Raw Snacks and Treats – A Healthy Alternative to Junk Food!

Does chocolate fudge, lemon cheesecake or pineapple dessert cake sound tempting to you? Although your mouth may be watering at the thought, you may also be wary about all of the fat, sugar and lack of nutrition in desserts like these. However, what if you knew you could enjoy rich, delicious desserts without any guilt or extra pounds? The truth is, you can!

There are many ways to create unbelievably delicious trees with simple, all-natural, raw ingredients. Most people think that eating raw food limits them to nothing but salads and fruit. "I can not get full on fruits and vegetables!" they say, but what they do not realize is that raw food consists of much more than just leaves and carrot sticks! Nuts, seeds, dates, coconuts and nut butters are also raw and provide the substance that fills our bellies as well as the protein and fats that are needed for a healthy, well-rounded diet.

The other good piece of news is that these recipes are also very simple in design. Mostly they require that you gather a few ingredients together and toss them into the blender. Anyone can do that. It's just a matter of experimenting with different ingredients.

Here are three basic ingredients that you can experiment with to begin creating healthy, raw desserts.

1. Use a natural sweetener. Instead of using processed, white sugar which has absolutely zero health benefits and lots of negative effects, replace it with raw honey, juicy dates, raisins or bananas. Did you know that raw honey is considered a superfood because of the endless nutritional benefits including rich enzymes, anti-allergy elements, and antibiotic properties? It's true!

2. Use nuts and seeds for your 'bulk'. Another secret to creating healthy snacks is to grind up raw nuts and seeds and use them as a replacement for white flour. Nuts and seeds are loaded with protein, essential fatty acids and minerals. They are also filling and satisfying. Each nut brings a different flavor to your dessert. Some of my favorites are pecans, almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, and cashews.

3. Add a raw flavor. If chocolate is your thing, add a few tablespoons of raw cacao to your nut and honey mixture. Raw cacao can be found on-line or in health food stores and believe it or not, it's good for you! The cacao bean is actually super high in antioxidants and important minerals like magnesium. If you get a pure, raw, organic powder, the flavor is delicious and when combined with other raw ingredients, you can enjoy its rich flavor without any guilt!

Other ingredients you might like to add for flavor are coconut oil, lemon juice, pure almond extract or vanilla extract, cinnamon, cardamom, mint, coconut flesh, pineapple or fresh berries. The combinations are endless!

With these simple guidelines and a little creativity on your part, you are on your way to developing your own healthy raw snacks. Here's a favorite raw brownie recipe to get you started:

2 cups raw walnuts, soaked over night and rinsed well
1 cup Medjool dates, packed
1/4 cup raw cacao powder

In a food processor, first blend the walnuts until they are finely chopped. Next add the dates and the cacao powder and blend until they are well mixed. The mixture will be very sticky and dense. Lay it out on a brownie pan and cut into squares. You can eat it like this or put it in the fridge for an hour to harden. Enjoy!

How to Make the Best of Your Short Transit Period at Dubai International Airport

If you are going to be in Dubai in transit or on a layover for a few hours, it's better to stay in the airport than to venture out to see the city for a number of reasons. At the top of the list is the fact that the roads in Dubai are notorious for heavy traffic, and if you are done in a traffic jam it might become very difficult to get back to your terminal in time for your next flight. Since the airport handles a lot of flight traffic, the crowds at the airport terminals are usually high, which makes it tougher to get to your gate on time.


There are many dedicated lounges for various international airlines like the British Airlines, KLM, Star Alliance, Air France and Gulf Air. Emirates has separate lounges for Business Class and First Class travelers. In addition to this, you can pay to use the Marhaba Lounge, which is an Arabian-themed waiting room that offers buffet food and drinks. The cost for this lounge is US dollars 24 for four hours. If you want a place to sleep in and take a shower, you can book yourself a room in the five-star Dubai International Hotel.

Food and drinks

If you have booked your ticket on the Emirates and your transit time is more than 3 hours, you are entitled to a free meal at Safar Restaurant in Dubai Airport. If you find this place too crowded, there are lots of other options for your dining pleasure. The Irish Village Pub at Gate 22 is an Irish-themed restaurant with open tables and lots of Guinness gear. This place is open 24 hours a day. The Fast Food Court between Gate 13 and 15 has a lot of fast food outlets with continental, Lebanese, Indian and Italian options. The Wings Bar above Gate 22 is a good, quiet place for drinks, and it offers a fie view of departing planes. The Seafood Bar is a small eatery famous for its smoked salmon, sushi and caviar. There are lots of other snack stops everywhere in the airport.


Indulge in Dubai's favorite activity – shopping. The duty-free shopping center in Dubai airport's Sheik Rashid Terminal is huge and has many products. The best bargains are said to be in cigarettes, alcohol and jewelry. You can also buy perfumes, tobacco, gold, electronics, fashion wear, food and spices. If you're on a budget, just browse through the shops set in an Arabian-themed mall to while away the time. There's even a raffle held every hour.

Other services

If you are traveling with children, take them to the Airport's entertainment center, where they can have fun playing games. There's also a mother's lounge attached nearby.

There are two fully equipped business centers with ISD phones, faxes, internet-connected work stations and secretarial services to cater to your business needs which is an equivalent service to many business hotels in Dubai .

The airport is fully wireless-enabled, so you can use your laptops anywhere in there. There are also pay-to-use computers, with internet access, where you can spend your time browsing and sending e-mail. There are also pay phones located all over the airport.

The La Femme beauty salon is located near Gate 18. You can have a traditional Arabic henna tattoo done on your hands.

Smoking is prohibited in the Dubai airport. However, there are smoker's zones in the Sheikh Rashid's terminal, also known as "the concourse where you can have a quick puff."

The G Force Gym at the Dubai International Airport is a good place to fight off your jet lag and to stretch your muscles. You can also use the swimming pool, jacuzzi, billiards table or get a quick massage done there. There are four prayer rooms in the concourse and arrival terminals of the airport, two for men and two for women.

There are several facilities for passengers with special needs. Any passenger with special needs can avail of personalized services by just making a request in advance. Try to get to know the layout of the airport before you depart on your trip, so that you make the best use of your transit time in Dubai.

The Characteristics of Bad Leadership


When the Israelites requested that they wanted a king to rule over them and rejected the theocratic reign of God, God gave them Saul son of Kish as their king. It was God's decision to continue to rule the Israelites through a human representative. Later, God rejected Saul as unfit to continue to rule the Israelites. Why was Saul's leadership condemned?

Solomon was one of the many kings who ruled Israel after Saul. He had a long and peaceful reign over Israel. His son Rehoboam succeeded him as king. But shortly after his arrival to the Throne, the United Kingdom was divided into two and he lost the greater part of the kingdom. What made the United Kingdom division and disintegrate under king Rehoboam?

After the Death of Joshua and the elders who out-lived him, there was a great problem of leadership in Israel. God raised up sentences from time to time to deliver his people from oppression and rule over them. Samson was one of those judges that God raised. The Israelites, which Samson was raised to deliver on several occasions tried to hand him over to their oppressors. Samson later became a prisoner of the philistines until his death. What happened to this great man that God raised as a deliver?

For a woman to rule a nation like Israel, she must definitely have some great qualities. Therefore one can not be wrong in saying Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah, who also ruled Israel, had great qualities. However, in the seventh year of her reign the people conspired against her and put her to death by the sword. What was wrong with her leadership that caused her subject to have acted in this way?

The four leaders mentioned failed in their leadership roles. For this reason their leadership has been characterized as bad. However, is it because one fails in leadership that one's leadership is bad? Failure is an indication that there are certain characteristics of one's leadership that are not good. These characteristics, which cause leaders to fail, would now be identified in the leadership of the four leaders. This will be done under the following headings: (a) A reflection on the leadership of five leaders in Bible times (b) Basic characteristics of their leadership (c) An evaluation of their leadership.

