Posts tagged with "protection"

Politics by 360 Magazine via 360 Magazine

Extend the PSLF Waiver

Menendez, Kaine, Gillibrand, Van Hollen, Sarbanes, Hayes, Courtney Urge the Biden Administration to Extend the PSLF Waiver.

The bicameral group of lawmakers asked for the waiver deadline to be extended until July 1, 2023

U.S. Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), alongside U.S. Representatives John Sarbanes (D-Md.-03), Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.-05), and Joe Courtney (D-Conn.-02), today led a bicameral group of nearly 100 colleagues in urging U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona to extend the limited Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) waiver deadline until July 1, 2023 – when the Department of Education’s new PSLF regulations are set to take effect, in order to ensure all public servants with federal student loans can benefit from this historic waiver. Since the Department announced the limited PSLF waiver last October, more than 189,000 public servants have had their student loans forgiven through the program and one million have received an average of one additional year of PSLF credit.

“To date, the waiver has been overwhelmingly successful in reducing barriers for borrowers to receive PSLF relief, as the waiver accounts for almost all (91%) of the borrowers who have received forgiveness through the PSLF program through July 31, 2022,” wrote the lawmakers to Secretary Cardona. “The limited waiver [has] also [been] a lifeline for Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) borrowers who—for the first time—have seen their payments acknowledged in the PSLF program.”

Despite how many public servants have already benefited from the limited waiver, the lawmakers highlighted that these borrowers represent only a fraction of the public servants who are eligible for PSLF. According to the Student Borrower Protection Center’s estimates, only 15% of the 9 million public service workers with student debt have filed paperwork to track their qualifying payments under PSLF. The lawmakers also echoed the more than 20 state attorneys general who warned that fundamental programmatic problems with the PSLF program will immediately return – likely in a more exacerbated manner – if the waiver ends before the Department of Education implements its new PSLF regulations.

“Extending the PSLF waiver will also allow more military service members and federal employees to make progress towards loan forgiveness through PSLF. Though the Department has announced that it is currently working to ensure that all federal agencies and departments automatically provide credit for PSLF for members of the military and federal employees, this program is not yet in place,” added the lawmakers. “Military and federal data matches are critical to ensuring that the Department can identify which borrowers are eligible for PSLF and provide them automatic relief.”

Sen. Menendez and many of his colleagues have long called on the Department of Education to make comprehensive fixes to the PSLF program, which has faced scrutiny for several implementation challenges since its inception in 2007, with only 1 to 2 percent of PSLF applicants being approved each year prior to the Biden Administration proposing a sweeping overhaul of the PSLF program. Today’s effort comes more than a month after Sen. Menendez and several of his colleagues led a group of more than 100 lawmakers in calling on the Biden Administration to extend the PSLF waiver deadline.

This effort is supported by 35 advocacy groups, including: AASA, The School Superintendents Association, Accountable.us, American Association of University Women (AAUW), American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC), American Council on Education (ACE), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), American Psychological Association (APA), OCA- Asian Pacific American Advocates, Association of Young Americans (AYA), Chicago Foundation for Women (CFW), Community Service Society of New York (CSSNY), Consumer Action, Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), Fosterus, Maryland Center for Collegiate Financial Wellness (MCCFW), National Action Network Washington Bureau, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), National Association of Social Workers (NASW), National Council of Nonprofits, National Education Association (NEA), National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), New Leaders, New Jersey Citizen Action, Public Law Center, Social Current, Student Borrower Protection Center (SBPC), Student Debt Crisis Center (SDCC), The Arc, The Education Trust, The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS), UnidosUS, and Virginia Poverty Law Center (VPLC).

Joining Sens. Menendez, Kaine, Gillibrand, and Van Hollen in the Senate in signing the letter are: Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

