The EPA and Other Organizations Are Fighting Back Against Greenhouse Gases

Air Conditioner UnitOne of the hottest issues facing the United States in recent years — in more ways than one — has been the debate over climate change. While much of the attention has been focused on whether or not environmental change is even a reality, the problem has now gained enough traction for government agencies and organizations to take action.

The Daily Caller reported on how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is implementing new regulations focused on phasing out hydro-fluorocarbons (HFC) through the use of air conditioners, refrigerators, and other consumer products.

EPA chief Gina McCarthy is taking the lead role in a United Nations expansion of a current global treaty covering ozone-depleting substances. Her hope is that these recent regulations focused on the handling and ban of HFCs where environmental-friendly alternatives are available will convince other countries to join in the United States’ fight to limit these chemicals.

“Nations that are serious about fighting global climate change need to come to the table in Dubai with a sincere intent to negotiate a global agreement to phase down these harmful chemicals,” McCarthy wrote.

The EPA is joined by the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense in issuing these rules, as well as pledges from 20 different companies to help phase out the use of these green house gases.

“As residential and commercial HVAC systems age and natural processes such as electrolysis happen within the coils, the high pressure gas can escape into the environment, further damaging the stratospheric ozone layer,” says Cale Mazarz, Sales & Marketing Manager, ABS. “The movement to eliminate this from the HVAC industry has been a positive step towards protecting our environment from future man made harm. Change isn’t always overwhelmingly popular however the Green Movement has forced the HVAC industry to make necessary changes to protecting our environment for many years to come. Companies have spent countless hours training and certifying technicians to properly install and service equipment with the new R410A environmentally friendly refrigerant which can be costly; however, being the professionals in the industry, we have a responsibility to support and implement these changes so we do our part to protect the environment.”

Even though large organizations such as the EPA will be necessary to completely overcome the use of HFCs, some companies are also taking some initiative into finding environmentally-friendly versions of their products.

According to Gizmag, Mercedes is the first car maker to equip their production vehicles with CO2 air conditioning systems in response to a European Union (EU) directive based on climate protection, which will take effect in 2017.

These CO2 air conditioning systems are not only said to perform better than conventional systems from automakers or the average air conditioning company but are also overall more environmentally friendly. These systems operate at a pressure 10 times higher than today’s typical R134a refrigerant systems, at over 100 bar.

Mercedes has been drafting standards along with the EU that they also hope will influence other car makers to begin developing their own environmentally conscious air conditioning systems.

Clarksville Police: Mother Sold Children’s Medications to Fund Heroin Habit

Prescription DrugsA Clarksville, IN, woman was arrested and charged for drug possession late last week, but that’s not what makes Sara Donaire’s alleged criminal activity particularly appalling. It’s the fact that the mother of three was stealing her own children’s prescription drugs to fund her habit, according to the Louisville news affiliate WLKY.com.

“I think it’s horrible. Anybody that will take their kids medications, their medicine and sell it,” area resident Thomas Bowyer said. “She can get help, so she don’t have to steal from them.”

Thanks to the help of concerned neighbors like Bowyer, the Clarksville police were able to catch Donaire in the despicable act by setting up a sting operation at the local Target. Undercover police officers arrested her on the spot as she tried to sell them her children’s prescription drugs. She was also found to have two syringes filled with heroin, cocaine, and another rock of heroin in her car when they made the arrest.

Neighbors began to sense something was wrong when they kept seeing her children wandering the streets in search of their mother. When she was around her behavior was erratic at best.

“Driving, and you can tell she’s under the influence. She’s erratic in driving, come over in your lane, she’s almost hit me head on two times,” one neighbor said.

Almost half (48.5%) of Americans have used at least one prescription drug in the past 30 days. There’s no telling how long Donaire’s kids went without their medication. According to the Clarksville police, the drugs Donaire was selling included Coumadin, Ambien, Zoloft, and controlled substances known to treat ADD.

“Pills can bring anywhere from $10 to $100 per pill,” Clarksville Maj. Scott Merchant said.

She posted the $5,000 bond bail and will be arraigned this week. Child Protective Services are currently looking after the best interest of the children.

And the Award for Best Halloween Costume On a College Campus Goes to…

JacuzziLook beyond all the scantily-clad female outfits and tacky ensembles and you’ll find those rare Halloween costumes that hit it just right. Relevant, but not too predictable. Witty without trying too hard. At least one girl on the campus of the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) accomplished just that this year when she dressed up to portray a recent incident that occurred on the campus, according to the sports media site SBnation.com.

