Understanding Private Eminent Domain

The contribution of private businesses to the community

In 2006, the Oakland Tribune reported that Burlingame’s auto row “provides 50 percent of the city’s sales tax revenue every year.”

In 2013, the Orange County Register reported: “More than a fourth of San Juan Capistrano’s sales-tax revenue came from local car dealerships in the 2010-11 fiscal year, which ended June 30… ” *

So when a dealership needed an abutting vacant lot to expand, was the city wrong in taking the lot and selling it to the private dealership?

The money to buy the property came from the dealership. The adjoining lot had been vacant for years and its taking enabled the city to increase its tax revenue without taxing its citizens and thereby offer more services to its citizens for free.

One could say, “Well, that was a vacant piece of property and not some grandma’s home.” But that is begging the question.

That employs the same logic as the old story about the guy offering the girl $1,000 to go to bed with him and her accepting, only to have the guy then say “Would you go to bed with me for $10?” and her responding “What do you think I am?”

What she is had been established with her acceptance of the $1,000 offer. After that, they were just dickering price.

If your answer to the taking above was “Yes,” then the philosophy of taking of private property for private business is O.K. The philosophy cannot be O.K. in the case of the vacant lot, but not O.K. in the case of the grandmother’s house.

The distinction lies in the application of the law, not in the law itself.

The Law

The landmark eminent domain case was Kelo v. New London 545 U.S. 469 (2005) 268 Conn. 1, 843 A. 2d 500. wherein the court held, in an 8-3 decision, that the general benefits a community enjoyed from economic growth qualified private redevelopment plans as a permissible “public use” under the “Takings Clause” of the Fifth Amendment. In its ruling, the court noted, in part:

“The City has carefully formulated an economic development plan that it believes will provide appreciable benefits to the community, including-but by no means limited to-new jobs and increased tax revenue. As with other exercises in urban planning and development,12 the City is endeavoring to coordinate a variety of commercial, residential, and recreational uses of land, with the hope that they will form a whole greater than the sum of its parts.

As mentioned above, the Supreme Court vote in Kelo was 8 to 3. Could any reasonable person really believe that the justices are bad people because of their positions?

Can the power of private eminent domain be abused?

Sure it can.

But is the answer to “abolish the law” or to “abolish the abusers?”

When Congress thought President Nixon violated the constitution, it did not move to abolish the constitution, instead it moved to remove the president.

Purpose of this Article

The purpose of this article is not to advocate that private takings are good or bad, or to write a legal treatise on the subject.

The purpose is to demonstrate that reasonable people can have different opinions and their choices are not always between “good” and “evil.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes, the renowned Supreme Court justice, had a standing bet with lawyers that no one could give him a law wherein he could not, in turn, provide an example of where that law, if applied, would have a bad result.

Holmes lived to be 93 and no one ever won that bet. With every law proposed to him, Holmes provided an example whereby application of the law would result in an injustice.

Summation

In summation, the question ought not to be whether the person or entity seeking enforcement of private eminent domain is good or evil.

The questions ought to be: (1) whether or not the taking serves the greater good; and (2) are the people answering the question unbiased and reasonable people?

In a December 7, 2009 “California Eminent Domain Law” Blog, A.J. Hazarabedian took the view that: “Taking property by eminent domain to benefit an auto dealership might create jobs and increase local tax revenues, but is one of those uses of eminent domain which should be examined carefully.

Is this truly a taking for public use, or is the City instead using eminent domain for private benefit and to benefit its own coffers? Eminent domain for the elimination of true blight may well be appropriate as a public use; eminent domain for the sole purposes of benefiting a private auto dealer and increasing local tax revenues is questionable.”

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*Note: The sales tax base with respect to car dealers, does not always have the same result in every state.

In places like Texas and Missouri, car dealerships do not pay sales tax to the cities where they are located, but rather where the buyer lives. In those cities, other business provide the brunt of the taxes.

In 2006, Thomas J. Erman, SIOR, Vice President, NAI DESCO reported, in AreaDevelopment.com: “A developer wants to build a 476,000-square-foot retail center that is estimated to produce $170 million in sales per year within the first five years. The project would require a car dealer to relocate from that site.”

Caring for Laminate Flooring

 Laminate  flooring gives your floor that overall look of wood that can be enjoyed for years to come. The best thing about  laminate  flooring is the ease in care that you have when you have it in your home.  Laminate  flooring is one that will look like wood, and that will feel like wood but often times is a bi product of wood. Real wood will require waxing and cleaning every year to keep the floor shiny. Real wood flooring is going to be sanded down and varnished again as the shine is worn off the flooring.  Laminate  flooring is going to require no waxing, no sanding and the wear and tear on the flooring is something that is not going to happen in the manner that the coating on other wood flooring will have.

 Laminate  flooring can be cared for by using a dry dust mop on the floor for every day cleaning. During those times when you feel that you need a good deeper clean, you can use a wet mop, one that is not really all that wet, to clean up sticky messes or to clean up mud from the floor. You don’t want to use that much water on the floor so you don’t have the water seeping down into the  laminate  flooring and then the  laminate  flooring is going to warp over time.

 Laminate  floor care is going to be similar to wood or any other type of flooring when it comes to moving furniture across the flooring.  Laminate  flooring can be scratched, dented and can be marked up when you are not careful in moving those heaviest of furniture pieces in your home. To prevent and care for your flooring, you want to pick up the furniture and move it from location to location.

Don’t drag the furniture across the flooring. Your  laminate  flooring that has marks and cuts in it will need a little extra care to get that mark out, and sometimes if the cut is all that deep you can’t get it out no matter how much buffing you were to do on this area. The same goes for wood flooring, if the cut is too deep or the scratch is too deep, you are not going to be able to cover it up.

