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Hurricane season 2019 is almost here. Here’s a preview.

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The official start to hurricane season is still two months away, but forecasters released their first previews of the season this week.

Both forecasts, from Colorado State University and AccuWeather, anticipate roughly near-normal hurricane activity in the Atlantic basin. Although that might sound good, it’s actually a bit of a surprise given the building El Niño, which typically dampens hurricane formation off the coastline of the eastern United States.

“A near normal season can be devastating,” CSU meteorologist Philip Klotzbach said in an interview with Grist. “Even a below normal season like 1992 can cause huge problems.”

That year, Category 5 Hurricane Andrew made landfall in South Florida. At the time, Andrew was the most damaging hurricane in U.S. history. Since then, five hurricanes have topped it, including three since 2017 — Harvey, Maria, and Irma. Last year, Hurricanes Florence and Michael both caused billions of dollars of damage in the Carolinas and Florida, respectively.

This year, forecasters expect 12 to 14 named storms, of which five to seven will become hurricanes, and two or three will grow into major hurricanes with sustained wind speeds exceeding 110 mph. That’s roughly in-line with long-term averages, though scientists think climate change is generally making stronger hurricanes more common.

Should El Niño strengthen more than currently forecast, wind patterns in the upper atmosphere might become increasingly unfavorable for stronger hurricanes, which could provide a much-needed break to regions that are still recovering from the last two disastrous hurricane seasons.

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Hurricane season 2019 is almost here. Here’s a preview.

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Hurricane season starts today, and Trump still hasn’t learned from his deadliest blunder — Hurricane Maria

It wasn’t until five days after Hurricane Maria made landfall that President Trump tweeted about the devastation. FEMA administrator Brock Long arrived in Puerto Rico that same day — he was among the first Trump officials to get to the battered U.S. territory.

This week, a Harvard study revealed that the September 2017 storm is likely the deadliest disaster in modern U.S. history — with more casualties than Hurricane Katrina and the 9/11 attacks combined. The analysis places Puerto Rico’s death toll at somewhere between 4,645 and 5,740 people, 90 times more dead than the government’s widely disputed official death toll.

The president has yet to offer any public condolences on the death count in the new study. He has, however, tweeted vigorously in the wake of Roseanne Barr being fired to Disney CEO Bob Iger demanding an apology for “HORRIBLE” statements made about him on ABC.

“What if 5,000 people in any US state died because of a natural disaster? It would be 24/7 news. Well, that happened in #PuertoRico as a result of #HurricaneMaría, and we are now talking about a mediocre sitcom being cancelled,” tweeted journalist Julio Ricardo Varela.

Writing in an opinion piece for NBC news, Varela continued: “Puerto Ricans are not suddenly shocked by the Harvard study … because the proof was already there months ago. But almost nobody else wanted to look for it.”

Trump’s only visit to the island after the storm — when he said that Maria wasn’t a “real” tragedy like Hurricane Katrina — Varela writes, “served to highlight the late response and federal neglect to Puerto Rico’s catastrophe.”

The president’s inattention, critics argue, contributed to a disaster response that was slow, meager, and ripe with allegations of misconduct and corruption. And rather than drive compassion for fellow Americans, his priorities have helped shift attention elsewhere. Cable news dedicated more than 16 times more airtime to the Roseanne controversy than it did to the Puerto Rico death toll.

Because of the silence, Refinery 29 journalist Andrea González-Ramírez has started a viral thread on Twitter in an effort to remember and name the dead:

“This should be a day of collective mourning in Puerto Rico. Thousands dead because of administrations that could not get the job done,” San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz tweeted on Tuesday. “These deaths & the negligence that contributed to them cannot be forgotten. This was, & continues to be, a violation of our human rights.”

And with Hurricane Season 2018 beginning today, there’s still uncertainty about how prepared this administration is for another storm. Puerto Rico’s power authority announced yesterday that it may take another two months to get power back completely on the island, and officials say it’s likely that the electrical grid will crash again with the next hurricane.

