A Potted History of Rainscreen Cladding

Norway is the place where rainscreen cladding had its birth. It was not a scientific breakthrough, however, but more a gradual discovery that happened centuries ago in a largely intuitive way. Norwegian builders, probably through trial and error, found a way to utilise drained and back-ventilated cladding with joints that were both closed and open.

The first buildings to have this type of cladding were large barns. This is why they called it “the open-jointed barn technique.” The timber cladding had closed joints with opening at the top and at the bottom of the timber to allow for water drainage, and also for the evaporation of any rain moisture that managed to penetrate inside.

Scientific research of the underlying principles of a rainscreen didn’t start until as late as the 1940s. It was quickly recognised that the principles involved in rainscreen cladding was vastly superior to anything else in use at the time. That still holds true today.

The early research concluded that it is unwise to allow walls made of brick or cement to be exposed to rain over a long period of time without having anything to prevent the porous nature of the materials from absorbing water in a way that is similar to blotting paper.

The idea of fitting an outer screen wall to porous brick and cement walls that could repel rainwater was adopted. It was also easy to make this screen aesthetically pleasing at the same time. Just because its primary purpose is to serve as a rainscreen, there is no reason why it can’t look good too.

The outer screen also needs to have strength qualities and it needs to have an acceptably low cost. The design also needs to be such that it can, through proper ventilation, remove any water vapour that finds its way into the space between the wall and the cladding.

The Alcoa building in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was one of the first very large buildings to utilise modern rainscreen cladding. The 30-story building was built with large baffled aluminium panels. The baffling provided resistance to penetration from water and the ventilation to dry and water moisture was provided in the airspace between the cladding and the main wall.

In the early 1960s the Norwegian Building Research Institute published the idea of equalising the air pressure between the screen and the wall with the air pressure on the outside. This has the effect of preventing water penetrating into the wall. The rainscreen prevents the actual wall becoming excessively wet.

The terms “rainscreen principle” and “open rainscreen” were first used in 1963 by the National Research Council of Canada. Research continued through the 1960s and 1970s with refinements being made principally in Canada and in Europe.

By the 1980s the principles of rainscreen cladding was well understood. Its use has proliferated, especially in Europe, and experimentation with various different materials is ongoing. Today, the potential problems that may arise through the effects of global warming is now being taken into consideration in building techniques and industry standards regarding rainscreen systems.

10 Ways to Use Leftover Meatloaf

Have you ever made meatloaf, and found yourself with enough left overs to last the whole week? If you’re like me, I do not enjoy eating the same meal more than twice in a row, once for dinner, then lunch the next day. I discovered that a little meatloaf can go a long way, and that does not mean by sprouting legs from sitting too long in the fridge.

The following is a list of things that can be done so your family will not even recognize the meat loaf from the night before. This list is by no means exhaustive, but it should give you a good start, and may spark your own creativity.

1. Whenever you make too much of something, one option is always to divide into individual portion sizes, date, label, and freeze. You can easily grab it out for a quick meal.

2. Easy Chili: Crumble up your leftover meat loaf into a pot. Add a can of kidney beans, rinsed and drained. Add a couple cans of tomato sauce, or your choice of ground or chopped tomatoes with juice (if your tomato base is runny, add a tablespoon of cornmeal). Add a tablespoon of chili powder, half a tablespoon of seasoned salt, and half a tablespoon of brown sugar. Simmer for ½ hour and serve with cheese and sour cream if desired.

3. Shepherd’s Pie: Crumble the leftover meat loaf. Stir in a can of cream of mushroom soup and half a can of water or milk. Spread into bottom of casserole dish. Add a layer of your favorite vegetable: if canned just drain and add, if fresh or frozen, cook and drain then add. Top with mashed potatoes and cook on 350 for half an hour.

4. Tater tot casserole: Prepare meat and vegetables like you would for shepherd’s pie. On top of the vegetables, put a layer of chopped Velveeta or sliced American cheese. Top with tater tots and cook at 400 for 20-25 min.

5. Chip dip: Mix meat loaf with salsa and Velveeta, or similar cheese. Microwave until cheese is melted. Mix well and serve with tortilla chips.

6. Sloppy Joes: Put meat loaf into a frying pan with ketchup, mustard and barbeque sauce. Simmer for 10-15 minutes on low heat. Serve with pickles on buns.

7. Patty Melts: Slice the meat loaf into medium slices (about burger thickness). On a frying pan or griddle, place a piece of buttered bread, butter side down. Place the meat loaf slice on the bread with a slice of cheese on it. Toast another piece of bread on the griddle for the top. Sauté onion rings and place on the meat loaf and cheese combination. Top with the other piece of bread and serve with desired condiments.

8. Taco Salad: Chop meat loaf in a frying pan and cook on medium heat. Add a package of taco seasoning and amount of water indicated on the package. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips, lettuce, cheese, sour cream and tomatoes.

9. Spaghetti Sauce: Add crumbled meat loaf to a sauce pan. Add two cans of tomato sauce, ½ tablespoon Italian Seasoning, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Serve with your favorite cooked noodles.

10. Biscuits and gravy: Crumble meat loaf into a sauce pan and set to medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of flour and stir until coated. Add 2 cups of milk and stir until thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve over biscuits.

Baseball And Bottle Caps

In our never ending quest to find new methods of teaching baseball, especially the hitting aspect, perhaps we should stop and look behind us instead of always looking forward.

Once upon a time a high .380% or .400% batting average was not all that uncommon, and of course there’s been plenty of change to the game since then, but still… does change explain everything. I think not.

An old time baseball player, named Tony Pena, once performed the catching duties for the Pittsburg Pirates and although he won great notoriety for his unorthodox catching style, he’d literally catch and throw while sitting straddled in the dirt, he was especially known for his swing at nearly every pitch style of hitting.

For the pitchers in that era, walking Tony Pena was nearly as hard as throwing a no hitter, and in spite of his apparent wild swings at nearly anything resembling a baseball, he hit for a high average. How could a player, who seemed to totally abandon any self control and proper hitting mechanics while hitting, hit for a high average against major league pitchers?

Tony Pena grew up in a very poor Latin American community where baseball was the all time favorite sport of the neighborhood youngsters, but no family was able to afford bats, balls and gloves which we consider so critical to the game.

However, everyone drank soda, and since the aluminum can hadn’t been introduced to soda, it came packaged in a glass bottle with a metal bottle cap. Metal bottle caps, carefully removed in order to not bend them, could be made to sail and a broken broom stick could be used as a bat to hit them with. This is where Tony Pena learned to hit.

Now, after some practice a bottle cap can be made to sail, dip, tail away and rise at will, and since this was the only activity available in the town, there was constant practice. In order to hit such a difficult target with a broom handle, took exceptional vision and timing, again the result of constant practice.

This is how and why Tony Pena apparently swung wildly, which we know now was actually an extremely controlled swing, yet hit for a high average. He’d spent his whole life swinging and hitting darting, jumping objects with a small stick.

Hitting coaches of today would require Tums, for their heartburn and Advil, for their headaches, attempting to coach a player like Tony Pena. It just wouldn’t happen anymore and I’m not per se recommending the strategy of free swinging be revived.

However, I do think a good old fashion game of Whiffle ball, where the ball darts, soars and jumps, would be an excellent occasional substitute for the batting cages. Instead of attempting to perfect timing through mechanics, which is what perfecting hitting a ball traveling in essentially the same path dozens of time in a row consist of, we play contact ball.

Let’s expose our eyes and reflexes to the split second darting and dipping of a moving object and learn to hit it. I can’t see that hurting anything. Can you?

Floor Cleaning Made Easy With Floor Scrubbers

Today’s floor scrubbers are the most leading floor cleaning machines distributed all-over the market. These floor machines such as Duplex 340, Duplex 420 and Duplex 620 are the only floor scrubber and carpet cleaner that is able to operate on any flooring surface in just one single pass.

Floor scrubbers are highly portable and easy to use floor cleaning machines ideal for wall-to-wall cleaning and suitable for a wide range of hard and soft floor coverings.

How it works?

Floor scrubber is a powerful carpet cleaner especially for high traffic areas and restores carpets like new again. Fill the two solution tanks with plain water, plug it in and select floor setting. On starting the floor machine, the dual large capacity clean solution tanks will dispense liquid evenly along the full-length of both agitator brushes at the speed of 650RPM. This will remove the dirt in both directions of the fiber and collects it in the central waste tank that can be emptied easily.