 Laminate  flooring is easy to care for because the seams in the flooring are actually very tight. You won’t find all types of cracks in the flooring for food, for water, or for dirt to get trapped in.  Laminate  flooring is a type that will not allow things down between the rows, when you care for it daily. Sweeping and dusting your flooring with a broom, a swiffer or a vacuum that is not hard on the floor is what you need to care for the  laminate  flooring. You only want to mop your flooring when it is really sticky, when you spill something on the floor, but you don’t even need to wax  laminate  flooring which is what makes it so popular!

How to Build a Guitar

Playing and learning to play a guitar both necessitate a specific level of commitment and inherent talent, the same is true of building a functional yet attractive guitar. You will thus need to be fairly competent working with wood and also have a great ear for identifying various pitches and sounds. However, after you have completed your project to utmost satisfaction, you will unquestionably obtain a strong sense of fulfillment. The proceeding instructions should aid you in carrying out this undertaking, do not expect to necessarily complete your guitar the first day you decide to begin building, it will demand a great deal of patience and hence should not be rushed.

How To Build A Guitar

Required Tools

Drill and attachment

Bandsaw or jigsaw

Light sandpaper

Router

Required Materials

Two clamps

Three sheets of wood

Pre-made neck and bridge set

Wood glue

Lacquer or wood stain

No less than a dozen wood braces

Two small blocks of hard wood

Guitar strings

Two light weight pieces of a durable type of wood measuring 3 by 2 feet. These should be of ΒΌ inch thickness.

Instructions

1) The first thing that you will be required to do is make the front and back of the acoustic guitar. This will be done by utilizing tracing paper to create the shape of the guitar. Use this tracing paper to make an outline of the shape on each guitar piece that will be used on either side. Once the shape has been formed cut the pieces of wood, for improved symmetry of both front and back you may clamp both sections together and cut using the jigsaw or band saw.

2) Next you will need to make a sound hole for your guitar. This will be placed on the front piece. The smaller the hole the greater the bass or low pitched sounds while the bigger the hole the greater the treble or higher pitched sounds. The choice will comedown to on personal preference. To do this utilize a large round drill attachment for more precision.

3) Construct the sides of your guitar. This will necessitate two pieces of wood that are sufficiently long enough to go around the outer areas of the larger pieces with an excess of 5 inches. You can then shape the wood by hand by placing the pieces in very hot boiling water for a couple seconds. You may have to re-dip the sections of wood to obtain the desired shape. This part of the process will ask that you be patient, though adept with your fingers while the wood is still able to be moulded.

4) Affix the two sides with blocks of very durable wood glue. When gluing the sections together you must be sure to let the blocks of glue stay on the inner portions of the guitar where they will be virtually unseen. Make certain that they are glued securely and use your clamps to hold the pieces in position while the glue sets.

5) You will then need to glue the body pieces to the guitar using the wood glue. Like the creation of the base sections, you will need to allow them time to dry thoroughly before making any more adjustments.

6) Once the glue has set you can then sand the guitar body, but lightly.

7) Put a lacquer or stain over the guitar body to give it a nice finish. The stain or lacquer should come with its own set directions for staining.

8) You can now put on your neck and bridge these are best purchased pre-made for better accuracy. You will have to cut small grooves in your guitar to allow these to fit properly, utilize a routing tool here. Take measurements while carrying this out for once again, precision. Once you are done cutting you can then attach the neck and bridge utilizing the wood glue and allow to dry.

9) Put on your bridge using small screws and some glue, this should be attached just below the sound hole.

10) Install your strings as you would when changing strings on any guitar.

11) Test your guitar to ensure that it plays the notes as you would expect and listen for any potential flaws in the overall sound.

Tips and Warnings

The overall time to finish this project may take a couple weeks to ensure the glue is dry.

You can use templates to enhance the correctness of the guitar’s shape.

Look on a professionally created guitar to get some basic ideas and vital understanding of what your guitar should look like.

The fumes from the glue may be toxic, hence it is best that you do this outdoors or in a well ventilated area.

Emergency Survival Tips – Get Prepared for a Zombie Attack

Whether or not you believe there will be an actual Zombie Apocalypse, being prepared will only increase your chances of surviving any number of other potentially life-threatening events. With increasing incidents of natural disasters, disease, social unrest, drug use, vaccinations, immunizations, genetically modified foods, chemical additives, power shortages, violent crime, and TV reality shows, it seems to me that it will only be a matter of time before we face a massive crisis of some kind.

In the end, when the ZA arrives, the zombies won’t give a sh*t if you believe in them or not! You’re either prepared, or you’re zombie food. The first step to being prepared is to know your enemy.

What are Zombies?

Zombies were people just like you and me, but who have somehow become transformed into mindless flesh-eating creatures. There are many theories of what zombies are, or what kind of zombies we will have the pleasure of dealing with at the next out-break, but history has given us some clues.

The first official record of “undead zombies” was in November of 2000, and was caused by the mutated cross-gene virus known as (nvCJD/BF) Bird flu / CJD. New variant Creutzfeldt – Jakob disease. Apparently, this virus evolved from a cross-mutation of the mad cow virus and the bird flu, and began infecting humans throughout the United Kingdom. Victims would essentially “die” after being infected with this virus, and their corpses would become reanimated as aggressive, hungry zombies. Although widely reported at the time, this zombie scourge was kept a secret by certain government and military intelligence agencies, and the media and witnesses were silenced.

There have been other reports of massive zombie outbreaks due to radiation poisoning, military experimentation with biological weapons, consumption of certain drug or chemical agents, and other viral infections. In almost all cases there was a government cover-up involved. In most cases the victims become violently ill within hours before falling into a deep coma, only to awaken as “zombies”. Although physical and mental ability may vary depending on the cause of the “infection”, a zombie typically loses the capacity for higher level functioning, and acts on basic brain-stem impulses, including:

• Alertness

• Arousal

• Feeding and hunger

• Breathing

• Digestion

• Other Autonomic Functions

So although some zombies may move faster than others, typically as the zombification process progresses the zombie will become slower and lose agility / mobility. Fortunately this makes them easier to escape than an average human predator. However, be aware that zombies don’t get tired or feel pain, they often travel in packs, and they will attack with animal-like ferocity. They are also difficult to kill as most organs have ceased functioning and they are driven by primal impulses from their brain-stem carried through the body’s nervous system. The only proven way to destroy a zombie is to destroy their brain.

