UPS Cable Sizing & Installation

Whatever cable is selected it must be capable of continually carrying the currents required by the loads. This is referred to as a cable’s full thermal current rating. Incorrect specification of cables can result in prolonged operation beyond its designed temperature rating, which can cause premature failure, or at worst, a potential fire risk.

The current calculating capability of a cable is determined by calculating the maximum current (Iz) required and the ac supply rating. This calculation is based upon several factors including the design current (Ib) of the circuit and the maximum input rating of the UPS that is to be installed, the nominal rating of each of the protective devices (In) and the cable rating (It). Cable rating is the value of current for a particular conductor located within a specific environment.

The current carrying capability of non-armoured, multi-core cables (with thermoplastic PVC or thermosetting insulation) can be affected by location. Current carrying capability reduces under load due to reduced heat dissipation. For example, a three or four-core 10mm cable enclosed within an insulated wall, the maximum current carrying capability is reduced to 39A. In free air, current carrying capability would increase to 60A because heat from the cable is more easily dissipated.

It is also important to calculate voltage drop based on the length of the cable and quantity of current passing through it at full operating load. The greater the load or distance, the greater the voltage drop. Wiring regulation standards (in the UK BS EN 7671 IEE Wiring Regulations 17th Edition) throughout the world specify requirements that must be met for acceptable levels of voltage drop and so forth.

Other factors to consider when sizing and installing cables in uninterruptible power supply installations are Earth fault loop impedance; operating current (Ia); ambient temperature; thermal insulation (Ci) and grouping (Cg).

Earth Fault Loop Impedance

As part of the electrical installation of an uninterruptible power supply it is important to calculate this value as it must satisfy regulations. An acceptable value will also ensure the necessary fault current will be generated should a fault condition or short-circuit occur. Once the level of fault current has been calculated, it can be checked against the time curve of the protective device to ensure it will trip appropriately if necessary.

Operating Current (Ia)

Operating current is the current required to trip the chosen protective device within the required operating time during a fault condition.

Ambient Temperature (Ca)

As already highlighted, ambient temperature around the installed cables must be considered to ensure, during operation, that they do not overheat and can dissipate heat effectively. This is especially important where there are high ambient temperatures and/or direct heat sources such as radiators or heaters.

Thermal Insulation (Ci)

When cables are installed in an insulated location, that insulation will restrict the cable from effectively dissipating heat and that should be borne in mind in any electrical installation.

Grouping (Cg)

Heat dissipation will also be compromised when several cables are grouped together within one location. It is inevitable, particularly in new or purpose-built installations, that there is a necessity for this to happen. As long as all the above are taken into consideration and accurate calculations made, grouping can be put into effect in many installations.

This article was compiled using information available in The Power Protection Guide – the design, installation and operation of uninterruptible power supplies (ISBN: 9 780955 442803). By Robin Koffler and Jason Yates of Riello UPS.

The 5 Green Juice Recipe

If you are looking for the Five Green Juice recipe, I can assume that you are also interested in weight loss. In fact, the 5 Green Juice is also one of the most popular vegetable juice recipes with outstanding results for weight loss and detox.

This recipe was originated from the traditional Chinese wisdom.

In Hong Kong, you can buy it fresh from any juice store. They are made to order and at a very economic price. If you are doing juice fasting, a daily glass of fresh green juice is highly recommended. Surely the 5 Green is on top of the list.

Even it is easily available and cheap to buy, you are highly recommended to make it at home. Because the best time to drink is first in the morning when your stomach is empty. DIY and your whole family can enjoy this healthy and delicious drink. If you don’t have a juicer at home, buy one. A basic home juicer will be able to produce this healthy weight loss drink in a minute.

The Five Green Juice Recipe

Ingredients:

2 celery stalks, 1 green apple, 1/4 cucumber, 1/4 bitter melon, 1/2 green pepper

Directions:

1. Wash all ingredients;

2. Seeded green apple, bitter melon, green pepper;

3. Put all ingredients into a juicer;

4. Do not add water

The taste is relatively sweet (green apple and cucumber neutralize the bitterness of bitter melon).

The 5 Green Juice is exceptionally good at preventing high blood pressure, cholesterol disorders and constipation. People suffering from pimples and acne should also benefit from this drink. However there are a few things to note:

1. Not suitable for female during monthly periods.

2. Filter the pulp if you wish.

3. Drink immediately after juicing (or within 10 minutes).

4. Best effect on empty stomach, recommended drinking first in the morning.

5. Drink it at least once a week to achieve maximum weight loss and detox results.

25 Health Benefits of Cinnamon – A Miraculous Spice

Cinnamon is one of the world’s oldest known spices. The tree is native to Sri Lanka where it was found thousands of years ago. It is the best spice available in terms of its nutrition and health. It contains unique healthy and healing property comes from the active components in the essential oils found in its bark. Cinnamon has extremely high anti-oxidant activity due to which it has numerous health benefits. Aside from being used as a medicine by other cultures since ancient times, the health benefits may also come from eating it which can be listed as follows:

1. Lowers Cholesterol:

Studies have shown that just 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon included in a daily diet can lower cholesterol.

Also Cinnamon may significantly lower LDL “bad” cholesterol, and triglycerides (fatty acids in the blood) and total cholesterol.

2. Reduces blood sugar levels and treating Type 2 Diabetes:

Several studies have shown improved insulin sensitivity and blood glucose control by taking as little as ½ teaspoon of cinnamon per day. Improving insulin resistance can help in weight control as well as decreasing the risk for heart disease.

3. Heart Disease:

Cinnamon strengthens the cardiovascular system thereby shielding the body from heart related disorders. It is believed that the calcium and fiber present in cinnamon provides protection against heart diseases.

Including a little cinnamon in the food helps those suffering from coronary artery disease and high blood pressure.

4. Fights Cancer :

A study released by researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Maryland showed that cinnamon reduced the proliferation of leukemia and lymphoma cancer cells.

Besides, the combination of calcium and fiber found in Cinnamon can help to remove bile, which prevents damage to colon cells, thus prevents colon cancer.

5. Tooth decay and mouth freshener:

Cinnamon has traditionally been used to treat toothache and fight bad breath. Small pieces of cinnamon can be chewed, or gargled with cinnamon water which serves as a good mouth freshener.

6. Cures Respiratory Problems:

Cinnamon is very useful home remedy for common or severe colds. A person suffering should take one tablespoon of honey with 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder daily for 3 days. This process will cure most chronic cough, cold and clear the sinuses.

Cinnamon also found to cure flu, influenza, sore throat and congestion.

7. Brain Tonic:

Cinnamon boosts the activity of the brain and hence acts as a good brain tonic. It helps in removing nervous tension and memory loss.

Also, studies have shown that smelling cinnamon may boost cognitive function, memory, performance of certain tasks and increases one’s alertness and concentration.

8. Infections:

Due to its antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-parasitic and antiseptic properties, it is effective on external as well as internal infections. Cinnamon has been found to be effective in fighting vaginal yeast infections, oral yeast infections, stomach ulcers and head lice.

9. Eases menstruation cycles:

Cinnamon has also been found useful for women’s health as it helps in providing relief from menstrual cramping and other feminine discomforts.

10. Birth Control:

Cinnamon also helps in natural birth control. Regular consumption of cinnamon after child birth delays menstruation and thus helps in avoiding conception.

11. Breastfeeding:

It is also believed that cinnamon aids in the secretion of breast milk.

12. Reduces Arthritis Pain:

Cinnamon spice contains anti-inflammatory compounds which can be useful in reducing pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.

A study conducted at Copenhagen University, where patients were given half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder combined with one tablespoon of honey every morning had significant relief in arthritis pain after one week and could walk without pain within one month

13. Digestive Tonic:

Cinnamon should be added to most recipes. Apart from adding flavor to the food, it also aids in digestion. Cinnamon is very effective for indigestion, nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, diarrhea and flatulence. It is very helpful in removing gas from the stomach and intestines. It also removes acidity, diarrhea and morning sickness. It is often referred to as a digestive tonic.

14. Reduces Urinary tract infections:

People who eat cinnamon on a regular basis report a lower incidence of urinary tract infections. Cinnamon is diuretic in nature and helps in secretion and discharge of urine.

15. Anti clotting Actions:

A compound found in Cinnamon called as cinnamaldehyde has been well-researched for its effects on blood platelets. [Platelets are constituents of blood that are meant to clump together under emergency circumstances (like physical injury) as a way to stop bleeding, but under normal circumstances, they can make the blood flow inadequate if they clump together too much]. The cinnamaldehyde in cinnamon helps prevent unwanted clumping of blood platelets.

16. Natural Food Preserver:

When added to food, it prevents bacterial growth and food spoilage, making it a natural food preservative.

17. Headaches and migraine:

Headache due to the exposure to cold wind is readily cured by applying a thin paste of powdered cinnamon mixed in water on the temples & forehead.

18. Pimples and Blackheads:

Cinnamon helps in removing blood impurities. Therefore it is often recommended for pimples.

Also external application of paste of cinnamon powder with a few drops of fresh lemon juice over pimples & black heads would give beneficial result.

19. Thinning of the blood and improves blood circulation:

Cinnamon is a blood thinning agent which also acts to increase circulation. This blood circulation helps significantly in removing pain. Good blood circulation also ensures oxygen supply to the body cells leading to higher metabolic activity. You significantly reduce the chance of getting a heart attack by regularly consuming cinnamon.

20. Toning of tissues:

Considerable anecdotal evidence exists to suggest that cinnamon may have the ability to tone and constrict tissues in the body.

21. Muscle and joint pain relief:

Those who eat cinnamon on a regular basis often report that their muscle and joint pain, as well as stiffness, is reduced or even eliminated.

