Learn to Play Bridge Online

Learning to play bridge is great way to meet people and keep your brain active and alert. But learning to play bridge can seem like a daunting task for a beginner, especially if you are older and don’t feel you can learn as quickly as you once did.

Probably the best way of starting to learn how to play bridge is to find a local class – often these are run by local Adult Education Centres or Colleges or take place in village or community halls. If there is a beginner’s bridge class in your area I would strongly suggest that you join it if you can. You will meed other people who are also starting to learn and the atmosphere should be relaxed and friendly.

Not everyone can join a class, though. There might not be a class near you. You might not be able to attend a class because of work, family or other commitments (have you noticed how everything you want to join seems to happen on the same night?) or you might find getting to a class difficult for health reasons.

Whatever your situation, there is another way to learn. You can learn to play bridge online. You need to be able to cope with the basics of using a computer – and be able to control the mouse, but it isn’t necessary to be a total computer whiz to benefit.

Anyone can use the site – from complete beginners to improvers and beyond. If you can’t get to a beginners’ class, you will find everything you need to learn to play bridge is on the site. There are tutorials for complete beginners, quizzes, hands to play, bidding practice, leads practice, hands of the day, progress charts, flash cards, daily tips and more, with new material being added regularly.

If you can attend a class, joining this site will help you get the most out of the class by giving you extra material to work on between lessons and allowing you to play bridge online from the comfort of your own home.

Many of the practice hands have audio feedback for incorrect play to help you understand where you went wrong and explain which card you should have played.

You can learn at your own pace and repeat each exercise and tutorial as often as you want. Computers don’t get bored, or cross if you learn slowly. Your computer will happily let you go through each tutorial or practice hand or flash card as many times as you feel you want to. It won’t mind if you do the same tutorial every day! This is a great resource if you feel a bit left behind in your classes or feel that you would like your tutor to cover topics again.

What Is a Fire Assembly Point and Why Must a Business Designate It?

When fire breaks out in premises, the most important thing is for people to get to safer locations as soon as possible. Fire outbreaks can cause serious injuries and also loss of life. Building fire safety is never clearly understood until that time when fire strikes. There is a need for all persons in the workplace or even in households to clearly understand what a fire assembly point is? This is because; a successful evacuation and fire safety plan is partly determined by how people respond by getting to safer locations when fire breaks out.

In a bid to understand What a fire assembly point is?, it is important to point out that it is not just a safe location within the workplace or household but it is a specially designated open location where people can congregate in the event of a fire. This point should be easy to reach and also free from dangers of the fire. The main reason why people need to get to the fire assembly point is because it helps identify any missing persons.

It is important that fire assembly signs be well designed with clear visibility. They should be able to guide the persons to safety without any problem. In Britain, there were reportedly 388 fire related deaths in 2010-11, and this implies that fires are still a challenge to many households and business premises with the risk of being able to take away life.

There are different ways in which the effects of fires can be managed and use of fire safety signs is one of them. There are also different fire safety signs, which can be used and these may range from prohibitive signs, descriptive signs, and warning signs, to directional signs. When workers and home occupants understand the importance of a fire assembly point and which signs show this critical safety location, they are able to respond fast in the event of an outbreak of fire.

When fire safety signs are installed, there is need for them to be maintained as part of the safety plans, businesses can organize training and education sessions to help the people understand all signs in the premises, where they are placed and what they represent. Where possible, a mock fire safety escape can be carried out to gauge how prepared a business is and how well the workers can respond to fire outbreaks.

This can easily bring out any notable weaknesses in the state of the signage and also the understanding of the different fire safety elements such as the fire fighting equipment and their usage. In addition, with such mock fire safety assessments, the emergency response team can evaluate whether people really know where the fire assembly points are.

The Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996, brings out a clear definition of the different safety signs and how they are applied. There is also regulatory information about the design and use of these signs. The dedicated colors, which are mandated by the law, are prescribed. When you get signs designed and installed by professional designers, you ensure that you are compliant with the law and that people can easily understand the signs and their usage.

Problems You Might Encounter When Installing Your TV On The Wall

When you’ve purchased a new state of the art TV, you need to install it. While earlier on televisions were simply placed on a chair or the coffee table, nowadays they are much bigger and due to several reasons they need to be installed on the wall or ceiling. If you’ve never attempted such an installation before, the steps could be daunting and you might encounter a few problems during the TV mounting, so this article will try to help you out in case you get stuck.

First of all, mounting brackets are really not all that difficult to install. Having said that, you do need to have the proper tools for the job and you need to follow the right set of instructions. Having already done it once would also definitely help.

