Sustainable Living: 5 Best Ways To Beat The Heat And Spare Your Wallet

Heat like the sort the East Coast has been experiencing has many different effects but perhaps the most ubiquitous is just how lazy it makes us.  No one wants to tackle insulating the attic when its 100 degrees outside, even if it would make your home significantly cooler.  So let’s take it slow.  Here are our top five small, simple steps you can take to beat the heat: guaranteed to make a difference you can fell but the environment and your bank account won’t even notice!

1. Got AC?  Let it sit around 78 degrees.  While you might be tempted to set it to “arctic”- running your unit at temperatures lower than 78 will not cool things down any faster or more effectively.  What it will do however, is force the system to work harder, use more energy and force you to pay up more at the end of the month.  Think of your AC as a baseline tool to be used in conjunction with other tricks.
2. Fan of a good fan?  Try placing one or two frozen water bottles in front of your fan, it is effective, low-cost and low impact.  But the best part?  You’ll never have that panic-stricken moment of “did I leave the AC blasting at home?”  Frozen water bottles aren’t just low maintenance, they’re no maintenance.
3. Sheets to the wind. This is one old wives’ tale that you can trust.  Plus, we love it because its so simple; just hang a damp sheet in front of your window and the sheet will cool air entering your home.  It is also a great way to dry your sheets when they come out of the wash as using the dryer heats up small homes quickly. Which leads us to…
4. Unplug your life.  Turn off any heat-generating devices: the dryer, the iron, the hairdryer, the toaster and oven.  Even small electronics, like laptops, when used frequently can generate heat that you may not notice to the touch but contribute to rising indoor temperatures.  A great excuse to put down the tablets and phones and head out to a barbeque!
5.  Spice. Hydrate. Repeat.  We all know that body temperature can also be changed from the inside out.  Heatwaves are a great excuse to order delivery (you can’t use the oven after all) from your favorite Thai, Indian or Ethiopian place.  It is no coincidence that cultures originating from sizzling parts of the globe typically have equally sizzling native cuisines.  The wisdom in spicing up your insides is that it generates sweat – activating the body’s natural cooling system. In terms of your liquids it is also important to keep very well hydrated and drink much more water than you normally would.  A simple glass of ice water might be the most effective coolant of all, though a cold beer with your spicy Mexican food is also advisable!

Cheers to staying cool this summer.

The Giants of Iowa: Reuse, Re-rigged

The world of reuse is sometimes relegated to all things tiny: tiny homes, tiny devices, tiny art.  But in Iowa reuse is going not just big, its going gigantic, 8 stories to be exact!  That’s because in the middle of Iowa’s rolling farmlands there is, surprisingly, a mountain climber’s paradise where a number of unused grain silos have been converted into ice climbing walls.

In the fall of 2001 Don Briggs, a professor and climbing enthusiast, was helping a friend till his farmland in the municipality of Ceder Falls when he made a bet that he could scale one of the silos looming in the distance.  In the end, he won the bet and discovered that the most workable way to reach the peak was to ice climb it.

Briggs has now developed an intricate icing process by rigging hoses at the top of the structure which slow-drip downwards creating a semi-malleable wall of ice that changes depending on wind and weather conditions.

Since the silo opened for business it has attracted both beginners and experts alike and exposed a community famous for their flat farmlands to a taste of mountain life, close to home.  To learn more check out Silo Ice Climbing.

Christmas for Mac Enthusiasts – iPad mini and more

Posted on October 24, 2012 | Amazing tech, iPad, Mac, Tech tips, Upgrade, Weigh In

Yesterday, at the California Theater in San Jose, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Vice President of marketing Phil Schiller took the stage to unveil their highly anticipated, pint-sized iPad Mini. However, that wasn’t all. To the oohs and ahhs of the audience, they also announced an upgrade on the iPad and revealed a whole host of new Macs.

With the unveiling of so many goodies, here’s our rundown of the latest Apple gadgets:

iPad Mini:

The smaller iPad has a 7.9-inch display with a 1024 x 768 resolution. It is 7.2 millimeters thick, 0.63 pounds, comes in white and slate black. The insides of the iPad Mini are on par with Apple’s other mobile devices, including a new processor called the A5, the Lightning connector and a 5-megapixel camera. With a starting price of $329 for the 16GB Wi-Fi model, the tablet is the least expensive iPad ever made.

But how does it stack up against the competition? At the event, Mr. Schiller did a side-by-side comparison of the Mini to Google’s Nexus 7 tablet. He noted that the iPad Mini was thinner, lighter and more durable than Google’s tablet, and still had a bigger screen.

However, Apple’s competition is certainly fierce. Google Nexus 7 tablet costs $200 (about $130 less than the iPad Mini) and has a higher resolution screen than the Mini. Amazon recently introduced seven new Kindles, including a 7-inch tablet for $160 and an 8.9-inch tablet for $300 (it is also expected to launch its 10-inch Kindle Fire next month). Barnes and Noble’s Nook tablet, which starts at $200, has also sold well. Not to be out-done Microsoft is releasing its own tablet, the Surface, on Friday.

4th Generation iPad:

According to Tim Cook, Apple has sold 84 million iPads since their debut in April 2010. Their latest upgrade features an A6X processor, 5 megapixel iSight camera, expanded LTE chipset, front-facing camera with FaceTime and 720p video capture, faster Wi-Fi, and Lightening connector. The new iPad is priced at $499 for a 16 GB model, $629 for a 16 GB model with 4G LTE.


Apple also introduced a family of new Macs, including upgrades for the MacBook Pro, iMac and Mac Mini. The 13-inch MacBook Pro notebook includes a high-resolution Retina display (similar to the display technology on the current iPads and iPhones) and is 20 percent thinner, and a pound lighter, than the previous generation. It will start at $1,700. They also described updates to the company’s Mac Mini and iMac, with the latter becoming a razor-thin (80% thinner and 8 pounds lighter than its predecessor) all-in-one computer that starts at $1,299.

What do you think? Are you excited to get your hands on the newest Apple gadgets?

Don’t forget, we purchase iPads so, if you’re looking to buy a new iPad Mini or iPad, come to us first and sell your old devices to subsidize your upgrade.

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