Since its inception as a 2012 Kickstarter, the Reading With Pictures project has gone from strength to strength, culminating in a gorgeous, attractively produced hardcover graphic anthology of delightful comic stories that slot right into standard curriculum in science, math, social studies and language arts. Read the rest
Over the years, I've tried to keep my Moka in pristine condition, but my family members don't care about it as much as I do. They would leave it on the burner after the water boiled up from the lower chamber to the upper chamber, which caused the bottom part to overheat and turn black.
The final straw dropped on Saturday when one of my family members forgot to put water in it *and* forgot about it on the burner. I was in another room and when I smelled burning plastic, I knew what had happened. I ran into the kitchen and grabbed the handle with a dish rag. It stretched like taffy. Even the plastic knob on the lid was melted. Disgusted, I threw the coffee maker in the trash.
An hour later I pulled it out of the trash. I decided I could make a new handle. That was a good idea, but I idiotically thought I could get away with making a handle on a 3D printer. I designed the handle on Tinkercad (a fantastic web-based 3D modeling application):
I also designed a knob for the lid. It took about an hour to print out both pieces. While it was printing, I used a Dremel tool to remove the carbonized black stuff from alternating facets of the octagonal boiler chamber. I was pleased with my new orange/green/black/silver Moka and posted a photo of it to my Instagram feed:
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Money is tight for the great majority of people right now. If renting an apartment is not for you, and you want a small house for less than $40k, then chances are it’s going to be a so-called “tiny house.” These are typically 50 to 400 square feet and most often use a compost or chemical toilet (or, god forbid the smell, an incinerator toilet).
Here (right) is a photo of a typical tiny house from Wikipedia.
People think this is a new thing. While the reason people may be building and living in houses the size of a single room in a home may vary (“I want to downsize,” “I can make do with less,” “Who can afford a regular size house?” “My wife and kids drive me nuts!”), the fact is that people have been living in eensy-weensy domiciles for hundreds of years.
I suppose we could start with the cave, and the caveman and woman, but that’s silly. They didn’t even know about toilet paper.
In the 1800s, as the migration toward the western part of the U.S. began in earnest:
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As the first waves of loggers swept over great portions of the Pacific Northwest's old-growth forests in the second half of the nineteenth century, those men opened up the dark dense woodlands to settlement. …. Left behind was a scarred landscape, scrap wood, and stumps. Many stumps. Huge stumps. Stumps that still stood a full 10 feet high but were undesirable as lumber because they tended to swell down toward their base, making the wood-grain uneven.
The Panama Papers — a massive cache of 11.5 million records leaked from the law firm Mossack Fonseca — reveal that several heads of state have been sheltering their personal wealth in offshore accounts to evade taxes. This is not surprising, as dictators are known for draining public coffers and hoarding the ill-gotten funds in secret accounts. What’s more disturbing is learning that well-known global businesses and civic leaders have been doing the same thing for decades, and getting away with it.
Mossack Fonseca specializes in setting up untraceable shell companies. There’s nothing overtly illegal about them, but they’re often used by political and financial elites to hide assets, dodge taxes, and launder money. Creating shell companies is a big business, and Mossack Fonseca is just one of many firms that do it. FACT (Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency) Coalition says shell companies house up to $21 trillion globally. (By way of comparison, the US gross domestic product for 2015 was $18 trillion.)
Too Big to Jail The firms employing the services of Mossack Fonseca include a rogues’ gallery of brand name corporations with a track record of breaking financial regulations with virtual impunity. Remember back in 2013 when HSBC was slapped with a $1.9 billion fine by the U.S. Justice Department for laundering drug cartel money? Its fine amounted to less than one tenth of its annual profits. And remember when UBS was caught in 2012 spreading false information to manipulate banking exchange rates? It was fined $1.5 billion, which sounds like a lot, until you learn UBS’ revenues are almost $40 billion a year. Read the rest