Home Blog Page 2

5 Natural Ways to Keep Mice Out of Your House

0

Winter is coming, and just like us humans, all the furry creatures want to stay warm. If you’ve ever lived in cold areas of the country, especially rural ones, you know that means mice wanting to spend a little extra time in your house. If you’d like to do something besides cuddling with mice during the cold months, here are some tips that don’t involve harsh chemicals and exterminators.

First up, you’re going to need to find the main point of entry.  This means looking for small holes – even as small as a dime – where you can see light coming in from the outside. Looking for areas where you can feel a draft can also help.




Getting a cat can also be a great idea – as they basically evolved to eat the little guys – but that option isn’t for everyone. For me personally, I get allergic just looking at a cat over a computer, so I needed some other options.

1. Peppermint

Mice hate the scent of mint, and there’s a host of ways to use it properly. One is to soak cotton balls with 100 percent peppermint essential oil. Place them around your house, refreshing every 2 weeks. The strong scent deters the mice, which a common theme that you will see in all the options discussed here on preventing the little guys from homesteading your home.

This is a non-lethal option and keeps the home smelling great.



Next up is something a little spicier.

The DIY Free Clothes Folding Tool That Saved My Sanity

0

I am not a fan of folding clothes. That’s why I end up digging through a basket full of clean laundry to find socks before I take on the task of folding the last 4 loads that have accumulated. It isn’t laziness, it’s just not a chore I particularly find pleasure in. Until now.

Recently I was going through my clothes, putting together a pile to be donated, and I was frustrated with my t-shirt drawer. No matter how carefully I folded them, they were never the same size and they didn’t fit into the drawer the way my OCD brain feels they should.




Then I remembered the t-shirt folding contraptions they have in many retail stores. The ones that fold a perfect shirt in seconds, leaving perfect, even stacks of pristine cloth with crisp edges… ahhhhhhh. But I digress.




My nostalgia took me to the internet, where I searched for a DIY version of those fancy devices. Every time I found one, though, I was struck by how they just felt more complicated than they needed to be. That’s when I put on my thinking cap and took matters into my own hands.




folding process

The photos above show the contraption I constructed out of a cardboard box. It is basic, simple, and not very pretty to look at. But it works magic. Here’s how I did it:

  1. Did some math.
    I measured the inside dimensions of the t-shirt drawer. Because I knew that I wanted to fit six stacks of shirts in the drawer, I divided the width (front to back) measurement in half, and the length (side to side) measurement in thirds.



  2. Did some cutting.
    My figures told me that I wanted each finished shirt to measure 9” x 8”. Armed with those numbers, I found a clean cardboard box and cut three equal-sized pieces measuring 9” wide and 16” long.
  3. Did some taping.
    The next, and final, step was to use packing tape to hinge the three pieces together. I left a gap of about 1/2” between the sections, and applied tape to both sides.



  4. Did some folding.
    Less than 15 minutes later, I folded my first t-shirt using my fancy new time (and sanity) saving device.

NOTES: The biggest change in my design from the ones I saw others make is that I only use three panels of cardboard, while all the designs I saw online used six. I didn’t feel it necessary, when I could quickly fold the bottom half of the shirt upward to meet the bottom of the cardboard.

In the end, my t-shirt drawer is much neater and more organized. I found that it works equally well with my short-sleeve knit and button-up shirts as well. Eventually I’ll probably remake it to make it look a little less like something I rescued from the recycling bin, but right now I’m happy that it does its job and makes my life a little easier.

Note: My Earth Garden

Sustainable Clothing Company Makes Clothes Out of Coffee Grounds

0

Sustainable fabrics are not restricted to bamboo and hemp. An innovative range of sportswear is now being made out of old coffee grounds.





Most of us need that caffeine jolt to kick-start us into the day. But how many of us, over a quick cup of coffee, would think about spinning our latte on a lathe and turning it into a top?

Jason Chen, the general manager of the Taiwanese Singtex Industrial Company, had a brainwave as he was sipping coffee in – where else? – Starbucks. Most coffee grounds end up in landfill, but Singtex is now collecting waste grounds from the drinks giant to turn into sportswear.

The process of making fabric out of coffee grounds is very similar to that used to turn bamboo into a viscose-like material. The resultant fabric is soft, light, flexible and breathable and can also be used to produce an outer shell that is water resistant. It’s impregnated with ‘activated’ carbon, derived from coconut, which makes it UV-resistant, wicks water away, keeps the wearer cool and binds to sweat to eliminate unpleasant odours.

Singtex says the fabric is perfect for mid and base layers for adrenalin-powered sports like rock climbing, as well as walking, running and yoga. Apparently, it only takes the grounds from one cup of coffee to make enough material for a couple of T-shirts.




