Crop Circles – What ARE They and What Causes Them?

Crop circles are regular geometrical patterns that can occur in crop fields or grasslands. Within the patterns the plants are laid down in specific directions. The plants will often be sharply bent or halfway broken at a specific point near the ground. At this point the stalk can look more or less exploded or scorched as by heat.

The patterns typically consist of circles, rings, bows or other rounded elements laid out in a symmetrical manner and often connected with each other. The whole pattern can be small or large, 5-50 meter in diameter, and sometimes very complicated. Since they first gained broad public attention, they have grown in complexity, and each year seems to have its own fashion regarding geometrical pattern. They are usually produced during the night. They are seen all over the World, but the south of United Kingdom seems to show the highest frequency of this phenomenon.

Many of them have been revealed as hoaxes made by groups of people walking coordinated in the fields with planks under their feet, but not all of them can easily be explained this way.

Whatever causes them, there always seems to have been some force rotating or sweeping in a specific direction and thereby breaking and pressing the plants down. Sometimes people have seen light balls hovering over a place where crop circles have been found afterwards. Sometimes local stormy weather with swirling winds and heavy rain have occurred at the time of formation. Crop circles also tend to form at areas with underground waterways. Here are some possible explanations apart from the obvious hoaxes already mentioned:

Under certain physical conditions, a swirling wind may become stable and then spawn secondary swirls in a regular geometrical pattern, which again can spawn tertiary swirls so that you get a fractal structure of vortexes in the air with interconnections. At the bottom of these vortexes, the plants will be pressed down by the rotating air. Such swirls will also tend to contain electrical gradients that cause discharges, so that they can be seen as lightballs. Such discharges can possibly also cause internal explosions and scorching at specific points in the stalks of the plants.

Temperature gradients or gradients of electric charge from the soil up to some altitude in the air can possibly provide the energy for such swirls. If the energy in the gradient is released smoothly, air will be set in regular circular motion. Small sidewinds from such a vortex will trigger energy to be released in nearby places so that daughter swirls are created.

Another mechanism of formation can occur if the temperature at a spot in the ground is very different from that in the air and surrounding areas. Air will be heated or cooled over that spot. This will cause a wind up from this spot or down towards the spot and air to blow along the ground towards or from that spot. Such winds will always cause the air to swirl at the central point and regularly spaced vortexes in the area around.

Then you have the possibility that the circles are hoaxed, but with sophisticated technology, for example by drones that one lets fly over the fields, or by robotic ground vehicles set down by a drone. The drone or vehicle will move along in a specific preprogrammed geometrical pattern and press the plants down. If the drones used are of the vertical take off and landing type, they will blow air downwards and press the plants down this way. Drones can of course also carry specifically designed tools that force the plants to bow down and lie.

Some private persons or clubs with a solid budget could carry out this activity just for fun or because they get economical gain from visiting spectators or from selling books and films, and farmers may get paid for allowing crop circles to be made in their fields. But you also have the possibility that certain governmental, military or research organizations secretly make crops circles for various purposes.

One purpose of such organizations can be a large scale psychological and cultural experiment. Another purpose can be to create a certain structure in the psychology and culture of people that makes people more easy to lead and manipulate.

A purpose can also be to turn the attention of especially curious individuals away from certain governmental activities over to something that will occupy their curiosity more or less permanently and lead it astray.

Probably the crop circles were originally only a natural phenomenon that local people kept wondering about without a broader public being aware of them. But eventually a broader international public got interested in the phenomenon and speculations that these could be caused by extraterrestrials with important messages for us began to occur.

At this point, individuals, clubs and governmental institutions got the idea that they could secretly make their own crop circles in order to use the public attention for own purpose and gain. By now we probably have a situation where several instances of various kind compete with steadily more sophisticated technology about making steadily more spectacular crop circles, and with embedded messages with steadily stronger psychological effects. Those doing this may operate lonely, but have a mutual gain from the activity of other crop circle makers. And of course the natural phenomenon still occurs.

As already mentioned, many believe that extraterrestrial beings produce the phenomenon in order to signal their presence and leave certain important messages to be interpreted by humans. This explanation may not be impossible. But there is very little within the phenomenon that cannot be explained as natural processes or as the result of human activity with varying degree of technical sophistication, from the quite simple to state of the art drone technology.

Creating A Business Plan for Artists

A NEW YEAR … a new plan

Here I sit at this familiar place in my life where the nostalgia of another year gone by crosses paths with the excitement of a new year ahead. I look back on the wonderful blessings that the past year brought and at the same time I reflect on the disappointments along the way that serve as a constant reminder that dreams are never easy. I hear so many artists lamenting over dreams that always seem to dangle just out of reach. And I remind them that for every wonderful opportunity, there are always many others that do not work out – whether you're a beginning artist or a seasoned one. I like to think that we're given a gift without clear instructions on how to use it. And the instructions are given to us over time through opportunities big and small. And we need to focus on the journey, not the destination. For tomorrow is a new day. A new year. Okay, I'm rambling. Perhaps I should put the egg nog down and get to the reason for this month's article – planning your year.

I'm not one for making resolutions at the beginning of a year. Mainly because I'm not one for keeping them and I already spent the last year creating lists of ways to improve myself and we see how that turned out. So even though I'm not a fan of resolutions, I am a fan of making a business plan. And the beginning of the year is the best time to make a business plan. As artists we often do not see ourselves as business people, but if you want to sell your art successfully it helps if you come up with a plan. There has been much research on how the mere act of putting your plan on paper helps you achieve your goals.

Your business plan does not have to be complicated. It's simply a plan for how you want to run your business in 2007. What are your goals? How will you try to reach those goals? What is your focus for the coming year? How will you plan out your expenses? These are the kinds of questions you want to ask.

The main reason that I like making a business plan is that it keeps me on track. It shows me where I want to focus my energies and my finances. When I think about how much money I need to bring in, it helps me have confidence when quoting fees. Having a plan helps me decide which jobs to take and which jobs to turn down because they do not fit into the plan. And there's always room in your plan for change because you wrote it. It's your plan.

I can not tell you how to write your business plan. That depends on you and your own personal dreams for the future. I can not tell you where to get business or how much you need to spend to grow your business. There are certainly far more qualified people to speak on that subject. I would like to help you get the process going so I'm going to show you the bullet points that will be in my business plan for 2007. Use it as you wish, or come up with something of your own. These are just ideas to get you thinking about the year ahead.

Kelly's Business Plan for 2007

1. Getting New Business … I'm going to ask myself who my customers will be for this year. Where will I go for new business? How will I approach them? What types of customers are best for what I do? I will probably make a list of three or four target audiences. For example: libraries, women's conferences, storytelling festivals, corporate banquets. Through the year whenever I am faced with incoming business or outgoing expenses, I will ask myself how it fits into my plan. This really helps me from spending money in areas that do not fit my focus.

2. Getting More Business from Old and Current Business … Do I stay in touch with my clients from the past? Do I send them reminders and updates to keep me fresh in their minds? Do I make the best use of my current clients? Do I ask them for referrals? One of the best ways to get repeat business is on the heels of current business. Ask them for names of other people who might like what you do.

3. Fee Structure and Discount Policy … What will I charge this year? How much do I need to bring in to meet my expenses and make a profit? Under what circumstances will I lower my rate? Will I do any pro bono work, and how will I determine what pro bono work to take? How will I quote my fees? What will be included? How will I phrase it when I quote them my fee? Think these things through in your mind and it will be much easier when you're asked for a quote.

4. Product Sales and Product Creation … Will I create any product this year? How will I aim to sell more product this year? Do my products fit the audiences I have chosen to target this year? Am I making the most of my back-of-the-room sales?

5. Customer Service … Is there anything I want to do differently this year with my clients? Any new policies I want to incorporate? How are my customer service skills? Do I reply in a timely manner? Am I easy to work with?

