you with tips for this purpose too. There is immense detail that can be provided in a template or template guide for these purposes. You will need to read and consider these points first before you implement them. Also, you need not implement all the points mentioned, as you need to assess which ones are applicable to your assignment.

The conclusion guide in an Essay template will usually guide you with summarizing the main points in your essay. You can summarize your main arguments or the main points in your descriptions. You will be advised about including your final thoughts for particular kinds of essays. Also, an Essay template can advise you about re-stating your thesis. It can help you to rethink your thesis statement in your introduction as well.

An Essay template can provide you with many points apart from writing your introduction, body and conclusion. It can tell you about including page numbers, spacing between paragraphs, title placing, subtitles, etc. These are small but significant points that you need to know about. Only a complete Essay template can provide you with all the details you need to know about. In the past, essay templates have been known to help amateurs considerably. HoweverHealth Fitness Articles, professionals also rely on them to produce quality essays.

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About Conjunctive Adverbs

Here are a few words:
Accordingly
Also
Henceforth
Indeed
In fact
As a result
However
Therefore
Hence
Moreover
Meanwhile
Certainly
Nonetheless
Otherwise
Finally
Incidentally
Likewise
Meanwhile

All of these are adverbs, which can function also as conjunctions. Hence, they are called conjunctive adverbs. An adverb is any term that modifies a verb, adjective, or another adverb, and a conjunction is a term that connects two clauses.

When using conjunctive adverbs, you should follow punctuation rules carefully.

When a conjunctive adverb connects two independent clauses, it is actually like two different sentences. But the second sentence is made to factually depend on the first with the conjunctive adverb. Therefore, the first sentence should end in a semicolon or a period, and the conjunctive adverb should be followed by a comma. Here are examples:

Alan is only a chiropractor; naturally, he has never had the respect of an actual doctor.
James is no longer with the club. Therefore, he didn't join the New Year party.
The organization's funds were tampered with; nevertheless, the trust members had on the chairman never wavered.
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Important! Read About My Twitter Password Hijacker

A few days ago, while I was checking my Twitter mentors, I found an account that I obviously didn't follow. I stopped following him at that time. Then the next day, when I logged back in, I found the same guy's updates. I was surprised and thought I might not have stopped following anyway, and removed him again. The next day, he reappeared. I didn't give it much thought as I don't use Twitter for any kind of promotion or don't deem it as anything comparable to my email, so as to give a strong password.

The guy who continued to reappear is Gary Vaynerchuk, a wine blogger and vendor. He goes by the Twitter user ID @Garyvee.

For all weak services, I use a common password (which is changed now). The same password was used on my Facebook account. A few days ago, I found that I was following a page created by Gary Vaynerchuk in Facebook. I never had any recollection of joining that page.

This is possibly a Twitter password hijacking. This person has somehow got my password for Twitter as well as Facebook and manipulated my accounts.

If you look at his Twitter account, you will find that he has astoundingly huge number of followers. Even more than several professional bloggers. If you are following this guy too, then I advise you stop following right away, and change your Twitter password.

Here are some tips to stay safe:

1. Don't ever share your Twitter password with any online service other than Twitter itself. Many Twitter-related online services require you to share your password. Don't do it.
2. Change your Twitter password now!
3. Keep different passwords for different services.
4. If you are friends with anyone you didn't originally add, change your password quickly and remove the person.

It is good that the wine guy didn't change my password, steal my contact details, or manipulate my account in anyway, other than use it to further his reach. But this type of business is abhorrent. Please let others know of this.
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No Sooner…Than Vs. Hardly…When

These two constructions always make me confused. Could you just explain them to me, please?
James Vaughn

James is not the only person that has this doubt. These two are complex constructions, and are frowned upon by many native and foreign speakers of English. So, let's have a look at them today.

Both 'No Sooner…Than' and 'Hardly…When' are used to mean exactly the same. It is when something has happened just before something else. The first of the actions, expressed with 'no sooner' or 'hardly', has happened right before the part after 'than' or 'when'.

One thing to remember with these constructions is never to use 'when' with 'no sooner' or 'than' with 'hardly'. No sooner is clearly a comparative construction and has to be followed by 'than' as in any comparative form.

You can replace 'hardly' with 'scarcely'.

Examples:

Here are a few examples for you to understand them better. These constructions are rarely used in the present or future tense. But I have included some examples to understand them better.

No sooner had we arrived at the station than the announcement started.
No sooner does Max arrive than the class starts.
No sooner will the bell ring than the feast will start tomorrow.
Hardly had we arrived at the station when the announcement started.
Scarcely had Jake finished the book report when Alan came in.

Conclusion

So, that's it. I hope I cleared your doubts. If you have doubts on any other area of English grammar, please feel free to write to me.
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How to Select Your Essay Topic?

At the beginning of this process, you may feel as if you’ve entered a strange territory without a map., you need guidelines for choosing you topic if you must select your own or for narrowing a general topic assigned to you. This section shows you how to get ideas for topics and what subjects are best to avoid.



Three Criteria for an Essay Topic

Whether you write a literary essay, argumentative essay help, position, or descriptive paper, the subject you select must meet three important criteria.

1. The topic should interest you.
2. It should be within your abilities.
3. There should be enough information available on it to complete a paper.

The first criterion is the most important. Something besides fear of failure has to sustain you through all the hours it takes to research, write, and revise a report or term paper. Make the paper a process of discovery for yourself– something you want to know or say about a topic. That desire will help to see you through to the end of the project.

The second criterion is also essential. You may be interested in a topic but not have the background or ability to handle it in a paper. Say, for example, you are interested in the flights of Voyagers 1 and 2. you want to do a report on some of the computer programs that send commands to the small spacecrafts. The scientific journals are filled with complex diagrams and explanations, but you find none of it makes any sense to you. You have no background in computer programming and no ability to translate technical information into plain English.

You will either have to find a book or an article that translates the material for you or find another topic–perhaps what Voyager 2 revealed about the rings of Uranus or the surprises the spacecraft uncovered as it passed by the outer planets. Although the topic about the computer programs fulfills two of the three criteria–it interests you and there is plenty of information–if it is beyond your abilities, you will not be able to complete a paper successfully.

Finally, make sure enough information is readily available for you to develop your paper. For instance, you may have heard about rock–and–roll bands springing up in Tibet. The subject intrigues you, and you feel you have enough musical background to write about it. But preliminary research turns up only a half-page article in a weekly news magazine. Obviously, you are not going to be able to build a tern- or fifteen-page report on one short article. A better topic may be the rise of rock bands in China and JapanHealth Fitness Articles, a phenomenon covered in the U.S. and international press.

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How to Guest-post in Professional Blogs?

Guest-posting is a mutually beneficial way of blogging. The guest-blogger provides content to the blog, thereby giving the blog owner some freedom and relaxation, while in turn driving traffic to his own site in the order unimaginable.

Guest-blogging in high traffic blogs can drive crazy traffic to your blog. For instance, if you get to publish in ProBlogger, which gets an average 20,000 visits daily, you will be able to draw in quite a decent traffic after you publish the post. In this article, let's see some guidelines of how to publish a guest post.