On top of that, FEMA is going through a “reorganization,” Bloomberg reported last week, and several key leadership roles are still vacant or temporarily filled.

“What the impacts from the 2017 disasters show is that there is also still work to do in order to build a culture of preparedness across the country at all levels of government, including improved resilience among our critical infrastructure,” FEMA wrote to Grist in an email.

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Hurricane season starts today, and Trump still hasn’t learned from his deadliest blunder — Hurricane Maria

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The Perfect Green Grad Gift: A Refurbished Laptop


The fateful day finally arrived. My trusty computer bit the dust.

As a college student with limited funds, I didn’t really have the option to buy a brand-new computer. I needed a computer powerful enough to run photo and video editing software that wouldn’t completely deplete my bank account.

My only real alternative was to buy refurbished. So that’s what I did. Since then, I’ve been a big advocate of buying refurbished computers. In fact, I’m typing this on a refurbished one that has served me well for more than three years.

If you’re looking to give your grad a computer as a gift, a refurbished one is a great choice.

3 Tips on Picking Out a Refurbished Computer

Having purchased a couple of refurbished computers, I can offer a few tips to make the process a little easier.

1. New vs. Refurbished vs. Used

A new computer is just that, brand new, never been used. Though the two are commonly confused, a refurbished computer is not the same thing as a used computer.

A used computer is typically one that someone else owned and is selling directly to you. There is no warranty or certification. The computer comes as is.

A refurbished computer falls somewhere in between new and used. It commonly originates from one of the following categories:

Demonstration models
Slightly damaged computers
Returned computers that weren’t used
Overstock/unsold models that are being replaced

Computers that have been lightly used are wiped and tested to ensure complete working condition before they are sold as refurbished models.

Computers that get damaged in shipping or have any cosmetic issues are often returned to the manufacturer, then repaired, tested and sold as refurbished models.

When purchased from a reputable dealer or the original manufacturer, refurbished computers are usually certified and must pass strict testing. They also often come with a warranty. Refurbished computers are sold at a discount compared with new computers.

2. Buying from the Manufacturer vs. a Third Party

There can be some benefits to buying a refurbished computer directly from the manufacturer. Their refurbished computers are required to pass strict testing to ensure they are in complete working order. In some instances, the testing is more stringent than what a new computer must pass.

Refurbished computers purchased from the manufacturer nearly always come with a warranty. Also, the manufacturer’s technicians work on the same computer models every day. They know which issues are most common and are probably quite proficient at making all the repairs quickly and without mistake.

Third-party refurbishers and sellers can also be a great source for a refurbished computer. These are companies that buy lightly used or slightly damaged computers and get them back into working order. They typically have their own certification process and require their computers to pass testing to ensure they work as well as new computers. They also often provide a short-term warranty.

I’ve had good experience purchasing refurbished computers from the manufacturer and from third-party sellers. What it really comes down to for me is who has the computer I’m looking for in stock.

3. How Will Your Grad Use the Computer?

Before you purchase a refurbished computer for your grad, you may want to pause and consider how he or she will use the computer.

If it will be used mainly to write papers, browse the internet and send email, then you don’t need a computer with a lot of power. In this case, I think a refurbished computer is perfect.

Typically, refurbished computers aren’t the latest model. Often they are a model or two behind what’s currently on shelves, so they won’t have the latest graphics card or most powerful CPU.

However, if your grad is going into graphic design, film or engineering, look for a machine with a bit more power. This doesn’t mean you can’t purchase a refurbished computer — you just need to do more research and be more selective to ensure the computer will meet their needs.

When you’re on a budget, a refurbished computer is a great way to go. I highly recommend purchasing refurbished over new.

Of course, if you’re getting a refurbished computer to replace an old model, make sure you recycle or donate your old computer.

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The Perfect Green Grad Gift: A Refurbished Laptop

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As Harvey devastates Texas, catastrophic floods unfold in South Asia.