Benefits and Advantages of Floor Scrubbers:

* Fast and effective; replaces mops, buckets, scrubbers, polishers and carpet extractors with a single compact unit.

* Has four brushes that can be changed to suit different floor cleaning task.

* Compact and highly maneuverable machine that will clean large carpeted or hard floor areas in no time.

* Under-mat surface is not wet during cleaning thus reduce the drying time.

* Easy to use, no heavy pushing, pulling or lifting.

* Saves time and money

Floor cleaning machines are also an outstanding floor scrubber. It is an ultimate solution that deeply cleans all the small pores of uneven ceramics and stones. It cleans tiles as well as the grout. Unlike traditional floor cleaners and mops, Duplex floor scrubber does not recycle dirty water.

Ideal for:

* Small & medium size supermarkets and department stores

* Healthcare cleaning, veterinary cleaning; community and fitness centres cleaning

* Maintaining high levels of hygiene for hotels, kitchens and restaurants

* Airport cleaning, school cleaning; homes, offices, and commercial complexes cleaning

* Industrial areas and anywhere that needs a clean & spotless surface

A multi-purpose floor cleaning machine is versatile enough that can be used efficiently on almost any floor surfaces including vinyl, timber,safety floors,profiled rubber and ceramic, natural stone, flotex and carpets. In this time, floor cleaning has never been so easy with floor scrubbers.

Famous Magicians and Escape Artists

While the art of magic and the conjuring arts has existed since pagan times through priests, witches, etc., it is the ones who dare – the magicians who defy death and show acts that we ourselves wouldn’t even dare think of – that have gained the most following and become the most remembered. Here are a few whom we believe rank among the best and most popular of all time.

Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin (1805-1871). Jean Robert-Houdin was the son of a French clockmaker, whose interest in magic began when he received from a bookseller – erroneously – a two-volume set of books on conjuring called Scientific Amusements instead of the books on clock making that he had reserved. He went on to study magic and opened the first magic theatre in France. Houdin is considered the Father of Modern Magic and it is from him that Harry Houdini took his stage name. Among his most popular acts were Second Sight, a two-person mind reading act where his blindfolded assistant (played by his son) described whatever it was that Houdin was holding or doing at the other side of the room; and Ethereal Suspension, where he suspended his son in mid-air, balanced only by his right elbow.

Alexander Herrmann (1844-1896). Born to a family that was known as “the first family of magic,” Alexander Herrmann’s father was a physician who also performed conjuring acts. His elder brother Carl was a medical student who became a professional magician. When Alexander was eight years old, Carl kidnapped him from the family home after seeing his interest in magic and took him to Russia to teach him the art. The two brothers performed together until 1885, when they decided to go their separate ways. Dubbed “Herrmann the Great” by Russian society after his show stopping tour in Russia, Alexander eventually became an American citizen. He died in 1896 while on board a train on his way to a performance. Among his most popular acts are the Card Throwing act, where he would land a card on the lap of a spectator at the back of the theatre by throwing it through the air. Another is the Bullet Catch, an extremely dangerous trick, where spectators would fire loaded pistols at him and he would catch the bullets and remain unhurt.

Harry Houdini (1874-1926). Born in Hungary as Ehrich Weiss, Harry Houdini emigrated to America with his family when he was four years old. At age nine, he became a trapeze artist. He changed his name to Harry Houdini when he became a professional magician. The first name was chosen in homage to Harry Keller and his last name to Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin, both magicians who heavily influenced his art. Houdini specialized in escapism, of which his most famous act is called the Chinese Water Torture Cell, where he was hung upside-down with his ankles locked in stock, lowered into a glass tank filled with water, and the restraints locked to the top of the cell. In his later years Houdini set about exposing the frauds of self-proclaimed psychologists and mediums. He died at age 52 of peritonitis from a ruptured appendix after collapsing onstage during a performance in Michigan.

Harry Blackstone (1885-1965). Born as Harry Boughton, Harry Blackstone Sr. was one of the most famous stage magicians during the early 1900s, frequently appearing in the vaudeville circuits. His stage career started via a comedy act he did with his brother Peter Bouton. He was extremely popular during World War II through shows he did for the troops and was called The Great Blackstone. While he was considered an “elegant” magician with his white tie and tails, some of his acts, particularly his “Sawing a woman in half”, could be quite imaginatively gory. This illusion is performed using a circular saw. Blackstone would demonstrate how it would be used by sawing a piece of lumber. Then an assistant would be placed on the table and sawn in half, with the saw seen to be going through her body. The woman’s body particles are scattered by the blade, she shrieks, the blade stops, and of course her body is unharmed. Another famous illusion is the Vanishing Bird Cage where Blackstone invites children onstage and asks them to touch a cage with a canary inside. Blackstone then lowers the cage, throws it, and both cage and canary disappear in front of the children. In his later years Blackstone performed at The Magic Castle, a nightclub for magicians and magic fans. He died in 1965. His son, Harry Blackstone, Jr., followed his steps and is himself now a famous magician.

David Copperfield (1956-present). Described by Forbes Magazine as the most commercially successful magician in history, David Copperfield began practicing magic at age ten, and at twelve was admitted to the Society of American Magicians. Copperfield likes to work with large-scale illusions and huge magical feats. Among his famous acts are the laser illusion and flying illusion. In the laser illusion, Copperfield’s body is sliced into two or more parts by his assistants using a laser beam. While his upper body sits down on a chair, the lower half continues walking. The flying illusion is a levitation trick where he flies around the stage, seemingly unsupported by any wires. Copperfield then invites a member of the audience, usually female, to join him and they both fly around ala Superman. Copperfield clinched his claim to fame when he made – in separate instances – a full size Learjet, and the Statue of Liberty, disappear into thin air before the eyes of the public.

David Blaine (1997-present). Of Puerto Rican and Russian Jewish descent, David Blaine White was four years old when his interest in magic began after seeing a magician perform tricks in a subway. Filming his own act and sending the tape to the ABC broadcast network led to his first television special, where he performed tricks for strangers, up close, as cameras filmed live. Blaine has since progressed to large-scale physical stunts such as Buried Alive, where he was buried in a transparent plastic box for seven days, underneath a tank filled with 3.5 tons of water. Blaine survived on two to three tablespoons of water daily for the entire week, and his only means of communication with the outside world was via a hand buzzer. In 2000, Blaine did another endurance test called Frozen In Time, where he was encased inside a huge block of ice for 62 hours with only air and water for sustenance. Two years later he defied vertigo by standing at the top of a 100-foot high, 22-inch wide pillar for 35 hours, enduring the high winds and cold weather with no food. His tour de force is the Self-levitation illusion, where he lifts himself up two feet above the ground. Blaine has been called the next Harry Houdini.

This list is by no means comprehensive. There are many, many more magicians – some from centuries ago, others in recent years – who have been famous and are probably some of the best. Magic continues to draw interest – in good times, in bad times – and has spawned a billion dollar industry of magic tricks, accessories, tools, books, kits.

How to Choose Your Your First Surfboard – Tips From the Experts

If you’re thinking about picking up surfing, you’re going to want a surfboard. Here is a guide to buying your first surfboard.

If you’re new to surfing and you’ve decided to take the plunge and buy a surfboard, the following will help guide your way through this fun and exciting process. First, you have to be honest with your skill level. If you’ve only been a spectator and have never surfed before, it may look easy when you’re watching other surfers out in the lineup catching waves with such ease and grace. It may look really cool ripping the waves up on a shortboard. Don’t buy into it just yet because it wouldn’t look cool if you’re out there on a shortboard not catching any waves and falling all over the place. Yes, you may be an expert snowboarder, you may spend summers wake boarding at the lake or you have humongous lat muscles. It does not translate. Not yet at least. Learning to paddle a surfboard is like learning to walk for the first time. You have to build those muscles that your body rarely uses and until you do, it can be a long and painful struggle. For this reason, your best bet is to go with one of the following surfboards.


