Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Shower Enclosures and Bathroom Accessories for Complete Decor

Great looking bathrooms owe their looks to the different accessories installed to compliment the basic items. Basic items in this case include the taps, showers, toilet seats, sinks and tubs which are a necessity for a wash room to exist. When you accessorize the rooms, you add touch ups or extras here and there. This will give your room an identity which will depend on your decor and materials used.

Customized Shower Enclosures
The most beautiful homes have an identity. The enclosure you choose for your bathroom makes a big difference in the overall look of your room. The type of finishing you choose for your shower enclosure blends with the walls and tiles of your room to give an impression. Elegant rooms will have a touch of class in the glass cubicles used. Glass is generally considered a boost to the home decor because it expands the size of the room and the reflections give a good impression especially with nicely colored tiles. In general, your home decor should flow with the type of additions you choose to use in the washrooms to complete the beauty of your home even in the most private rooms.

Complete elegance with Bathroom Accessories
Additions like door knobs, towel, curtain rails, taps, furniture, mirrors, radiators, doors and pipes are a boost to the final look of bathrooms. If you love bright looking bathrooms, consider having lime colored tiles with matching color of the towels and complement these with silver towel rails and taps. The effect will be magical and sparkling. Furniture additions like seats and mirrors should do the trick together with toothpaste and toothbrush holders. You will also be creative to have a unique soap dish holder in place.

If you choose to have hooks in place of rails for your towel, make use of nicely polished material that could be in chrome, brass, silver, golden or wood. The towel rails today come in different shapes for small and big towel sizes. You can add luxury to your bathroom with heated rails to give ensure you have a warm towel cuddle after showers. These can be straight or arranged in unique structures that suit your status. Classy people have a designer range of radiators for their towel storage.

The kinds of taps you choose speak volumes about your style and taste. Today you have many tap options and you can be creative and purchase shower jets or rain bars in place of traditional taps. Technology crazy people have an option of sensor taps which are automatic and simply out of this world. To ensure regular water flow, shower pumps are great items you cannot leave out.

These additions vary and could include:

• Towel rails
• Taps
• Cabinets
• Vanity Units
• Storage facilities
• Worktops
• Sinks
• Basins and Tubs
• Mirrors which include the LED lighting in them
• Heaters and Boilers
• Radiators among others

Kudos shower enclosures are the best choice for a modern day bathroom with a touch of class and elegance and Smedbo bathroom accessories are simply out of this world.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

LED Lights Mine Green Gold

Light emitting diode (LED) fixtures are quickly becoming legendary in both durability and energy efficiency. Despite their higher initial price, over their lifetime, LED lights are less expensive to use than traditionally incandescent light bulbs or more recent compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs).

Because LEDs are solid state, they have no internal filament wire that can eventually burn out or break down. LEDs also operate using a scant 10-20 percent of the energy needed for an incandescent bulb to function at an equal level of brightness.

It is also a fact that approximately 90% of the energy an incandescent light bulb uses goes into producing heat instead of light, which can actually force an air conditioning system to use excess electricity to maintain its set room temperature.

In contrast, a single LED can operate for tens of thousands of hours without being hot to the touch, thereby outperforming the durability of traditional light bulbs by twenty to one or more. Light emitting diode bulbs can operate continually without any dangerous heat output, which not only could singe fingers, but can avoid potential fires as well.

LEDs also have solid state circuitry, which provides for an infinitely greater option of shapes and colors making them much more versatile than either CFLs or incandescent bulbs.

One LED can outlast several equivalent CFLs as well. It is also important to note that unlike CFLs, LEDs don't contain the toxic element mercury. No environmentally responsible consumer can toss a used CFL into the garbage. These spent lamps must be recycled by hazardous material specialists; and any broken CFL must be cleaned up carefully to avoid releasing mercury into our soil, water tables or even exposing this contaminant to human skin.

Although LEDs have a higher initial price, the fact is that consumers will definitely come out way ahead by using them. In the past, some LED bulbs have lasted from 25,000-50,000 hours without failing.

And now the very latest technology has produced an LED direct replacement light bulb that will not shatter or flicker and has the potential to last even longer than 50,000 hours. This product has also been passed by Underwriters Laboratories, which gives it access to any facility requiring lights with a UL listing.

LED lights remain the superior choice for lighting our homes and businesses in a way that conserves energy while being earth friendly. It genuinely pays to go green with light emitting diodes!

William F. Johnson resides in St. Helens, Oregon. He enjoys chess, books and is an avid movie collector with over 700 titles in his personal library. He is also a member of the Elks Lodge and has written a pair of short stories that have been published on the Internet.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Lighting A Room Perfectly Adds Extra Impact

We all love to decorate our homes in some fashionable way, moving furniture here and there until we get it just in the right place. On top of this though, we often like to decorate the walls too with a beautiful work of art or some lovely photograph of a loved one. Getting the illumination right though is a whole new ball game and this can make or break the whole effect. Indeed, picture lighting is very important since it leads the eye to just where the artwork is. For those who want something a little extra, led picture lights are just the thing and fit just about anywhere.

A lot has been said about getting the room lit just right. Some decorators charge inordinate amounts of money just to advice people on what will look good where but the easiest thing in the world to do is to try it out before opting to put it in permanently. Artwork can be hung just about anywhere but having the electrical outlets nearby often causes some problems.

For example, corridors or stairs which have a line of photographs of the family or pieces of art perhaps from the same artist are notoriously difficult to illuminate. One could opt for ceiling fixtures with halogen lamps that are directional but these will throw a shadow when someone stops to admire the piece. It is better to get a fitting that hooks on directly to the frame so that it throws illumination only where it is intended.

For those who do not want to have expensive electrical work done, there is a range of battery operated fittings which can be attached to the frame. Because they have no dangling cords either, this gives a much cleaner look and will make the whole thing look like it was professionally done.

Moving the photographs or art around to different points in the room or house is also another way to figure out if the 'balance' looks right. Brightly colored pieces will stand out while those in more muted shades will fade into the background a little so getting this balance correct is important if the room is to look good.

Also, just having a photograph dotted here and there also looks a little strange so try grouping them along a wall or up the stairs for added impact. It is not always necessary to have them all in the same frames but finding a similar color will surely make the look more cohesive. This is also a great way to show family history to anyone who is interested.

Finally, as already said, the way a room is illuminated will really show if the householder has any artistic flair or not. Try looking in some rather up market decorating magazines if ideas are needed. It is not necessary to copy exactly what someone else has done, rather, pick out the parts that are liked and fit them into the home that way. The trick is finding a style that fits the home, the family and any artwork which is treasured.

Stewart Wrighter is an entrepreneur who runs a large group of websites that specialize in high end items such as led picture lights. He offers a large selection of picture lighting on his website.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Nazareth, Where Christianity Was Born

In recounting the roots of Christianity--the belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of the living God--many titles have been given him; among them is Jesus of Nazareth.

Nazareth was the city from which Jesus traveled to the Jordan River to be baptized by John. Situated in Lower Galilee, it occupies a natural amphitheater-like setting on the southern slope of Mount Jebel es-Sikh. The ancient section of town features stone homes layered in hanging tiers. The terraces are carved from limestone. It is an attractive town where olive and fig trees flourish and the white facades of buildings shine in the sun. A natural spring runs down the mountainside providing water to the residents of Nazareth.

The Gospel according to the Evangelist Matthew recounts the genealogy of Jesus the Christ. Here Jesus is referred to as the Son of David, the Son of Abraham. Fourteen generations of this family would precede the birth of the historical Jesus of Nazareth whom Christians refer to as the Messiah, Savior, "The Light of the World." Although census registry obligations led Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem where Jesus was born, Nazareth was the place where Joseph and Mary lived; and where Jesus grew up. He would work his first miracle of changing water into wine for a young couple's marriage feast at a village of Cana, four miles Northeast of Nazareth.

At the time Joseph, Mary and Jesus returned to Nazareth, it was a mere hamlet. Today, Nazareth is a bustling city. Besides the industry and new construction, it is also the commercial and cultural center for Israel's Arab community. Arabic is first language of most residents. Actually, Christians are the minority today in Nazareth. However, Arabs and Israelis use the town's name itself to designate Christianity as a faith. The legacy of the Christ lives on in the region where Jesus was often referred to as "the Nazarene."

At the time of Jesus, the town of Nazareth consisted of homes,oil and wine presses, fields and farms. Based on information from archeological digs, a replica of the town was recreated using the same techniques and materials used 2,000 years ago. Seeing the recreated village, visitors can gain a better understanding of daily life at the time of Christ. And seeing the setting as it was in the time of Christ helps bring relevance to the teachings, parables, and images Jesus used when preaching. One can also gain an appreciation of Jewish culture of that period as there is also a re-created synagogue as it may have appeared in the Galilean village.

