The Critical Role of Sodium and Chloride (Salt) in the Diet!

If you look on the Periodic Table of the elements, you will see that sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium are alkaline earth metals. You can tell by their positioning how interrelated they are.

For example, sodium is number 11 on the Periodic Table indicating the number of protons in its nucleus. Whereas magnesium is number 12 on the Periodic table just 1 more proton or hydrogen ion more then sodium. Potassium is number 19 and calcium is number 20. These four elements are all right next to each other on the Periodic Table of Minerals for good reason!

Over the years I have thought about the relationships between sodium, magnesium, potassium and calcium and have come up with a hypothesis that magnesium, potassium and calcium are all nuclear transformations of the sodium (11) ion. This is important to understand when we consider why our blood is salted with sodium not magnesium, potassium or calcium. Even the ocean is salted with sodium for very good reasons.

The word formula for my hypothesis of nuclear transformation is as follows:

sodium (11) + hydrogen (1) magnesium (12) or,

sodium (11) + oxygen (8) potassium (19) or,

sodium (11) + hydrogen (1)+ oxygen (8) calcium or,

sodium (11) + oxygen (8) + hydrogen (1) calcium

As you can see there are many variations on how the body can transform sodium to the other alkaline elements it needs to maintain its alkaline design. Keep in mind that this transformation of elements is not a chemical reaction but a reaction, I call vibrational intelligence.

The movement of a hydrogen ion into the nucleus of a sodium ion is what gives rise to the alkaline element magnesium to help regulate body or even ocean temperature.

The movement of an oxygen ion into the nucleus of a sodium ion is what gives rise to the alkaline element potassium to help regulate the delicate alkaline pH of the extra and intracellular fluids of the body.

The movement of a hydrogen ion into the nucleus of a potassium ion is what gives rise to the alkaline element calcium. It is through the sodium ion of the blood that creates calcium to help keep our skeletal structure healthy and strong. In the ocean, it is the salt or sodium ion that gives rise to the calcium that makes the coral calcium, which helps in maintaining the alkaline design of the ocean at a pH of 8.3.

You see, nuclear transformation of sodium takes place every second of the day with any vibration or motion, such as the athlete in movement, as the body uses sodium and hydrogen to regulate the body temperature keeping it cool.

As one is exercising and as the body is heating up the body will naturally cool itself by transforming sodium into magnesium. These transformations will result in a blood serum loss of sodium and an increase in urine magnesium. Why? Because the body is converting the salt or sodium of the blood to magnesium to regulate body temperature! Without salt you CANNOT regulate your body temperature!

This same elemental transformation will takes place when the body is trying to maintain its alkaline design at a pH of 7.365. When the body is physically or emotionally stressed, metabolic acidic waste products will increase. As metabolic acids are increased from body movement, such as when exercising, or when you are stressed, such as worried about your finances, the body needs additional alkalinity to buffer the increase of endogenous acidity and it will start converting the salt or sodium of the blood to potassium.

That is why we see, in sick, tired, depressed or unfit clients a decrease in blood serum sodium and an increase in blood serum potassium.

Balancing the alkaline pH of the body fluids and bringing the body back to a state of health, energy, happiness and fitness cannot be accomplished without the mineral salts and especially the foundational ion of sodium.

Without salt running through our blood vessels and our oceans there would be NO LIFE ON EARTH!

Just one more thing to think about. As you know, most sodium comes to us as sodium chloride. This is by no coincidence. When you eat salt or sodium chloride the body splits these two ions apart. This is a matter of chemistry. The sodium ion is used as I have described above but the chloride ion is used to build our blood. I give you the following word formula of nuclear transformation of the chloride ion to iron:

chloride (17) + oxygen (8) + hydrogen from water (1) iron (26)

What I am suggesting is that salt or sodium chloride not only keeps our blood and body fluids alkaline but it also creates the iron that is necessary in making hemoglobin or blood. So, when you someone is iron deficient the are really sodium chloride deficient!

To limit or eliminate salt out of ones diet is setting the stage for ALL sickness and disease.

It is not salt that causes high blood pressure. It is dietary and metabolic acid.

Salt is the life of the body! And, without liberal amounts of whole unprocessed salt the body cannot keep up with the daily onslaught of dietary and metabolic acidity.

This is why I suggest eating lots of alkalizing mineral salt and getting off acidic foods and drinks. When you do this, your health, energy, happiness and fitness will naturally improve – without medications!

Food Acids We Consume Regularly

Food acids are the vital acids found in natural and synthetic food products that give them a distinct flavor or a tinge. Many fruits, vegetables and dairy products contain some type of acid. Human body tends to react differently to different types of food acids. Some of these acids provide nutrients or help alleviate some maladies whilst some have adverse effects on health when they are not consumed in appropriate amounts.

Citric Acid: This is a natural preservative found primarily in citrus fruits. Limes and Lemons are the best sources of citric acid, followed by other citrus fruits and strawberries, tomatoes and pineapples. A great quantity of all the citric acid produced is contained in soft drinks and other beverages, where it boosts flavors and adds a slightly sour taste. Citric acid also acts as a preservative and flavor enhancer in foods, including frozen foods, meat products, canned vegetables, jams, gelatins, candies.

