Bastrop Texas Transformation

There are a hundred and one wonderful things to say about Austin, TX. There are lakes and rivers, Zilker Park, the hill country, bluebonnets, 6th Street, the University of Texas (hook ’em horns), the music scene and the movie makers all contribute to the wonder of Central Texas. It is easy to see that Austin is surrounded by numerous smaller communities and towns that are tied to Austin by history and co-dependency. They make up a rich and vital part of Austin’s growth and uniqueness. Heading east on highway 71, about 30 miles from Austin, is Bastrop, TX. Bastrop is a lovely town situated on the Colorado River. Early in Texas history it was almost the capital of Texas but was beat out by what was then known as Waterloo and later known as Austin due to land prices being cheaper in what is now Austin. It is a town with a rich heritage and has managed to keep their historical district and retain the old town charm that is part of what makes small town life what it is. Bastrop has maintained numerous older homes and buildings that have been restored to their former glory. They house the many shops, restaurants and inns as well as peoples homes that are the historical district. Along with its history Bastrop is a lively, vibrant and modern town with a lot to offer. Amidst all the growth and activity there are numerous new local businesses and restaurants, movie theaters, motels, hotels and bed and breakfast inns as well as superstores such as Wal-Mart, HEB and Home Depot, to mark both sides of the highway along the expansion of highway 71. Bastrop TX is home to local parks, with trails and family centers, as well as Bastrop State Park, and Lake Bastrop for picnics, camping and fishing. There are four 18 hole golf courses and communities within a few minutes of town. There are rodeos and festivals, art shows and golf tournaments, football and soccer games.

The real estate in and around Bastrop Texas is as varied as you could find anywhere. It is home to stands of lush loblolly pine trees (which you will not find anywhere else in the area) as well large oaks and maples. There are wonderful open fields for cattle grazing or your own horse ranch. There is real estate with river frontage on the Colorado River or properties with smaller creeks, streams and ponds. You can find new home subdivisions in town or farther out in the rural areas to choose a home from or you could buy a lot or acreage and build your own home. Whether you would choose to live in a stately older home in town or a horse ranch is more your style, Bastrop has real estate that would suit most any home buyers taste.

Bastrop is one of the fastest growing school districts in Central Texas. Bastrop has one high school, two middle schools, two intermediate schools, six elementary schools and an alternative high school. Bastrop school district serves the city of Bastrop, Cedar Creek, Red Rock, Rockne, Paige and vast rural areas of Bastrop County.

Some of these rural areas and smaller towns around the Austin Metro area are growing as fast as the city. Many of the residents commute to Austin for employment and shopping, while others find that what Bastrop has to offer meets their needs.

The Distinction Between Great Games and Great Facades

The Mass Effect series is arguably one of the best gaming sagas ever published. I’m definitely a fan. But the more I ponder its greatness, the more I believe that the interactive portions of Mass Effect have nothing to do with how awesome it is.

Crazy? Maybe so, but hear me out. When you strip away the epic, cut-scene-driven story; the lovable and distasteful characters; and the fresh coat of graphical paint, all you’re left with is a third-person shooter that is average at best. The first two installments feature a middling implementation of a shooting mechanic and laughable enemy intelligence. They also employ parochial role-playing elements and excessively linear combat environments.

In addition, they both have deceptively little exploration. In Mass Effect, you get to jump into horribly designed Mako missions and find minerals for yourself, and in Mass Effect 2, you can fly around in a boring spaceship and scan boring planets for resources instead. Neither really features much of a sense of discovery.

Mass Effect 2’s level-up system makes the same mistake many that modern RPGs do: heavily scripted character paths. By not providing enough enemies or data stations, you cannot gain experience at your leisure. In order to make Commander Shepard and his friends stronger, you have to advance the story. If that’s the case, why have leveling at all? The skimpy number of skill points I earn throughout the adventure aren’t really necessary. The game might as well auto-level my characters.

That said, I absolutely enjoyed my time in the Mass Effect universe. They are two of my favorite games from this generation, and the reason for that was the story-driven experience. It is, in a word, epic. I remember going into the final battle of Mass Effect 2 shaking as if I was actually going into combat with my friends. (I’ve been in real-life combat, so I know the feeling.)

Developer BioWare did such an outstanding job of developing the characters that I felt responsible for them and dreaded the possibility of losing a team member. I remember hearing Tali yell at me over the comm to hurry. I felt the genuine sense of urgency while I fought my way to her side. It was awesome!

Generally speaking, I’m not a huge fan of iPhone gaming. My mainstays are RPGs, Madden, the occasional tactical shooter, and retro kart titles like Sonic and Sega All-stars Racing. The iPhone doesn’t handle any of these types of games particularly well.

But oddly enough, I recently got hip to the whole SuperBrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP phenomenon that all the major sites seemed so hyped about. I’m still playing through it, but I can see why so many people have been taken in by it. It has a novel art style, and the first boss battle definitely got my blood pumping. But much like Mass Effect, if you stripped these things away, you’d have a very tedious and boring game.

This idea isn’t new. Old-school adventure developer Sierra did something similar with its Space Quest and King’s Quest series. Neither of them were really “games” as we think of them in the contemporary sense. They were all about experience and discovery.

But where do we draw the line? How do we discern the difference between a game that actually features compelling design and a game the presents an appealing package? If I had my way, I would marry the world-building of Mass Effect with the free exploration and customizable leveling of the Elder Scrolls series.

In the future, I hope developers can stop using pretty window dressing to cover up a game I would never play based solely on the elements that make it distinct from other media. I don’t want developers to let time and budget constraints hold them back from bringing us the best of both worlds.

How Tiffany Stained Glass Lamps Are Made

The Tiffany style stained glass lamp shade, panel, window etc. is very much like a puzzle.

First, the puzzle must be designed. The design may begin as a drawing, a painting, a photograph or any other kind of graphic artwork. Once this basic design is selected it must then be transformed into a stained glass friendly design. Stained glass panels, shades, doors, windows, etc. are subject to stress which can easily break or fracture the glass. Care must be taken to design the individual pieces and how they relate to each other structurally in such a way that they will add strength. Of course this all has to be done within the context of a beautiful design. A simple comparison is a wall of bricks. To create a strong wall you would not simply stack the bricks in a line on top of each other but you would place them in such a way to interlock and create a strong bond. Stained glass structural design is similar in principle. A further complication is that it is always necessary to maintain the beauty and integrity of the original subject which is the object of the design.

Second, upon completion of the stained glass friendly design which is structurally sound and aesthetically pleasing, it is necessary to create templates for each and every piece of glass that is to be in the design. This is typically done by tracing the outline of each piece of glass in the design onto a heavy craft type paper. Afterwards, the craft paper is cut into individual pieces which represent the individual pieces of glass.

