What is the Electoral College? : The Electoral College is a process, not a place. The founding fathers established it in the Constitution as a compromise between election of the President by a vote in Congress and election of the President by a popular vote of qualified citizens.

Scams often follow disasters. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns to expect scams that prey on disaster victims in need of assistance and generous Americans hoping to contribute to the recovery. Here’s how to protect yourself. For people considering donating: Donate to charities you know and trust. Be alert for charities that seem to have sprung up overnight. Look closely at the names of the organization. Some fake charities try to gain your trust by using names that are similar to legitimate charitable organizations. Ask if the caller is a paid fundraiser, who they work for, and what percentage of your donation goes to the charity and to the fundraiser. If you don’t get a clear answer or don’t like the answer you get, consider donating to a different organization. Do not give out personal or financial information – including your credit card or bank account number – unless you know the charity is reputable. Never send cash. You can’t be sure the organization will receive your donation, and you won’t have a record for tax purposes. Don’t donate to unknown individuals that post their needs on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. They may actually be fake victims. Check out a charity before you donate. Contact the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance at www.give.org . Find out how to donate effectively and safely. Homeowner victims: Fraudsters target disaster-affected areas, hoping to cash in on property owners’ insurance settlements and financial relief from the federal government. Home and business owners who need to hire a contractor should: Check the contractor’s identification, and references as well as licensing and registration requirements. Ask for copies of the contractor’s general liability and worker’s compensation insurance. Avoid paying more than the minimum in advance. Deal with reputable people in your community. Beware if the contractor comes door-to-door or seeks you out The FTC’s 3 Day Cooling Off rule gives you three business day to cancel home repair work, without penalty. Call local law enforcement and the Better Business Bureau if you suspect a con.

Most people prepare for job interviews and plan before going on a trip or taking an exam. But how many people actually get ready before going to the doctor’s office? Preparing for a doctor’s appointment will help you make better decisions about your health, especially if your diagnosis requires medicines or surgery. The following tips will help you get ready for your next appointment and take a more active role in improving your health. Write down your symptoms/questions: Be honest and accurate when describing your symptoms, especially if your symptoms vary in frequency and intensity. Write them down in detail on a piece of paper and take it with you to your next appointment. You can also write down any questions you want to ask the doctor. Writing everything down will help you avoid forgetting things. Ask questions about your tests: Your doctor might ask you to take one or more tests before making a diagnosis. Ask about the purpose of the test to understand how the results might impact your health. Also, remember to ask about the cost of the tests, whether they are covered by your insurance, and who will explain the results and when. Understand your diagnosis: The doctor will be ready to make a diagnosis once she fully understands your symptoms and has the results from your tests. She might prescribe medications or other types of treatments. It’s important that you fully understand your diagnosis and treatment, and your doctor’s recommendations, so ask questions. If more questions come up while you’re at home, write them down and call your doctor or ask about them during your next doctor’s appointment. This will help you make better decisions about your health. Get a second opinion: In some cases, you may want to get a second opinion after receiving a diagnosis or certain treatment options. In fact, most doctors like the idea of second opinions, just let them know you intend to get one. Second opinions can give you peace of mind. However, you may want to check your insurance policy to see if it’s covered. Use an interpreter: Having good communication with your doctor will help avoid misunderstandings that could result in a wrong diagnosis. If English is not your first language and you’re more comfortable speaking in your native language, consider using an interpreter. Call your doctor to see if interpretation services are available. If not, go with someone who can help you with the language barrier. Be mindful when using children as interpreters as you might need to discuss things that are not appropriate for them. MedlinePlus.gov has more tips and resources on how to talk to your doctor so that you are ready for your next doctor’s appointment.

A cloud forms as an F/A-18 Hornet aircraft accelerates up to supersonic speed. Aircraft flying this fast push air up to the very limits of its speed, forming what’s called a bow shock in front of them. Similar bow shocks are also found in a variety of forms in space, and new research suggests they may contribute to heating of the material around them. Learn more about plasma waves from NASA. Photo by Ensign John Gay, U.S. Navy.

It’s Halloween! Make sure you and your family have a fun-filled, safe holiday with these tips. Halloween activities like trick-or-treating or parties provide opportunities for you and your family to be exposed to germs. With flu season just around the corner take precautions and get a flu shot . Check your local weather report before you head out and be prepared to bundle up underneath those costumes . Dressing for the occasion will help prevent maladies like hypothermia and will allow you to enjoy your night, no matter what the weather. If you and your family will be participating in the age-old tradition of trick-or-treating, be aware of the area you’ll be visiting and watch out for traffic. Whether it’s your own local street and town, or a theme park with family specials, getting lost in an unfamiliar area can pose a danger to the enjoyment of the evening and your personal safety. If you live in a neighborhood, odds are that you are going to get some visitors this Halloween. If you choose to hand out treats, be aware of the people you allow inside your home. If there are guests that are unfamiliar to you, hand out candy on your doorstep, and keep the night’s activities outside. Find more tips for to have a fun and safe Halloween .