Rosa Bonheur – The ‘Realist’ Animal Painter of French Origin

Marie-Rosalie Bonheur, also called Rosa Bonheur, was a French ‘Realist’ animal painter and sculptor in the nineteenth century. Born into a family of artists at Bordeaux on March 16, 1822, she attained the rare honor of artistic recognition and career success unlike her other female contemporaries. Highly popular in Europe and America, Rosa’s artistic lineage has always been a feather on her cap. Her father, Raimond Bonheur, was a landscape & portrait artist and mother Sophie, who passed away when she was only eleven, was a piano teacher. Her popular siblings were artist sisters, Auguste Bonheur and Juliette Bonheur, and sculptor Isidore Jules Bonheur. Also the tutor of Anna Elizabeth Klumpke, Rosa Bonheur established herself as a leading animal painter. Her works employed the techniques of landscape paintings dipped in ‘Realism.’

In 1828, the Bonheurs moved to Paris. Owing to her defiant and aggressive disposition, Rosa was expelled from several schools, and her parents had hard time teaching her. Her mother tried channelizing her educational interests by making her draw an animal for each alphabet. These drawings were the sown seeds of her ‘Animaliere’ interests. As girls were not allowed to join art schools, Bonheur’s father started training her for her drawing and painting when she was twelve. Her passion for animals, translated on canvass, gave distinction to her works. She also exhibited strong influence of the English animal painter, Sir Edwin Henry Landseer, in her works. Bonheur regularly visited slaughterhouses and École nationale vétérinaire d’Alfort, the national veterinary institute in Paris, to dissect animal and learn their anatomy for her paintings and sculptures.

Rosa tasted success and honor for the first time when she received a French government commission for the painting, ‘Ploughing in the Nivernais’ in1849. Her most celebrated works fetching her international fame was the colossal, ‘Horse Fair (1853-55).’ In 1855, Rosa travelled to Scotland and met Queen Victoria, who liked her work. ‘A Scottish Raid (1860),’ and ‘Highland Shepherd,’ are her two iconic paintings she created here. Considered one of the most renowned women painters of her time, Bonheur reached the highs of fame in England more than that in France. The modern thinking woman that she was, Rosa was also noted for wearing men’s attire, which she would find ‘strictly practical’ in her work with animals. During the reign of Empress Eugenie, she was also awarded the Cross of the Legion of Honor. Marie-Rosalie Bonheur passed away at the age of 77, on May 25, 1899, at Thomery, France. Many of her unseen works were auctioned in Paris in 1900.

Lift Chairs – Choosing a Brand

People who have difficulty with the task of standing or sitting often turn to lift chairs to give them a helpful boost. These chairs are a special type of recliner that is outfitted with a strong lifting system that raises the chair into the air. These chairs are usually very well priced and in many cases they actually cost less than a traditional recliner would.

When you buy anything, brand is often an important consideration. If you buy something from an off brand manufacturer, it doesn’t mean that it is automatically of poor quality, but it certainly can. In the medical industry, there are two brands that date back over twenty years and are well known for producing quality products that are built to last. These companies are Golden Technologies and Pride Mobility, who today offer a wide selection of medical products, but got their start making custom built lift chairs.

These companies both literally revolutionized the way lift chairs were constructed, but Golden Technologies was actually founded one year prior to Pride Mobility. One of the main things that the entrance of these companies facilitated is a much higher quality lift chair with improved safety features.

Up until Golden and Pride entered the medical industry, there were many companies that were less than reputable. The less than reputable companies would buy a low quality recliner retro-fit it with a spring lift system and re-sell it. This lead to many poorly made lift chairs, which were not only of poor construction, but could also be unsafe.

Golden and Pride set out to change this and hand building their own lift chairs, completely from scratch. They focused on creating a frame that could handle the stress of being raised into the air several times a day. They also realized that using a spring lifting system was unsafe, so instead they outfitted all of their chairs with an electrical lifting system. They quickly dominated the industry, because people realized that they were producing a quality product that was designed with safety in mind.

