Nevada’s Goldfield Hotel Said to Be Portal to the Other Side

After gold was discovered on nearby Columbia Mountain in 1902, the town of Goldfield, NV ranked as one of the biggest and brightest mining towns in the west. In its boom year of 1906, the town’s mines produced $11 million in gold. A year later in 1907, the mines were generating close to $10,000.00 a day.

The earthquake-proof, four story, 154-room Goldfield Hotel was built on top of an abandoned gold mine in 1908 for $500,000.00. Being the finest lodging between Denver and San Francisco, the hotel was known as “The Gem in the Desert.”

When it opened in 1908, the hotel boasted an Otis elevator then considered the most modern lift of its kind West of the Mississippi. The Goldfield Hotel’s crystal chandeliers, elegant, mahogany-trimmed lobby with black leather upholstery, gold leaf ceilings and gilded columns rivaled the best hotels in San Francisco.

In an era when few homes or businesses had telephones or carpets, the extravagant hotel featured a sophisticated switchboard and a telephone in every guestroom. Meals were “exquisite European cuisine,” featuring oysters, quail and squid. Patrons came for dinner attired in formal clothing – black tie and tails and ball gowns

Once the largest city in Nevada, Goldfield was connected to the rest of the United States by five railroads and with Goldfield’s mines producing more than $10,000.00 a day at their peak, the town’s five banks thrived. Goldfield even had several mining stock exchanges and three newspapers. As the town boomed, its leaders were considering bringing in a trolley to run through downtown.

But, as the mines bled dry, the city lost its allure and the once splendid Goldfield Hotel ceased operation in the 1920’s. During WW II, the military took it over and added a few improvements that included a grill in order to house Army-Air Force wives whose husbands were stationed and training in the nearby remote desert.

At the end of the War, the Goldfield Hotel was once again abandoned and boarded up. Then in the 1980’s, a well-to-do new owner began to pour millions of dollars into modernizing the hotel. His dream to open the former “Gem in the Desert” in all its original splendor went broke before completion. He lost ownership to back property taxes. Vandals carried off most of the newly installed bathroom and light fixtures, eventually taking all but the bare walls.

Today the town of Goldfield is home to fewer than 300 residents, although remains the seat of Esmeralda County, which at fewer than 1,000 residents, is Nevada’s most sparsely populated county. There is no gas station, no bank, no grocery store and much less a newspaper, a far cry from when the city was known as the “Queen of Camps,” for its more than 25, 000 residents.

The Forlorn Elizabeth Haunts

With its glorious past, the ill-fated hotel remains the most prominent symbol of Goldfield’s former glory. But contributing to its ghostlike mood is the fact much of the original luxurious woodwork has been destroyed by vandals. All of the old fixtures stripped away through the years by modern day gold seekers and sold.

Before the hotel was privately purchased at auction for back taxes in August 2003, the Goldfield Historical Society opened the hotel for special “ghost” tours several times a year. Bringing famed as one of the “Scariest Places on Earth,” when the Fox network filmed an episode for Halloween by the same name that aired in October 2001.

During filming members of the crew reportedly observed a ghostly presence in the halls. Feeling unsettled, one crewmember left, refusing to go back inside. Later orbs (foggy ghostlike objects) were seen in several of the photographs taken inside, including my own photographs.

Since about 1910, room 109 has been considered haunted. Legend has it, that this room is haunted by a prostitute named Elizabeth, whom while pregnant was chained to the radiator in the room by the original hotel’s owner George Winfield.

Winfield was so angered when he discovered Elizabeth was pregnant; he denied her freedom to leave. Once her child was born, it was torn from her arms and discarded. Thrown into the cute of the abandoned gold mine over which the hotel was built.

With the disposal of Elizabeth’s child, Winfield left the young woman to die and for days, she cried out for mercy. Rescue never came, she found herself alone and abandoned. Fearing Winfield’s authority, hotel employees were afraid to come to Elizabeth’s rescue and hotel guests could not hear her because of the isolation of the room and the thickness of the walls.

Psychics that have visited room 109, say Elizabeth was either left to die there or murdered soon afterwards. Her spirit is trapped within the modest room that looks out onto a brick side wall of the hotel. On dark forlorn nights, the infant is heard crying by passerby and nearby residents.

On the first floor, George Winfield’s presence has been felt near the lobby staircase. The smell of cigar smoke and ashes have been found periodically by people inspecting the hotel and once, fresh ashes were discovered by an electrical worker within a fuse box that had not been opened in more than 50 years. Ghost hunters on the third floor have also detected high psychic energy.

Many that enter room 109 find it colder than the other rooms and feel a presence in the room. Discoloration from age on the wall where the radiator stands appears to have the outline of a human form. Cameras have been known to malfunction while inside this room.

Other ghosts have reportedly been observed in the halls and on the lobby staircase. Doors sometimes slam and mysterious odors linger. Clairvoyants who have come to examine the building, say the Goldfield Hotel is among several portals or gateways to the otherworldly.

During the annual Esmeralda County land auction in August 2003, the Goldfield Hotel was sold for $360,000. The new owner was said to have plans to refurbish the bottom two floors of the four-story hotel and open them to the public. To date, the hotel remains empty and boarded.

Goldfield is located hallway between Las Vegas and Reno, Nevada on U.S. highway 95.

Charles Grafton Page – The Father of the Circuit Breaker

Charles Grafton Page is considered the father of the modern circuit breaker. He was born to Captain Jere Lee Page and Lucy Lang Page in Salem, Massachusetts on January 25, 1812 and died in Washington DC on May 5, 1868. With eight siblings, four sisters and four brothers, it was a full and lively household. Although Page received his education as a medical doctor, he was fascinated with electricity from a very early age. At nine years old, he attempted to harness electricity by holding a shovel in the air during a thunderstorm while standing on his parent’s roof. At ten he made an electrostatic machine to shock his friends with. Page graduated from Harvard College in 1832 and from Harvard Medical School in 1836. Page published his first of over 40 articles at age 22 on electromagnetic devices.

Even while practicing medicine, Page never stopped experimenting with electricity. He experimented extensively with electromagnetic induction. He built a device that he thought could have a use in the medical world in an early form electroshock therapy. He continued to improve this device by heightening the tension of the low voltage battery input, and named his device ‘The Dynamic Multiplier’. In order for his device to work, the electrical current needed to be stopped and started over and over again. This led him to produce the first interrupters.

The first self-acting circuit breaker was invented by Page in 1836. On April 14, 1838 he received his first and most famous patent for “Improvement in Induction-Coil Apparatus in Circuit-Breakers”. Page continued to experiment with electricity throughout his lifetime. His work won him the respect of the scientific community both during and after his life. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2006. The Hall of Fame is located in Alexandria, Virginia on the grounds of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which seems most appropriate for Page, since he was not only an inventor, but also both a patent agent and a patent examiner during his lifetime.

Page first became a patent examiner in 1842. He became the senior patent examiner during this period, but left his post in 1852 to pursue a career as a patent agent, helping other inventors secure patents for their inventions. In 1861 he once again returned to the Patent Office as a patent examiner at the beginning of Abraham Lincoln’s new administration. He continued at the Patent Office until his death in 1868.

Parrot Feathers – How and Why Do Parrots Fly?

Your parrot’s wings operate as an airfoil, or aerofoil. An airfoil is a shape which produces lift and is used in wings, blades and sails. The shape of a bird’s wings mean that air flows faster over the top of the wing that beneath it, and thus there is greater pressure below the wings than above them and this pressure difference causes lift. This phenomenon of lift can be explained by Bernoulli’ Principle which states that pressure decreases as its velocity increases.

A parrot’s physiology is such that the upper surface of the wing is raised and the lower surface is hollow, which has the effect of air traveling over the top of the wing at a faster rate than the bottom. The front edges of the wings ensure that the air is consistently split in the same direction over them.

This basic description does not fully explain a parrot’s wings, which have both primary and secondary feathers. The primaries are the top layer, or outer, feathers which are moved back and forth to create thrust. The secondary, or inner, feathers are the ones which split the air between outer and inner parts and provide the lift.  

Parrots use this ability of flight to evade predators and also to seek food and shelter, and migrate to optimal climates at different times of the year.

With careful observation you will see that you parrot starts its moult by shedding its fifth primary feather, after which it will start shedding feathers either side of this. The moulting process takes place once or twice a year.

A parrot’s flight system is more than just its wings of and consists of:

  • Primary feathers – the top layer of feathers that provide the thrust
  • Secondary feathers – beneath the primaries these shorter wings provide lift during flight
  • Alula – an area at the front of the wings made up of short feathers. Used for stability.
  • Wing coverts – used to cover the area between the primary and secondary feathers
  • Body plumage – these flat contour feathers cover the body and protect the bird from the elements
  • Tail feathers – these are short and square in parrots

Wing clipping is an option that many consider for their pet birds, but it is a bit of a controversial area in parrot care. Whilst clipping does not cause your pet any pain, some consider it cruel. An alternative is to leave the wings in tact, but diligently monitor your parrot to prevent escape. If you go this route then you can also buy your bird a harness and allow it to fly.