Joining Reps. Sarbanes, Hayes, and Courtney in the House in signing the letter are: Reps. Alma Adams (D-N.C.-12), Colin Allred (D-Texas-32), Cynthia Axne (D-Iowa-03), Nanette Barragán (D-Calif.-44), Karen Bass (D-Calif.-37), Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.-01), Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.-16), Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.-02), Shontel Brown (D-Ohio-11), Salud Carbajal (D-Calif.-24), Sean Casten (D-Ill.-06), Judy Chu (D-Calif.-27), David Cicilline (D-R.I.-01), James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.-06), J. Luis Correa (D-Calif.-46), Angie Craig (D-Minn.-02), Danny K. Davis (D-Ill.-07), Rosa L. DeLauro (D-Conn.-03), Mark DeSaulnier (D-Calif.-11), Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.-12), Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas-35), Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.-13), Dwight Evans (D-Pa.-03), Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.-07), Jesús “Chuy” García (D-Ill.-04), Sylvia Garcia (D-Texas-29), Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.-34), Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.-03), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas-18), Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.-53), Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.-07), Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.-06), John B. Larson (D-Conn.-01), Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.-14), Teresa Leger Fernandez (D-N.M.-03), Stephen F. Lynch (D-Mass.-08), Lucy McBath (D-Ga.-06), Betty McCollum (D-Minn.-04), James McGovern (D-Mass.-02), Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.-09), Gwen Moore (D-Wisc.-04), Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.-32), Marie Newman (D-Ill.-03), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.-At-Large), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.-14), Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.-06), Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.-20), Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-N.J.-09), Chellie Pingree (D-Maine-01), Katie Porter (D-Calif.-45), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.-07), Mike Quigley (D-Ill.-05), Jamie Raskin (D-Md.-08), Deborah K. Ross (D-N.C.-02), C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.-02), Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.-01), Gregorio Sablan (D-N. Mariana Is.-At-Large), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.-09), David Scott (D-Ga.-13), Adam Smith (D-Wash.-09), Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.-07), Haley Stevens (D-Mich.-11), Thomas Suozzi (D-N.Y.-03), Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.-15), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.-13), David Trone (D-Md.-06), Juan Vargas (D-Calif.-51), Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.-07), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.-12), Peter Welch (D-Vt.-At-Large), Susan Wild (D-Pa.-07), Nikema Williams (D-Ga.-05), and John A. Yarmuth (D-Ky.-03).

Find a copy of the letter HERE and below.

Dear Secretary Cardona:

Thank you for your continued efforts to improve the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. As you are aware, the limited PSLF waiver, announced last October, has significantly improved the lives of the more than 189,0001 public servants who have had their student loans forgiven though the program and the one million2 who have received an average of one additional year of PSLF credit. Given the upcoming October 31, 2022 limited PSLF waiver deadline, we write to reiterate our request3 that the Department of Education extend its deadline until July 1, 2023—when the Department’s new PSLF regulations will take effect—in order to ensure that all public servants with federal student loans are able to benefit from this historic waiver. 

To date, the waiver has been overwhelmingly successful in reducing barriers for borrowers to receive PSLF relief, as the waiver accounts for almost all (91%) of the borrowers who have received forgiveness through the PSLF program through July 31, 2022.4 The limited waiver is also a lifeline for Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) borrowers who—for the first time—have seen their payments acknowledged in the PSLF program. Yet, data indicates that only a fraction of the public servants who are eligible for PSLF have utilized the waiver. According to the Student Borrower Protection Center’s estimates, only 15% of the 9 million public service workers with student debt have filed paperwork to track their qualifying payments under PSLF.5

As more than 20 state attorneys general have pointed out, “[g]iven the essential benefits provided by the limited PSLF waiver, and the fact that fundamental problems with the PSLF program will immediately return (likely in an exacerbated form) upon the waiver’s end, we have grave concerns about the plans to end the waiver . . . before the Department’s new PSLF regulations take effect.”These attorneys general, alongside the education advocacy, government, and non-profit community as a whole, agree that operationalizing and explaining the waiver has been an incredible challenge for the Department, as well as its servicers. Such challenges have left numerous public servants confused about how the waiver, consolidation, and the Department’s one-time review to fix forbearance and deferment failures will work. This is especially true for FFEL borrowers and borrowers who still hold joint consolidated loans from the Department, many of whom are still unaware that they may have an opportunity to qualify for PSLF under the limited PSLF waiver.

Importantly, extending the PSLF waiver will also allow more military service members and federal employees to make progress towards loan forgiveness through PSLF. Though the Department has announced that it is currently working to ensure that all federal agencies and departments automatically provide credit for PSLF for members of the military and federal employees, this program is not yet in place. Military and federal data matches are critical to ensuring that the Department can identify which borrowers are eligible for PSLF and provide them automatic relief.

Since the deadline of October 31, 2022 to qualify for PSLF under the waiver program is less than one month away, we ask that the Department extend this deadline in order to ensure that all public servants with federal student loans are able to benefit from this historic waiver.

Sincerely,

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Joseph Pergolizzi via Pitch Publicity NYC for use by 360 MAGAZINE

How Extreme Heat Affects Pain

The Heat Is (Still) On For People In Pain

By: Joseph Pergolizzi, MD, Healthy Directions

The dog days of summer may have come to an end, but the heat of summer may still be taking a toll on many people dealing with arthritis and other conditions. Pain and heat don’t mix well and can make pain issues worse. 

How Heat Affects Pain

The science behind how extreme weather changes can affect a person’s pain levels is not completely clear. However, we know from the medical literature that heat can trigger intense pain based on many documents by physicians who have treated patients who suffer more painful symptoms in hot weather. 

One theory is that the increased humidity in the air can cause swelling and inflammation in the joints. Temperature sensitivity is common for people with chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia — some being sensitive to hot weather, while others are more sensitive to cooler weather.

