What You Must Do To Live Longer

Research has shown that the key to a healthier and longer life lies on our diet. The essence of a healthful diet is simply making good choices from the foods that are available. For help in making healthy choices, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends the use of a four-tier food guide pyramid.

At the base of the pyramid are complex carbohydrates, which include grain foods, such as bread, cereal, rice, and pasta. These foods are the foundation of a healthful diet. On the second tier are two equal sections; one is vegetables, and the other is fruits. These foods are also complex carbohydrates. Most of our daily diets should be selected from these three food groups.

The third tier has two smaller sections. One section has such foods as milk, yogurt, and cheese; and the other includes meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, and nuts. Only moderate amounts of foods should be eaten from these groups. Why? Because most of these foods are rich in cholesterol and saturated fat, which can increase the rich of coronary diseases, such as heart attack, and cancer. And could also cause obesity.

Finally, at the very top of the pyramid is a small area that includes fats, oils, and sweets. These foods provide very few nutrients and should be eaten sparingly. More foods should be chosen from the bottom part of the pyramid, and fewer from the top.

Rather than sticking to the same food items from each section toward the bottom of the pyramid, it is wise to experiment with a variety of foods within those sections. This is because each food has a different combination of nutrients and fiber. Some vegetables and fruits, for example, are good sources of vitamins A and C, while others are high in folic acid, calcium, and iron.

Not surprisingly, vegetarian diets are becoming increasingly popular. Data are strong that vegetarians are at lesser risk for obesity, constipation, lung cancer, and alcoholism . And, contrary to what some may believe, with careful, proper planning, even meatless diets can meet Recommended Dietary Allowances for nutrients.

An important factor for everyone is keeping dietary-fat intake below 30 percent of total calories and saturated fat below 10 percent. You can do this without becoming a vegetarian and without unduly sacrificing your enjoyment of eating.

Surefire Ways to Improve Retention Rates of Magento-Built Stores

Magento has become the recommended choice for web developers while concerned to premier eCommerce development. Millions of Magento stores are available online and it becomes real difficult to hold customers’ interest and increase customer loyalty. Having these in mind, it becomes crucial for eCommerce store owners to not only deploy the right platform but, also build the right strategy for increasing customer loyalty. Winning customer retention programs is one of the crucial tools for long-term success of an eCommerce store.

How a Customer Loyalty Program Helps

These types of programs hosts a range of benefits and perks for existing shoppers which, instill them to visit the store again and again and buy more. Most of the eCommerce retention programs run on the basis of the Points System, where with every dollar spent by a shopper helps him to earn an amount of store credits, popularly known as reward points. The store accounts of customers get filled with these points which, they can redeem for making future purchases.

How it Works for eCommerce of Recent Times

The landscape of this business genre has drastically changed over the recent years where, some of the most effective things in the past are not much productive now. Thus, it led to a shift from the traditional approach to planning retention programs. Nowadays, every other store provides shoppers with different types of payoffs to hold their interest. Thus, just rewarding them for purchasing your product is not enough for driving them to make repeat purchases.

Following here are some of the most effective ways of retaining customers and get long-term success.

Offering Long-term and Short-term Loyalty Perks

Stirring up the interest of existing customers is one of the best ways for keeping them interested. You can develop a tiered reward system which, will allow you to incentivise your customers for staying loyal to you. You can offer small rewards to the shoppers while joining the loyalty program such

  • Personal discounts for buying first time and other repeat orders.
  • Reward points.
  • Store credits for opening an account on your store.

Meanwhile, as shoppers start making repeat purchases, you can give them bigger benefits as well.

Offering Non-Material Values to Customers

Every other store is offering exclusive deals and attractive discounts to loyal customers. To stand ahead, you can offer them something of real value and better than other forms of material things. You can think of contributing something to the community which, will certainly offer a feeling of belonging and fulfillment. Magento itself, hosts a growing and dynamic community where, people can:

  • Share their experiences.
  • Offer product-oriented services.
  • Sort out each other’s queries.

Magento stores get the most online visibility in the eCommerce marketplace. Yet, to cherish long-lasting relationships with your customers, you need to plan out innovative retention strategies and stand out in the race. As the worthy choice, you can join hands with skilled Magento web developers who can guide you thoroughly and drive long-term success.

Headlight Repair and Some Visionary Solutions

Statistics are alarming. Faulty headlights cause a staggering proportion of all the car accidents that happen annually. In fact, the cloudy vision of the man behind the wheel can be attributed more to yellowed and hazy headlights than to the drinks he had. Headlight repair is the pressing need of the hour. For a car without a proper head repair job done on it is a veritable killing machine stalking the roads.

The need for headlight restoration arises due to varied factors. Weather elements like the sun's detrimental UV rays, acid rain, winds and snow can cause havoc with the car's lighting mechanism leading to cracks in the headlights. The plastic headlights that are much in use tend to oxidize and acquire a yellow tinge after serving for only a few years.

In any case, a dirty headlight with a mottled appearance mars your car's looks and does not promise too well for your safety. Complete replacement is an expensive scheme, so a car headlight repair should definitely be on the cards.

If your headlight is just dirty or water has been seen inside it, then you do not need to drag your car all the way to the garage. You can do this car headlight repair job on your own.

To clean the headlamps, you can buy the cheap but efficient headlight repair kit that is found in the market. Most such kits contain a cleaner, which is sufficient for the job at hand. For the water lodged inside, remove the lens and drill a small hole benefit the headlight all the way up to the inner chamber. Remove the water and make the headlight dry with the air-conditioner or a dehumidifier.

For some problems like cracks or holes, there's nothing like plastic resin to fix them. And with the resin being transparent, no one will notice the difference. Evidently, with the headlight repair kit at your disposal, the odd car headlight repair job that crops up will not seem a Herculean task.

If things are grave, then the car headlight repair job would actually involve a replacement. That is not too hard either.

If you have a halogen bulb, then take off the hood, and behind the headlamp you will see a black knob. The bulb is attached to the knob. Unscrew it and replace the bulb. Car headlight repair could not have been any easier.

If your bulb and headlamp are all one piece, unbolt the tiny screws that hold the thin metal band outside the headlamp. Remove the rubber covering around the headlamp and replace it. This is one headlight repair job that would not require you to rush to the garage.
Once in a while, a headlight repair job may come up which would merit a visit to the experts. Do not fret. Advanced headlight restoration techniques will ensure that the car headlight repair job gets over within minutes without burning a hole through your pocket.

