Mid-Life Pregnancy – Mother Over 40, Delight Or Doom?

What do Geena Davis, Marcia Cross and Mariska Hargitay have in common? Well, besides being television stars, all three became first-time mothers after the age of 40. Mention a woman is pregnant and see people beam. Include the detail that she's above forty and watch the same beaming people frown and shake their heads. What is it about being over forty and pregnant that brings out such reactions in people?

By being a mom over 40, you are taking a risk. But so are you if you decide to go skydiving or parachute-jumping. There are risks in everything. From something as simple as crossing a road, risks are involved. However, doctors are always warning against 'older motherhood'. What are these risks? Here is a list which features a collaboration of the many and usual health scares that warn against becoming a mother too late.

Pregnant moms will have an increased risk of getting high blood pressure and gestational diabetes.

Birth defects in the child – Down syndrome usually takes the lead here. A combination of mental retardation and physical abnormalities that are caused by the presence of an extra chromosome. Women usually have a 1-in-100 chance at age 40 and a 1-in-30 chance of having a child born with Down syndrome.

Miscarriage – 25% risk for women at 40

Placenta Previa – This causes extreme bleeding during delivery.

Foetal Distress – Increases if this is a woman's first labor.

Low Birth Weight – A preterm birth (less than 37 weeks of pregnancy) can be reduced by not smoking during pregnancy

Caesarean Birth – Usually a C-section will be advised when a woman is 40 and over.

Moment of fear

Alright do not despair just 'cause you read that and already are pregnant and over 40. Sure complications may arrise due to age. But think about it. Complications could also arise from the habit of smoking you had as an impulsive teenager or when you were in your twenties, drowning your weekends in flavored martinis. Age certainly is a component in the production of a healthy baby; however, it is not the main determining factor. Many people over 40, all over the world, have given birth to babies, regardless of whether it's their first or second or third third (think: Jane Seymour, Emma Thompson, Susan Sarandon). How did they do it and continue to? You have to do your part to improve your pregnancy. Quell your fears with these tips!

Get a good amount of exercise before, during and after your pregnancy. Consult your doctor on what type of exercise you can do during the different terms of your pregnancy.

Follow a healthy diet. It's good for you and your baby.

Optimal prenatal care – Ladies, I can not stress enough on the importance of this.

What about after the kid has been born? Mid-life crisis VS Parenting duties?

Come on ladies. Having a child is an indication by itself, regardless of age, that you have reached mid-life and a crisis will soon happen, is not it. We kid, we kid (no pun intended).

But what is the real problem here? Creaking knees and popping ankles sounding off as you chase after your little one? Mid-life Mom, those problems pop up all the time due to lack of exercise. Think of the positive issues involved with you being an 'older' mom.

Goodbye isolation – While most of your friends are having long-distance chats with their kids or wondering how university life is going for their children, you are having fun discovering new things with your itty bitty baby.

Career's made – Most young mothers would be busy juggling career and baby but you … you've already made your career mark!

Wisdom – With age, come wisdom (we hope!) So wiser decisions regarding you, your child and your family may be made.

Being a mother is a blessing. Being a mother at an older age is an even bigger blessing. Do not let the worries and concerns shadow the most beautiful time of parenthood. Take it in stride and who knows, pretty soon you might out beat the youngger moms and be the 'cool mom' on the block!

Jazz Guitar Chord Solos – Robert Yelin Made It His Career!

Robert Yelin was born on September 25, 1944 in Yonkers, NY His family moved to New Rochelle, New York when he was 9 years old. He started to take an interest in the guitar at 15 after hearing some records by rock-and-roll guitar players Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley. Robert started to take guitar lessons from Gus DeGazio, a local area instructor who played him Johnny Smith's famous recording of "Moonlight in Vermont." From that point on he came to know that this was the type of music he wanted to play!

Yelin continued his guitar studies with DeGazio but now devoted himself entirely to jazz. It was at this time that Robert started his extensive collection of recordings by all of the famous jazz guitarists. He studied guitar technique and harmony for three years with Augie Lamont and advanced his jazz guitar understanding by watching the leading jazz guitarists of the day including Kenny Burrell, Jim Hall, and Chuck Wayne play in New York city jazz clubs.

By the time Robert Yelin was 18 years old he was playing solo jazz guitar in restaurants and by the time he was 20 he had decided to make a career out of music. For the next 15 years Yelin performed at many of the leading New York jazz spots like The Village Gate and Sweet Basil's. He combined this career with a day time job in the Yelin family's clothes manufacturing company. He is likewise a prolific arranger and writer on the guitar. From 1968 – 1982 he wrote over 30 articles for Guitar Player Magazine alone as well as articles for Downbeat and Cadence magazines. Starting in 1982, Robert became a professor at the University of Colorado where he taught the history of jazz and worked with the jazz guitar ensemble there.

It was also during that exact same year that Robert Yelin was diagnosed with diabetes and muscular dystrophy. The physical issues from these illnesses brought his jazz guitar playing career to an end. With a mix of excellent medical treatments and personal self-discipline, Yelin was able to start playing once more in 1996. Robert Yelin is a unique figure in the jazz guitar world. As well as being a gifted player he has one of the world's largest collections of jazz guitar audio and video recordings. His video collection has actually been an excellent source of reference to scholars and jazz guitar enthusiasts alike.

I had the pleasure of leisure spending an afternoon with Robert Yelin at his home in Littleton, Colorado when I was about 35 years old. He played some of his charming jazz guitar chord melody solos for me on a gorgeous Gibson Kalamazoo Award model archtop guitar that he owned. I immediately knew why Robert was described in jazz guitar circles as a "guitar chordiologist"! He had quite an arsenal of jazz guitar chords under his fingers to say the least. For my part, I played some Bach compositions for him on my Manuel Contreras classical guitar and he really got a kick out of hearing them!

Wealthy Affiliate – Pyramid to Riches

If you've clicked on this review you're one of the thousands considering a becoming a Wealthy Affiliate affiliate. It is also known by the none too presumptuous title of the Wealthy Affiliate University or simply, WA.

Let me start by saying you will find no link in this review. I am not selling WA nor am selling one of its competitors. I am merely here to tell you of my experiences within the gilded walls of WA. Yes, I was a member and went through the bulk of the training they provided on Internet marketing. I am no longer a Wealthy Affiliate affiliate and decided to write a review of their services for those of you that want a first hand account; no strings attached.

By now you've seen the ads that promise a large income from working in the comfort of your home. As a marketing strategy, its genius. But what does WA actually supply to their affiliates? And do the skills they provide really make money for their members?

The Wealthy Affiliate "university" centers around an 8 week course for beginners in which each new set of lessons is delled out; one per week. The site may have a slick look to it, but wears more like a cheap suit with poor navigation, confusing lesson formats and enough typos to make a member wonder why they did not pop for a copy editor.

Kyle and Carson, the WA creators, have built a wonderful money making machine, for themselves. Under the guise of helping people make lots of money through Internet marketing, they are really just fueling their own empire by creating Wealthy Affiliate affiliates.

It starts with how the new members can promote WA. And they have made it very easy for the newbies to do just that with ready made ads and websites that promote WA and its host of peripheral products.

WA provides a taste of what is needed to make a living with Internet marketing and a big push to go round up more newbies for the cult of Wealthy Affiliate affiliates. Some say that WA is starting to sound like a pyramid scheme, but its probably closer to multi level marketing.

