Monday, August 20, 2018

The 22nd Amendment

On February 27th, 1951, the 22nd amendment was ratified which made permanent a tradition that has a profound influence on the philosophy of government in the United States of America.  This amendment may not be the most well-known amendment but its place in the fabric of American history cannot be overstated.  That is because the 22nd Amendment mandated that…

No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once.

The limitation of service as President of the United States to two terms was one that up until the 22nd amendment was more a matter of custom than law.  It began when George Washington refused to run for a third term.  But by making the limitation of power in the presidency in the 22nd amendment, the American people made a bold statement about how their government would be run.

One of the most unique aspects of how the United States of America organized its government was the concept of citizen rulers.  This concept was born in the very halls and pubs where the founding fathers gathered to discuss this new country that was just getting started.  By reducing the idea of a “career politician”, especially at the presidential level, the 22nd amendment dealt a deadly blow to the concept that America would ever be ruled by a king or a “president for life.”

This was clearly a reaction by America to the abuses that had witnessed by the pilgrims and immigrants that make up this great country in their homelands.  They reacted strongly and negatively to the deification of kings and the virtually unlimited powers that too many times systems of royalty tended to give to their leadership.  This was one of the central themes that caused so many to flee Europe, Central Asia and other parts of the world to seek a land where it was the people who were the center of the governments will, not the arbitrary ideas of a king who was cut off from the real needs of the people he served.

The way America set up its presidency was in every way an attempt to “fix” the flaws and abuses of the European models and refocus the center of power in government on the electorate rather than on the elected.  Another aspect of the American federal system that was put in place deliberately to limit the ability of those in power to abuse that power is the system of checks and balances.  This system assures that none of the branches of government, The Congress, the Presidency or the Supreme Court could dominate the other or take complete power and rule without challenge.  By ensuring that all in power had to answer to the opposing party and be prepared to answer to the American people for what they did and even said, this completely eliminated that chances that one part of the government would stage a “coup” over the other.

Accountability is a word that is not very exciting but it is the concept that has kept the American system of government healthy and in service to its people rather than putting them in service for over 200 years.  

In addition to these several highly innovative methods the founding fathers gave to this young country to eliminate the abuses of past governmental systems, they also put a system in place that assured the orderly transition of power.  The system of elections every two years stopped two evils, the occurrence of a politician who served for life without accountability and a system wherein the only way to lose your job in government was by violent overthrow.  As a result of the American system, albeit contentious and argumentative, has been and continues to be one of the most peaceful and orderly systems of federal administration in the world and indeed in the history of the world.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

2005 Porsche Carrera GT

2005 Porsche Carrera GT - Photo: Wikimedia
Unofficially, the Porsche Carrera GT is a racecar, a racecar built for the street. What makes it a racecar is not necessarily the huge power produced by its V10 engine or the carbon fiber construction that keeps everything very lightweight – although these features surely make it a fast car. It’s more the sum of its parts that make this car worth every bit of its $440,000 price tag. (2018 ?)

The Porsche Carrera GT was introduced as a 2004 model and until 2005 there were already a few changes in order to make the Carrera GT the new Porsche supercar. These were minor updates in order to make it a little more street friendly. 

Between the supplemental bar, hoops are now mounted a glass screen. The seat height is adjusted along with the additional bolstering in the thigh area. The Carrera GT is easily recognizable, as it’s a low, sleek, lightweight roadster, very beautiful on the outside as it is on the inside. Two removable panels that can be stored in the front trunk make the foul weather protection available.

The car has unique features, among which are: 5.7 liters, 605 horsepower V10 engine, monocoque chassis with Porsche-patented engine and transmission mounts made of carbon-reinforced plastic and the first use of a ceramic composite clutch in a production car. A very important aspect is that The Carrera is safe and stable at speeds up to 205 mph, thanks to its aerodynamic and race-bred suspension package. 

The design of the suspension is so sophisticated that the shape of its components improves the Carrera GT`s aerodynamics. The designers used lightweight materials such as magnesium for the car’s substantial wheels and the frames of its special sports seats, the result is a faster and safer car. To prove so, The Carrera GT accelerates from a standing start to 62 mph (100km/h) in only 3.9 seconds reaches 100 mph (160 km/h) in less than seven seconds, 125 mph (200 km/h) in less than 10 seconds, and can achieve a top test-track speed of 205 mph (330 km/h).

