10 Ways to Respect Diversity in the Workplace

The world is a colorfully diverse place and so are our workplaces. Diversity is an economic and legal priority in business. It increases the bottom line, jump starts innovation and keeps businesses out of legal jeopardy. Managers, supervisors and employees at every level of a company need to find ways to embrace and respect diversity in their departments and the organization as a whole. Here are ten ways to get started.

  1. We all have biases. It’s a natural result of our life experiences. Take a moment to write down what you biases are and how you can not allow these biases to affect the way you conduct yourself at work.
  2. Get to know someone different than you. Take a genuine interest in someone with a different background than your own. Make sure that your conversations find common ground in an area that it does not offend cultural sensibilities.
  3. Invite input from others with different backgrounds. Not only does this show respect, but it makes good business sense to have a diverse opinion.
  4. Bring together diverse groups for innovation. Inviting as many backgrounds and cultures as possible will increase the pace and creativity involved with innovation. Companies that do not change and innovate will die and the diversity can be a company’s most valuable resource in this area.
  5. Respect religious holidays. Most companies respect Christian holidays, however the workplace is far more than just Christian. All important religious holidays should be respected for employees of that particular religion.
  6. Find someone with a different background who shares the same company goal with you and strategize with them.
  7. Find out about everyone in your departments skills, knowledge and experience. This will help you respect what they bring to the workplace.
  8. Invite someone with a diverse background to lunch or change your table every day at lunch in the break room so you can sit with new people.
  9. Avoid language that demeans a particular group of individuals. For instance avoid calling women girls and avoid jokes that have religious or cultural inferences.
  10. When hiring or promoting individuals do so on the basis of facts only. Skills, abilities, knowledge and results should be the only factors involved in your decisions. Do not let biases or stereotypes affect the process.

Embrace diversity in your workplace and you are on the way to a more fulfilling and productive organization. The world is a beautiful mosaic of differences and the workplace should be as well. Respecting your co-workers and employees is paramount to tapping the valuable diversity in your organization.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Acrylic Paint in Acrylic Art Paintings

Acrylic paints first showed up on the market in the 1950s. This revolutionary new paint helped to bring about a new form of art. Acrylic art which could be produced at a much faster rate that artwork created with other types of paint. The acrylic art soon became a paint of choice for many artists, but there were also those who saw some disadvantages to this new paint. This made them hesitant to use them and to create acrylic artwork.

Fast Drying

One of the top reasons why so many artists were drawn to the idea of acrylic art paintings was the paints fast drying time. Previously it could take weeks for a piece to completely dry when they were created with oil paints. That waiting time could become tedious when an artist simply wanted a piece to be complete. Acrylic paints offered a quick drying time and that was very appealing to artists. On the other hand, the quick drying time often results in harsh looking acrylic art. This is because colors can’t easily be blended or softened.

A Familiar Appearance

Acrylic art also have the ability to be diluted with water. When this is done acrylic art paintings resemble watercolors or oil paintings. They are easily used to replace watercolors and oil paint. In many cases acrylic paints are preferred over watercolors because as the acrylic paint dries the color does not change as it does with watercolors. This allows for a more predictable final coloring of a piece.

Durability

Acrylic paints, when dry, are resistant to water damage. This makes it much easier to preserve acrylic art paintings and other acrylic artwork. They also do not yellow as oil paints often do. They resist cracking and changing at all. Some may actually see a problem with the fact that this paint is resistant to water because it makes altering an acrylic artwork very difficult if not impossible.

Toxicity

Many artists prefer acrylic paint because using this type of art requires far less exposure to toxins. Acrylic paint can be thinned with only water and does not require any type of toxic substance in the thinning process. Also brushes can be cleaned in just water without the use of toxic substances. However, the paint itself may contain some toxins and if an artist is trying to slow the drying time then toxic substances must be used.

The advantages and disadvantages of acrylic artwork is something the individual artist has to weigh for themselves. Some artists may find the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. It all really comes down to what look an artist in trying to achieve. Acrylic paints have a specific look and even though they may be able to somewhat mimic watercolors or oil paint, when acrylics are used it is usually a very distinguishable look. Besides that working with acrylic paint is a much different process. So, it really comes down to the artist and their preference of which type of paint to use.

Hotel Wedding Receptions: Pros and Cons

The reception venue is the most important choice you will need to make about your wedding celebration. The location will set the tone, influence the menu, and of course determine the cost of the reception. Hotels are among the most popular sites for weddings; this is a look at the pros and cons of hosting your wedding in a hotel.

Pro: Easy to Plan. A hotel will have all of the tables, chairs, linens, china, and so on that you need for your wedding reception. Some hotel ballrooms have special features like grand chandeliers, which are great if you plan to wear a formal ballgown with crystal bridal jewelry. You will not need to worry about any type of rentals, which makes both planning and day of wedding logistics much easier.

Con: Cookie Cutter. It can be hard to personalize a hotel wedding. You will have little control over the decor, the menu, and the timing of the reception. Since you will be required to use their restaurant for the catering, the menu options will be limited, and may be fairly predictable. If food is a priority for your wedding, the hotel experience may not be for you. It is also not the best choice for the bride who loves wedding details with a handcrafted charm like unique bridal jewelry and DIY centerpieces.

Pro: Very Convenient. The best thing about a hotel is the convenience for you and your guests. After the reception, the newlyweds can just head upstairs to the honeymoon suite. If the guests want to keep the party going, they can hang out in the hotel lounge or bar. Sometimes the parents of the bride or groom opt to rent a suite where a drop in after-party can take place. You can reserve blocks of hotel rooms for your guests, saving them money and eliminating the worry about drinking and driving. And in the morning, the post-wedding brunch can be held right there in the same hotel. Most hotels even have free shuttle service to and from the airport for out-of-town guests.

Con: Multiple Weddings. A hotel generally hosts more than one event at the same time. Having two receptions going on side by side can tend to detract from the intimacy of your wedding. You may hear their music, you might run into another bride in the ladies room, and if your party is better, you may even have guests from the neighboring wedding wander into yours. There is also something less than elegant about the event board in the hotel lobby that lists your wedding as one of many events. It can make it feel less unique and special.

