Between the barren altiplano capital of La Paz and the verdant Yungas coca capital of Coroico lies one of the most dramatic and deadly roads in the world. Built by the blood and sweat of prisoners during the war with Paraguay in 1932, the “Death Road” is still the only route that connects Northern Bolivia with the capital. This absurdly narrow road is heavily traversed by buses, minivans, trucks, tankers, taxis, private vehicles, and mountain bikes. Mountain bikes! That’s right; the world’s deadliest road is open for tourism, only in Bolivia. Despite the fact that (or because of it) there is an average of one accident every two weeks and 200 fatalities annually, tourists are just bursting go down this road and then proudly wear their “I Survived” t-shirts. Tourist companies are only too ready to oblige. There are no less than 25 companies in La Paz to provide for your adrenaline fix hundreds of mountains bikes (just think how many dodgy brake pads are out there?). Ironically enough, my father emailed us just after we booked our trip informing us that there is a deadly road near La Paz and we should “avoid it like the plague” (how does he learn about these places before we get there?). So when the next day arrived, Cara and I met our small group of six (including guide and driver), suited up in garishly ugly orange pants and jackets, grabbed our gloves and helmets, and piled into a mini-van whose paint job proudly advertised what it was that the crazy gringos inside were about to do. We climbed up out of La Paz (already at 3800m) to a ridiculous 4700m. Below the outstretched arms of a large Jesus statue we chased down bread and jam with coffee. We adjusted our seats, tested the breaks, kicked the tires, and prepared ourselves psychologically for the ride of our lives. After a very brief instruction from Wince, our guide, the time came. With Jesus at our backs at three miles high we slowly rolled down the paved road that fell into the valley below. It didn’t take long. After seconds we were rocketing down the mountain at horrifying speeds. One tiny rock in the road would have been disastrous leading to “hair, teeth, and eyes” on the road (to once again quote my father). With our knuckles completely white, our noses numbed, and ears deafened, we passed trucks going down. We had two brief respites in the first two hours when we had to walk our bikes through two DEA check points (can our government keep its stinking nose out of anything?) There was an 8km section of uphill cycling, which ended up being a show of machismo by the guys more than anything. At 3600m (12000ft) this was a killer and it took me nearly 10 minutes of hyperventilating before I could control my breathing. Shortly after, the two lanes of pavement ended. The new road, that was supposed to be finished two years ago (I figure local officials must put on the finishing touches to their new houses with the international aid to build the road before focusing their attention on the road itself) goes up and the narrow rock and earth road (that kills people) continues down into the lush cloud forest.
Other Dangerous Roads In The World
9 May 2004. The following article appeared first in the Sunday Independent, Sports Active supplement.
Helping hands: the rescue team work frantically to save the life of a mountain biker who has fallen into the valley below Bolivia's Yungas Road. Since work on the road finished in 1935, as many as 200 people have died annual in accidents. Despite this, the road continues to draw large numbers of enthusiasts on walking and biking trips.
Bolivia's Yungas Road is officially the most hazardous on earth. Local people pray before using it and the nearest hospital is a two-hour drive away. But none of this deters foreign tourists from biking over its bumps at 40mph. And, as Michael Liebreich discovered, cheap thrills in risky environments can come at a price.
You can't walk 100 yards down the main street of any travellers' town on this lonely planet without being offered a selection of adrenalin-enhanced adventures. A river nearby? We provide inner tubes. Mountains? Touch your own personal void. Now I'm all for getting the heart racing on holiday but my opinion of what is an appropriate adventure activity and of what constitutes an acceptable riskchanged dramatically one day last summer. It started with a flyer in the lobby of our hotel in La Paz: "Mountain-bike the most dangerous road in the world," it said. "A spectacular 38-mile ride, descending more than 11,800ft from the Andean mountains into the Amazonian jungle". To a group of climbers with a spare day before our departure from Bolivia, it sounded the perfect way to end our trip.
Beautiful and damned, the Yungas Road, labelled 'The Most Dangerous Road in the World' by the Inter-American Development Bank in 1995. From the cross-roads at Unduavi, between Coroico and La Paz.
The Yungas road was built by prisoners during Bolivia's 1932-35 war with Paraguay. For many years it was the only route linking northern Bolivia to the capital. Our tour would start in the mountains above La Paz before taking a dirt road down into the Amazon basin. Early that morning, a fleet of jeeps, mountain bikes on their roofs, whisked us to the start of the ride and, with safety briefing done, we set off. The bikes were in good condition, helmets and reflective vests were provided, and the tour leader seemed professional. What could go wrong? The first 20 kilometers were asphalt and, at speeds approaching 40mph, we barrelled along, jockeying to get to the front of the pack, all laughter and wind-squeezed tears. At a place called Unduavi, though, the road splits. We stopped to survey our route, a muddy track slicing across the jungle gorge. In places it was no more than 10 feet wide, and waterfalls cascaded either onto the road or directly into the void below, a drop of 500 metres. And not a safety barrier in sight. You drive on the right in Bolivia - except on the Yungas road. Here, when vehicles pass, drivers hang out of their cabs to edge closer to the cliff, or closer to the abyss. Before setting out, they pour libations of beer onto the ground to pacify Pachamama, the earth deity, and feed the stray dogs, supposedly the souls of dead drivers petitioning for safe passage. Their petitions are not always heard. In 1994, 26 vehicles went over the edge - an average of one every two weeks. In 1995, the Inter-American Development Bank listed the road as the most dangerous on earth. The new road circumvents the worst sections but hundreds of vehicles use the old dirt track as a short cut. In each year since it was built, up to 200 people have died on this highway: coca-growers, soldiers - and the odd tourist. Bouncing in the ruts, riding our rear brakes hard, we started to pass shrines - names, dates and fading flowers. On 24 July 1983, Carlos Pizarroso Inde drove his bus over the edge, killing more than 100 passengers in Bolivia's worst ever road accident. All pleasure in our ride evaporated. This was no place for mountain biking and I was ashamed to be there in my reflective vest. And then, to underline the point, around the next corner we came across chaos. Thirty mountain bikers were milling around, seemingly in shock; half-a-dozen support jeeps had stopped, a traffic jam was building and people were scrambling around in the vegetation below. As we rode, we had been following another group of bikers, catching sight of them occasionally around corners. Pulling over to let a truck inch past, one of them, a French rider, had reversed her bike to the edge of a lay-by, failing to notice a hole in the undergrowth behind her, Silently, she had toppled backwards and disappeared. She was now lying, badly injured, somewhere below.
The accident scene as we found it, mountain bikers and support vehicles blocking the road.