Most of the problems that people face when trying to install their HDTV on the wall comes from the fact that they haven’t really taken the time to properly read the attached instructions that came with the TV set. Also there are several warning messages that you need to be aware of so you don’t screw up the installation. Simply flipping through the small booklet is not enough to learn everything there is to know in order to do a good job of mounting your HDTV. While in most cases the installation is following common sense, there are some technical aspects that need additional knowledge without which you might not get the job done right. Even worse, you might end up with a TV that will fall off the wall and break in pieces simply because it was not properly secured in place. So whatever you do, first things first, read the booklet, and read it twice if you must.

Another thing that people face is not checking the items that come in the installation box. For example you should ensure that the fittings and all the screws are matching and the measurements are right. There might even be something missing from the package, so check the content thoroughly before you start lifting up the mount and get to the daunting task of installing it on the wall.

Finally you should also check that the actual brackets for your TV are the right type for your own set. The wrong type of mounts will only ensure that your TV will not stay adequately secured and it is in danger of falling down at any time. And having a damaged expensive television set is no small feat to deal with!

Mosaic Floor Tile Cleaning and Maintenance Guide

I myself grew up with mosaic tiles on my family’s bathroom floor and although I really loved the look of it, tile cleaning was not the easiest chore one could be assigned. As with almost all troubling situations in life prevention is definitely better than a cure and so it is with tile cleaning as well.

If your mosaic floor tiles are newly installed have the grout in between the tiles sealed to protect it from moisture as well as staining. Your tiles could be the cleanest it has ever been but if the grout is stained or discolored the whole area can look dingy. Applying a sealant to the grout is not a necessity but because grout is porous the probability of it absorbing liquids which may lead to staining is great. So applying a sealant is a good investment not only to keep the grout relatively stain free but it also prolongs the life of the grout by keeping moisture away which can cause grout softening.

The good news is mosaic floor tile cleaning is not difficult as long as one does this regularly. The materials needed are usually already found around the house. A vacuum cleaner, broom and dust pan, mop, gentle detergent and synthetic brush are all you need for keeping mosaic tiles sparkling.

How often you clean the floor depends on the area if it’s heavily used. Sweeping the tiles daily with a broom is needed if many people use the room or pass by every day. You also need to vacuum the area after sweeping the floor taking care to include in between the tiles because this is where a lot of the dirt and debris settles. Next, get a gentle household detergent and dilute it in a pail of hot or warm water. Mop the tiles well then rinse by mopping the tiles with only warm water. If there are stains get a non-abrasive brush and scrub the spot. Once the stain is gone mop the area again.

Combining Different Finishes to Enhance the Finish of Your Concrete

Concrete offers durability and affordability for both exterior and interior hard surfaces and with different concrete finishes it can also turn into attractive surfaces that impart natural beauty. Decorative concrete finishes can range from simple stained concrete or exposed aggregate to elaborate stamped patterns that can imitate the appearance of natural stone slabs, brick or tile pavers or even a variety of wood. Several colouring methods can be used to make concrete more interesting and realistic.

However, the most impressive effects are created when different concrete finishes are combined. In doing this, one must ensure that all the elements like colour, pattern and texture will relate to each other well. Here are some of the most common concrete finishes, including ideas on how to combine them with other finishes:

Broom Finish – this is the most widely-used type textured concrete finish and is done by stroking wet concrete with a broom. The resulting texture could be coarse or light depending on the broom bristles. You can dress up broom-finished concrete by bordering it with stamped or stencilled concrete. For a more dramatic effect, you can use contrasting colours for the broom-finished area and the borders.

Stained or Coloured Concrete – this is typically created using an acid-based stain that reacts chemically with the concrete to change its colour composition. The colours produced are usually rich earth tones with a marbling effect. Stained concrete will look great with various textured and patterned finishes. For example, if you have a plain coloured concrete driveway, you can saw cut or engrave patterns into it to make it more interesting.

Stamped Concrete – this is done by pressing a concrete stamp on newly-poured concrete to imprint a pattern or texture usually resembling natural materials like stone, slate, brick or tiles. Contemporary patterns include wood, marine life, plant life, and so many others including customized stamps. Stamped concrete has a 3D effect that produces a very realistic look. You can add a band of stained concrete to a stamped concrete walkway to create a nice contrast of texture.

Stenciled Concrete – this makes use of tear-resistant paper stencils to imprint a pattern on wet concrete. There’s a wide array of concrete stencil patterns and textures to choose from for excellent decorative concrete combinations. You can add stencil brick circles to a slate stained driveway or a border of stenciled knot pattern over an acid stained concrete floor to add interest to a room.

Exposed Aggregate – in this finish, different techniques are used to expose the aggregates (i.e. stones, sand, pebble) in the concrete’s surface creating a distinctive look. Exposed aggregate concrete can be placed next to smooth textured concrete to create contrast or they could be stained to make certain areas stand out.

Those are just some of the things you can do with decorative concrete finishes. The first step to designing that winning combination is to be familiar with all the different concrete finishes available. Look at pictures to see how each concrete finish looks like so you can see what you like and what will work for your project. Explore how different concrete finishes can be combined. Look at portfolios or online image galleries of professional concrete contractors to see what’s possible.

