New Staple-First Technique Maximizes the Breast Lift and Minimizes the Scarring

Last year in the United States, approximately 60,000 women chose to have a Breast Lift (or Mastopexy), a surgery that raises and reshapes breasts that have sagged from pregnancy, significant weight change, or the natural process of aging. A number of these women, wanting more breast volume, had augmentation with saline or silicone gel implants at the same time.

Augmentation Mastopexy is a complex surgery that challenges even the most skilled and experienced plastic surgeon, who must deal with the opposing forces required to make breasts fuller (by stretching the skin with implants) yet firmer (by tightening the skin with a breast lift).

To do this surgery, plastic surgeons commonly draw a complex pattern on the breast, remove some of the excess skin, and then tailor tack these tissues together. They do the same on the other breast, and then trim excess skin multiple times to provide maximum tightening and make sure that the breasts were still symmetrical.

About six years ago, when I was performing an Augmentation Mastopexy, the proverbial light bulb went off: If a surgeon tightens and tailors the breasts first with surgical skin staples, perhaps he or she could identify the total amount of excess skin to be removed and previsualize the final breast shape and symmetry before making an incision. I found this to be true.

Over a five-year period, I used this technique on 45 patients. The findings were published in the Sept. 2009 issue of the American Journal of Cosmetic Surgery, in an article entitled “Augmentation Mastopexy for Moderately to Severely Ptotic Breasts: Previsualizing Breast Shape and Symmetry With the Innovative and Versatile Staple-First Technique.”

This new approach is especially useful for women with moderately to severely ptotic (droopy) breasts. No matter what women want size-wise, or how droopy or uneven they are, the surgeon can produce consistent and predictable results.

For me, the technique has taken the guesswork out how much excess skin needs to be removed. It allows the surgeon to get the maximum lift and create the best symmetry and shape in one simple step with the least amount of scarring. In addition, it allows the surgeon to adjust for any asymmetry of the breasts, which is common among women.

And because there is no longer the need to do multiple skin trimmings, the operative time is shorter, patients receive less anesthesia, and their recuperation is easier.

With the adage of measure twice, cut once, it is very comforting to preview the end result of an Augmentation Mastopexy before making an incision.

Ghost Towns Near Fargo, North Dakota

Are you near Fargo and looking for a little adventure or some great photo opportunities? There are some surprising finds near Fargo that will really get you interested, especially if you’re an avid watcher of ghost hunting shows or the History Channel. The ghost towns near Fargo will keep you occupied and on your toes for days!

I’m sure you probably thought ghost towns were only way down south in Arizona or Texas, but they are actually scattered all over the United States. North Dakota has its share of ghost towns with 66 ghost towns and 10 near Fargo. Some have more abandoned buildings still standing than others, and some still have a few residents.

Arena, North Dakota was abandoned actually not too long ago. It looks like a nice small town, but no one is living there. The remains of a falling down school, elevator, church and some residences are left. The white church with grayed wood is especially photogenic. Arena is 180 miles from Fargo.

Havana is 109 miles south of Fargo right near the South Dakota border. The entire town is full of abandoned buildings.

Kidville has only some foundations and blocks left, but has a very interesting history. It is 1.5 miles southwest of Fort Ransom and is 88 miles from Fargo. The heyday of the city was between 1897 and 1923. It was the first city in the county to have telephones. From 1917 to 1919 an insane asylum escapee hid around the town and threatened residents killing one.

Sherbrooke is 84 miles from Fargo and has several overgrown vacant homes and a stone foundation from a large building. It once was the county seat of Steele county.

Garfield is 71 miles from Fargo. The town was moved in 1884 to Park River but the oxcart tracks of Kittson Trail, cemetery and church foundations still remain.

North Almont is 229 miles from Fargo. The town has a grain elevator and a shack remaining.

Omemee is 258 miles from Fargo and all that remains are streets, sidewalks and about eight buildings. The city was founded at the intersection of two railroads. The last residents left in the 1980s.

Hamberg is 178 miles from Fargo with dirt streets, deteriorating wood structures and old masonry buildings. There is an abandoned bank, post office, school and church.

When you go driving to ghost towns, make sure to bring your camera and get out and walk around. Imagine what life was like and what the last few years of the towns were like.

The Process Of Looking Up License Plates

It’s not unusual to be in a situation where you need to look up license plates. A search like that is required in case you need to find someone who might have committed a crime against you or caused an accident. Of course, there could be other reasons like if are interested in buying a vehicle on which you saw a “For Sale” sign, but the only info you have about is the plate number. Not everyone is allowed to look up license plates, it depends on his purpose and what he is after.If you are allowed to perform a license plate search, this procedure can supply you with information regarding the owner of the vehicle such as his full name and address. What you should know is that civilians can’t just run a license plate trace for free or just do it whenever they wish. This is confidential information, stored in a database at Government-owned computers. It’s not a public type information that anyone can access, in order to protect the citizens and secure their privacy. The Police Department and the state DMV are the only authorized institutions that can perform license plate searches.

However, things have changed a bit as the Internet really took off. Now, if you have legitimate reasons, you can lookup license plates online by registering at one of the tens of websites offering this service. These websites require a certain registration fee which depends on the period of time you have access for (typically for one year) and the number of searches you are allowed to make (could be unlimited).

