Just What Is SIP And SS7…. And How Do They Work With VoIP?

Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and Signaling System 7 (SS7) are the common protocols used for transmitting voice across networks. Just how they work with VoIP….or not….opens the door for both concerns and opportunity.

Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is a protocol developed by IETF MMUSIC Working Group and proposed standard for initiating, modifying, and terminating an interactive user session that involves multimedia elements such as video, voice, instant messaging, online games, and virtual reality. SIP is a text based, signaling protocol similar to HTTP and SMTP , and its used to create, manage and terminate sessions in an IP based network. A session could be a simple two-way telephone call or it could be a collaborative multi-media conference session.

Entities interacting in a SIP scenario are called User Agents (UA) User Agents may operate in two fashions –

o User Agent Client (UAC): It generates requests and send those to servers.

o User Agent Server (UAS): It gets requests, processes those requests and generate responses.

SIP works as follows: Callers and callees are identified by SIP addresses. When making a SIP call, a caller first locates the appropriate server and then sends a SIP request. The most common SIP operation is the invitation. Instead of directly reaching the intended callee, a SIP request may be redirected or may trigger a chain of new SIP requests by proxies. Users can register their location(s) with SIP servers.

Now…..how is this different than the SS7 protocol?

Here’s a simplied explanation:

Signaling System 7 (SS7) is architecture for performing signaling in support of the call-establishment, billing, routing, and information-exchange functions of the PSTN, whereas SIP is a protocol which is used for maintaining sessions in VOIP.

SS7 are used to set up the vast majority of the world’s PSTN telephone calls, where as SIP in used in IP network.

A little more on the differences between SS7 and SIP.

SS7 uses a common channel for signalling call setup and tear down information for circuit switched services. It is common to have hundreds or thousands of voice circuits controlled by a pair of 64 kb/s signalling links. SS7 was specifically designed for circuit switching although it has some very sophisticated additional call control and transaction control capabilities.

SIP is an IP based signalling solution which does not use a separate signalling path, but relies on the IP connectivity from the originator to a Server and thence to the terminating end. It is used for packet based communications and allows for many different call types such as video, gaming interaction etc as well as voice.

As SIP is implemented with the deployment of next generation networks I am certain we will see both some very interesting network behaviours, untold new technical issues as we iron the bugs out and probably new opportunities for fraud. They should be interesting times.

Great African Civilizations

There have been many misconceptions about the lives of Africans before the advent of European and American colonization. According to some historians, Africans were nothing more than savages whose only contributions to the world were farming and slaves. This is not true. The history of ancient Africa is just as interesting, complex, and sophisticated as any other ancient civilization, yet almost without exception; it is only Egypt that receives any consideration at all when writing history. Because of this mentality, European and American historians have long espoused that Africa and its inhabitants had no culture or history of their own, except what was given to them by outside factors.

However, long before the colonization of Europeans, Africans built kingdoms and monuments that rivaled any European monarchy. Nevertheless, because of racial prejudice, much of Black African history has been distorted and ignored to give justification to the enslavement of millions for financial profit. This paper will be discussing the ancient African kingdoms of Meroë, Ghana, and the Swahili and their rich contributions to the pages of history.

The kingdom of Meroë started around 1000 BC when Nubian rulers built up a politically independent state known to the Egyptians as Kush. Eventually, the rulers of Kush would move to Nubia and establish the kingdom of Meroë (Davis & Gates, p. 30). These rulers established their capital at Meroë around 300 B.C., and the kingdom lasted there for more than nine centuries.

However, some historians feel that because Meroitic culture imitated the Egyptian culture so closely, the Meroitës brought no culture of their own to the pages of history. This is not true According to archaeological evidence discovered in North Sudan that is over 2,500 years old, there was an old civilization along the Nile River at lower and Upper Nubia (modern day Sudan) that was older than the civilizations in the North (Egypt). Also, there is evidence that proves that the known Old Egyptian Civilization was an advanced stage of an even older civilization located in the Sudan (Davis & Gates, p. 35).

This evidence proves that Meroë had a culture and history that was even older than of the Egyptians. If anything, Egypt was a carbon copy of Meroë. This kingdom also had its own language. Most historians however, attributed their language and alphabet system to the Egyptians. It was a common belief that ancient Black Africans could not and did not develop a written language. However, inscriptions in a distinct indigenous alphabet appear in Meroë as early as the 2nd century B.C, proving that these assumptions are not true (Davis & Gates, p. 110).

This written Meroitic language was used into the 5th century, when Old Nubian eventually replaced it. Widespread use of Meroitic on monuments indicates that a significant percentage of the population was able to read it. However, the meanings of these inscriptions remain unknown, as this hieroglyphic-derived script is as yet untranslatable.

Another little know fact about the Meroitës is that they had a unusually high number of

queens who ruled without male intervention. One queen, Queen Amanirenus led her army against a Roman invasion in 24 BC. She won the first battle, and despite losing a second battle, the Romans had enough, agreed to a truce and went back to Rome. Rome never did conquer Meroë, and this kingdom continued to thrive for another 200 years. Actually “queendom” would be more accurate, since the leader of Meroë was usually a warrior queen, called a “kandake” which means “queen mother” or more simply “gore”meaning “ruler”(Fairservis. p.60).

In terms of economics, Meroë was famed for its massive iron production, the first large-scale industry of its kind in the Nile Valley and had extensive trade with Greece and Rome. Because of the production of iron, the armies had better weapons to use during battle and the farmers had better axes and hoes to work their lands. Meroitë traders exported ivory, leopard skins, ostrich feathers, ebony, and gold and soon gained direct access to the expanding trade of the Red Sea (Shillington, p. 40).

The kingdom of Meroë eventually went into decline. Causes for the decline of the Meroitic Kingdom are still largely unknown. The Meroitic kingdom faced formidable competition because of the expansion of Axum, a powerful Abyssinian state in modern Ethiopia to the east. About A.D. 350, an Axumite army captured and destroyed Meroe city, ending the kingdom’s independent existence.

