Tag Archives: Storage

More Annoying Camera Blogging (With Cats)

Mother Jones

Someday I will get bored of regaling you with pictures from my new camera, but that day is not yet. It turns out that burst mode is both a blessing and a curse.

First the curse. With my old camera, I never culled any of the photos I took. I just copied everything onto my desktop PC and left them there. Storage is cheap, and no matter how many pictures I took, I was never going to run out of room.

Then, a few days ago, I ran out of room. Not on the desktop machine, but on my tablet, which is synced to the desktop. For some reason, Microsoft uses MicroSD for expansion memory on the Surface Pro 4, and at the time I got it that meant a maximum size of 128GB. But the new camera takes pictures that are about twice the size of the old Canon, and burst mode means I can crank through a couple of thousand shots in a few days. So the Surface croaked.

In the short term, the answer was a bigger memory chip, which is thankfully available now. In the longer term, it means—what? Going through all the files every time I transfer them and weeding out 90 percent of them? That sounds tedious. Stop syncing some of the folders? I’m tired of that. It’s handy to have everything available everywhere at all times. I’ll have to ponder this.

But burst mode is a blessing too. I’ve tried a few times in the past to get a picture of Hilbert scurrying down a tree after climbing onto the roof, but I could never do it. My old camera had terrible shutter lag, slow autofocus, and no burst mode. Unless I timed it perfectly—and I never did—I couldn’t get the shot.

But burst mode plus fast autofocus makes it easy! Check it out:

Now we can all pretend to be Vogue editors, choosing just the right shot for this month’s cover. I chose No. 3, which shows Hilbert at his graceful best:

So there you have it: better action photography, but lots and lots of gigabytes. Is there a solution that’s neither mind-numbingly tedious nor exorbitantly expensive?

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More Annoying Camera Blogging (With Cats)

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Top 10 Ways to Green Your Halloween

From pumpkins to costumes to candy, heres how to reduce all your spooky Halloweenwaste.

Is the thought of all the potential Halloween trash more frightening than Halloween itself? No need to fear. Weve got some green Halloween tips that are sure to scare away any waste but dont worry, we promise youll still get all of your Halloween treats!

1. Make a jack-o’-lantern

Can’t decide whether to carve or paint your pumpkins? Carve them! Many paints contain ingredients that cant be composted, so to ensure you can still dispose of your pumpkin responsibly, skip the paint and get handy with some carving tools!

Read More:Proper Green: Is it Bad to Paint my Pumpkin?

2. Keep the dcor natural

Putting your pretty carved pumpkins on display is a given, but there are also other gourds and dcor (think branches, leaves) that can be brought inside to make your home feel like a haunted house while reducing your consumption of man-made materials. Since everything will be natural, just add it to the compost pile at the end of the season.

3. Opt for decorations you can repurpose

If you cant get your hands on compostable leaves or cornstalks, choose decorations that will last for years to come in some form or another! For example, you can use fake cobwebs as replacement stuffing for stuffed animals or throw pillows.

4. Make your own DIY costume makeup

Use natural food coloring and cornstarch to make your own vibrant face paint without any of the harmful chemicals. By using simple ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen, you can avoid the extra cost and all the packaging that comes with store bought versions!

5. Make your own DIY costume using only what you already have

From old school classics like a bed sheet ghost to new ideas like raining cats and dogs (where you glue a bunch of stuffed animals to a raincoat and umbrella), many costumes can be made without a trip to the store. To reduce even more waste, get creative with old clothes that were headed for the trash anyway!

Read More:7 DIY Costume Ideas You Already Have the Materials For

6. Raid a thrift store for costume ideas

There are so many clothes in need of a second life, and many of them are at thrift stores just waiting to be pieced together into your next Halloween costume. Plus, for any DIY costumes missing key pieces say, a fringe vest or cool tie-dye shirt to complete a hippie look a thrift store is just the place to find what youre searching for.

7. Donate old costumes

Dont let those ghosts of Halloweens past haunt you (and take up all your storage space). Raid your current costume collection and donate any that youve grown out of or that youve gotten the most possible uses out of. For any of those costumes that have a bit too much wear and tear, you might be able to bring them to a drop-off center fortextile recycling.

