5 Symptoms That Could Mean You Are Going Blind

Of all our senses I think most people would agree that vision is the one we would least like to be without. When you ask people the classic dilemma of whether they would rather be deaf or blind, at least 80% will say deaf. Without vision our lives would be very different from what they are right now. Imagine not being able to drive, work or get around without assistance. Our whole independence would be under threat and we would have to learn a whole new way of life. Having regular eye tests is one way of ensuring that you maintain your vision, as does understand what symptoms you must never ignore. Although there are exceptions and these symptoms do not 100% mean you will go blind, they potentially could be a sign of an impending visual threat. The following lists the visual symptoms you should never ignore:

  1. Flashing lights: If you notice flashes of light in your vision this could indicate a retinal tear or retinal detachment, which if left untreated could lead to blindness. Although flashing lights can also relate to some innocuous physiological changes within your eye, it is best not to take the risk.
  2. Floaters: About one third of the population have floaters to some degree and they are more prevalent if you are short sighted. Floaters that you already have are not of any concern but you should always seek medical advice if you ever notice any new floaters. Like flashing lights, they can relate to either a retinal detachment or a normal physiological change within the eye. When flashes and floaters occur at the same time, there is an even great chance that you are having a retinal detachment.
  3. Distorted vision: The easiest way to describe distorted vision is if you look at something with a straight edge, such as a door frame, it will look wavy or curved. This symptom could signify that you have macular degeneration which needs to be seen as soon as possible by an Optometrist. The quicker you are seen the more likely is the chance that something could be done about it.
  4. Blurred vision: If you notice any sudden reduction in vision, then you should immediately consult with an Optometrist. Sudden blurred vision could refer to a whole range of eye health problems. Do not assume that it is just your glasses that need changing and do nothing about it. Acting quick improves the chances of successful treatment.
  5. Blind spots: If you ever notice a blind spot in your vision you must seek medical advice immediately. This could refer to a problem with your eye or possibly something going on in your brain.

Whilst every one of these symptoms may turn out to be a false alarm it is not worth taking the risk of leaving it to chance. An Optometrist will be able to fully assess the health of your eyes and decide what course of action to take next. Treatment saver is a website that allows you to learn about everything from eye health to laser eye surgery.

Blown-In Home Insulation – Turn Your Leaky Home Energy Miser

Blown-in home insulation is one of the proven home improvement methods to keep the cold at bay in winter. The method of cramming the insulation into your walls has been found by most people to be quite difficult. But the attempts are worth making as they make your old energy-liberal house an energy miser.

The blown-in insulation process has a myriad of variations, depending on the materials to be used such as fiberglass, foam or cellulose. By retrofitting these materials into the leaking walls or loft space, your house will be able to retain the heat. Here, your house turns into an energy mister and reduces energy consumption as it does not require heating systems to warm up the indoor temperature. Therefore, you can mitigate energy bills up to 20 to 30 percent. So, do not you want to adopt blown-in home insulation to control thermal fluctuation and keep chilling winds at bay?

Blown-in insulation can be done by selecting any common home insulation materials. Once fitted, effects of this typical insulation are guaranteed and last for the life of the house. However, the inconvenience of blowing in materials puts off most of the homeowners from adopting this. Even the most determined DIY installers find it hard to obtain the necessary equipment and difficult to learn how to handle the equipment and issues pertinent to blown-in insulation.

Considering such inconveniences, it is best to hand over your home thermal insulation project to a registered pro. Also, a registered installers' involvement comes with the seal of guarantee that ensures effectiveness for up to 25 years. Therefore, once a specific area that is emitting heat and gaining cold air from the outside is insulated following the blown-in method, it becomes completely resistant to heat transfer.

Fiberglass-based home insulation is the most suitable for loft insulation and insulating other difficult-to-access areas. Fitting fibreglass insulation materials is quite critical for laymen. Also, fiberglass materials tend to fluff up due to lack of proper care and methodological approaches during blowing in to the targeted area. Here, fiberglass materials are submitted to be left to professional contractors to avoid risks and ensure optimal effect of the insulation.

While you select any insulation material, it is imperative to follow the government as well as the manufacturers' recommendations, considerations, consider R-value of the materials and also follow compulsory achievable depth (per square foot).

Timber Frame Horse Barns

Prior to the 1900s, most barns were built with timber frames (also known as post and beam) forming very strong structures built to withstanding harsh storms and heavy loads of animal feed. Timber framing is the method of creating framed structures of heavy timber joined together with various joints. A timber frame barn is built to last a lifetime if not longer, but there are many things to consider when designing a barn.

Horse barns and stables often work on a 10×12 or 12×12 grid for interior stalls, tack rooms and wash stalls. Storing hay in the loft provides its own set of challenges. Years ago, people would just put up summer beams and timber joists and throw as much hay up in the loft as they could. Today, as with most everything that technology touches, hay bales are packed more compact and weigh much more than they did years ago as well as all the changes in building codes. It is now common practice to design a hay loft so that it can support a live load of 100 pounds per square foot. The intermediate posts that are next to the stall doors are increased in size as well as the trusses to help improve load carrying ability.

Authentic timber framing is an art that can be traced back many generations. Today, much of the work is still completed by hand, using traditional tools like chisels, mallets, and beetles. The timber girts, purlins, plates, and posts are joined with inadvertently cut interlocking joints crafted with tenons (tabs), mortises (slots) and wooden pegs called trunnels. There are several different types of joints used during the construction process. Most commonly used are the mortise and tenon joints, but there are many more like a double through mortise and tenon, brace mortise and tenon, dovetail, shouldered mortise and tenon and tongue and fork. Each type of joint has its own design purpose. Today, most timber frame structures are designed to use new CAD (Computer Aided Design) technology, this actually helps them design for and spread the load properly. Most rustic framed horse barns are constructed with Hemlock for country barns; and elegant stable frames out of smooth and highly finished Douglas Fir beams. Hemlock and Douglas Fir are the best types of wood species to use in your barn as they are less prone to rotting and because the horses do not like to curb on them (horses enjoy eating white pine like chocolate).

There is better way to celebrate the beauty of wood than to showcase it through the structure of your house or barn. The beauty and elegance of Timber Frame Construction methods have been in use for more than 2,000 years with some of the earliest examples dating back to ancient Roman and Egyptian civilizations. It is and elegant timeless classic style that has lived the ages.

