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Hasbro announced it will retire the much-loved Easy-Bake Oven this year because federal law will essentially prohibit the toy’s heating element – a 100 watt incandescent bulb.

Legislation passed in 2007 launched the phase-out of traditional bulbs and established energy efficiency standards that require all new bulbs to use 25-30 percent less power than incandescents by 2012.

The oven, introduced in 1963, cooked up tiny cakes and cookies thanks to the original bulb’s energy inefficiency. About 90 percent of the energy in incandescent bulbs is emitted as heat rather than light.

But little bakers have nothing to fear: Hasbro will introduce a new oven, the Easy Bake Ultimate Oven, this fall that uses a different, non-bulb heating element.

From “No More Easy-Bake Oven After Incandescent Ban” by Alison Neumer Lara, published February 23rd, 2011 at Earth911.com.

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Can golf balls save the gulf?

That question hangs in the air here at a BP crisis center as hundreds of engineers and scientists work to cap the undersea well that for more than three weeks has spewed oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

Officials with BP and other companies involved in the effort, who discussed the plans in detail at some of the operations rooms, said the best of several options included a “junk shot,” which could be tried within the week. The method involves pumping odds and ends like plastic cubes, knotted rope, even golf balls — Titleists or whatever, BP isn’t saying — into the blowout preventer, the safety device atop the well.

As Rube Goldberg as it sounds, the basic techniques are straightforward and have been used successfully on out-of-control wells around the world. “The problem here is they all have to be executed 5,000 feet under the water,” said Pat Campbell, a well-control expert who is working with BP on the project.

The enormous depth, with its low temperatures and high pressure, greatly complicates planning and execution and could cause the approach to fail, just as earlier stopgap efforts like a large containment dome did not work. One potential problem, the officials said, is the presence of several right-angle turns in the plumbing of the blowout preventer where the objects could become stuck.

The goal of the junk shot is to force-feed the preventer, the device that failed when the disaster unfolded on April 20, until it becomes so plugged that the oil stops flowing or slows to a relative trickle. That would be followed by a “top kill,” the pumping of heavy mud into the well to overcome the pressure of the rising oil, followed in turn by cement that would permanently seal it.

Read more of “‘Junk Shot’ Is Next Step for Leaking Gulf of Mexico Well” Published May 12, 2010 at The New York Times.

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In Machida City, garbage collection has the precision of a military operation. But it’s an operation that may have an end in sight.

In one neighborhood of 400,000, homeowners no longer throw out huge trash bags. Instead, they typically put out just one or two small bags, twice a week.

The reason — residents can only place burnable or landfill garbage inside the government-supplied bags, which cost between 10 cents and 80 cents, depending on the size.

The hope is to get people to recycle and compost more, and think before they throw something out.

“We need to prolong the lifespan of our landfill. That’s why we initiated garbage reduction,” said Nobuyuki Suzuki, Machida City Garbage Reduction Chief.

The lack of space for garbage in the town and in cities across Japan has created a culture in which every resident makes trash reduction a part of daily life.

From “Garbage Removal At A Minimum For Many” by Michael Scotto at NY1.

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With every new musical technology, another becomes obsolete; and in most people’s homes it’s not hard to find stacks of LPs, cassettes and even CDs, sitting on shelves, gathering dust. Now though, new life can be given to your old vinyl, in the form of bowls, coasters or bracelets.

Vinylux, a company based in Philadelphia, harvests obsolete piles of records to give a new use to this neglected, but not forgotten, material. Over the past five years they have recycled about 300,000 records – about 80,000 pounds of vinyl and cardboard, and using a thermal molding process, have transformed them into eco-chic household items.

According to the Atlanta Journal, Vinylux owner Jeff Davies says that while he offers products made from recycled jazz, blues and soul albums, classic rock artists like Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and the Rolling Stones outsell everything else three to one.

Vinylux isn’t the only company giving new life to old vinyl. The website www.45ipodcases.com for instance, lets 45s’ live once again in the digital musical age, by folding them into iPod cases. The company discovered that the center hole of 45s’ are the same size as the iPod’s click wheel, and now transform everything from Chaka Khan to Tchaikovsky recirds into cases. The company has also expanded by producing cases for iPod nanos’ crafted from old cassette tapes.

From About My Planet

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Oversexed clueless dork versus a nice girl looking for a nice guy for companionship, possible marriage. Met on Eharmony because I know my man-picker is broken decided to let the computer find me a man. Seemed to have a lot in common at first. Very nice manly voice on the phone. Knew just what to say. Very good at keeping his real self hidden. Seemed very civilized & educated. My first thought upon meeting in person: “this guy is a dork” But I decided to give it a go. But as the months went by I came to realize this man had a one-track mind:sex sex sex. He also suffered from hypochondria, his back pain was never-ending. He whined about his poor back constantly. But the back pain never stopped him from wanting sex at all times. I became resentful of him & his whiny ways. He did not turn me on & was totally clueless about foreplay, thinking a bottle of astro-glide was all he needed & one night when I declined to have sex with him he threw a hissy-fit & so I made up my mind it was over. I left the next day, never to speak to him again. Since he did not call I figured he was just as sick of me as I was of him. There are no happy memories.

Eharmony or as I call it E harms me
The lousiest rubbery pancakes in the world. Also thought he would get rich from finding pennies on the ground.
nothing except all that time I wasted on him & our relationship
Those big ugly crooked yellow teeth (& bad breath) and body odor.
be glad because we live so far apart.
myself for putting up with him for so long, thinking things will get better.
his bottle of viagra
you need therapy.

From “pompous/smug/narcissist/sex addict, L and J, 16Jun2006 thru 16Oct2007″ at Relationship Obituary.

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This week’s forecast for NEW YORK, NY:

Today Nov 6  Rain 54°/38° 70% chance of precipitation
Wed Nov 7 Partly Cloudy 51°/35° 10%
Thu Nov 8 Partly Cloudy 48°/38° 10%
Fri Nov 9 Showers 49°/41° 60%
Sat Nov 10 Showers 50°/36° 40%

From The Weather Channel

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The sea was angry that day my friends, like an old man trying to send back soup at a deli. I got about fifty-feet out and then suddenly the great beast appeared before me. I tell ya he was ten stories high if he was a foot. As if sensing my presence he gave out a big bellow. I said, “Easy big fella!” And then as I watched him struggling, I realized something was obstructing his breathing. From where I was standing I could see directly into the eye of the great fish. Then from out of nowhere a huge title wave lifted, tossed me like a cork and I found myself on top of him, face to face with the blow-hole. I could barely see from all of the waves crashing down on top of me but I knew something was there. So I reached my hand and pulled out the obstruction.

Oh yes they did Jerry, they were all over me. It was like Rocky 1. Diane came up to me, threw her arms around me, and kissed me. We both had tears streaming down our faces. I never saw anyone so beautiful. It was at that moment I decided to tell her I was not a marine biologist.

-George Costanza

From Seinfeld, “The Marine Biologist,” Episode #78, Originally Aired: Wednesday, February 10, 1994, 9:30 PM.

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