6 Ways To Identify Common Chicken Health Problems And Chicken Illnesses

When you have a flock of chickens in your backyard, you need to know how to prevent and recognize common chicken health problems and chicken illnesses.

Raising your own flock is usually pretty easy because they are pretty hale and hearty birds when kept under ideal conditions. But, even when kept in ideal conditions, you can still have to deal with illnesses, parasite infestations and injuries.

The two keys to preventing common chicken health problems and chicken illnesses are to provide dry, draft proof housing and conduct regular checks on your hens and roosters. Solid housing will help prevent most common chicken health problems and you will be able to quickly identify and resolve any illnesses that crop up just by keeping a close eye on your flock.

What are the signs that you have a sick hen? Look at these 6 things.

* 1. Make sure your flock is busily scratching around their area.

* 2. Any chickens that are not moving around need to be watched.

* 3. Are any chickens holding their wings or tail down?

* 4. Make sure they are all breathing normally.

* 5. Look for any discharge from the eyes or nasal passages.

* 6. Check any odd looking chickens for parasites.

What do you do if you notice that a chicken or several of your birds appear to be ill?

The first step is to capture and isolate any hen or rooster that looks sick as quickly as possible. Separating them from the rest of the flock is vital to helping prevent the spread of any illnesses.

You will also have to be sure and not spread the illness yourself. Change your shoes and clothes when you leave the area your sick chicken or chickens are being kept in. Do not go around your well chickens without putting on different clothes and thoroughly washing your hands. Common chicken health issues can be easily spread to the rest of your flock if you don’t take these simple precautions.

Concrete Driveway Sealers Explained!

What kind of concrete sealer do you need? That is pretty much the simple question most homeowners want answered. In an effort to simplify concrete sealers, there are only two groups of concrete sealers to be concerned about; penetrating sealers and topical sealers. These are essentially the same for other types of materials such as stone, brick, and tile sealer. Penetrating sealers are sealers that penetrate the slab from ΒΌ inch to 4 inches. These sealers are superior to coating sealers in that they penetrate deep into the pores of the concrete. Coating Sealers are less expensive than penetrating sealers. These types of sealers are still very good at helping the concrete to cure evenly. The downside is that, although cheaper, they will require more frequent applications

Penetrating Sealers (chemically reactive)

Silane; must be applied heavily which may darken concrete, life span 5-8years with good saturation, less stain resistant, cost is higher due to heavy application rates

Silicate; applied after 7-14 days; permanently binds with concrete to seal slab and reduces the porosity of the concrete; heavy application required to get protection on the surface, difficult to penetrate smooth floors, difficult to get heavy coat on broom finished slabs, agitate with a brush

Siliconate; can be used as a cure and seal when applied day of the pour, permanently binds with concrete to seal slab by reducing porosity, best water repellent with long life span, large molecular compound for porous finishes. Overall good choice for driveways.

Coating Sealers (film-forming; similar to paint)

Siloxane; very similar to silicone

Silicone; low UV resistant; low lifespan; low abrasion resistant, low chemical reaction making it a film- forming type sealer

Acrylic; life span of 3-6 years, water based, cheaper alternative, two coats recommended, can yellow with age, basically a clear paint

Polyester; twice as thick as acrylics, most polyurethanes are moisture intolerant; which means the surface must be dry when the sealer is applied or else a chemical reaction will occur that results in foaming.

To summarize, the best topical concrete driveway sealer is a Polyester based product with Acrylic based products being next in line. The best penetrating sealer is a Silconate based product. Coating or topical sealers are cheaper but won’t last nearly as long, requiring more frequent applications. Penetrating sealers are more expensive initially but will require fewer applications and protect your concrete driveway for years to come, never requiring a second application.

Making Ketogenic Diets Work

The Truth

Ketogenic Diets (more specifically Cyclic Ketogenic Diets) are the most effective diets for achieving rapid, ultra low bodyfat levels with maximum muscle retention! Now, as with all such general statements there are circumstantial exceptions. But done right – which they rarely are – the fat loss achievable on a ketogenic diet is nothing short of staggering! And, despite what people might tell you, you will also enjoy incredible high energy and overall sense of well being.

The Perception

Despite these promises, more bodybuilders/shapers have had negative experiences than have seen positive results. The main criticisms are:

  • Chronic lethargy
  • Unbearable hunger
  • Massive decrease in gym performance
  • Severe muscle loss

All of these criticisms result from a failure to heed the caveat above: Ketogenic Diets must be done right! It must be realised that they are an entirely unique metabolic modality that adheres to none of the previously accepted ‘rules’ of dieting. And there is no going half-way; 50 grams of carbs per day plus high protein intake is NOT ketogenic!

So how are ketogenic diets ‘done right’? Lets quickly look at how they work.

Overview of Ketosis

Simply, our body, organs, muscles and brain can use either glucose or ketones for fuel. It is the function of the liver and pancreas (primarily) to regulate that fuel supply and they show a strong bias toward sticking with glucose. Glucose is the ‘preferred’ fuel because it is derived in abundance from the diet and readily available readily from liver and muscle stores. Ketones have to be deliberately synthesised by the liver; but the liver can easily synthesise glucose (a process known as ‘gluconeogenesis’ that uses amino acids (protein) or other metabolic intermediaries) too.

We don’t get beta hydroxybutyrate, acetone, or acetoacetate (ketones) from the diet. The liver synthesises them only under duress; as a last measure in conditions of severe glucose deprivation like starvation. For the liver to be convinced that ketones are the order of the day, several conditions must be met:

  • Blood glucose must fall below 50mg/dl
  • Low blood glucose must result in low Insulin and elevated Glucagon
  • Liver glycogen must be low or ’empty’
  • A plentiful supply of gluconeogenic substrates must NOT be available

At this point it is important to mention that it is not actually a question of being ‘in’ or ‘out’ of ketosis; we don’t either totally run on ketones, or not. It is a gradual and careful transition so that the brain is constantly and evenly fuelled… ideally. Ketones SHOULD be produced in small amounts from blood glucose levels of about 60mg/dl. We consider ourselves in ketosis when there are greater concentrations of ketones than glucose in the blood.

The reality is that most people – especially weight trainers – have had a regular intake of glucose for a good couple of decades, at least. The liver is perfectly capable of producing ketones but the highly efficient gluconeogenic pathways are able to maintain low-normal blood glucose above the ketogenic threshold.

Couple this with the fact that many people are at least partially insulin resistant and have elevated fasting insulin (upper end of the normal range, anyway). The small amount of blood glucose from gluconeogenesis induces sufficient insulin release to blunt glucagon output and the production of ketones.

Sudden glucose deprivation will have the consequence, initially, of lethargy, hunger, weakness etc in most people – until ketosis is achieved. And Ketosis will not be reached until the liver is forced to quit with gluconeogenesis and start producing ketones. As long as dietary protein is sufficient then the liver will continue to produce glucose and not ketones. That’s why no carb, high protein diets are NOT ketogenic.

Whats So Great About Ketosis Anyway?

When the body switches over to running primarily on ketones a number of very cool things happen:

  • Lipolysis (bodyfat breakdown) is substantially increased
  • Muscle catabolism (muscle loss) is substantially reduced
  • Energy levels are maintained in a high and stable state
  • Subcutaneous fluid (aka ‘water retention’) is eliminated

Basically, when we are in ketosis our body is using fat (ketones) to fuel everything. As such, we aren’t breaking down muscle to provide glucose. That is, muscle is being spared because it has nothing to offer; fat is all the body needs (well, to a large extent). For the dieter this means substantially less muscle loss than what is achievable on any other diet. Make sense?

