Three-Dimensional Villains – Finding Your Character’s Shadow

If you’ve ever had to get up in front of a group of strangers and speak, you’re familiar with the fear that you’re going to embarrass yourself while all eyes are on you. Worse, all that attention seems to magnify your every quirk, and your flubs can feel like they overshadow what you get right.Even when we’re not on stage, stress makes us flounder. It’s easy to live our lives according to our values and beliefs when everything is going right; it’s a lot harder when we’re under pressure and in the spotlight.

Carl Jung named the face we present to the world, the public façade we use to hide things we don’t like about ourselves the persona. The flipside of the persona is the shadow, which is like a three-dimensional version of our physical shadows, packed full of things we’re trying to hide, sometimes even from ourselves.

To become whole, each of us needs to individuate, or integrate, all of our archetypal parts into a cohesive whole. That includes the persona and the shadow.

In any story, the mark of a good villain is his ability to force your hero into the proverbial spotlight, where he will find ways to magnify and criticize the things your hero would most like to hide.

The Dark and Light Sides of the Shadow

Psychologist Carl Jung believed that in spite of its function as a reservoir for human darkness–or perhaps because of this–the shadow is the seat of creativity.

Author Ralph Keyes argues that most people never publish because they’re not willing to find and face their shadows. Rather than acknowledge our fears about what we might find inside ourselves, we project the anxiety onto others and obsess about what they will think. Good writers push past the fear, Keyes says, in spite of the repercussions: “One reason so many good writers have such tattered personal lives is that they write as if they have no one to protect. Lucky for readers, not so lucky for writers.”

Recognizing Your Own Shadow

Since the shadow is, by definition, upsetting to acknowledge, we shove our awareness of it down into the unconscious. That means that the only way to truly know what’s in your shadow is to think about the things that infuriate you, disgust you, and horrify you more than anything else. If cruelty just makes you sick, Jung would say that cruelty is in your shadow.

Does that secretly mean you’re a cruel person? No, but it does mean you’ll have an awfully hard time accepting that you really are capable of the kind of cruelty that makes you so sick. (And before you insist you aren’t, read a bit about Phillip Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Experiment.) Many, many people are riveted by true crime and serial killer stories because they give us a way to indulge the shadow without actually acknowledging that the shadow is part of us.

If you’re reacting to the last two paragraphs with skepticism or irritation, you’ve found the feeling that means you’ve touched your shadow. If you can’t face it, Betsy Lerner says, “you[‘ll] think you can’t write, but the truth is you can’t tell. Writing is nothing if not breaking the silence.”

And remember: writing about it is not the same as doing it.

Finding Your Characters’ Shadows

Good characters have shadows, just like you do, and your characters’ shadows should repel them as much as yours does you. What that means is that channeling your own shadow through your characters will help you create the kinds of villains that have made writers famous. If Stephen King had hidden from his shadow, The Shining would never have been written. The same goes for lots of other famous stories. Dante’s Inferno. Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho. The Exorcist. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Frankenstein. Dracula.

Exercise: Find Your Hero’s Shadow (and Your Villain)

Worksheets to help you do the exercises can be found at Archetype Fiction Articles

Directions

For each part, work as quickly as you can. Try not to think too much about the answers; your unconscious does better work when you’re not wondering if you’re doing the exercise right or criticizing the answers you come up with. You can write as many answers as you like for each part, since there is no right or wrong number. You’ll probably find, though, that coming up with at least five will help you get more out of the exercise.

PART 1. List the qualities and values that make your hero a hero.

Examples: Is he brave? Is she selfless? Does he speak his mind even when it will get him in trouble? Does she stand up for those who have no voices of their own?

* If you have trouble coming up with words for characteristics, try Sandy Tritt’s Personality Components chart (scroll about halfway down the page) at http://users.wirefire.com/tritt/tip8.html

PART 2. List the qualities and values that make your villain a villain.

* Don’t worry about your hero, or shadows, or anything else we’ve talked about for now. Remember, it’s important to come up with at least five qualities or values. Again, you may find Sandy Tritt’s chart helpful.

Examples: Vengeful, dishonest, power hungry

PART 3. Next to each quality or value you’ve written for your hero, write the exact opposite quality.

Examples: Let’s say that some of your character’s heroic traits are charm, intelligence, confidence, and a good sense of humor.

Ex 1. Quality: Charm – Depending on just what you imagine your character’s charm to be like, opposing traits might be things like rudeness, pushiness, abrasiveness, clumsiness, or crudity.

So depending on which “opposite” feels right to you, you might put “rudeness” or “pushiness.”

Ex 2. Quality: Confidence – Opposing trait possibilities might include insecurity, narcissism, fearfulness, embarrassment, or shame, which leaves you with:

Heroic Trait………………..Opposite Quality

Confidence……………………..Shame

or

Confidence…………………..Insecurity

Ex 3. Value: Honesty – This time we’ll use a value rather than a personality characteristic or quality. Values that are in opposition to honesty might include deceitfulness or dishonesty

Heroic Trait………………….Opposite Quality

Honesty…………………………Deceitfulness

or

Honesty………………………….Dishonesty

PART 4. Add a Behavior

Beside the positive qualities and values you’ve written for your hero, to the right of your list of the exact opposite qualities you wrote in Part 3, write an example of a behavior (not a thought or feeling) that demonstrates the opposite (non-heroic) quality or value .

Ex 1. (Note: The examples are simple for the sake of space, but you can write as much as you like, or give examples of more than one “opposite” or “behavior.”

Heroic Trait…………….Opposite…………….Behavior

Charm…………….Rudeness…………..Telling crude jokes

Confidence……….Insecurity…….”Fishing” for compliments

Honesty…………Deceitfulness……Burning a letter that “tells on” your character

PART 5. Compare Your Hero’s Shadow (the Opposite column) to your Villain’s Characteristics

Check the second list you made, the one in which you wrote down the qualities that make your villain a villain, and see if any of them match you’re hero’s Opposite traits, values, or behaviors. Since the Opposite qualities and behaviors are your Hero’s shadow, they should be personified by your villain.

If you don’t see a lot of overlap, it’s time to start thinking about how you can incorporate the “dark sides” of your hero’s qualities into your villain. In most cases, that means you need to think of ways in which your villain can manipulate or force your hero to express or embrace the shadow qualities you’ve listed under “Opposite.”