Insurance For Painters and Decorators – A Must Have Cover

If you are starting up or running a Painting and Decorating business one of the first things you need to think about is having insurance cover. Having the right cover will protect you if claims are made against you if an accident should happen.

When you are doing your job you are probably working either in another person’s home, or an office or a public building somewhere. There are risks due to working in other people’s property or around other people and you need to be insured just in case an accident happens. You could be claimed against and the cost of the claim could be quite large, you need to have insurance cover to help pay for claims like these.

Public Liability Insurance will be your main insurance cover and will protect you if you cause accidental injury or damage to another person or their property. You need to have this type of insurance as a Painter and Decorator because it will cover you for the unexpected.

If you have employees it will be important to have Employers Liability Insurance. This will cover you if an employee falls ill or is injured whilst at work. Claims by employees can often be quite large. Another important factor is that this cover is required by law in the UK.

Tool and Equipment Insurance can be added to your main insurance cover to help you if you have expensive tools and equipment that you need for running your business. Having your tools and equipment lost or stolen can be extremely annoying and could stop you from trading, meaning you might lose money.

Choosing a Crystal Chandelier

Criteria affecting the choice of chandelier:

– type of room

– dimensions of the room

– articulation of the room

– height of the ceiling

– furnishings and equipment of the interior

– intensity of light required by user

– weight of crystal chandelier

– degree of maintenance required

Type of room

A crystal chandelier can be placed anywhere. The most popular place to hang a crystal chandelier is definitely the living room, followed by the bedroom, hall and dining room. We have also encountered a crystal chandelier in a bathroom, however, it was a huge room with a perfect system of ventilation to take away humidity, which can influence the lifetime and functionality of the chandelier as well as the health of the user. Our chandeliers are shipped with IP code 20 (effective against insertion of fingers or similar objects but not insulated against any harmful ingress of water). A customer / user is fully liable for installing a chandelier in an environment contrary to the design parameters thereof, as well as for any damage to the chandelier caused by placing it in such an environment.

Size of the room

The size of the room is essential when choosing a chandelier. To illustrate, a multi-tiered chandelier is suitable for lounges with staircases which will then be dominated by the chandelier, no matter which side it is being viewed from. Conversely, small rooms should be fitted with single-tier chandeliers or a flush mount. In both cases chandeliers can be combined with wall, table or standing lamps.

Ceiling height

The fact that ceilings of rooms are not of the same height should not be forgotten. We ship our chandeliers with chains of 7 links, i.e. 30-50 cm long depending on the type of the chain. It is essential to consider what clearance under the chandelier is required, taking the height of the user into account. The usual distance between the bottom part of the chandelier and the floor is 2.1-2.2 meters. With regard to the fact that the height of chandeliers with a chain as stated in our catalogue does not include the length of the chain, the length of the chain and the hanger in a canopy, whose height is between 10 and 20 cm depending on the size of the chandelier, must be added to the height of the chandelier. In cases where the ceiling is not high enough, it is possible to shorten the chain. The chain can be shortened up to the length of one link which is necessary for joining the hanger and the body of the chandelier together. Should such a substantial shortening be insufficient, a different type of chandelier should be purchased.

If the chandelier has already been delivered and you need a longer chain, it has to be ordered in the required length along with the flex, which should be changed as well because its length is insufficient as well.

Articulation of the room

The articulation of the room significantly influences the placement of light fixtures. If the room is highly articulated then the use of one central chandelier is not suitable. Such a room should be fitted with wall lamps or another smaller chandelier. For halls with low ceilings it is convenient to use flush mounts.

Furnishings and equipment

The colour of the walls, furniture, metal accessories, carpets and style in which the room has been decorated, as well as the tastes of the user, influence the choice of chandeliers.

Light required by user

Light requirement is a feature of a user which is hard to predict. For example, if a sanitary standard says that the minimum light intensity recommended for a stay in a room is 200lx, there are always people who will require 500lx or more. What is more, the older a user is, the higher his light requirement is.

Various demands on the intensity of light can me met in various ways. A chandelier with a higher number of bulbs whose light intensity we want to decrease can serve as an example. Such a decrease in the light intensity can be reached by:

– installing a double switch (the chandelier will be only partially lit)

– installing a dimmer (the light intensity of all lit bulbs will be gradually regulated)

– exchanging current bulbs for ones with a lower power

We are often asked the question of how many arms a chandelier should have to light a particular room. The following guide should help you answer the question:

Multiply the width of the room by the length (both in meters) and again by 15. The number you get is just informative and should equal the Watt power (W) the main lighting of the room should have. Light requirement is above all dependent on the type of the room (living room, hall, dining room) which is either set out by a regulation or required by a user.