As a bonus, ketones yield only 7 calories per gram. This is higher than the equal mass of glucose but substantially less (22%, in fact) than the 9 calorie gram of fat from whence it came. We like metabolic inefficiencies like this. They mean we can eat more but the body doesn’t get the calories.

Even cooler is that ketones cannot be turned back into fatty acids; the body excretes any excess in the urine! Speaking of which, there will be quite a bit of urine; the drop in muscle glycogen, low Insulin and low aldosterone all equate to massive excretion of intra and extracellular fluid. For us that means hard, defined muscularity and quick, visible results.

Regarding energy, our brain actually REALLY likes ketones so we tend to feel fantastic in ketosis – clear headed, alert and positive. And because there is never a shortage of fat to supply ketones, energy is high all the time. Usually you even sleep less and wake feeling more refreshed when in ketosis.

Doing it Right

From whats said above you will realise that to get into ketosis:

  • Carbohydrate intake should be nil; Zero!
  • Protein intake should be low – 25% of calories at a maximum
  • Fat must account for 75%+ of calories

With low insulin (due to zero carbs) and calories at, or below maintenance, the dietary fat cannot be deposited in adipose tissues. The low-ish protein means that gluconeogenesis will quickly prove inadequate to maintain blood glucose and, whether the body likes it or not, there is still all the damned fat to burn.

And burn it does. The high dietary fat is oxidised for cellular energy in the normal fashion but winds up generating quantities of Acetyl-CoA that exceed the capacity of the TCA cycle. The significant result is ketogenesis – synthesis of ketones from the excess Acetyl-CoA. In more lay terms: the high fat intake ”forces” ketosis upon the body. This is how its ‘done right’.

Now you just have to throw out what you thought was true about fats. Firstly, fat does not ”make you fat”. Most of the information about the evils of saturated fats, in particular, is so disproportionate or plain wrong anyway; on a ketogenic diet it is doubly inapplicable. Saturated fats make ketosis fly. And don”t worry; your heart will be better than fine and your insulin sensitivity will NOT be reduced (there is no insulin around in the first place)!

Once in ketosis it is not necessary, technically speaking, to maintain absolute zero carbs or low protein. But it is still better if you want to reap the greatest rewards. Besides, assuming you are training hard, you will still want to follow a cyclic ketogenic diet where you get to eat all your carbs, fruit and whatever else, every 1-2 weeks, anyway (more on this in another article).

Don’t be mistaken; ‘done right’ does not make ketogenic dieting easy or fun for the culinary acrobats among you. They are probably the most restrictive diets you can use and not an option if you don’t love animal products. Get out your nutritional almanac and work out an 20:0:80 protein:carb:fat diet. Yeah, its boring. As an example, your writers daily ketogenic diet is 3100 Calories at 25:0.5:74.5 from only:

10 xxl Whole Eggs

160ml Pure Cream (40% fat)

400g Mince (15% fat)

60ml Flaxseed Oil

30g Whey Protein Isolate


There are a number of supplements that assist in making Ketogenic diets more effective. However, many popular supplements would be wasted. Here is an overview of the main ones:

  • Chromium and ALA, while not insulin ‘mimickers’ as many claim, increase insulin sensitivity resulting in lower insulin levels, higher glucagon and a faster descent into deeper ketosis
  • creatine is a bit of a waste – at most, 30% can be taken up by the muscles that, without glycogen, cannot be meaningfully ‘volumised’.
  • HMB (if it works) would/should be an excellent supplement for minimising the catabolic period before ketosis is achieved
  • Tribulus is excellent and comes highly recommended as it magnifies the increased testosterone output of a ketogenic diet
  • Carnitine in L or Acetyl-L form is an almost essential supplement for Ketogenic Diets. L-Carnitine is necessary for the formation of Ketones in the liver.
  • Glutamine, free-form essential and branched-chain aminos are worthwhile for pre and post training. Just don’t overdo the glutamine as it supports gluconeogenesis
  • ECA stack fat burners are very useful and important though don”t worry about the inclusion of HCA
  • Flaxseed oil is a great but do not think that you need 50% of your calories from essential fatty acids. 1-10% of calories is more than sufficient.
  • Whey Protein is optional – you don’t want too much protein remember
  • A soluble fibre supplement that is non-carbohydrate based is good. But walnuts are easier.


Ketogenic diets offer a host of unique benefits that cannot be ignored if you are chasing the ultimate, low bodyfat figure or physique. However, they are not the most user friendly of diets and any ‘middle ground’ compromise you might prefer will be just the worst of all worlds. Your choice is to do them right or not at all.

When and How to Use Globular Transfer MIG Welding

What is Globular Transfer?

This type of transfer is a hybrid form of spray transfer and short circuit. When I say a modified form it is referring to the fact that the electrode does not create a spray or a short circuit to transfer the metal. What it does is transfer the filler metal to the joint in the form of globs. The way it works it an arc is established by the MIG welder and then the electrode heats up. Once it heats up a glob is formed at the end of it. This glob gets drawn to the weld joint and drops off. After that this process repeats many times in a minute. The best way to understand this process is by comparing it to something more familiar. A leaky faucet! If you think about the globs as drops of water dripping from a faucet then you can easily visualize how this transfer fills the joint.

Why is Globular Transfer Used?

This type of welding is typically used when the voltage needed to weld is higher than short circuit requires and lower then spray needs. It’s more of a hybrid of weld transfer types. Other places it can be used on are metals like stainless steel and aluminum. The main advantage of globular is that it works on a higher voltage setting while giving the welder the advantage of more control over the weld deposit than spray transfer.

How to Set-Up Your MIG Welder!

If you are going to set-up your MIG welder for this transfer type you need to know that there is no setting or button that says “globular transfer”. The way transfer types are set is by adjusting the voltage and wire feed speed. Before setting up you machine you need to know what type of metal that will be welded. This will have a direct affect because of the type of shielding gas that will be needed. Globular transfer needs a shielding gas that contains a high percentage of Argon to a 100% Argon gas.

The way the machine is set-up is by first choosing the right shielding gas. This is best done by either reading the electrode manufactures instructions or simply talking to your local welding supply store. They will know what your best choice will be or at least narrow it down to a few choices based on quality vs. cost. The actual machine setup is done by finding the proper voltage setting for the metal thickness that will be welded. Once you get that setting dialed in then you need to set you wire feed speed. What you are looking for is a wire feed speed fast enough that it does not spray and slow enough that you do not achieve a short circuit transfer. The way you know that globular transfer is occurring is by the sound of the weld. It needs to sound like it is popping. The popping can vary from slow to a fast series of pops. While you are welding you should also be able to see the actual globs form and drop into the weld joint. That is all it takes to setup you welder for globular transfer MIG welding!

Yoga Poses To Help You Have A Glowing Skin

If you want to have a glowing skin, here are some of the most beneficial poses that you can engage in:


This is an ideal pose when you want to have a long lasting glow and healthy look in your face. When you stand on your head, blood starts to flow downwards and as a result blood circulation in your face greatly improves.

The headstand reverses the flow of gravity and stimulates a “face lift” by letting your skin hang in the opposite direction and as a result you easily get rid of wrinkles.