Modern-day tourists visiting the region around Nazareth, can walk the "Jesus Trail". The trail traces routes Jesus most likely took while in the Galilee Region traveling from Nazareth to Zippori, Kana, and down to the Sea of Galilee. The trail today passes through olive groves, many ruins, historic structures, and ancient springs. The places Jesus spent time in included Bethany, near Jerusalem on the slope of the Mount of Olives, home to his friends, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. He traveled to Jericho where he restored sight to Bartimaeus. Jesus pronounced his "woe" warnings while visiting Korazin. It is recorded he traveled through Tiberius on the Western shore of the Sea of Galilee; and to Nain, a village where he restored life to a widow's son. Many tours today feature readings from Scripture tying the events of his travels to these places. Jesus of Nazareth preached wherever he went.

The Nazarene began his preaching following his departure from Nazareth; he began living in the region of Capernaum (Kfar Nahum). Near the Sea of Galilee, Jesus spoke these words which were meant to fulfill the words of the prophet Isiah: "Land of Zebulon and land of Nephathalim, by the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan River, Galilee of the Gentiles; The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light; and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death, a light has arisen." (Matthew 4:12-17). The light to which both Isaiah and Jesus referred is believed to be Jesus Himself, the Messiah who was sent to earth to preach salvation. He spoke these words often: "Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand". He went all around Galilee teaching and preaching the Gospel of love of God, love of neighbor all with the goal in mind of everyone achieving eternal life. As he traveled, He worked miracles of healing, and his fame reached into places like Syria. Large crowds began to follow this intriguing preacher from the town of Nazareth.

The Horns of Hattin, a rocky hill near the Sea of Galilee, is believed to be the place where Jesus gave The Sermon on the Mount. This stirring message known as The Beatitudes, or Blesseds, outlined clear-cut rules and promises for those willing to live as followers of Christ and spread his message. The rewards would not be realized in this world, but in the next. The kingdom at hand of which Jesus of Nazareth spoke was indeed a reference to everlasting life in Heaven. The basic teaching of Christianity remains: what one does in this world will matter very much in the next life--the heavenly realm of which Jesus spoke when he lived in Nazareth.

The newly released Story of Jesus book by Carl Michaelis paints a vivid picture of the people surrounding Jesus and the way of life of the community of his followers. Although fictional, Carl Michaelis did his best to keep his story of Jesus historically accurate as well as engaging and thrilling.

Check out this webpage - The Story of Jesus to find out more.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Go Green With Energy Efficient Patio Deck Lights and Save Money and Energy

There are many different types of energy efficient patio deck railing lights available today. In times of economic turmoil and utility costs that are resulting in many people losing their electricity, it is important to learn as much as you possibly can when it comes to energy efficient means of lighting.

This is especially true if you are seeking to light up your patio area, or the outside living area of your home. In this guide, I will share with you a couple of choices that you have when it comes to energy efficient patio deck railing lights.

The first choice that you have when it comes to energy efficient lighting for the outdoor deck area is the ever-popular solar lighting fixtures. You can purchase fixtures that are mounted in three to four inch to three to four foot intervals along the patio deck railing on top of the railing. You can also purchase the same type of lighting that is attached underneath the railing as well.

In addition to this, you can purchase solar lighting that is attached to hanging rods all along the length of the patio deck railing to light up the area. The sun provides the light that is reflected in the night hours, so you do not have to worry about the expense associated with utility costs.

The second choice that you have as far as energy efficient lighting is concerned for railings on a deck is LED rope lighting. This is a useful type of lighting that provides a large amount of lighting for cents on the dollar monthly! You can wrap the rope lights around the deck rails, or simply run them along the deck rails.

The choice is yours! Rope lighting typically comes encased in a weatherproof plastic that preserves the bulbs from weatherization. In addition to this, LED lighting has been determined to be highly versatile and durable. This means that you literally get more "bang for your buck" when it comes to efficiency!

The next choice that you have when it comes to energy efficient patio deck lighting is a combination between solar lighting and LED rope lighting - it is called solar LED rope lights! These lights work by the sun's energy that is stored during the day, and provides the ultimate amount of efficiency because there is no cost associated in running these types of patio lights! As you can see, you have many choices in energy efficient patio deck railing lights.

Daryl Plaza is a regular contributor to website with resources and information for all your patio deck lighting needs

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Dilemmas of a Homosexual

Before my eyes ever saw this world, a very determined mother proclaimed during her entire pregnancy, that she would not have a boy. My arrival was her bitter disappointment. After being abused for eighteen months, I was adopted into a conservative Adventist home. As I grew, so did my new parent's concern. I liked beauty pageants, dressing up, and wanting to play with dolls, rather than trucks and other boy toys. They sought help from various sources during my developmental years, but they found none. I loved Jesus, went to church, church schools, sang in church choirs and even read the Bible to patients in the Adventist nursing home, but the nagging desires for male companionship and attention haunted me from my earliest memories.

By the time I was eighteen, the church had not provided any answers or support for me. So I turned toward the welcoming arms of the gay community. No rules. No guidelines. Just jump in and start playing. The play caught up with me and I was twice hospitalized for Hepatitis. More years passed and it seemed I might as well have been playing with dynamite. Each time I would test for AIDS, I would pray to God to please give me an HIV-negative result. I promised God I would change. He spared my life numerous times, but I kept returning to the sex and drugs. In my early twenties I had been approached by SDAKinship-a support ministry for homosexual Adventists, and attended a meeting. The idea that God didn't know much about homosexuals and therefore did not give much guidance on the topic seemed preposterous. Kinship seemingly took this into their own hands. Our Heavenly Father, who knows the beginning to the end, needed to say more about homosexual sex? This ministry didn't engage me and I moved on.

As the lone survivor of all my friends, I began to wonder if the whole AIDS survival was punishment for my lifestyle. Loneliness, pain and grieving many precious losses consumed my world. I would remember that my dad had told me again and again how God had told him He had a very special plan for me when they adopted me.

One day God called me and finally got through. In an intense search on the web for a thread of hope, I was drawn to a web site of a Christian lady. The web owner, has spent more than ten years of her life researching homosexuality and Christianity, reaching out to gay Christians. I read everything on the site and found no license to indulge in gay sex, but most amazingly, I found that God loves me in spite of my same-sex attraction. It all made sense. I fell to my knees and sought God's forgiveness. After years of disillusion and confusion, I was overcome once again with His love and was convicted to return to His church.

My beliefs are founded in God's Holy Word. The Bible is the final authority on all human relationships. God ordained and sanctioned one kind of union on earth - that of love and marriage between a man and a woman. The Bible makes clear that homosexual sex is sin, (Romans 1:26-27) and willfully continuing in sin leads to eternal death. In this light I believe no homosexually oriented person who continues practicing gay sex should be given any church office. It's not biblically sound.

The only perfect people in the world were Adam and Eve. Our human race has degenerated after many generations of sin, and various traits and behavioral inclinations were passed on through heredity and prenatal environments. Thus it is possible for a person to be born homosexual. And it most certainly feels that way to me. Nevertheless, a lifestyle that includes gay sex is chosen. My orientation does not have to dictate my actions because Christ gives me the power of choice and that is what decides my destiny. (Galatians 5:16-25)

God could easily make gay people straight if He so chose. But it seems that is not the way He usually works. Even those who have claimed forgiveness and earnestly prayed for right desires, have married and stayed married, find that they are still attracted by the same sex - just like those of us who are single and same-sex attracted. God has not promised to take away our sinful natures before He comes. That would explain why He does not miraculously take our homosexual orientation away, as many of us would like. But I know He loves me and that in His love, He calls me to deny self and follow Him. (Luke 9:23-24)

I believe God died for ALL sinners - the adulterer, the thief, the fornicator, the proud, the gossiper, as well as the homosexual. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10) And I believe that it is very possible that those who demonstrate hatred towards the homosexual are in as much discord with God as the homosexual they hate. Had I had this clarity in the church as a child, I might never have followed the desire to explore my feelings that led to sin. But the church was and remains very hush hush on this topic, and souls continue to flounder and be lost to the devastation of rejection and sometimes suicide.

More than thirty-seven years of living a promiscuous gay lifestyle lapsed before I would come to know that God doesn't see my orientation as a sin. How was it possible that the simplest of truths regarding God's love could be overlooked for one particular sin for so many years?

Within a few weeks after finding the GLAdventist site and speaking with Inge Anderson, I met with my pastor. It was awkward to have such a conversation when he did not understand homosexuality. But I persisted. While he is a God-loving man, he was skeptical and unprepared for dealing with a homosexual in his congregation. I hoped I might be welcomed home as the homosexual prodigal son, but I felt guarded against. A successive visit would provide mutual clarification. We prayed together and I declared my love for God and desire to do His will. I was rebaptized, and my pastor and I continue to grow in our communication.

What was missing in the Adventist church when I was eighteen is still missing today. Of all the sins lit up in neon, the homosexuality one is still flashing. I seek what all sinners seek - understanding, loving and prayerful brothers and sisters who will help one another recognize that the safe haven is in the arms of Jesus and in the church. There are no answers in the gay community - only false hope and deception.

I felt a wave of warmth come over me when I discovered that a conference on "Marriage, Homosexuality and the Church" will be held at Andrews University in October. I am grateful to see attention being drawn to a topic that has weighed heavily on so many men and women who love Christ. I see this long overdue conference as answer to a multitude of prayers. God's direction to love the sinner to Him has been ignored for too long. Self-proclaimed Christians standing on street corners with "God Hates Fags" signs are not drawing sinners to our Savior. It's time for our church to wake up.

