Archive for the ‘Real Estate’ Category
The warning on the gates, ‘These Plants May Kill’ should not be taken lightly by anyone, for with familiarity comes contempt, and from contempt – danger.
Come take a stroll with us through a deadly garden located in Northumberland, UK. Behind the locked gates of the Poison Garden, guides and marshalls share tales of deadly plants. Myths and legends are uncovered, along with facts from science and history. No touching, no sniffing and no cutting is allowed.
The Poison Garden at Alnwick Gardens is on around the clock surveillance for the safety of the public and would be thieves. Some of the plants are even kept in specially fenced areas to avoid accidental poisoning or theft of the plants for use in making narcotics. In this garden, the plants are so dangerous and toxic that they may be kept in large cage like structures. To highlight its hazardous nature the garden’s beds are laid in the shape of flickering flames.
There are over 100 plants of varying deadliness grown in the Poison Garden. Some of the plants are beautiful despite being deadly, and other look so harmless it is hard to imagine their dangerous, even fatal, qualities. Also grown within the guarded confines of the Poison Garden are many other plants which are easily recognisable by even the most reluctant gardener, for many killers grow in your own back yard.
Foxgloves, Wolfsbane, Mandrake, Ricin, Belladonna, Poppies, Laburnam and varieties of Aquilegia thrive among the rarefied atmosphere of the Poison Garden. Those who work here treat the plants with the utmost respect, wearing gloves when working with them. The owner also has a licence to grow marijuana, cocaine and magic mushrooms in the poison garden – for educational purposes.
A few of the plants you will find inside this poison garden….
Foxglove (digitalis) may contain several deadly physiological and chemically related cardiac and steroidal glycosides. Thus, the digitalis plants have earned several, more sinister, names: dead man’s bells and witch’s gloves. The entire plant is toxic (including the roots and seeds).
Foxgloves fatal accidents involve children drinking the water in a vase containing digitalis plants. Drying does not reduce the toxicity of the plant. The plant is toxic to animals, including all classes of livestock and poultry, as well as felines and canines.
Belladonna or Nightshade (Soleanaceae) has a long history of use as a medicine, cosmetic, and poison. It was used as an anesthetic for surgery and embedded a poisonous sting with arrows made for battle. The name “bella donna” is derived from Italian and means “beautiful woman” because the herb was used in eye-drops by women to dilate the pupils of the eyes to make them appear seductive.
Nightshade is an incredible poison, but an amazing aphrodisiac, too, and you see it everywhere. In Argentina, even nowadays, some people put a bell of datura like this one (pictured above) on a baby’s pillow at night, then take it away after five minutes and the baby has gone to sleep. If it were left all night the baby would be dead in the morning. Victorian ladies used to sit around a table with a nightshade plant in the middle and play cards or have tea. They’d pop their cup under a bell, tap it, and pollen would fall into the cup. They would experience similar effects to that of LSD.
Belladonna is one of the most deadly plants on the earth. All parts of the plant are poisonous, but the sweet, pretty berries are especially alluring for children. Although no eye surgery is performed today without the help from the nightshade family…The plant’s deadly symptoms are caused disruption of the nervous system, inhibiting its ability to regulate involuntary activities, such as sweating, breathing, and heart rate.
Lily of the Valley, popularily used in wedding bouquets is highly poisonous. Its toxicity is the plant’s defense against animals eating its seeds. All parts of the plant—the stems, the leaves, the flowers and the berries—are extremely poisonous and close to 40 different cardiac glycosides have been found in the plant so far.
Ingest just a bit of Lily of the Valley if blurry vision, diarrhea, vomiting and nausea, disorientation, drowsiness, headaches, red skin rashes, excessive salivation, sudden alterations in your cardiac rhythm and possible death sound like your idea of fun.
Its Nux vomica’s Latin name implies much, but it perhaps rings more bells as strychnine. Interestingly, hemlock, a poison in its own right, can be used as an antidote to Strychnine, but don’t tell Socrates, who was sent to his death with a cup of hemlock.
Strychnine (pictured above) is not the most poisonous substance known to man (you need at least 50 mg to kill someone), but a you’d have to go a long way to find something that provokes a more violent death.