22. Immune System:

Honey and cinnamon paste is good for boosting the immune system, removing regular fatigue and increasing the longevity of an individual. It is also known to have anti-aging properties.

23. Itching:

Paste of honey and cinnamon is often used to treat insect bites.

24. It is a great source of manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium.

25. Healing: Cinnamon helps in stopping bleeding. Therefore it facilitates the healing process.

Indeed, cinnamon has several health benefits as highlighted above that can be used to improve one’s health and boost one’s immune system. This is a great reason to keep some cinnamon around. Sprinkle it in your tea or coffee, over oatmeal or a sweet potato and, this will do wonders to your health.

[However, there’s a word of warning to be taken that over dosage of cinnamon may be unwise. Also it is not recommended for pregnant women.

Also, people who have been prescribed medication to manage their blood sugar should not reduce or discontinue their dose and take cinnamon instead, especially without consulting your doctor.]

Basics of Dental Care

Have you ever heard of the saying ‘A smile that kills’? Well, such a saying can be taken both figuratively and literally. Figuratively, it means that it is a smile so beautiful, that it mesmerizes the person who sees it. However, literally, it means that it is really bad, and its effects can be extreme! The latter is what happens when you don’t take care of your teeth. You are left with an embarrassing display of yellow patches protruding from your mouth. Well, that might be another extreme scenario, but it is possible. So, for every one’s well being, it is advised that you take care of your teeth.

Basic dental care starts from the time we are toddlers. And till the time we are independent, we usually stick to the routines that we were taught by our parents and dentist. However, it is once we learn the term ‘Choice’, we lose control. We choose to look away from dental hygiene, simple as it may be, and that leaves us with many problems.

It is always advised to brush two times a day; once in the morning and once at night. Apart from that, if you decide to eat some heavily spiced food, or sweets then you should brush after eating as well. You should use soft bristled brushes so that you don’t do harm to your tooth enamel. Also, you should brush your tongue, as it can gather a lot of residue. Apart from brushing, you must also floss. This removes plaque from places where a toothbrush may not reach.

A dentist may not seem like a very good friend of yours. Every time you visit him, you leave with an unpleasant experience. However, this is much nicer than the amount of physical and mental pain it will cause you to fork out a lot of money for advanced dental procedures. That’s right; they are right to say prevention is better than cure. So, make sure you visit your dentist for regular check ups.

Apart from the above, there are also some ways by which you can promote good dental and oral health. For instance, it is good to eat fruits like oranges and strawberries that are rich in vitamin C, as it is essential for gums. Vegetables such as pumpkin, carrots and broccoli are rich in vitamin A which helps the tooth enamel. Milk, yogurt and cheese are high in calcium, which keeps teeth strong. Avoid food that has high sugar content.

Green tea is a good drink to have, as it contains anti oxidants which help prevent plaque and cavities. Also, drinking water is as important for the teeth as for the rest of the body. It keeps the mouth hydrated, and clean.

7 Ways to Cure Stinky Feet

Stinky foot odor is generally caused by the growth of bacteria on sweaty feet or in sweaty shoes. If you are a victim of this problem then you should know how awkward it is to take your shoes off. There are times when the odors are so strong it goes through the shoes. Now that’s when you know you need serious help. However, today I listed 7 ways you can prevent and stop this nonsense.

  1. Vodka. Myth Busters confirmed that vodka does work to eliminate foot odors. However, do not drink after you use it.
  2. Apple Cider. Soak your foot with Apple Cider few times a week and dry your foot afterward.
  3. Tea. Brew two tea bags with warm water. Pour it in a large container and soak your feet in it.
  4. Listerine. Use a cotton ball and pour Listerine on it and apply it on your foot. Don’t forget between your toes.
  5. Rubbing Alcohol. Apply this to your foot after you shower.
  6. Jell-O. For this purpose, use lemon or lime Jello-O. Mix it with hot water and add cold water before you put your foot in. Soak your feet until the Jello-O begins to “set.” Then wash your feet with soapy water.
  7. Vinegar. Use water and half cup of white vinegar. Soak your foot for 30 minutes. Rinse and dry.

Your feet should be washed with warm soapy water and dry every day. Buy shoes that are comfortable to you, and wear 100% cotton socks. If your shoes smell, pour baking soda and let it dry before wearing them. Alternatively, you can have two pairs of shoes and switching them out.

Cover Up Those Ugly Metal Fence Posts With Matching Extra Wood Panels

First, I would like to point out that I happened to have extra fence panels that matched my current fence. If you do not have extras, you should not have any problem finding panels to match the type of wood your fence is in. However, if your fence is constructed of the narrow type panels, let us say 1 in. x 4 in., you will want to buy wider 1 in. x 6 in. panels so as to be sure the ugly metal fence poles can be covered. Narrower panels would most likely not be able to enclose the poles.

All you really need to do is take 3 of the panels and make a 3-sided open box to cover the ugly metal fence poles with. Lay the 3 panels on a flat utility table or any flat surface. Lay one of the panels flat (this will be the front side panel), and secure the other two to each side of it to form your open sided box. Using a screw gun, or electric drill with a screw bit on lower speed, secure the 2 side panels using any wood screws long enough to secure the panels solidly.

To secure your wooden 3-sided pole covers to the existing fence, you will want to use L-shaped metal brackets. These come in various sizes and can be found at any home and garden store. You can place the newly made pole covers over the ugly metal fence poles to fit, and secure your wood covers to the existing fence, therefore enclosing your ugly metal fence poles. I then adorned a couple of my new wood covers with solar lights. You can hang plants, or whatever else fits your fancy. Some of the poles are covered by Potato Vines rather than the wood covers. I thought it would break up the pattern a bit, add some variety to the fence, and bring a nice lush appeal to the backyard.

What is FIE Fencing Equipment?

The FIE is the international governing body for the Olympic sport of fencing.  FIE is the “Federation Internationale d’Escrime” or International Fencing Federation and it governs the world rankings and competitions for modern sport fencing.

When someone is talking about “FIE” gear, they are talking about fencing uniforms, masks, and blades that are approved for use in these international FIE competitions.  Each item must meet specific requirements for use in an FIE competition. 

FIE Blades

In general, the FIE approved items will provide a greater level of protection and durability over other grades of protective gear and blades. 

There are specific tests for the FIE blades for foil and epee.  These blades are, for the most part, made of maraging steel and sample blades must pass a minimum number of bends before breaking to be FIE certified.  There are also blades that meet the durability requirement but are not made from maraging steel.  These are specifically marked “FIE-N” blades.

A common myth regarding the FIE blades is that when they break they will break flat, reducing the chance of a puncture wound.  While this may be a stated goal of the steel used, in practice maraging steel blades break with jagged edges around the break point.  The main benefit of an FIE blade is it’s increased durability, which increases safety since at any point in time the blade is less likely to break.

Sabre blades do not have to be made from maraging steel.  Instead they must meet a maximum flexibility requirement that is the “S2000” regulation.  This regulation extends all the way down to local events, so any reputable fencing equipment supplier that sells a competition grade sabre is going to use an S2000 blade.

FIE Fencing Masks

Standard fencing masks must have a bib that resists 350N of force and mask mesh that will stand up to the 12kg punch test.  FIE fencing masks have increased safety requirements, with a bib that resists 1600N of force and mask mesh that will stand up to a 24kg punch test.  In other words, the FIE masks offer more than twice the protection of a standard fencing mask.

The FIE also has specific requirements for foil, epee, and sabre based on the current rule set for the target areas of each weapon.

FIE Uniforms

The fencing uniform consists of the jacket, pants (often called knickers or breeches), and plastron (or underarm protector.)  The FIE requirement for the uniform is that each piece protect against a force of 800N, which is the CE Level 2 protection requirement in the European Union.  Many domestic events in Europe require a minimum of CE Level 1, or 350N protection.  As of 2009, the US Fencing Association mandates no minimum protective requirement, only that the uniform be of “robust” material – whatever that means.

The quality of uniforms from various equipment manufacturers varies.  While all FIE fencing uniforms must pass the CE Level 2 testing in order to become FIE certified, the quality difference is in the stitching, cut, and other aspects outside of the pure protective requirements.  

Recommended Upgrades

If you are an active fencer and are competing in tournaments, you may already have a full set of gear.  If you are considering the jump up to FIE gear, the top pieces to get would be the fencing mask and plastron.  The mask is one of the most important upgrades to make and will provide additional peace of mind.  The FIE plastron is the least expensive upgrade you can make that will provide the most protection for you.

Upgrading your blades (in foil and epee) to FIE class blades is more of a performance decision.  FIE blades tend to last longer but more importantly they are more consistent in how they act.  Once worked in, FIE blades hold their shape better than non-FIE blades, which provides a more consistent performance.

Classical Criminology and Human Nature

Classical criminology, and its recent expression in rational choice theory, does not cut slack in terms of excusing, or otherwise mitigating, counterproductive and maladaptive social behaviors. An essential component is the assertion you are responsible and accountable for your actions. No matter how much you blame others, abuse substances, claim “victimization” or invoke the nebulous notions of alleged “mental illness”, classicists remain unmoved. From this historic school of thought, as well as its variations, the primary philosophical notion is that people are always responsible for their behaviors, especially when they choose to do harm to others.

From the arrogant greed of corporate criminal conspiracies, to the assassination of a public official, the perpetrator is self-motived, intentional and premeditated. The rationality of choice means purposeful decision-making, especially if you are a terrorist, or others like those in the news media and politicians, who seek to mitigate that by claims you have somehow mysteriously become “radicalized”. Criminality and human behavior in general, regardless of the criminal typology, from street crimes to commercial fraud, involve decisive “cost-benefit” analyses. The basis is gain minus the risk.

