Baroque Of Ages: Music, Its Health Benefits (And Drawbacks)

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Music is many things to many people, as well as it being the “food of love”, “it’s medicine”, to quote Kanye West. But also for all of its benefits, there are a couple of drawbacks, so let’s give you a rundown of why music is great for you, but how it can be bad for you.

A Major Key: The Benefits

There are many benefits to music, almost too many to list. Listening to music, especially classical music has been shown to improve the study habits of school children. In addition to this, taking music or singing lessons at a very young age can have a positive effect on academic performance as well as raise their IQ. It has a fantastic effect on stress, and this has been evidenced in people who listen to heavy metal music are actually more relaxed than the average person! Music also has the power to help you process information, have you ever listened to a song and been instantly catapulted back in time to a specific moment? That’s the power of music! It’s also been beneficial to those with Alzheimer’s. There is a non-profit organization called Music and Memory who are using music to help patients with dementia or in cognitive decline to remember a certain part of their life by being played a specific song.

A Minor Key: The Drawbacks

For all of its positives, there have to be a few negatives to listening to music. Mainly, the issue lies in listening to too much music, especially in how you listen to it. The one main problem with listening to too much music is that it can severely impact your hearing. There have been many cases of rock and pop stars who now suffer from tinnitus, such as Chris Martin of Coldplay, Will.I.Am, and Pete Townshend from The Who. For those that don’t know much about tinnitus, you can look at these tinnitus FAQs, just in case you suspect you may be suffering from tinnitus or a related hearing problem. Preventing hearing loss can be achieved by listening to music at an appropriate volume, as well as making sure you are not overexposed to loud noises and don’t listen to music at loud volumes through your earphones.

We all benefit from music in so many different ways, and this is merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to getting the benefits of listening to your favorite artist. But in enjoying your favorite artist, it’s always beneficial to listen to it at a safe volume, but also it’s a fantastic well of information. From the mathematically complex structures of baroque and early classical music, all the way through to densely layered information via bands like Radiohead and Manic Street Preachers, music is one of those things that you can get constant gratification from. You can find new things every time you listen back to a song you’ve heard a million times before. And that’s one of the wonderful things about music, not to mention the fact that you can dance to it!

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Gift Ideas for Final Fantasy Mega Fans

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Final Fantasy is a media fantasy and science fiction franchise, which centres on a series of fantasy role-playing video games. With more than 130 million units sold across the world, it is one of the best-selling video game franchises of all time. So, it’s really no surprise if you have a Final Fantasy mega fan in your life. If you do, they will certainly love a Final Fantasy based Christmas gift, and you can have the peace of mind that you have chosen something that appeals to them. So, let’s take a look at some good ideas…

  • Final Fantasy soundtrack – The Final Fantasy XV Collector’s Edition Soundtrack is a great choice. Not only do you get the full soundtrack from this series, but you will also benefit from some added extras too. This includes a booklet, which has interviews with the composer – Yoko Shimomura, as well as a behind the scenes Blu-ray with Florence + The Machine, and a special assortment of piano versions from the game. It is a real treat for any fan.
  • Final Fantasy game – If your friend or family member is a Final Fantasy fan, they probably have all of the games. So this may seem like a stupid suggestion. However, there are plenty of other games on various platforms, for example, the Final Fantasy mobile game. You can find out more about this at https://www.finalfantasyxvapp.com/. In fact, if you do a quick search online, you will see that there are many different games to choose from, so you should be able to find something that your loved one does not have.
  • Figurines – This is a gift for someone special in your life, as they can be rather expensive if you buy figurines directly from Square Enix. However, this is probably where any Final Fantasy will want to their figurines to come from – the real deal. So, only go down this route if you are prepared to pay $100 or more. They are real collector’s items, though, and so they are bound to make an amazing impression.
  • Yoshitaka Amano art books – This is a really unique present, which shows you have put a lot of thought into the gift. Yoshitaka Amano is the famed concept artist for the Final Fantasy series. The ethereal artwork Yoshitaka has created is breath-taking to say the least. You can find many compilations of his work, some of which only focus on Final Fantasy. This would make a special gift for anyone who loves the gaming series.
  • Final Fantasy trading cards – If you are looking for a Final Fantasy based gift that is not going to cost a lot, this is a good suggestion. There are many different creature and characters to choose from with the Final Fantasy trading cards that are available. If your loved one doesn’t have any cards already, why not purchase the three starting decks? Each deck comes with a different theme, i.e. Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy VII, and Final Fantasy XIII.
  • Plushies – If figurines are too expensive, or don’t sound like the recipient’s type of thing, why not buy a plushie? Or, in other words, a soft, squidgy toy! There are plenty of adorable options, and you can buy them directly from Square Enix too. Plus, you can pick up one of the characters for a fraction of the price of a figurine. From cute versions of stoic characters like Lighting and Cloud to iconic mascots like the Chocobo and Moogle, there is something for everyone.
  • Gaming tech – Make your loved one’s gaming experience a more exciting one by purchasing some exciting new tech. If you don’t know where to start, check out our blog post for more information: https://lifespaceblog.com/2017/01/09/pc-gaming-tech-just-got-serious-heres-why/. You will find out about the recent progressions in PC gaming tech, which will give you a good basis to do your shopping based on.
  • Clothing – Last but not least, the final suggestion is to purchase Final Fantasy clothing. If you take a look online, you will see that there are plenty of themed garments available, with T-shirts being the obvious choice. Or, why not go for a backpack or beanie hat instead? You could even get your own unique T-shirt printed. The options are endless.