The sad and rarely stated truth behind Internet marketing in general is that the failure rate is close to 95%. This failure rate has more to do with the unrealistic hopes of the people signing up, all WA does is fan the fire. Regardless of what you have read in ads promoting Internet marketing there is NOTHING EASY about it.

Making money online is hard work, often times requiring more hours per week than a full time job. But that kind of information would not read well in a pay per click ad. The truth often times has little to do with good salesmanship. Internet marketers are selling a dream.

So what of joining WA? On the pro side, they do offer some helpful information and resources for their $ 30 + / month membership fee. On the con side, be prepared to be hit with a barrage of self serving promotions. They make them seem very enticing and an easy way to start off in Internet marketing. WAs turnover rate must be high as witnessed by their constant push for new members to recruit new members.

And as for giving you "the secrets" to making money online, well do not expect anything more than general information about IM. Do you honestly expect them to give up the secrets that REALLY make them money? Of course not, that's how they make their living, why would they?

According to WA records, their active membership is hovering around 12,000 as of this writing. I did an informal survey of 3000 of those so called members and found that nearly 46% of them had never posted to the WA forum once. All of these members have been with WA for at least 6 months and some as long as two years.

For a website that prides itself on its "supportive" forum and encourages new members to use it, it does not seem a bit odd that so many Wealthy Affiliate affiliates would have never used it, not even one time?

Many pocketed groups of these non posting members also joined within several minutes of each other as attested to by WAs own system of recording members join up times. I would be curious to hear Kyle and Carson explain this phenomenon.

What WA provides to its Wealthy Affiliate affiliates is a basic primer to IM, some resources that, regardless of their hype, can be found elsewhere on the internet, often for free and a forum with little tolerance of anyone asking the status quo and the smell of hype everywhere.

Let's face it, Internet marketers are salesman above all and those who run sites like WA are super salesman. Kyle and Carson discovered what PT Barnum knew long ago, there's a Wealthy Affiliate affiliate born every minute. All these two boys figured out was how to leak them on a regular and ongoing basis. If anyone was wondering where the used car salesmen of old have gone, they are right here on the internet and doing FINE.

WA and its army of Wealthy Affiliate affiliates is just one of the many, many Internet marketing creations that promise to "show you the secrets" of making money online. Its a promise that fails to mention that to become a truly successful Internet marketer takes years of hard work. The expression, "do not believe the hype" comes to mind.

So should you spend the money becoming a Wealthy Affiliate affiliate? Well if you've got around $ 100 (more if you plan to use PPC campaigns) and a few months then there are worse ways to go. You can learn some of the basics of Internet marketing being a WA member. Just go through the 8 week program and do not get sucked into all the products / services they will try to sell you along the way.

At the same time you must realize that becoming a member opens you to the often unsavory world of IM where ROI (return on investment) is king, not the customer. This is not WAs fault, they're just milking the cow. To really compete in this business, be it as a Wealthy Affiliate affiliate or not, it's best to check a healthy chuck of your ethics at the door.

A more important question is are you looking for something quick and easy by becoming a Wealthy Affiliate affiliate or something that requires dedication and hard work? If you answered "quick and easy" do not waste your money joining WA, in fact do not waste your money on Internet marketing at all.

How to Cook Chestnuts

Wondering how to cook chestnuts? It's not so mysterious or difficult as you may think and even if you do not decide to cook them yourself, there are some wonderful chestnut products that make it even easier to enjoy this fabulous nugget of nutrition.

Selecting and Preparing Chestnuts

  • If you wish to cook chestnuts yourself, be sure that you buy only very fresh chestnuts. They should feel heavy in your hand and not rattle about in their shell. Chestnuts tend to go bad – rapidly growing moldy and wormy.
  • Chestnuts have a hard outer shell and a thin inner skin, both of which you need to remove in order to eat them. It is easier to remove these when the chestnuts are hot.
  • You always need to pierce the shell before cooking, otherwise pressure will build up in the nut and they will explode.

Three Methods for How to Cook Chestnuts

  1. Roasting chestnuts – Just like in the Christmas song, learn how to cook chestnuts over an open fire for a fun family activity . You will need a special long handled chestnut roasting pan or popcorn popper to do this. Using a sharp knife, cut an X through the shell of each chestnut. Place in the pan and roast for about 20 minutes, tossing and turning the pan occasionally.
  2. Baking chestnuts – This gives similar results to roasting but requires no special equipment. Simply slit the shells with an X and place on baking tray. Bake at 375 ° F for about 20 minutes. If you wrap the chestnuts in a dishtowel while they are still hot, this can make shelling them easier.
  3. Boiling chestnuts – Boiling chestnuts is a good option if you are planning on using them in a recipe. You can cut the chestnuts in two and make sure they are good before boiling. Place the chestnuts in a pot of cold water and bring to a boil. Boil for five minutes or until the chestnuts are done as you wish (this depends some on the size and what recipe you are using them in). Shell and peel the chestnuts under cold running water while they are still hot (you may want to wear gloves).

Chestnut Products

Chestnuts are very nutritious, low fat, and can be employed in a variety of ways. Even if you do not learn how to cook chestnuts, do try using some of the great chestnut products available on the market to add this interesting food to your life.

  • Roasted chestnuts – You can buy jars of roasted chestnuts ready to use. Add these to soups, stews, steamed vegetables, or just enjoy them straight from the jar.
  • Chestnut puree – This comes in both sweetened and unsweetened preparations depending on how you would like to use it.
  • Chestnut flour – This is an excellent product for people on gluten free diets. Adds an interesting dimension to cakes, spreads, crepes, and other baked goods.

Etosha Camps: Okaukuejo or Halali? The Better Option

Etosha National Park has three camps inside the park, but which is the better option, Okaukuejo or Halali? Namutoni is the third camp, and by far the least popular. Why? The waterhole doesn’t draw in the large numbers of wildlife as the other two camps.

Of the two, which camp is the better option?

Halali Camp is the newest of the three camps and the most relaxed, in a stretched mopane woodland setting. The rooms have en-suite toilet/shower. Camping has toilet/shower facilities, braai areas, and electrical outlets. There is also a bar, restaurant, swimming pool, and the Tsumasa Trail up a small dolomite hill to the summit. A small floodlit waterhole, at this Etosha Camp, was built about three hundred meters behind the camp attracting elephants and rhinos along with other game animals.

Okaukuejo is Etosha’s oldest resort, located near Andersson Gate. Climb the tower to have a 360° view from the park’s highest vantage point and spot game far off in the distance. In the evenings, relax on the benches in front of a floodlit waterhole visited by Etosha’s game animals including giraffe, elephant, lion, and black rhino. The rooms have en-suite toilet/shower. Camping has toilet/shower facilities, braai areas, and electrical outlets. There is also a bar, restaurant, museum, swimming pool, and post office.

As you can easily see, essentially the two Etosha camps are the same. However, it is the waterholes, and those around the camps, that visitors generally use as decision makers.

Okaukuejo is famous for its waterhole having the ability to attract large numbers of wildlife -elephant and rhino visit regularly -on any given day. It’s seating around the waterhole spreads far and wide leaving ample room for visitors to cozy in comfortably.

Halali’s waterhole on the other hand provides a feeling of exclusive seclusion, a quiet hide tucked amongst the rocks, the same rocks you sit on whilst waiting for wildlife to appear. The hide, at this Etosha camp, is perched above, allowing for great views of wildlife only few feet away. Halali is also in the center of the park with excellent year-round waterholes attracting large herds and hungry prides.

