stretching a concept


I was recounting in the last post about a “handicapped” workshop that had an amazing experiential component to it. There were 4 common ailments included that everyone got to try out: being blind (which I have described), being in a wheelchair which was kind of boring but boy has that changed since 1977, having an arm amputated and being deaf. Like I said the wheelchair experience was just rolling around in this large open space. They did not want us to take them outside because we could break them or we could be hurt ourselves. They did give each of us a cautious trip down some stairs at the door to the outside. There were three of them and it was creepy. My grandma was in a wheelchair so I did it better than most.

They had an extra attraction called being a child, which I will talk about tomorrow. So here is a wheelchair lift.

http://www.freedomliftsystems.com/WheelchairAccessibleVerticalPlatformLifts.asp?gclid=CKKJ0f_7jbMCFdEWMgodawoAjg

Wheelchair Platform Lifts

A simple and inexpensive wheelchair porch lift uses less space and is often a much more attractive and affordable solution than the alternative of installing a ramp.

These reliable vertical lifts can be installed outdoors or indoors and are designed to be completely resistant to the harshest weather conditions.

Wheelchair platform lifts for residential and commercial installations are easily installed and have a lifting range from 28″ up to as much as 12 feet (144″).

Our systems are an economical way to offer home / building accessibility.

Twenty years of manufacturing experience has resulted in the most durable and economical solution for wheelchair platform lift access in North America.

We will help you have a successful project, starting with offering four categories of wheelchair platform lifts.

Residential lifts for home use provides an attractive and practical solution for making your home accessible for a wheelchair user.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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I attended a workshop on being handicapped at the University of Wisconsin, Madcity. It was maybe one of the most amazing things I have ever done. They let you experience 4 common handicaps. They also supplied a fifth experience, that of being being a small child and then insisted that we move around the campus or in the foyer of the students union a little. Everyone fought over the 3 or 4 wheelchairs that they had. I picked being “blind” instead, so they blindfolded me and gave me a stick. They led me around for a little bit and said, “lets go outside”! I mean it was amazing, the sounds and the smells and stuff. But the hardest part was for me to stop putting my hand out in front of myself. So anyway, to be “brand fair”, we will do a couple of days on home elevators. Plus some other handicapped stuff for the home.

 

http://www.garaventalift.com/en/products/home_elevators.html?gclid=COWe1Lmci7MCFdEWMgodawoAjg

In the past elevators in the home were, for the most part, only obtained by the extremely wealthy: they were more of a luxury item than an accessibility need. However, now with advancements in technology, home elevators have become ideal for accessibility, convenience, and adding unique value.

As we get older, arranging our home to suite our needs becomes more difficult. Not only because of the extra work involved, but also because adjusting to the changes that aging brings can feel uncomfortable. Home elevators allow people the ability to comfortably age in place. If an elevator is already in our home, then by the time it becomes a necessity we are already accustomed to it. Familiar surroundings are increasingly important as we enter our tender years, as we can begin to rely on more of our long term memories. Similarly, moving to a home that is more accessible can be inconvenient and disorienting. Including a home elevator in our building plans makes for a much more convenient long term solution.

Having a home elevator also makes moving items safer and more convenient. Instead of carrying a heavy or awkward load up the stairs, an elevator can be used. In turn the chances of injury are lessened, as well as the time it takes.

Building vertically as opposed to expanding a single level home can also be more cost effective. Land values are going up, making a single level expansion more expensive than adding a floor onto a home. However, with expanding vertically we have to take into account our possible accessibility needs in the future. A home elevator is a beneficial solution because it adds uniqueness and value to your home while providing all of the additional benefits of comfort, ease and convenience.

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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First on the list of actual green active organizations is Greenpeace. As with most activist organizations, I like them or I hate them based on their actions. When they challenge the whalers, I applaud. When they unroll banners from bridges over the Mississippi River or chain themselves up in trees, I must admit I become embarrassed. I have never been a member needless to say.

http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/en/

Happy whales have sanctuaries


My Greenpeace colleagues aboard the Rainbow Warrior in the Indian Ocean shared a heartwarming experience when a frolicking group of humpback and minke whales put on quite a show. It’s not a stretch to say these whales were happy and playful. Why wouldn’t they be as the entire Indian Ocean is a whale sanctuary where they can live in peace? What a contrast this is to other parts of the world where whales not only don’t have protections but face a myriad of direct threats from humans. One huge emerging threat to whales, dolphins and other marine wildlife is happening now in the coastal waters of California. Read more

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

 

 

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ACE3 rarely ever gets very much wrong.  But the idea that the UK was the most efficient country in the world and the USA was 9th? There is something very wrong about that.

http://www.energycircle.com/blog/2012/08/15/us-takes-9th-place-energy-efficiency-out-of-12

U.S. Takes 9th Place in Energy Efficiency! (Out of 12).