Malic Acid: This is a component of many of the foods that we eat daily; mainly contained in candies, diet sodas and other artificially sweetened drinks due to its ability in masking artificial flavors and alternative sweeteners. The food that is most famous for its high malic acid content is the apple. Other fruits with a very high concentration of the acid are lychees, peaches nectarines, cherries, tomatoes, bananas, mangoes, and strawberries.

Tartric Acid: This compound is naturally found in many plants, particularly in grapes, tamarinds, pineapples, potatoes, carrots and bananas. It is also one of the especial acids found in wine. Tartaric acid can be added to food when a sour taste is desired. Tartaric acids have a dual role of an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory which can help boost the immune system and promote overall wellness.

Acetic Acid: Acetic acid, also known as ethanoic acid, is a sour-tasting compound best known for the sour taste and pungent smell in vinegar, pickles, and sourdough bread. Its produced by fermenting and oxidizing ethanol and the distillation of wood. Acetic acid has many functions, but it is mostly used as a chemical reagent, fungicide, herbicide, and solvent in a variety of industries such as food, agriculture, cosmetics and cleaning.

Oxalic Acid: Oxalates or Oxalic acids is a compound occurring in many plants and vegetables. It is also produced in the body by metabolism of glyoxylic acid or ascorbic acid and does not go through metabolism but excreted in the urine. The body is known to absorb oxalic acid from only a handful of foods, including peanuts, pecans, cocoa, guava, rhubarb wheat bran, spinach, beets and beet greens and chocolate.

Benzoic acid: A natural source of benzoic acid is gum benzoin, which comes from certain tree barks, but, it can also be made by synthetic means. Benzoic acid is very useful as Preservatives to make food products last longer, and also eradicate harmful yeast and bacteria. Benzoic acid is present in various products, including Cranberries, prunes and plums sauces, jams, jellies and candied fruits.

Butyric acid: Butyric acid also known as butanoic acid, is a saturated short-chain fatty acid with a 4-carbon backbone occurring in the form of esters in animal fats and plant oils. Butyrate is produced as end-product of a fermentation process such as, decomposition of butter solely performed by obligate anaerobic bacteria. It is found in milk, especially sheep and buffalo milk, goat, cheese and butter.

Lactic acid: This is an organic compound which is white and water-soluble in its solid state and colourless in its liquid state. It is produced both naturally and artificially but naturally present in many foodstuffs via natural fermentation in products such as cheese, yogurt, soy sauce, sourdough, meat products and pickled vegetables. Lactic acid in food products usually serves as either as a pH regulator or as a preservative. It is also used as a flavouring agent.

Tannic Acid: Tannic acid, or tannin, is a bitter-tasting compound that is derived from plants. It is the component of red wine or unripe fruit that makes your mouth want to ruck. Grapes contain a high concentration of tannins which is critical to the art of wine making. Other products that contain this acid are Green Tea, nettle, oakwood, berries, Chinese galls, persimmons.

Caffeo-tannic Acid: This is a Chlorogenic acid, from coffee, yielding caffeic acid by precipitation with baryta and salts of lead. It is known for relatively lower toxicity and used widely in many other fields like food, feed additives and cosmetics.

On Cement Shelflife

When you buy your cement at the home center you'll notice the bag is lined with a plastic sheet. This is to keep the moisture out. For those who are new to cement, moisture is cement's worst enemy. Yes, you need to mix water into cement prior to using it, but what happens when you accidentally splash water into a half used cement bag while it's sitting on your garage floor? The chemical reaction begins and the cement starts to "cure". Curing is the process where the cement begins drying or hardening – aka turning into the hard gray stuff we all see under our homes etc. Any amount of water or even moisture will do this – the degree varies with the amount of water added.

This is why you sometimes see little, hardened, pebble-like cement balls in your cement bag. You'll see more of them as time passes and your bag of cement is allowed to sit there and absorb moisture. This is why ideally, you will try to use your cement as soon as possible after buying it. It would generally be a good idea to only buy what you think you'll need for a particular project and no more. Buying in "bulk" in this case would NOT be a good idea. Having said that however, I have had cement sit in my garage for a good part of a year and still perform its duties when I rolled it out.

Of course, even though I could not see any visible difference in the way the cement turned out, I know due to science and the word of professionals, that given regular circumstances, old cement will never cure as strong as new cement. This is why older cement is acceptable for projects that do not require immaculate results such as a mortar bed or concrete stumps that will not be subject to any – or very little – lateral or shear forces. This does NOT mean that you can use cement no matter HOW old it is! There is such thing as going past the point of no return with cement, and if this happens, I would not recommend using it for anything – besides maybe a filler.

But I have had success with using moderately old cement for projects like mortar beds without any problem at all. I've also had total failure using cement that HAD "gone past the point of no return" where even after leaving it for a week, it would crumble out like a termite-eaten piece of wood when I would probe at it with something hard . This is what happens when you push the envelope with BAD cement! If after 48 hours your cement still feels even slightly soft when pressing firmly down on it with your thumb, this is a sign that your cement is … well, bad (for lack of a better word). There is no exact lifespan or "shelf-life" of raw cement but I would recommend using it within 6 months of purchase if you DO NOT require maximum strength, and 1 or 2 months if you do.

