Recharge Your Batteries
Tired of having your iPod battery drain out on you in the middle of your favorite song? Does your laptop battery always seem to die in the middle of meetings? There are measures you can take to extend the life of your rechargeable lithium ion batteries. Check out some of the tips below:
Avoid buying a backup battery
Lithium ion batteries begin to lose power once they’re assembled and it’s estimated that an unused battery could lose 20% of its life a year. So unless you’re in a position where you’ll be using a back-up battery on a regular basis, don’t buy an extra battery until you absolutely need one.
Battery drain not needed
Previous generations of rechargeable batteries would lose life capacity unless the full power of the battery was drained before charging. This is no longer the case. It’s safe to recharge your battery at any power capacity. The life of your battery will not be diminished. Though, it’s recommended that a battery is fully drained once every 30 charge cycles.
Worry about over-heating, not over-charging
Many laptop owners fear that keeping a fully charged battery in a laptop while the AC adapter is plugged in will “overcharge” the battery and diminish its life span. This is not the case. Most devices are equipped with circuits that divert the power away from a battery and straight into the device when the battery is fully charged. However, heat does increase the rate in which a battery loses its life. So laptop owners who regularly power their computer with an AC adapter may consider removing the battery and storing it in a cool, dry place (it’s recommended that this be done with the battery at 40% power) to preserve its life. The downside to this is that there will be no backup power for your computer in case of a power outage, making data loss a possibility.
Color Me Trendy
Before the winter snow had thawed, fashion designers decided the trends for this autumn. February’s New York Fashion Week showcased fabric colors and styles for our next season. Thanks to Pantone, Inc., the leading expert in color choice for fashion and home, we can keep up with the color trends. You can see the Pantone, Inc. color choices for fall 2008 online at www.pantone.com.
So what colors has Pantone, Inc. announced for fall? You can expect bright, cooler colors, with blue and purple leading the way. Pantone’s 2008 Color of the Year, Blue Iris, is the most popular color chosen by designers. Warm browns and cool grays will be mixed into the color palette, as well as variations of warm red, orange and yellow.
It’s easy to enjoy the color trends for fall, the season of change, and still keep a little change in your pocket. For the trendy, and budget-conscious, person, buy just one or two items for the new season. You can pair the items with things you already have to make the style your own. A sweater, jacket or shirt in the color palettte for fall works just as well as an entire wardrobe. Women can also try a new handbag or piece of jewelry to show they are keeping up with the latest style without going overboard.
To bring color and warmth into your home, try adding a few pillows or blankets in your favorite forecasted color. For the adventurous spirit, try painting that color on an accent wall. Find a color to work with the décor you already have, or start brand new.
As quickly as the seasons change, so do the fashion trends. Enjoy the current season’s color choices now, and look forward to a new selection next season as well!
What Pantone color combinations would you choose for your wardrobe or your home?
We've all had those moments of confusion or forgetfulness in which we put the cereal back in the fridge and the milk in the cupboard. Maybe at some point you've called your husband "What's his face." Maybe on purpose. There's been a lot of talk lately about keeping your brain sharp, and strengthening your memory – especially now with the new developments in Alzheimer's medication. But doctors say there are things you can do while you're young – and even old – to improve your brain power.
Exercise your mind.
Use it or lose it, as they say. Well, also use it to build it. According to brain fitness community www.memosyn.com and its creator Dr. Majid Fotuhi, "your brain indeed stretches and becomes literally bigger when you challenge and stimulate your brain." He suggests learning something new that works multiple areas of your brain – like ballroom dancing, with the music, steps, and memorization. To exercise other areas, you could also learn a foreign language during your commute, or do the daily crossword or sudoku puzzle at lunch.
Exercise your body.
Research has shown that exercise – even just walking 30 minutes a day – can strengthen your brain. Dr. Fotuhi says exercise "nourishes your brain cells," and increases a protein in the brain that heals and repairs. Eating the right kinds of foods is important, too – foods like salads, fish, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Healthy foods – fruits and vegetables in particular – reduce the hardening of blood vessels and inflammation in the brain. So keep your brain younger and sharper by exercising and eating right.
Reduce your stress.
A happy brain is a healthy brain. "Stress kills brain cells," says Dr. Fotuhi – stress that leads to high blood pressure, which leads to hardened blood vessels and potentially strokes. Of course avoiding stress at work and at home is easier said than done. But what you can do is better your sleep habits, even if you need a doctor's help. Enlighten your brain, too, by seeking the positives in life. Treat yourself to a trip, to an evening out with friends, to your favorite TV show. Relaxing and enjoying yourself is a lot easier on the brain.
