Plastic Wall Panels For Hygiene

One of the greatest priorities of architects and designers who are working on healthcare building projects is the promotion of hygiene in the finished building. Hospitals and health centres are increasingly expected to select their interiors with a view to controlling infection and promoting hygiene. Plastic wall paneling is playing a growing role in infection control in health buildings.

Such panels have traditionally been used in schools and airports as well as supermarkets to protect wall surfaces from damage caused by large numbers of passing people and frequent bumps from trolleys. In such situations, plastic wall panels in a variety of colour combinations and different sizes have successfully saved money on repairs as well as maintaining appearances in public buildings for many years.

It was more recently, however, following the increasingly common press reports of superbug outbreaks in hospitals, that infection control and hygiene promotion became an issue big enough to influence building and décor practice. Healthcare architects are more aware than ever that their designs must be both tough and hygienic. As a result plastic wall paneling is a more popular choice than ever before in hospitals and health centres.

Although in the past architects and designers have shied away from using the panels to avoid incurring any extra cost, health authorities, who will be responsible for the maintenance of healthcare buildings are catching on to their benefits. Plastic wall paneling saves wall repair costs and because they can be simply wiped clean without such disadvantages as requiring time consuming or complicated cleaning methods, they can contribute a great deal to healthcare hygiene.

Major Web Hosting Plans

When choosing a web hosting plan bound to serve all your business needs, there are several factors that need to be put into focus. They include the needs that you have as a business, server location and the available packages. The plan you select is very important and this means knowing the major plans and what they can do for your business before settling for the one you feel is best suited for your business.

Shared web hosting – This web hosting plan is ideal for mid-sized or small business because it is affordable. You get to have a good amount of disk space and bandwidth that easily meets with your business website needs of average traffic. It basically means getting hosting from a server that has other websites it is hosting hence the sharing bit of it. Important to note however is that the hosting can reduce performance as a result of too many websites getting hosted together.

Dedicated web hosting – If you want less interference with your web performance, then this is the web hosting plan for you. The plan has the entire server serving your website alone with so much bandwidth and disk space at your disposal. It is most suitable for sites that have heavy traffic and therefore performance compromise can lead to serious losses. If you are looking for high levels of security, then also it is perfect for your business. It takes the worries of traffic spikes off your shoulder and you can actually consider reseller web hosting if you have too much bandwidth and disk space you are not using.

VPS hosting – This is virtual private server hosting and it falls between dedicated and shared type of hosting. You share a server with other sites, but resources are divided in fixed proportions, making sure that traffic spikes on the other websites you are sharing with does not in any way affect the performance of your website. It is much more affordable than a dedicated package and it is safer and more stable than a shared web hosting plan.

Cloud hosting – This plan offers you the advantages of dedicated and shared web hosting plans, but you have the added benefit of being in a position to modify your server speeds depending on the current needs that you have. You can turn up the speeds during peak seasons such as holidays when there is increased traffic and reduce the same when there is minimal traffic It saves you from software and hardware issues that could affect performance and you can also enjoy cloud computing.

Before making your decision with a web hosting plan, know your options and take your time to compare the advantages and disadvantages of each of the plan before making the final best selection for your business needs. Your web host should be willing to take you through all important details of the available plans, including the setbacks of each to help you make the best decision that will be best for the business.

Wrought Iron Balusters Vs Wooden Balusters – A Comparison!

Whether its home decorating or home renovation – the first thing that comes to mind is stairways renovation. Stairways have to be secure else there is always a risk of accident. However, one cannot deny the fact that these stairways also make our home beautiful. So, what are the solutions- what type of balusters will fulfill both the needs? When thinking about this, two types of balusters come to mind- Wrought iron balusters and wooden balusters. I am sure, most of the people reading this must be having wood balusters at their homes. And if you are thinking of home renovation, then there is no better idea than a wrought iron baluster. Here we will compare these balusters with wooden balusters and will also come to know what advantages does iron has over the wood!

Durability- Iron is definitely durable than wood. Wood balusters get decayed over time. They are also susceptible to vermin and termites. Balusters made from wrought iron do not have all these problems. Once installed, they will be there for lifelong. Now comes the question of getting bored of seeing these balusters year after year. That also has a solution. Get them painted in your choice of color after a certain period of time. There is nothing against balusters made from wood if one can afford to change them over short period of times. If not, its better to get iron balusters installed at your stairways.

Ductility- Wrought iron is malleable and can be molded and given any shape. Thus, these balusters are more decorative than wooden balusters. Wood, as is known, can not be molded to give curvy or decorative shapes while the metal can be twisted into intricate and complicated designs. As a result, you have many options with wrought iron balusters and can let your imagination loose when decorating your home.

Easy Availability- Due to the changed interests of home dwellers and decorators, craftsmen are more inclined towards making balusters out of wrought iron. They are hesitant in experimenting with wooden baluster designs. As a result, these iron balusters are available in showrooms and even smaller shops in most of the cities and towns. They are available on Internet too and can be purchased online sitting right at your home.

As far as cost is concerned, it all depends upon the place where you stay and how much of this metal is dealt with there. Depending upon the quality of wrought iron and on the craftsmanship (the more detailed and intricate the designs, more will be cost), it can be both- cheaper or costlier than wooden balusters. You are now the sole authority to decide whether you need wrought iron balusters in place of your old wooden balusters or not?

Porch Railing Ideas

Porches are a very common addition to the family home, they can be on the front, side or rear of a home and provide a great place for entertaining, relaxing and even as a sort of mud room. If you are considering a new porch, one thing you might not have considered is the type of porch railing. Porch railing ideas run the gamut from simply vinyl construction to beautifully woven wrought iron. Here are a few things you may want to keep in mind.