Singtex already makes performance sportswear out of recycled plastic bottles, as does Patagonia, the first outdoor clothing company to begin the practice in 1993. Since then, Patagonia claims to have rescued 92m bottles of pop from the tip. As plastic is oil-derived, the company has saved enough oil to fill a gas-guzzling 40-gallon Chelsea tractor 20,000 times over.

Stinging nettle
 Photograph: Jonathan Buckley/Getty Images/GAP Photos

Another innovative fabric that is currently being trialled is spun from nettles. The common stinging nettle was used to produce textiles for thousands of years, until people switched to cotton in the 15th century. Now cotton’s reputation has turned sour thanks to reports of the child labour used to pick it, not to mention the vast amounts of water and tonnes of herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers required by the crop.




Stinging nettles can easily be grown sustainably, organically and with little water – in fact, as most gardeners know, they hardly need any encouragement at all. Camira Fabrics, based in Yorkshire, has been working for the past four years with Defra on a fabric made from nettles and has now produced a range called Stingplus. It’s a tough textile primarily created for bus and car seats.

Nettle can be turned into finer fabrics too, with a texture like linen. It has the ability to wick moisture away from the body as well as keeping the wearer cool and trapping warm air, plus being naturally anti-bacterial and mould-resistant.

Brennels, a Dutch fashion label, has started growing its own nettles in eastern Europe and has brought out a range of smart-casual clothes made from the fabric. And in the Himalayas, the giant nettle, allo, is being spun by local communities to create a fair trade, eco-friendly fabric.









Jeff Sessions Getting Sued by 12 Year-Old Girl Over US Marijuana Policy

0

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is being sued by a 12-year-old girl over the nation’s marijuana policy.

Colorado native Alexis Bortell has filed a lawsuit claiming that the federal prohibition on marijuana is unconstitutional.




Bortell uses a strain of cannabis oil called Haleigh’s Hope to help with her seizures, and hopes that the lawsuit will help normalize and further legalize marijuana, she told Fox 31 Denver.

Bortell was diagnosed with epilepsy when she was a young child and traditional medicine was not helping. She and her family moved to Colorado from Texas so they could legally obtain cannabis oils to help treat the sixth-grader.

“As the seizures got worse, we had to move to Colorado to get cannabis because it’s illegal in Texas,” said Bortell.

Some doctors even suggested that Bortell should consider having brain surgery instead of using the drug, but a drop of liquid THC twice a day has kept her seizure-free for two-and-a-half years.




“I’d say it’s a lot better than brain surgery,” Bortell said.

Marijuana is now classified as a Schedule One drug, which puts it under the same classification as dangerous drugs and substances such as heroin, cocaine, meth and fentanyl. Bortell and others have said that medical marijuana has many medical benefits and that the current federal guidelines ignore people that have been helped by the drug.

“As it pertains to cannabis, the (Controlled Substances Act) is irrational and thus unconstitutional,” said Bortell’s attorney, Michael Hiller, told Fox 31 Denver.

460552580COLORADO SPRINGS, CO. – August 20: Ana Watson has decided to try adding THC to Preston’s CBD oil, which will change the ratio of doses she gives him. August 20, 2014 Colorado Springs, CO.PHOTO BY JOE AMON/THE DENVER POST VIA GETTY IMAGES

The lawsuit, which was filed in New York, is a longshot, but it represents a larger progressive push for marijuana for medical use.




Newsweek reached out to Hiller to find out of the attorney general has commented on the lawsuit but did not hear back by time of publication. Sessions has taken a much harder stance on marijuana than his recent predecessors.

Medical marijuana is legal in 29 states and Washington, D.C. It is prohibited on the federal level, though there are certain protections that prevent the Justice Department from prosecuting medical marijuana users where the drug is legal.

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation on Saturday allowing anyone suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder to use medical marijuana.

“Many of our veterans are suffering from PTSD and the medical community has determined that marijuana can be a helpful treatment in some areas,” Cuomo said during the New York City Veterans Day parade. “And part of our commitment to do everything we can do if there are veterans who are suffering and we can make a treatment available, we want to.”

The substance is also used to alleviate symptoms of many other serious ailments and conditions, including cancer, HIV and AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and some spinal injuries.










Story originally appeared in Newsweak

Liar, Leech, Snob and Boor – The Truth About Karl Marx

0

Even a generous biographer cannot ignore the utter selfishness at the core of this thinker

KARL MARX died a disappointed man. All his life, he had longed to be a leader. But by impetuously renouncing Prussian citizenship early in his career, he condemned himself to the exigencies of exile. He was obliged to watch while others usurped his role.