How to Survive a Zombie Attack

There are a number of considerations to increase your chances of surviving an attack from a zombie horde, including shelter, food and supplies, weapons, team-building, and training. There are a number of other resources available which discuss weapons and supplies more in-depth, so for the sake of efficiency we will only briefly review them. The focus of this report will be on your training.

Training

Chances are at some point you will come face to face with a zombie. Weaponry is important, but your most valuable asset is your own body. This is when the saying “survival of the fittest” takes on literal significance. Everything else being equal, those with greater strength, fitness, and mental toughness will survive the longest. To stay physically ready for such an event requires adherence to an effective training and nutrition plan. To get you started on the right track, this article will describe 4 Survival Exercises to begin incorporating into your current workouts.

Even if you’re well-armed, the time will come when you will need to be able to run, jump, climb, fight, and crawl in order to survive a zombie attack. This will require strength, stamina, and power. These four exercises are a great start to developing these attributes.

Box Jumps

This is an explosive lower body exercise that can help you jump up onto, or over, obstacles that zombies will not be able to navigate. Box jumps and jump squats also have a carry-over into other movements, such as Muscle-Ups. To get over a high fence or to get on top of a shed, balcony, or garage, you may first need to be able to jump up to get a hold on top before you can pull yourself up and onto it.

Progressively increase the height of the box or platform you can jump up onto, and remember that the box jump involves your full body; lean forward before you jump and extend your entire body powerfully as you jump, while incorporating a dynamic arm swing.

Tire Hammer Slams

There are several variations of   sledgehammer  tire slams, but the same basic principles are involved. Use a rotational swing as you come down, back, and around the body with the hammer. Extend at the top of the swing, then flex your entire body forward into the swing (depending on which direction you’re swinging). Work with the hammer, rather than fighting it… momentum is your friend here. Also practice swinging from both sides, and with just one arm… you need to be prepared if you end up losing an arm to one of these beasts.

Similar technique applies to other weapons such as baseball bats, golf clubs, axes, steel bars, etc. Learn to use what you have available to you in your immediate surroundings.

HIIT and Sprint Work

To escape zombies a certain level of conditioning is necessary, but long, slow cardiovascular exercise is a waste of time. Zombies don’t get tired. Being able to jog long distances is especially useless when confronted by a horde of zombies. You need speed and agility to escape in these situations. You better be able to run fast, then pace yourself as needed, and then back into a sprint without fatiguing.

The key is to employ High Intensity Interval Training and sprint work. Your interval training / sprint workouts should not last longer than 20 minutes.

Muscle Ups and Progressions

The muscle up is a challenging upper body exercise that is usually performed explosively, however, advanced trainees are able to execute this movement with slow control as well. Once you develop the strength, power, and skill to do several muscle ups, you should have the ability to pull yourself up onto or over barriers, fences, and high obstacles. Quickly climbing ropes, ladders, and trees will become much easier as well.

Because the muscle up is such a difficult exercise to master, it will take some time to progressively work up to it.

If you consistently train these four exercises you will be far more likely to survive the zombie plague. However, these are just scratching the surface… to be turn yourself into a zombie-killing machine, and to become a true survivalist, you will need to follow a well-designed training program that includes “functional” exercises that have a high degree of carry-over to real life activities.

Your training program should include body weight training (ie: calisthenics-type exercises), implement training (ie: strongman-style ‘odd-implement’ training), and free weight exercises (ie: barbells and dumbbells). The exercise selection should be focused on compound, multi-joint movements, and should include some speed, power, and explosiveness training as well.

Shelter and Fortification

If you’re trapped at home when the Z-Day arrives, fortify your house as much as possible as quickly as possible. Remove the room doors on the inside of your house, and nail them over the main floor windows. Wedge chairs under the door handles of the outside doors and move heavy furniture and appliances in front of any possible points of entry. Turn off all lights (if you still have electricity) and stay as quiet as possible after that. Gather as much food, water and potential weaponry as possible to the most secure location in your house and wait.

If and when you are able, it is best to get out of any major city or heavily populated area, and find a secure location in a more isolated lodging outside of town. If you can’t get out of the city, look for a big department store such as Walmart or Costco. These typically have fewer entrances to barricade compared to a mall, and they will have an ample amount of food and supplies. This is a longer term solution, but the ultimate goal is to get out of any heavily populated area.

Supplies

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Put together a zombie survival kit in advance, and you won’t be running around an infested city trying to gather supplies! There are a number of sites that sell pre-prepared survival packs, but you can easily make your own.

You can also find prepared lists of supplies posted by other survivalists on Amazon.com.

In addition, stock up as much bottled water, canned food, and dried goods as possible to keep you well-fed as you sit out the first few weeks of the apocalypse. This is just a smart thing to do in preparation for black-outs, natural disasters, food shortages, or economic collapse.

Weaponry

Firearms are obviously the best weapons to have on hand when the zombies stumble into your town, but there are some practicalities to consider. First of all, how easy is it for you to purchase a gun where you live? If you reside in a more right-leaning state in the USA you shouldn’t have any issue picking up the firearm of your choice. If you are a member of any street gang worth it’s rep, I’m sure you’ll be able to arm yourself as well.

It is best to own at least one long range (ie: rifle) and one short range weapon (ie: shotgun or pistol). Then you need to consider licencing your weapon (usually) and learning how to use it properly. Given that you need a direct head-shot to kill a zombie, you will need to spend some time with target practice on the gun range. Simply owning a gun does not make you an expert marksman. Get prepared now. Of course, after the Day of the Dead arrives, anything goes! Loot and steal as many weapons and supplies as possible. The more epic the weapon the better… if you happen across a jeep-mounted machine gun (ala Rambo), grab it and have fun blowing the undead to bits!

