Lead Guitar Basic

A lead guitarist is always considered to be the most important role in a group or a band. Often times, a band 'sound' and direction will be influenced by his or her ability and style of playing. To be able to create an interesting guitar solo, every lead guitarist needs to have some knowledge and understanding of 'Scales' and how they can work in any given situation.

In this article, we will be looking at the most widely used 'scale' for creating and improving a guitar solo. But before we jump right into it, here's a brief description of what 'Scales' are.

'Scales', what are they?

A 'Scale' can be defined as a series of notes, arrange in a specific order of distance in between them. They are seven notes in music, and each note is separated by a combination of a 'tone' and a 'semitone'. On the guitar, a 'tone' is often referred to as 'whole step', achieve by moving two frets away from the original note, while a 'semitone' is referred to as 'half step', achieve by moving one fret Away to the next fret.

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Above is a fret board diagram. In this example, the distance between the note 'B' and 'C', is a 'half step', while the distance between the 'C' and the 'D', is a 'whole step'.

There are various type of scale, and each has a different combination of 'whole step' and 'half step', for example:

A 'Major Scale' uses a combination of, W – W – H – W – W – W – H which gives us the familiar sound of Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do.

W = Whole Step (Tone)

H = Half Step (Semitone)

Scales are the basis for the creation of melodies and guitar solos. Some scale sounds better with certain chord, and matching what scale sounds good over what chord, is the key to create a good sounding guitar solo.

Ok! Let's get to it.

The 'Pentatonic Scale'.

The most widely used scale for soloing and improving is called the 'Pentatonic Scale'. A 'Pentatonic Scale' is basically a series of five notes out of the seven in music. The name itself 'Penta', was taken from a Greek word, which means 'five'.

Since there are fewer notes to play, it is the easiest scale to remember in term of it's positioning on the guitar fret board. For this particular lesson, we will be looking at the 'A Minor Pentatonic Scale'.Here's a tab for this scale, starting from the 5th fret of the 6th string:

1e | ——————————- 5–8 — |

2B | ————————– 5–8 ——– |

3G | ——————– 5–7 ————– |

4D | ————– 5–7 ——————– |

5A | ——– 5–7 ————————– |

6E | –5–8 ——————————–

And this is what looks like like on guitar fret board:

1e || — | — | — | — | -0- | — | — | -0- | — |

2B || — | — | — | — | -0- | — | — | -0- | — |

3G || — | — | — | — | -0- | — | -0- | — | —

4D || — | — | — | — | -0- | — | -0- | — | —

5A || — | — | — | — -0- | — | -0- | — | —

6E || — | — | — | — | -0- | — | — | -0- | — |

Guitar players are lucky enough because the layout of the guitar fret board makes it possible for scales to be arrange into patterns, that can be easily memorize. The above particular pattern is commonly known as 'Pattern 1' of the minor pentatonic scale.

You should memorize and practice this pattern everyday, because this is by far the most used pattern by many great lead guitar players.

Practicing The Minor Pentatonic Scale.

Now that you know where to play this scale, let's practice playing it using rhythm and techniques that can later be use to create a guitar solo.

* Playing 'Triplet' rhythm

A great way to start practicing this scale, is to play it using a triplet rhythm.

Triplets are played by dividing each beat into three evenly spaced notes. In other words, you need to pick three evenly notes within one beat. Try playing it in the following order:

| 123 234 345 456 Etc

Pick direction = DUD UDU DUD UDU

D = Downstroke U = Upstroke

1e || — | — | — | — | -11- | — | — | -12- | — |

2B || — | — | — | — | -9– | — | — | -10- | — |

3G || — | — | — | — | -7– | — | -8- | —- All times are GMT +3

4D || — | — | — | — | -5– | — | -6- | —- | —

5A || — | — | — | — | -3– | — | -4- | —- | —

6E || — | — | — | — -1– | — | — | -2– | — |

Make sure you follow the picking direction suggested above, as this is the best way to execute the triplet rhythm for this situation.

Take your time to get use to this rhythm, play slowly and carefully at first. At these early stages, accuracy is more important than speed .. 🙂

* Using Techniques

The five common lead guitar techniques are:

Slide, Hammer On, Pull Off, Bend and Vibrato.

1. Slide

This technique involves moving your finger along the string from one note to another. Two actions are required, first; Pick the string on one location (fret) and then move your finger along the string to a new location (fret). Maintain pressure as you move along the string, so that a continuous sound is produce.

1e | ———————- |

2B | ———————- |

3G | ———————- |

4D | —————- 5–7– |

5A | ——– 3–5 / 7 ——– |

6E | –3–5 —————- |

Above is a short lick starting from outside of 'Pattern 1'. Notice the slide from the 5th, to the 7th fret of the 5th string (5/7)

* Sliding to the 7th fret from a random location will be written as (/ 7) *

2. Hammer On

'Hammer On' is a really useful technique for building speed and to produce smooth transition from one note to another. To perform it, first pick a note, and then while it's still sounding, hammer a second note with the fretting hand finger. The second note is not picked and the sound is produced purely by hammering it. This may feel awkward at first but with practice, you will soon develop strength in you fingers and will be able to perform it with ease.

1e | ———–

2B | ———–

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4D | ———– |

5A | ———– |

6E | ———–

The example above is done by picking a note on the 5th fret of the 3rd string, before hammering on to the 7th fret of the same string. You can perform this technique in between any two notes of the minor pentatonic scale. Give it a try!

3. Pull off

With this technique, you need to place two fingers in position before the first note is played. When the first note is played, flick the string with your finger so that a second sound is produce. Let's attempt that here:

1e | ———–

2B | ———–

3G | —- All times are GMT +3

4D | ———– |

5A | ———– |

6E | ———–

  • Place your 1st finger on the 5th fret of the 3rd string and your 3rd finger on the 7th fret of the same string.
  • Press down with both fingers.
  • Pick the third string and release the 3rd finger by flicking the string.

Be sure to keep your 1st finger down on the fret board and if you do it right, you will hear a second lower sound as a result of the flick. To achieve a good result, try flicking the string downwards.

4. Bend

A 'Bend' is done by pushing the string upwards or downwards. The effect of a bend raises the pitch of the fretted note. The most common use of bending is to raise the pitch a tone higher (two frets). Here's an example of this:

1e | ———–

2B | ———–

3G | — 7b (9) —

4D | ———– |

5A | ———– |

6E | ———–

Use the 3rd finger to bend the string while supporting it with the 1st and the 2nd.

In this example, the pitch of the 'D' which is the note on the 7th fret of the 3rd string, is raised a tone higher to an 'E' which is the name of the note on the 9th fret. This is all done by bending (b) the string from the 7th fret instead of pressing on the 9th to get the 'E' note.

There are other types of bends, such as a 'Semitone' bend, which raises the pitch a higher fret, and a 'Minor third' bend which raises the pitch three frets higher. The more wider bend such as the 'Minor third' bend, is more suited to an electric guitar where the strings tensions are much more lighter than that of an acoustic guitar.

5. Vibrato

'Vibrato' is achieved by pushing the string up and down, as if you were making a rapid series of short bends. It can add sustain to a note and more importantly, makes it sounds more interesting and lively.

The rhythm and techniques discuss above can be use to create a guitar solo and it can all be done within the comfort of 'Pattern 1' of the minor pentatonic scale.

Deliberations on Decorative Glass

The artistic decorative glass products are shaped of liquid glass. This liquidity allows an artist to create various, rich in shape products-real pieces of art. Glass can be called a medium for artists. It is impossible to talk about decorative art glass without mentioning the Murano glassmaking history. Their tradition of precision in glassworks is maintained since the 13th century. Due to its uniqueness Murano glass is often referred to as "cristallo".

There are two opinions on how Murano, the island in the Venetian Lagoon became a center of glassmaking. It is said that in 1291 the Venetian Republic, fearing that fire used by glassmakers might burn down Venice's wood buildings, ordered its glass artists to move their foundries to Murano. This way the glassmakers became the noblest citizens of this island. Another, more frequently suggested opinion, is that the move was made to isolate the glassblowing masters and prevent them from sharing their knowledge with foreigners. Glass making became a trade exclusively for those born on the island of Murano, and whoever glassmaker left the Venetian State was condemned to death as a traitor.

