The Pros and Cons of Low Energy LED Lighting

For most people, probably the biggest single factor against low energy LED lighting as a substitute for the soon-to-be-phased-out regular incandescent light bulb is the cost differential. There is no doubt that an LED equivalent light bulb (for example a 6w LED spotlight as a direct replacement for a 35w GU10 halogen lamp) is significantly more expensive than either the original or a CFL alternative.

There are however three important points to bear in mind about the higher price for low energy LEDs as compared to incandescent and energy saving CFL light bulbs.

First, the price difference reflects the fact that the use of LED for general purpose domestic lighting is still quite novel, though increasing manufacturing levels and consumer take-up will drive the price down dramatically once both come fully on stream over the coming months.

Second, and partially related to the observation above, is that the cost of LEDs drops by a factor of twenty over the course of each decade. This characteristic is reliably predicted by Haitz's Law (very similar to Moore's Law for computer chips and for similar reasons, principally because LEDs are, just like computer chips, pure electronic devices). Haitz also states that LED performance (amount of light per watt of electricity) increases tenfold over the same decade.

Third and perhaps most intriguing is the fact that as far as the cost of domestic lighting is concerned, the price of light bulbs is almost entirely irrelevant. It is an extraordinary yet easily provable fact that even if regular light bulbs were totally free and LED lights cost, let's say something outrageous like $ 80 each, it would still be vastly more economical to purchase LED low energy lights.

The reason for this is simple: the cost of electrical lighting is the cost of the energy ie electricity. It matters not one jot what the actual light bulbs cost; it's what it costs to run them that really counts. Also, since LEDs last for tens of thousands of hours (in practice, decades of use) you only need to pay the purchase price once, unlike regular bulbs which last only upto two thousand hours or just over one year.

The second biggest gripe about low energy LED lighting is light levels and quality, or in technical parlance luminosity and light color.

The concern about luminosity stems largely from historical notions of LED lighting applications such as LED Christmas lights and pocket torches which are clearly not capable of providing anything close to useable domestic lighting. However, you could right now purchase one of the latest Sharp Zenigata LED series of light bulbs which is rated at 80 lumens per watt (measure of luminosity).

To understand what this means, consider that a standard 40w incandescent bulb delivers about 360 lumens and a 60w bulb about 540 lumens, which gives a ratio of 9 lumens per watt. Anything that offers greater than 25 lumens per watt can be classed as an energy saving light bulb. Zenigata LED light bulbs consume 6.7 watts and thus produce 6.7 * 80 lumens per watt which is 536 lumens, on a par with the standard 60w incandescent light bulb.

So you could, right now, replace all your 60w light bulbs with Zenigata LED light bulbs rated at 6.7 watts and consume 1 / 10th (or 90% less) electricity. And remember Haitz's Law? Because of performance improvements, eighteen months from now you should be able to obtain the same 60w worth of lighting from just 3 watts.

LED light, in common with CFLs, has tended to be a somewhat cool blue colour, whereas we are more accustomed to a warmer yellow white colour. This is something that is now commonly addressed with the use of colored phosphors (these do reduce luminosity but this is in turn compensated for by the ever increasing lumens per watt yields for LEDs).

The third factor that might be considered to weigh against low energy LED lighting is that the light emitted by an LED is intrinsically directional and does not scatter in all directions the way that incandescent and fluorescent lights do. This is actually quite acceptable in a spotlight, flood light or bright reading lamp, but it's not especially effective for emulating general ambient lighting such as a table lamp would provide. Though again, there are LED powered general lighting light bulbs becoming more commonly available that do a reasonable job here.

Two obvious plus points for low energy LED lighting are ease of retrofit and ecological credentials (other than simply saving energy).

LED lights are widely available for all common base fittings such as mains powered GU10 and 12v MR16 spotlights and the low energy standard base GU24 as well as regular bayonet mounts and Edison screw fittings. LED lights also do not suffer from the many inherent problems associated with CFLs such as: noticeably poor start-up times; reduced lifespan caused by frequent switching on and off; and bulky unattractive bulbs.

But perhaps one of the most widely known advantages of low energy LED lighting over energy saving CFL light bulbs is that they do not contain toxic mercury vapour or other unpleasant materials, and thus do not pose a serious health risk or require tiresome and expensive disposal procedures to protect the environment.

To sum up, the main perceived disadvantages of domestic energy saving LED lighting are cost and application (luminosity and color). Yet as we have seen, the cost of a light bulb is actually a red herring – the true cost of electrical lighting is the price of electricity and on this score ultra low energy LED lighting puts everything else, including energy saving CFLs, completely in the shade (pun intended).