My friend and climbing buddy, Dr Katherine Henderson, an Accident and Emergency consultant, immediately offered her help. She prepared to be lowered down a dodgy-looking rope to the injured woman Our strongest climber, Jeremy Hart, had some mountain rescue experience and volunteered to accompany Katherine. The woman had fallen 50 metres, and while it was impossible to reach her from directly above, from a nearby gully, it was possible to scramble down. Jeremy lowered Katherine out of sight. I would not see her again for several hours as she battled to keep the woman alive with only a half-empty first aid kit by way of medical equipment. Another group member, Gregory Guida, dropped into the gully. At road level, the chaos continued. The tour guides had immediately dived into the jungle to look for the injured woman and nobody was sure whether an ambulance had been called. The victim's friend began to bellow her companion's name as local appeared from the forest to enjoy the commotion. Instructions from below were drowned out by shouting spectators and hooting from frustrated drivers. A huge truck, rumbling uphill, disappeared with a huge bang into a cloud of dust - two threadbare tyres blown. Despite entreaties from the crowd, the driver pulled in to the edge of the deadly lay-by, and began to change tyres, showering stones onto the rescuers below. Three policemen showed up, chewing coca leaves, peered into the abyss, and sauntered off nonchalantly. Someone had to take charge, but the drivers of our support vehicles seemed surprised when I asked for their radios, which were delivered to Katherine and Jeremy. Within minutes, the radios crackled into life: the injured woman was semi-conscious, but very badly injured. Could we send down water and warm clothing? Despite the Yungas Road's appalling accident toll, no ambulance crew is stationed closer than La Paz, two-hours drive away. Toby, an American woman, called on her mobile phone to see if an ambulance was on its way, but couldn't get a straight answer. I told the team we couldn't wait for outside help. From the jeeps we collected equipment - lengths of rope, a picnic table to use as a backboard - and sent it down into the gully. Rolling the woman onto the backboard seemed to take forever - it was probably under an hour. A driver volunteered the smallest jeep to take the injured woman back to La Paz but there was no place to lay her down. He shrugged: why can't she just sit on a seat?. "Take the seats out without our boss's permission? We couldn't possibly." Then, from up the valley, a miraculous sight: an ambulance. Incredibly, the driver was on his way home and using the Yungas Road as a short cut. Toby and I blocked his path and, after a pretend call to his boss, persuaded him to take the injured woman to La Paz. We checked the ambulance for medical supplies but found nothing of any use. Finally, word came that lifting could begin, and under Jeremy's command, the backboard and its precious cargo inched upwards. When the cradle appeared, the severity of the woman's injuries were apparent in her face, drained of all colour. And then, panicked shouts: "She's stopped breathing!" Amid it all, only Jeremy remained calm. Exhausted, the rescue crew lifted the woman clear of the cliff and Katherine was hauled back up to her patient's side. For ten minutes, she and two nurses, members of another biking group, administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), before finally admitting defeat and declaring the woman dead. The aftermath was painful. Toby accompanied the body to La Paz, while we looked after the woman's friend and wrote statements. Although drained physically and mentally, each of us wondered what we could have done differently. Katherine reassured us: if, within minutes of falling, the woman had been airlifted to a major hospital, she might have stood a chance. In Bolivia, her odds were long. So where does the experience leave me? Will I, in future, avoid any activity with an element of risk? Probably not. I'm a former member of the British Olympic Ski Team and have climbed some of the highest peaks in the world. I also know how important foreign currency is to the economies of developing countries. Adrenalin will remain my drug of choice, but the next time I'm offered adventure, I will ask myself two questions: Is it respectful of the local community? And is the level of risk acceptable? Mountain-biking the Yungas Road fails both tests. It is entirely unacceptable for groups of wealthy tourists to treat a road with such a terrible death toll as a recreational experience. Some locals have no choice but to take it - the last thing they need is to be overtaken by whooping mountain-bikers As for risk, the accident that day was the result of one person's tragic lapse in concentration. But cycling on a road where, if you shear a pedal-spindle you are more likely to die than to live, represents a risk I'm not prepared to take. Next time I'm walking through an exotic tourist town perusing heart-stopping adventures on the cheap, if the dangers are unacceptable, I'll just walk on by.
Michael Liebreich was among a group of climbers commended by the Royal Humane Society (RHS) last week for their [attempted] rescue of the injured mountain biker in Bolivia. Dr Katherine Henderson, Jeremy Hart and Gregory Guida were awarded the RHS's Bronze Medal, one of the society's highest honours for individuals who take significant personal risk during a rescue.
The Updown court- most expensive house in the world
The Updown Court complex, housed at Windlesham, England is not only known as one of the most important residential complexes in and around London, it is also the worlds most expensive house floating in the market. Launched in the market for sale at 70,000,000 pounds ($110,684,000 US dollars) it is also the largest residential construction in the United Kingdom since the 19th century.
The history of the Updown Court has not been as vibrant as its present and near past. Originally, it was built in an area spanning 58 acres of land, with an in-built lake and woodlands. The initial building was completed in 1924 and was supposed to house the prince of Egypt- Sam Gaye. Unfortunately, the whole area was burnt and devastated in an ugly fire during 1987. It was Leslie Allen Vercoe, a designer by profession, who then went on to buy this burnt-out reminiscent of the original property. It was purchased by him for roughly $40 million at that time.
After purchasing the property, Vercoe had teamed up with John Scholz, and architect from Arizona and an Irish bank to reconstruct, re-design and fund the mansion. The bank has supplied funds to the tune of $60 million since then to Vercoe, which he has invested on beautifying the property further. From Guatemalan marble in the bathrooms to a dual natured staircase and trey slated rooftops, the house contains the best in modern contemporary designing. All these things have contributed a great deal in making Updown Court the worlds most expensive house. Up to this day the house remains unsold. For now it seems that no one can afford this magnificent house. The house has been opened to the public very few times and there are a lot things that make the worlds most expensive house worth the money. The estate has more than 100 rooms, out of which each of the 24 bedrooms has their own marble laden ultra-luxurious bathrooms. You enter the house through a drive-way, which alone is said to be priced at $3 million. The Updown Court has everything that is necessary for making the worlds most expensive house stand up to the expectations of its inhabitants. It has two bowling alleys, a tennis court which is floodlit, and five swimming pools with varying difficulty levels and a squash court also. The worlds most expensive house is also one of the safest, as it has an emergency panic room, designed to provide protection in the even of a terrorist or military attack. The underground garage with granite flooring can house up to eight limousines at a time. The Updown Court also has a cinema hall, with a seating capacity of up to 50 people. Apart from these features and facilities, the worlds most expensive house has expensive terraces, covered with Italian flooring of at least 30 known kinds, a wine cellar and two separate penthouses, occupying a full section of the house. The main living area is said to be on the first floor, which contains eight tastefully appointed bedroom suits with lush terraces and great view.
