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5 Things You Never Knew About Steel and Its Uses

If you are like most people, you generally are aware that steel is used quite pervasively and in a variety of different “things.” With that said, if you are like most people, you likely only have a limited understanding of how important steel has been and continues to be throughout the past couple of hundred years, and up until today.

Recycled Steel Has Been Used for Generations

One of the most remarkable things about steel and its uses is that the recycled version of the metal has been used for many generations. In fact, recycled steel has been used for over 150 years.

Steel represents one of the first items that was recycled. It remains one of the most widely recycled substances in this day and age. Nearly every steel object in use today contains recycled steel Indeed, a typical steel product contains from about 25 percent to 100 percent recycled content.

Steel itself is completely recyclable. In addition, it is cheaper to recycle steel than it is to mine and process virgin steel. About 65 million tons of steel is recycled in the United States annually at this juncture in time.

Steel and the U.S. Railroad System

Although people realize that trains run on tracks, when quizzed, many people do not realize that railroad tracks are steel.

The railroad system, using significant amounts of steel, started to come into being in a more major way in the mid-1800s. By 1850, about 9,000 miles of steel railroad tracks had been placed in the United States. Slowly but surely, the U.S. railway system was moving westward.

The pinnacle of the efforts to link the east and west coasts of the United States with rail service occurred on May 10, 1869. On this date, the final stretch of steel railroad tracks was placed in California, linking the entire country from east to west to the railway system.

Steel Made High Rise Structures Possible

In the early 1900s, steel became an important element in commercial construction projects. Thanks to the use of steel in building projects, high rise structures like the Empire State Building and other towering structures became possible.

Steel permits the framework to be created necessary to construct buildings many stories higher than was ever possible before its use in commercial construction projects. As an aside, steel also played a vital role in the creation and development of the elevator. The elevator has also been an important element in the construction of ever taller buildings.

Steel has made the amazingly tall buildings constructed in recent years possible. This includes the tallest building on the planet, the Burj Khalifa, which is 2,722 feet tall. That is about a half a mile in height. The Empire State Building is 1,454 feet tall. One World Trade Center, currently the tallest building in the United States, is 1,776 tall.

Surgical Instruments

During the course of a lifetime, nearly all individuals will end up facing some type of surgery. People certainly are aware that a variety of instruments are utilized in surgical and other types of medical procedures. However, this represents another area in which people are not fully aware of the ubiquitous use of steel in the creation of surgical instruments, and other types of medical tools and devices.

In addition to surgical instruments themselves, a broad spectrum of medical devices rely on steel. This includes medical devices that are placed inside a person’s body via some type of surgical procedure.

Some of these devices that are placed into a person’s body require very small quantities of steel to function. These small medical devices present one of the spectrum in which varying quantities of steel are utilized. The construction of mammoth buildings represents the other end of the spectrum.

Steel and Exploration

Steel is also playing an important role in exploration. Even in this day and age, when pretty much the entire planet has been mapped out, there remain places on the globe that we are still exploring. Steel is playing a significant role in these exploratory endeavors.

One part of the planet that remains largely foreign to us is the Antarctic. Steel is vital in the creation of strong, weather resistant structures in what many consider to be the most hostile location on the planet.

In addition, steel is being utilized in underwater crafts that are permitting exploration into the deepest depths of the oceans of the world. Without steel in these underwater crafts, what we would be able to explore under the water would be significantly limited.

Jessica Kane writes for Advance Online, a leading provider of web-based OSHA. DOT. and HAZWOPER training.

A Look at Solar Energy Versus Coal Power

One of the hot topics of discussion in the United States, and elsewhere around the world, in recent years has been about the pros and cons of solar energy versus coal power. Making decisions regarding solar energy versus coal power does necessitate an understanding of some of the key facts associated with both types of energy.

Trends Relating to Coal Use

Less than two decades ago. coal was responsible for 56 percent of all electricity generated in the United States. Since that time, the utilization of coal as a means of generating electricity has been in retreat. An examination of what types of underlying energy resources are being utilized in new power generation facilities illustrates the point.

