Reply To: Musical Instruments

The ukulele originated in the 19th century as a Hawaiian interpretation of the Portuguese guitar called cavaquinho. It is a fretted, string instrument which is essentially smaller than the cavaquinho. Ukulele strings are commonly tuned to A, D, F sharp, and B respectively with the lowest note being D.

A Brief History of Ukuleles

The ukulele is commonly associated with Hawaiian music across the globe and with good reason. Portuguese immigrants traveled across the waters in Aug. 1879 aboard the Ravenscrag, destination Honolulu. This vessel was carrying 419 Portuguese immigrants from the island of Madeira to work in the sugar cane fields. Among these immigrants you could find Manuel Nunes, Jose do Espirito Santo, and Augusto Dias. It was said that soon after their arrival in Honolulu these 3 could be found entertaining the streets with their folk music each evening. King David Kalakaua was especially fond of the instrument, establishing the ukulele as part of the Hawaiian music and culture.

Where Did Ukulele Get Its Name?

The Hawaiian name for the ukulele was pila li'ili'i which translates as “Little Fiddle.” Queen Lili'uokalani thought it came from the Hawaiin words uku which means gift and lele which means to come, hence the phrase “the gift that came here.” Still other stories have different views.

One theory suggests that the name ukulele was derived from a continuous mispronunciation of the original name ukeke lele, which is translated to dancing ukeke. Another theory suggests the name derived from a nickname given to an English army officer by the name of Edward Purvis. He was called “ukulele” due to his small size and high spirited nature. This officer was very adept at playing the instrument so some believe this was the origin of the name.

Let us not forget the story of Gabriel Davian who was playing his homemade instrument at a housewarming party for Judge W.L. Wilcox when one of the guests approached him and asked what this magnificent instrument was. Davian replied, “Judging from the way one scratched at it, it was a jumping flea.” Wilcox offered the Hawaiian translation “ukulele.”

However the ukulele received its name it is easy to see why many favor the story of the immigrants. In Hawaiian ukulele means jumping flea. Hawaiians enthusiastically shared the tale of these 3 immigrants music talent and how they played. Graphic details of how the immigrants’ fingers moved across the strings reminded many listeners of “jumping fleas,” hence the name ukulele.   

30 Jan 2011 by RaftingCanadian 1.1K
Reply To: Music

Rhythm is defined by Noah Webster's 1828 dictionary as the variety in the movement as to quickness or slowness, or length and shortness of the notes; or rather the proportion which the parts of the motion have to each other.

We use rhythm continually in our daily lives through speech, writing, music and other forms of entertainment. Most commonly rhythm is associated with music. In western music rhythm is maintained in a time signature that is usually universally accepted. When learning a new instrument students can set an electronic or manual metronome to the rhythm of the time signature to keep time as they play. In respect to music, rhythm shows up in multiple ways within a song including:

  • Syncopated rhythms

  • Polyrhythm

  • Divisive rhythm

  • Additive rhythm

  • Interlocking

In addition to time signature, rhythm is also measured using a term called tempo in Western music. Tempo is usually measured in 'beats per minute where 60bpm means a speed of one beat per second. A rhythmic unit is a durational pattern which occupies a period of time equivalent to a pulse or pulses on an underlying metric level, as opposed to a rhythmic gesture, which does not. Together time signature, tempo and rhythmic unit help us to measure rhythm in various types of music.

Some genres of music make different use of rhythm than others, for example most Western music is based on divisive rhythm while non-Western music uses more additive rhythm. African music makes heavy use of polyrhythm. Indian music uses complex cycles and Balinese often uses complex interlocking rhythms. A lot of Western classical music is fairly rhythmically simple staying in a simple meter. On the contrary, the widespread use of irrational rhythms in New Complexity began to surface in the 20th century. Composers like Igor Stravinsky, Philip Glass, Steve Reich and modernists like Olivier Messiaen used increased complexity. They used odd meters and techniques such as phasing and additive rhythm.

The vast understanding of rhythm comes from a diligent study known as prosody. This process consists of a focused study of rhythm, stress and pitch in speech. There are three categories of prosodic rules which create rhythmic successions. These categories are additive; open-ended and repetitive (same repeated duration), cumulative; closure or relaxation (short-long), or counter cumulative; openness or tension (long-short).

30 Jan 2011 by RaftingCanadian 1.1K
Reply To: Musical Instruments

The piano is a musical instrument that produces music by tapping keys which in turn hit the attached strings with a felt hammer. It is a chordophone among other instruments such as, the harpsichord and the clavichord. The distinguishing difference between these three instruments is the manner in which they produce sound. The harpsichord uses quills to pluck the strings and the clavichord strikes the strings with tangents that remain attached to the string and the piano's felt hammers immediately rebound leaving the key to vibrate freely.

History Of The Piano

The technology of the piano was derived from early instruments where attempts had been made to produce string instruments with struck keys. During the Middle Ages the development of these instruments started with the earliest being the hurdy gurdy. By the 17th century the clavichord and harpsichord were invented and were the primary foundation of the piano.

The clavichord plays very similar to the piano by striking the keys with a tangent; however it produced a soft tone much too quiet for playing in large halls or concerts. Its size in comparison to its relative the harpsichord is much smaller and simpler. These three characteristics made it a popular household instrument during the Baroque period. It could be found in the homes of many composers of that time including Bach.

The clavichord played using simple actions. After the suppression of the key it lifted a tangent which in turn strikes the string and lifts a damper. To sustain a vibration you would hold down the key. It is structured with one string per key and sometimes one for two keys. The fashion in which this instrument is constructed makes the clavichord a very quiet instrument; however it is the most similar to the piano in its ability to allow for Crescendos and Diminuendos and have some semblance of a dynamic range.

After the clavichord was the birth of the harpsichord. It is believed that the harpsichord was invented in the 15th century in Italy. This instrument was structured to produce sound using a quill to pluck the strings and like the clavichord contained a damper to stop the vibration when the key was released. The strings run parallel to the keys much in the same fashion as the grand piano. When it is played the key lifts a jack which in turn pushes the plectrum (quill) against the string plucking it to create the vibration.

The harpsichord also is a quiet instrument and not suited for large rooms or concerts. This didn't stop the creativity of the composers who would make up for the inability to sustain notes by putting a lot of ornamentation in their pieces. It was a common accompaniment to singers and other instruments. As pianos became more popular the use of the harpsichord faded out of popular use, however it is still alive today.

Next in line was a stringed instrument called the spinet. It can be described as a small harpsichord consisting of one or two key sets. Each key set is tuned with a 4-octave range.

As the love for stringed key instruments grew in popularity composers began to seek a way to produce a new instrument. They wanted one that had the ability to play both soft and loud making it more efficient in concerts and large rooms. Some expressed a desire to have a stringed instrument as powerful as the violin.

The First Piano Is Born

As musical technology advanced into the early 1700's the piano was born. A gentleman by the name of Bartolomeo Cristofori of Padua Italy invented the first piano. He was an experienced harpsichord maker and fully knowledgeable of the original string key instruments. The problem Cristofori aimed to solve was that the key must strike the string and not stay in contact. After successful implementation he named his first piano a gravicembalo col piano e forte (a keyboard instrument that can be played soft and loud). The name was later shortened to pianoforte (loud and soft) and finally to just piano.