Motivational factors are complex and reside within the intricate thinking processes of the individual personality. While an act of particular cruelty may seem “irrational” to the public, such terroristic action is very rational to the instigator. Yet, in the reactivity of emotional self-interests as to “why” he or she committed the horrific crime, speculation devolves to dangerous notions for a simplistic answer. There are no easy answers.

Particularly frustrating are those quick to embrace an alternative “school of thought” within the schemes of the pseudosciences where one answer fits all. Other philosophical perspectives like psychology and sociology are good examples. From their own ranks of adherents, there are no specific concurrences on cause-effect explanations.

In a court of law in the U.S., where actual definitive evidence is required, both sides compete as to who has the most believable reason regarding behavioral issues. Outside a legal framework, many apply less than provable assertions about the causative factors involved in the nature of criminality. More so today, with increasing acceptance of paranormal phenomenon, many pursue external deterministic concepts.

From within the framework of those aligned to a classical criminological perspective, everyone, no matter who they are, remains answerable for every aspect of his or her behavior. Regardless of socio-economic status, political “aristocracy”, or corporate “oligarchy”, the primary societal parameter is that no one is above the law. Yet, the gross arrogance of a gluttonous culture claims otherwise. Many feel a sense of entitlement because, in their minds, they are somehow more special.

It might be the alleged “expert” from academia, who claims a certain school of thought has found all the answers to life’s mysteries. In their smug piety, safe and secure in the ivory towers of “higher education”, they appeal to their own deceptions. Then again, another claimant to personal exception might be “landed gentry” or upper social status. By wealth and materiality, they believe they are “different”. Still though, others claim their “entitled status” to elected office, or even the presidency.

There are no excuses for the abusive behaviors inflicted upon others. People are very capable of being dangerously aggressive, predatory and malevolent creatures. With calculation and malice aforethought, and intent, everyone is capable of anything in order to get his or her way. People are extraordinarily hedonistic. Human nature has not changed very much in the history of the human species. Given our inclination to self-destructive behavior, we are likely increasing the rapidity by which our devolution will hasten eventual extinction. Counterproductive processes are underway.

There are no justifications, pretentious alibis, or make-believe paranormal mitigations, regardless of theories to the contrary, that alleviate the accountability for the evils people do. While others may sternly disagree with this perspective, as various fields of the pseudosciences might assert, people makes choices, both good and evil. In the decision making process, cost versus benefit is elemental. What really matters is whether the individual is transforming by becoming a more differentiated and mature personality.

Self-evolving individuality requires the courage of personal liberation for one’s thinking processes, in pursuit of a higher ascendency for thought and action. Maturity assumes a profound growth in responsibility for personal choices and subsequent behaviors. An evolving individual is labors diligently for selfless personal growth. For him or her, the personal quest spans a lifetime. From grown up thinking processes, he or she embraces accountability for the responsibility of personal transformation.

Unfortunately, the sad state of affairs slants in the direction that colludes a sleight of hand, in the never-ending deceptions of human behavior. Unevolved and self-centered motivations promulgate the easy mitigations of unscientific conjecture that fosters intentional gullibility in deterministic simplicity. From academia to commercial and political oligarchies of power and control, for the satiation of economic self-interests, careers and industries have been constructed around the psychobabbles of misdirection. While tacitly, behind the scenes, some might decry the flagrant and unjustified fallacies that sell hasty generalizations reinforced by emotion reactivity, change is futile.

Too late, the devolution process continues a regression of the human species into the macabre anti-thinking of arrogant selfishness. There is an excuse for everything, a pill to cure anything and a “diagnosis” to excuse horrendous and torturous behaviors. Whether pontificating about a perpetrator’s upbringing, bad parenting, neighborhood, poverty of “broken windows”, and any other externality of “cause and effect”, the majority of contemporary explanations do not solve the crisis of a faltering global civilization. Several noted physicists and futurist have asserted the eventual demise of the human species. Nonetheless, we come up with excuses to blame someone or something.

However, we have “experts” that frequently appear alongside smugly self-righteous newscasters, and explain the alleged mitigating factors, from assassinations to genocide, and commercial fraud to political corruption. The fascinating prospect about most “experts”, especially in the so-called hallowed halls of academia, is that they never actually were practitioners who plied their craft in the real world. One might ponder, how do they “know” so much, when they do not share any significant experience in the reality of human interactivities? Whoa, that should be scary. However, it is not.

As suggested earlier, in the realm of the pseudosciences, anything is possible from a theoretical viewpoint, especially as some attempt to articulate a biased perspective. From theory to belief, mainstream acceptance and political acquiescence demonstrates complicity across a wide audience. Politically, the judicial, legislative and executive branches of government, partly in courtrooms, allow the viability of alleged “expertise”. Even if there is no scientific validation, the proof of questionable behavioral theories is readily considered. In an adversarial system of jurisprudence, for instance, “experts” on both sides can offer “expert opinion” testimony as “evidence”.

Absent the science, as in fingerprints, DNA, toxicology, etc., which opinion is valid? After all, both sides in a controversy get to claim and otherwise assert the philosophy of their school of thought as though it reflects confirmed scientific authenticity. Subsequently, a panel of laypersons, a jury, gets to decide whom they believe. Such manifestations of speculation are often treated as if they are true beyond any doubt and to the exclusion of all other possibilities. Frequently, adherents of one of the interpretations will argue vehemently with opposing views as to which or what is the truth.

When it comes to human behavior, no one has all the answers, and no certainty as to anything close to solutions. To the criminology classicists, particularly the practitioners (i.e. police, corrections, probation officers, etc.), outside the schemes of academia, human nature is simultaneously good and evil, through an intricate psychodynamic weaving of complex personality. From the basis of this theoretical construct, humans are rational individuals, often hiding behind masks of deception. Yet, to cover the individuality of malevolent intentions, many conceal their biases within a framework of illusions.

Nonetheless, for some human beings, they have cleverly invented a maze of mitigations or excuses. By extraordinary means, from academia, commercial, and medical enterprises, to political collusions, the smoke and mirrors of promulgates public deception. As to the frauds of misrepresentation of “pseudoscience” versus hard science, the public’s gullibility chooses easy acceptance as to the misdirection. While some claims hide behind an array of terms, labels and “diagnoses”, the scientific efficacy remains unsubstantial. For the classical adherents however, people are supremely capable of exercising the scary notion of volition, or freedom to choose.

The frightening prospect of accountability in the exercise of free will troubles many theorists. As a result, the multifaceted U.S. “criminal justice systems”, reflect many influences from both schools of thought. At the beginning, the process to investigate and arrest, prosecute and sentence is primarily from a classical model, strongly supported by evidence-based procedures. In the next, phases, post-sentencing, so called correctional facilities become predisposed to “rehabilitation” leanings. Misbehavior, in terms of criminality, is the result of other causes external to the criminal. Predisposition to criminal behavior becomes the passageway by which illegality is the result of the typical excuses. These include poverty, family, neighborhood and abuse.

For the classical perspective, no one gets away with excuses. In fact, mitigations are virtually non-concerns. What matters is the unlawful behavior. The classicist asserts that everyone is free to make choices, regardless of personal circumstances, which challenges the “positivism” of the deterministic conceptions of culpability. As to perhaps thirty other “schools of thought”, that considers a person “hardwired”, “predestined”, exceptionally influenced by prior “causes”, such as “mental illness”, is not within the socio-economic framework of the classic view of criminality. Personal responsibility is of immediate consideration and eventual sanction by certainty of punishment.

Opposing views would argue and protest differently. Nonetheless, swift retribution is necessary along an ethical continuum of moral justification. By reason and logic of capable capacity, the perpetrator, regardless of high standing or communal connections, is responsible for every act of malevolent commission inflicted upon others. There are no exceptions, particularly as pertains to wealth, power and political connections. Especially, in those cases of defendant affluence, the upper reaches of oligarchy receive no special dispensation as to occupancy in a penal facility. Of all groups of criminals, the rich should share the same accommodations alongside the not so wealthy.

For every human, irrespective of academic allusion, social rank, or theoretical speculation, intends any given action based upon the self-interests of a personal decision-making process. By whatever means, to augment and further clarify the choices to be made, subsequent actions weigh in the balance between gain and risk, productivity and loss, and ultimately essential satiation. Convenient and comfortable utility to reinforce the thinking processes, as well as express that, which is necessary to personal enrichment, encompasses individual selfishness. The rationality, as seen by others less predisposed to observe their own shortcomings, may dismiss the reasoning behind counterproductive actions. Other schools of thought have tried to dismiss any particular notion of one’s actions as freely chosen. Instead, by clever diversion, excuses are many.

Regardless of deterministic insistence, classical admonitions assert the primacy of free choice. Inventions of a wide spectrum of “mental illness” does not lesson or mitigate individual responsibility for malevolent actions. Oriented toward the goals of self-gratification and personal enrichment, at the expense of others, illicit and anti-communal actions are to be dealt with in equal retribution regardless of socio-economic status.

Whether by smug piety in amative arrogance of corrupt politicians, or corporate moguls who exploit others and the environment, their anti-social maladaptation are intentionally calculated. Cruel behavior is nothing new for the human species, and not much has changed in a couple hundred thousand years. Sure, many would like to believe there is such a thing as “civilization”. In addition, there is the mournful refrain, almost whining tone frequently in the news media, about something called a “civilized society”. Yet, that is a biased misrepresentation of one or more individual perceptions.

The real world is a decidedly dangerous place. Treachery and oppression are disguised and camouflaged by deceptions. In order to satiate a gullible public, pacify large segments of the population, and foster a climate of irresponsible dependence, pseudoscience can be sold as “science”. Furthermore, to ensure consumer marketing, sales and consumption, why not invent all kinds of diagnoses, and makeup something called “mental illness”. As to the metaphorical reference regarding thinking, the “mind” reflects a complex internal infrastructure not easily quantified.