The weight of crystal chandelier

In case of large chandeliers, their weight plays an important part. It is important to find out where and to what ceiling construction the chandelier will be installed or otherwise attached. You should take into consideration that an 18-arm chandelier, for example, can weigh up to 17kilos, and such a weight will be attached to one point on your ceiling. In the case of some especially large chandeliers, the construction of the ceiling should be assessed by a structural engineer.


If you wish to clean the entire chandelier, it is not necessary nowadays to dismantle the whole chandelier, dust various parts in soapy water, dry them carefully and return back all the parts to their places. It is now possible to buy a special detergent to clean crystal chandeliers. The detergent need only be sprayed on the chandelier and all dirt will disappear and will drain away onto a mat placed beneath the chandelier. The work, which would otherwise take hours, is finished in a few minutes.

Face Lift

Face lift, or Facial Rytidectomy, is a popular procedure among men and women over 40 years of age. About 80,000 face lifts performed in the US every year. The majority of the patients are female, but it is becoming more acceptable in the male population.

Face Lifts are often associated with other procedures, including blepharoplasty (eye lid surgery), otoplasty (reduction of the earlobes), forehead lift (brow lift), neck lift, chin and cheek implants. Minimally invasive procedures that may be accompanied with a face lift are chemical peels or laser treatment for the lips, eyelids and crows feet. These procedures performed simultaneously enhance the results of the face lift.

Dr. Blau utilizes the advancements made in plastic surgery for face lifts to apply his surgical skills to the SMAS fascia and the platysma muscle. This allows for results that do not appear to put tension on the skin, producing more natural post surgical results than offered in the past.

Face lift incisions are located in front or inside of the ears and sometimes, on the back of the ears. The goal is to produce minimal scarring through inconspicuous incision locations and aids for scarring. Every patient heals differently. Therefore, scarring will appear differently among face lift patients. Face lift patients commonly require neck liposuction. Further treatment to the neck may involve platysmoplasty in which the neck muscle’s fascia is sutured together. This is incorporated with tightening of the SMAS fascia.

Face lifts require serious consideration in the initial consultation. It is important to review the surgeon’s credentials and type of board certification and understand every aspect of the face lift surgery before undergoing the procedure.

When in consult with the Plastic surgeon Dr. Blau will assess the possibilities of what can be done to improve facial lines, wrinkles, jowls and sagging skin. There are alternative procedures to consider in conjunction with facelift surgery to help with the forehead lines, crow’s feet and bags which can not treated with a facelift.

Beijing Cars – An Upside to Number Plate Restrictions?

In order to cope with a city drowning in traffic, in one of the most polluted environments on earth, the Beijing authorities introduced restrictions aimed at curbing the registration of new vehicles in the city. Introduced in January 2011, the new regulations mean that only 20,000 cars can be registered in any given month, and only a total of 240,000 may be registered in the whole year.

When you consider that nearly 900,000 new cars were put on the road in 2010 this is bad news for most of the city’s auto traders.

There have been reports of dealers in near suicidal states after over stocking (often thanks to manufacturer pressure) on the forecourt and now finding themselves with massive quantities to shift without the ability to get them registered.

In the long run many of these companies will probably find they have to sell their stocks on to other dealers outside of Beijing at a loss.

In addition poorer families are expected to be hit worst by the legislation, with priority expected to be given for licensing mid to high range motors.

So is there any upside?

Well there’s the obvious boost in second hand car values and sales, because the number plate is going to be the most important factor on choosing a new ride. After all who would spend large sums of money on a vehicle that can’t even be driven on the roads without paying substantial fines?

One of the other areas that will benefit and has yet been unexplored in much of the mainstream press is the rental market.

China’s rental market has traditionally been tiny to non-existent. Owning a new car has been the key goal of almost any family and for the rich it has been possible to buy fleets of vehicles to be driven at a whim.

Sensible customers however are noting that with regulations driving prices inexorably higher in the search for that all important Beijing number plate, the rental market offers a cheap and feasible alternative.

In fact, while rental has not been terribly successful in the past it may become a surging sector in an otherwise depressed market place. It’s going to be interesting to see if the major names which have so far been deterred from entering the Chinese market because of its size are going to come running or whether it will be enterprising local firms that capitalise most on this opportunity.

Rice Cookers Versus Stove Pots – Who Earns the Advantage?

Ever think having a rice cooker in your kitchen may not benefit you all that much? Well, consider that thought again.

Cooking white rice in a normal stove pot may be fast and easy, but when folks start experimenting with different rice types such as brown rice, sushi, and even mixed rice, the challenge to get it just right becomes greater and usually comes with some frustration along with trial and error.

However, having a micro-computerized rice cooker in your corner will not only take the guess work and hassle out of cooking those other types, but may also open up some new cooking avenues for chefs to explore.

Below are 3 major benefits and advantages certain rice cookers hold over your overused one shot deal stove pot.

