Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Bicycle Clothing: What Cycling Gear to Wear and When

Avid cyclists know there is a wide-range of cycling gear available to choose from. Determining what you will need means asking yourself some key questions.

• What gear is required by law?
• What gear will provide the most comfort for the bicycling I plan to do?
• What equipment is best for the summer/winter conditions?

Cycling store employees should be able to help you answer these questions as you look to purchase new or updated cycling clothing.

What gear is required by Law?
Nearly every government has a regulation or law requiring helmets for cyclist. Some states require them for all riders while others set an age requirement. A good, well-fit helmet could save your life. Whether mountain biking or street cycling, a helmet is a must have for anyone riding a bike.

Though not specifically required by law, many state cycling groups recommend wearing reflective clothing when biking as well. This is another safety benefit, ensuring you are able to be seen by cars and pedestrians.

What gear will provide the most comfort for the bicycling I plan to do?
Having a variety of clothing for cycling is recommended as what you need is based on how long your ride and wear. Cycling shorts are great for longer rides. They help to keep you cool while you are exerting yourself on the roadway. Quality cycling shorts are made of special material made specifically for comfort and moisture control. They usually have a padded seat for extra protection and comfort for extensive riding. Choosing a sleeveless cycling jersey to help keep you cool on long-rides is also recommended.

Mountain bikers who ride through brush and trees should look for a long-sleeve cycling jersey to protect their arms from abrasions. Cycling shirts or jerseys worth their salt will be made of synthetic fabric that is comfortable, lightweight and moisture resistant. This will ensure that, whether long or short-sleeved, the jersey will help a rider maintain a good temperature.

What equipment is best for the summer/winter conditions?
Avid bicyclers hit the road during all kinds of weather, especially if the bike is their primary form of transportation. For cold days, a cycling jacket or a wool cycling jersey will keep you warm against the cooler air while still keeping you dry by sweeping the sweat away from your skin. Windproof jackets are also available for wind and rain protection. Coupled with cycling pants or knee warmers, which keep your knees and legs warm and flexible, these items will help you have a pleasant ride, even when the weather is less than ideal.

As the weather warms, your cycling apparel should mirror what you would wear on long rides. Good cycling or bib shorts and a sleeveless jersey will keep you comfortable and cool. You may want to carry a lightweight, compact cycling jacket with you in case your ride goes later in the evening than you anticipated or you start out your ride early in the morning. There are a number of jackets available that can be easily stowed when the temperature rises. Cycling jacket made of breathable material that incorporates ventilation, like mesh vents, in the fabric are ideal.

There are many choices in bicycle clothing and not all of them are necessary. Depending on what kind of bicycler you are, you may find that less is more. But, if you are seriously into cycling, then choosing a variety of bicycle clothing is in your advantage – you will feel much more apt to get out there on your bike if you have all of the proper equipment, including comfortable clothing that helps to keep your body temperate and dry.

110cc Pocket Bikes

A 110cc pocket bike is a miniature motorcycle that is becoming increasingly popular. There are even Pocket Bike races held world wide now, with some of the pros taking home thousands of dollars in cash and prizes. 110cc pocket bikes look like they were built for kids, they are typically 38 to 47 inches long and weigh about 50 pounds, but don't let the small size fool you. The 110cc pocket bikes are specifically built for adult drivers.

The 110cc bikes are made in Italy, and can reach speeds of up to 75 miles per hour. The 110cc pocket bikes have a 30 inch wheelbase, which in layman's terms means that you are barely inches from the ground. This definitely adds an adrenaline rush when it comes to high speed turns! Due to their miniature size, riding a pocket bike offers certain thrills that cannot be obtained on a regular motorcycle.