As floodwaters peak and recede over the coming weeks, there will be lots of standing water for disease-transmitting mosquitoes to breed and multiply, the Atlantic reports.

West Nile virus has plagued Texans since 2002, and there were 22 cases of Zika in the state in 2017. Those numbers could increase sharply if mosquito populations spike. In New Orleans, West Nile cases doubled the year after Hurricane Katrina flooded much of the city. (Oh, and mosquito populations are already on the rise thanks to climate change.)

There are other dire health effects from the storm. Floodwater often carries untreated sewage, gasoline, and debris, all of which can cause injury and illness when people come into contact with it. Even after water recedes, tainted carpet and drywall can harbor mold and mildew, another serious health threat.

And, in an unfortunate twist, unmonitored emissions and chemical leaks among the refineries and plants in Houston’s extensive industrial district on Monday caused officials to issue a shelter-in-place warning for residents downwind of a breached pipeline.

All of this will take a greater toll on Houston residents sidelined into vulnerable neighborhoods — mostly communities of color who were already suffering before Harvey made headlines. For them, the storm is far, far from over.

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As Harvey devastates Texas, catastrophic floods unfold in South Asia.

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Live From New York It’s…(The End Of The Season Of) Saturday Night Live!

Mother Jones

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Saturday Night Live has been around forever. The first season wasn’t even on TV, it was performed in the fields, where people lived for millennia prior to the advent of structures. Since then the NBC sketch show has experienced hills & valleys in terms of both relevance and quality. Though the jury on the latter is still deliberating, with regard to the former it seems pretty safe to say 2017 is a peak. Everyone watches because of Trump & co, a clownish bunch who are often hard to distinguish from satire in life but somehow still laid bare in comedy.

The internet has done lots of fun and wonderful things but it’s also done bad and terrible things and, most confusingly, things that are both good and bad. Facebook has turned the world into news consumers. That is both good and bad. Good: More readers of news! Bad: No one can escape the news. So these weeks we’ve had of breaking news interrupting developing news interrupting holy shit omg news, and all of it very serious and terrible and dramatic and unreal, make everyone exhausted. They’re exhausting. So we all gather around basic cable together, like our parents and their parents before us, for some cathartic jokes about Trump and his merry band of incompetent kleptocrats.

One of my favorite lines is from the Hayden Carruth poem Scrambled Eggs & Whiskey. “Here we are now in the White Tower, leaning on one another, too tired to go home.”

It us.

Anyway, tonight is the season finale!

The Rock is the host and Katy Perry, who I still can’t hear without getting sad about the election, is the musical guest.

The cold open had the Trumps (and Death?) singing Hallelujah.

It was a call back to this:

&lt;br /&gt;

Then the Rock said he was going to run for president with Tom Hanks.

Remember a few inches above this when I was like, “Death?” That was supposed to be Steve Bannon in the cold open. It’s a recurring thing. I forgot!

Here’s an earlier skit with Bannon as Death:

Then Alec Baldwin really took his Trump impersonation to a whole new level:

Just kidding. That is a scene from the 90s thriller Malice.

This is the real clip from tonight. Alec does a perfect Trump impersonation.

This post is being updated.

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Live From New York It’s…(The End Of The Season Of) Saturday Night Live!

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This Simple Advice Completely Changed the Way I Cook (and Eat)

Mother Jones

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In the days after reading Samin Nosrat’s new book, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, eating felt like a new adventure. My tongue became a detective, searching for the source of different flavors and how they mingled together, whether they balanced each other out or dragged each other down. And when it came time to cook simple meals, the raw carrots and greens in my fridge looked less intimidating: I had new tools to tame them.

Inspiring this sense of culinary liberation was precisely Nosrat’s goal with her cookbook, which eschews formulaic recipes in favor of heartfelt stories, bits and pieces of science, and time-tested nuggets of kitchen wisdom (not to mention gorgeous and witty watercolors by the prolific Wendy MacNaughton). “Anyone can cook anything and make it delicious,” asserts Nosrat, who joined us on our latest episode of Bite. The new cookbook, out on April 25, “will change the way you think about cooking and eating, and help you find your bearings in any kitchen, with any ingredients, while cooking any meal.” Lofty promises, but boy, does Nosrat deliver.

