Saturday, December 31, 2011

How To Combat Legionella In The Workplace

Legionella is a common form of bacteria found in the UK, but under the right kind of circumstances it can develop in unwanted places, and affect people quite badly. It is a form of pneumonia, most commonly called 'Legionnaires Disease' after a troop of the American Legion were almost all killed by one bout in the late 1970s.

Where Does It Grow?
As with many forms of bacteria it takes quite specific conditions in order to grow, and unfortunately one of these is in most large sized offices. Many bacteria require at temperature of around 30-35 degrees centigrade to develop, and the water based legionella loves to grow in industrial heating and cooling systems. It is then spread around in tiny water droplets by cooling towers and potentially inhaled by workers. Sadly, the effects of this are still often seen today, and in 2002, 8 people died and nearly 200 were made ill by an outbreak in an art gallery. Thankfully, modern technology has allowed us to control this vicious bacterium, and workplaces can easily be made safe through the use of chemicals and specialist knowlegde.

How Is It Remedied?
This is generally done by specialist legionella control companies who will enter a workplace, assess the risk of infection from the heating and cooling systems and then recommend remedies. These usually come in the form of specialist chemicals, usually biocides, that are used to clean all of the ducts in the building. Once this is done it needs to be left to work for at least 24 hours before use, then repeated annually at least. The company may also look into redesigning the internal heating/cooling systems if there is a particularly large risk from a certain area, but with the amount of publicity it has received recently these hotspots are usually eliminated at the design stage.

What Can You Do?
As far as employees go there is very little that they can do personally to diminish the risk of contraction; as it's mainly up to the upkeep of the internal heating and cooling systems. This is now a mandatory part of Health and Safety laws in the UK, and not something that should be taken lightly. Wherever there is water kept at higher temperatures there is the risk of legionella, even if this is unintentional. It has been known to have bred in unexpected places where water condensed, then ran down and pooled in a warm place. It's far better to be safe than sorry, and could be incredibly damaging to your company, so have your workplace checked out today.

James is a freelance writer working for water hygiene company Dakro. He is training and learning all about legionella, but currently helping the company with the online side of their business. In his spare time he writes for several other blogs and online publications.

Christmas and New Years Holidaying in NYC-A Music Lovers Guide

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As a music fanatic that loves to travel and explore different cultures, genres, and festivals during the holidays, places like New York City are great with a huge diversity of people and events. Even If NYC was the only city in the world, it would still be hard to experience everything the metropolis has to offer in a single lifetime.

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This music-lover’s guide focuses on Christmas and New Years with a diverse set of events, musicians, and venues in NYC during the holiday season. There is certainly something for every musical taste-bud whether you like modern popular music, classical, jazz, musicals, or holiday themed events.

A Brief History of NYC Music

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New York City is not only one of the economic and cultural centers of the world; it is also the birthplace and home of countless genres of music and musicians themselves. In the early 20th century; jazz gained momentum and won over the hearts of many with its unique melodies and keep-you-on-the-edge-of-your-seat rhythms.

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Fast forward to the 2000’s and NYC is still an incubator of musicians with well-known names like Jay-Z who helped revolutionize hip-hop and bring it to the main stream. The city has always been a melting pot of cultures which creates a unique environment for entertainment and musical creativity and innovation.

Times Square

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Watching the ball drop is a great experience in itself, but it is not all that Times Square has to offer on New Year's Day. The event is televised around the world with famous musicians scheduled to perform and sing. Below are a few of the musicians that will be making an appearance on the stage:

• Miley Cyrus
• Jonas Brothers
• Carrie Underwood
• Akon
• Natasha Bedingfield
• Sean Kingston
• Plain White T’s
• Taylor Swift

The celebration will be broadcast on both coasts with the Hollywood party hosted by Fergie from the Black Eyed peas. For those who are not as interested in large crowds and mainstream music, NYC has so much more to offer.

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Jazz Music

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Mainstream music has changed so much over the years that it might seem strange to hear that jazz music used to be the popular genre in the 20s. It is still widely respected and listened to by millions of people and has a large following.

Jazz music has a very ‘Christmassy’ sound in general and is great music for the holidays. Since NYC was such an influential place during Jazz’s prime years, it still remains a central location for many jazz musicians today. Below are some of the events that you can look forward to this Christmas season in NYC:

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Motown Christmas - If you love Christmas, live music, Motown, and tribute bands, this is the perfect event for you! Paul Korman has put together a great Motown tribute band that will be performing a Christmas special at the B.B. King Blues Club & Grill on December 23rd.

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The Plaza Hotel, New York City- For something more glamorous, why not treat yourself and that special someone to a pre New Years Eve party. The Lapis Luna band provide the music for the Plaza's Holiday Jazz evening.

It would be impossible to try and cover all of the events going on in NYC during the holidays in one blog. This guide has a few places to get you started, however if you know of any great events going on this holiday season in NYC, feel free to share in the comments!

This Festive Music guide was created on behalf of Hotel Club; where you can find beautiful hotels in New York close to Times Square.

