Jun 30, 2012

Stuff You Don't Have to Buy Because You Can Print It Yourself for Free

JUN 25, 2012

Stuff You Don’t Have to Buy Because You Can Print It Yourself for Free

I have two printers that rarely see any use. While printing isn't obsolete by any stretch of the imagination, paper is slowly losing its usefulness to computers, smartphones, and other electronics. If you have a printer at home that's mostly collecting dust, brush it off and start using it to print out a few free products you'd otherwise have to pay for.

While your printer isn't going to fill in as a substitute for the quality of products you can buy in a store, often times you don't need something that good. When practical frugality trumps quality, or when you just want something with a hand-made touch, these are the things you'll want to feed your printer.

Rulers only need to be made out of something thick and sturdy for professional applications. If your goal is simply measurement, a paper ruler will do just fine. When you need one, just print one.

Checklists can be handy on your smartphone, but paper comes in a variety of sizes and can be visible just about anywhere. If you want a checklist for your fridge, for example, your smartphone isn't very suited for the job. Printable Checklists are, and they're easy to make. Just go to the site, type in a list of things, and print it out. That's all there is to it.

Specialty Papers aren't something you necessarily need to buy. You can print your own graph paper, for example. If you use a LiveScribe pen and don't want to buy their paper products, you can print your own instead. If you can't decide, just visit Printable Paper and shop around for the type you want.

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Planners, Diaries, and Productivity Helpers often cost a lot in stores but can be made by hand—and often look a lot better—with the help of your printer. On of our more recent favorites is the Hipster Habit App, which is a handy little book your can print out and assemble to help you break an old or make a new habit in 30 days. There's also the classic Hipster PDA for getting things done with classic pen and paper. PocketModcan track your workouts. Pocket-To-Do can provide you with a simple paper schedule. Finally, the Scription Chronodex is a very charming weekly planner that was designed to help keep you creative as well as on task.

Maps are always on your smartphone, so that's often good enough, but sometimes you need to take them places you can't use your mobile or don't want it to go. GeoCommons is one handy source for printable maps, but even sites like Google Maps can provide you with the material you need. If you need a waterproof option, printing a map onto a trash bag is a cheap solution.

Games can be an expensive store item, but there are plenty available for free. Cards Against Humanity is one of the best examples, as it's very popular, very fun, and a free download as a PDF if you don't want to buy a proper set. You can also print Scrabble, dice, and a deck of cards.

Got anything awesome that you print instead of purchasing? Let us know in the comments!

Photo by Vernon Chan.

Jun 29, 2012

Is America a Christian Nation? or One Nation Under the Constitution? by Sean Faircloth

Published on Jun 29, 2012 by richarddawkinsdotnet

The book "Attack of the Theocrats: How the Religious Right Harms Us All & What We Can Do About It" is available in electronic and hard copy:

Learn about a Ten Point Vision of a Secular America:

Faircloth is Dir. of Strategy & Policy for the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science -- US.

Refreshing "straight talk"...  Monte & Eileen

'Extreme' drought grows

Jeff Caldwell
06/28/2012 @ 10:20am

Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

Drought conditions have gone from "severe" to "extreme" in several key areas in the last week, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, the latest version of which was released Thursday morning.

The most noticeable expansion of the drought in the last week came in northern Indiana, southern Indiana and Illinois, Arkansas and western Kansas, all of which saw the "extreme" droughted areas expand. Parts of southern Illinois and Indiana and the Missouri Bootheel have some spots where the drought's reached the "exceptional" stage, the most severe level on the Drought Monitor's intensity scale.

http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/archive/20120626/pics/conus_dm_120626.jpg - full size

See more from the U.S. Drought Monitor
More weather notes: Scorching temps expand
Marketing Talk: Weather proverbs
Share your crop photos
More of the latest: Hot, hot, hot!

Though some minor improvements could change the color scheme of the Drought Monitor map next week, don't look for huge change, says Donald Keeney, senior ag meteorologist with MDA EarthSat Weather.

