Tone It Down! Folks Are Getting Killed Out There!

As a blogger and a regular contributor to the online dialogue in this country, I would call on our leaders to tone down the violent, angry, hateful rhetoric they have engaged in over the last few years.  As the famous saying goes, “Politics ain’t beanbag” and as President Harry Truman once quipped, “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.”  So we know its bare knuckle brawling.  But, when rhetoric overheats and calls for violence (even if meant metaphorically) those with a loose grip on reality – like this Jared Loughner maniac – are encouraged to take it seriously.  Today, this blogger’s thoughts are with those gravely injured or killed and their families in the Arizona shootings.  Remember, in life, in the job hunt and in workplace interactions, in family matters and in friendships, at work, play and school, words have meaning and often, consequences.  Let’s all dial it back a notch and deal with our undeniably difficult national differences without calling for violence.  Its not the American way.

2010 Tax Deductions for Students

Its officially the beginning of tax season and with that in mind the Allen School Blog will be including some posts on ways that students can maximize their returns.  In the post, we link to a a short piece explaining how students between the ages of 19 and 24 can take advantage of the Hope Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning Tax Credit.  Click here for more detailed information on how to claim these deductions and hopefully recuperate a portion of your tuition expenses courtesy of

Growth in Jobs & Economy: Illusion or Reality?

By academic measures, the US economy has been technically out of recession (defined as two or more quarters of consecutive GDP decline) since the end of 2009.  Tell that to all the folks who remain unemployed through 2010 and now into 2011.  However, there are several recent signs pointing to the more tangible kind of recovery that can be seen and felt by the average worker.  Follow me past the jump for the promising details. Continue reading…

“Liquid Biopsy” One Step Closer to Reality

Graphic Courtesy of Massachusetts General via AP

File under, “awesome emerging medical technologies”: Johnson & Johnson’s prototype blood test for cancer is being fast tracked to the market.  This ingenious new technology is a blood test so sensitive that it can detect even a single cancer cell from a sample taken from a patient.  Performed simply in a doctor’s office, this blood test promises to be a boon in the early detection of breast, prostate, colon and lung cancer.Dr. Daniel Haber, one of the test’s inventors and chief of Massachusetts General’s cancer center says, “This is like a liquid biopsy” that avoids painful tissue sampling and may give a better way to monitor patients than periodic imaging scans.

Predicted Winners & Losers in 2011

Along with just about every other outlet, US News & World Report recently published some end of the year prognostications about the rapidly approaching New Year.   In a set of twin pieces, US News made some pretty salient predictions on where things are headed for different groups of readers.  I have included a link to each article here and here.  True to conventional wisdom, those in healthcare and related fields made the list of those who would do well in 2011.  The articles are an interesting read, but if you’re strapped for time, the relevant quote is below.
“Workers in growing industries. Healthy companies in stable industries are starting to get back to normal, with profits up and hiring beginning to resume. Healthcare is probably the most well-known recession-resistant industry, with hiring up in virtually every field even during the recession. But other industries like energy, mining, Web publishing, high-end IT work, public transportation, and even waste management have been growing as well. And other industries that cut back during the recession–such as retail, hospitality, and warehousing–are starting to replace some of the jobs lost.”

5 New Years Job Hunt Resolutions

Lydia Dishman of wrote this interesting piece of 5 New Years resolutions that job hunters owe it to themselves to make.  They are:
  • Hone your elevator pitch
  • Brush up on your hard skills
  • Solidfy your soft skills
  • Work better with others
  • Treat each failure as an opportunity
Click here to read the full article and learn why each of these resolutions can help you to be more effective in your job search for 2011!

Peace Offering in War on Christmas

With so many different religions living side by side in the US, it was only a matter of time before there was some friction regarding the celebration of holidays.  Some folks have lately been complaining about the “secularization” of what used to be known as the Christmas holiday.  They protest the use of the term “Happy Holidays” saying that it is an attack on the Christian values system.  Opponents like to point out that more than one religion has a high holiday in December.  The Jews of course celebrate Chanukah and some of African descent celebrate Kwanzaa.  Yet, for all the arguing about this, no one ever considers the feelings of those who adhere to no religion – the Atheists.  That is, until now.  One of my favorite comedians, Steve Martin, has written this hilarious “Atheist Hymn” which he perfoms with the Steep Canyon Rangers.  In this holiday season, perhaps we can all enjoy some comedy and lay down the differences that divide us in favor of the similarities that bind us all as humans.  However you celebrate this time of year, have a happy, healthy, joyous time of it!

How to Be More Persuasive in Interviews

Convincing someone that you’re the best candidate for a position requires that you engender in them a good feeling about you personally.  You need to find subtle ways to make the interviewer feel as though they really like you.  Senior editor at Monster, Charles Purdy recently wrote an article offering tips on how to make yourself likable to an interviewer without coming off as a creepy stalker or a clowning ham.  The tips are:1. Show that you can be the solution to a problem. 2. Use specific examples. 3. Talk in soundbites. 4. Explain the “how” behind your accomplishments. 5. Use the right nonverbal communication. 6. Show enthusiasm.To learn the details of these activities, click here.

An Innovative Use for Medical Records

Science News reports of an innovative new way that researchers are using medical records for genetics research.  Obviously, patients’ medical records, in aggregate, contain a treasure trove of useful data to researchers seeking patterns that can be used in the study of genetics and disease.  However as you’re fully aware, privacy is of eminent concern when it comes to patient records.According to the Science News article, “Databases that link thousands of people’s DNA profiles to their medical histories are a powerful tool for researchers who want to use genetics to individualize the diagnosis and treatment of disease. But this promise of personalized medicine comes with concerns about patient privacy. Now scientists have come up with a way to alter personal medical information so it’s still meaningful for research, but meaningless to someone trying to ID an individual in a database.”To learn how they rendered anonymous the information contained in medical records read the entire article here courtesy of Wired Magazine.