1) Diversified Settings

One of the most popular reasons for buying one of these appliances are the multiple benefits, features, and settings different cookers may offer. I say “may” since depending on how much folks spend will determine how many additional features they obtain.

Cookers in the $100 to $200 range will offer specific settings for white rice, brown rice, sushi, mixed, & more. Most come with programmable timers, extended keep warm modes, and produce rice without the hassle of boil-over and/or rice crusting issues associated with lesser units.

Some even offer a texture setting when cooking regular white rice, (soft, normal, or firm).

In addition, most of these cookers also come with a steaming tray allowing folks to prepare a batch of healthy steamed vegetables, chicken, or seafood.

Some models like the Sanyo ECJ-HC100S for example also come equipped with a slow cooking benefit which makes it a great 2-in-1 machine.

But even most cookers in the $30 range come with a steaming tray and keep warm feature.

2) “Fuzzy Logic” Technology = Fool Proof Rice

Another huge advantage certain rice cookers hold over ordinary stove pots is the internal micro-computerized monitoring technology known as Fuzzy Logic.

Simply put, having Fuzzy Logic in your kitchen takes most of the guess work out of preparing great rice dishes since your cooker will not just boil the rice, but actually pay attention on how your rice is cooking while making fine adjustments in cooking time and water temperature along the way.

The end result is a batch of rice that has superior quality and texture compared to stove pot rice, especially when comparing brown rice. It may take longer than average, (programmed soaking time) but many find it to be worth the wait.

Another thing to mention is that such units are expensive, with prices ranging from $100 to $400+! But in the end it is worth the consistent results.

3) Easier Clean up & Energy Efficient

Folks who have an electric range may discover that using a rice cooker instead will prove to be more cost effective. This holds even more ground with models that slow cook and/or simultaneously steam food allowing for entire meals to be completed in one unit.

When it is time for cleaning up, most cookers come with non stick bowls that wash away rice and excess starch with ease when using warm water and a soft sponge. These non stick bowls also make serving the rice easier too.

The days of scrubbing and scraping are over!

Just remember to always use the rice scoops or paddles the cooker came with when serving to extend the lifespan of the non stick material.

So those are 3 very good reasons to consider a rice cooker over a normal stove pot for folks who consume rice daily…and for those who want more than a rice making kitchen tool!

Rustic Wood Adds Beauty to Your Home

Mountain laurel and rhododendron are members of the Heath family, related to roses and azaleas, that thrive in the Appalachian Mountains of Western North Carolina. These trees are often found growing together in dense thickets. In the springtime, rhododendrons bloom with clusters of pink, white and sometimes purple blossoms. Mountain laurel flowers grow together in dense clumps of white. When these flowers loosen their grip, they fall to the forest floor creating a wonderful white carpet of petals. Both trees are evergreens with dark green, glossy leaves. Rhododendron leaves are generally larger and more elongated than mountain laurel.

Mountain laurel and rhododendron often fall victim to the process of clearing and preparing a home site. These trees are generally burned as waste. Reuse of these branches prevents them from being wasted in a bonfire and instead brings their rustic beauty into your home. The natural characteristics of these twisted limbs are a perfect complement to a rustic residence. Skilled craftsmen can assemble these branches through complex joinery into dazzling arrangements of rustic beauty.

The branches of mountain laurel and rhododendron trees are well-suited for use as a handrail or decorative screen. When used in a handrail, smaller diameter branches of less than 1.5 inches are preferred. The tops and bottoms of the branches are easily ‘sandwiched’ between two pieces of lumber for easy installation. Rustic handrails that are assembled on site by skilled craftsmen look as if they have grown in place. Pre-assembled handrail sections can be manufactured to length for delivery to your location. Thicker branches can serve as posts to support the rustic handrail to increase its beauty and complexity.

Mountain laurel or rhododendron branches larger in diameter than those used in handrails are available for use in exterior structures, pergolas, gazebos, bridge guardrails and plenty more. A rustic outdoor gazebo could have natural trunks for the walls and roof framing, smaller branches for privacy screens and even have furniture made with branches.

There are also plenty of applications inside the house. A grand, open staircase in a mountain lodge would be stunning with a unique rustic wood handrail. These handrails also look great on balconies and lofts in log cabin homes. Larger branches can be used in their unaltered state as one-of-a-kind interior accents and decorations. Rustic mountain furniture, from chairs and tables to bedframes and bureaus, can be crafted out of this versatile wood.

Mountain laurel and rhododendron bring natural rustic beauty into a home. Skilled craftsmen assemble sticks and branches of this versatile wood into many items including rustic wood handrails, exterior buildings such as gazebos and casual furniture that impart the look and feel of the forest to your home.

Pool Fences – Safe and Attractive

For anyone who has an outdoor swimming pool in their front or backyard, getting a pool fence is quite important nowadays and they can also be a great way to decorate the surrounding area. There are even certain laws in many parts of the country which are laid out for homes with swimming pools. This is because there is a substantial number of deaths (mostly child deaths) caused due to drowning.

