The Case Against Water Delivery In Offices

Scenario:

Let’s say you run a NYC firm of 40 people. Based on data from the USDA, the average American drinks  3.9 cups per day. Assuming your employees drink about that each day, they would drink 280 gallons in a month.

Currently, you’re just providing tap from the sink but a representative from a water delivery company (let’s say it’s Poland Spring) shows up claiming your water is for drinking. Before signing up, you do some research. You’re debating getting a mid-grade tap filter or signing up to get bottled water delivered for the next 3 years. Using data from Poland Spring, Amazon and the NYC DEP, you come up with the following:

 

Monthly Cost:

Cost Per Month

Water Delivery:

1st month: $656

Subsequent: $411

Last: $136

Filtered Tap:

1st month: $76

Subsequent: $1.46

 

Cumulative Cost:

Cumulative Total Cost Over 3 Years:

Poland Spring: $14,766

Filtered Tap: $126.11

 

Conclusion:

After careful calculation, you tell the water delivery guy to forget your number. The price of filtered tap over 3 years is less than the cheapest month of office delivery. Of course, this example only specifically applies to businesses located in NYC. However, whereas the price of tap decreases among most other municipalities, the cost of water delivery remains practically the same.

 

2016 Presidential Candidate Wikipedia Page Edits (2001-2016)

Out of sheer curiosity, I compiled the revision history data from Wikipedia for the 11 leading presidential candidates. The resulting chart could display which candidate is most popular, which candidate has most to hide or nothing at all. It’s all up for your interpretation!

Candidate Edits

Note that for this graph, the 2016 edits are projected based on how many have been made so far this year (as of February 9th, 2016).

 

This next graph simply shows which candidate pages are set to make the most edits in 2016:

Projected 2016 Edits

How to See Your First Messages With Someone on Facebook

Below, you’ll find four different guides on how to see and save your old Facebook messages. If you follow these guides, you’ll be able to see your first Facebook message with someone (as long as Facebook hasn’t deleted it), save all of your messages for safe keeping or simply take a stroll down memory lane.

Last tested on February 5th, 2016.

Very Easy

If you’d like the quickest, easiest, way to see your first message, follow this guide. However, you’ll need to remember what you said or one of the keywords.

Easy

If you want an easy way to backup all your messages and an easy way to see your first message if you don’t remember how it went, follow this guide. However, this method lists all your messages in one giant page so you’ll have to do some sifting to find it. Additionally, Facebook makes you wait up to a day to receive the download.

Moderate

This method is the best if you want to see your first messages with a specific person, don’t remember how it went and don’t fell like waiting up to a day for your download. I personally think most people will choose this method because it’s still easy as long as you follow the steps carefully.

Difficult

If you want to backup and save your messages with someone in a clean PDF form, this is the guide for you. Be prepared to work for it though, as it may take quite some time if you wish to save a lot of messages.


Very Easy:

  1. Go to https://www.facebook.com/messages/
  2. Search for the topic you were talking about when you first started talking using the search bar.
  3. Find the conversation and click into it.
  4. That’s it!

Easy:

  1. Go to https://www.facebook.com/settings
  2. Toward the bottom, click “Download a copy of your Facebook data.”
  3. Enter your password and then wait for Facebook to email you a download link.Image
  4. Re-enter your password and then wait for it to finish downloading.
  5. Open the file you downloaded (you will have to extract/unzip it) and click into your username. You’ll see an html file called “index.html” – click that.
  6. When it opens, click messages and there’s everything! Hopefully your computer is powerful enough to open up ALL your Facebook messages at once!
  7. Ctrl (or Command) +F is your friend.

 

Moderate:

  1. Go to http://m.facebook.com/messages/ (Notice that this is the mobile version of Facebook for phones.)
  2. Click the person you want to see the first message with.
  3. Right click the ”See older messages” button and click “open in new tab.”

