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7 Laundry Hacks That Save Time, Money and the Planet

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Laundry is a drain on the modern green household. It sucks up energy, water, and time — three things very precious to any eco-warrior. Fortunately, technology has some excellent solutions to our laundry problems. Here are seven laundry hacks that help you make sure your washer and dryer are doing their part for the planet.

1. Upgrade to an Energy Star Model

If your current washer and dryer are more than 10 years old, upgrading them will save you significant time doing your weekly laundry and also reduce your utility bills. Energy Star–rated washers can reduce your water use by 45 percent and your energy use by 25 percent. An Energy Star–rated dryer will save you around $245 in energy costs over its lifetime. If upgrading isn’t an option yet, be conscientious about using your current washer’s settings correctly. If you have water level settings, make sure to set your washer to the lowest one. If not, always use the correct load size setting — small for small loads, medium for medium loads, and so on. You could save more than 1,200 gallons of water per year.

2. Wash Your Clothes in Cold Water

Almost 90 percent of the energy a washer needs is used to heat water. If you wash your clothes in cold water, you’ll cut down your energy use significantly and save $66 or more a year on your energy bill, depending on the amount of laundry you do. New high-efficiency (HE) washers clean just as effectively with cold water. Make sure to use a specially designed HE laundry detergent.

3. Select the Fastest Spin Speed

Choose the fastest spin speed your washer (and your clothes) can handle. The faster the washer spins, the more water is whisked out of the load, and the less time it needs to spend in the dryer. Be sure to use this for towels, if nothing else.

4. Take Advantage of Sensor Features

Load and moisture sensors will intelligently adjust your washer and dryer cycles. Load sensing assesses each load you put in the washer and determines how much water is needed to clean it properly. Similarly, moisture sensors are more efficient than setting a timer on your dryer. These sensors can tell when your clothes are dry and stop the machine, reducing your dryer’s energy use by about 15 percent.

5. Opt for Models That Use Less Water

Traditional top-loading washing machines fill up the entire tub with water and rub clothes against the agitator in the middle of the tub. New top-loader models don’t have an agitator — they flip and spin clothes through a stream of water instead of filling the whole tub, which significantly reduces water usage. Front-loading washers tumble clothes to clean them instead of using an agitator. Either option is an eco-friendly choice that will reduce the amount of water you use to do laundry.

6. Turn Down the Dryer Heat

Longer drying cycles on a low heat setting use less energy. Be sure to clean the filter in between loads to keep the dryer in top working order.

7. Toss a Tennis Ball into the Dryer

This old-school trick really works. When you’re drying large, bulky items — such as down comforters, jackets, blankets or pillows — throw in a couple of new tennis balls with the load. The balls bounce around in the dryer to separate the waterlogged, heavy material, which reduces drying time and energy usage.

Follow these laundry hacks to take advantage of today’s washer and dryer features that save time, energy and water for a super-green laundry routine.

Jennifer Tuohy is an earth-conscious mom who writes for The Home Depot on a variety of green, tech, and parenting topics. She provides advice on easy, simple ways to be greener when doing your laundry. To see a selection of Energy Star-rated washers and dryer like the ones Jennifer mentions in this article, visit The Home Depot here

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7 Laundry Hacks That Save Time, Money and the Planet

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Chaos – James Gleick

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Chaos

Making a New Science (Enhanced Edition)

James Gleick

Genre: Science & Nature

Price: $1.99

Publish Date: March 22, 2011

Publisher: Open Road Media

Seller: OpenRoad Integrated Media, LLC


The blockbuster modern science classic that, two decades ago, introduced the butterfly effect to the world and became an international sensation—now updated with video and modern graphics In the 1960s, a small group of radical thinkers upset the rigid foundation of modern scientific thinking by placing new importance on the tiny experimental irregularities that scientists had long learned to ignore. Miniscule differences in data, they said, would eventually produce massive ones—and complex systems like the weather, economics, and human behavior suddenly became clearer and more beautiful than they had ever been before. In this updated version of his seminal work, James Gleick lays out that new vision of a chaotic universe. Interviews with leading theoreticians, a video introduction from the author, and motion graphics depicting concepts such as the famous Lorenz attractor—the concept that birthed chaos theory—complement Gleick’s elegant prose. Never before has chaos been so easy to grasp. “Beautifully lucid . . . Gleick has a novelist’s touch for describing his scientists and their settings, an eye for the apt analogy, and a sense of the dramatic and the poetic.”— San Francisco Chronicle   “There is a teleological grandeur about this new math that gives the imagination wings.”— Vogue   “Gleick's Chaos is not only enthralling and precise, but full of beautifully strange and strangely beautiful ideas.”—Douglas Hofstadter, author of Gödel, Escher, Bach  Born in New York City in 1954, James Gleick is one of the nation’s preeminent science writers. Upon graduating from Harvard in 1976, he founded Metropolis , a weekly Minneapolis newspaper, and spent the next decade working at the New York Times . Gleick’s prominent works include Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman , Isaac Newton , and Chaos: Making a New Science , all of which were shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize. His latest book, The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood ,was published in March 2011. He lives and works in New York.