1. Read the Contribution Guidelines

Always the first step is reading and understanding the contribution guidelines of the blog you want to pitch. There are specific requirements every blogger is looking for.

The quality guidelines, formatting guidelines, and various other things may be found in the contribution guidelines of the blog. In order to sell your article (figuratively of course, as no payment is involved), you definitely have to abide by these guidelines, especially in the case of large and important blogs.

2. Find the Niche and Topic

Always look for contributing to the superior blogs in your niche. Not in any other niche. If you are a financial blogger, contributing an article to the top travel blog mayn't help you much, even if it is an article about financial management while traveling to your country.

Besides niche, the topic is also important. In order to find the topic, you had best look for what is hot. You can write an opinion post about any latest or breaking news story that attracts a lot of attention.

3. Edit and Reedit

You may find this editing guidelines post helpful. Editing and reediting the article to correct even the slightest of grammar and structure errors is important when submitting your guest entry.

Most probably the professional blogger has a higher standard for grammar and structure, which you may not ordinarily follow in your own blog.

4. Link Out With Care

Most probably the professional blogger has a recommendation as to how many links to your site can be placed. This should be noted. If you place more links to your site, the article may be rejected. Also, if possible, include the links to any relevant sources as necessary. This also has to be done after looking at the general trend followed by the professional blogger. If he wishes to maintain the external links with NoFollow attribute, make necessary changes in your article to reflect his preferences.

5. Pictures and Multimedia

If you believe that pictures or videos can enhance the blog entry, by all means do so. Pictures and videos can easily increase the user engagement of the content and can be deemed as a good practice by the professional blogger.

Conclusion

That's pretty much it. I hope I don't need to stress that you have to come up with the best of your articles while publishing for professional blogs. Also, having a gripping title is important. It goes without saying how important it is to get links from professional blogs in one's niche.

If you are interested in guest-posting in this blog, please check out our Contribution Guidelines
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Another Tiny List of Confusables

Earlier, you may remember we published a list of confusable words. Here we are again, with such a list of words.

Abjure/Adjure: Abjure means "to formally renounce (give up) something" such as a position. Adjure on the other hand means 'to appeal to' or 'solemnly order'.

The governor decided to abjure his position due to political pressure.
Normally, adjuring to the subordinates doesn't give many results.

Amount/Number: Use amount when you have uncountable subject. Use number when it is countable.

The amount of love one gets depends on the number of friends one has.

Appraise/Apprise: Appraise is the word applied to quantitative evaluation of something. Apprise means 'communicate' or 'inform'.

Appraising diamonds is the work of an expert.
Joe apprised me of the schedule of events.

Attorney/Lawyer/Solicitor: These terms are highly misinterpreted and confused by many people. Let me clarify. In the US, an attorney is any member of legal profession licensed to plead for a client in a court of law. Lawyer also has the same meaning in the US, but its meaning is more expansive than attorney in that a lawyer can be a legal consultant or counselor as well.

The word 'solicitor' is mostly used in the UK to mean a lawyer, who does legal paperwork, counseling, and occasionally appearance at courts of law.

Carrot/Carat/Caret: Carrot is the root vegetable. Carat is the standard unit of precious stones and metals. Caret is the standard term applied to the blinking vertical line you see on word processing software to indicate the place for the next character.

Childlike/Childish: Childlike is "having the good qualities and charm of a child." Childish is having the "bad qualities and frivolous attitude of a child".

Emma's husband was childlike at the party.
The childish behavior of the movie star cost a million dollar to the production company.

Cloths/Clothes: Cloth is the term applied to fabric or piece of fabric of any type; cloths is the plural term of it. Clothes on the other hand refers to any garments a person is wearing.

The linen cloth is very thick and durable.
She prefers cotton clothes to linen ones.

Demure/Demur: The word demure means 'silent', 'modest', or 'acquiescent'. Demur means 'to be reluctant to do something' or 'to challenge an idea mildly'.

Although I suggested a good thing to your demure brother, he demurred quickly.

More such confusable words and explanations will be published in a different post. If you have doubts or suggestions, please let us know through comments.
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Custom Essay Types

One of the custom essay types is literary essay. Literary essay deals with the exploration of the sense and composition of the literary work. It is similar to the literary analysis essay, though in the first one writer is paying attention not even to the overall impression and value but to the specific features of this work.



When composing a new custom essay, writer gets to know through the example of the any text piece why it is written and composed in this or that way. Writer may also use not only his or her opinions while writing, but also address suitable critics to support this opinion with the evidences. Turning to custom essay for short-story topics may puzzle writer, because it is really easy. Writers adore explaining things, so anything that can be explained eloquently will suit. Maybe, writer has some vivid memory that he or she would like to share.

The only danger is that teacher might ask some specific questions about the whole situation, so learner should think in advance how he or she may dwell upon this topic. Custom essay wouldn t exist without proper topic. Cause and effect essay topics are chosen very precisely by research writers. Prior to writing, they look for some interconnection between two things or objects.

Then they pay attention to reasons of their happening, discovering their passing and impact on the society. That s why such type is named cause (reasons) and effect (consequences) essay help. Custom essay in such case determines lake of ability to establish links Business Management Articles, which would help any student in the future.

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Google, Facebook, and User Data: Some Thoughts

I happened to read this article in Mormon Times about finding family history with Google's image search. It's only the tip of the iceberg of how people can use Google for finding various things. Today, Google is not just a search engine. It's an inevitable global service. Through it, we can find, or rather we hope to, almost everything anyone ever shared online.

With Web expanding at its extreme pace now and people from everywhere sharing text and multimedia in the public sector, finding any type of information from anywhere should be pretty easy through Google. The book, Google Your Family Tree goes through this extreme usefulness of the search engine.

However, social networks like Facebook, MySpace, and Orkut of Google itself are also highly pervasive, and are used by millions of people for the sole purpose of sharing multimedia data. But any of those data is not accessible through a search engine, which is entirely an external entity that cant't access or view details of a user profile without password. So, Google can't index any shared data within Facebook or MySpace.

Within Facebook itself, unlike MySpace or Orkut, you cannot view even the basic profile information of anyone without being confirmed as his friend. This makes things even worse. The data is secure here, the data which we want to share to the world. Even if we relax the security a bit, the data is not going to go out of the network.

If your family members share pics through Facebook, how would you be able to find them by Googling?

It's more or less a recommendation that the social network data be available to search engines for crawling. Without authentication information, listing certain amount of information is harmless. List your views through the comments.

Some Cool Google Functions

Did you know that these Google functions existed?

  • To know local time of a place: "Local time" <place name> [works for most of the major cities]
  • To do mathematical calculations: Google the formula (eg: "5+7=")
  • To know the weather of a place: "Weather for" <place name>
  • To search definition of a term: define:<the term> (no space after colon).
  • To convert currency: example: "10 AUD in INR" [it's good to know the currency short forms]
  • To know the world leaders: "President of India"

And there are many more such Google tricks. If you like it, we can post about them in the future.
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Adsense Comes Up With Interest-based Advertising; Update Your Privacy Policy!

