Sunday, February 24, 2013

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Quadra-Fire Pellet Stoves Warm Your Life

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of QuadraFire for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

There is definitely a new winner in town this year for all of your home heating needs. That winner is a state-of-the-art pellet stove from Quadra-Fire.

Why is a Quadra-Fire pellet stove so freaking cool? Put simply, it is a better way to heat your home efficiently than the alternatives. First, Quadra-Fire pellet stoves offer the radient heat of a wood burning stove -- perfect for days where cold has invaded your family room! Second, a Quadra-Fire stove is more efficient than a woodburning stove. It is also cheaper -- by as much as 53% -- than a propane alternative.

QuadraFire Pellet Stoves

Even better, if you act right now to buy a Quadra-Fire pellet stove, the IRS will pay you! That's right, the IRS will give you a 300 dollar credit on your taxes. This is because another advantage of a pellet stove is that it's eco-friendly; it reduces your carbon footprint, as seen in the infographic below.

Pellet Stoves are Awesome

Still not convinced? Well, maybe this will push it over the top for you. Through February 28, 2013, Quadra-Fire has authorized me to give away a free notebook to one lucky winner from the readers of this blog. All that you have to do is leave your email address and a short sentence about why you would like to own a Quadra-Fire pellet stove in the comments. If you're selected, I will email you instructions to receive your free notebook.

popular heating alternative

Don't wait and check out the links today! Also, follow Quadra-Fire on Pintrest, Facebook, and Twitter.

Visit Sponsor's Site

Rocks Achieving Their Qi

The rocks in this picture have found a balance within themselves and harmony with nature ... or something.

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Friday, February 15, 2013

Shaq and a Jeep

Building an automobile to fit a former NBA star like Shaquille O' Neal requires some creativity.

Shaq dominated NBA defenses for years with his imposing 7-foot-1 frame. Of course, that same large body means it's almost impossible for him to squeeze into a car or truck and feel any semblance of comfort. Jeep came to the rescue with a solution to the Big Diesel's dilemma.

West Coast Customs modified a Jeep Wrangler for Shaq to use. This custom model gives him plenty of extra legroom and makes it easier for him to get in and out of the Jeep.

Shaq's jeep features some pretty wicked modifications. It features a Wrangler Unlimited chassis that extends 20.6 inches longer than the standard chassis for a two-door Jeep Wrangler model. The front and rear doors on both the passenger side and driver's side were fused together to create two longer doors. The front seats were also set back to give Shaq extra leg room up front.

Shaq's Jeep has all the bells and whistles you would expect from a vehicle belonging to a multimillionaire former NBA player. The highlight of these features is a custom Pioneer audio system.

I could go for a customized Jeep. It's not like I'm trying to follow in Shaq's footsteps (although it would be nice to have millions of dollars like him). I just think it would be nice to have a Jeep that is tricked out to my desired specifications.

My modifications would include a flux capacitor so that my Jeep could time travel when it hits 88 miles per hour. I don't have any geeky motivations here. I simply want to see how certain sporting events turn out and come back bet large sums of money on the outcome.

That's not cheating. It's capitalism at work.

Until my customized needs are met, going out to test drive a new Jeep at Arrigo Ft Pierce FL or other Jeep dealerships will have to suffice. We can't all have what we want like Shaq does.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Some Comment on a Recent Story on Vaccinations and Autism

I just thought that I would share some comments I left on a story in the Washington Times about vaccines being safe and not causing autism. I thought this was a no-brainer, but apparently stories like this attract the no-vaccination trolls in droves. So, I thought that I would put one of them in their place. You can read the full article here.


Here is my first comment:

 OMG! Get the tin foil hats everyone! There's a conspiracy afoot!
Do you seriously believe that thousands of doctors and researchers, no matter how much money they're getting from grants and companies, would tell people to vaccinate their children if convincing evidence supported the idea that the vaccines were unsafe? Really? All of them across the board?
These doctors and researchers have kids. They're people, just like the rest of us. Most of them got into medicine because they want to help people and save lives. If you really think that all of these doctors and researchers are so heartless and cynical that they would just let people take vaccines while knowing that they are unsafe or cause autism, then lady ...
you have problems.