Pocket bike racing is also the most affordable motor sport in existence today, which is no small part why it is also one of the fastest growing. This draws participants from all over the world, offering them the ability to get in on motor sports, when they might not be able to otherwise. Make no mistakes about it, though, riding a pocket bike isn't like riding a regular motorcycle, even though the concept of balancing on two wheels at high speed is the same. Due to its small size, riding a pocket bike requires more balance, self control, agility, and faster reaction times. The adrenaline rush is a major reason many beginning participants become hooked and life-long fans.

Pocket bikes can be suitable for children over the age of nine, as long as they are very carefully supervised. The bikes were designed for adults, and so are set to support up to 300 pounds of weight. 110cc pocket bikes are not designed or intended for street use, these are bikes made for racing on tracks. Protective gear should be worn by both kids and adults at all times. This includes, but is not limited to, helmet, gloves, knee and elbow pads, and leather clothes in case of an accident. While they may look like toys, the 110cc pocket bikes were designed for extreme motor racing, and need to be treated with the same respect accordingly.

50cc Pocket Bikes

If you are planning to shop for a new 50cc pocket bike, you need to know what exactly it is you are searching for, and the right questions to ask before you visit a store, or even before you shop online, if that's your preferred method. Not paying especially close attention to specific features, or not asking the right questions can result in you buying a 50cc pocket bike that you don't really want, or even worse, can't use.

First, know exactly what you want your 50cc pocket bike will be used for. Will it be fun and recreation, or will you be racing? This decision has to be firmly set in your mind before you go out to make the purchase. If you will be using the pocket bike for recreational purposes, and you have no intention of racing, you can expect to pay about $400 or a little more. A very reasonable price. It's a completely different story if you want to race. If you eventually plan to race, you may find that you need to pay up to a full $7000 to get what you want. The price difference shows you pretty quickly why you have to know what you're investing in.
Generally you will find that any pocket bikes you are looking at were made in one of two places. There are the pocket bikes that are built in Italy, and there are pocket bikes that are manufactured in China. The bikes made in Italy are typically among the highest quality bikes. Higher quality also brings a higher price, but once again what you should be willing to spend on a 50cc pocket bike depends on what you are going to use it for. If the bike is going to be used solely for recreational purposes, then look at the ones made from China, because the difference is not that large if it is just for fun. If you're looking to race, buy from Italy.

Keep in mind pocket bikes are not very comfortable, due to their small size - unless you are very small or a kid. So, comfort isn't what you need to look for, however, you still need to be comfortable enough to ensure that you have full control of the bike at all times. Take the bike for a test run, and make sure that your body isn't touching anything that it shouldn't, like the exhaust pipe, and that you're comfortable controlling the bike.

Talk to the pocket bike dealer to find out what spare parts are available for the bike, and how hard those parts may be to get. Find out what parts need to be replaced often. Remember, they sell 50cc pocket bikes for a living, and they are probably the best experts you are going to find. They will be able to tell you all you need to know about what the bikes need, and what they don't need. Also, find out if there is a mechanic at the dealership, or in the town, that is capable of making repairs should they be needed, and inquire about warranties as well, the same types of information you would want for a new car. Make an informed decision based on your needs, and you will find a pocket bike an enjoyable investment.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Art Theft Most Famous Cases in History

Art theft is an ancient and complicated crime. When you look at the some of the most famous cases of art thefts in history, you see thoroughly planned operations that involve art dealers, art fakers, mobsters, ransoms, and millions of dollars. Here you can read about some of the most famous cases of art theft in the history.

The First Theft:
The first documented case of art theft was in 1473, when two panels of altarpiece of the Last Judgment by the Dutch painter Hans Memling were stolen. While the triptych was being transported by ship from the Netherlands to Florence, the ship was attacked by pirates who took it to the Gdansk cathedral in Poland. Nowadays, the art thefts piece is shown at the National Museum in Gdansk where it was recently moved from the Basilica of the Assumption.

The Most Famous Theft:
The most famous story of art theft involves one of the most famous paintings in the world and one of the most famous artists in history as a suspect. In the night of August 21, 1911, the Mona Lisa was stolen out of the Louver. Soon after, Pablo Picasso was arrested and questioned by the police, but was released quickly.