The West African Empire of Ghana is another kingdom whose history was downplayed and attributed to outside factors. Although the Berbers originally founded Ghana in the fifth century, it was built on the southern edge of Berber populations. In time, the land became dominated by the Soninke, a Mande speaking people who lived in the region bordering the Sahara (McKissack & McKissack, p. 112). They built their capital city, Kumbi Saleh, right on the edge of the Sahara and the city quickly became the center of the Trans-Saharan trade routes.

Ghana accumulated great wealth because of the Trans-Saharan trade routes. This wealth made it possible for Ghana to conquer local chieftaincies and demand tribute from these subordinate states. This tribute, however, paled next to the wealth generated by the commerce of goods that passed from western Africa east to Egypt and the Middle East. This trade primarily involved gold, salt, and copper (Koslow, p. 70).

A hereditary king called the Ghana ruled Ghana. The kingship was matrilineal (as were all Sahelian monarchies to follow); the king’s sister provided the heir to the throne (McKissack & McKissack, p. 115). In addition to military power, the king appears to have been the supreme judge of the kingdom.

Although northern African had been dominated by the religion of Islam since the eighth century, the kingdom of Ghana never converted (McKissack & McKissack, p. 120). The Ghanaian court, however, allowed Muslims to settle in the cities and even encouraged Muslim specialists to help the royal court administer the government and advice on legal matters.

The original founders of Ghana ultimately proved to be its demise. Unlike the Ghanaians, the Berbers, now calling themselves Almoravids, fervently converted to Islam and in 1075, declared a holy war, or jihad, against the kingdom of Ghana. Little is known about what exactly happened but nonetheless, Ghana ceased to be a commercial or military power after 1100. The Almoravid revolution ultimately ended the reign of Ghana.

Europeans and Arabs alike have portrayed the history of the Swahili kingdom as one of Muslim-Arab domination, with the African people and its rulers playing a passive role in the process. However, recent archaeological evidence found shows that the Swahili people are descendants of the Bantu speaking people who settled along the East African coast in the first millennium (Horton & Middleton, p. 70). Although both Arabians and Persians intermarried with the Swahili, neither of these cultures had anything to do with the establishment of Swahili civilization. These cultures became absorbed into an already flourishing African civilization founded by ancient Bantu Africans.

The eastern coast of Africa changed profoundly around the close of the first millennium AD. During this time, Bantu-speaking Africans from the interior migrated and settled along the coast from Kenya to South Africa. Next, merchants and traders from the Muslim world realized the strategic importance of the east coast of Africa for commercial traffic and began to settle there (Horton & Middleton, p. 72). Marriage between the Bantu women and men of the Middle East created and cemented a rich Swahili culture, fusing religion, agricultural architecture, textiles, food, as well as purchasing power. From 900 A.D., the east coast of Africa saw an influx of Shirazi Arabs from the Persian Gulf and even small settlements of Indians. The Arabs called this region al-Zanj, “The Blacks,” and the coastal areas slowly came under the control of Muslim merchants from Arabia and Persia (Horton & Middleton, p. 75). By the 1300’s, the major east African ports from Mombaza in the north to Sofala in the south had become thoroughly Islamic cities and cultural centers.

The language that grew out of this civilization is one of the most common and widespread of the lingua franca: a lingua franca is a secondary language that is a combination of two or more languages. Swahili or Kiswahili comes from the Arabic word sawahil, which means, “coast.” Swahili belongs to the Sabaki subgroup of the Northeastern coast Bantu languages. It is closely related to the Miji Kenda group of languages, Pokomo and Ngazija (Horton & Middleton, p.110). Over at least a thousand years of intense and varied interaction with the Middle East has given Swahili a rich infusion of loanwords from a wide assortment of languages. Even with the substantial number of Arabic loanwords present in Swahili, the language is in fact, Bantu.

The Swahili civilization expanded southwards until they reached Kilwa in Zanzibar (from the Arabic word al-Zan). Later, its inhabitants carved out a small territory even further south around Sofala in Zimbabwe (Horton & Middleton, p. 140). While the northern cities remained localized and had little influence on African culture inland from the coast, the Sofalans actively went inland and spread Islam and Islamic culture deep in African territory (Horton & Middleton, p. 150).

The major Swahili city-states were Mogadishu, Barawa, Mombasa (Kenya), Gedi, Pate, Malindi, Zanzibar, Kilwa, and Sofala in the far south (Horton & Middleton, p. 155). Kilwa was the most famous of these city-states and was particularly wealthy because it controlled the southern port of Sofala, which had access to the gold, produced in the interior (near “Great Zimbabwe”), and its location as the farthest point south at which ships from India could hope to sail and return in a single monsoon season.

These city-states were very cosmopolitan for their time and they were all politically independent of one another. In fact, they were more like competitive companies or corporations, each vying for the lion’s share of African trade. The chief export was ivory, sandalwood, ebony, and gold. Textiles from India and porcelain from China were also brought by Arab traders (Horton & Middleton, p. 175). While the Arabs and Persians played a role in the growth of the Swahili civilization, the nobility was of African descent and they ran the city-states (Horton & Middleton p.195). However, the nobility were Muslims and it was the Muslims who controlled the wealth. Below the nobility were the commoners and the resident foreigners who made up a large part of the citizenry.

However, Islam itself penetrated very little into the interior among the hunters, pastoralists, and farmers. Even the areas of the coast near the trading towns remained relatively unaffected (Horton & Middleton p.198). In the towns, the mud and thatch houses of the non-Muslim common people surrounded the stone and coral buildings of the Muslim elite, and it seems that most followers of Islam were wealthy, not poor.

Still, a culture developed for the Swahili that fused African and Islamic elements. Family lineage, for example, was traced both through the maternal line, which controlled property, an African practice, and through the paternal line, which was the Muslim tradition. Swahili culture had a strong Islamic influence but retained many of its African origins.

These city-states began to decline in the sixteenth century; the advent of Portuguese trade disrupted the old trade routes and made the Swahili commercial centers obsolete. The Portuguese wanted native Africans to have no share in African trade and busily set about conquering the Islamic city-states along the eastern coast (Horton & Middleton, p.225). In the late seventeenth century, the imam (religious leader) of Oman drove the Portuguese from the coast, and gradually established his authority over the coast.

