osprey deep steam carpet clean

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How much is everything in the U.K. worth

Posted on 29 August, 2015 at 18:10 Comments comments (0)

Have you ever wondered how much everything in the UK is worth?

Well, the figure is out this morning from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) - it's called the national balance sheet - and it's £7.6tn.

That figure is what you get if you add up the wealth of all the households and all the companies, and the government and not-for-profit organisations in the country at the end of last year.

And it's gone up - at the end of 2012 it was £7.3tn.

This isn't like gross domestic product (GDP), which is a measure of how much gets produced each year in the country. The national balance sheet is what you would get if you sold everything at its current market value.

It turns out that almost all of the wealth in the country is owned by households and not-for-profits. The figure for them is £8.5tn, but the overall figure is dragged down by things like non-financial corporations, which are worth -£1.2tn and government, which is worth -£0.2tn.

How do they end up with negative values? In the case of government it's because the debts they owe, mainly in the form of bonds, outweigh the assets they own such as buildings.

The non-financial corporations have large liabilities, mostly in the form of shares and other securities owned by households and other organisations, which outweighs assets such as machinery.

Homes account for 61% of the country's net wealth - their value rose by 4.7% over the year to £4.7tn.

But the biggest boost to the net wealth came from financial companies, the value of which went up almost five times over the year.

If you're struggling with the size of these figures (£1tn is a one with 12 zeros after it) you're not the only one - I think these are the biggest values I've reported.

They're not even close to the record for the BBC News website though, which currently goes to the remarkable story from 2012 about the woman in France who received a phone bill for 12 quadrillion euros (£10 quadrillion), which is a 12 with 15 zeros after it.

I dispute the wisdom in that story of using the abbreviation "qn" for quadrillion though, because at the rate I have seen figures growing, we will soon report our first quintillion (that's 18 zeros) and what abbreviation will we use then?

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Posted on 26 August, 2015 at 17:55 Comments comments (0)

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Places in the county of Swansea with one thing in common

Posted on 25 August, 2015 at 11:35 Comments comments (0)










They all have castles

Can You Guess The U.K.s Richest Sportsman

Posted on 24 August, 2015 at 20:50 Comments comments (0)

10= Arsene Wenger, Football

2015 Wealth: £38m

2014 Wealth: New

A bumper new contract for the Arsenal manager has seen him enter the list at joint-10th place.

10= Rory McIlroy, Golf

2015 Wealth: £38m

2014 Wealth: £28m

An annus mirabilis that included two majors has seen the golfer increase his considerable wealth.

10= Ryan Giggs, football

2015 Wealth: £38m

2014 Wealth: £36m

The Manchester United assistant manager continues to reap the benefits of his lucrative contract at Old Trafford. And judging by this picture, he can control a football with his eyes.

10= Sir Nick Faldo, Golf

2015 Wealth: £38m

2014 Wealth: New

A new entry in the list, Faldo will play his final Open Championship at St Andrews this year.

9 Frank Lampard, Football

2015 Wealth: £39m

2014 Wealth: £37m

The former Chelsea midfielder will move to New York this summer to embark on a career in MLS with New York City FC.

7= Jose Mourinho, Football

2015 Wealth: £40m

2014 Wealth: New

The Chelsea boss is the wealthiest manager (of any sport) in the list.

7= Luol Deng, Basketball

2015 Wealth: £40m

2014 Wealth: £36m

A household name in the US, but unknown to most in this country, Deng is on a lucrative contract with NBA side Miami Heat .

6 Steven Gerrard, Football

2015 Wealth: £42m

2014 Wealth: £37m

Like Lampard, the Liverpool captain will leave these shores in the summer for a lucrative move to MLS - with David Beckham's former side LA Galaxy.

5 Rio Ferdinand, Football

2015 Wealth: £44m

2014 Wealth: £44m

His powers on the pitch may be fading, but the QPR defender, who has his own fashion label and magazine, continues to bring in the big bucks.

4 Andy Murray, Tennis

2015 Wealth: £48m

2014 Wealth: £40m

Murray's increasingly positive image has seen his earnings swell, helped by a £15m four-year deal with Under Armour.

3 Jenson Button, Formula One

2015 Wealth: £71m

2014 Wealth: £63m

A new contract, albeit on a reduced salary of about £8m a year, plus his continued residency in Monaco, has seen Button's bank balance continue to swell.

2 Wayne Rooney, Football

2015 Wealth: £72m

2014 Wealth: £60m

The highest paid footballer in the list, which is hardly a surprise given his bumper £300,000-a-week contract.