Coal Versus Solar in New Power Generation Facilities

The most remarkable change in regard to the utilization of coal versus solar power is found in the type of energy resource being utilized to run new generation facilities. In 2014, solar and wind were utilized with 52 percent of all new power generating facilities that went online in the United States. In that same year, coal accounted for 1 percent of new power generation facilities.

The trend shifted more dramatically still a year later. In 2015, solar and wind power were utilized with 69 percent of new power generation facilities and coal was used at none.

Construction Costs of Solar Versus Coal Power Generating Facilities

One of the main reasons why solar is winning the new power generation facilities race in recent years is the fact that the construction of a solar facility is cheaper than building a coal plant that has so-called clean coal technology. In recent years, with regulations and other considerations, the movement has been moved to the construction of coal plants with clean coal technology, at least when those plants were being built.

The estimated cost for building a coal power plant that utilizes clean coal technology is $2.6 billion. On the other hand, a typical solar power plant costs $1.8 billion.

As noted, traditional coal plants are not even particularly considered when it comes to the construction of new power generation facilities. But, in the interests of full disclosure, if there was a shift back to building old style coal power plants, the cost of such a facility would be $1.5 billion.

The cheapest type of power plant to build is one that runs on natural gas. The cost for constructing this type of plant is $482 million.

Materials Used in Power Plant Construction

There is some commonality in the types of materials that are utilized in constructing coal, solar, and natural gas power plants. The same holds true if you add wind power into the mix.

One type of material that is found in the construction of all types of power generating resources is steel. For example, steel pipe is utilized in different ways in coal, solar, and natural gas power plants. Steel pipe is also an important component in the generation of wind power as well.

The Future of Coal Power Plants

Another trend associated with coal power plants is going to become clearer in the not too distant future. As mentioned a moment ago, traditional coal power plants were not really being build at all for some time. In addition, the rate of construction of new coal plants with clean coal technology bottomed out all together.

The typical coal plant has a useful lifespan of about 30 years. After that, the plant typically is shuttered and decommissioned. Historically, a new plant would be constructed to take its place.

As plants in operation today begin to approach the their 30 year anniversary of operation, there has been little movement to construct replacements. Therefore, in the approaching future, there is likely to be a good many coal plants permanently decommissioned and not replaced with even some type of next generation coal plant alternative.

Of course, what policies take root in Washington, D.C., will play some role in the future of coal and solar energy. This can, and does, change from one Administration to the next. The Obama Administration was decidedly more favorable to alternative energy resources and contributed to the lessening of use of coal for the generation of electricity. The Trump Administration appears to be intent on returning to the use of coal on a broader scale, but that evident determination has not yet played any appreciable role when it comes to building new or replacing old coal power plants. Determining what will happen in that regard will take a few years.

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Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who writes for Federal Steel Supply, Inc., a leading steel tubing suppliers of carbon, alloy and stainless steel pipe, tubes, fittings and flanges.

7 Ideal Types of Retirement Gifts

When a person finally reaches the point at which he or she retires, it really is a milestone. If you have someone in your life that is getting ready to retire, you likely are wondering what type of gift to give. There are seven categories from which an ideal retirement gift can be drawn.

Years of Service Gift

For generations, the most common type of retirement gift was one focused on years of service. This type of gift oftentimes was given by an employer. However, that was during a time period when most people spent the greater part of their working lives in one, or perhaps two, jobs.

With that noted, a years of service gift is still a solid choice, even if it doesn’t officially or formally come from an employer. This type of gift could come from family, friends, or colleagues and will still have a nice impact.

Examples of years of services gifts include things like a watch or some type of jewelry. Silver is a solid choice when it comes to this type of years of service gift.

Hobby Gift

If the new retiree enjoys some type of hobby, a gift related to that endeavor is wise choice. People have a wide range of hobbies in this day and age, some of which are easier to find an appropriate gift. For example, if a person is a wine connoisseur, you will likely be able to come up with some obvious options.

If your associate has a hobby you are not particularly familiar with, reach out to that person. Ask him or her what type of item would be highly useful in the pursuit of that hobby.

