Does Learning Card Tricks Make You Smarter Than Playing Solitaire?

Have you ever watched someone play solitaire? Have you ever played it yourself? At first, people playing this card game devote an extreme amount of mental intent, but as they play on, they move the cards quite quickly, anticipating what’s coming next, and being ready for any possible move. At some point they become so good at the game, they do it on autopilot, and they can carry on a conversation on the phone, or with a group of people talking around the coffee table. Even people who do this in the office when they should be working, are able to also complete their tasks, even if it is in a haphazardly manner.

When folks play solitaire how much of their mind is really active? Well it turns out that in the first 10 to 15 minutes, their mind is very active as reported by an fMRI brain scanner, but much like someone watching TV their attention span becomes slacking overtime. Those who have played solitaire under strict observation in research studies show they are also prone to make mistakes, get bored, or even cheat just so they can finish and quit. Some people play solitaire just to pass the time, similar to people who smoke cigarettes and become addicted to nicotine because it does affect their brain and their sense of time.

Did you know that people that practice card tricks and magic tricks also have similar attributes on a brain scanner? That’s interesting isn’t it? Why you think this is? Much of it has to do with the dexterity of their fingertips as they are playing with the cards. In a game of solitaire the same thing occurs when doing card tricks because you have to be more careful, and each hand movement must be precise. The brain scanner shows this, moments of extreme concentration, and then flat periods with not much of anything. Isn’t it interesting that the solitaire player goes through the same process?

Even more interesting is that as the card trick player commits that trick to memory, and as he or she does it over and over again, their brain lights up less, and less each time they do the same trick. Why is this? Could it be because they are committing these motions to memory? Just as a martial artist might do? Muscle memory if you will? It is an intriguing thought isn’t it, and yet when was the last time you thought about this while you are playing Solitaire? Please consider all this and think on it.

Want To Downsize Your Home? Invest In A DIY Flat Pack House

Have all your kids gone away to college? Are you sick of hearing about the global housing crisis? You may be looking to downsize your home to save costs if the answer is yes to those questions. One of the cheapest and fastest ways to go about it is by building your own home. Do It Yourself Flat Pack homes are good options because: 1) you can build them quickly 2) there are many models out there that are high quality and energy efficient, and 3) you can build them in a fraction of the time you would build a traditional home.

As a matter of fact, if you live in the UK, there’s an engineer living there that is designing a home where the biggest part of it can assembled in about four hours. According to Dr. Mike Page, the engineer who designed it, it is as easy to put together as an IKEA bookcase. There isn’t even as much assembly as you’d see in a regular flat pack kit because when customers order these prefabricated home kits, they get the finished product. All that will need to be done will be to add the flat pack furniture, dust your hands off, and you’re done. Voila! Livable Home!

The QB2 Cube House

You can buy the flat pack house between the ranges of £10,500 to £47,000. The QB2 cube house, as it is called, is about 10 ft. tall and 13 ft. wide and allows two people to sleep in comfort. Also importantly, the building doesn’t require any action by the planning commission because it’s only 10 ft. tall. You can see how the designing genius of Dr. Page comes into play when you look at the space saving measures that are incorporated in the building that makes it much roomier than homes of the same size.

Amazingly, the QB2 cube is able to provide a fully functional and comfortable floor plan in its compact design. This is accomplished by combining features in the home such as using a sturdy bookcase as a foundation for a mini-spiral set of stairs. If you bought the QB2, the following components would fit in your home:

  • A bedroom with a large double bed.
  • A large galley bathroom with sink, toilet and full-sized shower.
  • A dining room table that converts into a sofa that.
  • A large and perfectly functional stove and refrigerator.
  • Appliances to include a TV and washing machine.
  • A Mechanical heat recovery HVAC system and low energy lights.

Design Options For The QB2

The shell of the QB2 can be erected in about four hours, but it takes a little longer to add other parts of the home such as the kitchen. There is an option to build the cube home yourself for about £9,495, or let Bolton Buildings build it for you for £10,305.00. This basic model includes ceiling and floor joists, foundation and wall studs.

An additional option costs about £27,208 and will provide insulated walls, roof covering and floors and ceilings. It also has walls with birch lining within them.

Home Decorating Tips For Your DIY

You will need to approach home decorating for this small home a little differently than a regular-sized home because if you don’t, things can look crammed. For instance, some smart use of space would be to delineate rooms by hanging a nice set of curtains on electrical piping curtain rods for an inexpensive and appealing touch to your small home.

Homebuyers looking to downsize their home would do well to check their local companies that provide small DIY flat pack homes like the QB2 cube home. Once the home is assembled, and you begin living in it, you will be amazed at how they take advantage of engineered designs to provide a trendy and modern home that is an enjoyment to live in.

Diamond Necklace – 3 Tips on How to Choose One and Get the Most For Your Money

The most common type of Diamond Necklace is a single diamond set in a 14k gold basket mounting that hangs on a simple chain. In the jewelry industry this is known as a Diamond Solitaire Pendant. For the readers of this article, our buying advice is aimed mainly at this type of single diamond pendant, or necklace.

1. How to choose the right diamond size: most people can not visualize diamonds by weight, so here is a handy starting point. A 1 Carat diamond is the same diameter as the flat top of a standard pencil eraser, a little over 1/4-inch or 6.5mm. Worn on a choker length chain, this size diamond will command attention and convey status upon the woman that owns it. Depending upon the diamond quality a 1 carat pendant will cost from about $1,200 to $5,000.