Friday, December 30, 2011

4 Different Types of Bankruptcy You Need to Know About

When you or a loved one faces bankruptcy, it can feel overwhelming. Depending on your circumstances, you might not have to lose everything. There are four different types of bankruptcy laws.  

When you determine which type of bankruptcy works best for your situation, you can go to a website to find the specific laws for your state.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is also called straight bankruptcy or liquidation bankruptcy. This type of bankruptcy is available for individuals, partnerships or corporations. When you file for this type of bankruptcy, you're basically asking for all your debts to be wiped out. Most of the time, your property is exempt and won't be taken away. However, sometimes you might find that you need to give up property such as a car or a home if you are behind on your payments or mortgage.

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy
If your business is struggling, you might want to consider filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. This law is also known as Reorganization. Filing for Chapter 11 can get tricky since there are numerous details involved. If you plan to file for Chapter 11, you might want to strongly consider hiring an attorney.

Chapter 12 Bankruptcy
Chapter 12 bankruptcy law is unique because it applies only to farmers and fishermen. In this type of bankruptcy, an individual who has steps has the opportunity to pay creditors during a specific amount of time using future earnings. This only applies to individuals who obtain income from a farm that is owned by the individual's family or by an individual who has an income from a commercial fishing operation.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Also called Individual Debt Adjustment, Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to file a unique plan, which highlights how you plan to pay off your current and past due debts over the upcoming three to five years. Many find Chapter 13 bankruptcy better than Chapter 11 bankruptcy because it allows you to keep valuable property, such as your car and home, even if you are behind on payments. Your plan for payment must include past due bills, the trustee commission, and the percentage of unsecured debt. If you plan to keep your house and car, you must also continue paying all future payments.

In a tough economy, it's difficult to stay afloat, especially when fate throws obstacles in your path. Bankruptcy offers an opportunity to start fresh. Knowing your bankruptcy filing options gives you an edge as you take your first steps toward economic recovery.

This is a guest post from Delbert Pounds. Make sure you check the website of your local bankruptcy attorney for more information about the types of filings. Call and make an appointment to discuss which is right for you.

Stop Cold Turkey: Over-Exercise and Crash Diets

Over-exercise and crash diets are the two ways that most people think are helpful to help them slim down their body. A fat belly is not the desire of men and women ever since. Having sexy abs and wonderful thighs are a few things that make many of us so eager to exercise and limit our food intake. But do you think these are good enough to reach the size your waistline? Some people think that these are helpful but according to the experts and studies, over-exercise and crash diets have bad results. Let’s find out how why.

Because of the extreme desire of people to keep their body in shape, they tend to exercise more and more. Even it takes long hours of warm up in a day, people will mostly like do it for the sake of their weight loss pattern. But what they don’t realize about this over-exercise is that it can stimulate more the hunger of a person wherein they will likely eat more calories to satisfy their taste. Working out more than 2 hours a day is already an over-exercise.

People that usually do this suffer from psychological hunger. After an excessive exercise, you like to reward yourself with high calorie foods. So what do you think is the result of this over-exercise? Gain of weight, right? So, to combat this, you need to consider your meals effectively. Eat light snacks and don’t miss or skip your meals especially your breakfast.

Speaking of your meals, it is important that you have the best meal plan set for you. Crash diet is good but it can also be unhealthy to do. Why? As its other word suggests, starvation diet, it can really make you starve and make you feel like eating more after the few weeks of your diet. An excessive drop of calorie you intake compare to your usual calorie consumption can’t be prolonged for more longer weeks of diet. Many people do this, but unfortunately, they never succeed because they feel eating more. In this type of diet, you need patience and endure just to continue it.

Crash diets will more likely fail you, therefore, stop cold turkey and shift to low-calorie diet meals. But of course, this low-calorie diet needs the supervision of your weight-loss professional instructor. When you are on a diet, you still need to be sure that you still have the consumption of the needed nutrients in your body. If not, you will still have an ineffective weight-loss management. If you want lasting results of your weight-loss pattern, ask help from a professional, follow the advice and reap the rewards after.

Sharmanlow, a writer and spa enthusiast, have wonderful hot tubs in her home. She gives herself the most desired time to rejuvenate and feel the comfort of life though her Jacuzzi spas.

5 Family Classics We Still Remember From Childhood

No matter how many blockbuster movie hits come and go over the years, there will always be the family classics we remember watching as a child – and these movies just never seem to get old. In fact, many have been watched throughout generations and with some of these classics, every time we watch, we feel like a kid again.

Today, a large number of classic movies from the past have been re-released on DVD. This makes it even easier to share these flicks with kids, grandkids, or others who may or may not be familiar with their stories. Watching these timeless movies is sure to take everyone – at least a little bit – down memory lane.

The Wizard of Oz 

Who hasn’t heard of following the yellow brick road or not being in Kansas anymore? This classic story of a Kansas girl dreaming of a better world that lies somewhere just over the rainbow originally starred Judy Garland in her early years.

