The Old Temple of Athena Polias

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Farther along the Sacred Way we notice the foundations of an ancient temple in front of the Erechtheion. On account of its length of 100 Attic feet, this edifice was wrongly believed for centuries to be the Hecatompedon, until identified as the Old Temple of Athena Polias (Athena of the City). This is the most ancient building uncovered on the Acropolis; it was originally a simple sanctuary dating from the remotest times. The modest Doric temple of limestone was restored in the sixth century BC by Peisistratus, who embellished it by adding a colonnade and pediments depicting a Battle of the Giants, while its opisthodomos served as the Athenian Treasury.

In this heap of stones, enclosed by a railing, we can distinguish two bases in poros for the support of wooden pillars belonging to the Mycenaean megaron (palace) of the first King of   Athens . This was the center of the public life of the citadel and extended as far as the north wall of the Erechtheion. A flight of rock-cut steps built in Pelasgic times connected the megaron and the Acropolis with the lower city. Later, in historical times, on these Mycenaean vestiges was raised the above mentioned Temple of Athena Polias, a rectangle of 32.80 m. long, that is 100 feet, whence its name of “Hecatompedon” (temple of a hundred feet). This temple was rebuilt after it was destructed during the persian invasion but it appears that after the completion of the Erechtheion it became useless and an encumbrance, and was finally destroyed in 406 BC.

Opposite the ruins of the Old Temple of Athena Polias and close to the seventh column of the Parthenon, there is an inscription which reads: This spot was consecrated, after being indicated by an oracle, to the Fruitful Earth. Exactly on this spot was a statue of Earth beseeching Zeus to send rain. Nearby is a circular base, which formerly bore the statues of Conon and his son Timotheus and farther along is the base of a statue dedicated to Hermolycos, son of Deitrephes.

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How To Get Rid Of Cold Sores Fast And Resume Your Daily Life

Suddenly you feel the tingling sensation at the edge of your lip. There is no doubt in your mind that a cold sore is coming. Although you can’t cure it at the moment or prevent it completely, but you can speed up the healing with the following remedies.

Peppermint Oil

Essential oils can help your cold sores to heal faster. One study shows that peppermint oil can eliminate herpes simplex virus outside the cells in 3 hours. In other words, essential oils are not effective if the virus is hiding in the nerve. To use peppermint oil, you need to dilute it with olive oil because at high concentration, it is toxic. Apply it when you notice the tingling sensation.

Lysine

Taking high dosages of lysine has been found to speed up healing of cold sores. It replaces arginine in the cells. Arginine is the fuel for herpes simplex virus. The lack of arginine in the cells forces the virus to retreat.

You can reduce the consumption of foods that contain arginine. These include grains, chocolate, nuts, and seeds.

If you don’t want to take lysine supplements, increase the intake of lysine rich foods such as meat and dairy products. Just make sure they provide between 3000 and 9000 milligrams of lysine daily.

Abreva

Abreva is FDA-approved over-the-counter cream. It contains docosanol or behenyl alcohol that can get rid of cold sores fast. For best results, you have to use it as soon as the first symptom appear. It requires up to 5 applications per day.

Compeed

One study compares the speed of healing between Compeed Cold Sore Patches and acyclovir 5% cream. The result is that Compeed has the similar quick healing abilities as acyclovir cream. According to consumers’ reviews, many find that their cold sores clear quickly after patching their sores with Compeed. Unlike topical creams, Compeed is not messy. It is transparent so you don’t even know the patch is there. It also prevents the virus from spreading. In addition, it is an ideal remedy for pregnant women who have concerns about prescriptions.

Manage Your Stress

When you are under stress, your immune system weakens. This does not help your body to recover quickly for the herpes outbreak. If you want the cold sores to go away faster, you have to reduce your stress. Take a stroll, or join yoga classes. Modify your hectic schedule to give you time to relax.

The problem I find with today’s cold sore remedies is the timing. Most treatments will work the best if you act the moment you spot the tingling sensation. If you fail to do so, it will take longer time for you to resume your daily activities. Although the above remedies can get rid of cold sores quickly but what if you have to attend a major meeting or event tomorrow?

Edinburgh – The Athens of the North

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Europe may be the second smallest continent in the world, but it is possibly one of the most diverse regions on earth.

The sheer variation in language, culture, architecture and even weather, makes Europe one of the most visited regions in the world, and it’s easy to see why. For modern metropolises there is London, Paris and Barcelona. For warm weather and beaches there is thousands of miles of Mediterranean coastline spanning Spain, France, Italy, Greece and numerous other countries; all with quite distinct historical, cultural and linguistic differences.

But as great as it is to have such massive diversity squeezed into such a relatively small space, it could be argued that there are probably bigger metropolises and better beaches located elsewhere in the world. Indeed, what makes Europe truly special are those ‘one-of-a-kind’ places, and Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland, is such a place.

Located in the south-east of Scotland close to the River Forth, Edinburgh is often considered to be one of the most picturesque cities in Europe and is certainly regarded as a major tourist destination, attracting around 13 million visitors each year.

But what makes Edinburgh a truly mesmerising city is its landscape and architecture. To realise how stunning a city the Scottish capital is, it only takes a short hike up one of the several hills that the city is built around. Arthur’s Seat, for example, offers perhaps the most panoramic view of the city and is only a mile from the city centre. As an extinct volcano, it consists of rocky crags and basalt cliffs, rising to about 250 metres high and affords magnificent views across the city, with the world famous Edinburgh Castle taking centre stage.

The one striking feature of the Edinburgh skyline is the lack of skyscrapers or any other particularly tall building. This has been a deliberate attempt not to spoil the famous cityscape that has seen both the old and new town districts of Edinburgh listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites.

And it’s these two districts that make Edinburgh what it is. The medieval, windy streets and alleys of the Old Town sandwiched in between Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace, contrasts splendidly with the beautiful Georgian architecture and Greek-inspired neo-classical designs that are spread throughout the New Town.

Indeed, the New Town is generally considered to be a masterpiece of  city  planning and is partly responsible for Edinburgh’s reputation as the ‘ Athens  of the North’, which is quite a compliment considering the esteem in which Greek architecture is held throughout the world.

Of course, like any other city in the world there are all the usual activities to keep visitors happy throughout their stay such as restaurants, cinemas, clubs and pubs; ensuring that hotels in Edinburgh are always in great demand.

But in a city of Edinburgh’s breathtaking beauty, these could be considered merely as distractions from the main attractions. It is difficult to think of anywhere else in the world that can compare to Scotland’s capital city, which is why it truly is, one-of-a-kind.

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Windscreen Wiper Water May Cause Pneumonia and Here’s How to Prevent It

Legionnaires’ disease, a rare disease, is a severe bacterial infection affecting respiratory tract (pneumonia). The organism involved in this condition is Legionella pneumophila that usually founds in mist from hot tubs, air-conditioning units and showers. Transmission occurs by breathing in mist from water that contains these bacteria. General symptoms include fever, cough, chills, muscle pain and headaches.

Windscreen wiper may cause Legionnaires disease A recent study found that “Windscreen wiper water may be the cause of 20% of cases of Legionnaires’ disease and adding screen-wash to wiper fluids could save lives”. This finding is based on a case-control study which surveyed the driving habits and known risk factors of the Legionnaires’ disease. They study was conducted after an unusual high number of cases were reported in England and Wales and around this time it was well established that professional drivers were five times more likely to get Legionnaires’ than people from other lines of work. The study was aimed to further explore the possible reasons for the difference between the occupations.

The researchers contacted the 75 surviving cases who had acquired Legionnaires’ disease and also included 67 control people without the disease. The participants were provided with a questionnaire asking about their driving habits, other recognized risk factors and possible illness sources in the vehicles. They were asked what kind of vehicle they drove, its age, car service history, content of the wiper fluid tank and whether their driving was for societal or occupation reasons.

The results showed that two factors were associated with a high likelihood of being infected: driving all the way through industrial areas and driving or being a traveler in a motor vehicle that used windscreen wiper fluid with no screen-wash. The researchers calculated that about 22% of infections in people could be due to driving or being a traveler in a car that did not use screen-wash in the windscreen wiper fluid. The detected a firm link between people who do not use screen-wash and the danger of Legionnaires’ disease. Although because of case-control nature of study it cannot confirm causation, the investigators state there is a reasonable biological connection. They believe it is plausible that the bacteria grow in the sluggish water of the wiper’s fluid tank that can become an aerosol when it is sprayed onto the windshield.

Though not proved causal relation, until more conclusive results comes, it is advisable to add screen-wash to your car’s wiper fluid as it can limit the transmission of bacterial causing Legionnaires’ disease.

Who Will Become Wealthy in the Information Age?

As you know, we’re now well and truly in the
Information Age. It began about 10 years ago. In fact,
many economists say it began in 1989, with the Fall of
the Berlin Wall (and the start of the World Wide Web).

To understand who will become wealthy in the
Information Age, first we need to understand how the
Information Age differs from the Industrial Age (born
about 1860, died about 1989).

In fact, let’s get a complete overview and go back to
the Agrarian Age.

In the Agrarian Age, society was basically divided
into two classes: the landowners and the people who
worked on the land (the serfs). If you were a serf,
there wasn’t much you could do about it:
land-ownership passed down through families and you
were stuck with the status you were born into.

When the Industrial Age arrived, everything changed:
it was no longer agriculture that generated most of
the wealth, but manufacturing. Suddenly, land was no
longer the key to wealth. A factory occupied far less
land than a sheep farm or a wheat farm.

With the Industrial Age came a new kind of wealthy
person: the self-made businessman. Wealth no longer
depended on land-ownership and the family you were
born into. Business acumen and factories were creating
a new class of wealthy person. But it still required
enormous capital to build a factory and start a
business.

Then came the World Wide Web (in about 1989) and
globalization. Suddenly, everything changed again.

Factories (or real estate) were no longer necessary to
run a business. Anyone with a website could start a
business. The barriers to wealth that existed in the
Agrarian Age and the Industrial Age were completely
gone. People who could never have dreamed of owning
their own business were making millions from their
kitchen table.

Of course, the Information Revolution didn’t begin
in 1989.

It began in 1444 when Gutenberg invented the printing
press in Mainz, Germany.

But the printing press (newspapers, magazines,
paperbacks) belonged to the Industrial Age, not the
Information Age.

