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Light Painting my 57 Chevy

Grant GB - Fri, 03/11/2011 - 14:59

I’ve been told that lighting a black car at night was one of the hardest things to do so I thought I’d set myself a challenge. Working with a black car is hard at the best of times, it’s like working with a 18 foot long mirror, it can look great with beautiful blue skies reflected in the paintwork but can also show all the horrors of your location. I could have lit the car with a flash as I did with my Camaro previously but I’ve seen some shots on-line with softbox style reflections in the paint that have been created by light painting. This is a technique of leaving the shutter open and using the light like a brush to paint your subjects. I set off armed with camera, tripod, remote shutter and a battery powered fluorescent tube. After several attempts  where light from the lamp was captured directly rather than by reflection I got a fairly pleasing result with a 20 second exposure. Add some cleaning up in Photoshop and this is the result.



Deb Roy: The birth of a word

TED.com - Thu, 03/10/2011 - 16:21
MIT researcher Deb Roy wanted to understand how his infant son learned language -- so he wired up his house with videocameras to catch every moment (with exceptions) of his son's life, then parsed 90,000 hours of home video to watch "gaaaa" slowly turn into "water." Astonishing, data-rich research with deep implications for how we learn.

Eli Pariser: Beware online "filter bubbles"

TED.com - Thu, 03/10/2011 - 14:49
As web companies strive to tailor their services (including news and search results) to our personal tastes, there's a dangerous unintended consequence: We get trapped in a "filter bubble" and don't get exposed to information that could challenge or broaden our worldview. Eli Pariser argues powerfully that this will ultimately prove to be bad for us and bad for democracy.

Salman Khan: Let's use video to reinvent education

TED.com - Wed, 03/09/2011 - 14:46
Salman Khan talks about how and why he created the remarkable Khan Academy, a carefully structured series of educational videos offering complete curricula in math and, now, other subjects. He shows the power of interactive exercises, and calls for teachers to consider flipping the traditional classroom script -- give students video lectures to watch at home, and do "homework" in the classroom with the teacher available to help.

How to Plan an Aquarium

How To do Stuff - Wed, 03/09/2011 - 07:49
Before you jump in to start keeping your own fish, take a little time to consider the requirements of the aquarium, your wishes for how it should be set up, and how much time and resources you're willing to devote to it. In this article, you'll cover the basics of planning an aquarium and once you've followed the suggestions made here, you'll be reassured that you're making the right choices for long-term healthy and enjoyable fish keeping. Steps
  1. Decide what kind of aquarium you want. Before you even get started on purchasing the aquarium and its supplies, you need to be certain of the type of fish and fish community that you'd like to keep. Some fish will require more work to maintain than others, so this might be one of your first considerations. There are various types of fish tank styles and communities that you can choose from, including a goldfish tank, a cichlid tank, a saltwater tank, aggressive fish, a mixed community, etc. The best choice for a beginner is a goldfish tank or a freshwater tropical community tank as these are the simplest to maintain. Or, you might like to consider a betta (Siamese fighting fish) bowl or tank but, as largely a "fish" tank rather than a "fishes" tank, it's rather limiting.
    • "Community" fish are fish that get along with many other kinds of fish and do not require unusual water conditions. They do not need to be with fish of other species. Most don't need to be with other fish of their own, though some such as tetras, are happiest in schools. But it seems nice to keep at least two fish together so they can't get too bored and it also provides more interest for you.
    • Goldfish are tough, but they do best in cool water. Don't use a heater, and keep them away from a window. They have a fast metabolism and don't digest their food very efficiently, so they produce a lot of waste. A moderately-stocked tank with a good filter is much better than a bowl - and a requirement for a healthy,long life for the fish. The unusual-looking "fancy" varieties do not compete well with the normal-shaped common varieties, so choose one category or the other.
    • Bettas naturally live in swamps in which they can't see very far (and the males, the colorful ones normally sold, defend modest territories by attacking much of what they can see); they can't move very much (and so don't move, eat or excrete much), and often don't have enough oxygen (and so are fortunate to have a special "labyrinth organ" to process gulped air).[1] They do best with clean water and might like to swim a little, so a one to 2 1/2 gallon (9.46 liter) bowl tank with a filter or weekly large partial water change is much better than full-time living in a cup, but that's plenty. You can't keep more than one in a tank (at least not without little in-tank compartments). They tend to abuse other fish, due to aggression, or be abused, due to ornamental bettas' long, ineffective fins, but can get along with some community fish such as small catfish.
  2. It all starts to add up...Be prepared to set aside a reasonable amount of money to set up your aquarium. The greatest cost is when you buy the start-up gear, but there are the ongoing costs of fish food, replacement fish, dechlorinator, etc. Be prepared to spend US$50-$100 for a small tank and equipment (5-10 gallons (19 to 37 liters), freshwater). Saltwater tanks start at hundreds of dollars. However, you might be able to pick up a bargain during sales if you know what you're looking for.
    • If buying or receiving a used tank, check it thoroughly for cracks, hairlines, and any faulty parts. You are best off buying all the electrical equipment brand new even if you get the tank secondhand.
  3. Depending on what kind of aquarium fish content you choose, you need to determine how big the tank will be. If you chose a saltwater tank, you will need at least a 30 gallon (114 liters) aquarium, while the optimal would be a 50 gallon (190 liter) or more tank.[2] The minimum size to try for a freshwater community aquarium would be 10 gallons (37 liters). If you decide on a betta, you will need at least a 5 gallon tank (19 liters). Small fancy goldfish should have no less than 20 gallons (75.7 liters). Large goldfish like comets will need at least a 50 gallon (190 liter) tank when full grown. Remember, bigger is always always always better when it comes to aquariums.
    • Bear in mind that the surface area is more important than the shape of the aquarium because the surface area is where the gas exchange occurs.[3]
  4. After you have decided what kind of tank you want, decide which (and how many) fish you want. Say you chose a 10 gallon (37 liter) freshwater community aquarium. As a rule of thumb, provide at least one gallon (3.7 liters) of space per inch (2.5cm) of fish. So, in a 10 gallon (37 liter) tank, you could have ten one-inch fishes. For instance, three two-inch (5cm) platies and 4 one-inch neon tetras.
    • The amount of fish flesh, and its metabolism and waste production, increases very roughly with volume, the cube of length. So the inch-per-gallon rule is best with typical little two to four-inch fish. You could add two or three one-inch neon tetras per gallon, but a ten-inch (25.4cm) cichlid might need twenty gallons (75.7 liters) of water to himself and a powerful filter.
    • Make sure your fish can swim several times their body length before turning around. Two five-inch (14cm) fish would be uncomfortable in a little ten gallon tank, but ten of them could swim around merrily in a fifty gallon tank.
    • Sea or marine sourced fishes must be stocked at rate considerably lower than that of their freshwater cousins.[4]
  5. Go to local pet stores or look online for fish that appeal to you and to ascertain their suitability. Then do research on those fish and see if they will be compatible in your tank. Not all fish can be kept in the same tank, even if they are all freshwater community fish (there are different degrees of "community" tolerance), all saltwater fish, or all cichlids (cichlid home environments differ, and each aggressive species' type of aggression differs and should be researched carefully). A tiger barb and a guppy will probably not live together peacefully: tiger barbs will nip long fins.
  6. Decide if you want to plant your tank or not (if it's a freshwater aquarium). Plants can improve water quality and ambiance for fish if healthy, but require more maintenance and equipment such as upgraded lights like those for saltwater reefs (which can create an overheating problem) and carbon dioxide injection (good filtration tends to aerate out all the fish themselves produce).[5] If you decide to plant your tank, be careful to choose only plants that will not get too big for your tank. Keep in mind plants are not appropriate for cichlid and goldfish tanks.
    • If you want to have plants, choose algae eaters that won't eat the plants. Siamese algae eaters ("True SAEs") are effective and compatible with many other fish.
    • Plastic plants create much of the human-pleasing appearance and most if not all of the fish-pleasing hiding spaces of real plants. You can take them out and wash them to remove excess algae. Soap and other cleaners are very bad for fish, so don't use any or rinse very thoroughly.
    • Saltwater tanks more commonly have corals, most of which photosynthesize, and macroalgae than true plants. Saltwater fish aren't easy to care for, and corals are harder.
  7. Plan the static contents of the tank. Fish need cover. Will you provide it with caves or plants? Fake plants? Real plants? A pirate ship? It is a good idea to sketch your aquarium and lay out where decor and plants will go. Try to include varied hiding spots and give consideration to the introduction of plants that would best mimic the plants the fish you're getting are used to.
    • Be aware that the decorations and plants suitable for a freshwater tank and for a saltwater tank are extremely different. For starters, you can't grow plants in a saltwater tank because freshwater plants won't grow in saltwater and the plants that will grow in saltwater (macroalgae) provide tasty treats for the fish and disappear in no time![6] And decorations suitable for a freshwater tank may not be suited to a saltwater tank; for saltwater, prefer plastic plants, ceramic or plastic ornaments. Do not use driftwood as it will leach tannin into a saltwater tank and acidify the water.[7]
    • What sort of gravel, sand, or other substrate will you have for the base of the tank? Even rocks, coral, and substrate must be chosen with care to avoid harming the saltwater balance, so always take these matters into account when selecting the design elements.
  8. Locate the tank on something very solid, preferably with all sides filled inLocate the aquarium in a suitable place. There are several considerations here, including safety, temperature, and accessibility.
    • Ensure that the tank sits on a level, solid, and structurally sound surface. Put the tank in a place that isn't likely to get bumped but if it does, it will not topple over. If you live in an earthquake prone region, ask about how you can bolt the tank to the wall or another surface to ensure that it doesn't end up on the ground.
    • Also, check how much weight the floor can take; water can cause a lot of damage. A big tank needs not only to be kept from falling on the floor but supported evenly. With gravel and accessories, a tank weighs about ten pounds (4.5kg) per gallon (3.75 liters). For example, a 55 gallon tank (209 liters) weighs around 600 pounds (274kg) when full of water and the ground needs to be able to cope with the weight.[8] A stand with solid sides rather than just legs is a good idea to help distribute the weight over the entire stand and not just down the four legs.[9] Five gallons (19 liters) can be OK on a sturdy table; ten gallons (37 liters) should, and twenty (75.7 liters) or more essentially must have a purpose-built stand.
    • Ensure that the tank is not located near direct sunlight, drafts, doorways, and windows. You need to guard against temperature extremes and these are the locations likely to cause such variations. Be careful not to locate a tank under a heating or cooling vent either.[10]
    • Keep in mind where you will make water changes when locating the tank; close proximity of a water supply and basin is important.
  9. Ensure the electrics are totally safeKeep safety considerations at the forefront. As well as ensuring that the tank is located in a safe and solid position, consider the importance of grounding the tank. Water conducts electricity, and saltwater conducts it very well. Install a ground-fault circuit interrupter outlet (GFCI/GFI) or plug all the equipment into a portable one, which looks like an extension cord with a bulky plug with buttons. Make a "drip loop" with each cord: it should dangle down and come up again before connecting to any socket so water running down it won't get in. Do not plug the aquarium into any outlet that isn't protected by a GFI or into a circuit that isn't protected by a GFI circuit breaker.[11]
  10. Take it slowly at firstSet aside a month for your tank to cycle before you get your fish. While you're probably anxious to get your fish to move in, patience is key in this hobby. If you are not going to take the time to set up your tank properly, don't bother. If you put many fish in an "uncycled" tank–one not allowed to develop beneficial bacteria by feeding those depositing themselves from the environment or a bacterial supplement with the waste of a fish or two for a few weeks–you will cause numerous problems with diseases, rising ammonia and nitrate levels, and end up with lots of dead fish. Cycling the tank is about building up the nitrogen content and there is varied advice on how to go about doing this, depending on the tank type. If you ask at the pet store, they may be able to recommend a bacterial culture that you can use (follow the package instructions). Fish author Boruchowitz suggests that caution is your best ally in cycling the tank and for a marine tank, to begin with one to two fish fed sparingly over a few weeks, test the water and if it's within acceptable ammonia limits, to introduce one or two more and do the same for a few weeks more.[12] Then, when it has all regulated after about six weeks, add the entire content of the tank. Another possibility is to use a bio-filter, transferring gravel, a bio-filter wheel, or from an established tank into the new tank.[13] However, it is a good idea to read the suggestions specific to your fish species to find the best way to cycle the tank in your situation.
    • Use this time to learn about tank care and specific requirements. Saltwater tanks, for example, require quite a lot of additional maintenance and equipment, so it's important tor read up on what you should do and to make sure that you have all of the equipment in place, such as a hydrometer, thermometer, how to mix the salt solution, how to vacuum substrate, filtration, lighting, etc. If this list is already wearing you out, it's not a good idea to start with saltwater tanks as a beginner!
  11. Find your fish. When you have set up your tank, cycled it, and settled on what fish you want, you can head to the local fish store and pick out your new aquatic buddies. After that, you might like to read an article on wikiHow for caring for your fish, such as:
Video Tips
  • Don't rely on generalist, large style pet store employees for advice on stocking your tank. Ninety percent of the time they have absolutely no idea what they are talking about. Employees, especially long-term ones, at aquarium-only stores often do though. Still, do your research. Plan for compatible fish that will be fun to watch, occupy different water levels, and be compatible with some kind of animal, whether fish or invertebrate, to eat algae but not plants, if you want to have them.
  • Invest in a decent tank set up so you won't have to buy additional supplies later. Any problems with a used tank may be readily apparent, but filters and heaters wear out.
  • When buying heaters and filters, go for the best you can afford for a pair. Two smaller heaters are better than one big one. Plan for redundancy in case one breaks.
  • Avoid placing your tank in direct sunlight. This can encourage algae growth.
  • Many retailers will sell you expensive equipment you don't want or need. Research first!
  • Saltwater tanks are not recommended for beginners as they are very expensive and hard to maintain. Start small and work your way up once you have greater confidence in maintaining an easier type of aquarium.
  • Don't mix fish from different groups. Don't put saltwater and freshwater fish in the same tank: the fish in the wrong kind of water will quickly die. Don't put cichlids and tropical community fish in the same tank: the cichlids may require special water conditions or attack the community fish. Don't put aggressive and community fish in the same tank. Don't mix very small fish and very large fish: the small ones will get eaten.
  • GO SLOWLY! One of the most common mistakes beside overstocking a tank is adding too much at once. Be patient and avoid adding more than one or two items at a time.
Things You'll Need
  • Reputable aquarium retailer
  • Proper lighting
  • Filtration for the amount of livestock in the tank
  • Fish
  • Rocks or other hiding places
Related wikiHows Sources and Citations Article Tools

