Choosing Kitchen Cabinets

Kitchen and bath cabinetry has improved a lot in the last 25 years. There had been a point when you discussed factory built cabinets you would hear, “do you mean like what they put in trailers?” Or “I bought some of that stuff from K-Mart and it came apart on me.” Those living on the gulf coast have seen their share of tempests that has ruined many kitchens—one cabinet store hasn’t sold a particleboard cabinet in five years. But the one issue they are getting all of the time arises because there is just too much to make a choice from.

I think the higher availability gives you the capability to get precisely what you need.

If you are someone that is totally lost, maybe I can shed some light and make this a delightful journey for you, as it is meant to be fun. There are many ways to go about this. One is to hire a designer. If that’s your position, I would like to recommend it; somebody with experience truly will help you coordinate your project, and help you select colors and style.

2. If a designer is out of the question, then buy a handful of mags and perhaps 2 books, pick colors and styles that appeal to you and mesh them together. Some kitchen designers will help you with this. One of the things I tell people is settle on a theme for your house. What sort of a person are you–modern, normal, country, Tuscan etc.? Another thing you have to remember is this might not be your last home–so be creative, just don’t make it unsellable. You can always accessorize with color. Here is the order of decisions I often go with:

Select your style, then kitchen cabinets and counter tops. They have a wide range of styles and designs, so they need to be first as you can work the rest in. Remodelers deal often with kitchen and bath cabinets. There are 2 main types out there: face frame cabinets and full access cabinetry or European. Standard overlay implies the doors are 1″ bigger than the opening top and bottom–you’ll see more of the frame, and these are typically the least costly. Full overlay is where the cabinet doors overlay the face frame one 0.25″ all of the way around–you’ll see less face frame and inset is where the door basically fits within the face frame making it have a flush appearance, these are often the most expensive.

Full access, or “European,” cabinetry don’t have a face frame, are assembled often of particleboard, and the doors are either wood or a thermofoil. The EU introduced them thanks to a wood shortage.

The European or Buck cabinets have 1/8″ openings between the doors. Face frame and European cabinets all have the same colors, glazes etc.; they just look a little different. There are many types of drawers and drawer glides. The most typical are merely a plain MDF vinyl wrapped drawer with quarter-inch bottom and side mount epoxy coated slides. Some places will upgrade to a birch dovetail with ¾” extension under-mount epoxy coated slides. And the best will be either a birch or maple dovetail drawer with full extension soft close drawer glides under-mounted.

Now you could be asking “how do I select a cabinet for me?” Almost all of the time, cabinets are selected based on budget. When you have established your financial position you can select a cabinet that you like that fits that budget. You may not get to do all of the upgrades to get the better drawers. Some have found the RTA cabinets will give you the most bang for your buck. All of the upgrades without the additional cost. Today, most ready-to-assemble cabinets are plywood and hardwoods with stains, paints and glazes that cost 50% less than the offerings from the massive box stores. They do need a bit more work than pre-assembled kitchen cabinets, but are worth it if you have somewhat decent assembling skills.

February 11, 2012
Posted in Home — Knowledge Buff @ 12:06 AM

Getting Clean Water from the Air

World climate change brings many water issues. One way around them is to use desalination. Another is to get water from air! Many products are in development or are on the market already. You watch – this trend will change into a tsunami. Global warming causes water deficits thru droughts and vanishing glaciers. It also causes polluted water sources when there are floods, like in the result of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

Indeed several reports on the impacts of global warming suggest the chance of wars between countries over water. So there’s a great and growing need to relieve water deficits and for clean drinking water. There are a few approaches to harvesting humidity in the air around us. Dr. Max Whisson has been called the Water And Wind Magician of Oz. He has patented the ‘Whisson Windmill’, or ‘Water Harvester’, as he favors to name it. It gets water from air. How? Well, Dr Whisson was provoked by a little African beetle which collects the early morning’s condensed water from its own body. As Dr Whisson has put it, “The quantity of water available in the air is for all foreseeable practical purposes unlimited. The bottom one kilometer (in the atmosphere) alone contains about 1.000,000,000,000,000 liters of water and that’s turned over every couple of hours.”