Travel Gift

If the retiree is fond of travel, or has indicated a desire to spend time traveling once retired, considering giving the individual some type of travel gift. Examples of these types of gifts include luggage, passport holder, or personalized luggage tags. Books about possible travel destinations are solid ideas.

Depending on your relationship with the retiree, and your own budgetary considerations, giving a trip is a wonderful gift for a retiree. If the cost of a trip is beyond your own budget, odds are you will be able to organize people to collectively buy this type of gift for a retiree.

Experiences Gift

By the time many people reach retirement age, they have accumulated a good deal of “stuff.” Another idea for a perfect retirement gift is something from the experiences category.

Examples of what you can consider giving from the experiences category includes tickers to a concert, theatre, or sporting event. A gift certificate to a nice restaurant is another idea.

You can take one of two approaches when you give an experience gift. First, you can take the retiree and his or her significant other, if there is one, to the experience. Second, you can purchase tickets and let the retiree plan the specifics with whoever he or she would like to take.

Industry Gift

Another category of retirement recognition is the industry gift. As the name suggests, this type of gift is something associated with the industry or profession in which the person worked. This type of gift does hearken back to days gone by when an industry gift was more commonplace. As with a years of service gift, some years ago, this type of gift was quite commonly given by an employer as a means of commemorating the work of a retiree.

Charitable Contribution Gift

Many people heading into retirement have spent at least part of their working career in support of some type of charitable organization, at least in some manner. In other words, there is a strong possibility that the retiree has what is best described as a favorite charity.

If that is the case, you might want to consider making a contribution to a particular charity on behalf of the retiree. If the retiree doesn’t seem to have a favorite charity, you could ask the individual if there is one he or she would like to see a donation go.

Social Gift

This is something of a derivation of the experience gift. A social gift oftentimes is something added to another type of gift.

In basic terms, a social gift is one in which you invite the retiree to join you for something like lunch or dinner at some point in the future. You could be creative and make a coupon which the retiree can redeem at some point in the future for a social connection of some sort.

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Jessica Kane is a writer for Silver Superstore, home of the internet’s best flatware.

How To Wear A Vest And Look Stylish All Year Long

As style continues to revolve, the vest is making a huge comeback. For instance, the puff vest is extremely popular this winter. Many consumers find this vest more comfortable and stylish than a winter coat. Whatever the case may be, the vest is becoming extremely popular again and many retailers are having difficulty keeping up with demand. Vests complete a wardrobe, regardless if it is cropped, classic denim or fur. Below, you will discover several tips on how to wear a vest and look stylish all year long.

Cropped Vest

A cropped, fitted vest is perfect for individuals who want to show off their waistline. This vest is suitable for dress and casual attire. It can be worn with a pair of slacks or a mini skirt and still show off your toned arms and waistline. If you are looking for a piece to add to your work wardrobe, do not look any further than the cropped vest. Need something to add more style to your dull green dress? A cream, cropped, fitted vest is the answer and the transformation will be remarkable.

Printed Vest

When most people think of a printed vest, they automatically think of the 70s. The printed vest was extremely popular among both male and female “hippies.” Today, people from all walks of life are finding the printed vest to their liking. A colorful printed vest will add eye appeal to a pair of jeans and shirt or a dress of a single color.

Vest Outfit

A top brand vest outfit is perfect for events that call for casual attire. Regardless, if you choose to wear a pair of denim jeans, leggings or kakis, a fur vest will balance out your attire perfectly. The denim and faux fur vest is suitable for all seasons and will look great with a dress, skirt and slacks.

Just A Vest

If you are a fan of Hollywood styles, you will definitely be familiar with celebrities wearing a vest with nothing underneath. This style is extremely popular and works for all types of occasions. If you are planning on attending a casual celebration or corporate dinner, wearing a vest alone will look marvelous.

If you do not feel comfortable wearing the vest alone, you can always add a turtleneck swear or scarf to your attire. Whatever the case may be, you will look stylish and beautiful in a vest with nothing underneath. If you choose to go this route, be sure to stick with a vest that offers a snug fit show you can show off your slim waistline.