Terminology has been a source of confusion for many. While conservative Christians may use the same terminology as the rest of the world, frequently their definitions are not the same. This has resulted in misunderstanding and miscommunication. So let's look at some terminology:

• Gay - Same-sex attraction (SSA)
• Openly gay - Same-sex attraction and affirming gay sex.
• Homosexual - Same-sex attracted (SSA) Gay and Homosexual do not automatically indicate engaging in sexual activity.
• SSA Christian - Same-sex Attracted Christian (SSA Christian)
• Gay Lifestyle - for most this translates into casual same sex, yet not to all, so clarification is needed when using this term.

To many Christians, homosexual automatically refers to someone who is having sex with the same gender. In society at large, homosexual simply refers to being attracted to the same sex very much like heterosexual refers to being attracted to the opposite sex. Being gay means the same. Among Christians, same-sex attraction (ssa) is often used instead of homosexual or gay. If a person is "openly gay," this more likely implies sexual activity, whether with one partner or many. Many gay Christians are celibate or heterosexually married, faithful to their spouses. The gay lifestyle more often than not, refers to frequenting gay night clubs and establishments, living in trendy gay neighborhoods, and usually participating in casual sex. However there are some monogamous couples who may be referred to as living the gay lifestyle.

Church leadership needs to clarify that temptations come from every conceivable angle for every kind of sin. But the sin is not in the temptation.

To gain an overview of how same-sex-attracted Christians see themselves and their relationship with Christ, it would help to have a moderated panel of same-sex-attracted individuals - a broad cross section. Perhaps a Christian same-sex couple, a heterosexual couple made up of a heterosexual and a same-sex attracted individual. Or one or two Christian, same-sex attracted celibate individuals, and representatives from "change" ministries, and SDAKinship. Our church leaders/members could agree upon a set of questions to ask such a panel.

• When did you know you were SSA (same-sex attracted)?
• Did you choose to be SSA?
• What can we as pastors or as a church family do to help you?
• Do you believe that same-sex attraction is a sin?
• Do you think gay sex is a sin?
• Do you think God sanctions same-sex unions?
• What is your feeling about SSA individuals holding church office?
• Do you pray for God to make you straight?
• Do you believe he will make you straight?
• What rights do you, as a SSA individual, believe God offers you?

For those who claim to be "ex-gay," these questions might be revealing:
• Do you believe you are now heterosexual?
• Do you ever experience temptations to fantasize about sex with someone of your own sex?
• When you see a couple walking towards you, do you tend to focus on the man or the woman?
• If you were to have a sexual fall, would it be with a man or a woman?

There is no need to change theology or revise church doctrine. That is not the wedge between the church and the sinner. It is the lack of an outpouring of God's love regardless of what the sin may be - love every sinner thirsts for.

Many Same-sex-attracted Christians believe exactly what the Bible teaches about sex - that God sanctifies unions for one man and one woman. Due to sin and the passing down of various sinful inclinations, they feel strongly attracted to the same sex. The sin is in giving in to the feelings and fantasizing or engaging in sexual behavior with someone of the same sex. By God's grace, abiding in Him will give us victory over sinful inclinations. Thus, same-sex attracted people may live lives of chastity as single people or married to someone of the opposite sex. From some of my GLAdventist friends, I have learned that it is not necessary to be attracted to everyone of the opposite sex in order to benefit from marriage. It is only necessary to be attracted to one person of the opposite sex, and I have seen evidence of God working such miracles. However it should not be seen as mandatory or even the primary goal.

My life today is changed. I begin and end each day talking to Jesus. It is God's grace combined with my choosing that sees me through each day's experiences. I'm still tempted. I'm still attracted to men, but I choose day to day, moment by moment, sometimes even second by second to abide in Christ and turn my will over to Him, and I ask for His will to replace mine. He provides the strength combined with our human effort.

As difficult and unwelcome as the topic of homosexuality may be to some Adventists today, the Apostle James advises us to confess our sins to one another so that we may be healed. The church is a hospital for sinners.

I pray for God's blessing on this conference - that it may be more than a corporate huddle to protect the interests of the church. I pray that it may result in a greater love for God's homosexually oriented children. I believe that if the church seeks to represent Christ to the sinner, He will take care of its corporate interests. If it does not represent Christ, nothing else much matters.

(As first published by Adventist Today, )
Wayne Blakely

By Wayne Blakely

Wayne Blakely same-sex attracted Christian Living in accordance with God's Word, instead of self indulgence.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Christmas LED Lights Will Help Save Energy and Look Fantastic This Season

Now that the summer is over, the holidays are coming faster than ever. School has started, Halloween is almost here and then Christmas holidays will soon be around the corner. Decorating for Christmas can be an amazing experience and can even help bring families together. Spending a day decorating the Christmas tree with the family can help bond parents and their children. Some people decorate more for the artistic creativity rather than for any bonding experience. There are a fantastic variety of holiday decorations for anyone's taste. Using Christmas LED lights is a fantastic way to save energy and money during this otherwise case-strapped season.

One of the most popular decorations for Christmas is to hang a wreath on the front door. Wreaths are also popular for other seasons and holidays, such as hanging a wreath of dried leaves and bare branches on the door for autumn. Decorating the outside of the house is an amazing idea to attract attention to your house and to bring the joy of the Christmas season to the front garden. Using energy saving decorations, such as Christmas LED lights, is a perfect way to add a touch of holiday spirit to the outdoors and indoors.

Some holiday decorators prefer synthetic trees over natural because the pine needles don't end up all over the floor. Other people will only decorate using natural pine trees for their homes. There are those who decorate every room for Christmas and others who just decorate the living room or kitchen. Individuals who are into the holiday spirit without all of the lore will find that decorating with simple coloured balls, snowflake decorations, and Christmas LED lights will be pleasantly sufficient.

Unfortunately, many people go into debt over Christmas. Decorating for Christmas should never put one in the position of going into debt. Obviously, decorating on a budget is a fantastic idea. Decorating with candles, old ornaments that are repainted and making use of everyday baskets and bowls that you already have are easy and fun ways to make your house gorgeous on a budget.

Roxy is a passionate home enthusiast who loves to enjoy the outdoors and the relaxing mood of her water features & pumps. Roxy works for UK water features, who specialise in finding the best christmas fairy lights as well as solar powered christmas lights and LED christmas tree lights in the UK. For more information, please view our christmas trees.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Types of Telescopes and Where to Buy Them

Four centuries ago, Galileo Galilei first used the telescope to study the heavens, which led to an earth-shaking discovery - contrary to long-held Aristotelian claim, the Earth is not the center of the universe. It just revolves around the Sun.

The revelation led to his persecution by the Catholic Church, whose current pope, Benedict XVI, now praises Galileo for setting the astronomical facts straight. Thanks to the telescope and the Italian who had the idea of seriously pointing it to the night sky, we now distinguish astronomy from astrology and cosmic myths.

To celebrate the 400th anniversary of the first time Galileo used the telescope, the United Nations declared 2009 as the Year of Astronomy. Perhaps it's time for more individuals to take a better look at the sky too. And for that you need a telescope.

Some observatories are kind enough to let laypeople have a short peek into their telescopes. And we've all seen photographs of colorful, awe-inspiring images of galaxies made possible by the Hubble telescope. But nothing beats the convenience of having your own telescope right at home.

You don't need the Hubble or the Kepler telescope to make an amazing discovery. Amateurs in a less-known neck of the woods (in Cebu, Philippines, to be exact) have discovered that Jupiter doesn't only have one red spot; it has two other smaller ones in fact. And they saw those spots using telescopes no bigger than their own bodies.

Let us take a look at the two basic types of telescopes amateurs use: the reflector telescope and the refractor telescope.

The reflector telescope is ideal for beginners. This is because it doesn't give distorted images. It uses mirrors that are opposite to the lenses that collect, reflect, and focus the light for better viewing. It is also known as the 'Newtonian reflector,' in memory of the great Isaac Newton.

The refractor telescope, on the other hand, uses lenses to refract the light. It is reliable and easy to use for terrestrial viewing at daytime.

Speaking of the price, reflectors are cheaper than refractors. If you're a newbie, you can try the cheaper kind first. But generally, it's not an expensive hobby. Commercial telescopes cost just around 0. A pair of powerful binoculars makes a good alternative if you only have 0 in your pocket.

The latest design in amateur astronomy telescopes offers the best of both types. The catadiotrophic telescope is scientifically and commercially designed with the characteristics of both the reflector and refractor. It uses both lenses and mirrors to help you magnify distant and small space objects with ease.

And which telescope brands will you choose? Most amateur astronomers suggest these manufacturers: Meade, Bushnell, Orion, and Celestron.

You can use the search engine to find vendors offering the lowest prices or log on to You won't regret spending a few hundred bucks to get a better look at our neighboring planets and the nearest stars. For those who would like to learn more about astronomy and telescopes: types of telescope

When you need more information about commercially available telescopes, try searching for it here: celestron telescopes

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Plasma TV Review - Panasonic VT25

I had been hearing nothing but good things from all sources about the new performance line from Panasonic from this year called the "VT25" model so I wanted to have a look for myself. After all, it is literally the only product both and Consumer Reports have agreed on as far as I can remember. It is the replacement for the "V10-Series" from last year that CNET has ranked in the top 2.