For those of us on a budget the good news is that almost any size diamond can look beautiful and appropriate when worn as a necklace. There are a few basic guidelines that you should consider before you purchase. For example, a 1/4-carat diamond will look precious and correct on the neck of a woman 24 years old or younger. A 1/2 to 3/4-carat diamond is appropriate for a woman up to her late 30’s, especially if she is a petite size.

Consider the character and style of the woman as well when choosing your diamond size. The fashion minimalist woman who wears simple black or white clothing, as well as the tailored woman, can wear a smaller diamond. On the other hand, for the extrovert woman who wears layers of vivid colors, the smaller diamond simply will not look correct.

2. How to judge diamond cost versus quality: the cost of your diamond will be determined by what is commonly called The Four C’s: Color, Clarity, Cut and Carat weight as measured on the GIA rating scale. While there is much to be read on these characteristics, the following is a very brief guideline that will result in a beautiful diamond at the lowest cost.

For diamond Color, the best value is G-H-I. The higher grade colors (D-E-F) will cost you up to twice as much, and the average person will not perceive a noticeable difference. The lower color grades (J-K and below) will exhibit a definite dirty-yellow cast.

For diamond Clarity, any diamond rated SI or higher is considered “eye clean”. This means that you don’t need to invest in a VS or higher Clarity diamond because the difference can only be discerned under 10-power magnification. The best value is often an I1 Clarity diamond with minute white crystal inclusions. The cost difference between an I1 Clarity grade and a VVS Clarity grade can be as much as 400%. Although bargain prices can be found on the lowest Clarity grades of I2 and I3, the majority of diamonds in this grade will appear either dark or very dull and cloudy.

For diamond Cut, choose either Excellent or Very Good grades. The hand of the Cutter is what breathes life, fire and a shower of scintillating colors into a diamond. No matter what the other characteristics are, a Poor Cut diamond will appear dull and lifeless. At the end of this article, you will find a link to a single page that compares prices of 48 different quality and carat weights of diamond solitaire pendants.

3. How to choose the right style and length of necklace chain: the chain most commonly sold with a diamond solitaire necklace is an 18-inch.5mm link chain. Most retail jewelers choose to sell it because it lowers their cost. Unfortunately this is a poor choice since it will easily break and 18 inches may be too short depending on the woman who wears it.

In terms of chain width and style, the better choices are a 1 to 1.75mm twisted rope, or a 1 to 1.5mm box link chain. Perhaps the most elegant choice is a 1 to 2mm round snake chain. These chains are well worth the difference in price since they both enhance the look of your necklace, and they will secure the diamond safely on your neck. Don’t accept a standard lightweight link chain because sooner or later it will break and you will lose your diamond.

In length, a solitaire diamond should always be set on a “choker” chain which would be between 18 and 23 inches long. The neckline of a woman will depend on her body shape and size, and the chain should match. Here is a simple rule for determining your chain length: the diamond should rest in or just below the small depression of skin between the collarbones. For many women a common 18-inch chain will place the diamond on their thyroid cartilage, and this is too short. You can use a string or thread to measure this length before you buy your chain.

If you consider the advice above you will acquire the diamond solitaire necklace that suits your style as well as your budget.

What Are The Top Brands of Circuit Breakers?

Cutler-Hammer, GE, Siemens, Westinghouse, and Square D are all popular brands of circuit breakers. Circuit breakers are some of the most important electrical devices that is necessary in every home, office, building, factory or electrical device and equipment. It provides safety to your electrical system and without this, you and your structure or equipment will always be on the risk of fire or damage. You would not want to have this sword hanging over your head, so it is essential to get the protection and security of a breaker. To be very specific, a reputable brand that may not be the cheapest you can find but would certainly provide the best protection you need.

Cutler-Hammer, manufactured by Eaton, is one of the popular manufacturers. The brand has introduced a technological breakthrough called FireGuard Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters. FireGuard is an advanced device that protects your electrical circuits from arcing faults and power surges that lead to the dangers of fire.

GE, a company that started in 1890, manufactures circuit breakers that are bestsellers in the electrical industry. They have different types of circuit breakers as well as different capacities. Some of them are EntelliGuard G which is a low voltage breaker that has ratings of 400 to 6000 amps; EntelliGuard TU Trip Units has an almost instantaneous response time under 100ms with high power capacities up to 100kA; GE THQL in ½ inch model with a rating of 15 to 20 amps and 1 inch in 15 to 200 amps; GE GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interruption) circuit breaker that are required for use in bathrooms, spas or garages.

Siemens is known to offer a wide range of products including home appliances and electrical components including circuit breakers. However, several recalls have been done due to defective ones such as 1998 where there was a problem with breakers used in hot tubs and spa. Another major recall was done in 2010 for a spring clip that broke during installation and could possibly cause fires. However, because of the strict quality standards of the company, Siemens devices continue to be widely used in the industry.

Westinghouse started manufacturing circuit breakers in 1947 and is one of the brands popular for its durability and reliability. Westinghouse breakers have been manufactured by Eaton since its acquisition in 1994. Eaton is the same company that manufactures Cutler-Hammer.

Square D is one of the most popular brands. They are manufactured by Schneider Electric and in 1951 was the first to offer the plug-in type of breakers. Their products range from low voltage breakers that are used in residences and high voltage breakers that are used for industrial and commercial use. These breakers have the industry’s only Visi-Trip red indicator which makes it easy to see a tripped circuit breakers.

