How Chiropractic Helps With TMJ Treatment

Jaw pain? Clicking in the jaw? Having trouble chewing hard foods like apples and nuts. Perhaps you have a TMJ problem.

People often ask me if chiropractic can help with TMJ syndrome. The short answer is Yes! Read on to discover how chiropractic helps with TMJ treatment.

First, lets discuss what TMJ syndrome or TMJ dysfunction is. TMJ stands for temporalmandibular joint.

TMJ syndrome is an issue or problem with the jaw joints. A person with TMJ problems may have pain or clicking in the jaw joints or may notice that their jaw deviates or shifts to one side when they open their jaw.

What Causes TMJ Syndrome

TMJ problems can be caused from:

  • Trauma to the head and face.
  • Trauma to the upper joints of the neck.
  • Recent dental work.
  • Braces.

The biomechanics of the neck joints at the base of the skull are associated with the jaw biomechanics. As well, the nerves of the upper neck coming from the brain stem relate to the jaws, so if there is a problem nerve function at the upper neck, this can cause jaw issues as well. But, one of the most common reasons for TMJ problems is recent dental work. If you have TMJ problems, you need to ask yourself if you have had recent dental work.

Why is recent dental work relevant? Well, imagine that you are sitting on a dental chair for an hour or an hour and a half and they are doing a procedure on your mouth. Your mouth is wide open and may be jammed open or blocked open with a blocker. You then come out of that position after an hour and a half and you feel like your mouth is restricted and you can’t even move your jaw. This is one of the mechanisms of injury for the TMJ. If you have pain in the jaw, clicking in the jaw, deviation of the jaw, and some recent trauma or dental work or other trauma to your neck or face region, then these are some of the reasons how the TMJ problems could have happened.

How Does a Chiropractor Assess for TMJ Syndrome

As a chiropractor, when we assess for TMJ syndrome we need to asses for the dysfunction of the TMJ joints before we know as a chiropractor if can correct or adjust for it.

So there’s a couple of things that I look for when I have a patient in my office with TMJ complaints.

The first thing I do as a chiropractor is I look for the motion of the jaw to see if the jaw is opening properly or to see if is deviating to one side. With normal jaw motion, the jaw should not deviated to one side or the other. The jaw should track straight when it opens in a normal situation.

When the jaw does deviate to one side upon opening, this test is positive for TMJ dysfunction.

As an example, if the patient opens their jaw and it tracks to the right side, this is positive for a TMJ problem. However, the problem is not only on the right side of the jaw. In fact, the problem is on both the right and the left jaw joint because both sides of the TMJ move together. I’ll explain this in a moment.

The next thing we are going to ask the patient to do is called the Three Finger Test. Normally, if your jaw opens normally and wide and the jaw if functioning well, you should be able to put three stacked fingers into your mouth. This indicates normal jaw motion.

If you can’t put three fingers in your mouth and you have opening up the mouth then this will cause you to fail the Three Finger Test, which is another indication for a TMJ problem.

Now, why did I say that both sides of the jaw are related well this is something when the jaw deviates to one side? This is a very important principle that an astute therapist, doctor or chiropractor needs to be aware of because the jaw motion occurs in two ways. There is a rotation of the jaw when you open your jaw and there is also a translation (sliding) of the jaw.

So, if the jaw deviates to the right side, the rotation component on the right side is normal but the sliding or translation component is blocked. On the opposite side (left), the translation component is good but the rotation component is missing. What does this mean from a correction or treatment perspective?

From a correction perspective, the chiropractor will need to correct both sides of the jaw-both sides of the TMJ joints. Otherwise you’re not going to make an effective correction.

The other part I am going to do as a chiropractor which is very important is to assess the vertebra of the neck to assess for spinal function. What I am looking for is any shifts on the spine or any blockages in the motion of the spinal bones. These shifts or blockages in spinal motion is called a spinal misalignment or a subluxation. I especially exam the very top of the neck. What I am looking for is any restrictions in motion in the upper neck spinal bones right at the base of the skull. If there is a restriction in the upper neck, then that will affect the function of TMJ.

So when chiropractors treat TMJ problems, they will certainly do assessments and corrections of the spine first and then they will finish off with a TMJ adjustment.

Chiropractic adjustments of the neck and spine are gentle and very effective in improving motion and function.

The same is true for chiropractic adjustments of the TMJ. Some chiropractors will use a chiropractic table that has a gentle drop piece that assists with the correction and adjustment of the TMJ and the spine.

To recap, it is crucial that both sides of the TMJ joint is adjusted appropriately and in the right direction to address both the rotation component and the translation component of the TMJ motion.

Chiropractic treatment for TMJ is highly beneficial and very effective. Patients find it useful because they are able to open their mouth fully again with no discomfort, pain, and with improved motion. This allows them to eat normally without being restricted in the types of foods they want to eat.

If you have any questions about TMJ problems and how a chiropractic can help you with TMJ treatment visit a chiropractor in your city.

Fashion Fusion

How often do you encounter a situation when selection of the right kind of fashion accessory makes you go wild? Some women have such dilemmas once in a while, some once in a week, and some of them go through this daily. The question bugs "Do I look different?", "Do I look attractive enough?"

Sometimes you often wonder, why do some women become the epitome of fashion whereas some pursuit for little appreciation even after wearing an expensive diamond necklace.
Well, I believe that beauty is not the cause. For I have noticed some of the most charming ladies being bugged with similar kinds of hassles. The reason is, most women simply follow the stereotyped fashion trends and do not get noticed among the crowd.
The idea is, that you have to dress differently in order to look different. I guess, jewelry happens to be an important part of fashion. Therefore it is necessary that you make some changes in your jewelry box.

To start with, I must say, that simple elegant jewelries are out. Gone are the days of a simple chain with a diamond pendant. Ladies are no longer totems of sophistication. Just try out something much more dashing. Accumulate at least ten to twelve black colored chains of similar look and size. Jumble them together and flaunt it at your slender neck. They would very well complement each other.

When you try to look different, there is no harm in being a little more adventurous. One of the latest trends among fashion freaks is to try out something Bohemian. And when it comes to Bohemian fashion, there is nothing like a candlenut necklace. The candlenuts, commonly known as Kukui nuts, are strung together in a string or a ribbon and tied in knot. Black happens to be the most popular color. However other colors like green, brown are also in vogue. The Kukui nut jewelries can be worn as necklace and also as bracelets.

You know what, I have always expected fashion conscious ladies since my early teenage. I still remember how my young English teacher at the high school adorned her ears with long wooden danglers. As she moved her head sideways while explaining the lessons, the danglers simply danced around her beautiful ears and caught our attention for an hour hour. Later on, I came to know that such wooden danglers can be easily made at home. All you have to do is cut out two strips of reasonable length from a piece of ply and make it smooth with a sandpaper. Make sure you get the edges rounded. Drill small holes in each of them and attach a jump ring at it and attach it again with a hook. And there you are! That would look elegant as well as dandy!
Now while we discuss about fashion jewelries, how can the beads be left behind? You can make simple beaded earrings at home. Just grab a headpin, and put inside some beads of various colors. But the colors should be well synchronized. Get a round-nose plier and bend the extended portion of the earring at an angle of ninety degree. Bend the end of the headpin and complete the loop. Attach it with a French wire. And you are done with it.

If you are quite innovative, you can try this one too. Boil some eggs and peel off the outer hard layer. Make sure that the thin film inside is also removed. Coat them with two parts of epoxy coupled with a chemical hardener. Get a ceramic tile and coat it with petroleum jelly. Rest the egg shells over it and get them washed. After sometime, cut them out in different shapes and paint it with a nail polish. Once again you may implement some of your innovative skills by painting them with different colors. Drill a small hole and attach a jump ring.

I will be happy if you like my ideas and try them out. But I would be happier if you discard them and try something different that comes to your mind.
After all, fashion is not about following the latest trends of market. Fashion is all about flaunting your own style that would reflect your own personality. Sometimes, the jewelry you wear may not go hand in hand with your personality. But once you are confident about your accessories, you can simply flaunt anything under the sun.
So what are you ladies waiting for? Just get going, full speed ahead!

Get Your Home Ready For The Storms

You might live in a very turbulent area where you get hit with storms all the time or you are destined to get hit by a storm soon. But, stormy season is coming for everyone. So, get out there and make sure that your home is protected from the storms that are about to come.

Roof

The first thing you will want to look at is the roof. Your home can not end long with roof problems. When water comes in through the roof, if it is given time to cause damage, mildew will grow and totally destroy areas of your home where it is allowed to touch. I once saw a roof leak destroy an entire closet area. By the time I was asked to look at it, the whole closet had to go along with everything in it.

Make sure you have no leaks. But also, make sure that the roof you have will be able to withstand strong storms during stormy season. Give your roof extra support where needed. There is no need to redo your roof if you just had it done within a few years. But, have a builder give you support suggestions. Ask about such things as galvanized metal hurricane straps for example.

Windows

During a storm, your windows can be easily broken. Not just from gains of wind that blast into your home, but from debris that might be done in the wind. Trees that fall or branches that fall off of trees have been known to break through windows during a storm and there's nothing you can do about it until the storm is over.

I often look at shutters that are placed on windows for looks. They do not pull shut because they are only there for looks. It's time to go back and realize how important the shutters can be. Install shutters on your windows that can pull shut. When the storms come, open your windows, pull the shutters shut, lock them together and close your windows. Do it old school way! Your shutters will pay for your windows over and over.

Doors

Normally, your doors can withstand the wind. But, hurricane season can be exceptionally brutal. When doors are damaged, they can add further damage to your home. They are not part of the structural support. But, they are tied into it.

All you have to do is make sure that your external doors have proper locking. A door knob is not wholly sufficient. Sometimes, the deadbolts are not enough either. Back them up with extra locking and staying power. Heck, you'll be happy with that decision if you ever have to protect your family from intruders.