Looking up license plates over the Internet is simple. After you register, you login at the website using the account information received during the registration process and then provide the license plate number, and as a result you obtain the owner’s name, address, phone number, vehicle identification number and whether or not there are any liens on the vehicle.

Besides doing it over the Internet, there is another way to lookup license plates and that is by hiring a personal investigator to do the job for you. This is by far the most expensive way, but it might be your only option left in case the website search didn’t provide the necessary results. Such private investigators are officially authorized to access resources and tools that the public sector does not, and in addition, they have specialized training.

The Police Department and the state DMV are the only institutions authorized to lookup license plates. There are lot of websites offering lookup telephone number type of service. There are several legitimate websites on the Internet that allow you to conduct a license plate search, but there is a fee for registering and it varies from $30 to as much as $200 depending on the options. A criminal search reveals information about the criminal background of a given individual.

Hinges – Cabinets, Doors, and a Whole Mess of Other Things Wouldn’t Work Without Them

One of the most commonly overlooked piece of hardware selections are hinges. We simply take them for granted, but the thing is, if they wouldn’t be in place, a lot of different things wouldn’t work without them.

Really, hinges are extremely important and here is the list of just some of the things that would not be around without out them including doors, cabinets, hope chests, storage chests, cigar boxes, stove doors, swing out windows, toilet seats, and a slew of other items, so many, that it would be foolish to list them all.

So, as you can see, hinges are a big deal and how they work is that they are an object that connects two things, like a frame to a cabinet door, allowing a set amount of angled rotation between the two things. They can be made from all sorts of materials and the most popular are ones that are crafted out of metal including steel, brass, stainless steel, bronze, and copper.

There are many, many types of hinges available and here is a brief guide on some of those that are offered:

– Pivot hinges – These are ones that actually revolve in the openings in the bottom and top of a cabinet or door frame.

– Continuous hinges – These kind run the length of the entire cabinet door or lid if it’s on a storage box. They are sometimes referred to as piano hinges.

– Concealed hinges – This selection is one that you cannot see from the outside of the cabinet or door, it is built to be put inside the door and is crafted from two different parts.

Now, these three hinges are just the tip of the iceberg as to all the selections that are available because there are actually a slew more to choose from and some of the other options include those of the butterfly variety, others that are known as mortise versions, some of the strap variety, and ones that are simply flush mounted on doors.

With hinges, believe it or not, but they actually have a decorative quality to them because the different metals they are crafted from can be finished in a number of lovely ways, creating a variety of eye-catching selections that will add to the look of whatever they are installed on. For example, you can get one crafted from stainless steel that has a brushed finish or you can get one made from bronze that has an oil rubbed finished. Each metal can also be polished while some can even be forged with patterns and elegant scrollwork.

For a great way to check out all the hinges that you could purchase for your home, just hit the Internet for some online shopping. It is a fast, user friendly way to look into the many selections and what you buy will be shipped right to your home. So, no wasting a trip to the store.

In the end, hinges are a pretty important hardware selection and just think on this, without them, where would we be? Back in the dark ages, right?

Solid Surface Counter Tops and Crock Pots – They Do Not Mix

Lots of people love to cook with crock pots, rice cookers, electric skillets, griddles, and other types of electric cookers that are designed for use on counter tops. While these are very convenient items for slow cooking, they are also very often the culprit in a lot of cracks in expensive Corian and other types of solid surface counter tops.

As a solid surface repair expert I have repaired hundreds of counter top cracks that were directly caused by the use of these convenient yet potentially harmful items. That being said, don’t go throw your cookers out the door. Simply take some precautions and you can keep on cooking.

My personal rule of thumb for protecting my solid surfaces at home from heat damage is this. If I can’t hold the hot item in my hand without it burning me then I will not put it directly on my counter top.

If you are going to use any electric cooker on your counter top then you need to protect the counter top surface from the heat by using a cutting board or trivet that the counter top fabricator provides. If your fabricator did not provide you with at least one cutting board or trivet then you need to go and purchase your own. In most cases, a fabricator will provide you with this at the time of installation. Often times though, someone may have purchased a home that has had the solid surface counter tops for a while before the home was purchased. Usually in this case the cutting boards have moved out with the previous homeowners. People love their cutting boards and they usually take them when they move.

It is very important to note that a trivet or cutting board that sits flat on the counter top and has no air flow under it is just as bad as using no trivet at all. If you go and purchase your own board you should put small bumper feet on the bottom of the board. A simple clearance of about 1/4″ is sufficient to provide air flow between the cutting board and the counter top. Also, I am not a big fan of those thin little glass composite cutting boards, at least not for heat protection.

It is also important to note that a cloth potholder sitting on the counter top is not enough protection either. They are fine for putting hot pots that will cool fairly quickly but even then I would double them up, just out of an abundance of caution. Never use a pot holder as the only heat protection for any plug in heat producing gadgets because they are not enough protection and that would also create a fire hazard.

Your counter tops were expensive and they are durable and high quality. They are not indestructible though and with just a little precaution they can last and be beautiful for a lifetime. On the bright side though, you made a very intelligent choice by using solid surface counter tops because they can always be repaired if they get damaged, unlike some other types of counter tops.