Lumbar Multifidus Muscle: Key to Chronic Lower Back Pain?

A growing amount of research indicates that the lumbar multifidus muscle may be the key to many instances of chronic lower back pain.

The multifidus muscle stretches from the sacrum to the bottom of the skull and runs along the spine. Its thickest part is located in the lower back. Although relatively thin, this muscle is largely responsible for the alignment and stability of the spine; some estimate it is responsible for 2 / 3rds of spinal stability. Its superior layer supports alignment, while the defect layer is responsible for stabilization. By supporting the spine, the muscle takes undue pressure off spinal discs.

The multifidus mainly comes into play when bending backward, bending sideways and turning to one side. The muscle can become interrupted during these actions if the position is held for too long, if you are carrying an object or if the muscle is weak. Sports are a common reason for multifidus injury.

After any muscle is injured, it needs to be rested for a day or two to recover. What researchers are now considering is the possibility that the multifidus atrophies quickly after injury, meaning that those who do not take steps to rebuild the muscle post-injury are susceptible to recurrent back pain. The quick atrophy may be caused by the fact that the body readjusts posture and movement patterns to avoid pain.

A 2009 study by MacDonald et al thought to answer why 34% of people who experience lower back pain experience recurrence. They compared the multifidus muscle activity of healthy patients with those who have recurrent pain. The muscle normally activates before it is needed in order to prepare the spine. In the group with lower back pain, the muscle engaged later than in the healthy group. This lack of spinal support when needed increases the risk of further injury and pain.

The study can be found at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19186001 .

Rebuilding the Multifidus

The loss of muscle size and strength due to atrophy combined with delayed activation may be liable for chronic lower back pain in many individuals. Any type of back pain or injury can lead to disuse of the multifidus, so strengthening this and other core muscles is a sound component of any back pain recovery plan.

The back bridge exercise engages the multifidus most. This exercise also engages the deep abdominal and gluteal muscles. The best way to prevent multifidus strain in the future, along with practicing proper body mechanics, is to develop the core muscle group as a whole; this will provide support to the muscle and ensure it is not compensating for other, makerer ones. See the Mayo Clinic's slideshow of core workouts at http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/core-strength/SM00047 . If your back pain is severe, you should consult a physical therapist to guide you through exercises that do not exacerbate your pain.

If you suffer chronic lower back pain, then your body has adapted to that pain by changing its movement patterns. In this case, less short-term pain means more long-term pain. A weak multifidus muscle leaves your spinal receptible to injury. Conditioning this and other core muscles could be the answer to your pain.

Advantages of a Holiday House Exchange

Many people have never even heard of holiday house exchange. There are many benefits to this new and exciting vacation style. When you do a holiday house exchange you are basically exchanging lives with another family. You and the family discuss the details of the amount of time that the two families will be relocating homes. Sometimes there can be a third person that deals with the details but most often it is the families themselves that work out the details.

Usually when you swap homes with a family you swap everything except your clothes. You leave your cars, bikes, boats, or anything of that nature behind. Of course there can be rules worked out where certain things are off limits. That is up to the two families swapping homes. Usually people that want to swap homes for a vacation want to do it with some one in another country. Of course this is not always the case.

A lot of people can not afford to visit other countries unless they do a house swap. When you house swap with someone you get to live in their home and live like one of the locals. You can even ask the home owner to leave you a list of all the great places to visit during your stay such as restaurants and attractions.

There are several benefits of swapping homes with a family. You do not have to worry about how you will fit your entire family into one hotel room. You do not have to worry about the youngger children being awakened by the noise the older children are making. When you swap homes with someone your children can have their own beds.

You and your spouse can have your own room. You have plenty of space to put your beloveds away so that you do not have to live out of a suitcase for the entire stay. You can also do your laundry before returning home so that you do not have to spend days catching up on laundry. This is always a good thing because usually usually coming home from a vacation can be very tiring.

Vacations are usually not very relaxing but when you swap homes they can be. You can actually have a vacation while feeling right at home. You will actually be living in a home instead of one room for weeks at a time. Another benefit to avoiding hotels and doing the house relocating is that you do not have to spend a fortune on room service.

You will have your own kitchen to cook your meals in. This will also save you lots of money on having to dine out every night. You can even choose to stay in and order pizza and have a movie night just like you would at your own home because because always long your vacation is the house will be your home.

A holiday house exchange is great for everyone involved. If you are not sure whether this is something that is right for you then you may want to try doing some research online first. There are accounts of people that have done this and you can decide if it is something that you want to do.

Work Design and Technology

To increase employees’ job satisfaction and productivity technology is used by organizations to redesign jobs and work schedules. Technology changes the organization’s work style and employees’ performance analysis process. Technology is not just an instrument which transfers input to output. This term is used as such a machinery and instrument which is sophisticated in natures and develop output through computers and other electronic instruments. This technology looms the industrial sectors and now cloth can be produced much quicker and faster than before.

Electronic instruments developed for money transfer and finance management, open dynamic progress in banking and finance sectors. Workplace style and work lives of employees are being affected by technology. Continuous improvement is demonstrated in any organization to enhance productivity and efficiency simultaneously. This continuous improvement requires modification in all organizational processes. The term re-engineering comes from developing a better electronic version. In any organization, re-engineering fundamentally demands altering the ways we do things.

Its primary rule is to commence from a plan sheet to rethink to alter current management system. This redesign means to spruce up the process by removing antiquated elements from any work design.

Management responsibility is to understand the key elements and core processes that insert worth to organizations’ distinctive competencies. Since early 1990s, process re-engineering has been popular and all major companies of European countries and of America have introduced some changes in support of work redesigning. The employees, who continue their jobs after redesign process in organization, found that they are not doing the same job. Work redesign process can include more employees’ services excellence, interaction with customers, coordination with suppliers and colleagues, more responsibilities, creativity, follow-up and incentives.

It is mostly tough on employees and takes 3 to 5 years to complete the whole process re-engineering. During this time period, workers get anxious while taking more responsibilities, challenges, new work style and because of risks involved. Implications for process re-engineering is designed and selected on individual and group basis. Employees’ motivation and reinforcement, cyber loafing and ethics related steps are taken on individual basis. Along with decision making, communication & coordination and organizational politics are taken on different look; for group level implications.