As regards luminosity and light quality, LED lights on balance deliver a cleaner, sharper light than CFL light bulbs and offer far more flexibility in terms of color choice and brightness.

Finally, the biggest advantage that low energy domestic LED lighting has over its rivals is that the lighting industry itself regards domestic LED lighting as the future and can barely disguise its contempt for CFLs. Lighting giants such as Philips are on record as stating that they will not invest a single dollar further into CFLs and that their entire research and development efforts are now directed at domestic LED lighting technology.

Those who follow eco-technology trends are well aware that there is a world-wide phase-out of incandescent light bulbs already well underway and scheduled to complete within the next couple of years. Given international legislation to ban incandescent lighting and lack of support for the already dated and unloved CFL, it's near certain where the future of lighting lies – with low energy LED light. And as advantages go, I'd say that one's pretty compelling.

Why Do You Need Courage?

Let's face it without courage crashing through the terror barrier is difficult, if not, impossible!

So, how do we develop courage? I'm so glad you asked … that is exactly what I'm going to explain.

The dictionary says courage is "the ability to disregard fear; bravery." If you are courageous you are brave and fearless.

Just as in the wizard of Oz, the lion knew he needed courage, he was afraid of his own shadow. To be successful we must do things that unsuccessful people do not want to do. Those things require levels of courage.

For example, you know it is important to learn to speak in public. Whether for your current job, an interview, promoting your business or your ideas you are speaking and selling. Statistics show the number 1 fear most people have is public speaking. Selling is public speaking whether for 1 or 100. I know entrepreneurs who say they do not like to sell. If you do not promote your business, people do not know about you. If they do not know about you they can not call you or visit your store! That's very basic but an often forgotten principle. That's not success.

Remember the show "Fear Factor" where contestants competed for prizes by conquering their fears through daring feats. Many of those contestants could not complete assignments after signing up and making the show. Their fear held them back and they were not able to look beyond the fear toward the goal of the prize. Does that sound familiar?

How many times have you decided to start something only to procrastinate or quit because of fear? You are not alone it happens to all of us. The problem is when fear holds you back from accomplishing your goals, achieving greatness and fulfilling your purpose. You begin this slippery slop by allowing doubt, worry and anxiety into your life. Unchecked these attitudes become suppressed and depression occurs. All progress stops.

The successful person feels the fear and does the thing anyway. They give themselves a command and follows through on that command. Let's go back to our public speaking example. You know you must learn to speak in front of others. The best and only way is to just get up and do it. Now, I would not go out and rent a 100 person hall right away! Post why? Because you need to practice. Most people do best by starting small, even with people they know in a more intimate setting. Once your confidence begins to increase you will attract larger crowds.

To develop courage is to just start! Action is the cure for procrastination. Procrastination is the backbone of the fear of success which causes self-sabotage.

Here are the keys to developing courage worthy of a lion:

1. Complete your due diligence and decide the thing you want.
2. Decide you are going to do this. Whatever this is for you and you decided in # 1.
3. Believe in yourself – have high self esteem.
4. Look back at previous successes and know you can do this.
5. Buckle down, like a bull in a china shop and charge head first into the thing you fear.
6. Just do it, begin, make the first phone call, make the first presentation, sign those papers, make the reservation, call her / him, make the request, be the first to respond, stand up!
7. Practice these principles every time a fear raises its head and conquer your fear.

Do not pass go before you start. What's the worse thing that can happen? Really, what is the worse thing that can happen? You stay right where you are now? Just take a step.

My mother tells me I have great courage, I'm brave. I always thought it was stubbornness but now I see that when things got tough I would just get going. It is a habit. Develop this habit to be 'on' all the time not just during the tough and rough spots. Being fearless is risky. As you develop the attitude of courage through action you will become fearless.

Stop Worrying About Your Gun Falling Into the Wrong Hands by Getting a Fireproof Gun Safe

Getting a handgun is without doubt a good move to secure your safety in the case of an emergency, nevertheless one must be absolutely certain that the gun does not fall into the wrong hands, for instance into the possession of one’s own children! Over the last couple of years there have been numerous stories of children opening fire in public areas such as schools, and most of these children managed to get hold of the weapon in question from their own homes, and that too due to the carelessness of their parents that do not secure the storage of their guns properly. Even more shocking is the fact that most parents keep their guns loaded as well in addition to not securing them in a safe and out-of-bounds location!

