Tag: recycle

The Green Thing

The Green Thing

BROWNGROCERY

The Grocery Bag

While checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the much older lady that she should bring her own grocery bags, because plastic bags are not good for the environment. 

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The woman apologized to the young girl and explained, “We didn’t have this ‘green thing‘ back in my earlier days.”

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The young clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.”

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The older lady said that she was right — our generation didn’t have the “green thing” in its day. The older lady went on to explain:

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled. But we didn’t have the “green thing” back in our day.

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Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags that we reused for numerous things. Most memorable besides household garbage bags was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our schoolbooks. This was to ensure that public property (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribbling’s. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags. But, too bad we didn’t do the  “green thing” back then.

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We walked up stairs because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. But she was right. We didn’t have the “green thing” in our day.

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Back then we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throw away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220volts. Wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that young lady is right; we didn’t have the “green thing” back in our day.

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Back then we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she’s right; we didn’t have the “green thing” back then.

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We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blade in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But we didn’t have the “green thing” back then.

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Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service in the family’s $45,000 SUV or van, which cost what a whole house did before the”green-thing.” We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint.

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But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the “green thing” back then?

If you feel so inclined forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smart ass young person.

We don’t like being old in the first place, so it doesn’t take much to piss us off… especially from a tattooed, multiple pierced smart-ass who can’t make change without the cash register telling them how much to return to the customer.

cdb049bf59a8a03734d23975f24355ce And he wonders why he cant find work while living in his mothers basement.  

-Best to you and those that you care about!

Electronic News

Many of you will not really have much knowledge of what I am going to talk about here as it relates to the electronic industry and your pocket book. By the time your done reading this, you will be enlightened somewhat.ImageImage

Not too long ago some Chinese company produced something known to me and anyone who knows technology as a capacitor.  These live in just about any electronic device that you might have.

The problem is that the formula for these was invented in Japan and it was liberated “Stolen” from the Japanese plant and sold to someone in China.  Industrial espionage happens all of the time and there are many famous cases that I could site; The TV and Radio are two off the top of my head.

The problem with this formula is that they did not get all of it.  They got the part for the dielectric, (the part that separates the internal plates from shorting) but they did not obtain the stabilizer for the dielectric; so after a few months to a few years the dielectric breaks down and fails.   These capacitors were sold to many different manufacturers including Dell and LG to name two.

Other computer board manufacturers are also loaded with these defective capacitors.  One of my LG monitors stopped working and for about $6 and change and about one hour worth of work, I replaced all of the capacitors on the power supply/ inverter board and, Viola; the monitor is as good as new.  The most difficult part of the procedure was taking the monitor apart without damaging it.

Last night one of my desktop crapped out.  The power supply went south.  I happen to keep new power supplies on hand so I simply upgraded the power supply from 300 watts to 600 watts which also sports a larger cooling fan.  It was a win win!

As the power supply houses some pretty cool parts for those of us who still build things, I took it apart and there it was, a capacitor that was bloated, standing out like a sore thumb.  The fix probably would have cost me $.50 but as it was a 300 watt power supply I elected to scrap it.  300 watts is really too small, and of course much cheaper than a 600watt.

A few weeks ago I was working on a dell for a gentleman and the onboard video card was working terribly.  There were lines in the picture and it was not syncing correctly.  Examining the board around the GPU I noticed, you got it, puffy capacitors.  I installed an inexpensive video card and turned off the internal one. Problem solved until some of the other capacitors in the box fail.

A friend of mine works for a City here in Texas and part of his job has him traveling to the Dump of all places.  There in some building at the dump are flat screen TV’s microwaves and so forth that have been discarded.  He picked up several flat screen TV’s that were discarded and for a few dollars repaired them.  While he is the ultimate recycler, it is a shame that we do not repair things any more.  One has to wonder if we are spending too much time with video games instead of tinkering. One night at dinner with some friends I was gob smacked to learn that one of the guys at the table had no idea how to change spark plugs.   These are the type of people who call on people to do things for them.  While it may make financial sense to do this I simply cannot pay someone to do something that I am perfectly capable of doing with a few exceptions.

This week being “earth week” I would encourage you to think about getting things repaired instead of trashing them when they break.  Electronics are known in the industry as Ejunk.  There are companies that specialize in recycling this type of thing but, they are becoming harder to come by.   I suspect that the EPA makes this type of business a tough one to run, and not be out of compliance in some small way.

Most of us have no reason to know this but, the dumps all over the country are filling up.  There is a dump not too far from me here in north Texas that at one time was low land covered in water; and is now reminding me of the foothills in NorthernCA.

A lot of this e-junk is shipped to third world countries where families hover over open fires, melting the solder with the fire, removing the parts off the circuit boards for the metals that they contain.  Since it is an open fire, the board is blackened and the people doing this breath in those toxins along with their children who are helping.  It does not even stop there as this residue litters the grounds, the water supply, the air, and what have you.  We here in this country do not have a clue; we simply think that we do our part by most of the time, throwing that soda can in the blue bin.  Once we toss stuff into the bin do we ever think about it?