The worlds most expensive house is not that cheap to maintain either. According to reports, the estimated cost of upkeep of this property amounts to 250,000 pounds per month. The Updown Court has had a lot of coverage from various magazines around the world, with the Business week giving it the title of being a “billionaire’s statement house”. Apart from all the hype and the publicity, relatively very less is known about the actual inhabitants of the house and their lifestyles. One can only infer that being the next-door neighbor of Elton John and the Duchess of York is not everybody’s cup of tea and therefore, the worlds most expensive house is bound to be a lavish extravaganza, nonetheless.
Other Expensive Houses Of The World
Trump Most Expensive house Mansion Florida
It is the same worlds most expensive house on the French Riviera but a different buyer. Whilst last month, there was a news that Russian billionaire Roman Abarmovich inked a deal with the La Leopolda, priciest house ever by spilling over $500 million. But the rumor is lately proven to be false and here is a revision version. Another Russian billionaire became the fortunate buyer for the princely villa located on the French Mediterranean coast after shelling out �390 million. The Telegraph reports that a secrecy Russian billionaire who is not Abramovich gave over all his fortune for Villa Leopolda, a Belle �poque mansion in Villefrance on the C�te d’Azur. The house is owned by Lily Safra, widow of Edmond Safra, a Lebanese banker who was killed by an arsonist’s fire in Monaco in 2003. Within few years, the news came that the house was bought by Bill Gates and became the worlds most prized estate. The estate is spread over two guest houses across 20 acres of grounds with countless olive, cypress and lemon trees taken care by 50 gardeners.
The crowd grew angry over the prolonged wait for tickets
Fans queuing outside the Chinnaswamy stadium in the Indian city of Bangalore to buy tickets for the cricket World Cup have clashed with police.
Television pictures showed policemen hitting dozens of fans on their legs and backs. Many of the fans had been waiting since Wednesday night. Reports said they were angered by the shortage of tickets available for purchase at the venue. Bangalore is to host Sunday's World Cup showdown between India and England. According to reports, barely 8,000 tickets are up for sale at the stadium which can accommodate 40,000 people. The BBC's Alison Mitchell, who is in Bangalore, says that there were chaotic scenes on Thursday - tickets for the match were on sale from early in the morning and people started queuing the night before. Our correspondent says that the queues snaked around stadium, holding up traffic on a busy road outside. Police used batons to control them and unconfirmed reports say that some suffered serious injuries in crushes by the ticket booths. When the available tickets sold out in two-and-a-half hours, thousands of fans were disappointed, although the crowd dispersed quickly. Mishandling The BBC's Sanjoy Majumder in Delhi says that ticket sales have been a huge problem for the organisers - only a few thousand tickets are available for the general public because the bulk of them have been given away to sponsors and commercial partners.
There were chaotic scenes as the police struggled to restore order
The match was originally scheduled to be held in Calcutta's Eden Gardens but was later moved to Bangalore after the International Cricket Council (ICC) said it was with unhappy with the preparations. Karnataka State Cricket Association Secretary Javagal Srinath said that he had no regrets about the match being switched to Bangalore despite the disturbances. "There were 7,000 tickets that were issued for sale today," he said. "Also, we had to honour the Calcutta commitment. So in total we had 15,000 tickets available for sale through the gate. "We are trying to cover as much as possible. But for a match of this magnitude, even if you double or triple [the capacity], it's not enough." 'Sporadic incident'
Bangalore police chief Shankar Bidari dismissed the trouble as a "minor thing" and insisted his force was well prepared to ensure that World Cup encounter went ahead smoothly. Mr Bidari said that no-one was hurt in the incident and that police only attempted to regulate an unruly section of a crowd numbering more than 20,000 people outside the stadium. "They were jostling with each other. We had to use mild force to make sure that people did not fall over each other and injure themselves," he said. "It was a sporadic incident and the situation was brought under control within three to four minutes." The ICC has now written to the Indian organisers of the World Cup complaining about mishandling of ticket sales and distribution.
Police said that the disturbance was quickly dealt with
On Monday, an official website selling tickets for the final crashed after millions of people tried to log on. Many others who had bought tickets online up to six months ago have still not received them. The clashes on Thursday are the latest mishap to hit India's World Cup arrangements. Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium, the venue for the final, was only given clearance to host matches by the city's fire department earlier this week. England fans were strongly critical when news of the venue change to Bangalore first emerged earlier this month. Many complained that they had been left out of pocket. The 27 February showdown with India was switched to the city after it was ruled that Calcutta's iconic Eden Gardens would not be ready in time. "They'd bought tickets, booked flights and accommodation and now it has been pulled last minute," England supporter Paul Burnham told the BBC at the time of the switch. The match between 1983 champions India and three-time runners-up England at Eden Gardens was to be one of the highlights of the month-long World Cup group stage, with tickets first going on sale last June. Eden Gardens, which held 90,000 people before its recent renovation, is a place of pilgrimage for international cricketers and fans, having first hosted a Test in 1934 and staged the 1987 World Cup final when Australia beat England.
Life Insurance Basics – It's Not As Bad As You Think
Life insurance is a contract between an insurer (a life insurance company) and a policy owner to insure the life of an individual. In many cases, the individual being insured is also the policy owner. The life insurance policy pays a death benefit to a named beneficiary (which is stipulated in the contract by the policy owner) upon the death of the insured. Life insurance was originally designed as a way to help pay for burial costs. However, today, life insurance is used for a wide variety of purposes both personal and business including insuring the life of business owners (to keep the business operating after the owner's death), key employees, supplemental retirement income, defined benefit plans, to protect an individual's pension benefits (i.e. "pension max"), and traditional income replacement (in the event of the death of either spouse). Today's life insurance contracts also include suicide provisions to prevent insurance companies from having to pay claims on policies where the insured has committed suicide within the first two years of the policy. Insurance companies also require that there be an "insurable interest" between the policy owner and the insured (to help prevent a conflict of interest between the owner of a policy and the person being insured). While not technically accurate, financial advisers and insurance agents tend to divide insurance contracts into the two different "types": term insurance (temporary) and cash value insurance (permanent). Term insurance is temporary or "pure" insurance. The policy owner pays a defined amount of money for a specific amount of death benefit. When payments stop, the insurance ends. Term policies tend to be very inexpensive when the insured is very young, and are guaranteed to get more expensive as the insured becomes older. Due to expected mortality rates, term policies also tend to have a very low payout ratio which is estimated to be between 1% – 3%. Cash value policies are often defined by insurance companies as "a death benefit with a savings component". This "savings component" is actually a cash reserve that is designed to grow in value until the reserve equals the death benefit. In the beginning, the policy owner pays for the death benefit and an additional amount of money is set aside in a cash value account which is part of the insurance contract. With each premium payment, the costs associated with mortality and other expenses are either guaranteed to decrease every year – in the case of whole life – or is expected to decrease every year – in the case of universal life (if the level death benefit option is elected). A unique feature of cash value policies is that the cash value is allowed to grow income tax deferred. The money can then be withdrawn or a loan can be taken against the cash value if it is ever needed. The interest credited (earned) to a cash value policy is normally comparable to other competing savings instruments such as bonds, bank CDs, or high yield savings accounts. The major difference is that life insurance cash values grow tax deferred inside the policy and can be accessed on a tax-free basis unlike other savings options.