Other companies, which had been behaving in less than reputable manners, were forced to either change their ways and follow the example set by Golden Technologies and Pride Mobility or close their doors. The trust built up during this time period greatly helped to cement the Pride and Golden brand into the consciousness of the consumer.

During the late eighties and early nineties, Pride and Golden expanded their product lines to include other mobility living aids, such as electric wheelchairs and mobility scooters. Today they both offer a complete line of mobility living aids that are designed with the consumer in mind. They have both also preformed many philanthropical actions and have helped to further research into mobility related areas. Pride has also went on to develop a department that is aimed at building and developing high tech electric wheelchairs and alternate controls.

Brand name isn’t everything, but it can be a powerful tool for the consumer when trying to find a quality product. In the case of lift chairs and other mobility living aids, if the aid is manufactured by Golden Technologies or Pride Mobility, you know that it is of high quality and built to very high standards.

Mobile Home Insulated Skirting – The Myths and Facts

There is a lot of misinformation and foolish myths regarding insulated mobile home skirting. People have told me that they have heard that it will promote mold growth and that the underside of the home has to breath. Others have told me that they have heard insulated skirting doesn’t offer any advantages such as prevention of frozen pipes. I can comfortably and confidently tell you that if done properly, these myths are false.

Insulated skirting can be one of the best additions to your home. People who have struggled with frozen pipes year after year have stopped struggling after they installed insulated skirting. There are a few different types of skirting on the market but they all behave the same way and these principles are universal.

  • Ventilation: Your home needs adequate ventilation during the warmer months so the underside can breathe. This is the only time of the year, when it is above 50 degress fahrenheit, that you need ventilation. Automatic vents that open and close are the best mainentance free option. The minimum required ventilation for a home that does not have a ground cover is not less than 1 square foot of vent per 150 square feet of floor space. If you have a ground cover, 6 mil poly plastic, you can reduce the requirement to 1 square foot to 1500 square feet of floor space. Please note: installation of the ground cover needs to be installed to a local building code and should be done properly.
  • Insulating Strength – Whatever material you choose to use, make sure that the R Value meets at least a value of 8. You also want to make sure the outer material is weather resistant. A pre-made insulated skirting product is usually the best bet. It will be the most cost effective way to complete the product.
  • Thermal Envelope – When installing an insulated product you need to make sure that the material goes all the way around the home. If you have a porch, deck, or addition attached to the house, make certain you install adequate material behind the structures to maintain a thermal envelope. You are capturing the warmth of the ground which is a constant 53 degrees all year round, and with out a complete installation, you will not capture it. If you stopped short of a porch, the warmth would escape to the outside. This is why your pipes will not freeze with a properly installed system.
  • Durability – Insulated systems are typically 2 inches thick and are very strong. You will not suffer from wind blow outs like you may have encountered with non-insulated systems. Keeping critters out from under your home is also an important goal. The strength and durability of an insulated system will keep them out.

When done properly, mobile home insulated skirting will end your frozen pipe woes, cut down on utility bills, and offer a much longer lasting skirting compared to non-insulated systems.

Hardy Plank Can Give You the Best Looking Fiber Cement House on the Block!

If you want to be the homeowner of the best house on the block in Staten Island, Brooklyn, Long Island or New Jersey, then you want Hardy Plank! Hardy Plank siding has been around for one hundred years. It is continuously a popular product due to unmatched durability and appearance. Over the years, this fiber cement home siding has been advanced when it was mixed with sand, cement, and cellulose fibers for commercial and domestic buildings to be able to withstand even the harshest climates.

Hardy Plank Siding – Popular Throughout Staten Island, Long Island and Brooklyn

Countless homes in Staten Island as well as the rest of New York City, New Jersey and Long Island are making use of Hardy Plank siding, the next generation of engineered home siding.

Hardy plank siding, sometimes called “Hardy board siding,” doesn’t get its unique nickname because of its durability and strength. It’s named after its inventor, James Hardie, who developed Hardy plank siding as sustainable alternative for wood and vinyl in Australia’s home siding and reconstruction market. These days, this durable fibercement home siding isn’t relegated just to Australians, but is now available for worldwide consumption.

