Sunday, March 26, 2017
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The Whole Earth Catalog, first published in July, 1968, then published regularly until 1972 and irregularly until 1998, is a catalog of tools, with information about how to order them directly from the manufacturers. Fall 1969 cover (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Its founder, Stewart Brand, believed that information about the best tools would help people achieve independence in their lives. I have a yellowed copy of The Last Whole Earth Catalog: Access to Tools, published in November, 1971. It won the first U.S. National Book Award for Contemporary Affairs, the first time a catalog had won such an award. I... (Read More ...)

Mom Always Liked You Best Sunday, February 5, 1967, was 12 days after my first phone call with the boy who would become my husband a year later. Michigan State University sign. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Sunday, February 5, 1967, was 9 days after the blind date in a snowstorm with that boy. Sunday, February 5, 1967, I was in my dorm room at Michigan State University, studying for classes the second semester of my Sophomore year. Our dorm had a tv room. It was rarely used except for one show we all gathered to watch, Peyton Place. Mia Farrow, married, inappropriately we all thought, to the much... (Read More ...)

When Did We Find Out Lead Paint Was Dangerous? Photos of hungry children eating lead paint chips or clay in run-down houses in the 1960s and 70s still sear my memory. This is a condition known as pica, eating things that aren’t food. Although sometimes a mental disorder, it is also associated with poverty and sometimes represents a mineral deficiency, such as for iron. A child with this condition who eats paint chips from an old house is at risk of lead poisoning.   FEMA Surveys Peeling Lead Paint in a House After Katrina. New Orleans, LA Photo Credit: Wikipedia   We now know that... (Read More ...)

When Did We Find Out Asbestos Was Dangerous? Asbestos has been used in buildings since the late 1800s for its insulation and fire resistant properties. Its uses expanded to pipe and ceiling insulation, fireproof drywall and flooring, lawn furniture and automotive brakes. I used to have stippled paint on my bedroom walls that likely included asbestos. By the early 1900s, researchers started noticing early deaths and lung problems in asbestos mining towns. The first documented death was in 1906. By 1918, life insurance companies were routinely denying coverage to asbestos workers. The first lawsuits... (Read More ...)

When Is Daylight Savings 2012? Daylight Savings Time in the U. S. in 2012 started on Sunday, March 11 and ended on Sunday, November 4. Engraved brass horizontal sundial corrects for latitude, time zone, daylight savings time, longitude, and equation of time; with magnetic declination correction and spirit levels. http://www.horussundials.com (Photo credit: Wikipedia) It changes officially at 2:00 AM on Sunday, Eastern Time, but officials recommend you reset your clocks before going to bed on Saturday night. An easy way to remember how to reset your clocks is with the saying, “Spring ahead,... (Read More ...)

Have USA Aerosol Hairspray Cans Been Banned? Seven out of 10 Americans believe that aerosol hairspray cans contain CFCs, one of a range of chemicals found to be depleting the ozone layer in the 1970s. They do not, and have not since 1987. Aerosol Spray Can (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Nor have USA aerosol hairspray cans been banned. However, products that use spray cans have been reformulated, so they don’t use CFCs. CFCs were phased out by the Montreal Protocol, starting in 1987, for contributing to the depletion of the ozone layer. Does This Mean You Can Still Buy Aerosol Cans and Not Contribute... (Read More ...)

What Fire Changed the Way Smokejumpers Protect Themselves? In this hot, dry summer, we remember the smokejumpers who died on another hot, August day in Montana, in 1949. On August 5, 1949, a wildfire in Mann Gulch, Montana took the lives of 13 smokejumpers, the most lost to a single fire until then. 1948—A smokejumper crew, based at Deming, New Mexico, ready for a fire. Photo by E. L. Perry FS #452324 (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Two survived a fire that overtook them an hour and 45 minutes after they landed. What Led Up to the Fire? It was hot. The wind was high. The lightning-sparked fire jumped... (Read More ...)

Baskets. Peas. Cows. Why Do We Have Kudzu All Over the South? Kudzu in Atlanta, Georgia Do you remember when kudzu was used to contain soil erosion? If you’ve driven much around the Southeastern U.S., you may have noticed the graceful vines with large leaves covering hillsides and trees, powerlines and roadsides there. Southerners call it “the vine that ate the South.” It is kudzu. Where Did Kudzu Come  From? Native to Japan and China, where it is used as food, in medicines, and in basket weaving, kudzu is a pea. It improves the soil both by fixing nitrogen in the soil and transferring... (Read More ...)

Image via Wikipedia Pennsylvania issued the first vanity, or personalized license plates, in 1931. I’ve been writing down interesting vanity license plates since a friend of mine started me on the hobby more than ten years ago. Virginia has more vanity license plates, as a percentage of vehicles registered, than any other state (16.9%), according to a 2007 survey by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, so the roads are rich with opportunities to try to figure them out. There are 9.7 million vehicles with personalized plates, 3.8% of those vehicles eligible for the plates.... (Read More ...)

Image via Wikipedia Is it possible to cut down on how many times we get a cold or the flu and how long it lasts? When I raised my children, I taught them what I’d been taught, cough or sneeze into your hands. Now, mothers shudder at the thought of people coughing into their hands, picking up food for their children, setting the table, shaking hands with adults. The new rule is cough into the crook of your elbow, or into your shoulder. You’re not using it for anything else, while you use your hands for everything. I will say I notice more when I’m in restrooms if someone doesn’t wash... (Read More ...)