Sunday, June 29, 2008

How to Fly Comfortably

Smart steps for the best travel experience.

By Carol Kaufman

• Fly early in the day. At airports scheduled to capacity, any delay in the morning means there will be at least that much of a delay for every flight thereafter.

• Depart a day in advance for crucial trips, such as a business meeting or a wedding.

• Check the delay statistic for your flight -- how often that flight is more than 15 minutes late on a scale of 1 to 9 (the lower the number, the more often it's late) -- before you book your tickets. Airlines are required by law to give you the stat if you ask for it; many post it on their websites. If the number is 5 or below and time is of the essence, consider another flight.

More than 590,000 pilots made more than 61 million takeoffs and landings last year.


• Sign up for the registered traveler program to take some of the pain out of the preflight experience. Travelers who pass a voluntary background check can use special lanes to whisk through security at nearly 20 U.S. airports, including in Denver, Oakland, Orlando, and San Francisco.

• Make a call. If you get to the gate and the airline says you've lost your seat, contact the Coalition for an Airline Passengers' Bill of Rights at 877-359-3776. Kate Hanni, the group's founder, says stranded passengers have told her that seats were suddenly found for them when they called CAPBOR from the airport and let airline personnel know they'd done so. If your flight is canceled, the group's volunteer staff will help you book hotels, research your flight status, offer alternative routes, help with car rental, and relay weather information.

• Understand your options. When you're stuck on the ground for hours after boarding, there's a reason. "If the airlines lock the doors, they don't have to provide refunds, credits, lodging, and food expenses," says Paul Hudson, executive director of the Aviation Consumer Action Project. You can circulate a petition demanding to be let off the plane and take it to the cockpit. An airline can't hold people against their will unless there's a safety reason, and the captain has the authority to let people off. If the situation worsens, call the police or a local TV or radio station from your cell phone. CAPBOR hotline volunteers can also put you in touch with the media.

• Don't let it drop. If you have a truly terrible experience, write a reasonable letter afterward to the airline CEO, explaining what happened and asking for compensation. Refer to the contract of carriage listed on the airline's website; it explains the compensation policies. It's up to the airline whether to remedy a passenger's bad experience. If you used plastic to buy your ticket, your credit card company can challenge the airline for violating its contract with a customer.

• Join the fight to enact an Airline Passengers' Bill of Rights, federal legislation that would mandate, among other things, that passengers be allowed to deplane when they're held on the tarmac for more than three hours as well as require airlines to provide delayed passengers with food, water, sanitary facilities, and medical attention. The major U.S. carriers are dead set against the bill, arguing that cockpit crews should make these calls. Decide who's right after you learn more at

Welcome Arrivals

It's inevitable that you'll get stuck in an airport somewhere, sometime, so why not relax while you're waiting?

Get pampered At Detroit Metro Airport, you can get a facial, a massage, and a shower in McNamara terminal.

Listen to Chopin Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport has a pianist to serenade irritable would-be passengers.

Tee off At Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport, you can play 36 holes of golf on airport property -- if you've got the time.

Up your culture quotient Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport has spent millions on its world-class art collection.

Sample the Chardonnay At Baltimore/Washington International, a wine bar serves flights of wine during delays.

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Six Surprising Consequences of a Restless Night

By: Vicki Santillano (Little_personView Profile)

It’s no secret that skipping valuable sleep time can have negative effects on our physical and emotional health. But could a rise in the lack of sleep be an unacknowledged contributor to the steady rise in divorces over the years? A recent Washington Post article says yes, linking a healthy marriage to better sleep quality. If our nights are consistently restless due to stress, what else is at risk (besides our relationship)? I decided to do a little research to learn more about the surprisingly harsh consequences of fitful sleeping.

Weight Gain
People who suffer from nocturnal sleeping-related eating disorders (NS-REDs) will sleepwalk to the kitchen and eat, well, anything. Frozen chicken, mayonnaise—even non-food items like cat litter and cigarettes—all are up for grabs as nighttime grub. According to Julianne Blythe, a physician assistant at the UCSF Sleep Disorders Center, NS-RED affects about 1 percent of the population. Possible factors behind sleep eating include sleep apnea, a condition that obstructs breathing while sleeping, and stress—two issues that also impede restful sleep.

