BOOK REPORTS: Better living through technology

Artifical intelligence “is all around us,” says Harry Glorikian, author of “The Future You: How Artificial Intelligence (AI) Can Help You Get Healthier, Stress Less, and Live Longer” (Amazon).

Glorikian, who has been an advisor, investor, and partner in healthcare companies, details in his book how doctors are treating once-incurable diseases by rewriting DNA, how AI is helping them diagnose cancer more precisely, and how people (maybe you, too) used smartphones and smartwatches to reach health and fitness goals and sometimes survive a health emergency.

He notes scientists used AI to develop COVID vaccines at record speed and repurpose existing drugs to fight the virus—and how, he says, AI will help identify future outbreaks more rapidly.

There’s nothing about health and wellness that won’t be transformed by AI that’s either already here or coming. Self-driving cars. Smart personal assistants—think Siri, Cortana, or Google Now—or Alexa, Amazon’s cloud-based voice service that is available on literally hundreds of millions of devices. Voice-to-text. Manufacturing robots. Facial recognition software. Security surveillance. Automated financial investing and social media monitoring. Smart homes that control themselves when their owners are out of town. “The list is endless,” Glorkian avows.

Rain, rain, come and stay

By Melinda Myers

Elevate your rain barrel for easier access to the spigot for filling containers and to speed water flow with the help of gravity. (Photo credit:


Put rainwater to use in your landscape with the help of rain barrels. This centuries-old technique allows you to capture rainfall to use for watering ornamental gardens and containers.

Always start with a call to your local municipality. Some have restrictions on water-harvesting, but most encourage this practice and some even offer rebates or rain barrels at a discounted rate.

Purchase a rain barrel or make your own from a large, recycled food grade container. In either case, there are some features to consider when purchasing, creating, and adding a rain barrel to your landscape.

  • Make sure the top is covered to keep out bugs and debris. Some come equipped with a solid lid with an opening just big enough to accommodate the downspout. Others use a screen to keep out debris, while letting in the rain.
  • Don’t worry about mosquitoes breeding inside your rain barrel. Just use an organic mosquito controls like Mosquito Dunks and Mosquito Bits( are safe for people, pets, fish, wildlife, and beneficial insects.


  • Look for one with the spigot near the base of the barrel so water doesn’t stagnate in the bottom. Use the spigot to fill watering cans or attach a hose for watering. Include an overflow outlet near the top of the barrel to direct excess water away from the house or for connecting adjacent barrels. A downspout diverter is another way to manage rain barrel overflows.  When the rain barrels are full, this device diverts the water back to the downspout where it is carried away from your home’s foundation.
  • Elevate your barrel on cement blocks, decorative stands, or similar supports. This provides easier access to the spigot for filling containers and speeds water flow with the help of gravity. A water pump will boost water pressure for a nice steady flow of water.

Dress up your container with a bit of paint suited for outdoor use on plastic surfaces. And don’t worry if you are not an artist, you can hide your rain barrels with some decorative screens or plantings or upright shrubs, perennials or ornamental grasses. Just make sure you have easy access to the spout for retrieving water.

Start your conversion to rain barrels one downspout at a time.  You can capture as much as 623 gallons of water from 1,000 square feet of roof in a one-inch rainfall.  This can be a lot to manage when first adjusting to this change of habit.  Disconnecting one downspout at a time allows you to successfully match the use of rain barrels and other rain harvesting techniques to your gardening style and schedule.

The choices are many, making it easy for you to conserve water and grow a beautiful landscape.


Melinda Myers has written more than 20 gardening books, including The Midwest Gardener’s Handbook, 2nd Edition and Small Space Gardening. She hosts The Great Courses How to Grow Anything” DVD series and the nationally-syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment TV & radio program. Myers is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine and was commissioned by Summit for her expertise to write this article. Her website is

When life and home get too cluttered …

Work and storage areas are of the places in a home that sometimes need organizing.