6. Services that I offer … Do I want to offer a workshop this year or coaching? Is there a new program and / or a new audience that I want to target? Does my promotional material (web, brochure, etc.) reflect these new changes?

7. Networking … How will I get my name out in the community this year? What organizations will I join? What groups will I become active in?

8. Budget … How much do I need to live? What are my future monetary goals? What do I need to make this year to meet these goals and needs? How much can I spend to grow my business? Do I need to raise my rates to meet those needs?

9. Inventory … Will I track inventory? Will this be a manual process or an electronic process? Will I run it through my accounting package?

10. Continuing Education … What kind of education do I need this year? How much money can I afford to spend on workshops and conferences? Which workshops and conferences fit into my target market and business plan?

11. Material … How is my portfolio of creative material? Are there some things that are lacking? Does my material fit the audience I've chosen to target this year? Does my promotional material reflect my current portfolio? Is there a way to change my material so that it adds value in the marketplace?

And there you have a list of topics I have chosen for my business plan of 2007. You may have more topics on your list. Or you may only have one or two. Or you may choose not to do it at all. That's okay. It's YOUR plan. Make it simple and make it realistic.

I wish you all the best as we head into this new year. I hope you find peace and joy at every turn and that your disappointments pale in comparison to your blessings. We'll talk more next month.

Futures – Getting Started

Having seen a stock market crash in the recent financial crisis, many investors have moved their capital from stocks to commodities. With the current stock market still not recovering well as expected, many now believe that the commodities market will be the place for them to strike their pot of gold.

For many, the above shift in focus is valid. This is because many studies have shown that when stocks fall, commodities will rise. The most important study backing this negative correlation would be that by Barry Bannister. Having studied these markets for the past 130 years, he has proven and demonstrated that stocks and commodities have alternate leaderships in 18-year cycles. Since, since we just faced a stock market crash and commodities have not risen very much over the past decade, it should be valid to ascertain that the commodity bull is arriving or to be more optimistic, it has arrived.

With so much attention on commodities now, I believe that it is definitely important for investors to learn more about futures as they govern the buying and selling of commodities that greatly affect prices. By definition, futures are binding agreements between buyers and sellers where a fixed amount of commodities will be traded at a location at a specific future time for a fixed price. By law, any party violating the agreement will be liable for penalties. Because of this, it is therefore important for investors to know the basic structure of futures contracts in order to make informed and wise decisions.

Futures contracts have the following 4 main standards: quantity, delivery date and location, description and payment terms. All the following specifications above are important because they can greatly influence the type of commodities investors bought to be involved in.

For quantity, different futures contract use vary measures to determine the quantity to be traded. For example, 1 contract of corn can mean 5000 bushels but 1 contract for gold would mean 100 troy ounces. For others, 1 contract of oil can mean 1000 barrels for oil while that for copper is 25000 lbs. Since different commodities have varying standard quantities represented by 1 contract, prices for different futures are so different. Thus, it is advisable for investors to know the representation of standard quantities for futures contracts of the specific commodities that they are interested in.

For delivery date and location, the futures contract should state where and when the commodity is delivered. Different types of buyers will buy on different dates. For speculators, it is usually advisable for them to buy and sell the futures few months before the expected delivery date as they only aim to make money trading futures. For commodity buyers, they usually buy futures from speculators at dates near the delivery date in order to get good prices for the commodities they need.

For description, the futures contract should state what commodity it is used for. This is important because not all commodities have the desirable characteristics (eg demand and supply) investors are looking out for. Also, different commodities are represented by different symbols. For example, corn is represented by C while cocoa is represented by CC. Here, investors should also familiarize themselves with the symbols represented by the commodities they have interest in.

For payment terms, the futures contract should state the number of days before delivery Buyers are required to pay in cash. Since the transaction is in cash, it should be noted that speculators bought to leave the market before the specific number of days before delivery arrives in order to prevent heavy losses, unless there are better reasons not to do so.

To conclude, I would like to give the readers a message I always believed in. Always seek to educate yourself with information on investments as information + education = knowledge. Remember that although information can become outdated, knowledge will not.

Futures – Getting Started

Having seen a stock market crash in the recent financial crisis, many investors have moved their capital from stocks to commodities. With the current stock market still not recovering well as expected, many now believe that the commodities market will be the place for them to strike their pot of gold.

For many, the above shift in focus is valid. This is because many studies have shown that when stocks fall, commodities will rise. The most important study backing this negative correlation would be that by Barry Bannister. Having studied these markets for the past 130 years, he has proven and demonstrated that stocks and commodities have alternate leaderships in 18-year cycles. Since, since we just faced a stock market crash and commodities have not risen very much over the past decade, it should be valid to ascertain that the commodity bull is arriving or to be more optimistic, it has arrived.

With so much attention on commodities now, I believe that it is definitely important for investors to learn more about futures as they govern the buying and selling of commodities that greatly affect prices. By definition, futures are binding agreements between buyers and sellers where a fixed amount of commodities will be traded at a location at a specific future time for a fixed price. By law, any party violating the agreement will be liable for penalties. Because of this, it is therefore important for investors to know the basic structure of futures contracts in order to make informed and wise decisions.

Futures contracts have the following 4 main standards: quantity, delivery date and location, description and payment terms. All the following specifications above are important because they can greatly influence the type of commodities investors bought to be involved in.

For quantity, different futures contract use vary measures to determine the quantity to be traded. For example, 1 contract of corn can mean 5000 bushels but 1 contract for gold would mean 100 troy ounces. For others, 1 contract of oil can mean 1000 barrels for oil while that for copper is 25000 lbs. Since different commodities have varying standard quantities represented by 1 contract, prices for different futures are so different. Thus, it is advisable for investors to know the representation of standard quantities for futures contracts of the specific commodities that they are interested in.

For delivery date and location, the futures contract should state where and when the commodity is delivered. Different types of buyers will buy on different dates. For speculators, it is usually advisable for them to buy and sell the futures few months before the expected delivery date as they only aim to make money trading futures. For commodity buyers, they usually buy futures from speculators at dates near the delivery date in order to get good prices for the commodities they need.

For description, the futures contract should state what commodity it is used for. This is important because not all commodities have the desirable characteristics (eg demand and supply) investors are looking out for. Also, different commodities are represented by different symbols. For example, corn is represented by C while cocoa is represented by CC. Here, investors should also familiarize themselves with the symbols represented by the commodities they have interest in.

For payment terms, the futures contract should state the number of days before delivery Buyers are required to pay in cash. Since the transaction is in cash, it should be noted that speculators bought to leave the market before the specific number of days before delivery arrives in order to prevent heavy losses, unless there are better reasons not to do so.

To conclude, I would like to give the readers a message I always believed in. Always seek to educate yourself with information on investments as information + education = knowledge. Remember that although information can become outdated, knowledge will not.

Medigap Policies – Making a Policy Switch

If you are currently satisfied by your Medigap insurance policy, you have no reason to switch to a new plan. However, if your current policy is Plan E, H, I or J, you will need to make a switch soon even if you are happy with your coverage. This is due in June 2010, these plans will be done away with. If this describes your current situation, or if you hope to receive better coverage from your insurance, now is the time to look into switching Medigap policies.

With the removal of four current plans, two additional ones will be added to the lineup, which are named Plan M and Plan N. If you have been debating about switching to a new policy for a while but have continuously put it off, now is The time to go through with it.

The first step you need to take is to compare the rates you are paying now and the current benefits you are receiving with the rates and benefits of different Medigap policies. This is easily accomplished as all plans are standardized at the federal level. A plan offered by one agency with the same letter as that offered by another agency will have the same coverage. This simplifies the challenge of comparing prices between insurance providers so that it is no challenge at all.