Thus the most important thing to be accomplished is to ensure that all your firearms are kept in a safe, secure location that isn’t accessible to your children and the teenagers at home, who can tend to act rashly at times. The most practical way of doing this is by purchasing a safe to store your gun safely, and you would be able to keep your gun away from your kids effectively without having to worry that they would have access to your firearm. Once you decide on this option, you should start exploring your options to determine the best safe for yourself. In addition to keeping your gun away from the wrong hands, you could also opt to get a fireproof safe that would protect your gun brilliantly if there is an occurrence of a fire at your home.

Now that you are certain about getting a safe to store your gun, you would need to determine what kind of a safe that you would need. If you have only one gun in your possession, the best option would be a small, portable safe that holds one gun brilliantly with its ammunition or spare magazines. The size of this safe would also depend on the size of your gun. On the other hand, if you hold several guns, you would need a bigger safe that would be able to hold all your guns in addition to their ammo and magazines safely within a single safe. Or you could opt to get a few safes to cater for each of your guns, this might be a more expensive option, but in terms of portability this is the ideal option, as you could carry these guns securely with you when required.

And you would also need to decide how you want to secure these safes without allowing others to have access to them. The conventional method is through the use of keys, but then you are open to the risk of misplacing your keys or losing possession of them to the wrong hands. You also have the option of analog or digital numerical-combination locks to secure your safes. Last but not least, for those looking for a more sophisticated and secure method to safeguard your guns, biometric safes (also known as fingerprint gun safes) would be the best option for you! These safes utilize the fingerprint access system to lock and unlock the safes, thus they are exceptionally secure and safe to have.

With the above-mentioned pointers and obtaining the right fireproof gun safe for yourself, you can now stop worrying about your gun falling into the wrong hands!

The Facts About Acoustic Ceiling Tiles

What should you know about acoustic ceiling tiles as far as what they are and why they are popular? I had heard of acoustic ceiling tiles, but had never bothered to ask what they were until I started looking at installing a ceiling in my basement. I did not know what they were, but with a little research I was able to find out a lot about acoustic ceiling tiles. Here is some of what I picked up. Take a look so that you will know what they are and whether or not they may be right for you and your ceiling situation.

Acoustic ceiling tiles were originally developed by interior designers who wanted to find a way to lower ceilings in a room while deadening the noise. With a acoustic ceiling tiles, a grid of metal strips is suspended from the room's actual original ceiling. Each of the sound-absorbing acoustic ceiling tiles is dropped into the sections created by the grid. The ceilings, in addition to deadening sound, can also hide unsightly fixtures, wires, and pipes that may be along the ceiling of older buildings and basements.

The popularity of acoustic ceiling tiles reached its height in the '60's up through the early part of the 1980's. Since they originally contained asbestos, the ban on it greatly affected the production of acoustic ceiling tiles in 1978. Many people had to hire specialists to remove the asbestos acoustic ceilings and replace them with alternate materials or restore rooms to their original bare ceilings.

The biggest advantage you will find with acoustic ceiling tiles is that they do damped noise between floors of your home or building. They can also be easily painted so that the ceiling can match the décor or palate of the room. However, there are drawbacks to acoustic ceiling tiles as well. If they get wet, they stain and the pooling water on top can cause them to fall unexpectedly. In addition, acoustic ceiling tiles look terrible when they stain and have to be bleached to get their original look back after water damage. If you do need to replace one of the acoustic ceiling tiles, though, it is pretty easy to do.

Acoustic ceiling tiles can be used to fix up a room fast. You can avoid doing a lot of construction by simply hanging a grid from a bad looking ceiling and hanging some acoustic ceiling tiles. The room will instantly look newer and at a fraction of what you would likely pay to actually have the old ceiling restored or updated in appearance.

For your ceiling needs, only you will be able to tell if you need acoustic ceiling tiles. Consider them, though, if you want to cut down on sound between floors of your home or business without spending a lot of money on the renovation. Acoustic ceiling tiles are easy to replace, cheap to maintain, and will allow you to paint the ceiling to match the rest of the room. When it comes time for your new ceiling, look into acoustic ceiling tiles and you may be surprised at how great your new look will be without spending a lot.

Look After Your Floors By Refinishing Them

When it comes to choosing the right flooring around the home, a great and popular choice to go with is the use of hardwood flooring. The good news for people who are decorating their floors with hardwood flooring is that there is a massive range of hardwood floors out there to choose from that cater for everyone’s differing tastes.