There are several big names carrying the reputation of durability and reliability. You will never run out of choices on which brands to get.

Interior Design Ideas for Modern Homes

Interior design is the most interesting concept that is subject of much enjoyment for home owners and home builders. If you like playing with floors, ceilings, kitchen area, wash area, furniture and spaces, interior design is for you. Today, it has greatly revolutionized and home owners with builders are designing innovative and creative interiors through marble. They are continuously using marble products for more efficiency and beauty.

The great thing about marble interiors design is that you don’t necessarily have a deep knowledge about it. Home builders give exceptional ideas to change your interiors and apply marble in it. It certainly gives genuinely modern look to the houses and adds more value to it. Modern home builders also help you choose the best place to apply marble stone.

Today, one of the best ways of interior designing is using marble products. Marble interiors look stunning and redefine its value. One can have nearly limitless designs through marble stones. It simply offers a wide variety of opportunity of creating new interior designs. More number of homes is utilizing soft marble stone to their houses for balustrades, statues, staircases and medallions. Being beautiful in looks, it is modestly used in countertops, vanity tops and statues.

Nowadays, interior designers and builders are widely using marble stone to richly facelift traditional or old homes. They conclude their interior designing projects with marble flooring. In fact, it is the most unique feature of modern homes. They also use wide variety of marble products for stunning looks and aesthetic appeal.

Kitchen and Bathroom Interiors Ideas

Kitchen and bathroom interiors are the major part of any facelift project. These are the main areas of a home that needs to be addressed first. Both granite and marble can add extra appeal to kitchen and bath space. One of the most vital uses of marble is as countertops that can be installed in both kitchen and bathroom. It provides exceptional beauty along with a magical durability. Marble sinks and flooring are additional components adding uncompromising beauty to kitchen and bathroom interiors.

Today, marble interiors are becoming very popular amongst modern home builders, homeowners and architects. In fact, manufacturers are also offering superior marble products for homeowners’ use. To serve the daily rising requirement of interior designs, interior experts and architects are now including magnificent marble products in their design strategies. Manufacturers also offer different types of products for both commercial and residential applications.

How to Make Gray and Brown Paint Using Primary Colors

This title was presented by the Editors as a challenge, so how could a painter resist it? My first reaction was to wonder why anyone would bother, when more subtle and compatible neutrals can be achieved in other ways. I could visualise how it might be done but I had not tried it in reality. So, still in my night-dress, I slipped out to the studio early this morning and experimented. See what you think of my results, below.

And for those readers who are taking the first steps on their journey towards becoming an artist, I will add some definitions as we go along.

  • So, What is a Neutral Hue?

Neutral hues: The Neutrals can be crudely classed as Grays or Browns. In experienced hands, they are a number of extremely subtle blends of the colours used throughout a painting. They can, however, be made by mixing the three Primaries. Here’s how:

1) Making Grays

The simplest way to achieve Gray from mixing the three Primaries is this: Blend equal parts of Blue and Red, resulting in a crude Purple. Into that mix add small portions of Yellow until a dark Gray appears. To lighten its Chroma* you can – very carefully – add small quantities of White.

*What is Chroma?

This value refers to the darkness or lightness of a colour.

2) Making Browns

Blend equal parts of Blue and Yellow, resulting in a crude Green. Into that mix add small portions of Red until you achieve a suitable Brown. For example, you may want a Brown of less intensity or Chroma for your current painting.

It might seem obvious to add White to your new Brown mix. But this would be a huge mistake. Instead, add more Yellow.

  • How to Avoid Making Mud

All of this mixing should take place on your palette, using a palette knife. This is the one and only way to achieve ‘clean’ colour mixes, vital when you are using Gray or Brown. In the excitement of creating a new painting, it is fatally easy to reach for a brush and start mixing colour straight onto your canvas. Despite what you see in Hollywood movies about famous artists, you can never get all the pigment out of the bristles by wiping your brush on a rag or by rinsing it in turps. The residue of colour will end up in the new mixes and turn them into mud.

TIP. I urge you to get into the habit of using your brushes for laying on the paint, never for mixing it.

  • Other ways to make Neutrals

You can make far more subtle Neutrals from the colours you are using in your current painting. For example, if you are painting a landscape with storm clouds above, you have likely used Cobalt Blue mixed with White in the sky background. If you wish to make a Gray to define those clouds further, you can do this:

  • Take some of your Cobalt Blue, mix it with its Complement* – Burnt Sienna – and you will get a subtle gray tone that you can vary by mixing in some White.

*What is a Complement?

This is the colour which is opposite the Dominant* Hue on the Colour Wheel. For example, the Complement – or opposite – of Blue-Purple is Yellow-Green.

*What is a Dominant Hue?

You’ve guessed this one, right? It is the colour or Hue used most extensively in the painting you’re working on. So, if your painting is a portrait and you need to enhance the subject’s hair colour with a dark but neutral Brown, try this:

  • Mix the Red earth, such as Burnt Sienna – that you have already used for skin-tones in your portrait painting – with Ultramarine Blue to make a deep but neutral Brown.

When you want to make Neutrals, either from the Primaries or in other ways, experimenting is the only way to find the mixtures best suited to your personal style and chosen subject matter. A bonus is the fun you’ll have doing it.(C)Dorothy Gauvin

What’s the World’s Largest Candle?

