Sterling Silver Jewelry Exposed

Sterling silver jewelry is enjoying an unprecedented popularity with today's fashion conscious public. You know how beautiful sterling silver jewelry is and how brilliantly it shines. Now here is the rest of the story.

Silver has been used since ancient times, but has not survived as well as ancient gold because it tarnished and decomposes. There have been times, however, when silver was "in"; we are going through such a vogue today.

Silver is the most common of the precious metals. Fine silver is pure silver, which is used for jewelry because it is too soft. Sterling silver is 925 parts silver to 75 of copper, the alloy most often used. Silver weighs about half as much as gold, has greater flexibility, but is not as malleable, it has always been less expensive as well. A comparable piece of gold jewelry may cost four or five times that of a piece of sterling silver jewelry.

The current fashion trend toward black clothing has made silver jewelry more popular than ever. Silver likes to be worn; it stays cleaner & shinier through movement and friction. So sterling silver is a perfect accessory for today's fast paced lifestyles. Much like gold, sterling silver needs to be cleaned.

Care and Cleaning of your Sterling Silver Jewelry

1.) For daily cleaning it is recommended to use a simple jewelry polishing cloth that is impregnated with special jewelry cleaner. These are widely available and are very easy to use. Store your cloth in a plastic zip-lock bag, and keeping your jewelry drawer or armoire. It is a good idea to have one cleaning cloth for gold and one for silver.

2.) For a slightly more "in-depth" cleaning you may want to use a liquid jewelry cleaner.

3.) For cleaning badly tarnished silver, here's a neat little trick

a.) Cover the inside bottom of a heat-proof glass dish on bowl with a piece of aluminum foil, shiny side up.

b.) Place the tarnished silver in the bottom of the dish, contacting the aluminum foil.

c.) Add 1 heaping tablespoon of baking soda, and then slowly pour boiling water to cover the piece. The tarnish will gradually collect on the aluminum foil.

d.) Remove your silver, rinse thoroughly, and polish.

Here are Some Tips for Greater Enjoyment of your Sterling Silver Jewelry

1.) Are your silver chains all tied-up in knots? If so, here's a nifty little trick for straightening them out. Dust your chain with a little talcum powder and then try to unknot it. If the knot is stubborn, place a small drop of baby oil on a sheet of wax paper. Lay the knot in the oil and work it out with two pins; then clean the chain as instructed below.

2.) Always apply make-up, perfumes, oils or colognes before you put on your jewelry.

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Dallas Commercial Real Estate Market Does A Rebound

Dallas City in Texas continues to experience steady growth in its real estate industry notably on the commercial side. This is not really a wonder as Dallas is a large city which accommodates several huge industries consisting of the petroleum, transportation, banking, information technology and telecommunications sectors. But despite the growing economy, Dallas remains to be among the most affordable cities in the U.S., according to Forbes.

The Dallas Texas real estate industry has also maintained its momentum since it began experiencing its booming days back in the 1980s. The Dallas commercial real estate including the big buildings and skyscrapers was a major growth factor. In addition, the Dallas metroplex accommodates numerous high-end shopping centers more than that of any other city or state in the U.S.

Experts reveal that the commercial real estate market in Dallas is in great condition compared to the residential properties. In terms of foreclosure, the percentage of Dallas office space, apartment, industrial and retail buildings is very small. This is due to the fact that commercial companies almost always have the financial resources to carry out their expansion and construction projects.

Dallas is seen to continue being a commercial real estate hub in the many years to come. Currently, new construction projects of condos and townhouses are widespread around this booming city. The other good news is that many of the office spaces previously available in Dallas have already been occupied or pre-leased. The central business district of the city has reduced its office vacancy rate to 24 percent as of end of September 2007.

The year 2007 has proved to be favorable for the Dallas commercial real estate sector. Latest reports from Cushman & Wakefield say office tenants that have been expanding and relocating have leased 1.5 million square feet more of office space in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in the first half of the year. The third quarter net leasing has also soared nearly 90 percent from totals in mid-2007. A recent report by Delta Associates showed that Dallas-Fort Worth is seen to accommodate an average of 4.8 million square feet of office space each year until 2010.

As for construction, an estimated 6.9 million square feet of office space is now being built in Dallas-Fort Worth as of the middle of 2007 and this is bigger than in 2006. Of the estimated office space being constructed, more than 40 percent is already pre-leased. Rents have also risen to seven percent from the 2006 rates. Third quarter figures show that office rents averaged $19.42 per square foot while rents for medical office space rose 12 percent to $24.4 percent.

With all these positive developments going on, the future of Dallas commercial real estate is indeed looking bright. Many real estate investment firms are seeing a low vacancy rate and substantial rent gains this 2007. Developers are also projected to provide 2.6 million square feet of office space by the end of the year while building owners are expected to ask for higher rents as a result of lower vacancy. The reduction in vacancies is being attributed to the surge in employment by 3.2 percent covering more than 900,000 jobs by year end.