In the 1400s, the Italian island of Murano became the center of glass luxury. Many new glass making techniques were developed there and Murano played a main role in the export trade of dinnerware, mirrors and other luxurious items. A distinguishing feature of glass pieces made by Venetians was their content and a technique of making. Local quartz pebbles were almost pure silica ground into clear sand and combined with soda ash obtained from the Levant.

The contemporary Venetian glass art flourished in the 50ths and 60ths of the 20th century. Murano is still a Mecca for artists and glass lovers. The Murano School remains one of the most important in the world, and the art of glassmaking, just like centuries ago is still handed down from father to son. However, not only the Italians became famous of their glass making skills. It is worth to mention that the Czech Republic Region of Bohemia and Moravia is a significant source of European glass making traditions. From the earliest days, the Czechs were setting tone in European and world art of glass making.

The United States are famous for making artistic glass items as well. The American glassworks tradition comes from the colonial times, when green glass house ware was produced. Currently, there are a lot of individual artists, and the art in glass is practiced and taught in the universities. Beginning in the 19th century, a variety of extravagant glass items started to become an important part of the decorative art. Particularly significant impact on development of decorative glass had the Art Nouveau movement. The members produced colored pieces, often in cameo glass (a form of glass art involving etching and carving through fused layers of different colored glass; the main characteristic are white figures carved on black background), as well as using the lustre technique.

With the 20th century came an era of revolutionary technology. Machines were developed which replaced traditional mouth blowing with a semi-automatic process, and transformed the craft into an industry. A new mold-etch process was invented which allowed to reduce manufacturing costs. This led to cheap glassware in the 1930s, later called "Depression glass". Classical man-made glassblowing maintaining the tradition and knowledge of ancient glassblowers became an art. Today's glassblower still utilizes the basic blowpipe, but now they have a vast number of supplementary tools to aid in working the material.

Here are the most common techniques to produce glass art:

– blowing: a glassblower works at a furnace full of molten glass using metal rods and hand tools to blow and shape almost any form of glass;
– kiln-casting: can be done at the furnace at the torch or in a kiln; Generally the artist makes a mold out of refractory, sand, or plaster and silica which can be filled with either clear glass or colored or patterned glass;
– fusing, slumbing: usually glass is only heated enough to impress a shape or a texture onto the piece, or to stick several pieces of glass together without glue;
– flame working: the artist generally works at a bench using rods and tubes of glass, shaping with hand tools to create their work;
– hot sculpting; – cold-working; The most common glass objects include vessels such as bowls, glass vases , bottles, etc. As well as paperweights, beads, sculptures and installation art. They are great as home accessories or gifts.

These Kids Today

This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness. ~~ Dalai Lama

What a glorious thing it is to experience the essential kindness of human beings — especially strangers, and especially young ones. Last night I was rescued by two such kind, young strangers when I drove into a ten foot snow bank. The driver’s side of my car was so deeply embedded in the snow bank that I had to crawl through the passenger door to get out. I found myself standing on a dark, abandoned street with no houses, no lights and alas, no phone (I had left my cell phone home to recharge). I could not call and I was stranded. Once all of this had hit me, I began to cry. Then I slipped and fell onto the ground. I was a mess.

A moment later I raised my head and through the haze of falling snow I saw a vision of a man approaching with a shovel in hand asking, “Are you OK?” and thought, “Wait, am I in a movie? Is this the part where a savior rises out of the mist?”

I had thought there were no houses on that street, but it turned out that there was one house — just one — set back from the street so that I had not seen it and that from there, a nice young woman named Carly and her boyfriend Alex had seen my car swerve and hit the bank. They promptly came to my rescue. I told Alex that I had left my cell phone at home and assumed that he’d just hand me his phone and say, “Well, call from mine.” Nope. It had not even occurred to the young man to let me sit and wait hours in the cold waiting for. He did not skip a beat and immediately took his shovel and began to dig me out.

Carly and Alex are 20 and when I discovered how young they were I was doubly impressed by how helpful they were. Most people that age are glued to their cell phones with gossip, games and other nonsense and would never have ventured into a snow storm to help a perfect stranger as they did. I thought of how cranky old people enjoy complaining, “These kids today!” to suggest that young people these days don’t work hard enough or show enough respect or enough modesty or enough of whatever it is you happen to want at the moment and how they never realize that the previous generation had thought the precise same thing of them when they were kids. Well, Carly and Alex were kids today and they were damn impressive.

What impressed me most about them is that they did not merely help, but helped with joy in their hearts. Alex must have spent an hour heaving snow from that 10 foot snow bank. He was a strong man, but it’s still hard work to shovel that much snow and he must have been exhausted. Yet he did not complain. To the contrary, he gave me the warmest, sincerest smile every time I asked him how he was. He was clearly working very hard and yet he kept assuring me that it was no problem. He was such a gentleman! Carly was likewise sweet and warmhearted and did her best to assure me that it was no problem. These young people sincerely did not want me to feel indebted or guilty. They had virtually nothing to gain by helping me (they had never seen me before and for all they knew, they’d never see me again), but they helped me anyway — and helped with a smile. Wow! What good people!

I discovered that Carly and Alex have been together since they were 13, which I find very romantic. Talk about childhood sweethearts! I returned to the location tonight to bring them a gift of champagne and Godiva chocolates and while they were not home I took the opportunity to tell Carly’s father that he had raised his daughter right. And that he was lucky his girl had such a nice boyfriend (if her boyfriend is happy to help a stranger like me, then it’s pretty damn certain that he will take care of his future wife).

I think the reason that this encounter has touched me so much is that when we experience human kindness we feel better not only about the world, but about ourselves. When people are good we get to feel better about the whole damned thing. And ain’t that nice?

All You Need is a Simple Business Plan – Do not Overwrite

A common set of misconceptions among people writing a business plan for the first time is that it has to cover everything, that it has to be perfect and that is going to be read cover to cover. None of these ideas is actually true.

An experienced entrepreneur knows that most original plans turn into something else once they are actually put into action and also that most of what is initially put into the plan turns out not to be the case. It makes sense therefore to only spend the time to put in the essentials in the plan a create a simple business plan instead of an encyclopaedia full of information that will never be read.

The benefits of keeping the business plan simple are many – you can write it much faster, you can revise it more quickly and you do not waste a lot of time creating information that does not get used.

Of course in order to be effective a business plan has to be complete enough to address the basics of starting the business and that includes demonstrating the value of the solution the business will provide and how many people have that particular problem and how many of them are Out there. The plan should also give some details on how the market being addressed will be reached so that they can then decide to purchase this solution.

All in all, a short, simple plan without a lot of fancy prose or long winded explanations is not only going to prove more effective it also stands a lot better chance of being read. Very few investors or bankers have the time or inters tot sit down and read a fifty page plan but they may very well at least skim through a ten page plan written in a straightforward style that gets right to the point.

Expansion Cards Part 3: PCI Express

In the first two installments of this series of Tech Tips, we took a look at PCI and AGP, undo the most common expansion slots in a computer today. With a few key improvements over both of these, PCI Express is destined to replace both and offer a whole new level of computer performance.

PCI Special Interest Group (PCI-SIG) As with AGP and PCI, the development of PCI Express can be attributed to Intel. This time, however, they partnered with some other heavy hitters in the industry, such as Microsoft, IBM, and Dell. Although it is now known as PCI Express, that was not their initial choice for its name. If it was not for PCI-SIG, the committee that oversees the PCI standard, we might be referring to this new format at 3GIO (Third GenerationInput / Output).

PCI Express development finds its roots in the PCI and AGP standards, but the physical connections are not interchangeable, and we will see that this is not the only difference. In the PCI standard, data from the various devices travels over a shared bus to the system. In the AGP standard, a dedicated, point-to-point interface transmits the data from the graphics card to the system. The PCI Express approach to data transfer involves a collection of two-way, serial connections that carries data in packets, similar to the way a network connection operates.