A reflection on the leadership of five leaders in Bible times

This section is a reflection on the leadership of five leaders whose leadership has been characterized as bad. As mentioned in the introduction each of these leaders have experienced failures in their leadership. But, is it because of a failure that one's leadership should be characterized as bad? This reflection is the first step in answering the question posed above. The leadership of Saul, Rehoboam, Samson and Athaliah will be briefly discussed focusing on their preparedness or fitness to lead and on their specific areas of failure.


Saul was the first king of Israel. Saul is chosen by divine guidance. He is a man of humility, consecrated by holy oil and filled with the spiurit.1 It can not be denied that Saul was prepared for leadership by the assurance of divine support and the special dualities that God gave him as a person. As Joyce Peel rightly pointed out, at the very beginning of his reign Saul proved his ability to lead as he rescued the city of Jabesh from the control of Nahash the Ammonite. The victory over the Ammonites wave Saul acceptance among all the people.

Without disagreeing with Joyce Peel that Saul had good qualities for leadership and was prepared for leadership by the assurance of divine support, Ted Engstrom stated that Saul lacked most of the fine qualities one expects in leadership.2 To substantiate his point, he made reference to an account in second Samuel Chapter five. This account was in reference to a request the people of the northern tribes of Israel made to David, asking him to also be their King. In their appeal to David, Engstrom observed that they said David was the real power in Saul's government and Saul was only a figurehead. It was David who led Israel out to battle and won victories for the nation. In addition, Engstrom pointed out that the nation that Saul left behind was torn by civil wars.3

In may be true that Saul lacked most of the fine qualities one expects in leadership, but the qualities that he had were good enough for him to succeed. Identifying the areas of Saul's failures can prove the point that he had what would have made him succeed. According to William J Dumbrell, there were three main areas of failures in Saul's leadership. The first was when Saul defies Samuel's orders to wait in Mizpah until he comes to offer sacrifice before the soldiers go to battle. Saul went along and offered the sacrifice although he was not a Levite. The second was, as Dumbrell puts it, his food taboo and his proposed death of Jonathan. Jonathan had ate some wild honey not knowing that Saul had pronounced a self-determined religious fast, enforced with a curse, until the pursuit of their enemies was over. In addition, Saul's victorious army was so hungry when they returned that they slaughtered and ate the animals without cooking the meet. In this situation Saul certainly lost control of his followers. The third failure was when he failed to carry out God's instructions concerning the Amalekites. He was supposedly to destroy them and their animals completely, but he spared the king and the best of the animals.4

Saul's failure must also be seen in its wider context. The issue was that he refuses to acknowledge God's authority established through the prophet Samuel. Samuel was to provide divine guidance to Saul for him to succeed.


Rehoboam was the son of king Solomon. One can assume that as one of the king's sons he would have been very much interested in the kingship. As the king's son he would also have been groomed for leadership, especially when one considered the fact that under normal circumstances one of the king's sons had to succeed him. He there before had potentials that qualify him to lead. However, according to some authors, Rehoboam was not even prepared for leadership. William J Dumbrell observed, that Jeroboam, the one time forced labor supervisor in the north, capitalized upon the ineptness of Solomon's son Rehoboam and leads the northern ten tribes into succession as the kingdom of Israel.5 Dumbrell's argument was that if Rehoboam had been adequately prepared for leadership he would not have employed the way he did on that particular occasion. One can gain more insight from the observation of Joyce Peel that Rehoboam was not exceptionally prepared for leadership. She affirms that Rehoboam, like Absalom, is arrogant. Brought up in Solomon's palace, he sees royalty in terms of privilege and absolute power. He ignores the advice of older counselors, and encouraged by his arrogant men he returned a harsh answer.6 It can be observed from what Joyce peel said, that the problem of Rehoboam's unpreparedness for leadership was basically his. It was a matter of his character or conduct. Every person should be personally accountable for his or her character and conduct. King Rehoboam failed in maintaining the United Kingdom left by his father. The incident already cited resolved in the division of the kingdom. Although the division of the kingdom had already been prophesied, Rehoboam's action should not have been overlooked. His failure, one must observe, not only in a political division of the nation, but also in the apostasy of the northern tribes.


Samson was one of the judges raised to rule Israel before the start of the monarchy. According to Judges 13: 15-23, he was the promised son of a barren woman. Even before he was born, God began to make preparations for him as a chosen leader. Samson grew up to be a Nazarite, sworn never to drink or cut his hair. The secret of his phenomenal strength lay in keeping this vow. It should be observed that Samson's preparation as a spiritual leader was of extreme importance to God. One should take into consideration that it was because of the apostasy of the nation that they were experiencing suppression by their enemies. The enemies during Samson's time were the philistines, who were controlling most of the land and they had exclusive possession of iron weapons. Maybe for that reason God raised Samson to be exceptionally strong to confront them even without a weapon.

When Samson assumed his leadership role, Joyce Peel described the kind of person he turned out to be: "But Samson was lustful, self-willed and irresponsible." Peel made references to the two philistine women he married, who infatuated and Deceived him. The first one who got the secret of his riddle from him and the second, Delilah, who got the secret of his strength.

The people whom Samson was supposed to lead considered him a failure. On some occasions they tried to hand him over to their enemies because they saw him as the cause for greater suppression. Arthur E. Cundell described the humiliation of this great judge in the hands of his enemies in these words: "The weakened Samson was now easily captured by the philistines. of his earlier feasts of strength (16: 1-3) and put to work at the tedious task of grinding out corn. "8 Samson's life, which promised so much, taking into consideration the special abilities God had him, was blighted and extremely destroyed by his sensual passions and lack of true separation to the Lord.


The last of the four leaders to be discussed is Attaliah, the mother of Azariah. As already been pointed out, she ruled Israel for six years. Eugene M. Merrill described how she came to leadership in the following quote: "The empty Throne of Judah was left by default to Attaliah, Azariah's wicked Israelite mother." 9 The Biblical record in 2Chronicles 22 shows that she puts to death all those she who find who had right to the throne. Therefore describing her as a wicked woman can be justified. However, to be able to accomplish such a goal she must have had good support. The fact that this woman was able to sit on the throne for six years, show that she had leadership abilities. This is however not to justify the way she used her abilities.

On the seventh year of her reign, the biblical records show that she was overthrown and killed by the very people she was ruling. In just retribution for her blasphemies and murderers, she was maneuvered away from God's house which her sons had ransacked (2Chronicles 24: 7) and was slain near the palace.10 This shows that the people she was ruling never accepted her leadership. She had managed to use force and her position as queen mother to stay in power.

Basic characteristics of the leaders and their leaderships

Having briefly reviewed the four leaders and their leadership, it will now be appropriate to discuss the basic characteristics of their leadership. This will be done under three sub-headings:
a) The leader as a person;
b) His or her leadership;
c) The followers.