Learning to paddle and the basic mechanics of surfing is your first priority. For that, you need as much stability and float as you can get. A good rule of thumb is to go with a longboard that is at least 24 to 36 inches taller than your height, at least 19 inches in width and at least 2 1/2 inch thick. We recommend going with a board at least 3 feet taller but if you’re looking for something less cumbersome, a minimum of 2 feet taller could suffice. Children are also lighter so a board with smaller dimensions of around 12 to 18 inches taller is recommended. Longboards are great for paddling with ease and gliding. It will allow you to catch waves earlier and standing up with much more stability than its shortboard counterpart. We recommend going with a longboard that has 3 fins or a 2 plus 1 fin setup (two small outside fins and a big center fin).


A Mini-Mal is a shorter version of the longboard. The name is short for Mini Malibu but also sometimes called a Funboard. It typically ranges from 7’0″ to 8’6″. We recommend going with the bigger version of this for more stability. If you’re absolutely determined to surf and you know you’re going to stick to it, the mini-mal would be a good bet. You may want to go with a shorter board after getting acclimated to surfing on a longboard within a few months or so. I would also recommend this board if you’re young, light, athletic and you can pick up on water sports quickly. If you’re smaller in size, then you might also want a mini-mal because carrying around a longboard is much more cumbersome and maneuvering the board in the water can also be more awkward.

Soft-Top Surfboards

A soft top board is usually in the shape of a longboard or a mini-mal that consist of a softer spongier material rather than a hard fiberglass. It is very common for beginners to learn on a soft top surfboard. It’s only a matter of time before you get hit with your board. Although they lack the performance characteristic of traditional fiberglass boards, they are the safest surfboards for a beginner. The spongy tops are similar to those of a boogie board. Often times the fins are soft and flexible to prevent you from getting sliced up. If you’re not worried about a few bumps and bruises, then I would recommend buying a hard top surfboard for better performance. Once your surf skills have advanced, you’ll want to upgrade your soft top.

Used Surfboards

You may prefer to buy a used surfboard over buying a new one if the price makes sense. You will most likely beat up your first surfboard. Everyone does. A brand new longboard can easily cost you $800 and up. You may be able to spend half that amount on a used board that is in fairly good condition. It’s unlikely to happen but if you end up hating surfing and giving up, the used board is a better economical choice.

Mergers and Acquisition – A Case Study and Analysis of HP-Compaq Merger

Brief Description

The following is a brief description of the two companies:


It all began in the year 1938 when two electrical engineering graduates from Stanford University called William Hewlett and David Packard started their business in a garage in Palo Alto. In a year’s time, the partnership called Hewlett-Packard was made and by the year 1947, HP was incorporated. The company has been prospering ever since as its profits grew from five and half million dollars in 1951 to about 3 billion dollars in 1981. The pace of growth knew no bounds as HP’s net revenue went up to 42 billion dollars in 1997. Starting with manufacturing audio oscillators, the company made its first computer in the year 1966 and it was by 1972 that it introduced the concept of personal computing by a calculator first which was further advanced into a personal computer in the year 1980. The company is also known for the laser-printer which it introduced in the year 1985.


The company is better known as Compaq Computer Corporation. This was company that started itself as a personal computer company in the year 1982. It had the charm of being called the largest manufacturers of personal computing devices worldwide. The company was formed by two senior managers at Texas Instruments. The name of the company had come from-“Compatibility and Quality”. The company introduced its first computer in the year 1983 after at a price of 2995 dollars. In spite of being portable, the problem with the computer was that it seemed to be a suitcase. Nevertheless, there were huge commercial benefits from the computer as it sold more than 53,000 units in the first year with a revenue generation of 111 million dollars.

Reasons for the Merger

A very simple question that arises here is that, if HP was progressing at such a tremendous pace, what was the reason that the company had to merge with Compaq? Carly Fiorina, who became the CEO of HP in the year 1999, had a key role to play in the merger that took place in 2001. She was the first woman to have taken over as CEO of such a big company and the first outsider too. She worked very efficiently as she travelled more than 250,000 miles in the first year as a CEO. Her basic aim was to modernize the culture of operation of HP. She laid great emphasis on the profitable sides of the business. This shows that she was very extravagant in her approach as a CEO. In spite of the growth in the market value of HP’s share from 54.43 to 74.48 dollars, the company was still inefficient. This was because it could not meet the targets due to a failure of both company and industry. HP was forced to cut down on jobs and also be eluded from the privilege of having Price Water House Cooper’s to take care of its audit. So, even the job of Fiorina was under threat. This meant that improvement in the internal strategies of the company was not going to be sufficient for the company’s success. Ultimately, the company had to certainly plan out something different. So, it was decided that the company would be acquiring Compaq in a stock transaction whose net worth was 25 billion dollars. Initially, this merger was not planned. It started with a telephonic conversation between CEO HP, Fiorina and Chairman and CEO Compaq, Capellas. The idea behind the conversation was to discuss on a licensing agreement but it continued as a discussion on competitive strategy and finally a merger. It took two months for further studies and by September, 2001, the boards of the two companies approved of the merger. In spite of the decision coming from the CEO of HP, the merger was strongly opposed in the company. The two CEOs believed that the only way to fight the growing competition in terms of prices was to have a merger. But the investors and the other stakeholders thought that the company would never be able to have the loyalty of the Compaq customers, if products are sold with an HP logo on it. Other than this, there were questions on the synchronization of the organization’s members with each other. This was because of the change in the organization culture as well. Even though these were supposed to serious problems with respect to the merger, the CEO of HP, Fiorina justified the same with the fact that the merger would remove one serious competitor in the over-supplied PC market of those days. She said that the market share of the company is bound to increase with the merger and also the working unit would double. (Hoopes, 2001)

Advantages of the Merger

Even though it seemed to be advantageous to very few people in the beginning, it was the strong determination of Fiorina that she was able to stand by her decision. Wall Street and all her investors had gone against the company lampooning her ideas with the saying that she has made 1+1=1.5 by her extravagant ways of expansion. Fiorina had put it this way that after the company’s merger, not only would it have a larger share in the market but also the units of production would double. This would mean that the company would grow tremendously in volume. Her dream of competing with the giants in the field, IBM would also come true. She was of the view that much of the redundancy in the two companies would decrease as the internal costs on promotion, marketing and shipping would come down with the merger. This would produce the slightest harm to the collection of revenue. She used the ideas of competitive positioning to justify her plans of the merger. She said that the merger is based on the ideologies of consolidation and not on diversification. She could also defend allegations against the change in the HP was. She was of the view that the HP has always encouraged changes as it is about innovating and taking bold steps. She said that the company requires being consistent with creativity, improvement and modification. This merger had the capability of providing exactly the same. (Mergers and Acquisitions, 2010)

Advantages to the Shareholders

The following are the ways in which the company can be advantageous to its shareholders:

Unique Opportunity: The position of the enterprise is bound to better with the merger. The reason for the same was that now the value creation would be fresh, leadership qualities would improve, capabilities would improve and so would the sales and also the company’s strategic differentiation would be better than the existing competitors. Other than this, one can also access the capabilities of Compaq directly hence reducing the cost structure in becoming the largest in the industry. Finally, one could also see an opportunity in reinvesting.

Stronger Company: The profitability is bound to increase in the enterprise, access and services sectors in high degrees. The company can also see a better opportunity in its research and development. The financial conditions of the company with respect to its EBIT and net cash are also on the incremental side.

Compelling Economics: The expected accumulation in IIP gains would be 13% in the first financial year. The company could also conduct a better segmentation of the market to forecast its revenues generation. This would go to as much as 2 and a half billion dollars of annual synergy.

Ability to Execute: As there would be integration in the planning procedures of the company, the chances of value creation would also be huge. Along with that the experience of leading a diversified employee structure would also be there. (HP to buy Compaq, 2001)

Opposition to the Merger

In fact, it was only CEO Fiorina who was in favor of going with the merger. This is a practical application of Agency problem that arises because of change in financial strategies of the company owners and the management. Fiorina was certain to lose her job if the merger didn’t take effect. The reason was that HP was not able to meet the demand targets under her leadership. But the owners were against the merger due to the following beliefs of the owners:

The new portfolio would be less preferable: The position of the company as a larger supplier of PCs would certainly increase the amount of risk and involve a lot of investment as well. Another important reason in this context is that HP’s prime interest in Imaging and Printing would not exist anymore as a result diluting the interest of the stockholders. In fact the company owners also feel that there would be a lower margin and ROI (return on investment).