The data from a PCI Express device will no longer have to travel over a single bus, or a single dedicated connection, but can use a combination of these two-way serial connections to optimize throughput. The terms "lane" and "link" do not sound like anything overly technical, but take on special meaning with PCI Express. A link is the physical connection between PCI Express devices, which can consist of multiple lanes that transmit and receive data independently. Links can be composed of 1, 2, 4, 8, 12, 16, or 32 lanes, and the configuration allows flexibility in assigning just as many lanes as needed to any particular device. There are obvious benefits to this approach, and a few of the more significant include the following points …

Each lane of PCI Express communication is dedicated between two points, so there is no sharing of bandwidth. PCI's main bottleneck was that all the devices were sharing the equivalent of one lane, and all of the available bandwidth also had to be shared.

Multiple lanes can be assigned to devices which performance would benefit from the extra speed and bandwidth. A PCI Express graphics card might be assigned 16 lanes (also referred to as x16), while a network adapter might be assigned just 1 lane. Each lane you make available to a device increases the potential for performance, as the data is sequenced up / down each available lane to optimize throughput. This process of sending the next byte of data down the next available lane is referred to as data striping, and obviously more lanes are better for instances where a good transaction of data needs to be transmitted quickly.

Speaking of graphics cards, another benefit is that multiple high performance graphics cards can be installed on one motherboard. The flexibility of PCI Express allows for two x16 PCI Express slots to be included for dual graphics cards, something that in the past required one AGP slot and one PCI slot. And due to the performance limitations, the AGP and PCI combination could not really be considered high performance. In addition to two x16 slots allowing for dual display operation, when incorporating specific graphics cards on a motherboard supporting nVidia's SLi technology, the resources of the two separate cards can be bridged together for even greater performance on one display. An example of such a motherboard can be seen in DFI's LAN Party UT nF4 SLi-D.

Just as motherboards supported both AGP and PCI as a means of allowing dual displays, some motherboards offer both an AGP slot and a PCI Express slot. Not only does this allow the user the ability to run dual displays, it provides the added benefit of allowing an upgrade to be completed in stages. If a new PCI Express capable motherboard was just purchased, sometimes in addition to a new processor, the budget conscience user may not want to spring for a new graphics card right away. By making an AGP slot available on boards such as the ECS 915P-A, there is no reason to retire a perfectly good AGP card just because one bought a new motherboard supporting PCI Express.

PCI Express graphics cards are quite similar to AGP cards, except for the connector configuration. The physical size and layout are comparable, and even the prices are not that different. The current selection of graphics cards at Geeks.com does not allow you to compare apples to apples in any one card, but one may find many of the same AGP cards available in PCI Express format for roughly the same price (or for even less Money). For the time being, the markets seem to be running in parallel, but in time a shift will occur in favor of PCI Express dominating the market.

Minimizing the cost involved in motherboard fabrication could be another benefit. Let's look at the example of a network adapter requiring just 1 lane to operate. If this was a PCI based network adapter, tracks for the standard 32-bit bus would need to reach this device, instead of the four passages required for 1 PCI Express lane. Motherboard design will obviously weigh heavily on this benefit ever being realized, and it is possible that higher-end boards may actually require more tracks.

Before taking a look at the ultimate benefit of PCI Express, the performance, let's have a refresher on the capabilities of PCI and AGP. The standard PCI bus has a width of 32-bit, operates at 33 MHz, and provides a maximum bandwidth of 132 MB / s (which has to be shared by all devices connected). AGP 8x has a 32-bit bus width, operates at 533 MHz, and provides a maximum (dedicated) bandwidth of 2.1 GB / s.

Each PCI Express lane is capable of 250 MB / s in each direction, and as advances in the necessary silicon technologies are realized, that number can be expected to quadruple. Presently, a 164-pin x16 slot can be expected to provide around 4GB / s of usable bandwidth in either direction, which is almost double the 2.1GB / s bandwidth that AGP 8x could offer! Definitely an impressive increase, and as the technology is refined, it will be very interesting to see the performance scale up.

In the previous paragraph, I mentioned that the x16 slot features 164 pins. Each of the different lane configurations is accompanied by a different physical connector, and a sampling of an x16, x8, x4, and x1 can be seen here. For a real world example, the Chaintech VNF4 Ultra Athlon 64 Socket 939 motherboard shows an actual installation of one x16 slot and two x1 slots.

Graphics cards are obviously going to benefit the most from the power and performance available with PCI Express, but as mentioned, other devices will also be able to take advantage of this new standard. The example of a network adapter is just one that not another benefit is that multiple high performance graphics cards can be installed on one motherboardonly can use PCI Express, but will also see performance benefits. A Gigabit Ethernet adapter will be more likely to actually achieve its rated speed thanks to the main bottleneck being removed in the form of the slower, narrower PCI Bus. Other bandwidth intensive devices, such as RAID controllers, can also be expected to jump off the slower PCI Bus and find a smoother ride on PCI Express. Although PCI devices require less bandwidth may not see any performance benefits from going to PCI Express, as the standard achieves greater mainstream acceptance, the cost implications may find these devices shifting over anyway, just as happened with the transition from ISA to PCI.

Final Words

The higher speeds and flexibility available from PCI Express have it destined to not only be the successor to AGP 8x, but to PCI as well. The immediate performance increase over the older technologies is quite impressive, and given time the benefits will be even greater. Only time will tell how long this transition will take, but somewhere in the not-too-distant future we will be talking about motherboards that only support PCI Express, and AGP and PCI will go the way of the low ISA slot.

The Effective Way To Advertise Your Business

Online business has gained popularity among the users of internet and anyone can now promote their products or business online. The process of promoting your business has become easy now due to the development of technology. Internet has downsized the entire universe and now sitting on the drawing room you can make overseas transaction and online shopping from any part of the planet. Learn the ways of "advertising my website for free" in this article.

Now you have successfully created your website and ready to go for advertising. The success of any website depends on how well it reaches to the audience. To accomplish this, you have to submit the site particulars with number of search engines like Yahoo, Google, and Live etc. Include more of dynamic content in your site such as links directory, message board, online search, guest book and more of news item. By making this addition, the visitor who enters this page will enjoy reading and will recommend for others too. Ensure that your website does not have broken links. The last thing the user wants is to open the link which does not work at all. You can check the validity of the link at many places on the internet. Personally verify multiple times that the links are opening properly before including them on your website. Add lot of Meta tags in the site for attracting potential customers.

You can increase the web site traffic by submitting the site to number of link directories. Subscribe to popular websites like Google and advertise for your site there. Make use of social networking groups like twitter, face book, and LinkedIn for publicizing about your website and business. These are the powerful sites where millions of people gather each day for sharing information. It is a sure way to boost traffic for your site. Above all, use genuine products for sale in your site. Only a satisfied customer will recommend the product for another. If you are selling genuine products and doing honest business normally it would be liked and recommended by many people in the long run.

All the above tips are given for free advertising your website. If you can spend some dollars, there are many useful ways for making your site very popular. It does not matter how much you spend on "advertising my website" campaign. Invest in the right place and ensure that the money you spend for advertising reaches the user correctly.

Herb Gardening in Containers

The Simple Magic of Herbs

Over the years I have tended everything from a 30 by 30 foot monster herb garden, to the odd herb here and there in the garden, to a small plot near the back door.

My favorite is a beautiful pot planted with my own favorites located in a sunny spot that is handy to the kitchen. Hint: this makes a welcome and thoughtful hostess gift throughout the season.

A Brief History of Herbs

It is probably safe to absorb that the earliest use of herbs with foods was probably tied to the ability of herbs to mask the taste of less than fresh food. Not only did herbs and spices make bad or even spoiled food taste better, over precedent centuries we have discovered that the judicious use of these fresh ingredients can actually work magic to elevate ordinary food from ho-hum to yum.

Personalize Your Herb Garden

I enjoy starting with a really great pot. As long as it has drainage holes and is not too small, you will be ready to begin. Go as simple or as fancy as your taste and pocketbook dictate. Pottery Express has a wonderful selection of potty perfect for an herb garden.

This year I have my eye on a particularly pretty Talavera pot that I found at Pottery Express. Talavera is the beautifully colored and patterned Mexican pottery that has become such a popular design element here in Florida. It provides drainage and because of its surface is glazed inside and out, it will hold moisture for my little herbs. This will come in handy if I'm out of town, or simply neglectful.

