Canine Grooming

There are many reasons to groom your pet and regular grooming is one of your responsibilities as a pet owner. This task should never be neglected as it has many health benefits for your dog. Most people understand the importance of regular grooming but some don’t and neglect to perform this vital task and hopefully this article will convince them to groom their dogs on a regular basis. The majority of people understand that dogs need a bath every now and then, especially when they’ve rolled in something particularly smelly (something dogs love doing!). Dogs with tangled and matted hair don’t look good and are a sure sign that they have lazy and neglectful owners! So read on and discover the many benefits of regular pet grooming.

Routine grooming removes dead skin and hair from your pet’s coat allowing the growth of new hair. Grooming also stimulates circulation and makes your dog’s coat shiny and healthy.

Grooming your dog will also help you discover if anything is wrong with your dog. You may find hives or lumps that you would normally miss when interacting with your dog. Grooming allows you to check your dog thoroughly for any unnoticed wounds or problems.

Pets enjoy the extra attention they receive when being groomed and this activity will help them bond with you. You will notice after grooming your dog that he seems very pleased with himself and more cheerful, this is because grooming makes dogs feel good about themselves.

Grooming is not limited to brushing and combing, it also extends to your dog’s nails and teeth. You should check your dog’s nails regularly to see if they need trimming and clip them if they do. Brushing your dog’s teeth on a daily basis should also be part of your dog’s grooming routine.

Just as brushing our hair stimulates our hair follicles and distributes sebum throughout our hair to nourish the hair shaft, so does grooming stimulate your dog’s coat and keep it nourished and healthy. Regular combing or brushing also stimulates your dog’s lymphatic system which helps boost his immune system.

If you take your dog to dog parks or on hikes you should routinely check to see that he hasn’t picked up any ticks. Ticks are dangerous pests that can make your dog very sick and by grooming your dog regularly, you will be able to discover if he has a tick infestation. Early detection of these parasites can literally save your dog’s life as these pests transmit disease and suck your dog’s blood robbing him of nutrients.

If you are interested on learning how to groom your dog professionally, there are evening classes available at some colleges that can teach you how to properly groom your dog. An online search will also reveal the location of such classes or you can ask around in your area. If you don’t have the time or inclination to groom your dog yourself, you should take him to a dog groomer on a regular basis to ensure he’s getting the care he needs.

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The Parent’s Responsibility in Sex Education

Parents ought to be the first source of sex education for their children. Don’t think that because children can learn about human sexuality in school, your responsibility to teach them about sex has been removed. Especially now that there is confusion as to how to teach human sexuality in school, the parents must be ready to assume the role to educate their children in everything they need to know to understand their sexuality.

Who’s better to teach about morality and the ramification of sex and sexuality to your children than you their parents? Often times, the school only teaches about the anatomy of human sexuality and the issue of morality and the taboos related to sex are often placed on the sidelines. This is where you should come in – teach your children their moral obligation when it comes to sex.

Sex education does not involve only teaching the children about the anatomy of the human reproductive organ. It’s much more than that. Sex education also involves teaching the children their moral obligation towards the opposite sex. Even more so for teenagers, you need to teach them their moral obligation towards their boyfriends or their girlfriends for that matter.

More so if your teenagers are already sexually active. You have an obligation to open their eyes about the possible ramification of their action. Your son could get a girl pregnant or your daughter can become pregnant if they are practicing sex at a very young age. They should understand the implications of their actions.

Another very important aspect of sex education you should teach your children is the issue on sexually transmitted diseases. If they are already sexually active, they must understand that they can contract disease by sleeping around with many partners, or even from their very first sexual encounter

Sex education is always a difficult topic to discuss with your children at home. But this is yet another role of parents that they cannot escape from.

