11 ways to be more self-sufficient in the new year

January 11, 2019 by  
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Self-sufficient living is all about providing for your own needs— and the needs of your household— without resources or help from the outside. To become more self-sufficient, you need knowledge and skills, plus motivation and a spirit of independence. The reasons for living a self-sufficient lifestyle can be political, social or personal, but whatever the motivation may be, learning how to become self-sufficient can offer a feeling of security, even in the event of a disaster. There isn’t a handbook for becoming self-sufficient, but once you change your thinking about dependency, there are things you can do to start living life off the grid in the new year. Plant a Garden Not only can you grow your own food and save the seeds for next year, but you can also plant herbs in pots in your windowsill and use them for medicinal purposes or create your own spice blends . Cook From Scratch This goes hand-in-hand with planting a garden. Cooking from scratch instead of pre-packaged meals in plastic or take-out is a big step towards becoming more self-sufficient. Make A Food Storage Plan Gardens are great, and not having to rely on the grocery store to feed your family is a fantastic goal. But, that will mean that you need to have a plan for storing your food. After properly storing the fruit and veggies from your garden in a freezer or cellar, make a plan for acquiring basics like flour, sugar, water, salt and powdered milk. You can do this one week at a time , and after a year, you will have plenty of essentials. Make Natural Cleaners Ditch those store-bought cleaners that are filled with potentially toxic chemicals and instead switch to making your own natural cleaning products . You can also make your own laundry detergent and set up a clothesline or drying rack for your clothes instead of using a dryer. Learn To Sew This is a big one. Back when our grandparents and great-grandparents were young, there was always someone in the family who knew how to sew anything and everything. Not only could they mend their clothing, but they could also make entire outfits instead of buying clothing from the store. But it’s not always about clothing, as you can sew a number of things like blankets, curtains, towels, napkins, wipes and handkerchiefs. Sewing is a skill that is essential for self-sufficient living. Get Out of Debt When you owe people money it’s impossible to become truly self-sufficient. So, cut up those credit cards, make a budget and put together a plan to get out of debt. It’s not easy, but neither is living a self-sufficient life. Drastically cutting your spending to pay off your debts can be a great experience on what it means to live a self-sufficient life. In addition to getting out of debt, stash some cash in a safe place in your home. Having an emergency fund is a huge advantage when unexpected things happen. Start an Emergency Kit Stock up on basic medical supplies like band-aids, gauze, rubbing alcohol and OTC pain meds, but you want to be prepared for more than just medical emergencies. You also can prepare for power outages with an emergency candle kit . Collect Rainwater Having access to your own water source is a big part of becoming self-sufficient. If you don’t have a well, but want to use your own water to take care of your property, set up a rain barrel with a hose to water your garden. Basic Car Maintenance If you don’t know how to change your own oil or replace a flat tire, now is the time to learn if you want to become self-sufficient. Also, washing your car at home instead of taking it to a car wash is another step you can take when you want to rely on yourself instead of outside sources. Start Exercising If you aren’t in good health it’s difficult to be self-sufficient. Eating food from your own garden and cooking from scratch are big steps towards living a healthy life. Once you add exercise into your daily routine, you will become your healthiest self, which makes it much easier to be self-sufficient. Solar Lights and Windmills One of the biggest ways to move towards a life off the grid is to produce your own power. You can install solar lights outside and put up a windmill on your property to help generate the power you need. Via The Real Farmhouse Images via Couleur , FitNishMedia , Shutterstock

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11 ways to be more self-sufficient in the new year