Third, each craft paper template is laid down upon a corresponding sheet of glass and cut out by hand with a glass cutter tool. The rough edges of the glass are smoothed by special grozing pliers or a glass grinder. All the pieces are cut out in this manner then laid out upon a copy of the original design to assure that everything fits properly.

Fourth, each piece of glass is individually wrapped around the edge in (usually) copper foil or a zinc frame then placed back onto a copy of the original design to assure proper fitting. Metal pins, straight edges and wood frames are used to hold the entire project in place in preparation for the   soldering .

Fifth, all copper foil and zinc edges of all the glass pieces are painted with a  soldering  flux. The glass pieces are then  soldered  together one at a time until the entire project becomes a one piece structure. The project is turned over and this fluxing and  soldering  step is repeated on the other side.

Finally, detailed finish  soldering  is completed, then an appealing patina is applied to all metal parts.

There are many subtleties and variations in each of the steps above. But there are no short cuts or machinery other than simple hand tools used in authentic Tiffany style stained glass.

– Jim Hoyle

Materials Used For Solar Panel Construction

Solar panels are literally boxes that encapsulate solar cells or photovoltaic cells. The photo-electric effect enables these photovoltaic modules to turn sunlight in electricity. Since the cells are very fragile, it is essential to place it safely on a certain alignment which is then called a solar panel. These photovoltaic modules will produce a certain amount of power necessary for both residential and commercial use. In purchasing solar construction materials, you must be ale to scrutinize over its details before buying them.

The solar panel construction materials needed for photovoltaic module production are solar cells, lumbers, plexiglass, screws,   soldering   iron , a silicone caulk, electric wires, diodes, jones plug, and paint. Solar cells are often available as mono-crystalline bricks. Larger cells produce more power but are heavy. While smaller cells are lighter in weight and keeps small. It is usually used for powering lights and few appliances thus large photovoltaic cells are not as necessary for housing electric uses.

A shallow box for a solar panel is created from lumbers according to your preferences. Pieces of thick plywood are glued and screwed together with a divider across the middle of the box. Masonite peg-boards are then cut to fit the wells of the shallow box. A plexiglass front is used to protect the solar cells from the weather. The wooden edges are then painted to keep off moisture.  Soldering  the solar cells together is very crucial since panels need to be  soldered  appropriately into connected series to get the desired voltage. While electric wires run through vent holes in the center of the divider by silicone caulk to prevent from spreading around. Two-pin jones plug is placed at the end of the wires with the mating female plug on the charge controller.

LED Lighting – The Future of Energy Efficient Lighting

INTRODUCTION TO LED LIGHTING:

LED lighting is now the optimal solution for residential and commercial lighting needs. Due to massive investment over recent years (Philips has spent over $5 billion on the LED market), LED technology has matured to a point where LED bulbs (or ‘lamps’ as they are often called) deliver a truly equivalent light output to conventional incandescent, halogen, or compact fluorescent lamps.

Today’s LED lamps or tubes are strong, durable, and contain no filaments; there is no chance of shattering, breakages, or mercury contamination. Many of the market leading LED lamps have rated lives of up to 50,000 hours (50x longer than a standard incandescent light bulb) and consume up to 90% less energy than conventional lamps. The best way to understand the benefits of LED lighting is to do a cost of ownership calculation: calculate the electricity saving and the costs avoided from not having to replace blown bulbs over the lifetime of the lamp (over 10 years in many cases).

Of course, another strong argument for switching to LED lamps is because it is great for the environment. LED lamps consume up to 90% less electricity which means CO2 emissions get cut by up to 90%. So, you can slash your carbon footprint at the same time as slashing your energy bills!

LED lamp manufacturers have made it easier than ever to switch to LED lighting, by designing LED lamps with the same light output, dimensions, and cap bases as conventional lamps. This makes retrofitting a breeze. In most cases, LED lamps will slot directly into existing fixtures and fittings, and many offer comparable dimming functionality. Customers can select the colour temperature (e.g. warm white, cool white) and beam angle they prefer to match their existing set up.

Designers have also focused on LED lamp aesthetics to ensure they look as good as the conventional lamps they replace. This is especially important for candle or globe bulbs in chandeliers or luminaires, where decorative effect is important. Indeed, Philips has drawn upon inputs from chandelier makers, and intentionally designed their candle lamps to enhance the aesthetic appeal of the chandelier not only when lit but also when not, with classical slender shape and unique eye-catching lens. Quality LED lamps deliver sparkling warm light with huge energy savings and maintenance cost reductions.

You may say that compact fluorescents (‘CFLs’) are a good enough alternative. Let’s take a look: total cost of ownership of CFLs is poor, light quality is harsh (and contains harmful UV radiation), they are bulky (some say ugly!), most are not dimmable, energy efficiency is average, and the big concern is that CFLs contain toxic mercury vapor and are therefore hazardous waste. LEDs will soon overtake low energy CFL lamps as the lighting of choice.

The UK Energy Saving Trust advises that if everybody there changed their lights to LED where possible, we would be able to save enough energy to light 5 million homes! It’s easy to see that LED lamps are the future of lighting.

LED RETROFIT REPLACEMENT STRATEGIES:

Adhoc: you may plan to replace conventional lamps as and when they blow. This strategy is simple and effective, and minimises capital outlay. However, it is more expensive in the long term, because you are delaying the cost of ownership savings for lamps not yet replaced, and cannot take advantage of any volume discounts when buying LED lamps or fittings.

Phased: if capital cost constraints mean you need to replace lamps in phases, then its best to prioritise your lamp stock, based on a ranking of how long they’re switched on. Hospitality business owners will probably have lots of halogens that are on nearly all the time in stairwells, corridors, and lobbies. It’s important that these are replaced first, since this will deliver the largest benefit. Homeowners may find it easiest to adopt a room by room approach, starting off with highly used kitchens and living rooms.

Full retrofit: this approach is the most capital intensive but yields the greatest returns financially, environmentally, and functionally. For large retrofits (typically >200 lamps), lease financing options are available for energy efficient lighting projects (e.g. in the UK, the Carbon Trust makes funding available through its partner Siemens Financial Services). What makes this compelling is that the LED energy cost savings are often sufficient to cover the finance payments, so it becomes a great cost neutral strategy. The lease term will typically be 3 or 4 years, after which time, the customer owns the lamps and fittings. In the meantime, the monthly lease fees simply get paid for out of the energy cost savings.

LAMP TYPES:

Lamps are either low voltage (LV = 12V) or mains voltage (MV = 230-240V in the UK). Most quality LED lamps are also dimmable, and will work on the majority of dimming systems, making for a simple swap-out retrofit.