Thus he became, less by inclination than necessity, a thinker and a writer, a Rousseau rather than a Robespierre. Although one cannot understand the 20th century without reference to Marxism, Marx himself is – perhaps always was – little and badly read. With the exception of the Communist Manifesto, none of his works has ever had popular resonance. They are difficult. Unless one is familiar with their theoretical and historical background, even his most important writings are at best obscure, at worst unreadable. Any biographer ought to provide that background.

A biographer also needs to engage with Marxís ideas. Do his economic theories hold water, either as a description or a critique of capitalism? Non-Marxist historians of economic thought such as Joseph A. Schumpeter or Eric Roll differ on this. The same applies to his political, sociological and philosophical theories, which have been shot to pieces and reassembled ever since his death. How far were the deeds of communist regimes foreshadowed in Marxís harsh words about those who stood in his way: the peasants, the bourgeoisie, the intellectuals, even the workers?

Most of Marxís biographers have concentrated on his ideas and offered answers to these questions. Francis Wheen does not. He cares little for the political economy or Hegelian philosophy, is no historian and appears to read no German. But he claims to be the first to treat Marx as “a human being”.



Not even the generous Wheen, whose biography of Tom Driberg overlooked his treachery, could be taken in by the humanity of Karl Marx. He emerges as a liar, adulterer, snob, sponger, boor, hypocrite and domestic tyrant. He destroyed everything he touched, from newspapers and clubs to the First International. He ran through several substantial legacies and played the stock exchange while preaching that inheritance and private property should be abolished.

As a young man, he had married Jenny von Westphalen against the wishes of her family. As a father, he forbade his favorite daughter, Eleanor, from marrying the Frenchman she loved, preferring one of his disciples, Edward B. Aveling, who made her his mistress. (Aveling secretly married an actress and persuaded Eleanor to enter a suicide pact. She drank the poison; he did not.) Marx never acknowledged his illegitimate child by his maid and insisted that the boy be fostered to prevent scandal.

Wheen finds it hard to admit that Marx was a man of violent and paranoid racial prejudices, with a severe case of Jewish self-hatred.

The notorious essay “On the Jewish Question” is excused on the grounds that its author was defending the Jews; yet his works and correspondence are peppered with anti-Semitic epithets, usually combined with scatological insults.

But even Wheen is shocked by a repulsive but typical passage about the nose of the then editor of this newspaper, Joseph Moses Levy. Indeed, he believed in the civilizing mission of the Germans, and did not hesitate to appeal to nationalism when it suited his purpose. His Russophobia led him to believe David Urquhartís lunatic conspiracy theory that Palmerston was a Russian agent. Marxism was, in a sense, the ultimate “German ideology”: it conquered half the world.

Where Wheenís biography works well is in its depiction of Marx living the life of a bohemian journalist in Soho. There are delightful anecdotes about Marxís pub crawls and low life, taunting the constabulary or indulging in marathon chess and boozing sessions. Even this more likeable side of Marx, though, only confirms his utter selfishness. His wife, Jenny, a blue-blooded bluestocking, lost four children and lived for years in squalor. She was a loyal wife and secretary, despite the indignity of lifelong financial dependence on Engels (of whom she disapproved). But she was not amused by her husbandís escapades.

Wheen wants us to read Das Kapital as a gothic fantasy, and endorses Edmund Wilsonís claim that Marx was the greatest ironist since Swift.

There may be something in this, but such a defence would have appalled Marx. He loathed the literary pretensions of rival revolutionaries, such as Giuseppe Mazzini and Ferdinand Lassalle. But these men played an honorable part in the unifications of Italy and Germany; they were patriots and Democrats. Marx was not. Wheen criticises Marxís querulousness, but always takes his side.

Rarely has a prophet done more to fulfill his own prophecy. As an angry old man, Marx disowned the German Marxists not because they were too extreme, but because they were too inclined to compromise with Bismarck. From his own ruthless conduct in the 1848 revolutions, it is evident that by the “dictatorship of the proletariat” Marx meant a one-party state. The libertarian Marx of the 1960s, whom Wheen wishes to rediscover, never existed.




Wheenís biography is not without merit: although it has no revelations, it incorporates much recent research. Above all, it is fluently and elegantly written. Here is Marx approaching the end: a wandering widower, banished to a warmer climate for his failing health, he writes to Engels: “I have done away with my prophetís beard and my crowning glory.” Wheenís commentary manages to be at once compassionate, shrewd and comical:

Eyeless in Gaza; hairless in Algiers. A bald, clean-shaven Karl Marx is almost impossible to imagine – and he made sure that posterity would never see him thus. Before the symbolic shearing he had himself photographed, hirsute and twinkle-eyed, to remind his daughters of the man they knew. It is the last picture we have: a genial Jupiter, an intellectual Father Christmas.