Villains Should Personify Heroes’ Shadows

A good villain is always the dark side of your hero; the greatest danger your hero faces should be that under the right pressures and given the right circumstances, your hero could embrace the very qualities that make the villain a villain–and at some point in the story, she should start to do exactly that, even if she does it by accident.

If your villain’s qualities are truly the things your hero hates most–especially if they scare him–he’ll do anything to bring the villain down, even if that means becoming the villain. Remember, shadow qualities are the things that infuriate you the most, that make you the sickest. We’re drawn to fight the things we hate, which means that your villain can become your hero’s nemesis only if the villain’s character and behavior really arouse an obsessive drive in your hero. The Line Between Hero and Villain is Thinner than You Think.

What makes the hero different from the villain, in the end, is choice: the hero chooses not to become his shadow, and instead acknowledges and incorporates his shadow qualities into the rest of his personality.

In many cases the villain is a fallen hero, someone who would have been just like the hero if he’d been able to resist the draw of evil. Even in real life, the more we hate someone or something, the more likely we are to become the very thing that we hate. Consider the irony of killing someone to stop murder, as in the cases of fanatics who kill doctors who perform abortion. There’s irony, too, in the venom of those Christian anti-gay-rights activists who insist that “God hates gays.”(So much for “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so…”) Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of those rare heroes who never swayed from practicing what he preached. He believed so strongly in peace he refused to hurt others in his pursuit of it.

Consider the words of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the “father of the atomic bomb” and the scientific director of the Manhattan Project responsible for the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasakai, when he saw what his creations had done: “I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.” Though some believe that the “Little Boy” and “Big Man” bombs dropped in Japan ended WWII, even Oppenheimer viewed the deaths as unconscionable as all the others. For years after, he was a vocal opponent of the development of more nuclear weapons. Examples

Fiction is filled with examples of heroes and their personified shadows, some more obvious than others.

Star Wars

In the Star Wars saga, both Anakin (episodes 1-III) and Luke Skywalker (episodes IV-VI) are seduced by the Dark Side of the Force. Anakin succumbs and embraces his Shadow to becomes Darth Vader; he later tries to talk Luke into doing the same thing. Though Luke is tempted, in the end he not only resists but is able to redeem Anakin as well.

Lord of the Rings

In the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Ring essentially draws each character’s Shadow to the fore; Gollum is consumed by his and the evil in the Ring, and when Frodo carries the Ring, he nearly falls prey as well.

The Matrix

In the Matrix trilogy, Neo has to become Agent Smith and acknowledge, embrace, and overcome his own shadow to defeat the machine world.

Se7en

In the film Se7en, Mills not becomes wrath, in so doing he becomes the killer he’s pursued, thus falling prey to his own shadow.

The Prestige

In The Prestige, Angier becomes a murderer to avenge the accidental murder his wife.(You’ll notice he has to kill off his own moral side to do it.)

The Wizard of Oz

In The Wizard of Oz, the Wicked Witch is Wicked because she wants revenge on Dorothy for killing her sister; instead, Dorothy becomes a killer by killing the Witch

Fairy Tales

Fairy tales are actually sociopolitical propaganda (see Bettelheim’s classic book The Uses of Enchantment), so Cinderella and Snow White epitomize the “good girl’s” moral path while the villainesses epitomize the “bad girl’s” path.

* Snow White: If Snow White embraced the kind of vanity the Queen did (her shadow), she could become just like the Queen * Cinderella: If Cinderella indulged herself in self-pity and a sense of entitlement (her shadow), she could easily become like her wicked stepsisters and stepmother

How Heroes Fall When Villains Push

The trick to moving your hero from the side of good into the gray area between good and evil is to have your villain push your hero’s proverbial buttons. Marriage is the most important thing in the world to your hero, and the very concept of divorce outrages him? The villain will try to find a way to damage the relationship by introducing temptation or doubt into that relationship.

The hero’s most obvious reaction will be rage, and probably not just at the villain, but also at herself and her spouse for being affected. The more the relationship is damaged, the more hurt and anger will be involved and the less likely the couple is to repair that relationship, which causes the likelihood of divorce to skyrocket. If the divorce happens, a part of the foundation on which the hero bases her life and identity has been destroyed, and unless she’s able to acknowledge and incorporate the new, uglier parts of herself, she’s on the way to becoming a villain herself.

Works Cited:

Jung, Carl. The Archetypes and The Collective Unconscious (Collected Works of C.G. Jung Vol.9 Part 1)

Lerner, Betsy. (2000). The Forest for the Trees: An Editor’s Advice to Writers. Riverhead Books: New York.

Keyes, Ralph. (1995). The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear. Owl Books: New York.

No Or Low Sound? How to Troubleshoot Your Guitar Rig in 7 Steps

Ever have one of those “DUH” moments? A time when the solution to a problem was staring you in the face, but you just couldn’t see it?

After 30+ years as a gigging guitarist you would think that I could pretty much figure out the solution to nearly any equipment problem that arises on stage. In my years as a touring musician I had just about seen it all, and should know how to handle any issues or adversities almost as second nature – right?……Wrong!

My “DUH” moment started a few weeks ago on a gig. As we were playing a set I noticed that my guitar amp seemed to be losing power. The output had diminished to the point where I had to crank up the volume to almost double the normal level I play at just to be heard.

In my infinite wisdom as an experienced pro guitarist, I naturally assumed that the pre-amp tubes in my amp were going out and needed to be replaced, so the next day I ran out, bought some new ones and put them in. Problem solved…or so I thought.

Next gig comes along and I fire up my rig with confidence knowing I’ve got new pre-amp tubes and things are going to be great….Not!

Same problem, my signal was maybe half of the norm, and I was pushing the volume knob almost to 10 just to be heard!

Again, my highly enlightened powers of deduction told me that, since I had just replaced the pre-amp tubes in my amp, the problem must be with the power amp tubes, so I whip out the credit card and order a new set of matching bias 6L6’s, just knowing that I will be back in business.

I slap in the new tubes, go to the next gig and hook everything up, only to find that the problem still exists. Almost no signal coming out of the amp.

With the gig scheduled to start in a few minutes I started to panic. But then, like an early morning ray of sun, a moment of clarity took over, and I resolved to go back to basics and troubleshoot the problem like I learned to do many years ago.

As I began the process of troubleshooting by reaching for cables to unplug, the problem jumped out and slapped me in the face. Looking down at my trusty Boss ME-50 multi-effects processor, I noticed that the “level” knob on the compressor section had been inadvertently turned down to almost zero!