In addition to this the pose also flushes fresh nutrient and oxygen to the face and as a result creates a glowing effect on the skin.

To get into position you need to place your hands in front of a mat or blankets and then position your head between your interlocked palms. You should then lift both of your legs up in the sky. You should hold in this position for as long as you can.

Bow pose

This move makes your body appear like a bow. To assume the pose you should lie down on your belly with your hands by your side and your palms facing upwards.

You should then bend your knees in order to move your heels near your buttocks. At this position you should grasp your ankles and rest your body weight on your abdomen.

You should then pull your ankles with your hands until your body looks like a bow. You should maintain in this position and keep on breathing normally.

Corpse pose

Here you need to lie down straight on the floor with your eyes closed. You should relax in this position and then throw out all negative thoughts and tension. For ideal results you should think good and positive. This means that you should avoid any negative thoughts.

After sometime you should stand up straight and put your legs apart and then cover your face with your hands. At this position you should take 10 quick breaths and then rub the skin on your eyes, face and forehead. You should then take 10 quick breaths and rub your entire face with your fingers.

By doing this you will feel all your stress and tensions disappearing and as a result you will attain the much needed glowing skin. Experts recommend that you should do this pose after doing all the other yoga asanas.

Using Sink and Toilet Plungers – Learn to Successfully Use Plungers On Each Type of Household Drain

The red rubber suction cup plunger is still as popular as ever, because when used correctly, even this old design can work wonders. But for even better chances of success, match your plunger purchase to the drain it will be clearing. The old standby with its wide flat face can be difficult to work with on curved drains such as those in toilets and lavatory basins.

Fortunately, the enormous variety of plunger shapes available means there is one for every type of drain in the home.

Plungers will be split into two broad categories. There are plungers designed for use with toilets, and plungers intended for use with sink and floor drains.

Toilet plungers will not have the traditional wide open-faced plungers shape, but instead are shaped to fit the tubular curving shape of a toilet drain. Toilet plungers will have a flange of extra material extending from the bellows which can be inserted snugly into toilet drains.

Plungers intended for use on floor drains and basins with flat bottoms will not have this extra flange of plastic or rubber as part of the plunger shape. These plungers will have wider, open suction cup shapes, in order to enclose the drain opening.

The second major design consideration when purchasing a plunger is the material it is made of. Rubber and softer plastic belled plungers can be easier to use, because the more pliable material will flex in both directions as required when plunging.

Other plungers are made of stiffer plastics. These plungers are frequently one-piece designs. Because they are all one piece of plastic, these designs can be easier to clean than handled plungers. The drawback to stiff plastic plungers is they are much more difficult to use, both in plunging and keeping up an airtight seal.

The final significant difference among the plungers available today is the shape of the plunger compression container. The champagne glass shaped sink plunger is the most familiar, but also very common are what are called ball-plungers. Less common, but seen in more and more of the modern plunger designs, is the spring-plunger, with a bellows shaped chamber.

Ball-plungers will have a ball or spherical shaped compression chamber. Spheres are used because they enclose the greatest volume with the least amount of material, meaning efficient transfer of the plunging action into water movement and clog busting. Ball plungers are typically easy to work, and very effective.

Bellows plungers are the more modern design. Both sink and toilet plungers are available with large bellows chambers, in an assortment of shapes. Spring plungers can be very effective, bring more pressure to bear on the drain per square inch than a standard design. The large bellows chamber can be cumbersome, however, and not always easy to effectively use.

Plungers are tools for unclogging drains blocked with soft, decomposable or degradable material. Do not attempt to plunge a solid object or dense obstruction through your plumbing-you may end up making things worse and footing an expensive repair bill.

Plungers are recommended for clogs such as those that build up over time in slower or infrequently used drains, and for clogs that are created by over-zealous, but proper use of things like the toilet or shower. Clogs from hair, grease, oil, sewage, toilet tissue, and similar stuff can be handled with a plunger.

Do not use a plunger to force things like children’s toys, dentures, cosmetics containers, toiletries, and so on through the plumbing. When an object or obstruction that won’t break down-for example cloth or paper towels-is the cause of the stopped drain, then other tools and procedures will be used. Consider calling a plumber or professional drain service in this situation.

With so many plungers to choose from, how can you pick just one?

You shouldn’t! The fact is that most homes will benefit from owning two plungers; one for use in the toilet and one for use in sinks. Because the design and function of these drains are so different, the types of plungers required for clearing them will be different as well.

How Long Will Your Main Sewer Line Last?

Main sewer lines for homes are built to last quite a long time. Nowadays, most of the lines for homes are made out of PVC pipe. If you have never heard of PVC pipe before, you are not alone. PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride, and this polyvinyl chloride piping is sincerely built to last. If your sewer line is built using polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, piping, then it will likely last 100 years.

If your home and therefore your main sewer line was built prior to 1980, though, there is a good chance that it was built using clay piping. Clay pipes last much less time than PVC pipes do. Clay pipes lasts only 50-60 years.

The lifetimes of these two types of pipes are just estimations though, so there is a chance that you will have to replace your home’s sewer system before the 100 year or 50-60 year lifetime that is predicted for PVC and clay pipes.

There are a few ways for you to tell if your home’s sewer system is going to need to be replaced before its estimated lifetime. One way to know if your sewer line is needing to be replaced is to go out in to your lawn and see if you smell anything out of the ordinary. When main sewer lines get old, they get brittle and crack. When the pipes get brittle and crack, the sludge that flows through the pipes on a day to day basis slowly start to leak towards the top of the soil in your lawn. When this sludge starts creeping up to the top of your lawn, it will create foul smelling sinkholes. If you see these sinkholes, you definitely need to call a plumber to come check out your main sewer line before the problem gets any worse.

Another example of a sign that your main sewer system may need to be replaced will happen in your own home; in your bathroom at that! If you are getting ready for your work day and you start to hear something interesting coming from your toilet, you may have a serious problem. The sound will be like a strange gurgling sound coming from your toilet, and if you hear that noise, you will have to call a plumber quickly, because your main sewer line may be going out.

Be on the look out for either of these two signs that it is time to replace your sewer system because it is better to catch this issue before it sneaks up on you and ruins your day!

5 Basketball Tips For Better Ball-Handling

If you watch much basketball, it becomes quite apparent that there are very few great ball-handlers that can consistently break the defense down off the dribble. When you see a player that actually has this ability, it’s so devastating to the opposing team that it can literally change the game. Imagine being able to create off the dribble anytime you wanted. Well there’s good news for you. This isn’t something players are born with, but rather, something players can improve through hard work and dedication. The five tips below will help any player improve these special skills.

#1. Do around-the-body drills to improve ball-control and quickness with the ball. Move the ball in a circle around your head, around your waist, around both legs, around your right leg, around your left leg, and in a figure 8 motion around and through both legs. Make sure to do these drills in both directions. Start out slow, and once you can do at least ten in a row, work on doing the drill as fast as possible. One way to see if you are getting any faster is to put these drills into timings. See how many times you can move the ball around your waist in 30 seconds. When I first started doing this drill in 2nd grade, I couldn’t do very many. But through dedication, and the use of the timer on my mom’s microwave, I eventually got to the point where I could do at least 70 around my waist in 30 seconds. With some serious dedication, you can do the same thing!