Medium Voltage Lamps:

Lamps with the following bases (or sockets) generally run directly at mains voltage, 230-240V AC (UK):

– SES, E14 and E27 refers to type of screw socket. SES stands for Small Edison Screw, which is the same as an E14 socket (i.e. base diameter or 14mm), which is usually found on chandelier type fittings. E27 sockets are Medium Edison Screw, with a base diameter of 27mm, and are usually found on table lamps, GLS pendants or PAR fixtures.

– B15 and B22 refers to type of bayonet socket. B15 sockets (i.e. base diameter or 15mm) are usually found on chandelier type fittings. B22 sockets, with a base diameter of 22mm, and are usually found on table lamps or GLS pendants.

– GX53 and GU10 bases

Low Voltage Lamps:

Low voltage lamp fixtures (sockets) will usually be connected to a transformer (or Driver) to reduce the mains voltage to 12V DC. Fortunately, you don’t need to touch the transformer when doing a lamp retrofit – quality 12V LED lamps are compatible with most halogen transformers making for a simple retrofit. The number of lamps that can be used on a transformer is dependent on the total wattage of the lamps, which should be less than that of the total wattage capacity of the transformer.

Lamps with the following bases run at low voltage, 12V DC:

– GU5.3 base: generally used by MR16 lamps

– GU4 base: generally used by MR11 lamps or capsules

– G53 base: generally used by AR111 lamps

COLOUR TEMPERATURES:

Lamps and tubes are generally available in a variety of colour temperatures: the higher the colour temperature, the cooler the impression of the white light becomes. Daylight has a very high colour temperature (over 5,500K). LED lamps generally range from 2,700K to 4,200K. LED tubes generally range from 4,000K to 6,500K.

Colour temperature selection can depend on the kind of mood or atmosphere you prefer for your space:

  • 2,700K = warm white (yellow white incandescent-like tone): suitable for residential or hospitality spaces where a more intimate feel is required
  • 3,000K = neutral white (crisper white tones)
  • 4,000K+ = cool white (bluer white tones)
  • 6,500K = daylight: suitable for fluorescent tube replacement in utilitarian spaces

BEAM ANGLES:

LED lamps are generally compromised of single or multiple light emitting diodes on a chip. The light is dispersed in a way that mimics conventional incandescent or halogen light sources using complex lenses. LED downlights (or spots) generally come with a variety of beam angle options to mimic the light dispersion from halogen reflectors. Selection of beam angle depends on application and ceiling height. Narrow beams tend to be employed for accent, product, or display lighting, or where ceilings are high and the beam has more room to disperse. Wide beams tend to be employed for general distributed room lighting, or where ceilings are low and the beam has less room to disperse.

Beam angles range from 15 degrees to 60 degrees, but options are lamp model dependant. Living spaces generally benefit from beam angles of 24 degrees and upwards.

Chess Tips For Opening No 1 – Set The Openings Aside!

Set the openings aside!

Alright, you may be thinking: “I’m for chess tips for opening so I don’t have to fall for these trappy and attacking opening lines that I don’t know about. And now your advice is to set the openings aside?!”

I want you to keep one thing in mind: you can’t live without openings, BUT you cannot live with openings alone either!

For many chess players – beginning and improving, they focus a lot on learning or better yet memorizing reams of theory. They spend hours in front of their computer studying the sharp Open Sicilian, the strategically deep Spanish Opening, and other popular lines.

Bottom line: their chess skills – tactical vision, thinking process, etc., which is way more important than memorizing new opening lines, are left lagging behind. And this results to little or, even worse, zero progress.

I’m certain that’s NOT what you want out of those long hours spend on studying.

Studying chess openings is necessary. True, you need to have an opening repertoire to stick to in tournaments and competitions. BUT as I have said earlier, you cannot live with openings alone, and with that in mind, opening study should NOT be the top priority.

That explains why out of the other chess tips for openings I have in my arsenal, I want to focus on this topic first.

“But what about those top grandmasters? Don’t they spend most of their time analyzing and developing novelties?” you may ask.

That’s true. And that works for them. Why? Simply because they have reached a point where their tactical skills, chess thought process, endgame technique, planning skills, etc. are fully developed. And they are up against players who are of the same caliber. With their skills at par, the only way for them to get an edge is through heavy opening analysis and preparation.

If you are of that playing strength, then go ahead download the latest issues TWIC, grab the latest chess opening books, and weed through the ChessBase database in search for potential novelties.

But if you are far from being a grandmaster yet, then follow my first chess tip for opening – set them, the openings, aside. Study them BUT don’t make them your priority.

Horseshoes – Building Your Own Pits

So you have played a few games of horseshoes and want a more authentic feeling? Tired of horseshoes bouncing all over the grass? Time to make some horseshoes pits!

You can always construct a professional horseshoe pit, but for the purpose of this article I am going to explain how to create a “backyard” pit. First thing you should do is drive the stakes into the ground. Each stake should be 40 feet apart from eachother. You also want to pick out relatively level playing ground for both sides. When you drive the stakes in the ground they should go in at an angle. You do not want to have stakes standing straight up in the air because ringers can bounce off of them easily. Also, from constant contact with the horseshoes, the stakes will begin to slant backwards which makes it extremely difficult to get a ringer. The angle of the stakes should be roughly 12 degrees (about three inches) pointing towards eachother. From a pitcher’s view, the stake should be slanted towards you when throwing.

The stakes are about 36 inches, and you want to drive them into the ground until about 14 inches remains above the earth. One thing that cannot be avoided during play is the slanting of the stakes. After enough horseshoes hit them then will begin to move around. The dirt surrounding the stakes will loosen up a bit and make the stake a little unstable. While other pit material (explained later) helps, the stakes will still become loose after enough play.

To combat the stakes moving around you can dig a hole where the pit is. Dig down about 8 inches. The hole does not have to be huge, but should be large enough to put a piece of 4×4 lumber in there. The piece of lumber should be about 8 to 10 inches long. Once you have the lumber placed in the hole, take a drill and drill a hole in the lumber at a 12 degree angle. The idea is to place the stake through this hole in the wood. Once the stake is through the hole, fill it up with dirt again until it is level with the ground. Now continue to drive the stake in the ground until 14 inches remain. When horseshoes hit the stake, the lumber in the ground will help the stability and prevent some movement.

Another great idea (if you are skilled enough to do so) is to weld a metal plate to the horseshoe at the 14 inch mark. Make sure to weld the plate to the stake at an angle as well. With the metal plate and the lumber in the ground, the stake will be able to take most backyard beatings. Just remember to keep the stakes aligned and pointed towards eachother when doing this. There is nothing worse than making these horseshoe pits and then realizing that the stakes are not aligned correctly.