MVRDV proposes a glowing Times Square Taiwan with interactive media facades

January 11, 2019 by  
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Prolific Dutch architecture firm MVRDV has unveiled a bold proposal to transform Taipei’s Main Station into a “Times Square for Taiwan.” Designed as part of a consortium led by Nan Hai Development, the Taipei Twin Towers aim to reactivate the area with two high-rises clad in interactive media facades. The mixed-use project would offer new retail, office space, two cinemas and two hotels, in addition to the unification and redevelopment of the existing plazas. Located on the east side of the city, Taipei Main Station is currently ensnared in an aging concrete jungle and offers an arrival sequence — the transportation hub includes access to inter- and intra-city buses, metro and the airport railway — that MVRDV principal and co-founder Winy Maas has described as an “anti-climax.” To revitalize the area as a tourist and shopping destination, the architects have proposed stacking a mix of small and large blocks together into “vertical village” skyscrapers. The smaller blocks, located near the bottom, would house different retail outlets while the larger blocks above would contain the offices, cinemas and two hotels. The blocks will be strategically stacked to not only create public atriums  but to also allow for natural ventilation. Landscaped terraces will be located on the top of the retail blocks and connected via escalators and elevated walkways. Some blocks would also be covered with interactive media displays that can be programmed to show major cultural spectacles, sporting events or advertising for the retail tenants. Related: Shimmering bamboo-shaped skyscraper to rise in Taipei “The Taipei Twin Towers will turn this area into the downtown that Taipei deserves, with its vibrant mixture of activities matched only by the vibrant collection of facade treatments on the stacked neighborhood above,” Winy Maas explained. “We break down the required program into pleasant small blocks that echo the surrounding urban quarters, thus fitting the density fit into its surroundings. People can climb over the blocks to the top — a true vertical village . And the space in between allows for social gatherings and natural ventilation.” + MVRDV Images via MVRDV

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MVRDV proposes a glowing Times Square Taiwan with interactive media facades

Ovie’s ‘Smarterware’ smart food storage aims to help reduce food waste

May 22, 2018 by  
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Around 40 percent of food goes to waste in America yearly, which costs the average family of four about $2,000 a year. Luckily, Chicago startup Ovie has an answer to this problem: Smarterware. Ovie’s Smart Tags, which keep track of food items’ freshness, can be clipped on food, placed on six-cup containers, or attached to bottles or take-out boxes. According to the company, their system essentially transforms any regular refrigerator into a smart fridge, but without the steep price tag — and they’re crowdfunding on Kickstarter right now. Ovie’s Smarterware aims to change how people eat by helping them keep track of their food’s freshness level. Rings around their Smart Tags light up as green, yellow or red to let people know if food is safe, about to spoil, or has gone bad. Using the technology is simple: you just press the button on a Smart Tag, and your food is tagged via Amazon Echo or an app. Related: New refrigerator camera takes aim at food waste The app aims to help users really take advantage of what’s in their fridge, letting them see items they’ve tagged or even search for recipes that will use the tagged ingredients. The app notifies users when the light ring hits yellow and offers recipe suggestions. Ovie also plans to send a personalized recap every month to let users know how they’ve been doing and provide tips based on their consumption trends. Ovie CEO and co-founder Ty Thompson said in a statement, “People don’t want to waste all of this food — it just happens. We’re busy, we invest time and resources to make a great meal, and then we end up throwing away a large amount of food simply because we forget about it. We wanted to help solve this problem by creating a product that would be simple to use and bring a more mindful approach to food storage .” You can snag early bird discounts on Ovie’s Kickstarter , which ends June 21. The company plans to start shipping in early 2019. + Ovie + Ovie Smarterware Kickstarter Images courtesy of Ovie

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Ovie’s ‘Smarterware’ smart food storage aims to help reduce food waste

AEye reveals new, energy-efficient data type to help self-driving cars see

May 22, 2018 by  
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AEye , a San Francisco Bay Area-based company that develops hardware, software and algorithms that serve as the “eyes and visual cortex” of autonomous vehicles, has announced a new data type that will help self-driving cars see better and, as a result, reduce energy costs. The data type combines pixels from digital 2D cameras with voxels from 3D LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) sensors. By joining these into a unified high-resolution sensor data type known as Dynamic Vixels, AEye has created a format through which autonomous cars can more effectively evaluate a situation based on 2D visual algorithms. In addition, the new data type allows the cars to use 3D and even 4D information on an object’s location, intensity, and velocity. This efficient format has yielded a visual system that is faster and more accurate while using eight to ten times less energy in the process. AEye believes that integration of data types is essential for improving the capacity of autonomous vehicles while reducing energy costs through more efficient computing. “There is an ongoing argument about whether camera -based vision systems or LiDAR-based sensor systems are better,” said AEye Founder and CEO Luis Dussan. “Our answer is that both are required – they complement each other and provide a more complete sensor array for artificial perception systems. We know from experience that when you fuse a camera and LiDAR mechanically at the sensor , the integration delivers data faster, more efficiently and more accurately than trying to register and align pixels and voxels in post-processing. The difference is magnitude better performance.” Related: Lyft launches self-driving cars on the Las Vegas strip AEye’s iDAR (Intelligent Detection and Ranging) perception system is modeled on human visual perception, using biomimicry to better equip autonomous vehicles for the safest ride possible. For example, iDAR is able to assess a child’s facial direction and determine the probability of whether this child will walk into the street, preparing the vehicle to stop in case the child does. “There are three best practices we have adopted at AEye,” said AEye Chief of Staff Blair LaCorte. “First: never miss anything; second: not all objects are equal; and third: speed matters. Dynamic Vixels enables iDAR to acquire a target faster, assess a target more accurately and completely, and track a target more efficiently – at ranges of greater than 230m with 10% reflectivity.” AEye plans to release the AE100 artificial perception system, its first iDAR-based project, this summer. It will be available to Tier 1 and Original Equipment Manufacturer companies that have autonomous vehicle initiatives. + AEye Images via AEye