Getting the Dirt

Do not economize. Do not dig up some dirt from your garden. This is probably your most crucial step. Buy the best potting mix you can find at your local garden retailer.

If your pot is clay, dark, and / or porous, you might consider a soil mix with a moisture-retaining component. If it is plastic or glazed, you will probably not need this item in your mix. Generally I choose a potting mix with some timed release fertilizers, although herbs, of all the plants you will put in pots are not heavy feeders and will do fine without fertilizers.

Here an Herb, There an Herb

Let your individuality shine. I have five or six herbs that I can not cook without. Let your palate be your guide, let your cultural flavors rule, or try something new.

I try to limit myself to no more than five plants in my pot, because those cute little babies will be growing fast. Cram too many in and you start the war for dominance. If you have one special favorite, maybe it reads a smaller coordinating pot of its own. In my garden parsley earns this distinction. In years when I'm really lucky, the Swallowtail butterfly will use this plant as a nursery for its larvae, and then I have the pleasure of watching this special cycle of nature unfold.

Choose plants with vivid growth and be sure to check that they are not root bound. Remember that it is better to start with a smaller sturdy plant than one that is large, leggy, and pot-bound.

Planting

Begin by covering that drain hole, either with potshards, stones, or a coffee filter. I like the coffee filter, because it prevails soil from draining out.

Fill with your potting mix about 2/3 of the way up the pot, then position your little herb plants as you like. It's nice to have something that will grow tall in the middle and something that will trail over near the sides.

Once you are happy with placement, gently remove the plants from their baby pots, reposition them and fill the empty spaces with the remaining potting mix. Gently water to encourage settling of soil, then fill empty spaces and water again. The top level of your potting mix should not be any higher than it was when the little plants came home with you. If they are planted too deep they will be sentenced to rot. If they are not planted deep enough, they will dry out, become stressed and unable to establish themselves.

Ta Da!

Now you need to find a nice sunny location because herbs enjoy as much sun as we can give them here in our cooler months. Hopefully this location will be handy to the kitchen, because once you start using your fresh herbs on a daily basis, you will never give them up.

Water as needed. Stick your finger in the soil, and if it is really dry, give them a thorough watering. Allow thorough drying before you water again.

Enjoy the beautiful arrangement that you have created in your pretty pot, and savor the added lift that even the simplest recipes will enjoy from your homegrown herbs. Not only are the tastes of fresh herbs superior to dried, that accent of fresh green will add real eye appealing to you food. I hope you also had a wonderful time at Pottery Express picking out that fabulous container!

Happy Gardening from my Eden to yours!

Trampolines For Kids – Tips on What to Look For When Buying a Trampoline

Trying to figure out how to get your kids away from the television or PlayStation, but don’t know how? Why not get them outside with a new trampoline! Trampolines for kids are an excellent way to add fitness as well as fun to their play time.

There are so many different choices in trampolines for children that it is difficult to know what kind of trampoline would be the best, and safest, for your kids. They also range in prices from expensive to the affordable ones. To be able to make the best choice, there a number of different aspects to consider.

Here are a few tips to help you find the best trampoline for kids:

Tip 1- Before you purchase your first trampoline; make sure that the one you buy fits the purpose of why you are buying one. Pick a trampoline that is a good size for your kids. If you have a toddler, a 14 foot trampoline might not be the best way to go. If you have an older child who is very athletic and energetic, you will want to make sure that you get one that is big enough for them to be able to jump around on comfortably and have plenty of space.

Tip 2- Make sure that you have enough room for the kind of trampoline that you are wanting to purchase. For safety purposes, you should make sure that there is plenty of room for clearance around and over the trampoline. The trampoline should be far enough away from anything like trees and bushes, lawn furniture, children’s toys and other objects. Also make sure that there isn’t anything over the top of the trampoline. For kids that like to jump as high as they can, and learn flips and tricks, you need to have a good position where they won’t hit their heads on anything while jumping. Most importantly, always put your trampoline on a level area. You always want your kids to be safe while they are having fun.

Tip 3- If you have a younger kid that you are buying a trampoline for then you should consider getting one that has gripping handles. Trampolines for much smaller children can come with special handles for the kids to hold onto while they are jumping so they can maintain their balance until they get better. These types of trampolines also usually come with enclosures so that if they lose their balance, they won’t be able to fall off and get hurt.

Local History

Eldon looked down to the beach before him and saw another little boy wearing an identical hat and shirt. His twin walked unsteadily into the dying swells. The white foamy surf gathered around his tiny feet. His small footprints filled up with the sea. Eldon watched the little boy get knocked over by an incoming wave. No one beaten out. No one fetched him from his fate. Eldon saw the boy's tiny yellow head, like a blooming flower, reappear, then disappear, until the yellow hat was swallowed by the sea. This was the first time he had seen himself die, as far as he could tell. But recently his death had become routine. As common and familiar as rain coming from the sky, or breathing. A phantom of some sort, identical to Eldon as he saw himself in a mirror, had begun to appear with an eerie and disconcerting regularity, suddenly and without introduction, a silent figure, a harbinger of death. Stepping in front of oncoming cars, huge unforgiving semi trailer trucks, and trains. Dropping out of the sky and to certain death. Drowning in the bathtub. Bleeding to death from wounds received after plunging through a car windshield. Struck by lightning in an open field as the sky turned a dangerous purplish hue. He could not explain this death phantom to himself, let alone to anyone else. Even Marilyn would think him insane.

Strong smells summoned him from sleep. Coffee, toasted bread and his mother's hairspray. An alarm clock exploded next to Eldon's ear, and as he reached over he heard his mother in the hall outside his door.
Eldon, wake up.

Eldon burrowed deeper into a pillow still fragrant with detergent. The morning light spread from the floor to his bed. He dropped his feet closer to his chest. Eldon's delicate eyelids fluttered, sleep's soft hands stroking a pale forehead and humming a gentle lullaby. In the warm and safe harbor of his bed Eldon found it difficult to believe the light on this floor here in the bedroom was the same light that fell into classes at school. So comfortable in his bed, about to turn the cool side of the pillow against his face. He did not want to get up and go to the school he hated so much. He wanted to stay and dream of his grandmother's face. But the halls and lockers and faces assailed him now and the smell of the school cafeteria wafed into his head, the ubiquitous odor of hot cooking oil.

Eldon breathed deeply. Nausea gripped his mid-section and he was suddenly dizzy. He thread the covers away, desperate for the bathroom, which stank of hairspray and sweet soap. He closed the door behind him, turned and willfully draw up into the toilet, a strained, muffled retching. He waited for the dizziness to stop, wiped his mouth, brushed his teeth and returned to his bedroom to dress. Thankfully his mother heard nothing. His mouth burned.

Eldon stopped halfway across the bridge on a narrow walkway. He waited for a mysterious lump in his breast to dissolve. He waited for his hands to stop trembling, and steadied himself against rough iron as cold as the river in October. Mornings were not pleasant for him since school had begun. Often he lay in bed, as he did this morning, waiting for the bile to rise from his gut.

Broken pieces of glass sparkled like diamonds under Eldon's shoes, between bridge traffic and an iron railing. The river flow below, tiny eddies swirling hypnotically on its muddy surface. A darkness impenetrable lay beneeth the thick water, eddies ostensibly benign, surface evidence of an undercurrent, some said, that could drag a person down into murky blackness from which there was no return. Dark water ate at the base of huge stone columns whose color was like dirty snow.

Half a pint bottle of cheap vodka lay nearby, its label still intact, one part fluttering in the April air. The floor of the bridge, a swath of thick metal grating, together with the melancholy harmony of rubber tires and air, wave song to a wavering, inexhaustible dirge, a high whine that crept up Eldon's spine. He shivered every time a car passed.

Eldon looked over the railing and down at the swirling, dangerous water. Into his vision, from above and behind, a body dropped gracefully, spread-eagled, face down, falling, falling to meet the river's muddy water. Eldon watched his own body plunge down until it stuck the base of a bridge column and glanced off into the river, one of the tiny eddies growing suddenly wider to meet this sacrifice from above.

Heyyyyyyyyyyyyy! Jump, Asshine!

Startled, Eldon pushed himself away from the railing. A flat-gray car full of rowdies roared over the bridge and toward the town, one of the passengers halfway out a window and screaming.

