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The Giant Face on Mars

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I thought I would take the time to write an entertaining piece on mars. Mars while smaller than Earth has fascinated scientists since its discovery. Back in the olden days of 1976, the Viking Orbiter transmitted an image of a formation on Mars that scientists found very amusing. This object had a strong resemblance with that of a human face. The scientists did not think much of the object and just chuckled in passing. They considered it a illusion, nothing more than lighting and shadows. The resolution from the images at the time were not that crisp or sharp and you couldn’t really tell any difference. At the dawn of the space age the scientists had much bigger and more important aspects of Mars to categorize.

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Why is water on Mars so important?

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In August of 2011 scientists discovered that during the “Spring Months” of Mars, carved surfaces in the ground form and this may have been caused by heavily salted water. It is of interest to note that water or H2O HAS been found on Mars. However, much of this water is contained at either the planets poles or underground with the vast majority of the above surface water being frozen. There has been evidence to support claims that Mars may have been covered in Oceans in the distant past however this certainly hasn’t been observed during our modern times. This discovery of “carved surfaces” of the ground may support evidence that the possibility of liquid water exists on Mars.

These new streak formations are taking place over the course of two earth months. Some of these sloping streaks are 650 feet deep. These streaks are currently only forming around the planets warmest areas, with the majority being along the equator, which is facing the sun more often. This is not proof of liquid water but the most likely explanation currently is H2O in liquid form. Now with that said; why is the discovery of water on Mars so important or rather profound?

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The Importance of Cosmic Dust

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Cosmic dust is by definition to be considered all the dust in the cosmos. What makes this matter so special or rather so different from the rest of the material of our universe? Cosmic dust can be considered intergalactic dust, interstellar dust, or even “Star Dust”.

What is really interesting however, is that in October of 2011, scientists discovered that cosmic dust contains complex organic matter. This discovery alone has the potential to unravel our socio economic norms as we know them. This means that all life that we know of may have originated from the very same materials that is contained in the very stars themselves. What if the stars were alive in a very different state? Possibly an absurd question but never forget that there are many secrets to the universe we have not discovered yet.

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3 Sights that Prove Space Exploration is worth the Trouble

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Space is such a large place. A lot of poets, writers, and other artistic types always imagined that it would be and endless black void. In many respects, they’re right, but with the technology we’re using now, we’re able to see much more than just blackness. We can see the color of nebulas complemented by a vast majority of stars littering the sky. Space is so beautiful that I wanted to share some of the most worthwhile photos and videos of our vast universe.

Chris Hadfield’s Breath Taking Photography

When the International Space Station first launched, astronomers and astronauts everywhere grew very excited. They thought about all the ways they could study space and how one can live up there. It wasn’t until Chris Hadfield decided to use a mix of social networking and photography that we finally see the awe inspiring nature of the station. From up above, he shows us geographical wonders and unique weather patterns. You should totally get a few copy machines in order to make high resolution copies of each photo.

Messier 106: A Super Massive Black Hole

What’s the first thing you think about when someone mentions a black hole? Do you imagine a vast empty sucking out the stars around it? Well, the truth of the matter is that these holes are a lot prettier than you think. Messier 106 is a black hole in the center of a distant galaxy. If viewed in different spectrums of light, you can actually see bright colors surrounding the massive thing. You can watch a video here.

Everything from the Hubble Telescope

There’s very little I can say about the Hubble’s power that hasn’t already been emphasized by countless other astronomers. So instead of going on a long winded rant, just click through these amazing photos.

Space really is the place; the final frontier for exploration and we can barely see our neighbors across the way. Just imagine what we can see a few decades from now? Also, I was very serious when I mentioned making copies. Look up Tech Central Station and check out their printers and copiers. You won’t regret it once you have your first few framed space photos.

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Using Space Age Tile Mortar for Our Bathroom

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When you’re an aerospace engineer, there are very high expectations of you around the home. Sometimes, people forget that what I worked on was required for outer space and that I am not well-versed when it comes to nuts and bolts that go into say, a vacuum cleaner or the “elbow” part that goes under the kitchen sink. So here comes my lovely wife with another Do-It-Yourself project for me. She normally hands me this kit or box and tells me to figure things out. Whenever I gently remind her that building and construction is not my kind of thing, she tells me that if I’m good enough to send contraptions into outer space, I should be able to figure this simple thing out. How does one argue with that, really?

