Weak Hamstrings: Cause Of Lower Back Pain

Tight, inflexible hamstrings get a lot of attention as a cause of lower back pain, but weak hamstrings may also be the source. The hamstring is actually a set of three muscles that run from the pelvis to the knee in the back of the thigh. These muscles are used to facilitate the bending of the knee behind the midline of the body while the hip is extended, such as when running or walking. The group also helps to keep the knee aligned.

Tight quadriceps and weak hamstrings are a common muscle imbalance. We tend to use our quads more in everyday life, and many popular exercises at the gym emphasize the isolated development of quads. There are two main ways in which weak hamstrings can cause back pain.

1. Biomechanical

Hamstrings work with the quadriceps to stabilize movements of the knee and pelvis. This requires that the muscles are equal in strength, length and flexibility. If the hamstrings are weaker than the quadriceps, then the pulley system formed by the muscles is disrupted. The tighter, shorter quadriceps will pull downward on the pelvis in front and upward on the knee, since the hamstrings are too weak to exert a counterbalancing pull.

When the pelvis is pulled down in front, the lower back arches inward. This is called hyper-extension of the lumbar spine. Tight hip flexors and erector spinae muscles in the lower back often accompany weak hamstrings because of this postural change. As vertebral angles change in the spine, there is an increase of pressure placed on the back side of spinal discs, which can lead to premature disc wear, bulging or herniation. These disc changes can cause sciatica.

2. Fatigue

Weak hamstrings can quickly turn into tight hamstrings. Weak muscles tire quickly due to their lack of strength, and tired muscles go into contraction to protect themselves from further use. This forcible tightening of the muscle sets up a ripe situation for strain; the quadriceps fire into action before the hamstring has recovered and lengthened. A pulled, strained or torn hamstring can result.

When the hamstring is injured, the body will naturally compensate for it by employing other nearby muscles to do the work the hamstrings normally do. Lower back muscles may be called into action when the leg is moved, though this action is beyond its scope of natural duties. The muscles in the back and hips that compensate for hamstrings can become sore and strained.

Signs Of Hamstring Weakness

There are a few symptoms that point to hamstrings as the cause of back pain. If your hamstrings are weaker than your quadriceps, you may notice that your bottom sticks out and that you have an exaggerated lumbar arch.

If you have localized pain in the hamstring and pain in the lower back, then a strained hamstring is indicated.

Another sign of a quadricep/hamstring imbalance is clicking or cracking of the knee when it is bent or straightened.

Prevention and Treatment

Hamstring weakness and injury can be prevented by pursuing an exercise regimen that includes both strengthening and stretching of the muscle group, balanced with strengthening and stretching of the quadriceps. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGTcgPVexrI for a number of hamstring exercises. See 4 hamstring stretches at http://physicaltherapy.about.com/od/flexibilityexercises/a/hamstingstretch.htm.

Treating a well-established muscle imbalances requires a combination of myofascial release and targeted exercise. If your quads have been chronically tight, they will need to be forced to relax and re-lengthen. Foam rolling at home or myofascial release performed by a practitioner can accomplish this. Once the quadriceps have regained elasticity, the hamstrings can be developed.

A pulled hamstring can usually be resolved with a brief period of rest and ice. The above steps will need to be taken in addition to rest and ice to prevent re-injury if a muscle imbalance is responsible for the strain.

It is important to understand that weak hamstrings may be at the source of back pain and hamstring strain. Keeping your body in balance will help to resolve lower back pain.

Two Excellent Peanut Butter Dog Treat Recipes For You and Your Pup!

Giving your pet something that they will like is the greatest thing you can do as a pet owner. One thing that you can give is a peanut butter dog treat. Dogs love peanut butter. Here are a few peanut butter dog treat recipes that are top on our list:

1. Safflower dog beats – Who would think that by adding safflower to a recipe that you would have a winner? But there are many health benefits to be had by your dog if you just give it a try. The ingredients you need for these are:

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup safflower oil
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached white flour
  • 1/2 cups cornmeal
  • 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • Additional flour for rolling

Preheat oven to 400 ° F. You need to mix all of the following ingredients into a big bowl: Water, Oil, Eggs, Pea nut Butter, and Vanilla. Use a wire whisk to stir. Slowly add the flour, cornmeal, and oats. Take one-third of the dough and place on a floured surface. Some flower to the top of the dough. Gently knead it. You can add the additional flour as you need it. Roll out to 1/2 – 3/4 inch thickness and then you will want to cut it into shapes using dog cookie cutters that you bought. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Leave in the oven for and additional 20 minutes after turning off the oven.

2. Gourmet Lollipop for Dogs – Having a lollipop is fun, even for dogs. That is why with this peanut butter recipe, you can really give your dog a great treat. The ingredients you are going to use for this are:

  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter (natural is best)
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp. cold water
  • 1 tbsp. carob chips (optional)
  • Compressed rawhide or bully sticks

Stir all ingredients together in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on 50% power for 30 seconds at a time until the ingredients are warm. Stir after each 30 seconds in the microwave. Spray the lollipop molds with cooking spray. Scoop the peanut butter into the molds that you have created. If it is still thick then press the mixture into the molds. Fill each mold 3/4 full. Let them sit for 5 minutes. Press the rawhide sticks into the peanut butter. You need to make sure the stick is placed in the middle, with the top being covered. Refrigerate overnight.