No matter which camp you choose, or if you divide your time between the two, you’ll certainly fall asleep to the roars of lion, the crying of hyena, or the callings of the various other wildlife that call Etosha home.

It is important to note advance bookings must be made at Namibia Wildlife Resorts main office in Windhoek or online. Reservations for Etosha camps cannot be made over the telephone, and should be made well in advance.

When booking with Etosha NWR, you need to stick to your itinerary, as it is very difficult to change your plans, especially during the holiday months or at the end of July and August. During these months the park is full and the resorts and camping spots are generally completely booked. It is sometimes possible to camp without reservations, however to keep your trip smooth it’s better to book your reservations in advance.

Reception offices are at each Etosha camp and are open from dawn to dusk. It is here you pay for your stay and park fees that are due. It is important to note that all park fees must be paid at the reception office before attempting to leave the park as you can’t pay at the gate.

Combine your visit to Etosha with Sossusvlei. Get started planning your safari today! http://wildsafariafrica.com/about/your-specialist-in-african-safari-planning/

The Stirling Engine

A ‘Stirling Engine’ is in the family of heat engines. It is a closed cycle regenerative hot air (or other permanent gas) engine.. Closed cycle means that there is a fixed volume of the ‘working fluid’ in the system. There is no intake, there is no exhaust.

The Stirling engine was first patented in 1816 by Dr. Robert Stirling. The original patent focused more on ‘The Economizer’ which was a heat exchange unit that saw primary interest for use as the first incarnation of the solar water heater.

Originally the Stirling engine was developed by Robert Stirling and his brother James. It resulted in many patents and the first Sterling in commercial use was used to pump water in a quarry in 1818. After more development many patents for various improvements, including pressurization, which directly affected the amount of work or force the engine could produce, came about in 1845. By this time, the power output of this engine had been brought up to the level that it could drive all the machinery at a Dundee iron foundry.

The engine was promoted as being very fuel conserving and was pushed to be a safer alternative to steam engines of the time that had many deadly incidents involve exploding boilers. However because of the heat required and the level of exchange required, coupled with the materials of the day, the Stirling engine could never really give the steam engine serious competition, and by the late 1930’s the Stirling was all but forgotten in mainstream science and industry and only represented in odd toys and small ventilation fans.

Around this time, Philips, the large electrical and electronic manufacturer was seeing to expand its market for radio sets into areas where a power source or supply of batteries was considered unstable. Philips further developed the Stirling engine through World War II and really only achieved commercial success with the ‘reversed Stirling engine’ cryocooler. However Philips did take out quite a few patents and gain a large amount of information about the Stirling engine.

Since the Stirling engine is a closed cycle, it contains a fixed mass of gas called the “working fluid”, most commonly air, hydrogen or helium. In normal operation, the engine is sealed and no gas enters or leaves the engine. No valves are required, unlike other types of piston engines. The Stirling engine, like most heat-engines, cycles through four main processes: cooling, compression, heating and expansion. This is accomplished by moving the gas back and forth between hot and cold heat exchangers. The hot heat exchanger is in thermal contact with an external heat source, e.g. a fuel burner, and the cold heat exchanger being in thermal contact with an external heat sink, e.g. air fins. A change in gas temperature will cause a corresponding change in gas pressure, while the motion of the piston causes the gas to be alternately expanded and compressed.

The gas follows the behavior described by the gas laws which describe how a gas’s pressure, temperature and volume are related. When the gas is heated, because it is in a sealed chamber, the pressure rises and this then acts on the power piston to produce a power stroke. When the gas is cooled the pressure drops and this means that less work needs to be done by the piston to compress the gas on the return stroke, thus yielding a net power output.

When one side of the piston is open to the atmosphere, the operation is slightly different. As the sealed volume of working gas comes in contact with the hot side, it expands, doing work on both the piston and on the atmosphere. When the working gas contacts the cold side, the atmosphere does work on the gas and “compresses” it. Atmospheric pressure, which is greater than the cooled working gas, pushes on the piston.

To summarize, the Stirling engine uses the temperature difference between its hot end and cold end to establish a cycle of a fixed mass of gas expanding and contracting within the engine, thus converting thermal energy into mechanical power. The greater the temperature difference between the hot and cold sources, the greater the potential Carnot cycle efficiency.

Pros and Cons of Stirling Engines

Pros

  • They can run directly on any available heat source, not just one produced by combustion, so they can be employed to run on heat from solar, geothermal, biological, nuclear sources or waste heat from any industrial process.

  • A continuous combustion process can be used to supply heat, so most types of emissions can be greatly reduced.

  • Most types of Stirling engines have the bearing and seals on the cool side of the engine; consequently, they require less lubricant and last significantly longer between overhauls than other reciprocating engine types.

  • The engine mechanisms are in some ways simpler than other types of reciprocating engine types, i.e. no valves are needed, and the fuel burner system can be relatively simple.

  • A Stirling engine uses a single-phase working fluid which maintains an internal pressure close to the design pressure, and thus for a properly designed system the risk of explosion is relatively low. In comparison, a steam engine uses a two-phase gas/liquid working fluid, so a faulty relief valve can cause an over-pressure condition and a potentially dangerous explosion.

  • In some cases, low operating pressure allows the use of lightweight cylinders.

  • They can be built to run very quietly and without an air supply, for air-independent propulsion use in submarines or in space.

  • They start easily (albeit slowly, after a warm-up period) and run more efficiently in cold weather, in contrast to the internal combustion which starts quickly in warm weather, but not in cold weather.

  • A Stirling engine used for pumping water can be configured so that the pumped water cools the compression space. This is, of course, most effective when pumping cold water.

  • They are extremely flexible. They can be used as CHP (Combined Heat and Power) in the winter and as coolers in summers.

  • Waste heat is relatively easily harvested (compared to waste heat from an internal combustion engine) making Stirling engines useful for dual-output heat and power systems

Cons

Power and torque issues

  • Stirling engines, especially those that run on small temperature differentials, are quite large for the amount of power that they produce (i.e. they have low specific power). This is primarily due to the low heat transfer coefficient of gaseous convection which limits the heat flux that can be attained in an internal heat exchanger to about 4 – 20 W/(m*K). This makes it very challenging for the engine designer to transfer heat into and out of the working gas. Increasing the temperature differential and/or pressure allows Stirling engines to produce more power, assuming the heat exchangers are designed for the increased heat load, and can deliver the convected heat flux necessary.

  • A Stirling engine cannot start instantly; it literally needs to “warm up”. This is true of all external combustion engines, but the warm up time may be shorter for Stirlings than for others of this type such as steam engines. Stirling engines are best used as constant speed engines.

  • Power output of a Stirling tends to be constant and to adjust it can sometimes require careful design and additional mechanisms. Typically, changes in output are achieved by varying the displacement of the engine (often through use of a swashplate crankshaft arrangement), or by changing the quantity of working fluid, or by altering the piston/displacer phase angle, or in some cases simply by altering the engine load. This property is less of a drawback in hybrid electric propulsion or “base load” utility generation where constant power output is actually desirable.

