Beijing Offers Tour To Explore City’s Spooky Side

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china spooky sideChina offers an unusual tour called Newman Tours, the only English-language excursion for people wanting to explore Beijing’s eerie side.

Beijing’s spooky side

“We introduce [tourists] to all of the local ghost stories and folklore and try to scare them a bit while we’re at it,” says Daniel Newman, managing director of Newman Tours.

China’s capital has a rich history of spooky stories, which mostly involve imperial intrigue and traditional superstitions.

Guide Christopher Pegg starts the evening tour from the Beihai metro station, leading tourists through two dozen stops in the winding hutongs, narrow, maze-like alleys, near Houhai Lake and around Prince Gong’s Mansion for two hours of fright and fun.

Perfect place for scary tales and activities

Traditional hutong homes and Prince Gong’s mansion are the perfect place for bone-chilling stories. The restored historic site may look cheery during the day with its gardens and bright colors, but it has a dark back story, says Pegg.

Tourists can learn about the twisted past of the Ming Dynasty’s most notorious Emperor Yongle, and other horror tales from Imperial China’s cruel leaders.

The most interesting part of the tour is the opportunity to communicate with Beijing’s spirits and even marry them.

Pegg performs ghost weddings, a tradition in China that allows unmarried spirits to marry the living.

Other activities of the tour include burning money for ancestors to use in the afterlife.

Four Signs Your Water Heater Needs More Than a Little TLC

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Your water heater goes through a lot of abuse everyday. From sink usage to lengthy baths, you should make sure that your water heaters are doing their job. You often take your water heaters for granted, taking note of them only when they become broken. While paying hundreds of dollars for repair can solve the problem, it’s not practical especially if you’re budget-minded.

Here are some signs that you may need more than just a little TLC to keep your water heaters in good working condition.


Leaks from your water heater may seem a minor problem at first, but ignoring them all the time can lead to costly problems. Leaks can mean some parts need replacement or in some cases, a tank problem. Unless you’re knowledgeable about water heaters and plumbing matters, you may need to hire professionals specializing in plumbing repair to resolve the issue.

Unusual noises

Nothing is more annoying than a water heater that squeals or makes wanted sounds. These strange noises are often due to sediments inside the tank, debris that came in contact with the heating element, or parts that need replacement. If your DIY skills don’t work, maybe it’s time to call in a professional.

Temperature problems

Your water heater’s job is to provide hot water. If the water fails to get hot enough, fixing the problem is as simple as adjusting the thermostat. But in some cases, this could be due to a broken heating element that demands the expertise of professionals.

Oddly colored water

Water should be clear when they come out of your pipes. If you see unusual color when you turn on the sink, the pipes may be corroded. This also needs a professional plumbing repair in San Diego for an effective fix.

In the end, you should pay attention to your water heater’s condition and perform regular maintenance. Anything out of the ordinary needs immediate assistance to ensure safety and avoid costly problems.

Out Of The Dome- Mars Food Study Researchers

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astronautThe last four months have been spent by 6 researchers on a Hawaii lava field at an altitude of 8000 feet inside a small dome where they are trying to understand what food astronauts can consume when on Mars and other deep-space missions.

Life in the Dome

The six researchers, selected by the Cornell University and University of Hawaii for the NASA-funded study lived in a two-storey dome which had a small sleeping area, an exercise room and a kitchen. Inside the dome, they spent time preparing meals with non-perishable, dehydrated ingredients just like the current astronauts do and tried to concoct new recipes to combat food boredom. One of the six members said that there was a craving for comfort foods.

After emerging from the dome armed with their recipes and without space suits, one of the scientists said that they were glad to feel the fresh air and sunshine on their faces.

The Outdoors: How to Design an Appealing Garden

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Many households transform their open lots into a garden, as it allows them to increase the value of their home through landscape gardening. This makes the property more inviting for the family and guests because the garden will make them feel closer to nature. Other than the interiors, outdoor spaces also deserve a makeover.

Here are some important points to take note of when designing the garden:


A wide walkway allows everyone to pass through side by side to enjoy the view. Make sure that the space is enough for at least two to four people. Many landscaping experts recommend a width of at least three to five feet. Don’t set up plants near it to avoid making the space restricted.


Many use a footpath to get a closer view of the plants. Install these carefully, so it won’t wobble when walking on its surface. Use stone materials and avoid tiles and polished granite, as these are slippery when wet. It should have a sloping surface pattern to prevent water puddles.


A big headroom space is necessary for archways, arbours, and pergolas. You wouldn’t want anyone to bump their head accidentally. Make these at least seven feet or higher, depending on your family’s height and reach.


Garden design differs depending on the plants and flowers you want to grow. When planting new shrubs, it’s best to give them enough space to grow. Plant them three to five inches apart to allow them to mature properly. Use filler plants, such as delphiniums, butterfly bush, and golden tree mallow, to temporarily hide the gaps.