8. Choose your treats wisely

Go for bulk candy options to avoid unnecessary packaging, or ditch the candy idea altogether! Small toys, fun pencils and erasers, or even loose change have been some successful lower-waste alternatives to add to those trick-or-treaters Halloween haul.

Read More:Intertwined: Simple Green Tricks for Trick-or-Treating

9. Skip the store-bought treat buckets

Those clich plastic pumpkins seem to be ubiquitous, but believe it or not, thereareother options. Going with a reusable bag that can be used over and over again is your best bet for reducing waste. Pillowcases fit more treats, anyway!

10. Dispose of all leftover candy (or just wrappers) sustainably

The bad news is that the candy itself isnt compostable, but the good news is that there are programs that accept candy wrappers, likeTerraCycles mail-in recycling program. If youre having trouble keeping up with all the candy youve collected, you could donate wrapped candies (try something likeOperation Gratitude), freeze some of it to save for later, or turn it into something new, like chocolates into candy bark or hard candies into cake and cookie toppers!

Have any other ideas to reduce all that wicked waste? Share your tricks and tips (or treats) in the comments below!

This post originally appeared on Recyclebank.

Photo Credit: Recyclebank

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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Top 10 Ways to Green Your Halloween

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Should I Throw This Out? A Complete Guide to Storing Pantry Items

Make healthy home cooking a habit by stocking the essentials.

Americans spend less time cooking than people in any other developed nation. Only 60 percent of U.S. dinners were cooked at home last year, and about one-third of Americans eat fast food weekly.12

Theres nothing wrong with eating out occasionally. But studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that home cooking encourages healthier eating.3In one study of 9,500 people, the group who cooked the most consumed more fiber, fewer carbohydrates, and less sugar.4Cooking is probably the most important thing you can do to improve your diet. Its the collapse of home cooking that led directly to the obesity epidemic,says Michael Pollen, food activist and author ofCooked: A Natural History of Transformation.5

Cooking from scratch not only encourages healthier eating but can also help save money, and it may be better for the environment, especially if a home chef chooses sustainable ingredients when possible.67The best reasons to cook at home are simple: its pleasurable and the results are often delicious. In fact, 80 percent of Americans say that they enjoy cooking.

So why are people taking to the kitchen less regularly? Perhaps because it requires planning. A spin through the drive-through or stroll down the chip aisle is tempting when the cupboards are bare. Thus, a well-stocked pantry, refrigerator, and freezer can help make cooking on a regular basis easier and more enjoyable. The first step is to take stock of whats already there.

Assess the Reserves

Nearly all food products can go bad, and less-than-optimal conditions can speed up the process. Take inventory by examining and smelling whole grains, flours, oils, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices. Toss anything that looks bad, smells rancid, is expired, or has lost color or potency.

Then list what needs to be replaced and what additional staples will make cooking easier. Focus on items that can be incorporated into multiple meals. Stumped? List 10 meals that you regularly prepare (or would like to) and the required ingredients. Though many items should be bought fresh, such as milk products and produce, almost everything else are excellent candidates to buy in large quantities and keep on hand in a pantry, refrigerator, or freezer.

Stock the Staples

Use the following list of basic ingredients and storage tips to guide your own individualized inventory of essentials.

Note:the expiration dates are estimated assuming that a pantry meets optimal conditions. Food can have a significantly shorter shelf life in warmer, brighter, and humid environments, such as a cupboard near the stove, hot pipes, heater, or refrigerator.

Dry Goods

Transfer dry goods to airtight glass or stainless steel containers and mark with purchase dates. Weevil larvae, the microscopic eggs of small insects, are often present in grain products. To eradicate them, freeze flours for four days before storing.8

Dry Herbs, Spices, and Seasonings

For the best bargains and freshness, buy seasonings in the bulk section and transfer them to small, airtight glass jars away from the stove. Buy spices whole when possible and grind with a coffee grinder as needed. Keep larger quantities of frequently used seasonings, such as salt, pepper, cinnamon, and chili powder. For the rest, buy in small quantities or store larger quantities in the freezer and transfer them to the spice rack as needed.9

Oils, Nuts, and Seeds

These foods are fragile and degrade when exposed to air, light, and high temperatures.10For that reason, buy only what you can use before the expiration date. Keep water out of oil jars to prevent mold growth. Smell oils, nuts, seeds, and nut butters before eating and toss any that smell rancid.11

Liquid Condiments

With a few exceptions (notably broth, mayonnaise, and horseradish), opened condiments can be kept at room temperature, but most of them retain flavor and last longer in the refrigerator. Store condiments in the door of the fridge, which is too warm for milk or eggs.12Shake or stir before using.