The above recipes will give your dog a tasty treat that is suitable for a healthy snack.

Tips On How To Last Longer In Bed For Guys

Sex is a very vital thing in a relationship and if not well taken care of could lead to breaks and other relationship problems like cheating. It is crucial that every party gets full satisfied to avoid those problems. One of the reasons to those problems is when a man can not last long in bed. But before one can go for any treatment, it is important to check if they are safe. Here are tips on how to last longer in bed for guys. The natural aspect of it ensures that one will be safe using the means.

One of the ways to achieving the above is by eating foods and fruits rich in vitamins and other nutrients. Diet is an important factor to boost your sexual stamina and to prevent premature ejaculation during sex. Take fresh fruits and fresh fruit juice twice daily. Concentrate on food like nut, honey, cereal, fruits, milk, blueberries, ginger, carrot and other vegetables. Avoid smoking, alcohol, tea, coffee all processed canned refined and denatured foods especially white sugar and white flour and products made from them. They help you to boost your stamina, making it possible to stay erect for long and good tips on how to last longer in bed for guys.

The sex position adopted also determines the time you will last hard when having sex. When the woman is in control that is on top of you, you will find it hard to stay erect for the whole sex period. The style that will give you maximum appreciation is when you are in control. You can be on top of the woman or use the doggy style. This makes it possible for you to control yourself, so keeping the mood high. You can also withdraw and change position during the process.

It is important to be relaxed when having sex. Avoiding stress is one way of giving your partner satisfaction and you will also enjoy. When your brain is focused on one thing only, you tend to succeed in it. Make some noise. Love moans help men and women relax, and they often help men last longer. Avoid thinking of problems that you might have in the relationship or else when having sex, just let it carry away your sorrows.

You must control your breathing too. You should take deep breaths as this will slow excitation and put you back in control. Too much excitation could lead to premature and early ejaculation. Controlled breathing makes one relax, act better and one of the best technique that can be use among many tips on how to last longer in bed for guys.

Licensing is Everywhere – Examples of Licensed Products

When consumers purchase products online or in a retail store, they usually assume that the products are the ideas of their manufacturers or distributors. This is often not the case. Instead, manufacturers license products from inventors and market them to their established target markets. Product licensing benefits manufacturers in a number of ways including reducing research and development costs, utilizing excess manufacturing capacity and personnel capacity, and giving the manufacturer the ability to introduce more new products in a shorter amount of time. Licensed products are all around us; here are some examples of product licensing that you may have come across recently.

Toys

Licensing is very popular in the toy industry, because it allows toy manufacturers to come out with many new toys each year. Even toys based on popular movies and television shows are licensed from their inventors. You may see licensed toys from Batman Begins, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Spongebob Squarepants, and Shrek at your favorite department store or toy store.

Board Games

Board games from popular companies such as Hasbro are often licensed from their creators. This has several advantages for board game companies. They can introduce new games to the market more quickly than their competitors and they can also cut research and development costs since board game creators usually do their own testing and prototype development. Board game creators benefit from licensing because they are not forced to deal with marketing and distributing the games they have created. This leaves more time for creating and testing new games that can be licensed to other manufacturers in the future. Chances are that many of the board games in your home or local recreation center are licensed.

Action Figures

Action figures are usually based off of movie and television characters. Good examples are Superman, Spiderman, Batman, He-Man, and GI Joe. Most of these action figures are licensed and distributed by manufacturing companies with a wide market reach and excellent manufacturing capacity. This gives product creators the time to create new products instead of spending time figuring out how to market and distribute products they have already created. Product licensing also benefits action figure manufacturers. These manufacturers are able to capitalize on the popularity of movies and television shows in order to make more sales. Licensing also makes it possible for manufacturers to introduce these action figures without having to spend a lot of money on testing and developing the products in house.

Video Games

Video game manufacturers also take advantage of licensing when creating video games for the child and adult gaming markets. It is much easier to sell video games when they contain recognizable characters from movies, television shows, comics, and cartoons, so video game manufacturers will often license popular characters and use them in new video game offerings. This gives the manufacturer an edge in marketing and selling their new video games to both children and adults. Licensed products are all around us in the marketplace and provide excellent forms of education and entertainment. The best part about these licensed products is that everyone involved wins. Creators are compensated for their products, manufacturers are able to cut costs and remain competitive, and end users are able to continue buying new products for entertainment and educational purposes.

Laminate Wood Flooring-Choosing Between Laminate and Wood Flooring

If you are considering using laminate wood flooring in some or all of your home and are wondering about the difference between laminate and wood, you may get a lot of different opinions. Laminate wood flooring has been used in Europe for decades and only in the last 20 years or so has it become more popular in the United States. But, it is not for everyone and every situation. Before you choose laminate wood flooring for your home, you should compare the qualities of both wood and laminate.

1. Installation: In the last few years both laminate wood flooring and real wood floors have become easier to install. They often use some kind of interlocking system, where you fit strips together without the use of glue, nails or staples. But, although most laminate wood flooring is made this way now, a lot of real wood flooring is not. If you plan on installing the floor yourself, with real wood or laminate, you should consider using the interlocking system. Laminate can be installed over virtually any surface, but wood can not be installed over some surfaces.