The printing press is a ‘one-to-many’ technology. The
Internet is a ‘many-to-many’ technology. And that was
what changed in 1989.

The Industrial Age was about centralization and
control. The Information Age is about
de-centralization and no control. No government and no
media magnate controls the Internet. This is the
crucial thing to understand about the Information Age.

As we moved from the Agrarian Age through the
Industrial Age to the Information Age, there’s been a
steady collapse of the barriers that kept one section of
society wealthy and the other section poor.

In the Information Age, literally anyone can become
wealthy.

So now that we have a clearer picture of how the
Information Age differs from the Industrial Age, let’s
ask that question again: ‘Who will become wealthy in
the Information Age?’:

(1) People Who are Self-Taught

To explain this better, let’s go back to the Agrarian
Age and the Industrial Age, and the   Transmission  of
Skills.

In the Agrarian Age, skills were passed on from father
to son. If you wanted to learn how to be a blacksmith
you had to be a blacksmith’s son. If you wanted to
learn to be a stone-mason, you had to be the son of a
stone-mason.

With the coming of the Industrial Age, all this
changed. You could go to University and learn whatever
skills you wanted. Knowledge was freely available.

But in the Information Age, the  Transmission  of Skills
is changing once again.

The skills necessary to succeed in the Information Age
are not being learnt from our parents (as in the
Agrarian Age), nor are they being learnt in schools
and colleges (as in the Industrial Age). Children are
teaching their parents computer skills. And many of
the entrepreneurs who start hi-tech Internet companies
have never been to college.

The millionaires (and billionaires) of tomorrow
probably won’t have a college education. They will be
high-school drop-outs, self-taught people.

(2) People with New Ideas.

Again, it’s the people who are able to think outside
of the existing structures who will become wealthy in
the Information Age. Often, it’s just a Simple Idea
that launches people to success in the Information
Age.

Take Sabhir Bhatia, for example – the man who invented
Hotmail. Bhatia was a computer engineer working in
Silicon Valley. He had no previous business
experience, whatsoever.

But one day, while he was driving back from work, a
friend called him on his cell phone and said that he
had an idea: What about starting a free, web-based
email service? Bhatia knew this was the idea he’d been
waiting for. He told his friend to hang up immediately
and ring him at home on a secure line.

Three years later he sold Hotmail to Microsoft for
$400 million.

(3) Writers

The third group who will become wealthy in the
Information Age are Writers.

In the Industrial Age, Writers depended on large
publishing Houses to get published (remember that the
printing press is an Industrial Age technology – it is
centralized and controlled). And the Publishing Houses
took the lion’s share of the profits.

In the Information Age, Writers are doing their own
publishing – and keeping most of the profits
themselves. Indeed, Writers are flourishing on the
Web – mainly through eBooks and Ezine Articles.
But even if you don’t write eBooks or Ezine Articles,
if you own a website, you are a Writer.

Why?

Because the Internet is basically a written medium. It
favors writers, people who are able to communicate
effectively through the written word. Remember, it’s
not the graphics on your website that sell, it’s the
words you use.

In the Information Age, we’re all Writers!

Piraeus Port – Athens, Greece

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The port of  Athens , Piraeus was the greatest port of the ancient world and remains one of the busiest in the Mediterranean. In a country that derives most of its livelihood from the sea, Piraeus is the true capital, while  Athens  is a sprawling suburb full of bureaucrats. Still, it’s hard to find much charm in the tall buildings and dusty streets, although Zea Marina and Mikrolimano with their yachts, brightly-lit tavernas and bars are a handsome sight.

Themistocles founded the port of Piraeus in the 5th century BC when Phaliron,  Athens ‘ ancient port, could no longer meet the growing needs of the  city . The Miletian geometer Hippodamos laid it out in a straight grid of streets that have hardly changed. The centre of action was always the huge central agora, where the world’s first commercial fairs and trade expositions were held. All religions were tolerated, and women were allowed, for the first time, to work outside the home.

As Piraeus was crucial to  Athens ‘ power, the conquering Spartans destroyed the Long Walls linking  city  and port in 404, at the end of the Peloponnesian War. After the 100-year Macedonian occupation and a period of peace, Sulla decimated the city to prevent any anti-Roman resistance, and for 1,900 years Piraeus dwindled away into an insignificant village with a population as low as 20, even losing its name to become Porto Leone. Since the selection of  Athens  as the capital of independent Greece, Piraeus has regained its former glory as the reigning port of a seagoing nation, but much of it dates from after 1941, when German bombers blew the port sky-high.

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Even Beginners Can Make Money Investing in Mutual Funds

Even if you don’t really understand stocks and bonds and the markets they trade in, you and other beginners can make money investing in mutual funds once you get a handle on the mutual funds universe. Here we take the mystery out of investing for beginners.

News flash: Tens of millions of Americans make money investing in mutual funds without knowing what they are doing. Caution: They also lose money unnecessarily and they are not investing as beginners, because they have been doing it for years. Let’s look at what you really need to know to make money investing on a more consistent basis while avoiding serious losses.

Mutual funds were created and promoted as the average investor’s vehicle for investing money in stocks and bonds. That’s just what they are – packages of investments managed for investors by professional money managers. They make investing for beginners simple. You simply open an account, and put your money down with instructions as to how much to invest in which funds. Example: You send in $10,000 to buy shares of ABC Stock Fund. Soon you will own shares in that fund and will own a very small part of a very large portfolio of stocks. The number of shares you will own will depend on the share price at the time your purchase order is processed.

Whether or not you make money investing in mutual funds without taking much risk depends on which funds you invest money in and how you go about it. There are basically three traditional fund alternatives: stock (diversified), bond, and money market funds. You should invest in ALL THREE TYPES if your goal is to consistently make money investing in mutual funds. You also need to understand asset allocation, so you can tailor your total mutual fund portfolio to fit your risk profile. And remember, investing for beginners need not be difficult.

Diversified stock funds are the riskiest of the three and they are your growth engine for earning higher returns. They invest your money in a broad spectrum of stocks representing a number of different industries. This makes investing for beginners simple compared to picking your own stocks. You make money investing here primarily through price appreciation (the fund share price going up) and through dividends. The major risk: share prices fluctuate and can fall significantly when the stock market falls. One year you can make 20%, 30% or more; and you can also lose that much. Over the long term, investors have averaged about 10% a year. Notice I said LONG TERM.

Bond funds invest your money in bonds, which are debt securities that pay interest. Their primary objective is not growth, but rather to earn higher interest for investors than they could earn from safe investments like bank CDs. Traditionally, you make money investing in these mutual funds primarily through the dividends they pay you from the interest they earn. Normally they pay considerably higher dividends than stock funds do, but similar to stock funds their share price fluctuates (usually much less). You can profit from higher share prices, but you can also lose money here. They are considered to be safer investments than stock funds, but bond funds are not necessarily safe investments.

Money market funds invest your money in high-quality short-term debt instruments (IOUs) and pay current interest rates in the form of dividends. Unlike the other two mutual funds, their share price is pegged at $1 and does not fluctuate by design. As interest rates go up the dividend increases, and as rates fall so does the dividend. You make money investing in these mutual funds only through the dividends paid. These mutual funds are considered to be safe investments, and can be used as a cash reserve awaiting bigger opportunities.

To make money investing in mutual funds without worrying your head off you should invest in all three to have a balanced investment portfolio. Here’s what I mean by balance and why it is so important to investing for beginners. Holding either stock or bond funds involves the risk of losing money. If you invest in both this will lower your overall risk. Reason: oftentimes losses in one are offset by gains in the other. Money market funds add flexibility and a cushion of risk to your overall portfolio of mutual funds. The more safety you want the more you allocate to money market funds.

An example of investing for beginners follows. You invest $10,000 equally allocated to the three basic fund types. A couple of years later you see that the stock fund is worth quite a bit more than the other two. The good news is that stocks performed very well. The bad news is that a major decline in stock prices could wipe out your profits and more. To keep things in balance, rebalance once a year so that you are back to equal amounts in each fund. This is very important if you want to make money investing in mutual funds on a consistent basis without unpleasant surprises every few years.

Investing for beginners is not about getting rich quick and neither are mutual funds. If you want to grow your money for a long term goal (like retirement) this article was written for you. You can make money investing in mutual funds without much effort or worry once you get a handle on the basics.

Athens – Ancient Athens

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Let us try and bring to mind a picture of  Athens  as the ancients might have known it, drenched in diaphanous light, its arid mountains protecting it from the north winds and harsh weather, with the beauty of the Acropolis thrown into relief by the sun and the delightfully modest houses at the foot of the great rock. An  Athens  free of noise other than the voices of children and pedlars in the narrow streets. An  Athens  to be dreamed of.

That’s what it must have been like in the Age of Pericles, when the city was already very ancient. Research shows us that the area around  Athens  has been inhabited since the neolithic age, as testified to by artifacts found in wells near the Areopagos (Mars’ Hill) on the south side of the Acropolis, and in the Agios Kosmas peninsula near Alimos. The original inhabitants were then joined by waves of new settlers, Carians, Leleges and finally Pelasgians, mainly tribes of IndoEuropean origin. The intermingling of all these peoples contributed to shaping the Hellenes, with their contradictory temperament and frequent conflicts.

Sometime around the late 9th or early 8th century BC, Hesiod and Homer gave us the first myths, exaggerated, heroic tales which provided a glimpse of the kind of society where everything was dependent on an unknown divinity. During subsequent generations, these gods and heroes underwent many sea-changes in the service of local, often political needs. Myth may be a wonderful depiction of the world but it was also the easiest way for simple people to learn about their history. Thus the early inhabitants believed that their leaders-who sometimes took peculiar forms-were descended from the gods. Even their names can be explained in the light of societal needs.

Then gradually, over a period of time, the leaders ceased to be supernatural, and began taking on more human dimensions. And the people themselves, as they acquired knowledge of the outside world from the sea routes, stopped being afraid of the otherworldly and began to wonder about the world. It is a fascinating experience to watch myth evolving hand in hand with the development of a people and to discern historical truth through an imaginative construct.