Another limitation to consider with firearms is that you will likely run out of bullets before you run out of zombies to kill. Another solid alternative is a crossbow, because you can potentially re-use the arrows if you are able to retrieve them. However, this requires even more training than using a gun, and you can still run out of arrows. In any case it is wise to have several other melee weapons on hand such as a baseball bat,  sledgehammer , axes, a shovel, crowbar, long blade knives,and a machete or sword if you can find one.

As mentioned earlier, you will also need to be ready to use any random objects around you as weapons if need be.

Team Building

Another key to survival is effective team building. This is part of the reason we assembled Team Barbarian. Ideally you can draw from a pool of friends with different skill-sets and backgrounds, such as medical, military, a chef, an engineer, a mechanic, a science buff, etc. You might also want to become buddies with that crazy guy down the block… you know the one; the ex-military red-neck survivalist who keeps stockpiles of canned food and weapons in his basement bunker.

When gathering supplies, travel in groups of at least 2 or 3 people… and preferably make sure you are always grouped up with someone who is a bit out of shape and slower than you. This ensures that he will be eaten before you if zombies take chase, which can buy you some valuable time.

Finally, remember that if you’re best friend gets bitten, blow his head off or crush his skull right away! Don’t be stupid.

We hope this special report will help you live through an attack of the living dead. Train Smart and Stay Strong.

It’s Time For a New Roof

So it’s time for a new roof! You begin the process of interviewing contractors and getting quotes just to find yourself more confused then when you started. Everyone has their own spin on what they do and the best system for your home. So what should you choose?

Let’s get started with understanding your roof System. Most of us think that when it’s time to get a new roof that it is just a matter of removing the old shingles and replacing them with new ones. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Your roof is made up of various components all of which will affect the overall life span of your new roof.

1. Roof Covering– This is the exterior most layer of the roofing system that will protect your home from the elements. Today, there are many choices when it comes to your roof covering. Asphalt or fiberglass composition shingles are the most common and will serve you well as long as they are installed correctly. They will last between 15 and 30 years. They are also the most cost efficient. These days, metal roof covering is proving to be the roof covering of choice for those who can afford it. Metal roofing has a variety of looks and material makeups and I would recommend researching the product you chose before using it. These roofs generally will last longer than 50 years and most claim it will be the last roof you will ever buy, however they are usually three times as expensive as a traditional shingle.

2. Ventilation– To me this is the most important part of the roofing system. Just like a car your roof system has an intake for fresh air (the soffit vents) and an exhaust system (the ridge vents or can vents). These systems have to be set up right to ensure the longevity of your new roof. It is my recommendation that if a roofing contractor doesn’t look in your attic to examine this system you should kindly take his estimate and tear it in half. The number one reason for roofs going prematurely bad is they bake from the underneath side out.

3. Insulation– Southeast Michigan is in zone two according to the U.S department of energy. This suggests your attic should be insulated to a value between R-49 and R-60, for the same reason you should set your ventilation up correctly at the time of your new roof. You should also set up our insulation correctly for energy efficiency. A good rule of thumb is your attic temperature should always be within a couple of degrees of the outside temperature.

4. Accessories– Drip edge, Ice and water shield, soil pipe covers, and flashings should all be installed to meet or exceed building codes in your area because these are the areas that will usually present problem. First you want to make sure the contractor explains the types and methods of installation they are using for these, and if something doesn’t make sense research it before agreeing to it.

It is often said that spending money on a new roof is the least gratifying way to spend money. However, by becoming educated and investing a couple of extra dollars on a system that will last, will keep you sleeping sound at night and not replacing your new roof in just five years.

The Biggest Considerations When Purchasing a Wedding Dress

Those of you that have been lucky enough to have experienced marriage will already know just how difficult it can be selecting a wedding dress. However, for those of you that are going through the painful process of having to not only choose a style of dress but also a color, material, and cost of that dress, will probably be thinking about where they have to start with their considerations.

If you are planning on getting married sometime soon and are wondering what you will have to consider, just take a look at the four main decisions you will have to make.

The Color

Okay so the traditional color of a wedding dress is white but in recent times wedding dress designers have started to be a lot bolder with their choices of color. Colors that have been proving popular in recent years include red, blue, and even black. However, white is still the obvious choice for many but for those of you that want to be a little bit braver you will be happy to know that you have options.

The Material

One of the biggest considerations you will have to make when purchasing a wedding dress from leading manufacturer is of what fabric you wish your dress to be. What makes this decision the more confusing is that there are so many different fabrics to choose from so it will take a bit of research before jumping for the first material you see. You have lace, chiffon, satin, organza, rayon, silk, taffeta, and tulle just for starters, so the best advice would be to have a look at each and decide which will suit your occasion.

The Style

Choosing the style of your wedding dress will have to come down to your body shape. It all depends on your body size and shape and you will want to emphasize your best bits and hideaway the not so great bits. An example would be an A-line styled dress that will be perfect for those with a rounder lower body. If you are unsure of just how to pick a dress that perfectly suits your body, a good all rounder is that of a ball-gown style that is usually a good fit for most body types.

The Cost

For most of us, our wedding days will be among the most expensive days in our lives and that is to be expected for such a special occasion. However, it also makes sense to try and save a bit of money wherever we can to lighten the burden. Luckily top brands will offer a range of dresses in their collection and will no doubt have something that will be perfect for your big day that is well within your budget.

Once you have decided upon a dress that matches all of you requirements, you are then one step closer to having the occasion of your life. Just do not forget that the dress is just one small part of what a wedding day is comprised of.

How to Paint on Canvas

Have you ever wanted to paint beautiful, expressive paintings with oils? Here are some basics to guide you into the wonderful world of oil paints. Once you’ve got the basic techniques down, the world is your canvas!

1.Choose a place to work where there is good ventilation. A window or door can be opened, or good ventilation can be turned on, and/or you have a fairly open space where air can circulate and move around. If you paint outside, remember that you will need to set up securely so the wind won’t blow things over. Note that insects, especially bees,love Citrus Thinner.