Now that the stakes are firmly in the ground it is time to create the border that defines the horseshoe pits. Take 3 pieces of 4×4 lumber as this will be the border for one side. The backside of the pit should measure about 36 inches. Then cut the other two pieces of lumber to be about 48 to 60 inches. Drill holes in these pieces of lumber large enough to fit a piece of rebar through it (or some other tough metal spike). Drill 2 holes in the 36 inch piece and at least 3 holes in the 48 to 60 inch pieces. The stake should be roughly 1 foot away from the back of the pit and in the center of the sides. Now lay the lumber down in the correct positions (the open end should face the opposite stake) and drive the rebar through the lumber into the ground. The rebar should be at least 1 to 2 feet long. Now repeat these steps for the other stake.

You are doing great! You now have the stakes placed properly and securely in the ground with sturdy borders surrounding it on three sides. The next step is to dig up the first 2 to 4 inches of dirt. You now have to make a decision as to what type of pit materials you want to use. Popular choices are dirt, sand, and clay. If using dirt, make sure the soil is loose in the entire pit. If you are going to use sand or clay, then pour it in the pit. If you dig up 4 inches of dirt, pour about 2 to 3 inches of sand or clay in the pit.

Time for the finishing touches! Place two markers in front of each of the stakes. One marker should be 3 feet in front of the stake, the second should be 13 feet in front of the stake. Be sure to have the marker be about 3 feet wider than the pits on each side. If you have followed the measurements so far your pit should be 36 inches wide. The markers should be about 9 feet long. Or, you can just have 2 markers each three feet long and place then next to the horseshoe pits on both sides. These are the foul lines. Any child under the age of 18, women, and senior citizens can use the second foul line (13 feet in front of the stake). All other men must use the foul line that is 2 feet in front of the horseshoes stakes.

Now take a step back and look at your brand new horseshoe pits. Grab a few of your friends, your horseshoes, a few cold ones, and game on!

The Psychology of Creativity

On studying the creative process and the creative individual to understand creativity

Creativity is the process of generating novel ideas and is the basic force for all inventions. The process of creation involves seeing new relations between concepts and things and determining unique solutions to problems. The creative process is about seeing new associations between objects and concepts and the creative person is marked by traits of originality, nonconformity and high levels of knowledge. When you come out with an appropriate yet unique and different solution to a problem that has not been thought before, you are being creative.

Psychologists have tried to explain creativity with many theories. Among these are cognitive theories of creativity (creativity as a cognitive process using mental constructs and structures), behaviorist theories (the environmental and associative nature of creative ideas), psychoanalytic theories (creativity as neuroticism), social theories (creativity as a social process and role of schools and family in the development of gifted children) and personality theories (emphasizing on personal creative traits).

In the psychology of creativity we have to understand two things -firstly the creative process and secondly the creative individual. So the psychology of creativity is about:

1. The Creative Process – this includes the definitions of creativity and the mental processes involved in creativity.

2. The Creative Individual – this is about the personality traits of the creative individual, the attributes of genius and the peculiarities of the creative personality

Psychological theories have tried to explain both the creative process and the creative individual.

The Process of Creativity – So what is creativity and what is the mechanism through which people actually create new ideas, solutions or concepts? According to many theorists, creativity is about chance or serendipity or making discoveries by ‘accident’. So the creative process, according to this explanation is an ‘accident’. This means that while you’re trying out several methods, a best method or a solution to your problem arises out of nowhere and by chance you discover something totally unique. Some people would suggest that the creative process is more of trying to find out new relations between older known concepts so this is less about originality and more about ‘experience’. The more experienced you are in a particular subject area, the more likely you are to consider creative solutions. Creativity has also been described as a moment of ‘insight’. It is almost like enlightenment and divine intervention and a flash and the trick is to prolong this moment and creative individuals are people who can develop their sudden insights. So the creative process can be about a sudden chance, novel use of the knowledge/ experience or a sudden insight. The creative process thus involves using several possibilities/methods and past experiences to arrive at sudden solutions through insights or accidents.

In 1926, Graham Wallas described stages of creativity in which a creative idea is first prepared, then internalized through incubation, after which the creative individual uses the illumination or insight to finally go through the verification process of applying the idea. Psychologist JP Guilford explained creativity with his concept of convergent and divergent thinking and convergent thinking is about trying to find the single correct solution to a problem and divergent thinking is the generation of multiple creative solutions to a problem. Creativity is thus characterized by divergent thinking and generation of multiple possibilities. According to the Geneplore model developed by Finke, Ward and Smith (1992), creativity involves two phases – the generative phase in which the individual generates constructs from pre-inventive structures or known processes/ideas and the exploratory phase in which pre-inventive structures are interpreted to come up with new creative ideas. Most of these psychological theories seem to be emphasizing on preexisting mental structures through knowledge and experience and using these structures for novel or unique solutions. The creative process is thus all about insight, ‘a sudden flash’, almost like a moment of realization and it has been described as serendipity or divine intervention by scientists and artists alike who have tried to described their moment of discovery, although the role of previous knowledge and experience is an equally important background factor. The scientists and artists are able to realize the potential of these ‘flashes’ and are able to recognize, capture and prolong their moments of insight for better realization of their creative goals.

The Personality in Creativity – This brings us to the question about the traits or personality factors that make a person creative. Is there a well-defined creative personality? Of course, there is. Highly creative individuals and geniuses have marked similar traits and although every human being is creative in one way or the other, some individuals actually develop their creativity too well and so they are recognized as creative geniuses. Psychologists believe that all highly creative individuals have certain common personality traits.

1. Complexity – The creative individuals love complex situations and problems as this provides a challenge to their own mental abilities and help them to think of several possible solutions

2. Flexibility – Highly creative individuals are extremely open-minded and receptive to new ideas and possibilities which help them to move beyond traditional modes of thinking

3. Confidence – Boldness and confidence mark the creative genius as in order to be a pioneer, one has to have leadership qualities, extreme self-confidence and creative geniuses are leaders as they show a new path and open new possibilities

4. Non-conformity – The creative process itself is an act of non-conformity so creative individuals are non-conformists and unconventional.

5. Intuition – Highly creative people are extremely intuitive and they can scare you with their ability to read minds and people’s thoughts. That is how they can create as they have to know the order of things and are able to predict people’s responses.

6. Sensitivity – Creative individuals have well developed sensitivity as without extreme sensitivity, it is not possible to feel and portray the emotions through creative work. A novelist has to know ‘how it feels’ to be character in his novel otherwise he cannot create a good novel.

7. Curiosity – An insatiable child-like curiosity for almost everything around them is what characterizes the creative genius. The creative individual wants to know and learn new things and is persistently asking questions and this is the fuel for creative growth.

8. Knowledge – Closely associated with curiosity, creative individuals have very good general knowledge as they have to use this knowledge in their creative pursuits. That is why creative people are usually interested in several subject areas.

9. Independence – One trait that definitely characterizes very high creative geniuses is their independence of thought. This is again related to leadership and nonconformity as in order to think independently, one has to move beyond norms.

10. Imagination – The creative person lives in his own world of imagination and has a very highly developed and enriched mental life and even if grounded, sometimes thrives on fantasies.

