A Word About Iron Balusters

Throughout the 1970's and early 1990's, wood balusters were the predominant feature in remodeling and new construction. Wrought iron was used primarily in the first time home buyer market, but it was a complete iron balustrade (newels, balusters, rail, and shoe rail).

The transition from wood balusters to iron began in the mid-1990's. At that time I thought this was only a phase that would quickly come and go. I was dead wrong.

Iron balusters exploded in demand and to date have not diminished.

In the beginning the only available powder coatings were a matte phosphate, flat black, primed, and silver vein. Matte phosphate is raw iron coated to keep it from rusting. Flat black had a sandy texture, allowing it to receive any oil based or acrylic paints. Silver vein was a texture black and silver speckled coating.

As time progressed, other colors became available: satin black, nickel (satin and antique), oil rubbed bronze, copper patina, copper vein, and oil rubbed copper. Bronze and copper accents have become the most popular in design, as the colors worked well with oak, American and Brazilian Cherries, as well as the darker hardwoods such as walnut and mahogany. Style choices became more numerous. Now one has the chance to be totally creative.

Iron balusters are 43 "or 44" in length, which will accommodate almost any situation. They are designed to be cut from the bottom. The top has a 3/4 "or 1" long dowel for installation into the handrail.

Sizes of iron balusters vary from 1/2 "to 9/16", 5/8 "to 3/4". They come round or square, solid iron, tubular steel, or stainless steel.

The shoes available for square iron balusters (optional for round) are designed to cover a square peg in a round hole filled with epoxy or construction adhesive. Generally shoes are used on the floor, but can also be used under handrails, especially in remodeling when replacing wood balusters requiring the need to cover a 1/2 "square baluster in a 5/8" round hole. Shoes come with or without set screws.

Code vs Common Spacing – Achieving Visually Harmonious Architectural Balusters

Chances are, at some point you have glanced at a house or building with architectural balusters or other elements and thought to yourself, "Something just does not look right". Oftentimes that "something" has to do with incorrect baluster spacing or misaligned features that throw off the visual continuity of the structure. Achieving visual balance and proportion are key when installing architectural elements such as balustrade systems, columns and decorative capitals. To ensure that architectural elements will properly enhance the design of a commercial or residential project, an architect, builder or project owner may desire the assistance of an experienced and knowledgeable Architectural Products Specialist who can provide expertise and accurate installation information that results in correct elevation balance that is pleasant to the eye.

The Basic Balustrade System Components

The architecturally correct term for any railing system is balustrade – or balustrade system. A balustrade system is a row of short pillows or spindles, called balusters, with a top railing and typically, but not always, a bottom railing. A balustrade system can also include a new post and is used to edge porches, patios, veranda, porticos, decks and other exterior facades.

Balusters are the upright support of a balustrade system. They can be square, round or circular or an ornamental bar and can be wide or narrow in dimension. The widest part of the baluster is called the belly, and the narrowest part is called the sleeve.

The newel post of a balustrade system refers to the end element of a run. Newel posts are used when a railing changes direction at either a 90 degree or 45 degree angle, at a transition point to a stair or at the end of a run and, sometimes within a run.

What is 4 "Code Spacing and When Do I have to Use It?

In order to address liability issues specifically related to children putting their heads between balusters in railing systems, the spacing requirements for commercial projects and many residential installations now require that balusters have no more than a 4 "space between balusters at the widest gap between balusters not at the baluster base. Most, if not all, commercial baluster spacing codes are based on the 4 "spacing, and many residential codes have followed suit. Yet the most important factor of correctly spacing balusters for your project is – check your local building codes! Building codes differently greatly across the nation, within a state and even within towns and neighborhoods. We have found that codes can be very specific within historic districts and certain types of commercial and residential developments. So before you start speaking with manufacturers, check the code!

What is Common Spacing

Common spacing is whatever the designer, builder or project owner deems it or what the manufacturer recommends as having the best visual appearance, and does not needlessly comply with local building codes. It is anything other than code spacing. An experienced Architectural Products Specialist will be able to guide you on various spacing options for their products, but do not forget to check local building requirements.

Visual Harmony: Why Does it Matter?

Balustrade systems, and architectural columns and decorative capitals on exteriors can act as dramatic visual elements of a structure. Following some simple guidelines will help to ensure that the visual impact of these elements is pleasing to the eye. Balusters that are not proportional to the overall scope of the building or balusters that are not spaced in relation to columns and other architectural elements can contribute to the feeling that "something's not quite right", also referred to as visual discord. Similarly, when choosing a column, pay special attention to its proportions in relation to the overall building design and elevations. It is essential to maintain visual harmony in both commercial and residential structures since you want people to be drawn to a site.


The ultimate goal of all of these tips is to help guide you in the process of providing a residential or commercial project owner with a structure that is both architecturally and aesthetically pleasing. Since proportion, spacing and style of various architectural elements can be quite overwhelming, it is beneficial to select an Architectural Product Specialist as your "in-house" residential expert. Find someone who is experienced with architectural products and uses their knowledge to add value to your exterior. The chosen specialist will be able to back up their experience with literature that explains proportions and how to accurately space and plan installations that are visually pleasing and architecturally correct.

How Much Weight is Too Much For A Safe Chair Stair Lift Experience

The chair stair lift has become a pretty popular mechanism to have in houses because the elderly or disabled population is growing steadily. Aged individuals, and people who have weak ankles or bad knees increasingly finding it very difficult to go up and down stairs. Thankfully many have found the stair chair lift a refreshing alternative. Especially if you compare that to hiring someone to help assist them with ascending or descending stairs, or any other access that enables them to move from one level of the house to another.

If you're like most people, one of the major concerns for traveling via chair lift; is, what is the amount of weight that is safe for daily commuting from floor to floor. The chair lift is great as long as it's safe and as important, as long as you feel safe using it. So in this article we will cover a few points, that will help to put your heart at ease. So you will at lease feel completely safe and comfortable as you travel from floor to floor using your chair stair lift.