#2. When working on dribbling, make sure to pound the basketball as hard as possible. You have got to challenge your hands and fingers to get stronger and quicker with the ball. Now, this doesn’t mean you hit at the basketball like a fly swatter. Make sure to absorb the basketball with the pads of your hands and fingers, but don’t hit at it with your palm. If you mess up, don’t worry about it. In fact, if you never mess up, you definitely aren’t pushing yourself hard enough. Weak ball-handlers are flimsy and weak with the dribble while good ball-handlers are strong with the dribble. Pound the ball!

#3. When working on change of direction drills, such as stationary crossovers and between the legs dribbles, make sure to have rhythm with your movements. A stiff player with robotic movements will never be consistently effective off the dribble. The players that are the best off the dribble have rhythm and can lean their body in one direction or the other in a smooth manner. It is important that while working on both stationary and moving drills, you rock your body to the rhythm of the dribble. Be smooth and athletic while still pounding the ball.

#4. Incorporate 2-ball dribbling drills into your basketball training regimen. Work on dribbling the balls at the same time as well as in an alternating fashion. Make sure that you pound the balls as hard as possible! Challenge yourself by crossing the balls over in front of you, between your legs, and behind your back. Make sure you can do at least ten repetitions in a row of a specific drill before you work on speed. Also work on these drills while moving. If you can dribble two balls well, in full speed, game-like situations, then dribbling only one ball will be easy. It’ll feel like it’s a part of your body!

#5. It’s important that your ball-handling skills transfer over into game situations. One drill that can help this transition and improve your ability to dribble under pressure is called the Side-Rider drill. In this drill, start on the baseline with a defensive player at your side. The defender’s goal is to literally push you to the sideline. This means that the defender is going to foul you while you are dribbling. On offense, your goal is to dribble in a straight line at full speed to the opposite end of the court and score. The defender is going to be at your side, pushing and fouling you, so it’s important that you stay low and strong with the dribble while protecting the ball. Make sure to execute this drill with both hands. Once you can handle this pressure, have the defender try and steal the ball as well. If the defender steals the ball, bring the ball back to the spot the ball was knocked away or stolen, and continue the drill.

Implementing these five tips will put you well on your way to maximizing your potential as a ball-handler.

Slip Sheets Explained

Getting goods from A to B is hard enough. Finding the right way to carry those goods is another headache. Once, we loaded and unloaded goods item by item – those were the days when labor was cheap. Then the Second World War came. This mother of manyventions brought us the wooden pallet. This, combined with a fork lift truck, enabled goods to be moved quickly and with less labor.

Wooden Pallets

The wooden pallet was a great idea. So good was the idea that it is still going strong to this day. However, things have changed. Pallet pooling can be an expensive business. Rental and purchase costs have risen to reflect the increase in timber costs and the extra burden of fumigation and quality control.

Escalating fuel costs have taken their toll on the inevitable restricted trips that are made to reparation empty pallets when imbalances occur in the supply chain. These fuel costs – and driver shortages – have also forced an examination of the space and weight taken up by the ubiquitous pallet.

The pallet is a bit like the air that we breathe. It is all around us yet we do not see it. It is easy to forget the extra cost that the pallet adds to the value chain. Perhaps now the time has come, in some eyes, the pallet has outstayed its welcome. Rather than being the carrier, is the pallet itself being transported by the value chain? Rather than wait for another world war, a ready solution has been found and is tried and tested. That is the Slip Sheet.

Enter the Slip Sheet

Slip sheets have been around for some time, especially in the
US where the free market has always had the knock of taking the path of least resistance. European countries tend to prefer centrally planned systems and standardization. Slip sheets lack formally agreed international standards and this may be one of the reasons why they have not been popular in Europe. The greatest reason is ignorance. Many simply have no understanding of slip sheets and how they work – so they do not bother.

So perhaps it's time to right this wrong here and now.

How Slip Sheets Work

1. Slip sheets are durable sheets of material that are designed to carry a uniform load of goods with plan dimensions (or "footprint") of roughly 1 meter square / 40 inches square (typically they may be designed to carry a footprint of 40 inches x 48 inches – 1m x 1.2m). The slip sheet is made to these dimensions plus a pull tab – an extension to the sheet – of up to 6 inches / 15cm. There may be just one pull tab sticking out from under the load on one side. There could, however be pull tabs on 2, 3 or all 4 sides. Slip sheets can be made of
fibreboard or plastic.

2. Goods are loaded directly onto the slip sheet within the creases that border any pull tabs. A push-pull attachment on a forklift truck is used to drag the load onto the truck by gripping (one of) the pull tab (s). The push-pull attachment has very flat ground-level forks that are designed to go under the
slip sheet while it is under load

3. To unload, the forklift truck pushes the load, complete with slip sheet off of itself and withdraws

Pros and Cons

Slip sheets are not the panacea to all distribution needs. For one thing, all parties in any supply chain will need to invest in the push-pull attachments, which are not cheap. The staff training that will be required, especially for forklift truck operators, can also be expensive. Perhaps the greatest factor, though, is the uniformity of the load itself. This poses the slip sheet's greatest advantage – and greatest disadvantage. Slip sheets may not be able to cope when boxes are awkwardly shaped or where there is a mixed load of different shapes. Conversely, if a company is shipping out large quantities of the same sized box, then slip sheets are ideal. As such, slip sheets lend themselves to operations further upstream of the supply chain. As loads are broken down further downstream, then pallets may be more appropriate. The good thing is that loads of slip sheets can be easily transferred to pallets. A good example of the advantages of using slip sheets is where parts for goods are manufactured and shipped through a long distance sea route. The space and weight saving can result in a significant financial boost for the value chain.

Co-operative Value Chains

Another great factor in all this is uniformity of slip sheet systems. All parties in the supply chain need to be using the same specification of slip sheet and ensure that all staff are fully trained to ensure delivered loads are properly correct for the receiving party. This requires value chains that are highly co-operative, or, to be realistic, it requires a value chain that has one dominant party who will simply dictate their requirements. The US has pioneered slip sheets and has used them for many years. However, the dominance of the supermarket sector in some European countries may be forcing the change there also. The ability of large supermarkets to influence their supply chains means that they are in a position to take a strategic view of the benefits that slip sheets can bring. They are in a position to arrange for both senders and receivers to be ready to handle products on slip sheets. Things are changing. Perhaps the pallet industry is about to get a jolt.

Watch this space. There are magnificent benefits to be made and significant environmental benefits to be gained. Full conversion to slip sheets for any supply chain is not going to happen, but a partial conversion for particular product lines is not only desirable, but inevitable – even in Europe.

Warehouse Artist Studios

An artist/bohemian type working for themselves is perceived in a variety of ways by the general public. A lot of the perception has to do with a combination of the artist’s cashflow and apparel strategy, as opposed to the stirrings of their soul. Strangely, as a young man, people often saw me as a responsible, solid guy. Ha!

In the early eighties I ran my screen printing operation out of a funky old warehouse by the railroad tracks in Eugene, Oregon. Enormous pastry and coffee in hand, I’d get to my shop a bit past nine and dig in for the day. Usually I’d run out of work between 1:00 and 3:00 pm, leaving the rest of the day to run, draw comics and hang out.

Being that the economy had had the shit kicked out of it just then, I was moderately proud that I’d been able to scape up enough business to keep a roof over my head… ultimately I turned enough of a profit to embark on my checkered career publishing my own wacky comic books, but that’s not the subject of this rant.