Networking Tiger Traps

Have you ever considered that when you are networking you are also often giving away information? Information which maybe proprietary in nature to your company? If you have not considered this you should, as this is the largest Tiger Trap of networking and one you need to be careful of.

What you say can and will be used against you in the market place. Remember competition can be indeed very tough at times and lose lips sink ships. Does this mean you need an alternative strategy? No, just to be careful what you say. In fact although you may recall that thing your Grandparents use to say; You have two ears and one mouth, so use them in that ratio?

I can tell you over the years the things I had heard in casual conversations about my competitors had indeed made me quite a bit of money. You see, too often someone would tell me something about a competitor or someone they knew in my line of work at a networking party.

In fact I would listen and ask a few questions and it was amazing the amount of information I could get with such small amount of effort. Then of course the flip side occurs to you. That these folks are telling your competition all about you too. Consider all this in 2006.

How to Make Rubber Stamps: Comparing Methods of Manufacture

Vulcanized Rubber Stamps

The traditional red rubber stamp that everybody is familiar with will have been manufactured in a vulcanizing press. The first rubber stamp vulcanizing press was patented in 1890 by Charles Schultze in New Orleans USA. Vulcanizing is today one of the most cost effective methods of making rubber stamps for mass produced stamps. Each batch of stamps is produced using a mould. This method of manufacture is more suited to stamp making where the same moulds are used over and over again. Making custom made stamps with a vulcanizing press requiring ‘once only’ moulds will drive the cost of manufacture up significantly.

Making the mould – before a mould can be made you must have a master plate manufactured from metal or polymer, the master plate has the necessary relief (the artwork is raised) to make an impression in the mould. Having a master plate made each time a mould is required is what drives up the cost of manufacture for vulcanized stamps. Pressing the master plate into a Matrix board creates the mould that will accept the rubber. Heat and pressure is applied to the master plate and matrix board inside a Vulcanizing press. The Matrix follows the shape of the relief provided by the master plate, this then hardens on cooling.

Making Rubber Stamps – Creating stamps is a simple process once the mould is made. Raw rubber stamp gum is placed on top of the mould and then placed inside the stamp press. Hydraulic pressure is placed upon the rubber and the mould from within the stamp press causing the rubber to melt into the areas of the mould that contain the images and text, curing and hardening takes about 10 minutes. Once cured the sheet of rubber is pulled away from the mould and cut up into individual stamps to be affixed to mounts.

Cost of a vulcanizing system is approximately $12,000 AUD

Advantages – Low cost of production for mass produced stamps, good ink transfer.

Disadvantages – Cost of producing master plates and moulds for custom made stamps.

Laser Engraved Rubber Stamps

The traditional raw rubber used for vulcanizing stamp dies is quite unacceptable for the production of laser stamp dies, the laser process requires a very even thickness and blemish free surface to produce an acceptable printed image from a stamp die. The rubber must also be subjected to a specific curing process before it can be exposed to the elevated temperature of a laser beam.

The depth of the engraving is determined by the laser speed, its wattage and the density of the rubber. For example, a 50 or 100W engraver will engrave the rubber deeper and faster than a 25W machine, which may require a second pass to achieve a similar result. Usually supplied in an A4 size sheet form, a good quality laser rubber is required for engraving stamp dies and must also have suitable compression strength and ink transfer properties.

To assist the engraving process, it is necessary to remove the excess dust which is constantly created by the laser cutting action with an efficient exhaust filtration system. As very few, if any, CO2 laser engraving machines were initially purpose built for engraving and cutting rubber, installing and maintaining an effective dust extraction system pays long term dividends. Mirrors, lenses and any exposed bearing surfaces should be cleaned thoroughly as part of a regular maintenance program. Any neglect in this area will be detrimental to overall trouble free laser operation, as the build up of dust and residue will affect running efficiency and the quality of the finished stamp die. Lasers are controlled directly from a computer, the software drivers supplied with lasers work with many graphic programs such as CorelDraw.

Approximate cost of a 25 watt Laser suitable for stamp making is $40,000

Advantages – Production is computer controlled, custom made stamps can be made easily

Disadvantages – High capital investment, maintenance costs and running will be much higher than vulcanizing or polymer methods of manufacture.

Liquid Polymer Rubber Stamps

Converting rubber stamp polymer from a liquid into a solid to make stamps is quite fascinating. Polymer stamps are manufactured between two sheets of glass using precision controlled UV light which passes through a negative containing the stamp artwork solidifying the polymer. Negative production has been simplified with the introduction of water based negative technology, photographic chemicals for producing negatives are now a thing of the past.

The first step in making polymer rubber stamps is to print your images, clipart or text onto Vellum, an almost transparent paper like film.

To produce quality stamp artwork you must use a laser printer, inks from bubble jet printers are translucent allowing UV light to pass where it should not. Water based negatives are easily washed out after being exposed for a few minutes in a UV exposure stamp machine.