What do you do to keep your mind sharp? Something like that? Look, I remembered my question.
What Does it Mean to Go Organic?
With a phenomenal 20% annual growth rate, organic food is the fastest-growing U.S. food segment. This is partly because organic food just tastes better. Organic, farm-fresh brown eggs, for example, make fluffier and better-tasting omelets and frittatas than ordinary eggs. Inexpensive organic mini carrots make salads and side dishes crispier and more flavorful.
Organic food also helps the environment. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, “Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations.”
Although the USDA “makes no claims that organically produced food is safer or more nutritious than conventionally produced food,” many people believe there are toxins in many common grocery store foods. An apple grown and harvested conventionally, for example, can have as many as 36 different pesticides sprayed on it.
Organic farmers find natural alternatives for controlling pests, such as using citrus oil, eucalyptus and tobacco, strategies that sometimes reflect ancient agricultural techniques. Organic crops are grown without bioengineering or ionizing radiation, and without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers or waste materials. Animals raised on organic farms graze in pastures, rather than eat feed enhanced by slaughterhouse waste, and are not given hormones or antibiotics.
Government-approved certifiers inspect organic farms to ensure they meet USDA organic standards. In some cases it takes years to transform chemical-tainted fields into soil clean enough to pass an organic quality inspection. Companies that handle or process organic food must also be certified.
The USDA Organic seal tells you that a product is at least 95 percent organic. The use of the seal is voluntary and may not appear on all organic products. Products that are less than 70% organic can list those ingredients on the side of the package but cannot make any organic claims on the front.
The next time you’re at the grocery store, pick up an organic product you've never tried. It might become something you’ll want to eat every day.
Natural Alternative Fuels
A simple definition of alternative fuel is the choice of any fuel other than the traditional selections, gasoline and diesel. With the instability of gasoline prices and political uncertainties of the Middle East, the U.S. government and corporate America are now considering the benefits of alternative-fuel vehicles. In the U.S. Energy Policy Act of 1992, the U.S. Department of Energy identified eight alternative fuels. Some are already widely used; others not so. All have potential as full- or partial-alternatives to gasoline and diesel:
1. Ethanol is an alcohol-based alternative made by fermenting and distilling crops such as corn, barley or wheat. It can be blended with gasoline to increase octane levels and improve emissions quality.
2. Natural Gas burns clean and is already widely available in many areas. When used in natural gas vehicles it produces far fewer harmful emissions than gasoline or diesel.
3. Electricity can be used to run battery-powered electric and fuel-cell vehicles without producing combustion or pollution. Fuel-cell vehicles run on electricity that's produced through an electrochemical reaction that occurs when hydrogen and oxygen are combined.
4. Hydrogen mixes with natural gas to create fuel that uses certain types of internal combustion engines. It’s also used in fuel-cell vehicles that run on electricity produced by the petrochemical reaction that occurs when hydrogen and oxygen are combined.
5. Propane, also called liquefied petroleum gas (or LPG), is a byproduct of natural gas processing and crude oil refining. It produces fewer emissions than gasoline, and there is also a highly-developed infrastructure for transporting, storing and distributing it.
6. Biodiesel is based on vegetable oils or animal fats. Vehicle engines can be converted to burn biodiesel in its pure form, and it can also be blended with petroleum diesel and used in unmodified engines. It's safe, biodegradable and reduces air pollutants associated with vehicle emissions.
7. Methanol (also known as wood alcohol) can be used in flexible fuel vehicles designed to run on M85, a blend of 85% methanol and 15% gasoline, but automakers are no longer manufacturing methanol-powered vehicles. However, it could become an important alternative in the future as a source of the hydrogen needed to power fuel-cell vehicles.
8. P-Series Fuels are a blend of ethanol, natural gas liquids and methyltetrahydrofuran (MeTHF), a co-solvent derived from biomass. They are clear, high-octane alternatives that can be used in flexible fuel vehicles, as well as alone or mixed with gasoline in any ratio by simply adding it to the tank.
Using these alternative fuels in vehicles can easily help reduce harmful pollutants and exhaust emissions. But until these alternatives can be made more readily available to the general public, only improving vehicle efficiency will be the single most effecitve means to reduce pollutants and petroleum dependence.
For more information on natural alternative fuels, check out the U.S. Department of Energy Web site at www.eere.energy.gov/afdc/