Headlight repair is child's play these days. All the more reason not to ignore it.

Book Review – Healthy Carb Cookbook For "Dummies," by Jan McCracken

I have been part of the low-carb community for several years, and I find it interesting to watch the trends and the ups and downs of low carb advocacy. I've always leaned towards a healthy version and moderation.

From the beginning, I preferred "real food" made healthy, and this delightful book, Healthy Carb Cookbook For 'Dummies' (Wiley Publishing, 2005), by Jan McCracken, offers a wonderful variety of down to earth and delicious, "real world "recipes.

This book is a realistic and humorous guide for living a healthy life for real people. It addresses ease of preparation, economy of effort, consideration of meal budgets, and most importantly abundance of flavor – all with health as the underlying factor. I love every recipe I've tried so far.

As any "Dummies" reader knows, there's more to a "Dummies" cookbook than recipes. And in this book, there are terrific, common sense, and again, realistic segments, from advice and tips to information on how to get the most benefit from living right in this fast-paced world. I also appreciate that the author obviously knows her chops, so to speak. She has done her research and provides information that I have not found readily available about low and healthy carb.

I've been researching and reading about all angles of low carb eating for several years, and this book actuallyave me some fresh information, new perspectives and a fun read. If you have any curiosity or interest in low or healthy carb cooking, I highly recommend getting a copy of this book.

18 Superfoods for Your Heart

Our lifestyles and diet have a lot more to do with our heart than the number of years we have lived. Given today's hectic lifestyles, irregular sleep patterns, unhealthy diet, high levels of stress and lack of physical activity, no wonder we hear several young, possibly healthy professionals collapsing mid-day due to heart related factors. Heart disease is no longer an age-related illness.

While we have made considerable advances in the field of cardiology, it is not enough for us to leave our hearts to chance. Several common foods rich in nutrients can work to help prevent heart illnesses, when consumed daily and accompanied by a healthy lifestyle. Here are 18 superfoods that 'll have your heart going' Thank You '!

1. Flaxseeds – Loaded with heart-healthy Omega-3 essential fatty acids, lignans and fiber, flaxseed can be consumed in the form of ground powder, in baked items, as flax meal and so on. The Omega-3s work wonders for anti-inflammation, heartbeat normalization, lower blood pressure and controlling cholesterol levels.

2. Chia seeds – High in fiber, Omega-3s and protein, chia seeds can help lower LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and inflammation, while increasing heart healthy HDL cholesterol.

3. Whole grains – A diet consisting of whole grains helps in reducing LDL cholesterol levels. The fiber content in whole grains helps to lower triglycerides and cholesterol, reduce blood pressure and regulate blood sugar levels.

4. Puffed-rice / Oatmeal -Puffed-rice is rich in potassium, zinc, copper, thiamine, niacin, vitamin B6 pantothenic acid, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and manganese. If you eat puffed-rice regularly you do not need to eat Vitamin B complex supplements. Oats are also known for their high fiber content, that help remove cholesterol from the digestive system. The beta-glucan fiber present in oats lowers cholesterol levels in the blood, thus preventing plaque build-up in the walls of blood vessels.

5. Broccoli – This non-starchy vegetable helps reduce cholesterol levels. It contains sulforaphane which has anti-inflammatory properties and could prevent damage to blood vessel linings. Its B-complex vitamins work to regulate or reduce homocysteine ​​levels.

6. Spinach -Loaded with Vitamin C, beta-carotene, potassium, magnesium and folate, spinach packs the punch when it comes to cardiovascular health! This green leafy vegetable works wonders in preventing the build-up of oxidized cholesterol in blood vessel walls, lowering homocysteine ​​levels, regulating blood pressure, and maintaining a healthy heart.

7. Salmon – Another great source of Omega-3 fatty acids, salmon is also naturally rich in protein, Vitamins B and D. Consuming this oily fish at least twice a week helps in regulating blood pressure and reducing the amount of triglycerides in your system .

8. Sardines – Touted to be one of the richest sources of Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, sardines are also bursting with the goodness of Vitamin B12. The vitamin promotes cardiovascular health as it works to keep the homocysteine ​​levels in check, thereby protecting your arteries.

9. Walnuts – This superfood contains the amino acid L-arginine which helps maintain the elasticity and elasticity of arterial walls, making them less prune to blood clots and blockages. They are also rich in unsaturated fats, Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, Vitamin E and plant sterols.

10. Almonds – These heart-healthy nuts contain high amounts of monounsaturated fats, Vitamin E, magnesium and potassium that work to reduce LDL cholesterol levels, maintain arterial and venal health, foster healthy muscular contraction and regulate blood pressure.

11. Raisins – Cholesterol and fat free, and rich in potassium, raisins help in decreasing cholesterol oxidation that could lead to atherosclerosis. They can also help lower high blood cholesterol triglyceride levels.

12. Apples – The polyphenol antioxidants in this delicious fruit help in blocking oxidation of LDL cholesterol, thus reducing the chances of atherosclerosis or hardening of arteries that can cause stroke.

13. Oranges – These nutrient-rich fruits are loaded with Vitamin C, folate, potassium, magnesium, phytochemicals, flavanones, polyphenols and fiber! Oranges help in reducing oxidation of cholesterol, preventing accumulation of excess homocysteine, controlling blood pressure and fighting inflammation.

14. Berries – The phytochemicals, Vitamin C, carotenes, zinc, iron, potassium, calcium and magnesium, fiber and low sugar content in berries make them heart-friendly superfoods that you'd love to eat! Berries help in preventing plaque build-up and promote healthy blood pressure.

15. Avocado – Rich in potassium, consuming avocados can help normalize blood pressure. They also contain mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids, that can help reduce LDL levels and reduce the risk of heart diseases.

16. Dark chocolate – Higher cocoa content in dark chocolate translates into higher flavonoid levels; flavonoids help in lowering blood pressure, improving blood circulation to the brain and heart, preventing blood clots and fighting damage to cells.

17. Green tea – The EGCG in green tea is known for its anti-oxidant properties which help in improving blood flow, lowering cholesterol and blood pressure and protecting against the oxidation of LDL cholesterol particles that can cause atherosclerosis.