Once you make a final decision to switch, do not cancel your current existing plan until you ensure that the new insurance provider will accept you with the plan you want. Health questions will be answered by performing a background check on your medical history. Understand that they are at no obligation to accept you. When filling out paperwork, you will sign forms that require you to cancel your current policy once you have been accepted. This is to emphasize the fact that people need not have multiple Medigap policies at the same time.

Some seniors who switch policies like to play it safe by paying premiums of both Medigap policies for the first month. You have 30 days to decide if you certainly want to keep your new coverage plan, so you may want to make use of this "free look" period to solidly make up your mind. For advice on switching policies, the best plan is to work with a professional agent who dedicates him or herself to helping seniors like you make a Medigap policy switch quick and easy.

Minerals That Give You Super Health

You are a mineral body

Every part of you is made from minerals – your bones, cell structure, lymph liquid, arteries, organs, tissue, muscle, hair, and so on. You can not live without minerals. Your body does not produce minerals.

Where do you get your minerals? You get them from vegetables and fruits and good supplements. Since only 10% of the people eat enough fruits and vegetables, the rest of you are deficient in minerals.

If we eat enough vegetables and fruits, why do we have to take a mineral supplement?

Long time ago when the soil was rich in minerals, vegetables and fruits were jammed pack with minerals. Fruits and vegetables were not picked early, frozen, waxed, radiated, or stored in argon gas. Those who ate these vegetables and fruits obtained an adequate supply of minerals and seldom has a deficiency.

Today the opposite is true. You and I can not get enough minerals from eating fruits and vegetables. Now we eat more cooked vegetables, more vegetables in packages, fruits and vegetables that are waxed, and vegetables from other countries not processed properly.

Today, we need to supplement our eating habits with a live mineral liquid to make up for the lack of minerals in the good food and junk food we eat.

Here is a partial list of illnesses and their related mineral deficiencies and below each mineral is the food that is highest in that mineral.

* Calcium – receding gums, PMS, panic attacks, muscle cramps, lungs weak, low back pain, kidney stones, insomnia, bone weakness, bone spurs, calcium deposits.

** Foods – cheeses, cottage cheeses, dulse, greens, kelp, goat milk, sesame seeds, unrefined Cereal grains, seeds and almonds.

* Sodium – restless nerves, poor eyesight, mental confusion, lack of saliva, frontal headache, white coated tongue, cracking joints, fatigue, offensive breath, stiff tendons, stiff joints

** Foods – goat milk, goat whey, black mission figs, apples, apricots, kale, kelp, prunes, raisins, strawberries, sunflower seeds, black olives, celery, dulse, asparagus, greens

* Potassium – fearfulness, mental illness, low energy, pains and aches, body acidity, tendency toward violence, suspiciousness, loss of ambition, nervousness, negativity

* Foods – black olives, dulse, potato peeling broth, bitter greens, kelp, Irish moss, various seeds and nuts, apple cider vinegar, soy milk, spinach, goat milk, grapes, apples, bananas, cheese, cucumbers, fish, dale , Lettuce

* Magnesium – ADD, anorexia, arterial calcification, low calcium absorption, convulsions, depression, gastrointestinal disturbances, growth failure, menstrual migraines, osteoporosis, tremors, hot temper, fainting

** Foods – seeds and nuts, yellow cornmeal, rice polishes, wheat germ, avocados, coconuts, spinach, goat milk, grapes, honey, whole wheat

* Phosphorus – constant weakness, neuralgia, numbness, lack of confidence, slow oxygenation, sensitive to noise or criticism, fatigue

* Foods – meat, egg yolk, dairy products, fish, almonds, rice bran, pumpkin seeds, soybeans, lentils, sunflower seeds, almonds, various types of beans, carrots, pecans, lentils, cage

* Manganese – ADD, asthma, carpal tunnel syndrome, convulsions, loss of libido, miscarriage, retarded growth rate, stillbirth, TMJ, nightmares

** Foods – black walnuts, and other nuts and seeds, pineapple, parsley, leaf lettuce, celery, blueberries, black eyed peas, apricots

* Copper – ADD, anemia, arthritis, behavior-violent, cerebral palsy, high cholesterol, eyelids sagging, gray or white hair, hernia, liver cirrhosis, learning disabilities, low blood sugar, slow healer, high risk of strokes

** Foods – liver, sea foods, almonds, greens, leafy vegetables, whole grain cereals

* Selenium – age spots, aging skin, Alzheimer's, cancer, cystic fibrosis, fatigue, heart palpitations, HIV, hypothyroidism, liver damage, muscular weakness, scoliosis

** Foods – wheat germ, bran, whole grains, onions, broccoli, eggs, seafood's, milk products, meat, asparagus, tomatoes, mushrooms, nuts

* Iodine – goiter, menstrual difficulties, thinking confused, heart and lung problems

** Foods – kelp, fish, dulse, sea plants, watermelon, okra, mustard greens, green peppers, eggplant, brussels sprouts, carrots chives, artichokes, agar

* Iron – fatigue, low auto-immunity, anemia, depression, low blood pressure, slow speech, poor memory, susceptibly to colds

** Foods – greens, unsulphured dried fruits, dulse, kelp, Irish moss, black cherries, black berries, liquid chlorophyll, strawberries, celery, spinach, rice polishes sunflower seeds, blackstrap molasses, eggs, goat milk, pinto beans

* Zinc – ADD, hair loss, congenital birth defects, body odor, brain defects, diarrhea, slow healer, heart defects, hernia, impotence, lung defects, prostate enlargement, loss of sense of smell, short stature, webbed toes

* Foods – goat milk, brewer's yeast, pumpkin seeds, wheat germ, wheat bran, high protein foods, cow's milk

* Chromium – ADD, unexpected weight loss, low sperm count, pre diabetes, manic depression, learning disabilities, impaired growth, hyperactivity, coronary blood vessel disease, cataracts, low blood sugar

* Foods – brewer yeast, whole grain cereals, clams, meat, cloves and spices, corn oil.

There are more minerals than the ones listed above. This is just a start, so that you can see why minerals are so important. A consistent lack of a specific mineral can lead to a serious illness.

Remembering Mike Tyson

If Roberto Duran was born with “Hands Of Stone,” Mike Tyson grew up as a child with a pent up rage in his heart. Like many boys his age, Tyson grew pigeons. One day thugs bullied him. Somebody decapitated one of his pets, beheading it with bare hands. Too shocked to react, he stared motionless at his bird, whose blood dripped from the exposed flesh of its neck, legs shaking like an epileptic. Then he heard one of his friends yell: “Fight them!”

Those words reverberated in his subconscious mind for the rest of his life. Like rheumatic pain, they kept on coming back, pestering his soul with the tenacity of a skin disease. Like the young Duran, young Tyson was a frequent guest of the local police. And the New York police, too, would lend a hand in introducing Tyson to boxing. It was like monkey throwing turtle to the water. Everything suited to him fine. He searched every possible outlet for the psycho-social baggage that piled up from his troubled adolescent years. He found one in beck-busting.

The parallelism with Duran does not end there. Both of them went to war with the intent of courting bedlam, as if devastation was something to relish. They were ferocious, aggressive and explosive inside the ring. Like Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis and George Foreman before them, they evoked fear in the hearts of their foes-and for good reason. For these guys, knocking people out seemed like a routinary task.

Tyson started to compete in amateur boxing at 15. Even at this early stage, he already showed some habit of knocking people out. He held the record of the fastest knock out win, ever: 8 seconds. At 18, he won the national Golden Gloves championship-heavyweight division. He turned pro at 19 and rocked the world of boxing right away. Thirty-eight wins in succession, all but 4 of them inside the distance. These four survivors, obviously, had the common sense of using their feet to run instead of their hands to fight.

