Best Detergents for Smelly Workout Clothes

Olympic Hurdler, ConsumerReports_org

Before arriving at the Olympics, the athletes underwent years of training and produced piles of sweaty workout clothes. But you don’t have to be a world-class athlete, or the parent of one, to appreciate the benefits of a top-performing laundry detergent. Across the country kids are coming home from camp with duffel bags full of smelly clothing and, at the same time, pre-season sport camps are ramping up for the beginning of school. Time to break out one of the detergents that medaled in Consumer Reports tests.

Top of the podium is Persil ProClean Power-Liquid 2in1, 25 cents per load, which beat out our long-time champ, Tide. But Tide held steady with two varieties tied for second, liquid Tide Plus Ultra Stain Release, 25 cents, and Tide HE Plus Bleach Alternative, 23 cents, a powder. All three are intended for front-loaders or high-efficiency top-loader washing machines and are superb at removing grass and blood stains and ring-around-the-collar. The trio also aced our cold-water washing test.

Bargain Buys
Paying top dollar for Persil and Tide can add up in a hurry if your washer is running nonstop to keep up with a small team’s worth of workout clothes. Sam’s Club members should consider Member’s Mark Ultimate Clean, which can be used in high-efficiency or conventional washers. It costs just 12 cents a load, and was tough on grass and ring-around-the-collar. Costco shoppers can consider Kirkland Signature Free & Clear liquid detergent, a good choice at 11 cents per load. And if you don’t shop at Costco or Sam’s Club, opt for Wisk Deep Clean at 14 cents per load.

Convenient If You’re Careful
While we stopped recommending single-dose detergents because of the poisoning danger they pose to small children, they are still a good option for grownups on the go because you can throw a few in your gym bag. Tide Pods Plus Febreze tops our tests of pods and packs but at 33 cents per load costs almost twice as much as the runner-up, All Mighty Pacs Oxi, which is only 17 cents per load. Just make sure to keep any pods away from children who might mistake them for candy.

Laundry Tips
Whichever laundry detergent you choose, it’s important to follow best practices, especially when you’re dealing with large, smelly loads. Sort by colors as well as fabric types—jeans and heavier items in one load, and T-shirts and lighter fabrics in another. Don’t overload the machine with workout clothes, or you’ll probably have to wash them a second time. And follow the manufacturer’s measuring directions for large or very dirty loads. You might be tempted to add even more detergent, but this can leave residue in your machine and on your clothing.

courtesy of:  http://www.consumerreports.org/laundry-detergents/best-detergents-for-workout-clothes/…

Stubby Purple Squid Just Chillin’ Off SoCal Coast

Scientists try to maintain their composure when conducting research. But researchers aboard the Exploration Vessel Nautilus couldn’t help but get excited when they happened upon a goofy-looking, googly eyed purple squid while mapping the seafloor off southern California last week.

The creature was a stubby squid, Rossia pacifica, a species that lives in the Pacific ocean from Japan to southern California. The creature was just sitting out in the open on the sea floor when the crew spotted it. “It looks so fake,” one of the researchers says in a video of the encounter. “It looks like some little kid dropped their toy.”

The creature does look strange, like its eyes were painted on its bright purple body by a child. But Samantha Wishnak, a science communication fellow aboard the E/V Nautilus, tells Kacey Deamer at Live Science that things only get weirder from there. “They actually have this pretty awesome superpower, they can turn on a little sticky mucus jacket over their body and sort of collect bits of sand or pebbles or whatever they’re burrowing into and make a really nice camouflage jacket,” she says. “When they go to ambush something and prey on something, they’re able to sort of turn off that mucus jacket.”

The researchers were lucky, says Wishnak, to see the little squid out in the open since the nocturnal predator typically hides in the sediment in its jacket waiting for prey. She also says most of the scientists watching the feed from the ROV were geologists and ecologists unfamiliar with deep sea species, so they were much more excited to see the crazy-looking creature than seasoned marine biologists. Biologists watching the video feed on shore identified the little squid … just gotta’ see what this stubby purple squid looks like?  Click here to read more, watch video —>   http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/…

You’ll Be Glad to Know What Possums Eat!

Posssum Diet, Ticks, OffGridQuest_com

At night, when you catch sight of an opossum in your car headlights, you are allowed to think, “That is one ugly little animal.”  But what opossums lack in looks, they make up in originality.

They’re America’s only babies-in-the pouch marsupial.  They’re a southern species — proper name Virginia opossum — that’s adapted to New England winters.

They’re one of the oldest species of mammal around, having waddled past dinosaurs.