Pro: Experienced Staff. Since hotels routinely host weddings, conferences, and other functions, the staff is highly experienced at organizing large events. If you want to greet your guests with welcome bags when they arrive in town, the hotel desk can hand them out at check in. They will also have the large kitchen needed to handle special requests like Kosher or vegetarian meals for guests. You can expect your reception to run smoothly, with little work on your part.

Con: Less Personal Attention. Unlike a smaller venue which will be concentrating on hosting a limited number of events, a hotel has many functions in the works every weekend. This means that the site coordinator will have less time to devote their personal attention to you and your wedding. The bride who wants a lot of input on planning her wedding from a coordinator may not get what she is looking for at a hotel. On the plus side, if you are comfortable letting the hotel run your wedding according to their established formula, it is likely to come off without a hitch.

Real Charisma, Clinton Style

What exactly is Charisma? Most would agree that it is a magical, illusive, personal quality, divinely endowed on some people more than others. One thing is for certain, it is more easily identified than defined. It is the secret to being liked and agreed with by others. It is the much sought-after quality that causes people to envy others because of their congeniality and ease at which they interact with people. Charisma, like many other character traits, may be gifted more to some, but regardless of your given level, charisma, like any other skill, can be further developed.

It is officially defined as “an unusual ability to influence people and arouse devotion” and “a personal attractiveness that enables you to influence others.” Other definitions describe it as “a gift, the ability to charm or influence people” and “appeal, magnetism, presence and leadership ability.” Dr. Tony Alessandra defines charisma as “the ability to influence others positively by connecting with them physically, emotionally, and intellectually.” Harvard anthropologist Charles Lindholm defines it as “above all, a relationship, a mutual mingling of the inner selves of leader and follower.”

Charisma certainly has several key components, Dr. Alessandra choosing to summarize them as intellectual, physical and emotional. Intellectual charisma is often characterized by an impressive vocabulary and an ability to draw out the best and most thoughtful ideas from others. A well-read person with an impressive and resonating speaking style is usually associated with being very charismatic. A person who is extremely well educated but not arrogant might too be considered as charismatic. Leadership ability is often associated with charisma.

Physical charisma is often evident simply because of ones commanding presence and impressive physical stature. It may also be embellished by the relative attractiveness of that person, whether male or female. A great handshake, a confident, articulate voice and positive eye contact that conveys “I am interested in learning more about you and respect you immensely” are all means of conveying charisma. Great posture, proximity and even wardrobe all adds to a persons’ charismatic quotient.

Emotional charisma is conveyed by a sense of being a deep thinker or one who is willing to ponder the larger picture. These people have a tendency to bring out the best in the rest of us by causing us to dig deeper emotionally and seek out better answers to the challenges in life. They see more in us than we sometimes see in ourselves. They are both motivating and captivating people.

Charismatic people have a “twinkle” or “sparkle” in their eye. You know what I mean. They have the essence of a positive and energizing manner of thought and immediately are able to transfer that feeling to others. These traits allow the charismatic person to connect easily with others. A charismatic person will illuminate a room by simply walking into it. We have all experienced this feeling as we have personally witnessed the change of mood or emotional intensity in a room simply because of the presence of an individual who has just entered.

A great example of a well known charismatic person is former president Bill Clinton. Whether or not you agree with his politics or antics, most people would agree that he might arguably be one of the most charismatic leaders of our time. Why? Was he always correct? Did he have the total support of the Congress or the American people? Did other world leaders always see things his way? Was he faultless? Of course he was not. He was never any of those things.

What President Clinton has is an uncanny ability to persuade people to his point of view. He has the ability to make a connection with people at all levels by being sincerely interested in them. His influence on others is profound. He has a commanding physical presence, yet maintains a boyish charm. He is extremely intelligent and well-read. He is articulate yet not at all condescending. Many would describe him as handsome. He has possessed and experienced the power of the Presidency of the United States. He also has that “sparkle” in his eye. The man has great charisma!

Can you be charismatic like President Clinton? Certainly you can. You already have some charisma, certain strengths and abilities that others find attractive. Develop these. Look people in the eye. Listen carefully when you are conversing. Take a genuine interest in their point of view. Be quick to forgive minor errors and sincerely issue compliments and polite gratitude where appropriate. You may not be able to do anything about your physical stature, but you can still have a commanding presence by means of your confidence level, your posture, your voice and your eye contact.

Charisma is not merely a gift from God that was bestowed upon some people, but given to all. You have some charisma, just like President Clinton. Determine your strengths and build on those first. Target other areas where you would like to grow and get busy. Making the effort to further develop your charisma is truly gratifying and will surely pay you back in spades.

Exercises For Shoulder, Elbow and Wrist Tendonitis Using Wrist Gyro – Recommended by Chiropractors

Are you searching Exercises for Shoulder Tendonitis that are safe and effective? Tendinitis is most often caused by repetitive, minor impact on the affected area, or from a sudden more serious injury. Incorrect posture at work or home or poor stretching or conditioning before exercise or playing sports increases a person’s risk. Continue reading about the Exercises For Shoulder, Elbow and Wrist Tendonitis Using the Powerball Wrist Gyroscope.

There are many activities that can cause Tendinitis, including: Gardening, Raking, Carpentry, Shoveling, Painting, Scrubbing, Tennis, Golf, Skiing, Throwing and Pitching.

Preventing Shoulder, Wrist or Elbow Tendonitis

1. Take it slow at first. Gradually build up your activity level. Warm up with the gentle exercise using the l Wrist Gyroscope

2. Use limited force and limited repetitions.

3. Stop if unusual pain occurs. Do something else. Try again later and if pain recurs, stop that activity for the day.

4. Streighten your muscles (also possible with the Hand Gyro)

Exercises For Shoulder, Elbow and Wrist Tendonitis Using the Powerball Wrist Gyroscope

It is the definitive rehabilitation device recommended by Chiropractors

– perfectly engineered and balanced,

– with unique therapeutic quality,

– effective while used just 5-7 minutes each day

– gently stress damaged areas in a perfectly smooth and balanced manner which cannot be replicated by traditional exercise routines.