Thus Kekrops and Erichthonios, the first kings of  Athens , were strange creatures, half-man and half-snake, whose form portrayed how they had sprung from the Attic soil. Kekrops had brought in master craftsmen, the Pelasgians who, having built a strong Acropolis, stayed on to settle round it. Names ending in -ttos or -ssos appear to have been Pelasgian, such as the Ilissos, Kefissos, Hymettos, Lycabettos, Ardettos; they are all geographic landmarks (mountains, rivers) which remain prominent in the topography of  Athens  up to the present day. Likewise, it was Kekrops who selected the goddess Athena as protector of his city, after whom he named it. It should be noted that some scholars believe the name of the goddess to have been derived from the Egyptian word aten.

With respect to Erichthonios, mythology provides us with a number of illuminating details. It is said that Hephaestos, the lame blacksmith of the gods, wanted to join in union with Athena, the great goddess of knowledge, but she drew back from his loving embrace and the divine seed fell on her legs. She then rubbed her leg with a swatch of the wool she was spinning and threw it to the ground. But whereas Athena refused the seed of the god, the Earth received it and thus did Erichthonios spring forth.

The Athenians always had a particular affection for their founding father in his snakish form: they built him an exquisite temple, the Erechthion, which priests made sure was constantly supplied with offerings of honey c
akes. In some myths, Erichthonios is called Erechtheas; in others Erechtheas is the grandson of Erichthonios and in a third version, Erechtheas has come from Egypt. Perhaps all these versions represented attempts to explain the successive waves of colonists inundating the Aegean during those turbulent years.

If we seek to unravel the threads of the myths, then the truth emerges in all its radiance. The name of Erichthonios shows us his origin: eriochthon means wool-earth, i.e. born of the earth and from it. His descendants intermarried with peoples from Thessaly whose genealogical tree shows their founding father to have been Prometheus. He was the wise Titan who gave mortals the gift of fire, i.e. the light of knowledge-previously the exclusive realm of the gods or perhaps of some priestly brother hood- and for this reason was cruelly punished on a rock in the Caucasus.

It was Prometheus’ son Deucalion and his wife Pyrrha who brought the human race back to life in the mountains of Thessaly after the great flood. His grandson was Hellene. Today we know that the Indo-European Aryan tribes, after discovering the use of metals somewhere in the Caucasus, learned to craft strong weapons. Some tribes spread out into central Europe and the Balkans, some remained to take advantage of the good grazing lands while others pressed on southward.

The initial root began to put forth many branches as Hellene, grandson of Prometheus, had sons who were quite different one from the other. There were Aeolos, Xouthos and Doros, who gave their names to Hellenic tribes in later years. Xouthos, which means “the fair”, was quite distinct from the early Athenians who had the darker skin of the Aegean peoples. He was to marry Kreousa, the granddaughter of Erechtheas: their children were named Achaeos and Ion, the forefathers of the later Hellenes. Another variation of the myth had Ion as the offspring of Apollo’s secret liaison with the same princess. This detail helped advance the mythic cycle from the primeval, with its demonic forms of nature, evolving into humanized deities like Apollo who led man to thought, poetry and philosophy.

Many modern historians believe that the later Hellenes came from Pindus, on the border between Thessaly and Epirus. This fits in admirably with the Attic myths about the genealogy of their kings and the various intermarriages, documenting the arrogance of the ancient Athenians toward the other inhabitants of the region, since from the very outset, gods would frequently come down and intermingle with the mortals, lending a divine dimension to many conjugal dramas.

We know that the first inhabitants of the Attic earth were cultivators, but its poor, arid soil made them turn toward the sea. The story of Theseus who volunteered to go to Crete and kill the Minotaur, delivering  Athens  from the terrible annual tribute of youths sent to feed the insatiable monster, may perhaps be telling us about the Athenians’ first great campaign at sea and their independence from a ruling naval power.

From then on, Theseus never stopped traveling, like all those who, having once experienced the vastness of new horizons, could never thereafter remain closed within narrow confines. He went with the Argonauts to the Pontus (Black Sea), fought against and defeated the imperious Amazons, winning their queen, and taught the spoiled Centaurs a hard lesson in good behavior. But he also took care of his own region, joining together little individual townships into a large and powerful confederacy, with temples in which gods and ancestors were worshiped and with a citadel for security against jealous neighbors.

Theseus was possibly a historic figure who, over the passage of centuries, has become wrapped in the glory of myth to serve domestic expediencies and presented as the scion of the divine race of Ion. A hero who was also a demi-god was always more impressive than just a worthy leader; the inhabitants of the city favored with such a leader would feel special and try to emulate him. Thus the descendants of the first Athenians began their fearless exploration of the sea. As they succeeded in guaranteeing their livelihood, their numbers grew; they learned, became wealthy and expanded their activities around the Mediterranean coasts, creating bridgeheads of commerce and free thought. The colonizers of the east side of the Aegean were called Ionians; and it was there that the ideas of philosophy, the principles of human rights, ethics, metaphysics and the harmony of the universe were born.

Economic ease created a new order of things. Until then, the head of the largest family had been king; but when other men gained power through trade, they too claimed the right to a voice in government, thrusting aside the custom of the hereditary monarchy. A special place was needed for the exchange of commodities and this was how the Agora (market) grew up. The meetings of the local people with strangers made it necessary for them to learn how to develop convincing arguments; from this need sprang the art of rhetoric.

The interests of the people had to be protected. As there were already a great many people, the proper role models had to be found on whose example they could shape their behavior, which at its most sublime moment, led to the formulation of laws by Solon the Sage in the 6th century. Developments in the administrative system were accompanied by cultural progress. The local clay was used to make ceramics which, while initially serving the needs of daily life, soon became objects of trade and then developed into works of art, since men, having assured themselves of the necessities, now sought the beautiful. Athenian potters began producing enormous grave amphoras with austere ornamentation, dominated by Greek key designs and shadowy figures. Black-figured vases were the next phase, with their stylized silhouettes; these evolved into the marvelous red-figured vases which sometimes bear the craftsman’s name under vivid compositions depicting moments from the lives of gods and men.

The gods were worshiped in stately stone temples decorated with marble statues that replaced the earlier idols. The myths became overlaid by a multitude of heroic details, as gods and mortals alike came alive in a new form of ceremony which took place in the theater. Meanwhile, more and more Athenian ships were sailing to and fro in the Mediterranean, carrying new developments and provoking envy in other lands which rapidly turned into the desire of foreign leaders for conquest and expansion. The result was the Persian wars at the beginning of the 5th century BC.

The decisive military confrontation at sea and  Athens ‘ defeat of the Persians in the battle of Salamis, promoted  Athens  to a position of foremost power and intellectual leader over the other Hellenes, much to Sparta’s great annoyance. The Athenians, having acquired the social comfort that accompanies economic prosperity, had by then developed the versatility of thinking people with freedom of opinion and political views. On the contrary, the strapping sons of Sparta remained products of a rigid military education and attitude. Thus, when the gold-bedecked invaders, decimated and in tatters, retreated back into the hinterlands of Persia,  Athens  justifiably assumed a position of preeminence, achieved greatness which culminated in the classical age, and produced works of eternal beauty which have remained vital until the present day. It caused the historian Thucydides to prophesy that if ever the two great adversaries  Athens  and Sparta were someday lost, everybody would know where  Athens  had been by its wonderful monuments whereas Sparta would have left not a trace to remind people of its once great power.

These wonderful monuments were what roused military Sparta’s ire and ultimately led to the armed confrontation. Like all civil wars, the Peloponnesian War was devastating and, unbeknownst to anyone at that time, it signalled the beginning of the end for the proud  city  of  Athens . This was a slow decline which lasted for centuries; it saw insults and passions, tyrannies and uprisings, flaming rhetoric and objections; it saw  Athens  yielding to the Hellenes of the North, the Macedonians, and finally its subjugation by the Roman legions. All this occurred in the shadow of the Parthenon, at a time when the theatres continually presented works by playwrights whose names would become renowned throughout history, and when Athenians would gather under the colonnades of the Agora to listen to the wandering philosophers and discuss the current political situation.

The Christian religion which was slowly spreading hope of deliverance among oppressed peoples, began to gain followers while the philosophical schools were still full of young people seeking enlightenment on questions of rhetoric, the written word and even theology. One of the most famous students of these schools (4th century A.D.) was Julian, later the Byzantine emperor who came to be known as the Apostate because of his attachment to pagan religion; others were Basil of Caesarea and Gregory of Nazianzus, future Fathers of the Church. The philosophical schools of  Athens&nbsp
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functioned until the 6th century, at which point Justinian closed them by decree, perhaps because freedom of philosophic thought conflicted with the dogmatism of what had become the state religion. At this point,  Athens  entered the Dark Ages.

Deprived of its intellectual nourishment, the city was gradually forgotten, destined to continue its progress through time as an insignificant village, the roads of which were studded with pieces of marble from statues that had been smashed by fanatics remembering the heathen past of this once-great city. It was this past that made the official Byzantine state neglect the birthplace of art and beauty, which they regarded as a dangerous incitement to those who tended to disagree with the medieval terms of immortality. The religious exaltation of the period could in no way be reconciled with the frivolity of the ancient gods and thus Christianity’s fight for dominance was a tough one without concessions or exceptions.

In the 13th century, when the Crusaders transferred their need for expansion to the East, thinly disguised under a veil of religion, knights who had been excluded from the division of the conquered lands fanned out over the Aegean and around the coasts snatching land by brute force. During the years that followed, the Franks and Catalans established their principalities in Attica and fought to keep them safe from the rising power of Islam. All during this time, the few remaining residents of  Athens  were simply struggling to survive, as they sank ever deeper into the lethargy of illiteracy, poverty and obscurity. The rest of Europe welcomed the educated Byzantines who had fled after the fall of Constantinople (1453), and this infusion of new culture helped push forward the Renaissance, contributing substantially to what we now know as Western civilization. But at that time, this forgotten corner of the earth was not even called Hellas, even though from time to time, travellers would fill tour journals with notes about the monuments, carved stones and inscriptions they had seen on the ground along the pathways of Attica.

It was these descriptions which awakened the memories of Hellas and soon the travellers would start coming in earnest to look, dig and depart in order to send others in ever greater numbers. The Ottoman conquerors, gazing down indifferently from the heights of the Acropolis, where they had established themselves for security reasons, looked condescendingly upon those who came to do research, while the suspicious local population tried to make some money by helping those people whom they, in their ignorance, termed “silly strangers”. In the mid- 18th century, lists had already begun to circulate around Europe of the most significant Greek monuments; some of these lists were even accompanied by drawings. By the early 19th century a few collections of the plunder had already been established.