Hardy Plank Comparison to Wood Siding

Hardy Boarding Looks Like Wood…

Hardy board is visually appealing. It is manufactured to look and feel like wood, as it imitates both the texture and grain of authentic wood siding. However, the differences end there.

… But Resists Fire, Water & Termites

Hardy plank material is much more resistant to extreme weather conditions. This home siding material is also flame resistant, so while it is not fireproof (and honestly, nothing is), Hardy board material will not further feed the flames in the event of accidental fire, arson or natural brush fires. Additionally, you’ll be greatly pleased to learn that this material is also water resistant. Therefore, your Hardy plank siding will never warp or rot – nor will it be affected by aggravating termites and other pests that love to gnaw on more traditional sidings and cause thousands of dollars of damage.

… Is Great for Painting

Although Hardy plank boarding looks beautiful with its natural coloring, it is an excellent choice for any homeowner who wants to color customize their home siding. This is because it retains paint longer than wood, and that experience has demonstrated that a well applied paint job rarely peels or chips from a Hardy Plank surface.

Maintaining Hardy Plank is Not Difficult At All

With proper care and maintenance, this special fiber cement home siding will last well past 50 years. Best of all, it requires little maintenance on part of the homeowner aside of a regular house washing, and make sure to use a chem tip to vary the pressure used on different surfaces of the house, such as deck railings and steps that have also been painted. Other small minor repairs may be needed from time to time, but no other siding will outlast your Hardy Plank siding!

401(a) Plan Rules

Many people are not completely familiar with all the facts associated with a 401(a) plan. If your company offers this type of plan, be sure to take the time to learn what the plan is and how it works. Also learn the rules regarding contributions and withdrawals. Spending a little time asking questions will help when you begin to contribute to the plan. The following questions are commonly asked and they will give you some important answers.

What is a 401(a) plan?
It is a retirement savings plan that is established by an employer. The plan must meet the requirements of IRC Section 401(a). The plan has a defined amount that can be contributed each year. In 2009, the amount is a maximum of $49,000. The employer will determine the eligibility requirements for you to join. They will also provide information that tells you how and when you will receive your contributions and will describe any circumstances in which money in the account is made available to you.

When can I participate in a 401(a) plan?
Any employee, whether full or part-time, who works more than 20 hours per week is eligible to join the plan. You must have more than one year of service with the company and must have worked at least 1,000 hours within that year. If an employee is participating in another type of retirement plan, they may be eligible to participate in the 401(a) after three months, as long as they are not receiving any benefits from the other plan.

When will I be fully vested?
A new rule went into effect in January of 2002 stating that all NOAO employees that are participating will be vested 100% immediately.

Can I make contributions to the plan?
You may not. Your employer completely funds the 401(a) plan.

Are there different funds available?
There are actually two available funds. These are the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association College Retirement Equities Fund, known as TIAA-CREF, and Fidelity Investments. Once you choose which company to deal with, you will be allowed to choose from whatever funds are available from that particular company. You are not allowed to contribute to both funds.

Can I withdraw early?
You are not allowed to make early withdrawals if you are still employed with the company. If you leave the company or retire, you may then withdraw the money from the account. If you do not want to withdraw it, you can transfer the balance or roll it over into a different type of retirement account.

Is there a penalty for early withdrawals?
If you are under the age of 59 1/2, you will be subject to a 10% penalty if you withdraw funds early.

When can I begin withdrawals?
Once you have reached 59 1/2, you have the option to withdraw from the account without incurring any penalties. You will be required to pay taxes on the amount withdrawn.

Can I name my children as beneficiaries, even if I am married?
Rules require you to name a spouse as a beneficiary for at least 50% of the amount in the account. This can be avoided if the spouse signs a waiver.

Can I combine other retirement accounts from previous employers?
You may rollover money from qualified plans but this must be approved by the plan administrator. If you have concerns whether your prior plan is compatible, you can contact your investment company at any time.

Are plan documents available for review?
All documentation associated with the 401(a) plan must be made available to all employees.