2.Adjust your easel so that you can easily touch the painting surface without bending down or standing on tip-toes while holding the brush. Hold your brush at or behind the bulge behind its ferrule (the silver part). You will stand for hours, so make sure you won’t strain your back. Standing is better than sitting, but if you must sit, paint at arm’s length from the easel.

3.Put down a drop cloth, plastic bag, or tarp. Secure the edges with masking tape to keep it from bunching up or blowing away. Your work area is going to stand entirely on the drop cloth, so make sure you have covered enough area to have plenty of elbow room. If you plan on working at a table with a table easel, cover the floor below you and the table top.

4.Put on your painting clothes.

5.Set up your paints. Have enough room for your palette, brushes and palette knife, solvent and solvent/oil containers, rags and paint tubes to be comfortably displayed, readily available for you to use.

6.Paint. This part really depends on what you want to produce. However, there are certain things to keep in mind no matter what you’re painting.

For example, oil paints have a short blending life on the canvas. It is not hard to turn an area into a dull brown mud spot if there are a lot of repetitive layers and alterations made. If you try to alter something and it doesn’t work immediately, grab a rag and wipe it off. All the paint from that area will come off.

Oils take a while to dry, so you have time to remove paint for almost 24 hours after the application. Just like any other paint, if you make the first coat too thick, it won’t dry all the way.

7.Clean the brushes well between color changes. When you are ready to remove paint from your brush and use a different color, wipe as much paint off with a rag as you can before putting the brush into the thinner. This will make your thinner last longer and will remove more paint from the brush. Swish your brush in the thinner container, then dry it off with a rag.

8.Give your work of art its space. When the first layer is complete, it will be about 48 hours before it will be dry enough to do the second application without smearing your first day’s work. Don’t leave your work in an area that is especially hot, or humid, and keep it in an area where it won’t get smeared, scraped, touched, brushed up against, smooshed, etc.

9.If there is a good amount of paint left on your palette that can be used next time, use your palette knife to scrape the “good” paint together, then dampen a clean rag with thinner just slightly and wipe the rest of your palette clean. Use a piece of saran wrap to cover the leftover paint, wrapping it fairly snug.

10.Wipe dirty brushes off as much as possible with clean rags and then swish in the thinner, until there doesn’t appear to be paint coming off of the brush.

11.Put the lid on the thinner container and leave it until next time, regardless of how cloudy it is. When the thinner settles, the pigment in the paint goes to the bottom, and clean thinner settles on top. The next time you want to paint, you can pour the clean thinner into a clean container, wipe the pigment from the bottom, then pour the thinner back into your thinner container,this process saves a lot of money!

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome in Runners

Knee pain is slowing my run to a crawl! Why is this happening? What is Patellofemoral syndrome?

Patellofemoral pain a.k.a. chondramalacia patella is the most common running-related knee problem. If you have this condition, you feel pain under and around your kneecap and often swelling of the area under the knee cap may occur. The pain can get worse when you are running or when you sit for a long time. Pain can also be associated with a “crunching” sensation when the knee is put through range of motion. You can have pain in only one knee, or you can have pain in both knees. It usually starts as a minor knee pain after running that progresses to pain when you get up in the morning, pain during or after exercise then pain all the time. Prompt intervention can decrease the period of disability form this injury.

The exact cause of patellofemoral pain is hard to define. It has been described as having something to do with the way your kneecap (called the “patella”) moves on the groove of your thigh bone (called the “femur”). Contributing factors include overuse and overload of the knee joint (too much, too soon, too fast syndrome), biomechanical problems and muscular imbalance or weakness. Often it is associated with an extremely flexible foot type and over-pronation (rolling in of your foot). It is more common in women than men and this is due to the “Q angle” of woman’s hips putting more stress on the knee. Weakness of the vastus medialis or the inner thigh muscle has also been touted as a cause.

What can I do to help my knee mend and relieve the pain ?

Take a break from running and any other activities that can cause a lot of pounding on your legs. Practice relative rest activities like swimming, biking, or the elliptical trainer which supports your body weight and puts less stress on your knees. As your knees feel better, you can slowly go back to running. It is important to do this slowly, and increase the amount of time you run by only about 10-20% a week.

The mainstay of treatment is physical therapy. It is imperative to work on the muscle imbalances that led to injury as well as stretching your hamstrings and strengthening your quadriceps. Strengthening is very important because your quad muscles control the movement of your kneecap and this is the most recognized cause of this syndrome.

Talk to your podiatrist about your running shoes and orthotics; it would help to bring your shoes in for the doctor to see, proper running shoes can really help knee pain. Orthotics are often needed to decrease and stabilize excessive foot motion that causes abnormal stress on the knee. Even just a simple arch support insert from the local drug store can be helpful. Although custom orthotics are considerably more expensive than off-the-shelf devices, they last much longer and provide more support or correction. For hard core runners, the durability is important. Many people crush a store purchased device in just a few months when a custom device can last for several years. In some cases, however, an over-the-counter device can be just as effective, particularly when combined with a stretching and exercise program.

Ice your knees for 10 to 20 minutes after activities, this can ease the pain and speed up healing. To keep your hands free, use an elastic wrap to hold the ice pack in place. An anti-inflammatory medicine like ibuprofen may also help, however this should not be used to “get through” your workouts.

Will I ever be able to run again?

Be patient! Keep exercising to get better. Patellofemoral pain can be hard to treat, and your knees won’t get better overnight, some people are lucky and get better quickly but it might take six weeks or even longer for your knee to get better. Very few people need surgery to relieve their knee caps instability.

Remember, consistency is the key! You’ll be less likely to get this pain again if you continue to strengthen and avoid “too much, too soon, too fast syndrome!”. Even though the cause of patellofemoral pain syndrome remain uncertain, the good news is that most patients recover with conservative treatment, particularly if they maintain a disciplined approach.

