History of the Dustbin

Most of us have one and probably have done for most of our lives but very few of us give the humble dustbin much thought. But in fact the dustbin has gone through dramatic changes which have coincided with changes that our society has been through over the last hundred years of so.

Whether you call it a dustbins, rubbish bin, garbage can or wheelie bin, the changes to our main refuse collection bin have been dramatic and represent the changing way we live our lives.

Dustbins have only been around since the last 150 years or so. Before that time there was little need for dustbins or waste bins as most waste people discarded were ash (from fires), wood, bones, body waste and vegetable matter which more-often-than-not was just burned in the fireplace.

However, when the industrial revolution happened and more and consumable items were being purchased and a an increase in plastics an other materials were being used. The need to keep our towns and cities clean became apparent.

The 1848 Public Health Act as the first time that a government decided that each household should have access to a rubbish receptacle which was emptied by state funded binmen. Dustbins were introduced by many councils. These rubbish bins were large metal containers and didn’t change on shape or design for decades.

In fact it wasn’t until the latter part of the twentieth century when concerns about land-fill space and the need to recycle some of our waste become apparent did the style and shape of dustbins change.

Along with the introduction of bottle banks, large plastic dustbins were introduced in many parts of the country as a cheaper method of producing bins compare to the heavy metal trash can. However, the need for recycling increased and goner too are these old style bins and most people in England and Wales were given wheelie bins. Wheelie bins not only make the job of collecting rubbish easier, different coloured bins have been introduced to encourage recycling. Many areas of the country now have two or tree wheelie bins. One is a conventional household rubbish bin the others are recycling bins for garden waste or recyclable materials.

How To Choose a Cruise Line

There are several things to keep in mind when choosing a cruise vacation. If you have never booked a cruise before, knowing how to choose a cruise line properly will save you both headaches and money.

Big Boat Or Small?

Your first step is to determine what size ship you want to take for your cruise. Small cruise ships are designed to travel to places with a natural landscape. The accommodations are quite luxurious and cater to a relaxing cruise. The cruise ship usually does not hold more than one thousand passengers.

The large cruise ship accommodates a wide range of interests. They offer activities such as bocce ball, miniature golf, and extravagant spas. The cruise ship usually holds between two and four thousand passengers. The medium size cruise ship offers a little of both. The cruise ship usually holds between one and two thousand passengers.

Your second step is to choose the type of cruise line you want. There are three basic types. The contemporary cruise is perfect for anyone and accommodates a variety of activities in a relaxed and comfortable setting. The premium cruise caters to guests looking for exquisite food and stylish décor. The luxury cruise has personal service, excellent entertainment and exquisite food.

Choosing Your Cabin

Now that you know how to choose a cruise line, you still must also choose the type of cabin. There are several types of cabins in which to choose. To begin with, you will need to choose where on the ship you would like your cabin. The location can be very important.

First, there is the inside cabin. This is a cabin without any windows and is located in the middle of the ship. This cabin is the most economical cabin.

Second is the ocean view cabin. This cabin comes with either a window or a port hole. Next is the balcony state room. This cabin has a balcony from which you can enjoy breakfast with a view. Lastly is the suite. The suite is like a small apartment. It comes with a bedroom, living room, bathroom and wet bar. Some of them come with a dining area as well. This cabin is the most expensive.

You will also need to decide the size of the cabin. The single accommodates one person with either a twin or double bed. The double accommodates two people with two twin beds, a double, or queen size bed. The triple accommodates up to four people.

When booking a room be aware of the deck plan so that you know where the cabins are located. Keep in mind that the inside cabins have no windows and are in the center of the ship. With ocean view cabins keep in mind the location so that you do not chose a cabin that is near an object that can get in the way your view of the ocean; for example the lifeboat.

Connecting a VoIP System Using Your Cable Modem

The widespread use of broadband Internet access has led to more consumers choosing to also use their Internet access as a way to place and receive phone calls as well as surf the web. By using a Voice Over IP (VoIP) telephone company, users can get a host of great features and pricing that some would say is shockingly affordable. However, many people, especially those that are somewhat techno-phobic, may wonder how all this stuff gets connected. Actually, it's fairly simple so here's a quick summary of how to connect VoIP using your cable modem.

If you use a cable modem for your Internet connection, you already understand the concept that both television and Internet traffic travels over the same physical wire. This is sort of like having different channels on your television all coming in from the same line, if that analogy helps clear things up. Since your Internet connection is coming from your cable line, that means we'll need to work with that line in order to connect your VoIP system.

In a typical setup, your cable line comes in from somewhere outside the house and probably through the framework of the house to the wall jacks in the different rooms. And from the cable jack, you probably have a line either going directly to your computer or, if you have a television in the same room, you'll have a splitter that sends one line to your computer and one to your television. Ignore the one going to your TV … we will not need to do anything to that line.

The other line should go to your cable modem so we will not have to do anything there either. However, you cable modem probably connects to your computer using an Ethernet cable, which looks like a phone jack but with a wider connector. Instead of connecting that to the computer, you'll need to connect the Ethernet cable to your VoIP box. So basically, you're putting the VoIP box in between the cable modem and the computer.