Even if you’re not afflicted by a rare disorder like NS-RED, not getting enough sleep could lead you to eat more during your waking hours. A study conducted at the University of Chicago found that their patients who slept for less than five hours two days in a row experienced an increase in ghrelin, an appetite stimulant hormone, and a decrease in the hormone that triggers satiety. Even worse, those lacking sleep tend to crave the kinds of foods you should limit—the salty, sugary varieties that are sure to pack on the pounds.

Night Terror
One who suffers from sleep terror disorder wakes up repeatedly in a frightened and anxious state, often screaming. There is no memory of the dream that caused the panic in the first place. “[Sleep terror disorder] is a parasomnia,” Julianne explains. “This means that it occurs during the delta, or deep sleep phase.” The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders states that, in order to be diagnosed with sleep terror disorder, one cannot remember the dream or the panicked episode upon waking. “Because it doesn’t occur during REM sleep [the stage that hosts the dreams you actually remember], there are no vivid dreams to recall,” she says. So, people have no idea why they started screaming in the first place. Though this disorder is most common in children, adults can suffer from sleep terrors as well. Fever, sleep deprivation, and stress are potential triggers—they can cause disruptive sleep, which leads to disorders such as this one.

A Dramatic Change in Your Sex Life (Not in a Good Way)
A person who experiences sexsomnia (another parasomnia) engages in any kind of sexual activity (masturbating, intercourse, etc.) while in a deep sleep. It’s considered a variation of sleepwalking. As is the case with most parasomnias, those who have sexsomnia do not remember their nighttime escapades. This disorder occurs by being jostled out of sleep slightly (not enough to bring about full consciousness), which can happen because of issues like sleep apnea, stress, and anxiety. People have even complained about their partners attempting sex while heavily snoring. Sounds like a contender for the worst foreplay move ever.

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Athletes use Viagra for competitive edge

ViagraThe Associated Press

LONDON -- Athletes looking for a performance boost are increasingly turning to a little blue pill more usually taken for its off-the-field benefits: Viagra.

Some sports authorities say the drug is now finding a following among athletes. It isn't clear how many might be taking it in hopes of improving athletic performance, but stashes of the drug have reportedly been found among some professional athletes.

The World Anti-Doping Agency is currently studying Viagra's effects in athletes, but hasn't yet banned it. Experts are divided over whether it actually offers athletes an edge.

"It's possible,'' said Anthony Butch, director of the Olympic Analytical laboratory at the University of California Los Angeles, a WADA-accredited facility.

Viagra, also known as sildenafil, is manufactured by Pfizer Inc. It was originally developed as a heart drug; its use as a treatment for erectile dysfunction was only accidentally discovered.

The drug works by increasing the effects of nitric oxide, which makes blood vessels expand. That should theoretically allow blood cells to travel to the lungs more efficiently and to also receive more oxygen. It may also improve heart function.

Viagra is also approved to treat pulmonary hypertension, a condition where the lungs' blood vessels tighten. Doctors have used the drug experimentally to treat pregnant women with high blood pressure and to ward off jet lag.

But whether Viagra makes athletes faster, higher or stronger is uncertain.

"Just because you have more nitric oxide doesn't mean that you are going to be a better athlete,'' Butch said. "If you have all the nitric oxide you need, and if you generate more from Viagra, it's not clear what effect that would have.''

Still, some preliminary studies have shown that cyclists taking Viagra improved their performances by up to 40 per cent.

"If you have more oxygen going to your muscles, that's more energy and that makes you a better athlete,'' said Dr. Andrew McCullough, a sexual health expert at New York University School of Medicine. "Even if it only gives you a 10 per cent increase, in peak athletes, that is enough to win,'' he said.

McCullough said Viagra is only likely to help athletes like runners, cyclists or skiers _ sports where endurance and speed are key. Viagra does not work directly on muscles, so will not make athletes physically stronger.