The problem is, however, that hardwood flooring can be quite expensive and therefore the appropriate care will be needed to keep the flooring looking new and lasting as long as possible. Naivety can be a big cause of damage to the flooring, whether it is through a lack of knowledge, or for any other reason.

Look After Your Floors by Refinishing Them

People may not think about this but in order to keep the floors looking as immaculate as possible and to last as long as possible, refinishing them is essential. Wooden floors, over time, start to lose their original finish and this is when refinishing is needed to help to restore it.

There is a simple way to test your flooring in order to see if it needs to be refinished or if it is just dirty and in need of a good clean.

You should go to an area of the floor where it has the most use in terms of people walking on it. All you need to do is put a small amount of water onto the floor in order to see if it forms beads, which will mean that the floor is sealed the way that it should be. On the other hand, if the water soaks in straight away, this means that you need to refinish your wooden flooring.

Take Care When Refinishing Hardwood Floors

Something that needs a bit of logical thought is exactly how to refinish the flooring. If you are sanding the floor, basically, you are chipping away parts of the flooring and the end result is that you will have lost some of the wood because of it. Also, as the wood has been chipped away, this leaves the floor looking thinner and it is then more susceptible to damage as well as looking extremely worn.

It is because of this very reason that it is an extremely wise idea to use a specialist to do it for you in order to avoid damaging your floors. The extra care given by a specialist will ensure that the flooring is restored back to good health and this can help to increase the life of the wood, allowing you to get much longer use out of it.

As well as having a specialist take care of looking after the work, it also helps to save a lot of time and extremely hard work in some cases. If there is a previous finish to remove, this can be very hard work and you will need to take care of it in order to prevent causing any lasting damage.

As you can see, it is a very wise idea to get in contact with specialist hardwood floor services in order to repair any time worn wooden floors. In most cases, the floor can look even better than when it started, so this alone is a great reason to choose a specialist for the job.

Top Five Acid Reflux Prescription Medications

For some people, finding the right acid reflux prescription medications is something that turns out to be very simple, but for others, there may be some trial and error involved.

This condition is pretty straight forward, and there are many effective treatments and medications. Once you find something that works for you, you will probably have to take it for a few months to heal damage, though sometimes lifestyle changes can work wonders and you might be able to stop sooner. Most medications are of the once-a-day variety, but your doctor will tailor your prescription to your needs.

Here are five of the most common and most used medications for acid reflux.

Prilosec (generic name- omeprazole): You have probably seen commercials for Prilosec on television, and you might think it is an over-the-counter medication. Though there is an OTC form, there is also prescription strength available. This type of medication is a PPI, which stands for ‘proton pump inhibitor.’ This means that the medication is meant to lessen the amount of acid the stomach produces. Less acid production means less acid going up through the weakened stomach valve. This medication can promote healing of damaged tissues in as little as two months. This drug is swallowed whole, and has not been tested on pregnant or nursing moms.

Nexium (generic name- esomeprazole): Like Prilosec, this is a drug that is a PPI. It suppresses the enzymes that produce stomach acid to alleviate the symptoms and damage associated with GERD or gastric reflux. This comes in pill form, but there is an intravenous dose for special cases. This is often taken one hour before a meal, and is swallowed whole for best results. Also like Prilosec, this has not been studied with pregnant and nursing women.

Prevacid (generic name-lansoprazole): This is another of the PPI drugs, and it helps retard acid production while allowing the damaged tissues in the esophagus to properly heal. They can be swallowed, or there are tablets that can be placed under the tongue to dissolve rather than swallowed whole. Intravenous doses are available for those who cannot handle the tablet. This is also not be recommended for women who are pregnant or nursing.

Protonix (generic name- pantoprazole): Protonix is also a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) but is perhaps not as well known as the others. It works in the same manner though, and comes in only pill form at this time. Though this is a treatment for GERD, it is also known to be an effective treatment for ulcers. This pill might be taken in whole form only about 30 minutes before a meal for up to two months to decide if it is effective and if healing has occurred. This can not yet be recommended for pregnant and/or nursing women.

Tagamet (generic name-cimetidine): Though this is often thought of as an over-the-counter medication, it is available in prescription strength for those with persistent and daily heartburn problems. This works to stop acid production, but is different than the PPI variety of drug. It blocks histamines, which are known to stimulate acid production. In most cases, the prescription strength is only needed when there has been damage to the tissues. This is taken in pill form, and there is no research as to whether pregnant or nursing women should take it or not.

As with any type of medication, there is always the possibility that one of these might interact with other medications you may be taking for another condition, so be sure to let both your doctor and your pharmacist know what else you are taking.