It's International Pancake Day! How to Make Sourdough Pancakes

How To do Stuff - Wed, 03/09/2011 - 07:49
Real sourdough, unlike what most supermarkets carry, has the wheat starches broken down not primarily with yeast, but with lactobacillus and other natural bacteria. It may also have some wild yeasts, but with pancakes it doesn't really matter that much – these come out good every time. Ingredients


  • 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour (non-GM, preferably organic)
  • 1/4 cup unchlorinated water (distilled is fine)


  • 2 cups water
  • Whole wheat flour (enough to make a gooey mix)


  • The sourdough batter (made from above ingredients)
  • 1/4 cup of sugar (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda (optional)
Steps Making the sourdough starter
  1. Put the two tablespoons of whole wheat flour in the 1/4 cup of water, in a plastic or glass cup. Mix with a non-metal utensil. Leave it on a windowsill, covered but not airtight for three days.
    • You may have better luck if you add a little more water and flour each day.
  2. On the third day, sniff it. If it smells sour, you have a good starter! If it stinks, dump it out, wash that glass, and try again, maybe in a different part of the house.
Making the sourdough batter
  1. When you get a good starter, get a large glass, glazed ceramic, or plastic bowl, and with a wooden or plastic (non-metal) spoon, mix 2 cups of water with enough flour to make a gooey mix. If it's too stiff to stir easily, add more water. Then stir in a tablespoon or more of your sourdough starter (adding all of it is OK too). Leave this in a warm but not hot place.
  2. Check your sourdough daily. When it smells good and sour, and gets more gooey in consistency, you're ready. This will happen overnight in warm areas, and it takes up to 3 days in a cold house.
  3. Add more water if necessary to make it a good consistency for pancakes. If you've never made pancakes before, don't worry, you'll get the hang of it after a few tries and you can't really go wrong.
Making the pancakes
  1. Put the batter you will use for pancakes in a separate bowl. Set aside the original container to feed later (with flour and water) so you will have starter for your pancakes tomorrow. Take the batch you will use for pancakes and add 1/4 cup sugar, a teaspoon of salt, one egg, and a tablespoon of oil (none of these extra ingredients are necessary, but the salt and oil are recommended).
  2. Put some oil (if preferred, non-virgin olive oil) in a cast iron or non-stick griddle or pan, and heat on medium flame to where dropping a drop of water on it makes it spatter.
  3. Add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda to your batter and mix vigorously for about 15 seconds. Your batter will rise as the baking soda reacts with the acetic acid in the sourdough (this is also optional).
    • For very sour pancakes, add less baking soda.
    • For less sour pancakes, add more baking soda. Also realize that adding less soda will make your pancakes rise less, while adding more will make them very fluffy.
  4. Dump out some of your sourdough "batter" into the pan. Let it pan fry for a minute or two. Hopefully it will flatten out nicely, like a pancake! If not, thin your batter some more before you try the next one... but continue with this one, all is not lost.
  5. When the top is bubbling, flip the pancake with a spatula. This takes some practice. If you're really talented, you can flip the pan up with the handle, and catch the inverted pancake. Be ready to clean up the mess if you miss. If, and when, you get the pancake flipped and back in the pan, keep cooking. If it was a messy flip, and the uncooked batter spread out, it won't be pretty but it will still taste good!
    • If it's too thick to cook completely through after a couple more minutes, take it out and put it in another pan in the oven or microwave, and let it finish cooking there. Go back to the step in which you add oil and more batter, and start again with a new one.
Video Tips
  • You can try bread-making with this sourdough too.
  • You can always buy a starter if you have no luck making your own. But it's so cheap to experiment, keep trying again and again till it comes out right.
  • None of the amounts above are cast in stone. This is a very simple and error-tolerant process; it's hard to go wrong once you have a good starter.
  • You can keep your starter in the freezer if you won't be making pancakes for a while.
  • If you leave your sourdough too long and it gets moldy, it's recommended to throw it out and start over. You might try salvaging some starter from the bottom of the bowl, but if it has any mycelia in it you will probably have a bad batch.
  • Because sourdough is acidic, it can corrode your metal containers & utensils. While there is a lot of discussion on both sides of the stainless steel argument, why risk your bowls & spoons? Acid & metal don't mix!
Things You'll Need
  • Plastic or glass cup
  • Large glass
  • Glazed ceramic or plastic bowl x 2
  • Non-metal stirring spoon
  • Cast iron or non-stick griddle or pan
  • Spatula
Related wikiHows Sources and Citations Article Tools

How to Make a Seed Bomb

How To do Stuff - Wed, 03/09/2011 - 07:49
Seed bombs (also known as seed balls) aren't always the domain of guerilla gardeners – they're actually a great way to propagate seeds, especially on a large scale or in poor soils. Using richer soil balls gives the seeds a head start and reduces the need for chemical fertilisers. Here's a simple way to go. Steps
  1. Buy or harvest your seeds. Buy or harvest quality seeds that you know will grow well over a large area or in poor soils, without needing too much attention. Don't choose any plants that will cause ecological or other damage such as weeds, invasive plants, or ones that have destructive root systems. If you're not sure, find out which plants are problem plants for your area or region; don't just rely on general information because some plants might be ideal in their local environment but a rampant pest in yours.
    • Consider the entire habitat when selecting the seeds. Do you want seeds that will create an entire new habitat or do you just want seeds that will provide a few varieties of crops or plants? Heather C. Flores suggests that you can use anywhere from one variety of seeds to one hundred different kinds.[1]
  2. Soak the seeds for an hour or overnight in a weak seaweed solution or compost tea. Discard any seeds that still float – seeds that float are mostly broken or damaged seeds that won't grow or that will have weak genetic stock.[2]
  3. Prepare the seed bombs. There are four main ways to go about making the seed balls:
    • Shaping the balls Method 1. Purchase or secure some rich loam soil, or other clay type soils that can form a stable ball. The soil should be suitable for plants to grow in; make sure it's not too acidic. Shape the pure loam into a golf-sized shape ball using water to make it pliable and insert the seeds into each ball as you go, or sprinkle seeds in prior to shaping balls if easier.
    • Tossing in seeds for mixing Method 2: Use semi-dry, living compost (not sterilised) and powdered red clay.[3] Mix one part seed mix, three parts compost, and five parts clay. Shape into a round ball with your hands, adding enough water to make it pliable. It should have the consistency of cookie dough.
    • Ice cube trays are also handy for making many small balls.Method 3. Alternatively, save up small biodegradable cardboard cartons, such as egg cartons or find biodegradable netting, such as old cotton stockings. Fill the egg cartons with the preferred soil and seed mix as above methods outline. Pinch the tips over so that the contents won't fall out. With stockings, you can fill them with a seed and soil mix, then twist, tie and cut them out much like you'd do if you were making sausages.
    • Method 4. Mix sawdust on a ratio of 5 parts sawdust to 1 part seed with a rapidly biodegradable, non toxic and preferably food safe glue and a small amount of seaweed extract. The mix should not be wet, but moist enough to form a ball. It's better to make this version in small batches.
  4. Allow the seed bombs to dry out for 24 hours. Arrange the seed bombs on a dry tarpaulin or on sheets of newspaper laid out in a sheltered area such as a shed.[4]
    • Here they are ready for use.
  5. Make it a community event! Plant the seed bombs. If you have a plot with rows already dug for planting, install a ball every few feet (metres), (or as recommended by the seed producer), then cover over with existing soil.
    • If you are looking to re-vegetate open space with grass or tree seeds, just throwing the seed balls will create a more random, realistic landscape, then bury them sufficiently to retain the moisture for the seed.
    • If you'd rather store the seed bombs for a bit, keep them in a cool, dark, and dry place for no longer than several weeks.[5] It is best to use them when fresh though, as the seeds might begin to sprout!
  6. Watch for the growth. If made correctly, the seedling will be visible within 2-3 weeks, or quicker in warmer conditions. The process doesn't really speed up germination time dramatically, but when the seedling starts growing it has ample nutrients directly at its roots so will grow quicker and more healthily.
Video Tips
  • Organize seed balls with a volunteer native revegetation group that has been requested to revegetate barren land legitimately. This is a great way to meet new people.
  • It's actually better to bury the seed balls as they may fall apart on the surface and be eaten by wildlife if all you do is leave them strewn about.
  • For very small areas, or small quantities, it's not worth the hassle of making seed balls. It's better to dig compost into the soil and plant the seeds in the usual fashion. Seed bombs are only worthwhile for large areas where large seed tractors aren't available, or where there are many helpers on hand to distribute the seeds.
  • Don't do anything illegal or unethical. Many weeds have devastated landscapes that were originally planted by keen gardeners.
  • Seed bombing should not be done on land you don't own without permission.
  • Seed bombing is not always practical in dry, hot climates as the seed ball will dry or turn to dust without providing adequate long term moisture for the plant to live.
  • Don't use pure compost as the sole constituent of a seed bomb; it is too strong on its own.
Things You'll Need
  • Appropriate soil mix
  • Container for mixing soil
  • Container for shaping seed bombs (optional)
  • Drying area with tarpaulin or newspaper
  • Planting area for using seed bombs
Related wikiHows Sources and Citations Article Tools

How to Become an Activist

How To do Stuff - Wed, 03/09/2011 - 07:49
Activists are people who see the need for change, improvement, and motivation on a large scale. They are people driven by passion, keen to share facts they want understood more widely, and led by a vision for a better future. Activism comes naturally to some, while for others, it's something that is thrust upon them as a result of particular experiences or upon learning about something they passionately believe needs to change.

