Do You Really Think That Posture Support Braces Can Correct Bad Posture?

The number of people searching for “posture correctors” and “posture braces” indicates that many people are in dire need of posture correction. Regrettably, based on their search criteria, they are somewhat misguided. Posture support braces cannot correct bad posture and may do you more harm than good.

Posture support braces are mostly cosmetic. Wearing them may make you look better, but they do nothing to help develop the muscles necessary for good posture.

Weaker posture braces are totally ineffective. Your body adapts to them in minutes and then assumes the normal slump to which it is accustomed.

Stronger posture braces cannot resolve the problem either because they stop you from moving freely. This leads to muscle atrophy, the wasting or loss of muscle tissue, which can start within twenty four hours. More specifically, the condition is known as disuse atrophy and it occurs from a lack of physical exercise. Your muscles start to shrink. Disuse atrophy will create even bigger problems for you.

After wearing your brace for a while you will find that when you remove it at night, your posture slump will be worse that it was originally. This is because your muscles have become weakened and cannot support you adequately. Apart from being uncomfortable, posture braces also sometimes cause rashes.

When it comes to posture correction, most attempts are directed toward the spine, shoulders and pelvis. These are important, but the position of your head is the most important. Your body follows your head. Your entire body can be aligned by first aligning your head. In other words, if you do not correct the forward head position, your attempts to improve your posture may amount to nothing.

If you want to improve your posture there are much better alternatives than posture support braces, but before we examine them it is important to understand how bad posture arises.

Poor posture is the result of bad habits that end up weakening your core posture support muscles. Invariably, you end up with an element of forward head posture, a condition that cannot be remedied by posture braces.

Forward head posture arises when you carry your head forward of the center of your shoulder. As your head moves forward, your center of gravity shifts. To compensate for this shift in the center of gravity, your upper body drifts backwards. To compensate for the upper body shift, your hips tilt forward and this is how you end up getting bent out of shape.

For every inch that your head moves forward, it gains about ten pounds in weight. Gravity starts pulling at your head and over time your forward head posture gets worse, placing an ever increasing strain on your body. The result is a significant deterioration in your quality of life with not only head, neck and TMJ problems, but also mid-back and low-back problems.

Now that you understand how bad posture arises, let us examine some simple, but effective ways to improve your posture without the need of ineffective posture support braces:

1. Do daily posture exercises to strengthen your core muscles.

2. Evaluate your computer posture. This entails the proper placement of your computer equipment, the correct viewing angle and the proper typing height of your computer. This, combined with the correct keyboard posture, can significantly reduce muscular-skeletal strain in the muscles and joints of your shoulders, neck, back and arm.

3. Pay attention to your sleeping posture. The correct sleeping position is on your back. Your spine should maintain its normal curvature while you sleep. Sleeping on your side is your next best position. Sleeping on your stomach is the worst position and is not recommended.

4. If you are overweight, you should try and change your lifestyle by eating correctly and losing weight. Obesity leads to slouching and the extra weight can pull your body out of alignment. This in turn places a heavier burden on your spine and your lower back.

5. Most importantly, stretch regularly. Stretching will help lengthen both your muscles and tendons. This will increase your range of movement which means that your limbs and joints can move further before an injury occurs.

As mentioned above, one of the best solutions to correct bad posture is to stretch and one of the best ways to stretch is to use a posture cushion. A good posture cushion will allow your head to assume a neutral position in relation to your shoulders. The contours of the cushion should be such that it pushes your thorax forward, stretching the muscles in the front of your chest and relaxing the muscles in your mid and upper back.

It is never too late to improve your posture. Just because you have bad posture right now does not mean that you have to stay that way for the rest of your life. Follow the guidelines set out above and you will be well on your way to improving your posture.

The Business of Sign Making

So you’re thinking about the business of sign making? Well you’re in luck! Sign making is an easy business to get into and it has a very stable market. As long as people need to market their goods or services to those around them, they’re going to need signs to do it!

Now, when I say that it’s “easy” to get into sign making, that’s a relative term … It’s still a business and like any business you need a good plan. This article won’t deal with writing a business plan as there are plenty of other resources for that. What this article will deal with are some of the key factors in building a successful sign business, including a general overview of the talent and equipment you’re going to need to get started.

The topics we’ll cover here are location, artistic talent, software, equipment, supplies and the types of signs you can expect to sell right out of the box.

Location, Location, Location

When you’re starting out, you’re customers are likely to be local political campaigns, other small businesses, schools, churches, municipalities and occasionally an individual looking for a vinyl graphic to spice up their vehicle. So with a sign making business, having your shop visible to customers in your area is important, but don’t break the bank right away by trying to open up a shop in Times Square. A second floor office space or a shop at the edge of town is fine, as long as lots of people drive by and can see your sign as they pass.

Also, don’t forget that your own sign is going to say a lot about the type and quality of work that you do … after all, who’s going to want to use a sign shop if the shop itself has a terrible sign?

If your customers can’t come to you, take your business to your customers! An interesting sign business I came across recently was a 19 year old guy who outfitted his minivan with a “mobile sign studio”. He would travel around to regional racetracks where he would rake in the cash for offering on the spot vinyl lettering and graphic service to racers who needed some extra vinyl on their vehicles before their events. Sometimes a little creative thinking can go a long way when it comes to reaching your customers.

Design Sense

The next priority is to find someone who can handle the artistic requirements of your sign business. If you’re already a graphic designer looking to start a business than you’ve definitely got a leg up as you won’t need to hire anyone right off the bat. If you’re not an artistic person, than you’ll want to start searching around for someone who is. While most of the software used to design signs is easy enough to learn, becoming a good artist is not.

Hiring a good graphic designer may cost you, but putting out poorly designed signs because you’re trying to do everything yourself will cost you even more. Also, someone who can fulfill your design requirements can easily learn all the other aspects of the business and become a valuable “all in one” employee … especially if they have excellent people skills and can act as sales/customer service as well.