The French Revolution brought a different atmosphere to the intellectuals of Europe. Liberty, Equality and Fraternity became accepted values. Romantic verses by Lord Byron brought back to the Western mind the memory of Hellenic culture associated with this part of the Balkans, rather than the Greece that had become known through the wealthy Greek merchants in various cities of Europe. Thus the news that the Greek War of Independence had been proclaimed fell on fertile ground and the voice of the enslaved Greek nation was heard once again after centuries of silence, inspiring artists to paint episodes from the desperate struggle waged by the few descendants of the heroes of Marathon and Thermopylae. The scene depicting a mounted, turbaned warrior fighting against an impassioned footsoldier. In his fustanela inspired a sense of heroism and the confrontation between life and death, as well as awakening feelings of anger against the oppressors and support for the oppressed.

In June 1822, the Greeks captured the Acropolis and made it their command post, while the struggle continued with an uncertain outcome on all fronts. Five years later, Kiutahis Pasha had recaptured the citadel in a last ditch effort to suppress the revolution. But the Great Powers of the times formed an alliance -either because they wanted to bow to public opinion or because they were counting on gaining influence in the new independent state in the strategic Mediterranean region, or because they regarded the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire as inevitable-and in the decisive battle of Navarino, it was they who administered the final blow to the Sultan, which gave Greece her freedom.

As soon as it gained its independence, the newly constituted state became an apple of discord for European politicians, while the dusty village of  Athens  was, as a matter of courtesy, designated capital. Still reeling from their bloody fight and from the heady feeling of freedom, the Greeks were struggling to rediscover their identity, and at the same time to wipe out the taint of slavery. They wore European clothes, avoided the brigand-riddled mountains and began building mansions that resembled their monuments. The simple people were awed by the fact that their huts had been built on the settlements and graves of their forefathers and began to be aware of themselves as constituting part of a long, unbroken chain. They all started tearing down, clearing away, digging up and restoring. At last, the Attic earth was ready to surrender its treasures and ideals to humanity.

It was in this way that Greek archeology, the new science of antiquities, was born.

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Hemorrhoids and Anal Warts

It’s pretty bad when you find out you’ve got hemorrhoids, but it can be a lot worse if you get hemorrhoids confused with another health issue. I mean, the pain, anxiety and embarrassment of discovering something wrong in the anal area is bad enough, much less not knowing exactly what you’ve got. On the bright side, there aren’t too many health conditions that can come up in that area. One of the most common health conditions confused with hemorrhoids is anal warts. While neither is very much fun, they stem from entirely different causes and are treated in very different ways.

Anal warts, also known as condyloma acuminata, are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). This virus is highly contagious and most often transmitted through sexual intercourse. Some strains of HPV can lead to increased risk of cervical cancer, but these are not the same strains as the ones that cause anal warts. The virus gets into the skin or mucous tissue cells and starts making them grow in the distinctive wart pattern. HPV infection does not lead to hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids originate from weak points in hemorrhoidal veins below the skin or mucous tissue. As the weak point gives way, it stretches out and takes surrounding tissue with it. Traumatized hemorrhoids may get infected with a variety of bacteria and/or viruses, but infection does not lead to hemorrhoids. That would be like putting the cart before the horse.

Anal warts and hemorrhoids can both feel like lumps or masses of tissue around the anal area. However, there are several differences that can lead to a proper identification upon close inspection. While doing a close inspection may not sound like fun, it’s much better than trying unsuccessfully to treat the wrong thing. Upon said close inspection, anal warts have a distinctive “rough” texture and range in size from the head of a pin to about the size of a pea and are rather hard to the touch. They occur in clusters around the anal opening and may sometimes continue up towards the genital area. They almost never occur alone. Hemorrhoids, on the other hand, have a smooth texture that’s identical to the tissue they originate from, whether that’s external skin or internal mucous membrane. They are often soft or “squishy” to the touch, and they range in size from the size of a pea to the size of a grape. You’ll never find them anywhere except right around the anal opening. In addition, warts almost never hurt, though they may itch a bit. External hemorrhoids, on the other hand, often hurt quite a lot.

Hemorrhoids are usually best treated at home through a high-fiber diet, a healthy amount of exercise, and easily obtained over the counter relief. Home remedies often work well on hemorrhoids and surgery is only rarely needed. Anal warts, on the other hand, always have to be treated surgically, usually on an outpatient basis. The warts will not go away on their own. Instead, a physician has to use liquid nitrogen to freeze them off. In addition, hemorrhoids can often be kept away by keeping the lifestyle changes that were made to help cure them. Anal warts will often come back for no reason under your control, because the virus can live dormant in your skin cells for a long time. One day that virus can wake up and bam, you’ve got anal warts again.

So, as you can see, getting anal warts confused with hemorrhoids can lead to some serious problems. At the least you’ll be stuck trying to treat a problem you don’t have for a while. Why waste all that time and discomfort? If you can’t figure out what you’ve got on your own, make a doctor’s appointment and get your diagnosis confirmed. It’ll save you a lot of trouble, pain and grief in the long run.

Activity Diagrams – Advantages, Disadvantages and Applications of Use

Activity diagrams describe the actual work flow behavior of a system in Information Technology. These diagrams are very similar to state Diagrams because activities are the actual state of doing something. These diagrams describe the actual state of activities of a system by showing all the sequence of activities performed. Also, these diagrams can show activities that are conditional or parallel.

When to Use: Activity Diagrams

Activity diagrams should be used in alignment with other modeling techniques like interaction diagrams and State diagrams. The main reason behind using these diagrams is to model the work flow behind the system being designed. these Diagrams are also useful for analyzing a use case by describing what actions need to take place and when they should occur, describing a complicated sequential algorithm and modeling applications with parallel processes.

Activity diagrams’ advantages:

  • UML modeling language included that these diagrams are normally easily comprehensible for both analysts and stakeholders.
  • In UML for the IT Business Analyst, “The activity diagram is the one most useful to the IT BA for depicting work flow [because] it is simple to understand-both for BAs and end-users.”
  • Since they are among the most user-friendly diagrams available, they are generally regarded as an essential tool in an analyst’s repertoire.
  • Additionally, as stated above, activity diagrams allow an analyst to display multiple conditions and actors within a work flow through the use of swimlanes. Swimlanes, however, are optional as a single condition or actor is normally displayed without them.

Activity diagrams’ disadvantages:

UML modeling language include that these diagrams have the potential to become overly complex because their user-friendly nature may lend itself to an all-inclusive description. In other words, since it is so simple to display the information related to the project, why not include all of it? When an analyst has a large project, creating a single, overly complex diagram can be a temptation.

However, as one author notes, “if you are using activity diagrams to define the structure of a work flow, you should not attempt to explore several levels of activity graphs down to their most ‘atomic’ level”. Instead, an analyst should try to present a new diagram for each work flow, or if more applicable, to use swimlanes to present different actors within the same work flow.

Another aspect of these diagrams is that they may not be used in lieu of a state diagram or sequence diagram because “activity diagrams do not give detail about how objects behave or how objects collaborate.” This is not a disadvantage per se, but it is important for an analyst to keep in mind when applying diagrams to their work.

In conclusion, activity diagrams are fairly easy to get the hang of, and will be useful for most projects because they plainly and moderately clearly demonstrate how things work.” Unlike many diagramming techniques, these diagrams also enable the depiction of multiple choices and actors within a work flow, and they are easy for even non-technical users to follow

Applications of activity diagram:

This diagram has been extended to specify flows among steps that transmit physical matter (e.g., gasoline) or energy (e.g., torque, pressure).

  • Additional changes allow the diagram to better support continuous behaviors and continuous data flows.
  • The UML 2 specification significantly prolonged the features and scale of activity diagrams beyond their earlier classification as a special case of state diagrams.
  • Today, activity diagrams can be thought of as flow charts for the 21st century, and UML modelers use activity diagrams to describe it.
  • Also, these diagrams are useful in following methods:
  • Business Rules
  • Functions that occur in parallel
  • Complex chain of multiple use cases
  • Software flows and logic control configurations
  • Procedures with judgment points and alternate flows
  • Single use cases

A City Guide to Athens

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Named after Athena, the goddess of wisdom,  Athens , capital of Greece, reached its zenith in the fifth century BC with the construction of many classical buildings some of which survive even today and are on the UNESCO World Heritage List including the Acropolis, standing proudly in the heart of the  city . A visit to  Athens  is an enriching experience. Listed here are just some of the attractions you can see on your next visit to  Athens .

Agorá (Market):In its heyday, Agora was the centre of city life – today it hosts ruins from different periods. It was here that ordinary people, stall holders, and merchants mingled with public figures, officials, philosophers and politicians. The main attraction here is Hephaisteion (Temple of Haephaistos), one of the best-preserved ancient temples in Greece, and dating to the fifth century BC. Also visit the Museo tis Agoras (Museum of Agorá) that houses an amazing range of everyday artefacts found in the area. It is housed in the Stoa of Attalos.

Acropolis: This UNESCO World Heritage Site dominates the city and the skyline. Acropolis refers to the rocky outcrop that formed the original settlement in  Athens . The site includes the Acropolis Museum and four sacred buildings, dating to the fifth century BC. Ascend the steep summit to the Propylaea, a monumental gateway, which serves as the entrance to the site. To the left, you will see the Temple of Athena Nike. The original temple was destroyed in the 17th century by the Turkish forces but has now been carefully restored. The Parthenon, the largest building on the Acropolis, is built entirely from marble and was intended as a sanctuary for Athena and once housed a statue of the goddess.

Delphi:According to Greek mythology, Delphi is located at the point where the two eagles released to the East and West by God Zeus met, thereby marking the centre of the world. Delphi is the sanctuary of Apollo and the seat of his oracle. The ancient site is in ruins but still attracts thousands of visitors who throng here to see its remains. The site also houses the impressive Delphi Museum which exhibits various statues and offerings from the sanctuary of Delphi. The UNESCO World Heritage Site houses the Temple of Apollo, the Sacred Way, an amphitheatre, and a stadium.

National Archaeological Museum: The museum is housed in a late 19th century building and houses one of the finest collections of ancient Greek artefact including the fascinating Mycenaen Collection comprising beautifully crafted gold work dating from between the 16th and 11th centuries BC, and the Bronze Collection.