First lets talk about the installation of the chair lifts. The lifts are installed onto the banister of the stairs. (either straight or curved) As you can imagine the straight banisters are the easiest to install your chair lift to. Without doubt the curved banisters can be a little bit of a challenge but none the less easily installed safely. This may seem really simplistic but the only modifications needed to ensure that the lift can hold the maximum allowed weight of a chair lift's capacity is a reinforcements procedure. As a further safety measure there is a foot rest where one can put their feet on while sitting, so that the weight is even distributed which keeps you balanced while riding the chair stair lift.

As an added safety issue, depending on your size, the chair installed on the stair lift can have a smaller or larger seat. As a whole, the stair lift can carry weights up to 300 pounds. The heavy duty versions or a customized lift can carry more weight; up to 375 pounds. The surveyor or the installer of your stair lift will be able to tell you if you need a heavy duty chair lift or not

Integrating Lace Frontals

A lace frontal is a great way to make any hair extension appear more natural. As a unit that is designed to create a natural part and hairline, it is a more affordable option than most lace front wigs or full lace wigs. Even though many women ventured to the salon for lace frontal installation, it can be done at home.

Finding the Right Unit

Finding the right lace frontal is the first thing that you should do. Most lace frontals cover up to the first 6 inches of the head ending at the crown. However, some cover less with the smallest lace coverage area being around 3 inches. This is important to know since your braiding pattern will depend on this in addition to the amount of hair for a weave.

Choosing a lace frontal is in many ways just like choosing a lace wig. The same lengths and textures are offered with one exception. Since lace frontals are not as popular, the color choices are rather limited. Buying the lace frontal first is best so you can match it to any other hair that you will be integrating. These partial units are often in the $ 100- $ 200 range.

Choosing Your Method

There are a number of methods you can use to integrate your lace frontal. Each one has its benefits depending on your hair needs. Each one is listed as follows.

Method One: Integration with Natural Hair

This is a good choice if you have a nice head of hair and do not mind daily styling. If you have a damaged or thinning hairline but the rest of your hair past the crown is full, this is a good option. To integrate with your own hair, make sure that the lace frontal matches your hair color and texture well.

Since the back half of the unit has lace as well, you will either need to purchase and sew in clips or securely bobby pin in the back. Securing the back with sew in clips is suggested since it will provide a better hold. Attached clips can be purchased at your local beauty supply store or online. Sew these in with weaving string in a line of three at the back base.

All you have to do now is clean your forehead, cut the front lace, and apply with glue or tape. Once your front is secured, close your hair clips on a small horizontal braid or onto loose hair.

Method Two: Integrating With Extensions

Prior to installing the lace frontal, you must possess knowledge of hair weaving techniques. Many women choose this option because they simply want the natural hairline and part but do not require anything else as far as high ponytails.

If you want something that does not match your own hair texture or color and do not want to deal with daily styling, this is a good option. This will also act a protective style for hair growth since your natural hair is concealed.

Your first task will be to select a braiding pattern and attach the hair weave. The braiding pattern can vary depending on your style. Some women who install curly hair use a serpentine pattern since the curls are suppose to free flowing and a little wild. If you want a sleek, straight look the traditional circular pattern will work very well. Braid your hair and then prep your lace frontal. Mark where the lace frontal will end and the extension hair will begin.

Some women prefer to install the lace frontal first and then the extensions so that they can sew the final top row of hair on top or the frontal. Others prefer to install the extensions first and then lace unit using sew in clips from method one. Whatever your preference, make sure that these two are closely installed so that the hair flows seamlessly as one unit.

Eight Interesting Facts About Cafe Terrace At Night

One of the most tragic celebrities in the world art history is Vincent Van Gogh. Though he was not very famous in his lifetime, he and his paintings got immense fame soon after his death-the time when he was no more to feel his fame! Today, his paintings are on peak demand and sold on record prices.

He painted a lot of night scene paintings in his lifetime. But his famous most painting on nightlife is Cafe Terrace at Night, which completed sometime around mid September 1888. This painting has a special charm in it. With that charm, the painting has a lot of interesting facts attached to it that we are discussing hereunder:

1. Van Gogh’s Cafe Terrace at Night is an ideal example of the artist’s imagination and superb dealing with light. This painting captures the colors of light at night. ‘Light’ and ‘night’ seem contradictory words as this combination is hardly found in any scene.

2. In this painting, artificial gas lanterns lighten the night sky with a glimpse of exterior of a Parisian cafe. The cafe is still there and has been a famous destination for all Gogh’s fans.

3. When this painting completed, Gogh wrote a letter to his sister mentioning that he has completed a night scene without using black.

4. Gogh painted this popular painting on the spot than painting it in daytime after preparing a sketch.

5. Though this painting is not signed by Gogh, his letters prove that this is his own work.

6. The painting is at the Kröller-Müller Museum in Netherlands now.

7. On its first official display in 1892, Coffee house in the evening was the name given to this painting. The title was later replaced by cafe Terrace at Night.

8. This is the first painting by Gogh with starry backgrounds.

Brief About The Painting

The painting represents the scene of night cafe. The terrace painted in this work has small figures of people drinking. A bright yellow lantern light up the terrace, frontage and side-walk. The rooftops of houses painted seem to have been a fading road under the blue sky with stars and a green tree nearby. This beautiful painting is trying to distinguish the usual darkness of night with this green and blue night, thus contradicting conventional night scenes.

Gogh has perseverance to propinquity and his keen ability to depict moment with so beautiful and bright colors made him one of the greatest colorist till date.

The Basics of Facade Engineering

Facade engineering basically encompasses the creation of a building envelope that enhances the outer appearance of a building while performing a host of other functions as well. Facade engineering can become a part of the construction process with a brand new building or it can be used to update an existing structure.

The completion of a facade engineering project will typically require the cooperation of many different professionals, including facade engineers, architects, structural engineers and building services engineers. It is important that all of these participants work well together to create a building that is structurally sound, environmentally sustainable and aesthetically pleasing.

Facade engineering has evolved into a process with many purposes. While the early days of coastal engineering used to be primarily for aesthetic purposes, today's environmental concerns have prompted engineers to come up with facades that can promote energy efficiency as well.

In addition, facade engineering must be concerned with the comfort of the staff working inside the building by contributing to the internal climate of the building in a positive way. This includes taking noise, lighting, insulation and ventilation into consideration.