Nosrat came of age as a cook in the early 2000s at Chez Panisse, the legendary farm-to-table restaurant in Berkeley, California. In 2014, she became known as “the chef who taught Michael Pollan to cook,” after she was featured in Pollan’s book Cooked and the Netflix special with the same name. What defines her work is her focus on salt, fat, acid, and heat as the “four elements that guided basic decision making in every single dish, no matter what.” It’s not as if other chefs haven’t discovered this strategy; in fact, when she revealed her theory to a fellow cook, Nosrat writes, “he smiled at me, as if to say, ‘Duh, everyone knows that.'” But Nosrat had “never heard it or read it anywhere, and certainly no one had ever explicitly” taught her the idea.

I dabble in cooking, but I tend to rely on recipes, so I am ripe for this type of revelation. I spent an afternoon with Nosrat and witnessed her wizardry at work through an experiment with acid. Th amazing illustration above aside, acid in cooking refers to vinegar, citrus fruits, condiments, pickles, and all kinds of fermented foods, among other things. Acid alone tastes sour, but combined with other things, it heightens flavors and creates balance.

Witness what happened with some plain carrot soup. Nosrat cooked two diced onions in olive oil and butter until they were soft. She added two bunches of peeled, sliced carrots, water and salt, and simmered the mixture until the vegetables were tender. Then she subjected it to an immersion blender to make it smooth. Aside from maybe the immersion blender (and you could cool the soup and use a regular blender instead), all of these ingredients are cheap, accessible, and pretty straightforward to cook. The soup they produced was earthy and sweet; a perfectly fine office lunch, as Nosrat branded it.

What transformed it into a Chez Panisse-worthy potage was a few drops of one of the cheapest household ingredients: vinegar. Nosrat learned of this secret from a fellow cook while still working in the restaurant’s kitchen. She was skeptical of the advice—”Vinegar? Who’d ever heard of putting vinegar in soup?”—but when she obliged, she confronted sheer magic. “The vinegar acted like a prism, revealing the soup’s nuanced flavors—I could taste the butter and the oil, the onions and stock, even the sugar and minerals within the carrots.” The acid brought everything to life. As Nosrat writes: “If something I cooked and seasoned ever tasted so dull again, I’d know exactly what I was missing.”

Maddie Oatman

When Nosrat made me the carrot soup, we actually sampled three versions—one with no adornment, one with added vinegar and salt, and one with a salsa verde of cilantro, ginger, salt, and lime. To hear the full results of the taste test, you’ll have to tune in to the whole episode.

You can make similar soups with all sorts of vegetables and their acid companions; see below for Nosrat’s recipe for corn soup, which only requires four basic ingredients, plus a garnish or two. Choose the freshest ingredients you can find. And when you’re done, as she advises in Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: “Taste the soup for salt, sweetness, and acid balance. If the soup is very flatly sweet, a tiny bit of white wine vinegar or lime juice can help balance it out.”

Silky Sweet Corn Soup

From Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, by Samin Nosrat

8 to 10 ears of corn, husks, stalks, and silk removed
8 tablespoons (4 ounces) of butter
2 medium yellow onions, sliced


Fold a kitchen towel into quarters and set it inside a large, wide metal bowl. Use one hand to hold an ear of corn in place upright atop the kitchen towel—it helps to pinch the ear at the top. With your other hand, use a serrated knife or sharp chef’s knife to cut off two or three rows of kernels at a time by sliding the knife down the cob. Get as close to the cob as you can, and resist the temptation to cut off more rows at once—that’ll leave behind lots of precious corn. Save the cobs.

In a soup pot, quickly make a corn cob stock: Cover the cobs with 9 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, then remove the cobs. Set stock aside.