On November 22, 1986, he became the youngest heavyweight champion in boxing history. He wrested the title from Trevor Berbick, who couldn’t take much more punishment from Tyson after 2 rounds. His knock out record of 44 out of 50 wins ranks at the top of the all-time list. It seemed the mere shadow of his glare could already stun his prey. Those who watched on TV his fight against Peter McNeely in 1995, for example, would recall the pre-fight ritual in the middle of ring where the referee mumbled the rules and asked the fighters to acknowledge each other with a glove shake. For a minute or two Tyson did not move a muscle except his eyes-they followed McNeely as he tensely shifted his body weight from left to right.

McNeely grinned for what the viewers felt was cover for fear. When the bell rang, he charged at Tyson and got himself tagged instead. He was out in the first round. There is another side of Tyson’s story, however. Quite arguably still captive of his past, he easily got himself into trouble with the law. That kept him out of boxing at several points of his career, the longest period being the one in which he served time from 1992 to 1994 for conviction from charges of rape.

It was not good for his boxing career. After defending his title 11 times in more than 3 years before losing it to Buster Douglas in 1990, he did manage to recapture it from Frank Bruno 6 years later. But people knew that his time as a prizefighter was up. Seven of his last 12 fights ended either in defeat or no contest. After Douglas, Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis, Danny Williams and Kevin McBride beat him the way he beat the rest-by knock out.

Hip Dysplasia Common in Boxers

As a dog-lover, it's always a our responsibility to look after both the health condition and well-being of our pets. Boxer dogs have a way of connecting to people socially and because of this, they can become more than a pet in the house. Although they have a very solid built, boxer dogs are vulnerable to certain illnesses which can only be claimed if, we, the dog owners know how to treat them right.

One of the common illness that occurs in boxer dogs is called hip dysplasia. It is common on large breed dogs and it is a progressive degenerative condition on the pelvic area of ​​your dog which leads to lameness. Hip dysplasia can be prevented as long as the environment where the boxer lives does not have any contributing factors which can help develop this illness.

When your boxer dog develops this illness, it could be that he has grown to become a really old dog that the ball and socket joints where the thighbone and pelvis meets have gone loose. The deformation of the forming tissues surrounding this area is the very cause of hip dysplasia. Although it may seem a real loss for your dog's natural active life, it is better that you look for a treatment program quick.

When adopting a boxer dog from breeders, make sure that the parents of the pup have been certified that they have been tested for hip dysplasia and are free from any genes that can develop to this illness later on. Other illness test should also be considered to ensure that your dog grows up and old a healthy pet.

To maintain your dog's health and prevent from any possible illness, provide your boxer with proper nutrition and adequate exercise. What's more worth it though, is that you spend time with your boxer pet regardless his condition if he ever develops this certain illness later on.

Tie Colors – What Does it Mean by Wearing Certain Colored Ties?

Neckwear is associated with business, special occasions and sophistication. Skimping on a quality tie or wearing an out-of-style tie can send the wrong message at an important time, so too can the color of the tie.

What message am I projecting by wearing this colored tie? Here are some basic colors worn, and the message they project:

Red is the color of fire and blood, so it is associated with energy, war, danger, strength, power, determination as well as passion, desire, and love. By wearing a red tie it means I am a fighter. I will not give up or give in. I mean what I say and say what I mean. I am energetic and take the initiative. Watch out, I am ready for all!

Pink signifies romance, love, and friendship. It denotes feminine qualities and passiveness. By wearing a soft pink or mid pink tie it means you accept equality and you want to work together. It also means that you want to develop strong working relationships. By wearing a darker shade of pink it means you are romantic. Pink ties are great for dates! A lady always loves a man who is “man” enough to wear pink!!!!

Chocolate/ Brown- Brown is an earthy color and means you are well grounded (grounded to the earth). By wearing a brown tie it means I am a thinker. I will take everything in and make a decision later. Do not underestimate me. I have the time to do things right. I am no one’s fool.

Shades of Blue- Blue is the color of the sky and sea. It is often associated with depth and stability. It symbolizes trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, truth, and heaven.

Royal Blue- By wearing a Royal blue colored tie it means let’s work together. Let’s cooperate. Let’s work things out. I am ready to compromise if it will be constructive. Blue is always a great choice for job interviews.

Light Blue/ Dusty Blue- By wearing a light blue/ Dusty blue colored tie it means follow me and my dream. I will lead you in the right direction. I have hope in the future and you will too, listen to my message.

Dark Blue/ Navy- By wearing a dark/navy blue colored tie it means I am not in the mood for foolishness. Be serious when you are around me. Do not waste my time.

Yellow/ Lemon/ Gold – Yellow is the color of sunshine. It’s associated with joy, happiness, intellect, and energy. By wearing a yellow tie it means I am a positive person and full of energy. I am not a quitter and I will finish what I started. I am also an intelligent person.

Purple/ Lilac – Purple combines the stability of blue and the energy of red. Purple is associated with royalty. It symbolizes power, nobility, luxury, and ambition. It conveys wealth and extravagance. Purple is associated with wisdom, dignity, independence, creativity, mystery, and magic. By wearing a purple or lilac tie it means I am a good teacher. I know what you need to know and will impart that information to you. Learn from my independence and creativity.

Green/ Lime/ Aqua- Green is the color of nature. It symbolizes growth, harmony, freshness, and fertility. Green has strong emotional correspondence with safety. Dark green is also commonly associated with money. By wearing a lighter shade of green or lime it means I am harmonious. I want to resolve conflict to work effectively. By wearing a darker shade of green it means I am ambitious and I want to succeed.

White is associated with light, goodness, innocence, purity, and virginity. It is considered to be the color of perfection. By wearing a white tie it means I want to purify my thoughts and actions to make way for a fresh beginning. White is perfect for weddings and special occasions.

Black is associated with power, elegance, formality, death, evil, and mystery. Black denotes strength and authority; it is considered to be a very formal, elegant, and prestigious color (black tie, black Mercedes). Black is also the symbol of grief. By wearing black tie it means you are ready for a formal occasion. It also means I am ready for the unknown and I am opening the door to mystery.

Silver/ Grey are lighter shades of black and have similar meanings to black but to a lesser extent. By wearing a silver/ grey tie it also means you are ready for a formal occasion and you are a powerful person.

Color Combinations – Design of Ties

Not everyone is consciously sending you messages by wearing ties.

World leaders and movers and shakers who are filmed by the press and are in the news know they must make statements.

The guy next to you at work may not have the same idea.

The color combinations and tie designs however are chosen by people in an unconscious manner. When they wear them however, they have made some choice. If their color combinations are predominantly in any of the colors above, they are making the same statements, or appropriately so.

Consider the color of the guy’s tie (predominant) and design. If they are confusing, he may be confused. If they are vibrant and a particular color you may be able to pick what message they are sending.

Take time think about what message you are sending when you choose your next tie. There is a very strong message to make in the language of the ties.

Best Digital SLR Cameras – How to Choose The Best DSLR Cameras

Best Digital SLR Cameras – All about DSLR Cameras

Hi, this is Steve, thanks for reading my DSLR Reviews. I enjoy taking photos, so I appreciate it captured my enjoyable moments. If you are interested to learn more about digital SLR and how to pick the best cameras to invest in for taking extraordinary photos, here’s the right place!

It should bear in mind what you need your camera to do before buying any one, so now I’ve added information and facts that you will find helpful for you to choose the best camera. I took the details from my own experience while shopping for the perfect camera to buy.

What is the DSLR Camera?

A great number of hobbyists are desiring for a DSLR, the fact is that they have no idea what it is exactly, if have, just like “It is like the compact one in my pocket, it will be better, it is a big one.”

In my way to describe a DSLR, it would be ‘All-Round’; you can use the DSLR for almost anything, taking pictures of lovely animals, beautiful landscapes or amazing astronomy, recording vivid high quality video clips.

