Melinda Doolittle – The American Idol for Season Six

I like being entertained and if you have been watching this seasons’ Idols in competition, you will probably agree with me and think they should just hand over the crown to Melinda DooLittle now.

Yahoo TV is reporting an October 7th, 1977 date of birth for DooLittle. Which happens to be a date that is very near to last years winner Taylor Hicks’ date of birth. But Hicks has several different sites reporting inconsistencies on his date of birth. Some sources are saying it was 10/6/76, while others are saying it is 10/7/76, and still yet there are others that say it was on the 8th, and even one site reported January 24…

…and it is really driving this stargazer nuts, I mean really, you are either born on the 6th or the 7th, in October or January. I am wondering how these folks make it to work on time.

Anyway, getting back to Melinda DooLittle, and hoping that Yahoo TV got her birth data right, I took a look at DooLittles’ stars for 10/07/77 in Brentwood, TN at sunrise.

Melinda is having what is called in astrology her Saturn Return. It simply means that the planet Saturn, in its transit right now, is coming to pass the same exact position it held when Melinda was born.

This astrological occurrence (Saturn Return) usually happens for all of us around the ages of 28, 29, and 30. It is a time when we want to do what we came here to do. We want to quit messin’ around and get down to life’s business. This Saturn Return for Melinda is happening in the sign of Leo–and the sign of Leo is the sign that rules talent, creativity, and the stage. Being an American Idol contestant is perfectly fitting.

Now although Melinda has her progressed Moon moving through the sign of Leo and ready to conjunct her natally placed Saturn–and that is a very good thing for Melinda as it gets her recognition (Saturn) as a stage performing powerhouse (Leo) with massive popularity (Moon) –but I am just not sure if that is enough to get her the crown.

I was hoping to see several favorable transits from Jupiter to her natal and progressed planets as was with past season idol winners. Especially when I don’t trust the American Idol voting process. I mean really, they make such a big deal over these voting numbers each week but never a big deal of how these numbers are exactly processed –and so, when you know that an anagram for the phrase AMERICAN IDOL is DEMONIC LIAR it sort of leaves one, at least me, in an doubtful frame of mind as to the voting integrity of American Idol. Oh, but I still watch each week. I told you, I like to be entertained, and this Melinda DooLittle knows all about delivery and entertaining.

Now speaking of anagrams the letters in the name MELINDA DOOLITTLE when rearranged become ALL-TIME NOTED IDOL. Ya gotta love it.

So I am thinking, perhaps the time of Melinda’s birth will place transitting Jupiter accordingly–like on her ascendant or midheaven–and she will be our next American Idol. Or perhaps this other anagram I found ELIMINATED TO DOLL will come into play meaning that one of the younger gals beat her out. Gina or Jordan come to mind.

Whether Doolittle is meant to have the Idol crown or not (which only an exact time of her birth will tell for sure) there is one thing for certain–her life from here on in will not be the same…

…as Melinda’s progressed Sun has just moved over progressed Uranus and is getting hit with a trining transit from Uranus. So there is will one surprise after the other for Melinda. And one way or the other, voted in or voted off, Melinda DooLittle will be in a recording studio somewhere belting out one goose-bump song after the next. Oh my, but wait…

…I just noticed one more thing. The planet Neptune, which is the planet that inspires music, measures 13 degrees of Sagittarius at Melinda’s birth, which in total degrees of celestial longitude measures to become the number 253. This number 253 can become the date 5/23 , which this year happens to fall on a Wednesday, which is after Tuesday, which is a date that has in the past been very near the date when other American Idols got their crown.

I guess we will just have to wait and see if MELINDA DOOLITTLE and the name anagram DOMINATE IDOL TELL will put her at the finale.



Source by Renee Francis

How To Paint A Wooden Boat

One of the great increasing mysteries of today’s modern boatbuilding is the amount of hi-tech gobble-de-gook that the average home boat builder is expected to wade through when the time comes to paint the boat after the horrendous amount of sanding, fairing and hard work is (mostly) over and the fruits of your labour now require a shiny deep lustre that the painting now promises to bring. This part, to my mind at least, is one of the best parts of boatbuilding, the finish! (Well, at least the start of the finish!)

Painting a boat used to be a reasonably simple task. All one needed was a fine dry day, one of Dad’s paintbrushes, some turps, a roll of masking tape, a bit of pink primer left over from the decorating and a half gallon of shiny blue enamel paint from the local hardware store…they were the days!

Not so today, my friends! The unsuspecting boat builder who toddles off to the local chandlery or superstore best be prepared for the very worst- not only will he (or she) face a huge financial onslaught on their wallet but a mind boggling array of hi-tech whiz wow balderdash that the (generally) uninformed shop assistant will proceed to throw in their general direction in the faint hope that you will give in under the stress and buy several litres of the latest polurethanicalslitheryaminomolecular goop that’s just come in. For example, you’ll be faced with trade names like ‘Interlux Interthane coating’. I mean, come on, it sounds like a new space invaders game! This is bloody paint! There are many others but I’m sure you get the gist of what I’m saying.

Another example of the kind of thing that drives me nuts is that you can expect to buy several litres of a iso-cyanate two pack marine polyurethane paint only to be cheerfully told its illegal to spray it unless you have a proper licenced premises to do so, drone drone!! I suppose they have to make up new names to go with the new paint company policies of charging up to $150 a litre for some of these new fangled paints! What the hell have they discovered that’s so expensive to put in this stuff? I was under the impression that paint was a few litres of linseed oil, turps, some drying agents and a few ounces of pigments for colour…can I really be so out of touch?

BACK TO BASICS

So, why do we paint wooden boats? Or any other boat for that matter? The first part of that question is easy. Boats look much smarter and better if they shine and gleam a bit… it’s only human nature after all. The second part to that question is: We want to protect it. Ok, from what? Well, wood rots if you don’t paint it, right? – wrong! Wood left to its own devices does not rot. Wood only rots as a result of its environment. There are multiple cases of how, plain untreated wood can last for centuries as long as it is in the correct environment. There are basically only a few elements that start wood rotting. Biological attack from spores, fungi, temperature, high humidity or total absorption, physical attack from marine borers and crustaceans that allow ingress to all the other elements aforementioned.