When it comes to aesthetics, it is no longer enough to create a facade that is attractive on its own. The structure must also fit in well with the rest of the community so that it is a complementary structure to the rest of the buildings in the vicinity. It certainly sees that facade engineering must be a challenging prospect, given the many shoes it must fill today.

How To Hand Solder a Quad Flat Pack

This article describes how to sold a quad flat package component to a printed circuit board. The details of the process are covered, including chip placement, bent pin recovery, tacking, the soldering and solder bridge removal.

Get your chip ready by placing the component tray on your bench and opening up the packaging.

There are two things to do before picking up the chip. The first one is to make sure that you are not going to zap your chip with a lightning bolt out of your finger. Discharge yourself of any static charge build-up in your body by either wearing a grounded antistatic wrist strap, or by touching an exposed metal screw on the grounded case of a piece of equipment on your bench. Maybe your soldering iron base or a lab bench power supply.

The second thing to do is to look at where the pin 1 reference on the chip is. Rotate your circuit board so that when the chip is transferred over, it will be in the right position with pin 1 marks lined up.

Next, use the vacuum pickup tool to lift up the chip and transfer it over to the circuit board.

At this stage if you drop or bump the chip, you may have bent one or more of the legs. You can recover from bent pin legs using the following procedure.

Get a hypodermic needle and a fine pair of pliers. Make a small 90 degree bend on the tip of the hypodermic needle. The bend acts as a kind of hook or puller for the bent pin legs.

Next, put on your head magnifiers so that you can see what is going on. Hold down the chip and very carefully pull the bent leg back into position. Do this very slowly to avoid pulling it too far. Do this for all bent legs.

Place the chip down carefully on the board. It does not need to be too accurate at this stage.

Put a finger at opposite corners of the chip and carefully move it around so that the pads on all sides line up with the device legs. This takes some time to do, so be patient. It is important to line it up accurately at this stage.

Next, check all around the chip, by looking from the top, to make sure that all of the pins are nicely lined up with all of the pads. Do not bump the board otherwise the chip will move and you will have to realign again.

Now that the chip is in position, it is ready to be tacked down with a few solder blobs. To tack the chip down, start by putting a little blob of solder onto the chisel tip of your soldering iron.

Then very carefully touch the solder blob onto one of the corner pads. It does not matter if you get 2 or 3 pads at this stage. Do not let the actual soldering iron tip touch the legs – you just want some contact of the molten sold to the leg and the pad.

The objective at this stage is not to make a good sold joint but simply to get some solder onto the leg and pad to hold the chip down to the board.

Carefully rotate the board around and put a little solder blob on each of the other 3 corner pads.

The next step involves applying gel flux, so make sure that you are wearing powder free latex gloves to avoid getting flux on your hands.

Take the gel flux syringe and apply the flux to all the pads, all the way around the chip. Put on a reasonably good amount of flux. The chip is now ready for soldering.

There will be a lot of solder fumes during the soldering, so make sure that you are wearing a face respirator and have good ventilation in your work area.

Put some solder into the reservoir tip of the iron. You do not needlessly need to fill up the reservoir. As long as there is a small amount of solder there, the solder will flow out onto the pins and pads when the tip comes into contact with them.

Next, just run the iron slowly across the feet of the pins. Of course, do not press down too hard – just guide the iron along. It is OK to run the iron back along some of the pins if you feel that there may not have been sold coverage of some of the pads.

I like to wipe the tip of the iron on a damp sponge after every chip edge. This removes the dross or residue that builds up on the iron tip as you go along. Whenever you wipe the tip of the iron, you will need to reload the reservoir with some more sold before doing another edge.

If you can see that you have created some solders bridges on some of the pins, wipe the iron tip again. Put a little more flux just on those pins and then bring down the tip of the iron to suck away the excess solder from the joints.

After cleaning the flux residue from the board it is important to check all the way around the chip again for solder bridges. If there are any bridges, apply flux gel just to those pins and use the reservoir tip to suck away the excess solder. Once done, clean and inspect the board again.

That completes the description of the quad flat pack soldering process, including chip placement, bent pin recovery, tacking, the soldering and solder bridge removal.

Power Up With Plyometric Training

Improve conditioning, increase muscle development and propel your physique to new heights!
While these moves may seem better suited for the playground, they're actually beneficial to those of us a few years beyond playtime.

These explosive activities are collectively called "Plyometrics". Put simply, plyometrics works to train the muscles to produce the greatest force in the shortest time. "Plyometrics is used by athletes to develop muscular power, rapid-force production and dynamic agility in fast-paced movements," says William Kraemer, professor of kinesiology at the University of Connecticut. "Almost all sports these days incorporate some type of plyometric training in their regime, as it enhances total body power in movements like jumping and throwing, hitting and starting."

The great thing about plyometric training is that an athlete can tailor a program to enhance his or her own particular sport. For instance, if you play basketball, you'll want to focus on vertical jumping and throwing skills. If you're a football enthusiast, you might want to be more lower body intensive. Even recreational bodybuilders can benefit from adding a few plyometrics into the mix. "Plyometrics gets at certain fast-twitch muscle fibers you will not hit with other lifting exercises," says Kraemer. "It also helps increase your power output by improving the rate of force production, a benefit you will not get unless you're doing Olympic-style lifting."

So why not regress and play with plyometrics? It offers complete conditioning, improved power, increased muscular development, and is all but guaranteed to propel your physique to new heights.

Begin with lightest medicine ball available – usually 2-4 pounds – and progress slowly to a heavier ball. If you do not have a training partner, use a solid wall or floor at which to throw the ball.

Stand sideways to your partner with your knees slightly bent and your feet shoulder width apart. Hold the medicine ball with both hands at waist level directly in front of your body, and twist using your torso, hips and shoulders as far away from your partner as possible. From this wound-up position, forcefully uncoil, swinging the ball around and throwing it to your partner. Complete all reps on one side before switching to the other.

Lie face-up with your knees slightly bent, your feet flat on the floor and your lower back arching naturally. Have a partner stand behind you and hold a medicine ball over your upper chest. Catch the ball as your partner drops it, absorbing its weight by bending through your elbows and wrists and lowering it slightly toward your chest. Push the ball back up immediately, throwing it straight up into the air to be worn by your partner.

