Energy efficiency is increasingly important these days. There are many ways you can upgrade your existing home but if you are about to build a new home, you have a lot more options. Making your new home energy efficient from the start will drastically reduce your energy bills and lower your home’s environmental footprint.

Design Features

One of the most effective ways to make your new home energy efficient is to use passive solar design to situate your house to take advantage of the sun’s ability to warm it. This means the house will face south and have lots of windows on the south side. Read more…

In this world of ours there is much suffering. People go hungry, the environment is under threat, terrible wars leave children orphaned.

If you were a person with great wealth and influence in a world like this, it’s understandable that you would be compelled to use what power you had to try and make the world better. Not just by making yourself a robot suit or dressing up as a bat to fight crime (although naturally you would do that too) but by investing your money where it can do real good, and raising awareness of important issues.

There are plenty of people in the world who have done just this. The thing is – we really can’t stand them. Read more…

We all know how important it is to grow plants, both indoors and outdoors – you get extra oxygen, they clean the air of bugs and reduce dust levels. You help out the local wildlife, look after the bees a bit, and have a great space to relax outdoors.

Who wouldn’t want something that looks great, helps you chill out, and means you don’t have to vaccum as much?

However, plants can be a bit of a chore to look after, which is why there are plenty of devices on the market to make it simpler and way more fun for us technogeeks.

Here are five awesome gadgets for geeky gardeners everywhere: Read more…

Plantar fasciitis and heel pain are one of the worst types of pain to have. The reason is that if your pain is bad enough, you can have a hard time getting around. Every time you put your foot down, it hurts.

The difference between heel pain and plantar fasciitis is that if your heel hurts worse in the morning than in the evening, you might have fasciitis. The reason it hurts worse in the morning is that the tissue relaxes overnight and when you get up in the morning, you are stretching it back out when you stand up. You not only have an inflammation, but now you are stretching the inflamed tissue and standing on it.

Natural remedies are an effective option to treat heel problems. The good thing about using natural remedies is that it is highly unlikely you will have side effects. Natural remedies do not stop the normal healing process of your body. In fact, they work with your body and help it to heal itself. If you use natural remedies, you are working with your body to heal it and are far more likely to have long term success. Read more…

Advertising isn’t an industry famed for its honesty. We’ve all pretty much grown to accept that. We know that most washing powders make your laundry pretty much the same shade of grey after a while, that no amount of foul-smelling spray will cause women to stampede towards you ripping their clothes off, and that shampooing your hair is, in a lot of ways, completely non-sensual.

None of this really bothers us anymore. We just accept it as the rules of the game. But the trouble is advertisers have taken this as permission to go even further. It’s time to draw a line in the sand. It’s time to say:

Buying your product isn’t literally revolutionary.

In 1962 protest singer Malvina Reynolds wrote “Little Boxes”. It was a delightful little song with a lovely nursery-rhymish tune that was also a political satire mocking the conformity of middle-class suburbs.

Then O2 took that song, and put it in this advert:

Not content with simply taking a dead protest singers work and using it to sell phone contracts however, they “rewrote the lyrics for the last part of the song, to refer to the positivity and possibilities that we can create through changing things”. Read more…

If someone close to you is approaching a milestone birthday, you want to make sure the occasion is marked with an unforgettable gift, but it can be tricky to find that perfect present.

Whether your daughter is approaching her sweet sixteenth or your dad is turning 50 this year, take heed of these suggestions for a present that never fails to impress.

Sweet Sixteen

This is a really important birthday in a person’s life as you begin to feel and be treated as more of an adult than ever before. Celebrate a 16th birthday with a present that prepares them for the adult world, such as a driving course. Read more…

When you start investing in stocks, there is a lot you probably won’t initially be aware of. While the process of investing has a life long learning curve associated with it, there are a few things you should know from the very beginning.

Unfortunately, not everyone takes the time to learn these basics before they plunge in headlong. Often they spend a lot of time wondering why they fail. Hopefully this list will help to minimize your failures and maximize your successes.

Dividends are Your Friend

A lot of people who buy stocks never really think about the dividends some companies pay out. While you might be primarily interested in investing for capital gains, you might also want to buttress those gains with the payouts of a steady dividend or two. Oddly enough, stocks that pay dividends tend to do better from a price appreciation standpoint than their non-paying counterparts. If you reinvest your dividends, you can do even better. Read more…

There are fewer things in life more beautiful to see and hear than windchimes. These items can be made out of virtually anything, and are fastened to porches, trees, poles, and trellises.

In past centuries, windchimes were hung in trees and the noise was thought to drive away evil spirits. Today, these accessories are for purely aesthetic purposes, as well as for the music that they make in the wind.

If you wish to make your own chimes at home, you can construct them out of bamboo or strands of crystal beads. Typically, you will need a base, string, the chimes, and any decorative items, such as beads, bells or charms.

You can either create a base from scratch, or re-purpose other items to use as a support for the chimes. To make your own base, you will need a circle, square or even an octagonal shape that is cut out of wood. The wood is generally about ½ inch thick. To make a set of windchimes, use these simple directions: Read more…

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