The first piano contained one key, a felt hammer and an escape. Most importantly it did not have a damper or pedal. When the key was pressed it would strike the key causing a vibration very different from its younger cousins the harpsichord and clavichord. The escape played a vital role in the production of this new vibration by allowing the hammer to fall after being pushed. Without this escape the hammer would respond much like the clavichord and remain intact with the string which in turn would deaden it. As technology continued to advance a double escapement was designed preventing the hammer from falling all the way back making it possible for faster repetition.

The Growth of The Piano

The piano grew in its popularity during the end of the Baroque period and into the Classical period with its highest growth occurring during the classical era. The new concept of the Sonata was played beautifully on the piano and it became a favored instrument among composers.

Composers didn't restrict the piano to Sonatas though. It was often used in ensemble pieces such as the concerto. Composers found that the dynamics of the keyboard truly matched the violin as a solo instrument and so the piano took center stage.

The piano further proved itself a powerful instrument in the Romantic era when composers began expressing emotion with their music. A piece that had many ornaments, trills and fast beat was considered happy where a slow, minor expressed sadness. The piano was the perfect instrument in its ability to play wide ranges of music.

During the romantic era individual households began to favor the piano because of its ease to play melody and harmony together. Amateurs could produce music more readily on the piano. In addition to composing music, it was during this era that people could now make money simply by playing the instrument.

The modern instrument

Today you can find pianos in two basic types and several sizes. The two most common pianos are the upright and the grand.

Upright pianos: These are more compact with the strings placed vertically, extending both directions from the keyboard and hammers. It is harder to produce a sensitive piano action in the upright as the hammers in this style of piano have a return that is dependent on strings.

Grand pianos: These have the strings placed horizontally with the strings extending away from the keyboard. As a result the grand piano is a large instrument demanding a spacious room for display.

Two pianos that are seen less often include the square piano and the giraffe. A square piano has strings on a horizontal plane and the giraffe is similar to the grand piano with the exception that the strings run vertically up the keyboard.

The average piano consists of 88 keys across and is labeled from the far left as A to the far right being C. There are 7 octaves of repeated white notes, A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. The black notes are used to obtain sharps and flats. When you include the black keys on the keyboard your pattern becomes, A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#.

30 Jan 2011 by RaftingCanadian 1.1K
Reply To: Archive

For years and years procrastination has been a bad trait, weeded out by self help books and generally been associated with laziness. In my opinion, procrastination can be quite an honorable trait and even bring you fame and fortune.

Un-thought of by many, procrastination has one good point, and this point is what brings the power to the art of procrastination. The point is "What do you do when you procrastinate?" Have you ever though about this?

Care for an example... I like to consider myself the best at procrastinating. If I do not want to do something like clean the house, I work on my website. If I do not want to do work that I really need done, I work on my website. If I hate doing something, 9 times out of 10  I will procrastinate by working on my website. It is quite common that you will have an activity that you will always resort to when you are procrastinating. The question is how can you use this fact to your advantage?

Knowing what you do when you procrastinate, you now can brainstorm how to use this to your advantage. If you are anything like me, you will procrastinate and avoid doing the boring brainstorming task at hand. (I find myself working on my website again). I suddenly decided to allow myself to procrastinate - I did nothing but work on my website.

One would tend to think that constantly allowing yourself to procrastinate would produce no results. In my case, it pointed me towards my career in the Information Technology industry. After all the hours I spent working on my website, a passion for programming the software behind websites formed.

For you to be the best at something, you need 2 things. A desire to do it and the time to change your desire into reality. When you procrastinate, you do what you want for as long as you want. This provides the perfect situation for you to be the best.

Forget looking for something to be good at, use what you learn from procrastination to your advantage. If you love Movies, watch as much TV as possible and become a movie reviewer.

7 Jan 2005 by RaftingCanadian 1.1K
Reply To: Dating and Relationships

There are certain things you can do that might help your date go with a bang - and turn into something more serious.

Ditch the chat up lines

It can take between 90 seconds and 4 minutes to decide if we fancy someone. But this has little to do with your smooth-talking. As far as attraction goes, here's how we get the message:

  • 55% is through body language
  • 38% is the tone and speed of our voice
  • Only 7% is through what we say

Stare into each others' eyes

New York psychologist, Professor Arthur Arun, has been studying the dynamics of what happens when people fall in love. He has shown that the simple act of staring into each other's eyes has a powerful impact.

He asked two complete strangers to reveal to each other intimate details about their lives. This carried on for an hour and a half. The two strangers were then made to stare into each others eyes without talking for four minutes. Afterwards many of his couples confessed to feeling deeply attracted to their opposite number and two of his subjects even married afterwards.

When we are aroused and interested in what we are looking at our pupils dilate. In medieval Italy, women put belladonna into their eyes to make them look bigger. In fact, bella donna means 'beautiful lady'. However, this is not recommended, as belladonna is a kind of poison!

Match their moves

When people are attracted to each other, they tend to sit or stand in the same way and copy each other's physical gestures. This is known as 'mirroring'. When someone does this, it marks good communication and shows us that our interest is reciprocated. Mirroring also happens when talking to close friends as well as potential lovers, so be careful as you may misread signs of friendship as signs of love.

Don't play hard to get

Research suggest that playing hard to get doesn't usually work. However, there is a theory that we tend to fancy people who are hard to get for everyone else, but easy for us to get.

Scientists tested this 'selective difficulty' theory by using a computer dating experiment. One woman was keen to meet any of the dates that the computer selected for her. Another played hard to get and wasn't enthusiastic towards any of her computer matches. A third was selective and only showed interest in one of the candidates. Out of all three women, the choosy woman was the most preferred by all the male participants.

Understanding lonely hearts ads

If you wrote a lonely hearts ad, what would it say about you? Does the opposite sex find you more attractive if you describe yourself as sexy or successful, or wealthy or reliable?

Be dangerous

Another experiment showed that if people experience fear on a date they often misinterpret that feeling as love. So dates at a theme park are likely to be successful. A bungee jump might seal your relationship for life!

In fact, people who both like the same level of thrills and excitement are more likely to be compatible. 

7 Jan 2005 by RaftingCanadian 1.1K
Reply To: Dating and Relationships

Appearance could be another indicator of the quality of a person's genes. Research suggests that there are certain things we all look for - even if we don't know it.

Perfect symmetry

It is thought that asymmetrical features are a sign of underlying genetic problems. Numerous studies in humans have shown that men in particular go for women with symmetrical faces. The preference in women for symmetry is not quite so pronounced. Women are also looking for a man's ability to offer food and protection. This might not be indicated in their genes, but in their rank and status, for example.

The hour-glass figure

Studies have shown that men prefer women with a waist to hip ratio of 0.7. You can calculate your own using this formula:

waist measurement ÷ hip measurement = ratio.

This seems to apply whatever the woman's overall weight. A group of researchers even compared this ratio with the average ratio of Miss America winners over the years. It was exactly the same. This ratio would seem to make sense as an indicator of a woman's reproductive health. When women age their waist tends to become less pronounced as they put on fat around the stomach. This coincides with them becoming less fertile.

Learn to love yourself

Have you noticed how many married couples look quite similar? Studies have shown that more than anything we prefer somebody who looks just like we do. From a batch of individual photographs people can spot who are the couples with unnerving reliability.