It took about two years until the mystery was solved by the Parisian police. It turned out that the 30×21 inch painting was taken by one of the museum employees by the name of Vincenzo Peruggia, who simply carried it hidden under his coat. Nevertheless, Peruggia did not work alone. The crime was carefully conducted by a notorious con man, Eduardo de Valfierno, who was sent by an art faker who intended to make copies and sell them as if they were the original painting.

While Yves Chaudron, the art faker, was busy creating copies for the famous masterpiece, Mona Lisa was still hidden at Peruggias apartment. After two years in which Peruggia did not hear from Chaudron, he tried to make the best out of his stolen good. Eventually, Peruggia was caught by the police while trying to sell the painting to an art dealer from Florence, Italy. The Mona Lisa was returned to the Louver in 1913.

The Biggest Theft in the USA:
The biggest art theft in United States took place at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. On the night of March 18, 1990, a group of thieves wearing police uniforms broke into the museum and took thirteen paintings whose collective value was estimated at around 300 million dollars. The thieves took two paintings and one print by Rembrandt, and works of Vermeer, Manet, Degas, Govaert Flinck, as well as a French and a Chinese artifact.

As of yet, none of the paintings have been found and the case is still unsolved. According to recent rumors, the FBI are investigating the possibility that the Boston Mob along with French art dealers are connected to the crime.

The Scream:
The painting by Edvard Munchs, The Scream, is probably the most sought after painting by art thieves in history. It has been stolen twice and was only recently recovered. In 1994, during the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, The Scream was stolen from an Oslo gallery by two thieves who broke through an open window, set off the alarm and left a note saying: thanks for the poor security.

Three months later, the holders of the painting approached the Norwegian Government with an offer: 1 million dollars ransom for Edvard Munchs The Scream. The Government turned down the offer, but the Norwegian police collaborated with the British Police and the Getty Museum to organize a sting operation that brought back the painting to where it belongs.

Ten years later, The Scream was stolen again from the Munch Museum. This time, the robbers used a gun and took another of Munchs painting with them. While Museum officials waiting for the thieves to request ransom money, rumors claimed that both paintings were burned to conceal evidence. Eventually, the Norwegian police discovered the two paintings on August 31, 2006 but the facts on how they were recovered are not known yet.

Are Readers Important To Authors

Bestselling authors speak of their fans in almost reverential tones, as well they should. A loyal readership that comes back for more, book after book, is the real key to long-term publishing success. Savvy authors work diligently to produce great work that will continue to please their audience, but many of them also communicate directly to their fans. Author’s web sites are all the rage, some of them Are Readers Important To Authors elaborately produced.

Fauzia Burke is the founder and President of FSB Associates, http://www.fsbassciates.com. Her company specializes in publicity utilizing the Internet and author websites.

We asked Fauzia: What is the most unusual publicity program you've developed? “We’re proud of our ability to harness all the power of the Web in the service of authors and their books, and we’re especially committed to making the online presence fit the project.

Here are some examples: “Our site for Doug Stanton’s In Harm’s Way goes beyond words and pictures to include audio interviews with survivors of the 1945 sinking of the USS Indianapolis, video clips of the actual rescue at sea, and a discussion board. Our campaign introduced the book to many audiences, from World War II vets and history buffs, to college and high school students.

“For Christopher Rice’s supernatural thriller A Density Of Souls, we used animation and graphics to create an online gathering place that echoes the eerie atmosphere of the book, and added exclusive material like a virtual yearbook from the New Orleans high school of the story, and back-story on the characters. We even helped promote Chris's appearance on MTV's Real World.

“We used cutting-edge animated maps in our site for Rick Atkinson’s Pulitzer Prize winner An Army At Dawn, to illustrate critical points in the Allied assault on German-held North Africa in 1942-43. Animation helps bring alive our site for Tony Horwitz’s Blue Latitudes, combining a sea chart that traces the voyages of Captain Cook with excerpts from corresponding passages in the book.