To cut right to the chase, this TV deserves all of the credit it is getting. Not only does it perform extremely well, but it also conquers one problem people know Plasma for. The vivid setting on this TV is literally LED bright. I had a hard time initially spotting right away walking towards the showroom like I can with the stereotypes with most sets. I had the chance to play around with the picture settings and saw that while vivid mode was battling local LCDs and LEDs for brightness, its THX movie mode was the most realistic picture mode I was seen outside of the Pioneer Elite's "Pure" mode. I previewed Pirates of The Caribbean 3 on the set in THX mode and saw how detailed everything in the blacks and whites were. Most importantly, the TV didn't have the bluish-white that the comparable LED's do. The change of an image mode makes this TV appeal to Plasma and LED fans for each of their respective reasons.

Energy use is at a low. I saw the 54" model (TC-P54VT25) and found that it only uses about 154 watts to power itself. Compare that to the Samsung UN55C8000 model LED, which is at 101 watts, and you'll see how close this set is to negligible energy costs. Being that it is plasma, there isn't anything to be said about its refresh rate. Its lighting fast!

The internet functionality of their system called "Viera Cast" is great. While not as pleasing to the eye as Samsung's Internet TV or LG's Netcast systems, Panasonic's gets the job done. Complete with the necessary movie streamer, image viewers and news links, the system has everything the modern Internet Enabled TV has.

The real show stealer is its 3D capability. When enabled and you are viewing a 3D source, the quality is phenomenal. There is just as much depth to the image as there is protrusion of things popping out. I watched the US Open live and it was one of the most impressive 3D sources I've seen. The demo disk Panasonic had on the display also had a lot of great "made-to-show-off" clips as well. I especially love how Panasonic is doing the right thing with advertising this as the best 2D set with 3D capabilities rather than a 3D set. I can only imagine how tough it must be for some salesmen when the first thing the customer says is "I don't need a 3D set!" Well of course you don't, but you might wind up considering one knowing Panasonic's VT25 model is also a better 2D set than each of their lower models.

In closing, this set is worthy of all of the praise it's receiving. The imaging is great whether in bright of controlled settings. The coloring rivals that of the Pioneer Kuro lineup. Its energy use statistics are extremely low for this type of technology. The internet streaming functions as easy to operate. The 3D system this set uses is the real 3D experience outside of the theaters. Best of all, it is not priced like what #1 ranked TVs usually are. When you are shopping for your next TV, you'd be foolish not to at least give this TV consideration.

Joe Sabatino

Home Theater Installation Lead @ Picture Perfect Installation

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Making Your Home More Energy Efficient Easily

It is sometimes said that necessity is the mother of invention, it could also be argued that inventions become a later necessity by design. Energy efficiency in the home belongs to the latter and when you put all the pieces together, the picture is a bright, healthy and green one. Not just for the environment, but also for your wallet.

A few energy efficient light globes is the first step towards cutting down your energy use, and therefore your electricity bill, but there are always many more clever ways to achieve an efficient cut down in energy use. If building a house, build it so that the sun hits the rooms you want it to so it can be warm in winter and cool in summer. This way you are less tempted to use a heater or air conditioner.

Use L.E.D. lights when possible. These have an average life time of 11 years 4 months of continuous usage. Could you imagine waiting over a decade before having to replace your light globes? You might go one step further and install skylights so even the LED lights wont see use until night time.

Set up a solar panel to trickle charge a battery connected to some fans for extra air circulation. A minimal one time investment such as this might even negate the need for an air conditioner, depending on your climate and geographic region.

As you can see, just a few little changes here and there in your home which can be easy to do (except for the house position one, you have to get that one done earlier in the planning) could save you a small fortune on your electrical and heating bill. This means more money in your wallet, an energy efficient home and a fortunate side-effect of helping to keep the planet clean and healthy.

Martin Coleman is a freelance business writer and has over 17 years experience in computing as well as over 5 years in freelance writing. He loves to use words to help businesses gain new customers and increase profits. He can be reached at

Monday, August 27, 2012

Energy Efficient Lighting

Energy efficient lighting has two major benefits - it reduces the impact of our homes and businesses on the environment, and reduces our home energy costs.

Lighting is a big source of energy consumption and in many homes, lighting makes up about 10-15% of the electricity bills. The carbon dioxide created by the generation of this electricity is harmful to the planet so by switching to energy efficient light bulbs, the carbon emission is reduced along with the electricity bills.

The incandescent light bulb traditionally used to provide light in homes and offices are very inefficient and on average convert only 5% of the energy they receive into light. Similarly, fluorescent tubes used in commercial buildings tend to be inefficient also.

Various options exist for energy efficient lighting, including Compact Fluorescent Lights or CFLs. These are mini versions of the full-sized fluorescents and fit standard sockets in the home, giving off lighting that resembles that of incandescent light bulbs. Far more efficient and long-lasting compared to traditional bulbs, CFLs reduce lighting costs too.

LED, or Light Emitting Diode, light bulbs are gaining in popularity because of their small size and durable nature combined with efficiency. LEDs can replace both halogen and traditional bulbs, and manufacturers now "cluster" the small bulbs and include diffuser lenses giving a better spread of light. These energy efficient light bulbs fit most household lighting fixtures and last up to 10 times as long as CFLs and significantly longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. LEDs are solid too, making them less susceptible to knocks and breakages; and they remain cool with no heat build-up.

As energy efficient light bulbs use less energy and are a lot more efficient, energy bills for the home and office can be reduced by as much as 80%. A good investment, LED bulbs last a long time and do not need to be replaced often, saving money for the individual and also maintenance costs for companies as the bulbs need to be changed less frequently.

Bradley Electrical are Electricians in Rugby, Leamington Spa and Lutterworth who offer a 24hour call out service.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Features Offered by the Announced Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus

The features offered by the announced Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus include an impressive camera for capturing your own media along with a fast operating system and processor working together, and great entertainment and social capabilities. This is combined with a sleekly designed thin handset with full touch functionally.

Announced in January, and due to be released within the coming months, this handset is a successor to the Samsung Galaxy Ace and features a 5 megapixel camera which allows you to capture home video at up to 30 frames per second with WVGA resolution respectively, while you can also easily snap photos too. To enhance light conditions for a photo there is an LED flash, which also works as a flash light when in video mode. Although user memory is limited to the internal 3 gigabytes offered, the microSD card slot enables you to swap between respective memory cards, which can be up to 32 gigabytes and thus allows you to store much more media on your phone. You can also utilize the integrated USB 2.0 port for syncing files including media to another device, such as your computer.

Sharing media with friends on the Galaxy Ace Plus is also easy, with the social hub included offering multimedia messaging along with email, while social networks such as Facebook and the micro-blogging site Twitter are also integrated and both easy and great ways to share photos and videos. Additionally, if you are close by to a friend with a Bluetooth handset, you can use the Bluetooth 3.0 on this phone to share wirelessly between devices. Among its many preinstalled applications meanwhile are Google Maps for directions and local points of interest which is aided by the internal A-GPS antenna and Digital compass hardware. Gmail email service is also integrated along with other apps form both Google and Samsung respectively, while Android Market is the place for you to easily download more apps. The handset itself is running Android 2.3 Gingerbread and is enhanced by the easy to use TouchWiz user interface from the manufacturer, offering simple drag and drop functionality for widgets and onscreen control, along with onscreen keyboards and a vivid display measuring 3.65 inches.

The Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus is a thin design with only 11.2 millimetres thickness and weighing a lightweight 115 grams, it is packed with great features which enable you to do a lot from a little in your pocket. With its camera, entertainment and social networking features among its many attributes, you can go anywhere and have the support of your smartphone.

Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus
Samsung Galaxy Ace

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Spirit is Willing

"The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak" -St. Paul

"I know what to do, I just can't do it!" This is the cry I hear so frequently. People know that love will serve them the best. They know that arguments, disgruntlement, and yearning for what they don't have serves them poorly. They yearn for peace, contentment, positive engagement, and the desire for what they already have.

But, the flesh is weak, as Paul groaned long before we came along.

Perhaps we are truly "spirits having a human experience," but we are all burdened with an ancient survival mechanism at the top of our brain stem. From it ushers the "fight or flight" response (more of a reaction for most of us!)

It is this survival mechanism that reacts to perceived threat of peril. The fearful, knee-jerk reaction to loss of prestige, possessions or financial security catches most of us on a daily basis. A comment from a spouse, or child, or friends can and does bring about emotional responses all out of proportion with the event itself, often due to the inner triggering of unconscious memories of pain and trauma.

Hence, we are willing to be good and loving people of the Light, but it so often just plain goes wrong.

Henri Nouwen, the beloved monk and teacher, said that "we all have an address with God, but we are so infrequently at that address, to be addressed by God." This is what the survival mechanism does. It takes us away from the "home address" into a far away country called Fear.

As a pastoral counselor I endeavor to help people learn to be at their home address. We call this being "centered" in life, where we can experience Spirit, know God's lively presence, and have the satisfaction of the "peace that passes all understanding."

