The How to Do Anything Better Guide

This USF Expert Guide to being a better date, spotting a liar, acing a job interview, protecting your online identity, pairing wine with food, saving the planet, raising quadruplets, and other essential life skills is brought to you by a host of USF experts. So go ahead, improve yourself with this uniquely USF how-to guide.

How to Protect Your Online Identity

Each year, millions of people the across the country fall victim to online identity theft, an illicit industry that swindles billions of dollars from unsuspecting computer users. USF’s Vice President for Information Technology Services Tracy Schroeder offers her top tips for protecting your identity online.

  • When you get a suspicious email, don’t bite. Never respond to emails asking you to click on a link to verify personal information. This is called “phishing.” These links will take you to a fraudulent Web site and ask you to enter your username, password, account number, etc. If you think the email might be authentic, find the phone number for the organization (don’t use the number provided in the email) and call them directly to confirm.
  • Be mysterious on social networking sites. If you use MySpace, Facebook, or a similar site, provide as little information about yourself as possible. Don’t give your birthday, place of birth, or your pet’s name—all information that can be used to gain access to your bank, credit card, or other accounts. Treat these sites like the public Web pages they are.
  • Use strong passwords. Passwords are the keys to your kingdom, and should not be a word in the dictionary. Strong passwords should include letters, numbers, and special characters (&*#). Change your passwords from time to time.
  • Get a credit monitoring service. Services like Equifax or TransUnion will alert you if there is unusual activity in your accounts.
  • Get a junk email address. Set up a Hotmail, Yahoo, or Gmail account to use when you fill out a form on a Web sitef2_advice_computer or make a purchase. Use this address rather than your primary personal/business email address.
  • Educate your family. Talk to relatives, especially children, about not providing personal information on the Internet.
  • Let your computer’s automatic updates run. These often patch known holes in your computer’s security.
How to Spot a Liar

USF Psychology Professor Maureen O’Sullivan has spent the better part of 30 years studying how lies are told. Most recently, she has focused on so-called “wizards,” individuals who are exceptionally gifted at identifying when somebody is telling a lie. While there is no proverbial Pinocchio’s nose, follow these lessons learned from her research and you’ll have a better chance of not getting duped.

  • Watch the Hands. When people gesture with their hands while talking and then suddenly stop motioning, it is a sign that they are trying to think hard or conceal an emotion, like fear of showing their true colors.
  • Smile or Smirk? If someone is truly smiling, both sides of the mouth and eyes will turn upward with genuine pleasure. If someone is just faking it—what O’Sullivan calls “duping delight”—only one side of the face will turn up. This can be a sign of contempt, an emotion expressed by someone who is lying.
  • Microexpressions. As hard as a liar will try to suppress an emotion like anger, that feeling will often leak out in the form of a subtle facial expression. It might be visible only for a second or two or it might appear in just one part of the face.
  • Listen to Pitch. Liars often will speak in a high-pitch voice (a classic sign of fear) at the point they are trying to conceal something.
How to Create a Healthy, Palate-Pleasing Meal

Students come to USF with a sophisticated food palate and a full understanding of what they’d like to eat, says Holly Winslow, resident district manager for Bon Appétit, the university’s food service provider. For them, healthy eating is not a fad, but rather a lifestyle, and they know that healthy cooking doesn’t have to mean flat, flavorless food.

With that in mind, Bon Appétit created this healthy recipe that has become a student favorite.

Low Fat Chicken Pita Sandwiches with Yogurt Sauce (Yield 12 servings)
1 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground allspice
2 teaspoons olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
Pinch of ground cardamon
Pinch of pepper
5 garlic cloves, minced
3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
3 cups thinly sliced cucumber
1 ½ cups thinly sliced red onion, separated into rings
3 tablespoons minced fresh mint
12 oz. plain low-fat yogurt
Cooking spray
12 whole wheat pita bread rounds (6-inch)
4 cups spring mix
2 cups chopped tomato 

Combine first 10 ingredients and toss to coat the chicken well. Marinate in refrigerator one hour, stirring occasionally.

Combine cucumber, onion, mint, and yogurt in a bowl. Cover and chill.

Grill chicken. Portion 4 oz. servings. Heat pita bread and cut in half. Divide 1/3 cup spring mix between warm pita bread; add 1 tablespoon tomato, 2 oz. chicken and then top with 1 ½ tablespoons yogurt sauce per half pita sandwich.

Nutritional Analysis (Serving size: 2 half sandwiches)
310 calories, 4.5 g fat (13%), 1 g saturated fat, 70 mg cholesterol, 34 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 34 g protein, 450 mg sodium

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