If you have small children in your home it is your responsibility to keep them safe and if you do not have a pool fence then you are certainly not doing a good job keeping them safe. Even if you do not have children in the family there can be times when your friends or relatives children may come over for a party or some other occasion. This is why it is always better to set up a fence for your pool.

Many people do not like getting a pool fence because they think it will obstruct the surrounding view and make the area look ugly. This is because the most common material used for building pool fences is wood. Wood is inexpensive, lasts long (only if it has a coat and taken good care of) and is not very hard to install. But now you are able to get a glass pool fence which will not obstruct the view as well as make the pool look a lot classier.

Glass pool fencing is also extremely easy to install and you can find a wide variety of styles to suit the design of your pool and backyard. A glass pool fence will also block out extra noise in case you live near a busy street. It is quite affordable and the best thing about glass fences is that they are extremely long lasting. Unlike metal pool fences, glass cannot rust and unlike wood, it cannot deteriorate. It also does not need to be treated with any extra coating to make it last longer. Another great thing about glass is that it does not require any sort of maintenance.

Glass pool fencing looks great around any type of pool, heightening the design of your property as well as value. It looks modern as well as stylish and it will last longer than any other type of fence.

While getting glass pool fencing installed, make sure it is effective in keeping children away. Make sure that the height of the fence is tall enough to keep children from climbing over and also make sure it has only one gate. It is also good to get several quotes for the price from a number of different companies in order to get the best price on your glass pool fence. Once it is installed you will not regret taking the decision to get a glass fence.

The Incredible Power of Belief and It’s Impact on Our World – Part 1

When I read this statement, “As a man believes in his heart…so he is” almost fifteen years ago it really struck a cord with me like never before. Of course I had heard this before, but this time it was different. This time it really got through. It means to me that when you have a true belief…not just a casual belief but a true, deep seated, unshakable, unquestionable belief that is backed by real conviction that it is IN FACT true, then this is in fact reality…for you!

What do I mean by this? I need to tell a story here…a very true story. Do you know the true story of the 4 minute mile?

For thousands of years it was believed that man was not physically capable of running a mile race in under 4 minutes. For generations the elite of the runners could never get past that barrier. Four minutes and a half…four minutes twenty seconds…four minutes fifteen seconds, but never close to the actual 4 minute barrier. In fact many doctors were on record having said it just was not possible…the human body was not built in such a way that it could endure the strain needed to accomplish such a feat. Many said that the heart itself would simply explode or fail under such strain.

Generation after generation ran as hard as possible only to yield to the 4 minute barrier. Then one day in 1954 Roger Bannister did the impossible—he ran the mile in under 4 minutes. When he was interviewed afterwards he was asked how he did it. His answer was simply, “I ran the mile in my imagination so many times in under four minutes…lap by lap….stride for stride….breath by breath, that I new it was only a matter of time until I would accomplish it in real life”.

He imagined the strain he would feel, the fatigue, the burning lungs, the straining for oxygen and he imagined running through all of this successfully. It was only a matter of time in his mind until what he had already accomplished so many times in his mind would actually be played out in real life at an actual track event.

So it wasn’t any new physical training techniques, or new vitamins or supplements, or new and better running shoes…but merely the belief…the conviction that he would actually accomplish what everyone else deemed to be impossible.

What is even more powerful though is that though is what happened after Roger Bannister did the “impossible”. Within one year 37 other runners also broke the 4 minute barrier. Within two years over 300 other runners also did the “impossible”. Why? Because it was no longer impossible—someone had paved the way to show that it was possible and as a result had created a whole new belief system in it’s place.

That sudden shift from what was once “impossible” for thousands of years was changed in an instant through one simple thing…the power of belief.

It is so critically important we take a close look at the beliefs we hold true. Are they empowering or disempowering? What are they based on…simply that we have not yet accomplished something yet and therefore believe it is not possible? I think when we actually look closely at the beliefs we do have, many of them were simply “adopted” because they were easily accessed.

What I mean is that we often accept the current beliefs of those around us, those we respect, those of our society because we unfortunately just “go with the flow” of current thought. It actually takes time and effort to really dig deep and find out what we truly believe and most are not willing to do this, so they take the easiest way out and go with what others believe unless or until it no longer serves them or it causes some major conflict for them.

There is incredible power in belief itself…and when you combine belief with true, unshakable conviction you have an unstoppable force. Whether the belief is actually “true” or not is irrelevant because for the one who holds that belief…it is true enough…it is true in their world. This is why it is so very important we take a close look at what we truly do believe about ourselves and our futures. Let’s make sure our beliefs encourage and build up instead of tearing down ourselves and others.