Gas Choice Issues

  • Hydrogen’s low viscosity, high thermal conductivity and specific heat make it the most efficient working gas, in terms of thermodynamics and fluid dynamics, to use in a Stirling engine. However, given the high diffusion rate associated with this low molecular weight gas, hydrogen will leak through solid metal, thus it is very difficult to maintain pressure inside the engine for any length of time without replacement of the gas. Typically, auxiliary systems need to be added to maintain the proper quantity of working fluid. These systems can be a gas storage bottle or a gas generator. Hydrogen can be generated either by electrolysis of water, or by the reaction of acid on metal. Hydrogen can also cause the embrittlement of metals. Hydrogen is also a very flammable gas, while helium is inert.

  • Most technically advanced Stirling engines, like those developed for United States government labs, use helium as the working gas, because it functions close to the efficiency and power density of hydrogen with fewer of the material containment issues. Helium is relatively expensive, and must be supplied by bottled gas. One test showed hydrogen to be 5% absolutely (24% relatively) more efficient than helium in the GPU-3 Stirling engine.[14]

  • Some engines use air or nitrogen as the working fluid. These gases are less thermodynamically efficient but they minimize the problems of gas containment and supply. The use of Compressed air in contact with flammable materials or substances such as lubricating oil, introduces an explosion hazard, because compressed air contains a high partial pressure of oxygen. However, oxygen can be removed from air through an oxidation reaction, or bottled nitrogen can be used.

Size and Cost Issues

  • Stirling engine designs require heat exchangers for heat input and for heat output, and these must contain the pressure of the working fluid, where the pressure is proportional to the engine power output. In addition, the expansion-side heat exchanger is often at very high temperature, so the materials must resist the corrosive effects of the heat source, and have low creep (deformation). Typically these material requirements substantially increase the cost of the engine. The materials and assembly costs for a high temperature heat exchanger typically accounts for 40% of the total engine cost. (Hargraves)

  • All thermodynamic cycles require large temperature differentials for efficient operation; however, in an external combustion engine, the heater temperature always equals or exceeds the expansion temperature. This means that the metallurgical requirements for the heater material are very demanding. This is similar to a Gas turbine, but is in contrast to a Otto engine or Diesel engine, where the expansion temperature can far exceed the metallurgical limit of the engine materials, because the input heat-source is not conducted through the engine; so the engine materials operate closer to the average temperature of the working gas.

  • Dissipation of waste heat is especially complicated because the coolant temperature is kept as low as possible to maximize thermal efficiency. This increases the size of the radiators, which can make packaging difficult. Along with materials cost, this has been one of the factors limiting the adoption of Stirling engines as automotive prime movers. However, for other applications high power density is not required, such as Ship propulsion, and stationary microgeneration systems using combined heat and power (CHP).[13]

    There are many possible uses for the Stirling design. More research and devolopment will help move the technology along.

The Difference Between Industrial, Retail and Commercial Real Estate

Before we answer this question, it might be helpful to actually define each term first.

Retail and industrial are both considered ‘commercial real estate’ (as opposed to ‘residential real estate’). Commercial real estate refers to buildings or land intended to generate profit; industrial and retail are simply sub-categories of commercial real estate.

Firstly an industrial property is defined as a property used for the actual manufacturing of something, and can be considered either a factory or plant. This is usually zoned for light, medium or heavy industry. This includes things such as warehouses, garages and distribution centers etc.

Retail property is a commercially zoned property used solely for business purposes, the actual selling of the product, rather than its manufacture – retail stores, malls, shopping centers and shops all huddling nicely under the retail umbrella.

Generally, businesses that occupy commercial real estate often lease the space. An investor usually owns the building and collects rent from each business that operates there.

There are four primary types of commercial real estate leases, each requiring different levels of responsibility from the landlord and the tenant.

Single net lease – tenant is responsible for paying rent and property taxes.

Double net lease – tenant is responsible for paying rent, property taxes and insurance.

Triple net lease – tenant is responsible for paying rent, property taxes, insurance and maintenance.

Gross lease – tenant is responsible only for rent; the Landlord pays property taxes, insurance and maintenance.

If you find yourself considering Commercial property ownership, there are a few things that you would do well to keep in mind:

1) Attractive appearance – the last thing you need is a vacant commercial property in Sydney for any length of time. Think how prospective tenants think: what will their customers want to see?

2) Aesthetic entrance – first impressions count, simple, simple stuff. This is a great tool for putting your prospective clients in a great frame of mind… and their clients.

3) Natural Light – in especially high demand nowadays

4) Location – close to other offices, public amenities, transportation etc.

Since 1980, retail property has returned an average of 9%, though is currently returning around 6%. Industrial real estate tends to be the most volatile, and is currently returning around 7% (as opposed to its peak of around 12% during the 1990’s recession).

And obviously, no matter which form of commercial property you’re considering, read the lease carefully. Sounds like a silly thing to say, but you’d be very surprised at the issues that can become issues simply because things weren’t read properly!

Why the Africans Live in Huts

Whenever one sees a picture of a hut, one thinks of Africa. Indeed, huts have been the defining architectural hallmark of Africa, and throughout the continent, they have been the preferred building style.

Huts are a form of living space. Huts are usually round, with a peaked roof. They are usually made of mud or clay, with a wooden structure to support the building, and a single wooden pole in the centre, which supports the grass-thatched roof.

Many critics of Africa claim that Africa can boast no great cultures south of Egypt. By that, they often mean that there is no architectural evidence of greatness south of the Pyramids. Indeed, architecture or architectural remains are the accepted calling card of the so-called ‘great cultures’.

While most of Africa can boast no such fossil evidence, there is reason to believe that the architectural choices made by the Africans thus far are neither as accidental nor as simplistic as they may seem.

For one, most of Africa is warm to hot throughout the year, without an extended winter period. The most uncomfortable climatic period is the long rains, during which it rains a lot, mostly every day. However, in most of Africa, it showers, rather than rains. That means a quick and voluminous period of precipitation, unlike rain in Europe for example, which may be a slight but continuous precipitation. In addition, most of Africa, which lies at the equator, experiences almost equal twelve-hour periods each for night and day. This is in contrast to for example Europe, where in winter, darkness may be up eighteen hours long.

As such, most of life in Africa is lived outside. A shelter is needed only for the night, against the cold and as shelter from wild animals. There has never been a need to invest as heavily in shelter as has been done in Europe for example. Strictly speaking, there was rarely a situation in Africa where lack of shelter would have been life-threatening. In many African cultures, nomads, hunters, warriors and messengers were often away from home for long periods without having shelter.

Huts are often small, and made of the readily available mud or river clay, plastered over a skeleton of branches. They were completely inexpensive in both materials and labour. In many cultures, the women did the plastering, while the men did the thatching of the roof. Among the Maasai of East Africa, the woman builds the whole structure, which is referred to as a manyatta.

Because of this relaxed philosophy to shelter, the Africans were not enslaved by the acquisition of shelter as is often the case in the modern world. In today’s globalised world, buying one’s home is a lifetime liability that forces one to live chained to a mortgage, under the Damocles sword of a foreclosure. The exploitation of this fear in the U.S.A. contributed to the current worldwide financial crisis.

It is also worthy of note that almost all the famous architectural monuments of the great cultures were built by employing slave labour, forced and semi-forced labour. That has never been necessary in Africa south of the pyramids. In fact, shelter was so inexpensive that the nomads could walk away from their huts at a moment’s notice and walk off into the savannah – the epitome of freedom.

It also meant that no family was ever without shelter because shelter was unaffordable, unlike in today’s world where many families become homeless if they experience a financial upset midway through their mortgage.