Weather stripping will keep your energy costs low. Inspecting the structure of your home will help you save it for years to come. But, giving your roof, windows and doors the attention they need now will keep you from having to put your home back together next year after the winds blow it down this stormy season.

Do You Have A Serpentine Belt? What's That?

Do you have a serpentine belt that drives everything on the front of your engine?

A serpentine belt is the long belt with all the little * notches * on the underside.

It goes around the crankshaft pulley, the power steering pulley, the alternator pulley, the air conditioner pulley, and the water pump pulley.

Whew!

It will probably have an idler and most definitely has a tensioner.

The tensioner does just what it says.

It is what keeps tension on the belt, to keep it tight.

You do not have to loosen any bolts and pry anything to tighten this belt!

It is a good idea to check this belt often.

It is also a good idea to change it after about two or three years.

After all, if it brakes, or slips and eats all the teeth off, you will be running on the battery.

O The alternator will not work.

O You will not have power steering.

O The air conditioner will stop cooling (if it's winter time, who cares?).

But, worst of all, your water pump will stop working!

The engine will heat up so fast you will not know what's happening!

Check the belt often.

While you are checking the belt, how about taking a look at the pulleys?

Especially the idler and the tensioner pulley.

O The best way to check these pulleys is to remove the belt and rotate them with your finger.

O If you hear a * roaring * noise, replace it.

O If the pulley has a * roughness * about it as you turn it, replace it.

Ok, so you want to take the belt off and inspect it.

How do you get the thing off?

On the tensioner there is a hole, well, not really a hole, but a square hole.

It will either be a 3/8 "or 1/2" slot.

Some have a bolt head from 1/2 "to 3/4".

And then, there are exceptions: as you look at the tensioner you will be able to tell what YOU have.

Put the appropriate tool on the bolt head, or inside the slot, and pull up on the tool.

If that is not the proper way, push down. 🙂

Either way, you have to get the tensioner to move off the belt so you can take the belt off one of the pulleys.

I usually have better luck removing it from the alternator.

Either way, once you have it off one of the pulleys, you can release the tensioner and then the belt can be removed.

Pay VERY close attention, before you remove the belt, as to the way it is laced around all the pulleys.

It takes less than 5 minutes to remove this belt … but it can take 5 hours to get it back on correctly … make a drawing or study the diagram.

Some, and most, vehicles have a diagram of the belt directions placed somewhere under the hood.

May be on the bottom of the hood, or on one side of the vehicle inner fenders.

Usually it is in a place that makes it almost impossible for you to look at it as you are trying to replace the belt. 🙂

If either of the pulleys have to be replaced it's no big deal.

Just remove the bolt, or bolts, holding them onto the engine.

Replace them the same way.

Now, on the tensioner, there is a little peg on the back side.

Align it with the hole in the block … it's there so you can get the tensioner back on right.

Replace the belt, and that's it … nothin 'to it!

Oh, was your diagram lable stuck on up-side-down? 🙁

You did a good job, though; And I knew you could. 🙂

Six Pack Workout – How Can You Tell it is Working? There Are Signs

How can you tell if your six pack workout is doing the job? People will spend many hours a day, many days a week, many weeks a year and many years developing their six pack. But the most difficult part of a six pack workout program is the beginning. You need to know what to look for to be certain that your six pack workout routine is working.

Tip 1: It is all about control. Long before you start to see your six pack workout being effective, you will feel it working on your stomach muscles. You will have an ability to move and control your muscles in ways that you never could before, and your muscle movements in your stomach muscles will be fluid and easy as opposed to a struggle as they normally would be.

Tip 2: No pain means a lot of gain. When you start your six pack workout routine you will be in pain afterwards. In the initial phases you will be in pain during the workout. As your muscles begin to develop but before the six pack sets in, you will start to realize that the pain is not nearly as intense after your workout, and the pain you used to feel during the workout is gone.

Tip 3: It starts to form under the surface. The skin covering your stomach muscles will take some time to form around your new six pack. But long before the skin starts to conform itself to the new you, you will be able to feel the effect of your six pack training on your muscles by simply touching them. That rock hard abdomen you are pressing on is the new you.

Infrared Patio Heaters Bring Instant Heat to Your Outdoor Area

There are a lot of patio heaters that you can use in order to provide warmth for you and your family. If you are planning to buy a patio heater that works well for you, then you should consider buying one of the different kinds of infrared patio heaters.

So what are infrared patio heaters? These heaters are mostly powered by electricity. However, this type of patio heater works differently as it produces higher temperature than the usual heaters. They work by transfering heat effectively to things that have lower temperature that surrounds them. The transfer of energy using infrared heaters is very effective such that consumers can save a lot of energy from them. But what do you really know about these heaters? Here are some of the things that you need to know about this heaters.

It Uses The Same Technology Other Heaters Use:

Most infrared patio heaters are powered by electricity, but what is interesting in them is that they work differently. Instead of heating up the air around them, this type of heater heats up surrounding objects that have lower temperature. This means that wherever you are using the heater and you have a very windy environment, you can still feel warm because it is not the air that is heated up by this heater. Due to this characteristic, this type of heater is perfect for patio more than the indoors.

They Are Very Convenient:

The infrared heater can be hung on the wall and are very safe. Moreover, they have small heating implements so that they can be taken from one room to the other and not only restricted to be used in the patio. Now, speaking of convenience, it does not have any fuel tanks that needs to be refilled all the time which makes them all the more convenient.

On the other hand, what needs to be looked into is the infrared bulbs which only has limited lifespan. Most infrared light bulbs can last for only up to 4,000 hours. But this can be remedied by keeping several stocks of light bulbs should the bulb run out in the middle of usage.

Contingency Planning and Management – "Disaster Recovery"

If your company utilized a BIA (Business Impact Analysis) prior to a disaster, then the weeks following the disaster will actually assess the goals and objectives addressed by the BIA. The disaster has given your company an opportunity to test your Disaster Recovery plan, your Continuity Plan and allows you to identify what went ‘right’ and what went ‘wrong‘.

If your company hasn’t performed a Business Impact Analysis or doesn‘t have a Disaster Recovery plan in place, then you might find this article useful in its examination of the voice communications and general lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina.

Like many companies, the company I contract with has a Disaster Recovery plan. I’m going to approach this topic from the point-of-view of assuming your PBX/Telecommunications department has embraced a BIA or has non-tested Disaster Recovery Plan n place.

This article will be broken into several topics, with each topic providing a transitional phase to the next. The topics are;

Contingency Planning and Management – Disaster Recovery.

How to identify and rate risks.

Succession Planning.

ORA – Obvious Relationship Awareness.

An Overview: Contingency Planning and Management – “Disaster Recovery”. Voice Communication and General Lessons From Hurricane Katrina

Disaster Recovery can be defined as the identification of critical core component business functions and the processes designed to protect and/or recovery those functions in the event of a disaster. The strategy is to be prepared with a Disaster Recovery plan based on facts, not assumptions or opinions.

Disaster Recovery should certainly be addressed by your company. If your company isn’t prepared for a disaster and is the victim of a disaster, then the recovery process is going to be difficult, precious man-hours/money will be wasted and reactionary rather than proactive planning will be the norm.

I will not go over the BIA process or the actual preparation of a Disaster Recovery plan, as there are plenty of resources on the internet and books available on the subject. Links are available at the end of this article. I will however, discuss some items and real-life experiences that might prove useful when developing your BIA and Disaster Recovery.

Identifying Risks:

Identifying risk is a three is step process; Identify the risk, rate the risk and developing a constructive and practical action plan for the risk(s). I suggest taking the traditional risk identification process a step further and identify your risk(s) for each month of the year.

Step 1: Identification Phase.

Identify your risk. Risk are everywhere and abundant- consider the following:

A. Is your business in a flood zone?

B. Is your business in a tornado zone?

C. Is your business in a hurricane zone?

D. Is your business in an earthquake zone?

E. Is your business susceptible to forest fires?

F. Is your business susceptible to industrial fires?

G. Is your business near a rail station, airport or ship port?

H. Is your business near a government facility?

I. Is your business heavily dependent on outside/external companies?

J. Is your business limited by inbound/outbound roads/bridges?

Risks (A) through (E) are considered natural disasters and may effect entire communities.

Risk (F) may subject your company to mass evacuations and/or temporary shutdowns due to industrial fires or accidents.

Risk (G) may subject your company to mass evacuations and/or temporary shutdowns due to terrorist activities or Hazardous Material spills.

Risk (H) may subject your company to mass evacuations and/or temporary shutdowns due to terrorist activities or threats.

Risk (I) may subject your company to external financial and/or process problems. Imagine if one of your important suppliers suddenly claims bankruptcy or is the target of a hostile takeover or merger /acquisition by one of your competitors.

Risk (J) may subject your company to loss revenue if a main road/highway or bridge is damaged. Imagine if you company is on a peninsula and the main bridge or causeway is impassable.

Step 2. Rating the risk:

Use this Risk Assessment Card to identify risks and rate each one.

Risk Rating* for Each Month

Risk J F M A M J J A S O N D Total

Flooding

Tornados

Hurricanes

Earthquakes

Forest Fires

Industrial Fires/Accidents

Terrorist/Hazardous Materials

Government Imposed Shutdowns

External Processes

Roadways

* – Risks are rated by the probability of the risk occurring and it’s impact on the business. Probability of risk is 1=Low (none or very small chance of the risk occurring), 2=Medium (risk may occur), 3=High. (risk will most likely occur or is imminent) .

*- Impact on Business is a rating of loss of revenue and recovery costs. 1=Low (Loss of revenue and recovery cost is minimal ), 2=Medium (Loss of revenue and/or recovery cost are significant), 3=High (Loss of revenue and recovery cost are significant).