Strategic Problems would remain Unsolved: The market position in high-end servers and services would still remain in spite of the merger. The price of the PCS would not come down to be affordable by all. The requisite change in material for imaging and printing also would not exist. This merger would have no effect on the low end servers as Dell would be there in the lead and high-end servers either where IBM and Sun would have the lead. The company would also be eluded from the advantages of outsourcing because of the surplus labor it would have. So, the quality is not guaranteed to improve. Finally, the merger would not equal IBM under any condition as thought by Fiorina.

Huge Integrated Risks: There have been no examples of success with such huge mergers. Generally when the market doesn’t support such mergers, don’t do well as is the case here. When HP could not manage its organization properly, integration would only add on to the difficulties. It would be even more difficult under the conditions because of the existing competitions between HP and Compaq. Being prone to such risky conditions, the company would also have to vary its costs causing greater trouble for the owner. The biggest factor of all is that to integrate the culture existing in the two companies would be a very difficult job.

Financial Impact: This is mostly because the market reactions are negative. On the other hand, the position of Compaq was totally different from HP. As the company would have a greater contribution to the revenue and HP being diluted at the same time, the problems are bound to develop. This would mean that drawing money from the equity market would also be difficult for HP. In fact this might not seem to be a very profitable merger for Compaq as well in the future.

The basic problem that the owners of the company had with this merger was that it would hamper the core values of HP. They felt that it is better to preserve wealth rather than to risk it with extravagant risk taking. This high risk profile of Fiorina was a little unacceptable for the owners of the company in light of its prospects.

So, as far as this merger between HP and Compaq is concerned, on side there was this strong determination of the CEO, Fiorina and on the other side was the strong opposition from the company owners. This opposition continued from the market including all the investors of the company. So, this practical Agency problem was very famous considering the fact that it contained two of the most powerful hardware companies in the world. There were a number of options like Change Management, Economic wise Management, and Organizational Management which could be considered to analyze the issue. But this case study can be solved best by a strategy wise analysis. (HP-Compaq merger faces stiff opposition from shareholders stock prices fall again, 2001)

Strategic Analysis of the Case

Positive Aspects

A CEO will always consider such a merger to be an occasion to take a competitive advantage over its rivals like IBM as in this case and also be of some interest to the shareholders as well. The following are the strategies that are related to this merger between HP and Compaq:

* Having an eye over shareholders’ value: If one sees this merger from the eyes of Fiorina, it would be certain that the shareholders have a lot to gain from it. The reason for the same is the increment in the control of the market. So, even of the conditions were not suitable from the financial perspective, this truth would certainly make a lot of profits for the company in the future.

* Development of Markets: Two organizations get involved in mergers as they want to expand their market both on the domestic and the international level. Integration with a domestic company doesn’t need much effort but when a company merges internationally as in this case, a challenging task is on head. A thorough situation scanning is significant before putting your feet in International arena. Here, the competitor for HP was Compaq to a large degree, so this merger certainly required a lot of thinking. Organizations merge with the international companies in order to set up their brands first and let people know about what they are capable of and also what they eye in the future. This is the reason that after this merger the products of Compaq would also have the logo of HP. Once the market is well-known, then HP would not have to suffer the branding created by Compaq. They would be able to draw all the customers of Compaq as well.

* Propagated Efficiencies: Any company by acquiring another or by merging makes an attempt to add to its efficiencies by increasing the operations and also having control over it to the maximum extent. We can see that HP would now have an increased set of employees. The only factor is that they would have to be controlled properly as they are of different organizational cultures. (Benefits of Mergers:, 2010)

* Allowances to use more resources: An improvised organization of monetary resources, intellectual capital and raw materials offers a competitive advantage to the companies. When such companies merge, many of the intellects come together and work towards a common mission to excel with financial profits to the company. Here, one can’t deny the fact that even the top brains of Compaq would be taking part in forming the strategies of the company in the future.

* Management of risks: If we particularly take an example of this case, HP and Compaq entering into this merger can decrease the risk level they would have diversified business opportunities. The options for making choice of the supply chain also increase. Now even though HP is a pioneer in inkjet orienting, it would not have to use the Product based Facility layout which is more expensive. It can manage the risk of taking process based facility layout and make things cheaper. Manufacturing and Processing can now be done in various nations according to the cost viability as the major issue.

* Listing potential: Even though Wall Street and all the investors of the company are against the merger, when IPOs are offered, a development will definitely be there because of the flourishing earnings and turnover value which HP would be making with this merger.

* Necessary political regulations: When organizations take a leap into other nations, they need to consider the different regulations in that country which administer the policies of the place. As HP is already a pioneer in all the countries that Compaq used to do its business, this would not be of much difficulty for the company. The company would only need to make certain minor regulations with the political parties of some countries where Compaq was flourishing more than HP.

* Better Opportunities: When companies merge with another company, later they can put up for sale as per as the needs of the company. This could also be done partially. If HP feels that it would not need much of warehouse space it can sell the same at increased profits. It depends on whether the company would now be regarded a s a make to stock or a make to order company.

* Extra products, services, and facilities: Services get copyrights which enhances the level of trade. Additional Warehouse services and distribution channels offer business values. Here HP can use all such values integrated with Compaq so as to increase its prospects. (Berry, 2010)

Negative Aspects

There are a number of mergers and acquisitions that fail before they actually start to function. In the critical phase of implementation itself, the companies come to know that it would not be beneficial if they continue as a merger. This can occur in this merger between HP and Compaq due to the following reasons.

Conversations are not implemented: Because of unlike cultures, ambitions and risk profiles; many of the deals are cancelled. As per as the reactions of the owners of HP, this seems to be extremely likely. So, motivation amongst the employees is an extremely important consideration in this case. This requires an extra effort by the CEO, Fiorina. This could also help her maintain her position in the company.

Legal Contemplations: Anti-competitive deals are often limited by the rules presiding over the competition rules in a country. This leads to out of order functioning of one company and they try to separate from each other. A lot of unnecessary marketing failures get attached to these conditions. If this happens in this case, then all that money which went in publicizing the venture would go to be a waste. Moreover, even more would be required to re-promote as a single entity. Even the packaging where the entire inventory from Compaq had the logo of HP would have to be re-done, thus hampering the finance even further. (Broc Romanek, 2002)

Compatibility problems: Every company runs on different platforms and ideas. Compatibility problems often occur because of synchronization issues. In IT companies such as HP and Compaq, many problems can take place because both the companies have worked on different strategies in the past. Now, it might not seem necessary for the HP management to make changes as per as those from Compaq. Thus such problems have become of greatest concern these days.

Fiscal catastrophes: Both the companies after signing an agreement hope to have some return on the money they have put in to make this merger happen and also desire profitability and turnovers. If due to any reason, they are not able to attain that position, then they develop a abhorrence sense towards each other and also start charging each other for the failure.

Human Resource Differences: Problems as a result of cultural dissimilarities, hospitality and hostility issues, and also other behavior related issues can take apart the origin of the merger.

Lack of Determination: When organizations involve, they have plans in their minds, they have a vision set; but because of a variety of problems as mentioned above, development of the combined company to accomplish its mission is delayed. Merged companies set the goal and when the goal is not accomplished due to some faults of any of the two; then both of them develop a certain degree of hatred for each other. Also clashes can occur because of bias reactions. (William, 2008)

Risk management failure: Companies that are involved in mergers and acquisitions, become over confident that they are going to make a profit out of this decision. This can be seen as with Fiorina. In fact she can fight the whole world for that. When their self-confidence turns out into over-confidence then they fail. Adequate risk management methods should be adopted which would take care of the effects if the decision takes a downturn. These risk policies should rule fiscal, productions, marketing, manufacturing, and inventory and HR risks associated with the merger.

Strategic Sharing


Hp and Compaq would now have common channels as far as their buying is concerned. So, the benefits in this concern is that even for those materials which were initially of high cost for HP would now be available at a cheaper price. The end users are also likely to increase. Now, the company can re frame its competitive strategy where the greatest concern can be given to all time rivals IBM. The advantages of this merger in the field of marketing can be seen in the case of shared branding, sales and service. Even the distribution procedure is likely to be enhanced with Compaq playing its part. Now, the company can look forward to cross selling, subsidization and also a reduced cost.