By Christina Giaquinto

In my experience as a professional organizer and brand ambassador of DIY customizable closet units that organize any space in your home, I have discovered a number of helpful decluttering tips. Here are some tried-and-true strategies:

  • Isn’t it the worst when you are trying to leave for an outing and can’t find your keys, cellphone, or other essentials? Organize a bin by the front door or in the garage that contains essentials.
  • Write down five things you want to do. By taking pen to paper and consciously thinking of what you want to experience during a season, you will truly be able to make your dreams a reality. Then, once you write down the top five must-do’s, schedule each of them into your calendar. This will ensure you accomplish the bucket-list items and allow you to plan other activities around them.
  • Write down your home organizing goals. Have you been meaning to paint one or more of your rooms a new color? Do you really want to clean every single carpet and rug in your living space? Commit to one home organizing project. I highly recommend scheduling the project into your calendar so that there are plans set in stone to get it done!
  • It’s paramount to have your car organized. First, do a deep clean. Yes, that means vacuuming under the seats. Once the car is deep-cleaned, organize a station that you keep in the trunk for items you might need while on the road. Preparation is key!
  • Organize your garden tools. If your garden tools have been buried in the garage or shed all year, declutter any rusty or broken tools and organize a garden tool bag for yourself that ensures you can focus on the love of gardening and not stress about finding what you need. Staying organized means you have a system in place and know where everything is.

Christina Giaquinto, who represents Modular Closets (a marketer of DIY closet units), focuses on helping her clients declutter and organize. Her work has been featured by Women’s Health, Reader’s Digest, and

By Chris Melore

Over 55? Odds are you only have four friends you can count on. That’s the sobering finding from a poll of 2,000 Americans in this age group that sheds light on loneliness and social inactivity among older adults.

In fact, the survey finds that 19 percent feel lonely more than half the week, 77 percent say their social circle has shrunk as they’ve gotten older, and 48 percent have stopped being friends with at least three people in the last two years alone. However, the survey, conducted by OnePoll and commissioned by Life Time Inc., also finds that 83 percent feel it’s never too late in life to create fulfilling relationships. In their later years, people want to focus on spending time with friends and family, traveling, and improving their overall health.

It’s no surprise, then, that 70 percent say they’re interested in making new friends, saying it’s important to find someone who likes the same things, can carry a great conversation, has had similar life experiences, and wants to remain active together.

More than half wish there was a community of people their age to spend time with near them, and also claim they would be more physically active if they had someone to do things with. To that point, 46 percent shared they’ve made a new friend while being active.

Sixty-two percent are already trying to be more active at this age than ever before. Sixty percent say they’d try a new activity if they had someone to do it with, hoping to make a friend through walking or hiking, swimming, or strength and conditioning classes.

“It may seem intimidating to try something new, like pickleball, yoga or dance classes,” said Renee Main, a senior vice president at Life Time Inc. “But actually it’s a great way to make new friends while improving your health and overall well-being, especially when you’re supported by a coach who’s been trained to assist older adults.”

Similarly, 63 percent admit they’ve put off certain aspects of taking care of their health like exercising regularly, eating well, and drinking enough water. Despite this, 86 percent of respondents agree that to make the most of one’s “golden years,” it’s important to be as healthy and active as you can.

Most respondents agreed that one of their goals is to live each of their days to the fullest, including living a healthier life in order to play with their grandchildren instead of just watching them play. Sixty-five percent also recognize their health has had a significant impact on the activities and lifestyle they enjoy and that it’s never too late to get healthy. In fact, 73 percent say they’re happier when they’re active, and a similar percentage plan on investing more time in safeguarding their health.

“Whether you’re 9 years old or 90, people tend to be happier and healthier when they regularly participate in activities with friends,” Main said. “If you want to experience a long and joyful life, then get out there, make new friends, and have fun trying new things together.”


Source:, which publishes articles about surveys but has no affiliation with any of them.