Don’t let’s forget that polluted waters can degrade timber to the point where it will rot….we’ll add chemical attack to that list too. So, in view of all these very compelling reasons we protect our boat by painting it to coat it fully against these assaults.

PREPARATION OF TIMBER

The actual preparation of timber can cover a range of differing requirements. If your boat is a new build you won’t have to go through many of the preparatory stages that an older boat may have to go through. With some forms of boatbuilding where a boat has been built by a different method such as strip planking or cold moulding, we paint the boat as if it were a fibreglass boat, due to the fact that either layers of fibreglass cover the timber or that the timber has been coated with epoxy that does not allow conventional paints to adhere to it properly. However, if we wish to protect bare timber then we use a different tack. Timber in its bare natural state has millions of thin hollow tubes running through it, constructed of cellulose in its natural form. We have to seal these tubes to prevent the ingress of water into them. Therefore we seal and coat the timber first of all.

The first thing we do is to clean and remove any loose and flaking or damaged paint plus any dirt that remains on the hull – sounds easy if you say it quick but it must be done! If necessary (and most times it is) degrease the hull using a proprietary paint degreaser after removing all dust preferably with a vacuum cleaner. Don’t forget it won’t be absolutely necessary to get all the hull back to bare wood just dry, clean, grease and dust free.

FILLING AND IMPERFECTIONS

Obviously, not many timber craft are perfect on the outside. There are many blemishes, cracks, imperfections and splits both large and small to deal with by filling them and sanding them flush before priming the boat. It’s a bit of a chore but time spent here will reward you with a boat that will certainly look better plus have a longer life. Some folks fill these holes and imperfections in timber with epoxy filler but it is not a good idea. Sometime later, for example, when the boat has to undergo a repair, it will be the very devil of a job to remove the epoxy from a fastening hole. It’s best to use some kind of proper timber filler that dries hard and fast but is never that hard that it can’t be removed later on. For example, painter’s glazing compound is a fairly hard setting soft paste that can be quickly applied then sanded and painted satisfactorily. Carvel boats usually have their seams filled fair with a special seam compound AFTER the boat has been primed. Once the boat has been filled and faired smooth and all dust removed we are ready to put some actual paint on. Remember, the difference between a professional paint job and an amateur is the PREPARATION!

WOOD PRESERVATIVE

There are two schools of thought about treating bare timber with wood preservatives. I’ve heard stories that primers and paints don’t adhere to many of them. In my case, I have never personally had that happen to me, so I am generally in favour of using them. Nevertheless, I am convinced that in many cases where the paint refuses to stick to timber is because the wood has not properly dried out after application. There is a definite percentage of humidity level that every timber has (and most of them differ slightly) where paint of any description simply won’t stick. It can be up to fifteen per cent in some timbers. Above all, ensure that your timber is dry enough to allow any paint or filler to adhere to it. Remember too that salt deposits on timber will readily contain water and keep it damp…. if your boat was in salty water wash it off in fresh before commencing painting. When and only when, your timber preservative is dry the next stage is:

PRIMER

The first coat of primer to go onto your hull is metallic grey primer. It is a good primer to use because it is made up of millions of microscopic flat metal (aluminium) plates that lie on top of each other giving water a very hard time to pass though it…Pink primer for example, has circular molecules of substances therefore allowing water to ingress a lot quicker…fact! Grey primers also contain certain oils and most have anti-mould agents contained within (biocides to you and I) We put two coats of grey primer above the waterline and three, no less, below it.

SOME OTHER OBSERVATIONS ABOUT PRIMERS

There are a whole world of paint primers out there and confusion about their qualities are very common. For basic dry timbers, the grey metallic primers are good as previously explained. Also many oil-based primers from well-known companies are also very good and will do the job perfectly well. Hi-build primers however must be approached with caution and I must say that I have never personally got on too well with them. Most of them contain Titanium Dioxide (that’s talcum powder to us lot) and even when it is fully cured can absorb copious amounts of moisture that can prevent really good paint adhesion. To avoid this only paint hi-build primers on good clear dry days and avoid excessive atmospheric humidity levels. Then, as soon as is possible apply the topcoats to seal them in. Note too, that hi-build primers are a soft type of paint and can suffer badly from scuffing over stony or shingly beaches and even when launching from boat trailers. When sanding these primers remember that huge clouds of white dust are released so be aware of where you sand and wear appropriate safety masks.

TOPCOATS

Once again, there are many types to choose from. Let’s get the two- packs out of the way first. TWO-PACK POLYURETHANES have to be applied over a two-pack epoxy undercoat first of all. They have a fantastic finish and that’s fine but you must be absolutely sure that the timber underneath is not going to move because the paint cures so hard that it can and will crack (strip plankers and cold moulded boats are your best bet here…apart of course from glass boats). The primary reason is that timber constructed boats move or ‘work’ as it is known. You may well get away with it if your timber boat has been glassed from new….not glassed over later as a preventative method to stop leaks. Rarely boats treated thus dry out properly and are still susceptible to movement as the timber inside the glass either rots because it was wet or it dries out too much and shrinks. Also boats that have been chined properly, that is, strips of timber glued in between the planks instead of being caulked, stand a reasonable chance of not moving.

Ok, what else? One pack or single pack polyurethane paints can be a good choice for a topcoat…they are almost as glossy and as durable as the two-packs but not quite! They are however, less expensive and far easier to apply than the two-packs… there are a multitude of them out there, so a bit of research is required plus your own personal choice…I’m not going to get involved in a slanging match about which ones are the best! However, remember most major well-known paint manufacturer’s products are usually ok! It’s your call!

So next on my list are marine enamels. Once again, it pays to remember that anything with MARINE in front of it is usually expensive…a good place to avoid in this quest is the large hardware chain stores that sport one or two paints in this category and I’ve fallen for it myself before now. It’s the Name we are looking for!

Even with decent quality marine enamels some of the whites have been known to yellow with age and the way round this is to buy the off-white colours such as cream or buff. My last choice in Marine enamels proper, is a relative newcomer…a water-based enamel. I personally have never used any but I have heard some good reports and there has to be a few advantages with them, quick cleanup for one and you can even drink the thinners!