Warehouse Artists Studios was the literal name of the co-op warehouse wherein I rented space. The studio took up the second floor of a truly dilapidated old funkster warehouse that had most recently been used to store spices. Add to that the gay girls who lived illegally in the space next to mine, burning patchouli oil night and day. This place had a certain bouquet!

I’d been printing T-Shirt jobs out of my flat, and it was getting a bit ridiculous. At an opening in a local gallery, I saw a flyer for “Warehouse Artist Studios”, a 5000 square foot space that magically divided up the floor into 170 square foot units that rented for forty bucks a month. I went down the next day and rented two adjacent spaces, which apparently I’d be paying $75 or $80 a month for. A slight, nervous man named Lynn rented my space to me. He was the manager, he had a chair upholstering business in the studio. Straight away, I could see ‘ol Lynn was a duck seriously out of water.

This impression was dramatically confirmed like three days later when Lynn informed me that the Warehouse was failing economically, and that he was resigning as manager. He handed me the studio ledger and checkbook saying “you seem like an astute fellow, why don’t you manage this dump?”.

I was rather taken aback at this, but sure enough at the next meeting of the co-op, the members all but begged me to save their studio. I had my serious doubts, but figured there wasn’t much to lose, so why not? It wasn’t lost on me either that as manager my rent for my 340 square foot space dipped to $35.00 per month!

The co-op had about 12 members. We were several hundred dollars in the hole. We could pay rent, but couldn’t pay the heating bill. We were required to carry basic liability insurance, which had gone unpaid and lapsed, for starters. I sat down and did a bit of math. I figured if we raised the rent on the basic space about $10.00 a month for five months, and attracted a couple new members, we’d squeak by and could continue renting the dump.

The measure passed at the next meeting. At least with the eight or nine people who decided to stick it out, as a couple members dropped out with the news of the temporary rent increase; we did indeed need to attract new members straight away. We papered the town with flyers for the warehouse, and got free listings in any newspaper we could. Miraculously, the plan worked. We lowered the basic rent back to $40.00 per month ahead of schedule and got an infusion of fresh blood. I can’t take too much credit for it, as the place snapped to with an esprit de corps I’ve rarely encountered… I’d say it was goddamn grassroots socialism is action, almost.

Now here comes the fun part, the personalities that made the place click, the swashbucklers, crackpots, con men, assholes, and outright brilliant geniuses I encountered in my stint at Warehouse Artist Studios. First comes a woman named Kathy Caprario. She was a dramatic beauty from New York of Italian descent, the best known painter in Eugene, an “older woman” to me of maybe 33-35 years (I was all of 24 at the time). Kathy is the person who was singlehandedly most responsible for the survival of Warehouse Artist Studios at the time of the financial crises. To say she was resourceful and a bit of an aggressive shark is an understatement. For starters, she marched me down to see the owner of the owner of the building when the lease came up. The guy was a real estate money grubbing slum lord type, who claimed an artistic background. Right. Our rent was $650.00 per month. Kathy figured that Jeff, the slum lord, was lucky that anyone at all was renting this dump in a crappy ecomomy. She advises me to offer the guy $450.00 per month. No problem! It was an invaluable early lesson in having brass balls.

So we’re in this real estate lizard’s office, and I make the rent offer. Jeff, the lizard in question, completely ignores me and starts this serious, near lecherous flirt with Kathy. She plays this guy like a fiddle, and we walk out of there with a lease for the next year of $550.00 per month, a hundred bucks per month rent reduction. Yes folks, in 1982 in Eugene, you could rent a 5000 square foot studio for that low price. I should mention too, the year after that, Kathy had moved on to a private studio space, but I’d learned well and got that damn rent down to $475.00 per month!

Kathy also had us apply for City of Eugene room tax grants. Turns out there was actual civic support for the arts afoot! We hastily threw together grant applications to run a gallery in our common space, such as it was, and to offer figure drawing sessions to the public. Given the level of initial interest in these projects, we all saw it as a way to get the city to help pay our rent with minimal execution of said projects.

But who knew! The figure drawing sessions maintained a core of attendance for a couple years. The gallery stared off as nothing–an unrented space was hung with art. But before long, a 22 year old painter of promise named Mike Perkin rented a space and started doing some pretty cool work in his cubicle. He tried his best to ape Francis Bacon, but the works looked a bit like Francis was a werewolf Mexican wrestler or something.

When it came Mike’s turn to show his work, he turned a critical eye at the tiny room where I asked him to hang his paintings. He asked me if I had the studio checkbook. What do you have in mind, Mike? He directed me to the Eugene Planing Mill, a massive lumber yard across the street from us. “Let’s stud up couple walls so I can hang my big paintings”. Outragous! Here’s this wild kid, plays the same tapes over and over (Scarey Monsters by Bowie, anything by Lou Reed) and yells at his paintings. At the drop of a hat, we get some lumber and flail away for a couple hours with hammers. Before you know it, instant gallery! We build some pretty decent walls in a jiffy (other studio members drifted in a pitched in) and whitewashed them.

Mike’s paintings for that show were terrific. They were done in ruddy reds, earthtones and orangey yellows, with wood and burlap assemblage fastened to the canvases. The average size was maybe 3′ across by almost 5′ tall. My favorite was called “The Inside of Lou Reed’s Stomach”. If I wasn’t blowing every cent on publishing comic books, I woulda bought it. The opening was a revelation. Mike’s family showed up, and they were the most amazing bunch of open minded art, theatre, film and literature lovers you could imagine. A lotta beer went down. I remember late at night, Mike’s mom was wrestling on the studio floor with one of her four sons. From there on in, our little gallery stood a few decent shows, and even better parties. And through it all, the city kept the checks coming!

Keith the retired Air Force colonel is next in our cast of characters. Bald, prim, post heart attack, gentle former Texan Keith. A late life painter, an ultra practical man. Ruled by logic on the outside, soft as a grape inside, he had a good heart even if it was failing him, he did his share to keep the warehouse afloat. He painted small landscapes that revealed a luminous take on Oregon’s rainy colors. Nothin’ amazing, but nice. Fluid, painterly, sea foam light permeating the canvas with a bit of warm ochre and alizarin crimson, tacking it to the surface of the earth.

Keith enjoyed regaling the Warehouse crew over beers with stories of flying B-52’s through mushroom clouds after bomb tests in the Pacific, back in the day. Knowing that I was involved in the anti-nuke movement of the day, he teased me “I did H-Bomb tests all day long, and I’m not glowing yet”.

Although he had a son who was around forty, Keith took a fatherly interest in me, and used to take me to lunch in his enormous four door GM pickup truck (with one of those worthless diesel engines they tried to manufacture for a couple years). He’d take us to the local Lions clubhouse. The food sucked. He’d insist we have a beer with lunch, which I didn’t like as I usually would go for a run later in the day. Hell Steve, have a beer, indulge the old boy! Unbidden, he told me his life story. Before retirement, had risen as an assistant to one of the joint chiefs of staff. After retiring from the military, he’d been a ROTC instructor on the University of Oregon campus in the sixties. He’d have run ins with various rag-tag groups of pseudo Maoist college kids. Then one summer, Keith and his wife were vacationing in the Cascade mountains east of Eugene. Hiking in the foothills, they came upon an encampment where some of these same youths were enacting a military training drill with assault rifles! They were indeed serious about the revolution bit. After a tense momentary face off with no word exchanged, Keith and his wife turned on their heel and hiked out. “I felt like I had a target on my back”, he said, adding that he never saw those kids again.

