Bamboo And Its Abundant Uses

by: Pat Mcmurray (reading – 7.1. - 13.1.)

Bamboo is one of the most useful plants on our planet and a member of the grass family. It grows in abundance, achieving maturity in only 4 to 7 years and reaching heights of 40 metres. No fertilizers or pesticides are required to support and maintain growth.

There is hardly a country in the world that has not embraced the use of bamboo in some form. For a member of the grass family it has amazing structural properties due to interlocking fibres, it can withstand considerable loads. The uses of this valuable plant include; The staple diet for the much loved Panda Bear, scaffolding, form work, textiles, furniture, flooring, fashion items such as watches, sunglasses and phone cases.

The cutest of all bears, the Panda; 99% of its staple diet is bamboo.

In South Western Australia bamboo plantations are being harvested and used to fuel small highly efficient power generators. Smouldering bamboo generates enormous heat and at the same time carbon emission is classified at acceptable levels by local and international regulatory and environment authorities. Even the waste product ash is used effectively as natural fertilizer. Similar to a cash crop, after harvest it sends out new shoots and ready for another harvest in a few years. Production, maintenance and harvesting costs are very low in comparison to other forms of carbon fuel such as coal and there are virtually no adverse effects on the environment.

In Thailand and Hong Kong the ancient form of bamboo scaffolding is still used to this day. In one case reaching heights equivalent to eighty eight floors. It is hard to imagine how the entire structure supports itself let alone carry the weight of hundreds of workers. But it works, lightweight, easy to cut to size and lash together; it’s more flexible and far quicker to erect than its modern steel counterpart. "It leaves us to wonder".

A couple of bright structural engineers assisted on a voluntary basis to develop methods of budget housing construction project in Brazil. They tested the structural properties of bamboo and realised it was suitable to act as concrete form work. This reduced the amount of structural steel.

Over the past five years bamboo socks of appeared on the retail shelves in vast numbers, colours and styles. However, contrary to what is noted on the product information, the fabric is actually Rayon, which is a semi-synthetic fibre made by chemically reshaping cellulose. Cellulose extracted from bamboo is suitable for processing into viscose rayon, which is typically used for lining suit jackets and women’s clothing, but sometimes the product information, is misleading. Never the less it is still far more eco-friendly than synthetic fibres such as polyester.

Bamboo furniture is something we are all familiar with and flooring has grown in popularity over recent years. But the coolest emergence to the market is bamboo watches and sunglasses. The interlocking structure of this natural material gives it great tensile strength and flexibility even when cut thinly. Its light weight and looks and feels really great. And they are low cost items so if you accidentally sit on your glasses or lose the watch replacement costs won’t break the bank. If you’re looking to differ and move away from the luxury end of expensive timepieces such as Rolex, which perform exactly the same task as an inexpensive bamboo watch. The choices are endless and they will become a central point of discussion. But it doesn’t end there. Many other durable exotic timbers are being used to make beautiful timepieces. You can add an entire collection say ten different styles for a maximum of $200 and by rotating you’ll delight in many years of functional use.

And the real positive aspect, it supports sustainable industry.

About The Author

Bag Samurai specialises Men’s Bags including gym bags and shoulder bags in leather, canvas and nylon, plus you will find a range of bamboo watches and unique gifts for men.

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Walking Has Benefits

by: Addison Jones (reading – 14.1. - 20.1.)

Achieving 10,000 steps per day is a standard goal of many in today's society. This goal has become part of most fitness tracking devices that you can set and try to achieve on a daily basis! These fitness devices will motivate you and even give you achievement awards. While this can be a great marketing ploy, daily walking has many benefits that you may not be aware of. You don't need to sign up for every 5K or run a marathon to get the health improvements that you are looking for. A daily walk will do.

Walking is something most of us do every day. Regardless of your level of physical activity, adding walking into your schedule has many significant short term and long-term health benefits. Walking between 7500 and 10,000 steps per day is a key to fitness. The following are some of the benefits of adding walking into your daily routine.

- Helps Lose Weight - Walking five days a week will assist in burning quite a few calories. A faster pace will help in burning more calories and increase metabolism. Of course, diet along with walking will yield better results; however, you will still get results from a daily walking routine. If you are looking to lose more weight, speed walking or walking with weights are great ways to increase weight loss.

- Improves Sleep - If you have a hard time falling and staying asleep, walking will help. Ensure you do not walk too close to bedtime, rather walk in the morning or early afternoon. Walking produces a rise in temperature and it can take hours for this to drop. This rise and fall enables sleeping. Walking also helps with a smoother transition of one phase of sleep to the next and allows you to spend more time in the deeper sleep stage. Your legs will also act as tranquilizers and assist in falling asleep faster.

- Reduces Stress - Walking will help you boost endorphins and give you more energy! It gives you time to think and allows you to get away from everyday stressors. Walking outside or with a friend can further reduce stress levels. If you can let go, your mind will forget all the stress and focus on your environment.

- Decreases Hypertension/Reduces Risk of High Blood Pressure - Studies show that just 40 minutes of walking per day can lower blood pressure in people with hypertension. You will see the same benefits if you walk a few times per day. Walking can lower your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, which are all risk factors for heart disease and stroke. It has been shown to increase your HDL and lower your LDL. Walking will help keep your heart healthy!