By introducing new technology in workplace, job rules and interpersonal relationships are also being changed. For analyzing work tasks its characteristics need to be understand first. These task attributes, collectively affect different jobs and determine employees’ performance, motivations and relationships. Tasks attributes mainly include expertise variety, task identity and its significance, independence provided and feedback. By keeping in mind these tasks characteristics employees’ development need strength can be evaluated for specific job; on the basis of core job dimensions, critical psychological state and personal and work outcomes.

Technology is also facilitated in establishing an ideal work design to enhance overall performance. Organizations are looking towards offering alternative work schedules options for employees. Employees need flexibility in a changing work place and work schedules options as in organizations they act as a strategic tool.

Importance of Using Wooden Furniture and Wooden Products

Furniture is the only thing which increases the beauties of your home a lot. It pulls towards the guests to your home. So if you have a beautiful home then you should have good furniture in your home. If you are not sure what kind of furniture is suitable for your home then here is a perfect solution for you. These days, wooden furniture and wooden products are most popular than any other. Those days are passed when people used iron furniture or iron products. These are strong than wooden products but odd in looks. However there are lots of advantages of wooden furniture.

It is not true that wooden furniture and wooden products are not durable at all. If the products are made up of good quality of woods then there is no doubt about its durability. These have lighter weight than iron products. So it becomes easier to shift those from one area to another area. Therefore, if you are residing in a rental apartment then you need to use. Not only that, you can separate the parts of wooden furniture but in case of iron or steel you can not do that as those are fixed. This feature makes the wooden furniture more outstanding one.

Wooden household products are safer than iron products as wood does not conduct electricity. So it is safe for everyone in your home, especially for the children. As these are not heavy so it will not damage your sophisticated floor even after a great crash or collision. Like this you can maintain your home-floor by using the wooden furniture. You can renovate the furniture whenever you need or wish as these are not fixed like the material substances. This easy renovation feature adds another finest quality to these wooden products.

The wooden furniture and wooden products are cheaper than the iron or steel products. If you are planning for decorating your home but you do not have so much money then you can choose these wooden products. Even if you have sufficient money but you want to make your home more beautiful then you must go for the wooden furniture. At present, these are used not only in residential houses but even in commercial areas as well. You can see the wooden furniture instead of iron or steel furniture in hotels or restaurants, offices as this increase the beauty a lot.

Overall it can be said that wooden products or furniture will be the best choice. These days, the use of iron or steel products is even called old fashion. So why should not you use the wooden products or furniture while you are getting so much advantages.

How To Get Your Foot In The Door At A Modeling Agency

Breaking into the modeling business starts by gaining entrance into the heart of the industry – your friendly neighborhood modeling agency. But what's the best way to get your foot in the door? Every aspiring model has a different method for success, but here's a quick look at the top ways you can get noticed by modeling agencies large and small, local and worldwide.

The Dry Call

The adage "there's safety in numbers" may apply to many walks of life, but modeling is not one of them. When you send your heads shots into an agency unsolicited, you are joining the thousands of other aspiring models who have chosen the same point of entry. The potential problem with the dry call is that no matter how great you look, your head shot is likely to get lost in the shuffle. And that shuffle is likely being overseen by the overworked, cynical intern – not the dream-maker who sits in the corner office of the agency. While there ARE dry call success stories, do not expect a call 3-5 business days after your head shots hit the mail.

Pros: Cost-effective, allows you blank many agencies at once, you're limited only by your postage budget.

Cons: The volume of dry calls a modeling agency receives in a given day makes it hard to stand out from the crowd.

The Walk In

Nothing says, "I'm ready to work" like showing up at a modeling agency is glorious 3-D. Walk In appointments give you a chance to show your portfolio to booking agents, be interviewed and just generally strut your stuff. Walk-ins must be scheduled in advance over the phone. When you arrive at the agency, always be professionally trained and maintain a positive mental attitude. This is your chance to shine beyond your photos – take full advantage of it.

Pros: A one-on-one opportunity to make an impression on modeling professionals. Unlike the open call, you probably will not have to wait in line with hundreds of other respondents.

Cons: Much like the dry call, you can never be sure that the results of the walk in will not end up in the world's largest backroom filing cabinet. Still, the fact that the agency has had a chance to see you in person and experience your personality gives you a leg up!

The Open Call

Firmly planting yourself into the good graces of a modeling agency means being there when they want you (and not just when you decided it was a good time to drop them a line). And that is where the open call comes into play. An open call reflects to that special time when an agency places an ad looking for talent. The process is simple: you show up – they love you – you become famous! OK, maybe it's not that simple, but the open call generally produces the most success because you as a model are filling a need at the agency. When you do a dry call or a walk in, you may be great, but there's no way to gauge the hiring climate at the agency. With an open call, you're there because they want you there!

Pros: The open call is a signal that the agency in question is looking for new talent. There's no better time to get your foot in the door.

Cons: You're not going to be the only one who reads the modeling agency's ad. Be prepared to spend a large portion of the day waiting to be seen by the right people.

(C) Copyright – Coach Models – Jochen Talmon

Leather Furniture Consumer's Guide – Abbreviated Version

Planning on buying leather furniture? Did you know there are different types of leather? Which is best for you? Read on and learn some important tips to keep in mind when shopping.

Start by thinking about the usage patterns you expect with your new leather pieces. Will the furniture be placed in an active, "high-impact" setting with children, pets, food and drinks galore? Or, is your home a quiet, "low-impact" environment?

Quality leather is a remarkably durable material that will offer many years of comfort. However, the right type of leather should be selected based upon how you expect the furniture to be enjoyed. As a leather furniture repair and restoration specialist, I repeatedly hear from my clients how their sales person, designer, etc. never told them the leather would stain, fade, tear, etc. So, avoid these problems by learning a few simple keys and asking a few simple questions. To understand the issues let me take you through a mini-primer about leather.

There are two ways of painting upholstery grade leather — with dyes only or with dyes and pigments. Leather colored strictly with a dye is referred to as unfinished, whereas pigmented leather is classified as finished. So, what's the difference?