11. Impulsiveness – Since the creative process is a sudden realization, the creative individual has a love for suddenness and loves to work on impulse. Creating something new is an adventure so impulsiveness which could be recklessness or adventurousness makes the creative individual a compulsive risk-taker.

12. Criticism – Highly creative people are also extremely critical both of themselves and of others. They criticize others and that is how they take new paths and they are also prone to extreme self-criticism.

13. Fluency – The creative person has an extremely fluent thought process and has a prolific range of ideas

14. Charm – The genius is usually characterized by a humorous nature, extreme charm and personal attractiveness and a ‘presence’ that makes them popular and attractive to all sorts of people.

15. Egoism – Highly creative individuals usually have a ‘me first’ attitude and are almost always narcissists or marked by extreme egoism, although they may be very generous and may not reveal their egoism for social reasons and many even transcend the self boundary and work for greater causes.

16. Originality – Creative individuals have a love for the novel and the unique and try moving beyond established ideas to find something radically different

17. Disorder – A love for disorder is common among all creative people as they are apparently bored with order or any predictable course of events

18. Ambiguity – Uncertainty is very attractive for creative individuals and they love the ambiguous or when there are two or more ways of explaining a problem, especially because this gives them freedom of thought and expression.

19. Loneliness – The creative individual is usually a loner and according to psychoanalysis, also a neurotic. The genius is perennially isolated from society and being very uncomfortable with social norms, they tend to avoid social interaction. Political and social leaders are however more socially active than the creative artist and writer, although some tend to lead reclusive lives.

20. Motivation – The creative individuals are extremely motivated, almost driven by a sense of higher purpose in life. They are in a way self aware and enlightened and many of them seem to believe in an unexplained (divine) purpose of existence.

There are of course other traits as creative people are characterized by hyperactivity and obsession with their work, high yet sublimated sexual drives, and according to psychologist Sternberg, wisdom rather than simply intelligence.

The creative process and creative individual naturally leads the discussion to anomalies in creativity. So now finally, some words about the connection between madness and creativity. Creativity has been closely associated with mental illness and the highly creative individuals are considered prone to mental disorders. In fact all creative geniuses may be vulnerable to bipolar disorder or schizophrenia and creativity itself is a sort of neuroticism. Yet I would suggest that even though creative geniuses have propensity towards mental illness, their creative outlet is a very strong tool that helps them to maintain sanity. So considering the inbuilt defense mechanisms that creative individuals have, it is highly unlikely that such people would actually become completely insane. Although there are many exceptions as the creative genius may develop extreme sense of inadequacy and loneliness and may actually show severe mental problems. However in most cases, creative geniuses are not afraid to stretch their minds, thoughts and behavior too far as to almost reach the limits of sanity, so they are branded as ‘weird’ or ‘eccentric’. But these people are extremely strong because they are self-aware and are blessed with the ability of controlling their mind and sanity. So when the whole world is afraid of their perceived madness, they are not. The difference between a madman and a genius is that the genius controls his own madness and can choose to become sane or insane at his own free will.

In fact, the process of creativity is also an exercise in madness, as the creative individual has to continually stretch mental limits to maintain all creative pursuits. The success of the creative genius is another issue and I will discuss it in a separate article.

Anta Lighting is a Good Home Decor

 Lighting  up your home comes in automatically when you are thinking of home décor ideas. Once you have purchased the other necessary décor such as furniture, wall art, carpets, tapestry and others you can concentrate on buying the necessary  lighting  and accessories for your home. Contemporary  lighting  solutions are expansive and contain things like LED lights, OLED lights, sconces, table lamps, chandeliers, ceiling lights and ornamental lights. There are a few prominent and popular brands who sell designer lights which are also aesthetically pleasing and act as wall décor. One of these brands is Anta  lighting .

Anta  lighting  is a German company headed by Gertrud Kracht which has established a name for itself in the last 25 years. This brand creates light fixtures and decorative lights in association with young designers that make your home look impressive. Their collection includes floor lamps, wall lamps, table lamps, and ceiling fixtures. This brand is a forerunner in the group of modern European design  lighting . The materials primarily used for Anta  lighting  include aluminum, nickel, and matte chrome in a combination of opaque acrylic. These lamps are designed in such a manner that they not only illuminate a room but also help in setting the perfect mood, be it for a party or a lazy evening at home. It creates an aura that brightens up the dull grey world around and makes you feel happy and relaxed.

About the designs

One of the popular designs of Anta  lighting  is the Calmetta Pendant Lamp. This lamp shade is a combination of aluminum colored metal and white translucent acrylic. It is available with an extra weight for adjusting the height if required and has been designed by Rolf Heide. Another prominent design is the Sino Ceiling Lamp which is made from satin chrome matte metal and acrylic panels. Designed by Jurg Fontana this lamp uses the acrylic panels for both direct and indirect  lighting . The ZAC Swing Arm Wall Lamp is another innovative lamp designed by Frank Oehring. It has a satin chrome finish frame which has sections designed to provide light in a variety of directions. The other prominent lamps include the Anta Spoon light, Anta Nola light, Da Yan lamp, and the Juni Halogen Suspension light.

Anta  lighting  manufacturers maintain high quality standards and create lights with precision and care. These lights look beautiful even when used during the day, simply as an ornament to the wall.If you have purchased Anta  lighting  for your home, you can be assured that you have a quality product in your possession right now.

Australian Great Barrier Reef a Natural Wonder

The largest coral reef system in the world extends for 2,600 kilometers through the balmy waters of the Coral Sea, just off the north east coast of Australia. This magnificent wonder of the modern world has been fashioned by, and comprises of, billions upon billions of living coral polyps, which are actually microscopic organisms. The Great  Barrier  Reef occupies an area of about 344,000 square kilometers and is acclaimed as the world’s busiest marine life sanctuary because of it’s diverse population of living creatures.

The great  barrier  Reef is listed as a world heritage site and a large portion of it is controlled by the Great  Barrier  Reef Marine Park Authority, which protects the area from many human and environmental issues. Many endangered species, some of which, are natives of the area, lead a precarious existence on the reef. A large number of dugongs also inhabit the area.

According to researchers, today’s living reef was founded on an older coral structure about 20,000 years ago. About that time, sea levels started to rise because of global warming and the coral grew continuously atop an ever descending land ridge. The result is the magnificent array of coral structures that are present today, which form the Great  Barrier  Reef.

There are about nine hundred islands, of various dimensions, sprinkled throughout the length of the reef that support a variety of flora, fauna and bird life. The larger of these islands have been developed into vacation resorts that offer first class facilities. Many thousands of tourists and adventure seekers visit the Great  Barrier  Reef each year to explore the wonders that exist there.