What makes this car have these impressive results is it’s 5.5 liters, normally aspirated V10 engine for racing created in the development center in Weissach, Germany. That engine’s bores have been enlarged to displace 5.7 liters in the Carrera GT. It has a very low center of gravity, a 68-degree V angle, and four-valves-per-cylinder heads. Since the block, crankshaft and camshafts are all made of light alloys, the engine weighs only 472 pounds (214 kg).

To stop this “monster” Porsche`s team used a high-tech braking system. Developed for demanding motorsports applications, ceramic brakes are the first to work for on-road use. The massive 15 inch ventilated discs and six-piston calipers have the amazing capacity of bringing the car to a sure and safe stop, matched only by the stunning acceleration of Carrera GT.

Porsche Carrera GT is definitely an exotic appearance, a car that can do it all: fascinate you with its good looks, astound you with its performance and abilities on the race track. 

Friday, August 17, 2018

Adventure Sports: Rock Climbing

Rock Climbing - Photo: Pixabay
Rock climbing is a sport, which involves climbing steep rocks. This sport originated in the nineteenth century in Saxony, Lake District of England. After Walter Parry Haskett Smith climbed Napes Needle alone for the first time, many people were attracted and it later converted to sports in England, in the 1880s and by 1930s some two hundred climbing resorts opened in the Elbsandstein region. As the sport evolved grading system was introduced to analyze different levels of difficulties while climbing. Both the safety equipment and climbing techniques have been evolved with the passage of time. 

A climber should be mentally and physically be strong to overcome difficulties and having extensive knowledge can make the task easier. Initially, the climbers can learn in pairs, while one learns to climb the other can belay or feed the rope from either end of the rock structure. In case the climber falls, the belayer can lock off the rope. When multiple climbers climb, the leader can connect a rope with carabiners or quickdraws as a protection measure. A more risky method, simul-climbing, involves the leader and the team members to move at the same time, giving less time to belay the rope.  

There are many variations to the traditional rock climbing. They can be broadly classified into free climbing and aid climbing. Climbers do not use any kind of equipment in free climbing and in aid climbing; equipment is used to support the weight of the body against the rocks, which have a less natural formation. 

In lead climbing, the leader of the group of climber ties the rope to his body and starts to climb the rock structure first, followed by his other team members who have the same rope tied to their individual bodies. In traditional lead climbing, the leader places bolts into the rock to ascend and the followers use the same bolts. The cleaner is responsible to remove the bolts so that no trace is left of the path taken. If any of the climbers' slips or falls, they will lower themselves on to the ground to start over again, instead of resting on the rope.   

In sports lead climbing, bolts are already laid into the rocks so the leader doesn't have to carry extra equipment with him. But in this case, there is a risk of bolts rusting as they are laid beforehand, and if precaution isn't taken it can be dangerous. If any of the climbers fall, he will rest on the rope and will try to climb again. 

When a rope is suspended from an anchor, which is placed on the top of the rock structure, this technique of climbing is known as top rope climbing. This involves a solo climber who is belayed from either the top or the bottom of the hill. 

Short climbs on tough boulders are known as bouldering. Some climbers use safety ropes, which are dropped above them and some, find bouldering mat more useful. In case a climber falls, spotting from the ground level by other climbers can break his fall. 

Solo climbing involves a single climber who uses rope and protection devices to get to the top of the stone structure. Free solo climbing involves a single climber who uses nothing but natural features of the rock formation to ascend. 

Since rock climbing has become more of a lifestyle now, indoor climbing has been on the rise. It is also a good way to get started. An environment is created indoor with the help of wood, plastic, and fiberglass. 

Rock climbing can be hazardous from environment point of view. Because bolts are driven into the rocks, this can be really harmful if done on a large scale. Other than this, soil erosion, garbage, human excretion, damage to native plants by introduction of a foreign plant which grows from the seeds brought by clothing and shoes, etc. are other possible harmful effects. To reduce these effects, it is recommended to practice clean climbing. 

Thursday, August 16, 2018

A Classic (Sports Car) Tale

Classic Sports Cars - Photo: Pxhere
Classic sports cars

 Those three words come up together to form an image of grandeur, speed, and extravagance. For who can afford classic sports cars? Only the affluent of course! But for the average “Joe” who dreams of having his own classic sports car and hopes to know more about it, this article is meant to provide information on this amazing “king of the road”.

First, know the foremost brands of classic sports cars. 

1. Lotus

Lotus is famous for coming up with the Lotus Elise 11S, Lotus Elise Motorsport, Lotus Elan, Lotus Europa Twin Cam, Lotus Super Seven S4, Lotus Elan SE Turbo and Lotus Super Seven Replica by Birkin.