Tourism is one of the main industries in Greece and continues to flourish even in the uncertain economic times. Every year,  Athens  attracts thousands of visitors from across the globe. There are several accommodation options available to cater to their accommodation needs from bed and breakfasts to resorts to private Greece villas.

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Painting Light

HOW TO PAINT LIGHT

I teach students how to paint and draw light. I am also a lighting specialist. My fascination with light encompasses, not only the commercial, retailing aspect, but the artistic as well. Once drawing and painting skills are developed to the point where students can accurately put down what they see, creating light and shadow is studied and faithfully delineated subject matter emerges in a world of space and volume.

LEARNING TO SEE

Basically, the depiction of light and shadow is accomplished by using dark and light colors in painting and tonal gradations in drawing. For a beginning student this often requires some visual skills.. First, I tell the student it is necessary to convert what they see to a two-dimensional vision that they can translate to a two-dimensional surface like a canvas or a sketchbook page.

POWERFUL GRIDS

Seeing objects two-dimensionally can be done in several ways. The easiest (and most time-tested) is to construct a grid in front of the subject matter–that could be actual objects, a photo or a picture. This can be done most simply by holding a pencil vertically and horizontally against the viewed objects, comparing their shapes to the vertical and horizontal lines of the pencil.

Another time-tested method is to literally construct a grid on plate glass or Plexiglas and place that grid in front of the objects. Now the viewed objects are intersected by many squares (depending on how large or small the squares in the grid are.) Each quadrant (square) of the grid can then be painted or drawn independently and upon completing the entire grid, the composition of objects is finished to compose an accurate picture of the objects.

Light and shadow are more easily discerned and created with this grid method. How objects are illuminated can be defined on paper or canvas by observing and re-creating light and shadow at play in each quadrant. In accomplishing this by shading and highlighting, illumination and therefore, volume is created, the illusion of the three-dimensional space is created, reborn on a two-dimensional surface.

EARLY LINE AND COLOR

Accuracy, as well as light and shadow were not always the motivation behind depicting artful images. Before the Renaissance, art works in Europe depicted objects ( figures, landscapes, buildings) in a flat space. There was no light and shadow. Figures were delineated and colored in a style much like a coloring book. These images translated well to stained glass windows and mosaics. Their simplicity of line and color contributed to the strength of the iconography, often of religious significance.

EARTHLY LIGHT

With the discovery of perspective, space and volume became important to artists as well as the depiction of light and shadow. Symbolic icons and images described by line gave way to depictions of illuminated space. In perspective, objects recede and advance in a two-dimensional space that is totally visually believable. To augment the receding and advancing figures with directional light and shadow completed the believability, creating a world the eye could explore as a simulated, illuminated three-dimensional environment.

GOLD LEAF TO EARTHLY LIGHT

Spiritual light, the vehicle of infinity was often expressed with the use of gold leaf in Medieval altarpieces. The warm, glowing, reflective surface behind religious figures imbued the work with a rich and reassuring statement-the glory of heaven and God’s power. A more earthly light replaced gold leaf in the Renaissance. Spiritual figures were bathed in sunlight and swathed in shadow. The light that illuminated the humble shepherds was the same light that shone on Jesus and his followers.

REPEATING HISTORY

It is interesting to me that the journey a beginning drawing or painting student takes often replicates the historical transition from the Medieval use of line and color-in style to the Renaissance application of illuminated space and volume. And, with more advanced students, their journey often continues to repeat the contemporary return to line and color-in, the preference for depicting flat, shallow space and solid color.

I find this reassuring. The art world is wide open, brimming with many styles, images, materials and skills. For today’s artist, everything is available, to use towards a creative purpose. All of history as well as the latest technological/digital images are ready to be researched and developed.

Investment and Its Importance

Investment is important from many points of view. Before doing investment, it is essential to understand what is investment and its importance?

“Investment is an act of investing money to earn the profit. It is the first step towards the future security of your money.”

Need of Investment

The investment can help you in the future if invested wisely and properly. As per human nature, we plan for a few days or think to plan for investment, but do not put the plan into action. Every individual must plan for investment and keep aside some amount of money for the future. No doubt, the future is uncertain and it is required to invest smartly with some certain plan of actions that can avoid financial crisis at point of time. It can help you to bring a bright and secure future. It not only gives you secure future, but also controls your spending pattern.

Important Factors of Investments

Planning for Financial investment – Planning plays a pivotal role in all fields. For the financial investment, one must have a pertinent plan by taking all rise and fall situations of the market. You should have a good knowledge of investment before planning for financial investment. Keen observation and focused approach are the basic needs for successful financial investment.

Invest according to your Needs and Capability- The purpose behind the investment should be clear by which you can fulfil your needs from the investment. In investment, financial ability is also a component that can bring you satisfaction and whatever results you want. You can start investment from a small amount as per your capability. You should care about your income and stability to choose the best plan for you.

Explore the market for available investment options – The investment market is full of opportunities, you can explore the market by applying proper approach. You can take help from financial planners, managers who have thorough knowledge about investment in the market. Explore the possibility of investment markets and touch the sublime height of success by the sensible investment decisions.

By taking help from an experienced, proficient financial planner and traders can also give you confidence to do well in the field of investment. Now the question strikes the mind that what are the types of investments?

Types of Investments

Mutual Funds- Basically the mutual fund is a managed investment fund in which money is pulled from the investors to buy the securities.

Commodity Market- In India, it is a popular place of traders to invest their money. The commodity market comprises of MCX (Multi Commodity Exchange) and NCDEX (National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange) both. In Multi Commodity Exchange market, you can invest in crude oil, precious metals as gold, silver and base metals as copper, aluminium, nickel, zinc and many more. While in National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange market, you can invest in all agricultural commodities as guar, soya bean, cotton, sugar cane and many more.

Stock Market- It is the place where various people trade globally and earn the maximum return on investment. However, it is essential to know the bull and bear of the stock market for investing in it. The Stock market for investment also includes the equity market and nifty market. You can invest in equities and nifty market and get good amount profit by focused approach and keen analysis of market trend.

Bonds – It is the best ways to gain interest on your principal amount. The interest and period of time depends on the agreement. In this, a holder lends a particular amount to the issuer (borrower) for a fixed period of time. At this time, you will get the interest from the borrower and after completing that fixed period of time borrower will return back your money. A long term tool for financial investment.

Fixed Deposits – The Fixed Deposit (FD) service is provided by various banks that offers investors a higher rate of interest on their deposits as compared to a regular savings account. Fixed deposits have the maturity date to gain the return on investment.

Real Estate- One can also invest in the real estate and deal with the residential and commercial property. This is also a trending way to earn a good return on investment.

There are various financial planners, financial managers, trading tips provider who can give you numerous options for investment in the market. But it is essential to choose the options wisely.

Visiting Athens

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Pay homage to Athen’s most impressive legacy- the Acropolis, haggled with

the merchants in the old Turkish bazaar around Monastiraki Square and Explored the 19th-century quarter of Plaka…all before noon. Now you are ready to drink like Dionysus.

Where to crash

 Athens ‘ first “hip hotel,” the Semiramis, is located in Kifissia, a wealthy suburb about 10 miles north of the  city   center .

Styled by trendy designer Karim Rashid, the hotel has such features as a glowing-pink cube in the entrance, a rotating collection of contemporary art in the rooms, and digitally

programmed door signs.

NightLife

What’s a Flagrant without checking out the nightlife?

Bars are the staple of Greek nightlife, with new establishments opening every week. In summer, many of the most popular spots, especially dance clubs, move to temporary venues along the coast (check with your hotel concierge on seasonal whereabouts of clubs).

Frequented by the under-30 crowd, these clubs are usually huge, lively, and packed.

Getting to them can be a nightmare, especially on weekends, when the coastal road, Poseidonos, becomes a kilometers-long traffic jam.

Most bars stay open at least until 3 AM. Drinks are rather steep (around EUR6) but generous, and often there is a surcharge on weekend nights at the most popular clubs. Foreigners usually get in automatically; large groups of single men may have some trouble on a busy night. Most clubs and bars do not take credit cards for drinks.

From September to May, Athen’s beautiful people make an appearance at Central to see and be seen in the cool, creamy interior while enjoying cocktails and sushi.

From May to September, Central is closed in town; it reopens on the coast as Island, which is dreamily decked out in gauzy linens and directly overlooks the Aegean.

with notes from Fodors and USA Today

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Investing Money in 2014 and 2015 for Retirement – An Old Pro’s Viewpoint

In 2014 and maybe 2015 and beyond, investing money will be tougher and putting together the best investment portfolio might mean investing money for safety vs. higher investment returns. The best investment ideas are slim pickings. There is very little that is normal in today’s world of finance. My reasoning and background follows.

In 1971 I had my Masters in Business (finance) and knew nothing about the investment world or investing money. Actually, I found it quite embarrassing, because adults that I would meet in the business world thought that I might have the best investment ideas in my pocket – due to my education. The years that followed were not the best investment environment, and I became a stock broker in Columbus, Ohio in 1972. I learned real quick what my job was really all about: selling investment ideas… SELL the sizzle NOT the steak… I was informed by my sales manager.

Forty years later, investing money is a game that I find has changed little. It’s all but impossible to find the best investment, and the world of investing money is primarily a sales game aimed at uninformed investors (more than 90% of the investing public). I once read that NOW is always the hardest time to invest money. I’ve seen difficult times in the markets for over 40 years and I’ve NEVER repeated that phrase until now.

At this time, I am afraid that it is really true. Allison and I have three children, who are all basically 30-something and trying to make it in a difficult world. Investing money for retirement is not an option for them. It is an absolute necessity if they don’t want to work for the rest of their life. Many folks my age are covered by pension funds plus other entitlements, but that’s not the norm for 2014 and beyond. Now, let’s get down to business and talk about investing money in 2014 and beyond; and the best investment ideas I can muster as an older (but still on top of my game) retired financial planner.

If you have a 401k at work participate in it, and take maximum advantage of your employer’s matching contribution if your company offers this feature (it’s free money). Investing money here is automatic and almost painless. This is one of the best investment ideas available for accumulating a nest egg for retirement. Plus, the tax advantages will put a smile on your face each year at income-tax time.