And there is a significant difference on the price too. How much are you willing to pay for a decent camera that fits your needs? I will recommend several cameras with affordable budget!

Why a DSLR Camera is better than Compact Camera?

Having a DSLR Camera, you will benefit from:

  • Interchangeable lens – based on the kind of photography you desire, you can purchase lenses optimized for the task, rather than the one-size-fit-all lens of a compact.
  • Optical viewfinder which goes through the lens via a mirror or prism – search throughout the camera lens for perfect framing and find out far more detail than using the LCD screen.
  • Faster autofocus – the digital camera will focus considerably faster and with better accuracy.
  • No shutter lag – when pressing the shutter release button and taking the actual photos, no lag time in between them – you won’t miss any memorable moment.
  • No delay in between pictures – you’ll be able to shoot no less than 3 fps (based on the camera model it may be even to 12 fps), ideal for action shots.
  • Less noise in low light – it is possible to shoot in low light while still get usable image.

How to Choose the Best DSLR Cameras for Beginners?

Think economy

Here, economy means deep consideration on a brand: camera bodies, lenses, third-party lenses, accessories, stuff you find on, such as Amazon, eBay tutorials, seminars, and more.

All manufactures brag that their cameras have been armed with lots of features; sometimes they provide the same thing under a different name.

Generally, I do not recommend you purchasing a high-end and most advanced camera as your first one. The money you spend on the most advanced camera cannot automatically complete the amazing master piece, the miracle operator is behind of the camera – you. On the other hand, the complex options will confuse you, finally, you only work with the “fully-automatic mode”, that is what your “Compact Camera” could realize. An entry level of camera could product better images with a good lens than the combination of advanced camera and crappy lens.

Which is the Best Brand for Digital Camera?

No doubt, Canon and Nikon are the most competitive and are likely to remain so for the foreseeable future.

The brand is not the most important matter, while the market share does, it should lead your choice. Let me tell you the reason, if you only need a camera and the kit lens, market share doesn’t affect you

However, if you intend to keep investing and upgrading the hardware, choosing a most popular brand can save you money and your time, because you can easily find all sort of accessories for it, whereas for a small brand, you’ll have to hunt to find what you need, maybe with much more time and money.

High Resolution for DSLR Camera Is Always Necessary?

When choosing a digital camera, there are various important specs to take into account apart from which color to pick. Years ago, the way you’d approach this was to have the camera armed with the highest/biggest resolution. Everyone likes bigger one, right? It seems bigger one means all-round, multifunction and more powerful. The fact under cameras is not that simple. Bigger resolution is truly fantastic, but do not forget the critical aspect – the final image quality depends a lot on the sensor size. Most DSLR cameras equipped with about 24X16mm APS (Advanced Photo System) sensors. As the resolution increases, noise increases too. The right balance is 16Mp for them. If you prefer a “Full-Frame” sensor which is very large and expensive and equipped in high-end cameras, you get a resolution of 24Mp by 36X24mm sensor. Being the first DSLR camera for beginners, it is a bit of earlier to talk about those details. Moreover, you could crop large parts of images captured through higher resolutions, but why not learn to frame the object much more effectively.

DSLR Camera: What is Live View?

A live view LCD on a digital SLR camera lets you preview the images you’re about to capture using the large LCD on the back of the camera. A live view LCD is a fantastic feature for people who hate to peep the real world through a “Hole”.

The continual image shown on the LCD enables you to make sure you’re having the composition right, no matter if your eye isn’t pressed to the viewfinder.

But hold on a sec… This “unique” feature sounds a marvelous lot just like the way every compact digital camera works.

It is, but adding a live view LCD to a digital SLR is not always a good option as it sounds.

LCDs can be handy, but they also do result in disadvantages in design overall performance; especially, if you work with Live View, the auto-focus is going to be again slow, ending the speed advantages of SLRs over compacts. The most important aspect, the power consumption will be significantly increased. When shooting natural scenery in the wild, a DSLR camera with battery exhausted might be a good weapon against attacking from animals, instead of taking their photos back.

Optical Stabilization for DSLR Cameras?

Without using a tripod, taking pictures in low light and/or with telephoto lenses may be challenging. Nearly all DSLR cameras get some type of stabilization. There is also a trick though: Canon and Nikon provide stabilization inside their lenses (IS lenses for Canon and VR lenses for Nikon), while Sony, Pentax and Olympus develop the stabilization function in camera body. The difference is critical simply because for Canon and Nikon you should buy IS/VR lenses, which might be quite more costly than normal lenses, while with the other manufacturers the stabilization works with any lens. The effectiveness of stabilization is about the same in both philosophies (3-4 stops); the stabilized lenses provide the benefit of you seeing the exact stabilized image in the optical viewfinder, while stabilized bodies allow you to use any lens for the exact same effect.

Finally…

I tried to keep this guide as neutral as possible and offer you information to assist you make a decision, instead of making a choice for you. You could visit my website Best-Dslr-Camera-Guide.com, HERE for more details.

The Celtic Influence – Its Relevance For Today

So what can an examination of the early blossoming of Christianity in the fringes of Britain and Ireland bring to our spiritual lives today?

As Christians we have firstly to realize that it is not just we who look to the past and to a heritage handed down from our Celtic ancientors. In this post-modern world Celtic legend is the strongest single source in the current revival of interest in paganism. However, in the same way that followers of paganism find it difficult to acknowledge the flowering of Celtic culture that took place within Celtic Christianity, so admirers of the early Celtic Church can be troubled by collections of Celtic prayers and blessings containing charms and curses.

So it is, I feel, that we need to rid ourselves of some of the romanticism that has been handed down concerning the early Christian saints, and whilst acknowledging the influence that they had unduly had on the early Christian communities, concentrate on those elements of their Faith, doctrine and lifestyle that can bring illumination and spiritual growth into our own.

We are not seeking to live in the past, or drift toward paganism but take what is valuable from our Christian heritage and bring it into a contemporary setting, where Christian struggles not against invasions of Angles, Jutes and Saxons, but against the enemies of indifference , Denominationalism and rejection.

In an age where time is money, and lack of time a serious problem for so many; Where the stresses and strains of daily living take their toll both physically and spiritually it is not difficult to see the attraction of a way of faith that finds time to be alone with God; That is God-centred rather than self or work-centred and which brings both beauty, truth and wholeness into lives that are, if not empty certainly not as fulfilled as they might be.

If we sift the wheat from the chaff and look at elements that the early monastic Church brings to us then we see the following general features:

  • A genuine love of nature and a passion for God's creation, coupled with a sense of closeness between the natural and supernatural.
  • A love of art and poetry, seen within surviving illuminated Gospels and other works.
  • Although they seem to have been theologically orthodontic, there was a distinct emphasis on the Trinity, respect for Mary the Mother of Christ, the Incarnation and the use within worship of early forms of liturgy.
  • Within their religious life we ​​see an emphasis on solitude, pilgrimage and mission, sacred locations and tough penitential acts.
  • There were few boundaries between the sacred and the secular
  • We see an emphasis on family and kinship ties.
  • There seems to have been greater equality for women than we see generally in the Church today.
  • A generous hospitality was an important part of everyday life.

If we look at these characteristics we can perhaps see influence from both pagan and Christian beliefs. We may disagree with some, disregard others, but there are elements here which challenge our faith, call us to examine that which we have become comfortable with, and look again at how we might learn to part the curtain that has separated us from our Christian Heritage and take from the past that which can enable us to grow spiritually today.

We might also find that in doing so we can begin to connect with a culture that can not connect with the denominational jigsaw that is the Church to which we belong, but is seeking to follow a spiritual path which until now has often only been catered for by Other faith systems or new age philosophies.

It matters not whether we can claim Celtic roots or not, it is within the scope of all of us to look at the landscape with spiritual as well as physical eyes, and begin to appreciate it for what it is and for the way that it effects Our understanding both of ours and our Creator. A growing passion for the beauty of the world in which we work can lead to a renewal in our attitudes to the mundane tasks that we face day be day.