Athletes often mistakenly assume that a drug will work in their bodies the same way it does in sick people.

For instance, in people with lung problems who take Viagra, the drug widens their blood vessels so they can absorb more oxygen.

Athletes taking Viagra might hope that the drug will expand their already normal-sized vessels to give them extra lung capacity. But some experts say that's unlikely.

"Viagra corrects problems in people who are in a challenged or diseased state,'' said Ian McGrath, a professor of physiology at the University of Glasgow. In normal people, the body's own regulating system is not so easily superseded by drugs, and taking Viagra may be useless, McGrath said.

Still, if Viagra does give athletes an unfair advantage, they will be able to take it at the upcoming Beijing Olympics without worry, since it is not on the prohibited list of medicines.

McGrath said taking Viagra could theoretically help people breathe better in heavily polluted cities, like the Chinese capital. "If you have some sort of illness from pollution, then Viagra might help,'' he said.

Many scientists at laboratories that conduct drug testing say they haven't noticed a suspicious spike in samples containing Viagra.

"We see it as much as we see ibuprofen or aspirin or antibiotics that are not prohibited,'' said Christiane Ayotte, director of a WADA-accredited laboratory in Canada. "Athletes may be taking it, but they may be taking it for non-doping purposes,'' she said.

Ayotte thinks it would be unrealistic to ban Viagra. "Are athletes going to have to submit therapeutic-use exemptions for Viagra?'' she asked. "That would be quite humiliating.''

Other doctors hypothesized that Viagra's more well-known effects on men's sex lives might be the ultimate explanation for any enhanced athletic abilities.

"It could be that athletes are taking Viagra and then having vigorous sexual activity,'' said Dr. Gerard Varlotta, director of sports rehabilitation at New York University's Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine. Varlotta doubted that Viagra itself could improve an athletes' performance.

"If athletes are euphoric after sex after taking Viagra, they may be euphoric about their athletic endeavours,'' Varlotta said. "That may make them a better athlete.''

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Japan, Seeking Trim Waists, Measures Millions

AMAGASAKI, Japan — Japan, a country not known for its overweight people, has undertaken one of the most ambitious campaigns ever by a nation to slim down its citizenry.

Ko Sasaki for The New York Times

A poster at a public health clinic in Japan reads, "Goodbye, metabo," a word associated with being overweight. The Japanese government is mounting an ambitious weight-loss campaign. More Photos »

Summoned by the city of Amagasaki one recent morning, Minoru Nogiri, 45, a flower shop owner, found himself lining up to have his waistline measured. With no visible paunch, he seemed to run little risk of being classified as overweight, or metabo, the preferred word in Japan these days.

But because the new state-prescribed limit for male waistlines is a strict 33.5 inches, he had anxiously measured himself at home a couple of days earlier. “I’m on the border,” he said.

Under a national law that came into effect two months ago, companies and local governments must now measure the waistlines of Japanese people between the ages of 40 and 74 as part of their annual checkups. That represents more than 56 million waistlines, or about 44 percent of the entire population.

Those exceeding government limits — 33.5 inches for men and 35.4 inches for women, which are identical to thresholds established in 2005 for Japan by the International Diabetes Federation as an easy guideline for identifying health risks — and having a weight-related ailment will be given dieting guidance if after three months they do not lose weight. If necessary, those people will be steered toward further re-education after six more months.

To reach its goals of shrinking the overweight population by 10 percent over the next four years and 25 percent over the next seven years, the government will impose financial penalties on companies and local governments that fail to meet specific targets. The country’s Ministry of Health argues that the campaign will keep the spread of diseases like diabetes and strokes in check.

The ministry also says that curbing widening waistlines will rein in a rapidly aging society’s ballooning health care costs, one of the most serious and politically delicate problems facing Japan today. Most Japanese are covered under public health care or through their work. Anger over a plan that would make those 75 and older pay more for health care brought a parliamentary censure motion Wednesday against Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, the first against a prime minister in the country’s postwar history.