1 Lewis Hamilton, Formula One

2015 Wealth: £88m

2014 Wealth: £68m

The reigning F1 world champion tops the list, after increasing his wealth by £20m from last year.

Aeroplane Travel - Other Health and Safety Issues

Posted on 24 August, 2015 at 17:35 Comments comments (0)

1. Being on the Ground Does Not Equal Safety

One of the deadliest accidents in airplane history actually occurred prior to takeoff. A deadly combination of fog and mixed radio signals from the flight deck caused two planes, carrying over 600 passengers between them, to collide head-on in the middle of a runway in the infamous Tenerife Accident. Over 500 individuals died as a result of this crash.

2. Germfest 2015

The seats, the tray table, the seat pocket and even the little safety booklet with the fun cartoons – all covered in germs! Airplanes receive so much traffic with travelers constantly coming and going, these tricky areas receive less of a thorough cleaning than you may have thought. But if you really think about it, you just watched the other passengers exit the plane you’re about to get on – the flight attendants can’t possibly have had time to do a thorough cleanse.

3. They Don’t Technically Need the Pilots

Airplane technology is so advanced that planes could literally fly themselves. Even though a computer-generated landing would result in a much softer and precise return to earth, airlines continue to allow the pilots the control just to make them feel important… and for other reasons I’m sure. Not sure which is scarier — being in the hands of a human who could potentially fall asleep, or being in the hands of a computer that does everything perfectly.

4. Sudden Decompression

We’ve all thought about it – what would happen if that tiny door somehow unlatched itself while we’re up above the clouds? It’s pretty much what you would imagine – the sudden decompression would cause the door to violently break off and anyone standing nearby would be sucked out of the plane. Meanwhile, the air would quickly turn to a frost-biting chill and the plane would slowly begin to break apart. Next time you’re on a flight, try to think of something else.

5. The Little Black Box Isn’t Indestructible

If the black box is the lone survivor of almost every serious plane crash, why isn’t the entire plane made of this magic material? The answer is that a plane made of the same material – steel, that is – would be too heavy to fly.

“But Superman does it,” you say. Listen, Superman does a lot of things we can’t explain. The little black box can be destroyed by the crushing weight of airplane wings or an inferno of jet fuel anyway, so really, nothing can save you.

6. Incidents of Turbulence Are Rising

It’s official, there is no place on or above the earth you can escape the negative effects of climate change. Increases in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have been causing incidents of turbulence to rise. They will continue to rise until we humans are able to make climate-friendly life choices. Including limiting our excessive use of fossil fuels, such as fuel for air travel.

7. Pilots Don’t Eat Airline Food

It’s true, we all suffer with muffin-shaped eggs while the pilots get to enjoy their own special meal that was prepared separately for them. The reason behind this isn’t going to make you feel any better either – it’s to limit the chance that they’ll get sick.

8. Oxygen Masks Only Last 15 Minutes

The oxygen masks in an airplane only hold enough oxygen to last approximately fifteen minutes, which is long enough for the plane can reach a low enough altitude to have breathable air. Why don’t the flight attendants mention this during their robot speech? Because it would freak you out, that’s why!

9. Used Headphones

Just because the headphones you are using come in a plastic bag doesn’t mean they’re new, or clean. The headphones are cleaned after use – however, I doubt a bored employee is putting as much effort into cleaning as I would when using something that has just been dislodged from a stranger’s ear.

Top Ten Richest Gangsters of all Time

Posted on 23 August, 2015 at 13:10 Comments comments (0)

Even though they say crime doesn’t pay, several rich gangsters prove otherwise. While most end up dead or in jail, a very lucky few get to spend their money. In the early part of the 20th Century, gangsters made a lot of money selling liquor during prohibition. In the seventies many gangsters made a killing off heroin. Nowadays, the richest gangsters make their money from importing cocaine from Colombia through Mexico and into the U.S. While it is hard to determine the exact wealth of these masterminds, here are the 10 richest gangsters of all time:

10. Frank Lucas


Frank Lucas capitalized off the heroin trade in the 1960s and 1970s by using an East Asian connection during the Vietnam war, cutting off the Italian mafia who controlled the trade in his Harlem at the time. Lucas, originally from North Carolina, employed members of his family to take over the heroin trade in New York and New Jersey. Lucas would claim to have sold one million dollars worth of heroin a day in his prime and claimed to have a net worth of over $52 million on top of a large supply of liquid assets, namely heroin.


9. Griselda Blanco


Griselda Blanco, also known as the Black Widow or The Cocaine Queen Of Miami, was a drug lord for the Colombian Medellin cartel. She controlled the cocaine trade through violence and intimidation making $80 million a month during the ’70s and ’80s. Reports claim that at her peak Griselda Blanco had more than a half a billion dollars. After serving 10 years in jail on drug charges, Blanco would return to her native Colombia.