How to Conquer Morning Sickness in Your First Trimester of Pregnancy

You say “Wow! I am pregnant!” Then you remember all the tales you have heard about morning sickness and nausea in the first trimester of pregnancy. As one of the most talked about pregnancy symptoms, morning sickness is really not all that bad. In fact, some lucky women hardly experience it, while some do. It invariably passes off by the end of the first trimester of pregnancy. If you just discovered you are pregnant, then here are a few tips that can help you tackle it with ease.

Prenatal vitamins

Prenatal vitamins contain valuable iron that you need when you are pregnant. But this very same iron can trigger nausea. You may want to try a different brand of prenatal vitamins or go on a low iron formula during the first trimester pregnancy. Also, change the timing of the day when you take it. Try taking your vitamin with something other than water, like in a spoon of pudding.

Snack in bed

This one really helped me. Keep a couple of dry, high carb crackers or toast handy. The moment you wake up, sit up and eat them. Get out of bed half an hour later. Remember not to drink any water. This literally keeps off morning sickness. An additional benefit is resolving heartburn, which is an uncomfortable pregnancy symptom.

Watch what you eat before bedtime

Don’t have sugary stuff at bedtime. This makes your blood sugar drop and encourages nausea. Instead go for high protein stuff like yogurt. It relieves tiredness as well.

Ginger really helps

Natural ginger added to tea or your dessert dish stops morning sickness. You can also go in for ginger ale or ginger capsules.

Slow and steady

Each time you rise after a nap, go slow. Rushing out of bed can wake up that morning sickness in a hurry.

Smell it

Aromatherapy can keep off morning sickness. Try essential oils like lavender or peppermint sprinkled on your handkerchief. When you feel nauseous, inhale it a couple of times.

Stay away from nausea triggers

Often, the smell of different foods can cause morning sickness, as can riding an elevator, heat, the sight of a computer screen, etc. You need to identify these and avoid them.

These are some of the effective ways in which you can avoid morning sickness during your first trimester pregnancy. Do not suffer morning sickness quietly. Keep yourself informed about how you can have a healthy pregnancy, ensuring your health, as well as your baby’s.

Authentic Filipino Recipe: Sisig

Around Metro Manila, eateries selling Sisig have started to mushroom from time to time. Served on a sizzling plate, Sisig never fails to capture the senses of those who eat it. As renowned chef Anthony Bourdain would describe it-“a divine mosaic of pig parts, chopped and served sizzling and crisp on one side on a screaming hot platter”. The visual aspect of this dish alone would make tongues wag and eyes sweat. The sound emitted from the extremely hot plate reminds one how it was thoroughly cooked to make a delectable dish. The burnt smell of charred meat soaked in sour juices is like an aphrodisiac, seducing you towards a juicy reward. Finally, the taste of it, crispy yet juicy just overwhelming, it gives one a feeling that they taste something exotic yet it’s found anywhere else in the world.

Sisig is came from a Kapampangan term, which means to “snack on something sour”. This term usually refers to fruits, both ripe and unripe, marinated in either salt or vinegar. Moreover, marinated meat or seafood in vinegar or salt may be considered as Sisig. In relation to this, the earliest record of Sisig was in an 18th century dictionary compiled by Diego BergaƱo, an Augustinian friar based in Mexico, Pampanga, he defined Sisig as a vegetarian salad tossed with green papaya and guava drenched in a concoction of salt, vinegar, garlic and pepper. On the other hand, our Sisig is a genuine Philippine food but has also went through a lot of changes through time. Sisig Babi is predecessor of what we know of Sisig today. It consists of boiled pig’s ears and jowl, that is thinly sliced and mixed with pig liver and brain, that gives it a creamy taste, and topped with chilies, onions and peppers. The sizzling Sisig was pioneered by Aling Lucing, a Pampanga native who owned a food stall near the railroad tracks. Aling Lucing made two key additions to the original Sisig Babi, she broiled and grilled the meat after it was boiled then served it on a hot sizzling plate. In memory of the Sisig Queen, an annual Sisig festival is held every December to showcase the culinary prowess of Chefs around the country and to give homage to the person, who made it a world-wide sensation, Aling Lucing.

From a rail side eatery, Sisig is now a source of national pride. Now, chefs have experimented with the taste of Sisig by using various ingredients such as frog, ostrich, and snake to name a few. While some have shunned away from the sizzling plate and have mass produced Sisig for everyday consumption, these can be found in the form of canned and frozen goods. From a pregnant woman’s snack of unripe sour fruits in the olden days to a bar chow and family viand in recent decades, Sisig has truly gone a long way.

Why Electric Is the Best Option for Ondol Heating

Ondol heating has come a long way over the many years from its earliest use way back in 1,000 BC and modern technology has pushed this evolvement to what it is today. Ondol heating is widely accepted as one of the most efficient and productive forms of under floor heating around.

However, ondol heating itself has evolved over the years from traditionally involving heating stones under the floor boards via a heat source such as a stove to now being available in an electrical form with their Well-Being Electric Ondol Panel.

So while the traditional methods are still popular, let’s take a look at why using an electric ondol panel has many more advantages than its predecessors.

Value for Money

The first benefit of installing an electronic ondol panel is that it is far more cost-effective compared to the other types of ondol heating. Firstly, there is no need for the installation of expensive plumbing and secondly the fuel costs associated with the paneling are far more efficient and affordable.

Additionally, due to the installation taking far less time, there are savings to be made on the labors costs throughout the installation.

Has a long Lifespan

Another great advantage to using an electric ondol panel is that they have a longer lifespan than any other type. This makes it a great option for businesses such as hotels, schools, restaurants, and churches that regularly have a lot of people within them due to being cost effective and long lasting.

Additionally, whilst being extremely durable and having a long life, it can be moved easily and should therefore be classed as highly mobile.

Safer and Cleaner

Traditional ondol heating uses a combustion method to provide the under floor heating. This usually requires a source of heat that is either fire or gas which as you can imagine is a bit of a safety hazard. Whilst those heat sources are a bit of a safety risk, they are also a lot messier and are required to be refilled and cleaned at regular intervals.

With electric ondor panels, you simply turn them on, do not need to refill them, and they do not need anywhere near as much cleaning.

Summary

For those that are considering having ondol heating installed in their home or business, electric ondol panels from major brands should certainly be considered due to their benefits towards cost, installation, efficiency, safety and productivity. Traditional ondols still serve an excellent purpose when compared to an electric ondol panel, they come out second best in most categories.

The Four Principles of Good Food Hygiene

In the field of food safety and correct food handling there are four recognized principles by which the food industry regulates how it relates to all issues of food hygiene.

Together, these principles work to cover all critical areas where the contamination of food occurs.

By observing these principles we greatly minimise the hygiene risks involved in the handling of food and in the consequential contamination of food.

The four golden rules of food hygiene are:

Buy food from a safe source.

Prevent bacteria from entering your food.

Prevent the multiplication (or growth development) of bacteria in your food.

Destroy bacteria on food, utensils and work surfaces

Rule No.1)

Buy food from a safe source.

Make sure that you buy food only from a suppliers who are well known and reputable. It is important to check that all foods be within their expiry date and kept in appropriate conditions in the shop.

Serving counters should be kept spotlessly clean, likewise machines such as mincers, knives and slicing machines.

Freezers, fridges and chillers should display their temperatures and should be set at less than 5 degrees centigrade for chilled products and -18 degrees centigrade or less for frozen products.

All packaging should be original and not tampered with or forged. This would indicate that the product is not the original contents and has been produced by a fraudulent company. Do not buy these products under any circumstances because they threaten your health.

All reputable retail businesses that sell food should display up to date licences from all the required regulatory authorities as required by law. Check with your local authority to find out what licences a food shop or a supermarket must have to be open for business in your area.

Rule No.2)

Prevent bacteria from entering your food

Ok! This is the pace to tell you a little about bacteria and how they multiply.

All bacteria, when they have the right conditions begin to multiply. The conditions that they need are,

a) a temperature of above 10 degrees centigrade, (some say 5 degrees).

b) A food source. Bacteria break down all organic matter into sugars and use the basic food molecule which is mono- saccharide glucose for their metabolism.

Bacteria need only 20 minutes to adjust themselves to a new food source. For example, Supposing a bacteria was on a sugary food and suddenly found itself on fish, the transition the bacteria would need to be able to digest the new food source is twenty minutes.

c) A source of water.

On acquiring suitable conditions bacteria then commense to reproduce at a rate of one division of the whole colony every 20 minutes. E.G. If you had 1000 bacteria on a piece of food to begin with, you will have one million bacteria after 20 minutes. In the following 20 minutes the number would jump up to one million million bacteria. After that the numbers are simply astronomical!

Keeping bacteria from getting into your food is primarily down to prevention of cross contamination.

Cross contamination means the contact of any food source with any form of contamination from another source. This could be other food (raw or processed), Packaging, garbage, contaminated water or air, unclean or sick humans, animal life, or unclean tools and surfaces.