How do I determine how much money has been contributed?
Quarterly statements are issues from your employer. These statements will inform you of the balance in the account and how much was contributed in that quarter. This information is also available from your investment company.

Can I change investment allocation?
As long as you remain with the same investment company, you can change investment allocation.

Can I switch investment companies?
As long as you stop investing with one company, you may switch to the other at any time.

When I terminate employment, what happens to the account?
You are allowed to leave the money in the account until you determine what you wish to do with it. If you withdraw and have not met the withdrawal eligibility requirements, you will be subject to penalties. It is best to transfer the funds into another account. This way you will avoid penalties and taxes at that time.

Upon retirement, what should I consider?
At this point, you should have a long term financial goal, and you should know what funds you have available.

Selecting Deck Railing Patterns to Complete Your Custom Deck

In the process of selecting railing patterns for your deck, you have to identify first the theme you want for your home. This is very important as you don’t want to end up with a cluttered deck. Also, it is a must that you mix and match hues even in as early as in the planning stage. This will help you minimize in time and effort when you are already in the purchasing and building stages.

In choosing the right pattern for your deck railing, it is a must that you look into possible necessities like the area of the deck, the shapes and sizes that will best fit on it, and the height. It will also be beneficial if you ensure the safety in your house first before you go to the details of making it grand. In some ways, you can even design a deck railing that is both safe and elegant for your deck and your home.

It is also very important that in the planning stage of your deck railing, you also check into the considerations you will need to make. Doing so will ensure that you will end up with the best pattern and design for your deck. Some of the most important considerations you must have are the location, climate, style, size, and shape of the deck where you are to add a deck railing.

By considering the location of your deck, you will be able to make an exact calculation of the right pattern you will need and use for your deck railing. The climate will also have a great effect in your railing building. So make sure that you are knowledgeable of the climate on your place. Next is the style of the deck. This is also important because the design and style of your new deck railing plan must complement your rail. The size and shape of the deck must also coincide with the railing pattern you will use on it so make sure you have already check on all these before you make the final selection.

The railing pattern you need to choose for your deck must also be very easy to maintain. In case you have a wooden railing pattern, make sure that its maintenance will be very convenient for your time and effort. It is not advisable that you opt for a very elegant pattern made in glass materials if you will not be able to maintain it well, given your limited time availability. So if your deck is wood and designed simply, make a railing choice of also a simply designed one. This way, you will not only end up with grand but definitely good looking deck through out the ages.

Wood Railings Add a Beautiful Touch to Your Porch

Wooden porch railings add character and class to your home’s looks. Wooden porch railings add elegance to contemporary and victorian homes, as well as classic and traditional style homes. The look of traditional railings is best achieved by rails crafted from wood, rather than newer materials such as metal. There are many benefits to wooden porch railings besides their classic good looks, however. Designers like to work with wooden porch railings because of the range of freedom they can have in the design. Because of the popularity of wooden porch railings, there is a wide range of components available in wood, at very reasonable prices. The top and bottom rails, the balusters, the posts and all of the other accessories are available in wood of many different styles. These wooden parts are easy to customize to the homeowner’s taste, and, once installed, are easy to maintain. Wooden railings are extremely durable while still blending beautifully with the exterior of most homes. Interior wooden trim and flooring also blend nicely with wooden porch railings; this lends a lovely cohesion to a home.

Wooden balusters can be cut into an infinite variety of shapes: square, flat, or round. No wonder wooden porch railings are so popular. There are few other materials that offer the beauty and variety of wood at such a reasonable price. Woodbis an abundant commodity, and so the price of wood is still relatively low. Wood can be cut, sawed and carved into so many different shapes and designs and wood railings are very easy and quick to install. Wooden railings can be weatherproofed with the proper material, making them very durable over time. Wrought iron railings are subject to peeling and corrosion durable if they are not painted frequently.

People frequently choose wood railings over other materials because they can be customized by hand crafting to create a unique look for their home. Lovely custom made railings are easily installed with nails or wood screws. The accessories and

furniture people choose for their porches are set off much better with wooden porch railings. Wicker chairs, porch swings, wooden furniture and rocking chairs all look even pretty against the backdrop of a lovely wood railing. Hanging plants and

potted trees also look prettier on a porch with wooden railings.

