Finance and Law

U.S. Immigration Policy is an Obstacle for Foreign Entrepreneurs

americanflagSince 9/11, U.S. immigration policy has experienced increased restrictions for foreign people entering the country compared to the past. Tighter security measures have taken place including fingerprinting, background checks and in-person interviews at consulates and embassies for visas. Although unlikely, immigration DNA testing can be a requirement in the future.

MIT’s Entrepreneurship Students

From a Forbes magazine column, Bill Aulet and Matt Marx teach an introductory entrepreneurship class at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology or MIT. Both instructors envision a graduating class of American entrepreneurs. However, most of the students are foreigners with student visas. Thus, many MIT entrepreneurial students lack visas to work in the United States because they are not US citizens or permanent residents. Unfortunately, foreign MIT students are leaving entrepreneurship classes with academic insight rather than applying what they learn to the real world.

Work visas, especially the H-1B, are a sponsorship from companies to employ foreigners for open positions. Thus, Aulet and Marx argue that the current immigration policy does not support entrepreneurship for foreigners. Not to mention, foreigners cannot have majority shareholder rights in a U.S.-based company even if it employs 25 or more employees.

Aulet and Marx mention that Australia, Singapore and Canada have more welcoming immigration policies for entrepreneurs than the United States. Thus, Aulet and Marx are arguing that the United States needs to change and improve the immigration policy.

Three Suggestions to Alter the U.S. Immigration Policy and Sentiment

Based on their expertise on entrepreneurship, Aulet and Marx suggest three facets to change the U.S. immigration policy.

First, an entrepreneur visa, such as an EB-1 status, should be created as foreigners have innovative ideas and education to establish new businesses. Currently, the United States has a similar visa for scientists. Aulet and Marx refer to the UK’s recent creation of a visa for entrepreneurs as an example of what the U.S. should do to attract immigrants.

Secondly, the U.S. approach to immigrants should be welcoming rather than alienating them. Due to fingerprinting and background checks, foreigners may feel themselves being treated as crime suspects.

Finally, Aulet and Marx infer to the drastic nature of start-ups. Thus, both professors argue that the immigration policy should consider the needs of entrepreneurs by reducing bureaucracy.

Thus, Aulet and Marx prefer immigration as a tool to promote entrepreneurship, which will result in economic growth and new jobs in the United States.

Immigration is a Long, Complex Process

Due to bureaucracy, immigrant entrepreneurs will be required to submit various documents. Sometimes documents can be lost along the way, which can cause legal issues including overstaying and deportation. Additionally, visa status changes can be difficult due to different paperwork. Thus, immigration lawyers are around to help foreigners with visa and other issues.

Home Improvement

Maximize the Value of Your Home Before Your Home Appraisal with These 6 Tips

If you are in the process of refinancing your home, you know just how important the home appraisal will be. When the home appraises low, it can impact just how much you can borrow. In fact, if the home appraisal is too low according to the standards of the mortgage company, all of the work you have done to refinance may have been done in vain. If you want to ensure that your refinance is approved, you should prepare your home in advance to maximize the official estimate of your home’s worth. Here are some valuable tips on how to boost the value of your home with grooming and a few maintenance projects.

1. Lend a Hand and Do Homework for Your Appraiser

An appraiser does not work with the property owner or the mortgage company. The professional is independent to prevent any type of damaging influences from either party. While your appraiser will be an independent party, you can lend a hand to help your appraisal by doing your homework before your appointment.

Use the Internet and look for comparable homes in your neighborhood that have recently sold. When you run comparable reports, make sure that you highlight why your home may carry more value. This will help the appraiser understand trends in the housing market in your neighborhood so that they can provide an accurate estimate.

2. Do the Important Maintenance First

You want to paint the best picture of your home as possible. If you are aware of maintenance issues, make sure that you take time to finish these projects before your appraisal. Cracks in your entryway, broken fixtures, or even worn carpeting can dramatically impact the value of your home. Point out what issues need to be fixed first and budget the cost. Typically, small improvements will offer a gain of as much as 15 times the cost in the home’s appraised value.