As a tourist destination, the Great  Barrier  Reef attracts thousands of divers and snorkelers who are keen to explore this huge undersea wonderland that harbors a maze of marine creatures. Because of the magnitude and diversity of the reef, the range of available activities is almost limitless, especially for the water sport enthusiast.

All of the Queensland coastal cities between Gladstone and Cooktown have tour operators that run excursions to the reef for day trips or extended cruises. Distances from each coastal point to the reef varies from just a few kilometers to 200 kilometers. North of the Daintree River the reef meets the coast, so the tourist can explore the lush, unspoiled beauty of the Daintree Rainforest onshore and the marine wonders of the Great  Barrier  Reef offshore.

Tourist operators have large pontoons moored out in the reef area, which means that you won’t be confined to a boat for the day. Upon reaching a pontoon, if you don’t fancy diving, then you can stretch out in the sun, sit in the shade, do a spot of fishing or just relax and take in the beauty of the surrounds.

For a lifetime of memories, put Queensland and the Great  Barrier  Reef on your destination list.

Fireproof Safes

When a person is thinking about purchasing a safe or filing equipment, this person knows pretty much on what they want to store. Sometimes especially in the home people do not realize all what they would want to put away and save in case of a disaster.

Disasters meaning fire, tornado, and burglary, or whatever the case may be. There are when talking about safes there are 5 different classes of safes. These classes are as follows.

Class A Safes (this is used in a business, and also a home environment)= To qualify for the Underwriters’ Laboratories, Inc. “A” label, the safe must pass these tests. Fire Exposure Test, Drop or Impact Test, and Explosion Hazard Test.

Fire exposure test: A sp Fireecimen safe containing papers, records, etc., placed in a specially constructed testing furnace, must withstand four-hour exposure to heat reaching 2,000 degrees F. During this four-hour test the temperature within the safe cannot exceed 350 degrees F.

Another test takes place at the conclusion of the four-hour period. The fire is extinguished, and with the furnace still closed, the safe is allowed to absorb the intense heat of the refractory lining of the furnace until the entire mass eventually cools. The inside temperature of the safe is observed and recorded throughout the test by use of temperature-measuring devices. During this period the temperature inside the safe cannot exceed 350 degrees F. When the safe is opened, after cooling to normal temperature, the contents must not be charred, and must be entirely legible. This additional test – in which a safe may fail, due to improper quality or quantity of insulation, or to structural weakness – simulates a safe lying in the intense heat of the debris of a fire.

Drop or impact and explosion hazard test: A second safe of the same model is then subjected to sudden and intense heat for 30 minutes in a furnace preheated to 2,000 degrees F. If dangerous gases accumulate from the insulation during this period, they will explode, destroying the safe and its contents. If no explosion occurs, the furnace temperature is reduced to 1,550 degrees F. The safe remains in the furnace for an additional 30 minutes, during which time the furnace temperature is gradually increased to 1,700 degrees F. At the end of this one-hour period, the safe is removed, and, while red hot, is dropped 30 feet on a bed of broken rock, etc. Two minutes elapse between the time the safe is removed from the furnace and the time it is dropped. The safe is placed back in the furnace, regardless of its condition, bottom side up, and reheated for one hour at temperatures reaching 1,700 degrees F. The fire is then cut off, and the safe allowed to cool to normal temperature in the closed furnace, after which it is removed, opened and inspected. To pass the test, all papers inside the safe must be entirely legible and uncharred.

Class B Safes (this is used in a business, and also a home environment)= To qualify for the Underwrites’ Laboratories, Inc. “B” label, the safe must pass these tests: Fire Exposure Test, Drop or Impact Test, and Explosion Hazard Test.

Fire exposure test: A specimen safe containing papers, records, etc., placed in a specially constructed testing furnace, must withstand two-hour exposure to heat reaching 1,850 degrees F. During this two-hour test the temperature within the safe cannot exceed 350 degrees F.

Another test takes place at the conclusion of the two-hour period. The fire is extinguished, and with the furnace still closed, the safe is allowed to absorb the intense heat of the refractory lining of the furnace until the entire mass eventually cools. The inside temperature of the safe is observed and recorded throughout the test by use of temperature-measuring devices. During this period the temperature inside the safe cannot exceed 350 degrees F. When the safe is opened, after cooling to normal temperature, the contents must not be charred, and must be entirely legible. This additional test – in which a safe may fail, due to improper quality or quantity of insulation, or to structural weakness – simulates a safe lying in the intense heat of the debris of a fire.

Drop or impact and explosion hazard test: A second safe of the same model is then subjected to sudden and intense heat for 30 minutes in a furnace preheated to 2,000 degrees F. If dangerous gases accumulate from the insulation during this period, they will explode, destroying the safe and its contents. If no explosion occurs, the furnace temperature is reduced to 1,550 degrees F. The safe remains in the furnace for an additional 15 minutes, during which time the furnace temperature is gradually increases to 1,640 degrees F. At the end of this 3/4-hour period, the safe is removed, and, while red hot, is dropped 30 feet on a bed of broken rock, etc. Two minutes elapse between the time the safe is removed from the furnace and the time it is dropped. The safe is placed back in the furnace regardless of its condition, bottom side up, and reheated for on hour at temperatures reaching 1,700 degrees F. The fire is then cut off, and the safe allowed to cool to normal temperature in the closed furnace, after which it is removed, opened and inspected. To pass the test, all papers inside the safe must be entirely legible and uncharred.

Class C Safes (this is used in a business, and also a home environment)= To qualify for the Underwriters’ Laboratories Inc., “C” label, the safe must pass these tests: Fire Exposure Test, Drop or Impact Test, and Explosion Hazard Test.

Fire exposure test: A specimen safe containing papers, records, etc., placed in a specially constructed testing furnace, must successfully withstand one-hour exposure to heat reaching 1,700 degrees F. During this one-hour test, the temperature inside the safe must remain within the limit of 350 degrees F.

A further severe test takes place at the conclusion of the one-hour period, when the fire is extinguished, andwith the furnace still closed, the safe is allowed to absorb the intense heat from the refractory lining of the furnace until the entire mass eventually cools. Inside temperatures of the safe must remain within the limit of 350 degrees F. When the safe is opened, after cooling to normal temperature, the contents must not be charred, and must be entirely legible. This additional test – in which a safe may fail, due to improper quality or quantity of insulation, or to structural weakness – simulates a safe lying in the intense heat of the debris of a fire.

Drop or impact and explosion hazard test: A second safe of the same model is then subjected to sudden and intense heat for 30 minutes in a furnace preheated for 30 minutes in a furnace preheated to 2,000 degrees F. If dangerous gases accumulate from the insulation during this period, they will explode, wrecking the safe. If no explosion occurs, the safe is removed, and, while red hot, is dropped 30 feet on a bed of broken rock, etc. Two minutes elapse between the time the safe is removed from the furnace and the time it is dropped. Regardless of its condition, the safe is placed back in the furnace, bottom side up, and reheated for one-hour at temperatures reaching 1,550 degrees F. The fire is then cut off, and the safe allowed to cool to normal temperature in the closed furnace, after which it is removed and opened. The papers inside the safe must be entirely legible and uncharred.

