I wrote about this condition for Hairloss.com, including major symptoms and opinions of healthcare professionals regarding hypomania. At last check, it was getting above-average page hits, which suggests that hypomania is a popular search term. Those searchers may be wondering why they or people they know have more energy, sleep less, are exceptionally productive and talk quite a bit – and if there might eventually be negative consequences.]]>
How ES Pipe Waterwheels Can Light Your Home For Free
One of the oldest types of renewable energy is waterpower; Niagara Falls houses a large hydroelectric dam that has been in use almost since the beginning of electricity. Humans have been harvesting power from running water long before hydroelectric dams were invented. Most cider mills, for example, have water wheels to generate power. Even before we had pipes and power lines, machines were used for centuries to provide power. People learned to harness the power of running water to provide energy for machines needed to manufacture goods.
Ryan Jongwoo Choi recently patented the ES Pipe Waterwheel, which is a device that’s designed specifically for garnering hydroelectricity. The water wheel uses water in an ordinary pipe, so there is no need for special equipment. It then stores the power in two batteries, which are both rechargeable. The batteries are linked to rechargeable light bulbs. When the device charges the light bulbs, they can be removed and used to light a room. A single pipe can house several small water wheels, and it is similar to larger hydroelectric dams like the one at Niagara Falls. Unlike a hydroelectric dam, however, this device is small and affordable for the average homeowner.
The ES Pipe Waterwheel was designed to provide light and power to small African villages that are far from the nearest electrical source, but it has potential in the average American home like the ones in Brooklyn that I see. Brooklyn is an area with many people who are environmentally conscious, and they value a smart gadget that can help achieve a goal in an unconventional way. These small devices would be popular in this area with so many forward-thinkers.
To go even further, the device would be better if it could charge small home electronics as well as charge light bulbs. It could easily be added during the construction of a new home and would not be difficult to add as part of a kitchen or bathroom remodel in an existing home. If the device is able to charge a light bulb, it should have the potential to charge a digital camera or cell phone. This idea, however, may not be practical because it would take so long to charge a device.
Rechargeable portable bulbs are still convenient. They can be used as reading lights, nightlights or used in dimly lit areas. Since they never run out of batteries, they will always be on. Since they are not connected to the home’s power supply, they will work during a power outage. Many homeowners like to keep a light on in the basement for security, and this would give off adequate light without raising the electric bill.
I think this device has a lot of potential in the Brooklyn Real Estate market, so I’m hoping that it make’s it’s way to local home improvement stores soon enough. It would add both value and convenience to a home if added to a bathroom, bedroom or kitchen. The homeowner will save money each month on their energy bill and have the convenience of extra lighting and security.
By Sam Marquit
Wesley Wong, principal of Demattei Wong Architecture, specializes in airport car rental facilities. If you’ve been in one of the 37 such facilities he’s designed around the world, you may have noticed the trend toward in-airport rental pickups versus the old-fashioned off-site lots. At the Nashville International Airport, that feature alone cuts 800,000 miles of shuttle bus use per year. Shockingly, the rental customer service counters are in un-air conditioned space, the rational for which Wong explains in my article.]]>
This is why I enjoyed working on two different stories for American Builders Quarterly about women in the building trades who truly run their businesses.
One is Laura Wilhoite Culin, owner of the Austin Lumber Company in that fine Texas city. She is the fourth generation of the business she inherited, but that scarcely describes what a force she has been to save and reinvent her business in the 21st century. Notably, when she had to rebuild after a devastating fire she went green, becoming a building supplies company known for providing sustainable products. In her spare time, she teaches a class at Austin Community College on sustainable forest products.