Once Dorothy and her three friends, the lion, the tin man, and the scarecrow, find themselves being followed by an evil witch, this young girl – and Toto too – is more eager than ever to get back home. But first, they must meet The Wizard.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

This classic tale actually has an underlying lesson – although as kids, it may be hard to detect while watching Oompa Loompas dance around chocolate rivers and candy banks. Willy Wonka, a unique candy maker, is seamlessly played by Gene Wilder. While several of the kids touring his candy factory meet with “accidents,” the show proves that there is nothing to be gained by greed. This flick, with is colorful scenes, is a great story for all generations who watch – even if you’ve seen it before.

To Kill a Mockingbird

This moving classic film, originally produced in the early 1960’s, shows the very real issues of race, mental illness, and poverty in the south during the time of the depression. Atticus Finch, played by Gregory Peck, will make all dads feel like the greatest dad in the world – while also leaving viewers to really think. Although moving, this flick never gets old.

Old Yeller

Both parents and kids alike will hug their dog a bit closer after watching Old Yeller. This 1950’s classic shows how a huge Labrador-mastiff mix works his way into his family’s lives – and into their hearts. Be careful, though, because no matter how many times you’ve seen it, you will likely shed a tear at the end.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

In yet another classic from the 1950’s era, “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” is more of a science fiction flick with some very good special effects of that time period. The Nautilus – a futuristic submarine headed up by Captain Nemo – becomes the rescuer for a group of ship wreck survivors and ends up taking them on a pretty incredible journey below the ocean. This family classic even won Academy Awards for Best Art & Set Direction, as well as for Best Special Effects. If you haven’t watched this one lately, it may be time to do so.

Anthony Silver is a blogger for entertainment and film blogs. He is also a huge fan of indie action and adventure movies.

Tips For Renting an Apartment as A Pet Owner

Tips For Renting an Apartment as A Pet Owner
Pet owners often find renting an apartment difficult. Most property owners restrict pets by not allowing them at all or to certain size requirements. Finding an apartment that will allow your pet will take time and research. Utilizing a few key tips will make an apartment search easier.

Allow Time:
Start looking for a pet friendly apartment as soon as possible. The longer a prospective tenant has to look for an apartment, the more likely they are to find pet friendly apartments. Small complexes or single family owned rentals may be more willing to allow a pet. Utilizing a pet friendly apartment guide will help narrow down prospects.

Allow For Extra Charges:
Tenants who are willing to pay a pet deposit or extra monthly rent will encounter less resistance to their pet. Many property owners have been subjected to damage caused by pets living on the property. Offer to pay an additional pet deposit for any possible damage by your pet. Paying additional monthly fees for allowing a pet may sway a property owner into allowing you to rent their apartment.

Show Responsibility:
Many property owners dislike pets due to barking and training issues. Show a prospective landlord that your pet has completed training for good manners. Offer your current landlord's number so that your prospective landlord may contact them for a reference. Assure the property owner that you will clean up any waste left by your pet. Give the landlord proof of vaccinations and proof of a spay or neuter.

Add It To The Lease:
If the apartment has a written no pet policy but is making an exception for you, make sure to get it in writing. Have the no pet policy marked out of the lease and initialed by the property owner or management. If a pet deposit is required, have the amount and terms of the deposit added to the lease. Obtaining everything in writing will protect you, your pet and the property owner.

Consider The Breed:
If you do not already own a pet and are planning to obtain one, check to see if there are breed restrictions. Many cities have breed bans and many landlords only accept certain breeds of dogs. Small dogs under 30 pounds are the most widely accepted breeds for apartments. Choosing to acquire a big dog or misunderstood breed may make apartment hunting difficult if not impossible. Carefully consider the best breed for you and anticipate potential problems with renting an apartment.

Following these few simple steps will offer the tenant a surefire way of finding a pet friendly apartment. Being a responsible tenant and pet owner will help you find the best apartment for you and your pet.


Jon Clark writes for and recommends Lyon Communities for apartment seekers looking for California apartment rentals or apartments in San Diego.

Top Ten World's Most Expensive Diamonds

Diamonds aren't just a girl's best friend - they're an important part  of culture and commerce everywhere. Especially these gems here,  which are widely regarded as the most expensive diamonds in the world.  To uncover some details about some of the most beautiful objects in the  world we've chronicled the ten most expensive diamonds ever.

10. A 56 carat heart-shaped diamond sold for $12 million at Christie’s in  2011. That price made this diamond the most expensive heart shaped one  in the world. The gem has been praised for its symmetry and its  craftsmanship.

9. The Chloe diamond has been valued at $16.9 million dollars. Guess Clothing founder Georges Marciano paid that amount for this type II stone (which  means there are no nitrogen impurities within it) in 2007. Type II  stones are exceedingly rare, the entrepreneur named the diamond after  his daughter.

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8. The Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond is currently valued at nearly $25  million dollars. Some say that it was cut from the French Blue diamond  that is 112 carats. This much, however, is certain: the Wittelsbach  Diamond weighs approximately 35 carats, and was originally mined from  India. It has a deep azure color and has been traced to the dowry for  King Philip IV of Spain in the 17th century.

