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Your guide to cigar accessories

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Your guide to cigar accessories

For the cigar-lover in your life or for the beginning smoker, here is a list of all you need to enjoy a fine cigar.
Enjoying a fine cigar is a taste which must be cultivated. Like an aged whiskey or scotch, a cigar is a refined taste. But for people with a developed taste for cigars, or for those just learning to enjoy the feel of a well-aged cigar, here is a list of some necessary equipment and welcome additions to any cigar smoker's toolbox.

Humidor: A necessity for any cigar-lover, a humidor is designed to keep cigars at the right temperature and humidity, to prevent the tobacco leaves from drying out or becoming brittle. A good desktop humidor should be made out of hardwood and have a shade similar to that of aged oak or cherry wood. It should also come with a glass front to display the cigars inside. These may rest on a small rack or side-by-side in the box, with their labels facing front. The humidor must also come with a humidity gauge to adjust and keep track of the humidity, as well as a small pan of water which slowly releases moisture into the air. For the very high-class, walk-in humidors are available for purchase. Some people even build their own. These can be built into a den or garage, and they can hold thousands of varieties of cigars.
Cigar cutter: There are a variety of different styles of cigar cutters available for cutting the ends off the tubes before lighting up. Cigar cutters can be of two types, ones which cut the end off of the cigar and ones that pierce a hole in the end of the cigar. Among the cutters, there is the modified scissor variety which has a rounded end to hold and slice the cigar evenly, and the guillotine, which quickly chops off the end with a sharp stroke. Additionally, certain types of guillotine cutters feature a V-shaped blade which more easily slices through larger cigars. Piercing models are an alternative way to prepare a cigar, resulting in a hole in the end through which one can draw in the flavorful smoke of the tobacco.
Desktop lighters: For home or office, a large and decorative desktop lighter can be a perfect gift if chosen tastefully. There are many desk and tabletop lighters in a variety of models and styles, many of which may reflect other aspects of the smoker's life such as hobbies, sports, or business. Some desktop lighters also feature an ashtray and cutter built into the design.
Jet Lighters: These trendy and high-tech pocket lighters do not feature a flame, but a jet of super-hot flame to light a cigar at a higher temperature, allowing it to reach its burning temperature much faster and more cleanly. The lighters are a very cool way to start up a cigar and can be as much a conversation piece as a piece of cigar equipment.
Cigar transporters: In a variety of shapes and designs, cigar transporters allow the cigar-lover to take two or three of his favorite stogies on the road. In teakwood, leather, or metallic finish, the rounded cases have pockets for several cigars as well as a place for a lighter or cutter. They fit into a pocket or can be carried in hand luggage. They are prefect for weekend trips or long evenings at the office.
Ashtrays: A variety of ashtrays can complete the cigar-lover's set of smoking accessories, from personalized ashtrays to artistic creations by a variety of artists in a range of styles. Newer models of ashtrays feature small motors to suck in the excess cigar smoke so that the smoker can enjoy his cigar without spreading the second-hand smoke everywhere.

What is sky diving?

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What is sky diving?

Where can I find information about sky diving? Read this article for useful tips.
Before skydivers jump in the air, they first try to inspect the materials they are going to use to ensure safety. They are supposed to use 2 parachutes during the jump. The first one is the main parachute and the other one is used for emergency purposes. The skydivers place them at their backs. They also go under a discussion with the pilot to know the condition of the weather and which spots the divers are supposed to jump. They also plan the order on which the skydivers are jumping and how to achieve a safe landing. While on the ground,they then practice the moves they're going to do while on the air.

The skydivers then also climb aboard an aircraft and brace themselves for takeoff. The aircraft then climbs up to an altitude of between 10,500 to 13,800 ft. The pilot and another person checks on the spot where the skydivers are going to jump. This stage is called a jump run. Once each skydivers' turn comes,they then step away from the aircraft and execute 1 minute freefalls using their planned maneuvers. They then fall at approximately 120 to 150 mph. They execute their maneuvers such as stretching out their arms and legs to control the air resistance around them. Once they're flying at about 3,900 ft., the group then separates from one another until there's enough space to prevent them from bumping into each other. They wave their arms as a sign of opening their parachutes. They then use a pilot chute which is folded in their parachute system to open the main parachute. As it opens, air enters inside it and it takes the shape of a canopy to slow the skydiver's descent. This act all takes about 3 to 5 seconds. The skydiver controls the parachute's direction by pulling two basic controls called toggles. Pulling one toggle slows and leads the parachute on a certain direction.Pulling both of them slows the person's descent and forwards the speed of the jumper simultaneously. When the skydiver is about to land,he flares the parachute to achieve good landing. They then run on their feet upon landing or roll themselves in a forward manner to avoid further injury.