I turned the knob back up to my normal playing level and…presto…problem solved!

In the blink of an eye, several weeks of frustration (and expense) were wiped clean and all was right in the world again.

And the sad part was, it could have all been avoided had I just initially done what I’ve always known I should have done. Take a deep breath, and a step back, and troubleshoot…”DUH”

If you’re experiencing problems with your guitar rig – no sound, low sound, scratchy signal, unwanted distortion, etc. – here are some steps to tracking down the problem.

1. First of all, realize that there are many things that can cause a problem. Especially with a guitar rig that uses a number of effects pedals and processors. Never assume to instantly know where the problem is coming from to the exclusion of all the other possibilities.

2. Break the rig down to its lowest common denominator. Unplug all the pedals, cables and processors and just plug one cable from the guitar to the amp. If there is still a problem, or no sound at all, try another cable that you know works properly.

3. If the problem persists, you then know that the problem lies either with the amp, or the guitar. Try plugging the guitar into another amp, or a channel on the PA system to ensure that it is working properly. Conversely, try plugging another guitar into your amp to see if the amp is working properly.

4. If you get a good signal when plugging the guitar directly into the amp then you know that the problem lies somewhere in the signal chain of the pedals, cables and effects processors that are between the guitar and the amp.

5. Isolate each pedal or processor with cables that you know work, and try to determine which pedal might be causing the problem. It may be as simple as a bad battery in a pedal.

6. Check each cable in the chain to see if there is a loose solder connection or bad ground in one of them. Bad cables are one of the most common problems that arise in a guitar rig.

7. Put the rig back together one piece at a time and check the signal after each step. This will ensure that you will catch anything you may have missed initially.

At this point you should have narrowed down the problem and at least be able to isolate it before the gig starts. You may have to go forward without your favorite pedal, but at least the show can go on!

As a fairly experienced guitar player, I’m almost embarrassed to share my “DUH” moment with you. I’ve already taken a good amount of ribbing from my bandmates over it, so why invite any more abuse?

In the hopes that you’ll never have to suffer the shame that I have!

Enjoy! 

Cleaning Saw Blades

Saw blades and other tools work best when clean. Any sort of pitch build up causes more friction, which cause more heat, which causes more pitch build up. Too much build up makes cutting harder, gives poorer results and shortens the life of the tool.

The best is to use about any cleaner in a spray bottle. When you through with a tool then spray, rinse, wipe clean, oil and store. If you want to leave a blade on a saw then rinse with a wet cloth.

Industry has term called Lockout, Tag out. It is not enough to just turn a machine off. You need to unplug it and add a lock so that it cannot be plugged in and then hang a tag explaining that the machine is being worked on. If you are working inside a machine you really don’t want anyone turning that machine back on. Not all of this is necessary in a smaller shop but it is a very good idea to turn the machine off and unplug it then put the plug well away from the socket. Some machines have a start switch that can be removed and placed in your pocket.

A search of the web will reveal over sixty products to clean saw blades, all with their own champion. The best products are those designed to safely clean and degrease such as household general purpose cleaners. Here are a few that proved to be popular picks amongst saw filers: Citrus Spray, Caustic Sprays, 409, Simple Green, Orange Clean, and Brake Cleaner.

There are arguments as to whether strong caustic cleaners damage carbide and braze alloy. However everyone agrees that oven cleaner will remove painted labels and there are better cleaners.

You might want to avoid anything flammable. Also brake and carburetor cleaners are excellent products but this is not there intended use. Lye (caustic soda) is often recommended. If you wish to use this I would recommend a commercial product rather than straight lye. Straight lye can be hard to rinse off while commercial products have additives to solve this problem.

Testing has shown that all the commercial products sold specifically for tool cleaning work well with very reasonable safety risks.

How a Foreigner Can Open a Bank Account in the Philippines

Setting up a bank account in the Philippines as a foreigner has become quite an onerous task. It used to be one simply walked it, provided some identification, some money and opened an account. Now, after the world seems to have been taken over by terrorism, tax cheats, and international drug cartels, banks around the world are becoming more careful about due diligence when it comes to a foreigner wanting to open an account.

Requirements are basically the same at any bank, however if you have been introduced previously to the manager or one of his or her assistants, things tend to go smoother. The Philippines is a country where personal relationships are extremely important when it comes to moving through the bureaucracy of business and government organizations.

Further, things tend to go smoother is you apply at a large international bank, especially one where you may presently have an account in your home country.

Below are listed the basic requirements for opening an account.

1. Two valid identification cards. These can be your passport, driver’s license, company identification card. You need to be sure you take photocopies of these documents to provide the bank for their files.

2. A copy of a billing statement of utilities and/or credit card. The bank wants a photocopy of this so they can validate your address in the Philippines.

3. Alien Certificate of Registration. This is documents which can be obtained

from the office of the Bureau of Immigration nearest your residence. The main office is in Manila, but sub offices exist pretty much in all major cities in the Philippines.

Whether opening a bank account or not, this registration is required by the Philippines government for all foreigners who plan to stay in the Philippines for 30 days or more. You will be fingerprinted and issued an ID card. The procedure is to file an application form, provide three 2″ X 2″ pictures, and submit what is called the E-series ACR form in triplicate. The ACR ID card also serves as the Emigration Clearance Certificate (ECC), Re-entry Permit (RP) and Special Return Certificate (SRC) of the holder.

Recognize that the ACR is NOT issued to those in the Philippines on a tourist status. In other words, if you are in the country on a tourist visa, a business visa, or even on Balikbayan status, you are not considered to be an alien for purpose of registration. The Balikbayan status is simply considered to be a special form of visitor’s visa. Either one needs to be in the country under the SSRV (special retirement program foreigners), a returning resident, or an immigrant. Foreigners married to a Philippine citizen qualify for a non-quota immigrant visa (called a 13(a) Visa. If your spouse is a USA citizen, the best way for them to revert to Philippine citizenship is to become a Dual Citizen (a special program passed by the Philippine government in 2003).

4. Initial deposit equal to the minimum balance required by the bank.

5. It is also a good idea to take a copy of your Marriage Certificate, if you are married to a Philippine citizen. Some banks also require a copy of that.

Now, having submitted these documents, be prepared for an interview and some background checking by the bank before the account is opened. This will take a week or two.