When looking to hire a designer, REQUIRE that they’re proficient in Adobe Illustrator (or similar vector based design program) and request that they submit their portfolio when submitting their resume/application for the job. If they can’t provide a portfolio, throw their application out and immediately move on!

You don’t have to be an artist yourself to recognize good design. Simply look over their portfolios and interview the ones that strike your interest. In addition to the quality of their designs, also pay attention to how their materials are presented and how good their social skills are. You’ll want to pay attention to attributes that illustrate the applicant’s craftsmanship as well as their ability to communicate with customers.

Software, Vinyl Cutter and Computer

The 3 major pieces of equipment required for a sign shop are the software, the vinyl cutter and a computer to drive everything.

When it comes to software I usually recommend Adobe Illustrator, it’s the industry standard for vector artwork and as you expand your business, you’ll never outgrow the software. It costs about $500 and is widely available. Plus, most design schools teach Illustrator so most design students and new graduates should already have a basic understanding of how to use the program.

Your vinyl cutter is going to be one of your largest investments and the lynch pin of your business. Major brands are Roland, Gerber and Graphtec. The standard vinyl cutter starts at about $2000 and goes up from there.

In addition to the major brands, you’re going to find a plethora of second rate vinyl cutters on the market. Be sure that you don’t buy a sub standard vinyl cutter because cheaper vinyl cutters are prone to jams, misalignment and other critical cutting errors that waste expensive vinyl film and your time.

Computers today are simple to buy and you don’t need any special requirements to run the software that drives your vinyl cutter. Simply spend about $1000 on a new computer and it’s going to be capable of cranking out all sorts of signs. (You can even run things off a laptop if you like.) One little upgrade you may want to think about is a nice large monitor. As an artist myself, I like to put a little extra money into a nice monitor because it makes things more convenient for you or your artist and it’s also convenient when your customers are looking over your shoulder as you present designs to them.

Sign Warehouse is an excellent place to go for great deals on vinyl cutters and related equipment.

Vinyl and Sign Supplies

Your primary media when starting a sign business will be vinyl film. You can buy hundreds of different Pantone colors, reflective vinyl, metallic vinyl, vinyl that simulates etched glass, holographic vinyl and even vinyl film laced with 24 carat gold! With the variety of vinyl films available, the artistic possibilities are nearly endless!

My personal favorite brand of vinyl film is Avery, they have an excellent selection and their products are very easy to work with. One key point you’ll want to remember is that vinyl comes in different “quality levels” and the quality is usually determined by the length of time it will withstand exposure to the sun and the elements. So you’ll want to assess the environment that the sign will be displayed in and use the appropriate grade of vinyl.

In addition to vinyl films, you’ll also need a good workbench, plenty of transfer tape, squeegees, metal straight edges, rulers, tape measures, T-squares, X-ACTO knives, tweezers, Rapid Tac and STABILO pencils. All of these tools are relatively inexpensive so beyond the software, vinyl cutter and computer, there isn’t a lot of additional cost for equipment.

You’ll also want to keep plenty of blank substrate materials around such as various sizes of banners, Coroplast, Alumalite and magnetic sheeting. Basically you’ll want to keep enough on had to fulfill most basic requirements for quick sign making. More elaborate or specific substrates and larger quantities can be easily ordered and most sign supply companies can have fresh materials out to you in about 24 hours.

For a great place to buy sign making supplies, check out Beacon Graphics.

The End Result

Once you’ve setup a nice little sign workshop you’re going to find that you’re capable of a variety of different signs. Most notably, banners, vinyl lettering and graphics applied to vehicles and store front windows, Coroplast signs, Alumalite signs and magnetic signs.

While I’ve condensed the list here for the sake of time, there are literally thousands of different applications for the signage that you can make with the aforementioned tools and materials. For signs that fall outside the realm of your abilities, find other sign shops to subcontract work out to. While the shop I worked in dealt primarily with vinyl, we collaborated with local awning manufacturers, neon installers and larger shops with vinyl printing capabilities.

As you grow you can slowly upgrade your equipment as demand increases, although you may find that you’ll never outgrow your initial products and services as vinyl cutters are literally that versatile and the demand is almost always there.

Caster Boards Make For Great Exercise

Caster boards are the newest type of skateboard mutation to hit the streets as well as the skating scene. Caster boards combine the motions and design of skateboarding, surfing, and snowboarding to create the ultimate skating experience on concrete and pavement.

The task of learning to ride a caster board may seem very daunting, but with practice and time, you will get the hang of it eventually. Now, why would you even want to risk the danger of learning to ride a caster board in the first place? Well, despite what you may be thinking and what you may be feeling, there a handful of reasons why learning to ride a caster board can be beneficial.

Ride For the Exercise

Get off your buttocks and out of the house to enjoy the fresh air. Learning to ride a caster board can be a great excuse or reason to go outside and get a little fresh air. Also, you will also be getting some exercise and workout time if you stay out and ride long enough. Riding caster boards are a great way to get some physical exercise and have a little fun at the same time.

Improve Your Balance and Coordination

Learning to ride a bike when you were young, but once you got the hang of it you never forgot how to do it, right? Well, the same concept can be applied to riding a caster board. Once you have got the hang of how it works, you will most likely always remember.

Also, caster boards require a balance and coordination technique of its own. Although riding skateboards, surfing, and snowboarding have very similar concepts, it is still a different technique. You can improve your balance and coordination by riding caster boards.

Practice During The Off-Season

Do you surf? Well, if there are no good swells to hold you down for the day and you are just itching to get a riding rush, scratch that itch with a caster board. You can surf the streets and attempt to bomb some small hills to get a great riding rush. Of course, we know that it is not the same but caster boards give off a rush of its own.