In good professional kitchens there are different fridges for different functions. For example, there is one fridge for dairy, another for cold fresh vegetables and another for food that has been cooked.

As home owners we do not usually have this luxury therefore it is advised to keep cooked foods at the top of the fridge and raw materials at the bottom in closed containers. This way the risk of contamination is greatly lessened.

Eggs, especially, should be kept in a closed container because they have many bacteria on their outer shells.

Remember to wash your hands and arms to the elbow before preparing food. Cut your salads first and then go onto the foods that are to be cooked making sure to thoroughly wash your board before moving on to different types of food.

Wash all surfaces before and after work with a good detergent. Put cloths into the wash after each usage. Always start with a clean cloth.

Rule No.3)

Prevent the multiplication of bacteria in your food.

As Stated above bacteria need the correct conditions to divide themselves. To do this they need A) the right temperature, B) Food and C) water.

It follows, then, that food should be stored at the lowest possible temperature to keep bacteria inactive. Also, do not allow your food to come into contact with water before you cook it. By thawing food in water we are giving the bacteria a heads start.

Cook your food at the earliest possible moment and after it is cooked keep it at a temperature of at least 70 degrees centigrade until it is served.

If you have to cool your food, do not put hot food in large containers into the fridge. Divide it up into smaller containers and do not stack them in such a way that air cannot circulate around the containers. Once cool freeze if possible.

When thawing food, do it in the fridge in a closed container. Remember, it’s better to plan a meal a couple of days ahead of time than to have have to take couple of sick days off work in bed.

Once thawed, cook the food as soon as possible.

The best way to destroy all bacteria is to cook your food in a pressure cooker. This way the combination of increased temperature and increased atmospheric pressure will completely sterilize the food.

Rule No. 4).

Destroy bacteria on food, utensils and work surfaces.

This rule speaks for itself. Do not let them develop in your kitchen.

Cook food as quickly as possible. Food that cannot be cooked should be frozen if it is not eaten within a short space of time.

Alternative forms of food preservation such as, dehydration, smoking, canning, sterilizing, concentrating and pickling are all alternative ways of preventing the development of and destroying bacteria in food.

The surroundings also constitute a source of food contamination, therefore, you should wash your work surfaces after each usage with hot water and detergent.

In professional kitchens, all working areas should be surfaced with stainless steel. This way, the surface may be cleaned with special grease and lime removing chemicals that have either a caustic soda base or a phosphoric acid base. For safety, remember never to mix chemicals; especially acids and alkalis like caustic soda and phosphoric acid.

Likewise wash all utensils in very hot water and washing up detergent. The water should be so hot that you need gloves to tolerate the heat.

Store pots, pans, plates, cutlery and other utensils in a clean and dry place. Make sure that they are dry before storing them away. Use a clean dish towel every time. Store them upside down. Keep all storage areas clean. Check reglarly for signs of vermin.

Heat crockery to 80 degrees centigrade before serving. This will prevent contamination even Further.

These are the four principles of good food hygiene. Follow them closely and the chances of you or you clients becoming sick are substantially lessened.

An Effective Oil Spill Clean Up Procedure

Oil spills are dangerous to the health of people and to the environment. The hazards include fumes, ignitions, asphyxiation, burns, water contamination, soil contamination and fire. In case of an oil spill make sure you know what to do. Immediate measures can help the oil spill from spreading. Be sure to have the presence of mind and follow this easy and effective oil spill clean up procedure.

Emergencies can be a confusing time. So to make it easier for you, just remember the 3 C’s of handling any accidental spills. These are control, contain, and clean up. Controlling the situation is to stop the cause or source of oil or slowing down the rate of release of oil. Containing the oil spill is minimizing the damage of the oil by preventing the spill from spreading to other areas. Clean up is the removal of the contaminants or oil itself from the affected area. The proper disposal of the materials used in the removal of the contamination is the final step in any clean up.

Objective: To effectively deal with spill accidents in order to prevent the adverse effects on the environment and on the individuals cleaning-up the contents of the spill.

Materials needed include:

-Stand by fire extinguishers

-Safety goggles

-Safety suit

-Safety mask

-Closed footwear

-Oil spill containment booms or socks.

-Absorbent pads or rolls

Procedures are as follows:

I. Oil Spill Control

1) Immediately take control of the situation.

2) If possible, stop the source of the leakage. It can be done by turning off a valve immediately or turning the container upright.

3) Search for causes of ignition. Put out any flames or turn off any machines that are working

4) Wear proper safety gear. Fumes can be inhaled, so make sure that your whole body is well protected.

5) Inform management immediately. If possible look for your supervisor. Ask for help.

II. Oil Spill Containment

1) If the oil or chemicals are near any type of drainage be sure to seal those first.

2) Surround the oil spill with oil spill booms or socks. Enclose the area of contamination.

3) Make sure that you have secured all exit points for the spillage.

III. Oil Spill Clean Up

1) Place the absorbent pads, pillows or rolls directly on the liquid.

2) Scatter the absorbent pads or rolls in the different areas to aid in the clean up.

3) Continue placing and replacing absorbent pads until the last drop of liquid is absorbed.

4) Get ready with your plastic bags for the soiled absorbents.

5) Place all the soiled absorbent pads inside the plastic bag.

6) Re-bag soiled absorbents to prevent leakage.

7) Then once all the absorbent pads are picked up, place the absorbent booms or socks inside the plastic bags.

8) Once you have finished with bagging everything place the bags inside a drum or a single container.

9) Label or tag the container.

10) Contact immediately your waste handler for proper disposal.

Do not hesitate to contact your local Fire Department if you have a large spill. Almost all Fire Departments are trained to help control and cleaning up all types of spills. Depending upon the location and size of the spill you may be required by law to report it to State and or Federal EPA officials.

Check Out Kaycan Vinyl Siding – It’s Not All the Same

When it first came out, vinyl siding looked a bit cheap sometimes, and many people didn’t want to use it. Now they have come out with lots of different types, including some that look like other types of siding that are a bit harder to afford and harder to take care of and keep in good condition. Kaycan vinyl siding has a lot of different choices when it comes to styles and colors.

If you really want your house to look like a log cabin, or like you have wood siding, but you can’t afford this or you don’t have the time for the upkeep, Kaycan is available to give you the same look. There are a variety of different collections to choose from, each with a number of color and configuration options (including vertical and a number of different types of horizontal siding). These include Beaded Plank, DaVinci, Hardwood Valley, Montebello Log, Ocean Park, Platinum, Richmond, and Timberlake.

Those who would really like to get siding that is very richly colored should consider the DaVinci Collection. This product is only available in the Double 4 Dutchlap configuration, but the colors include Colonial Red, Ivy Green, Mahogany, Midnight Blue, Pecan, and Spice.

People who like the look of unpainted wood will probably appreciate the Hardwood Valley Collection. This Kaycan Vinyl Siding has been created to look similar to antique barn wood, and comes in your choice of Cherry, Cypress, Natural Oak, River Rock, Vermont Maple, or Weathered Wood, and either a Double 4 configuration or a Double 5 Dutchlap configuration. You can use this product with a wood grain finish in temperatures ranging from 25 below zero to 110 degrees above zero.

The Montebello Log Collection is thicker than usual with an under layer to give it added strength. You have your choice of Cypress or Vermont maple in this scratch resistant siding that has been made with the color going all throughout the thickness of the siding.

For those who prefer a lot of different choices for the way their siding is configured, the Timberlake Collection is a good choice. This Kaycan product is available in a variety of different colors in D-4 Avanti, D-4 Marquis, D-5 Contessa, D-5 Elegance, D-5 Vertical, Lewiston, Prova, Sierra, T-3 Classic, and T-3 Wood Grain configurations.

Does Term Plan Have an Edge Over Endowment Plan?

Why do we buy insurance? The answers could vary as per different needs. Insurance could be for the sake of financial protection, it could be a tool used as pure investment and for some it is just another means for Tax savings. Insurance plans available in the market are designed to cater different needs, thus one should buy insurance not just because one needs too but there has to be a definite reason and purpose for the same. There is no doubt that in many cases the purpose is sole tax benefits offered by the insurance plans. The “insurance” element is largely undermined at times.

The main purpose of insurance is providing financial protection to the dependents in case of untimely death or disability of the breadwinner for the family. Thus insurance should be treated mainly as per individual needs and then for the tax benefit purpose.

Let’s understand the two traditional insurance plans and see which would be a better choice..

Term Insurance:

A Term Life insurance Policy is one of the most basic plan available in the market. Since it is the oldest type of policy available most new or young clients prefer beginning with it and then as years go by switch to other different policies as it is easily available with least premium amount thus making it the most preferred insurance cover for young first time clients.

Term insurance policy provides pure death risk cover with no further benefits attached unlike other insurance policies which provide for survival benefits as well. The term insurance policies are time defined with no claim paid once the policy duration expires i.e. These policies are limited time based which implies that the family gets the claim in case of untimely death which occurs during the policy period not beyond the term for which the policy is taken. No payment received if the policyholder outlives the term of the policy. Upon expiration, the policyholder may decide to either renew the policy or let it lapse. If the policy lapses, there is no reimbursement of the premium paid over the life of the policy.