Open a Roth IRA with a major NO-LOAD mutual fund family and start investing money each month through their automatic investment plan. Enter “no-load funds” into a search engine and you’ll see some of the biggest and best fund companies at the top of the page, names like Vanguard, Fidelity and T Rowe Price. Give them a toll-free call if you have questions – like do you qualify, how much can you invest a year, and will they send you free literature. A Roth IRA (or Roth 401k if available) is one of the very best investment ideas for accumulating money for retirement. A Roth account (IRA or 401k) is TAX FREE investing, as long as you follow the rules. Tax free is as good as it gets and difficult to find.

Mutual funds are the average investor’s best investment vehicle because they offer both professional management and instant diversification in the form of a managed portfolio of stocks, bonds, and money market securities. When you invest money in a fund, you own a very small part of (own shares in) a very large investment portfolio. There is always a cost for investing money in funds. All funds charge for yearly expenses. This can amount to less than 1% a year in NO-LOAD FUNDS, with no sales charges when you invest money and no extra ongoing management fees. Or, you can pay 5% in sales charges off the top when you invest money, 2% or more for yearly expenses and 1% to 2% in additional management fees if you work through a sales rep (financial planner, adviser, or whatever).

One of the best investment ideas for 2014, 2015 and beyond: keep your cost of investing money as low as possible. This could make a difference of tens of thousands of dollars over the long term. A dollar saved is a dollar earned.

Do all that you can to learn about investing money; and especially learn about stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. Once you understand stocks and bonds, getting a handle on mutual funds is a piece of cake. What are the investment options inside your employer’s 401k plan? The vast majority of them are likely mutual funds – mostly stock funds, bond funds, and/or balanced funds (that invest in both stocks and bonds). There will likely also be one or two safe investment options that pay interest: a money market funds and/or a stable account.

Investing money successfully in 2014 and beyond could be very difficult due to today’s investment environment. First, record low interest rates mean that safe investments that pay interest are paying close to nothing. Second, bonds and bond funds pay more interest, but when interest rates go back up to normal levels they WILL LOSE money; that’s the way bonds and bond funds work. Third, stocks and stock funds are pricy, having gone up in value and price well over 100% since 2009. In other words, best investment ideas are few and far between.

Here’s the best investment strategy in 2014 and beyond for beginners who want to start investing money for retirement and keep it simple. In a 401k and/or Roth IRA account invest (monthly or each payday) equal amounts into a stock fund, bond fund, and money market fund. If your 401k has a stable account option use this instead of the money market fund if it pays more interest.

Mutual funds are always one of the best investment ideas for most investors – if you invest money in low-cost no-load funds. (Your 401k plan should have no loads, sales charges). When investing money for retirement in 2014 and 2015 keep three factors in mind. Two of these always apply: keep costs low and invest money across the board in all three fund types listed above. Your third factor is to give money market funds equal weight in 2014 and beyond for added safety. Normally, you would give them less weighting.

Athens City Breaks Guide

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For more than 3500 years  Athens  has been attracting visitors. Rich in history and home to one of the most famous buildings of the world – the Parthenon, which represents the golden age of  Athens  urban planning, it is impossible to compete with the impressive architecture of the  city . Apart from being just a tourist spot,  Athens  is also home to more than half the population of Greece.  Athens   city  breaks will surely help you know about this extremely beautiful city.

You are sure to fall in love with the jumbled and elegant skyline of neoclassical facades, whitewashed sugar-cube houses, the Plaka quarter – a colorful mixture of flea markets and antique shops, markets that have stalls piled with huge tubs of olive, fresh fish and well stocked tables laid out of the pavement tavernas.

The acropolis is one of the places visited most by tourists. It provides the best of classical architecture that you can find anywhere else in the world. You find the slender ionic columns of the Temple of Athena and the six female caryatids of the Erechtheion included in the satellite buildings. Theater had a great role in ancient Greece. The Roman theater of Herodes Atticus still stages summer shows for theater enthusiasts. After having a cultural feast at the Acropolis, you can visit the Benaki Museum where you can kindle your curiosities, and the National Archaeological Museum will keep you occupied for days. If you are looking to take a break from the hustle of the Athenian life, a peaceful walk along the 40 acres of the National Gardens is the best.

It is believed that modern  Athens  was born in 1834 and restored as the capital of the newly independent Greece. After the second world war, a massive expansion took place that was funded by American money. The Mediterranean climate was responsible for the high temperatures in the city. Pollution and excess traffic were some of the problems that  Athens  began to face. Visitors and philosophers felt that the architectural excellence were overshadowed by the urbanization. However, more than 3 million people visit this city each year and have a quick look at their favorite places.

Apart from the celebrated classical sites, the city
also boasts of Byzanthine, the medieval and ninth century monuments and some of the famous museums in the world. You will also appreciate some of the areas that are immersed in surprisingly natural beauty. Though there is heavy traffic, the village like qualities are very evident in their cafes, markets, tavernas, and in the maze streets surrounding Plaka.  Athens  is also known for its fine restaurants and colorful and varied night life. The port at Piraeus and the metropolitan area are economic powerhouse and industrial areas of Greece. The Olympics in 2004 brought in many new developments that included an airport, new sports venues, extension of the metro system, up-gradation of hotels and renovation of many top museums.

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9 Fun Speech Class Activities

Speech classes are a lot more fun when everyone gets involved with special activities! Try some of these ideas to warm up your next class:

  1. Impromptu speaking. Give students various topics for them to speak on without any preparation. The topics should be relatively easy at first, such as “What is your favorite movie and why?” or “If you could only eat one food for a month, what would that be?”
  2. Lost on a deserted Island game. Present the scenario: Following a ship wreck, the entire class has been stranded on a deserted island. Each person is allowed to bring one object to the island. Have each student describe what that object would be and why. (You can extend this into a team-building activity by breaking into teams and have each team figure out how to creatively combine their items to increase survival).
  3. Tongue Twisters competition. Have two people come up at a time and take turns repeating a tongue twister. “unique New York” “Red Leather, yellow leather.” Faster, and faster. When someone messes up, they sit down and a challenger comes up. Someone can keep score with the class roster.
  4. Dramatic alphabet or numbers. Students can “lecture” the class by reciting the alphabet or counting to 30, but with gestures, drama and eye contact. A, BCD! E, F, G… , H? I, JKL-M… , etc.. You could emphasize the eye contact by adding this activity: the speaker is to make and hold eye contact for at least 3 seconds per person. All the students raise their hands. When the speaker initiates eye contact with someone, that person mentally counts to 3 and then lowers his or her hand, letting the speaker know that the 3 seconds is up. The speaker can then move onto someone else. You could even make it a competition.
  5. Dramatic reading. You, of course, could pick an intriguing passage, or you could do something like having them read definitions outloud, just to make it silly by being dramatic.
  6. Transitions exercise. Pass out 3 slips of paper to each of the students-and have some categories written on the board. (Places, People around the school, Foods, TV shows). Ask that each student pick 3 of the categories and write a word that falls into that category. Then collect the slips in a container. Each student goes up to the front of the room in turn and picks a slip and starts talking about whatever is on that slip. Then, after a little bit of time, you pick another slip for the student and say, “OK, Amanda, your next topic is… ” and then the student’s job is to transition from the one topic to the next. It’s OK for the audience to help. It’s OK to offer another topic if the student is stuck. Using “apples” and “New York City” as examples, transitions can be phrases such as: Now that I’ve told you about the health benefits of apples, let me tell you about the health benefits of living in New York City. Finally, let me tell you how New York came to be called the Big Apple.
  7. On the other hand. Have 2 students come up. Ask one student to speak “for” a topic and then the other person to speak “against” the same topic.
  8. One word story. Line up 7-10 students in front (actually it’s better if they stand in a circle) and have them tell a non-rehearsed, non-thought out story one word at a time, cycling to the beginning until the story comes to a somewhat logical conclusion. The key is that each person can only say one word at time and this includes the boring words like “and” and “the.” You could start the story by saying something like, “One.” (The logical thing to come next would be “day,” but it certainly could be something else).
  9. Sell a product. Have odd objects for students to “sell” to their classmates. You can introduce the FAB format and ask them to use it. F=Features, A=Advantages, B=Benefits. The focus should be on the benefits. Toilet paper, anyone?

Add a few fun activities and see the interest level soar in your class!

Athens Syntagma Square – Athens City Center

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The heart of present day Athens is fashionable Plateia Syntagmatos which lies below the imposing mass of the Old Royal Palace. Plateia Syntagmatos, which translated means Constitution Square, commemorates the constitution granted by Othon I in a proclamation from the balcony of the Palace on the night of 3rd September 1843.

The OLD ROYAL PALACE, which since 1935 has housed the Parliament, was designed as the residence of King Othon, at his own and his father’s expense, by the Bavarian architect Friedrich Garther and built between 1834 and 1842.

At the foot of the west facade of the Old Palace is a large square bounded on three sides by walls on which, in evocation of the ancient custom of hanging the victor’s shield in the temple, are set bronze shields flanked by the names of the many victories won by Hellenic arms since National Independence. Built into the center of the retaining wall is the TOMB OF THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER, a relief impressive in its simplicity, which depicts a dying hoplite. This work is by the sculptors Constantinos Demetriades (1881-1943) and Phokion Rok (1886-1942), and was unveiled on 25th March (National Independence Day) 1932.

South of Plateia Syntagmatos lies Leophoros Amalias, which is so called after King Othon’s consort, who, with the horticulturist Friedrich Schmiedt, created the delectable retreat adjoining the Old Royal Palace that we know today as the NATIONAL GARDEN. The National Garden is open daily from sunrise to sunset and the shade of its multitudinous trees provides a cool and peaceful oasis in the heart of the city.

On the east side of the Garden are the busts of Capodistrias and Jean-Gabriel Eynard, a great Swiss philhellene who donated large sums of money to the cause of Greek Independence. Both these busts are the work of the famous Pelopennesian loannis Kossos. Other busts in the National Garden are those of three leading Greek poets of the 19th century: Dionysius Solomos of Zante, who is considered the national poet; Aristotle Valaoritis, also a native of the Ionian Islands, and Jean Moreas, which was the nom-de-plume of loannis Papadiamantopoulos, an Athenian who lived the greater part of his life in Paris.

