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It’s a jungle out there. If you don’t know the ins-and-outs you could put money down on an apartment, show up to move in and find yourself with 4 other people who also put money down on the same space all waiting for a phoney broker who has since left town. This did not happen to us. But this has happened for real to others.

After messing around with Craigslist, waiting outside apartments for a broker who doesn’t show up, or who gets there and shows you an apartment that doesn’t look like the photo online, or who tells you they don’t have the keys to that apartment but do have other keys, I finally walked into a realtor’s office on 13th and Fifth Ave, threw my hands up and begged someone to show me a nice apartment for my student son. My NY Realtor friends are annoyed with me for not coming to them in the first place- but I thought they wouldn’t want to bother with my low budget for Micah’s first NYC apartment. Well, my low-budget grew and grew, the more places I saw. Teeny, tiny, have to slide in side-ways to get to the toilet in miniscule bathrooms, dirty, strange and dark hallways, weird configurations of chopped up spaces. I couldn’t bear it and upped the ante. Along with upping came the broker and the commission and the one month FREE rent, nice trade. It has not been the best experience financially, but we found a great studio right near school. We’ll save on the monthly subway pass, he’ll cook for himself, I’ll send care packages. And that will have to be that.

Now for those of you who are out there shopping. Here is a good site with helpful info about the do’s and don’ts of apartment shopping in NYC.

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It doesn’t make sense that credit card companies would create an aspect of our cards that made our identity and information more vulnerable to theft. But here it is: I just read about a new wallet on where else? Joshspear.com.

It is the flipside wallet. Why do we need one? The case is this: our newer credit cards are embedded with a chip so that we can make instant purchases without swiping. Does your card do this? It is called RFID, Radio Frequency Identification. Apparently the microchip and antenna are in the card and the card’s info is detected via radio frequency- you wave your card at the sensor and voila, you’ve paid. Similar technology was used in the Exxon Speedpass.

The problem is that now thieves are using RFID technology to scan your credit card without your knowing it. Perhaps in a crowded place, or even in the coffee shop- with a device that is similar to one at a checkout counter. Your card could be scanned from up to 15 feet away, through you wallet.

Flipside wallet is a radio wave proof wallet. That’s nice, but I’d rather have a theft-proof card, wouldn’t you? I am going to speak with my credit card companies to make sure I don’t have a microchip in my card.

Some reading. Offers a solution by placing foil between your wallet and your cards. That’s an easy and cheap option.

More reading.

Even more.

Via: Joshspear.com

image1Read all about it at www.fooddemocracynow.org.

I don’t drink milk, but for those who choose to, you should also be able to choose healthy milk. An Ohio labeling law prohibits statements like “rBGH-free” or “no-rBGH” on all milk cartons. This takes away a basic right for organic companies and dairy farmers to properly label how their milk was produced. Tell Ohio’s Governer Strickland that mothers have a right now know.

‘Nuf said.

Cartoons as Real Folk?

July 21, 2009

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This is a wonderful rendering real of our 2 dimensional cartoon favorites.Isn’t Charlie Brown sweet? and funny -looking?  All the characters are very distorted- which is right, isn’t it? Cartoons are stretching our imaginations (sometimes). And the exaggerations are for the most part so very accurate we can really get who the characters are as cartoons and even more so when they are humanized.

Via: The Firewire

Lemon Cukes

July 16, 2009

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They are wonderful. I am picking them when they are lemon-size. They are sweet, juicy and refreshing, just can’t figure out the best way to cut them, right now we are enjoying them as wedges.

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Here is a link to Rodney Yee’s Yoga tips from GaiamLife.com.  You will find motivating tips on how to do basic poses. You can watch a video on downward dog. There is always something new to add to our Yoga practice. Also today there is an interesting article about Yoga being a weight bearing form of exercise. Of course it is! You hold you body up and using different muscle groups to do that in all the poses. Read the article. 

Bone Health is the main conversation for many people. The Bone Health Trio from Nikken is a crucial addition to anyone’s daily nutrition.

Crowd-Powered News

July 13, 2009

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This is a great site. Regular people are contributing their opinions, findings and local news to this site:  NowPublic.com which  I will visit regularly.

For example: today I read Barbara Matthieson’s article on cellphone recycling in which she describes downloading a free postage label from Sprint. That simplifies the process for those of us who don’t want to pay the poastage and do want to recycle our phones.

Maybe I’ll even become a rookie journalist and do some contributing?

You can  go to the NowPublic Newsroom, where you can find out about the Community and members, check out how-to videos, journalism tips, and contributor Guidelines, and learn more about site Tools.