This is because leadership involves a relationship between these three elements.

a. The Leaders

According to Bob Gordon and David Fardouly, many people fail in leadership because they did not receive a divine call to leadership. A call from God comes with an inner recognition that the individual will be equipped for the task. They said without God, no one would be adequately equipped to accomplish any task in God's kingdom. The individual will only be operating in his or her own strength.11 It is worth noting that two of the leaders being discussed received divine call, but they also failed. Was it because they operated in their own strength? Gordon and Fardouly's point is that one of the reasons why leaders fail is because they operate in their own strength, which in some cases, may be an indication that they have not been called. In other cases, they may have been called but have turned away from God's authority and support. Therefore, from what Gordon and Fardouly have said, one of the characteristics of bad leadership is seen in the conduct or character of the leaders who do not recognize their adherence and try to do everything by their own strength.

b. Their leadership

In discussing the leadership of the four leaders, two main things have been given primary importance. These are their vision and leadership styles. As John Haggai rightly observed, "a vision has a direct bearing on his leadership style.12 As a starting point, one could ask, what were the4 visions of these leaders? What was Saul's vision for Israel? Or did Saul really have a vision for Israel? A close examination of the observation of John Maxwell will help one determine whoever Saul really has a vision. and crown of a king, he never moved the monarchy beyond a chairman-based judgeship. He was made a general but he never attributed a large standing army. although the title of king owed him to continue leading.13 From these observations one could rightly say that Saul had no vision that he pursued on behalf of Israel. enemies. During those occasions he demonstrated more of o dictatorial or authoritative kind of leadership.

King Rehoboam on the other hand considered to have achieved his goal when he sat on the throne. One can deduce from his reply to the Israelites who appeared to him to reduce the burden of king Solomon placed on them, that he had no proper vision for the people. It was clear from his reply that his vision was for the people to serve him and make him comfortable. Also, the caliber of the counselors he chose supported the fact that he had no vision for Israel. His vision may have been to sit on the throne until he retires or dies. As a result of his lack of vision, his style of leadership was more of an authoritarian or dictatorial one.

Samson was no different from Rehoboam. According to Joyce Peel, Samson was lustful, self-willed and irresponsible.14 Samson was never seen in any constructive leadership role in Israel. His attacks on Israel's enemies were purely based on personal revenge. He was however supposedly to subdue the nation's enemies because of their suppression of the nation. The life he lived showed that he had no clear vision for the nation. So his style of leadership was more of an authoritarian or dictatorial one.

Like the others, queen Athaliah did not have a vision for Israel. She came to power in a palace coup and her only goal was to stay in power. The only way she was able to do that was by exercising a dictatorial style of leadership. Leaders like Athaliah demand total obedience from their subjects.

c. Their followers

Some of the characteristics of bad leadership can be identified with the followers. One must take into consideration Anthony D'souza's statement that leadership involves an inter-relationship between three elements:

a) The quality skills and needs of the leader
b) The needs and expectations of the group
c) The demands or requirements of the situation.15

On several occasion Saul's men abandoned him in battle. On other occasions he forced them to do what he wanted. For instance, when he declared a fast until Israel completed the pursuit of their enemies. This caused the soldiers to sin in the end, by eating meat with blood or in other words, meat that was ateen raw and not cooked.

In the case of Rehoboam, the greater number of Israelites rejected his leadership and revolted against him. Samson's situation was even worse. His followers were willing to hand him over to their enemies. They saw him as the cause of their problems. Athaliah's followers revolted against her and killed her. None of these leaders chose their successor. In fact with the exception of Rehoboam they all died gruesome deaths. Rehoboam escaped such death, by buying peace from Shishak who was planning to invade Jerusalem. Rehoboam bought peace by giving him the treasures in the temple in Jerusalem.


In the introduction the following question was posed: 'Is it because someone failed that his / her leadership should be characterized as bad?' In attempting to answer this question, which forms the thesis of this chapter, the leadership of four leaders in the Bible has been examined. These leaders – Saul, Rehoboam, Samson and Athaliah, were selected because their leadership had been characterized as bad. The goal of the evaluation was to identify the main characteristics of their leadership in order to determine what was common to all and then compare these characteristics with those of good leadership.


1Joyce Peel, A Journey Trough the Old Testament: The Story of God's Relationship with Man, Woman and the World (Oxford: The Bible Reading Fellowship, 1993), p. 66.

2Ted W. Engstrom, The Making of a Christian Leader: How to Dvelop Management and Human Relations Skills (Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1976), p. 30.

3Ibid, p. 30.

4William J. Dumbrell, The Faith of Israel: It's Expression in the Book of the Old Testament (Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 1992), p. 80.

5William J. Dumbrell, The Faith of Israel: It's Expression in the Book of the Old Testament (Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 1992), p. 87.

6Joyce Peel, A Journey Trough the Old Testament: The Story of God's Relationship with Man, Woman and the World (Oxford: The Bible Reading Fellowship, 1993), p. 66.

7Joyce Peel, A Journey Trough the Old Testament: The Story of God's Relationship with Man, Woman and the World (Oxford: The Bible Reading Fellowship, 1993), p. 62.

8Author E. Cundell, Judges and Ruth: Tyndele Old Testament Commentaries (Illinois: Inter-varsity Press, 1968), p. 179.

9Eugene H. Merrill, 2 Chronicles: The Bible Knowledge Commentary (Colorado: Chariot Victor Publishing, 1985), p. 636.

10John J. Davis and John C. Whitcomb, Israel: A Commentary on Joshua – 2 Kings (Michigan: Baker Book House, 1970), p. 438.

11Bob Gordon and David Fardouly, Master Builder: Developing Life and Leadership in the Body of Christ (Kent: Sovereign World, 1990), p. 6.

12John Haggai, Lead On! Leadership that Endures in a Changing World (Dallas: Word Publishing, 1986), p. 16.

13John Maxwell, The 21 Most Powerful Minutes in a Leaders Day in a Leader's Day: Revitalize Your Spirit and Empower Your Leadership, (Nashville Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2000), p. 4.

14Joyce Peel, A Journey Through The Old Testament: A Story Of God's Relationship With Man. Woman and The World (Oxford): The Bible Reading Fellowship, 1993), p. 62.

15Anthony D'souza, Being A Leader (Achimota: African Christian Press, 1990)

p. 811.

Five Companies With which to Register for REO Trash-Out and Foreclosure Clean Up Jobs

Many smaller foreclosure clean up businesses get work from larger mortgage field services companies. The trash-out and foreclosure clean up industry is on the rise, as is evident in foreclosure industry reporting data from sources like RealtyTrac, an online marketplace for foreclosures. According to RealtyTrac, 3,825,637 foreclosure filings were reported in 2010 on US properties. That's a double digit increase from the year 2008.

Foreclosure clean up companies handle the clearing out, cleaning up and boarding interior and exterior maintenance of homes that have been foreclosed upon by banks and mortgage companies. Services offered by foreclosure clean up companies can include a wide spectrum of services, well beyond cleaning. Services provided by these businesses include cleaning, debris removal, painting, minor repairs, lawn maintenance, applying tarps to roofs and full roof repairs, pressure washing, gutter cleaning, one-time and overing inspections, vehicle removal, tree cutting, winterization, lock changing, window and door boarding, and more.

Establish Your Foreclosure Cleaning Enterprise First

Many smaller foreclosure clean up companies get work from property preservation companies. While there are a plethora of property preservation companies in existence, it can be a time-consuming process signing up with all of these entities. The best way to start getting work is to establish your business with the proper license, insurance, and equipment.

Your License: Often a business occupational license from your county's County Clerk Office is what is needed. Each county is unique, so call your government office that handles business licensing in your county to find out what type of license you will need based on the services you choose to offer.

The Business Insurance: Next, contact a local insurance agency and discuss your business so you can best determine the type of coverage your company will need. At minimum, you will need liability insurance coverage. Also plan to discuss securing workmen's compensation insurance and the appropriate coverage for your vehicle.

Preparing for Equipment: There are a few routes you can take when it comes to getting equipment for your business. You can either purchase a equipment, b) rent equipment, or c) use the equipment you already have on hand in your garage or basement to start your business. Plan equipment based on the services you plan to offer in your business.

NOTE: If you niche your services, or offer one-stop shop services based on subcontracting or referring out services, you will need limited equipment to start. However, if you choose to become a one-stop shop and do everything yourself, you will need more equipment. Keep this in mind as you plan your business and equipment needs.