The ‘Whisson Windmill’ or Max Water from Air device will give the chance to get acceptable water anywhere at any point, drought or no drought. The water you see picking up on the ground under your car’s air conditioner is an example of the same condensation process that Whisson uses. The Whisson windmill is largely a wind turbine which is hooked up to a refrigeration compressor. A refrigerant cools the blades of the wind turbine, after which it is returned to a compressor.

The ‘free’ power from wind drives the cooled blades of the turbine and water is then condensed from the ambient air. This water is then picked up. This extraordinary invention is under development with the College of Western Australia. Its units are on the market now, with capacities starting from 28 liters (seven gallons) every day to 5000 liters a day (1321 gallons).

Water assimilation by salt: This approach harvests water from air by pushing air thru a liquid lithium chloride salt solution. This compound pulls water from the air, after which it is removed and filtered thru table salt which acts as a natural disinfectant.

The final step is to filter this water thru a carbon filter, adding taste. These units can make up to 1200 gallons of drinking water per day and have been acquired by The Australian FESA for emergency relief purposes. Is water from air the Holy Grail? As you see there are some pretty engaging developments under way that guarantee clean water.

Posted in Food and Drink — Knowledge Buff @ 12:05 AM

Underground Coal Gasification

Growing gas costs have been a consistent source of worry for everybody recently.

Regardless of how much cash they make, nobody wants to pay a lot to put gas in their vehicle, particularly now that many folks are out of a job. Sadly, paying more at the pump appears unavoidable since the typical person depends on gas in their everyday life.

Whether they’ve a job to attend every day or are searching for one, most of the people cannot just refuse to pay the high costs for gas. However, this eventuality is probably going to change in the future, due to a little-known technology called underground coal gasification. Considering its capability to switch the way we power our autos, with its effect on our pocketbooks, it is surprising that more folks don’t know about underground coal gasification.

How it works:

To begin the process, 2 wells are drilled just above where the coal lies, which is known as the coal seam.

Air is pumped in thru the 1st well, and the coal is ignited till it reaches temperatures high enough to form carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrogen, and unimportant amounts of hydrogen sulfide and methane. Oxidants introduced thru the 1st well guide the just-made artificial gas out thru the second well, where it is filtered to form clean fuel.

Though the general public are either oblivious of underground coal gasification or have just recently heard about it, the idea has been about for a long time. Basic work was performed on the method as early as the late 19th century, though most experimentation at that point was frustrated by World War I and not resumed until World War Two stopped.

Most testing of this process happened in what was the Soviet Union round the year 1930. However, other nations have since gained an interest in underground coal gasification. China is only one of them, and is now home of the number one operation. The US also experimented with the technology for a period of time, especially taking interest in the 1970s because of the energy crisis at that point. But the country became complacent when oil costs all of a sudden plunged in the 1980s, effectively stopping inquiries into underground coal gasification.

Due to soaring oil costs and increased concern for the environment, interest in the method has once again picked up. Contemporary demonstrations by a city called Chinchilla in Queensland, Australia, have shown the process is way more profitable for the environment than our present strategy of getting energy. These findings have added to the global interest in underground coal gasification.

One might wonder how this process will save consumers cash. It is a straightforward example of demand and supply. Oil costs increase significantly when one of our main oil providers postpones sales to our country, or when apparatus that is instrumental in giving us oil breaks down briefly. Oil is a rather limited resource, which makes it pricey. Turning our natural resource of coal into gas not only suggests that there is more of it, but the method is less expensive than normal mining strategies. The straightforward transport of gas is also a lot less pricey than that of oil or solid coal, and there’s no waste to clean up since the complete process is finished underground.

The ensuing gas is filtered once it hits open air, so what we see is referred to as a clean fuel. The absence of interest among the public per underground coal gasification has impeded its progression as the next conventional source of energy.

Any one curious about both saving cash on gas in the future and saving the environment at the same time should look further into this process. Everybody knows our existing way of getting energy requires a make-over, and taking an opportunity on a new method like underground coal gasification could result in the change the energy industry wishes.