Polymer contained in a sachet is now replacing the older cumbersome method of using foam tape to create a dam and pouring of rubber stamp polymers, the sachets have also addressed the age old problem of removing air bubbles from the poured polymer.

The negative of your artwork and polymer sachet is sandwiched between two sheets of glass spaced 2-3mm apart which is then exposed in the machine for a few minutes. Once you have completed the exposure it is a simple process of cutting open the sachet and washing away the excess unexposed polymer before returning the stamp die back to the machine for a 10 minute curing. Once the stamps are cured they can be cut up individually. Polymer sachets are available in a range of sizes up to A4 size.

Processing time is about 30 minutes for a batch of polymer stamps.

Cost of polymer stamp making machines range from $3,500 AUD for an Australian made unit designed specifically for stamp making up to high end imported units with computer controlled washout for $15,000 AUD.

Advantages – Lower capital investment, polymers make almost clear stamps making them ideal for scrapbooking and card making. Stamp relief can be easily controlled during exposure.

Disadvantages – Early polymers did not accept inks as well as polymers available today, this along with being new technology caused initial resistance to polymer stamps.

Summary

Most large stamp manufacturers have a mix of the above equipment. The unmounted rubber stamp dies produced with any of these manufacturing methods can be cut up and affixed to simple hand stamps, dater stamps or self inking stamps. Craft stamps are usually affixed to wooden blocks or in the case of polymer stamps affixed to clear acrylic blocks with adhesives or InstaGrip mounting mat. Various manufactures produces stamp mounts. Astron Industries in Australia manufacturer the clear hand stamp ‘Vuestamp’ and also distribute the Ideal range of self inking mounts. Other brands of self inking mounts are Trodat, Colop and Shiny.

4 Common Mistakes That Make Your Website Look Dumb

When having a new website created, it can be easy to get carried away with the design and structure. However, during and after the design and build process, small mistakes can be made that will undo all the hard work you and your agency would have put into the site's creation. Here are four areas you should check to help prevent your site making you look dumb:

1: Your Grammar
This may seem obvious but so many websites have poor grammar. However, many people who read websites have good grammar – for them at least it can be annoying to read the wrong 'its' or 'it's' or sometimes the wrong 'their' and 'there'. Some people however have strong views about grammar and you honestly risk losing potential customers simply from a few dumb spelling or grammatical errors.

If you know your grammar is not up to scratch, at the very least ask someone you know to proof read the content – ideally use a professional copywriter who will be able to create dynamic content as well as being able to structure the sentences in the right way.

2: Browser Compatibility
A good quality website agency 'should' check that your website presents itself properly on all browsers. However, it can be the aspect that is overlooked at the end of a website build as both customer and agency alike are keen to get the site live.

There are quite a few browsers these days – including Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Safari. In addition to these options, each of these browsers has previous versions which may or may not upset your website. The classic example is Internet Explorer 6. This browser can ruin a very well designed site even if the site looks fine on versions 7, 8 or 9. Test your site before and after it goes live so you know it looks and works as it should .

3: Poorly Chosen Images
Some pictures simply shout 'stock images'! Stock images are those that can be purchased for only a few dollars each, but in some cases can look bland, stereotypical and unprofessional. That is not to say that stock image is a bad idea. However, whatever source of images you (or your agency) choose they should be chosen based on them fitting together as a family of images that layout the right look for your business. Buy your images all together so you know that they all compliment each other and all add a sense of quality or professionalism to your website.

4: Your Contact Form
Firstly, you must ensure your website contact forms are working and that they work on each of the browsers previously mentioned. Then you must remind yourself to test your contact forms on a regular basis – eg once a week. In some cases, it only takes one small website change or server change for your forms to stop working – and it could be months before you realize unless you test them regularly.

Glass Repair and Restoration

Glass is something that we all look through every day. When installed properly it gives us a clear view into the outside world. Unfortunately, glass that is damaged distorts and blurs our view of the outside world. Glass, being an organic and somewhat soft material, is susceptible to damage from many sources and during all stages of its life.

Glass that is damaged before installation is usually easy to spot. Generally, it consist of glass that is not properly tied down or isolated during transportation, this type of damage generally will consist of many scratches closely grouped together. Glass that is damaged during construction will usually have an irregular scratching pattern. This pattern can be created by careless workers rubbing against the glass or scraping it with metal objects.

Glass that is damaged after construction shows the most varied damage characteristics. The first way glass can be damaged after construction is in the post construction cleanup. While cleaning construction debris from glass, cleaners who use dull, chipped, or improper blades can leave the entire surface of the window covered in scratches. This type of damage creates a pattern that follows the flowing movement of someone quickly trying to scrape debris from a window. Damage caused by post construction cleaners is most frequently seen in tempered glass. Many large cleaning companies have a disclaimer in their contract making them not liable for this damage. This sort of damage is most notably a problem in either commercial or high end residential construction.