Got questions? Need help? Want tips on how to improve what you do on the site? They provide the pointers on what makes news on NowPublic and to find out more about how to get involved and share your news with the world. And you can attend the Forum where you can share your thoughts and tips with other NowPublic members.

Browse through Local or World news, Culture, Environment, Tech & Biz, Health, Style, Sports and Strange! Read Truemors—which seems to be a fun-ish section for spoofish “onion”-esque stories. Fun.

And of course you can comment, share, send to twitter, facebook, etal.

Safe Sunscreens, Again

July 9, 2009

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Just to direct you to the EWG site again in case you’ve lost it. The Environmental Working Group’s lip balm sunscreen guide has ranked 154 products according to their testing standards- see how your lip balm ranks.

 

At EWG, our team of scientists,engineers,policy experts, lawyers and computerprogrammers pores over government data, legal documents, scientific studies and our own laboratory tests to expose threats to your health and the environment, and to find solutions. Our research brings to light unsettling facts that you have a right to know.” A worthy group to consider for contributions to help:

 update Skin Deep, our cosmetics safety database
 support the Kid Safe Chemicals Act
 fight for organic produce
 get dangerous chemicals out of your food and water
 protect your favorite national parks from mining destruction


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Malvina Reynolds, the well known folk singer and song writer wrote a song We Don’t Need the Men (read the lyrics here, they are fantastic) has just got a new possible verse- we only need the men to move the piano, take us to the symphony, and now we don’t even need them for their sperm BECAUSE sperm have just been cloned in a British lab!?!

This experiment was a proof of concept that stem cells can generate any cell in the body — not only the dozens of tissues that make up the human body but also those egg and sperm cells that may give rise to altogether new bodies. “Other cell types don’t generate the next generation,” says Nayernia, a professor of stem-cell biology at Newcastle University. “This makes a very big difference between our study and the study of other cell types from embryonic stem cells.” And these sperm cells are wanting in other features, as well. The  in vitro–derived sperm, or IVD sperm, are not exactly like naturally occurring sperm, though they do bear four important similarities to the cells created in the testes.

 “We think, for normal structure development, sperm needs the testes environment,” says Nayernia. It takes 15 to 16 years in the testes before the primordial germ cells that morph into spermatogonia, or a primitive precursor of the germ cells, are able to mature into sperm cells that can successfully fertilize an egg. 

It is against British law to  transplant these cells into people — we still need men to provide sperm for baby making. Seriously, there are important things that we can learn from this discovery, you’ll have to read it from the source.  But Reynold’s song is running in my head, anyway.

 

Via: Bud Cadell  www.whatconsumesme.com wonderful site, go see

Electric Lawn Mower

July 7, 2009

E0666-175Looks cute. Needs no yearly service. Carburators don’t gunk up, can’t flood the engine and it doesn’t use gas or pollute or make terrible noise on a Sunday morning when the neighbors are asleep.

It’s the Neuton CE6 . Easier to use than a gas-powered mower — squeeze the handlebar to start the motor, recharge overnight! 19″ cutting width.

Some gas mowers can reach 90 decibels — a noise level that can cause hearing damage with exposure beyond 15 minutes per session, according to The World Health Organization-with the Neuton CE 6 model, you’ll never need to wear hearing protection

No emissions. Amazing



Approximate cost to run a gas mower:
YEAR 1: Gas and Oil: $35
YEAR 2: Gas and Oil: $35 / Tuneup: $60
YEAR 3: Gas and Oil: $35
YEAR 4: Gas and Oil: $35 / Tuneup: $60

TOTAL: $260 

Approximate cost to run a Neuton mower:
YEAR 1: Electricity: $2.80
YEAR 2: Electricity: $2.80
YEAR 3: Electricity: $2.80
YEAR 4: Electricity: $2.80

TOTAL: $11.20

 

  •  Eliminate pollutants and carbon emissions (Americans use 800 million gallons of gasoline for their lawn mowers each year).
  • – Eliminate accidental fuel spillage (the 17 million gallons of gas spilled filling lawn mowers each year is a major contaminate to our underground water tables).
  • – Eliminate ear-damaging noise (gas mowers can damage your hearing and the peace & quiet of your neighborhood!).
  • Removable, rechargeable battery
  • Recharging costs about 10 cents
  • Fully recharges in 12 hours
  • Runs for up to an hour (depending on grass conditions)
  • Battery lasts for five years (with proper care)
  • Battery is over 95% recyclableR
  • Rear grass collection bag
  • Side discharge chute
  • 360 watt-hour battery
  • Battery charger
  • Safety key
  • $499