Posted in Energy — Knowledge Buff @ 12:01 AM

Is Reverse Osmosis Bad For You?

Let’s admit it, with such a lot of contamination in our supplies today, reverse osmosis apparatus could seem like a good option. But you should be aware that they’ve a couple of major issues that could leave you unguarded and in peril of long term health issues.

Part of the difficulty with reverse osmosis hardware is that it is old, outmoded technology that simply can’t vie with the less expensive state-of-the-art systems available today, particularly with the more resistant manmade toxins in our supply.

Because of the way their filters are set up, many of the deadly man-made chemicals may be able to pass thru a reverse-osmosis system and into your drinking water, regardless of the fact they cost 2 or 3 times as much as the better options. The next factor is that of demineralization. They fundamentally strip out necessary minerals like potassium and calcium which you need to stay healthy or you run the chance of becoming mineral deficient, leading to long term health issues.

Many sellers of reverse osmosis kit say that it’s not relevant and you can get your minerals from your diet, but the fact is we absorb them better from water than any other source, and when you remember the quantity of water we drink, it is easy to see why. As we are made from 70% water ourselves, the standard of what we use will at once affect the standard of our health and contentment.

Studies suggest that our tarnished tap water contains over 2k poisonous chemicals including herbicides, lead, chlorine and prescription drugs, and you’ll have heard how lately rocket fuel was discovered in some drinking water samples.

To deal with this, the sole effective sorts of system available are activated carbon block filters which chemically bond plenty of the pollutants to the filters surface vs. straining them in the standard way. The absolute best can remove all of the bad stuff while leaving in those necessary minerals to offer you healthy and safe water as it should be, helping to protect not just your present but your future health too. As this can be one of the most vital health investments you can make for your family, it is important to get it right and dodge reverse osmosis kits in favor of the ones that actually deliver on their guarantee to guard you.

February 10, 2012
Posted in Health — Knowledge Buff @ 11:58 PM

Solar Desalinization

Solar power is thought to be an inexpensive and flexible power source.

Small wonder it’s been employed in several ways, one being in the desalination of water.

The subject about changing saltwater into drinking and usable water has usually been controversial. The method, known as desalination, would be ready to help to solve water issues in the world today, if it can be utilized on a big scale but in an inexpensive manner. There are numerous strategies for desalination, and reverse osmosis has been deemed the hottest. It is basically a filtration process and is well-liked in states that have desalination plants like those found in the Caribbean or in the Mideast.

Reverse osmosis has now sparked interest in China and the US and places where there are typically droughts. But since most plants get power from traditional fuels, many folks wish to have a desalination process whereby they can save some cash and lessen the effects of global temperature rises. As a consequence, they have turned to solar energy as a source of energy for desalinization plants.

With solar desalination, the sun’s energy doesn’t just provide “power” like regular electrically-driven methods. The typical electrical system merely uses energy to run some kind of motor, and it’s the motor that’s actually doing the work. But with solar desalination, the heat of the sun is itself an integral part of the system. The ability to turn solar energy into electricity is also used.

In this sort of desalination process, the power of the sun is built into the system and heats the saltwater, which will then turn into vapor. The vapor will then run through a condenser system that will turn it back to liquid, saltless water. The concept of desalinizing using solar electricity systems is to split the water from the salt through the use of natural systems like one can find in the seas. Solar energy desalination really makes an attempt to copy nature’s method, whereby water evaporates from the sea to form clouds and then these clouds will become rain clouds and release the saltfree water. Due to increasing power costs and global warming, to desalinize using solar energy may turn out to be really profitable as well as being easier on the environment than plants that use fossil fuels. With correct research and study, we may all be free from water issues in the future.

This is just one of several up-and-coming methods of obtaining drinkable water in arid or drought-ridden areas. It is exciting to see these new technologies become commercially viable!

Posted in Health — Knowledge Buff @ 11:56 PM

The Real Tiamat

In video and tabletop RPG games, there are many fantastic creatures. One of these is the tiamat, usually depicted as a dragon of some sort. This, like many other of the seemingly original fantasy creatures found in games, is actually from very old mythology. The tiamat, for instance, is a concept which is over 3000 years old!