A Word About Buying Life Insurance
The amount and type of an insurance an individual should consider buying largely depends the context of that individual's life. Unless an individual has a good understanding of how life insurance works, and how to cover all of their financial responsibilities, a comprehensive financial review by an insurance agent will probably be necessary. Many individuals attempt to use online calculators or quoting software or simply pick an arbitrary amount of life insurance that they "feel" is the right amount. However, they could be purchasing too much or too little insurance. For example, such factors as personal financial goals, age, annual income, when an individual plans on retiring, total debt (including mortgage debt), number of children, the investment experience of the other spouse, expected pension benefits, expected social security benefits, and so on must all be taken into account when purchasing life insurance. Even after all of this analyzing is done, the advice of a good financial professional can be invaluable in helping you figure out how to comfortably afford your new policy.
Whole Life Insurance, or Whole of Life Assurance (in the Commonwealth), is a life insurance policy that remains in force for the insured's whole life and requires (in most cases) premiums to be paid every year into the policy.
All life insurance was originally term insurance. However, because term life insurance only pays a claim upon death within the stated term, a number of term insurance policy holders became upset over the idea that they could be paying premiums for 20 or 30 years and then wind up with nothing to show for it.
In response to market pressures, actuaries conceived of an insurance policy with level premium payments that were higher than traditional term insurance contracts. These contracts would offer a "cash value", which was designed to be a cash reserve that would build up against the known claim - the death benefit. These policies would also credit interest to the cash value account and upon maturity of the contract (usually at age 95 or 100), the cash value would equal the death benefit.
This produced a benefit to both the policy owner and the insurance company. By guaranteeing the death benefit, the policy owner was assured that insurance coverage would be in force when the insured died. The insurance company benefited because with every premium payment made, 30% is overcharge and pure profit, and thus the cost of insurance, is able to increase, while premiums remain the same.
There are several types of whole life insurance policies. New York State defines six traditional forms: non-participating (aka "non par"), participating, indeterminate premium, economic, limited pay, and single premium. A newer type is known generally as interest sensitive whole life. Other jurisdictions may classify them differently, and not all companies offer all types. There are as many types of insurance policies as can be written in their contracts while staying within the law's guidelines.
All values related to the policy (death benefits, cash surrender values, premiums) are usually determined at policy issue, for the life of the contract, and usually cannot be altered after issue.
This means that the insurance company assumes all risk of future performance versus the actuaries' estimates. If future claims are underestimated, the insurance company makes up the difference. On the other hand, if the actuaries' estimates on future death claims are high, the insurance company will retain the difference.
In a participating policy (also par in the USA, and known as a with-profits policy in the Commonwealth), the insurance company shares the excess profits (variously called dividends or refunds in the USA, bonus in the Commonwealth) with the policyholder. Typically these refunds are not taxable because they are considered an overcharge of premium. The greater the overcharge by the company, the greater the refund/dividend. For a mutual life insurance company, participation also implies a degree of ownership of the mutuality.
Similar to non-participating, except that the premium may vary year to year. However, the premium will never exceed the maximum premium guaranteed in the policy.
A blending of participating and term life insurance, wherein a part of the dividends is used to purchase additional term insurance. This can generally yield a higher death benefit, at a cost to long term cash value. In some policy years the dividends may be below projections, causing the death benefit in those years to decrease.
Similar to a participating policy, but instead of paying annual premiums for life, they are only due for a certain number of years, such as 20. The policy may also be set up to be fully paid up at a certain age, such as 65 or 80.The policy itself continues for the life of the insured. These policies would typically cost more up front, since the insurance company needs to build up sufficient cash value within the policy during the payment years to fund the policy for the remainder of the insured's life.
A form of limited pay, where the pay period is a single large payment up front. These policies typically have fees during early policy years should the policyholder cash it in.
This type is fairly new, and is also known as either excess interest or current assumption whole life. The policies are a mixture of traditional whole life and universal life. Instead of using dividends to augment guaranteed cash value accumulation, the interest on the policy's cash value varies with current market conditions. Like whole life, death benefit remains constant for life. Like universal life, the premium payment might vary, but not above the maximum premium guaranteed within the policy.
Whole life insurance typically requires that the owner pay premiums for the life of the policy. There are some arrangements that let the policy be "paid up", which means that no further payments are ever required, in as few as 5 years, or with even a single large premium. Typically if the payor doesn't make a large premium payment at the outset of the life insurance contract, then he is not allowed to begin making them later in the contract life. However, some whole life contracts offer a rider to the policy which allows for a one time, or occasional, large additional premium payment to be made as long as a minimal extra payment is made on a regular schedule. In contrast, Universal life insurance generally allows more flexibility in premium payment.
The company generally will guarantee that the policy's cash values will increase regardless of the performance of the company or its experience with death claims (again compared to universal life insurance and variable universal life insurance which can increase the costs and decrease the cash values of the policy).
Cash values are considered liquid enough to be used for investment capital, but only if the owner is financially healthy enough to continue making premium payments (Single premium whole life policies avoid the risk of the insured failing to make premium payments and are liquid enough to be used as collateral. Single premium policies require that the insured pay a one time premium that tends to be lower than the split payments. Because these policies are fully paid at inception, they have no financial risk and are liquid and secure enough to be used as collateral under the insurance clause of collateral assignment.)Cash value access is tax free up to the point of total premiums paid, and the rest may be accessed tax free in the form of policy loans. If the policy lapses, taxes would be due on outstanding loans. If the insured dies, death benefit is reduced by the amount of any outstanding loan balance.
Internal rates of return for participating policies may be much worse than universal life and interest-sensitive whole life (whose cash values are invested in the money market and bonds) because their cash values are invested in the life insurance company and its general account, which may be in real estate and the stock market. Variable universal life insurance may outperform whole life because the owner can direct investments in sub-accounts that may do better. If an owner desires a conservative position for his cash values, par whole life is indicated.