Last weekend, she complains that the bathroom tiles are chipped and cracked. I explained to her that the areas which were damaged were the ones which were exposed to direct sunlight. Our master bathroom had windows and plants on the window sill. We kept it open since it was situated high enough – away from the eyes of peeping Toms or prying neighbors. The moment she said it needed work, I knew that this was the start of another long weekend.

Tiles are not among my favorite things in the world. I’ve often slipped on them in the bathroom and I find them a chore to install. I do love the colors though and the bright patterns that they make, which is why I agreed to have them inside the bathroom in the first place.

Since I did not know a first thing about changing bathroom tiles, I looked at ABL Tile Centre for ideas and inspiration. What I saw looked pretty straightforward. All I need to is clean the old tiles off, attach the new ones and let them dry. I just thought of improving the process by using space-age adhesives instead of ordinary tile mortar, this will make it more durable and water-resistant. Of course, the wife was very happy when she saw the finished product. It made me feel like an astronaut on board a space station.

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The Use of Technology in the Revival of the Hawaiian Language

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The Hawaiian language is considered as one of the endangered languages in the world. Over the years, the number of native Hawaiian speakers has declined due to the exposure of the locals to the English language. Hawaii is also a major tourist destination. Thus, people find it more useful if they can communicate with the foreigners in English as opposed to Hawaiian.

With more and more youths abandoning Hawaiian, the number of people speaking the language has declined over the years. This became extremely alarming so the locals with the help of different organizations and the federal government have exerted efforts to revive the language and increase the number of native Hawaiian speakers.

Using Technology in Schools

One of the biggest strategies to ensure that the language will survive is to make it a part of the curriculum as a medium of instruction in different core subject areas. Parents have the choice of placing their children in schools where their kids can be “immersed” in the Hawaiian language or they can send them to schools where English is the only medium of instruction.

Parents who have decided that their kids will study in Hawaiian schools also have problems since kids have a hard time learning the language. This is true if they hear other people speak English or they also speak English at home. This is where the role of technology comes in. Teachers make sure that language learning becomes more exciting using modern technology. They use apps where the Hawaiian sounds can be heard and imitated. They also have online Hawaiian language exercises to make everything more interactive. They also expose students to the Hawaiian language by dubbing American movies in Hawaiian or by writing Hawaiian subtitles in certain movies.

The Success of the Program

This program is still currently being studied if it can really be sustainable. So far, with the increasing number of children learning the language, this is more or less a successful endeavor. Though there are only a few Hawaiian speakers left, they are confident that it will survive since more children are learning the language in schools.

If you wish to see how these Hawaiian children learn in schools, you can arrange a trip to Hawaii using Hawaii holidays here.

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New Technologies in Treating Vein Problems

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Venous disease may be caused by various factors including standing or sitting for extended period, aging or a combination of these. Those who are inactive, smoking, obese, pregnant and have a history of varicose veins in their family are more at risk of having problems on their veins. For instance, retired individuals who don’t move a lot have higher risk because of their age and inactivity. Aside from the unsightly bulges of veins, it can swell, hurt and it could also prevent proper blood flow.

The old ways of treating these vein diseases include medications, the use of compression stockings, exercise and elevation. With the advancement of technology, new and more effective treatments were developed to resolve these vein problems. It’s important that you only consult a specialist in this area to make sure that you will be taken care of properly. A reputable online venous resource site would give you a list of trusted vein specialists, as well as everything you need to know about vein disease and its possible treatments. Here are the latest technologies and methods used in treating vein problems.

Ultrasound Mapping

Before having a treatment, you may be asked to have an ultrasound mapping. It uses sound waves with high frequency to create a map of your veins and determine which areas are affected. This would give the specialist a better understanding on the parts to treat, as well as the best options for your treatment.