To find out the original concept behind the tiamat, we will go to ancient Babylon. In the creation story of the ancient Babylonian religion, Tiamat was not some relatively tiny dragon who you could ride around or sic on things (as in Ogre Battle), nor was she multiheaded (as in Dungeons & Dragons). In fact, she would probably have been very insulted at that whole idea. What would be so insulting about the idea of being a dragon who worked for an army? Well, when you are a dragon that is at least twice the size of the Earth, and a goddess to boot, being depicted as a trainable animal must be quite a come down.

According to the Babylonians, Tiamat was one of the two original deities. She personified the saltwater ocean, while the other one, Apsu, personified fresh water. Taking Apsu as her mate, she gave birth to the first generation of other deities. One of these newborn gods was Ea. Ea went on to father the thunder god, Marduk. Marduk later went on to become the supreme god. For some reason, Ea battled against Apsu and killed him. This angered Tiamat very much! So, she declared war on all the younger gods, using hordes of fierce monsters as an army. The younger gods elected Marduk to be their champion for their defense.

Marduk then went on to battle Tiamat. In this battle, Marduk sliced Tiamat right in half. One half of Tiamat’s corpse became the Earth, and the other half became the sky.

At no point in the religion is Tiamat depicted as a multiheaded dragon, despite such portrayals by the game Dungeons & Dragons. And, unlike Ogre Battle’s depiction, she is not merely three times the size of a man, nor is she simply a minor cog in a big army. And, far from being a big winner, she ended up dead!

Still, it is always interesting to know the original story behind creatures and places depicted in games. Often, it turns out there is a bit of truth, or at least a much older story, behind what is often presented as a game company’s concept.

Posted in Mythological and Semi-Mythological Creatures — Knowledge Buff @ 11:21 PM

Cockatrices and Basilisks

The cockatrice appears repeatedly in games and fantasy literature. This mythological beast is often, if not always, depicted as evil. Its gaze can kill a person or turn them to stone (depending on the source). Its body is a combination of a rooster’s torso, a snake’s tail, with possibly other animal parts thrown in, depending on who’s doing the drawing or storytelling. But where did the original idea for this creature come from? Was it always called it a cockatrice?

It seems that this creature is actually a depiction of another creature known as the basilisk. Pliny’s Natural History described it as a duplicate of the basilisk, only with wings. But, the name first actually came about due to a mistranslation. Apparently, in 1397, a man named John Trevisa mistranslated the word basiliscus into cockatrice when he was working on the text De proprietatibus rerum by Bartholomeus Anglicus.

The mythology surrounding this fantastical creature says that it was born from an egg laid by a cock (yes, that’s a male chicken!) and then incubated by a snake or a toad. Among its magical powers, it can turn someone to stone or kill them just by looking at them, and in some versions, by touching or breathing on them. And, to make it even more dangerous, it could fly.

Killing one of these things was no easy affair. Stick a sword in it? Shoot it with arrows? Naw. Too easy. Try making it hear a rooster crow. Or tricking it into looking at itself in a mirror. Or maybe it would lose in a fight with a weasel, the only animal which was supposedly immune to the cockatrice’s deadly gaze. And once it was finally dead, the cockatrice was still dangerous — its gaze, even from dead eyes, could still cause petrifaction.

Its cousin, the basilisk, is a creature from Greek mythology. Its body is made of rooster, snake, and lion parts. It too can turn someone to stone just by looking at him. Its name comes from the Greek word basiliskos, which means “little king” in English. But unlike the cockatrice, there is a real life version of the basilisk. Real basilisks are lizards which naturally live in a range including Mexico and Ecuador. These lizards are similar in appearance to salamanders. The real ones do have one outstanding feature — they can run on water for a few feet. Also, when they finally fall in and have to swim, they trap air bubbles under their feet which allow them to maintain an upright posture. Completely contrary to the evil reputation of the mythological versions, this water walking ability has given real basilisks the nickname “the Jesus lizard.”