Canned and Jarred Goods

These items can have long shelf lives, but they are safest, most nutritious, and taste best when eaten within the first year of storage. As a rule, high-acid foods such as tomatoes and sauerkraut expire before low-acid items like beans.13To preserve flavor in leftover canned goods, transfer them to a glass or plastic storage container for refrigeration and eat within three to four days.14

Spoiled canned and jarred food may contain the dangerous botulinum toxin, which causes a rare but serious illness if ingested. To be safe, examine cans and jars before opening. Do not open or eat the contents of:

Bulging cans
Rusted cans
Cans with dents in the seams
Jars with air bubbles
Jars containing discolored or moldy food15

Root Cellar Vegetables

Store onions, garlic, and shallots in paper bags punched with holes. Keep potatoes in covered, ventilated baskets, boxes, or bags. They can be kept in the pantry, but for extended freshness, store them in a cold room, such as a basement, that stays between 40 and 60.

Once you have a list, its time to shop. Ingredients in grocery store bulk bins are often cheaper and fresher than pre-packaged ingredients. A local co-op, buying club, or wholesale club may offer even better deals on bulk items. Filling up the pantry may feel daunting and expensive if the shelves were sparse to begin with. Remember, buying in bulk can save money in the long run, especially if it prevents pricy restaurant trips. But items must be stored properly and used before they expire to get the most bang for your buck.

Create a system to take regular inventory and routinely replenish supplies. Tech-savvy home chefs can download one of the many pantry-management smart phone apps designed to help home cooks take stock of ingredients. Old-fashioned pen and paper works great, too. Just make a list of items that need to be stocked monthly, quarterly, yearly, and longer. Then routinely check the quantity and quality of supplies.

Cooking is a creative pursuit that activates the senses and relieves stress.16It encourages people to connect with their food and nature and gather around the table to savor delicious meals. A well-stocked pantry expands options and allows for inventive meals all week long.

Written by Abby Quillen. Reposted with permission from Fix.com.

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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Should I Throw This Out? A Complete Guide to Storing Pantry Items

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NASA wants to get rid of that flying pollution factory you took to Florida

NASA wants to get rid of that flying pollution factory you took to Florida

By on 23 Jun 2015 3:29 pmcommentsShare

NASA, the earnest, dimple-cheeked do-gooder of government agencies, wants to revolutionize the flying pollution factories that we call airplanes, confirming what Neil deGrasse Tyson has been telling us all along: NASA is the coolest.

The agency announced yesterday that it will fund research into six futuristic airplane ideas over the next two years. The goal of the so-called Convergent Aeronautics Solutions (CAS) project is to create a new type of aircraft with “maximum efficiency and minimal environmental impact” that can “demonstrate the feasibility for urgent medical transportation from the wilderness of Alaska to the Mayo Clinic without human interaction” … which raises the question: What’s NASA got going on in the wilderness of Alaska?

Here are the six ideas from the agency — along with the re-naming suggestions from yours truly that make the theoretical planes sound as cool as they are:

Multifunctional Structures with Energy Storage [The Flying Battery]
A challenge with electric propulsion is the mass (volume and weight) of the batteries that must be carried inside the aircraft. But what if the aircraft structure itself could serve as the battery? Advances in materials, chemistry and nanotechnology might make this possible.

Autonomy Operating System for UAVs [Robo-plane]
A concern about UAV’s is how their internal logic/software might respond to unforeseen situations – such as a sudden worsening of weather, or another aircraft flying too close – that would prompt the need for a sudden change in its programmed course and behavior. The question is can advances in programming and artificial intelligence result in making it possible for a UAV to respond to those situations on its own, without remote human interaction, in ways that are as sure and predictable as would be made by a certified human pilot?