How To Pack and Prepare a Used CNC Router For Shipment or Relocation

When buying or selling a used CNC router or any CNC machine there are a few basics elements required in order to minimize the potential for damage in shipment. CNC routers are robotic cutting systems. They have a number of moving parts as well as electrical components that must be stabilized and protected before a shipment. Most CNC routers are too large to ship via enclosed trailer. They most often must be shipped via flatbed truck. When sourcing a truck for a shipment it is critical that the trailer is Air Ride and fully tarped. This language should be included in writing in the trucking contract.

The basic concept is to immobilize the moving parts (gantry/router assembly and table), Support the weight of the spindle itself, securing the controller to the table, and weather protecting the rails and electrical systems.

Here are the basics:

Immobilizing the Gantry and Table

For your standard 3 axis CNC router there are 3 areas to stabilize mechanically. The X,Y, and Z axes. This can be accomplished in two ways. In an ideal scenario the original shipping brackets could be re-installed. Most machines are shipped new with factory shipping brackets designed to lock down the moving axes. Assuming they are not with the machine we recommend using ratchet straps to stabilize the moving parts. Depending on the configuration of the machine at least two straps should be used pulling in opposite directions creating a situation where the gantry or router head assembly is immobilized. If straps are not available this immobilization can be accomplished using 2×4 lumber.

Supporting the Router Head Assembly:

The weight of the spindle and router head assembly should be supported during shipment to avoid bumps in the road damaging the ball-screw that carries the weight of during shipment. This is accomplished by lowering the router head onto a block of foam or wood and immobilizing it. Essentially the wood or foam carries the weight of the assembly.


Whenever possible a controller should remain connected to the machine. NEVER CUT WIRES!!! I can’t emphasize that enough. The controller should be wrapped in bubble wrap and banded to the table in a manner prescribed by the manufacturer. Some manufacturers prefer the control tower to remain upright. Most of the time laying it on its back on the CNC router table is sufficient. Make sure the control is secured with straps or banding. This is the most valuable component of the machine and also the most fragile!


Once the axes and control are secured the final step is weatherizing the machine. All exposed and unpainted steel should be greased or oiled. This includes the ball screws and rails. The oil or grease should protect those areas from surface rust that may form if the machine is exposed to rain. In addition as an added precaution we recommend wrapping as much of the machine as possible in plastic wrap. One roll purchased at the local hardware store should suffice. If the machine is too large to wrap completely the plastic wrap should still be used to cover all of the electrical components of the machine. I also like to use the plastic wrap to work as a second layer of security in all the areas that were mechanically stabilized to give further immobilization of any moving parts.

How to Choose the Ideal Square Stern Canoe Plan

It’s always good to have a project or two every year to complete. This provides you with an interesting subject to focus on, a means to pass the time or cool off your temper and a time-proven method to increase your patience and perseverance.

Making use of square stern canoe plans may be more than the challenge you’re looking for but they’ll also provide you with greater rewards. The end product is something that not only you, but your friends and family as well, can surely enjoy. And is there a more pleasant feeling than knowing you’re sailing on a river on a boat you built with your own two hands?

What’s a Square Stern Canoe?

Is a canoe of asymmetrical proportions. It also comes with a squared-off stern that provides mounting space for an outboard motor. It is generally used for lake travel or fishing.

Square Stern Canoe Plans: Determine the Best Plan for You

There are many kinds of square stern canoe plans on sale right now. Neglecting to properly consider your purchase may cause you to end up with one you don’t like or one you can’t use.

Occupancy – How many people do you think will be using the square stern canoe simultaneously? They are capable of holding a maximum of three persons. 14″ square stern canoes are generally two-seaters only. Knowing how many people you take with you on boating trips will help you narrow down your choices for the best plan.

Methods Used in Square Stern Canoe Plans – There are various methods used in plans. Some are especially designed to help beginners build their own plans while others are only meant for users with more years of experience in building their own canoes.

Wood Strip Build Method – This kind of method can be used by beginners. Square stern canoe plans that make use of this method are also less expensive because of lower material costs. Plywood, after all, is always cheaper than old cedar.

Strip and Glue Method – This method makes use of planks of old cedar. Because it costs more to produce planks or strips of wood, plans that make use of this method are, as mentioned, more expensive. They also produce more dust since the process includes sandpapering the strips of woods.

Free Form Method – Only advanced and rule-allergic users should make use of the plans that employ this method. In free form, people need not make use of the common tools provided to help them get by from step to step. With this method, however, users may have a hard time controlling the shape of their square stern canoes and the outcome may not be that good as compared to other ones.

Full Size Drawings – Sometimes, surf canoe kits may come with full size drawings to ensure that you have everything down to pat. There’s one problem however when it comes to using full size drawings. Full scale drawings on high quality drafting velum can change in size if they are left exposed in the shop for several days. If a customer makes use of it, not knowing that it’s already inaccurate, he’ll end up with a square stern canoe with less accurate and ill-fitting proportions.

Now that you know the different types of square stern canoe plans, you should be able to reasonably figure out the best plan for your level of proficiency and temperament. Good luck on building that canoe!

How to Plan a Breakfast with Santa Event

During the holidays, many schools, churches and groups plan a holiday Breakfast with Santa fundraiser. In fact, this is one of the simplest and most fun fundraisers you can host.

Step 1. Select a Charity

The first thing you’ll need is a charity to receive the funds. To me, the best charities to benefit would be related to children – at least during the holidays. Is there a children’s hospital in your town? Or a mission that helps families?