Research has uncovered that there is a correlation in couples between their:

  • Lung volumes
  • Middle finger lengths
  • Ear lobe lengths
  • Overall ear size
  • Neck and wrist circumferences
  • Metabolic rates

Mummy's boys and Daddy's girls?

The latest studies indicate that what people really, really want is a mate that looks like their parents. Women are after a man who is like their father and men want to be able to see their own mother in the woman of their dreams.

At the University of St Andrews in Scotland, cognitive psychologist David Perrett studies what makes faces attractive. He has developed a computerised morphing system that can endlessly adjust faces to suit his needs.

Students in his experiments are left to decide which face they fancy the most. Perrett has taken images of students' own faces and morphed them into the opposite sex. Of all the faces on offer, this seems to be the face that subject will always prefer. They can't recognize it as their own, they just know they like it.

Perrett suggests that we find our own faces attractive because they remind us of the faces we looked at constantly in our early childhood years - Mum and Dad. Even the pheromone studies are now showing a preference for our parents' characteristics.

Arrow Examine your ability to read faces and to find your perfect mate by taking our face perception test, developed by Professor David Perrett.

Will it last?

Unfortunately there's no way of telling for certain if a relationship will last. But there might be some clues in your partner's family!

In studies of behavioral genetics it has been shown that a person's tendency to divorce is written in their genes. When scientists studied identical twins, they found that whatever their degree of marriage success was, they shared it with their sibling. Men who went through multiple marriages were highly likely to have a twin brother who did the same.

The numbers game

Perhaps the best indication as to whether your love will last come from statistical studies. Researchers have come up with several predictors for success. This is based on how you met and when, how you resolve conflict and how similar you and your expectations are.

7 Jan 2005 by RaftingCanadian 1.1K
Reply To: Archive

Discrimination is defined as unfair or unequal treatment, based on prejudice, taken against a person or group of people because of:

  • Race
  • Colour
  • Gender
  • Religious belief
  • Sexual orientation
  • Nationality
  • Culture
  • Disability
  • Age
  • Class or trade union membership
  • Political beliefs
  • Dependants
  • or other reasons

Discrimination occurs when a person is treated less favourably, on one of the above grounds, than others are or would be treated in the same or similar circumstances. This may be the result of conscious decision, policy or bias in a system or procedures. Indirect discrimination consists of applying a requirement or condition which although applied equally, has a disproportionately adverse effect on one group because the proportion of the group which can comply with it is much smaller that the proportion in the whole which can comply with it.

It seems that many people now-days go on about how they are discriminated against on the grounds of age, race and sex. There has been countless court cases where people have made claims that they were discriminated against, with most cases ruling in the discriminated persons favour.

The problem with these court cases is that they seem to be one sided. Most discrimination cases are where someone was:

  • Against Women
    • Treating women differently to men
    • Not employing people because they are women
    • Making decisions that are against women
  • Against the older generation of people
    • Stating that a potential employee must be young
    • Making decisions that are against older people
  • Against a race that holds a minority
    • Not employing people because of their race
    • Making decisions that are against people of a different race

The problem with most of the court cases being for one of the above situations is that people do not realise some other types of discrimination. For example, if a qualified woman applied for a job in an all male company and was not employed, people would start claiming that there was discrimination. If a qualified man applied for a job at an all female workplace, people would think nothing of him not getting the job. What would you think?

Another example of where discrimination is overlooked is when it comes to age. If an older person applied for a job in a programming company where most of the workers are young, people would start claiming discrimination. If a highly qualified young person was not employed at a company where most of the employees where older, people would just think that the young person was just not experienced enough.

If anyone was to look at the prices of insurance they would have noticed that young males pay the most for car insurance. Is this not discrimination? Most people would just say "no" , this is not discrimination as it is a proven fact that young males have more expensive crashes than any other demographic, although this statement in itself is discriminating. If a company was to only employ men and had proven statistically that men were better in its industry, it would be called discrimination. What is the difference between only employing men since it was statistically found that they were better suited for the industry and charging young men more than others for insurance?

In my opinion both cases are discriminating.

The fact is that the world itself is so careful not to discriminate against the typical discriminated groups, that in some cases it now discriminates against everyone else.

Just ask yourself:

  • Why are scholarships not evenly distributed between demographics
  • Why does insurance cost more for some demographics
  • Why should school children get to seen movies at a lower price, when they make the most noise in the cinemas?

If there was no discrimination, shouldn't everyone be paying the same price?

7 Jan 2005 by RaftingCanadian 1.1K
Reply To: Dating and Relationships

In 1990, a study in Italy indicated that people who have recently fallen in love have some of the symptoms of 'Obsessive Compulsive Disorder' or OCD. People with OCD behave obsessively about certain things. They might be constantly washing their hands, or need to continually check to see if the door is closed.

Does love make you sad?

Rather than making you happy, love could actually make you depressed. One symptom of OCD appears to be unusually low levels of the neuro-transmitter 'serotonin'. Low levels of serotonin have been associated with anxiety and depression. Italian students who claimed they had recently fallen in love were found to have serotonin levels 40% lower than their peers.

However, the biochemical effect of falling in love didn't last forever. When the same students were tested after their relationship was a year old, their levels had returned to normal. One author of the study has suggested that we require this chemical response for relationships to survive. After all, we'd have to be mad to fall in love wouldn't we?


Another interesting finding is that people with low serotonin levels tend to have a lot of sex. If men have a particular version of a gene known as the 'serotonin transporter', they will have lower levels of serotonin in their brains. They tend to be more anxious than other men and also more sexually active.

Love on the brain

Brain imaging techniques have been put to use in the name of love. Andreas Bartels and Semir Zeki at University College London used functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to take pictures of the lover's brain.

Whilst inside the scanner, loved-up students were shown pictures of their new flame. They were also shown images of platonic friends of the opposite sex. Zeki and Bartels were struck by how clear cut the pattern of brain activity was when students were looking at their new love.

Four areas of the brain became active, and one area noticeably inactive, when the students had love on their mind. The active areas include one responsible for 'gut' feelings and one that is known to respond to euphoria-inducing drugs. The lights go off however, in the prefrontal cortex, an area that is overactive in depressed patients.

7 Jan 2005 by RaftingCanadian 1.1K
Reply To: Dating and Relationships

Sniffing out Mr or Mrs Right

Human pheromones are a hot topic in research. They are odourless chemicals detected by an organ in the nose. Some scientists believe they could be the key to choosing a suitable lover.

Love rats

Pheromones are already well understood in other mammals, especially rodents. These animals possess something called a 'vomeronasal organ' (or VNO) inside their noses. They use it to detect pheromones in the urine of other rats and use this extra sense to understand social relationships, identify the sex of fellow rats and find a mate.

In 1985, researchers at the University of Colorado found evidence that this organ also exists in most adult humans. So humans could also respond to pheromones.

Rats have different pheromones in their urine, depending on the make-up of their immune system. When rats choose a mate, they must avoid partners with an immune system too similar to their own, so that their babies can fight off a wider range of infections. As well as lurking in urine, pheromones are also found in sweat.