Eldon walked away from the dark water. He did not want to be late for his first period class.

Mack Trucks – Built Like a Mack Truck

Mack Trucks, An American Icon

Mack Trucks, Inc. is a truck manufacturer in America with its headquarters in Greensboro, N.C, but the manufacturing plant is located in Lower Macungie Township, Pennsylvania, with two others located in Middletown, PA. and in Dublin, VA. truck parts for vehicles that have a right-hand drive for overseas are made in Brisbane, Queensland in Australia and made ready for worldwide distributing for sale.

History of the Mack Trucks Company

Mack Trucks started in 1890 when John M. Mack started working at a company that made wagons and carriages in Brooklyn, New York called Fallesen & Berry. Two years later his brother, Augustus, bought the company and a year later the third brother, William, joined in with them. In 1902 was renamed the Mack Brothers Company and they began making buses. Only seven years later a new one and a half ton truck was introduced by the company. By 1910 two more Mack brothers, Joseph and Charles, had joined the company and it was making locomotives and rail cars, as well as buses and trucks. The following year, they merged with the Saurer Motor Truck Company to form the International Motor Truck Company (IMTC). In 1916 they made the new Mack AC trucks, and shortly afterwards, more than 40,000 of these models were sold. Over the next few years, this innovative company was the first to put air cleaners, oil filters, power brakes, and drive shafts into their trucks. By 1922 the name changed back to Mack Trucks, Inc and they had adopted the corporate symbol now associated with Macks, the beloved bulldog.

The Mack Trucks Bulldog

The first bulldog hood ornament was carved by Alfred Fellows Masury, the companys’ chief engineer ten years later and it has been an adornment for the trucks made by them ever since. The truck manufacturer got this iconic nickname in 1917 during World War I. The British soldiers called it the Bulldog Mack due to the fact that the truck was said to have the stubbornness of a bulldog and it reminded them of their country’s own bulldog mascot. Over the next few decades, Mack Trucks continued to prosper and make trucks and vehicles for the military (delivering more than 6,000 trucks in World War I and more than 35,000 trucks in World War II), as well as being famous for helping build the Hoover Dam in the 1950s, and for producing many types of heavy duty trucks. Between the 50s and the 60s, Mack Trucks introduced several models of heavy duty trucks and sold hundreds of thousands of them, including Models A, B, D, F and G. Mack Trucks continued its innovative production by patenting the cab air suspension system in 1969. Since then, they have continued to make new and more innovative models of trucks and other vehicles for the construction, military and transportation industries.

Over the Road Mack Trucks

During the 60s the truck manufacturer made their R and U models, which were meant for running on the highways, as well as their RD and DM models, which were used by the construction industry. By 2005, the RD, RB and DM models were discontinued and were replaced by the Granite model, which is also used in the Mexican Army for usage as a Troop and Utility truck using a slightly different configuration. The 60s also saw the creation of the Maxidyne truck series in 1968, which was considered an industry changing event. This was due to the fact that the Maxidyne made it possible for heavy duty trucks to run with only a five speed transmission called a Maxitorque, when before this time these type of trucks needed 10 gears at least to operate. In 1990, Mack Trucks was a subsidiary of Renault Vehicules Industriels (known as Renault trucks in 2002), and they joined in with Volvo AB of Sweden in 2001. The company had a record sales year in 2006 and moved to North Carolina in 2008.

These days Macks are a very well known brand of off road trucks and other vehicles in the class range of Classes 8-13. Mack Trucks are sold in more than 45 different countries worldwide and are considered the most popular maker of heavy duty trucks on the road today. When you hear the phrase, “build like a Mack Truck,” it stands for durability and strength. The company has held itself to high standards its entire existence and continues to do so today as they have in their more than 100 years of service to their customers.

Visitors can watch Trucks being “born”

The Mack Truck Company allows visitors to their manufacturing plants in Dublin, VA and in Lower Macungie Township, PA. to see for themselves how they build and design the famous Mack powertrains, engines, transmissions, axles and other parts as it gets built on their assembly lines. It can be a fascinating experience to actually watch a Mack truck being put together piece by piece for you to see. There is also a remanufacturing plant in Middletown, Penn. where used Mack parts are refurbished and made ready for resale and usage. The bottom line is that Mack Trucks are as popular as ever and are a well known and beloved brand of heavy duty trucks and vehicles that continue to ride the highways and byways and service industry all over the world.

Silbury Hill – Chalk Mound or Pyramid Mound?

English Heritage and the archaeological establishment believe Silbury Hill to be a chalk mound. UNESCO describes it as the largest manmade mound in Europe. Driving past this ancient monument today it is quite easy to readily accept this simple explanation.

However, if we literally dig a bit deeper and look further afield, is there something more to Silbury Hill than just a chalk mound?

English Heritage goes further to confirm Silbury Hill to be a 4,500 year old ceremonial chalk mound, inspired by “ritual” and built by our Pagan/Druid pre-Christian ancestors. The date is mainly due to archaeologist Professor Richard Atkinson following the dig, sponsored by the BBC, from 1968-1970, which produced a series of archaeological programmes. The TV series was designed to increase the public’s awareness of archaeology by attempting to reveal the inner secrets of Silbury Hill with the exciting prospect, as they progressed through the hill, they might discover a large golden statue of King Sil on horseback or some other treasure at the centre of the hill.

It was no surprise that no treasure was found. However they uncovered an antler on the hill outside the entrance to the tunnel which was radiocarbon dated to 4,500 years. As no exciting artefacts’ were found in the making of the TV programme the antler gained in prominence. Somehow it was decided this antler was used in the construction of Silbury Hill. The huge irrational leap soon followed – Silbury Hill must also be approximately 4,500 years old – and in turn confirmed the dubious date for Stonehenge at 4,500 years old!!

Interestingly, Josh McDowell and Don Stewart at a Yale University study yielded three different ages for the same antler — 5,340 years, 9,310 years, and 10,320 years. What caused variations in the result can be explained – limestone contamination of the sample. Did English Heritage chose a date to match the existing age for Stonehenge and how could they possibly know it was used in the construction?

Professor Atkinson didn’t make any notes to record his dig, but he did in an interview in The Listener describe Silbury Hill as ‘an enormously complicated and highly coloured layer cake’ and as a ‘wedding cake’, and the organic mound formed ‘a kind of enormous biological club sandwich’ – a clue to something more than a random pile of chalk?

So, I was resigned to the fact that in our lifetime, we would be left with the Atkinson legacy and in my view the archaeological establishment had seriously misunderstood, misrepresented and mistreated Silbury Hill.

But Atkinson left another legacy, an unstable English Heritage monument, which caused a collapse in the vertical shaft dug by Edward Drax (with Cornish miners) in 1776. This produced a gaping hole at the top of the hill in May 2000.

When the hole appeared some local researchers’ abseiled down the shaft and filmed some interesting discoveries – smooth walls and sharp corners indicating the presence of a chamber inside the hill and significant levels of electrostatic electricity which destroyed a mobile phone which had been accidentally carried down into the shaft.

The discovery of the chamber confirmed the experience of Mrs L F Brooks from Pewsey, who spoke to the Marlborough Times in August 1962. She described how during the First World War she used to live very near the hill and was told by her parents that there were caverns inside. When the entrance caved in, in 1915, a tiny passage led first of all downwards and then altered course and proceeded upwards. Eventually it forked, with one way leading to a dead end and the other to a cavern ‘about as big as a room’. Beyond this there was another cavern similar to the first: We took candles in with us and used to write our names on the ceiling with the candle smoke’. The whole system must have gone about three parts through the hill, ‘she said. ‘And it was very frightening… my brother would blow out the candle and I would be terrified.’

On the interesting question of energy levels at Silbury Hill, I met Dr Oleg Khavroshkin, Head of Nonlinear Seismology Lab, Russian Academy of Sciences, Schmidt Institute of Physics of the Earth, in Bosnia in September 2008. With sophisticated scientific equipment, he and his team had measured electrostatic energy, magnetic fields inside and seismic waves emanating from the tip of all of the main pyramids in Egypt. He found that each pyramid had its own unique transmission frequency.