Sclerotherapy  

This is often used for treating spider veins or small thin veins, usually in the leg area, though they can also appear on the face and arms. A solution called the sclerosing agent is injected to the spider veins. There are also ultra-sound guided and light assisted sclerotherapy procedures, which are often used on veins that are difficult to see.

Endovenous Laser Ablation

An IV is inserted on the vein and laser is used to close it. Local anesthetic is applied so you wouldn’t feel anything during the process. This is usually performed for bigger veins, instead of spider veins. You can go to work after the procedure, which is convenient if you don’t want to miss on your schedule.

There are also new technologies being used to make the healing of the wounds faster, including skin substitute and growth factors.

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How Life Insurance Kept My Family Secured

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Working as an aerospace engineer for NASA, there was always that possibility of being sent to different dangerous spots. Not necessarily outer space, sometimes just to the nearest military airport to test some equipment. The term rocket scientist, makes me cringe, but that’s the closest layman description there is to my job. I may not work with rocket fuels, or rocket engines, but I still work to create things that are taken out to orbit which should work in zero gravity.

Some days, the things I do and create get to be used by ordinary people as part of their everyday technology. I see it everyday, but the beauty of this is that ordinary citizens don’t even realize that the things they used were developed by rocket scientists for spacemen. Ours is a dangerous life: we work with chemicals and high-octane fuels and other combustible materials. My parents and my wife worried about accidents and other eventualities that could happen while I’m on the field. As an engineer, I get to fly with the astronauts during training. We also test different rocket fuel components and see how the machines would behave on space-like conditions.

At some point I did feel that I was exposing myself to a lot danger. Worried about securing the future of my girls, I took a couple of life insurance policies with a pretty high coverage. I wanted to make sure that there will be enough to spend for the children’s education so my wife will not have to worry about providing for them in case something happens to me. I got an accident and life insurance package and two (yes two) other policies: one term and the other not.

It took a couple of weeks to study different plans and find ones that suited my predicament. I knew that being an aerospace engineer was lucrative, but all of that would be useless when I’m dead. After securing the insurance policies, I also made a few more investments for my retirement. I must say that I am enjoying the fruits of my labors now and living the good life while I’m retired.

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Considering Roof Repairs? Read This

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A house is the single most expensive thing that any normal person would buy. For a lot of people, home ownership is the epitome of adulthood. You may not be married with children, but having your own home and paying for its mortgage is a badge of permanency in any given place. At some point, improvements have to be done. There would be small things to do around the house, including the lawn, driveway, trees, plants, the backyard, and so on.

Of course, a house is not a static investment. There would be other costs associated with the house. There would be utility bills, the lawn will have to be mowed, and the driveway cleared of snow in the winter. The trees also have to be pruned at some point. A patio out back might be an option but if you frequently entertain guests and like backyard barbecues, it would be a good idea to have one installed. With time, repairs would start rolling in. Eaves and water spouts will deteriorate and so will the plumbing, the cabling, and so on.

A lot of people do not believe that a house has to be maintained and repaired. On the contrary, a house starts deteriorating the moment it is built. Some portions of a house goes into disrepair quite slowly, while others would need some form of repair all at once. One part of a house which may need to be repaired after only a couple of years would be the roof. That’s the extreme scenario and it depends on where you are located. Usually though, it just needs to be repaired because of normal wear and tear.

It doesn’t matter whether you have a galvanized iron roof, shingles or roof tiles, when somethings wrong with the roof, you have to consider if the repair costs are cheaper than roof installation costs. If it’s still intact and there’s only one portion which needs to be repaired, you would only need an expert to give you an estimate on roof repair costs. If you are in Tornado Alley, and a twister just pulled out your roof like a dentist pulling teeth, you would need an estimate of the costs before you can have a roof over your house.

The roof is not a little thing, or a trivial cost. Depending on the size of the repair, and the materials, you can get an estimate of costs and you can source out the payments. You can get a second mortgage, and use this to fix your roof, along with any other portion of the house. Most banks would be happy to lend you the money to improve your home.