During the game day celebrations that took place before the Bruins 35-31 win over the University of Colorado last Saturday, someone snapped a picture of presumably a student that went viral. The girl in costume was wearing the #3 jersey of UCLA’s starting freshman quarterback Josh Rosen.

But that wasn’t all. The rest of the costume was a hand-made ‘hot tub’ around her waist and paper plate of food she was stuffing into her mouth.

There were approximately 21 million households that owned a hot tub, spa, or pool in the spring of 2014. Up until last week, there was also at least one in a college dorm room.

For the uninformed, Rosen was recently involved in a viral story of his own when it was discovered he had an inflatable hot tub in his dorm room.

The video that revealed the quarterback’s steamy secret to the social media world showed him soaking in the tub eating something off a paper plate when his roommate walked in on him.

It didn’t take long for the school to force him to remove the hot tub, but not before it could spawn arguably one of the best Halloween costumes put together this year.

The lesson? It’s not necessarily how big or extravagant the costume is, but rather the timeliness and attention to detail that sets it apart. Anyone could have thrown on a jersey and been Josh Rosen for Halloween. But there’s only been one verified ‘Josh Rosen eating in his hot tub dorm video’ costume.

Photographer Snaps the Most Realistic Autumn Photo for 1-Month Infant, Complete With a Deer Photobomb

Red Deer in Morning Sun.Megan Rion of Imagine That Photography receives plenty of photo shoot requests from parents who want a rustic, autumnal setting for their baby’s first photos.

Rion, whose business is based in Lake Charles, Louisiana, often gets some extra help from a very special assistant which gives parents an unforgettable photo shoot: a deer that lives in Sam Houston Jones State Park and drops by to greet Rion’s subjects during shoots.

Rion was photographing one-month-old Conner Rogers in the park on Oct. 20, when the deer stopped by to check out the shoot.

According to ABC News and KTLA 5 News, the deer’s name is Maggie and she has been featured (unintentionally) in a handful of Rion’s photo shoots.

“”Maggie has been appearing in our photos since the beginning of the summer,” Rion told USA Today. “She has been in six different photo shoots. She shows up for 5-15 mins then strolls on her way.”

Maggie is a rescue fawn, Rion explained, who was dropped off at the park at a young age. Maggie had been fed by humans for most of her life, so she doesn’t show any signs of fear around people.

At Conner’s recent photo shoot, Maggie walked calmly up to the baby to see what was happening.

“My assistant then took part of our set-up, an ear of corn, to coax her to look straight. Not only did she look my way, she came up calmly walking towards baby Conner and our set-up. I got a couple shots then we were done,” Rion said.

Rion snapped some photos of Maggie and Conner (who did not seem to notice the animal’s presence), which immediately went viral after Rion posted them on Facebook.

Conner’s parents, Tiffany and Scott Rogers, certainly have the beginnings for a magical professional photo album.

For all the other parents who are a little more hesitant to let wild animals approach their children, however, some professional photo editing and styling services can provide an equally magical scene.

Man With Cerebral Palsy Crawled Out of an Airplane After Flight Attendants Told Him To “Wait” for His Wheelchair

Disabled Woman In Wheelchair Boarding BusD’Arcee Neal had just spend five hours on a plane, flying from San Francisco to Washington, D.C. and he calmly waited for his fellow passengers to exit the plane. He expected it would take around 15 minutes, as it usually does, for the plane to empty.

Neal’s cerebral palsy renders him unable to walk, but luckily, he owns a specially-built wheelchair that is extra-narrow in order to fit through the aisle of an airplane.

Because Neal is also a considerate person and knows that airplanes never have enough room, he let the flight attendants move the wheelchair to the end of the plane; on this occasion, he assumed that they would bring it back upon landing.

Except they didn’t. And Neal had to use the restroom, but was unable to do so for over five hours since the plane had no wheelchair-friendly toilets. He kept asking the attendants to help him exit the plane, according to CNN, but was told to wait.

So he waited. And waited. And kept waiting. And finally the 29-year-old ended up dragging himself down the aisle for roughly 50 feet as the flight attendants watched.

“The craziest thing was that while that was happening, the attendants just stared. They just couldn’t believe I was doing that. It just seemed so unfathomable to them. By the time they came to their senses I was already out of the plane.”