An Overview, Top Tips, and Recommended Organizations
Contributing Editor and Columnist on Volunteering Abroad for Transitions Abroad
Many international volunteers, especially those from North America, find Mexico and Central America to be inviting and exciting places to serve. Easier and cheaper to get to than Africa and Asia, this region offers a huge range of volunteer opportunities from working with street children in Mexico City to counting butterflies in the rainforests of Cost Rica.
I first volunteered in Central America in 1986, and I still recall the feeling in my muscles while mixing cement with a shovel on a sister city project in Nicaragua; the sound of Mayan mothers patting homemade tortillas into shape; and the taste of fruit juice served in little plastic bags from a corner street vender in Managua. In Mexico and Central America, I fell in love with Spanish, Latin food, and the Meso-American approach to life.
Since then, I have interviewed dozens of volunteers who agree with me. Mexico and Central America are inviting, culturally rich places to volunteer.
Popular options for volunteers in Mexico and Central America include:
Working with children. Due to the tourism industry and economic globalization, there is a demand for volunteers to teach English. Throughout Latin America, vibrant nonprofit and faith-based communities provide a plethora of opportunities to work with young people in orphanages, afterschool programs, and cultural centers.
Providing health services. Many clinics and hospitals in the region are underserved and volunteers in the health sector, especially doctors, nurses, PAs, and physical therapists are in demand.
Promoting environmental conservation. From sea turtle conservation to promotion of fair trade coffee and sustainable agriculture, there are abundant opportunities to volunteer to help protect the environment.
Here are some top tips for volunteering in Latin America:
Study the language: Your ability to volunteer effectively in Mexico or Central America will be greatly enhanced if you speak at least some Spanish. Consider making language study part of your volunteer experience -- take a Spanish class before leaving home, start off your volunteer experience with a Spanish language program, or volunteer with an organization that offers language training as part of the volunteer experience.
Of course, Spanish is not the only language spoken in the region. In Belize and the Mosquito Coast of Nicaragua, most locals speak English or English-based Creole. Among indigenous communities in Mexico, Guatemala, and Panama, Spanish is widely but not universally spoken.
Consider regional differences: In Mexico and Central America, regional differences within countries are almost as wide as between countries. For example, in Mexico, you could volunteer with impoverished communities just south of the Rio Grande, a sophisticated cultural center in the underappreciated capital Mexico City, an indigenous community in Oaxaca, or an environmental organization in Baja.
In most parts of Guatemala you’ll experience the indigenous majority which has kept Mayan languages and cultures alive despite centuries of repression, but in the capital you will find significant pockets of Mestizo communities with connections to Europe. In Panama you can experience African influenced communities as well as Kuna and other indigenous communities that have preserved their land, art, and language. Consider these regional differences as you plan your experience—are you most excited by the idea of living in the rainforest in Costa Rica or working with Mayan children in a Guatemalan school?
Know the history. The best volunteer programs in this region will provide not only opportunities for meaningful service you opportunities to learn about the culture, history, and politics of the country where you are volunteering. Especially in Central America, the United States has a history of intervention as well as international citizen solidarity. It will serve you well to learn the context of international volunteering in the region.
Protect your health. Dengue fever, hepatitis, and intestinal disease are common throughout Latin America. Make sure to get all recommended shots and evacuation insurance before you leave home. To avoid serious stomach troubles, I always travel with acidophilus and a back up pre-filled prescription for antibiotics. Do not assume you can get a prescription filled away from home. In an emergency, call your embassy and get an embassy- recommended doctor. Don’t swim outside of designated areas and even then only after you know about local currents.
If you prepare yourself well, chose the right volunteer program, and make an effort to stay safe, volunteering in Mexico or Latin America can be a transformational experience that enriches your life with new skills, heightened cultural understanding, and deep friendships.
Here are top organizations to consider for Mexico and Central America based on six years of research for the book I co-wrote, How to Live Your Dream of Volunteering Overseas.
For professionals with more money than time: Cross Cultural Solutions is a reputable organization with short-term opportunities in Guatemala and Costa Rica. Earthwatch Institute offers opportunities to help scientists gather data with researchers ranging from counting caterpillars in Costa Rican forests or tagging conches in Belize.
For high school students: Amigos de las Americas has decades of experience providing meaningful service and leadership opportunities. Global Routes combines overseas travel and service for young people.
For college students. Institute for Central American Development Studies (ICADS) provides summer language study and internships. Break Away is a wonderful resource for students interested in alternative spring breaks.
If you want to learn Spanish while you serve: I recommend Pop Wuj, a language school in Guatemala run by indigenous Mayan teachers. Most language schools offer opportunities to volunteer, but at Pop Wuj, volunteering is an integral part of the language experience. ICADS, mentioned above, also does a great job of integrating the two.
For family or intergenerational trips: Global Volunteers provides family opportunities in Mexico and Costa Rica and Exploritas, formerly Elderhostel offers special intergenerational trips for folks volunteering with their grandchildren, including Chocolate and the Maya: A Service Adventure in Belize.
For medical professionals: I suggest Health Volunteers Overseas.
For longer term volunteer options: Visions in Action offers programs in Mexico that are appropriate for progressive and independent volunteers who do not need much support. World Teach offers more support and provides opportunities to teach English in Costa Rica.
International Volunteer Programs Association (IVPA), www.volunteerinternational.org, is an alliance of non-governmental organizations involved in international volunteer work and internship exchanges.
In many parts of the region, if you already speak Spanish, you could consider setting up an independent volunteer experience.