So, the collapse of the shaft spurred English Heritage to embark on the Silbury Hill Conservation and Restoration project in 2007/2008 and so began my serious research into Silbury Hill.

The latest evidence found during this project in 2007/2008 by English Heritage archaeologists including ants and insects plus core samples taken from the hill in 2002 would further confirm English Heritage’s assertion that Silbury Hill was 4500 years old. However no forensic science techniques or cleanroom facilities were employed in the removal of these samples from what is a highly contaminated and polluted hill! If this was a murder scene, any evidence would be deemed inadmissible!

Similarly from my investigations the Mollusc shells found deep inside the hill which were dated by the University of Mexico to over 12,000 years along with flint flakes of similar date fount in pits at the top of the first stage of the hill. Sadly this evidence must also be deemed inadmissible due to contamination and speculation. So, it would be difficult to confirm my assertion that Silbury Hill was built around 12,000 years ago.

Nevertheless it soon became evident, with a number of discoveries, e.g. precise chalk blocks, large pieces of sarsen stone at the summit, chambers inside, flint flakes at the centre and a uniform sheet of material covering the base of the construction, that Silbury Hill is something more than a chalk mound. In fact new evidence points to the distinct possibility that Silbury Hill was originally a white pyramid and what we see today is the remains of a pyramid mound?

English Heritage removed large pieces of sarsen stone from the top of Silbury Hill in 2007.

“The discovery of large pieces of sarsen stones near the top of the final phase of the monument has also been a surprise. Given the almost certainly religious and ceremonial nature of Silbury, it is likely that these stones had some symbolic importance, potentially representing the spirits of dead ancestors”.

Newspaper quote from Jim Leary, Archaeologist, English Heritage The Independent Thursday 25 October 2007

English Heritage made no attempt to find out the dimension, shape and the composition of another very important piece of evidence – an unbroken and uniform membrane/sheet of dark brown butter-textured material, 5mm thick and stone-free, which appears to cover the base of this chalk construction. Samples were sent to Arizona University and they suggested it may have the properties of a form of Mica called Illite which had been ‘softened’ by water seeping through the construction over the many centuries.

If we look further afield, it seems Silbury Hill is sharing scientific features and properties with lots of pyramids and pyramid mounds found on every continent on Earth. It appears from ongoing serious scientific research, notably with the Egyptian pyramids, that these pyramid structures were used as multifunctional energy sources converting the natural flow of ionic current into electrostatic electricity and via crystalline stone transducers such as granite and sarsen into other forms of energy including magnetic, seismic and air purification (Bionizer) properties.

So, there are lots of convincing scientific and non-scientific clues to suggest that Silbury Hill is something more than a heap of chalk.

It is likely there may have been hundreds of similar constructions to Silbury Hill in this huge ancient Wessex complex many of which have since disappeared. Intriguingly, at 4,500 years ago, there is no evidence of the population required in this area at this time to build the ancient structures and megaliths such as Stonehenge!

Although it was badly damaged by the Saxons who smashed the large sarsen cap to make way for a look-out post and later by a series of tunnels dug by so-called archaeologists, it seems Silbury Hill survived because of its size, position and the gradually grassing over of the monument by nature.

The Romans, who had a settlement close by to Silbury Hill, must have produced some drawings or mosaics of what was an impressive structure at this time. Hopefully somewhere in some stately home or museum is hidden such a record?

Or maybe we have to wait for the progress of science such as Ground Penetrating Radar Equipment linked to satellites to uncover untouched ancient sites to be studied carefully and open mindedly with the latest forensic science techniques?

However, all claims to the age and purpose of Silbury Hill can only be speculation at this time. Nevertheless I would encourage readers to visit Silbury Hill to relate to the unique energy of this ancient site and form their own ideas and opinions – was Silbury Hill at the dawning of humanity and who were the knowledgeable builders?

Canvas – A Best Medium For Lucrative Painting

Canvas is broadly popular among all artists as the most common form of art. If you do not know, let me tell you, canvas is the best medium for oil painting. Many artists from Van Gogh to Dali have used this medium for creation of their magical arts.

Canvas is made of cotton, and it is a very heavy duty fabric. Canvas is an ideal base of painting having a simple weave. Generally, gesso coated canvas is stretched with the wooden frame before it is used for painting purpose. Cotton canvas had taken over the popularity from linen canvas in the beginning of 19th century. But some of the artists still prefer linen cotton as it stretches less compared to cotton canvas.

Most of the canvases are covered to make them smoother and easier for painting a process. Canvas is also easily available in the market. The modern painters use the benefits of both canvas texture and those of the paint itself. It is a stark contrast to the painters who likes to take great pains for not showing the texture.

If you will take an opinion of all artists, then they will certainly agree that oil on canvas is the best to create an attractive painting. If you will use oil paint on canvas, then the finishing of painting will become very extraordinary. So combination of oil paint and canvas is the best to create beautiful painting.

Canvas is very user friendly and also extremely durable too. The colors come out amazingly and each brush stroke is seen visible, and sometimes it is accentuated too. Nowadays, most of the painters use the texture of canvas for the best possible effect. Here are some of the well known canvas paintings …

1. Picasso's Guernica
2. Van Gogh's Sunflowers
3. Salvador Dali's Persistence of Memory

How to Shot Put

Recently, John Smith, one of the premier shot put coaches in the world, asked the question, “What is the most important key to throwing the shot far?” Many coaches thought they knew the answer, but everybody failed to realize the simplest and most important aspect of good shot putting is to “KEEP THE BALL MOVING!” Everything the athlete does throughout the throw, must keep the shot moving. No matter what technical philosophy you subscribe to, this is THE NUMBER ONE GOAL!

Currently there are two main categories of technique that are widely practiced in the shot, the rotation or spin, and the glide. Each of these categories can be further divided into multiple subcategories based on technical philosophy. Mike Young, the US Shot Put Biomechanist, divides the rotational technique into four subcategories: the “linear spin,” “rotational spin,” “wrapped spin” and the “cartwheel spin.” The glide is divided into the “short-long glide” and the “long-short glide.” In this article, I am going to focus on the short-long glide technique, due to the fact that it is the most common technique for beginning shot putters to learn.

The shot put is an explosive event. In being so, the athlete must first have a good understanding of the power position above all else. Without a proper understanding of the power position and execution of the stand throw, any other technique development is of little value. The power position consists of the following aspects:

• Grip

• Heel-Toe Relationship

• Axis from head to heel

• Sternum over knee

• Shot behind foot

The stand throw is initiated by pushing the back heel out and turning the hip completely into the direction of the throw. Upon triple extension (ankle, knee, hip) the athlete strikes the ball out over the toeboard fully extending the throwing arm. The left side should block any further rotation, so that the athlete can see the shot land, while the throwing shoulder remains over the toeboard. The athlete should NOT be taught to reverse initially, as this should be a natural byproduct of the athlete becoming more explosive off the back leg. It is often easier for athletes to learn the stand throw by rocking into it, creating a “teeter totter” motion. One of the primary differences between the long-short and short-long glides is when the left foot lands at the front of the circle. In the long-short glide, the athlete strives to land both feet simultaneously. In the short-long glide, the left foot lands after the right, creating a more natural throwing motion. An especially helpful cue for most athletes is to remind them to stay on the outside of the power foot while turning it. This will allow the foot to turn completely into the throw.

After there is a basic understanding of the power position and stand throw, it is time to move to the back of the circle and begin to learn the glide. There are many different drills and cues to use to teach athletes to glide into a proper power position, but no matter how a coach goes about teaching the glide, there are fundamental points and positions that must be achieved.