8. Al Capone


Al Capone is perhaps the most notorious gangster of all time, and also one of the richest. During prohibition, Capone controlled the illegal alcohol, prostitution and gambling rackets in Chicago which brought in $100 million a year at its prime. Capone’s money allowed him to bribe police officials, judges and even the Mayor of Chicago. Unfortunately, he could not bribe the IRS who convicted him of tax evasion in 1932 and sentenced him to 11 years in prison.


7. Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera


“El Chapo” is one of Mexico’s most infamous drug lords. He is the head of the Sinaloa cartel which smuggles in billion of dollars from Colombia through Mexico and into the United States. Guzman became rich enough to make Forbes list of 1000 wealthiest people in the world as well as their top 60 most powerful people in the world, with a net worth of over 5 billion dollars. Guzman was jailed in 1993 but escaped from prison in 2001 and is currently number one of the FBI’s most wanted list with $5 million award for his capture.


6. Anthony “Fat Tony” Salermo


Italian Mobster “Fat Tony” Salermo made his millions running the numbers and drugs racket in East Harlem after most other Italian mobsters left the area as it became more Black and Latino in the 1960s making tens of millions of dollars. As the front man for the Genovese crime family, Salermo was named the America’s Top Gangster by Fortune Magazine in 1986 due to his wealth of more than one billion dollars and influence. In 1988 Salermo was convicted of racketeering charges and was sentenced to 70 years in prison.

5. Carlos Lehder


Lehder was one of the founders of the Colombian Medillin Cartel. While in prison Lehder met Boston-born drug trafficker, George Jung, who helped him import and distribute cocaine from his native Colombia into the United States accumulating $2.7 Billion. Cocaine made Lehder so rich that he owned his own island in the Bahamas and offered to pay of Colombia’s debt. Lehder would eventually be extradited to the United States and sentenced to life in prison which was reduced after he agreed to testify against former Panamanian President, Manuel Noriega in 1992.


4. Meyer Lansky


Lansky was a Jewish immigrant from Poland who would make a fortune of gambling, both legal and illegal. Lansky would join notorious gangsters, Charles “Lucky” Luciano and Ben “Bugsy” Siegel to run a gang that would be known as Murder Inc. Lansky would later turn to focus on gambling setting up operations in Florida, Las Vegas and Cuba before the Cuban revolution.In 1982, Forbes would name him as one of the 400 richest people in America. Lansky would be indicted for tax evasion and fled to Israel. He would later return to the U.S. to face charges and was acquitted in 1974. Lanksy would die a free man in Miami at age 83.


3. Joseph Kennedy


Joseph Kennedy is the patriarch of one of America’s most powerful and prestigious families. One of his sons became President, another District Attorney and presidential candidate and another a Senator. At his peak Kennedy was one of the richest men in America but as the saying goes behind every great fortune, there is a great crime. Kennedy was already in the liquor business before prohibition but according to several books and gangsters, became a bootlegger with ties to the New York and Chicago underworlds after liquor was made illegal. After prohibition was ended Kennedy made a fortune off selling legitimate liquor as well as through Hollywood and the stock market. Kennedy was named one of the 20 richest people in America in 1954 by Fortune Magazine and had a net worth of more than $300 Million, which would be in the high billions today . It has been reported that Kennedy contacted mobster Frank Costello, who was known to brag that he was a bootlegger with Kennedy, to use another mobster, Chicago’s Sam Giancana to help his son John get elected through his ties to Chicago and the unions.

2. Pablo Escobar


Escobar is perhaps the most notorious drug lord of the modern era. He ran the Medellin Cartel which imported billions of dollars of cocaine into the United States. Pablo’s money brought him great power as we was able to bribe officials or have them killed if they wouldn’t take his bribes. Forbes Magazine named Escobar the 7th richest man in the world with a net worth of $25 Billion. In 1993, Escobar was killed by Colombian forces with US assistance, after he escaped from a Colombian prison.


1. Amado Carrillo Fuentes



Amado Carrillo Fuentes was the head of the Mexican Juarez Cartel. He was known as “Lord Of The Skies” due to his private fleet of planes, including 22 private 727 jet airliners which were used to import cocaine from Colombia to Mexico where it was later smuggled into the United States. Fuentes had an estimated net value of $25 billion almost twice as much as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and the DEA called him the most powerful drug trafficker of his era. He would die while undergoing plastic surgery to alter his appearance in 1997.