By Will – August 15th, 2012

A new report from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) ranked the energy efficiency of the world’s 12 largest economies. The U.S., unfortunately, ranked 9 out of 12.

So while we were out dominating at the Olympics, we were quietly slipping behind on a metric that, if improved, would yield a substantial benefit  for our country — economically as well as environmentally.

So how did we do on the specifics?

  • 9th overall in energy efficiency
  • 9th in terms of “national effort” in energy efficiency
  • 6th in industrial energy efficiency
  • 4th in building energy efficiency
  • 12th in transportation efficiency

With our penchant for gas guzzlers and the unpopularity of public transportation over here, it’s easy to see how we came in dead last in transportation.

But a shimmer of hope there is the 4th place ranking we got in building energy efficiency — our best category, and not all that shabby really. (We would have almost gotten a medal if building energy efficiency were an Olympic event.) While we’ve previously lamented our slow progress in implementing energy efficiency in buildings, and have shaken our heads as federal tax credits have been cut and legislation aimed at improving energy efficiency has stalled, it looks like we’re actually doing okay in the field of building efficiency compared to the rest of the world’s developed countries.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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Most colleges could stand to turn the energy spotlight on themselves. The University of Illinois for instance is still using a coal fired boiler from the 50s. Still this is a step in the right direction.

http://www.livescience.com/20710-solar-decathlon-nsf-bts.html

Planned For Solar Decathlon 2013

Monica Kanojia , National Science Foundation
Date: 01 June 2012 Time: 05:24 PM ET

This Behind the Scenes article was provided to LiveScience in partnership with the National Science Foundation.

Every two years, the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon encourages competing collegiate teams to design energy-efficient homes that use solar energy.

Launched in 2002, the Solar Decathlon is both an educational and workforce-development program. The competition enlists nearly two dozen teams of students, from various academic backgrounds, who design sustainable homes from the ground up, engineering them with materials provided by major corporate sponsors.

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More tomorrow.

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So this is happening as we speak, they are repositioning the solar panels for docking in 16 minutes. So they are a kiss away from either clicking or blowing up . Which ever is going to happen.

http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html

They look like they are about 10 feet apart. That is amazing.

http://www.ajc.com/news/nation-world/dragon-capsule-on-course-1446050.html

Dragon capsule on course for space station arrival

By MARCIA DUNN

The Associated Press

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The privately bankrolled Dragon capsule approached the International Space Station for a historic docking Friday after sailing through a practice rendezvous the day before.

The unmanned SpaceX Dragon was on track most of the morning to deliver a half-ton of supplies and become the first commercial vessel to visit the space station. But as the capsule drew within 100 feet, flight controllers commanded it to retreat.

The capsule backed off to 230 feet as the SpaceX company worked to resolve a problem with the on-board tracking sensors. Stray reflections from the Japanese part of the space station were interfering with the Dragon’s laser-based sensors, officials said. SpaceX mission controllers quickly fixed the trouble and resumed the docking operation.

On Thursday, the capsule came within 1½ miles of the space station in a practice fly-by. It returned to the neighborhood early Friday so Kuipers and U.S. astronaut Donald Pettit could capture it with a robot arm. First, the capsule went through a series of stop-and-go demonstrations to prove it was under good operating control.

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Go there and look or read. More tomorrow.

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This headline is priceless. The article is meh.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/23/local-parks-trashed-on-earth-day_n_1447179.html

San Francisco Parks Trashed On Earth Day: Celebrations Are Not Very Eco-Friendly, Huge Messes Left Behind

By Posted: 04/23/2012 5:52 pm Updated: 04/24/2012 1:39 pm

San Francisco may be the greenest city in the nation, but some residents have a funny way of showing their appreciation.

On Earth Day, Marina district residents took their celebrations a little too far, leaving behind a Fort Mason disaster zone.

Our friends over at SFist alerted us to this heinous trashing:

Not to get all hippie-preachy or anything, but this is kind of an offensive amount of trash, right? Do normal and reasonable human beings not look at that mess and say, “…maybe we ought to like, I don’t know? Take some of this trash with us? To a trash can?” or “Maybe we should bring that coffee table back home?” We’ve seen our share of litter-y days in Dolores Park and some embarrassing trash pileups in Golden Gate Park, but leaving actual pieces of living room furniture is a whole new level of prickish park use.

Fort Mason wasn’t the only park to take a hit on Earth Day. Mission residents also woke up to a severely less beautiful Dolores Park this morning.

One resident told Mission Local, “I’m not sure who angers me more, the people who came to enjoy the park on Saturday and left this mess or Rec and Park, which continues to ignore the complaints and warnings of neighbors about the park’s abuse.”

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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These tips are really kinda lame but at least they are trying.

http://www.epelectric.com/nm/business/spring-energy-efficiency-tips

As you’re doing your spring cleaning and getting your air conditioner, as well as your house, ready for the hot weather, consider making some changes around the house that will help save energy dollars this summer.

