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Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full.. The students responded with a unanimous ‘yes.’

The professor then produced two Beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand.The students laughed..

‘Now,’ said the professor as the laughter subsided, ‘I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things—-your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions—-and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.. The sand is everything else—-the small stuff.

‘If you put the sand into the jar first,’ he continued, ‘there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

Spend time with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and mow the lawn.

Take care of the golf balls first—-the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the Beer represented. The professor smiled and said, ‘I’m glad you asked.’ The Beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of Beers with a friend.

Making Gas From Trash

Even as the world scrounges for improved sources of energy and seeks to depend less on the desert oil barons, the US Army is investing in technology that converts garbage into fuel. The US Army has developed a mobile machine that consumes trash and converts it into diesel, mitigating the troublesome issues of both garbage disposal and fuel transportation in foreign, often hostile lands. 

Anytime the Army goes into a foreign country, it has to make sure its personnel and their vehicles are properly supplied. That means millions of gallons of gas have to be transported to support US forces, often in the middle of hostile territory. According to the US Government Accountability Office, the US Department of Defense supplied forces in Iraq and Afghanistan with an average of 68+ million gallons of fuel every month in 2008. That's a lot of fuel transport convoys – convoys that can get attacked.

Waste disposal is another issue in foreign lands; the military can generate quite a bit of trash. According to the Army, a 550 person unit can create about 2500 pounds (1130 kg) of garbage every day. Getting rid of that waste can be a problem because it's expensive to build incinerators that will only be used for a year or two, and burn pits produce smoke that can causes health problems.

The US Army has been solving both difficulties by taking its garbage and turning it into diesel fuel by means of a big machine that uses pressure and heat to break long chain polymers like plastics into short-chain petroleum hydrocarbons - trash to gas. The Tactical Garbage to Energy Refinery (TGER) is now on its second version - a huge garbage disposal on wheels. The updated TGER uses an auger to rotate refuse in a horizontal gasifier. Steam can be injected into the gasifier, increasing the percentage of useable gas generated.

The new and improved machine can produce 550 BTUs of gas, and 12 hours after starting it up, it can cook up enough diesel to power a 60 kW generator continually - as long as somebody keeps feeding the TGER its garbage diet.

The TGER is environmentally friendly to boot. "TGER reduces the volume of waste in 30 to one ratio. If you start off with 30 cubic yards of trash, you end up with one cubic yard of ash, and that ash has been tested by the Environmental Protection Agency. They call it a benign soil additive. You could actually throw it on your roses," said ECBC project director for TGER, Dr. James Valdes.

A desert tough, mobile power station that digests garbage could prove a much-needed form of energy generation if it got around, but the TGER garbage eater is not the only trash-to-energy truck on the block. Other methods of making the most of our refuse have been in place for years.

Burn It:
The idea of turning waste into energy is not new. The US-based company Covanta operates 44 power plants that each take local garbage and burn it in order to heat water that turns turbines that create power. Burning trash for power plants is a useful idea, as long as the plants employ air-pollution controls (which Covanta's plants do). The leftover ash is then transported to landfills at a fraction of the garbage's original weight.

Superheat It:
A process called pyrolysis has been around for decades. Pyrolysis involves breaking down organic matter by heating it to extremely high temperatures and is used in the chemical industry to produce charcoal or methanol from wood, or to make the PVC plastic used in water pipes, or syngas (synthesis gas) from biomass.

Depolymerize It (KDV):
The German company AlphaKat has developed what it calls the KDV (Katalytische Drucklose Verolung) process, a catalytic low pressure depolymerization of waste materials.

Metals and glass and sand are removed from trash, leaving only plastics and other carbon-based materials like food and paper, grass, tires and grease. This waste is dried and chopped up and mixed with used oil. A catalyst containing aluminum, sodium and silicon is then added, and the whole mess is dumped into a turbine that spins at 1500 rpm. Frictional heat alone raises the temperature to about 270 degrees Celsius. Inside that spinning turbine all the organic matter is broken down to a pure hydrocarbon diesel that is much like the stuff that gets drilled out of the ground - and at a much faster rate than oil is created naturally. Throw the stuff in the mixer, spin it, and in a few minutes you've got oil. Not only does this process turn garbage into fuel, but all the gasses and liquids are contained in the specially-designed turbine itself, protecting the outside world from possible pollution caused by the diesel production.