ASSORTED CHOICES

There are a few types of paint systems that are different to the abovementioned and as usual they probably will draw a lot of flack from those types that love writing to the editor for some reason or the other. Mainly I suspect, because something isn’t quite conventional. Each of the following paints has their different uses and attributes.

HOUSE PAINT ENAMELS

Over the years the quality of house paint enamels has been increasing dramatically to the point where many yachties I know paint their boats with it. It’s a bit softer (and definitely cheaper) than most single pack polyurethanes and some colours, mostly the darker hues, tend to fade earlier than others. However, the fact remains that they can be an excellent choice especially if you own a small boat and don’t mind repainting it every couple of years….cheap to buy, easy to apply!

WATER BASED ACRYLICS

A few years ago you wouldn’t have dreamed of painting your boat with acrylic paint….it would have peeled off in great strips. That does not apply today however. My own boat, The NICKY J has been painted using Wattyl’s Acrylic semi-gloss “CANE” and it is really amazing. I used gloss for the hull and semi-gloss for the decks over white epoxy primer single pack and it has been really good. Never once has it even looked like delaminating. I paint the boat once a year with a roller and it takes less than a day…and she’s forty two feet long! It is yet another choice!

Well there’s your main paint choices but I urge you to remember one thing…preparation is King… it will save you plenty of money in the long run, for sure.

HOW TO APPLY YOUR PAINT

There are of course, three main methods of applying your paints; Spraying, brushing and rollering. There’s another that many people use, a combination of the last two, rolling and tipping, we’ll deal with that one later.

Let’s take a look at spraying. There are several pre-requisites for a decent spray job. These usually are a decent workshop complete with suction fans and half decent ventilation using good spray gear (cheapo underpowered stuff just doesn’t cut the mustard) and most importantly, adequate and proper safety gear. There are always exceptions to the rule and there’s one chap who works in Edge’s boatyard outside in the weather and he does a fantastic job…imagine how much better he might be if he worked indoors!! You will also have to watch the weather, high humidity is not good and also where the overspray goes…not over anyone’s car as is so often the case! A good excess of paint is lost and wasted in the process. If you have a driving need for you boat to look like your car then sprayings for you! Oh yeah, it quick(ish) too!

Brushing by hand can yield incredible results if you are patient and also know what you are doing. I’ve seen boats that at first glance look like they have been sprayed only to find out that they were hand painted by brush…….Dust free atmosphere and bloody good brushes (I mean expensive) are an absolute must here.

Last of all, rollering especially the ‘roll and tip’ method. This requires two people working together as a team. One rolls the paint on thinly and the other follows closely with a decent brush and ‘tips’ out the bubbles left behind by the roller – unbelievably good finishes can be obtained by this method.

A word of warning, no matter which method you use. Don’t be tempted to retouch runs or sags in the paint or you will ruin the finish….wait until the paint has fully dried then deal with it! It’s tempting but paint always seems to gel quicker than you would think!

A SUMMARY

There are many facets to the successful painting of a boat. We can’t be good at all of them and you have to choose the method most suited to you own particular capabilities. A lot depends on the facilities that you have available at your disposal. Some people have the garden to work in others may have huge sheds and even access to a warehouse! I will say that a few basic rules apply to painting even the smallest boat. Often, too much, too clever or too sophisticated is often detrimental to what you are trying to achieve.

I have seen boats that cost twenty grand to paint and they were just really average…why? Wrong choice of painter, that’s why. If you are going to choose a painter it’s not a crime to ask him to show you some examples of his work. If he’s any good there should be plenty…there are plenty of chancers and cowboys about, rest assured. All boats, every single one of them will need retouching or even a repaint within years. Just how long you get for your money is the trick. Unless you put your freshly painted boat in a museum or garage and lock it away you can bet that from day one, it will collect nicks, dings, scratches and scars, it’s inevitable. Beware the painter who tells you, ‘yes it will be ten grand, but it’ll outlast you and me’. The need for repainting is directly proportional to how badly the boat is treated over the years. The only way of keeping your boat pristine and perfect is never to actually put it in that dirty old water once it’s done! Be realistic about your own abilities and your expectations. Simple can be better in many cases.

A SIMPLE FORMULA FOR CALCULATING HOW MUCH PAINT YOU NEED (FOR ONE COAT)

This is interesting if not exactly exact! But it gets very close indeed. This is applicable to brushing and rolling only NOT spraying. There’s a different formula for that and I don’t know it!

THE FORMULA

ONE COAT = The boat’s length overall x the beam x 0.85

Divided by square feet covered per litre listed on the paint can instructions.

If you can’t work it out the paint manufacturer will tell you if you ring the company hotline.

Over the years, wooden boats have survived the elements in spite of very crude and primitive forms of paint. Many early vessels were simply daubed in pitch, bitumen, turps and beeswax. An early Thames barge had survived for over a hundred years in perfect condition as she was originally used as a bitumen tanker!! The dark brown shiny finish was the most perfect example of preserved wood that I have ever seen. One of the most interesting boats I ever saw was painted with fence paint…the owner reckoned he’d only ever painted it once in thirty years! Another old boat builder I knew once told me the secret of painting a wooden boat was to paint it with as many coats of paint that you could afford!



Source by Terry Buddell

Coping with Change: Develop Your Personal Strategy

Why do we resist change?

As the saying goes, the only people who like change are busy cashiers and wet babies. We find change disorienting, creating within us an anxiety similar to culture shock, the unease visitors to an alien land feel because of the absence of the familiar cues they took for granted back home. With an established routine, we don’t have to think! And thinking is hard work.

Change is a business fact of life

Is your company is currently undergoing major changes that will affect the lives of all of its employees? These changes are probably in response to the evolving needs of your customers. They are made possible because of improvements in telecommunications and digital technology. They are likely guided by accepted principles and practices of total quality management. And you can expect that they will result in significant improvements profitability–a success that all employees will share. Because our customers’ needs are NOW, we must make changes swiftly, which means that all of us must cooperate with the changes, rather than resist them.

How do we resist change?