Of course, Toys for Tots is another charity to consider. Rather than requiring an entry fee, have each participant bring a new toy to donate.

Step 2. Location & Time

Now you can begin to plan a date and time. Contact local churches and your city offices to see if you can use their facilities for the event. If one place says “no” keep asking. You will probably need to sign a contract that states you will follow the rules of the building and will clean up after the event. Secure the facility as soon as you can in advance on the event.

Step 3. Find Volunteers

Now that you’ve reserved a place and you have your date, it’s time to call in the troops. You’ll need lots of resources (people and supplies). Hopefully, by asking around, you’ll be able to find ways to get plenty of both for free.

Some places to contact are:

Local Military (If you have a base nearby.), High School Sports Clubs, Colleges and Universities, Local Businesses, Stores, Restaurants, Girl and Boy Scouts, Churches, Schools, and Moms Clubs.

Of course you need a Santa. Ask around and you’ll find someone willing to recruit a family member.

Step 4. Determine Entertainment & Activities

Of course the main attraction will be Santa and the pancakes. However, if you have a large turnout (and, hopefully you will) you’ll want to have other activities planned to entertain the children while they are waiting for their turn with Santa.

Set up a coloring or craft table for the kids. Games are also fun. Alter games you know and put a Christmas twist on them – like pin the nose on Santa.

Set up a storytelling area. All you’ll need is a quiet area, some good Christmas books, and comfy cushions.

Plan photos with Santa. Find a local photographer. Allow the photographer to display a sign for publicity and ask her to donate a percentage of sales to your organization. Oftentimes photographers are happy for the opportunity.

And, of course, Face Painting is a must have.

Step 5. Get the Word out About Your Breakfast with Santa Fundraiser

Now, get the word out so your event is a huge success!

Provide flyers at all the following locations:

Bookstores, Elementary Schools, Grocery Stores, Libraries, Preschools and Daycares.

Also, contact local newspaper, radio stations, and free family publications. Give the news something positive to report about.

That’s all there is to it. From there, just enjoy your event, knowing you’re doing something wonderful and helping others. Merry Christmas!

Making Sure You’re Getting Real Teak Furniture

If you are deciding on what type of furniture to have in your home or yard, you may have thought that you want the best. In the minds of many that means teak wood. But how do you know if a piece of furniture is really teak furniture?

Since teak wood is a very expensive wood, there are some unscrupulous people who would try to pass other pieces of furniture off as teak, in an effort to take your money. Therefore, it is important that you know how to tell the difference between real teak furniture, and a fake, before you make a purchase.

The Feel of Teak

The first thing you need to know about teak wood is that it does not feel like other woods. Sure, it is as hard as wood, but once you put your hand on teak wood you may be able to tell the difference between it and other wood types. The most obvious difference is that unlike other woods, teak does not splinter. If you rub your hands across the surface of a piece of wood you should be able to quickly tell if it’s a fake. The first splinter you get in your hand will be a quick indication.

The Smell of Teak

The next thing that may help you tell if a piece of furniture is real teak furniture or not is the smell. Many things have a distinct smell. Leather in a new car is a good example of one of those scents that you know is the real thing as soon as it hits your nose. In the case of teak furniture, you will smell a very light fragrant smell, coming from the wood. It’s an earthy smell, but one that is different from other freshly cut woods. Teak gets this smell from the oils that are heavily embedded in the wood.

The Color of Teak

Teak wood is unlike other woods in that it can change its look substantially with age. Most woods change as they age only if you offer an outside stimulus. For example, a dark wood may lighten if you leave it in the sun day after day. That is not the wood changing on it’s own, but rather the rays of the sun having a bleaching effect on the wood.

Teak is different. No matter what type of environment you have it in, teak will change its colors, unless you stop it. If you leave it in the sun, the colors of teak wood will change from soft browns and oranges to silvers and white, almost in the way a person may get white hairs are they grow older. On the other hand, teak that is left in the shade, or kept inside, will change to darker browns and oranges over time. Either way, you should be able to identify teak wood by the beautiful grains in the wood.

Normally, teak furniture from a manufacturer is what it says it is, but if you are looking to purchase from a private sale or antique shop, it is best to know the characteristics of the wood to make sure you are getting the real thing.

Warranties to Check for on Used Cisco Switches

When buying used Cisco switches and other secondary market IT equipment, it is important to pay attention to the warranty included on the product. As any IT professional knows, even the best equipment can fail under certain conditions, making a warranty essential to ensure continued operation and support for a product.

Most high end IT and networking equipment have a limited warranty that covers repairs, parts and unit replacement for a specified period. The current industry standard is for one year coverage, but some companies offer longer warranty periods depending on the equipment being purchased.

Choosing a service provider that offers a robust warranty and support option can help protect against any eventualities. For instance, some providers can ship replacement hardware overnight, which can be a tremendous advantage in the event of equipment failure.

One option to protect the hardware investment is to purchase an extended warranty that covers equipment that are at EOL or End-of-Life status. EOL status equipment is no longer in production and therefore no longer supported by the manufacturer. This doesn’t necessarily mean that a product categorized as EOL support is no longer usable, or will not be able to perform as well as brand new hardware.

With proper maintenance and care, even older routers and switches that are no longer in production can perform as well as newer models. A service provider that can offer a warranty for used Cisco switches, routers, and other hardware at EOL status can provide the essential support and service necessary to ensure that the equipment delivers optimal performance.