We can acknowledge the importance of friendship in our lives, and appreciate how the love of our friends mirrors the love and companionship of God, and as our faith begins to show forth new growth our journey can begin to take us from the familiar into more challenging Circumstances – into mission. If you want inspiration then consider Brendan the Navigator whose voyage was immortalized by Bede. In the sixth century legend has it that Brendon took to the sea, traveling without oars and without sails, navigating the storms of life, and trusting in faith to carry him through. He may, or may not have landed in North America.

I quote from the Iona Community:

'The past is all around us. We are the inheritors of the Celtic tradition, with its deep sense of Jesus as the head of all, and of God's glory in all of creation. So we use prayers from the Celtic Church for welcome, for work, and in expressing the needs of the world. We are the inheritors of the Benedictine tradition, with its conviction that 'to work is to pray', its commitment to hospitality, and its sense of order, all reflected in our services and our lifestyle … 'The Iona Community Worship Book, Wild Goose Publications, Glasgow, 1991

Helpful Halloween Lighting Ideas

In a few weeks time, Halloween costumes and supplies will be in vogue. Everyone will be preparing to host this party in his or her house. Among the most important items, you will require is Halloween lighting. Usually, this comes as strings of miniature lights or tea lights that feature different colors. The styles you go for will depend mainly on your budget. If money cannot allow, you could avoid very expensive outdoor string lighting. In this case, tea lights will be of big help to you.

Those who want this option can buy a bunch of them, as they are inexpensive. The light styles you go for should mainly depend upon your creative plan. Some people desire to create a scary environment during Halloween. Others want a normal and relaxed environment. Perhaps the appearance of your costume should guide you through this. You want to coordinate everything during the event and this not that difficult. Generally, people who opt for tea lighting use hollow pumpkins, as electricity is not necessary.

As darkness comes, your pumpkins, assembled outside and inside your venue can emit lovely light. If you copy this idea, your party may not be very exceptional as use of pumpkins is traditional. Now you could try other creative options such as glass jam jars, paper bags, ceramic pots, paint containers, and any other suitable item. You should find a way to hang them on trees or place them on the floor. If you are a creative individual, all you need is buying perfect Halloween lighting.

Then, figure out how you could arrange the lights uniquely and attractively. One way of ensuring that your entire arrangement is trendy and different is using a pack of scented tea lights. By combining sweet aroma with beautiful color, you will create a very healthy Halloween environment. Everyone would love a view of hundreds miniature lights emitting a soft glow. If you do not want to host a Halloween party in your place, you will possibly attend at your friend’s venue.

You could contribute a lighting idea to your friend or even buy it as gift. All you have to do is to research and shop online. Read customer reviews, as you will most likely discover the best quality lights. Find out what other people are thinking about the available lights for sale. In addition, look for tips on how to creatively use the lights to decorate your home. Many authors and previous shoppers are sharing these ideas now more than ever. Remember that these lights are not only for Halloween.

You could use them at any other party venue later on. In the meantime, pay attention to Halloween preparations and do something new. If you take enough time to compare both products and prices, you will definitely discover new details. Having Halloween lighting will surely make your party complete. Even your friends and relatives would appreciate this idea. Therefore, you should spare a few more dollars to go for the advanced and slightly expensive variety. On the other hand, if you want simple and inexpensive styles, these are available.

Release Your Inner Good Girl!

In our American culture, girls are encouraged to:

• Defer to authority: your parents, your teachers, your Girl Scout leader, etc.
• Follow the rules of whatever game or activity you're involved in.
• Color in between the lines, not outside.
• Pay attention to other people's feelings.
• Respond to the hurt or pain of others.
• Avoid interrupting people.

When you grow up being consistently encouraged to listen to others first, one common side effect is that you never develop faith in your own opinions, decision-making or intuition.

I see this in my past life and I see this often in my clients. If you've been raised as a "good girl" and you're also a perfectionist or people-pleaser, you're probably someone who wants to know the rules and follow them. Following the rules may be your default approach to problem-solving. You do not look within to determine your feelings or your principles first; You look to rules or to how other people are feeling first.

Here's a great example of how this affects the course of your entire life. Anthony Youn wrote this editorial for USA Today about growing up Asian American; I read it through the lens of the "good girl" syndrome. What he describes fits both worlds.

"I grow up underneath the Bamboo Ceiling, a barrier that keeps Asian Americans from reaching the pinnacle of success in anything other than traditional professional careers such as medicine, dentistry and engineering. It has to do with how we were raised as children. Brought up by our Tiger Parents to work hard, do well in school, respect our elders and not to question authority. In order to reach the upper echelon of most fields, however, other "non-Asian" exercises are typically necessary: ​​networking, Risk-taking, leadership and aggressiveness. " [Emphasis added] USA Today, February 24, 2012.

Substitute "non-good girl" for "non-Asian" in that last sentence, and you've described MANY struggling women entrepreneurs!

Why Good Girls Struggle with Decision-Making

If you've been brought up as a "good girl": to respect authority, follow rules and pay attention to others' feelings, your faith in your own decision-making abilities starts to wither and die. You wonder whether you can make good decisions for yourself. You may want to spend your time with other people you view as good decision-makers so you can follow THEIR decisions. You may spend a lot of time polling your family, friends or collections to see what they think you should do. You may feel confused when you try to come up with an answer to a problem on your own because you're not sure exactly what your feelings are or where they're coming from.

Why Good Girls Struggle with Sales

The "good girl" syndrome is constantly pushing you to look at how other people feel and how they're judging you. Then you evaluate or judge yourself based on what others' see or say say or feel.

That's a pretty crummy way to live. You can never feel relaxed in who you are, because a slightly different message about you is being reflected back from each person you meet.

It makes sense that this syndrome completely undermines you in the selling process! How can you feel confident about what you're offering the world, when you're relying on other people's reactions to tell you if you offer, and by extension YOU, are any good or not? How can you create healthy boundaries separating the part of the selling process that is your responsibility from the parts that are their responsibility? It's hard when it ALL feels like it's 100% your responsibility.

If this is you, you are likely hesitant when it comes to selling your product or service. You may worry about whether your buyer or recruiter will receive ENOUGH value. You question your own abilities and worry about appearing pushy.

Why Good Girls Struggle with Leadership

In the "good girl" syndrome, you always accept what others TELL you, even if your intuition is telling you something different.

As a leader, you are likely dealing with team members who are all over the spectrum in terms of their willingness to move forward or embrace change. When someone on your team says: No, I will not move forward, they may really be saying: No, I will not move forward, because I'm scared. I'm going to retreat back to my comfort zone.

Great leaders rely on their intuition to help them recognize the difference between those two kinds of No (No because I do not want to, and No because I'm scared). They are willing to offer a hand to someone who's scared. If you take EVERY No at face value, you're going to leave a lot of people behind you.

Highly Successful People

Highly successful entrepreneurs trust themselves. They have faith in their judgment and confidence in their decision-making.

They listened to their intuition.

When appropriate, they are willing to take a stand for other people and encourage them to rise up to a higher level.

They are relaxed and confident in selling situations. They are confident about their own worth and the value of what they offer. That allows them to focus on their conversation partner, instead of having a constant internal dialog in which they're worrying about how they're coming across or what the other person thinks of them or their offer.

Call to Action

What are the pros and cons of being a good girl? Go back through the bulleted list at the start of this article. How have those qualities helped you? How have those qualities held you back?

Which of these qualities would you like to scale back, in order to move forward as an entrepreneur and as a leader?

Who are the leaders you most admire? What specific qualifications are you most attracted to? How can you embody those qualities more?