    Step1

  4. The link that will appear in a new tab should look something like this:
  5. Now change the start=5 to start=a high number like 70000
    • A hint to find this magic number is to go to the normal “Full Conversation” on the desktop/normal site and as you scroll up, you’ll quickly see a number at the top next to “Loading Older Messages…” That’s your number.Screenshot (8)
  6. Finally, delete a portion of  the URL after the “&” symbol from number you just changed up to the next “&” symbol. You’re essentially removing the text that says “&last_message_timestamp=xxxxxxxxxxx
    • So, in my link, I would delete only the bold text: https://m.facebook.com/messages/read/?tid=1crhw%2FE%2Fy6pbBXu1aQ2xFg&start=5000&last_message_timestamp=1454723781183&pagination_direction=1&show_delete_message_button&refid=12
  7. You might still have to click “See older messages” a bit to get to the first few, but it’s nothing compared to going through 50,000+ messages first!

 

Difficult:

If you’re like me and you want to save every single message with someone because you don’t trust Facebook’s servers or if you just want a clean way to view your messages with someone to reminisce, you’re in the right place! No matter the reason, here’s my best attempt to explain how to save them all! Make sure you have a good computer if you plan on doing this method!

  1. To start, open up a browser like Google Chrome that has a print to PDF function.
  2. Go to http://m.facebook.com/messages/ (Notice that this is the mobile version of Facebook for phones.)
  3. Click the person you want to see the first message with.
  4. Download an auto mouse clicker app such as “Free Mouse Auto Clicker” for Windows or “Auto Mouse Clicker”  for Mac.
  5. Script your computer to systematically click the “See older messages” button and repeat after a second or so. This is where you’re going to need a good computer because many browsers crash once the RAM is maxed out.
  6. After the computer starts to slow down, which it will, stop the auto clicker, click print and choose save as PDF. My computer can usually make it through a few months of messages before you need to make a PDF.
  7. Make sure to check images and uncheck headers if you’re using Chrome.
  8. Right click the ”See older messages” button again and click “open in new tab.” Close the full and slow tab.
  9. Now all you have to do is repeat the process!

I wish you luck, as this is the hardest method of saving your messages, but the most rewarding. If you need help, I’m always here! Just don’t ask about how to use the Macro app. You just have to Google around or read the help document if you’re stuck.

If this post helped you, why not like my Facebook page or follow me on twitter? It’s the greatest thank you I could ask for!  The like button is on top!

30 Rare Used Cars With An MSRP Below 30K.

2005 Pontiac Pursuit (pre-production model shown)

Using data from the NHTSA, I’ve compiled a list of the rarest/worst selling (depending on how you look at it) cars since 2000. Note that these prices reflect the price of the car in the year they were produced. Today, many of these cars can be had for under 10,000. Hope it helps someone!

Produced Maker Model Year
3 GENERAL MOTORS PONTIAC G5 2010
50 MITSUBISHI ENDEAVOR 2009
131 CHRYSLER CHRYSLER STRATUS 2000
449 CHRYSLER CHRYSLER INTREPID 2000, 2002
503 NISSAN 350Z 2009
793 MITSUBISHI ECLIPSE 2010
807 JAGUAR X-TYPE 2008
808 ISUZU VEHICROSS 2000-2001
851 GENERAL MOTORS SATURN ASTRA 2009-2010
931 KIA AMANTI 2009
1011 HONDA INSIGHT 2003-2006
1023 TOYOTA MR2 SPYDER 2004-2005
1063 ISUZUA SCENDER 2008
1121 HYUNDAI AZERA 2010
1217 MAZDA RX-8 2010
1230 SUZUKI EQUATOR PICKUP 2010
1290 SUZUKI XL7 2009
1303 CHRYSLER CHRYSLER NEON 2000-2002
1435 MITSUBISHI I-MIEV 2012
1483 CHEVROLET CHEVROLET CAVALIER 2002-2004
1536 VOLVO C30 2010
1553 FORD MOTOR CO MERCURY MONTEREY 2007
1713 KIA RONDO 2010
1731 SAAB 9-2X 2006
1778 MITSUBISHI MONTERO 2006
1809 FORD MOTOR CO. CROWN VICTORIA 2010
1830 CHRYSLER PT CRUISER CONVERTIBLE 2008
1875 VOLVO V50 2008
1884 MAZDA B SERIES PICKUP 2008-2009
1913 VOLVO V50 2009
2000 SUZUKI VERONA 2006

The Safest New and Used Cars of Our Time

There are hundreds of car models on the market, each offering differing safety features, legroom, prices, features, mpg, etc. Narrowing that list can be incredibly challenging, and time consuming – especially if you are open to buying new or used cars.