After you have properly researched the industry, planned your business and marketing strategies, secured proper license and insurance, and have your equipment needs in order, it will be time to start signing up for work.

The best way to start is to register your business with larger property preservation companies. Below is a list of five large property preservation companies. Contact them for their vendor packages and start signing up your company so you're part of their databases.

List of Five Top Property Preservation Companies with which to Register

1. Mortgage Contracting Services, LLC: A national property preservation and inspection company founded in 1986. (Website: mcs360 DOT com)

2. Cyprexx Services: Cyprexx is a national field services business that provides property preservation, inspection, repair and maintenance services to some of the largest financial organizations, government institutions, asset management corporations, and brokers in the US (Internet Address: cyprexx DOT com )

3. Five Brothers: This company has been in business for more than 40 years providing property preservation, inspection, and REO management-related services. (Website: fivebrms DOT com)

4. Field Asset Services, Inc.: Field Asset Services is an REO asset management servicing and property preservation company responsible for more than 7.3 billion dollars in residences on behalf of almost 30 major nationwide clients. They regularly care for 120,000 plus properties. (Site: fieldassets DOT com)

5. Lenders Asset Management Corp. ("LAMCO"): LAMCO has been in existence since 1989 providing residential REO asset management and outsourcing solutions for national lending institutions, banks, servicers, and investment firms. (Web: lendersreo DOT com)

Planning for Property Preservation Tests

When you register your foreclosure clean up business with these large property preservation companies, be prepared to show proof of insurance, business registration, and quite possibly be prepared to take a property preservation quiz. Most of these quizzes are straight-forward tests that simply judge your comprehension of basic industry terms and tasks. Much of the test information is quickly available online – if you do not already know it.

Foreclosure Clean Up Jobs for Years to Come

Remember, once you get registered with these companies and your credentials check out, these larger entities can provide your company with bulk foreclosure cleaning work for years to come.

Much success registering your REO trash-out business with these companies for foreclosure clean up jobs!

For a larger list of property preservation companies and other key businesses with which to register for foreclosure cleaning and REO trash-out work (with direct vendor job links), see the Property Preservation & Real Estate Industry Contracting and Subcontracting Directory.

The Difference Between a Psychrometer and a Hygrometer

This is something that confuses a lot of people and leaves them unsure of which to get when they are looking to buy one. In reality there is no difference between them, a psychrometer is actually a type of hygrometer.

A hygrometer is a device that is used to measure the moisture content of the air, basically this means the relative humidity and the dew point. There are several different ways that this can be done. The oldest and the most common is to use a dry bulb and a wet bulb thermometer, this is what is known as a psychrometer.

In order to determine the relative humidity and dew point with a psychrometer you need to have a dry bulb thermometer and a wet bulb thermometer so that you can compare the difference. A wet bulb is simply a thermometer that has a muslin that is soaked in water over the bulb part. This works because the latent heat of evaporation will cause the wet bulb temperature to read lower than the dry bulb, this difference can then be used to find the relative humidity and dew point by looking them up in a chart.

Professional weather stations will use a psychrometer to determine the dew point and relative humidity as they are the most accurate option available. They usually do this by having the two thermometers permanently mounted in a Stevenson Screen. It is also possible to do it with a sling psychrometer which is a portable device that holds the two thermometers, when you want to measure the moisture content of the air you spin the psychrometer in order to allow the thermometers to get an accurate temperature reading.

There are other ways that you can measure the moisture content of the air, these include changes in capacitance, resistance or thermal conductivity. These are measured with electronic devices that are usually labelled as hygrometers although you will often see them listed as dew point meters and confusingly sometimes even as psychrometers. The simple answer to the difference between a hygrometer and a psychrometer is that the electronic versions are hygrometers the ones with liquid thermometers are psychrometers.

The next question then is obviously which is the best choice for measuring the moisture content of the air. This will depend on your needs. If you are a meteorologist or somebody else for whom accuracy is the most important consideration you are going to need a psychrometer. There are others who need to determine the moisture content of the air like HVAC technicians and in some cases painters will value convenience over complete accuracy. For them an electronic hygrometer is usually the best option as it is easy to read and it works quickly. For most users you don’t need accuracy to a tenth of a degree so the electronic version is fine.

The best choice if you are somebody who is simply interested in the weather is probably neither a hygrometer or a psychrometer. Most home weather stations have a hygrometer feature and given that they can measure all of the other weather parameters they make a good option for most home users.

4 Fabulous Tips For Choosing Ceiling Light Fixtures

The ceiling fixtures in our homes are arguably the most important ones, as they are typically used the most frequently and serve as the greatest light source in a room. However, the variety of lighting fixtures for ceilings seems to be unlimited. These pieces are available in all types of shapes, colors, and sizes, providing you with an array of options.

As when making any choices about decor in your home, you should first familiarize yourself with the variety of designs that are available. In the realm of ceiling fixtures, several types exist:

Billiard / Island : These decorative ceiling fixtures are ideal for installing over islands (the ones in kitchens, not the land masses) or billiard tables. They can range from more traditional ones, such as Victorian style, to more contemporary models.

Chandelier : A chandelier is a type of ceiling fixture that includes at least two arms that provide lights. The fanciness of chandeliers can vary, though the ones we are most familiar with, are those with crystal or glass prisms that create refracted light.

Fanlight shades : These attractive ceiling fixtures include a single shade or multiple shades that open up like a fan – either upwards, or downwards.

Flush mount: As their name suggests, these lovely ceiling fixtures are installed flush with the ceiling.

Inverted: This type of fixture literally appears to be flipped upside down.

Pendant : The Pendant ceiling light fixture features a design that is etched on the exterior of the fixture. This design can include just about anything, ranging from pine cones to flying ducks.

The Pendant fixture is very popular in kitchens, and you can easily install it above tables and counters. By shining white or colored; or bright or dimmed light through the room, you can set the mood for a variety of dining occasions in the kitchen.

Pot Rack: This type of ceiling fixture doubles as a ceiling lamp and storage area.

Semi-Flush: Varying slightly from the flush mount ceiling fixtures, these fixtures are near, but not completely, flush with the ceiling.

Wall Sconce: A sconce serves as a decorated object that holds either candles or electric lights.

Here are some tips to help you choose from an array of ceiling light fixtures available:
1. Decide on the amount of light that you want a room to have

2. Keep in mind that each type of room requires a different amount of lighting, when you select a ceiling light fixture

3. Kitchens should generally include a generous amount of light, making them ideal for cooking. However, you may want to choose a lighting fixture for the ceiling that gives you a range of dim-to-bright lighting

4. When choosing a ceiling lighting fixture for the bedroom, you also want to have a range of dim-to-bright light. Bright light is needed for reading, while a dimmer light will relax your mind and body just before you fall sleep. You can select from a variety of ceiling light fixtures to complement the decor in your bedroom, including the wallpaper, walls, furniture, etc. Since you spend at least a third of the day in your bedroom, it should have a cozy ambiance.

The History of Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

The Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens has a long and interesting history. It first opened in 1893. It was built by Henry Phipps to be a place of education and relaxation. Henry Phipps insured that the conservatory must be open on Sundays so that workers could visit on their day off. The original building had nine rooms that were designed by a New York firm called Lord and Burnham for $ 100,000. The first plants to be used in the conservatory came from the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, once the exposition ended in November 1893. Also of note is the fact that admission was free to Phipps until after the early 1940's.

In 1931, the already impressive collection of plants at the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens was expanded. The owner of the Armstrong Cork Company, Charles D. Armstrong, donated 800 rare orchids. At the time, they were valued at $ 50,000.