Once activated, the NSD Powerball generates levels of gyroscopic inertia previously unheard of for its small size. The smooth, fluid action of spinning your NSD Powerball when coupled to this inertia results in a unique therapeutic quality which will have a profound effect on Carpal Tunnel syndrome – CTS, Repetitive Strain injury – RSI, tendonitis, arthritis & all wrist related ailments while used for as little as just 5-7 minutes each day.

If you are searching safe and effective Exercises for Shoulder Tendonitis I can recommend you to read more about this powerful tool.

Bodybuilding Without Steroids, Milo Secret To Building Strong Muscle

Bodybuilding Without Steroids, Milo Style! Here’s what it means: if you’re a drug-free weight lifter with average, or worse, lousy genetics like me, then building muscle boils down to this…

If You Are Not Lifting More Weight Today Than You Did 12-Months Ago, Or Even Four Weeks Ago… Then You Are NOT Building Muscle!

You can bench press or shoulder press a Kettle Bell with 40 lbs in each hand until you turn blue in the face… but the person who benches presses 275 lbs or barbell shoulder presses 125 lbs will always have a bigger chest and more muscular shoulders than you, why? because they are lifting heavier weights!

Here’s the basics of bodybuilding without steroids, Milo style, for building lean muscle…

Free Weights. Machines balance the weight for you which leaves your stabilizing muscles weak. Free weights force you to balance the weight yourself which strengthens your stabilizer muscles and allows the body to develop real strength.

Compound Exercises. Lifting heavy objects always engages several muscles. If you want to build stronger muscles you must use exercises that incorporate more muscles – Dead-Lifts, Squats, Bench Press, Over-head Press and others.

Barbells. I see LOTS of people at the commercial gyms using machines because It’s a comfortable and easier way to exercise. Milo Bodybuilding uses barbells because you can lift the most weight and progress more easily.

Pyramid Reps. You can use more weight if you stagger the reps and weight. This allows the different muscle fibers to be stimulated and developed. The end result is a more perfectly developed muscle that is as strong as it looks.

Frequency Of Training. If you weight train (with real progressive effort) to often you’ll burn out. If you don’t train often enough your muscles and body-fat content will never progress to what you want it to be, your goal. Milo Bodybuilding is all about putting together the correct combination for optimum growth and health.

Most Productive Exercises are:

Free Weight Squats

Dead-Lift

Bench Press

Over-Head Press

Bent-Over Barbell Rows

Barbell Biceps Curl

Barbell Close-Grip Bench Press – Triceps

Standing Calf Raise.

If you use these select compound muscle exercises in a system that allows you to lift heavy and safely, eat plenty of nutritious foods and get ample sleep, your muscles will have no choice but to grow stronger, bigger and much leaner!

It’s Monday so remember to look over your short and long-term goals, get your mind into what you want to accomplish this week and don’t make excuses not to do it. A winner never quits and a quitter never wins!

PAR For Your Business – Are You Using the PAR Formula to Grow Your Business?

In business, it is vitally important to demonstrate your business expertise in a memorable way. One of the most interesting and effective ways to demonstrate how you solve problems is to use the PAR Formula.

What is the PAR Formula? It is the case method taught at many of the top business schools such as Harvard, Yale and Wharton. It stands for problem – action – result.

And what does problem – action – results mean? It’s a business story. It’s a way to tell a story about your business that imbeds itself in the consumers’ memory. The beauty of a business story is it has a beginning, middle and end. Therefore, making it memorable and repeatable.

Why is this important to your business? When a story is memorable, it has brand ability. And, it has viral ability, if it is repeatable. By using the PAR Formula, you sear your brand into your market’s mind.

Following are the three key steps of the PAR Formula:

  1. Identify the problem your target audience needs and wants to solve. The more visual and emotion-based you make this, the stronger your audience will identify with the problem and the longer they will remember the story. Tap into all of the senses when telling your story. You want your audience to put themselves into the story.
  2. Describe the specific action that was taken by the person – your client, your friend or your customer – in the story. This is the specific action you advised them to take.
  3. Demonstrate the results achieved by taking the actions. Be clear and concise when describing the results.

Look for ways to use the PAR Formula in your:

  • Advertising
  • Product testimonials
  • Presentations
  • Sales letters
  • Job interviews
  • Media interviews
  • Client interviews
  • New business pitches
  • Your elevator speech for group introductions
  • Articles
  • Blog postings

How to Spot a Fake Antique Map From an Authentic Antique Map

Very popular antique maps are fetching very high prices at the auction block, because of this many forgeries have appeared as well as numerous copies of these maps. Map reproductions are not worth anything regardless of what the seller tells you. We will give you a few tips to distinguish a fake antique map from a real antique map.

First let us talk about copies, forgeries and reproductions of antique maps. Cartographers have copied each others’ maps for centuries and have improved on them as well. These old maps can be valuable since they were done when the information on them was valid and useful. They are genuine historical documents.

However, recent copies of old maps that depict geographical information from centuries past are made with the intent of offering decoration and sometimes historical insight to their buyers. The value of these map reproductions is often marketed to unknowing customers by claiming that the copy is of a rare map or that is was made using some fancy printing technique. The truth is that a copy of a rare map is not rare, it is the original map that is rare. The copy is worthless and the same goes for the fancy printing.

Here are a few ways for you to spot a fake old map:

1. Color maps were hand-colored before the 1850s. With a magnifying glass take a close look at the color. If you see a matrix of small and even overlapping dots then you have a map made after the 1900s. Your map may say it is from the 1600s for example, but the presence of these dots means that it was not made until after the 1900s. It’s a copy.

2. Old maps were mostly engraved on metal plates in reverse so that they could be printed. When printing the pressure from the press and its engraved plate into the paper leaves a “plate mark” or indentation around the map. If you have a plate mark on your map be sure to look all the way around to see if anything was printed beyond the plate mark. If there is printed material spilling beyond the plate mark, you have a fake.