Recently, Google announced the launch of Interest-based advertising, a form of advertising in which visitor's "previous interaction" with the advertisers is counted to display ads to them. Google groups users into categories based on their interests. In connection with that, however, you need to update your privacy policy on your blog for Adsense by April 10th.

If you wish to view ads based on your interests, you can set your preferences here.

The advantage it has to bloggers and publishers is that the ads will be more user-friendly from now on. There is a chance for better click through rates.

However, you are expected to update your Adsense privacy policy on all your sites before the tenth of next month. If you don't know what this means, you may perhaps want to read my complete Adsense policy guidelines post.

In order to modify the privacy policy of your blog, please find the necessary information here. Please write to us what you think of this new form of ads.
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Essay Contest

However, this depends on the scale of the competition as well as the standard. Some contests are large, and invite many essay help writers to compete for a grand prize. Also, if contests pay huge rewards, those who participate in them will also have to meet high standards.



An Essay contest that has high standards will require you to have the best possible writing skills. In a high standard Essay contest, you need to possess reasonable vocabulary, have strong grammar and punctuation, exercise creativity, etc. You should also be able to catch your reader’s attention. This is an important skill that can win you a competition.

To participate in an Essay contest, there are different aspects of essay writing that are essential for you to consider. Your introduction, for example, should match the kind of topic you are given to write on. In an Essay contest, your introduction is your first impression. You need to captivate your readers from the start, and then, continue to do so in subsequent paragraphs. You would also want to build up the intensity in your essay. This will demonstrate your ability to increase your hold on your readers.

For an Essay contest, the manner in which you express yourself depends on the topic you have to write on. Your language selection will depend on the topic. For example, you will not use the same language for an essay on murder that you would use for a humorous topic. In each of the two, you will use an entirely different selection of words. An Essay contest can test your skills in this regard. This means that you need to know where your strengths are before you enter a contest. If you have skills for humor writing, you would probably not be able to create an essay about murder easily.

An Essay contest may be hosted by any organization. Some competitions are held for particular reasons. You may have organizations that wish to honor an important personality in history through an Essay contest. Such contests are effective, and are known to receive a lot of attention and importance.

To enter an Essay contest is usually easy. You do not need to have specific qualifications to enter a competitionPsychology Articles, as most contests are open to all. You should enter an Essay contest that you feel you can win. Such a contest should have essay topics that allow you to exercise your strengths and skills the way you know best. You may need to search online or check out magazines that announce such contests from time to time. Whether or not you get a big reward in return form your skills sometimes does not matter as much as emerging as a number one essay writer.

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How to Alienate Your First Reader?

Let's say you started your blog today. After setting it up basically, you did some search engine submissions, some social media work, and emailed your contacts. Let's see what can alienate your readers from your first blog.

1. Theme Vs. Loading Time

There are already coolest looking blogs in the blogosphere. The readers are no longer looking for really a great design. All they want now is content that loads really faster. The era of Flash and design gimmicks is long gone. So, make sure your blog loads within the first four seconds.

2. Advertisements

Readers know of Adsense and various other forms of ads. They frown now upon links with tiny descriptions and a URL at the end, as they have already on banners. It is always best to wait until your blog starts getting at least fifty daily search engine visits before adding advertisements.

3. Widgets

Don't think readers love it if you spice your blog up with widgets like the fancy clock, social network profile pics, etc. Add only as few widgets as possible. The must-have ones like translation widget, archives widget, RSS subscription widget, social network icon list, etc. may be added.

4. Search Form

Have one search form and only one. I have seen some bloggers have two Google Adsense search boxes, as Adsense allows maximum of two. This is ridiculous.

5. RSS Widget Icon

Do you have that large, fancy RSS subscription icon on the top? Get rid of it. It distracts users. Only a simple, standard-color RSS icon is enough with optional email subscription form.

6. Visit Stats

If you have small visit stats, don't put up a stats icon at all. With StatCounter, Sitemeter etc., you can opt for invisible trackers. Or at least, you can place the tracker at an obscure spot.

7. Personal Posts

You have a brand new blog on a specific topic, and the first few entries are about how hard up you were for the last few months, how you managed to buy this new domain and put up this blog, and how your last night's dinner was. You have already alienated most of your readers. Don't put up any personal post at all (even an about me page) until you start getting a decent traffic. And post the most useful entries first, and also let users know of them through a 'featured entries' widget.

8. Streamlined Navigation

If you have a new blog concentrating on a topic, create links with keywords a possible reader wants to see. For instance, if your topic is "car insurance", then place home page links to topics like "insurance firms", "basic info", "get cheap insurance", "local insurance", etc. Don't give your first visitor the most advanced article. Let them browse to it as they wish.

9. Enable Print Pages

Printable versions of your pages are very easy for most readers. If you publish entries in a number of pages, a user might expect to see a printable page, which loads all the content on one page faster.

10. Related Links

Have there something for the reader to bookmark. Create a directory listing or one-page link list for all the related information. This is something that most users love to see. And they will most likely bookmark it.
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Essay Writing: What’s In It For Me?

How do you react to your teacher’s assignment to write an essay help? Doubt, you are pleased. Instead, you are grumbling and anticipating dull hours of essay writing, the purpose of which still seems vague and meaningless to you.



However, you can get rid of those nasty feelings in one go. For that purpose, stand still for a moment and try to figure out what’s in essay writing for you. Once you get the answer, you will no longer complain of having to write an essay and you will finally get down to writing it.

1. Learn to control yourself

The first advantage of essay writing is that it helps you cope with your own emotions and understand patterns of life. The difficulties you face while writing an essay harden you, help you understand that life is far from being easy and smooth and that sometimes you need to pluck up all your courage in order to overcome obstacles and become a winner in the battle named “life.”

2. A proven way to become organized

Secondly, writing essays is a proven way to become a self-disciplined person. You learn to decipher the major from the minor and accomplish the tasks according to the plan. Apart from that, you learn the basic principles of time management, so as to be able to accomplish the tasks you set for yourself at the right time.

The skill of time management is vital to live effective life and keep things under control. Therefore, the deadline pressure should be of great help to attain the useful skills for the future.

3. The best way to develop your skills and abilities.

The initial purpose of essay writing is to develop your skills and abilities. Writing an essay also helps developing creative, analytical, scientific and all sorts of thinking. You must have heard it from your teacher million times and thought it is a rubbish just to make you write an essay. But this time your teacher tells the truth.

You see, writing an essay involves coming across a great deal of information that needs to be 1. contemplated, 2. understood, 3. analysed, 4. interpreted, and 5. evaluated. You also have to use the feedback, understand the relationships between evidence and concepts and come out with your own conclusion.

Consequently, the process of writing an essay involves great will power, mind work and efforts on your part. Every single time you get down to writing an essay, you develop certain head muscles that are conductive to the development of creative, analytical, and scientific thinking.

By the way, in your attempt to learn the subject by heart you come to understand the initial meaning of essays, for the verb Essayer, which is of French origin, means "to try" and an essai (also French) is an attempt. So, an essay is something you write trying to figure something out. Do your best to achieve the set purpose.