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Chaos – James Gleick

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Why You Should Get an Eco-Friendly Yoga Mat

The number one rule of yoga? Do no harm.

Yoga shouldn?t physically injure you?if it does, you?re doing it wrong and you need to practice safer alignment.

It also shouldn?t injure or harm others?it is a practice of love and universal acceptance.

But when your yoga practice is hurting the environment? That?s when a lot of us turn a blind eye.

In our consumer culture, the yoga market is a cash cow. Americans spend over $16 million a year on yoga classes, mats, clothes and related equipment. Yoga is no longer just a lifestyle, but it has overflowed into fast fashion. Atheleisure is ubiquitous and there is always pressure for us to get more?new, new, new. But stop a minute and consider the effect all that yoga gear has on the environment.

It is tempting to buy cheap yoga mats, but they are more harmful than you may realize. Modern yoga mats are loaded with plenty of plastic-based nasties, but the one of main concern in PVC plastic. Not only are these bad for you (they contain known carcinogens?and phthalates?not things?you want seeping?in to your sweaty back), but PVC plastics?are non-biodegradable, which means they will leach toxins into the environment for years to come. How?s that for ?do no harm??

If you are bringing a reusable water bottle to class but still using a cheap, old mat, do some research. Yoga mats are technically environmental pollutants once you’re done using them. And since cheap PVC mats don’t boast quality or longevity, think of all the yoga mats you will be?dumping into the environment over time.

When buying a new eco-friendly mat, know that some mats claim to be eco-friendly, but always double check. Polyester-based mats will not biodegrade once disposed, meaning they aren’t as?green as they claim to be. And be aware that?good eco mats can get pricey! The temptation to buy a cheap mat is a powerful one, but a?better made mat is going to last a lot longer and be kinder to both you and the planet. If you can, look for mat made with natural rubber, which is both incredibly grippy and sustainable. Make sure it has enough thickness for you, but don?t opt for anything too heavy as it might make you less likely to use it.

I use and swear by?a Jade Harmony?mat, which is made from super-grippy, sustainably-harvested natural rubber and comes in a beautiful array of colors. Gone are the days of my hands slipping and sliding in downward dog, which means my mat has actually improved my practice. Talk about bang for my buck! (Bonus eco benefit: for every mat purchased, Jade plants a tree.) Of course, if you have a latex allergy you should avoid natural rubber. Opt instead for a cork mat.

And if you are looking to recycle an old yoga mat? You can repurpose old mats in your own home easily, or you may be able to recycle PVC mats by sending them back to the manufacturer to be shredded down, melted and reused.

A mat is an integral part of your yoga practice, so make sure it aligns with your core values. Don’t sacrifice your health. Don’t sacrifice the planet. Know what’s in your mat.

Related:
Why People Rave About Cannabis Yoga
5 Ways to Successfully Read More Books
The Best Apps to Keep You Focused & Productive

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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Night of the Grizzlies – Jack Olsen

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Night of the Grizzlies

Jack Olsen

Genre: Nature

Price: $6.99

Publish Date: September 24, 2014

Publisher: Crime Rant Classics

Seller: Evan Olsen


For more than half a century, grizzly bears roamed free in the national parks without causing a human fatality. Then in 1967, on a single August night, two campers were fatally mauled by enraged bears — thus signaling the beginning of the end for America's greatest remaining land carnivore. Night of the Grizzlies, Olsen's brilliant account of another sad chapter in America's vanishing frontier, traces the causes of that tragic night: the rangers' careless disregard of established safety precautions and persistent warnings by seasoned campers that some of the bears were acting "funny"; the comforting belief that the great bears were not really dangerous — would attack only when provoked. The popular sport that summer was to lure the bears with spotlights and leftover scraps — in hopes of providing the tourists with a show, a close look at the great "teddy bears." Everyone came, some of the younger campers even making bold enough to sleep right in the path of the grizzlies' known route of arrival. This modern "bearbaiting" could have but one tragic result…

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Night of the Grizzlies – Jack Olsen

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Strange Medicine – Nathan Belofsky

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Strange Medicine

A Shocking History of Real Medical Practices Through the Ages

Nathan Belofsky

Genre: History

Price: $1.99

Publish Date: July 2, 2013

Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group

Seller: Penguin Group (USA) Inc.