Oversized Vest

If you want to dress down for the day, but want to keep your stylish look, be sure to consider an oversized vest. Such a vest will go with just about anything you have stored in your closet. For instance, you can wear a white oversized vest with a slim tank top, or long sleeved dress shirt. This style will not take anything away from your slim figure. In fact, it will add eye appeal to ordinary attire and improve your appearance greatly.

What are the Top Wedding Trends for 2018?

Your wedding day is a very personal thing and should be all about the couple.  But trends can be very helpful in making those decisions – what colors will be in the shops?  What kind of venue will be offering great wedding deals?  So even if you don’t follow the trends, it can help you make your decisions by knowing what they are.  Here’s a look at some of the top trends for 2018 weddings.

Marble and copper

One big trend has travelled from home décor into wedding and is a great one to help you choose some finish touches.  From invites to table decoration to the style of dance floor, the trend of marble and copper is an inspiring one.  Marble dance floors are a great look and very classy while using copper cutlery and table accents look amazing next to muted shades and white colors.  You can even combine the two on the table and around the wedding venue.  And don’t forget rose gold – last year’s favorite is still very popular for this year too.

Geometric shapes

Geometric shapes also work very well with the marble and copper trend because these types of materials lend themselves naturally to these shapes.  But there are also lots of other ways to use the trend – patterns on the wedding cake, in your wedding jewelry and even for beautiful wedding invitation designs.

Donuts

Donuts started as a big wedding trend last year and look set to continue this year.  And who doesn’t love a colorful, tasty donut to keep your sugar levels up during all that dancing at the reception?  Of course, donuts can be more than a tasty offering at the evening – you can even get wedding cakes decorated in them!

Wedding websites

Rather than constant updates on Facebook and loads of phone calls, the best way to keep everyone up to date with the wedding is through a wedding website.  And there are lots of new wedding websites out there for you to easy and inexpensively set up and run.  You can add info about a gift list, let people check in that they are coming or can’t make it and much more.  They can become the hub of the wedding organization and are also great fun.

Big colorful flowers

While whites and off-whites remain popular for wedding dresses, more brides are bringing some strong color into their outfit and a popular way to do this is with big colorful bouquets of flowers.  Oversized arrangements are popular for the bride to carry and are using strong, bold colors as well.  The same trend can be found in table centers and decorations around venues with real potted plants often used as well.

Touch of blue

If you want a subtle accent color, then a blue shade is a popular option for 2018.  It works well with the copper trend and can sit comfortably with some shades of bold flowers.  It is also a very clean and modern color that isn’t too feminine for the man of the wedding – it is a great color for men’s accessories for the big day as well.

Surprising Causes of High Blood Pressure

If our blood pressure readings are usually more than 140 over 90, then we will be said to have high blood pressure (also known as hypertension). High blood pressure increases your risk of a heart attack or stroke if it continues for an extended period of time (i.e., several weeks or more). It is also linked to kidney disease and associated with some forms of dementia. Fortunately, many of the factors that cause our blood pressure to rise are factors that we can control. Here are some of the main reasons for this condition: many of them may surprise you.

Our Genes

This is not something that we can alter: if we are genetically predisposed to have blood pressure higher than the average, there is currently no way to leap in and edit our genes. However, we can mitigate this genetic factor by leading a healthy lifestyle.

Smoking

Smoking clogs up our arteries, meaning that our blood is compressed into a smaller space as it flows through them, thus raising our blood pressure. Cut out the cigarettes, and your blood pressure will fall.

Obesity (Or Simply Being Overweight)

When a person is very overweight, they tend to have fatty deposits in their blood vessels. This is similar to the deposits left as a result of smoking, causes our blood pressure readings to rise. This is not just something that clinically obese people have to deal with, though: even being slightly overweight can cause those fatty deposits to start building up.

Sleep Apnoea

Sufferers of sleep apnoea are also likely to have raised blood pressure. This is because sleep apnoea causes the oxygen levels in the blood to suddenly dip because the sufferer stops breathing properly and thus does not inhale enough oxygen. These drops in blood oxygen levels can cause, or exacerbate, hypertension.

Exercise Levels

If we exercise regularly, our blood pressure will usually be within a healthy range. Aim for five thirty minute sessions of moderate to strenuous exercise every single week.