4. The step to further education

Writing an essay at school is the first proven step to further education, for you develop writing skills, acquire the research thinking communication and skills that are necessary for good academic writing at college or university. And writing an essay at college will be a good basis for your professional career.

Moreover, proficiency in writing essays is not only important to pass the test, it is an essential first-tool-basic for research paper writing for all levels of schooling, and a simplified mainstay basic in writing reports within the professional world. Bear in mind that mastering this form is a first step to success.

Now it is clear why essay writing is a chosen vehicle for measuring a student's writing proficiency: it helps to develop basic writing and research skills, promotes the evolution of intellectual facilities Free Reprint Articles, and develops personal skills you will need in the future.

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Custom Essay Writing Service

Written homework assignments have always been a considered as a burden by the students and they don’t want to waste the leisure or their work hours on sitting home and writing these long essay help.



Most students now acquire the service of custom written essays and willingly pay so that someone else would take their burden while they can concentrate and give time to other responsibilities in their lives.

What other benefits entice the students to pay and use custom essay services?

Well firstly; it is the freedom from writing it themselves and secondly are the different claims made n fulfilled by the custom essay writing services. Like;

* Custom essays are written by professional writers being a qualified and specialized individual in their on own field of expertise writing an essay using his/her capabilities and command over the subject

* A non-plagiarized essay written based on extensive and quality research which guarantees the product is of a high quality and sensible.

* They use latest updated anti-plagiarism softwares to scan the final custom written essay before delivering which totally eliminates the risk of being caught

* Claim to write and deliver within 24 hours of the mentioned deadline catering to those who are short of time for writing their own essay

* Guarantee their custom written essay will get an ‘A’ grade which is what every student wants

* Back their custom written essays and papers by providing money back guarantee, thus, creating a trust between their customers.

These features provided by a custom essay writing service compel a student who wants the exact benefits from his/her essay writing and is already willing to transfer their burden to someone’s shoulderComputer Technology Articles, thus is enticed to make use of these services.

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Kontera + Pluck on Demand: Possibility for Better Earning Potential

Pluck on Demand is a service used to add contextually relevant content from external sites to your site, similar to but newer than BlogBurst. I still remember reading about it in TechCrunch. You can see my comment right in that article (look for Lenin Nair). Well, the latest news from Kontera may interest you. It is partnering with Pluck to provide contextual content ads in the Pluck widget. This is definitely a good step toward maximizing Kontera revenue.

Though Kontera lost my love as a potential money-maker due to reasons including lower number of advertisers, publishers, and extremely low commission rates, partnership with Pluck may make it more lovable to people.

Also due to the TechCrunch's calling Pluck as a way of adding free content legally, it may pretty much create a moneymaking blog with virtually no work at all. But the money will still remain lukewarm.

If you decide to check out both, please let us know how they are doing together through comments here.
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CuteWriting Turns One Year Old!

This blog was born on the March 12th of 2008. Today, we are celebrating the first birthday of the blog.

So far, CuteWriting has gone through several landmarks. Within the first few months, it was regarded to be one of the best writing-related blogs out there. Now, CW also deals with several different topics and answers reader questions. The diversification was necessary as we found out that most of the readers of this blog originally wanted posts on Blogging tips and search engine optimization.

Creative writing can only make a tiny part of the blog now.

Initial work on creating quality content has proved successful as CW got several hundreds of incoming links to various posts and testimonials and positive reviews from several websites. Now, the blog ranks high in search engines for many of its posts.

We are vowed to publish only useful entries for our readers (don't take care of the sponsored entries, which are separately labeled and are maintained only for monetization).

If you have any suggestions to make, please do so in comments.
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Five Orange Pips: A Terrifying Sherlock Holmes Story

Today, let's go through a greatly puzzling and even more frightening story of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle featuring the legendary detective of Baker Street, Sherlock Holmes. Five Orange Pips is among the stories that most frightened me, surpassed (perhaps) only by the Adventure of the Devil's Foot.



Five Orange Pips
By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

When I glance over my notes and records of the Sherlock Holmes cases between the years '82 and '90, I am faced by so many which present strange and interesting features that it is no easy matter to know which to choose and which to leave. Some, however, have already gained publicity through the papers, and others have not offered a field for those peculiar qualities which my friend possessed in so high a degree, and which it is the object of these papers to illustrate. Some, too, have baffled his analytical skill, and would be, as narratives, beginnings without an ending, while others have been but partially cleared up, and have their explanations founded rather upon conjecture and surmise than on that absolute logical proof which was so dear to him. There is, however, one of these last which was so remarkable in its details and so startling in its results that I am tempted to give some account of it in spite of the fact that there are points in connection with it which never have been, and probably never will be, entirely cleared up.

The year '87 furnished us with a long series of cases of greater or less interest, of which I retain the records. Among my headings under this one twelve months I find an account of the adventure of the Paradol Chamber, of the Amateur Mendicant Society, who held a luxurious club in the lower vault of a furniture warehouse, of the facts connected with the loss of the British bark Sophy Anderson, of the singular adventures of the Grice Patersons in the island of Uffa, and finally of the Camberwell poisoning case. In the latter, as may be remembered, Sherlock Holmes was able, by winding up the dead man's watch, to prove that it had been wound up two hours before, and that therefore the deceased had gone to bed within that time--a deduction which was of the greatest importance in clearing up the case. All these I may sketch out at some future date, but none of them present such singular features as the strange train of circumstances which I have now taken up my pen to describe.

It was in the latter days of September, and the equinoctial gales had set in with exceptional violence. All day the wind had screamed and the rain had beaten against the windows, so that even here in the heart of great, hand-made London we were forced to raise our minds for the instant from the routine of life and to recognize the presence of those great elemental forces which shriek at mankind through the bars of his civilization, like untamed beasts in a cage. As evening drew in, the storm grew higher and louder, and the wind cried and sobbed like a child in the chimney. Sherlock Holmes sat moodily at one side of the fireplace cross-indexing his records of crime, while I at the other was deep in one of Clark Russell's fine sea-stories until the howl of the gale from without seemed to blend with the text, and the splash of the rain to lengthen out into the long swash of the sea waves. My wife was on a visit to her mother's, and for a few days I was a dweller once more in my old quarters at Baker Street.

"Why," said I, glancing up at my companion, "that was surely the bell. Who could come to-night? Some friend of yours, perhaps?"

"Except yourself I have none," he answered. "I do not encourage visitors."

"A client, then?"

"If so, it is a serious case. Nothing less would bring a man out on such a day and at such an hour. But I take it that it is more likely to be some crony of the landlady's."

Sherlock Holmes was wrong in his conjecture, however, for there came a step in the passage and a tapping at the door. He stretched out his long arm to turn the lamp away from himself and towards the vacant chair upon which a newcomer must sit.

"Come in!" said he.

The man who entered was young, some two-and-twenty at the outside, well-groomed and trimly clad, with something of refinement and delicacy in his bearing. The streaming umbrella which he held in his hand, and his long shining waterproof told of the fierce weather through which he had come. He looked about him anxiously in the glare of the lamp, and I could see that his face was pale and his eyes heavy, like those of a man who is weighed down with some great anxiety.