If leather is colored only with dye then there is no protective coating. It is sometimes referred to as "pure-aniline" leather. (Aniline is a type of dye that colors leather.) This leather is soft, supple to the touch. Its color is rich and deep as dyes are translucent and they penetrate, often completely through the leather. The leather's natural beauty is accentuated by the dye giving the furniture a luxurious look and feel. Only the finest hides can qualify to be unfinished, so unsurprisingly, it's the most expensive category. However, there is a dark side. This class of leather stains easily (these hides are highly porous) and the color fades, in some cases very quickly. (UV's the culprit.)

Finished leather is colored with the same aniline dye as unfinished leather however these hides go through a secondary coloring process. A pigmented coating (finish) is applied that is chemically engineered specifically for leather. It has to flex and allow the leather to breath so it has unique attributes that differentiate it from common wall paint. Pigmented leather finishes are opaque, creating a colored film on top of the hide. The color coating is then augmented with a clear coat forming its primary protection. This clear coat also dictates the sheen, from gloss to matte. Quality finished leather may not feel as soft and supple as unfinished, but will be able to withstand the rigors of an active household. It will not stain almost as readily. It's easier to clean, and fades so slowly, you'll never notice it.

Your first key is placement. Simply put, active, high impact environment like a family room, media center, conference room, dining room, etc. dictates finished leather. A low impact home, with UV tinted windows and little threat of staining can indulge the beauty of unfinished leather.

The next step is to consider your budget. This is where your expectations are appropriately set. There are two primary considerations, the leather and the frame.

Top-grain leather is the most durable, but will cost more. This is the epidermis of the skin which offers vast majority of the hide's durability. Split-hide leather (leather "split" from the epidermis) will not stand up to the test of time in an active household, but as a low grade is generally more affordable. If you want a piece that will last a long time, then you must insist on top-grain leather.

The internals or guts of the furniture should be considered. Is it constructed using hard wood appropriatively joined with tight, solid fits, or is it slapped together with cheap press board, staples and cardboard? (No kidding, cardboard.) Clearly, solid construction will cost more, but offer many years of trouble free service.

Color selection is something else to think about. The lighter the color, the more maintenance it will require to keep the leather looking new and clean.

Finally, is it all leather or did the manufacturer sneak in some vinyl? Vinyl and all its fancy name derivatives like leatherette, leather-mate, leather-match etc. is a synthetic, not the real deal. It will not feel or wear like leather. It's less expensive than leather, but simply does not have the durability of quality leather.

So, based on your budget, set your expectations correctly and think about how the piece will be used. Then when you shop ask the following questions.

1. Is the leather finished or unfinished? Remember to consider placement and usage patterns.

2. Is it top-grain leather? If it is not, it will not have the durability you think you're getting.

3. Is it all leather or is some of it vinyl? Do not be duped.

4. How is the frame constructed? Remember the story of the three little pigs? If it's going to last, it has to be well built.

With the answers to these questions at least you'll know what you're buying. For more information, go to this web-site advleather.com/

How to Hang a Mayan Hammock

Mayan hammocks have very different hanging requirements from the more commonly observed rope and bar hammocks. Following the guide lines below will ensure a safe installation and hours of unbelievable comfort.

How to Hang a Hammock Properly

At each end of the Mayan hammock are loops, called the eyes of the hammock. These loops should be 5 or 6 feet above the ground when the Mayan hammock is installed properly. The distance between supports can be about a foot less than the length of the hammock. For most Mayan sizes, this will mean 11-13 feet. If you have more distance, that is great. Use adjusting bars, and attach the hammock a little higher off the ground. The greater the hanging distance, the higher the attachment points must be. The hammock should hang in a catenary droop with the bottom about 2-3 feet above the ground. The best installations space the supports a little wider than the minimum, and take up the difference with the use of rope. This allows you to adjust easily for stretching.

A Special Tip : The first time you set up your Mayan hammock, hang it, then sit on it, unopened … and bounce your full weight a few times to test the installation and stretch the weave.

From Hammock Stands

If you have one of those typical low hammock stands that fit your old bar hammock. Forget about it. It just will not work. You will need a stand that is taller.

From Trees

Use "Tree Huggers", straps, or a strong rope tied around the tree trunk. Screwing hardware into trees is ill advised. Tree trunks or branches used to support hammocks should generally be at least 6 "to 8" in diameter to support the weight at the attachment height. If you use rope, be sure you know your knots, or you will get to know the ground!

From Posts

Set 10 'pressure-treated 4 "x4" or larger posts firmly in the ground approximately 12 -15 feet apart, depending on the hammock size. Bury the posts at least 3 feet in the ground, surrounding them with concrete, and allow the concrete to cure two or three days before using the hammock. Install 3/8 inch diameter 4 1/2 inch long lag eye screws in the posts for hammock attach points.

Inside Your Home

Locate a stud or beam by tapping the wall or ceiling or by using a stud-finder. You will hear a solid sound when you hit one. Hammer a small nail or drill with a narrow bit to make absolutely certain you're directly on the stud or beam. Locate the center of the beam by tapping additional holes to the left and right of the first one. Once properly located, drill a 1/4 "starter hole, then attach a heavy-duty 3/8" eye lag screw. Then use S hooks and poly rope to attach hammock. You MUST hang your hammock from a structural member such as a wall stud, ceiling beam, or concrete wall, etc. Never try to hang a hammock from plaster or wall board!

One Final Word: TEST BEFORE YOU REST!

Managing the Risks of RG22 Foam

The risk of using resin generated (RG) foam to fill redundant tanks on forecourts lies mainly in the assumption that it is risk free.

Resin generated foam, in its many forms – RG22, RG8 and RG30 – is now widely used on fuel sites everywhere. RG30 is used to encase fuel tanks for extra safety and contamination protection. RG8 is used for filling de-gassed tanks on a very temporary basis, as it is claimed that it can be completely broken down with water. RG22 is the most prevalent, as it is widely used for the ‘permanent’ filling of tanks.

RG22 was first developed at a time when the solid fill material of choice was a 20:1 sand/cement slurry. To fill every part of the tank successfully with this, contractors needed to open the top of the tank, pour in the slurry and agitate it; otherwise it would settle as a cone with space all around. Sometimes part of the forecourt had to be dug up if the manhole was in the wrong position.