2. Austin Healey Sprite

Only Austin Healey Sprite can come up with the Bugeye Sprite Race Car with an outstanding 250 horsepower! The 1960 Speedwell Sprite Vintage Race Car is another force to reckon with, as well as the 1962 Austin Healey Sprite MK.

3. Austin Mini

Austin Mini boasts of the Mini Cooper that comes in excellent colors and for $13,000, it is quite a steal!

4. TVR

The TVR has this elite collection of classic sports cars like the TVR Tuscan Challenge Race Car, TVR S2 Roadster, TVR Taimar Coupe and TVR 2500M.

5. Birkin

A classic sports car is almost synonymous to the brand Birkin, as it is made famous with Louts Super Seven replicas and offers Birkin S3, Birkin C-S3 Street, among other roadsters that come with the Ford ZETEC engine, four-wheeled disc brakes and a heavy-duty aluminum body.

6. Jaguar

Jaguar is the ‘mighty’ classic sports car that men cannot get enough of. With the Jaguar E-type Coupe, Jaguar X-Type Track Car and Jaguar C-Type replica, this is the brand that really pushes classic sports cars several ‘to the limit’.

7. Triumph

Jaguar-engined Triumph roars just as a classic sports car is expected to do. Classic models like the 1969 Triumph Spitfire MK III and 1960 Triumph TR3A stand for what Triumph is all about - sophistication and power. 

Here are some books that inform the reader on how to keep the classic sports cars in tiptop shape: "Classic Car Restorer's Handbook," "Fun and Profit Buying, Showing and Selling Vintage and Classic Cars," "Restoration of Antique and Classic Cars," "Budget Auto Restoration: Low Cost, Step-By-Step Tricks" and "How to Rebuild and Modify Your Muscle Car."

This list is from 2006. It may be that many of these books are no longer available.

The classic sports car exudes action and nobility. No wonder, it never goes out of style.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Pool Safety: Proper Care and Maintenance

Swimming Pool - Photo: Pixabay
When many of us think of pool dangers, drowning is often the first thought that comes to mind.  Yes, it is important to protect your pool to reduce drowning-related accidents and deaths, but there are other steps that you will want to take as well.  One of those steps involves practicing proper pool care and maintenance.

For starters, it is important to keep pool water clean, clear, and debris free.  Large debris, such as a small tree branch, should be removed immediately.  This does pose a risk of drowning, as swimmers may become entangled.  Even small debris, such as leaves and insects, should be removed promptly.  The good news is that it is very easy to remove debris from a swimming pool.

As for how debris can be removed, a pool skimmer can be used.  What you may like are the choices that you have.  Did you know that there are automatic pool skimmers available for sale?  These are pretty neat, but keep in mind that they only remove debris from the surface of the water.  For that reason, even automatic pool skimmers should be accompanied by the traditional skimmers on a pole.

Next, pool filters should be regularly checked and cleaned.  Every summer, the filtration system is one of the first things that should be checked.  Why?  Because it works to keep the pool’s water healthy and clean.  Filters work to remove debris, even debris that can’t always be seen by the human eye, such as small dirt particles and tiny skin flakes.  Be sure to check all drains to ensure their covers are intact.  Damaged or faulty pool drains do pose a significant safety hazard.  

All aboveground and inground pools should be treated with chlorine.  Chlorine helps to keep a pool clean and germ-free.  According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, otherwise known as the CDC, this isn’t a process that happens right away, which many are surprised to learn.  That is why all pool owners are asked to check and monitor their chlorine levels.  Levels should be kept at the levels recommended by either the pool manufacturer or the health department.

As previously stated, it is important to make sure that your swimming pool has enough chlorine in it, but you don’t want to have too much.  Increased levels of chlorine can have a negative impact on swimmers.  Symptoms or signs of too much chlorine include skin and eye irritation.  Typically, you can tell right away if your pool has too much chlorine, as it has a strong order.  Testing can also be performed.  To treat this, dilute the water or give the sun time to do its job.

In addition to aboveground and inground pools, proper care and maintenance are also important for small pools, also commonly known as kiddie pools.  In fact, proper care and maintenance may be even more important.  This is because these pools are rarely sold with filtration and drainage systems.  Whenever the water becomes cloudy or dirty, change it.  Cover the pool with a plastic sheet or a pool cover that is designed specifically for kiddie pools.