How many people have asked themselves this question: what is the world’s biggest candle? Not many, but undeterred I shall press on regardless. It is a mission that will take use from one side of the world to the other, meeting all sorts of people ranging from the eccentric, to the mildly deranged.

The search begins, predictably enough, in America. Everything has to be bigger and better here and that is the motto of the people from Warm Glow Candle Outlet. Set in the leafy surroundings of Centreville, Indiana, this has become famous locally as one of those places to go if you’re looking for something a bit offbeat to take up your day – that, of course, and candles – naturally enough. Their products are, they tell the world proudly, bigger and larger than life and if you browse their attractive looking shop you’re forced to agree.

The come in all shapes and sizes here, but the star of the show – the main attraction if you will – has to be what it proclaims as ‘The World’s Biggest Candle’. It actually makes up part of their outlet store and brings visitors in from literally several miles away!

However, there are other claimants to the crown and for the next one we jump into our tardis and head to Stockholm and the year 1897. At the Stockholm Exhibition what has been described as the largest candle on record went on display. It is said to have been an eye watering eighty feet high and measured eight and a half feet in diametre.

Other sources though give the title to the ancient firm Ajello Candles. In 1921 it created the spectacular Enrico Caruso Memorial Candle. It measured five feet in circumference at the top tapering to 18inches further up. Overall it stood 18 feet and once burning its creators claimed it would continue for 1800 years, burning for one day each year on the anniversary of Enrico Caruso’s death.

In 2005 Jerusalem decided to set about building the world’s largest Hannukha candle. It reached eight and a half metres in height and was 85cm wide and came in a variety of colours. It stood in the Pisga mall in the city and wowed visitors. However, we have to disqualify it here on the basis that it was comprised of several other sets of candles. Collective efforts cannot be allowed.

These are just some of the contenders for world’s largest candle. Others may surface and perhaps we may revisit this marvelous subject at some time in the future so, if nothing else, you have been warned.

Different Types of Card Games

There are limitless types of card games to be played. People think because two games use the same deck of 52-cards that they are similar games, but nothing could be more different than Barbu and Speed, or Pai Gow and Pinochle.

Here’s a list of twenty different kinds of card games, and some facts about them.


Bridge is a popular contract bidding game. Bridge has a culture — there are websites, newspaper columns, and even radio shows devoted to bridge strategy. There is a world-wide obsession with bridge, even though it has been called the hardest card game in the world. With a complicated strategy and steep learning curve, to many bridge is not just a game, it is a lifestyle. I wish I were exaggerating.

2. Whist

Whist could be called “Bridge, Jr” — and though it is not as big a game as it once was, and is dwarfed in popularity by big-brother Bridge, Whist has never really died out. Card gamers love trick-taking games — beating out your opponent in such a visual way is one of the more exciting part of any card game. Whist has some of the complexity of Bridge without any bidding.

3. Texas Hold’em

Texas Hold’em is something of a legend — a poker variation with a story as rich as a Spaghetti western. This version of poker, a drawing and betting game, was invented and then made popular by old time poker sharks in Texas, hence the name. This is easily the most popular poker variant right now, and is bringing more new people to card gaming than any other game.

4. Hearts

It is said that most of the professional poker tour players are hardcore Hearts players and that they bet big money on cutthroat games of Hearts in dark mysterious rooms during tournaments. Romantic as that may sound, it would make sense for these card sharks to love the game of Hearts – an otherwise childlike game of matching cards (and no bidding) usually turns into a competitive nightmare. Because of the game play, there are lots of ways to screw your opponents in Hearts. Trick-winning and passing card are big elements of Hearts.

5. Spades

People don’t realize it, but spades is a variation of bridge that simplifies the game even more than Whist and changes the outcome of the game as well. Spades is really popular in large groups, on college campuses, and in tournaments around the world. There may be as many variations of Spades as there are groups playing it — thanks to “jailhouse rules” which penalize tactics like point sandbagging and the existence of multiple versions of “house rules”. A strategic game you can play without paying much attention if you want.

6. Go-fish

This is the simple children’s card matching game we all remember from our childhood. You can play Go-fish with as many players as you have cards. Some people claim Go-Fish is a variation of Rummy but the simplicity of the game and the children’s game gimmick make it likely just some toy company’s creation. Strangely enough, Go-fish is known as Literature in some parts of the world. Write in if you understand that one.

7. War

Another children’s game (or time-killing game) War is a straight luck based game. Depending on the flop of the card, you either win or lose a war. Most people under the age of 30 learned War before they learned any other card game. You’ll see War played a lot in lines at airports.

8. Oh Hell!

Substitute your own dirty word for “Hell!” and you know this party game. Most of the fun is the fact that you get to cuss a lot and people laugh at you. What keeps this game popular is that it is a strict betting game. The object of Oh Hell! is to bid the precise number of tricks you will win. You have to take only the number that you bid, no more and no less. Play is precise, and because of the structure of the game, one player always blows it big time. There. That’s what’s fun. Screwing your opponent.