“But we don’t use bells and whistles for their own sake. Our site for Mitch Albom’s novel The Five People You Meet In Heaven called for a simpler approach that lets the warm story and the wonderful writing take center stage. Because this is the kind of book people love to share, there’s an e-postcard that fans can send to their friends. There are teaching guides, and reading group materials, and a Q&A with Mitch. And for the Spanish edition of the book, we’ve created a Spanish-language site that will help broaden the audience even more.

“For all these books, we also waged word-of-mouth campaigns designed to attract attention, site traffic and media coverage. In the end, these coordinated efforts produced the most satisfying of all results – sales.”

Quite a few author websites are just storefronts whose major purpose is to sell books. Others have a much more intimate feel, inviting visitors to: “Come on in and meet me. Stay and chat.” With all the other pressures on their time, why do bestselling authors go to the trouble of answering fan e-mail, or posting responses to message boards on their web sites, and continually upgrading them with information about their new project or where they will be appearing?

Nicholas Sparks, www.nicholassparks.com, whose first book, The Notebook set a new standard for romance, answers the question: You interact with your fans more that many authors do. Your web site is particularly interactive, with message boards and an e-mail address for fans to reach you. Why did you take this approach? “People have so many questions about my novels or want to know about me, and there's a lot of misinformation out there. I wanted to have the correct answers put up where readers could easily access them. The web site is a way to make sure the truth is getting out there. For instance, the question, Where did I get the idea for The Notebook? If I say it was inspired by my wife's grandparents, this is very much the truth, but not much information. Readers want to know more: How was it inspired? In what way? How did that whole thought process work? So I explained the whole situation so the readers understand.”

Does that interaction encourage the word of mouth buzz about your books? “Maybe a little. But not everyone cares about what an author's life is like. They just want to read a good book.”

Anna Jacobs, http://www.annajacobs.com, has written 29 novels, mostly historical sagas and romances. She resides in Australia, her primary publisher is in the United Kingdom and her books are sold worldwide including the United States.

We asked Anna: Romance authors seem to have a more personal relationship with their fans, interacting with them on web sites, message boards, Internet chats, book readings. Why is that? What does an author learn from this interaction that assists her with her work? “I'm not sure it's just romance authors. I think it's a woman's approach. I happen to believe that if you put something back into the universe it will bring good karma. Or as my daughter puts it: What goes around, comes around. But I also keep in touch with readers because if you can 'attach' readers as well as writing good books (the latter is the prime pre-requisite) they go out and talk about your books to others.

“I learn a lot from readers' emails about what has particularly pleased them. That doesn't hurt. Also writing is a very solitary activity, so it's nice to be in touch with others. And we all need feedback and praise. I'm as human as any other. I love to hear that someone has enjoyed my books. It's much more fun than sales figures.”

Susan Elizabeth Phillips, www.susanelizabethphillips.com, is the only five-time winner of the Romance Writers of America Favorite Book of the Year Award; inducted into the Romance Writers Hall of Fame, 2001— pioneered, and some say, perfected the “romantic comedy” school of fiction. writes with a touch of humor. We asked Susan: You seem to interact quite a bit with your readers through your web site. You even mentioned there were several categories of fans you have, those who enjoy the humor in your books and those who are more attuned to what happens to the characters. How does the fan interaction shape your writing? “I love my readers, but I do my best not to let their comments shape my writing in any way. About ten years ago, the light finally went off in my brain and I truly understood that every book I wrote would be somebody's favorite and somebody’s least favorite, that everybody in the world (gasp) wasn't going to like my books. This was intensely liberating. It told me that to do my best work I concentrate only on pleasing myself. Truly the biggest ‘Aha Moment’ of my career.”