"I owe you an apology," he said, raising his golden pince-nez to his eyes. "I trust that I am not intruding. I fear that I have brought some traces of the storm and rain into your snug chamber."

"Give me your coat and umbrella," said Holmes. "They may rest here on the hook and will be dry presently. You have come up from the south-west, I see."

"Yes, from Horsham."

"That clay and chalk mixture which I see upon your toe caps is quite distinctive."

"I have come for advice."

"That is easily got."

"And help."

"That is not always so easy."

"I have heard of you, Mr. Holmes. I heard from Major Prendergast how you saved him in the Tankerville Club scandal."

"Ah, of course. He was wrongfully accused of cheating at cards."

"He said that you could solve anything."

"He said too much."

"That you are never beaten."

"I have been beaten four times--three times by men, and once by a woman."

"But what is that compared with the number of your successes?"

"It is true that I have been generally successful."

"Then you may be so with me."

"I beg that you will draw your chair up to the fire and favor me with some details as to your case."

"It is no ordinary one."

"None of those which come to me are. I am the last court of appeal."

"And yet I question, sir, whether, in all your experience, you have ever listened to a more mysterious and inexplicable chain of events than those which have happened in my own family."

"You fill me with interest," said Holmes. "Pray give us the essential facts from the commencement, and I can afterwards question you as to those details which seem to me to be most important."

The young man pulled his chair up and pushed his wet feet out towards the blaze.

"My name," said he, "is John Openshaw, but my own affairs have, as far as I can understand, little to do with this awful business. It is a hereditary matter; so in order to give you an idea of the facts, I must go back to the commencement of the affair.

"You must know that my grandfather had two sons--my uncle Elias and my father Joseph. My father had a small factory at Coventry, which he enlarged at the time of the invention of bicycling. He was a patentee of the Openshaw unbreakable tire, and his business met with such success that he was able to sell it and to retire upon a handsome competence.

"My uncle Elias emigrated to America when he was a young man and became a planter in Florida, where he was reported to have done very well. At the time of the war he fought in Jackson's army, and afterwards under Hood, where he rose to be a colonel. When Lee laid down his arms my uncle returned to his plantation, where he remained for three or four years. About 1869 or 1870 he came back to Europe and took a small estate in Sussex, near Horsham. He had made a very considerable fortune in the States, and his reason for leaving them was his aversion to the negroes, and his dislike of the Republican policy in extending the franchise to them. He was a singular man, fierce and quick-tempered, very foul-mouthed when he was angry, and of a most retiring disposition. During all the years that he lived at Horsham, I doubt if ever he set foot in the town. He had a garden and two or three fields round his house, and there he would take his exercise, though very often for weeks on end he would never leave his room. He drank a great deal of brandy and smoked very heavily, but he would see no society and did not want any friends, not even his own brother.

"He didn't mind me; in fact, he took a fancy to me, for at the time when he saw me first I was a youngster of twelve or so. This would be in the year 1878, after he had been eight or nine years in England. He begged my father to let me live with him and he was very kind to me in his way. When he was sober he used to be fond of playing backgammon and draughts with me, and he would make me his representative both with the servants and with the tradespeople, so that by the time that I was sixteen I was quite master of the house. I kept all the keys and could go where I liked and do what I liked, so long as I did not disturb him in his privacy. There was one singular exception, however, for he had a single room, a lumber-room up among the attics, which was invariably locked, and which he would never permit either me or anyone else to enter. With a boy's curiosity I have peeped through the keyhole, but I was never able to see more than such a collection of old trunks and bundles as would be expected in such a room.

"One day--it was in March, 1883--a letter with a foreign stamp lay upon the table in front of the colonel's plate. It was not a common thing for him to receive letters, for his bills were all paid in ready money, and he had no friends of any sort. 'From India!' said he as he took it up, 'Pondicherry postmark! What can this be?' Opening it hurriedly, out there jumped five little dried orange pips, which pattered down upon his plate. I began to laugh at this, but the laugh was struck from my lips at the sight of his face. His lip had fallen, his eyes were protruding, his skin the color of putty, and he glared at the envelope which he still held in his trembling hand, 'K. K. K.!' he shrieked, and then, 'My God, my God, my sins have overtaken me!'

"'What is it, uncle?' I cried.

"'Death,' said he, and rising from the table he retired to his room, leaving me palpitating with horror. I took up the envelope and saw scrawled in red ink upon the inner flap, just above the gum, the letter K three times repeated. There was nothing else save the five dried pips. What could be the reason of his overpowering terror? I left the breakfast-table, and as I ascended the stair I met him coming down with an old rusty key, which must have belonged to the attic, in one hand, and a small brass box, like a cashbox, in the other.

"'They may do what they like, but I'll checkmate them still,' said he with an oath. 'Tell Mary that I shall want a fire in my room to-day, and send down to Fordham, the Horsham lawyer.'

"I did as he ordered, and when the lawyer arrived I was asked to step up to the room. The fire was burning brightly, and in the grate there was a mass of black, fluffy ashes, as of burned paper, while the brass box stood open and empty beside it. As I glanced at the box I noticed, with a start, that upon the lid was printed the treble K which I had read in the morning upon the envelope.

"'I wish you, John,' said my uncle, 'to witness my will. I leave my estate, with all its advantages and all its disadvantages, to my brother, your father, whence it will, no doubt, descend to you. If you can enjoy it in peace, well and good! If you find you cannot, take my advice, my boy, and leave it to your deadliest enemy. I am sorry to give you such a two-edged thing, but I can't say what turn things are going to take. Kindly sign the paper where Mr. Fordham shows you.'

"I signed the paper as directed, and the lawyer took it away with him. The singular incident made, as you may think, the deepest impression upon me, and I pondered over it and turned it every way in my mind without being able to make anything of it. Yet I could not shake off the vague feeling of dread which it left behind, though the sensation grew less keen as the weeks passed and nothing happened to disturb the usual routine of our lives. I could see a change in my uncle, however. He drank more than ever, and he was less inclined for any sort of society. Most of his time he would spend in his room, with the door locked upon the inside, but sometimes he would emerge in a sort of drunken frenzy and would burst out of the house and tear about the garden with a revolver in his hand, screaming out that he was afraid of no man, and that he was not to be cooped up, like a sheep in a pen, by man or devil. When these hot fits were over however, he would rush tumultuously in at the door and lock and bar it behind him, like a man who can brazen it out no longer against the terror which lies at the roots of his soul. At such times I have seen his face, even on a cold day, glisten with moisture, as though it were new raised from a basin.

"Well, to come to an end of the matter, Mr. Holmes, and not to abuse your patience, there came a night when he made one of those drunken sallies from which he never came back. We found him, when we went to search for him, face downward in a little green-scummed pool, which lay at the foot of the garden. There was no sign of any violence, and the water was but two feet deep, so that the jury, having regard to his known eccentricity, brought in a verdict of 'suicide.' But I, who knew how he winced from the very thought of death, had much ado to persuade myself that he had gone out of his way to meet it. The matter passed, however, and my father entered into possession of the estate, and of some 14,000 pounds, which lay to his credit at the bank."