Stand facing your partner with your knees slightly bent and your feet spread shoulder width apart. Hold the medicine ball with your arms fully extended and your elbows slightly bent, and raise it above and slightly behind your head. Avoid arching your back and hyperextending your shoulders. From this position, contract through your abs, lats, triceps and shoulders and throw the ball forcefully toward your partner.

Begin in the push-up position with your hands about shoulder width apart, your abs tight and your back flat. Lower your body to a point a few inches above the ground, then explode up and off the ground, clapping your hands in the air below your chest before catching yourself on landing with your hands in their original position. Immediately go into the next push-up and repeat, keeping the contact time with the ground to a minimum for optimal training effects.

The Workout

Rest Time

Side Throw
2-3 (per side)
2-5 minutes

Bench Push Pass
2-5 minutes

Overhead Throw
2-5 minutes

Clapping Push-Ups
2-5 minutes

Begin your lower body plyometric conditioning with the least amount of sets and the maximum amount of rest. Minimise the time your feet are in contact with the ground between reps for maximum output.

From a standing position, jump up as high as possible and use your abs and hip flexors to bring your knees up toward your chest as high as possible. Land with your knee soft, compress quickly, then immediately go into the next jump, keeping contact with the ground to a minimum.

Stand on a 12-inch box, step or other stable surface, and step – do not jump – off the box onto the ground, landing with both feet simultaniously. Compress and absorb the impact by bending through your knees and hips, then immediately spring up into the air, jumping as high as possible and landing with your knee soft.

Think of this as power skipping. With each bound on each side, exaggerate the motion with all parts of your body, brining your knee up as high as possible and swinging your arms as aggressively as possible to skip as high and as far as possible. Instead of going for reps here, you're shooting for distance, so with each bound, leap upward and forward as far as possible until you move 20 yards.

Stand with your knees slightly bent, and simultaneously jump and rotate 180 degrees to face the opposite direction. Land on both feet and compress as if you were going to jump again, but hold this position for a count of two before exploding and rotating to face your start direction.

The Workout

Rest Time

Tuck Jumps
2-5 minutes

Depth Jumps *
2-5 minutes

20 yards
2-5 minutes

180-Degree Jumps
2-5 minutes

* Try to do these toward the beginning of the workout as they are particularly taxing.
For the first two weeks, take time to learn the exercises, simply going through the motors of the exercises slowly and completely to get the hang of it. Do one set of each, leaving 2-3 days of rest in between for complete recovery. After those initial two weeks, begin powering up into maximum effort, keeping your sets to two and your reps to 3-4.

As you improve and being to increase your output, you can increase your reps to six and your sets to three.

Now shoot for the moon. Try to jump higher, throw further and cover more distance with each and every rep. you may regress to the 3-rep range for a while as your body again has to adapt to a stronger stimulus. But do not be discouraged! It only gives you a higher standard to shoot for the coming months.

Since plyometrics works very specific explosive muscle groups, it is well-paired with endurance activities such as cardiovascular training and / or low-key weight training on the same day. "Just do them first, and make sure you're fully satisfied before doing them again," says Kraemer. "If you're fatigued, you will not be able to give it your all and will not be training the correct muscle groups."

Leave at least two days of rest in between plyometric sessions to ensure full recovery, remembering that the more exercises you perform, the longer your recovery interval will be. If you choose to do plyometric more than twice a week, limit your exercises per session to 1-2 instead of 3-4 to ensure adequate recovery time.

Also avoid doing more than two plyometric sessions per week for the same body group. If you're doing upper and lower body plyometric on both days, be sure to choose different exercises for each session. "Also switch the order" suggest Kraemer. "If you do lower body first on the first day, do upper body first on the second day."

For all your exercises, keep the rep range fairly low. "Generally, it stays between 3-6 reps per set, depending on how fatiguing the exercise is," says Kraemer. "If you can get more than that, you're probably not doing it right, are not recruiting the muscles you're trying to get at and are generally wasting your time."

Most important of all, remember to rest completely between each set of plyometrics. "You have to realize this is not a conditioning program or an endurance test, it's a neurological recruitment activity," says Kraemer. "You're working at maximum effort each time and have to recover completely to be able to work at your maximum capacity in the next set.


  • ALWAYS do a 5-10 minute dynamic warm up, such as biking, walking, jogging or skipping before starting your plyometrics.
  • STRETCH after the plyometrics and not before. "You'll stretch out the elastic component in your muscles, reducing your capacity for maximum power output," point out Kraemer.
  • WAER athletic shoes with good lateral stability, proper arch support and a non-slip sole.
  • TRAIN on forgiving surfaces such as a good shock-absorbing track, basketball court or grassy area.
  • PROPER form is imperative. For lower body exercises, land softly on the balls of your feet, bending through the knees and hips to avoid injury. (If you hear smacking, slapping and general raucous noise coming from your foot area, you're landing too hard!) When performing the upper body exercises, avoid hyperextending the shoulders and elbows, and focus on recruiting your core muscle (abs, lower back, and obliques) to add power.
  • KNOW your limits and listen to your body. If you're too sore or tired from heavy lifting session or a previous plyometric workout, forego additional plyometrics in favor of some cardio or light strength training until you feel less fatigued.

Five Easy To Follow Online Shopping Tips

While earlier the internet only connected people, today it has created a boom by connecting businesses. The internet today has come out as a new medium for shopping. Online shopping has grown strongly popular and is one of the fastest growing businesses across the globe. Shopping today has surpassed the boundaries of visitingalls, shopping outlets and stores. Online shopping has changed the old-fashioned ways of shopping. Everyone, be it the men or the women, younger generation or the older, all are going online and shopping. Today a lot of companies are creating online stores and hence creating their social presence. There are stores to cater both to the needs of sellers and buyers.

No matter, what kind of products you are looking for, you can find almost everything on the internet. Online shopping provides you with the convenience of shopping 24/7 without actually moving around. It provides you with the ease of having all the products under one roof. The product range in online shopping is mind boggling. There are huge bargain offers and the shipping of the product is really fast. You can have the product at your doorstep without actually moving out of your home.