While the IIHS tries to compile a list of their recommended safest cars each year, they end up recommending about 150 cars. For anyone searching for a car, that number is overwhelming. On top of that, the IIHS doesn’t seem to take their own driver death rate into account when adding vehicles. Many have driver death rates that are above average.

Fed up, I created a list of all the cars 2003 and newer that have both excelled in safety tests (cars that have a score of 55 or lower on informedforlife.org) and a driver fatality rate lower than the average of 28 people per 1 million cars sold (using data from informedforlife.org and iihs.org).

For the fatality rate, if the car had data for previous model years, I used that data – assuming that the car will only improve with time. For models that are new, newly redesigned, or if there wasn’t any recent data, I wrote “No Data.”

Hopefully this helps someone at least narrow their list a bit!

Of course, with cars being released all the time, I will continually update this post as new data is released. Currently, this data set is up to date as of: 9/27/2015.

Year Type Model Fatality Rate
2007+ SUV Acura MDX (Later Release) Below Average
2015+ Car Acura RLX Model Too New
2009+ Car Acura TL Below Average
2009+ Car Acura TSX Below Average
2009+ Car Audi A4 Below Average
2016+ Car Audi A6 Below Average
2010+ SUV Audi Q5 No Data
2015+ SUV Buick Encore Model Too New
2008+ Car Cadillac CTS Below Average
2015+ SUV Chevy Trax Model Too New
2015+ Car Chrysler 200 Model Too New
2010+ Car Chrysler Sebring No Data
2015+ Truck Ford F150 Super Crew Below Average
2009+ SUV Ford Flex Below Average
2010+ Car Ford Mustang (Later Release) No Data
2008+ Car Ford Taurus Below Average
2015+ Car Honda Accord Below Average
2008+ Van Honda Odyssey Below Average
2007+ Van Hyundai Entourage Below Average
2009+ Car Hyundai Genesis (Later Release) No Data
2016+ SUV Hyundai Tucson Model Too New
2006+ Van Kia Sedona Below Average
2016+ Van Kia Sorrrento Below Average
2010+ SUV Lexus RX350 Below Average
2009+ Car Lincoln MKS Below Average
2014+ SUV Mazda CX-5 Model Too New
2016+ Car Mazda Mazda6 Model Too New
2014+ SUV Mercedes Benz ML Class Model Too New
2009+ Car Mercedes-Benz C-Class Below Average
2010+ Car Mercedes-Benz E-Class Below Average
2006+ Car Mercury Montego Below Average
2009+ Car Mercury Sable Below Average
2009+ Car Subaru Impreza Below Average
2010+ Car Subaru Legacy Below Average
2015+ SUV Subaru Outback Below Average
2010+ SUV Toyota 4Runner Below Average
2009+ SUV Toyota Venza Below Average
2005+ SUV Volvo XC90 Below Average

Milk Substitutes Have One Major Flaw: Dunking

So here I am, dunking Oreo’s in my Cashew Milk and they just won’t get to that perfect hard-soggy mix no matter how long I keep it in the drink. Frustrated, I go to get a normal glass of milk to conduct a little test. As it turns out, Oreo’s sink in 2% milk after a minute and 45 seconds. In the cashew milk, I waited 30 minutes before losing my patience and eating the cookie. It wasn’t even soggy…

IMG_20150621_172433-ANIMATION

So what does this mean? Well, it could mean that processed milk is more watery than milk right from the cow and thus, perfect for dunking. Unfortunately, I don’t own a cow to test that theory. It could also mean that milk replacements are more dense than milk. I also don’t think Silk and other companies should make their drinks more watery. I like the creaminess of Almond/Cashew milk.