Whatever your reason for wanting to become an activist, you have the ability to do so no matter your age, your means, or your background. Having the belief that you can make a difference and that you have the power to do something about an issue are at the heart of creating change for the better.

  1. Establish what you can do for your cause. If you're reading this, it's assumed you've found something that inspires you to action. Whether it's politics, the environment, the education system, the local community garden, or the global economic system, it's important to refine the elements of your activism so that you have focus points and so that what you do is manageable. Of course, what you define as manageable is entirely up to you but be sure that you have the needed energy and time resources available to pursue your activism to the extent you'd like.
    • Ask yourself how much time you have, whether you want to do a little or a lot, and how confident you feel about taking different approaches, such as simply talking to other people you know through to addressing whole crowds.
    • While it's great to think big, it's also important to think small and gradual. Incremental change can be as important, and often more enduring, than massive change that happens quickly and disrupts people in a major way. Think through all the possibilities for slowly unleashing change through your school, workplace, community, town, region, country, or the world.
  2. I am my Brother's KeeperSource your passion. Passion often comes from a sudden realization that changes your life forever. Dr. Mildred Jefferson recalls when she realized, "Yes! I am my brothers keeper!" and she went on to a lifetime of Pro-Life activism. And once the realization hits you, it is what will stoke the embers of your activism, even at the lowest points when you sometimes feel like giving up.
    • Passion derives from awareness. Once you're aware of something in the world that you believe needs fixing, changing, or overhauling, that awareness will dog you constantly and cause you to see the need everywhere, bringing a sense of responsibility with it.
    • Always believe that you can make a difference. There are occasional arguments that start "How much good can one individual do?" that then collapse into a self-piteous retreat into it all being too hard and resorting to maintaining the status quo. Avoid that type of despairing thinking because one dedicated and persistent person can make a difference. Laurie David says that the "solution is you"[1] and that is an important mantra to keep in mind when it all feels overwhelming.
  3. Be realistic about your own needs. Activism may be about changing thinking slowly rather than achieving the actual change you'd like to see. In this case, it is wise to understand the possibility that during your lifetime, you may be at the front of simply paving the way for eventual change than viewing it actually occurring. Understanding this can help alleviate a sense of frustration, doom, and resentment about your cause.

    Amanda Sussman says that the very first question an activist needs to ask themselves is: "Are you happy with striving for an ideal, even if you never reach it? Do you need to see immediate progress, even if it's small, to keep you going?"[2] She suggests that you need to decide whether you're a radical activist or a reformer activist. The radical activist is someone who needs to continue pushing for fundamental change and will use such means as protests, boycotts, alternative summits, etc., and generally tends to be wary of those people who sit in the institutions they want changed. On the other hand, she says a reformist is happy to work with those in the institutions they'd like to see changed, using to tools of democracy to work within the existing structure to force social or political progress.[3] Yet, to complicate things even more, Professor Anthony Weston then posits that radical change is often an inside job![4] He points out that not all parts of the system will resist you and that there are multiple ways to use the system for change, "right now and right in the belly of the beast".[5] With these theories about the role of activists in mind, make up your own mind how you're going to define your approach and whether you're change from within, or change from without, and how that will impact your approaches.
    • Naturally, Sussman's approach presumes you're living in a democracy. If you're living with an authoritarian or totalitarian regime, working with the tools of that regime probably won't get you anywhere.
  4. Read books about activism. One of the most inspiring and helpful means for getting more deeply involved in activism is to read broadly in the field of activism. In particular, seek out books written by prominent activists who have tips for activism derived from personal experience. The books mentioned in this article are a good start. Then, read widely within the cause itself, to both understand the issues clearly but also to learn about the tactics, ideas, experiences, wins and losses, and other useful information from those who have already been active in this cause.
    • Read books on how to use and work with the media. This type of book is invaluable for increasing your understanding as to how media works and also to avoid being naive about the agenda of media representatives. Most of all, learn how to work with the media. Activism derives power from its ability to educate, raise awareness, and make people passionate about an issue. Though you can do some of this on your own, especially through the internet, the media is an invaluable tool when used well. Get in touch with folks who know how to craft press releases, write an editorial, and contact the press.
    • Know the laws, legislative, administrative, and judicial processes of your country and/or region. Knowing how to effect change to laws and how to make the most of the legislative system is important for every activist. Obviously, the more open your political system, the better chances you have of making use of these processes but it behooves every activist to know these processes well. It doesn't necessarily mean you will be prepared to use them yourself but it does allow you to inform others that these processes exist and can be used by those willing to do so.
  5. Choose your method of activism. While activism can take hundreds of forms, approach this as being about utilizing your own talents and resources as best you can. You are in the best position to decide how you can achieve your goals as an activist, along with the time frame, and whether or not you go it alone. Consider the following:
    • Do you want to work solo? With the advent of online broadcasting to the world, being an individual activist is easier now than ever, as you can use forums, videos, photos, websites, blogs, social networking, and even advertising to get across your messaging. On the downside, being the only person working on the issue can be lonely, and a lot of work. Sometimes it may cause you to question whether you're on the right track or whether it's worth pursuing.
    • Do you want to work with others? You could join an existing group or start your own and request for collaborators. One of the advantages of being part of a group is the extended power, resources, networks, and passion involved. It's also an excellent opportunity to practice your conflict resolution skills and to learn how to work with others, skills that aren't always easy to perfect! You may also want to collaborate loosely without putting together a permanent structure, for example by inviting collaborators to post on a group blog or get together a biannual zine.
    • How do you want to put across your message? This is about recognizing what you're best at and what you know deep down you'll be able to keep contributing without wearing yourself down. Would you like to contribute to your cause through writing, teaching, speaking, planning events, or art? Or perhaps you're great with website building, blogging, or podcasts? Assess your talents realistically, along with the time and resources you have available.
  6. Find out who is already doing things in the cause you're keen onResearch existing efforts. Most causes already have some action going on at the local, regional, national, or international level. Find out what exists now and where you fit in. One thing that you don't want to do is to reinvent the wheel and make more work for yourself or worse, to confuse things with your input. Try hard to liaise with existing efforts and consider whether you'll form a part of that or somehow bolster it in constructive ways but independently. Ask yourself these questions:
    • Do you want to volunteer with or join the board of an existing group?
    • Do you want to find a paid job with an activist organization?
    • If you're working at the local level, does a national organization have resources you can use? Often, you can use resources from a larger organization for things like information, legal research, fliers, strategy suggestions, and mentoring.
    • How will you create networks or liaisons with existing activist organizations that will be of benefit both ways and that will ultimately support the cause in solidarity?
    • Where you find no existing efforts, avoid seeing this as a mammoth task of insurmountable proportions. Instead, break it down into small pieces, and definitely aim to get other like-minded people on board. This is easier now that we can rely upon the internet for connecting easily – use Twitter, Facebook, forums, blogs, websites, and the like, to get the ball rolling.
  7. Get organized! If you want to start your own activist group, you will need to get some committed people together and create a solid plan of action. Gather a group or core committee of people who are willing to work on a permanent or ad hoc basis. Decide from the beginning what your goal is: Do you want to stage a variety of actions to achieve a particular achievable goal, and then disband when it's achieved? Do you want to form a permanent group that works on different projects surrounding a particular topic? Or do you only want to work together for a single action, for example to coordinate a protest or fundraising effort?
    • Write up your group's goals. Put your goals in writing and sketch out a basic plan that highlights what you need, what you want to achieve, and some of the big steps that are obviously going to be necessary to achieve your goals.
    • Schedule meetings. Regular meetings of your core committee and subcommittees, if any, will ensure that you can track your goals and coordinate everyone's efforts towards the common project. Set meeting dates well in advance and publicize meetings widely. Make sure you have a location reserved in advance, whether it's a physical place or a virtual meeting technology like conference calls or a chat room. Some possible meeting locations include school/classroom, the public library, someone's house, the park, municipal/community building, teen center, community center, coffee shop/cafe, treehouse, church hall, etc.
  8. What messages are you putting out?Learn how to message effectively. One thing that distresses time-poor, financially-tight, and already overworked people is being told that whatever they're doing is wrong and dreadful. This kind of messaging is bound to make people bite the messenger and turn right away from the message. As such, while maintaining your passion, also maintain a sense of courtesy, respect and a basic understanding of motivational psychology. In a nutshell, nobody likes being told that how they're living is wrong and surely you don't either. Instead, focus on enlightening people about societal and individual practices that have outlived their usefulness and provide alternatives that are realistic and obtainable. Remember that when you participate in activism, you're a visionary and as such, you have an obligation to build a picture of how things could be better. Professor Anthony Weston has several excellent suggestions in his book How to Re-Imagine the World, when it comes to sharing your vision with others:[6]
    • Have an affirmative vision, one that shows what you are for, not just what you're against;
    • Consider how you can show people what the concerns are and what can improve the situation. Showing is always more powerful than talking about it;
    • Remember that fear is at the heart of much resistance. Fear of job loss and lifestyle downgrading are two particular fears that drive much resistance to activist messaging. If you're not offering alternatives that are viable, doable, and respecting of the people who may be impacted, don't be surprised if they resent your call for change;
    • Create a whole vision rather than a piecemeal one. How do you envisage a future in which the changes your advocating for have happened? Paint that vision for everyone and let them imagine themselves in it;
    • Learn how to think outside of the box. Flip your usual understandings on their head and see how you can work with the new understandings.
    • See the problem as the solution. This one may be the most challenging but it's also the most exciting, creative, and innovative approach to problems. Delve into the complexity of the problem and draw out the strands that promise solutions with a little refocusing and rethinking.
  9. Get the message out. Once you've learned the basics of affirmative, motivational messaging techniques, be ready to spread the word. There are so many possible publicity methods available to you that it's best to concentrate on what you're good at doing and what fits in with your time and other resources. Some suggestions for getting publicity for your cause include:
    • Fliers: Create a flier that lists the name of your organization, time/date you meet, where and what exactly your organization does. Hang the fliers around school, the neighborhood (but first check to see if there are city codes about where public info is allowed; you don't want to risk a fine), community bulletin boards, inside coffee shops or cafes, etc.
    • Table-sit: See if you can rent a table, either in school, university, or somewhere local, like outside of the supermarket or in the park. Have a sign-up list, info about your organization and colorful posters to attract people (and having free stuff isn't a bad idea either).
    • Use the web: There are many great websites dedicated to finding volunteers. Publicize exactly what you need online and consider contacting schools, churches, student associations, friends, family, and community groups online for additional support.
    • Introduce yourself: The absolute best way to get people interested in your cause is through face-to-face contact. A person is more likely to respond if they feel like they're wanted and needed in a group. The person can ask questions and get more information. So don't hesitate to walk up to the girl reading a magazine in the coffee shop–she might be looking for the group you're starting.
    • Use subcommittees if you've created your own group. If many people are involved in your group or have signed on as temporary volunteers, it may be helpful to form subcommittees. These can be useful for large groups that are doing multiple projects or multiple actions towards the same goal. Here are some examples of subcommittees that you might need for a single large action like a benefit concert, charity race, or protest march:
      • Public Relations: This subcommittee does all of the canvassing, especially right before the event. They also handle any ads that appear in campus or local papers or on radio or television. They book tables for table sitting and help create banners and posters to hang around the area. They also serve as a press contact to drum up media attention surrounding the event.
      • Outreach: This subcommittee liaises with other organizations, local businesses, and anyone that might be able to support the event through advertising, funding, in-kind donations of space or food, etc.
      • Logistics: This subcommittee takes care of all practical matters such as scheduling, booking performers, finding needed equipment and services, getting necessary permits, arranging for parking, taking care of food, etc.
      • Financial: This subcommittee keeps track of the event budget and makes thing everything runs smoothly where money is concerned. Tasks include creating a budget, paying performers and service providers, setting any event prices, arranging for donations, and identifying pre-event fundraising needs.
  10. Expect dissent. Change worries most people and can cause them to react in ways that are not always considerate or constructive. There are varying levels of negativity that you'll need to be prepared for, and have your responsiveness worked out in advance:
    • Dissent within the cause: It is good to self-question and rather than being upset by those within the cause dissenting, try to examine their reasons more closely. Always wonder first if they actually have a point and seek to re-examine your approach in the light of their dissent. This doesn't mean that you need to change your approach unless you find it wanting, but it does mean that keeping an open mind will ultimately make your cause stronger and more watertight. Always ask: "What can I learn here?". Remain egalitarian, non-violent, and focused on the cause, not on the people as dissenters.
    • Dissent from outside the cause: This is to be expected. You're challenging the status quo. You will go through many experiences, including having people question your knowledge/authority/facts/respect and even your sanity on occasion. Keep calm and keep a level head. Some of the dissent will be obvious stalling, spin, and covering-up tactics. Other times it will be more subtle, malicious, and harmful. Know when to respond and when to keep quiet, and know when to bring your lawyer in.
    • Expressed hatred, whether or not the cause is properly understood: There are always some who like the fray and being hateful is a way of being heard for the small-minded person. Pure hatred and vindictiveness needs to be treated with calm and care. If you feel threatened in any way, get the police involved. If it's just pure spite, do your best to ignore it unless you're extremely verbally witty, in which case, you can probably roll with the verbal punches, with care. However, bear in mind that most people will see pure hatred for what it is and often, letting it speak for itself and not interfering will do more than trying to respond.
  11. When you feel like this, be gentle on yourself and regroupDon't work yourself into the ground. When you're tired, worn out, and at your wit's end, that's when activism can turn negative. That's when the nasty thoughts can creep in about blaming everyone else for the way the world isn't turning out right, at which point you'll have lost both your perspective over the motivations behind people's behavior and you've fallen for generalizing about everything being bad and feeling helpless rather than powerful.
    • Get plenty of rest. Take breaks from your activism and refresh your thoughts about where it's headed.
    • If you feel obsessed, then maybe you are. Learn how to tell the difference between obsession and passion; passion is a driving force that you pursue with full awareness while obsession is a driving-into-the-ground force often pursued without engaging in the why and the how of where you're headed.
    • If you find yourself hating people, snapping at them, and thinking dark, ominous thoughts about what you'd like to do to a generalized portion of the population, take this as a warning sign to pull back and reassess your direction and purpose.
    • Expect down times. Sometimes it will feel as if all your efforts have come to naught, or that things are stagnating. Anything to do with progress meets such plateaus; knowing to expect them and learning how to ride them out is important. Break through the stagnant times by making new associations and recombining your existing approaches with new ones.
  12. Work on making it self-sustainingReflect on how you can sustain change. While this would require an entire article in its own right, it doesn't hurt to understand from the beginning that a good activist will be thinking beyond the change and into the future where the vision has happened but then what? Is it a change that will need constant tending to prop it up? Or is the change you're seeking self-sustainable and liable to grow hardy, strong, and resiliently once in place? Thinking about this in advance may well change your tactics if you're concerned that just getting change isn't enough but that that change needs to be able to survive on its own. Professor Anthony Weston refers to a concept of "weedy change". As with highly resilient weeds, he recommends that change needs to be able to pop up anywhere and maintain itself regardless of other conditions.[7]
    • Rely on the internet; as Weston says, "the Web is weedy too", and given its ability to keep on springing up everywhere, what better place to allow change to manifest and live on? He also suggests anything able to meander across borders, like sports, couch surfing, philosophers, youth networks, and visionary communities of elders.[8] Think about ways that you can ensure your activism will sprawl and take root, no matter what poisons of despair and fear are thrown at it.
Video Tips
  • Consider using merchandise for additional fundraising if your activism takes the form of a large event. You can have t-shirts made, do a bake sale, or sell related books on the issue you're addressing.
  • Be creative! Activism doesn't have to involve large events. Bloggers can be activists through their writing, teachers can be activists by encouraging students to challenge their beliefs, artists can leave guerrilla activist art around town, computer-savvy folks can arrange an e-zine, etc.
  • Learn how to raise money. Though of course you can do activism on your own dime, there are few kinds of activism that don't require any money whatsoever. Artists need supplies, bloggers need hosting plans, lone protesters need signs. Some forms of activism might even attract grant money, if you know how to write a proposal.
  • When working with others, consider the needs of the group. Be willing to compromise on the details, if not on your core values.
  • Strong organization from the top down (or the bottom up) will ensure that everything runs smoothly. Don't forget to document your steps, adjust your plans as time goes by, and communicate frequently.
  • Be aware of the consequences if you plan to engage in activities of civil disobedience. Carry a lawyer's business card if you believe that you may be arrested. In the USA, the ACLU makes pocket cards for this purpose.
  • Watch out for discrimination within activist circles. Unfortunately, it is all too common that individuals fighting for one issue will act from a position of privilege on another. Examples of this include sexism in a gay rights group and racism among white feminists.Never allow racism, sexism, misogyny, homophobia, ableism, etc. to develop unchecked in a group. Keep the needs of others in mind, and listen with an open mind to concerns you hadn't considered. Make your events accessible and read up on how to create a safe space if you're not familiar with this concept.
Things You'll Need
  • Background information on the cause
  • Activism books
  • Resources (time, money, goods)
  • Internet access
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If you can't bring the honey to your tea, bring your tea to the honey! How to Make Honey Jar Tea