There are many other materials are available for porch railings. These include stone, concrete, brick or metal. You can even combine materials such as wood and metal. But for character and class, nothing beats wood. It is the material one always

associates with a classic, traditional style. Add to this feature the fact that wood railings are inexpensive and easy to install, you have a perfect fit with wooden railings

The Most Popular High Quality Access Control Systems

Safety of a person or a building has become the primary concern these days. The rates at which homes and commercial establishments are burglarised, fears are growing that burglars can strike our house anytime. This fear, along with the soaring crime rate, has forced many homeowners to look for security measures. Similarly, commercial buildings are also prone to massive burglaries if they have poor security arrangements.

Even if a building has some security protocol in place, it can be worthless in front of the most modern techniques of burglary. They now use very high-tech equipments to break into buildings and a simple lock cannot turn them away.

The most important issue in security control system is the lack of responsibility on part of the owners or security guards. In the case of homeowners, they think that just an old style lock will be enough to ward off any criminals. As for the buildings, many still use the locks. Another situation can also be created where a person can lose the keys and the whole office or department comes to a standstill.

The best solution to this problem is the installation of modern access control systems. These systems are manufactured to ensure a complete safety of the buildings. The electronic devices mean that it is almost impossible to break the security codes and arrangements.

If a burglar does try to break into a house or building, alarms will go off. Some systems also used direct connection with the police station that can alert the authorities in case of any untoward incident. This is actually a very effective tool against the burglars.

High quality access control systems are taking the lead over ordinary electronic devices for security. These systems use a number of methods to ensure security. Some use especially identifiable codes that are etched on cards. Each person is issued a different number that can be recognised by the system. Subsequently, only authorised persons are allowed to enter in a building.

Biometric solutions go a step further in this case. They utilise the unique natural characteristic of fingerprints. Every person in this world has a different fingerprint and this phenomenon is used in allocating security codes. The fingerprints of each employee are fed into the computer and identification cards are generated. When a person wants to enter that building, he can swipe his finger to gain entry. The card can be used if the fingerprint reader is not working.

There has been a constant innovation in the field of high quality access control systems. Some new systems have even started using the identification systems that use the image of retina in the eye. This system, however, is very costly and only some high-profile companies can afford it. As for the home security system, burglar alarms provide a good security in most cases. Fingerprint reading system is also gaining popularity in some homes as the prices are coming down and more people can afford it.

Why You Should Switch to Cable Satellite TV

Over the last ten years or so, about 30 million people have abandoned cable television services and made the switch to the over-the-air cable satellite TV service providers. There are obviously some very good reasons why so many people have made this change, much to the chagrin of the executives at the cable service companies who have watched this exodus.

In addition to those who switched from cable to satellite, there are millions more who were never able to have cable access to programming because they lived in rural areas. But, with the addition of a satellite dish antenna and a dish receiver, those in rural areas now can also enjoy the same entertainment programming as people who live in metropolitan areas.

One of the biggest reasons why people are walking away from their cable providers and embracing the cable satellite TV providers comes down to money. No matter what part of the country you live in you will find that it costs less to get your entertainment needs met if you use a satellite dish antenna, versus the old fashioned and out of date cable providers that still need to have their network hard-wired.

In order to have cable TV satellite service in your home, you need to have a complete satellite TV system. The first component is the satellite dish antenna that is positioned outside of the premises. You will often see the mini dish antenna units on rooftops, the sides of buildings, on fences or mounted to a pole, in order to provide the proper positioning. The satellite dish antenna must have a clean and unobstructed view of a certain area of the southern sky and they must be precisely positioned by trained technicians.

The second component to a cable satellite TV system is the receiver with takes the signal from the dish antenna and sends it to the television. The receivers have programming that affects the programming guides, providing detailed information about each show you wish to watch.