The path to success is to take massive, determined action. Anthony Robbins I think there is something, more important than believing: Action! The world is full of dreamers, there aren’t enough who will move ahead and begin to take concrete steps to actualize their vision. Good actions give strength to ourselves and inspire good actions in others. Plato Great effort springs naturally from a great attitude. Pat Riley Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation. Brian Tracy “An optimist is a person who sees a green light everywhere, while the pessimist sees only the red stoplight… The truly wise person is colorblind.” Albert Schweitzer “Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Eleanor Roosevelt The man who has no imagination has no wings. Mahummad Ali “You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.” Albert Camus “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” Thomas Edison
Love Quotes plays very important part in the life of every couple whether it’s a Boyfriend-Girlfriend, Husband-Wife, Beloved etc. Here are few Top most love quotes of all time which you can share with your beloved. 1. “A kiss is a lovely trick, designed by nature, to stop words when speech becomes superfluous.” Ingrid Bergmen 2. “If you love me only in my dreams, let me be asleep forever.” –Unknown 3. “My night has become a sunny dawn because of you.” –Ibn Abbad 4. “In real love you want the other person’s good. In romantic love you want the other person.” 5. “In dreams and in love there are no impossibilities.” –Janos Arnay 6. “The soul that can speak with its eyes can also kiss with a gaze.” –Unknown 7. “Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.” –Aristotle 8. “Each moment of a happy lover’s hour is worth an age of dull and common life.” –Aphra Behn 9. “Your words are my food, your breath my wine. You are everything to me.” –Sarah Bernhardt 10. “In my wildest dreams, you always play the hero. In my darkest hour of night, you rescue me, you save my life.” –Bliss and Cerney 11. “Come live with me and be my love, and we will some new pleasures prove, of golden sands, and crystal beaches, with silken lines and silver hooks…” –John Dunne 12. “What I do and what I dream include thee, as the wine must taste of its own grapes…” –Elizabeth Barret Browning 13. “I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach…” –Elizabeth Barrett Browning 14. “Take away love, and our earth is a tomb.” –Robert Browning 15. “But to see her was to love her, love but her, and love her forever.” –Robert Burns 16. “She walks in Beauty, like the night Of cloudness climes and starry skies, And all that’s best of dark and bright Meet in her aspect and her eyes…” –Lord Byron 17. “Like music on the waters is they sweet voice to me.” –Lord Byron 18. “I love you, not only for what you are, But for what I am when I am with you.” –Roy Croft 19. “You’re nothing short of my everything.” –Ralph Block 20. “The only true gift is a portion of yourself.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson 21. “Thou art to me a delicious torment.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson 22. “Love distills desire upon the eyes, love brings bewitching grace into the heart.” –Euripides 23. “I love her and that’s the beginning of everything.” –F. Scott Fitzgerald 24. “I wished for nothing beyond her smile, and to walk with her thus, hand in hand, along a sun-warmed, flower-bordered path.” –Andre Gide 25. “Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.” –Robert Heinlein 26. “Where we love is home, home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.” –Oliver Wendell Holmes 27. “What I feel for you seems less of earth and more of a cloudless heaven.” –Victor Hugo 28. “It’s so easy, To think about Love, To Talk about Love, To wish for Love, But it’s not always easy, To recognize Love, Even when we hold it…. In our hands.” –Jaka 29. “Two souls with but a single thought, two hearts that beat as one.” –John Keats 30. “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.” –Helen Keller 31. “… See there’s this place in me where your fingerprints still rest, your kisses still linger, and your whispers softly echo. It’s the place where a part of you will forever be a part of me.” –Gretchen Kemp 32. “When you came, you were like red wine and honey, and the taste of you burnt my mouth with its sweetness.” –Amy Lowell 33. “Make me immortal with a kiss.” –Christopher Marlowe 34. “Oh, thou art fairer than the evening air Clad in the beauty of a thousand stars.” –Christopher Marlowe 35. “Love is the enchanted dawn of every heart.” –Alphonse Marie de la Martine 36. “In the arithmetic of love, one plus one equals everything, and two minus one equals nothing.” –Mignon McLaughlin 37. “We came by night to the Fortunate Isles, And lay like fish Under the net of our kisses.” –Pablo Neruda 38. “The hours I spend with you I look upon as sort of a perfumed garden, a dim twilight, and a fountain signing to it…you and you alone make me feel that I am alive…Other men, it is said, have seen angels, but I have seen thee and thou art enough.” –George Moore 39. “In love there are two things: bodies and words.” –Joyce Carol Oates 40. “I become a waterwheel, turning and tasting you, as long as water moves.” –Rumi 41. “I miss you even more than I could have believed; and I was prepared to miss you a good deal.” –Vita Sackville-West 42. “Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.” –Antoine de Saint-Exupery 43. “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” –Antoine de Saint-Exupery 44. “There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved.” –George Sand 45. “Sometimes your nearness takes my breath away; and all the things I want to say can find no voice. Then, in silence, I can only hope my eyes will speak my heart.” –Robert 46. “My heart is ever at your service.” –William Shakespeare 47. “The more I give to thee, the more I have, for both are infinite.” –William Shakespeare 48. “Love is but the discovery of ourselves in others, and the delight in the recognition.” –Alexander Smith 49. “I am my beloved, and my beloved is me.” –Song of Solomon 50. “Her breath is like honey spiced with cloves, Her mouth delicious as a ripened mango.” –Srzgarakarika
Air pollution from World War II weapon production in Alabama
Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into a natural environment that causes instability, disorder, harm or discomfort to the ecosystem i.e. physical systems or living organisms Pollution can take the form of chemical substances or energy, such as noise, heat, or light. Pollutants, the elements of pollution, can be foreign substances or energies, or naturally occurring; when naturally occurring, they are considered contaminants when they exceed natural levels. Pollution is often classed as point source or nonpoint source pollution. The Blacksmith Institute issues annually a list of the world's worst polluted places. In the 2007 issues the ten top nominees are located in Azerbaijan, China, India, Peru, Russia, Ukraine, and Zambia
Air pollution has always been with us. According to a 1983 article in the journal Science, "soot found on ceilings of prehistoric caves provides ample evidence of the high levels of pollution that was associated with inadequate ventilation of open fires." The forging of metals appears to be a key turning point in the creation of significant air pollution levels outside the home. Core samples of glaciers in Greenland indicate increases in pollution associated with Greek, Roman and Chinese metal production.
Pollution became a popular issue after World War II, due to radioactive fallout from atomic warfare and testing. Then a non-nuclear event, The Great Smog of 1952 in London, killed at least 4000 people. This prompted some of the first major modern environmental legislation, The Clean Air Act of 1956. Pollution began to draw major public attention in the United States between the mid-1950s and early 1970s, when Congress passed the Noise Control Act, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. Bad bouts of local pollution helped increase consciousness. PCB dumping in the Hudson River resulted in a ban by the EPA on consumption of its fish in 1974. Long-term dioxin contamination at Love Canal starting in 1947 became a national news story in 1978 and led to the Superfund legislation of 1980. Legal proceedings in the 1990s helped bring to light Chromium-6 releases in California--the champions of whose victims became famous. The pollution of industrial land gave rise to the name brownfield, a term now common in city planning. DDT was banned in most of the developed world after the publication of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring. The development of nuclear science introduced radioactive contamination, which can remain lethally radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years. Lake Karachay, named by the Worldwatch Institute as the "most polluted spot" on earth, served as a disposal site for the Soviet Union thoroughout the 1950s and 1960s. Second place may go to the area of Chelyabinsk U.S.S.R. (see reference below) as the "Most polluted place on the planet".
Nuclear weapons continued to be tested in the Cold War, sometimes near inhabited areas, especially in the earlier stages of their development. The toll on the worst-affected populations and the growth since then in understanding about the critical threat to human health posed by radioactivity has also been a prohibitive complication associated with nuclear power. Though extreme care is practiced in that industry, the potential for disaster suggested by incidents such as those at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl pose a lingering specter of public mistrust. One legacy of nuclear testing before most forms were banned has been significantly raised levels of background radiation.