Online shopping today has become more of a routine rather than a hobby. Billions of people today shop online.The combination of speed, convenience, diverse range of products, good deals on the product and the option of sending the product back if unsatisfied has made us addicted to online shopping. It has become so rampant also because people are saved from the pain of standing in long queues at the cash counter. But we must also remember to be careful while shopping online. You not only need your credit card but also a little awareness while shopping online. Here are five easy to follow online shopping tips:

Tip 1: Always shop from trusted websites
Always look for trusted, well known and respectable online retailers. With many E-shopping portals coming up, you need to be extra careful while shopping. Websites that are certified by Internet Trust Organizations such as 'BB online', must be preferred since they protect your privacy. Beware of misspellings and resist the temptation of the enticing sales.

Tip 2: Identify a secure web transaction
Never, ever buy anything from a website that does not have SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption installed. One way to know whether the site has SSL is to confirm that the site starts from HTTPS: //, instead of just an HTTP. Also a padlock symbol appears on the URL in the address bar.

Tip 3: keep it a secret
Always keep your personal details a secret. Never shell out details about your credit card or any other bank details unless absolute necessary. Be careful when it comes to entering personal information. Giving away too much information can give the hackers the required edge.

Tip 4: Be careful while using network
If you are thinking of using a public terminal to shop online, think again. If you still want to go ahead with the public terminals, remember to log out every time. Even if you are doing something as simple as checking a mail, be attentive. Also always use the trusted Wi-Fi connection or better a privatized one. Also inoculate your computer with antivirus software.

Tip 5: keep checking statements
Never wait for the month end to go and check your bank statements. Go regularly to check your statements ie your credit, debit statements. Keep checking your online shopping receipt via mail. Keep a check for any sort of changes in the statement. If you find anything inappropriate address the issue immediately.

Applying these small tactics will save you from being a target of a cyber fraud.

Go connected, go shopping …

Ceramic Vs Carbon Infrared Saunas – Know Which is Better

Before choosing to buy an infrared sauna based on size, style, and price, make sure to consider the heating element used. It can be difficult to tell the real differences between ceramic and carbon infrared saunas, and even more difficult to judge which is better.

Infrared saunas are an innovative new way to get all the healthy and long-lasting benefits of a sauna. Instead of sitting in stifling hot air in an enclosed room like in a traditional Finnish or steam sauna, infrared saunas use infrared radiation to safely and efficiently to help participants work up a healthy sweat. Infrared is very similar to sunlight, of course without the harmful ultraviolet rays.

There are many types of infrared saunas available for people who wish to enjoy them for their own use. Some public areas, such as spas and health clubs, are now adding infrared saunas to their traditional steam saunas. Infrared saunas can also be purchased over the Internet and pieced together at home. Home infrared saunas come in varying sizes, shapes, and styles. They are constructed with different types of wood. Even smaller portable models that easy fold up and wheel out of the way are now on the market. Whatever model suits you, one of the most important considerations for your home infrared sauna is the type of heating element used.

Many infrared saunas are outfitted with several thin, flat carbon fiber panels at varying locations in the sauna to distribute a uniform infrared heat. They are sometimes enclosed in fiberglass for protection and covering. Carbon panels are slightly flexible and therefore less likely to break in transit to your home sauna. Because of their flat, wide shape, they are capable of having a very large surface area which is important for a quality infrared sauna heating element.

Ceramic sheets, like carbon fiber sheets, have a large surface area and are built into the inner walls of a sauna on all sides. Ceramic is rather delicate so care must be used in shipping and handling the material prior to installation in your sauna. They are generally more expensive than carbon fiber heaters, but proponents say that they deliver true far infrared radiation whereas carbon panels only heat up and deliver simple radiant heat. This can induce perspiration, but doesn’t give you the same soft tissue benefits as ceramic heaters.

It is important to know that some Internet websites will compare carbon sheets to ceramic rods, which is like comparing apples to oranges. Rods are going to be more inefficient than plates or sheets, no matter what they are made out of. Rods have a smaller surface area and will require a higher surface temperature to run, so they will be worse than both carbon and ceramic plates. Keep that in mind when looking at information about carbon versus ceramic heating elements.

By now you’re probably confused because the pros and cons of both carbon fiber and ceramic sound awfully similar. Though ceramic does have a slightly higher emissivity (ability to radiate infrared), it is not significantly higher than those of carbon sheets. In general, ceramics are regarded as superior. But in truth, the material of construction doesn’t matter as much as the surface temperature and the surface area of a particular model of heater.

Of course, considerations like your budget and your personal sense of style will influence your decision in which home sauna to buy. But don’t neglect considering the type of heating element used. It is a very important choice and can’t be underestimated.

Hubble Uncovers An Elusive, Doomed Star

Stars are like people – they send their dazzling light through the Cosmos for a little while, but do not last forever in the universal tragicomicy of our existence. Supernovae herald the fatal explosions of massive stars that have come to the end of that long stellar road, after having burned their necessary supply of nuclear-fusing fuel – and have perished brilliantly and beautifully, as they scream explosively into oblivion. One of the ways that astronomers search for clues, hinting at how these massive stars blow themselves up, is to go on the hunt for what is termed the progenitor star of the supernova. In order to accomplish their quest, astronomers carefully skift through archival telescope images and try to determine the precise location and identity of the progenitor star before it blew itself to pieces. In November 2018, for the first time, a California Institute of Technology (Caltech) team of astronomers in Pasadena announced that they have reasonably discarded just such a stellar progenitor for a supernova class known as T ype Ic ( pronounced "one-C") . Of all the classes of supernovae, this is the only one that did not have a known stellar progenitor until their discovery. For this reason, its identification was considered by astronomers to be a kind of Holy Grail.

The Type Ic supernova, dubbed SN 2017 , was first spotted in May 2017 by astronomers using the Tenagra Observatories in Arizona. It is located in a spiral galaxy named NGC 3938 , that is located about 65 million light-years from Earth. The Caltech astronomers were able to successfully track this supernova's progenitor using archival images from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope (HST), obtained back in 2007.

"An alert was sent out when the supernova was initially found. You can not sleep once that happens and have to mobilize to try to find the progenitor to the explosion. both new and archival Hubble images. The new images were essential for pinpointing the candidate progenitor's location, "noted Dr. Schuyler Van Dyk in a November 15, 2018 JPL Press Release. Dr. Van Dyk is a staff scientist at IPAC , which is a science and data center located at Caltech.

