Wednesday, September 19, 2012

How Do I Fix My RV?

It is estimated that there are over 8 million people in the United States that have an RV (pop-up, tow behind, truck camper, or motorhome) in their life and of these numbers, over 1 million have embraced the full-time lifestyle. With this many units on the road, there are always questions that need to be answered. How do I prepare for a trip? Where is a good place to stay? How do I empty my holding tanks? What can I cook?

These and many, many others questions have been asked for years. fortunately, there are many ways to find answers but unfortunately sometimes these sources are hard to find. There are forums, blogs, and vast quantities of ebooks available for the average consumer. But I must caution you to "let the buyer beware".

We are all aware of the one or two individuals in our lives who are experts on everything but masters of nothing. Well the same is true in the RV world. I have seen many ebooks and short essays describing how to do a process or fix a problem which, to one that has no knowledge, sounds wonderful, but in fact is completely wrong. How do I recognize this? Experience. I have been camping for over 50 years, starting out in a tent with my parents and moving up to a motorhome that I have now. I love the lifestyle. But with all these years (and I am far from being done yet!) came problems and repairs that had to be done... and also learning some new things from more experienced people around me. Now don't get me wrong, I am all for the RV repair places. Sometimes a job is best left to those professionals who are trained in a certain area. But sometimes the "amateur professional" (like me) can perform the same repairs the same way using the same parts for a fraction of the price.

This is where repair manuals, articles and plain conversations with others come in. There is no reason that anybody who owns an RV can't do simple repairs and maintenance on their rig. It is cost effective and in the long run can keep the value of the rig longer.

So what am I saying? When your water heater doesn't light, look up some possible causes and take the time to troubleshoot. There is no reason why you shouldn't be able to correct the problem or at least be more educated so if you decide to bring to a repair tech you have a better handle on what the repairs might be and how much. Now don't get me wrong. I am not saying that you should positively do all your own repairs. Personally I take anything that involves propane piping (leaks, fittings, regulators, etc.) or shore power (110 v, grounding, fault protection) to an expert for safety and my peace of mind. That's not saying that I wouldn't replace a water heater or stove, because there is a set procedure commonly published to check for leaks, etc. I just feel that some repairs should be left to the experts.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

10 Great Reasons to Learn German

Well there are tons of reasons to learn German, just like any other language. Sure, learning German will help you get around easier, get to know a few of the locals better (maybe) and help you not look completely lost when you visit, but those go for learning just about any language. If you're thinking about learning German, here are 10 reasons you should get started now, without hesitation:

1. German is the number one language in Europe. That's right, it's not English or French! In fact, did you know that a people in a number of countries speak German or derivative of German fluently? These countries (besides Germany, of course) include; Austria, Switzerland, parts of northern Italy and eastern France, Luxemburg, Lichtenstein and some parts of Belgium, Denmark and Poland. The fact is, knowing German will get you far in your European travels.

2. If you want to do business in Europe, you've got to know German. Germany is Europe's economic superpower; they have one of the strongest economies in the EU and are known for being great business people. German is the language of business in Europe and a must for anyone serious about doing business there.

3. Advance your career. Many companies both in Europe and abroad do business with German speaking countries. Learning German can be an be a highlight on your resume and an asset to your professional career.

4. Expand your cultural and literary knowledge. Whether you are an academic or a history and philosophy buff, knowledge of the German language can open a world of literary treasures from Nietzsche to Goethe.

5. Learn how to order a beer the right way. No visit to Germany would be complete without visiting at least one of the many small town festivals held throughout Germany year-round. Rub elbows with the locals and order beer in German. You may even make some new friends.

6. Expand your horizons with a cultural exchange. There are many exchange programs to Germany for students and volunteers. While it may not be necessary to know German to partake in some of them, it will certainly be a benefit.

7. Get in touch with your heritage. Germans are the largest single heritage group in the U.S. That means that if you are at least 1st or 2nd generation American, there is a good chance that you have German heritage in your family. Learning German is a great way to get back in touch with your roots.

8. Germans are big on the internet. Did you know that the German presence on the internet is one of the largest in the world? Germans come in second in internet use only behind the U.S.

9. Germans are big spenders... When it comes to tourism, that is. Germans are known for playing as hard as they work and while they are hard workers they have plenty of time to let loose. With 6 weeks of vacation time a year, many Germans spend their free time traveling to other countries while on vacation, more than most other nationalities.

