Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Nectar of Life

· A person can live a month without food but only a few days without water.· The average person uses over 140 gallons of water each day for drinking, bathing, laundry, dishes and watering lawns.· According to FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), in case of an emergency you should store at least one gallon of water per person per day and have at least a three-day supply. However, individual water needs vary per person, depending on age, physical condition, activity and climate. Children, nursing mothers and ill people need more water and very hot temperatures can double the amount of water needed.· If you have pets, allow a minimum of gallon per day for each dog or cat.· Contaminated water can cause such diseases as dysentery, typhoid and hepatitis.· The Center for Disease Control receives over 4,000 cases each year of illness due to drinking contaminated water. If unsure about water, bringing it to a rolling boil for 1 minute will kill most organisms.These stats come from Waterbob. Check them out for a cool way to save water in case of emergency.

Do The Right Thing!

“…95% of what is needed to resolve the coming crisis in energy depletion, or climate change, or whatever is what we should do anyway, and when in doubt about how to change, we should change our lives to reflect what we should be doing anyway. Living more simply, more frugally, using less, leaving reserves for others, reconnecting with our food and our community, these are things we should be doing because they are the right thing to do on many levels. That they also have the potential to save our lives is merely a side benefit (a big one, though).”

Monday, October 13, 2008

Check out this book for stories about NFL heroes who have done some GOOD things, unlike many players who are featured in the media.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Going Green: What can one person do?

1. Recycling is probably the easiest thing you can do to go green! It even cuts up to 1,000 pounds of annual carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to global warming. Even though you do recycle, you can be even “greener” by choosing products with the least amount of packaging possible and by choosing easily recyclable packaging, like paper or glass; very few municipal recycling programs accept plastics other than those labeled #1 and #2. You can help reduce pollution just by putting that soda can in a different bin. If you're trying to choose between two products, pick the one with the least packaging. If an office building of 7,000 workers recycled all of its office paper waste for a year, it would be the equivalent of taking almost 400 cars off the road. The energy saved by recycling a can of Coke could run a TV for three hours.

2. Replacing just one 75-watt incandescent bulb with a 19-watt CFL cuts 75 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per year and up to 750 for the life of the bulb, not to mention the money savings on your energy bill. (Yes, these bulbs contain mercury and must be recycled as do ALL fluorescent bulbs. Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) last 10 times longer than a standard bulb and use at least two-thirds less energy.

3. Take your own bags to the grocery store.

4. Set you’re a/c thermostat on 77 degrees F or higher. Or set the heat on 68 degrees—and wear a sweater. Lowering your thermostat one degree can save you 5% on your energy bill. Change the air filters so your system doesn't have to work overtime.

5. Underinflated tires decrease fuel economy by up to three percent and lead to increased pollution and higher greenhouse gas emissions. Low tire Pressure is no joke. Not only is it safer to regularly check your tire pressure, but if 11,973 people kept their tires properly inflated, we’d save enough gasoline to drive a hybrid car around the entire Earth!

6. Drink from reusable containers. Single-use plastic juice and water bottles add to the growing stream of solid waste and should be recycled. But a reusable #2, #4 or #5 plastic or stainless steel water bottle is a worthy, earth-easy replacement.

7. Hand washing dishes can actually use up to 50 percent more water than a water-saving, energy-efficient dishwasher. But before you celebrate, check the date on your dishwasher. Those made before 1994 use more water than current models, so it may be time for an upgrade to an Energy Star-rated model, which is 41% more efficient than the federal standard. Even if you have a brand-new, hyper-efficient model, you can still conserve water and energy. Only run full loads, and don’t waste time and water pre-rinsing dishes; new models are equipped to handle even the most stubborn gunk.

8. Using green cleaners all the time cuts down on your environmental impact, since conventional cleaners are filled with a host of chemicals that produce harmful byproducts during production and harm aquatic life when they wash down the drain. Green cleaners are also healthier; they have fewer volatile organic compounds that can trigger asthma and other respiratory problems, and rarely do they contain chemicals that can poison you or your children or cause serious skin reactions if spilled.

9. Compost. Think about how much trash you make in a year. Reducing the amount of solid waste you produce in a year means taking up less space in landfills, so your tax dollars can work somewhere else. Plus, compost makes a great natural fertilizer.

10. Turn off lights when you're not in the room.

11. Pay attention to how you use water. The little things can make a big difference. Every time you turn off the water while you're brushing your teeth, you're doing something good. Got a leaky toilet? You might be wasting 200 gallons of water a day. Try drinking tap water instead of bottled water, so you aren't wasting all that packaging as well. Wash your clothes in cold water when you can. When gardening instead of using the water that comes from your local city plant, use rain water. Faucet aerators in the sinks are inexpensive ways to save lots of money, because they cost little and cut water consumption by up to 6 percent.

12. Drive 55. Slow down — driving 60 miles per hour instead of 70 mph on the highway will save you up 4 miles per gallon. Accelerating and braking too hard can actually reduce your fuel economy, so take it easy on the brakes and gas pedal.