18. Olive oil – MUFAs or monounsaturated fatty acids found in olive oil are dietary fats; These make olive oil healthy for cardiovascular function when used instead of other fatty foods and oil sources.

These 18 superfoods are all packed with beneficial nutrients for the healthy functioning of your heart. However, just these foods are not enough. A well-balanced meal coupled with regular physical activity, regulated sleep cycle and reduced levels of stress are all integral for the promotion of cardiovascular health and ultimately a long and healthy life.

The Top 5 Reasons to Get Shared Office Space for Your Next Office

Finding office space is not easy. It is expensive, time consuming, and one of the last great opaque industries.

We are trying to change that with shared office space and a commitment to easy transparent pricing and pictures.

Below find the top 5 reasons we believe you should consider shared office room for your next office:

1. It is the most cost-efficient way to start a new office. Whether you are starting a new company, moving into a new market, or just a savvy entrepreneur, shared office space is the cheapest way to establish a new office. The internet hook-ups, furniture, lighting, and water-cooler are ready to go on Day 1. No long-term contracts or days waiting for the cable guy to show up. You can just sit down and get to work – without any of the risks or hassles of setting up an office from scratch. Just not having to buy office furniture alone makes shared office space a great (and cost effective) idea.

2. Terms are flexible. Most commercial leases require a minimum 5-year term. Shared office room can be leased for shorter terms of 6-months or 1 year. This means you only need to pay for what you really need. This gives you the flexibility to add space as your company grows, while also minimizing the risk of a costly longer term, [particularly in a new and unknown market]. Shared office space is the best way to enter a new market and gives you time to grow without being locked into a long term lease.

3. The time and energy needed to find the office is a fraction of a traditional search. All shared office room listings on a few listing sites include clear complete pricing and pictures. You can be done in days instead of months. Also, their no haggle policy makes it easy to compare spaces and know which is best for you. The time and energy that used to be needed is cut down to an hour of searching.

4. The security deposit is reasonable! Whereas security deposits of 4 to 6 months have become the norm for traditional office space… A few companies have a 1 month security deposit. That keeps working capital where it belongs. Working!

5. Working with others is more fun. Everyone is more productive in a thriving workplace. Total isolation does not lend itself to the creativity and spark that a busy workplace provides. Workers look forward to starting their day when they know they don’t have to be alone.

Liver Failure – Ayurvedic Herbal Treatment

Liver failure occurs when a major part of the liver has been damaged and it is no longer able to function. This condition may be either acute or chronic. Acute liver failure is usually caused by Hepatitis A, B and C, drug toxicity and food poisoning. Chronic liver failure is caused by Hepatitis B and C, alcoholism, cirrhosis, malnutrition and metabolic disorders. Early symptoms include nausea, loss of appetite, fatigue, and diarrhea. Late symptoms include jaundice, easy bleeding, abdominal swelling, mental disorientation, sleepiness and coma. Treatment is usually supportive. Prevention and removal of the known cause are very important.

The Ayurvedic treatment of liver failure consists of treating the known cause of the disease and correcting liver damage. Hepatitis can be treated using medicines like Arogya-Vardhini, Sutshekhar-Ras, Suvarna-Sutshekhar-Ras, Bhunimbadi-Qadha, Punarnavadi-Qadha, Guduchyadi-Qadha, Kutki (Picrorrhiza kurroa), Kalmegh (Andrographis paniculata), Sharpunkha (Tephrosea purpura), Punarnava (Boerhaavia diffusa), Haritaki (Terminalia chebula), Deodar (Cedrus deodara), Haridra (Curcuma longa), Daru-Haridra (Berberis aristata), Chirayta (Swertia chirata), Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia) and Patol (Tricosanthe dioica). Hepatitis viruses A, B and C can be deactivated using medicines like Bhumiamalaki (Phyllanthus niruri), Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Yashtimadhuk (Glycyrrhiza glabra), Haridra, Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum), Kutki and Chitrak (Plumbago zeylanica).

Alcoholism can be treated using medicines like Arogya-Vardhini, Punarnavadi-Qadha, Saraswatarishta, Nardiya-Laxmi-Vilas-Ras, Shrung-Bhasma, Kutki, Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri), Mandukparni (Centella asiatica), Shankhpushpi (Convolvulus pluricaulis), Jatamansi (Nardostachys jatamansi) and Vacha (Acorus calamus). Drug toxicity and food poisoning can be treated using medicines like Punarnavadi-Guggulu, Gokshuradi-Guggulu, Punarnavadi-Qadha, Saarivasav, Arogya-Vardhini, Shankh-Vati, Chitrakadi-Vati, Lashunadi-Vati, Laghu-Sutshekhar-Ras, Kutaj-Ghan-Vati, Praval-Panchamrut-Ras, Kutaj-Parpati and Panchamrut-Parpati. Metabolic disorders which are responsible for liver failure can be treated using medicines like Amalaki, Yashtimadhuk, Haridra and Daru-Haridra.

In addition, medicines are also given to reduce or undo the damage to the liver cells so that the liver can function properly. Medicines used for this purpose include Suvarna-Sutshekhar-Ras, Suvarna-Parpati, Punarnava-Mandur, Rasayan-Churna, Suvarna-Bhasma, Abhrak-Bhasma, Tamra-Bhasma, Amalaki, Kutki and Guduchi. Abdominal swelling can be treated using medicines like Punarnava-Mandur, Punarnavadi-Qadha, Jaypal-Ras, high doses of Arogya-Vardhini, and Ichha-Bhedi-Ras. In this condition, a predominantly milk diet is advised while water intake is restricted or prohibited.

Thus, both acute and chronic liver failure can be successfully treated by using a judicious combination of Ayurvedic medicines. Timely use of these medicines can help to prevent irreversible liver damage and complete liver failure. These medicines can therefore control liver failure and improve the chances for survival and recovery in patients affected with this condition.

Why Productive Dialogue is Key to Accelerating Organization and Individual Success

Productive dialogue is more important now than ever. With social media and social networks supplementing many of our face to face conversations, learning the ABCs of productive conversations can help you leverage your influence in social networks.

Good business dialogue cannot be underestimated: it encourages collaboration and creativity and opens up individual and organizational learning and innovation. Dialogue, by definition, is obviously two-way, in that it is a conversation between one person and another, but it is also two way in that there is an inner dialogue that has to happen for the overall output to be effective. 