In many parts of Africa, the huts were renovated and renewed once a year, after the harvest season and before the next rains. This was the period with the least work and was like a holiday. The harvest was in, and next agricultural season had not yet begun. The women renovated the walls of the huts by plastering with a new layer of mud or clay. White or ochre-coloured river clay was used as a cosmetic finish inside and outside the hut, as well as on the floor. Communities that had no access to river clay used a mixture of cow-dung and mud, or ash.

A good African housewife took this duty as seriously as caring for her own body. A capable wife could be identified by her impeccably-kept hut(s). The regular renovation also served an important hygienic function: river clay is a very clean and wholesome material that discourages the breeding of insects and other pests. Both clay and dried cow dung are similar to ash in this respect. Cooking-fire ash from non-poisonous burnt wood is pure enough to be used as an alternative for toothpaste.

Renovation also gave the woman a creative outlet: she could paint whatever motifs on her walls that she wished. The men re-thatched the hut(s), using grass, such as elephant grass which was mostly cut by the women. Among the Masaai, the women did the renovation work as the men were often occupied with the full-time job of protecting the tribe from lions and other dangers lurking in the savannah.

A very satisfying effect of this yearly renewal was the psychological effect. There was an atmosphere of renewal every year; of new life, of a fresh start, of soul cleansing and a doing away with the past. Every year. This is a very healthy psychological perspective. Festivals featuring dancing and feasting also accompanied this period.

In today’s world, acquiring a home has such a finality to it. A sense of being rooted and captured by one building for one’s lifetime.

Because they were low-cost, huts were also very flexible. One could build a homestead of huts: one for cooking, another for sleeping, another for receiving visitors, and so on. Every time one needed a new hut, one simply built one. Adolescent boys were given a piece of land where they could build their own huts, a distance away from the rest of the family. Their privacy was assured, and their activities within their huts were nobody’s concern. A lot of adolescents today would appreciate the idea of having one’s own hut.

Huts are very comfortable and exactly right for many parts of Africa. This is mainly because of the building materials used. Both clay and grass are good insulators, but are porous, and so allow a free flow of air. It is often very hot during the afternoons in Africa. The hut remains cool and is a welcome resting place. At night, when temperatures fall, the hut retains its daytime temperature, keeping the inhabitants warm.

Huts are also very low-maintenance. A well-renovated hut only needs to be swept once a day with a straw broom. There was no need to wipe, polish or dust. Accidents with liquids were undramatic because the liquid was simply absorbed into the earth. The only real danger was fire, since the thatched roofs could burn very quickly, trapping the people inside.

Recently, an architectural team in Switzerland has ‘discovered’ the virtues of clay as a building material. Clay is a strong, durable material that is easy to work with. Applied correctly, it can be used to build structures that are stable, durable and aesthetic without necessitating the use of paint and cement. Most important of all, clay is healthy. It has now been proven that clay filters out toxins from the environment. Modern building materials like cements, paint, fillers and metals release toxins that compromise human health and well-being. A building made of clay or mud is completely eco-friendly, provided the initial source was safe.

The Africans knew that a long time ago. Huts, made of natural ‘earth’ materials, fitted in with their basic philosophy of drawing on nature for all their needs, and only in the amounts that were needed. For example, calabashes and gourds were used as containers for milk, water, local beer, porridge, honey or any other liquid. Cooking pots were made of clay, as were water pots. Cooking sticks were made of wood.

Water stored in a clay pot has a pleasant, natural coolness, and smells of earth. Drunk out of a calabash, it has an additional woody flavour. Food cooked in a clay pot over a wood fire retains an inimitable earthy aroma, especially fresh beans or meat dishes.

Sleeping mats or sitting mats were woven out of rushes or made of animal skin, as was clothing. Some people constructed a raised clay platform covered with animal skins or rush mats to act as a seat or a bed. Stools were made of wood or woven from rushes. Women wore jewelry made from bone, horn, wood, stone, clay, beads or woven rushes. Foodstuffs were carried or stored in woven rush baskets or clay pots.

This philosophy of living in harmony with the bounty of nature led to zero garbage, since everything was biodegradable. Indeed, until the advent of modernity and urbanisation, Africa was a continent of natural beauty preserved in its entirety.

Sadly, present-day Africans are jumping wholesale onto the bandwagon of expensive homes built of derived materials, which require a lifetime to pay for and a fortune to repair and maintain. The materials used in modern buildings trap heat, smells and moisture and are often derived using procedures that harm the environment. The houses lack the wellness effect of sitting in a hut built entirely out of the earth. They are in keeping with the modern day trends of inflated consumerism, self-definition through possession and a careless disregard for the planet.

Happily, some are rediscovering the enchantment of huts. They have been re-designed in some cases to be much larger, with large windows, or combined in intersecting or interconnecting structures. A famous hotel in Nairobi, Kenya is built using this concept, with treated straw used for thatching.

Indeed, more and more people are re-discovering why Africans lived in huts.

The Dangers of Drinking Coffee

If you drink coffee because you think you need to in order to rev or pep you up daily, especially if you work in corporate America, here are some things to think about relating to this liquid drug that is the number one cause of cancer of the esophagus:

The first thing you should think about is – why would you drink something that is so hot that if you stuck your finger in it, it would burn the hell out of you? If it burns your finger, what do you think it does to your tissues and cells through your body? Hot beverages destroy (kill) your cells, ie cancer!

Coffee is a stimulant to the central nervous system. Drinking coffee inhibits the release of natural brain opiates (that make you feel good and counteracts pain). Women need all the natural brain opiates their bodies can muster up, especially around the menstrual period and not to mention childbirth (which is very painful due to the inordinate decrease of opiates in the modern American woman). Coffee may rev you up for a while, but is sure to bring down as well (making you crave more of it, after all, it is a drug, at least in the state that we use it today). Excessive consumption of coffee causes shaking and trembling of the hands due to nervousness. Coffee greatly impairs the nervous system.

Coffee also kills the adrenal glands. Nearly everyone in America has shot-out adrenal glands!

Coffee revs up these glands, but also brings them down. Anything that goes up and then down taxes the body.

Coffee contains the stimulant caffeine. This is dead caffeine, unlike bio-active caffeine found in green tea, black tea, yerba mat, guarana, and kola nut. Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant that is followed by a depressed phase resulting in exhaustion, nervousness, irritability, fatigue, and often headache. Caffeine constricts blood vessels of the brain and causes reduced flow of blood which cuts the oxygen supply to the brain, resulting in gradual brain damage. It also increases your heartbeat 15% and makes your lungs work 13 times harder than normal. It very plays a role in fatigue as well.

The volatile oil in caffeine called caffeol is an irritant to the lining of the stomach and causes poor digestion.

Another chemical in this liquid drug is caffeine-tannic acid. This chemical is used in tanning leather. It is an irritating astringent to the cells lining the stomach and intestines and also destroys the pepsin in the gastric (stomach) juice needed to digest protein.

Coffee is a drug! Do you know why coffee is freely given in corporate America? Because it makes people work and perform efficiently by speeding up the brain so that jobs can get the best productivity out of their workers (slaves). People mainly drink coffee in the morning, at least 3 cups (over 400+ mg of caffeine) by noon. But by noon, they are mentally shot and drained, which explains why job productivity decrees around noontime in America. The workers will then get their caffeine kick or hit from drinking soda pop (coke, pepsi, etc.) and / or eating chocolate, which is also why you see these vending machines that sell sodas and chocolates in corporate America.