The advantages of RG22 were that it was claimed to be safe, environmentally friendly and could be pumped in through an exiting pipe or a flange on the manhole lid. This made it a big favourite with petroleum officers and oil companies, some of which began to insist on its use.

It was also cheaper than slurry and much lighter, which meant that the eventual excavation of the tank was claimed to be easier and less expensive.

The introduction of foamed concrete has eroded some of these advantages, as it is much lighter than its predecessor and has similar flowing properties. This means that, for most fuel site uses, there is now a viable alternative to RG22 that meets the requirements of oil companies and petroleum officers.

The main reason that we need an alternative to RG foam is that it contains formaldehyde – a probable human carcinogen. In 2002, formaldehyde was placed on the US Report on Carcinogens 11th edition, compiled by the US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service and the National Toxicology Program; something that holds only moral power in the UK and EU.

In Canada Urea-formaldehyde foam, which also uses formaldehyde as a curing aid, was used to insulate homes, particularly timber framed houses, but this has now been banned by the Canadian government after occupants complained of runny noses and sore eyes.

Because formaldehyde is used as a curing agent, while R22 needs to be handled with care at all times, the highest health risk does not occur when the foam is pumped into tanks in its liquid state, but rather when the so called ‘permanently’ filled tanks have to be excavated and removed, to allow a site to be decommissioned and used for some other purpose.

The concerns are two-fold: handling the foam itself and exposure to the formaldehyde gas that is given off when the tanks are excavated and cut up for disposal.

Because of its alleged properties, we were as interested in using RG22 as anyone else when it first came out. Our doubts began when we started excavating tanks that had been filled with the foam and discovered how difficult and expensive it was to dispose of.

We discovered that RG22 can shrink, letting air get back into the tank, which reduces the safety effects of RG22 and speeds up corrosion. We later also discovered that it gave formaldehyde gas a place to gather.

We have excavated tanks less than three months after they have been filled with RG22 and the foam had already shrunk considerably. On the other hand, we have excavated tanks that were filled with RG22 two years previously and found that some of the foam was still in a liquid state.

When our people opened the tanks they found the fumes were often overpowering and anyone who was unfortunate enough to touch the stuff received an unpleasant and uncomfortable skin rash as a reward. All our people now use an all-over bodysuit and breathing apparatus when dealing with RG22.”

The lightness of the foam was supposed to make excavation easier, allowing the tank containing the foam to be lifted straight from the ground and onto the back of a lorry. Unfortunately we discovered that there are only one or two disposal sites that will accept tanks with RG22 still inside. Even then, they will only accept small tanks, and then only when they can be placed in a deep part of the landfill site.

We will only attempt the all-in-one approach when our client insists, as we prefer the more environmentally friendly approach of sending the metal of the tank for recycling. This means that once it has been removed from the ground, the excavated tank has to be cut away, with the metal taken to one site and the RG22 to another – usually a hazardous waste site.

We are not the only ones to have concerns, another company in our sector told us: “RG foam is fine if the tank was never going to be opened again; the problem is that, these days, eventually, many tanks will need to be removed, if the site is to be sold on for development.

“My concern is, when we cut the tanks open there is a very pungent smell of formaldehyde and often an irritated feeling in the throat and eyes.

“We now use a different technique where we try to use heavy machinery to open the tanks up, keeping personnel away from the excavation.

“It would appear that the problem lies in the fact that during the curing the foam emits a fair amount of formaldehyde gas, which is trapped in the tank, to be released only when it is cut open.

“Our workforce also initially noticed some irritation through exposure to the foam and, indeed, the manufacturers’ data sheet says it is a ‘light irritant’.”

This company believes the main problem is that, as well as being an irritant, the material is light and friable, so, if precautions are not taken, it can get under clothing or even be breathed in.

“However,” says the company, “this part of the problem can be dealt with if contractors are properly forewarned. Like any other risk, they can deal with it, if they know exactly what they are facing, by elimination, in the first instance and, where not possible, control techniques such as wearing protective clothing, gloves masks, eye protection etc.

“A bigger problem is that fuel sites undergoing decommissioning are normally bounded by roads and pavements, often in built up areas, so there is a danger that the light friable foam can easily be blown off the site. These days we don’t remove these foams on a day when there is any wind at all.

“However, as I said, the problems associated with the foam itself can be dealt with using some simple precautions, our real concern is the formaldehyde gas that is given off when the tanks are cut into, as they must be when a site is decommissioned.”

Experience has shown us that air pockets occur, where the gas tends to concentrate, leading to a burst of gas being released when these pockets are breached.

Proximity is the real problem. Once formaldehyde gas is vented to atmosphere it will disburse to a harmless level, but if you are close to the tank when it is cut it is more worrying.

Environmental and personal monitoring was carried out by a company in our sector, looking at the level of concentration of formaldehyde gas on fuel sites being decommissioned when tanks are cut open.

In one of these tests, formaldehyde sensors were placed at four strategic points on the site. Three produced results of under the recommended level of two parts per million, but the nearest sensor, located 3m from the tank, registered 2.07 parts per million, which exceeds the UK workplace exposure limits (WEL) of 2.0 parts per million, currently listed in HSE publication EH40/2005 Workplace Exposure Limits.

This indicates that steps need to be taken to protect anyone going within that distance.

We also believe that the two parts per million limit itself needs examination, as there is, in my opinion, no real evidence for this level, one way or the other. Much more research is needed.

The message is to be aware of the risks and take the right precautions.

The main problem is the respiratory system and the eyes, so we use a helmet, with a visor and a power assisted respirator.

Their message to petroleum officers and oil companies is to not get seduced by the alleged advantages of RG foam, to look at where it is appropriate to use it.

RG foams have their place in the mix, they should not be seen as the first resort.

It may be slightly cheaper to use RG22 to fill the tanks in the first place, but any savings are outweighed by the extra disposal costs and precautions that have to be put in place.

Hierarchy of dealing with hazards.

1. Eliminate

If the job is hazardous, does it really need doing?

2. Substitute

If the job is really necessary, then can the hazardous material be substituted with something more benign, such as slurry, foamed concrete or polyurethane, which is now being sold as a substitute in the US, but not here yet.

3. Change working methods

Using more machinery to reduce direct contact. Paying more attention to the weather on excavation days.

4. Control

Increased use of personal protection equipment (PPE) and paying more attention to containment within the site.