The foremost advantage in this area is that in the location of raw material. Even the processing style would be same making the products and services synchronized with the ideas and also in making a decent operational strategy. As the philosophical and mechanical control would also be in common, the operational strategy would now be to become the top most in the market. In this respect, the two companies would now have co-production, design and also location of staff. So, the operational strategy of HP would now be to use the process based facility layout and function with the mentioned shared values.


The technical strategy of the company can also be designed in common now. There is a disadvantage from the perspective of the differentiation that HP had in the field of inkjet printers but the advantages are also plentiful. With a common product and process technology, the technological strategy of the merged company would promote highly economical functioning. This can be done through a common research and development and designing team.


The buying strategy of the company would also follow a common mechanism. Here, the raw materials, machinery, and power would be common hence decreasing the cost once again. This can be done through a centralized mechanism with a lead purchaser keeping common policies in mind. Now Hp would have to think with a similar attitude for both inkjet printers as well as personal computers. This is because the parameters for manufacturing would also run on equal grounds.


This is the most important part of the strategies that would be made after the merger. The companies would have common shareholders for providing the requisite infrastructure. The capital source, management style, and legislation would also be in common. So, the infrastructure strategies would have to take these things into account. This can be done by having a common accounting system. HP does have an option to have a separate accounting system for the products that it manufactures but that would only arouse an internal competition. So, the infrastructural benefits can be made through a common accounting, legal and human resource system. This would ensure that the investment relations of the company would improve. None of the Compaq investors would hesitate in making an investment if HP follows a common strategy.

HP would now have to ensure another fact that with this merger they would be able to prove competitors to the present target and those of competitors like IBM as well. Even the operations and the output market needs to be above what exists at present. The company needs to ensure that the corporate strategy that it uses is efficient enough to help such a future. The degree of diversification needs to be managed thoroughly as well. This is because; the products from the two companies have performed exceptionally well in the past. So, the most optimum degree of diversification is required under the context so that the company is able to meet the demands of the customers. This has been challenged by the owners of HP but needs to be carried by the CEO Fiorina. (Bhattacharya, 2010)

How to Avoid the Yes-Man Culture

The dilemma for many CEOs is that they initially moved up the ladder because of their ability to solve problems and drive solutions. They are used to having the right answers and having their expectations met. While that is a great position to be in, there is a flip side. When you learn to trust yourself and you are usually right, you expect others to follow you and the yes-man culture is born.

The yes-man culture gets its name because people become accustomed to doing things the CEO’s way. Employees assume that the CEO will always have the right answer and may be afraid to speak up and point out that things could go wrong. In fact, there are meetings designed just for this kind of behavior. These are the ones where the CEO does all the talking while his team nods in agreement. The boss leaves feeling like everyone is on board because they all nodded. However, some how the project fails or is significantly delayed.

A good CEO or manager needs to be able to have reasonable expectations of herself and his employees. She needs to sense that when everyone is agreeing with her, she is in trouble. Her people have to be able to feel comfortable saying “no” on an issue in front of the CEO. If they can’t, employees might not speak up when a project is going to be late, which could put the CEO in an uncomfortable position with the client.

While this may sound like a typical problem with no real solution, there are organizational structures to mitigate these kinds of risks. Except, it takes a real leadership commitment. The key word is negotiation. When the boss asks for something to be done by Monday at 3:00pm, the employee needs to be able to have three options: to say yes, to say no or to offer to have it Tuesday at 11:00am. The employee’s perspective could be crucial to the success of an initiative. An employee may request to have the deadline extended. In this case, the CEO can ask what resources the employee may need to finish sooner or politely accept the Tuesday deadline.

At the same time, an employee may need to say no because they have a better understanding of the customer’s needs and know that the project will be a bad idea in the client’s mind. With all that said, the worst thing to do is punish an employee for needing more time or saying no. If you do that, the unspoken culture becomes “you can’t say no” and you are stuck with the yes-man culture. It is said that if a person can’t say no, they can’t say yes either. They will just give you lip service even if you are the smartest guy in the room. As the ’80s slogan goes, let people just say no.

The Different Types of Watercolour Paints

Ingredients of Watercolour Paints

Transparent watercolour paints are traditionally made from pigments that are finely ground in gum Arabic, which is a water-soluble gum acquired from a variety of the acacia tree. Gum Arabic is safe as it is completely non-toxic.

Other than Arabic gum, other binders are used such as fish glue, Tragacanth, crystallized sugar, dextrin, glycerin and honey. Clove oil is often used on cheaper paints as it prevents moulds from appearing on the painting over a long period of time. To help washes flow freely, ox gall are also be used.

Different Types of Watercolour Paints

The different types of watercolour paints display different characteristics that bring about a significant impact on your work.

Transparent, Reflective and Opaque Colours

Transparent colours, as the name suggests, are great for glazing and tinting. The colour beneath will be visible. These water colours can be specifically used for creating a glowing surface or multilayered washes, as in depictions of the reflective properties of water.

Reflective colours are those featuring reflective pigments adding more luminosity to your work. The cobalt range of blue and violet, viridian green, aureolin yellow and raw sienna display this quality.

Opaque colours are suitable for initial washes on the paper. They also serve good for accenting the painting, mixing, and in the creation of skin tones. Unlike transparent colours, using opaque pigments over other washes produces an undesirable chalky look.

Sedimentary and Fugitive Colours

Sedimentary colours are made from sediments including stones and clay and are therefore heavier and coarser, adjusting into your paper’s texture. Staining colours have more permanence as they stain the paper more, particularly the dye-based pigments.

The curiously named Fugitive colours have a tendency to change over time. They can fade away, darken to eventually become black or change colour. These unpredictable paints need to be avoided.

Student Watercolour Paints

Cheaper water colours are available in the Students’ range. These are generally used by beginners, and the reason they’re cheaper is that they are made using pigments with a lesser degree of refinement that are blended with a filler pigment that is neutral. These paints can look glossy thanks to the use of excess binder. While these inexpensive versions may resemble or simulate higher quality paint, they have less tinting strength. The more expensive colours are considered the genuine versions, ones which you should use if you’re serious about perfecting water colour painting.

Advice for Beginners

Watercolours may only require the medium of water, but they are the most complex paints to master. They are unpredictable and could look one way while wet and completely different when dry. There is also the risk of not knowing when to stop! Quite often beginners tend to keep working and working on their painting until it becomes one big collage of colour. Once mastered though, watercolour painting produces delightful artworks. To become proficient in this method it’s vital to know the different types of watercolour paints.

Knowing the different types of watercolour paints helps you plan your painting and theme accordingly. Expensive paints offer the better experience in every aspect. Now that you know the different types of watercolour paints and their varying effects on the paintings, it’s time to start painting.

Scripture and Moral Theology

A young Catholic growing up in the years preceding Vatican II would find it very curious to find that scriptural teaching is the “Soul of all theology,” (Dei Verbum, from Richard Gula, p. 165, REASON INFORMED BY FAITH). My experience as a student in a Catholic elementary school during the pre-Vatican II years is that there was very little teaching of Scripture at that time.

In fact, even though Vatican II caused a renewed emphasis on Scripture, many non-Catholics still look at the Catholic Church as devoid of a Scriptural basis. Chapter 12, “Scripture in Moral Theology” (Gula, p165) contains an overview of the critical use of scripture and pre-critical use of Scripture and then engages in some discussion of the Scripture as a basis for moral decision-making.

Today, Catholics nearly universally understand the need for critical analysis in the use of Scripture. However a contrary use of Scripture is to employ a method called proof-text. To understand this method, one must first accept the fact that some place a greater emphasis on the Natural law than on Scripture.

Using this theory, after an issue is determined on the basis of Natural law, a review of Scripture is conducted to substantiate the Natural law position. Thus, as Gula says, it is sort of an after thought or an attempt to justify Natural law. Further, “While it gives the appearance of a Biblical grounding to moral theology, proof-texting really does not allow Scripture to enter the fabric of moral theological reflection” (Gula, p.166).

While the critical use of Scripture tends to discount the validity of proof-texting, Steven D. Cline, in his article, “In Defense of the Proof Text”, makes the argument that it is not proof-texting that is the problem but rather the misuse of Biblical text that should be at issue. Mr. Cline says, “Those among us who disdain proof-texting may not have distorting the Scriptures in mind. I have an idea that they mean that we should discard the honorable practice of giving book, chapter and verse when we undertake to teach a Bible truth” (Crane, bible-infonet.org). He goes further to use examples where Jesus used passages from the Old Testament to support His teaching to argue in favor of the proof-text method. He also discusses the great sermon of Peter in Acts in which the Old Testament is quoted as another validation of proof-texting. I am not sure if Mr. Cline is Catholic or not, but from some of his comments on denominationalism I get the impression that he is not. His arguments are not without merit despite this fact.