All our traditions have ways of seeking this path. The Mystics led the way, but all of us can practice behavior that enhances spiritual perspective and leads to security from all those "survival issues" knocking at the door.

The traditional paths are meditation and prayer, worship and adoration, and works of kindness and service.

I hope that you will pursue such ways as habitual practices. However, I'd like to offer a couple of quick start methods right now:

First, go sit in the bathroom (yes, the bathroom! It's a prayer closet available to you multiple times each day.) Then close your eyes and slowly count backwards from 30 to 1. If you don't feel a little more peaceful, then do the counting backwards again, and possibly again. As long as you keep your eyes closed and count backwards, your brain will go to the lower, more centered brain waves you experience when you read a novel. It's a great way to initiate a quiet reflective prayer in the middle of a hectic day.

Second, each evening, just before bed, for 30 days, make a short list of what you are grateful for from that day. It is the rare person that doesn't start feeling better from this ongoing "attitude of gratitude."

Simple stuff, but not exactly easy to get yourself to do it. But it works! So, give it a try, and give that willing spirit a chance to rise above your survival instincts.

Steve Roberts is an experienced Marriage and Family Therapist who shares tips and real life relationship secrets from over 20 years of practice.

Married 31 years to Pam, his partner in Life and profession, he has personally known the peaks and valleys of the couple experience.

Get Insight and Wisdom for your Relationships at:

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Neander-Thoughts - Ideas In Religion That Just Don't Serve Us Well Anymore

The Neanderthal stage of human development has always fascinated me. What beings these "not quite us" types must have been. Powerful in build and physical abilities. Impervious, compared to modern Homo Sapiens, to pain and injury. When one researcher sought to find a counterpart in our culture to explain the skeletal injuries found in most Neanderthals, the American Rodeo star won. The injuries rodeo riders suffered dealing with large animals were the same as those of the Neanderthal. Massive bones and skulls, amazingly peg like teeth used as tools over a lifetime and probably the attitude to go with it all, a Cro-Magnon, modern man, had better to have outsmarted him before he was broken in two.

Neanderthals existed for several hundred thousand years as a being on this planet. Hard to believe, but it is true. They were in Europe already when modern man entered showed up in the long trek out of Africa. European Neanderthals had no other human competition until about 35,000 years ago, and when it showed up, they lost. A culture that had the same tools and the same way of being simply lost out to creative thinkers, who, while not as physically powerful, were more intelligent and forward looking. A Neanderthal lived day to day in the present and seemed to have no foresite and few insights. This finally proved to be their downfall and the last Neanderthal may have departed the planet trapped in a cave in Southern Spain where they had been driven over thousands of years of losing out to the more "enlightened" Cro-Magnon...Us.

There are no Neanderthals on the earth today, but there are Neander-thoughts. A Neander-thought is an idea, way of thinking or being, that no longer works. Just as Neanderthals seemed incapable of insight and foresight, creative solutions and critical thinking, Neander-thoughts today are holding humans back from making any real progress and actually expose us all to being consigned to some trash heap of history for not recognizing it. Let's take a look a few of the biggies. I am sure you can add many more to the list.

Neander-thoughts fall into endless categories, but for my intended purposes and from where I tend to come from in my experiences, I will deal with Religious Neander-thoughts. There are political, economic, social and pseudo scientific Neander thoughts out there causing no end to problems as well. However, at the present time, it seems that religious Neander-thoughts are the ones tearing the planet apart...again.

There are thousands of Neander-thoughts that no longer serve human beings well, and yet are pumped out day after day and year after year over lifetimes as if they worked. They don't work and aren't true. Perhaps they never did, but the certainly do no longer and it's time we recognized the main ones. Most won't of course. If it was good enough for daddy, it is good enough for me, is a far too common apologetic for why Neander-thoughts still deserve a place in our minds and practices.

Religious Neander-Thoughts that no longer work, and never did well.

1. There is the one true God that is easily found if you just look and believe. Of course with six billion diverse peoples on the planet, the One True God that you find, or finds you will be a different One True God from the one most others find or are found by.

2. Having found the One True God, be it Allah, Jesus or YHVH, there is one easily understood way this God expects you to behave and one true set of discernable beliefs and practices to be adhered to.

3. There are written texts on the planet that have literally been written by God or the gods. These texts are coherent, seamless and inerrant in their content and intent. When read, it is obvious they were not written by men.

4. Those texts that were not literally written by God or the gods, but rather inspired in the minds of chosen men are coherent, seamless and inerrant in their content and intent. There are chosen and inspired by a True God men even if you are not and cannot be one.

5. Women and texts that relate to Goddess worship and Mother Earth perspectives are never correct nor worth knowing about or practicing in fact. The sin of one woman has brought all present day problems upon us all. As a result, she shall say "yes Lord" to men and have babies painfully.

6. When a Holy Book is written over thousands of years by scores of MEN, it is coherent, seamless and inerrant in content and intent.

7. Some men and very few women are more special than the general population of humans. When God tells them build little forts of mud and burn them down, lie on their side for over a year, or cook their food with human dung, lesser called humans should pay close attention to what this man is saying. Mental illness has never been a factor in the behavior of religious men.

8. Men in religion who talk to bushes in the desert, hear voices, see bright lights and receive commands from a Deity that no one else, standing by, can hear, see or perceive, should be paid close attention to and followed in all they say after the encounter.

9. Men who can and do stop the earth from rotating, so the sun appears to stand still, because he needs more daylight to finish the killing of enemies are credible, and it's always a good idea to have more time for killing.

10. Obscure peoples, living in obscure deserts, roaming around obscure mountains in obscure parts of the world, are the chosen people of the One True Deity, always have been and always will be, and you are not.

11. All religious beliefs and practices are inspired directly by the Deity to the chosen ones and spring from the vacuum of surrounding cultures who practice similar things but do so a bit differently and worship different Deities. The True People and Chosen ones, never take their beliefs from the paganism that surrounds them and never evolve the paganism of neighbors into their own form of true paganism as given by the true Deity. In short, true religions don't evolve out of the cultures they are soaking in.

12. There is a True Deity that loves some people much more than others and really hates some with a passion as if they are in someway fundamentally more flawed than the ones he loves.

13. Special humans, mostly men, are very capable of discerning the mind of the True Deity to form the True Synagogue, Mosque or Church, and are easily found and perceived by those that the True Deity calls to do so.

14. There is only one True Synagogue, Mosque or Church that the Deity will accept membership in for humans to receive their true spiritual rewards, both now and in the time after death.

15. The True Deity requires at least ten percent of your gross income to do His work on earth, which will be done through special humans that know the mind of God more than you ever could. They will always spend the money as if the Deity himself were spending it, for things the Deity would himself spend it for.

16. There is a place of eternal damnation, separation or annihilation for the vast majority who just don't get it and refuse the obvious call of the Deity through special men. This damnation, separation or annihilation is done in love and those who go on to some form of glorification would not notice or care that their children were missing from the equation.

17. Women are not to speak in the True Church because the Holy Text says the first woman sinned and not the man. Women in the True Church are also not to have any authority over a man because, in fact, women come from men and men do not come from women. While science would question this conclusion, most non-Christain science is easy dismissed as "science so called."

18. Because, not counting male lions and male bird plummage, nature tells us it a shame for a man to have long hair, the men of the true religion and Deity, will have short hair. Aside from all contemporary pictures of Jesus, the Sioux and the Visigoths, men with long hair are weak, gay and soft.

19. Because long hair is a covering for women, short hair is always out for women. Everyone knows that short haired women are from the Isle of Lesbos.

20. Real women don't wear pants.

21. True Religions need to be inflicted upon the disinterested by force, threat and compliance. Those who do not freely come to the True Deity as defined by the true men of the Deity, shall be driven out, mocked, beaten, threatened or killed if need be. God knows those that are his and can sort them out later.

22. There is one true day of the week where the true Deity is in town and can be worshipped best. Those who miss these true worship days are in big trouble. While Wednesday night is not a favorite of the Deity, it is of His chosen male representative, and salvation also depends a bit on one being in the Temple, Mosque or Church at that time as well, thinking what you are told to think.

23. Matthew actually wrote Matthew. Mark actually wrote Mark. Luke actually wrote Luke and John actually wrote John. And when all of these books give conflicting accounts of the god/man's birth, life and death, the story is still inerrant and true. If you can understand that three persons are one GOD, you can understand that Four Gospels make up one true and harmonious story.

24. There is a harmony of and in the Gospel accounts of Jesus life. They are eyewitness accounts.

25. It should not be a problem that Paul never quotes Jesus, even when it would be to his advantage to do so, but still gets to write most of the New Testament, explain the mind of God and inform the Church of the wishes of the Deity.

26. Paul knew Jesus personally...not.

27. Even though Paul said that Peter, James and John were "so called pillars" in the Church, and that he learned nothing from them, nor cared to, the early True Apostles all got along very well and loved each other, for Jesus sake, all teaching the True Church the same things.

28. The story in Acts of Peter, (who said one thing to Jesus about defending him, but actually did another and denied him), killing two church members (for saying one thing but doing another), is not really meant to make fun of Peter. Just because Paul and John felt Peter was disqualified to lead because he denied Jesus, we know they would never make fun of him. It really is OK to kill church members if they change their minds about giving money and their families won't ask why they did not come home from church.