Hopefully, you now have plenty of suggestions regarding Christmas gifts for the Final Fantasy fan you have in your life. No matter what option you go for, you can’t fail by choosing something based on the media fantasy and science fiction phenomenon.

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Why Do Games Need So Much Power?

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When you look at the back of a modern games box, the recommended specification list you’ll see is much denser than those in the past. As machines have gotten more powerful, the games being played on them have been able to reach to new heights, becoming much larger and a lot more realistic. Of course, though, what exactly makes a game use so much power? Video, which appears to be very similar, can be run on mobile phones, and it often doesn’t make sense that you would need such powerful machines for your gaming needs. To help you out with this, this post will be exploring the resource usage of a modern video game.

 

  • Calculations

 

For every action, event, and thing happening in the video game you’re playing, there will be a huge list of calculations which have to be done along with it. In most cases, programming languages are simply expressing logic, and a large part of this is mathematics. Of course, though, why would something like firing a gun take so much power? This sort of action doesn’t seem very complex.

In reality, though, it is. The very first stage of the gun firing will be an event triggered by the user, like a key press, which will have to be processed by the computer. From there, the gun will have to fire, with the computer calculating direction, speed, and damage all at the same time. If something gets hit, this will have to be picked up, too, and another sequence will run. During the gun firing, the computer will also have to pick and play an animation, sound clip, and even a vibrate command to a controller.

With all of this work going on, it could be easy to assume that you need the best processor on the market to deal with your game. Fortunately, though, this isn’t the case, and you will usually be able to get by with a mid to high-range option. At the moment, the Core i5 7600k from Intel and the Ryzen 5 1600x from AMD are some of the best contenders. This sort of chip will have more than enough power for your games.

 

  • Graphical Rendering

 

Next, it’s time to think about the other side of the work your computer has to do when you’re running a game; showing you the visuals. Unlike a video which is preprogrammed and the same every time, a video game has to be stitched together on the fly, with over a hundred new screens every second in some cases. A normal processor isn’t very good at this sort of work, though, and a specialised device needs to be used to handle the work.

This is where a graphics card comes in. Equipped with a special processor called a GPU, this sort of product can drive a TV or monitor much better than the one already in your machine. Nowadays, there are more and more options becoming available, and you have loads to choose from when you’re buying a card for your machine. In a lot of cases, you will only need the very top-end if you are gaming in ultra HD or 3D. For the majority who are stuck in the past, something a little less expensive should do the trick, though.

 

  • Storage (In-Out)

 

When a game is running, it isn’t one file which is simply being displayed. Instead, your games are built from hundreds of different documents, ranging from scripts and code to 3D models and the images being used as textures for them. Being able to access these assets quickly is very important when you’re playing some games. So, nowadays, most gaming computers will use SSDs instead of traditional hard drives, as they will usually be a lot faster. This sort of resource can make your experience a lot better.

Even knowing exactly what your computer is doing when it is running a game, it can be hard to decide on the best one for you when you’re at the store. There are loads of companies making machines out there, and a lot of them will charge too much for what you get, or won’t give you the product you deserve. Finding a quality desktop PC for gaming is just a matter of doing some research. Most people will be able to find options which appeal to them, even if you have to search for a long time to find it.

Hopefully, this post will inspire you to start working harder on the time you put into choosing your next gaming computer. Running a game isn’t a simple task, like running a video. Unfortunately, when so much has to be done on the fly, your computer need to be able to hack the heat, or you won’t have a very good experience.

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Geeky Gifts for History Buffs

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The holidays are coming, and that means that it’s time to start thinking about Christmas gifts. We all want to give our loved ones something that they’ll truly appreciate on Christmas morning, but as I’m sure you’re aware, that can be much more easily said than done. However, if you have a friend or family member who happens to be a history buff, your task to pick the perfect gift just got a little easier!

Here are some fantastically geeky gift ideas for the history buff in your life:

A History Buff T-Shirt

If your history buff is out and proud about his antiquarian interests, then he’s sure to love a history buff t-shirt, that lets the whole world know what he’s about, and which will surely help him to attract others of his kind!