Besides the total cost of the investment, and also because a house is a fixed building, these usually have the longest repayment periods. Typical mortgages range from 20 to 25 years to repay. There are some banks would allow up to 30 years to repay the loan. The length of the repayment period usually means that the homeowner would be paying the for house for his whole working life. It also means that the if you keep paying on time, you would have a good relationship with the banks.

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A Space Museum at Our Backyard

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There is a common misconception that the space program does not give any benefits to the real world of life on earth. On the contrary, a lot of the inventions, innovations and development from the space program research has been a big boon with daily applications. So called space age materials stem almost directly from the space program. Composite materials and polymers were developed to make light, strong and durable materials. Many of these applications are still used to this day and have evolved to become household names. Teflon is one example and another one is titanium alloy. The former of course is more popularly known as a line of non-stick pots and pans, while the latter is used to make very lightweight bicycles – even the folding kind which is very popular in certain parts of the world nowadays.

As a retired aero space engineer, I was able to witness some of the most advanced technologies. Others seemed small but had very practical applications, such as the fire retardant suit. Today that is being used by fire fighters as it can withstand much higher temperatures than the traditional suit. In outer space, this would allow an astronaut’s suit to withstand pressure and exposure to the elements. I have several models of that in tucked away.

I did not realize how much memorabilia and prototypes I had until I saw a tv special on space technology. My wife and I were watching it and she casually said that I had more stuff than that particular museum. I made a quick inventory in my head and had to agree. I had everything from robotic arms to flight suits and escape pods. I continue to collect items courtesy of my friends. I figured we could have enough material to build a mini museum for my daughters.

To do this, I inquired about a couple of storage containers. I needed to have the large ones because some of the prototypes I had were fairly large. Additionally, there were plenty of space in our property to hold them. This will be a great retirement project to work on.

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Is Superglue the Next Big Thing in Varicose Vein Treatment?

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My wife has varicose veins – again. She had them stripped out a few years ago but they are back and back with a vengeance.  We were under the impression that stripping meant they would be gone forever but clearly not.

These days, varicose vein treatment is seen as a cosmetic procedure rather than medical so trying to actually get the treatment paid for on your health insurance is next to impossible.  However, we spoke to our health insurance company and they said they would pay part of the costs, which was great news.

The Latest Procedures

We did loads of research and found some really interesting and useful information on how to treat spider veins in Walpole.  However, we were looking for a new treatment we had heard about – a type of glue!

Now, not all treatments are suitable for everyone and there are quite a few different ways to go when it comes to varicose veins.  In our travels through the internet, we came across a number of treatments before we found the one we were looking for:

  • Endovenous Laser Ablation is a procedure that uses heat to disintegrate the vein completely and redirect the blood flow through another vein.
  • Radiofrequency Ablation is another heat treatment that uses electricity, shot through a thin catheter inserted into the vein, to seal it off after which it disintegrates.
  • Foam Sclerotherapy is a form of injection whereby a foam or liquid is injected directly into the vein to completely destroy it.
  • Venaseal is the very latest procedure and the one we were looking for.  It requires only a local anesthetic and there is no heat involved. Instead, a type of medical superglue is injected. This sets, sticking the vein together and effectively killing it off. The glue is not dangerous and is ingested by the body over a period of time.

Choosing the Right Surgeon

Clearly, not all doctors are trained to treat all conditions and, while many turn to a vascular surgeon, this is the wrong thing to do. Vascular surgeons are trained to treat problems with arteries, not veins.

After a scan, it turned out that my wife was not considered a suitable subject for the superglue method, so she was referred for endovenous laser surgery instead.  We were referred to this clinic for vein treatment in Springfield MA and were very pleased with the results.

The Procedure

The procedure went very smoothly and was performed on an outpatient basis, using only a local anesthetic. My wife said she didn’t feel a thing and the whole procedure took no more than one hour to complete.

I took her straight home after the treatment was given and, because we are already retired, we didn’t have to worry about time off work. She rested up, complaining only of mild pain and had to wear compression stockings for just 2 days continuously, then taking them off at night and only wearing them when she was on the move.

Because of the type of treatment, my wife has been assured that there is only a very slim chance that the veins will come back but if they do, hopefully there will be even more advanced treatments available.