Counterproductive actions that harm people and environments are perpetrated from a premeditated and intention design. It does not matter if the malevolent individual is a corporatist, politician or street thug, the malice in thinking follows similar processes from thought to action. The most important ingredient is in the decision-making that devolves to the adverse nature of choices. Offenders understand they are harming others, but decide for their on enrichment to do it anyway.

Selfish, self-focused, manipulative thinking, entitlement, and whiny “victimization”, characterize additional elements of immature behaviors. Being self-centered and exploitive could be descriptive of most people in general. Regardless of the “disguise” one wears in public, there is always the hidden dimension behind the “mask”. From assassins to white-collar embezzlers, murderers and terrorists, motivational factors follow an interpersonal trajectory of power, control and domination over others. In the aftermath of a calamitous event, it is very easy and notoriously simplistic to speculate on comforting deterministic factors outside the perpetrator. Criminal justice personnel, many who should know better, like politicians and the press, rush to hasty unsubstantiated conclusions. What a person chooses to think and do is part of their purposely calculated freedom of choice. Inanimate objects do not make people do things.

Lifeless, non-living, inorganic things do not make people do illicit and dastardly deeds. Humans are all too capable to commit atrocious acts of personal culpability freely, readily and with serious malevolent intentions. Similarly, the internet does not force people to do “evil” actions. Likewise, vast innovations in “technology” do not cause people to carryout cyber intrusions, swindles, and sordid illegalities.

Terrorism “radicalization”, so easily tossed around by pundits and others who should know better, does not force people to commit terroristic criminalities. Additionally, the usual suspect scapegoats, like “peer pressure”, “bullying”, poverty or bad parenting, cause someone to “snap”. Unfortunately, the list of deceptive diversions goes on, and eventually collides with a number theoretical claims, sometimes called diagnoses. All of which reflects someone’s philosophical perspective.

Nevertheless, if you need to feel better about yourself, others, society, etc., reassured by trouble-free answers and convenient conjecture absent scientific validation, then embrace any aspect of the pseudosciences you wish. If you are fearful that your school of thought might be in error if challenged by opposing perspectives, you are free to be as defensive and resentment to any extent desired. There will be opposition.

You can believe anything you want, no matter how deficient the facts are. Such divisiveness and condescension happens every day, from academia to the courtroom. Irrational causal connections arise in every facet of social interaction, as many clamor to justify nebulous notions claiming to answer complex behavioral questions. Often overlooked is the ethical responsibility of the individual adherent for implementing honest, straightforward evidence based strategies in problem-solving processes.

For the classical criminologist, from the non-deterministic viewpoint presented here, it is not the environment, family conditions, society, community and so forth, which are definitive precursor factors causing criminal behavior. Everyone makes choices and determines their eventual behavioral responses. It does not matter whether corporate pirate or international terrorist and everything in between, responsibility, and ultimate accountability, rests fully with the perpetrator. From corrupt politicians to Wall Street “gangsters”, premeditation configures with malevolent intentions to commit illegalities that harm others. A particular school of thought can argue a certain philosophical perspective to mitigate, excuse or otherwise rationalize the limited culpability.

However, in the end, the absence of sure, swift and certain punishment, regardless of socio-economic status, political connections, alleged “mental illness”, or assorted excuses, hastens the regression of the human species. In furtherance of social decay, a devolving society bent on extinction collectively rationalizes any possibility for aberrant behavior. Every effort to ensure the criminal’s responsibility, and subsequent incapacitation, remain essential to safeguarding societal stability.

Unfortunately, in an alleged modern society and so-called civilized culture, which are actually not the case, counterproductive actions insist upon different results. With the varied schools of thought perpetrated by various pseudosciences, the probability of change and transformation of humankind is likely too late. The illusions fostered by non-scientific instigations in egregious fallacies of inference, contravene and stifle productive countermeasures for realistic appraisals of human malevolence.

Criminals come in all sizes, shapes and severity of harm they inflict. They corporatists who exploit the economic system, and politicians who abuse the political systems they manipulate. Their ranks span a spectrum of self-indulgent hedonistic armed robbers, to greedy telemarketers who fled the mail and internet with hideous advertisements. The scope, extent and nature of their criminality are contingent on a “cost-risk-reward” premeditation. Arguments as to the essence of causality are frivolous and unproductive when such claims devolve to the externality of deterministic sources.

An abundance of “experts” from many fields of study claim to know the “single bullet” factor that solves the proverbial “why” question. Why did he or she do the heinous deed? Politicians, pundits, proselytes and the majority of the public, rush to hasty generalizations, based on a specious conjecture, to answer that solitary question. Yet, that part of the cause-effect equation cannot find easy solution. Who knows and furthermore who cares? More importantly, what happened, what is an appropriate sanction, and what restores the imbalance caused by the harm?

Of the rudimentary components of who, what, where, when, why and how, in the criminal justice rubric, it is the “what” that outweighs the “why”. As regards criminality, knowing the “why” infers invasive actions by the state to oppress civil liberties for the sake of “public safety and security”. That is the clever ruse of “wannabe scientific” fields to foster deceptions in order to sell products, services and specious theories.

To that perspective, of the nature of specious or hallow or otherwise deceptive inferences, contemporary conjecture confuses the spectrum of critical analysis. Deterministic afflictions, “hard wired” cerebral fixations and alleged DNA malfunctions, among others, assert a non-science stream of excuses for perpetrators. Beyond the control and capability of the individual, the criminal as “victim”, the pseudosciences of positivistic heritage continue to claim a variety of nebulous notions. As conclusive explanations for the mitigation of criminality, many claim the sufficiency of easy “answers”, absent scientific validity. Yet, the mystery of human nature continues.

Nonetheless, in an age of “anti-intellectualism”, where serious thought is weighed between emotional assertion and factual evidence, public policy is adversely affected by the misguidance of competing interests. As to the classical philosophy, everyone is responsible for his or her thinking processes and subsequent actions taken. Whether classical, neo-classical, rational choice, or seductions to adversity and maladaptation, the centrality of belief remains in the notion of one’s freedom to choose. To that end, without interventions of self-serving excuses, accountability is essential.

To the classical criminologist, and in particular, those who are real world practitioners, there is no viability for the influence of ideological mysticism, superstition and anything purporting to be of supernatural interference as deterministic factors. Yet, among the pseudosciences, there are inclinations of some schools of thought that come very close to the edge of such unsubstantiated “magical thinking”. By their insistence upon that which is not well established by scientific validation, claiming positions of science, where scientific provability is untenable, commits damage to reason and rationality.

Criminality comes from within the individual and everyone has the capacity to commit criminal acts. It could be argued, depending on a definition of “criminality”, that everyone at one time or another has committed some type of criminal behavior. To think that through, and consider the myriad social rules, regulations, ordinances, statutes, and so on, a number of possibilities exist in many aspects of daily living. From assaultive threats, to hate speech, to discrimination and all manner of thievery, people choose their communal disruptions. Humans misbehave, not objects or things. Fundamentally, rationality in choosing behavioral actions is based upon psychodynamic complexity not easily answered or quantified in precise and definitive ways.

In spite of contemporary illusions, reinforced by magical thinking as hope springs eternal, the realization is that there will always be “anti-social” people who will do “evil things” to others. As such, in order to salvage the viability of public safety, order maintenance, and social ascendancy, the classical or rational perspective on the criminal behavior must expand in more realistic, rational and methodical progressions. Criminality, as an aspect of human nature, with its attendant complexity will not change dramatically, regardless of the myriad of pseudoscientific assertions.

Mitigations to the contrary of sure, swift and certain actions, will continue to circumvent every effort to control or otherwise interdict maladaptive choices. In post-modern American society, erroneous beliefs characterized by admonitions of politicians, pundits and other self-serving interests, in emotional reactivity to heinous acts, represent futile energies at the expense of those victimized.

Recently, in the sensationalized reporting of various murderous incidents, calls for more laws, increased “mental health” expenditures, excessive labeling by way of questionable “diagnoses”, and a range of sectarian ideologies that over-ride rational applications, hasten the demise of the human species. In the wake of terroristic incidents, emotion driven pretenses to journalism stir the “false cause” fallacies of inference, whereby anything is rationalized for the sake of simplistic answers.

While career politicians pander the public to ensure easy pacification with hasty and unsubstantiated conclusions, others call for the collectivist notion of “national unity” and “peace and harmony”, by offering weak, empty and feeble responses. Alternatively, most simply whine and complain without proposing serious, well-studied, and logically sound solutions to deal with complicated societal interactions. Meanwhile, some academicians who have never served or practiced in the real world continue to promote their “expertise” for a particular philosophy assumed “scientific”.

Feel good proclamations only fulfill the satiation of the moment to appease emotional reactivity, as opposed to thoughtful coherent and genuine actions. The never-ending debate regarding criminality, in which “good vs. evil” considers “nature vs. nurture”, often regresses to the shallowness of deterministic factors. Sometimes, the “single factor” issue drives misdirection instead of investigating the reality of choice. Within the scope of classical criminology, choice requires accountability and that is scary.

What a Tour Broker Is and How to Become One

A person who operates a tour company is a broker. A broker is a middleman. Brokers buy or arrange items or services and sells these items or services to the end buyer. Some examples of brokers are:

Independent insurance agents. These agents do not provide insurance; they arrange insurance for you from an insurance company. Insurance agents usually get a commission from an insurance company.

Stock brokers. Like insurance agents, stock brokers help you buy and sell stock. They don’t own the stock. These brokers also receive a commission based on the amount sold.

Real estate broker. Again, these brokers do not own the properties they sell and they get a commission based on the value of what they sell.

There are also tour brokers. Tour brokers serve a variety of customers. This article is about what a tour brokerage is and the basics of this business.

Here is a good description if what a tour is: A trip with visits to various places of interest for business, pleasure, or instruction.