"One moment," Holmes interposed, "your statement is, I foresee, one of the most remarkable to which I have ever listened. Let me have the date of the reception by your uncle of the letter, and the date of his supposed suicide."

"The letter arrived on March 10, 1883. His death was seven weeks later, upon the night of May 2d."

"Thank you. Pray proceed."

"When my father took over the Horsham property, he, at my request, made a careful examination of the attic, which had been always locked up. We found the brass box there, although its contents had been destroyed. On the inside of the cover was a paper label, with the initials of K. K. K. repeated upon it, and 'Letters, memoranda, receipts, and a register' written beneath. These, we presume, indicated the nature of the papers which had been destroyed by Colonel Openshaw. For the rest, there was nothing of much importance in the attic save a great many scattered papers and note-books bearing upon my uncle's life in America. Some of them were of the war time and showed that he had done his duty well and had borne the repute of a brave soldier. Others were of a date during the reconstruction of the Southern states, and were mostly concerned with politics, for he had evidently taken a strong part in opposing the carpet-bag politicians who had been sent down from the North.

"Well, it was the beginning of '84 when my father came to live at Horsham, and all went as well as possible with us until the January of '85. On the fourth day after the new year I heard my father give a sharp cry of surprise as we sat together at the breakfast-table. There he was, sitting with a newly opened envelope in one hand and five dried orange pips in the outstretched palm of the other one. He had always laughed at what he called my cock-and-bull story about the colonel, but he looked very scared and puzzled now that the same thing had come upon himself.

"'Why, what on earth does this mean, John?' he stammered.

"My heart had turned to lead. 'It is K. K. K.,' said I.

"He looked inside the envelope. 'So it is,' he cried. 'Here are the very letters. But what is this written above them?'

"'Put the papers on the sundial,' I read, peeping over his shoulder.

"'What papers? What sundial?' he asked.

"'The sundial in the garden. There is no other,' said I; 'but the papers must be those that are destroyed.'

"'Pooh!' said he, gripping hard at his courage. 'We are in a civilized land here, and we can't have tomfoolery of this kind. Where does the thing come from?'

"'From Dundee,' I answered, glancing at the postmark.

"'Some preposterous practical joke,' said he. 'What have I to do with sundials and papers? I shall take no notice of such nonsense.'

"'I should certainly speak to the police,' I said.

"'And be laughed at for my pains. Nothing of the sort.'

"'Then let me do so?'

"'No, I forbid you. I won't have a fuss made about such nonsense.'

"It was in vain to argue with him, for he was a very obstinate man. I went about, however, with a heart which was full of forebodings.

"On the third day after the coming of the letter my father went from home to visit an old friend of his, Major Freebody, who is in command of one of the forts upon Portsdown Hill. I was glad that he should go, for it seemed to me that he was farther from danger when he was away from home. In that, however, I was in error. Upon the second day of his absence I received a telegram from the major, imploring me to come at once. My father had fallen over one of the deep chalk-pits which abound in the neighborhood, and was lying senseless, with a shattered skull. I hurried to him, but he passed away without having ever recovered his consciousness. He had, as it appears, been returning from Fareham in the twilight, and as the country was unknown to him, and the chalk-pit unfenced, the jury had no hesitation in bringing in a verdict of 'death from accidental causes.' Carefully as I examined every fact connected with his death, I was unable to find anything which could suggest the idea of murder. There were no signs of violence, no footmarks, no robbery, no record of strangers having been seen upon the roads. And yet I need not tell you that my mind was far from at ease, and that I was well-nigh certain that some foul plot had been woven round him.

"In this sinister way I came into my inheritance. You will ask me why I did not dispose of it? I answer, because I was well convinced that our troubles were in some way dependent upon an incident in my uncle's life, and that the danger would be as pressing in one house as in another.

"It was in January, '85, that my poor father met his end, and two years and eight months have elapsed since then. During that time I have lived happily at Horsham, and I had begun to hope that this curse had passed way from the family, and that it had ended with the last generation. I had begun to take comfort too soon, however; yesterday morning the blow fell in the very shape in which it had come upon my father."

The young man took from his waistcoat a crumpled envelope, and turning to the table he shook out upon it five little dried orange pips.

"This is the envelope," he continued. "The postmark is London--eastern division. Within are the very words which were upon my father's last message: 'K. K. K.'; and then 'Put the papers on the sundial.'"

"What have you done?" asked Holmes.

"Nothing."

"Nothing?"

"To tell the truth"--he sank his face into his thin, white hands--"I have felt helpless. I have felt like one of those poor rabbits when the snake is writhing towards it. I seem to be in the grasp of some resistless, inexorable evil, which no foresight and no precautions can guard against."

"Tut! tut!" cried Sherlock Holmes. "You must act, man, or you are lost. Nothing but energy can save you. This is no time for despair."

"I have seen the police."

"Ah!"

"But they listened to my story with a smile. I am convinced that the inspector has formed the opinion that the letters are all practical jokes, and that the deaths of my relations were really accidents, as the jury stated, and were not to be connected with the warnings."

Holmes shook his clenched hands in the air. "Incredible imbecility!" he cried.

"They have, however, allowed me a policeman, who may remain in the house with me."

"Has he come with you to-night?"

"No. His orders were to stay in the house."

Again Holmes raved in the air.

"Why did you come to me," he cried, "and, above all, why did you not come at once?"

"I did not know. It was only to-day that I spoke to Major Prendergast about my troubles and was advised by him to come to you."

"It is really two days since you had the letter. We should have acted before this. You have no further evidence, I suppose, than that which you have placed before us--no suggestive detail which might help us?"

"There is one thing," said John Openshaw. He rummaged in his coat pocket, and, drawing out a piece of discolored, blue-tinted paper, he laid it out upon the table. "I have some remembrance," said he, "that on the day when my uncle burned the papers I observed that the small, unburned margins which lay amid the ashes were of this particular color. I found this single sheet upon the floor of his room, and I am inclined to think that it may be one of the papers which has, perhaps, fluttered out from among the others, and in that way has escaped destruction. Beyond the mention of pips, I do not see that it helps us much. I think myself that it is a page from some private diary. The writing is undoubtedly my uncle's."

Holmes moved the lamp, and we both bent over the sheet of paper, which showed by its ragged edge that it had indeed been torn from a book. It was headed, "March, 1869," and beneath were the following enigmatical notices:

4th. Hudson came. Same old platform.

7th. Set the pips on McCauley, Paramore, and John Swain, of St. Augustine.

9th. McCauley cleared.

10th. John Swain cleared.

12th. Visited Paramore. All well.

"Thank you!" said Holmes, folding up the paper and returning it to our visitor. "And now you must on no account lose another instant. We cannot spare time even to discuss what you have told me. You must get home instantly and act."

"What shall I do?"

"There is but one thing to do. It must be done at once. You must put this piece of paper which you have shown us into the brass box which you have described. You must also put in a note to say that all the other papers were burned by your uncle, and that this is the only one which remains. You must assert that in such words as will carry conviction with them. Having done this, you must at once put the box out upon the sundial, as directed. Do you understand?"

