Safe Hiking Tips



Hiking is an outdoor activity which involves walking in natural environments, often on hiking trails. With hiking, you can view great landscapes, get exercise and fresh air, become refreshed, and improve your health. Before you set out on your first hiking expedition, however, it is important to do some research and take steps to insure a safe hiking trip.

Be smart: when you are planning on going on a strenuous hike please make sure to start working out a week or two prior to that. You must build up your stamina gradually and not push yourself more than you can handle.

Let others know: before you are about to leave let your family or friends know where you are going, whether you are going alone or with a group of friends. Tell them that you will contact them when you get back (and do contact them to avoid them sending a search party after you). It is always preferable to go in groups rather than going alone, especially as a beginner.

Know where you are going: as a beginner, it is better not to improvise your hike, better that you know where you are going unless you are with an experienced hiker. Bring a compass along, also pay attention to the landmarks as you pass them by.

Bring a lot of water: All that walking would require you to keep yourself hydrated. If you are going on very long hikes it helps to carry water purifying tablets with you.

Dress for the part: Keep one or two pieces of warm clothing and a raincoat because the weather can be unpredictable sometimes. In cold weather, dress in layers. Buy good quality hiking shoes and socks to prevent blisters.

Keep a first aid kit and some precautionary items: You need a first aid kit to treat injuries and prevent infections. Bring along sunscreen, bug spray, pepper spray, pocket knife, and sunglasses. Although you might not get a good reception on some hiking trails and wilderness, it is still a good idea to bring along a fully charged cell phone and also a portable charger.

Taking a few good precautions will get you a long way in insuring a safe and enjoyable hiking trip.

About the Author: Amita Vadlamudi greatly enjoys the outdoors and particularly hiking on trails with good vistas. Amita Vadlamudi finds hiking to be a great exercise activity and a wonderful health booster.




The Central Asian Plains’ Ancient Oxus Civilization

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Oxus Civilization

Amita Vadlamudi served as an IT professional for more than 30 years, undertaking large-scale engineering projects spanning Unix and mainframe systems and performing complex coding assignments. An avid reader of history books, Amita Vadlamudi is particularly interested in ancient cultures.

Beyond the ancient Greeks, Sumerians, and Egyptians, there were a number of early advanced cultures whose accomplishments have largely remained a mystery. These include the Oxus civilization, who lived on the Central Asian plains 4,000 years ago.

Spanning 1,000 square miles in what is now Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Afghanistan, the civilization was concurrent with the emergence of complex societies along the Yellow, Indus, Nile, and Tigris-Euphrates rivers.

The civilization was named Oxus, after the Amu Dar’ya River, which at the time was known as the Oxus River. Bronze Age sites reveal distinctive art forms and regularly proportioned thick-walled mud brick structures that indicate a level of advancement previously thought to have reached the region 1,000 years later. A major find of the late 20th century that has generated significant interest is a 350-by-600-foot citadel in Gonur that was surrounded by towers and a high wall, and had canals and an irrigation system in place.

An Overview of Minimizing Your Carbon Footprint

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Carbon Footprint

Amita Vadlamudi, a computer systems engineer with a major financial services provider, is an active environmentalist. Amita Vadlamudi enjoys spending her time researching a variety of topics, from matters of climate and weather to the characteristics of earth’s landforms and waterways.

There are a number of steps environmentalists can take in order to minimize their carbon footprint. One of the most effective actions an individual can take involves finding a workable alternative to driving an automobile. Walking or cycling is a viable option in many scenarios, while further distances can be achieved through public transportation or carpooling, all of which can help lower carbon emissions into the atmosphere. Any person concerned about the environment should also look into low carbon vehicles, including electric cars.

An individual’s carbon footprint can also be reduced at home. Installing proper insulation not only help maintain heat during the winter and cool air in the summer, but can yield financial gains in the form of state programs such as Energy Upgrade California. Homeowners may further optimize the energy efficiency of their home by installing solar panels and LED lighting systems.