Vinyl Railings

Vinyl railings are one of the most popular choices as they are practically maintenance free and will last a lifetime. These rails are weatherproof and come in a variety of colors to match nearly any exterior design. Vinyl is a great option for many different types of porch constructions.


Would you like to stain your railing to match your current wooden trim? Wood railings allow you to do this and so much more. You can choose new wood construction or go for an antique look with old growth or salvaged wood. Carve your wooden railings into almost any design and your home will be the talk of the neighborhood. Wood adds beauty and balance to the exterior of your home.

Wrought Iron

Wrought iron is also a popular choice, of course it tends to be more expensive than wooden or vinyl railing ideas. Another drawback to these rails is maintenance, you generally must treat these rails to prevent rusting and decay.


You might think that railing installation would not require building permits, however depending on your location this may be a risky assumption. Check with your local building permit office about which permits you may need and how to apply.

Do it Yourself

There are several porch-railing ideas that are simple to construct. All you need is a basic knowledge of power tools and construction; you should be able to construct your own porch railings. Of course, wrought iron and carved wooden railings may be a bit more than you want to tackle, and in this case, you should call a contractor.

Final Thoughts

Porch railing ideas are varied and which you choose will likely determined by the style of your home and of course your personal preference. If you want a cost effective railing that will last forever and gives you a wide variety of color choices vinyl is one of the best. On the other hand, if your home is more rustic in nature wooden may be the best choice.

Tips For Getting A Dark Finish When Staining Pine Wood

If you need to finish a trim or furniture piece made of pine, and you’re trying to stain the wood dark, you might run into problems getting the rich, dark tone that you would like.

And even if you obtain the deep, dark stain color you wanted, why are your results looking so “blotchy?”

To stain pine wood dark, every time, follow these steps.

Start with sanding

First things first, with any staining task, give the wood a good sanding. You’re going to want to do this by hand. Pine wood is a softwood, and if you use a power sander, you’ll often wind up with some noticeable scratches once you apply stain to the wood. There’s no easy way out of this, a manual sanding job is required.

To ensure a dark finish, use a medium grit sanding sponge or the equivalent sandpaper, which is about 100-grit. The sanding sponge is best for trim molding that has curves and fine crevices. It’s the best option for conforming to the curves and getting into the nooks and crannies. If you’ve got a strictly flat surface, wrap a small square piece of sandpaper around a sanding block (a simple block of wood will do) and sand with the grain, but at a slight angle.

Why at a slight angle? Pine wood grain is characterized by the light, softer “earlywood” and darker, harder “latewood.” By not cutting across the grain just a little, you are going to sand down more earlywood than latewood and end up with a relatively wavy surface, instead of the totally flat surface you’re looking to achieve.

If you’re after a darker finish, don’t sand with a grit any finer than medium or 100-grit. Sanding with this slightly rough grit helps to open the pores of the pine wood, which will accept more stain. What you don’t want to do is use a fine sanding sponge or 180-grit (or higher) sandpaper. This effectively polishes the wood and closes off the wood pores, making it tougher to stain the pine dark.

Eliminate blotchy finished pineAfter a thorough sand job, vacuum the project and then use a tag rag to wipe up all of the remaining dust particles.

Finished pine can look blotchy because of the different growth cycles of the wood (and is also dependent on how the final piece was cut.) To eliminate this unsightly problem, pick up a can of pre-stain wood conditioner at your local home center or paint store. The wood conditioner ensures a more uniform stain color by closing off some of the larger pores and reducing stain absorption in those areas.

However, making use of the wood conditioner helps make it tougher to stain pine dark. Nevertheless, so long as you’re working with a dark oil-based penetrating stain, you can get the dark shade you would like.

Follow the directions on the can for the wood conditioner. For most types, you’ll need to wait about 15 minutes before applying stain. But don’t wait too long. Allowing the wood conditioner to dry completely will completely block the wood pores and it will be difficult to achieve the dark color you’re looking for.

Begin staining

How you get the stain on the wood is not important. You can use a foam brush, regular brush, or clean cloth. Apply generously. Try not to get drips, though. To ensure a nice dark finish, wait as long as the manufacturer allows before wiping off the excess stain. Make sure you don’t wait too long though, or else the stain will get tacky and difficult to wipe off.

If your wood is not as dark as you’d hoped for, don’t give up hope. Wait at least a day or more for the piece to totally dry. Then follow the steps above to re-stain your project. Your pine wood finish will have taken on a deeper, darker shade.

Usually a few coats of stain will help you achieve the finish results you would like. One more thing to try is to wipe down your piece with mineral spirits before staining again.

Ethmoid Sinus Diseases – Prevention and Treatment

Sinus infections occur when nasal passages, along with the sinuses, become inflamed due to bacteria or viruses. Ethmoid sinus disease occur when the frontal sinuses are inflamed, causing headache and pressure on both your eyes and nose, which are the most common signs of ethmoid sinus infections.

The ethmoid sinuses are located in the skull, right above the nose and between the sockets of the eyes. These sinuses are small and contain 7 to 10 bubbles which are connected and lined with mucus membranes. These bubbles have passage ways for the ethmoid sinuses that drains the nasal cavity. When bacteria infest the lining of the ethmoid sinuses, it becomes inflamed and eventually blocks the ostia, causing the mucus not to drain from the ethmoid sinuses. Due to this, there will be a mucus build up and this will eventually cause infection which is known as ethmoid sinus disease, ethmoid sinusitis or ethmoiditis.