Automatic Motorcycles

German inventors Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach first developed motorcycles in 1885. It was a revolutionary petroleum-powered means of transportation that had provisions for a pair of stabilizing wheels. It came to be known as the riding car. Former models were large, bulky and had poor handling capabilities. Development of motorcycles began to progress after the First World War that saw extensive use of motorcycles, especially by Germans. These models were made with the help of new internal combustion engines that many manufacturers and producers of bicycles adapted in their designs.

Motorcycles were widely used as an economical solution to deal with rising prices of transportation. Prices of motorcycles were high at that time but yielded better returns over a period of time. As new internal combustion engines became additionally powerful and designs outgrew its bicycle origins, the number of motorcycle producers reduced. India was the largest manufacturer of motorcycles until Harley Davidson launched its bikes in the market in 1928.

Motorcycles are moderately complicated machines that make use of a “chassis” to support other parts of the bike, a “fairing” to mask the front end of the handle, “suspensions” to absorb shocks and reduce wear and tear of the motorcycle, wheels, an engine, a   transmission , and brakes. These are a few basic elements of a bike, along with some more technical mechanics involved, such as oil tank, chains, odometers, and so on. The engine comes in two variants where one of them is a popular option for most due to its simple usage.

Automatic Motorcycles eliminate the hassle of frequently changing gears during traffic or other stops. Nevertheless, manual  transmission  is preferred as it is more economical that the automatic  transmission  models. Auto  transmission  feature takes a toll on the fuel consumption of the bike. Young people find it easy to use automatic Motorcycles because this operation is less complicated and the performance is comparable for limited use.

While purchasing an Automatic Motorcycle it is advisable to opt for a 4-stroke engine as it provides better fuel economy.

STD Symptoms in Men

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in men are just as common in men as are in women. The difference is that some of these STDs are not as easily detectable in men. They can be cured through medication or through simple surgery and recurrences of the disease are unlikely. Because it is difficult to detect certain STDs in men it is advised that he gets checked on a yearly basis to ensure that he is in good health and that there are no diseases hiding within his system. This way he can get tested for STDs and begin treatment immediately.

Chlamydia

Chlamydia is one of the more common STDs a man can experience. It develops through contracting microbes called Chlamydia trachomatis. As per the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Chlamydia is the most common STD in the United States. Between 2004 and 2008, the rate of Chlamydia reported increased to 45 percent due to the advancements in STD testing methods and over the counter testing methods such as home STD testing kits. Chlamydia can typically be detected within one to three weeks after symptoms are presented.

Men infected with the disease will experience discharge from the penis, painful urination, and a burning or tingling feeling around the opening of the penis which can also be felt in the testicles. If Chlamydia is found in the rectal area, men will experience symptoms such as rectal discharge or draining and severe pain both during bowel movements and random times throughout the day if not all day. Additionally, Chlamydia can be transmitted to the throat through oral sex.

Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is developed through contracting specific microorganisms called neisseria gonorrhoeae. Symptoms of gonorrhea include painful urination, white, yellow or green discharge from the penis, and swollen or enlarged testicles. Gonorrhea also affects the rectum and can be extremely painful. Symptoms a man could experience include rectal discharge, soreness, tingling sensations, rectal draining, and painful, hard, solid bowel movements. If gonorrhea has been contracted via oral sex, a man will experience a sore throat that will continue to get worse due to the many different types of bacteria already in the throat interacting with those microorganisms that cause gonorrhea. Gonorrhea can also cause epididymitis which is the curved portion at the back of the testicles where sperm matures; it is the swelling of the tube that connects the testicle to the vas deferens. Side effects can take anywhere from two to thirty days after contracting the disease. If left untreated, it can leave a man infertile and unable to have children.