Useful Buying Tips For Drilling Machine

Drilling is one of the most effective and common activities often observed in metal processing industry or manufacturing industry. These tools are used for preparing holes of prescribed diameter and surface finish over the surfaces. The drill bit and power change according to the nature of operations and the surface over which hole is to be drilled.

Suppose you need to drill a hole in your bathroom in the ceramic tiles for hanging a towel holder, you need to select the drill which should be able to make a hole without damaging or affecting the tile. Likewise you may also need to create a hole in the kitchen. The accuracy and finishing of the hole also depends a lot on the skill operator.

While selecting a drilling bit, one should consider the following points. The very first thing is that the torque of the machine you are thinking of. The torque is the factor which will enable you to determine other features of a drill bit. The drill with torque of about 400 to 500 per minute will be best for all your light tasks of the home.

If you need to make a hole in concrete or in brick or any other solid thing then you may need a heavy duty drill as light weight drills will not serve the purpose effectively.

These are also available in several types such as electric, hand operated and battery operated. Nearly all of the drilling machines have changeable drill bits so that you would be able to make hole of desired size.

Depending upon the nature of the job drill machine should be selected, the portable and light weight machine can be used which is either powered by electricity or battery. The best choice is to go for battery powered drilling machine which would help you with all the drilling applications.

The battery drills are available in several capacities such as 18 to 24 volts, 14 to 14. 4 volts and from 6 to 12 volts. If you are using the machine with higher voltage, then the batteries will last long and generate greater power. Hence according to the job they should be selected.

Another thing which should be considered while purchasing a drilling device is the brand. If you have selected a branded or reputed drill, then you will be assured of its performance and efficiency. Most of the leading brands of the market are a bit costly but this factor is compensated by their performance. The leading brands of the market include Black & Decker, DeWalt, Hitachi, Ridgid and many more are meant for meeting every drilling requirement of your job.

These are available with some additional features such as they come with smart chargers, some of the drills come with flashlight but if you are going for these features, it will certainly add to the cost of the machine.

The cost of the drilling machine is another concern and varies according to the voltage and power out of the device. These devices should be selected from the specialist drill bit supplier so that in case of any discrepancies, the problem should be resolved immediately.

Neon Signs: Production, US and Worldwide Sign Industry, World’s Triple-Crown Neon Sign Winner

In order to discuss how neon signs are made and other related facts let’s first see what neon is. Neon is an element that is found in gaseous form in the atmosphere, but it is rare on Earth. In fact, it ranks fifth on the list of the most abundant elements in the universe. Now that we know where it is found how do we get it into usable form? Since it is gaseous it takes 88,000 pounds of liquefied air. What is liquefied air? It is simply ordinary air that has been liquefied by compression and cooled to extremely low temperatures. The final result is a yield of one pound of neon. Pure neon costs $33. per 100 grams.

It is surprising to note that the theory for neon sign technology had its beginnings in 1675, which was before the age of electricity, when the French astronomer, Jean Picard observed a faint glow in a mercury barometer tube. Shaking the tube resulted in a glow called barometric light. However, the cause of the light(static electricity) had no meaning to scientists at that time. Still, it was investigated. It wasn’t until later years when the principles of electricity were discovered that science could move forward towards the invention of many forms of lighting.

In 1910 Georges Claude made the first neon sign which was installed in a Paris barbershop in 1912. They first came to America in 1923 when Earle Anthony, who owned a Los Angeles auto dealership, bought 2 PACKARD signs. Purchase price, according to different sources, was stated as $2.500., $5,000., or $24,000.

Neon light is created by passing an electric current through glass tubes that are filled with gas which makes these tubes emit light. Neon gas emits red light,. Argon and krypton gases emit other colors. Neon signs are made manually, and when you pause and think of the many shapes and designs any other means, as of this date, would be highly unlikely. However, this hand method has been in use close to 100 years and will probably continue until something better comes along. The tubing is bent and the electrodes are attached resulting in the removal of impurities from the tubing. Then the air is evacuated and gas is added.

The glass tubing is prepared by cutting it into lengths which are cleaned and then placed vertically in a coating machine. The machine then blows a liquid phosphor suspension upwards into the tube and then lets it drain back out the bottom. Next, the tubes are placed vertically in an oven to dry the coating. Color tints are applied in a like manner.

So far in the manufacturing process the machines have done all the work. But now the real work is just beginning. It is time for man to do what machines cannot do, and that is to bend and shape the tubing. This is what gives neon signs their ability to be unique.

A heat-resistant sheet of asbestos is used on which to lay the full design of the sign. A variety of gas burners is used to carefully heat and soften the glass tubing. To make the curves in round letters and to produce the sweeping curves required for script gas-fired ribbon burners 24 “(61 cm) or longer are used. Shorter lengths are heated by smaller hand torches. The tubing is bent by hand using the asbestos template as a guide. Amazingly, the tube handlers don’t wear protective gloves. The reason is that they must be able to feel the heat transfer and the degree of softening in the glass to determine the right moment to make the bend. This is what the whole process is based upon because a mistake could be very costly in terms of time and money. At this crucial moment the softened tubing must not be allowed to collapse so the tube bender attaches a short length of flexible hose (called blow hose) to one end. By the tube bender gently blowing into the hose the air causes the still soft glass tubing back to its original diameter.

If tube diameter is restricted it cannot operate properly and a whole step is wasted. Since it is fragile, several sections of glass tubing are used in most large neon signs. A working limit for each section is a length of from 8-10 feet (2.4-3.1m).Each section is made by heating two lengths of tubing and splicing them together. After forming the shape of the lettering or design for a section an electrode is heated and fused into each side of the tubing. Then, a small port, or tabulation is added. This allows the tubing to be evacuated by a vacuum pump. Sometimes this tabulation port may be part of one of the electrodes, and at other times it could be a separate piece joined to the tubing.

The fourth step is called bombarding the tubing. This removes any impurities from the glass, phosphors, and electrodes. A phosphor is a substance that exhibits the phenomenon of phosphorescence(sustained glowing after the exposure to energized particles such as electrons or ultraviolet photons(in physics it is an elementary particle…and the basic “unit” of light and all other forms of electromagnetic radiation). To begin with, the air inside the tubing is evacuated. Dry air is allowed back into the tubing after the vacuum reaches a certain level until the pressure is in the range of 0.02-0.04 “(0.5-1.0mm of mercury). Longer tubing may require lower pressure. The electrodes are connected to a very high-current transformer. For the bombarding process, tubing length that may normally be processed at a rate of 30 mill amperes, 400-750 mill amperes may be used. The mill ampere rate depends on the length of the tubing used. The glass is heated to about 420 degrees F by the high current which heats the metal electrode to about 1400 degrees F (760 degrees C). The impurities are forced out of the materials by this heating, and they are carried out of the system by the vacuum pump.