Ethmoid sinus diseases are known to be acute and the symptoms may usually last no longer than 8 weeks if you are getting an infection once a year. If you are experiencing such condition more often, then the symptoms may last even up to 10 days and these symptoms often include post nasal drip, nasal congestion and discharge, pain in the inner corner of the eyes and on one particular side of the nose. Ethmoid sinus disease symptoms may also be accompanied with headache in the temples and the pain and pressure might be worse when you are lying down and may lessen if your head is positioned upright.

For an ethmoid sinus disease, a decongestant may already be helpful in clearing the airways. These decongestants can be an Afrin, Neo-Synephrine, Forte or Naphcon. These are often used to clear the airways, but for ethmoid sinus diseases which are due to bacteria, antibiotics may also be recommended. Synthetic penicillin such as Polymox, Amoxil and Trimox works best against various microorganisms, but for those who have penicillin allergies, trimethoprim or sulfamethoxazole can be taken instead.

To be protected against ethmoid sinus diseases, make sure to avoid people suffering from common colds and maintain proper hygiene. An annual influenza vaccine can also be helpful in reducing the risk of acquiring infections throughout the year. Including antioxidants in your diet can help you strengthen your immune system as well and do not forget to get proper amount of sleep so that your body can recover from a day’s hard work. Drinking lots of water can also help you lessen nasal secretions and thin the mucus.

2 Car Garage Plans – How to Properly Size Your New Garage

Properly sized 2 car garage plans will add value to your home, save you a lot of future aggravation and could save you some money. There are hundreds of free and almost free garage plans available for purchase or immediate download from the internet. Make a bad choice and you may actually decrease the value of your home.

When I recently conducted a home plan search in the 2100 to 2499 square foot category, 40 of the 50 I found were 2 car garage plans. A few of the garages were 24′ square (a good thing), with many in the 20′ X 20′ range (NOT so good) and one 19′ wide (ludicrous!).

What kind of cars do you drive? Better yet, what kinds of cars do the future buyers of your home drive? If the world had nothing to store and everyone drove a Mini Cooper, no problem. For the rest of us, plan on 24′ square at a minimum.

Why so big? Many of today’s popular cars and SUVs are 16 to 17 feet long, leaving little room to walk around the car with the garage door closed. Worse yet, install 18″ to 24″ deep storage shelves or a 25″ deep workbench in front of your cars and there isn’t room for you.

With so many people parking their $20,000+ automobiles outside, you would think the C.R.A.P. stored inside was actually worth something. If you do have valuable stuff stored inside, why not make room for your cars, too? Add a garage workbench, a tool box, a few tools and some recreational equipment and things could get really tight.

Compare these two garage plans:

1. Plan one is 20′ deep with a 16′ long Chevrolet Trailblazer parked inside. With one foot of clearance at the back of the Trailblazer you only have three feet in front. Add a 25″ deep workbench and there is 11″ left for skinny you. Drive a full sized pickup and you’re sunk.

2. Plan two is 24′ deep with the same Trailblazer parked inside and one foot of clearance at the back. Now you have nearly five feet between your vehicle and the workbench.

What about width? Most garage planners advise you to leave 30″ between cars and any obstruction, including other cars, walls, etc. Why? So you can open your car door and get you and your stuff out without contortions.

Let’s again compare two garage plans:

1. Plan one is 20′ wide. With 30″ between two average cars (about 6’3″ wide each) and between your cars and the walls, your garage must be a least 20′ wide. There is no room for shelving.

2. Plan two is 24′ wide. With 24″ shelving on both walls you still have 30″ between and beside your cars.

How much more do 2 car garage plans cost? If you buy a house with a 20′ square garage and a 30 year, $200,000 mortgage at 6% interest, your payment would be about $1,240 per month. Expanding your garage to 24′ square adds 176 square feet to the house and $8,800 to the cost (at $50 per square foot or less for garage space). Your payment increases by about $53 per month. How much are you paying for mini storage?

In addition to valuable storage space, room for a garage workbench, toolbox, shelving, etc., your cars are less likely to get door dings, you won’t have to back out of the garage to let someone climb in and your mini storage costs will go down. The resale value of your home will also likely go up in the future and your home may even sell sooner than a similar one with a smaller garage. What’s the bottom line? When you search for 2 car garage plans, it really pays to be picky.

NOTE: The financial examples in this article are for illustration purposes only. Your particular circumstances, real estate market and building costs may vary from those provided here.

Energy-Efficient Facade Design

The materials with which a building’s facade is constructed are a key element not only to its beauty but also to its practicality. Good facade design allows the building to look beautiful from the outside and to save the owner money when it comes to heating and cooling. The following discusses the components and concerns of energy-efficient facade design.

A building’s facade system should have a high thermal performance. This means that because the facade system helps the building gain less heat, the air conditioning system is subject to a lower load. Since the air conditioning system accounts for a significant portion of a typical building’s electricity bill, having a facade system that facilitates good thermal performance has a direct impact on energy consumption.

In order to design buildings that will provide comfort with less energy use, you must understand the properties of the facade’s materials. Different building materials have different thermal conductivities and specific heat capacities. These differences influence their thermal performance. On the flip side, reliable and accurate information on the “coolness” of construction materials is often lacking.

One area of debate is the value of the opaque wall. Conventional practice dictates that high-mass building materials offer significant energy benefits in exterior walls. But these benefits are highly dependent upon where the building is located, how it is operated, and how it is designed. When it comes to energy performance, high-mass building materials are still very open for debate. In areas of thermal engineering and physics for buildings, recent innovations such as dynamic insulation–porous cooling or heating–and phase change material have defied conventional wisdom.

Facade design has more considerations than aesthetics. A successful facade system is one that combines both the beauty of the architect’s vision and the practicality of being energy efficient. It is a combination that ensures a quality building that will endure for years to come.