Love is...a sweaty T-shirt competition

In 1995, Claus Wedekind of the University of Bern in Switzerland, asked a group of women to smell some unwashed T-shirts worn by different men. What he discovered was that women consistently preferred the smell of men whose immune systems were different from their own. This parallels what happens with rodents, who check-out how resistant their partners are to disease by sniffing their pheromones. So it seems we are also at the mercy of our lover's pheromones, just like rats.

Fatherly fragrances

At the University of Chicago, Dr Martha McClintock has shown in her own sweaty T-shirt study that what women want most is a man who smells similar to her father. Scientists suggest that a woman being attracted to her father's genes makes sense. A man with these genes would be similar enough that her offspring would get a tried and tested immune system. On the other hand, he would be different enough to ensure a wide range of genes for immunity. There seems to be a drive to reach a balance between reckless out-breeding and dangerous inbreeding.

7 Jan 2005 by RaftingCanadian 1.1K
Reply To: Archive

For a long time I have been searching for an HTML editor that I could use on both Microsoft Windows and Linux. The first editor that I came across was the Mozilla Composer. All though this program could do the job, I had to download the whole Mozilla Suite to use it.

When I came across NVU, I was expecting a small HTML editor with little functionality, but I was unexpectedly  surprised. NVU is the closest thing that I have found that runs on Linux and that can be compared to the likes of FrontPage and Dreamweaver

Nvu (pronounced N-view, for a "new view") makes managing a web site a snap.  Now anyone can create web pages and managea website with no technical expertise or knowledge of HTML.

  • WYSIWYG editing of pages, making web creation as easy as typing a letter with your word processor.
  • Integrated file management via FTP.  Simply login to your web site and navigate through your files, editing web pages on the fly, directly from your site.
  • Reliable HTML code creation that will work with all of today's most popular browsers.
  • Jump between WYSIWYG Editing Mode and HTML using tabs.
  • Tabbed editing to make working on multiple pages a snap.
  • Powerful support for forms, tables, and templates.
  • The easiest-to-use, most powerful Web Authoring System available for Desktop Linux users.
  • Makes CSS simple

Nvu is 100% open source.  This means anyone is welcome to download Nvu at no charge from nvu.com, including the source code if you need to make special changes.

Developers can get involved and help make Nvu even better.

Nvu was started from the Mozilla Composer code base.  The Mozilla Internet suite is in the process of being broken up into individual pieces (browser, email, etc.).  Nvu will pick up where Composer left off, adding additional features, functionality and ease of use.

7 Jan 2005 by RaftingCanadian 1.1K
Reply To: Dating and Relationships

A T-shirt sniffing test has revealed that women unwittingly prefer the smell of men who have similar genes to their dads. But this is no Freudian Oedipal complex.

Instead, it appears to be a tactic in a poorly understood evolutionary game, where the prize is either greater resistance to disease, or an unconscious ability to spot distant relatives in a sea of strangers.

The genes in question form part of the major histocompatibility complex, or MHC, and encode various components of the immune system. These genes are thought to be tightly linked to others that dictate our natural odour.

Research on animals has shown that female mice sniff out males with different MHCs to their own, prefering them to mates with a similar genetic make up. Women were also thought to do the same, according to one study in which women sniffed T-shirts worn for a couple of nights by men.
The same, but different

Now a new study paints a more complicated picture. Martha McClintock, Carole Ober and a team at the University of Chicago studied 49 women whose MHC genes and parents' MHC genes were known. As in the earlier T-shirt study, the women sniffed T-shirt odours, but this time they had no idea what they were smelling. They were asked to say which odours they would prefer if they had to smell them all the time.

Surprisingly, the women preferred the odours of men who shared the same type of a few MHC genes, or alleles, with themselves. The most appealing odour donors shared 1.4 alleles on average, whereas the least appealing shared 0.6 alleles. What's more, these matching alleles were ones the women had inherited from their fathers and not from their mothers.

That goes against the prevailing theory that outbreeding is always best. Going for a mate with different immune system genes to your own should ensure that your children have the widest possible arsenal with which to attack pathogens. Also, the rarer their MHC, the less likely it is that evolving pathogens will be able to outsmart them.
Limited inbreeding

But McClintock thinks that interpretation is too narrow. Limited inbreeding can work, as it may actually make sense to stick with combinations of genes that are known to successfully fight disease. "There's an intermediate number of matches that's probably optimal," she says.

Wayne Potts of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City has a different explanation. Although mice prefer mates with different MHC genes, they go for nest mates with a similar genetic make-up, probably to ensure they are near their kin. Women may be attracted to their father's odours for a similar reason - reflecting an ability to home in on relatives using smell.

For instance, he says that Ober's own studies show that women tend to marry MHC-dissimilar men (New Scientist, 10 February 2001, p 36). "It is probably more reliable to draw conclusions ... from marriage patterns," he comments, "than from odour preference tests where boxes with odiferous, unknown contents are briefly sniffed."

7 Jan 2005 by RaftingCanadian 1.1K
Reply To: Money and Finance

Google AdSense, Google's advertising program that lets webmasters display ads from Google's extensive list of advertisers, has taken the Internet by storm. Through this successful program, unobtrusive text-based ads are served in member sites, who then earn a commission every time someone clicks on the advertisers' links.

At this point in time, the jury is still out on whether this program will continue to enjoy its initial success. That is why, through this article, we want to give you some highlights and insights on how the Google Adsense program has worked for us, one month after we signed up for it, so that we can use it as a checkpoint for future analysis.

Why is Google AdSense so Popular?

Google AdSense uses Google's proprietary PageRank™ search technology to deliver ads that are highly relevant to the content of a page. Since Google assigns a PageRank™ only to pages listed in its index, the page must first be listed in Google before relevant ads can be displayed (if the page is not in the Google index, Google will display public service ads, for which no commissions will be accrued).

Running Google AdSense is simple and straightforward: Google gives you a snippet of HTML code that you can paste in the desired location on your page, and the ads start appearing immediately after you upload the changes to your server.

However, Google AdSense's main claim to fame is that, by displaying text-based ads, it is able to deliver much higher click-through rates than traditional graphic banner ads. As usability studies have widely shown, users are already conditioned to ignore banner ads (or anything else that looks like them). As a result, banner ad click-through rates have dropped below a dismal 0.5% (in other words, it takes 200 page views, on average, to get someone to click ona banner ad).

By using text based ads instead of graphic banners, Google has been able to overcome banner ad blindness, delivering click-through rates that are much higher than the industry's average (some put the figure around the 1.5% mark, twice the averge of banner adds).

How much can you expect to earn by running Google Ads on your site?

The pay-off per click varies widely depending on what each advertiser decides to offer, based on the profitability of their products and their expected conversion rate (percentage of clicks that deliver a sale). Google is not saying what the average pay-off is, but they are normally good, but vary widely.

For a typical site it is not enough to get rich, but a nice extra income nevertheless, that you can use to pay for your domain name and hosting costs, and then some.

Will Google's AdSense continue to be successful?

This is the big question, and nobody has a definite answer yet.

On the downside:

  • The program will most likely face strong competition from other search engines in the near future.
  • The proliferation of text based ads could make users "text-ad blind" the same way as they have already become "banner-ad blind", causing click-through rates to drop.
  • There is always the potential for abuse, since some unscrupulous program members may violate the program's rules and click on their own ads, inflating the advertisers' click-through rate and forcing them to decrease their pay-off per click.