You should find relief very quickly with each of these, and if you do not, talk to your doctor. You might need a different dosage of these acid reflux prescription medications, or you may not have acid reflux at all. There are times when other problems can mimic this condition, so if your meds are not working, you should get a second opinion.

The 7 Personal Training Fat Loss Rules

Fat loss is a complex science. Metabolism, energy systems, lean muscle tissue development; all of these things can make your head spin when you are new to exercise and want to learn the best and most efficient way to lose fat. I have developed a system that I use effectively with my personal training groups. They see huge gains in fat loss and have fun training at the same time.

In order to effectively and permanently lose fat, you must change your metabolism. In the simple sense, metabolism is the way that your body processes and breaks down energy (calories). If you increase your metabolism your body will burn calories more efficiently at rest and not just during exercise sessions.
Here are my 7 Personal Training Rules for Fat Loss:

1. Eat small meals (5-6 per day): Eating small meals throughout the day will keep your metabolism at a consistent level and will help you avoid spikes in insulin due to large meals. This also helps to avoid becoming too hungry and making bad choices. If you are fueling your body with good nutritious food throughout the day, your energy will increase and you will have stronger workouts, ultimately leading to more fat loss.

2. Post workout nutrition: Many people avoid eating after a workout because they do not want to ingest any calories after burning so many. The post workout nutrition is important to recovery and also to the body's metabolic system. Try including a small liquid protein mix no later than 30 minutes after your training session. During this time frame your body is primed to receive nutrients and protein, and the liquid will digest much easier than food. Mixing the protein with water will also help with hydration. The shake should be anywhere from 150-200 calories so I recommend a scoop of high quality protein with 8-10 ounces of water.

3. Hydration: Keeping the water levels in your body consistent is crucial to fat loss. Hydration can increase the metabolism, not a lot but even a little is better than nothing. Drinking water will help to fuel your workouts, increase energy, and eliminate all of the other fluids that people drink (many with a lot of calories).

4. Strength Training: Strength training is a key to fat loss and lean muscle development.
Increasing lean muscle tissue will lead to a faster metabolism and calorie burn at rest. 2-3 days per week of large muscle group movements, full body workouts, and heavy weights will burn a lot of calories, increase your metabolism, and promote fat loss in the most efficient manner.

5. Interval Training: Get rid of the steady state cardio training. Perform shorter and more intense workouts and you will see a boost in your overall calorie burn. The harder that you force your body to work, the more calories you will burn. This does not mean running for a longer block of time on the treadmill, just increase your intensity. 30 minutes of training with 1-2 minute intervals followed by 1-2 minutes of recovery work will burn a higher percentage of calories and increase your metabolism post-exercise. Do not believe the hype about "fat burning zones". You will burn fat as a fuel source but your overall calorie expenditure is much less. Other great conditioning options include jumping rope, sprints, circuits, and stair running. Make your body do all of the work and avoid machines!

6. Vary your routine every 3-4 weeks: The body is a smart machine. After a few weeks of a certain stimulus, the body will respond and results will become less efficient. Changing repetitions, sets, tempos, weight used, number of days that you train, and rest periods will all help to keep the workout fresh. After a few weeks, change the workout completely.

7. Have fun with exercise and training: Do not think of exercise as a chore. Every workout will enhance your overall well-being both mentally and physically. Make it fun by spicing up your workouts. Hire a personal trainer to set up a routine and push you beyond your normal limits. Think of training as a road to health and happiness. Exercise can improve your overall lifestyle, both physically and mentally.

Use the Seven Personal Training Rules of Fat Loss to get your training on the right track. Applying these principles will help to avoid a lot of wasted time and energy. Efficient and fun workouts, along with a combination of strength training and interval conditioning, will elevate your metabolism, burn fat, and get you into great shape.

Traveling in Mexico: The Guelaguetza Festival in Oaxaca

Question: What do the King and Queen of Spain, the Emperor of Japan, and
the Princess of Monaco all have in common?

Answer: They've all attended the Oaxacan festival of Guelaguetza.

The pride of Oaxaca, held on the last two Mondays of July, this year July
17th and 24th, the festival of Guelaguetza is Oaxaca's answer to Rio's
carnival. Planning and preparation take nearly one year and the results
show it. It is spectacular to say the least. For the weeks prior to the
festival it already pervades virtually every aspect of Oaxacaqueño life.