Strange Medicine casts a gimlet eye on the practice of medicine through the ages that highlights the most dubious ideas, bizarre treatments, and biggest blunders. From bad science and oafish behavior to stomach-turning procedures that hurt more than helped, Strange Medicine presents strange but true facts and an honor roll of doctors, scientists, and dreamers who inadvertently turned the clock of medicine backward: • The ancient Egyptians applied electric eels to cure gout. • Medieval dentists burned candles in patients’ mouths to kill invisible worms gnawing at their teeth. • Renaissance physicians timed surgical procedures according to the position of the stars, and instructed epileptics to collect fresh blood from the newly beheaded. • Dr. Walter Freeman, the world’s foremost practitioner of lobotomies, practiced his craft while traveling on family camping trips, cramming the back of the station wagon with kids—and surgical tools—then hammering ice picks into the eye sockets of his patients in between hikes in the woods. Strange Medicine is an illuminating panorama of medical history as you’ve never seen it before.

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Strange Medicine – Nathan Belofsky

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No, Tech Firms Are Not Huge Job Creators

Mother Jones

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James Pethokoukis rounds up some evidence today that, contrary to their reputations, modern tech companies create just as many jobs as the big industrial giants of yore. The problem is that he’s comparing today’s companies with companies from a century ago, when the labor force was far smaller. You can’t do that. You have to look at jobs as a percent of the entire labor force. When you do that, here’s what his sample set of companies looks like 20 years after their founding:

Modern tech companies are all at the bottom. The only exception is Amazon, and it’s arguable just how much Amazon is really a tech company anyway. Putting a web interface on retail doesn’t really count, but then again, providing cloud services does. So they’re about half and half, which probably explains why they’re in the middle of the chart.

For better or worse, modern tech companies just aren’t huge jobs producers—and as machine intelligence progresses, they’re likely to become even smaller players in the employment market.

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No, Tech Firms Are Not Huge Job Creators

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Charts of the Day: Income Inequality Doesn’t Have to Spiral Out of Control

Mother Jones

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Over at Equitable Growth, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, and Gabriel Zucman provide a look at the latest numbers on income inequality in the United States:

The authors comment:

For the 117 million U.S. adults in the bottom half of the income distribution, growth has been non-existent for a generation while at the top of the ladder it has been extraordinarily strong….In the bottom half of the distribution, only the income of the elderly is rising….To understand how unequal the United States is today, consider the following fact. In 1980, adults in the top 1 percent earned on average 27 times more than bottom 50 percent of adults. Today they earn 81 times more.

Well, that’s the modern world for you, right? It’s all about skills and education and greater returns to rock stars. There’s really not much we can do about—oh wait. Here’s another chart:

Huh. Apparently you can run a thriving modern economy that benefits the working class as well as the rich. And note that this is pre-tax income. If social welfare benefits were included, the working class in France would be doing even better compared to the US:

The diverging trends in the distribution of pre-tax income across France and the United States—two advanced economies subject to the same forces of technological progress and globalization—show that working-class incomes are not bound to stagnate in Western countries. In the United States, the stagnation of bottom 50 percent of incomes and the upsurge in the top 1 percent coincided with drastically reduced progressive taxation, widespread deregulation of industries and services, particularly the financial services industry, weakened unions, and an eroding minimum wage.

We could do better for the working class and still maintain our economic dynamism if we wanted to. The only thing stopping us is that, apparently, we1 don’t want to.

1For a certain definition of “we,” that is.

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Charts of the Day: Income Inequality Doesn’t Have to Spiral Out of Control

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Seven Brief Lessons on Physics – Carlo Rovelli

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Seven Brief Lessons on Physics

Carlo Rovelli

Genre: Physics

Price: $9.99

Publish Date: March 1, 2016

Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group

Seller: Penguin Group (USA) Inc.


Look out for Carlo Rovelli's next book, Reality Is Not What It Seems. Instant New York Times Bestseller “Clear, elegant…a whirlwind tour of some of the biggest ideas in physics.” — The New York Times Book Review “A startling and illustrative distillation of centuries of science.”— The Economist &#xa0; “Lean, lucid and enchanting.”— New Scientist &#xa0; All the beauty of modern physics in seven short and enlightening lessons &#xa0; This playful, entertaining, and mind-bending introduction to modern physics briskly explains Einstein's general relativity, quantum mechanics, elementary particles, gravity, black holes, the complex architecture of the universe, and the role humans play in this weird and wonderful world. Carlo&#xa0;Rovelli, a renowned theoretical physicist, is a delightfully poetic and philosophical scientific guide. He takes us to the frontiers of our knowledge: to the most minute reaches of the fabric of space, back to the origins of the cosmos, and into the workings of our minds. The&#xa0;book celebrates the joy of discovery.&#xa0;&#xa0;“Here, on the edge of what we know, in contact with the ocean of the unknown, shines the mystery and the beauty of the world,” Rovelli writes. “And it’s breathtaking.” From the Hardcover edition.