On the positive side, I believe that Google AdSense's success is not only due to the fact that they deliver text based ads instead of banners, but because those ads are served by Google. The credibility and brand equity that Google enjoys is huge, and I expect them to continue to beat other search engines and advertising networks that may eventually jump on the bandwagon.

However, it is reasonable to expect at least a slight decrease in click-through rates and pay-off as a result of the increased competition.

Mario Sanchez.

7 Jan 2005 by RaftingCanadian 1.1K
Reply To: Archive

In 1944, Asperger's Syndrome was first described and named after the Austrian doctor, Hans Asperger. He described individuals who showed odd-like behaviours, a lot like the symptoms thought to be shown by Albert Einstein and Bill Gates.

Asperger's Syndrome is a form of autism that affects how a person communicates and relates with others. This means that they commonly have difficulty in social relationships, in communicating, and have limitations in imagination and creative play

Individuals with Asperger's Syndrome are quite often easily understood, and have intelligible speech before being 4 years old. Their grammar and vocabulary are usually very good, but they often repeat what they say and partake in conversations that revolve around themselves. They are usually obsessed with complex topics like patterns, weather, music, and technology.

IQ's of people with Asperger's Syndrome fall along the full spectrum, but many are above normal for verbal abilities and below average in performance. Many have dyslexia, writing problems and difficulty with mathematics. They mainly have concrete thinking and often lack common sense.

 People with Asperger's Syndrome have odd forms of self-stimulatory behaviour and their movements are often clumsy and awkward. They are often overly sensitive to sounds, taste, smells, and sights; preferring soft clothing, certain foods, and can be bothered by sounds or lights no one else can see or hear.

They have a great deal of difficulty reading body language, have trouble determining personal body space, and are socially aware but often react the wrong way. It is because of this that those with Asperger's Syndrome are often viewed as eccentric or odd and can easily become victims of teasing and bullying.

 People with Asperger's Syndrome are often punctuality, reliability and dedication.

Sometimes people assume everyone who has autism and is high-functioning has Asperger's syndrome. However, it appears that there are several forms of high-functioning autism, and Asperger's syndrome is one form. Asperger's Syndrome is probably hereditary in nature as many families report having an "odd" relative or two. It is often reported in those also with depression and bipolar disorders.

 Asperger's syndrome is a neurobiological disorder that affects the brain and the people who have it seem very "normal" and people with Asperger's Syndrome are often of average or above average intelligence. As a guess there is about 1 in every 500 people in the US have this dysfunction which can include everything from language disabilities to sensory problems and physical awkwardness. These people are very intelligent, extremely structured and have no social awareness; they are often very literal. Individuals with Asperger's Syndrome can exhibit a variety of characteristics and the disorder can range from mild to severe. Persons with Asperger's Syndrome show marked deficiencies in social skills, have difficulties with transitions or changes and prefer sameness. They often have obsessive routines and may be preoccupied with a particular subject of interest.

 It's important to remember that the person with Asperger's Syndrome perceives the world very differently. Therefore, much behaviour that seems odd or unusual is due to those neurological differences and not the result of intentional rudeness or bad behaviour, and most certainly not the result of "improper parenting".

 Most individuals (although not all) exhibit exceptional skill or talent in a specific area. Because of their high degree of functionality. People with Asperger's Syndrome often develop an almost obsessive interest in a hobby or collecting. Usually their interest involves arranging or memorising facts about a special subject, such as train timetables, Derby winners or the dimensions of cathedrals.

 As soon as we meet a person we make judgements about them. Just by looking we can guess their age or status, and by the expression on their face or the tone of their voice we can tell immediately if they are happy, angry or sad and respond accordingly. Not everyone has this natural ability. People with Asperger's Syndrome find it more difficult to read the signals which most of us take for granted. As a result they find it more difficult to communicate and interact with others and have a large problem with social interaction. Meanwhile they often develop overwhelmingly obsessive interests, which can preoccupy them (but may form an ideal basis for a job).

 People with Asperger's Syndrome often find change upsetting.

Young children may impose their routines, such as insisting on always walking the same route to school. At school, sudden changes, such as an alteration to the timetable, may upset them. People with Asperger's Syndrome often prefer to order their day according to a set pattern. If they work set hours then any unexpected delay, such as a traffic hold-up, or a late train, can make them anxious or upset.

 The causes of autism and Asperger's Syndrome are still being investigated. Many experts believe that the pattern of behaviour from which Asperger's Syndrome is diagnosed may not result from a single cause. There is strong evidence to suggest that Asperger's Syndrome can be caused by a variety of physical factors, all of which affect brain development - it is not due to emotional deprivation or the way a person has been brought up. There is not treatment.

Asperger's Syndrome is most likely hereditary in nature as many families report having an "odd" relative or two.

 As they get older, they may realise that they are different from other people and feel isolated and depressed. People with Asperger's Syndrome often want to be sociable and are upset by the fact that they find it hard to make friends. But Adults with Asperger's Syndrome can and do go on to live fulfilling lives, to further education and employment and to develop friendships. Many lead productive lives, living independently, working effectively at a job (many are college professors, computer programmers, dentists), and raising a family.

A Visitor Commented that "Those with Asperger's Syndrome have normal scores on IQ tests and are of average or above average intelligence. You should know that normal menas a score above 70. You create the impression that those with AS are all very bright. This is not so. Incidentally, current research suggests that there are good reasons for not differentiating between autistism and Asperger's Syndrome."

7 Jan 2005 by RaftingCanadian 1.1K
Reply To: Archive

In the world of sales, impulse purchases are the most important. Impulse sales alone can account for over 50% of general purchases. Impulse purchases also help businesses to successfully release new products and maximise profits.

What makes an impulse sale so appealing to businesses is that they are instant sales with the customer giving little thought about:

  • Price

  • Reliability

  • Usefulness

This is important because cost, reliability and usefulness are the main areas where businesses compete. Profit margins will be reduced if a business tries to reduce the price while improving the reliability and usefulness.

Impulse sales are determined by 3 separate factors. These are:

  • First impression

  • Availability

  • Ease of purchasing

By using these 3 factors we can work to encourage impulse purchases. Here are some ways that might help to encourage impulse purchases.

The impressive one-of-a-kind feature

You need to catch your customers attention with a feature that is:

  • Impressive

  • Attention grabbing

  • Marketable

  • Cool

Your customers need to be thinking that your product or service is like no other and can do things much better, faster or easier. All your marketing needs to emphasise that what you have to offer is like no other. This will encourage impulse buying.

Marketing to a need

Your marketing needs to also make your customers think that they need your product or service right now. They should have no reason to put off buying your product or service. For example, you will have more impulse purchases if you try to sell winter clothes in the winter.

Limited time offer or discount

Discounts, special offers and sales are a great way to catch the attention of your customers. Deals make people think that they are getting something worth more than what they are paying for it. A well placed 3 for the price of 2 deal can have you customers walking out the door with 3 items when they only came in to buy one.

Easily accessible

You need your product or service to be very accessible to your customers. This includes:

  • Having the product or details in a very prominent position that makes yours easier to find than your competitors.

  • Place the product or details of the service everywhere people might look.

  • Be able to deliver if the customer needs help to transport the product.

  • Be able to provide the service on time.