3. Hold the map up to the light to look at the paper. Most maps made before the 1820s were made on hand-made paper. This paper was made by artisans who used a wire mesh to hold up the paper pulp. This wire mesh leaves a visible grid called “chain links” that are visible against a strong light source. Paper makers often had a watermark to identify themselves that is sometimes visible on bigger maps. If you don’t have chain links on a map dated from the 1820s or earlier, then you have a map reproduction.

4. The majority of antique maps were taken out of old atlases, because of this there is often a fold in the middle of a map. This fold is where the map was bound in the book. Also atlas maps are worn from use at the corners, especially the right hand top or bottom corners. This is where most people would flip the pages. If your map doesn’t have a center fold or looks too new, then it probably is.

Top 10 Ways NOT To Hang a Pot Rack

It is Saturday morning and you are looking forward to a trip to the lake. Then, you remember the “honey do” list you wrote for yourself yesterday. The top item is HANG UP POT RACK! It had been a week since your order had arrived from the pot rack on-line store and you had excitedly torn open the packing materials to reveal the shiny bronze ceiling mounted French scroll rack.

“Now,” you exclaimed, “I can get this kitchen organized!” After a week of cursing at the box, which seemed to migrate around the floor of the living room of its own accord, HANG UP POT RACK had catapulted to the top of the list. But, how would you successfully attack this project? Successfully was the key word, as the steps you took brought you to this nice hospital and constitute

“The Top Ten Ways NOT to Hang a Pot Rack”.

1) Let me take a quick look around the kitchen to decide where I want to hang the rack. I guess it could go just about anywhere and, let’s see, this spot looks nice over the sink.

No, no, no, no! Before you even purchase a rack, measure the distance between the ceiling joists where you want it to hang. All pot racks, ceiling fans, and chandeliers must be secured to joists. Knowing this distance will help you choose to correct size pot rack.

If you have new construction, this can easily be planned before the ceiling is installed. If you already have a ceiling surface, such as sheetrock, find the wood and joists by using a stud finder or experiment by tapping small nails in the area of the ceiling where your ceiling hooks will be installed. If the ceiling joists are not where you decide to hang the rack, and you have access to the attic above the ceiling area, you can nail additional 2 x 4 brace supports between your ceiling joists, where needed, so that the hooks are fixed to wood in all locations. If you decide on a place without wood ceiling joists, you will need to use dry wall toggles and screws.

2) This is really a one person project and I can do it myself before lunch!

No, no, no, no! Installing a brand new pot rack will occupy about half a day, for someone who is reasonably handy or experienced. If that is not you, get help from a friend or contractor. By yourself, this project could be a disaster and take all day, or longer.

3) There are hardly any parts. I certainly don’t need directions. In fact, I think I threw them out when I opened the box.

No, no, no, no! Pot rack distributors provide their customers with easy to read directions that include both technical and safety instructions. But even with all of the instructions, an extra pair of hands and eyes is very useful. Important details like, how to correctly install chain or the maximum weight capacity of the rack, could make a difference between success and disaster.

4) I know I have a tape measure, screwdriver and a hammer. That should do it!

No, no, no, no! Those directions mentioned in number three list all the materials you will need for the job. This usually includes: screwdriver, drill, tape measure, pencil, eye screws, wood glue, long wood screws, and other items like extra 2 x 4s, nails, hammer, sheet rock toggles and stud finder. Oh yes, the extra person, too.

Directions may vary according to the company. If you do not follow these instructions, and if your pot rack falls due to negligence, the manufacturer may not be liable in the event of injury or damage to you or your home.

5) It looks like I have everything I need to put up this little rack. If I’m missing anything I’m sure I have some extra parts in the garage.

No, no, no, no! You have to make sure you have the parts that are listed on those directions. The company supplies the hooks and chains that you need to work with the pot rack you purchased. Some pot racks use a supplied ceiling mounting plate, metal or wood, which is sized properly to be centered over the area from which you wish to hang the rack. This must be secured to ceiling joists properly in order to safely attach the chains from which your pot rack will hang. If you do not have these correct parts, your rack will not hang properly or safely.

6) My ceiling is higher than I thought. I guess I’ll just stand on this chair to reach over my head.

No, no, no, no! The chair might be safe enough to reach the height if you are installing a wall mounted pot rack, but when you are reaching over your head to attach something to a ceiling, you would be safer using a stable step ladder. And that friend you should have with you can hang on to the ladder while you climb.

7) Let’s see, I think I’ll actually hang the pot rack over the stove instead of the sink. Then, I can hang pots low enough to easily grab one while cooking.

Most likely no, no, no, no! Hanging a pot rack over the stove is a great idea, if the pots are high enough that they are not constantly spattered and don’t get so much heat that they are too hot to handle if you want one while you are cooking.

8) Changed my mind. I think I’ll hang it next to the stove, that way anybody can walk right up to the rack and grab what they need for cooking.

Most likely no, no, no, no! Make sure the pot rack his hung so that the hanging pots will not hit your head as you walk around the kitchen.

9) I plan on hanging all of my pots and pans, and those three big cast iron skillets on this rack.

a. No, no, no, no! There is a limit to how much you can hang on a pot rack. It depends on the size of the rack, how you hung it from the ceiling and the weight capacity, according to the directions, supplied by the manufacturer.

10) I am ready to go! Let me just drill a little hole here in the ceiling with my new electric drill. And it’s a good thing this light is hanging right next to where I want to drill…

Noooooooo, don’t drill so close to the light!

Installing kitchen accessories such as hanging fans, chandeliers, and pot racks can be accomplished successfully if done correctly. Following the manufacturer’s directions and using the proper equipment, as well as following safety suggestions should give you the desired results-a stylish and well organized kitchen.