- Tones Muscles - Walking helps to build, shape and tone muscles of the legs, hips and buttocks. It also boosts the strength and endurance of those muscles, which means you, can do more with less fatigue. This tone and strength will assist in decreasing the chance of injury as well.

- Easy on the joints - Walking is a low impact exercise and those with arthritis, bad knees or other injuries will be able to endure exercise with less pain.

As you can see, there are many benefits to a regular walking routine. Ensure you make it an enjoyable part of your day that you look forward to. Take a walk in a scenic area, beach, park, forest or anywhere that makes you happy. Make it a habit and add it into your daily schedule when you don't feel rushed. Finding a friend to go can make it more entertaining unless you want the time to relax and think. Using a fitness tracker or pedometer will help track your steps, distance and time. Ensure you have good shoes that fit well and are comfortable. Your legs and feet will thank you! Don't forget to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water. Overall, walking will help improve the quality of your life! Walk on!

This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read herein.

About The Author

Addison Jones has always been interested in health and exercise. She currently helps run a website where they sell medical products. Shop their selection today now. You can visit

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The Linguistic Status of Mandarin in a Globalised World

by: Charlene Lacandazo (reading – 21.1. - 27.1.)

The impact of globalisation on major languages is massive; especially nowadays. Due to the emerging market of China, it is beyond doubt that the linguistic significance of Mandarin Chinese has been expanding during the last 10 years. As this language has seen demand in the market, it has overtaken some of the major languages in the world, , which may mean that Chinese Mandarin may be the most spoken language in the world within the next few years.

The emerging Chinese economy has encouraged many people to conduct business in China, and study the culture of the country, which necessarily means that there is a substantial demand for foreign people to have full access to Mandarin Chinese , which is the official language of China. As a result, many language students want to learn on how to speak and write Chinese characters, which is vital in communicating with the locals.

In addition, Mandarin is the dominant language of the media, education, government, science and technology in countries like China, Singapore, Taiwan and Malaysia. Thus, studying or learning Mandarin is not just useful in communicating with people in China, but also in some other countries that have a significant international economic presence.

Just like any other languages, learning Mandarin is not that easy. Since most people are very much not familiar with Chinese characters, learning the Chinese characters is usually difficult. It requires a lot of time, effort and involves a lot of practice.

As a matter of fact, many linguists believe that in the next few years, Mandarin will come to dominate all the major languages in the world, which means learning the Mandarin language should be included in every school curriculum.

We all know that the situation of language changes and develops over time, and for now, learning Mandarin seems to be advisable, to be able to effectively understand and communicate with the many native speakers of this language. In addition, being able to speak Mandarin brings a lot of opportunities to people who learned it. Aside from you being able to understand more about the language and culture of the Chinese people, it will also be a good opportunity for the language learner to be a part of language translation and interpreting industry.

As the world is experiencing globalisation, the significance of utilizing accurate and professional Mandarin language translation and interpreting services is also increasing. Thus, it would not be so surprising if Mandarin will come to dominate the whole world in the next few years.

About The Author

Charlene Lacandazo works for Rosetta Translation Shanghai, a leading provider of Chinese translation and interpreting services worldwide.

What Makes a Good Mystery

by: Mike Martin (reading – 28.1. - 3.2.)

Since I am a much better reader of mysteries than a writer I feel somewhat qualified to throw my oars into the water in giving my opinion about the qualities of a good mystery. We may all have our particular settings or styles or the love of blood or lack thereof in our mysteries I think we can all unite on one thing. A good mystery requires a good story.

Maybe that is the basic element of any book in any genre, even in non-fiction. The story has to get our attention and make us want to read more. For mystery books there has to be some element of the unknown that we are promised will be revealed if only we hang around long enough. Or even if we know 'who dun it' how the perpetrators are brought to justice or not may be enough to hold us fast to our seats and keep us turning the pages.

But how the story is told and the definition of the main characters are close behind in terms of factors that make up a good mystery. Style, pace and plot development are keys to ensuring that the reader is not just entertained, but engaged along the way. The sub-genres of mystery start diverging here, particularly around style which tends to involve detailed and sometimes flowery descriptions or technically detailed forensic talk in police procedurals. But they all come back together when it comes to the flow of the story. Good mysteries in all forms have a rhythm that somehow just seems right. Great mystery writers have the 'Goldilocks' touch: not too fast, not too slow, just right!

Great characters are another key to great mysteries. We all remember the giants like Poirot or Miss Marple or Rebus or any number of great cat writers. But I find that it is actually the sub-cast of characters that separate the great from the good. And it's not usually the person or persons who get killed that are the most interesting. It's the Corporal under the Sergeant, or the old friend who always shows up with advice or a bottle of scotch at exactly the right time.

But what really sets the mystery category aside from all other writing is the added characteristic of surprise. Every mystery book has a few twists and turns but a great mystery book has an absolutely brilliant surprise. It may be that the butler didn't actually do it, but he was certainly involved in helping the less than legitimate heir bury the bodies. Or an unheard of relative who surfaced just after the will is read or… you get the picture.

Reading a great mystery book is like having a candle to light the way down a dark and unfamiliar hallway. You don't know what you are going to find down there, but you just have to go and see for yourself.

About The Author

Mike Martin is the author of The Walker on the Cape, the first book in the Sgt. Windflower mystery series.

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