"The forecast for this week shows that some minor improvements will be possible across the north-central Midwest, mainly in Iowa, far northern Illinois, far northern Indiana, southern Wisconsin, and southern Michigan," Keeney says. "However, very warm and dry conditions will persist across the central and southwestern Midwest, central and southern Plains, and Delta through the next 10 days, and drought conditions will continue to intensify in these areas. Some slight improvement will be possible in the Southeast next week."

How hot is it around the country?

Temperature records are being blown out of the water by triple-digit readings from the Rocky Mountains to the mid-South. Readings of 100 degrees or more have been common in many points in the middle 1/3 of the U.S. Here are just a few of the sweltering records, according to MDA EarthSat Weather Travis Hartman:

High temperatures in Denver, Colorado, have exceeded 100 degrees in the last 5 days, setting a record for the number of consecutive days over the century mark.

In St. Louis, Missouri, an expected high temperature of 107 degrees later this week would break that city's all-time high temperature for June.

Chicago, Illinois, hasn't seen 100 degrees in 24 years, but that mark's expected to be surpassed this week.

The temperature hasn't surged past 100 degrees in Atlanta, Georgia, for nearly 6 decades, but temperatures up to 103 are expected for later this week. The last time the mercury climbed that high in Atlanta was in June 1886.

The temperature is expected to surge to 104 degrees in Memphis, Tennessee, over the weekend, tying that city's all-time record high.

Permaculture Design Techniques Can Help Minimize Impact Where Implemented...
See some examples -->  http://hines.blogspot.com/2012/06/beforeafter-examples-of-permaculture.html 

No human caused climate change... !!! give me a break deniers... (-: Monte Hines

Related Links:

Jun 28, 2012

Before/After Examples of Permaculture Earth Restoration

by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor June 28, 2012

Full Article: http://permaculture.org.au/2012/06/28/hope-for-a-new-era-before-after-examples-of-permaculture-earth-restoration-solving-our-problems-from-the-ground-up/

Charlie Rose - Marc Andreessen

Marc Andreessen, founding partner of the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and a co-founder of Netscape

One of my U of Illinois longtime heroes.

Inventor of Internet's first Windows Browser, Mosaic.

Smart, smart man...!!!  Monte

Driving the 2012 Tesla Model S - Wide Open Throttle Episode 22 - YouTube

Published on Jun 28, 2012 by MotorTrend

On this episode of Wide Open Throttle, Jessi Lang reports from the Tesla facility on the day of the long-awaited rollout of the Model S, the world's first premium all-electric sedan and the car on which the company's future now depends. Then, Motor Trend Technical Director Frank Markus gets exclusive one-on-one time with Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Chief Designer Franz Von Holzhausen as he tours the Tesla factory and finally gets behind the wheel of the car that Tesla is hoping will galvanize the world's transition from internal combustion engines to electric mobility.

Wide Open Throttle appears every Thursday on the new Motor Trend channel.

Subscribe now to make sure you're in on all the action!

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Website - http://www.motortrend.com

Rocket Mass Heater: Possibly the most efficient heater in the world - National homesteading | Examiner.com

This is how the Rocket Mass Heater works

Photo credit:

Uploaded by paulwheaton12 on Apr 6, 2009

A compilation of 12 rocket mass heaters. 8 video clips of rocket mass heaters, 2 video clips of pocket rockets, 1 picture from the cover of the book on rocket mass heaters and one drawing from me making a feeble attempt to explain what a rocket mass heater looks like. And look! A peek at the author Ianto Evans!

Living off the grid and homesteading, you are no stranger to wood cutting, wood chopping, and those old wood burning stoves that keep you warm in the winter. We all love those wood burning stoves too, the smell, the heating ability, and there is just a cozy feeling that comes over you when you are sitting in an old wooden chair in a cabin you built your self from the wood off the land while a pot of tea brews over top of that old wood stove as it heats the night away. Us homesteaders love our wood burning stoves no doubt.