If you want to get something out of people, just give them some caffeine. Coffee, chocolate, cigarettes, and soda all have caffeine. When investigators or police want to obtain information from people, what do they offer people? A cup of coffee and a cigarette!

In wars, what do American soldiers give the children of the countries they are fighting in and against (especially when they want information)? Chocolate bars!

Most restaurants and diners offer you a cup of coffee for starters. Why? Because coffee clears the palate (taste buds) and sense of olfaction (smell), as well as make your stomach crave food so that you will become hungry, be able to smell the food, and taste the substance of the food once you begin to eat the food. Why do you think they have you smell coffee beans in a jar at aromatherapy shops? To clear your olfaction (sense of smell) so you can smell the various oils.

Did you know that early Arab Muslims used to give the potential or prospective Muslim convert and warrior free coffee at lectures, to get them to join Islam and fight in so-called holy wars (jihad) for the cause of Islam?

The Arabs had the market on coffee sealed. When Europeans first got their hands and taste buds on coffee, they went crazy. Europeans wanted to start a market for coffee in Europe but the Arabs were not having that! Certain European merchants began to start secretly exporting coffee out of Africa and Arabia (where coffee originated), and importing it into Europe. The Europeans did not want the Arabs to know what they were doing with their drug (coffee), so once the Europeans got the coffee into their country, they began to refer to it by code names, such as Java, Mocha, and cappucino, which are all names of countries where European merchants were exporting coffee from. Java is an island in Indonesia. Mocha is a city in Yemen, Arabia. Cappucino derives its name from the Italian city Capuchin (all Arab Muslim strongholds). The word coffee itself derives its name from kaf, the Ethiopian name for coffee.

A great alternative to drinking coffee is Teeccino herbal coffee, made of roasted carob, barley, chicory root, figs, dates, orange peel and almonds. It is very delicious and tastes just like coffee if not better. You can find it (and other tastes) at most health food stores such as Whole Food Market (1-800-SHOP-WFM).

Herbal teas such as guarana, kola nut, and yerba mate are also excellent alternatives to coffee and includes bio-active caffeine which is not deleterious to the body.

The herbs borage, basil, licorice, ginseng, astragalus, and fo ti are great for restoring the adrenal glands.

Thank you for reading!

How To Read Your Construction Industry Financial Statements

How to Read Your Financials

Many smaller and mid-market companies in the construction industry find that critical information is misunderstood or ignored because their reports and schedules are inaccurate, often because the reports are used primarily as a tool for the accountant to prepare a tax return or to fulfill a bank -reporting obligation, so they do not contain enough information for you to control your business.

But your reports and schedules, when organized, will inevitably help your profits. They represent the "financial control" of your business. It is imperative to understand how to read your financials.

A Balance Sheet
In simple terms, a balance sheet is a snapshot of the assets and liabilities of your company in a particular moment in time. It shows where you stand with what you own and what you owe on a particular date. Your assets are listed "at cost" minus any depreciation or amortization taken over the ownership period of the asset; nothing is shown at fair market value. Your balance sheet should list the amount of money the stockholders will receive before capital gains taxes on liquidation, plus or minus the fair market value of the assets versus the value stated on the balance sheet, (or the "short fall" if there is a negative equity).

The purpose of the balance sheet is to control the accuracy of the income statement. If your balance sheet is substantively inaccurate on the opening or ending date of the income statement period, then the income statement will be substantially wrong. For example, the income statement for the year ending 12-31-06 would need an accurate balance sheet dated 12-31-05 and 12-31-06.

I met with a new client recently whose accountant not only lost his records for the past three years, but could not locate his records for the current year. Knowing that accountants do not ever lose that many records and knowing that accountants normally back up their computer records, I knew we had a big problem. My client thought he had generated about $ 6 million in revenue from the past twelve months as a result of the revenue generated from his high-end New York City co-op remodeling projects. He had pretty good job cost and billing data but needed bank financing. He had a horrible bid-to-award ratio, and he needed guidance with his plan of revenue and profit for his company.

He needed to know:
• What his margins should be in order to win bids
• How to identify who his customers should be
• If his bid margins allowed for profit after general conditions and overhead
• Whether he was making money or losing it
• What had happened to his business over the last three years

My client and I were in a situation where we could not wait for his new accountant to slowly reconstruct his last three years of records, so we sat down and created a balance sheet. I interviewed him to determine what he owned and owed, located records which included his bank statements; accounts receivable; retainages receivables; an inventory of his trucks and computers; his vendor and subcontractor payables; the amount of debt on his trucks, cars and equipment; the jobs he had in progress; and the estimated costs of those jobs to complete. With that information, I created a balance sheet that covered the beginning and the eleventh month of his fiscal year.

Finally, satisfied that we had two "good" balance sheets, we simply computed the change in his equity section from one date to the other, adding back in the dividends that were checks other than payroll or expense reimbursements to itself during that period. Then, we looked at the payroll records to compute what he earned in salary during that same eleven month period. Our final step was to combine what he earned in salary and profit for the eleven months reviewed. The combined information, within a quick couple of hours, gave us the amount the client had earned. So, when you are unsure of your financial situation, use this short-cut to make sure your balance sheet is correct. Otherwise, look no further at your financials; they will likely be inaccurate and useless.

Estimated Cost to Complete Jobs / Projects
It is my experience that nearly all contractors use the "percentage of completion" method of recognizing revenue and cost other than the residential developer / builders who use the "completed contracts" method of accounting for revenue and cost. "Completed contracts" means just that: When the job is completely done, you "book" or record the total income and expense of construction on the income statement. No income, job expense, profit or loss related to the specific job is to be recorded on the income statement until the home settlements. Prior to that, the job costs appear as an item on the balance sheet named "work-in-progress." Revenue appears as customer deposits, deferred revenue or an item of debt.

"Percentage of completion" means that revenue is recognized as income at the rate the job is completed. Job costs are recognized at the rate that they are incurred in ratio to both revenue recognized and total job costs expended to date, plus what is estimated to be incurred to complete the job. Your balance sheet will have an asset entitled "costs in excess of billings," meaning that you have costs you have not or can not bill right now to the customer on jobs in progress. A liability account, or "billings in excess of costs" means that the contractor has billed the customer for work not yet done – which is where all contractors would prefer to be placing the contractor ahead of the customer on a cash flow basis.

If the costs in excess of billings are greater than the billing in excess of costs, you will likely have a cash flow problem. This means that either you are spending faster than you are billing, your project managers are behind in getting their bills out, or you have costs on your balance sheet that are really losses such as job overruns or change orders that are not or will not be approved. All jobs with costs in excess of billings should be lumped together under a liability account on the current asset side of the balance sheet. Always double-check for losses not yet recorded. You, as an owner, may not know about the losses. A project manager may simply fall behind in billing, which costs you interest expense, poor vendor relationships, cash heartache and sleepless nights.

If your "bills in excess of cost" are always substantially higher than your "costs in excess of billings" it is good for current cash flow as long as that difference is rising. However, this will give you a false sense of cash security once the job comes to an end because the cash flow slows down. The excess billings over costs are not profit; they are simply a positive cash flow timing difference that will change from time to time.

The "schedule" of closed jobs and the open jobs "estimated costs to complete" should be prepared more than once a year when the accountants request it. This maintains a current review of each job's status and addresses problems while the job is ongoing, since you will have problems to face during the project. Do not wait until the job-close-out meeting to address them, when everyone wins they'll do better next time. Instead, confront problem situations earlier in the project. Review schedules and reports to estimate an opportunity to bid higher or correct a problem in the bid process. This is critical to remodeling companies, as most problems occur during the preconstruction process, specifically in estimating errors or "buy out" of material errors, and in remodeling, jobs are shorter, problems become permanent losses quickly, and persist more often than not in new jobs before the problem is identified.