Children Love Caster Boards

If you have children, they mostly likely have asked you for a Ripstik or some other caster board of the sort. If you are looking for activities to do with your children, why not learn how to ride a caster board with them. You will be one of the coolest parents in the neighborhood. That is, you will be super cool if, and only if, you do not suck.

So, are you ready to get started with learning to ride a caster board? Have fun, get some exercise, improve your balance and coordination, surf streets when there are no swells to hold you down, and play with your kids.

The Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco is a marvelous feat of Engineering. Located on the Golden Gate Strait in San Francisco Bay, the idea of a bridge linking the two sides of the bay was first discussed in 1872. It wasn’t until the 1930`s that an Engineer named Joseph B. Strauss submitted the final plans for the bridge to the District Board of Directors and construction began.

The Art Deco styling that the bridge is famous for was the idea of the husband and wife partnership, Irving and Gertrude Morrow, with their subtle ideas and eye for good taste; they created the easy on the eye bridge span. With opposition from the US Navy, Morrow and his wife chose a unique colour for the bridge known as ‘International Orange’ and this has become famous all over the world. As Chief Engineer Strauss was very safety conscious he, with the help of Edward Bullard, a local manufacturer of safety equipment, introduced new, ground breaking safety procedures which are still followed on a high percentage of construction sites to this very day. The death rate for men working on the bridge for the time of construction was second to none showing how important safety precautions where and still are.

Key Dates

1872 . Earliest discussion of building a bridge to span the Golden Gate Strait.

May 25, 1923. The state legislature passes the Golden Gate Bridge and Highway District Act of California into law.

December 4, 1928. Golden Gate Bridge and Highway District is incorporated as the entity to design, construct, and finance the Golden Gate Bridge.

August 27, 1930. Joseph Strauss submits his final plans for the bridge to the District Board of Directors.

November 4, 1930. Voters within the 6 counties of the District approve the $35 million bond issue to finance construction of the bridge.

January 5, 1933. Construction of the GGB begins.

May 27, 1937. opens to pedestrian traffic

May 28, 1937. opens to vehicular traffic at twelve noon. The bridge opened ahead of schedule and under budget.

July 1, 1971. Remaining original bonds issued for construction of the bridge are retired. $35 million and almost $39 million in interest were financed entirely from bridge tolls.

February 22, 1985. The one-billionth car crosses the bridge.

August 15, 1985. Construction completed on the replacement of the original roadway with modern orthotropic steel plate deck.

May 27, 1987. celebrates its 50th Anniversary.

September 2, 1998. United States Postal Service unveils Golden Gate Bridge commemorative stamp.

March 1999. The Golden Gate Bridge awarded number two position in Top 10 Construction Achievements of the 20th Century by CONEXPO-CON/AGG SECOND ONLY TO Chunnel Tunnel (Channel Tunnel).

How Ancient Greek Democracy Worked

It is not difficult to describe how ancient Greek democracy worked. Actually, it is different from our present-day form of democracy, but still pretty straight forward and easy to understand. Ancient Greek democracy found its origins in the city if Athens, Greece. Our current system of ‘democracy’, although different than the Athenian version, owes its existence to this form of governing. As the scholar, Marvin Perry, pointed out, “Athenian democracy embodied the principle of the legal state – a government based not on force but on laws debated, devised, altered, and obeyed by free citizens.” In this brief article we will briefly outline the workings of Greek democracy, and what differs between it and the form of democracy which we enjoy today.

Prof. John Keane, of Westminster University, states in the video series, “In Search of Democracy”, “Democracy means self governing through the assembly.” (Part 2) This self governance manifested itself through six main institutions. Each part was integral in the operations of the whole system. Comprising the main institutions were the Assembly, the Council of 500, the People’s Court, the Archons, the Council of the Areopagus, and finally, the Generals.

The ‘how’ of the ancient Greek democracy is quite simple. Basically, everything flowed interdependently through these six institutions. Legislation was introduced and passed by the will of the people. The law was enforced by the military and crime was judged and punished by the people themselves. As we shed some light on the individual institutions, themselves, we’ll see the synergy upon which the ancient Greeks’ democracy was built and the society was governed.

This early Greek democracy had as its foundation the idea of the Assembly, Ekklesia, in Greek. Historian, Christopher W. Blackwell, writes in “Athenian Democracy: A Brief Overview”, the Assembly was “the regular gathering of male Athenian citizens to listen to, discuss, and vote on decrees that affected every aspect of Athenian life, both public and private… ” Notice, the assembly consisted of male citizens only. While women enjoyed citizen status, they, as well as foreigners and slaves were denied a place among the assembly. Assembly members met frequently to propose, debate, and vote on legislation and other matters of the state. This was undoubtedly a lengthy process, as each member was permitted to speak and participate in an orderly fashion.

The Council of 500 (originally 400) consisted of 500 members, each serving a one year term. Each member of the council was taken from among the Assembly. The Council was responsible for managing the ports, the military installations, and other state property. Most importantly, they prepared the agenda for the Assembly. As we see, each component of ancient Greek democracy was vital to its smooth operation.

In Aristotle’s Athenian Constitution, we read, “There was also to be a Council, consisting of four hundred and one members, elected by lot from among those who possessed the franchise. Both for this and for the other magistracies the lot was cast among those who were over thirty years of age; and no one might hold office twice until everyone else had had his turn, after which they were to cast the lot afresh.” (Aristotle Part 4)

History tells us that these council members were paid. The inclination towards a career in professional politics was curbed by the imposed term limit of one year, and the opportunity to only serve two terms in one’s lifetime. However, the pay was substantial enough to afford one a year of absence from his chief trade to tend to the affairs of the state.