Once you've done that, you'll now have to connect your computer to something. Luckily, most VoIP boxes have extra plugs for you to connect other Ethernet cables. So you can simply connect your computer to the VoIP box in much the same way it was connected directly to the cable modem before and your computer will still be able to send and receive information to and from the Internet.

The other good thing about most VoIP boxes is that there are usually a few of those extra plugs to connect various network items. So if you have a network printer or other type of device, you can easily connect it right to your VoIP box.

That's pretty much it. It's a fairly simple process and the owner's manual that came with your VoIP box should outline most of these steps as well as some alternate configurations based on what other type of equipment you might have. In addition, your VoIP service might be able to install all of this for you if you've rather taken a completely hands-off approach.

Finding the Right Progress Reporting Tool

One of the most common problems you will face as a project manager is to collect information about task progress. Whether it is as simple as asking your team to report back the progress of each task, or if it involves multiple teams or organizations, the essential obstacle you face is the same; how to get an up-to-date view of the state of your project.

If we look at this same problem from the perspective of the team member, the issue becomes one of transparency. How can I as a team member know the status of the project I am working on? How do I know when related tasks are completed, or when materials or resources become available? Looking at the overall picture, this is a problem of information sharing. The project manager needs to share the details of the project, so the team member can act on relevant information and report back progress in a timely manner.

If you are like the millions of project managers out there using Microsoft Project, there are easy off-the-shelf affordable options available to solve this quandary:

  • Invest in project viewers for your team. They will be able to read your project file, and your organization saves the large overhead of investing in Microsoft Project licenses to everyone. The downside is that this becomes a one-way street where the project manager shares with the team, but not the other way around.
  • Invest in an online project management solution. There are numerous online project management tools that can enable you and your team to work together. The downside of this solution is that you will have to stop using Microsoft Project, as well as hosting your proprietary information on 3rd party sites.
  • Move on to a solution that allows you to work on your existing Microsoft Project files, but also allows your team to view them and report on them.

When you decide on a solution, you should roll it out slowly, starting by using it on a small well-defined project to see if it fits your needs. Later, if you are satisfied, you can consider deploying to your organization.

Here are some common pitfalls you need to be aware of when evaluating tools:

  • Is your project secure, or shared on 3rd party servers? If so, can you purchase an in-house server if needed?
  • Does the solution enable your team members to stay informed?
  • How much training does it take to get yourself and your team members running effectively?
  • Is the price attractive enough that you can get a buy-in from your finance department?

Why Piping Engineering Is The Best Career Option For A Mechanical Engineer

If you are a Mechanical Engineer by qualification, then it is quite natural to be baffled about how to steer your career in the right direction. This is due to the fact that Mechanical Engineering is a vast discipline that overlaps with many other branches of engineering such as chemical engineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering, industrial engineering, manufacturing engineering and metallurgical engineering. Thus, Mechanical Engineers are much sought after in diverse fields and domains like aerospace engineering, biomedical engineering, biomechanics and biomechatronics since they have a sound understanding of a wide range of core engineering principles which help them adapt and contribute to a plethora of industries and sectors in a seamless manner.

Mech Engineering being a niche field, there is no dearth of rewarding job opportunities for a Mechanical Engineer despite the fact that the job market of today is highly crowded and challenging. However, mere academic qualifications may not be sufficient to set the foundation for a fulfilling career ahead. Hence, it is imperative for a Mechanical Engineer to back his or her existing qualifications with the competitive edge of a professional course that provides continuity to one’s existing field of study while making him or her more employable and industry ready.

Scope of Piping Engineering for a Mechanical Engineer

Piping Engineering is a specialised engineering discipline that deals with the planning and layout of a robust piping system with an aim to effectively transport fluids, such as liquids and gases, from one point to the other within a process plant or a commercial building. It also includes the purchasing of appropriate material to manufacture pipes, selection of suitable in-line components and documentation of piping and instrumentation diagrams along with a host of other activities in the realm of piping design and application. As piping systems are an integral part of our daily lives, one can observe their rampant usage in the form of water distribution systems, fire sprinkler systems, sewer systems, drainage systems, fuel distribution systems & chemical transportation systems etc.

Owing to the fact that pipes are quite elementary to our day-to-day needs and to industries such as Oil & Gas, Energy, Construction, Manufacturing, Chemical etc., there is always a need for trained and skilled Piping Engineers who can support the design, implementation and maintenance of complex and large-scale piping systems for these industries. Moreover, with increasing modernisation and industrial growth, the Piping Industry is also poised for greater heights which will result in more employment opportunities for Mechanical Engineers who are trained in this high potential domain.

Why is Piping Engineering an Apt Course for a Mechanical Engineer?

As a Mechanical Engineer, you are already well-versed with the process of research, design, development, testing and operation of tools and machines. Hence, a Piping Engineering course will strike a chord with you since it includes concepts that are in sync with the learnings that have been imparted to you while pursuing your degree in Mechanical Engineering.