It’s not only romance authors that have their own website, Stuart Woods, http://www.stuartwoods.com, writes hard hitting mysteries and has been on the New York Times Bestseller list many times.

Stuart answers the question: You are one of the bestselling authors who regularly corresponds with readers via e-mail, why? “It gives me a direct kind of feedback. I get a sense that what I’m doing is the right thing to do. I’ve never made any changes in what I do because of what I’ve heard from readers. The vast preponderance of people love the books and write to tell me so.”

And it’s not just the household name authors who value their readers.

Lydia Joyce’s, www.lydiajoyce.com, most recent book is “The Veil of Night” an intense, sensual remaking of the Gothic genre, with a mysterious Duke, a crumbling manor, and an older heroine with her own secrets to hide.

Lydia told us: “To be absolutely crass, if I didn't have fans, I couldn't make money. And if I couldn't make money, writing would be a hobby, not a job!

“But fans are important to me for far more than financial reasons. My desire to become a writer started with the ghost stories I used to tell around Girl Scouts campfires. I loved how I could affect other people, how I could thrill them, excite them, and make them care about the people in my tales. The pleasure that other people get from my storytelling is a major motivator for me. If it weren't for that, I could be perfectly happy to leave my stories in my head where they started.”

Lynne Connolly is the author of the Richard and Rose series of books, romantic suspense novels set in the mid eighteenth century. Her latest book, "Harley Street" came out in March, and pits the new Lord and Lady Strang against their deadly enemies, Julia and Steven Drury in a tale of old transgressions come to test new found love.

We asked Lynne: Why are your fans important to you as an author? “They validate my work, tell me that I'm on the right track. Fans aren't unthinking admirers, and can often give you information you never had before. Their encouragement keeps me going, and presenting my work to publishers and agents with confidence. Economically, they buy the books, making it possible for me to write more and for my publisher to continue having confidence in me. I sit at home all day on my own with a keyboard for company. Fans connect me, help me to keep on target. And a fan is a reader. They complete the link, the communication between writer and reader.

Marjorie Jones’s, www.majoriejones.com, “The Jewel and the Sword” was just released by Medallion Press. She tells us fans are important to her because “For me, fans are the end-all-be-all of the writing experience. Finishing a book is a terrific feeling. Selling that book to a publisher is an amazing feeling. Having that book accepted by the reading public is better than both! Why are they important? Because without them, my stories would float indefinitely inside the walls of my hard-drive. No purpose. No reason for being. Fans give the stories life.”

Take a few minutes this summer and find out a little bit more about your favorite author. If you really enjoyed their last book, let them know. They would like to hear from you.

Anyone Can Write a Research Paper

“I’ll figure that out . . . when I get the time.”
“I really don’t know how to start!”
“I really should write my research paper!”

This common dilemma is expressed over and over again by many people everywhere. The good news is that anybody can write a research paper!

There are three main reasons for research papers:

1. To help you to piece together information from different sources and cohesively put it back together.

2. To help you develop good written and oral communication skills.

3. To help you to figure out how to find information.

Not knowing how to write properly can make your academic life disorganized, stressful and chaotic. By improving your writing skills, you can confidently and quickly finish assignments and write properly throughout your professional career. Writing a research paper can be very simple when you follow these basic steps:

1. Choose or Brainstorm Your Topic: Sometimes a topic is given to you, or you may have your own topic that you would like to research. You may be forced to conduct your research with very little direction. Sometimes you are only given a page count, number of sources and a deadline. It is helpful to begin by brainstorming a topic. Writing down a few ideas can be very helpful, and lead you in a certain direction.

2. Determine the Scope: Once you’ve scanned the internet or library and learned a little more about your topic, you need to determine whether you need to broaden or narrow your focus.

3. Research: By now you have an idea of your topic and have scanned the subject area. You have a focus for your research paper, but you also need details to “flesh out” the paper. Start going to your resources, and taking notes on sections that may be pertinent to your paper. Remember to document where you got the research from! This usually includes noting the author’s name, title of book, paper or website, year of publication, publishing house, page numbers and/or date accessed.