3. Make the Right Visual Impression

While appraisers are supposed to look at the fundamentals of the home, superficial things have a ways of impacting the appraiser’s estimate. By simply grooming your lawn, manicuring your landscaping, and cleaning your windows, you can breath life into a drab and uninviting home. If you want to make your home more inviting, consider slapping on a fresh coat of paint. You may even want to request a New Jersey vinyl siding estimate to compliment the new paint color and make your home look updated.

4. Point Out Features the Appraiser Might Miss

Appraisers look at homes all day long. While they are trained to spot updated features, it can help if you are present during the appraisal to stress the good stuff. If the appraiser fails to notice the best features of your home, it can affect the estimate. The special woodwork or the imported tile floors might be easy for an appraiser to overlook.

5. Stage the Property

You know how much more inviting a property feels when it is clean and tidy. Make sure you take time to stage your property as if you are inviting potential buyers over. This will make the floor plan appear more spacious. It will also help highlight your beautiful floors, cabinets, and counter tops if the home is free of clutter and all of the surfaces are clean.

6. Get a Second Opinion

You have the right to hire another independent appraiser to appraise your home if you are not happy with your first appraisal. If you are sure that the estimate is well off, a second opinion may make the difference between a loan approval and a denial.

There are several factors you cannot change that will affect your home’s value. Location, rooms, and the size of the parcel are just a few. Make sure to consider what you can change, and make an effort to maximize your home’s value. By making the effort, you will have no problem refinancing your home for that lower rate you have been looking for.


Make Your Home More Energy Efficient With These 5 Tips

homeefficiencyWhere green energy is concerned, there are a variety of ways to increase home efficiency. From small tweaks to big purchases, you can minimize the amount of power you use in your home and therefore save a bundle on your electricity and water costs. Here are five simple projects that can make your home more energy efficient.

Upgrade the Plumbing

Your bathroom is one of the most wasteful rooms in your home. Using standard fixtures and toilets promote significant overuse of water, which is bad for both the environment and your bottom line. To remedy this, switch them out for low-flow toilets and water-saving faucets and shower heads. Furthermore, it’s a good idea to repair any leaks that may be present. This can also help to save on wasted water, damages and mold removal Bergen county residents would otherwise have to pay a lot of money for.

Check Your Attic’s Insulation

It’s easy to overlook your attic, but it’s worth sinking some money and time into, especially if it’s unfinished. Having it insulated properly will allow your home to hold in heat during the winter and will keep it out during the summer months. Cellulose, fiberglass and foam insulation’s are some of the most common choices, and when they’re used properly, they can all prove to be cost-effective and efficient ways to make your home a more comfortable place to live. That translates to fewer bothersome temperature changes, less tampering with the thermostat and significantly smaller heating and cooling bills.

Replace Your Windows

It’s not always practical to replace all of your home’s windows, but if it’s something you’ve been meaning to do anyway, go to to find the most efficient ones. Plus, the federal government may give you a tax rebate for installing energy efficient windows. This is a good project to do if you’re seeking a New Jersey vinyl siding estimate, since windows will be easier to replace at the same time as your siding. If you don’t quite need to replace your windows, then consider applying weather stripping around them or caulking around their outer edges to keep the heat and cold out. Furthermore, remember to leave your windows closed in extreme temperatures unless absolutely necessary.

Plant Trees

Few homeowners realize that a bit of landscaping can actually improve their home’s energy efficiency. Adding a row of bushy trees or tall hedges along the southern and western sides of your house will provide much-needed shade from the hot summer sun. They will also help to shield your home against the bitterly cold winds of winter while their bare branches allow the sun’s rays to heat your home naturally. If you’ve already taken other steps to improve your home’s energy efficiency, then this won’t do much, but it’s hard to complain about having more trees. You can also consult a qualified electrician like ACE Electricians to review and optimize your wiring and lighting locations.

Change Out Your Bulbs

Although incandescent bulbs are cheaper at face value and provide a bit more light, they’re very expensive to operate and don’t last long. By some estimates, you could save hundreds of dollars on your electric bills each year just by changing all of the light bulbs in your home to compact fluorescent.

Real Estate

Smaller Houses for Smaller Dreams

smallhouseOne of Joe Biden’s personal goals was to keep the American dream alive in today’s economy. With more Americans experiencing higher mortgages, tighter budgets, and the dollar rapidly losing value, it is only a matter of time before Americans will have to trade in their large homes for small huts.