Have each member of your telecommunications department complete the Risk Assessment card and use it as a basis for a brainstorming session. Remember that rigidity can be counter-productive, be open to your employees opinions.

As an example, if your company is on the Gulf Coast, it will be subjected to Hurricane Season. A risk assessment for a Gulf Coast company may look like this:

Risk Rating* for Each Month

Risk J F M A M J J A S O N D Total

Flooding 1 1 1 1 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 1 26

Tornados 0 0 0 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 0 14

Hurricanes 0 0 0 0 0 6 6 6 6 6 6 0 36

Earthquakes 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Forest Fires 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Industrial Fires/Accidents 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Terrorist/Hazardous Materials 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 24

Government Imposed Shutdowns 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 24

External Processes 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Roadways 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 24

Flooding – The company is on the water but is physically elevated. History has shown that the area floods, but is usually caused by storm surge. This is why the risk rating increases during the Hurricane months.

Tornados – Tornados are known to accompany hurricanes and tropical depressions.

Hurricanes – During the months of April through November, the company is highly susceptible to hurricanes which can result in significant loss of revenue and recovery cost.

Earthquakes – The company isn’t in a known earthquake zone. This risk can be ignored.

Forest Fires – The company isn’t near a forest. This risk can be ignored.

Industrial/Accidents – The company isn’t near an industrial park. This risk can be ignored.

Terrorist/HazMat – The company isn’t a traditional target of terrorist activities and isn’t near a company that is a traditional target of terrorist activity. The company is near a railway and may be subject to evacuation caused by a HazMat spill.

Government Shutdowns – The company is near a military base and may be subject to shutdowns or curfews.

External Processes – The company manages many of its processes internally.

Roadways – The company is isolated between two bridges and a main highway. It is possible that an accident may render the bridge impassable, severely limiting employee and client travel.

Thus, according to the Risk Assessment card, the company should focus on Hurricane Disasters (36) before Flooding (26) or Tornado (14) disasters and the company can basically ignore earthquakes and forest fires.

You may also see a trend in May that suggest the company should be;

1. Concerned with Flooding and Tornados before Hurricanes, and

2. The company should be preparing themselves for Hurricane Season.

In addition, the company should be concerned and knowledgeable of alternate roadways and possibly lobbying state/federal agencies for improved access.

Step 3: Developing Constructive and practical action plans.

According to the assessment, hurricanes are the primary threat to the company. The company could use the assessment to establish a Hurricane Preparedness Program;

Promote Understanding of Hurricanes and Their Effects,

Work better to define Hurricane Risks to company functions,

Improve Hurricane-resistant and protection measures,

Encourage the use of Hurricane-Safe Policies and Planning.

Also, the company should also be prepared for flooding and tornados.

Succession Planning:

Succession is defined as:

(1.) series in time: a sequence of people or things coming one after the other in time

(2.) following: the following of one thing after another

(3.) taking up of title or position: the assumption of a position or title, the right to take it up, or the order in which it is taken up .

Succession planning, as used in this article and in the traditional business sense, is simply; identifying ‘who does what’ and ‘who can do it’ if that person isn’t available. You may recognize this as ‘Continuity Planning’ and it is that, plus two additional invaluable considerations – what tools are needed and can it be done remotely?

Succession planning is more that just pasting your organizational chart into a table and labeling it “Succession Plan”. Just as the company needs to identify and rate risk, it will need to identify personnel critical to core components of a company and if those activities can be done remotely, what tools are needed and who is the most practical back-up person.

I’ll use your companies PBX Manager as an example;

Your PBX Manager does much more than manage the telecommunications technicians, prioritizing service calls/work order request and managing a operator staff. He/she is most likely responsible for all of your telecommunication service contracts, your cellular contracts, your pager contracts and may even be responsible for your mobile radios.

He/she will know what your current systems are capable of and possesses insight to internal processes that don’t convey well in a written continuity plan. True continuity isn’t a snapshot of the company at a specific time, but a viable, ever-changing state of business circumstances that only your PBX Manager knows.

As an example, your PBX Manager may be the only person who knows that your pager bill was floating around in an inner-office envelope and is thirty days past due just before the company fell victim to the disaster.

This isn’t to say that Continuity planning should be ignored – quite the opposite. Those processes that can be mapped should be in written/printed format and easily portable. Succession planning is just an important add-on to this procedure, especially for those risk that have some forewarning.

In the risk assessment above, the company identified hurricanes as a primary risk to the company. Fortunately, hurricanes come with some warning. In this instance, a Succession Plan is an excellent way to mitigate the risk to the continuity of the companies voice communications.

Not only do hurricanes come with some forewarning, they are usually accompanied by mandatory evacuations. Lets assume that the company knows that a hurricane is heading their way. The company has prepared the property according to the Hurricane Preparedness program, has educated its employees and heeded the mandatory evacuations. What happens next?

In many cases, ‘What happens next?’ is a play-it-by-ear process, but with a Succession Plan in place – “What happens next – .” is an actionable item, a process – not a question. It’s a prepared process not a reactionary plan.

Suggestions to improve your Succession Plan.

Step 1: Follow the traditional guideline in creating a Succession Plan and Continuity Plan.

Step 2: Have a Succession meeting prior to the disaster, if possible.

Go over your latest Continuity plan and pen-correct those items that have changed.

Obtain the latest problems that haven’t been resolved.

Update important numbers and collect where all team members will be staying,

Step 3: Continuity planning + = An Improved Succession Plan.

Your PBX Manager should be leaving the area to conduct business from a pre-paid, pre-planned location. He/she should know where all the other critical members on the company will be located at (this should be pre-planned as well).

The location can be a hotel room safe from the hurricane or a sister property not in the danger area, or an Emergency Operations Center not in the danger area,

Your PBX Manager should have all the documents of the Continuity Plan,

Your PBX Manager should have a fax machine or access to a fax machine,

Your PBX Manager should forward all calls to his/her office phone to the remote locations number,

Your PBX Manager should be prepared to operate from the temporary location for at least several weeks.

How is this different that a normal Succession Plan? The answer: the pre-paid and pre-planned qualifiers. For those who’ve attempted an late-hour evacuation of an area, you know how hard it is to find a hotel room. You will spend valuable time calling area hotels that can be spent finalizing last minute company business and preparing your personal property.

When hurricane Katrina landed, we had key/critical personnel all over the United States and had to wait for them to check-in. It would’ve made the recovery process simpler had they all be in a central, pre-paid, pre-planned location.

Voice Communication Lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina.

Lesson 1: Your Hot Site/Emergency Operations Center.

The company I contract with has a designated EOC, with a small NorStar system for its voice communications. Two days after Hurricane Katrina – the company knew that the damage to the primary building was extensive and decided to upgrade to a BCM-400, an ISDN-PRI and a 100 DID Number Range at the EOC. The equipment and facilities were ordered from our Regional Bell and the company waited.

The Lesson: I knew that once an area is declared a natural disaster, the areas recovery is controlled by FEMA and Homeland Security. What I did not know is that once Homeland Security takes over that the Regional Bell, Regional Power and other public services follow priorities set by Homeland Security – thus we waited for several weeks before our phone service was turned up.

Lesson 2: Your Succession Plan should have a ‘return-rate-of-staffing‘.

In addition to the tips I offered above with respect to Succession Planning, you should also consider ‘Uncertainty’. Uncertainty is a terrible feeling. Do I still have a job? How did my home make out? What happens next? I’m not a social scientist, but I observed and had many of these feelings. What I noticed is people want some sense of normalcy – and being that we spend so much time at work – people want to return to work.

This is a good article on the Human Factor. ([http://www.ccep.ca/news0205.html])

The Lesson: Your EOC isn’t designed to support non-critical personnel. If personnel who don’t necessarily have to be at ground-zero start returning to work, it places a huge burden on the companies limited resources at the EOC, both data and voice. This burden, plus the fact that you may now need to order additional equipment and/or services to support the added staff – is once again subject to the priorities set forth by Homeland Security.

Return-rate-of-staffing is just a term I’m using to suggest that personnel shouldn’t return to the company just because there is a desk available. The return-rate should be controlled by;

A) There is a desk available,

B) It has a working phone/fax machine,

C) It has a working networked computer,

D) This job is best done from this location.

If there aren’t return-rate-of-staffing qualifiers, then people will return to a desk and start asking for ;

A) A working phone/fax machine,

B) A working networked computer.

This of course, places a burden on your technicians, your systems and the supply line.

Obvious Relationship Awareness (ORA):

ORA is a term I created in my fictional book, “Chaos Theorem” and it is meant to be a play on the word aura. ORA, “Obvious Relationship Awareness”, basically means ‘everything is related and the relational paths are connectors’. Everything is related in the big scheme of things and the connectors are often taken for granted.

The Lesson: Take account of those processes in your company that you can’t control. For example; the fact that we ordered an ISDN-PRI but had to wait until our Regional Bell fulfilled it’s responsibilities to Homeland Security.

Some other examples of ORA:

Take note of your supply lines feeding the company – In the days that followed Hurricane Katrina, the supply lines for any commodity (gas, food, ice, water, electronics, etc) were extremely limited. Shelves sat empty at Best Buy, WalMart, and Circuit City. I lost my home PC and laptop in the storm and had to buy a very expensive laptop (one of the only models left on the shelf) in order to program the new BCM-400 that was purchased.

Map your connectors – know what businesses your company relies heavily on and ‘connect’ beyond them. In effect, know your sources – sources. After a disaster, the company your company relies on might be out-of-business.

Expect water and sewage services to be interrupted. Do you have enough water at your EOC to support your staff? Also consider food and waste disposal.

Consider support materials that you would not normally consider. For example; diesel fuel to run generators and is the supply chain in-tact? Generators go through fuel a lot faster than you think. Is someone on the staff knowledgeable in maintaining diesel generators? Who is responsible for ensuring that it’s operational and has fuel on a 24/7 basis?

Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS) – are usually mounted in the lower portion of your communication racks and are an integral part of your voice/data systems. Are they susceptible to flooding? If the UPS’s have to be replaced do you have the manpower? (Some UPS systems are extremely heavy). And, if they can’t be replaced do you have enough multi-outlet extension cords to plug in all the switches and routers?

And finally, will your Regional Bell half-tap existing T1’s to an alternate location?

Article by Charles Carter

Website links for, BIA, Business Continuity and Disaster Planning:

Succession Planning (http://www.bdc.ca/en/my_project/Projects/growth/succession_planning.htm?cookie%5Ftest=1)

Business Continuity ([http://www.thebci.org/London%20Firsts.PDF])

Workforce Planning ([http://www.hr.state.tx.us/workforce/04-704%20WorkforceGuide.PDF])

General Business Link (http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/Title)

Disaster Recovery (http://www.disasterrecoveryworld.com/)

FEMA’s Document Library ([http://www.fema.gov/library/prepandprev.shtm])

National Response Plan (http://www.dhs.gov/dhspublic/interapp/editorial/editorial_0566.xml)

Article by Charles Carter

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CS2 Communications, LLC

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Increasing Memory – Tapping Into Subconscious Mind Power

The Creating of The Mind & Processes of The Memory- Cognitive Memory Training

The most interesting and common-sense evidence speaking for memory is the creation of memory and its processes. Simonides approach to loci is deeply creative: It’s enough to have some basic understanding of the processes of mind structures to understand why memory works the way it does, and why Mnemonics is the ultimate solution to the problem of forgetting. The nervous system has been the creation or invention that introduced central control in, otherwise, homeostatically controlled organisms.

It was like introducing a global communist government in a conglomerate of countries and federations, i.e. cells and organs, governed by purely a free market of enzymes, free-flowing metabolites and hormones. In its introduction of communism, the memory was smarter than the other parts of humans in this sense that the communist practices were introduced not outright, but in proportion to available means. The developing nervous system, in the successive stages of the memory creation, took over an increasing control over the organism in tandem with the increasing complexity of its neural structure. The culmination of this process was the human brain. The greatest creator of our neural civilization, not only for the successful introduction of neural communism, the mind can be viewed as an incredibly smart designer which would not miss an opportunity for improvement.

Though its processes are dead slow we think sometimes and purely random, what could not be accomplished by guided progress has been accomplished by the power of neural construction that has passed since the appearance of the first living cell. The infallibility of the mind creation in the range of what can be accomplished by living matter based on DNA and proteins can be a very useful guidance in understanding neurophysiology and human psychology; including the processes of memory. Optimization of the processes involved in memory has been based on fine-tuning the regulatory properties of metabolic processing, and to a degree, electrochemical processes occurring in the synapse. It did not need the involvement of new organs, nor even cells. Therefore unlike the invention of flight, which has been worked out by the creation of the airplane more than once, optimization of memory can be compared to tuning up a radio receiver as opposed to constructing it from scratch (as in the case of developing wings and the ability to fly). It is not difficult to notice that the memory processes have been very much conserved in the course of creation. After all, famous American neuroscientist Dr Eric Kandel spent a few decades studying the primitive nervous system of a mollusk Aplysia caliphornica (just a couple of nerve cells making up the entire system). Kandel’s involvement with Aplysia did not prevent him from drawing far-reaching conclusions concerning the processes of memory in humans.

Similarly, one of the most important discoveries in the molecular research on memory in the last two decades is the involvement of the membrane protein kinase C in conditioning. It has first been spotted in a marine snail Hermissenda. In other words, creation of memory did not take long to figure out the best properties of memory, which, according to some of our neuroscientist, are as widespread in the nervous system as the citric acid cycle in the organism. In the next section, we will have a look at most properties of memory and their relationship with the mind. If indeed creation is infallible, the mind makes the best use of most memory properties. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention here that the Univ. of Texas in Houston and The Univ. of Houston have made real strides in a new transformational growth factor B that taking the protein Kinase C and just the right environment the memory traces helped by TFGB and its congealing properties will produce a closer to near perfect memory trace. If a synthetic TFGB can be produced it will be substantial in fighting Alzheimer’s and other maladies such as Parkinson, ALS and other disease we are now experiencing some which are on a rise.

Is it the Optimization in Our Minds of Forgetting or Remembering?

Let us have a more detailed look why, according to our mind, memory and forgetting work the way that makes living possible. To think about the brain like a computer is a very useful metaphor. Everyone who has some basic understanding of computation will know that no computer can solve problems without memory. Memory is needed to keep the record of the computation; however, it can also be used to keep a modifiable program. After all the power of computers rests in their programmability. Human beings, more or less consciously, program their brains using the so-called long-term memory, i.e. memory which lasts for months and years. However, they can also use short-term memory, different in its physiological nature, to keep the record of the computation, or thinking, which leads to the solution, response, reflex, etc. Short- term memory, apart from its short-term functions, also serves as the framework for establishing long-term memories.

One of the first questions the user of a PC asks is how much RAM does a computer have? The same question was asked by the mind in reference to the brain. Human RAM is enormous in its capacity. Some researchers estimate its size at mid-point of life to be the equivalent of 10 to the power of 9. However, memory is unlimited, and a living organism can attempt storing all incoming information. In a computer a very substantial selection has to be made if the storage capacity is not to overflow in a life-time. Our brains or minds do not have such a limitation. It appears that the solution is forgetting. Let the brain filter the incoming messages and store as much as it is only possible in the long-term memory. Then let forgetting do the rest of the job by eliminating pieces of information in the order of least relevance.

An important question that had to be answered by the mind was in what order should pieces of information be forgotten so that to maximize the survival or knowledge acquisition rate. It is obvious, at least for those who understand the concept of probability in an incompletely specified event space, that encountering an average event increases the probability of the same event being encountered again. For example, if you do not know Mr. X and you meet him on the street today, the probability that you meet him again tomorrow must be considered greater than from before the first meeting. Naturally, if you meet him again, you have yet more reasons to believe in more meetings in the future. In other words, successive repetitions should have an increasing stimulatory effect on memory. Unfortunately, mind proceeded mostly in the absence of volitional aspects of the human brain; hence, we do not have the capability to forget at will. We cannot decide to free memory by forgetting Mr. X on hearing the news that he has died or moved away to the North Slope in Alaska.

Is it helpful to have a “Spacing effect” or spaced learning?

The little problem remains of how the brain can prevent events that are not likely to be encountered in the future from being permanently transferred to memory as a result of a great number of repetitions? The answer was found in applying the so-called spacing effect, which says that the longer the interval between repetitions, the better the memory effect. This way a large number of repetitions in short intervals have very little impact on memory. Simply speaking, memory uses the spacing effect and the principle of increasing intervals to most effectively fix relevant information in the brain. I should also say here that the putamen also has the same concept for procedural memory or memory in muscles etc. Upon encountering an event it is temporarily transferred to long-term memory and forgotten in the matter of days. However, if the event is reencountered, the memory assumes increased probability of the event in the future and increases the retention period. Initially, in the retention period, memory is not sensitive to more encounters of the same event. Only at later stages does memory become sensitive again and a new encounter will act as a repetition that will increase the retention period and make memory temporarily insensitive to further encounters.

If anybody doubts the importance of the spacing effect, think of how the mind must consider the following example: Could the reader provide the name of the infamous lady that alleged having slept with the majority of Polish parliamentarians? If the reaction is: Sure, yes, wait a second, I am sure I remember it but… aha! Then this can be taken as an example of spacing effect. Despite the fact that the lady did dominate Polish political life for a short period of time, many of us might find it hard to recall her name. The reason is simple; hundreds of repetitions concerning the name of the lady were cramped in a very short period of time. Because of the spacing effect, memory reacted to the phenomenon more like to a single repetition rather than a volley of memory stimulations. The biological value of such a property of the brain may be explained by the fact that events occurring densely in a short period of time may be unworthy of the precious memory storage. Otherwise, a great number of repetitions in a week could leave a useless memory trace for lifetime. Do we really need to remember the name of the promiscuous lady? We don’t… unless we are members of Polish parliament at breeding age, naturally.

Using again the computer metaphor, the problem of choosing the least relevant pieces of knowledge in the process of forgetting is analogous to the problem of paging in virtual memory. In paging, the question is which memory blocks should be discarded to maximize the probability that the next memory reference will concern a block that is already placed in memory. Unlike in operating systems, the LRU (Least Recently Used) would not work fine for human memory. If LRU were used, first to forget then it would become like the rusty primitives mastered in the primary school. It would be enough to use a calculator for a few months to have all the multiplication table discarded in priority behind the morning breakfast. The grandmother that has passed away a decade ago would serve as another early victim. Definitely, LRU would deprive the brain of flexibility and us… of humanity.

Human Memory Correlated To Computer Memory in Operating Systems.

The question arises immediately: If the mechanical optimization of the memory storage could be as efficient as in the case of humans, why don’t developers of operating systems assign memory attributes to blocks of memory, and use increasing-intervals combined with the spacing effect in developing, say, the next version of Windows or apples operating system. The key to the answer is in one major difference between the brain and the operating system of a computer: memory blocks can be reloaded from the disk in a wink which is not true with forgotten memories. You will not see a student at an exam say to the examiner: Wait a second, I have just forgotten it, and must reload it from my slow external storage. Obviously, a crutch, or any kind of external reference or cheat sheet can serve as a smart crutch for those who do not wish to burden their mind with the effort of remembering. Sadly, in the dog-eat-dog pace of our civilization, the LRU approach becomes more and more often applied in humans. Crutches help systems and encyclopedias play a greater role than the memory training. The poor record of American graduates in verbal, analytical and logical tests as compared with Chinese, Koreans, or even students coming from Eastern Europe is a sad side effect of a dynamic capitalist economy promoting the shallow LRU education and a race to early accomplishment at any price. Does this LRU trend bode ill for mind? No, individuals and governments have long realized the importance of education targeted at areas of lifelong applicability to a modern man.