The People’s Court formed what essentially was the primary judicial arm of ancient Greek democracy. These were known as ‘jury courts’, consisting of the citizens, themselves. In such courts, the jurors would hear cases brought before them, and decide the fates of those on trial. Again, turning to Aristotle, we see that “There are three points in the constitution of Solon which appear to be its most democratic features: first and most important, the prohibition of loans on the security of the debtor’s person; secondly, the right of every person who so willed to claim redress on behalf of any one to whom wrong was being done; thirdly, the institution of the appeal to the jurycourts; and it is to this last, they say, that the masses have owed their strength most of all, since, when the democracy is master of the voting-power, it is master of the constitution. Moreover, since the laws were not drawn up in simple and explicit terms (but like the one concerning inheritances and wards of state), disputes inevitably occurred, and the courts had to decide in every matter, whether public or private.” (Aristotle Part 9)

Next in Greek democracy were the Archons. This was a group of nine men who were essentially the chief leaders of the city of Athens. They were highly educated and honored individuals, originally responsible for making various judgments regarding public, military and religious affairs.

The fifth vital piece of ancient Greek democracy was the Areopagus, or Council of the Areopagus. This was a council of men who had served as judges with jurisdiction over cases of murder and other serious crimes. The court was comprised of former Archons, and its members served for life. Citing the ancient writer, Demosthenes, we learn that “You are all of course aware that in the Areopagus, where the law both permits and enjoins the trial of homicide, first, every man who brings accusation of such a crime must make oath by invoking destruction upon himself, his kindred, and his household; secondly, that he must not treat this oath as an ordinary oath, but as one which no man swears for any other purpose; for he stands over the entrails of a boar, a ram, and a bull, and they must have been slaughtered by the necessary officers and on the days appointed, so that in respect both of the time and of the functionaries every requirement of solemnity has been satisfied. Even then the person who has sworn this tremendous oath does not gain immediate credence; and if any falsehood is brought home to him, he will carry away with him to his children and his kindred the stain of perjury-but gain nothing. If, on the other hand, he is believed to be laying a just charge, and if he proves the accused guilty of murder, even then he has no power over the convicted criminal; only the laws and the appointed officers have power over the man for punishment.” (Dem. 23.67-69).

Lastly, were the generals. The generals were entrusted with the military welfare and affairs of the state. Again, Aristotle informs us, “Four year after the establishment of this system, in the archonship of Hermocreon, they first imposed upon the Council of Five Hundred the oath which they take to the present day. Next they began to elect the generals by tribes, one from each tribe, while the Polemarch was the commander of the whole army.” (Aristotle Part 22)

As has been demonstrated, these six facets of ancient Greek democracy each contributed to the proper functioning of the whole. The Assembly, the Council of 500, the People’s Court, the Archons, the Council of the Areopagus, and the Generals were the people, themselves. Most of the familiar trappings of politics were avoided because of the intentionally short term limits. The people performed the will of the people.

As has been shown, this early Greek democracy was an intensely participatory form of government, as opposed to our modern representative form of government. Today the United States has what is traditionally been labeled a democracy, when in fact, it is a Republic. The main difference between our government and theirs is the cyclical election of public officials who go to the various state offices and to Washington to represent their constituents. Our voices do count, but not in the direct, everyday inner workings of legislating, ruling and judging the citizenry.

Additionally, today’s political figures are well paid, and most (if not all) pursue politics as a career. This differs greatly from the model of classical Greek democracy. It has also led to an endless string of scandals, too numerous to cite here. Public officials are not readily trusted by the governed masses under our system, and are

This cynicism has evolved into a general distrust of government and a desire by the citizens to be protected from the constant intrusions of ‘Big Brother’. Our text affirms this sentiment, “We are concerned with protecting the individual from the state, which we often see as a threat to personal freedom and a hindrance to the pursuit of our personal lives… the Greeks were not concerned with erecting safeguards against the state; they did not view the state as an alien force, to be feared or to be protected against.” (Perry 63)

Many of the original ideas from ancient Greek democracy have been preserved in our present Republic. Ours is a more refined system, perhaps. Our brand of democracy serves as a model of justice and freedom throughout the world in much the same way that the fledgling democracy of Greece once did. While far from perfect, the checks and balances in our system serve to balance the powers of government in very unique and ingenious ways.

Selected Works Cited:

Aristotle, “The Athenian Constitution,” Translated by Sir Frederic G.Kenyon. 350 B.C.E. http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/athenian_const.1.1.html

Demosthenes. Demosthenes with an English translation by A. T. Murray, Ph.D., LL.D. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1939.

Mounting Wireless Antennas: How High and Why?

Most wireless antenna and wireless access point manufactures usually say the higher the better went mounting. This is true but you must take in account: coverage area, height of the building, type of antenna and weather.

Wireless Antenna – First you need to decide what type of antenna you are going to use. If you are going to use a directional antenna then you will be able to tilt it downward if needed to cover you needed area. But if you mount the antenna two high you will have a dead zone between the building or ceiling to the ground level. You will not want to tilt a omni directional antenna downward because you will be sending half of your signal up in the sky.

Another common scenario is to use a Omni directional antenna in conjunction with your directional antenna to avoid dead spots.
When choosing a directional antenna make sure it's radiation pattern suits your needs. If you need to give a long hallway wireless coverage then you will need to ensure it's radiation pattern does not leave dead spots.

One 8dbi directional antenna could have a signal pattern of 60 degrees horizontal and vertical and a 14dbi could have a 30 degree signal pattern. If you used 14dbi directional antenna the room closest to the wireless access point could end up being dead spots.

Coverage Area – The most important thing is that you can provide a constant secure signal with out it costing too much money. That is really how you decide how to place your access points. Usually the higher the better because the height lets gives more options. Just take in account that you are not leaving dead spots close to the access point / antenna.