Filling the tube follows. This is done by inserting gas under low pressure after the tube has cooled, This prevents breakage of the tube. To assure that the sign operates properly and has a long life the gas must be free of impurities. The normal pressure used to fill a tube that is 0.6 ” (15mm) in diameter is about 0.5 inches(12mm) of mercury. To complete this step the tabulation port is heated and sealed off.

Then, the finished, gas-filled, tubing has to be aged. This is sometimes called ‘burning in the tube”. This is done so that the gas in the tube can stabilize and operate properly. A transformer, usually one that is rated slightly above the normal operating current, is attached to the electrodes. When neon is used full illumination should occur in the tube within 15 minutes. Argon may take up to a few hours to reach full illumination. In instances that require a small amount of mercury to be added to an argon tube a droplet was first placed into the tabulation port prior to its being sealed. In order to coat the electrodes after the aging process the droplet is rolled from one end to the other. Should there be a flicker in the glass or a hot spot on the tube, or any other problem require the tube to be opened and repeating the bombarding and filling processes.

What gives neon signs their colors? Different gases are used to produce colors in neon signs. Neon produces red. Helium produces orange. Argon produces lavender. Krypton produces gray. Xenon produces gray or blue. Different hues are created by adding mixed gases and elements to a neon light. If powders are baked into the inside walls of the glass tubes the colors and shades of the finished neon sign are modified. Using colored glass tubing is another method. Today, there are relatively few products which enjoy worldwide usage on such a large scale that are made manually. A well-built and properly installed neon sign can last up to 30,000 hours.

Throughout this article the terms “neon signs” and “illuminated signs” are used interchangeably. Both terms refer to the same exact thing’

Since illuminated signs are used worldwide they are in high demand and so they are made in other countries. Although the method of manufacturing them is basically the same everywhere the quality and performance of signs not made in the US may not be equal to our signs. The list of sign companies in other places and countries, as appears below is based on information dated December 2010. Due to the facts that international reporting methods are sometimes in error, and that an accurate account is not always possible the word “about” is used in this survey. We have seen what the US sign industry is like let us look at some other countries and places around the world and see what they do.

Please remember that the information on this list is the most accurate available according to reliable sources. Because of language barriers and other problems involved in dealing with other countries it is difficult to gather information about foreign sign manufacturers. Businesses come and go, methods and standards of reporting vary, and there are a number of other factors involved. However, for our purposes we will consider the list as a guide so that we can see some other places where the neon sign industry has taken root. Of course, illuminated signs are made in many other places in the world, but there are no figures available on most of these places. In fact, no matter what language is used the idea is to advertise a product or service. When placed on a business or in a store window they are an invitation to enter. They could be flashing or showing a company logo. Because many of today’s corporations are international their signs appear all over the world.

As has been stated each one of these figures is prefaced by the word “about”

China leads the list with 1,298 followed by Canada with 570, Italy with 376, the United Kingdom with 319, Germany with 231, France with 137, Korea with 122, and Belgium with 105. The Netherlands and Spain each have 58. India has 43 while Norway and Sweden each have 22. Austria, Hong Kong and Indonesia show 12 each. Finland, Russia and the United Arab Emerites each show 11. Australia lists 8razil has 6, and Singapore has 7. Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, and Turkey all have 2. At the bottom of the list are Croatia, Ghana, and Japan with one each. It is interesting to note that Bermuda, as of this writing, does not allow neon signs, billboards, or golden arches.

Times Square and The Las Vegas Strip are America’s neon showcases. In other neon signages Tokyo has its Ginza and Shibuya. Osaka has Du Bon bun, which is the world’s largest shopping street that provided the inspiration for Blade Runner. There are also Nanjinj Road in Shanghai and Soi Cowboy in Bangkok(which was named after an American who opened a go-go bar there in the 1970’s).

The fact of the matter is that when it comes to illuminated signs let us see who is number one. No, we are not talking about what country has the most number of companies. When it comes to world class neon signs the US is the Triple-Crown winner. This sign is the world’s largest, the world’s tallest, and the world’s most expensive neon sign. How is that you say? Since we always do things in a big way we have the world’s largest neon sign. Where is it? No, New York City is not the answer because there is no place to put it there. Where else is there? There is only one place that has both the space and the financial capability to pay for this sign and that is Las Vegas. It is owned by the Hilton Hotel Corporation and placed on the property of its biggest hotel.

It has a total surface area of over 77,000 square feet on each side. It is the world’s tallest free-standing sign at 279 feet. In fact, at a cost of about $9 million it is easily the world’s most expensive neon sign. It was completed in 1998 by the MagneTek Company of Las Vegas. It’s the largest, the tallest free-standing, most expensive neon sign in the world and is seen each year by millions of visitors.

We hope that your visit has been enjoyable, as well as informative.

Pendant Lighting Layout – How To

Pendant lighting has gained a great deal of popularity for use in kitchens over the last few years. A common place to install them is over an island or peninsula. One of the most frequent questions I see is how high do I hang them and how do I space them out? Both questions can be answered in several ways and as with any home design aspect there is no absolute or right answer. There is however some guidelines to use that can help you make the right decision.

One consideration on the height is with the fixture you choose. If a fixture has an open bottom and it is installed to high, it can become very annoying looking up into the light bulb all the time. By the same token, a fixture that is designed so that the top is not made to be viewed, if installed too low, can be very unappealing. There is an average height you can use as a guide, about 68″ – 72″ off the floor to the very bottom of the fixture. This puts the fixture at about eye level for the average person. The reason there is no correct answer is in a house where everyone is 6′ 4″ and taller this height would most likely be too low.

Over a dining room table this same rule can be applied. A little tip or word to the wise. If your fixture is going to be installed before there is actually a table under it put something there in its place. It could be a large box, bench, folding table or a chair. It will save someone a trip to the hospital for stitches after walking into the fixture or a broken fixture.