My second story is about Terry Piasecki who created CharmAndHammer.com, “safety gear for hard working women.” She came about her business organically, growing up the daughter of an electrical contractor. After a decade in bookkeeping and job costing, she became a safety manager. It was there that she saw a dearth of products for the small (but growing) portion of women who work in physical, safety-challenged environments. The fact was that women had to wear men’s clothes, which actually creates hazards because the cut is wrong. She opened her online store to help women find the products their companies’ purchasing departments would overlook – learning how ecommerce works as she went along, and against the advice of naysayers – and is now sought out by manufacturers who are developing products specifically for women because she has helped define the market.]]>
In addition to this rags-to-riches tale, what’s intriguing about the Hubbell clan is how it came back, Rumplestiltskin-like, after being frozen for 53 years by the provisions of FM’s last will and testament. His descendants have resurrected the company and its mission of building, now creating sustainable communities and providing housing to low-income families. I wrote this history in an article in American Builders Quarterly.]]>
In this story of the April/May/June edition of Green Building + Design, I write about an ugly building that is LEED-certified green. It’s owned by Con-way Freight, a Michigan-based, international surface transportation carrier that has accomplished very significant things in the realm of going green. For example, with the simple use of new delivery-planning software they have cut 124,000 miles driven by their 9,600 trucks every single day.
But the larger story is this: The trucking industry has worked cooperatively with the EPA over the last several years to develop best-practices to the benefit of all. Trucking firms are working with greater efficiency and less gas is being used. This is a stark contrast from the more common perception that regulation is a cost burden on business. As Randy Mullett, Con-way’s vice president of government relations and public affairs, explained to me, “Fuel is the second biggest expense to our company. Economics, customer interest, and regulatory encouragement drove this program. It saves us about $25 million per year.’”
To me, that is worth an exclamation point.]]>
But that trend is being reversed. I write on Pothole.info about pavement-to-gravel conversions that arehappening in many parts of the U.S. This is due to empty county and small town public coffers, a problem that has two components working in synergy.
Just at a time when the roads are aging and in need of rehabilitation – i.e., potholes going unfixed – the price of oil is soaring. There are two simple factors that cause this to happen: oil byproducts are a component of asphalt, and the price of crude has gone from $76 to $102 per barrel since 2010. Funding for road maintenance is heavily dependent on gas taxes, which are levied per gallon – at a time when cars are becoming more fuel efficient and the economic recession has reduced driving overall.
More repairs required plus less money to make the repairs equals de-prioritized least-used roads. Several counties have purchased or rented pulverizing equipment to tear up the asphalt that remains, which is then laid down as a base for the gravel road.
The shifts in how we deal with public infrastructure is an ongoing narrative of Pothole.info. It’s a national story that affects everyone in all kinds of ways.]]>
I wrote about this bill for Pothole.info, where I am the primary content provider (writer). We cover news and features about pavement deterioration, the problems with infrastructure funding and the declining revenues to the Highway Trust Fund, which are based on gas consumption, a bad formula as vehicles migrate toward greater fuel economy. The article might be a little wonkish – who really thinks much about how many axels and wheels a truck has? – but it shows how policy decisions such as this can have many consequences. That includes those that are well understood and perhaps several more that are not.]]>
Pharmaceutical products that include ace inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, beta blockers and calcium channel blockers work for many. But the side effects can lead to their own health-inhibiting conditions such as headaches, dizziness, gastrointestinal distress, nausea, constipation and edema.
In this article, I write about ways to reduce blood pressure naturally, through better diet and exercise. Included are testimonials and studies to illustrate how it can be done. As I conclude in the article, all the healthy habits to reduce HBP also contribute to good health overall.]]>
I was able to discover a link to a hair loss condition known as trichotillomania in this article, which is a compulsive pulling of one’s hair to the point of baldness (also a psychological disorder). Both phenomena are under the broader umbrella of obsessive compulsive disorders.
I relish the opportunity as a writer to dig into health disorders of all kinds, particularly those that can be addressed through behavior modification (which sometimes, but not always, can be part of treatment for hoarding and trichotillomania). It is an extension of my general belief that preventive health can be promoted in a majority of individuals through nutrition, exercise, stress management and one’s life structure (e.g., life and work situations that enrich, such as living near one’s employment to reduce commuting time).]]>
My own story on alternatives to antidepressants for HairLoss.com points the way to alternative methods for managing mild to moderate depression. In brief, those approaches include talking therapy, physical exercise, socialization, herbs, environment and possibly homeopathy.
As experts interviewed for the 60 Minutes story explained, these alternative approaches, as well as drug placebos, can be just as effective without the many side effects of prescription medications – and often, much less expensive.]]>
These approaches can be very unhealthy. They are largely unsustainable and can have adverse health effects, including hair loss. I write about a healthier approach to crash diets here for HairLoss.com –- a smarter approach for the person who wants to lose ten pounds in five weeks.