But what else is no doubt is that the ole wood stove burns a whole lot of wood in the winter. Here in the Ozarks of Missouri we go through 4 cords of wood in 4 months, that is a cord every 30 days! That is a lot of wood, and we burn oak which lasts for a long time. So thinking, what would be more efficient than that old stove? Well because with the wood stove most of your heat comes from the pipes. Well a whole lot of the pipe has to be outside so that there is a proper draft to carry all the smoke out of the stove. So we lose a lot of heat to the outside. Have you ever heard of a rocket heater?

View slideshow: Rocket Mass Heater collection

If you know a bit about cobb houses then you might have seen a rocket stove because in a cobb home this is the most efficient way to heat. With the rocket stove heater all of your heat is kept in the home instead of going out the pipes on the outside and there is no smoke left like on a wood stove where the smoke stack is just billowing smoke. From the exhaust of a rocket stove heater comes C02 and steam. All of the smoke gets re-burned and re-burned in a combustion chamber until there is nothing left but steam and C02.

A rocket stove heater is extremely efficient, in fact it may be the world's most efficient heating source for off grid living, or any living for that matter. The rocket stove heater is comprised of a place to put some wood, a very small amount is all it takes, a combustion chamber, a small exhaust, the duct work from the chamber through the thermal unit and the thermal unit. Now the thermal unit can be anything that you can run the metal insulated duct work through such as a wrap around bench.

The thermal unit is made of earth (cobb) and the whole stove all but the combustion chamber is made of cobb. Watch the video to the left of the article to see just how you can make your own rocket stove heater. All you need is an 8 inch stove pipe, a 10 inch stove pipe and a small metal barrel that would fit over the stove pipe as the pipe stands up on its end. Place the 8 inch pipe inside of the 10 inch pipe and fill the gap between the two pipes with cobb.

Now you place the pipe unit on the cobb stove near the wood inlet hole which is just a small hole built into the cobb stove and cover the pipe with more cobb so that it looks as if it is built into the whole cobb stove. Cover the pipe with the small barrel and use more cobb to sill the bottom to the stove so no smoke escapes there. This is the combustion chamber. In the combustion chamber all the smoke and gases are burned and re-burned until there is nothing left.

All the heat is pulled through the duct in the cobb bench which heats the bench up in turn heating the home up! It's simply amazing. Users of the rocket stove heater say they can burn a hand full of wood and it will last all dayin the coldest months. Now that is truly efficient! Once couple stated they only used a cord of wood in 4 months, that's a long shot from a cord every 30 days in the old wood stove. Well there you have it, your summer time project to get ready for the winter. Enjoy the slide show and how to video.

Future Rewards: How Your Brain Gets Motivated

Jun 26, 2012

Seeds of Freedom | Watch Free Documentary Online

Seeds of Freedom charts the story of seed from its roots at the heart of traditional, diversity rich farming systems across the world, to being transformed into a powerful commodity, used to monopolise the global food system.

The film highlights the extent to which the industrial agricultural system, and genetically modified (GM) seeds in particular, has impacted on the enormous agro-biodiversity evolved by farmers and communities around the world, since the beginning of agriculture.

Seeds of Freedom seeks to challenge the mantra that large-scale, industrial agriculture is the only means by which we can feed the world, promoted by the pro-GM lobby. In tracking the story of seed it becomes clear how corporate agenda has driven the take over of seed in order to make vast profit and control of the food global system.

Produced by The Gaia Foundation and the African Biodiversity Network, in collaboration with MELCA Ethiopia, Navdanya International and GRAIN.

Land Formation in Iowa

Published on Jun 26, 2012 by IowaLearningFarm

Iowa's landscape has changed dramatically over the past 10,000-15,000 years. Travel through time from the age of the glaciers, through several thousand years of prairie and formation of the world's richest topsoil, to modern agricultural practices today. Prairies and wetlands were integral part of Iowa's history, and we look to them as keys to our future, working together with cropland to maintain the ecological health of our lands and waters.

Excellent 4 minute factual video...!  Monte

Hines Farm - Wood Router Sign Making

Large Image
Latest project completed 6-26-2012 was 4 Walnut Routed Letter Signs.  Sanded and sealed with Polyurethane.