It is interesting to note that the first plants on display were usually placed in pots on benches that were two to three feet tall. In 1935, Ralph Griswold, the head of the Phipps Conservatory's horticulture department began to change this style of gardening. He began to place the plants in a more natural garden setting, much like the designs that currently exist in the conservatory.

The conservatory was closed from February 1937 to September 1938 due to a windstorm. The windstorm was so severe that it shattered the glass panes in the greenhouses. As well, the distinct arch on the roof of the Palm Court had to be removed because it was so badly damaged. It took 20 months to repair all the damage that the conservatory sustained. When it reopened, Phipps hosted the Fall Flower Show of 1938.

In 1978, the Phipps Conservatory was again closed for a period of time. It was closed for 18 months not because of any damages, but rather to make substantial improvements both inside and outside the conservatory. Some of the renovations that were done included redesigning a few of the greenhouses, replacing glass panels and adding new growing benches to the production greenhouses.

In 2003, an ambitious expansion project spanning several years began. Phase one was completed in 2005 with the opening of a new 11,000 square foot building to welcome visitors. It is the first public garden visitor center in the US to be LEED Certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).

Phase two of the Phipps Conservatory expansion project completed in 2006 and approved of two major accomplishments. The first one is the addition of 36,000 square feet of new production greenhouses. The second accomplishment is the opening of a new 12,000 square foot public greenhouse called the Tropical Forest Conservatory. It has multiple levels, has a more educational focus and has a theme that will change every two years.

Phase three began in 2007. The first part of this phase is to concentrate on fundraising and designing. The goal of the third phase is to design and build a "living" building. Phase three will also include a Center for Sustainable Landscapes, new administrative offices and educational space. This expansion phase is scheduled to be completed in 2010.

The story of the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is not over. It continues to change and to be a leader of gardens open to the public in the United States.

Surf Fishing Gear Check List For Your Surf Cart

If you’re getting ready to setup a surf cart you probably don’t want to forget anything. Once you’re ready start surf fishing everything you need should be right at hand. Everyones list will vary somewhat but these are the essentials that should be on every list.

For starters one or two long surf casting rods 10′ to 12′ in length to fish live bait. Most will want to have more than one surf fishing rod. You could stop there but why not bring a short rod too. Something you could cast into the breakers to catch bait or pickup some other quick action near shore. You would be surprised how many nice sized fish are feeding close to shore between the beach and the breakers. After all that’s where a lot of bait is anyway.

The big rods will need sand spikes to set in after you put them out. A light weight comfortable chair and an umbrella will keep you out of the sun. Sunblock will prevent a bad burn. Then you’ll want coolers for beverages and cold storage for your catch.

Whether you bring bait with you or catch them from the surf you should have a bait bucket with an aerator. Some surf anglers like to use sand fleas which can be obtained at the waters edge and just kept in a bucket of wet sand.

Don’t bring all the surf tackle you own. Sort your tackle box down to the essential items needed for several hours of fishing. It’s better to have a few smaller tackle boxes setup for different kinds of fishing than one monster box that has more than you expect to be using. Weight is a factor when you’ll be lugging that cart across the sand.

Check your tackle box out the day before and refill anything that’s running short. Inspect terminal tackle for rust and deterioration. The saltwater environment is pretty harsh. A swivel or a snap could be ready to break at any time. Go over any used hooks and sharpen the points. Make sure you have enough leader material. Ideally you should have all your live bait rigs assembled in advance.

If you’re not up on the latest regulations bring along the species list for size and bag limits when you got your fishing license. These days the regulations are changing constantly.

Here’s the list:

  • Two surf rods serviced and ready to go
  • One smaller casting rod to fish the breakers
  • Sand spikes for the surf rods
  • Coolers for beverage & fish caught
  • Bait bucket and aerator
  • Utility bucket
  • Optimized tackle box pre-checked out and restocked
  • Surf fishing regulations
  • Light weight comfortable chair
  • Umbrella for sun
  • Sun block
  • Fresh bait (one or two kinds)
  • Sand flea rake if you plan to use them for bait
  • Clean rags or a towel

This list will get you by. After a few surf fishing trips you will probably fine tune it to your preferences. Take the time to use a checklist and save yourself the grief of leaving something essential behind.

Struisbaai Harbour Wall – Fishing For Everyone

Struisbaai harbour wall has always been a special place for anglers of all ages coming to this lovely seaside village from all over South Africa. During summer weekends and holiday season the wall is generally packed with anglers of all ages enjoying a wide variety of fishing techniques. The harbour wall is a safe and secure place (most of the times) where a lot of angling wisdom is shared, experience gained and the love for the sport of fishing passed down from one angler to another.

Struisbaai harbour wall is an interesting angling spot as it offers such a wide variety of fish species to target. It is a place where toddlers get their first feel for a rod and reel, and get to touch a puffer fish for the first time. It is also a place where the big boys with the big tackle come to hunt massive stingrays and huge raggies. In between all that you can expect to find elf, garrick, cob, musselcracker, smaller sharks, grunters and kolsterte.

Family Fun

Many a mom, dad or grandparent have taken the young angler to this safe angling spot and introduced them to the sport of rock and surf angling. I wonder how many chilfren have caught their first fish from the harbour wall? Taking a light rod and reel or a handline and using sardine or chokka for bait these youngsters hone their angling skills on puffer fish, strepies, kolsterte, tjor-tjor and maasbankers.

Elf on the Wall!!

Many a summer evening, on the outgoing tide, the wall resembles a porcupine with quills standing erect as the anglers, young and old, gather for the elf run, and also hoping to get a fast swimming garrick. The favourite bait is a whole sardine slowly trawled on the inside of the harbour. With the elf around it normally does not take long for any angler to get their bag limit.

Garrick / Leervis

From January to March you will see quite a few anglers throwing spinners and top water poppers from the rocks in fronth of the harbour wall hoping for a massive strike and a hard fight . Garrick from 5-20kg are normally around early in the morning or late afternoon, feasting on the elf in the sheltered harbour water. Some anglers prefer running a live elf out on the right hand side into the bay, hoping for garrick or a cob.

Other Edibles

Cob, kolsterte and spotted grunters are the other main targeted species during the months of Nov to March, but the odd white musselcracker, galjoen and belman are also landed. The spotted grunters are normally caught in the shallower waters at the 2nd and 3rd lamppole on very light tackle using prawn or sardine tail as the bait.

The average size of the cob are between 2 and 5kg, but quite a few biggies over 20kg are landed on a regular basis. The best time for kob is at night using chokka and / or sardine or running some live mullet or maasbanker. Once a cob is hooked it is best to work the fish towards the sandy beach between the harbour wall and Die Las as the rocks in front of the harbour has ended many a fight with a line parting.

Sharks and Rays

We all know that Struisbaai harbour is home to a few massive black stingrays weighing well over 120 kg’s, but it is the area just in front of the harbour wall and to the right where huge black rays as well as smaller blue rays and duckbill rays are regularly caught. Many an angler has overestimated his own prowess and tackle capabilities only to have a knot come unraveled, a line break, rod snap or reel bust trying to take on these sea bulldozers.

Stingrays are caught during the day and night, and chokka or fish heads seams to work the best for these bottom feeders. Rhe smaller rayus atre awesome fun on light tackle, but for the big black stingrays you would need a rod with a strong backbone, at least .45 line, a decent reel and lots of energy as most of the fights lasts up to 4 hours.

The best time to fish for sharks are at night time. Some anglers target smaller shark species like smooth hounds and spotted gully sharks, or even South Africa’s very own pajama cat shark, while other angler slide out big baits for spotted ragged tooth sharks over 150kg that frequent this area, or hoping for a big bronzie or tope shark to land.