The Foods You Need to Eat During Pregnancy!

Need some real, practical suggestions for healthy breakfasts, snacks, meals and drinks for avoiding excessive weight gain during pregnancy? Look no further – we’ve even given you a shopping list!

PREGNANCY NUTRITION: TOP FOODS TO EAT AND TO AVOID!

Pregnancy Nutrition: BREAKFAST IDEAS

Fresh fruit smoothie: Blend any fresh fruit (with some natural unsweetened live yoghurt (soya, goat or cow’s) and a handful of mixed seeds (e.g. pumpkin, sunflower, sesame and linseed).

Tip: if you are in a hurry, add fresh orange or apple juice to dilute your smoothie so it’s easy to drink, then put in a beaker and take it with you.

Boiled, scrambled or poached egg with buttered oat cakes or rye toast. – Wholegrain rye toast spread with nut butter (almond, cashew, hazel or peanut)

Mix a handful of oats in a bowl of live natural yoghurt and top with a few pieces of chopped fresh fruit and a handful of chopped nuts.

Spread some cream cheese on corn cakes or wheat-free bread/crackers and top with wild or organic smoked salmon.

Porridge cooked in water with grated apple and a teaspoon of cinnamon. Tip: soak oats in water for 10 minutes before cooking – this will bring out their creamy flavour, so there’s no need to use milk. Add some hot stewed apple and berries

An omelet (filling ideas: grated cheese and red onion, mixed fresh herbs, chopped tomatoes and peppers, garlic mushrooms and watercress, smoked salmon).

Baked beans on rye toast.

Pregnancy Nutrition: DRINKS IDEAS

Herb teas instead of caffeinated tea. There are so many varieties now, experiment until you find one you like. Rooibosch (Red Bush) tea is the closest to ‘normal’ tea and can be drunk with milk.

Caro, Barleycup and Dandelion coffee are all caffeine-free coffee alternatives. Teeccino is a delicious coffee substitute that you make in a cafetiere (comes in different flavors, e.g. mocha, vanilla nut, almond amaretto)

Instead of alcohol, mix fruit, elderflower or ginger cordials with sparking water.

SEEDS are rich in protein, essential fats, vitamins and minerals – grinding them helps to release their nutrients. Aim to have a heaped tablespoon each day and add to cereals, yogurt, soups or salads.

Buy some fresh, unsalted seeds – pumpkin, sunflower, sesame and linseed (also called flaxseeds – the golden variety is richer in essential fats than brown).Using a coffee grinder or a grinding attachment from a food processor, grind a mixture that’s 50% linseed and 50% a combination of pumpkin, sunflower and sesame. Grind enough to fill a small glass jar (choose glass rather than plastic as plastic can damage the essential fats in the seeds). Store your jar in the fridge. Ideally, keep your unground seeds in a dark cupboard to protect them from light or oxygen damage (essential fats can be damaged easily).

Pregnancy Nutrition: ENERGY BOOSTING SNACK IDEAS

An apple and a handful of pumpkin or sunflower seeds

A pear, peach or other seasonal fruit with 10 fresh almonds

Three oat cakes with nut butter (almond and hazelnut butter is a delicious alternative to peanut – buy in health food shops).

Mackerel, salmon or mushroom pate on two ryvita (beware pate in pregnancy unless homemade and without fresh mayonnaise/egg).

Carrot and celery sticks with hummus.

Berries stirred into a small pot of natural yogurt.

Pregnancy Nutrition: QUICK AND EASY MEAL IDEAS

Roasted vegetables with pesto crusted chicken or fish: Add a pesto-coated organic chicken breast or fish fillet (organic salmon or cod works well) to a baking tray of part-roasted vegetables (e.g. new potatoes, cherry tomatoes, courgettes, onions, garlic red and yellow peppers) and cook for a further 10-20 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Chickpea and apricot tagine: To a basic tomato sauce (i.e. a tin of chopped tomatoes added to an onion and garlic clove softened in olive oil), stir in half a finely chopped red chill, a pinch of ground cumin, a handful of chopped dried apricots and three handfuls of chopped mixed vegetables (e.g. carrots, courgettes and baby corn). Add water if necessary to make a nice sauce consistency, then season and simmer for 15 minutes. Add a tin of chickpeas and cook for a further 10 minutes, then stir in a handful of fresh chopped coriander and serve with couscous, quinoa or brown rice.

Haddock poached in a parsley and lemon tofu sauce: Blend half a block of silken tofu with a clove of garlic, the juice of half a lemon, some chopped parsley, salt and pepper. Add to a pan with two haddock fillets and slowly simmer so that the fish poaches (about 15 minutes, but keep checking). Serve with steamed broccoli or green vegetables and brown rice.

Baked potato and sweet potato filling ideas:

Hummus (home-made ideally); Ratatouille or baked beans topped with grated Cheddar; Cottage cheese with chives or spring onion, mixed with chopped red or yellow peppers, cucumber or prawns; Roasted vegetables and pesto; Tinned or smoked salmon mixed with cottage cheese or crème fraîche; Cannelini or butter beans mashed with anchovy fillets and black olives, with lemon juice and black pepper; Steamed leeks, broccoli or cauliflower florets mixed with cheese sauce; Hard boiled egg chopped and mixed with cottage cheese or crème fraîche and chopped parsley; Guacamole (again, make your own or buy in the deli section of your supermarket)

DELICIOUS SALADS (perfect for a light meal or packed lunch):

A simple salad of mixed leaves and chopped raw vegetables can become a nutritious and delicious meal in moments if you keep your fridge stocked with deli delights such as artichoke hearts, sun blushed tomatoes, olives, hard boiled eggs, peppers, sweet baby peppers, anchovies, smoked fish and slices of lean white meat.

Smoked organic trout fillet (a delicious alternative to smoked salmon that is packed with Omega 3 Essential Fats) with flageolet beans or lightly steamed broad beans mixed with lemon juice and black pepper.

Hot smoked organic trout or salmon, or smoked organic mackerel, flaked through whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, millet or couscous, with chopped raw vegetables. Season with lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, black pepper and chopped fresh herbs.