The creative field will suit imaginative Engineers who are passionate about design engineering as it requires them to put both their technical skills and their creativity to use. The offbeat field will also come handy for those who decide to venture into technical consulting at a later stage. Additionally, a specialization in Piping Engineering can give the necessary thrust to your career by unfolding a world of opportunities in areas as varied as chemical factories, petroleum refineries, irrigation projects, pharmaceutical industries and manufacturing firms with lucrative job options exist

Things You Should Know About Loft Insulation and Basement Insulation

There are many people who spend lots of money for creating energy but that energy can be lost if the land is not properly insulated. There are lots of materials that are used for insulating the basement and the depth of the insulators is also dependent on the materials. If you are using mineral wool, then the probable depth would be 270mm.

Once the foundation is insulated, it would stay at least for forty years and during those forty years, you would be able to reap the benefits of it. Insulating your basement and house is a very good way of contributing to the society and the environment at large. There are lots of professionals who can help you with the installation. But if you do not want to spend money on outsourcing the work, then you can very well do it yourself too.

Loft insulation is one of the most effective ways for saving and conserving energy in one's home. The presence of warmth in the house and that too too at the right places in the house proves that the house or the basement has been very well insulated. You would be able to generate good heat inside your house if your house is properly insulated. This will not only reduce the emission of carbon dioxide, as a result of less energy being used, but it will also bring down the electricity bills.

It is always better to get a professional to do the job as the final results are more effective and satisfying. The installation part will generally require some special equipment and the total time taken could be anywhere between two to four hours, depending on the person who is taking care of the job.

There are basically three main types of loft and basement insulation methods. They are quilts, blown and boards. Quilts make use of mineral wool and natural wool for insulating. For insolating through blown method, one would again need mineral wool and some cellulose. The boards method needs expanded or extruded polystyrene. Try to find out the specifications and requirements of your house and after having done that choose the insulation method which would best suit your house and your needs.

Mouth-Watering Thai Desserts

Thai cuisine is famous for its intriguing delicacy and spiciness. However, Thai desserts have been overlooked. The three Thai desserts famous outside of Thailand are mango with sticky rice, deep-fried bananas and coconut ice cream. There is a broad tradition of desserts in Thailand over the centuries which offers many ideas and choices.

Thai desserts have long been with the Thai people, certainly back to the Sukhothai period (1238-1350). Thais had long traded with China and India, which helped in exchanging cultures and traditions as well, including food. In the Ayuthaya period (1350-1767), Thais started trading with Western countries. The Portuguese were the first westerners to introduce the use of eggs and the oven. Thai desserts like Thong Yip (Pinched Gold), Thong Yod (Drop of Gold) and Foi Thong (Golden Threads) originate from Portugal, not Thailand as most people would guess, including Thais.

Thai desserts are renowned for intricacy and elaborateness, their organization, and the punctilious and patient care with which they are created. Characteristic of Thai desserts is not only a range of sweetness, but also other elements such as a good fragrance, achieved starting delicately and exquisitely from the ingredient preparation to the final product. There are many methods to make Thai desserts, varying from steaming, baking, boiling, or deep frying, to complex processes like cooking egg yolks in syrup. The main ingredients for most Thai desserts include coconut milk, sugar, flour, eggs, salt, food coloring and fragrance.

To make high quality Thai desserts, fresh coconut is a must. Back in the old days, only fresh coconut was used in making Thai desserts. And at present, to make coconut milk, finely grated coconut meat is still steeped in warm water, not hot water. It is then squeezed until dry. The white fluid from the first press is called “Hua Ka Ti”. Warm water is then added again to make the second and third pressed coconut milk, which is called “Hang Ka Ti.” Finely grated coconut meat is generally used about 3 times and then discarded. Freshly pressed coconut milk has a better taste and aroma than commercial coconut milk in a can. However, with a fast pace of life, or the focus more on other elements of life, it becomes more common for a family to use commercial coconut milk.

Sugar is one of the main ingredients in Thai desserts. The two common sugars used in Thai desserts are Coconut Palm Sugar and Palm Sugar. Coconut palm sugar is made from coconut palm, whereas palm sugar is made from the sap of the sugar palm or palmyra palm, called Taan in Thai. Palm sugar is often used interchangeably with coconut palm sugar but they are different in many ways. For instance, palm sugar is dryer and more solid than coconut palm sugar. It is also more expensive than coconut palm sugar. In some dessert recipes, coconut palm sugar is often replaced with palm sugar. The replacement may lend the same general look to the dessert but the dessert will be different in taste and aroma.

