Dimensions of Group Dynamics – Keys to Effective Group Learning Discussions

In an age when active involvement of learners is recognized as crucial to effective learning, teachers and instructors in all settings are using group discussions as a method to promote more active involvement.

While some critics caution that brain-based learning research tells us there is still a need for time for individual reflection, it is hard to deny the fact that group activities promote more active involvement on the part of most learners. In addition, they are cost-effective and relatively easy to implement.

Teachers look for creative ways to structure group tasks, but some fail to recognize the importance of effective group functioning in achieving learning objectives. Simply turning over a task to a group is often not enough. The group must be able to function to perform the task while at the same time achieving beneficial learning outcomes for each participant in the group.

The academic discipline of Social Psychology has been studying how individuals perform in groups for decades. While there may be some debate over some issues, a review of the literature reveals five key dimensions for group functioning cited by most experts. Although there are differences in terminology, the underlying meaning is the same. The following five dimensions were popularized by Organizational Psychologists Robert Blake and Jane Mouton in their book, Spectacular Teamwork. Here are the dimensions:

1. Power and authority
2. Roles and responsibilities
3. Norms and standards
4. Morale and cohesion
5. Goals and objectives.

All groups – even those coming together for the first time – will exhibit these dimensions to varying degrees depending on their personal experience. In seminar and workshop settings, participants come from organizations structured under a “boss.” In the absence of a designated leader, some groups may choose to elect one. In other cases, a member emerges to fill the role. The point is, at some level, someone in the group must have or take the power and authority to provide direction to the group.

In some highly structured work groups, roles and responsibilities for different aspects of group functioning are assigned. Person A might be the designated timekeeper while Person B is the designated group recorder. In other cases, roles are assumed and different members may play different roles at different times.

Norms and standards are guidelines for acceptable behavior. For example, some work groups have discussion standards that only allow participation when the leader recognizes an individual. Other groups have norms that allow some individuals to contribute little to the discussion without being challenged. In a seminar setting, these norms and standards will develop over time, but initially, they are nothing more than the sum total of the experiences of the participants.

In the early stages of development, groups lack cohesion or a sense of togetherness. Consequently, morale is often neutral. Over time, effective functioning leads to increased cohesion and successful outcomes breeds a sense of morale.

Finally, all groups have goals and objectives. The most obvious is the group outcome as defined by the task. However, each individual in that group has his or her own goals and there can be a great deal of divergence across those goals. In some cases, individual goals can actually be at cross-purposes, making it difficult for the group as a whole to work towards a common objective.

Is the Serta Mattress the Best on the Market

Serta have been making high quality mattresses for over 70 years and claim to make the world's best mattress. But is their claim justified, especially with the development of the memory foam mattress by new innovative manufacturers?

Serta are firmly placed near the top of the mattress pile. Along with Sealy, Simmons and Spring Air, Serta dominate the mattress market. Not only are their mattresses found in millions of homes but, the chances are, the next time you check-in to a hotel, it'll be a Serta mattress you'll be sleeping on.

You can not make a good quality mattress if you do not use top notch materials. There's no denying that Serta does use the best materials. The heart of the Serta mattress is the StabL-Base Double Beam Foundation. It is on this wooden frame that the spring system is mounted. Only the best wood is used – without knots – which would cause structural weaknesses. Also, every mattress Serta makes coming with an advanced open-flame resistance system; FireBlocker. The ticking and quilt layer also uses the best materials.

A Serta mattress uses the best materials, but does it use the best manufacturing technology? Serta relies on a spring system to give the customer the correct posture and comfort. The innerspring mattress has been around a long time and remains the most popular type of mattress, and this is the system used by Serta. There are three types of innerspring mattresses; hourglass-shaped, continuous-coil and pocket springs. Serta's Perfect Sleeper series uses continuous coils. Whilst continuous-coil springs are more durable, and maintain their shape longer than hourglass springs, they are inter-linked, which means you're disturbed by the movements of your partner. Pocket springs are different: they are in their own "fabric pocket" rather than being connected to each other like hourglass and continuous-coil springs, so the springs move a little more independently and you are less affected by your partner's movements. Serta's Perfect Night mattress uses pocket springs. Serta's innerspring mattresses rate is highly many consumer reports; in fact, for the $ 880 to $ 1100 price range, the Serta Perfect Sleeper is probably one the best innerspring mattresses you can buy.

There's no denying that the memory foam mattress has caused quite a stir in the mattress world and is becoming ever more popular. For people with back problems memory foam mattresses have been shown to improve sleep quality. Serta has finally realized the benefits of the new viscoelastic mattresses and have begun making their own; The International Touch. Serta claim that their memory foam mattress is the cheapest on the market – up to 30% cheaper than the market leader. However, being cheaper does not mean better. If you can afford it, you're probably better buying the market leader's memory foam mattress – the market leader being Tempur-Pedic.

But memory foam mattresses are not everyone's favorite. That's because foam mattresses do not feel as fluffy or squishy as an innerspring mattress with pillow tops and cushy quilted ticking. Also, many consumers have reported a rather unpleasant smell from their new foam mattress.
So, if you prefer the more traditional foam mattress, then you should seriously consider a Serta mattress. Many consumer reviews highly rate the Serta mattress and they have been making mattresses for longer than most. A Serta mattress is good value for money when you consider the quality of materials and manufacturing that goes into the making of each mattress. Serta can claim to make one of the best mattresses on the market.

Facebook Keeps Crashing My PC! How To Fix This Problem For Good

Facebook may keep crashing your system for all sorts of reasons, including the likes of the web browser of your PC not working correctly, your system having some sort of errors with its settings, and Windows not being up to date. If you’re experiencing errors with the Facebook website on your PC, you have to be able to repair any of the possible issues that it may have leading the crashes to occur – which can be done by using the steps outlined on this page.

Why Will Facebook Crash Your PC?