Soldering Copper Pipe

Many older homes have copper pipe and if you need to fix a leak of any kind you will have to do some soldering. There are other ways to make these repairs, but in this article we will focus on the skill of soldering.

You can only solder copper with copper or copper with brass, everything else will not work therefore you would have to use a MIP or FIP. Which stands for male iron pipe threads and female iron pipe threads. Once these fittings are attached you can then use black iron or galvanized pipe to complete your joints.

Back in plumbing school we learned a method that worked well for soldering, therefore this will what I am going to write about today.

First thing you need to do is make proper measurements. Measure twice and cut once. When you cut into the pipe you need to use a proper copper pipe cutter. These come with a cutting wheel and two guiding wheels to help you get a perfect edge to solder with. You can use a hacksaw if you have to, but if your edge is crooked you may not get enough of a bead of solder through the joint to make a leak free seal. Sure it might last a week or two or maybe even a year, but in time this can fail.

Now you need to clean the pipe. There are two types of pipe cleaners out there, and both are pretty much the same. One is a plumbers sand paper that has a paper backing and the other is more of a mesh. In both cases these are called emery cloth.

Take your emery cloth and clean the pipe. This is more of a scraping than cleaning as small particles of copper will come off. Not like if you were using a file, but a little does come off. Now you need to do the same thing with you fitting. If the fitting is too small to get your finger or thumb into then use a pipe fitting cleaning brush. These are small wires that point outwards in a circular fashion at the end of the brush.

Now that your fitting and your pipe is clean you need to apply some soldering flux to the outside of the pipe and to the inside of the fitting. This also helps to clean the copper as you heat it, but is also meant to help the solder flow while you are soldering the copper pipe.

Oh, by the way, I am using the term copper pipe quite loosely here, in actual fact the term is called copper tube. There are three types of copper for plumbing, tubing, tube, and pipe. The long straight lengths you see on trucks and in your local hardware store are tube, while the coils come in longer lengths and are more used for gas fitting where it is against the code to solder. In these cases the gas fitter would use flared fittings to join the pipe. The tubing can be used for water lines in which case compression fittings are used. You may have seen these on dishwashers and ice makers. Real copper pipe is threaded and not soldered and is used for industrial purposes.

Before you start to solder the copper pipe you will need to have the right kind of solder. If you are soldering a joint for a vent or drain then you can use 50/50 which is 50 % tin and 50% lead. Do NOT USE this on water lines. Also not recommended for heating systems as the melting temperature is lower than other types of solder. For water lines you can use 95/5 tin/antimony or lead free solder. Both are lead free just have different names.

Now let’s get soldering, make sure you have proper ventilation and some sort of fire resistant material is you are close to anything flammable. Turn on your torch and point the blue part of the flames tip at the joint you want to heat up. Now touch the joint from time to time with your solder to see if it is hot enough yet. Once the solder starts to melt you should pull the torch back a little so you do not over heat the fittings.

Make sure you get a good bead of solder all the way around the joint. In school it was mandatory to wipe the joint, but in reality nobody ever does.

If you have problems soldering because there is water in the line you will need to get all of the water out to make a proper joint. There are tools that allow you to solder on a valve with water in the line but these are expensive and can only be used to solder on a valve, MIP or FIP to tie onto later.

A quick fix if you can solder fast is to shove a slice of bread into the pipe and poke it up the pipe as far as you can. If the leak is small this should give you anywhere from 30 seconds to 3 minutes to get the job done. If the leak is bad enough that the bread does not hold for thirty second you may have to get someone in to freeze the pipe. If the bread holds the leak for more than 3 minutes then most likely you could have used a hotter torch and kept the steam back while you soldered the copper pipe.

The reason you cannot solder with water in the line is because when water expands to steam there is an increase in volume of about 1700 times. Even if the joint did get hot enough a lot of times this increase in volume causes steam to push the solder out of the joint. Watch your eyes in this case as the solder will spray and is very hot.

I hope this helps you one you copper soldering project.

Electrical Switches and Sockets – A Buyer’s Guide

This is a layman’s guide to the things you should consider before embarking on a new build or renovation project.


The first problem many people encounter is the bewildering array of electrical terminology used. Here is a brief explanation of the basic terms you will come across.

Gang: the number of switches or sockets on one plate. A light switch with 3 switches is called a 3 gang switch. A standard double socket is called a 2 gang socket.

Way: the number of switches capable of switching a light. For flexibility, most switches are 2-way. A light controlled from 1 switch only requires a 1-way switch (although a 2-way switch can be used without any problems). A light controlled from 2 switches e.g. a landing light, will require two 2-way switches.

Intermediate: if a light can be activated from 3 different switches, two of them will need to be 2-way switches, and the third an intermediate switch.

Single Pole: a single pole switch has one contact. When switched it will break only the live current and leave the neutral current intact.

Double Pole: a double pole switch has two separate contacts and will break both live and neutral currents. Double pole switches are recommended in most situations, especially if there are children in the house.


Remember, you can put as many switches and sockets onto an electrical circuit as you require. However, it is still worth planning where you will need them before you buy. You should think about the different needs of the room and your lifestyle: where do you require most power sockets? With the proliferation of electrical gadgets you should install more sockets than you think you will need, and make them double sockets rather than single sockets, as the price difference is minimal.

Always buy switched sockets for extra protection. This does not apply to sockets for kitchen appliances such as freezers, which should not be switched in case the switches are accidentally turned off.

Most people only put 1 TV point in a room; don’t make that mistake! Install TV points on at least 2 different walls in a room, you may well want to re-arrange the furniture and move the TV in the future.