Neal explained to the Washington Post in a phone interview that many people don’t understand how heavily he relies on his wheelchair to get around. In fact, he’s dealt with this problem in the past; in an NBC Washington article dated June 26, 2014, Neal talked about how lost he was without his wheelchair after the custom-built wheelchair was stolen.

“I can’t go anywhere. I need a wheelchair to be able to do anything,” Neal said. “Rationale says if you see a wheelchair unoccupied at any time in any given place, somebody near by needs it. It’s just that simple. If it doesn’t belong to you, you don’t touch it.”

“The retail value [of the stolen wheelchair] is about $5,000. It has to be custom-built and fit your body… It’s not a phone, or bicycle. It’s like someone literally took the bones out of your legs.”

“I have flown millions of miles over the years and have had the same situation happen to me several times,” says Rick Cooper, Sales Manager, Mobility Healthcare. “You have to be patient and persistent in asking the flight attendant to please contact the people that help board people with disabilities onto the plane. Sometimes the communication between airports regarding disabled people being on a certain flight is not properly passed onto the final destination, thus causing this situation to occur. Once, I flew into Dallas from Grand Rapids, MI and my wheelchair ended up in Chicago. That is a little worse than having your bag go missing.”

As TIME reported, United Airlines has since issued an apology to Neal and offered him $300 as “compensation” for the humiliation. Perhaps allowing him to access his own wheelchair would have been a smarter solution.

The Days of Lengthy Construction and Expensive Concrete Repairs Could be Over

concreteBetween sidewalks, roads, and buildings, people are constantly surrounded by concrete structures. This versatile building material has been in use for thousands of years, and over that time it has seen great advancements in composition and construction.

According to the Global Construction Review, the Technical University of Eindhoven (TU-e) unveiled a “king size” 3D concrete printer that has the capability to create objects up to 11 meters long, five meters wide, and four meters high, as well as structures as small as a pea.

The printer’s scale will allow it to produce entire walls with extra features, such as different qualities and colors, that are even hard to produce with conventional framework.

The prototype was built by the Dutch Company Rohaco, with funding by the university and 10 other interested companies, amounting up to $720,000. The university and partnering companies will work with the Dutch building industry to develop pioneering and easily recyclable concrete products.

While this 3D concrete printer is aimed at producing structures from the most widely used material around the globe while saving on time and operation costs, other institutions are working on methods that would lower maintenance costs even after construction.

Tech Times reported on researchers from Cardiff University beginning the first major trials for a formula for self-healing concrete systems by testing three different concrete healing technologies. Researchers used six walls, each containing different forms of self-repairing technologies.

Just in the UK, an estimated $18.3 billion was spent on road repairs in 2014. Therefore, the technology being tested could save tax payers billions for these costly public works projects.

“These self-healing materials and intelligent structures will significantly enhance durability, improve safety and reduce the extremely high maintenance costs that are spent each year,” said Professor Bob Lark, one of the lead scientists in the project.

Materials for Life (M4L) is planning to develop a single system by combining three separate self-healing technologies to initiate repairs as soon as it senses damage.

The first technique involves shape-memory polymers, which are shape-shifting materials that can repair large cracks. The second method uses a mix of organic and inorganic materials that are pumped into a network of thin tunnels throughout the structure, while the final technique involves tiny capsules with healing agents and specified forms of bacteria which will produce calcium carbonate to mend the cracks.

Given that concrete is the most common building material used throughout the world, technologies such as these could end up saving substantial amounts of money on construction and repair costs in all countries.

Budget Deal Could Crack Open Strategic Oil Reserves for Second Time in U.S. History

Wellhead Pressure GaugeAlong the coasts of Texas and Louisiana lie dozens of massive underground salt caverns, hidden thousands of feet below the surface. Many of these naturally occurring salt domes are large enough to contain the Sears Tower (with room to spare), and since 1997 they have been used to store about 700 million barrels’ worth of oil. Collectively, these salt caverns are called the Strategic Petroleum Reserves (SPR), a Cold War creation that currently includes enough oil to power 100% of the United States’ energy needs for 35 days.

It’s the largest petroleum reserve in the world, and the new bi-partisan budget deal in Washington D.C. could turn the reserves into a revenue source for just the second time in history. The SPRs were created after the 1973 oil embargo, which kicked off a national recession. The massive reserve is meant to provide a cushion for the ups and downs in the oil and gas industry, but only once before have they been used as a source of revenue.