29. The only way the Deity can get humans to trust and obey, because there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, Allah or YHVH, is to reign death and ecological destruction upon the planet in the form of plagues, fire, boils and having ones eyes melt out of their sockets as various Trumpets blow and vials of wrath are poured out upon humans by the Deity or the Sons of the Deity. Humans respond well to this kind of expression of love and concern and will easily switch from their desire to be authentically themselves and become compliant, obedient, trustful and squishy lovey from henseforth, lo, even unto the end of time. It is the ONLY way a Deity can help humans be all they can be.

30. More religion is what people need to be at peace. More chosen men are what we need to be told what the true Deity wants us to do and believe so we can be happy. There are no lunatics, mentally ill leaders or narcissists running the show. What you see in pushy leadership is always the leading of the Holy Spirit.

These are Neander-thoughts for sure and there are thousands if not millions of others that misguide our every step at times. There was a time for Neanderthals and they served their purpose over a very very long time as we count time. The Neanderthal "failed" when more evolved humans came along, who, while not stronger, were smarter, quicker and more resilient and forward thinking. They were creative and more conscious in some way that the Neanderthal was not and they overcame the stronger, yet weak of options Neanderthals. With some thought, we can also overcome the Neander-thoughts that are keeping good people, who do not wish to be driven like bison over the cliff, from making the personal progress we all crave. We can more freely pursue our meaning without having to comply to the meanings others assign to us to believe based on their own Neander-thoughts and ignorance. We can live in a society and on a planet that is not so freaking scary and not be led by Neander-thinkers.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Add Life and Color to Weddings With a Sparkler Arch

Weddings are considered to be one of a couple's most important moments. It is the day when two people will be tied to the commitment of loving and caring for each other. For this reason, many of us go into great extents just to make weddings more memorable. We exert much effort just so the day can be etched in our hearts and minds for years. If you are planning a wedding soon, then it would only be natural for you to go into the details of your wedding ceremony and reception just so you can end up not just with a memorable event but also a unique one. One way to do so is to use a sparkler arch for your wedding.

The sparklers that we usually know of are those in the short bamboo stick forms that are lighted up to produce sparks and lights. It is usually used for celebrations and festivities like New Years Days, Fourth of July celebrations and other important gatherings. Now, a sparkler arch is simply a two rows of people holding lighted sparklers above their heads so as to create a walkway or arch. The arch can purely be decorative (to highlight a celebration centerpiece, for instance) or it can be created temporarily to create a pathway for someone to walk through. Now, these archways are popular among weddings and there is no reason for you not to try them out on your special day.

Sparklers are used in various celebrations and not just weddings. They are used in New Years Day as part of the tradition that lights and sparks can send away evil spirits and bring good luck to a home. Sparklers are used in Fourth of July celebrations to add life and color to the happy event. While we still use sparklers in the same way and purpose, the present times have led to new types of sparklers. These new sparklers are now longer (36 inches and most ideal for weddings) and can come with metal sticks. The longer and metal-based sparklers of today are ideal for weddings since they can burn and sparkle for as long as four minutes.

Sparkling arches for weddings are the "in" thing these days because they can instantly add life, color and glamour to such events. Yes, we all are familiar with the use of smoke machine, the bubble machine and even the throwing of rice to newlyweds but you can go further with weddings by using sparklers. The sparkler arch is best used after the couple is declared as husband and wife. The couple can walk through the archway as newlyweds and guests or hired sparkler handlers can hold the sparklers high.

When using sparklers for weddings or any other celebrations, it is important to keep safety as one top priority. Kids should never be allowed to light the sparklers to accidents that can ruin the wedding. It is also advisable to keep a pail of water nearby so the sparklers can be doused with water after use.

Weddings can indeed become more special if you iron out all the ceremony and reception details long before special day arrives. By using a sparkler archway for your wedding, you can instantly add life, color and glamour to the special day.

Jameson Daniels is a writer for Skylighter. See his sparkler or his sky lanterns.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Surviving Infidelity - What Are the Solutions to an Extramarital Affair

An affair may be sexual in nature or it may simply be a matter of infatuation with another member of the opposite sex. The beginnings of such "affairs" can very often be traced back to some aspect of a marital relationship that is unfulfilled for one reason or another.

We have determined over the many years of counseling couples who have found themselves in the situation where one of the partners has "strayed", that there are basically 7 major reasons (or excuses) given by the offending spouse for the illicit affair.

They are:

  • The spark has gone out of the marital relationship.
  • They gave into temptation. - Many say that they were led into temptation by the other person in the illicit relationship.
  • No intimacy (or very little) in the marriage.
  • A one night stand. Often as the result of over indulging in alcohol.
  • Hooking up again with an ex partner or lover.
  • Lack of intimacy at home because of frequent business trips away.
  • The innocent spouse is suffering Ill health and is unable to respond to sexual intimacy.

If both parties to the marriage have decided that they are bent on surviving infidelity and really want to rescue their relationship then consideration needs to be given to several factors -- for example:

  • If the innocent spouse has had sexual relations with his/her partner since the beginning of their partners affair, then it would be wise to have a medical check to determine whether there are any health issues that require medical intervention. This is a matter that shouldn't be taken lightly as we are aware of many cases over the years of the transmission of a sexual disease to an innocent partner.
  • The matter of trust also needs to be given careful thought. Can I trust my spouse again after what they have done to me and our family?
  • Is it really possible for my spouse to break off the illicit relationship, or not to be tempted again even if they have promised that they will remain faithful in the future?
  • Consideration needs to be given to involving a third party to provide suitable counseling to ensure that if there is a determination on the part of both parties to make the marriage work then solutions and ground rules are firmly in place. In our experience it is difficult for both the person who has been affected by their partners extramarital affair, and the guilty partner, to sort out all the problems associated with this matter on their own.

If you are really interested in forgiving your spouse, surviving infidelity, and giving your marriage another go, there may very well be light on the horizon if:

  • Your spouse voluntarily admitted the affair.
  • They are open under questioning about it.
  • They have told you that they are remorseful that they strayed.
  • They have agreed to break all connection with the other party.
  • They have suggested or agree to be involved in counseling.

An extramarital affair doesn't have to mean the end of a marriage if you both really have the desire and the inclination to repair your relationship.

Our names are Brad and Michelle Ritchie. We are a married couple and are both relationship counselors having been in practice together since 1988.

We have written this brief item (which is covered in much greater depth on our website) to assist couples restore a marital relationship that is going through troubled times.

If you visit our site you will find the answers to many of the problems that married couples are facing today. We have put together the articles on our very informative site from a background of experience of dealing with countless troubled relationships over a period of 20 or so years.

If you are experiencing marital difficulties then we would love to assist you. Just follow this link:

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Rev Up Your Glow This Year With LED Christmas Tree Lights

If you're trying to save on energy costs this Christmas season, you may want to try a new style of Christmas tree lights this year - LED bulbs. With the cost of energy being so high, many people are looking for ways that they can have the decorations and lights that they love while still being able to reduce the amount of energy that they consume. If you use a variety of lighting decorations, you may want to start looking into some that will help conserve some energy this festive season.

This year, if you want to try something different that is a bit more environmentally friendly, consider using LED Christmas tree lights this year. When you use LED bulbs for your decorating, you'll find that you can save about 80% on your electric bill. While you may find that other types of light bulbs are a bit cheaper than the LED style, they will end up being more costly, since they cost more in energy.

Not only do the LED style of bulbs help you to save on energy costs, but you'll often find that LED Christmas lights come right on the tree. It is so convenient to have one that is pre-lit, so you don't have to spend all that time getting the lights put up on it. This is already a very busy time of year, so this will allow you to save a bit of time on your already busy schedule.

You'll find that when you go with LED Christmas tree lights they are extremely durable. These bulbs are made without any tubes or fragments in them which can easily break. You'll also find that they are resistant to outdoor elements as well, which makes them a great choice for cold or warm climates. Not only can you use these lights indoors, but they can be used for outdoors as well.

Another great benefit of going with LED lights for your decorations is that they stay cool. There have been many people in the past who have lost their homes due to fires that were a result of light bulbs getting too hot and causing a fire. When you use the LED style lights you won't have to worry about this happening to you.

Terry Price is a regular contributor to [] which is an informational website offering many exciting new swag mini lights [], mini lights for crafts and great money saving lights for Christmas.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

School Information In The Global Information Economy

Causes for concern in school education...

According to a report entitled "Economic Impact Of The Achievement Gap In America's Schools" by the consulting firm of McKinsey & Co., attainment levels are declining in the United States while at the same time improving in other countries.

For example:

  • In 1995, the United States was tied for first in college and university graduation rates - but by 2006, the country had dropped to 14th
  • Forty years ago, the United States had one of the best levels of high school attainment - but in 2006, it ranked 18th out of 24 industrialized nations in high school graduation
  • In 1970, the United States had 30% of the world's college graduates - but today, it has less than 15%

According to McKinsey & Co., Finland and Korea ranked numbers 1 and 2 in PISA mathematics tests, and numbers 2 and 1 in PISA science tests in 2006, whereas the United States ranked numbers 25 and 24. The United States ranked number 18 in PISA reading tests, and number 29 in PISA problem solving tests in 2003.