2. Durability: Real wood floors are durable for the long term, but they require a lot of care. If they are not specially treated with aluminum oxide they will scratch and stain fairly easily. Unlike laminate, it is also late to fading if it is exposed to direct sunlight. Laminate wood flooring on the other hand, is resistant to both scratches and stains. Both types of floors can be damaged by excessive moisture, so care should be taken if they are used in a bathroom or kitchen.

3. Care: A damp mop is all that is required to clean laminate wood floors. Real wood floors will require polishing and refinishing occasionally. Wet spills should be cleaned up quickly on either type of floor to avoid it getting underneath the boards and damaging the floor.

4. Longevity: A real wood floor can last 25 years or more with proper care. Laminate will not last more than 20.

5. Cost: Real wood is generally more expensive than laminate.

6 Fun Facts About the History of the Alabama Crimson Tide

At the University of Alabama, football is king. The school’s gridiron squad has won numerous national titles, has had renowned coaches and players, and was even featured in the motion picture “Forest Gump.” While most fans of “Alabama,” “Bama,” or “UA” know these details, you might be unaware of some others. Here are some facts about Alabama football, which fewer football fans know:

1. The “Crimson Tide” nickname originated from a muddy game

Prior to becoming the Alabama Crimson Tide, people commonly referred to Alabama’s football squad, as the “Crimson White” (named after the school colors) or “Thin Red Line.” Then in 1907, Alabama played its arch rival, Auburn. Alabama was a huge underdog, and the teams played in a “sea” of red mud. However, Alabama battled Auburn to a 6-6 tie. Later, a sports editor named Zipp Newman popularized the nickname “Crimson Tide.”

2. No Alabama player has won the Heisman Trophy

Ironically, despite all the success of the Alabama Crimson Tide’s football team, no player has won the Heisman Trophy award-given to the most outstanding NCAA football player in a single season. In 1993, David Palmer became the closest Alabama player to winning the award. David “The Deuce” Palmer, played wide receiver for the Crimson Tide, and would later play seven seasons with the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings.

3. Alabama has won 21 SEC titles

The Crimson Tide’s football record is simply outstanding. Here are some of its accomplishments, throughout the years:

o 12 National Titles

o 25 Conference Titles (21 SEC)

o 51 Bowl Games

o 92 All-American Players

4. Paul “Bear” Bryant had a .834 winning percentage as Alabama’s coach

Coach “Bear” Bryant is a legend at Alabama. He led the Crimson Tide to six national championships, which is half of the team’s all-time 12 national titles. Bryant also coached at Texas A&M University, the University of Kentucky and the University of Maryland. However, Alabama was where Bryant had his most success. Bryant earned the nickname “bear” when, at 13-years-old, he wrestled a bear as part of a theater’s promotion.

5. Alabama’s elephant mascot dates back to 1930

The origin of the school’s elephant mascot was the 1930 season. At that time, Coach Wallace Wade was the team’s general. During a game versus Mississippi, an Alabama fan shouted, “…the elephants are coming!” referring to Alabama’s huge, aggressive players. Everett Strupper, a sportswriter, reported the incident.

6. Three former Alabama coaches are in the College Football Hall of Fame

Since the Hall of Fame first opened its doors in South Bend, Indiana (1951), it has inducted 16 Alabama players, and three coaches. The coaches inducted were Wallace Wade (1923-1930), Frank Thomas (1931-1946), and Paul “Bear” Bryant (1958-1982). The Hall of Fame inducted Bryant as both a player and a coach.

The football history at Alabama is simply amazing. It includes 12 national championships, Coach “Bear” Bryant, and some aforementioned less famous facts. Use Alabama Crimson Tide merchandise to cheer on the team to its next historical moment-another national championship!

Device Hardening, Vulnerability Scanning and Threat Mitigation for Compliance and Security

All security standards and Corporate Governance Compliance Policies such as PCI DSS, GCSx CoCo, SOX (Sarbanes Oxley), NERC CIP, HIPAA, HITECH, GLBA, ISO27000 and FISMA require devices such as PCs, Windows Servers, Unix Servers, network devices such as firewalls, Intrusion Protection Systems (IPS) and routers to be secure in order that they protect confidential data secure.

There are a number of buzzwords being used in this area – Security Vulnerabilities and Device Hardening? 'Hardening' a device requires known security 'vulnerabilities' to be eliminated or mitigated. A vulnerability is any weakness or flaw in the software design, implementation or administration of a system that provides a mechanism for a threat to exploit the weakness of a system or process. There are two main areas to address in order to eliminate security vulnerabilities – configuration settings and software flaws in program and operating system files. Eliminating vulnerabilites will require either 'remediation' – typically a software upgrade or patch for program or OS files – or 'mitigation' – a configuration settings change. Hardening is required equally for servers, workstations and network devices such as firewalls, switches and routers.