Some patients with arthritis report that they can predict the weather based on how their joints feel. Some people notice their pain and stiffness flares up in the cold and wet winter months, while others find hot and humid summer weather can intensify their symptoms.

Scientists have identified that muscles, bones and tendons become larger and smaller in response to atmospheric changes, but exactly how and why barometric pressure changes affect the joints is still unclear. It could be related to the pressure of the fluid oiling the joints or increased nerve sensitivity. Each person’s response to heat may also depend on the type of arthritis they have.

While further study is needed to provide insight into how extreme heat affects pain, there are several strategies that we can access now to minimize heat induced pain.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

We’ve all heard this advice before: you don’t want to wait until you are parched to start drinking water — continue to hydrate all day long even if you don’t feel thirsty.

The obvious advice is to drink water. The not-so-obvious advice is to drink food. Yes, the good news is that hydration can also come in the form of food since certain foods are high in water content. According to the Mayo Clinic, about 20% of our water consumption comes from foods – primarily fruits and veggies. So indulge in hydrating foods like: watermelon, cucumbers, zucchini, celery, carrots, radishes, kiwi, peaches, cantaloupe, eggplant, tomatoes, strawberries, iceberg lettuce, pineapple, grapefruit, apples and even potatoes, which contain about 80% water and are a good source of potassium, a key mineral in maintaining healthy blood pressure.

You may not want to hear this advice, but limiting alcohol and caffeine is key to staying hydrated. It’s not that you have to eliminate caffeine and alcoholic beverages, but try to alternate them between a large glass of water to keep your hydration in check.

Avoid Direct Sun

The sun may feel fantastic on your skin at first, but the heat is secretly doing it damage. Even staying hydrated and slathering on lotion and creams will not put back all the moisture that the sun drains away from it so quickly. Every moment spent in the shade allows your skin to repair itself and reduce the chances of sunburn, which can cause skin damage and intensify any existing aches and pains.

During the summer months, never leave home without a wide-brim hat and sunglasses. Some people even find an umbrella helpful so you are producing your own shade wherever you go. Whenever possible, move towards the shade and avoid walking or sitting in the direct sunlight. 

Those who suffer from headaches should avoid bright sunlight as much as possible. While just being out in the heat stresses your body, direct sunlight can cause sunburn and intensify pain. 

Mix Sunscreen With Pain Cream 

We know the benefits of protecting the skin from being burnt by the sun by using sunscreen, but adding some pain cream to that sunscreen will also help mitigate painful muscle spasms, which can occur even if you have never had them before, and especially if the body gets too warm and can’t cool itself down fast enough. An effective pain relief cream can work much faster than oral pain medications, usually within a few minutes, and you are able to target the pain relief more precisely by putting the cream exactly where you are feeling the pain. Topical pain relief creams have been so effective for my patients, that I developed a formula called Instaflex Pain Relief Cream that can be applied directly on the affected joints or muscles, providing a first-line, instant pain defense for the body. This specific formula combines essential oxygenated oil with menthol to provide fast, targeted relief. Because it uses specially designed oils, less menthol is used, making it less harsh, but just as effective for pain. 

Unlike pain pills, topical pain relief formulas do not adversely affect the gastrointestinal system or the heart or the brain. If you apply a pain relief cream to the shoulder, for example, it positively affects the joint and tendons and muscles around the shoulder to provide pain relief. You can also apply the pain relief cream more frequently than you can take an oral pain relief medication, where you would have to wait 6 to 8 hours between doses. Pills also take much longer to absorb in the body versus putting the pain relief cream directly on the affected joints or muscles, providing instant pain relief. 

Dress To Protect

If you know you will be outside and exposed to heat for more than an hour, plan a wardrobe to protect accordingly. Choose to wear loose, breathable clothing. Avoid dark colored clothing and instead wear white or light-colored clothing to keep you cooler. Be mindful that UV light can still penetrate through the micro holes in the weaves of regular clothes or can even travel directly through a light-colored shirt. So add UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) clothing options to your summer wardrobe that will provide a more protective block from the sun.

While loose fitting clothing allows for airflow, choosing fabrics that allow sweat to evaporate more easily will feel even cooler. These fabrics include: cotton, linen, rayon, chambray, and bamboo, along with those that have been designed with moisture-wicking technology.

If you want to be fashionable and sun safe, don that hat. Luckily, many fashion hats are now embracing the fact that SPF is a key factor to design. The brim of your hat also matters so embrace your inner Audrey Hepburn and go for the wide brim look. The wider the brim, the more skin protection. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends a three-inch brim circumference or at least a three-inch bill with a permanently attached drape covering the ears and neck. The key is to cover as much skin as possible. Be mindful that front-brimmed hats, like baseball caps and visors, only shade the eyes, not the skin.