You may have been trained by your family to be a "good girl" AND you can also choose to step into a higher way of being: one that honors your unique gifts and also serves others. That higher self is already waiting within you; You simply allow it to appear in the world.

Organic Latex Mattress Buying Guide

So, you’re looking for a new organic latex mattress? Confused yet? It’s not hard to become confused with all the information, misinformation and conflicting facts you may find about the new mattress you are looking to buy. There are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for that mattress and a few things to never forget in that search. If you remember these simple things, shopping for the perfect organic latex mattress will become a lot clearer and will ensure you get what it is you are looking for, and, more important, what you are paying for.

One of the most important things to remember is to not forget what it is that you are looking for. Sounds like a complicated statement, but it’s a vital one in your search for your organic mattress. Basically, what it means is to not lose sight of your mission. Don’t let someone talk you into something that you know isn’t what you want. If you want a truly organic mattress, don’t settle for anything less. There are many retailers out there selling organic mattresses. Some companies that sell truly organic mattresses and some that do not. Before you begin comparing mattresses, you need to compare companies. Begin by weeding out the ones that aren’t 100% organic.

ORGANIC LATEX MATTRESS. This can mean different things to different people and organic can definitely mean something different to you than to the manufacturer that is building your mattress. If you are looking for and paying for organic, make sure you are getting 100% organic components in your mattress. The law says that if a manufacturer puts as little as 8% organic materials into their product they can call that product organic. Yes, I said 8%! Why bother, right? Be sure the product says it is 100% organic. If it doesn’t, you are not getting a truly organic product. And, after all, isn’t that what you are paying for?

Don’t be fooled by a ‘pure’ product. Just because a product says that it is pure, doesn’t mean it’s organic. In fact, most manufacturers that use “pure” or some term other than organic to describe their raw goods are in fact NOT using organic ingredients in their mattresses. Some manufacturers will go as far as telling you un-truths to cover the fact they are not using organic. For instance, some companies will tell you that organic wool is dirty and filled with feces. That’s absolutely, 100% not true and is simply a selling tactic to cover the fact they do not use organic wool in their mattresses. Organic wool, like any other wool used in the manufacturing industry, is washed with natural and earth-friendly soaps. Organic wool is more expensive to produce and when a manufacturer is looking to cut costs, wool is a simple thing to skimp on. Non-organic wool affords the manufacturer lower costs and better profit margins while the consumer is left with an inferior, non-organic product. The organic mattress market is becoming very competitive as the popularity of organic products continues to grow. Insist on organic wool and be sure to check out the manufacturers certificates for the organic wool. Reputable retailers will have these certificates readily available. For your convenience, some retailers have links to their certificates on their website. Don’t stop there. Follow up on those certificates. Call the supplier and verify that the manufacturer you are considering purchasing your mattress from is indeed buying their products from the supplier they have the certificates for. Insisting on organic wool is the only way to be sure there is nothing in your wool that you don’t want there.

By Federal law, ANY AND ALL mattresses manufactured and sold in the United States must pass a flame test. Under the law, a mattress must be subjected to a flame for 70 seconds before it ignites. How this is achieved varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, but most manufacturers achieve this by using chemicals. These chemicals (Boric acid, Antimony and Decabromodiphenyl Oxide) are the same chemicals that have been banned in Europe for years and the same chemicals that are used in pesticides to kill roaches and have been linked to reproductive and developmental diseases, heart and lung damage, hair and memory loss, SIDS, birth defects, skin irritation and are believed to be carcinogens. Continued exposure to these chemicals cause accumulation in the body and present themselves in breast milk, the blood stream and in umbilical cord fluids.

Some organic mattress manufacturers produce an organic product only to spray it down with these chemicals to pass the flame law test. So while you are buying an organic mattress, that does not necessarily mean you are buying a chemical-free mattress. It only means you are buying a mattress made with organic materials that have been sprayed with chemicals. Imagine the hypocrisy! This is where the importance of organic wool becomes apparent. Naturally, wool is a fire retardant. Wool doesn’t burn when exposed to a flame. When wool is used in an ample amount (an inch compressed) it becomes a fire retardant that passes the federal flame law requirements, making chemicals no longer necessary. While it is more costly to use wool, a true organic mattress manufacturer goes the extra step to be sure that your mattress is chemical free and truly organic. By the way, there are other fire-proofing methods available that are not chemical, but they also are not natural or organic. Be sure to ask if the manufacturer is using organic wool for fire retardant in the organic mattress.

Another consideration when purchasing a new organic latex mattress is the type of cover that the manufacturer uses. The cover should be 100% organic. While there are different options for the type of material used in the cover, cotton is the best option. Bamboo, on the other hand, is a poor choice because of the process it goes through to be made into a fabric. Many hazardous chemicals are required to process bamboo thus making it “un-organic.” Most bamboo fabric is manufactured in China where the employees are subjected to poor working conditions and little or no ventilation. There are many “gimmick” fabrics available, such as aloe vera and lavender infused fabrics that are supposed to help with one ailment or another. Honestly, don’t waste your money. They don’t work. And if they did, they wouldn’t be able to make it through your sheets to get to your body. Hemp is good quality fabric but tends to be more expensive than cotton with no additional benefits. While the cover is the one part of the mattress that you will come in contact with, many manufacturers use a cheap, sometimes uncomfortable cover on their mattresses. The cover should be soft and comfortable to the touch. Although sheets should always be used on your mattress, a rough, uncomfortable cover will come through the sheets and make your sleeping experience less than desirable. If you are unsure about the cover that is being used to make your mattress, ask for a sample to be sent to you so you can feel it out before you buy the mattress. Any reputable company would be more than happy to fill your request. A lot of companies will send you a sample pack of all the ingredients that make up their bed, but this is simply overkill and an unnecessary gesture. Unless you are concerned about latex allergies, the latex used in your mattress is pretty much the same from company to company.

Next, be sure the latex that comprises the bed you are considering is 100% natural latex. There are different types of latex available, including natural and synthetic latex and a combination of both. Synthetic latex contains synthetic ingredients and chemicals that are in no way natural. Whether you are considering Talalay or Dunlop latex, be sure that it is 100% natural latex. While there are a few other ingredients in natural latex (zinc oxide, fatty acid soaps and sulfur) rest assured, they are natural ingredients. Be careful not to fall for the “Dunlop/Talalay latex is the best and we only carry the best” tactic. Many manufacturers only carry one type of latex and will tell you that the latex they carry is the best. However, both Talalay latex and Dunlop latex are equally good products and a reputable company will offer you the choice. One rule of thumb to remember about the difference between the two types of latex is that Talalay latex will typically be softer than Dunlop latex of the same firmness category. For example, soft Talalay latex will be softer than soft Dunlop latex. Some manufacturers will try to confuse you by telling you that there is no such thing as natural Talalay latex. And, up until a few years ago, that was true. However, Latex International now makes a 100% natural Talalay latex product. Another consideration for the latex in your bed is the amount of latex that actually makes up the bed. Sure, a manufacturer can say that the latex in the bed is 100% natural, but that doesn’t mean that the 100% natural latex comprises the whole bed, only that the latex in the bed is 100% natural. If you are buying a 12″ mattress and the mattress contains 6″ of latex, something else has to make up that other 6″. After allowing for the wool or cotton that also make up the mattress, usually around 2″, what else comprises the mattress? The answer is usually polyurethane. Many companies, in order to keep costs down, will use a 6″ polyurethane core with 2″ of latex on top. That’s right, polyurethane. Why would you want to sleep on the same stuff that gasoline is made from?

Another trick of the organic mattress trade is to use latex that has sand fillers. Technically, the latex that uses sand fillers is still natural because sand is indeed natural. However, if you are buying a latex mattress, you want 100% natural LATEX. A reputable company manufacturing 100% natural Dunlop latex with no sand fillers is Green Latex. Latex International is the only company making 100% natural Talalay latex and they add no sand fillers to their latex. When shopping for your new organic latex mattress, purchase from a company that buys their latex from these companies and you will know you are getting good latex in your mattress.