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AEye reveals new, energy-efficient data type to help self-driving cars see

Missouri approves legislation to ban labeling plant-based ‘meat’ as meat

May 22, 2018 by  
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Plant-based meat substitutes or meat grown in a laboratory — think the Impossible Burger or the Beyond Burger — won’t be able to be marketed as meat under new legislation recently approved by  Missouri  lawmakers in a 125 to 22 vote. Representative Jeff Knight, a Republican who backed the change, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch , “We’re not trying to mislead anyone. We’re just trying to protect our product.” Legislation outlawing companies from calling lab-grown or plant-based meat substitutes ‘meat’ is headed to the governor’s desk in Missouri. Senate Bill 627 is a package of changes to conservation and agriculture laws, including a provision stating, “This act also prohibits misrepresenting a product as meat that is not derived from harvested production livestock or poultry.” If the bill becomes law, Missouri will be the first state in America to address this issue. Related: TGI Fridays to sell Beyond Meat’s plant-based burger in hundreds of stores Mike Deering, the executive vice president of the  Missouri Cattlemen’s Association said in a statement , “This isn’t a Missouri issue. This is about protecting the integrity of the products that farm and ranch families throughout the country work hard to raise each and every day. I never imagined we would be fighting over what is and isn’t meat. It seems silly. However, this is very real and I cannot stress enough the importance of this issue…This legislation does not stifle technology , but it does ensure the integrity of our meat supply and reduces customer confusion.” Representative Deb Lavender, a Democrat, said we should be embracing the future, and that many people “are eating differently than they used to.” Representative Tracy McCreery, also a Democrat, said she found the bill somewhat disrespectful to consumers, saying, “You guys are just trying to protect your marketing money.” The bill did find bipartisan support. Democratic representative Greg Razer agreed with the policy and said, “I love me a pork chop.” Via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and EcoWatch Images via Depositphotos (1, 2)

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Missouri approves legislation to ban labeling plant-based ‘meat’ as meat

The End of the Tupperware Age: Choosing Safer Food Storage Containers

May 4, 2018 by  
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Many of us grew up in the Tupperware age. Our … The post The End of the Tupperware Age: Choosing Safer Food Storage Containers appeared first on Earth911.com.

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The End of the Tupperware Age: Choosing Safer Food Storage Containers

6 Meal planning tips to reduce food waste

January 18, 2016 by  
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Ditch the Plastic Food Wrap With All-Natural and Reusable Bee’s Wrap

October 1, 2014 by  
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Clear plastic wrap is both really convenient and really wasteful. However, Vermont farmer Sarah Kaeck has developed a truly ingenious solution this food wrap waste problem with an all natural product called Bee’s Wrap . These washable and reusable organic cotton sheets are infused with a mix of beeswax , jojoba oil, and tree resin. When you apply the heat from your hands to them, they conform easily to bowl rims and wrap half-eaten bread loaves with ease. An extra bonus is the natural antibacterial properties of the jojoba oil and bee’s wax. Read the rest of Ditch the Plastic Food Wrap With All-Natural and Reusable Bee’s Wrap Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: all natural , bees wrap , beeswax , compostable , food storage , jojoba , jojoba oil , Sarah Kaeck , vermont

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Ditch the Plastic Food Wrap With All-Natural and Reusable Bee’s Wrap

’Tis the Season to Recycle Old Electronics

December 16, 2013 by  
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Earth911 and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) have launched Project Reboot, a program that aims to educate the public on recycling electronics responsibly.

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’Tis the Season to Recycle Old Electronics

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