Thai desserts are well known for their intriguing light tones. Generally the colors used to attract people are made from natural flowers or plants. The following are examples of the most common color sources used in Thai desserts:

  • Pandanus leaf (Bai Toey): giving a dark green color;
  • Spathe of coconut or palmyra palm leaf (Kab Ma Prao or Bai Taan) : giving a black color;
  • Turmeric (Kha Min): giving a yellow color;
  • Flower of Chitoria Tematea Linn (Dok Un Chun): giving a blue color (adding lime juice will give a purple color);
  • Flower of Aeginetia Pedunculata (Dok Din): giving a black color (but the flower is actually a dark purple color);
  • Saffron (Yah Fa Rang): giving a yellow-orangish color;
  • Roselle (Kra Jiab): giving a dark red (maroon-like) color;
  • Lac (Krang): giving a red color;

Fragrance is another unique characteristic of Thai desserts. There are many ways of making good aromas with Thai desserts but the most common ones are using jasmine flowers (Dok Ma Li), rosa damascene (Dok Ku Laab Mon – roses family), cananga odorata flowers (Dok Kra Dang Nga) as well as fragrant incense candles (Tien Ob). Since the old days, Thais love using jasmine water in desserts because of its aroma. Thais would pick jasmine flowers around 6pm and gently rinse with water so that the flowers do not get bruised. The jasmine flowers (Dok Ma Li) are then soaked in water with a closed lid, and left until around 6am-7am the next morning. The resulting scented water is then used to make the dessert. Keeping the jasmine flowers for more than 12 hours will start to bruise the flowers and the water will not have a good aroma. Rosa damascene (Dok Ku Laab Mon) is used in a different way. Thais only use the pedals. Each pedal is torn into 2 or 3 pieces and then placed in a closed container that has a dessert in it for a certain period of time, usually overnight. For cananga odorata flowers (Dok Kra Dang Nga), Thais first burn them with a fragrant incense candle, and then place only the pedals in a closed container that holds the dessert. For some desserts, burning fragrant incense candles next to desserts in closed containers will be enough to give the desserts an intricate aroma.

What are the common desserts that Thais eat? Thais loves desserts (called Khanom in Thai). The well known dessert is Mango with Sticky Rice, but it is a seasonal dessert, around April to June. Deep-fried banana fritters (Gluay Tod in Thai) or bananas in coconut milk (Gluay Buat Chee) are also well known desserts in Thai restaurants in the U.S. In Thailand, there are all kinds of desserts, both non-seasonal and seasonal, from deep-fried to steamed. Some of the most common Thai desserts include the egg-yolk desserts; Thong Yip (Pinched Gold), Thong Yod (Drop of Gold) and Foi Thong (Golden Threads). Thong simply means Gold. The color of these three desserts is a yellow-like golden color from the egg yolk, and is used to signify prosperity and auspiciousness. These “three musketeers” desserts are often used in wedding ceremonies or commemoration of a new house as well.

Khanom Chan or layered dessert is another common dessert. The name of the dessert comes from the fact that it has 9 layers with color variations. The dessert uses only 2 colors: white and a light tone of a color like green or purple. White is used in every other layer. This dessert is also used in important ceremonies like weddings or the grand opening of a new business. Thais believe the number “nine” is an auspicious number which represents progress and advancement.

One of my favorite desserts is Luk Choob. Made from mung dal beans, this dessert is a collection of miniature replicas of fruits and vegetables. The fruits and vegetables are colorful and glossy, artistically carved, and styled with vegetable dyes and glazed in the gelatin-like agaragar. Bua Loy Benjarong is another interesting dessert. Bua Loy Benjarong is gluten balls in coconut milk, a dish that has been with Thailand for over 200 years. The little balls, the size of the tip of the pinky, are made from sticky rice flour mixed with natural colors. Benjarong refers to 5 natural colors: green (from pandanus leaf), purple (from taro and Chitoria Tematea Linn flower), yellow (from pumpkin), blue (from Chitoria Tematea Linn flower) and white (from jasmine water).

Additionally, tapioca and black beans in coconut milk (Sakoo Tao Dum), coconut custard in a hollowed pumpkin (Sangkhaya Fak Thong), grilled coconut cakes (Paeng Jee), mung dal beans and lotus seeds with coconut topping (Tao Suan Med Bua) are desserts, to name a few, that are common in Thailand.

Thai desserts have always been a part of Thai culture. They reflect caring, patience and an enjoyable way of life. Unfortunately, as time passes, some of the traditions and beliefs are being forgotten in Thai society, although most kinds of desserts still exist. Their tempting and satisfying tastes leave a lasting impression – which is in turn an integral part of why Thai desserts have not been lost with time.

How To Create an Easy Menu Bar in Google Blogger

How to Create an Easy Menu Bar in Blogger

I've been chatting back and forth with a blogger comrade this weekend because she had some questions about how to better organize her blog for her readers. Specifically, she wanted to be able to create a menu bar so readers could easily find posts she has written on specific topics. There are a couple ways to do this, but the easiest way is to put your Blogger Labels to work for you.

If you have been involved with website or blog creation at all, you have probably come to realize that Google is about as difficult to crack with regard to SEO tips and tricks as a Rubik's Cube (note: if you have ever cracked a Rubik's cube, just leave now. I am not smart enough to be in your vicinity. You should be worried about getting dumber by the second. So, off with you.) However, by piecing bits of information gathered from various sources, I have found that the Labels in Blogger do not do a whole lot with regard to SEO. Having 25 labels per post thinking they act as keywords for Google search optimization, probably is not going to help too much with search engine rankings. It can help with the internal organization of your blog by making it easier for users to find specific types of content, but will not make you the number one listing on Google for that term.