Syphilis

Syphilis is one of those “silent but deadly” STDs. You could have syphilis for several weeks, months, and in rare occasions, years before experiencing side effects in any stage. The first phase of syphilis presents itself as sores around the genital area. This type of sore is called a chancre sore. It will appear as a hard, indented portion on your skin and typically disappears without treatment within three to six weeks. The second phase of syphilis rears in the form of a rash on the skin and mucous layers in the body. The rash could be extremely red and harsh or as tan spots that are most commonly found on the palms of the hands or the soles of the feet. Other symptoms you may experience include swollen lymph nodes, fever, sore throat, cerebral pain, random male pattern baldness, significant decrease in weight, and being unusually fatigued or exhausted. The rash is the biggest indicator of how severe the disease is; while it will go away on its own without treatment, once it goes away it serves as the primary indicator that the disease is now in the advanced stages. In the late stages of syphilis, a man will not show any visible side effects. However, while side effects may not be visible, the disease will essentially “eat away” and attack the major organs. In this stage, the disease begins to attack the brain, heart, liver, bones, and joints. A man can experience loss of motion, numbness, changes in vision to the point where he may eventually become blind, dementia, and the inevitable, death.

Herpes

Herpes is the most common form of STDs. It develops by contracting the herpes simplex infection 1 (Hsv-1) or herpes simplex infection 2 (Hsv-2). However, genital herpes is most commonly developed by contracting the Hsv-2 virus. The herpes virus first presents itself as one or more rankles in the genital or rectal areas of the body. These are open sores that turn into ulcers on the genitalia and rectum and can take a man five or more weeks to get rid of the virus. When the flare up is first noticed, it is the most painful, the most intense, and the most excruciating pain a man will experience. As time goes on, these episodes are less successive and less uncomfortable.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus

Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or HIV, attacks the immune system leaving a man extremely vulnerable to catching other severe illnesses. Most times when a man who has contracted the HIV virus, he may experience no symptoms of the disease. It isn’t until he becomes ill with another type of illness that HIV is detected. Flu-like symptoms such as a fever, sore throat, and swollen lymph nodes can begin to rear two to six weeks after being infected with the HIV virus. Other very common symptoms of traditional illnesses that are often seen with HIV include diarrhea, unexplained weakness, mouth sores, and a rash. These symptoms may take 10 years or more to even appear if the typical flu-like symptoms don’t appear. Having additional STDs can increase your chances of contracting the HIV virus.

Testing for STDs

Getting STD testing is more accessible than it used to be. Now, you can walk into any pharmacy and buy an STD at home testing kit which will detect certain types of STDs but not all. Testing at home has become the more common method of testing to avoid the embarrassment factor of going to their doctor. If a man suspects he has contracted a more advanced STD than what a home testing kit can detect, it is imperative he be tested as soon as possible by his doctor so the disease can be treated promptly. With home STD testing kits, a man can obtain his test results online and can take those results with him to his doctor to begin a treatment regimen for the disease. If needed, additional testing will be done to pinpoint the exact STD he has contracted.

What is CNC?

CNC is the acronym of Computer Numeric Control and it is often associated with plasma cutting as in CNC plasma cutting. A plasma cutting unit that is controlled by CNC is controlled by a computer. There are two basic classes of controls, industrial PC-based control systems and hobbyist/artisan PC-based control systems. The industrial CNC systems, such as the ones produced by Hypertherm or Burny, are robust enough to stand up the harsh production environments. They have a touch screen that can be housed inside of a heat shield for additional protection. The industrial CNCs are very costly, but they come highly recommended for any application because they are not vulnerable to typical PC problems meaning they have very little down time. Due to the high cost you will not often find industrial scale CNCs in a hobbyist’s garage. The artisan and the hobbyist plasma cutter use standard PC-based controls with I/O cards for controlling the plasma systems and the drives. Since these are regular PCs they are prone to an array of computer problems, but none that cannot be fixed.