Paragliding Rapid Descent Techniques Reviewed

Hello! My name is Owen and I was a paragliding instructor in England for a number of years. Nonetheless, all information supplied here is merely referential, not advisory, and any actions you take are entirely your own responsibility. Paragliding is a hazardous sport, and you should check with a fully qualified instructor before attempting any of the following manoeuvres. If you have not qualified at a fully endorsed and licensed school then you have no business being in the air, except as a paying passenger.

This article is about rapid descent techniques. As paraglider pilots we spend most of our time trying to get up, and a very small amount of time trying to get down. Unfortunately the times that we do want to get down are usually the most serious, and all the praying in the world won’t do any good; good training and pre-planning will. If you get yourself into a situation where you have to use a rapid descent technique then you have already stuffed up, but we’re dealing with an invisible element here, so that’s not hard to do.

Big Ears

The most commonly taught rapid descent technique is Big Ears. As this is usually taught in schools it is commonly regarded as being a safe technique, which it mostly is, but I have seen it go very, very wrong on more than one occasion. Changing the shape of your wing from its optimal flying form is a risky process, but it can be better than the alternative if conditions have changed. Most accidents with the Big Ears technique occur because of bad training or a lack of understanding of the forces involved. Here are a few points to bear in mind (though these suggestions are constantly updated, and so should definitely be verified with a current instructor):

  • Each “ear” should be pulled in one at a time, not together. This point is debatable, but as the main danger of pulling in the ears is that the angle of attack is increased (due to the glider descending at a steeper rate), pushing the glider closer to stall-point. It is therefore preferential to lessen the sudden change in angle of attack by taking it in stages, one ear at a time. You will often see pilots pulling in both ears together, but this can go disastrously wrong, as I have personally witnessed.
  • A good way to reduce the angle of attack is to use you speed bar. Before pulling your ears in you should make sure your foot is resting in the speed bar stirrup, and then once your ears are in and your wing has stabilised to push out on the bar, though not necessarily to full stretch. Be careful not to use your bar before pulling your ears in, or you could get a front tuck.
  • The wind gradient is your enemy in this case. You may well be using big ears because of increased wind speed, but it is the descent through the wind gradient to lower wind speeds that can cause a deep stall, brought about by the increased angle of attack. A deep stall at low levels is very dangerous, because you do not have time to recover. Again, speed bar can help to prevent a deep stall, but remember that it is when you think that you are near to safety that the danger is at its greatest.
  • DON’T pump your ears out. This technique used to be taught in schools (pumping the brakes to exit Big Ears), but it is now comprehensively discredited. Pulling on the brakes would increased your angle of attack further, putting you closer to a stall. To exit, simply release the a-lines and allow the ears to unfurl themselves. On some higher performance gliders the ears may stay in, so if you’re flying anything over a DHV 1/2 glider READ THE MANUAL before you fly the thing.

B-line stall

This manoeuvre is intended for use at a good height (over 500 feet at least) only, and should not be used close to the ground. The danger is that the glider will not recover and will enter a deep stall. To recover a deep stall you should apply some speed bar, which will decrease your angle of attack back to normal flying range, but at low level this may not be an option. B-line stalls are for escaping cloud suck, not for landing.

Spiral dives

Spiral dives are also an up-high method of descent, and not for low landing. Spirals are very disorientating, and it is possible to black out due to the g-forces involved. Another danger is lock-in, where the wing will not come out without pilot input (or may actually tighten in the turn when the brake is released), which coupled with the disorientation and speed of descent might mean a big, you-shaped hole in the ground. In theory entry-level gliders should pull themselves out of spirals quickly and automatically, but recent evidence suggests that this is not always the case, due in part to variable factors, such as pilot height, weight, centre of gravity, and whether or not you are using a cross-braced harness.

Another problem with spirals is that unless you know what you are doing with them, and bad exit can land you in more trouble than you started with. Spirals need to be exited slowly, because otherwise all of the energy (and there’s a lot of energy involved in a spiral dive!) gets converted to lift, and your wing goes behind you and then dives in front. Assymetrics can easily occur at this stage, and before you know it your wing is performing its own improvised spiral and you’re along for the ride. Scary.

Tight turns (wingovers)

Tight turns will get you down, but your wing is inherently unstable in the process, and coupled with the wind gradient and any low-level turbulence you might encounter, you’re just asking for a collapse. Not recommended.

Pilot-induced asymmetric tuck

Similar to Big Ears,this technique involves collapsing just one side of your wing. This means that you have no real options for reducing your angle of attack, and the side of the wing that is still flying has a much higher angle of attack. Also if you collapse too much of your wing at the wrong moment, you may end up with a full frontal, or a collapse-induced spiral. Big Ears is the safer option, which is why it is taught in schools.

All in all Big Ears comes across as the safest rapid descent technique for low-level flying, while B-line stalls are the most useful for high-level stuff. Any of the above techniques should not be attempted for the first time when you need them, but in schools or on properly-run SIV courses over water, with a recovery boat in attendance.

The main danger with any of these techniques is ignorance, especially with Big Ears, which is so often performed incorrectly due to pilots not keeping themselves up-to-date with the latest developments in the sport. Remember: you may be a qualified pilot, but the sport is still young and the air unforgiving. Keep current.