The existence of these ancient Black African civilizations proves once and for all that Africa had a culture and a history of its own other than Egyptian that endured for centuries before the advent of outside factors. The kingdom of Meroë ruled for centuries before the Egyptians and deserves its rightful place as one of the premier ancient civilizations of the world. The kingdom of Ghana proved that Africans were capable of managing their own affairs without the intervention of Europeans. The Swahili and their language were around for centuries before Arabians and others “discovered” them.

These civilizations had their own culture, language and commerce before the advent of Europeans and Muslims in Africa and for the most part, the world does not know anything about them. That is a major crime against the study of history and hopefully, through more archaeological studies and writings, the rich and interesting history of these magnificent civilizations will be told and treasured for future generations.

Do You Work On Concrete Floors? Do You Know The Dangers? Do You Want A Solution?

Being a production worker for many years, I have experienced many pains associated with working on different types of concrete floors. Working on floors ranged from very smooth to extremely rough, the output is the same – painful body parts.

Things to consider while working on concrete floors are the effects that it has on your body parts. Examples will be given for you regarding: Picking the correct shoe / boot, sore feet, back pain, knee pain, hip pain, and tightening of the shoulders and neck area. And I will give you a solution on how to resolve all of these issues.

Picking the Correct Work Shoe – Steel toe boots add an additional stress to your feet. The weight of the boot is more than your shoes, so there before by the end of your first couple of shifts your legs will be sore. Make sure the shoes you choose to work in is the most important purchase you will make. Wear the type of socks that you intend to wear daily at work when trying on your new boot. Walk around in the boot for a few minutes. You will be spending hours a day in this boot / shoe, so look for comfort and width. Do not worry about being stylish. Work shoes do not offer many styles. The saying "you get what you pay for" applies in this area. Do not be cheap!

Sore Feet – Spending the majority of the day on your feet, day after day, can cause plantar faciitis. Plantar faciitis is a inflamed tissue in the shape of a rubber band that goes along the bottom of your foot. Damage to this area will cause you great pain in the heel. Waking up in the morning, taking that first step is extremely painful. Once you are up and moving the pain will lessen. Each time that you relax and try to walk again you will feel pain. Rest, ice, and ibuprofen was what the doctor ordered.

Back Pain – Standing in stationary positions on concrete floors can cause lower back problems. Concrete floors have no shock absorbency, therefore causing muscle damage that could be permanent. Each impact step taken on concrete floors radiates through the entire leg, causing damage. Relax, ice, and anti-inflammatory medicine. In some cases heat is also used. If your back does not feel better soon. You should consult a physician. Always notify your safety leader at the job-site, to make him / her aware of the situation. Doctors have been doing back surgeries for many years. Back surgeries cost from $ 80,000 to $ 150,000, without insurance.

Knee Pain – Due to lack of shock absorbency, the knee also sufferers damage. With each step your knee is very much involved. The knee is the largest joint in the body. Again with the concrete surface there is no shock absorbency so the knee will feel the total impact of every single step. The way you walk, the speed at which you walk, sudden stops, sudden turns and twist all effect your knees. Notify your safety leader at the job-site, to make him / her aware of the situation. Knee replacement surgery cost between $ 20,000 – $ 35,000, without insurance.

Hip Pain – Hip pain is a horrible dull pain. Remember each step that you take on concrete floor radiates upwards, from the foot to the calf, calf to the knee, knee to the hip. When walking, each step you take the hip is effected. With no shock absorbency in the floor this causes a jarring effect on the sockets in the hips. This is something that people do not think much about until they have worked for a long time and start feeling the pain. By the time that they realize what has happened, the damage is already beginning. Hip degeneration is in progress, and arthritis aches and pains have started. Again make sure that the safety leader is informed about any pain that you are experiencing. Luckily the doctors are mastering hip replacement, although expensive, this is an option one has available. Hip replacement surgery cost $ 32,000 to $ 44,000, without insurance.

Neck and Shoulder Pain – Believe it or not, the way that you stand and posture yourself at your workstation can cause pain in the neck and shoulders. If you have to look down constantly to do the tasks required for long periods of time, this will cause stress on your neck and shoulders. Make sure that you are doing stretches and warm up before you begin your day at work. Get a good nights rest, drink plenty of water throughout the day. Keep your body hydrated! If you are allowed to rotate to new positions on the production line, request to do so when you notice pains. Work well with your co-workers, so they will be willing to switch positions with you. When you first notice the pain beginning, notify the safety leader.

So as you can see there are many reasons you should not be working on concrete floors. Why do people work in jobs that hurt their bodies?

The only jobs that paid well were production type jobs. So therefore, I worked this job for many years and my body paid the price. It was not purchasing better shoes, it was not a visit to a different doctor, it was not even rotating positions with another co-worker. I had to totally change my life. I would like to share this information with you.

I would like for you to visit my website: http://diannarivera.com

Be a Pragmatic Dreamer

Many people give up too quickly on their dreams, under the guise of being pragmatic. Not that pragmatism is wrong, but it must never be taken out of context. Pragmatism is not an escape hatch for avoiding the hard work dream-making requires. It is an essential dream-making process, which helps us recognize what is important, worthwhile, and fulfilling about our dreams. It is pragmatism that separates the fanciful from the doable, then plans out the best available route to success (dream realization). Whether its Mother Theresa, Bill Gates, or Oprah Winfrey, dreams remain dreams until the pragmatist awakened within them.

However, people still avoid their dreams under the guise of pragmatism. I hear people say, “I’ll become a (fill-in the blank), because it gives me (fill-in the blank). It is generally some practical pursuit based on sound reasoning, but lacks heart, vision, or passion. People, circumstances, and experiences trick us into becoming doctors, engineers, or entreprenuers, because it sounds practical and pays well, instead of pragmatically examining our dreams and gifts for clarity of execution. Being a pragmatic dreamer will provides insight into what gives us fulfillment, helps others, and brings about radical change in the world (Mother Theresa, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey). Unless you are filling in the blanks with something meaningful, well, life’s just one big blank!

Thousands, maybe millions, are experiencing a gaping hole in their existence, because they took pragmatism out of context. They may even gaze up at the stars and wonder,”Why am I unfulfilled.” The stars remark, “Because you’ve left your hopes and dreams up here. Instead of distilling your dreams and gifts into a workable plan, you’ve abandoned them for a practical life of servitude that brings you nothing but a safe, joyless bubble of near meaningless activity afloat in life’s doldrums. Awaken pragmatist and give structure to the dreams that will give you life.”