Titanium Hammers

Whether in medicine, in the depths of outer space or the seas, or in atomic structures… without the material Titanium- local and distant projects are almost impossible. Titanium is difficult to land and also to work over, but its properties are not. The different fields of application involved are so complex that it has made this metal one of the strongest on earth. The perfect hammer has the perfect task just like the perfect task has the perfect hammer. This means that the task is determined by the hammer’s head weight in addition to the handle. The head’s weight is really important because you need just the right amount of force to “hammer” down the nail without messing up your elbow or your nails. Take the essential properties of a titanium sheet at a glance:

· 100% non-magnetic because it contains no iron (permeability about 1,000… )

· extremely high strength (comparable to that of steel)

· extremely low weight (42% lighter than steel)

· extreme corrosion resistance (including to certain aggressive media in the chemical industry)

· extreme mechanical and thermal resistance

· extremely long life

Here are the specifications involved:

· Density [g / cm ³] 4.51

· 0.2% proof stress [MPa] 170-500

· Modulus of elasticity [GPa] 110

· Thermal expansion coefficient of 9

· Thermal conductivity [W / (m K) 22

· Melting point 1668 ° C

· Boiling point 3287 ° C

Titanium Eases Your Work

These hammers get the job done fast and furiously and that is why they are taking the workforce by storm. The steel hammer just doesn’t cut it compared to this monster because the titanium hammer is a lighter hammer that can be dropped faster on the target and, by doing this- the work is performed more quickly. In fact, the time it takes to drive the nail into the piece of wood is considerably reduced.

Efficiency is Greater

The comparison between a titanium hammer and other hammers shows plenty of valid points. There is the factor of speed and then lightness of the titanium and then you have the force at which the titanium hits the nail, which is significantly harder than the competitors. Steel hammers have a tendency to let the nail soak up the force.

Convenience

Weight comes into the picture again. Lighter hammers are going to allow you to gain more control over the hammer as well as the striking control of the nail even if you have an awkward position. Even portability is better. The features are made with better details as well. For example, they may seem like the titanium sheet hammers are the same as a steel hammer like claws and holding slits but the weight and durability make them outlast.

Why You Should Consider Mosaic Tiles

There are many different types of tiles out there that you are able to use for either floor or wall tiles and they can be placed in any room pretty much that you require. There are many, many different designs and layouts that you can have and you can make your rooms look brilliant with the use of either just a few tiles or laying the whole rooms design out with them. Some of the best designs in people's houses and in building have been made through the use of mosaic tiles.

Mosaic tiles are very colourful and full of lots of different styles that can make any place look great, they can be used inside and outside, many leisure centres tend to go for mosaic tiles so that they can put designs into place in places such as swimming pools and sport rooms. Companies and people use these tiles in these places because they make the place stand out and look really good which is a major bonus with mosaic tiles.

Many mosaic tiles are made out of glass and can be cut into many different shapes and sizes meaning that you are able to make a very varied design and pretty much unique to you. There are so many different colour schemes that you can use with mosaic tiles from simple yet effective looks to full blown crazy colour designs. You are able to use these throughout your house or building in many different rooms.

The main rooms that mosaic tiles seem to be used throughout are in the bathroom and kitchen, this is because they are good with water and make great looking splash back which most people seem to enjoy. Mosaic tiles have been around for hundreds and hundreds of years, in fact they have been around since the roman times. This just goes to show long that mosaic tiles have been around for and how long we have been enjoying them, many people think they look beautiful but some people disagree. Before installing them I believe that you should put together a design and see how you think it will work and make sure that it looks good to you before you go ahead with buying all the tiles because mosaic tiles are not the cheapest but they will definitely do the job.

Mosaic tiles are not just made from glass they are also made from porcelain, tumbled marble, stone and a few other materials. This helps when you are able to mix and match the materials if you want to which can provide a great look and feel providing that you do it correctly.

The brilliant thing about mosaic tiles is the fact that you can even make your own, well your own designs anyway so you can pretty much have your own crazy mosaic design on your tiles which you can show off by placing wherever in the house or building that you feel it will look good. Mosaic tiles can also add to the value of your home over time so if you think about it they could be classed as an investment to your house.

Build Your Own Brick Or Stone Mailbox

Have you ever wanted a masonry mailbox? If you have then you’re in the right place to learn how to build your very own brick mailbox or a stone mailbox. I will go over all the materials and tools needed to complete this project and approximate costs.

I am going to go over the brick mailbox because it will be easier for you to complete. First you will need your design laid out, the simplest way to build your maibox is a 24 Inch square with a 16inch block pillar in the center. Next you will need to gather all your materials, you will need 3, 80 pound bags of Quickcrete, 16 8 inch block and 12 4 inch block and then roughly 200 brick of your choice. You will also need to pick out a good sturdy steel mailbox and a piece of sandstone that is 26 inches square and 4 inches thick for the top cap. The tools you will need are a good digging shovel, wheelbarrow, hoe, trowel, hammer, striking iron and and masons brush.

Step one, dig down 36 inches and 4 inches bigger than your mailbox base in the above example you would dig a hole that is 32 inches square. If you are on a street with underground utilities running along the street you are only going to be able to dig down no more than 12 inches, you will have to check with your utilities to find this out. Ideally though you should make it 36″ deep to clear the freeze line, especially if you live in the north.

Next prepare your footer by driving a grade stake down into the center of the hole 8″ off of the bottom, this will be the thickness or height of your footer. Now mix your quickcrete thoroughly and pour it into the hole till you just cover the grade stake, try to make footer as level as possible, it may be somewhat difficult especially since you will be reaching 3 feet into the ground. Now let your footer set up and return the next day to build your mailbox.

The next step in the process is to build the center block column our of the 8 inch block and 4 inch block. find the center of your footer, mark it and measure 8 inches each direction, this will be where your main column will set. After you have marked out your square mix your mortar and start laying block. Place two 8 inch side by side and try to make them as level as possible, first course is most important, if you can’t get it level in the first course be sure that you are level and straight by the third, which should place you right at about 4 inches below ground level, now continue to lay your block up 5 more courses, be sure that these are straight and level. After you have laid these you need to install your brick ledge, you do this by using the 4 inch block. Place the block around the base of the column as close to the column as possible up just three courses which should place you at once again 4 inches below grade.