The reason why Facebook will crash your system is basically through the way in which this site works. It uses a technology called “JavaScript” and “Ajax” – both are described as client-side programs which work by installing themselves onto your computer, and then linking with the Facebook server to continually update various pieces of data on the page. That’s why your Facebook page can update so quickly – because it uses these Javascript & Ajax technologies… but the downside to this is that your PC’s memory & settings take a huge hit with the amount of processing power required for the Facebook page to update itself every few seconds.

The bottom line is that, for many computers, Facebook’s technology is just to resource-intensive and will consequently make your system run much slower – and often crash. To fix this, there are fortunately a few things you can do to make it run much smoother.

How To Fix Facebook Crashes

The first thing to do to fix the Facebook crashes is to first ensure that you are able to repair any of the potential issues that the web browser you’re trying to use may have. To do this, you should re-install the web browser, which can be done by clicking onto “Start” then selecting “Control Panel”, before selecting “Uninstall A Program”. This will allow you to uninstall the web browser you’re using, after which you’ll be able to then re-download and install the browser again. This will not only allow your computer to properly read the web browser again, but will ensure the smooth operation of your computer as well.

The second thing you need to do is to use a “Registry Cleaner” program to scan through your computer and fix any of the potential problems that Windows may have inside. A registry cleaner tool is a program that’s been specifically designed to fix errors & problems within the Windows system, and is a tool that can be used to fix the Facebook crashes. One of the main causes of crashes will be the way in which many of the “registry settings” of your computer will not be able to be read by your system – leading to a large number of errors to form. This will often lead the registry errors to show, making it vital that you’re able to use a registry cleaner to fix any of the potential issues that the database may have – boosting the speed and reliability of Windows as a result.

The Dangers of Using Almond Oil to Treat Dark Circles

While quite a few websites are suggesting the use of almond oil for getting rid of dark circles beneath the eyes, there are a few well known problems that can surface.

To begin with almond oil, also identified as laetrile in its edible form, comes from almonds, which are nuts. Food Chemistry Journal figures that over sixteen and a half million Americans have an allergy to nuts. Most of who aren’t even cognizant of it since the symptoms are slight and treated as an ordinary belly ache or an inexplicable rash. Regardless, should those folks use it to cure dark circles, they are introducing an allergen right next to the eyes, one of the bodies most delicate areas and will probably experience anything from a slight to a terrible allergic reaction.

Another reason to be worried is that eating almond extract is not recommended for pregnant or breast-feeding women since a number of studies have hinted at a hypothetical chance of birth defects. Cyanide discharge can and has happened if the enzyme beta-glucuronidase is introduced. That enzyme is present in the human gut and inside the nut itself. There is a procedure which can get rid of the cyanide molecules, although it is still poisonous if absorbed in generous amounts. Since some folks could use almond oil to treat their dark circles excessively, this may possibly be a serious dilemma.

The least harmful type of almond oil used for dark circles therapy is called sweet almond oil. The bitter almond oil version has been responsible for sickness and fatalities in a few noted cases. Actually, the FDA has prohibited the usage of bitter almond oil for medical usage; nonetheless, it is accessible for uses such as aromatherapy because it’s unlikely to contact the skin or be taken internally. The trouble is that the community is mostly ignorant of the differences concerning the two types of oils and could regrettably try to make use of the bitter almond oil as a dark circles therapy by accident.

With all the unnecessary dangers summarized above, we’re not certain why a person would choose to take the risk of employing these beneath their eyes. Particularly since there are many FDA sanctioned alternative remedies that don’t present the unsafe side effects for getting rid of dark circles beneath the eyes.

Surgery is another option. However, this is usually only a last result in the most severe cases and usually only provides a moderate improvement.

How Much Does a Timber Frame Home Cost?

One of the most common questions people have when researching timber frame homes is how much do they cost? Does this style home cost more than conventionally "stick built" homes? What is the price per square foot?

This is a difficult question to answer because it depends on the house design and what finish materials are chosen for the new home. The cost per square foot for a new timber frame home can be anywhere from an average of $ 200- $ 250 or as high as $ 400 + per square foot. The price per square foot estimate typically includes the exterior shell and finishing touches (does not include land or site work).

The timber frame exterior shell package usually costs more than the average stick built home package due to the high quality and energy efficient materials that go hand in hand with the building method. Most timber frame companies work with Structural Insulated Panels (SIPS) or a high r-value insulation system to create a thermal envelope. SIPS do cost more upfront the standard insurance used on a conventional home; although the energy efficient benefits outweigh the costs with the SIPS high r-values. Using a high r-value insulation for the thermal envelope will absolutely save you money on your heating and cooling costs and will exceedperfect a stick built home over time. The combination of timber framing, SIPS and energy efficient doors and windows make this style home one of the most energy efficient homes today.

While this type of home will typically cost more to build, it is not unheard of for conventional homes to surpass the cost of a timber frame home. Here is an example, there are two people building a custom 2,000 square foot home; both homes offer the same square footage but have different designs and use different finish materials. Let's say client 1 is building a conventional home. Client 1 has a more complicated design with more dormers and is choosing to add high-end finishing touches (custom kitchen cabinetry, expensive lighting, etc.). Client 2 is building a timber home and has a simple design with straight lines, no dormers and is choosing to use moderately priced finish materials. The example timber frame home's outer shell package may cost more, but the design and finishing touches of the example conventional home will most likely put the conventional home at a higher cost per square foot.

Overall, the cost to build any style home depends on the design of the home, shape, size, site work, building and interior finish materials used. It does not matter what method of construction you use to build your new home, if you choose high-end materials through your home and / or an elaborate home design, your price per square foot will be greater.

A Look Back At Fashionable Kid's Clothing Of The 60's, 70's and 80's

Fashionable kid's clothing has changed through the years. Fashionable kid's clothing reflects what is fashionable in adult clothing at the time. There have been a lot of changes that took place in the clothing styles of fashionable kid's clothing.

Fashionable kids clothing in the 60's included very short dresses on children until they reached their middle school years. Little girls wore dresses that just barely covered their underwear during these years. Today most little girls wear dresses that come to somewhere around their knees.