We tend to respond to change the same way we respond to anything we perceive as a threat: by flight or fight. Our first reaction is flight–we try to avoid change if we can. We do what futurist Faith Popcorn calls “cocooning”: we seal ourselves off from those around us and try to ignore what is happening. This can happen in the workplace just by being passive. We don’t volunteer for teams or committees; we don’t make suggestions, ask questions, or offer constructive criticism. But the changes ahead are inescapable. Those who “cocoon” themselves will be left behind.

Even worse is to fight, to actively resist change. Resistance tactics might include negativity, destructive criticism, and even sabotage. If this seldom happens at your company, you are fortunate.

Take a different approach to change

Rejecting both alternatives of flight or flight, we seek a better option–one that neither avoids change nor resists it, but harnesses and guides it.

Change can be the means to your goals, not a barrier to them.

Both fight and flight are reactions to perceiving change as a threat. But if we can change our perceptions, we can avoid those reactions. An old proverb goes, “Every change brings an opportunity.” In other words, we must learn to see change as a means of achieving our goals, not a barrier preventing us from reaching them.

Another way of expressing the same thought is: A change in my external circumstances provides me with an opportunity to grow as a human being. The greater the change is, the greater and faster I can grow. If we can perceive change along these lines, we will find it exciting and energizing, rather than depressing and debilitating.

Yet this restructuring of our perspective on change can take some time. In fact, coping with change follows the same steps as the grieving process.1 The steps are shock and denial that the old routine must be left behind, then anger that change is inevitable, then despair and a longing for the old ways, eventually replaced by acceptance of the new and a brighter view of the future. Everyone works through this process; for some, the transition is lightning fast, for others painfully slow.

Realize your capacity to adapt.

As one writer put it recently:

Our foreparents lived through sea changes, upheavals so cataclysmic, so devastating we may never appreciate the fortitude and resilience required to survive them. The next time you feel resistant, think about them and about what they faced–and about what they fashioned from a fraction of the options we have. They blended old and new worlds, creating family, language, cuisine and new life-affirming rhythms, and they encouraged their children to keep on stepping toward an unknown but malleable future.2

Human beings are created remarkably flexible, capable of adapting to a wide variety of environments and situations. Realizing this can help you to embrace and guide change rather than resisting or avoiding it.

Develop a coping strategy based on who you are.

Corporate employees typically follow one of four decision-making styles: analytical, directive, conceptual, and behavioral. These four styles, described in a book by Alan J. Rowe and Richard O. Mason,3 have the following characteristics:

    Analytical Style – technical, logical, careful, methodical, needs much data, likes order, enjoys problem-solving, enjoys structure, enjoys scientific study, and enjoys working alone.

    Conceptual Style – creative and artistic, future oriented, likes to brainstorm, wants independence, uses judgment, optimistic, uses ideas vs. data, looks at the big picture, rebellious and opinionated, and committed to principles or a vision.

    Behavioral Style – supportive of others, empathetic, wants affiliation, nurtures others, communicates easily, uses instinct, avoids stress, avoids conflict, relies on feelings instead of data, and enjoys team/group efforts.

    Directive Style – aggressive, acts rapidly, takes charge, persuasive and/or is manipulative, uses rules, needs power/status, impatient, productive, single-minded, and enjoys individual achievements.

Read once more through these descriptions and identify which style best describes you. Then find and study the strategy people who share your style follow to cope with change:

    Analytical coping strategy – You see change as a challenging puzzle to be solved. You need plenty of time to gather information, analyze data, and draw conclusions. You will resist change if you are not given enough time to think it through.

    Conceptual coping strategy – You are interested in how change fits into the big picture. You want to be involved in defining what needs to change and why. You will resist change if you feel excluded from participating in the change process.

    Behavioral coping strategy – You want to know how everyone feels about the changes ahead. You work best when you know that the whole group is supportive of each other and that everyone champions the change process. If the change adversely affects someone in the group, you will perceive change as a crisis.

    Directive coping strategy – You want specifics on how the change will affect you and what your own role will be during the change process. If you know the rules of the change process and the desired outcome, you will act rapidly and aggressively to achieve change goals. You resist change if the rules or anticipated results are not clearly defined.

Realizing what our normal decision-making style is, can enable us to develop personal change-coping tactics.

How can we cope with change?

1. Get the big picture. – Sometimes, not only do we miss the forest because of the trees, but we don’t even see the tree because we’re focused on the wood. Attaining a larger perspective can help all of us to cope with change, not just the conceptualists. The changes underway at my company are clearly following at least four important trends, which I believe are probably reflective of businesses in general:

  • Away from localized work toward network-based work,
  • Away from a feast-or-famine working environment toward a routinely busy working environment,
  • Away from site-limited approaches toward approaches that are consistent company-wide, and
  • Away from vertical, top-down management toward a more horizontal management structure, with shared accountability.

Getting at least this much comprehension of the big picture will help us to understand where each of us fits.

2. Do some anchoring. – When everything around you is in a state of flux, it sure helps to find something stable that isn’t going to change, no matter what. Your company’s values (whether articulated or not) can provide that kind of stability for you. Ours include the Company Family, Focus on the Customer, Be Committed to Quality, and Maintain Mutual Respect. These values are rock-solid; they are not going to disappear or rearrange themselves into something else. Plus, each of us has personal values that perhaps are even more significant and permanent. Such immovables can serve as anchors to help us ride out the storm.

3. Keep your expectations realistic. – A big part of taking control of the change you experience is to set your expectations. You can still maintain an optimistic outlook, but aim for what is realistically attainable. That way, the negatives that come along won’t be so overwhelming, and the positives will be an adrenaline rush. Here are some examples:

  • There will be some bumps along the road. We shouldn’t expect all of the changes ahead to be painless, demanding only minimal sacrifice, cost, or effort. In fact, we should expect some dead ends, some breakdowns in communications, and some misunderstandings, despite our best efforts to avoid them. We may not be able to anticipate all of the problems ahead, but we can map out in general terms how we will deal with them.
  • Not everyone will change at the same rate. The learning rates of any employees will distribute themselves along a bell curve. A few will adapt rapidly, most will take more time, and a few will adjust gradually. Also, many younger employees may find change, especially technological innovations, easier than those older. The reason may be, as one observer explains, “Older people’s hard disks are fuller.”4 On the other hand, you may find some younger ones surprisingly reluctant to take on a new challenge.
  • The results of change may come more slowly than we would want. As participants in an “instant society,” conditioned by the media to expect complex problems to reach resolution in a 60-minute time frame, we may find the positive results of change slow to arrive from the distant horizon. If we are aware of this, we won’t be so disappointed if tomorrow’s results seem so similar to today’s.