The human brain does not like ambiguity or conflict. It naturally moves to make a choice: black and white. But often this leads to less effective ‘single loop’ learning, Chris Argyris in his various models of double loop learning, including ladder of inference and high advocacy/inquiry, encourages an internal challenge (an inner mental dialogue) to encourage us to constantly challenge the unconscious processes that generate the conclusions and short cuts that our normal reasoning makes.

F. Scott Fitzgerald said: “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.” And he has a point. It is ‘painful’ for our brains to hold different, possibly opposing, ideas about the same fact without jumping to one ‘right’ conclusion. But by looking closely at the information on which we have built our ‘house of conclusions’ will help us to be more accurate and structured in our thinking and then our dialogues and conversations will be very powerful.

Become a Thinking Detective

So this requires some detective work. Much of our thinking is based on the conclusions we have drawn (as part of this automatic and unconscious process). Chris Argyris in his ‘Ladder of Inference’ reckons it goes like this:

We have ‘data’ presented to us – statistics, a reaction, words, expression We select the data to use as part of our thinking – a comment, information etc We interpret this data and add meaning to it We draw conclusions from these interpretations – this helps our brain to put a label on what is happening (and boy, do our brains like labels!!), which helps to explain it and propose action from it

This is a ‘pattern’ that we do subconsciously, with lighting speed. But if we can learn how to slow this process down, break it up and do some detective work so that we use the right data, make sure we have all the data we need and then draw the most useful conclusions, our lives will be so much better!

Here’s what to do to be a ‘thinking detective’:

  • Put your ‘critic’s’ head on and retrace your thinking steps.
  • What data did you select?
  • What caught your attention?
  • What are you considering unimportant here?
  • Quite often we focus our attention on what is wrong rather than what is going well!
  • Then retrace your thinking: how did you interpret the data you selected?
  • What filters did you put on it (i.e. a negative one?)?
  • What assumptions and presuppositions did you make?

Once you have fully grasped the idea of the ladder of inference and become a good thinking detective you are ready to leverage the two key tools of productive dialogue; the first one being high quality advocacy.

Powerful Business Conversations through High Quality Advocacy

Advocacy is about sharing your thinking effectively. This could include disclosing how you feel, expressing an opinion, urging a course of action or asking someone to do something. Good ‘thinking detectives’ leverage high quality advocacy so that they are not simply offering opinions or requests. But they actually provide the data on which they based their thinking (rather than interpretations of data) and share how they arrived at their conclusions from the data they used.

Emotional state or ‘frame of mind’ is crucial to this. Think of the last time when you assumed you were right about something and in dialogue with someone ; perhaps you were having a Twitter conversation or chatting on Facebook. Notice how, in this frame of mind, you are driven to get others to realise what you ‘already know’. You are trying to influence others to your way of thinking and this feels very one way. In this type of conversation there is a notable lack of mutual learning. The whole point in having productive conversations is to promote and enforce mutual learning; this is what social networking and social media is brilliant for. But you have to approach it with the right frame of mind.

Here are some tips about how to maintain the right frame of mind for productive conversations:

  • See every conversation as an opportunity to learn and promote mutual learning
  • Assume you may be missing things others see, and seeing things others miss
  • Stay curious Assume others are acting in ways that make sense to them

Conversation is about promoting mutual learning and the best conversations are happening on social networks these days. However there is definitely an art to be mastered.

Once you have mastered your own thinking processes and understand your own conclusions and the data on which you have based them. You are ready to share your thinking with others.

This is about helping others see what you see and how you think about it. By giving examples of the data you select – telling stories, sharing anecdotes, using reference experiences – you will make your data clear (remember ‘data’ can be comments, information, statistics etc) . Then you need to clearly state the meaning that you find in these examples, clarifying and explaining the conclusions that you have drawn. As part of this process you may need to further need to explain the steps in your thinking.

A truly productive conversation also means that in sharing your thinking, you are also helping to clarify the other person’s thinking. Describe your understanding of the other person’s reasoning by reflecting back to them what you understand: “The way I understand what you have just said is that you look at the data and see declining market share, is that right?”.

Disagreeing Productively

If, during the course of your conversation, you do disagree with the other person, or perhaps see negative consequences to what they intend doing, you can make this clear in the conversation in a way that does not get the other person’s back up. If you state or identify what you see these consequences to be, but avoid attributing ‘intent’ to create those consequences to the other person, you stay on neutral ground and maintain the space of productive dialogue.

For example: “John, I notice that you have not mentioned anything about communicating the plan to the customer at this point. I have noticed in my own customer relationships that early communication helps to gain agreement. If some sort of communication will help smooth over the relationship, do you think it will be worth considering?” Distinguish between intent and impact so that a more productive outcome is achieved.

And finally, if the conversation gets more heated, and there is more conflict and emotion involved, if you feel that you have to disclose your emotions do so without implying that the other person is responsible for creating your emotional reactions.

Inquiring into how other’s think

Conversation is two way. And productive conversation involves taking responsibility for truly understanding the other person’s thinking through high quality inquiry.

High quality inquiry involves seeking others’ views, probing at how they arrived at them and, critically yet hardest of all for most of us, encouraging them to challenge your perspective. This may require us to help them share, or even understand, their own thinking. This involves listening and questioning and sometimes gently challenging them. If you are a coach, you have a head start here!

Find out how others see the situation by asking them to give examples of the ‘data’ they have used and selected in their thinking and in reaching their conclusions. You will need to help them tell you the steps they have used to get to their thinking.

The most useful questions here are the ‘what’ and the ‘how’:

  • “What information did you use to reach that conclusion?”
  • “What are you thinking here?”
  • “what do you think about this?”
  • “I’m really interested, can you tell me how did you get to that conclusion?”Be open to challenge

Stay Open to Challenge

Be open to be challenged on your own conclusions, stay open and curious and remain detached from being ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ : recognize that two brains are most always better than one and that true collaboration will promote mutual learning and growth. “I notice that we have differing, opinions on this matter, and I”m really interested in finding out what I am missing that you have noticed.”

Openly ask for help in finding out what you may be missing that they are seeing. Encourage the other person to identify the gaps or errors in your thinking. If you maintain a state of high curiosity, this will keep your mind open and the dialogue productive even when you are convinced that you are ‘right’ and they are ‘wrong’.