How To do Stuff - Wed, 03/09/2011 - 07:49
Bummer. You're all out of honey. Or are you? There are still those smears and smudges of honey clinging to the inside of the jar. You're having a Winnie the Pooh moment and you don't want to let that honey go to waste. Well, if you can't bring the honey to your tea, bring your tea to the honey! Steps
  1. Enjoy an entire jar of honey.
  2. Put a teabag into the honey jar.
  3. Pour boiling water into the jar. The temperature of the water you'll need depends on the kind of tea you're making, if you're a tea fanatic (see How to Make Tea). Leave a little room at the top for shaking later.
  4. Close the jar loosely. Don't tighten it all the way, because it might explode in your face, making for an unpleasant teatime. Just place the lid on top of the jar to retain heat but to let steam out if it really wants to come out.
  5. Wait 3-5 minutes. Maybe you can pick out a few images for wikiHow articles, or answer a request.
  6. Discard the teabag. Preferably in a compost pile, of course.
  7. Replace the lid. This time, close the jar as tightly as you can and shake for only 5 seconds. Loosen the lid, allow steam to escape, and repeat. Do this until you think all the honey is dissolved. Note that if your jar isn't sealed shut, hot water will splash all over the place and you'll lose some of your precious honey and tea. Note also that if you shake for too long without letting the steam out, your tea might explode in your face, as mentioned earlier.
  8. Pour tea into a teacup or, better yet, drink it straight out of the jar like a happy hippie. Why waste water and energy cleaning another teacup when you've got a perfectly suitable jar to drink out of? Just make sure to cover your hands, because the jar doesn't have a handle (if you haven't noticed) and your hands might get burned.
  • Make sure the jar has no sharp edges before you drink from it.
  • Use glass jars only. Plastic jars may deform and spill the contents.
Things You'll Need
  • Jar of honey
  • Teabag
  • Boiling water
  • Teacup
Related wikiHows Article Tools

How to Deal With a Codependent Family Member

How To do Stuff - Wed, 03/09/2011 - 07:49
Aaargh! Change!Codependency seems to be this generation's bane--yet, many people would have a hard time defining the word "codependency". Long an area left to psychiatry, its prominence today suggests an "epidemic" status. While many definitions exist, codependency could be considered as "non-matured personal interactions", often passed through generations within families.

While our very nature as social beings means that we are all "interdependent", most, or all of us, can be drawn in to codependent behaviors out of habit or a desire to get along. Unfortunately, this proclivity can reinforce abusive, manipulative, and/or destructive behavior. Having personally escaped codependency, how does one deal with family members who have not?

  1. Understand why you can't "cure" family members of codependency. There are as many factors involved here as there are types of people. Possibly, you have brought up the subject of "codependency" with one or all of your codependent family members at this point – with, for you, surprising results. Why weren't they thrilled by, or even receptive to, an apparent "cure" for what ails them?

    Part of the answer here lies in individual psyches, and coping methods; while you may have come to understand codependency "in desperation", because you simply refused to continue an unsatisfying and ultimately unsuccessful method of relating to people: see that your family members are in a different place, mentally, and may more or less feel or believe that they are getting along just fine – with you and with anyone else.
    • You will quickly see that it is just more codependent behavior to try and drag them into an understanding similar to yours, and probably best if you never mention the word "codependent". Expecting a family member to see their behavior as a "disorder" can make things worse.
    • Remember, talk is cheap – and unfortunately, your family member is probably not going to seek a "cure" until feeling there are no other options, since, after all, this is their basic way of coping and "living".
  2. All the self-help guides in the world won't help, if they can't be bothered to read themRecognize that just being your unmovable, unshakable self is having an impact on your family. Obviously, mentioning or preaching about codependency, and leaving largely ignored books on the subject lying around won't work.