Also consider the lighting needs of a room. Dimmer switches provide a relatively cheap and easy way to vary the light levels in a room, particularly useful for creating different moods in dining, living or bedrooms. Remember that if a light is to be operated from 2 places, and one of the switches to be used is a dimmer, the other must be a standard 2-way light switch, not a dimmer.

Flat or raised plate?

The differences here are more than simply aesthetic. Flat plate sockets look sleek, modern and sophisticated, but they also offer a practical, space-saving solution to fitting sockets behind furniture. However, the drawback for renovations is that they often require deeper back boxes than were originally installed, 35mm rather than 25mm. Changing back boxes can be time consuming and messy.

Screwed or screwless?

Aesthetically, screwless flat plate switches give an even more modern look than screwed flat plate, but screwless switches and sockets have an added advantage: they save you time and money too, as they can be fitted without the front plate before you decorate, then painted around quickly and easily without the use of masking tape or worrying about marking the plate. When dry, simply clip the front plate on.


Polished chrome, brushed steel and black nickel are the most popular modern finishes. The disadvantage of polished chrome particularly is that it shows up finger marks very easily. One way to help to avoid this is to choose a range where the plate is polished chrome or black nickel, but the switches themselves are made of black or white plastic. Of the 3 finishes mentioned above, brushed steel (also known as brushed chrome) is the easiest to keep clean.

Now you’re ready to take the next step of your project. Good luck!

Rough Openings For Doors

One of the most important parts of framing walls is getting

the rough openings right. Items that determine what the

height of One of the most important parts of framing walls is getting

the rough openings right. Items that determine what the

height of your opening will be are floor finishes and the

use of underlayment. Door widths will stay constant with the

size of a standard door.

In new construction most doors are hung after the floors are

installed. This allows flooring contractors (tile, hardwood,

vinyl, laminate) to lay their flooring products without

making tricky cuts around door jambs. It also makes for a

neat and clean door installation. Exceptions to this are

carpeted floors. Doors are hung before the carpeting is

laid. When doors are hung in carpeted areas, its a good idea

to shim them up 1/2″, putting a shim under each jamb leg.

This eliminates the need to cut the doors down after the

carpet is installed.

For a 6′ 8″ high door (80 inches) I like to frame my rough

opening height at 82 3/4″. This allows room for all the

situations mentioned above. If your header material is a

double 2×12, holding it to the top plate will give you that


Rough openings for door widths are pretty much standard. The

rough opening width is 2 inches wider than the door itself.

this allows room for the door jambs which are usually 3/4″

thick. This gives you approximately 1/2″ of play and shim

room when installing a prehung door. For a 36″ door (3′ 0″)

the rough opening width would be 38″. Here are the most

common door sizes and their rough openings.

Door Size Rough Opening Size

2′ 0″ x 6’8″ -26″ x 82 3/4″

2′ 2″ x 6’8″ -28″ x 82 3/4″

2′ 4″ x 6’8″ -30″ x 82 3/4″

2′ 6″ x 6’8″ -32″ x 82 3/4″

2′ 8″ x 6’8″ -34″ x 82 3/4″

2′ 10″x 6’8″ -36″ x 82 3/4″

3′ 0″ x 6’8″ -38″ x 82 3/4″

To figure the rough opening for double doors or french

doors, take the door size times 2 and add 2″. The most

common sizes for exterior doors are the 2’8″ and the 3’0″

doors. The 2’8″ is usually used for the back door and the

access door from the garage. That size door for exterior use

is being used less these days because of the size of

appliances and furniture. Exterior doors with sidelights and

sliding patio doors rough openings vary from manufacturer to

manufacturer. These should be verified and gotten from the


Getting the rough openings right the first time keeps the

sawzall in its carrying case and having to change the

opening after the walls are drywalled and painted.

Mike Merisko (c) 2006

Chakras, Galaxies and Black Holes

Scientific researchers at Jiao Tong University in Shanghai, using sophisticated scientific equipment, have shown that subtle energy has the properties of an electromagnetic current when flowing through acupuncture meridians but takes on the properties of coherent particle streams, similar to laser light, when projected out from the body through the hands of master Qigong healers who cure diseases by beaming their energy into the patient’s body. There are important chakras on the palms of the hands. To understand how we can beam energy (which is manifested as coherent light) from chakras, some understanding of the structure and dynamics of chakras would be useful.

How do Chakras Form?

Barbara Brennan, former NASA engineer and now world-renowned energy healer, describes chakras as “swirling cone-shaped vortexes in the human energy field.” From the perspective of plasma metaphysics, chakras (or “wheels” in Sanskrit) can be considered to be composed of two components: one, a magnetized node and two, a rotating cone structure or vortex that forms in the low density magnetic plasma that subtle bodies are composed of.

In laboratory experiments, it has recently been realized that a localized source at a fixed frequency excites a cone of radiation in a plasma crystal. The apex of the cone will be pointed towards the source and the angle of the cone is determined by its spin frequency. Excitations from fast moving particles in a plane below or next to a single-layered plasma crystal give rise to these cones. According to plasma cosmology, rotating galaxies in space are formed when filamentary currents pinch. This can happen when two currents move towards or cross each other. Dr David Tansely, a radionics specialist, says that, “The seven major chakras are formed at points where standing lines of light (or meridians) cross each other 21 times. The 21 minor chakras are located at points where the energy strands cross 14 times.” Based on these theories, we can infer how chakras develop in subtle bodies (composed of magnetic plasma or ‘magma’).