The preferred bait for the smaller sharks are a live mullet or maasbanker, or fish fillets and chokka, but with the latter the small fry normally have a feast and you have to replace bait on a regular basis. For the bigger sharks most of the anglers slide yellowtail or cape salmon heads or half a skipjack, You can also slide a big maasbanker or smaller elf with success.

A Few Rules

1) Remember, you are not allowed to use a throw net inside the harbour at any time. Rather use small baited hooks to catch mullet or maasbankers.

2) Please keep the harbour wall clean. There is a big drum provided for all your rubbish.

3) Watch out for children and other anglers when throwing your bait. No one enjoys a hook in the ear or worse.

4) Be considerate towards other angler. Don’t push in or throw over their lines.

5) Keep to the size and bag limits. If you are not going to eat it or use it for bait, throw it back.

6) The rocks are slippery and dangerous when going to gaff a fish. I don’t think you want to be in the water with a 200kg raggie!

7) Be careful of the water!! Watch the waves.

8) You are not allowed to drive onto the harbour wall with your car, bakkie or scooter.

Struisbaai harbour wall will provide you with endless hours of pure angling joy, even those times when the fish don’t want to bite. The idea for Overberg Angling was born on that wall one night while waiting for some action, and the harbour wall holds many other great memories for me, my family and friends. Hopefully you too will soon enjoy this very special angling spot at the southern tip of Africa.

Caring For Men's Wedding Bands

Men's wedding bands, especially for men who work in dirty jobs, need to be cleaned periodically in order to remove the soil and environmental agents that may dull the perfection of the ring and ultimately destroy the ring itself. It is important to remove the things that can erode some of the softer metals and dull or tarnish other ring components. Jewelers are able to clean men's wedding bands and handle the necessary renovation work such as checking the settings and replating gold or silver that has become worn or eroded. Polishing the surface of the men's wedding bands will remove minor defects and imperfections.


Most men can do the minor cleaning process on their wedding bands without contacting a jeweler. At home cleaning of men's wedding bands can be done by soaking the ring in a solution of warm water with a liquid soap. Once the ring has a few minutes of soaking time, it can be rinsed in warm water and allowed to air dry. Then, the ring can be stuffed with a soft cloth and it will be good to go. Periodically, the cleaning should be done by a jeweler who can perform the other related tasks to cleaning the ring.

Checking the Settings

To avoid losing the gemstones in men's wedding bands, the wearer should ask the jeweler to check that the prongs that hold the cubic zirconia gemstone in place. Depending upon the type of setting, sometimes the settings can become worn, causing the gemstones to become loose. A qualified jeweler can do the necessary repair work on settings so that there is no danger of losing one of the precious gemstones. If the ring has become worn, it may be necessary to do additional repair work. In this way, the wedding band will always be in the best possible condition, regardless of the type of work that you do.


The need for polishing men's wedding bands on a regular basis will depend upo0n the type of metal that is selected for the body of the ring. A softer metal such as gold or silver will suffer more from the day to day nicks and dings that mar the surface. Some of these imperfections can be removed by the act of polishing the ring again. However, if you are in a profession where the metal of the ring will be under constant attack by the elements, you may want to choose a metal that is better able to withstand normal wear. Both titanium and tungsten carbide rings are much harder than gold. Tungsten rings have the added advantage of taking and holding a high polish so that the surface looks shiny for many years.


Those who choose men's wedding bands with a plating of gold or silver may need to occasionally redo the process, especially if the base metal starts to show through the top layer. Your jeweler will be able to tell you whether that is the best route for you to take in keeping your wedding band looking its best.

Clutch Kit: The Dual Clutch Transmission

What is a dual clutch transmission? This is a question that not many people understand except they are in the motor industry. There is a simple explanation for what it is exactly so that you are able to understand the basic function of this component. A dual clutch transmission is mainly used for automatic gearboxes. It uses two separate clutches for odd tool sets and even tool sets.

The advantage of these types of clutch kits is that you can speed up and slow down faster due to it having two clutches. In addition, due to the incredible engine power interruption, there is no delay. The system reacts faster than the human because of the complex electronics. The dual clutch transmission also has more power than a manual car.

The main disadvantage of having a dual clutch transmission in your car is the price. Replacing this type of system requires skill. It is a complicated clutch kit system that needs electronic and mechanical knowledge.

The dual clutch transmission is also known as a semi-automatic transmission. This transmission provides the functionality of two manual transmissions in one. Once the driver changes from one gear to another gear in a regular stick shift car, the first thing that should be done is to press the clutch pedal. This will disconnect the engine from the gearbox and at the same time, it will disconnect current from the transmission.

The driver uses the stick shift to select a new gear as speed increases and torque decreases, which will involve moving a toothed collar from a gear wheel to another gear wheel which has different sizes. Furthermore, there is a device called the synchronizer that helps match the gears so that there is no grinding. Mechanically, it makes sure that the gears are engaged.

The clutch kit includes a disc or grip pressure plate; although some clutch kits have pilot bushings or pilot bearings. All these items have specific functions that are included in the clutch kit.

The flow of power from the engine to the wheel does not exist in a conventional manual transmission. During gearshifts the power will turn on and off then back on again. This will cause a shift shock or what is called a torque interrupt. Sophisticated electronics and hydraulics control the clutches just like in a standard automatic transmission. Clutches operate individually when using a dual clutch transmission, one will control the odd gears and the other will control the even gears.

The Pursuit and Development of Spider Silk

Historically, the idea of ​​a fabric made from spider silk that is strong enough to withstand extreme forces such as being hit by bullets, but soft and comfortable enough to be worn as normal, everyday clothes has been a dream for centuries, but few have been able to produce it until very recently.

In the early 1700's, the first recorded use of spider silk was by Francois-Xavier Bon de Saint Hilaire, a Frenchman who was successfully able to harvest enough silk directly from spiders to produce gloves, socks, and even a full suit for his king, Louis XIV. It was said that he would go out and gather hundreds of spiders at a time and store them in crates only to return and find only a few left due to the fact that spiders have a tendency to eat each other when placed in close proximacy.

A little over one hundred years later, a Spaniard working in Italy named Raimondo de Termeyer was able to produce a pair of stockings and a shawl for Emperor Napoleon and his then wife Empress Josephine. He was able to do this by using a machine that he invented that would immobilize the spider and remove the silk without harming the spider.

In the late 1800's, a French Jesuit missionary named Jacob Paul Camboué who lived in Madagascar began experimenting with extracting silk from spiders. He later teamed up with another Frenchman who went by Mr. Nogué and, inspired by Termeyer's design, created a hand powered machine capable of extracting silk from up to 24 spiders simultaneously and combining it into one continuous strand. Using this machine, the team was able to create a set of bed hangings which was on display at the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris.

More recently in 2004, using the design documented by Camboué and Nogué, Simon Peers and Nicholas Godley attempted to recreate the machine and create their own spider silk fabric. Every morning they collected new spiders, "milked" them for their silk, and returned them to the wild when they were done with them. The entire process was extremely slow and the amount of silk that could be acquired from each spider was very minimal because it takes around 23,000 spiders to produce only one gram of silk. So, over the course of five years, using over one million spiders, and spending half a million dollars, they had finally produced enough silk to weave a single golden cape decorated with intricately embroidered and appliquéd motifs that depict the spiders that were used to generate the material. This cape is said to be incredibly strong, yet as soft as cashmere.