Here travel is defined: To go from one place to another, as on a trip; journey.

A tour, then, is not only travel but it is travel with the purpose being pleasure or interest. You may think of a tour as extended travel with the object being to see and experience an area. Travel, on the other hand, is usually only about moving from one place to another.

A tour broker works with people on a continuous basis. If you are going to get involved in this type of business you should like working with people – you have to be a people person.

Tour brokers are not travel agents. Travel agents arrange for the travel needs of their customers. Usually a travel agent will only work with individuals or small groups (families, for example). Travel agents also always buy something that is already in place (air travel, car rentals, hotels, etc.), they do not originate anything.

Tour brokers originate – they arrange tours, they arrange the transportation, they arrange the lodging, they arrange the meals, and they arrange other services for their clients. A tour broker plans on what kind of tour he/she wants to operate.

Next, the tour broker makes arrangements for the various components of the tour – transportation, food, lodging, attractions, etc.

There are many types of tour companies. Some offer guided tours of a local area – tours of a city or an attraction, for example. Some offer tours in a natural setting – guided tours through the Grand Canyon fall into this category. Some offer tours to various national and state parks. Some offer tours through a large area, a multi-state tour is a good example.

IF YOU LIKE TO TRAVEL – FOR FREE – THIS IS A GREAT BUSINESS TO BE IN

You may have to do inspections of the hotels and attractions that you will be making a part of your tour. If you have been taught correctly you will know how to get “comp” (short for complimentary or Free) rooms and meals. If you will go along with the tour, you should expect to get comps again. How to set it up so that you get comps is something your mentor should teach .

NOTE THAT THE INFORMATION PROVIDED HERE ONLY APPLIES TO THE US. OTHER COUNTRIES MAY HAVE DIFFERENT RULES

As I mentioned before, this is a people business. Liking to work with people and liking to solve problems is a prime requirement.

Like a church is a church because someone calls it a church, a tour broker is a tour broker because someone says that they are a tour broker. There is no requirement for a license. If you do operate a business there may be a need for you to get a federal tax number and your county or city may require you to get a business license. As far as needing a license to become a tour broker – there is no license required. From the mid 1930’s until the 1980s transportation was strictly controlled by the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC). Under the Deregulation Act of 1982, competition was allowed and the need for federal authority became a thing of the past.

Depending on where you are you may need some sort of business license. Call your local county office and ask for the office in charge of business licenses. This should be easy as all they really want is for you to file some paperwork and pay them a small fee.

If you are going to be making money (and why else get in the business?) you are going to have to get a federal tax number. This number is called a Tax Identification Number (TIN) and is used in business much as your Social Security number is used for benefits.

I have looked at various sites on the Internet purporting to be concerned with how to become a tour operator. Most do not seem to understand what a tour operator is or does. Those which got close to the concept either offers to teach or provided links to sites which may prepare someone how to be a tour guide. A tour guide is not a tour operator – at best, a tour guide works for a tour operator.

A tour operator runs his/her own business

It’s as simple as that – you own and run the business. If you plan to make a profit you follow this rule – buy low, sell high. People tend to make things too difficult. You buy at one price and sell at another price, easy, huh?

The real “trick” to making money in the tour business is to understand that concept of breaking even (BE). The break even point is where you don’t lose money and where you don’t make money. To help you understand this idea you have to understand that there are two types of costs in most businesses – fixed and variable. A fixed cost is one that will occur whether you have 10 clients or 46. Office rent is a fixed cost. You have to pay the rent whether or not you operate any tours. A variable cost is a cost that is dependent on something else. An example of a variable cost would be the cost an attraction (theme park). If you have 20 clients the total cost of the attraction is dependent (variable) on the number of clients you have.

The lack of good information on this business led me to believe that those in this business do not want competition or they don’t have time to write about how they run their business. A well thought out tour, advertised correctly, can bring in thousands in revenue. For example, suppose that you operate a seven- day bus tour. The tour sells for $985.00 (per person, double occupancy) and you have 36 people go on your tour. The gross revenue on this tour will be over $35,000.00 and you should be able to retain at least $10,000.00 of that amount.

IS THIS THE SORT OF BUSINESS FOR YOU?

It is possible to may some serious money in this business – you could also lose money. Here are some basic requirements that you should have before starting such a business.

You should like working with people

You should not panic when things go from good to bad to even worse

You should be able to organize things easily

You should have at least a working knowledge of certain computer programs – word processing, spreadsheet, e-mail

You should have a copy machine and a fax machine

You should have at least one telephone

You should have at least one fairly up-to-date computer

What sort of tours and what do I do next?

The world is your oyster

This is really the fun part – you can go anywhere! Successful brokers operate three-day tours from Denver into the nearby Rocky Mountains and seven-day tours to Branson, Missouri. Brokers on the east coast offer tours into New England and parts of Eastern Canada as well as longer tours into the American southwest.

Brokers in Seattle do a good business operating tours into the Copper Canyon of Mexico. Some brokers offer tours to musical events, art showings, and short trips to New York City for Christmas shopping.

Where to go is up to you as long as you keep it reasonable. Going to Iraq now may not be the best choice but there is a company in the UK offering and operating tours into Iraq – make sure that your clients sign many disclosures stating that you are not at fault in case of your death. Given the current state of the economy it may be wise to limit your offerings to North America but tours to Costa Rica seem to sell very well.

To find out more about this exciting business click here.

BCIN? Difference Between Designer, Architect and Engineer According to the Ontario Building Code

As I meet with new clients and friends every day, I commonly hear the same questions “What is a BCIN?” “When is a BCIN required?” etc. Here is some clarification to the public on some important issues about choosing a company to provide you with plans. Please note that this information applies only in the Province of Ontario.

What is a BCIN?

A BCIN stands for ‘Building Code Identification Number’. This number is assigned by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs & Housing, to successful applicants who have completed the requirements outlined in Division C Section 3.2 of the Ontario Building Code. There are two distinct types of BCIN number, individuals & firms. Individuals are people who have completed the exams and have received a BCIN from the MAH; however, they do NOT carry any insurance. As a result this limits the types of projects that the person can do. Firm BCIN’s on the other hand MUST carry valid liability insurance, and depending on the amount of designs fees that a firm charges in a year will dictate the required amount of insurance coverage they must have. Insurance is expensive but it is there to protect you so avoid working with companies who do not have it. For most people, a home is your single largest asset; do you really want to get plans from someone without insurance?

How do I know if I am choosing a registered company?

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs & Housing maintains a database of all registered BCIN holders. The registry is available through a system called QUARTS. Once on the Public Registry, this system allows you to search by the individual’s name, the company’s name or the BCIN #. Once you have found a business or individual, it will bring you to a page with details on the company. It lists the mailing address of the business & contact details. At the bottom it should also show the Registration as ‘Registered Designer’ and the Status as ‘Current’. If it shows up as ‘lapsed or expired’ then this means that they either do not have valid insurance for that year, or that they are late in filing their paperwork.

Do I need an architect or engineer for my project?

Probably not! There have been massive changes to the system in the last few years, opening the doorway for a new title; designers. Architects & Engineers are NOT required for any project less than 600m² (6,458 sq.ft.) and less than 4 storeys. For most residential and small commercial projects, you do NOT need an architect or an engineer. However, and this is important, if the project involves severe structural modifications, an engineer may be requested by the municipality to review the plans. On this note, there is a BCIN exam which will supersede this requirement! If your design company is a registered company in the Category of ‘Building Structural’ then they can complete the plans.

When do I need a BCIN ‘stamp’ for my project?

Depending on the type of project you may or may not need a BCIN number on your drawings. You do not need a BCIN number if the project relates to the construction of a house that is owned by the person who produces the drawings or if it relates to a farm building less than 3 storeys. There are a few other instances, but these are probably the two most important. Often I hear homeowners ask for just the drawings to submit for permit (no stamp). This is allowed, but as the homeowner you must be knowledgeable of the drawings (after all, you are claiming that you have produced them). It is okay to admit to the municipality that you hired someone to draw them for you, but at the end of the day you will be responsible to ensure that the drawings meet code. If the city has approved your building permit based on the drawings and you proceed to build your project to the drawings only to later find out that there is a problem, you will be on the hook to make any necessary adjustments to pass inspection. Most companies will charge from $200 to $2000 for the use of their BCIN number on the drawings. This may seem expensive but it is the security blanket that will keep you safe and ensure that your drawings meet code! I also personally apply for the permits and handle all the paperwork on my client’s behalf when I charge this fee; which most people prefer as nobody likes to stand in line for half a day to submit paperwork to the City.

I hope that this will help to clarify any questions you may have had regarding the requirements of having someone produce building permits for your project. I look forward to working with you, and if you have any questions then please don’t hesitate to ask!

How to Pass the 3:33 Rule and Add Longevity to Your B2B Direct Marketing Campaigns

Here’s a snippet from Pat Friesen writing for Target Marketing Magazine in November 2007

The 3:33 Rule

Are you familiar with direct mail’s three minute and 33 second (3:33) rule? It’s important when you talk about “openability”.

The 3:33 rule suggests you have three seconds or less to stand out in the mail and stay out of the trash, then 30 seconds to engage the reader enough to get opened and make the “short stack” for later reading. After the first 33 seconds-if you actually get the reader inside your mail piece-she spends an additional three minutes or less reading it and deciding whether or not to respond.

B2B Direct Marketing and the Importance of the Mailing Pack – the first 3 seconds

Business to Business Direct marketing can be a huge waste of money unless you get it right – so you need to get it right first time. You need a promotional marketing piece that will have a big attention-grabbing quality and you need to send it out in a pack that will be easily spotted in the stack of mail on your customer’s desk.