Return the pot to the stove and heat over medium heat. Add the butter. Once it has melted, add the onions and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are completely soft and translucent, or blond, about 20 minutes. If you notice the onions starting to brown, add a splash of water and keep an eye on things, stirring frequently, to prevent further browning.

As soon as the onions are tender, add the corn. Increase the heat to high and sauté just until the corn turns a brighter shade of yellow, 3 to 4 minutes. Add just enough stock to cover everything, and crank up the heat to high. Save the rest of the stock in case you need to thin out the soup later. Season with salt, taste, and adjust. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes.

If you have an immersion blender, use it to carefully blend the soup until it is puréed. If you don’t have one, work carefully and quickly purée in batches in a blender or food processor. For a very silky texture, strain the soup one last time through a fine-mesh sieve.

Taste the soup for salt, sweetness, and acid balance. If the soup is very flatly sweet, a tiny bit of white wine vinegar or lime juice can help balance it out. To serve, either ladle chilled soup into bowls and spoon salsa over it to garnish, or quickly bring the soup to a boil and serve hot with an acidic garnish.


Follow this method and the basic formula I described above–about 2 1/2 pounds of vegetables or cooked legumes, 2 onions, and enough stock or water to cover—to turn practically any other vegetable into a velvety soup. The cob stock is unique to corn soup; don’t try to replicate it when making any of the variations. Carrot peel stock won’t do much for soup!

“Smooth Soup Suggestions” Wendy MacNaughton

Bite is Mother Jones‘ food politics podcast. Listen to all our episodes here, or by subscribing in iTunes or Stitcher or via RSS.

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This Simple Advice Completely Changed the Way I Cook (and Eat)

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10 Ethically-Made Rain Jackets for Spring

For many of us across the United States, warmer weatheris finally starting to show its facespring showers included!

Particularly those of us who live in wetterclimates are now acutelyaware of the difference a great raincoatcan make in our day-to-day. It’s important the jacketswe wear be not only waterproof, but breathable, seam-sealed andmade to last. A simple, no-frills rain jacket that you can count on is a staple in anyone’s wardrobe!

Are you in the market for a new rain jacket this spring? Check out my top picks for compromise-free, sustainably and ethically-made raincoats, right here:

For Him

1. Torrentshell Jacket by Patagonia

Sleek, packable and unpretentious, this rain jacket is one of the most trusted options out there. The Torrentshell is made to last, without any short cuts. You’ll find it to be waterproof, breathable and ingeniously designed!

Shop Online | $129

2. The Elements Jacket by Everlane

Perfect for the city dweller, this Everlane jacket is both “Everest ready and sidewalk approved.” It’s made from waterproof, three-layer cotton, complete with heat-bonded seams so the rain stays out. This one fits long. Perfect for commuters!

Shop Online | $148

3. All-Season Raincoat by Filson

Filson has been making beautifully-crafted garments since 1897. Pacific Northwest inspired, this thick, waxed cotton raincoat will hold back the elements from day one.

Shop Online | $395

4.Stockholm Raincoat by Stutterheim

Theincredible Swedish brand,Stutterheim, is known for its raincoats for a reason: only the finest craftsmanship is used to create this luxurious unisex style. You’ll see the fashionably-minded sporting it proudly fromSeattleto Milan.

Shop Online| $295

5. Winston Jacket by Howies

The Winston Jacket is made from Ventilea 100 percent cotton performance fabric that was the very first of its kind. It is woven so densely that it is completely waterproof and windproof! This one can handle anything spring throws at it.

Shop Online | $295

For Her

1. Torrentshell Jacket by Patagonia

This gorgeous Patagonia jacket is one of the top-rated rain shells out there! Completely waterproof and definitely breathable, this microfleece-lined jacket will serve you well in any downpour. Its silhouette is also very flattering.

Shop Online | $129

2. The Drape Trench by Everlane

Always classy. Always cool. The Everlane girl knows what’s up. This relaxed, luxe, weather-ready trench is perfect for professionals who care aboutfashionand function.