Critical use of Scripture requires an analysis of the passages from different perspectives. Gula relies on the analysis of Kenneth R. Himes to explain four related tasks in which a person must engage to relate Scripture to moral theology. They are “…(1) the exegetical task: determining the meaning of the text in its original context; (2) the hermeneutical task: determining the meaning of the text for today; (3) the methodological task: using scripture in moral reflection; (4) the theological task: explaining the relationship of Scripture to other sources of moral wisdom” (Gula, p.167).

Celia Brewer Marshall in her book, A Guide Through The New Testament, defines exegesis as, “…the term students of the New Testament use to describe what they are doing when they try to see what a New Testament passage meant when it was first written”(Marshal, p.15). Thus, criticism of the passages, not as an exercise of finding fault, but rather as analysis is our effort to find out what the text meant at the time of writing because that has a profound influence on what is should mean to us today. Ms. Marshal relates several areas of critical analysis. They are textual, source, form, redaction and literary analyses.

The textual is comparing the language used in particular passage in various translations. For example, you may find different wording in the New American Bible than you find in the Revised Standard or the King James Version. The second analysis is the source. Ms. Marshal says that, “Source critical theories are just that-hypotheses that may or may not be helpful to you in comparing the Gospels” (Marshal, p. 15). She goes further to explain that source analysis is not really an issue in the other books of the Bible, but only the Gospels.

“Form criticism tries to go back behind the written documents and see what the individual units might have been in their pre-literary form” (Marshal, p. 15). Ms. Marshal explains that redaction criticism considers the authors as editors and looks at the way the stories of the Bible are “edited”. Literary criticism simply looks at what can be learned from the text. Gula says that, “Limited though it may be, careful exegetical work is the crucial first step leading to the satisfactory fulfillment of the other tasks in using Scripture in moral theology” (Gula p.168).

Critical analysis allows us to get at the original meaning of a text and hermeneutics allows us to bridge the gap culturally between the culture of the writers and the culture of the readers. Dr. Brian Allison says, “Biblical hermeneutics is critical and foundational to the whole theological (and apologetical) enterprise”(Allison, Biblical Hermeneutics: An Alternative Paradigm). Gula asserts that this analysis is very important and uses some examples to illustrate his position. Allison on the other hand seems to say in his article that the cultural-historical differences are not as important. It is an interesting analysis and I attach it herewith for your interest. I do agree with Gula as pointed out in his example that the eschatological environment of the first century puts some of the proclamations made by Jesus in a different perspective. Once a person has done an analysis of the text he or she is in a position to use it in the decision making process.

The Methodological task is the putting scripture to use in moral reflection and decision-making. Gula relies on Gustafson to explain that there are two ways to look at the direction given in Scripture. Revealed morality is looking at the text as a directive for action. He breaks down revealed morality into four subsections, law, ideals, analogies and great variety. To me it is a sort of hierarchy where law is the fundamentalist view where the Word is the law and that’s it. From there you move to a view where the Word is a set of ideals and not simply rules to follow. Thirdly, from analogy, one can compare the Scriptural stories and apply them by analogy to present day situations. Great variety, as described by Gula is a sort of halfway between revealed morality and revealed reality, which considers Scripture as only informative and not as specifically determining morality. Great variety appears to say that Scripture is important but that it isn’t all-inclusive. It allows for intellectual reflection and for other sources as the basis for moral reflection as does the revealed reality approach.

In his analysis of the revealed reality approach, Gula discusses covenant and the reign of God. Covenant according to Gula is the response we make to God’s offer of love. God calls us and gives us some structure for the relationship. This structure is found in the rules and commandments and as Gula puts it, they are “…presumptions and burdens of proof for the moral life” (Gula, p.173). In a covenant relationship, we bind ourselves to our God by accepting his love and his way of living. Gula then discusses the reign of God as another way to look at revealed reality. “God’s reign is not a place, but a community-creating activity whereby each person experiences a strong sense of solidarity with others. Covenant with God allows us to move into relationship with others likewise in covenant with him and allows us to experience the “shalom” kind of peace. We find Jesus giving us direction in the Scriptures on how to move to this type of existence. It is more than simply rules to follow. It is a move toward a life of hope lived through reverence, conversion and responsibility. Hope “…always points to the love of God as the basis for the fulfillment of the new possibilities of human well-being, hope is the source of our energy to respond creatively to new possibilities for re-creating society” (Gula, p.177).

Contrast the revealed reality to revealed morality and you find the latter focusing on the “black and white” of it all. But if one believes that the Scriptures are given to us as a set of laws to follow blindly, then what are we to think of the radical sayings of Jesus? Are they simply figures of speech? Gula considers the message of Jesus to pluck out your eye if it causes you to sin. Jesus came to save us. He came to offer forgiveness. To “pluck out your eye” is contrary to His message. Therefore, I would suggest that they are not directives like the great commandment as much as they are attempts to get our attention and to get us to think about the relevance of the message. To blindly follow all of the passages of Scripture leaves no room for the stimulation of our creativity and imagination. It does appear to me that there are some rules to follow and there are passages in Scripture that give us those rules. Additionally, there are stories, exaggerations and other literary devices that allow us to creatively interpret the “rules” and to apply them.

In a final attempt to reconcile the difference between revealed reality and revealed morality, Gula discusses the great commandment. It would appear that there is little room to dispute what Jesus is telling us as He responds to the question from the Pharisees in Matthew 22. “He said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments” (Matthew, 22:37-40). Here is a good illustration of the difference between revealed morality and revealed reality. In a revealed morality sense you take this literally and love everyone. However what is love and how are we to live in love. It requires some critical analysis to understand what Jesus means by His directive to love your neighbor. What is neighbor? Is it the person next door? Is it the person on our block? Just what is neighbor? And what is love. If our neighbor is of the opposite sex, are we to “love” that person in a man-woman sort of way? Certainly to take Jesus literally is not as easy as it appears at first reading. Thus we look to the reality behind the statement and draw direction from it and then create the reality in which we are to live from that analysis.

There are many different opinions concerning the use of Scripture in development of moral theology. The search for an absolute may be a noble one, however the better search to me would be to become educated not only in the words of the Bible but about the Bible. In learning about the bible we can gain an understanding of its place in our lives and use the messages it provides to assist us in our attempts to make moral decisions that allow us to live our lives consistent with the will of God.

The History of Soil Stabilisation

The stabilisation of soils has been performed for millennia. It was recognised before the Christian era began that certain geographic regions were plagued with surface materials and ambient conditions that made the movement of armies and goods difficult, if not impossible, over the paths between villages and towns.

The Mesopotamians and Romans separately discovered that it was possible to improve the ability of pathways to carry traffic by mixing the weak soils with a stabilising agent like pulverised limestone or calcium. This was the first chemical stabilisation of weak soils to improve their load carrying.

Jump forward a few years to the war in Vietnam, the US military were looking for methods for rapid stabilization of weak soils for support of its missions worldwide. Over the past 60 years they had used cement and lime these being the most effective stabilisers for road and airfield applications, but although with careful analysis of ground conditions and the make-up of the existing soils these traditional stabilisers did have a remedial effective. They urgently needed a stabiliser that could be used quickly without having to carry out extensive site tests that would increase the strength of the prevalent soft clay type local soils rapidly to support the landing and take-off of heavy C-17 and C-130 aircraft traffic on their temporary airfields.

Various combinations of plasticisers were tested as additives to the cement to find an amalgam that could cope with the varying levels of moisture and prevailing air temperature. Laboratory tests confirmed that one particular application where chemical additives and hydrogels were added to a cement base mix increased the strength and toughness by a factor of over 100% whilst still retaining the degree of flexibility of surface the military were looking for.

The fore runner of our proprietary SMR soil stabiliser was born.

Early uses of SMR in the UK

Success in Stabilising Recycled Aggregate

Despite being the Highway Authority with the largest U.K. network, (some 12900 km) and having reputedly one of the strictest Street Works regimes in England; Devon County Council have been very receptive to the use of SMR Soil Stabiliser by Utility Companies since its introduction in late 1999.