You may be asking yourself by now why I haven’t mentioned organic latex. After all, I have insisted on organic wool and cotton, why not organic latex? The simple reason is that it doesn’t exist! Although most latex that is produced would probably be organic, there is no certifying body that has certified it as organic. Rest assured the latex in your organic latex mattress, if it is natural latex, is as good as it can be. There is just no certification as of the date of this publication.

The new wave of latex mattress that is sweeping the bedding market is the mattress that comes to the consumer in pieces and must be assembled once it is received. This mattress is truly a wonderful product and is often misunderstood. After it is assembled, it resembles and sleeps like a traditional latex mattress. The benefits of this type of latex mattress are numerous. The shipping of the “break-down” mattress is very economical and affordable to a larger number of consumers. Traditional mattresses can be very costly to ship, especially if they have to travel a long distance to get to the consumer. Lower shipping costs allow for a comfort exchange policy that affords the consumer the option to ship back a layer single layer of the mattress to achieve a different comfort level. If a consumer purchases the wrong comfort level of mattress, they simply exchange one of the layers of the mattress. This makes for a very convenient transaction as the consumer usually sends back the layer they wish to exchange only after the new one is received from the company. This makes for no “down time” without a mattress. Buying a new mattress is a complicated, nerve-racking endeavor that is rarely perfected in one try. Even when purchasing a mattress from a brick and mortar store, you lie on the mattress for 15 minutes to determine if the new mattress will be comfortable for the next sevaral years. Then you get the mattress home and it’s not exactly what you wanted, but you live with it because it’s such a hassle returning it. With this new type of mattress, if you don’t perfect it the first time, you simply request a comfort exchange. By the time you decide you will do a comfort exchange, you know exactly what the problem is. If the mattress is too firm, you send back a firmer layer for a softer one. If the mattress is too soft, you send back a soft layer for a firmer one. And the best part of all, you don’t have to decide the perfect combination in 15 minutes in a store. You sleep on the mattress at home and have usually up to 90 days, depending on manufacturer, to determine what it is you need to make the mattress perfect.

One thing to consider with this type of mattress is whether or not the individual layers inside are covered. This sounds like a trivial thing and something that is perhaps not necessary. In fact, some companies (those that do not offer covered latex layers) may try to talk you out of purchasing a bed with no covered layers. However, covered layers are VERY IMPORTANT to the functionality and durability of the mattress. Covering the layers makes them more durable and easier to handle when assembling the bed or rearranging the layers to achieve a different comfort level. Latex, by its inherent nature is susceptible to ripping and tearing if it is handled too rough or is tugged too hard. Some manufacturers and retailers claim that covering the layers will change the comfort levels of the latex by covering them. However, this is not true as the layers are covered in organic cotton that has stretch to it. The stretch in the fabric allows for the latex to keep its original level of comfort and affords the protection of the latex that is of major importance for this type of mattress. Many manufacturers will also claim that covering the latex allows the latex layers to slide inside the mattress. However, this also is not true. The organic cotton used to cover the latex prevents the layers from moving inside the mattress. Also preventing the layers from moving inside the mattress is the cover. The layers fit snug inside the cover, thus not allowing the layers to move around. Covering the layers is an added expense that most manufacturers forego. These manufacturers try to explain away the reasons for not covering the individual latex layers, but the bottom line is their main reason for not covering the layers. Latex that is damaged while trying to assemble the mattress or while removing the latex for a comfort exchange will, in most cases, not be exchanged and voids the warranty. It cannot be stressed enough; if you purchase a mattress that has individual layers that are accessible, be sure those layers are covered.

Another consideration when purchasing your new organic latex mattress is the foundation to put the mattress on. A latex mattress needs a sturdy foundation, but also one that will allow the mattress to ‘breathe’. If you are purchasing a foundation from the company you are buying your mattress from, be sure that the base has ample slats to support the heavy weight of the mattress. A good base for a latex mattress has slats that are no more than 2 inches apart. Also be sure that the cover on the base is the same organic cotton fabric that your mattress is made of. Be sure that the wood in the base is untreated wood and any glue used in the base is a water-based, non toxic glue. While purchasing a matching base with your mattress makes for an aesthetically pleasing set, it is not necessary. However, the proper support for your new latex mattress is very important and improper support for the mattress will void the warranty. To be sure your mattress performs properly and your warranty is valid, I highly suggest purchasing the matching base at the time you purchase the mattress.

Finally, consider the return policy for the company. Are you stuck with the mattress if you are not happy or can you return it? The best policy is some type of comfort exchange, especially with the ‘break down’ mattresses. Most, if not all companies require that the consumer pays the shipping costs to return the mattress. This is an inevitable part of doing business online. If you are unwilling to pay this fee, you should consider not purchasing your mattress on the internet. However, I have found that the savings of purchasing online far outweigh the cost of a possible comfort exchange. You must also consider that many of the mattress stores today charge a restocking fee for any mattress that is returned and the customer is responsible for returning the mattress to the store or for any fees associated with the store picking up the mattress from the customers home. I also find that the customer service for many online companies surpasses that of most brick and mortar stores.

You are paying a lot of money for your new mattress, be sure you are getting what you are paying for. I am not saying that you shouldn’t pay good money for a good mattress. When it comes to latex mattresses, the old saying “you get what you pay for” is truly applicable. When you purchase your organic latex mattress, it could last you up to 30 years. There is no coil or memory foam mattress on the market that can make that claim. And the health benefits of an organic latex mattress are truly unduplicated. Take your time in purchasing your new mattress. Consider the company’s ship time. You want to buy from a company that will ship your order in a reasonable amount of time. If a company tells you it will be 4-6 weeks for your product to ship, that’s too long. A reasonable amount of time to ship your order is anything less than a week and the sooner the better. Also consider the transportation time. Just because a company says it will ship your order in 3 days, it will not appear in 3 days! The average transportation time is 4 days. Remember, most manufacturers will charge your credit card when you place your order and will put your order into production only after receiving payment. Be sure to ask questions and get the answers to your questions. Any reputable company that is doing what they should be doing will be happy to answer any and all questions you may have. If you follow this guide and ask the questions you need to ask, buying that organic latex mattress will be an easy task that will lead to many nights of sweet organic, chemical-free dreams.

What is the Difference Between Porcelain, Stoneware and Earthenware Ceramic?

A lot of the times people are puzzled by the usage of these terms and their differences; the fact is they are all types of traditional ceramics. They are all made using the basic material clay. There are other sub categories of ceramics besides these three, so read on.

The differences arise when different clay compositions are used at different firing temperatures and the resultant porosity after firing. Remember raw clay materials if not fired will simply dissolve in water!

  • Bone China as the name suggests has a component of bone ash mostly cattle which has been burnt and ground to a fine powder. It is held in high regard as it is the most expensive and of the highest quality. It is famous for its delicate look and is commonly referred to as just “china”. The bone ash compound gives it the translucent and white look. It is obtained by firing at a very high temperature. Water absorption is 0%.
  • Porcelain is similar to bone china but is less translucent since it does not contain bone ash and as a result of which is also less expensive than bone china. It is ideal for use in microwave and conventional oven. The water absorption rate is 0 to 1%.
  • Earthenware is the cheapest form among all types of ceramic. Since it is fired at low temperatures the water absorption is high and thus is not strong as the other varieties. However beautiful painting can be easily done on them as a result of their absorbing power. It is hand decorated and glazed if to be used for food. Ironstone and dolomite are two quality variations in earthenware.
  • Stoneware is the strongest of the lot. As it has a higher percentage of china stone than earthenware it is non-porous. It can be easily used in microwaves and is less expensive than bone china and porcelain.