There was another older painter at the studio, one Nick Nickolds. He was maybe 60-65 at the time. He was the real deal, a life long bohemian, painter and philosopher dedicated to the pursuit of his art. He’d been an orphan from Denver who lived the middle decades of his life in Mexico. Nick scored the studio to the right at the top of the stairs. It was the best studio there, as it had a separate private entrance.

Nick Nickolds painted in a style that at once reminded me of William Blake and Titian. His color was rich, saturated and full of light, yet he built up layers of delicate glazes that gave body and air to his figures. He was painting the figure, faces, and the natural world, yet it was semi abstract. It was as if Blake had decided to lapse into abstraction and gotten about 73% there before deciding he still had to have a face here, an eye or a breast there.

This work was technically masterful and evoked images and emotion like a skeleton key. It alluded to everything while putting it’s finger on nothing, like a Robert Hunter lyric. Nick was so consistently true, dignified and full of heart that you had to love him. He was a slightly rotund, dapper little man with ample sparkle in his eye.

Once, Nick showed me a vial full of crystalline dust, claiming that it was a sort of emulsified, crystal LSD. He stuck a pin in it, putting a minuscule amount on the head of the pin. “That’s enough”, he said. He claimed he’d had the vial for years, had been in San Francisco in the sixties with it (it was full back then). He asserted he’d provided hundreds and hundreds of trips from his little vial. Today, I almost wonder if I made that part of the story up! It just sounds too good to be true.

Nick was a guy who was always fascinating, who revealed himself to me a little bit at a time as we became friends. He approved of my comic books, and my attempts to explain the nature of reality, time, the singularity of the eternal now in cartoon form, and all that jazz. Nick told me I was on the right track as an artist. “All you have to do is be careful about the beer”, he advised me, and boy was he right, as I developed enough of a drinking habit that I ultimately had to stop altogether for my own good. Nick eventually moved back into what he considered the morass of Marin County, as he had money connections down in California. I never saw him again, don’t know if he’s still around or not. I often reflect on what Nick taught me about maintaining integrity as an artist, and about having respect for every human being regardless of anything. I consider it immense good fortune to have known Nick and been his friend, albeit for only a couple of years.

P.S. Nick is indeed still around, at http://www.nicknickolds.com

Freak Magnet!

If you manage to set yourself up as a successful Boho freelancer/self employed artist, you will attract an amazing array of people from all walks of life to bask in your glory. Say what? Take my word for it, people will be attracted to your good thang, offering everything from sublime lessons in human dignity, to blatantly vampiric attempts to hi-jack your time and energy.

With a bit of practice, it becomes easy to recognize the latter–within minutes of meeting the vampiric leach, they attempt to wrangle the discourse to a place where you are somehow in the position of owing them something; most often a deep discount on your product or service. You’ll see a red flag, and you will get rid of them asap. Try adding a 50% “asshole fee” to your usual rate. When they get ugly, be sweet as pie but stick to your guns. And remember, you don’t owe them a thing.

The other sort, offering the sublime lesson, a peek into the bottomless well of the beauty of the human spirit, can be a real pleasure. They will probably try your patience a bit too, but it’s worth it. My rule of thumb is to attempt to offer the same basic respect to any person I come across in the course of my business. Easier said than done, but something to aim for.

As a self employed freak magnet, it’s been my great pleasure to encounter quite an array of swashbucklers. How about the charismatic actor who financed his theater company (and his t-shirts) with a successful drug dealing operation? He did quite well with it, but I guess his success was tempered by the little fact that he was a junkie…

One of my favorite encounters with an unusual person came early in my “career”, when I maintained a screen printing operation at Warehouse Artist Studios in Eugene, Oregon in the early ’80s. One fine rainy morning, when nothing much was going on, a slightly bellicose balding guy named Abner Burnett stepped through the door and asked how much I would charge to print one t-shirt. Sorry, minimum order is two dozen. OK, how much for two dozen?

Abner ends up ordering something like 2 shirts. He understands that the economies of scale are not working for him, that with set up charges, these will be very expensive shirts, but he doesn’t seem to mind. I wish I could remember what the design was–it may have had something to do with his beloved Chevy Vega (those were great cars, right up there with the Ford Pinto!). As Abner cuts me a downpayment check, he notes that he lives off a trust fund, and is bored, and is really glad he met me. Great.

When will the shirts be done? I can print them on Tuesday, I’ll call you when they are done.

Arriving at the warehouse on Tuesday morning, I am less than thrilled to find Abner at the door waiting for me with a curious half smile on his face. This is the first time I think, “axe murderer”. Turns out Abner wants to watch me print his shirts. He wants to learn about screen printing. Usually, it unnerves me to have a customer watch a production run, but hey, it’s only two shirts. And, Abner said he wants to learn about screen printing. He said the magic words. I love teaching people how to screen print. I figure it’s like teaching a poor man to fish. Or, it’s like giving someone a lesson in a tool that can be used to exercise your first amendment rights. So I am into it.

As I set up and print his job, Abner opines, “Mr. Lafler, I can tell that you are independently wealthy”. I bark out such a hearty laugh that I almost botch a print. “What makes you say that, Abner?”

“Well, you just leisurely hang out at your studio every day, doing just what you want.”

The fact is, Mr. Burnett, I am here in the studio to try to scrape together a couple bucks, with which to buy some burritos, beer and a can of food for Ed, my cat. If I make some extra cash, maybe I’ll publish a comic book or two, but independently wealthy? Ha!

Abner pays for his shirts, and he’s gone. I enjoyed the encounter, but I also was happy that it’s over. Or so I thought. Abner started showing up at my studio almost daily, to “learn screen printing”. He would stand there, half glassy eyed, issuing a series of loosely related comments that weren’t quite non sequiturs. One day I tried to leave, just to shake him. “Where you going?”, Abner wants to know. “I’m going to get some screen printing supplies”, I say. Abner wants to drive. Oh hell, why not? I don’t have a car.

Although I didn’t exactly like Abner, I was just a bit fascinated by him. What the hell was he up to? What was his story? He kinda gave me the creeps, but he exuded a thickly benign sense of serenity.

The jig was up one day when he came in, affable yet strangely agitated at the same time. What’s up, Abner? “Mr. Lafler, I’m a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic, and I didn’t take my medication today”.

Okay. That explained a lot. Abner came around a few more times, then I guess he lost interest. As mentioned, he made me rather nervous, yet I was curious enough about him to indulge his presence. I like to think he was just another manifestation of Buddha nature, come to teach me a lesson, or something like that.

POPS and You – Persistent Organic Pollutants

There has been a lot of debate about global warming. On my part, I am doubtful that the industrialization of the human race is solely responsible for the warming of our atmosphere. After all, the earth has gone through many cooling and warming trends over the course of its existence and most of those have occurred before man industrialized. My current vote for most likely culprit is sunspots.

Historically speaking, when sunspot activity is high, global temperatures are higher. When the sun is quiescent, global temperatures are lower. According to those in the know, we are heading shortly into a quiescent period with attendant cooling which, according to some, should nicely offset any rise in temperature that rising carbon dioxide levels may cause. Not that I consider that a “cure,” it will just give us some time to get our act together.