International catastrophes such as the wreck of the Amoco Cadiz oil tanker off the coast of Brittany in 1978 and the Bhopal disaster in 1984 have demonstrated the universality of such events and the scale on which efforts to address them needed to engage. The borderless nature of atmosphere and oceans inevitably resulted in the implication of pollution on a planetary level with the issue of global warming. Most recently the term persistent organic pollutant (POP) has come to describe a group of chemicals such as PBDEs and PFCs among others. Though their effects remain somewhat less well understood owing to a lack of experimental data, they have been detected in various ecological habitats far removed from industrial activity such as the Arctic, demonstrating diffusion and bioaccumulation after only a relatively brief period of widespread use. Growing evidence of local and global pollution and an increasingly informed public over time have given rise to environmentalism and the environmental movement, which generally seek to limit human impact on the environment.
Forms of pollution
The Lachine Canal in Montreal Canada, is polluted.
The major forms of pollution are listed below along with the particular pollutants relevant to each of them:
Air pollution, the release of chemicals and particulates into the atmosphere. Common gaseous air pollutants include carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and nitrogen oxides produced by industry and motor vehicles. Photochemical ozone and smog are created as nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons react to sunlight. Particulate matter, or fine dust is characterized by their micrometre size PM10 to PM2.5.
Light pollution, includes light trespass, over-illumination and astronomical interference.
Noise pollution, which encompasses roadway noise, aircraft noise, industrial noise as well as high-intensity sonar.
Soil contamination occurs when chemicals are released by spill or underground leakage. Among the most significant soil contaminants are hydrocarbons, heavy metals, MTBE, herbicides, pesticides and chlorinated hydrocarbons.
Radioactive contamination, resulting from 20th century activities in atomic physics, such as nuclear power generation and nuclear weapons research, manufacture and deployment. (See alpha emitters and actinides in the environment.)
Thermal pollution, is a temperature change in natural water bodies caused by human influence, such as use of water as coolant in a power plant.
Visual pollution, which can refer to the presence of overhead power lines, motorway billboards, scarred landforms (as from strip mining), open storage of trash or municipal solid waste.
Water pollution, by the release of waste products and contaminants into surface runoff into river drainage systems, leaching into groundwater, liquid spills, wastewater discharges, eutrophication and littering.
A pollutant is a waste material that pollutes air, water or soil. Three factors determine the severity of a pollutant: its chemical nature, the concentration and the persistence.
Sources and causes
Air pollution comes from both natural and man made sources. Though globally man made pollutants from combustion, construction, mining, agriculture and warfare are increasingly significant in the air pollution equation.
Motor vehicle emissions are one of the leading causes of air pollution. China, United States, Russia, Mexico, and Japan are the world leaders in air pollution emissions. Principal stationary pollution sources include chemical plants, coal-fired power plants, oil refineries,petrochemical plants, nuclear waste disposal activity, incinerators, large livestock farms (dairy cows, pigs, poultry, etc.), PVC factories, metals production factories, plastics factories, and other heavy industry. Agricultural air pollution comes from contemporary practices which include clear felling and burning of natural vegetation as well as spraying of pesticides and herbicides About 400 million metric tons of hazardous wastes are generated each year. The United States alone produces about 250 million metric tons.Americans constitute less than 5% of the world's population, but produce roughly 25% of the world’s CO2, and generate approximately 30% of world’s waste. In 2007, China has overtaken the United States as the world's biggest producer of CO2. In February 2007, a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), representing the work of 2,500 scientists from more than 130 countries, said that humans have been the primary cause of global warming since 1950. Humans have ways to cut greenhouse gas emissions and avoid the consequences of global warming, a major climate report concluded. But in order to change the climate, the transition from fossil fuels like coal and oil needs to occur within decades, according to the final report this year from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Some of the more common soil contaminants are chlorinated hydrocarbons (CFH), heavy metals (such as chromium, cadmium--found in rechargeable batteries, and lead--found in lead paint, aviation fuel and still in some countries, gasoline), MTBE, zinc, arsenic and benzene. In 2001 a series of press reports culminating in a book called Fateful Harvest unveiled a widespread practice of recycling industrial byproducts into fertilizer, resulting in the contamination of the soil with various metals. Ordinary municipal landfills are the source of many chemical substances entering the soil environment (and often groundwater), emanating from the wide variety of refuse accepted, especially substances illegally discarded there, or from pre-1970 landfills that may have been subject to little control in the U.S. or EU. There have also been some unusual releases of polychlorinated dibenzodioxins, commonly called dioxins for simplicity, such as TCDD. Pollution can also be the consequence of a natural disaster. For example, hurricanes often involve water contamination from sewage, and petrochemical spills from ruptured boats or automobiles. Larger scale and environmental damage is not uncommon when coastal oil rigs or refineries are involved. Some sources of pollution, such as nuclear power plants or oil tankers, can produce widespread and potentially hazardous releases when accidents occur. In the case of noise pollution the dominant source class is the motor vehicle, producing about ninety percent of all unwanted noise worldwide.
Overview of main health effects on humans from some common types of pollution.
Adverse air quality can kill many organisms including humans. Ozone pollution can cause respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, throat inflammation, chest pain, and congestion. Water pollution causes approximately 14,000 deaths per day, mostly due to contamination of drinking water by untreated sewage in developing countries. An estimated 700 million Indians have no access to a proper toilet, and 1,000 Indian children die of diarrhoeal sickness every day. Nearly 500 million Chinese lack access to safe drinking water.656,000 people die prematurely each year in China because of air pollution. In India, air pollution is believed to cause 527,700 fatalities a year. Studies have estimated that the number of people killed annually in the US could be over 50,000. Oil spills can cause skin irritations and rashes. Noise pollution induces hearing loss, high blood pressure, stress, and sleep disturbance. Mercury has been linked to developmental deficits in children and neurologic symptoms. Older people are majorly exposed to diseases induced by air pollution. Those with heart or lung disorders are under additional risk. Children and infants are also at serious risk. Lead and other heavy metals have been shown to cause neurological problems. Chemical and radioactive substances can cause cancer and as well as birth defects.
Pollution has been found to be present widely in the environment. There are a number of effects of this:
Biomagnification describes situations where toxins (such as heavy metals) may pass through trophic levels, becoming exponentially more concentrated in the process.
Carbon dioxide emissions cause ocean acidification, the ongoing decrease in the pH of the Earth's oceans as CO2 becomes dissolved.
The emission of greenhouse gases leads to global warming which affects ecosystems in many ways.