Pain Or Not

Hot weather by itself can cause dizziness, lightheadedness, fatigue, and muscle cramps, even in people who do not normally have muscle pain so these heat reducing tips are good advice for everyone. Pain can easily sneak up on anyone so practicing these heat reducing techniques will create good habits that will protect your skin and minimize your pain in the long run. The key is to do your best to stay cool and pain-free while you enjoy one of the most pleasurable times of the year.

Biography: Joseph Pergolizzi, Jr., MD, is a leading pain physician who combines the latest medical advances and scientific breakthroughs with a profound professional compassion for patients facing painful, life-altering conditions. He earned his BS in physical chemistry from St. John’s University and an MD with the highest honors from Ross University School of Medicine. He completed his residency in anesthesia at Georgetown University School of Medicine and a clinical research fellowship in the Department of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Pergolizzi is currently a senior partner at Naples Anesthesia and Pain Associates, Inc. Additionally, he works with Healthy Directions as an adviser and educator on natural solutions for pain management. As a physician, inventor, research scientist, and advocate for pain patients, Dr. Pergolizzi has authored over 350 peer-reviewed articles, abstracts, platform presentations, and book chapters.

Website: HERE

Covid patient image created by Sara Davidson at 360 Magazine use by 360 Magazine

Long-lasting COVID-19 Protection

In what could be very good news for the immunocompromised, an antibody cocktail tested at the University of Virginia School of Medicine appears to offer long-lasting protection from COVID-19.

The cocktail, manufactured by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, reduced the risk of COVID-19 infection by more than 80% for more than eight months, the company announced in a news release. The 81.6% risk reduction seen in the second to eighth months after administration continues the robust, 81.4% risk reduction seen in the first month.

William A. Petri Jr., MD, PhD, was one of the leaders of UVA’s testing of the antibody cocktail. He was pleasantly surprised by the durability of the protection reported by Regeneron. He said the drug could be of particular benefit for immunocompromised people who do not develop a strong response to vaccination.

“The significance of the finding is that the antibody cocktail can prevent COVID-19 in immunocompromised individuals whom we know sometimes fail to respond to the vaccine,” said Petri, an infectious disease expert.

Lasting COVID-19 Protection

Regeneron’s new analysis looked at the results from 1,683 people who were not infected with COVID-19 and did not have antibodies to the virus. Among trial participants who received the cocktail, none was hospitalized for COVID-19 during the following eight months. Only seven were infected with SARS-CoV-2, compared with 38 who received a placebo. Thus, the antibody cocktail provided more than 80% protection for 2-8 months.

The federal Food and Drug Administration first authorized Regeneron’s cocktail in November 2020 to treat patients with mild to moderate COVID-19. The federal regulators then expanded the authorization in July to allow its use as a preventative treatment in people exposed to COVID-19 and those at high risk of exposure, such as nursing home residents. Regeneron’s antibody cocktail is not a vaccine and is not a replacement for a vaccine. However, it may greatly benefit people who do not develop a strong immune response to vaccination, such as patients receiving treatment for cancer and other people who are immunocompromised, said Petri, of UVA’s Division of Infectious Diseases and International Health. 360 Magazine is interested and excited to see what science can do in order to help protect us. 

For such patients, getting a periodic dose of the cocktail – annually, perhaps — could provide the immune protection that their own bodies can’t, Petri said. (More research will be needed to determine the best dosing interval.) “While these results still require peer review to ensure their accuracy, this is likely to be a significant step forward in the prevention of COVID-19 in the immunocompromised,” Petri said.

Piggy Bank illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Financial Future

Securing Your Financial Future

Mark Williams, CEO Brokers International

When it comes to securing your financial future, the best time to start planning is today. There are a lot of tools and products available to help put a plan together, but they all have one thing in common: the earlier you take advantage of them, the better off you’ll be.

Studies have shown that younger individuals, particularly millennials, tend to prefer savings over retirement accounts. Whether that’s because they lived through the Great Recession and saw what happened to older generations whose retirement strategies were rooted in the stock market, a lack of financial literacy, or something else altogether, the fact remains that younger generations have a more conservative mindset regarding financial planning and investing.

Many people put off retirement planning until retirement itself moves more into focus. But to maximize the impact of your efforts to plan for a secure financial future, start as early as you can. Here’s where you should start.

Workplace 401(k)s

For many people in the workforce, a 401(k) is offered through their employer. Saving money for the future in a tax-advantaged vehicle is a wise move, but for those whose companies offer a 401(k) match, it’s a no-brainer to maximize that source of free money. Due to the power of compound interest, even a small regular contribution makes a major difference over time.