Athens Propylaea – The Legendary Entrance of the Acropolis

We enter the Acropolis from the western side which has always been the only point of access to the great rock. We enter through the gate, which was probably built in the 3rd century AD, and excavated in 1853 by the French archaeologist Ernest Beule. We don’t know precisely where the entrance was in ancient times, owing to the many alterations and the constant use of pieces of the ancient marble in later buildings. The Acropolis is somewhat like the Greeks who, even though they carry memories of and have been marked by the different conquerors over the centuries, are always solid, with the traditional virtues and vices of the Hellenic race. There is just enough to confuse the historian striving to trace the roots of their family tree, to learn whether it ever stopped and to identity the ancestors whose traits can be seen so vividly in their descendants.

What is reasonably sure is that in classical times the entrance was a climb similar to today’s. The Romans built a broad ramp leading up in a straight line to the central doorway of the Propylaea (monumental gateway). During Frankish rule, other gates and fortifications were built; under the Ottomans, whatever was located outside the main Propylaea was used to build up the defensive bastions. The present day main entrance was restored during the last century.

Ascending the stairs to the Acropolis we can see, on the left, the massive boulders of the prehistoric wall supporting the plateau at the beginning of the later ramp. To the right is a solid square tower, memory of an ancient bastion, and to the left is the heavy base of a monument by which the Athenians paid homage to the Roman consul Agrippa, benefactor of their city in the 1st century BC. It appears that during the years of Roman occupation, flattery took precedence over aesthetics and thus this stone structure, so alien to the beauty of its surroundings, still offends our eye.

But if this vestige reminds us of the Roman legions, facing it is the light, elegant temple of Athena Nike (Victory). Pausanias called it the temple of “Wingless” Victory, relating that the Athenians had cut off her wings so that she would remain always with them. A very ancient wooden idol was kept in an older, square little temple which was destroyed in the Persian wars; that temple was approached from the side, from the point at which today we can see the remains of a staircase suspended in the air. It was replaced in the 5th century BC by this charming Ionic temple which, with columns on its facades alone, is the most elegant building on the sacred rock.

The entire temple rests lightly on the marble flooring over the required three steps of the crepidoma, i.e. the permanent foundation of temples in the classical age, which served to make them look as though they were floating in the strong Mediterranean light. The marble, cut into pieces of equal size, as they are throughout the Propylaea, was certainly painted so as not to reflect its whiteness too strongly in the bright sunlight. Around the frieze of the little temple, there were battle scenes, and around its enclosure was a low wall of marble relief sculptures. There the goddess Athena was depicted in a seated position, while in front of her was a series of winged Victories sufficient to ennumerate the feats of the Athenians at war. It is worth keeping in mind that both this and all the surrounding buildings were built when the memories of the Persian wars and the dizzying sense of victory were still vivid in the minds of the citizens. Thus, the correct name of this little temple is the sanctuary of Athena Nike, a glorious stone hymn dedicated respectfully to a triumphant divinity.

The whole complex of the Propylaea is the embodiment of magnificence, even today. The ancients themselves used to call it the brilliant preface to the Acropolis. Five years and enormous sums of money were required to construct it. Constructed on two different levels, it comprises three parts: the central structure and two recessed wings. The facades, in the form of a temple, are about twenty-five metres apart. Each one has six Doric columns which, on the western side, rest firmly on a base with the usual three steps. On the contrary, on the east side looking toward the Parthenon the columns appear to have grown out of the natural gray rock.

The transverse wall of the main Propylaea building is not entirely of white marble, as part of its foundation consists of gray marble blocks which continue their colour up to the fifth step separating the two levels. The architect, Mnesikles, took advantage in the most functional way of the natural slope of the hill, creating two different structures under the same roof.

Although the exterior was built in the Doric Order, the central passage ascends through two rows of Ionic columns that support the roof. This marble slope passes through a monumental porch flanked by two smaller ones to the right and left, and by another two even smaller openings near the walls. The result was a pleasant symmetry to the eye of the visitor ascending to the temples with his offerings.

Once again, symmetry is found in the wings which have three Doric columns each. Although the south side of the plateau contains only the temple of Athena Nike, the corresponding north side was totally covered by the severe Pinacotheke (art gallery) building. Not one of the painted works which we know to have been housed in this building has come down to us. They were, it appears, painted on wood or on stretched fabric and were completely destroyed. All we have are Pausanias’ vivid descriptions of the scenes from the Homeric epics and the marvellous portrait of Alcibiades, the enfant terrible of Athens, which showed him to be more beautiful than the goddesses who accompanied him. What a strange creature was this handsome aristocrat! An Olympic victor, as well as being an arrogant, cultivated opportunist, he frequented philosophers’ symposia and hedonistic orgies with the same ease. He was at once devout and profane; he fought like a hero, acted like a traitor and was finally murdered.

On the eastern side, the outer walls of the Propylaea are full of projections (lifting bosses) which the masons left on purpose when they were quarrying the marble, to be used as handles to help carry the huge boulders up to the Acropolis and set them in their place. Then the technicians would plane off these projections before smoothing the whole surface and giving the building its final finishing. But the Propylaea began being built in 437 BC and just a few years later, in 431, the fateful Peloponnesian war broke out. It was for this reason that this technical detail remained unfinished. One may well wonder how many technicians worked on these stones and how many were fortunate enough finally to see the day of the brilliant opening. A pedestal, which once housed a votive offering to Athena Hygeia, right next to the eastern right side, allows us to imagine that there were several casualties; since, according to Plutarch, the goddess revealed to Pericles in a dream that she would cure the master craftsman who had fallen from a scaffolding and was in danger of death.