Spacing the pendants when there is more than one is a matter of a little mathematics. The most common mistake is to just split the space into even sections but that is not entirely correct and I’ll explain why. Let’s say your island is 60″ long and you have two pendants. A common thought would be to split the space into three sections that are even. This would give you each fixture 20″ off the ends and 20″ between them. A better choice would be 15″ off each end and 30″ between them. Why is that you ask? Well for one thing you’ll see it is more visually appealing. The other reason is the light spread on most pendants is in the shape of a circle. If you can imagine the actual light that falls on the counter area picture two circles of light. To best illuminate the counter we want the edge of the circle to hit the edge of the counter. The other two edges should meet or overlap in the middle.

If you are not sure what it is I am describing take a look at the link below and view the diagrams along with the explanation.

Wall Systems – Air Barriers

During the 1970’s energy crisis building professionals and engineers started looking for ways to improve the efficiency of the building envelope. This effort paved the way for the development of air barriers. Air barrier systems are intended to control the leakage of interior conditioned air through the exterior wall system.

In a modern residential home the most common type of air barrier is an exterior house wrap or combination air/vapor barrier plastic sheet installed behind the drywall. The effectiveness of an air barrier is directly influenced by the attention to detail taken during installation. Any opening in a seam, or hole from a fastener, compromises its effectiveness.

Efficiency Improvements

One metric to judge the efficiency of a home is by its Air Changes Per Hour Per 100 sq feet (NLA). A typical 1930’s home has approximately 12.2 air changes per hour, while a 1970’s home was improved to roughly 6.9 NLA. A modern home can achieve 2.8 NLA or better. These improvements have drastically reduced the cost to condition a home both in the summer and winter.

Challenges

There are several challenges that air barriers create:

  • If moisture manages to enter the wall system it can have difficulty drying quickly enough to avoid wood rot and/or mold. A properly designed, and installed, wall system takes this into account and allows moisture movement though the exterior.
  • Homeowners are not always educated in proper management of moisture within the home. The result of an air tight home is that the interior humidity level can become excessive leading to a perfect environment for mold to grow.
  • Reducing the air changes may also lower the quality of the air inside the building. This is a result of using household cleaners, formaldehyde in carpet and furniture, radon, and even fragrances.

A Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV) may be installed to mitigate many of these issues but they are currently not required in the building code. An HRV brings fresh air into the house while reducing the energy lost in this process. I would highly encourage anyone building a new home to consider the addition of an HRV.

While the current wall system design is still evolving, the use of air barriers is here to stay. Due to their low cost and high return of energy savings I expect these barriers will only be improved over time. With the inevitable increase in the cost of energy, the homes of the future will need to be significantly more efficient.

The Ultimate Cheerleaders Locker

Show Off Your Team Spirit If you enjoy cheerleading or you are a cheerleader at school, you know first hand that looking your best and putting forth your best personality is a must. A lot of your clothing and accessories often display your school and team colors. Well the good news is that you do not have to limit that team spirit to just your clothing and accessories, you can show that team spirit also by decorating your school locker.

Of course, you are going to have your usual locker organizers, pencil holders and maybe a dry erase board but here are some quick ideas that you can use to decorate your team spirit locker:

1. Use solid colored magnetic wallpaper that display your school colors. If you can’t find the exact color, you can find solid colored wall paper and either add magnet strips or use small cuts of tape to tape it to your locker walls.

2. Consider hanging up pom poms similar to the kind that you use when you cheer in the football or basketball games. Another idea and a great DIY one, is to get some streamers from the party supply store. Cut 10 pieces and make them about 12 inches long. Use another piece of streamer/string and tie it in the middle of the 12 inch pieces. You now have a pom-pom to hang at the top of your locker or on your locker door.

3. Use cheerleading magnets and spread them out, throughout your locker wall. Find silhouettes of cheerleaders or consider using magnets that have cheerleading slogans. These are just a few of the many ideas that you can use to accessorize your school locker with your cheerleading accents.

Applying an Antique Finish on Wood Floors

There are many methods of how to apply an antique finish to hardwood floors. Stains, glazing and finishes can be applied to existing wood or new wood. For existing finished wood floors the surface must be stripped or sanded to remove wax and dirt build up for the new finish to adhere properly. The old finish doesn’t have to be removed entirely if you wish to keep the old color as a base for applying new stain over it. As with all antique painting or staining you can accomplish any custom color you like by blending different stain and glaze colors or using only one color. From my experience applying two or more colors in separate applications gives the wood floor much more character and is actually easier for hiding old wood color differences or where old floors have imperfections, damage or new repairs.

Before you start to sand or strip the wood floor of the old finish choose an area to make a test sample of color and texture, the best spot for sample is inside of a closet which has the same wood flooring or an area on the main floor where furniture or throw rug will cover your test area. The best way to make sample testing is to use loose pieces of similar wood and make your sample on these as a way to see the different tones of color you can get just by different applications and second coats. Make as many samples as you choose and I would suggest making six to ten sample blocks, testing the different stain colors, multiple coats, semi transparent, solid color and try different glazing colors with clear finishes. The nice thing about applying antique finishes to wood floors or other wood furniture is you have the flexibility to apply additional coats of stain or glazing to even out the total color and graining of the finished product.

Let’s say you have an existing finished wood floor and you want to change the color totally you should use a floor sander or for small areas use a hand held belt sander to remove the old finish and stain. This process is very dusty, so cover doorways and openings with drapes of clear plastic to help contain dust in that room.

Remove base trim or shoe trim as to get in all perimeter edges and protect areas where this floor meets other types of flooring or carpeting. Because you are going to apply an antique finish you need not remove all of the old finish but you must sand enough to remove any old wax or dirt and grime residue. After sanding is complete use a vacuum to clean up dust and then with a water damp cloth wipe entire area of fine dust to prep for applying new stain. For a more natural looking finish use lighter color regular wood stain or a semi transparent stain and for a more dramatic effect start with a darker color stain. Latex base stains, glazing and finishes are preferred as they are low odor, dry relatively fast and still offer flexibility in timing of application.

Plan enough time to complete each step of the stain, glazing and finishing process continuously, do not stop applying stain until the total area is finished and follow this in all applications. When applying don’t stop if you are worried about the color or graining differences, remember you are going for a total look over an entire area and the steps ahead will blend the different colors and hide most of the imperfections to look like the samples you made. Depending on how large the area, apply with a brush, wiping cloth or roller. When applying stain and all wood finishes keep a wet edge and continue in one direction throughout the entire room making the least amount of overlaps onto already stained surface. Lap marks will show up darker if applied to dry edge and in essence have the appearance of two coats at laps.