How do I identify Vulnerabilities? A Vulnerability scan or external Penetration Test will report on all vulnerabilities applicable to your systems and applications. You can buy in 3rd Party screening / pen testing services – pen testing by its very nature is done externally via the public internet as this is where any threat would be exploited from. Vulnerability Scanning services need to be delivered in situ on-site. This can either be performed by a 3rd Party Consultant with scanning hardware, or you can purchase a 'black box' solution wherey a scanning appliance is permanently sited within your network and scans are provisioned remotely. Of course, the results of any scan are only accurate at the time of the scan which is why solutions that continually track configuration changes are the only real way to guarantee the security of your IT estate is maintained.

What is the difference between 'remediation' and 'mitigation'? 'Remediation' of a vulnerability results in the flaw being removed or fixed permanently, so this term generally applies to any software update or patch. Patch management is incrementally automated by the Operating System and Product Developer – as long as you implement patches when released, then in-built vulnerabilities will be remedied. As an example, the recently reported Operation Aurora, classified as an Advanced Persistent Threat or APT, was successful in infiltrating Google and Adobe. A vulnerability within Internet Explorer was used to plant malware on targeted users' PCs that allowed access to sensitive data. The remediation for this vulnerability is to 'fix' Internet Explorer using Microsoft released patches. Vulnerability 'mitigation' via Configuration settings ensures vulnerabilities are disabled. Configuration-based vulnerabilities are no more or less potentially damaging than those needing to be remedied by a patch, although a strictly configured device may well mitigate a program or OS-based threat. The largest issue with Configuration-based vulnerabilities is that they can be re-introduced or enabled at any time – just a few clicks are needed to change most configuration settings.

How often are new vulnerabilities discovered? Unfortunately, all of the time! Worse still, often the only way that the global community discovers a vulnerability is after a hacker has discovered it and exploited it. It is only when the damage has been done and the hack traced back to its source that a preventive course of action, either patch or configuration settings, can be formulated. There are various centralized repositories of threats and vulnerabilities on the web such as the MITRE CCE lists and many security product vendors agree live threat reports or 'storm center' websites.

So all I need to do is to work through the checklist and then I am secure? In theory, but there are literally hundreds of known vulnerabilities for each platform and even in a small IT estate, the task of verifying the hardened status of each and every device is an almost impossible task to conduct manually.

Even if you automate the vulnerability scanning task using a scanning tool to identify how hardened your devices are before you start, you will still have work to do to mitigate and remediate vulnerabilities. But this is only the first step – if you consider a typical configuration vulnerability, for example, a Windows Server should have the Guest account disabled. If you run a scan, identify where this vulnerability exists for your devices, and then take steps to mitigate this vulnerability by disabling the Guest Account, then you will have hardened these devices. However, if another user with Administrator privileges then accesses these same servers and re-enables the Guest Account for any reason, you will then be left exposed. Of course, you wont know that the server has been rendered vulnerable until you next run a scan which may not be for another 3 months or even 12 months. There is another factor that has not yet been covered which is how do you protect systems from an internal threat – more on this later.

So tight change management is essential for ensuring we remain compliant? Indeed – Section 6.4 of the PCI DSS describes the requirements for a formally managed Change Management process for this very reason. Any change to a server or network device may have an impact on the device's 'hardened' state and therefore it is imperative that this is considered when making changes. If you are using a continuous configuration change tracking solution then you will have an audit trail available giving you 'closed loop' change management – so the detail of the approved change is documented, along with details of the exact changes that were actually implemented. Furthermore, the devices changed will be re-assessed for vulnerabilities and their compliant state confirmed automatically.

What about internal threats? Cybercrime is joining the Organized Crime League which means this is not just about stopping malicious hackers proving their skills as a fun pastime! Firewalling, Intrusion Protection Systems, AntiVirus software and fully implemented device hardening measures will still not stop or even detect a rogue employee who works as an 'inside man'. This kind of threat could result in malware being introduced to other secure systems by an employee with Administrator Rights, or even backdoors being programmed into core business applications. Similarly, with the advent of Advanced Persistent Threats (APT) such as the publicized 'Aurora' hacks that use social engineering to dupe employees into introducing 'Zero-Day' malware. 'Zero-Day' threats exploit previously unknown vulnerabilities – a hacker discovers a new vulnerability and forms an attack process to exploit it. The job then is to understand how the attack happened and more importantly how to remediate or mitigate future re-occurrences of the threat. By their very nature, anti-virus measures are often powerless against 'zero-day' threats. In fact, the only way to detect these types of threats is to use File-Integrity Monitoring technology. "All the firewalls, Intrusion Protection Systems, Anti-virus and Process Whitelisting technology in the world will not save you from a well-orchestrated internal hack where the perpetrator has admin rights to key servers or legitimate access to application code – file integrity monitoring used in conjunction with tight change control is the only way to properly govern sensitive payment card systems "Phil Snell, CTO, NNT

See our other whitepaper 'File-Integrity Monitoring – The Last Line of Defense of the PCI DSS' for more background to this area, but this is a brief summary -Clearly, it is important to verify all adds, changes and deletions of files as any change may be significant in compromising the security of a host. This can be achieved by monitoring for should be any attributes changes and the size of the file.