4. Develop your own, personal change tactics. Get plenty of exercise, plenty of rest, and watch your diet. Even if you take all the right steps and follow the best advice, undergoing change creates stress in your life, and stress takes energy. Aware of this, you can compensate by taking special care of your body.

Invest time and energy in training. Sharpen your skills so that you can meet the challenges ahead with confidence. If the training you need is not available through Bowne, get it somewhere else, such as the community college or adult education program in your area.

Get help when you need it. If you are confused or overwhelmed with the changes swirling around you, ask for help. Your supervisor, manager, or coworkers may be able to assist you in adjusting to the changes taking place. Your human resources department and any company-provided counseling services are other resources available to you.

Make sure the change does not compromise either your company values or your personal ones. If you are not careful, the technological advances jostling each other for your attention and adoption will tend to isolate you from personal contact with your coworkers and customers. E-mail, teleconference, voice-mail, and Intranet can make us more in touch with each other, or they can keep us antiseptically detached, removed from an awareness that the digital signals we are sending reach and influence another flesh-and-blood human being.

Aware of this tendency, we must actively counteract the drift in this direction by taking an interest in people and opening up ourselves to them in return. We have to remember to invest in people–all of those around us–not just in technology.

The “new normalcy”

Ultimately, we may discover that the current state of flux is permanent. After the events of September 11, Vice President Richard Cheney said we should accept the many resultant changes in daily life as permanent rather than temporary. “Think of them,” he recommended, “as the ‘new normalcy.'”

You should take the same approach to the changes happening at your workplace. These are not temporary adjustments until things get “back to normal.” They are probably the “new normalcy” of your life as a company. The sooner you can accept that these changes are permanent, the better you can cope with them all–and enjoy their positive results.

Notes

1. Nancy J. Barger and Linda K. Kirby, The Challenge of Change in Organizations: Helping Employees Thrive in the New Frontier (Palo Alto, CA: Davies-Black Publ., 1995). This source is summarized in Mary M. Witherspoon, “Coping with Change,” Women in Business 52, 3 (May/June 2000): 22-25.

2. Susan Taylor, “Embracing Change,” Essence (Feb. 2002): 5.

3. Alan J. Rowe and Richard O. Mason, Managing with Style: A Guide to Understanding, Assessing and Improving Decision-Making (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Management Series, 1987) cited in Witherspoon, “Coping with Change.”

4. Emily Friedman, “Creature Comforts,” Health Forum Journal 42, 3 (May/June 1999): 8-11. Futurist John Naisbitt has addressed this tendency in his book, High tech/high touch: Technology and our search for meaning (New York: Random House, 1999). Naisbitt co-wrote this book with his daughter Nana Naisbitt and Douglas Philips.



Source by Steve Singleton

Elliptical Trainer Vs Treadmill – Which Is The Best?

The elliptical trainer and the treadmill are popular cardio gym equipment. Both of which are noted for facilitating for comprehensive cardiovascular exercises. While also fast tracking the fat burning process, not to mention enhancing their users overall aerobic capacity. Nevertheless, each of these equipment can present unique benefits when compared to the other. To this end, the following is an elliptical trainer vs. treadmill review that will attempt to outline the advantages and shortcomings of each of these gym machines.

Elliptical trainer pros

• An elliptical machine permits your body to easily simulate a running or jogging motion, without in any way triggering impact on your joints as a treadmill would.

• Virtually all elliptical bikes usually come with moveable handles, which enables you to work out your upper body and lower body at the same time.

• This gym equipment also facilitates for reverse stride training that can effectually stimulate various muscle groups in your body.

• Finally, research has revealed that individuals tend to exercise harder than they really perceive while utilizing an elliptical trainer.

Elliptical trainer cons

• Unlike a treadmill, an elliptical machine doesn’t come with an incline adjustment feature. This prevents it from offering optimal variations in terms of a regular workout regimen.

• While presenting less impact, an elliptical trainer ‘s pedals are suspended in the air, and therefore it possesses a lesser weight-bearing effect.

Treadmill pros

• Treadmills are widely acclaimed for their unparalleled versatility. You can opt to walk at a brisk pace, jog or even engage in an uphill sprint. These machines are known to present a wide variety of workout options when it comes to speed, incline and in-built exercise programs.

• As technology advances, fitness experts are developing new equipment, most of which can be awkward to utilize. As it can mimic natural motion, the treadmill is fortunately not affected by this issue.

• Propelling your weight necessitates a lot of exertion as a result your body will be in a position of burning more calories in a very rapid manner.

• Treadmills have been in existence since the 19th century. This means they have undergone extensive research and development, and are thus more perfected than any other cardio equipment.

Treadmill cons

• Making use of a treadmill can have a negative effort on your joints. Running on such machine exerts significant stress on the spinal cord, hips, knees and even the ankle joints. This is especially true if you don’t stretch or warm-up prior to using it.

• Some recent research has revealed that the actual size of the treadmill belt you run on can trigger alterations in the way you walk or run, which leads to muscle imbalances.

Conclusion

The elliptical trainer can be excellent equipment for those who wish to enhance their cardiovascular fitness with a decreased impact. A treadmill, on the other hand, presents more versatility as its motor will oblige you to exercise beyond your “comfort” zone. Depending on your given needs and preferences, you can choose which is best to integrate in your regular workout routine.



Source by Brian John Njenga

Ideomotor Signaling in Hypnosis – The Direct Path to the Truth

The true value of hypnosis as a therapeutic tool lies in the power it gives therapists to access a client’s unconscious thoughts and hidden memories. Often the subconscious content can be elicited simply by asking the client to tell you verbally what they are experiencing or to answer questions you’ve put to them. While it’s quite convenient for the therapist to work in this way, there are at least two disadvantages:

  • verbal responses tend to lighten trance
  • verbal responses can be faked, either intentionally or unintentionally

It’s easy enough for a subject to give you the answer they think you want to hear. This is often done quite innocently out of a natural desire to please, but it does tend to get in the way of truth. Ideally, the therapist needs an alternative way of getting responses from a subject that cannot be faked or altered by interference from the conscious mind. This is what makes ideomotor responses such a valuable addition to the hypnotherapist’s toolbox.