Far too many B2B Direct Marketing campaigns go straight to the bin, often before the envelope has even been opened and therein lays the first problem – envelopes. A flat, plain white envelope with a frank or a PPI holds absolutely no mystery whatsoever. Send your B2B Direct Mail out in a plain white envelope and your campaign is already well on the way to generating a high level of indifference. With that thought firmly in mind, you should give very strong consideration to the type of carrier to use.

The saying goes that you get only one chance to make a first impression and the first impression that your customer has of your promotional mailer is the appearance of the mailing pack. I suggest that your mailer should have a degree of bulk and should be made to look like some sort of gift or “freebie”. This way, the mailer will be opened with eager anticipation rather than total indifference. The argument against this is that the postage costs will increase but believe me, paying postage to send an item that is thrown straight into the bin makes a whole lot less sense.

B2B Direct Marketing & the Importance of Holding Customer’s Attention – the next 30 secs

Once the mailing pack has done its first job in attracting the reader’s attention it then has to entice the reader to open it. I believe that the pack has to be designed in a way that is not too hard to open and leads to the main promotional piece without too much trouble. I say this as the promotional piece itself will take care of the next few minutes – no problem! A B2B promotional mailer needs to capture the imagination of your customer and automatic pop-up products are an obvious choice to do this. The pop-up action carries with it the elements of surprise, fun, interaction and curiosity. A rubber-band-powered automatic pop-up product like a pop-up cube or a pop-up box will easily pass the 30 second test and will usually account for the next few minutes during which time your promotional message has been well and truly digested.

B2B Direct Marketing & the Importance of Extending Your Marketing Campaign’s Life Span

There are direct marketing professionals who would be absolutely delighted for their campaign to have ticked the boxes discussed thus far but why stop there? What is there to say that the promotional piece should stop working after it has created such a big impact? To achieve this you don’t need to do much more than to add a few holes in the top surface on the pop-up cube or pop-up box. By doing this you can turn your promotional mailer into a promotional pen holder – a product that will stay on your customer’s desk top for months and months. Not only will the pop-up mailer fulfil its original obligation by capturing your customer’s attention, it then goes on to be a permanent promotion for your company right there on your customer’s desk top.

Advantages of a Wireless Mouse

Wireless devices are becoming more and more popular today. Convenience and flexibility are two of the most important advantages of any wireless device over wired ones. Before purchasing that relatively expensive wireless mouse though, here are some important points to consider.

The main advantage of wireless devices such as wireless keyboards, headphones and mice is that they can help reduce the clutter of wires around your work area. This can in turn increase your productivity.

The main disadvantage, as you might expect, is that wireless devices including wireless mice are more expensive than their wired counterparts. After all, they do require extra effort in design and functionality.

With a wireless mouse, the range you can use the mouse from is usually significantly larger than wired ones. This can prove useful if you have a large monitor and wish to control your computer from afar.

The flexibility offered by a cordless mouse is of course a huge advantage over corded ones. No longer do you need to worry about the cords getting tangled up. As you shift from a sitting up to a reclining position on your sofa with your laptop, you will not have to lift or awkwardly move the cord just so that you can have the mouse in a comfortable position.

With most wireless mice utilizing infrared technology, mouse pads are basically a thing of the past. Mechanical rollers and mouse balls requiring you to clean the crevices every so often can most definitely be considered outdated by now.

Without the hassle of wires, wireless mice can be easily packed along with your laptop for greater portability. The downside to this, though, is the often-tiny USB receiver required for the device to work. Depending on the model of the cordless mouse, this receiver can be very small, making it incredibly easy to lose sight of as you keep packing and unpacking your mobile computer, or worse, possibly breaking off and damaging the USB port in the process.

Since many wireless mice operate on batteries, you will need to change them every few months. In addition, many wireless devices have an on/off switch to help conserve some energy. If this is your first wireless mouse, remembering to switch on and off your mouse before and after use can take some getting used to.

Overall, the wireless mouse provides plenty of advantages over wired ones, especially if you are a heavy laptop user and travel a lot. The additional costs associated with purchasing a wireless mouse are definitely well worth it, considering the convenience and flexibility it offers.

The Beginner’s Guide to Traditional Archery

Why shoot traditional?

Why would you choose a simple stick bow over today’s shiny, technologically advanced compound monsters? While it is true that modern advances have made archery more beginner friendly, the traditional longbow remains potent, lighting fast, and great fun.

Modern advances have reduced the need for archers to have perfect form and complete control over their body. This translates to a sport which is more accessible and immediately fulfilling compared to the time-honed training of the past. Nonetheless, the foundations of good archery remain unchanged regardless of the make and model that you hold in your hands. Possessing the skill to shoot well with traditional bows directly translates to the ability to shoot well with modern bows. The opposite is not true; those who have relied entirely on modern gadgets to shoot often have to start fresh when using a traditional bow.

The simple longbow was the foundation of entire empires. That being said, shooting a traditional bow generates a strong sense of nostalgia for those with an interest in history. Furthermore, the traditional bow does not suffer from the “next best thing” syndrome. You do not have to spend money on new accessories to improve, making traditional shooting an economical decision. Finally, you get bragging rights. Traditional shooting is regarded as more difficult than modern archery and can garner respect from others on the line. This is especially true if you are out-shooting modern equipment with your simple stick bow. Also, traditional bows are uncommon at most ranges and will likely get you several looks from curious archers.

If you follow the recommendations in this guide you can expect several outcomes from shooting traditional archery. First, you can expect a noticeable learning curve, even if you have shot modern equipment in the past. You will have to train your body to repeat the same motions repeatedly and you will need to get used to aiming your shots with the tip of your arrow. Next, you can expect sore fingers, even with finger protection, if you need to build up your calluses. You can expect to shoot faster than most modern archers; traditional longbows can loose as many as fifteen accurate arrows in a minute if you have honed your skills. Finally, you can expect a great sense of accomplishment as your arrows begin to move closer and closer to that bull’s eye and you know that you did not rely on any superfluous technology.

What you will need

Bow (required)

The most basic traditional bow is the longbow, also known as the stick bow. It does not have a pronounced viewing window or arrow rest protruding off of the body and is usually good for both right- and left-eye dominant shooters. These bows are typically taller than other types to increase their maximum power. You can also get a recurve bow which uses a more complicated limb design to increase release velocity without making the bow larger.

Large bow manufacturers often make recurve bows out of modern materials and these are perfectly fine to get started. You do not need to buy a hand-crafted wood bow if you do not want to. While pretty, wood does require substantially more care than composite carbon and other modern implements. If possible, ask to try the bows of some people or organizations you know to see if you prefer one style over the other. You do not need to spend a fortune on a bow when you first start out. It will be a long time before your form is good enough that your equipment becomes the limiting factor of your accuracy.

There are other, more specialized types of bows, like the Japanese longbow which requires a unique draw style and the traditional Turkish bow which uses a special thumb release. These are not covered in the scope of this article, but if they interest you please do pursue them. There are many resources available online.

Arrows (required)

Arrows are the projectile used by the bow. When you purchase the bow you can speak with the sale’s staff or the supplier about good arrow choices. You will need to discuss your draw length (determines arrow length), the poundage of your bow (determines arrow grain), shooting distances you are likely to encounter (determines vein length and tip weight), and what you intend to shoot (determines tip type: target or broad-head). As for material, the most common arrows are carbon fiber, aluminum, and wood. Traditional shooters prefer wood arrows as a generality. Note that arrows break. It is okay. Just make sure you check them before shooting them.

Finger tabs or gloves (highly, highly recommended)

Finger tabs/gloves protect your fingers from the whipping bowstring. Make sure they fit comfortably so that you can wear them for long periods and so excess materials are not interfering with your release. Bulky finger tabs can severely affect accuracy if excess material catches when the arrow is released.

Arm protection (recommended)

Many archers were a protective layer of leather or artificial materials on the inside of their bow arm to prevent the string from biting them when they release an arrow. If you use an arm guard, make sure it fits snugly and that there is not a gap between the guard and the skin near the inside of the elbow where the bow-string can get caught during a release. Proper form will minimize or remove any risk of hitting your forearm during a shoot.

Quiver/arrow stand (useful)

A dedicated place to store your arrows keeps them out of the dirt and makes you less inclined to tuck the arrows into your pocket or belt loop on the range. This keeps the arrows from either snapping/cracking or from stabbing you when you move around, so a quiver or arrow stand is beneficial.

Target

Some targets are specifically designed to handle broad-head arrows. These arrows have sharp blades on the tip which are used for hunting game. In order to withstand broad-head arrows these targets are extremely tough. They also make fetching target heads a nuisance because they grab the arrow so tightly. On the other end of the spectrum, some targets are so sturdy that low poundage bows will bounce arrows off of the target instead of driving them in to stick. This is dangerous and also bad for your arrows. Targets designed for target heads will be shredded almost immediately by broad-heads. Make a point of checking if a target or bail will work well with your setup.

You do not need a fancy paper target. If the range allows you to use your own targets, print out your own. Additionally, you can take a plain piece of paper (the scrap of an old target works) and draw a circle or “X” on it with your pen. You only need somewhere to aim, it is not necessary to spend extra money if you do not want to.

Miscellaneous

Wear a hat or apply sunscreen if you are out in the sun to protect yourself from burns and over-heating. Always bring and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration and exhaustion. If you have a take-down bow, use a bow-stringer. It is less stressful on your limbs than bending the bow between your legs to remove the bow string. If you are having difficulty removing your arrows from targets (especially foam targets), bring a bar of non-scented, non-lotion bar soap to rub on your arrows between each round. This helps lubricate the arrow and will make taking the arrow from the target easier. Do not soap arrows that are not your property without owner consent.

Never, ever and always:

Never, ever pull back your bowstring and release it without an arrow knocked. You can shatter your bow limbs and send splinters flying at your face. Those are two expensive consequences for something that you never need to do.