I come from a time when there was not so much stuff trashed.  I bought a broken TV at a garage sale for $5 as a kid; and learned how TV’s worked and for about $3.50 for a new high voltage rectifier tube, I had a nice looking portable TV at the age of 10. At 13 I wanted money to buy a new CB and antenna.  Mowing lawns seemed like a good job. One could make $4 a yard…. Currently I pay $25 a week, and this is one thing that I will not give up.  As I put my plan in the early 70’s together, I would first need a lawnmower as my dad was dead set about me not using the family lawn mower on others peoples yards.  He was right to be concerned as I killed 3 lawnmowers on one person’s yard for $2. That is another story..

Again I went to garage sales and found a lawn mower that did not work.  I pulled it through to make sure that there was compression and nothing bent, and bought it for $15.  After a trip to the library checking out a book on small engines, I digested the book.  Lawn mowers have points and a condenser under the flywheel and those are known to be problematic.  I checked for spark and there was none.  The local grocery store sold parts such as these and for a few $$ back in the day, so I now had my own lawn mower.

I purchased three lawnmowers all together in similar fashion along with an edger.  Gas cost about a quarter to fill up my can and that would last me about a week.  I created my fist direct marketing campaign at the age of 13 with three sheets of paper, two pieces of carbon paper and my best penmanship that I could muster.

I mow yards

Please call 242-XXXX

For an estimate, ask for Scott.

I wrote this until I filled up a sheet of paper and then cut them out much like Avery labels would look today. Armed with a shirt pocket full of “flyers” and some scotch tape I went door to door canvassing my entire neighborhood.

The interesting thing about all of this is that those types of campaigns have about a 2% return or hit rate.  That was the figure 42 years ago and oddly enough, that is still the figure today! I still do direct marketing campaigns; just not to do yard work. J

I did this for several summers; it paid for my first car, and lots of photographic equipment, and oh yes a CB that quickly turned into Ham Radio equipment.

Where are those entrepreneurs today?

As you can tell, I still do this today.  Not that I go buy things at garage sales to repair but, I do restore antique radios that I have purchased either online or from individuals. Some just make their way too me as friends know that I do it, and they are tired of storing it.

So when your flat screen TV dies if you know anyone with any technical prowess, have them search the web to see if someone has posted a fix.  It may very have been me.  Have them try it.  The parts are available in the form of a kit from some people online for as little as $12.

There is a good feeling that comes from repairing something that otherwise would have been put into that growing mountain of pampers, kitchen waste, and of course defective electronic devices that needed about $6 to $10 in parts.

As a side note I did this with cars as well.  At one time I had 13 cars which I bought for next to nothing as they were broken. I picked up parts from a junk yard that the owner had an old TV, which always needed fixing.  I would fix them and sell them and I enjoyed the process.  That was back before the computer was installed into the car which controls everything relying on sensors for information.

Like the lawnmower, back then you needed spark, gas, air and compression.  Today you need an analyzer of some sort that can interrogate the onboard computer and find out what the failure is.  Usually some sort of sensor that you did not know that you had.

-Best to you and those that you care about!

Paper vs. Plastic

Paper vs. Plastic

No, not a blog about re-cycling, this is a one sided conversation…well observation really on who we are as a people.

At lunch today my normal routine is to flip out a credit card (plastic) but, I decided to use “real dollars” instead.  When you hand over the plastic it does not really bother you that you just dumped $30 on lunch and another $6 on a tip.  When you hand over cash however; the reality of what you are spending hits home a little faster.

Years ago I took my child to be entertained at a place called Dave and Busters.  I still remember vividly how this resembled a small casino complete with the noises and sounds.  If you have been you know what I am talking about.  If you have not been, the place is an arcade/entertainment establishment geared to getting into your wallet in a big way.

When you go you “charge” one of their credit cards with one of your credit cards (or cash) and then give it to your child to go insert it into a machine and be entertained.  The reward for the child is that the machine spits out reams of paper tickets that one redeems at the end of their day for small toys straight from China.  The better you are at the game the more tickets you get. Yes, there are lights that blink and noises from the machine add to the excitement but the bottom line is that, Pavlov had nothing on these people.

Some children quickly accept the reward to play scenario and manage to use all of the “real money” on their card rather quickly in return for a fistful of tickets.  A quick visit to the place where you exchange your tickets for toys somehow actually teaches the dimmest of children the rudimentary mechanics of math.  I need this much for that and I have this much, how much more do I need?  Since the real money on the card came from your wallet, not theirs, the concept of spending $100 on an item worth $1.50; simply does not compute.  You may rationalize that they had a good time but, the model of using plastic for goods and or services works.

The moral of this story is this; give your credit card a break.  Go by the ATM and put $$ in your wallet or purse.  Only use those $$ for goods and or services.  The paper that you hand to someone is a real good reality check for anyone, including me.  The miles as rewards or the cash back as rewards will be better spent once you (and I) get acquainted with paper and coins once again.  –Best to you and all those that you care about.