Another common type of glass damage is welding slag runoff. Welding slag runoff is small bits of molten metal that fly in all direction while people are welding. When these red hot pieces of metal come into contact with glass they burn their way into it, this is usually the deepest sort of glass damage. When the welding slag comes into contact with the glass it burns its way into the glass leaving a residual of the burnt metal as it burrows deeper into the glass surface. While this is frequently the deepest of glass damage it is not however always the most noticeable, welding slag can constantly look like specks on the window. Although these specks look like simple construction debris they can not be scraped off of the window.

Another type of damage is acid burn damage. Acid is usually the most visible but frequently the shallowest type of damage. This happens because acid splashes or sprays over large portions of a window, causing the damaged area to acquire a milky white haze in the damaged areas.

One final type of damage that comes from a more malicious source is graffiti. While paint graffiti on windows can be an annoyance it is easily taken care of with water and a razor blade. More difficult types of graffiti to deal with are scratch and acid graffiti. Scratch graffiti can range in severity from very light, similar to acid damage, to extremely deep, closer to the depth of welding slag. This damage is usually infected with the help of a diamond or glass cutting device.

Acid graffiti is hydrofluoric acid and is often applied using a brush or plastic shoe polish bottle. The amount to which the acid damages the window is dependent on two things the the acids purity and how long it is allowed to sit on the glass eating into it without being cleaned off.

All of these types of damage can be repaired. While there are a number of companies out there that claim to be able to repair this damage there are certain things to be aware of when deciding who to allow to do the repairs. Improperly done repairs can lead to distortion, waviness in the glass, and a slight cloud in the area repaired. While there are reputable companies who are able to repair glass without theses side affects you should be certain to bring up these issues with anyone you consider allowing to working on your glass.

Fur Coat – What Are The Things That Should Be Considered While Purchasing Them?

A high quality fur jacket is perfect in terms of styling and appearance. It provides protection during cool winter days and helps a lot in improving the overall personality of an individual. Before buying a coat, you should take a number of factors into your consideration. You have to ensure that the product offers maximum benefits at minimum price value. So, here are some of the key things which can help you in buying a high quality fur coat.

Comprehensive market research

While buying a nice jacket made up of fur, the first thing which should be done is market research. You should analyze different sellers and give best of your efforts to find the perfect product. These days, various sellers provide high quality jackets and so it's important for you to compare the different deals being offered so that you can choose the right one. Find a seller that offers you a nice coat at discounted rates.

The jacket's quality

If you want to avail maximum amount of benefits then you should ensure that you do consider the quality of the jacket. A comfortable and warm jacket will definitely help you in coping up with the harsh weather conditions during the winters. So, it's important for you to keep a check on the make of the jacket so that you get to know what kind of materials the company is using for manufacturing the jacket.

The coat's length

While choosing a jacket made up of fur you need to consider its length because it can be a deciding factor later on. It is quite important for you to purchase a coat that looks good on you. You should consider buying one according to your height.

Styling is also essential factor

The next thing which should be considered while buying a coat is styling. A fur coat should enhance the personality of an individual. So, it is important for you to choose a nice coat that matches up to your style well and allows you to make a bold fashion statement.

These were some of the key things which can help you in buying a fur jacket. High quality jackets provide adequate protection during winters. Make sure that you do take all the above mentioned factors into your consideration while purchasing a fur coat. It is really important for you to make the right choice so that you can improve your overall look easily.

Getting Started With a Golf GPS System

Golf GPS systems can significantly increase your skills and expertise in golf. These very accurate and effective devices inform you of the remote distances to the front, center and back of greens. Obtaining this information will help you become better at your game over time.

Golf GPS units give you a yardage scope and range which will help you in determining what club is best for making your next shot, the amount of force needed, and the direction to hit the ball. Seeing the illustration of the front to the back of the green will allow you to get a better view of its size. These systems also tell you the slope of the green so you are able to determine which way you should angle your shots. Figuring out the distance left to the green at a yardage range instead of a single range gives you a better chance at making the shot.

There are several different brands and types you can purchase, so doing your research ahead of time is important. Units that are accurate and provide a full-color touch screen are typically the best choice. Many golf GPS units display a graphical overhead view of the hole, key in helping you see and plan your shots. Once in this view you can then touch any spot on the hole to get the yardage to that location and the distance to the pin from that spot. It is also good to look for a system that features a scorecard that will enable you to record your score, the number of putts, and even show if you were able to hit the fairway or green on the first shot. This shot-tracking element will allow you to track your shots and the club that was used for each. Many units then compute the minimum, maximum, and average distances that you have stuck with each club. You can then download this information onto your computer to examine later, giving you a chance to analyze the ins and outs of your game.

There are many benefits to owning a golf GPS system. Choosing the right club to use on any shot is definitely a necessity in helping you improve your game. Seeing the distance on your shots will help you to also become more familiar with the game. Guessing all of the time can really hurt your golf score and leave you feeling frustrated. Professional golfers know this critical information when they are playing and it is a big part of what makes them so successful. Now it is your turn to really start becoming that masterful golfer that you have always dreamed of being.

Online Competitions – Both Sides of the Picture

The internet has presented the world with a whole lot of new opportunities, both in trade and for entertainment purposes, depending on whether you’re a developer or the end user. Being the multimillion dollar industry that it is, it has benefited every person that entered into the field of creating internet content. Mark Zuckerberg, anyone?