Old Age

As we age, our blood pressure tends to rise. This age-related hypertension can be avoided or mitigated by following a healthy lifestyle with plenty of physical activity, no smoking and low levels of alcohol consumption.

Drinking Habits

Drinking more than 1 or 2 units of alcohol a day can cause our blood pressure to rise dramatically. Try and have at least three alcohol-free days every week and to stay within the recommended limits for your sex.

Eating Lots of Salt

If you have a diet high in salt, you may also have raised blood pressure. Conversely, reducing the salt in your diet is an excellent way to alleviate hypertension. It is recommended that adults consume no more than 6g of salt every day (which gives us our recommended daily intake of 3.2g of sodium). Unfortunately, it is estimated that adults in the UK currently consume around 8g of salt per day. We do need some salt each day to keep our body healthy as we use sodium in many bodily processes. Nevertheless, cutting down our salt intake is very good for our cardiovascular health.

Vision Direct’s Baby Sight App Helps You Understand Baby Vision

Vision Direct Baby Sight App is a new interactive tool designed by an optician to help parents understand how a baby’s eyesight develops over the first year.

If you were ever curious to know how your baby sees the world, you can now see things through your baby’s eyes with the tool here: http://www.visiondirect.co.uk/baby-sight-tool.

You can quickly shift from a newborn’s first view to the fully developed vision of a 12 month old child. You can input your child’s age and get an idea for your baby’s field of vision, depth perception and colour awareness.

A newborn’s vision

A newborn sees shapes, light and movement, but only in shades of grey.

6 months

A six month old baby can move her eyes quickly to follow moving objects and is beginning to understand object permanence.

10 months

At 10 months old, a baby’s eyes will be the colour they’ll stay when she’s grown up; give or take a shade or two.

Help your baby’s vision develop!

Another great feature of this app is it provides tips to help facilitate your baby’s vision development under each month. For example, at seven to eight months playing games like peekaboo is a great way to help your baby improve her understanding of object permanence, that items still exist even when she can no longer see them.

Vision Direct is the UK’s online leading retailer for contact lenses (also shipping to the USA with no prescription required).

Millenials Are Right About Cars (To An Extent)

Millenials are the generation every other generation loves to look down on, there is no doubt about that. And there are legitimate issues that annoy a lot of people from previous generations. Millenials can come across as apathetic, selfish, lazy, a whole host of unsavory things. These stereotypes are often unfair but they also don’t exist in a vacuum.

However, having said that, there are some areas in which millenials really are seeing things more clearly than those that come before them.

It’s been said that this generation possesses the best BS meters out of any generation before it, and this is definitely true in more ways than one. One area where I think their perception serves them very well is in the area of buying vehicles. This is often a bad investment, and millenials aren’t having it anymore.

Cars are useful, there is no doubt about it. And the idea that privately owned cars are just going to disappear in a few years time is honestly more than a bit premature, especially in countries like the USA and Canada. Self-driving cars are still far far away from becoming a day to day reality on the street level, and while rideshare technology has transformed how people get around to an extent, many people are still going to need some form of private transportation for the forseeable future.

However, what really doesn’t make sense anymore, and honestly probably never did, was buying a new or even newer car. It’s a luxury that many people can’t afford anymore, and frankly it’s mostly a big waste of money.

The smart thing to do is to analyze a car’s depreciation curve before buying it. As the article in that link shows, a car starts to be a much more sensible investment after it reaches five years of age or so.

People who know the most about this subject from personal experience are, ironically, often the rideshare drivers themselves, especially the ones who have enough experience to be already using a car they bought specifically for rideshare purposes. It becomes painfully obvious that it’s very bad business to put a car on the road driving rideshare and having it chew through that depreciation curve in what seems like record time because of the high levels of usage these vehicles endure. But in all honesty, this is just an accelerated version of what happens to any car under any circumstance; the car’s depreciation curve has not changed at all.

So in short, if you’ve decided you need your own car, aim to buy vehicles five years old or older,  buy them in good condition, and budget appropriately for their maintenance. Over the long term, your wallet will thank you for it many times over.