Inquire into the non verbal language or emotion that the other person may be showing, but do this in a non-confrontational way. “I notice that you frowned when you looked at that data; are you confused at all?”

And a great tip is to ask for help in exploring whether you are unknowingly contributing to the problem. This will require you to put ego and arrogance well behind you! “I get a feeling that something I am doing may be blocking this conversation moving forward, is that something you have noticed too?”

How To Hang Canvas Wall Art In Groups To Create a Single Artwork On A Large Wall

Canvas wall art can be hung in a group above your sofa, in a long dining room, in a corridor, staircase, or over a wide queen or king sized bed. It is a great way to decorate a large wall by using several pieces of smaller canvas to create one large artwork.

Get a group of small paintings if various sizes with similar characteristics like similar colors; a single theme like portraits, landscapes or seascapes; same frames or mat colors. You will need to have several artworks in a group to have common characteristics for them to look good together.

So if you have several pieces of flower canvas, hang them together in a group. Make sure that the total size of the group will be suitable for your wall space. A good way to determine this is to arrange the pieces on the floor next to the wall you plan to hang them on.

On the floor, you can also set the arrangement and play around where you will place each canvas. From there, you can already see if the arrangement will look balanced. Typically a large canvas piece will serve as your base painting where you can place smaller pieces above or beside the large canvas.

The large canvas at the bottom will keep your artwork grounded and balanced. Set the biggest painting on the floor and gradually add smaller pieces above it or to its left or right side. If you are forming a squarish group, the largest canvas will look good in one corner at the bottom.

Once you have grouped together the paintings on the floor, you can also see if the total size will be too small or too big for the wall next to it. Don’t forget to consider the furniture size too when arranging canvas art sets. Your grouping should not be wider than your couch or headboard.

Arrange each canvas 1-1/2 to 2 inches apart. For larger walls and canvas pieces, you can hang each canvas 3 inches apart. Don’t make a single piece stray too far away that it looks isolated from the group. General rule is, if it looks funny then it is probably not balanced and needs to be rearranged.

You can use small pieces of individual paintings or canvas art sets to form a group of canvas wall art. Canvas art sets can come in synchronized or similar sized canvas or as offset canvas pieces in different canvas sizes.

There is a lever specifically made to help you hang paintings in groups consisting of different sized canvas. It will make it easier for you to pin point where to bore holes on your wall for the nails or hanging device. Some hanging kits can also be adjusted to raise or lower the canvas to create that perfectly balanced grouping.

The Top 20 Acoustic Guitar Songs to Learn

My personal search for great acoustic guitar songs

When I began my search for the best/great acoustic guitar songs ever produced I began to dream of a time when I was a voracious young guitarists trying to digest everything the radio could spew. Since I started playing guitar a few decades ago, countless acoustic guitar songs have been produced that are perfect for beginners to experience the range of sound that can be produced by the acoustic guitar.

Now I am a little biased and my choices below reflect that. I went for what sounds good (to my ear and taste) played on the acoustic guitar; I also looked at songs that would be a slight (in some cases hard) challenge to beginners but songs that would add value to their repertoire; in fact the following songs if played well would add value to any guitarist’s repertoire. The following list is by no means exhaustive; it is merely my personal search throughout the internet to re-acquaint myself with what has been produced since the 1960s and really, to get back into one of my very first loves; actually the first dream I ever had as a boy of nine years old – of playing in a rock band.

First Ten Classics

1. Tears in Heaven – Eric Clapton

I thought I would start with one of the evergreen masters of acoustic/electric guitar. It has some nice touches in it that will make you sound good.

2. Drive – Incubus

Nice driving rhythm acoustic guitar song that is great to play at parties.

3. I’m Yours – Jason Mraz

When I first heard this song over in Honolulu it took me by surprise; a great song for those beach parties.

4. Californication – Red Hot Chilli Peppers

A nice classic introduction worth learning.

5. Bubbly – Colbie Caillat

OK, I have to admit this song grew on me; nice easy song for acoustic guitar.

6. Classical Gas – Mason Williams

A little harder to master but once you do you wont be able to put it down.

7. Knocking on heaven’s door – Bob Dylan

A great Dylan classic that is easy to play and would be great at parties.

8. Wanted (Dead or Alive) – Bon Jovi

A real classic, couldn’t go past it. Nice distinctive intro known widely – this will put you on the map; not too difficult to play.

9. Blackbird – The Beatles

This is not a song I would normally go for, but I think it is worth trying as it will extend your skill.

10.Come on get higher

A nice easy-going sing-along song that will wrap this first list of ten up.

Second Ten Classics

11. Every breath I take – Police/Puff daddy

A classic from the eighties

12. Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin

Was the measure of a guitarist in the seventies

13. Hotel California – The Eagles

This will stretch you; worth the time it will take for you to master.

14. Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd

A widely recognised song throughout the world

15. Layla Uplugged – Clapton

This one you will enjoy, nice change in style

16. Wish you were here – Pink Floyd

Classic Pink Floyd easy to play

17. Nothing else matters – Metallica

Classic Metallica – great sound

18. More than words – Extreme

This is a great song to extend your collection of chords

19. Wonderwall – Oasis

Another distinctive classic beginning riff

20. If – Bread

This is an oldie with a lot of interesting chords and changes for you to master and put together.

Carbon Nanotubes: Pros and Cons

Carbon nanotube or CNT is not a new term in the present scenario actually it is the allotrope of carbon sharing a cylindrical nanostructure. The length-to-diameter of nanotubes lies in between 132,000,000:1 and have very fascinating properties to be used in nanotechnology, optics, material science, electronics and other fields of science. Due to their extraordinary thermal conductivity, mechanical and electrical properties carbon nanotubes are used as additives for various structural materials for example, in baseball bats, car parts and golf clubs nanotubes form a very tiny fraction of the material. Nanotubes are members of fullerene family which also includes the buckyballs and the ends of these nanotubes may be capped with the hemisphere of buckyballs. Their name has been derived from their long, hollow structure with walls formed by one-atom thick sheets of carbon known as graphene. These sheets are then rolled at specific and dicrete angle and the combination of rolling angle and radius decides the properties of these nanotubes. Nanotubes are either single-walled nanotubes (SWNTs) or multi-walled nanotubes (MWNTs). The particles of nanotubes are held together by van der Waals forces. Applied quantum chemistry specially the orbital hybridization best describes chemical bonding in them. Chemical bonds are chiefly composed of sp2 bonds similar to those occurring in graphite and are stronger than the sp3 bonds found in diamond and alkanes and so are responsible for great strength of these structures.