7. The Steinmetz Pink diamond is worth approximately $25 million  dollars. With a weight of 11.92 grams or 59.6 carats, it is one of the  world’s largest pink diamonds. At one time, this diamond was part of an  exhibition at the Smithsonian Institute known as “The Splendor of Diamonds.”

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6. The Graff Pink diamond is 24.76 carats and was purchased by Laurence  Graff in the fall of 2010 for a cool $45.6 million dollars. Its color is  described as “fancy intense pink.” Only the rarest of pink diamonds  outweigh 20 carats, which partly explains the sumptuousness of this  stone.

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5. The De Beers Centenary diamond is valued at over $100 million  dollars, thanks in large part to its portly size - a hefty 273.85 carats or 54.77 grams. Many have described the appearance of this  diamond as colorless. It is regarded as the third largest diamond ever  brought forth from De Beer’s Premier Mine.

4. The Hope diamond costs upwards of $350 million dollars. It is on  display for all the world to see at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural  History in the District of Columbia. In ordinary daylight this diamond  appears to be blue, while in ultra violet light it takes on a reddish  appearance.

3. The Cullinan diamond is a whopper of a gem, weighing approximately  621.35 grams. It is worth approximately $400 million dollars, mostly due  to its huge size. Other names that it is known by include Star Africa  or Cullinan I.

2. The Sancy diamond is widely regarded as priceless. It has a lurid,  yellow appearance and is approximately 55.23 carats. The Sancy is  believed to be one of the first diamonds cut with symmetrical facets,  and resides in the French Crown Jewel Collection at the Louvre.

1. The Koh-I-Noor diamond is virtually inestimable. At one time the 105  carat jewel was known as the largest diamond in the war. It is currently  a tourist attraction at the HM Tower of London. In Persia, Koh-I-Noor means “Mountain of Light.”
Joy Payley is a blogger and writer for several websites including Article Writing Services and her own Street Fashion Blog.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

SPOTLIGHT: Georgia Cates author of Blood Of Anteros

About the Book...

Blood of Anteros
By Georgia Cates

Cruel circumstances turned Curry Brennan into the wretched monster he hates and refuses to accept, but when an expected turn of events releases him from the bond of his obsessive maker, he returns to the home he knew 161 years earlier and finds the return of happiness and joy in something he didn’t know existed.

Puzzled by his growing attraction to Chansey Leclaire, a human, he is unable to resist the captivating relationship that threatens to reveal his existence as a vampire. He eventually discovers the reason he was destined to find what he didn’t know he searched for and is faced with the cruel realization that the living and the immortal undead will always be separated by one thing. Eternity.

About the Author...

In addition to being an author Georgia is a wife, mother of two daughters and a labor and delivery nurse.

She recently added Paranormal Romance Writer to her list of things that keep her busy, but she is ecstatic to release her debut novel,Blood of Anteros, the first book inThe Vampire Agápe Series.

Like others that enjoy a great story of paranormal romance, she is easily bored by the tale of an obtainable, ordinary romance and was inspired to createThe Vampire Agápe Series. When not tied up with family or delivering babies, she is working feverishly on the second book inThe Vampire Agápe Series.


In Georgia's Own Words...

The Phenomenon of Reader’s Regret

I think we can all agree that with the exception of a few men, women dominate the romance genre. Women write it, women purchase it, and women review it, so it isn’t surprising to see most romance novels are not written from the males’ point of view. I see a growing demand for readers requesting the same story from a different character’s point of view, usually the male’s point of view because it was originally written from the woman’s point of view. I chose to write Blood of Anteros from Curry’s point of view, not only because he is male, but also the vampire in this complicated relationship between a human and vampire. I wanted my reader to discover the surprise of his feelings as he discovers them for himself.

Let’s get point of view straight before we go further. I’ll make this lesson brief for those of you that hated english and lit. Point of view is the narrator’s vantage point.

First-Person Point of View: Me, Myself and I
The narrator is one of the characters and explains everything through his or her own eyes using words like I, me, my, and mine. This narrator doesn’t know other character’s thoughts, although the reader will see directly into the mind of the narrator. This POV allows the story to feel more like reality and gives it a more personal appeal. The reader knows only as much as the narrator knows and he or she may withhold information to create tension and suspense.

Third-Person Limited Point of View:
The narrator tells the story from one character’s view using the words like he, him, she, her, they, and them. The narrator knows what one character thinks and feels, but limited to what others say and do. The narrator can provide readers with more information about characters and events than first person POV.

Third-Person Omniscient Point of View: Knowing It All
The narrator looks through the eyes of all characters, but is not a character in the novel. The narrator is “all-knowing.” It gives a full view of all events and character.

What are the benefits to First Person Point of View? The thunder before the lightning. The breath before the kiss. The anticipation of what could happen. I get the most satisfaction out of experiencing the emotions and feelings of a character. I want to know his or her thoughts inside and out and I think that’s why we are seeing a growth in books being rewritten from another’s view. More specifically, we as women want to know how the male heroine truly feels about the woman he loves. We read to escape reality for a brief time into a fantasy world created by an author.