Leaving the eastern porch of the Propylaea, one might expect to come face to face with the most important temple on the sacred rock, the Parthenon, since this magnificent entrance is but an introduction to the glorious shrine of the city’s patroness. Instead, the splendid structure is situated to the right of the Propylaea, near the south wall, and of course, this is not accidental. If the Parthenon had been built right on the foundations of the old temple of Athena, then the approaching visitor would see the narrow side of the building with only eight columns visible. But on its present site, we can see the corner where the two sides converge, with a total of twenty-four columns in a changing perspective, which thus gives us a full feeling of its architectural perfection. There is nothing more majestic than the austerity of a Doric temple: such beauty expressed in the strength of such simple lines.

What Metal Working Tools Are the Best and Are They Expensive?

Metal working is the process of forming, cutting, and joining metals in various capacities. Metal working is an ancient discipline with modern applications ranging from shipbuilding to jewelry-making. Much like work with any other material, metal working requires a set of skills and tools specific to its medium. Metal working tools can be complex and industrial, or simple, hand-held, and user-friendly, depending on the needs of the worker. They can be very expensive, but they can also be obtained at moderate cost and sometimes as discount tools. It all depends on the tool in question and the desires of the worker.

Before metal can be cut or joined, if often must be measured or marked. This is a simple and inexpensive process. Measuring can be done with a tape measure, or more precisely with a caliper, which can measure digitally and to within a thousandth of an inch. Marking can be accomplished with a variety of tools, most commonly with carbide-tipped scribers, or for drilling, with a punch. A good air punch can be purchased as a discount metal working tool, and used to create a dimple in metal which will keep the drill in place and prevent it from spinning away when the metal is cut.

Metal cutting processes are wide-ranging, and many different metal working tools are used to accomplish them. Some of the most common are drilling, milling, turning, grinding, and filing. Drilling is a simple, chip-producing process that creates a hole in the metal. Coolant is used to decrease friction and to protect the tool and the surface of the metal being worked. Milling is a more complex process, using a machine to remove extraneous material and achieve the desired final shape. Unlike sedentary drilling, in the milling process the workpiece itself is also moved, against the rotating cutter. Milling machines can be operated manually, or digitally through the use of computer numerical control.

Turning is accomplished with a lathe or a mini-lathe. The turning process spins the metal being worked, resulting in objects with rotational symmetry, such as baseball bats or candlestick holders. Metal working tools called chucks secure the metal into the lathe. The workpiece is rotated and cutting tools are applied. Lathes and mini-lathes can be purchased by individual consumers.

Joining metal, often accomplished through the application of heat energy, is a different process, requring different tools. Many metal working tools can be used in this process, ranging from oxy-fuel flames and propane torches to lasers. These tools need not be very expensive, and can be purchased as discount tools. While welding joins materials through heat-produced coalescence, other processes such as brazing and soldering join tools through forming joints in the metal through filler materials and capillaries created in the metal, requiring smaller and finer metal working tools.

TMJ Symptoms – 5 Easy Steps for At Home Relief

It can range from a vague, achy feeling all over your head, neck and shoulders to severe pain that you would swear was a migraine. The truth is, your painful symptoms could very likely be caused by TMJ. And it can range in intensity from a minor irritation to enough pain to almost put you down for the count and make every day living difficult.

TMJ stands for Temporo Mandibular Joint and by itself is not a problem because everyone has two of them. It’s the joint where the lower movable jaw bone, or mandible, is attached to the skull with a sling of muscles, ligament and a capsular cartilage. It’s when the joint becomes dysfuntional that issues arise and in fact the condition has become known as TMD or Temporo Mandubular Dysfunction Syndrome. And more recently many medical and dental professionals are referring to this broad group of painful symptoms as MPDS – MyoFascial Pain and Dysfunction Syndrome.

The reason is, that it is being found more often that the pain is not originating from the joint. The joint was the original suspect because many times when people with painful symptoms were being examined it was noticed that the jaw joint was making a clicking, popping or grating sound. So where there’s smoke there’s gotta be fire, right? Wrong! When healthy people without symptoms were examined their TM Joints made the same sounds in about the same proportion as those individuals with pain. So it isn’t always the joint.

Another thing that is being touted as a cause of the symptoms is an improper bite, or malocclusion, causing stress on the TM joint leading to the symptoms. And while it is true that a poor bite can cause the ligaments surrounding the joint to stretch or be stressed this may not be the cause. There are many instances of people who have no teeth, and do not wear their dentures without any history of pain. The same can be said of people with many missing teeth or severely misaligned jaws.

So if it’s not the joint and it’s not the bite, then what can be causing all of this discomfort? Quite simply, muscle spasms. And the muscle spasms are the result of either physical or psychological stress. There is a vast complex of nerves throughout the head and spasms can cause referred pain anywhere along these nerve branches.

