Friday, January 31, 2014

Moldy Homes Don't All Have Water Leaks...

My elderly mother spent
a lifetime keeping her windows and drapes closed and the AC and heater
at a barely comfortable setting. She often had a drippy nose that
perpetually bothered her. I tried to tell her that she had a mold
allergy caused by the musty smelling house. She lived northwest of
Houston where humidity is a factor. She refused to believe me.

A year ago, I moved her into assisted living. After we had her moved in,
her drippy nose slowed down, but we could still smell some of the
mustiness from her possessions. So, I gradually got rid of all her
clothing and the mattress and bedding. After it was all gone, her
problem was almost over. Now, it's only on days with an atmospheric high
mold count that her nose ever drips (a reminder of past foolishness).

The following link helps explain:

Julie Rehmeyer (formerly an ME patient and now close to fully recovered
subsequent to mold avoidance and detox) reports on the findings of a new
study in PNAS showing that the VOC's made by mold in homes can result
in neurological symptoms.

Julie was recently made a contributing editor for Discover.

>Joan Bennett didn’t believe in sick building syndrome. As a specialist in
mold toxins, she had even testified in trials in support of insurance
companies denying claims to homeowners who claimed that they had been
sickened by toxins from their moldy houses.

>Then Hurricane Katrina struck, Bennett’s home was flooded, and she evacuated. “A month
later, as a form of psychological sublimation, I decided to travel back
and sample my home for mold,” she said. Her house smelled horrendous,
worse than any mold she’d ever smelled. She donned a mask and gloves
and protective gear, but even so, she felt awful – dizziness, headache,
malaise. She walked outside and felt better. Then it struck her: “I
think there’s something in this terrible mold I’m smelling.”

>Ironically, even though sick building syndrome is what drew her to this work,
Bennett says that she’s not planning to emphasize that aspect of her
work in the future, because it’s so unpopular at the National Institutes
of Health, upon which she is dependent for funding. “I am convinced
that there is something real there,” she says. “I wish I could convince
some funding agencies.”

Note: The above original article was originally published by the Discover magazine.

Poor Driving Habits Yields Poor Fuel Economy

The biggest cause of poor fuel economy on the highway is poor driving habits. There is a 41% decrease in fuel economy from 50 mph to 80. That is like paying $1.38 more per gallon of gasoline.

The faster you go above 50 mph, the incrementally worse your miles per gallon is. Also, the harder you accelerate, the more fuel you waste.

When I bought my first car, I installed a vacuum gauge on the engine. This reflected the amount of fuel that was being sucked up in through the intake manifold. I soon learned how to keep the needle in the green (reflected optimal fuel efficiency).
My rules:
1) stay below 55mph (if traffic flow permits);
2) accelerate slowly and steadily (avoid racing to get to the next traffic stop -- leave that to those drivers who don't look or think ahead);
3) ease up on the throttle going downhill while also picking up as much speed as is safe / if traffic flow permits, gradually allow your speed to decrease a bit going uphill.
4) drive with your windows up to reduce wind drag

I, also, organize my life so that I save time and money by minimizing the number of trips I make. And because I live in a metropolis, I plot my route to make as few left turns as possible. And if you have access to INRIX traffic app, then check it as you are departing.

Other gas mileage tips:

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Use Mower To Mulch Yard Leaves

For many years, I have been amused
by people who rake and bag (or burn) yard leaves.
They spend money on fertilizer for their yard
(that isn't totally used by the plants).
Then they get rid off the world's best organic mulch
by not utilizing leaves.
Thus, they hamper the build up of humus in the soil and perpetuate a
cycle of foolishness.!/entry/leave-leaves-alone,51c1bd92da27f5d9d0e3f6a2

Preventing Frozen Water Pipes

In the South, homes are not always
built towards preventing water pipes from freezing. For example, my
typical subdivision house has pipes in the unheated garage attic. Other
pipes run through the outer garage wall.  So, when the temperature is in
danger of going below 20 degrees F., I set affected taps to slowly
dripping. Cabinet drawers under sinks are left open.
If I have to be
gone for the days that there's hard freeze danger, I set the taps to
dripping and then shut the water off at the main. The thermostat is no
lower than 55.

To Be Happy, First Be Grateful

What is the connection between happiness and gratefulness?
Are people who are happy grateful -- or are people who are grateful happy?