What causes readers to demand the rewriting of a completed story? I call it Reader’s Regret and it is intoxicating. It’s how awesome novels end. It causes readers to flip back to the front of the book to begin rereading what he or she just finished because once could never be enough. I define Reader’s Regret as that sickening feeling experienced when the reader realizes the story has come to an end, yet they want more. Wow! If you haven’t experienced Reader’s Regret, you’ve been reading the wrong books.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on Reader’s Regrets. Please list any books that you read and loved so much it made you sick to be finished with them. I’m always looking for my next great Reader Regret read.

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**  Thank you most kindly Georgia for stopping by and sharing your thoughts with us all here at The Marsh!  I certainly understand Reader Regret...I have YET to finish Hatrack River by Orson Scott Card, for I know whence I do, the story is over and as long as I hold of these days I shall finish it!!  May all you seek you find and may it always be groovy for you Georgia~!!  **

NOW, Georgia would also love to give one of you a chance to win an eBook copy of her newest book, "Blood of Anteros"!  If you love those vampires, then enter away...

This would make a great book to check out your new eReaders you all just got for Christmas... :D

BOOK REVIEW: 7 Scorpions: Rebellion by Mike Saxton

7 Scorpions:  Rebellion is Book One in the 7 Scorpions Science Fiction series.

Vincent Black, aka Night Viper, is a man with incredible talents, talents he has no idea how he acquired.  He recalls he was a vigilante, rescuing the less fortunate and delivering his own justice on the evil that permeates his city.  He remembers his past through flashbacks and dreams and as he tries to stop the madness that is ensuing around him from destroying the Earth, he also has to fight his own demons.

Vincent has super-human strength, speed and agility and he is the only person able to stand up to Zodiac and his Seekers.  Zodiac is able to brainwash people in order to become drones who serve his purpose and that is to collect every person they come across while destroying everything in their path.

Some of the people are used as drones, others are killed for pleasure and some of used as food.  No one is able to stand up to the machines and technology nor the psionist attacks of Zodiac and the populations around the country begin to fail. 

Pockets of survivors have removed themselves from the technological radar so that it isn't as easy to track them, they have holed themselves up in old government silos, abandoned towns and army surplus centers.  It will take one person brave enough to bring the groups together in order to push back the attack that has been systematically annihilating everything in its path.

Vincent uses his wit and his skills to bring everything together and after he kidnaps one of Zodiac's generals, things begin to look better, however, everyone has secrets and some of them know about Vincent.  When the truth and climax join will Vincent be able to fully understand his potential or will he turn his back on all of those who have come to depend upon him?

I thought 7 Scorpions:  Rebellion was an excellent read.  I thought the story, from the onset, captured the readers imagination and draws you into the plot.  The story unfolds with a smooth pace without much interruptions in flow.

I enjoyed the plot, the characters and how they all interacted with each other.  I enjoyed reading how Vincent's back story unfolded, giving the reader clues into his past allowing them to draw their own conclusions before the truth is revealed.

I found the whole premise behind the plot to be an interesting idea and was equally pleased to watch it reveal itself.  The bleak future of humanity was written with depth and allowed the reader to feel the dismal outcome of the events happening on Earth.

I thought Zodiac was a bit cliched and I wasn't as impressed with him as I had wished.  I thought the premise behind the events unfolding to have been flat in its defense.  Zodiac's motivation wasn't as believable to me as the rest of the story was.  I also thought his General's were, for the most part, wimpy under pressure.  I would've liked to have seen more intensity with the antagonists.

There were also a few editorial issues such as when everyone is running hither and tither through the sewers trying to escape the destruction; when they feel it is safe, they crawl out of the sewers and Vincent's car is sitting there.  Now, at first I thought I had read that wrong, but after my son read it and found the same outcome, I knew that is was a mishap with the editing. 

I would give 7 Scorpions:  Rebellion a four out of five stars.  I would love to know  the outcome of the story, it is has captured my imagination and kept me turning the pages.  I would recommend this to any science fiction fan, especially those who are just starting in the genre.

On May 7th, the mysterious dictator known only as the Zodiac unleashed an event called the Flash Storm, destroying every major city and military base across the world in one moment. No one saw it coming. There was no warning. There was no terrorist chatter. Hundreds of millions perished almost instantly. Humanity across the globe was plunged into chaos. In the days that followed, the enigmatic and frightening Seekers marched on the remnants of humanity, systematically enslaving or destroying everyone in their path.

All attempts to stand up to Zodiac's Grand Army failed. His Seekers, who radiate a mysterious aura that induces intense fear were virtually unbeatable.  It seemed as though the prophecies of the End of Days were coming to pass until the day came that a glimmer of hope arose in the form of an exile who had been part of a super soldier experiment. It is up to this man, Vincent Black, to rally a resistance to free humanity from the grips of oblivion, if he can let go of his past.
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** Disclosure: I did not accept any compensation from the sponsors other than review copies, my views are my own, reviewed by I see it~!! **

BOOK REVIEW: The Sylvan Horn by Robert Redinger

The Sylvan Horn Book One of the Sylvan Chord is a Young Reader Action Adventure.