Milking spiders for their silk can also be used for purposes other than textiles. An old wound remedy that was used as far back as the Roman Empire included gathering spider silk and applying directly to a wound to help the healing process. Borrowing from this, the Department of Plastic, Hand, and Reconstructive Surgery in the Medical School Hannover in Germany has developed a way to utilize a woven mesh of the dragline silk extracted directly from Nephila spp spiders to create an "artificial skin" that may be applied to the skin to repair it without any immune system response. They did this by placing normal skin cells onto a spider silk mesh and, in the right conditions, were able to create the outer and inner layer of skins in only a week's time. This could be used as a natural alternative to plastic surgery to regrow skin on burn and trauma patients.

Unfortunately, due to the large number of spiders that is required to produce just a small amount of silk and spiders' cannibalistic nature, it is impractical to harvest silk directly from them. Knowing this, there have been and are currently many companies and organizations trying to get around this by racing to develop and commercialize fibers that have properties similar to that of natural spider silk.

In 1993, a company called Nexia Biotechnologies Inc. was founded in Montreal, Canada by Dr. Jeffrey Turner and Paul Ballard. Originating working and failing to produce lactose-free milk, it found new direction when Dr. Jeff Turner suggested that they work to incorporate spider DNA into the milk to produce spider silk proteins. By licensing research done by one of the world's top researchers on spider silk, Dr. Randy Lewis, they isolated and cloned the proteins for spider silk and were finally able to produce 10 grams of spider silk proteins in goat milk in 2002. At full capacity, they were producing small quantities of the proteins with each batch of milk harvested and spinning some of them into a fiber that they named "Biosteel ™". Unfortunately, with the extremely limited amount of proteins that could have been created in addition to the high cost to produce these proteins, they found that the business was unsustainable. They ended up selling most of their assets in 2005 and finally went bankrupt in 2009.

Dr. Randy Lewis was not giving up and was determined to take this idea further. He took the idea of ​​the "spider goats" and ran with it in parallel with Nexia Biotechnologies, creating his own breeds while working out of the University of Wyoming. He was also in talks with Dr. Don Jarvis, a noted molecular biology professor that specialized in silkworms at the University of Wyoming, to somehow incorporated the spider DNA into the silkworms in a similar manner as the goats.

Meanwhile, Kim Thompson, a business lawyer with a strong interest in the process of making artificial spider silk, had contacted the University of Notre Dame's Dr. Malcolm Fraser. Dr. Fraser was one of the initial scientists that had worked on producing the first transgenic silkworms as well as one of the researchers who was able to develop a method to replace the DNA in a specific part of an insect with another unique sequence. He called this method "piggyBac". Thompson was highly interested in using this method to replace the DNA in the silkworm's spinnerets with spider DNA. Together, Thompson and Fraser contacted Lewis and Jarvis and decided to work together to create this artificial spider silk.

In 2006, Thompson founded Kraig Biocraft Laboratories Inc. and began working to create transgenic silkworms that have been infected with spider DNA. In 2010, they finally achieved their goal and created a silkworm capable of spinning a much stronger silk, which the company dubbed "Monster Silk®". They published their methods and findings in a PNAS paper and begon ramping up the production of silkworms to commercial quantities. Since then they have also licensed another method for more precise gene insertion called "Zinc finger" from Sigma-Aldrich. Using this method, they were able to produce an even stronger fiber which they dubbed "Big Red". Recently, they have been working with Warwick Mills, a technical textile company based in New Hampshire, to test and develop their fibers into practical applications. They are also in talks with the Vietnamese government to build a commercial factory pending Vietnamese legislation. They have stated that they hope to be at commercial production levels of Monster Silk® as early as this year.

Dr. Randy Lewis has since moved on with his work, trying to further develop the production of artificial spider silk. Bringing his "spider goats" with him, he transferred to Utah State University and started diversifying his work, injecting spider DNA into many organisms such as alfalfa plants, E. coli bacteria, and silkworms using even more recently developed methods for replacing DNA such as the CRISPR / Cas9 system. In 2012, he founded his own company, Araknitek Inc. , and is determined to bring his own version of artificial spider silks to the market.

Other companies have seen the opportunity that these fibers can provide and have started development using their own methods.

In England, Oxford University's silk research group lead by Professor Fritz Vollrath with Dr. David Knight founded a company named Spindox Ltd. Rather than inject spider DNA into silkworms, they had developed a method to spin silkworm silk proteins into a stronger silk fiber that resembled the properties of natural spider silk by cleaning and modifying the fibers. They named this fiber "Spidrex®", changed their name to Oxford Biomaterials Ltd. , and are currently working on producing vascular grafts that are more reliable than those on the market today. They have also produced three spinoff companies using and developing Spidrex® fibers: Suturox Ltd. , Neurotex Ltd. , and Orthox Ltd.

Suturox was founded in 2007 and hoped to develop naturally biodegradable sutures made form Spidrex®, but were unable to do so and were dissolved in 2013. Neurotex, founded in 2006, hopes to commercialize a Spidrex® nerve conduit and is currently working to prefect it . Orthox, founded in 2008, uses Spidrex® fibers to develop a cartilage replacement that they dubbed "FibroFix ™".

A German startup company called Spin'tec Engineering GmbH . Found by Dr. Michael Rheinnecker in 2004, purchased the spinning technology from Oxford Biomaterials Inc. and has since improved upon it. They are currently working with their own breeds of silkworms and have been embedding biological agents into the silks from the silkworms while still spinning them in such a way that will produce a thread with properties approaching a spider's thread. They hope to use these threads to assist with bone healing, wound healing, and developing artificial tissues and organs as well as other medical and pharmaceutical uses. They are currently working with the KLS Martin Group to develop an innovative maxillofacial product.

Another German company has been developing an artificial spider silk using a different method. AMSilk GmbH is using E. coli bacteria that have been genetically modified with spider DNA to produce spider silk proteins. They have already successfully commercialized creams and powders for cosmetic use that they named "TruSilk ©" and are currently working on making a coating for breast and other silicone implants which they call "Bioshield-S1 ©" to reduce the possibility of the body rejecting the implant. They also are close to commercializing an over the counter wound care patch that they call "SanaSilk®" that will keep the wound clean and hydrated. They have even been successful spinning fibers from the proteins. They named these fibers "Biosteel®" after Nexia Biotechnologies abandoned the trademark. They are currently working to optimize these fibers and bring them to market.

AMSilk is not the only company using modified bacteria to produce its silk. Spiber Technologies AB was founded in 2008 in Sweden based on the research from the veterinary faculty at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. The founding researchers discovered a method to produce artificial spider silk in physiological conditions and have since developed a recombinant spider silk protein that they call "Spiber ™". These proteins are very versatile as they can be spun into a fiber, made into thin film, frothed into foam, or cut into a mesh for custom uses. Spiber ™ can also be bioactivated with additional functions to better suit final applications. The company is currently working on perfecting the use of their Spiber ™ proteins for wound healing, implants, and other medical applications.

Another company with almost the same name, Spiber Inc. , was founded in Japan in 2007. The choice for their name was coincidentally the same as the Swedish company and they also use modified bacteria to make their silk proteins, but they are not working together. Since their formation, they have started working with Kojima Industries Corporation and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and have been able to build a small pilot facility capable of producing 100Kg of silk protein a month. They have spun some of this protein into a fiber that they have called "QMONOS®" (pronounced "kumo no su" meaning "spider web" in Japanese) and have woven a dress from it. They have recently started constructing an even larger facility capable of producing 20 metric tons of silk protein a year at full capacity and created a spinoff company called Xpiber, Inc. They plan on selling the proteins and fibers for practical applications by the year 2017.

An American company founded in 2007 in North Carolina by Dr. David Brigham named EntoGenetics Inc. is also trying to create their own transgenic silkworms. It is Brigham's goal to produce 100% spider silk from a silkworm and produce everything to make the silk in the USA. Initially working out of his home and recently growing mulberry on marginal land at a repurposed water treatment plant, he has created a very strong silk and has a contract with the Army to produce bulletproof vests. He is currently in the process of expanding operations.