Beginning in the morning around 9:00 or 10:00, brilliantly costumed folk
dancers from each of the seven regions of Oaxaca perform traditional dances
to live music and toss offerings of fruit and produce to spectators at the
end of each folk routine. Culminating the festival are the colorful
Pineapple dance by the agile women of the Papaloapan region and the
exciting, stately, Feather Dance by men depicting the Spanish conquest of
Mexico. Seating for the event, held at the Auditorio de Guelaguetza on a
hill known as "Cerro de Fortin" to the north overlooking the city, go on
sale months in advance of the event. There are free seating areas in this
open-air stadium but you must be there very early for any hope of a
seat. You'll need to wear a wide-brimmed hat or sunshade and bring plenty
of water to drink as the festivities last several hours. The Saturday
prior to the main event, delegations from each of the seven regions stage a
colorful, musical promenade through the city streets.

If you miss the festival, not to worry, videos of past festivals are
usually on sale at travel agencies in town. Ask around for availability
and the best prices.

Be sure to check out my other articles in the two continuing series: Teaching English in Mexico and Traveling in Mexico. If you would like more information, have questions or comments, the author can be e-mailed; see address below.

Solar Power For the Home – The Time Could Be Now

It appears that whenever you turn on the TV or open a newspaper nowadays, the prospect of solar power for the home looks better and better. The media is rife with stories of people losing their jobs as well as their homes. It kind of makes you wonder if a less expensive source of energy could have helped these folks cut costs and hang on to their most valuable asset and not have to sell it well below market value, or even worse, lose it to foreclosure. If you are looking for ways to cut energy costs by installing a solar energy system, it is important that you understand some of the solar energy fundamentals.

First, to optimize solar power for the home and if you live north of the equator, you should orientate your living areas to the southern part of your home. This is the reason. This is the part of the home that receives the most sunlight during the day, so it obviously will be the warmest part of your home. If possible, keep the lesser-used rooms such as storage areas and unused bedrooms to the north. That way, the solar energy is being utilized the most where you actually need it, which ultimately will make your system more energy efficient.

Another way to get the most out of solar power for the home is to make sure your home itself is as energy-efficient as possible. This means being certain that the roof, walls, and floors are properly insulated to prevents any drafts. The windows on the south side of your home should be larger to take advantage of the warmth of the daylight sun, and the windows on the north side should be smaller to help keep the warm air in. Also, if possible, position doors and windows opposite each other to allow for cool breezes to flow through the house during the summer.

There are also things you can do to the outside when using solar power for the home. When planting trees, for example, position them so that they direct a cooling breeze into the home in summer, and be certain that any external shading structures such as awnings are large enough so that they block out the summer sun.

While these changes may require some effort and minor expense initially, the switch to solar power should save you money in energy bills in the long run. Another great place to learn more about solar power systems is Solar Roofing.

European Tourists Irritate Citizens of New York

This year the strong Euro allowed the Europeans to go to the USA at half price for Christmas shopping. According to the Tourism Department, the city was visited by approximately 1.3 million of foreigners.

Philip Kasinitz, culture researcher and historian from the New-York University Hunter College, said that tourists had never been welcomed in this city, but that year they were especially disliked. And the strong Euro is to blame. Since at present it costs approximately one dollar and a half, the number of foreigners who have arrived in New York for Christmas shopping is much bigger than usual.

Tourists occupy pavements, move too slow, suddenly come to a stop to gaze at the sights, stand in long queues at McDonald's restaurants and cafes Starbucks, and need not less that five minutes to make an order in English.

According to "Inopressa" with the reference to "New York Times", this year all shops sell all their goods at half price. At least the Europeans think so. Meanwhile, certain shops began accepting Euros along with dollars.

Local citizens are not pleased with tourists, despite the fact that last year they invested almost 25 billion dollars in the city's economy. A few days ago the rag "New York Post" published a malicious instruction for New-Yorkers under the title "Which City Districts Are Free From Tourists So Far".

The way by vBulletin®, the Authorities of New York are On planning to let a Dutch company to build an amazing park at the Governors Island in New York . They plan it to be a place – completely different from the cityscape and close to nature as much as possible. But the tourists will surely be attending this place too …

The Missing Penile Bridge and the Creation of the Penile Moat – Horrors of Circumcision Part II

This series of articles is intended to better explain to men (and women) some of the adverse effects that comes with the barbaric practice of circumcision in the human male. This article will discuss the penile bridge and its destruction and loss through the circumcisional process.