When meridians cross in our subtle bodies, they pinch each other, forming “knots” and collapse as compressed nodes of intense magnetic fields that pulsate at fixed frequencies. Super particles and objects are attracted to the magnetized nodes and are sucked into the subtle bodies at very high speeds using helical paths. This dynamical behavior of the incoming particles and the pulsations of the node excite cone structures on the surface of the body. The plasma of charged particles (known popularly in the metaphysical literature as “qi”, “prana” or “kundalini”), from the ionized environment, spirals into the nodes, swirling the magnetic plasma on the surface of the compact subtle body. It is then absorbed into the chakra and its energy is then transferred to various parts of the subtle body through the network of meridians (or filamentary currents) within the body.

Structure of Chakras

According to scientific researchers, a complicated elastic double vortex structure emanates from the excited region in a plasma crystal. Each region splits into an outgoing and inward-going vortex. The wave-fronts are circular near the source. This resembles how experimental metaphysicists, such as Charles Leadbeater and Brennan, have described and illustrated the spinal chakras – which come in pairs and have circular wave-fronts. A tube or channel connects the outward-facing chakra at the front of the body to the chakra behind the body – which faces in the opposite direction.

According to scientific researchers, the cones in plasma crystals possess an interesting multiple structure of nested cones. Nested cones within chakras in our magnetic plasma bodies have been observed by Brennan. According to Brennan, chakras appear “to be nested within each other like nesting glasses. Each chakra on each higher layer extends out farther in the auric field (to the edge of each auric layer) and is slightly broader than the one below it”. Each vortex metabolizes an energy that resonates with its particular spin frequency.

Alignment of Chakras

It is interesting to note that the cone structures of chakras are positioned at different angles in illustrations in the metaphysical literature. As noted earlier, the angle correlates with the frequency of the radiation source. It is well-known in metaphysics that not only are the spinal chakras positioned at different angles but that each chakra spins at a different frequency. The axis of each cone is aligned with the magnetic field generated by the node so that the apex of the cone of the chakra, which faces the central channels in the subtle body, has a different magnetic polarity from the base of the cone, which faces the environment. If we look at the central channel in the subtle body, the nodes would be distributed along the knots in the central channels at discrete intervals. This agrees well with metaphysical observations (and is consistent with the behavior of magnetic plasma, as noted in studies of plasma crystals). According to Brennan, “Their tips point into the main vertical power current and their open ends extend to the edge of each layer of the field they are located in.”

Absorption and Emission of Energy from Chakras

According to Brennan, each swirling vortex of energy appears to suck or entrain energy from the universal energy field. Chakras connect to the nodes of meridians which are areas of intense magnetic fields. They are therefore able to attract high-energy charged super particles and objects. The particles, after absorption, course through the meridians to distribute energy to various parts of the body – similar to what happens in the heart-lung and circulatory systems in the physical-biomolecular body in terms of distributing oxygen to the cells in the body. When particles in subtle bodies are energized they begin to respond to their environments. Leadbeater explains that one of the functions of chakras is to calibrate (or entrain) the frequencies of particles in order for them to be responsive to particular frequencies of radiations in the environment. Brennan also observes that the direction in which a chakra spins is important. When the chakra is spinning clockwise it is absorbing energy. When spinning anticlockwise – the flow of energy is in the reversed direction. In other words, it is emitting energy rather than absorbing.

Focused Beams of Light from Rotating Galaxies

According to scientific researchers, an ordered magnetic field plays an essential role in jet formation from a rotating accretion disk in an ionized environment. The process of forming jets (or focused beams of light) is thought to depend on how magnetic fields behave when they are swirled around by an accretion disk. Jets occur in cosmic plasma. As far back as 1918, astronomer H D Curtis noticed a jet from the centre of the galaxy M87, describing it as a “curious straight ray” emanating from the galaxy. Taking the form of a huge flashlight beam in space, a jet of electrons and protons traveling at near the speed of light can be seen in NASA’s image of the galaxy. The jet is a highly collimated plasma beam (i.e. like coherent laser light). Energetic astrophysical jets, with velocities approaching the speed of light, are seen on a variety of scales emerging from active galactic nuclei and young stars. It is thought that they result from the dynamics of accretion disks rotating around a large mass. The energy radiates from charged particles that are moving in a curved orbit (typically around a magnetic field aligned with the jet).

Focused Beams of Light from Rotating Chakras

The chakra is a rotating accretion disk on a relatively large compact subtle body. We also know (from the above discussion) that the nodes of chakras are locations of intense magnetic fields and charged particles move in helical or spiral paths around this field. Magnetic fields in plasma move with it. The effect of the movement of the particles, plunging into the subtle body at high speeds, is to effectively swirl the intense magnetic field around the axis of the cone of the chakra. This causes the magnetic field to twist, rise and eject-out as a jet of collimated light. The acceleration mechanism for most jets is magneto-hydrodynamic. (Magneto-hydrodynamics provides a general framework to study the activities of magnetic plasma.) The jet being issued will be parallel to the spin axis of the chakra.

Jets or directed beams of light have been seen in photographs taken during events where subtle energetic practices take place (for example: Reiki, Qigong and Christian “Praise and Worship”). There are also Hindu, Taoist, Buddhist and Christian images showing jets of light issuing-out from the palms of saints or deities. There are important chakras (and acupoints) on the palms of the hands. The frequency and spin rate of the chakra would have a direct effect in determining the energy and coherence of the beam. One of the seers of the Fatima apparitions of “Mary”, “Lucia”, revealed that during one of the apparitions, “Mary” opened her hands and “rays of light” issued from them.