Even another American company founded in 2009 in California by UCSF graduate Dr. Dan Widmaier and his partner, UC Berkeley graduate Dr. David Breslauer, goes by the name of Bolt Threads Inc. They have recently changed their name from Refactored Materials Inc. and are also trying to produce an artificial spider silk. Their initial experiments were working with using transgenic salmonella to generate the silk proteins and have since moved on to other methods. Since their founding, they have been awarded over $ 1 million by the National Science Foundation and a contract with the Department of Defense to produce bulletproof vests. They hope to start selling their silk commercially by 2016.

The Okamoto Corporation , a Japanese luxury sock company, announced in 2007 that they are working on a new sock made from spider silk as generated from genetically altered silkworms. They are currently working with Shinshu University's Faculty of Textile Science and Technology to commercialize these socks and have already produced a prototype pair of socks. They are currently working on creating a silkworm research and breeding center that should be up and running by spring this year.

Like Nexia Biotechnologies, some other, better established companies that have also jumped on the artificial spider silk bandwagon have not done so well in 2001, DuPont, the producer of Kevlar, had experimented with injecting spider DNA into plants, silkworms, and E. coli bacteria to produce fibers with the strength of spider silk, but gave up on the project after only a few years because they could not achieve the mechanical properties that they wanted in a consistent manner.

Artificial spider silk is of great interest and is currently being researched at many universities. Practically every company listed was spun out of a university and there are many more in the process of developing spider silk that may form a company and attempt to commercialize in the future. For example, the National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences (NIAS) in Japan has produced their own transgenic silkworm and has recently used its silk to knit a sweater and scarf and documented everything in a PLOS One article. They have even recently visited the Indian Andhra Pradesh State Sericulture Research and Development Institute (APSSRDI) and looked at their transgenic silkworm programs. They are now looking into expanding production there.

The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering has created genetically modified shrimp injected with spider DNA to harvest their cartilage that they named "Shrilk" in order to create an environmentally friendly, biodegradable plastic.

The Southwest University in Chongqing, China, Tufts University in Medford, MA, USA, the University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA, USA, and probably many others have all been working separately on creating their own version of spider silk.

Modifying organisms with spider DNA has become so common that a team of students from the University of Bordeaux in France even decided to modify E. coli bacteria with spider DNA themselves for entry into the 2014 International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition in which they won a bronze medal. They have named this bacteria "Elasicoli" due to its elastic nature, and presented it as a viable green alternative producing to plastics, alternative to medical sutures and replacement tendons, and method to create stronger textiles.

Even with so many companies and organizations simultaneously racing to produce these products, there will still be plenty of room for other competitors to flourish in the market as these fibers start to overtake and replace the current leaders in the industry. It is only a matter of time before we will start seeing these spider silk products available in stores and hospitals worldwide.


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  12. Fujisaki, Masahiko. "Project under Way in Kyoto to Commercialize Spider-silkworm Thread – AJW by The Asahi Shimbun." AJW by The Asahi Shimbun RSS. Np, 27 Nov. 2014. Web. 03 Dec. 2014.

6 Hemorrhoids Myths, Truth Or Fiction? Internal Hemorrhoid Treatment Review Part 2

Welcome to part two of the articles series. This time we are going to see the top 6 myths of hemorrhoids and put an end to it once and for all. For goodness sake, let's keep our information straight. Fit and proper, I say.

Anyways, what are the myths? They are:

1. Hemorrhoids can become cancer, or is a prelude to cancer.

Now, c'mon. They're like two different things. Cancer is when your cells goes haywire and start replicating themselves like there's no tomorrow. Hemorrhoids is when your veins bulge and make the soft tissue around them to swell. So the answer is NO. Hemorrhoids is not a prelude of cancer or is a cancer.

2. One of the food ingredients responsible for hemorrhoids is black paper.

This is a definite maybe. What I mean is, well, if you can not stand spicy foods and consumes like a whole lot of them, for sure you're gonna feel something down below. Itchiness and stuffs. But this apply to all spicy ingredients, not only black paper. The key is moderation. Too much of something is never good.

3. Hemorrhoids only happen to elderlies.

Nah. It can happen to anyone. But it's true that when you got older, the vein walls will get weaker. It'll be easier for hemorrhoids to develop. Kegel exercise could help strengthen the vein walls if done properly.

4. Anal sex is the major cause of hemorrhoids.

It can make things worse, I'll give you that. But it's not the cause. So this is also a no.

5. Sitting too much at the street sidewalks or on a cold concrete floor causes hemorrhoids.

Say what? Does not matter where you sit. It's the same. Too much sitting causes extra pressure on the vein walls down below, even if you're sitting in a soft cushion. Just avoid giving too much pressure there, take a break every now and then if your job / activity involves a lot of sitting. So I would call this busted, but there's a ring of truth there on the sitting too much part.

6. Hemorrhoids will relapse and can not be completely cured.

This is also very wrong. Hemorrhoids relapse is caused by the same things that you do not change that got them to you in the first place. So you can cure it completely. Not only that, there's also a natural cure for it.

The Purpose of Pain – The Critical Role That Physical Pain Plays In Saving Your Life

Going through physical pain (along with death) could very well be the most avoided life situation present. There is something about pain that makes people run when they think about it. There are two forms of pain. The first form of pain is mental pain. This form of hurt can actually change a person's life for the worst if they allow it. A few examples of emotional pain would be; the death of a loved one, losing a job or going through a divorce. It has been said that this form of pain is the most dreadful because it governs your mind. Where ever the mind goes so does the body. The second form of pain (of which this publication is about) is physical pain. Physical pain occurs within or to the body. This form of pain can impede or change your quality of life because it may cause you to become immobile. Examples of physical pain would be; breaking an arm or leg, dealing with cancer or being in a car accident that parallels you. What is the actual purpose of physical pain in our lives? It may help you to know that pain is one of your biggest allies.

To further elucidate the critical role that pain plays in our lives I wish to compare the human body to that of an automobile. A car possesses what is known as a "red warning light." The purpose of this light is to shine bright when there are potential problems within the car. These issues could range from a busted radiator pipe to a broken fan belt. Upon seeing this red light, a normal person would pull over to the side of the road and see what is going on. Continuing to drive the car with this light flashing is cause for further damage to the car such as engine overheating. Many people like to ignore the check engine red light and continue driving as if nothing has happened. This is an indication that people are fully unaware of the potential dangers that lurk or that they are simply ignorant people.

Pain is your body's version of the red warning light. When you feel pain in your knees, feet, organs or wrists, it is your body telling you to discontinue use of these particular parts until you can get them repaired. What generally happens is that you visit the doctor and they prescribe you pain killers, muscle relaxers and anti inflammatories to help manage your pain. The operative word here is "manage." You do not need to manage your pain, you need to eliminate the root (or systemic) cause and heal the situation. It is utterly asineine for a health care practitioner to prescribe you a pain-killer without simultaneously repairing the injured body part or organ.

In sports, you are taught to fight through the pain for the team. When you really consider this concept you come to realize that the athlete does not benefit from continuing to play if there is pain. In the end, athletes, like normal people will wind up cutting the red light wires. What does this mean? When you continue to push through pain in a body part you will eventually wear out the joint ends of the bone, tissue or cartilage. Once you discontinue the anti-inflammatories you will realize that there is no more cartilage or bone left. In the case of joints, the only option left for you will be joint replacement surgery. If you decide to ignore pain in your organs then the output could potentially be death.

What you know as pain is truly your friend. If you have physical pain it is best to find out what is going on. There are always natural ways to help with your pain but you should never try to manage your situation with just pain killers. There is to be a healing solution present.