In the mid 1990s, 28 million barrels were sold to reduce the federal deficit, and the new budget plan calls for nearly 9% of the emergency reserve to be sold. It’s part of a two-year budget deal between President Barack Obama and a bipartisan group of legislators.

“In the next 2-3 years, numerous risks are associated with the plan to sell crude from the SPR,” says Marty Stetzer, President, EKT Interactive. “The geopolitical environment is very unsettled affecting the marginal crude suppliers to the United States; 60% of U.S. crude is shale production. Production cuts are inevitable if current prices extend through 2018. Releasing SPR crude will send yet another long signal to the oversupplied marketplace, extending depressed prices. The long term viability of a robust U.S. producer sector is important and currently at risk.”
The deal has already passed through the fractured U.S. Congress — a formidable feat in 2015 — and if all goes according to the budget plan, then 9% of the reserves would be sold off between 2018 and 2025. The revenue would then be used to replenish the Treasury’s general funds.

It would be just the fifth time in history the reserves have been opened, for sale or for use. Besides the Clinton-era sell off, the reserves have also been opened three times as a stop-gap measure in times of low supply, such as in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Currently, the reserves hold enough oil to power the country’s entire energy needs for 35 days. Officially, the reserves are required to hold “at least 90 days’ worth of net oil imports on hand for emergencies.” As of July 2015, the Wall Street Journal reported that the SPRs held enough oil to cover 138 days’ worth of imports.

DIY Web Design Platform Wix Offers Cool New Features

Web Design Online Technology Working Office ConceptWix, the do-it-yourself web design platform, has rebuilt its editor. Now, there are a ton of new tools and a sleek new user interface, allowing users to build better websites easier.

One of the new tools — the parallax effect — has never been offered by a code-free platform before. According to Wix, the parallax scrolling effect gives websites “an added layer of dimension.” It’s a 3D effect that makes websites look cool.

There’s also full-screen strip layout that can help segment a website, background video streaming, and new templates. Users can upload their own videos or choose from the site’s library, both of which can play full-screen or in the strips. They can even be stylized with overlays or color palettes. The new templates are also a feature that can help users with absolutely no experience, as Wix can help pick one based on the user’s profile. For example, if the user is making a site for a coffee shop, Wix would show them the templates popular with other cafes.

However, as cool as the new Wix is, small businesses would be wise to consider all of their options. Web designers may cost more than Wix’s DIY offer, but having a professionally designed website could offer a much better return on investment.

“A website designed and developed by a professional (i.e. an agency) is absolutely necessary in today’s market,” Chris Wielinski, Managing Partner of Brown Box Branding Dallas. “There is nothing more powerful than a properly executed website in terms of search engine performance, brand image, and overall company value. Business owners can feel at ease by having an agency perform the work instead of worrying about building it and fixing issues themselves.”

Having a professional website is absolutely crucial in today’s business world. Research shows that almost half (46%) of people say a website’s design is their number one criterion for determining the credibility of a company.

That being said, a professionally designed website can cost quite a bit. In addition to the cost of web designers’ labor, there are also other fees to consider. A domain name runs about $10 a year. Web hosting can cost between $10 and $100 a year depending on traffic and the hosting service. Web planning and development costs at least 60 hours. Website maintenance can cost upwards of $500 a year depending on the number and type of updates. And lastly, marketing a website online can cost upwards of $750 a month.

Ultimately, it’s up to the small business owner whether to invest a lot or a little into a website. Either way, a professional website is an absolute necessity.

Understanding and Maintaining Industrial Pumps Can Save a Company Money

エアコンの真空引きThe vast majority of industries usually deal with liquids at some point in the manufacturing of their products. Because fluids are difficult to control and can cause residue and other problems if not properly contained, having effective pumps that can carry these substances safely to their designated location is imperative to cost-efficient manufacturing.

A press release from PR Wire reported on a blog post from Mike Hurlbatt, the owner of Pump Solutions Australasia, on the company’s website labeled “Five Most Common Reasons for Failure in Electric Pump Motors.”

Pump Solutions Australasia is one of the foremost importers of pumps in Australia. The purpose behind Hurlbatt’s post was to assist businesses in understanding the importance of high-quality equipment, as well as routinely maintaining it correctly.

Hurlbatt explained that commercial and industrial grade pumps must be efficient and reliable because companies can lose thousands of dollars from sub-par products or unscheduled downtime for repairs. Most companies would rather spend more money on efficient pumps to increase output while also saving money on power usage and downtime.