Early History of the US Supreme Court

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US Supreme Court

Outside of her career as a computer systems engineer, Amita Vadlamudi maintains interests in many subjects, including American history. With the April 2017 confirmation of Neil Gorsuch as the 113th justice of the US Supreme Court, individuals like Amita Vadlamudi may find themselves wondering about the court’s earliest days and its first justices.

On September 24, 1789, five months after taking office as the first president of the United States, George Washington signed the Judiciary Act of 1789, which formally established the US Supreme Court and the rest of the federal judiciary. On the same day, he nominated the court’s first chief justice, John Jay, and five associate justices: John Blair Jr., John Rutledge, William Cushing, James Wilson, and Robert Harrison.

The founding fathers of the United States had empowered the US Congress to create the Supreme Court in the US Constitution, and the US Senate had taken up the Judiciary Act as the first piece of business in the body’s history, passing it on the same day as President Washington’s subsequent signing. Two days later, on September 26, 1789, the Senate confirmed all six of the president’s nominations.

The court first met in February of 1790 and then again in August of the same year. It spent its earliest days determining its responsibilities and organizing the federal court system. The Supreme Court did not rule on its first case until 1792, by which time some of the seats belonged to judges other than those originally nominated by President Washington.

It was not until almost 100 years later that the Supreme Court stabilized its numbers of justices, becoming the nine-member court the country knows today. With his confirmation, Judge Gorsuch joins a judicial body that stands as the ultimate arbiter of disputes related to the Constitution.

Benjamin Franklin and Poor Richard’s Almanack


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Benjamin Franklin

With around 35 years of experience as a computer systems engineer, Amita Vadlamudi most recently worked with a major financial services firm. Amita Vadlamudi enjoys reading, especially on the topic of American history.

Benjamin Franklin, one of the writers of the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, is known as one of America’s Founding Fathers. In addition to his political career, Franklin was an inventor, printer, and writer. He published the book known as Poor Richard’s Almanack, first under the pseudonym Richard Saunders.

The Almanack contained poetry and weather predictions as well as advice on work and life that turned into common idioms still heard today. Examples of the Almanack’s maxims include “there are no gains without pains” and “he that lives upon hope will die fasting.” While Franklin usually received credit for the aphorisms, he commented that many of them were already popular sayings that he put in print. Franklin continued to publish the Almanack annually for 25 years, and it was one of his most profitable publications.

Documentation in the Assyrian Empire


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Assyrian Empire

Amita Vadlamudi is a longtime computer systems engineer in the financial services field. Outside of professional pursuits, Amita Vadlamudi has a strong interest in anthropology and ancient cultures. One culture popularly studied by anthropology buffs is Assyria, a region in the Near East that extended from Mesopotamia through Egypt thousands of years ago.

The Assyrian Empire and its capital of Ashur took their names from the god Ashur, who was reinterpreted as a son of Noah once the Assyrians accepted Christianity. The Assyrians initially spoke Akkadian but, like many nations in the Middle East, moved to Aramaic for its ease of use.

The Assyrian Empire had several advantages over other empires in the region, which ultimately led to greater success. For instance, one of its major emperors, Tukulti-Ninurta I, employed his scribes and scholars to create an efficient bureaucracy and to catalogue existing written works. While the Assyrians crushed revolts with overwhelming force, they also made sure to document the knowledge and cultures of conquered cities and nations, in the interest of expanding the empire’s technological and cultural dominance in the region.

Cownose Rays and Migration

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Cownose Rays

Computer systems engineer Amita Vadlamudi has more than three decades of experience in the information technology industry. Amita Vadlamudi also maintains an interest in marine biology and ocean creatures such as cownose rays.

An open water species found in tropical and temperate waters as well as parts of the Atlantic Ocean, cownose rays engage in mass migration twice a year. These endurance swimmers are built to traverse long distances using flexible, wing-like fins that extend from either side of their bodies, which often breach the water’s surface as they glide through the ocean. Cownose rays grow up to seven feet in length from wingtip to wingtip and reach maturity between four and five years old. Lifespans may vary according to distribution and migration route, with rays in the Gulf of Mexico living up to 18 years and populations in the western Atlantic Ocean only living to 13.