Now that your column and brick ledge are in place its time to install your brick. Run your brick on top of the brick ledge which should work to fit the brick perfectly. Be sure to switch bond every course to make sure you are left with a nice looking brick job. Every course check for level and plum to be sure that your mailbox is not leaning, and then strike your joints every 2 to 3 courses as well, so they dont get two hard on you. If you are installing brick correctly you should have 3 courses of brick to every course of block, so if you laid 4 courses above grade then you should end up with 15 courses of brick. to the top of the block column.

Now it is time to install your mailbox, take your mailbox out of its packaging and place it on top of your column and brick with the face of it facing the road, test open the door to be sure that the brick below is not interfering with the door. Your mailbox door should be resting approximately 1 to 2 inches off the face of the brick. Now continue to lay your brick up and past your mailbox, you will have to make cuts with a saw or with a hammer if you are skilled enough to do it. Be sure to fill mortar in around mailbox to lock it in place.

After you have struck all your joints and brushed your work down it is now time to install the cap, you can do this with brick or buy a piece of sandstone that is 4 inches thick and that is 1 inch bigger on all sides of your masonry column, in the above example the sandstone should be 26 inches square. Run a bead of mortar all the way around your top course, now place the sandstone lightly on top and level it up, remove excess mortar and voila you have yourself a brick mailbox, If you are skilled enough you can do the above project with a stone veneer, but it is only recommended if you are familiar with the masonry trades.

What Exactly Do Industrial Painting Contractors Do?

Industrial painting contractors use a variety of methods to coat surfaces with paint. Unlike home decorators there are many more ways to lay down a layer of paint than just by applying it by brush or roller. In addition, the surfaces in industrial painting tend to require a lot more thorough preparation.

Preparation is usually the key to proper long lasting paint applications. If the surfaces to be painted have not had paint applied previously, then the process is somewhat easier. If a previous coat exists, then its removal is usually required, and this in itself is a skill that needs an expert touch.

Surfaces can be prepared by using ultra high pressure water jets, or water jetting as it is also known. This has both a washing and a blasting effect, which can remove grit and dust as well as any other loose particles. Water jetting leaves a surface cleaner than any of the other methods of preparation. It can be used in all weathers and it has no adverse environmental effects.

Abrasive preparation is also used by industrial painting contractors. This can be dry, wet, or a combination of wet and dry. In this way rust, grit, dust and chemicals can easily be removed to leave a virgin surface ready for the paint application. When sufficient care and attention is taken over the preparation process, the painting process is made easier with a greater likelihood of a successful outcome.

In industrial painting, applying the paint with a brush or roller is not the only option. Powder coating, for example, is a process where particles of dry paint have an electrostatic charge applied before being positioned on a grounded surface. The particles are held on the surface by electrostatic attraction. Heat is then applied, which allows the powder coating to flow together and be cured in place.

For powder coating to work it is of course necessary for the surface being treated to be electrically conductive. Originally this meant only metal surfaces. However, recent technological advanced have meant that other surfaces, including such unlikely ones as plastic and wood, can now also be treated in this way.

Coil coating, also known as roll coating, is a high speed method of applying a coating of paint to a metal surface. It is a continuous process, which is why it is a fast method. It is also the most cost-effective and energy-efficient method of getting paint on to a metal surface, as well as being extremely kind to the environment.

Spray coating is a more common way to apply paints on to a surface, and as such it is extensively used by industrial painting contractors. This method can also deliver resins and sealants effectively under pressure. The inherent messiness associated with this kind of delivery through overspray can be greatly minimised by applying an electrostatic charge to the spray.

Industrial painting contractors have to keep on top of all the latest developments. They need to be versatile and flexible, being able to offer a wide range of preparation processes, as well as a wide range of coating techniques and methods.

Light Is Might For Crystal Chandelier

Everyone who is into crystal chandeliers knows that its lighting feature is the most important on its use. So when choosing a crystal chandelier it is important to focus on it as well. I now that people fall easily in love with beautiful styles and designs but at the same time you also have to keep in mind that you need to focus on its lighting as well, because it is one of the factors that is really needed on it. Let me talk about the use of accent lights. Accent lights are either recessed or track-mounted, on either side of the crystal chandelier and between the ends of the table add a festive sparkle to china, crystal, and fruit arrangements. Space them so they are not over the heads of diners, but not so close to the crystal chandelier as to create shadows. Angle them toward the chandelier to add sparkle and provide down lighting.

Portable lighting, or table lamps, also plays an important role in the dining room area. Accent lamps on breakfronts or étageres or two great buffet lamps with unique shades can help create just the right mood for that special meal or occasion when the dining room is being utilized. You must keep in mind that the lighting aspect of the crystal chandeliers is the most important to keep in mind. You bought a crystal chandelier for a reason and I am mighty sure it is for lighting purposes. So always take note that when choosing one, you better focus on it as well.

The final layer of light should fill in the shadows around the room's perimeter. Consider recessed lights located in the ceiling toward the corners of the room. Wall washers, recessed or mounted on tracks, can illuminate drapes or paintings. Torchieres and sconces point light toward the ceiling. Do not forget to light furniture around the edge of the dining room. Buffets, hutches or breakfronts can be illuminated internally with low voltage lights on the underside of shelves to light up collections and china. The perimeter should always be lit and it is also a big factor to keep in mind that everything should be covered in this position.

Although there are other options include recessed or track lighting above buffets or breakfronts. Miniature low voltage pendants suspended three feet above the buffet offer a more contemporary look, while tall, thin candlestick lamps on either end are more traditional. The things to keep in mind most of the time is that you need to consider the lighting of your crystal chandelier at par. That sure you Be are On Also .giving care on it so That you will not have a useless crystal chandelier , remember they 're are On the brighter the more exposed the beauty of it can be.