Direct affect on customer

In your marketing, you need to cater for two types of audiences:

  • Those who understand the features

  • Those that do not understand

You will rarely get an impulse purchase from someone who understands the features. As long as the features and details are available, they will compare your product with others. Just make these details easy to spot.

For the rest of us, we are often overwhelmed by features and numbers. We are put off when we have to consider technical features as we automatically class the product as complicated and not easy.

To appeal to those that do not understand features and the details and make more impulse sales we need to state the benefits more prominently than the features. This means stating the direct effect on the customers. For example:

Feature that customers use to compare your product:

100 gigabyte per second transfer rate

Benefit that drives impulse sales:

No waiting

Rated fastest by [technical sounding magazine]

Feature that customers use to compare your product:

Double Glazing

Benefit that drives impulse sales:

Warm in the winter

Save on your home heating costs

Peer pressure

Potential customers are more likely to make impulse purchases if they can see that others are also buying your product. When your customers walk away with your product, you need others to be able to see what they have brought. This will get your next customers interested and thinking that they are missing out on something.

7 Jan 2005 by RaftingCanadian 1.1K
Reply To: Archive

New Zealand is a small country about the about the size of Japan or California, that is located in the n the South Pacific, between latitudes 34'S and 47'S. Its two main islands cover 268,798 Sq Km, about the size of Japan or California and slightly larger than Great Britain.

One of the things that New Zealanders pride most, is their clean green image, and rightly so. From its Northern Island with its many hot springs and volcanic peaks, to its South Island with it's alps and glaciers, New Zealand  is a place of marvellous scenery and views. The forests on New Zealand are home to endemic plants and animals, found nowhere else on earth. The Lord of the Ring movie trilogy show cased New Zealand's pristine image, with filming being done throughout the country. Nothing yet comes close though, to gazing over the closest place to the garden of Eden. 



The first recorded inhabitants of New Zealand was the Maoris, who arrive between 1000 and 1200. According to the Maoris oral history, they arrived in seven canoes from other areas of Polynesia.  A Dutch navigator, Abel Tasman, explored New Zealand in 1642, and British captain James Cook made three voyages to New Zealand from 1769.

1840. The Treaty of Waitangi, was signed between the British and several Maori tribes promised to protect the Maori customary entitlement to the land if the Maoris recognized British rule.

1893. New Zealand was the world's first country to give women the right to vote.

1945. New Zealand became a founding member of the UN.

1951. New Zealand signed the ANZUS Treaty with Australia and the US.

1985. New Zealand banned nuclear weapons and nuclear power ships from its ports, which resulted in the US withdrawing guarantees of security to NZ under the ANZUS treaty and later imposing a trade freeze.

1999. It became part of the UN peacekeeping force sent to East Timor.

2002. Prime Minister Helen Clark apologized to Samoans for the unfair treatment they received during colonial rule.

2003. Parliament legalized prostitution.



  • The capital city is Wellington.
  • The total area is 268,798 Sq Km (excluding dependencies).
  • Population is 4,000,000.


  • Weather can be highly changeable throughout the year.
  • All months are moderately wet while the high mountains carry snow throughout the year.
  • Average annual precipitation varies between 600 and 1,500 mm (24 and 59 inches).
  • Average temperature ranges in Wellington are from 6 to 12 degrees Celsius (43 to 54 degrees Fahrenheit) in July to 13 to 21 degrees Celsius (55 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit) in January.
  • New Zealand is famous for its clean air and pleasant year round climate.


  • The official currency is the Dollar (NZD) divided into 100 Cents.


  • Main trading partners are Australia, the UK, Japan and the USA.
  • Primary products are Cattle, Cereals, Coal, Fish, Fruit and Vegetables, Iron, Natural Gas, Sheep and Timber.
  • Major industries are Agriculture, Aluminium Smelting, Cement, Fertilizers, Fishing, Glass, Iron and Steel, Meat and Dairy Processing, Machinery, Natural Gas Processing, Paper, Tanning, Timber Milling, Transport Equipment, Tourism, Wine Making, Wool and Textiles and Wood Processing.
  • Main exports are Dairy Products, Fish, Fruit and Vegetables, Hides and Skins, Meat, Timber Products, Wood Pulp, Paper, and  Wool.


  • First place in the world to see each new day.
  • New Zealand is 12 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time).
  • In summer New Zealand has Daylight Saving when clocks are put forward one hour.
  • Day Light Saving begins on the first Sunday in October and ends on the last Sunday of the following March.
7 Jan 2005 by RaftingCanadian 1.1K
Reply To: Archive

There are 5 basic types of handshakes that most of us have experienced.  Perhaps you can think of others.

Knuckle Cruncher

This type of person is earnest but nervous.  While meaning to convey warmth through a tight grip of your hand, the person only causes you pain.  The impression created is definitely that of a person who lacks sensitivity.

Dead Fish Handshaker

This type of person, who places a limp, lifeless hand in yours, is sending a negative message. While the knuckle cruncher hurts you, at least there is a desire to express a real feeling.  You are left with the impression of this person having a lackluster personality.


This handshake is overly eager but also insecure.  This person doesn’t know when to quit, almost as if stalling because of not knowing what to do next.  They keep on vigorously pumping your hand up and down—and with it your entire arm.  You may not feel pain but you certainly feel foolish.

Sanitary Handshaker

This person will barely put three or four fingers in your hand—and then withdraw them quickly, almost as if afraid of catching a dread disease.  They appear timid and sheepish.

Condolence Handshaker

This is the person who comes across as too familiar, clasping your right arm or hand, and perhaps attempting to hug you.  This behavior may be appreciated at a funeral, but it comes across as condescending and inappropriate.

Proper Handshaking

The protocol for handshaking is simple to learn.  Here is what you should do: Walk up to the person you want to meet.  Look into their eyes, smile, and extend you hand.  Offer a warm, firm, palm-to-palm handshake.

When you proffer your hand to a stranger or a distant acquaintance, simultaneously say, “My name is......( use both first and last names ).  This way you eliminate the awkward moment of the forgotten name.  The person being greeted is often relieved at being reminded, and will usually respond with their full name, which will in turn relieve you.

Both men and women should rise to shake hands.  Rising is a compliment; it shows energy and eagerness to connect.

Initiating a proper handshake will make an incredibly positive impression.  You will be perceived as a person who is knowledgeable, possesses excellent social skills, and has leadership capabilities.

An excellent handshake shows your charm and self-confidence.  It becomes an integral part of your style.

“Any person who has charm and some confidence can move in and through societies ranging from the most privileged to the most needy.  Style allows the person to appear neither inferior in one location nor superior in the other.” - Maya Angelou... (noted poet, educator, and best-selling author)

7 Jan 2005 by RaftingCanadian 1.1K
Reply To: Archive

Throughout history it has been an advantage if an individual can read body language. Body language helps in everyday life from closing a business deal or trusting someone with your life, to recognising when someone is upset.

Body language is the art of making an educated guess at a person’s feelings or intentions based on their posture, movement and positioning. To understand a person’s body language you need to take into account more than one aspect of their body language. Take tears for example. Just seeing tears on a person’s face does not tell you much as they could mean a person is happy, sad or just they might just have watery eyes. It is only when you also observe a smile that you can assume a person is very happy.

Each action or stance in the following list means very little, unless there is more than one indicating the same thing. They may also vary between cultures.