9. Blackjack

A skill game that in some casinos is the best bet you can make, if you can play a perfect hand. This is one of the most popular casino card game, and has a place in popular culture as THE “Vegas” game. The point is to build a hand that adds up to a total of 21 points without going over, and ending up with a higher number than the dealer. Players compete against the House directly, adding to the fun. Little known fact — there exists somewhere in this world a blackjack player’s hall of fame. Safe to say that this game’s got a cult following

10. Baccarat

James Bond’s favorite game (don’t believe the hype — it wasn’t poker or blackjack — read the books) Baccarat is a basic betting game. Players bet on who will win a given hand – the player, the banker, or if there will be a tie. Sure it looks easy, but Baccarat is a skill game. A small sidenote about Baccarat — the name comes from the name of the worst possible hand. This would be like calling your video poker machine “High Card Poker”. Just doesn’t have the same ring as “Royal Flush”.

11. Solitaire

The most varied card game in the world. In England, they call this game Patience, and for good reason. Solitaire requires little set up beyond putting cards in specific places, and is usually played by yourself. Solitaire is another popular airport line waiting game.

12. Rummy and variations

There are lots of different kinds of Rummy, more than are probably written down on any list. I’ve written for a website that had me list 500 variations or other names for Rummy, so I’ll spare you the reading and just say there’s lots of kinds of Rummy. The more popular versions are called Gin Rummy, Liverpool Rummy, and Contract Rummy. The feature that makes a game a Rummy is a player matching identical cards into pairs and other groups. Some experts believe the Chinese game of Mahjong is part of the Rummy family, though I’d bet the Chinese are just fine with Mahjong as it is.

13. Pai Gow

This is an old Chinese domino game that has been passed down through the years as a poker variation. You’ll see Pai Gow at casinos in both as a poker and a domino game — it is probably the casino game that the least number of people understand. This is a game of fast bets, player versus dealer. Pai Gow strategy is just as rich as any other poker betting game, and the culture of Pai Gow is similar to the Blackjack culture — super-fast bets and edgy behavior at the margins.

14. Spoons

A silly card game probably invented to keep kids out of trouble, Spoons is a bluffing game (with some elements of matching) that uses simple kitchen utensils as an added play element. The first player in the group to draw a poker style four of a kind reaches to a pile of spoons in the middle of the table, signalling the other players to grab for one. Since there’s one less spoon than players, one player will be left out every time. So its a social interaction game, and not a game chock full of card strategy. its still fun. Great date night game.

15. Speed

Speed (sometimes called Spit) is a matching game that is unique because both players play simultaneously and as fast as they can. In Speed, a player tries to ‘get rid’ of his or her cards by matching them to cards placed face-up on the table. This is a face to face game, though there’s actually little interaction between the two opponents. The last few moments of any game of Speed reminds me of solitaire on fast-forward, with hands and cards flying around and rows forming and draining like water pipes. Strange game, Speed.

16. Crazy 8s

This is another children’s matching game, you could say it is cousin to the popular game Uno. The 8s in the deck of standard cards are considered “crazy” not because they need to be medicated but to indicate they are wild cards. In some variations of Crazy 8s, not just Wild Cards but other “rule cards” exist, making the game more complex for older players.

17. Slapjack

If you want to teach more complex card games to younger kids, Slapjack is the perfect vehicle. The object of Slapjack is to acquire the whole deck of cards by matching and slapping pairs. Kids like to slap stuff, and the game can be played over and over again.

18. Old Maid

You don’t need an “Old Maid” deck to play this kid’s card game — any standard 52 card deck will do. Just remove one of the Queens. Old Maid is a matching game where players find pairs You trade cards with your opponent until that player is left with the unmatched Queen. Matching games are popular, and the novelty “Old Maid” packs are fun for kids.

19. Cribbage

This is a hybrid board and card game with complicated rules that generally intimidates people, even hardcore card gamers. You play cribbage by forming groups of cards that are worth different point values, and moving a peg on a board that represents your progress accordingly. Requiring a specific board (or a quick hand with a pen and paper) cribbage isn’t the best travel game, but as fans of cribbage will tell you, no two games are alike. There are solitaire versions of cribbage, and other varieties of cribbage game play to choose from if you’re bored with the standard version.

20. Pinochle

Pinochle is popular because it is a trick-taking game that you play with a 48 card deck. In Pinochle, you try to make melds or tricks, much like in Gin, but there’s a really complex scoring system making the game fun to learn and to master. To be good at pinochle, you have to play for a number of years, and lose plenty of hands. Though it is less popular year after year, Pinochle is one of those “heritage games”.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Mini Skid From Compact Design Steer Loaders

Skid steer loaders are machines that are commonly seen in different job sites. Construction sites and individuals who own acres of land needs skid steers in order to help them maintain their lands. Maintaining acres of land or construction of establishments require the expertise of these machines since they can perform many tasks that man could not possibly do. This machine is already being widely used by construction owners, government agencies, land entrepreneurs, and individuals who own private lands.

This type of machine comes in two sizes. The mini skid steer and the compact skid steer loader. Both steer loaders are the same with regards to its performance. However, mini skid could only carry less capacity considering the fact that it is small as compared to the compact design which is bigger. So before you purchase your own steer loaders, you must first evaluate whether a mini skid or a compact design steer loader fits in the jobsite.

Gathering necessary information of both skid equipments must be made when an individual is having trouble in deciding which type of steer equipment he will purchase. If this occurs, it is best to learn about the advantages and disadvantages of both skid loaders so as to have a clear and enough background about both skid loaders.

One advantage of mini skid loaders is its size. Since they are small, they can easily fit in confined sites making them to perform desired tasks effectively as compared to the compact ones. These mini machines also have a great hydraulic flow rate making it fast for the attachments to dig holes deeper and do desired tasks. Changing skid steer attachments is easy in mini steer equipments. This is because minis do not have cabs compared to compact design. It is easy for the operator to step off when there is a need to change attachments. The operator gets to have better control when operating mini skid machines.