So, what has this got to do with Persistent Organic Pollutants? When I think about the impact humanity has had upon the global environment, these (not CO2) come to my mind.

In his book, “Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products and What’s at Stake for American Power,” Mark Schapiro addresses POPS in his fourth chapter. He discusses the “dirty dozen”, dubbed that about twenty years ago by the NGO Pesticide Action Network. They are: chlordane, heptachlor, aldrin, dieldrin, mirex, DDT, hexachlorobenzene, toxaphene, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins and furans. In Schapiro’s words, “All act like light switches of toxicity upon the human body – potent neurotoxins and carcinogens that most countries in the world had agreed to kick out of global commerce.”

I believe that POPS, like those listed above and others, pose the human race a far greater risk than does global warming. The kinds of chemicals and amounts that are dumped into our global environment on a daily basis are frightening. I think that this issue is much more important than global warming and I am just cynical enough to think that perhaps global warming is pushed at us so hard to keep us from focusing on a truly bad situation; one clearly entirely of our own making.

Because the “dirty dozen” is a lot of territory to cover and the main thrust of Schapiro’s book is political, it quickly became apparent that he really wasn’t going to provide a lot of information about those chemicals. I decided to do a little research of my own. Unlike with my previous article about phthalates, the first page of a Google search did not turn up site after site that was all in favor of these chemicals. I chose one that we have all heard about…dioxin, and one with which I was not familiar…mirex.

Mirex has been around a long time. It was first synthesized in 1946, but was not used in pesticides until 1955. It is a stomach insecticide. That means that the insect must ingest it to be affected by it. The first use was focused on the Southeastern United States to combat fire ants. Approximately 550,000 pounds of mirex was applied to farm fields during 1962 to 1975. All uses of mirex as a pesticide were banned in 1978; however, it is still used as a flame-retardant in plastics, rubber, paint, paper and electronics. It has also been used to fight leaf cutters in South America, harvester termites in South Africa and mealy bugs on pineapple in Hawaii.

Effects on organisms combined with its persistence suggest that mirex presents a long-term hazard for the environment. In 1979, the IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) evaluated mirex and decided that “there is sufficient evidence for its carcinogenicity to mice and rats. In the absence of adequate data in humans, based on above result it can be said that it has carcinogenic risk to humans.”

Mirex is very stable and wide spread in the environment. In fact it is one of the most stable of the organochlorine insecticides. The article I read says that mirex induces pervasive and long-term physiological and biological disorders in vertebrates (that includes humans). It is both accumulated and biomagnified. That means that it persists (mainly in fat as it has low water solubility) and the higher up the food chain you go, the higher levels may be present. It is transported across the placenta and affects developing fetuses. It is also excreted in mother’s milk.

Mirex is a problem that we have directly created for ourselves. Dioxin on the other hand is more like a really unfortunate accident of industrialization.

To quote the first paragraph from the World Health Organization’s website (www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs225/en/) “Dioxins are environmental pollutants. They have the dubious distinction of belonging to the “dirty dozen” – a group of dangerous chemicals known as persistent organic pollutants. Dioxins are of concern because of their highly toxic potential. Experiments have shown they affect a number of organs and systems. Once dioxins have entered the body, they endure a long time because of their chemical stability and their ability to be absorbed by fat tissue, where they are then stored in the body. Their half-life in the body is estimated to be seven to eleven years. In the environment, dioxins tend to accumulate in the food chain. The higher in the animal food chain one goes, the higher is the concentration of dioxins.”

The chemical name for dioxin is very long and is usually abbreviated TCDD, and this form is considered to be the most toxic and the standard against which all other dioxins are measured. The “family” of dioxins also includes PCBs, which act very much like dioxins. Approximately 419 dioxin compounds have been identified, but only about 30 of the dioxin related compounds are thought to have significant toxicity. I think that 30 are too many.

Dioxins are mainly the result of industrial processes, but they do occur naturally from volcanic eruptions and forest fires. They are the by-product of smelting, chlorine bleaching of paper pulp and the manufacturing of some herbicides and pesticides. Solid waste and medical waste incinerators are the worst culprits, however, due to incomplete burning. It is also associated with the production of polyvinyl chloride plastics. TCDD was used in Agent Orange. In January of 2001, the U.S. National Toxicology Program upgraded TCDD from “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen” to “known to be a human carcinogen.” This was somewhat behind the IARC’s assessment.

In instances of short-term exposure of humans to high levels of dioxins, skin lesions such as chloracne and patchy darkening of the skin occur. Alterations in liver function have also been recorded. One famous and deliberate poisoning of a human with dioxins occurred in 2004 when the President of the Ukraine had his face disfigured by chloracne.

Long-term exposure carries more risks. It is linked to impairment of the immune system, the developing nervous system, the endocrine (glands) system and reproductive functions. TCDD was evaluated by WHO’s IARC in 1997, when it was classified as a known carcinogen in humans.

With our current state of affairs and industrialization, dioxins are inescapable and omnipresent. Everyone has what they call “background exposure” and a certain level of dioxins in the body leading to what is called “body burden.”

As humans, our major source of exposure to dioxins is from our diet. The typical North American eating a typical North American diet can expect to receive, on average, 119 picograms of dioxins daily. Now, a picogram is a very small amount (a pg is about one-trillionth of a gram and one gram is about 1/40th of an ounce), but the extreme toxicity of dioxins must be taken into account. Of that 119 pg, 38% comes from eating beef, 24.1% from dairy, 17.6% from milk, 12.9% from chicken, 12.2% from pork, 7.8% from fish, 4.1% from eggs, 2.2% from breathing, 0.8% from eating dirt (it happens) and the contribution from drinking water is negligible. The farm-raised fresh water fish used in the study were fed a diet of meat, which is why that percentage is as high as it is. Wild, ocean-going fish have much lower levels and contribute less to the burden.

In studies to determine levels of dioxins in humans, it was learned that a vegan diet (eating absolutely no meat or dairy products) produced the lowest levels of dioxins in the body. I have often been heard to say that I would be a vegetarian (mostly for ethical reasons) except that I really don’t digest legumes at all well. Getting all the necessary proteins in your diet to maintain good health without eating meat and/or dairy products can be very difficult.

It would be best to put stringent controls on dioxin emissions and keep them out of our environment as much as possible so that they are not biomagnified in the foods that we eat. That is not to mention what it must also be doing to our wildlife.

Solid wastes that are burned must be incinerated more thoroughly and there are plenty of guidelines for doing this. Now, I like my white printer paper to be white, but if dioxins could be significantly reduced by not bleaching paper pulp, then I would accept it as yellow or brown. As for herbicides and pesticides, there is no way, we are told, that we can produce the amount of food that we need to feed the United States without them. It’s too labor intensive otherwise. I’m not advocating a return to a pre-industrial lifestyle, but I have to tell you, I may never look at that pot of spaghetti sauce with hamburger that I have simmering on the stove right now quite the same way. Even so, I don’t think that wild-caught salmon spaghetti sauce is anywhere in my future.

Of course, we could all become vegan and that would reduce our load of dioxins. I don’t honestly think that’s practical. But what about being vegan one day a week? Skipping all animal flesh and dairy products for one day a week shouldn’t be too hard. Also, eating more wild-caught, salt water fish would help. One article also recommended eating only low-fat or non-fat dairy products (the dioxins accumulate in the fat) and skipping butter all together.