Little boys wore denim jeans and white tee-shirts during the 60's. The bottom of the trousers was to be roled up to create a cuff and the tee-shirt needed to be white with a rounded collar. They generally wore black canvas tennis shoes and black belts with this ensemble. Even though they had on tee-shirts they tucked the shirt into the trousers so the belt would show.

Little girl's wore black and white saddle oxfords for shoes in the 60's. They also wore Mary Jane style shoes that had a strap that reached over the arch of their foot and buckled on the side. They were black shoes in the fall and winter months of the year and white shoes in the spring and summer months of the year.

In the 70's most children did not change their style of dress much even though the hippie look was becoming popular. It was not popular for small children to wear bell bottom jeans or tie-dyed shirts. The little girl dresses remained shorts and they wore matching bloomers under the dresses so that their undergarments were not seen.

Until the 80's all little girls wore a tee-shirt that had no sleeves and their underwear under all envelopes. These tee-shirts were the first camisoles that girls wore and were designed to keep you from seeing their skin when their shirts were thin.

The 80's was a time when most girls got up dresses absolutely. They wore pants, brightly colored leg warmers, shirts that were over-sized, and a wide variety of foot wear. Tight leggings and over-sized shirts were the fashion rage, and almost every girl was trying to make their hair stand out as much as possible. They teased their hair, sprayed it with hair spray, and held it in place with wild colored headbands. Satin jackets were very fashionable as were really short shorts.

Fashionable kid's clothing of the 60's, 70's & 80's, are what children wear for Halloween costumes today.

5 Tips To Consider When Designing Your Signboard

Contrary to what you have been thinking, you do not need to be a creative genius for you to design a signboard that effectively passes the message or feeling. All you need to do is to observe a number of tips and you will effectively pass your message. To help you out here are the tips that you should consider:

Get the people's attention

The main reason you are designing the signboard is because you want to pass a message and there is no way that you will pass the message if you do not get the attention of the people that you are targeting. You should avoid using a regular design that nobody will remember. You should consider the size of sign board and its location. As rule of thumb, the board should be of the right size for everyone to remember it. It also should be strategically located to get the people's attention.

Pay attention to the lifetime of the board

Different boards are used for a given time. The duration should inform you on the right material that you should use in designing it. If you are going to use it for only a short period of time you should use aluminum or any other material that has the ability to last for a long time but if you are using it for only a short time you should use a paper or any other light material.

Less is always more

We are living in a world with plenty of information and your message will be lost if you do not get the people's attention at the right time. You should be cautious of the text and images that you use. As rule of thumb, you should use only the essential information that you want the people to know about. Including plenty of information gives the sign board a crowded look that difficult to read. In addition to being cautious of the amount of text that you use you should also leave a lot of space around the edges of the design elements.

Play around with color

According to research studies, the color that you use has a great impact on the success of the message that you want to convey. For a more finished look, you should go for a single color scheme such as using yellow text on a black background. Experts report that bright colors tend to draw the people's attention to the signboard but you should be cautious of how you use them. When you are looking to emphasize the main message, you should use a color photograph.

Make use of contrasting typefaces

When you create contrast you easily get the people's attention so easily pass the message. You should combine two contrasting typefaces such as italic and roman or bold and thin lines.

Conclusion

You have to create a high-quality sign board for you to pass your message. If you do not have the design skills you can always hire a professional to help you out with the design.

Options For Pet Proof Carpeting

The task of choosing new carpet is a bit confusing with the numerous types on the market, and when animals are a part of the family it becomes even more perplexing for a number of reasons. Animals can be rough on a home, and particularly the carpet when they rough house. Their nails often catch on the fibers and cause a great deal of destruction. Cats occasionally cough up hairballs and then leave behind spots that are hard to remove. When shopping for carpeting, it is good to select those options that are stain proof and long lasting. The following information will help you choose pet-proof carpet that will stand up to roughhousing, long nails, and all types of stains pets leave behind. It is alike possible to obtain pet proof carpeting that will last for many years to come.

Selections that are Resistant to Stains and Pet-Proof. When shopping for new carpet it is important to choose a variety that is pet-proof and resistant to all types of stains. Do not assume that all carpets these days are stain-proof. Look for stain resistant labels and ask questions when thinking about the numerous available choices. However, stain-resistant carpeting will repel stains but it is not indestructible. The fibers will not as easily absorb stain-causing liquids, but this does not mean that spills and spots can be ignored. It is still cruel to blot up liquids and remove solid spills as soon as possible, and it is of the highest importance to follow product labeling concerning care and maintenance.

Steer Clear of Carpet that Snags. Stains are not the sole problems when animals are members of the family. Snags are a big concern, and Berber carpet is far from being pet stain resistant. This type of carpet snags more often than any other carpeting on the market, and once it begins snagging, like an unraveling thread, it keeps on unwinding until it reaches the other side of the room or until the snag is halted and the damage is taken care of. Carpet repairs can be very expensive, and Berber should be avoided at all costs when looking for pet-proof carpeting. Many pet proof varieties are available that will not snag or become seriously destroyed.

Color Selections. Taking into account the spots and stains that cats and dogs can and do leave behind, avoid light-colored carpeting when looking for a pet-proof alternative. If your pets have lighter colored fur, you should avoid dark carpet as it will better show shedded fur. Opt for mid-range colors, and considering selecting a variety that includes more than one color. When selecting carpeting, keep in mind that solid colored carpets are more apt to show stains while variegated or mottled varieties are not.

Tightly Woven Low Pile Options. The best choice when purchasing animal proof carpet is those carpets that feature short pile and have tightly woven fibers. Commercial grade carpets typically used in apartments and hotels are pet-proof and people-proof. Constructed to withstand use and wear and stain-resistant, these are the most optimal selection.