Mini skid steer loaders also have its disadvantages. First is its safety. Since they do not have cabs compared to compact loaders, operators are prone to accidents. Cabs of compact loaders serve as the operator’s protection against falling debris and accidents. The cab in compact loaders also helps the operators to continue working even during cold weather. Comfort is another disadvantage in mini loaders. The fact that they do not have cabs, operators need to stand while working making them to get tired easily. And lastly, mini loaders could not lift heavier weights since they are small and their attachments could only carry limited amount of weight.

But it really depends upon the individual as to what steer loader he wishes to purchase. The important thing to remember and taken into consideration is the quality of the skid loader and whether it can survive heavy duty workloads. Whether it is mini or compact, the important thing is it can help you finish your work fast and easy. There is no need to waste time from using shovel and wheelbarrows in digging holes. The availability of skid loaders makes the job simple for us.

Tonsillolith Or Tonsil Stone – A Smelly Lump Coughed Up From Your Tonsils?

A tonsillolith, also commonly known as a tonsil stone or tonsil rocks is a whitish/yellow lump, which forms within the tonsil crypts and eventually works its way out where it is either coughed up or swallowed. They can be an unpleasant annoyance at times giving the sensation of a foreign body stuck in the back of the throat and are often associated with bad breath issues and a dry metallic taste in the mouth.

If you squash a tonsil stone between your fingers they give off an awful smell a bit like rotten eggs or vomit. This is because they contain quantities of sulfur-producing bacteria that are found at the back of the tongue, which is often the cause of many bad breath problems. The stones vary in size from tiny up to around the size of a pea, but can be even larger and very uncomfortable in extreme cases.

What exactly is a tonsillolith and why do they form? They are generally made up of bits of food, dead skin cells, dead white blood cells, saliva and sulfur-producing bacteria that collect in crevices found in the tonsils. Over time they gradually get larger until they finally dislodge and fall out. There are some who try to squeeze them out using a moistened cotton bud but this tends to make you gag and can lead to soreness of the tonsils if you are not careful.

Tonsil stones are more common in adults than in children and tend to turn into more of a noticeable problem during later teenage years. They only normally materialize in individuals who still have their tonsils but this does not mean you should take drastic action to have your tonsils removed. It is estimated that around a quarter of all adults who still have their tonsils suffer from this condition at sometime during their lives. Symptoms can be a dry metallic taste in the mouth, sore throat, repeatedly coughing to clear the throat, referred ear pain or itching within the ear, bad breath and of course coughing up the tonsilloliths.

It does not make any difference if you have good dental hygiene, this in itself will not get rid of tonsil stones. At best, toothpaste, mouthwash or mints may mask any bad odours for a couple of hours but will do nothing to combat and eliminate your problem for good. The only way is to fight back and use a quality tonsil stones treatment plan. You need to get hold of the best cure available and give it a go.

The main problem more often than not is people are naturally lazy and put off doing something positive about their disorder for another day. This day never comes and they carry on through life just complaining rather than doing. If you have a problem with a tonsillolith or tonsil stone and don’t want to waste any more time, then do something positive now, don’t be one of those who leave it for another day. There is a solution to your problem and it’s worth giving it a try.

Unsaleable – Reducing the Cost of Damaged Goods

Even with improvements in packaging, shipping practices, warehouse design, and software, cutting the cost of unsaleable products is the constant challenge for those in the grocery industry. According to the June 2005 issue of Occupational Health, the Food Marketing Institute estimated that the grocery industry sustains nearly $20 billion annually in damaged merchandise.

For Mead/Westvaco Coated Board in Stanford, Connecticut, the challenge translates into developing packaging material that better protects frozen food. Both Mead-Westvaco and Genco in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, conducted a study to track frozen food products from the point of manufacturing to the supermarket shelf. Evaluating paperboard strength, the study concluded that more paperboard compression-strength would be better. The study also revealed that most package damage occurs after the product reaches the store loading docks.

The H.J. Heinz Company identified that product damage even begins when a product is handled by the lift truck. Companies seeking to reduce damaged good must evaluate every stop a product makes in the supply chain. And as companies such as Mead/Westvasco determine that a larger box will increase protection, they must also make sure that the elevator can still accommodate the case from the factory to the warehouse. Companies must also observe how the product is handled at customer locations, as stores utilize varying types of equipment to move product. Retailers also unaware that the case size has expanded to improve its protection could cause damage to the product when placed in a rack.

A move to a cross-dock facility with separate picking and receiving areas has reduced much of the internal damage to products for Dunkin Donuts. The new, roomier facility cut down on congested traffic flow, which has also reduced product damage. A dedicated pick and putaway aisles that separate lift truck traffic from pick traffic. Product is stored off the floor on pallet flow rails, away from lift truck traffic. In an effort to track outdated goods and available shelf life, the company also uses a warehouse management system with barcodes. The software checks that items picked have adequate shelf life when they are received at the store.

Mitchell Grocery in Albertville, Alabama, is a wholesale grocery distribution center serving more than 250 independent supermarkets in the Southeast. It distributes more than 20,000 items, including fresh meat, produce, dairy, ice cream, and deli-bakery items, to name a few.