However, since we are looking to prevent one of the most sophisticated types of hack we need to introduce a completely infallible means of guarantee file integrity. This calls for each file to be 'DNA Fingerprinted', typically generated using a Secure Hash Algorithm. A Secure Hash Algorithm, such as SHA1 or MD5, produces a unique, hash value based on the contents of the file and ensures that even a single character changing in a file will be detected. This means that even if a program is modified to expect payment card details, but the file is then 'padded' to make it the same size as the original file and with all other attributes edited to make the file look and feel the same, the modems will still be exposed. This is why the PCI DSS makes File-Integrity Monitoring a mandatory requirement and why it is incrementally considered as vital a component in system security as firewalling and anti-virus defences.

Conclusion Device hardening is an essential discipline for any organization serious about security. Furthermore, if your organization is subject to any corporate governance or formal security standard, such as PCI DSS, SOX, HIPAA, NERC CIP, ISO 27K, GCSx Co Co, then device hardening will be a mandatory requirement. – All servers, workstations and network devices need to be hardened through a combination of configuration settings and software patch deployment – Any change to a device may adversely affect its hardened state and render your organization exposed to security threats – file-integrity monitoring must also be employed to mitigate 'zero-day' threats and the threat from the 'inside man' – vulnerability checklists will change regularly as new threats are identified

After Effects Creating a Track Matte

The use of mattes dates back to long before electronic media. When I think of mattes I often picture the early 1900 black and white photo with the circular inset highlighting and highlighting the subject. Now we have track mattes, mattes that move and reveal the subject, mattes that spell part of the message.

How do you apply a matte? It's just another layer, of course! Since simplicity is our guide, create an oval matte much like one you would see framing a photograph. You can actually create a matte inside After Effects but for our friend simplicity , let's create one in Photoshop and import it.

In Photoshop create an image the same size as your After Effects composition. You really do not need to draw anything. Using the elliptical marquee tool draw the ellipse that will become your matte when you apply it in After Effects. Click on the 'Channels' pane, typically next to the 'Layers', then create a new channel using the 'create new' icon to the left of the delete icon. When you create your alpha channel the background will become solid black. Be sure white is the chosen color, choose the paint bucket tool, and click inside your selection. It will turn white; This is the 'alpha channel' area that will let your movie show through in After Effects.

I would save this file as a '.tif' type file with the default settings. That was a little bit of a side trip but After Effects and Photoshop definitely like to play together and creating alpha and getting cozy with transparency is one of your most important tools.

Now that you have your matte, import the file into After Effects. Create a composition by simply dragging the movie of your choice to the new composition icon. This will create a composition based on your movie type and length, an instant composition.

Drag the matte we created into your timeline area, making sure it is above the movie. The track matte setting and display is abbreviated 'TrkMat'; if you do not see it, the shortcut key 'F4' toggles the modes display. There is also a switch icon in lower left of your timeline panel 'Expand or Collapse the Transfer Control pane'. Transfer control is a good way of picturing this. Your matte overlay will 'control' the viewing area of ​​your movie.

Making sure the matte file is above your movie layer, under the 'TrkMat' pane click the pull down option box and choose 'Luma'. You will immediately see your movie masked by your matte! Notice three other indicators. The 'eye' icon on the matte layer has 'shut off' and next to the name under 'source name' you see a little icon with a white ball in the center indicating this is an overlay. Similarly, your movie name now has a little icon showing the blank composition grid white gray pattern with a black ball in the center, indicating that it has a matte applied.

These are the basic steps for creating a simple matte and applying it in After Effects. What more can you do with mattes? Let's explore some more.

By the way, here's some interesting 'matte' history from Wikepedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matte_ (filmmaking)

Constructing A Retaining Wall

There are many circumstances in a construction project where retaining walls may be required. One of the most common is to retain an earth bank, either to prevent the earth from sliding or to protect an object or building. There are many ways and materials that can be used to construct a wall including; wood, metal and concrete. Wooden crib walls and sleepers are commonly used for domestic purposes as they are affordable and easier to handle. The domestic uses also tend to be small and have less loads placed on them, there is also an aesthetical requirement specifically for garden wall purposes.

Metal sheet piling is a fast and efficient method of creating a retaining wall. Large sheets of corrugated steel are forced deep into the ground and the material is backfilled against this. One of the main drawbacks of using Wood and Metal for the construction of a wall is their corrosive nature. Wood will rot and metal will rust, this gives them a short life span. Concrete is an excellent product for building a retaining wall as it has excellent structural properties and it also repels the elements. The concrete products are made with steel reinforcement is encased in the concrete which results rust occurring and once cured the concrete provides excellent protection for the steel and a very strong structure. The reinforced concrete retaining wall can be either constructed onsite using steel cages for the reinforcement and wood shuttering to form the structure. The other alternative is to use precast concrete sections manufacturer off-site and then install them on-site which will help reduce the construction time.

There are other types of precast blocks that can be used. These generally interlock to create gravity retaining walls which will sometimes require a gradient sloping back. These are useful where the end product needs to fit into the environment. It may be that plants can be used in order to help the wall blend it into the surroundings. These types of walls may be used near bridges, on the side of roads, or on residential developments. An example of this would be crib walling. These are reliably large precast blocks that interlock and build up to create the wall. They need a granular infill and then plants and other vegetation can be put on the wall so that over time will blend the wall into its surroundings.

There are many options out there so have a look around and work out which products is most suitable for your job.