The progenitor turned out to be a luminous and very hot star, and it is thought to be either a singly massive star 48 to 49 times solar-mass or a massive binary system in which the star that went supernova weighed-in at a hefty 60 to 80 times the mass of our Sun.

Type Ic Supernovae

Type Ic supernovae , and their close cousins Type Ib supernovae , are classifications of supernovae that result from the explosive core collapse of massive stars. These doomed stars have flung off, or have been more gently stripped of, their outer envelope of hydrogen gas. When Type Ic and Type Ib supernovae are compared to Type Ia supernovae , they do not show the absorption line of silicon. When compared to Type Ib , Type Ic supernovae are believed to have lost more of their original gaseous envelope, including most of their helium. Astronomers typically refer to the two types as "stripped core-collapse supernovae."

All stars, regardless of their mass, churn out energy by way of the process of the nuclear-fusion of atomic elements, which creates heavier elements out of lighter ones. Unlike our relatively small Sun, more massive stars contain sufficient mass to fuse elements that have an atomic mass greater than hydrogen and helium – albeit at progressively greater and greater temperatures and pressures. This increase results in a shorter "life" for massive stars. Small stars, like our Sun, "live" on the hydrogen-burning branch of the Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram of Stellar Evolution for about 10 billion years. In dramatic contrast, massive stars "live" fast and "die" young. The more massive the star, the shorter its "life". A hefty star fuses increasingly heavier atomic elements, occurring with hydrogen and helium, and then progressing through the familiar Periodical table until a core of iron and nickel is formed. Because nuclear-fusion of iron or nickel manufactures no net energy output, no additional fusion can occur, leaving the nickel-iron core of the doomed massive star inert. Due to the lack of energy output creating the necessary outward thermal pressure to keep the heavy star bouncy against the relentless inward pull of its own gravity , the core shrivels. When the compacted mass of the inert iron and nickel core exceptions what is called the Chandrasekhar Limit of 1.4 solar-masses, radiation pressure can not counter gravitational compression, and a cataclysmic implication of the core occurs within seconds. At this point, lacking the support of the now-imploded inner core, the outer core of the erstwhile massive star collapses inward under the merciless force of gravity and attains a velocity of up to 23% the speed of light. The sudden, dramatic compression increases the temperature of the inner core to as much as 100 billion Kelvins. The collapse of the inner core is stopped by neutron degeneracy , resulting in the implosion to rebound and bounce outward. The energy of the expanding shock wave disruptions the overlying stellar material and accelerates it to escape velocity. A horrific, brilliant Type II supernova occurs, and where once there was a massive star there is a star no more. Depending on the hefty progenitor star's mass, the souvenir that it leaves behind to remind the Universe of its former existence will be either a dense, city-sized neutron star or a stellar mass black hole.

Small stars go to their inevitable grand finale differently. Type Ia supernovae , unlike core-collapse Type II supernovae , does not originate from the funeral pyre of a massive progenitor star. Type Ia supernovae are the catastrophic leftovers of small stars, like our Sun, that have perished to become a type of den stellar relic termed a white dwarf. Our Sun will never perish in the terrible beauty born from a Type Ia blast. This is because our Sun is a solitary Star. However, when small stars of our Sun's mass stay in a binary system with another still-living star, it's a party ready to happen. If the curse, vampire-like white dwarf relentlessly gravitationally sips up its companion star's material, it pays for its crime by "going critical." That is, the murderous white dwarf steels enough mass from its companion to attain the critical mass to blow itself to pieces – just like its more massive stellar kin. Alternately, a Type Ia supernova can also occur when a duo of white dwarfs , composing a binary system, blast into one another. When this happens, it also results in a horrific Type Ia supernova explosion.

Piecing together how each of these supernova types (Type II, Type Ib, Type Ia, and Type Ic) occurs provides a greatly improved understanding of how the most massive stars in the Universe evolve.

Uncovering An Elusive, Doomed Stellar Progenitor

" Type Ic supernovae occurs with the most massive stars. But we were surprised by how massive this one appears to be, and especially by the possibility of a massive double-star system as the progenitor. Type Ic supernovae could have the explosions of very massive single stars, alternative, more recent theories point towards stars of lower mass in binary systems as being the origins of these explosions, "Dr. Van Dyk explained in the November 15, 2018 Caltech Press Release.

Type Ib and Type Ic differ from Type II because their stellar progenitors lose their outer envelopes of material surrounding their central cores before going supernova. Type Ib and Ic also differ from each other slightly in chemical composition.

"The origins of such explosions are relevant to the entire astronomical community, not just supernova researchers. Ori Fox commented in the November 15, 2018 Caltech Press Release. Dr. Fox is a Support Scientist at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland.

Dr. van Dyk continued to note in the same press release that "Astronomers have been trying to find this progenitor for some 20 years. Humans would not be here without supernovae –they make the chemical elements from which we are made."

The astronomers also commented that they should be able to confirm with certainty where they have identified the correct progenitor to the Type Ic explosion within a few years, using Hubble or the incoming James Webb Space Telescope, planned to launch in 2021. As the supernova dims as predicted, the astronomers will have a clear view of the region surrounding it. If the luminous progenitor candidate was correctly identified in archival images, then it will have disappeared and should not be detected in the new images. If the scientists still see the candidate progenitor , that means it was misidentified and some other hidden star was the true culprit behind the cataclysmic blast.

In Memory of Mark.

Tips to Enhance Architectural Photography

There are many ways and techniques to click interior and exterior home photography. So let us see few basic tips which would help us to improve and enhance architectural photography.

Light can increase the shadow, texture, contrast and reflections. The more level of contrast can also lead to the exposure of photo in an incorrect scene, but photographers can easily surmount it by just applying the compensation of exposure. Another method that we can do is that bracket the shots at different exposure and then merges them in a program.

A wide angle lens or the fish eye is perfect for this kind of photography as it allows the photographers to get the complete building into the frame. Yet sometimes the glass might not be able to include the complete scene, than you require the panoramic format.

Exterior and interior
Architecture photography is not restricted with the front of the building. It could be difficult to correct the white balance. Interior shots are difficult to take in the older buildings as there are small doors and windows, which actually lack natural light. So, try to use a tripod and you can also use the Nd filter to prevent the highlights while shooting in the day. You can also use supplementary lighting like diffused flashing.