One of the most interesting innovations that was recently introduced and has quickly become very popular in the DVR, or digital video recorder, that is integrated into some models of cable TV satellite receivers. These DVR receivers allow you to pause live broadcasts and also to record your favorite programs without the need to fuss with video tapes. Some of these devices are dual receivers, which allow you to watch one show while recording a second, or record two shows at the same time.

Cable satellite TV services continue to be popular not only because they provide better value at a lower cost, but also because of the innovative features that they offer, such as DVR services and dish on demand programming. While traditional cable providers now match many of the features of the TV satellite dish services, it seems that these companies tend to be first to bring new innovations and then the cable companies follow a bit later.

Knowing More About Sinus Cyst

Does your nose drip continuously, making it hard to breathe? Is your sense of smell not as sharp as it used to be? If so, then it’s possible that you have a sinus cyst.

But there is no need to panic. Having a sinus cyst is fairly common. In fact, according to studies, they are present in as many as 10 percent of healthy individuals. Fortunately, most of sinus cysts are benign. For some, they might not feel any symptoms at all, while others may feel facial pain or difficulty in breathing.

Sinus cysts, or more popularly known as nasal polyps, are soft and pearl-colored growths that develop in the lining of the sinuses. They can form in singles or in multiples that are clustered together. They are usually caused by a prolonged inflammation of the nasal passages. Symptoms of allergies and asthma can also lead to polyp formation.

When polyps are small, they don’t usually cause any problems. People are only alerted of their existence when they start to experience the symptoms. Below are some of the signs you can watch out for:

o Shortness of breath

o Difficult to breathe through the nose, leading to mouth breathing

o Loss or reduced sense of smell

o Stuffy and runny nose

o Chronic sinus infection

o Headaches

o Snoring

o Nasal discharge

o Sensation of fullness in the face

Who is at Risk?

If you are suffering from any condition that causes inflammation of the sinuses, then you are at risk of developing sinus cysts. Some of the conditions include chronic sinusitis, cystic fibrosis and allergic fungal sinusitis. People who are sensitive to aspirin or non steroidal anti-inflammatory medications are also most like to develop sinus cyst. Age is another factor. Sinus cysts are more likely to show up on people over 40. Children below 16 who exhibit the symptoms of having sinus cyst, should be tested for cystic fibrosis.

Can Sinus Cysts Be Prevented?

To prevent formation of sinus cysts, it is necessary to treat the underlying conditions and manage the symptoms. Here are some guidelines that we can follow:

o For people who suffer from asthma, allergies or chronic sinusitis, avoid indoor and outdoor allergens to reduce nasal congestion.

o Treat bacterial infection by undergoing antibiotic treatment.

o Control allergies through intake of antihistamines.

o Saline nasal irrigation is extremely helpful in relieving nasal congestion and eliminating mucus.

What are the Treatment Options?

The most common treatment for sinus cysts is corticosteroids. It is either injected directly onto the polyp or sprayed in the locality to reduce the cysts temporarily. However, side effects include nose bleeds, headaches or sore throat.

Oral corticosteroids can also be prescribed. It is often taken for a few weeks only due to its severe side effects during long term use such as headaches, weight gain, upset stomach, mood changes and difficulty in sleeping.

If medication fails, surgery is also an option. Polypectomy cuts the polyps away using a suction device. Endoscopic surgery removes the polyps and opens the part of sinus where polyps tend to form. Both surgeries are outpatient procedures.

However, the treatment options mentioned do not offer any guarantee that you will be cyst-free. In fact, sinus cysts often return. This is why it is better to focus on prevention instead.

Why Men Pull Away in the Early Stages of Dating

Have you ever wondered why men pull away in the early stages of dating? Things seem to start out great. The guy is constantly calling or texting you, he tells you that he really likes you; he says he hasn’t had feelings like this since his last serious relationship etc. He is giving you all of these signs that he is really into you and then at some point, he suddenly seems cold and distant. Why is that?