The pressure of the urgent is considered a negative factor not only in education. Even in business! Get into the office of a modern businessman, arguably the primary candidate for stress-related heart disorders (consequence of LRU thinking and prioritizing), and increasingly often you will find in broad display famous tools targeted on fighting urgency. To ground the belief in the new trends even deeper, it is worth noticing that businesspeople are indeed one of the major customer groups of mind and memory creation world. Or what I like to call the empowering of mental efficiency through Mnemonic tool training, or Cognitive Memory Training.

Recall Ability and Stability of Memory.

The expert memory trainers arrived at the point where the creation of mind interpretation of memory indicates that it works using the principles of increasing intervals or what they have coined priming and rapid cognition and the spacing effect. Is there any proof for this model of memory apart from the memory construction speculation? In MTI’s construction model of memory discussed widely in public memory training workshop, or in-house programs, molecular aspects of memory is presented in the process of learning. The novel element presented in this thesis or theory is the distinction between the stability and recall ability of memory traces. This could not be used to support the validity of creation of mind because of the simple fact that it was the mind itself that laid the groundwork for the hypothesis. However, an increasing molecular evidence seems to coincide with the stability-recall ability model providing, at the same time, support for the correctness of assumptions leading to mind creation. In plain terms, recall ability is a property of memory which determines the level of efficiency with which synapses can fire in response to the stimulus, and thus elicit the learned action. The lower the recall ability the less you are likely to recall the correct response to a question. On the other hand, stability reflects the history of earlier repetitions or visual bonding to the mental file folder, and determines the extent of time in which memory traces can be sustained. The higher the stability of memory, the longer it will take for the recall ability to drop to the zero level, i.e. to the level where memories are permanently lost.

According to research, when we learn something for the first time we experience a slight increase in the stability and recall ability in synapses involved in coding the particular stimulus-response memory construction. In time, recall ability declines rapidly; the phenomenon equivalent to forgetting. At the same time, the stability of memory remains at the approximately same level. However, if we repeat the visual construction before recall ability drops to zero, recall ability regains its initial value, while stability increases to a new level, substantially higher than at primary or initial learning. Before the next repetition takes place, due to increased stability, recall ability decreases at a slower pace, and the inter-repetition interval might be much longer before forgetting takes place. Two other important properties of memory should also be noted: (1) repetitions have no power to increase the stability at times when recall ability is high (spacing effect), (2) upon forgetting, stability declines rapidly.

The proven molecular basis of memory, as mentioned earlier, the molecular processes thought of underlying the memory have not been used as the basis to develop the mind. Though the cross-inspiration was mutual, it is rather the recall ability-stability model which is likely to contribute more to understanding the molecular aspect of memory than vice versa. The correlates between the model and the findings on molecular memory might not be striking at first. After all, most of research on memory consistently focuses on the concept of the recall ability of a synaptic connection. The concept of mental file folder stability is absolutely new and no mention of similar phenomena can be found in widely published research that I have read. However, both short-term memory, as well as the components of long-term memory: recall ability and mental file folder stability, fit nicely into the presently investigated or researched models of memory and learning.

The Internal Mind As We Know It.

We have already seen that creation, in memory findings in the field of psychology coincide with the method and that facts of molecular biology and memory construction seem to go hand in hand. Here is the time to see how the described processes have been put to work in the program itself. In the course of repetitions, our scenario plots the forgetting curve for the student and schedules the repetition at the moment where the retention, i.e. proportion of remembered knowledge, drops to a previously defined level. The mnemonic trainers strongly believe that accountability or discipline in hippocampus driven construction that we personally activate through intention learning will render a stronger encoding-storage and retrieval process or cycle. In other words, our mind if disciplined during our learning with follow up checks on how much we remember. In other words if after a week and if you remember less than desired you must ask our interpreter as Dr. Michael Gazziniga calls it to make repetitions in intervals less than one week long. Otherwise, it checks the retention after a longer period and we discipline our mind through increases in the intervals accordingly.

A little kink to this simple picture comes from the fact that items of different difficulty have to be repeated at different intervals, and that the intervals increase as the learning process proceeds. Moreover, the optimum inter-repetition intervals or what I call priming have to be known for an average individual, and these must be used before our mind to knowledge acquisition cycle can collect data about the real student. There must be obviously the whole mathematical apparatus involved to put the whole encode, store and retrieve process to work. All in all, it seems that there has been at least duration in days in our life when we had an impression that the learning cycles used by our created mind have significantly been upgraded. Each of the cases seemed to be a major breakthrough.

The whole development process was just a long succession of trials and errors, testing, improving, implementing new ideas, etc. Unfortunately, those good days are over. There have not been any breakthrough improvements to the role of rote memorization theory for some time in these expert memory trainers’ opinions. Some comfort may come from the fact that since mnemonics started developing rapidly providing the memory specialist with new options and solutions our mind can then be yet better, faster, and more effective! I am defiantly super optimistic. Any further fine-tuning of mnemonic creation or neural networks development would be drowning in the noise of resistance to change. After all, we do not learn in isolation from the world.

When our educational system program schedules the next repetition in 365 days, and the fact is recalled by chance at an earlier time, our mind has no way of knowing about the accidental recollection and will execute the repetition at the previously planned moment. This is not optimal, but it cannot be remedied by improving the recapitulation rote process. Simply because cortisol a stress hormone produced by our adrenal gland is active in rote memorization where in picturizeing your way through learning cortisol isn’t produced or activated within the FPG mental file folder system. Improving our mind now is like fine tuning a radio receiver in a noisy car or assembly hall. The guys at the helm of our slowly creeping ship are now less focused on science. In their view, after the scientific invention, the time has come for the social invention of life. So in comes social media and more information overload.

The Theory and practice of Mind and Memory.

Using a simple mathematical model, according to our educational powers to be show, one can easily predict how the learning process will look in the long term perspective without what I call rapid cognition. One of the most striking observations is, that apart from the initial period, the speed of learning does not decrease substantially in time (one would rather expect a rapid decline of the knowledge acquisition rate because of the accumulation of outstanding repetitions). Another interesting fact is that even with rote memorization; one is not likely to master more than several hundred facts and figures corresponding to mnemonic visually bonded items in a lifetime. The average learning speed of an average student amounts to about 300 items/year/min if you believe educational statistics.(i.e. the student can memorize 300 items per year if he or she works one minute per day). This theoretically predicted speed of learning has been confirmed more than once in structured small groups of subjects. A researched model of learning shows that a student who stops repetitions after a 5-year-long work with rote memorization is likely to forget 60% of the learned material in the first year after the cessation! [This figure has later been proven exaggerated] Though for shorter periods of time, this staggering figure has been confirmed in practice. At this point one might be disappointed with the volatility of knowledge gained by rote learning, but the above figures also confirm once again that learning without understanding is no learning at all. We remember what we understand, we understand only what we pay attention to, and we pay attention to what we need, like or want. A mental file folder makes us focus! Therein lies the problem, lack of focus.

Rote Learning-It Might Work to Some Extent but It Cannot Be That Good.

If one is convinced of the validity that has been said about rote memorization until now, will he or she be already convinced that the program is a perfect cure for the ailing memory? Can it really capitalize on the properties of the nervous system and let learning proceed a dozen times faster than in standard circumstances? After all there have been generations of students trying to figure out better methods of learning, (one being my brother-in-law the physician) and a breakthrough comparable with what mnemonics claims to be seems highly unlikely even to quite an open-minded observer. Two doctors that are married both said formal mnemonic training was lacking in medical school and they were forced to create their own mnemonic systems personally. We tend to discount the low-probability argument as the viable source of skepticism, and it truly says that he has more than once traced down evidence that mnemonics-like approaches to learning have already been tried before with lesser or greater degree of success. Moreover, it is worth noticing that rote memorization might not see the light were it not implemented as a rule which can easily be transferred between individuals. In other words, it could have fallen into oblivion as the previous attempts to put order in the process of learning. One must remember that the very essence of repetition has been around unsuccessfully or with minimal success for the whole time. Another turning- point to be kept in view is that rote memorization throughout the World would not have been formed in the international sector like Asia and India were it not for the inspiring meeting of minds between the aggressive few from the University. All this shows that despite the fact that the principles of mnemonics are extremely simple and might have been invented several dozen times independently in several dozen countries on the planet; it is not just a run-of-the-mill learning process. The distinctive merit of Memory Training companies is to put the idea into practice, invest a great deal of man-hours in development of cognitive memory training programs and focus on marketing the idea to the potential customer. Otherwise, Empowerment through Mnemonics would have for ever remained limited to the small circle of its early enthusiasts.

How was Mnemonic Memory Training and Cognitive Memory Training developed?

Perhaps, while in the context of fulfilled-vs.-unfulfilled inventions, it is interesting to take a short look at the entire story of memory training, from its very beginning. It was 1990, when a 39 year-old student of memory training, became quite frustrated with his inability to retain newly learned knowledge in his brain after having lacked success in passing the Insurance license exam twice. The study of the brain and its parts or roles evolved. This referred to the vast material of biochemistry, physiology, psychology and neuroscience, which one should master wishing to embark on a successful career in Cognitive Memory Training. One of the major incentives to tackle the problem of forgetting in a more systematic way was a simple observation made from a Southern Baptist Preacher named Roger McDonald, a close and very dear friend of that individual 30 plus years. This gentleman in all sense presented that by continuing his work on mastering English using his standard learning by doing methods, he would need 120 years to acquire all the important vocabulary or justification of going back for a graduate degree.