Scallops – How to Catch’em, Clean’em, and Cook’em

Scallops are one of the most familiar and popular types of seafood. Scallops are related to clams, oysters, and mussels in that they are also bivalve molluscan shellfish. However, with scallops only the adductor muscle that is used to open and close the scallop’s shell is sold and eaten in the U.S. This muscle is the succulent scallop “meats” that are familiar to consumers. Three different types of scallops are commonly sold in seafood markets in the U.S. The largest and most familiar is the Sea Scallop. Bay Scallops are intermediate in size and the smallest are Calico Scallops.

Sea Scallops are the most commercially important scallop in the U.S. They are harvested in offshore ocean waters from Maine to North Carolina with metal dredges. Scallops cannot close their shells tightly and die soon after being taken from the water. Because of their perishability, sea scallops are shucked on the harvest vessel as soon as they are caught, and the meats are iced. A small amount of Sea Scallops are harvested by fishing vessels operating from Eastern Long Island ports, but the majority are harvested in New England and Virginia. New Bedford, Massachusetts for many years was the leading fishing port in the U.S. in terms of the dockside value of landings mainly because of the amount of Sea Scallops landed at that port. Although sea scallops are available all year, peak landings generally begin in spring and continue through the fall.

The Bay Scallop is less plentiful but greatly desired by scallop fanciers. These smaller cousins of Sea Scallops are the most delicate and many say the sweetest of all Scallops. Bay Scallops live in coastal bays in the Northeast. The majority of the harvest has traditionally occurred in the Peconic Bay on Eastern Long Island and on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Harvests from Peconic Bay have been minimal for much of the past decade. A number of factors are likely to have contributed to poor bay scallop harvests some of which include Brown tide algae blooms, nutrient availability and loss of suitable scallop habitat. The harvesting season for Bay Scallops begins in October and the majority of the scallops available for harvest are generally taken within the first month of the season. Bay scallops from Cape Cod are also available during the fall. This same species of scallop is being cultured and farm raised in China and other parts of the world, and imported “Bay Scallops” are available in the New York marketplace during most of the year.

Calico Scallops are found in the warmer waters off the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, and also in Central and South America. Calico Scallops are small, and are removed from their shell by a shucking process in which the whole scallops are lightly steamed to loosen the scallop meat from the shell. Shucked calico scallops are easy to recognize because they are pale white and opaque around the edges and about the size of baby marshmallows.

Scallops have a characteristic sweet mild flavor that is well known to most seafood lovers. Scallops cook very quickly (generally 3 to 5 minutes) and can be prepared by a wide variety of cooking methods such as sautéing, poaching, broiling, baking, and deep-frying. Most recipes utilize mild ingredients that complement but don’t overpower the delicate taste of the scallop meat. Overcooking can toughen the scallop muscle and cause it to lose much of its moisture and naturally appealing flavor. Dry scallops carefully before pan-frying or sautéing and avoid placing them in the oil or butter until the pan is already hot. They should sizzle and brown almost immediately which will help to seal in the scallop’s natural juices.

Fake Scallops

Sellers are frequently asked if the scallops are real or if they’ve been “manufactured” from skate or shark. The origin of this rumor is hard to determine –there are probably restaurants that have tried such sneaky tricks–but it’s hard to imagine it being worth the effort. First of all, skate flesh with its striated bundles of muscle fibers looks nothing like scallops. Some shark could look a little like scallop flesh, but if you look closely it doesn’t fit the bill either. If you get your scallops home and still have doubts, check for the tiny white muscle that should be adhering to the side of the scallop. This is where the scallop muscle was attached to the shell. The only “imitation” scallop that you might find in the marketplace are made from surimi which is made from fish fillets and then formed into the shape of crab legs, scallops or other shellfish. These products should always be labeled as “Imitation” crab or scallops.

Aphrodite, the Greek symbol of love and beauty, rode the foamy sea in a chariot made of scallop shell. The apostle St. James also earned fame for scallops, still known by much of the world as “coquille Saint Jacques,” by wearing scallop-shelled armor as his personal emblem when he was executed by Emperor Herod. Despite these lofty associations, the handling of scallops is one of the dirty little secrets of the seafood industry.

Commercial seafood distributors routinely put scallops through a chemical process called “soaking.” Phosphates are added to improve appearance, prolong shelf life, and add false weight.

These “soakers” as they’re called, shrink when cooked, can harm unknowing consumers who are allergic, and taste lousy. If you’ve been disappointed with scallops, now you know why.

Rich Scallop Soup

Serves 6

Ingredients

Method

1 pound Scallops, chopped into small pieces

In the top of a double boiler, blend milk, cream, butter or margarine, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Place top of double boiler over the bottom with boiling water and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. Add scallops to the mixture and cook until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Pour hot soup into individual bowls. Sprinkle each bowl with paprika and parsley.

2 cups Milk

1 cup Heavy cream

2 tbsp. Butter or margarine

1 tsp. Salt

1/4 tsp White pepper

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Paprika

3 tbsp. Parsley, fresh, finely chopped

Recipe provided by the North Carolina Sea Grant Program

Scallops with Green Onion Butter

Serves 4

Ingredients

Method

1 pound Bay or calico scallops (or sea scallops cut in quarters)

In a small bowl combine the butter or margarine, onions, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. Place scallops in four individual shells, ramekins or small oven proof bowls. Dot scallops with green onion butter mixture. Bake at 450°F for about 8 to 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

1/4 cup Butter or margarine, softened

1/3 cup Green onion, minced

1/4 tsp. Garlic, pressed

2 tbsp. Parsley, fresh, minced

1/4 tsp. Salt

1/4 tsp. White pepper

Recipe provided by the North Carolina Sea Grant Program

Baked Scallops

Serves 4

Ingredients

Method

1 pound Bay or calico scallops (or sea scallops, quartered)

Mix wine, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in medium bowl. Stir in scallops. Add cream and stir. Place mixture in shallow baking dish. Sprinkle with bread crumb mixture.

Bake at 400°F until scallops are done, mixture is bubbly and crumbs are browned (approximately 15 minutes).