What a pity that Fourth Estate did not include this or any other illustration of Marx, his family or his colourful circle.

Mazzini described Marx as “a man of domineering disposition; jealous of the influence of others; governed by no earnest, philosophical, or religious belief; having, I fear, more elements of anger than of love in his nature”. No, Dr Marx was not a nice human being. Francis Wheen has done us a service by reminding us of the fact. As to whether Marx is still worth reading, this entertaining, often perceptive biography leaves us none the wiser.

Originally Appeared in the Telegraph

TSA Fails 80% of Undercover Tests In New Study

0

In recent undercover tests of multiple airport security checkpoints by the Department of Homeland Security, inspectors said screeners, their equipment or their procedures failed 80% of the time, according to a source familiar with the classified report.





When ABC News asked the source if the failure rate was 80 percent, the response was, “You are in the ballpark.”

In a public hearing after a private classified briefing to the House Committee on Homeland Security, members of Congress called the failures by the Transportation Security Administration disturbing.

Rep. Mike Rogers went as far as to tell TSA Administrator David Pekoske, “This agency that you run is broken badly, and it needs your attention.”

Pekoske was confirmed by the Senate this summer.




Inspectors “identified vulnerabilities with TSA’s screener performance, screening equipment and associated procedures,” according to a statement from the Department of Homeland Security.

The statement added that the findings remain classified but that eight recommendations have been made to the TSA to improve checkpoint security. It is not clear what those recommendations are.

The news of the failure comes two years after ABC News reported that secret teams from the DHS found that the TSA failed 95 percent of the time to stop inspectors from smuggling weapons or explosive materials through screening.

That report led to major changes ordered at the TSA by then–Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. The agency opened a training academy for transportation security officers and changed procedures to reduce long lines.

Although lawmakers described the TSA’s performance in this round of testing as poor, it was an improvement from two years ago, according to the source familiar with the report.

In the public hearing today on Capitol Hill, members pushed for the full implementation of a program using new scanning equipment that creates a 3-D image of bags, giving screeners better ability to spot possibly dangerous items.

The equipment is being tested in TSA checkpoints in at least two airports, but software and installation challenges have slowed wider implementation.




Rep. Bill Keating suggested that money is being diverted from the agency to build President Trump’s promised border wall.

“We have the technology and resources to do it, but we’re not doing it because … we’re paying for a wall,” Keating said.

He also noted that Viper teams, specially trained Homeland Security units that use canines to secure transportation facilities, are being cut from 31 to eight.

It is not clear when the report will be released publicly.

The TSA said in a statement that it “concurs with the DHS OIG [Office of Inspector General] findings and is committed to aggressively implementing the recommendations.”

“We take the OIG’s findings very seriously and are implementing measures that will improve screening effectiveness at checkpoints,” Pekoske said. “We are focused on staying ahead of a dynamic threat to aviation with continued investment in the workforce, enhanced procedures and new technologies.”

USA Today Tweeted “A Chainsaw Bayonet” and Twitters Response Was Perfect

0
USA Today later tweeted a clarification saying, "To clarify, the video shows both the shooter's modifications, as well as other possible modifications. The shooter did not use a chainsaw bayonet." (@USAToday/Twitter)

USA Today was rightfully mocked on Twitter Wednesday for a graphic making it look as if the Texas church shooter used an assault-style rifle modified with a “chainsaw bayonet.”

The news company tweeted, “A look at the gun used in the Texas church shooting,” which included a video with a graphic of a Ruger AR-556 rifle with multiple modifications, including a chainsaw bayonet.





Players of the Video Game “Gears of War”, may recall this weapon being used to chainsaw aliens to death

Should be noted, the Texas shooter did not use said weapon



USA Today later tweeted a clarification saying, “To clarify, the video shows both the shooter’s modifications, as well as other possible modifications. The shooter did not use a chainsaw bayonet.”

Nevertheless, Twitter users didn’t allow such an inept attempt at fear mongering go to waste, and unleashed a Tweetstorm at the news organization.










Border Collie Puppy Herds Sheep into Kitchen (VIDEO)

0



Rocky the border collie was in training for one incredibly important job: learning how to herd sheep.

The 7-month-old little puppy from Devon, England, took his job pretty seriously. He took it so seriously, that one day he decided to show off his new skills by rounding up his nine ovine charges and bringing them up to the house. Only one problem, he literally brought them into the house – video at the bottom.