This was a major bummer for me, because I thought if I just typed in "Super Awesome Blog" in my Blogger Label box, anyone Googling super awesome blog would unduly find me. Not so. So sad. I will never be Super Awesome (crying in my win … er, coffee). But, they are very useful in getting people to find topical content in your blog, especially when used consistently. So let's create a menu bar from your Labels to maximize their effectiveness and usefulness internally.

Step One: Create a Master Labels List

Come up with a list of 5-7 words (ie Master Labels) that describe your posts. For example, any post I write that is about what is on my mind, my thoughts, my personal experiences gets the label "Martini Musings". Anything that involves my family gets the label "The Monkey House". Recipes get labeled "Recipes" etc. You can add additional labels to each post as well. For instance, I will label this post "Mo 'Bettah Blogging" (from my Master Label List), but I may also include "Labels, Menu Bar, How-To, and Blogger Tips" when I define my labels for this post. Not so much because I hope it will help with Google search indexing, but because it might help you as the reader find this post based on those search terms if you do an internal site search.

Step Two: Edit Each Existing Post

Once you come up with a concise list of topics that your posts can be categorized by, go through and edit your existing labels in each post to include one or two of these "Master Labels". You can create labels for each post by adding them to the "Labels" section under the Post Settings located to the right of your post editor. (Heh? I'm Lost. Help! … When you're writing a post, look to your right. ).

Step Three: Add The Label Widget (if you have not already)

Now that all your posts are categorized by the 5-7 terms or topics that represent your "Master Label List", you want to add a Labels Widget to your layout. Go to Layout, and "Add a gadget" (it does not matter where, because we'll be moving it).

Choose the Labels gadget.

Step Four: Edit The Labels Gadget

You will be given a couple options to customize the gadget. Choose the radio button that says "Selected Labels" and then click "edit". All the labels you have ever used will come up in a list. Check the box next to the labels used in your Master List ONLY. You see I only have 7 out of 89 labels checked. ALSO Make sure you check the radio box for "List" Rather than "Cloud". Click "Save".

Step Five: Move The Gadget

Now you'll want to customize the location of your gadget. Since we're creating a menu bar, you'll want to bring it to the top, right under your heading.

Save your arrangement, and view your blog. You should see a menu bar right beneath your header with the "Master List" of labels you created. ** The appearance (font, colors, etc.) Of your menu bar can be customized in the Template Section of Blogger.
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Swordsmanship: The Tradition of Fencing

The art of swordsmanship has changed over the years since the world continues to become more modern. However, there are still some people who practice traditional sword play. Since swords have been such a part of human history globally, it is not surprising that fencing would have been included in Olympic events.

Friendly competition has been a part of the human experience since the beginning of time. Unfortunately much of the competition has stemmed from the need to survive on planet Earth. Therefore, it is easy to see how some competitions end with not so friendly outcomes. In order to help maintain a civil atmosphere when testing the limits of human prowess rules were created. One on one sporting events show how important following the rules can be.

Anywhere from boxing, tennis, wrestling and chess, there are guidelines which must be followed in order to adhere to official gameplay. Since fencing is a sport that is considered to be for gentlemen of valor and dignity, the rules must be followed with the strictest of scrutiny. It is interesting how over time as the rules for fencing evolved, the further away the sport has moved from traditional swordsmanship of martial arts.

Many people view fencing much like a game of chess where tactics and tricks can be employed. Masters of fencing change strategies to throw off their opponent. Fencers use timed attacks and distractions while gauging distance. Footwork and blade work need to be studied in order to get a firm grasp of how to fence. Basic moves include the simple attack (lunge, fleche and thrust), compound attack, parry, riposte and feint.

Today fencing is divided in to several areas; academic fencing, stage fencing, historical fencing and Olympic fencing. Olympic fencing is what most people today are familiar with. The competition can either be with teams or individuals. Modern bouts can be connected using one of three different fencing weapons, each one having its own set of rules. These rules have been developed over the years to add fairness or sportsmanship to the bouts. Electronic devices have also been implemented since the blows can be very quick and hard to register with the naked eye. Points are only tallied when one opponent makes contact with his weapon properly in the strike zone while following the "right of way" rules if they apply. Right of way means the first person to initiate an attack properly wins the point. Right of way rules do not apply for bouts using the epee. The other two weapon bouts which follow the right of way rules are the saber and foil.

Although swords are viewed today as weapons of a bygone era and should only be sold to collectors or museums, many people cherish the tradition of fencing. The sport is recognized worldwide as the sport of kings and nobleman. All bouts are connected with such formality and grace that it is easy to see how fencing made such an Olympic event. Poetry and folklore follow the sword through space and time and will continue to do so.

Swordsmanship: The Tradition of Fencing

The art of swordsmanship has changed over the years since the world continues to become more modern. However, there are still some people who practice traditional sword play. Since swords have been such a part of human history globally, it is not surprising that fencing would have been included in Olympic events.

Friendly competition has been a part of the human experience since the beginning of time. Unfortunately much of the competition has stemmed from the need to survive on planet Earth. Therefore, it is easy to see how some competitions end with not so friendly outcomes. In order to help maintain a civil atmosphere when testing the limits of human prowess rules were created. One on one sporting events show how important following the rules can be.