2 tbsp. White wine, dry

1 tbsp. Lemon juice, fresh

1/4 tsp. Salt

1/4 tsp. Pepper, white

1/4 cup Heavy cream

1/2 cup Bread crumbs, fresh, mixed with 2 tbsp. melted margarine

Recipe provided by the North Carolina Sea Grant Program

Scallops on the Half Shell with Wasabi Lime Vinaigrette

Recipe Courtesy of Ming Tsai

12 shucked scallops (small or singing)

1 minced shallot

1 teaspoon minced ginger

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon wasabi tobiko

Mix all together and spoon on top of scallops. Garnish with a little more wasabi tobiko. Plate on crushed ice or rock salt.

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Seared Scallops with Hot Garlic Oil and Chinese Sausage Sticky Rice Package

Recipe Courtesy of Ming Tsai

Canola oil to cook

12 large scallops (U-8)

Salt and black pepper to taste

1/4 cup cilantro leaves

In a hot saute pan, add a little oil and carmelize the seasoned scallops. Use 3 scallops per package. Place on top of opened package and garnish with cilantro leaves and flash with garlic oil.

HOT GARLIC OIL:

16 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

1/2 cup peanut oil (Lion and Globe brand)

In a saucepan, heat oil. Add garlic and cook until garlic is light brown. Immediately spoon on top of scallops.

STICKY RICE PACKAGE:

3 cups sushi rice

Water to cover rice

1/4 cup dried scallops

2 diced lapchang, (Chinese sausage)

1/2 cup sliced scallions

1/3 cup oyster sauce

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Salt and white pepper to taste

4 lotus or banana leaves

Using the bowl of a rice cooker, wash rice until clearand fill water to mount Fuji (about 1 inch over the rice level). Add dried scallops and cook rice as normal about 1 hour. When rice is done, put into a large stainless steel bowl to cool. Pull out the scallops and shred them by hand. Add the scallops back to the cooled rice with the lapchang, scallions, oyster sauce and cilantro. Check for seasoning. Place a serving of rice on top of each leaf and fold into a square package. Place in steamer, ensuring that the folded side of the package is underneath. Steam the packages hot. Using a sharp knife, slice the top of the package.

How to Build a Gaming-Racing Wheel Yourself to Play Your Favorite Computer Games

Hello friend. Ever wished you could drive the cars the way we do it in the real world? Here I will give you a brief guide for building a steering wheel which has got not just a steering brake and gas pedal, but a Clutch, and yeah a gear box too. It wont cost you more than $10, if you have the most essential tools readily available like saw, screw driver and the like.

It’s not only damn cheap, its very much like the same gaming / racing wheel that you purchase for 100+ dollars. The only major difference is that our gaming / racing wheel has got no force feedback mechanism. Its no big deal unless you are a very serious gamer and has got enough money to spend on a Logitech G25 or the like. Here go the highlights and features that the gaming / racing wheel you build will have

· Steering wheel with around two full rotations (720 deg) in both directions as in a real car

· Separate Gas, Brake and Clutch pedals

· A gear box with sequential shifting

Constructing the Steering wheel:

Fetch a plastic / PVC pipe of 2cm diameter (approx) and length 80cm (approx). Light up a candle and heat the pipe from one end to the other end. While heating, slightly bend the tube in increments so that when the whole length gets heated and bent, it takes the shape of a gaming / racing wheel, with open ends. Now heat one of the open ends of the pipe and push it on the other end, so that the ends overlaps and the pipe closes into a wheel. Let it cool. Now wash the pipe and dry it with a towel. Apply super-glue to the joined ends to strengthen the bond.

Take a plywood piece of length 20cm and width 5cm and place it at the center of the wheel. Use M-seal or any similar hard mass forming adhesive (used in plumbing) to fix the plywood to the ends of the gaming / racing wheel.

Constructing the Steering Base:

Now that the gaming / racing wheel has been made, lets build the steerings base. Take a card board box of approx 30cm x 20cm. Make sure that the box is firm enough. Now take two metal pipes (aluminium preferably). The larger pipe should have around 3cm diameter and the smaller one having 1cm diameter. The larger metal pipe should have a length not less than 20cm and the smaller pipe should have a length not less than 30cm.

Make a hole at the center of the box and pass the larger pipe through it so that only 1/3rd of it remains outside. Place the pipe slanting slightly upwards. Fix the pipe on to the box using the hard adhesive (Mseal). When the adhesives cures, you can pass the smaller metal pipe through the larger one attached to the box. Attach the smaller pipes outside end to the wheel’s plywood base. Now you should be able to rotate the wheel freely on its base. If the rotation is not smooth, you can put more adhesive and file it up near the contact points where the larger pipe meets the smaller one.

Building the steering wheels Internal Assembly:

For constructing the steering wheels internal assembly we need a few more components. We need a 10K potentiometer and a pair of gear wheels. The 10K POT you can purchase from any electronic spare parts shop. The gear wheels you can either purchase or get from some old toys. The gear wheels should be such that one is at least four times larger than the other, but at the same time their teeth should couple well.

The large metal pipe extends to about half of the boxes inside. Cut plywood pieces and fix them on to the box using adhesives to support the metal pipe very firmly. The plywood has to be extended to the other end so as to support the potentiometer. The smaller gear wheel has to be mounted at the end of the small metal pipe (passing through the large metal pipe). A thin but strong metal rod can be made hot and pierced through the gear wheels other end so as to act as a pivot. This pivot rod should extend out through the other side of the box. The potentiometer needs to be mounted on the plywood using metal braces. The larger gear wheel has to be glued to the handle of the potentiometer.

Solder a pair of wires to the POTs terminals (center terminal and either of the other). Once the smaller gear wheel is fixed, we can align the larger one so that the teeth are coupled properly. First rotate the larger gear in both directions and find the approximate center position of the potentiometer. Keep the potentiometer at that position. Now adjust the plywood pieces used as support so that the teeth of both the gear wheels are aligned for a proper coupling. They should be tightly coupled. Using sponges below the base plywood support, can give adequately pressured coupling between the teeth.

In order to give the steering a spring force to keep it centered, attach a pair of rubber bands to the pivot that protrudes out of the other side of the card board box.