In case of term insurance the premium component is least in the initial period or if the policy is taken at a young age but it rapidly increases with the age of the insured. This rapid increase is due to the mortality rate being higher as age increases.

Benefits:

The term insurance being a pure death cover is used to support the family in case of untimely death to repay any outstanding post-death liabilities.

Endowment Plan:

The Endowment plan is a combination of both insurance and investment. This plan covers the risk for a specific period and in case the policyholder survives the period the sum assured decided at the inception of the policy is made to the policyholder in the form of survival benefit. The premiums in this case are much higher than premiums for the term plans.

In case the policyholder dies during the term of the policy, the nominee is paid the sum assured along with the accumulated bonuses also known as the death benefit. And in case the policyholder survives the term the sum assured and the accumulated bonuses are paid as the survival benefit to the policyholder.

Since this plan provides guaranteed returns there are certain terms and conditions attached.

1) If the policyholder surrenders the policy within the first 3 policy years, he is not entitled to any surrender value.

2) If policy is surrendered after 3 years the surrender value received is less than the total premium amount paid for the 3 years.

3) The Bonuses are not guaranteed and generally paid only in case the company registers profits.

Now, having seen both the plans let’s compare the two plans:

Insurance theory stands on the principle of keeping insurance and investment apart and never mix the two. Thus, keeping this theory in mind term insurance is a better option since there is no investment element involved and thus no returns on maturity. The premium amount in case of term plan is less since it charges premium only for the protection and not investment whereas in case of endowment the premiums are loaded since it involves both investment and protection. The premiums in case of endowment is more since the premiums are invested in over instruments after deducting the insurance, mortality and other charges and return some part on maturity. The returns in case of endowment are much less compared to the premium paying terms selected.

Thus, all the above factors indicate that the Term Plan has an edge over endowment plan!!!

Home Inspections – A Question and Answer Guide

A home inspection is an evaluation of the visible and accessible systems and components of a home (plumbing, heating and cooling, electrical, structure, roof, etc.) and is intended to give the client (buyer, seller, or homeowner) a better understanding of the home’s general condition. Most often it is a buyer who requests an inspection of the home he or she is serious about purchasing. A home inspection delivers data so that decisions about the purchase can be confirmed or questioned, and can uncover serious and/or expensive to repair defects that the seller/owner may not be aware of. It is not an appraisal of the property’s value; nor does it address the cost of repairs. It does not guarantee that the home complies with local building codes or protect a client in the event an item inspected fails in the future. [Note: Warranties can be purchased to cover many items.] A home inspection should not be considered a “technically exhaustive” evaluation, but rather an evaluation of the property on the day it is inspected, taking into consideration normal wear and tear for the home’s age and location. A home inspection can also include, for extra fees, Radon gas testing, water testing, energy audits, pest inspections, pool inspections, and several other specific items that may be indigenous to the region of the country where the inspection takes place. Home inspections are also used (less often) by a seller before listing the property to see if there are any hidden problems that they are unaware of, and also by homeowners simply wishing to care for their homes, prevent surprises, and keep the home investment value as high as possible.

The important results to pay attention to in a home inspection are:

1. Major defects, such as large differential cracks in the foundation; structure out of level or plumb; decks not installed or supported properly, etc. These are items that are expensive to fix, which we classify as items requiring more than 2% of the purchase price to repair.

2. Things that could lead to major defects – a roof flashing leak that could get bigger, damaged downspouts that could cause backup and water intrusion, or a support beam that was not tied in to the structure properly.

3. Safety hazards, such as an exposed electrical wiring, lack of GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters) in kitchens and bathrooms, lack of safety railing on decks more than 30 inches off the ground, etc.

Your inspector will advise you about what to do about these problems. He/she may recommend evaluation – and on serious issues most certainly will – by licensed or certified professionals who are specialists in the defect areas. For example, your inspector will recommend you call a licensed building engineer if they find sections of the home that are out of alignment, as this could indicate a serious structural deficiency.

Home Inspections are only done by a buyer after they sign a contract, right?

This is not true! As you will see when you read on, a home inspection can be used for interim inspections in new construction, as a maintenance tool by a current homeowner, a proactive technique by sellers to make their home more sellable, and by buyers wanting to determine the condition of the potential home.

Sellers, in particular, can benefit from getting a home inspection before listing the home. Here are just a few of the advantages for the seller:

· The seller knows the home! The home inspector will be able to get answers to his/her questions on the history of any problems they find.

· A home inspection will help the seller be more objective when it comes to setting a fair price on the home.

· The seller can take the report and make it into a marketing piece for the home.

· The seller will be alerted to any safety issues found in the home before they open it up for open house tours.

· The seller can make repairs leisurely instead being in a rush after the contract is signed.

Why should I get a home inspection?

Your new home has dozens of systems and over 10,000 parts – from heating and cooling to ventilation and appliances. When these systems and appliances work together, you experience comfort, energy savings, and durability. Weak links in the system, however, can produce assorted problems leading to a loss in value and shortened component life. Would you buy a used car without a qualified mechanic looking at it? Your home is far more complicated, and to have a thorough inspection that is documented in a report arms you with substantial information on which to make decisions.

Why can’t I do the inspection myself?

Most homebuyers lack the knowledge, skill, and objectivity needed to inspect a home themselves. By using the services of a professional home inspector, they gain a better understanding of the condition of the property; especially whether any items do not “function as intended” or “adversely affect the habitability of the dwelling” or “warrant further investigation” by a specialist. Remember that the home inspector is a generalist and is broadly trained in every home system.

Why can’t I ask a family member who is handy or who is a contractor to inspect my new home?

Although your nephew or aunt may be very skilled, he or she is not trained or experienced in professional home inspections and usually lacks the specialized test equipment and knowledge required for an inspection. Home inspection training and expertise represent a distinct, licensed profession that employs rigorous standards of practice. Most contractors and other trade professionals hire a professional home inspector to inspect their own homes when they themselves purchase a home!

What does a home inspection cost?

This is often the first question asked but the answer tells the least about the quality of the inspection. Fees are based according to size, age and various other aspects of the home. Inspection fees from a certified professional home inspector generally start under $300. An average price for a 2,000 square foot home nationally is about $350-$375. What you should pay attention to is not the fee, but the qualifications of your inspector. Are they nationally certified (passed the NHIE exam)? Are they state certified if required?

How long does the inspection take?

This depends upon the size and condition of the home. You can usually figure 1.2 hours for every 1,000 square feet. For example, a 2,500 square foot house would take about 3 hours. If the company also produces the report at your home, that will take an additional 30-50 minutes.

Do all homes require a home inspection?

Yes and No. Although not required by law in most states, we feel that any buyer not getting a home inspection is doing themselves a great disservice. They may find themselves with costly and unpleasant surprises after moving into the home and suffer financial headaches that could easily have been avoided.

Should I be at the inspection?

It’s a great idea for you be present during the inspection – whether you are buyer, seller, or homeowner. With you there, the inspector can show you any defects and explain their importance as well as point out maintenance features that will be helpful in the future. If you can’t be there, it is not a problem since the report you receive will be very detailed. If you are not present, then you should be sure to ask your inspector to explain anything that is not clear in the report. Also read the inspection agreement carefully so you understand what is covered and what is not covered in the inspection. If there is a problem with the inspection or the report, you should raise the issues quickly by calling the inspector, usually within 24 hours. If you want the inspector to return after the inspection to show you things, this can be arranged and is a good idea, however, you will be paying for the inspector’s time on a walkthrough since this was not included in the original service.

Should the seller attend the home inspection that has been ordered by the buyer?

The seller will be welcome at the inspection (it is still their home) although they should understand that the inspector is working for the buyer. The conversation that the inspector has with the buyer may be upsetting to the seller if the seller was unaware of the items being pointed out, or the seller may be overly emotional about any flaws. This is a reason why the seller might want to consider getting their own inspection before listing the home.

Can a house fail a home inspection?

No. A home inspection is an examination of the current condition of your prospective home. It is not an appraisal, which determines market value, or a municipal inspection, which verifies local code compliance. A home inspector, therefore, cannot not pass or fail a house. The inspector will objectively describe the home’s physical condition and indicate which items are in need of repair or replacement.

What is included in the inspection?

The following list is not exhaustive. Not all of these may be in the inspection you get, but the inspector will be following a standardized checklist for the home:

· Site drainage and grading

· Driveway

· Entry Steps, handrails

· Decks

· Masonry

· Landscape (as it relates to the home)

· Retaining walls

· Roofing, flashings, chimneys, and attic

· Eaves, soffits, and fascias

· Walls, doors, windows, patios, walkways

· Foundation, basement, and crawlspaces

· Garage, garage walls, floor, and door operation

· Kitchen appliances (dishwasher, range/oven/cooktop/hoods, microwave, disposal, trash compactor)

· Laundry appliances (washer and dryer)

· Ceilings, walls, floors

· Kitchen counters, floors, and cabinets

· Windows and window gaskets

· Interior doors and hardware

· Plumbing systems and fixtures

· Electrical system, panels, entrance conductors

· Electrical grounding, GFCI, outlets

· Smoke (fire) detectors

· Ventilation systems and Insulation

· Heating equipment and controls

· Ducts and distribution systems

· Fireplaces

· Air Conditioning and controls

· Heat Pumps and controls

· Safety items such as means of egress, TPRV valves, railings, etc.