Anywhere from boxing, tennis, wrestling and chess, there are guidelines which must be followed in order to adhere to official gameplay. Since fencing is a sport that is considered to be for gentlemen of valor and dignity, the rules must be followed with the strictest of scrutiny. It is interesting how over time as the rules for fencing evolved, the further away the sport has moved from traditional swordsmanship of martial arts.

Many people view fencing much like a game of chess where tactics and tricks can be employed. Masters of fencing change strategies to throw off their opponent. Fencers use timed attacks and distractions while gauging distance. Footwork and blade work need to be studied in order to get a firm grasp of how to fence. Basic moves include the simple attack (lunge, fleche and thrust), compound attack, parry, riposte and feint.

Today fencing is divided in to several areas; academic fencing, stage fencing, historical fencing and Olympic fencing. Olympic fencing is what most people today are familiar with. The competition can either be with teams or individuals. Modern bouts can be connected using one of three different fencing weapons, each one having its own set of rules. These rules have been developed over the years to add fairness or sportsmanship to the bouts. Electronic devices have also been implemented since the blows can be very quick and hard to register with the naked eye. Points are only tallied when one opponent makes contact with his weapon properly in the strike zone while following the "right of way" rules if they apply. Right of way means the first person to initiate an attack properly wins the point. Right of way rules do not apply for bouts using the epee. The other two weapon bouts which follow the right of way rules are the saber and foil.

Although swords are viewed today as weapons of a bygone era and should only be sold to collectors or museums, many people cherish the tradition of fencing. The sport is recognized worldwide as the sport of kings and nobleman. All bouts are connected with such formality and grace that it is easy to see how fencing made such an Olympic event. Poetry and folklore follow the sword through space and time and will continue to do so.

How To Plan A Retirement House For Thailand – Essential Factors To Consider

Pitching Your House Specification – The Important Factors

You probably already have a good idea of ​​the type, size, layout etc of the house you are planning to build in Thailand for your retirement. After reading this article you may decide to review your ideas.

In the time it has taken to get my house half finished in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand, two colleges have seen their homes started and completed and at half the cost.

In fact the build of our house has turned out to be a nightmare of the kind you hear about in the news or read on the Thai forum websites.

On the other hand, these other houses were built quickly and easily with no hassles at all. (Compared to my problems anyway)

So what was the difference between their house and ours that made all the difference?

It All Begins With The Concept – What You Want Your House To Be

What you want your house to be will depend upon many factors, who will use it, how do they want to use it and more importantly who is the house for and what are their expectations?

Who Is The House Intended For?

Our house was especially my design. The layout of the rooms, style of house, type and quality of finishes etc. was based on what I wanted as a retirement house and was of quite a generous standard. My Thai wife of course loved it.

My colleges 'houses on the other hand appeared to be based on the minimum that they could "get away with" while satisfying their Thai wives' requirements. Essentially those houses were based on a Thai wife's expectations. They were designed for the Thai wife not for themselves.

The standard of houses in the west tend to be much higher than in Thailand and the westerners demand more 'mod cons', western kitchen, security doors and windows, high grade fittings and finishes etc. On the other hand, such features of western houses are not commonly found in Thailand, the Thai spouse is not aware of them and does not need them. Here a house based on a Thai wife's perspective can be much simpler and cheaper than a house based on western standards.

Sometimes the designs of these other houses were simply copied from one of the many pre-designed Thai homes that you can download from the Thai Government website. In short they were off-the-peg houses.

In contrast I had a set of construction drawings produced by a registered Thai Architect in Bangkok and the set of drawings comprised some 42 sheets! I'm glad I had those house plans made and for my large, high spec house, they are essential.

Key Thai House Configuration Considerations

Whereas there are a number of key considerations that will significantly affect the cost and time to construct a retirement house built in any country, number and size of rooms for example, there are some key consideration that apply specifically to a retirement house built in Thailand.

These key considerations refer to the differences in what is considered as normal practice in a Thai house and in a western house. The key considerations are related to the number of floors, the bathroom, the kitchen where there are fundamental differences in approach between western practice and Thai practice. Another key considerations is wherever the house is to be provided with air conditioning or not.

One Or Two Floors

What number of levels you intend to have is one of the most important criteria that can affect the price and speed of building your retirement house in Thailand. For thousands of years Thai homes are built with the living spaces lifted from the ground on timber or concrete columns, or 'posts' as the Thai describe them. A standard Thai house may exhibit, for example, a dozen posts set in a 3 x 4 matrix, and this is termed a "12 post house".

My own retirement house is a "16 post house" and the upper story containing the living spaces is 3 m above ground floor level. This is significantly harder to construct and costlier than a bungalow construction having all the living accommodation on the ground floor.

I unduly wanted to have a post house, and my Thai wife really likes it, but I'm convinced she would have been equally happy with a bungalow. I am paying for my idea to have a traditional Thai post house both in terms of cost and time to construct.

So think wisely if you definitely want a post house or if you can put up with a one-floor construction which will be less expensive and faster to build.