    You are dealing with human nature here, and your attempts, while goodhearted, are in themselves more codependency. Accept that you may never change a family member's codependency, and that your getting comfortable with that, possibly counter-intuitively, will bring into effect the greatest shift.
    In fact, it is usually when you give up entirely trying to change this member of your family that change, for them, begins.[1]
  3. Ah no, as you can see, I'm kinda busy right now...Develop less emotionally-charged ways to say "no". A big part of codependent relationships is familiarity, and button-pushing. As a non-codependent, you are developing boundaries where there were none; it may help to distance yourself from the family member that you are most codependent with (there always seems to be a primary one), or each member, in their (your) own way. Then, seek to re-establish contact on your terms. And be aware that this distancing and re-engaging could occur with a single family member several times in a day, or even within an hour.
    • While initial rejections, by you, of a family member's manipulative, codependent behavior toward you are apt to be quite emotionally charged, understand that developing an emotionally even-keeled and acceptable response is what you're going for. You are in an emotionally superior position now, but have undoubtedly already grasped that displaying your superiority pridefully is not the way to go.
    • Even a response like, "since you put it that way, no", is possibly effective in the moment, but ultimately just hurtful, and damaging.
    • The most effective responses seem to be non-emotional, similar to calmly saying: "Sorry, I just wouldn't be comfortable doing that.", and "Yes, I see that you don't have the same point of view; we are not communicating.", type responses. This can be difficult for the newly non-codependent, but try to see that you don't owe anyone an explanation, as an adult.
    • If you are a minor, your best path may be to express disagreement, without rancor, while still displaying the desire to get along, without any desire to cause a problem. Since this seems wholly inadequate to some situations, there are possible changes, such as seeking to stay with a different family member, or even seeking foster homes, but these "cures" can be so disruptive that you're probably better off learning to deflect the codependent behavior than to run away from the place that is also your home.
  4. Expect change to be slow. Change in codependent behavior comes slowly, but have faith that your attitude is bringing about profound changes. Take care though; sometimes it is even possible that your change in reactions to codependent behavior may incite anger, and verbal or even physical violence toward you from another family member. Understand that often a big component in codependency is fear.
    • The fact that you show yourself prepared for volatile reactions beforehand, ready to take a verbal blow, even, without any substantial change in your demeanor (you are no longer being mentally "blown about by every wind"), will be noted by the codependent and it will have its effect. Most people resort to violent reactions sourced from their own fear, and your displayed lack of fear, to them, is... scary.
  5. Of course I went fishing alone! I can't be waiting around all day...Realize that the best way to deal with codependency is to run from it. A good way to consider another's codependency is to see it as a type of selfish tantrum. Obviously it's not necessarily emotionally charged in the same way from their perspective; for them, at least, it has been the habit of years (although that often quickly changes in the face of your new-found centered-ness), but you are basically dealing with an emotional adolescent; a child, no matter what age.
    • Remaining the adult in the situation, which includes not intentionally displaying any (infantile) "superiority", is going to prove to be the most effective way to deal with a codependent family member.
    • See that you are being watched in a new way; don't be afraid to decline invitations that you might have previously accepted for codependent reasons, and have a loving, true answer, prepared for why you are declining.
    • You have achieved a pearl of wisdom at great cost as to the emotional toll codependency wreaks, and codependents naturally have little appreciation for such things; the best approach to make them aware of this seems to be to not be gushy about it, even when asked; even when pressed, as strange as that may sound. Hey, you tried waving it in their face; what did that get you? Making it seem "mysterious", or something that (in your unspoken opinion) you doubt they would be interested in, again, without getting "superior" about it, seems to be one good way to sway a family member; subtle child psychology. Actually, this is just conducting yourself the way an emotionally mature person would; respecting others' boundaries in the area of "interests".
  6. Treat other family members "as if" they were emotionally mature. Recognize that you have spent most of your life probably being codependent, manipulative, etc., with members of your family, and that practicing emotional maturity is the best thing, for you and for them. You can still "be there" for family members, but in a more mature, and mutually fulfilling way.
    • This means just asking for something, where previously you might have felt obligated to manipulate, or offer some deal; or combating your other previous codependent behaviors (they vary widely, so pinpointing is difficult here) with mature ones; while this may be tough for you the first few times, the response is usually so surprising that it quickly becomes easier, the new norm. Instead of griping about the crumbs, brush them off the table without a word. And be aware that sometimes the temptation to "let them see you" being the mature one will be intense, at first, and hardly escapable; recognize that, to the extent you are able, refraining from doing this "letting them see you" thing, as it will be evident anyway, is the best way to go.
  7. Recognize that codependence seems to invariably be an issue where you are the "child". Your parents (often parents who have always felt entitled to everything) are quite often the immature, codependent ones, and codependency is largely a malady of the baby-boomer generation; aside from a usually brief period of transition anxiety that is almost always engendered by the parent (children naturally want to spread their wings, and fly). Understand that they, like you, are a product of their generation--and, like you, they are following their programming. You are in the (lucky?) position of de-programming from codependency, which was passed to your parents from their parents, who got it from their parents, and so on. And, while it can be frustrating, recognize that your parents didn't do anything "wrong", and that mature love for them, while still refusing unequivocally to participate in codependent behavior, will (slowly) move them along.
    • Understand also that your mind is more pliable than your parents, being younger; and, you probably never were comfortable with codependency--while they have never known anything else. As much as possible, have compassion. Genuine compassion is usually interpreted as pity, and (especially when it is not trying to be pity) codependents are sensitive to this, in one direction or another. Ultimately, try to see that "children" often violently resist lessons that they need the most.
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How to Sell Your House Without an Agent

How To do Stuff - Wed, 03/09/2011 - 07:49
Although many sellers choose to sell their homes through an agent of some kind, typically a real estate agent, the use of a third party is not required by most state laws (check your state). For a motivated and dedicated homeowner it is possible to save money, commissions, by selling your home without an agent. If you decide to self-list, what follows are some simple but very important steps to help you on your journey. Steps Before You Become a For Sale by Owner
  1. Prior to reaching a decision on selling your house without an agent, it is strongly recommended that you speak to a few realtors before you make the decision. Most For-Sale-by-Owners (FSBO) end up listing and waste time and money that they will not recoup.
    • Not all realtors are equal and not every agent has the same experience, expertise and dedication to making sure that their sellers net the most money from their sale. They all talk the talk but make sure to speak to references and ask the prospective agent the questions that are important to you. The right agent will not only make sure you get the best possible contract price and terms possible in your market but will stay with you through all phases of the transaction to make sure your home sale will close. Either way you decide to do it, best of luck!
Preparations: Timing Your Sale
  1. Sometimes circumstances determine the timingDetermine a good time to list your home. There are certain times of the year where selling is probably more profitable than others, although this will also be dependent on where you're located and relevant events in your area.
    • Many people suggest the week after the Super Bowl (in America) as the best time to list your home. While trends show that this time is ideal and has the most buyers, it also tends to be the time of year with the most sellers.
    • It will be more difficult to sell a family-sized home once school has started or to sell it at an ideal price. This is simply because it is a tough and traumatic move for families with children changing school mid-semester.
  2. What time of year is your property looking it's best?Consider the weather. Sooner is generally better if you want to "beat other homes onto the market", but take into consideration the weather. Depending on your geographic location you may have excessive cold and/or snow to deal with. How does your yard look with two feet of snow? Would your home be better to show in the spring, when your yard and beautiful landscaping can be at their most appealing to buyers?
Preparing the House for Buyers
  1. Time to clear it all!De-clutter the house right from the start. In packing things for your eventual move, be sure to leave essentials. Remember you may still need to sleep, eat, and live in this home in the short term, but now is the time to remove anything which is not essential. If you are not taking anything with you, give it away, donate it, or trash it. Extra furniture and items of clutter make homes look smaller and give the impression that there is less room than there is. Children should choose a limited number of toys, then pack the rest. If necessary, the toys can be rotated.
    • Store it! Tons of companies specialize in storage, from off-site storage units to companies which pick up and drop off storage units at your door get rid of all non-essential furniture, silverware, etc.
    • Sell and donate! Although some of your things may not be coming with you, it may be difficult to part with items you feel are valuable. Give yourself a budget and a time line, and try to sell these items until either the budget or the time line have been expired. In the end, your life, and your upcoming move are more important.
  2. Remove your family photos; they're a distractionDe-personalize the house. Try to make your home "neutral". The idea is to let the buyers imagine themselves in your home, without any overlays of your own preferences, beliefs, styles, etc.
    • Remove religious items and most, if not all, family photos.
    • Remove unique decorations and paint in neutral colors. Colors which have universal appeal are usually tan, beige, and gray.
    • Clean and organize the house including floors, carpets, closets, and windows.
    • Make arrangements for pets, children, and other family members to be out of the house whenever possible when the home is being shown. Distractions don't allow the buyers to really see the home. Most rooms get a two second look - you don't want that two seconds to be staring at your family photos or admiring your wonderful pet.
  3. What's the kerb appeal like?Consider first impressions or curb appeal. Prepare the outside of the property:
    • Winter: Make sure walks and stairs are shoveled and safe to walk. Think about access to the backyard and detached garages too.
    • Spring and summer: Consider refreshing the home with paint, if needed and plant flowers in flowerbeds and especially in pots for part of your staging to make the home more inviting.
  4. Put safety first. If you live alone, be smart. You probably shouldn't be the only one home when the home is open for inspection. Unfortunately, not everyone may be coming just to buy or look.
  5. Put away valuables--safely and securely locked up. Since you don't want to feel like you need to tail buyers, cash and jewelery should be in a safe and out of sight.
Informing your Buyers: Paperwork and Handouts
  1. Make the acceptance of any offer and closing contingent on approval of the contract and paperwork by your attorney. Have the contract and closing paperwork checked by your attorney immediately. Be sure that the mortgage papers and the deed are prepared properly for your, the seller's, protection. You will be signing over your rights, including the title and deed to the other parties, so it has to be done correctly.
  2. Require your buyer to buy a buyer's title insurance policy, so that if there were any problem with the title or any cloud on the title found after the closing, then the title insurance will be responsible for making it right, not you.
  3. Think about the improvements you've madePrepare a list of all improvements and upgrades for buyers. You might also include a list of all exclusions or items that may be subject to negotiation.
    • Have information on hand about commuting, schools, and your town or community. The buyers may be from out of the area and not be familiar with roads, schools or local transportation. Be prepared to answer questions about why you are moving.
  4. Lead paint is one disclosureSort out any disclosures you need to make. Some disclosures are not mandatory on a FSBO, but having one available can answer many buyer questions about your home.
    • Lead paint disclosure is mandatory even with a FSBO, so make sure you have one for your home, particularly if it were built before 1978.
    • Disclosure forms are generally available online or at your local office supply store.
Open House Time
  1. Get good exposure. Selling a home is about exposure, so anything that will expose your home to more people is beneficial. You need to balance the cost of local newspaper advertising, flyers, posted property information sheets, and word-of-mouth to your neighbors and friends. Costs can add up quickly so calculate what you are willing to spend and spend wisely. Whatever you do, make sure you put a sign in your yard with the best method to contact you and for open houses, put some directional signs up as well. The busier your street, the more valuable the "For Sale" sign.
    • You can also spend money to put your home on Internet sites. Choose your sites carefully, many of these sights are designed to promote the organization hosting them. Check the site out first. If the majority of homes have not been recently updated, the buyer is going to get frustrated and may never find your home in the listings. Too often these sites are not maintained well and many of the homes were listed with an agent and already sold months ago. Buyers quickly lose patience when their search is not productive.
Sold! What to Expect Next
  1. Negotiate the contract. After having your home on the market and letting buyers see it, you finally have found someone who would like to make you an offer. Congratulations, now for the hard part.
  2. Know how to accept an offer. Only accept written offers! If your buyer is serious, they will write up an offer. You need a contract for the buyer to use; so you can find one online, or ask your real estate attorney for one. Be aware that the buyer is buying directly from you to save the commission, too, so don’t be surprised, if the offers come in lower than you planned. Be prepared to negotiate and defend your price with other recent home sales in your area. If you are able to agree on a price, read the offer, sign the contract and send it to your real estate attorney contingent on approval by the attorney. The contract should be accompanied with a mortgage pre-approval from a qualified lender as well as an initial deposit check.
    • If the buyer has a buyer's agent, as seller you will be paying this agent at the closing. Be aware that this individual is not representing you, and is actively working against you getting the best price available. So don’t be surprised when the agent is more concerned with the buyer than with your needs during contract negotiation, inspection issues and bank appraisal. If something they say sounds off, it would be worth it to talk with an attorney or discuss with realty agents to see about getting yourself a selling agent; while saving money with a FSBO is great, it's not worth it, if the buyer's agent loses you thousands of dollars.
    • If you accept a contingency offer, you have to be aware that the buyer's purchasing your property is not a done deal. You may be depending on the buyer to set a reasonable sale price on their home, and accept a reasonable offer (contingent on their selling their house before they buy yours). If anything goes wrong on their end, you lose your contract and are back to square one without any remedies available to you.
  3. Deal with the inspection. If the buyer's agent is part-time, they may not have the knowledge to explain true value to their buyers or to know how to get those buyers to pay a higher price. During inspection, anything the inspector points out is of concern (especially to a first time buyer).
    • Be prepared to respond to buyers’ concerns. Inspection issues are the biggest reason contracts fall apart. Without an agent to advise you on what is a reasonable issue and what is customary, you will need to discuss these things with an attorney or do some serious research online. Ultimately, it always comes down to how much you want to sell and how much they like your home.
    • "Certificate of Occupancy" or "Fire and Safety Inspection". Check with your town and find out which regulation you need to comply with. If you need a Certificate of Occupancy, find out what the inspector will be looking for. If you need only Fire and Safety, find out the requirements for the smoke detector, fire extinguisher and carbon monoxide detector so that when the inspector comes there will be no issues, and you will get the certificate you need for closing.
  4. Expect bank appraisal. The bank who is giving the loan to the buyer will need to appraise your property. Banks are not being generous with appraisals. Without an agent to substantiate a price, you will have to rely on the appraiser to pick the right comps. Be aware that if you buyer is doing a conventional loan and putting down 20 percent or less, they cannot get a loan, if the home does not appraise for at least as much as you you were offered. If they are going FHA, you will be stuck with the appraisal given for six months, even if there is a different buyer.
    • If your home does not appraise, discuss your options with your attorney and ask him to talk to the buyers’ attorney. You may need to lower your price to the bank appraisal amount, even if that is below the contract price, if you really want to sell.
  5. Expect other reasons for not going through with the deal. Alternatively, your buyer may not be able to get their loan. Bank regulations keep changing and it is getting more and more difficult to qualify. Buyers who use a non-bank or large well known reputable lender may be held up for days weeks or months even when there are no real issues with their qualifying for the loan. Of course, sometimes circumstances change and the buyers no longer qualify and can’t get the loan and therefore cannot buy the house.
    • Inspection issues and bank appraisal are contract contingencies. If you and the buyer cannot come to an agreement, the contract is canceled and the buyer will probably get their monies back. This can be costly to you, as not only is your home now “older inventory” but the new buyers may be concerned that there are inspection issues that they cannot see. In a declining market, the price you need to set when you go back on the market may be lower than your original offer.
Leaving the Sold House
  1. Don’t forget that you need to arrange for a final water reading a few days before closing. This information needs to be sent directly to the attorneys who are preparing the closing so that payment is made for outstanding water bill out of the proceeds of the sale.
  2. Pack and get ready to move. If everything goes well and all contingencies are met – get ready to move. You are responsible for keeping the house in the same condition as when the buyers inspected it except for repairs or replacements you agreed to make. Buyers will go through the house again before closing so make sure you plan to be out at least the night before and be sure to leave the home in broom clean condition.
Video Things You'll Need
  • Appropriate forms
Related wikiHows Sources and Citations Article Tools