After applying stain coats apply glazing using the same method and process. If you want a more even color apply to light coats of glazing instead of one. As a general practice in antiquing wood floors or any wood furniture, you will have the most flexibility applying multiple lighter coats rather than one heavy coat of finish and drying times will be much faster. The lets you vary or adjust tones and hues at every step of the antiquing process. Glazing also is more appealing if two coats are applied and adding some glaze to the clear finish is also common. When staining and glazing are complete plan on applying two coats of clear finish in gloss, satin, eggshell or semi gloss sheen. The best clear finish to use for hiding imperfections is satin

Penis Pumping – The Pros And Cons Of Vacuum Pumps

Penis pumping has been around for a very long time. Keep reading to learn the pros and cons of vacuum pumps.

First off, how do penis pumps actually work?

What these pumps actually do is seal the penis in an airtight seal thereby removing any surrounding air. This pressure then pulls the blood into the penis and thereby inflates it further. It takes about a minute or so and the results can appear quite impressive, although they are only temporary enhancement results. What happens when you actually remove the penis from the tube is that the penis instantly wants to revert back to its original size. You can actually try to combat this by fitting a constriction ring around the base of the penis. You can actually get an expanded width for a few minutes by doing so.

There are some serious drawbacks to vacuum pumps. There is no way you are going to be able to discreetly use the penis pump before having sex with your lover. It is something that you need to do a few minutes before intercourse and it can actually turn your lover off sex altogether. It is not something you want to do on your first night together.

Professionals are also concerned at the possibility of injuring your penis through the misuse of the penis pump. They are not meant to be used on a regular basis. You can actually harm the penis tissue by overusing it or misusing it.

Can a penis pump actually make your penis bigger permanently?

While studies vary, it is hard to believe that permanent enhancement can result from the use of the penis pump. If you have ever used one yourself you can see straightaway that after pulling your penis out of the pump that it immediately wants to revert back to its original size. That’s why realistically you should only use it as a temporary penis enhancement method. If you’re looking for more permanent results I would recommend penis enhancement pills.

Here are some rules to be applied if you are still keen to use the penis pump:

1. Do not keep your penis inflated for more than around a quarter of an hour.

2. Don’t use it on a daily basis.

3. Do not use it if your penis looks discolored.

4. Make sure you follow the instructions.

As I say these results are only temporary, full permanent enhancement results penis pills on the best method.

How To Build Lean Muscle For The Ideal Male Body

The question of how to build lean muscle for the ideal male body is one of the main drivers of the health and fitness industry. Still despite masses of information out there it’s not all helping. A lot of the advice you might be following is the gospel of big and bulky bodybuilders passed on to you. Following these people as role models really isn’t the way to achieve your goal if you’re after the lean v-shaped look that is considered the most attractive.

How to get the ideal male body is the right question, but if you follow the typical approach you’ll get the wrong answer. So another valuable question to ask is; what is it that the people you really want to look like know and do, and how can you use it to help achieve your goals?

Well here are six tips to take from the people who have really cracked the look you want; movie stars and fitness models.

1) Get better, not bigger

Bulking really isn’t the way. Unless you have a magic wand you really can’t turn fat into muscle. Get big and fat and you’re only going to have to sweat to get it off again when you realise you actually want to be in shape.

2) Stay lean year round

Who wants to spend most of their life out of shape? That’s what bulking means. Why not always look good and be ready for life. Fitness models and people who actually have to look good for a living stay in shape year round, so they are never too far from peak condition. Aside from saving you the hassle and heartache of trying to get the bulk off, it also means you will constantly be staying in the habits that keep you lean and in shape, and this is a fundamental of looking and feeling great.

3) Don’t follow bodybuilder style workouts

Too much, too long, and too often is the typical bodybuilder workout plan. It is a very good reason why so many people in gyms are giving their all and getting nowhere fast. The answer isn’t to work harder, and certainly not longer, its way more important to know what to work on.

4) Workout less, but make it count

Studies have proven fast is where it’s at. You will get much better results by working out less, not more, but with high intensity. More results and less time can be the future of fitness for you. Besides if you’re going to have the ideal male body make sure you have the time to get out there and enjoy it!

5) Know where the muscle will make the difference

If you want the look that turns heads it’s never about slapping muscle on in an indiscriminate way. Some areas matter more than others. Movie stars and fitness models know that a tight set of abs and a v shaped torso are the keys to a body that cries out to be shown off. So do women. So should you!

6) Choose and use the right exercises

You get what you train for. So when it comes to how to build muscle for the ideal male body, choose your exercises wisely. It will make all the difference.

Follow these tips to start on your way to the ideal male body and getting in shape you can’t wait to show off. Have fun!

Body Language – 5 Secrets to Get What You Want!

Body language is a powerful tool that can affect the way we think, and influence the decisions that we make. When used skillfully, it is possible to influence others and make them think and react the way you want them to behave, by strategically projecting your own intentional body movements, facial expressions and gestures first.

Projecting powerful cues and avoiding a few simple pitfalls will serve you better in two simple ways:

1. You will look and feel more confident when you use positive body language. When you move and carry yourself with confidence and appear to “project” positive vibes, you immediately feel more poised and in control.

2. Body language communication is infectious. We tend to mimic one another in conversation. Have you noticed how we seem to match the other person’s speech rate, body movements, gestures and facial expressions?

Isn’t it amazing that we do this every day when we communicate. Yet we do so, without even realizing it.

If you use positive body language, the other person is more likely to use positive body language (mirror you), which will in turn make the other person feel certain emotions (happier, or more confident in their decisions etc.)

Caution: The opposite also holds true so don’t display body language movements, facial expressions or gestures which are negative in tone or thought, if your intent is not to do so.

We know that using positive body language improves everyone’s mood. Look at how a stand up comedian can use the gestures, facial expressions and body movements to make an audience laugh. Quite often the verbal message is funny but the body language simply amplifies the humor and audience reaction.