Visit your local carpet retailer, and ask to see samples of commercial grade low-pile stain-resistant varieties. This particular style may not be your initial choice, but Berber, which is nowhere near as favorited as it used to be, and Frieze, which is regarded as the new shag carpet are not pet-resistant or an ideal choice. With appropriate care, the investment that you make in your pet-proof carpet will pay off with carpeting that lasts for many years.

Solitaire Engagement Rings Vs Three-Stone and Pave Set Diamonds

This tutorial intends to review the different appearances of engagement rings that are currently in vogue. Loose diamonds can be found in many different cuts, and the most eye-catching settings often use multiple diamonds of different shapes, complementing each other to create a beautiful appearance. When selecting an engagement ring, it's critical to bear in mind the variety of setting types available, and be sure to review the different styles before making a decision.

First, as you are probably aware, diamond settings can often be produced in your choice of material. Even though platinum and white gold rings look the same, they have radically different properties. Platinum is much less commonly found than gold, but it is also composed of purer elements than even 18-carat gold (95% pure compared to just 75% pure.) All gold material is actually yellow; the difference with "white gold" is just that it's covered in a layer of rhodium that changes the exterior color. When the rhodium breaks down after the wear and tear of a few years, it will "yellow" with age, and will have to be re-plated with rhodium to maintain its original color-less appearance. Platinum does not demand this kind of maintenance, because it is a purely white metal, albeit slightly softer than gold.

Solitaire engagement rings are well-known for their classic appearance, and represent a visually simple style that draws the viewer's primary attention to the center stone. It is a great choice if you have the budget for a high-carat diamond with excellent clarity and color. Even though they appear similar at first glance, Solitaires still have unique hits. Most commonly, the center stone will be held in place by prongs, but more stylized options, like the tulip setting, also exist.

On the other end of the spectrum, other settings readily on more than just a single center stone to show off their style. Three stone engagement rings have a great history behind them, and display a more vintage appearance. Most of these, these diamonds are all the same shape and cut. One attribute of these types of engagement rings is that they can present a more, antique, or vintage, appearance. Multi-stone engagement rings have remained popular for a long time, and represent a very classic style.

For a more modern look, consider the intricate setting of very small diamonds (usually round cut) in the ring's band, along the face or sides in a manner that emphasizes the center stone. These pave set engagement rings frequently show off bands that are twisted, separate strands to create flowing contours. Groups of pave set sidestones appear to create a brilliant diamond surface, and some rings include over 100 individual stones carefully set in incredible patterns for a stunning visual effect. Micro Pave set diamonds achieve basically the same effect, just in an even more intricate fashion. If you are thinking about a pave engagement ring, it's important to remember that since these sidestones are small and fairly transparent, they will take on the color of the ring they are placed in. Due to this, white gold does a better job of preventing the pave diamonds from being seen as discolored or inordinarily yellow.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Laminated Glass

Those of you already have a home security system INSTALLED may be looking to beef up your security level even more by installing laminated glass in your windows. Laminated glass is also referred to as security glass and is designed to keep burglars from breaking into houses through windows. It is much harder to break than is regular glass, which is why it is so attractive for people who want to take their home security system to the next level.

As with any security component, there are advantages and disadvantages to installing laminated glass. Before you make the decision to replace all your regular glass windows with security glass, be sure to consider these pros and cons to ensure you are making the right decision for your needs.

Advantages:

• Security. This is the biggest reason why people want to install laminated glass. It is simply harder to break and therefore more secure.

• Safety. In the event that a child in your home throws something that hits your window, it is less likely to break. Therefore, the child is safer.

• Sound reduction. Laminated glass does not allow as much sound to get through as does regular glass, meaning your home will be quieter because there will be fewer outside sounds getting through.

• Protection from adverse weather conditions. People who live in areas that are prone to hurricanes or tornados can rest assured that the laminated glass will be less susceptible to wind and hail.

• Durability. Laminated windows will need to be replaced less often than regular glass windows. It simply lasts longer.

Disadvantages:

• Expense. Laminated windows are quite a bit more expensive than regular windows. This is because they require a lot more steps during the manufacturing process and because they have several layers of material. You might only be able to replace one or two windows at a time, gradually replacing all of them over time due to how much they cost.

• Not a whole lot of manufactures exist. This not only drives the cost of laminated windows up, but also limits your choices. In addition, you might have to wait a few weeks before your windows are made, which can leave you vulnerable at the time.

There are many good reasons for installing laminated windows, including the fact that your home security system will be more effective as a result. However, there are a few disadvantages that you need to consider before spending your money on this expensive product.

Erectile Dysfunction and Nutrition – The Top 9 Super Foods Essential for Boosting Erections

Erectile Dysfunction affects millions of men around the world, and for many suffers, the problem is physiological. This is usually the result of an unhealthy lifestyle, and from conditions such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The good news is that through lifestyle changes, the causes of erectile function can be reversed. One of the principal ways of doing this is through diet. This article suggests 10 super foods that are essential for maintaining optimum sexual health.

1. Lean red meat

The protein in lean red meat naturally boosts levels of dopamine, the brain chemical primarily responsible for enhancing sex drive, mood, alertness, and movement. Meat is also high in zinc, which boosts libido by reducing production of the hormone prolactin. (Too much prolactin acts to suppress production of testosterone).

2. Liver

Liver is a good source of glutamine, which is essential for your immune system to function. Liver may also increase a slowed-down libido. Ounce for ounce, liver is among the best sources of fertility-boosting vitamin A. Men who get plenty of vitamin A each day have higher sperm counts and perform better sexually than men who don’t.

3. Eggs

Egg yolks contain cholesterol, which are important building blocks for testosterone. Eating raw eggs is one of the most direct ways of increasing testosterone and ultimately enhancing the male libido. Eggs are also one of the most significant sources of vitamin A, which aids sperm count. Eggs are also high in vitamins B6 and B5. These vitamins help balance hormone levels and fight stress, two things that are crucial to a healthy libido.

4. Fish and Seafood

Raw oysters: Long regarded as an aphrodisiac, oysters are high in zinc, which raises sperm and testosterone production. Oysters also contain dopamine, which is known to increase libido.