Strychnine poisoning can be fatal to humans and animals and can occur by inhalation, swallowing or absorption through eyes or mouth, as explained above. It produces some of the most dramatic and painful symptoms of any known toxic reaction. For this reason, strychnine poisoning is often used in literature and film. It is also used as a rat poison, but is not specific for unwanted pests and may kill other small animals.
Hemlock was used in ancient Greece to kill condemned prisoners, including Socrete’s, as mentioned above. The plant also kills animals. A dose of the poison results in an ascending muscular paralysis with eventual paralysis of the respiratory muscles which results in death due to lack of oxygen to the heart and brain…but it has also been used in medicine to treat arthritis, muscle spasms and works as a seditive.
Those of a certain age will be familiar with Castor Oil, which is made from the plant Ricinus communis (above), but a single seed from the same plant will kill an adult in the most horrible way. Ricin causes nausea, severe vomiting, convulsions and subsequent disintegration of the kidneys, liver and spleen…
The old expression ”It will either kill you or cure you” could not have been more apt!
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Is your dream to own your home free and clear?
If so, join the crowd. More borrowers than ever are taking out 15-year mortgages in hopes of accelerating the day they can wave bye bye to the bank, the Globe’s Jenifer McKim reports.
While the traditional 30-year loan has long been king, 30 percent of borrowers during the second quarter opted for shorter loan terms with 15-year terms the most popular, the Globe’s Jenifer McKim reports.
That’s up from just 10 percent during the same time period in 2006, when the real estate market was at its peak.
And rock bottom interest rates have been one big factor – the piece offers up a Natick homeowner who found she could shift to a 15-year loan and save money given the drop in interest rates.
It is certainly an intoxicating dream at a time when debts, both personal and national, seem so crushing. Yet there are some potentially big pitfalls to this approach.
For starters, my bet is that our Natick homeowner is in the minority.
First, not everyone is in position to capture the lowest rates – you have to have some darn good credit these days.
And if you end up having to pay a bit more in order to pay down your mortgage faster, there is an opportunity cost here. The extra cash you are pumping into your mortgage is money that you could otherwise stash, tax-deferred, into a retirement account.
For that matter, if you have credit card debt, you should be paying that down first – the interest rates are likely much higher than on your mortgage.
Moreover, if you do run into trouble, such as losing your job or taking a hit to the paycheck, you have locked yourself into a format that may not be so easy to get out of. Good luck trying to refinance back into a 30-year mortgage at that point.
A Plymouth financial planner cited at the end of the piece actually had the best advice for homeowners eager to hasten the day when they make their final mortgage payment. He argues for making extra payments on a 30-year mortgage in order to accelerate repayment. If money gets tight again, you can just stopping paying that extra in.
This also gives you the extra flexibility to craft an approach that works from you, maybe putting a little bit more into both the mortgage and the retirement account as opposed to either or.
Makes sense to me, but how about you?
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On a palatial estate in Cornwall, a massive and unique garden has been restored to its original beauty after 75 years of languishing unloved.
Since the late 1500s, The Lost Gardens of Heligan belonged to the Tremayne estate evolving and becoming more extravagant with each passing generation. One head of the household inspired the jungle gardens, while another requested that giant rhododendrons be cultivated. Although the Tremayne family often inspired new additions to the garden, they were above manual work and hired countless low-paid gardeners to take on the tasks of improving and maintaining the gardens.
Throughout the 19th century, the gardens thrived, growing larger and requiring greater staff to manage them. Before the outbreak of World War I, the Tremayne estate employed 22 gardeners. Many of those loyal gardeners went to fight, and after the war their numbers had diminished so that the gardens fell into severe disrepair. As the rest of the estate was rented out, the gardens became an afterthought and were not rediscovered until the 1990s.
Their rediscovery by a distant relative of the Tremayne estate, led to a widely publicized attempt to bring the gardens back to life. The restoration of the Heligan Gardens was undertaken by Tim Smit, the same architect who conceived The Eden Project, the largest Greenhouse complex in the world.
Under his innovative and watchful eye, the Heligan Gardens were restored to their original size. Besides restoration, floral art was commissioned as well, resulting in the Giant’s Head and the Mud Maid, a sleeping woman of the forest made out of wood, grass and earth. As the gardens quickly became a tourist attraction, the gardens also served to bring life back to St. Austell, and some of the other neighboring towns in Cornwall.