Efkin is a young Elven Lord who joins a quest to hunt for the Sylvan Horn and break the Runes that are about to destroy the world. 

The Elves have always been protected in their realm from outsiders but chaos is ruling and the boundaries that once protected the Elves are failing.  Trolls have been entering the forest and killing all they come across, the Elves wish to broker peace but the Trolls want no part of it and a battle ensues.  It is there that they learn that the Trolls are able to call upon magic, a very rare and uncommon event.  Trouble is brewing and its up to Efkin and his party to find out who is behind the Troll advancements.

Following the puzzles set before him, Efkin leads his group to the one place Elves are not able to go or they will die.  The Humans have the Horn and it lies hidden in a mountain of iron and only those brave enough will journey beyond the borders in order to return the balance.

Along the journey, Efkin learns much about himself and the Horn, as the mysteries unfold, Efkin is lead to the power that is behind the upheaval and the truths that lie before him.

I thought this was a decent read, it had some great characters and the plot is a believable one.  I thought the book at times was written rather quickly without enough detail to the situation and the reader was left to reread certain passages to make certain they understood them.  Other times the books pace was great and you were immersed into the story and felt the need to finish the quest with Efkin and his group.

I liked how sinister the land of Humans with their death giving iron was written.  I enjoyed reading about the worries and wonders of Efkin as he drew closer to his destination as well as learning the history of the races and their relationship to iron. 

I liked the elder Elves and the powers that they had, however, I found they always showed up when they were needed and the reader wasn't giving much in their back story which made me feel like they were an outside piece of the story which didn't allow for their natural blending into the story. 

I would give The Sylvan Horn a three and a half stars out of five.  The story does pick up and slow down about halfway and you don't feel as rushed as you read it.  I would've liked to have seen more magic and more back story involving the characters; I didn't really get a feel for many of those who were involved with the plot.  However, I can see great potential in this series and would love to continue reading to find out the final outcome of Efkin and his quest of the Slyvan Chord.

Before the days of men, there were elves. In a time they were great and powerful, the first dwellers, the brightest ray of dawn upon the earth. They brought light and music to the world and every breeze that stirs and wave that crashes still echoes with the wonder of the fair folk.

But a foulness is brewing in the east, where men deal in sorcery. They summon dire forces, unleashing a terrible power into the world. And the elves, once immortal, now fade from the earth. But knowing that all sorcery comes from Runes that were carved ages ago, Efkin, a young elf lord, races to find and destroy the hidden Runes before all is lost. He sets out to recover the horn of his ancestors that long ago summoned the forces that shaped the world. Only the horn has the power to break the Runes. He journeys into the east, but comes too close to the heart of sorcery and does not dare blow the horn. If he is tainted by the poison of the Runes the horn will sound a ruinous note that could spell the end of the earth.

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** Disclosure: I did not accept any compensation from the sponsors other than review copies, my views are my own, reviewed by I see it~!! **

Top 10 New Year’s Resolution and 5 Ways to Fulfill Them

Year 2011 is about to end; welcome another year!

The most awaited moment except Christmas is New Year. People all over the world usually celebrate New Year and even want to have a good reflection about the previous year. As a part of the reflection, we look forward for our New Year’s Resolution for betterment. To welcome the year 2012 and for better improvement of what we had in the previous year, here are the Top 10 New Year’s Resolution and 5 Ways to fulfill them that would help us to attain an improved life.

1. Spend More Time with Family and Friends
Many people lack in spending time with their family and friends and only focus on their job. This year 2012, make an extravagant to spend your time wisely with the one you loved and feel the true meaning of happiness.

2. Get Fit, Exercise More
Having a healthy body is far more important than being a wealthy. Regular exercise is a great help to have a healthy body and more balanced person. Go to the gym and explore! Your body needs exercise and so your mind does.

3. Lose Weight
Aside from having a healthy body, many people still aim to lose weight. In order for you to lose weight, it is very important to have a fix schedule in having an exercise, strong desire and good steps in claiming your aim. Never deprive yourself in joining such activity on losing weight. Be energetic!

4. Quit Smoking
There are many evidences that cigarette smoking can cause death. If you want more years to live for, quit from smoking. 2012 is a best year for you to start a new life.

5. Enjoy Life, Manage and Control Stress
You can easily manage your stress if you have time to enjoy life. Life is short and so you have to enjoy with it to the fullest. If you see yourself enjoying nightlife, then manage to spend time with it. It’s all about you who can manage and control your stress.

6. Manage Money and Control your Budget
Many people claim the arising crisis on our society. As a part of resolution, you can take control of your budget and make sure to use your money in a sufficient way. Don’t spend too much in buying your wants. What’s important is to provide your needs.