This not only prompted the mnemonics researcher to work on methods of learning, but also, turned them into a determined advocate of the idea of one memory method experiential teaching coupled with positive psychology available for all people (bearing in mind the time and money spent by mankind on translation and learning languages). Initially, the trainer went to a workshop with facts and figures and training of my mind and mnemonics. It did not take long to discover that forgetting requires infrequent repetitions and nothing less than a systematic approach is needed to manage all the newly collected and memorized knowledge. Using an obvious intuition, the trainers’ attempted to measure the retention of knowledge after different inter-repetition intervals, and in 1995 formulated the first outline of cognitive memory training. Effectiveness of the program appeared to go far beyond what had been expected. This triggered an exciting desire to learn everything they could about memory construction and the ability of the mind/brain learning processes. A dozen of workshop attendees, at their workshops took on the role of guinea pigs and memorized thousands of items providing a constant flow of data and critical feedback. This assisted the memory experts a great deal of knowledge on coupling positive psychology with experiential training and was helpful in formulating the model of memory formation using mnemonic devices. Even though some that were used throughout similar techniques throughout history and modeled the phenomena occurring in the synapse they were determined to shorten the learning curve and at the same time improve comprehension and retention values. The many workshops that were conducted over the past 21 years contributed to the analysis of evolutionary aspects of optimization of memory by mental file folders and vivid visualization. Learning difficulties and inefficient retention problems made the experts relate to the model of intermittent learning and simulation of ionic currents during the transmission of action potential in nerve cells. A dozen different workshops showed that the expert memory trainers must use these experiential methods in one cohesive theory that would encompass molecular, behavioral, psychological, and even societal bias and norms in aspects of the training. The training experts have never claimed to have discovered the neuro-plasticity phenomena of the brain. They do take credit for implementation or use or applicability to uncover at least several important and probably never published or frequently used properties or ability of the mind and memory. Their intentions are to validate these theories in the academic arena in psychology with emphasis in neuroscience sometime in the near future. The expert mnemonics trainers have done so somewhat just in the increased ability of those having attended the 7-hr. Cognitive Memory Training workshop in the last 21 years they have delivered.

Epilogue

When trainers were asked when working with different people on understanding the likes of recall and stability learning as the optimum repetition spacing, etc. or mental file folder process has been proven yet. Memory experts use to simply say It has been confirmed by other researchers in the field of memory and learning to some extent. Why hasn’t it been validated by publishing the theory in a respectable journal? Great deals of skepticism have been generated by the regularity of the findings or the increase ability of those having learned the methods. The results of the methods or collected data looks too good or sounds to good to be true; with reality probably being more like they were grounded in the rule of rote memorization and recapitulation techniques. All in all, memory instructors’ felt like one can either trust the instruction, or continue to wait months or years before its true scientific recognition or validation came about.

Over the past 5-10 years studies have shown the ability of the mind using learning tools like mnemonics and successfully proven the ability of one to improve their fluid intelligence by training their working memory. In the meantime, the research and marketing teams in memory instruction are beaming with optimism: because it’s enough to ask users of cognitive memory training by mnemonics, thousands of them in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma alone, how the method fares in their educational pursuits. The general results of opinion or answers to the question are more than enthusiastic. Cognitive memory training simply works and memory trainers do not need to prove it to their customers they experience it.

Taking this rosy picture into heart, one might wonder why this isn’t being taught in schools yet and why millions of copies aren’t sold worldwide. It’s always answered with the following: It’s taken 21 years to turn necessity into invention, give the cognitive memory researchers and MTI half that time, and they will turn this invention into an educational necessity!

Air Conditioning Installation

What Does Air Conditioning Installation Involve?

Tired of the oppressive heat? It seems as if heat and humidity levels break new records every summer. If you’re wondering about installing a cooling system in your home, keep in mind that newer air conditioners are quieter, more powerful, and more energy efficient than older models. Air conditioning even offers added value by reducing your energy bills.

Start at the beginning

The first step towards the installation of a cooling system in your home is to determine the size of the unit you need. An undersized air conditioner will not be powerful enough to cool your home, while an air conditioner that’s too big will make the air feel clammy from too much humidity. That doesn’t sound comfortable, does it?

The capacity of an air conditioner is measured in tons. Tonnage refers to the amount of heat that the unit can remove a home in one hour. A one-ton air conditioner can expel 12,000 BTU while a three-ton system will expel 36,000 BTU. The tonnage system of measurement is based on the fact that it takes 12,000 BTU to melt a ton of ice in 24 hours. For example, a house the size of 1,600 square feet could be well served by an air conditioning system of two and a half tons. A qualified contractor will be able to help you choose the capacity of your system according to your needs.

Installation requirements

For a house that has previously never had central air conditioning, installation often requires a new circuit breaker in your electrical panel, new wiring run through your foundation, and new ductwork, plus mounting of your new unit on metal brackets or a on concrete slab. Because work this crucial must be done properly, make sure to ask for a free quote from a reputable professional rather than wasting time trying to do it yourself. You will also avoid potentially injuring yourself.

Choosing a contractor

For your cooling system to be efficient and long-lasting, installation needs to be done correctly. Don’t take any chances. Make sure your contractor is qualified to install and maintain the equipment. The Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI) is a non-profit national trade association of contractors, wholesalers, and manufacturers in the industry. A section of their website is dedicated to helping you find a qualified contractor. It is also a good idea to check with your provincial authority to make sure your potential contractor’s licenses, qualifications, and insurance coverage are all up to date. Lastly, you can check with the Better Business Bureau online to find out if any complaints have been filed against the contractor.

All that’s left to do is to enjoy the cooling comfort of your air conditioning all summer.

Top 5 Myths About The Music Business

If you are involved in the entertainment business then you’ve probably heard a few tall tales. The following is a list of some of the top myths about the music business.

1. People in the music business will help you out of the kindness of their hearts.

Facts:

The music business is called the music business for a reason. It is a business that just so happens to sell music. Businesses are in business to make money. They are not in business to make ART, however they will sell it. You may find a handful of good Samaritans willing to help for free but generally speaking if helping does not benefit the other party, they won’t help.

“People (not counting loved ones) will help you if they think your art will make them money. They will not help you if they think your art will not make them money.” -David Naggar, Esq. from  The Music Business Explained In Plain English-

2. Since the economic decline people aren’t buying music anymore

Facts:

People are buying music, but they aren’t buying it in the same way they used to. Sales of CDs may be down but the sale of single tracks is up! If you are still an unbeliever just check iTunes sales records. Reportedly, Apple has sold 10 billion and counting!

3. Music superstars have and are making tons of money.

This is one of the biggest myths in the entertainment business. When you see a Sean Kingston or Lady Gaga on television you may think that they are living the good life, but really the amount of money he/she brings home is really dependent on the terms of their contractual obligations as well as their money management skills. Simply put, if you spend more than you make you are bound to go broke sooner or later.

Need examples:

MC Hammer

Marvin Gaye

Michael Jackson

Willie Nelson

Toni Braxton

Billy Joel

George Clinton

Isaac Hayes

Jerry Lee Lewis

Ron Isley

Need anymore? The list goes on.

The fact of the matter is that all of these artists have seen the highs and lows of the music business. Micheal Jackson, the “King of Pop”, even had his money woes. No “superstar” is exempt. Good money management skills are needed in order to maintain a “superstar” lifestyle.

4. You can become an overnight celebrity in the music business.

This is one of the most common myths about the music business. People believe that you can sign a record deal and then all of sudden you are magically on magazine covers and receiving Grammy awards. All of this talk is nonsense. At the end of the day it takes a decent amount of leg work, dedication, passion, perseverance, and strong networking relationships to achieve “success” in the music business. NO ONE HAS BECOME SUCCESSFUL OVERNIGHT however, some people have achieved their goals faster than others. Artists such as Wiz Khalifa, Kanye West, and Eminem spent years building their reputation and brands to become the people they are today. This is why working smarter and not harder is essential in the music business.

5. Talent Trumps Work Ethic

In today’s music business, talent still counts but work ethic counts for more. An extraordinarily talented person with average work ethic will generally not do as well as someone with extraordinary work ethic and average talent.

A strong work ethic, more often than not, means that you can be consistent which is of the utmost importance in the music business.

Why?

One word. Marketing. Being able to consistently deliver high quality to the consumer is paramount.  This is where work ethic trumps talent. A person that is able to consistently deliver a satisfactory product to the consumer is, in the words of Charlie Sheen, WINNING! Because of our increasingly shortened attention spans, having someone or something consistently in our faces helps in branding the product, service, or person. Ultimately, this results in people getting paid!

Journey Into Cyprus by Colin Thubron

Journey Into Cyprus by Colin Thubron is nothing less than essential reading for anyone with even the slightest interest in the island. Travel writing this may be, but the book does much more than merely traverse the landscape or pass by places of interest. Crucially, Journey Into Cyprus is not just a journey ‘through’ Cyprus, since, by the end, the reader feels that the experience has provided more exposure than mere tourism, as if we ourselves have experienced these thoughts first hand.

Colin Thubron’s journey was largely on foot. It wasn’t unbroken, but it did traverse Cyprus from east to west and north to south. There are occasional trips by road, but overall the text itself communicates the slow pace of the author’s progress via its attention to illuminating detail alongside observation and reflection. The text even seems to have periods of rest written in, so delightfully does it capture those moments when the author paused by the roadside to sit on a stone and muse, reflect or read, or was waylaid by local custom in a coffee shop.

Like all good travel writing, Journey Into Cyprus constantly communicates a sense of place. The landscape unfolds via succinct observations that paint the view. But, throughout, both the visitor’s intrusion and the local’s residence remain clear, their relative status unchallenged. These are foreigner’s eyes, for sure, but they are opened at every turn by local invitation, information and hospitality.