Other items that are not a part of the standard inspection can be added for an additional fee:

· Radon Gas Test

· Water Quality Test

· Termite Inspection (usually performed by a separate company)

· Gas Line Leak Test (usually performed by the gas company)

· Sprinkler System Test

· Swimming Pool and Spa Inspection

· Mold Screening (sometimes performed by a separate company)

· Septic System Inspection (usually performed by a separate company)

· Alarm System (usually performed by a separate company)

We recommend getting a Radon Test if your prospective home falls into an area of the country with known Radon seepage, since Radon gas produces cancer second only to cigarette smoking and can be easily mitigated by installing a vent system. We also recommend a water test to make sure you do not have bacteria in the water supply. Water can also be tested for Radon.

What is not included in the inspection?

Most people assume that everything is inspected in depth on inspection day. This misunderstanding has caused many a homebuyer to be upset with their inspector. The inspections we do are not exhaustive and there is a good reason for this. If you hired someone with licenses for heating and cooling, electrical, plumbing, engineering, etc. to inspect your house, it would take about 14 hours and cost you about $2000! It is much more practical to hire a professional inspector who has generalist knowledge of home systems, knows what to look for, and can recommend further inspection by a specialist if needed. Your inspector is also following very specific guidelines as he/she inspects your home. These are either national guidelines (ASHI – American Society of Home Inspectors, InterNACHI – International Association of Certified Home Inspectors) or state guidelines. These guidelines are carefully written to protect both your home and the inspector. Here are some examples: We are directed to not turn systems on if they were off at the time of the inspection (safety reasons); we are not allowed to move furniture (might harm something); not allowed to turn on water if it is off (possible flooding), and not allowed to break through a sealed attic hatch (possible damage). The downside of this practice is that by not operating a control, by not seeing under the furniture, and not getting into the attic or crawlspace, we will might miss identifying a problem. However, put into perspective, the chances of missing something serious because of this is quite low, and the guideline as it relates to safety and not harming anything in the home is a good one. There are other items that 95% of inspectors consider outside a normal inspection, and these include inspecting most things that are not bolted down (installed in the home) such as electronics, low voltage lighting, space heaters, portable air conditioners, or specialized systems such as water purifiers, alarm systems, etc.

What if there are things you can’t inspect (like snow on the roof)?

It just so happens that some days the weather elements interfere with a full home inspection! There isn’t much we can do about this either. If there is snow on the roof we will tell you we were unable to inspect it. Of course we will be looking at the eves and the attic, and any other areas where we can get an idea of condition, but we will write in the report that we could not inspect the roof. It is impractical for us to return another day once the snow melts, because we have full schedules. However, you can usually pay an inspector a small fee to return and inspect the one or two items they were unable to inspect when they were there the first time. This is just the way things go. If you ask the inspector for a re-inspection, they will usually inspect the items then at no extra charge (beyond the re-inspection fee).

Will the inspector walk on the roof?

The inspector will walk on the roof if it is safe, accessible, and strong enough so that there is no damage done to it by walking on it. Some roofs – such as slate and tile, should not be walked on. Sometimes because of poor weather conditions, extremely steep roofs, or very high roofs, the inspector will not be able to walk the roof. The inspector will try to get up to the edge though, and will also use binoculars where accessibility is a problem. They will also examine the roof from the upper windows if that is possible. There is a lot the inspector can determine from a visual examination from a ladder and from the ground, and they will be able to tell a lot more from inside the attic about the condition of the roof as well.

Should I have my house tested for Radon? What exactly is Radon?

In many areas of the country, the answer is a definite yes. You can ask your real estate agent about this or go on to the internet for a radon map of the country. Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless radioactive gas that’s formed during the natural breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water. Radon exits the ground and can seep into your home through cracks and holes in the foundation. Radon gas can also contaminate well water.

Health officials have determined that radon gas is a serious carcinogen that can cause lung cancer, second only to cigarette smoking. The only way to find out if your house contains radon gas is to perform a radon measurement test, which your home inspector can do. Make sure the person conducting your test has been trained to The National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) or The National Radon Safety Board (NRSB) standards.

What about a newly constructed home? Does it need a home inspection?

Yes! In fact, we find far more problems, some quite serious, in newly constructed homes than in homes that have been lived in for years. This is not due to your builder’s negligence – he/she has done the best job they could with subcontractors and planning – it’s just that there are so many systems in a home, that it is close to impossible to inspect everything, and correct it before the Certificate of Occupancy is issued. Then, for some reason, the subcontractors no longer want to work on the home, and final jobs and details are missed. We recommend getting several professional home inspections near the completion stages of the home to discover everything that should be corrected. If the house is still new but sitting for a while before sale, it’s even more important to get a home inspection. We have seen water lines not hooked up, plumbing lines not hooked up, sewer lines not hooked up, vents not hooked up, and a variety of other serious but easily correctable problems!

I am having a home built. The builder assures me he will inspect everything. Should I have an independent inspector make periodic inspections?

Absolutely yes! No matter how good your builder is, he/she WILL miss things. They are so concerned with the house, they get so close to their work, as do the subcontractors, that important items can, and will be, overlooked. Have a professional inspector make at least 4-6 interim inspections. They will be worth their weight in gold.

What is the Pre-Inspection Agreement?

Most service professionals have a service agreement, and home inspection is no different. In fact, there is enough confusion about what a home inspection should deliver that the agreement is even more important. Some homeowners who get a home inspection expect everything in the home to be perfect after the repairs. This is not the case! Imagine getting a call from a homeowner a year later who says the toilet is not flushing – remember that the inspection is a moment in time snapshot. In the inspection agreement the inspector is clear about what the inspection delivers and the things that are not covered, as well as what you should do if you are not pleased with the services. We really think that by reviewing this before-hand you will understand much more about the inspection and be happier with the results. A home inspection does not guard against future problems, nor does it guarantee that all problems will be found.

What kind of report will I get following the inspection?

There are as many versions of a “report” as there are inspection companies. Guidelines dictate that the inspector deliver a written report to the client. This can range from a handwritten checklist that has multiple press copies without pictures and 4 pages long to a computer generated professionally produced report with digital pictures that is 35 pages long and can be converted to Adobe PDF for storage and emailing. Be sure to check with your inspector about the report he or she uses. We recommend the computer generated report, since the checklist is more detailed and easier for the homeowner/buyer/seller to detail out the issues with photographs. In this modern age, we feel the reports must be web accessible and e-mailable to match the technologies most of us are using.

There are some great things you can use the report for in addition to the wealth of information it simply gives you on your new home:

· Use the report as a checklist and guide for the contractor to make repairs and improvements or get estimates and quotes from more than one contractor.

· Use the report as a budgeting tool using the inspector’s recommendations and the remaining expected life of components to keep the property in top shape.

· If you are a seller, use the report to make repairs and improvements, raising the value of the home and impressing the buyers. Then have a re-inspection and use this second report as a marketing tool for prospective buyers.

· Use the report as a “punch list” on a re-inspection and as a baseline for ongoing maintenance.

Will the report be emailable or available as an Adobe PDF file?

Yes. As discussed in the last question, you will probably want your inspector to be using the latest reporting technology.

What if I think the inspector missed something?

Inspectors are human, and yes, they do miss items. However, they routinely use advanced tools and techniques to reduce the possibility that they will miss something. This includes very detailed checklists, reference manuals, computer based lists, and a methodical always-done-the-same-way of physically moving around your home. That is one of the reasons that an inspector can miss an item when they get interrupted. The inspector will have a set way of resuming the inspection if this happens. If, in the end, something IS missed, call the inspector and discuss it. It may warrant the inspector returning to view something that you found. Remember, the inspector is doing the very best job they know how to do, and probably did not miss the item because they were lax in their technique or did not care.

What if the inspector tells me I should have a professional engineer or a licensed plumber or other professional contractor in to look at something they found? Isn’t this “passing the buck”?

You may be disappointed that further investigation is required, but, believe us, your inspector is doing exactly what they should be doing. The purpose of the inspection is to discover defects that affect your safety and the functioning of the home; the inspector is a generalist, not a specialist. Our code of ethics as well as national and state guidelines dictate that only contractors that are licensed in their specialty field should work on these systems and areas. When they tell you that a specialist is needed, there may be a bigger, more critical issue that you need to know about. If you move into the home without getting these areas checked by a qualified specialist, you could be in for some nasty and expensive surprises. The inspector does not want to cause you any more expense or worry either, so when they do recommend further evaluation they are being serious about protecting you and your investment.

Will the inspector provide a warranty on the inspected items?