As an important reminder, the best way to practice pool safety this summer is to outfit your swimming pool with a safety fence, cover, and pool alarm.  Although don’t discount the benefits of having a clean and germ-free pool.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Loft and Attic Renovation Tips, Ideas and Tricks

Loft Renovation - Photo: Flickr
Loft refers to the utmost part of the storey or can also be called as the attic of a building. This is because this room is directly beneath the roof. Lofts are usually commercial establishments that are turned into residential buildings so it contains an ample space and large windows. Loft and attic renovation can easily be done with the proper planning and right budget.

Loft and Attic Conversions
In converting this part of the building into something useful and functional, you need to have first, the proper documentation that proves that you own it. Consult with your local government as to the needed permit, allowing a period of six to nine weeks for the permit to be approved before you can start on the construction. Your local councils also have a say regarding such matters so you need an expert to measure the property to make sure that you are free to do the planned changes in it.

Size Matters
With an expert's help in measuring the area, you would have an idea as to what can be done in the place, if you still need to expand its roofing and other structures in it before you can do any remodelling. 

What Can Be Done?
When converting lofts, two of the popular forms that are being done these days are the dormer and the Velux.

Velux is actually the name of the window being used in this type of conversion. It maximizes the available space of the loft and there is no need to have an external alteration. 

In creating such, the first step is insulating the roof, after which the Velux windows are installed and reinforcements are done on the floor. This is easier to do than the second type of loft conversion and this also costs less.

The other form of this type of modification is called dormer conversions. This is much harder to do because it requires the extension of the roof along with vertical protrusions. This is to increase the space available and will allow you to have typical kinds of rooms built on it.

This type is harder to do and will require you to shell out more money for the project. But with the ample space to be created, you'll have more option about what to do with the rooms. 

The converted lofts are a great venue for parties because of space. You can do a lot with such rooms, plus it adds to your property's appeal. If you plan to sell the house, later on, this is definitely an add-on. 

As with any modifications, make sure that the area has proper ventilation. It is also advisable that there should be a source for natural light to come in. Safety exits should also be planned ahead of time as this would also be a factor when you are getting your permit for construction.

Loft and attic renovation is actually done in many places today. Conversions are being made to this part of the house that was not so much utilized in the past.

Thanks to home designers who have paved the way for such renovations, attics will no longer be associated with cobwebs and darkness as it used to be in the old days. But instead, this innovation would surely place a trendy tag in this part of the dwelling.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

History Of The American Flag Explained

American Flag
It was on January 1, 1776, that the Continental army was restructured and adjusted according to a Congressional resolution which heralded American forces to the command of George Washington. On that day, the American Continental Army was blockading Boston which had been taken over by the British army. It has been said that the first American flag was made in May of 1776 by Betsy Ross, a Philadelphia seamstress who was actually a friend of George Washington and acquainted with other prominent and high-ranking Philadelphians.

Ross suggested that the five-pointed star is used instead of the star with six points. This is because the five-pointed star can be cut off easily with a few trims of the scissors. It is also said that Betsy Ross was the one who made the flags for the Pennsylvanian navy. However, the first unofficial flag of America was called the Grand Union Flag, also known as the Continental Colors. It was raised at the order and command of General Washington close to his headquarters outside Boston January 1, 1776. This first unofficial flag was composed of thirteen alternating white and red horizontal stripes, with the British Union Flag in the canton. However, the first official American flag was accepted by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777. This flag was also known as the Stars and Stripes for it consisted of 13 stars which represented the first 13 colonies. However, there is no assurance of who actually designed and made this flag. It is said that it was Francis Hopkinson, a Continental Congress member, designed the flag.

However, between 1777 and 1960, the Congress implemented procedures that varied its shape, design, and structure of the flag. And it was decided that there was a need for additional starts to represent all the states of America. It was on January 3, 1959, that President Eisenhower issued an executive order which states that the arrangement of the stars should be in six horizontal rows of eight, every single point of every star directed upward. In 1791 and 1792, after Kentucky and Vermont were added to the Union, two stars and two stripes were added during 1795.

This brought inspiration to lawyer Francis Scott Key to write and compose a poem which later became the U.S. National Anthem. It was in 1818 that five more states had been added and declared and the Congress decided to pass legislation that fixes the number of stars and stripes. The stars would have equal numbers as the states. On July 4, 1960, the last new star was added after Hawaii became a state, which gives a total number of fifty stars. The American Flag has been the emblem of the nation’s power and harmony for more than 200 years. It serves as the binding material that brings millions of citizens together in attaining one goal.