But critics say that the government guidelines — especially the one about male waistlines — are simply too strict and that more than half of all men will be considered overweight. The effect, they say, will be to encourage overmedication and ultimately raise health care costs.

Yoichi Ogushi, a professor at Tokai University’s School of Medicine near Tokyo and an expert on public health, said that there was “no need at all” for the Japanese to lose weight.

“I don’t think the campaign will have any positive effect. Now if you did this in the United States, there would be benefits, since there are many Americans who weigh more than 100 kilograms,” or about 220 pounds, Mr. Ogushi said. “But the Japanese are so slender that they can’t afford to lose weight.”

Mr. Ogushi was actually a little harder on Americans than they deserved. A survey by the National Center for Health Statistics found that the average waist size for Caucasian American men was 39 inches, a full inch lower than the 40-inch threshold established by the International Diabetes Federation. American women did not fare as well, with an average waist size of 36.5 inches, about two inches above their threshold of 34.6 inches. The differences in thresholds reflected variations in height and body type from Japanese men and women.

Comparable figures for the Japanese are sketchy since waistlines have not been measured officially in the past. But private research on thousands of Japanese indicates that the average male waistline falls just below the new government limit.

That fact, widely reported in the media, has heightened the anxiety in the nation’s health clinics.

In Amagasaki, a city in western Japan, officials have moved aggressively to measure waistlines in what the government calls special checkups. The city had to measure at least 65 percent of the 40- to 74-year-olds covered by public health insurance, an “extremely difficult” goal, acknowledged Midori Noguchi, a city official.

When his turn came, Mr. Nogiri, the flower shop owner, entered a booth where he bared his midriff, exposing a flat stomach with barely discernible love handles. A nurse wrapped a tape measure around his waist across his belly button: 33.6 inches, or 0.1 inch over the limit.

“Strikeout,” he said, defeat spreading across his face.

The campaign started a couple of years ago when the Health Ministry began beating the drums for a medical condition that few Japanese had ever heard of — metabolic syndrome — a collection of factors that heighten the risk of developing vascular disease and diabetes. Those include abdominal obesity, high blood pressure and high levels of blood glucose and cholesterol. In no time, the scary-sounding condition was popularly shortened to the funny-sounding metabo, and it has become the nation’s shorthand for overweight.

The mayor of one town in Mie, a prefecture near here, became so wrapped up in the anti-metabo campaign that he and six other town officials formed a weight-loss group called “The Seven Metabo Samurai.” That campaign ended abruptly after a 47-year-old member with a 39-inch waistline died of a heart attack while jogging.

Still, at a city gym in Amagasaki recently, dozens of residents — few of whom appeared overweight — danced to the city’s anti-metabo song, which warned against trouser buttons popping and flying away, “pyun-pyun-pyun!”

“Goodbye, metabolic. Let’s get our checkups together. Go! Go! Go!

Goodbye, metabolic. Don’t wait till you get sick. No! No! No!”

The word metabo has made it easier for health care providers to urge their patients to lose weight, said Dr. Yoshikuni Sakamoto, a physician in the employee health insurance union at Matsushita, which makes Panasonic products.

“Before we had to broach the issue with the word obesity, which definitely has a negative image,” Dr. Sakamoto said. “But metabo sounds much more inclusive.”

Even before Tokyo’s directives, Matsushita had focused on its employees’ weight during annual checkups. Last summer, Akio Inoue, 30, an engineer carrying 238 pounds on a 5-foot-7 frame, was told by a company doctor to lose weight or take medication for his high blood pressure. After dieting, he was down to 182 pounds, but his waistline was still more than one inch over the state-approved limit.

With the new law, Matsushita has to measure the waistlines of not only its employees but also of their families and retirees. As part of its intensifying efforts, the company has started giving its employees “metabo check” towels that double as tape measures.

“Nobody will want to be singled out as metabo,” Kimiko Shigeno, a company nurse, said of the campaign. “It’ll have the same effect as non-smoking campaigns where smokers are now looked at disapprovingly.”