If one looks at an uncircumcised penis, one will notice something interesting that isn’t apparent in the penis that is circumcised. In the uncircumcised penis, the entire penis is composed of a nearly unbroken sheath (or covering) that starts at the base of the penis, continues through the surface of the foreskin, and travels all the way to the tip of the head of the penis. The only area in this covering (or sheath) that is unbroken is where the foreskin ends at the head of the penis. At this region there is a small “stair-stepping” effect where the thin skin of the foreskin “steps down” and ends, and is picked up again by the skin of the head of the penis.

In other words, there is nearly a completely unbroken covering to the penis. The foreskin is an integral and important part of this.

Now, if we look at a circumcised penis, what do we see? What happens to our unbroken penile sheath? It’s easy to see, as the penile sheath has been broken and is no longer a continuitous structure. Simply follow the penile shaft, starting from the base of the penis, and follow it up the shaft towards the head. Now, when we approach the head of the penis, what do we see? We see a sulcus (or groove) where the shaft meets the head. This is the Penile Moat since the foreskin is missing in this particular penis.

In the uncircumcised penis, the foreskin creates a bridge that crosses this sulcus in the penile shaft. When the foreskin is missing, the “bridge” is removed and we are left with this grooved area behind the penile head. This is important, from a sensory receptor point of view, because this region (in the groove) will not have any contact with the vagina during intercourse. As the banded muscular walls of the vagina (that run with the penile length) close in on the penis, this groove will not have any contact with the vaginal walls. This is especially true because this grooved area runs perpendicular to the vaginal muscles. Because this area gets no contact with the vaginal walls, no sensation is picked up in this area. So, if we had two identical penises, one circumcised and one uncircumcised, the circumcised penis would have less surface area contact with the vaginal walls. This lack of contact means lack of perception and, thus, lack of sexual perceived pleasure.

In the uncircumcised man, this sulcus is covered by the foreskin. This is why it is called the Penile Bridge. It bridges this area between the shaft and the head of the penis. So, when the uncircumcised penis is in the vagina, this sulcus will be covered and this foreskin “bridge” will perceive sensation and, thus, relay sexual pleasure from its contact with the vaginal walls. No bridge means a decrease in sensation and a decrease in sexual pleasure because of the leftover penile moat that is created.

As the penis isn’t very big to begin with, even a small amount of surface area that is compromised will definitely be relayed in less sensation and less pleasure. While this region is small, nonetheless, it is still important to allow a man to perceive and experience the height of sexual pleasure. Without this penile bridge, he loses out on what was naturally put in place to help him enjoy as much sexual pleasure as possible.

Georg von Neumann

A Brief Guide to the Costar Vehicle Dealers Program

The Costar vehicle dealers program is a unique way for government entities to purchase cars, trucks, and SUVs for work-related purposes. Many state and local agencies have taken advantage of the program; if you're interested in participating yourself, here's how it works.

What It Is

Costar is a cooperative purchasing program run by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It helps local entities obtain a wider range of choices – as well as competitive prices – that may not otherwise be available. It was created with the passage of the Commonwealth Procurement Code of 1998. In 2004, the General Assembly expanded the authority of the Department of General Services (DGS) to enter into contracts to benefit state-affiliated entities as well as local public procurement units, or LPPUs. According to the DGS, thousands of companies are members of the program.

There are several different entities that fall under the category of LPPU. For instance, school districts and municipalities are considered LPPUs, as are non-profit, tax-exempt public health, and educational institutions. Fire and ambulance companies also qualify, as does any other entity that procures supplies or services through public funds.

Why It's Important

Local governments are feeling the budget pinch more than ever, and as a result, many agencies are forced to use vehicles that are out of date and unreliable. Costar vehicle dealers help those agencies by offering competitive prices. State entities not only have more choices, they also get better discounts as a result.

The program is relatively easy to understand. Let's say that a company that sells cars chooses to participate in the program. That seller can then sell vehicles that will be used by the state or local government. An employee of an agency, in many instances, will be able to use government-issued funds in order to make the purchase. It's very important to note, however, that there are several stipulations to the program that differ in various cities. However, the program can offer not only deep discounts, but also provide a great deal of convenience.

As a result, governmental departments can upgrade to fuel-efficient, reliable transportation with flexible finance options. This will free up money for other tasks, such as administrative work and addressing manpower needs. The program also substantially reduces paperwork and red tape.

Businesses also see substantial benefits. They are able to sell large quantities of vehicles and move inventory off their property. Costar vehicle dealers, like other sellers, have to pay interest on cars that sit on their lots – the longer they sit there, the more interest they have to pay. In addition, as part of their contracts they receive revenue from any repairs or service that is needed.