 7. Go to Sleep Earlier
Having sleepless night can cause unhealthy body. When there is no evening work, then go to bed early. Instead of spending your time in a nonsense activity, refresh your mind by sleeping early.

 8. Drink Less Alcohol
It is a fact that alcohol has negative effects in our body. It can destroy our hearts, liver and etc. Indeed, our body needs alcohol but it should be in proper drinking. Yes, drink less alcohol can be the best way to your new year’s resolution as a sort of carrying a healthy body.

 9. Eat Healthier
Start your year 2012 in eating healthy foods like fruits, vegetables and foods full of vitamins. You can make a list to manage your meals. Eating healthy foods can be very helpful for you to live your life longer.

 10. Be More Eco-Conscious and Recycle
After taking care of yourself, try to look your environment. Consider always our mother nature and be cooperative enough in preserving our planet earth. Recycle can also help but be keen enough to know its limits.

5 Ways to Fulfill Your New Year’s Resolution

 1. Start small and pick only one resolution
You cannot have it all at a time. Start with the simpler ones that you think you can.
2. Make a specific resolution
It is difficult to make it all. Choose one resolution and start it with a good desire. If you want to have resolution to quit in smoking, then do it seriously.
3. Make a plan for how to achieve your goals
Planning is a pre-requisite for you to achieve your desired new year’s resolution and goals. Be determined enough as you plan your goals.
4. Don't wait to start on New Year's Eve
Work as early as you can. While New Year is not year in the corner, plan your work and work your plan. This is now the best time to plan and work of it afterwards.
5. Positive reinforcement
Positive reinforcement is much needed. Never allow yourself be discouraged if you failed at first. Remember that failure is a building block to move forward to success. Be positive thinker at all times.

This is a guest post by Frix of Scolex Portal. This coming New Year feel free to send New Year SMS text messages. 

See the Mysterious Side of London

London is one of the most visited cities in the world, and most visitors will take in the key sights such as the Tower, Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace. Not many will venture off the beaten track on foot, but this is one of the best ways of getting a true flavor of the city and its sometimes murky past. Over recent years a whole industry has grown up offering walking tours around the city, telling tales of ghosts and horror of time gone by.

Jack the Ripper
Jack was the original serial killer, and terrorized the streets of Whitechapel in East London in the late 19th century. His identity was never uncovered, and the murders of 11 people are still unsolved. There are many companies offering Jack the Ripper walking tours around the Whitechapel area, but one of the best is Ripper Vision, which uses hand held projectors to throw images onto the walls of the area’s dark alleys. This adds a whole new dimension to the stories of the murders. As this tour is so popular is gets booked up quickly, so advance reservations are essential.

The Psychic Tour
For something a little bit different than the retelling of old murders, try the Psychic Ghost Walk, which starts outside Bank station. The guide on this tour, Richard Jones, is an expert magician and conjurer and the walk offers “a recreation of psychic phenomenon”. Although much of it is smoke and mirrors, the atmosphere and tales told are truly eerie and even the bravest people will feel a chill down their spine. Jones has written many books on the paranormal and is a true expert in his field. The cost for the tours is £8 (12) for 2 hours.

London Blood and Tears Walk
Much of the success of a ghost tour can be put down to the guide, and his or her ability to create an atmosphere and tell a story. One of the best guides at doing this is Declan McHugh, an actor and author who has been leading tours for over 10 years. His Blood and Tears Walk is very much based on getting the audience involved and playing psychological games, and many reviews talk about how terrifying the tour is. The tour lasts for two hours and costs £9 ($15), with departures from Barbican Station.

Muggle Tours
Not strictly speaking ghost related, but this tour is based on the popular Harry Potter novels and movies. The tour lasts two hours and as it runs in the daytime, is more suitable for children than the more terrifying experiences described above. Locations visited include the inspiration for Diagon Alley, the entrance to the Ministry of Magic and the Leaky Cauldron pub. The tour is slightly more expensive at £12 ($18) but it’s a must for all fans of the movies. Customers are encouraged to dress up for the tour, so don’t forget to pack your Hogwarts robes before heading to London.

Our guest author, Morag Peers works for Allstar Passports & Visas, a Los Angeles passport and visa service specializing in expedited passport renewals, uk student visas, and tourist and business visas to China, among other services.

Truly Unusual Alternate Energy

There was a time when the thought of using wind or the sun as sources of power seemed truly strange and far-fetched but as scientists and inventors across the globe attempt to discover renewable energy sources that will support our future, some truly strange alternatives are in the works. While it is unlikely that many of these will become as widespread as, say, the electric car, you never know.

Take Doc in "Back to the Future" - if you remember your younger years well enough, you would be able to tell we what Doc uses to power the Delorean for the next law-of-physics-breaking journey. If you said a banana, you'd be right. This seemed quite futuristic in the 80's - but we are actually closer to that today than you perhaps imagine - the banana powered car that is, not the time travel.

We are now able to create liquid fuel from solid-state trash - the process to do so has evolved quite quickly. This is done through a process called "gasification", during which heat is used to transform carbon-based solid materials into a synthetic gas, which can then be extracted as ethanol. With this technology now available, check out some of the interesting concepts currently in development around the world.