What is ideomotor signaling?

The term ‘ideomotor’ links mind (ideo) and movement (motor). Quite simply, it’s the use of spontaneous physical movements – most often involving the fingers – to indicate mental positions such as yes, no, and maybe. It’s a very basic form of communication, but because it occurs below the level of speech it doesn’t cause a lifting of the trance state and it requires no conscious effort – so there’s less likelihood of a false response.

How to establish ideomotor signaling

When the subject is in trance, tell them you’re going to set up a form of communication that’s going to let them stay deeply relaxed and allow their minds to be so comfortable and lazy.

Then tell them to imagine the word ‘yes’ and to keep imagining it until a finger on one of their hands begins to rise. Keep coaxing them until one of the fingers makes an involuntary movement. It’s very important that the movement be involuntary. A conscious movement will tend to be a strong, direct movement, whereas an involuntary movement will be floaty and the finger will tend to move in a jerky fashion. You’ll get the distinct impression that the finger is moving ‘strangely’, and this will be your test of the validity of the response.

Once you’ve got a yes finger, ask the subject to concentrate on the word ‘no’ and to repeat it until another finger on the same hand begins to move. It’s a good idea to keep it on the same hand because if you allow it to appear on the opposite hand it can be quite difficult for you to observe.

Once you’ve got a yes and a no finger, tell the subject to concentrate on the thought ‘I don’t know/can’t say’. Note which finger rises.

Using the ideomotor responses

Now you can use the finger signals to get to hidden truths that the subject is not consciously aware of. Inform the subject that they shouldn’t tell you the answers to your questions but should just let them come out onto those fingers, and reassure them this will happen naturally and easily and there’s nothing they have to do.

Now it’s up to you to ask questions to start pinpointing the issue. Some typical questions include the following:

  • Is it OK for us to know the cause of this emotional problem? (This is a good question to start a regression.)
  • Did the problem begin before you were 3 years old? (If yes, ask if it began before 2 years, 1 years, etc, until the exact age is reached.)
  • Is there a troubling event that caused this problem?
  • Is it safe for you to let go of this perception?

You can keep asking yes/no/don’t know questions like these to burrow down to the truth and guide the subject to a point where they can release whatever is troubling them. Remember to observe the finger movements and make sure they are involuntary. You’ll see it immediately by the wavy, undisciplined manner in which the fingers move. If the finger shoots up very directly, chances are good your subject is controlling the response and isn’t yet ready for the truth.



Source by Russel Brownlee

Here’s Why Your Customer Won’t Always Care If Your Product Is Better

If you think better always prevails in a high-tech environment, then here’s a story about the unrivaled persuasive power of simplicity –

Back when I was a young engineer in R&D, I developed a very small and cheap component for replacing a rather costly outdated one in a project I was working on.

One day the head of a manufacturing line calls me up and schedules a meeting with me and a project manager who may need what I’ve developed for another project.

We start the meeting and the project manager explains:

I have a rather old product.

Despite its antiquated, it has proven very successful with our clients, and I don’t want to change anything…

My problem is this one component that’s obsolete in the design and I have a new batch to manufacture… it’s hard to find a trustworthy vendor with who has this component in their storage

… I heard you designed a cheap new component that can replace it – is that true?

So I show him my design and reply:

“It’s much better than you think – see, not only will my new cheap component replace your obsolete component – it actually replaces the whole module in which your obsolete component is in, and it’s much more robust than this old design you currently have. Integrating my new design into your product will literally save you hundreds of dollars in manufacturing costs!”.

And I had this pretentious young engineer’s grin on my face.

He was stunned… couldn’t believe how good this sounds…

He looked at me…

Then he looked at my new design…

Then he looked at the head of the manufacturing line…

Then he calmed down and thought for a minute

Then he quietly got up and said “in second thought, I think I’ll manage to find some vendor I can buy that obsolete component from… thanks for your time anyway..”

And he left the room.

I was shocked!

I looked at the head of the manufacturing line and said “is this a joke?! What the hell just happened here?! I showed this person a dream solution for his problem and he doesn’t want it?”

And then he explained something I’ll never forget:

“Look Shlomi, your design is good, and indeed it’ll save the project a lot of money, but look at this situation from that guy’s point of view – now he’ll have to go get a budget for this new component integration… tests… regulatory… documentation… instead of all that headache, he could just go look some more for a vendor with the obsolete component and it’ll give him some piece of mind until the next batch he’ll do sometime in the future.”

The moral of the story?

When selling B2B, the person on the other end is usually buying for a company, not himself, but at the end of the day – he’s a person with his own self-interest in top priority, and if the choice in favor for the company contradicts that self-interest of his – guess which choice he’ll make?…

Yup – a better solution for the business may not always be better for the person who needs to carry it out.

Always present your product and its implementation as the easiest thing to do – simply because laziness is a very tough adversary.



Source by Shlomi Shraga

Constructive Criticism – How to Give and Receive It

Constructive criticism is something that is both hard to give and receive. Yet it can greatly benefit your life if you master your emotions, truly care about people, communicate with compassion, and listen objectively.

Have you ever received criticism from a person who just wanted to tell you “the facts of life” and did not care about your feelings? It probably wasn’t a very good experience. Why? Because your feelings were not considered or cared for.

Herein is are 7 keys to giving constructive criticism:

1. Consider and care for a person’s feelings before endeavoring to criticize them.

2. Acknowledge a person’s strengths and accomplishments before plunging into recognizing their weaknesses. Build them up as a person first before pointing out flaws and dangers.

3. Commit to the person and their organization over the long term as they endeavor to improve and make necessary adjustments.

4. Speak from the heart truthfully and graciously realizing that we all are continually growing and evolving personally and professionally.

5. Allow the person whom you are correcting and providing constructive criticism to ask you any questions and comment upon that which you are saying.