Initial trials were carried out by John Kennedy (Civil Eng) Ltd, (now Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions Ltd) on behalf of South West Water and under strict monitoring by Devon County Materials Laboratory. The trials encompassed numerous laboratories and field tests including C.B.R. and compressive strength testing, frost heave susceptibility tests and air void testing of wearing course applied onto SMR reinstatements. In all of the tests carried out, the SMR bound reinstatements were proven to outperform control reinstatements using Type 1 GSB.

Following these trials, permission was granted to South West Water for use of SMR in footway reinstatements under clause S1.5 of the SROH, New Roads and Street Works Act 1991, (more commonly referred to as the HAUC spec).

Based on the success of SMR in use in footway reinstatements and further trials in carriageways, the approval to South West Water was extended in December 2000 to include reinstatements in Type 3&4 carriageway.

The approvals permit SMR treated spoil to be used as a replacement for traditional materials up to and including Road base levels. Under the revised SROH introduced in June 2002, performance criteria set down for alternative materials in Appendix A9 to be used at these levels deem the material to be classified as an NFSMR (non flow able structural material for reinstatement).

To date, SMR has been used by South West Water on over 100,000 reinstatements within the footways and carriageways of Devon, without a single failure or recorded defect.

The fact that use of SMR mixed with excavated spoil eliminates the need for imported backfill material and eliminates the need to remove spoil to landfill since it is re-used, it means that the following environmental benefits have been realised.

  • Approx 150,000 Tonnes of Landfill Capacity have been preserved.
  • Approx 150,000 Tonnes of Primary Aggregate have been preserved.
  • Approx 300,000 Tonnes of Material movements have been avoided, reducing both pollution and disruption to the road going public.

In addition to the substantial environmental benefits, both South West Water and Devon County Council are more than happy with the performance of the SMR reinstatements, since nearly 5 years and 100,000 completed reinstatements on, there is still to be a single reported failure. Zero failure means zero remedial works, means zero traffic disruption.

Major financial benefits are also achieved, typically a saving of £40.00 per cubic metre is enjoyed by Utility Companies using SMR when compared to traditional methods, and these savings, currently running at around £18,000,000 can be further increased should the Utility Co. adopt a 1st time – single visit – permanent reinstatement policy.

The successful use of SMR in the UK is not limited to Devon and South West Water, although both must be considered as pioneers in the adoption of this highly sustainable and environmentally ideal technique. SMR is currently approved for use by in excess of 130 Local Highway Authorities nationally and has been used, without a single reported failure, on over 500,000 reinstatements, saving close to a million tonnes of landfill capacity and a similar quantity of primary aggregate. As word spreads, and the success stories increase, breaking down the industry’s “traditional approach” and its inherent resistance to change, more and more Utility Companies, Civils Contractors, and Highway Authorities will adopt SMR as their first option on footway and carriageway reinstatements.

Current uses of SMR in the UK

With a proven record of success in trench fill reinstatements, the stabilising properties of SMR have transferred over very easily to general land stabilisation applications, including the improvement and strengthening of weak or unstable soils, and the recovery and encapsulation of contaminated soils, the drying out and re-engineering of troublesome clay, chalk and sulphate bearing soils.

Over the next few years, the quality and reliability consistently achieved by SMR stabilisation will establish this product as the first choice solution for ground stabilisation.

How to Dress Sexy – Fashion Tips for Men in Their 40s

Once we touch the age of 40, we get settled in our life with a high paying job, a caring partner, kids to look out for etc. But once 40, we also tend to fall far behind in terms of fashion or forget how to dress sexy at the age of 40. Well…it’s time we help you make the ‘naughty change at 40’ a reality before you give up on trends, fashion, and forgo even the thought of how to dress sexy.

There’s no two ways about the fact that you love your Elvis Presley styled bell-bottoms. In fact that’s the best you ever had. But please don’t get the oldies out of their graves. These dresses will make you look and feel outdated. Instead, shop for clothes that match your personality and with your hair and skin colour. Just get to know how to dress sexy in these outfits.

It is advisable to go in for sombre colours and not for bold and blaring ones. The latter sends out signals of you trying desperately to reverse your age. Instead, go for variety in colours and styles and something that will make you look subtly sexy. Be subdued and honourable. Wear simple and comfortable clothing and realise the ways of how to dress sexy at 40.

It’s important that you choose the right colour for your garments. At the age of 40, you are not in your taut self. Rather then opting for bright colours which can look sickly on you, choose something that compliments your look.

Try not to copy your son or daughter. There’s a huge gap of years and fashion sense between and your kids. Don’t try to bridge that by wearing funky dresses borrowed from them. There are ways to look sexy even when you are aged 40 by keeping it stylish and not hip.

Wear clothes that speak of your years of experience. This will impart a very prideful look. Instead of going for trendy stuff; get classic in your attire. Just try out combinations to find out how to dress sexy.

Always keep a tab on what is in vogue for a man of your age. Sometimes, men get so accustomed to wearing tuxedos to office and casuals to weekend hauls, that they forget there’s more to 40’s fashion than that. So stay aware and follow these tips on how to dress sexy.

Sport coats are a good transition items for men in 40s. Apart from wearing formals to office and sneakers at weekends, you can try out driving moccasins.

If your body is nice and toned, don’t think that wearing the fashion wears meant for 20’s would look good on you. Ditch that thought and adorn tight jeans and smart t-shirts to flatter your manhood and set a new benchmark of how to dress sexy at 40.

People who don’t have the style sense needn’t worry either. Just visit a store and get abreast with the latest trends in men’s fashion.

Introduction to Commodity Pyramid Trading

This article discusses the how to to profit from commodity pyramid trading.

These key points will help you learn this technique:

  1. What is Commodity Pyramid Trading?
  2. Commodity Pillar Trading Comparison
  3. Commodity Pyramid Trading Comparison
  4. Commodity Pyramid Trading Useful Tips

1. What is Commodity Pyramid Trading?

This is a method of trading commodity futures contracts in such a way that when the profit from a single trade equals the current margin for the commodity, the profit is used to self-finance an additional futures contract. This self-financing process can take either of two methods: Pillar trading or Pyramid trading.

The Pillar trading method involves adding one futures contract to your position during each self-finance round, while Pyramid trading adds one futures contract – but from each active futures contract with each self-financing step. This results in a doubling of your position during each self-financing step.

Both pyramid trades and pillar trades (hereinafter referred to as pyramid trades) should exhibit several characteristics which make them high profit potential candidates. These characteristics include:

  • The market is quiet and has exhibited low volatility for several months.
  • The margin for the commodity is relatively low.
  • The market is set up for a major move. This is evidenced by extreme commercial/public signal, as well as a 12-month high or 12-month low on the daily price chart with a likely 1-2-3 Top or Bottom price chart pattern in the process of unfolding.

A VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: The biggest danger in any futures trade is a limit move which goes against your position. With a single futures contract, this is risky enough. With multiple futures contracts, this risk is seriously compounded. However, if you monitor the market conditions (both technical and fundamental market conditions) and the financial news on a daily basis, you will generally receive a timely warning of an impending limit move which may go against your position – giving you time to close out your position before that occurs.

The Pyramid Trading Form

The Pyramid Trading Form is at the heart of helping you to successfully implement and manage these trading strategies. It contains areas that will let you monitor and track up to three commodities using this trading strategy. Each area allows for up to 7 futures contracts to be held in the pillar trade position, and up to 64 futures contracts in the pyramid trade position.

How To Identify A Good Pyramid Trade Candidate

At any point in time, there will be several commodities with differing degrees of profit potential. However, it is important that you identify the commodity which has the best chance of being a profitable pyramid trade. This means that you must perform a current analysis of all commodities to identify the commodity that meets the following requirements.

a. You must first use the Commercial/Public selection tools to identify the commodities that appear to be ready to make a major move.

b. Of these commodities, identify those that appear to be making either a 1-2-3 Top or 1-2-3 Bottom in the daily price chart. Calculate the daily 50% retracement target for each one. Also calculate the dollar amount the move represents.

c. Where applicable, use the weekly chart to calculate the weekly 50% retracement target for each commodity. Again, calculate the dollar amount the move represents if the weekly target is attained.

d. Identify the margin requirement for each commodity. The ideal pyramid trade will be one with a relatively small margin requirement and with a dollar amount profit potential that is at least three times the margin requirement for the commodity.

e. The commodity that you select must be a quiet commodity – that is, one which does not have wild price swings.

f. The commodity you ultimately select as the best pyramid trade candidate must also have enough time to allow the move to unfold. This means you need to get into a more distant month to minimize loss from commission switch requirements (which can be expensive with 16 or more contracts in your position). Select the more distant commodity contract month that has 120-180 days available until the Last Trading Day (LTD).

g. The commodity which you have selected must have a daily volume of at least 10,000 contracts for adequate liquidity. Open interest should also be 10,000 or more.