PISA is the Program For International Student Assessment organized by the Organization For Economic Co-operation and Development for 15 year olds around the world.

According to the United Nations Education Index, which is measured by the adult literacy rate and the gross enrollment ratio, the United States ranked number 20 in 2007, with Australia, Denmark, Finland, and New Zealand jointly ranked number 1.

According to a report entitled "Measuring Innovation: A New Perspective" by the Organization For Economic Co-operation and Development, the United States:

  • Ranked number 3 in the percentage of patents filed by firms under five years old - with Norway ranked number 1 and Denmark ranked number 2
  • Ranked number 11 in venture capital investment as a percentage of GDP in 2008 - with Finland ranked number 1 and Sweden ranked number 2
  • Interestingly enough, the results are not dissimilar to Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index. The countries with the least perceived corruption include:
  • Denmark (ranked 1)
  • New Zealand (ranked 2)
  • Finland (ranked 4)
  • Sweden (ranked 4)
  • Australia (ranked 8)
  • Norway (ranked 10)
  • United States (ranked 22)

Is the relationship between education and corruption related to what values are taught in schools or because money for education is diverted elsewhere, or both?

Causes for concern in the relationship between education, entrepreneurship, the economy and employment...

Education, innovation, and entrepreneurship are key drivers of the economy, which in turn creates employment opportunities. Closing the achievement gap between the United States and top performing countries (Finland and Korea) could add between .3 and .3 trillion to the United States' gross domestic product according to McKinsey. In 2010, the United States' budget deficit is .3 trillion.

Some educators are concerned that the United States' education system:

  • Destroys creativity and divergent thinking
  • Fails to teach children "how to learn how to learn"
  • Relies too heavily on multiple choice testing versus other methods of assessment
  • Fails to promote teamwork - a key ingredient for success in arts, sports, and employment
  • Addresses the needs of the industrial age as it was eighty years ago or so, not the information age as it is and will be in the future
  • Is more concerned about developing university professors than contributors to the future economy in the information age

The structure of the economy is changing fast through disintermediation caused by improving information, telecommunications, and transportation technologies, which in turn contribute to globalization:

  • Middle management white collar jobs are being eliminated because information technology improves communication flows and performance reporting from shop floors and front lines to executive management
  • Engineering white collar and shop floor blue collar jobs are being eliminated because computer aided design and manufacturing and process control technologies require less human intervention
  • Clerical white collar jobs are being eliminated because information technology is automating administrative and operational processes
  • Blue collar jobs are being eliminated because manufacturing can easily be shipped offshore to lower cost producers that accept designs electronically, and then send products via sophisticated container shipping ports and vessels

Improved supply and demand chains on a global basis between suppliers and end-customers have reduced the need for vertically integrated enterprises, eliminating jobs that will never be replaced. As globalization continues, enterprises will continue to consolidate to obtain benefits from economy of scale, thus causing further job elimination.

Job creation is a result of entrepreneurship in emerging and growth enterprises, and intrapreneurship in growth and mature enterprises. Without entrepreneurship, jobs in new areas of the economy will not be created; without intrapreneurship, enterprises will cut costs and expenses in order to remain profitable, which means loss of employment - not job creation in existing areas.

The consequence is that the workforce has to be reeducated to become knowledge workers in a global information-based economy, and that all individuals have to be more adept at promoting themselves in an environment of job uncertainty. However, teamwork will be important as technology permits collaboration across functional units within enterprises, and between them across the world.

Young people entering the work place today have to be prepared for lifelong learning because technology will erode both current and future jobs, especially as robotics technologies become mainstream. They have to be prepared to be self-sufficient in the future economy because job and social security as their parents and grandparents knew it are less likely to exist.

Innovation has to be fostered to drive entrepreneurship to create future jobs. Fostering innovation means encouraging creativity first in school systems.

Mobile technology that can deliver multimedia content ubiquitously is fast being introduced into the marketplace, and is being assimilated by young people.

Online education and learning systems are being introduced into both public and private schools, primarily delivered through desktop and laptop computers, both in school and at home. Mobile devices are becoming a vehicle for accessing online curricula, and already some schools are permitting their use in the classroom.

Such technology can eliminate the need for textbooks, enable the student to proceed at their own pace, monitor progress at each step in learning the curriculum content, and enable the teacher to tutor each student individually. It can also employ interactive problem solving techniques to stimulate critical thinking.

One example of an online learning system is the Virtual Classroom Suite from Education 2020, which is a web-based, teacher-led instructional approach.

According to a "meta-analysis" released by the U.S. Department of Education in 2009, online learning has definite advantages over face-to-face instruction. The study found that students who took part or all of their instruction online performed better, on average, than those taking the same course through face-to-face instruction only. Furthermore, those who took "blended" courses - those that combine elements of both online learning and face-to-face instruction appeared to do the best of all.

Whereas this technology can deliver educational content for middle and high school, college, and university curricula, according to one 24 year old tutor, "The kids get it. It's the parents and teachers that are afraid of it!"

Is addressing the achievement gap enough?

Innovation is about developing new ideas; creativity is about bringing them into being - both activities stem from vivid imagination. Without innovation, it is not possible to find new activities or better ways of performing existing ones; without creativity, it is difficult to adapt to new situations.

Entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial activities are functions of mindset and action: the mindset to turn innovative ideas into value; the action initiated from a willingness to take risk to realize the value.

Sometimes it is necessary to be wrong in order to be right - success comes from lessons learned from failure. Thomas Edison once declared that he had not failed when attempting to develop the light bulb - he had just found 10,000 ways that would not work.

Will passing examinations be sufficient preparation for the uncertainty of life in the future? Some educators believe that to stimulate creativity and innovation, it is necessary for children to develop problem solving and critical thinking skills early in life.

According to D.N. Perkins, at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the basic goals of education strive for retention, understanding, and active use of knowledge and skills, but in reality are hard to achieve.

According to John M. Carroll in his book "The N├╝rnberg Funnel," the conventional method of education is teaching or "instructionalism," where a teacher located in a conventional classroom informs students about a particular domain (subject area). He suggests that learning is the act of constructing knowledge from information in the world around the student based upon a learning paradigm by Seymour Papert. Papert calls this paradigm "constructionism" in his project entitled "Constructionism: A New Opportunity For Elementary Science Education" and his book entitled "Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas." Constructionists believe that the knowledge is derived from mental activity, whereas instructionalists view that the mind processes and mirrors the world. Papert's work is influenced by ideas from Jean Piaget, the father of constructivism, who argued that humans generate knowledge and meaning from an interaction between their experiences and their ideas.

According to Edith Ackermann, constructivism offers a window as to what children are interested in and are able to achieve, whereas constructionism focuses on learning to learn, and making things in learning.

Making things is about models of the real world, which is what mathematical physics is all about.

Seymour Papert, Nicholas Negroponte, and Alan Kay launched the One Laptop Per Child initiative to put constructionist learning into practice in the developing world.

The Sugar "desktop environment," which is delivered with the Fedora operating system for XO computers used in the One Laptop Per Child initiative, and available for use on other platforms including Mac OS/X and Windows, has been designed with the goal of being used by children for learning. This environment enables applications (known as activities) to be run that encourage constructionist learning. Sugar encourages problem-solving, collaborative learning, and critical thinking in children aged 6 through 12. One of the consequences is that children are learning to program as early as 8 years old.

Edubuntu is a free education-oriented operating system available to children aged 6 through 18. It is designed to enable educators with limited technical knowledge to set up an online leading environment with ease.

The Intel Computer Clubhouse Network is an international community of 100 clubhouses located in 20 countries provides an out-of-school learning environment for skills development. Yasmin Kafai, Kylie Peppler, and Robbin Chapman explain the concept in their book "The Computer Clubhouse: Constructionism and Creativity in Youth Communities." This initiative is aimed at providing young people with "practical 21st century skills."

Both instructionalism and constructionism approaches are necessary to teach the curriculum prescribed nationally and develop problem solving and critical thinking skills necessary for encouraging creativity.

However, according to Theodore Levitt, creativity is thinking up new things, innovation is doing new things.

Creativity is about ideas, but innovation is about ideas and productivity - the entrepreneur has to turn mindset (innovative ideas) into action to achieve value (innovation). The demands on the school system are high in terms of trying to close the achievement gap and prepare students with the knowledge and skills required for the entrepreneurial, innovative, and technological world of the information age.

Key questions:

  • What changes should be made to the curriculum? For example, should disciplines such as computer programming, business management, and personal finance be part of the baseline or discretionary?
  • What can be done to improve problem solving and critical thinking methods?
  • What changes should be made in teaching methods? To what extent should online education methods augment, coexist, or replace traditional classroom methods, and if so - how?
  • Should the role of district leadership, administrators, teachers, parents, and students change, and if so how?
  • Should partnerships be established between schools and businesses, so that students have a better appreciation of the characteristics of the emerging workplace?
  • What can be done to ensure that equal opportunity is provided to all students such that they can make decisions in their future careers and personal lives that are sustainable environmentally, economically, and socially?