Companies like Matsushita must measure the waistlines of at least 80 percent of their employees. Furthermore, they must get 10 percent of those deemed metabolic to lose weight by 2012, and 25 percent of them to lose weight by 2015.

NEC, Japan’s largest maker of personal computers, said that if it failed to meet its targets, it could incur as much as $19 million in penalties. The company has decided to nip metabo in the bud by starting to measure the waistlines of all its employees over 30 years old and by sponsoring metabo education days for the employees’ families.

Some experts say the government’s guidelines on everything from waistlines to blood pressure are so strict that meeting, or exceeding, those targets will be impossible. They say that the government’s real goal is to shift health care costs onto the private sector.

Dr. Minoru Yamakado, an official at the Japan Society of Ningen Dock, an association of doctors who administer physical exams, said he endorsed the government’s campaign and its focus on preventive medicine.

But he said that the government’s real priority should be to reduce smoking rates, which remain among the highest among advanced nations, in large part because of Japan’s powerful tobacco lobby.

“Smoking is even one of the causes of metabolic syndrome,” he said. “So if you’re worried about metabo, stopping people from smoking should be your top priority.”

Despite misgivings, though, Japan is pushing ahead.

Kizashi Ohama, an official in Matsuyama, a city that has also acted aggressively against metabo, said he would leave the debate over the campaign’s merits to experts and health officials in Tokyo.

At Matsuyama’s public health clinic, Kinichiro Ichikawa, 62, said the government-approved 33.5-inch male waistline was “severe.” He is 5-foot-4, weighs only 134 pounds and knows no one who is overweight.

“Japan shouldn’t be making such a fuss about this,” he said before going off to have his waistline measured.

But on a shopping strip here, Kenzo Nagata, 73, a toy store owner, said he had ignored a letter summoning him to a so-called special checkup. His waistline was no one’s business but his own, he said, though he volunteered that, at 32.7 inches, it fell safely below the limit. He planned to disregard the second notice that the city was scheduled to mail to the recalcitrant.

“I’m not going,” he said. “I don’t think that concerns me.”

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Luxury Spring Water Only $100 a Bottle

Just the other day I found myself pushing three dollar bills into a vending machine, frustrated that it cost the same for water as it does for a bottle of coke. Not that three bucks is the most expensive water i have seen. I remember reading about Bling H2O, which was the most expensive bottle of water I had ever seen until today.
Fillico Beverly Hills“, a premium line of spring water from a company name Vieluce in Osaka, Japan, comes from a natural spring at the foot of Mount Rokko in Kobe, Japan. The spring is very famous for producing excellent water for Sake production.

Due to the limited supply of spring water, only 5,000 bottles are sold each month and they can be purchased for around $100 per 750ml bottle.

Of course if paying $100 for a bottle of water is not enough, “King and Queen” pairs of the spring water with caps resembling the crown of Fredrick II of the Roman Empire and decorated with Swarovski rhinestones are also being sold for around $230.

fillico-water Luxury Spring Water Only $100 a Bottle picture

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Corn farmers' hopes are dashed by the flood

By DAVID PITT, Associated Press Writer

Bill Talsma walks across one of his flood damaged corn fields, Saturday, June 21, 2008, near Colfax, Iowa.  Flooding destroyed nearly a quarter of the crop Talsma and his brother were growing on 9,000 acres in central Iowa, and soaking rains damaged the rest. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
AP Photo: Bill Talsma walks across one of his flood damaged corn fields, Saturday, June 21, 2008,...

DES MOINES, Iowa - This year's corn crop was Bill Talsma's lottery ticket — a potentially record-setting haul worth millions.

Then came the flood.

The raging rivers and streams destroyed nearly a quarter of the crop Talsma and his brother were growing on about 75 percent of their 9,000 acres in Iowa, and drenching rains damaged the rest. Had all his corn come in, Talsma could have seen a profit of as much as $6 million.

Now, he will be lucky to bring home a fraction of that.

"I was counting on this being one of my best years ever, but now it's one that you just want to get behind you," the 50-year-old Talsma said.