Rosalyn Edwards told The Telegraph that she was in the kitchen when she heard some strange noises. She turned around to see the proud puppy had led the sheep through an open gate and into the house via the back door.

“I thought it was funny at the time, but then there was quite a lot of wee, poo and mud everywhere. It took me a little while to clean it all up,” she said.

Edwards posted a short video on Facebook of the sheep in her house, writing, “Rocky the sheepdog, brought a whole new meaning to ‘bringing the sheep home!'” In the video, she and her husband can be heard trying to shoo the animals (who don’t seem even a little bit fazed) out of the house.




Eventually they did manage to convince the sheep to leave through the front door, leaving quite a mess behind.



“Rocky did look quite pleased with himself,” Edwards told the Telegraph, “but he’s going to need more training.”

“Zero Waste” Town Opens Brewery Built From Completely Recycled Materials

0



The small Japanese town of Kamikatsu is known for its complete and successful commitment to zero waste living. According to Business Insider, residents separate their waste products into 34 categories at the town’s waste center, a pretty tedious task that took some time to adjust to.  As shown in this video, the community uses it as a bonding experience







The town, which already promotes sustainable living practices, took to building a brewery based on the idea that “nothing should go to waste.” The brewery is called the Rise & Win Brewing Co., and the building is the Kamikatz Public House








The Kamikatz Public House, which is one of many community-oriented buildings in the small town, was built by architecture firm Hiroshi Hakamura and NAP.  The brewery is also a bar which sells general supplies and food to locals. It’s built from recycled materials, including its facade, which is made from reclaimed double-pane windows.

The company made an effort to reclaim pieces of the town itself to create the building, including lining the walls with newspapers, using tiles from other buildings, and creating a custom chandelier from bottles salvaged from the area. In a statement, they refer to the declining population of Kamikatsu, but also its enduring values:






“We gathered windows that illuminated the town in the past and dedicated our wish that they would serve as a lantern of hope to shine upon the town struggling with a declining population. The space is full of improvisation and discoveries with this creative combination of waste material for this architecture. The locals who gather at this pub are beginning to truly realize that their actions are fun and creative.”

I

If you don’t think microbrew beer when you think of Japan, you’re not the only one, but Rise & Win Brewing is just one of the latest to join the craft beer boom in Japan. Though craft breweries have taken the U.S. by storm,  Japan’s has just recently taken interest in the industry over the past few years. Although they’re relatively new at it, they’re experiencing growing success. Osaka’s Minoh Brewery won the World’s Best Imperial IPA award in 2013. The Coedo Brewery in Kawagoe won a silver in the “American-style amber lager” category at the 2014 World Beer Cup. 

Hopefully, Rise & Win’s beer is as good as its environmental business practices and creates a tourism boom that the town so desperately needs.

 

Local Gun Owner Stopped the Texas Church Massacre

0

A church shooting in Sutherland Texas was stopped after a local gun owner grabbed his rifle and began returning fire at the shooter, police announced Sunday.




(DC) Police say the shooter, who has been identified as 26-year-old Devin P. Kelley of New Braunfels, Texas, walked inside the church and opened fire just before 11:30 a.m. local time. Kelly killed at least 26 people before an unidentified gun owner forced him to flee by grabbing his own rifle and returning fire, Texas Rangers announced Sunday.

“At approximately 11:20 this morning a suspect was seen at a Valero gas station in Sutherland Springs, Texas,” Police Maj. Freeman Martin told reporters. “He was dressed in all black. That suspect crossed the street to the church, exited his vehicle and began firing at the church.”

“That suspect then moved to the right side of the church and then continued to fire,” he continued. “That suspect entered the church and continued to fire. As he exited the church, a local resident grabbed his rifle and engaged that suspect. The suspect dropped his rifle, which was a Ruger AR assault-type rifle and fled from the church.”




“Our local citizen pursued the suspect at that time,” Freeman said. “A short time later law enforcement responded that [the] suspect [was] right at the Wilson/Guadalupe County line … and was found deceased in his vehicle. At this time we don’t know if it was a self-inflicted gunshot wound or if he was shot by the local resident. We know he’s deceased in the vehicle. ”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, confirmed that 26 people were killed and as many as 30 other wounded in the shooting. The death toll makes the attack the deadliest shooting at a place of worship in American history.

“We all know what happened here today. It’s something we all say does not happen in small communities,” Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt said at a Sunday evening press conference. “Today we found out that it does.”

The victims ranged from five to 72 years old, officials said. First responders found 23 dead bodies inside the church, two more outside, and one person who was transported to a hospital but later died.