The Costar vehicle dealers program is a "win-win" for both governmental agencies and businesses. If you would like more information, contact a local participant.

Your Toilet Tank Lid is Cracked – Basic Home Repairs

There are basically four parts to almost any toilet. The first and the largest would be the toilet bowl and this is the area that you will be depositing your waste directly into, the next will be the toilet tank which is the area that holds the water, before the toilet is flushed and is usually located on top of the toilet bowl.

Then we have the toilet seat which is the part of the toilet that you actually sit on, while making your deposits into the toilet. The last part of the toilet, besides all of the movable components that are located within the tank, will be the tank lid.

It's not uncommon to find a damaged tank lid. The biggest problem becomes finding a replacement. There is more than one way to damage one of these lids and once they are damaged, there is a good chance that you will need to replace the entire toilet.

It's often hard to find an exact toilet lid replacement. However, sometimes you can actually replace the toilet tank and save yourself a couple of dollars. If you're toilet lid is cracked, I recommend taking a damaged item down to your local home improvement center or plumbing supply warehouse to find a replacement.

You might need to buy the entire toilet tanks, even if you do not need a new tank. These toilet tank lids often are not sold separately. I would recommend purchasing the toilet tank and storing in safely, just in case you're toilet tank ever has problems.

Hopefully you will never need to replace the tank, however it would provide you or your family and friends with a spare tank if needed.

History of Laffy Taffy – America’s Candy

For those who have no idea what I’m referring to, Laffy Taffy is a chewy candy that is one of the most famous candy brands in America. Outside America, taffy is also known as toffee. Either way, it’s sweet, sticky and extremely popular among big and small kids alike.

The history of Laffy Taffy began in 1971 when they were produced as a tie-in to a movie that had been released that year. The movie did alright but Laffy Taffy stayed on. Each of these candy wrappers had a joke printed on it. This was done so that the word Laffy would always be made in relation to laughing. Children of the time played a part in the history of Laffy Taffy too – they sent jokes to the confectionery company, which then printed the best ones on the wrappers.

However, the sweet had already existed since the 1800’s, much longer before the history of Laffy Taffy began. Taffy itself was first written of in 1817 but no one knows if it came from England, Scotland or France. The Scot version of taffy is known as tablet as it is so hard it has to be broken with a small metal hammer.

The soft, chewy candy that has come to be known as taffy nowadays made its appearance in the mid to late 1800’s. It was simple to produce and was sold wrapped in wax paper. Taffy pulling, the process by which taffy is made enjoyed status as a popular social event in the 1870’s. Young people of the time could socialize and court without fear of reprimand.

It is currently available in flavors such as chocolate mousse, grape, cherry, banana, blue raspberry, strawberry, and sour apple. Its popularity was revived in 2005 with the release of another movie centered on an eccentric candy-maker.

Interesting Ways to Use Coat Rack

When it comes to restoring a home, you will find many difficulties in organization the house. Back then, most people would use only the attics to store things, but nowadays, we use garages and almost any free space around the house. Most of us don’t even us a clothing rack anymore for our clothes as we all have closets.

Many people forget how useful a coat rack is for storage purposes. You can put so many coats and hats on it, and if you get the ones with shelves, you can store lots of small objects on there. Some people use it to place decorations on there. Besides putting hats and coats, you can put keys, or anything that you can imagine. The problem is that most people will only see it as a rack for coats only as the name states.

I know that some are not built to have multi-purposes other than to hang a few pieces of clothing, but the ones with shelves can definitely be used with multiple purposes. You should look for one that has a better finish for a little more money. I rather pay a few extra dollars for higher quality than one that is only mediocre at best. You want a strong, durable one that can hold several heavy coats. I remember purchasing one from a cheap thrift store, and one of the hooks broke after about a week when I tried to hang two coats on there. I was very disappointed because I had to spend more money to buy another one. The lesson that I learned there is that you should not buy junk because you will end up spending extra money to buy another one.

What other reasons are there to use a standalone coat rack? Some people use it to showoff vintage clothing. My uncle has a very old classic Hawaiian shirt that he hangs on his coat rack. He does not use it for real purposes other than to show off his collection of vintage clothing. I know a friend of mine who only use it for ties. He has over 20 different colors and patterns of ties that he hangs on it. It looks like a Christmas decoration all year round!

No matter how you use one, there is no right or way way to use it. You can use it to dry your clothes if you want to put it next to your washing machine. Who is stopping you?