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My Space: A Shipping Container Cabin

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With two little girls running around home like crazy, it is difficult to have some quiet time for myself and my “space” exploration. With dollhouses and kitchen sets littered around, there is not much room left for testing new gadgets and new technologies. That’s why I decided to move all my personal things to a shipping container in our backyard. This way, I can comfortably relax and explore freely without my young ladies underfoot, which I don’t really mind most of the time unless they happen to break an expensive gadget that’s fresh from its box.

Anyway, back to my shipping container project. You know why I am so excited about sharing it with you? Because I discovered a different kind of high putting it together and I’m sure you will love indulging on a project of your own, too.

The Materials

For starters, you will need to find used shipping containers for sale. Freight containers are very useful, flexible, and affordable. Recycling and reusing these materials is also helpful to the environment. It is not surprising to find that used shipping containers, mostly found lying around in ports, are now being widely used as green buildings, cafes, rolling stores, and vacation cabins among others. Why not? They are stackable, structurally sturdy, and very cheap.

Used shipping containers for sale can cost between $1,000 and $2,000. The ones sold by reliable vendors are pretty much in good condition.

Apart from the container itself (I needed one 40′ container because I only want a personal space I can retreat to), you will also need a few other things to complete your build project, depending on what you would like to make out of it.

It’s no secret how I’m passionate about everything related to space and advanced technology. So when my wife volunteered to help me put together a cabin with space-inspired interiors with a hint of modernism, I was ecstatic. It’s like a playroom with all my favorite things. I even have an LCD screen engraved onto a piece of boulder in it. The furnishings are neat; my workspace is well-organized; the finish is handsome. With proper insulation, my cabin also feels comfortable in any season. What more can I ask for?

The Works

Unfortunately, this project cannot be fully done in a DIY fashion. You will need some professional help, especially in putting together the electrical side of it and if ever you want to make some changes in its structural framework. But developing your own shipping container space or seeing it through to its completion is such an enjoyable and fulfilling journey.

My daughters continue to hover around my own “playroom” but I have not yet allowed them entry. As soon as I’m able to finalize the touch-ups I still need to do before my work cabin can be fully functional, I might as well invite them in so they can marvel about how neat my man-cave is and possibly inspire them to do the same with their room. Although I think they might be too young to take the hint.

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3 Things that Make Work-from-Home Simpler

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As a retired aerospace engineer, I have dedicated a certain number of hours in a day for doing productive research, writing and posting online. This requires time management, organizing and a quiet space that is dedicated to work only. I have come across many people who complain that work-from-home is not as easy as it sounds. The number of distractions are greater which makes it difficult to achieve work related goals and objectives. Here are 3 things that make work-from-home simpler and more practical, leading to productive results and financial gains. 

Delegate and Work as a Team
The concept of working independently brings down productivity and the achievement of financial goals drastically. For increasing productivity, it is vital to have an assistant or a team member for delegating portions of tasks. This takes into account the unexpected halt in work, such as the arrival of unexpected guests, system breakdown, help needed by a family member or other social commitments. When there is a team mate available, a larger number of tasks can be completed efficiently with greater financial earnings. To manage a team from home, go for cloud storage services such as  amcom. This makes file sharing, data storage and creating backup of files way easier. 

Make the Most Out of Flexible Timings
Whether you are running your own business, or working for someone else, make the most out of flexible timings. This idea revolves around owning your days and weeks. For example, it is not necessary to do grocery shopping over the weekend when the roads, malls and public places are more crowded. Avail the quiet and no traffic zone by completing Saturday afternoon chores on Wednesday morning. Similarly, if you're expecting guests or booked with a family member during the day, wake up a few hours earlier and complete your work beforehand. 

Own the Right Technology
The possibilities of staying mobile yet completing tasks and jobs on time are simply endless with today's technology. Choose the most suitable laptop, tablet or smart phone and take your work with you. There are times when it is essential to remain unplugged, but for running a good business and balancing the act of working from home, these technological aids are actually quite important. Having the means to stay active, send prompt reply to clients, revise, edit or jot down important points while on the go brings consistency and success in any work-from-home job.