Contiguous to the National Garden is a large public park called ZAPPEION after the brothers Evangelos and Constantinos Zappas of Epirus, who donated it with its splendid exhibition hall to the Nation. On either side of the entrance to the exhibition hall stand statues of the donors, that of Evangelos by loannis Kossos; that of Constantinos by Georgios Vroutos. Among the many pieces of statuary by famous sculptors is the bust of loannis Varvakis by the master Leonidas Drossis. Varvakis is best known as the founder of the renowned boys’ school, the Lykeion Varvakeion, for the endowment of which he bequeathed his huge fortune. Other busts include those of Constantinos Paparrighopoulos, the greatest historian of Modern Greece, of Stephan Dragoumis, the most prominent political personality during the Macedonian struggle (1903-1909), and of George Souris, the leading satirical poet of his times.

A short distance from Plateia Syntagmatos, on the right of Odhos Panepistimiou, we come to a Renaissance edifice of Italian inspiration. This is the NUMISMATIC MUSEUM, which contains a rich collection of Greek, Roman and Byzantine coins, cameos and seal-stones. Built by the noted architect Erst Ziller in 1878, it was the private residence of the illustrious archaeologist Henry Schliemann.

Still keeping on the right-hand side we come to a five-storeyed building situated at the corner of this street and Odhos Omirou. Here are the premises of the ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY, built entirely in marble. The classical motif of the magnificent bronze door with its richly painted and gilded surround and the ceiling coffered in a delicate blue and gold deserve the greatest admiration. Besides creating the first National Archaeological Museum the Society, which was founded in 1837, has excavated sites all over the country.

Immediately after the Archaeological Society’s premises stands the ROMAN CATHOLIC CATHEDRAL. As the Latin inscription shows, the cathedral was begun in 1853, completed in 1887, and dedicated to St. Dionysius Areopagite. It is a three-naved basilica designed by Leo von Klenze (1784-1864), Bavarian Court architect and master-plan ner of modern Athens, and built under the direction of Lysander Kaftanzoglou (1811-1885), the outstanding Greek architect of the period.

Adjoining this edifice is the OPHTHALMIC HOSPITAL, a Byzantine-style construction designed by Theophil Hansen (1813-1891, the younger of two Danish brothers, both distinguished architects), in 1847, and completed by Lysander Kaftanzoglou four years later.

Just beyond the Ophthalmic Hospital is an ensemble of neo-Classical buildings: on the right the Academy, in the middle the University, and on the left the National Library. All three were gifts to the Nation from wealthy patriots; they are the most sumptuous monuments of Modern Greece.

The HELLENIC ACADEMY OF ARTS AND SCIENCES, a meticulously accurate reproduction of an edifice of the Classical period erected in the graceful Ionic order by Theophil Hansen at the expense of Baron Georgios Sinas, was begun in 1859 and completed in 1875.

The nine sculptured pediments and all the statues before the Academy are the work of the Athenian master Leonidas Drossis. The relief in the central pediment, which portrays The Birth of Athena, and the two gigantic statues of Apollo (right) and Athena (left) standing on tall columns, one on either side of the principal facade, are particularly impressive. The seated figures flanking the short flight of steps leading to the portico represent the philosophers Socrates (right) and Plato (left).

The portico consists of a double row of columns. The coffered ceiling is painted in bright blue and gold and the door opening into the vestibule has a surround of classical inspiration executed in brilliant color and gilding. A statue of the donor Baron Sinas stands on the right of the vestibule, while the interior of the Academy Hall is decorated with eight superb panels by the Oldenburg painter Christian Griepenkerl (1839-1916), depicting scenes from the Myth of Prometheus.

Visitors to the University will be surprised to see a statue of William Ewart Gladstone, standing on the right of the lawn surrounding the forecourt. The dedication on the plinth of this statue immortalizes the prominent part played by the great British statesman in the deliverance of Epirus and Thessaly from Turkish oppression, and their return to the Motherland in 1881.

The statues at the top of the steps leading to the entrance commemorate the great philologist Korais (1748-1833), ardent patriot and “father” of the Modern Greek literary language (right), and Capodistrias (1776-1831), first Head of State (1827-1831) and one of the major architects of modern Greece.

The UNIVERSITY OF ATHENS was founded in 1836, and was initially established in a large house which Schaubert and Cleanthes had built in Plaka (the old quarter of Athens) when they first came to Athens in 1831. This building, at the corner of Odhos Prytaneiou and Odhos Tholou, is still standing and is converted into a museum devoted to the earlier history of the University. The present University buildings were designed by Christian Hansen and the foundation stone laid by King Othon in 1839. The central building was ready for use in 1842, but owing to lack of funds, the buildings as a whole were not completed until 1850.

A colonnade with a handsome portico in Pentelic marble fronted by two Ionic columns with gilded capitals, and a coffered ceiling in blue and gold in harmony with the classical motif of a painted and gilded door surround, gives access to the interior of the main building.

On the upper part of the wall a fresco by the celebrated Austrian painter Karl Rahl (1812-1865) shows the resurgence of arts and sciences under King Othon. Statues of two national heroes, Patriarch Grigorios and the martyred poet Rhigas Pheraios, stand respectively at the right and left angles of the facade.

The NATIONAL LIBRARY, which is built of Pentelic marble on a foundation of poros, consists of a central building in the form of a Doric temple, with two wings. It was planned by Theophil Hansen in 1887 and the work executed under the supervision of Ernst Ziller, at the expense of the Valianos brothers of Cephalonia in 1901. A statue of one of these munificent benefactors, Panayis, stands outside the central building, and those of his two brothers Andreas and Maris inside the entrance hall. All three statues are the work of Georgios Bonanos.

The eminent philologist Andreas Moustoxidis on the island of Aegina formed the nucleus of the Library in 1827. The books were brought to Athens in 1833 and stored in the beautiful church of St. Eleutherius (the “Little Cathedral”). In 1842 they were removed to the first floor of the central building of the University – which had just been completed – where they remained until the National Library was inaugurated in 1903.

In recent years many fine nineteenth century buildings have been demolished and unimaginative concrete structures built on the sites, so that with the exception of the Ionian Bank of Greece on one corner of Odhos Pezmazoglou and the former buildings of the Arsakeion College for Girls (founded in 1836) on the other corner over the Doric portico, built at the expense of Apostolos Arsakis of Epirus in 1848, nothing remains of the splendid buildings that once lined both sides of this street of central Athens.

Continuing along Odhos Panepistimiou for a short distance, we turn right into Odhos Patission. A few hundred meters further down, on our right, stands a construction in the finest Pentelic marble, in which two educational institutions of University status are established: The POLYTECHNIC SCHOOL (Civil, Mechanical, Electrical, Naval, Chemical and Mining Engineering, Architecture, and Topography) and the SUPERIOR SCHOOL OF FINE ARTS (Drawing, Painting, Sculpture, Engraving, etc.). Two wings in the Doric order serve as propylaea to the central building of two storeys, the lower erected in the Doric order, the upper in Ionic. This edifice is the work of Lysander Kaftanzoglou, who built it between 1862 and 1880, and owes its name -METSOVION POLYTECHNEION- to the fact that the principal donors Nicholaos Stournaras, Michalis Tositsas and his widow Helen, were natives of Metsovo in Epirus.

A Change of Pace in Athens Greece

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When someone mentions a holiday in Greece, the first thing that pops up in most people’s minds is sandy beaches and sparkling clean water. With a coastline 13,676 kilometers long, there is certainly a beach to suit every taste. However, Greece is also known for its capital  city ,  Athens ; a buzzing metropolis that never sleeps. Apart from the many fine hotels that are available, there is also alternative accommodation such as studios or apartments for a more affordable stay. For the tourist who wants to experience this city up close and work up a sweat at the same time, the best way is to rent a bike.

There are many cycling enthusiasts willing to take the challenge in a foreign country. Greece has many cyclists of its own and a plethora of agencies renting bikes or offering bike tours. All you have to do is decide how you want to do it; on your own or with a group. Since  Athens , like any big metropolis, has constant traffic congestion, cycling will certainly give you the freedom you’re looking for. Once you have studied your maps, you will be ready to zip in and out of traffic and discover secrets of the city that are off the beaten track.

Right in the heart of this modern city lie the ruins of an ancient civilization. As you head towards the city centre, you cannot miss the majestic hill of the Acropolis, a world heritage site. Sitting proudly at the top of the hill, is the famous columned structure of the Parthenon, which was built in honor of the goddess Athena. The hill and surrounding area abounds with the splendid remains of the past such as the ancient theatre of Herodes Atticus, the Erectheion and the Agora, the marketplace of ancient  Athens . All roads and narrow alleys lead you to these proud remains and reveal the mysteries of a distant world that is set amidst a modern city.

Along the way, you will find people and places to accommodate you on your tour. There are many roads that are off limits to cars as well as wide pedestrian pathways that are bicycle-friendly. Of course, during high season, the streets are dotted with people from all walks of life who come here to see the sights and experience the culture. The cafes and many eateries overflow with tourists while the locals, most of them fluent in English, are friendly and welcoming. Various artists and musicians are also there to entertain the crowds and shops spilling over with beautiful souvenirs.

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Building A Custom Chopper Motorcycle, Where Do You Start?

So you want to build a custom chopper? I do too, so the first question I asked myself, is where do I start. Should I make a business plan, a schedule, a financial statement, or should I just buy my wife some flowers and blindly proceed? I guess I should do all of the above but not necessarily in that order.

I will start by trying to justify this purchase and or endeavor, to do this I will make a list of my reasons for building a Chopper. 1) I want to ride a custom chopper, a totally cool stretched out, fire breathing, gas eating, pavement pounding, old lady scaring, 2 wheel monster. 2) I want to be able to say “I built that” when someone asks me where I got that totally sick bike. 3) I want to be able to customize the bike beyond the standard add on parts I can get for my current bike a Harley Davidson Fatboy. 4) I want to be able to make this dream come true, meaning I need to be able to pay for it. A $35,000 chopper is out of my current budget. 5) I have been talking about this for 5 years so why don’t I get to it and stop doing all the talking and start doing some building.

Now I have a few reasons on paper a will look at my options, then make a plan, a schedule, and find some extra money.

Let’s start with a my build options, and plan on a slow and steady approach. I realize I will need to do a lot of research before I start. I have 4 basic options, a kit bike, a rolling chassis, a start from zero build, or an extreme makeover of a current motorcycle.