I utilized a Milescraft Sign Pro Template System. I highly recommend.

Jun 24, 2012

Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1% | Joseph E. Stiglitz

By Joseph E. Stiglitz
Americans have been watching protests against oppressive regimes that concentrate massive wealth in the hands of an elite few. Yet in our own democracy, 1 percent of the people take nearly a quarter of the nation’s income—an inequality even the wealthy will come to regret.

Illustration by Stephen Doyle

THE FAT AND THE FURIOUS The top 1 percent may have the best houses, educations, and lifestyles, says the author, but “their fate is bound up with how the other 99 percent live.”

It’s no use pretending that what has obviously happened has not in fact happened. The upper 1 percent of Americans are now taking in nearly a quarter of the nation’s income every year. In terms of wealth rather than income, the top 1 percent control 40 percent. Their lot in life has improved considerably. Twenty-five years ago, the corresponding figures were 12 percent and 33 percent. One response might be to celebrate the ingenuity and drive that brought good fortune to these people, and to contend that a rising tide lifts all boats. That response would be misguided. While the top 1 percent have seen their incomes rise 18 percent over the past decade, those in the middle have actually seen their incomes fall. For men with only high-school degrees, the decline has been precipitous—12 percent in the last quarter-century alone. All the growth in recent decades—and more—has gone to those at the top. In terms of income equality, America lags behind any country in the old, ossified Europe that President George W. Bush used to deride. Among our closest counterparts are Russia with its oligarchs and Iran. While many of the old centers of inequality in Latin America, such as Brazil, have been striving in recent years, rather successfully, to improve the plight of the poor and reduce gaps in income, America has allowed inequality to grow.

Economists long ago tried to justify the vast inequalities that seemed so troubling in the mid-19th century—inequalities that are but a pale shadow of what we are seeing in America today. The justification they came up with was called “marginal-productivity theory.” In a nutshell, this theory associated higher incomes with higher productivity and a greater contribution to society. It is a theory that has always been cherished by the rich. Evidence for its validity, however, remains thin. The corporate executives who helped bring on the recession of the past three years—whose contribution to our society, and to their own companies, has been massively negative—went on to receive large bonuses. In some cases, companies were so embarrassed about calling such rewards “performance bonuses” that they felt compelled to change the name to “retention bonuses” (even if the only thing being retained was bad performance). Those who have contributed great positive innovations to our society, from the pioneers of genetic understanding to the pioneers of the Information Age, have received a pittance compared with those responsible for the financial innovations that brought our global economy to the brink of ruin.

Some people look at income inequality and shrug their shoulders. So what if this person gains and that person loses? What matters, they argue, is not how the pie is divided but the size of the pie. That argument is fundamentally wrong. An economy in which mostcitizens are doing worse year after year—an economy like America’s—is not likely to do well over the long haul. There are several reasons for this.

First, growing inequality is the flip side of something else: shrinking opportunity. Whenever we diminish equality of opportunity, it means that we are not using some of our most valuable assets—our people—in the most productive way possible. Second, many of the distortions that lead to inequality—such as those associated with monopoly power and preferential tax treatment for special interests—undermine the efficiency of the economy. This new inequality goes on to create new distortions, undermining efficiency even further. To give just one example, far too many of our most talented young people, seeing the astronomical rewards, have gone into finance rather than into fields that would lead to a more productive and healthy economy.

Third, and perhaps most important, a modern economy requires “collective action”—it needs government to invest in infrastructure, education, and technology. The United States and the world have benefited greatly from government-sponsored research that led to the Internet, to advances in public health, and so on. But America has long suffered from an under-investment in infrastructure (look at the condition of our highways and bridges, our railroads and airports), in basic research, and in education at all levels. Further cutbacks in these areas lie ahead.