Class D Safes (this is used in a business, and also a home environment)= Insulated safes bearing the class “D” label are capable of withstanding (1) a severe fire test for one-hour with temperatures reaching 1,700 degrees F while the interior temperature does not exceed 350 degrees F during or after exposure; (2) A sudden heating without producing and explosion.

Class 125 (this is used in a business, and also a home environment)= This is to store data, computer software, microfilm, and old home movies on reel to reel. You take the class “A” rating and add the 125 rating. The 125 rating is a safe that maintains an interior temperature less than 125 degrees F and an interior relative humidity less than 80%, when exposed to fire as per the Standard Time Temperature Curve for 2 hours to 1,850 degrees F. Successfully undergo all other requirements for the Fire Endurance Test, the Explosion Hazard Test, the Humidity Test and the Fire and Impact Test.

Wallpaper Tips for Your Home Remodeling Jobs

Putting wallpaper on your walls is one of the easiest and quickest ways to completely change the mood and appearance of a room. Wallpaper comes in a wide variety of styles, textures, colors, and designs. Here is some things you need to know to select and buy the right wallpaper for the job.

First of all, you need to estimate how much wallpaper is going to be needed for the project at hand. So here is a general formula to help you find out. First measure the height and width that needs to be covered. Then be sure to add an extra 10 — 15% to cover for waste. Once you have this number you can divide it by the square footage rating of whatever paper that you choose. That should give you the figure of how many rolls of wallpaper you are going to need.

Actually it’s not a bad idea to add on a few that extra rolls too, especially if you have a complex pattern that requires it. And besides, you may need to make repairs in the future anyway, so having an extra roll or two available can come in very handy later on.

One warning to be aware of regarding wallpaper is that due to the production process, rolls that may appear to be similar in the store will not always look that way when you actually get them on the wall. That’s why wallpaper rolls come in what is called dye lots that identify the rolls that actually match. So be sure as you go through and select your wallpaper, that you look for the rolls that all come from the same dye lot.

Most modern vinyl wallpapers already have paste on the back, so it’s just a matter of soaking them in water and hanging them on the wall. However there are different kinds of papers that are available. Solid vinyl papers are the most common of all these days, as they are very durable, washable, and easy to hang. There are also other papers that are simply vinyl coated and so therefore are somewhat less durable but still fine for most uses.

More expensive papers include embossed paper that has a raised pattern on it, and it is also easy to hang. Some papers are made of grasscloth, and are especially useful for covering walls that have imperfections or are damaged.

Foil wallpaper is very expensive, although it can quickly brighten up and change a small room if used correctly. Some also like to use fabric wallpaper, but just keep in mind that it does not clean very well or easily, and it can be extremely difficult to hang.

Generally speaking, most wallpaper hangers find that working in a clockwise direction around the room is best for right handed people, and going counterclockwise works best for left-handed people. Wherever you start in the room is largely up to you, but try to select a major focal point to begin with.

Selecting and hanging wallpaper is well within the reach of most homeowners. So it is one of those home improvement projects that almost anyone can do with a little determination and practice. So why not give it a try in your home?

Early Diagnosis Is Critical For Effective Treatment of Mesothelioma

Cancer is one of the most fatal diseases nowadays. It doesn’t choose its victims. Men and women alike, old and young die of cancer. Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that affects the mesothelium, specifically the Pleura (membrane that surrounds the lungs) and the Peritoneum (membrane surrounding the abdomen). Both Pleural Mesothelioma and Peritoneum Mesothelioma are primarily caused by the inhalation or exposure to asbestos, an incombustible fibrous mineral of impure magnesium silicate used in various industrial products. About 30 to 50 per cent of the total Mesothelioma cancer patients had not been exposed to asbestos, yet they have acquired the disease. Cancer specialists continue to study this rare kind of cancer so as to provide the public clear and exact information with regard to its cause, nature and cure.

Like many other forms of cancer, Mesothelioma has different stages. The earliest stage is still curable since only one layer of the pleura is affected. Surgery is the number one option for patients with Stage I Mesothelioma. The doctor removes the part of the lining of the lungs or chest (in case of Pleural Mesothelioma) and the lining of the abdomen (in case of Peritoneal Mesothelioma). In Stage II Mesothelioma, surgery can still be executed although some lymph nodes may have already been infected by the malignant Mesothelioma cancer cells. The diaphragm may also be removed; in severe cases, the Mesothelioma patient has to sacrifice one of his lungs.

Usually, surgery comes with systemic treatments, which include radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Through radiotherapy, Mesothelioma cancer cells are killed; however, only the cells in the treated area die. High energy rays used in radiotherapy or radiation therapy may either come from an external machine or from thin plastic tubes positioned into the tissues where Mesothelioma cancer-stricken cells are found. Inside the plastic tubes are radiation-emitting materials that kill the malignant cells. The use of an external machine is called external radiation therapy while the other is called internal radiation therapy. Also, a radioactive substance such as radiolabeled monoclonal antibody is circulated around the body during radiotherapy.

Chemotherapy is the use of anti-cancer drugs to kill the malignant cells. In treating Mesothelioma, the anti-cancer drugs are usually given to the patient through intravenous injection (within the vein). Oncologists are still studying the possibility of treating Mesothelioma through intracavitary chemotherapy (within the chest or abdomen). Some Mesothelioma patients also undergo Photodynamic therapy, a kind of cancer therapy that combines the use of drug (photosensitizer) with a specific kind of light. The photosensitizing agent when exposed to the light produce oxygen that destroys nearby malignant cancer cells. The drug is injected into the bloodstream and is absorbed by the cells.

In order to relieve the symptoms of Mesothelioma such as the pain in the chest or abdomen due to the build up of fluid, a physician drains the fluid by using a needle. The procedure is known as thoracentesis (removal of fluid in the chest) or paracentesis (removal of the fluid in the abdomen). To prevent further accumulation of the lubricating fluid in the membranes of the chest or abdomen, drugs are given through a tube in the affected organ.

Although the said treatments to Mesothelioma have been proven effective, chance of recovery and survival still depends on the size or extent of the cancer. Chances are higher when Mesothelioma is still in its early stages. Surgery is only advisable only up to the second stage of the Mesothelioma cancer wherein only one part or smaller portions of the membranes are affected. A patient diagnosed with stage IV Mesothelioma (diffuse Mesothelioma) has only about 4-24 months to live. Furthermore, the age of the patient and his general health condition is also crucial to his recovery. Older patients do not respond well to certain cancer treatments such as surgery because their tissues, organs and other body parts are more delicate.