Consider this example. If you invest $50 a month into a 401(k), at an average 7% annual rate of return, that investment adds up. After 15 years, you’ll have invested $9,000, but it will be worth over $15,000. That same $50 a month after 30 years will amount to $18,000 out of your pocket, but it will have grown to nearly $57,000. And if you invest just $50 a month for 45 years, that $27,000 investment will be worth just under $171,500. (You may not get 7% every year, but as an illustration, the value is clear.)

Annuities

Planning for your financial future can be difficult when you may not even have a view of that horizon. You don’t know what your life will look like, what your financial needs will be, and what resources will be available to you once you are no longer working.

Annuities provide a great response to the uncertainty of long-range financial planning. It’s the only financial product available that guarantees an income stream for life — once you turn on that income stream, it’s fixed. Fluctuations in interest rates or the marketplace won’t affect it. An annuity will provide you with a paycheck every single month until the day you die — and some products even allow you to extend that benefit to your spouse or children.

Life Insurance

This is the big one, but many people overlook life insurance because they won’t be able to take advantage of it themselves. But ask yourself, at any stage of life, if you don’t make it home one day, who relies on you to provide financially? More than anything, insurance is a form of safety and protection, for you and for those you love. It’s critically important for someone who is married with children to have life insurance in case of tragedy, to be able to help cover debts, provide a future source of income and even allow space for grief without financial anxiety.

But even for single young professionals, just starting off their careers, life insurance should be a primary consideration in financial planning.

Consider a young, single, 23-year-old individual who may not have anyone who depends on their income. Why would that person want to purchase a life insurance policy in that situation? In part, because they don’t know what their situation will be like in 1, 5 or 10 years, and a 20- or 30-year term life insurance policy will provide financial safeguards for some of the possibilities that may arise. Additionally, there’s a popular saying in the insurance industry: money pays for life insurance, but health buys it. When you are young and healthy, you’ll never be able to get a life insurance policy as cheaply as you can at that point.

Just as you never know if or when your circumstances may change and you’ll find yourself wanting a life insurance policy to protect the financial interests of someone you married five years after initially deciding not to purchase a policy, you may also receive a diagnosis in that same five-year period that makes life insurance impossible (or prohibitively out of reach).

If you buy life insurance when you’re young and healthy, you can take advantage of the best rates possible and provide a blanket of financial security for your loved ones.

Plan Ahead

Financial planning isn’t a lot of fun for most people, but it is necessary. Whether you are aiming for a specific short- to a mid-range financial goal or turning your eye toward your eventual retirement, it pays to start thinking about securing your financial future as early as possible. The cost of doing so when you are young is comparatively lower than if you wait 10, 20, or 30 years to make some of the same decisions.

If you’re young, take advantage of your long time horizon and plan accordingly. If you’re older and already feeling close to retirement, you may not have taken advantage of the power of compound interest but it’s still not too late to reallocate some of your assets and shore up your financial situation as much as possible.

For anyone, I would strongly recommend seeking out the advice and experience of a financial professional — they will understand all of your available options and know best how to construct a strategic plan to help you reach your goals.

illustration by Gabrielle Archuleta for use by 360 Magazine

Differences Between Spray-on and Roll-on Bed Liners

The benefits of installing a truck bed liner far exceed the cost implications of installing one. Truck liners protect cargo, truck integrity, provide protection from internal dents and scratches and also convenience of keeping the truck clean. All in all, it is a good investment.

Truck bed liners are accessories made of polyurea elastomer composite. It is a durable material that lines the truck bed that can withstand outdoor elements and cargo workload.

Here we will dive deep into the differences between the spray and roll on bed liner application and the advantages and drawbacks, so you can make an informed decision before embarking on a DIY project.

One thing’s for sure – bed liners do provide protection for your truck bed against wear and tear. Trucks are for hauling, carrying debris, mobilization, or the usual rough off-road activities. These are harsh conditions that can wear out your truck bed.

Roll-on bed liners

A do-it-yourself roll-on bed liner can cost $100-$200, significantly cheaper than the drop-in and spray-on alternative by more than half.

There are four roll-on bed liners available in the market today – polyurethane formulation (the basic), oil-based, water-based and urethane. All vary in features, but all are inclusive of brush kits for convenience.

This option is like any homestyle painting activity. Most of the tools for a DIY bed liner project are available in any local hardware store. This great liner can protect your pick-up’s bed from corrosion and moisture with a guarantee of unrivaled UV protection for up to a decade. It also offers a textured finish that provides the bed with an anti-skid feature to keep items and gear from sliding down the truck bed. Wood, metal, and concrete are some surfaces that are possible to apply roll-on paint – a versatile material yielding a much cheaper end product.