What beliefs do you currently have that are holding you back from accomplishing something worthwhile in your life? Challenge those beliefs that have held you back from going for those goals that inspire you. Find new beliefs that propel you forward to accomplish those things in life that make you whole and complete. Go for what makes passionate about life and don’t allow old thought patterns to hold you back anymore!

"Switch How to Change Things When Change is Hard" by Chip Heath and Dan Heath Business Book Review

Business mavens, Brothers Heath released their new book, entitled, “Switch: How To Change Things When Change Is Hard,” (Broadway, 2010), in February. The authors address change at the individual, organizational, and societal level. Change involves the brain’s emotional and rational side. The Heath brothers identify the overpowering emotional element as the Elephant. The rational, decision-making component is secondary and sits atop the Elephant as the Rider. When conflict between the two exists, the Rider is inherently the underdog. To make lasting change, the Elephant and Rider need to unite. Also key is having clear direction. Following is an example from each of the nine principles contained within the triad to accomplish long-term change. It’s noteworthy that the change framework benefits anyone without a vast amount of authority or resources.

DIRECT THE RIDER-Analytical, Rational Thinking.

Find the Bright Spots. In 1990 an international organization that helps needy children accepted a Vietnamese government invitation to decrease malnutrition. They earned six months to make a difference. The short timeline negated ending poverty, purifying water and building sanitation systems to address starvation. Organizers traveled to a rural village and met with mothers. Despite widespread malnutrition, some children were thriving. Why? The team searched for bright spots-successful efforts worth emulating. They discovered bright spot moms fed their children four times a day (easier on kids’ digestive systems), vs. the standard two. Another finding among several was that bright spot moms added shrimp and crab from the rice paddies into their kids meals. Cooking classes originated with bright spot moms teaching other mothers how to prepare healthy meals for their children. The mothers already had the emotional component (Elephant) – natural concern for their kids. They needed direction (Rider) not motivation. Six months later, 65 percent of the village kids were better nourished and stayed that way.

Script the Critical Moves. Doctors studied a case history of a patient with chronic arthritic hip pain. Their options were to perform drastic hip replacement surgery or administer a single untried medication. They chose the drug 47 percent vs. doing hip surgery. Another doctor set studied a similar case history with two untried drugs presented as a choice. Here, only 28 percent of the doctors chose one of the prescriptions. The remainder selected hip surgery. The study results display decision paralysis. Too many choices tax the Rider’s strength; and it will always revert to the status quo. Change creates uncertainty and ambiguity. Any successful change requires translation of ambiguous goals into concrete behaviors. Script the critical moves (not every move but key moves). In the above studies, the critical directive to “Use invasive options only as a last resort” would have resulted in more physicians choosing the drug option. Clarity dissolves the Rider’s resistance.

Point to the Destination. In the mid 1980s a popular investment firm’s research department ranked an embarrassing fifteenth in its ability to generate revenue for banks. Top executives recruited a new leader who became both GM and coach. He announced that he expected analysts to initiate at least 125 client conversations a month. He promoted a team environment; requiring analysts to cite colleagues’ work at least twice during presentations. He also declared that the firm would crack the premiere investment magazine’s Top 5. He not only scripted the critical moves (make 125 calls, cite colleagues’ work); he also created a destination postcard- a vivid picture from the near-term future that shows what could be possible. In three short years the firm leapfrogged from fifteenth to first place. When you describe a compelling destination you decrease the Rider’s ability to get lost in analysis paralysis.

MOTIVATE THE ELEPHANT-Emotional, Instinctive.

Find the Feeling. In the late 1970s, a state’s Department of Youth Services (DYS), an agency that focuses on delinquent kids; overhauled its operations. Nonprofits including group homes and halfway houses replaced youth prisons. The head of accounting for DYS ruled his division with an iron fist, earning the title of Attila the Accountant. Expense reports submitted with a single mistake like a date omission or miscalculated subtotal were returned to the offending nonprofit for corrections. The organizations operated on a shoestring budget and delayed payments jeopardized their ability to service kids. Frustrated, Attila’s colleagues invited him on a field trip to visit some participating nonprofits. He witnessed firsthand their operational and financial challenges; and returned to the office a changed man. He was still authoritarian but less nitpicky about expense report submissions, allowing the nonprofits to receive their payments faster.

Shrink the Change. A local car wash ran a promotion using loyalty cards. One customer group received an 8-stamp card, earning a free car wash once filled. Another customer set received a 10-stamp card, with 2 stamps already completed, advancing them 20 percent towards their goal. Several months later, only 19 percent of the 8-stamp customers had earned a free car wash, vs. 34 percent of the head-start group, which also earned their free car wash faster. The authors state that people find it more motivating to be partially finished with a long-term goal than to be at the starting gate of a shorter one. How could you rally your family, coworkers, community, etc. to achieve a long-term goal by highlighting what’s already been accomplished towards its completion? To motivate an uninspired Elephant, shrink the change.