Environmentally Preferable Floor Machines

When determining whether a machine, a chemical product or a procedure is environmentally preferable, it is sensible and reasonable to consider the “big picture.” Environmental preferability is a relative term not defined in black-and-white absolutes; therefore, knowledge of all factors involved coupled with a common sense evaluation will usually result in an optimum selection.

For example, most of us look at ethanol as an environmentally preferable alternative to gasoline. However, if we look at the “big picture” use of ethanol as an automotive fuel, we would further prefer to use ethanol produced from sugar beets rather than from corn since the petroleum required to produce a gallon of ethanol is significantly less with sugar beets. Sugar beets would, therefore, be considered to be a “greener”, more environmentally preferable source of ethanol. If we only look at ethanol versus gasoline at the fueling station, we would miss this point entirely.

A COMMON MISCONCEPTION

There is a common misconception that battery-powered floor machines are inherently environmentally preferable to propane-powered floor machines because the former are considered to be free of emissions. This premise is based on the observation that propane-powered floor machines produce emissions at the point of use while battery-powered floor machines apparently do not. But point of use is not the entire picture.

Propane-powered machines produce emissions at the point of use consisting primarily of carbon dioxide and water plus small amounts of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and fine particulate matter. The latter 3 components are held to very low levels by the use of specialized carburetion and catalytic converters akin to those used in automobiles. All propane-powered floor machines have to meet strict EPA standards for sale in the US and CSA standards in Canada and most meet the even stricter California Air Resources Board (CARB) standards required for sale of the machines in that state.

While battery-powered machines may be free of gaseous and particulate emissions at the point of use, there are certainly emissions at the point where electricity is generated that is subsequently used to recharge the batteries. At present, electricity is generated primarily from the burning of coal or natural gas, from hydroelectric turbine generators or from nuclear reactors. Most electricity in the US is generated by burning coal which in addition to producing carbon dioxide, water, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and fine particulate matter also yields sulfur dioxide (a major contributor to acid rain) and large amounts of solid waste in the form of ash.

Unfortunately, there is no hard data to clearly indicate precisely which is the greater source of emissions: (a) the total of numerous individual propane-powered machines; or (b) a single power plant producing electricity for the same number of battery-powered machines. Electricity will become “greener” over time as more and more is generated by wind, photo voltaic and other   noncombustible  sources; but for now the combustion of propane is significantly “cleaner” and “greener” than the combustion of coal.

Yet another environmental aspect worth considering is that propane is distilled primarily from petroleum and natural gas sources while coal is obtained both from underground and open pits mines. Which of these sources is environmentally preferable is debatable.

BATTERY TYPES

The most commonly used deep cycle batteries are the lead-acid type with dilute sulfuric acid as the electrolyte. Contact of the electrolyte with human tissue is possible since proper maintenance requires that the level of electrolyte be checked each time the batteries are recharged. This acid is very corrosive to many materials and to the skin and eyes. Hydrogen gas is also produced during the battery recharging which can be a fire hazard unless the recharging area is well ventilated. Moreover, some lead compounds have been identified as potential carcinogens.

Operators are not exposed to electrolyte or lead in sealed gel batteries which makes this battery type environmentally preferable to non-sealed lead-acid batteries. However, gel batteries are on the order of 75- 100% more expensive than non-sealed batteries and typically do not last as long. Economic factors should not be ignored when evaluating environmental preferability since the use of a greater number of batteries would require more resources to manufacture than would a smaller number of batteries that last longer.

MACHINE PRODUCTIVITY

One thing is certain when comparing propane-powered and battery-powered floor machines. Propane-powered machines have significantly higher productivity rates as a direct result of the effective horsepower available from these machines. A typical propane-powered burnisher with a Kawasaki engine will have at least 10 horsepower (and usually more) available while the typical battery-powered machine will have less than 3.5 horsepower (usually much less). The greater available horsepower in a propane-powered burnisher allows the use of higher pad pressures so that the gloss level desired can be achieved in less time when compared to a battery-powered machine. Higher pad pressures can be achieved on some battery-powered burnishers but at the sacrifice of machine run-time which is significantly shortened due to the increased power drain on the batteries. The greater available horsepower for the propane-powered burnisher also allows for the use of larger pad sizes, more aggressive pads and higher pad speeds, which further enhances productivity.

The other major productivity advantage that a propane-powered machine enjoys is essentially unlimited run time interrupted only for a few minutes to change the propane cylinder. A battery-powered machine, on the other hand, typically runs from 1-4 hours (depending on the factors cited above) and then has to be recharged for 10-12+ hours before it can be run again.

The only clear advantage that favors battery-powered machines over propane-powered machines is noise level. Battery-powered machines typically have noise levels in the range of 65-70 dBA while propane-powered machines are in the range of 85-87 dBA. This makes battery-powered machines more environmentally preferable in hospitals and nursing homes. However, for non-critical applications, a noise level of less than 90 dBA is not considered to be excessive per US OSHA standards and does not require hearing protection even over an 8-hour period.

SUMMARY

With the complexity of the variables involved, it is fallacious to categorically conclude that battery-powered machines are more environmentally preferable than propane-powered machines. Objective consideration of the “big picture” of emissions combined with common sense regarding productivity factors would indicate that the opposite is most likely the case.

The bottom line is that we should continually be seeking to get the job done utilizing the most environmental preferable solution possible. Using any product that we consider to be environmentally preferable but which does not get the job done properly is actually the worst case of all. By doing that we are simply wasting resources (and time) without achieving acceptable results.

Going Global – Home Decoration

With international travel so accessible now, lots of global elements are finding their way into our homes. My home is influenced by stylish Scandinavia but, funnily enough, I’ve never been there. Here are a few different global home decoration styles.

Turning Japanese

The simplicity and serenity of Japanese style makes it an ideal backdrop for busy lives. Wooden or tile floors are a great place to start, while plain white painted walls provide a perfect canvas for delicate decorations. Paper is another big look in Japan and, or of course, your home will really look the part with the addition of orchid plants of the real, or even the silk, variety.

C’est la Vie

French provincial style is easy to achieve and appeals to everybody as it provides a chance to mix and match colours and patterns in a relaxed way. In the kitchen, think rustic, with lots of terracotta pots, woven baskets, hanging garlic bulbs and those ubiquitous French motifs of the rooster and the fleur-de-lis. Furniture should be simple and countrified with rush seating on chairs and chicken wire netting doors on cupboards.

Out of Africa

Rich, earthy colours are the key to a successful African look and textures such as wood, bamboo, raffia and metallics add further interest. New Zealanders are big fans of African style and this theme comes through most seasons in our home wares stores, where you can find various animal print accessories. From cushions and quilt covers to trays and photo frames, zebra and leopard prints are also essential ingredients for your stylish home grown Savannah.