Spray-on bed liners

As the name implies, a vital spray gun tool is needed to apply spray-on bed liners. Aside from a spray gun, an air compressor is also one of the tools. A unique feature for spray-on bed liners is the ability of the material to lull sounds and vibrations that are distracting while on the road. It is also resistant to rust and sun exposure. The only drawback of this method is that the application is not a DIY sort of thing. Manufacturers generally apply it using a spray system; thus, this can be a more expensive option. A professionally installed spray-on bed liner costs $500-$1,000. The application requires specific technical capabilities, especially on navigating the pressurized spray brush.

In summary, both roll-on and spray-on provide a textured finish product that acts as a non-skid flooring. Both also offer protection from scratches, corrosion, moisture and wear and tear. The differences lie in the method and ease of application and the costs. A roll-on bed liner appears to be much cheaper and relatively easy to apply. If you are budget-conscious, a roll-on bed liner is a good choice.

Immersive whale experience from Sarah Bronilla from Tribeca Immersive for use by 360 Magazine

Tribeca Immersive unveils experience to save orca whales

The Tribeca Immersive event during the 20th Annual Tribeca Festival will see the launch of Critical Distance, a social augmented reality (AR) experience built to engage audiences toward long-term protection of marine wildlife. Harnessing the power of Microsoft HoloLens 2, Critical Distance blends projection and holograms to bring audiences into the world of the Salish Sea, home of the endangered Southern Resident orcas and their struggle for a sustainable future.

Within a custom-built projection environment, audiences of four each wear the latest Microsoft Hololens 2 wearable technology to interact with the Critical Distance characters and narrative. Immersed in the underwater world of Salish Sea audiences connect with J pod, a close-knit family of 24 Southern Resident orcas with a spotlight on Kiki — a six-year-old female who carries the fate of the pod on her shoulders. The groundbreaking storytelling harnesses technology to help us see below the surface in an entirely new way, empowering audiences to “see sound” as they experience Kiki’s world of echolocation and her struggle to compete with human activity. This educational exploration narrated by youth climate justice activist and Co-Executive Director of Zero Hour Jamie Margolin, highlighting scientific efforts focused on Orca preservation, aims to entertain, inform, connect and motivate audiences to take action to support this critical species

Following the launch at the 20th Annual Tribeca Festival, Critical Distance will continue on to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History for a nine-month installation. Audiences are invited to experience Critical Distance between June 9-20, with tickets and advanced booking available at Tribeca.

Graph via BeyondTrust.com for Atlas VPN for use by 360 Magazine

In 2020 Number of Vulnerabilities in Microsoft Products Exceeded 1,000 for the First Time

Microsoft products are used by billions of people worldwide. Historically, however, they are known to have many vulnerabilities that pose security risks to users of the software.

According to data presented by the Atlas VPN team, the total number of vulnerabilities in Microsoft products reached 1,268 in 2020—an increase of 181% in five years. Windows was the most vulnerability-ridden Microsoft product. It had a total of 907 issues, of which 132 were critical. However, Windows Server had the largest number of critical issues. In 2020, 902 vulnerabilities were detected in Windows Server, of which 138 were critical.

Issues were also found in other Microsoft products, such as Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer. Together, these browsers had 92 vulnerabilities in 2020. In total, 61 or even 66% of these vulnerabilities were of critical level. Meanwhile, Microsoft Office had 79 vulnerabilities, 5 of which were critical. 

Ruth Cizynski, the cybersecurity researcher and author at Atlas VPN, shares her thoughts on the situation :

 “These numbers are a massive problem because every Microsoft product has millions of users. Therefore, it is important that consumers update their software applications on time. Software updates can include security patches that can fix vulnerabilities and save users from getting hacked.”

Elevation of privilege is the most common Microsoft vulnerability

A wide range of vulnerabilities was discovered in various Microsoft products last year.  However, some types of vulnerabilities were more common than others. Elevation of privilege was the most frequently detected issue in Microsoft products. It was discovered 559 times and made up 44% of all Microsoft vulnerabilities in 2020.

Next up is remote code execution. In total, 345 such vulnerabilities were found last year, putting it in second place on the list. Remote code execution accounted for 27% of the total number of Microsoft vulnerabilities in 2020.

Information disclosure occupies the third spot on the list. There were 179 such issues discovered in 2020. Together, they made up 14% of all Microsoft vulnerabilities that year.

To learn more, click HERE.

3 Important Reasons Why You MUST Invest In Motocross Boots

In the world of motocross, thrills are the name of the game. It’s the reason why people take up the sport at all. But alongside the high flying stunts, awesome speeds, thrilling turns and twists and all the fancy tricks comes a part of the motocross sport that is not at all pleasant, but remains simply unavoidable. 

What are we referring to? Spills. Thrills and spills–that’s motocross.

That’s where motocross boots come into play. You may think that they’re only meant to protect feet (which is true), but that’s just not true.