4. Outline Your Paper: An outline is an organized plan for your paper. Develop an outline by starting the first section with a broad introduction of the topic, then list several sections that you have read about (or will read about) that pertain to your topic. The general sections are: introduction, literature review, data collection, results and discussion. Writing an outline will help you to feel better about writing your research paper because you will have a sense of organization and direction after you write it.

5. Create the First Draft: The first draft should be written after you have completed your research. By this point, you will probably have numerous sources and many pages of notes written down from each of these sources. You should have enough information to write the entire paper. It is important “just to start writing”, and not to worry too much about the details at this point.

6. Revise, Revise, Revise! Revision of a paper should actually take longer than writing the first draft. This is the time to clean up all of the grammatical mistakes, spelling, run-on sentences, etc, and to make this paper easily readable. This is also the time to add or subtract text when necessary.

7. Proofread: This is the time for nit-picky editing to insure that there are no mistakes. Some things to watch for are: correct verb tenses, punctuation, grammar, spelling, word choice and proper citation. Other details that may be important are: page numbers, correct spacing and correct margins.

By breaking your research paper into small tasks, you can stay focused on the goal of completing it quickly and meticulously!

Addiction When Gambling Becomes a Problem

While most people enjoy casino gambling, sports betting, lottery and bingo playing for the fun and excitement it provides, others may experience gambling as an addictive and distractive habit. Statistics show that while 85 percent of the adult population in the US enjoys some type of gambling every year, between 2 and 3 percent of will develop a gambling problem and 1 percent of them are diagnosed as pathological gamblers.

Where can you draw the line between harmless gambling to problem gambling? How can you tell if you or your friend are compulsive gamblers? Here you can find answers to these questions and other questions regarding problem gambling and gambling addiction.

What is the Meaning of Problem Gambling?
Problem gambling or compulsive gambling is defined as an uncontrollable urge to gamble despite the destructive effect of gambling on the gamblers life and despite feelings of guilt and remorse. Problem gambling tends to have a negative effect on the gamblers financial state, relationships and daily life. Severe cases of problem gambling can be defined as pathological gambling.

Am I a Compulsive Gambler?
1) Do you gamble until your last penny runs out?
2) Do you gamble to win back your former losses or debts?
3) Did you ever had to borrow money to continue gamble?
4) Did your gambling habit ever made you lie to your friends or family?
5) Did you ever skip work or other obligation to gamble?
6) Do you tend to gamble to forget about your personal problems or to celebrate happy occasions?
7) Does gambling have a negative affect on your daily life or relationships?

If you have answered yes on at least one of the questions listed above, then you have a problem.

Can Anyone Become a Compulsive Gambler?
Theoretically, yes. Any gambler can develop gambling problem regardless to the type of gambling he is occupied with, the amount of money and time he is spending on gambling. Researches show that slot machines that can be found in bars and convenient stores are the most addictive type of gambling activity, while lottery draws and bingo games are located on the other end of the scale. Gambling addiction is an emotional problem; its symptoms, causes and treatments are similar to any other form of addiction.

How Can I treat Gambling Addiction?
1) Group Therapy:
Gamblers Anonymous offers a 12 step self help program similar to the one offered to alcohol addicts in Alcoholics Anonymous. Group therapy also offers gambling addicts advice and support from professional counselors and other gambling addicts in different phases of their recovery process. Gambler Anonymous centers are available in more than 1,200 locations statewide.

2) Individual Therapy:
Cognitive or behavior therapy can help gambling addicts to identify their unaware thinking and acting patterns, which led them to gamble compulsively, and to replace them with controllable and healthier ways of thinking.

3) Psychiatric Medication:
It has recently been proven that antidepressant medications from the family of SSRIs, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors can be affective in treatment of gambling addicts.