Lasting happiness comes from grateful living. That is, happiness comes to those
who acknowledge and appreciate the real value of what makes life worth

As you walk through your daily life, Stop, Look (and
listen) and then Go some more. Allow childlike wonder and curiosity to
allow gratefulness to  grow within. Allow gratitude to rise up within

Listen to:

Or -- Perhaps you might prefer reading the transcript. That option is shown.

Global Warming: Plateaued?

No! Global temperatures have not
risen as rapidly as they did in the previous two decades, but the world
is still getting warmer due to man made emissions. 9 of the 10 warmest
years on record have occurred since 1998. 
Overall, the world has warmed by 1.4°F.

What has tempered the rate of increase is that the
deep ocean waters below 2300 feet have heated up since the year 2000,
even as the temperature of surface seawater has remained stable. Warming
over the last decade has been hidden below the ocean surface.
the sun has not been shining as brightly. Over an average of 11 years,
the sun's energy output rises and falls, subtly influencing Earth's
climate. The last solar maximum occurred in 2000; since then a prolonged
solar minimum has kept the sun dimmer than usual.
Another cause is
due to an increasing influx of sunlight
blocking particles into the stratosphere -- vast quantities of
pollution from coal burning China and several mid-sized volcanic
eruptions. These particles work in the opposite way to greenhouse gases,
reflecting solar radiation away from the Earth.

9 of 10 Poorest States Are Red States

Mississippi, Arkansas, West Virginia, Kentucky, Alabama, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Louisiana and South Carolina.

"It should come as little surprise that in the heart of America’s South,
where the marriage of free markets and “traditional values” is
celebrated by the routine casting of votes for red-state Tea Party style
Republicans each election cycle, that the American dream is shown to be
at its weakest."

"Southern red-states consistently ranked at the
bottom in regards to  opportunity for those born in one economic class
to elevate themselves out of poverty or into wealth. The
findings come as little surprise that pro-corporate, anti-union
economic policies lead not to prosperity, but social stratification and
the enshrining of an economic aristocracy"
[My Comment: Remember the
Confederacy's demographics. Also consider their rather medieval
agrarian roots. It's not a surprising statistic.]

Creationists Worry Too Much

Creationists worry too much. If one accepts that God created all things and that God is infinite, how can one vehemently and absolutely deny the possibility that perhaps God put evolution in motion in the first moment of creation. Life is perpetual and everlasting change.

Just as birds evolved over tens of millions of years from theropods during the Mesozoic Era, man has been around an extremely long time. And just as the dinosaurs became extinct, we will also one day disappear -- 100,000 years ago there were 3 species of humans.

Hopefully, we will grow and develop into an improved species more worthy of God's love. Tolerance of each others' differences will be the criterion by which this shall be measured. So, if someone believes that the Earth is 6000 years old, who am I to shun them? But, if I believe that the speed of light is 186,000 miles per second, they need to be tolerant of me.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Physics of Transparency

"When a package of light energy (or photon) hits a solid object, three things can happen:
1) light can disappear - if the photon has the same vibrational frequency as the electrons and the material it strikes, those electrons absorb its energy, changing the photon from light into heat.
2) light can also be scattered - the surface electrons can grab the photon's energy and then eject a photon of the same wavelength, which is how you see pretty much everything that doesn't emit light on its own.
3) transparency - if the photon doesn't have the right vibrational energy for absorption and if the atoms and the material are arranged and patterns that discourage reflection (such as the random jumble of molecules in glass or air), then the photon's energy passes from atom to atom, some emerging on the other side still bright and shiny. Then you have transparency."

from Discover magazine
July 2012
by Jason Daley

Alzheimer's Slowed By Vitamin E

High doses of Vitamin E slow down deterioration of moderate stages of Alzheimer's disease by about six months when high doses were given daily for two years. This translates to about two hours less help from caretakers per day, which is not insignificant.

Airport Security: Spoons As Distress Signals

A British charity is telling girls whose parents want to send them abroad
for a forced marriage to put a spoon in their underwear. Airport
security officials who spot the spoon in the metal detector will take
the girls side for a search. They will be taken to a safe space where
they have that one last opportunity to disclose they are being forced to

British authorities handle nearly 1500 forced marriage cases a year most involve in ethnic Pakistani girls.

My Comment: Since this trick might soon uncovered in the "misogynistic"
tribal subculture perpetuating these ancient practices, I'd suggest that
the girls consider other ways to conceal a metallic object in the
genital area.