Most inspectors do not give the homeowner a warranty on inspected items. Remember, a home inspection is a visual examination on a certain day, and the inspector cannot predict what issues could arise over time after the inspection. However, some inspectors are now including a warranty from the largest home warranty company in America – American Home Warranty Corporation, as well as others, on the inspected items for 60 or 90 days. This is a very good deal, and the agreement can be extended after the initial period for a relatively small amount of money.

Do most inspection companies offer money back guarantees?

Most inspection companies do not offer a satisfaction guarantee nor do they mention it in their advertising. It’s always a good thing if you can get extra services for no additional cost from your inspection company, and of course a satisfaction guarantee is an indication of superior customer service. You usually have to call your inspection company right after the inspection and viewing of the report to tell them you are not satisfied. If you are not happy with the services, you should talk to your inspector first and let him/her correct the issue(s) you are unhappy with first, as the inspector is trying to make an honest living just like the rest of us, and is not failing you on purpose.

What if my report comes back with nothing really defective in the home? Should I ask for my money back?

No, don’t ask for your money back – you just received great news! Now you can complete your home purchase with peace of mind about the condition of the property and all its equipment and systems. You will have valuable information about your new home from the inspector’s report, and will want to keep that information for future reference. Most importantly, you can feel assured that you are making a well-informed purchase decision.

What if the inspection reveals serious defects?

If the inspection reveals serious defects in the home (we define a serious defect as something that will cost more than 2% of the purchase price to fix) then pat yourself on the back for getting an inspection. You just saved yourself a ton of money. Of course it is disappointing, even heart wrenching, to find out that your well researched house is now a problem house, but you now know the facts and can either negotiate with the seller, or move on. You may want the home so much that it will be worth it to negotiate the price and then perform the repairs. Imagine, though, if you had not gotten the inspection – you would have had some very unpleasant surprises.

Can I ask my home inspector to perform the repairs?

You can, but if your inspector is ethical, he/she will refuse, and correctly so; it is a conflict of interest for the person who inspected your home to also repair it! Inspectors are specifically barred from this practice by licensing authorities, and it’s a good practice – an inspector must remain completely impartial when he or she inspects your home. This is one reason you should have a professional home inspector inspect your home and not a contractor – the contractor will want the repair work and you are likely to not have an objective inspection from this person even though they mean well and are technically competent.

Does the Seller have to make the repairs?

The inspection report results do not place an obligation on the seller to repair everything mentioned in the report. Once the home condition is known, the buyer and the seller should sit down and discuss what is in the report. The report will be clear about what is a repair and what is a discretionary improvement. This area should be clearly negotiated between the parties. It’s important to know that the inspector must stay out of this discussion because it is outside of their scope of work.

After the home inspection and consulting with the seller on the repairs, can I re-employ the inspector to come re-inspect the home to make sure everything got fixed?

You certainly can, and it’s a really good idea. For a small fee the inspector will return to determine if the repairs were completed, and if they were completed correctly.

What if I find problems after I move into my new home?

A home inspection is not a guarantee that problems won’t develop after you move in. However, if you believe that a problem was visible at the time of the inspection and should have been mentioned in the report, your first step should be to call the inspector. He or she will be fine with this, and does want you to call if you think there is a problem. If the issue is not resolved with a phone call, they will come to your home to look at it. They will want you to be satisfied and will do everything they can to do this. One way to protect yourself between the inspection and the move-in is to conduct a final walkthrough on closing day and use both the inspection report AND a Walkthrough Checklist to make sure everything is as it should be.

Copyright 2010 by Lisa P. Turner

Pet Project – Restoring a Wooden Picnic Table

There’s no reason to go and buy new furniture when restoring perfectly good old furniture is more cost-effective and fun. You may already own an old wooden picnic table, or else you can pick one up at a flea market or antique store. Though it might not look like much to begin with, with a good cleaning and some new finish, the results may just surprise you.

Pick a good workspace

When working on outdoor furniture you want a place that is open, well-ventilated and preferably outdoors. Yards, garages and decks tend to work best. When working on flooring, like a wooden deck, that can get stained or damaged by cleaners and solvents, spray the floor down with some water as well. This will dilute runoff from the cleaning solution.

Cleaning

To start, you will need to wet your wooden picnic table and remove loose debris. Begin by spraying the table down with a hose to get off dust, dirt and cobwebs. By saturating the table, it will also take more evenly to the cleaning solution. Plus, it will keep the table from drying out too quickly, which will get stained with buildup if cleaner is left on it.

Once all big matter has been hosed away you can move on to your cleaning solution. Wood-specific cleaners and wood deck cleaners both work well to remove dirt and discoloration while restoring some of the original color to furniture. If you have some extra stubborn spots you can work in a concentrated solvent solution of either chlorine or bleach mixed with water, but use caution when working with caustic substances. Whatever you use, apply the solution all over using a hose or rag and allow it to set for a few minutes. Then, use two stiff brushes, one big, one small to scrub all flat surfaces and also get down into the cracks of your wooden picnic table.

When your wooden picnic table is as clean as you want it to be, rinse off any leftovers traces of cleaner. You should be able to tell that the wood looks both brighter and cleaner by now. Next, let the table dry completely before proceeding to the next step.

Sanding

One byproduct of cleaning a wooden picnic table is that the grain of the wood will tend to rise as a result. You can correct this by using a light grade sandpaper but be careful not to over-sand as this will not only damage the wood but will hinder the table from best absorbing a new coating of finish.

Refinishing

Once you have stripped away all of the bad you can start the rebuilding process. The first step is choosing whether or not you wish to apply a wood stain. Stains not only serve to brighten up dull, grayish woods but it also serves as a measure of protection to the wood itself. A gel stain works especially for a wooden picnic table, because it will not drip in between the slats. Using a paintbrush or applicator pad, apply a thin and even layer of stain.

Another choice you have to make is whether to varnish your wooden picnic table. Leaving outdoor wood furniture unfinished will cause it to weather naturally over time and acquire a gray patina coloration. Oil-based finishes are good on most kinds of patio lumber and provides a glossy sheen while protecting the heartwood from cracking, warping and rotting. After you apply the finish, if it looks hazy you can buff it using steel wool.

Testing Capacitor – How To Test A Capacitor When Breakdown Under Load

Have you ever come across power problem where once you switch on the power supply and the fuse blow? You have checked all the components in the power (primary) and secondary section and all the components seems to be ok! Where is the fault? A fuse blown are usually caused by a shorted bridge rectifier, defective posistor, power transistor or FET, shorted primary winding of switch mode power transformer, shorted secondary diode and etc. But in this article I’m gone to show you another secret of electronic troubleshooting tips.

I got frustrated as to where is the cause of power problem. Every time when i switch on the power supply the fuse blow immediately (the fuse became dark color and this indicate that there is a major short circuit in the power supply). I have checked all the components in the power supply and can’t find the culprit! What i do is i desoldered all the suspected parts one by one and replaced with a known good component. I eventually found the caused of the power supply problem. Guess what? It was the main filter capacitor (220 microfarad 400 volt). After replacing the filter cap the power supply worked perfectly fine. I begin my detective work to find out why this capacitor can caused the fuse to blow even though i already confirmed it OK with my meters.

The meters that i used to check the filter cap were analog meter, digital capacitance meter and esr meter. In this article i will not explain about how to check capacitor or testing capacitor and how capacitor work. I believed most of you know how to check capacitors and also generally using this type of meters. Measured with analog it showed capacitor charging and discharge, with digital capacitor tester it showed around 220 microfarad and with esr meter it showed low esr reading!

This proved that the bad capacitor breakdown when under full operating voltage. Then, how do i confirm that this filter capacitor is faulty? By using an analog insulation tester. When i connect the faulty cap to the meter and press the go button-it showed a very low resistance and this is the proved of short circuit between the plate when voltage applied! There is nothing to do with bad electrolyte. A good capacitor will just showed a charge and discharge in the insulation meter just like you are checking a capacitor using analog multimeter. In the market there is quite a number of ranges that you can buy. It has the range of 50v, 100v, 250v, 500v, 1000v and even 5000v! If you want to test a capacitor of 100 microfarad 160v then you have to select 100v. If you select 250v, it will blow your capacitor that is under test.

If you have the SENCORE TEST EQUIPMENT such as the sencore lc meter LC102 OR LC103, these meters have the capabilities of checking any type of capacitors with four tests:

-testing for capacitor values

-checking for leakage

-equivalent series resistance (ESR) and

-Dielectric absorption

It can check aluminum electrolytic capacitor, film capacitor, ceramic, high voltage capacitor and etc.

Conclusion-Different capacitor manufacturer produced different type of quality of a capacitor. Perhaps the bad capacitor that I encountered are from the lowest grade one. A capacitor failure when under load is very rare. Using ESR capacitor meter alone can solve most of the electrolytic capacitor problem.

Where Did Queen Nefertiti Come From?

Queen Nefertiti is one of two most famous queens of ancient Egypt, the other being Cleopatra. Her beauty, revealed in her famous limestone portrait busts – the loveliest masterpieces of Egyptian sculpture – has made her widely known around the world. Yet, in spite of her fame, historians are not unanimous about her origins. There appears to have been a deliberate attempt in ancient Egypt to erase the existence of her memory due to reasons that will be elaborated in this article.