Historical Background

In 1952, L.V. Radushkevich and L.M. Lukyanovich published clear images of 50 nm tubes made up of carbon in the Soviet Journal of Physical Chemistry but the article failed to arouse interest among the western scientists because it was published in Russian language and access was not open due to cold war. The invention of the transmission electron microscope (TEM) made the visualization of these structures possible. A paper published by Oberlin, Endo and Koyama in 1976 indicated about hollow carbon fibers with nanometer scale diameter by using vapour growth technique. In 1979, John Abrahamson presented evidence of carbon nanotubes in the 14th Biennial Conference on Carbon of Pennsylvania State University.

The whole credit to the current interest in the carbon nanotube goes to the discovery of the buckminsterfullerene C60 and other allied fullerenes in 1985. The discovery that carbon can form other stable structures apart from graphite and diamond compelled the researchers to find new forms of carbon and the result came out in the form of C60 that can be made available in all laboratories in simple arc evaporation apparatus. Sumio Lijima, a Japanese scientist discovered the fullerene related carbon nanaotube by using the simple arc evaporation apparatus in 1991. The tubes were made up of two layers with a diameter ranging from 3-30 nm and closed at both the ends. In 1993 single layered carbon nanotubes were discovered with a diameter of 1-2 nm and can be curved but they failed to create much interest among the researchers as they were structurally imperfect so the researchers are now working to improve the catalytic properties of these nanotubes.

Single walled nanotubes (SWNTs)

Most single walled nanotubes share a diameter close to 1nm with a length million times longer and the structure can be imagined by wrapping one atom thick layer of graphite called graphene into a seamless cylinder. The way by which graphene is wrapped in represented by a pair of indices (n, m) and the integers n and m represent the unit vectors along the two directions in the honey comb crystal lattice of graphene. If m=0 then nanotubes are called as zigzag nanotubes and if n=m then they are called armchair otherwise they are chiral. The SWNTs are very important variety of nanotubes because their properties changes with change in the n and m values and are widely used in the development of the first intermolecular field effect transistors. The price of these nanotubes has declined in the present era.

Multi waled nanotubes (MWNTs)

They consist of multiple rolled layers of graphene are there are two layers that can better define the structure of these nanotubes. The Russian Doll model says that the layers of graphite are arranged in concentric cylinders for example a single walled nanotube within a single walled nanotube. The Parchment model says that a single sheet of graphite is rolled around itself resembling a rolled newspaper. The interlayer distance in these nanotubes is 3.4. The Russian Doll model is generally considered while studying the structure of MWNTs. Double-walled nanotubes (DWNTs) is a special type of nanotube with morphology and properties similar to MWNTs with highly improved resistance against the chemicals.

Torus

A nanotorus is a carbon nanotube bent in the form of a torus and bears many unique properties like magnetic moment 1000 times more. Thermal stability and magnetic moment depends on the radius of the torus as well as the radius of the tube.

Nanobud

Nanobuds are newly created materials made by joining two allotropes of carbon namely carbon nanotubes and fullerenes. In this material the fullerene like buds are covalently bonded to the outer sidewalls of the underlying nanotube. This new material shares the properties of both fullerenes and carbon nanotubes. They are supposed to be good field emitters.

Graphenated carbon nanotubes

They are relatively newly developed hybrid materials combining graphitic foliates grown along the sidewalls of a multiwalled nanotube. Stoner and co-workers have reported that these hybrid materials have enhanced supercapacitor ability.

Peapod

Carbon peapod is a new hybrid material composed of network of fullerene trapped inside a carbon nanotube. It possesses interesting magnetic, heating and irradiating properties.

Cup-stacked carbon nanotubes

They differ from other quasi 1D carbon materials that behave as quasi metallic conductors of electrons. The semiconducting behaviour of these structures is due to the presence of stacking microstructure of graphene layers.

Extreme carbon nanotubes

The longest carbon nanotube was reported in 2009 measuring 18.5 cm grown on Si substrates by chemical vapour deposition method and represent electrically uniform arrays of single walled carbon nanotubes. Cycloparaphenylene was the shortest carbon nantube reported in 2009. The thinnest carbon nanotube is the armchair with a diameter of 3.

Properties

1. Strength

Carbon nanotubes have the strongest tensile strength and elastic modulus among all the materials yet discovered. The tensile strength is due to the presence of sp2 hybridization among the individual carbon atoms. The tensile strength of multi-walled tube was reported to be 63 gigapascals (GPa) in 2000. Further studies carried out in 2008 have found that the shell of these tubes is of 100 gigapascals strength which is in good agreement with the quantum models. Since these tubes have a low density their strength is high. If excessive tensile strain is given of these tubes they undergo plastic deformation which means that they are permanently altered. Although the strength of individual tubes is very high but weak shear interactions between the adjacent shells and tubes result in weakening of the strength of the multi-walled tubes. They are also not strong when compressed. Due to their hollow structure and high aspect ratio they show buckling when kept under torsional or bending stress.

2. Hardness

Standard single-walled nanotubes can tolerate a pressure of about 24GPa without being deformed and can undergo transformation to superhard phase nanotubes. Maximum pressure tolerated under current experimental techniques is 55 GPa. But these superhard nanotubes can collapse at pressures higher than 55 GPa. The bulk modulus of these nanotubes is 462-546 GPa much higher than that of diamond.

3. Kinetic Properties

Multi-walled nanotubes are concentric multiple nanotubes folded within each other and gifted with striking teleoscopic property where the inner tube may slide without friction within its outer shell therefore, creating an rotational bearing. This is perhaps the first true examples of molecular nanotechnology useful in making machines. This property has already been utilized in making world’s smallest rotational motor.

4. Electrical Properties

The symmetry and unique electronic structure of graphene is responsible for providing the carbon naotubes their astonishing electrical properties. Intrinsic superconductivity has been observed in nanotubes but it is a controversial issue in the present context.