*I say this as a certified fitness trainer who believes in regular, daily exercise – but have seen too many people tackle major weight loss with an extreme approach to both exercise and diet that cannot be maintained over time.]]>
In this article, I write about fitness and exercise as it affects knees and hips. The happy news for runners and others who regularly exercise is that sedentary lifestyles are far worse for joints — the better approach is to strengthen muscles around joints, to open up the joints by stretching and to just move. Contrary to earlier reports, marathon runners have less arthritis of the knee joints than people who don’t run at all, according to research out of Stanford University and a second study reported in Skeletal Radiology (2008).
I have been a writer on health, fitness, wellbeing and related topics for HairLoss.com since 2009.]]>
My article on the hostel and its sustainable conversion from a derelict, 19th Century office building is in the January/February/March 2012 issue of Green Building & Design. As a writer for this publisher – on this title and American Builders Quarterly and New American Luxury – I work only on stories that include an environmental feature.]]>
Why? People who are new to fitness often try and fail with a simple gym membership –- they have no clue as to what they should do once there. Group exercises classes offer a social component, creating a sense of community, the opportunity to meet new people and accountability to attend and achieve. Fitness centers are finding they can charge a bit more from members who elect to exercise with three, ten or 20 other people under the supervision of a fitness professional.
I wrote about group fitness about a year ago for HairLoss.com and the trend continues, according to the American College of Sports Medicine.]]>
Think about that: you can reduce by half your caloric intake by simply changing how and where you eat. In this article written for Hairloss.com, I boil down the premise of my book, A Guy’s Gotta Eat, the regular guy’s guide to eating smart (DaCapo Press, 2004, with Deanna Conte, MS RD LD). Learn to make a healthy, 15-minute meal at home and you’ll likely eat better and manage your weight more effectively.
Certainly, there will be many occasions when eating out will still be necessary. But if you switch just three or four meals a week to your kitchen, your caloric intake will effectively be reduced and the amount of beneficial nutrients that you consume will increase.]]>
Navigate to page 137 for my article (“Two Schools, Two Climates”).
*Green Building & Design magazine, November-December 2011]]>
Of course it does not make sense for everyone to go out and get a degree in exercise physiology. That’s what fitness trainers do (or should do). But at least a rudimentary understanding of where the muscles are and their role in an exercise can help quite a bit.
I write about proprioception in this article for Hairloss.com, explaining how simply observing others perform the choreography of an exercise is inadequate instruction. The tall swimmer has different body geometry than the squat-but-powerful wrestler, hence the way they execute the same exercise might differ in how it appears. What is better and more effective is for the individual to have some knowledge of his or her own muscle, tendon and bone structure. A good trainer should be able to communicate this somewhat, but the visual aid of a physiology chart (try this one) can be very instructive as well.]]>
An article on avoiding pothole damage, written for my client Pothole.info, is a good example. It introduces factual information on a concept – that potholes can cause expensive problems for motorists – then it provides key steps for avoiding or mitigating the damage. How-to information helps bump up an article in a search because that tends to be what people are looking for.
Potholes are an evergreen subject of interest and of web searches. This is because, unfortunately, infrastructure maintenance is sorely lacking at the federal, state and local levels. As a writer about infrastructure, road building and asphalt, I am made acutely aware of how our roads and bridges will continue to deteriorate to an increasing degree because the poor economy (and resultant reduced road repair budgets) and basic physics (those having to do with freeze-thaw cycles and traffic, all basic natural atrophy) have found a point of collision. Smarter, more efficient methods of building and maintaining roads and bridges are now in development to answer this need – part of what Pothole.info documents.]]>
Texas architect Winn Wittman builds beautiful, green, non-traditional homes in the lovely hill country surrounding Austin. I had the opportunity to interview him and write about his stunning “Soaring Wings,” a luxurious home clad in copper and glass. The home’s large windows fully exploit the views. However, to prevent solar heat gain in those famously hot Texas summers, he used gracefully cantilevered wings to block the sun. The tapered shape and length of the wings were designed in part by computer modeling that factored for the angles at which the sun’s rays hit the structure in the hottest months.
To read my article about the architect and Soaring Wings, follow the link above and navigate to page 93.]]>