I’m going to let you in on a little secret now; a lot of men are insecure. One reason that a lot of men say all of these nice things, and tell you how interested they are in you, is because they are simply trying to find out if you really like them; they will tell you that they have strong feelings, and then see how you react. Are you really excited when they say something like that or do you start to pull back? Not all men play these kinds of games and a lot of men don’t even realize that they are doing it, but a lot of men are insecure and they are trying to get information. They want to know if you like them or not.

The problem is that once a man has the information he has been fishing for, he may begin to change. In the early stages of a relationship everyone wants to be liked. People will often put up a façade and try to project a persona of the type of person they think other people would be interested in. Once a man realizes that you actually like him, he will drop the act and start to be himself. That can be a good thing but once that happens, the dynamic of the relationship can change, and not always for the better.

Another reason why men pull away in the early stages of dating is because some men are simply not ready for a serious relationship. If they get the sense that things are moving too fast, they will start to pull back. Other men are simply looking to have a good time, and once they get what they want they are no longer interested.

The real trick is to find someone who truly does want a serious relationship, and someone who is not going to lead you on and play games. If you are dating a man and things seem to be going great, and then he suddenly starts to pull back, you need to speak up and say something about it. Confronting a man about this subject may be uncomfortable, but if he really is interested in you he will want to work things out. If he just blows off your feelings and tells you there’s nothing to worry about, or if he gets angry and starts to pick a fight, he was not the right guy for you anyway and it is best to end that relationship and move on. If that is the case, at least it happened in the early stages of the relationship, before things got too serious.

Sizing Gold Wedding Rings – The Pros and the Cons

Gold is one of the most malleable and ductile metals available and is ideal to be used in jewelry making because it makes for easy sizing. Before many of the modern metals like titanium and palladium came to prominence in recent years gold was the to go to metal for wedding bands of all types. Jewelers have been familiar with manipulating this metal since time immemorial and if you bought a ring or wedding band made from a metal like palladium you may have been hard-pressed to find a jeweler willing to work with that metal whether for repair or sizing.

The basic technique used for sizing gold rings is cutting and soldering using a flux solution to prevent the oxidation of alloys and to speed up the process of soldering gold together using a solder material. Unlike the platinum group of metals (which includes platinum and palladium) which are 95% pure and can actually be welded together without the use of solder, gold alloys which are only usually 58% to 75% pure require the use of solder to form a bond.

The working temperature of gold is also much lower than platinum and palladium and melting temperature is usually around 1500°F whereas the other two metals require in excess of 2500°F to be welded. This makes working with gold for repair purposes and setting purposes as well as sizing a much less expensive metal for jewelers to work with in terms of time required and equipment required. Platinum and palladium are also much harder metals and require many more types of grit to be used for polishing.

Gold alloys are also easier to stretch in case the ring needs to only go up a quarter size to a half size. Platinum although a malleable metal is much tougher to size up this way because it needs to be hammered more and prodded more for it to stretch. It is a much denser and heavier metal as well as harder. Other modern metals like titanium and tungsten are even more difficult to work with and most jewelers are not willing to touch any piece of jewelry made from them.

Despite its expense because of the current high world gold pricing it is still the easiest precious jewelry metal for a jeweler to work with because its use in jewelry has been so ubiquitous. Gold does tend to conduct heat readily so sizing and repairing wedding rings that have sensitive gemstones has to be done with caution and preliminary set up. However it is still easier for a jeweler to do basic repairs to rings made from this precious metal more so than any other.

DIY Projects You Can Do In a Weekend: Build a Solar Panel at Home

The best DIY projects are ones that are challenging but not so difficult that they drag on for months or years. And, of course, it’s an added bonus if your completed DIY project brings some measurable value to your home. Building a solar panel is one such project. It is fun, interesting, relatively easy to complete, and, when completed, can help reduce your monthly electricity bills. In this article I will discuss the tools and supplies needed to build a solar panel, and I will give you two good building options.


Building a solar panel is a wonderful weekend project that does not take any special or expensive tools. In fact, you’ve probably got everything you need. Do a quick check with this list to see for yourself.