Sinus Infections And Sinusitis – Possible Causes – Usual and Unusual – Nurse’s Guide

If you’ve been suffering from sinus infections or some other type of sinusitis, which basically means an inflammation of the sinuses, you may be wondering what’s caused it. Although it’s not always known and sometimes can follow a cold or may be confused with a cold you may have some ideas of your own. You’ve no doubt heard of the most common causes.

Many people still think sinus infections are caused by bacteria and want their doctor to give them antibiotics. But most sinus infections are NOT caused by bacteria and are caused by invasive or noninvasive fungus, which you can find as household mold. So you want to eliminate that possibility first and get rid of any mold that you may have in your house, apartment, and condo or even in your motor home.

Look under and around toilets and bathtubs and showers. The bathroom is the most common place and also search the kitchen. If you have any plants in your bedroom make sure to remove them all. If you have a lot of plants in your house and continually have sinus problems or get sinus infections then consider removing them although it’s good to have the oxygen they emit.

Less common causes of sinusitis and sinus infections or factors that contribute to them are: nasal obstruction due to certain conditions including swollen adenoids, nasal polyps, foreign bodies, tumors and any surgeries you’ve had, dental infections, tooth extractions, dental surgery and oral surgery.

Consider indoor pollution so ventilate the house as much as possible by opening the windows and doors especially in the winter months if at all possible when many people routinely get sinus problems, sinusitis or sinus infections.

Then there are barotraumas which are injuries due to changes in ambient pressure resulting form activities such as air travel or scuba diving.

Other problems include immune system problems which can be from birth as congenital or as acquired. More serious causes can be due to underlying disease such as cystic fibrosis or ciliary dyskinesia and cleft palate, conch bullosa and a deviated septum.

The more familiar causes are to dust, sawdust and other particles you can find in the air such as pollen, chemical pollutants and dust mite leavings. People often get sinus infections around remodeling work in their homes or if they’re around construction both indoors and outdoors. So look through these causes and think about the environment around you as to what could be causing your sinus infections, sinusitis or other sinus problems. Know that you can treat most of the common causes yourself at home with natural sinus treatments and home remedies.

Famous, Sexy, Creative, and Funny Couples Halloween Costumes Ideas

Couples Halloween costumes are popular for many reasons. One of the reasons that couples costumes are popular is because it makes a statement that "we're together". Even if you socialize separately at the party, everyone will know that the Queen came with the guy in the King costume.

However, it does take some creativity to come up with a couples costume concept. If you are creative, you will have no problems. If you are not creative, you just might have some problems.

You can find inspiration for your costumes everywhere. Think of all the famous couples there are out there and you will understand the concept. If you can not think of a single famous couple at this point, you are not alone.

Here are some ideas to get you started: Peter Pan and Tinkerbell; Superman and Wonder Woman; George Bush and Condoleeza Rice; Robin Hood and Maid Marion; Egypt Frankenstein and his bride. Perhaps this list has given you some good ideas already. If not, there are still plenty of other great costume ideas available.

You can keep the costumes authentic or you can spice them up a bit to make the characters look sexy. Couples costumes that fit into this category include: a prison guard and prisoner; the Prom King and Prom Queen; a guy and girl cheerleader; or the Wolf and Little Red Riding Hood.

If you want a very creative couples costume idea, you may think about these ideas: a nut and bolt; mustard and ketchup; bacon and eggs; apple pie and the American flag.

Whatever costume you decide, it is important to have fun. For that reason, you may want to try some funny couples costumes. Fun costume ideas include: Annette and Frankie; Elvis and Priscilla Presley; Sonny and Cher; Granny and Jed Clampett; Gomez and Morticia Addams; Egypt Zeus and Aphrodite.

If you want to be unique, you may want to choose some of the more obscure couple costumes. If you go to a party dressed as Fred and Wilma Flinstone for example, you may find another couple dressed in those same costumes. If you go to the party as Little Bo Peep and a Sheep, you may not have that issue.

Accessories can really help to make the outfit. For example, the Morticia Addams costume would not be complete without a long black wig. Likewise, Gomez absolutely must be holding a large cigar in his hand. The prison guard should have hand cuffs while the cheerleaders will need pom poms and a megaphone.

You can take the time to make your own costumes. However, this could cost a lot of money and take a significant amount of time. This is especially true if you do not know how to sew.

Understanding The Different Types Of Roof Trusses

Roof trusses, usually fabricated from wood, frame house roofs during construction or renovation. There are many different types of roof trusses, and all of them support the other material that's used to construct the rest of the roof. They help support and spread out the load to the exterior walls.

Let's look at the different types of trusses that are in common use.

Bowstring Roof Trusses

Bowstring trusses are arched and usually large. They support the weight of buildings like aircraft hangars and warehouses which need plenty of open space within. There are multiple beams that make up an arch, with sheets of metal or other material making up the roof outside.

Water runs off easily from such roofs, and there is no need for a ridge cap like for other types of trusses.

Dual Pitched Trusses

The standard triangular truss design is such that two sides slope up to the apex above, with struts (called "upper chords") leading down from it. They are attached to a horizontal beam that makes up the base of the triangle.

The upper chords are typically of different lengths in this kind of truss, making the apex off-center. This allows plenty of open space unobstructed by poles for support.