Designer homes with comfortable floor plans are being made for homes as small as 65 square feet. Many of these new homes would be defined as mobile homes, however, they appear more like small mountain cabins. The most famous of these designs is Henry David Thoreau’s Walden Pond cabin, which measured 125 square feet in total, but featured all of the amenities and comforts a home should have.

These new tiny homes have much appeal due to their lower taxes and utility costs. Plus, very little daily housework is needed to keep the home efficient and clean. Bigger houses look very similar and waste much of a family’s disposable income to maintain. With a smaller house and smaller bills, this money can be saved for more important things. Most of the items could be bought online for the home as well. Many small home owners will opt to buy windows online, for example. New Jersey vinyl siding estimate show an increase in pricing for larger homes, and many smaller styles will use smaller amounts of the siding to save money.

While the tiny house movement is rapidly gaining in popularity, larger homes and buildings will still remain. Traditional land marks, such as the White House, can certainly appreciate the movement, but will not downsize. With the green movement also going strong in the United States, we will surely begin to see a brighter future overall, even with larger buildings and homes still existing.

Another option is to rent a deluxe micro-apartment in a crowded city such as Boston. These smaller apartments are usually purchased as temporary housing and can be quite costly, these micro-apartments often are rented by the same people who later buy larger than needed homes in America’s suburbs.

While America’s typical actions may not always be beneficial for our aspirations, the tiny house movement remains on the rise. This contradicts our country’s devotion to excess and materialism. The suburban landscape will not change overnight, but theories on radical minimalism are still being developed. As of last year, America’s homes still gained nearly 40% more space, despite the rapidly declining birthrate. In addition to less children, more homes are likely to own more dogs and own a four or more bedroom home. Maintenance is still extremely expensive for homes of this size.

The movement may seem practical and have many supporters, but many Americans still feel that a tiny home is impractical and too extreme of a solution. Newer dwellings will reflect on the economy and a healthy balance will be created. Some speculate a rise in small Cape Cod-style homes that are only slightly smaller than what the average person has now. While the smaller home movement may be downsizing the American dream, many Americans will still dream of their large home in the suburb.


Quadruple Helix In Cancer Cells Discovered in DNA

B0006421 Breast cancer cellsDNA Is the Genetic Key To Life

The study of DNA, the basic genetic material contained in all the cells of most living creatures, has unlocked many mysteries of life. The Human Genome Project has mapped out every gene in human DNA and this promises to help us cure and prevent many diseases. Using paternity dna testing, men can now discover, with almost absolute certainty, if they are the father of a particular child. Expecting parents in England can use prenatal dna testing uk to determine if their baby will have any obvious birth defects. It is amazing how much the study of DNA can tell us about life and now scientists in the UK have discovered something that could prove to be one of the most exciting scientific discoveries of this century. It could literally revolutionize the field of medicine.

What Did the UK Scientists Discover?

While studying the chemical reactions in living tissue afflicted with cancer, the UK scientists discovered something very odd when the cancerous cells were in the process of multiplying. For a temporary time while in the process of multiplying, these abnormal cancer cells formed a quadruple DNA helix. As you will probably recall from biology class, normal DNA structure is a double helix, not a quadruple helix. Normal healthy cells simply do not have four strands in their DNA structure; they have two strands. The scientists also discovered that guanine, one of the four nucleotides that make up the unique genetic code of each individual and species, is present in higher than normal numbers in the quadruple DNA helix of the cancerous cells. This was discovered using a technique that used antibody proteins combined with a fluorescent marker. This allowed the scientists to literally see the guanine as it glowed under a special light. The UK scientists’ work has been published in a peer-reviewed journal called “Nature Chemistry” and it is no doubt that other researchers around the world will be taking a close look at this work. Some will try to replicate the work to make sure the same result is found. Other scientists will try to expand on this work. This is the modern scientific process and it allows for very rapid progress once an initial discovery has been made.

What Significance Could This Discovery Have For the Future?

It is thought that pharmaceutical labs, as well as university labs, will be able to use these two discoveries to create a drug that could target cancer cells and kill them without killing normal cells. This could mean a potential cure for cancer! Most current cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation treatments, kill many healthy cells in the process of killing the cancerous cells. This is why they are not really considered a “cure” for cancer. However, if cancer cells can be specifically targeted without killing the normal healthy cells, this will indeed be heralded a cure for cancer. This type of treatment will also have far fewer side effects.