  • Screwdriver set
  • Wrench set
  • Hammer
  • Saw
  • Soldering iron
  • Paintbrush
  • Knife
  • Wire cutters

As you can see, you just need the basics. If you don’t have a soldering iron, don’t worry. You can pick one up for about 10$. In addition to basic tools, you’ll need some supplies. With the exception of solar cells, you can get everything on the list below at your local hardware store.


  • Wood–for a frame and for backing (aluminum frames are better if you can work with metal)
  • Plexiglas paneling (or glass, if you prefer)
  • Black paint
  • Silicone
  • Eva glue
  • Solder
  • Ribbon wire
  • Tabbing wire
  • Blocking diodes
  • Solar cells

When shopping for solar cells, first decide what you intend to use your panel for. If you want to provide power to your home, for example, you will need higher quality cells. If you are just going to use it for fun stuff, like powering a portable stereo, you can buy cheaper cells. If you go to eBay, you can even get “grab bags” that are full of broken cells. I’ve seen them for as low as 10 dollars a bag. They are irregular, but they function well, and, if you like, you can use them to create an artistic looking but still fully functional solar panel. There is one thing you want to avoid when buying solar cells–wax. Some manufacturers coat their cells in wax that must be stripped off before being used. The process is difficult, time consuming and wholly unnecessary–just buy cells that haven’t been coated.

Building Options

When building a solar panel, you have two options. You can buy a kit that just requires assembly, or you can buy a set of solar panel plans and do the fabricating yourself. Both projects can be completed in a weekend. If you are an experienced DIY person, you may find that assembling a kit is a little boring. Building a solar panel using solar panel plans is more challenging but still easy to complete in a weekend, even for a beginner DIY enthusiast.

Building a solar panel is a fun, safe, interesting project that everyone in the family can help out on. Your completed panel, if built correctly, will take free energy from the sun and convert it into valuable electricity for your home, lowering energy costs and saving you money. This makes building a solar panel a DIY project that is not only enjoyable, but also valuable.

CPUs Processors – The Brains Of Your Computer

Spend any time around computer geeks and you will certainly hear the term ‘CPU’ at one time or another. For most people, a CPU is just something that every computer needs to work. However, if you are inclined to learn a bit more about how your computer works, you may actually want to know what a ‘CPU’ is.

The term ‘CPU’ stands for central processing unit and it is the brain of your computer. Just like your brain, the CPU works in conjunction with a computer’s memory to carry out specific commands and tasks. CPUs are also simply known as processors.

If you have ever read any other articles on CPUs, it can sometimes be difficult to decipher exactly what the central processing unit of your computer actually does. However, you do not really need to be a technically inclined person to understand how the brain of your computer works.

The first step of operation for the CPU is to store instructions in the memory of the computer. Whenever you run a program on your system, specific instructions from the program are sent to the memory and stored. The central processing unit then accesses the memory, retrieves the instructions, and then prepares to execute them.

Before the CPU can execute the instructions it has received from the memory, it must first decode them. After the instructions have been de-encrypted, your CPU will execute them and then returns some sort of result. This result may include storing information in the memory or on the hard drive or displaying something to your screen. Whatever the instruction directs the CPU to do, it does. The speed and performance of your CPU/processor determines how quickly the task is completed.

Your CPU may also have what is known as a CPU cache which also helps to speed up its performance. The cache memory is smaller and faster than the main memory of the computer and stores copies of frequently used information so that it does not have to access the main memory every time it performs a process.

Whenever your computer’s processor wants to access the main memory for instructions, it will first check to see if that information is already in its cache. If it is already stored there, then CPU reads it from the cache location, which is quicker than accessing the main memory since cache memory is local.

CPUs have come a long way since the early day of central processing units. What used to occupy an entire room will now fit easily in the palm of your hand with tons of room to spare. The CPU of your computer is usually a small square with many metallic connectors on the underside that attach to the motherboard via the CPU socket, or slot. These small processors can become very hot after operating for a while and normally have a small fan and heat sink attached on top to help dissipate the heat generated.

If you are purchasing a new computer, you should check the type of processor included in the unit since the CPU is essential to your computer’s function. To get an idea of what type of processor you need for your work, be sure to do some research online and ask around computer forums before making your purchase.