Gambrel Trusses

Gambrel trusses are like barn roofs in appearance. There are two upper chords, one longer than the other. They meet at the apex of the truss, just like the dual pitch variety. Because the sides are steep, there's enough room for living space under the roof, or to use as an attic for storage.

A Gambrel roof truss for the home allows you to include an upper floor benefit the roof. There's also extra room for large windows, which results in a brighter appearance inside.

It is an expert's choice to pick the best from the different types of roof trusses for a specific building, and depending upon your unique needs and requirements.

Flying With Your Baby Stroller – 10 Easy Tips For Boarding a Plane With Your Stroller

For many parents the idea of ​​traveling with an infant or toddler can be overwhelming to say the least. The amount of necessary items for the comfort and safety of a child must always be considered before you go. One of the most common dilemma's when flying with a child is whether or not to bring along your baby stroller.

A baby stroller can be a big help on a trip that will entail a good deal of walking or transporting a young child. However, be sure to remember to check out whenever or not your destination will be stroller-friendly along the way.

Here are 10 tips for flying with a baby stroller.

1. Make an educated decision about bringing a baby stroller. First check with your airline for their policies on bringing along a baby stroller. This may determine whether or not you will consider it a hassle or an asset for your trip.

2. Know the area you will be walking around. Consider the terrain, the width of the aisles and doorways as well as the amount of stairs you may be subject to climb. Pushing a stroller on a bumpy stone path or transporting it between subway rides may well be more difficult than simply carrying your child.

3. Before you even get to the airport be sure to properly label your stroller (on the handle bar or side bars) with a permanent marker or paper label. Write down your contact information, destination and flight information. You will be given a tag when you check your stroller but it is better to use BOTH to insure you get your stroller back once you have landed.

4. Have a Plan B for those times when you will need to leave your stroller outside or in the trunk. For babies that weigh no more than 20/30 lbs. keeping a baby carrier, sling or backpack is a good second option. For older children who can walk themselves, consider a harness to keep them tied to you in crowds and strange places. If you do not like the idea of ​​a harness for your child just be sure to start explaining to them a little every day about the importance of staying next to you or other caregivers when you are in a different place. They should understand who it is safe to talk to and give them something that has your contact information to wear when you are out in public.

OK Now you are ready to head to the airport!

5. It will be easiest to employ your stroller through the airport and just check it at the gate of the plane. Most airlines will let you stroll right on up to the gate of the plane before having to check it in.

6. If you would like to count your stroller with your luggage at check-in be sure to find out if you will be charged an extra fee. Some airlines do not count a baby stroller as a part of the luggage you are allowed to bring on and may have a rate that you do not want to pay.

7. If you are loading at the gate you will be asked to remove your child yourself and fold the stroller down to be stored. (It is nice to have a helping hand available to hold your child (ren) during this part.) Bringing duct tape is a good idea if your stroller is not compact enough to store in the overhead compartment on the plane. Simply tape the sides of the stroller shut tightly or wrap the stroller entirely around it's center. This will help to keep it closed while it is being loaded and unloaded into the cargo area therefore minimizing possible damage.

8. Your stroller will then be tagged and given a corresponding receipt that you will need to hold on to, in order to retrieve your stroller once you land.

9. Be sure to confirm with the attendant at the gate check where you will pick up your stroller upon landing. Most airlines will return your stroller at the gate as you exit but it could be sent along with the other luggage to the baggage claim.

10. Upon your exit present your receipt to claim your stroller or head to the baggage claim to retrieve it there. Remember to take advantage of your stroller and load it down with whatever baggage you can to alleviate the strain on your arms and shoulders.

It is important to note that if you are bringing a light umbrella stroller that can be folded compactly enough to fit into your overhead carrier (find out the dimensions from the airline) you will not need to gate check your stroller. Simply fold it and carry it to your seat. There are certain things you may want to consider before choosing between your lightweight, .standard stroller and your heavier, fancier stroller. Here is a list of pro's and con's for both.

Basic Umbrella Stroller- Between 10-13 lbs.

Pro's:

  • Compact, easy to fold and store.
  • Lightweight and easier to carry if you have to.
  • Can likely be stored in overhead of airplane so there is less opportunity for damage during the flight.
  • Cheaper to replace should you have any damage.
  • Easier fit through standard doorways, aisles, sidewalks and stairs.

Con's:

  • Not much storage to hold bags, or toys or anything acquired during an outing.
  • Not as easily maneuvered on rocky or difficult roads or terrain.

The BIG Stroller- The One With All the Fixin's!

Pro's:

  • Good amount of storage for diaper bags, purses and shopping bags.
  • Usually has a canopy and plenty of accessories to entertain and protect from the sun or rain.
  • Much easier to maneuver due to the larger wheels and design.
  • May be compatible with the car seat you are using or renting, therefore making a complete travel system.

Con's:

  • Takes up more space in trunks on sidewalks or buses.
  • Heavier to carry.
  • Needs to be stored with luggage on plane.

Based on this list you should pick the stroller that you feel will serve you and your child the best. There is nothing like having a stroller to help out when it comes to toting your children. A stroller is the next most important item to the crib when it comes to having a baby.