Grow Your Own Organic Food Now

More and more research is now revealing the health benefits of organic food. For example, children on organic diets have been shown to have significantly lower exposure to nerve poison pesticides. An organic diet provides immediate protection for children against harmful chemicals.

If this isn’t reason enough to start growing your own organic food – what is? When we consider that we can produce enough vegetables to sustain a family right from our own backyard at almost no cost and with very little effort there’s really no excuse for putting it off until tomorrow.

Organic growing guide

There’s no time like the present, so read this organic growing guide and get started NOW!

If you have an existing garden you can easily begin by improving your soil, buying a load of good quality commercial garden soil or starting a no dig garden. But before you do, work out the size of your garden bed.

If you start with a small area, let’s say 2m x 2m (6ft x 6ft approx) you’ll be able to grow enough leafy greens for two people. Adding another bed this size will allow you to grow enough to feed a family.

Before you start, check that you have met these requirements

  • Your plants are positioned where they will get at least six hours of sunlight daily.
  • You can get to your plants quickly and easily when it’s time to harvest.
  • Your compost, tools, water supply and fertilizers are easily accessible

Another good option is to make a path along the middle of your bed so that you can reach any small weeds as they appear. A simple tug at the right time will save you a lot of weeding later if you let them take hold.

Square plots can be set up on lawn or if you prefer in a straight line along a fence. If you choose the fence position, make sure you take account of where the shade will fall. Plants deprived of sunlight will not produce the best crops.

If you have only limited space available try gardening in pots instead. There’s one big advantage when gardening in containers – you can move them around according to the weather. If your porch is too hot at certain times of the year, move your pots to where the sun is less punishing. If the harsh winter brings frosts, move your Brassicas to a more congenial spot.

5 steps to better soil

If you have soil, whatever its condition, consider yourself extremely lucky.

‘But it’s never produced anything! My soil’s completely dead.’

No problem. Your soil can be improved very quickly. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Water the ground a day before you start.
  2. Get rid of any weeds.
  3. Cover the area with compost, manure, lawn clippings, and organic fertilizer and then dig this in.
  4. Cover the whole lot with mulch to make sure it stays moist.
  5. After a week or so scrape away the mulch, add more of the compost and manure and then put the mulch cover back.

You should then repeat this process until you have about 30cm (12 inches)of rich and crumbly soil ready for planting.

If your soil is okay to start with, use the technique above to make it even richer. Begin by removing any weeds, then spread your organic material over the surface. Here’s where you need to do a little hard work – break up any clumps of soil and dig down about a spade depth. You can now plant your seedlings.

Gardening in a   trench 

If all of the above sounds too hard, or if your site is not suitable, try improving little pockets of soil with the ‘ trench  composting’ method. You simply need to dig a hole, or a longer  trench , fill it with green waste material and let nature turn this small area into a usable piece of ground.

The Bokashi composting system works on just this principle. Bokashi is a product made using a combination of sawdust and bran that has been infused with Effective Micro-organisms (EM). Bokashi buckets can fit easily under the kitchen sink. Add the EM and watch your scraps quickly ferment.

Buying seedlings

Organic seedlings are not generally available from commercial suppliers, so try farmers’ markets, organic farms and local organic growing groups first. Seedlings are usually quite expensive so try growing from seed. This takes longer but is probably the most satisfying way to start your organic garden.

8 Signs He is Just Not Into You!

I realize I am violating “Code 46 article III” in The Book of Man Law which prohibits the dissemination of information on known male methods and practices to females. In addition to that I am highly compromising my own well being and will probably need to be in witness protection to hide from a dangerous female backlash. In any case here are the signs!

1. Late night call: If a guy is into you, there is an interesting window in which he will send texts or call you. This is between 1200pm and 5:59pm. Earlier than noon makes him look desperately pathetic and possibly jobless. After 11pm is the official booty call zone. He has definitely failed in every other attempt to court a female he actually likes. After 2am constitutes a felony booty call. Confronted with failure, you are the last ditch effort; the proverbial Hail Mary pass.

2. Seriously I didn’t notice you were next to me: If a guy likes you he will quickly show you off. If he hesitates introducing you to people, he is hoping to avoid ridicule. He is hoping that you will pass for a retail store manikin standing next to him modeling an empire waist blouse.

3. Karen…No…Katie…oh…Sandra! I mean this one is rather obvious. If you meet him more than twice and he can’t remember your name, this is an issue. He is probably hitting “Delete” then clicking on “Recycling Bin” and finally selecting the “Empty Recycle bin” option every time you meet.

4. Dark Night: Guys love to parade girls they are into. They will attend social events and functions with them. In all the aforementioned, there will be adequate light so people can actually see you. If he only walks with you in the dark, takes short cuts and looks suspiciously around as if he stole something you need to get the hint girl.

5. THE NO SHOW: He is not into you if he doesn’t show up for your important events. Hold on ladies. I know some of you think everything you do is really important but some events are more important than others. For example, a “Sex in City” Marathon is certainly not as important as a “Walk For Cancer” fund raiser.

6. The Busy Bee: We are rarely too busy to see you. We are just doing something or seeing someone better. You will be surprised at the ability of the loins to manufacture free time!

7. Part of the Crowd: If a guy is into you, he will create someway to make you the focus of a conversation. He will refer to you, glance at you, tease you etc. If you feel like a piece of furniture in the group you should just hope someone brought furniture polish.

8. Risky with whiskey: When a guy has to be drunk to hang out with you, this is a dead give away that he is not into you. If he needs to consume alcohol to make you more attractive then his attraction is not genuine. After-all, inebriation has the ability to make even the worst ideas seem palatable at times.

Liquid Contract Manufacturer, How to Find the Right One

Whether you are an entrepreneur with a new product idea, your current volume doesn’t justify a large capital expenditure, or you just don’t want to deal with the hassles of running a manufacturing plant, you are like many others trying to find a contract manufacturer that can be reliable. How do you know which one is right for you? Below I will briefly explain important things to consider and steps to take so that you will be happy with your decision.

Step one: Define your packaging and project needs.