There are two different approaches to the beginning of the glide, the static start, and the dynamic start. Most athletes will begin with the static start and advance to the dynamic start as they become more comfortable with the technique. In the static start, the athlete begins in a T-position or crouch. In this position the right-handed athlete should display the following characteristics:

• Right foot on centerline of circle

• Shoulders are square to the back of the circle – directly opposite the toeboard

• Left thumb is turned down

• Left knee stays behind right

• Legs never cross

• Shoulders do not fall below hip line

In the dynamic start, the athlete usually begins on the toes and quickly sinks down into the crouch position. To begin the movement across the circle, the athlete should push the right knee down over the toes, while allowing the hips to sink down and back. As the hips begin to “fall” the athlete aggressively pushes off the toes of the right foot, rolling back onto the right heel. The left leg strikes straight and low into the base of the toeboard, while the left arm and upper body remain behind the hip axis. The right knee is aggressively pulled under the upper body, striving to pull the knee under the left elbow. By pulling the knee under, the foot should naturally turn and land between 45 and 90 degrees in the middle of the circle. When the left foot lands, the athlete turns and lifts to deliver the shot into the direction of the throw. Key points to look for in the middle of the circle include:

• Chin stays even with sternum

• Shot put is 5-8 inches behind a turned right foot at left foot touchdown

• Right knee and hip get turned completely into the direction of the throw

• Upper body remains passive with long left arm until hips face 180 degrees

• Hip should drive to the toeboard

• Athlete sees the shot leave

• Right shoulder finishes over toeboard

• If athlete reverses, eyes finish at 270 degrees

This is a basic synopsis of the fundamental concepts involved in the short-long glide technique. Using this approach to teaching the glide should allow the coach to develop a consistent technical philosophy that will maximize the talent level of the throwers involved in the program.

References

1. Balke, Norm. Shot Put Shenanigans. The Long and Strong Throwers Journal. Vol. 5, Iss. 3, Jan. 2003.

2. Sylvester, Jay. The Complete Book of Throws. Human Kinetics Publishers. Champaign, IL. 2003.

3. Young, Mike. Rotational Shot Biomechanics. National Throws Coaches Association. 2006 annual convention video series. Vol. 2, Disc 3.

Carbon Nanotubes: Pros and Cons

Carbon nanotube or CNT is not a new term in the present scenario actually it is the allotrope of carbon sharing a cylindrical nanostructure. The length-to-diameter of nanotubes lies in between 132,000,000:1 and have very fascinating properties to be used in nanotechnology, optics, material science, electronics and other fields of science. Due to their extraordinary thermal conductivity, mechanical and electrical properties carbon nanotubes are used as additives for various structural materials for example, in baseball bats, car parts and golf clubs nanotubes form a very tiny fraction of the material. Nanotubes are members of fullerene family which also includes the buckyballs and the ends of these nanotubes may be capped with the hemisphere of buckyballs. Their name has been derived from their long, hollow structure with walls formed by one-atom thick sheets of carbon known as graphene. These sheets are then rolled at specific and dicrete angle and the combination of rolling angle and radius decides the properties of these nanotubes. Nanotubes are either single-walled nanotubes (SWNTs) or multi-walled nanotubes (MWNTs). The particles of nanotubes are held together by van der Waals forces. Applied quantum chemistry specially the orbital hybridization best describes chemical bonding in them. Chemical bonds are chiefly composed of sp2 bonds similar to those occurring in graphite and are stronger than the sp3 bonds found in diamond and alkanes and so are responsible for great strength of these structures.

Historical Background

In 1952, L.V. Radushkevich and L.M. Lukyanovich published clear images of 50 nm tubes made up of carbon in the Soviet Journal of Physical Chemistry but the article failed to arouse interest among the western scientists because it was published in Russian language and access was not open due to cold war. The invention of the transmission electron microscope (TEM) made the visualization of these structures possible. A paper published by Oberlin, Endo and Koyama in 1976 indicated about hollow carbon fibers with nanometer scale diameter by using vapour growth technique. In 1979, John Abrahamson presented evidence of carbon nanotubes in the 14th Biennial Conference on Carbon of Pennsylvania State University.

The whole credit to the current interest in the carbon nanotube goes to the discovery of the buckminsterfullerene C60 and other allied fullerenes in 1985. The discovery that carbon can form other stable structures apart from graphite and diamond compelled the researchers to find new forms of carbon and the result came out in the form of C60 that can be made available in all laboratories in simple arc evaporation apparatus. Sumio Lijima, a Japanese scientist discovered the fullerene related carbon nanaotube by using the simple arc evaporation apparatus in 1991. The tubes were made up of two layers with a diameter ranging from 3-30 nm and closed at both the ends. In 1993 single layered carbon nanotubes were discovered with a diameter of 1-2 nm and can be curved but they failed to create much interest among the researchers as they were structurally imperfect so the researchers are now working to improve the catalytic properties of these nanotubes.

Single walled nanotubes (SWNTs)

Most single walled nanotubes share a diameter close to 1nm with a length million times longer and the structure can be imagined by wrapping one atom thick layer of graphite called graphene into a seamless cylinder. The way by which graphene is wrapped in represented by a pair of indices (n, m) and the integers n and m represent the unit vectors along the two directions in the honey comb crystal lattice of graphene. If m=0 then nanotubes are called as zigzag nanotubes and if n=m then they are called armchair otherwise they are chiral. The SWNTs are very important variety of nanotubes because their properties changes with change in the n and m values and are widely used in the development of the first intermolecular field effect transistors. The price of these nanotubes has declined in the present era.

Multi waled nanotubes (MWNTs)

They consist of multiple rolled layers of graphene are there are two layers that can better define the structure of these nanotubes. The Russian Doll model says that the layers of graphite are arranged in concentric cylinders for example a single walled nanotube within a single walled nanotube. The Parchment model says that a single sheet of graphite is rolled around itself resembling a rolled newspaper. The interlayer distance in these nanotubes is 3.4. The Russian Doll model is generally considered while studying the structure of MWNTs. Double-walled nanotubes (DWNTs) is a special type of nanotube with morphology and properties similar to MWNTs with highly improved resistance against the chemicals.

Torus

A nanotorus is a carbon nanotube bent in the form of a torus and bears many unique properties like magnetic moment 1000 times more. Thermal stability and magnetic moment depends on the radius of the torus as well as the radius of the tube.

Nanobud

Nanobuds are newly created materials made by joining two allotropes of carbon namely carbon nanotubes and fullerenes. In this material the fullerene like buds are covalently bonded to the outer sidewalls of the underlying nanotube. This new material shares the properties of both fullerenes and carbon nanotubes. They are supposed to be good field emitters.

Graphenated carbon nanotubes

They are relatively newly developed hybrid materials combining graphitic foliates grown along the sidewalls of a multiwalled nanotube. Stoner and co-workers have reported that these hybrid materials have enhanced supercapacitor ability.

Peapod

Carbon peapod is a new hybrid material composed of network of fullerene trapped inside a carbon nanotube. It possesses interesting magnetic, heating and irradiating properties.

Cup-stacked carbon nanotubes

They differ from other quasi 1D carbon materials that behave as quasi metallic conductors of electrons. The semiconducting behaviour of these structures is due to the presence of stacking microstructure of graphene layers.

Extreme carbon nanotubes

The longest carbon nanotube was reported in 2009 measuring 18.5 cm grown on Si substrates by chemical vapour deposition method and represent electrically uniform arrays of single walled carbon nanotubes. Cycloparaphenylene was the shortest carbon nantube reported in 2009. The thinnest carbon nanotube is the armchair with a diameter of 3.

Properties

1. Strength

Carbon nanotubes have the strongest tensile strength and elastic modulus among all the materials yet discovered. The tensile strength is due to the presence of sp2 hybridization among the individual carbon atoms. The tensile strength of multi-walled tube was reported to be 63 gigapascals (GPa) in 2000. Further studies carried out in 2008 have found that the shell of these tubes is of 100 gigapascals strength which is in good agreement with the quantum models. Since these tubes have a low density their strength is high. If excessive tensile strain is given of these tubes they undergo plastic deformation which means that they are permanently altered. Although the strength of individual tubes is very high but weak shear interactions between the adjacent shells and tubes result in weakening of the strength of the multi-walled tubes. They are also not strong when compressed. Due to their hollow structure and high aspect ratio they show buckling when kept under torsional or bending stress.

2. Hardness

Standard single-walled nanotubes can tolerate a pressure of about 24GPa without being deformed and can undergo transformation to superhard phase nanotubes. Maximum pressure tolerated under current experimental techniques is 55 GPa. But these superhard nanotubes can collapse at pressures higher than 55 GPa. The bulk modulus of these nanotubes is 462-546 GPa much higher than that of diamond.