Invasive species can out compete native species and reduce biodiversity. Invasive plants can contribute debris and biomolecules (allelopathy) that can alter soil and chemical compositions of an environment, often reducing native species competitiveness.
Nitrogen oxides are removed from the air by rain and fertilise land which can change the species composition of ecosystems.
Smog and haze can reduce the amount of sunlight received by plants to carry out photosynthesis and leads to the production of tropospheric ozone which damages plants.
Soil can become infertile and unsuitable for plants. This will affect other organisms in the food web.
Sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides can cause acid rain which lowers the pH value of soil.
Environmental health information
The Toxicology and Environmental Health Information Program (TEHIP) at the United States National Library of Medicine (NLM) maintains a comprehensive toxicology and environmental health web site that includes access to resources produced by TEHIP and by other government agencies and organizations. This web site includes links to databases, bibliographies, tutorials, and other scientific and consumer-oriented resources. TEHIP also is responsible for the Toxicology Data Network (TOXNET®) an integrated system of toxicology and environmental health databases that are available free of charge on the web. TOXMAP is a Geographic Information System (GIS) that is part of TOXNET. TOXMAP uses maps of the United States to help users visually explore data from the United States Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Toxics Release Inventory and Superfund Basic Research Programs.
A geographic information system (GIS), geographical information system, or geospatial information system is any system that captures, stores, analyzes, manages, and presents data that are linked to location(s). In the simplest terms, GIS is the merging of cartography, statistical analysis, and database technology. GIS may be used in archaeology, geography, cartography, remote sensing, land surveying, public utility management, natural resource management, precision agriculture, photogrammetry, urban planning, emergency management, landscape architecture, navigation, aerial video, and localized search engines. As GIS can be thought of as a system, it digitally creates and "manipulates" spatial areas that may be jurisdictional, purpose or application oriented for which a specific GIS is developed. Hence, a GIS developed for an application, jurisdiction, enterprise, or purpose may not be necessarily interoperable or compatible with a GIS that has been developed for some other application, jurisdiction, enterprise, or purpose. What goes beyond a GIS is a spatial data infrastructure (SDI), a concept that has no such restrictive boundaries. Therefore, in a general sense, the term describes any information system that integrates, stores, edits, analyzes, shares, and displays geographic information for informing decision making. GIS applications are tools that allow users to create interactive queries (user-created searches), analyze spatial information, edit data, maps, and present the results of all these operations. Geographic information science is the science underlying the geographic concepts, applications and systems.
GIS technology can be used for: earth surface based scientific investigations; resource management, reference, and projections of a geospatial nature—both manmade and natural; asset management and location planning; archaeology; environmental impact study; infrastructure assessment and development; urban planning; cartography, for a thematic and/or time based purpose; criminology; geospatial intelligence; GIS data development geographic history; marketing; logistics; population and demographic studies; prospectivity mapping; location attributes applied statistical analysis; warfare assessments; and other purposes. Examples of use are: GIS may allow emergency planners to easily calculate emergency response times and the movement of response resources (for logistics) in the case of a natural disaster; GIS might be used to find wetlands that need protection strategies regarding pollution; or GIS can be used by a company to site a new business location to take advantage of GIS data identified trends to respond to a previously under-served market. Most city and transportation systems planning offices have GIS sections.
History of development
In 1854, John Snow depicted a cholera outbreak in London using points to represent the locations of some individual cases, possibly the earliest use of the geographic method. His study of the distribution of cholera led to the source of the disease, a contaminated water pump (the Broad Street Pump, whose handle he had disconnected, thus terminating the outbreak) within the heart of the cholera outbreak.
E. W. Gilbert's version (1958) of John Snow's 1855 map of the Soho cholera outbreak showing the clusters of cholera cases in the London epidemic of 1854.
While the basic elements of topography and theme existed previously in cartography, the John Snow map was unique, using cartographic methods not only to depict but also to analyze clusters of geographically dependent phenomena for the first time. The early 20th century saw the development of photolithography, by which maps were separated into layers. Computer hardware development spurred by nuclear weapon research led to general-purpose computer "mapping" applications by the early 1960s. The year 1960 saw the development of the world's first true operational GIS in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada by the federal Department of Forestry and Rural Development. Developed by Dr. Roger Tomlinson, it was called the "Canada Geographic Information System" (CGIS) and was used to store, analyze, and manipulate data collected for the Canada Land Inventory (CLI) – an effort to determine the land capability for rural Canada by mapping information about soils, agriculture, recreation, wildlife, waterfowl, forestry, and land use at a scale of 1:50,000. A rating classification factor was also added to permit analysis. CGIS was the world's first such system and an improvement over "mapping" applications as it provided capabilities for overlay, measurement, and digitizing/scanning. It supported a national coordinate system that spanned the continent, coded lines as "arcs" having a true embedded topology, and it stored the attribute and locational information in separate files. As a result of this, Tomlinson has become known as the "father of GIS," particularly for his use of overlays in promoting the spatial analysis of convergent geographic data. CGIS lasted into the 1990s and built a large digital land resource database in Canada. It was developed as a mainframe based system in support of federal and provincial resource planning and management. Its strength was continent-wide analysis of complex datasets. The CGIS was never available in a commercial form. In 1964, Howard T Fisher formed the Laboratory for Computer Graphics and Spatial Analysis at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (LCGSA 1965-1991), where a number of important theoretical concepts in spatial data handling were developed, and which by the 1970s had distributed seminal software code and systems, such as 'SYMAP', 'GRID', and 'ODYSSEY' -- which served as literal and inspirational sources for subsequent commercial development—to universities, research centers, and corporations worldwide.
By the early 1980s, M&S Computing (later Intergraph), Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI), CARIS (Computer Aided Resource Information System) and ERDAS emerged as commercial vendors of GIS software, successfully incorporating many of the CGIS features, combining the first generation approach to separation of spatial and attribute information with a second generation approach to organizing attribute data into database structures. In parallel, the development of two public domain systems began in the late 1970s and early 1980s. MOSS, the Map Overlay and Statistical System project started in 1977 in Fort Collins, Colorado under the auspices of the Western Energy and Land Use Team (WELUT) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. GRASS GIS was begun in 1982 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineering Research Laboratory (USA-CERL) in Champaign, Illinois, a branch of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to meet the need of the U.S. military for software for land management and environmental planning. The later 1980s and 1990s industry growth were spurred on by the growing use of GIS on Unix workstations and the personal computer. By the end of the 20th century, the rapid growth in various systems had been consolidated and standardized on relatively few platforms, and users were beginning to export the concept of viewing GIS data over the Internet, requiring data format and transfer standards. More recently, a growing number of free, open source GIS packages run on a range of operating systems and can be customized to perform specific tasks. Increasingly geospatial data and mapping applications are being made available via the world wide web.