Across the Corn Belt states of Iowa, Illinois and Missouri, many farmers are looking at a bleak harvest after a planting season that started out with the promise of great riches.

The reason farmers were optimistic: Corn prices have been climbing to all-time highs in recent months — from $3.75 per bushel in mid-2007 to $7.25 in the past few days — because of increased demand from livestock producers, overseas markets and the ethanol industry, which relies almost entirely on corn.

But a wet, cold spring tamped down expectations of a bumper crop. Then came the flooding.

In Iowa, the No. 1 corn-producing state, the Iowa Farm Bureau has pegged the corn losses at $1.5 billion, plus $1.5 billion in soybean losses. It is still unclear how much damage the corn crop has suffered nationwide, because the flooding is not over.

"That's the big question of the hour," said Pat Westhoff, an economist with the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri.

Consumers will see the effects in higher food and ethanol prices. But for farmers it's more personal.

Although the water has receded from Talsma's land, thick mud and large ponds of water remain. Corn that should be waist-high has barely poked out of the ground in some of Talsma's low-lying fields along Interstate 80 east of Des Moines. The plants in the fields where the water has drained are sickly looking and probably won't grow to maturity.

The flooded land cannot be replanted with corn this late in the growing season, since an early frost in the fall could damage or kill the crop and waste any money spent on replanting. As for growing something else, it is still too wet in many fields to plant soybeans.

The math is brutal: With corn selling for $7.25 per bushel, and a reasonable yield of 180 bushels per acre, Talsma and his brother should have cleared about $1,300 an acre. Overhead on the farm — expenses such as fuel, chemicals and fertilizer — average about $400 an acre, leaving a profit of $900. On 6,750 acres of corn, that's $6.1 million.

But the flood destroyed 20 percent of the crop. Talsma expects yields on the remaining ground of roughly 60 bushels an acre, cutting his profit in a best-case scenario to less than $200,000. Realistically, he expects to recover only his costs through crop insurance.

"I'll probably hold my expenses together, but there will be no income," he said.

For some farmers, the losses could extend past the missed payday. Farmers often sell a portion of their crop in advance through futures contracts that guarantee a certain price for a specified number of bushels. Last fall, when corn was selling for between $3.50 and $4 a bushel but futures were trading at $5, a farmer might have decided to sell thousands of bushels through such contracts.

Now, farmers without any corn to deliver could be forced to buy it at today's $7 price to meet contracts that will pay them only $5.

"When you've lost three-fourths of your crop and all of a sudden you've forward-contracted half of it, you're already behind the eight ball," said Virgil Schmitt, a specialist with the Iowa State University Extension Service.

Some farmers, expecting a premium price for corn, may have bought new equipment or paid higher land rental costs.

"Hopefully those people had adequate crop insurance to cover those eventualities," Schmitt said.

The most expensive policies cover losses on a farmer's entire crop, based on the prevailing market price. Cheaper policies only cover a portion of the losses. Federal disaster aid for farmers will pay for some losses not covered by insurance in counties declared eligible by the government.

About a third of Phil Winborn's corn and soybean crop near Iowa City is still under several feet of water. He said the crop on that land is ruined and he will have to work to get the soil back in shape for planting next year. Like Talsma, Winborn said that even land that escaped the flooding was damaged by heavy rains.

"Even the ones we got planted in a good timely manner are looking pretty terrible because they've just been sitting in water," he said.

There is some good news: Flooded-out farmers will probably still have a chance next year to cash in on the high price of corn. Low yields this year, along with continuing strong demand for ethanol, are likely to keep prices high, said Scott Irwin, professor of agricultural marketing at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Jim Brown, whose 2,500 acres in Iowa were flooded by rain, said: "It's Mother Nature. We deal with it every day. We still have our houses and our livelihood. The water will disappear and we'll go back at it."