3. Kinetic Properties

Multi-walled nanotubes are concentric multiple nanotubes folded within each other and gifted with striking teleoscopic property where the inner tube may slide without friction within its outer shell therefore, creating an rotational bearing. This is perhaps the first true examples of molecular nanotechnology useful in making machines. This property has already been utilized in making world’s smallest rotational motor.

4. Electrical Properties

The symmetry and unique electronic structure of graphene is responsible for providing the carbon naotubes their astonishing electrical properties. Intrinsic superconductivity has been observed in nanotubes but it is a controversial issue in the present context.

5. Wave absorption

The most recently worked properties of the multi-walled carbon nanotubes is their efficiency to show microwave absorption and is the current area of research by the researchers for radar absorbing materials (RAM) so as to provide better strength to the aircraft and military vehicles. The research is under progress where researchers are trying to fill the MWNTs with metals like iron, nickel or cobalt to increase the effectiveness of these tubes for microwave regime and the results have shown improvement in maximum absorption and bandwidth of adequate absorption.

6. Thermal Properties

All the nanotubes are generally believed to be good thermal conductors exhibiting the property of ballistic conduction.

Defects

Crystallographic defect affects the material property of any material and defect is due to the presence of atomic vacancies and such defects can reduce the tensile strength of the material to about 85%. The Strong Wales Defect creates a pentagon and heptagon by the rearrangement of bonds. The tensile strength of the carbon nanotubes is dependent of the weakest segment. Crystallographic defect also affects the electrical properties of the tubes by lowering the conductivity. Crystallograhic defect also affects the thermal conductivity of the tubes resulting in the phonon scattering that reduces the mean free path.

Applications

Nanotubes are widely used in making tips of the atomic force microscopic probes. They are also used in tissue engineering acting as a scaffold for bone growth. Their potential strength helps them to be used as a filling material for increasing the tensile strength of other nanotubes. Their mechanical property helps them to be used in making clothes, sports jackets and space elevators. They are also used in making electrical circuits, cables ad wires.

Healthy & Helpful Tools in the Kitchen

So you are interested in trying a special autism diet, but you're concerned about how much time it will take. You can successfully follow a special diet in the same time that you are already spending in the kitchen, and the tools described here can help make things easier.

If you watch someone build a house you'll see the specialized tools that use to make their job of measuring, cutting, and constructing so much simpler. The same thing goes for cooking-cookware, specialized equipment, and storage materials-make cooking easier and healthier (by less exposure to harmful materials). This does not mean you need fancy, expensive equipment to cook, but it's certainly helpful to have a few good tools to make things more efficient and help specialized cooking fit into your lifestyle needs.

Here are some common cooking and storage tools that are helpful-and how to avoid the toxic ones.

Cookware

Cookware is the first thing people ask about respecting food safety. Do not use aluminum (where the cooking surface is aluminum), Teflon-coated, or copper. Especially, do not use Teflon. I know they are easy and non-stick, but there have been many studies showing how toxic this material is. Even if they are new and unscratched, I would not use them. Teflon is also toxic to produce. There are also newer varieties of cookware, all claiming to be non-stick and non-toxic. Because some of these are so new, I have not yet seen enough research to make personal recommendations.

As with most areas of nutrition and cooking, I prefer to stick with the traditional and classic options. Cast iron and enameled cast iron are good options for cookware. Stainless steel pots and pans are also good; However, stainless steel can contain high levels of nickel. Purchase stainless steel that attracts a magnet-these are much lower in nickel. If you can find the old VisionWare by CorningWare, they are also great to cook with.

For bakeware, you can use glass such as Pyrex, ceramic stoneware such as CorningWare, and natural stoneware such as Pampered Chef. Pyrex and CorningWare are old stand-bys. The stoneware by Pampered Chef is great for gluten-free pizza crust and butternut squash fries.

Helpful Tools

In addition to cookware, there are other tools that are very helpful in the kitchen:

Slow Cooker / Crock-Pot: Slow cookers, also commonly referred to as crock-pots (based on the brand name Crock-Pot), most frequently contain an enameled ceramic crock. Typically, these crocs are made with non-toxic materials, although you'll want to check the specific brand. Slow cookers are great because they allow you to cook without requiring attention, so you can leave them all day while you are working or out running errands without concern for burning the food or a fire hazard. You will want to use recipes that are tailor to a slow cooker because the amount of water varies (less water is typically required for stews and soups).

Vita-MixTM: Vita-Mix is ​​a high-powered blender that blends with ease – no more need to struggle with ice cubes in the blender. This blender can blend anything. I suggest the grain attachment too. Grinding your own grain allows the flour to be very fresh and makes easy nut flours. You can blend vegetables with liquid in the Vita-Mix-this differs from juicing where the pulp is extracted. Both ways of consuming vegetables is acceptable. The Vita-Mix makes a more fibrous thick juice.

Juicer: There are several different types of juicers: centrifugal and masticating being two of the most popular. I prefer a centrifugal because masticating heats up the juice a little too much – but there is much debate on this, and many options available. No matter the juicer you choose, juicing is a great way to get nutrient density in your diet.

ExcaliburTM Dehydrator: Great for making crispy nuts, dried fruit, Specific Carbohydrate Diet acceptable crackers, even yogurt. A dehydrator makes the best yogurt maker because you can adjust the temperature very specifically. The "dehydrator" does not actually "dry the food out" but it gentle heats it to remove the moisture from the food. This allows you to use it as a warm oven for yogurt and other foods that you want to heat at a low, consistent temperature.

Harsch Crock: Unsurpassed for making lactic acid fermentations (cultured vegetables!). This fermentation crock makes delicious raw sauerkraut every time. The Harsch crock is well worth the investment, but not necessary to make cultured vegetables. You also make cultured vegetables in a straight-sided, plain crock. Cultured vegetables are loaded with natural probiotics, a common tenet of autism diets.

ThermosTM: Great tool to storing hot lunch, so no heating or microwaving is required while out or at school. In addition to using a Thermos for soup, get creative with snacks and lunch. Look for a Thermos that is short and jar-shaped (rather than a tall cylinder). Foods that taste better hot such as chicken nuggets, gluten-free pasta, and chicken pancakes, often fit nicely in this shape and are easier to eat.

Avoiding toxins

Here are some storage and cooking tools to avoid, and safer alternatives.

TOXINS AROUND THE KITCHEN TO AVOID:

1. Canned food. Aluminum cans either put your food in contact with aluminum or plastic lining.
2. Avoid storing in plastic. Do not put hot food or fats (oils, butter, cheese) in plastic.
3. Avoid Teflon, copper and aluminum pans.
4. Avoid the microwave and never reheat with plastic in the microwave.
5. Avoid freezing in plastic when possible.

SAFER COOKING ALTERNATIVES

1. Buy in glass. Beans, tomato sauce, and other foods can be purchased in glass jars.
2. Store in glass with plastic / rubber lid, or in stainless steel.
3. Use stainless steel (adhesives a magnet), cast iron, enameled cast iron, glass or ceramic.
4. Heat in oven, on stove, or in toaster oven.
5. Use wax paper, or glass with lid. If you use aluminum foil, wrap food in wax paper first to avoid contact with aluminum.
6. Store frozen food in glass mason jars or Pyrex storage containers. Mason jars can be frozen-you may get an occasional broken jar at the beginning, but once you get the hang of it, it's uncommon to have the glass break. Just be sure not to fill the jar too full-allow plenty of room in the jar. If possible, do not screw lid on all the way until completed frozen.

You can do it!

Learning to follow a special diet and cooking to heal takes patience and persistence. Try one new tool, recipe, or technique each week or month. It is much more attainable and less overwhelming to start with one thing at a time, and then build. Here's an example. I consider myself a fairly beginner / intermediate knitter, but people are often surprised by the things I've created. My strategy (mostly because I get bored doing the same thing all the time) is to try one new stitch or technique with each new project. Learning one new skill is easy to add, and then before I realize it, I have quite the list of knitting tools and skilled attained (and can make things!).

I hope my experience with these kitchen tools over the years has provided helpful tips make your cooking and food prep easier. Having a child on the autism spectrum makes time very precious. However, since eating healthyly is such an integral part of healing and recovery, learning how to balance healthy food and time is important. Having some tools and tips can make food preparation easier and healthier.