The Benefits of Regular Reporting
Our firm instituted a weekly job review and estimated cost to complete process for one of our remodeling company clients, Xylem Builders, Inc (t / a Archadeck-South Shore & AX Builders). Job margins for the client increased by twenty points as a result of immediately identifying problems and making corrections in preconstruction in new jobs. The company has never incurred a monthly loss in now over a year, sales have continued to rise, they have attained a positive equity after 3 consecutive years of losses … all within two months of implementing weekly job reviews and estimated cost to complete. As previously stated, remodeling projects begin and end quickly, so mistakes will hurt the current job and likely repeat in new jobs. Those mistakes do not have to be repeated if you institute weekly reviews and estimates.

It can be difficult and time-consuming to correctly prepare an estimated "cost to complete schedule" for larger jobs in their early stages, yet it is worthwhile. You may continue to assum your estimate is correct. However, the estimator, project manager, job superintendent and controller must review a job early on to determine what is needed to complete and extremely improver looming problems as early as possible. That step will create better value engineering, change orders will be billed in a timely manner and job profit will increase.

Schedule of Cash Flow and Working Capital
The schedule of "cash flow and working capital" provides a map of where your cash resources covering the period of the income statement originated. It consist of profit, new loans or repayment (principal due more than twelve months in the future), purchases or sales of capital assets and depreciation. All of these have the effect of increasing or decreasing cash. An accurate reading of the schedule allows for better billing practices, better collection practices and advances slower paying of vendors and subs. It shows where and how money was used to absorb losses, the debt principal repayments and may contribute to faster paying of bills. It advances poor billing practices, slow receivables and reflects retention receivables, purchase of equipment or other assets. If the opening and closing period balance sheets are correct, then this schedule will be correct. Remember, though, if the balance sheets are not correct, do not waste your time looking at this schedule or any other financial statement because they will be wrong!

Working capital is defined as the total of "current assets" consisting of your cash, receivables, retainages, costs in excess of billings, work-in-progress, inventories and prepaid expenses minus your current liabilities. Your current liabilities are complied with your lines of credit, principal payments of debt due within twelve months, accounts payable, accrued expenses, accrued payroll, accumulated taxes, bills in excess of costs, customer deposits and deferred income. A greater than 1: 1 ratio is important.

Your bank may require a defined working capital ratio, so check your loan documents. If your actual ratio is too high, you're probably wasting the use of your cash and resources by making them too idle. A good business analyst will determine the amount of excess working capital / cash that is funding the income statement profit versus normal operations. I have seen many multi-generational businesses with excessive working capital, but upon quick analysis of a profitable income statement, I saw a generous financial income derived from discounts from vendor early pay, interest income and low interest expense. It was a poor business operation masked by the working capital wealth of the company.

Income Statement
Your income statement should be a validation of what occurs with your jobs in the field, assuming that your opening and closing balance sheets are correct. Your income statement should be in the same category as your job-cost comparison to your estimates, and it should be in a format that highlights whether components of your business are operating according to plan. In order for your income statement to be used as the effective management tool and "sanity check" that it was meant to be, the following components must exist:

• It must be an accrual, not cash basis statement. Accrual means you have recorded all your receivables and debt inclusive of payables on the balance sheet.

• It must include not only numbers next to the expense categories but also percentages of revenue next to the number.

• The only revenue in your top line should be job revenue. No interest income, rebates, purchase discounts or sales of equipment should be included.

• The costs of construction must be detailed to identify construction labor and payroll added costs, subcontractors, materials (not net of early pay discounts), equipment rentals, revenue-driven liability insurance, superintendents' costs or other direct costs of construction as detailed in the estimate and tracked in your job cost reports. Some or all of these are your "direct job costs". Labor, materials, subs, equipment rental, permits, direct insurance, etc., are at a minimum included on your job cost reports, regardless of software, and in the estimate.

• Indirect construction costs such as mobilization, trucks, pagers, cell phones, supers, trailers, etc., may be what you call "general conditions." Define what you mean by "general conditions," and categorize these costs separately on your income statement. This will allow you to see if the general conditions you are using in your estimates are making or losing money. General Conditions should be a profit center.

• Categorize your preconstruction costs of estimators and bidding / selling expenses separately on the income statement. Divide the number of bids or estimations produced into this total, and see what it is costing you to bid. Add that to your bid-to-score ratio and you may find that not only are you wasting money in bids you'll never get but also how much you are wasting.

• Keep the office and support staff under an administrative expense category. Be sure to allocate the workmen's compensation insurance, vehicle and equipment insurance, depreciation, payroll taxes, benefits, safety and training to the indirect or general conditions as appropriate.

• Show purchase discounts and interest income as "other income" after computing profit or loss from the construction operations. These are financial incomes which are earned due to ownership, equity and working capital, not from operations.

• Compare the percentage of gross profit from jobs completed and jobs in progress to your income statement. This should be done before general conditions are deducted when you compare the percentage of gross profit. Be aware of additional profit that you may earn in gross profit from the labor rate that you use in estimating versus your labor rate posted to job cost sheets or categorized on your income statement. If you use your own equipment in construction in lieu of renting it, separately analyze these costs to see if you are making or losing money in this regard. If you are approaching a profit from this, that's great, but it will likely distort the gross profit from construction if your estimate utilized a fair market rental rate.

Meet regularly with your outside accountants if they are construction knowledgeable or your construction business advisor and / or your controller on a monthly basis to review your balance sheet, income statement, working capital, source and use of funds statement and completed jobs / estimated costs to complete schedules. It establishes control in your business. It also helps create the "sanity" of profit, helps avoid the "insanity" of making the same mistakes over and over again and advances you from losing profit-or your construction business itself.

Work at Home Assembly Jobs

Work at home assembly jobs are all over your local paper and the advertisements show up on the internet everywhere. Although many of the advertisements promise big bucks for your work, you need to look at those advertisements with caution. You need to look closely at work at home assembly jobs before you get taken in by a scam.

Scams are everywhere today. With the advancement of society comes new ways for people to take advantage of one another. Many work at home assembly jobs my be someone just looking to scam you out of your money, yet there are some legitimate work at home assembly jobs out there, too. The risk to you from work at home assembly jobs comes from the upfront money you provide up front for supplies and then the time you put in to do the work.

With legitimate work at home assembly jobs, you will usually be sent supplies that you will need to complete the projects or you will have to purchase the supplies you need. The company will typically send you detailed instructions and patterns for you to follow. Once you complete the projects, you will send them to the company for review and payment.

Sadly, legitimate work at home assembly jobs are few and far between. In many cases, the company will have you send money for supplies, which they may or may not send. Then you spend the time to assemble the products and pay to send them back to the company where they will reject your work. With these work at home assembly jobs scams, you will lose your valuable time and money.

There are a number of ways that you can find out if your work at home assembly jobs are legitimate. Legitimate companies that offer work at home assembly jobs will often list their companies in the telephone directory. These same companies offering work at home assembly jobs will also have a real address, not just a PO Box or website. Also check with the work at home assembly jobs to see if they have retailers, distributors, or a customer base.