Surface Pro 3 N-Trig Pen Design Flaw

I love my Surface. I may have some issues with Windows 10 builds every now and then, but overall, I love it. There’s one thing I don’t love, however: The pen. Since August of 2014 (Now May of 2015), I have been through 3 Surface pens. I have two major gripes with the pens. Both of them are related to fidgeting. For those who don’t know what fidgeting is, it’s basically a way to keep your mind active during a class by unscrewing the components and screwing them back on.

IMAG0268

First, the pen nibs, once fidgeted with, is basically useless. It causes the Surface to misinterpret how hard you’re pushing down the pen on the screen. Often, when I’m writing in Onenote, the pen will start writing before it even touches the screen. This causes an unbelievable amount of illegibility. The nibs wouldn’t be so much of a problem if I could just buy a set of 20 so I had them accessible for when they start wearing out/snapping in half. Instead, you have to contact Microsoft about it and they have to send you 3 at a time…

IMAG0262

Second, the screw on cap is made of a brittle aluminum and starts to wear out after only a few dozen screws. Two of my pen screw caps got so bad that they can’t even hold the screw cap on and so I had to tape them until I received a replacement. To Microsoft’s credit, they replaced them for free but I sure hope the caps on the Surface Pro 4 are made of a more durable metal…

Ventotene: A Look Into Past, Present and Future Sustainability

DSC_0128

The small Italian island of Ventotene, located midway between Rome and Naples off the coast of Formia, was first inhabited nearly 2000 years ago under the Roman Emperor, Augustus. Sadly, he would primarily use the island to exile his enemies, including his youngest daughter Gulia. Without motorized modern ferry transportation, the island was often completely cut off from the rest of Italy. Because of this autonomy, the island is a wonderful example of ancient Roman sustainable practices.

Roman engineers were far ahead of their time in terms of sustainability. As described by the Comune Di Ventotene, “Al tempo dei romani l’approvvigionamento idrico veniva costantemente garantito dalla presenza, nelle zone abitate, di serbatoi in cui veniva convogliata, mediante vasche di raccolta e canali di immissione, l’acqua piovana.” [English: In Roman times, the water supply was constantly assured by the presence of tanks that collected rainwater through a series of  tunnels/canals with various entrance points.] (Comune Di Ventotene). Because there was no natural source of freshwater on the island, the Romans built a series of underground cisterns (See Figure 1) that utilized the island’s downward sloping gradient to collect rainwater runoff. Similarly to the Romans, “In the Puuc – a seasonally dry region with no permanent natural water sources – two hydro-technological inventions designed to capture and store rainwater dominated water management: (1) large, open still-water reservoirs managed by neighborhood and city leadership and (2) small underground water cisterns” (Barthel 2013). Halfway around the world, the Romans built a system similar to that of the Mayans with no known contact. With enough freshwater, the Romans were able to turn their focus to building resilience, first by using their cistern system to supplement their food supply.

IMG_0110Figure 1: The entrance to the still-standing (now dried up) Roman cistern tunnels of Ventotene.

Not only did they collect enough rainwater to sustain their settlement, the Romans also used their system of cisterns to create a pseudo estuary for their fish farm so the captured fish could naturally reproduce. “I romani avevano osservato che il mare alla foce dei fiumi era più ricco di pesci e quindi avevano cercato di ricreare lo stesso habitat” [English: The Romans had observed that the sea at the mouth of the river was full of fish and so they tried to recreate the same habitat] (Fonti 2004). This allowed the Romans to enjoy a primary, reliable source of food, independent from the mainland. Finally, to build a greater degree of food security, the Romans cultivated the rest of the island for legumes, lentils and a variety of fruits and vegetables which are still cultivated on the island today. That said, the island has not always been successful at sustaining civilization. The fall of Rome left the island practically abandoned until the rise of the Bourbons of Naples who colonized the island primarily to imprison traitors 17th-18th centuries. Eventually, though, this new wave of settlement was able to sustain itself through to the present, largely due to the increase in global tourism.