6. Refuse to get into an argument. Just state that which you see, feel, hear, and know.

7. Thank the person for listening and honor them as a person and professional for doing so.

Here are 7 keys to effectively receive constructive criticism:

1. Silence your feelings and listen objectively so you can get something from the feedback.

2. Remember feedback is not final. It is only a part of your whole person and performance at any given point in time.

3. Before saying “I know,” humbly and quietly listen to all that is being told you so you can build a relational bridge, open communication lines for future feedback, and learn from that which is being said.

4. Remember personal growth and professional development is a process and journey. You don’t have to be perfect or flawless. Allow yourself freedom to fail, make mistakes, but humbly and wholeheartedly learn from them. Enjoy the journey and grow daily.

5. After the person is done providing constructive criticism to you ask them, “Is there anything else you’d like me to know? Is there any way I can improve personally and enhance my performance professionally? What are your recommendations?”

6. Refuse to argue over any points of disagreement big or small. Simply remain open for feedback and input from outsiders whereafter you can ultimately make you own decisions.

7. Thank the person for providing constructive criticism and when appropriate highlight what you learned or deemed positive about the interaction.

These 7 keys to give and receive constructive criticism will get you moving in the right direction relationally and professionally. Personal and professional growth is ongoing. Allow yourself the freedom to listen and graciously speak up when necessary to contribute to your own and others development.



Source by Paul Davis

How to Identify an Amber Gemstone

It is very difficult to recognize an original amber gemstone. This happens because the market is filled with several imitations of amber which confuse the buyers.

One of its numerous imitations is called ‘Amberdan’. It has properties fairly near to natural gem. The way to test the originality is when the stone is heated and gives off a certain odor. When the odor smells like a mixture of plastic and amber, it suggests that a natural resin has been mixed with a plastic binder.

Amber is often confused with copal. These two stones are composed of very similar materials with nearly identical origins and so it is difficult to identify the original amber. The main difference is that while copals are just a few hundred thousand years old, ambers are several million years old.

Another imitation that is found in the market is made up of pressed amber, or ‘ambroid’. This is created by fusing smaller bits of the gem under heat. This can be distinguished from original gem when you examine it under a microscope.

Ancient techniques for identifying this gem are still useful today. When it is rubbed vigorously on a piece of wool, it generates a static charge, which is enough to pick up a small piece of ash. When this gemstone is warm enough, it tends to give off a distinctive odor. These techniques will separate it from plastic imitations but not distinguish it from copal.

To distinguish this gem from copal is difficult. They share the same refractive index, specific gravity, and most other properties. However, Copal tends to fluoresce whiter than amber under UV light. So, it is a judgment call which one needs to make based on having examined a sufficient number of samples so as to recognize the difference.

If one is not able to make the distinction based on fluorescence, then one will have to resort to a destructive test. On an inconspicuous area of the stone, place a drop of acetone. Let it sit for three seconds, and then wipe it off. Copal will have the surface damaged by the acetone, while amber will show little or no change from the brief exposure.

Another easy method to separate this gemstone from its plastic imitations is with a specific gravity solution. Boil water and add as much salt as you can dissolve in it to create a handy testing liquid. Most of the imitations will sink in this solution. This is because few plastics have a density as low as 1.05 and many can be lower than amber if they have air bubbles inside. So, if your sample sinks, you can be sure it is not real. If it floats you, need to determine if it is plastic or amber.

There is another destructive test to separate real amber from the fake ones. However, it must be done with care. The best part is that it can be done almost invisibly. Find a place on the stone where a mark would be as unobtrusive as possible. This can be on the edge, bottom or on an area with scratches. Next, heat the tip of a needle until it glows red. Touch the selected spot just enough to release a tiny whiff of smoke. Now smell the smoke. If it is genuine amber, the smell is of fine incense. It is plastic if it is chemical and offensive. This is another reason to make your test on as small a scale as possible!

Another test of discovering a fake piece is to identify the insect inclusions present in the stone. If one finds this stone which has an inclusion of say, a modern house fly, this can easily alert you to the fact that the stone may be a fake. This is because the house fly did not exist millions of years ago, which means that the inclusion has been fused into the stone, and that the stone is not genuine.

With these tips and techniques, it thus becomes easier for you to identify and spot a genuine amber gemstone from among the fakes.



Source by Mithun Rao

The Difference Between Debt And Equity Financing

There are two main types of financing for a business, debt or equity financing. Debt financing tends to be the type of financing you receive from a traditional bank loan and equity financing tends to be financing you receive from venture capital into your business from outside investors. The benefit of debt financing is that it is finite and you will pay down the debt over time to a zero sum balance without any further obligation to the lender. The down stroke to debt financing is that traditional lenders will take a hard look at your business including how long it has been in existence, income from operation, expenses and will require hard assets for collateral for the loan. Additionally, lenders will most certainly want you (and any other principals of the organization) to personally guarantee repayments of the loan. Another disadvantage of debt financing is that your organization will be burdened with some other type of regular payment (usually a monthly payment) depending on the terms and conditions of the financing and this can absorb critical cash flow, especially with small business.

The benefit of equity financing or venture capital is that you will be receiving money in exchange for equity in your business in the form of stock or some other form of equity like percentage of income or gross/net sales. A primary benefit of this type of financing is that typically there is no monthly payment requirement to investors. Instead, you are giving up ownership interest, most often, permanently.

Traditional lenders, banks for example, will look at your business much differently than venture capitalist. Bankers want a zero-risk or near-zero risk position when they provide financing and will rely almost completely on the operating economics of the business with little regard for “potential future growth”. They want to see strong cash flow backed up by hard assets before they do a deal–the ingredients that most small business lack or they wouldn’t be seeking financing, right? Venture capitalist, on the other hand, tend to consider the management team and the potential future growth of the business more heavily than actual operating numbers, especially for small business with large potential but few sales and little or no operating history. Although these two lender types vary in their approach to analyzing a business for funding, you can be sure that careful scrutiny of you business will be conducted…

Besides the actual operating economics and pro forma analysis, both types of lenders will look closely at two particular documents: 1. Your business plan. 2. Your bank or loan request package. These two documents, if assembled correctly, can make the difference between success and failure when dealing with either lender type.