Here are a few ways to positively communicate more effectively without the use of words:

1. Pay attention to your own positive cues which you project.

a. Make direct eye contact whenever possible. About 70% is acceptable in North America and United Kingdom. In Japan for instance the acceptable “gazing rate” is closer to 50% and in most Scandinavian countries, acceptable “gazing rates” can be as high as 90%. Realize that cultural differences are one of the three keys in body language interpretation.

b. Smile or relax your lips. Avoid pursing your lips or touching your face repeatedly. Nobody trusts someone who touches their face repeatedly while speaking.

c. Stand with an open posture. Keep your arms and legs loose and relaxed and try to stand off to the side, either on a slight angle to the other person or right eye to right eye if directly across from the other person. Looking into the left eye of the other person is most comfortable when speaking or listening.

d. Keep your palms faced upward and hands relaxed when speaking. It’s important that the open palm is revealed more frequently while gesturing when speaking. This appeals to the unconscious mind that you are non-threatening.

e. Avoid nervous or fidgeting gestures such as tapping your nails or jingling change. This signals a high level of “internal dialogue” or “self chatter” taking place. It can project that you are anxious, restless, and nervous or simply want to move on.

2. Pay close attention to the body language of the other person as you maintain dialogue. Watch out for signs of negative body language or clues that the customer is bored. This could be having the other person beginning to look over your shoulder, playing with the zipper on a jacket, jingling keys, preening with miscellaneous articles such as scarves, mitts and hats. These are displays of emotion and attitude.

3. Subtly begin to mirror the other person’s body language. If the customer leans forward, you should lean forward, displaying interest. If they have their arms crossed, cross you arms too, but reveal your fingers and ensure they are spread apart. Once you are in rapport, begin to lead. Test to see if you can lead. For instance, if dining with someone, reach for your water glass. If they too reach for theirs and follow you lead, you are now in rapport!

4. When you want to inject a more positive tone into the conversation, slowly shift your body language to appear more positive. Uncross you arms and legs, tilt your head slightly when listening, and straighten your head when speaking. Nobody is taken seriously when they speak with a tilted head in business. (Note: When dating or flirting, the head tilt works wonders and is extremely powerful!)

5. It’s important to note the following. Try not to change your body language (excessive shifting of the body, touching the face, nervous knee movements, figure four) when you begin talking because this typically will signal that you are trying to take control of the conversation. If possible, you are more appealing if you can shift first or during a pause, be relaxed in posture and then begin speaking.

In short, pay attention and strategically control your body language and observe the reactions you receive from others. With practice, you will begin to realize how effective it is to strategically use your own body to infect the other person and gain the desired outcome you wish.

You will be amazed how simple it is to get what you want, when you want it, without uttering a word!

The New Trends: Tensile Membrane Structures

Tensile membrane structures are thrilling, feasible and economical options to roof or provide shade and shelter to an area. They are pliable and light weight structures and can be formed in any shape and size to fit in the particular surroundings. Tensile membrane structures are generally used as roofs because it is cost-effective and it draw attention from a distance. It can also be used as canopies, skylight, covered walk-ways, sunshade roofing or membrane roofing and motorized retractable roofing.

Tensile fabric structure is not an advanced technology or concept but it is one of the ancient practices used to provide shelter and security from an unfriendly weather conditions. Documentation and data proved that people have been making tent for at least 15,000 years, though originally they were using animal skins. Eventually, man learned to use woven fabrics for surviving purposes. The military for example has been commonly known for using tent as most treasured structures in the battlefields. Tents are easy to assemble or build and dismantle or deconstruct, somewhat weather tight, and you can bring it anywhere because of its lightweight.

Ancient Egypt was one of the most influential civilizations throughout history and their architecture was diverse structures. Ancient Egyptians were the first civilization to use pieces of fabric structure for shade. They also discovered navigation effective for controlling the wind power by sailing in boats, way back in 3,500 BC. Greeks and Romans also adopted Egypt architecture and used large pieces of fabric in their architectures and buildings. Romans used large canvas “cruise” to provide shade to spectators at the arena in Rome.

Today’s modern technology has extremely transformed the fashion these tensile fabric structures are built. It is more weather-proof and lightweight than sticks and animal skins and, in addition, modern fabrics are coated with materials that resist UV degradation and they offer more benefits such as protection from ultraviolet (UV) radiation and strong wind resistance.

A tensile tent membrane structure can be thought as an umbrella and construct tension in many ways, depended on the area that needs architectural roofing. In a fundamental tent, tension is built by the poles which the body of the tent established or depend. Furthermore, in larger structures; industrial-strength materials such as fiberglass-coated polyurethane are used to have an indestructible and everlasting structure. Some tensile fabric structures do not need a supporting framework or pillar. Using that, pressurized air is applied to create the needed tension.

Membrane material is treated as the fifth construction element after metal, stone, glass, and concrete. At present the popularity of this material is increasing rapidly worldwide. Modern fabric structure materials in modern architecture can shape space, allowing architects to sculpt 3-dimensional space that is not possible with any other types of material. Selecting a roofing membrane system material is always to find a balance of design criteria, performance requirements and costs. Membrane roofing Philippines is now a new trend in the country.

A Quiet Revolution?

As divorce rates rise and fewer couples bother with marriage, we ask if the traditional nuclear family is becoming a thing of the past. The divorce rates nowadays are enormous. Just imagine, while you are reading this article, somewhere in the United States two couples will get married and another will get divorced. One in three American children now live with only one parent. The United States is not alone in this: in Canada and France the divorce rate has doubled in the last twenty-five years, and even in post-communist Hungary and Greece, with its strong family traditions, it has increased by 50 per cent. Even in Japan, where the traditional family is still very strong, divorce went up by 15 per cent between 1980 and 1995.

What is more, the nature of the family is changing. In Sweden and Denmark, around half of all babies are now born to unmarried parents, and in the United Kingdom and France more than a third. Even in Ireland, traditionally the most Catholic country in Europe, the rate of births outside marriage is 20 per cent.

Families are also getting smaller. The average Turkish family had seven members in 1970, today it has only five. And in Spain and Italy, where families were always traditionally large, the birthrate was the lowest in the developed world in 1995. This fall in the birthrate is due in part to the fact that, as more women have careers, they are waiting longer and longer to start a family. The age at which the average woman has her first baby is now 28 in Western Europe, and it is getting later.

So the nuclear family is clearly changing, but is it in danger of disappearing completely?

The truth is that it is still too early to tell. In some countries these patterns are actually reversing. In the United States, Scandinavia and the United Kingdom, the birthrate is rising once more; and in Denmark, for example, marriage is becoming more popular again. In the United States, the divorce rate in fact fell by 10 per cent between 1980 and 1990, and it is continuing to fall. Maybe nothing is lost after all, and perhaps a new revolution is beginning?