When you think about it, many of today’s inventions were built by pragmatic dreamers. Consider the services and products we regularly consume that give us joy, comfort, or fulfillment. They all began as fanciful, silly, or risky endeavors, such as flight, electricity, automobiles, etc. Dreams are the essence of life. However, a dream is just a dream without a healthy does of pragmatism, too. As the children’s song goes, “… Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.” Become a pragmatic dreamer and give substance to your dreams.

Solar Residential Outdoor Lighting is Becoming the Product of Choice for Millions of Consumers

Residential outdoor lighting is a billion dollar a year industry in the United States. It is getting so popular, there is now a corporation that franchises individual businesses dealing only in exterior landscape lighting design, supply, and installation! Line voltage systems Used to be the only option for outdoor lighting but in recent years, low voltage lighting
Systems and solar powered lights have made exterior decorative lighting available to every home owner -not just the rich ones.

According to the US Census Bureau, 67% of adult Americans are homeowners (2004 statistics). Renovation, remodeling and home improvement are massively popular activities that only reflect the priority that consumers give in making their property as comfortable and pleasant as possible. Gardening has always been a past time homeowners enjoy in beautifying their property, both for themselves and to raise the "curve appealing", but up until a decade ago, beautifying the nightscape was not a mainstream idea.

Hotels, resorts and similar type commercial properties have always used light to create beautiful atmospheres on their grounds, but given the cost of an outdoor lighting system,
Residential lighting applications were mostly limited to basic security needs. Landscapes were enjoyed during daylight hours but when the sun went down, the outdoor portion of a homeowner's property was not used.

Low Voltage outdoor lighting systems

Low voltage lighting systems and solar powered lights are changing this. A low voltage lighting system plugs into a transformer and takes household current down to 12 volts. This
Means real energy efficiency and eliminates the building code requirements for burying cables 18 inches for line voltage systems. The lights can be used for any outdoor lighting
Application, although they still need to be wired together. Trenching and some cable burying will also probably be required. Additionally, the capacity of the transformer must be
Sufficient to cover the combined power draw (watts) of every light in the system.

The Solar landscape lighting option

Solar powered lights are not wired to anything and require no transformers. Installing them is as easy as sticking them in the ground, or mounting them wherever you need them. The draw
Back is that the photovoltaic charging panels (usually mounted on the top of the light fixture) that capture the sun's energy need direct sunlight during the day to charge the batteries that provide power to illuminate the light at night. And in higher latitudes where the period of darkness is longer in winter months, there is a good chance that the lights will not get enough sun during the day to be able to illuminate for the entire period of darkness.

Even so, solar powered landscaping lights are becoming extremely popular although this was not always the case. Up until two or three years ago, solar lights were not as bright as many consumers wanted, did not illuminate for long periods and too often, did not operate longer than a year or two before becoming defective. Today however, solar lights are bright
Enough for almost any outdoor application, will illuminate for the evening night and -provided you get quality models – will last 20 years without maintenance or defect.

These dramatic increases in solar outdoor lighting reliability are due to recent advances in two areas of technology: photovoltaic cells and the introduction of the Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulb.

The photovoltaic cell is the technology that "captures" the sun's energy. In the 1980's, these cells could absorb only about 5% of the sunlight they were exposed to. Today this
Figure is moving past 15% and as further development of the compounds used in these cells continues (they are now silicon based but other compounds are being studied) they will only
Get more efficient.

Sometimes even more exciting has been the introduction of the solid state LED bulb. This technology involves manipulating electrons and moving them in a certain direction so that
Photons are produced. This creation of photons is the visible light. Unlike the traditional incandescent bulb, there is no excited gas, no burning filament, and therefore next to no
Heat production. Almost all of the energy produced is used as light. The bulbs last for 10,000 hours, require no maintenance and draw on average only three to five watts.

Today's solar lights are excellent value

One of the biggest critiques of solar lights in the past has been the intensity of brightness they produce. This was a fair comment, but today's solar lights are much brighter. Many mistake the term watt as a measure of brightness, which of course, it is not.

A watt is the measurement of the power required to operate something. If speaking about only one type of light bulb, then there is a relationship; A 40w incandescent bulb will not be as
Bright as a 60w bulb. But when dealing with different technologies, this comparison is not fair. Indeed, one LED bulb drawing between three and five watts will produce the same
Brightness as a 40w bulb. And many solar lights are now manufactured with multiple LEDs, therefore producing light much brighter than the glow of a traditional 40w incandescent product.

More and more consumers are realizing that outdoor accent lighting really does have an awesome effect in creating a beautiful nightscape environment. Some prefer a low voltage
Lighting system because they will illuminate for the entire period of darkness and are reliable and energy efficient. Other consumers prefer the solar outdoor lighting solution because these lights are now just as reliable, are far easier to install and can be moved around at whim when trying different effects. There is also a satisfaction in getting free
Energy from the sun! But whatever the choice, there is no denying that residential outdoor lighting systems are becoming a standard feature on millions of properties.

Week of Firsts

A week of firsts is how I would definitely sum up my experience thus far after being in a foreign country for the last week. These awkward and uneasy situations have me pondering how often an individual truly puts themselves in a position of discomfort. Yes, I’m talking about deliberately placing oneself in a vulnerable and unknown setting. I know what you’re thinking… you’re asking, “Why would one want to put himself in such a susceptible circumstance, possibly leading to criticism and emotional distress?” Because let’s face it, comfortable puts most at ease. Comfort is less stressful and reassuring, and most of the time provides a feeling of home. Even so, no matter how you look at it, “firsts” or change is a part of everyone’s life. I truly believe it is how we embrace these “firsts” or the change that makes all of the difference.

I can detest that there is definitely an upside to “firsts”. Trying something for the first time allows for a new perspective and appreciation. It has brought a euphoric and intense sense of accomplishment and above all, creates an experience, which turns into a story that you’ll be telling for years to come.