Tofu chunks (marinated in tamari or soy, ginger, garlic and sesame oil and brown rice syrup), stir fried for seven minutes or till golden and fairly crisp. Toss through whole grains as above, or stir into buckwheat noodles with finely sliced cucumber and seaweed (packets of dried varieties can be found in the Oriental section of supermarkets). Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve warm or chilled. – Mixed bean salad with peppers, cherry tomatoes, red onion, sweet baby peppers and chopped hard boiled egg, with a tomato and basil dressing.

Chickpeas dressed with paprika, lemon juice, black pepper and a sprinkle of sea salt or Solo low sodium salt and parsley, with quinoa.

Warm potato salad with passata (sieved, chopped tomatoes – buy at your supermarket), with a dressing made from olive oil, paprika, chillies and crushed garlic.

Taboulleh of couscous, bulgar wheat, millet or quinoa with chopped cherry tomatoes, spring onions, cucumber, parsley, mint, olive oil, lemon juice and seasoning.

Whole radishes, crumbled feta cheese, broad beans and alfalfa sprouts.

Blueberries and apricots on green leaves such as lamb’s leaf or spinach, with feta cheese crumbled over the top.

EASY PUDDINGS

Raspberry sorbet: Liquidize frozen raspberries and bananas to a smooth puree.

Apricot whisk: Puree a handful of apricots (fresh or dried) with half a cup of low-fat curd cheese or silken tofu lightened with two whisked egg whites.

Pregnancy Nutrition: SHOPPING LIST: NEW FOODS AND BRANDS TO LOOK OUT FOR!

Nairns oatcakes (wheat and sugar free) Terrance Stamp wheat-free breads Boridinsky rye bread Pumpernickel-style rye bread (e.g. thin slices of dark bread Sugar-free peanut butter (I like Whole Earth brand) Cashew, almond and hazelnut butters Fresh, unsalted seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, sesame and golden linseed) Intelligent Eating or Columbus eggs (rich in Omega 3 essential fats) Fresh, unsalted nuts (e.g. almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, brazils, cashews or mixed nuts) Frozen berries – look out for blueberries, summer fruits, forest fruits and raspberries. Organic oats – If having them cold, look out for small rather than jumbo oats (you should also find these in a health food shop). Rooibosch tea (Tick Tock is a good brand) Elderflower or ginger cordials Quinoa

It’s important that you COMMIT TO EATING BETTER QUALITY FOOD TODAY! Pregnancy is only 9 months long and your precious little one needs those nutrients for proper growth and development, not to mention you need them for strength and energy.

The Tombstones and Creepy Old Crypts of Walt Disney World's Haunted Mansion

Dear Lou …

We just love the Haunted Mansion! Every time we go, we just love looking at the graves in front of the entrance, and we just noticed the mausoleum at the exit. They were always there (I do not remember the mausoleum). And are the names on the graves of real people or just made-up?

OK, first things first. I love the Haunted Mansion as well! To me, there is nothing else quite like it in any park in WDW. The nostalgia, the effects … it's great.

Now, on to the questions (posed to me by someone during a recent trip to WDW, but asked of me more than once).

The mausloeum at the end of the attraction was always there, but may be overlooked by people who are still shaking, laughing, or running as they exit the Haunted Mansion. As far as the tombstones, they have always been there … and always will be, I believe.

The Walt Disney World Haunted Mansion

The tombstones at the entrance to the Dutch Gothic home of the Graceys are there not just for show, but are a silent, standing tribute to many of Walt Disney World's (and especially the Haunted Mansion's) contributors. As is often done in attractions through the parks, Imagineers honor those men and women who have helped create some of the true magic of WDW. Sometimes they are hidden, while other times, as here, they are more obvious.

After you pass through the menacing wrought-iron gates surrounding the Haunted Mansion, you will encounter the home's cemetery, (conveniently located right outside the entrance). Here you will find a number of witty headstones with epitaphs (written by Disney Legend Xavier Atencio), not to the "dear departed", but in tribute to the many Imagineers who helped develop the Haunted Mansion.

Here is a list of the tombstone inscriptions and the Imagineers who inspired them:

Requiescat

Francis Xavier,

no time off for

good behavior

RIP

Legendary Imagineer Francis Xavier "X" Atencio helped develop the Haunted Mansion story line, wrote the theme song's lyrics, and helped come up with the tombstone inscriptions.

Dear departed

Brother Dave,

he chased a bear

into a cave

This stone was named after Dave Burkhart, who was the model builder for the Haunted Mansion.

At peaceful rest

lies Brother Claude,

planted here

beneath this sod

Claude Coats was the Imagineer who came up with the layout of the OmniMover ride track for the Haunted Mansion, as well as numerous concept sketches

Some of the "seriously departed"

In memory of

our patriarch,

dear departed

Grandpa Marc

Marc Davis, a legendary designer and artist for Disney, as responsible for almost all of the concept art for the Haunted Mansion, including many of the humorous characters and scenes.

Master Gracey

laid to rest,

no mourning please

at his request

Farewell

Yale Gracey was responsible for many of the special effects seen in the Haunted Mansion, including the stretching portraits and the séance room, as well as for a number of attractions through Walt Disney World.

Rest in peace

Cousin Huet,

we all know

you did not do it

Cliff Huet was an architect and lead interior designer.

Here lies

good old Fred,

a great big rock

fell on his head

RIP

This inscription is a tribute to Disney Legend Fred Joerger, an art director that created numerous plaster effects for the Haunted Mansion. He is also honored with his name on a window above Main Street, USA.

Here lies a man

named Martin,

the lights went out

on this old Spartan

Bud Martin was the director of the Imagineering special effects department.

RIP

In memoriam

Uncle Myall,

here you'll lie

for quite a while

Chuck Myall was a designer at WED Enterprises who aided in the overall planning of the Magic Kingdom.

Wathel R. Bender,

he rode to glory

on a fender

Peaceful rest

An innovator in the area of ​​Audio-Animatronics, Wathel Rogers also helped program many of the figures in the Haunted Mansion

RIP

Mister Sewell,

the victim of

a dirty duel

Peaceful rest

Bob Sewell was one of the head models at WED Enterprises

Good friend Gordon,

now you've crossed

the River Jordan

Gordon Williams designed much of the sound effects for the Mansion and assisted with the Audio-Animatronics programming

Dear sweet Leota,

beloved by all

In regions beyond now,

but having a ball

The most recent addition to the "family plot", how could we forget "little" Leota Toombs? She was an artist at WED who face was used as the model for the head in the crystal ball for the seance scene, and so the character was named "Madame Leota" in her honor. Keep your "eyes" on the headstone for a little surprise – it opens its eyes every so often to see who's coming over, then closes them again in silent vigilance.