Bathroom Or Shower Room

This is a further decision that is most likely to s the price and period to build your retirement house and again, it is a Thai compared to Western subject.

Conventional style and basic Thai houses are often not provided with a bath as is usually common in a western bathroom. Surprisingly, I prefer not to have a bathtub, because I do not use one. I usually enjoy a shower that's why a basic shower room is all I want.

Unusual for a Thai, though my wife does like to relax in a bath tub filled with hot water and those smelly bath salts or bubble bath. So we are having a bath tub. Since we have a walk-in shower room, we are having two 'bathrooms', one is a western style bathroom with hand wash basin, WC and bat tub, the other a shower room with hand wash basin and shower only. Again, the decisions are made on the basis of answering the question 'who is the house for?'.

Type of Kitchen – Thai Style or Western Style Kitchen

The style of kitchen you decide to construct is another area that can have a large impact on the cost of the house. Traditionally a lot of preparation of Thai food for cooking is done on the floor. Even though we have a normal western style kitchen in our house in the UK, my wife still put the 'crok' on the floor to pound the ingredient eg for a nam prick.

Also the Thai food is often cooked on a single heat source, or at most two heat sources, one for the rice and the other for a pot of food, eg soup.

In line with this pattern of usage, Thai kitchens traditionally are very simple affairs, and do not have the long waist level counter tops and ovens like a western style kitchen. Frequently the Thai kitchen even in modern Thai houses, is not an enclosed room, but is a simple external area with a roof and sometimes a short table and sink.

So you do not really need the expense of a western style kitchen will all the counter tops, cupboards, cookers, grilles, cooker hoods etc that go into a modern western home.

In Thailand you will need a refrigerator but many Thai kitchens do not have a freezer or a washing machine for clothes or dishes.

Again, my retirement house in Thailand is designed with a western style kitchen, complete with long granite counter-top and integral dual sink, Fridge and Freezer. Provision of cupboards, drawers and washing machines is not part of the current scheme, however, but may be provided later.

"Big Rig" Insurance – What to Look For in a Commercial Truck Insurance Policy

"Big Rig" insurance is essential for the independent owner / operator. In today's highly competitive commercial trucking industry, an owner / operator has to be a shrewd businessman, and get the best insurance for the lowest premium.

Are you a person that loves sun-drenched afternoons cruising on mountain roads or along the coastline? Can you close your eyes and see the highway stretch out before you all the way to the horizon?

Your big rig may be your family business. Do you hit the road with your wife as a driving team?

Are you a person who enjoys the freedom of being your own boss as an independent owner / operator? Or are you a leased operator?

Do you own more than just one truck?

No matter what your motivation is for owning and operating a commercial semi truck, you will need commercial truck insurance. But all commercial truck insurance policies are not the same.

Here are some features and coverages you should look for when shopping for commercial truck insurance:

o Only accept an A-rated insurance company so you'll have peace of mind knowing that your insurance company has the financial strength to take care of you when covered losses occurs.
o Comprehensive Coverage – protection for non-collision losses, such as fire, smoke, windstorm, theft, lightning, hail, animals, vandalism, even low branches and overhangs.
o Replacement Cost coverage – on your personal property that is stolen, damaged or destroyed.
o Physical Damage / Collision coverage – when your vehicle runs into something.
o Replacement Cost Coverage on the vehicle, which pays to replace your vehicle with a brand new one of like kind and quality. Most policies only pay the Actual Cash Value for a total loss.
o Liability limits – buy high liability limits, it's inexpensive coverage. Skimp on other coverages but do not skimp here. Personal injury attorneys love truck accidents and get big jury awards.
o Attached Accessories Coverage – includes running lights, antennas, chrome, custom wheels, custom paint, satellite dishes, and such. Many insurance policies do not cover customizing equipment. Make sure yours does.
o Non-Trucking Liability, or "Bob-Tail" coverage – takes care of you when you're using your rig at times you're not under dispatch.
o Motor Truck Cargo Legal Liability – covers your load against damage from certain causes.
o Trailer Interchange coverage – if you have a trailer interchange agreement, you need this coverage to protect you while you're in possession of a container or trailer that you do not own.
o A trailer exchange agreement is a contract that arranges to transfer a trailer from one trucker to another in order to complete a shipment.
o Refrigeration Breakdown Endorsement – provides coverage up to a separate limit shown on the schedule for spoilage of perishable stock while the stock is in transit on a vehicle.
o Non-owned trailer – this is third party coverage for a trailer that you are hauling owned by another entity.
o Emergency Expenses Coverage – pays for lodging or travel back home if your unit is damaged or destroyed by a covered loss more than 50 miles from home.
o Towing and Roadside Assistance – first dollar coverage, no out-of-pocket costs for towing, flat tire changes, fuel delivery and locksmith services.
o Occupational Accident Coverage – pays your medical bills for certain covered accidents while you're working. Crucial coverage if you do not carry health insurance for yourself.

We may need more information from you such as driver and equipment lists, MVR's and loss runs.

