Bamboo

Bamboo is an amazing plant that unfortunately has been given the reputation of being hard to control and invasive. Due to this fact, many gardeners tend to avoid it. Sure, it’s true that this reputation definitely is not unfounded and you should never plant bamboo without taking the time to do your research and making sure you watch closely what you’re planting. However, bamboo can actually be a great plant to put in your garden and has a variety of uses, including bamboo clothing.

Types of Bamboo

There are two general types of bamboo plants: clumping and running.

Of course, clumping bamboo grows like the name indicated- in a big clump that typically stays right in the area where you have planted it. If you want your bamboo to be well-behaved and not take over, this is the type that you need to plant.

On the other hand, running bamboo is different than clumping because it will spread like wildfire if you don’t keep it reined in. It spreads by sending out rhizomes, which are underground runners that cause new shoots to pop up wherever it happens to stop. You should never plant running bamboo unless you understand how to control it.

The bamboo plant has been around for many centuries and has a variety of different uses- some of which are new and innovative such as bamboo clothing and building materials. On the other hand, some of these uses are traditional, such as wind instruments.

One thing if for certain, no matter which type of bamboo you choose to plant, you definitely have an opportunity for creating a healthy income for yourself if you can find the right market for selling it. In fact, many Chinese families live off this income because it’s so easy to harvest that the whole family can do it without any problems at all. However, if you do choose to grow bamboo, it’s best to choose the clumping varieties.

Work Boots

Work boots must be comfortable, so the saying goes, in order to serve their purpose well. Nothing makes for more misery than an ill-fitting boot that you cannot take off for endless hours. Now just imagine being stuck in a work boot that hurts your toes, your ankle and even the sole of your feet during a twelve hour work day.

You can avoid much pain by properly selecting the most comfortable work boots for your individual needs. How does one pick the best work boot?

Let us consider a few factors that determine how comfortable a work boot will be. Besides the most basic notion that it has to fit the size of your feet properly, here is a short list of other criteria:

  • The material used to make the boot
  • Flexibility of the boot
  • Insulation to keep you warm and/or cool
  • The material of the sole and insole
  • The number and materials of toe, shank and ankle protection
  • The time it takes to break it in
  • No break-in time required
  • Slip resistance of the sole

True, these are numerous things to consider before deciding on a particular work boot. However, it gets a little easier and less confusing when you consider the reputation the work boot brands have accumulated over time. Some are well known for their comfortable work boots. A few even make boots that require no break-in time.

The brands with a solid reputation for comfortable boots are in no particular order:

  • Timberland
  • Wolverine
  • Keen
  • Thorogood

and their respective models of work boots.

From here on things get easier. Just locate the website of online work boot retailers. Once there, you can peruse the descriptions, customer reviews and ratings of their work boots.

Foreign Exchange

The foreign exchange market is referred to as the FX, currency market, or as we will refer to it here, the Forex market.  Basically, it’s a decentralized market trades currencies over the counter. The purpose of the Forex is to determine the relative values of various foreign currencies.

The Forex is divided by levels of access; the top level is large banks (JP Morgan, CitiBank, etc) all the way down to money transfer companies (Western Union, etc). The companies that use the exchange have to be legitimate, and the less money that goes through a particular company’s hands determines their ranking in this system. These companies then can exchange certain amounts of moneys.

Because the Forex is decentralized and over-the-counter (OTC), there is actually no “set” exchange rate. We can estimate it (usually the number used in the newspapers and such are averages or taken from a set bank or company), but there’s usually no set “exchange rate.”

The exchange rates are affected by two things: how much money is actually being traded, and expectations of the amount of money being traded. Now, a variety of factors can affect both of these, including inflation, gross domestic product (GDP) growth and fall, interest rates, and surpluses/deficits. Political issues (such as the ones being dealt with in Egypt) and market psychology (how consumers view their stock markets) can also affect the exchange rate significantly. As these things change, the exchange rates go up and down.

The “strength” of a certain form of currency is determined by their exchange rate with other foreign currencies. During the economic downfall in the US, the American dollar was not considered to be very strong, because the exchange rate with the Euro and other foreign currencies was lower than it had been recently.