How to Make Edamame Dip

How To do Stuff - Wed, 03/09/2011 - 07:49
Commonly found in Korea, Hawaii, China, and Japan edamame can be enjoyed as a snack, appetizer, or a side meal. It can also be enjoyed as a chip dip. Here is how to make edamame dip. Ingredients
  • 12 ounces (340g) shelled edamame, cooked and cooled
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1 large garlic clove, sliced
  • 1/2 cup tightly packed parsley or cilantro
  • 1/2 tablespoon miso
  • 1 teaspoon red chile paste
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  1. Add the edamame, onion, garlic, parsley, miso, chile paste, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to a food processor.
  2. Mince everything together.
  3. Drizzle in the olive oil. Turn the food processor off when everything is completely mixed and puréed.
  4. Serve. Place the edamame dip in a dip dish or platter. Serve with chips, bread sticks, and raw veggies for dipping.
Video Tips
  • This edamame dip can be stored in an airtight container up to five days.
Things You'll Need
  • Food processor
  • Dip bowl or platter
Related wikiHows Sources and Citations

This video on 5min.com is an Alton brown food network recipe.

Article Tools

How to Throw a Children's Tea Party

How To do Stuff - Wed, 03/09/2011 - 07:49
Holding a children's tea party is a fun way to have a party for girls and/or boys and can even present an opportunity to introduce children to the custom of tea drinking. While it's ultimately up to you how you personalize your children's tea party, use these tips and ideas to guide your way to having a tea-riffic party that is fun, memorable and easy! Steps
  1. Decide on a theme. There are many possibilities, including a princess tea party, fairy tea party, Victorian tea party, etc.
  2. Decide on the day and time. Most often a weekend day is easiest for parents and children alike. Choose whether morning or afternoon tea fits the ages and schedules of the children best.
    • Hold morning tea any time between 10:00am and 12 noon.
    • Hold afternoon tea any time between 2:00pm and 5:00pm, possibly later if it's summer time with long warm nights.
    • Try to avoid holidays, including a few days before, to ensure guests are able to attend.
  3. Prepare your guest list. Aim to send invitations out at least two weeks ahead, or more if possible, to allow for the best possible turnout. Three to four weeks notice is best.
    • Let your child be involved in the planning and picking out of the tea party invitations, accessories, etc., to make it her own.
  4. Make the invitations. For children, the cuter and more colourful, the better. Perhaps theme it on well-known tea drinkers like the Mad Hatter. Or use a teabag or teapot and teacup design for the invitation. Cake shapes also make wonderful invitation ideas.
  5. Visit your local party storeShop for the items needed. Look for decorations, tea party favors, and tea party dress-up pieces for your guests if you're providing these.
    • Some businesses offer fairy tea party kits, as well as trained party facilitators, to help guide your event. Kits typically include some combination of instructional booklets, teacups, costumes, games, and fairy trinkets.
  6. Put together the party favors. All children love to take home some party favors, so it's a nice idea to include for a tea party too. Ideas for the bag include:
    • Small toys
    • Some teabags
    • Cookies or biscuits in the shape of teapots or teacups - these can be enough alone if decorated and wrapped in cellophane and tied with a pretty ribbon
    • Lollies (candies).
  7. Place the party somewhere cuteDecorate for the tea party. Decide whether it's going to be indoors or outdoors. Indoors gives you more flexibility if the weather turns nasty but outdoors gives plenty of space for spills and the release of energy. If you have an in-between space like a patio or pergola, that might be ideal.
    • Decorate the table with tablecloth, flowers, pretty tableware and teapots. Cake stands will also be essential. Use cute plates and cake stands to match the theme of the party.
    • Have place cards if you need the children to sit at precise spots; otherwise, let them choose, or just run about.
    • If it's girls only, include some girly items that are commonplace at parties for young girls, such as costume tiaras, feather boas, and costume jewelery.
    • Decorate the party room or area the morning before the tea party. White lights add a magical feel.
  8. Put together a music compilation. Search for music with a tea or tea party theme online. There are numerous songs about drinking tea, such as "Tea for Two". Create a playlist and have it on in the background for the party. This can also be used for games like musical chairs.
  9. Set up some games. Even though it's a tea party, since children are going to be there, games are a must. Make your own tea party hat with tea party hat kits found online. Games like "pass the teacup", dress up clothes relay races, and stacking sugar cubes into a tower are sure to bring giggles. Some other ideas for games include:
  10. "My first teacup"Prepare the food. The food for the party can include sandwiches, pastries, cupcakes, cakes, biscuits (cookies), lollies (candies), fruit, raisin toast, scones, etc. If you're hosting at an outside venue, you may be asked to bring your own cake. Food you might like to consider having:
  11. Prepare the tea. The type of tea you use will depend on the ages of the children. If they're very young, stick with non-caffeinated teas and tisanes. For older children, make weak pots of tea. Ideas include:
  12. Younger children should practice only with cold tea or other cold liquidsHelp children with the tea. If the children are too young to handle hot items, do not give them anything hot to hold or drink. Be age aware and help with teapot pouring for older children; provide smaller teapots to make it easier for them.
    • Have other drinks available for children who don't want the tea, such as juice, water, soda drinks, milkshakes, etc. Serve pink lemonade tea or sparkling punch in the teapot for the very young. You can even call it "magic tea" and have each guest say what she thinks your magic tea tastes like (bubblegum, strawberry lollipops, candy canes, etc.).
    • Have toy tea-sets on hand for very young children. They can simply mimic the action rather than participate in any of the tea pouring and drinking.
    • Children's tea parties can include real teacups sized just for their hands - search "demitasse teacups" to find special sizes just for them. Children at age 5 or above have no problem keeping these steady, allowing the birthday girl serve the tea.
Video Tips
  • Do as much ahead of time as possible - prepare food the day before and steep tea just before guests arrive. Use caffeine-free tea for children!
  • If you're part of a church group, Girl Scouts, etc., search "wholesale tea party" on the internet to find items that save money.
  • Consider cupcakes, petit fours, pretty little cookies, bite-size fruit, peanut butter and jelly cutouts, small cookies, veggies and dip, etc. as opposed to cutting a big cake - it creates less mess, and tea parties usually serve finger foods.
  • Take lots of photos, and include one in the Thank You notes sent within one week of your tea party.
  • Spills will happen - don't make a big fuss and embarrass the child. Keep a spray bottle with seltzer water on hand to quickly blot up messes.
  • Ask parents about any allergies and for preferences as to drinking caffeinated tea. Let them know as part of the invitation that tea will be offered.
Things You'll Need
  • Teapots, teacups
  • Cake stands
  • Food plates
  • Serving plates
  • Serviettes
  • Tablecloth
  • Food
  • Tea
  • Games
  • Party bags and party "loot"
  • Picnic rugs (for children who prefer the ground)
  • Music, music player
Related wikiHows Article Tools

How to Judge Body Condition Scores in Cattle

How To do Stuff - Wed, 03/09/2011 - 07:49
Welsh Black cow in optimum (Cdn BCS of apprx. 3.25) conditionBody condition is one of the most important things to know about when raising cattle. In breeding animals (cows, heifers and bulls), body condition is closely related to the fertility and forage convertibility. In beefers (steers and heifers raised for beef production), it determines health, ability to gain, and when the animals are ready for slaughter.

For the following steps in this article, you are free to use whatever score you like, though the Canadian score will be used below.

  1. Understand what body scoring is. Body condition scoring (BCS) is, by definition, the level of fatness on the body of an animal. There are two different scales of scoring that one can use for judging condition in cattle:
    • 1 to 9, which is the American scoring system (or some refer this as the Beef Cattle scoring system); or
    • 1 to 5, which is the Scottish (or Canadian) scoring system, or, for some, the Dairy Cattle scoring system.
    • One (1) refers to extreme emaciation, and 5 (or 9) refers to overly fat or obese.
  2. Get the cattle in. Round up the cows using proper herding techniques to get them in the handling facility and to the crush or squeeze chute.
    • Body condition scoring, especially with beef cows, needs to be done when they are restrained. Some cows can be so tame that they will let you touch them, but most should be restrained with a head-gate to do the scoring.
  3. Eye up the general condition of the cow. Using your eyes is one way to judge body condition, but this can be difficult with cattle, like Highland or Galloway cattle, because the thick hair hides a lot of what you can feel by touch. Cattle that have their winter coats on will also pose the same issue for you.
  4. Work on the animal's right side. The rumen on the left will only hinder your ability to do a proper scoring on the cow.
  5. Start with the area over the last rib and the spine above that point. The area between the last rib and the hooks (first hip protuberance) is a major area that is used for judging BCS. Note the fat covering over the ribs and spine of this area. Then work your way over the hooks and pins, the thurl and the tailhead of the animal. Note the following (using the Canadian or Dairy Body Condition Scoring method):
    • BCS of 1: Entire animal will be extremely thin; this will be very noticeable in cows that have a short hair coat. All skeletal structures are visible, with no fat in the tail docks or brisket, nor will there be any muscle tissue or external fat present. Individual vertebrae on the spine are evident, and you should be able to place your fingers in between each vertebrae. The short ribs are visually prominent, and they feel sharp to the touch. The thurl over the hip is sunken in, and the hooks and pins are very sharp and prominent.

      • BCS 1–notice protrusion of ribs, spine, and pelvic bones Animals of this score are much too thin, and are a cause of great concern to those involved in animal rescue societies like the SPCA and even animal-rights people.
        • Cows this thin do not have a good survival rate because of the lack of fat and muscle tissue in and over their bodies; malnutrition and sickness is a very high risk for animals in this condition.
        • Cows will have a lot of trouble calving out with a BCS of 1 because of the lack of stored energy (fat) and muscle tissue they need when dealing with the stress of calving, thus dystocia will be a big problem for her. Emaciated cows will give little to no milk after calving, and will come back into estrus very late, unless she is given the proper feed and nutrition to help her gain weight.
        • Emaciated and thin cows eat a lot because of their condition, and because cattle are capable of a weight-gaining process called compensatory gain. Thin cows have a higher temperature threshold than fat or normal condition cows because of the lack of fat and energy reserves needed to survive cold weather.
    • BCS of 2: The entire animal is thin, with the upper skeleton prominent, and there is some muscle tissue present. There is also some tissue over the tail dock, hip bones and flank. Individual vertebrae can be felt in the backbone, but they are not sharp. You shouldn't be able to place your fingers in between the vertebrae. Individual ribs can also be felt, though they will not be as sharp as with the BCS of 1.