Here is my second comment: 

"This story is proof that parents really need to research this topic." 
No, they need to shut their traps and start listening to the people who actually research this for a living.
I know that WebMD, Wikipedia, and Youtube has every amateur convinced that they are the world's greatest unpaid physician, but there are people who actually do this stuff for a living who quite frankly know more than you do. There are literally millions of research articles and patient studies that have been published over the last 200 years or so that modern medicine has existed. These recommendations about vaccines and vaccine safety represent the best guesses as to what is effective and safe in preventing childhood diseases. To have uniformed people continually dismiss this body of research in favor of anecdotal evidence and the testimony of modern snake oil salesmen is the epitome of ignorance.
Also, I see that you're proud of that website you run -- Age of Autism. Tell me, how many leading doctors and researchers in autism subscribe to the theory that childhood vaccinations contribute to a child developing autism? 50%? 10%? 5%? I am sure that if you polled the leading researchers in the field, you wouldn't even get that high of a percentage. That should give you a clue. Just because you can find a few quacks willing to say that the two are linked doesn't mean that you get to ignore the scientific consensus on the matter. And, even if you choose to ignore it, it's very wrong for you to mislead impressionable people -- who may be legitimately looking for advice on whether they should get their children immunized -- on the subject. To do so is beyond irresponsible.
You are a bad person. You may not see yourself as such, but you are. If even one child dies from a preventable childhood illness because of some stupid lies you wrote on the internet about not getting children vaccinated, you should realize that you are partially to blame for his or her death.
Here is the CDC's analysis of the non-existence of the link between autism and vaccinations.

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Saturday, February 9, 2013

Clara Jeffery Is Also a Drama Queen

It's been an amusing time for my blog over the past couple of days.

A few days ago, I wrote a blog entry titled "Clara Jeffery Is a Bitch". I originally wrote it because I was irritated by some comments that Jeffery, an editor at Mother Jones, had made on Twitter about the death of an ex-Navy Seal who was ambushed and murdered at a firing range. In her tweets, she seems to be taking ghoulish delight in the death of this guy and has no problem using his death as a platform to make snide comments about gun rights supporters. Here exact tweet read:

So much for good/talented guy with a gun being able to stop mentally ill guy with a gun.
When I read the tweet and some articles about the story behind it, I fumed a little, wrote the blog entry linked above and posted it, and largely forgot about the incident. At least, I forgot about it until I checked my traffic feed the next morning and realized that, much to my surprise, my article had been retweeted by a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, Kurt Eichenwald. Even better, the article had provoked a flame war between Eichenwald and Jeffery linked here.

Without digging through the blows of a tedious (is there any other type?) Twitter flame war , the highlights of my blog post centered on Jeffery's objection to the word "bitch". She really didn't dispute anything else in the article, other than my use of that word. So, let me respond.

To my understanding, the word bitch is not all that offensive. True, it's not typically an endearing term, but it's a pretty commonly used term all the same. In my experience, people (especially girls) call each other bitch all of the time. Sometimes they even do it jokingly, as in a recent experience when one female friend of mine playfully called another female friend of mine a bitch for something she did to an ex-boyfriend.

To Jeffery's mind though, it seems the use of this term to refer to her and her actions was sexist. She even equates it's use with other pejorative terms like "cunt" and "slut". Without writing a diatribe about how I feel words have way too much power over people in our society, let me just say that I would never call someone either a cunt or a slut. This is not because I really think the words themselves are evil -- they're just letters on a piece of paper. However, I think the ideas behind them are troubling.

As for the word slut, I frankly don't care how many people a woman sleeps with. I don't care how many people a man sleeps with. As long as I don't have to step over them on the sidewalk on the way to work, it's none of my business.

I would also never call a woman a cunt. I just don't like this word. Also, I don't  understand the insult behind it. It's similar to me screaming down the street at someone, "You're such a vagina." No woman is a vagina, though all but a few genetically anomalous women HAVE vaginas. Further, whether or not a person has a vagina is largely inconsequential to how I view that person, possible dating scenarios excepted. Having or not having a vagina doesn't affect a person's disposition typically -- or how idiotic this person's tweets are -- so, why would I even bring it up in a debate?

On the other hand, bitch is a perfectly legitimate criticism. As I understand it, the word bitch has come to mean any woman with an ill-temperament or bad personality. To me, this describes perfectly describes my perception of what Jeffery's personality must be like in person when I read her tweets. I suppose I could have titled my post "Clara Jeffery is an Ill-tempered and Hateful Person", but the term bitch has a certain je ne se qua. So, I called her a bitch.

I stand by that analysis. Clara Jeffery, you're a bitch.

Furthermore, based on her reaction and pseudo-offense to my calling her a bitch, I can also conclude that she is a major drama queen. I mean, nobody spends that much time and energy arguing someone down on Twitter over being called a bitch or any other insult. When people insult me on Twitter, I just block them and move on with my day. I don't devote dozens of tweets and several hours to calling them out on it. I have better things to do. So, with that in mind, let me point out the following.

Clara Jeffery, you're also a drama queen. Get over yourself. Go find a hobby or something.