The Seven Best Live Plants For Your Freshwater Aquarium

There are several benefits to having plants in your freshwater aquarium. Plants add oxygen to your fish tank and also act as biological supplementary filters that assist in keeping your aquarium clean. In turn, fish provide carbon dioxide and nutrients to the plants. Live aquatic plants are good for you too – they look great and make your aquarium look more like a natural habitat. Between making you, the fish, and the plants happy and healthy, it is a triple win situation!

Several factors apply when researching plant possibilities:

One: water parameters – Water parameters are specific levels of things in water, such as temperature and pH. When water has a lot of mineral content, it is said to be hard.

Two: Substrate – Substrate is the surface a plant or animal lives on. (Are you planting in rocks, gravel or dirt? Does the plant float like a lily pad?)

Three: Lighting – Even aquatic plants need light to grow.

Four: Fish Compatibility – If you have fish that are herbivores, for example, consider your ferns and grasses as good as salad.

The best plants are flexible in all of the above factors except the last. There are seven aquatic plant species that are hardy and also attractive to stick in your aquarium:

One: Java Ferns – (Microsorium pteropus). Java ferns tend to be around eight inches tall with bushy with tall spade-shaped leaves. They grow well in waters with a pH level between 5.5-7.5 and in temperatures between 68-82 degrees Fahrenheit. They have the potential to grow even in low-lit tanks and require a water hardness of between 2-15 degrees. Java Ferns grow best when tied to floating driftwood rather than planting their roots.

Two: Amazon Sword – (Echinodorus amazonicus). Amazon Sword grow to be 20 inches tall and have wide green leaves that fan out. They will grow best in a tank with a pH level ranging from 6.5-7.5. They also require the water’s temperature to be regulated between 72-82 degrees. With regards to lighting, provide 50 watts for every 25 gallons of water. They require the same water hardness as Java Ferns and should be planted in loose substrate and supplemented with iron fertilizer.

Three: Argentine Sword – (Echinodorus argentinensis). Argentine Swords grow as tall as 18 inches and have long, thin stems. They thrive in water temperature of 60-77 degrees and require soft water hardness. Otherwise their specific care needs are identical to that of the Amazon sword.

Four: Hygrophila Polysperma – Hygrophila Polysperma are tall, standing at 24 inches. They grow in bunches and have small reddish or green leaves. The tank should have a pH level between 6.5-8 and a temperature between 68-85 degrees. The lighting and water hardness needs are the same as the Sword plants. Trim the Hygrophila Polysperma every so often, as they tend to branch out. Because of this it may be wise to place them in the center of the tank and back, so they have room to grow.

Five: Umbrella Plant – (Spathiphyllum wallisii). Umbrella plants can be anywhere between 8-12 inches tall. They have tall, thin stems with small leaves at the top of each stem that branch out into a star shape. They are high-maintenance plants and need a pH level between 5-7 and a temperature between 72-78 degrees. They need intense light to grow and a water hardness measuring between 4-12 degrees. Umbrella plants are not actually aquatic plants and will die if submerged completely in water. You can still have this gorgeous greenery as a part of your fish’s habitat-Just grow the plant on the surface and submerge the roots below.

Six: Vallisneria spiralis – This looks like grass and grows to 24 inches. It needs a ph level between 6.5-7.5 and a water temperature between 60-85 degrees Fahrenheit. It should have 50 watts of light for every 50 gallons of water and the water should have a hardness between 5-15 degrees. Vallisneria spiralis are good plants for beginning aquarists as they have a wide range of water parameter needs. These plants look best along the sides or in the back of your aquarium.

Seven: Anubias Barteri – Anubias Barteri are wide plants with wide green leaves that grow as tall as 16 inches. The water temperature should be regulated between 72-82 degrees with a pH level ranging only from 6.5-7.5. These are also aquatic divas, insisting on moderate lighting and a water hardness of 8 degrees. They grow best with CO2 fertilization.

All of the plants discussed in this article look great in an aquarium. The first three are the best to get if you are a novice because of their flexible needs. But as always, do your research before buying.

Pirateers Game Review – It’s A Pirate’s Life For Us!

Pirateers is a fantastic adventure game in which you are able to get behind the wheel of a good old fashioned Pirate ship and make your way to Pirate fame!

The player has a lot of freedom in the game and can choose how they wish to play and complete tasks in any order which is one of the highlights of the game. Sail the seas, Battle against other dangerous pirates, Run away from Navy Fleets, Take on quests, plunder for gold and even hunt out secret hidden treasure spots.

Follow the story line and journey through the virtual world trying to find the 5 pieces of Neptune’s Eye. Or if you prefer why not just do what Pirate’s like to do best and be a scallywag robbing some merchants? The choice is up to you young Captain!

Ships & Ship Upgrades

In Pirateers, you can captain one of 3 ships –

The Batavia

Speed – Average

Damage – Average

Armor – Average

Extras – Pirate Launcher, Dragon Ram

The AveMaria

Speed – Low

Damage – High

Armor – High

Extras – Giant Fishnet, Revenge

Note: The AveMaria is only playable once you’ve completed the game with Batavia.

The Janamahe

Speed – High

Damage – Average

Armor – Low

Extras – Oil Spray, Energy Cloak

Note: The Janamahe is only playable if you play the game direct on Armor Games.

Each ship can be improved and upgraded by going to the Ship Yard once you have earn’t or plundered enough booty.

Here you can upgrade the following ship’s options:

Armor Upgrade – Improves Defense

Speed – Improves Max Speed

Charge – Improves Cannon Reload Time

Cargo – Hold and Loot more Gold/Treasure

Ship Weapons & Upgrades

You can buy various other weapon attachments for your ship and upgrade them to increase each ones abilities.

Cannonball – Basic Cannon that has Infinite Ammo

Attack Damage Increased by Upgrading

Pirate Launcher – Blasts your crew members over to the opposing ship that can dismantle it’s armor and cannons.

