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Greenpeace tech product guide ranks Apple, Samsung low on repairability

A consumer product guide compiled along with iFixit shows which brands make it easy to fix our gadgets and which don’t. […]

New technology quickly turns food waste into fuel

The process is so efficient it extracts all of the potential energy from the food scraps. […]

Keeping The Numbers Down in Shelters

Keeping dogs from being surrendered to shelters to start with is one way to keep numbers down. Not only is training important but one that’s not talked about as much is socialization. Training (meaning a sit, down, stay type or operant conditioning) is great. But, what if you your dog has a hard time being around people, other dogs or strange places? Then operant conditioning will only go so far. Socialization works best when it’s used as a preventative rather than a cure. Not that socialization doesn’t help older dogs, it does. But, it’s best when behaviors are prevented, then less dogs are surrendered to shelters due to behavior issues. Note that all dogs are individuals in how they respond to the environment, training, socialization and management. Here’s a pdf link to this handout seen here. Great for young pups. Marthina McClay is a professional dog trainer, behavior specialist for all breeds of dogs and the director of Our Pack, Inc. a non-profit education, training and rescue organization for pit bulls and Chihuahuas. Some of their work includes the Michael Vick case and other high profile dog fighting cases. — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website. […]

In Praise of Senior Dogs

Humans can’t join AARP until they’re 50 and really aren’t considered senior citizens until their 60s, but for dogs most breeds are considered seniors once they reach eight years of age. As with all things related to dogs aging, this number is a bit lower for larger dogs and a bit higher for smaller dogs. If we take the proper steps to keep our senior dogs healthy, they can remain active and happy well into the equivalent of their 80s or 90s. This is a wonderful thing, because senior dogs also tend to be calmer and mellower, and less likely to suddenly develop misbehaviors or phobias because they’ve been around longer and have had a lot more experience than younger dogs. Junior isn’t quite a senior yet at six years old, but his predecessor Daddy lived to be sixteen and was active and lively up until the last year or two. Even then, when he was dying from cancer and suffering hip problems that made it difficult to walk, he still served as my right hand, helping me with dog rehabilitation. Dogs don’t focus on what’s wrong with them — they focus on getting around to the best of their abilities. If we want our senior dogs to keep getting around with a minimum of pain and difficulty, then there are some steps we can take to help them out: Keep their weight under control Obesity isn’t just a problem for humans; it can affect our dogs as well. If your senior dog starts to gain weight, it may be time for a change in diet. Your vet can recommend food formulated for your dog’s specific needs and nutrition. Keeping your dog at a healthy weight will minimize the likelihood of the same conditions humans can suffer, like heart disease and diabetes. It can also help alleviate joint pain from aging and arthritis. Don’t neglect their teeth As dogs age, their teeth can build up plaque, crack, or fall out; this is especially true for smaller dogs. If you aren’t already, you should have your dog’s teeth cleaned once a year by a licensed veterinarian. You should also clean your dog’s teeth regularly with a brush and toothpaste designed specifically for dogs. Visit the vet more often For younger dogs, an annual wellness exam is the norm, but for seniors this schedule should increase to once every six months. You should also consider having your vet run full blood tests at least once a year to reveal any potential problems that might not be visible yet. Watch your dog’s behavior Notice whether there are any sudden changes in your dog’s behavior, particularly if they suddenly seem to have trouble getting up or down stairs, into or out of the car, or standing up after lying down. These signs may indicate joint discomfort or pain, which you can prevent with natural supplements like Antinol. If your dog suddenly becomes lethargic, has a change in appetite or elimination habits, then it’s time to see the vet. Senior-proof your dog’s life As your dog grows older, there may be certain things they cannot do as well anymore. You may have to shorten walk times because they have less energy. If you live in a place with two floors, you might have to move the bed and food downstairs. If your dog is going blind, you can create “scent trails” with things like lavender oil to help her find her way around, and use swimming pool noodles to pad sharp edges on furniture. Dogs are incredibly adaptable but humans are incredibly clever — combine the two to make life easier for both of you. Veterinary care of senior and geriatric dogs has made big advances in just the last decade, so there’s no reason that your dog can’t live a long, happy, comfortable life. By taking the steps above and continuing to provide exercise, discipline, and affection, you can be the Pack Leader your dog needs to achieve that longevity while staying balanced. — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website. […]

