Posts tagged ‘green’

How to Make Your Grass Greener

Look outside. Every lawn on your street is a different shade of green. That’s because everybody cuts, waters and fertilizes differently, not to mention the half dozen varieties of common grasses that they may have.

I’ve never been that guy with the greenest lawn, so I asked my lawn specialist friend Mike how to make my lawn greener.

He told me the most important factor was how short I cut it. He said, “the longer you leave it, the better. Set your mower on its highest setting.” I was hesitant because I always cut my grass short and I liked the way that looked.

But, longer grass traps more moisture and reduces the sunlight that gets to the roots, which can burn the grass and dry it out.

Grass reacts to the sun like your skin does. Too much sun without protection will burn it. When you have/had a full head of hair, you don’t put sunscreen on top of your head because your hair protects your skin. The same goes for long grass, it provides shade for the roots and soil.

Long grass also develops a deeper root system which makes the grass more fit for dry and less fertile soil.

I followed Mike’s advice and my grass still looks neatly trimmed, it’s also the greenest grass I’ve ever had. But, there are other reasons why your grass turns brown or yellow. (more…)

June 8, 2010 at 5:00 am 8 comments

Why do Some Cars Have Blue Headlights?

Traditionally, cars have had yellowish headlights. Now, many cars have light blue colored headlights. Some cars come with those headlights from the factory and other times, owners will install similar systems or similar looking systems.

The factory blue headlights are known as HID (high intensity discharge) headlights. Just like the name describes, they’re brighter than normal halogen headlights.

Traditional lights heat a small metal filament to produce light while HID lights create a plasma discharge arc between two tungsten electrodes. It is this plasma discharge that creates the blue color. But, this technology is not new, it’s very similar to the bright lights that illuminate stadiums and roadways.

The brightness is the main advantage of these lights. Like rear fog lights, these headlights were popularized in Europe where fog, rain and curvy roads create demanding driving conditions. Because HID lights are brighter, they penetrate fog, rain and snow better than halogen lights — an advantage when the conditions are not ideal.

HID headlights are also more energy efficient than halogens, which isn’t a major concern in vehicles right now, but as we move to battery powered cars that will become very important — the less power accessories consume, the further the vehicle can drive on a single charge. (more…)

April 2, 2010 at 12:46 am 12 comments

Why Beer Bottles are Green, Brown or Clear

St. Patrick’s day was last week and it wasn’t deathly cold that night so I was going to start the evening by finally taking down my Christmas lights. Luckily, I got a much warmer offer from my friend Chris who invited me over for green beer.

Chris’s wife Jeanne was turning yellow beer into green beer using blue food coloring and Jeanne’s daughter was there too. We got talking about import beers and how many of them are in green bottles. Chris pointed out that Moosehead was maybe the only green bottled beer that he liked (and one of the few Canadian beers we get in America). That lead to a conversation about why beer bottles came in three different colors: clear, brown and green.

Chris mentioned the color of the glass protected the beer from light, which was a secret to me, so I read more about it and here’s what I found: (more…)

March 23, 2010 at 12:26 am 21 comments

Use Blue Food Coloring to Make Green Beer

Yesterday, I talked about the history of St. Patricks Day — why we celebrate it, how the color green and the shamrock became the symbols they are today.

While Chicago dyes the river green, many others will be dyeing their beer.

If you’re going to dye your own beer, pick a lighter colored beer for best color results. Because lighter lagers, pilseners and ales are a yellowish color, mixing blue food coloring will give you a rich dark green color — the color of a real shamrock. Using green food coloring will work too, but you’ll get a much lighter shade of green.

This is actually quite fitting since St. Patrick’s color was actually blue.

Broken Secrets

Written By: Chad Upton

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Sources: DIY Life

March 17, 2010 at 12:13 am 6 comments

The Mall of America Does Not Have a Central Heating System

By Chad Upton | Editor

In case you’re not familiar with the Mall of America, it’s a 2.5 million sq. ft. shopping center in Bloomington Minnesota, a suburb of the “Twin Cities” (Minneapolis and Saint Paul). The mall opened in 1992 and contains more than 520 stores, two seven story parking garages with a total of 20,000 parking spaces, a giant aquarium and of course an indoor amusement park.

Photo by Dave Wallick

I was there in 1993 on a big family road trip and it was amazing. A building of this size seems like it should have a massive heating system to stay comfortable during winter months. But, the engineers had a much more creative solution in mind. (more…)

March 2, 2010 at 12:35 am 31 comments

The Vancouver Olympic Medals Contain Recycled Metal

I realize the Olympics ended yesterday, but I wanted to drop one final Vancouver Olympics secret. A week and a half ago, I did some research and crunched some numbers to get the value of an Olympic Gold Medal.

As our economy tightens its belt and the value of our natural resources strengthens, there is an increasing focus on reducing consumption while reusing and recycling where possible. The Vancouver games were no exception and they hold the title of the greenest Olympics to date.

The Vancouver medals range in weight from 500 to 576 grams. In a 30 part process that included 9 strikings, 1014 medals were created for the games. Part of the metal used was sourced from cathode ray tubes from old TVs and circuit boards from other discarded electronics. In fact, 6.8 metric tonnes of circuit boards were used.

The story behind the medals is almost as amazing as some of the athlete’s performances. If you’d like to see the story, you can watch it here.

Regardless of whether you believe in global warming or not, there is no doubt that our planet’s resources are endangered. That fact is one of the driving forces in the constantly increasing price of precious metals, oil, gas and other types of energy. Doing your part to reduce, reuse and recycle is good for the planet and will help your pocket book now and in the future.

Broken Secrets

Written By: Chad Upton

Follow @BrokenSecrets on Twitter

Sources: Teck Resources, Scientific American

Photo: Torben Bjørn Hansen

March 1, 2010 at 12:14 am Leave a comment

The Ideal Vehicle Speed for Best Fuel Economy

The precise number varies by car and environmental conditions, but the sweet spot is generally between 40-60 mph (65-95 km/h). Most small and medium size cars get the best mileage at about 50 mph (80 km/h).

A lot of factors affect the fuel economy of your car. Some of them don’t vary much with speed, such as the resistance of the engine pumps and accessories. Other factors, like the size of the frontal area and the drag coefficient create increasing resistance with speed.

The faster you drive, the more energy is needed to overcome the aerodynamic resistance of the car. Up to 40 mph, that isn’t really even a factor. So, if you’re driving a box then your best fuel economy is likely closer to 40 mph than 50. If you’re driving a teardrop shaped eco-car, then you’re likely closer to 60 mph. Of course, engine size and other factors are involved too. (more…)

February 25, 2010 at 12:01 am 5 comments

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