The end result is very painful situation but the good news is there may be some very easy ways to get relief and break the cycle of pain. The key to relief lies in finding the origin of your pain. As I mentioned earlier the pain can be caused by stressors, either physical or psychological so let’s go about relieving some of these:

  1. First, and perhaps the simplest key, is to make sure you are adequately hydrated. Even though water consumption has increased very few people drink a full 8 glasses of water a day. And many experts feel that each soft drink, coffee or alcoholic beverage cancels out an equal amount of water. How does dehydration lead to the facial pain associated with TMJ? Well the proper amount of water helps flush out toxins, lactic acid and the byproducts of muscle activity. A buildup of these toxins in the facial muscles can cause fatigued muscles to spasm or not allow them to relax. So, drink up!
  2. Many sufferers report increased discomfort when they wake up in the morning that ends up leading to a day long head ache or neck ache. If the pain is more severe on one side of the face or neck it may be caused by your sleep position or habits. If you sleep on your side or rest your jaw on a hand laid on your pillow while you are asleep the muscles on that side of your face will be stretched. The joint on the opposite side of your face will be displaced into the socket in a painful manner. So the muscles on the side next to the pillow will attempt to contract to return to their “rest length” and relieve the pain on the socket on the opposite side. Many times, just becoming aware of this problem and changing your sleep position will relieve the symptoms.
  3. If you wake up with pain on both sides of your head or face or if your teeth feel sore or loose, you are probably clenching or bruxing while you are asleep. Many dentists will prescribe a bite guard for this but this really only serves to protect the teeth and give a cushion for the joint. The muscle spasms remain.
  4. If you take stress to bed with you it will get worked out with nocturnal clenching. The key here is to find something that relieves and relaxes you before you go to sleep. A hot bath, herbal tea or a glass of wine are all helpful to start the relaxation process. Take your worry hat off 30 minutes before the time you plan on going to bed and make a vow to think only about enjoyable past experiences.
  5. Your facial muscle spasms have a focus, locate the focus and start knocking out the pain. TMJ pain is not spread uniformly across the affected area of the head and neck. Some areas will be more painful than others and one spot will be the most painful of all. To find the focal point, start pressing along the painful areas of your face. Start at the lowest area of pain and work your way towards the top of your head. One area will feel extremely tender to your touch – this is the focal point. You can concentrate your relief effort on this spot and the rest of the pain will melt away. Start off by placing a warm compress on the area for about 20 minutes, and then massage the area with your thumb. Apply maximum pressure and move in a circular motion. Then finish off with something like Ben Gay or Icy Hot. Break the muscle spasm in the focal point and the rest of the muscles will relax.

And finally, just a point of common sense. The more you exercise and use the facial muscles during your daily activities, the more likely they are to go into spasm while you are sleeping and develop more intense symptoms. So if you have ever experienced discomfort, then gum chewing is definitely a no-no. And even if you haven’t, don’t leave a piece of gum in your mouth longer than 20 minutes. Most foods eaten in moderation will not cause an issue, but you will need to avoid chewing ice, hard candies and if crusts cause a problem, they will need to be cut off. Also, tongue and lip jewelry lead to para-functional habits that will lead to spasms of the muscles in the head and neck. So those will need to come out.

If you need to find out more information to relieve the pain from your TMJ symptoms this is an excellent resource. It is also very important to remember, if you notice no improvement in your symptoms over several weeks time you will need to seek out professional advice.

You will not wake up one morning and be entirely pain free but you should notice slight improvement each day. These common sense ideas should relieve your TMJ symptoms over time, and being pain-free will be great!

Sharks Are Born Swimming – Story Of a Cock, a Cockerel and a Layer

A Cock, a Cockerel, and a Layer

All three are birds. Call them fowls, chickens or whatever suits you but the fact stands, all three are birds. Where I come from, the domestic birds are mostly left to fend for themselves, the owner only calls the cock to the pot during festive periods, watches the cockerel grow, and deals with the layer when it lays eggs or when it hatches the egg.

All are birds, same responsibilities, but different expectations.

There was a day I sat outside the house, still in the compound though. The pedestrian gate was a little bit open, wide enough for a Cock, a Cockerel and a layer to come in. Immediately the birds got in, I closed the gate; I didn’t want more to come in, and also I was in want of company.

I closed the gate, went back to my seat and watched all three find alternative escape routes…

The cockerel immediately went to the gate I closed, found an opening below the pedestrian gate and left the compound.

One look at the cockerel’s escape route was enough for the layer to know it wouldn’t quite fit into the space, not even if it tried to wriggle its way through. Forcing itself through would lead to injuries, and maybe, death! Therefore, it went about, searching frantically. After all hope seemed lost, it went to the big gate and passed the opening beneath it.

The Cock went up and about. It tried following the layer’s footstep but the gate just wouldn’t fit it. Therefore, it just kept strolling round the compound. After it finished its tour, it got back to the search. It stood beside the fence, confused. I don’t know the thoughts running in its mind at that time but all I know is that I threw a stick at it, and immediately it jumped. It jumped so high that microseconds later, it was standing on the fence. And hence it went!


We are bound to have neighbours, since we are not Robinson Crusoe.

“If you want to go fast, move alone, but if you want to go far, move with people.”

The above quote is good, but then it does not state the rudiments of moving with people. You exert much caution, action and inaction.

Everyone with unique abilities, you should not fill in another person’s shoes; you fit yours perfectly.

Like the Cock, Cockerel and Layer, ability gives us diverse escape routes.

“Sharks are born swimming.”- Tower Heist.