Nefertiti is a mysterious figure. Some say, who she was, or who her parents were, is unknown and that she was just a commoner. Others have suggested that she was a Hittite princess, or that she was a Mittani princess from a neighboring kingdom, or a daughter of Ay, one the viziers to the pharaoh. However clarifying the matter would help to clarify other significant aspects of ancient Egyptian civilization.

An aspect of genetics, that appears not to have been given the attention it deserves, can help resolve this mystery. It is the elongated skull or the dolichocephalic heads that many members of the eighteenth Egyptian dynasty possessed. One of the reasons that historians ignored this feature at first is because some thought that it was just a feature of stylized art. Some have suggested that elongated skulls are not an unusual feature and prevail in some African and Nordic tribes. However here, it is not a question of just a long skull that some Africans or ancient Nordics could possess. Those are within the limits of normal human variation albeit on the longer side. Here we are talking of a skull shape that goes well beyond the normal human shape, to the point that biologists have attributed it to rare diseases, some even to extraterrestrial sources. Studies have shown that it is a rare occurrence indeed. Certain African tribes such as the Mangbetu and the Zande produce long skulls by binding the heads of young but this latter type of elongation produces quite a different effect. Moreover studies on Egyptian royal mummies have proved conclusively that the royal Egyptian dolichocephalic head is not a result of binding but rather a genetic family trait. The skull shape is so pronounced that many initially thought it was just an artistic feature until the actual mummies with such skulls were discovered. Some modern doctors postulated that this might be a result of a rare deforming disease. However that too has been ruled out since the trait is shared in the family by inheritance. Research work by David Childress in Peru, Adriano Forgione in Malta and Andrew Collins, (Andrew Collins. Gods of Eden. London: Headline Book, Pub. 1998) has led to a greater knowledge of the elongated skull. The first is that this is a rare anomaly that has been found since ancient times in other parts of the world as well. If those possessing the elongated skull belong to a certain race that has now become extinct cannot be said with certainty. Such skulls have been discovered not only in Egypt but also in Peru, Malta and the Mittani belt of northern Iraq and Syria and those possessing such skulls appear to have been associated with the royal or priestly classes. Except for Peru the other four locations are in close geographical proximity therefore the possibility that all of them arise from the same genetic source cannot be ruled out. The genetic source of the Peru skulls may also be the same since there does appear to be an old world origin of American civilizations.

Nefertiti too possessed such a skull and therefore the possibility of her being a commoner becomes unlikely. The second speculation that she was a Hittite princess is also ruled out by reference to available historical records. Rather she appears to be a Mittani princess daughter of the Mittani king Dashrath. The confusion has arisen because in historical records the Mittani have been confused with Hittites on occasions. Both Hittites and the Mittani belong to the Indo-European speaking Aryan races.

The Mitanni were a people of Aryan origin who ruled a vast kingdom with a largely Hurrian population in West Asia in the second millennium BC, for a brief historical epoch, sometime after 1500 BC. It was a feudal state led by a warrior nobility in which apparently the royal women were trained along with men in horse riding, chariot racing and warfare. This training was provided for the eventuality that they might be called upon to rule if widowed. Such accounts are found in the Puranas and Vedas, ancient historical records of the community that the Mittani kings belonged too. The Rig-Veda, an ancient scripture of Mittani rulers recounts the story of a warrior, Queen Vishpla, who lost her leg in battle, was fitted with iron prosthesis, and returned to battle. The Mittani kingdom in Syria was a foreign and brief one lasting for about 150 years. During their brief reign the relationship they established with Egypt has left a significant mark in history. It was a mutually beneficial alliance that permitted the Mittani to continue in foreign surroundings and provided a buffer to the Egyptians against Hittite incursions. The Mittani kingdom was eventually weakened by Hittites and returned to Syria in approximately 1330 BC.

While they ruled in the area, the Mittani Royal house developed close amicable relations with their western neighbors, the Egyptian Royal house through intermarriages as well as financial, military and religious alliances. For a period they became as one family. There appear to have been some alliance amongst the priestly class as well. The daughter of King Artatama was married to Thutmose IV, Akhenaten’s grandfather. His son, King Shuttarna in the early fourteenth century BC sent his daughter Kiluhepa to Egypt for a marriage with Pharaoh Amenhotp III. And the daughter of the King Dasharatha, the son of Shuttarna, Princess Tadukhipa, became the queen of Akhenaten. The Egyptian Pharaohs also introduced horses and chariots in Egypt because of their relationship with the Mittanis.

The archeological finds at Amarna shed light on the relationship between the two royal families. In one Amarna letter, written to Akhenaten’s mother, Tiye, my sister, the Mitannian king complains that Akhenaten has not sent gifts that his father had promised, “I had asked your husband for statues of solid cast gold, but your son has sent me plated statues of wood. With gold being dirt in your son’s country, why have they been a source of such distress to your son that he has not given them to me? Is this love?” Dushrath wrote to Tiye instead of to the pharaoh himself because he was more comfortable in writing to his sister than the king. The letter is hardly a diplomatic or royal letter. It is a family communication.

The origin of queen Tiye, like that of Nefertiti are also shrouded in controversy. It is very possible that the priests did not approve of the Egyptian family connection with Mittanis. They had good reasons for it. Primarily it was the introduction of foreign gods and unorthodox customs into Egypt as a result of these foreign queens. Queen Tiye too has been recognized for her unorthodoxy like Nefertiti. Historians have however admitted that there appears to be a relationship between Tiye and Nefertiti. There was. Tiye was Nefertiti’s aunt – the sister of her father Dashrath. The Amarna letters prove the close family ties between Dashrath and Tiye. Another reason for the discomfort of the priesthood was that before the appearance of the Mittanis, the priestly clan often supplied brides to the pharaohs. That helped them to maintain their power in Egypt, but this new source of royal brides must have been a source of much anguish to the priestly clan. They may have responded by claiming that the new brides were not royal but just from a common tribal source that had managed to grab a neighboring kingdom. This last assumption may have arisen from their ignorance of Mittani royal roots that have a history perhaps longer than even the Egyptian civilization as illustrated by their sacred texts, the Vedas.

Some historians have claimed that Tiye was the daughter of Yuaa, a priest of Mittani origin that her mother Tuaa, was of royal descent, from the royal family of Mittani. If this latter was the case then it would make Tiye a cousin of king Dasharath rather than a blood sister. However, the utter informality of communications between Dasharath and Tiye, along with historical records indicating that the Mittani kings had provided the Egyptian pharaohs with their daughters as queens suggests that Tiye was a blood sister of Dashrath, the Mittani princess Kiluhepa. In either case the Mittani royal origin of Tiye, and by extension that of Nefertiti appears to be of little doubt. Both bore a resemblance as revealed from their statues. Physical resemblance of relatives within the Mittani and Egyptian households appears to have been accentuated by inbreeding to the point that even Nefertiti and her husband bore a striking resemblance to each other. As compared to humans of other races, Akhinaten appeared effeminate and some suggested that he had no sexual organs because a nude statue of him depicted him without any. Akhinaten fathered many children and the absence of sexual organs in his statue is more likely a result of modesty. The ancient Egyptians were not as open about male frontal nudity as the Greeks were in a later civilization. In reality Akhinaten may have been rather well hung. However there is a possibility that his sexual chromosomes were XXY rather than XY, a result of inbreeding. The possibility arises because of the speculation that the elongated skull is primarily a feature imparted by the X chromosome and that its presence in males is only likely with an extra X. However a confirmation of this last hypothesis must await further advances in genetic science.

Betsy Bryan, a professor of Egyptian art and archaeology at Johns Hopkins, found a statue of Tiye, Akhinaten’s mother, at the Mut temple. When the statue was removed it revealed itself as a queen of Amenhotep III, whose name appears repeatedly on the statue’s crown. Schwappach-Shirriff curator of the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in California told Discovery News that it is significant that the statue was found buried within a temple. ” It shows that she indeed had strong religious ties because she was found in a temple ” she explained. Women at the time could not serve as priestesses, but both Bryan and Schwappach-Shirriff think the emerging evidence, such as this statue, indicate that at least some women may have been more central to certain Egyptian religions than previously thought. This new role of women in Egypt appears to be due to the foreign Mittani origin of these queens.