Shop Online | $138

3.Bowsprit Jacket by Seasalt

This Cornish-created raincoat is a timeless choice for the girl who likes to wear wellies. Made from hardwearing waterproof cotton, this oilskin parka will serve you well for years to come.

Shop Online | $110

4. Warbler Moss Water Resist by Bridge & Burn

If a Portlander made it, you know it’s good. Simple and functional in a fun tomboy style, this water-resistant hooded jacket is a great choice for the girl who likes to take things easy.

Shop Online | $228

5. Odyssey Jacket by Mountain Equipment

Protective and well-ventilated, this waterproof shell will give you protection for years to come. Pick this one if you’re looking for true UK performance engineering!

Shop Online | $200

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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10 Ethically-Made Rain Jackets for Spring

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Big oil just got a pass on methane reporting.

In some parts of the country, the season just breezed in three weeks ahead of schedule. Balmy weather may seem like more good news after an already unseasonably warm winter, but pause a beat before you reach for your flip-flops.

According to the “spring index,” a long-term data set which tracks the start of the season from year-to-year, spring is showing up earlier and earlier across the United States.

The culprit behind the trend? Climate change. And it’s bringing a batch of nasty consequences. Early warmth means early pests, like ticks and mosquitoes, and a longer, rougher allergy season. Agriculture and tourism can be thrown off, too. Washington D.C.’s cherry blossoms usually draw crowds in April, for instance, but they’re projected to peak three weeks early this year.

Spring isn’t shifting smoothly, either. It’s changing in fits and starts. Eggs are hatching and trees are losing their leaves, but temperatures could easily plunge again, with disastrous consequences for new baby animals and plants.

Play this out another 80 years, and it’s easy to imagine a world out of sync. Sure, your picnic in December sounds nice. But bees could lose their wildflowers, and groundhogs may never see their shadows again.

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Big oil just got a pass on methane reporting.

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20 Unexpected Ways to Use Dish Soap

I am one of those gals who geeks out pretty quickly when I discover multiple uses for any given household product.

These days I’ve been a big fan of multi-use products like Castile soap, distilled white vinegar and baking soda; dish soap is a fabulous new addition to the list. Who knew?

Chances are, you already have a big bottle of this tucked underneath your kitchen sink. So, break out the dish soap and get ready to have your mind blown!

25 Unexpected Ways to Use Dish Soap

1) Remove greasy build-up in your hair.

Hair oil and daily grime can build up in your hair over time. Try mixing a little squirt of dishwashing liquid into your shampoo, then moisturize well for a renewed shine.

2)Deep clean your blender.

Rather than disassembling the entire unit to deep clean, fill your blenderpartway with warm water and a few drops of dishwashing detergent. Run for a few seconds, empty, rinse and air dry.

3) Wash away ants.

Ants can be an extremely invasive species; you don’t want them in your home! Get rid of ants with a 50/50 solution of water and white distilled vinegar, with a few drops of dish soap. Spray, wait a few minutes and wipe up the mess.

4) Kill weeds kindly.

Make a natural weed-killer that is free of harmful herbicides by mixing one teaspoon of dishwashing liquid with a cup of salt and one gallon of distilled white vinegar. Spray the solution on weeds that are taking root in the cracks of your sidewalks.

5) Freshen up your makeup brushes.

Make a light solution of warm water and a couple drops of dish soap then shake to combine. Gently swirl your brushes in the solution, then rub on your hand or a soft cloth to removeproduct from the bristles. Air dry.

6) Make bubbles.

This is an excellent activity to do with kids! Many people use this recipe in schools and at children’s museums: mix together 1/2 cup of dishwashing soap, 1/2 gallon of warm water and 1 tablespoon glycerin (available at any drug store). Stir gently, skim the foam off the top and dip in your bubble wand for endless fun.

7) Get grease out of your pet’s hair.

There’s a reason why Dawn is the International Bird Rescue Research Center’s cleaner of choice after an oil spill. Dishwashing soap like dawn removes greasewithout harming the animal’s skin. It’s also biodegradable and phosphate-free!