Fossils

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If you know a history buff who’s really interested in the prehistoric period, then you simply can’t go wrong with wrapping up a few prehistoric fossils for her to open on Christmas Morn’. Specimens like this otodus obliquus teeth are old, unique and extremely interesting, guaranteeing a full-on geek-out when they’re unwrapped. They’ll look great when they’re put on display amongst all those old books and artefacts she has too!

A History-Based Board Game

Board games are pretty essential during the holiday period, so why not present your history buff with a brand new one to add to their collection? 7 Wonders is a thrilling historically based game in which you take on the role as one of the leaders of the ancient world’s seven great cities. You are tasked with building not only your city, but also your army, and your power – they’ll love it!

A History Subscription Box

If you want to give the history lover your life the gift that keeps on giving, then investing in a subscription to one of the offerings from History in a Box, which will see them treated to a new box packed with historical information each month, is ideal. You can currently choose from American History, Ancient History or The Middle Ages, and since you can choose subscriptions by age range, you can always ensure that the recipient will get something out of the gift.

Antique Books

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History buffs tend to love antique books, and there are lots of them to be had, so pick up a couple of their favorites or a tome that deals with a period in history they’re particularly concerned with and they will be happy as Larry when they open it.

Museum Subscriptions

An interest in history and a love of museums obviously go hand in hand, so scope out the best history museums in your area and buy your history buff a subscription if you want to get in her good books, Even better, buy a subscription for you both and commit accompanying her on some of her many outings. Do this and you’ll make her day!

These gifts might be a little geeky, but they are sure to delight any history lover, and you’re sure to be crowned greatest gifter, by your history buff at least, this Christmas.

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The Perfect Host: How to Throw Your First Dinner Party

The first time you throw a dinner party, you’re most likely going to ask for a bit of help. It depends on the number of guests, of course, and how complicated you’d like it – if you only invite your closest circle, they’re probably not going to mind it if you mess up a bit. Step it up a notch and host a dinner party for your in-laws, however, and the kitchen seems awfully hot all of a sudden.

 

Image from: Pexels

 

Don’t sweat it; here is a handful of the best advice on the dinner menu, drinks, and entertainment, to wow your guests for good.

 

Preparations: Invitations

 

Make it as easy on yourself as possible since it’s your first time. Start with inviting the guests you’d like to dazzle – and make sure it’s a group that will get along. A quick phone call is enough, or you can make the event on Facebook if you’re inviting a lot of guests. That way, they get the chance to RSVP, and you can update them all at once if you have a message.

 

This is also the chance you get to ask about any food allergies and vegetarian preferences. Hopefully, your guests will offer to bring something with during this conversation. Accept it immediately, unless you’re excited about showing off your culinary skills. Besides, an extra side dish or two is hardly going to overshadow your centerpiece cooking.

 

Preparations: Dinner Menu

 

Planning the dinner menu is also a part of the preparations, and you’d want to put your cards on the dishes you’ve cooked the most. You might have found inspiration for this party from a particular dish you’ve never cooked before; go ahead and serve it, but make sure you’ve cooked it once or twice before to practice. Half an hour before dinner is no time to realize how easy it is to burn a mushroom risotto.

 

Focus on dishes you know well and make sure it’s something on the table that everyone can enjoy. Do as much as the preparations in advance as possible, so that you avoid all the chopping and pre-cooking on the day of the party.

 

Two or three varieties of drinks should be offered to your guests. It’s a good idea to ask people what they like; if most of the group only drinks grain alcohol or standard beer with every meal, there is no point in stocking up on different wines. If you’d like to keep it formal – for the fun of it, try to serve drinks as they should be served according to table etiquette. Here is a comprehensive guide to formal dinner parties if you’re interested.

 

Hosting: Greeting and Socializing

 

You’re the one who sets the atmosphere at the party, so prepare to be fun and cheerful. Greet the guests in a casual and relaxed way; it’s nothing wrong with welcoming them in your slippers or even barefoot to put them all at ease.

 

When you manage to stay stress-free, focus on having fun and socialize with your guests, there’s nothing that can go wrong. Even if a few of the dishes are less than what you hoped or the kitchen is full of smoke, you can just laugh it off and make sure the rest are enjoying themselves.

 

Good music, drinks, something to eat and a lively host is everything they need to have a good time; you only need to ensure the conversation flows smoothly and that people have what they need. It’s your duty, so to speak, so pour yourself a glass and look forward to a fun evening.

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Are You Ready For The Ultimate Road Trip Adventure?

We’ve all thought about packing our things up in the car and taking off on an adventure at one stage or another. But while the thought of an impromptu weekend away may sound perfect, an organized trip will almost certainly take things to the next level.