This week of firsts started out with the realization and lesson on how “rendezvous”, often related to sexual encounters by Americans, is more simply just an appointment. Meeting with our banker, opening up a new account, and looking completely confused and a bit embarrassed by the use of the word, created what could have been a very awkward situation and instead led to an amusing and entertaining visit filled with laughter.

The grocery store brings another transition of sorts. Watching others has proven to be the method of choice when determining what to do. Pricing your own fruit at a community scale, prior to checking out, turned into a pleasant run in with an Iowa native. It’s quite astonishing to believe you are in a world so far away, when in reality, only separated by your own presumed ideas and opinions.

Language barriers bring on a whole new set of limits. A pleasant and unexpected run in with a produce lady, who could discern body language very well, resulted in attempts to speak not only French but Spanish to accommodate. This battle of speech caused an informing distinction between words that sound exactly alike in different languages and those that do not. It is this first that ensures I will never forget how garlic is pronounced in Spanish (garlic in Spanish: Ajo or phonetically: ah-HO) and how a stranger can pleasantly go out of their way to find a side dish that accompanies salmon.

An abrupt traffic jam in a parking garage, caused by a computer glitch, proved to be yet another interesting adventure. Sitting in a line, hazards flashing and engines turned off, while following the lead of French man who spoke broken English, brought patience, understanding, and listening to the forefront. These are three competencies which will presumably get plenty of practice in the days to come.

This week of firsts has presented welcoming, yet surprising, connections. Although uncomfortable, fearful, and challenging, each of these experiences conveniently brought at the same time, growth, smiles, and appreciation. So I ask, “When is the last time you did something for the first time?”

Fire Damage Restoration – Restore Your Home and Your Life After The Fire

Professional fire damage restoration experts have had experience with many home fires. They will be able to provide a speedy inspection and will give you an estimate of what should be repaired, what can possibly be salvaged, and how much time will be needed and what the costs will be to bring you back to a pre-fire condition.

House fires are truly tragic and can be frightening experiences – you need professionals to assist with the recovery and they will help take a load off of your shoulders, and you can get back to a normal lifestyle much sooner than you ever thought possible.

24/7/365 – Because Fires Don’t Take Time Off

The best damage restoration companies are staffed by technicians who are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. If you need the services of a fire damage restoration company, you should be sure that the company you choose has a good reputation and places your health and well being as their top priority.

It should be noted that fire damage restoration is not an easy task. The contractors should use technically up-to-date equipment and processes and the technicians should be properly trained in the use their machines and tools. Be sure to ask about their experience and how long they have been in business. References provided by happy customers are one great clue that you have found a damage restoration company that will meet or exceed your needs.

Professionals and State-Of-The-Art Equipment

These professionals can help you to prevent further damage to your valuables and home based on their years of experience. They will remove the water, smoke odor, and soot from your home and belongings (if possible). They will help you return your property to its original, pre-fire condition. State-of-the-art equipment is used to restore your home and possessions, and these professionals can also eliminate the smoke and other offensive odors caused by fire. Finally, they will clean and sanitize your home to complete the restoration process.

Fire damage in a home is usually an overwhelming tragedy. Priceless belongings and valuables can be easily lost to the flames and the resulting smoke and water damage. Fire damage restoration and cleaning should be started as soon after the disaster as possible to help minimize your losses. The professional actions of the restoration company you choose can make the task of rebuilding your life a much easier task, as they have experienced these situations many times before and know exactly what to do.

Fire Restoration Professionals Can Help With Insurance Claims

It’s interesting to note that a fire damage restoration company can help to prepare an estimate for you to submit your insurance company. Filing initial insurance claims promptly is an important step in the process of recovery from a fire, and many people often overlook this important act. Failure to submit a claim for payment early can possibly delay subsequent timely payments which can be frustrating and a great inconvenience to you while your property is being restored. A competent fire damage restoration company can help you get your insurance claim process moving quickly from the onset.

Board-Ups, Inventories, Cleaning & Quick Service

The tragedy of fire damage can be all-consuming. Emergency services such as emergency board up of your property, pack-outs, quick cleaning of clothing for your family, computerized inventory of all your personal property can really speed up the recovery process from a fire. Oftentimes,these services can be offered as direct billing to your insurance carrier. Prompt professional and courteous service should be a part of any fire restoration package.

Floor Cleaning – Do it Right

Your floor is the single largest area of ​​the house. This means that you must have gone through detailed planning and spent a lot of time deciding on its design as well as structure. A floor is the first thing that will get a visitor's attention when stepping inside a home. In this light, you must have come across floors wherein you did not even want to place your foot because it looked dirty and unhygienic. A clean and well maintained floor reflects the heart of people who live in the home. It is not really easy to maintain an entire floor area, but there are ways that will save both time and effort.

Of course life is easier when there's a schedule and plan. Maintaining a floor is not a difficult task if you just spend time dusting it on a daily basis. When you dust the floor often, it ensures that dirt, sand grits, and the like do not end up stuck to your floor. Also keep in mind that dragging out your furniture or anything heavy is a no-no because it will break the poor corners of the floor. Doing so may also leave scratch marks which in turn accumulate more dirt in its crevices.

When your floor gets dirty, 3 cups of vinegar with half a gallon of warm water is the magic solution. This will get your floor looking shinier and neat. All you have to do is mop it with this solution and viola; You have a nice looking floor which perfectly reflects the lighting of your home.

If you have a bad case of a spill on the floor, make sure you use ammonia to clean it. Ammonia is a good solvent of any hard chemical mixture. Although it is great for floor cleaning, remember that it has a pungent and foul smell. Before you use ammonia to clean the floor of your home, open your doors as well windows to let the air flow out. In this light, waxing the floor will also make it look well kept. You can do this by simply using wax paper, but make sure you choose the right kind as rough-ones may leave scratch marks. Keep in mind that before waxing, you must thoroughly dust the entire floor area.

If you take care of your floor, it means that you care for your entire home. Guests will compliment your way of keeping it neat and shiny, so make sure floor cleaning is observed.

Man is the Most Amazing Jack Ass

"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: They have their entrances and their exits:" Old Will Shakespeare knew his stuff, because that line alone is worth the price of admission. Now if you couple that with the famous Mark Twain quote, "Man is the most amazing Jack ass" you have a workable foundation for a philosophy of life and an insight into the mechanics of the world.