Consider this: Most contract packagers are highly specialized in the packaging and products they can run efficiently through their lines. Someone that is good at filling cans or small HDPE bottles for energy shots may not be able to fill large glass bottles or a bag-in-box with efficiency. A company that specializes in juice and tea manufacturing may not be able to handle a low acid protein shake because of differing sanitary guidelines, inexperience, and lack of the highly specialized equipment needed. What kind of pasteurization does your product need? HTST, UHT, flash, tunnel, hot or cold fill? How many units will you need? A midsized co-packer may be a good fit for 10,000-500,000 units each month, but above or below that they aren’t competitive. Which region of the country is best? In short, define the qualities and capabilities that a manufacturer will need, in order to be a good fit for your particular project. Along with experience, equipment, packaging, size, and location, it’s also important to consider financial strength, communication, standards and controls, quality, years in business, ethics, and any conflicts of interest.

Step two: Pre-qualify a few manufacturers.

You should be able to locate a few manufacturers that fit your needs. This is best accomplished using the following resources:

The Internet– Search for “liquid Contract manufacturing California”, “Contract Packagers Texas”, “juice or RTD tea contract bottlers.” Use specific keyword phrases for best results.

Trade Associations-Contract Packaging Association.

Trade Shows-Supply Side, pack-expo

Yellow Pages– http://www.superpages.com, http://www.brownbook.net

Manufacturing Directories– Bevnet or thomasnet.

Referrals-Referrals are great!

You can pre-qualify each contract packager by visiting their website, making a phone call, and asking any of their current clients what they do best. They may say they can run your project in an attempt to grow their business, even though your project isn’t really a good fit.

Step 3: Gather Information

At this point you should have no fewer than three potential manufacturers and no more than six. It’s now time to gather all the information you can. Send out samples of your product or find out about the manufacturers ability to formulate. Do they employ an experienced food chemist? Dig deeper on capabilities, turnkey opportunities, inventory control systems, licenses, automation, Quality Assurance and control, in-house testing capabilities, and reputation. Request a quotation for the project. Ask about similar existing projects or their top five clients. Is the business stable and going to be around? What are their warranties and are they insured? Who regulates their operation? What kind of terms can they provide? Do they have systems in place (GMP, ISO, HACCP..?) When are these reviewed? What are lead times and who is responsible for a smooth running operation? In all reality, a contract packager should run and act as an extension of your business. With answers to these questions and others, you should be able to narrow the field of contenders to just a few.

Step 4: Visit the Facility

A visit to the facility is important for many reasons. Meet the management team, food chemists, engineers, and planners to get a feel for the kind of people they are. These people are doing the work, and having the right people is vital. I personally think a manufacturer will take you more seriously and be more responsive if they meet you in person. Look for order, cleanliness, and observe general working conditions. Does their facility and personnel represent your business well? Are they all they claim to be?

Step 5: Final Evaluation

It’s now time to make a decision. You have gathered tons of important information to aid you, and after narrowing down the candidates, and visiting them, you probably already know who to choose. Review quality standards, capacity, capabilities, pricing, equipment lists, and impressions. Recognize that low cost means nothing if they can’t meet your requirements. Start with a small sample or pilot run. Work as closely with the co-packer as you would an internal manufacturer on package design, procurement of materials, and every detail. Make sure that the contract packager understands clearly what you want to have done. Be very specific in documenting the scope of work and quality parameters.

Portable Drinking Water Containers – Safe Drinking Water For You When Walking in the Wild

It is estimated that a billion or more people lack the availability of safe drinking water. Access to clean fluids should be appreciated. A portable  container  with filtering capabilities can provide you with drinkable water when you are away from home or in the wild. Treat yourself to some pure H2O when you go fishing, camping or hiking for any period of time.

A portable filter consists of a part for holding the raw liquid, a filter for filtration and a lower  container  for catching the filtered fluid for drinking. The lower  container  may have a spout or outlet hose with a small valve for opening and closing the flow. You pour the raw liquid from a nearby source into the top  container  and wait a few minutes for the filtration process to finish. These  containers  may use ceramic filters or micropore filters. Special  containers  can also remove dangerous organisms from the water. You have to check the features of different filters to discover what they are capable of filtrating out.

Portable filters can provide clean water from raw fluid found in lakes, pools and rivers. You may use them when doing trips in vehicles, on boats or at various camping areas. It is a useful item for people who love to travel as well as for soldiers and survival experts. You may regularly use these  containers  for recreational vehicle vacations, hiking and when traveling in the wild.

Portable water filters are usually small, lightweight, low-cost and easy to use. They come in different sizes for storing, transporting and consuming H2O. They can provide quick access to clean drinking liquids wherever you are. All you need is a source of fluid to fill the top  container  with. Then leave it to filtrate and you have clean H2O.

Consuming safe drinking H2O is very important for survival in the wild. Drinking contaminated liquids can lead to illness and dehydration which decreases your chances of survival significantly. You can avoid this by maintaining a portable filter as part of your emergency survival kit. These filtration units ought to be small and lightweight enough to carry with you during an emergency situation.

You should not go on a hiking or camping trip without a means of fluid filtration. You may use portable filtration units in places where a dependable supply of pure H2O is unavailable.

Portable drinking water  container  filters may provide you with purified liquid for cooking and consuming when you are in the wilderness. If you love to travel, then this is an item you should put on your survival checklist.

Tracking Down Good Air-Conditioning Repair

It’s hard to imagine a home without a fully functioning air-conditioning system. When you have a temperate climate, it can get very uncomfortable when your   air-conditioner  breaks down or isn’t functioning well. More than that, warm temperatures can aggravate medical issues like hypertension and dehydration. Even the stability of your home can suffer when it gets too warm or too cold inside. Furniture made of wood and your hardwood floors could develop gaps when they contract and expand with wild swings in temperature and humidity. Needless to say, it is important to pay attention to your  air-conditioner , if only to keep things comfortable and stable around the home. One way to do that is to trust only experts in air-conditioning repair.