Tips in photography

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Tips in photography

Tips for amateurs to taking better photographs with any type of camera.
Everyone enjoys having photographs of family, friends, vacations, and interesting sites to capture memories and perhaps express a little creativity. Often times, a simple adjustment or two can greatly improve the shot, bringing even more pleasure to the finished photograph.
Whether the photographer is using an expensive 35 MM SLR type of camera, or a simple, inexpensive 110 disposable pocket camera, attention to a few details can make all the difference in improving your pictures.

The main areas where anyone can improve are content, lighting, and angle:
CONTENT
  • Flip through your favorite magazines and notice how professional photographers "frame" their subjects. Grouping a nice collection of objects or people together is one method of creating good content, and isolation of a single subject is another. Remember who is going to be looking at your pictures and what you want them to see.
  • Taking photographs of several objects or people can make a beautiful layout. A group of people standing together can turn out nicely if you ask them to act "natural" and place them in a natural setting. For example, having them all sit randomly on a large rock is more natural than having them line up like a classroom of kindergartners in a yearbook. The surrounding scenery can provide more color and interest, too.
  • Indoors, if taking a portrait of your office crew, why not have them all standing around the coffee machine as if chatting, or have them act as if they are working and you caught them with your camera. The more natural the background and subject, the better the photograph will look in the end. Most "posed" pictures are not much fun to look at, although there may be the rare occasion where this type of shot is desired.
  • Outdoors, things such as groupings of flowers, trees and the like in nature can be balanced by being aware of how many items you wish to include and the angle at which you take the picture. Keep in mind your final product and how you would like it to appear. Do you want to show the detail in one little daisy, or would you like to capture the whole field of daisies?
  • Sometimes it helps to include an object for size reference with your subject, such as a person standing next to that cactus can show just how huge it was, or placing your little child beside a common object, such as a door in your home, can help register their height at that particular age.
  • The most common mistake amateur photographers make is having too much background that is not related to the subject. By getting a little closer, and/or zooming in on your subject a little, try to isolate your subject from all the surrounding blank walls or chaos. Getting closer can also capture a little more detail in your subject itself. Be careful and know how close you can get with your particular camera model, as getting too close can cause your shot to come out distorted or out of focus. Some of the best people portraits are gained by filling the whole picture frame with their face and capturing the detail of their expression and likeness.

    LIGHTING
  • Lighting is something you must be very aware of in order to take better photographs. Even with the simplest camera equipment, the amount, direction, and quality of light make all the difference between a great photo and a terrible one.
  • Despite most amateur photographers' beliefs that you need lots of bright lighting, most cameras take better photographs with indirect lighting. This would be an overcast day or light shade outdoors, and a covered flash indoors. You can cover your flash with a light white cloth, which will allow some of the light through, but not bring such a harsh light to your subject.
  • The direction of direct, harsh light brings problems to your pictures. If facing the sun, your subjects will end up squinting, but with their back to the sun, their face may turn out too shaded, and you risk getting the glare of the sun in your camera lens. With more indirect type of lighting, you do not have to worry about glare or shadows so much.
  • Sometimes, though, you can use direct lighting and shadows to your advantage, such as taking a close up of a person's face, allowing direct light to shine on one half of their face, and the other half cast in shadow. This may bring out their unique facial features. This can also work well with rock formations, with the longer shadows of early morning or late evening giving more of a feeling of depth and angles in your subject than taking a straight on picture at high noon. If you choose to shoot in bright sunlight, always make sure the sun is not pointing directly into your camera, but is at some angle to your back.