Note: it occurs to me that anyone could employ metal deployment in genital area tactics to alert airport personnel for other reasons.
Key: making sure that the metallic item is so
incongruous in the genital area so as to be obviously out-of-place. That
is, a "something is not right here" message.
But in case the metal detector alarm is not triggered, the person needing assistance can at
least exhibit wild unsubdued behaviors (or feign fainting or even a
seizure) and force the issue. Submissiveness will be rewarded with
sexual abuse in a land that is in another world.

The Week -- Aug. 30, 2013

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Best and Worst Days to Drive in U.S. Metros

I live in Austin. It is one if the worst US cities for traffic congestion.
Understanding the "nature of the beast" helps one to better survive and adapt.
example, as a school teacher, I always preferred working in my
classroom until the traffic died down after 7:00pm. rather than wasting
an extra half hour an suffering the extra wear and tear and energy on my
vehicle and myself. I didn't have to trundle papers home and when I did
get home, I was in a good mood knowing that I was done for the day and
my  classroom was ready for action in the morning. And I slept better,

Best Days to Commute in Metro Areas:

I live by my INRIX traffic app:

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Japan's Population Crisis

Japan's birthrate is plummeting after peaking seven years ago at 128 million. Japan's population has been falling and is on a path to decline by about 1 million people a year. The marriage rate has plummeted - and with it the birthrate. Out-of-wedlock births are rare.
Why are not the Japanese not getting married? The Japanese men are shying away from marriage because they simply cannot afford it. The young Japanese man has good reason to believe that his standard of living would drop immensely if he had to house and support a wife and children, especially considering that his wife likely would not be working. In Japan, marriage usually ends a woman's working career. Once they have a child, women face strong social pressure to quit their jobs and assume very traditional roles serving both the husband and the child. Childcare is scarce and expensive.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Zoysia Japonica in Central Texas

A number of years ago, my next door neighbor (who had never spent much on water for his lawn nor had any good will towards his fellow man) abruptly decided to sell his house. His side yard had been bare dirt with just a smattering of Bermuda grass. Suddenly, there was thick grass sprouting up where it'd been bare dirt before. After a while, I could see that it was an unusual kind of grass. And, at first, it looked a lot like the Zoysia sod that another neighbor down the street had laid down.

A year later, the neighbor was ten months gone when I spotted Zoysia sprouting up in my yard where I'd filled in a low spot in my front yard with top soil. It has now been several years since and it has now spread to other parts of my yard where shade had thinned my carpet grass. My former neighbor had planted Zoysia japonica by seed and it was now spreading itself around. [On-line it says that the only kind of Zoysia that spreads by seed is Zoysia japonica. The other neighbor must have installed Zoysia that spread only vegetatively because it never shows any seed heads and looks significantly different than what's invaded my yard.]

Note: At this point in time, I'm now beginning to rather like the Zoysia japonica. I have observed that it takes a lot less water than St. Augustine (but only a bit more than Bermuda grass). It tolerates both shade and full sun. These three grasses are now battling it out in my front yard. Each has a portion of the yard that each is best suited for -- but the Zoysia will be the eventual victor in another twenty years (from the looks of it).

Note: The Japonica only spreads by seed to where there is bare dirt. Where it is established, it sends out runners. My other next door neighbor has good solid St. Augustine sod and there's been no encroachment at all (there's a driveway between our two yards).
He also has high water bills / mine is diminishing due to the Zoysia japonica.

Note: I only water by hand late in the evening. By experimenting, I've found that the Zoysia japonica comes back fast from water neglect -- but the St. Augustine does not. The 2011 summer (drought and high temperatures) further proved that only the Bermuda grass and the Zoysia japonica can be considered durable with low watering levels.

Note: The Zoysia is also more tolerant of fallen Live Oak leaves than the St. Augustine.

The only thing I do not know is the variety of Zoysia japonica that my first neighbor used. On-line, it says there are four varieties and that they are all strains of Meyer Zoysia.
So, if you're looking to replicate this, talk to a grass specialist first. Also, talk to your neighbors. I myself would rather have had a choice in the matter. [This stuff is tough stuff. Whether or not that is good or not depends on your situation.]

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Texas Outlaws Male Masturbation

Humorously, male masturbation (a man "spilling his seed") is now
generally  illegal in Texas. This article from Waco reports that the
state legislature has outlawed masturbation by males.
No mention is made of female masturbation
(supposedly because the Bible does not specifically prohibit such).

Male Masturbation Outlawed in Texas:

Texas Tribune-Herald:
Especially read about Branch Davidians in above entry.

Religious Views On Masturbation:
As you can see, 'absolutists' aka 'literalists' of any religion rely more
on rigid tenets to maintain self-control.