Mission Adaptive Digital Composite Aerostructure Technologies [The Shape Shifter]
In recent years there have been advances in making and using composite materials in aircraft structures, as well as advances in designing future aircraft that can adapt to changing flight conditions by such techniques as changing the shape of their wings. The question is, what if those technologies could be combined such that super strong, lightweight composite structures also are able to be flexible and change their shapes as needed during a flight?

High Voltage Hybrid Electric Propulsion [Self-healing Aero Light, a.k.a. SAL]
A challenge in implementing electric propulsion on airliners (where electricity drives the engine fan to produce thrust, rather than petroleum-based fuel being burned in a traditional jet engine) is how to make the whole power distribution system as efficient and lightweight as possible.

A potential solution may be found in advances in high voltage, variable frequency drives now used on the ground, which significantly reduces the size and weight of the required equipment.

At the same time, researchers will investigate the use in the power distribution system of “self-healing” insulation. The idea is that if any deterioration in a high voltage electrical line begins, the resulting exposure of the electricity to chemicals bonded in the insulation would automatically repair the line – reducing in-flight problems and costly ground maintenance.

Learn to Fly [The Virtual Flyer] 
Historically, the process for designing, building, testing and certifying new aircraft for flight can take years and cost a lot of money. The question is, are we advanced enough in our understanding of flight and the use of computer tools where we can safely enable new airplane designs to be more rapidly flown by skipping ground-based testing.

Digital Twin [The Digital Twin — that’s pretty good, actually]
The question here is can a computer model be built that accurately simulates and predicts how an aircraft or its individual components are affected by aging and ongoing operations such that a “digital twin” of a particular airplane can be created. This could help predict when problems might arise in order to prevent them from developing.

Go ahead, pick your favorite. Just don’t get your hopes up. Even NASA admits that these ideas are pretty far-out:

Of course, it’s very possible that after the studies are completed, the researchers may find that for whatever reason – technology, cost, the laws of physics – the answer is no, it’s not feasible. At least not right now.

Right on, NASA — challenging the laws of physics since 1958.

But as crazy as these ideas sound, this is the agency that put humans on the moon in the 1960s, so they could probably make a pretty sweet airplane … as long as the powers that be give them the money to do it.

NASA Aero Teams to Study if Wild Ideas are Possible




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Texas Wants Its Own Fort Knox

Mother Jones

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN” “http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd”>

Texas independence—or paranoia—strikes again. In recent years, some Lone Star officials, including former Gov. Rick Perry, have flirted with secession. Last month the new Republican governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, asked the state national guard to monitor a US military exercise that some residents fear is cover for a federal takeover of the state that will use Walmarts as staging areas. And now the state is on the verge of seizing the gold owned by the state that is stored in New York City and building a massive bunker to hoard this booty.

Per the Houston Chronicle:

AUSTIN — Texas could get its own version of Fort Knox, the impenetrable depository for gold bullion, if the Legislature gets its way.

Under House Bill 483, approved unanimously on Tuesday by the state Senate, Comptroller Glenn Hegar would be authorized to establish and administer the state’s first bullion depository at a site not yet determined.

No other state has its own state bullion depository, officials said.

The state government has about $1 billion in gold bullion stored outside the state, mostly in the basement of the Federal Reserve building in Manhattan. The gold has been there for years—because it’s so annoying to move, it’s easier to keep everyone’s gold in the same place, and the financial center of the world is the most obvious place. When bullion changes hands, it’s mostly on paper. So why does Texas now need to grab all its gold? Is it just because Texans don’t trust New Yorkers? Is it really that simple?


“New York will hate this,” state sen. Lois Kolkhorst said of the bill that now goes to Gov. Greg Abbott to be signed into law. “To me, that and the fact that it will save Texas money makes it a golden idea.”

The cost-cutting bit refers to the storage fees Texas has to pay to keep its gold offsite, although Texas would still have to shell out money for upkeep and security if it went the DIY route. Incidentally, Perry supported the Texas Bullion Depository when it was first proposed in 2013, telling Glenn Beck, “If we own it, I will suggest to you that that’s not someone else’s determination whether we can take possession of it back or not.”

But building a giant vault to house all the state’s gold will be the easy part. The tough task? Safely and securely moving 57,000 pounds of gold from Gotham to Texas. Perhaps we now know the plot for the eighth Fast and Furious movie.