8) Shineyour windows.

Mix a few drops of dish soap in 1 gallon of water, then fill a spray bottle of your choice. Spray and wipe as you would with any conventional window cleaner.

9) De-ice the sidewalk.

Tis the season for icy weather. To de-ice your steps and sidewalk, mix 1 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid with 1 tablespoon of rubbing alcohol, and half a gallon of hot water. Pour over your walkways. They won’t refreeze!

10) Soften your cuticles pre-home manicure.

Soak your fingers in a shallow dish of dish soap. It will make your cuticles soft and malleable, while removing oils from your fingernails.

11) Scrub your linoleum floors.

Just a few drops of dish soap in 8-ounces of water makes for a great floor cleaning solution. Spray on the floor, or use with a mop, to remove dirt and debris.

12) Repel pests from your houseplants.

Don’t buy a chemical spray. Instead, remove pests on your houseplants (including aphids) by spraying with a mild solution of a drop or two of dish soap with warm water.

13) Clear foggy eyeglass lenses.

Place a small drop of dish soap on your finger and rub on your glasses lenses to remove streaks. Rinse with water and air dry or wipe with a dry cloth.

14) Clean the toilet bowl.

Keep a solution of a few drops of dish soap and water in a glass jar in your bathroom or cleaning closet. Pour into your toilet bowl and scrub as normal for a nice clean.

15) Soothe a poison ivy rash.

Poison ivy spreads via oil within rash blisters. To keep a poison ivy rash from spreading, wash it with dish soap to dry up poison ivy fluid and soothe the itch.

16) Degrease your tools.

Rub a small amount of dish soap over grease spots on your household tools. This will also prevent rust from forming on your items!

17) Pre-treat oil stains on clothing.

Dish soap is an excellent remedy to any oil-based stain. Great examples are butter, motor oil, cooking oil and lipstick. Just apply dish soap directly to the stain, then scrub with a small brush until the oil is removed. Launder normally.

18) Put togethera makeshift ice pack.

Here’s a fun one! Fill a zip-type sandwich bag with dish soap, close and freeze. It stays cold much longer than water and can be re-frozen indefinitely, while remaining malleable.

19) Remove paint from hands.

Paint can be tough to remove from the skin. Scrub with dish soap to dissolve oily paints and then wash as you would normally.

20) Unclog your kitchen sink disposal.

If your dish disposal has taken on more than it can handle, pour approximately 1/4 cup of dish soap down the drain, then follow with boiling water. Let sit. Test the drain.

Which of these tips do you think you’ll start using? Let us know in the comments!

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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20 Unexpected Ways to Use Dish Soap

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What to Plant, Weed and Prune in May

If youre a gardener in the Northern Hemisphere, the month of May is an excellent time to refresh your garden after its winter sleep. Dont know where to start? Try some of these simple steps to prepare your garden for a smooth growing season ahead.


Whether youve been stockpiling packages of seeds or have trays of young seedlings waiting around, May is the perfect month for getting the majority of your plants in the ground.

1. Vegetables and Annuals

At the beginning of May, start hardening off any seedlings and potted plants youve kept in the house. Put them outside during the day so they get used to direct sun and cooler temperatures. Always bring them back inside at night if the temperatures are below freezing.
Young vegetable and ornamental annual seedlings can be planted out as soon as the risk of frost has passed in your area. This includes onion sets and seed potatoes.
Sow cold-tolerant vegetable seeds directly in the soil in early May or late April. Examples are green peas, lettuce, mustard greens, kale, arugula, spinach and root vegetables like carrots, parsnips, beets and radishes.
After your frost-free date later in May, you can direct seed warm season veggies like cucumbers, beans, squash, melons, pumpkins and herbs including basil, dill, parsley, marjoram and oregano.
Direct-sow ornamental annual seeds after the risk of frost has passed. Annuals like alyssum, lobelia, poppies, sunflowers, cosmos, marigolds and nasturtiums all grow well from direct seeding.