Salmon, mackerel, trout and tuna: these oily fish are high in omega-3 essential fatty acids, which are essential for a health immune and circulatory system. The omega-3 fats found in salmon have a broad array of beneficial cardiovascular effects. Omega-3s assist against clotting of the arteries by improving the ratio of good cholesterol to bad cholesterol. Oily fish are also a rich source of selenium and zinc which are needed for peak sexual health.

5. Almonds

These nuts have an abundance of nutrients. They are a prime source of monounsaturated fats, which reduced the risk of heart disease, by acting to lower LDL (the bad cholesterol). They are also high in Vitamin E, which acts as an antioxidant. Almonds are also a rich source of magnesium, which helps to improve the flow of blood, oxygen and nutrients throughout the body.

6. Peanuts (the best natural way to increase production of nitric oxide!)

Contrary to what their name implies, peanuts are not true nuts but a member of the legume family, and are related to peas, lentils, chickpeas and other beans. However regardless of whether they are a bean or a nut, peanuts have been described as “dietary Viagra“. Peanuts are rich in L-arginine, which causes vasodilatation in blood vessels. L-arginine is a precursor of nitric oxide, which is responsible for inducing smooth muscle relaxation. Research has shown that the levels of L-arginine are higher in peanuts, weight for weight, than in any other common nut or legume. Additionally, peanuts are a very good source of monounsaturated fats, and feature an array of other nutrients that have been shown to promote heart health. Peanuts are also excellent sources of vitamin E, niacin, folate, protein and manganese.

7. Wheat Germ

Wheat germ is the vitamin and mineral rich embryo of the wheat kernel that is removed during the refining of whole wheat grains to white flour. It is packed with important B vitamins, such as folate, thiamin, and vitamin B6, and the minerals zinc, magnesium, and manganese. Zinc of course is essential to the healthy functioning of the reproductive system. Wheat germ also has a high amount of vitamin E, a powerful fat-soluble antioxidant in the human body which helps protect fat-containing substances in the body from damage by free radicals. Vitamin E is therefore an important element in a healthy cardiovascular system, which is essential for sexual potency.

8. Oats

Via their high fiber content, oats are one of the best cereals to reduce cholesterol levels, thereby helping to unclog the arteries and improve blood flow. Oats, oat bran, and oatmeal contain a specific type of fiber known as beta-glucan, which has been shown in numerous studies to significantly reduce cholesterol levels. Oats also contain a unique antioxidant compound, called avenanthramides, which helps prevent free radicals from damaging LDL cholesterol, thus further reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

9. Pine Nuts

These nuts (actually seeds of the pine tree) are rich in zinc, and have been used as an aphrodisiac throughout the Mediterranean and the East. The Roman poet, Ovid, included pine nuts in his list of aphrodisiacs. The Perfumed Garden, (an ancient Arabic love manual), contains many references to pine nuts including this prescription to restore a man’s sexual vigor: “A glass of thick honey, plus 20 almonds and 100 pine nuts repeated for three nights.”

Where Africa Casts Its Spell – Limpopo Province Revisited

The real Africa, the Africa that casts a spell over its visitors, is closer than we realized. We, my son Jonathan and I, had a date with a game reserve only 170 kilometers from Johannesburg. On our way we called at our local supermarket to load up with meat for a braaivleis (Afrikaans for "burnt offering", or "barbecue"), and other perishables like milk, cheese, bananas, etc. Then we hit the N1, the Great North Road, that stretches from Cape Town to the Zimbabwe border at Beit Bridge. Getting through all the traffic on the way to Pretoria was a nightmare. The freeway is being expanded from three to five lanes in each direction, which will be a relief once it is completed, but at present it is a nightmare.

Once we were past Pretoria the traffic thinned out, the road was fine, and it was a joy to travel. We were thrilled at the prospect of visiting Limpopo again, the province in which I had done so much evangelical work. On reaching the Total Petroport we decided to take a lunch break as recommended on a road safety billboard at the side of the road. It is considered good practice not to drive more than two hours without a refresh break. On long trips I tend to fall sleep at the wheel, so for me it is good practice to have frequent stops to freshen up. On this occasion Jonathan was doing all the driving. I had to stay awake to make sure that he did not fall sleep.

This Petroport is a haven of useful facilities for the traveler. There is a service station, a shop called Bon Jour, and a Steers Restaurant which spans the double highway. While having lunch I took a photograph of the highway, looking south towards Pretoria. This was for the benefit of friends in America, who are interested to see conditions in South Africa.

Refreshed, we continued our journey. Shortly after leaving the Petroport there was a sign welcoming us to Limpopo. With the change of province the road surface improved, becoming very smooth. For the whole distance of 100 kilometers the road is almost dead straight, having only three light bends. The condition of the road is excellent, probably the best in South Africa. The road crosses a vast plain known as the Springbok Flats. There are only gentle undulations, no hills of note. According to the history books this plain used to be home to large herds of springbok and to many lions. There is still a lot of virgin bushveld, so that that it is difficult to believe that springbok once roamed there. Springbok like open country like Botswana and the Northern Cape. There is also much farming activity. Cattle are to be seen, as well as fields of maize, wheat, and grain sorghum. Cotton is also grown here but we did not see any.

We left the N1 at the Bela Bela off ramp and proceeded towards Settlers on the R536, a distance of 4 kilometers to the main entrance to the Sondela Game Reserve. Here we were given a blank receipt form for an unspecified conservation fee, which would have to be paid at reception, which was 4.1 kilometers from the entrance. The speed limit in the reserve is 30km / h. The road winds through the dense bush. I had just remarked to Jonathan that we had not seen any game when a herd of black wildebeest emerged. Their road manners were excellent; they waited for us to pass before crossing the road. Shortly after that we had two impalas dancing along the road in front of us. Arriving at the reception center we were treated to a glass of orange juice and a pancake by a beautiful blue-eyed young lady with long blonde hair. We handed in our receipt for the conservation fee. After paying the R100 it was stamped and we were informed that it was our gate pass. Without it we would not be able to leave the reserve.