But it is too succinct to be a religion and far to humble to be a philosophy, now if Will and Mr. Twain had only sat under a tree or wandered in from the desert and claimed them as divine revelations sometimes we would pay more attention. But that's my point entirely; It's not the weight of the message or the truth of the message but the quality of the messengers. We sit in the theater and take note of the stage lights and lush curtains and as the house lights go down we willing suspend faith!

We want to believe, that when the actor strolls across the stage delivering his soliloquy that it was in fact his original idea and not a planned and staged event. We know in our hearts that he is not Mac Beth but just some Jackass in a costume but we marvel at his ability to deliver the lines to say the same things we've heard a hundred other Jack Asses say. We truly admire the actor's ability to make us believe that fiction is fact and at the conclusion his performance he is acclaimed as inspired and gifted with cheers and bravos. While behind the scenes hundreds work long hours to make this Jackass appear to be a great amongst his peers.

After the performance, after the crowd files out and the actor reassays his birth persona and returns to the less lofty orbits of Earth. This I think is the primary difference between actors and politicians, the actor knows he is not Mac Beth or Romeo no matter how many performances he gives in the role but many politicians who put on the robes of Julius Caesar begin to think they are Caesar. And working in the loftiest play in the grandest White House or Capitol Theater I suspect it would be hard for any of us not to fall into it after all, "Man is the most amazing Jack ass."

It's our fault as much as the politician's, George Washington struggled in the role as President to make the distinction between the dignity of the office of the President and the fawning and stepping over of the royalty anointed. America has suffered ever since George's time with a hero worship cult like the actor the most minor nuances are credited with genius and inspired wisdom. A man with a septic tank truck and a dream is disparated and not invited to the parties of the crowd but let that dream come to fruition, let him own a fleet of thousands of trucks, and he becomes a man of the most amazing insights .

Let him become the world's largest provider of the septic tank cleaning arts and books will be written about him. He will be welcomed on the talk show circuit and lodged among the elites. For America loves heroes and if we do not have any available available we will gladly make them ourselves. Soon someone will cry out, a man with this much natural talent and ability should run for political office! As his campaign gets into full swing the story of his humble origins will become embellished as to how he started with just a wheelbarrow a hand pump and a dream. And we will believe because we want to believe, we hope and we pray that our leaders are inspired or wise beyond us lowly mortals because deep down in our hearts we know, "Man is the most amazing Jack ass."

I do not exempt myself from this; I'm just as guilty as the rest of you. Ronald Reagan was speaking in my hometown and he had to get from the venue to the Air Force base. When I saw the city workers putting up barricades I knew we were on the route then when the police manned them I knew the time was close. I walked to the curve ready to voice my dissent; My middle finger was cocked and ready. But as I saw the Presidential limousine approach followed by an open car containing the Blues Brothers with Uzi's I was mesmerized.

In that instant I was transfigured from a defiant liberal appalled and revolted by this barbarians actions to destroy the middle class to just another slack jawed yokel standing on the curve. But even more than being awed by the accoutrements of the office, as the limo went by the Presidents Window was down and he passed right before my eyes. For fifteen to twenty seconds I had eye contact with the President and what I saw shocked and disturbed me to this day.

The President had a gaunt vacant stare he looked like a robot whose paused button had been pushed. He was made up for TV with too much rouge and pancake make up but for me with this back stage glance. He looked like a transvestite who had just woke up from the party hung over or freshman that fell asleep too early at the keg party. Reality crashed in on perception, despite the limo, and the heavily armed G-men. The illusion was destroyed I was just a slack jawed yokel on the curve but he was just a slack jawed actor playing the role of President.

We try to pretend its not so, we want so to believe the myths and legends, that John Kennedy with chronic back pain and failing heath was a sexual gymnast. That Nixon did not wander the halls of the executive mansion in his boxer shorts alone with his delusions and his whiskey. Reports have surfaced that the current resident is profane in speech and verbally abusive to spouse and staff. I wrote about this once and was lambasted with complaints about the credibility of one of my sources but I had two. But I received one response from a woman who thanked me for talking about it. She claimed to have a relative that was an employee of a large cable news network other than FOX who was an eyewitness to it.

The shock and outrage, how dare you imagine that the public image does not match the private behavior. Ok, you win he fell off his bike and choked on a pretzel but it offends the hero worship myth. It has been the custom that past Presidents not criticize the current administration, but the principle has been violated in the past and will be violated again in future times. But when Jimmy Carter says, "George W. Bush is the worst President ever."

What is it about that statement that makes Fox News apoplectic? Is it the violation of the principle? Or the pointed nature of the statement? Others have said the same thing; A noted group of Presidential historians said the same thing verbatim. Maybe Fox News and we as a nation are offended when Presidents deviate from the script and violate the hero myth and tell the plain unvarnished truth.

4 Physique Types – Swimmers Body, Dancers Body, Gymnasts Body and Runners Body

When someone thinks of their dream body type, they often use popular sports physique types to describe it. It isn’t uncommon to hear someone compare a mans build to that of a linebacker, or a womans build to that of a dancer. I am going to discuss in detail four types of athletic physiques.

The Swimmers Body: Look no further than record breaking Olympic Gold Medalist – Michael Phelps to find the picture perfect description of a swimmers body (for a man of course). His torso is lean and tone, with well defined (but not bulky) muscles. For men, the swimmer’s body type has broad shoulders, a medium to long torso and a flat as a board abdomen. What sets apart the swimmers body from other athletic types is the noticeable lean-ness of their physique and broadness of their shoulders. There long bodies combined with great posture makes for a regal effect. Ironically enough, a swimmers body type for women is a bit different. They too have well defined muscles, but because it shows mostly in their shoulders, triceps and biceps – it can come across as a little too broad or bulky. But trust there is nothing bulky about the female swimmers body – like most women athletes, the training of a swimmer leads to muscle development that the average woman never experiences.

The Gymnast’s Body: It’s usually easy to spot the trained gymnast – just look for the person that’s usually short in height, with long muscular legs and a short torso. Though male gymnasts are taller than female gymnasts (of course), generally speaking – gymnasts tend to be shorter than the average. Their strength is in their legs and upper body, so bulky muscular thighs, calves, biceps and triceps are not uncommon. This becomes even more noticeable in female gymnasts.Taller gymnasts, particularly female gymnasts tend to have leaner muscle definition. Most female gymnasts also have boxy hips and shoulders.