Today, the island remains largely self-sustaining, with a few important exceptions. First, and possibly most importantly, modern engineers do not know how to get the Roman cisterns back up and running. Instead, the island has to import water from the mainland via tanker (See Figure 2). Not only is the present water system unsustainable due to the emissions generated from such an inefficient system of delivery, the water quality is hardly comparable to locally sourced natural rainwater. I have personally tested the water quality of the tap water on the island as compared to collected rainwater by using a TDS, or total dissolved solids, meter. Although the tap water showed an average of 300 PPM, marginally acceptable tap water, as per EPA standards, the rainwater showed about 60 PPM, the equivalent to carbon filtering and mountain springs (HM Digital). On top of the water quality being so poor, the delivery of freshwater is completely dependent on the weather. During my stays on the island, there would be entire days during the peak tourism months where the tanker is unable to navigate the waters. On one instance, the water level had gotten so low that the town had to issue a notice pleading for water conservation.

IMG_0166

Figure 2: Ventotene’s freshwater tanker.

Another system that relies on a tanker delivery is the island’s power generators. Presently, the island has 4 diesel generators powered by Enel, a large European electricity provider. To reduce dependence on petroleum deliveries, the company is currently installing PV cells around the island. However, their main purpose is to supplement the diesel generators, not replace them, as well as to jump start the generators during blackouts (Fastelli, 2012).

As for the food security of the island, modern high speed ferries have allowed for the island to both import a large amount of food goods, as well as export some locally grown specialty foods. “While such high global connectivity between cities and remote food supplies can decrease cities’ vulnerability to food shortages and build resilience during medium-severe crises, sudden severances of supply lines – that for instance peak oil scenarios threatens to levy – pose major threats to urban food security.” (Barthel 2013). While the island is enjoying the food security provided by a connected globe, just as Barthel argues, the island is still vulnerable to severe storm weather, windy days and rough seas, which can still sever connections to the mainland, and the rest of the globe.

Ventotene, as its name suggests (vento=wind), is constantly bombarded by the wind. Because of this, the island is highly vulnerable to erosion (See Figure 3). Further, the island is constantly bombarded by waves, slowly weakening its structural integrity. There have been unfortunate instances where falling rocks have crushed visitors, leading to a rigorous public works project to halt, or to attempt to slow, erosion island wide.

fig1

Figure 3: The areas of the island that are venerable to eroding because of high winds, waves and weak material. The island is made of a somewhat unique material: tufa, which is a type of volcanic ash (Fonti 2004).

Farming is a fundamental part of the island’s success; without it, the island would have likely starved under times of severance from the mainland. “Ventotene ha infatti una lunga tradizione di sussistenza e di autonomia alimentare: fin dall’epoca romana e poi con la colonizzazione borbonica, l’agricoltura ha sempre rappresentato un’attività fondamentale per gli isolani, capace di provvedere al sostentamento di una comunità ben più numerosa di quella attuale” [English: Ventotene has a long tradition of subsistence and food autonomy: since Roman times and then with the colonization of Bourbon, agriculture has always been a fundamental activity for the islanders, who are able to provide for the maintenance of a community far greater than residents.] (Amo Ventotene). Thus, it is of great concern that the island is currently losing a great deal of farmland to “urban” sprawl (See Figure 4). Luckily, the island still has a considerable amount of arable land that is not currently farmland, but will hopefully become so. Another part of the island’s food systems success is the reliance on ecological farming practices. The island, short of the growing of lentils, does not grow monocultures. Instead, island farmers grow a pleasant mixture of fruit trees, grapes, tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, string beans and other vegetables.

fig2

Figure 4: Small scale urban sprawl experienced by the island of Ventotene because of its recent tourism boom. Notice the loss of farmland associated with the town’s expansion. (Fonti 2004).

Finally, it is worth noting that the island’s architecture, designed long before the invention of cars, promotes walking. While there are a few roads wide enough for small cars, most of the island is pedestrian friendly. This is one of Ventotene’s central characteristics: visitors can walk from their hotel/villa to the store to the beach to the piazza and so on. However, because there are a few hotels far from the town center, as well as the need for shipments to the island, it is unlikely that the island will ever be completely car free.

