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Are You Ironing Wrong?

8 Tips on Getting it Right

Banish wrinkled shirts and rumpled sheets for good with these perfect-pressing tips
Banish wrinkled shirts and rumpled sheets for good with these perfect-pressing tips from Donna Wallace, product manager for Rowenta Irons. 1. Sort clothes according to temperature, working from coolest to hottest. Iron silks and synthetics on low to medium heat (approximately 350F), wool on medium to high, and cotton and linens at high temperatures (400F to 425F). Since the right temperature is critical, let the iron sit for a few minutes after you have adjusted the controls. 2. Hang up or fold your garments immediately after ironing them. 3. Never use circular strokes you can stretch the fabric. Iron lengthwise and eliminate wrinkles by blasting the area with steam. 4. When ironing large items, such as a tablecloth or curtains, set up two chairs next to the ironing board and fold the piece carefully onto the chairs as you work on it. You could also iron large items on a tabletop padded with a towel, provided that the table wont be harmed by the steam or hot temperatures. 5. Iron sensitive fabrics with a pressing cloth a clean cotton cloth, handkerchief, or napkin. Iron fabrics inside out to protect them from becoming singed or shiny. 6. If you must use an extension cord with your iron, use a 12-ampere cord. Lighter-weight cords could overheat, causing fires. Make sure that you arrange the cord so you wont trip over it. 7. Press pleats starting from the bottom, working from the inside of the pleat to the outside. Set pleats with a shot of steam. 8. Let clothes sit for a few hours after youre finished ironing to allow the creases to set.

Coffee: The Miracle Drug

When was the last time you heard a doctor use the word miracle? Well, wake up and smell the coffee.
When was the last time you heard a doctor use the word miracle? Well, wake up and smell the coffee: Its amazing, says liver specialist Sanjiv Chopra, MD, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. Coffee is truly a lifesaving miracle drug. Though he says its still a scientific mystery how a simple cup of coffee works its wonders in the body, large epidemiological studies repeatedly verify its astonishing benefits. Some recent research highlights:

More than three cups a day lowers womens risk of developing the most common skin cancer by 20 percent. More than six cups a day cuts mens risk of dying from prostate cancer by 60 percent. Drinking at least one cup of coffee a day lowers womens risk of stroke by up to 25 percent.

Consuming at least two cups daily reduces womens chances of becoming depressed by up to 20 percent.

Drink it black, or at most put a little skim milk in it to minimize calories, Dr. Chopra recommends. The benefits from decaf may not be as prodigious, so stick with regular if you can tolerate the buzz. Dr. Chopra drinks at least four cups a day himself, though most people should limit themselves to two. And no, he jokes, Im not sponsored by Starbucks.

Side Effects of Becoming a Vegetarian

A vegetarian diet is a healthy choice if you pay attention to nutritional requirements and follow a balanced eating plan. The Mayo Clinic created a vegetarian food pyramid that recommends daily food intake of six servings of grains, five servings of nuts, beans, legumes and other protein foods, four servings of vegetables, two of fruit and two of unsaturated fats. (See References 5) Inattention to dietary needs can create side effects that are unpleasant and unhealthy. For vegans, who avoid all animal products, countering potential dietary deficiencies is particularly important.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency

If you are a strict vegetarian and eat no dairy, eggs or other animal products, your diet may be deficient in vitamin B12. Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include anemia, weakness, poor balance and tingling in the arms and legs, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. B12 is important for metabolism, maintenance of the central nervous system and the formation of red blood cells. Vegetarian sources of B12 include fortified grains and nutritional yeast, as well as vitamin supplements. (See References 1)

Iron Deficiency
The most readily absorbed iron is available in foods many vegetarians do not consume: red meats, poultry and fish. A lack of sufficient iron can cause anemia. Symptoms of low iron include exhaustion, weakness, slow cognitive development, chills and increased susceptibility to infection. Women who suffer from iron deficiency can give birth to premature or low birth weight infants. But the type of iron found in beans, lentils, enriched grains, spinach, raisins and tofu is adequate for normal nutritional needs. The National Institutes for Health recommends that vegetarians get twice as much iron as non-vegetarians because the type of iron they consume is more difficult to absorb. NIH advises vegetarians to increase iron absorption by taking vitamin C or consuming citrus with plant-based iron sources. (See References 4)

Zinc Deficiency
Zinc helps you to smell and taste. It's also important for the immune system -- zinc helps wounds heal, is a factor in cell division and cell growth and contributes to the process of carbohydrate break down. Zinc is found in high protein foods like meats and dark meat poultry, so vegans and many vegetarians can develop a zinc deficiency. That could result in poor appetite, frequent infections, hair loss and a host of other symptoms. One good way for vegetarians to consume zinc is by eating legumes, peanuts and peanut butter, although zinc from animal protein is more readily absorbed by the body. (See References 3)

Calcium and Bone Loss

Strong bones need calcium and one of the best ways to get it is from dairy products. If milk, yogurt and butter aren't part of your diet, look for cereals, breads and juices that have added calcium, fortified tofu, kale, broccoli and Chinese cabbage. Calcium shortages can lead to thinning bone density and osteoporosis, dental problems and other medical conditions. Calcium helps blood to circulate through the body, muscles to move, nerves to transmit messages from the brain, and it releases hormones and enzymes. The NIH points out that calcium supplements can interfere with some medications so you should check with your health care provider before adding supplements to any diet. (See References 6)

Positive & Negative Effects of Solar Energy

Solar energy has the potential to dramatically change the way the world gets its power. Enough solar energy falls on a 100-square-mile area of the southwestern United States to power the entire nation (See Reference 1). While solar is among the world's cleanest forms of energy, plans to develop utility scale solar farms have raised concerns about potential environmental impacts.