    ANGLE
  • Choosing your angle can make a great deal of difference in the interest of your photography as well. Don't be afraid to move around and see how the view looks from higher, lower, to one side, or even turning your camera for an angular or longwise shot. Try placing the subject in different parts of the picture, the top, bottom, or to the side, rather than always dead center. Intentionally off-center shots are very much the rage with professional photographers today.
  • A final word: accept the fact that as you practice and experiment, you will have some bad shots, but as you look at these, try to learn from them by asking yourself what you could have done differently to improve your photograph. Then your experience will not be wasted.
  • The keys to taking better photographs are being aware of your content, your lighting, and your angle; not being afraid to experiment; allowing yourself to be a little bit creative; and knowing what your camera can do.
  • Star gazing and telescopes

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    Star gazing and telescopes

    Star gazing with or without a telescope is an intersting hobby and past time.
    The night skies have been a mystery to man for centuries. Although nowadays we now have a clearer knowledge of the night skies and some of the things that they hold, there are still unseen mysteries in the dark heavens above us.
  • Star gazing is a simple, but fun and very interesting pastime for many amateur as well as some experienced star gazers. Even amateurs can find many stars, planets, shooting stars, meteor showers, and constellations with the naked eye on their own. A planisphere is a useful guide for locating constellations. A planisphere is a circular, paper map which shows the sky at various hours of the day and night, thus showing you the approximate location of some of the many constellations. You simply hold the planisphere up and align it with the time and the date. The constellations and the stars appear on a schedule, and using a planisphere helps us to know that timing.
  • Some of the most popular constellations that can be seen in the Northern Hemisphere are the Big Dipper, which is also known as Ursa Major, and can be seen year around, and the Little Dipper, which is also known as Ursa Minor. The North Star is also a popular and easily found sight in the night skies. It is actually located directly above the North Pole.

  • To get the best possible view of the night skies, you should choose a clear, cloudless night. Take a blanket or a small cot, if you prefer, so that you can lie comfortably on your back. Also take along a flashlight which has a red bulb, or you can use a flashlight with a clear bulb as long as it is covered with red cellophane paper. Our eyes adjust easier to a red light than they do to a clear, bright light.
  • If you have to drive somewhere to get away from the city lights, when you reach your destination, be sure to shut off the headlights of your vehicle as well as the dome light for maximum viewing enjoyment. If you are out camping and decide to do some star gazing, be sure to pick a spot that is far enough away from the campfire so that its light will not interfere with your night vision.

  • You can, of course, see more in the night skies if you use a telescope to do your viewing with. Most store-bought telescopes will do the trick, or, if you are really interested in astronomy, you can make your own telescope. Before you start such an in-depth undertaking, you must realize that you will need to purchase many materials in order to construct your viewing device. These items may include wood, special mirrors, telescopic tubing, eyepiece, supports, black paint, and various fasteners, just to mention a few. You would also need to find a good blueprint from which you would make your telescope from.
  • Telescopes work by gathering light, and by magnification. With a small telescope, you can inspect the surface of the moon and find craters as well as mountains on its surface. Larger, high-powered telescopes are better for viewing the planets and some other night sights.
  • Kite surfing equipment: what you need to get started

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    Kite surfing equipment: what you need to get started

    With the correct equipment, the kite surfer is ready for an exciting journey.
    There are 5 different categories of equipment that a beginner kite surfer needs. These are the kite including the kite's bridle, the lines, the kite control device including safety release system, the board including fins, foot strap or binding and leash and the kite surfer including harness, life jacket, water shoes and helmet.