None of this should come as a surprise—it is simply what happens when a society’s wealth distribution becomes lopsided. The more divided a society becomes in terms of wealth, the more reluctant the wealthy become to spend money on common needs. The rich don’t need to rely on government for parks or education or medical care or personal security—they can buy all these things for themselves. In the process, they become more distant from ordinary people, losing whatever empathy they may once have had. They also worry about strong government—one that could use its powers to adjust the balance, take some of their wealth, and invest it for the common good. The top 1 percent may complain about the kind of government we have in America, but in truth they like it just fine: too gridlocked to re-distribute, too divided to do anything but lower taxes.

Economists are not sure how to fully explain the growing inequality in America. The ordinary dynamics of supply and demand have certainly played a role: laborsaving technologies have reduced the demand for many “good” middle-class, blue-collar jobs. Globalization has created a worldwide marketplace, pitting expensive unskilled workers in America against cheap unskilled workers overseas. Social changes have also played a role—for instance, the decline of unions, which once represented a third of American workers and now represent about 12 percent.

But one big part of the reason we have so much inequality is that the top 1 percent want it that way. The most obvious example involves tax policy. Lowering tax rates on capital gains, which is how the rich receive a large portion of their income, has given the wealthiest Americans close to a free ride. Monopolies and near monopolies have always been a source of economic power—from John D. Rockefeller at the beginning of the last century to Bill Gates at the end. Lax enforcement of anti-trust laws, especially during Republican administrations, has been a godsend to the top 1 percent. Much of today’s inequality is due to manipulation of the financial system, enabled by changes in the rules that have been bought and paid for by the financial industry itself—one of its best investments ever. The government lent money to financial institutions at close to 0 percent interest and provided generous bailouts on favorable terms when all else failed. Regulators turned a blind eye to a lack of transparency and to conflicts of interest.

When you look at the sheer volume of wealth controlled by the top 1 percent in this country, it’s tempting to see our growing inequality as a quintessentially American achievement—we started way behind the pack, but now we’re doing inequality on a world-class level. And it looks as if we’ll be building on this achievement for years to come, because what made it possible is self-reinforcing. Wealth begets power, which begets more wealth. During the savings-and-loan scandal of the 1980s—a scandal whose dimensions, by today’s standards, seem almost quaint—the banker Charles Keating was asked by a congressional committee whether the $1.5 million he had spread among a few key elected officials could actually buy influence. “I certainly hope so,” he replied. The Supreme Court, in its recent Citizens United case, has enshrined the right of corporations to buy government, by removing limitations on campaign spending. The personal and the political are today in perfect alignment. Virtually all U.S. senators, and most of the representatives in the House, are members of the top 1 percent when they arrive, are kept in office by money from the top 1 percent, and know that if they serve the top 1 percent well they will be rewarded by the top 1 percent when they leave office. By and large, the key executive-branch policymakers on trade and economic policy also come from the top 1 percent. When pharmaceutical companies receive a trillion-dollar gift—through legislation prohibiting the government, the largest buyer of drugs, from bargaining over price—it should not come as cause for wonder. It should not make jaws drop that a tax bill cannot emerge from Congress unless big tax cuts are put in place for the wealthy. Given the power of the top 1 percent, this is the way you would expect the system to work.

America’s inequality distorts our society in every conceivable way. There is, for one thing, a well-documented lifestyle effect—people outside the top 1 percent increasingly live beyond their means. Trickle-down economics may be a chimera, but trickle-down behaviorism is very real. Inequality massively distorts our foreign policy. The top 1 percent rarely serve in the military—the reality is that the “all-volunteer” army does not pay enough to attract their sons and daughters, and patriotism goes only so far. Plus, the wealthiest class feels no pinch from higher taxes when the nation goes to war: borrowed money will pay for all that. Foreign policy, by definition, is about the balancing of national interests and national resources. With the top 1 percent in charge, and paying no price, the notion of balance and restraint goes out the window. There is no limit to the adventures we can undertake; corporations and contractors stand only to gain. The rules of economic globalization are likewise designed to benefit the rich: they encourage competition among countries for business, which drives down taxes on corporations, weakens health and environmental protections, and undermines what used to be viewed as the “core” labor rights, which include the right to collective bargaining. Imagine what the world might look like if the rules were designed instead to encourage competition among countries forworkers. Governments would compete in providing economic security, low taxes on ordinary wage earners, good education, and a clean environment—things workers care about. But the top 1 percent don’t need to care.