If you want to shoot as the silhouette at sunset, than place the architecture between sun and yourself. Also ensure that the flash is deactivated. Night shots could be atmospheric and dramatic, but just remember to click them when there is just some color and light left in the sky as this would help to add tone in the backdrop and illuminate the detail. Make the use of long exposure and wide aperture.

Click in all weathers
Like the other kinds of photography, good images can be clicked in all sorts of weathers. Revisiting and shooting the building in the various weather conditions, can actually help a photographer to create a good portfolio of shots.

It helps to add the extra dimensions to the architectural images. Use it in your photos as this would allow a photographer to create the canvas, where the building can be easily indistinct. Lots of reflexive surfaces are there, you do not actually need to practice. For example, water features windows, wet streets, modern art, rivers and puddles. Also they should not be graphic and aesthetic so one should play with the lines, shadows and lights.

How Music Bands for Corporate Shows Get Popular

The real success of a music band for corporate show depends on their popularity i.e. how much they are remembered and referred. The more people remember the goodness of music gigs and the atmosphere of a music group performing live, the more will be the demand of that band.

At corporate events, music is one of the central aspects. The venue, the likes and dislikes of the audience, the agenda of the event, etc. play a decisive role in the style of music that would be played live. The quicker a music band for the corporate show is able to figure that out the better, as it will help them to compose their music gig accordingly. As a result, not only the audience will be able to enjoy the music to the fullest, the band too can perform with full confidence.

There are a few ways a music band for corporate show can increase their popularity

  • Quality of music – Good music, simply, has no substitute. Take a moment to look at numerous musicians who made massive music careers in their lifetime. Delivering good music to the right audience is the success formula they derived from years of hard work and dedication. The same goes for music bands for corporate shows. This is the reason why the bands performing live try to put up original compositions and stage acts that later become their signature. For instance- mashup music or mashup songs became a trend after music bands started experimenting with an urge to create something different and unique.
  • Appoint a manager – Several top music bands for corporate shows have appointed bodies for managing their business, who sometimes provide creative inputs too. Both individuals and organizations are included in this list.
  • Build a band image – Building an image of the music band is as important as delivering great musical gigs. If the audience can categorize the band as a prototype, it is likely they will find some way to relate to the band. At corporate shows, the audience remains engaged in business activities for most of the part. Hence, music groups performing live at corporate events must pay attention to every detail that builds their image as a professional body that has sophistication, etiquettes and style to entertain in the high-scale corporate audience. For instance, the music band for corporate shows might maintain a dress code, play distinct soothing genres of music at special hours, set the lighting scheme, background score and dance performances, etc. to build a particular type of image.
  • Promotion – By promoting their music in video or audio format and by engaging in print and digital advertisement, a music band for a corporate show can gain popularity.
  • The audience connection – At events like corporate shows, there is an air of formality and mannerisms that bands had to comply by, which, at times, causes difficulty for bands to connect with the audience and entertain them. To become popular in the corporate circuit, music bands for corporate show need to be really good in this.

Lastly, it must be said that even with the formal air, guests at corporate shows can get ecstatic if the band succeeds to strike the right chord. After all, whatever be the issue, people want to relax, unwind, enjoy and take home some memories they can cherish. A good music band has to ensure all of these.

Essure Permanent Birth Control

Essure is intended to provide women with permanent birth control. Essure is inserted through the vagina and cervix into the fallopian tubes. The procedure does not require a skin incision or general anesthesia.

Essure is not right for anyone if anyone is uncertain about ending your fertility, can have only one insert placed, are or have been pregnant within the past 6 weeks, have had one’s tubes tied, have an active or recent pelvic infection, or have a known allergy to contrast dye.

A health care provider inserts soft, flexible coils into the fallopian tubes – the tubes that carry the eggs from the ovaries to the uterus. Over a period of about three months, tissue forms around the inserts. The build-up of tissue creates a barrier that keeps sperm from reaching the eggs, thus preventing conception. Essure is considered a permanent form of birth control and therefore is not intended to be removed.

Two economic studies, one of which implemented Essure as an in-office procedure, suggest that Essure could be more cost-effective than laparoscopic (an operation performed in the abdomen or pelvis through small incisions (usually 0.5-1.5 cm) with the aid of a camera. It can either be used to inspect and diagnose a condition or to perform surgery) bilateral tubal ligation.

Since 2013, the product has been the subject of controversy with women complaining of severe side effects leading to surgical extraction, and campaigner Erin Brockovich hosting a website where women can share their stories after having the procedure.


The procedure takes about 10 minutes,[citation needed] for a trained physician to perform and can be performed in a physician’s office.[citation needed] General anesthesia is not required. Despite this, some women have reported considerable pain during the procedure.

Small, flexible inserts are placed into the fallopian tubes by a catheter passed from the vagina through the cervix and uterus. The insert contains inner polyethylene terephthalate fibers to induce inflammation causing fibrotic reaction and is held in place by flexible stainless steel inner coil and a dynamic outer nickel titanium alloy coil. Once in place, the device is designed to elicit tissue growth in and around the insert over a period of three months to form an occlusion or blockage in the fallopian tubes; the tissue barrier formed is supposed to prevent sperm from reaching an egg.

Unlike other forms of tubal ligation, no general anaesthetic nor incision through the abdomen is required. Similar to some other methods of birth control, initially additional forms of birth control must be continued for 3 months to prevent pregnancy until the method’s effectiveness can be confirmed.


Essure is intended to provide women with permanent birth control. Essure is inserted through the vagina and cervix into the fallopian tubes. The procedure does not require a skin incision or general anesthesia.

Essure inserts do not contain or release hormones.

Essure insertion is typically performed in a doctor’s office and can be completed in 10 minutes. The recovery period is not long. Most women return to normal activity within one to two days after the procedure.

Essure is currently the only FDA-approved or cleared, non-surgical sterilization device for women who want permanent birth control in the United States. To see how Essure compares to other forms of birth control, you may refer to the product labeling.


Short-term risks to patients include:

During the Essure placement procedure and immediately following, patients may experience mild to moderate pain. Immediately following the procedure, patients may also experience cramping, vaginal bleeding, pelvic or back discomfort.