Not that we’re talking about social networks having 800 million users here. We refer instead, to the free online competitions that are conducted on the internet by the hundreds every day. Come to think of it, you might even be taking part in one as we speak. These competitions take various forms: raffles, avatar making and many more.

The best thing about free online competitions, of course, is that they’re free. Targeted at the young audience, these competitions are doing their job pretty well. One doesn’t need to pay a fee to get their name entered, (Perhaps they’ll be asked to join a group on the internet but many consider this a price they’re willing to pay), and that’s what makes these competition so much more attractive.

In addition to this, online competitions can be participated in, from one’s own home. If you’re given the choice of taking part in a competition that is being conducted about thirty miles away from home, or one that can be participated in from home, which one would you prefer? The latter, we guess. All you need to do is to get entered in the competition and wait for the day, and you’re good. These competitions don’t come with huge lists of eligibility criteria either; the only requirement being a computer and an internet connection. The simplicity of them, and the ease of organizing, means that they’re all the rage these days in countries like Japan and Korea, among others.

Such competitions may also provide the users with paid or free treats within them. One may go as far as to call it the business side of these competitions. The participants are given bonuses to upgrade the virtual players as they advance in the game, which may include power ups, extra lives, better armor, or to cut a long story short, stuff that you’ll probably be wishing for at the time.

Like everything else, such competitions have their disadvantages. To many, online gaming is an unfavorable practice despite being free and accessible to many. The obvious disadvantage, according to the people who have something to hold against it, (and many experts, actually), is that prolonged online gaming isolates the young mind. It diminishes one’s social life and limits one’s attention to a world that exists only in the internet.

Excess online gaming has even been linked to illnesses like weak eyesight (even blindness), malnutrition, a limited concentration span in other tasks that a person may be performing (like studies) and even lethargy. It’s ironic how all this computer hype was first based on the fact that it preserves a person’s energies and counters lethargy, but is now fast becoming the reason of lethargy and irritability itself. Time spent playing games online is increasing in kids of a certain age group, and it may actually sever their ties with the real world; ties that actually help them become good and sensible human beings in the long run.

Despite these disadvantages however, there is next to no doubt that the graph of online competitions’ popularity, with time, will continue to gain gradient for many years to come. For all we know, many hundreds of new games may have been created while you read this article, and many competitions started. Enthusiasts will continue to compete with each other in games they enjoy playing, and some may call it unfortunate that such enthusiasts never find themselves short of the supply of new games, thanks to the uncountable developers out there who’re ensuring just this.

Practicing English Abroad – Without Having to Pay!

Whenever the advantages of earning an advanced degree in an English-speaking country are mentioned, “improving my English skills” and “practicing my English” always rank high among them. But, as the experience of many a foreign student has shown, practicing – let alone improving – your English is, as the English saying goes, “easier said than done.”

Understandably, many students studying abroad gravitate toward students from their own country or region, both for greater ease of conversation as well as to be with others who understand their cultural perspective. Valuable as such friendships are, they often get in the way of using English and refining the skills, speaking and listening in particular.

Furthermore, a lack of confidence inhibits many foreign students from putting themselves forward in English. Even when they have the confidence and willingness, students from other countries often do not know how – and where – to create situations outside the classroom in which they’re likely to learn English by using it. The following suggestions, some of them familiar and obvious, others more novel, come from clever students who have found ways to make the most of their time in the English-speaking world.

All of them agree that making as many native English-speaking friends as possible is the most helpful thing of all. That doesn’t necessarily mean living with native speakers, but if you can – in a dormitory or shared house, apartment or flat situation – you’re sure to get your English up to comfortable speaking, listening and general comprehension standards at the fastest rate, having the most fun in the process.

English-speaking students are as interested in making friends with people from other countries as you are in getting to know them. Many of them have not traveled extensively outside their home countries or continents – and are as aware as you are of the value of getting experience of the ways people from other cultures think and interact.

A good thing to avoid in making native-speaker friends is not to propose spending time together so that you can practice your English. Even though it is part of what you want from the interaction, it is only part, and it sounds less appealing to native speakers than simply asking to go out for coffee or some other appropriate means of getting to know someone. It sounds like there is work or effort involved on the part of the native speaker.

In fact, the people you approach with the idea of “practicing your English” are less like to decline your invitation because they are unwilling to be helpful than they are to feel that they are not “qualified” to teach and might have a negative rather than a positive influence on your English. The reality is that no matter how they speak English, they have something to teach you, since, as native speakers, they are examples of the kinds of English speakers you can expect to encounter in your later, professional or personal life.

Beyond making English-speaking friends and living with native speakers, here are some ways to consider expanding your English speaking and comprehension skills that take you into more formal, adult parts of the English-speaking world. In some of them, you may even learn vocabulary that will be useful for your academic discipline:

1. Go to the bank with a mission that involves fact-finding in English. As one example, it would be good for you to learn how have money wired from a foreign country – yours – into a bank account you establish in your host country. You may need it. If the branch of the bank near your university is a small one, you may just want to walk in and talk to an officer. If it is a larger bank, you may want to call ahead for an appointment to speak with someone. That would push you even farther into the trickier business of doing business – in this case simply making an appointment – in a second language over the telephone, which is one step more difficult than doing the same thing in person. You could even say that you are gathering the information for an article you are writing for your school’s foreign-student bulletin. Then you could actually write up what you learn and present the information to your fellow foreign students – even if there is no official foreign-student bulletin.