On the way to our chalet we passed some people near a kudu. Jonathan remarked with astonishment that they were feeding it. At our chalet was a neat carport with an A-section roof of shade cloth. As we were unloading, three kudu's came to inspect the new arrivals. They were very inquisitive and very tame. The large bull kudu stand a little distance away, keeping watch. Every now and again he would tap lightly, silently, on the ground with his right foot, apparently a signal understood by the two kudu's that had their noses on the wall of our verandah. First one kudu came timidly and put its nose on the wall, then the other, seeing that the first was safe, came and joined in. Considering that we had seen a group of people feeding a kudu we thought it safe to feed the kudu's that had approached the wall of our verandah. First we gave them some cauliflour. That went down very quickly. It was followed by some broccoli and then by a piece of apple. Those disappeared fast. The kudu's were remarkably disciplined. They showed no sign of fear and allowed us to stroke their noses without flinching. Unfortunately, that was the last we saw of them.

Our chalet was very comfortable. The center part furnished the lounge, dining room and kitchen. Each wing contained a bedroom and a bathroom. The dining room table was set with six places. Each place had enough dishes for a five course meal. The chalet was served each morning by three maids, members of the local Tiwana tribe. As we were only two, we never had to wash dishes or make our beds or clean the house. Visitors would be well advised to include a fly spray in their baggage. That was something we could have done with, but had overlooked when packing.

As we were having supper, Jonathan thought he could hear a monkey in the loft room above the kitchen. He proceeded up the wooden staircase in semi-darkness. When he came down he reported that there had been a monkey there. The fanlight was open and the monkey jumped out when it saw him. He closed the fanlight. The next morning our maid informed us that it was not a monkey but a bushbaby. She referred us to a notice on the refrigerator door, which stated that bushbabies (Lesser Galago, the world's smallest primate) were often found in the chalets, and this was considered a privilege for the guests.

We spent a comfortable night and had a late breakfast. We decided to braai our meat. There were two braai facilities. The one on the verandah was built into the chimney. There was a warning warning us not to use it as there were owls nesting in the chimney. Inside the chalet was a fireplace with a similar warning. So owls had right of way in our chalet. The external braai facility was very suitable. We had with us a very good boerewors and some excellent lamb chops. I had expected them to last us the whole week but Jonathan had other ideas. Come bedtime we had ate them all

During the day we had visits from a number of nyala's. They were not as obliging as the kudu, rarely keeping still long enough to be photographed. They were happy to have us in their mid but unlike the kudu's they did not allow us to touch them. They romped about in the vicinity and we found their presence companionable. I did manage to get a few photographs. A male declined to scratch his hip with his mouth and still still long enough for a photograph. The nyala were our most frequent visitors and we certainly enjoyed their company. The birds also made us feel welcome. The bird life was not as prolific as at some of the other reserves but there was a good variety. There were hoepoes, gray louries, mousebirds, hornbills, and many that we were not able to identify. The guinea fowl and pheasants were ubiquitous but difficult to photograph as they were always on the move. It would have been a good idea to have bought one of those many "Birds of South Africa" ​​books with us, something else we omitted to do.

Having finished our meat the previous day, we decided to visit the local shop, which was in the reception complex. On the way we passed a large sign reading "Owls!" We did not see any but this is another place where they obviously enjoy right of way. The shop is called Bosveld Kombuis (Afrikaans for "Bushveld Kitchen"). Here we obtained a supply of meat and soft drinks. As we emerged from the shop we noticed a game viewing vehicle. It is typical of the vehicles used in the game reserves for game viewing. They are not very comfortable. The passengers sit high up and have large roll and pitch moments. On previous trips to other game reserves we have occasionally taken a ride in one of these vehicles. In mountainous country they often follow 4X4 tracks, which are very uneven and make for an uncomfortable ride. The passengers cling to the handrails to keep themselves steady, the only exception being Jonathan. Jonathan served with 1st Parachute Battalion during the South African Border War and he has an uncanny ability to keep his balance. He is also very observant, his sense of direction is always correct, and he always knows exactly where he is, without using a GPS. He is very good company in the bush.

Jonathan was enjoying the scene while sitting on the verandah, when a bushbaby perched on some of the woodwork supporting the roof and stared at him. Talking of bushbabies, the script on the refrigerator door says that they can jump 7 meters (23 feet). They jump around in the trees at lightning speed, jumping from tree to tree in long flat trajectories. They move so fast it is almost impossible to photograph them.

Jonathan was preparing to get the braai going when it started to rain. At first there was a fine rain swirled around by a strong wind. Then with lightning flashes and loud crashes of thunder it rained very heavily. The paths become fast-flowing rivers. There was also much hail. Hailstones sliding off the roof of the verandah piled up in large heaps on the ground. Soon, as far as the eye could see, the ground was covered with hail. Several times, for short periods, the electricity supply was interrupted, then, with a great flash of lightning and crash of thunder, the electricity supply cut out completely. It was 4:30 in the afternoon. The sky was dark with clouds but the rain was abating slowly. Jonathan was determined to braai the meat. I went to bed while it was still light enough. A flashlight should be considered essential on these trips, another area in which I had folded up. I could smell the delightful aroma of meat on the braai. The lights came on at 03:39 on Friday.

A word of warning about Africa's spell. Women in midlife are particularly vulnerable. Perhaps it is because the remoteness and the adventure of being there with the wildlife gets to them. They feel they have missed something, now is the time to start a new life. One form is known as "game ranger fever." Many a handsome game ranger has been attacked by a woman with this malady. Most treat it as a joke but it could lead to a charge of sexual harassment, or even rape, or even worse, to marriage. Women be warned.