Setting up decks and patios are common, as these have dining and entertainment purposes. It’s a good area to relax, especially when you want to breathe some fresh air. It’s also an ideal space for your children, so they can play without leaving the vicinity of your home.

Thanks to landscape gardening, many houses have turned from simple to stylish. Look for a professional landscape artist to improve the appearance and quality of your home.

Let Your Creative Juices Flow: A Guide to Designing Your Own Business Cards

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Your business card’s design is important to establish your business persona. You have to design your card in a way that will catch potential business partners or customers’ interest. You’re clear on that. The challenge, though, is how you can seamlessly apply your creative ideas to turn a piece of paper into an effective network-growing machine. These business card designing tips will keep you ahead of the game.

Provide What’s Needed

First things first, there are set information you need to provide on the business card. Name, title, address, and contact numbers are standard, but you can also add extra info to enhance your brand identity. Make sure every detail is correct, especially if you plan to design your business cards online. You don’t want to lose potential clients or business partners because you provided the wrong phone number.

Be Clear on the Message

Content and design should work together. Match the text colour to the colour of the paper. The design should also relate to the nature of your business. State what you or your business do and provide. It’s important so the person who has your card will remember more about you. State whether you’re working as a business consultant, an accountant, or you’re running a food business.

Bigger Isn’t Always Better

Bigger fonts and catchy images may work best for some cards. But when it comes to the size, bigger isn’t always better. Your prospected business partner or customer might throw your card into the bin if it’s bigger than a wallet sized photo. It’s best to go with the standard, or even smaller than that.

Yes to Double-Sided Cards

Who says double-sided business cards are nonsense? It’s actually not. Using both sides of the card will let you put more information and add enhancements on its design. It might cost you a little more, but the result you’ll get will be worth it.

Your cards are your PR apprentices. Design your own business cards with the help of a reliable online printing company.

Oprah Finally Speaks Out On Paula Deen Controversy

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oprah and deenOprah Winfrey finally spoke out about the series of unfortunate events that plagued her friend, the butter-loving queen of southern cooking, Paula Deen.

“In the very first days I tried to reach her and then I decided to stay out of it as I saw it blowing up,” Winfrey, 59, tells Entertainment Tonight. “In time she will be fine. For me, it all just felt kind of sad.”

Winfrey believes that people need to let the “dust settle” before the two can have a “real conversation” about racism in today’s world. The 66-year-old Deen was subsequently fired by the Food Network and lost multiple endorsement deals in the process.Until recently, Winfrey had remained silent on her friend’s latest controversy.

When asked to comment about Deen during an interview with Extra, Winfrey laughed but declined to say anything more about the disgraced TV personality who she befriended back in 2012. “Oh my god! I don’t have anything to do with Paula Deen,” she insisted. “She is not the first white lady to use the N-word! Good lord!”

Winfrey herself has experienced racism in the past, but chooses to rise over them than letting it bring her down.

“Nobody in their right mind is going to call me the N-word. You know, you see those fools on Twitter sometime say ridiculous things. But nobody in their right mind is going to do that to my face, because true racism is being able to have power over somebody else,” Winfrey explains. “So that doesn’t happen to me that way.”

Clean Your Home to Stop Sneezing the Day Away

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Experts believe that the best way to prevent allergies is to get rid of its causes. While some things, such as certain foods or pets are difficult to avoid, there are other controllable factors such as keeping the house clean that can do wonders for you or your loved ones’ health.

Often, something as simple as cleaning windows, carpets, and upholstery can make a substantial difference. Beyond using the hoover to get rid of the daily dust accumulation, it’s also ideal to hire a professional to do a deeper cleaning of the household.

Pollutants are silent culprits

Keeping the home healthy involves not just superficial cleaning, but also deeper cleaning. A dirty carpet or unclean upholstered chair often retains indoor air pollutants. These include pet fur, cockroach allergens, and other dust-like particles. Toxic airborne gasses may stick to these particles, contaminating the air and surfaces in your home.

Although regular dusting and cleaning of the home helps, professional carpet cleaning services have special solutions, machines, and shampoos to remove these deeply trapped allergens.

Dust mite infestations aggravate allergies

Dust mites themselves aren’t allergens, but these microscopic creatures often have leftovers that are. These particles, in the form of faeces and body fragments, are often overlooked by homeowners. When an area or piece of furniture with dust mites gets disturbed, people in the home can inhale these and provoke allergies.

Even if items such as curtains, pillows, and rugs don’t give off a foul odour or still look nice, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s clean and safe from dust mites. It’s important to clean those regularly using anti-allergy cleaning solutions and hypoallergenic formulas. You can also get steam cleaning services as dust mites cannot survive in high heat.