"Entirely."

"Do not think of revenge, or anything of the sort, at present. I think that we may gain that by means of the law; but we have our web to weave, while theirs is already woven. The first consideration is to remove the pressing danger which threatens you. The second is to clear up the mystery and to punish the guilty parties."

"I thank you," said the young man, rising and pulling on his overcoat. "You have given me fresh life and hope. I shall certainly do as you advise."

"Do not lose an instant. And, above all, take care of yourself in the meanwhile, for I do not think that there can be a doubt that you are threatened by a very real and imminent danger. How do you go back?

"By train from Waterloo."

"It is not yet nine. The streets will be crowded, so I trust that you may be in safety. And yet you cannot guard yourself too closely."

"I am armed."

"That is well. To-morrow I shall set to work upon your case."

"I shall see you at Horsham, then?"

"No, your secret lies in London. It is there that I shall seek it."

"Then I shall call upon you in a day, or in two days, with news as to the box and the papers. I shall take your advice in every particular." He shook hands with us and took his leave. Outside the wind still screamed and the rain splashed and pattered against the windows. This strange, wild story seemed to have come to us from amid the mad elements--blown in upon us like a sheet of sea-weed in a gale--and now to have been reabsorbed by them once more.

Sherlock Holmes sat for some time in silence, with his head sunk forward and his eyes bent upon the red glow of the fire. Then he lit his pipe, and leaning back in his chair he watched the blue smoke-rings as they chased each other up to the ceiling.

"I think, Watson," he remarked at last, "that of all our cases we have had none more fantastic than this."

"Save, perhaps, the Sign of Four."

"Well, yes. Save, perhaps, that. And yet this John Openshaw seems to me to be walking amid even greater perils than did the Sholtos."

"But have you," I asked, "formed any definite conception as to what these perils are?"

"There can be no question as to their nature," he answered.

"Then what are they? Who is this K. K. K., and why does he pursue this unhappy family?"

Sherlock Holmes closed his eyes and placed his elbows upon the arms of his chair, with his finger-tips together. "The ideal reasoner," he remarked, "would, when he had once been shown a single fact in all its bearings, deduce from it not only all the chain of events which led up to it but also all the results which would follow from it. As Cuvier could correctly describe a whole animal by the contemplation of a single bone, so the observer who has thoroughly understood one link in a series of incidents should be able to accurately state all the other ones, both before and after. We have not yet grasped the results which the reason alone can attain to. Problems may be solved in the study which have baffled all those who have sought a solution by the aid of their senses. To carry the art, however, to its highest pitch, it is necessary that the reasoner should be able to utilize all the facts which have come to his knowledge; and this in itself implies, as you will readily see, a possession of all knowledge, which, even in these days of free education and encyclopaedias, is a somewhat rare accomplishment. It is not so impossible, however, that a man should possess all knowledge which is likely to be useful to him in his work, and this I have endeavored in my case to do. If I remember rightly, you on one occasion, in the early days of our friendship, defined my limits in a very precise fashion."

"Yes," I answered, laughing. "It was a singular document. Philosophy, astronomy, and politics were marked at zero, I remember. Botany variable, geology profound as regards the mud-stains from any region within fifty miles of town, chemistry eccentric, anatomy unsystematic, sensational literature and crime records unique, violin-player, boxer, swordsman, lawyer, and self-poisoner by cocaine and tobacco. Those, I think, were the main points of my analysis."

Holmes grinned at the last item. "Well," he said, "I say now, as I said then, that a man should keep his little brain-attic stocked with all the furniture that he is likely to use, and the rest he can put away in the lumber-room of his library, where he can get it if he wants it. Now, for such a case as the one which has been submitted to us to-night, we need certainly to muster all our resources. Kindly hand me down the letter K of the American Encyclopaedia which stands upon the shelf beside you. Thank you. Now let us consider the situation and see what may be deduced from it. In the first place, we may start with a strong presumption that Colonel Openshaw had some very strong reason for leaving America. Men at his time of life do not change all their habits and exchange willingly the charming climate of Florida for the lonely life of an English provincial town. His extreme love of solitude in England suggests the idea that he was in fear of someone or something, so we may assume as a working hypothesis that it was fear of someone or something which drove him from America. As to what it was he feared, we can only deduce that by considering the formidable letters which were received by himself and his successors. Did you remark the postmarks of those letters?"

"The first was from Pondicherry, the second from Dundee, and the third from London."

"From East London. What do you deduce from that?"

"They are all seaports. That the writer was on board of a ship."

"Excellent. We have already a clew. There can be no doubt that the probability--the strong probability--is that the writer was on board of a ship. And now let us consider another point. In the case of Pondicherry, seven weeks elapsed between the threat and its fulfillment, in Dundee it was only some three or four days. Does that suggest anything?"

"A greater distance to travel."

"But the letter had also a greater distance to come."

"Then I do not see the point."

"There is at least a presumption that the vessel in which the man or men are is a sailing-ship. It looks as if they always send their singular warning or token before them when starting upon their mission. You see how quickly the deed followed the sign when it came from Dundee. If they had come from Pondicherry in a steamer they would have arrived almost as soon as their letter. But, as a matter of fact, seven weeks elapsed. I think that those seven weeks represented the difference between the mailboat which brought the letter and the sailing vessel which brought the writer."

"It is possible."

"More than that. It is probable. And now you see the deadly urgency of this new case, and why I urged young Openshaw to caution. The blow has always fallen at the end of the time which it would take the senders to travel the distance. But this one comes from London, and therefore we cannot count upon delay."

"Good God!" I cried. "What can it mean, this relentless persecution?"

"The papers which Openshaw carried are obviously of vital importance to the person or persons in the sailing-ship. I think that it is quite clear that there must be more than one of them. A single man could not have carried out two deaths in such a way as to deceive a coroner's jury. There must have been several in it, and they must have been men of resource and determination. Their papers they mean to have, be the holder of them who it may. In this way you see K. K. K. ceases to be the initials of an individual and becomes the badge of a society."

"But of what society?"

"Have you never--" said Sherlock Holmes, bending forward and sinking his voice--"have you never heard of the Ku Klux Klan?"

"I never have."

Holmes turned over the leaves of the book upon his knee. "Here it is," said he presently:

"Ku Klux Klan. A name derived from the fanciful resemblance to the sound produced by cocking a rifle. This terrible secret society was formed by some ex-Confederate soldiers in the Southern states after the Civil War, and it rapidly formed local branches in different parts of the country, notably in Tennessee, Louisiana, the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida. Its power was used for political purposes, principally for the terrorizing of the negro voters and the murdering and driving from the country of those who were opposed to its views. Its outrages were usually preceded by a warning sent to the marked man in some fantastic but generally recognized shape--a sprig of oak-leaves in some parts, melon seeds or orange pips in others. On receiving this the victim might either openly abjure his former ways, or might fly from the country. If he braved the matter out, death would unfailingly come upon him, and usually in some strange and unforeseen manner. So perfect was the organization of the society, and so systematic its methods, that there is hardly a case upon record where any man succeeded in braving it with impunity, or in which any of its outrages were traced home to the perpetrators. For some years the organization flourished in spite of the efforts of the United States government and of the better classes of the community in the South. Eventually, in the year 1869, the movement rather suddenly collapsed, although there have been sporadic outbreaks of the same sort since that date.