 

You’ve saved up your money. You’ve taken two weeks off work. And now you’re ready to put the wheels in motion for what could be the trip of a lifetime. What are you waiting for?

 

Let’s kick this baby into overdrive.

Roads Winding Road Trip Road Trip

Roads Winding Road Trip Road Trip

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Preparing Your Transport

 

Arguably the best thing about taking an epic road trip is that you can marry your love of a great vacation with your love of driving. However, it’s imperative that your vehicle is prepared for the long drives ahead. Not least because you will be entering unfamiliar territories.   

 

In addition to checking the car’s health, it’s often worth investing in a Sat Nav and a dash cam. If you plan to travel with the whole family, keeping kids occupied with an in-car DVD can have a huge impact too. There’s more to a road trip than driving alone, but this is a crucial element. Get it right, and you’re already halfway to enjoying the perfect vacation.   

 

Plan, But Leave Room For Flexibility

 

Your road trip allows you to visit multiple places in a very short space of time. So if you’re going to utilize your time effectively, planning ahead is a crucial element. Otherwise, you could waste valuable time deciding on attractions to visit. Besides, there’s nothing quite as frustrating as missing a great opportunity through poor preparation.   

 

On the other hand, you never know when you might suddenly see an event that wasn’t promoted. Alternatively, you may get a chance to buy tickets to a big sporting event or music gig. Find the right balance between following a schedule and being spontaneous, and you will not go wrong.

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Pre-Book Accommodation

 

Throughout your journey, there may be times when a quick night stop in the motel will suffice. Likewise, many adventurers love the thought of sleeping under the stars and camping for at least some of the trip. Nevertheless, you will need a sense of comfort.

 

Just because you are on a road trip, it doesn’t mean you can’t spend a few days in one location. Cabin rentals are a great way to enjoy a short stay in luxury while having a great place to enjoy some family adventure before hitting the road once more. Moreover, a good night’s sleep will work wonders for the driver. If nothing else, having these elements in place will help you stick to the basic itinerary.

 

Be Prepared For Activities

 

Whether you’re traveling by car or RV, you should have ample space for packing key items. In addition to clothes and essentials, you should pack footwear designed for treks and other adventures. This one tip will open up a whole world of new adventures.

 

Specialist equipment for activities like rafting will be provided on site, so that isn’t a problem. As long as you pack torches, spare cell phones, and other key items, you’ll have nothing to fear. Above all else, the confidence gained from being prepared will allow you to seek far more enjoyment too. So strap in, the trip of a lifetime awaits.

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How Much?! Financing An Expensive Hobby

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Everyone has a passion in life. From stamp collectors all the way up to base jumpers, there’s any number of interests and activities that people live and breathe. However, some passions are a lot more expensive than others. If you, your child or your significant other is thinking of getting into a particularly expensive hobby, here are a few tips for managing your finances for it.

Make Sure You (or They) Will Stick with It

Okay, let’s say your husband had a round of golf with their friend, they took to it like a natural, and absolutely loved it. For the week after, they watch golf on TV, read golf blogs, and talk about it non-stop. While they may be genuinely interested, this isn’t quite enough justification to spend the household budget on a new set of clubs, pair of shoes, and anything else they might want. I’m not saying that you should step on anyone’s passion here, least of all your own. However, I am saying that you or your partner should take it slow in the beginning, and avoid spending a small fortune if they don’t know they’ll stick with it. Instead of a full set of clubs, get a few lessons at your local course.

Finding the Money

Pursuing an expensive hobby is all about learning to manage finances in order to meet the hobbyist’s needs and wants. The options you have open to you here depends largely on the hobby itself. For example, if your teenage kid is getting more and more into ballet, but the lessons and clothes are causing a serious strain on your money, then it may be possible for them to offer to clean the studio in exchange for lessons. On the other hand, if your husband wants to pursue classic car tuning, and they need to fund enclosed vehicle transport to get their baby to and from shows, they’re going to have very little wiggling room in terms of how much this will cost. In order to manage those finances properly, start off by writing out the costs, covering everything from equipment to lessons to clothing, and figure out how much you’d have to work in order to fund, say, a year’s worth of the hobby. This will put things in perspective, and allow you to make plans for sourcing extra income if needs be.

Make the Most of What You Buy

When it comes to gear for hobbies, impulse buys are always a bad idea, especially when you have perfectly good equipment. If your son wants to start playing guitar and you’ve got one lying around in the attic, then dig it out and learn everything you can about it. It may not be a Gibson Les Paul, but if it’s in a decent working condition then you can put off a brand new model for some time. In general, you should also learn something about maintaining the equipment in question. Re-stringing your own guitar is infinitely cheaper than what a lot of music stores charge for it!

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