      • Bovine on left with a BCS of 2Though deemed thin at this point, she will not be as high at risk for malnutrition or illness as a cow with a BCS of 1. However, she will breed back later and have more calving issues, and still needs to gain weight in order to be conceived as a healthy bovine.
    • BCS of 3: This is ideal condition for calving. The ribs are slightly visible, and the hooks and pins are visible, but not prominent. Muscle tissue is nearing its maximum, and there is fat already forming behind the shoulder and in the brisket area. The backbone is somewhat defined, but it'll be difficult to feel the tops of the vertebrae. The short ribs are completely covered with fat, with the fat beginning to spread over the rump, and individual ribs can only be felt with firm pressure.

      • This girl's at a Cdn BCS of 3 (Am. BCS of 4)–healthy body weight.Cows in this condition are the ideal keepers, even though they are considered to be on the borderline of being thin. They are much more likely to calve out on their own with little to no difficulty, and are also able to produce adequate amounts of milk for their calves.
      • Feed costs are certainly lowered when you have cows of this condition (or higher) because they are not eating as much nor have as high a nutritional requirement as cows that are below this condition score.
      • Critical low temperatures are lower for cows like these (at around -20ºC/-4ºF), making them more able to survive and even thrive in the winter time.
        • However, your cows should not be in this condition going into the winter months; this is the condition they should be in when the spring grasses start to grow and they can regain their weight lost in the winter.
    • BCS of 4: The skeletal structure will be difficult to identify, because there are obvious fat deposits behind the shoulder, at the tailhead, on the brisket and over the shoulder. The back will have a flat appearance over the top-line, and individual vertebrae cannot be felt. Folds of fat are beginning to develop over the ribs and thighs, and individual ribs cannot be felt even with firm pressure.

      • Heifer at a Cdn BCS of approx. 3.5 to 4–this is what your cattle should look like on grass!Cows are deemed as moderately fat to fat at this point, but this is also the optimum condition cows should be in when going into the winter months, because this means that they can be fed a lower quality feed or be on low quality pasture without too much worry about malnutrition concerns during winter time. They will lose weight over winter, of course, as this is natural for any herbivore going into the most difficult season of the year.
        • However, some cows at this condition may have a few issues with calving and milking ability than cows with a normal BCS of 3. This is because fat deposits start to form around the birth canal make calving out more difficult (fat deposits hinder the birth canal's ability to stretch far enough to allow the delivery of a calf), and fat deposits in the udder may have the cow to produce less milk than what is needed.
        • Between BCS of 4 and 5 is the best condition to move backgrounded cattle onto the feedlot, or for small-time farmers to have their steers slaughtered.
    • BCS of 5: This is the point where the bovine is considered obese. The animal will have a blocky look about it, with a dominating flat appearance. The brisket will be heavy with fat, and the hips and tailhead of the animal will be pretty well buried in fat. The animal will have a flat back and individual vertebrae cannot be felt at all. The short ribs are not present because they are completely covered by fat. Mobility may be impaired because of the excess of fat.

      • "Bull" at a BCS of 5 to 5.25–obese bovine!As mentioned above with BCS of 5, calving and milking ability will be hindered for cows in this condition. Cows that have a BCS of 4 or greater need to be put on a low-quality diet so that they will lose weight in time for breeding and/or calving season.
        • Bulls in this condition will experience fertility issues because fat deposits in the scrotum increase the temperature of the testes, which will harm proper sperm production.
        • North American meat packers downgrade carcasses that are overly fat because of the excess fat that needs to be trimmed off and the excessive marbling.
          • However with the Japanese Kobe beef, animals that are at this condition are considered desirable since beef with this high of marbling is considered a delicacy.
  6. Note the body condition score of each cow that you do. It would help to write down which cow has what condition score, so you can later on determine if any of the thinner cows need to be separated from the fatter ones.
  7. Repeat with other cows that are to be scored.
Video Tips
  • Practice, practice, practice. Some may be better at understanding and judging body condition scoring cattle than others, so it may take a lot of studying and practicing to fully grasp this management practice.
  • There will be no muscle over the short ribs, the spine, and the upper hip bones of the animal. This is why condition scoring is done in this area.
  • In the Canadian BCS, the percent of fat for each score is as follows:
    • BCS 1: 5 percent or less body fat
    • BCS 2: 15 percent body fat
    • BCS 3: 20 percent body fat
    • BCS 4: 27.5 percent body fat
    • BCS 5: 35 percent or more body fat
  • To convert Canadian or dairy BCS to American or beef BCS and vice versa, use these formulas:
    • Cdn BCS = (USA BC + 1)/2
    • USA BCS = (Cdn BCS - 1)2
  • Body condition scoring should be done three times a year: Fall preg checking or start of winter feeding, where cows should be around a BCS of 3.0 or higher; Calving, where mature cows should be around 2.5 and heifers at 3.0; and 30 days prior to breeding, where the optimal score for cows and heifers should be around 2.5.
  • Body condition scoring is highly important for areas where winter feeding is a necessity. In most areas, 40 percent of a farm's variable costs per cow per year is in winter feeding.
    • Thus 65 percent to 75 percent of total variable costs are feed-related.
  • If you can save $1 in winter feed costs, this may increase your profits by as much as $2.48 per cow per year in your operation. That doesn't sound like much, but it all adds up.
  • Build body condition in cows when feed is cheap, or when grass is good and high quality.
  • Harvest the condition you build at different times of the year up to one large round (1200 lb) bale per cow. In other words, the body condition that a cow builds up prior to calving or winter can be harvested during the time she is lactating or during winter when feed isn't as good quality, respectively.
  • Less feed will be needed for winter when cows have a good condition score.
  • Use a cheaper feed system such as Skip-A-Day feeding.
  • Limit DMI (dry matter intake) in dry cow rations or add straw.
  • Monitor conditions after harsh periods of weather. This is because cows tend to have more of a requirement for more nutrition when winter temperatures plummet below their Low-Temperature Threshold, and when a blizzard is making it more difficult for cows to get the feed they need. Cows may eat more after a cold snap or particularly nasty blizzard, and this needs to be taken into account in winter feeding.
  • Body condition scoring may be difficult for those who don't have the experience or knowledge of how to properly score an animal. Make sure you have studied different pictures of animals of particular condition scores to accurately know what is involved.
  • Cows may kick if they don't like to be touched in the hind quarters.
Related wikiHows Article Tools

How to Set Up a Desktop Micro Studio

How To do Stuff - Wed, 03/09/2011 - 07:49
No post processing done Maybe you spend way too much time on the computer, or you have a little bit of desktop real estate that you can use as a photo staging area. Whatever the reason, having a 'micro studio' can give you a semi-permanent place to take your photos. Steps
  1. A desktop ready for some cleaning Select the part of your desktop that you want to use and clean it up. You will find it much easier to clean than your garage!
  2. Attaching tape to the backgroundWith your adhesive tape, apply one side of the tape to your selected background. If you want this to be a little less permanent, use thumbtacks instead, or perhaps poster tack.
  3. Background in the micro studioFasten the background sheet to the cleared place on your desktop. Fasten it towards the top of the allotted space and to the rear, as shown in the image.
    • Position an LED at the top to throw out light onto the objects being photographed.
  4. Two sides of the studio and an LEDAttach some type of reflective lining to the 'sides' of your studio. You might want to find some way to be able to change it up, find a less permanent method than taping, such as poster tack. Either that, or just cover up the white reflective material when needed.
  5. First shot in micro studioStart experimenting. Find something small to figure out what works best. In this photo, a glass kitty is curled up on a white background. Not very easy to see.
    • No post processing doneIn this photo, a different color background was slotted into the micro studio, and you can see the object much more easily.
Things You'll Need
  • Double sided tape (or thumbtacks)
  • Something to use as a background. This could be white Contact paper, a pillowcase, or anything that can work.
  • Some type of small lighting. You can use some form of LED lighting very easily here.
Related wikiHows Article Tools

How to Knit a Skinny Headband

How To do Stuff - Wed, 03/09/2011 - 07:49

Knitting a skinny headband is a quick and easy project provided you have a few basic knitting skills. This headband will involve increasing, decreasing, knits, purls, and making an i-cord. These headbands are super comfortable and you can make one in every color of the rainbow, and use up odd yarn scraps while you're at it. Let's get started. Steps
  1. Choose your yarn and needles. As a general rule of thumb, the needles should be close to the thickness of the yarn. But if you want easy lacy holes in the headband, use large needles with thin yarn. Choose a stiffer yarn if you're working with an intricate pattern that you do not want to stretch out; cotton yarn works well.
  2. Cast on two to five stitches. The fewer stitches, the skinnier the headband; the more stitches, the thicker. Leave approximately 3-4 inches (7.5cm-10cm) of tail yarn.
  3. An i-cord twice as long, to create a Grecian look.Work in i-cord for about seven inches (17.78cm) or when the cord reaches from the nape of your head to the back of your ear. (You also want a little extra in case you are knitting this for someone else.) If you like the i-cord, you can make the whole headband in this fashion, but for this article we will assume you're going on.
  4. Begin to turn the work at the end of each row, and start your increases. If you began with three stitches, knit the first stitch, knit the front and the back of the second stitch, and knit the third stitch. Then purl the wrong side of the headband. Continue to increase in the middle of the stitches and knit the outside stitches, while purling on the other side. The more times your increase in one row, the faster the headband will grow in width. Increase to anywhere between six to ten stitches.
  5. A lace stitch patternBegin your stitch pattern. Stockinette (knitting on the right side and purling on the wrong side) would not be best because the edges will curl. Here are some more ideas that would work well:
    • Garter stitch (knitting every single stitch) is very stretchy and does not curl. It creates a horizontal rib. You may use any number of stitches.
    • Ribbing will work well with an even number of stitches; knit one stitch then purl one stitch, until the end of the row, turn, and repeat. It creates a vertical rib.
    • Seed stitch requires an even number of stitches. On the right side, knit one, purl one, and repeat. On the wrong side, purl one, knit one, and repeat. This creates a bumpy texture.
    • Moss stitch requires multiples of four; twelve stitches would be good for a skinny headband. On the right side knit two, purl two, and repeat. On the wrong side, purl two, knit two, and repeat until the end of the row.
    • Simple cable and garter border: Begin with an even number of stitches; for this example we will use eight stitches. Assuming you are starting on the right side:

      • Knit 2, slip 2 stitches onto the cable needle and hold in back, knit 2, knit 2 stitches of cable needle, knit 2.
      • Knit 2, purl 4, knit 2.
      • Knit 8.
      • Knit 2, purl 4, knit 2.
      • Knit 8.
      • Knit 2, purl 4, knit 2.
      • Knit 8.
      • Knit 2, purl 4, knit 2.
    • Or use the internet to find your own! Check out the stitch gallery noted in the "Sources and Citations" below.
  6. Another cable stitch patternRepeat your stitch pattern until it measures from one ear lobe to the other across the top of your head. Remember to stretch the yarn while fitting.
  7. Decrease until you have the correct number of stitches for your i-cord. For example if you had eight stitches, knit one, knit two together, knit one, knit two together, knit one, knit two together. Purl the wrong side and continue in a similar fashion until you have for example, three stitches left. See Knit Decreases to learn how.
  8. Knit the i-cord until it measures a little longer than the distance from behind your other ear to the nape of your neck.
  9. Bind off and break the yarn. Leave approximately 3-4 inches (7.5cm to 10cm) of tail yarn on this end as well.
  10. Use a darning needle to thread the end of the tail yarn into the i-cord from its end. Pull it out some distance along the i-cord, pull it so it's very taunt and snip it. Then pull at the i-cord so that the yarn end shrinks into the i-cord. Repeat this at the other end.
  11. Wear your fabulous headband! Wrap it around your head, making sure the right side is facing outwards, and tie the i-cords together at the nape of your neck. You can leave the headband tied from now on.
Video Tips
  • Try changing yarn colors to liven up a simple stitch pattern.
  • Add a flower to the side of a headband for a decorative touch. Flowers can be made by crocheting or knitting. You can also knit a long i-cord and sew it into a flower shape.
  • If you already know how to crochet a chain, you can use this instead of an i-cord.
  • Make sure the stitches don't slip off your needles!
  • You should have enough yarn before starting your project, although skinny headbands require very little yarn.
Things You'll Need
  • Any worsted weight yarn
  • Size 4-8 needles
  • Darning needle
  • Scissors
Related wikiHows Sources and Citations Article Tools