When cleaning windows, check to see if they’re in good condition.  Loose, leaky or single-paned windows allow heated or cooled air to escape, taking hard-earned dollars with it.  Repair existing windows or replace them with energy-efficient models.

  • If you leave your windows open to enjoy the weather, remember to shut off the heating system.  A thermostat will call for heat when it’s set to a temperature higher than the outside air.
  • Clean under and in back of the refrigerator.  Dust can build up in those hard-to-reach areas, causing the refrigerator to run less efficiently.  If you have an old refrigerator that was manufactured before 1993, consider replacing it with a new Energy Star-rated model.  They use half as much energy as models manufactured before 1993 and 15 percent less energy than other new models.  This change can save you hundreds of dollars a year.
  • Unplug the old, inefficient refrigerator or freezer that’s in the garage – it’s wasting energy and money.  If a second refrigerator or freezer is needed, keep it full.  Water and ice work well for this.
  • Dust or wipe light bulbs.  Clean bulbs provide more light for the money.  Replace high-use incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs and fixtures – they use two-thirds less energy and last up to 10 times longer.
  • When washing clothes, adjust the water level to match the load size, and use cold water whenever possible.  Use the dryer’s moisture sensor option that automatically shuts off the machine when the clothes are dry, and clean the lint filter before every load.  Consider hanging clothes outside to dry instead.

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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The first time we got hit by one of these bad boys that we know of in the 1870s, the telegraph operators here in the US had to disconnect their batteries to prevent the batteries from catching fire. Yet the telegraph system still worked without their power. But for the major utility companies (eg. telecoms, electrical, water, natural gas etc.) this is a big deal and that is what we have been talking about here.

http://news.yahoo.com/earth-braces-biggest-space-storm-five-years-180341589.html

A pair of scorching explosions on the Sun’s surface is sparking the biggest radiation and geomagnetic storm the Earth has experienced in five years, space weather experts said Wednesday.

The full brunt of the storm is expected to hit Earth early Thursday US time and last through Friday, potentially disrupting power grids, GPS systems, satellites, and forcing airplanes to change their routes around the polar regions.

“Space weather has gotten very interesting over the past 24 hours,” said Joseph Kunches, a space weather scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The fuss began late Sunday at an active region on the Sun known as 1429, with a big solar flare that was associated with a burst of solar wind and plasma known as a coronal mass ejection that hurtled in Earth’s direction at some four million miles per hour (6.4 million kilometers per hour).

Another solar flare and CME followed at 0024 GMT on March 7, setting off a strong geomagnetic and solar radiation storm, both at level three on a five-step scale.

NASA said the second flare — classified in the potent X class — was one of the largest of this cycle known as the solar minimum which began in early 2007, and fell in just behind slightly stronger one which erupted in August.

“The current increase in the number of X-class flares is part of the sun’s normal 11-year solar cycle, during which activity on the sun ramps up to solar maximum, which is expected to peak in late 2013,” the US space agency said.

The solar flares alone caused brief high frequency radio blackouts that have now passed, according to NOAA.

But the ensuing space storm will likely give nighttime viewers in Central Asia a prime look at the aurora borealis, or northern lights, on Thursday night, in addition to possibly garbling some of Earthlings’ most prized gadgets, Kunches said.

The storm is likely “the strongest one since December 2006,” Kunches said, noting, however, that the Earth experienced a stronger radio blackout last August.

“But en masse, if you put it all together with the geomagnetic effects and the solar radiation effects, I would put it on par with one at the end of the last solar cycle which was over five years ago.”

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Go there and read. Google for additional solar flare information. More tomorrow.

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This Blog on frugality is pretty funny and maybe not for the Joe Sixpack crowd. Things like Retiring In Panama may miss them. But the post about living on food stamps was pretty informative and funny.

http://www.debtfreebythirty.net/2012/02/festival-of-frugality-superheroes-are.html

Festival of Frugality: Superheroes Are Frugal Too Edition

Hello and welcome to the 325th edition of the Festival of Frugality. The Festival of Frugality highlights personal finance posts that deal with how to pinch those pennies or save that dollar.

I am a sucker for a theme for my festivals or carnivals and while I was tempted to do a leap year facts edition it just wasn’t exciting enough for my blood. So superheroes it is. Because what’s more exciting than superheroes? It also occurred to me that superheroes are quite frugal and who hasn’t sometimes thought that superpowers are needed to stay on the path of frugality.

Editor’s Super Picks

Smart Family Finance has pretty convincing financial reasons to get rid of your junk. There are so may reasons to get rid of your “junk”. It’s nice to have one that will put cash in your wallet too.

Annabelle from Shopping Detox gives her city a frugal audit. This really has me thinking about my own town.

A. Blinkin from Funancials entertains us as usual with how do you judge value?

 

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Go there and read about Wolverine and Batman at least. More next week.

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