How to get rid of flies

How to get rid of flies

 

When I was twenty three, my cousin and I sailed from Manhattan to Cape Cod in a small boat with an unreliable 1000 pound, 4 horsepower engine. At some point the engine decided to take a break for a few days and we were becalmed in the middle of the long island sound. A group of tiny horseflies discovered us and proceeded to drink our blood for several hours while we flailed around in an attempt to kill the little punks. After substantially increasing in size, the flies flew away and had thousands of baby flies.

There are about a quarter million different types of flies in North America and I find all of them to be annoying. For the purpose of controlling a small scale home invasion, we can focus on large flies attracted to rot and smaller flies attracted to sweet things. The big flies that are usually seen hanging around dumpsters are drawn by rotting flesh, in which they also lay their eggs. Smaller flies, which I’m going to call gnats are drawn by sweet things like fruit and often come from eggs laid in the ends of bananas. The easiest way to prevent fruit flies is to cut the ends off bananas and throw them away outside.

Here in sunny rainless Los Angeles, the flying insect problem is small because of the drought conditions. Most flying insects require water to breed so often they won’t get the chance due to the lack of puddles and other standing water. One of the results is that the flies will be extra eager to get into your sink and procreate.

One direct approach is to run around the house spraying toxic poisons at every fly you see, but I wouldn’t recommend this method as it will have negative impacts on the occupants’ general health. Fly traps are the way to go and there are a number of different designs. The traps usually use a combination of bait, sticky paper, and the fly’s own stupidity to trap them. The bait for fruit flies is usually something sweet like banana or apple cider vinegar. The bait for large flies is something that resembles the smell of rotting flesh. These traps should be placed far away from people as possible because the smell of the bait is highly offensive. Once the flies get into the trap, they are too dumb to escape and also it must smell great so why leave?

It is always important to not let a trap sit for too long because the flies will start to lay eggs in the bodies of their dead comrades. Flies aren’t squeamish about, well, anything.

 

 

Mega Drought in California

California is in a mega drought which may last many more years.

How to respond to the looming specter of enduring drought in California is a controversial topic, subject to much debate and pontification on the part of pundits and politicians.  The first thing to do is to divide the debate into two parts, water conservation by individuals and conservation by farms.

Eighty percent of water used in California is by large agricultural corporations. We see a lot of sad stories about small farms who are losing their livelihood but in most cases it is a result of an unwillingness to change in the face of facts. Farmers have been overusing water for many years with methods like flood irrigation and choosing to grow the most water intensive crops possible. Now that we are drilling for water deeper and deeper, the realty that water is not an infinitely renewable resource has hit the farmers hard.

So while individual efforts to conserve water won’t have as much of an impact as say banning flood irrigation, it is still something everyone should think about and do because every little bit helps. A significant amount of water can be saved by upgrading or changing appliances. A more efficient toilet tank system can save a lot of water as well as a water saving clothes washer. Upgrading appliances can qualify you for a rebate.

There are also a lot of opportunities to save water outside.

  • Use mulch, a layer of groundcover evens out the soil temperature and increases water retention in the soil.
  • Use a soaker hose or drip irrigation instead of a normal sprinkler, this can save up to seventy percent.
  • Plant a tree, trees need less water than grass and they provide shade which reduces evaporation and keeps things cool.
  • Plant drought resistant varieties of plants instead of water hungry grass.
  • Get a timer for the watering system and water at night or early morning to reduce evaporation from the hot sun.
  • If you have a lawn keep the grass long so the roots stay shaded and need less water.
  • Use a broom to clean patios instead of a hose.

We are currently experiencing the worst drought in 1200 years and indications are that it won’t end for 10-20 years. In light of that sobering forecast, we all need to do our part to save water.

Tips on Bathroom remodeling

Tips on Bathroom remodeling.

Perhaps you have just moved into a new house and the previous owner was not big on cleaning the bathroom. Perhaps the shower head is too low and showering requires bending over. Maybe you just need to remodel the bathroom for a change of pace. Or the previous owner has installed the toilet in an inappropriate place.

 

General tips:

Decide on the materials and allow time for delivery. To get the best prices on materials, comparison shopping is key and things like countertops and tile will take a week or two to be delivered. Wait until you have everything before starting construction.

Create in shower storage. You have the chance to start from scratch so avoid buying a shower caddie later and make a shelf for shampoos right in the shower.

Install a curved shower rod or frameless shower door. Curved shower rods with steel curtain rings look better and are available in different finishes.( http://www.tashmanhomecenter.com/52-72IN-CURVED-CURTIN-ROD-VB-p/0228379.htm)

Update the lighting. Put a small floodlight in the shower and get a nice new vanity light for over the sink. The style and amount of light can really change the feel of a room.

Use caulking with mold control. Choose an acrylic caulk or hybrid with mold control which can be easily replaced and will obviously reduce the chance of mold.

Place towel bars and grab bars at appropriate heights.  A horse jockey and an NBA player are going to want to have towel bars at different heights.