Never, ever aim at people, pets, public property, etc. A bow is a weapon, and even if an arrow is not knocked you can make a lot of people angry. It is hard to practice your form if you go to jail, so try not to do anything regrettable.

Never, ever shoot a broken arrow. Even shooting with a missing vein can cause an arrow to do some weird acrobatics mid flight. Do not shoot with a missing tip, a missing knock, a cracked shaft, etc. It is not going to fly the way you want it to and it can be a danger to yourself and others. Make a habit of checking over your arrows every time you fetch them from the target.

Never, ever drink alcohol or consume other chemicals that inhibit your judgment/reaction time before or during a shoot or practice.

Never, ever try to remove an arrow from the target by holding it near the fletching and wiggling it back and forth or around in a circle. This can break or warp your arrow quickly.

Always follow the rules at any range you visit. Listen closely to whoever is calling the line. Safety is paramount and you do not want to be branded as a hazard.

Always verify that the line between you and your target, and especially the line that extends past your target, are clear. If someone or something that really shouldn’t have an arrow sticking out of it is on the range, it is your responsibility to call a hold if people are about to fire. Yes, this includes wildlife unless the animal is in season, you are licensed for the game, the range is located in a legal hunting area, and the range owners have given you explicit permission.

Always store your arrows tip-down in your quiver/arrow holder. Always hold the tips pointed downward when you are walking back to the line with your arrows. You do not need to stab yourself or someone else because you tripped or were not paying attention.

Always make sure your string is in good condition before you shoot – not frayed, properly waxed, etc.

Always make sure your bow limbs are in good condition before you shoot – not cracked, split, loose, or otherwise less than ideal. These limbs have to take a lot of abuse when you shoot and if they are compromised they can become a huge danger to you and those around you.

Always remove an arrow from the target by grasping the shaft as close to the target face as you can and pulling it straight out without tugging up, down, or to either side.

Always remember that archery is fun. If you are having a terrible time, you may as well go do something else and come back when you are in a better mood.

Which eye is dominant?

Unlike other sports which differentiate between a dominant and non-dominant hand, archery is most concerned with your dominant eye. Your dominant eye has no relation to your dominant hand. If you are right handed you can be left eye dominant, and the reverse is also true. In order to check your eye dominance, use this simple test:

Hold up the tip of a pen or other small object on which you can focus your vision. Staring intently at the object, bring it slowly toward your face, making sure that it always stays in the center of your vision. Do not break your gaze from the object and continue bringing it closer until it almost touches your eye. Congratulations, the item is now in front of your dominant eye. If you hit the center of your nose you are not focusing on the object.

If the object moved to your right eye you are “right eye dominant” and are in the main stream. Most archers are right eye dominant. You will hold the bow with your left hand and draw the string back with your right hand. If the object moved to your left eye you are “left eye dominant” and will hold the bow with your right and draw back the string with your left. Left-eye dominance is not as common so you may have difficulty begging the use of someone’s bow to try it out, but left-handed and/or universal bows are not difficult to purchase.

The archery form – turning the body into a machine

The key to good shooting is consistency. You will not make consistent shots if you do not have a consistent form. This can be likened to turning your body into a machine. Countless repetitions of your proper form are required to build sufficient muscle memory to have a consistent release. Remember, archery can boil down nicely into a simple ballistics exercise. If you cannot control where you are shooting your accuracy will be only moderately better than coincidental.

Begin by lining the tips of your toes up with an imaginary line that extends perpendicularly from the center of the target. Stand up straight and breathe, you should not be tense. Make sure that your feet are shoulder-width apart and that you are straddling the shooting line with one foot on either side. This gives you a stable stance and keeps you nicely in line with your target.

Place your fingers on the string such that you stabilize the arrow, either with your index finger above the arrow and your middle and ring fingers below, or with all three fingers below the arrow (the knock keeps the arrow in place on the other side). See the comparison between split-finger and three-under shooting at the end of the article. Using your chosen style, hook the string between the first and second joint of your fingers. Make sure that your fingers are curled enough so the string cannot slip out from your grasp as you draw back.

Align the handle of the bow with the base of your thumb and let your knuckles remain at a 45 degree angle to the bow. You may touch your forefinger and thumb together if you wish, but your hand should be relaxed. The pressure generated when pulling back on the string should hold the bow to your hand. If you clench the bow you can ruin your accuracy.

Once your hands are in position, raise your bow hand so it is level with your shoulder. Twist your bow arm so that the elbow is pointed away from the bow. This forces a bend in your arm and keeps you from getting string bites: when the string hits your arm when you release. Pull horizontally with your string hand so that it follows your bow arm and continue to your anchor point. As you draw back the string, use your back muscles. This involves bringing your shoulder blades together as you pull. The use of back muscles, not your arm, is what helps you generate a straight force that will send your arrow where you are aiming. Try to keep your shoulders as low as possible when drawing back the bow.

Anchor points vary from person to person, but typically you should ensure that the arrow lines up with your dominant eye. This allows you to aim down the arrow as a sight. One suggestion is to anchor your index finger below your chin and let the string rest against your nose. If you keep your teeth together this is a consistent anchor. Three-under shooters will have to adjust this position slightly. Try out different positions until you find one that is consistent and comfortable for you to return to repeatedly.

When aiming you generally close your non-dominant eye. This allows you to look straight down the arrow without distraction. You can use the tip of your arrow as a means of sighting your shot. At the start you should try to point directly at the bull’s eye and eventually make adjustments. Adjusting your aim is straightforward; whatever direction your arrow point moves is the direction the impact site will shift.

While you should make a conscious note of your form at the beginning, eventually you should only be focusing on where you are aiming. Everything else should become muscle memory after enough practice. When you are aiming at your target, continue to pull the string back with your back muscles and then refuse to hold the string. If you are focusing only on aiming this release should be a surprise. A proper release will cause your string hand to pull backward toward your ear and the bow to fall forward in your bow hand.

Finally, continue to aim at the center of your target until the arrow lands. This promotes good follow-through and prevents you from falling out of your form before the arrow has cleared the bow.

Looking at your own form

Consider asking a friend to record you while you shoot arrows. You can identify your own problems this way. You can also use these videos as a demonstration of what you are doing off of the range and may be useful for someone trying to help you improve.

When shooting you should be focusing on aiming, but eventually you will know when your shot “feels” right or “feels” wrong. If it feels wrong, slowly let down your draw and try again. There is no reason to take a bad shot. If you are in a timed round, you will have to rely on your experience to tell you if it is quicker for you to draw down and re-attempt the shot or to lose the arrow and quickly reload.

Always check to see if you were surprised by the arrow release. If you said “now” in your head, you were not aiming. If your string hand did not snap backward, you were not aiming. Specifically, if you release the arrow and your hand does not move from its anchor, you had a “dead release” which really changes your arrow’s flight. Be surprised! It’s good for you and your form!

Precision precedes accuracy – how to hit the bull’s eye.

What is precision? What is accuracy?

Precision is the ability to hit the target in the same location over and over again. If you fire thirty arrows and every single one lands in a three inch circle on the lower right of the target face, you may have a terrible score but you also have great precision. Although often understated, precision is the key to successful shooting. If you do not know where your arrow is going to land then you cannot know how to make a proper correction. Thus, precision must precede accuracy. If you miss the center ring all day but your arrows have punched a hole out of the side of the target, you have had a successful shoot.

Accuracy is the ability to shoot at a specific target. If you aim at the center of the target and hit it, you are very accurate. However, if you shoot ten arrows and one hits the center of the target, you are lucky. True accuracy requires a strong foundation of precision. Once your form has developed enough to strike the same area of the target, it is comparatively little effort to move that group onto the center of the bail. Accuracy is the shiny trophy you get for a lot of hard training.

Becoming precisely accurate.

Always aim at the same spot on your target. Always. Even if you think you are shooting too low or off to the right, always aim at that same spot. If you aim at the same spot and your arrows are not landing consistently (they are scattered on the target), moving your aiming spot is not going to help you at all.

Once your arrows begin landing in a tight “group” you can make one adjustment: either up/down or left/right. Depending on your patience, a “reasonable” group would be about a 3 inch radius at your maximum shooting range (more on that later). Shoot using this new aiming spot and make sure your entire group has moved accordingly but has not become more spread out. Once you are 100% sure where all of your arrows are landing, make one more adjustment up/down or left/right. Continue until your group falls across the center of the bull’s eye. This takes a lot of time, a lot of patience, and a lot of resolve, but it has a huge payoff.

Shoot as far as you can as often as you can.

Do not ignore your short distance shooting, but when trying to become more precise and accurate try to shoot at least 10 yards/meters past the maximum distance you expect to shoot. If your tournaments never push past 40 yards/meters, practice at 50+ yards/meters.

As distance between you and the target increases the more dramatic small imperfections in your form will become. A three-inch group at 20 yards can become a 12-inch group at 50 yards. This is partly due to the increased contribution of small angles at longer distances, so seemingly minor shifts in one direction at 20 yards are magnified at 50 yards. There are also environmental factors affecting the arrow but that is more difficult to predict/control. If you can shoot a three inch group at 50 yards/meters you will find yourself hitting your own arrows at 20 yards/meters because your muscle memory is more fine-tuned from the training.

Stop while you are ahead

If you are tired, stop shooting. There is no reason to develop bad habits during exhaustion that will take multiple shooting sessions to shake off. Avoid bad habits and just put the bow down. Your strength and endurance training happens off of the range where you cannot damage your form. More discussion on this training is discussed later in the article.

Never adjust your aim until you are shooting consistent, tight groups. Remember, shooting a tight group is the hard part. Making a fine-tuned adjustment to hit the center is easy. Do not complicate matters by feverishly adjusting your aim each time you fire an arrow. A good group is worth more than hitting the center of the target. Do not fall into the trap of trying to compete with someone next to you on the range (unless it is a tournament). Just keep working on your own form and the points will come pouring in.