Image Credit: crafty_dame.

Health and Beauty

Men and Sex: 3 Common Misconceptions

coupleCasanovas, studs and players: women often use these words to describe men and their sexuality. These colorful words aptly characterize some of the leading male roles in film and television today. Even in the real world, many women have expressed disappointment in what they have come to believe as a fact: guys want easy sex without relationship or commitment.

Unfortunately, this is one of many misconceptions about male sexuality. Some researchers suggest evolution as the reason for these erroneous beliefs that women have about men. Others chalk it up to testosterone and male sexual functioning.

Far too many people base their impressions on bad information. Here are three of the most common misconceptions about men and sex, as well as the reasons why the stereotypes are wrong.

Married Men are Unfaithful to Their Wives

Many women think all men are cheaters. The statistics show that men are more likely than women to have an extramarital affair. This does not, however, support the belief that all men are unfaithful to their wives. Unless the “affair” is a one-night stand or sex with a prostitute, even men who cheat on their wives generally do so within the context of another relationship.

It is much more helpful to consider why relationships end than to label all men as “dogs.” Most men love their wives and want excitement in their marriages. Couples who learn to refresh their marital relationships, especially the sexual aspect, can maintain the intimacy well into their later years.

Testosterone Encourages Promiscuity

Women often say that “men can’t help themselves” because they are men. They label testosterone a purveyor of promiscuity. This is another misunderstanding.

Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone. It is responsible for many areas of men’s health, from muscle growth to sexual functioning. Adequate testosterone levels are essential for male sexual health, and increased levels boost the male sex drive.

Amorous desires are not the same as promiscuous behavior, however. Men who are in committed relationships enjoy the sexual benefits of testosterone therapy. It is often used for treating ED, also known as erectile dysfunction or impotence. In addition to treating ED, testosterone lifts depression, improves concentration and promotes general well-being.

Men Will Never Change

Many women think that men will never change, so they simply have to learn to deal with it. This is pure myth. Men can change, and they have changed through the years.

For example, modern men are less sexist than men of two generations ago. Most men today expect and encourage their partners to pursue a career and earn an income.

Married men welcome equality as a positive thing in their marriage. Single men are much more comfortable with letting women pay for a meal or a date. Men, like women, change as the culture and times change.

Image Credit: Snowflakesarewhite

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DIY Wedding Planning: The Top 10 Apps

weddingringsHaving a wedding is extremely exciting, but it can also be rather expensive. When you want to have a beautiful celebration, consider these 10 DIY wedding planning apps to help you do it for less.

1. Make Your Wedding: Inspiration, Planning and DIY Projects

Sometimes, you see a beautiful project you love, but you have no idea how to craft it. This app will provide guides for you to see what you need to do.

2. Appy Couple

When you need a clear layout of all that you have accomplished and all that is still scheduled, Appy Couple will keep you up-to-date on your own wedding planning life.

3. Wedding Dress Look Book

So many stunning styles are awaiting you. Before you head to the store, make the process a bit less overwhelming by using this app. You’ll be able to sort dresses by price, shape and style.

4. Tie Right

Now ladies, remember, you aren’t the only ones who need to look spiffy on the day of the wedding. This app is just for the gentlemen, and it will show the groom and the bridal party members how to put their tie on properly. It includes six different styles.

5. Carmindy

Lots of brides want to hire a professional to do their makeup; however, this can actually be quite expensive. Through using this app, ladies can see how the professionals apply makeup, and they can mimic those techniques on the big day to look stunning and save quite a bit.

6. UpDo Styles

Many ladies, especially those who are getting married in the hot months, decide to wear their hair in an up-do. When you want to show that perfect picture to your hairstylist at the trial and on the wedding day, this app will let you do so.

7. Projects

You absolutely must have an app that keeps track of all that you need to do. With this one, you can event print. When the list needs to go from digital to hard copy in a matter of minutes, it’s quite simple to accomplish when you have this handy app.

8. Pocket Yoga

At some point, wedding planning is likely going to be at least a little bit stressful. During those times, use this app to use some yoga techniques to let you chill out and calm down for awhile.