Climate Change
The burning of fossil fuels for energy remains the world's No. 1 source of carbon dioxide emissions (See Reference 2). Solar power is sometimes described as a zero emissions or emissions-free form of energy, and it is true that greenhouse gas emissions from solar are negligible (See References 1). However, the construction of new utility scale solar energy projects is bound to result in some greenhouse gas emissions. This fact is acknowledged in the Final Environmental Impact Statement for one proposed solar farm in California (See Reference 3, Page ES-15).

Creating energy is a water intensive process. In the U.S., electricity production accounts for more than 40 percent of all daily freshwater withdrawals (See Reference 4). Solar photovoltaic systems do not require any water to generate electricity (See Reference 1). Some solar thermal systems use water, but this water can be reused. Utility scale parabolic and central tower solar energy systems use steam plants to produce power, often relying on water for cooling (see Reference 5). There is some concern that these types of systems, when located in arid environments, could put a strain on local water resources.

When placed on existing structured, such as the rooftop of a home or office building, solar energy systems require negligible amount of land space (see Reference 1). Utility scale solar farms, on the other hand, do require large amounts of land to produce electricity on a commercial scale (see Reference 5). This fact raises concerns about the potential impact of such projects on natural habitats, concerns the EPA is working to address by siting renewable energy projects on contaminated lands and mine sites. (See Reference 6)

Hazardous Waste
Solar photovoltaic panels may contain hazardous materials that could be released when a panel is damaged or disposed of improperly (see Reference 5). Concentrating solar energy systems may also use potentially hazardous materials like oils and molten salts, creating the potential for spills.

One person's beauty is another person's eyesore. For some, solar panels evoke positive feelings, even when set in a natural landscape. For others, the sight of a solar panel invading a pristine desert environment is gut wrenching. It's largely a matter of opinion.

The Effects of Air Pollution: Acid Rain

Acid rain describes sulfuric and nitric acids deposited from the atmosphere. Often associated with precipitation, the term also applies to dry acidic materials. These acids commonly result from sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides reacting with moisture and other substances in the atmosphere. Although there are natural sources for these chemicals, much attention has been given to man-made sources, such as coal power plants. Acid rain is problematic due to acidification of soil, rivers, and lakes beyond the tolerance range of plants and animals. Acid rain can also erode man-made structures. (See References 1)

Acidifying Waters
Water resists rapid changes to pH --- a measure of the acidity of a substance with lower numbers indicating stronger acidity. However, even this resistance is overcome by prolonged and persistent exposure to acid rain. Ecosystems within lakes and rivers may be vulnerable to acidification of the water in surprising ways. For example, mayflies die off at a pH of 5.5, while trout and perch can survive in much more acidic water. However, with the decline of mayflies and other insects, trout may have insufficient food to support their population. At pH 5 many fish eggs fail to hatch and juvenile fish tend to be more susceptible to acidity, impairing the fish population's continued health. (See References 2)

Direct contact with acid rain can weaken trees and destroy their leaves. This is especially true in high altitude forests where the trees are frequently immersed in an acid cloud. Acid rain can also harm trees in a more subtle fashion by reducing nutrient levels and increasing the level of toxic substances in the soil. The buffering capacity of soil varies greatly between different soil types, resulting in greater damage to forests in some areas than others, even though the acid rain exposure may be similar. (See References 3)

Many people take great pride in maintaining the appearance of their vehicle, but acid rain can literally erode the vehicle's protective coating. To counter these effects, automobile manufacturer's have begun coating new vehicles with acid-resistant paints. (See References 5)

Limestone and marble construction materials are especially damaged by acid rain. This is due to the calcite mineral content in these materials that is easily dissolved away. This damage is readily seen in older stone buildings and monuments where carvings placed in the stone have eroded. Not all stone is susceptible. Granite and sandstone have a chemical composition that does not react with acid rain, though some types of sandstone contain carbonate, which will react. (See References 3)

Human Health
Physical contact with acid rain, either as droplets falling from the sky or from swimming in an acidic lake, has little direct impact on the health of humans. However, the pollutants responsible for the formation of acid rain are associated with an increase in respiratory disease and other illnesses. These pollutants may even infiltrate indoor spaces causing problems ranging from asthma to premature death. Laws such as the Clean Air Act strive to reduce the amount of pollution in the air. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that between 1980 and 2009, the national average for sulfur dioxide in the air decreased by 76 percent, and nitrogen dioxide decreased by 48 percent. (See References 4)