Today, the spectacular gardens feature everything that they were once renowned for including massive rhododendrons, Italian gardens and the jungle gardens. Along with being beautiful, they are also productive, growing large amounts of vegetables for consumption and sale.
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This once vacant site is nestled at the eastern bookend between a row of single fronted Victorian terraces and a double fronted Edwardian weatherboard house. The strategy was to critique and respond to ongoing research into the Terrace typology. The built form is essentially an urban infill within a 5.5×14.4m envelope. The perforated house is our response to establish an alternative language to the accepted notion of our cultural attitude towards critical questions of identity and heritage.
Kavellaris wanted the house to be more than just a facade. More than just a message or a graphic stuck to a building. The building was not an urban canvas paying tribute to Venturi’s “decorated shed”, instead the external facade could be experienced internally and is also a multi functional device that constantly transforms the built form from solid to void, from private to public, from opaque to translucent.
By day the building is heavy and reflective and by night inverting into a soft translucent permeable light box. The operable wall or the absence of the facade enabled us to remove the idea that houses are static.
The use of operable walls, doors, curtains and glass walls enables the occupants to change the experience and environment. This architectural manipulation of space blurred the boundaries between inside and outside, the public and private realm. The manipulated spaces overlapped and borrowed the amenity and context of it’s surrounding environment.
The plan inverts the traditional terrace program with the active living zones on the first floor opening onto a north facing terrace thereby generating a primary northerly orientation to a south facing block. The perforated house incorporates passive sustainable interventions by orientating north glass bifolds doors and louvers for cross ventilation as the primary means of cooling. In addition, solar hot water and 5 star rated sanitary ware fixtures were incorporated. The north facing terrace redefines the “family” backyard, reinforced by the childlike mural reminiscing on a past era and making commentary on the changing demography of the family unit and ultimately the inner city house typology. The mural also hides a not so attractive view of the back of the neighbors house.
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A score of billionaires have recently caused a run on condo units at the Survival Condominiums project based in Kansas. The facility is built deep underground in an old, 1960’s nuclear missile silo, and is said to be self-sustaining in the event of a nuclear attack.
A few of the Doomsday ammenities include:
This project offers is much more than just a “Survival Condo Unit”. This “Package” includes mandatory training, a five-year per person food supply, fully furnished and custom designed interior, special equipment for registered members, computer access to condo systems, and much more. Only a portion of the total fee is for the actual Survival Condo Unit.
Each Full-Floor $2 Million Dollar Unit Includes these Key Features:
- Approx. 1820 sq. ft. of Living Space (accommodates 6 to 10 people)
- High-end floor and trim packages of your choosing.
- 3 Bedrooms, 2 Bathrooms, Kitchen, Dining room, and Great Room.
- LED Big Screen TV in every unit.
- State-of-the-art Kitchen: Stainless steel kitchen appliances include refrigerator, dishwasher, dual-fuel (electric & propane) professional range, wall oven, professional ventilation hood, wine cooler or beverage center. Granite or custom concrete countertops.
- State-of-the-art energy efficient washer and dryer in each unit.
- Built in recessed full spectrum LED lighting.
- Kohler bath fixtures and jetted Jacuzzi tub in each master bath.
- Digital HVAC controls.
- State-of-the-Art Home Automation System with structured wiring throughout including closed circuit security system camera viewing, public address/intercom system, digital weather station access, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, satellite TV feeds, public and private Internet access.
- Outdoor “simulated view” window in each unit. Window simulates “Life-Like” outdoor views complete with varying light levels that reflect time of day, creating a normal living experience as if you were above ground.
- Biometric Key locks (you won’t need to worry about losing a key).
- Elevator and Stairwell Accessibility to all Units.
- The $1 million units offer the same ammenity with the half the square footage and serve 3-4 people.
- The Missile Silo is capped by a type of monolithic dome known as a Torus. This dome is capable of withstanding winds in excess of 500 MPH, well beyond the winds of the most powerful F-5 Tornodos which produce winds up to 300 MPH.
- The air supply for the entire facility is filtered by Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical (NBC) filters and the physical air intakes are protected by what are known as blast valves. Blast valves function to prevent an overpressure air wave created by a nearby explosion from entering the facility and killing those inside.