Calculate the household water usage and make sure the hot water heater is big enough. Here are the rough water usage rates for the bathroom.

toilet

 

Showering: 12 gallons per person
Bathing: 9 gallons a person
Shampooing hair: 4 gallons a person
Washing hands and face: 4 gallons a person
Shaving: 2 gallons a person

 

There are three basic types of material for bathroom counters. Natural stone is the nicest and most expensive but must be sealed and is difficult to get in odd shapes. Resin is a very durable material that is not very costly and can be easily made to any shape. Laminate is very cheap and doesn’t last very long, particularly in a bathroom because laminate doesn’t do well with moisture.

It is important to get a vent that is right for the size of the bathroom. Good circulation is necessary to avoid mold and see yourself in the mirror.

History of Wood Doors

The oldest wood door in the world was discovering in Switzerland while digging underneath an Opera house. Built around the same time as Stonehenge, the 5000 year old door has “a clever design that even looks good.”(http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-11593005)

 

 

The world’s largest wood door is in the United Arab Emirates and is dedicated to the country’s president Sheikh Khalifa. The door is made of teak and stands more than eighty feet tall. (http://www.thenational.ae/news/uae-news/inspiration-behind-the-forthcoming-worlds-biggest-gate-in-uae)

largest-gate

 

Cavemen got tired of predators wandering into their caves and causing trouble so they decided to create a barrier that would be easy for humans to get through but hard for animals without opposable digits. While stone and metal were often used in monumental doors such as in Temples and government buildings, wood was the common man’s material. The exception was King Solomon’s temple, whose door was made of olive wood. Asian doors from antiquity often included rice paper framed by bamboo.

Moving up to the High Middle Ages, the designs become unique to a historical period and region. For example English doors from the Tudor period (1485-1625) are very different from English doors during the Baroque period (1625-1715). Discussing the obvious inferiority of wood doors during the British Victorian period (1837-1901) to those of the American Victorian period (1840-1910) seems like a good way to get into a fist fight with a woodcarver. These detailed changes are meticulously cataloged by the woodcarver’s guild of London (est. 1208 AD).

We can touch upon a few of these design periods as some of the styles are still popular today.

Colonial Doors 1607-1780

As the name implies, these doors are of a style adopted by the European colonies. They were generally constructed with wood slates and little decoration. As the colonies became more cosmopolitan, the main entry doors were often carved in patterns akin to their European counterparts.

Beaux arts/Art Deco

Any respectable art history student would be very upset with the above pairing but the two styles are very complicated and inspired by the respected art movements of the times.

Contemporary/Modern

The greatest advancement in wood door technology is the ability to make doors that don’t warp with heat and humidity. Making doors out of wood composite with a nice solid wood veneer mitigates the negative atmospheric effects.

Renewable Energy Types

It is indisputable fact that world economy has entered upon a new phase – an implementation of renewable energy resources in both industry and society. Such wide distribution is preconditioned by two main factors –a need of non-fossil resources and a variety of natural premises. In this context, production and usage of alternative energy sources become more and more reasonable. Moreover, some countries have found a true solution of their energy problems, most of which are related with export of fuels and dependence on prices of other states. Renewable energy is likely to change the face of global production in future regardless the attempts of large TNCs to broad their spatial structure of mining oil and natural gas.

The idea of renewable energy usage essentially leads to a discussion of the most promising natural preconditions and world leaders in related production.

First of all, much was done to implement solar energy, provided by established solar panels, solar collectors and solar power plants. Of course, generation of this type of energy is a prerogative of those states, which possess the highest temperatures and lasting sun period within a year. However, most of the biggest producers are represented by highly developed countries, which own both big investments and large power stations. So, they include the United States, Germany, Spain, Ukraine, France, China, Australia, Belgium, etc.

Wind energy industry is based on wind farms, wind turbines and wind power stations. To date, it is an achievement of both developed and poor countries. For instance, small windmills are established in Mongolia, where the lands can offer required wind speed. Among other developing countries, which are eager to succeed in wind energy production, are India, Turkey, Brazil, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Russia. Certainly, this list is much supplemented by global economic leaders.

Tidal and wave power are received after the conversion of energy of tides into electricity. In accordance, tidal energy has the potential energy and kinetic energy of water waves. The calculations conclude, all the energy of tides of the oceans is estimated at 1 billion kW. Therefore, countries having an access to seacoast and big waves are potential producers of tidal power. Already existing “generators” feature France, England, Ireland, the US, Russia, Japan, Canada, Portugal, Spain, etc.

Rivers are also of high benefit in energy production. In particular, hydro energy includes all the possibilities of conversion water current into electricity. The absolute record-holder is Iceland, which uses only 6% of its potential. Iceland is followed by Norway, Canada and Sweden, which possess powerful mountain river flows. To date, there are states, which crucially develop their hydro energy opportunities and construct new stations. Among them it is appropriate to name China (much due to capacity of Yangtze River) and Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo River). It is impossible not to mention Brazil and Paraguay, engaged in development and enlargement of Itapúa Station.