The Dancer’s Body: The dancer’s body type can be identified by defined calves and thighs, a long or straight torso (often emphasized by great posture) and lean muscular arms. In men, the waist line tends to be thinner and in women, the back/lower back is noticeably toned. Now this is just a general description – there are so many types of dance that bring strength and definition to different muscles in the body. For example, someone trained in ballet will have a taller and leaner looking physique, whereas someone trained in tap will have more definition in their lower legs.

The Track Runner’s Body: The sprinter track athlete’s body type is hands down the most muscular of them all and this goes for both men and women. This changes for long distance runners. Track athletes who run in cross country events have a leaner and longer muscle. The sprinter’s body type is what comes to the mind of most people when they think of a track athlete. Their muscles in their legs are extremely well defined, from the calves, to the quads and including the glutes. Theirs is a body type built for speed.

The Goat Below

As a boy of 14, I was always looking for adventure. As I look back, I am amazed that my parents let me do so much. Dad had taken a break from the coal mining business and opened a service station on the main road through Englewood, Tennessee. We moved the house trailer onto the property next to the station. After school and on the weekends I helped dad in the service station, pumping gas, repairing flats and increasing autos. Dad would often leave me alone to run the station. Some times he would even take all my friends fishing and he would say someone has to mind the store. I did not mind because because he took me fishing plenty of times.

We were only there about six months, but I have many memories from Englewood. An old lady walked south to Florida in the winter time and back north in the summer time. She pushed a cart with all her beloveds and never accepted a ride. She spent some time at the station visiting and talking for quite a while.

We found a red container with a fuse in a pile of dirt behind the station one day, it looked like it had black powder in it. Dad and I tried our best to get it to go off but the fuse would not stay lit. Dad must have known that the powder and fuse was to wet.

Someone gave me an old washing machine motor while we were there and I was able to get it running. I do not know why they called the small motors washing machine motors unless they were used on the early washing machines. It had a side shaft and place for a small belt. I bolted the motor onto the back of my bicycle and attached a belt from the motor to the rear wheel with an old motor cycle belt attachment. I installed a lever on the side that I could tighten the belt with for drive. It would really fly. However, it was very heavy on the rear and hard to steer. If you got off the bike, the front wheel would come off the ground. After a while I got tired of struggling with it and wanted my old bike back. I am amazed that I did not kill myself on that thing.

My friends and I decided to go camping once and mom said that it was fine just do not go too far. We packed up our blankets and snacks and headed off to where the road led. We even walked the railroad tracks for quite a while. When night came, we had no ideal where we were, only how to get back. We found an old barn that look like it was about to fall down, and climbed up into the second floor. Most of the floor was missing so we had to be careful not to fall through. We spend the night there and the next morning someone yelled, look what is down below! Right below us was a dead goat, he still had all of his hair, but he had been dead for a long time. I can not remember what we did the rest of the day, but that dead goat sure stuck with me.

My second cave trip was also in Englewood, I am not sure just where. We rode our bikes out of town to this farm, one of the boys must have known about the cave. The entrance was a slide down about 20 feet into a good size room. We only had our flashlights and I do not think that we stayed very long. I wish that I could remember where it was I would like to go back and check it out again. I do remember that there was a spring down the hill just a short way form the entrance. On the way back we spent sometime knocking down wasp nests in another barn and getting chased by them. That was always a challenge to see how many nest you could knock down without getting stung.

I had a close friend named Becky, we met at the Baptist Church where we attended. She had a steady boy friend that was keeping a close eye on what Becky was hanging around with, but I was careful and we never had a run-in. We never got too serious but we shared a lot and we corresponded together while I was in the service. While I was visiting with her one day, a car ran over her cat. It was a really bad scene the cat was screaming and Becky was crying for me to put him out of his misery. Well I never realized just how hard it is to kill a cat and I never want to have to go through that again. We dated once after I returned from my tour in Germany, but a lot had changed for both of us and nothing developed. We lost touch after that and I often wonder if she married that farm boy in Englewood. I passed a lady on the bridge of Rich's department store in Atlanta once many years later and could have sworn that it was Becky, however I thought it better not to try and find out.

We left Englewood in 1956 and moved to Lakeland Florida. Dad got a job as a welder in the phosphate mines there.

Euphoria – The Pioneers of Hindi Rock

Euphoria may be defined as a state of mind of extreme elation where the heart and the mind are at their best. The band Euphoria burst onto the music scene in the late 1990s when Hindi rock was still trying to make an impression in the music scene in India. They took their chances and decided to introduce India to this new brand. Their sound was something new and unheard of and was a mixture of Indian and Western music combined together to form a sound that would be pleasing to the ears of all those who heard them. The aim that motivated the band was to make rock sound good and make it sound ‘right’!

In 1998 with the success of their first album Dhoom, the band went on to perform at various college and school functions and even held a concert at the India Gate. They soon started their tour, visiting Nepal, Sri Lanka and even the United states. They were privileged enough to even hold a concert in the General Assembly of the United Nations. The front man of the band, Palash Sen, who studied to be a doctor, soon found his calling in entertaining people in India and around the world. After all these years on the music scene they believe that rock to them did not fit the stereotypical notion of sex, drugs and violence, they just wanted their music to speak for itself.

Almost a decade since they first came on to the music and countless albums, songs, tours, concerts and music videos later, Euphoria still believes that they have more to give as they always strive to entertain their audiences with pure Hindi rock and a little soul thrown into the mix. Palash, DJ, Benny, Hitesh, Ashwani, Gaurav, Rakesh and Prashant are great friends and they believe that the genre is here to stay. This belief is perhaps a result of a rise in the acceptance and love of Hindi rock bands and they maintain that it is now reaching a whole new level. Rock on!

Mastering One Method at a Time To Improve Internet Marketing Productivity

Internet marketing productivity is a difficult ideal to help specifically because there are so many different techniques to master. It's easy to get cooked up in a crush of information. SEO, social media marketing, social bookmarking, forum marketing, article marketing, blog comment marketing, relationship building, community building, pay-per-click advertising, back links and JV partnerships. Any one of these techniques is not easy to use well. Every one of these techniques changes on a regular basis, sometimes monthly. Keeping up can seem like a nightmare.