There are other reasons why you must have high-quality motocross boots in your arsenal.

They Enhance The Look

You probably have a ton of images in your head of people posing with their bikes, fully clad in their extreme gear–including their boots. They look so cool, don’t they? They should, since gear nowadays is specially designed not only to be functional, but stylish as well. 

If you are looking for a pair of dirt bike boots, be sure to find one that matches your bike’s design, as well as whatever other gear you may be wearing.

They Offer Great Protection

When you’re racing along rough dirt tracks, leaping off ramps, and slamming on the ground after being thrown several yards or meters into the air, you’re probably going to want all the parts of your body to be safely covered up and padded. Protection will ensure that you’re not in constant fear that the slightest mistake will cost you an arm and a leg—literally! 

Also, bikers often use their feet to assist them when making sharp turns.

You’ve probably seen this before: a biker is nearing a turn, and instead of slamming down on the brakes to bring himself to a crawl, he slows down only a little. In this way, he can plant his foot down and use it as a sort of anchor that will allow him to swerve with more maneuverability than would otherwise be possible. 

They may make it look easy, but that’s only possible because they are wearing proper protection–namely, a good pair of tough, sturdy dirt bike boots.

Boots will also protect your feet from minor impacts, cuts and abrasions if you have an accident. Because good quality boots are usually made from tough materials like leather, these can withstand a lot more beating than normal human skin can and act as the first line of defense for your feet and lower leg.

They Help Improve Performance

As mentioned above, a good pair of dirt bike boots will allow a rider to make much sharper turns. But, this is not the only way that this kind of gear can enhance one’s performance. 

The soles of a good pair of boots are designed to give their wearer maximum traction, to ensure that their feet stay firmly planted on the foot pegs.

Modern boots are made to be as lightweight as possible, as not to hamper movement and balance. Finding a lightweight pair of boots allows you forget about them when having fun and getting your adrenaline rush on the dirt bike track. 

For these reasons and many others, dirt bike boots are essential parts of the extreme biker’s gear.

Final Word

Motocross boots aren’t only meant for protecting your feet, though that’s their primary function. You can also customize your boots to suit your bike’s design for aesthetic purposes. With motocross boots, you can focus on the ride more since you will be assured that your feet are safe from the gnarly ground. 

We hope you’re convinced why it makes sense to invest in a good pair of motocross boots. 

Do you have any questions? Ask us in the comments!

Graph via Sophos for Atlas VPN for use by 360 Magazine

India, Austria, and US Most Hit with Ransomware

Ransomware attacks are one of the leading cyber threats that organizations have to face.

According to the data presented by the Atlas VPN team, organizations in India, Austria, and the United States are among the most hit with ransomware attacks. To compare, more than 50% of companies in the mentioned countries experienced such attacks in the past year, while the global average is 37%.

Out of 300 interviewees from India, 68% suffered from a ransomware attack. At the same time, 57 out of 100 respondents from Austria experienced a ransomware attack in the last year. Next up, in the United States, 51% of participants, out of 500 questioned, reported that they were hit with a ransomware attack.

Retail and Education Sectors Suffer the Most Ransomware Attacks

Some organizations in specific sectors are more susceptible to hacker attacks due to their lower security levels or valuable data. However, cybercriminals do not shy away from attacking even the biggest companies or government administrations.

Out of 435 respondents in the retail industry, 44% were hit with a ransomware attack last year. Hackers strike retailers when it could hurt them the most, for example, on Black Friday or Christmas seasons.

Retailers share first place with education organizations—out of 499 education interviewees 44% experienced such malicious attacks. Cybercriminals usually deploy ransomware attacks at the start of a school year to cause maximum disruption.

The business and professional services industry suffered the third most ransomware attacks, with a total of 42% out of 361 respondents stating they experienced a ransomware attack in the past year. Companies in this industry are usually smaller with less staff, meaning they might not have a dedicated person to ensure security. Out of 117 participants in the Central government and non-departmental public body (NDPB) sector, 40% reported being attacked with ransomware in the last year.

Conclusion

Cybersecurity writer and researcher at Atlas VPN Anton Petrov shares his advice on how to protect your organization against ransomware attacks.

“Prepare a plan in case you… get hacked. Always have a backup of your data so you don’t have to pay a ransom. Investing in cybersecurity will cost you less than having to deal with the aftermath of a ransomware attack.”

Like with everything else, there’s a way to protect your data in order to make sure hackers don’t get to it and cause serious financial damage.