A good pair of hiking boots is essential if one intends to walk the hiking trails. They should be worn the boy scout way, with hiking socks and an inner sock. I have found that pure silk socks, obtainable from suppliers of men's evening wear, make a good inner. Turning the hiking socks down so as to cover the tops of the boots, will ensure that no little stones can enter the boots.

To avoid sunburn, and possible solar skin damage, a wide brimmed hat should be worn and the exposed skin treated with a sunscreen cream. This is important owing to the low latitude and high altitude. Failure to take these precautions could cause you to end up with skin cancer, requiring cosmetic surgery, as in my own case.

We agreed that what we liked most about this trip was just being there in between the animals and the bush. Once again Africa had cast its spell. There was the sensation of being one with God and His wonderful creation, of latent adventure, of remoteness from the turmoil of modern city life, of Africa calling, "Come and I will reveal my hidden treasures to you."

Brick Garages Versus Concrete Garages – Which Are the Best?

The decision has been made… you want a new garage but how do you decide on what type of garage to have?

Choosing between concrete and brick garages is a tricky decision as both types have similar characteristics including:

– Durable and stand the test of time

– Strong material

– Attractive finish to enhance the appearance of your home

– Will add value to your property

In addition brick and concrete garages do have their own distinctive strengths and weaknesses.

Brick Garages

Brick Garages have been around for much longer compared to concrete garages and have many advantages including:

– Cheaper to construct

– Quick and simple to install

– Easy to maintain

– Stores heat and maintains warmth

– Can prevent noise from entering the building

However there are also several disadvantages to using brick garages including:

– They can add weight to the foundation

– Costly to repair if they ever get damaged

– Difficult to modify once constructed

Concrete Garages

Concrete is the most recent material for garage construction and it has several advantages including:

– Able to withstand a variety of compression forces

– Workable and durable composite material for longevity

– Easy to install

– Can be made to form any shape to suit your needs

– Energy efficient as it will keep the garage at a constant temperature at all times

– Provides excellent protection against fire, extreme weather and noise

– Able to be modified over time

Concrete garages do have some disadvantages and these include:

– Thy require more care and attention to maintain

– Precautions must be undertaken during casting otherwise crack may appear

– Small ground movement could cause damage e.g. cracks

As you can see there are merits for using concrete and also advantages for using brick to construct a new garage.

Concrete Garages and brick garages are both strong and durable composites but the main consideration to take into account when deciding on which garage to build is what will best suit your personal taste in terms of appearance, budget, usage and the type of property you live in. Therefore before you commit to buying a concrete or brick garage make sure you have discussed your requirements and specific considerations with a trustworthy, experienced and reputable garage manufacturer.

The final thing to mention is that the cost of brick and concrete garages regularly changes, with the price of raw materials constantly moving. If there is a major time lapse between when you obtain a quote to when you make your decision, make sure you re-contact your supplier as the quote may be invalid.

You Gave Me What I Asked for But Not What I Wanted! (Part 1)

Picture the following scenario: You're the project manager ready to deliver the new system your team has been developing for the past two years. Millions of dollars have been spent during those two years to gather requirements, define the system, build an architecture and models, create a work breakdown structure and project schedule with resource allocation, build the system components, integrate, test, validate, fix problems and finally the day is at hand: delivery. You deliver the system with great fanfare and you are confident the system will deliver as promised: greater efficiencies, cost savings, improved customer service, and increased revenue.

Your systems engineering team did an amazing job collecting and vetting requirements from the users, customers, and even the "C-Suite" crowd. Everyone agreed the requirements were well defined and prescribed what the system should do. Your enterprise and systems architects defined the architecture against the requirements, built models of the system, and re-vetted them with stakeholders. A final design was developed and was handed off to the development team to implement. The development team tested their components worked and validated them against the requirements. Once any discrepancies were fixed and regression tested, the systems components were handed to the integration team to "stich" everything together. Again, more testing and validation are completed, problems fixed, regression testing completed, and the system is packaged up for delivery to the stakeholders. Your work is done, and a promotion and a raise will certainly be in the offing for pulling off such a complex project.

Exception … it quickly turns into a disaster. The users start using the system and find it's not doing what they thought it would do. Processes are radically different, data management requires a new set of skills, some people find themselves overburdened with activities while others are now idle, the newly formed help desk is swamped with calls and trouble tickets, customer service takes a beating, and the C- Suite quickly finds out about the mess you delivered. They order the system be taken down immediately and fixed. Instead of that promotion and raise, you're looking at the real possibility of termination and no income at all. What you quickly learn doing a "post mortem" on the project is a very common problem in requirements gathering and management: the stakeholders will say, "You gave me what I asked for, but it's not what I wanted!" Somehow, the project management and systems engineering roles should have been described as "being able to read minds" rather than collect, structure, and vet requirements for a system. But was it the inability to read minds or the process that replied in this fiasco?

Before I go on, I want to quickly define what I mean by "system." Most people reading this article will assume I'm talking about software. In many cases, the system that fails to meet customer expectations is a new software capability. In business, these systems can be bespoke applications developed for a very specific capacity; In many cases, it can be an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution based on applications from SAP, Oracle / Peoplesoft, or Microsoft Dynamics, to name some well-known ERP solutions. However, a system can be anything: an airplane, a ship, a spacecraft, a car, a power generation plant, medical devices … really, anything that meets the definition of "a set of interacting or interdependent components forming an integrated whole . " Think of non-software-based systems that failed to deliver as promised or processed delays and cost overruns: The Ford Edsel and Pontiac Aztec, which had market failures (requirements developed in a market vacuum), the Airbus 380 and Boeing 787 (requirements and implementation mismatch), and the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), to name a few.

Now that I've defined what a system is, I want to return to the fictitious, but very familiar, story I crafted for the introduction to this article. I posited the question of whether project managers and systems engineers need to read minds or should have changed the process to avoid the disaster. Well, it turns out that mind reading is not a prerequisite for either of these positions. What could have avoided the problems is employing chaos theory and emergence as the approach to systems development. These theoretic constructs are what drive Agile development, which I will provide an overview on how Agile methods work and their implementation.