2. Go to the post office to find out how best to ship an item home. This will probably be a walk-in task, but you are likely to find postal clerks helpful if you look earnest about your need to know. Find out as many shipping options as possible, both to gather information you might really find useful but also to see how long you can sustain a conversation about a complex topic. Do not be shy about asking to have anything you are told repeated until you understand it completely. That will encourage the clerk to find other means – usually just different words – to answer your question. This is a highly important English skill: learning the different ways there are of saying basically the same thing.

3. Go to a fitness center or other facility that offers nonacademic activities you enjoy and ask about membership and privileges. Universities often have many of the facilities you need on campus. Still, you could also go off campus to investigate other kinds of activity centers – which could range from a stable that gives horse-riding lessons to an art studio. Even if you do not actually join – and do not feel pressured to; you are just investing possibilities (and expanding your English without saying so) – you are sure to enlarge your vocabulary and increase your sense of ease talking with strangers in English. They are there to provide a service or sell their product, so you can safely assume that they are already inclined to be as helpful as possible.

4. Go to a travel agent and plan a trip. The trip could be anything from an excursion in your host country – of which there are sure to be many – to a more adventurous trip to a neighboring country. Travel agents are, for obvious reasons, accustomed to dealing with people who do not speak English as a first language. Again, try to sustain the conversation as long as possible within reason. Ask about the full range of transportation and accommodation options, and see how many different recommendations the agent can make that fit with you time availability and budget. Do not feel under pressure to buy anything you do not actually want or are not prepared to do. It is normal for customers to leave a travel agent’s office with a variety of options to consider.

5. Apply for a part-time job. Even if you do not need to work part-time or cannot under the terms of your acceptance at your host university, check out nearby jobs. Inquiring about jobs is likely to introduce you to vocabulary you would encounter in no other way. Even better, if you present yourself well and make a strong, well-worded application, you could even be asked back for an interview. Interviewing is a highly valuable skill in countless situations, including academic ones, and getting all the experience you can with it will be invaluable. If you are so successful that you are actually offered the job, give yourself credit for a job already well done (fact-finding; interviewing) – and then accept the job if it actually appeals to you or politely decline it if you do not want or need it. If you were skillful enough to get one job offer, it is plausible that you got others, too. Thank the employer for the opportunity and reply that, regrettably, you have accepted another offer elsewhere.

The opportunities are limited only by the size of the community in which your university or school is located. The suggestions above are offered to give you ideas about how to use your imagination to create situations for you to expand and practice your English – without ever having to say, “Could you please help me practice my English?”

Rescue For Menstrual Cramps

Savoy, by some accounts, was a late bloomer when it came to getting her first period. She did not start until she was in the seventh grade. From the start her monthly menstrual cycle was a cause for trepidation. She would miss school on a regular basis every month during her cycle because the pain was so bad. “I needed help for menstrual cramps,” says Savoy [not her real name], now a 21-year-old Senior in college, in Northern California. “I would take the maximum dose of an over-the-counter pain reliever then muscle through it. When I turned 16, I was still having so many issues my parents discussed the situation with my doctor and I was put on high-dose birth control pills. That helped a lot.” (Since birth control pills sustain more reliable hormone levels, they can provide help for menstrual cramps.)

However, when Savoy entered her Junior year of high school she discovered something that had even better results in providing help for menstrual cramps: exercise. “I joined the high school cheer-leading squad, then the soccer team, and I discovered that the pain was subsiding more and more,” she says. “I was able to go off the birth control pills for the rest of high school.”

Dysmenorrhea — which translated means menstrual pain — affects scores of women. There are studies that indicate as many as 90% of young women experience intense pain during their periods, and it has become the number one reason for women missing school and work for this age group.

Physical workouts provide help for menstrual cramps because they let go beta-endorphins, which are internal opioids — your exclusive “human morphine,” according to leading obstetrician-gynecologists. Workouts create analgesia [paid relief] and assist in burning the prostaglandins — chemicals let go during menstruation that create muscle contractions — far quicker.

The number one type of workout for help for menstrual cramps, leading professionals agree, happens to be aerobic workouts — a workout that ramps your heart rate upward, like rapid walking, bicycle riding, aquatic undertakings like swimming or water polo, or, in winter when you can’t be outside, even ice-skating at a local ice rink. The key, one clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York quoted, “is that you endeavor to devote 30 minutes, three times a week, to intensive aerobic exercise.”

Savoy discovered a short time ago that her intense menstrual pain has returned, since laying off her regular exercise program due to a heavy class load at college. Her doctor wants to eliminate the chance it could be other problems, but she and Savoy are in agreement that her lack of strenuous exercise has to go by the wayside and her successful routine reinstated.