But there is also history here. The name, Cyprus, itself derives from a word for copper, the metal whose mining formed the basis of the island’s niche in the classical global economy. Colin Thubron’s description of the copper mines – the relics and the still working – in the Troodos mountains are fascinating. If the island’s name might have derived from economic activity, it is in the sphere of religion that Cyprus makes its biggest impression, and those religions are also here within these pages, described in detail, and referred to repeatedly since their significance is on-going.

For two thousand years Cyprus followed the cult of Aphrodite. She, like the island itself, was never satisfied with just one relationship. She regularly moved on to another, with the apparently inevitable offspring from each encounter living a life of its own either as a mortal or as a god. And so it has remained with the island itself, where a culture of ancient Greece everywhere rendered modern by the presence of the Greek language, but in a version that Cypriots seem to have made entirely their own. There was a long flirtation with Rome, which produced palaces and theatres, decorated with mosaics that still adorn the excavated sites on the Paphos shoreline. A long and on-going marriage to Byzantium spawned the continuing dominance of the Orthodox Church in the island’s life. There are over five thousand churches and monasteries and they form an integral part of southern Cypriot culture and politics.

The Lusingnan period mat not be as well known, but it lasted more than three centuries and involved rule by French-speaking Knights of St John. They paused on their way home from the Holy Land after they had been kicked our after the Crusades. They ruled and taxed, but island culture and local tradition continued, almost in its own sphere and according to its own rules, in spite of their power. A short Venetian period saw the island exploited for the city state’s commercial gain. Trade routes had to be secured. And then, in 1570, the Ottomans arrived and stayed for three hundred years, changing the nature of the debate by introducing their own religion and Turkish culture. A brief British period left Cyprus with a second language, English, which to this day allows Colin Thubron and others the illusion that communication and its associated illusion of participation are easy. And now, of course, there is partition, a Turkish north and a Greek south, the constant yap across the fence mediated by United Nations for nations not united.

All this and more is in Journey Into Cyprus by Colin Thubron. But alongside the wayside reflections and the appreciation of landscape, there is a real glimpse into a culture born of history but expressed in this time and place as the author’s journey progresses. There are anecdotes, comical moments and occasional threats along the way. The only disappointment comes when, abruptly, the journey comes to its end as the author approaches the eastern extremity of the island’s tapering peninsula in the north. But then, that’s the beauty of travel. It has to be experienced for what it is and when it happens, because at its end it’s the next trip that beckons. By writing it down, however, Colin Thubron allows all of us the luxury of experiencing everything for ourselves and then the possibility of repeating it.

Ten Uses For Bucket Trucks

Bucket trucks are commonly seen on Americas streets and highways, but what exactly are these trucks being used for? This article examines some of the common, uncommon and sometimes humorous uses for these trucks.

Ten Uses for Bucket Trucks

Use Number 1: Maintenance on Electrical Utility and Telecommunications Lines

The most obvious use for bucket trucks is for elevating workers to electrical utility and telecommunications lines for maintenance. Special insulated trucks are used for these jobs to protect workers from the dangerous, high voltage wires that the job requires them to work with.

Use Number 2: Window Washing

Since these trucks have booms that can extend sometimes 60′ or more, they may be used for washing exterior windows on mid-sized office buildings of up to 5 stories. These trucks allow window washers to safely reach windows at heights that are inaccessible with ladders.

Use Number 3: Fruit Picking

Cherry Pickers were originally designed to pick fruit from orchards (though not just cherry orchards). These trucks are still heavily used by fruit pickers in orchards today.

Use Number 4: Animal Rescue

Help Wildlife, a site dedicated to show the devastating effects of fishing line on wildlife, documents a case where a sea gull was rescued using a bucket truck. The gull had a hook and fishing line caught in it’s wing, and became entangled in a 50′ tall tree. Animal rescuers were able to rescue the bird using a bucket truck.

Use Number 5: Hanging Decorations

From hanging Christmas decorations in your city square, to banners on your favorite local teams field, these trucks are used for hanging all manner of decorations.

Use Number 6: Tree Trimming

Bucket Trucks are often seen on city streets after big thunderstorms, when loose and broken tree branches endanger electrical lines. Workers trimming trees near power lines use special insulated bucket trucks to keep them safe from the dangerous, high voltage wires that they will likely be near in the course of their jobs. Arborists also use bucket trucks to reach the tops of very tall trees that need routine care.

Use Number 7: Stage Performance Tools

Michael Jackson has a long history of including cherry pickers in his stage performances and music videos dating back to his 1987 Bad Tour. Most recently, he was seen rehearsing “Beat It” on a cherry picker in the documentary film, Michael Jackson’s This is It. This was the last known footage of Michael Jackson before his death in 2009.

Use Number 8: Security Detail

Some retail stores have security guards stationed in specially modified trucks that give guards a birds eye view of the parking lot.

Use Number 9: Exterior Painting

Just like window washers, some painters use these trucks to reach high places on the building exteriors that they are painting. These trucks allow painters to safely reach heights of up to 5 stories to safely paint building exteriors.

Use Number 10: Fire Rescue

Some fire trucks are equipped with a boom and bucket, technically making these fire trucks special purpose bucket trucks! These specially designed trucks allow firemen to reach tall buildings to put out fires, and sometimes rescue people from places that would otherwise be inaccessible.

These trucks are versatile machines that can be used for many things! But operators of these powerful utility trucks must be properly trained in order to operate them safely. Before renting or purchasing a truck for any of the uses described in this article, take time to learn about aerial lift safety and invest in a trained and experienced operator for your bucket truck.

5 Tips to End Emotional Eating

If you are struggling with emotional eating, you’re not alone.

I still catch myself doing it – just the other day I sat down in front of my computer and opened up a bag of Terra chips and started shoveling them in. I stopped myself before I ate the entire bag because I became aware of what I was doing. Typically, when we eat due to emotions, it’s common to “check-out” and just not be present.

I stopped and asked myself “Am I really hungry?” And the answer was no- I realized that I was bored. So I put the chips away and went for a walk.

I have been practicing being mindful about my food choices for quite some time, so I was able to quickly use the tools in my tool box to get back on track.

If you want some tools in your toolbox, here are some helpful hints that you can practice to end emotional eating.

#1 – Don’t keep junk in the house.

I am sure you have heard this one before, and that is because it works. If it’s not in the house, you won’t be tempted. I know- your kids, your partner, your dog- won’t be happy with you for depriving them. But seriously, it won’t kill them to eat healthier.

When there is tempting junk food in the house, emotional eating becomes too easy. Case in point, you come home after an awful day at work and the whole ride home all you can think about is drowning your sorrows in the pint of Ben & Jerry’s that you know is in the freezer. The food ends up serving as a trigger- so just get rid of it.

#2 – Find a healthier alternative.

Instead of focusing on grabbing ice cream when you get home, you need to find a substitute. Instead of reaching for food when you’re stressed, take the dog out for a walk or talk about how stressful your day was with your loving partner or best friend.

When you create new behaviors, you actually create new neural pathways- which means that you create new habits. So long Ben & Jerry, hello workout gear!!

#3 – Restock your kitchen.

It’s much easier to grab for healthy food when you are hungry if it’s on hand and in sight. Research shows that people who leave healthy foods in plain sight make better food choices. Some ways that you can implement this for yourself: A bowl of fresh fruit on the kitchen counter. Cut up veggies and keep them handy with some hummus at eye level in the fridge. If coffee is a trigger for an unhealthy muffin or donut, see if you can substitute your coffee for a green smoothie.

#4 – Take a seat.

If you are going to eat, you must sit your arse down at the kitchen table. When you plate your food, whether it is a meal or a snack, you are able to eat more mindfully. Think about the last time you sat in front of the TV or computer with food. Do you actually remember eating the food? How about feeling satisfied?

When you sit down and actually pay attention to what you are eating and how much you are eating, the tendency is to eat less because you are able to notice those signals that get sent from your stomach to your brain telling you that you are “full” — and when you are in touch with your body’s signals, you naturally stop yourself from overeating.

#5 – Be kind to yourself.

Find other things to nourish yourself. I love to light scented candles at dinner, it helps set a nice relaxing mood! Maybe you like scented soaps or fresh flowers. A soft blanket to curl up while you sip your tea after your meal. I know you might feel a sense of control when you eat what you want and be damned with everyone else, but afterwards, the guilt and emotions surrounding the incident make you beat yourself up incessantly. Take the opportunity that you have to be kind to yourself and surround yourself with things that make you feel good.

Top 10 Tips and Advice for Easing Pregnancy for Scoliosis Sufferers

Back pain during pregnancy is not a new concept, but for people who suffer from scoliosis require a second thought to be given before, they plan to go through the process of pregnancy. Scoliosis is the disease of the spine in which the posture of the spine is deviated to form S or C shaped curvature, which can turn to be quite painful during pregnancy. However, this is not a reason that why you should postpone your pregnancy, as you can still go through pregnancy by using proper pain management techniques.

Back pain during pregnancy is a normal phenomenon that requires no fear. All the discomforts that you will be facing during pregnancy are because of the pressure that your little one inside your tummy is going to cause. Moreover, if you are a scoliosis patient then the chances of increased back pain is higher than what you would normally expect leaving you with a question of whether the back pain is owing to scoliosis or pregnancy. On the other hand, you will find pregnancy stabilizes scoliosis because of the transition that your body will be going through as a result of the hormonal fluctuations. If only you can follow these top ten tips to manage your back pain during pregnancy, and care should be taken with your scoliosis prescription, which may occasionally cause birth defects.

However, the discussion on back pain management tips will help to alleviate the problem of scoliosis. But before that there are three types of back pain – acute if the back pain does not last longer than three months, recurrent if the back pain occurs repeatedly and chronic back pain, which lasts longer than three months.