How to Make a Moving Rabbit Craft

How To do Stuff - Wed, 03/09/2011 - 07:49
A card and fabric moving rabbit, this craft is easy enough for children to make with your help and makes a fun toy or decoration. Use up any card and fabric scraps you have lying around, making as many as wished. Steps
  1. Prepare the rabbit template. Click on this image to enlarge the template pieces for printing. Then, cut around the printed shapes so that you can trace them onto the card for cutting.
  2. Select the fabric you're using for the rabbit. Draw around the card shapes on your chosen fabric to mark the shape. Now, cut out each shape from the fabric.
  3. Glue each fabric shape to the corresponding card shape. Leave to dry completely.
  4. Add any additional decorations to the rabbit shapes. Although this step is optional, it can be fun for the children to add eyes, whiskers, a nose, a tail, etc., using scrap fabric and craft items you have handy.
  5. Assemble the moving rabbit. Make holes in the shapes where you would like to join the pieces together. As shown in the image, use the tip of a pair of scissors to press the holes in.
  6. Use split-pins to connect the shapes. Simply push them through the holes and fold back the ends on the the back side of the moving rabbit.
  7. Enjoy your moving rabbit. Encourage your child move it around so that he or she can see how the pieces move, bringing the rabbit to life.
  • These are a great idea for those who celebrate Easter. Add them to gifts, baskets, or use as decorations. They could also be used as part of an Easter egg hunt, as signs or direction markers.
  • Cut carefully; supervise children who are doing any cutting, or do it for them.
Things You'll Need
  • Card
  • Fabric
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • 2 split-pin paper fasteners
  • Pen or pencil for marking and tracing around
  • Things to decorate your rabbit (optional); if using markers, make sure that they're fabric markers
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How to Make Flaxseed Hair Gel

How To do Stuff - Wed, 03/09/2011 - 07:49

Flaxseed hair gel is a natural, inexpensive hair product particularly suited for curly or wavy hair. It defines and moisturizes curly hair without creating stiffness or crunchiness. Many additional ingredients can be added to homemade flaxseed gel to customize it for the particular needs of your hair. The following process takes approximately 7 minutes.

Flaxseed gel lasts about two weeks refrigerated, or longer with added preservatives. It can be frozen for later use.

  1. Assemble the "Things You'll Need". These are listed below.
Making Flaxseed Gel
  1. Soak the flaxseeds overnight. This increases gel yield, increases ease of straining, and reduces cooking time. (This step is optional.)
  2. Combine the flaxseeds and water in a pan over high heat, stirring occasionally. Add Epsom salts, although this is also optional.
  3. Stir gently and constantly, when the mixture starts to boil. Reduce the heat to medium when the mixture's consistency turns into a thin, foamy jelly.
  4. When the seeds remain suspended in the jelly instead of sinking to the bottom of the pan, turn off the heat and drain the mixture through the strainer into the bowl.
    • Note: Rinse the pot immediately, as cleaning it later will be difficult if you don't do this.
  5. Add a preservative after the mixture has cooled slightly (optional). Add any desired ingredients, such as essential oils, aloe vera gel, oils, and butters.
  6. Whisk the mixture to combine ingredients and break up any clumps. The gel should be about the consistency of egg whites.
  7. Pour the mixture into the container. Your gel is ready to use. Store in the refrigerator for maximum shelf life.
Styling Hair with Flaxseed Gel
  1. Apply the gel to your hair by scrunching or smoothing it on.
  2. Use more product than you normally would. Your hair should feel completely saturated and slimy. If you use too little gel, the product will be not effective.
  3. Allow the hair to air dry completely without touching, or use a diffuser attachment with your blow-dryer. When your hair dries it will feel soft with defined curls and no crunchiness or stickiness. If you have a little crunch still, scrunch it out with your hands and fluff up your hair.
Sample Recipes Recipe 1
  • 1/3 cup golden flaxseeds
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 1/3 tsp citric acid
  • 15 drops tangerine oil
Recipe 2
  • 2 tablespoon Golden flaxseed
  • 1 cup distilled or filtered water
  • 1/4 teaspoon citric acid (preservative)
  • 5 drops of essential oil (your choice but it's a good idea to use the citrus ones since they are antibacterial)
  • 5 drops of clove essential oil (antibacterial)
Recipe 3

Use water infused with marshmallow root for the flaxseed cooking liquid.


  • 1 oz (28.3g) seamollient
  • 1/2 teaspoon avocado oil
  • 10 drops vegetable glycerin
  • 1/2 teaspoon agave nectar
  • 1/4 teaspoon grapefruit seed extract
Recipe 4
  • 2 cups distilled water
  • 1/2 cup golden flaxseed
  • A handful of dried hibiscus flowers
  1. After straining the gel, add 1 teaspoon jojoba oil, 1 teaspoon argan oil, 1/2 teaspoon vegetable glycerin, 1/2 teaspoon agave nectar, 2 oz (56.6g) seamollient, and 1/4 teaspoon optiphen (preservative).
Recipe 5
  1. Soak the flaxseed overnight. It will be thick within about 18 hours.
  2. Strain into a saucepan and heat for a few minutes. Add the other ingredients: hemp seed oil, vitamin E, magnesium sulfate, chamomile tea (1 cup water and 8 tea bags), and grapefruit seed extract.
  3. After a few minutes of heating and stirring (just so it's combined) pour into a blender starting on low, then switch to medium and add xanthan gum.
Video Tips Optional Ingredients

You can add many different ingredients to flaxseed gel. What you add will depend on the qualities of your hair and how it reacts to particular substances. Below are some of the most common ingredients and their properties. Experiment with different combinations to find what works best for your hair.

  • To increase hold: agave nectar, honey, seamollient
  • To increase gel density: xanthan gum, guar gum, pectin, lecithin?
  • To moisturize hair: oils (such as jojoba, wheat herm, hemp seed, avocado), butters (such as shea butter), or glycerine, honeyquat
    • Note: coconut oil is not recommended, as it has a low melting point
  • To enhance curl: Epsom salts, seamollient, aloe vera juice or gel
  • To add scent:Essential oils as desired. The following essential oils are also preservatives: lavender, rosemary, clove, cinnamon, lemon and rose
  • Preservatives: grapefruit seed extract (1/3t drops per cup or 6 drops per oz), essential oils (see above), citric acid, vitamin E oil
  • Increase product slip: marshmallow root (soak overnight in cold water; use this water to boil flax seeds), slippery elm bark
  • Xantham gum may dry hair.
  • Clove and cinnamon oils may dry skin and hair.
Things You'll Need
  • Flaxseeds 1/2 cup (golden flaxseeds recommended)
  • Distilled water 2 cups
  • Wire or nylon mesh strainer
  • Large bowl
  • Whisk
  • Container to store your gel
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How to Add a Photo to Your Google Site

How To do Stuff - Wed, 03/09/2011 - 07:49
Google Sites is an easy and free way to design and host a website, though their help articles are notoriously vague. Adding images will vastly improve your website and make it look far more professional. If you have been wondering how to upload and display an image, look no further! Steps
  1. Click here.Go to your Google Sites browser page. Click on the "Edit" button on the top right of your browser window.
  2. Click to the right of the object or text that you want the image to sit below. Hit the "Enter" key ("Return" for Macs) to create a break.

  3. Drop down the "Insert" menu at the top left of your browser screen, and select "Image".
  4. Select "Upload Images" and click "Choose File" or "Browse"From the pop-up window, make sure that "Uploaded Images" is checked. Then you'll see "Upload an image" along with a textbox that has "Browse" or "Choose File" next to it.
    • Click "Choose File" or "Browse" and select the image you want to add from your computer. A preview of the image should appear in the window.
    • You can upload multiple photos by clicking on the new "Choose File" button to the right of your photo preview.
    • If wished, you can also link to a web URL by checking the "Web address (URL). You'll be reminded to use your own image, not a copyright image, and all you need to do is type the URL in the box. Provided your URL is correct, the image should appear within the box for you to check, although give large images a bit of time to appear. If not, double check your URL.

  5. Click "OK" Click the "OK" button in the lower left corner of the pop-up window.
  6. Align the image in the preferred position on your Google Site. A blue rectangle floating will appear floating on the photo, offering several options:

    • At the top will be the URL that your image can be found at, and the options to change or remove the image.
    • Below the URL it will say: Image: Align: L C R - Size: S M L Original - Wrap: on off. By selection the different options you can change the alignment (which side of the page the photo appears on), size, and whether or not text can wrap around it.
    • You can play around with this until you're happy with the size, alignment, and overall look of the image. The alignment box won't disappear until you decide to close it, so don't feel shy about resizing a lot. Press the small "x" to close the alignment box.
  7. Save. If the draft hasn't already been saved for you, go ahead and click on "Save" in the top right corner. Your image is now safely inserted.

Video Things You'll Need
  • Editing permissions to a Google site
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How to Make a Kimono Girl Origami

How To do Stuff - Wed, 03/09/2011 - 07:49
This article explains how to make a kimono origami. This delightful origami figure can be used for key chains or bookmarks. Steps
  1. Print the pattern. Click on this image to enlarge it to a much bigger size for printing. Simply press your browser's back button to return to this article.
  2. Cut each piece out carefully.
  3. Glue the piece showing the girl's face to thin card.
  4. Cut this piece out with care.
  5. Glue the hair and neck pieces onto the back of the face piece that you've just finished cutting out. Be sure to align it neatly. Leave to dry before proceeding to the next step.
  6. Fold the collar piece, as shown in the image. In the printed version, if you cannot see the crease or fold line, check the illustration again.
    • Glue the folded collar piece. It needs to be placed on the back of the girl's neck about halfway, so that it has even lengths each side.
  7. Fold the even lengths of the collar piece to form a V shape, as shown in the image.
  8. Start preparing the kimono. First up, fold the collar area of the kimono. Fold one side of the kimono piece so that the pattern color still shows outward. In the printed version, if you cannot see the crease or fold line, check the illustration again.
  9. Glue the girl's face piece to the folded kimono piece. Glue it onto the stem piece attached to the girl's face.
  10. Fold the top corner of the kimono over to form a V shape, as shown in the image. Fold the other top side the same way to complete the shoulder zone.
    • Make sure that the other collar piece you've already attached is still showing above the kimono collar. Adjust as required to ensure this.
  11. Fold the length of the kimono now, as shown in the image. Fold both left and right sides together. The end result should look squared and even. Check before making the crease lines definite.
  12. Fold the obi. Glue the obi to the kimono, around the waist area. Glue it together at the back of the girl.
  13. Fold both sleeve pieces.
    • Both pieces folded.
  14. Glue the sleeves to the back of the kimono. Position as shown in the image, then glue into place.
  15. Check your completed kimono girl. Move anything into place as needed and allow her to dry completely. She's now ready for using as part of a craft project or as a decoration.
Video Tips
  • If you like the design but want to use your own colors, simply use the suggested template to copy the pattern from onto your own preferred pieces of paper rather than relying on the printed pattern and colors.
Things You'll Need
  • Printer paper for template
  • Thin card or recycled carton board
  • Scissors
  • Glue
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