What Does Door to Door Service Mean?

Some terms in the shipping industry can be confusing for shippers to understand. Door to door delivery looks to be one of them. One of the biggest problems is that companies do not always see that door delivery means to the door, of the warehouse of course. They think that door can mean to their customer's door which can be true only on a drop ship or direct ship, but they do not understand it to be door. So to clarify, Door to Door delivery means that the freight forwarding company will pick up the shipping container from your warehouse and bring it to the port. Then they gate it in and file the necessary paperwork and retrieve it on the other side to be brought to your consignee's warehouse.

Since a door to door delivery means a through bill of lading that includes trucking, there will also be additional charges added on your bill of lading. Many times however, a through bill of lading will actually have lower freight rates than if you were using different shipping companies. This is definitely something to consider when trying determining if you will need a door delivery. Using separate companies means more interaction with shipping companies, but it also allows for closer managing so it will depend what is best for your company.

No matter which type of delivery you choose, it is important to know what all of your options are before shipping. Even just a small amount of legwork can save a lot of money in the end.

This type of delivery could be the best shipping shipping experience available. Start your shipping experience for door to door by submitting online your request for freight service. Requiring little more than a few keystrokes and clicks of your mouse, take advantage of this opportunity to indicate your cargo requirements and preferences in the form provided. Please make sure to indicate door to door service when signing up online and you will receive it.

When you detail all your requirements upfront, you can receive great options for door to-door. If you do not detail your requirements upfront, then you may not get the best door to door service that is appropriate and unique for your freight shipping experience. And make sure that you work with a trusted freight forwarder who can provide you with outstanding freight services that work for door to door.

Choosing the Right Squeegee For Your Window Cleaning Job

If you decide to become a professional window cleaner, you will need to invest in the right equipment. Having top-of-the-line equipment is definitely worth the investment as a professional craftsman of any trade – window cleaning included.

In this article, I will discuss the various squeegees on the market and their proper application. There are many different makes and models of squeegees, each with their own pluses and minuses to take into consideration.

The standard window cleaning for the old-school window cleaner has been a brass Ettore squeegee. Brass was used because it is rust proof. As squeegees are constantly exposed to water, it was important to have a tool that would not rust.

However, brass is a reliably heavy metal. Later on, the major squeegee manufacturers began making stainless steel handles and channels. Stainless steel is stronger and lighter than the brass and is a definite improvement especially as one gets longer squeegees because the weight starts to add up.

Metal is a very durable material, but it has it's limits. For one, when it really takes cold outside metal squeegee handles absorb this cold; nothing is worse than having a freezing cold squeezeee. To solve this problem and to make squeegees lighter still, the squeegee manufacturers started making the handles out of very tough and lightweight plastics. These new squeegees are lighter and easier to grip.

Another advancement in squeegee technology has been the use of quick release levers. This allows the window cleaner to slide out the channel and change the rubber without the use of tools. Previously, the window cleaner would have to use a screwdriver to loosen the screws in order to do this. As rubber often needs to be changes fairly frequently, this really is a convenient option.

Still another advance in squeegee technology has been the pivoting squeegee. This is very handy for cleaning windows with a pole as it allows the squeegee to pivot. There are a few pivoting squeegees on the market. The most popular are the Unger Swivel Lock, The Ettore Contour Pro Plus, and the Wagtail.

The Wagtail freely swivels back and forth with very little resistance. This is really a great feature if you are very skillful with the pole as it allows the window cleaner to easily fan the window. However, having too much swivel may be too much to handle for the less experienced window cleaner.

The Unger Swivel Lock has the benefit of being able to adjust the level of tension, thereby, giving the window cleaner the level of swivel they want. It can also be locked into whatever angle in desirable. The Swivel Lock comes in two models, one with the standard 40 degree head and one with a zero degree head / I find that the zero degree version is the most versatile as it is easier to perform most pole maneuvers with a zero degree squeegee.

The Ettore Contour Pro Plus is in a class all it's own. It can swivel side-to-side (although not as well as the Swivel Lock or Wagtail) and it can adjust the forward-and-back head angle. So it can be a standard 40 degree squeezeee or you can click it into the zero degree position.

Zero degree squeegees are very handy for the window cleaner. It allows them to "close-out" windows with much greater ease (closing out means to go all the way to the edge). This is especially handy for windows with deep mullions or sills. Deeply recessed window may be almost impossible to clean without using a zero degree squeegee. They are also especially helpful for commercial windows with deep ledges.

Another consideration in selecting a squeegee is what size windows you will be using it on. If you plan on cleaning large store front windows, you may want to get a handle that is compatible with wide body aluminum channels. You see, when you want to go over the largest standard size channel (18 inches) you need to get a sturdier channels so that it remains straight and flush. The longer length of 22 "through 40" can more easily bow if not constructed more rigidly. The wide body aluminum channels (ex. Slayer Channels, and Ettore Super System) are very rigid and lighter than stainless steel. This is important, because when you start going above 18 inches you need to have the squeegee be as light as possible.

If you are planning to be a dedicated storefront window cleaner and you want to do large pieces of glass quickly, you may want to check out Sorbo's line of extra large squeegees. Using a 30 "squeegee will make quick work of those extra big car dealership windows!