As for where people come up with these myths of creatures made up of parts of other creatures, it has been suggested that the ideas result from misinterpretation of fossil remains. Some say that what the ancients thought were cockatrices were actually the remains of feathered dinosaurs. The fact that some real animals do appear to be combos of other animals lends a bit of credence to this theory. The platypus, for instance, appears to be a combo of a duck and a beaver. This would make it seem less likely, in an unlearned person’s view, that an ancient scholar’s theory was wrong if it was suggested that the bones he found were from a snake/chicken/lion “thing.”

Whatever the origin of the idea, game makers, players, and fantasy writers love it. They appear in all kinds of games which have a fantasy or even a medieval motif. They make fun characters when they on your side (who wouldn’t love turning the enemy to stone?), and can be challenging when they are on the other side. It is a bonus that there are real versions of their cousins. A basilisk for a pet would definitely give that “hard-core gamer” effect to your portfolio.

Posted in Mythological and Semi-Mythological Creatures — Knowledge Buff @ 11:17 PM

History of the Kodak Corporation

Photography is a very popular hobby today. When photography was first developed, however, it was only for the very dedicated and was a quite complicated hobby. How did it change? Did people suddenly decide it was worth the hassle of worrying about flash powder, super long exposure times, and incredibly expensive film? Of course not! Someone made it easy for the masses.

That “someone” was George Eastman, founder of what is now commonly known as the Eastman Kodak Company. Like so many people who revolutionize an industry, Eastman started out with a peasant job: bank clerk. This bank clerk spent three years developing a new process for photography; a process which would allow people to cleanly take photographs. This was called the “dry plate” process, and it was a big improvement over the then current wet plate method. After he got patents not only for the process itself, but for a machine which would produce large numbers of the dry plates, he opened his company. This was called the Eastman Dry Plate Company.

Three years after that, he decided to expand with a new type of film he had invented. This film would be gelatin coated, and wound on rolls. Since the holders of these rolls could be used with the existing type of plate cameras, this film was an instant success. After the film became a big part of the company’s sales, Eastman changed the name of the company to Eastman Dry Plate and Film Company.

In 1888, the company introduced a product which truly revolutionized photography and brought the enjoyment of this hobby to the masses. It was in this year that the first truly portable camera was brought to market. When Eastman was naming the camera, he decided to come up with a word which used the letter K. he thought that K was a “strong, incisive sort of letter.” He liked the letter so much he decided the new name should have two of them — one at the beginning and one at the end. From there, he experimented with various combinations of letters until he came up with the name “Kodak.” The small size and ease of use of this $25 camera paved the way for masses of amateur photographers to become real shutterbugs.

But Eastman was not satisfied to rest on his laurels with this successful product. The next year, he and a research scientist developed transparent roll film. This invention paved the way for another person’s huge invention: Thomas Edison’s motion picture camera.

Now that the Kodak camera was such a success, in 1892, Eastman changed the name of his company once again, and the familiar name of Eastman Kodak Company came into being. In 1900, the famous Brownie camera was produced. It sold for $1 a camera and used film which cost $.15 a roll. While that sounds cheap, one should keep in mind that this was over 100 years ago. One dollar was over a day’s pay. So while the camera wasn’t incredibly expensive, it wasn’t all that cheap either.

Despite the incredible success of George Eastman’s products and the huge growth of the company, Mr. Eastman’s own story ends in tragedy. In 1932, after suffering from a very painful spinal condition for two years, this spectacular inventor and businessman took his own life.

Posted in Recreation — Knowledge Buff @ 11:12 PM

Lake Fishing Tips

There are three general classifications of lake fish: Game, food, and forage/bait. Game fish are the ones people like to fish for. They have sport value. Food fish are what people want to catch just to put food on the table. And bait fish, as the name implies, are used as bait to catch the other two kinds.

Bass, pike, pickerel, muskies (muskellunge), perch, trout, and the like are some of the most familiar game fish. Note that some game fish are also popular as food. Lake perch is an especially popular menu offering in areas which have many lakes.

Carp, yellow perch, suckers, and catfish are among those normally thought of as food fish. Catching them often doesn’t provide much sport compared to the “sport” fish, but they still have a lot of economic and recreational value.