The Mittani royal families appears to be the source from which elongated skulls arrived in the Egyptian royal family. Thutmose III and Thutmose IV grandfather of Akhinaten did not possess such a skull as revealed by their statues at Luxor and Cairo Museums but his grandmother Queen Mutemwiya , Great Royal Spouse of King Thutmose IV and royal daughter of Artatama I, King of Mittani probably did. The Mittani queens were given new Egyptian names after their marriages to the Pharaohs. The change in names added to the fact that the Pharaohs had more than one wife has lead to the confusion as to which is which. Add to this the propaganda circulated by the priests who were the principal scribes of the time and the clouding of history becomes certain. The Pharaoh Akhinaten, who too possessed the elongated head, could have got this trait from his father, mother or grandmother. His daughters and son King Tutankhamen possessed the same skull as well. There was considerable inbreeding in the royal families and this tends to establish a genetic trait. The elongated skull was probably a common feature of the Egyptian and Mittani royal households and this would have lead them to consider that they had become one family. Akhinaten had two wives Kiya and Nefretiti and scholars are unsure as to which of the two is the Mittani Princess. However, if one were to go by the elongated skull then it has to be Nefretiti who was the Mittani princess. Add to this the fact that she was a warrior queen who has been shown participating in chariot races and wielding weapons. She was not the typical Queen of Egypt. She was shown in very prominent positions in the Amarna art, and has even been shown in the warlike position of the Pharaoh – grasping prisoners’ hair and breaking their skulls with a mace. Order in ancient society was maintained by ruthless punishments. This was very unlike Egyptian princesses but not unexpected of a Mittani Aryan one.

In ancient times it was not uncommon for queens and princesses to have a personal nurse who stayed with the princesses well into adulthood often accompanying them into a new household after their marriage. The nurse often played the role of a substitute mother if the real mother was not available. If a princess came from the Mittani kingdom, it is expected that she be not sent alone to a foreign land but along with maids and her personal nurse. That is the least a royal father could do when sending his daughter to another country. Did such a nurse accompany Akhineten’s Mittani wife into Egypt? One lady in the palace did claim to be her nurse. It was Tey who never claimed to be the queen’s mother but did claim to be her nurse. Tey is also known to have had her own daughter Mutnodmjet born from a marriage to the prominent Egyptian Aye. Nefertiti would have regarded the daughter of Tey in a sisterly way and one inscription reads, “Mutnodjmet, may she live like Re forever, sister of the King’s Great Wife. Therefore, it is clear that Nefertiti regarded her Nurse’s daughter as her sister. There is little doubt that Mutnodjmet was Aye’s daughter because there are prominent depictions of the two together. The fact that Nefertiti had a personal nurse, who is well known in Egypt, is also evidence against her being from a common or unknown background. If it was claimed by some that Nefertiti’s background is not known in spite of the fact that her nurse continued to be present as the wife of a prominent personality is an indication that a deliberate attempt has been made to ignore Nefertiti’s background. Aye even became a Pharaoh at a later stage after the death of the last heir of the eighteenth dynasty.

There are other bits of evidence that support the theory that Nefertiti was a Mittani princess. Nefertiti means the beautiful one who has come, signifying a princess from afar. During his rule Akhinaten probably due to the Aryan influence of his mother and wife attempted to establish a new religion, that of monotheistic worship with the Sun as the symbol of God’s power, to the utter dismay of the priesthood. This attempt resulted in an open revolt by the priestly class.

The striking resemblance between Nefertiti’s portraits and those of her young husband has prompted some scholars to suggest that she was his half, or even his full sister. Brother and sister marriages were common in Egypt. But we know from historical records that this was not the case here. Rather if the princess were the daughter of Dushratta, then her aunt would be the mother, and her grandmother the sister of the grandmother of the King, a relationship even closer than cousins and there would be nothing strange in their resembling each other as brother and sister.

Their reign was brief. Akhinaten ruled just 17 years, and within a few years after his death in 1336 B.C., Neferititi too died, apparently murdered, struck from behind at an unguarded moment. Tut ruled for about ten years before he died in 1322 B.C. The Egyptian vizier Aye was perhaps the de facto ruler initially using King Tut as the figurehead on the throne. As Tut grew up it is likely that he, like his father, was starting to have ideas of his own. His mentors particularly Aye, could not tolerate another heretic and may have organized his murder by poisoning or another device. Aye is portrayed as a person who acted in a fatherly manner to Nefertiti but this may have been just a cunning front that Aye maintained to retain his foothold in the palace. Aye proclaimed himself Pharaoh after the death of Tut since no other heirs were left. He is the shadowy figure who may have organized the end of the eighteenth Egyptian dynasty in order to gain power. He too died within three years in 1319. A commoner Horemheb followed Aye to the throne and ruled for 27 years, obliterating every record of Nefertiti and Akhenaten that he could. The old orthodoxy was restored. Akhenaten’s enemies soon smashed his statues, dismantled his temples, and set out to expunge all memory of him and Nefertiti from Egypt’s historical record. The eighteenth Egyptian dynasty ended with King Tut. Two other outside rulers – Aye and Horemheb are shown grouped with the eighteenth dynasty because of a lack of a better placement.

Archives found in the Hittite capital of Hattusa in Anatolia indicate that Nefrititi wrote a desperate letter to the Hittite king saying her husband had died and begging him to send her one of his sons so that she would not have to wed a “servant.” and one who would rule over Egypt as the king. The letter indicated that Neferititi maintained the reigns of power as long as she lived. An Egyptian princess was more likely to seek an alliance closer at hand. It is also a written proof that the eighteenth dynasty regarded themselves as a class apart from other Egyptians regarding the latter as a servant class and believed in marrying within royalty rather than outside of it. If Nefertiti was indeed of common Egyptian origin than such a statement is unlikely from her. The Hittite king obliged by sending his son, however the son was way laid and killed at the border leading to a bloody war. This indicates the intrigue that was taking place in the palace at that time. There were few, other than Aye who could be privy to the communication. Only a Mittani princess could have dared to write to a Hittite king with a proposal for marriage and only an insider like Aye would know.

Nefertiti did not behave as a commoner or a person from anything less than a royal family right from the start. She ruled by the side of Akhinaten as long as he lived and after his death added the suffix Aten to her name, adorned a male dress and took charge of the kingdom as a Pharaoh true to the tradition of Vedic Aryans. The royal heirs Smenkhare and Tutankhamen were too young to become kings right away, but were possibly regarded by the orthodoxy as the real Pharaohs. Historians are unsure as to whether Tutankhamen was the son of Nefertiti or queen Kiya but it was probably the latter because one of Nefertiti’s daughter’s was married to King Tut and that would seem more reasonable if they were half brother and sister. Both Smenkhare and Tutankhamen possessed the royal skull. Tut was both a son and son-in-law of Nefertiti.

There is no evidence whatsoever in historical records to suggest that Nefertiti was not the Mittani princess, and while she lived she ruled like a warrior queen true to the race of warriors she had descended from. The pharaohs of Egypt added a divine suffix to their names. The suffix declared them as the divine representatives of the god that became a part of their name. As a queen princess Tadukhipa adopted the name Nefertiti and Nefretari, “the beautiful one has arrived”. As a Pharaoh she changed the name to NeferNeferaten – the beautiful, beautiful one from the Sun God”. In recent years her hidden tomb and injured mummy has been discovered in the Valley of the Kings, restoring the recognition she deserved. The present study restores the recognition of her origins that ancient Egyptian scribes tried so hard to delete from Egyptian memories. Their attempts were understandable. She was a foreigner and an equal partner with her young husband in attempting to destroy the ancient religion of Egypt and replace it with a new one. It is hoped that the present study will contribute towards restoring her rightful place in the history of human civilizations.

Iligan City’s Hidden Wonder: Tinago Falls

Hidden in deep ravine is Iligan City’s pride and must-go-to tourist spot — Tinago Falls. One of the 23 waterfalls that graces the landscape of this city is the Tinago Falls, hidden deep with the ravine and nestled in a rich canopy of greens and walled around with rocks.

This magnificent beauty used to have a resort with function halls for conferences, and leisure facilities such as swimming pools, playgrounds and mini zoo for a company of friends or visiting families. They used to have a vast developed land area for a vacation one would remember. However, due to legal and managerial issues the resort has closed down and what is now left standing are rundown building and cottage structures of what used to be a nature resort, Iligan City was proud of. But just because the resort has closed down doesn’t mean that Tinago Falls is closed for tourists as well. The falls is still accessible and open for the public through the old resorts property. Trust any locals for directions and never hesitate to ask anyone to accompany you and your party through overgrown grasses and bushes of the old resorts to the makeshift entrance area for an agreed price.

A good 5-10minute walk through the property is a platform of stairway down the ravine. Trust me when I say that you MUST call for a 5minute break before going down, enough to gather your breath and readies your feet for a good round of physical work out down the hidden nirvana where hides this falls. An approximate of 500 descending steps called the winding staircase is done trekking down through the side of the mountain with only several makeshift bamboo poles for hand bars and broken down concrete staircase for your foot hold.

The physical exhaustion is worth every sweat drop because the sight will just simply to take your breath away. The water is crystal clear and the sight of the water falling down the rock head with a height drop of 73.152 m (240.0 ft) is awesome to look at, as it is engulf in a rich canopy of greens and rock faced facade framing it for a photographically magnificent shot.

A required life vest can be rented in fixed price. Just bring with you your own provisions, and pack your cameras with you to take memories captured shots. Make important calls or send SMS before going down the ravine, the signal for cellular connection is generally weak, from Globe, Smart, Suncellular, and their partnered networks, you might get too carried away enjoying your stay there that you might forget about time. So be conscious of previously made engagements.

Tinago Falls had been long standing tourist spot in Iligan City, and every tourist should never leave this city not able to visit this hidden beauty.