9. Stacy’s Boot Camp

It’s likely that you want to look your absolute best on your wedding day, but you might not have enough for a personal trainer or an expensive gym membership. Use this app to get yourself in shape.

10. Wedding Song Planner: Professional

Upon getting this app, you’ll be able to start planning all of the music for your wedding. You can share this list with your DJ, so he knows just what to play.

Upon reviewing all of this information, you’ll likely see exactly how apps can making wedding planning easier for you.

Derek is currently blogging for a New York City Wedding Music company.

Image Credit: kelp1966

Home Improvement

Design Trends For Your Yard

backyardWinter is the time to start planning how to make your outdoor living space more enjoyable and functional. Here are a few ideas for incorporating the top trends into your yard.

Increase the Functionality

Yards are moving away from the sculpted and sterile arranged planting approach to a much more viable and functional design. The urban homestead movement has people growing their own vegetables, herbs and fruit and even adding chickens and bees to their garden design. Raised beds and container gardens make growing vegetables easier than ever. These edible gardens can become a community project where other gardeners join the fun and provide fresh produce to local food banks.

Sustainable Design

Water availability will continue to be a concern for homeowners, especially those experiencing drought. Homeowners are tired of the tyranny of the mower and are realizing the effort and cost involved in maintaining an immaculate swath of lawn. Gardeners want to get away from all the pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers and untold amounts of water they apply to their yards. Moving to more sustainable practices of utilizing beautiful water-wise plants, drip irrigation systems and organic fertilizers creates low maintenance garden spots that are much more environmentally friendly.

Usable Hardscapes

Homeowners want greater functionality from the architectural features in their yards and are leaving behind those big but useless projects. Creating smaller, more durable elements using higher quality materials is the trend during these times of economic uncertainty. Decks, patios, arbors and water features that are low maintenance but eye catching in their simplistic beauty will provide enjoyment for years to come as well as add value to a home. Homeowners looking for contractors can search gazebo construction New Jersey.

Water Features

We love the sound of water as it drips, bubbles or playfully splashes about. Adding a water element to your yard creates a tranquil, enjoyable setting for everyone. There are water features to fit every budget, from small table top urns to full-scale yard ponds complete with waterfall. Large ponds can also attract wildlife and provide a spot for raising koi.

Outdoor Living

Thanks to the technology of modern fabrics, it’s easier than ever to create outdoor living zones. Gone are the days of worrying about excess sun and rain on the chair cushions. Outdoor furniture is more durable, so you can create more permanent living areas. This reduces the need for constantly setting up and taking down seating areas. Comfort and ease of use are the operative themes today.


One of the major trends in yard design is incorporating a built-in grilling station. Everyone loves to barbecue so why not increase the functionality of the cooking zone as well as make it an integral part of the hardscape of the yard? Outdoor ovens, large grills, storage and lighting make preparing meals outside less of a chore. Functional yet beautiful design and materials makes working in the area more enjoyable too. Bergen County contracting firms can help you design the perfect cooking spot.

Image Credit: ooh_food


The Top 6 Ways to Save Money on Your Engagement

engagementIt never hurts to save.

It may seem stupid for someone to save for their wedding before they’ve even met the man or woman of their dreams, but the extra money will come in handy later. In 2012 alone, the average cost of a wedding was over $27,000. While it is understandable to want to celebrate the coming together of two families, doing so can easily cause a financial nightmare for the couple.

Instead, those who plan to have a wedding more extravagant than their wallet can start saving now. Most banks allow users to open a savings account free of charge. Not only will this keep the money safe, but also allow users to rake in some interest until Mr. Right comes along.

Make it clear who is paying for what early on.

Traditionally speaking, the parents of the bride are supposed to pay for the entire wedding. That being said, times are tough and the country is still recovering from an economical crisis. It’s understandable that some families may not be able to help as much as others.

On the other hand, some families of the groom may prefer to pay for the wedding themselves, especially if it is their only son. Still other times the couple may pay for the entire celebration themselves, not wanting to financially burden their parents. Regardless of who pays for what, couples should make these requests known early on. By doing so, it will help cut down on both costs and stress.

Take on DIY wedding projects.