If You Can’t Stand the Heat, Get Out of the Universe

The New York Times ran an interesting article back in January by Adam Frank titled “Is Climate Disaster Inevitable?” This piece posed an intriguing answer to this puzzling question: Where are all the extraterrestrials? (If you think the answer is “Roswell, New Mexico,” go sit with Bigfoot and be quiet — adults are talking.) The Drake equation gives us an order of magnitude feel for how many advanced civilizations there could be in the universe by looking at parameters such as the percentage of stars that have planets, the percentage of those planets which have the right conditions to support life, etc. There are a lot of unknowns in these parameters, but the upshot is that even if one assumes conservative conditions, there should be millions of advanced civilizations out there right now. Enrico Fermi famously phrased the question: “So where are they?” thus spawning the eponymous Fermi paradox. With so many potential civilizations, why is the cosmos not saturated with radio signals, with extraterrestrial equivalents of Keeping Up With the Kardashians streaming into space from a thousand different tacky cultures? Despite the implications of the Drake equation, we have never encountered even the slightest hint of extraterrestrial life, not the faintest wisp of a stray radio signal from a distant civilization. SETI is listening diligently, but so far, the universe is sepulchrally quiet. One answer to Fermi’s paradox is dark. Uranium is ubiquitous […]

Physicists May Have Found New Way To Turn Earth’s Radiation Into Energy

Our planet is warm. Outer space is cold. Can we take that heat difference and turn it into electricity?

Physicists at Harvard University may have found a way to do just that. They’ve proposed in a new study how to harvest the Earth’s thermal infrared radiation, and convert it into direct-current (DC) power.

“It’s not at all obvious, at first, how you would generate DC power by emitting infrared light in free space toward the cold,” study co-author Dr. Federico Capasso, a professor of applied physics and senior research fellow in electrical engineering at the university, said in a written statement. “To generate power by emitting, not by absorbing light, that’s weird. It makes sense physically once you think about it, but it’s highly counterintuitive. We’re talking about the use of physics at the nanoscale for a completely new application.”

One method in the study involves putting a hot plate (at the temperature of the Earth) beneath a cooler plate made from emissive material that gets colder by radiating heat toward the sky. The researchers said, based on a separate study they did on infrared emissions, that during the day or night such a contraption could produce a few watts of electricity for every square meter of the device, depending on the size of the plates.

That approach is “fairly intuitive,” study co-author Steven J. Byrnes, a postdoc researcher at Harvard, said in the statement. But a second proposed method is a little more complex.

It involves making many tiny electric circuits that would have two parts: “resistors” (or antennas) that emit the Earth’s infrared radiation, and mini electronic components called “diodes” that conduct a resistor’s electric current in a single direction. Keeping the diode warmer than the resistor will create voltage, the researchers said, and by covering a flat device with thousands or perhaps millions of these circuits and pointing it at the sky, you could get a significant amount of electricity using the Earth’s radiation as its source.

But there are still complications to figure out, the researchers said, one of which is that it’s hard to build and manipulate a diode with the low voltage levels created by the infrared emissions. A possible solution may lie in the manufacture of molecular-sized devices.

“People have been working on infrared diodes for at least 50 years without much progress,” Byrnes said. “But recent advances such as nanofabrication are essential to making them better, more scalable, and more reproducible.”

This new research was published this week in the journal Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences.

[…]

Quote of the Day: David Attenborough on our Alienation from Nature

Sir David Attenborough is Britain’s best-known natural history film-maker. He’s afraid that urbanization could lead to a disconnect from nature, and that the media can help breach the gap. […]