They eat grubs and insects and even mice, working over the environment like little vacuum cleaners.

“They really eat whatever they find,” said Laura Simon, wildlife ecologist with the U.S. Humane Society.

And they’re an animal whose first line of defense includes drooling and a wicked hissing snarl — a bluff — followed by fainting dead away and “playing possum.”

“They are just interesting critters,” said Mark Clavette, a wildlife biologist with the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

And now ecologists have learned something else about opossums. They’re a sort of magnet when it comes to riding the world of black-legged ticks, which spread Lyme disease.

“Don’t hit opossums if they’ve playing dead in the road,” said Richard Ostfeld, of the Cary Institute for Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, N.Y.

Ostfeld is forest ecologist and an expert on the environmental elements of infectious diseases like Lyme disease.

Several years ago, scientists decided to learn about the part different mammals play in the spread of the ticks and the disease.

They tested six species — white-footed mice, chipmunks, squirrels, opossums and veerys and catbirds — by capturing and caging them, and then exposing each test subject to 100 ticks.

What they found, is that of the six, the opossums were remarkably good at getting rid of the ticks — much more so that any of the others.

“I had no suspicion they’d be such efficient tick-killing animals,” Ostfeld said.

Indeed, among other opossum traits, there is this: They groom themselves fastidiously, like cats. If they find a tick, they lick it off and swallow it. (The research team on the project went through droppings to find this out. All praise to those who study possum poop.)

Extrapolating from their findings, Ostfeld said, the team estimated that in one season, an opossum can kill about 5,000 ticks.

What ecologists are learning is how complex the interaction of ticks and mammals can be.

For example, foxes probably serve as a host for ticks seeking a blood meal. But foxes are great at killing white-footed mice — the species in the environment credited with being the chief reservoir of the Lyme bacteria.

Likewise, Ostfeld said, opossums, waddling around at night, pick up lots of ticks. Some ticks end up getting their blood meal from the possum. But more than 90 percent of them ended up being groomed away and swallowed.

“They’re net destroyers of ticks,” Ostfeld said.

For Simon, of the U.S. Humane Society, the Cary Institute research is a welcome justification to just leave opossums be.

“People are so hard on them,” she said.

That’s in part because people think oppossums might be rabid when they drool and hiss and carry on when threatened. In fact, opossums are resistant to rabies.

Meanwhile, they are not particularly pretty. People who “ooh” and “aah” over fawns and bluebirds may not extend the same love to pokey animals with triangular heads, white faces and naked tails.

“I tell people ‘We can’t all be beautiful,’ ” Simon said.

courtesy of, see video:  http://www.offgridquest.com/wildlife/

 

What Happens When a Chameleon Looks in a Mirror?

Chameleon, NatGeo-crop

Female in the Mirror 

Females change color to communicate their sexual status to males, Hughes says. Female Mediterranean chameleons, for example, display yellow spots to signal sexual receptivity, according to a 1998 study.

Female social signals may be fewer “because they choose and males are competing to be chosen.”

And if she sees herself in a mirror? It would likely be more subtle than the male reaction, Hughes says—although there isn’t enough knowledge of female chameleons to know for sure.

“Female-female communication in chameleons is generally not well understood,” he says, and may be less obvious than interactions between males.

Color us humans envious of an animal who looks in a mirror and sees little that needs changing.

Male in the Mirror 

Chameleon colors aren’t just camouflage, says Eli Greenbaum, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of Texas at El Paso—they also change due to temperature shifts or emotions.

And males get emotional when they see other males that could be rivals for females or habitat.

“Male chameleons will, in most cases, immediately change colors in response to seeing another male, and in this instance, to itself in a mirror,” says Daniel F. Hughes, a doctoral candidate in Greenbaum’s lab. (Related: “What Do Animals See in the Mirror?“).

To illustrate his point, he referred us to a YouTube video of a male panther chameleon, a species native to Madagascar, doing that very thing.

A male chameleon that sees a “rival” would get excited and change from its camo green to noticeable hues of yellow, orange, or even red, says Michel C. Milinkovitch, a biophysicist at the University of Geneva … read more –>   http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/06/…

Dr. Seuss’s Original Lorax Tree in San Diego

Dr Seuss, Lorax Tree, La Jolla, Smithsonian

The lone Lorax tree in Scripps Park, La Jolla. (Courtesy of San Diego Tourism)

In 1937, a long line of publishers rejected a children’s book that would later become a classic. Penned by Theodore Geisel, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street immortalized a street in the author’s hometown, Springfield, Massachusetts. The book was eventually picked up by a publisher, the first in a long line of classics penned by Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss.