Mould growth causes breathing difficulties

Mould and mildew don’t just look nasty, but also make people have trouble breathing. People who live in highly humid areas are especially vulnerable. Apart from tiles in the kitchen and bathroom, soft furnishings such as carpets, curtains, and even moist clothes may also attract mould growth.

While certain moulds are often ignorable, some types often cause poor indoor air quality, causing people to have trouble breathing. If you or your loved ones inhale or ingest these spores, they may even cause fatigue, headaches, fever, sneezing, and other symptoms.

Companies like Embassy Cleaning may help stop dust, dirt, and other allergens from circulating around your home and prevent them from causing health issues. Visit their website to know more.

Taliban, Kabul Government Engage In Secret Talks

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afghanistan secretsAccording to Afghan officials and a senior Taliban representative, the Taliban has had secret talks with the representatives of the Afghan president Hamid Karzai to quickly start the peace process that had stuttered at the starting gate. So far, the discussions with the members of the Afghan’s High Peace Council have been unofficial and preliminary, but they indicate that the two groups do have an interest in processing with the peace talks.

Peace in Sight?

Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman, Janan Musazai said that the country’s government certainly maintained contacts with leaders and prominent figures from the Taliban. One of Taliban’s representatives stationed in Doha, Qatar also mentioned that the secret talks with the High Peace Council had already begun.

With both the parties now agreeing on certain issues, while still disagreeing on some, it is expected that peace might prevail in the region after all. However, Taliban has little trust on Karzai, who himself is angry that the group is wielding a government from outside the country, which might hamper the overall peace process.

Thunderstruck! Portable Appliance Testing and Electrical Shocks

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A dark stormy night, strong winds and rain, thunder and lightning in the background, and a flying kite with a metal key tied at the upper part of the strings. Yes, we’ve all heard about the urban legend of Benjamin Franklin and his experiment with the electrical power of lightning. This is probably the most popular story and study about electricity and electrical shock.

In today’s world, however, the risk of electric shock is becoming smaller as technology continues to develop safer products. Still, even if the risk is small, there’s still the possibility of getting electrocuted. This is where portable appliance testing, or PAT, comes in.

Gadget Shocker

Electrical PAT testing describes the routine inspection and testing of electrical appliances that directly connects to an electrical outlet. Most of these tests are preventive maintenance measures to reduce the risk of electric shock, fire, explosions, or any other dangers that can be caused by defective equipment. Many countries that have equipment standards in place require this test to protect people from electrical shock.

It’s Electrifying

In the United Kingdom, for example, PAT is required by the Health & Safety at Work Act and the Electricity at Work Act for machines and appliances, from the refrigerators, washing machines, power drills, hair dryers, to the computers and laptops at home and in the office. Insurance companies also ask for this test from their clients before issuing insurance policies, as this is often a potential hazard.


Conducting a PAT usually requires a person to get an electrical tester, and an appliance that’s disconnected from the power outlet. For more complicated and high-risk testing, a professional is needed to do the testing and interpreting the results.


In the UK, the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) department recommends a three-level inspection system, which involves user checking, formal visual inspection and combined visual inspection, and regular testing and maintenance. Every homeowner, office, and property owner or manager is also required to perform and keep a record of their PATs.

Periodic PAT tests are often required to ensure the safe use of any and all appliances, be it at the home or the office. This ensures that there’ll literally be no shockers for you.

Send the Right Message: Learning the Common Online Content Mistakes

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When you create content for your website, your main intention is to build your brand. It’s one of your marketing goals to grab audience attention and compel them to buy from you. This may seem basic, but carrying it out is hard work. Coming up with engaging content pieces is part of your efforts to boost your online presence. Before looking for reputable SEO companies in Birmingham, understand first the common mistakes when it comes to the creation of online copies. Learning these will help you avoid the companies offering faulty services.

Neglecting the Values of the Customers

Many times, marketers highlight the most significant qualities of what they offer rather than focusing on what their customers want to see. Make sure that before creating the content, you already have an idea about the prevailing insights among your customers. To do this, you can conduct surveys.

Long and Complicated Copies

Remember that you’re selling your brand online. The online environment offers many distractions to your customers, so make sure that you grab their attention by coming up with short yet compelling copies. For instance, make sure that your reader will already have an idea of what’s in the body of the article just by looking at your headline. Avoid using jargons and words that will make your readers consult a dictionary.

Lacklustre Copies

Coming up with short content doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice creativity. Make sure that your online content will excite and inspire your readers. Do this by infusing the known habits and language of your customers to your message. Another tip: use more action words.

Depending A Lot on What’s In Trend

This is another common mistake of marketing strategists. If you try to be part of what’s trending, you will never make a difference. Do away with it, as it will only show that you’re running out of creative juices. For instance, instead of infusing some elements from different virals to your content, why not create your own viral?

Creating effective content will ensure that your brand will be included different online conversations. When giving your content heavy consideration, see to it that you only work with a reliable Birmingham SEO company.