Duration Increased by Upgrading

Fireball – Launches Cannon Fire Balls

Attack Damage and Ammo Capacity Increased by Upgrading

Gigaball – Mega Cannon Ball Launcher

Attack Damage and Ammo Capacity Increased by Upgrading

Tortoise Shield – Shields the Ship from a certain amount of Damage

Damage Reduction Increased by Upgrading

Shooting Gallery – Automatic Cannon that shoots enemies when they get in range!

Attack Damage and Ammo Capacity Increased by Upgrading

Dragoon Ram – Pierce’s the enemy ship to Damage it

Attack Damage and Durability Increased by Upgrading

Treasure Hunter – Extra Gold and Loot and Increases the Chance to find Treasure Maps and Special Items

Chance Increases by 1% per Upgrade

Medal Achievements

Medals are awarded throughout the game if you reach certain criteria.

The 5 main medals to be achieved are:

Fierce Killer: Kill a certain amount of enemies

Booty Hunter: Complete a certain amount of quests

Gentlemen of Fortune: Gain a certain amount of gold

Golden Shovel: Find a certain amount of golden treasures

Shipmaster: Buy a certain amount of ship upgrades

It’s A Pirates Life!

Lets raise the anchor and set sail Captain, for we have many ventures to complete! Pirateers is one addicting pirate game with plenty of features to keep you busy, a great story line to keep you entertained and lots to spend your plundered booty on.

How To Achieve Natural Breast Lift Without Expensive Augmentation Surgery

Because of the high costs and potential complications associated with implant surgery, many women look for natural breast lift strategies. That old statement “time is a wrecker” is painfully true: over time, and especially following pregnancy, nursing, and weight gain, breasts usually lose their elasticity and tone and become floppy and old-looking.

Mastopexy (breast lift cosmetic surgery) is popular but expensive. It is also painful and can inhibit women’s ability to breastfeed.

Thankfully, there are some non-surgical breast lift techniques women can try in order to improve the shape and look of their bust. One of the best ways to keep up the appearance of your breasts is to maintain an even and healthy weight. Weight gain can stretch out your skin and make it less elastic, and your skin often does not shrink back if you lose weight. Additionally, keeping your skin well moisturized is important for the elasticity of the skin. This moisture should also come inwardly: drinking eight glasses of water a day is vital for your skin.

A properly fitting bra is essential to breast maintenance since a good bra is one of the best natural breast lifts that you can find. A high percentage of women wear the incorrect bra size which can significantly change the appearance of their breasts. Additionally, too much bouncing in a ill-fitted or improperly supportive bra can actually tear connective tissue in your breasts, so have yourself properly fitted and wear bras that are correct for your body.

Other breast lift techniques include breast massage, which has been popular in Asian cultures for improving the tone and shape of the breasts. Some massage technicians are trained to perform breast massage, but obviously there are several sticky legal and personal comfort issues that need to be considered.

You can, however, perform this technique at home. Do be aware that improper breast massage techniques can actually do damage, so you need to make certain to research proper techniques, use gentle pressure, and always apply a cream or lotion first.

Several websites recommend a four step procedure for natural breast lift massage. First, stroke from the nipple outward. Second, gently knead with one hand. Third, clasp your breast in both hands and rotate it gently several times, both clockwise and counterclockwise (this technique is especially helpful for counteracting the effects of gravity on the breast). Finally use both hands to gently press the breast inward. Performing this technique two or three times a week can be very helpful for improving the appearance of your breasts.

Additional breast lift techniques include many natural breast lift products on the market today that can help restore youthfulness to the breasts. Some of these products are sold as breast enlargement/lift products, and there is some reason to the combination: breasts that have deflated due to pregnancy or weight loss can look more vital and perky with some additional volume.

However, other products claim just to improve the appearance, not increase their shape, and these products usually come in the form of topical substances. They often contain natural ingredients which can make the skin look tighter and more youthful. Additionally, these creams and lotions drench the breast in moisturizer which can help restore some of the skin’s vitality and youthfulness.

Many women would benefit from a natural breast lift in order to reclaim the breasts of their youth. There are many products and breast lift techniques available for women to try instead of resorting to the pain of breast lift surgery.

The Elevator Pitch – A Networking Tool

The so-called “elevator speech” is a very short 15 to 30 second introductory sound bite that introduces who you are and what you do in a memorable way. The elevator speech or elevator pitch as it’s sometimes called is designed to prepare you for any brief or chance encounter you may have where you get an opportunity to talk about you.

How many times have you felt unprepared when confronted spontaneously and asked about what you do? If you talk in terms of your art, your listener’s eyes glaze over. If you discuss too much YOU, you never get a chance to talk about your art, and indeed there may not even be any interest once they hear you’re an artist. But…

It may be the only opportunity you get to both introduce yourself, say what you do and create interest on the part of a listener who may be your next customer; if they could only hear your message. And incidentally, you needn’t wait for an elevator moment. Key moments often come unannounced such as waiting in line at the grocery store or bank, meeting someone at a party. You just never know. But if you’re prepared, you will know and very quickly if contacts are worth pursuing or not.

Here is an example:

For an Artist

“Hi, I’m Greg Peters and I’m a visual artist. I produce artwork that begs to be touched. Here’s my business card which will take you straight to my web site where you can see what I do. I could talk for hours about my art, but seeing it is better than thousands of words. Take a look for yourself when you have a minute and drop me a line if something catches your eye. I can always be reached by phone or email. “

See what I mean? I’ve introduced myself, given them a business card with my web site URL on it, and told them what I do. Some may never go there, but so what? They won’t forget the encounter, and they may tell a friend. Business cards are cheap. Spread them around like confetti.

You’re now a professional artist, you’ve positioned yourself to take on questions and give answers, and you’ve forged one more link in your networking chain. You need a good elevator speech. Now go write one and memorize it. You’ll never be at a loss for words with this great icebreaker.

Gregory Peters