Building the Pedals:

All the three pedals of the gaming / racing wheel are identical. A 50cm x 30cm plywood piece will be needed to make the pedals base. Three 10cm x 10cm plywood pieces are required for making the pedals. Also three 10K potentiometers, small hinges and three 10cm long thin rectangular wooden bars are needed.

Place the pedals using a hinge to a base plywood piece. Attach one potentionmeter to the hinge of the three pedals, so that when the hinge rotates, the potentiometer also gets rotated. Attach a rubber ball below the pedal so that it provides a spring action. Solder wires to the potentiometer.

Building the Gear box of the gaming / racing wheel:

For building the gear box, you would need a sufficiently large and stable card-board box. (Go for a plywood box if you can afford it). Make sure that the box has sufficient height so that the gear knob will be at a comfortable position when you start racing. Also get a handle like thing (old joystick handle) to act as the gear knob. You need to make a small rectangular slit on the cardboard box for the gears metal stick to slide up and down in it. Attach two metal plates at the top and bottom ends of the slit so that when the gears metal stick touches it when you shift up or down, they act as switches.

Use a thin metal pipe as the gear stick of the gaming / racing wheel and attach the gear knob on top of it. Provide a hole in the gear box for taking in the wires, if your joystick handle has buttons on it.

Provide sufficient support to the gears shaft at the bottom and arrange rubber bands or spring mechanisms to keep it centered.

Steering Wheel Interconnection:

The steering wheel that we build is basically a joystick and hence it connects to the game port of your computer. The gameport has a 15 pin D connector and is located at the back side of your system (mostly near the audio jacks). The pin diagram of the gameport you can find in my websites detailed step by step tutorial to build the wheel. (My website address you can see the the references section or in the authors details)

You need to buy a male gameport connector (DB15 male) to plug into the female connector present at the back of your cpu. The joystick (gameport) interface is a very simple – to – implement interface which houses a few switches and axes. All you need to do is connect your potentiometers to the axes X1, Y1, X2, Y2 and switches to S1, S2, S3 and S4. See the table given to the left. The variation in potentiometers when you turn the wheel or press gas pedal will be measured by the game port and can be used to control your game. You can assign the axes of the gaming / racing wheel and configure them using the windows control panel.

Switches S1, S2, S3 and S4 can be used for connecting to gear up, gear down, horn and hand brake switches respectively. When you shift the gear shaft up, the metal comes in contact and switch gets closed. Similar is the case with the other switches. +5 is nothing but the 5V dc that is available from the game port and G stands for ground.

Configuring the Steering wheel:

The first step is to assemble the three units of the gaming / racing wheel together. Mount the steering unit on to your PC table. Keep the pedal on the floor and the gear box to your side. Connect together the units to the gear box using connectors (relim connector or the like). Connect the 15 wire cable with the male DB15 connector attached, to the gameport at the back of your computer. Once the position is set well, we can proceed to configure the steering wheel in Windows.

Open Control Panel in Windows and open the Game Controllers. This brings up the Game Controllers dialog box. Please note that the steps being mentioned vary in different versions of windows. Hence illustrative diagrams are not given.

In the Game Controllers dialog box, click on Add. This brings up the Add Game controller dialog box. Click on Custom. In the dialog box that appears, choose Race Car controller. Choose the Axes as 4 and Buttons as 4. Enter a name of your choice in the Controller Name field and click OK. Now the new controller should be displayed in the previous dialog box. With the new controller selected, click OK.

If the device works fine, the game controller dialog box will display OK beside the controller’s name. If anything went wrong, a ‘Not connected’ status will be displayed for the device. If that is the case, read the section in the yellow box below. If the gaming / racing wheel is working well, click on Properties button, with the device selected. This brings up the Testing and calibration dialog boxes. If the wheel is not centered in the test area, go to Calibrate and follow the instructions to complete calibration.

Installing a Fence: Wood or Vinyl?

Fences are seen in almost every neighborhood around our country. Homeowners choose to install fences for privacy, containment, security, and to mark their property line. Choosing which building material to use can be quite difficult with so many great options available on the market. Vinyl and wood fences are among the most popular choices as both offer unique and appealing advantages.

Wood Fencing:

One of the biggest advantages of using wood is the fact that it is a natural product. It blends easily into the trees natural areas already present in your yard. If left unpainted, it becomes a part of the landscape. Unlike vinyl fencing, wood is biodegradable and can be broken up and use as firewood rather than taking up valuable space in our nation’s landfills.

Wood is one of the most durable and long-lasting natural resources available. Even the harshest weather conditions are no match for a properly installed wooden fence. With very little maintenance, your wooden fence should last for many years. If damage does occur, one or two planks can be easily replaced without having to replace the entire structure.

Wooden planks can be easily trimmed or altered to change the entire look of the fence. Homeowners can sculpt the wood into a design that they find appealing. Also, a wooden fence can be designed to fit in unique and uneven spaces. This ability to customize the look of the fence is a distinct advantage over other building materials.

The initial cost for a wooden fence is much less than that of a vinyl fence. However, there are some maintenance costs associated with wood. It will need to be stained and some posts may need to be repaired or replaced if they should happen to rot or warp.

Vinyl Fencing:

Recently, vinyl has become one of the most popular materials for fences due to its numerous advantages. One characteristic that homeowners appreciate about vinyl is that it is virtually maintenance-free. Spraying it off with a garden hose will wash away dirt and grime that accumulates over time. Vinyl will never need to be repainted and will not lose its luster. Plus, it is made from a stain-resistant material and will not rot like wood.

Vinyl fencing is completely safe. It is non-toxic, non-flammable, and will not crack or splinter. Since vinyl is quite flexible, it will not break or collapse in high winds or storms.

There are a variety of styles and designs available. Whether you desire an ornamental or more traditional fence, vinyl offers numerous style options. Homeowners can choose what height they would like their fence to be as well.

Vinyl fences are easy to assemble and install. The initial cost of these fences is much higher than wood or metal. However, because there is absolutely no maintenance required, homeowners may save some money over time. These fences are very durable and should last for many years. Unlike wood fences, many times the manufacturer will offer a warranty on vinyl.

