Thursday, August 23, 2012

Pedal-powered washer could make a big difference in developing nations

In the developed world, we forget that there was once a time when washday meant “day” rather than “toss it in the machine and come back in 20 minutes.” In many parts of the world without access to electricity and clean water, that time is still now. Design students Alex Cabunoc and Ji A You of the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles visited the the slums of Cerro Verde, Peru. There they saw women spending days on end hauling water and washing clothes by hand and they came up with a solution. They created the GiraDora, a foot-pedal washing machine that’s inexpensive and portable.
GiraDora is Cabunoc and You’s solution.
Human-powered washing machines are not a new idea, but the challenge here was to design a one that's cheap, portable and easy to use, yet gets the clothes clean and relatively dry. After working with models based on sink plungers, salad spinners and the like, the pair came up with what looks like a picnic cooler crossed with a top-loading washing machine. Mechanically, it’s really very simple, which isn’t surprising because the final design was developed on the spot back in Cerro Verde.
GiraDora is a plastic tub tall enough to sit on. In fact, it’s designed to be operated while sitting on it to keep it stable. Inside, there’s a second tub like that in a conventional washer mounted on a center post. The post is connected to a pedal on the base of the tub. The machine is filled with clothes, water and soap and the lid put back. The operator then sits on the tub and repeatedly presses down on the pedal with her foot. This works the mechanism that agitates, cleans and rinses the clothes. When the clothes are clean, a stopcock in the base is opened and the pedal worked again. Now the washer becomes a spin drier and the clothes can be hung up to complete drying in a reasonable time. The cost of the machine is about US$40.
Details of GiraDora design and benefits (Image: Alex Cabunoc)
The benefits of the GiraDora go beyond turning laundry from a ghastly ordeal into a simple chore. The GiraDora is self-contained and requires no electricity. Not only is the GiraDora much more efficient than hand washing and saves many hours of time, it’s more comfortable to use and less wearing on the back, arms and hands. The foot pedal also leaves the operator’s hands free for other activities. Whole loads can be washed at once and it can be carried to the water source or used indoors in bad weather. The spin dry function improves the health of the family, especially children, by reducing exposure to mold and mildew. In addition, the machine is a chance for women to make money because the time saved doing the family’s clothes means that they can take in other people’s washing.
Cabunoc and You have presented the device at several conferences and were awarded an NCIIA E-Team grant of $19,500 to help in bringing it to market. They hope to complete field testing in Peru in a year with 50 machines and begin selling them in South America within three years before moving on to India. Their final goal is to have one million users of the machines.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Texas Judge: Obama Reelection Could Lead To 'Civil War' And Ready To 'Take Up Arms'