Even though the need for cars seems to be a permanent fixture, the island has progressively self-imposed a zero emissions goal for itself. By working with the regional auto manufacturer, Piaggio, the municipality has already replaced its sanitation fleet, and all other municipal vehicles with electric vehicles (See Figure 5). The island is also testing an experimental fleet management system to optimize charging times for the vehicles based on location (Fabbri). In addition, a large PV (photovoltaic) charging station was built to charge the vehicles using the sun. This system is free for any resident to charge their own vehicles and some residents have already purchased their own electric vehicles to do just that. With persistently high petroleum prices in Europe, the Comune Di Ventotene should work to replace any and all petroleum machinery with electric substitutes. For example, they should invest in electric boats to replace their fleet of Guardia Costiera boats, as well as to incentivize fisherman and other residents to follow in their footsteps.

Screenshot (4)

Figure 5: The two of the island’s current electric vehicle fleet. (Scelte Sostenibili).

While the municipality should be praised for its sustainable progress, without replacing their four diesel generators with wind or PV systems, the island will never be able to reach its goal. With such sustained wind and constant sunlight, the island would be making not only a green choice, but an economic one. With ecotourism on the rise, the island should make changing their power source its number one priority.

Finally, the island’s inefficient fresh water supply system must be replaced with localized roof based rainwater collection, a revival of the Roman runoff based cisterns, or a desalination plant. It is not only for reasons of sustainability but for the sake of quality, the island should immediately look to invest in such a system.

Whether the Romans, Bourbons, or the Italian government rule over the small island of Ventotene, the island has consistently excelled at sustainable practices. Ventotene may end up becoming a model for sustainable Italian and European cities of antiquity based on its consistently progressive policies, initiatives and lifestyles.

FINAL-001

Figure 6: A panorama of the island of Ventotene (taken by yours truly) from the nearby island of Santo Stefano. Click if you want to see a larger version! Thanks for reading!

Bibliography:

  1. Barthel, Stephan. Urban Gardens, Agriculture, And Water Management: Sources Of Resilience For Long-Term Food Security In Cities. (2013). Ecological Economics.
  2. Fabbri, Gianluca. Sustainable Mobility Models For The Island Of Ventotene. (2010). POMOS – Pole for Sustainable Mobility.
  3. Fastelli, I. (2012). Energy Storage On Islands: A Sustainable Energy Future For Islands. Eurelectric Brussels.
  4. Fonti, Luciano.I Piani Di Assetto Delle Aree Marine Protette. Il Caso Delle Isole Di Ventotene E S. Stefano. (2004). XXV Conferenza Italiana Di Scienze Regionali.
  5. I Tre Cardini Del Progetto Per Un’isola Sostenibile. Scelte Sostenibili.
  6. Le Cisterne e L’Acquedotto. Comune Di Ventotene.
  7. Ventotene, Isola Di Contadini Slow In Rete Con Il Mediterraneo. (2013). Amo Ventotene.
  8. What Is TDS? Hm Digital.

The Sneetches Return

If you’ve walked the streets of Manhattan this Winter, you may have noticed an enormously popular fashion fad: Canada Goose Jackets. The $800 jackets tout a mixture of goose down and coyote fur that has some activists up in arms (If you want to read up on that, check out this link: Link). But beyond the cruelty of the jackets, and their incredible price, the jackets seem to have become a status symbol – much like that of Dr. Seuss’ Star-Bellied Sneetches.

CG1

The company, which has, since opening up a store in Manhattan, increased its revenues from $3 million in 2013 to an estimated $300 million by the end of the 2014-2015 winter season. (Link.) With a growth like that, I really hope there are enough coyotes in Canada to sustain their populations.

CG2

With such an increase in sales this year, and the growing status symbols that came with it, many who did not have hundreds in disposable income to spend on a single jacket may have opted for online counterfeits. However, do not fret, my true Star-Bellied Sneetches! There are ways to identify counterfeits: Link, Link.

Manhattan is a funny place.