Improving your shot off of the range

Fitness

There are numerous training plans available to improve your upper body and shooting muscles. Pushups are great for your upper body and I highly recommend them. Check out “100 pushups” in your search bar for a great personal plan. Pull-ups are also pretty amazing for your upper body; the 100 pushups website also has a link to a pullup plan. Furthermore, many archery training tools are available, either as finished products or as a “make your own” instructional guide. Consider these items instead of possibly damaging your bow. Finally, general fitness and cardiovascular health is always good. Jogging, swimming, and other cross-training keeps you in shape and mixes it up a bit. Remember to please consult a physician before beginning any new diet or workout.

Improving your release.

Practice picking up a closed paint bucket by the handle with your fingers. Pretend you are drawing back an arrow. Now practice refusing to hold the bucket. The handle should slip out of your fingers cleanly, without catching on anything. Continue to work with the bucket when you are not on the range to develop a clean release. Your release can be a huge source of inconsistency when you shoot so this is a great way to get in some extra practice without the range fees.

Split fingers or three under?

Split finger shooting is the more common and “natural” position of your fingers on the bowstring. You position your index finger on top of the knock and your middle and ring fingers beneath the arrow. This is the preferred finger arrangement for a number of archers and is touted as the better choice for long distance (80+ yards) and trick shooting. The reasoning is that you have slightly more control over your arrow, and your arrow naturally has more of an upward angle which increases travel distance. Basically, because your fingers are positioned above and around the arrow, the arrow actually has a higher degree of separation from “true horizontal” compared to three-under shooting. The big disadvantage of shooting split finger comes from the fact that your index finger is separated from your middle and ring fingers. When separated your fingers are harder to control as a group, meaning you may release your string with your bottom two fingers but “pluck” the string with your index finger, or vice versa. The learning curve to correct this issue can be steep for some shooters. Additionally, because you are “pinching” the arrow between your fingers, you have a higher likelihood of catching the arrow with your fingers or with your finger protection when you release, which can also change your arrow’s flight.

Three under shooting is the placement of your index, middle, and ring fingers beneath the arrow. The top of the arrow is supported by the knock attached to your bowstring. This is a less common approach to shooting but offers a different shooting experience. Some may find this finger position to be unnatural, but this is not always the case. Some experience little or no learning curve using this method and you handily avoid the problems of pinching the arrow or plucking the string, which you must deal with if you use the split-finger approach. You do lose out on range: all of your fingers are below the arrow so if you used the same anchor as a split-finger style your arrow would have less of an angle. This does not affect flight directly, but it does affect “shooting the gap” at long distances because you will have to raise your bow higher than a split-finger shooter to reach the same target. For those shooting short to medium ranges, the difference is fairly minimal. You mainly have to concern yourself with making sure that you are distributing pressure equally on the bowstring when drawing back, i.e. not pulling the string mainly with your ring finger, which causes an unequal load on the bow limbs and may harm your equipment/accuracy.

Try the two styles out and see which one works for you. You can become proficient and even excel using either method. The split finger arrangement is the more traditional choice.

What should I look for in an archery range?

There are many factors that can affect your taste in an archery range. You can ask some questions to see if a range is good for you.

Does the range attract only hunters, target shooters, or both? Does it have indoor and/or outdoor ranges for various distances? Are the bails appropriate for what I want to shoot? Does the range have a store/workshop or is it only targets? Does the range have knowledgeable staff? Do they know about traditional archery? Do they know about modern archery? Is the shop equipped to handle repairs that may apply specifically to your bow/arrows? Is the shop able to order special items for you if requested? Are classes held at the range? How crowded is the range during various hunting seasons? Are the range fees affordable?

Can I make my own archery range?

This depends on your local laws and regulations. Firing weapons inside of city limits is globally a bad ideal and this includes bows. You should check your local laws before attempting to set up a target in your own backyard. In general you will need a large plot of private land with a back-stop to prevent arrows from leaving the designated “range area”. Local regulations will provide the specifics. If you live in a highly populated area like a city you will likely have no luck getting a range approved. If you have empty acreage with no visitors, it is more likely to be an option.

Symptoms of an Abscess: How to Identify an Abscess

An abscess is a kind of skin crack which looks like a leak containing pus; one of the major discomforts of abscess is the inflation in the abscessed area surrounding tissues. Mostly abscess is formed due to certain localized infection. Abscess may occur in different parts of organ however, external abscess can be treated by localized treatment as well as it can be identified by symptoms, whereas only a doctor and relevant medical examination can identify an internal abscess problem.

Common sites for abscess are breast, peri-rectal region, gums, armpit, and groin area. The sites and the intensity of infection may differ from one patient to another.

The symptoms of abscess are mostly visible and a few of them are felt as associated complications. The intensity of complications also may vary from one person to another.

The affected area which is infected seems swollen, reddish in skin tone, and touch-sensitive; if touched one can feel the unusual warmth under the skin tone. An abscess is, in general painful, but the intensity of pain again differs from one person to another depending on the tolerance of an individual.

When an abscess gets matured, it forms a point and may come to create a head. In case of advanced stage of skin abscess, spontaneous rupture and pustular drainage may occur also as a part of its auto-drainage system. Therefore an abscess needs to be treated with utmost care and with proper medical intervention; arrangement of proper incision and drainage of the pus accumulated inside due to the infection is the general process for initial treatment of severe abscess. In Case an abscess left untreated, it may harm tissues at deeper level and may cause infection in bloodstream which may lead to septicemia.

In case of an abscess with severe infection concerned patient may feel a spell of headache, mild to moderate temperature, urge of vomiting on and on, muscular cramp, increasing pain, etc issues and at the same time the patient may feel restless due to increasing pain and irritation on the skin surface.

In some cases the patient with abscess may feel certain shivering or abnormal sweating on contrary due to extreme restlessness in body. However, unconditional restlessness is one of the major symptoms of severe abscess.

In case of minor abscess, proper care, localized application of antibiotic ointment may heal the infection whereas there are some complicated conditions which may demand better scale of alertness for prevention for further worsening of the case at the earliest hints of any of these discomforts.

Some of these alarming symptoms are fever, extreme redness of skin on the affected area, severe pain, visible swelling of the wound, tenderness, and certain kind of drainage out of the wound or the cavity of abscess. In these case it is necessary to contact a medical professional at the earliest.

Self Service Your Lawn Mower and Save Money

Around where I live the small engine retail and service stores charge $75 an hour to work on lawn mowers and ride-on tractors. Most people can do the necessary basic service themselves and keep their mower running smoothly for years.

We all do it, we get to the end of the grass cutting season, shove the mower or tractor to the back of the shed and forget about it till next Spring. Don’t do that this year, it will cost you money and time to get it back in working order.

What you’ll need: Digital camera, SAE30 oil, wire brush, spray can of black enamel paint, heavy duty gloves, container for used oil, replacement spark plug, (just in case), face mask and cleaning rags.

Drain the fuel tank and let the engine burn the last of it from the carburetor and fuel lines. The fuel in the tanks will partially evaporate over winter leaving a residue, particularly fuels blended with ethanol which will leave a gooey mess, that’s a real pain to clean out especially from the fine jets in the carburetor.

Before doing any further work on your machine, disconnect the spark plug lead. Although electrical interlocks should prevent the engine accidentally starting it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Drain out the old engine oil. For most lawn mowers the drain plug is underneath in the mower deck. For others and lawn tractors the drain plug is at the base of, and on the side of the engine. Be sure to collect the oil in a container to dispose of correctly later, don’t let the oil drain onto the ground.  Replace the oil drain plug. Leave the dipstick out to remind you there is no oil in the engine.

Clean dirt and grass off the mower, a small amount of debris in the engine will cause it to seize. Clean dirt from the engine cooling fins, you may have a cover to remove to do this. If this is the first time you are doing your own maintenance, have a digital camera handy to take photos as you work to ensure parts go back correctly. Take as many pictures as you need, use the zoom for close-ups, so as you put things back in place you won’t waste any time figuring things out. Don’t rely on your memory it will let you down!

Clean the deck, for lawn mowers tip the machine on its side, carburetor side up. Use a block of wood to wedge the blade so that it cannot move. Put on a pair of heavy duty garden gloves before removing the blade. Clean debris from the underside of the deck, wire brush and spray with black enamel paint from an auto parts dealer, always use a mask for this job. Painting the underside of the deck will prolong its life. Have a professional sharpen and balance the blade before replacing it. Then turn your mower upright.

Take out the spark plug, wire brush it clean and check the gap, 0.30″ for most. If it’s worn replace it with new. Take the plug to a dealer to ensure you get the correct replacement. Clean and replace carburetor air filter. Fill the engine with SAE30 oil, check manual for quantity required making sure not to over fill, then use the dipstick to check the level, let stand for a few minutes then re-check.  Wipe the dipstick to avoid an incorrect reading.

Check the condition of the starter pull cord. If damaged or frayed take the mower to a service dealer for a replacement pull cord. Replacing the cord can be difficult especially if the recoil spring is taken out of its housing and it’s not a task for a beginner. Lubricate the cables and if it’s self-propelled check the belts for wear and damage and replace if needed.

Wipe the machine down and store ready for next Spring and you’ve just saved yourself $100 or more.

MONETIZING TIPS: Offer this simple end or beginning of season service to family, friends, neighbors, church members and seniors clubs. Make up a poster on your PC with eye catching photos from the web. If you have a vehicle to transport machines so much the better. You only need a space in your garage or garden shed and a few simple tools to get started on a nice money-making business. Your camera can be a big help by ensuring you can see exactly how things came apart until you feel confident.

Need more info on cameras? http://www.digitalcamerainformation.net

Brian Wenham