Panhandle politicos. Just when you think they can't get any crazier, they keep talking.
Case in point: Lubbock County judge Tom Head. On Monday night, flanked by Lubbock County Commissioner Mark Heinrich, Head went on Lubbock's FOX TV affiliate and warned the flatlanders of the dire consequences of their possibly turning down a proposed 1.7 cent boost of the tax rate next year. County law enforcement really needs that money, he said; otherwise neighboring counties will come swooping in waving dollar bills around and poaching assistant DAs, and the sheriff claims to need to hire seven more deputies.
But that's humdrum, stuff you hear all the time from conventional politicians in sane parts of the country. Head just had to open up a can of paranoid Panhandle whoop-ass on the Lubbock electorate. (Watch Head's video here.)
Why, Head continued, just think of what could happen should Barack Obama win reelection:
"He's going to try to hand over the sovereignty of the United States to the UN, and what is going to happen when that happens?," Head asked, before quickly answering his own question. "I'm thinking the worst. Civil unrest, civil disobedience, civil war maybe. And we're not just talking a few riots here and demonstrations, we're talking Lexington, Concord, take up arms and get rid of the guy."
If that calamity should unfold, Obama will have no choice but to send in vast hordes of UN troops to every corner of this unruly land, most especially to that hotbed of Red State patriotism, Lubbock, Texas.
"I don't want 'em in Lubbock County," Head fumed, as an interviewer nodded in seeming agreement. "Okay. So I'm going to stand in front of their armored personnel carrier and say 'you're not coming in here'."
Surely his mere disapproval should be enough to turn back the Red Tide of godless commie UN armored columns, but even a badass like Head would welcome a little back-up.
"And the sheriff, I've already asked him, I said 'you gonna back me' he said, 'yeah, I'll back you'," Head continued. "Well, I don't want a bunch of rookies back there. I want trained, equipped, seasoned veteran officers to back me." (Wait a minute -- didn't he say that he wanted the increase so he could hire seven new cops? So they would be rookies, guys who lack the cigar-chomping Chuck Norris stuff required to halt Generalissimo Obama's tanks dead in their tracks.)
"Imagine if a leftist or radical from Lubbock said the same thing," Lubbock activist Melissa Borrett tells Hair Balls. (Back in April, Borrett scandalized the town by opening a nude maid service.) "They would be labeled as a terrorist. But when somebody like [Head] says it, I think the public would largely back him." (Maybe there is hope for the Panhandle after all, as Borrett could be wrong. Most of the comments on the Fox site were opposed to Head's wacko fulminations.)
But still... I mean, this is an elected judge talking in a public forum, not some half-drunk yahoo spouting off on late-night AM radio. Seriously. And Judge Head evidently believes that the only way voters there will approve his socialist tax increase is to prey on their ludicrous fears of socialist Barack Hussein Obama's looming one-world gummint. Head must think that BS has traction, that it will play. And that host seems to think he's a pretty smart guy. And that is freaking terrifying.
Let's just leave it at this. Can't the rest of Texas saw the Panhandle off? And Midland too? Can we donate that dusty mess to Oklahoma? Would even a crazy place like Oklahoma want to take possession of those red-assed loons?
UPDATE 5:20 P.M.: Speaking to Lubbockonline, Judge Head attempted to clarify his words, saying it was only a "possible worst-case" scenario he needed to prepare his people for as part of his duties as head of emergency management in the area:
I'm not saying we're going to take [newly hired law enforcement officers] and stand in front of the UN. I have to think of, as emergency management director I have to think of worst case scenario, and I used that as an example yesterday. Okay, in my opinion, the worst case scenario politically and financially right now is if Obama and the Senate Democrats stay in power. Okay, because I have some opinions what they're doing and what they're trying to do if they stay in power. And I have to prepare for that, okay. Does that mean I think the UN's going to come rolling into Lubbock? No. That probably isn't going to happen. An F-5 tornado probably is not going to come into Lubbock. I've got to prepare for it, though.


How to Find True North

Suppose you decide to make a trek to the North Pole. You can't catch a plane there. So instead, you pull out your compass, watch the needle swing northward and plot a path, right? Wrong. To get to the North Pole, or true north, just following your compass needle won't work.
If you want to get from a point at the bottom of a map to one at the top, you need to head true north. True north is a geographical direction represented on maps and globes by lines of longitude. Each line of longitude begins and ends at the Earth's poles and represents direct north and south travel.
Compasses, on the other hand, direct you to magnetic north, a point in the arctic regions of Canada that continually shifts location based on the activity of the Earth's magnetic fields. Fluid iron in the planet's core acts like a huge bar magnet, creating a relatively weak magnetic field. The force of that magnetic field has a horizontal component in the direction of magnetic north. A compass needle is magnetized and freely suspended to allow that horizontal force to pull it toward magnetic north as well.
But the Earth's magnet isn't perfectly aligned with the geographical poles. For that reason, there is a difference between true north on a map and the north indicated by your compass. That difference is called the magnetic declination and is measured by the angle between true north and magnetic north when plotted on a map.Magnetic declinations vary from place to place, depending on the intensity of the Earth's magnetic fields. For instance, if you hold out a compass in New Zealand, magnetic north will be about 20 degrees east of true north, whereas the declination in Los Angeles is 12 degrees. Geographical lines do exist where true north and magnetic north are aligned, and these are called agonic lines. In North America, one currently runs through the panhandle of Florida up to the Great Lakes and into the Arctic Ocean.
Given these irregularities, how will you ever reach the North Pole or a true north destination? Read on to find out how you can do it -- any time of day and with man-made and natural navigation tools.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Man arrested, cuffed after using $2 bills