If you want to use a CNC for your plasma cutting there are some things you will need. You will need a table for the cutting to take place on. On each side of the table you must have a rail that the drives can use to move the plasma systems; we will call this the x-axis. A bridge or gantry must span the table and each end must rest on the rails. The plasma system must be attached to a rail on the bridge which will allow it to move back and forth; the y-axis. Industrial strength set ups us fabricated steel for the construction of the table, rails and bridge. On the other hand, extruded aluminum is used for the hobbyist and artisan CNC plasma cutter set ups. The difference is that the steel is more robust and will withstand constant use whereas the aluminum can only withstand occasional use. If building one of these machines sounds a little scary to you, there are lots of kits that you can buy or you have the option of buying ready built CNC plasma cutters.

If you cruise the web you will be able to find many videos showing CNC plasma cutters in action. It is not the easiest topic in the world to explain and I suggest you check out some videos if you have not seen a CNC plasma cutter before.

Investing Basics for Beginners

Investing money is a way for individuals to save toward their goals, whether it be retirement, a child’s college education, or some other financial goal. Beginning investors need to take time to determine their goals and learn some basic concepts of investing before jumping right into making an investment. Successful investing takes much research, time, and patience. As beginning investors start to have some success in making money through investments, they will develop a degree of skill. However, there is still a degree of risk involved even the most seasoned and skilled investors. Finding the answers to some basic investing questions will help make the efforts of beginning investors more successful.

How much money do I need to make an investment?

One common misconception by beginning investors is that they must have a large sum of money to make an investment. The truth is, many investments can be made for as little as hundreds or perhaps a few thousand dollars. One way to begin investing small is through dividend reinvestment plans or direct stock purchase options. Investors may be able to invest in a company’s stock options by paying a minimal start-up fee, often as little as $25 or $50 and making an initial investment. Once the money begins adding up, it can then be transferred to a brokerage account, where the investor will be able to begin investing larger sums of money.

What are the different types of investing?

Once investors determine that they have enough money to make an investment, the difficult part is often deciding where to invest their money. There are many different options for investors; some of the most common investment options are mutual funds, bonds, futures, and real estate.

  • Mutual funds – A way for individuals to invest without having to manage their investment “hands-on” is through investing in mutual funds. Mutual funds are investments that are handled by a fund manager. This fund manager invests the pool of money, contributed to by several individual investors, in the financial marketplace. The funds may be invested through closed or open-ended funds. Closed funds have a set number of shares that are distributed to the public and are traded on the open market; whereas open-ended funds to do not a set number of shares. The trader will re-invest into new shares for the investor. The shares are overseen by a professional money manager who is trained to select investments that will provide the largest returns to the investor.
  • Exchange traded funds – These funds, known as ETFs, are pools of investor money that is invested in similar ways to mutual funds. However, since ETFs are designed only to track certain indexes and much of their management is computerized, their maintenance costs and fees are generally much lower.
  • Bonds – When investors purchase bonds, they are buying an interest in a company or corporation. The companies issues bonds, which is a loan from an investor. In turn, the company agrees to pay this investor back at determined intervals with interest. Investing in bonds can be a fairly secure investment. Unless the company goes bankrupt, the investor is almost certain to receive back at least the minimum amount of his investment. These interest payments at set intervals can be a source of steady income for retired couples or others wishing to create a type of investment where they can generate consistent returns. The interest earned on bonds can be tax exempt with some types of bonds.
  • Real Estate – Real estate can a good investment when the timing is right but often requires a lot of work. One easy way for investors to enter the real estate market is through a real estate investment trust, or REIT. Investors become part owners in the investments of the REIT such as malls, park garages, hotels, or other real estate ventures. REITs often pay out high cash dividends to investors because the REIT pays no federal income tax in return for paying out 90 percent or more of their profits to shareholders in the form of dividends. Another way of making money through investing in real estate is through purchasing properties, improving the properties through repairing them or adding amenities, then selling them at a profit; or renting the houses to tenants and receiving a monthly income from the payments.
  • Futures – Futures trading is the marketplace where buyers from around the world buy and sell futures contracts. A futures contract is an agreement to receive a product at a future date with a set price. Once the price is agreed upon, the price is secure for the next year regardless of the changes in the market. Some common futures markets include commodities, currencies, stock indexes, interest rates, and other alternative investments such as economic indicators. The rewards of this kind of investing can be great but so are the risks. Therefore, futures should be left to the most experienced investors.