  • Any traction kite, which is a large controllable kite that can generate pull while flying, can be used for this sport. Kites that are relaunchable and high performance are the most desirable. Relaunchable kites are ones that are relaunched from the water after a fall and high performance can be used for jumping and upwind sailing. Another desirable trait of a kite is power control; this is the ability to control the power of the kite dynamically on the water, producing a wider wind range for the kite. There are three types of kites on the market today, all with a certain amount of relaunchability. These types are inflatable kites, framed single skin kites and Ram airfoil kites. For a beginner, the inflatable kites are best.
  • The numbers of lines to use are 2, 3 or 4 and depend on the type of kite the surfer is using. Most kite surfers use a 2-line kite surfing system because the simplicity and a 4-line system for more control of the kite. The line type should be any good traction line. The characteristics to look for when looking for a line are to use either Spectra or Kevlar lines, use floatable lines, use 400-500 pound lines for the main lines and 200 pound for the brake lines. Line strength is actually a function of kite surfer's weight. In a 2-line kite, the lines should have a minimum strength equal to 2.5 times the surfer's weight. In a 4-line kite, the main lines should have a minimum strength equal to 2 times the surfer's weight while the brake line should equal the surfer's weight. Tie these lines to the kite's bridle using a lark's head knot at the end of the line. Spectra and Kevlar line cannot be tied to itself, so a sleeve will need to be used with the knots being tied in that section. Tying these knots will reduce the strength of the line by 30-40%, so if using knots, multiply the line strength by 3/2. To avoid this loss, sewing the sleeves together to form a loop is an option or splicing the line. The length of the lines used depends on the size of the kite and the wind condition, although line lengths between 20m and 40m are commonly used.

  • The kites are normally controlled by a control bar with either 2 lines or 4 lines, depending on the type of kite it is. A 2-line control bar is used for a 2-line kite, a 4-line control bar for a 4-line inflatable kite and a pair of handles or a 4-line control bar for a 4-line foil. Control devices allow a kite surfer to pilot the kite to fly anywhere within the range of where the surfer's eyes can see when facing straight down wind. A deadman safety release system should be on any control device being used. This safety release system has the capability to disable the kite completely even if the surfer is unconscious. This system will also make retrieval of the kite and the control device so the kite will not be lost.
  • Kite surfing boards can be anything from water skis, wakeboards, windsurfing boards, or boards make specifically for kite surfing. There are two types of kite surfing boards, bi-directional and directional. Bidirectional boards are normally very thin, barely floatable with out a kite and use straps or bindings to attach the surfer's feet to the board. These boards are used for jumping and exotic moves in high winds. Bidirectional boards are the choice among most kite surfers because they are easier to control when jumping and jibing. Directional boards a slightly thinner than a normal surfboard, has sharper edges and has 2 or 3 footstraps. These boards are used for speed and light wind conditions, but can be used for jumping and exotic moves. They are not as popular with surfer's wanting to do jumps and exotic moves because they are larger than bidirectional and are harder to control in high wind conditions. These boards may or may not have fins or leashes depending on the preference of the surfer. Board selection is important and depends on the conditions at the beach such as high winds or light winds. A good rule-of-thumb for board selection is that the board surface should be proportional to the square root of the rider weight.

    The kite surfer is also another important piece of equipment used with this sport. With this in mind, a kite surfer body will need a harness system that temporarily attaches to the control device, a life jacket, water shoes, a thick wet suit and a helmet. With this equipment, the kite surfer is ready for an exciting journey.
  • Viewing wildlife safely: photography, tracking, and identification

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    Viewing wildlife safely: photography, tracking, and identification

    Viewing wildlife and animal tracks safely, getting the most out of your experience, including purchasing backpacks, hiking boots, clothing, and field identification guides.
    Viewing wildlife in its natural habitat can be easier to do if a few simple rules are followed... quiet, look, listen, and do not touch! Safety is an important issue, and we are going to look at ways to be safe when participating in this wonderful hobby.

    Maps
    Know where you are going. This sounds simple enough, but you would be surprised at how many people just take a drive into the countryside, park their vehicle, and walk into the woods. While many may return unharmed, many more become lost. Planning, deciding on a destination, and getting a map of the area to familiarize yourself with where you will be going, are the first steps to be taken. Many county maps will also point out areas of interest and places specifically for viewing wildlife. Going out into the ?wild' is not necessary to view wildlife even. Many state and counties offer marked trails to follow. These are an excellent way to try out this hobby.
    Clothing and Footwear
    Dress appropriately. A sturdy pair of hiking boots is a priority. Make sure they fit properly, as a pair of ill fitting boots can be a danger in itself. They should also be waterproof, as this will help keep feet warm if you end up out longer than intended. Even morning dew can soak feet, and wet feet equal cold feet. Dress in layers. Outdoor temperatures can vary drastically nearly everywhere, summer, fall, winter and spring. The hottest day of summer in a southern state can be followed by freezing temperatures overnight. While you may not plan on being out overnight, always be prepared ahead. Always plan for the unexpected when dealing with nature.
    Backpacks
    A backpack is a necessity for even a short excursion. You should try on a backpack for fit. Wider straps are always a good bet. This will help distribute the weight evenly. Check stitching, make sure it has been constructed well. A backpack that falls apart right away will do you no good. Make sure it is comfortable and has enough room for the basic supplies that should be carried with you. Always pack a basic first aid kit, water, map, compass, (know how to use the compass), bug spray, and a pair of binoculars or viewing glasses.