There are plenty of free SBA related materials that tell you how to create blue-chip, boiler plate business plans but they tend to be written for perfect businesses and not the average Joe who is less than picture perfect. If you are seeking some type of financing for your business I strongly suggest that you visit our site and check out our business e-books. We have several that cover a variety of topics and there are specifically two that will be a real treasure for you to own. One is called Power Planning (a powerful report on writing a wide variety of business plans) and How To Raise Money For You Business (teaches you how to assemble professional loan requests packages). They are priced at $5 each and can be worth millions in the hands of the right person. I am not trying to hype product, I am simply giving you a heads up.

The secrets to getting financing from either type of lender is a closely held secret by financial and business brokers for a number of reasons. Chief among them is it forces people like you to do business with them and they earn commissions. The SBA materials, while good, do not have the street savvy to get the job done in most cases. The proof is in the pudding–what has the SBA ever done for you? The SBA is just another government back bureaucratic nightmare for most. We also have some links for venture capital firms in our business links area located on our site on the Smart Link Zone page–it’s all-free.

Give it some thought…. Your future may depend on it.

To your success! Copyright © 2006 James W. Hart, IV All Rights reserved



Source by Jim Hart

Operation Highjump – Longhaul Nazi UFO’s in Antarctica

Operation Highjump was an United States Navy campaign conducted in Antarctica from 1946-47, it was the single greatest effort in the southern most continent to the present day. The mission was, and continues to be to this day, the largest Antarctic voyage ever undertaken. It was conducted by the Arctic discoverer Rear Admiral Richard Byrd, and concerned 13 vessels, 23 aircraft and along with a military force of 4,700 men. The believed mission was to photograph, chart and extensively explore the frozen continent of Antartica, prior to any other force doing so.

The mission was of a classified nature and was principally a military exercise with military personnel. However, it also involved scientific organizations comprising the US National IGY Committee and the respected National Program which was more immediately concerned with the mapping of Antarctica to record perspective US territorial claims. The original code name apportioned by the Navy to the Antarctic mission was Project Longhaul, expressive of the lengthy logistics channel amongst the United States and Antarctica although which was subsequently altered to the now recognized codename of Operation Highjump.

The mission objectives were for the dozen ships and several thousand men to navigate their way to the Antarctic edge to train workers and trial materials in the frozen regions and also to reinforce and develop American jurisdiction over the greatest workable region of the Antarctic continent. Furthermore, they were to determine the feasibleness of setting up and supplying bases in the Antarctic and to explore potential base sites coupled with a need to advance methods for founding and looking after air bases on the ice.

In spite of the fact that not expressly declared in the August 26, 1946 commands, a principal purpose of the project was the aerial mapping of as much of Antarctica as was possible, especially along the coastline. Conspiracy theorists specializing in supposed Aryan or Nazi occupations in Antarctica have extensively contemplated about this mission. Rumours started to spread that even though Germany had been overthrown, an assortment of military personnel and scientists had escaped the native land as Allied troops passed across mainland Europe and instituted themselves at a base on Antarctica from where they continued to build progressive aircraft founded upon alleged extraterrestrial or alien technologies. This base was apparently positioned in Neuschwabenland, a region of Antarctica which Germany investigated, and claimed, ahead of the outbreak of WWII.

As inconceivable as it may appear, there is substantial supporting evidence for these claims about a German base in Antarctica. On the very eve of WWII, the Germans themselves had entered part of Antarctica and claimed it for the 3rd Reich. Historical events also provide us with further suggestions as to a German-Antarctica association, for it documents that Hans-Ulrich Rudel of the German Luftwaffe was being prepared by Hitler to be his heir apparent. It is recognized that Rudel made numerous trips to Tierra del Fuego at the edge of South America closest to Antarctica.

In reality, Germany had completed a extremely exhaustive study of Antarctic and were believed to have built a small secret base there prior to the War. The truth is that there was an abundance of evidence, at the time, to point to that as late as 1947, portions of the Kriegsmarine, or German Navy, were very much functioning in the South Atlantic, operating either out of South America, or some base previously unrecorded in the Antarctic. One piece of evidence identified was of a German U-boat halting an Icelandic whaler titled ‘Juliana’ in Antarctic waters, and demanding that its captain, known as Hekla, trade the U-boat crew provisions from her available stores.

Some theorists believe that the Germans were, in fact, developing UFO technology in underground ice caverns of which there is information to suggest that this may not actually be too much a leap of faith. One of a quantity of documented accounts of sightings of unidentified flying objects over Antarctica was by Rubens Junqueira Villela, a meteorologist whom was the principal Brazilian scientist to take part in an voyage to the South Polar area, and at the present time, a veteran of 11 expeditions to Antarctica. Whilst on board the US Navy iceboat Glacier, which had set sail commencing from New Zealand towards the end of January 1961, Villella states that he observed a UFO occurrence in the skies over Antarctica which he instantly noted in his journal, even details including the sentiments felt by all those involved.

It is no secret that the German Nazi movement held technology progressive enough to create a craft resembling a UFO in shape and size, there are many recorded accounts of sightings and pictures of these German UFO’s. Even though, to say they held the agility and speed of a true UFO would be deceptive given, they could not remain airborne for any prolonged period and were known for their unpredictability in terms of navigation and general handling.

Operation Highjump has turned out to be a hot topic amid UFO conspiracy theorists over recent years, who claim it was a secret US military campaign to defeat and destroy supposed secret Nazi facilities in Antarctica and seize the German Vril flying discs, and the Thule mercury propelled spacecraft. An obscure Hitlerist narrative tells that Adolf Hitler did not commit suicide in 1945, but however, escaped to Argentina, and then onto an SS base beneath the ice in New Swabia during the early fifties where he restarted his career as a painter. According to this description, Operation Highjump, the greatest journey undertaken to the Antarctic, is claimed to have been dispatched to obliterate the Nazi occupancy there.

The finest accomplishment however of Operation Highjump was its procurement of roughly 70,000 aerial photos of the coastline of Antarctica and chosen inshore regions. Initially prepared for an 8 month undertaking Operation Highjump abruptly returned to the United States just 16 weeks after exploring Antarctica, with no rationale ever provided for the hasty return. While there is, yet, no definitive proof of a German UFO base on Antarctica, It is beyond doubt that something extremely strange was occurring on, or nearby, the ice covered continent.



Source by James Hewson