“If you want steady, efficient results for your pumping application, the method is simple: buy high quality equipment then use it and maintain it according to manufacturer’s specifications,” said Hurlbatt.

While his reasons for failure in pumps spans from dust and moisture corroding the inside of the motor, to properly lubricating pistons according to manufacturer specifications, the main failure that all of these factors can cause, is the build up of excessive heat.

The pump industry follows a “rule of thumb” applying to motors and heat that states that every increase of 10 degrees to the winding of electric motors can cut the pump’s life in half.

With so many factors that can have negative impacts if not handled correctly, some manufacturers have been developing newer, specialized pumps to serve these purposes with less required maintenance.

According to worldpumps.com, the liquids handling specialist Pump Engineering is now offering a new piston pump meant for transferring high viscosity liquids for industries that make food, cosmetic, or pharmaceutical products. These are similar to sanitary diaphragm pumps, which are designed to pump heavy, thick substances such as mud or sewage to clean machining systems.

Pump Engineering’s piston pumps are air operated and can deliver flow-rates of up to 100 liters per minute, with pressure ratios up to 20 to one.

These new centrifugal pumps use two pneumatic cylinders that force a plate on top of the product. As the pump empties the drum, the plate is drawn down, keeping the inlet of the pump full of the product. The rubber seal will then effectively wipe the side of the drum as it travels down, sealing it and wasting very little product.

They’ve also made a quick-strip version of their pump for quick cleaning. Between the new mechanisms and easy cleaning, caring for this pump requires a lot less work than standard pumps.

Buying high-quality products such as this and keeping them in good condition can overtime save a company substantial amounts of money.

Exposure to Artificial Pesticides Could be Causing Cancer and Tremors in Children

Airplane Spraying ChemicalsAs the medical field has grown, so has the desire to determine the sources of illnesses that plague society. What has become a main focus for many researchers is the increasing rates of diseases and ailments that are affecting young children.

According to eNews Park Forest, a Yale University study may have found one active source that is harmful to children’s health, even before their birth. Prenatal exposure to the widely-used agricultural pesticide chlorpyrifos (CPF), also referred to as Dursban, has been linked to involuntary contractions and twitching called tremors during childhood.

The study involved the gathering of 263 mothers in 1997 before the ban of of Dursban use inside homes. After performing an initial blood test of the umbilical cord, the children were followed until they reached 11 years of age; after which they underwent neurophysical assessments through exercises such as short drawing tests.

They found that children exposed to high levels of Dursban in the prenatal stage were significantly more likely to experience mild to moderate tremors localized to one or both of their arms. Even low levels of exposure were linked to changes in brain function and learning into adulthood.

“This is perhaps one of the only examples in which we can show that in utero exposure to these pesticides leads to long-term health care consequences in the children,” remarked Yale senior author and School of Medicine neurology professor Elan Louis, MD. “We’re talking about the possibility that fetuses exposed to pesticides through their mother, while they’re in utero, could have tremors eight or ten years later.”

Even though the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and industry leaders agreed to ban the use of Dursban in homes and gardens, it is still being used for mosquito spraying, on golf courses, and even for agriculture, leaving it on the produce people eat. Because of this, the EPA has deemed it necessary to find organic management methods of pest control.

“It’s true that we have to pay attention to the products that our families and pets are exposed to,” says Eric Ritchey, President, All Natural Pest Elimination. “That’s why we created “Natureline” products. By using botanical oils and mineral substances, we can confidently treat homes knowing that we use much safer yet still effective products. Natureline has been used in thousands of homes over the past 20 years to safely address insect issues.”

While it’s become clear that the use of pesticides can be dangerous in prenatal stages, studies have also found that these substances can have adverse affects on young children as well.

Public Radio International reported on a meta-analysis conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health that found exposure to insecticides early in life can increase children’s risk of developing childhood cancer. There were weak links to brain tumors, but the risks were significantly strong for leukemia and lymphoma.

“We find that for household members that report use of pesticides indoors, specifically insecticides, there is a more than 40% increased risk of childhood leukemia or childhood lymphoma,” said Chensheng (Alex) Lu of the Harvard School of Public Health.

Researchers looked at the results of 16 different international studies and compared the levels of pesticide exposure in groups of kids with and without cancer. The correlation was far too strong to ignore.

Along with the EPA, the Harvard School of Public Health recommends that people find more natural pest control for spiders, termites, and any other creatures that might infest their homes.