Migration occurs twice a year in large numbers. Groups in the Atlantic Ocean migrate southward in the late fall and northward in spring, although southbound groups often possess a larger population. Schools in the Gulf of Mexico often migrate clockwise, with each school consisting of around 10,000 individuals. Although marine biologists theorize that solar orientation and changes in water temperature may influence the onset of migration, this is not consistently true. For example, migration of the cownose ray population in Florida’s Pine Island Sound seems more influenced by predator avoidance and food availability.

Improving Breathing Technique While Swimming

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Breathing Technique

Amita Vadlamudi spent over three decades working as a computer systems engineer. Holding a bachelor’s in computer science from Saint Peter’s College, she has supported and maintained numerous operating systems and has a solid understanding of UNIX system technology, IPFC, and Java. Dedicated to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, Amita Vadlamudi attends the gym regularly and enjoys swimming.

Although many swimmers overlook it, breathing technique greatly affects the overall success and ease of various strokes, especially the freestyle. As swimmers move through the water, their face should be pointing down toward the bottom of the pool. Beginners often struggle with this and instead keep their head above water. However, doing so pulls the rest of the body down. This causes increased resistance and swimmers tire faster. A similar problem is rotating the head with the body. This decreases coordination and makes it difficult to establish a good breathing rhythm. Ideally, the head remains in one position unless the swimmer is taking a breath.

In many cases, new swimmers hold their breath while their face is in the water. When they turn to take a breath, they must exhale before they can inhale. Swimmers should be exhaling while their head is in the water. This lets them take a full breath when they need it and promotes better rhythm. Breathing into the trough improves rhythm even more. Instead of turning the head completely to the side, swimmers can turn it slightly and take advantage of the lower water level by the side of their face. Swimmers should also time their breaths with their movements and make sure to switch breathing sides to prevent imbalance.

Archimedes: Mathematician, Physicist, and Inventor


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Amita Vadlamudi spent more than 30 years working as a computer systems analyst and engineer. Outside of her work, Amita Vadlamudi enjoys reading and learning about a variety of subjects, including Ancient Greece.

Archimedes of Syracuse, born in 287 BC, is often hailed as one of the most accomplished mathematicians of his time. Like other Greek intellectuals, Archimedes was well-versed in multiple areas of study. He used his knowledge of mathematics, physics, engineering, and astronomy to deduce facts about lever function and hydrostatics. He is credited with creating Archimedes’ screw, a machine made with a screw inside a hollow tube that Archimedes designed for King Hiero. Archimedes’ screw aids irrigation systems in developing countries to this day.

Archimedes is also lauded for his discovery of the fundamental principles of buoyancy. He conducted extensive research into density and volume, which formed the basis for hydrostatic studies. Lastly, Archimedes is known for writing three incredibly-detailed treatises in Greek.

To learn more about Archimedes’ inventions and theories, visit

The Origins of Chocolate in the Mayan World

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Origins of Chocolate

A computer systems analyst with over three decades of experience, Amita Vadlamudi has worked in various capacities in the information technology sector. A lifelong learner, Amita Vadlamudi enjoys learning about history and science. In particular, she is interested in ancient American cultures, like the Maya civilization of South America.

The Maya culture was extremely complex and sophisticated. In addition to several noteworthy scientific and astronomical discoveries, Mayans also are responsible for domesticating the cacao bean. The cacao bean was a prized element of the Mayas. Its importance is evidenced by its prolific inclusion in artwork, on vases, and in murals. It had medicinal, sacrificial, ceremonial, and culinary uses and was even used as currency.

The Mayas used the cacao bean to produce a frothy, sugarless chocolate drink made from crushed cacao beans, chili peppers, and water. The chocolate drink was a luxury item and was often offered to royals and newly married couples. It was known as the “food of the gods.”

Christopher Columbus was the first European exposed to the cacao bean during his fourth and last voyage to the Americas, when the treasured beans were offered to him as a trade item. Later, in 1528, Hernan Cortes brought chocolate to the Spanish court. With the addition of sugar, chocolate became very popular and spread throughout Europe as a luxury item.