As a side note, according to my traffic feed about 500 people have read my original analysis of why Jeffery is a bitch. That's probably 490 more people than would have read it had she not started the flame war on Twitter.

So, thanks for the free publicity I guess.

You bitch.
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Friday, February 8, 2013

Conceptual Fun Starring Subaru

Concept cars are the best things about the auto shows. It's always fascinating to see a peak into what designs automakers are tinkering with to add to their future production lines.

Many concept cars never make it off the showroom floor – unless you hop behind the wheel and successfully drive it out of the convention center. (I wouldn't recommend doing this. High speed chases look cool on TV. They're no so cool when you're the one being pursued.)

Subaru will be offering a glimpse into the future with its new VIZIV concept car at the 2013 Geneva Auto Show in March. The VIZIV, a Subaru acronym referring to the phrase “vision for innovation,” is a prototype of the automaker's newest generation of crossover sedan. It promises to showcase advances in design and technology that foreshadow the direction Subaru will take through the remainder of the decade.

The only problem is that Subaru is being tight-lipped about most of the VIZIV features ahead of the official unveiling in Geneva. I get that they want to leave some things to the imagination. Still, offering up a few details on the engine, power train, interior controls and other such features would not do any damage. It's not like any rival automaker is going to copy it and slap something together in a month to steal Subaru's thunder.

Here's what we do know: the first image of the VIZIV features a large grille and c-shaped headlights and hints at having a two-door body. Elements of VIZIV will likely trickle down to Forester, Outback and other SUV models so it is probably also all-wheel drive instead of front wheel drive.

It's not likely any of us will ever get to drive a VIZIV in the near or distant future. Concept cars rarely make it into the production stage. But we will get to enjoy some elements from this concept model in test drives of other Subaru models.

You can test drive a new Subaru atTindol Subaru NC if you live the Tar Heel state or your local Subaru dealer elsewhere.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Clara Jeffery is a Bitch

If you haven't read about the latest controversy swirling around gun control, it looks like Mother Jones editor Clara Jeffery has taken the death of ex-Navy Seal Chris Kyle by gun violence to take a pot shot at gun rights activists. The full story of Kyle's death can be found here.

In response, Jeffery tweeted the following:

So much for good/talented guy with a gun being able to stop mentally ill guy with a gun.
I just wanted to say that Clara, you're a bitch.

I am not sure  exactly where I stand on gun control in this country. It's a complex issue. I do that a reasonable solution to reduce gun violence would be nice. I don't find most of what is being talked about by gun control advocates to be reasonable.

However, just the idea that someone would tweet out the sentiment that Jeffery tweeted ... it tells me everything I need to know about her personality and disposition.

So, Jeffery, the next time someone dies in a horrific car accident, are you going to make some snide comment like, "I guess seat belts really don't save lives after all?"

There is a line for good taste. Jeffery crossed it. She's a bitch, and she needs to be called out.

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Friday, February 1, 2013

The Curious Fuel of a Mazda 6

Mazda turned to the farm to power its latest race car entries at the 2013 edition of the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona.

Three Mazda 6 sedans were on the starting grid for the annual endurance race that went from January 26th to January 27th. Each Mazda 6 was powered by a new Skyactiv-D clean diesel engine. The race car version of the Mazda 6 used a bio-diesel fuel capable of producing more than 400 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque from the engine.

Going to the racetrack offers a chance for experimentation and the fuel used in these Skyactiv-D engines was no exception. The bio-fuel powering these race cars was an organic goop made from a mixture of chicken fat, beef tallow and pork lard.

You read that light. The same ingredients found in a typical fast food hot dog are now a fuel source for race cars.

It makes for an interesting moral dilemma if, for example, you encounter a vegan race car driver. Do they refuse to race in a car using animal by-products as fuel? Do vegans or vegetarians boycott watching the 24 Hours of Daytona altogether? Do any racing fans hail from that dietary demographic in the first place?

The funny thing is the slaughterhouse inspired bio-fuel burns much more efficiently than typical gasoline. When injected into a Skyactiv-D engine, it burns 25 to 30 percent less fuel than a gas-powered race car over the same distance.

Louisiana, which is famous for find all sorts of novel uses for animal parts, is home to the refinery that produces this unique bio-fuel. Dynamic Fuels produces 75 million gallons of synthetic diesel each year made from a blend that includes Tyson Foods animal by-products. Dynamic Fuels is planning to sell this fuel to the public eventually at $5 per gallon.

When this bio-fuel hits the market, you can contact Reedman Toll, a top Philly Mazda dealer, to test drive a Mazda 6 fueled by the remains of chickens, cows and pigs.

Who knew farm animals could feed your family and fuel your car at the same time? They have all sorts of wonderful uses that give vegetarians everywhere unending nightmares.


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