This may be done simply by reversing the normal direction of the chakra spin (so that energy is emitted rather than absorbed) and increasing the rotational speed of the chakra in the palm (by mentally focusing on the specific chakra or acupoint in the palm of the hand). Jets may also be issued from other chakras or acupoints – for example from the heart chakra. For example, when ‘Jesus’ appeared to Saint Faustina, two beams of light issued from his heart – one beam was blue and the other was red. Interestingly, jet formations in cosmic objects such as galaxies also show two beams of light – one blue and the other red!

Black Holes and Chakras

According to scientists, black holes also issue jets. In fact the galaxy M87 (cited above) which issues jets, is suspected to harbor a black hole in its nucleus. (The black hole is then analogous to the node and the galaxy to the cone structure of the chakra.) This is surprising because, so far as we know, the strong gravitational fields of black holes absorb energy – letting nothing to escape. (Small black holes, though, give out Hawking radiation.) If we use the same explanation as we did for chakras, this may be because of the direction of the spin of the accretion disks around black holes. Does this mean that if the direction of the spin of the accretion disk of a rotating (“Kerr”) black hole is reversed it will start ejecting energy instead of absorbing? Black holes with highly energetic jets spin the fastest according to scientists.

If we further apply what we have learnt about the structure of chakras to black holes, we would expect black holes to come in pairs. Each black hole would then be connected by a tube (popularly called a “worm hole”) which connects to another black hole in another part of our universe. This worm hole may be long or very short – so that there is a double vortex structure (like in chakras) connected by a short tube – giving rise to jets that eject in opposite directions from astrophysical objects. Astrophysical jets that emanate from opposite directions of astrophysical objects have been seen. We would also expect black holes to reside within all galaxies as they are simply entry points into the network or web of “meridians” (in this case filamentary currents) that transfer energy from one point to another, throughout the universe.

To carry the analogy with chakras further, this would imply that black holes and galaxies are formations in an invisible subtle body – the subtle body of our universe already discussed in the author’s article Acupuncture Meridians and the Cosmic Spider Web. This also suggests that this subtle body is composed of (dark) magnetic plasma. We are living inside the subtle body of this universe – on a planet that is sitting on the edge of one of its chakras – a chakra we call the Milky Way.

© Copyright Jay Alfred 2007

The Role of Group Therapy in Primary Addiction Rehabilitation

Group therapy is complementary to, but distinct from participation in Twelve Step groups. Through the group process, growth is facilitated, isolation is reduced, and the concept of sobriety as an interpersonal experience is fostered. Indeed, group therapy is frequently considered the treatment of choice for addiction, allowing for positive peer interactions, improvement in communication skills, mutual support, confrontation of ego defenses and an overall substitution of the euphoric state of intoxication with the elation of the group.

Change is facilitated through interaction group dynamics. People are influenced by their interpersonal relationships and group therapy can therefore provide a corrective emotional experience by acting as a social microcosm of their interpersonal world in the here and now. As such, personal issues, conflicts, doubts or fears will emerge within the group. Through process illumination in which the leader and group members comment on specific behaviors and interpersonal communications, augmented by self-reflection, individuals are able to learn to understand the impact of their behavior on others and how they are perceived. Cyclical growth and change are the result of, and emanating from, self-exploration within the microcosm of the group.

The leader’s role includes giving feedback, gently confronting, keeping the group in the here and now, and establishing a genuine, therapeutic relationship with the members. Clarification and confrontation are utilized as means of pointing out and explaining the contradictions in behavior between what people say and do. Through the modeling of confrontation, yet empathetic responses, the leader helps the member connect cause-and-effect behavior and increase their self-nurturing. Behavioral approaches such as communication and problem solving skills and assertiveness training can also be incorporated.

Conceptualizing addiction as a relationship hunger, treatment within a group setting allows for a shift in attachment or dependency from a drug to others. Group therapy offers the addicted individual the opportunity to recreate their individual concept of self in terms of their human emotions. Negative feelings of sadness, loss and separation can be dealt with in small doses through therapeutic encounters of groups of individuals.

Group therapy has become the mainstay of addiction treatment in most treatment centers. While the therapeutic process and resultant outcomes are evident, the role of individual counseling must not be overlooked. While group processing provides a context for gaining insight and effecting change, individual counseling establishes a trust and therapeutic rapport between client and counselor that is deeply personal and focused. Issues are often identified and surfaced in individual sessions that can then be processed further to effect change in the group dynamic. Group therapy and individual counseling are synergistic and provide optimal benefit when utilized in tandem during the primary recovery process.

LED Boat Lighting for Commercial Fishing Boats

The commercial fishing industry is a demanding and dangerous arena where the risks are as high as the rewards. Often working around the clock and dealing with some of the worst weather conditions possible, commercial fishermen know well the importance of having reliable equipment that can stand up to the most abusive environments and continue operating without fail. With fishing operations very often taking place at night, illumination is one of those pieces of equipment that plays a critical role in safety and productivity that cannot be compromised on.

Commercial fishing vessels typically employ HID lighting systems in the form of high pressure sodium fixtures on their working decks. Powerful and efficient, these lighting systems have provided an adequate if only just so form of lighting that’s been the standard for many years. Since these vessels are far offshore for extended periods and must rely on self contained sources of power, efficiency and power are key factors in determining the type of lighting to be used, and to date HPS systems have been the most practical.

Two of the biggest drawbacks with HPS lighting on commercial fishing vessels have been their very poor light quality and sensitivity to moisture. The light produced by a HPS lamp has a distinct orange/reddish coloration that produces poor contrasting and color reproduction, reducing visual acuity for those on the deck. HPS bulbs also run very hot, and any exposure to moisture while in operation can easily cause a bulb to shatter or even violently explode, and given the fact that these vessels are exposed to some of the wettest marine conditions possible, happens all too often. Despite all this, HPS systems have remained popular due to the long lifespan of the bulbs and their very high luminous efficiency on the order of 120 lumens per watt. The less energy consumed by lighting, the less fuel that is burned during operations, improving the amount of time a vessel can remain at sea pulling in catches and reducing the costs associated with fuel.