Based on its volume, the cost of unsaleables at Mitchell’s can be significant. Each day, Mitchell Grocery ships 80 truckloads and delivers 500,000 cases per week. About half of the outbound product is perishable. One-quarter percent to one-half percent of sales goes back to the manufacturer.

The company was able to reduce its unsaleable cost by installing Voxware’s VoiceLogistics, a voice-enable logistic operation. The technology has allowed the company to reduce its miss-picks from four per thousand to two per thousand. The system confirms location and item, dramatically reducing inaccuracies.

When it comes to reducing the cost of damaged goods, some challenges don’t call for high-tech systems or indepth studies. Of the $20 billion lost annually in the grocery industry alone, 30 percent was caused by careless box cutting. Product damage from box cutters translates into unsaleable goods, and the high costs associated with product returns is an issue also faced by industries including fulfillment, catalog, and pharmaceutical industries.

As many workers never report minor injuries produced by inappropriate knife use, an estimate of injuries is not available. However, businesses which have instituted safety-knife programs in their stores and warehouses report huge annual savings. According to the same June 2005 Occupational Health article, a 300-store retail chain can save $5-10 million per year with these types of programs. Savings come in the form of reduced injury claims and from fewer incidences of damage to stock.

The use of safety procedures and the correct tools are inherent to program focused on reducing unsaleables. While there’s no substitute for well-trained workers, there’s also no substitute for safety knives that have been developed with safety features which can be used even by untrained workers.

Trick Your Body Into Losing Weight by Eating Different Calories Everyday

Diet is 45% of the battle when it comes to losing weight and shrinking your belly. That’s why you need to trick your body by eating different amounts and types of calories everyday.

Follow these simple steps to see some immediate weight loss results.

1. Mix up the amount of calories you eat everyday. Eat more food for a few days then less food for a few days. Don’t try anything drastic however; try to stay between 1,000 calories above or below your daily needs.

It’s important to remember to eat most of your calories in the earlier parts of your day so all that food doesn’t sit in your stomach over night. Have a bigger breakfast, similar sized lunch, and a lighter dinner, and of course healthy snacks in between. You can play with the portions and sizes of each meal but keep that as a general rule. This will help fuel your metabolism fire so it can burn fat while you go about your day.

A trick to make sure your portions are correct is to use your plate as a guide– and the smaller the dinner plate, the better. Divide your plate and use half of it for vegetables and other fibrous carbs, then use one quarter for your protein, and the remaining quarter for whole-grains. No calorie counting; it’s just that simple!

Now the fun part!

2. Mix up the type of calories you eat everyday. This is where you can get creative. By changing up the types of food on your plate, you also vary the amounts of calories you intake since every food doesn’t have the same caloric value.

It’s important for you to keep your body guessing as it can plateau about every 3-4 weeks. If you eat the same thing everyday, your body will catch on and become immune to change. But if there is no pattern for it to learn, you will speed up your metabolism to a much desired fat-burning pace and lose weight in no time– all while enjoying the food you eat.

Remember too that you don’t have to deprive yourself of your favorite foods. You can “cheat” with one meal a week just as long as you’re focusing on healthy meal choices. Allowing yourself to eat your favorite food will make your new eating habits seem easier to stick with because you don’t have to sacrifice so much.

Now you see how easy it is to trick your body into losing weight. By eating different types and amounts of calories everyday you can still lose weight and never have to starve yourself!

The Company House At Gloryholler

A little country town, during the 1930’s and 1940’s, nestled deep between two steep and rugged hills, was indeed booming. Coal mining was the occupation of many young men in the town and there was one mining company that employed the dozen or so men who lived around the valley. But, there were some men with families who were not as fortunate to own their own houses. So, the coal company used their miners to build plain two-story houses with clapboard siding for those, which included my family, to live as long as they were employed with the company.

Our house and every company built house had 4 rooms downstairs and 2 upstairs. No indoor plumbing. Coal was the fuel burned in a fireplace in the living room that supplied heat in the winter. It was like the house was built around the chimney. Heat radiated out from the sides of the chimney which was visible inside and ran straight up through the middle of the house into the 2 bedrooms upstairs. Coal was free. Dad would take us kids riding in the back in his 1940 Ford pickup truck to the mines. There we would load up the truck bed with a week’s supply of coal and then unload it in the coal shed once we got home. Everybody used coal and there were some days black coal smoke would lazily float up out of the chimneys from every house and would linger over the valley tree tops with a gray heavy smog. There was always the smell of coal smoke in the air.

No indoor plumbing meant no indoor toilet facilities. So, every house had an outhouse and we took our baths from a pan with water heated on the kitchen stove. From the back porch to the outhouse my father and mother laid down a brick walk. The brick coming from the mines brick yard. My mother was pregnant with me when they built the sidewalk. A few years ago I returned to the place where the house once stood. The area was covered with brush and years of rotten leaves. I began digging around where the house stood and found that brick sidewalk. I loaded my truck bed with as many bricks I could find, took them home and built a hearth where my wood burning stove was to be placed.

My grandmother, on my mother’s side, came to live with us for a while. It was a real treat to have her there. Many times we would gather around her as she rocked in her rocking chair. Sitting on the floor my brother and I would listen to her tell of times long ago when she was a little girl. She told of some really scary stories that made the hair stand on the back of our necks. And to this day I can remember those tales and have passed some on to my grandchildren. Poor grandma who was getting up there in age was unable to use the outhouse, so she used a chamber pot which was stored under her bed. Mother would empty the pot at the outhouse every morning.