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Seven Brief Lessons on Physics – Carlo Rovelli

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Sapiens – Yuval Noah Harari

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Sapiens

A Brief History of Humankind

Yuval Noah Harari

Genre: Life Sciences

Price: $16.99

Publish Date: February 10, 2015

Publisher: Harper

Seller: HarperCollins


New York Times Bestseller From a renowned historian comes a groundbreaking narrative of humanity’s creation and evolution—a #1 international bestseller—that explores the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be “human.” One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only one—homo sapiens. What happened to the others? And what may happen to us? Most books about the history of humanity pursue either a historical or a biological approach, but Dr. Yuval Noah Harari breaks the mold with this highly original book that begins about 70,000 years ago with the appearance of modern cognition. From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens integrates history and science to reconsider accepted narratives, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and examine specific events within the context of larger ideas. Dr. Harari also compels us to look ahead, because over the last few decades humans have begun to bend laws of natural selection that have governed life for the past four billion years. We are acquiring the ability to design not only the world around us, but also ourselves. Where is this leading us, and what do we want to become? Featuring 27 photographs, 6 maps, and 25 illustrations/diagrams, this provocative and insightful work is sure to spark debate and is essential reading for aficionados of Jared Diamond, James Gleick, Matt Ridley, Robert Wright, and Sharon Moalem.

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Sapiens – Yuval Noah Harari

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No peaches or apricots? Blame the Northeast’s warm, wacky winter.

fruitless effort

No peaches or apricots? Blame the Northeast’s warm, wacky winter.

By on Jun 19, 2016 7:06 am

Cross-posted from

Modern FarmerShare

In the Northeast, lovers of stone fruits — peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums, and cherries — are in for a tough summer, thanks to a very weird season for Northeastern farmers.

A strange warm spell in mid-winter followed by two brutal deep freezes have, according to surveys and several farmers we spoke to, completely decimated the stone fruit crops in the Northeast, from roughly central New Jersey on north through New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Here’s what happened: An unusually strong El Niño cycle in late 2015 through 2016, likely with the assistance of climate change’s unpredictability, resulted in a string of about a week in February of mid-50-degree-Fahrenheit days in this region. It was, at that point, the most unusually warm month in recorded history, according to NOAA. “Things like peaches, apricots, they start to come out pretty quick as soon as it gets warm out,” says Steven Clarke of Prospect Hill Orchards, in Milton, New York.

Those crazily warm days tricked the Northeastern stone fruit trees to think spring had arrived, and to begin putting out buds, which would eventually flower and become fruits. But then two absurdly cold spells, one in mid-February and one in early April, froze and damaged nearly every single bud. Some apple varieties were hit as well, though apples tend to bud later and be a little more tolerant of bad weather; Clarke says his Cortland, Mutsu, and Jonagold apples were hurt badly.

Farmers have some methods to deal with cold spells; typically cold air sinks to the ground and pockets of warm air sit on top. That’s called an inversion layer, and farmers can raise the temperature on the ground by mixing the cold bottom air with the warmer air. The techniques for doing that are pretty crazy; some will hire helicopters to hover just above their trees, blasting the warm air downwards, and others have gigantic stationary fans for the same purpose.

But this year, the wind was also incredibly intense during the cold snaps. “Helicopters will work if there’s an inversion layer, but this wasn’t a frost; this was a freeze,” says Rick Lawrence, of Lawrence Farms Orchards, in Newburgh, New York. “There was no warm air to push down; it was just cold, cold.” Even these expensive tactics couldn’t fight the weather. “There was absolutely nothing you could do about it,” says Clarke.

There are no full surveys of farmers in the Northeast, but most believe that in this region, at least 90 percent of the crop has been lost. A study in April found that viability of the peach blossoms was as low as 22 percent. Worse than that, some of the actual trees didn’t survive. “We lost quite a few peach trees ourselves,” says Lawrence. “I know some of the other growers were hit pretty hard.” New peach trees can take years to produce fruit, so it’s likely that the weather this year will have lasting effects in years to come.

What’s even stranger about all this is that none of the farmers I’ve talked to have ever seen this kind of destruction before. “We’ve never had anything like this, as long as I can remember,” says Lawrence. “I’m 60 years old and I can’t remember anything like this.” Though he notes that peaches are not generally a primary crop in this region, Clarke agrees. “I’ve never seen a wipeout like this,” he says.

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