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Team in Philadelphia aims to build modern, green, LEED certified homes for $100K

A development team in downtown Philly consisting of a developer, architect, and builder has set out to build a modern, green home for $100K in construction costs and another $100K - $150K for land. They came up with this plan because modern design with an eye for sustainability was important to them, however, homes of this sort currently do not exist in any affordable way. A total cost of around ~$200K seemed to be the “magic number” to them as it was a price they and their friends could afford. Depending on location and cost for the land these can obviously end up being more or less affordable. Here in Arizona it would probably be easier to find more affordable plots of land than in downtown Philly.

The team building these homes is starting with a pair of modest 2 story loft-style houses with 2 bedrooms, 1.5 baths, and 1000 sq ft of living space. This would be a great starter house for young couples, small families, or retirees looking to downsize. Back when I was house shopping a few years ago I didn’t come across any homes with green features for anywhere near this affordable price range and ended up settling on a conventional home that we could afford. Had these been available to us then we would have snatched one up in a heart beat!

The plan is also to make these homes as eco-friendly as possible and even strive for LEED platinum certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED platinum certification is a stringent measure of many different factors, including energy efficiency, water use, building materials, etc. There are very few LEED platinum homes in the U.S. and probably none at the price point they are shooting for. The green features they plan to incorporate are:

  • Certification - LEED Platinum
  • Energy star - certified
  • Solar - solar thermal hot water
  • Water - rainwater collection, low-flow, dual-flush
  • Heating - radiant in floor
  • Air conditioning - passive, ERV & dehumidifier
  • Lighting - CFLs (compact florescent lights)
  • Insulation - SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels)
  • Finishes - low or no VOC (volatile organic compounds)
  • Landscaping - ivy “green wall,” drought tolerant & 100% permeable

Lets hope they are successful, I’d love to have options like this if I ever need to move again. To keep tabs on their progress and to get all the details of their plan check out the 100K house blog at

Here is a video of Nic Darling from the developer of this project, PostGreen, presenting the 100K house idea at Ignite Philly.

Know about any other projects like this? Leave a comment and let us know.

icon1 James Towner

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Booty Sweat - Fake Movie Product to Hit Real Store Shelves

In a move fitting the promotion of a movie within a movie where real actors play fake actors shooting a pretend action film in a actual war zone (that they don't know is really real), the studio, Paramount Pictures, has licensed a fictitious brand as a real beverage.

Based on the positive reaction during screenings to a satirical commercial for Booty Sweat, a made up energy drink that appears throughout the movie Tropic Thunder, Paramount has decided to license an actual drink that will be available at retailers nationwide, as well as on and in college bookstores, to help crank up the movie's promotion machine.

In an interview, Michael Corcoran, Paramount's president of consumer products, said "several hundred thousand" cases of Booty Sweat have already been produced.

And those cases have been targeted to specific audiences. The drink will be available in two different packages, one designed for the urban market, and one for the rural market. Those buying Booty Sweat in major cities will get treated to a description of it as a "delicious and bump up struttin' energy drink that will pump up a brotha's ass right-pronto. This swill will crank yo' metabolism up skippin' right over jiggy to straight G-pimp level, word to your mutha. Brothas will be layin' down the 2-3 on the wiggy jig focusing the energy flow into cold-face benjamins that will fill yo' pimp pockets to burstin'. Damn straight! Booty Sweat will keep a brotha pitchin' straight game all night to the baby-dolls." Those in rural areas, who apparently don't rate a clever description, just get a plain can.

While this may be the first time a fake movie product has been launched ahead of the movie it appears in, it's not the first time a product seen on the big screen has ended up on store shelves. A cauldron-ful of candy products from the Harry Potter movies hit shelves after the blockbusters hit the screens.

And last year, a California entrepreneur licensed the name "Brawndo" to create and market the energy drink appearing in the little-seen Mike Judge movie, Idiocracy. The same guy is also selling Sex Panther, a cologne based on the one Will Ferrell's character swears by in Anchorman.

With a popular movie character making outrageous claims about your product - claims you could never make in an actual ad campaign, for instance, claiming your product is "150% more awesome than any cologne. Ever." - this could be a case of reverse product placement that proves highly successful. And lucrative. Which means look for a lot more faux-to-real products to hit stores from marketers looking to reach us ad-weary consumers.

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