“The area around my college campus has a lot of hills with ups and downs, and I enjoy going on extended hikes with my Siberian husky puppy, Volk, so my goal is carving out that time again for exercise I know is help for menstrual cramps,” says Savoy.

Exercise for Help for Menstrual Cramps

The goal: You must work up a sweat by walking, running or whatever you choose, at a rapid pace. Ideally you should be capable of having a discussion with someone who is with you, but not so easily it does not require some effort. Do you need some incentive? Consider undertaking what Savoy does: Tackle the hills, or have your high energy dog accompany you.

The Reward: True help for menstrual cramps appears to arise from energetic physical activity, the type that ramps your heart rate upward and has you puffing like a steam engine. As this occurs your own near perfect machine known as the human body; let’s go of those endorphins that battle the menstrual cramp making chemicals that is a component of your menstrual cycle.

Now go get a Husky and run like the wind!

Getting Rid of Pimples: Cure Your Pimples Today!

Everybody knows what a hassle it is to wake up in the morning, look in the mirror and find that a big, unsightly pimple has developed overnight. Everybody deals with this frustration at least once, and chances are that if you are reading this article then you are tired of having to deal with this situation in your daily life. If you are ready to take control of the frustration of dealing with acne then read on, you'll find that getting rid of pimples and unaware the clear skin that lies beneath is not as difficult as you might think!

Clear skin is really a product of one main thing-cleanliness. I'll say it again: Keep Your Face Clean, and you acne problems will soon be a thing of the past. You must be thinking, "Surely it can not be that simple …" "If it was then nobody would suffer from pimple outbreaks!" Well there are a few pitfalls that people fall victim to that make keeping your face clean a little more challenging than it sounds. For instance, many people do not specifically spend time washing their face in the shower. You need to use a washcloth and a facial wash (not your regular bar of soap) to clean your face specifically each and every time you bathe. This can sometimes be problematic, since zits and pimples can be painful to touch once they have developed past a certain point. For this reason a lot of people avoid them in the shower, but they will never go away until they are cleaned directly. If you are able to do this then you will already be well on your way towards getting rid of the pimples that cause you so much frustration.

Even if you are able to clean your face thoroughly in the shower, you still might find that your face is oily and pimples just keep popping up. If that is the case, it might be necessary to wash your face again before bed. This way oils will not be pressed against your face and the pillow for hours each night. In addition, you need to do what you can to keep your face from getting as oily as it normally would. If you are a girl, try not to wear makeup, and if this is not a possibility then just try not to pile it on. Excess makeup can combine with sweat and the natural lubricants in your skin to form pimples. Odds are you would only try to cover these up with more makeup, continuing the cycle. If you use a moisturizer or any other facial product, be sure to use as little as possible, and to wash it off your face completely once it has taken effect.

Keeping your face clean really brings down to common sense. If your face feels dirty, it probably is. If you have been sweating, touching your face, wearing makeup, or doing anything else to increase the oil content of your facial skin, then you need to know instinctively that until your face is washed it is still at risk for an acne breakout. But as long as you remain dedicated and keep your face as clean as possible then getting rid of pimples, blemishes, zits, and acne is really a very simple process, and one that you can accomplish with ease.

Ceramic Flat Iron Reviews

Home users love them, professionals recommend them and hair salons always use them. Ceramic flat irons are certainly the most popular in the beauty industry, but exactly what makes them so highly demanded? Could it be its consistent heating, its gentle straightening or maybe its fast performance? It's actually all of these things and many more, but you will not fully appreciate the benefits of ceramic until you learn what all of them are and what they have to offer.

Ceramic's main advantage is its consistent heating which equally distributes the heat around the plates for even straightened hair that will be achieved much faster. The heat that ceramic uses is not your typical dry heat but far infrared heat instead, which is gentle and moisturizing for healthy looking hair. It also uses an ionic component which smoothes, seals and protects the hair by speeding up heating time to reduce excess exposure while also neutralizing frizz and relaxing the hair. This promises an easier straightening experience and a style that will last a lot longer.

Although ceramic is fast, safe and versatile, many people need something a bit more powerful for thick and frizzy hair or they're looking for something gentler for fragile and color dyed locks. Ceramic can certainly take care of these particular hair types on its own but you can always enhance ceramic's natural component with the help of other ingredients such as titanium or tourmaline. Many professional flat irons use these combinations for incredibly efficient straightening experiences and much happier customers. Titanium is ideal for women who live on the fast track and need their hair straightened and styled in the least time possible. Its amazingly quick heating up time makes it perfect for thick, coarse and curly haired women who require higher heats for better results. On the other hand, tourmaline is a dream come true for fragile and frizzy hair types who need less overall heat but still expect professional results. Tourmaline is extra ionic, meaning that your hair will be much silkier, smoother and healthier while also retaining its style for longer.

This last combination of ceramic and tourmaline is the most popular on the market today, and many flat irons like Karmin use it for superior heating and safer styling. The difference with Karmin is that this brand uses genuine ceramic and tourmaline plates instead of coated ones which are more commonly found. Genuine plates promise an unbeatable fast experience that will take care of your hair and bring out its natural beauty. So if you want the best of ceramic, look for the Karmin G3 to enjoy all of its benefits and much more.