Should I diversify or stick with one investment?

Most professional investment advisors will confirm that diversification is the key to a successful investment portfolio. Investors who spread their investments out through several avenues reduce their risk of losing all of their assets should the investment fail. While it may be tempting to dive right in and start investing large sums or money, beginning investors should balance the potential profit against the risks they are exposing themselves to in the investment marketplace.

Using the services of a professional investment advisor

A professional investment advisor can provide beginning investors with the basic information needed to start an investment portfolio. An investment advisor sometimes is also a financial planner and can help with all financial matters. Some investment advisors are paid a percentage of the value of the assets managed, while others charge an hourly fee or are paid on a commission basis.

For investors who would like to avoid these fees, the best strategy is to do some study and start with mutual funds or ETFs offered by reputable companies.

Getting Your Motorcycle Ready For the Upcoming Riding Season

It’s getting close to the time of year when we all start looking forward to the upcoming riding season that’s just around the corner. So if you live in an area where you’ve had to store your bike for the winter, it’s time to start thinking about getting it ready to go.

Even if you live in an area where you don’t have to “mothball’ your bike for several months, it’s a good idea to run through a checklist of things that will help prevent problems and keep your riding time hassle free.

Basically, at the start of every riding season you want to do is the same stuff that’s required on a 500-mile service. All the fluids should be drained with new added including your front end and brake master cylinders. When you check your brake fluid, if it looks old, thick and brown, it’s time to replace it.

By addressing all of the items included in a 500-mile service procedure, this will give you the opportunity to get reacquainted with your motorcycle and put you in a position to check all the little things you might otherwise overlook. Obviously, the more you stay on top of your maintaining motorcycle, the more you stay away from the repairs that can end up costing big bucks!

Gas Tank and Air Filter: If you haven’t ridden your bike for several months and you didn’t take the time to drain the fuel out of the gas tank and carburetor float bowl, drain out the old fuel and put some fresh gas in before you fire it up. Don’t start a motor up with fuel that’s been sitting around all winter. You may want to also consider replacing the fuel line and filter because it’s been sitting around with “stale” gasoline in it and more than likely is a problem waiting to happen. Besides, a new piece of fuel line is pretty cheap insurance.

While you are inspecting the carburetor and the other fuel system components, it’s a good time to clean up the air filter area and check the air filter element. It should be removed and cleaned up or replaced especially if some form of life decided to move in for the winter make it a home.

Fluids: No matter what, the engine oil needs to be drained and replaced along with installing a new oil filter specific to your model motorcycle. When checking the oil levels on FLT and Dyna model motorcycles, don’t forget that they need to be sitting over on the kickstand. The other models need to be sitting up straight.

Remove the   transmission  drain plug and drain out the  transmission  fluid. Make sure that you clean up the magnetic plug before you reinstall it, replace the O-ring and then pour in the proper amount of  transmission  fluid. Remember when you are checking the fluid level in the  transmission  to keep the bike sitting up straight.

One of the more important things that needs your attention is the battery. If the battery is older than 2 years, and you have not had it hooked up to some sort of battery maintainer, don’t even screw around just replace it! You can bet when you least expect it (especially in the heat of summer) that bugger will let you down.

While you are doing all of this service work, it doesn’t hurt to throw in a set of new spark plugs. Check the gap and adjust them as necessary, put a little anti-seize on the threads and DO NOT over torque them. Take a look at the plug wires and clean up the boots real good or replace them if they’re starting to look heavily worn.

Cables and Belts: Check the clutch cable for free travel and lube the pivot pin and the cable. The cables should be removed and cleaned up real good at least once a year, but if you’ve stayed on top of maintaining them, you probably don’t need to. The same things go for your throttle cables and remember to use the proper product for this application. Do NOT use WD 40!