A man trying to pay a fee using $2 bills was arrested, handcuffed and taken to jail after clerks at a Best Buy store questioned the currency’s legitimacy and called police.  According to an account in the Baltimore Sun, 57-year-old Mike Bolesta was shocked to find himself taken to the Baltimore County lockup in Cockeysville, Md., where he was handcuffed to a pole for three hours while the U.S. Secret Service was called to weigh in on the case.
Bolesta told the Sun: “I am 6 feet 5 inches tall, and I felt like 8 inches high. To be handcuffed, to have all those people looking on, to be cuffed to a pole – and to know you haven’t done anything wrong. And me, with a brother, Joe, who spent 33 years on the city police force. It was humiliating.”
After Best Buy personnel reportedly told Bolesta he would not be charged for the installation of a stereo in his son’s car, he received a call from the store saying it was in fact charging him the fee. As a means of protest, Bolesta decided to pay the $114 bill using 57 crisp, new $2 bills.
As the owner of Capital City Student Tours, the Baltimore resident has a hearty supply of the uncommon currency. He often gives the bills to students who take his tours for meal money.
“The kids don’t see that many $2 bills, so they think this is the greatest thing in the world,” Bolesta says. “They don’t want to spend ‘em. They want to save ‘em. I’ve been doing this since I started the company. So I’m thinking, ‘I’ll stage my little comic protest. I’ll pay the $114 with $2 bills.’”
Bolesta explained what happened when he presented the bills to the cashier at Best Buy Feb. 20.
“She looked at the $2 bills and told me, ‘I don’t have to take these if I don’t want to.’ I said, ‘If you don’t, I’m leaving. I’ve tried to pay my bill twice. You don’t want these bills, you can sue me.’ So she took the money – like she’s doing me a favor.”
Bolesta says the cashier marked each bill with a pen. Other store employees began to gather, a few of them asking, “Are these real?”
“Of course they are,” Bolesta said. “They’re legal tender.”
According to the Sun report, the police arrest report noted one employee noticed some smearing of ink on the bills. That’s when the cops were called. One officer reportedly noticed the bills ran in sequential order.
Said Bolesta: “I told them, ‘I’m a tour operator. I’ve got thousands of these bills. I get them from my bank. You got a problem, call the bank.’ I’m sitting there in a chair. The store’s full of people watching this. All of a sudden, he’s standing me up and handcuffing me behind my back, telling me, ‘We have to do this until we get it straightened out.’
“Meanwhile, everybody’s looking at me. I’ve lived here 18 years. I’m hoping my kids don’t walk in and see this. And I’m saying, ‘I can’t believe you’re doing this. I’m paying with legal American money.’”
Bolesta was taken to the lockup, where he sat handcuffed to a pole and in leg irons while the Secret Service was called.
“At this point,” he says, “I’m a mass murderer.”
Secret Service agent Leigh Turner eventually arrived and declared the bills legitimate, adding, according to the police report, “Sometimes ink on money can smear.”
Commenting on the incident, Baltimore County police spokesman Bill Toohey told the Sun: “It’s a sign that we’re all a little nervous in the post-9/11 world.”

Source: http://www.wnd.com/2005/04/29732/

Report: Soros Unloads All Investments in Major Financial Stocks; Invests Over $130 Million In Gold

In a harbinger of what may be coming our way in the Fall of 2012, billionaire financier George Soros has sold all of his equity positions in major financial stocks according to a 13-F report filed with the SEC for the quarter ending June 30, 2012.

Soros, who manages funds through various accounts in the US and the Cayman Islands, has reportedly unloaded over one million shares of stock in financial companies and banks that include Citigroup (420,000 shares), JP Morgan (701,400 shares) and Goldman Sachs (120,000 shares). The total value of the stock sales amounts to nearly $50 million.
What’s equally as interesting as his sale of major financials is where Soros has shifted his money. At the same time he was selling bank stocks, he was acquiringsome 884,000 shares (approx. $130 million) of Gold via the SPDR Gold Trust.
When a major global player with direct ties to the White House, Wall Street, and the banking system starts off-loading stocks and starts stacking gold, it suggests a very serious market move is set to happen.
While often lambasted for his calls to centralize global banking, increase government intervention in the economy and his support of what he has called an “emergence of the new world order,” if there’s anyone with an inside track of where things are headed next it’s Soros.
Soros, who has written extensively of a coming global paradigm shift  in his book The Crash of 2008 and What It Means, calling the current economic and political model ”an end of an era,” has recently suggested that the financial and economic situation across the world is so serious that Europe could soon descend into chaos and conflict. He also notes that the world is entering “one of the most dangerous periods in modern history”, and foresees violent riots in America and a brutal clamp-down by the government that will dramatically curtail civil liberties.
This is an individual who not only predicted the collapse of 2008 and took action to insulate himself, he also proposed the various fixes that governments in Europe and the US would eventually implement in order to stave off a deflationary depression. In his aforementioned book he suggested that central banks infuse the system with massive amounts of monetary expansion, but also warned that not injecting enough money would simply extend the onset of deflation and printing too much could lead to hyperinflationary currency collapse.
Based on recent activity in Soros’ US held accounts, it seems that governments and central banks have failed at those efforts to stabilize the system. As such, Soros is getting out of those companies which are most at risk should the financial system buckle like it did in 2008 and he’s shifting his assets into what may be the only asset class left standing when it’s all said and done.
Mac Slavo