    Never Approach Wildlife
    Remember that you are out in the wild to ?view' nature. Never approach an animal, no matter how cute it is. Never presume that a baby animal has been abandoned and needs your help. Mother is most likely not far away, and in truth, baby animals are the most dangerous to view, as their parent can be quite aggressive if they feel you are endangering their young. While large animals instantly come to mind, this rule applies to even the smallest. For example, a mother turkey will chase, attacking with claws and beak, if she feels you are too close to her chicks. While you may not find this dangerous, believe me, it is quite scary when you are the one being chased. You also risk losing your sense of direction and becoming lost is most hazardous.
    Extras
    A ?field identification' guide is a good investment. These come in everything from full sized volumes to pocket sized guides. These are available for everything from mammals to fish, birds, particular regions, states, etc. One I have found to be particularly helpful is a guide to animal tracks. Many times while out viewing wildlife, the most I have encountered is the animal's footprints. This handy little book allows me to ?see' what animal has just walked where I am now standing.
    A journal of where you have went and what wildlife you viewed or tracks seen, is a good way to enjoy your hobby even after getting back home. This can be as simple as a spiral notebook.
    Finally
    Always leave nature the way you found it, if anything, cleaner. Take your garbage out with you. If you encounter trash along the way, be a good friend to the wildlife you are viewing and pick up the trash. Remember, viewing wildlife is a privilege, help take care of nature so the generation after us can also participate in this wonderful hobby!

    How to start a used book exchange

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    How to start a used book exchange

    How to start a used book exchange. Save money on those expensive books and get more mileage out of the ones you do buy.
    If you have been in a book store recently, you may have noticed the extremely high prices and turned right around to head to your local library. The price of books has skyrocketed in the past five years and it is becoming a luxury to purchase a book. If you like to read a lot, you probably only read a book one time and then never pick it up again. Fifteen dollars or more for a book is a lot more costly than going to the movies and reading takes up time we could be using to surf the Internet! Though the public library can be a godsend for those of us with limited funds, they often don't have the newest releases and if they do, they are almost always out. Some towns are lucky enough to have used book stores which offer discounts on books or offer credit on books you turn in to them, but if you don't have one of these nearby, why not start your own book exchange?

  • A book exchange is a kind of smaller version of your local library, comprised of a group of people you get together, and you can make the group as large or as small as you like. Even if you only have a group of five people in your book exchange, that's a savings of forty dollars for the group for one ten dollar paperback. It's most beneficial to gather a group who's reading interests match your own, for example, if you enjoy horror stories, you wouldn't want to invite a sci-fi buff into your book exchange unless you enjoy those types of books as well. Book exchanges can be put together with people you know, or you can invite anyone. If you are looking for horror stories, make a flyer that states your intention, something to the effect of, "Horror nut seeks members for a neighborhood book exchange," and post them in your local stores, libraries and telephone poles. You'll be surprised at the response you get. Everyone likes to save money on books.
  • Once you get a good number of members together, plan a gathering at your house or the library. Ask everyone to bring any books with them that they have finished reading and place them in boxes. You will need to be in charge of storing the books since it is your group. Keep a catalog of the books that you have in your collection and when someone borrows a book, write their name next to the name of the book to keep track of it and to let anyone else who wants it next know where it is.
  • Your book exchange can be less formal than the library in that you can let the members keep the book until they have finished reading it. You can decide whether you will meet once a week or just let anyone come over when they want another book. You will get more mileage out of your expensive books and have some free reading as well, not to mention all the trees you'll save in paper books and paper money not spent!
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    South Africa's Clover posts higher H1 earnings, to focus on local market

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    International Design Week Down Under

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    Police keep quiet about cell-tracking technology

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    Pioneer Foods says expects higher earnings, shares rise

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