In the past couple of months, three acquaintances of mine have come down with the H1N1 virus, also known as Swine Flu, landing all three of them in the hospital in critical condition. I don’t know if any had gotten a flu shot, or if in their particular situations that would have prevented their life-threatening illnesses. But I took it as a wake up call to learn all I could.
I was shocked to learn that even with the availability of vaccines, the dreaded flu virus is taking the U.S. by storm. This year’s strain already has left 20 children dead according to new numbers released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than that, anywhere from 3,000 to 49,000 people die every year from flu-related illnesses.
For many, the flu is little more than a cough and a fever. But health officials want the public to know that in many cases it can also be deadly. Continue reading
If there is one thing most people take for granted it is food. US supermarkets are always well-stocked and we don’t think much about how all that food gets there. When pushed to consider it, I wager most of us assume there are huge warehouses somewhere filled with enough food to feed the nation for some unknown period of time.
The truth is, as a nation we have little to no warehousing backup in the event of a supply shortage. Our concentrated supermarket supply system uses a technology known as JIT (Just-in-Time), a method made possible by computers and the Internet.
Here’s how JIT works: Instead of every supermarket needing a warehouse to store large quantities of food to be sold locally, computers keep track of inventory, placing relatively small orders daily. This precludes the need for massive warehousing. Retailers know their orders will arrive “just in time” to keep the shelves filled. Continue reading
You may recall a few months ago I wrote about the new inexpensive laptop computer series that is sweeping the tech world called, “Chromebooks.” I’m still onboard in a big way.
These little laptops that run on Google’s Chrome OS are great budget-friendly computers that can meet the needs of many people, especially those who don’t need all of the bells and whistles that come standard on computers with much higher price tags.
With the popularity of Chromebooks spreading, multiple manufacturers are getting on board, like Samsung, HP, Acer, Toshiba, Asus and Dell. Machines range in price from $199 for the minimal Acer C720, $279 for the gorgeous HP11 and the 13″ Toshiba and $299 for the Acer C720P with a built in touchscreen and extra hard drive space.
That pricing pretty much blows me away because I still remember paying $2,400 for a fax machine. Ouch! Continue reading
It all started when my friend Rosalie told me she’s going to start roasting her own coffee beans in her kitchen. In a popcorn popper. The motivation? First quality and taste, but also to cut the high cost of quality coffee by at least half. That was enough to get my attention.
Turns out Rosalie’s co-worker, Dax Wilson, has taken up this hobby of home roasting in a serious way. A conversation with Dax together with a visit to a strategic website was all I needed to become equally enthusiastic.
I learned I could roast green coffee beans (half the price of commercially roasted beans) in a frying pan although that is not the most desirable. There are two methods of roasting: with hot air or on a hot surface. Hot surface allows for a darker roast, which for many tastes is preferable. Continue reading
Before you cut up an expired credit card—or toss that silly fake one you got as junk mail—consider all the great things you can do with it!
1. Bookmark. It’ll keep your place and act as a handy straightedge for underlining or highlighting.
photo credit: financialhack.com
2. Glass scraper. A credit card is just the right size to scrape ice from your car’s windows and algae from the walls of an aquarium.
3. Neat caulk. Run the rounded corner of a credit card across the caulk bead for that professional look.
4. Unlock doors. Certain types of locked doors can be easily unlocked by slipping the card between the jam and short bolt, and coaxing the door open.