Keep in mind that some neighborhood associations require homeowners to use specific materials when building a fence. Be sure to consult all of your neighborhood and local regulations before installing a fence. Also, make sure you are working with a reputable fence company who has trained and knowledgeable personnel who will guide you throughout the entire fence building process.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Contributory and Non-Contributory Group Plans

As we mentioned in previous article, many corporations offer competitive packages, and that’s even a strategy in hiring and retaining employees. These competitive packages include group insurance to plans that provide individual retirement accounts or traditional registered pension plans, etc. In this article, we will discuss the advantage and disadvantage of contributory and non-contributory in group insurance plan.

I. Contributory Plan

Under this type of plan, employees contribute a portion of group insurance premium.

1. Advantages of contribution plan includes

a) Premium contributed by employees increasing over all premium resulting in more comprehensive group insurance plan.

b) the employees have their choices of choosing better group plans

c) Eliminate some excessive claims, which creates high experience ratios causing increase of premium when group plan come to be renewed.

d) In Canada, if the employees pay health care premiums and the premium exceeds 3% of their taxable income for the year, 17% of the amount in excess of the 3% will be returned as a tax credit.

2. Disadvantage

Employees must pay portion of their share of premium out taxable income.

II. Non contributory plan

Under this type of plan, no contributions are required of the employees, all group insurance premium are paid by employer.

1. Advantages

a) Employees do not contribute to the plan cost therefore, lower paid employees can participate in the same level of care as the more highly paid employees.

b) Most of employer paid all group insurance has lower administration costs and easy to install and maintain.

c) Premiums are tax deductible for the employer and only the life insurance premiums are a taxable benefit to the employee.

d) All employees are automatically covered.

2. Disadvantages

a) Plan usually not as comprehensive as contributory plan

b) Benefits received as payments under short term and long term disability group plan are taxable to the employee.

c) Premium paid on behalf of employees may be added to the taxable income.

I hope this information will help. If you need more information, you can read the complete series of the above subject at my home page:

Deciding Between an Offset Patio Umbrella and a Cantilever Umbrella

Are you having as much difficulty as I am figuring out the difference between an offset patio umbrella and a cantilever patio umbrella? I finally decided to tackle this issue once and for all. After much research I have come to the conclusion that there really isn’t much difference other than some mere technicalities.

An offset umbrella has typically aluminum or wood support pole extending up from the support stand and then at the top bends and angles abruptly out over the shaded area and a canopy is attached to the end of the pole. A cantilever similarly has an aluminum or wood support pole extending up from the support stand but then will typically have another piece of aluminum or wood affixed to the main support pole that extends out over the shaded area and an umbrella is then suspended from this second piece of aluminum or wood.

Is there any added benefit of having an offset patio umbrella over a cantilever? The only added benefit that I could find would be the easy ability of the lowering the height from the ground to the umbrella with the cantilever umbrella. Typically by raising the lever pole you can raise and lower the umbrella quite easily. The offset umbrella on the other hand would require a two piece support pole that fit inside of each other with a pin apparatus with holes drilled through the poles allowing for raising and lowering of the entire pole and then placement of a pin to secure the poles in position. (This is very similar to the standard market umbrellas)

Both the offset and the cantilever umbrellas will usually allow for tilting to track the movements of the sun in the sky. This will maximize the shade potential of the umbrellas when the sun is low in the sky during sunrise and sunset.

The stand or base support structure is essentially identical for the offset umbrella as it is for the cantilever umbrella. They base units are typically weighted down to prevent the umbrella from toppling in high winds. Both offset umbrellas and cantilever umbrellas have an increased risk of toppling in high winds compared to the standard market umbrella with its center support pole.

Optional accessories for the cantilever umbrella are the same as for the offset umbrella. Most manufacturers include optional LED and fiber optic add-on lighting kits and add-on speakers for digital music players.

Total cost for the offset umbrella and cantilever umbrella appear to be almost identical. The majority of the cost is determined by the material of the support pole, base, fabric, etc. Availability for both types of umbrellas is the same. They can be purchased at most major hardware stores and outdoor furniture stores. The majority of online retailers carry both types of umbrellas.

I hope you have enjoyed this article finally putting to rest the difference between offset patio umbrellas and cantilever umbrellas. Stay tuned for more upcoming articles expounding on additional features and benefits of patio umbrellas.

Can Rabbits Change Gender / Sex?

I have seen this question on many forums and over heard breeders discussing the fact that their rabbit changed gender. In fact rabbits that have won awards at ARBA conventions as a doe, have been shown later only to find out it was actually a buck. Does this mean that a rabbit has changed sex?

Amazingly in nature there are some instances where an animal can change its gender. Take for example a clown fish. Clown fish live in schools. Within that school is a leadership structure led be a female clown fish. When that clown fish dies, the highest male in leadership takes over for the female and changes gender including reproductive functions. This is however a rarity for this type of biological change to take place. In fact there are even more rare cases of humans that have changed gender as a result of either 5-alpha-reductase deficiency (5alpha-RD-2) or 17-beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase deficiency (17beta-HSD-3).

Rabbits do not fall into that strange and rare category of animals that change gender. A rabbit born a buck, will be a buck at 6 months, will be a buck at a year. A rabbit born as a doe will be a doe and 6 months, will be a doe at a year.

At young ages it can occasionally be difficult for experienced breeders, and even more difficult for inexperienced breeders to sex a rabbit. The majority of “sex changed” rabbits are actually the result of rabbits mis-sexed by the breeder. We have rarely made this mistake. You can usually trust a breeder who has been breeding for several years.

There are other factors that can contribute to a mis-sexed rabbit. A buck with a split penis will often be sexed as a doe. Using unreliable techniques to determine the gender of a rabbit will often result in mistakes. We will soon have an article on how to properly sex a rabbit.

The bottom line is that it is genetically impossible for a rabbit to change gender. Next time you hear that, remember, its a rabbit that was not properly sexed.

Rob Usakowski