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Texas Wants Its Own Fort Knox

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Handy, Hygienic Ways to Store Your Recycling


Handy, Hygienic Ways to Store Your Recycling

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Duke Energy says it would be too hard to actually fix its coal-ash problem

Duke Energy says it would be too hard to actually fix its coal-ash problem

Catawba Riverkeeper

After utterly ruining 70 miles of a North Carolina river, Duke Energy has been making nice noises about cleaning up its coal-ash ponds — the type that ruptured in February with environmentally catastrophic consequences. But a presentation to state officials this week revealed that the company is only aiming to achieve a small portion of the reforms that environmentalists have long demanded. Al Jazeera reports:

Duke’s current plan, presented on Tuesday, calls for the removal of all the coal ash at three basins, including the one that leaked into the Dan River. At Duke’s 14 basins where coal ash is still deposited regularly, Duke said it would convert to dry ash handling — a method that could reduce the risk of leaks into rivers and groundwater — or retire those units. At the inactive basins, Duke said it would begin the process of drying the ponds so only ash remains.

Duke said its current plan would take a few years to complete and cost upward of $2 billion.

But environmentalists say the plan doesn’t go far enough and want Duke to close its coal ash basins and remove the ash from unlined pits. The company warns that could take three decades and cost up to $10 billion. …

Some activists believe it could be done more quickly.

The federal government plans to publish regulations covering the storage of coal ash — residue left behind after coal is incinerated — this year. Problem is, we’ve heard that before. The EPA made similar promises after more than a million gallons of coal slurry broke loose from a Tennessee power plant in 2008, smothering 300 acres of land and waterways. Perhaps if that promise had been kept, Dan River would not be such a mess today, and we wouldn’t need to be listening to Duke Energy’s lame excuses.

Energy co. says removal of coal ash ponds could take 30 years, cost $10b, Al Jazeera

John Upton is a science fan and green news boffin who tweets, posts articles to Facebook, and blogs about ecology. He welcomes reader questions, tips, and incoherent rants: johnupton@gmail.com.

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Cuisinart HM-90S Power Advantage Plus 9-Speed Handheld Mixer with Storage Case, White


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Cuisinart HM-90S Power Advantage Plus 9-Speed Handheld Mixer with Storage Case, White


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How to power America with renewables on the cheap: Build a shit ton of wind and solar capacity

How to power America with renewables on the cheap: Build a shit ton of wind and solar capacity


Wind and solar will do the trick, but we’ll need a whole lot of them.

America could be powered almost entirely with wind turbines and solar systems by 2030 at a cost comparable to what we’re spending for dirty power today, a new study finds. The necessary approach would surprise most people, and it would generate enough economic activity to make any capitalist drool: Build, build, build … and then build some more.

From Midwest Energy News:

The analysis … challenges the common notion that wind and solar power need to be paired with fossil fuel or nuclear generators, so utilities can meet electricity demand when it’s not windy or sunny.

The paper instead proposes building out a “seemingly excessive” amount of wind and solar generation capacity — two to three times the grid’s actual peak load. By spreading that generation across a wide enough geographic area, Rust Belt utilities could get virtually all of their electricity from renewables in 2030, at a cost comparable to today’s prices, it says.

For the study, published in the Journal of Power Sources, researchers used a model to evaluate the cost effectiveness and reliability of tens of billions of combinations of renewable energy generation and storage capacity. They found:

At 2030 technology costs and with excess electricity displacing natural gas, we find that the electric system can be powered 90%–99.9% of hours entirely on renewable electricity, at costs comparable to today’s—but only if we optimize the mix of generation and storage technologies. …

We find that 90% of hours are covered most cost-effectively by a system that generates from renewables 180% the electrical energy needed by load, and 99.9% of hours are covered by generating almost 290% of need. Only [9 to 72 hours] of storage were required to cover 99.9% of hours of load over four years. So much excess generation of renewables is a new idea, but it is not problematic or inefficient, any more than it is problematic to build a thermal power plant requiring fuel input at 250% of the electrical output, as we do today.

The findings support a growing awareness of the potential for renewable energy to power America — and a rejection of doomsayers and fossil fuel executives who say we must keep propping ourselves up with coal, natural gas, and oil.

So keep those wind and solar farms coming, America. And throw in a few batteries too.

John Upton is a science aficionado and green news junkie who


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