Commercial trucking insurers also offer a variety of discounts, such as:

o Multi-Unit
o Multi-Policy
o Safety Course
o Prior Insurance
o Renewal discount for maintaining continuous coverage

You will also find a wide choice of deductibles and payment plans available. Choosing higher deductibles will lower your promotions. Flexible payment plans will help you manage your budget.

By using these strategies, you'll have the best chance at having fun cruising the roads in your "Big Rig!"

Real Estate Appraisals For All Types Of Properties

Valuing real property involves real estate valuation, land valuation or real estate appraisal. When valuing a real property what is being thought for is the market value or in simple terms the current value of the real property. In America appraisals are for a particular type of value examples are fair market value, investment value, distress sale value, foreclosure value. The Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) provides a guide on how market value should be defined.

The three types of real estate appraisals are; sale comparison approach, income capitalization approach and the cost approach. The cost approach is also known as summary approach and this type of method values ​​the land less any depreciated improvement. This method is more effective on new structures than older structures.

The income capitalization approach is also known as the income approach and it is used in commercial properties. It uses models in order to determine the behavior of the market participants with special attention to income producing commercial properties. It is a lengthier and technical approach than the residential appraisals. The third approach which is the sales comparison is often used or utilized together with one or both of the other types. It compares prices per unit are of the same property in an area. Price variations are usually averaged in order to have a fair market value for properties being appraised.

It is easy to find Appraisal services in Chicago because there are so many companies offering this services. One of such company is the International Appraisers Corp which is one of the leading real estate valuation providers and they provide full services. Apart from Chicago, they have also been serving the North Illinois area and its suburbs for nearly 10 years. As a real estate appraisal company, they have been offering their services for all the types of properties.

There are professional house appraisers who do house appraisal Chicago. Having a certified appraiser value your home is important because you remove the buyer's worry of paying too much and this improvements his or her confidence and believe in you. Appraising your house before advertising ensures that you are better placed to negotiate a sale closer to your asking price. In order to ensure a fair appraisal of your house is made you will have to point out every detail or features that make the house special and pay closer attention to the information that you give.

It is important to do real estate appraisal because it is an accepted procedure today and countless of people are involved in selling, buying and refinancing their homes. It enables the people to know what the property they are buying is worth.

Pipeline Reinforcement

Pipeline reinforcement is performed to increase the pipe wall thickness in non-leaking pipe defects. These defects occur due to external corrosion or damage, dents, gouges, fretting or wear at supports, internal corrosion and/ or erosion, manufacturing or fabrication defects. The Objective of pipeline reinforcement is to rebuild and increase the pipe wall thickness so that the resultant pipe mechanical strength is sufficient to withstand operating conditions.

Especially in industries where hot works are not easily permitted, the implementation of pipeline reinforcement via cold repair works are useful in the repair and rehabilitation works of pipelines.

Pipeline Data & Operating Conditions

Before carrying out an effective pipeline rehabilitation and reinforcement work, pipeline data and operating conditions are gathered. These data are reviewed and evaluated under international standards and guidelines such as ASME PCC2 and ISO 24817 standards and requirements, to design an effective and suitable pipeline repair and reinforcement solution.

Detailed Engineering Calculation and Application Method of Statement

Based on the pipeline data gathered, the manufacturer would design and provide a detailed engineering calculation and application technique for the pipeline repair and rehabilitation works. It is also necessary to ensure that the applicator is well-trained to apply the pipe repair wrapping products as well as a site risk assessment has been performed prior to work commencement. Proper Personnel Protective Equipment should be worn and risk mitigating/ reducing steps employed to minimize or avoid all unnecessary risks.

Step 1 – Preparing, Cleaning and Roughening of Pipe Surface

Pipe surface should be cleaned and prepared to minimum standard of St2.5. This is to ensure good bonding between the repair resin with the substrate (pipe surface). The pipe surface profile is also roughed to meet the minimum of 60 microns roughness. Once the pipe surface has been cleaned and roughened, pipeline repair and rehabilitation works should commence immediately.

Step 2 – Rebuilding to ensure Flushing of Pipe Surface

The first step in all rehabilitation works is to ensure that all pipe surfaces have been rebuilt so as to ensure surface being flush. The resin or metal putty compound is well-mixed in accordance to manufacturer’s instructions and applied onto the affected surfaces while ensuring there are no air entrapment. The repair compound is applied according to the required coating thickness and repair length specified in engineering calculation.

Step 3 – Pipeline Reinforcement via Pipe Wrapping

The final step is to pipe repair and reinforcement is wrapping of the reinforcement repair tape. Start wrapping the reinforcement repair tape over the pipe circumference just before the defect location. At each round of wrapping, wrap the pipe as tightly and evenly as possible while pulling with sufficient strength. Ensure there is 50% overlap to the previous wrapping layer. Repeat the wrapping based on the Engineering Calculation Report. The wrapping direction can be alternated between subsequent layers of wrapping to increase its final mechanical strength.

Inspection of Pipeline Repair & Reinforcement Works

Inspect the reinforced pipeline for any visual defects. Check that the repair thickness and length complies with the requirements stated in the Engineering Calculation. Allow the repaired area to be cured for several hours and the reinforcement work is completed.