- The facility has a military grade security system that includes visible spectrum cameras, infrared cameras, proximity sensors, microphones, trip sensors, passive detectors, as well as confidential defensive systems both automated and manually operated.
- The facility has two floors of hydroponic gardens that will provide fresh produce as well as an aquaculture system designed to provide fish for food.
- Additional amenities include a minor medical/surgery center, an indoor pool with waterfall, a workout room, a home theater, a classroom & library, pub & game room, bulk storage, walk-in freezer, elevator, security & communication control center, spare parts, machine shop, high-speed fiber optic network, both online and offline Internet and computer communications.
- And, finally, there is a full-sized pool featuring a massive wall mural and curved ceiling to enhance the feeling of space and height.
- Of course, there will be plenty of guns and ammo, too.
If you think that this project is just a dream of a crack pot…think, again. The developer, Larry Hall, reported that every one of the $2 million full-floor units have been sold…and only a few of the $1 million, half floor units are still available. Doomsday Prophets with an extra $1 million on hand may want to inquire today. Evidentally, these units are selling like there is no tomorrow
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The 6 year slide in U.S. home prices and the dollar weakness against some currency are driving a property buying binge with Asians, Canadians, Europeans & Latin Americans eager to own a piece of America.
Plowing money into real estate may sound like a risky venture to many Americans. But to a growing number of foreigners, U.S. housing has never seen a smarter investment.
International buyers accounted for $82.5 billion, or 8.9%, of the $928 billion spent on residential real estate in the 12 month period ended in March, according to a survey released Monday by National Association of Realtors. (Article by the Wall Street Journal)
How does this news impact your potential home sale and your marketing efforts?
Simply, if you are not on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) or Realtor.com, you miss out on 1 of every 10 homebuyers looking for property in your area. International buyers primarily use these services to locate property and if you’re not listed there…they can’t find you.
BONUS: Foreign buyers also pay in CASH . No Loan Qualifications. No Apprasials. No Delays and No Waiting. CASH NOW!
The cost of listing your home on the MLS or Realtor. com is only a few hundred dollars for a 6 month listing. The summer selling season is well underway. Get your house on the MLS and Realtor.com today. There is no other way to get your property in front of all the homebuyers in the marketplace….and Time is ticking!!!
The recession/depression and housing crash have certainly altered the old American Dream…at least for the foreseeable future. The ongoing foreclosure crisis will drive another 3 million families to rent single family homes before 2015.
These millions of people are not typical renters, either. They are older. They have furniture, appliances, kids and pets. They are not interested in apartment living. They are looking to move back into single family homes, after foreclosure. This new growth in single family rentals is the fastest growing part of the rental market and the pace is unprecedented.
A Nation of Renters Appears to be the Plan?
Private Equity groups smell the blood in the water. They are buying up billons of dollars in distressed property, which they will in turn rent back to American families. Colony Capital, for example, has purchased over 1ooo single family homes since December of this year and plans to invest at LEAST $1.5 BILLION more this year.
In the next 5-10 years, investment firms will gobble up hundreds of billions of dollars of single family homes, at basement prices. They will Raise rents every chance they get over the next 3-5 years. Then, they will dump these properties for a profit and move on something else.
How does a Renting Society change the American neighborhood?
The combination of transient families and declining home values will take a huge toll on American neighborhoods. A rentership society is much less likely to spend money on plants, a fresh coat of paint, new carpet or a fenced yard—as they would if they owned the home they live in.
Renters also mean shifts in student populations and present more challenges for our school systems. Many schools in the Phoenix area report that 50% of their students will be new this year, a far higher percentage than normal. Everything slows down when a new student enters a classroom and parents are less likely to be involved, when they are not sure they will be there for long.
Is American homeownership still the American Dream?
Thankfully, the answer is YES. 83% of people who lost their homes to foreclosure or distress sales say they want to own their own home again. Most say they will buy something smaller than they had. Many promise they will never again tie up so much of their income for a home. Many who are forced to rent feel displaced. They feel that they are living in someone else’s house. They are fearful of entering retirement without having a home that is paid for…which only owning and paying off a mortgage will accomplish. So, yes, neigborhoods are changing…new homeowners aren’t families, but are investment firms…but appears for all the right reasons… the American dream is alive… at least for now.