10. Learning German is fun... and easy. That's right, the German language is surprisingly easy to learn. In fact, many of the words are similar to those in English and are easy to pronounce with just a little bit of practice.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

How to Identify Your Core Purpose for Career Planning

Here is an explanation and examples of how to use a projective technique known as "laddering". It is often used in market research, but is a valuable approach also for professional development and/or career planning to improve your personal awareness on directions for future goals and work.

Bringing your CV to life

Nowadays, when you write an application for a job or contract, it's not enough that it contains all the facts and figures of what you have done and achieved. With increasing competition in both employment and business arenas, you need more and more to communicate what you are about and why you made the choices you did.

While a CV or resumé needs a clear structure and be professionally presented and organised, a covering letter or personal statement (within or separate) can relay something about your passion, purpose and goals in terms of your subject interests, career aspirations.

What I look for in a person's CV is a strong commitment in one or two directions, relevant range of qualities, skills & experience (generic and specific to the role/job/career), a good work ethic (doing productive activities, providing value/service to others). In my son's school, the Headmaster recently articulated in his end of year speech what he looks for in a potential student or staff member - three things: energy, integrity and intelligence.

Developing a personal awareness of these aspects - your "why" if you like - will allow you to bring some of these together in a personal statement as an addendum to your CV.

Why personal awareness is important

Well, in thinking about a career, what you need to dig deep about first what is your 'why', particularly how your early and current interests fits with your qualifications, university degree or work experience you may have done.

Can you clearly articulate a coherent picture of what gets you excited/interested in something? It's sometimes a tough one to put your finger on, so you need to spend some time pondering.

It is not until you scratch beneath the surface of things you've done (sometimes over many years) that you may well find there is a connection between all kinds of interests and choices you've made through your life.

Try talking this through talk to people who know different sides of you - personal and professional, educationally and community, so you start to think about what makes you tick at a deeper level and what others see in you (that you may not know/notice yourself!)

Asking the right questions

In coaching and mentoring, we use a projective questioning technique called 'laddering.' It's also used for product market research to discover what lies beneath people's buying decisions, to identify their emotional triggers that you can speak to in an advert for instance or in a sales presentation.

Laddering is an intriguing and very powerful technique that raises your personal awareness. You can develop a set of questions and ask these of yourself, but it's best done with another person so you don't let yourself off the hook too easily!

Laddering can be used to explore why you do what you do, how you make decisions about your life, study and work, even why you buy what you buy, why a particular 'thing' interests/excites you. Essentially, it's a drawing out process.

Very simply put, you use a series of questions that keeps digging - or rather, climbing the ladder - towards discovering your own emotional triggers for why you do what you do, why you like what you like, and what drives you & motivates you.

Sometimes you can play the laddering 'game' in an irritating way - like a child who keeps asking why, why, why... and the parent eventually ends up with the "because" answer, because it's sometimes very hard to understand and articulate one's reasoning, if much of it is instinctive or tacit knowledge.

Yet in laddering, you must keep pushing yourself to find the deeper rationale. You do this by breaking the general 'why' question into a series of smaller bite-sized prompts. This takes you down a road, but does not try to make you talk about the destination in one trip. (If it looks like a road leading nowhere, you can back track and try a different path.)

The skill in laddering is the ways in which you draw a person to go each step further, asking essentially the same question in different ways. You can try asking the questions of yourself, or get a friend to push you.

The kinds of questions you pose are intended to help someone to articulate their inner reasons, and sometimes you need to reword a question to build on the previous response.

Start with what and work towards why

Start with some of your known interests, e.g. picking something out of your CV about your study or even hobbies. If you like, say, history/art /animals/ engineering/ snowboarding, etc, I'd ask you to tell me what you like about that... and we keep going until we find your real emotional triggers.

These triggers indicate the kinds of emotional end-benefits all of us seek when we choose to do something or take a particular decision/direction. It is nearly always about what makes you feel good about yourself and will tell you a lot about your true motivations.

So you need to keep laddering the questions until you reach answers that are essentially about what raises your self-esteem.

You can repeat the laddering across different aspects of your CV activities, your degree choice/work experience/personal interests etc... and you should find some patterns.

Doing the laddering will push you to dig deep. You can find it very difficult and even uncomfortable. Sometimes it's pretty personal stuff you are revealing; sometimes it will be the first time you've thought about it, said it out loud or admitted it to anyone!!!

In that way, you have to have strong sense of trust on both sides and this is about helping someone think, understand, articulate - no-one is judging the responses, because there are no right/wrong answers, it's about being an "intelligent mirror."

The technique is a kind of therapy - you are not offered solutions but helped to reach conclusions yourself, to make sense of emotional, value driven attitudes and actions, and to find a clearer set of personal drivers and direction that will assist you in your life, career, relationships.