Body Language


Alternative Reason

Crossing of the arms

A negative or critical viewpoint

Person is feeling cold and is crossing their arms to keep warm or is relaxing

Tapping fingers

Bored, anxious or agitated


Fidgeting with hands

Bored or has something to say


Fidgeting with objects such as a pen

Bored or has something to say


Open hands or showing palms

Showing trust and interest

Inviting others opinions

Covering one hand with the other

Concealed feelings and insecurity

Cold hands

Clinging to objects

Confusion or insecurity

The object is important

Clasping hands


Habitual posture

Making a fist

Aggression, angry or irritated

Holding something small or stretching hand

Firm handshake



Weak handshake

Nervous, Shy, Insecure or scared on interaction

Has a sore hand

Biting fingernails



Wringing hands



Looking at watch


Has to keep on time


Body Language


Alternative Reason

Placing feet up on desk or chair

Relaxation, authority or ownership


Tapping feet

Impatient or distracted


Twisting feet continuously

Nervous, Concerned, Stressed or Angry

Can never sit still

Sitting with crossing legs in direction of speaker

Relaxed, confident or listening carefully


Sitting with crossing legs in direction of door

Would like to leave


Sitting with legs wide apart

Feels safe, confident and can show leadership


Dangling loose shoe from toes

Physically attracted


Pacing the floor


Has been sitting down too long


Body Language

May Indicate

Alternative Reason

Resting chin on fist or palm 

Boredom or disinterest.


Gently resting chin on fingers or touching fingers to lower face

Questioning, critical or Deep Thought


Looking over the top of glasses

Attentiveness, serious or critical thought

Vision problems

Pinching the bridge of the nose

Deep thought

Nasal problems or poorly fitting glasses

Rubbing or touching around the nose

Negative thought or doubt

Habit, itchy or sore nose

Ear rubbing

Unsure or weighing up possibilities.

Itchy or sore ears

Direct eye contact

Dominance or attentive

Looking past the person into the distance

Sustained eye contact

Like or interest in you

Mistaken for attentiveness

No eye contact

Disinterest or lying

Distracted, uncomfortable or too confined

Nodding head rapidly

Eager, Impatient or want to add to conversation

Listening to music

Nodding head slowly

Interested, Validating comments or encouraging

Listening to music

Pressed lips

Disagreement, Disapproval or desire to end conversation

Sore or parched lips

Pressed lips with raised chin


Usual posture

Pursed lips

Disapproval, Fixed views, Arrogant, Superficial character, Thinking or Deciding

Usual posture

Biting lips

Embarrassed or lacks self-confidence


Holding hand over mouth

Hide an expression, Talk without other people hearing or Indicate mistake

Hide a hiccup, burp, sneeze or cough

Raising eyebrows


Trying to focus eyes

Eyes open wider


Dark environments will cause people to open their eyes more

Raised forehead

Trying to remember, or is crying

Is looking up

Looking up or into distance

Trying to remember or think

Is looking at something in particular

Loud Sign

Understanding or Strong emotions


Clearing of the throat

Nervousness, or wants to be heard

Has a cold

Slowly taking of glasses and cleaning them

Wants time to think before continuing

Had dirty glasses

Relaxed Brow


Has had Botox

Tensed Brow

Confusion, tension or fear 

Permanent frown marks

Leaning back with hands behind head




Shared secret or moment 

Sore eye 

Massaging Temples



Stoking chin


Itchy chin


Body Language


Alternative Reason

Breathing faster

Nervous or Angry

Has just finished exercise

Inhaling loudly and shortly

Wants to interrupt conversation


Slow breathing

Relaxed and comfortable

 Breathing problems

Shoulders hunched forward

Lacking interest or has a feeling of inferiority


Rubbing collar


Trying to get a mark off

Adjusting tie

Insecure or wanting to impress

Tie needed adjusting

Shrugged shoulders

Concerned, or wants to be left alone

Usual body posture

Shoulders at different levels

Doubtful about following actions 

Usual body posture

Rigid Body Posture

Anxious, uptight

Usual body posture


Body Language


Alternative Reason

Mirroring you

Likes you or wants to be friendly


Staying still

Interested in what is going on or is being said 

Is tired 

Keeps everything tidy and ordered

Thinks about everything and plans things out


Allows things stay unorganised

Risk taker or stressed

Too busy

7 Jan 2005 by RaftingCanadian 1.1K
Reply To: Dating and Relationships

Holding gaze - This is where you look into someone’s eyes while they look into yours. Ensure that they have a smile on their face.

Touching - Touching the other person without them pulling away, while they have a pleasant look on their face. Best to start with safe places, such as the back or the hands or arms, or by brushing or bumping against him or her.

Leaning in - Leaning towards the other person while being engaged in what they are saying or doing.

Facing them – Although facing the person is not primarily romantic body language, it is a method of engaging with them. If your body is tilted away from them it might seem like you are looking forward for the conversation to end.

Paying attention – This should be simple, but can be missed. Looking at your cell-phone or doing anything that prevents you from looking at them is negative body language.

Stroking – If a person is looking at your while stroking their legs, arms, face or hair, this is an indicate that they might want you both to touch in that manner.

Looking at you from afar - A person looking at you from afar, for longer than usual may indicate a romantic interest. If the person looks back at you again this idea is strengthen.

Licking lips – If a person is looking at you while licking or pursing their lips into a kiss shape, this indicates they might be wanting to kiss you in some manner. This may also involve objects such as wine glasses.

Preening – This includes tossing of hair, touching hair, brushing clothes, polishing glasses. Generally anything that might mean they are making themselves look good for you.

Body displays – Exposing, thrusting, wiggling or accentuating their body in any manner is an attempt to get sexual attention. This includes arms, legs and crotch for guys and breasts, neck, bottom, legs and feet for women.

Mirroring – This is when the person copies what you are doing or your pose. This indicates their awareness of you.

Body scanning – This is where a person looks up and down a person’s body. This shows interest in how they look. This is emphasised when they let you catch them looking at your body.

The 2 foot rule – When someone is within 2 feet of you, they are within your personal space; this indicates a willingness to risk the chance of physical contact. This is a good time to brush against them.

Evaluating responses – This involves the person making slow but steady advancements in their romantic body language while watching your response. This allows them to determine if you feel the same way.

Laughing – Laughing a lot is quite a strong romantic sign, especially if what they are laughing at was not really that funny. Girls can get a giggle that indicates a flirty mood.

Talking – When they are talking a lot when they are around you it is a good sign. People like to talk about themselves, and although this is not always romantic, it can be a sign.

7 Jan 2005 by RaftingCanadian 1.1K
Reply To: Health

As computers have become part of everyday life, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) has become more widespread in the general public. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is caused when the median nerve travelling through the group of bones (the Carpal Tunnel) in the wrist are constantly under pressure or are compressed.

Any occupations or hobbies that require constant repetitive movement of the wrist or for the wrist to be at an awkward angle may cause Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Some occupations are more at risk than others, such as:

  • Computer users

  • Typists

  • Carpenters or construction workers

  • Hairdressers

  • Poultry, fish and other meat processors


There are a few symptoms that you can look out for:

  • Thumb, index and ring fingers may start to tingle as the day progresses.

  • The ability to squeeze things may be impaired.