5. Wave absorption

The most recently worked properties of the multi-walled carbon nanotubes is their efficiency to show microwave absorption and is the current area of research by the researchers for radar absorbing materials (RAM) so as to provide better strength to the aircraft and military vehicles. The research is under progress where researchers are trying to fill the MWNTs with metals like iron, nickel or cobalt to increase the effectiveness of these tubes for microwave regime and the results have shown improvement in maximum absorption and bandwidth of adequate absorption.

6. Thermal Properties

All the nanotubes are generally believed to be good thermal conductors exhibiting the property of ballistic conduction.

Defects

Crystallographic defect affects the material property of any material and defect is due to the presence of atomic vacancies and such defects can reduce the tensile strength of the material to about 85%. The Strong Wales Defect creates a pentagon and heptagon by the rearrangement of bonds. The tensile strength of the carbon nanotubes is dependent of the weakest segment. Crystallographic defect also affects the electrical properties of the tubes by lowering the conductivity. Crystallograhic defect also affects the thermal conductivity of the tubes resulting in the phonon scattering that reduces the mean free path.

Applications

Nanotubes are widely used in making tips of the atomic force microscopic probes. They are also used in tissue engineering acting as a scaffold for bone growth. Their potential strength helps them to be used as a filling material for increasing the tensile strength of other nanotubes. Their mechanical property helps them to be used in making clothes, sports jackets and space elevators. They are also used in making electrical circuits, cables ad wires.

Pool Stick Care – Taking Good Care of Your Cues

A pool stick is a tool-nothing more, nothing less. And like other tools, it requires some care and maintenance to perform optimally and live a long life.

While you wouldn’t leave your metal tools out in the weather to get rusty and tarnished, neither should you leave your pool cue in a similar situation. Leaving your stick in an extremely hot or cold car for a length of time can easily cause it serious damage. Direct sunlight can be brutal to a pool cue over time.

Most pool cues are made from laminated wood which can delaminate, warp, expand and contract in excessive humidity, heat and cold. Constant temperature change can also affect the bond between the wood and metal parts of the pool stick such as the joints and rings. Wood and metal expand and contract at different rates and can become loose and disconnected from each other.

Storing your pool cues at average room temperature and avoiding excessive humidity and/or dryness is the best way to go. Avoid keeping them in an attic or cellar. Wood may feel very hard and durable, but it can react badly to improper care.

Storing your home pool sticks in a wall rack if fine. If, however, you travel to play pool and billiards much, a good, strong pool cue case is absolutely imperative. I prefer a hard case with a well-padded interior. A soft case just won’t protect the stick from dropping or crushing damage.

As mentioned, storing sticks upright in a wall rack is OK, but leaning them against a wall is a definite mistake. It won’t take long to warp a stick that is left this way. As we all know, a warped stick is no fun to play with.

Proper pool stick care should also apply to the finish of your cue. Your stick gets handled a lot in the course of its life and the finish will eventually begin to wear off. An occasional cleaning with a damp, soapy, soft cloth followed immediately by a dry wipe with a different soft cloth will help to remove surface oils and dirt. Hand chalk, skin oils, cigarette smoke, alcohol and other environmental pollutants all work constantly to harm the fine finish on that cue.

Avoid excessive rubbing of the shaft with Scotch-Brite or other abrasives as this will cause premature wear on the shaft. Depending on how much pool you play, an occasional cleaning will help keep the shaft and butt of the stick in the best condition possible. Naturally, the more you play, the more you need to clean the stick.

After the pool cue is clean and dry, apply a thin coat of a good furniture polish or wax to protect the finish and wood.

If your shaft should acquire a dent, it can usually be gently removed. Apply a small amount of saliva or water to the dent repeatedly over time until the wood grain expands back to shape and the dent disappears. If the dent is quite deep it may be necessary to steam out the dent very carefully. This may cause the surrounding wood grain to raise some. Smooth it carefully with some Scotch-Brite until it is smooth again. If in doubt, take it to a pro.

Joint protectors are a good investment. They protect the joint of the stick from damage and help prevent moisture and contaminants from entering the joint areas.

A tip tool is another worthwhile item to keep your cue tips in top working order. I have one with an abrasive shaping surface on one end and a tip pick on the other. The abrasive surface allows me to keep a proper rounded shape to the tip and the tip pick roughs up the tip to allow it to better hold chalk.

Probably the most basic and sensible facet of pool stick care is to just treat your pool cue nicely. Don’t bang it around and drop it on the floor or the pool table. Watch out for the drinks and dirt which will inevitably find their way on to your favorite cue if you aren’t careful.

A good pool cue can make the difference between you being a stud or a dud on the pool table. With the proper care and maintenance, it can last for thousands of pool games and decades of time. Take good care of your pool sticks – you won’t regret it!

Keep Birds Off Your Roof With Bird Spikes

Each year homeowners spend hundreds of dollar cleaning up after and repairing damage caused by pest birds. Pigeons love to roost on the edges of your roof looking for dinner or just enjoying the sun. They can cause a lot of damage to the roof as well as endanger you and your outdoor pet’s health. Pigeons can carry any of 60 transmittable diseases, including West Nile Virus and Hystoplasmosis. The debris left behind by the pigeons can contain fleas, mites and ticks. It is essential for homeowners to get rid of pigeons as soon as they see them arrive.

One of the best ways to keep pigeons off your roof is to install bird spikes on the peaks and edges. Most pigeons will land on the peak or edge of a roof first to look around and make sure that they are safe, they will then walk around the roof looking for a good roosting or nesting spot. Bird spikes make it impossible for the pigeons to land on the areas that the spikes are covering. If they cannot land on your roof they will most likely move on to a more hospitable spot.

Bird Spikes come in several types. There are all plastic spike strips as well as plastic with stainless steel spikes. Most bird spikes come in two-foot sections and are easily installed using either adhesive or screws. When installing bird spikes on your roof, you will most likely want to use adhesive, as nails or screws will put holes in the roofing material.

Plastic bird spikes will usually come in a variety of colors to match your roof. If you have a tile roof, you can get the terra cotta colored spikes. Plastic bird spikes tend to be less expensive that the stainless steel model. They are made of a polycarbonate plastic similar to that of the headlights of a car, thus they are very rigid and will last quite a while on the roof.