Long-term risks to patients include:

1. Unintended pregnancy, including ectopic pregnancy.

2. Pelvic pain

3. Migration of Essure inserts through the fallopian tubes into the lower abdomen and pelvis

4. Perforation of the uterus or fallopian tubes

5. Rash and itching associated with possible nickel allergy

While scientific evidence shows that Essure is a highly effective means of sterilization when health care providers and patients follow the appropriate instructions for use, no form of birth control is 100% effective.

The Agency has received reports of fetal complications including miscarriages in women who became pregnant following Essure placement. Women who have had the Essure placement procedure are more likely to have a pregnancy outside the uterus (ectopic pregnancy). At present, clinical studies and individual cases of Essure sterilization failure reported in the scientific literature have not demonstrated an increased risk of neonatal or pregnancy complications when pregnancy is in the uterus following Essure placement. The FDA will continue to monitor the safety of Essure to make certain that its benefits of providing women with a non-incisional sterilization choice continue to outweigh its risks.

Home Fireproof Safe Ratings – How to Determine If Your Safe is Fireproof

Want to Blow Up a Safe?

With these tests for your home fireproof safe, it could explode. This article tells you how to test a fireproof home safe to determine if it meets the standards for fire resistant ratings established by The Underwriters Laboratories. Please note that I use the term fireproof interchangeably with fire resistant, technically they are not interchangeable. I also recommend that you do not actually try this in your own home. It is far too expensive and dangerous.

Material Needed

1. You will need a minimum of two identical home fireproof safes. You will need a third fireproof home safe if you want to do the explosion test by itself.

2. Select some documents that you can use for a test. Make sure it is something that you can spare but do not use blank paper otherwise you will not know if is readable or not. I've contemplated using my BS degree in electrical engineering. I have not used it for years. If you are testing a media safe, then you may want some CDs that you got for Christmas and can not stand. Try a flash drive and memory stick also.

3. You'll need a furnace big enough to heat one safe at a time. If you've watched MacGyver or the A Team, I'm sure you can improvise. Otherwise check out a local pottery kiln.

4. Get some protective gear. Oven mitts will not do well opening a safe that has been heated to 2,000 degrees F.

5. Somehow, you will need to find some thermometers and recording devices that will let you know the internal temperature in the fireproof safe. I do not think an Oregon Scientific weather station will work without you are testing for the UL 125 rating. It will also need to measure humidity.

6. You will also need to measure the external temperature of the safe. Good luck finding a cheap thermometer that goes to 2,000 degrees.

7. Oh, I almost forgot. You will probably need a small crane to hoist your home fireproof safe 30 feet in the air while it is still hot. A quick release will also be needed for the drop test.

8. At the bottom of the drop test, you will need a pile of bricks on a cement slab.


Assuming you have been able to assemble all the material above, it might be good to find out what the different UL ratings mean and the criteria that will determine a successful test. Each of the ratings can be used for a fireproof safe but it is meaningless unless you specify how long the safe will meet the standard.

UL 350 – The safe must keep the interior temperature below 350 degrees Fahrenheit. That's below the normal temperature for most paper products to burn, char or become useless.

UL 150 is the rating for tapes, cartridges, microfiche, and microfilm. In addition to keeping the interior at or below 150 degrees, the humidity must be below 85%.

UL 125 is the standard for diskettes. In this case, the temperature can not exceed 125 ° F and 80% humidity. I have a feeling that this standard is a bit out of date because most people do not store diskettes anymore.

Heat Test

The first test is to see if your fireproof home safe will protect the contents for the specified length of time. You need to start at normal room temperature and humidity. Load your safe with your test material and haul it over to your furnace.

Heat your furnace to the following temperatures (all Fahrenheit) for the test you want to run then put the safe in the furnace. Be careful, when Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were tossed into a super heated furnace, the guys assigned to the task were killed from the heat.

o 1,550 for a h hour rated safe
o 1,700 for a 1 hour rated safe
o 1,850 for a 2 hour rated safe
o 1,920 for a 3 hour rated safe
o 2,000 for a 4 hour rated safe

Leave your home fireproof safe in the furnace for to to 4 hours. Here comes the kicker. Do not remove the safe after the allotted time, simply turn off the heat and let it cool down inside the furnace. If you have a really good furnace, like the ones that the guys at UL have, that would take up to 68 hours.

You'll need to record the interior temperature during the heat up and cool down phase. If it goes above the rating, your home fireproof safe flunked the test. When it gets cool enough to open, you will need to check your test contents to make sure they are still good.

Impact Test

I think the heat test was something boring. The impact test is a lot more fun and does not take as long. For this test, you need your second home fireproof safe. Start the same as before but the times and temperatures in the furnace will be less.

o 20 minutes at 1,460 degrees for a h hour rated safe
o 30 minutes at 1,550 degrees for a 1 hour rated safe
o 45 minutes at 1,640 for a 2 hour rated safe
o 60 minutes at 1,700 for a 3 and 4 hour rated safes

This part sounds like a TV game show. You now have 2 minutes to get the safe out of the furnace, lift it 30 feet in the air and drop it onto your pile of bricks. If you can see the insides through any cracks or the door, your fireproof safe flunked the second test. However, if it still looks OK you are not done yet.

Turn your safe upside down and reheat it again. This time you can remove it from the furnace and let it cool. Open the safe and examine the contents. If everything is OK, including no damage due to moisture, you are almost done.

Explosion Test

If you are a fan of Mythbusters on TV, then this has the potential of being the most fun. If you only bought two safes, then you will want to do this before you do the drop test.

Start with an empty fireproof home safe. Heat it to 2,000 degrees then open it and stuff the test documents, CDs or other material in really quick. Slam the door shut and keep the exterior at 2,000 degrees for another 30 minutes. If your safe has not exploded you are almost done. Once it has cooled enough to make sure you can handle it, open your home fireproof safe and make sure your documents are still OK.

Congratulations, you have just provided that your home fireproof safe is indeed fire resistant.

Mythbusters Test

None of your safes are any good anymore so this is for those who like to see things blow up. Get a stick of dynamite and … No, I'm not going there. Someone may accuse me of endangering people.


It is a lot cheaper and safer to just look inside your safe and see if it has a UL sticker.