Geothermal energy is naturally reasonable in zones of volcanic activity, where underground warm waters are reached with the help of well-boring. Iceland is the world leader in this case too: five geothermal stations provide 25% of energy safety in the country. The other geothermal power generators are established in the USA (mainly San Francisco region), Philippines, Italy, Mexico, Israel, etc.

Guest post is by Maria Kruk, an author for Patentsbase.com

The Story of Graffiti

It is not a rare occasion, when going along the street you clash with some puzzled and giant inscription. Vivid colors and intricacy lead you to stare, guessing and having a hunch what is written on the wall or building. That is the first impression people get about graffiti, embellishing their buildings. Indeed, graffiti style has emerged not long ago, but simultaneous simplicity and involute plot leave us nothing but astonishment and excitement. It is an issue of street-art culture, which signifies that modern art is not a prerogative of rich and intelligent people, but talented ones.

Graffiti is recognized as street art style that embraced outdoors of New York in 1920s. However, there are some ideas that it was only an outburst of this art, which has accomplished a long history of its development since ancient times.  As strange as it may seem, petroglyphic drawings in Egypt and Greece are likely to be the first steps towards graffiti, which were executed on statues, temples and even pyramids. They carried either religious or warning meaning. Medieval graffiti is associated with pre-Columbian America and the culture of Maya people and, in addition, Vikings in Northern Europe, who were engaged in runic writings. In Early Modern Period graffiti was left by soldiers in various parts of the world, who were eager to leave some written mark about their conquest or stay in the mission station.

All in all, at the beginning of the 20th century people faced graffiti style, which slightly differs from the modern version. Moreover, the culture of this street art style was enriched with new methods, terms, authors and, of course, ideas. A critic is also included, which features the question: are graffiti images an art or an act of vandalism? There is no doubt that most of the authors (so-called writers) strived for expressing own social and political perception, but it did not obstructed to make images (tags) alerting and well-performed. Mainly, they were observed on the streets of American cities, where young people “imprinted” their dissatisfaction with the President or certain politicians.

Many tags were created in order to point out musical preferences. For example, the most prominent tag of the 20th century is “Clapton is God”, which appeared in Islington station (London subway) in 1967. In this way fans of rock-musician supported the release of his new album “Bluesbreakers” and the rock-n-roll culture.  The decades of 1970s and 1980s are a period of protesting punk rock movement. Especially, it covered streets of Manhattan, where the most visible tag was an upside-down martini glass – a symbol of Missing Foundation (punk group of 1984-1992). By the way, Manhattan is also a native place of the first recognized graffiti writer – TAKI 183; his tags were all over NYC, pointing his name (Taki is simplified from Demetrius) and address (183rd street).

To date, lots of countries have admirable and talented writers, which decorate both their native streets and make great tags in different parts of the world. Some cases might be underlined. Miss Van started with painting incredible dolls on Toulouse streets and nowadays moved to Spain, sharing her art with fashion industry (Fornarina collection, particularly). Banksy is the most well-paid and the most mysterious painter of modernity. He hides real identity behind the pseudonym of Bansky and paintings criticizing politics. He alerts an attention with his nihilism and anti-capitalism views, which only encourage people to attend his gallery exhibitions all over the world.

Stuck at the Denver airport

So I suppose its not that bad, it’s not snowing here or in Boston either and i don’t have to sleep at the airport but chicagos is delayed so my pilot is late. I left at noon in LA and will be in boston at two-thirty in the morning.  After which It being christmas eve and everything, i will have to go spend time with my girlfriend and her family.  This is normally fine except for the fact that I will be drop dead tired and perhaps slightly offensive with my disinterest.

After that though will be a some time to relax at my moms and then at the cape, the most relaxing of all…

I was lamenting the work ethic of americans a moment ago becuase no one gives us any credit for being the hardest working people outside of asia.  I’m taking a week off and so I will get paid for three weeks instead of three and will need to subsidize my rent.  Even If I were a salaried worker, I would christmas day and newyears day off and the rest would have to be vacation days out of the ten or twenty given to most each year.  The average person in Europe works 30 hours a week and shuts down every afternoon for two hours to take lunch and a nap.  I would say that the average United state’s citizen works about double that and clocks out for lunch.

These stats are not totally accurate but the idea is spot on.  If you were to tell someone in Spain for example that you work 15 hours a day, every day, with health benifits that couldn’t cover a cold, they would consider it inconceivable and possibly criminal.  I would argue that it is a conflict in our constitution, albeit a debatable one.  One could see this hard work as cruel and unusual punishment for being poor or unintelligent but it is a necessary path for people in the pursuit of happyness.  And they are working like this to make other people happy, generally their families.

Suggestions?

Federally mandated paid vacations, even for hourly workers?

Tax Breaks for people working more than 40hrs a week?

This country was built on people willing to sacrifice their lives’ work to provide a better environment for following generations.  How are we not at a point where driven hard working people can have a few minutes of free time?

This began as a reflecting on my last six months of work and how hard it is to clock 50hrs a week and be tired all the time but now I see that it’s not about me, It’s about the people really stuggling to make ends meet because they are stronger than me and I don’t know how they do it decade after decade.

To the people whose shoulders’ we stand on!