Modern lighting technologies however are changing all this and providing some distinct advantages that many commercial fishing operators are already capitalizing upon. In particular, LED lighting systems have come to the fore that offer to provide the durability and efficiency a fishing vessel needs, and not only this, but provide much better performance than the old HPS systems they are replacing. To why this is let’s look at some stats regarding the two types of lighting and how they stack up against each other.


Lumens per watt produced by HPS systems averages 120 lumens per watt and is one of the most efficient forms of lighting available.

Color temperatures for HPS range around 200 Kelvin, putting them below incandescent bulbs and resulting in light output with a distinct reddish/orange coloration. HPS renders colors poorly, has poor contrasting qualities, and is generally used in applications where these qualities are not considered very important such as street and parking lot lighting applications.

Bulb life for HPS lamps average 20-40,000+ hours of operational life and are among the longest lived light sources available. However, HPS lamps are prone to a phenomena known as “cycling” wherein as the bulb ages, it becomes harder for the ballast to maintain a high enough voltage to keep the lamp lit. Eventually the voltage needed to keep the bulb lit exceeds the ballasts maximum capacity, and the bulb goes out. Once the bulb cools down less voltage is needed to relight it, and the lamp comes back on. This cycle continues until the bulb fails entirely.

HPS bulbs are quite fragile since they are made of glass and become extremely hot while in operation. As a result, they require extensive protection in the form of heavy duty housings, extensive sealing, and vibration absorbing mounting assemblies in order to survive the harsh conditions of the marine environment. As little as a single drop of water contacting a hot HPS bulb is enough to cause it to fail explosively. Because of this, HPS lighting systems require frequent maintenance and inspection to prevent failures.


LED lighting averages 60 to 100 lumens per watt and is tied with fluorescent lighting for second place in the efficiency category.

Color temperatures for LED lights varies according to configuration and can be set at a specific parameter. LEDs are available in 2700K, 4500K, 5000K, 6000K, and higher color temperatures. LEDs used for commercial fishing applications are typically in the 4500K to 6000K range and as a result produce a very sharp white colored light. Additionally, LEDs provide very good contrasting and good color rendering, making them well suited to applications where high visual acuity is critical.

LED lamp life averages 50,000+ hours, and many fixtures are available which can reach 100,000 hours of operating life. Additionally, as LEDs age they do not experience significant changes in operation. LEDs simply grow dimmer over time, and most manufacturers consider LEDs to have reached the end of their useful life when they drop to 70% of their original lumen output.

LEDs are a solid state form of lighting that is highly durable and versatile. They have no glass and so can’t fail from shattering, and don’t run hot and so aren’t as likely to fail from exposure to minor amounts of water. LEDs are highly resistant to damage form impacts and vibrations as well, making them well suited to applications where rough handling and abusive conditions are encountered.

LEDs offer commercial fishing operators a lighting alternative that can provide highly efficient operation coupled with far better light quality than HPS systems. The light they produce is whiter and more intense with better contrasting and color reproduction, which in turn helps with visual acuity during the performance of complex tasks. LED boat light fixtures are also far more durable than HID systems, and are able to withstand rough handling that would cause premature failure of an HPS fixture.

Overall speaking, commercial fishing operators can improve the safety and productivity on their decks without compromising on lighting efficiency. More reliable, better performing, and more durable, LED boat lights represent a step up from old style HPS systems that’s hard to beat.

Barriers to Improving Workplace Safety

The first stage in improving the level of safety in your workplace is to assess exactly where you are. This is your starting point. Then, you have to recognize the culture that exists in your organization and the factors that have created it. The culture is the sum of the experience, history, belief system, work practices of the people within the organization.

Frequently within businesses there are opposing forces that compromise safety. We have to understand the inevitable conflict that arises between safety and output. We have to realize and accept that no organization is just in the business of being safe. Every company tries to meet two objectives. Firstly, keep the risks has low as reasonably practicable. Secondly, stay in business.

To improve the levels of safety, it often becomes necessary to cope with the forces that have a negative effect on safety. These forces may include time pressure, cost cutting, the single-minded pursuit of profits and indifference to hazards. So often, organizations look at the forces that are lined up against them and give up on improving safety or just pay lip service to it. Under these circumstances each organization gets the repeated accidents it deserves. As always, the losers are the members of staff who get injured or killed.

To improve levels of safety, all staff within the organization must be better informed. In other words, they understand and respect the hazards they face and are constantly reminded of the potential dangers in their workplace. This means that they will never forget the dangers around them.. They know the dangers without having to fall victim to them.

An improved level of safety is achieved by creating a safety information system that collects, analyzes and disseminates knowledge from “near hits” and other incidents. Of course, this can only be achieved when there is a reporting culture that promotes the collection of this sort of information. Generally speaking, staff members understand the need for this information in the interests of safety. Unfortunately, it also requires people to report their own mistakes, errors and lapses. Overcoming this barrier requires sound leadership and positive reinforcement for those people who report.

It is possible to institute a system which can include the confidentiality of the people who are reporting the “near hits” and incidents. Within the system it is vital that all aspects of blame are removed. Any blame direct or implied will ensure that reporting will be minimized. Removing the blame barrier can be a challenge.

The single most important component of an improved level of safety within the workplace, is the establishment of a greater degree of trust. Again, this is a substantial barrier for some organizations to overcome.