It’s important to remember that once you are in a trade, you must religiously perform an analysis on a daily basis so as to identify any changes in the original analysis that may adversely impact your trade. In addition, you should always monitor fundamental “news” which will affect the price of the commodity. For example, if you’re short Orange Juice – and Florida has a freeze warning – close your position fast!

2. Commodity Pillar Trading Comparison

The commodity pillar trading strategy is the least risky of the two strategies because you only acquire one contract with each applicable price (profit) increase.

An example pillar trade resulted in $12,650 profit (before commissions). During the trade, your total risk was confined to $400 or less. If you had traded only one futures contract (with a 93.79 entry price, and a 94.92 exit price), your gross profit would have been $2,825. The pillar trading strategy produced the additional profit.

3. Commodity Pyramid Trading Comparison

The commodity pyramid trading strategy is the most risky of the two strategies because you acquire two contracts with each applicable price (profit) increase. This results in a risky “inverted pyramid” position which, if not intelligently managed can produce significant losses.

An example Pyramid Trade resulted in $72,200 profit (before commissions). During the trade your total risk was confined to $4,600 or less. Again, if you had traded only one futures contract, your gross profit would have been $2,825. The pyramid trading strategy produced the additional profit.

4. Commodity Pyramid Trading Useful Tips

There are several things which you must do when using the commodity pyramid trading technique described in this course. Failure to do so will likely invite grief into your life.

* You must perform an analysis of the markets to identify an ideal pyramid trading opportunity. Having done that, you need patience and commitment to wait for the inevitable move in price. Your previous efforts at paper trading have given you the confidence and skills to identify major moves. Trust your skills.

* Get into the more distant futures contract to avoid the need to “switch” contracts. The commission on 64 contracts at $40 per contract will cost you an extra $2,560 in commissions each time you switch.

* You must monitor your position daily. This involves being aware of what the analysis “tools” (described in my complete Commodity FUTURES Trading Course) are telling you about the current state of the market.

* Be aware of any “news” items which would have an impact (positive or negative) on the commodity you are trading. For example, if you are short in Orange Juice, a “freeze” warning in Florida will cause price to move against you, and can likely result in a limit move – a catastrophe you should immediately take steps to avoid!

* A price move generally results in a series of minor retracements; leaving a support point during an increase in price, and a resistance point during a decrease in price. It is a sensible strategy to place the stop-loss a little below the support point for the uptrend and above the resistance point for the downtrend.

* Timing of the order entry is critical. You need to predefine what your entry strategy will be during each phase of pyramid trading.

Closing Advice

You must do your homework and try different strategies using various price charts. By covering the price chart with a sheet of paper so you can’t see price action beyond the entry point, you can slowly move the sheet of paper rightward exposing subsequent price action. This technique lets you retroactively “simulate” various strategies and react to market changes. Of course, you should also be entering the applicable data into your Pyramid Trading Form to track your “simulated” trade. This will give you skills and confidence to use this pyramid trading technique.

Special Note: There is substantial risk in trading commodity futures and options.

(C) 2008 Thomas Wnorowski

3 Ways to Prevent Damage of Your Swimming Pool During Winter

Water freezing in the wintertime is one of the biggest troubles you will encounter with your swimming pool. Frozen water could cause grievous damages to the swimming pool: It could crack tiles, bust pipes, puncture walls, creating severe leaks that will drain and waste your pool water. The trouble with water as it freezes is that it expands. The normally circle water molecules crystallise into a larger form when frozen. The water increments its mass, thus absorbing more space, once it turns into ice. If its container does not have space to reconcile the added mass, the ice will push and force the container to make room for it. This force that the ice exerts is what causes the real harm. We as pool possessors of course do not want this to happen. Keeping a pool is already difficult and costly enough. Of course, there are several criteria that can be done to preclude this from happening.

A simple method is to bring down the quantity of water inside the pool to create space for the extra water once it turns into ice. Just look at the amount of water that will have to be disgorged and wasted.

You can drainage and dry out the inside of the skimmer then cover up it or reduce the water in the pool to a degree that is below the skimmer. It goes the same way as an air rest, it engages the pressure of the freezing water. The skimmer guard like a constrict plastic pipe that can be inserted and secured in the skimmer. It also seals the skimmer entry tube so that the water does not get into the pipes and filters.

An alternative is to use a swimming pool air pillow. The air pillow is based and assured at the center of the pool, under the pool cover. This doesn’t block the water from freezing, nevertheless, it absorbs and directs the force of the freezing water towards it rather than on the other parts of the pool. This is will be very efficient on the pool itself, but what about the other parts of the pool that is a distinct water container.

Each of these techniques have their own rewards and restrictions. Take your time to realize each and do which is inexpensive and handy for you.

Air Circuit Breaker

Normally we are not used to seeing accidental explosions or fire blazing in our home or office when the current jumps above the safe level or when there are any other faults in the electrical system. When these accidental incidents are about to happen the circuit breaker cuts the power to the electrical system. Without circuit breakers (or the alternative, fuses), household electricity would be impractical because of the potential for fires and other mayhem resulting from simple wiring problems and equipment failures. It is one of the most important safety mechanisms either in the primary source of electricity or in the electrical distribution systems from where electricity is distributed in our home or in our home.

Air circuit breaker: When the breaker opens the current flow is interrupted that causes an electrical arc to be generated. This arc is cooled and extinguished in a controlled way, so that the gap between the contacts can again withstand the voltage in the circuit. When the fault condition is fixed, the contact is again closed to restore power to the interrupted circuit. When a circuit breaker uses compressed air to extinguish the arc the circuit breaker is called air circuit breaker (ACB).

Construction: Each phase of a three-phase Air Circuit Breaker (ACB) consists of 3 types of contacts, namely; main contacts which carry the load current, arcing contacts and the arcing horn.

The main contacts: Under normal operation the main contacts carry the load current. Therefore, main contact resistance must be low enough to prevent overheating, when current is flowing through it. The main contacts are therefore made up of a good conducting material such as copper, silver or copper with silver plating. Since these metals have relatively lower melting points, they can be damaged if arcing occurs. To prevent this damage, the main contacts do not make or break the current.

Arcing Contacts: Since no arcing must occur at the main contacts, arcing contacts are provided, which make or break the circuit current.

Arcing Horns: After the arc is established on the arcing contacts, it is transferred to the arcing horns during the opening of the arcing contacts. Their shape is designed to weaken or extinguish the arc.

Arc chute: The arc chute is a cooling chamber located at the top end of the breaker. It cools the hot gases which are produced when arcing occurs.

Operating mechanism: To understand the sequence of operation of various contacts in the air circuit breaker, one must realize that arcing must never occur at the main contacts.

Opening cycle: When the breaker is closed, the load current is conducted by the low resistance main contacts. But when the breaker opens, the main contacts open first and transfer the current to the arcing contacts. The arcing contacts open and an arc is established across the arcing horns. The arc rises to the top of the arcing horns and enters the arc chute where it is rapidly cooled by heat transferring mechanism in the cooling plates. Cooled gas deionizes that makes it unable to conduct electricity, and consequently arc is extinguished.

Closing cycle: In the closing cycle, the arcing contacts touch first to make the circuit again. Then the main contacts close and enable the circuit to flow electrical current.

Advantages of Air Circuit Breaker (ACB) over the other circuit breakers

* Relatively inexpensive

* Simple installation

* Simple construction

* Simple maintenance requirements


Air Circuit Breakers (ACB) are used in both low and high voltage current. They are commonly used in electrical distribution systems and NGD for voltage up to 15 KV. Air circuit breakers (ACB) which include operating mechanisms are mainly exposed to the environment. They protect for overload, short circuit and earth fault/ground fault. Most of air circuit breakers are used in indoor type substations.