"You will observe," said Holmes, laying down the volume, "that the sudden breaking up of the society was coincident with the disappearance of Openshaw from America with their papers. It may well have been cause and effect. It is no wonder that he and his family have some of the more implacable spirits upon their track. You can understand that this register and diary may implicate some of the first men in the South, and that there may be many who will not sleep easy at night until it is recovered."

"Then the page we have seen--"

"Is such as we might expect. It ran, if I remember right, 'sent the pips to A, B, and C'--that is, sent the society's warning to them. Then there are successive entries that A and B cleared, or left the country, and finally that C was visited, with, I fear, a sinister result for C. Well, I think, Doctor, that we may let some light into this dark place, and I believe that the only chance young Openshaw has in the meantime is to do what I have told him. There is nothing more to be said or to be done to-night, so hand me over my violin and let us try to forget for half an hour the miserable weather and the still more miserable ways of our fellow-men."

It had cleared in the morning, and the sun was shining with a subdued brightness through the dim veil which hangs over the great city. Sherlock Holmes was already at breakfast when I came down.

"You will excuse me for not waiting for you," said he; "I have, I foresee, a very busy day before me in looking into this case of young Openshaw's."

"What steps will you take?" I asked.

"It will very much depend upon the results of my first inquiries. I may have to go down to Horsham, after all."

"You will not go there first?"

"No, I shall commence with the City. Just ring the bell and the maid will bring up your coffee."

As I waited, I lifted the unopened newspaper from the table and glanced my eye over it. It rested upon a heading which sent a chill to my heart.

"Holmes," I cried, "you are too late."

"Ah!" said he, laying down his cup, "I feared as much. How was it done?" He spoke calmly, but I could see that he was deeply moved.

"My eye caught the name of Openshaw, and the heading 'Tragedy Near Waterloo Bridge.' Here is the account:

"Between nine and ten last night Police-Constable Cook, of the H Division, on duty near Waterloo Bridge, heard a cry for help and a splash in the water. The night, however, was extremely dark and stormy, so that, in spite of the help of several passers-by, it was quite impossible to effect a rescue. The alarm, however, was given, and, by the aid of the water-police, the body was eventually recovered. It proved to be that of a young gentleman whose name, as it appears from an envelope which was found in his pocket, was John Openshaw, and whose residence is near Horsham. It is conjectured that he may have been hurrying down to catch the last train from Waterloo Station, and that in his haste and the extreme darkness he missed his path and walked over the edge of one of the small landing-places for river steamboats. The body exhibited no traces of violence, and there can be no doubt that the deceased had been the victim of an unfortunate accident, which should have the effect of calling the attention of the authorities to the condition of the riverside landing-stages."

We sat in silence for some minutes, Holmes more depressed and shaken than I had ever seen him.

"That hurts my pride, Watson," he said at last. "It is a petty feeling, no doubt, but it hurts my pride. It becomes a personal matter with me now, and, if God sends me health, I shall set my hand upon this gang. That he should come to me for help, and that I should send him away to his death--!" He sprang from his chair and paced about the room in uncontrollable agitation, with a flush upon his sallow cheeks and a nervous clasping and unclasping of his long thin hands.

"They must be cunning devils," he exclaimed at last. "How could they have decoyed him down there? The Embankment is not on the direct line to the station. The bridge, no doubt, was too crowded, even on such a night, for their purpose. Well, Watson, we shall see who will win in the long run. I am going out now!"

"To the police?"

"No; I shall be my own police. When I have spun the web they may take the flies, but not before."

All day I was engaged in my professional work, and it was late in the evening before I returned to Baker Street. Sherlock Holmes had not come back yet. It was nearly ten o'clock before he entered, looking pale and worn. He walked up to the sideboard, and tearing a piece from the loaf he devoured it voraciously, washing it down with a long draught of water.

"You are hungry," I remarked.

"Starving. It had escaped my memory. I have had nothing since breakfast."

"Nothing?"

"Not a bite. I had no time to think of it."

"And how have you succeeded?"

"Well."

"You have a clew?"

"I have them in the hollow of my hand. Young Openshaw shall not long remain unavenged. Why, Watson, let us put their own devilish trade-mark upon them. It is well thought of!"

"What do you mean?"

He took an orange from the cupboard, and tearing it to pieces he squeezed out the pips upon the table. Of these he took five and thrust them into an envelope. On the inside of the flap he wrote "S. H. for J. 0." Then he sealed it and addressed it to "Captain James Calhoun, Bark Lone Star, Savannah, Georgia."

"That will await him when he enters port," said he, chuckling. "It may give him a sleepless night. He will find it as sure a precursor of his fate as Openshaw did before him."

"And who is this Captain Calhoun?"

"The leader of the gang. I shall have the others, but he first."

"How did you trace it, then?"

He took a large sheet of paper from his pocket, all covered with dates and names.

"I have spent the whole day," said he, "over Lloyd's registers and files of the old papers, following the future career of every vessel which touched at Pondicherry in January and February in '83. There were thirty-six ships of fair tonnage which were reported there during those months. Of these, one, the Lone Star, instantly attracted my attention, since, although it was reported as having cleared from London, the name is that which is given to one of the states of the Union."

"Texas, I think."

"I was not and am not sure which; but I knew that the ship must have an American origin."

"What then?"

"I searched the Dundee records, and when I found that the bark Lone Star was there in January, '85, my suspicion became a certainty. I then inquired as to the vessels which lay at present in the port of London."

"Yes?"

"The Lone Star had arrived here last week. I went down to the Albert Dock and found that she had been taken down the river by the early tide this morning, homeward bound to Savannah. I wired to Gravesend and learned that she had passed some time ago, and as the wind is easterly I have no doubt that she is now past the Goodwins and not very far from the Isle of Wight."

"What will you do, then?"

"Oh, I have my hand upon him. He and the two mates, are as I learn, the only native-born Americans in the ship. The others are Finns and Germans. I know, also, that they were all three away from the ship last night. I had it from the stevedore who has been loading their cargo. By the time that their sailing-ship reaches Savannah the mail-boat will have carried this letter, and the cable will have informed the police of Savannah that these three gentlemen are badly wanted here upon a charge of murder."

There is ever a flaw, however, in the best laid of human plans, and the murderers of John Openshaw were never to receive the orange pips which would show them that another, as cunning and as resolute as themselves, was upon their track. Very long and very severe were the equinoctial gales that year. We waited long for news of the Lone Star of Savannah, but none ever reached us. We did at last hear that somewhere far out in the Atlantic a shattered stern-post of the boat was seen swinging in the trough of a wave, with the letters "L. S." carved upon it, and that is all which we shall ever know of the fate of the Lone Star.



Courtesy: Project Gutenberg
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