How to get started with a laddering conversation

I've done laddering with people in person or via email and Facebook messaging. It's probably best when questions are asked in real time, but that doesn't need to be face-to-face or verbally spoken.

A laddering conversation can be done via email. There are benefits and downsides of giving a person more time to reflect. They may need time to think things through, write out some lists, or simply find it easier or preferable to write their answers not talk through them. You can annotate a written response with follow up questions at a second stage.

Getting started is simple. Use broad prompts and questions to get things rolling, such as: "what do you like to do in your spare time", or "what kinds of subjects work interest you the most".

Follow up, secondary questions would be more about understanding what's behind the answer: "why do you like that", "what is it about that that you like", "how does that make you feel", "why is that important to you". You can ask the same kind of question in two different ways: "why did you particularly think that was a great idea? what did you like about that exactly?"

Here's some examples of an initial question and follow up questions:

1. Tell me what subjects you did in school/university.

and follow up with:

a. What is it about this that interests you most?

b. Why is that important to you?

2. When you go on holiday, what do you like to do most?

a. What else do you like to do?

b. Why is that important to you? (or if similar, why are those kinds of things important to you?)

c. "When you do [name of activity], how does that then make you feel".

3. What kind of work experience have you done?

a. Why did you choose this?

b. How do you know when you're successful at something like that?

c. How does that make you feel (when you achieve that)?

4. Tell me about someone you admire/respect/love in your life?

a. "What is it about that person that you like?"

b. "Why exactly, tell me more" or "can you say more about that... "

Try it for yourself

There's no right or wrong way to do this, but there is a skill in laddering things to help someone tease things out. You can use all kinds of combinations of the above follow up questions - whatever makes sense to take someone towards an emotional end-benefit of what makes them ultimately feel good about themselves.

Be prepared to take a number of paths through what comes up - note them to follow up later. Some unexpected themes and issues can emerge! In one line of questioning I did with a university graduate, she talked about how her parents suggested she do a science degree, so we actually ended up exploring her confidence in making decisions herself!)

How about you have a go on these questions via email or in real time (one at a time) using facebook messaging. There is a string of questions... answer each separately in turn, the follow on questions are intended to open this up a bit more.

If you do it via email, even after you answer the question, each time you've reflected, try to go a bit deeper - imagine I am then asking you to explain using some of the follow up questions/prompts.

It's sometimes useful to have more time to reflect, but often your first instinctive answers are the best ones - don't over-think, and above all, you have to be honest (not just say what sounds like you ought to say), because the answer will then be real - revealing and enlightening.

Benefits of laddering to your career planning

This process is a useful way into exploring the outcomes of some career planning motivation and aptitude tests, which ask what you like in terms of work, life, hobbies, leisure, usually they focus on three strands: people, information and/or things.

It's probably best to explore a variety of your interests, go down different paths with the questions (or up different ladders if you like!), then analyse across the responses to pick out what common themes start to emerge.

What's important about doing this is (1) you'll discover a focus that motivates you and (2) you'll put a much more compelling story together when you approach job applications, proposals and interviews.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What Are the Different Machines Used in Recycling?

Recycling of household waste requires a combination of machines to separate it into purified products which can be used as "new" raw materials (i.e. recycled materials).

The easiest sorting is done by hand, and by mechanical sorters which depend upon physical properties. Examples are to remove ferrous metals with a magnet, or to sort plastic containers from glass based on weight characteristics. Paper is often separated out due to its being lightweight and flat. Machines to accomplish these separations include augers, trammels, air sorters and paddles of various shapes.

However the future of more sophisticated separation techniques is really in the area of optical sorters. These rely on a scanner/camera which analyzes the items being scanned for various characteristics. Optical sorters include near infrared (NIR) and x-ray scanners. All have been in use in Europe for over twenty years, but have become common in the United States only in the past few years.

Cameras use the reflective quality of light to determine the color of objects. This is most often used to separate glass by color. These can be finely tuned to detect even lightly tinted bottles.

X-ray scanners are most often used to detect PVC plastics (#3) and separate them from other plastic materials.

By far, the most versatile of the optical sorters are the NIR scanners. This technology sends signals in the shorter portion of the light spectrum. Some of these are absorbed by the object being scanned. Based on the light which is transmitted back, the chemical characteristics of the object can be determined. This type of scanning can separate plastic types #1,2 and 4-7, which includes PET, HDPE, LDPE, polypropylene, polystyrene, and also aseptic layered beverage containers (milk and juice cartons) and metals such as copper.

