Features

People the world over love the aloe vera plant. There are more than 250 species of aloe. Surprisingly, the aloes are members of the lily family. Most of this healthy looking group are native to Africa. They are found in African deserts and the islands of Aruba and Barbados.

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Cyber security is a concern and a necessity at all levels. Computers and networks operated by governments, businesses, academia and other associations and agencies have been prime targets of cyber attack, but the number and rate of attacks on privately owned personal computers and smart devices has become explosively endemic.

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Bill Hammond, the president and CEO of the Texas Association of Business, issued a prediction this week. By 2040, if current trends continue in Texas, one-third of Texas adults would not have a high school diploma, Hammonds said. His concern strikes me as being very similar to the little boy who killed his parents and then pleaded for mercy before the judge on the grounds he was now an orphan.

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2012 has been a crazy year in presidential politics, from Rick Perry’s suggestion that Texas might secede from the Union to Rick Santorum railing against all forms of birth control to Newt Gingrich’s talk of an American colony on the moon by the end of his second term. While that is unlikely to occur in the foreseeable future – either a lunar colony or a Gingrich presidency – those bizarre notions might have been surpassed this week by the Republican nominee for president, former Gov. Mitt Romney, who appeared on the CBS News program 60 Minutes.

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Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center in Orange will celebrate the orchid, one of the most beautiful flowers in the world, from Oct. 6-13. At Shangri La, there will be daily tours of the Exhibition Greenhouses, classes and presentations highlighting the orchid, and a variety of orchids will also be available for purchase at Shangri La’s Garden Store.

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