Agile development, which includes such techniques as Scrum, eXtreme Programming (XP), and Design Systems Development Method (DSDM) are rooted in the idea that the end users must be involved in the entire development process, and that nobody really knows what the end state of the system will look like: the end state emerges from the entire process. This article will not discuss how to implement an Agile process; rather, it will describe some key aspects of the approach and why it works.

Agile methods are fundamentally designed to facilitate communication between all the stakeholders in a project. The processes encourage teams to develop as self-organizing systems, with people assuming roles based on their strengths and interests. Communication is facilitated with "information radiators" that have team members post their progress and issues in a "war room" planning board with Post-It notes. It also recognizes that end-users of the system are both instrumental in the development and do not really know what they want until they see it. That encourages the development of small, incremental solutions to a problem, rather than a monolithic solution that often does not satisfy anyone.

It is the antithesis of how organizations typically operate, because there is a great deal of unpredictability in what the final system will look like and the apprehensive lack of control during the development process. Further, Agile processes tend to have sparse documentation: "ornamental" document deliverables, which provide no value value to the team's ability to develop and deliver a solution are almost entirely eliminated; Much of the text-based documentation are replaced by diagrams, models, and storyboards. Metrics that are grouped are more focused on keeping the team aware of what has been completed and what is in the pipeline rather than the classic Gantt chart progress reports and earned-value data that management is always focused on. Instead, daily "stands" are held: these are short meetings with all the team members to discuss three things: accomplishes, today's objectives, and roadblocks / problems that need to be addressed. The team members include the developers, and end-user representative, testers, user experience developers, and testers.

The focus is on delivering small, incremental pieces of functionality rather than large, monolithic solution. Remember: the users are getting things done without any new systems, so even small improvements in their operations will be appreciated. And because they helped develop it, they will be vested in its success. The interesting piece is that there's no prediction on what the final product will do: as needs change, people change, and missions change, the incremental approach allows the system to evolve as it's developed. With this approach, the problem of "You Gave Me What I Asked for But Not What I Wanted!" is a thing of the past.

In Part 2 of this article, I will discuss why an Agile, incremental, and adaptive approach works, why the old ways of doing business fail so often, and how to sell the approach to a C-suite staff that wants a predictable end- state, lots of meters along the way, and reams of documentation.

Building Self-Esteem in Your Spouse – 10 Sure-Fire Methods

A lack of self-esteem can damage any relationship. In marriage especially it can cause a lot of problems. A spouse suffering from low self-esteem can contribute to infidelity, child or spousal abuse, divorce or financial trouble. If your spouse has low self-esteem and you do not think it matters, you might find out the hard way that it really does make a lot of difference.

This kind of problem can erode the foundations of your relationship until there is not much left. This may take years to happen and then the spouse will just blow up. Obviously this can have catastrophic results on the relationship.

You can not force any to have more self-esteem because it has to come from within themselves. Saying that, it is possible to encourage them to work on self-esteem issues, even though you should not expect overnight results.

Here are some tips for building self-esteem in your loved one:

1. Offer them unconditional love. Whatever they do or do not do, show your love for them. If their behavior is upsetting you, discuss this with them but do it together. Everyone makes mistakes. If they make a mistake, show that you still love them regardless.

2. Be supportive. Make sure your spouse knows they have your full support. If someone else is criticizing your partner, you need to defend him or her from this. The relationship between a husband and wife is supposedly to supersede other relationships. You need to stand by your spouse fully and show total support.

3. Be respectful to your spouse. Do not be a doormat but do show respect. Use words like please and thank you and avoid treating him or her like a child. Doing that or nagging is disrespectful and demeaning and will crush their self-esteem even more. Someone with low self-esteem often fees that do not deserve respect. Respect will make them feel better and can help to build their self-esteem.

4. Be appreciative so your partner is aware that you appreciate the things they do. Whether it is cleaning the bathroom or cooking a meal, let them know you appreciate the gesture. Tell them they make a great parent if you have kids. If you are being honest and loving, you will see many things your spouse does which you can praise them for.

5. Make sure to share the credit. If your spouse is suffering from low self-esteem, they might not see how they are contributing to the marriage and family every day. Point out these things to others and to your spouse. Let your spouse know how much you value their abilities and how much it helps.

6. Help your spouse to discover any hidden talents. Ask them about what they can do well or like to do or would even like to learn to do. Encourage them to do more of this or take a class. Perhaps you will both be interested and can learn or practice together.

7. Sometimes it is nice to do little things "just because", such as giving gifts, leaving notes and doing other special things for your partner. These things can (and should) be done outside special occasions too.

8. Never be deprecating, in private or in public. Do not put your spouse down or make generalized comments like "you never take out the trash" or "you always leave a mess in the kitchen". These comments will make your spouse feel they do everything wrong. And saying bad things about them in public is never acceptable and will just embarrass them and knock them down emotionally.

9. Show that you are interested in them. Do you know their favorite animal or color? Do you know their ambitions and dreams? Find out these things and use the information. If you find out your wife likes turtles, buy her a turtle ornament, for example, "just because". Find out her favorite dinner and make it for her. This demonstrates your love and care for your spouse by actions, which speak louder than words. Asking questions about what your spouse likes and does not like is a great way to build intimacy and show that you are interested in everything about them.

10. Remember not to go it alone. Asking "what is your opinion?" is very important, especially in a marriage. You must always take your partner's views into consideration when making a decision. Whether it is a major purchase or just a small thing, ask what your spouse thinks. Whether you are deciding where to go on vacation or changing the color of the bedroom carpet, ask them. This tells them that you trust and value them and this can greatly enhance your marriage.

Healthy self-esteem ensures a happy, fulfilling marriage. Taking the time to implement the above ideas can help to build your spouse's self-esteem and make the two of you, plus any children you have, happier together. It may take weeks, or even months, to build up someone's self-esteem but if you use these ideas, hopefully it will be a great success in the end.