National Geographic website
Forbes Magazine
Tennessee Valley Authority
Body and Soul magazine
Consumer Guide Automotive

Butchart Gardens, Victoria, Canada

Computer Careers in Today’s Market by someone who wishes to be anonymous
Today most programming jobs, probably most computer-related jobs, can be (and many are) performed remotely, overseas. I don't see this trend stopping unless/until the USA passes legislation against it. And I cannot see that happening. The Indians have done very well with programming and computer-related jobs stemming from the USA, partly because they are educated in English from a very early age, and therefore have good English-language skills.When people can do these jobs, when they are happy to do these jobs, for $5/hour (as millions of Chinese would be ecstatic about, for example, or Vietnamese, although I don't think the Indians work for that low a rate now), it's really tough competition for Americans. The Chinese andVietnamese aren't that good in English yet, on the whole, but they will be, they will be, you can bank on it. (The Indians still work for lower than Americans at comparable jobs, however.) An American usually CANNOT work for $5/hour. His mortgage payments are too high, his gasoline costs are too high, his utility costs are too high, food costs are too high, etc. It is not that Americans are lazy; it's the cost of living here.Then there are also the H-1B workers (admitted on a visa called 'H-1B) who come to America, many of whom are programmers or work in other computer-related jobs. There are several hundred thousand H-1B workers admitted each year. I think it's safe to say that they too work for considerably lower salaries than Americans; mostly they are men who must leave their families behind, they are here for a year or so, many share apartments and so on. They are exploited by their employers.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Necessary List

As promised, here is my list of recommendations for Temporary Worst-Case Scenario compiled from FEMA and other emergency sites:

Antibacterial Hand Sanitizer
Army knife
Baby wipes for personal bathing (so you don't have to store water for bathing)
Can Opener
Duck tape
Dust masks
Emergency food bars or food rations
First-aid kit
Hand Tools
Plastic in sheets
Plastic Ziploc bags and trash bags
Silver thermal blankets
Solar, wind-up flashlight, radio and cell phone charger
Toilet Paper
Vinyl gloves
Vinyl poncho with hood
Water purification tablets
Water: A gallon of water per day per person for drinking only. You can use the water in the toilet tank or hot water heater also. Learn how.

It’s important to have a bolt bag…meaning if you have to bolt for safety, you have your necessities. A few changes of clothes, meds, toothbrushes, baby wipes…chocolate. And put in a pair of walking shoes, like hiking boots. You can change into them when you get somewhere, just have them handy (with extra socks), in case you are suddenly evacuated.
Bottled water
CASH and/or gold
Phone numbers and addresses
Identification/Proof of citizenship
Spare eyeglasses
Something to read
Note paper and pens
Knitting (the needles might come in handy)
Personal Hygiene Kits - toothbrushes/pastes, combs, bio-hazard bags, wet-wipes, razors, tissue packs, dental floss. Shaving cream, soap, deodorant, body/foot powder,
Sanitary Napkins
Spray Bottle Insect Repellent - With DEET
Sunscreen Lotion Packets - SPF 30+ protects skin

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Adapting in Place

Register to vote:

Adapting in Place
We’ve been living a new lifestyle for six months, so much so that the new lifestyle seems natural. We automatically buy foods on sale, we buy in bulk, we compost, we recycle, we garden, we preserve by canning foods, we learned to make butter, yogurt, candles, soap; we learned to dehydrate foods, how to store foods properly, how to prepare for hard times. And perfect timing, too, to finish storing foods just as the financial crisis hit. There are so many great blogs and sites with guidance for a new lifestyle. Rather than repeat what they are saying, I’m going to give you links to check out.

Sharon Astyk, a writer, started the group course that got us started:

Check out this great blog for canning butter!

Gas shortages and prices. Hurricane Ike brought with its destruction a deficit gas supply in Tennessee and parts of Georgia. Not since the 1970s have I seen regular gas lines and “out of gas” signs. We’ve saved a lot of gas with the new vehicle—better gas mileage and careful driving. Guess I’ll have to learn to Drive 55 again. Gas here in Columbia is 3.89/gal.

I made six pillar candles in different colors. I plan to use the beeswax I purchased to make the next batch. I’m also making glycerine soaps. Great printable instructions here:

For an excellent source on storing foods:

From West Wind Farms:
It's said that history repeats itself. Nearly a century after heat pasteurization of milk began, pasteurization by irradiation began for meat. Several years ago, the food safety division of USDA approved the euphemistic "cold pasteurization" of uncooked meat and poultry "to reduce levels of food-borne pathogens, as well as extending shelf-life". Sound familiar?
Attempting to stem the tide of consumer reaction to food-borne illness from contaminated meat and poultry, the meat industry has found in cold pasteurization by radiation a way to continue pushing tons of meat through their systems each hour without changing the procedures that actually cause the contamination. Irradiation provides a perk for the industry too - meat that would normally have to be moved to the quick-sale cooler compartment now stays unnaturally fresh for weeks, just like ultra-pasteurized milk!
Consumers have been concerned about irradiation of meat and have not accepted it. Currently irradiated meat must be labeled with the "radura" symbol so consumers have the information necessary to make their choice at the supermarket. However, on September 18, the American Meat Institute, an industry group representing meat packers and processors, petitioned USDA for approval to irradiate beef carcasses as a "processing aid". Because processing aids are not required to be labeled on products, no label would be required for meat from irradiated beef carcasses.
As usual, big industry lobbies for the regulations that put band-aids on their problems. Once implemented, those regulations apply to all members of the industry, including small meat processors who generally produce safe meat products. It is likely that mandatory irradiation is only a few years away, and clean meat from small, family-owned meat processors will have to be irradiated just as contaminated meat from large mega-packers will. Without any doubt, this will put small butcher houses out of business. Irradiation is not an affordable option. And worst of all, it's not needed.
Consumer outrage at the incidence of contaminated foods from the industry is justified. However, we, as consumers, can unintentionally fuel the passage of irresponsible and unnecessary regulation when we are not specific about the type of solution we want. Do we want the meat industry to continue practices that contaminate meat and then allow them to kill all the bacteria (both healthful and pathogenic bacteria) before it hits our table, or, do we want clean, healthy meat that is not contaminated to start with? Do we want meat irradiation to apply industry-wide, or just to those businesses that have indicated through testing that they have a problem? Should they be allowed to use it indefinitely or only temporarily until they can fix the source of their problem? Do we want a sterile food system, devoid of all the healthful bacteria that we need to thrive?