Do a real good visual inspection on your drive belt. Make sure the alignment is correct and that you’ve got proper adjustment while keeping an eye out for any holes or fraying of the belt. This could lead to some problems down the road that will more than likely happen in the most off the wall places and I can tell you from experience, there is no easy roadside fix for a broken drive belt.

If you’re like most riders, you’ve probably never changed your fork oil. To get the best performance out a front end, the fluid should changed once a year regardless of what kind of miles you put on the bike. Also don’t think if you’re running a Springer you can simply ignore any sort of front-end maintenance. There are several items that need to be inspected and maintained on them, so check your manufacturers service manual.

After you’ve gone through all of these items, start the engine and let it warm up nice and easy with out revving it up. If you own an earlier model Evo, you may experience oil running out of the breather tube when you first start it up, but don’t get shook up because this can happen if the bike has been sitting around for a while. The oil will bleed down into the bottom end and when you start the bike up, that oil will get pushed out the breather tube.

After the bike is all warmed up, check the idle speed and do whatever adjustment is necessary. Check the kill switch to make sure it’s working OK and you should be set on all the basic stuff. Also, it doesn’t hurt to change the engine oil and filter again after you run it about 500 miles.

Addressing these basic items can really save you a lot headaches while on the road and help insure a hassle free riding season.

Pit Bikes – How to Decide Which One to Buy

A pit bike differs from the dirt bikes and the mini motos in the size of their engines and the power packed in their engines. A pit bike usually has a larger engine and comes fitted with a manual gearbox and gears whereas minimotos come packed with automatic   transmission  and a centrifugal clutch.

The average maximum speed for most of the Pit bikes available readily in the market is anywhere between 40-50mph, but if you add a few accessories to your bike, you can surely get a lot more fire and power from your engine.

It is because of these performance enhancing parts, which are now becoming readily available and the otherwise constant improvement in the performance of the bikes that people have started taking a lot more interest in these bikes. It has also resulted in the setting up of various Pit Bike races and shows on international level. The popularity of this bike is going the dirt bike way. Leagues and international venues are being setup in a fashion similar to the way in which dirt biking was promoted.

Dirt bikes and dirt biking became a fashion and a sport for the adventure lovers in the 90s. There appeared a lot of leagues and similarly sponsors around that time. Dirtbiking stars suddenly became famous overnight and names like Destry Abbot, Jeremy McGrath, Derek Costella and Ryan Ambrigo became idols of dirtbiking enthusiasts.

These pro dirtbikers are a regular appearance at the famous races and shows at Las Vegas each year. These people are now also promoting pit bikes and have been spotted at various pit biking events.

Pit bikes of late have found a lot of manufacturers, both those manufacturing out of their own garage and the large companies involved in the manufacturing of other bikes as well.

Pit bikes are available in the market upwards of $500 and the price increases with the engine power, and the make. For a Pit biking enthusiast a good choice would be MonsterMoto’s 125CC bike. This bike has a 4 stroke air cooled engine and the maximum power that it can generate is roughly 9HP @ 8500 rpm. The compression ratio is about 9.6:1.

This is a good value buy because the engine is made by a company that also supplies engines to Honda, which manufactures sports bikes for events like Moto Grand Prix (Moto GP)

You can also customize your Pit bike like people do to their dirt bikes. While you can add a few parts to enhance the look of your bike, you can add a few to increase the bike’s performance. You can buy a coloured muffler to enhance you bike’s look for about $90 and you can also buy a BBR style exhaust, a stainless steel exhaust for increasing the performance of the bike.

You can similarly buy different fuel systems, carburetors etc. to improve the efficiency of the bike and also buy various accessories like alloy wheels to enhance the bikes looks.

Truly speaking, Dirt bikes and pit bikes are here to stay and will continue to rush adrenaline through the blood of all those who love adventure sitting on two wheels.