It wouldn’t be so bad if it were just mirex and dioxins that we were talking about. But it’s not. That’s why we owe it to ourselves to take a hard look at what we are doing to ourselves and our environment. My husband and I have replaced all of our incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs and I think that is good. But I still think the more important issue is not green house gases, but the load of chemicals we “dump” on ourselves each and every day.

Zojirushi Rice Cookers – A Foodie's Best Friend

Do you love rice? If you do, you must be aware of the best appliance there is: the Zojirushi rice cooker. You can make sushi rice, brown rice, oatmeal, vegetables and a lot of other foods with just one appliance. This is all made possible by a few features.

The first special characteristic of Zojirushi goods is the induction heating system. This works by distributing heat evenly within the pot. In the end, your rice will be cooked evenly, but not overcooked, which is the # 1 reason why having a rice cooker will help you be more effective when cooking. You will not need to pay attention to the rice, all you need to do is to wash the rice, put the correct proportion of water and press start. As simple as that!

The inner bowl shape has been designed also to help preparing evenly cooked rice. The inner bowl and the inner lid have a non stick coating, plus they are removable, which ensures you will not have a hard time cleaning your cooker you are done with it for the day. The exterior is also practical and stylish, with its stainless steel finishing. It is also easy to wipe clean, which means this machine can stay on your kitchen countertop without fearing for food or liquid spills.

The LCD display centers all functions. This is where you find the correct program for cooking white rice, brown rice, sushi rice and so on. For those of you who are anxious, the machine will have a 15-minute countdown and a beep when the rice is done. And for those who are not in a hurry, the cooker automatically switches from cooking mode to warming mode, so your rice stays warm instead of burnt. You can also program your oatmeal the night before to, say, 8:15 am on the next day, or your rice in the morning, say, 7:30 pm in the evening.

Rice cookers are very useful. Reading the owner's manual can ensure you get the best of all these and other features existing in your Zojirushi cooker.

Choosing Breast Implants to Look Natural

If you are considering breast implants, you are likely thinking about the importance of achieving a natural looking figure post-surgery. This is a very common concern, and one which you can absolutely work with your plastic surgeon to achieve.

Thanks to current technology and recent medical advances, augmentation is one of the most common plastic surgery procedures performed today, and it is the one with the highest patient satisfaction ratings as well.

One of the main reasons for this satisfaction is that plastic surgeons now have ample experience with breast implants and better understand which specific implant shape to use, what specific size, and where to place them in the body for the best possible results.

While you might think that enlargement surgery would be a simple procedure, in reality it is very complex. Both proper surgical technique as well as a strong attention to detail can make the difference between wonderfully natural looking breasts and those which look unnaturally round or big for your body.

Every plastic surgeon should consider the following six variables when consulting with you:

* Your body build and height/weight

* Your natural size, shape, and symmetry

* Your nipple position

* The shape and dimension of your chest wall

* The amount and quality of skin

* Your desires for cup size and shape

Each of these things will affect how your enlargement should be performed and the results you can expect to see. When breasts are augmented correctly you should have a natural fullness and gentle sloping off of the chest wall. You should have natural looking cleavage without webbing between the breasts or excessive perkiness.

While just about every woman alive wants to be perky and full, if they are too perky or too large, you then get that “boob job” look. To avoid this, your plastic surgeon will take into account your natural look and the size and shape of your body as well. This can help to achieve much more natural shape.

In addition, breast implants come in both a round and a teardrop shape. By working with one of these options, and your own natural breast shaping, you can have an enhancement that looks more like your own natural tissue – simply larger.

By working with your plastic surgery, and taking all of the above considerations into account, you can determine together what the best option is for your enlargement surgery. Plastic surgeons keep a book of before and after pictures of their past patients and can generally show you a patient with a similar build to yours so you can get an idea of what your various options will look like post-op.

Whether you are considering breast augmentation for enhancement or restoration purposes, a board certified plastic surgeon can give you the natural look and feel that you desire. By working with the six considerations listed above, your plastic surgeon can suggest just the right amount of augmentation and placement to help you achieve natural looking breasts.

4 Minute Money Review – How to Make Quick Money System

Are you looking to read a 4 Minute Money review? This system promises to teach users how to make quick money online, but I am sure that you will be very skeptical about this website after reading through it.

I knew I was really skeptical when I read about it, but I had also found many positive testimonials about it too. Eventually, I decided to try this 4 Minute Money system by Harris Fellman and Brian Kosobucki out of curiosity, and I have not looked back ever since.

1. Will You Make Big Money With 4 Minute Money?

This system requires some time to get going, so you need to keep your expectations in check and not expect to see the kind of results you see on its website so soon. With every 4 Minute Money system that you setup, there is a 90% chance that it will continue to keep bringing you income for months to come so long as the visitors remain members for whichever service you promote.

When repeated enough times, the amount of residual income that you can earn will keep increasing every day. It is entirely possible that this passive income stream will replace and become much bigger than your day job income.

2. What Is Included In The 4 Minute Money Package?

This package contains 5 PDF guides that list the strategies of this system in a step-by-step fashion. There is also a software suite called 4 Minute Automation Software that contains a bunch of powerful programs. They have made my life a lot easier by automating many of the monotonous processes that need to be done to keep the system going.

For example, there is the Blogger SEO Tool that helps me optimize the sites that I create automatically, something which I would otherwise have to waste around 15 minutes to do for every small system that I setup.

4 Methods For Closing Your Speech That Will Make a Lasting Impression

The last thing you want in public speaking is to leave your audience abruptly hanging without the knowledge that you have concluded. In my previous article, I discussed the need for signaling the end of your talk. The 2nd criterion, however, involves reinforcing your central idea.

The most common closings are:

1. Briefly Summarizing Your Development.

If you have a few subtopics, then you could end your speech or presentation by briefly listing those subtopics which all serve to reinforce your main topic. While the most common means to conclude, the summary is a safe method even if it is the least interesting and the least compelling. However, many speakers on the public speaking end in this fashion and they are quite successful.

2. Referencing Your Opening.

If you have a dynamic beginning, by all means use it in your closing. One of the benefits of referring back to your opening is that it gives unity to your message, psychologically. One of the ways I open my presentation on voice improvement is by asking the audience a question about the sound of their speaking voice. By asking that same question in my closing, I reinforce the central idea – the fact that most people do not like hearing themselves on recording equipment and that everyone has a better voice inside which they are unaware of. My final question gives them pause for thought as well as signaling the end.

3. Using a Quotation.

In researching your topic, should you discover a very good quote relevant to your speech, consider using it as your closing statement. In doing so, be sure to give credit to the writer. [Incidentally, quotes are wonderful to use throughout your presentation because they lend credibility to you, the speaker. They show that you are well-researched and know what you are talking about.]

4. Making a Dramatic Statement.

Being able to give a dramatic closing is the most novel method of the four. It takes a great deal of originality on your part but it is well worth the effort because it gives your audience a dynamic and vital ending with a lasting impression.

When devising your concluding thoughts, don’t whimper out. Go out with a bang if at possible. Practice your material so that you know in advance exactly how you will end. While I do not advocate memorization in public speaking, I strongly urge aspiring speakers to memorize their opening 3 or 4 lines. By the same token, having your conclusion in memory might be a good idea as well. Don’t leave your final words to chance.