Sure, newspaper flowers may not appeal to everyone, but not all DIY projects have to be tacky. Instead of having homemade everything, couples can consider cutting the costs by doing as many DIY projects as they can without sacrificing style. Some popular ideas include baking the wedding cake, creating fabric flowers, or putting together stunning centerpieces for each table.

Consider what is truly important. Purchase these items first.

For some, it will be the color scheme that makes their wedding stand out. For others, it’ll be the flowers, the band that plays rocking Manhattan wedding music, the two-week long honeymoon to New Zealand, or the house that is purchased after the big day. Whatever is most important to the couple should always be purchased first, this way there are no disappointments come wedding day.

Cut costs on the engagement ring whenever possible.

The engagement ring is arguably one of the most important parts of a wedding. With so many women expecting gold, large gemstones, or dozens of diamonds, the price can quickly add up long before the wedding day even arrives. That doesn’t mean couples should get their rings from a gumball machine, but certain methods can be taken to cut down pricing. Buying from a well-known used jewelry store, such as Etsy or eBay, is one way to save thousands. Couples may also use inherited rings, or take previously worn gemstones and place it onto a new ban. Thinking outside the box in terms of gemstones can also cut down on costs. For example, diamonds and sapphires are expensive while opals and citrine can be found much cheaper.

Pick the date of the wedding carefully.

The most popular seasons to have a wedding in are spring and summer. The most popular day is Saturday, and the most popular time is in the early morning or late evening. If couples are willing to compromise on any of these, most venues will discount their price dramatically. Sure, getting married in the Autumn on a Wednesday may not sound ideal now, but cooler seasoned weddings can be just as enjoyable as the warmer months, and at a fraction of the cost.

Derek is currently blogging for a New Jersey catering.

Image Credit: Amanda Nicole Betley


The 25th Anniversary of “The Phantom of the Opera”

phantomTwenty-five years is a long time.

In that time span, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Phantom of the Opera” has become a Broadway staple and has been performed around the world and has even become a high grossing Hollywood film. When “Phantom of the Opera” opened at the famous Majestic Theater in 1988, no one could predict the kind of impact it would have. Least of all to know its ultimate popularity was its creator, Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Webber wrote the music, with the lyrics written by Hart and Stilgoe. In the original show that debuted on Broadway in 1988, The Phantom was played by Michael Crawford. The Phantom is an infatuated, mysterious character who troubles the Opera House and enthralls Christine, a fledgling singer played by then unknown Sarah Brightman. “Phantom” was a hit, even amidst controversy about Brightman’s being cast in the lead (she was married to Andrew Lloyd Webber at the time), and about production values (some musical numbers were prerecorded in a studio).

Over the next 25 years, the show would go on to break many records and gain exceptional popularity. Here are some facts and figures about one of Broadway’s biggest hits.

  • Come Saturday, “Phantom of the Opera” will have had around 10,400 performances.
  • The one ton chandelier featured in the production has traveled 757 miles since 1988.
  • The longest running Christine, Sandra Joseph, has performed the character in 1,260 performances.
  • Howard McGillin, who is the actor who has played The Phantom the most, has played the part 2,544 times.
  • Applying the Phantom’s make up takes about 90 minutes to attach prosthetics, wigs and mask.
  • “Phantom” has grossed more than 887 million dollars since its debut on Broadway in 1988.
  • The only time an actress has ever had to sing the high E in the show’s title song has been only once because of the way the show is set up. Staging requires the use of prerecorded tracks to fill in the singing during that portion of the song.

This Saturday, January the 26th, “Phantom of the Opera” will be celebrating its 25th anniversary with a singular celebration performance at the Majestic Theater where it all started. The show will be starring Hugh Panaro as The Phantom. Panaro had 1,800 appearances as the title character on Broadway, and got his start in the show as Raoul in December of 1990. Sierra Boggess plays Christine for the first time in her illustrious career on Broadway.

The show promises to be a sensational night for all to come out and celebrate 25 years of history. If you can find “Phantom of the Opera” discount tickets, take the whole family out for a night of Broadway enchantment. You can also find deals in the form of an online Broadway theatre tickets. No matter how you get there, don’t miss this resplendent night on January the 26th and celebrate 25 years of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s classic take on “The Phantom of the Opera.” Twenty-five years only comes around once.

Image Credit: Chengings