The question is, does KDV really work? Have they actually taken milk jugs, banana peels, and leftover burger bags and turned them into oil, or have they succeeded only in creating diesel from used cooking oil, which isn't half so big a deal? 

It appears the technology truly transforms garbage to energy. Alphakat has built at least seven KDV plants around the world; the first in Monterrey, Mexico in 2005. Canada feeds waste plastics into its KDV system, and plants in Spain, Bulgaria and the United States use KDV to generate diesel from household waste.

While windmills have popped up on the horizon from east to west, and people grieve over the high price of gasoline, the key to energy self sufficiency may not soley require sucking oil from the ground if we can put fuel into people's trucks by keeping it out of our landfills.
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Who's Afraid Of A December Apocalypse?

from K-House

December 21, 2012 on the Mayan calendar has been anticipated as the day Armageddon begins, and doomsayers are preparing for the worse. People around the world are stocking up on candles, kerosene, dry foods, and batteries, reminiscent of the days of Y2K when apocalyptic forecasters predicted all the computer clocks would reset back to the first century plunging the world into financial chaos. New Year's Day 2000 came and went, and nothing happened. Now, now the doomsayers fear the 21st will bring ultimate destruction, and the world will never see another Christmas.

NASA has so much confidence that the Mayan Calendar Apocalypse will be a non-event, the agency has already released a video, ten days ahead of time, explaining, "Why the World Didn't End Yesterday." There is no wayward planet Nibiru ready to crash into Earth, NASA says. There are no known comets or meteors ready to destroy our planet, and while the sun is near its 11-year activity peak, "this is the wimpiest solar cycle of the last 50 years," according to Lika Guhathakurta, head of NASA's Living with a Star program.

Still, the recent spate of natural and other disasters across the world, from the Japan Tsunami to Hurricane Sandy, have encouraged a sense of doom about the future, and the end of the Mayan Calendar offers a collection point for fear.

Who Started It?
The Maya, written by Michael D. Coe in 1966, describes his fascination with the Mayan calendar. In the book, he predicted the end of the world would take place on December 2012, on the final day of the Mayan's 13th bak'tun or cycle, annihilating our present universe. This led other scholars and researchers to write their books and articles based on Coe's theory.

According to Mayan theology, the world came into being 5,125 years before present. The Mayan calendar was created more than 5,000 years ago and is based on several cycles, each counting different lengths of the year. The calendar used to predict the apocalypse is called the "Long Count" calendar. The ancient Mesoamerican culture developed a calendar system based on 260, 360, and 365 days in a year. The 260-day calendar was called the Tzolk'in, and the 365 day calendar was called the Haab'.

The Tzolk'in "count of days" calendar uses a cycle of 20 named days combined with 13 numbered days. Each named day is numbered up to 13 for 260 unique days in the year.

The Haab' is a solar calendar made up of 18 months; each month contains 20 days with an extra 5 days added at the end of the year. The last five days were thought by the ancient Mayans to be the most dangerous times of the year - the Wayeb or "nameless" days. The ancient peoples practiced certain customs and rituals to ward off evil spirits that tried to pass through the barrier between the spiritual and physical. It is estimated that the Mayans developed the Haab' about 550 BC during the winter solstice.

Every 52 Haab' years - 18,980 days - is considered a calendar round. Scholars have calculated back and traced the Mayan calendar day of creation to be August 11, 3114 BC on the Gregorian calendar.

The Long Count calendar uses the Mayan day of creation as a starting point. It counts its first 360 days of the year using a modified base-20 decimal scheme, instead of the Western base-10 scheme. This Long Count calendar used a 5 digit count system and was well suited for inscribing dates on Mayan monuments. On December 21st the Long Count calendar will reset to, ending the 13th bak'tun and preparing for the 14th bak'tun. While the most recent cycle is ending, there are 20 cycles on the Mayan Long Calendar. The day the Long Calendar will reset to will be October 13, 4772. So for the ancient Mayans, the upcoming cycle may have been a day of huge celebrations marking the end of a cycle, equivalent to a millennial New Year's party.

Even NASA cannot tell the future, but it is most likely the world will still be spinning safely through space come December 22, and Christmas will come again. If it doesn't though, who will be here to tell NASA's scientists they were wrong?
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