Grow Your People. In 1977 the St. Lucia parrot faced extinction. Island natives undervalued the bird, some even eating it as a delicacy. No clear economic case for saving the parrot existed. Conservationists knew an analytical case for protecting the bird would fail. Instead, they implemented an emotional appeal. Their goal was to convince St. Lucians that they were the kind of people who protected their own. They wanted St. Lucians to swell with pride over their exclusive island species. The St. Lucia Parrot Campaign included T-shirts, bumper stickers and locally recorded songs about the parrot. The animal became part of the natives’ national identity. In 2008, conservationists noted that no St. Lucian had been caught shooting the parrot in fifteen years, resurrecting the species from extinction.

SHAPE THE PATH-Provide Clear Direction.

Tweak the Environment. The airline industry abides by the “sterile cockpit” rule. Anytime a plane is below 10,000 feet, either ascending or descending (the most accident-prone times), no conversation other than flight-related is permitted. At 11,000 feet the crew can talk freely. An IT group adopted the sterile cockpit tenet to advance an important software development project. They aimed to reduce new product development time from three years to nine months. They established “quiet hours” Tuesday, Thursday and Friday mornings before noon. It gave coders a sterile cockpit, allowing them to concentrate on complex bits of code without being interrupted. Ultimately, the group achieved their nine-month development goal. What looks like a people problem is often a situational challenge. People have a systematic tendency to ignore situational forces that shape other people’s behavior. Simple tweaks of the path can produce dramatic behavioral changes.

Build Habits. One of the subtle ways our environment influences us is by reinforcing (or deterring) our habits. Habits are important because they’re behavioral autopilot. They allow good actions to happen “free” without taxing the Rider’s self-control, which is exhaustive. To change yourself or others you need to change habits. Forming a habit involves both environmental and mental influences. “Action triggers” are effective in motivating action. They preload a decision and are most useful in difficult situations when the Rider’s self-control is strained. Action triggers create “instant habits.”

Rally the Herd. A hotel manager tested a new sign in the hotel bathrooms. It simply stated “the majority of guests at the hotel reuse their towels at least once during their stay.” Guests who got the sign were 26 percent more likely to reuse their towels. They took cues from the herd. In ambiguous situations we all look to others for cues about how to behave. Change situations often involve ambiguity along with their inherent unfamiliarity. To change things, you must pay attention to social signals. They can either guarantee a change effort or doom it. Lead an Elephant on an unfamiliar path and it’s likely to follow the herd.

The authors acknowledge that change isn’t always easy. When change works it tends to follow a pattern. People will change with clear direction, ample motivation, and a supportive environment. The Rider, Elephant and Path need to align in support of the switch. Visit the authors at http://www.heathbrothers.com.

Common Complications of Sinusitis

There are several different degrees of sinusitis, it can progress from mild to acute very quickly if left unchecked. It can also become chronic sinusitis and that is really miserable.

Sinusitis can become acute if it last for over a few days following with colds which usually clears in about twelve weeks. On the other hand, sinusitis could develop into chronic sinusitis when the symptoms (i.e. headache, fever, post-nasal drip, colds, etc.) end up lasting for more than 12 weeks.

There are good reasons to get treatment started as quickly as possible. Here are a few of the possible complications that could arise if sinusitis is left unchecked.

  1. One of the accounted complications of sinusitis is Osteomyelitis.This is commonly linked to acute frontal sinusitis and could also be associated with subperiosteal abscess, which originally described by Sir Percival Pott as “Pott’s puffy tumor” in 1760. Experts also said that most adolescent male with acute frontal sinusitis are specifically at threat for critical problems. This complication includes infection of the forehead and other facial bones. Most common symptoms are forehead pain, leukocytosis and low grade fever.
  2. The spread of infection by anaerobic bacteria to the brain, both through blood vessels and through the bones is considered as the most dangerous complication of sinusitis, predominantly the frontal and sphenoid sinusitis. This kind of complication results to life threatening conditions such as meningitis and abscesses. Such type of cases, the affected individual goes through altered consciousness, visual problems, personality changes, headache, coma, seizures and eventually death.
  3. Another sinusitis complication is what they call orbital infection or infection of the eye socket. This causes inflammation that which results to floppy eyes, a very rare yet severe problem of ethmoid sinusitis. This is the case when a patient loses an eye movement and will experience a vision loss or blindness due to the pressure on the optic nerve which is permanent sometimes. In addition, the suffering individual will endure severe illness and fever in many instances.

Obviously, it is importatnt to get chronic sinusitis under control as quickly as possible. Fortunately, there are many effective natural sinusitis remedies in addition to anti biotics that can quickly help you eliminate sinusitis.

Delay of even a few days can seriously complicated your condition. Please, get started on a plan of action as quickly as possible so that you can avoid not only the above complications, but also several others that are equally serious.