How to Showcase Your Family Pictures

Gone are the days where film cameras limited the number of pictures a family can have. Today, digital albums are the only way to truly share every moment you have captured in time; traditional albums won’t cut it. The only problem with the digital era is that there are just so many incredible photos of your family that it can overwhelm any viewer.

Don’t let those precious memories sit in a Facebook album or on your computer where no one can see them. Photos are meant to be viewed. You can print out a few and hang them up, but the problem with this method is that it is guaranteed to miss out on so many great photos.

So, unless you want to cover your walls from head to toe with family pictures, you will have to convert to a digital age. Here are two great options for displaying and sharing your photos in your home:

Collages

Before, the only way you could have a photo was to develop the negatives. You had a physical copy of the photo right from the start. The thing is, though, when pictures were still film, people took a lot less of them, and there were usually only a few copies. Nowadays, you can have hundreds or thousands of pictures that you want to display.

Use a free collage maker to format your photos to maximize space for when you are creating your modern-day equivalent to the photo album – picture books. These books are easy to create online, and will be shipped to you in the quantity you want so that you can give them to your family members too. In order to do this, maximizing space is imperative.

This option is perfect for those who like the feel of physical pictures. They make perfect gifts too! Never again do your grandparents, and older family members have to miss out on your family photos, you can send a copy to them right from the get-go.

Digital Photo Frames

For digital photos, it only makes sense to showcase them digitally. A great way to bring all your family photos into your home is using a digital frame. This frame simply plays slideshows of your photos on loop. For the best results, select only the best photos. You don’t have to worry about seeing too many similar photos as well, as the digital frame can shuffle your photos, so you get a nice mix of your memories.

Your memories are important. It makes no sense at all to hide them away in an old album buried deep on your computer. You certainly don’t want to publish too many photos of your kids online. When you have friends and family over, it likely won’t be comfortable for them to stand behind your desk while you scroll through your photos.

Creating beautiful photo collage books is a great way to bring your photos out from the digital world and back into the physical one. Digital photo frames are a great way to showcase your digital photos as you take them. Choosing both options is the best way to showcase all the best photos of your lives.

How to Improve Interaction Between Kids and Senior Family Members

The multigenerational gap is most evident in families where younger members of the group fail to understand older loved ones and vice versa. Such is particularly the case in small children who may not understand why Grandma or Grandpa ignores them or is always mean. For kids, adults refusing to engage in activities is evidence of such persons wanting to be left alone. The contrary is true as older adults enjoy the company of vibrant youth. Finding a middle ground andbolstering harmony among generations is a task that parents of small children and caregivers of seniors can accomplish by working together.

Communication is a two-way street

Many children believe that older adults do not like them because they do not interact during conversations. By the same token, senior citizens think that smaller children do not want to hear what they have to say because of the difference in ages. Parents can encourage children to move past their fears of being ignored and engage in meaningful conversation with older adults. Caregivers can help seniors by encouraging them to share their life’s wisdom with the kids. Such interaction presents the potential for both parties to learn new skills.

Acceptance is essential

Isolation is common among seniors. Even those matureadults residing in assisted living communitiesface the possibility of loneliness because those surrounding them are not close loved ones. Children in the family can be the remedy for isolation if youngsters learn to accept older adults along with their limitations. There are many things that kids and seniors can do together when both parties make accommodations for one another. Also, parents can teach children the invaluable lesson of accepting people of all ages and lifestyles when they encourage kids to interact with older members of the family.

Respect sparks concern

Parents are always telling kids to respect their elders, but few understand that such esteem for older adults ismore than good manners. Teaching children to abide by the elders of the family compels them to develop relationships with senior citizens. Emotional bonds form during relational building that prompts young people to respect and help mature members of the family with disabilities and other limitations. Respect, then, becomes the driving force behind concern that urges children to interact with older adults.

Among the many things that parents can do to foster a positive relationship between their kids and older adults in the family, setting a positive example is probably the most useful measure. It makes little sense for moms and dads to tell the children to respect mature adults if they do not revere senior citizens. It is always in the best interest of caregivers to encourage seniors to remain in good spirits even if children are initially reserved. Such positive attitude can significantly contribute to closing the multigenerational gap in families.