NB Pure illustration by Heather Skovlund (Photo by Engin Akyurt from Pexels) for 360 Magazine

Summer Tips for Melanoma Prevention

Protect yourself from melanoma without becoming deficient in vitamin D

By Leah Johnston, RDN

Don’t be so quick to overlook concerns around melanoma just because it’s often viewed as preventable. Melanoma is one of the most common cancers and the deadliest form of skin cancer. However, there is a conflict between how we prevent melanoma and how we ensure we are getting enough vitamin D. Sun exposure is the main source of this essential vitamin, but it’s also the primary culprit in the formation of melanoma. With May being Melanoma Awareness Month, it’s time to take notice and learn how we can protect our skin while still absorbing enough vitamin D.

The Stats

Cases of melanoma have been rising over the last few decades, especially among young adults, as it’s the most commonly diagnosed cancer among people aged 25 to 29. According to the Melanoma Research Alliance, one person dies from melanoma every hour of every day. The American Cancer Society reports that the risk for getting melanoma is approximately 2.6% (1 in 38) for whites, 0.1% (1 in 1,000) for Blacks, and 0.6% (1 in 167) for Hispanics. While fair skin poses a higher risk, darker complexions are also at risk.

How Melanoma forms

Melanocytes are cells that produce melanin and give skin its brown or tan color. It’s when melanocytes start to grow out of control on the skin’s top layer that cancer can develop and then spread to other parts of the body. Usually appearing as a brown or black spot or mole, melanoma is most commonly found on the chest and back for men and legs for women. It’s best not to ignore any irregular spots you may find on your skin because this cancer can also appear in other colors or patterns. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun or tanning beds can damage DNA in cells and significantly increase the risk of melanoma. Early detection is important for effective treatment.

Tips for melanoma prevention:

  • Use a broad-spectrum SPF sunscreen all year when outdoors. This will help protect against sun damage, which can occur even when the sun might be hiding behind a cloud.
  • Limit sun exposure during the middle of the day when the UV rays are at their peak. Instead, plan outdoor time for the morning or later afternoon to lessen the risk. 
  • Opt for a spray tan over laying out by the pool. If you love to have a tan, spray tans are a safer option and will help protect the longevity of your skin.
  • Schedule annual skin exams with a dermatologist. This is especially important if you have fair skin or immediate family members who have had melanoma, such as a parent or sibling.

The importance of Vitamin D

What doesn’t vitamin D do? Known as the sunshine vitamin, the human body absorbs an inactive form of vitamin D from the sun, food, or supplements and converts it into an active form of vitamin that it can use. In its active form, vitamin D plays many roles in the body.

Bone Health: Vitamin D and calcium work together to maintain bone health and density. Calcium cannot be absorbed into bones without the help of vitamin D. A vitamin D deficiency can result in bone softening, known as osteomalacia, and muscle weakness. Osteoporosis can also be associated with vitamin D deficiency due to the lack of calcium absorption. Both osteoporosis and melanoma affect older adults making it essential to couple melanoma prevention strategies with vitamin D supplementation.

Immunity: Recently, researchers have been investigating a possible link between vitamin D deficiency and the severity of COVID-19 symptoms. While this research is still in its infancy, scientists have been finding that low vitamin D status may result in the increased severity of symptoms and higher mortality rate. More research is needed in this area.

Inflammation: Research has shown an association between vitamin D status and inflammation-related autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, inflammatory bowel disease, and type 1 diabetes. Vitamin D also helps to regulate insulin levels for diabetes management.

Depression: People with depression are more likely to have low vitamin D levels. A 2011 study found that women who ate more foods rich in vitamin D had a lower risk of depression than women who got less vitamin D in their diets. Vitamin D has also demonstrated the ability to improve the symptoms of depression.

The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for vitamin D is 15 mcg (600 IU) for most children and adults up to the age of 70, according to the National Institutes of Health. Adults who over 70 need 20 mcg (800 IU) daily.

Tips for getting enough Vitamin D:

  • Get outside but be strategic. As previously discussed, the best time to be in the sun is in the morning or later afternoon. Plan your days to limit your exposure to the midday sun.
  • Add at least one vitamin D rich food into your daily diet. These may include fortified dairy and non-dairy beverages such as milk or orange juice, fortified cereals, salmon (wild caught contains more than farmed), sardines, and egg yolks. Wild mushrooms or those that have been treated with UV light are a good plant source of the vitamin. 
  • Take a daily Vitamin D supplement. This may be particularly important if you live in regions of the world that are further from the equator, such as the Midwest. If you struggle to remember or don’t enjoy taking pills, NB Pure has a Vitamin D3 supplement in the form of a spray for the utmost convenience.
  • Have your doctor check your vitamin D levels at least once a year. Getting an annual physical is important for your long-term health. Ask your doctor to make sure they check your vitamin D levels at that visit.

The sun may be the main reason for the increasing rates of melanoma, but it’s also our number one source of vitamin D. It is possible to protect yourself from developing melanoma and ensure that you are obtaining ample amounts of vitamin D to prevent the consequences of a deficiency.