Whatever the education system provides, it is important that every individual take charge of their own careers, and understand their competencies.

...and to assess your individual competencies in thirty minutes or less, claim your opportunity for instant access when you go to

From Nigel A.L. Brooks - Management Consultant and Motivational Speaker

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Energy Efficient Home Ideas

With energy prices on the rise, it is becoming increasingly important to cut costs and save money wherever possible. There exists a multitude of products and ideas designed to do just that. From reducing energy loss to increasing overall efficiency, there's room in any budget.

One of the easiest ways to increase a home's energy efficiency is to change it's lighting. A compact fluorescent lamp, or CFL, uses between one fifth and one third of the energy required to power an equivalent incandescent bulb. While a CFL can cost 3 to 10 times more than a similar incandescent bulb, they typically square the difference in about one month. One article suggests that, a home spending to change 30 fixtures can save between 0 and 00 over the lifetime of the CFLs (about 5 years.) For low-light applications, such as a reading lamp, LED bulbs can offer even greater efficiency. Most current models, however, don't emit nearly as much light as their counterparts, and tend to be directional in nature. This makes them impractical for everyday use. Where outdoor lighting is concerned, things like timers and motion detectors save money by switching lights off that aren't in use. Solar landscape lighting requires absolutely no outside energy source while adding an aesthetic appeal.

Water heating, on average, accounts for around 13% of utility bills. The quickest ways to reduce this cost include regulating how much hot water is used, adjusting the heater's temperature, and thoroughly insulating the heater itself. For greater savings over the long-term, it may make sense to install a more efficient heater. Solar water heaters save the most, as they get all of their energy from the Sun. This is a great option in locations that receive sufficient sunlight. Tankless "demand" water heaters pass water through heated coils, providing hot water as it's needed rather than storing it. This effectively eliminates the energy loss that occurs when stored hot water cools down on it's own. However, they are not always able to keep up with the high demand of some homes.

When you own a home, investing in energy efficiency is tantamount to investing in your own peace of mind. In financially uncertain times, those things of which one can be certain are more and more important for you, your family, and your way of life.

Edmund E. Taylor has researched and writes on a number of topics including solar energy, the green movement, renewable resources and recycling. His background is in teaching and higher education. For more of Edmund's articles on green energy, please visit PV Power, a supplier of residential and commercial solar power information.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Samsung LED LCD TV Features

The term LED stands for light emitting diodes. It is a new technology that has replaced the use of standard fluorescent tubes in televisions. Samsung LED LCD TV uses this technology to produce extremely fine images.

Samsung TV has received the esteemed "Innovation Award" from the European Image and Sound Association because of its outstanding features and extremely high quality. In Samsung LED television, the TV is based around their LED backlighting technology; more specifically RGB Dynamic LEDs are used for backlighting which enables local dimming thus producing sharper images. Moreover, the color contrast ratio, slimmer designs and environmental friendly features introduced in LED TVs have made them to be in high demand.

There are a number of differences between LED-backlit LCD Televisions and the conventional LCD Television and they are as follows:

  • Images that LED LCD TVs produce are livelier when compared to the conventional LCD TVs.
  • Due to the use of Edge - LED lighting the size of the TV is reduced drastically, thus the thickness of most recent released models is hardly an inch thick.
  • They are energy savers in that they use 40% less power as compared to the ordinary LCD TV that is of a similar size.
  • Due to local dimming capabilities the LED TV produces finer dark images by reducing the white light in the required areas.
  • The problem of viewing the TV from different angles is solved with the introduction of LED lights behind the LCD panels.
  • Price of LED LCD TVs is higher than the traditional LCD TV but the quality of the vibrant images that they produces enhances the viewing experience making the increased cost worth it!

Thus we can say without any doubt that the LED Samsung TV has enhanced home viewing and the enjoyment of watching your favorite films, programs and video games even if it does come at a slight premium.

Providing articles and information about all aspects of LED TV and specifically Samsung LED TV.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Cruise Terminal Adventures - Norwegian Star Review

We scheduled a repositioning cruise on the Vision of the Seas from Los Angeles to Vancouver, BC and I had checked the website and found that NCL was offering a one-night Dinner & Dance cruise from Vancouver, BC to Seattle, WA for an unbelievable rate in a Balcony Cabin. Score!

This trip proved to be an adventure for a one-nighter. I am going to try and keep a light tone to this review but it was nasty, as several thousand cruisers can attest to.

We disembarked from the Vision of the Seas at the Balentine Cruise Terminal and waited 40 minutes for a taxi with several new friends that we made on the Vision and then took 45 minutes for what should have been a 5 minute taxi ride to Canada Place Cruise Terminal. Traffic through the city was horrendous. While we were driving through the Gastown there was a gentleman dragging a suitcase whose rollers had broken down the street, we initially passed him however while we were sitting on the street watching the traffic basically go nowhere he passed us and finally disappeared, if we did not have all the luggage we did it was quite obvious that walking was much faster than driving. We should have realized at this point that we were in deep do-do.

We arrived at Canada Place Cruise Terminal, checked our bags, and found a line of around 1,000 people. We were trying to figure out whether this was our line or the line for one of the other ships when we found a Port employee and were told that all ships went through the same line, we were then informed that we could not get in line and had to wait an hour or two because our ship had arrived late. We should have realized that this was the second sign of cruise terminal hell on earth.

We headed out of Canada Place foraging for food and coffee and found a food court across the street where we wrestled a black bear for a table and set ourselves with some natural Canadian Mexican food to wait out our hour delay.

An hour later we wandered back to madness. Think I'm kidding? I'm not. We took the underground tunnel into Canada Place and found the route via Elevator to the Cruise Terminal. The doors of the elevator opened and we found ourselves in the middle of an even longer line. I don't like line cutters myself, so we followed the line, over the river, through the woods, up the hill, over the dale, around the corner, in front of the hotel, up the steps, down the walkway, to the front of one of the ships. If you have never been to Canada Place imagine a huge building, bigger then some sports stadiums, long enough that two of the large cruise ships can park right next to it, one in front of the other and you can get an idea of how long this line was. I would guess that there were a good 4,000 people in front of us in line at this point.

Needless to say, people were getting testy and annoyed; we literally stood in one spot for almost an hour. I may have been imagining this, but at one point I believe the line started doing the "can can" and a conga line formed as well, at least I think it did, until I clicked my red heels together and wished to go home and found myself standing in line again. Finally the line started moving again and about 3 hours later we were ushered down a stairway into the 2nd basement level. Comments about dungeons abounded and several people in line thought it may be possible that we were being led to the bottom of the ships to row or shovel coal.

At this point thing started moving quickly, we were rushed through security, the line moved briskly through customs, enough that we felt a breeze, and we were finally to the cruise line desk, got our door keys and was directed to the ship.

NCL is very conscious of the possible health issues on the ship as we were required to clean our hands with hand cleanser before we could board the ship.

We got to our cabin and our bags were already there, they had been partying for some time, the garment bag asked us where we had been and did we have any vodka with us. The carpet bag was balancing on a rail trying to be a tight line walker; fortunately it did have good balance.

We found our swimsuits and hobbled to the elevator for a quick trip to deck 12 and the blissful relaxation of the hot tubs. When we got to the pool deck we were amazed by how large the ship really was with a nice large pool with 2 water slides and 4 hot tubs. The outside diner was active and the food smelled great.

After soaking in the hot tubs we went back to our cabin and placed reservation for dinner then wandered the ship for a bit, it really was a nice ship. We then headed to the main showroom for the production show "Cirque Pacific".

"Cirque Pacific" was like most Cirque shows, best enjoyed when you are under the influence of something. Fortunately I did have some pharmaceuticals with me, too bad they were in my cabin. The show started with an announcement that smoking was not permitted in the auditorium, then them filled it with smoke, I know, show smoke, but still. I suspect that the smoke was a symbol of the state the director and choreographer where in when they put the show together; I seriously suspect they had smoked some happy grass beforehand. I had never seen hula girls doing river dance, women in blenders, and a character that looked like it belonged in "Tron" being representative of things from the Pacific region, but there they were. In reality the show was interesting and had some good high points and some of the performers were terrific, but Tarzan boy was just a little over the top. *winks*

We had Dinner in the "Endless Summer" restaurant, which was TexMex cuisine, it was as good as any TexMex restaurant that we had eaten at previously, with good flavor and plentiful portions.

We then went to the Casino, where we did what most people do, which is donate. But it was run professionally and while it was only open for a short time it was a good place to play.

Finally we decided to hit the rack. A little disappointed how difficult it was to get ice as none was left in the cabin and no steward returned our calls.

The next morning we had breakfast in the main buffet and it was about normal buffet fare. All guests on the ship were expedited departure, which meant we had to carry a weeks' worth of luggage off the ship ourselves, but we did get off quickly and were outside in Seattle in a matter of minutes.

While this was only a single day exposure to NCL it was a positive exposure with the exception of the madness at Canada Place. So hopefully we will be on one of their ships again in the future.

Tom Truxton lives in Portland, Oregon, is the father of 4, a website developer and with his wife also operates a home-based travel agency and website at