Option 1) If I start with a motorcycle kit I maybe the farthest ahead from a mechanical perspective, and farthest behind from a financial point of view. What do I mean by this, well a kit bike has all the parts it just needs paint, labor, gas, oil and some love. The problem a complete kit bike will cost me $12,000 dollars right up front. This is a bit out of my spend a ton of money now then not be able to ride a bike for a year or two thinking. If I get a kit, I maybe able to get it together faster, as I will be motivated and have all the parts ready to go. As a first bike I think this is a very good option, when you consider all the expensive mistakes I may make along that way. One drawback to this option is the amount of customization I can do to the bike as it is put together. Because all the parts are in the kit, I may resist the urge to get new bars or different sheet metal, or other parts.

Option 2) Start with a Rolling chassis, this is the middle of the road option, spend a lump sum of money, about 1/2 of what the overall bike will cost and get a basic setup that all works together.

A Rolling chassis kit consists of a Frame, 2 wheels, the forks, and triple clamps and bars, all build and configured to work together. Add a motor and a transmission and all the major workings of the bike are in place. This setup helps avoid some of the major work needed to mix match and fit these items together. This option also allows for a ton of customization in the parts that people see and the parts that give a bike it’s personality. For me this is a very serious option to consider. I would only have 1/2 the cost and 1/2 the parts sitting around and gathering dust until I get time to get it together.

Option 3) Find each and every part one at a time and build a completely custom motorcycle. I know I could do this, but I also know I will encounter more unexpected and possibly expensive issues with this type of build. This option would give me a bike that no one would ever duplicate. This could be very good or this could be very bad. What if some possible combination of frame, motor, forks, or wheels didn’t work together? It would not be discovered until the motorcycle was all together. I think this option is better left to the serious professional who build bike all night long, as the are working on other peoples bikes, and running businesses during the day. I may consider this for my second custom chopper.

Option 4) Take an existing bike and start cutting and changing it. This is maybe as involved as chopping and re-welding the frame to create a new rake and angles. Or it could mean just getting a new frame and using the engine, transmission, and various other part to build a new machine. I like this idea, and I think it would be a lower cost alternative to all new custom parts. With this option you are also able to keep the current registration and title if the frame is not replaced. This is also a lower cost option because a lot of the miscellaneous parts can be reused.

I know that in one page all the possible combinations of Custom Chopper build can’t be completely explained, I just hope this information give you something to start with and build on. It has help steer me in the direction of a rolling chassis, so I better get shopping.

Spyware, Viruses, Malware, Worms, Trojan Horses, and Adware: Symptoms, Solutions, and Prevention

Virus:

A Virus or Computer Virus is a self-replicating program or piece of script or code that make copies of itself and then either attaches itself to an existing file on the infected system or store copies of itself on the system with innocuous sounding names like ‘repair tool’.

The virus is limited to spread itself only by either being transmitted or sent by an unwitting user or carried on a portable storage medium from one system to another. However, if a virus gets embedded somewhere on a network drive then anyone who opens or clicks on the infected document or file can end up getting infected as well.

Spyware:

Spyware is software that gathers information about a users Internet habits, browsing patterns, email passwords, usernames and even credit card information, in essence, ‘spying’ on the hapless user. This type of software usually gets installed without the knowledge of the user and can transmit the collected data to a third party over the Internet secretly as well.

Malware:

Malware can refer to any number of malicious forms of software or code that has been intentionally designed to perform one or more of the following malicious acts:

> Infiltrate a users computer system without their consent.

> Gather sensitive personal information such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, birth dates, or system passwords.

> Create back doors or remote entry points to allow hackers access to the system.

> The destruction of critical data and/or corruption of system files.

Malware is a general term and is commonly used to include, Viruses, Worms, Spyware, Trojan Horses, and some forms of Adware. The actual intention of malware can vary but by definition it is any software that is destructive by nature. Because the term Malware is so broad it is hard to cite one specific source for the most infections.

Worm:

A Worm or Computer Worm is a self-replicating piece of computer code that uses a computer network to spread copies of itself to the other nodes on the network. Unlike the Virus a Worm can accomplish this without any intervention or help from the user. Also unlike a Computer Virus the Worm does not have to attach itself to an existing computer program or file.

Many times a Worm will also be used to carry a ‘payload’. The ‘payload’ is code that is designed to perform some specific function. In some cases the payload allows the Worm to send documents through the email accounts of the infected system attaching itself and its payload to the email as an attachment. When the unsuspecting recipient of the email opens the attachment the process starts again.

Trojan Horse:

A Trojan or Trojan Horse Virus is a program that usually gets downloaded installed and executed on a computer system which then appears to be performing some useful function but is unknowingly allowing unauthorized access to the user’s computer system at the same time.

Hackers use Trojans to gain access to a user’s computer remotely and then perform any number of malicious activities. These nefarious activities can include but certainly are not limited to:

> Data Theft.

> Keystroke Logging.

> Downloading or Uploading Files.

> Viewing the Victims Screen.

> Crashing the Users System.

Adware:

Adware is advertiser supported software that displays, plays or downloads advertisements either onto the computer desktop or into the computers web browser as a condition of the software installation. Most Adware is free to use as long as you don’t mind annoying pop-up windows appearing at random intervals advertising some product or another. I have seen some Adware that opened a new window about every 1 to 2 minutes, making it nearly impossible to use the system at all until the software had to be removed.

Additionally, Adware will almost always be collecting data about your Internet habits and browsing behavior to tailor ads specifically to best match the data recovered. In that respect it is actually very similar to many types of Spyware. In most cases Adware is simply a way to place advertisements in the face of the user although it’s a fine line before you could also classify it as Spyware.

With Adware however, in some cases you may actually be given a chance to review and choose whether or not to accept the terms and conditions associated with the software before installing it.

IT WOULD BE ADVISABLE TO READ THESE TERMS VERY CAREFULLY BEFORE CHOOSING TO ACCEPT.

Symptoms of Infection:

> Very sluggish computer performance.

> Random system lockups or crashes.

> Browser redirection – you are taken to websites you were not searching for while browsing the Internet.

> Excessive number of popup windows appearing at random while surfing the Internet.

> You are informed that your system has ‘hundreds’ of active infections and you are redirected to a website that insists you pay for and download their specific software package to remove the infections.

Solution:

There are many good anti-virus / anti-spyware products on the market designed to detect and remove these types of infections. McAfee and Kapersky are good but AVG and Avast! have similar products and offer a free downloadable version. Be sure to complete a ‘Full’ system scan and quarantine and remove all active infections. Configure your anti-virus software to perform ‘active’ scanning or real-time system monitoring.

Prevention:

> Do not install software you have downloaded from the Internet unless it has come from a known, reliable source.

> Use caution if using file sharing platforms such as LimeWire or torrent sites to download files.

> Do not open any email attachments from unknown sources.

> Use a good anti-virus/anti-spyware application and scan your system at least weekly. Be sure your anti-virus software is totally up to date with the latest virus definitions.

> For Windows users: Be sure to visit the Microsoft update site and download all the latest Microsoft security patches.

Antenatal Classes – Pelvic Floor Exercises

Most of the pregnant women are probably hearing how important it is to have strong core muscle. If you have never come across core stability exercises, Pilates, Yoga and you are first time pregnant it is not easy to understand and start strengthening the muscle. Many pregnant women hear about the pelvic floor muscles and Kegel Exercise but not many are told where they are, how to find them and most importantly how to train them.

So let’s make it simple!

What is pelvic floor?

They are a sling of muscles that sits underneath the bladder and runs from the base of the spine (coccyx) to the pubic bone at the front.

What do they do?

The main purpose of your Pelvic floor muscles is to give your organs support and help to improve your bladder/bowel control and improve or prevent any leakage.

The pelvic floor muscles relax when you contract the bladder to let the urine out.

Why are they important for pregnant women and women who have children?

The pelvic floor muscles can weaken during pregnancy as they relax from the weight of the baby and a hormone called relaxin that softens the connective tissue of the pelvic structures in preparation for birth. During childbirth vaginal delivery may further weaken or stretch some of the supporting structures in the pelvis.

Can I do anything to help protect my pelvic floor from weakening?

Yes start your pelvic floor exercises straight away!

How do I know I am actually working my Pelvic floor muscles?

There are two ways to check that you are correctly contracting the pelvic floor:

Stop test

While going to the toilet you can try and stop the flow of urine, if you can then you are contracting the pelvic floor muscles correctly, but do not stop the flow of urine every time you go to toilet. This is a good way of seeing if you are exercising the correct muscles, but may cause problems with your bladder if you are doing the test more than once a fortnight. Remember this is a test and you must not exercise your pelvic floor muscle while urinating!

Squeeze test

You can also feel if your pelvic floor muscle is contracting by putting one or two fingers into your vagina whilst having a bath or shower. Tighten your muscles so they squeeze your fingers.

How often should I do my exercises?

Practice five pelvic floor exercise contractions five times a day

There are two types of pelvic floor exercises; low twitch and fast twitch. It is important that you do the slow twitch first and then the fast twitch each time you exercise your pelvic floor muscles.

Prepare to exercise:

Sit on a chair/toilet seat/toilet lid. Make sure your feet are flat on the floor and your legs slightly apart:

To perform the slow twitch exercises:

1. Close and draw up the muscles around the back passage as if you are trying to stop passing wind. Make sure you do not contract your buttock muscles whilst doing this.

2. Now close and draw up the muscles around the vagina, as though you are trying to stop the flow of urine.

3. Hold for a count of five, breathing normally and trying not to hold your breath.

4. Slowly relax and let go.

5. Repeat five times in total.

6. When you can repeat five contractions for five seconds, start to build up the hold to ten seconds, increasing by one or two seconds each time.

To perform the fast twitch exercises:

1. Pull up your pelvic floor muscles as before.

2. Hold for one second and relax.

3. Repeat five to ten times or until your muscles feel tired.

If you are performing slow twitch exercises and you find your muscles ‘let go’ too quickly and you cannot hold for a count of five then just hold them for as long as you can.

When performing pelvic floor exercises it is important NOT to:

1. Squeeze your buttocks together.

2. Bring your knees together.

3. Hold your breath.

4. Lift your shoulder/eyebrows/toe upwards.

5. Perform the exercises while urinating.

If you do any of the above then you are not contracting your muscles correctly.

Any other benefits of performing these exercises

Yes! For women, strong pelvic floor muscles can also mean increased sensitivity during sex and stronger orgasms.