His first book may have Massachusetts roots, but after World War II Geisel made his way to San Diego, California and moved into an observation tower in ritzy La Jolla. His newly adopted hometown became part of literary history, too. In this home and his studio on Mt. Soledad, Seuss wrote more than 40 children’s books—including the immortal The Cat in the Hat. And though he died in 1991, his legacy still looms large in both San Diego and the history of literature for kids.

“Seuss is the best selling and most influential children’s author in the United States,” Dr. Philip Nel, director of the children’s literature program at Kansas State University, tells Smithsonian.com. “He teaches children not only how to read but why and how to think. He wants children to take an interest in their world and make a better world.” … read more –>  http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/…

8 Home Inspection Fails That May Require a Specialist

Home inspectors have the expertise and knowledge of home building to make sure that a house is going to be safe, livable, and worth the investment.

But even home inspectors have their limits. Some don’t have the qualifications to inspect certain aspects of the home, like the sewer drains and chimney, which is why homebuyers may want to call in specialists to review trouble zones.

Here are eight instances when Trulia recommends using a specialist if the general inspector indicates there’s a problem:

  1. Roofs:  Since roof repairs are costly and can cause major problems if put off, home sellers and homeowners may want to prioritize roof repairs. For homes that have shingle roofs, a roof inspector will look for shingles that are cracked, loose, or curling, according to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, a nonprofit supported by property insurers and reinsurers. Inspectors will also look at off-ridge vents to see if they are loose and for roof leaks, which they can spot if there are water stains around the chimney and pipes. Also they will check for indications inside of leaks (such as ceiling stains or peeling wall paper).
  2. Chimneys:  If the roof inspection reveals signs of damage around the chimney, a chimney specialist should give it a closer examination. This is done with the aid of a chimney inspection camera. Inspectors will also look at the exterior, interior, and accessible parts of the chimney, giving special attention to the strength of the chimney structure and the condition of the flue, according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America.
  3. Geology:  A geological inspection of a property on a hill or in a flood zone will help catch issues like drainage problems or ground shifts. There are often two reports that come from these kinds of inspections: a natural hazard disclosure and a geologic environmental site assessment. The natural hazard disclosure includes a closer look at the maps of the area to hone in on areas that are vulnerable to earthquakes and landslides, according to George Dunfield of the California Board for Geologists and Geophysicists, in a 2005 interview with The Los Angeles Times. A geologic environmental site assessment (which can cost more than $1,000) looks at the soil quality of the property and assesses whether the site is susceptible to contaminants like fuels and solvents.
  4. Sewers:  A sewer line is a heavily used piece of equipment in any home and can go as far down as 16 feet underneath a property to connect to a public sewer system. Home inspectors sometimes call on plumbers and specialty contractors to do a “sewer scoping” with a specialized camera. “A lot of clogging comes from bad installation of sewer pipes, even with brand-new homes,” Bob Ansel, owner of Drain Solvers in Longmont, CO, told The Denver Post. Plumbers can unclog the sewer pipe to get it operational again. But if a sewer pipe needs to be replaced, the price to do so can go upwards of $20,000.
  5. Termite Damage:  Sellers often pay for termite inspection since many lenders require a full report on any termite-related issues before approving a loan.
  6. Moisture, Mold, and Toxins:  Every last inch of a house needs to be checked for these potential deal killers. Inspectors will look for physical signs of mold and moisture and take temperature and moisture readings. Inspectors may also look at the property’s history to see if any previously reported problems may be an indication of mold, according to ABC News.
  7. Asbestos:  If a house dates to 1975 or earlier, there’s a chance asbestos insulation was used around air ducts, water heaters, and pipes. This Old House recommends that homeowners who find asbestos that’s been significantly damaged should avoid touching the material. An industrial hygiene firm and an asbestos abatement contractor may be called in to assess, repair, and clean the property. If this can be easily done, Trulia suggests homebuyers ask the seller to pay for the inspection.
  8. Proper Use:  Homeowners may not need to hire an extra inspector to manage this, but Trulia suggests that they may need to work with the real estate agent. Any major additions or alterations to a home need to have been properly permitted for the sale to be legal. The garage that was converted into a home office might be beautiful, but if the inspector finds out that the proper permits weren’t obtained it could negate the deal.

Home inspectors provide you with important information that can have a major impact on a sale, but they’re not the only ones who may need to get involved in the process.

Often paying the up-front costs for a full inspection today, or before you list your home for sale, can save future expenses and headaches further down the line.

courtesy of:  http://www.thehomestory.com/…

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