Another great way to check into the work at home assembly jobs you are considering is to check into regulatory agencies. For example, the Better Business Bureau has a number of affiliates that report on work at home assembly jobs, and you can investigate those companies on the Better Business Bureau website. You can even file a claim with the BBB is you have a concern. The Federal Trade Commission also offers the same type of information about work at home assembly jobs.

Read the rest of the article here: Work at Home Assembly Jobs .

Ceramic Tile Flooring – The Healthy House Choice

Believe it or not, carpeting is one of the biggest contributors to indoor air pollution.

One of the commonest health problems in a house is allergies, and carpets are practically a perfect environment for dust mites, molds and mildew. Not only that, but the modern wall-to wall carpeting in today’s houses are made of synthetic fibers dyed and treated with chemicals (fungicides, soil repellants and pesticides, anyone?) and bonded to synthetic backing with chemical glues. All of these materials release hundreds of Volatile Organic Compounds as they age, in a process called outgassing. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) can be mutagens, irritants and carcinogens. Not the ideal thing to have in your home, to say the least.

Carpet also attracts and retains all that you and your family members track in to the house from the ground outside- dirt, lead dust found in flaking house exterior paint, insects, bacteria, lawn and garden chemicals and other unhealthy debris. Not to mention food crumbs, hair and dead skin particles. Getting a wall-to-wall carpet 100% clean is nearly impossible (ever rented one of those steam-cleaners to clean your carpet and cleaned the same area over and over, each time seeing more dirt come out?) and trying to clean causes its own problems. Vacuuming stirs up airborne dust and mold spores. Shampooing can leave a damp carpet encouraging more mold growth and even the shampoo may have irritating or even toxic chemicals added.

At the other end of the floor covering health spectrum is ceramic tile. It is made from natural clay materials fired in a kiln. A tile sealed with non-leaded glaze is impervious to mold and bacteria and is well tolerated by chemically sensitive people. Ceramic tile is bonded to the base flooring using low-toxicity thin set mortar, and can be grouted with home-made, additive-free grout. 2 parts dry, clean sand mixed with 1 part Portland cement can be prepared and added to water to form a slow, damp curing grout.

Although a ceramic tile floor can be expensive up front, due to the labor-intensive installation, they are very durable and long-lasting if properly maintained, and can be considered as comparatively affordable in the long run.

PS3 Error Code 8001050f Explained – 3 Tips To Help Fix Your Playstation 3 Error Code

The PS3 8001050f error code is a common problem encountered by PlayStation gamers. If you are not able to play any games of your own or play any downloads from the PlayStation store even before its expiration date, then you might be facing this error. Alternately, if you experience missing trophies and notice the time and date reverted to January 1, 2000, you probably have an error code 8001050f.

What is the PS3 Error code 8001050f?

8001050f is a kind of error that is caused by the digital clock that is in the internal part of your PlayStation hardware. According to the manufacturer, this error was a result of Playstations around the world falsely assuming that February 2010 was a leap year. A certain bug that affects the internal clock and is called the trophy registration error by the manufacturer causes the error.

When this error came out, PlayStation 3 owners were advised to avoid using the game console until the problem was fixed. PS3 slim gamers were not affected by this error. As a result, the PS3 trophy data and other game data were lost and no longer recovered by the user.

How to fix the PS3 8001050f?

First of all, you need to save all your game data on your thumb stick and then delete it from your PS3. Then turn off your gaming console and allow it to rest for a few minutes. You need to then restart your PS3 and fix the errors by the methods below and then copy all the games back to your PS3.

Fix 1). Change date / time directly on your console

Select Settings on the Xross Media Bar (XMB) and click on Date & Time Settings. You need to change the date to any date after February 28, 2010. You can now use your PlayStation to play all the games that you want.

Fix 2). Change date / time through the Internet

Connect to the internet through the WLAN and use the Browser function on your PS3. Go to settings and select Date and time settings. When you are in these settings, choose to 'Set via Internet' and change the date to any date after Feb 28, 2010.

Fix 3). Fixing by opening up your PS3

Unplug your PS3 and open up your console to locate the internal battery. By doing so, you will be void of the warranty if it is still valid. The battery would be present under the motherboard on the side near the USB inputs. Remove the battery for a few minutes and replace it and assemble the PS3 back. Boot the system and set the correct date / time and everything should be fixed.

After following the above steps, you will have a good chance of fixing error 8001050f on your PS3.

Chanel Logo Earrings – How & Where To Buy

The most sent-after Chanel Logo Earrings, as with other Chanel brand fashion and perfume products, are famous for the unmistakeable Chanel logo design. This design is formed by an interlocking double-C, one C faces forwards the second faces backwards. The double C originates from the full Chanel name, "Coco Chanel", although this full name is less commonly used now.

There are many products which bear the famous Chanel mark, for example earrings and jewelry, sunglasses, watches, and fragrances. The Chanel logo design is perfect for their range of earrings in particular. The Chanel logo is itself a work of art, attractive simple and elegant, so why not use it as the focal point of their jewelry range? Unfortunately the range has changed considering over time and now incorporates earrings and jewelry which is seen by some as "fussy" and overly complicated, relying on less the simple logo. In fact browsing the latest catalog online there does not appear to be any traditional double-C earrings.

In addition there are many fake Chanel products being sold online, mostly originating from China Vietnam and Thailand, which are designed to trick buyers into thinking they are purchasing original Chanel merchandise. There is a simple way to tell a course – a real new Chanel product can not be found at discount prices. If you want a new Chanel product keep in mind that you will have to pay full price for that quality. If you are tempted by someone selling supposedly new Chanel Logo Earrings at an impossibly low price, it is very likely they are selling fakes, and you will find later that the quality of the product is not comparable.

However, if you have set your heart on Chanel Logo Earrings then do not despair – there are a number of solutions. One of the joys of the internet is the ability to see products and store catalogs from all across the globe, simply and quickly. Having access to this global market you can always locate Chanel Logo Earrings, Purses and other products which are being sold by their current owners, potentially at significant discounts when compared to new Chanel prices. This also means you may be able to find older designs which you possibly prefer.

Tricks And Tips For Laminate Floor Installation

Laminate flooring is a very easy thing to put down if you are prepared. One thing many of the first time installers that I have talked to forget are the simple pull bar and grooved plastic block. These tools are inexpensive and will make your job 100% easier. It would be a good idea to purchase 2 of the plastic blocks on account of their tension to break if you tap them too hard.

The first thing that needs to be done is to make sure the floor is properly prepped. You need to make sure the floor is as level as possible. You have to lay your moisture barrier down after you have the level surface. It is rolled padding that you will find next to the flooring. This also prevails the laminate flooring from moving. A quick way to help with the barrier is to duct tape the pieces together after you lay each row down. One thing to remember is the barrier has an up side and a down side (not reversible).

The next thing to do is to measure the room and decide how wide of piece you will have left if you start with a whole piece. If you end up with too narrow of piece the flooring may break. You may have to cut the first and last row in width to make it right. When you start the flooring remember to stagger it, meaning if you start the first row with a whole piece start the next row with a smaller piece. Start each row from the same end. You have to put full pieces in the middle or the grooves wont be there to lock in the next piece. When you get close to the wall use the pull bar to tap the pieces together.

Now that you get the basic idea it will be a breeze to finish your laminate floor. Always remember to measure twice and cut once. Remember you want this floating floor to end up very close to (but not touching) the wall. That will determine the width of the trim you will need to finish the job.

I hope I have been helping to somebody that has made the choice to take on a new challenge.