It’s hard to describe the correct casting methods for lake fishing. The best way to learn is still to go to an area of the lake where people are fishing, watch those who know how it’s done, and then try to copy. Of course, it will take practice to effectively match the technique, but actually seeing how it’s done is a big help.

Even so, there are some tips to keep in mind to help jump-start the learning process. Lake fishing can be a lot of fun, and it’s easy to learn the correct form for it.

With any form of fishing, a smooth snappy stroke is needed. But this shouldn’t be too snappy; you’re not cracking a whip! If you crack the line like a whip, you will lose a lot of flies.

Anglers need to remember that they’re casting the line rather than the fly. The fly is just something that happens to be attached to the leader, rather than being a source of significant weight or pull.

Proper timing is needed for both the forward and back cast.

Know the habitat the individual lake provides, and the kind of fish living there. Some types of common lake fish are sunfish and small mouth black bass. These two types of fish like to hide near submerged logs or among the plants.

Use big, sturdy rods to catch big lake fish. Fish like bass can get as big as 12 pounds. This is because in lakes and ponds, there is a lot of rich food for them. Therefore, the best length of the rod is about 8 ½ feet, and a good rod weight (without reel or line) is 4 ¾ ounce.

The fundamental principles of lake fishing are easy to master, and with a bit of patience and practice, a novice can become a successful angler in lakes.

February 9, 2012
Posted in Recreation — Knowledge Buff @ 9:19 PM

How to Call Wild Ducks

Calling wild ducks is not an inborn talent. It takes a lot of practice to become a proficient caller. However, anyone can become a good duck caller with patience and proper training. Being able to call wild ducks is an important part of hunting for them. Done right, it can greatly improve hunting results. After all, if you get the calls right, the ducks will come “hunting” for you, instead of the other way around!

Here are a couple of tips to help you successfully call wild ducks:

Get a high-quality call. Even if you have a lot of skill, if your duck call is junk, it will sound like it. This is one of the cases where you get what you pay for. The call must be good enough to produce a sound which can fool the ducks. A good call will allow the hunter to make all the sounds that a duck can. It will also allow the hunter to be able to continue to reproduce these sounds the same way time and time again.

The next thing you need to do is learn to properly use the call so you sound just like a real wild duck, instead of like a human pretending to be a duck. Although there are surely audiotapes or CDs which have duck sounds on them, the best way to learn a language is to hang around those who speak it. So if you can get in an area where you can hear actual wild ducks as they go about their normal behaviors, you are already way ahead of those trying to learn from a recording.

The first calls to learn are the feeder chuckle and the quack. Ducks use quacks for many things, including announcing their arrival, acknowledging another duck’s arrival, and calling out danger. Observing some actual ducks will help you learn which calls will bring in ducks, and which will chase them away. Experienced hunters will tell you to practice duck calling all year long, not just right before the hunting season.

A hunter trying to attract some wild ducks will often do better if he can pretend to be several ducks rather than just one. Ducks like groups. Like humans, each individual duck is a different speaking mannerism. So, to imitate a group of ducks, you’ll need to use different cadences and tempos. You will also need to vary your volume since some ducks are louder than others.

It is actually possible to call in wild ducks without a piece of equipment other than your own mouth and vocal cords. This, however, takes a lot of patience, practice, and excellent observation of wild ducks. To learn all the food related calls, it helps a lot to put some food out where the ducks are sure to find it. Then hide, and listen very well to the sounds the ducks make both upon discovery of the food and as other ducks enter the feeding area.

There is one call you do not want to make. That is the danger call. Once ducks associate you with a danger call, it will be very hard to get them not to avoid you. This avoidance is far more pronounced than the normal shyness they would otherwise show. So make sure to learn the danger call so you do NOT accidentally do it.

With practice, you can learn to make good wild duck calls with a device to help you. If you want to be able to brag that you don’t need a duck call, you’ll need a lot more patience and practice, but the astounded looks of other people may make it worth it. In either case, once you get it right, the ducks will come looking for you instead of the other way around.

Posted in Recreation — Knowledge Buff @ 9:18 PM
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