Stainless steel bird spikes have a plastic base with stainless steel spikes. They are as easy to use as plastic spikes; they are just less visible once installed. Stainless steel spikes come in two-foot sections and are easily installed using glue or screws. Again, it is best to use glue on rooftop applications, as you do not want to make holes in the roof. Once installed, the spikes make it virtually impossible for larger birds like pigeons and gulls to land on the roof peaks and edges.

Installing bird spikes is a great weekend DIY project. Depending on the severity of the pigeon problem, most spike installation jobs can take less than two to three hours to complete. It is important to do a thorough clean up before installing any type of bird control system. Pigeons and other birds are attracted to their scent, so they will try to land and nest in the same spots year after year. It is best to disinfect and deodorize the area before the bird spikes are installed. Use caution before cleaning bird feces; never remove dried feces as you may inhale the dust, which can carry diseases. Always dampen the feces first and scrape them into trash bags to dispose of it.

A Brief History Of Drafting Tables

Good drafting tables are an indispensable aid to many art, architecture and drafting students and professionals. They are specialized tables having a hinged top that can be raised from flat to upright and at any angle in between. There is a lip or edge running along the stationery edge that allows one to rest pencils, pens and other drawing or drafting implements. The lip also keeps the artwork, designs or blueprints in place when the table top is at an angle. Parallel rulers may also be incorporated into the table top.

This type of table has been around for a long time. Before the Industrial Revolution, they were part of a gentleman’s study. He would use it for drawing, painting and for reading large volumes and newspapers. This early table was usually very heavy and made of oak. The raising and lowering apparatus used a lead weight to keep the table top at the desired angle and height.

Drawing, painting and design became less the province of the gentleman during the Industrial Revolution. The drafting table became more of an office or shop fixture. It was designed to be less heavy and cumbersome and made of less costly materials. The function was unchanged but the distribution and popularity of these essential tables greatly increased.

Forms of them are found in courthouses and county clerks offices. They are ideal for perusing the bulky and cumbersome index books and legal ledgers. This method of displaying heavy books for reading or display is still popular. Libraries sometimes use them for displaying open newspapers and magazines.

Mostly, though, the modern drafting table is used by artists, designers, architects and some engineers. They still perform the basic functions but there are a wide range of styles and types available.

Student models are widely available in art supply stores. They are lightweight and the lid is held upright by wing nuts and simple assemblies. The table top is usually plywood covered with a durable coating that resists scratches and cuts. The tops are easily removed to allow for portability. Student models run the gamut of prices, depending on the quality of the product.

There’s also a full range of professional models available. The pulley system is still an intrinsic part of many professional tables. Often, however, more expensive tables will have the raising and lowering capabilities performed by machinery. Accuracy is paramount in architecture and the more sophisticated models are designed to assist in that exacting work.

If you are an artist, you can check online at the many art supply stores to see the range of student and artist models available. Make sure that the size and design of the model you are interested in is appropriate to the desired use. Consider how and where you will be using it and whether it will be used in a fixed place or moved around. Then check to see the shipping rates. The weight of the table and whether it is assembled or shipped in one piece could make a big difference in the final purchase price. Architects and other professionals may find their best choices are to be found in specialty stores catering to these professions.

Paint A Team Logo On Your Man Cave Wall Using The Grid Method

You’ve done everything possible to make your Man Cave the envy of your buddies, yet you still long for something more. Something that will give your dedicated sports room an extra touch of awesomeness that nobody else has thought of. Perhaps all you need now is an enlarged, hand painted logo of your favorite sports team adorning the wall. You might have heard of other Man Cave owners having to use expensive hi-tech projectors and other equipment to accomplish this, but there is another ages old method of enlarging images that the masters used centuries ago. Even better, the method I’m going to cover in this article doesn’t require any special equipment other than a tape measure and a level.

What you’ll need

The first thing you’ll need to kick-start this project is a copy of the logo you want to enlarge and reproduce. Luckily, finding a good copy of your team’s logo is as easy as searching for your “team’s name” + logo in your favorite search engine’s image search feature. One huge pitfall of getting images from the web is that most web graphics are pixelated and grainy. Try to find an image that is relatively large (measuring about 700 to 800 pixels in either width or height) so it will print out clearly. Additionally, you want to make sure that the image you use does not have a busy background. Gradients, patterns and other distracting background elements might make it more difficult when it comes time to reproduce it on the wall. Thankfully, the internet is full of places where you can find hi-res versions of your team’s logo.

As for your painting supplies, consider using paintbrushes of different sizes; larger ones for covering larger areas of color and smaller ones for details and black outlines. Be sure to pick up some paint that matches the colors in the logo, too.

Lastly, you’ll want to have a measuring tape, a level and a yard stick for constructing a grid on the wall.

Using the Grid Method

The Grid Method has been used by artists for centuries for the purpose of enlarging and transferring images onto other drawing surfaces. Don’t worry if you’re not artistically inclined, though; this method is really simple.

1. First, you’ll need to print your logo out onto a regular sheet of paper. Make sure that there is a little white space all around the edges of the image on your printout.

2. Now, using a ruler in the white space surrounding the image, you want to draw a box around the logo. To make the next steps as easy as possible, you should round the height and width of the box to the nearest inch.

3. Next, create a grid filled with one inch by one inch squares within the box.

4. Now, using your pencil, level, yardstick and measuring tape, draw a larger corresponding grid on the wall where you want the logo to go. Try out different scales on paper before you commit to one. Calculate what the dimensions of your logo would be if you made your grid out of 6 by 6 inch boxes (or 8 by 8 inch boxes) in stead and see if that fits into your allotted space on the wall.

5. Once you have your grid on the wall, grab your pencil and start transferring the logo, box by box, from your small grid to the larger grid. If you’re finding it difficult to get the lines and curves just right in a particular area, simply draw extra lines onto your small grid and on the wall grid to give you more reference points.

6. All that’s left now is to paint over your pencil lines and to fill in the colors of your logo. Be sure to step back and compare your work to the logo on your small grid to make sure things are still lining up and looking great.

Hand painting a huge team logo on your wall like this is an extremely fun and rewarding project to undertake and will make your Man Cave even more personalized than before. The greatest thing about doing this kind of project yourself is that not only will your result will be truly unique, but your pals will be scratching their heads trying to figure out how you did it.