Why Clean Your Carpets

Posted on 22 August, 2015 at 18:10 Comments comments (0)

Carpet cleaning can improve the appearance of your home and extend the life of your carpet, but perhaps the most valuable benefit from the process is improving you and your family’s health. According to the American Lung Association, if members of your household suffer from conditions that can affect their breathing, such as snoring or asthma, it’s especially crucial that you vacuum your carpets at least three times a week. Beyond vacuuming regularly, you may also benefit from having your carpets professionally cleaned at least once a year. If you’re not fully convinced of the benefits of professional carpet cleaning, consider the following top three ways the process leads to a healthier home:

1. Carpet cleaning eliminates trapped pollutants.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a dirty carpet can retain several sources of indoor air pollutants, including pet dander, cockroach allergens, lead, particle pollution, and everyday dirt and dust. Toxic airborne gases can adhere to these particles and also get trapped within the carpet. These toxic gases can be released through everyday activities such as vacuuming and walking across the carpet, which can cause them to contaminate the air in your home. Professional carpet cleaning services kills these bacteria through special shampooing formulas and can remove deeply trapped pollutants with high-powered vacuums.

2. Carpet cleaning can clear out dust mite infestations.

Many homes have dust mite infestations, yet most homeowners aren’t aware of the infestation, because the creatures are microscopic. Dust mites themselves aren’t allergens, but they often leave behind feces and body fragments which are. Because of the microscopic size of these particles, they can easily be inhaled when the area is disturbed, which can exacerbate allergies. Many professional carpet cleaning companies utilize a technique known as steam cleaning when performing carpet maintenance work, which exposes your carpet to high temperatures that dust mites can’t survive.

3. Carpet cleaning can help prevent mold growth.

Especially in areas with high humidity levels, dirty carpets are at a high risk of developing mold growth when exposed to moisture. In precipitous weather, moisture frequently gets tracked into the home and can sink deep in the carpet fibers if not dried and vacuumed immediately. Having your carpet cleaned regularly can prevent mold and mildew growth, because professional carpet cleaners have high-powered drying tools that annihilate moisture. By eliminating moisture, you can prevent mold growth that can be harmful to your health if ignored for too long.

All You Need To Know About Bed Bugs

Posted on 21 August, 2015 at 22:20 Comments comments (0)

Signs of bedbugs:

This step is important. If you have a bedbug infestation, you need to find out so that you can get rid of the bedbugs. Getting rid of the bedbugs is the only way to stop the bites.

If you have a large number of bedbugs, you may see the bugs. Most people, however, only see signs of bedbugs. To look for signs of bedbugs, check the places that people sleep for the following:

A sweet, musty odour: Take a deep breath. If you notice a sweet, musty smell in your room, there may be a heavy bedbug infestation in the room. Bedbugs produce chemicals to help them communicate, although not everyone will notice the smell.

Specks of blood on bedding, mattresses, or upholstered furniture such as couches and headboards: Look carefully at your blankets, sheets, and mattress pads and then check the mattress and box spring. Are there specks of blood anywhere, especially near the seams? If so, there could be a bedbug infestation. You should also check for specks of blood on all upholstered furniture, including couches and headboards.

Exoskeletons: Bedbugs have an outer shell that they shed and leave behind. Do you see shell-like remains on the mattress, mattress pad, or beneath couch cushions?

Tiny, blackish specks: If you see blackish specks on the bedding, mattress, headboard, or beneath couch cushions, it could be bedbug excrement.

Eggs: After mating, female bedbugs lay white, oval eggs in cracks and crevices. Keep in mind that these will be small, as a bedbug is only about the size of an apple seed.




Know the Enemy

Bedbugs are small wingless insects with a flat body. Like all insects, they have six legs. Their colour can range from whitish to brown, but after feeding (on blood from animals or people), they appear rusty red. Bedbugs grow to about 0.5 cm in length and can be seen by the naked eye. Their name comes from the fact that they often hide in bedding or mattresses.


Feeding Habits

During the day, bedbugs tend to hide away in furniture, floors, beds, and in wood or paper trash. They typically feed on human or animal blood at night, and most bites occur just before dawn. After taking their meal, which can last as little as three minutes, they drop off the host and crawl to a hiding place. Bedbugs can live for up to 10 months and can go without feeding for weeks.


Bedbug Bites – Symptoms and Signs

Bedbug bites typically are stealthy and not felt by the host. This is because they inject a numbing substance into the skin along with an anticoagulant agent to prevent blood from clotting at the feeding site. Itchy, red bites on the skin may be the first sign you’ve been bitten. Bites are most common on the arms and shoulders, and the bites often occur in straight rows, as pictured here.


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Posted on 16 August, 2015 at 15:10 Comments comments (0)