One day mother decided that we needed a larger outhouse. So, the men from the mines were called on to tear down the old one and build a new one. It was a deluxe outhouse with 2 holes. The only one in the neighborhood that would accommodate 2 people at the same time. My mother was so proud.

Many years have passed and sometimes I yearn for the return of those days. So simple, so uncomplicated, no television, no computers, lazy warm summer evenings sitting in the glider on the front porch with my mother as she chatted with a neighbor. I laid on the glider with my head in her lap listening to them talk about the events of the day. Mother would swing the glider slowly back and forth and every so often a lightning bug would shine it’s light down next to the creek. I would fall asleep.

Pros and Cons of Going Camping

Imagine going to a faraway place for a camping trip with your family. No electricity, no supermarket, no technology, no cellphone signal. No advantages of having a subway or car, it is only you and the nature. Backpacking is the only option and so you carry only the most basic things that you would need. You have to live in tents for a few days. Instead of a heater, you have to set up your own camp fire, get your own water supply and catch wild animals for food. Do you think you can handle it?

Camping is one way to bond with your family members. Because there are no TV, internet or street life to interrupt, your source of entertainment is among yourselves. Finally, you get to talk to your parents, play simple games or help each other out. You would also see where your strength lies when you need them the most. You discover who is the most resourceful, creative, tolerant and strong. Who possess leadership skills and who is a great team player. You also learn to develop basic skills instead of relying on machines or gadgets. Remember how we used to cook rice over a stove before? Nowadays, you cannot even live without a rice cooker.

Because you need to survive on food that is found in the forest, you learn to conserve it for the next day. You learn the value of being thrifty because supplies ran out fast. Nature is your source of everything and so you become more appreciative of it and therefore you become more environmentally conscious. It is hard to imagine how life would survive without nature.

All children would love camping because it is something very new for them or very few ever get to experience. Setting up their tents for the first time. Collecting water, hearing crickets at night, waking up early in the morning to fetch water. These are the things we no longer get to do as much because our lifestyle is so busy and so different. Sunrise and sunset are something we get to look forward to instead of the latest TV programs or going to the mall.

As with every situation, there are also disadvantages to camping. Like some people might find it difficult to adjust. There are also some who are not prepared to do hunting, cooking by a self-made fireplace, taking a bath in the river and so on. There might be some activities that require special tools and forgetting one or two can be frustrating. Accidents are also to be expected especially from walking far distances or climbing uneven grounds.

Backpacking requires preparation and knowledge on the necessary skills required to survive the wild. First aid kit should also be prepared for any emergency. CPR, bites from snakes, and so on should be instructed to each member of the family. If there are wild animals around, one should also know what to do in case of an encounter with one.

Camping is fun and exciting. There are so many opportunities to discover one’s strength and to develop their skills. They say that after camping, you come home as a totally better and different person.

Choosing Tumbling Media For Vibratory Deburring Machines

A common deburring machine used for mass finishing parts is a vibratory deburring machine, or vibratory tumbler, which utilizes abrasive media to deburr, clean or polish unfinished or dirty parts or objects. The abrasive media and unfinished or dirty parts are put inside a large drum. The drum vibrates, driving down the contents in a circular motion, mixing everything together. The unfinished or dirty parts are subsequently deburred, cleaned or polished by friction with the abrasive material.

The type of deburring, cleaning, or polishing desired and the part characteristics will determine the type, shape, and size of the abrasive media used. Some common types of tumbling media are abrasive steel, plastic, ceramic, and organic materials. These materials can be purchased in a variety of shapes, such as stars, pyramids, cones, wedges, spheres, cylinders, ovals, and other forms depending on the function needed. Holes or slots in the parts will determine the size and shape of the media used. To prevent media lodging in the part, it should be a minimum of 70% the size of the hole or slot. This avoids two pieces getting stuck side by side in the piece.

Here are some common uses for abrasive media:

Steel media– Use for heavy deburring, or shining, polishing and burnishing metal, plastic or ceramic parts. Since plastics have a high abrasion resistance resulting in a matte finish after deburring, a second, polishing step is often required.

Ceramic or graded stone media– Use for light and heavy deburring, and when fast deburring is needed. Good for hard, heavy metals (such as steel or stainless) and to remove rust on parts. Use for general purpose polishing. Plastic, steel, stainless, and aluminum parts are often polished using ceramic media. Use ball shapes to polish aluminum to avoid nicks.

Plastic media– Use for general metal deburring, precision deburring, polishing and burnishing. Use on softer metals such as aluminum or brass and on threaded parts.

Organic media (walnut shells, coconut shells, corn cobs)- Use walnut shells and coconut shells for medium to light deburring. For light finishing and polishing, use walnut shells, coconut shells and corn cob meal. To clean and dry wet or dirty parts, use organic media. Corn cob is particularly desirable in finishing some metal parts because of its ability to absorb surface oils on the parts. Utilizing organic media is advantageous because they are natural, safer for the environment, biodegradable, durable and reusable.

Wet tumbling compounds- Used by mixing with solid media to deburr, finish and polish parts, their function is to clean, enhance deburring, and for corrosion and rust protection.

Abrasive media for deburring equipment wears down slowly, but will vary on how aggressive the media is. Also, the smaller the media, the better the finish, but the longer it will take. The larger the media, the faster it will deburr. Having the correct media and the deburring machine full of parts is the key to successful finishing.