2. Perennials, Shrubs and Trees

Select what types and varieties you want in your yard, and pay close attention to the maximum size they will reach when mature. Trees and shrubs in particular can outgrow their space quickly if youre not careful.
If youve been storing any potted perennials inside, harden them off the same as annual seedlings.
Prepare your planting site by digging a hole about twice as large as your pot. Mix some compost in around the edges and make sure the soil level comes up to the bottom of your plants pot. Remove the plants pot and brush your hand lightly against the outside of the root ball to loosen it, taking apart any circling roots. Place it in the prepared hole, fill in with soil, tamp down with your hand or foot, and water it in well. Cover the soil surface with mulch for better moisture retention.
If you bought any bareroot perennials, shrubs or trees from mail-order catalogues, plant these as soon as they arrive in a similar way.
May is also a good time to plant summer-flowering bulbs, such as lilies, dahlias, alliums, canna lilies and gladiolas. You can buy fresh bags of bulbs and plant them directly in the ground. Or plant out any non-hardy bulbs youve overwintered and stored from last year.
Planting perennial vegetables are another option this time of year. Try experimenting with eatable plants such as asparagus, rhubarb, horseradish, or herbs like oregano, thyme, sage or lovage.


Unfortunately, the explosive May growth you see in your garden also applies to weeds. An important first step is to never let weeds go to seed. Deal with them as soon as they start. These are some of the worst types of weeds to watch out for and how to keep them under control.

Weeds with tap roots. Some of the hardiest weeds fall into this category, including dandelions, thistles and docks. Their strength lies in the nutrients and energy stored in the tap root. Repeatedly digging up the tap roots by hand will weaken the weeds over time until they eventually die. You can also spray the plants individually with an organic herbicide or treatment such as vinegar, boiling water or a small flame thrower.
Annual weeds. These often come up in large groups of fresh seedlings in May. They can be hand-weeded if there arent too many. Smothering is an option for larger areas. This involves covering the weeds with newspaper, cardboard or other organic mulch in a thick enough layer to block out all light reaching the ground. Keep the covering layer moist and leave it in place to decompose during the growing season. Plant what you want around it.
Creepers. Weeds that spread through underground roots can be especially invasive, such as grasses and bindweed. Hand-dig any smaller patches that have started, taking care to remove shoots that have grown sideways. You can solarize an affected area by covering it with a heavy plastic sheet and leaving this in place for a few weeks until the weeds underneath have all died from the heat.
Other Intruders. Keep an eye out for unwanted tree or shrub seedlings that might have drifted into your yard from invasive neighbors. You might also have to remove perennials you planted previously, but have since shown their ugly sides.


Its best to prune trees and shrubs at the end of the dormant season just before they start to grow their first leaves. This is often in April or May, depending on your location and the individual plants. Keep these tips in mind as you plan your spring pruning.

Early spring-flowering shrubs should be pruned immediately after flowering because the shrub will start to set flower buds for the next year. This includes shrubs like forsythia, lilacs, magnolias, ornamental cherries and apricots, and azaleas.
Berry bushes like raspberries and blackberries should be pruned as early as possible to remove any old, non-productive branches. This will encourage new fruiting growth.
Prune hedges as they start to grow in the spring and a second time in mid-summer to keep the growth even and compact.
For multi-stemmed shrubs, such as forsythia or hazelnuts, you can remove one-third of the main stems in spring to control growth and improve the shape.
If you havent already, make sure to cut the dead growth from last year off any herbaceous perennial plants. These include perennials like daisies or ornamental grasses that die down to the ground each year. You can also divide and move around any perennials that need it.
Fruit trees are typically pruned during late winter or summer. Spring weather conditions can promote the spread of bacteria, so avoid pruning trees like apples, peaches, cherries or pears.
Avoid pruning hardwood trees in May for the same reason, such as oaks, maples, walnuts or birch.
You can prune off dead, diseased or insect-infested branches at any time of year.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.


What to Plant, Weed and Prune in May

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