As you exit the Haunted Mansion, you will also find a crypt on the left hand side. The names found on the two crypts (with their tongue-in-cheek pronunciations in parentheses) are:

Asher T. Ashes (ashes to ashes)

Wee G. Bord (ouija board)

I. Trudy Dew (I truly do)

Dustin T. Dust (dust to dust)

Manny Festation (manifestation)

Metta Fisiks (metaphysics)

Pearl E. Gates (pearly gates)

Rusty Gates (rusty gates)

Hail N. Harty (hail and hearty)

CU Later (see you later)

Hal Lucinashun (hallucination)

Rustin Peese (rest in peace)

IM Ready (I am ready)

Hap A. Rition (apparition)

I. Emma Spook (I am a spook)

Paul Tergyst (poltergeist)

MT Tomb (empty tomb)

Love U. Trudy (love you truly)

Clare Voince (clairvoyance)

Bea Witch (be a witch)

In Spiritual Repose …

In Spiritual Repose …

Lastly, there is poor Bluebeard's final resting place. Maybe he was a good pirate, but he was not the luckiest guy when it comes to picking the ladies, it looks …

1440

BLUEBEARD

here lieth his loving wives

Penelope – died 1434

Abigail – 1435

Anastasia – 1436

Prudence – 1437

Pheobe – 1438

Eugenia – 1439

Lucretia –

Seven winsome wives

Some fat, some thin

Six of them were faithful

But the seventh did him in

Hope you enjoy the Haunted Mansion as much as I do .. and remember …

Hurry baaaaacccck …. hurry baaaaccckkk …. be sure to bring your "Death Certificate", if you decide to join us!

Basic CNC Preventative Maintenance Program and Best Practice

Its amazing how little preventive maintenance is ever performed within the majority of manufacturing companies today. I am often asked by Maintenance personnel on how other companies take care of there CNC equipment. What's my answer? This is typical if its not broken do not fix it.

What I have outlined below is how you can set up a preventive maintenance program based on little knowledge of CNC and maintenance and minimal amount of downtime by covering the most basic and important parts of a PM program. The items below will save you the most money down and prevent a future breakdown.

Minimum Basic CNC preventive maintenance program

1. Check your machine oil levels – turret, B-axis, ATC & magazine gear boxes, spindle gear box, hydraulics. If you have a leak-fix it. You are contaminating your coolant, reducing your tool life and putting more contaminants into the oil system every time you fill the tank.

2. Clean chips out of every corner of the machine.

3. Pull back the waycovers and clean out the troughs in the ballscrew area and allow coolant to drain properly and avoid flooding into your bearing housings.

4. Check for lube on your box way machines. There should be a line from the wiper every time you reverse the axis on the leading edge.

5. Check the clamp force of the spindles every 3 months- this is a 15 second check. This PM check is so important- you could save a spindle, increase tool life and part quality.

6. Check your pallet change alignment and operation if equipped. The last thing you want to do is throw a fixture in a machine. Also clean chips from under the pallets and B-axis

7. Perform a basic inspection of cables, hoses and electrical fans on the outside and inside of electrical cabinets. Do not forget to check the drive fans or computer fans as well.

8. Clean & replace any filters as necessary.

9. Check your CNC tool change alignment. Maybe not the easiest for a novice but at least look at it for something obvious. Fix any CNC machines that are dropping tools on occasion. There is a reason! Do not let it go. Damages to waycovers, ATC cam followers and gear boxes, tool fingers, and spindle damage will occur.

10. Check your backup batteries and make backups of parameters through your DNC system. With today's economic times many machines are powered down for intensive periods of time. Hope you have backups or original data sheets.

Significance of Home Inspection Before Buying or Selling

Performing home inspection before buying or selling the property is good both the parties involved in the deal. Having a good assessment of home can consider expedite its sale. Presenting the buyer a pre-listing report of home inspection can boost their confidence in the person selling and also in the house for sale. If you have a house to sell, then you must recognize the significance of such inspections, as these can probably sway their final decision in your favor.

The idea behind such inspections is to identify various potential problems, which you might not be aware of. Having your house inspected, before putting it for sale in the market, is that a great idea. Almost every property has some or the other issue, which needs to be addressed. Discovering all the imperfections, before listing your property, gives you the needed time for making necessary repairs. It provides the seller more time for pursuing estimates and looking for reliable companies, to ensure that the repair work can be completed as quickly as possible. If the faults are noticed after any buyer expresses some interest in your house, then the chance to compare the estimates and select a good company would all be gone.

Once you decide to put your house on market, most likely you would want a quick and easy sale. However, without a good home inspection, many issues can arise, which may hold the sale for too long. Even if both the parties reach an agreement concerning the repairs, the whole negotiating process would be pretty time-consuming, causing further delays. On the other hand are the numerous benefits of getting a home inspection conducted by the professionals. Getting awed by a home's outer beauty is easy, but it is critical to seriously consider the various aspects, which are less perceptible. Today, the buyers are smarter than ever before and have the eye for immediately noticing the imperfections in a house.

An expert and well-trained professional exactly knows what all to rummage around for. They immediately spot the potential hazards and substandard workmanship from the past repairs. The potential buyers may not really climb up the roof space to examine damages over there or inspect the gutters. But usually they do check if the plumbing, appliances and electrical systems work fine. And not any buyer would like to spend on these expenses, straight away after becomingiable for the mortgage payments plus homeowner's insurance. Thus, it is indeed a good idea to get a home inspection done, before putting it for sale.

Even if you are a buyer and looking for a good buy, make sure to check for every possible thing, be it the plumbing fittings, electrical systems, landscaping or any other. Not paying attention to such details may sway you towards a wrong decision. If some imperfections are disclosed in the home inspection reports, but you really like the house otherwise, then you can always negotiate, regarding the expected repair cost and the house's asking price. In short, irrespective of whether you are a buyer or a seller, a thorough home inspection may extremely save a great deal of your money, time and also prevent the undue frustration and stress.