Privacy Issues Surrounding Biometric Technology

The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center have provoked in-depth discussion and study of existing security measures, their deficiencies, and how to enhance security to prevent similar terrorist attacks from occurring in the future. Biometric technology has risen to the top of the list as a possible solution. The government is not the only entity exploring biometric security systems. The financial services industry see biometrics as a way to curb identity theft. Biometrics are intrinsic physical characteristics used to identify individuals. The most commonly used biometric is fingerprints but others include, handprints, facial features, iris & retinal scans, and voice recognition.

Soon after 9/11 there were calls for the issuance of national ID cards containing biometric information on an RFID chip implanted on the card. The argument is that national ID cards will increase security by identifying individuals with their unique fingerprints which are much more difficult to counterfeit than standard photo ID cards. There is also a movement toward biometric passports. It looks like biometric passports are coming soon. National ID cards may follow.

Biometric identification is nothing new. Humans have been identifying other humans biometrically since the beginning of time. You recognize people you know by their facial features, their voice, and other biometric features. What’s new is introducing technology into the mix that compares a given biometric with a stored database of biometrics to verify the identity of an individual. An individual place their finger on a fingerprint scanner and the image is compared with the database to verify the person’s identity. Promising as it is, biometric technology has not been without hiccups but biometrics are advancing quickly and becoming more and more prevalent in security systems.

Fingerprints are the most commonly used biometric identifiers. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) conducted a study that showed single fingerprint biometric systems had a 98.6 percent accuracy rate. The accuracy rate rose to 99.6 percent when 2 fingerprints were used and an almost perfect 99.9 percent when 4 or more fingerprints were used. The study results show that biometric identification is nearly perfect which is not surprising given the uniqueness of human fingerprints.

The US-VISIT program, which is an acronym for United States Visitor & Immigrant Status Indicator Technology, currently requires foreign visitors to the US to present a biometric passport containing 2 fingerprints and a digital photo for identification purposes before being granted admission to the U.S. Of course the biometrics are compared against a vast network of government databases full of known and suspected terrorists and other criminals.

On the surface biometric technology may sound like a panacea but it’s use has raised significant privacy concerns that need to be addressed. Here are six major privacy concerns: storage, vulnerability, confidence, authenticity, linking, and ubiquity.

Critics wonder how the data will be stored and how vulnerable it will be to theft or abuse. Confidence issues center around the implications of false positives and false negatives. Can the biometric data be used to link to other information about the individual such as marital status, religion, employment status, etc.? And finally ubiquity. What are the implications of leaving electronic “bread crumbs” to mark a trail detailing every movement an individual makes?

Until these issues are addressed, privacy advocates will lead a charge to resist biometric technology claiming it as a way for the government to assume a “Big Brother” type of rule as described in George Orwell’s novel 1984. But protest as they may, it’s likely national security concerns and the ability of biometric systems to enhance the security of US border and possibly prevent another major terrorist attack will win out over privacy concerns.

What Are The Top Art Schools?

Rankings are always tricky. Rating the top art schools depends on the criteria of the one or ones doing the judging and possibly whether or not they have some sort of connection or vested interest in placing certain schools where they place them. Cronyism aside and imagining a perfect world of total objectivity, a one-size-fits-all rating system would only work in a world where artists are determined ahead of time in a test tube and everyone is a homogenous clone. But then you have to wonder if art and creative expression would even really exist in such a utopian society.

So, back to the present day reality, a single specific answer to the question, "What are the top art schools?" generally does a disservice to the needs of the individual student. As with stereo components, it depends entirely on priority and application. The top school for music and performing arts will likely not be the top school for commercial and visual arts. Even within a single category, the "best" art school will still depend on the needs and priorities of the student.

There are a number of organizations and publications willing to give it a shot, though, and their conclusions can be easily found on the Internet. However, it is best to consider these ratings simply a starting point, as they can be quite misleading. Remember that higher education is funded primarily by the students who attend said facilities. No students, no school. No school, no over-paid faculty incapable of working in the real world. (Oops. Did I say that out loud?) And that, that certainly does not apply to all art school faculty members.

The first thing you need to determine is what you plan to do with an art education. There are many and varied career choices. The art career or occupation you want will be one of the most important deciding factors in your own personal ranking system.

For instance, if you're already working in the art field of your choice (or close to it) and all you need is a piece of paper, then you can probably get what you need from a local community college or state university. Depending on the state, that may be a less expensive way to get that piece of paper than going to a dedicated art school.

If, on the other hand, you're gunning for a particular possibly prestigious position in a well-known art gallery, it would serve you well to work backwards. Find out what they consider the top art schools and which of those they most often hire graduates from. In other words, which art school degree will get your resume to the top of the stack?

Your choice may also come down to economics. What can you afford; what kind of financial aid is available; and what are you chances of a reasonable pay off?

In the end, you are the judge. You will have to determine what the top art schools are for you and make the best choice for you. After all, individuality is the very pulse of art.