  • Sometimes you may feel pain up the arm, sometimes up to the shoulder.

  • May become unable to pick up small objects.

  • Fingers may feel swollen when they are not.

  • May loose the ability to differentiate temperatures.

  • Hand is numb or has a painful tingling at night. This might be bad enough to disturb sleep.

  • May become unable to undertake tasks such as tying shoe laces.

Remember: If you are in pain see your doctor.


Like many forms of repetitive strain injuries (RSI), the best prevention is to avoid repetitive movements, but this is not always possible. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is something that often comes on slowly, with a tingling sensation often preceding pain. If you think you might have a minor case of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome coming on, you can still stop it with preventative measures.

  • Maintain a healthy weight

  • Avoid resting your wrists on hard surfaces for long periods of time.

  • If possible, switch hands periodically.

  • Use tools that are comfortable for you to use.

  • Take regular breaks.

  • Try not to continually twist extend or bend your hands continually.

  • Do not stand or sit in a similar position for a long period of time.

  • Adjust your workstation so that is comfortable and you do not need to move your wrists to type.


  • Avoid using your hand as much as possible.

  • Prop your arm up at night with a pillow when you are lying down.

  • Use your other hand as much as possible.

  • Use a different tool

  • Use a different motion or position.

  • Wear a splint.

  • See your doctor as surgery or medication may be a possible solution.

7 Jan 2005 by RaftingCanadian 1.1K
Reply To: Musical Instruments

The average modern piano has over 230 strings under a combined tension of 15 to 20 tons. A concert grand piano may have a combined string tension of up to 30 tons. Pianos made in the eighteenth century were not as powerful and used low-tension wire made from an alloy different from the wire used today.

Piano String : Scale design

The scale design of a piano refers to the calculations the piano manufacturer used to determine the pitch, diameter, length, and the tension of each wire. Good quality pianos usually have a better scale design that involves a lot of engineers and scientists taking many measurements and crunching the numbers. The piano is then built in the laboratory and is tested by listening to it. If the piano does not sound good, the design team does more calculations, makes another test piano and listens to it. This continues either until the piano manufacturer is completely pleased with the results or until the research budget runs out!

Piano Bass Strings

If the bass strings were made of plain steel wire, the lowest notes would have a string length of around 25 feet long! Since the piano has to be able to fit into normal-sized living rooms, the designers had to achieve a lower pitch using shorter wires. Getting a lower pitch with shorter wire requires using a larger diameter wire. Unfortunately, if a wire is used that has too large of a diameter, the wire will break under the required tension. The solution is to use a smaller steel core wire and then to use another wire wrapped around the core wire to add mass. The extra mass makes the wire behave as though it is a larger diameter wire without causing the problems of string breakage.

Originally, the wire that was used to wrap around the core wire was made of iron. Later, some pianos were made with aluminium-wrapped bass strings, and now copper wrapping is used. Plain steel music wire is used throughout the tenor and treble sections of the piano.

A common question is "Why does the piano have only one or two wires for each note in the bass section and three wires in the rest of the piano?" The short answer is that the number of wires used for each note helps determine the volume of that note. A large bass string can produce much more volume than a smaller plain wire. The volume is balanced by using more wires for each note in the treble section and fewer wires for each note in the bass section.

Broken Piano Strings

Occasionally a wire will be broken and need to be replaced. If the string is not replaced promptly, it can cause uneven wear on the hammer that will lead to additional repairs being necessary. A string can break for a number of reasons. In most cases of string breakage, there usually is the presence of rust that weakens the string. The string might break because of a kink or a bend in the wire, or there may be a defect in the wire. In tropical areas or areas with high humidity, pianos are made using tinned wire to prevent excess rust. Strings frequently become brittle with age, and the splintered ends ofa broken wire can testify to that. Concert instruments and other pianos that receive a lot of heavy use are notorious for popping strings.

When a piano is being tuned and a string breaks, it is usually due to a weakness in the string as listed above. Sometimes the wire can also be broken by a piano tuner who does not use a proper technique in using the tuning lever. When the broken wire is examined and the wire shows evidence of "necking down" (the wire being overstretched to the point that the wire is damaged) it often is the fault of the tuner. If a piano is flat in pitch because it has been neglected, the pitch raise can cause rusty strings to break. However, I have successfully raised pitch on a number of old pianos that had very rusty strings and were more than a whole note flat in pitch, and often the entire tuning will proceed without any of the strings breaking. Other times I may be tuning a much newer piano that is not flat, and a string will just decide to break.

Piano String Repairs

When a piano string breaks, there are several repair options available. A broken string can be repaired by tying a tuner's knot to splice the old wire to a short piece of new wire. The advantage of such a repair is that an older wire that is spliced will often match the tone of the surrounding strings better than if it had been replaced. In addition, a string that has been repaired this way will stabilize much more quickly than a new wire. Tying a broken string eliminates the need to return several times to retune the string back to the correct pitch. The drawback is that a wire with a knot in it doesn't match the other wires in appearance.

Piano String Replacement

My preference is to replace a broken wire with a new wire. Piano wire comes in long coils that are several hundred feet long. I use a micrometer to choose the appropriate gauge of wire, cut off the appropriate length, and do the replacement. When a bass string breaks, you have the option of having the string replaced with a universal bass string or a custom-made bass string.

A universal bass string set has a number of different sizes of core wires with different sizes of copper wrapping. The replacement is cut to the correct length, and then the wrap wire is "unravelled" until the beginning and end of the wrapping matches the other bass strings on the piano. The problem with using universal bass strings is that often the tone of the new piano string is decidedly different from the surrounding strings. It is rare to find a universal bass string that will perfectly match the core diameter and wrap diameter of the broken wire. Also, I have personally had a problem with universal bass strings breaking shortly after they are installed.

A string maker will make a custom bass string precisely to the correct size. The string maker already has a list of stringing scales for many current production pianos, but an older or obscure brand of piano may not be in their files. To find the correct size of wire requires either sending the broken string to the string maker, making a paper pattern, or taking several measurements of the broken string. Custom-made bass strings involve more work, take more time, and are more expensive, but it is my preference to use them, because they give the advantage of matching the tone of the existing strings much more closely.

Piano Restringing

An older piano often will develop a lot of rust on the strings, or it may have a problem with breaking strings. The bass strings often become tubby and "dead" because dirt and debris will be caught in the coils and make the strings not as flexible. The bass strings can sometimes be rejuvenated by working to get the junk out of the coils, but it is preferable to replace the entire set.

When restringing a piano, the tuning pins and strings are usually replaced as a unit at the same time. When the strings are removed, they are carefully measured and the scale design is calculated to determine what size of strings should be used for replacement. Good quality newer pianos often will have an acceptable scale design, but old or obscure piano designs can often be improved upon, especially in the bass section. The tone of the piano can often be improved by "tweaking" the scale design.

Although piano wire is made of steel, it does have some elasticity and does stretch. A new piano, or one that has been restrung, will continue to stretch and go flat for quite some time. If you have ever replaced a set of strings on your guitar, you know what I am talking about! After a piano has been restrung and returned to the customer's house, it needs to be tuned a minimum of four times that first year and a minimum of twice a year thereafter. It is my opinion that a piano will stabilize much more quickly the more frequently it is tuned.

7 Jan 2005 by RaftingCanadian 1.1K