The kind of back pain that you will be facing during pregnancy and scoliosis is low back pain, which is found to occur in three different locations. Lumbar pain that may or may not spread down to your legs, sacroiliac pain occurs in the distal and lateral regions of the spine and nocturnal pain are the ones that occurs in the lumbar regions only during night. As mentioned elsewhere, the culprit for the pain could not be abruptly blamed on scoliosis or pregnancy for the possibility could be due to both of them.

1. Practice good posture:

You will find that the center of gravity shifts with the development of your baby and may force you to fall forwards. This could cause a strain on your spine with scoliosis increasing the curvature and the pain. There are some simple things that you can do to help you to alleviate the symptoms of back pain like:

• Stand up straight and tall

• Hold your chest high

• Keep your shoulders relaxed and at the back, do not lean forward.

• Stop locking your knees.

• Sit on a chair that will support your back or use a pillow.

2. Wear the correct clothes and accessories:

What you wear also matters while you are pregnant and is a victim of scoliosis. Some of the clothes that can help you in alleviating the back pain during pregnancy when you are a scoliosis sufferer are the use of maternity pants and supportive waistbands. This is also advisable to wear low-heeled flat shoes to remove the strain that high-heeled shoes can cause on both your spine, back and neck.

3. Lift properly:

Whether you have scoliosis or not you are always asked to lift objects as per the size and weight of the objects in a proper manner to prevent not only back pain, but also to be gentle on your delicate spine. And if you have scoliosis, and on top of that if you are pregnant, see that you lift objects appropriately, for example, lift heavy objects by sitting to the level of the object and then stand up slowly and steadily. If you did ask what to do, I will ask for a second or a third hand too!

4. Sleep properly:

The good thing while you sleep is to have a deep sleep but conscious by developing the habit of sleeping on one side. The doctor will advise you which side to sleep depending on the posture of the baby. This is also advisable to keep your knees bent while you sleep, and place pillows between them (there is no point in giving heed to cultural taboos, just ignore them even if you are hurt), and use another pillow under the abdomen to bear the whole weight and/or use a full length pillow.

5. Try heat or cold or massage therapy:

I will strongly recommend this to anyone suffering from pain for this helped me when I was suffering from severe neck pain. A good hot mat under the area of pain relieves not only the pain but also the fear of catching cold when you use a cold mat. In contrast, the cold massage therapies are also equivalently good and choose the one that works the best for you. Alternatively, you could also ask someone to massage a balm or pain relieving ointments, but only after consult a doctor, for the doctor may suggest a professional massage therapy if required. Listen to your gynecologist and chiropractic, and see that you link both of them.

6. Follow a gentle exercise regime:

These days people become pregnant in their thirties and forties, that they get pregnant pass through their age and are therefore vital that you regularly check with your gynecologist. Besides, if you are suffering from scoliosis, the chances of the back pain becoming severe are higher, despite the established fact that there is no relationship between scoliosis and pregnancy. This is good that you take advice of your gynec to schedule some gentle exercise, which not only helps in making delivery much easier, but might also have a positive effect on your scoliosis condition, alleviating the curvature. Some of the gentle exercises recommended are walking and/or swimming, lower back stretching exercise and other stretching exercises as recommended by the physician.

7. Alternative therapies:

The option of choosing an alternative therapy has to be done only after consulting your chiropractic and gynec. One of the main alternative therapies that have been believed to be of some use in relieving pain is acupuncture therapy. This therapy involves the use of needles to prick at energy points, which in turn somehow happens to activate the natural pain relief system. You will be expecting to be pricked with needles, which will have the pain of a pinprick, and may or may not require several visits to get complete relief from the pain, at least until you deliver the baby to the outside world. Sounds awful, but many who have undergone this therapy recommend and prefer this better than medicines that might have side effects.

8. Yoga:

Prenatal yoga has been described and prescribed by many as one of the best way to tone parts of the body that will be affected by performing yoga. They have found out that the position that is attained during the yoga practice promotes the relaxation of back muscles and relieves the strain of carrying the little one in its bag.

9. Chiropractic care:

The chiropractor could be of immense help, especially if you are already aware of your condition, scoliosis, then this will do good for you to discuss frankly with your physician about your idea of having a baby. This is also best to go to the gynecologist directed by him/her, who will understand the treatment being given and will be helping in giving you a holistic approach to handle the back pain efficiently. While the chiropractor will help in relieving the stress on the nerves, which adds to the already existing woes of scoliosis, and since he knows you before the pregnancy, during the pregnancy and after the pregnancy, stick on to the same chiropractor.

10. A Balanced Nutrition and a Holistic approach:

Whatever you do there is nothing like being healed naturally by boosting your body’s immune system and recuperative power. This is the procedure that has been described in detail by a chiropractor, Dr. Kevin Lau, who overcame scoliosis following a strict and disciplined diet based on his body metabolic requirements. However, when this comes to pregnancy, he has been using the same holistic approach of combining the western medicine and the traditional treatment methods of scoliosis with simple pregnancy exercises and appropriate food, which you will be able to formulate only by frankly discussing with your doctor.

Now is that you have ten important and best tips that anyone else can give you to relieve your back pain. As you would have noticed all these tips only tell you what you can do and where you can find some relief from your back pain. Try some of the simple tips like heat or cold pad to relieve the back pain initially, and if these does not help you, never ever venture into something new without consulting your doctor.

Lamborghini New Models

Thanks to the nice people at Lamborghini, Manchester a pleasant change from eating – driving three latest models from the Audi-owned Italian supercar maker at Millbrook Proving Ground in the Midlands.

There were a couple of surprises – the first a chance to meet an old friend, Valentino Balboni,  Lambo’s legendary test driver and the man who developed the racing Diablo SVR I used to race. This guy is so famous that when he “retired” Lamborghini developed a “Valentino Balboni” special edition of the Guillardo – but more of that later.

The occasion was meant really for potential customers – not liggers like me. So the deal is a professional driver sits alongside as the nervous would be buyer samples 500 brake horsepower around the sinuous curves and ferocious gradients of the alpine handling course. Which is fine, except that I’m not nervous and am soon going much faster than the now nervous pro driver thinks is appropriate.

All fine after some explanations of my cv.

So back to the cars. The basic Galliardo – if that is not a contradiction – is a revelation to someone who last sat in a Lambo before the Germans took over. The Diablo was an incredible bit of kit – but things like the interior, electronics, fit and finish were a bit hit and miss. The whole point of the thing really was to look and sound fantastic and go faster than pretty much anything else on the road. All of which it did supremely well.  As a car to use everyday it was, frankly, hopeless.

The Guillardo, quite thoroughly up-dated for 2010, changes all that. For a start it is tiny and beautifully, exquisitely fabricated. To say it is better than anything Audi build themselves is meant as very high praise. Secondly there is a driving position that normal sized people can get comfortable in – another Lamborghini first.  There is also a reminder how far the latest paddle controlled gearboxes in supercars have improved over the last five years. The two others I have driven, Aston Martin and Ferrari, were respectively a bit sluggish and unnatural and too ferocious for comfortable driving.

The gearbox in the Guillardo is so precise, so rapid and so intuitive that I’m, for the first time, sure I’d take this not a manual.  It blips the throttle in down changes to give that authentic racing driver heel and toe sensation.

What else? Well this was a customer day not a race track outing so the handling wasn’t properly tested but I can’t imagine any customer ever complaining. Whether you’d trade in the Porsche 911 Turbo while adding about £50k to the bill is a difficult question. The fact is that the Lambo is SPECIAL and that costs.

Next up was the Superlegerra – or superlight. This has a bit more or less of everything than the ordinary model. Lots of beautiful carbonfibre inside with lightweight and more controlling seats, a bit more power (562bhp), a bit more stiffness on the suspension settings.

It is more expensive but definitely worth it. Attacking the track there is an immediate benefit with a sharper, dartlike turn-in to corners. My perception – I didn’t ask – is that the gearchange is also quicker. A fantastic drive ended with a glimpse of 185 mph at the end of the proving ground straight – about 15 mph more than the standard car.

Then a complete change. To be honest the idea of a convertible, drop top Lamborghini has never appealed. These cars are for driving fast not for posing – well they are to me anyway. And for driving fast you need a roof over your head.

But with those limitations taken on board Lamborghini have made a pretty good job of things with the Guillardo Spyder. Roof down the car looks if anything even more dramatic than its sister models. Scuttle shake is totally absent and 100 plus mph comfortable without too much disruption to the hair-do. The big surprise is how the open-top drives. The suspension is much softer – maybe even a little too soft for me at the rear and gear changes under full-bore acceleration brought a little back-end shimmy as the next ratio slotted in.  The result is a surprisingly nice cruiser.

Finally the chance to ride with Valentino is “his” car the Balboni edition. This is one for the purest. Unlike all other Guillardos this is rear, not four wheel drive. It is also lighter and has more power than the basic but not quite as much as the Superleggera models which interestingly is lighter even with 4 wheel drive showing just how seriously they have taken the “lightness” route.

I’d never driven with Valentino before – although tales of his reducing strong men to tears are legendary. As are the insiders’ tales of the trail of devastation he sometimes leaves behind him. In the event everything was as I expected. This guy has driven every Lamborghini for maybe the last thirty years. So, of course, he’s quick – but not too scary. The revelation to me was the brakes. He was braking far later than I had been doing – utterly confident in the power of the ceramic brakes. I asked him how many laps of the circuit it would take before they faded. He thought for a minute – “never, I don’t think.”

The racing Diablo used to lunch its brakes in about two laps at Monza so there is real progress when a road car – albeit an extreme model like this – has better brakes than a racing car of 10 years ago.

All in all a chance to re-assess these cars. There is a depth of engineering excellence, a drama, a visual excitement that, for me, anyway takes these latest Lamborghini way beyond the “too flash for their own good” image that the maker has suffered from in the past. As an ex-Supertrofeo champion I’m a bit biased and a bit of a friend of the family – but wow, these are stunning cars.