Or, more accurately, they think they don’t. Of all the costs imposed on our society by the top 1 percent, perhaps the greatest is this: the erosion of our sense of identity, in which fair play, equality of opportunity, and a sense of community are so important. America has long prided itself on being a fair society, where everyone has an equal chance of getting ahead, but the statistics suggest otherwise: the chances of a poor citizen, or even a middle-class citizen, making it to the top in America are smaller than in many countries of Europe. The cards are stacked against them. It is this sense of an unjust system without opportunity that has given rise to the conflagrations in the Middle East: rising food prices and growing and persistent youth unemployment simply served as kindling. With youth unemployment in America at around 20 percent (and in some locations, and among some socio-demographic groups, at twice that); with one out of six Americans desiring a full-time job not able to get one; with one out of seven Americans on food stamps (and about the same number suffering from “food insecurity”)—given all this, there is ample evidence that something has blocked the vaunted “trickling down” from the top 1 percent to everyone else. All of this is having the predictable effect of creating alienation—voter turnout among those in their 20s in the last election stood at 21 percent, comparable to the unemployment rate.

In recent weeks we have watched people taking to the streets by the millions to protest political, economic, and social conditions in the oppressive societies they inhabit. Governments have been toppled in Egypt and Tunisia. Protests have erupted in Libya, Yemen, and Bahrain. The ruling families elsewhere in the region look on nervously from their air-conditioned penthouses—will they be next? They are right to worry. These are societies where a minuscule fraction of the population—less than 1 percent—controls the lion’s share of the wealth; where wealth is a main determinant of power; where entrenched corruption of one sort or another is a way of life; and where the wealthiest often stand actively in the way of policies that would improve life for people in general.

As we gaze out at the popular fervor in the streets, one question to ask ourselves is this: When will it come to America? In important ways, our own country has become like one of these distant, troubled places.

Alexis de Tocqueville once described what he saw as a chief part of the peculiar genius of American society—something he called “self-interest properly understood.” The last two words were the key. Everyone possesses self-interest in a narrow sense: I want what’s good for me right now! Self-interest “properly understood” is different. It means appreciating that paying attention to everyone else’s self-interest—in other words, the common welfare—is in fact a precondition for one’s own ultimate well-being. Tocqueville was not suggesting that there was anything noble or idealistic about this outlook—in fact, he was suggesting the opposite. It was a mark of American pragmatism. Those canny Americans understood a basic fact: looking out for the other guy isn’t just good for the soul—it’s good for business.

The top 1 percent have the best houses, the best educations, the best doctors, and the best lifestyles, but there is one thing that money doesn’t seem to have bought: an understanding that their fate is bound up with how the other 99 percent live. Throughout history, this is something that the top 1 percent eventually do learn. Too late.

THE PRICE OF INEQUALITY: How Today's Divided Society Endangers Our Future - Joseph Stiglitz - Speaking At Google

Published on Jun 24, 2012 by AtGoogleTalks

Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences recipient (2001) , visited Google on June 12, 2012 to talk about his new book THE PRICE OF INEQUALITY: How Today's Divided Society Endangers Our Future.

Check out his Vanity Fair article (http://goo.gl/u40jE), which he starts out with:

"The 1 Percent's Problem
"Why won't America's 1 percent—such as the six Walmart heirs, whose wealth equals that of the entire bottom 30 percent—be a bit more . . . selfish? As the widening financial divide cripples the U.S. economy, even those at the top will pay a steep price."

Hines Farm - Wild Turkey Hen Sitting on Egg Nest Near a Newly Seeded Crimson Clover Field

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9:15 AM , Sunday, 6-24-2012, Raining... and not to be detoured by Mother Nature or Humans from her "Motherly Instincts" !!!


Published on Jun 23, 2012 by gregthegardener

I show you some bamboo I planted 3-4 years ago and tell you how l grew it. They were planted during the drought but bounced back when it started raining again