The solution is remarkably simple, though it might not be easy-pick one method and stick with it until it becomes second nature. Then, and only then, may you switch methods.

There are a lot of advantages to this tactic. For one thing, focusing your efforts can not hurt you. It's likely to help you, as a lot of effort on one method will get you farther than scattered efforts across a lot of different methods.

That's not to say you should neglect the other methods entirely. Some methods are typically longer-term than other. Including keywords in your blog posts, for example, represent a long term marketing method. You will not rank for that keyword on your first 10 posts-but you may start to see real results on your 100th. You may as well include the keywords while you're doing other things.

But if you're going to do article marketing, work on article marketing, sometimes to the exclusion of anything else. Do not worry about JV partnerships, for example. Just put out a whole lot of quality articles with their inherent back links, and work that angle until you've got hundreds of articles circulating around the internet. At that point, you've reached a sort of "critical mass" of articles and you can turn your attention to finding JV partners. At that point, you'll see enough traffic to make it worth the partner's while.

You'll also be less stressed-out as you try to keep up with changes in each particular method. Social media marketers, for example, are now trying to keep up with the changes wrought by Google + – you do not have to worry about that if you're busy hammering the article angle at the moment.

The main problem internet marketers generally face is a sort of paralysis that comes with not knowing what to do. Picking a method and sticking with it allows your internet marketing to overcome that paralysis. Diversification is good for stock minorities, but it's not always the best strategy for someone trying to build an internet empire.

You can get free internet marketing and make money online reports at http://rossgifts.com .

Bed Bugs – How Do They See?

Although bed bugs love feeding on human blood they do not have eyes that see like human beings. These parasitic creatures have what is called a compound eye structure. It is thought that they do not see in color, that they visualize in black and white.

A bed bugs eye is made up of hundreds of eye lenses called facets that fit together in a hexagon structure. An easy way to picture what this insects eye looks like is to think of a bee honey comb in a conical shape and not flat. It is like a soccer ball, but on a smaller, more complex level. The individual facets consist of two lenses, one on the surface and one on the inside. The bed bugs dual lens eye structure allows it to see in 3-D. All of these facets fitted together construct the parasites eye. These facets are connected to tubes that focus light down a central structure called the rhabdome. The rhabdome is light sensitive and directs the information through an optic nerve to the bugs brain.

Each individual facet in the bed bugs eye sends a different picture to it’s brain. When all these pictures are processed and put together a mosaic is created. This 3-D mosaic is how the bed bug can see it’s human host. It is not known if, as the bed bug moves, the picture it sees updates on a whole or takes micro-seconds for each lens to update the visual information. If this parasitic insect’s vision updates lens by lens then it would see a constantly updating picture. This view would kind of be like looking through a kaleidoscope with 3-D glasses on.

Bed bugs come out at night or in the dark to feed on their human hosts for a couple of reasons. One reason is because at night, when you are in your bed sleeping, you won’t feel them crawling on you and biting you. Another reason could be that these blood suckers have light sensitive eyes that enable them to see better in the dark. These compound eyes can also pick up a heat signature of the human body. This is why the majority of bed bug bites occur on the center of mass part of your body. Your heat signature is warmer on your torso, legs, and arms than it is on your fingers and toes.

Humans may have color vision that updates constantly where as bed bugs compound eyes see in black and white. Their eyes also do not constantly update the full picture at once, but they can see very well to do the job they are best at. That job is to find a human host in which to feed off of their blood.

Fidelity – The Element to a Prosperous Relationship

Infidelity, not being true to your purpose, is devastating to most relationships.
Thousands end up in the divorce courts every year because one of the partners has not maintained his or her fidelity. Such problems in relationships can be overcome by patience and understanding and love and by repentance of the offending partner.

I was out making visits to church members years ago as a lay minister called a home teacher . We entered a home where despair was a dark cloud of gloom. One of the partners had left the home with another which addressed in infidelity. I had only seen such sadness a few times in my life and it was always related to death.

When such occasions, both partners must take action to mend the bread. When I went into the army in 1950 because of the outbreak of the Korean War, we soon had soldiers coming to our units from the battlefield. (One had not one spot on his body that was not scarred by bullet holes or hand grenade fragments.) I was soon over in Korea to see what happened to this young man firsthand as soon as he got home, he married to insure his progeny. )

A Hispanic corporal, age 42, came to me and said, "Sergeant, I'm having trouble with my wife.

The reason he came to me was not that he thought nineteen-year-old sergeants were great marriage counselors but that I was an SFC (Sergeant First Class).

I was completely without knowledge of marriage counseling but I was his sergeant. I did the best I could. I told him it was all his fault that he had alienated his wife and that he had better pitch in and help her with the dishes and taking care of the kids and that he needed to buy her flowers and that he Had to give one heck of a lot more to his marriage than she did.

I did not ask him if he had been unfaithful. I did not ask him if he beat the kids. I just told him he would have to change. My parents worshiped each other and not once in their 66 years of marriage did they argument. I had never seen the situation the corporal was in. But as I said, I was the sergeant.

Two weeks later he came to me, thanked me, said his wife was now lovey dovey and that they were extremely happy.

When I got home from the army I took a class in courtship and marriage and found that I had applied the 51% rule.

Now days we have homosexual marriages called gay or lesbian marriages. They are legal in a number of states including of all places, my home state of Utah. Many live together that are not married. In all such relationships, fidelity is required if happiness is to be maintained.

The key is that infidelity must end. If it does not end, the relationship probably will.

There are reasons for infidelity. They must be examined so that the conditions can be removed.

Unkindness to one partner by the other can lead to infidelity.

Associating with the wrong people can lead to infidelity.

Horsing around on the Internet can lead to infidelity.

Flirting can lead to infidelity so do not flirt.

What ever the problem, the offender must repent, change his or her ways, and make up to his or her partner. That is the only way to save such a relationship.

My wife and I have been married for sixty years. She is not able to take care of herself so it takes a lot more giving on my part.

Fidelity is my job.