Imagine RAM (Random Access Memory) as being like a desk in an office where you store all the items you need for your work.  RAM gives you the ability to keep adding more items that can stay on your desk at the same time so you can work efficiently.  On my desk, is a laptop, a monitor, phone, stapler, mouse and a calculator.  What if I had to store all of these items in drawers and every time I wanted to use them I needed to pull them out, plug them in, set them up, then use them, then put them back away?  Well, I’d never get anything done.  RAM is a chip(s) that works the same way except with computer programs like MS Word, Photoshop or Safari.  The more RAM you have the more you can open up lots of programs at the same time and keep them in the “on” position for maximum productivity.

Super PAC

In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court eliminated limits to the amount of money a private individual could donate to a political action committee (PAC), who in turn supported a particular candidate.  This became know as the Super PAC.  Get it?  “Super” as in mega large, as in, if you had a billion dollars you could donate a billion dollars to your favorite Super PAC. Until then there were major restrictions on how much an individual could give a PAV–a paltry $5,000 a year. A Super PAC cannot give directly to the candidate but since they are so closely associated they can spend oodles of cash on commercials or rallies or anything not directly given to the person they support.

Greek Debt Crisis

If I had a drachma for every time I heard the words “Greek Debt Crisis” and wondered what it was only to stumble across a 2 million word treatise designed to frighten me away.

Alas, here it is, broken down so even an intelligent child would understand: Greece joined the Eurozone community in 2001.  At that point owing to an extremely young retirement age, great public benefits, and a country whose citizens would rather fight the Persians again than pay any taxes, Greece was broke and getting broker.  It began borrowing heavily from it’s new European brothers and sisters, who at the time had cash to spare.

Everything was good and fine until the 2008 financial meltdown hit Europe hard. When banks started calling in the billions of loans from Greece, Greece couldn’t possibly pay them back. The IMF (International Monetary Fund) offered bailouts with a huge reduction on the loan amount to the tune of .50 cents on the dollar, but in exchange Greece had to enact huge austerity programs, in other words, lower public retirement ages, less pay for government employees, basically stop spending so much money. Although the measures were enacted, Greeks freaked (indeed many of its citizens became completely broke over night).  Years of protests and riots ensued.

In February of 2015, Greeks were so fed up with the austerity cuts that they elected a left wing party called Syriza who immediately looked to stop the payments. In July of 2015, the Greeks failed to make a 1.7 billion dollar payment, which was quite a shock to the world.

The looming issues now are that Greek banks are now running out of money and are getting ready to start printing their own, effectively removing them from the Eurozone; and if Greece defaults entirely on their loans, the European economy would be severely effected and as a result the world markets could go into turmoil.

Stem Cell

A stem cell is kind of like the chameleon of cells.  It has the ability to morph itself and re-generate into other kinds of cells so that when they are introduced into an ailing person they can help people with heart disease, diabetes and medical researchers are looking into a variety of uses.  The cells are also able to to divide themselves and those cells can continue to divide, leading to a virtually limitless supply of cells.  The biggest controversy over stem cells is that many of these cells are embryonic, which means that they come from the foetus, and since the embryo is destroyed after the cell extraction anti-abortion advocates are opposed to this kind of research

Cord Blood

Cord blood is the blood that is extracted from the Placentia and the attached umbilical cord after a baby is born.  This blood is chock full of stem cells, which make it extremely valuable in terms of treating many diseases including certain cancers, blood disorders, and other immune diseases.  There are two types of blood banking, one involves donating your cord blood to a public cord blood bank or you can pay to have your baby’s cord blood stored for your personal use down the line.

El Niño

An El Niño is a simple phenomenon to understand.  In the Pacific Ocean near the equator the warm water normally flows west and the cooler water is in the east. For whatever reason El Niño means the warm water begins to move east, i.e. the wrong direction.  The warm water mingles with the cool water and boom bad things start happening like storms, fire, drought and flooding.  It usually comes every 2-7 years.

Syria Conflict

The Syria Conflict began in 2011 when President Assad crushed the dissent of pro-democracy protesters. The opposition took up arms and a civil war began with varying sides and factions taking up arms. Eventually ISIS got into the mix taking over huge swathes of Syria.  The situation has turned into a calamity of war crimes (Assad dropping bombs and chemical weapons on civilians), humanitarian crisis and terror.  Millions of refugees have fled Syria towards safe haven in other countries both in the Middle East and Europe and North America.

Israeli/Palestinian Conflict

The Israel/Palestine Conflict works like this:  From biblical times on the Jews (including Mr. Jesus Christ himself) lived in the area, which came to be known as “Palestine.” As the region came under different rulers it eventually became populated mostly by Arabs (Palestinians), while the Jews spread out mainly throughout Europe. After centuries of persecution at the hands of various regimes, the Jews chose to move back to Palestine as a permanent homeland. The problem was that there were already people living there, the Palestinians.  In 1948 the State of Israel was established and the majority of the Arab population left the area due to war, expulsions, land buy-outs, etc.  From that moment on the Palestinians (along with various Arab States and entities) have either fought to take back the area called Israel entirely or to create a separate state called Palestine.  Meanwhile the Jews have fought to keep the country and have, in fact, expanded it’s borders through war, occupations and new settlements.

Electoral College

The Electoral College refers to the process where when we vote in a presidential election we are actually voting for a small group of electoral voters who then actually cast the ballots for President.  In most U.S. States if the majority of votes go towards a certain candidate, all of that State’s electoral votes go towards that candidate.  Hence the popular vote sometimes being vastly different than the electoral vote.  Today, 270 electoral votes are what’s needed to win the U.S. Presidency.