Training, Certification and Licensing

When it comes to your air-conditioning system, you can’t just pick anyone to do repairs. That system cost you some money to install, so it’s only right that you pick only real professionals to touch them. Of course, we’re talking about training, certifications and licensing. That are many certifications that air con repairmen can have, such as NATE, ISL, ACT or NCA. Before you hire anyone, make sure he is registered with the Department of Licensing and Registration. Insurance is also important. After all, even the best technicians for air conditioning repair are human.

Experience and Track Record

Experience is another big issue to consider if you’re looking for someone to fix your  air-conditioner , especially because not all brands are the same. You need someone who has been involved extensively in the industry. As for track record, this is easy. The Internet can give you a whole plethora of information about repair companies, their background and even feedback from past clients. When approaching them for the first time, ask for a client list so you can start calling people. It’s always best to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth.

The Deal

Once you find a trustworthy provider of air conditioning repair start getting the details. Do not deal with someone who cannot give you a clear and written estimate of the costs. You should know all the probable expenses, from major to minor, before you let them start with the job. Also very important is warranty. If they don’t give you a warranty that means they themselves are not confident enough about what they can do. If this is the case, why should you trust them? Finding good air conditioning repair services is not a problem at all. There are many technicians out there, but it may take some work finding the best.

How to Select a Pressure Gauge

The first thing you need to know when selecting a pressure gauge is what pressure range (pounds per square inch, or “psi” is standard) you need. Since the accuracy of most pressure gauges is best in the middle third of a gauge, you should always select a gauge with a range that is about twice your normal operating pressure. For example, if you have an air compressor with a normal working pressure of 50 psi you want to select a gauge with a 100 psi range.

The rule of thumb with pressure gauges is that when the operating pressure of the system is normal, the needle should be pointing straight up or in the “twelve o’clock” position. This makes the gauge easier to read at a glance – if the pointer is straight up, things are normal. Gauges are most accurate in the middle third of their range, so you’ll also get a better measurement at your most typical pressure.

If you cannot find a gauge at exactly twice your working pressure, go to the next step up. For example, if you want a 160 psi gauge and it is not in stock, a 200-psi gauge can be substituted. If the range is too low and the gauge is over-pressurized it will break. You want some room to spare at the top of the scale so that if your pressure goes above normal, it won’t damage the gauge.

Dial size refers to the diameter of the circular face of the gauge. The easiest way to choose a size is to measure the diameter of your old gauge. Gauges range in dial sizes from 1-inch for tight spaces to 10-inches for reading from a distance. When selecting a gauge choose one that fits within the physical space available and a gauge size that is easy to read where you have it installed.

If dial size is not important to you consider selecting a 2 ½” gauge. If there is such a thing as a “standard” gauge size, this is it. The 2 ½” gauge is by far the most common gauge size and you will find hundreds of options in that size range. You can also view the manufacturers’ dimensional drawings if you need more information.

There are two basic connection types for mounting: back and lower. The back mount is what it sounds like. The connection protrudes from the back of the gauge. In a lower-mount (sometimes called a stem mount), the connection is on the bottom of the gauge. Which type you need will usually be pretty obvious. Manufacturers divide back mounts into “center back” and “lower back,” (right in the middle of the back vs. down toward six-o’clock), but unless you’re trying to fit the gauge into a tight space, or mount it in a panel, the difference usually doesn’t matter.

You also have to consider connection size. For 2-1/2″ dial sizes, a 1/4-inch NPT (National Pipe Thread) is by far the most common size. If you’re replacing a gauge, you want to be aware of the existing connection size. Other common connection sizes are 1/8-inch NPT (for 1.-1/2″ & 2″ dials) and ½-inch NPT (for 4″ and greater dial sizes).

Hela Cells

Today Hela cells are the most widely cells used in cell biology. These cells where taken from an African lady called Henrietta Lacks in 1951 and sent round the world without her consent. These are the very cells lines that led to the discovery of the polio vaccine.

Hela cells are the most widely used cell line in molecular biology labs across the world. The word HeLa is derived from the first two letters of the name Henrietta Lacks. Henrietta Lacks whose cells were cultured had suffered from cervical cancer. Her cells were the first cancer cell-line to survive in artificial culture media and thrive outside the human body.

Today, Henrietta Lacks who has contributed so much to science and discovery, has been unacknowledged her due in history has been ignored. A lady of African descent whose cells were taken without her consent and sent across the world has been crucial in the development of vaccines and drug discovery, lies in an unmarked grave in Virginia USA. It is these very cells from the aggressive adenocarcinoma of her cervix that has enabled biochemists to study many cellular and disease process.

The ability of these cells to survive is attributed to the active version of the enzyme called “telomerase”. The role of telomerases is to add certain DNA repeat sequences “TTAGGG” at the end of chromosomes called” telomeres” and hence providing stability to chromosomes. However, as the cell divide these telomeres shorten at each DNA replication and eventually will no longer be able to divide. However, cancer or immortal cells have an active version of this enzyme and hence preventing it from dying. This special characteristic of the Hela allows it to divide unlimited number of times without loss of genomic instability.

The cells derived from Henrietta Lacks have been used in countless labs across the world. It has assisted in several research discoveries. A quick search of scientific citation in US National Library of Medicine suggests 61911 studies that have used these cells. Hela cells have been a valuable tool in understanding diseases at the molecular level specially understanding cancer invitro models. In addition, it has been instrumental in screening of anti-cancer drugs. For example, these cells were used to propagate the polio virus that eventually led to the discovery and development of the polio vaccine. Today such strategy is used in many labs across the world for vaccine development.

Some of the characteristics of Hela cells are as follows;

1. It is a human epithelial cell line derived from cervical carcinoma that have been transformed by human papillomavirus 18 (HPV18)

2. These cells are adherent cells meaning that they will stick to the cell culture flask

3. The replication or doubling time is 23 hours

4. Hela cells can easily contaminate other cell lines as it’s often difficult to control