NIR scanning ignores labels which may remain on containers, resulting in a high degree of accuracy.

To complete the sorting, the scanned item is knocked off the conveyor into a bin, usually by a directed jet of high-pressure air. This is coordinated with the item's placement on the belt.

Systems may be mass or singulated feed. Singulated feeds send one item at a time past the scanners, which increases accuracy, but also slows the process and causes more jamming and breakdowns.

The success of resource recovery from recycling operations depends on fast and accurate sorting. Optical scanners are an important part of this process, and the technology continues to improve.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Finding A Tutor Online

The most beneficial way for anyone to learn is through one-on-one setting. But until recently, people believed that tutoring needs to be face-to-face with the student and the teacher in order to communicate and learn effectively; The world wide web changed all of this.

We live in an information world today and kids are very much attuned to anything digital. To them, life couldn't exist with no internet and all of our advanced technologies. Facebook, Twitter, Skype, video games, etc. have formulated a lifestyle in which young adults are magnetize to technology. Schools and parents everywhere are utilizing the internet to improve academic success by utilizing online tutoring services in an attempt to close in the learning gaps.

How exactly does this all operate? It might not be as complex as you would imagine and your tech savvy daughter or son would catch on to the idea automatically. It all starts with getting a good online tutor. After you have located a tutor and established learning times, you will be given access to the digital classroom via a link that is emailed to you personally. You would then follow the link when needed and enter the digital classroom for the teaching session.

The virtual class room has a wonderful arrangement. The tutor can use a video and audio feed to talk with the student throughout the procedure. Individuals also have the ability to chat with one another live in a conversation box. Each digital classroom has a whiteboard available in which both the tutor and the pupil are able to adjust. Tutors also can add slideshow demonstrations, Microsoft Word documents and YouTube videos immediately in the class room and use these sources to provide high quality instruction. Tutoring in the virtual classroom opens up several educational avenues that simply do not happen in the regular tutoring set up.

The time of traveling to the library to meet up with with a tutor who are able to only perform worksheets are over. Forget about cleaning the house or utilizing extra gas to meet at an undesirable place. Each of the tutoring happens from the comfort of your own house. Kids like it too! They do not become fearful or inexperienced when they meet with the tutor because they are in a secure setting; online through the personal computer.

The practice of tutoring online is still quite new. It would be difficult to find someone who has the knowledge and experience with online classroom. Find someone who has at least 2 years experience in tutoring online. A reliable online tutor has training, experience and expertise in the online education environment. Be sure to interview the potential tutor first before committing to their service. He should be knowledgeable and well versed in explaining how online tutoring works. You can also look at different reviews as well as tips on how to find a tutor over the internet.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Orienting Your Mind on the Existence the Universe

In science and non-religious history, there is incontrovertible evidence that the universe came about differently than what the Christian bible says. Academic knowledge is used in every area of the human life, from the primordial days to now. And at no time has any civilization governed themselves by a system of revelation from unknown God. Officially, it is known to us today that the vast majority of astronomers agree that our Universe began some 15,000 million years ago in a hot "Big Bang'. The evidence is doubly persuasive and there has not been any process that is known to us which disproved it.

In a nutshell one's view of the world can only be right, when it is not mixed with religion. My research shows that religion gives people unfounded ideological foundation, on which to live their lives, through belief in a spurious God, then have faith and hope in those ideas. With that situation now in place, religion does little to advanced an individuals' understanding in the important things to progress their lives on the intellectual front. On the other hand religion eviscerates the knowledge that should be made easily accessible to the masses.

It is fair to ask, shall we then differ our acknowledgment of parochial evidence supporting the birth of the Universe, from intelligible process to the acceptance of religious metaphysical revelation in Romans scripture? Resoundingly, I say absolutely not!

The way that the earth's eco-system operates, is both relevant and consistent with the microwave view of astronomers, on how the Universe came to be some 15,000 to 18,000 million years ago--according book titled: The Restless Universe, by Nigel Henbest and Heather Couper, connected to professor A Boksenberg FRS Director, Royal Greenwich Observatory. But in the biblical Genesis creation account, no parochial data is given by which reference can be made and a coherent analysis leads to a common sense understanding, of the Universe's birth and longevity as we see it today.

The bible's rendition of the Universe's existence is rightly questionable, of its authorship and authenticity. It is therefore impossible for any individual to get proper orientation on matters which pertains to true galactic orientation. 2012 years ago the Roman regime brought in the bible, orienting nations with an ecclesiastic and secularism system. This has mutated the primordial way of life and eliminated our cultural knowledge, thus it is imperative to re-orient our minds with authentic history.