Disposable Diapers
America alone throws away over 18 million non-biodegradable diapers every year.  Imagine if we were able to recycle those into an energy source? Two companies, one in Canada and another in England are currently constructing plants where they will transform the organic materials in diapers into biofuel.

Farm Animal Byproducts
A company called Changing World Technologies aims to turn animal waste from farms and slaughter-houses such as bodily waste, fat, bones and feathers into a viable fuel source. Thus, revolutionizing renewable energy by changing the way in which organic waste materials are utilized. Those gross guts that were once labeled as waste and shipped off to the landfill are now being used as energy, which improves our quality of life and minimizes global warming, all at once.

At your next summer picnic, take this into consideration when biting into your favorite summer dessert. A biofuel consultant and his team found that the juice from the imperfect, oddly shaped watermelons (called ‘cull’ watermelons) that many farmers decide not to sell and just leave on the vine, can be fermented quite well into ethanol. When the team was working on drawing out antioxidant compounds from watermelon juice, they realized that what they were pulling out of the watermelon (the liquid, at least) could prove to be a great source of ethanol.

It's hard to believe it, but did you know that about a fifth of all watermelons are not harvested and left on the vine? With this in mind, it's quite easy to see how watermelons could be used as a source of ethanol.

Human and Animal Waste
As unsavory as it may be to think about, waste from humans and animals has proven to be a shockingly efficient form of renewable energy. In fact, in Norway, buses run on biomethane. Biomethane is a by-product of the treated version of what you flush down the toilet - sewage, that is. It's free - and powering the propulsion of vehicles with biomethane prevents the noxious gas from being sent out into the world as a greenhouse gas. This gives a new meaning to "fart along" doesn't it?

Confiscated Alcohol
A Swedish bio-gas company is converting alcohol that is seized from smugglers trying to sneak it into the country into a viable fuel source. After establishing a partnership with Scandinavia’s customs service, a company called Svensk Biogas AB is planning to process nearly 200,000 gallons of smuggled alcohol seized by customs last year into enough bio-gas to power over 1,000 buses and trucks. The customs services used to simply pour it down the drain but now, they pump it into giant tanks that are then picked up by Svensk Bio-gas AB trucks for processing.

Alcohol on it's own isn't what makes the bio-fuel, but the alcohol gets added to bio-reactors along with a whole lot of other waste products to create the methane that is used to power these very bio-gas trucks and other vehicles.

Laura Green may not be a biofuel consultant herself, but she's always interested in alternative energy and new ways of getting around with as little harm to the environment around her as possible.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Disney's New Line-Up For 2012~!!

The coming 2012 year is a very exciting one for the new Disney movies about to enthrall us with their stories, both animated and not.  Which one are you looking forward to seeing?? 

Without further adieu...

1.  Beauty and the Beast 3D on January 13th, 2012
Remastering Beauty and the Beast into Disney Digital 3D

2.  The Secret World of Arrietty - February 17th, 2012
Based on Mary Norton's books, "The Borrowers" and deals with the little people who live all around us.

3.  John Carter (also in Digital 3D and Imax 3D) - March 19th, 2012
An action-adventure set upon "Mars", based on the novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

4.  Chimpanzee (DisneyNature) - April 20th, 2012
Follow a baby chimpanzee named Oscar through the jungles of Africa. 

5.  The Avengers - May 4th, 2012 
Directed by Joss Whedon and starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner and Samuel L. Jackson.  Nick Fury recruits Iron Man, Hulk, Thor and Captain America to save the world from destruction.

6.  Brave (Digital 3D) - June 22nd, 2012
Merida is a determined and impetuous Princess who wishes to upset the apple cart and make her own path in life.  However, the Lords of the Land have other plans and what ensues puts Merida in chaos and fury as she must determine her true bravery.

7.  The Odd Life Of Timothy Green - August 15th, 2012
Directed by Peter Hedges, the story tells of a couple, Cindy and Jim Green (Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton) who are happily married and looking forward to having their children.  When young Timothy (CJ Adams) shows up on their doorstep one stormy night, everyone learns that sometimes the unexpected can bring the greatest treasures.

8.  Finding Nemo in 3D - September 14th, 2012
Being re-edited to Disney Digital; 3D truly capturing the colours and character interactions.

9.  Frankenweenie in 3D - October 5th, 2012
Directed by Tim Burton, Frankenweenie is filmed in black and white using stop-motion film techniques.  It is the remake of the 1984 version of the same name, featuring a parody of Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein".  A young boy, Victor, wishes to bring his dead dog back to life and when everyone learns what he has done they all wish to do the same.

10.  Wreck-It Ralph - November 12th, 2012
Wreck-It Ralph will be the 52nd animated film created and featured in the Disney Animated Classic Series.  The film will feature the voices of John C. Reilly, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch and Sarah Silverman. Wreck-It Ralph tells the story of Ralph Reilly, an arcade game bad guy, who is determined to prove he can be a good guy.

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